Sue Bradford
Bradford’s Truth – An MoU and a coup

My regular column in the New Zealand Truth appeared again today:

A couple of weeks ago the Green Party signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National-led Government.

Some of our supporters have been worried that perhaps we are selling our souls to the Nats in return for a few favours.

However, I would like to reassure people that we in the Green Party are as committed as ever to standing up for our own political programme and policies, and that this latest arrangement is not some trick to keep us quiet.

What the agreement does do is commit National and Greens to work together in a few areas where we have a particular common interest, with three on the table at the moment:

  • A nationwide programme to help people who own or rent in the private sector to insulate their homes, very similar to the Green Homes project we were working on with Labour before last year’s election.
  • An update of our country’s energy efficiency strategy, an area in which our Co leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has been working for many years
  • Developing ways of ensuring that natural health products are part of a New Zealand based safety system instead of being regulated mainly by Australians as previously proposed.

More areas may arise in future, but this is it for the moment.

This new agreement does not in any way commit the Green Party to being part of or voting for the Government, and we remain as free as ever to critique the parties of Government and to put up our own alternative policies and solutions.

This Government is already showing tendencies of being very like the last National Government in the way it treats workers and in its overall approach to the economy and the environment.

In this context, the Greens will be continuing to fight tooth and nail to defend ordinary Kiwis’ rights to a decent standard of living and to preserve our planet for future generations.

Turning to another topic completely, the situation in Fiji is a mess and New Zealand has played its part in allowing it to become so.

While Frank Bainimarama is right out of line in the way he is treating the press and his political opponents, the previous Fijian Government served the interests of political, economic, tribal and religious elites.

Bainimarama says he seized power in order to clean the country up.

Although our Labour Government was right to condemn the use of military force to overthrow a democratically elected Government, it had some choices about what it did next.

Labour could have tried to work constructively with Bainimarama to put in place a system of Government that was democratic and accountable.

Instead it chose to impose overly stringent sanctions and preach about a narrow form of democracy that had nothing to do with protecting the rights of ordinary Fijians from cronyism and corruption.

In doing so it exacerbated the situation rather than providing the friendship and support that might have seen a quick restoration of democracy.

We have failed our Fijian friends in their time of need and the best thing we can do now is work quietly behind the scenes to help build towards that very goal.

43 thoughts on “Bradford’s Truth – An MoU and a coup

  1. Great article Sue and good to see the Greens staying both principled and independent.

    ps Just love the little blue penguin !!

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  2. “Selling our souls”
    The Nats are not the enemy, it’s unsustainability that is the enemy regardless of who.

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  3. By signing the MoU the Greens have lent legitimacy and their own good name to the National Government.

    What else can I think when you’re co leader can commence press releases with:

    John Key’s recent signals of fiscal prudence in the upcoming Budget are to be praised, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

    You have lost my vote. My energy will be going into direct action and I shall leave the political process to the venal and the mendacious.

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  4. BLiP, Russel then went on to say

    The next phase of Government spending needs to be inexorably linked to the climate change agenda

    Now what do you think are the chances of the nats agreeing with that? And even if they did, woundn’t it be a good thing?

    The Greens have always praised other parties when they have done things that are supported by our policies and condemned other parties when their direction runs counter to our policies.

    That we could find just three policy areas that the Greens and National could progress together says something in itself about the lack of policy convergence between the two parties.

    I don’t know why your upset by us putting in writing three things we seem to be able to work with the Nats on while opposing them on the rest.

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  5. Tough as it it is to say, I agree with Sue about Fiji. Well said.

    I wouldn’t worry about your hardline crusties, Toad. There are a lot more votes over towards the center.

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  6. BLiP, I would interpret that as meaning Russell thinks it’s a bad idea to give tax cuts. How does this change anything? Russ then goes on about a ‘green new deal’ – what is so objectionable about all that?

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  7. The Nats suck, but if the sole goal of the Greens was to be anti-Nat in all things, it would depend on their being a very good alternative to throw our support behind permanently. Unfortunately Labour suck too, and saying they suck a little less than the Nats is just not a good enough reason not to act independently from them.

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  8. Its more legitiamcy for the government. Worse than that, Key’s alledged fiscal prudence is not what New Zealanders need at the moment. Norman’s comments indicate an active supporting of the Government and not just an “understanding” and now Norman is puddling around in Mt Albert!

