When values and trust matter most
‘‘To me, an understanding of values provides a more substantive basis for assessing who is worthy of my trust and my vote.’’
Once every three years, the season for political largess and unenforceable promises comes back to tempt us.
Many will fall for the machinations of the political marketeers and in the process, lose sight of what’s really important - whether we can trust our political leaders to do the right thing for our communities.
Last week’s well attended election meeting organised by Franklin BPW (Business and Professional Women), conformed to that election-cycle familiarity.
The candidates responded to questions around equal pay, mental health, housing and road transport, with policy promises or equivocation.
It seemed that, the responses from sitting Hunua MP and National Party candidate Andrew Bayly, all focused on money.
A hundred million dollars spent or to be spent here, tens of millions there, millions everywhere.
It’s easy to say that more is being spent.
But is that spending wise, and will it be sufficient?
The key for me, is trustworthiness.
So I asked a question about values.
The question was about the candidate’s commitment to upholding the rule of law.
The context was Metiria Turei’s disclosure and Todd Barclay exposure, of their breaking our laws.
The issue for me, is that there is no basis for trust if a candidate condones an MP’s wrongdoing.
Of course each candidate said they uphold the rule of law.
It would be naive of me to expect anyone to say otherwise.
But the actions of the Greens and National Party show a different value system, one inconsistent with their candidate’s expressed values.
Only Jon Reeves (NZ First) addressed the issues behind the question and condemned each party for condoning the wrongdoing of their candidate. Appreciation! I did not get that Baljit Kaur (Labour) and Anthony Smith (ACT) really understood what the issue was really about. Unsettling! Ian Cummings (Independent) addressed the issue as one of integrity. Respect! Andrew Bayly put it back on me, saying that I did not understand the matter. Patronising! What I understand is that there is an apparent cover-up of Barclay’s wrongdoing.
His crime was serious enough that National would have lost their majority had he been found guilty a year ago.
In their silence, their support for Barclay and their apparent cover-up, the National Party shows a disdain for the rule of law.
What I understand is that the Greens condone what Metiria Turei did.
Her crime was minor and her cause just - we desperately needed her to champion the work around poverty this country needs.
We can understand her why, and forgive her what, but the ends don’t justify the means.
To me, an understanding of values provides a more substantive basis for assessing who is worthy of my trust and my vote.
John Allen is the director of Rural Connect, www.ruralconnect.org.nz www.smallWind.co.nz www.smallblock.org.nz
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