National’s culture problem

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 pm, August 8th, 2022 - 139 comments
Categories: child discipline, Christopher Luxon, law, law and "order", national, politicans, same old national - Tags:

I wrote a post with the same heading just over a year ago.

To be frank I could not believe our (lefties) luck.  National kept selecting these weird candidates, mostly male Alpha sorts who kept on screwing up badly.  Who can forget the following:

  • Richard Worth and what was it that he did which so incensed the Malaysian Government;
  • Pansy Wong who resigned after her husband was caught conducting business when accompanying her on a Ministerial trip to China;
  • Mike Sabin whose activities Cameron Slater said were almost too horrible for words;
  • Don’t you know who I am Aaron Gilmour who also had CV accuracy problems;
  • Claudette Hauiti who used her parliamentary charge card for a Christmas trip to Australia and spent approximately $23,000 on MP’s expenses after she had announced she was standing down;
  • John Key’s ponytail pulling fetish;
  • The police investigation into Todd Barclay and his use of personal recording devices;
  • Bill English’s mischaracterisation of the truth relating to his police statement;
  • The complaints by four women about Jami-Lee Ross’s behaviour;
  • Andrew Falloon’s resignation for depression caused by the drunken sending of inappropriate graphic material to a woman who was not his wife and was a teenager;
  • Michelle Boag who stood down from all party positions because of the leaking to National MPs of confidential personal health information;
  • Sarah Dowie who in her valedictory speech said that she would claw at the windows or walk across hot coals to get out of the National Caucus;
  • Hamish Walker who was willing to trash the Country’s covid response for political advantage and who racistly claimed that Indians, Pakistanis and Koreans some infected with Covid were on their way to Queenstown while at the same time sending confidential medical information to the media;
  • National’s Palmerston North candidate William Wood who had photos of himself on Social Media impersonating Hitler.

You would think that for a high profile by election and after repeated criticism of National’s selection processes they would make sure that their candidate would be absolutely squeaky clean.

Apparently not.

From the excellent Kirsty Johnson at Stuff:

The National Party’s newest MP, Sam Uffindell, was asked to leave his exclusive boarding school after viciously beating a younger student late at night.

Uffindell only offered the man an apology last year, 22 years after the attack, and nine months before he publicly announced his political aspirations.

He says the timing of his decision to say sorry is not linked to his decision to begin a career in politics, but that the incident had been “nagging” at him, and he wanted to atone.

“It was one of the silliest, stupidest things I’ve ever done. I really regretted it, I do really regret it still,” Uffindell said.

The victim, who was 13 years old at the time, was left with severe bruising and significant trauma.

Police were not involved. Instead, Uffindell was disciplined alongside three other teenagers who joined in on the beating, and asked to leave the school, Auckland’s King’s College. Uffindell was in Year 11, or fifth form, and aged 16 years old when he attacked the younger boy. He went on to finish his schooling at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton.

There is a lot to unpick.

Uffindell was only 16 at the time and he has given an abject apology which according to him was not motivated by his desire to become a politician, even though it was offered a month after Uffindell’s local MP Todd Muller had announced his intention to resign as an MP.

And he has been beating the law and order drum really hard.  Law and order includes bullying Sam.

There are some glaring with emergency lights flashing elements about the incident:

  1. I went to a boys only school 20 years before Uffindell and then there was bullying but not involving the level of violence complained of here.  And attacking younger students even then would have been considered totally unacceptable.
  2. It appears that the incident only came to light because of the victim going public.  I can confidently say it has not emerged because of a desire by Uffindell to do a mea culpa.  Good on him for doing so but it really feels like this was a response to a story and not a desire to confess, something us Catholics can be quite good at.
  3. It trashes National’s latest attacks on young people on jobseeker.  Huge resources have been spent on Uffindell and his ilk and if they fuck up then another private school is found for them.  Being tough on poor kids but providing cover for rich kids is typical but unacceptable.

My biggest rant is how this exemplifies our economic system.  Rich kids have this expectation that if they fuck up then remedial steps can be taken so they can then do other things and eventually become merchant bankers.  The physical brutality they engage in is then replaced by even worse economic brutality.  The results are comparable.  Their victims lead fucked up lives whereas if only they had shown more compassion as a 16 year old student or as a 40 year old merchant banker then things could have been better.

It is no coincidence that school bullies get attracted to being merchant bankers and then National Party MPs.  A properly functioning democratic system would make sure that they were kept well away from power.

139 comments on “National’s culture problem ”

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Mallard never ever sought to hide what he had done.

      • Puckish Rogue 1.1.1

        Mallard was an adult, teacher, MP and Speaker, Uffindell was a 15-16 year old student.

        Slight difference in circumstances wouldn't you say?

        By a complete and utter coincidence you didn't happen to see this did you?

        • Robert Guyton

          Pucky, are you another who believes Mallard, wielding a weapon, beat a 13 year-old boy?

          • Kat

            It was Tau Henare wielding a pair of sunglasses that set upon Trevor Mallard yelling that his time was up…

            Trevor in retaliation knocked Tau to the ground and told him not to be such a provocative intercourse-er

            It's etched on the parliamentary tiles…


        • roy cartland

          Mallard was, and we can only assume still is, an arrogant, idiotic boofhead. Now, how is this National's culture problem again?

