Politics is a funny thing. The most earnest and well constructed of policies by an opposition party are often ignored. Then someone makes a joke or a gaffe or gets caught out in some sort of personal scandal and then main stream and social media goes berserk for all the wrong reasons.
Today has been a bit like this. This morning Trevor Mallard said with his tongue at least partially in his cheek that locals and scientists should work towards the possibility of moa one day striding again through the bush of Rimutaka Forest Park. Scientifically the idea is not one that is utterly impossible. Work on genetics goes on all the time and it is possible that one day reconstituting an extinct creature from recovered DNA may actually bring that creature back to life.
Our politicians should be future thinkers and should be willing to discuss ideas and concepts, no matter how bizarre they currently may be.
Social media has exploded. Trevor Mallard and Moa are trending on local twitter feeds in a way which must make the creators of #TeamKey very jealous.
David Cunliffe has joined in the fun. The Herald quote him as saying:
“I don’t think this one’s going to fly. There’s a lot of scientific work to go under the bridge before moas are going to be flopping around in Wainuiomata.
The moa’s not a goer.”
The quality of Cunliffe’s puns are something that my daughter would approve of.
But some commentators and some media have chosen to complain that Labour is getting sidetracked on irrelevant issues and not concentrating on policy. Firstly can I assure everyone that Labour has been rolling out policy for a while and intends to continue to do so. If you compare Labour’s offerings to what National has proposed so far there is significant more detail already. Apart from more roads and some uncosted and unfunded promises of further tax cuts the lack of detail on the part of National is rather stark.
And oddly enough some in the media have criticised Labour because the media has chosen to report the moa story and not report on the policies which Mallard talked about including housing affordability. But honestly this is weird, the media criticising Labour because the media chooses to talk about something.
Others have taken the comment in the way it was intended. Duncan Garner has tweeted “Colin Craig supports the Moa idea and wants to take one to the moon to be the first thing to ever walk there”. For the record and the avoidance of a defamation suit I should say that I am sure Garner was joking and that Craig does not really want to do this.
And I would not be surprised if some in the National Party automatically thought when Mallard’s comments were broadcast that Labour had nine long years to bring back the Moa and why is it talking about this now?
Politics can be a brutal, overly serious business sometimes. We should tolerate the odd occasion when our elected representatives break out of their shell and make the odd wisecrack.