What is “nasty” about building a bridge?

A bizarre rant by Damien O’Connor. The Herald reports:

National Party campaign chairman Steven Joyce said over the weekend the party was targeting some Labour-held seats it believed were vulnerable, including .

The party followed that with the announcement from the National Party conference yesterday that the Government planned to spend $10-15 million replacing the Taramakau Bridge, and $20-25 million improving Mingha Bluff, the last winding section of road on the Arthur’s Pass highway.

A press release announcing both road projects was issued yesterday — jointly in the name of the retiring party list MP Mr Auchinvole, and National’s candidate Maureen Pugh.

Mr O’Connor said it was “pork-barrel politics”, and to be expected.

“I expected the campaign to be quite dirty and nasty,” Mr O’Connor said today.

“Indications are, that’s where it is unfortunately.”

One can certainly criticise the roading projects as pork-barrel politics. I have no dispute with people characterising it as that.

But how on earth is that the sign of the campaign being “dirty” or “nasty”. O’Connor’s speech in Parliament against Gerry Brownlee was personal and nasty. But funding a bridge is not dirty or nasty. O’Connor is trying to make himself a victim.

My interpretation of O’Connor’s statements is that he intends to run a dirty nasty campaign, and is trying to convince people National is doing the same.

But I genuinely can not comprehend how anyone can rationally call a bridge funding decision dirty and nasty. It’s just hysteria.

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