Home > The Body Politic > Letter to the Editor: Should Key attend Mandela’s funeral?

Letter to the Editor: Should Key attend Mandela’s funeral?





FROM:     “f.macskasy”
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:      Sat, 07 Dec 2013 12:15:32 +1300
TO:            letters@star-times.co.nz


I find it something of a dark irony that John Key will be attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Let’s not forget that in 1981 it was a National government that permitted and encouraged the Springbok tour to proceed, and mustered the full power of the State to crack down on New Zealanders who opposed the tour.

And in 1988, National MP, Lockwood Smith branded Nelson Mandela a terrorist when he said this in Parliament,

“Jul 21, 1988 – Dr LOCKWOOD SMITH (Kaipara) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Is it correct that a New Zealand Nelson Mandela scholarship has been established by … of the African National Congress to study at a tertiary institution in New Zealand? … Congress—and will not have been involved in terrorist activities?”

And who can forget one of Key’s most famous ‘brainfades’  in 2008 when he conveniently forgot his stance on the 1981 Springbok visit, and said on TV,

“Oh, I can’t even remember … 1981, I was 20 … ah … I don’t really know. I didn’t really have a strong feeling on it at the time. Look, it’s such a long time ago.”

Personally, I look forward to Key attending Mandela’s funeral. What will be his answer when he is inevitably asked,

“What did you do, Mr Key, to oppose the 1981 Springbok Tour?”

Fudging the truth – as is his constant habit – will not work this time.

Frank Macskasy

(address and phone number supplied)





NZ Herald: In search of John Key

Dominion Post: Recalling the 1981 Springbok tour

The Daily Blog: John Key shouldn’t be going to Nelson Mandela’s funeral


= fs =

  1. Mooloo magic
    7 December 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Key will used Madiba’s funeral as nothing more then a photo op, he will do his absolute best to get his photo taken shaking hands with Obama, Cameron and members of the Royal family. He lacks the emotional intelligence to understand the contribution Mandela made.
    I understand Key will attend the funeral but I fear his reason will be nothing less then disingenuous considering his brain fade about his views on the 1981 Tour. Had he any grace and dignity he’s ask Helen Clarke to represent the Government and the people of New Zealand. By the way Frank good to have you back you always provide thought provoking blogs.

    • 7 December 2013 at 2:41 pm

      I fear you may be right, Mooloo. This would be a photo op for Key and he’ll be wetting his Y-fronts at the prospect. Judging by Key’s utterances in the past, I have no confidence that Key comprehends the significance of Mandela’s impact on South Africa and the rest of the world. Nor does our Dear Leader probably understand the effect that actions in New Zealand had on the apartheid regime.

      Without a profit/loss bottom line, what is there for him to recognise in lieu of a moral guide?

      It’ll be interesting to know if his televised brainfade moment over the 1981 Springbok tour will have come to the attention of South Africa’s ANC government. It would be delightful if someone asked THAT question and it was caught on camera or a microphone.

      Key could neutralise criticism of his attendance at the funeral by inviting John Minto, Trevor Richards, or any other anti-tour leader to accompany him.

      And thanks for the welcome back, Mooloo. It’s great to be sitting back at my keyboard; music playing whilst I’m researching and writing; and my moggy asleep on a pile of media reports and other papers… 😀

  2. Roger Gascoigne
    7 December 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Whatever strange lens you look at the world through Frank, it’s the ‘office’ of the Prime Minister that will attend. Try a little of Mandela’s concept of forgiving and moving on yourself.
    Given 1981 was pretty much a 50/50 split…what would be a grand gesture is if the PM’s office decided to take John Minto to represent the other half of NZ from 81. Then you might think we’ve ALL learned something.

    • 7 December 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Welcome to my blog, Roger….

      RYCTM: “Try a little of Mandela’s concept of forgiving and moving on yourself.”

      Except, of course, Mandela forgave his oppressors once they had been swept from power. Until then, the ANC (which he led) was committed to armed struggle against apartheid. No doubt you knew that already?

      But you’ll be relieved to know I prefer the ballot to the bullet. 😉

  3. Alan
    7 December 2013 at 9:28 pm

    so who should represent NZ ? David Cuniliffe ? Russell Norman ? ffs the invitation to attend is sent to the PM of each country ….. Frank Macskasy you upset that youve been overlooked are you ?

  4. Priss
    7 December 2013 at 11:49 pm

    FFS yourself Alan. Did you not read what Frank wrote; “Personally, I look forward to Key attending Mandela’s funeral. ” What part of that did you translate to mean he was opposed to Key going to the funeral?? You too Roger, try reading it all properly before jumping in with your holier than thou lecture!!

  5. Beth Jones
    8 December 2013 at 10:08 am

    It would be nice Roger, if Key himself had any sense of the importance of its being the ‘office’ of the PM that attends Nelson Mandela’s funeral on our behalf. After rambling on about how Mandela ‘ needed’ to stand up for justice etc (tv one news 5/12/13) he then said that he thought it was ‘important that I attend myself’. No statesmanship evident at all.
    And yes an example of reconciliation by inviting John Minto or Trevor Richards to accompany him would be an opportunity for him to ask questions and listen to the answers on the trip over and thus finally catch up on that history of ‘so long ago’ that impacted South Africa and the world. Perhaps he could even apply the general principles of equality and a just society to current events.

  6. Mooloo magic
    8 December 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Former PM Jim Bolger is accompanying the PM to Madiba’s funnel this is the man that once called Mandala a terrorist, have these Nats no sense of shame , integrity or dignity. There is no way Bolger should be attending as he held such a fierce opinion of Mandela when he was a prisoner and was a senior member of the Muldoon government that supported the apartheid government of South Africa. Sure he softened his view by the time Madela visited NZ in 1995 however I still think its an insult to take Bolger.

  7. 8 December 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Talking about “strange lenses”, Roger, you might want to find some better-fitting ones yourself. I read Frank’s letter properly and nowhere does he suggest that Key doesn’t go. In fact, he’s really clear about it – “Personally, I look forward to Key attending Mandela’s funeral”.

  8. 8 December 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Beth and Mooloo


  9. hugh7
    8 December 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Can anyone who was in Key’s vicinity in 1981 remember what stance – if any – he took on the tour? He was in his last year of a B Com at Canterbury. His 20th birthday was on Sunday August 9, the day after the Invercargill test, between Molesworth St (Remem- ber? Remember Molesworth St?) and Lancaster Park. Did he have a party? Some facts could be illuminating.

  10. Theodore
    10 December 2013 at 10:18 am

    Should Key attend? Yes. if only in his capacity as the OFFICE of Prime Minister.

    however where Key has totally misread the will of the public is his choice of people to accompany him. taking Bolger and McKinnon was pointless. He should have taken two anti-tour activists. They are the ones who led the anti-apartheid, certainly not the National Party!!!

    @ Roger and Alan – forgiveness does not entail turning a blind eye to history. Especially our own history.

  1. 18 December 2013 at 7:45 am
  2. 25 December 2013 at 8:00 am

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