17 Aug 2017

'No room for unbridled anger' - Kennedy Graham's valedictory

From The House , 3:00 pm on 17 August 2017

Kennedy Graham is departing the New Zealand Parliament at the election after nine years as an MP for the Green Party. This follows his decision, along with David Clendon's, to publicly contest his party's agreed response to the Metiria Turei benefit issue.

Kennedy Graham will be particularly remembered for the formation and actions of the New Zealand chapter of Globe International - a multi-party alliance of MPs working together to combat climate change.

On his penultimate day in Parliament Kennedy Graham chose to deliver a farewell speech to the House. You can listen to his full speech below.

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  Green MP Kennedy Graham says farewell to the House after nine years as an MP. He began by noting that he ended his parliamentary career one seat behind the seat in which he began it. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox


In outlining his reasons for rebelling with the party line Kennedy Graham said: 


“There are two dimensions to the task of political representation. The first is political judgement. That is empirical, relative, contestable and open to negotiation. It is 99% of our daily job. The second is when an issue of personal conscience arises. That is ethical, absolute, non-contestable and not open to negotiation. If politics transgresses conscience, politics must cede.”


He also noted his observations of the philosophical differences across the House.


"There are three central, political principles of our age and they are here in this chamber today; freedom, equality and sustainability. My experience in leading Globe New Zealand for the past two years has brought home to me how each MP embraces a mix of all three; how we hoist one to the top of our own flag-pole and how we need to respect each others'. There is no room for unbridled anger in New Zealand politics.”