There has been a lot of media interest in the cutting of my dreadlocks. To be expected really – the NZ media was always more interested in how I look than in what I had to say (Nice photos, shame about the radical korero). Given the dishonest and poisonous comments by people like Barry Soper, as well as the inability of most journalists to comprehend anything outside of their own narrow existence, I thought I had better offer some unmediated comment of my own.
I have cut my locks. Following the guidance provided in Numbers 20, I had it in my mind when I left Parliament that I may have to trim (having come into such intimate contact with the putrifying corpse of Babylon) but I was not sure. I felt that my spirit and mind had been polluted by Parliament – both by the abusive behaviour that is the standard operating procedure in there, and by the way that the institution coopts one's thinking. It is very difficult to resist becoming institutionalised by the machinery of power (or the illusion of power). The place narrows and constraints thinking. Creativity, different thinking, innovative ways of doing things – I felt that these had been squeezed out of me until there was no real juice left. My reality was increasingly being defined by the artificial and inherently shallow world in which I was living. That is what I mean by being polluted by Parliament.
Any Rasta idren will understand the reluctance to bring sissors upon I head, so even though I felt polluted I did not wish to cut my hair. In November I was in the forest and during a session of prayer I got the very clear message that yes, the time had come and I must cut my locks. The next day I did.
It has been a powerful experience. Having worn a crown for 20 years (almost exactly) it has taken a while to get used to not showing it. But it has been a renewal and a healing, like the shedding of a snake's skin. I have not renounced the livity or philosophy of Rastafari, but instead have used this as an opportunity to recommit Iself to the way of truth and life. This also means a re-radicalisation because I&I must do all we can to bring an end to this corrupt shitstem that values money more highly than life or the planet that we live upon.
I have spent the past year studying Management and Sustainability at Waikato University and have seen very clearly that the business world and governments have no real answers to our crisis. The most important cornerstone of eco-business is resource efficiency – an approach that fails in terms of reducing our impact on the planet. The paradox of greater efficiency is that it leads to a net increase in resource use. The real problem is economic growth itself – the fetishist goal of capitalists and governments all over the world.
This year I am studying Maori language full time. I am convinced that at least some of the answers we need are to be found in indigenous worldviews. In Aotearoa, tangata whenua are at the forefront of many struggles to protect ecological integrity. I am also convinced that these struggles will increasingly be against Iwi corporations, as the tensions between Maori worldviews and the requirements of capitalism become more acute.
I do not regret my time in Parliament. I learned a lot from it, I grew a lot and I met many fantastic people, both inside and outside the House. I also like to think I contributed something – a different perspective, a voice that had not been heard there before. I am proud of my accomplishments – the Waste Minimisation Act, an Independent Prison Inspectorate, the permitting of hemp growing in NZ, Clean Slate legislation among other things. But I am glad I left. My biggest fear was that I would become a career politician, someone for whom being in Parliament (or Government) is more important than what they do when they are there. Unfortunately, that describes most politicians.
So I remain a Nazarite Dread Rasta, a servant of the Most High, a Ras among Rases. Bless up.