    What a joke!

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  9. Don’t know if you noticed but the Greens have been the strongest voice against the govt in this Parliament, while Labour has often voted with them. They voted for RMA “reform” and are as we speak collaborating on a watered down ETS. Sorry, but its just not as simple as your black/white view would have it. The Greens must engage constructively with whoever is govt, while strongly criticising what they do wrong.

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  10. Did the Greens indicate such a position before the election? Was the membership consulted prior to the MoU? Can the Green Party at least tell us what they are currently discussing with National? Is the Green Party issuing press releases praising National’s economic policy? Is Russel Norman about to make life easier for National in Mt Albert? No, no, no, yes, and yes.

    Wow, you have been busy. Gee thanks.

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  11. BLiP asked: Did the Greens indicate such a position before the election?

    Yes.

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  12. - “the Greens will be continuing to fight tooth and nail to defend ordinary Kiwis’ rights to a decent standard of living”

    Surely you’re forgetting “right” to a pony as well?

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  13. BLiP said: Is the Green Party issuing press releases praising National’s economic policy?

    Um, how about this one from Sue Bradford, BLiP – after the MoU was signed (and remenber this is her original post we’re commenting on):

    Pulling yourself out of poverty by your own efforts just got harder for New Zealanders on benefits.

    It is disappointing that the Government will not increase – as promised – the allowable income for beneficiaries in this year’s budget, said Green Party Social Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford today.

    “This is another backtrack from National who gained a lot of kudos from some unusual quarters when they first said they would lift the amount beneficiaries could earn in paid work to $100 per week.”

    The current amount unemployment beneficiaries can earn before their income is abated is $80pw.

    “This policy U-turn is bad news for people who are doing just what National delights in telling them to do – go out and get a job,” Ms Bradford said.

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  14. Okay. You have taken the time to correct some of my outlandish claims in a largely civil manner. Thank you.

    I am still simmering about Norman’s puddling about in Mt Albert; what that’s all about? Did you discuss it with your mate John Key before deciding to go ahead or were you not allowed to because you’ve also signed a statement saying:

    Both Parties agree:
    • To keep the details of working discussions confidential until negotiations are concluded, whether the result ends in agreement or not

    As far as I’m concerned, everything the Green Party says from now on has to be double checked.

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  15. wat, go to Britain and join the BNP if you like. Seems you are actually coming much more from their perspective than most commenters on frogblog.

    Anyway, you are just really annoying here, and I’m tempted to give up reading your comments at all. Even you fellow trolls, BB and BP, occasionally put up a rational argument. You don’t!

    You’re not actually Dick Cheney’s alter ego are you wat? Ever do PR for him? He must be looking for interesting things to do since he lost supreme power as the VP who pulled the strings of a moron President and as Chair of the Senate in the US.

    But your comments on frogblog read almost like Cheney had written them!

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  16. Regarding Frank Bainimarama, how can we take anybody seriously who dresses like a Christmas tree!

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  17. BLiP said: Both Parties agree:
    • To keep the details of working discussions confidential until negotiations are concluded, whether the result ends in agreement or not

    BLiP, that does not preclude publicly discussing or advocating Green policy on the principles an issue under negotiation, or even post-negotiation.

    What it soes preclude is publicly discussing progress of the negotiation, or, if the negotiation fails to reach an agreement, the discussion that occurred in attempting to do so.

    The Greens would never have entered into any agreement that would have procluded us from promoting our policy, or from criticising another Party if they and us cannot reach an agreement that is either consistent with and/or furthers Green Policy.

    The Nats would play ball on only 3 Green policies under that framework. That says a lot more about them than it does about the Greens.

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  18. I am still simmering about Norman’s puddling about in Mt Albert; what that’s all about?

    What’s it about? Puddling about? We’re a political party for pete’s sake, we stand in elections! What better platform for exposure to Green solutions than a co-leader standing in a by-election. It doesn’t get much better than this.

    Did you discuss it with your mate John Key before deciding to go ahead…

    I thought we were being civil?

    …or were you not allowed to because you’ve also signed a statement saying:

    Both Parties agree:
    • To keep the details of working discussions confidential until negotiations are concluded, whether the result ends in agreement or not

    That applies only to the areas we are working on together, which are published in the appendix to the MoU. It was no different with Labour. Ministers can’t divulge Cabinet papers, etc, before they become policy. It would be unrealistic to expect us to be able to.

