You know we may be in for the ugliest election campaign ever when it starts with an effigy of the prime minister being burnt, claims of racism and nasty name-Mr Gibson says calling.
We had all three in less than 24 hours after the first big campaign launches at the weekend.
Winston Peters’ “two wongs don’t make a white” statement takes him back to familiar territory – he has banged the anti-Asian drum at more than one election.
But this had a nastier edge.
Recent displays of crowds chanting “f… John Key” and his effigy being burnt could either be put down to youthful hijinks or something more sinister. The prime minister is in no doubt which interpretation he puts on it.
But the ugly rant by Labour candidate Steve Gibson was the worst possible side of politics and took the debate to a fresh low.
Among other things he called Key a “shonky jonkey Shylock”, an anti-semitic term.
Gibson apologised yesterday but the damage had been done.
I can’t recall another election which has been so nasty and personal.
Mr Gibson says he was unaware of the racial overtones of the term “Shylock”. I find that very very difficult to believe.
The Herald reports:
Mr Gibson’s move comes as some of National’s campaign billboards have been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Mr Key said he was open about his Jewish heritage but his bigger concern was for the Jewish community.
“They’re a good hard-working group of New Zealanders and I don’t think people should be attacked on religious belief, whether they’re Islamic, Christian or Jewish.”
As for Mr Gibson’s comments, “it’s hardly ‘Vote Positive’, but again, we’ll be letting that go through to the keeper as well”.
Vote Positive – Yeah Right.