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This is awkward

Written By: - Date published: 7:51 am, March 6th, 2022 - 85 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, facebook, Media, national, same old national - Tags:

Remember when Chris Luxon joined all other leaders and state that National would not meet with the protesters until they stopped trespassing and making threats?  It appears that things are not as black and white as he presented.

On February 15, 2022 Radio New Zealand reported his stance in this article.  It said:

National leader Christopher Luxon has backed the prime minister’s decision to avoid protesters outside Parliament, saying he too would not negotiate with them.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday flatly rejected the protesters’ request for a meeting, pointing out some carried signs calling for the death of politicians.

Heading into a caucus meeting at Parliament this morning, Luxon told media it was difficult to engage with the group given their “anti-social, abusive” behaviour.

“We respect people’s right to protest but we expect them do it within the rules – and that’s not been happening. We are a party of law and order,” Luxon said.

“When you come here to talk about freedoms and then you impinge the freedoms of others … that’s not on.”

Chris Bishop was even more resolute.  From the same article:

National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop this morning told reporters the full caucus had agreed not to meet or engage with the protesters.

“Look out the window: You can see signs in chalk that say ‘hang ’em high’,” Bishop said.

“I don’t seriously understand how [protesters] can expect MPs to go and engage with people who want to lynch us.”

But it appears that things were not as straight forward as had been presented and National was in fact negotiating with the protesters.  From Radio New Zealand yesterday:

National MP Maureen Pugh has claimed members of the party were talking with protesters on an almost daily basis.

However, the National Party said no one was sent from the party to talk to the anti-mandate protesters camped out on Parliament’s lawn for three weeks.

Pugh’s comments came in response to a member of the public on Facebook who questioned why the National Party had ignored the protesters at Parliament.

“I always read your posts but can see nothing about why you all decided to not to talk to the ones on the ground. Why did you side with the Ardern government why? Luxton [sic] and the party you represent did nothing,” said the social media post, by a person who according to her Facebook profile lives in the West Coast-Tasman electorate which Pugh has unsuccessfully contested since 2014.

In response, Pugh claimed “we had one or two members in there talking with protestors on an almost daily basis”.

“We have no control over what the Speaker does in relation to the grounds, and certainly not what the PM does. Biggest challenge was the crowd itself deciding who the spokespeople were who would be speaking for the various groups who were represented. By the time they identified them the crowd and the messages were very mixed. Then we wrote to the only email address we had and said we would enter dialogue as soon as they stopped the unlawful aspects to their protest.”

She later clarified she meant party members and not MPs.

During the protests, National Party leader Christopher Luxon said he would not be negotiating with the protesters, who ranged from “white supremacists to Māori separatists and everything in-between”.

It was part of a united front from MPs of all parties in disapproving of the protest which occupied Parliament’s lawn and the surrounding streets for 23 days and ultimately ended in a violent riot.

Attempts to contact Pugh were unsuccessful.

Pugh has previously shown a propensity to side with the anti vaccination movement, having prevaricated over being vaccinated herself and then hurriedly deleting a pro protest post she put up on facebook.

This puts Luxon’s leadership under some pressure and after a period of relative stability within National’s caucus shows again that their ability to organise a piss up in a brewery is not assured.

And it is somewhat duplicitous.  Publicly refusing to meet with the protestors because of law and order considerations while at the same time privately meeting with them suggests a party commitment to the rule of law as well as truth that is flexible depending on the circumstances.

I hope the media ask Luxon the following questions:

  1. Which members of the Party met with the protest leaders and on what dates?
  2. When did he first find out about these meetings?
  3. What is he going to do with Maureen Pugh?

Simon Bridges must be grinning from ear to ear.  This is yet further vindication of his privately expressed view about Pugh.  I would not be surprised if she was considering spending more time with her family.

85 comments on “This is awkward ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Far be it for me to defend Luxon but I imagine he can claim plausible deniability – he said his team would not negotiate with them, his party members aren't in the caucus team and talking isn't necessarily negotiating anyway.

    With regard to any competence-challenged team members, the pc ethos is to encourage them to do better. Booting them out is old-fashioned. He could establish re-education camps for them, like the Chinese.

    • Hongi Ika 1.1

      Evidently Chrome Dome worked at McDonalds when he was at University, a step up from the Fish & Chip Wrapper from Morrinsville.

