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Thomas Tarurongo Wynne: The responsibility of free speech

Wednesday June 24, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor
Thomas Tarurongo Wynne: The responsibility of free speech

It’s a responsibility to write, and to have those words published; in fact it is a privilege. Opinion pieces, don’t need always allow for academic scrutiny, though one would expect that opinion is measured, thoughtful, reflective, and pointed, addressing the issue rather than the person or persons.

I haven’t always got it right and have been reminded when I have got it wrong, as public scrutiny is to be expected and part and parcel of public writing.  As someone that has strong views on democracy, governance, and integrity, the opportunity to work in the Office of the Prime Minister gave me a real appreciation of its demands, challenges and public expectations and I am thankful to Prime Minister Puna for that opportunity.

And because of that opportunity I now work in the Office of another Prime Minister and I see those same demands and expectations played out on a larger scale. Yet I have learnt to respect that Office regardless of who sits there, because I understand better the price one must pay to lead and to govern a country.

Nonetheless, politicians and leaders have expectations placed on them by God, the law and the public; it’s part of the job. And as writers we also have expectations, and one of these I do believe, is to point to a problem and the balance to also point to what we believe to be the answer.

As writers we can cut to the bone of an issue, and as writers how do we do that without cutting down people at the same time, unless of course that was our intention. And if our intention was to cut people down then we dull our message with our own conflicting standards. To find fault, or blame in others is simple, and sometimes we need that hard talk, but it should also be met with grace, patience and a good measure of hard work.

Simply put, if you want change then work hard and with others to be that change. Anyone can throw stones, but not everyone can gather those stones and others and build instead of breaking down.