In a post on Twitter from Monday, after preliminary results were announced last week, Moroney shared a photo of a house still flying the Lockwood design, adding: “Just ‘ is [sic] you own a flash beach house doesn’t mean you get to decide our flag.”A family member of the beach house’s owners, who did not want to be named, said Moroney’s comments had upset them.
“We are shocked by her comments vilifying us for owning a beach house and….suggesting that because we are apparently ‘rich’, this does not give us the right to have an opinion on our national flag.
“Her judgements came across badly and we did not appreciate having photos of our property published online simply, because we had a different opinion on the flag choice.”
It reminds me of when a Labour MP attacked the Mad Butcher because he dared to express a political opinion she disagreed with. She called for his shops to be boycotted!
According to Parliament’s register of pecuniary interests, Moroney jointly owns a holiday home in the Coromandel. However, she denied her remarks were hypocritical – although she would not explain why she made the “flash beach house” remark.
“The issue wasn’t about that…I’m a bach owner myself, so I’m clearly not opposed to bach ownership, so I’ll leave it at that.”
If the issue wasn’t about that, why did she refer to them as owning a flash beach house, and tweeting a photo of it?
Tracy Watkins writes:
What was Sue Moroney thinking? The Labour MP’s ill judged tweet deriding a “flash bach owner” for flying the failed Kyle Lockwood designed flag reeks of intolerance and sought to make the flag referendum something it wasn’t – a class war, rich versus poor, the privileged versus the have-nots.
That may have reflected the views of Moroney’s small circle of Twitter followers but the public backlash suggests she was sorely out of touch with the one million-odd New Zealanders who voted for a change of flag.
Very out of touch.
Moroney’s tweet no doubt reflected back the views of those in her Twitter clique. And that’s the problem with Twitter especially.
It has became an online echo chamber, in which its users follow others who share their own views and political opinions. And that in turn leads to a mob mentality when the group turns on the views or opinions of those who don’t agree with them.
For the average user, suffering under the illusion that Twitter reflects public opinion may not be a problem. But for an MP or anyone in the public eye, there are two good reasons to be wary.
Tweets that play to the political sympathies or prejudices or your Twitter circle can quickly backfire if they go viral.
And Twitter offers a highly distorted view of the world because it remains the domain of a small if active circle of users who in the main are only talking to each other.
The danger is mistaking the noise on Twitter for wider public opinion.
Labour MPs seem to do this constantly. They need to get out more.