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An angry little sadsack

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, September 3rd, 2009 - 66 comments
Categories: local government, racism - Tags: ,

I know a dude who went to law school. In one of his lecture theatres was this ‘old guy’ who was always whining (especially about anything to do with Maori), couldn’t keep up with the material, and always seemed intent on making himself the centre of attention.

Finally, the dude leaned over to his mate one day: ‘who is that guy?’. The response: ‘that’s Michael Laws, he was an MP’.

It seems Laws never finished his law degree. Instead, he went off to inflict himself and his frequent racism on the people of Whanganui and anyone else who would listen.

Now the sadsack is taking out his anger on Maori kids. Some 12 year-old kids from a kura kaupapa in Otaki wrote to him saying he should change the name of his city to include the ‘h’. (is it sad or good that we live in a country where that’s a national issue?). Laws responded:

‘when your class starts addressing the real issues affecting Maoridom particularly the appalling rate of child abuse and child murder within Maori society, then I will take the rest of your views seriously’.

He added: ‘Perhaps sacking your teacher for allowing such misapprehension to flourish?’

In handwriting at the bottom of his letter, Mr Laws wrote: ‘PS Controlling your anger might be a start!”

In Laws’ world, you’re not allowed an opinion on spelling place-names unless you also have a solution to murder and child abuse. The irony, of course, is that Laws himself has been the one failing to address real issues as mayor. Instead, he’s devoted his mayoralty to using a trivial spelling disagreement as a platform for more self-exposure.


The letters are at RoarPrawn in her post “Hang your head in shame Micheal Laws” with a followup in “We are sorry“. How often is it that we agree with BustedBlonde?

66 comments on “An angry little sadsack ”

  1. the sprout 1

    the more i hear of laws, the more i’m inclined to believe he’s become quite unhinged.

    he’s alwas been provocative, and i guess being a talkback host doesn’t do much for developing your rational faculties, and he’s suffered some serious personal stressors in the last few years.

    but the man is supposed to be a leader. i really don’t think he’s fit for the job.

  2. BLiP 2

    Laws is a product of the Muldoon School of Political Science and trained at the feet of Professor Winston Peters. The reaching into the irrational psyche of all New Zealanders and giving permission to hate without reason has always been a vote winner.

    • the sprout 2.1

      very true indeed

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.2

      I think that’s a little unfair BLiP. I interviewed Muldoon several times, first when I was but a callow youth. That interview won an award and so I was interviewed by The Listener. Not being as savvy about the ways of these journo types back then, when I thought the interview was over I let rip on how rude Muldoon had been in not showing me out of his office (I actually walked into a storage cupboard). They published it. Boxed in the middle of the page, in case anyone missed it.

      When next I interviewed him, while still at school, I was a tad nervous about what might happen, specially at the end. Without saying he’d seen my comments, Muldoon got up, walked to the door, opened it, did a slight bow, and growled “So kind of you to have come” as he ushered me out.

      He could have called me a mouthy 15 year old upstart and written me a nasty letter. Instead he actually managed a joke, and won my respect from that day onward.

      Journalists, opponents, and more than a few people in his own party, yes. A child – never. The same applies to Winston. Under extreme provocation I’ve never seen him anything other than gracious and polite to the public.

      I’m sure that the primary motivator for both was that it’s better politics to use honey than vinegar.

      But aside from that, when it comes to sheer bile, Lhaws is in a class of his own and neither Peters nor Muldoon deserve to be included in it.

      Lhaws is, in fact, the only person I’ve ever heard referred to by another person — one not at all given to hyperbole but who knows him well — as “evil”. Even though she said it post my run-in with him in NZF I scoffed. Having seen him in action in Wanganui, on on Radio (for the) Dead, I begin to wonder if she didn’t choose exactly the right descriptor…

      • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1

        Awesome comment Rex, and a great Muldoon story. Thanks.

      • BLiP 2.2.2

        Yeah, okay, point taken – and a good read too. Thanks.

