Stephen Jack is cancelled by the National Party

Written By: - Date published: 8:38 pm, April 20th, 2023 - 28 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, election 2023, Media, national, same old national, social media lolz - Tags:

So National has yet another candidate problem.

His name is Stephen Jack and he clearly has difficulties in negotiating reality.

He was selected as National’s Taieri candidate yet clearly thought that he he had a chance of being an MP and lamented the fact that his deselection would prevent good strong hard-working people from entering Parliament.

His view was somewhat optimistic.  Taieri in 2020 had a larger majority than the best of National’s seats which was Pakuranga.

He was clearly cannon fodder.  Someone who had to make sure the billboards were erected and the fliers delivered.  And not to stuff up.

But he turned into a massive liability after his easily checked social media posts proved to be somewhat incendiary.  After all comparing Jacinda Arden to Hitler and preferring women to be aged 19 and easy to spread like Covid should pose questions about his suitability for remaining in a marriage, let alone being a representative of the people.

But he has not taken his demotion very well.

From Craig McCulloch at Radio New Zealand:

National’s ex-candidate for the Taieri electorate Stephen Jack has lashed out at the media after resigning, accusing it of “woke stupidity” and “character assassination” which destroyed his political ambitions.

Jack resigned on Wednesday evening after Stuff reported he had shared a poem on Facebook in 2021, comparing the former prime minister Jacinda Ardern to Hitler.

He had earlier come under fire for sharing a video in 2020 which contained the joke: “I like my Covid like I like my women. Nineteen. And easy to spread.”

In a statement issued to RNZ, Jack described the coverage as “character assassination” which would dissuade “good strong hard-working people” from entering Parliament.

“These attacks have been careless, orchestrated, out of context and demonstrably inaccurate,” Jack wrote.

“Comprehension of satire has been traded for woke stupidity.”

Jack said the posts he had shared has been presented in a “misconstrued and false context” in a way he found to be “vile and offensive”.

“They are incredibly damaging and revealing of the world of modern politics that I have decided I want no future part of after possibly the shortest political career in history at just 28 days.

“My kids said I’d be cancelled. They were right.”

National is trying to present a confident face to its problem.

Go to commentator from the right Brigitte Morten thinks that the clusterfuck that led to Jack’s selection without even the cursory vetting of his social media and the inevitable withdrawal of his candidacy is somehow evidence of Christopher Luxon’s strong leadership.

I struggle to understand how she could say this with a straight face.  Or how the media could repeat it.

This is like saying that the decision of the captain of the Titanic to leave the bridge and run the vessel at 20 to 21 knots through an iceberg field was also evidence of strong leadership.

And it completely ignores the question of why was he selected in the first place and didn’t someone check his social media?

That her line was run by the media and not subject to instant ridicule is evidence that our media market is poorly served by right wing commentators.

The incident further highlights the problem National has with candidate selection.  It is as if it is a hollowed out shell that is nothing more than the combination of funding from the extreme right and depleted local organisations that have been taken over by individual interests and those who think that either fundamentalist Christianity or Trumpian slogans are the way to win elections.

28 comments on “Stephen Jack is cancelled by the National Party ”

  1. Well it is about time some were outed, as the bumps caused by problems pushed under the carpet are a growing for the Nats. A nice show of disgust by some…. but a little latefrown to be genuine.imo

    • left for dead 1.1

      Carpet sweeper for the party here,they are cheap bastards," I've had the same broom for thirty five years"although it has had twenty-five new heads and about the same handles.Sarc

  2. Ngungukai 2

    Not sure National cancelled Jack I think he cancelled himself and shot himself in both feet at the same time.

  3. Roy Cartland 3

    "Out of context"?

    What's the appropriate context for sharing this kind of crap? Aside from condemning it? Can anyone think of one?

    The sad bit isn't the cancelling, it's that we had to ever hear from the twerp in the first place.

  4. DS 4

    I live in Taieri.

    As a rule of thumb, 70% of it is urban, centred around South Dunedin. The remaining 30% is rural Clutha – which while National-leaning, is not ultraviolet the way rural Southland is. Jack is a Clutha farmer – and based off his press-release after the selection, seemed obsessed with going after the 30% and basically ignoring the 70%. He was always a recipe for a very good Labour performance in the seat, though at the time I wondered whether this was just an attempt by National to mitigate the work done by Labour's Ingrid Leary on making Clutha redder (she spends a lot of time in the rural part of the seat).

    What I actually think has happened is this.

    After the 2020 result, National realised that the rural component was not yet enough for them to make Taieri competitive (2020 candidate Liam Kernaghan actually managed a respectable Tory performance given the nationwide result, but because no-one in the North Island understands this part of the country, the Nats overestimated their chances). So they didn't bother foisting an import on the seat in 2023. That left the local Nats to their own devices.

    The Nat presence in urban Dunedin is vanishingly small (Dunedin is the reddest city in the country, after all), so you wound up with the local membership being dominated by Clutha. Specifically, Clutha farmers. The farming lobby has arguably been going a bit strange in recent years, especially towards vaccines. So when the time came to pick a candidate? The farmers – without much Head Office supervision – picked one of their own. Hence Jack.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Thanks that is very helpful. I thought that Kernaghan was a good candidate and I am surprised he was not reselected. Did he not put his hand up?

  5. This is insightful

    It is as if it is a hollowed out shell that is nothing more than the combination of funding from the extreme right and depleted local organisations that have been taken over by individual interests and those who think that either fundamentalist Christianity or Trumpian slogans are the way to win elections.