      • MickeyBoyle 1.1.2

        In fairness, neither did Uffindell. He disclosed this in writing to the party.

        • mickysavage

          Yep and I wonder why the feck they did not rule him out as a candidate. Did they think this was normal behaviour?

          • Stuart E Ward

            This type of behaviour is a prerequisite for the criminal cabal of liars, hypocrites, thugs, bullies, cowards, morons, fraudsters, thieves, traitors and perverts known as the 'national' party…

        • observer

          As reported by the Herald:

          Uffindell submitted a written account of the incident to the nine members on the selection committee.

          So it's even worse that it first appeared. It wasn't a quiet chat with one person like Goodfellow, it was a formal decision by the party apparatus. Incredible that NINE people on the committee were told the story and all decided the best course of action was … doing nothing.

          It is now really hard to believe that Luxon didn't know.

          • JeremyB

            I think this is quite a strange reflexive action taken by Luxon & Willis.
            Did they know and are now lying or does their party hide information from them?

            • observer

              Oldest play in the book. "Yes Minister" did an episode on it 40 years ago.

              Do not tell the people in charge, so they have "plausible deniability".

              Except in this case it's not plausible.

      • Mat Simpson 1.1.3

        " Mallard never ever sought to hide what he had done "

        No but he still had and a propensity for violence and is still a member of the NZLP.

  1. Muttonbird 2

    You can picture the conversation at HQ.

    Sam Uffindel: I'd like to become National Party MP.

    Peter Goodfellow: What qualifications do you have?

    SU: At boarding school I beat a boy with a chair leg while he was sleeping.

    PG: You'd be perfect for us, sign here!

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Heh. Stand by as some try to present this as acceptable and normal behaviour.

      • James Simpson 2.1.1

        Its neither normal, nor acceptable.

        But do we really want to live in a society where stupid unacceptable things you did when you were 16, disqualify you from participating in society?

        • Barfly

          It seems to me that he has admitted assault with a weapon causing bodily harm while acting in concert with others – should the police be interested?

  2. Robert Guyton 3

    Is this the template for National's policy on violent crime?

    If the brutaliser says "sorry", even 22 years later, clean slate!

  3. joe90 4

    Sadism is their thing.

    "A group of Year 12 boarders in School House marched a group of the Year 9s outside in the middle of night with pillowcases on their heads and their hands behind their backs, like some sort of prisoners of war," he said.

    "Apparently the idea was to scare them. But as you can imagine the young boys were disoriented, they couldn't see anything.

    "They were petrified. They thought they were going to be beaten up. The boys were beside themselves in horror."

    A senior member of the group allegedly assaulted one of the younger students "by hitting him on the back and legs", the father said.

    "The poor kid didn't see it coming – he couldn't see anything. He was traumatised and called his mother, who came to collect him from the school at 3.30am."

    • Barfly 4.1

      I have a conviction for burglary I committed as a 17 year old – I had presumed that would render me a liability for any political party should I want to stand for any political office.

      Am I wrong? Is the problem that I was charged and convicted (rightly) and Sam Uffindel had it swept under the rug with the help of the posh boarding school?

      • alwyn 4.1.1

        "I had presumed that ….."

        Frankly, if it was about 20 years ago and it was your only offence I don't see why it should preclude you becoming a politician.

        After all a certain New Zealand politician served a year in jail and then, about 24 years later, became Prime Minister. He was certainly the pick of all the Labour Prime Ministers we have had.

        • Mac1

          And he served his year in prison for?

          Was it anything like the fourteen National party MPs and officials that are mentioned in the post above?

          No. It was for speaking in 1916 against conscription, that use of the state's powers to force young men to kill and be killed, a view which any self-respecting modern libertarian should also support.

          In 1918, Peter Fraser won a by-election, with full public knowledge of the fact that Fraser had served a term of imprisonment.

          Interestingly, Fraser would have been about the same age as another man who won a by-election in 2022 for Tauranga.

          What a difference.

  4. tsmithfield 5

    Gosh, the sanctimony drips here.

    At what point can someone escape the things they have done as a teenager? How young do we have to be before our past gets ignored?

    I, for one, have done plenty of things as a teenager, that in retrospect I really regret now. I suspect many of us would be the same. It certainly isn't the behaviour I would exhibit today. I grew up from all that decades ago.

    I actually hope he stays on as an MP. The same with anyone else from any other party with a similar story. Whether it is bullying, drugs or whatever else they have done as a teenager.

    I think we are all far to quick to judge, and to quick to overlook our own failings around that age.

      • Kiwijoker 5.1.1

        Perhaps Pukie you might like to address the behaviour of those National MP s that Mickey has identified rather than indulging in deflection.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1.2

        The only current Nat MP (that we know of) with a history of child abuse – at least Uffindell pubically admitted his offending (eventually), which is apparently good enough for some.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Do you want a recap of Labours recent history of sexual assault allegations, if you want to go down that path

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Do you want a recap of Labours recent history of sexual assault allegations, if you want to go down that path

            Pucky, I wouldn’t attempt to excuse Uffindell’s behaviour, or the Nat’s candidate selection process, so how about going down that path yourself – replies could be interesting in the light of recent events.

