I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Melissa Lee given the punching bag she’s become. True, she’s brought it on herself, but even I felt a little queasy watching the events at Auckland University yesterday. But for anyone who looked behind the “rising star” brand National was trying to sell us the warning signs were there from the start.
Here’s Melissa Lee in her first debate speech, on the Bail Amendment Bill:
Melissa Lee: “I would like Opposition members to read the victim impact report, to see what kind of damage these criminals do to innocent families. Perhaps they do not actually have the emotions to understand what it is like to be a victim. I mentioned it in my maiden speechâ€””
The text only hints at the tone Lee spoke in. Claiming that other parties’ MPs don’t give a damn about the victims of crime, that’s just going too far. Her first speech and she’s already crossing a line that few MPs ever cross even in the most heated debates. It provoked a strong response:
Clayton Cosgrove: “We heard Melissa Lee who apparently has a monopoly on sympathy and concern for victims. I say that is arrogant; I say that is patronising. Maybe when she has spent more than 5 minutes here she will know that every member of this Chamber has empathy and concern for the victims of tragedies when they happen out there. When the member has been here for more than 2 minutes she might lose the arrogant edge.”
Phil Goff: “The reason this side reacted as it did to Melissa Lee was that she arrogantly assumed that nobody on this side of the House could empathise with victims. I have had relations killed by people acting illegally. I can empathise, and I do not need to be told … that I do not understand how a victim feels or how the family of that victim feels.”
So, you can see why we predicted it was only a matter of time before her personality blew up her campaign.