    As far as I’m concerned, everything the Green Party says from now on has to be double checked.

    Nothing’s changed, so if the MoU is your only reason for that, you are very uninformed about our political system.

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  19. toad,

    On the contrary, as I pointed out there is a clear comparison between the BNP and the Greens; you both favour enforced collectivism, boast about having the only real green credentials, and advocate state-imposed preference for the native race. The overlap between you is enormous, and the differences subtle.

    Of course, I didn’t really expect you to have the honesty to face up to that observation, but I did expect something a little more substantial than name calling.

    What’s also alarming is that you seem to think there is some great gulf between the Republicans and Democrats. Again, the overlap between them is almost complete, just as it is between the Conservatives and Labour in Britain, or National and Labour here. Each is essentially just a different face of the same big-government high-spending movement.
    Yet you still think that anyone who isn’t for you can only be a supporter of the “other” party; you just can’t imagine that someone could be for personal liberty and against fascism in all its forms.

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  20. wat dabney said: …you both favour enforced collectivism,

    No, we don’t. Personally, I favour closed shop legisaltion that would require all workers in a workplace to join the union if a majority voted to do so. But that is not Green Party policy because the Green Party’s democratic policy-making process didn’t support it (I don’t get my own way in the party all of the time, and nore do our MPs for that maatter).

    boast about having the only real green credentials,

    It’s not a boast – it’s a reality. I think most of us in the Greens would love National and Labour to have both a more sustainable track record and more sustainable policies. But they don’t.

    and advocate state-imposed preference for the native race.

    Wrong again. We advocate respecting the rights that Maori had before Te Tiriti o Waitangi that were affirmed by Te Tiriti, as well as respecting the rights Te Tiriti conferred upon non-Maori New Zealanders – including the right to live in this country. It is people like you who want to re-write history and effectively pretend te Tiriti was never signed.

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  21. “What better platform for exposure to Green solutions than a co-leader standing in a by-election. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
    Well how about being in government as minister for the environment? or some other green role? Oh I forgot, The Greenz only do ‘play politics’ and refuse to actually roll their sleeves up and weigh in.
    That said… Go Russell, just do us a favour please mate, and give a centrist environmental platform a try. You might just get a heap of votes.

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  22. Wat is right. The overlaps are obvious.

    There is a difference in how both sides get there – one side advocates from a sense of superiority, the other from self-loathing/guilt – but they do end up in much the same place.

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  23. Well how about being in government as minister for the environment? or some other green role?

    Of course, but I was talking about elections.

    Oh I forgot, The Greenz only do ‘play politics’ and refuse to actually roll their sleeves up and weigh in.

    One way to tell you’ve got it about right is when your getting it from both sides. :-)

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  24. samiam said: Go Russell, just do us a favour please mate, and give a centrist environmental platform a try. You might just get a heap of votes.

    Given that possibly the No 1 issue for the Mt Albert electorate is the Government’s proposal to bulldoze substantial parts of it to make way for a motorway Aucklanders wouldn’t need with decent public transport, I think Russel has a very centrist environmental platform to campaign on samiam.

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  25. Most voters in Mt Albert Borough have known about this 1st Labour Government’s proposal to bulldoze substantial parts of their borough to make way for a motorway and railway for most of their lives. Save your sympathy and support for the residents of Luggate and Beaumont who mostly bought their homes before the Ministry of Works decided it would be in the national interest to drown them under metres of water.

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  26. Kevyn, I don’t see the Avondale-Southdown rail designation going through any homes.

    Regarding the full tunnel option for the Waterview Connection, yes a number of homes at each end would need to go (I think around 60). But when that’s compared to the possible 500 of a surface level option, there’s quite a difference. Furthermore, seems like the latest plans are for surface levels through Alan Wood Reserve, a driven tunnel under Pak N Save, cut&cover through Phyllis Street and under Great North Road. I await with interest to see a final design though.

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  27. jarbury – that’s the beauty of the Waterview debate – the immense number of design choices, none of which stack up economically, so each becomes a political football.

    I, too, wait for a ‘final’ design, so that we can finally have a sensible discussion of the economics and cost benefit relative to non-roading alternatives.

