Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Norm

Adolf was away from New Zealand for all of Norman Kirk's tenure as PM and for a good while after his death.  Accordingly, he has no first hand knowledge of what Kirks prime ministership was like.



I've always been puzzled as to why Norman Kirk holds such a revered place in the annals of NZ politics.  I've read his bio on Wikipedia and there doesn't seem anything in particular to distinguish him from many other leaders from either side of the aisle.

Could it be a labour Party and its supporters desperate to find something, anything good to cling to?  Could it be that there is maudlin sentimentality attached to the fact he died with his boots on?

I don't know, so I hope someone who was around the place in those days will be able to provide some cogent answers which might be elevated from 'comments' to 'update.'

Update:

Mark D reports in:-

I remember a degree of optimism and hope surrounding his election. And subsequently a significant degree of disillusionment and dissatisfaction. I was a little young at the time to be worrying too much about the issues, but I was struck how as soon as he died the people who had been criticizing him just before were all of a sudden singing his praises. I really think the high opinion of him is just because he died in office. Had he seen out his term I'm not sure the view would have been so favorable. Of course being followed by Rowling then Muldoon can make you look good as well

Update II:

And George opines:-

Speaking as someone of conservative views I recall Norm with respect. His unionist Labour DNA was as all with that affliction, but there was one thing that marked him, an inate decency. He came from the 'working class' and he worked for them as best he could. He never forgot the poor because he was once poor.
Any man who makes his own concrete blocks after work and then builds his own house with them has my respect -- a task now outlawed by the PC dickheads and bureaucrats that have successfully infested NZ.

He was old school Labour and he 'danced with those that brung him to the dance'. The music needed changing though.

Update III:

Now I'm getting the picture:-

When Kirk came to power, NZ had overseas reserves of something like $900 million dollars. That was the last time that our balance of payments was in the black. Kirk said we did not need those reserves and told the nation Labour would use them. That $900 million dollars was gone in short order, and another $1000 million into the red as well, in just three years. Inflation went from 5.5% to 15.5% in the same period. That is what socialists do. The reality of this fiscal disaster was already dawning on the voting public when Kirk died in office.

The mild mannered Bill Rowling, who had a good "back story", was as politically inept as David Shearer is, when elevated to Prime Minister. Labour was routed in 1975 in the biggest reversal in New Zealand's political history. 

13 comments:

Big Bird said...

Partly because the previous National administration was skull-crushingly tedious and out of ideas and the next National government was the worst in the Nation's history.

Mark D said...

I remember a degree of optimism and hope surrounding his election. And subsequently a significant degree of disillusionment and dissatisfaction. I was a little young at the time to be worrying too much about the issues, but I was struck how as soon as he died the people who had been criticizing him just before were all of a sudden singing his praises. I really think the high opinion of him is just because he died in office. Had he seen out his term I'm not sure the view would have been so favorable. Of course being followed by Rowling then Muldoon can make you look good as well.

Viking said...

He was a spendthrift in the true tradition of any union official.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Mark D

Sounds as though my suspicions were pretty close to the mark.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone of conservative views I recall Norm with respect. His unionist Labour DNA was as all with that affliction, but there was one thing that marked him, an inate decency. He came from the 'working class' and he worked for them as best he could. He never forgot the poor because he was once poor.
Any man who makes his own concrete blocks after work and then builds his own house with them has my respect -- a task now outlawed by the PC dickheads and bureaucrats that have successfully infested NZ.

He was old school Labour and he 'danced with those that brung him to the dance'. The music needed changing though.

George

maxx said...

Compared to Jack Marshall, Norm Kirk had the X factor. Here are a couple of interviews with David Frost that pretty much sum it up.

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/frost-over-new-zealand-the-leaders-1973

Graeme Edgeler said...

Given the opposition of the union movement to foreigners coming over and taking our jobs, I suspect the Kirk government's creation of Immigration Dawn Raids is something to do with it.

David said...

Anonymous touches on one important factor. Kirk's image was carefully and skillfully crafted in the minds of the public. There was a song about him and of course everybody but everybody knew the story about him building his own house in the village of Kaiapoi.
Those of us who dealt with unionists of that day would know that to rise through the ranks, you could not be a smiling genial father-figure who would bounce the nation on his knee and make the babies gurgle with delight. Far from it, he had to be as hard as nails and as vicious as only the Rainbow faction of today's Labour Party know how.
I could never understand the sudden outpouring of grief when he died. The funeral was a show production with an airforce Hercules as a hearse and great fuss was made because it rained (even the gods or God himself are weeping) etc etc.

Frank Lee said...

When Kirk came to power, NZ had overseas reserves of something like $900 million dollars. That was the last time that our balance of payments was in the black. Kirk said we did not need those reserves and told the nation Labour would use them. That $900 million dollars was gone in short order, and another $1000 million into the red as well, in just three years. Inflation went from 5.5% to 15.5% in the same period. That is what socialists do. The reality of this fiscal disaster was already dawning on the voting public when Kirk died in office.
The mild mannered Bill Rowling, who had a good "back story", was as politically inept as David Shearer is, when elevated to Prime Minister. Labour was routed in 1975 in the biggest reversal in New Zealand's political history.

David said...

This might be of interest in your research Adolf. Mind you it is University of Waikato so perhaps on the other hand ..........

http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10289/4995/thesis.pdf?sequence=1

Anonymous said...

At least he had integrity and honesty, unlike some I could name in the National front-bench.

peterquixote said...

haha University of Waikato research. Kirk died in Office,had a big walk down funeral big deal socialist, fame is dying in office ,then we got Geoffrey Palmer, then Mike moore, then we all felt sick and got rid of it

Michael Wynd said...

The other issue that needs to be touched upon was his sending the frigates to Mururoa in July 1973. This use of warships as vehicles of protest was unprecedented in naval history and New Zealand's history. That one act won him a lot backing from the fast growing Green movement which he added to when he banned US nuclear warships from visiting.