- Date published:
8:04 am, April 11th, 2019 - 36 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, Christchurch Attack, internet, Media, national, Politics, Simon Bridges, terrorism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: emotional junior staffer, henry cooke, jami-lee ross
Simon Bridges cannot buy a trick right now. He has the reverse Midas touch, everything that he touches turns into some form of excrement. And of the long lasting type.
The emotional junior staffer is one such episode. Richard Harman in Politic this morning released some details about the junior staffer (paywalled link).
He is a former Ministerial press secretary and is said to have played a major role in the party’s agricultural and environmental policy areas. Harman also named him.
Jami-Lee Ross said this a week ago via twitter:
The earlier background should be well known. On the day of the Christchurch mosque massacre the “emotional junior staffer”, who clearly has a conscience, thought it would be a good idea to do to take down National’s racist dog whistle petition against the UN Migration Pact.
He asked a press secretary in Bridges’ office if he should, did not hear back, and then did so. Such action was clearly morally justified although it also clearly showed that the petition was a particularly vile form of racist dog whistle.
Someone thought that it would be a good idea to try and lie their way out of it and Bridges told the media the page had been taken down weeks ago as part of routine maintenance. Clever people on the Internet showed that this was not the case.
It is not clear what Bridges’ knowledge was, maybe he was dropped into it by a dishonest junior press secretary. If so it should be their job that is in jeopardy.
But for some strange reason the party decided to go after the principled junior staffer, and not the person who told what appears to be a clear fib.
And the party is now experiencing internal ructions over what has happened.
From Henry Cooke in Stuff:
… Bridges told media that in fact an “emotional junior staffer” had removed the petition on Friday night, and that he had mistakenly believed that the petition had been removed as part of a routine clean up.
Both of the sources who talked to Stuff believed this was false, because a press secretary had been informed by the staffer that he wanted to delete the petition. The sources said the staffer was now in a dispute with the party after alleging that it lied to media over the weekend following the attack.
And Bridges is now adopting the “I know nuffink” defence.
Speaking on his way into caucus on Tuesday morning, Bridges refused to answer any questions to do with the staffer or the petition’s deletion.
“Employment matters are for Parliamentary Services, obviously I never get involved in them,” Bridges said.
“It’s highly inappropriate for me to be talking about an employment matter.”
Bridges said he stood by his original comments on the matter in the week following the attack, when he described the staffer as “emotional” and “junior”.
He would not directly defend that description of the staffer on Tuesday, repeating that it would not be appropriate to comment on an employment matter.
“I can’t be clearer with you – it’s entirely inappropriate for me to comment on employment matters.”
Several MPs and staffers are upset with the treatment of the staffer, who has worked for National Party MPs for a number of years.
Note the phrasing “[b]oth of the sources” and “[s]everal MPs and staffers”. National continues to leak like a sieve and is showing no discipline. It is clear that Mr Bridges has major problems.