It was an absolute shock to hear of the death of Green party co-leader Rod Donald on the car radio this afternoon. It is the sort of news you just don't believe what you are hearing.
As someone who lost a close family member (my father) very suddenly a little under two years ago, my heart goes out to Rod's partner Nicola, their three daughters and my Green friends. It is such a surreal experience to lose somebody like this. Its a real emotional rollercoaster, but eventually the ride smoothes out and you are left with happy memories :) Aroha and *hugs*!
As the spokesperson for the electoral reform coalition in the early 1990s Rod played a key role in advocating for the change to the MMP electoral system. I also respected Rod's work on trade issues, as he provided a worthwhile perspective on the negative impact of so called 'free trade' deals. Rod bought a healthy dose of pragmatism to such debates - at times he seemed to be one of the few MPs to actually care about the trade deficit (Have current Labour MPs ever heard of a guy called Keynes?). On these issues, the loss of Rod Donald is a loss to the New Zealand Parliament.
I very much hope other MPs will take up the mantle and warn of the potential costs involved in any proposed free trade agreement - for democracy to work we need to hear both sides of the argument.