    • Peter 5.2

      I appreciate the angle of his age. I appreciate the aspect of behaviour and failings. And I get the coming together of everything because the environment is politics.

      Because of that environment, factors involved have a special light shone on them and they take on a different significance, or have a different significance put upon them. Things are different in the realm of politics and politicians than in 'normal' society and life.

      Witness Jamie-Lee Ross. His personal relationships (philandering) were fine, no problem to his colleagues. Well, fine until he did something unrelated that pissed them off. I accept the behaviour was current when he was outed.

      And the MP for Palmerston North who suffered political and personal assassination at the hands of Judith Collins and Duncan Garner the same.

      Did his behaviour inhibit his ability to do his job? Does Uffindell's? In each case obviously the history, the behaviour, exhibits who and what is in the skin.

    • observer 5.3

      How many times does it have to be repeated? It's not about then, it's about now.

      National (party or candidate) could have fronted up at any time. Why didn't Uffindell do that?

      Again, read the whole story. A committee of nine people could have said "OK, you have told us what happened, and it was a bad thing, but you were a teenager and the voters will accept that if you trust them with the truth." (And he probably would have won the by-election).

      Not one person in the National party thought that was the right thing to do. Not one wanted to level with the public, who are the only reason any MP has a job.

      If you think that hiding truth from the voters is just fine, then I feel sorry for you.

  5. bwaghorn 6

    The fact the school never sat the little fuckers down and made them apologize straight away but moved the problem out and swept it all under the carpet tells you more about how the rich live in a different world.

  6. Ad 7

    The kind of beating that makes sense of their welfare policy.

  7. tsmithfield 8

    I was a dreadful bully to my younger brother up until the age of about 14. In retrospect, that was probably due to the fact that I was being bullied myself at school. I think I may have even stabbed him in the hand with a small knife or something at one stage.

    So, I guess I could never run for parliament due to my tainted past.

    • observer 8.1

      Again, missing the point by a mile.

      Candidates are always asked a standard question, along the lines of "is there anything about your past we should know?".

      Disclose, and it's done. It really is that simple.

      • tsmithfield 8.1.1

        And that is what he did. He disclose his past. So, I guess there is no issue.

        • Gosman

          The trouble is the revelation has raised more questions than it resolved. He arrived back in NZ in 2020 but did not offer an apology till last year. Before the apology he had got himself actively involved in the workings of the National party so it was clear he had aspirations for higher office.

        • observer

          Unless you think the public matter.

  8. observer 9

    How Luxon handles this today really matters. I don't think Uffindell has to resign. But every Nat in Tauranga who told him there was nothing to see here … well, they should be chucked out of the party.

    Obviously that won't happen, because they don't believe they did anything wrong. They probably think the journalist is to blame for doing her job (a familiar story, ask Nicky Hager).

  9. Gosman 10

    I just listened to one of the worst political mea culpa interviews on Morning report. It may well qualify as a political suicide note. I'm not sure the benefit of these interviews for Sam Uffindell. It might have paid to do one interview where he read a prepared statement and that was it.

  10. Gosman 11

    For the enjoyment of the many lefties on here who love to hear a Tory digging themselves deeper in to a hole.

  11. observer 12

    If anyone wants to pretend this is just about lefties having a go at righties, here is the ACT candidate doing what Uffindell should have done. It was obviously the right thing to do, and so he did it. Not hard, but too hard for National's candidate:

    • Incognito 12.1

      They (e.g. Matthew Hooton and Ben Thomas) are baying for Peter Goodfellow’s head, which would be typical National Party scapegoating and BAU.

  12. tsmithfield 13

    I think we need to look at the implied logic of what is being asserted. This chain of logic is necessary in order to disqualify someone as an MP:

    “Person A committed an act of bullying as a teenager. Therefore, Person A is still a bully 20 years later.”

    To be fair, there are some people who continue to be bullies all their lives, and are very unpleasant people to be involved with. But, often that is not the case, and people feel ashamed of behaviour as a teenager, and have sought to behave in the opposite way for their adult life.

    In my role I am involved in employing various staff. If disclosure of a past incident was given to me, the first thing I would do is to contact various people he had been involved with since, such as employees or co-workers. If that process indicates that incident is not part of that person's character, I would have no problems employing them.

    If National have done their job properly, they would have gone through this sort of process. Personally, I don't think Uffindell needs to be saying anything. The questions should be answered by the people who have selected him.

    • Robert Guyton 13.1

      Of course you are right, tsmithfield. Your logical, compassionate approach should be taken by political parties, when dealing with those who have committed crimes.

      Let's hope National, when designing their Law & Order policies, take heed of your advice.

      This sentence of yours,

      "If National have done their job properly, they would have gone through this sort of process.", can stand a change of one word;

      "If National had done their job properly, they would have gone through this sort of process."

      Bet they didn't.

