Pansy Wong was New Zealand’s first member of parliament of Asian descent and our first Asian Cabinet Minister. By all accounts she has been an effective and hard-working representative. Her early departure from the halls of government is an unnecessary loss and points to why there is such a dearth of talent amongst our legislators.
Whilst Pansy Wong was deciding her future over the weekend, Labour Party President Andrew Little was denouncing Labour MP George Hawkins as a “lightweight” after the retiring MP scuttled a bid to install a pro-union candidate in his safe Manurewa seat. Little is quite right however, Hawkins has contributed very little to the business of government of late. But perhaps Little should have kept this view to himself. No matter. What Hawkins lacked in intellectual capacity he made up for in much needed Labour votes, which is why he was kept on well past his use by date.
Wong resigned over the media clamour about her husband doing some business on a tax-payer subsidised trip abroad. Now she wants to retire so she and her husband can get on with their entrepreneurial endeavours out of the public eye. Who can blame her? But shouldn’t we be encouraging our MPs and Ministers to go out and represent the country? If they pull in some more business for New Zealand, how is this a bad thing?
With the departure of Wong, Parliament will become less diverse and an even more unwelcoming place for high calibre individuals. Meanwhile, plonkers like George Hawkins will sit quietly on their bottoms waiting to collect fat retirement pensions. Somehow this doesn’t seem right.