Whatever the previous Head of State’s motives and the timing of his speech, one thing is clear, his views has had a significant impact on the L.T.R.A. debate.
We can be cynical and describe his speech as grandstanding by somebody who is no longer constrained by the protocols of the head of state office.
We have seen this approach adopted by ex-political leaders in countries like Australia and NZ, pollies who are no longer leaders. Away from the constraints of office, these ex-leaders finally grow a social conscience and start commenting on issues which they had implemented while in office or turn a blind eye to, when they were debated in Parliament.
Perhaps this is what the Tui Atua is doing.
What is abundantly clear from the speech is the doubt in his mind about alienation of customary land under the L.T.R.A, mirroring the concerns expressed by many other people. His speech gives greater legitimacy to the voice of protesters, who can no longer be discredited as a bunch of town and overseas intellectual rabble searching for a cause.
As to Joe Hollywood’s contention that the previous Head of State’s tears show weakness, I beg to differ.
Witness the tears by ex-President Obama when talking about gun violence in America or the ex-Australian PM’s Bob Hawke on the impact of the Tianamen Square massacre. These great leaders, based on the opinions on people more familiar with gauging great leadership, cried when they spoke about issues which were confronting and moving.
These issues had a significant effect on these men, similar to that of the L.T.R.A. on the Tui Atua, and they ended up in tears. Is that a sign of weak leadership? Absolutely not.