Sometimes in the past we in Labour have copped a bit of flak from those on the left for playing politics rather than focusing on the issues. It might have been deserved from time to time. Sometimes the criticism has been because we might have attacked our friends and allies in the Greens. Fair enough for people who don’t like this style of politics to draw attention to it. So, when the shoe is on the other foot, I think we need to call out misleading attacks on us.
I am very annoyed at Kennedy Graham’s misleading blog about Labour’s non-attendance at Rio+20. It is pure politics and just plain wrong. I presume I am the person he is referring to when he says he spoke to a ‘senior Labour person’ about this last week. It is simply not true to say as Ken does that the reason I was not in Rio was because “I could not get away”. What I actually said was that I could not afford the cost of going. There is a big difference between the two. (In fairness to Kennedy he has now apologised for any personal offence, though the blog remains unchanged)
I would love to be there. I was at Rio+10 in Johannesburg as a member of the New Zealand delegation. I had spent the previous two and half years at the UN working on the preparations for the event. It was a big deal to me. On that delegation Nick Smith was there as the opposition representative. Just as ten years before at the original Rio Summit there had been an opposition representative on the delegation. This year the government decided not to issue such an invitation. I did raise with Amy Adams the funding for other MPs going to Rio and she said it was not happening citing “budgetary constraints”.
Kennedy’s blog follows on from a highly misleading media release from the Greens on Friday questioning if Labour wanted TPPA talks to be “open” on the basis of a question asked in Parliament that had nothing to do with ‘secrecy’ of the talks at all.
I look forward to being in a Labour-led government after 2014, which may include the Greens. That’s good, we’ve got lots in common, there are good people there and we will be able to forge a strong progressive government together. But in the meantime, if we are to have a more ‘political’ approach from the Greens, its only fair that they should be held to account. But don’t be alarmed folks, we really do like each other, its just modern politics.