Rodney’s Real Responsibilities

From The Whig part of a comment by former ACT board member, turned Nat, Aaron Bhatnagar.

Rodney has allowed a sort of McCarthyist politics dictate his actions in Parliament. It’s a “get Benson-Pope at any costs” mentality, which will never win ACT votes. It may in fact put people off from voting for ACT even if they find the ACT policy message agreeable, because they find the characters associated with the party as distasteful.

The point that often eludes Rodney’s critics is that Rodney’s primary responsibility is not to ACT. Rodney is the MP for Epsom and he is the employee of the NZ taxpayer.

Rodney has a clear responsibility to put the longterm interests of Epsom and NZ, before any consideration of ACT’s popularity.

Ideally he could do both, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

Rodney had the opportunity to severely damage the most corrupt government in recent times. He also had the chance to hold to account a Minister of the Crown, almost certainly lying to Parliament.

In my view Rodney would have been irresponsible not to do what he did.

Some might find it distasteful, some might find it tedious, some may find it a big turn off. It is unlikely to gain ACT votes and indeed will probably lose some.

But that is all secondary. Rodney nailed Benson-Pope because it was morally right and he was one of the few MPs in the House with the courage and fortitude to do the job.

When facing a hardened bunch of socialists like Helen Clark’s Labour, you have to be even harder than they are.

Thank God we’ve got someone like Rodney Hide, who doesn’t leave his balls behind when he steps into the debating chamber.

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3 thoughts on “Rodney’s Real Responsibilities

  1. I think I ought to respond to this accordingly:

    1. I was never a board member of ACT. I was (briefly) in 2002, a deputy board member for Auckland region, prior to my joining National.

    2. While it is true that there is a higher responsibility to the nation than just serving one’s party, there is a pretty clear indication that Rodney’s McCarthyism has got to the point where it is now bringing Parliament’s tone down – witness his “pervert” comment from the other day.

    3. If you want to get rid of Labour, then hounding Benson-Pope is not likely to be the issue that will get rid of them. Winning the hearts and minds of people on issues that they care about is more likely to do so. In the end, politics is not about being negative and “hurting the other party” but about advancing society through the application of your philosophy and policy. By way of example, look at Wayne Mapp’s bill to bring in probationary periods in employment. That will actually help business and job growth, which is something we should care about.

    Benson-Pope is a sideshow based on allegedly seedy actions by Benson-Pope and demonstrably seedy attacks. The point has been made, but the continuing attacks serve little purpose but to be counter-productive and even win Benson-Pope some sympathy. And ironically, I suspect Rodney’s strategy has been counter-productive in Epsom as well.

  2. I guess this is why Aaron has helped deliver those leaflets to Epsom voters because they anticipate that this has harmed ACT and Rodney in Epsom. It all adds up. No disrespect Aaron, but National should be looking for bigger fish to fry than to try and claw back vote by vote Epsom National supporters every time Rodney does something you and your party see as OTT.

    I think that Epsom voters will be glad to have such a strong figure and personality in parliament representing them. Sure he will ruffle a few feathers, but Rodney won the election because voters saw him as a better advocate than Worth.

  3. As much as I disagree with the National approach to Epsom, I believe Aaron is right about Benson-Pope. This is a sideshow, none of it sticks to the government, at the most it will either weaken Benson-Pope’s mammoth majority in his electorate (hardly going to help the Nats) or break the man. Now I don’t like Benson-Pope one little bit, but he fundamentally isn’t the source of so much of what is evil in this government. He is merely a cog, and an easy target – and I would think most of the public have figured out he’s a bit dodgy, but he isn’t the government. Benson-Pope isn’t the problem and harping on about him isn’t going to win votes.

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