Naturally, most progressives in Ōhāriu would tick the box of the Labour candidate or that of the Greens. Dunne would maybe be third on their list. Unfortunately, our options are now more limited than ever.
The first problem is Labour’s candidate. Greg O’Connor. Former president of the Police Association. Why?
- He was a loud advocate for arming our police force at the hip. Arming police is never necessary, nor is it effective. They already have firearms locked in their vehicles; anything more is excessive.
- He also advocated against any oversight or legal repurcussions for police actions. And to hold this position, whilst advocating for arming our police? Ridiculous.
- He’s made excuses for and defended police who assault people in their cells, along with other examples of police misconduct.
- He denounced a report requiring the police to clean up their behaviour and stop sexually assaulting people, calling the criticisms a “ritual humiliation for police”. Surely the bigger issue is a certainly small minority of police officers abusing their power and raping people, not that it hurts their reputation.
No self-described progressive or liberal can vote for a man who’s held such awful positions and said such ridiculous things to represent them. And this point, I would obviously advocate voting Green. Sure they can’t win the electorate, but progressives should stick to their principles.
That’s where the second problem lies. The Green Party decided they would not run a candidate in Ōhāriu, throwing away principles to try and change the government. James Shaw himself is quoted as saying “Greg has said things in the past that progressive voters would take issue with. […] But my view is that the greater priority is to change the Government”. This is sad.
Instead of a National-led government pulled slightly moderated by Dunne, the Greens would rather form government with a man who would enjoy the erosion of our civil liberties. Instead of taking action to oppose Greg O’Connor’s run for parliament, the Greens stuck their head in the sand.
Dunne is hardly the problem; National is. It would be very unsurprising for Dunne to simply join a Labour/Green government if that becomes more realisable than the status quo.
I refuse to accept the defence that he was “just doing his job”, or only following orders. Never is that a valid defence for advocating for regressive ideas or defending the most heinous abuses of power. That is simply unprincipled.
On civil liberties, the environment, social freedoms, and now marijuana reform, Dunne is miles ahead of any National MP (not hard). I would encourage any Green or Labour voter in my electorate to abstain from voting for an electorate candidate this election. Our civil liberties are more important than Andrew Little getting a bigger salary, and certainly more important than goose-stepping to the party line.