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February 25, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

An Interview with Nandor Tanczos

Out going MP Nandor Tanczos is put on the spot by political collumnist Emma Daken.

“Tell me something not many people know about you”:

“I live in a bus. It’s a 1981 Bedford, it has a fairly new engine, and I just took it to Taranaki, although I am based in Narawhahia”.

“What did you want to be when you were growing up, and why?”:

“I wanted to be a journalist for a long time. I went to live in Hungary when I was 14 [with my Grandparents]. I had a realisation of the power of information, this was when Hungary was part of the communist block. I became very aware of the power of independent media to create change, and to enlighten. I came to the realisation that journalism wasn’t really about telling people the truth at all – it was about delivering readers to advertisers. In saying that, I was editor of ‘Nexus’ at Waikato University.”

What political or personal goals have you set yourself for 2008?”:

“What I would like to do personally and what I think the ‘Green movement’ needs to do, is build a deeper analysis of what is driving ecological destruction. We have to really, fundamentally re-think our economic activity and how we organise ourselves – how we allocate resources. I don’t think we are doing enough deep thinking about that kind of stuff, and it means revolutionary change, it means fundamental change and that is quite scary for some people – understandably”.

“What has been your most memorable moment as a Member of Parliament?”:

“I think my kind of defining moment, from memory really, was the first caucus meeting. We sat around our caucus table, and there were 7 of us. We had just been elected [after the 1999 election]. Everyone thought that we were not going to be in parliament – there was a weeks wait while the special votes were counted, and we were in, and we all came down and we sat around this table and it was a moment of such infinite possibility. It felt like we had stormed the castle, and established a foothold. It just seemed like anything was possible, it was quite a an amazing feeling”

“What is the most important issue facing tertiary students at the moment? How would you solve it?”:

“The most important issue facing tertiary students is the fact that we are facing a depletion of oil, facing climate change, facing a depletion of a number of important metals, and we are hitting the environmental limits of our planet, and over the next 10 or 20 years, and beyond the rest of this century, the way we live our lives is going to change – change in ways that we cant imagine. How many university courses even now take any issues of sustainability seriously, I don’t know? But I suspect not very much. How relevant is the education students are getting now going to be for the 21st century? And I know there is some stuff in there that is relevant, but I suspect a lot of it is an absolute waste of time now.
I finished my degree when it was still free, and came out with no student debt – I think I was the last year of people to do that. Given that it is such a financial commitment to go into tertiary education, you’ve got to demand that what you are getting is going to be relevant for you in the future”.

“Do your decisions in Parliament reflect your personal ethics – and where do those ethics come form?”:

“They do reflect my personal ethics. I would hope that I would resign before doing something I didn’t agree with, realising that something was un-ethical in my view. There are of course always moments when you have choices to make as to what is the better option. Voting to stop something getting worse, or realising that you cant get everything you want, and therefore, choosing to support something cause it will make it better, those are the kind of compromises you have to make.
My parents were hugely important in developing a sense of ethics, a sense of right and wrong. The importance of being true to your principles even when it will be personally disadvantageous in the short term. And the philosophies I have developed as a Rastafarian are obviously intrinsic to who I am, and the decisions I make”.

“What scares you the most?”:

“Being eaten alive by rats!!”.

“What do you do for fun and relaxation outside of your parliamentary duties?”:

“When I’m not in Parliament, I spend as much time as I can with my family. Try to spend time with my daughter, play with her. I used to do [outdoor] rock climbing, and things like that, but I haven’t really had that much time for that recently. I do a bit of drumming. Still like to listen to music”.


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