Russel got under the collars of a few Labour Party stalwarts when he walked into Parliament and suggested that he and the Greens were from the political lineage of Mickey Joseph Savage.
Savage, a fellow immigrant from Australia, knew that having a right means having a chance, it means having a roof to shelter under and a meal on the table, a school and a doctor. That a nation that truly values the rights of her citizens promises a fair go to each and every one. Savage helped create a society where there was hope of a better life, and there was fulfilment of that hope.
I think what hurts Labour people about speeches like that, more than anything, is it reminds them how far they they have come from the sort of social justice ideals and policies that Savage was working for in the 1930s. Suddenly their present incrementalism seems a bit less satisfactory.
It left me thinking that the last Labour leader who was neither an incrementalist nor a rogernome was Big Norm, Norman Kirk.
So perhaps, with campaign season upon us and a new Big Norm, six-foot Russel, now in the house, it is time to listen once more to that 1974 song from Wellington band Ebony which made it to No. 4 on the national charts that year.