I was not going to post about the recent public spat about designer jackets but on reflection I think that this needs to be said, National’s boorish treatment of Metiria Turei is but a sign of things to come this year. In the same week that we have a proposal to change the Country’s flag we have a suggestion that Metiria’s jackets are too expensive.
At face value it seemed to be something that just bubbled up and involved Tolley, Metiria and Collins in a media beaten up stoush about the cost of designer jackets. But when I think about it I can’t help but think that the attack was preprogrammed with a long term goal in mind.
It is not as if it was an accidental utterance said in the heat of debate in Parliament. It was the ninth sentence of Anne Tolley’s prepared speech in the debate of the Prime Minister’s statement and followed a clearly drafted attack on the Greens. What she said was this:
I am actually insulted to be lectured on how out of touch I am with average New Zealanders by a list MP who has no constituents, lives in a castle, and comes to the House dressed in $2,000 designer jackets and tells me that I am out of touch.
The content appears to be far too detailed to be spontaneous for Tolley. And when you look at the video it appears that this comment was part of the written notes that Tolley was reading from.
The reality of course is that the Green Party has, based on its vote at the last election, the thick end of 250,000 voters as its constituents. These voters are justified in being insulted by Tolley’s comments and should rally around their party and express their disgust. Metiria may own a building that could be regarded as a castle but it appears to be of very modest value. And Metiria’s jackets may be of considerable value but I for one am more than happy to forgive her this “sin” because she is absolutely staunch on the issues that matter, and if her jackets help in the cause of removing this National Government from power then they are worth every cent.
If I can criticise Turei over this episode it is for saying that the attack was racist. While this may have been a motivation it is not clear that it was and it then allows Collins to show photos of her Samoan husband (sorry for the Whaleoil link) and ask how she could possibly be racist. I think it was a vicious attack designed to create a very unhealthy debate but to call it racist only muddies the waters.
And the right wing blogs are lapping this up. The sense of misogyny is strong. Farrar and Slater have run a video showing Turei being involved in a role play battle. While I personally have never engaged in this activity it looks harmless enough and looks like being a bit of fun. And at least the Greens are not driving families into poverty or destroying lives. Besides various National MPs have rather unusual hobbies so they should be careful in what they criticise.
John Key has jumped in and claimed that the Green MPs are the biggest bullies. He said:
Go back and play the file footage and see who says the hardest often nastiest comments. Almost always come from the greens they go really hard …
[Question] So they are bullying are they?
Well, I was going to say if it was any way around it would not be on us to them.
[Question] So you are being bullied by the Greens Prime Minister?
Well I don’t feel too bullied but I am just saying that they don’t hold back.
This surely must be a further entry to BLiP’s list.
After I listened to this a word starting with “P” and ending with “illock” sprung to mind. And I challenge any RWNJ to identify any occasion where the Greens have been personal in an attack. I agree with Karol about this. My very strong impression is that they are extremely well behaved and address the issues and not the person. If only every other party including Labour would do the same. Key’s comments are a joke and are more likely to be heard in a primary school yard discussion than a serious political debate.
As far as I am concerned it is ridiculous to say that Turei is a hypocrite. She is someone playing the political game, abiding by the rules and getting dressed appropriately. Her sin is that she has the temerity to not only tell National that they are wrong but to show them how wrong they are. Having a comfortable lifestyle does not prevent you from saying that the current system which overwhelmingly favours the wealthy and is destructive of our environment is wrong. If anything Turei is, in their eyes, guilty of treason rather than hypocrisy.
You can see National’s strategy now, Cunliffe and Labour cannot be trusted and the Greens are hypocrites and nuts. We are in for a long, vicious, year.