Willie’s proud to call them his mates
“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?