      • CrimzonGhost 1.1.1

        Nah, fish & Chiies, or a burger from a Chippy much more filling, mostly more economical and you support an independent family run and operated business. Better that than support a McDonalds corporate monstrosity that treats staff as product and sucks money oversea from the franchisee fees.

    • mac1 1.2

      There's 'talking to' and there's 'talking with', and then there's what Pugh said also, "we would enter dialogue".

      You talk 'to' someone is having a chat. You talk 'with' someone, you're 'having talks'. Pugh said the latter, meaning having talks, and confirmed this meaning with the 'dialogue' reference.

      This is why words are important, and why some politicians, John Key was a master at this, use 'weasel' words in such a slippery fashion so as to create an out if called to account for their statements.

      I see Hongi Ika at 7.1 makes similar observations.

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    Today's posts by Pugh follow a Facebook post last month in which she expressed her thanks to the protesters.

    Pugh later edited the post before deleting it entirely, saying she did not know some of the protesters were anti-vaccination.

    The former Westland District Mayor was one of the last National MPs to get vaccinated, only getting her first dose in October, according to reporting by the New Zealand Herald.

    Her caucus colleague, Whanganui List MP Harete Hipango, attended a protest organised by antivax group Voices For Freedom, before later claiming she was unaware of the message behind the protest.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/462799/national-mp-party-members-were-meeting-with-parliament-protesters

    Huh? Did not know…and Unaware.? Yea right. And Mr Luxon’s problems….continue.

    • rod 2.1

      It's beginning to look like the National Party's finger prints are all over these protests. imho. Thank you Ms Pugh.

  3. Muttonbird 3

    And on the day of his big presidential speech. How unfortunate.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    Pugh knew but didn't share with Luxon.

    Tight ship.

  5. Coventrie 5

    "Plausible deniability" for Luxon, yes, plus providing a perfect fuel for the agitators who all along would have been stoked with the "we know something you don't know" feeling.

  6. alwyn 6

    I would say that there are almost certainly a number of Labour Party members who have applauded Putin for his invasion of The Ukraine. They are probably backing away now of course but when it was looming they may have said that he had to do it because western countries were trying to get Russia surrounded by NATO countries and so on.

    It is rather hard to check of course as recently I have found it difficult to find people who will admit to being members. People who asserted proudly that they were members back in the early Clark days, or in the last six months of 2020 seem to have gone very quiet on the matter of any party affiliation. I guess it is understandable of course.

    I am not going to argue however that the Parliamentary Party are on Putin's side though. At some stage they may make up their mind on the matter and we can judge them but at the moment they are still on the "On one hand ….. on the other hand .. on the third hand … " treadmill.

    [Very weak attempted diversion. How about sticking to the subject of the post – MS]

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      Seems you're on the wrong thread, Alwyn.

      Or wrong track.

      Maybe wrong planet?

    • Dennis Frank 6.2

      This is awkward, Alwyn, but perhaps a little too early in the morning for thinking hard so a lapse into whataboutism is understandable.

      What you could try is a venture into the topics that the Nats were exploring with the protestors. Even without inside knowledge it's a fruitful area of speculation. For instance, the grounds of parliament could be a commons.

      If so, the doctrine of trespass could not be made to apply. It would be a point of law to debate, right? English common law around public land etc. Trespass applying only to private land. Not being a lawyer, I can only guess at the validity of these points. But I can see how the Nats could have been encouraging the protestors to stop whining & stand up for themselves by means of a class action…

      • Patricia Bremner 6.2.1

        We are not in England, and we have little in common with boorish Boris who blatantly ignores the laws… except when they suit him…. like him you mean?

        No we will find a way, and it won't involve incarceration and physical damage. Dissent is already allowed, but anarchy is not.

        It would be interesting and informative to know who were infiltrating agitating and keeping issues on the boil. Film over the days may unravel that part of the puzzle.

        • Dennis Frank 6.2.1.1

          We derive our justice system from England. Consequently we inherited English common law & application of the commons principle to public land. I've noticed in the past how elements of English common law are still cited in court cases…

      • Hongi Ika 6.2.2

        Someone or somebodies were enflamming the DUMB LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT, the majority of them require some mental health assessment as they are not balanced, I am guessing a lot of them are on prescription medicines or partaking in illegal substances.

        • Tricledrown 6.2.2.1

          Geeze Hongi Ika like watching Fox News,Qanon,infowars.

          Like your style but how do bring those people back from their rabbit holes.

          With so many people pushed out of society living on the fringes.

