Last night I attended the 101st anniversary of the Republic of China (Taiwan) anniversary, along with other parliamentary colleagues, Rajen Prasad, Hon Peter Dunne and National MP Jami-lee Ross. Peter Goodfellow, National Party President was there, and Paul Hutchinson attended, but had to leave early.
This was one of those occasions when we were there as invited guests to help celebrate the community’s pride in their country’s history and their place in New Zealand. When MPs attend these kind of events, we are welcomed as an important part of the celebration. As guests, our job is to respond appropriately and join in with the spirit of the occasion.
Speakers from all sides of the political spectrum spoke respectfully. There were no party politics, just an acknowledgement of the friendship and links between our countries, the contribution of the Taiwanese community in New Zealand and the celebration of their 101st special birthday.
But one person got it wrong. Colin Craig, Conservative Leader was also an invited guest.
He chose to use his speech to try to draw links between the Conservative party’s “family values” and Taiwan. For example, (he said) Taiwan has lower divorce rates than New Zealand. And then he launched into a political speech about the marriage equality bill.
Maybe he thought he was onto a vote winner. But he caused embarrassment to his hosts and other guests.
And he showed appalling judgement.
I heard about this from almost every MP that was there – from three different parties. They all said Craig showed awful judgement in thinking a national day celebration is a forum for partisan speeches.
Some people think I am against a conservative type party in Parliament. I am not. I recognise there is a segment of the population that are socially conservative and economically wet, and they should be represented in Parliament.
My objection isn’t to there being a Conservative Party (or a NZ First Party). It is to their respective leaders. I actually wish Colin Craig would stop doing so many pratfalls. But if keeps saying idiotic things like being gay is a choice, and embarrassing himself at functions, then he’s going to have a tough time of it.