Don't hide from the problem

Don't Hide from the Problem

Manawatu Guardian, by Adam Pearse   31 August 2023

MP reveals his most courageous politician

Retiring Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie used his final speech to urge politicians to avoid blaming previous governments for poor policy delivery and get on with the job.

He said one of the principles he used in his 28 years of public life was never denying a problem.

"I have to say one of the greatest downfalls of success of ministers in this place is their failure to recognise or admit to a problem and getting on with fixing it," he said.

"It seems we're able to go on blaming previous governments or previous administrations for years and years, but a piece of advice for Members of Parliament would be; don't blame the others, don't hide from the problem." He said Parliament had increased its focus on improving the wellbeing of MPs and staff but didn't appropriately recognise the "extreme and unacceptable prying of private lives of MPs".

"This would never happen in the corporate world or down on the farm and it shouldn't happen here. If we don't reach some agreement as a society as to the boundaries here, we will undermine democracy and chase the very people we want running for Parliament away for good." He believed there had been little improvement in the functioning of select committees.

McKelvie had chaired two in 12 years as an MP.

"As I leave here, I'm sad to say they do not work any better than they did when I arrived and by that I mean, they missed the opportunity to achieve much more for New Zealanders because of the partisan nature of them.

"Were they able to operate in a semi-bipartisan manner doing what's best for the legislation or the inquiry or financial review in front of them, we would produce a much better result for the Parliament, the Government and the people of New Zealand," McKelvie said, noting a four-year term would aid this.

There was a surprise shout-out for former Labour minister and Te Pati Maori's co-founder Dame Tariana Turia, who McKelvie deemed the "most courageous politician of my time".