          Homelessness people living in cars , mobile homes ,tents and on cardboard .

          These people have no power other than the power of sabotage.

          Until we do something quickly about ridiculous rents / housing stable communities.

          More inequality is going to happen.

          Gangs getting bigger More powerful.

          More drug and alcohol problems.

          More divisiveness in society.

          More extreme politics the reputation of NZ as a safe place is going going gone?

          This govt has 18 months when Covid first hit NZ. This govt found better housing for nearly all homeless people.

          Why can't that be done now.

          Micro homes, campervans, are better than nothing.

          Luxon from the ladder pullers party has got criticism right housing is out of control and hasn't got any better under Labour.

          While the new build consents are up to 60 ,000 per Yr that needs to be sustained for years to make a difference.

          Once the borders open the number of Kiwis returning,seasonal workers and migrants requiring accomodation is going to put more strain on housing.

          No easy solution in sight.

          The next print Grant Roberston does should have a massive budget for affordable housing direct funding rather than through banks who pushed up prices by bidding wars amongst existing stocks.

          The big banks should only be allowed to use printed money for new builds.

  7. Peter 7

    Mediawatch on RNZ this morning had a bit from Maureen Pugh at NZ on Air's annual review last week.

    She talked about the public maintaining trust in what is presented in the media. Mmm, can I believe the stuff in the media about Pugh not knowing some protestors were anti-vaccination? What can I believe in the versions of stories from Pugh and Luxon?

    C'mon Maureen, let's talk about trust.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch/audio/2018833071/broadcasting-flying-blind-on-public-media-plan

    • Hongi Ika 7.1

      National Party Politican's all struggle with the truth, remember the mealy mouthed John Key, he was the master of deflection and untruth's. No doubt learnt the technique in his Merchant Banking career where most of them would struggle to lie straight in bed.

  8. pat 8

    Am quite sure some National Party members were in touch with the protesters….there were probably some there….as its likely there were also members of Labour, the Greens, Act and NZFirst.

    Pugh's problem appears to be a propensity to be transparent…..not at all a trait appreciated by the political class of any party.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 8.1

      lol, she says what she thinks…..such as it is.

      • pat 8.1.1

        Thats one one of viewing it…..another is she speaks honestly without regard to political fallout.

        What do we desire of our politicians?

        • PsyclingLeft.Always 8.1.1.1

          Pugh revealed in 2016 that she does not believe in pharmaceutical drugs, saying that she never takes any kind of medication and has only ever given her children chiropractic treatments. She said that nature delivers whatever people need, and that "there's nothing wrong with getting a cold or getting a flu – if you have a healthy immune system you can deal with it."[27][28]

          The following day she wrote "I do support the use of pharmaceuticals, such as Panadol and anaesthetic"

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maureen_Pugh

          And its her prerogative to…..change her mind the next day …apparently.
          I do see that she has also been struck by lightning…twice !

          • Matiri 8.1.1.1.1

            Three times!

            “National MP Maureen Pugh has been struck by lightning three times, she’s revealed – once so powerfully it cooked her flesh and another time leaving her like “a vegetable” for six weeks.”

            https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/09/national-mp-maureen-pugh-reveals-she-s-been-struck-by-lightning-three-times.html

          • pat 8.1.1.1.2

            And you apparently think thats an undesirable position ….as is your right, However are those statements necessarily contradictory or even outrageous?

            And if she is happy to voice such publicly then you at least have the opportunity to decide whether you think they are sensible or not and whether you would vote for her.

            She could of course express no opinions on anything ever….and still be elected.

            • PsyclingLeft.Always 8.1.1.1.2.1

              She could of course express no opinions on anything ever….and still be elected.

              Sad but true. Bit like Bill English The Ol’ Double Dipper from Dipton. Was said a blue painted fence post would still have been elected : )

              • Hongi Ika

                Bill could have danced naked down the Main Street of Gore on a Friday Night and he would have still been elected with a crushing majority.

        • Robert Guyton 8.1.1.2

          Pugh, the epitome of political brilliance?

          Perhaps…

          Can't help thinking of Treasure Island though.

        • Patricia Bremner 8.1.1.3

          What do we require of our politicians?

          Well most of us hope the National Party choose better representatives than the previous lot. An amalgam of associations actions and stances which have led to many a swift cover up by the party machine or mea culpa or convictions. They are hardly lilies. Goodfellow's choices have a checkered history.devil

    • Robert Guyton 8.2

      What I mostly heard from antivaxxers is that they'd abandoned their support for any political party and were waiting expectantly for the party of their dreams; one that championed their beliefs, to appear.

