Dr. Bill Sutch and left wing politics
The late Dr. Bill Sutch is again in the news with the release after several decades of his Security Intelligence Service (S.I.S.) file.
The N.Z.Herald of June 6th quotes current SIS director Warren Tucker as saying that “while the (SIS) had long regarded Sutch as a security risk it had never considered him to be a Soviet agent” etc.
Soviet agent or not, the indications are that he was a subversive influence in N.Z. for all that. So it would seem that the N.Z. Left owes much to Dr. Sutch, even if, for example, one was to judge only by the testimony of one notable N.Z. leftist activist, Christine Dann.
Dann was interviewed on Radio N.Z. on 18th September 1985 re her new book ‘Up From Under‘ where it was disclosed that she was one of the founders of N.Z’s “Women’s Liberation” movement. She recalled there that the seeds for such radicalism were sown through a visit to her school by Dr. Sutch, where he discussed such matters, and how she subsequently became deeply politicised. Nor, presumably, would she have been far from the only young person so radicalised by him.
Just how deeply involved Dann was to become was well spelt out in 1979 with the publication of her highly revealing article ‘Radical Feminism and the N.Z. Political Scene‘ which was published in the July 1979 issue of The Republican.
From the 1970’s onwards, then, she became increasingly influential in left politics. In 1991 she was a Green Party spokesman. By 7th November 2005, at the death of Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald, she was heard on Radio N.Z. and described as the Party’s campaign manager.
If Dann’s name seems unfamiliar to some this is probably not surprising as she seems to have conducted dual careers : one as a leftist agitator, but well played down by the media; the other, simply described innocuously as an “amateur gardener……interested in botany…who has written a book on cottage gardens” according to Maggie Barry on Radio N.Z. on 7th November 1989. Similarly by Kim Hill, also on Radio N.Z., on 3rd December 1993. Also on TV’s “Beauty and the Beast” panel show back in 1986, where, on 29th September, she was described conveniently vaguely simply as a “Dunedin TV researcher”.
So while there may be no hard evidence of Dr. Sutch ever being a Soviet spy, nevertheless we will probably never know the full impact of the negative influence he appears to have exerted upon N.Z. via other nefarious activities, just one being his radicalising of trusting and unsuspecting N.Z. youth to serve the Leftist cause.