    • Barfly 13.2

      “Person A committed an act of bullying as a teenager

      From the Herald

      A senior member of the group allegedly assaulted one of the younger students "by hitting him on the back and legs", the father said.

      "The poor kid didn't see it coming – he couldn't see anything. He was traumatised and called his mother, who came to collect him from the school at 3.30am."

      (Hitting him with a chair leg I understand)

      So senior member of the group and the only one to hit a 13 year old (and with a weapon).

      Well leadership, decisiveness and organisational skills perfectly demonstrated – absolutely National MP material.


    • Anne 13.3

      Best comment thus far on this post tsmithfield @ 13

      "The questions should be answered by the people who have selected him."

      Precisely. Uffindell fessed up to the selection committee. It was their judgement to keep the story under wraps. Uffindell went along with it. Not much else he could do.

      Here is Uffindell's interview with media this morning.

      "I've felt remorse and very upset about this for some time."

      He said it had changed his life, and had an impact on the person he had hit.

      "I'm not proud at all. I was effectively a bully. I was a mean person. There will be other people at high school that I have hurt…”

      My reading of it is that he is – and was – a genuinely contrite man. It was brave of him to front up to the media under such circumstances. He could have run away and hidden until the story had died down. He didn't.

      • Robert Guyton 13.3.1

        He was pressed to front.

        • Anne

          I'm sure he was but the point is he did front. And given the background to the case he made a good fist of it. If he was faking his remorse I believe he would have messed up that media stand-up big time. He didn't.

          • Robert Guyton

            Uffindel "made a good fist of it"?


            He did front (was obliged by the party to front).

            He is, no doubt, remorseful. His victim will have a position on this also, probably deeper-felt than "remorseful".

            Other victims of Uffindel's violent behaviour (self-admitted) will have thoughts as well.

            Perhaps we'll hear from them.

            • Anne

              His victim will have a position on this also, probably deeper-felt than "remorseful".

              That is a certainty. Been there Robert. I was targeted by a narcissistic psychopath/sociopath on and off for years. It was part politically motivated and part personal. That person was never brought to justice. It feels sometimes like I still carry the burden on my back.

              I am not trying to downplay the level of brutality by the teen-aged Uffindell. I'm just saying that he is remorseful which is better than well.. not being remorseful.

              • Robert Guyton

                Yes, it is, you are right.

                If/when other assaults by Uffindell emerge, he'll be extra-remorseful.

      • elare 13.3.2

        Poppycock Anne… where could he have run to? Hawaii? Luxon doesn't like the stench so Uffies on his own… he'll be relieved of his duties soon…

        • Anne


          I was replying to Robert Guyton re – Uffindell. If you think my comments were a reference to Luxon you need to go back to school and do some more comprehension exercises.

  13. Blazer 14

    Herald headline-'One of the stupidest things I've done'.-Nats MP admits violent high school attack'

    Wonder what the other 'things' are…then!

  14. Gosman 15

    There are too many questions and issues that his mea culpa has not addressed.

    1) He arrived back in NZ in 2020 and promptly got involved with the Nat's. His apology was in 2021. If it was his arrival back in NZ that prompted his apology this should have occurred in 2020.

    2) He was evasive and downplayed other bullying behaviour at Kings

    3) He did not reveal this before his election when given the chance by the media

    4) He denies weapons were involved despite this being stated as happening by the victim. If a weapon was used this suggests it was premeditated and not just some end of term "jolly japes" gone awry.

    • Robert Guyton 15.1

      You're unusually worked-up over this, Gosman.

      Do you see an opportunity for ACT in this?

    • Mac1 15.2

      Gosman, I share your stand against bullying and your four concerns above.

      But one thing that gets me about this whole episode is that Uffindell is not able to recall whether he used a bed leg as a weapon on his victim.

      I was immediately reminded of John Key not being able to remember what his views were on the Springbok Tour in 1981.

      Unreliable, self-serving forgetfulness.

      Would Tauranga, especially in a by-election, where the make-up of government is not at issue, have voted for a man who admitted beating up four to one on a sleeping 13 year-old with a truncheon sized bed leg, a weapon that had to be premeditatedly obtained?

      There is so much that is wrong about this episode and apology- the language used- "silly'-, the dissatisfaction from the victim about the timing, the less than open disclosure of motivations, the genuineness of the apology.

      Then there is the selection process that again throws up a self-entitled bully, as, Gosman, you mention in 5.2.1.

      Then there is the closing ranks in National.

      Who knew and when? And what else not yet revealed but obfuscated?

      The thousands of people who have been bullied in NZ will take note.

  15. Ad 16

    The timing of this directly after the National conference is so exquisite I think someone who really really doesn't like Luxon pulled it out of their black file for a deliberate spike.

    They waited to damage the success of the Conference.

    The Who's Who of who would have motive to do this to Luxon would be larger than the Bishop in the Parlour with the Candlestick.

    Whoever it was, top political work there.

    • woodart 16.1

      my thoughts also AD. is it the woman with the little beady eyes?(sorry dont know her name).

