The end of the year! 2016 has been…a mixed bag – Trump-ism, losing Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen et al, and the creeping malaise of a tired government. Green Party MP Barry Coates shares his year.
My highlights of 2016
Definitely, the main highlight was entering Parliament, and having the opportunity to do a maiden speech. I am grateful for the of Green Party members who have supported me in this journey. Shortly after becoming an MP, I was also honoured to get the Sustainability Champion award from Sustainable Business Network. A final highlight was being in Parliament to welcome the hikoi from Christchurch and farewell the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), after a powerful civil society campaign in New Zealand and internationally.
My lowlight of 2016
Continued inaction on climate change by governments, especially ours, is a lowlight. Pandering to industry lobbyists and farmers is deeply dangerous at a time when the impacts of extreme weather are devastating vulnerable communities and our Pacific neighbours. On the personal side, the dysfunctional behaviour in Parliament around Question Time, and the lack of integrity of some politicians is even worse close up than on TV. I talked about it in as Parliament wrapped up for the year
My holiday spot
I’m off to my in-laws in the freezing cold of Wales, so I’ll be thinking of White’s Beach at Anawhata on the West Coast north of Auckland (photo) and hoping everyone has an amazing summer!
My summer reading
I’m taking a swag of books with me to prepare for snowy weather in Wales. Mornings in Jenin, a powerful history of injustice in Palestine by Susan Abulhawa; Ruby and the Blue Sky by the Green Party’s own Katherine Dewar; and The Book of Joy – Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, by Douglas Abrahms with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
My Christmas wish for 2017
Hope for the people trapped in Aleppo, action on climate change appearing on everyone’s New Year’s resolutions and, of course, the Green Party playing a central role in changing the government!