      • weka 8.2.1

        this is part of the political naivety. We're all waiting for the part of our dreams, it's just not how things work at the moment.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 8.2.2

        Their "Dreams/Beliefs"..going by what I have seen/read(The Lists ?) argh…. and "The party of their dreams" quite the Nightmare IMO.

      • Hongi Ika 8.2.3

        The Destiny Church Political Wing could be right up their alley, religious, indigenous and politically savvy.

      • felix 8.2.4

        That's not just anti-vax people Robert, that's probably most of us. The number of voters who actually turn up on polling day enthusiastic about voting for a party they believe in is increasingly and vanishingly small.

        The best most can hope for is to settle on a least worst option.

    • Hongi Ika 8.3

      Winston and NZF definitely had the inside running on what was going on as Winston predicted it was going to end in a riot.

      • Tricledrown 8.3.1

        His appearance gave credibility to protestors so Winston could pick that scab

        • Hongi Ika 8.3.1.1

          Winston loves an audience and it was a good platform to launch his comeback along with picking up some disaffected voters, also aiming at the right wing provincial vote.

      • Dennis Frank 8.3.2

        He blew a wonderful opportunity. Imagine watching him leading them in a haka on the tv news. His mana would have shot up again. Not with the 95%, of course, but 5% is all he needs to get back into parliament…

    • mary_a 8.4

      Pat (8) … Did you miss seeing the NZ First "representative" there at the protest a couple of weeks ago, not wearing a mask while giving them support, even shaking hands with some of the occupiers?

      • pat 8.4.1

        Ah Winston…I didn't see it but had heard….but it wasn't MPs (current or ex) Pugh was referring to…it was party members.

  9. PsyclingLeft.Always 9

    He also attacked socialism as a political system, saying it created misery.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/luxon-attacks-labour-socialism-state-nation-address

    Mr Luxon…..sayin’ it how he sees it ! Just wondering….was he also, like Maureen ,struck by lightning? Might explain the hair loss…and brain fry : )

    • Hongi Ika 9.1

      Is Mr Luxon a Neoliberal ?

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 9.1.1

        Well….I'd say he is….whatever will catch a vote! And I read from my link above…he also raises (the spectre? ) of Blinglish again .

        Anyway….methinks he's got his work cut out dealing with his Party "members" brain farts : )

        • Hongi Ika 9.1.1.1

          Bill making a come back interesting ?

          • Barfly 9.1.1.1.1

            Luxon was referencing English's "social investment" idea

            "save taxpayers money in the long run ".

            • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Cuts to social services now and claim it works better targetted…but in the future.

              It was just a talking point as they never really worked out what they wanted …apart from cutting social spending

    • Tricledrown 9.2

      With out Socialism he wouldn't have an airline to laud himself with.

      How many times has Labour bailed out Air NZ.

      Comparing Russia to NZ.

      Then blaming inflation on Labour while Covid is the main culprit.

      We have all had to make sacrifices in this pandemic trying to put the blame on a govt which has done better than every other country shows he is just another nit picker.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 9.2.1

        The old Privatise profit, Socialise loss. Same as ever. And when he was in Moscow…did he bother to concern himself about the Wealth money copters heading offshore via Russian oligarchs ? It wuz the Market !

      • Hongi Ika 9.2.2

        Tricle the guy is not smart, he is just parroting what Crosby Textor want him to say, a good journalist would have him on the ropes in no time, Corporate Boofin without the rat cunning of John Key.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 9.2.3

        Socialist Fibre broadband

        The former local lines and exchanges part of Telecom rebranded as Chorus is now 63% government owned as it has been from its beginning when the National government but $1 bill into it for 45% and 15% split amoungst ACC and Cullen fund ( who exited more recently)

  10. felix 10

    So one of them said they wouldn't meet with protesters while they were trespassing.

    The other said they would only enter dialogue when the unlawful aspects were stopped.

    The only thing embarrassing about these quite reasonable and consistent positions is that they were expressed by the opposition instead of the govt.

  11. Incognito 11

    There are two types of people who speak up & out: the ones to whom you should pay attention and the ones whom you should ignore. Luxon and a few other previous ignorant Nat leaders made the mistake of apparently ignoring the ones that should be ignored. This is not a rookie mistake by Luxon, IMO, even though he’s a political novice with no points other than bullet points chalked up.