    • elare 16.2

      nice fantasy … operatives of the left etc. spy stories and Tom Brown's schooldays… keep dreaming

  16. Weasel 17

    A notable omission from your rogues gallery is the former National Party candidate Jake Bezzant who impersonated his former girlfriend using explicit images of her in order to impersonate her in sexting conversations with other men.

    • Barfly 17.1

      Didn't he have a dodgy CV as well?

    • Continuing with the rogues gallery ,

      " Brownlee received criticism during the 1999 election campaign when he ejected Neil Able, a 60-year-old Native Forest Action campaigner, from the National Party's 1999 election campaign launch. The ejection took place with what many, including watching journalists, considered excessive force. Neil Able started civil assault proceedings against Brownlee, seeking damages of $60,000. In 2002, a District Court judge found in favour of Mr Able that Brownlee had "used excessive and unnecessary force on Mr Abel when he tried to remove him from a staircase handrail". Brownlee was ordered to pay Neil Able $8,500 in damages. Brownlee later sought unsuccessfully to have $48,000 of his legal fees reimbursed by the Government.

  17. Do the Nats still persist with reintroducing the 3 strikes law? And if so keeping this s o a b in reeks of the most heinous hypocracy.

    • Nordy 18.1

      The repeal bill will have its 3rd Reading today. It's no surprise that National continue to speak with 'a forked tongue'. It is their MO.

    • Mike the Lefty 18.2

      Why don't they promise to reintroduce public punishment in the pilliary while they are about it?

    • Gosman 18.3

      It is an ACT party policy and will likely be one of the key elements of any post election governing relationship between ACT and National.

  18. rrm (yes the kiwiblog one) 19

    He needs to be expelled fron National. This isn't a youthful bad taste joke or crass remark. This type of school bullying affects people's entire lives and it's cowardly and disgusting. I don't think Uffindell deserves a lifetime of penance but he's not suitable as a party candidate or MP.

    Luxon needs to take a high road and sack him. As Helen Clark – eventually – did the right thing and stopped protecting Darren Hughes.

    Closing ranks and insisting there's nothing to se here, a la Jacinda and the Labour youth drinking camp groper, isn't an acceptable standard.

    • Gosman 19.1

      Technically he can't fire him as he is an electorate MP. The most they can do is ask him to resign or withdraw the whip.

  19. Mike the Lefty 20

    So Luxon didn't know about this incident? It is my understanding that most party candidate selection processes involve asking a prospective candidate if they have any skeletons in their closet and if so what are they? Seems this didn't happen. Once again National looks like a bunch of clowns and ACT will reap the benefits.

    • observer 20.1

      I do wish more people would read the details before commenting.

      For the umpteenth time, Uffindell was asked, and he did answer – in writing.

      Having been informed, National then did nothing. They thought it could be safely hidden from the public.

      It is frankly scandalous that nine anonymous Nats on a committee are getting off scot-free with no media attention, simply because we know Uffindell's name, but we don't know theirs. (They – of course – are not fronting or apologising at all).

  20. outofbed 21

    Who Was that Nat MP whose family was convicted of abuse against farm animals

    Found it

    Babara Kruger animal abuse

    [Don’t drag family members (incl. children), spouses, or relatives into it and vice versa – Incognito]

  21. Peter 22

    Over the hours the story changed in it's telling. Last night Uffindell (from him I presume) had been "asked to leave" the school.

    On the RNZ News at 12:00 it's "chucked out."

  22. tsmithfield 23

    Above I said:

    "If disclosure of a past incident was given to me, the first thing I would do is to contact various people he had been involved with since, such as employees or co-workers."

    Well, it looks like this was exactly the course that was followed.

    "He said Uffindell's admission during selection had triggered deeper background checks….Luxon said National's character checking extended to speaking to people who had known Uffindell since after the King's College incident."

    So, it seems Uffindell did exactly the right thing, and appropriate checks were done. No reason for Uffindell to resign, and IMO he shouldn't even be making public comments about it. A statement by the National Party along the lines above should have been sufficient.

    • Nordy 23.1

      You don't have to keep up your defence of Uffindel. His and the National Party stories are looking shakier by the minute. He now admits to being a bully at school – i.e. multiple incidents of violence. This was all hidden from voters and the wider party (it seems). Why do you what to defend this?

      • tsmithfield 23.1.1

        Exactly the problem. He shouldn't be saying anything but leaving it to the party.

        The party selected him after his disclosure. It is up to the party to make a statement about it. Him talking about it makes it worse.

        • observer

          He is following orders.

          He would be fully entitled to say "I told National the truth and they told me it didn't matter, and I should say nothing in public". Which is obviously what happened.

          But he has been told not to drag anyone else down with him. Not if he wants a future in the party.

          • Anne

            I hadn't thought it through to that extent observer but I think you are 100% correct. Have personally seen that kind of behaviour before.

            Will the media do the hard yards and flush the truth out? Probably not.

        • elare

          you seem extremely naive to the ways of politics… why so?

          • weka

            you're new to commenting here, so a headsup: we prefer to avoid ad homs. If you think tsmithfield's comment is naive, explain your own thinking, how you think the comment is naive. Rather than taking a potshot at the commenter.

