In an ideal world, Sue Bradford might have been recognised for her hard work and forthright attitude, but we don't live in an ideal world. If we did, Sue Bradford wouldn't have had to sacrifice her leadership ambitions to stop child beaters claiming a specious defence for their brutality. Her achievements in parliament have been substantial for a backbench MP:
She pushed through members bills securing the passage of the anti-smacking law, increasing the minimum youth wage to equal the adult minimum wage and increasing the time mothers can keep babies with them in prisons. (2)Standing up for what she believed in made it pretty certain she could never lead the party, because it would be giving the cynical exploiters of knee jerk imbecility an easy target. Which is a refelction of the dismal state of New Zealand politics. We need more Bradfords. People like her actually make parliament important and effective.
While I was politically more in sympathy with Sue Bradford's position, the choice is a pragmatic one, and readiness work with the government , whatever its hue, has won a grudging concession on insulation from Bill English (3). Perhaps the election of Turei is a consequence of Labour's high-handed attitude towards the party when it was in power, and Labour's pretty piss-poor environemtnal and ethical policies.
Perhaps this is a parlimeantary term too soon for Turei, but the loss of Rod Donald disrupted the natural order of succession. The Green Team leaders are very young, which means they'll have to work hard to establish credibility. But lets see what they
1 - "Greens elect Metiria Turei as new co-leader," by Claire Trevett, published by the New Zealand Herald, 30th of May, 2009. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10575491)
2 - ibid.
3 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/05/budget-bill-part-2.html.