Wil­lie’s proud to call them his mates

Central Leader - - News -

“They’re all your mates,” John Tami­here told me when Read­ers Digest re­leased its list of the most un­trust­wor­thy New Zealan­ders.

While JT was ex­ag­ger­at­ing, as he does on our Ra­dio Live talk­back show, it’s fair to say that four of the top five fit that de­scrip­tion.

The four were Clint Rickards at num­ber one, Tame Iti at three, Sue Brad­ford at four and Tar­i­ana Turia at five.

I’ve de­voted past ar­ti­cles to Tar­i­ana and Tame and though it’s tempt­ing to elab­o­rate on the re­cur­ring racism that’s di­rected to­wards them, it’s per­ti­nent to point out that Tar­i­ana is prob­a­bly the most pop­u­lar Maori politi­cian.

And as far as Tame goes, while some re­gard him as un­trust­wor­thy, many Maori think he’s cheeky, dar­ing and provoca­tive – a rock star even.

Of course you couldn’t de­scribe Sue like that.

If any­thing, Sue’s prob­a­bly lucky she hasn’t had any rocks thrown at her!

But I’m proud to say she’s a mate. I ad­mire her pas­sion and prin­ci­ples, and even though her smack­ing leg­is­la­tion is ding­bat, she is with­out doubt one of our hard­est work­ing MPs.

Clint re­mains one of this coun­try’s enig­mas.

I first met him about seven years ago when he was on his way to be­com­ing the coun­try’s top cop. We’ve got to know each other well in the last 10 months and his story, in my view, is one of tri­umph and tragedy.

Clint was what Maori and this coun­try needed – a no non­sense cop who led from the front. Isn’t south Auck­land cry­ing out for that type right now?

The tragedy is that his great po­ten­tial was never re­alised.

His past came back to haunt him, and de­spite be­ing found in­no­cent twice, Clint dis­cov­ered fight­ing the gov­ern­ment, Na­tional, TV, ra­dio, news­pa­pers, the sis­ter­hood and his beloved po­lice mates was just too much.

So is Clint our most un­trust­wor­thy per­son? From my per­spec­tive, no way. In fact he’s prob­a­bly New Zealand’s most un­lucky per­son.

And one of my mates as JT de­scribed him?


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