  23. Adrian 24

    The problem is the lawn-n-order hypocrisy in his commencement speech.

    • tsmithfield 24.1

      Hypocrisy how? If he is clearly a different person to back then, given how long ago it was, his behaviour at that point of time is no consequence to views he might hold now.

      I employed a young woman (am I allowed to use that term these days??) for a role as a youth worker in a trust of which I am a board member.

      She disclosed to us that she had been a one-person crime-wave in her youth. What impressed us was how much she had turned her life around in the subsequent seven years. The factors critical to us was that she was no longer that person, and that, given the passage of time, she was unlikely to go in that direction again.

      Would I have considered her a hypocrite for expressing concern about youth crime? Absolutely not.

    • James Simpson 24.2

      So if you do something dumb as a teenager, you can not in the future call that same thing dumb?

    • Anne 24.3

      The problem is: the National Party administrators did a cover-up job and thought they would get away with it.

  24. Stuart Munro 25

    It's a tricky one, and I am inclined to think that something along the lines of a statute of limitations ought to be exercised in relation to youthful follies. But that being said I would also look for signs of learning and or growth of character to set against the dark side of the ledger. Considering the wretched oiks that seem to make up National these days it looks very same-old same-old.

    But in terms of fitness for office, Bill English's use of deception to obtain an unjust or illegal advantage is more anomalous. It slid by under Key, but would not have under any government with any remaining shreds of integrity.

  25. tsmithfield 26

    Another point, is that a lot of MPs from both sides of the house will likely be very nervous if misdemeanors as a teenager are to be considered relevant years after the event.

    For instance, the punch-up involving Mallard, and the actions of turning sprinklers on protesters might be seen as isolated incidents. But, if it came to light that he had been a bully at high school, the events could be linked, and argued to demonstrate character that hadn't changed over the time. If that happened, it could call into question his suitability for a diplomatic role.

    The old story that we have to be careful about pointing fingers because there could be three fingers pointed directly back at us.

    • Nordy 26.1

      Feeble attempt to distract from a deteriorating situation. Try harder.

      • tsmithfield 26.1.1

        I have already made the case above in earlier comments. No need to make it again.

        • Hanswurst

          Yeah well that's bullshit. You've not made the case that Mallard has a history of bearing up people weaker then himself, and then pretending it didn't happen, or even that he was a bully at school. What you have done is engage in a scattergun series of tenuous analogies with almost no detail whatsoever.

    • Hanswurst 26.2

      If you have a case to make that a particular parliamentarian was a bully at school, and that that is relevant to them or their party's platform, why don't you make it, rather than engaging in bizarrely convoluted 'what ifs' and 'what abouts'?

      • elare 26.2.1

        sadly that's all the Nats have plus one of the finest groups of Sociopaths in the country!

    • Incognito 26.3

      If, if, if, et cetera. You do seem to do some finger pointing yourself here and you seem to be grasping at straws.

      It is not the MP but the Party that fucked up big time, again. The National Party to be more precise. Not only have they now a fresh ‘brand-new’ National MP who’s grasping for air, but they also managed to light a fire underneath their own party, again. It is sucking all the oxygen away and we see the National Party leadership floundering as before. SSDD. That bunch is unfit to govern.

  26. roy cartland 27

    Just watched his media front-up. A deceitful, hypocritical, entitled bully he may be, but gotta hand it to him: I haven't seen someone keep as cool under questioning since Key.

    He could be a very dangerous little shit indeed.

  27. Jimmy 28

    Interesting to hear this guys view on the Sam Uffindell saga.

    I guess he is more right leaning than many on this blog.

    "Comrades I have difficulty not rolling my eyes when the woke want to destroy someone for a 10 year old tweet, I can’t believe we are wasting time on crucifying a new MP for something he did when he was 16.

    Look, I can’t stand National MPs at the best of times, and it pains me to defend one, but the mistakes a child makes can’t be held over them forever."

    • roy cartland 28.1

      He has publicly defended/advocated violence in the past. There was an article on TDB about how Hone Harawira and a gang of his mates went down and beat up a group of white boys dressed as 'mowrees'. Bradbury said that was the right thing, the only thing to do in that situation.

      Have looked for the story since, but can't find it (he wouldn't deny it if anyone were to ask him about it though).

      Weird to defend the actions of a 'silly' 16yo while advocating for the voting age to be lowered.

    • Lone Comet 28.2

      Yes, seriously flawed blog by Bradbury completely conflating what actually this issue is about, which isn't just some light-hearted bullying done by a 16 year old.

  28. observer 29

    Luxon responds:

    "The thing that could've been different, frankly, is that I should've been informed rather than finding out yesterday. The second thing is, is that the delegates ultimately should've been informed.

    Most importantly, I think the voters in Tauranga should've been informed so that they could form their own judgement."

    I agree on all 3 points. So what are you going to do about your party's cover-up, Chris?


    • Mac1 29.1

      Get him to resign and resubmit himself to a fully informed Tauranga electorate?

      Insist on a 'no surprises' policy from the selection process.

