Thursday, June 07, 2007

Helen Clark seeking the Pacific Islander vote

Just over a month ago someone very close to me passed away. He worked for many years in Pacific Island communities, working and living in the Pacific, and knew it well. He was a long serving teacher, Justice of the Peace, and known well and respected in various communities, Roman Catholic and Jewish. He worked long and hard hours, enjoying both teaching and his small business dealing in fine arts. Indeed, as a teacher he inspired several thousands over the years, some of whom are now working all over the world. He was a generous man, independently minded, well spoken, but also did not tolerate rudeness or those who wouldn’t take responsibility for themselves. He enjoyed a whisky, loved good food including steak, liked his toast hot fresh and dripping with butter. Indeed, he enjoyed a smoke in social circles.
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However, Helen Clark didn’t go to his funeral, thankfully. He would have hated it, since she didn’t know him, and he despised her politics. However, he did a lot for the community and others, in fact I think he probably knew more about Pacific Island cultures (having lived on various islands for years) than Helen Clark.
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No, she went to the funeral of a Pacific Island woman, whose claim to fame is dying because of a combination of her lifestyle (which was not adequately changed to take into account doctor’s advice), the public health system (which let her stay at home rather than remain in hospital, which was probably an error of judgment), and her family’s failure to pay the power bill and preference for praying rather than take her to hospital. A series of unfortunate but hardly unpreventable events.
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Helen Clark spoke at Mrs Muliaga's funeral, as of course one does when you never knew the person who died. I simply don’t care about Mrs Muliaga’s death, I don’t have enough time or energy to grieve for those I didn’t know. Mrs Muliaga meant as much to me as the other 80 people who die in New Zealand every day. If it were different, I would never live, I’d grieve day after day, and it would show what little value I did have for those I DO love and care about.
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How many more New Zealanders has Helen Clark met in the discharge of her duties whose funerals she will never go to? People of all ages who may have received awards and accolades, there will be thousands for the years she has been in Parliament.
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Now you see what value Helen Clark puts on grief – it’s a PR stunt. Not content to let Mrs Muliaga’s family and friends grieve in peace, genuinely and honestly. It became a media circus, which Clark gleefully participated in.
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A funeral is about grieving for someone you knew, whether close or as an acquaintance, but rather someone who had a personal impact upon your life. You need not have met the person, but you can respect some work the person has done, whether it be literature, art or something that meant something to you. It shouldn’t be about guilt or PR, which is what Helen Clark has done.
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Clark said “What has been simply inspirational through these sad days has been the spirit of forgiveness that has radiated from this family - far more than could humanly be expected”. Inspirational how? How does Helen Clark intend to use this? Will she forgive Ian Wishart, Don Brash, the exclusive Brethren or anyone else she likes to vilify? I hardly think so. What sanctimonious rot. Will Helen Clark go to the funerals of crime victims? How about the funeral of those killed by dangerous driving? Will she find inspiration with every death?
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Will Pacific Islanders rally towards Labour at the next election because of this nonsense? Helen Clark thinks so. How despicably patronising that like some colonial mistress she can trot along to a funeral, say some words as if she knew Mrs Muliaga, completely ignore that one of HER hospitals let her be discharged in her condition, and expect the Pacific Island community to go “oh that Miss Clark she’s so caring about us, we will vote Labour again next year”.
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Regardless of the results of the Police inquiry, and indeed regardless of your personal views on blame regarding the cut off of power, Clark hopped on this sad death as a PR stunt.
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UPDATE: Apparently Mr Muliaga invited Helen Clark to the funeral specifically. In that case she was welcomed, and it is inappropriate to criticise that specifically. However, outside of that case I do wonder if the PM will attend any funeral of New Zealanders that she did not personally know, that family members invite her to? What is the criteria by which the PM decides whether or not to attend funerals of people she did not know?

4 comments:

Blog Zealand said...

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Anonymous said...

As I have commented elsewhere, Helen Clark's tax and benefit system failed too.
As a poor family , the mululagas were obviously overtaxed, paying far more tax than an equivalent poor family in Australia.
Instead of cutting taxes for all the poor, helen clark and her government instigated a policy called Working for Families, which you must apply for.
Now WFF would have been worth a fair bit to a family with 4 kids, but did they apply? We do not know. perhaps the system was too complicated for the family or they felt shame in having to apply so chose not to.
So this flagship Labour welfare policy failed this family. Instead, we see WFF funding middle class white families with Ipods, when if we must have such a system, it must help the most poor and most vulnerable.
Thus Liarbour failed here too.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any reason for Helen Clark to forgive Ian Wishart or Don Brash.

I have seen no signs of remorse from either. From Ian Wishart - more of the same that caused his problems in the first place. From Don Brash - well more spin!

libertyscott said...

Well I was commenting on how she was inspired by the family's forgiveness, and how empty that is.

I agree Wishart is a prick, Brash didn't ever call her cancerous and corrosive - because Clark simply attacks when she is under threat.