        • Macro

          I’ve a good Muldoon story too! But I’d better not tell it here! (Just what is the limitation on what can be said about Cabinet Economic Committee meetings – not a lot I suspect?)

  3. grumpy 3

    Clearly, Laws is not normal – but the citizens of Wanganui like him (a bit like Tim Shadbolt).

    It would be informative to see the original letters – perhaps you guys or DPF could put them up, then we can all be the judge.

  4. The people of Wanganui voted and didn’t want a spelling change to the name Wanganui, it seems this teacher is against democracy, I wonder if a kid at this school who agreed with laws would of been allowed to write a letter of support?

    • BLiP 4.1

      It would seem Laws hates democracy. Just because the “people have voted” doesn’t mean dissent is or should be silenced. Respondng to the democratic protest of the children with a tirade about “baby bashing Maori” is a lesson in real-politik – but talking to children like that is sending the message: dissent and you will be pillioried.

      What a wonderful lesson those childen would have learned about taking part in the democratic process from Laws. No doubt he feels enabled to behave like that thanks to the example set by National Ltd’s Basher Bennett.

    • Bright Red 4.2

      Should everyone who ever had an opinion that wasn’t in keeping with the majority just shut the hell up?

      You’re against free speech brett?

    • Nick 4.3

      I wonder if a kid at this school who agreed with laws would of been allowed to write a letter of support…

      It’s would have Brett. Back to school for you.

      • Macro 4.3.1

        Brett – every student in the class wrote a different letter, but all were along the same lines – they all expressed their disappointment with the decision not to include the letter “h”.

  5. ghostwhowalks 5

    Even sadder than Laws is the advertising ( or lack of it- they were using the fact that ZB has tons more as a selling more)- a succession of potions for erectile dysfunction and those who are confined to chairs by lack of mobility and a web site for ‘working girls’.
    The change when he is away and replaced by his standins Hay & Fagin is like another world.
    The hedge funds that own the debt that the business was bought with might decide Laws is too much ‘overhead’ and choose his standins permanently

  6. The Voice of Reason 6

    Laws is an egotist, with little or no regard for the consequences of his diatribes. His racism is very thinly disguised (his description of a pacific islander as a fat brown slug comes to mind). His campaign against gang patches has had no effect, except to give Whanganui the undeserved label of a gang city. Bear in mind that his mentor in politics was Winston Peters and you’ll get the picture.

    He is not beyond bullshitting and media manipulation if it will help win sympathy. A couple of examples; some wit added a ‘h’ to the large steel sign outside the Wanganui Council chambers. Laws went on radio saying they should give themselves up because the council had CCTV footage of the action and the perp’s would be easily identified. Actually, they didn’t, as the one external camera doesn’t film the council building but rather strangely points in the direction of the front door of the Irish bar across the road.

    Secondly, when stones were thrown through an empty bedroom in his house (a cowardly act, IMO), he was quick to place the blame on pro ‘h’ troublemakers (ie maori). He had photos taken with his partner dressed like Mother Theresa and kids toys placed on the window sill, to heighten the effect. It would have been more believable if the toys faced into the room, rather than out to the street, but spin is spin, eh.

    His Vision grouping on the council has seriously fractured, and is no longer a majority in council. Conservatives still have the numbers in toto, hence the gang patch bylaw passing, but there is likely to be one credible right candidate up against him at the next election and possibly one from the left, too.

    Whanganui is a left leaning city, as MP Chester Borrows knows only too well and Laws’ mayoralty is an abberation. If it were not for the platform his radio show provides, the constant stream of self promoting council publications and the daily photos in the local paper, he wouldn’t be there. With a bit of luck and a some serious graft, after the next council elections he won’t be.

  7. From the dompost, Laws – “I think it’s wrong for kids to be angry about something inanimate, don’t you?”
    One suspects he didn’t finish his degree ’cause he couldn’t finish the degree.
    He operates at the level of the kids he is tussling with.

