10 Feb 2010

Fitzsimons fires parting shot at Parliament

10:18 pm on 10 February 2010

Former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has brought down the curtain on her career as an MP with a parting shot at the institution of Parliament.

In her final speech as an MP delivered on Wednesday evening, Ms Fitzsimons told MPs that, though she had enjoyed her time in Parliament, it was often frustrating.

"This place on which we pin such hopes as the pinnacle of democracy has proved itself incapable of responding to the crises that threaten to overwhelm us.

"As an institution, it is asleep, often in denial, often preoccupied with trivia."

She chided Parliament for being more preoccupied with its own privileges than the good of humanity and the House has spent far more time on where Finance Minister Bill English parks his car than on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"I have sat here for 13 years weeping at the tragedy of so many people wasting the precious gift of life chasing the mirage of a bigger GDP.

"What is stopping us as a species and particularly as a Parliament from seeing the truth that climate change, which has now entered public consciousness, is only a symptom of a much of a much greater issue.

"The planet is full - its capacity to absorb wastes and generate our resources is already overstretched."

Ms Fitzsimons first entered Parliament in 1996 but never made it into Government or cabinet.

However, she said she enjoyed her time as a quasi-minister responsible for energy efficiency during the last term of the Labour-led government.

"Probably my greatest concrete achievement has been persuading two successive governments - Labour and National - that it is worthwhile investing in home insulation on a large scale, combining benefits to health, family well-being, employment, energy demand and carbon emissions."

Ms Fitzsimons' place as a Green list MP will be taken by Gareth Hughes, 28, who will be sworn in next week.