Obituary: Brian Donnelly 1949-2008
By Craig Young
26th September 2008 - 01:50 pm
In an otherwise mostly stygian social conservative party, Brian Donnelly was a man of principle and compassion. His recent death leaves us all the poorer as a nation.
He was an anomaly as an outstanding social liberal within his party, reflected in his commitment toward the passage of civil union legislation, when he was one of only two New Zealand First MPs (alongside Ron Mark) to vote for the legislation, which he did for family reasons- his own brother was gay, and he wanted him to be able to enjoy a secure and happy relationship. He was also a stalwart supporter of Section 59 Repeal, even before Sue Bradford introduced her anti-belting bill to Parliament, arousing fierce antagonisms between his committed liberal conscience vote for repeal, and Dail Jones fanatical fundamentalism, on both issues. Ironically, Dail Jones replaced Donnelly when the latter left Parliament to serve as Commissioner for the Cook Islands, until his illness.
For once, I agree with Winston Peters on something. His late colleague was a noble, principled and compassionate person, and whatever our feelings about his party, we wish his wife, family and former colleagues well in this time of grief.
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