Hard News by Russell Brown

226

God's squads

I'm amazed that anyone's amazed about Michael Jones and Inga Tuigamala turning out for National yesterday in South Auckland. They're very conservative Christians -- Jones is on the "board of reference" of Family First, and presumably, helped create its policy platform -- including comprehensively banning abortion -- and both men signed Family First's open letter to MPs during the progress of Sue Bradford's bill.

John Key has been dropping hints about Jones as not just a friend of the party but a prospective National MP for more than a year, and Patrick Gower's story in the Herald this morning confirms he was offered a high place on National's list, but turned it down for "family reasons".

But I'd be cautious about trumpeting the community links of the two men in South Auckland: someone should tell Christchurch boy Colin Espiner they're both born-and-bred Westies.

Richard Pamatatau offered some fascinating commentary on Morning Report today that strongly indicated that even the Iceman won't help National eat Labour's lunch in South Auckland -- in large part because the Family Party and Philip Field's Pacific Party are doing it already, and have been on the ground pitching morally conservative agendas for some time.

He also said both Field and Family Party candidate Jerry Filipaina have been running the "two for one" line in Mangere: seeking electorate votes on the basis that Labour's candidate, Su’a William Sio, is assured of entry on the Labour list.

Labour's lock on the Pacific Island vote has been declared at an end before. Perhaps this time more PIs will actually be led elsewhere by faith, but I'll believe it when it happens.

This did get me thinking about where all the Christians were at in this election. Last time, they seemed to have it all going on. Is it just that some people are too busy with their PhDs to read this stuff so we don't have to?

Craig Young GayNZ has noted and analysed Family First's Value Your Vote outreach (noting that the two party leaders to score best on its moral checklist are Philip Field and Winston Peters), but also reports that the Maxim Institute has edged away from " hard core frontline Christian Right activism" to a more secular stance -- and that Larry Baldock's Kiwi Party has no friends.

Even Maxim's reborn NZ Votes site doesn't seem to be the covert National Party campaign operation it was in 2005, and is running credible candidate debates.

Thoughts?

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One good thing about next week. Perhaps we'll be spared at least some of the nastiness in the blogosphere.

David Farrar dived into the gutter last week by not only gleefully running ("by popular request") a video of Helen Clark tripping over a chair at a shopping mall last week but letting stand comments below his clip that hardly reflect well on his party: "clumsy old bitch", " kick the vile witch when she is down", "the silly bint can’t even wave and walk at the same time without falling flat on her face", "I always knew Helen was retarded but it’s good to see evidence", "Only somebody without a sense of humour (i.e, a leftist) wouldn’t find this amusing". One chap even links to a different clip of the fall, which "doesn’t have talking over the top so you can hear the slap on the ground."

Wow.

Clark-hate and petty misogyny are pretty much stock-in-trade for Kiwiblog comments, but this one was too creepy even for some of Farrar's regulars. The next time he whines about Helen Clark's "nasty" side, he might want to think hard about what he encourages on his own site.

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