In 1996 I worked on Alick Shaw's campaign for Wellington Central during which David Lange spoke at a fundraising dinner. I was reminded of this because of comments by various bloggers, No Right Turn and David Farrar particularly, about Helen Clark's recent meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. At the fundraiser, Lange told a story about one of his first meetings with the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. Lange had been advised by his officials that he should raise New Zealand's concerns with Singapore's tendency to imprison people without trial. Lange agreed and raised the matter only to be told that "it was so much less controversial than executing them". Progress of sorts?
I can't help but note that some of the less sensible commentators on Farrar's blog regularly refer to Singapore's economy as an example for New Zealand to follow but seem conveniently ignorant of the poor state of human rights.
5 days ago