    Agree, National is flailing, they seem to have lost their identity as a mass popularity party. Act has hoovered up the austerity-loving will-to-power Randians. The socially-conservative working class seem to recognise that they (we) are better off with Labour. So what does National have left? Disaffected farmers and big business, who will wear a faux conservative suit if it helps to sucker in more votes.

    The Nat's "new" old ideas of cheap labour, throwing out regulations, and fantasies about free trade, have signalled a return to their roots – it's the landlord class declaring war on the people of Aotearoa

  6. Mike the Lefty 6

    Jack's reaction was pure Trump – everyone else's fault, not mine.

    At least there will be one less National oaf in parliament after the next election.

    • DS 6.1

      Actually no. Jack was never going to win Taieri. This is just poor candidate selection for an unwinnable seat.

      (The seat known as Taieri would be better described as 'Dunedin South and Clutha').

      • Mike the Lefty 6.1.1

        That goes with my previous comments that when National select anyone other than the white farmer boy/professional girl candidate for a seat then it shows they regard winning it as a long shot. That's why candidates like Melissa Lee end up standing in unwinnable seats (against Jacinda Adern in Mt Albert) and they only get in if National get a high party vote. Why Asian voters vote National is a mystery to me – National treats them like voter cannon fodder and you would think they might get a bit tired of it eventually.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Sure, National lost a low level MP who was too stupid to control his social media. At least it wasn't a high powered cabinet minister who couldn't keep the confidence of his team I guess.

  8. Thinker 8

    It does make one wonder, too, about National's "acceptable mistakes" policy…

    Simon Uffindell, who physically abused his schoolmates then went on to scare his female flatmate of his physical potential, is the kind of good-old kiwi bloke worth giving more chances at local leadership, Nat-style.

    Stephen Jack, in my opinion probably a local legend in his own mind and not exactly Churchillian in his wordsmithing (face it, given the population of rural Taeri, there isn't likely a steady stream of 19 year old girls waiting outside the shearing shed for a middle aged self-proclaimed womaniser), is dumpster fodder.

    What's the criteria for a second chance? Being handy with your fists?

    • Belladonna 8.1

      I'd say 'already being an MP' is the criteria — much harder to push (or persuade to jump) someone who is not already in parliament.

      Also the time since the offence (20 years or so, vs 2 years)

    • Tiger Mountain 8.2

      While “bed leg basher” Mr Uffindell must be near the top the list of dodgy Natzo candidates in recent times, there was another odd one in Northland in 2011 when Mike Sabin was selected.

      Police officer Sabin had previously been transferred to the “Siberia” of NZ in police circles–Kaitaia Station–for reasons not to be mentioned here. Anyway one of his defeated National opponents–Mark Tan–a “modern farmer” later surfaced as Principal of Abundant Life Christian School. During COVID he took a sabbatical due to his anti vaccination views, and his photo appeared in the Northland Age throwing bricks at the Police during the Parliamentary grounds occupation last year!

      Any party can run into candidate quality problems as they reach the bottom of the list or hard to win seats, but really, National certainly seems to have more than its share of undesirables.

      • Graeme 8.2.1

        It would be kind of excusable if the candidate selection issues were restricted to the bottom of the list and hard to win seats, but it's plainly evident in some of National's safest seats.

        We've seen the strange re-selection of Barbara Kuriger in Taranaki yesterday and we've had three MPs in quick succession in Southland from dubious selections for the first two, and I'm wondering how long the incumbent is going to last.

        • Incognito

          Agree on Kuriger’s re-selection. Is the talent pool that shallow or is National dogmatically sticking to BAU and the Devil it knows?

  9. That_guy 9

    Seems like a charmer. But leaving aside the content of the jokes, my issue is the basic competence of the National party.

    They want to run the entire country but seem unable to organise a very very simple process: candidate vetting.

    • Ngungukai 9.1

      National looks to be in a Buggars Muddle at the moment.

      • weka 9.1.1

        please check the spelling in your username and email address, as you are getting caught in the new commenter filter.

  10. AB 10

    Probably it's a mistake to focus on the candidate selection process. There's a bigger problem – the National party seems to attract a lot of deeply unpleasant people and no candidate vetting process will be able to prevent some sneaking through.

    • Shanreagh 10.1

      Yes AB, that is insightful.

      the National party seems to attract a lot of deeply unpleasant people

      Some are not picked up at selection and often go on to win a seat in Parliament because of tribal voting. We have had some out their unpleasant selves but others remain.

      I'm thinking of Micahel Woodhouse as a current example.

  11. Christopher Randal 11

    He's a farmer and by all accounts, a radical one. Farmers believe they can do no wrong.

  12. Mike the Lefty 12

    The only safe joke you can make these days is about old white men. Anything else will eventually come to haunt you and kill your political career. It appears that Stephen Jack's children tried to warn him, but he disregarded their advice.

    • pat 12.1

      Lol..sad but far too close to the truth

    • observer 12.2

      Thank you for your call to Newstalk Zzzzzzzzzz … we love to hear from closed minds who somehow miss 90% of today's comedy.

      Recommended: YouTube. Ask the kids how to find it.

  13. observer 13

    We have no idea where Jack would have been on the party list, because it hasn't been decided yet. So it's a mistake to assume he couldn't have become an MP regardless of the Taieri result.

    This happens every 3 years, and the media and public don't seem to learn. There will be MPs in unwinnable seats, who are elected from way down the list. Then somebody turns out to be a terrible MP (see countless previous examples) and it's the first we learn of who they are.

    Always study the list, folks. That's where the news stories come from.

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