  8. Steve 9

    Maori using children as pawns to push their personal agenda?
    How sad

    • Bright Red 9.1

      that’s your line? pathetic steve

      • Steve 9.1.1

        That’s what it is all really about, banging the Maori drum, nothing else.
        Michael Laws just made the children aware that they were coned by the school and teacher.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Good oh. So we just get to make up what it’s all ‘really’ about now. Cool.

          Your comments are really about how scared you are of brown people and the temporary relief from that fear Michael Lhaws gives you. It’d be sad if it weren’t so fuckn ugly.

        • checker

          Steve are you retarded ?

          The kids are in a dual language school and maybe just maybe this is an issue that they would be interested in – why the fuck would Laws reply in such a manner to 11 and 12 year olds who had written to him – if he hasn’t got anything useful to say to a group of children apart from his bizarre rant he should STFU rather than let his ego get out of control – seems to be a common problem amongst Mayors in this country.

          PS I support him on his patch ban but on this he has failed miserably.

          • Steve

            Maybe I am retarded. Every time I mention “Maori Bullshit” it upsets a group of Maori good – Pakeha bad people. They dislike it when people like Michael Laws give them the truth.

            • checker

              What’s Maori bullshit about a group of kids writing to the mayor ?

              What truth did Michael Laws give them in relation to the letters they wrote ?

              Do you think it’s reasonable for him to say in response to their letter about the spelling of W(h)anganui ……

              “”when your class starts addressing the real issues affecting Maoridom particularly the appalling rate of child abuse and child murder within Maori society, then I will take the rest of your views seriously’.

              If any school my kids go/went to received a letter like that from the Mayor I’d be questioning whether the Mayor was on the turps even Winston at his most ludicrous wouldn’t have spouted this kind of crap.

        • Ron

          what? are you suggesting the teachers gave the kids marijuana?

  9. Craig Glen Eden 10

    The sad thing is when adults don’t allow kids to express political opinion. Like all things kids like adults learn as we go and in my view we should(adults) be encouraging children to learn about politics,and express their views. Hell many adults are so politically stupid because they have never fostered a interest in politics let alone be involved in a party.
    Laws is the sad looser here, I just hope the kids don’t get to disillusioned.

    I guess sadly the first lesson is a bully is a bully no matter what job he holds!

    • Noko 10.1

      It’s fairly clear why, I mean kids don’t know what they’re talking about do they? They should just get back to playing their PS2 games and talking about bashing a mate of theirs. They don’t know anything, and probably won’t ever because of their left-leaning teachers indoctrinating them.

      Just kidding, fuck this ageist bullshit.

  10. toad 11

    Even Farrar thinks Laws has gone too far with this one.

    I would have put the word “bigoted” somewhere in the post title though Zet.

  11. Bright red:

    Its mostly lefties that hate free speech, they are ones that scream shut up, if someone has a different opinion than them


    would of, would have, whats the difference?

    • BLiP 12.1

      would of, would have, whats the difference?

      Indicates someone not thinking about what they are writing and far better able to talk than listen.

    • fraser 12.2

      brett – you do realise youve just called redbaiter a leftie? 🙂

  12. felix 13

    would of, would have, whats the difference?

    Come on Brett – one is correct use of language, the other means nothing at all.

    There are three official languages in this country that I’m aware of. Your sentence makes no sense in any of them.

    I hope you’re not expecting us to learn a new language just to communicate with you, Brett – that could be construed as being a bit racist. (not by sensible people of course, but certainly by the batshit-paranoid definitions of racism I’ve seen you use in the past.)

  13. no leftie 14

    Call me a cynic but has it dawned on anyone that Michael Laws has another job – where they’ve just started counting the listeners again. So every time he gets a mention in the media, be it for banning gang patches or W(h)anganui, there’s the off change people might tune in.

  14. Three official languages??? I thought we only had two.

  15. roger nome 16

    Be fair BliP – Brett knows that money=good and maaries=bad – what more is there to know about New Zealand?

    • Pascal's bookie 16.1

      Key = Obama?

      • lukas 16.1.1

        apart from their ratings

        • BLiP

          Lukey-Pukey back again to snipe.

