Chris Bishop swallows a dead rat | The Jackal

29 Aug 2021

Chris Bishop swallows a dead rat

You’ve got to wonder why Chris Bishop decided for a career in politics? It’s obviously not because of some sort of altruistic belief system. After all the former tobacco lobbyist clearly doesn’t give a damn about helping other people to better their lives. Instead, according to his own statements, Bishop is in Parliament to make it more difficult for the current Labour led Government to govern.

Often touted as being an integral member of the National Party's liberal wing, Bishop's most notable transgression was when he got caught using Snapchat to send inappropriate messages to teenage girls. At the time Bishop said he was simply campaigning on behalf of the National Party. But it's doubtful the parents of the numerous girls he contacted would have complained if that were truly the case.

However despite many questions going unanswered during that controversy, it appears Bishop’s position within the blue "team" has in recent weeks become even more tenuous, mainly because he inadvertently undermined the authority of his own ignominious leader, Judith Collins.

Apparently Crusher became furious during a recent meeting because leaked messages revealed Bishop's lack of support for her caucus decision to blanket vote against a bill banning gay conversion therapy...legislation that passed its first reading despite National's chaotic opposition to it. The National Party clearly lost the moral high ground as well as the debate, and Crusher was not pleased that the party's disunity had played out so tragically in the public domain.

On Thursday, the NZ Herald reported:

Knives out in National, as caucus struggles to show unity despite obvious division

Collins was unhappy with the way some MPs had publicly suggested they were less than supportive of the caucus' decision to vote against a ban on conversion therapy.

Collins allegedly unloaded on one of the most high-profile detractors, Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop.

Bishop, along with Nicola Willis and Erica Stanford, is considered a standard-bearer of the caucus' liberal wing.

One source told the Herald that Collins "completely lost it" at Bishop. Another source described her tirade as "f***ing ballistic".

Following the conference, Collins wanted to remind her caucus that becoming a member of Cabinet means swallowing a lot of dead rats. A minister won't always get it their own way, but they have to sell the Cabinet line all the same.

Bishop's great sin on the conversion therapy issue vote was a leaked exchange between himself and a woman, where he revealed he was unhappy with the way the party voted on conversion therapy.

The Herald was told Collins was furious about the way the party's conversion therapy spat had spilled out into the public domain – and one source said it would not be surprising if disciplinary action followed it.


Of course Bishop shouldn’t be considered admirable for his views on gay conversion therapy, because he didn’t actually intend for his lack of conviction to be leaked to the public. Instead, Bishop was happy for voters to believe that his silence showed support for his party’s repressive and thoughtless political direction concerning LGBT matters.

Collins set a low bar for taking disciplinary action against her caucus. Former leader Todd Muller was forced to announce his retirement after being outed for briefing the media.

But unlike Muller, who had already retreated from frontline politics, Bishop is one of National's top performers, and, as Covid-19 spokesperson has done a good job at rebuilding National's tarnished reputation on the most significant political issue of the day.

The problem with Thomas Coughlan’s argument here is that Bishop hasn’t really performed very well at all. In fact he was the ringleader in National’s recent disastrous Twitter misinformation campaign concerning an alleged lack of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots.

Over the last few weeks, National and their propagandists have incorrectly argued ad nauseam that the booster shots weren’t the same Pfizer vaccine formula that’s currently being administered throughout New Zealand and the world, which is entirely wrong and made National look like a bunch of ignorant and unread fools!

On Wednesday, Newshub reported:

Coronavirus: Scientists correct National Party tweet accused of spreading 'misinformation' about COVID-19 vaccines

Alison Campbell, honorary fellow and biological sciences lecturer at the University of Waikato said boosters were a "nudge to remind the immune system about what it's already learned".

"It's an additional dose of an existing vaccine. The pertussis booster I had a couple of years ago would be an example, as is a third dose of the existing Pfizer vaccine. Something that's been reworked to cover additional variants is not."

Newshub has contacted the National Party for a response. At the time of writing on Wednesday morning, the tweet hadn't been removed or corrected. Several Twitter users accused the party of spreading "misinformation". 

Although Bishop's gay conversion therapy debacle was bad, it’s the numerous factually incorrect statements by right-wing politicians and their media lackeys that is likely losing National support at the moment.

The opposition’s failure, along with an effective Covid-19 strategy, has effectively provided Jacinda Ardern with 85% public support for her Government's scientifically based response to the pandemic. This success makes National’s idiotic blunder concerning the 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccine already ordered (including around 3.6 million potential booster shots) even more damaging to Bishop's credibility on all things Covid-19.

This also begs the question, why exactly should the voting public take the National Party seriously when their campaigning is such a complete shambles? I mean how exactly is the National Party going to hold the Government to account when they cannot even get the basic facts about Covid-19 vaccines right?

Despite this incredibly embarrassing brain fart by Chris Bishop, he surprisingly hasn't lost his position as National’s Covid-19 spokesperson. Instead, Crusher took away his portfolio as Shadow Leader of the House, apparently because Michael Woodhouse of all people can do a better job.

Talk about Chris Bishop swallowing a very large dead rat.

It's supposedly not a demotion either, because according to Crusher Collins, her reprimanded MP apparently needs to spend more time on National's Covid-19 campaign, which is clearly thus far only helped to bolster support for the Government's elimination strategy.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

National Party reshuffle: Judith Collins strips Chris Bishop of key portfolio

Most notably Chris Bishop has lost his Shadow Leader of the House portfolio, a key role that saw him involved in much of the party’s Parliamentary strategy.

Bishop is understood to have pushed for a conscience vote on the gay conversion therapy bill, which National opposed on-bloc at first reading. A private message to a member of the public where Bishop made clear his distaste for this vote was subsequently leaked.

Unfortunately for Bishop, that wasn't the only leak he's had to worry about lately.

If Bishop truly believes that his time is best spent trying to “gum up the works” to stop “the Government from governing” properly during a pandemic, then it’s clear that he’s wasting Parliament’s time as well as his own.

In fact trying to cause administrative problems during a deadly virus outbreak essentially shows that Bishop has absolutely no concern for public safety whatsoever. He is therefore not fit to represent the people of Aotearoa as a Member of our Parliament.

Because making it more difficult for the Government to govern is the exact opposite of what any duly elected official should be doing, particularly during a pandemic that, despite the best efforts of the National Party, New Zealand still has a decent chance of beating.