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  28. My thoughts on the Waterview Connection are most clearly outlined here:

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2009/04/02/waterview-connection-reconsidered/

    Of particular note:

    1) The extra cost of the project, up from $1.89 billion to nearly $3 billion was due to silly politicking.
    2) The cost-benefit ratio of the project is only 1.15
    3) Almost all the benefits are from time-savings (which themselves are dodgy and largely calculated on the basis of $1.10 a litre petrol forever)
    4) A $2 toll would push the cost-benefit ratio below 1
    5) A cut and partial cover option is only $200 million cheaper than a full tunnel option.
    6) A nasty open cut option is only $500 million cheaper than a full tunnel option.

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  29. jarbury – so you agree with my essential assertion that what we have is a bidding war between almost equally bad options, without a discussion of potentially CBA positive alternatives?

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  30. Yeah pretty much frog. My basic point is “this is one HECK of an expensive project, no matter how you go about it. If you’re going to spend that much money then you need to be damn sure it’s the only option, and damn sure that the project is justified.”

    I am certainly not damn sure it’s the only option for improving West-South connectivity, and I am nowhere near damn sure the project is justified. Some of the proposed benefits are laughable ( http://www.transit.govt.nz/projects/waterviewconnection/resources/pdf/20080221-TRAFFIC-BENEFITS-NETWORK-INTEGRATION.pdf )

    - The Waterview Connection will provide a link for the fast-growing western suburbs of Auckland to the airport and other important destinations (please tell me how west Auckland is “fast growing”.)
    - By adding greater capacity and completing a bypass around the centre of Auckland, the Waterview Connection will enhance the efficiency of the overall road network in Auckland and bring particular benefits to commuters, transport carriers and residents of surrounding streets (being able to bypass CMJ is a big gain, but we don’t even know the local effects on streets as Mt Roskill SH20 isn’t open)
    - A shift of traffic out of the congested SH1 (Central Motorway Junction) onto the Waterview Connection and WRR. In 2026, it is estimated that each day some 28,000 vehicles will shift from using the CMJ to the WRR, relieving congestion on SH1 and the surrounding road network (clearly no mention of induced demand, and also if we’re going to remove that much traffic from CMJ why the heck are we about to spend $430 million on the Vic Park tunnel and $200 million on the Newmarket viaduct?)
    - A reduction in airport bound traffi c along Gillies Avenue / Manukau Road coming from the North Shore – In the morning peak it is predicted that 98% of traffi c from the North Shore will use SH20 to get to the airport (as opposed to the existing Gillies Avenue route) (98%!!!!!!!!! that’s total and utter rubbish, but what you get from computer traffic modelling. Kind of like Saddam Hussein getting 98% of the vote when he was in power in Iraq).
    - A reduction in daily traffi c of 20% or more on other key roads in the city including Maioro and Wolverton Streets, Asquith Avenue, and New North, Blockhouse Bay, Mt Albert and Carrington Roads. (never mind the other local roads that it will increase traffic along)

    On the negative side, it is stated:

    There are a few local roads where traffic volumes are expected to increase from the project. For example:
    • Great North Road east of Portage Road is expected to increase by 8% and west of Motion Road by 17%;
    • Meola Road east of Moa Road is expected to increase by 11%.

    This is the kind of dodgy stuff that is deciding how $2-3 billion of public tax dollars will be spent.

    Now….. if (and it’s a bloody big “if”) I can be convined the project is justified and the only (or the best) option for improving transport in the region – then I think it has to be a full tunnel.

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  31. “This Government is already showing tendencies of being very like the last National Government in the way it treats workers and in its overall approach to the economy and the environment.”

    That statement is absolute rubbish.
    About the only thing that is the same is the name of the party.
    Why do greens insist in flirting with credibility, and then BAM! out it goes with some loopy statement like that. :roll:

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  32. toad,

    Forcing people to join unions, appalling as the idea is, is just one small part of collectivism.
    Collectivism is about suppressing the rights of the individual in pursuit of some supposed social or national good. The Communists did it. The Fascists did it. And you – the neo-fascists – do it:-

    “Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically.”
    [Encyclopedia of Economics: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

    So you can see that you are technically employing the fascist model in pursuit of a green/equality agenda. The RMA, for example, is an architypal piece of fascist legislation.

