“Politician of the Year” Award for Keith Locke

Last week political commentator Chris Trotter nominated our Auckland MP Keith Locke his “Politician of the Year” in the Independent newspaper.

Chris Trotter repeated the plaudit on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report on Thursday, when asked his “Best Politician of the Year”.

Here is how he explained it in the Independent. (December 17)

“…The loudest applause for a political performance in 2003, however, belongs to the Greens.

From their passionate opposition to the invasion of Iraq, to their steadfast refusal to do a deal on genetic engineering, to their lonely struggle for civil liberties in a Parliament falling over itself to demonstrate its support for the War on Terror, the Greens have infused their political conduct with a measure of principle all-too-often lacking in the other parliamentary parties.

And of the nine Green MPs who have fought the good fight, one in particular, stands out. Though hardly the stereotypical blustering Kiwi politician the slightly-built, softly-spoken Keith Locke is nevertheless capable of getting right under the skin of the powers that be.

Son of Jack and Elsie Locke, whose left-wing credentials stretch back over a century, Locke is that rare human being for whom political idealism is neither an affectation, nor a hindrance, but a way of life. If the disgracefully treated Ahmed Zaoui walks free, it will be in no small measure because of this remarkable New Zealander.

And so, because this has been a year in which immense but despicable deeds have all but eclipsed the smaller gestures of justice and humanity, and because we all badly need to be reminded that the expression “principled politics” isn’t necessarily an oxymoron, my nomination for Politician of the Year 2003 goes to Green Party List MP, Keith Locke.”