Labour candidate Tamati Coffey no doubt learned a few lessons about politics and the importance of perception this week.
The former TV presenter organised a protest at Simon Bridges’ Tauranga office on Saturday asking for immediate action to ban oil and gas exploration in the West Coast Marine Mammal Sanctuary.
He said at the time the protest was not linked to the Labour Party and was a personal crusade. That point, understandably, was lost on many.
Those who gathered for the protest also appear to have been confused because many displayed their political affiliations.
A few days after the protest, Labour leader David Cunliffe said the party actually approved of oil exploration in the sanctuary if it was done responsibly.
In the wake of the statement, Mr Coffey said he stood by his protest “100 per cent”, but did appear to soften his stance to toe the party line.
On Saturday, he was calling for a ban on drilling within the sanctuary. Now he says he and Mr Cunliffe are “on the same page” in regard to oil exploration in the sanctuary – requiring the industry to have to prove it would cause no harm to the Maui’s dolphin before any new consents would be granted.
Apart from the stupidity of saying one must prove no harm (you can’t generally prove a negative), Labour’s policy is now much the same as National’s. Coffey led a protest against Simon Bridges, and then had his own leader pull the rug out from under him.