      Develop a rigorous and inclusive selection process for National Party candidates so that the National Party can once again promote decent, humane, fair-minded and fair-behaving people with a regard for balanced and diverse representation in terms of race, gender, ethnicity and age.

      I say this in some seriousness because at some stage National/ACT will get back into power and their serious lack of quality, experience and diversity would be a current worry.

      • observer 29.1.1

        Yes, it's the underlying issue that really matters here. How a potential government picks its potential members.

        National have had 3 chances since 2020 to show that they were "turning over a new leaf". First, the post-election review. Second, the departure of Collins. Third, the departure of Goodfellow.

        In each case, there's no indication that they have changed at all – or want to.

        That's why I keep saying it's not just about Uffindell. We'll be reading about the next candidate/MP soon. The same story: only the names will change.

  29. Tiger Mountain 30

    The natzos all too often represent a certain sector of New Zealanders–the dark settler descendants benefiting from stolen or dubiously acquired land, the petit bourgeoisie, commodity fetishists, self employed, farmers and provincial contractors, and the composition has changed over time. Religious nutters, neo libs and rural reactionary conservatives all feature to varying degrees in National Party life.

    The natzo dirty little secret that Sirkey understood so well, was that NZ National represents first and foremost international capital and finance capital–while managing to co-opt thousands of voters that are only ever going to be on the receiving end of the Australian Banks etc. but they identify with the ‘big boys’ on an aspirational basis.

    RSAs, coastal holiday parks and bowling clubs have closed in numbers across the nation and these were once “Rob’s Mob” home turf. Now the natzo fans sit online seeking their five minutes of fame with filthy comments about women and beneficiaries.

    The psychology is interesting, a few years back there was a contender for the National Party Northland Electorate Seat–Mark Tan–seemed a somewhat modern farmer type, beaten by bent ex copper Mike Sabin of course due largely to the Nat’s absolute thrall for ex plods. But who should turn up throwing bricks at cops near the end of the Wellington “Convoy” occupation (photo of this run by Northland Age newspaper) but one Mr Tan.
    Tan was on sabbatical leave from his Prinicipal role at Abundant Life Christian school in Kaitaia because he was anti COVID vaccination!

    Mr Uffindel should go and quickly. If he had apologised soon after the assault, or even years ago after reflection, my usual position would have kicked in–most people deserve redemption and a second chance. But this twister waited till he knew he was running for political office, so sod ’im.

  30. observer 31

    The ACT candidate talks a lot of sense. (Yes I know, and now I feel dirty, but still …)

    It’s not good enough just to say ‘we thought it wouldn’t come up, so we didn’t say anything’.

    But that is exactly what they thought.

    • Robert Guyton 31.1

      ACT sniff opportunity in pulling the rug out from under National's feet – that's it, no more.

  31. I'm on observer's side on this one: it's not really about what Uffindell did all those years ago, but about how the Natz handled the matter NOW!

    But, as a retired teacher, can I just add: a school normally wouldn't expel a student for a first offence, particularly from a rich school like Kings, with lots of lawyers waiting in the wings. 3 other boys were suspended, which suggests Sam was either the ringleader or had a prior history of offending. Which suggests the school was pissed off completely with his behaviour, and wanted him gone. Not a good look for an MP who will get to vote on the Three Strikes repeal!

    It would be very interesting to have a look at the school records!

    • In Vino 32.1

      As another retired teacher, I am also intrigued that having been horrifically 'asked to leave' Kings College, he somehow got quietly moved to Hamilton's élite 'St Paul's Collegiate'.

      Hell, what a punishment it is to be asked to leave Kings!!

  32. aj 33

    To those who describe him as a child – no. He would have held a driving license. Considered adult enough for that.

    The other thing that bothers me is his size. He seems to be a tall man now, 6' – something, and at 16 he would have been a big boy. A bully is a bully but this guy would have been much bigger than his victim. He's a thug, a cowardly thug.

  33. observer 34

    It gets worse. And still the main point is being ignored by most in the media. It's not about Uffindell.

    Todd McClay is a senior National MP. He was on the selection committee and admits he knew about the bullying, because Uffindell told the committee.

    So what did this senior MP do?

    "McClay, involved in Uffindell's byelection campaign, cited a focus on other issues as a reason for not publicising the incident during the campaign.

    Asked why he didn't tell Luxon, McClay said it was not his duty."

    Those are two pathetic excuses. If a Minister (in ANY government) gave such a flimsy excuse, they would be toast.

    So why the hell isn't he?

  34. Robert Guyton 35

    Oh no!

    Now they're making light of Uffindell's liking for night-clubbing!

  35. Jackel 36

    I thought the national party were a right wing political party not a rehabilitation service for the local yobbos.

  36. arkie 37

    Uffindell has been 'stood down' pending further investigation after more allegations.

    These are apparently now worthy of action:

    National leader Christopher Luxon released a separate statement, describing the accusations as "very concerning".

    "The investigation will be conducted by Maria Dew QC and I expect it to take two weeks."

  37. newsense 38

    So if this is blue on blue dirty tricks who could it be? Someone who knew the original story, but perhaps was also in a position to prevent it coming out until now. And perhaps even in a position to get the candidate selected knowing that this story was sitting in the background.

