When you’re the Leader of the Opposition, and media ask you about vile online death threats against a Minister, your only response should be that they are totally unacceptable. Full stop.
To be fair Little did say they are unacceptable, but then he want on to excuse or blame them on the basis of the economy and most bizarrely Matthew Hooton.
The Herald reports:
Asked what was behind the threats to MPs, Mr Little said this afternoon that some New Zealanders were in a worse position compared to a year ago and were feeling less confident about the future.
Umm, compared to a year ago unemployment is down, economic growth is robust, inflation is down and interest rates are down. And oh yeah wages are up
Here’s the key stats:
- Unemployment 5.3%, down 0.5%
- Wages up 2.1% from a year ago
- Inflation just 0.1% from a year ago (down 0.7%)
- GDP up 2.5%
- Mortgage rates 5.77%, down 0.94%
So even if you accept the stupidity of claiming that death threats are because the economy is worse than a year ago, the facts are that almost every economic indicator is better than a year ago.
But his rationalising gets worse:
“It’s not a justification for aggressive behaviour or even aggressive comments. But if you combine a sense that people are feeling that life is tougher along with this change in the tone of a lot of communications — some of which are coming from well-paid PR operatives too I might add — then it’s not surprising that there are some people who are going to read completely the wrong signal and think that it’s OK to make completely unacceptable comments.”
Mr Little appeared to single out lobbyist Matthew Hooton.
Asked by a reporter whether he was referring to Mr Hooton, he said “Could be”. He said the lobbyist had “a particularly vicious … edge to his communications”.
Mr Little said he could not cite specific communications off the top of his head.
“They have an edge to them, that is, I think, unfitting of somebody who claims to be a disinterested observer with right-wing leanings.”
Mr Hooton is a former National Party press secretary and is now an outspoken right-wing political commentator.
This is just bizarre.
Nothing Hooton writes is vicious let alone in any way along the spectrum of death threats.
Hooton writes robustly and provocatively. But to compare anything he has written with the filthy abuse from the likes of Phillip Bear is insane.
Hooton robustly criticises MPs in all parties. He has all but called for Murray McCully to be arrested for the Saudi farm affair. He attacks Steven Joyce more often than the combined Opposition. He has criticised John Key on numerous occasions. So for Little to suggest Hooton is some sort of National attack dog is ridiculous.
The best response to his stupidity comes from Hooton:
Asked to respond to Mr Little’s comments, Mr Hooton said the Labour leader was “an idiot” and he had “no idea” what he was referring to.
“I can’t think of anything that could be characterised as vicious over the last 12 months or so,” he said.
“I should probably seek an apology … but I don’t think he’s a person worth seeking an apology from.”
Oh and I missed this victim blaming in this article:
Labour leader Andrew Little said the threats against ministers were “ugly” and “had no place” in New Zealand’s political debate.
It was “hard to gauge” whether treatment of MPs was getting worse, he said. But he had observed a “palpable sense of anger” from voters which was not present a year ago.
“I think there is a lot of frustration and anger. People see a Government that looks increasingly arrogant, it’s smug and out of touch… and they are feeling frustrated.”
If you think the Government is out of touch or arrogant, you vote them out of office. You don’t make death threats.
Using Little’s logic I could argue that the anger is because Labour are such an incompetent opposition, left wing activists are in despair that they may have five terms in opposition, so they are resorting to violent threats.
That’s as sensible an argument as the one Little has made.