Monday, June 17, 2013

Remembering Peter Dunne

 (Published in last week's Truth):

Many thoughts have occurred since hearing Peter Dunne's political career is down the toilet. Only a couple of weeks back he was launching a plan to tackle suicide, virtually on the eve of his own political equivalent. I'm not hugely interested in 'why'. He's gone and it doesn't pain me.

Dunne made an art-form out of survival. The master of sticking his finger in the wind and accurately identifying which direction it was blowing from. He supported the Clark government  from 2005 but the relationship was faltering by mid-2007 - coincidentally, just as he sniffed a forthcoming victory for the National Party.  As Clark started smooching up to the Greens, Dunne whinged, "What is the point of being the loyal and dutiful one when the other party is out there playing fast and loose?" Ironically he went on to use the analogy of marriage and warned that the "wandering eye" of one partner could become a "major problem". Prophetic?

In fact, it was Dunne sniffing around for a new partner. In mating with National he saved his own political skin yet again. Having begun his 30-year career in the Labour Party, Dunne has since pimped himself all over the show. That's primarily what I'll remember him for.

There's little else of note. His big 2002 "common-sense" policy plank, the Families Commission, was doomed from the outset, having been neutered by Labour's politically correct refusal to define a family. National should have dumped it in 2008 but needed Dunne as much as he needed them. It's a goner now, much of the funding shifted to more practical initiatives in 2012 (how mad did that make Dunne?)

Will anyone miss his annual scorecard on fellow parliamentarian's behaviour? An eccentric exercise by a pompous man who rated his own behaviour rather highly, his confession that the actions precipitating his ministerial demise were "stupid" at long last displayed some overdue humility. Cathartic hopefully.

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