You take the low road, James Shaw takes the high road, and he will be in Scotland a’fore ye!
Green Party co-leader James Shaw has been under fire for planning to fly to Glasgow for a climate change conference with an unspecified number of support staff. Priding ourselves on fairness towards New Zealand’s elected representatives, the Taxpayers’ Union offered Mr Shaw the opportunity to present his defence. It has not been edited, but all the spelling and grammatical errors have been fixed.
“I am not a hypocrite. I absolutely refute all the allegations made by far-right trolls, members of the media we have not paid for, and the Leader of the Opposition, David Seymour. Let’s go through them one by one.”
International air travel during a pandemic:
“I have been a long-standing and shrill critic of air travel but – and this is important – only air travel by people on business, ordinary people, and right-wing politicians. I have never criticised air travel by Green MPs. In fact, under my co-leadership we continue to top the charts in Parliamentary travel expenses. I am proud of our track record, including travelling more than the Prime Minister in 2019, and the fact that Air New Zealand had to invent a Titanium Class Air Points card thanks to us.”
An in-person international meeting during a pandemic:
“The United Nations is a humble non-profit. It is unreasonable to expect it to have Zoom.
“My comment ‘there was a perfectly serviceable option that would enable MPs to work from home – Parliament via teleconferencing software Zoom – and politicians should be modelling the health advice to stay home’ was taken completely out of context.
“Sure, Parliament can do it, workplaces can do it, schools can do it, but what is the point of being part of the United Nations if you do not get a few overseas vacations?”
The pesky public health issue
“Here, I stand by all my statements despite some of them being contradictory.
“I was correct to say on a Tuesday that ‘I think it's absolutely irresponsible, I mean it literally risks people's lives by holding an in-person Parliament’ and I boycotted Parliament.
“The next day, having realised we lost our oral question in the House, and no one was paying attention to us in the media, then it was suddenly absolutely safe for Green MPs to fly from Auckland to Wellington and attend Parliament in person. Not that anyone noticed…
“People have pointed out that Wellington has had only a handful of COVID cases this year while Glasgow has over 5,000 new cases a week. Now, I did some research, and it turns out Glasgow City is almost twice as big as Wellington. That is hardly a global hot spot in my mind.”
Taking up spots in Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities
“I and my unspecified entourage will not be taking up MIQ spots desperately sought by Kiwis looking to return home, receive medical treatment, or attend funerals. Our MIQ spots are in the special wing of suites continuously reserved for bands, sports stars, and United Nations officials.
“I do like that they always leave a chocolate (Fair Trade of course) on my Egyptian cotton pillow.
“This matter is closed. Now, where is my passport?”