    It seems like the story was held until the end of conference.

    There is the possibility it was just the victim.

    But as more accusations surface we’re seeing a staggered release of information.

    Who benefits?


    Act perhaps. The liberal, allegedly, wing of the National party. The government. Any leadership contender or any leader or ranking member of the previous generation who has been discarded. Perhaps some internal politics of Kings and their old boy network for school yard reasons even! (TV producers start scribbling furiously.)
    Though I’ve conflated the revenge and promotion motivations there a bit.

    The disfunction of Andrea Vance’s book can not have entirely dissipated. A bit of blood in the water, rumblings of dissatisfaction with Luxon’s leadership from Hooton (who are his clients?) a week or two ago and now this seemingly well organised and long planned hit and who knows what will happen next. There has been a steady attack on Luxon the way there never was on Key. With his ascension planned and signaled well in advance, perhaps his plotters have also had time to prepare.

    What next?

  38. observer 39

    On the AM show just now, Luxy threw Uffy under the bus.

    Asked if he trusted his MP, the leader basically said "did then, don't now". Not a verbatim quote, but a summary. The independent review is for show, the verdict's already in.

  39. PsyclingLeft.Always 40

    National MP Sam Uffindell has been stood down from the party's caucus while an investigation is carried out into further allegations of bullying raised by RNZ.

    A woman who flatted with the Tauranga MP while at at the University of Otago in 2003 has told RNZ's Morning Report Uffindell was an aggressive bully who once pounded on her bedroom door, screaming obscenities, until she fled through her window.

    As usual with bullies…there is not ONE incident….but definitely a trail of victims. More to come I would say…

  40. Sanctuary 41

    I hear tell (INCOMING GOSSIP ALERT FROM IMPECABLE SOURCE) the Kings Old Boy's closed FB groups have lit up over this, as indicated Uffindell is apparently errrr, ahem remembered by many in a not entirely pleasant way.

  41. observer 42

    Today's fiendishly difficult quiz question: Who said …

    "I'm very confident we'll get a great candidate in Tauranga – we've got a great local organisation, and they'll have a great selection I'm sure"

    You already know …

  42. Mac1 43

    And Goodfellow, the former National Party president, was quoted as saying the party was "proud of our democratic selection process".

    "Ultimately it will be up to local Tauranga Party members to decide who will be our National candidate in the byelection".

    The 'democratic candidate selection process' that threw up another unsuitable 'winner' to go forward.

    The pre-screening process that 'democratically' kept from its Tauranga delegates information that should have led to another candidate being preferred.

  43. Jenny how to get there 44

    "The trick is…" has he changed.

    Christopher Luxon on TVNZ Breakfast this morning.

    It's a trick?

    Sam Uffindell bullied teenagers, his boss wants to bully teenagers.

    National's culture is a culture of bullying.

    • Incognito 44.1

      Technically, under 25s are not all teenagers, but yes, National wants to bully people who do it tougher than others.

  44. Mac1 45

    There is another issue that underlies this whole saga that we will have to address.

    Uffindell was never it seems dealt with properly, at both secondary schools and then at University. He was never subjected to a process that could have aided his reform.

    He now claims to be reformed and I hope he is but the evidence shown by how he minimises what he did, hid what he did, only apologised when he needed to to get further advantage, does not give me strong hope.

    It seems that he was never dealt with in a life-changing way.

    I once discovered a 50 year old conman masquerading as a drug and alcohol counsellor with an organisation for which I was a trust member. He was taken to court and convicted.

    The point is that he had never been prosecuted by various firms who had also found him out earlier. He was just fired and left to carry on his deceitful and harmful criminality.

    It seems it was all too difficult to literally arrest his behaviour.

    Too much is left unchecked. Too much is left to others as their problem. Too much is condoned or worse encouraged by similarly disposed individuals.

    Churches are now struggling with the consequences of their avoidance of properly dealing with criminal behaviour.

    And now we all struggle with consequences of an inherently gutless lack of social responsibility.

    I have maintained fo fifty years that people should be involved in politics and social institutions in a mass way. That way, we dilute and even overcome the poor policy and practice that we so often get because it is left to a small group of people often with dodgy personal lives and agendas.

    And this week we are suffering because not enough people are coming forward to enter local political life as candidates for councils to even fill the seats available!

  45. joe90 46

    Wonder if his fellow young nats insist he sits in the front row.

  46. Mike the Lefty 47

    It occurs to me that if Sam Uffindel's shenanigans had been disclosed BEFORE the by-election he would still have won. Tauranga is basically true blue and the "boys will be boys" defense would have gained plenty of support in such an electorate. But they weren't and that was National's mistake.

    • Mac1 47.1

      Maybe so. I have a hope for the MMP system that while people in an electorate can vote for the party of their choice they can vote out someone who is not worthy of support beyond being that party's candidate.

      Especially so during a byelection that will not affect the balance of power.

      Further I hope that people can again en masse get involved in party organisations as members and more to assure good candidates and policies.

      Leaving it to others means we often get to wear other's mistakes, beliefs and actions.

      Vote, join, campaign!

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