Stephen Franks was reported as heckling Green MP Russel Norman by saying the Greens had lost a lot when Rod Donald died in the news today, and the article has attracted already attracted some blog traffic. He himself explains his comments here.
This is far from the first time Mr Franks has provided controversy for those of us who enjoy politics – he fought for Tame Iti to be charged with dishonouring the New Zealand flag as well as firearms offences back in 2005, a court case eventually ending with the quashing of all convictions by the Court of Appeal in 2007, who were not convinced harm had been done by Mr Iti’s ceremonial protest.
How much that process cost the taxpayer we don’t know.
Also in 2005 he defended the Police’s use of pornography in work time, decrying as “sad” claims by women’s groups that laddish Police culture might have an impact on how women felt about laying complaints.
That doesn’t look so flash post-Louise Nicholas, post the Beazley Commission of Inquiry into Police conduct and culture.
To quote the Police Commissioner, Howard Broad in his Press release immediately after the Inquiry:
To the women of New Zealand I say: I have been disgusted and sickened, as you will be, by the behaviour put before the Commission of Inquiry in many of the files that covered some 25 years of our recent history.
And then we have Mr Franks’ fears for the freedom of speech of all New Zealanders being threatened by anti-child pornography legislation.
All in all, Mr Franks is someone who has not been afraid to put his views out there, and for that we can be grateful. At least we know where he stands – I suspect someone taping him at a cocktail party would do well to find something more controversial than his public utterances.