    - “We advocate respecting the rights that Maori had before Te Tiriti o Waitangi that were affirmed by Te Tiriti…It is people like you who want to re-write history and effectively pretend te Tiriti was never signed.”

    Let me see if I understand this. You support state-enforced racial preference and privilege, including reserved government seats, not because there is any merit in apartheid, but purely on the technical argument that it happens to be enshrined in a particular legal document?

    By the same taken then, any Kiwi of British extraction can appeal to the Magna Carta and insist that its provisions are immutable. Yes? Or is it different for whitey?

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  33. Not again! Folks, we had this debate just last month. Instead of hearing all wat’s shit about fascism again, why not just go visit these threads and save time: http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/03/08/mr-key-tear-down-this-wall
    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/03/19/key-charity-advice-adds-insult-to-injury

    Its all there, down to the selective Richman quotes. Perhaps wat is hoping we’ve forgot his last attempt to twist the English language. For those who don’t want to reread the history in gory detail, know that wat is a Libertarian, so ANYTHING else is fascism to him. Next he’ll be talking about capitalism again as though everyone else accepts his definition of that word too.

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  34. “This Government is already showing tendencies of being very like the last National Government in the way it treats workers and in its overall approach to the economy and the environment.”

    That statement is absolute rubbish.
    About the only thing that is the same is the name of the party.

    That and half their Ministers. You’re right about one thing though. Their record on the environment is different – its even worse.

    Why do greens insist in flirting with credibility, and then BAM! out it goes with some loopy statement like that.

    Just to piss you off, Shunda ;-)

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  35. Thanks for that considered and thoughtful comentary on the situation in Fiji, Sue.

    I’ve been speaking to a varied collection of fijian residents and their relatives over the past couple of weeks in Auckland, and have come to realise that compassion and negotiation are neccessary to understand what fijians want for their own country.

    Attitudes to the current crisis vary from one family to the next, although I doubt that many of them expected the Hon Mr McCully’s offer of the NZ SAS, now to be diverted from another tour of duty in Afghanistan, to the displeasure of the US administration.
    Somehow, I don’t think more soldiers, uniforms and guns are really the answer to an armed military coup … although I’m willing for that opinion to be corrected if any fijian residents are able to access this blog.

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  36. wat dabney, do you realise that every tme you post here you get a few more people decide to vote Green.

    I suspect your efforts (because of your personality) re counter-productive. So why don’t you just go away and do something you might see as constructive on the ACT blog.

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  37. Valis,

    - “wat is a Libertarian, so ANYTHING else is fascism to him”

    You ignorantly believe that “fascism” is just a meaningless insult that students use to describe anything they don’t like.
    I quoted a reasonable definition of it from the online Encylopedia of Economics, and it is undeniable that the RMA fits the description perfectly, and that the Greens suppress individual rights in the name of the collective (redistributive policies and smoking bans, for example.)

    So, no, “anything” is not fascism to me: communists, socialists and classical liberals are not fascists. However, it is demonstrable that the Greens are: whilst leaving title with the nominal owner, they strip away the rights of property ownership and assign them to the state. Labour and National are the same to only slightly different degrees. Fascism is the essence of modern western politics. After all, big government could achieve nothing if it respected property rights; it must of necessity impose either communism, socialism or fascism. The first two are simply too blatant, but fascism is subtle and incremental

    And I just happened to be struck by the almost perfect match between the Greens and the BNP: fascism, racism and environmentalism.

    - “Next he’ll be talking about capitalism again as though everyone else accepts his definition of that word too.”

    You should read more.

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  38. You ignorantly believe that “fascism” is just a meaningless insult that students use to describe anything they don’t like.

    No, just you and perhaps James if he’s a student, as you well know. I find most students are much more thoughtful.

    So, no, “anything” is not fascism to me

    I said anything not Libertarian, i.e. anything that doesn’t match your religion.

    …is demonstrable that the Greens are: …. Labour and National are the same to only slightly different degrees.

    QED

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  39. Whoever would have expected the old Sue Bradford to put in a kind word for a military dictatorship? Now it seems that she can not only work constructively with the National Party, but can even go so far as to “work constructively” with the military dictator of Fiji.
    I am disappointed Sue. I had hoped you might be made of better stuff.

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