          All very well being able to express dissent here, isn’t it, when comments on your own site are deleted because they don’t fit with your broken arse world view. And you have the bare arse cheek to claim “the most insightful commentary you are likely to come across ”

          You are a true reflection of your chosen party.

          Still, what can one expect from someone who goes around kicking in windows at public hospital emergency departments? Fucking vandal. Hope you get done.

    • BLiP 16.2

      Yeah, true. Plus, given the example of his political masters in relation to understanding those on the margins, why should he know anything about Sign Language?

  16. Daveski 17

    teeth gritted … Zet’s best post yet … teeth not gritted

    Laws is a self serving idiot.

  17. ROGER:

    Please pick my post where I suggested that money is good and marries are bad?

    What is a marrie by the way?

    I’m for gay marriage by the way.

  18. Sign Language?

    A basic thing of our country?

    Im guessing more kiwis wouldn’t know this?

  19. Westminster 20

    We only have two “official” languages: Maori and Sign Language. Weirdly, I guess because it’s the lingua franca, English is not deemed in law to be official. It’s obliquely referred to in lots of pieces of regulation which require forms, words and phrases to be expressed in English…but it’s not actually defined as being an official language. So, it’s Sign and Maori that are the two official languages.

    • BLiP 20.1

      Another one! Good grief! According to the government, English is an official language. Unless, of course, “de facto” doesn’t count any more.

      • felix 20.1.1

        English is not deemed in law to be official.

        Assuming that’s true, I’m not too surprised. All sorts of “default settings” are missing from the statute books. Interesting though.

        No more English for me tonight then, just NZSL. I’m signing to Brett right now.

  20. Westminster 21

    Blip – I wasn’t disputing that English is an important language in NZ. If you’re going to play pedant read carefully before you reply. English is not defined as an official language. That’s all I am saying. Regardless, back to the topic at hand – Michael Laws should be ashamed of himself and the people of Whanganui should be collectively embarassed.

    • The Voice of Reason 21.1

      “and the people of Whanganui should be collectively embarassed”

      They are, Westminster. Every morning at 9.

  21. greenfly 22

    “Angry little sadsack” – poetry that!

  22. Brett 23

    I can’t understand why Maori are complaining about the way Wanganui is spelt?, they didn’t even have a written language so how can you complain how the names spelt.

    • The Voice of Reason 23.1

      Not just maori, Brett.

      It’s about respect, understanding history, showing a willingness to partner with tangata whenua, putting community ahead of self and leaving ego at the door. The river is already spelled correctly, the electorate too. When I was a kid there use to be a city up north called Wangarei. Can’t find it on the map now. Whanganui is coming, no matter how many racist grippers stand in the way.

  23. Westminster 24

    Yeah, that’s right, Brett. Stone age people saved from their own squalor by superior Europeans, eh? Good stuff. So, is it as cold there in your neck of the 19th century as it is here today in the 21st?

  24. Galeandra 25

    they didn’t even have a written language so how can you complain how the names spelt.

    and no written histories, dictionaries of language biography whakapapa… no songs stories waiata….. I don’t know why all the mokopuna take books to te kura ,and have to write te reo……

    C’mon Brett get real, get over it, accept the wonderful welcome you received to Te Ika back in the day from generous hearted people, proud of ‘their’ pakeha. Whanganui’s a lovely place and I always stop there on the way home to the Naki ……

  25. sunny 26

    Try taking the ‘surplus’ h out of Christchurch and see how people feel!

    As for Laws at uni…wasn’t he at Otago at some point around 1981 and very involved with a pro Springbok Tour group (SPIR I think it was called) ?

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  • Speech to inaugural Countering Terrorism Hui
    E aku nui, e aku rahi, Te whaka-kanohi mai o rātou mā, Ru-ruku-tia i runga i te ngākau whakapono, Ru-ruku-tia i runga i te ngākau aroha, Waitaha, Ngāti Mamoe, Ngai Tahu, nāu rā te reo pohiri. Tena tātou katoa. Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, ki te kapuia, e ...
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  • Farewelling sports administrator and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar
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