Bullied out of Parliament | The Jackal

5 Jul 2020

Bullied out of Parliament

I think we can all agree that the mainstream media in New Zealand has a very different set of rules for the right wing compared to the left. While Labour and Green Party politicians don’t seem to be able to fart without it becoming a sackable offence, National and Act MPs appear to get away with the most appalling behaviour without any real consequence or scrutiny by the MSM.

Take for instance the recent racist press release by National MP Hamish Walker, which barely touched the news cycle. If he were a left wing MP, every single nuance of his intolerance towards Indians, Pakistanis and Koreans would still be on high rotate. The mainstream media would be demanding his immediate dismissal, and then relish in and report on every detail of just how that transpired.

The MSM would then criticise National’s untested leader, Todd Muller, no matter what the outcome. But because Walker is a right wing MP, journalists aren’t demanding any accountability at all. Generally they aren’t even reporting on the response from those who were unfairly targeted by the National Party's prejudiced propaganda.

Unfortunately there are numerous other examples of similar bias shown by our so-called fourth estate, which has essentially become a propaganda tool for the right wing. Take for instance the case of Clare Curran being bullied out of Parliament by National Party MPs and their dishonest attack dogs. You’ve really got to ask why aren’t the MSM demanding that her tormenters resign like they would if the shoe was on the other foot?

Yesterday, the Spinoff reported:

‘I physically felt like I was going to die’: Clare Curran opens up on politics, toxicity and trauma 

During an exclusive interview in her Auckland hotel room in June, Curran brings out a plastic folder of grainy images from a debate held before the National Party’s Mainland Region conference in April 2012, attended by MPs including Nick Smith, Michael Woodhouse, Jacqui Dean and Eric Roy. They were posted in a Facebook group that was “not quite private”, and later sent to her. One of them shows Woodhouse posing with a bright blue toilet seat emblazoned with a photograph of Curran. 
The toilet seat was apparently the trophy presented to the winning debating team, headed by author and former broadcaster Jim Hopkins, a Waitaki District councillor. The moot: “That South Dunedin is turning blue.” Hopkins says “one of the Dunedin MPs” – presumably Woodhouse, a Dunedin based list MP, and not Curran who represented Dunedin South – had been given the seat after Curran was labelled “potty mouth”. She’d told the Otago Daily Times that KiwiRail’s decision to sell the Hillside Engineering workshops in Dunedin meant “KiwiRail and the government have pissed on Dunedin”. Hopkins says the moot referenced both politics and language. 
Some might call it toilet humour, but Curran says it’s worse than dirty politics – it’s just nasty. “I was so shocked when I saw it I have never been able to speak of it publicly because I felt embarrassed. I still feel quite traumatised by it … I imagine whether they have used it or not and it’s a sense of humiliation and weirdness. There’s something sick about that. People who are prepared to do that … What else are they prepared to do? They were literally encouraging people to piss on me.” 
Curran says she was a top target for the likes of rightwing blogger Cameron Slater and lobbyist and commentator Matthew Hooton throughout her four terms. “They hated me.” In some of his many posts about her, Slater described Curran as “something dreadful” and “dumber than a bag of hammers”. On May 10, before deleting his Twitter account when he began working for new National Party leader Todd Muller, Hooton wrote that he had blocked Curran on the platform “because she is a dishonest idiot and it adds nothing to read anything she says”.

Clearly putting a duly elected officials face on a toilet seat is a despicable and sackable offence. Likewise, the promotion of such hateful material on Facebook should also lead to dismissals from office. Contrast the lack of any real response to that atrocious act with how the MSM have hounded Labour MP David Clark out of the health portfolio for riding a bike.

Contrast also Clark's minor indiscretions with those of his predecessor, Michael Woodhouse. As well as being a woeful Minister who underfunded our health system so it became terribly run down and indebted, Woodhouse has more recently been getting away with rampant disinformation about a homeless person he claims attained free lodging at a COVID-19 isolation facility in Auckland.

Where exactly is the journalistic integrity on this issue; let alone any accountability from within the National Party itself?

There's no question that Clark had to resign specifically because of the mainstream medias unbalanced reporting. He didn’t want to be a distraction because he knew biased journalists would mercilessly hound Labour right up until the election if he didn’t go. An ‘open weeping wound’ they called him, while largely ignoring National’s campaign of dishonest politicking over COVID-19.

Apparently National Party MPs are allowed to bring Parliament into disrepute with impunity, while Labour MPs aren’t even allowed to go for a walk on a beach.

So instead of holding the bullies to account, we have journalists like Andrea Vance pretending to care about the environment and having a go at the Greens because NZ First has been a roadblock on progress…we have clearly prejudiced political editors like Tova O’Brien trying to criticise the PM because Clark apparently wasn’t sacked quickly enough, and we have NZ Herald hacks like Audrey Young trying to argue that Labour supporters, and not biased journalists, are to blame for Clark's resignation.

Surely we need to call time out on the partisan politics while COVID-19 threatens not just our livelihoods, but also our very existence. Because if we aren’t working together for the common good of defeating this insidious virus, and we simply allow the right wing and MSM to distract and continuously attempt to trip the Government up in these trying times, New Zealand has lost and the bullies have won…and that’s not something any Kiwi, no matter where they come from, should accept lying down.