  12. Tricledrown 12

    Luxon is trying the same approach as the protestors blame the govt for everything.

  13. observer 13

    This can't be casually brushed aside as "Sure, individual National party members might have had conversations with protesters, people from other parties did too, on their own". Yes, they probably did.

    Not the point. Pugh's message is explicit: "We had … we wrote … we said." We.

    A National MP is adamant that the party was doing this. With an MP's knowledge and approval. And they went to some effort, repeatedly.

    Now, I'd guess that Pugh was not acting on Luxon's instructions. (Of course I don't know, it's only an working assumption that Luxon is not a complete idiot).

    So at the very least, he has a rogue MP who ignores the leader's clear, public position. Or worse, the "we" represents more than Pugh.

    Again (for the "whatabouters"), whether you/I think National should have been talking to the occupiers is irrelevant. The leader said they weren't. But he's not in charge.

  14. Patricia Bremner 14

    Perhaps Luxon could sing…"Maureen Maureen please don't take my light' (apologies to Dolly.)

  15. greywarshark 15

    What says Luxon – Pugh? Phew!

  16. Ad 16

    Luxon set out his 2023 lines in his speech today.

    He will move tax thresholds.

    He will cut the $14b light rail project.

    He will kill the Three Waters programme.

    He will reverse taxes including the Auckland Fuel Tax and the 10 year bright line tax.

    He will go back to the Bill English programme of further pulling welfare recipients off welfare and onto work.

    He certainly knows his base well.

    • Muttonbird 16.1

      He will go back to the Bill English programme of further pulling welfare recipients off welfare and onto work.

      Is that what Bill English's social investment program was all about? No-one seemed to know at the time of his demise.

      If this is what it means then presumably there will be a lot of incentive for NZ businesses to hire NZ people on the dole over imported cheap labour.

      How will NZ businesses react to that?

    • Barfly 16.2

      "He will go back to the Bill English programme of further pulling welfare recipients off welfare and onto work.

      He certainly knows his base well."

      Yes he does – from the article

      but Labour's approach was to "spend billions on welfare payments that only succeed in making poverty marginally less painful. They're reinforcing learned helplessness, not supporting Kiwis to become self-sufficient".

      "It was not delivering results, the number of people on benefits had increased. It's not caring or kind. It's crippling."

      I am absolutely confident that Luxon intends to cut billions from social welfare budget to 'help' the poor. sick and disabled become more "self sufficient" I am also confident that benefit sanctions, punishments et cetera would be increased if he achieves power. While it is obvious that Luxon does not have the sheer rat cunning of Key I believe they share a contempt for and a desire to punish the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. I do not wish these men any happiness angryangryangry

    • pat 16.3

      Base wont do it…but tax cuts for the middle ground has always worked in the past, and probably will again

    • Kiwijoker 16.4

      Certainly a diminishing return there.

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  • Securing the wellbeing of Pacific communities
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  • Government delivers timely support for whānau
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  • Government delivers critical infrastructure
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  • A health system that takes care of Māori
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  • Investing in better health services
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  • Budget highlights underlying strength of economy in face of global headwinds
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  • Budget 2022: A secure future in difficult times
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  • Budget 2022: A secure future
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  • Health Minister to attend World Health Assembly in Geneva
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  • New efforts to counter illegal timber trade
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  • Deaths in New Zealand lower than expected so far during the pandemic
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  • New law helps secure New Zealand’s maritime domain
    Legislation that will help prevent serious criminal offending at sea, including trafficking of humans, drugs, wildlife and arms, has passed its third reading in Parliament today, Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta announced. “Today is a milestone in allowing us to respond to the increasingly dynamic and complex maritime security environment facing ...
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  • Trade and Export Growth Minister to travel to Bangkok for APEC
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  • Government welcomes historic pay-equity deal
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  • Government delivers new ICU space at Christchurch Hospital
    Health Minister Andrew Little opened a new intensive care space for up to 12 ICU-capable beds at Christchurch Hospital today, funded from the Government’s Rapid Hospital Improvement Programme. “I’m pleased to help mark this milestone. This new space will provide additional critical care support for the people of Canterbury and ...
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  • Next steps for specialist mental health and addiction services
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  • 195,000 children set to benefit from more mental health support
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  • Belarusian leaders and defence entities targeted under latest round of sanctions
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  • Queen's Platinum Jubilee Tree planting event at Government House
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