Hooton hits back

Chris Trotter has criticised for his use of the term Clark/Peters Axis. Matthew explains why in a long post:

First, yes, I do believe that Winston Peters is an evil influence on New Zealand politics and the use of the phrase “axis” was entirely deliberate, chosen as being more appropriate than “allies” or even “bloc” for the regime he sustains.

Peters is a person who has attacked Asian immigrants for being too rich and Somalian refugees for being too poor, and, in both cases, has known that to do so is wrong, with his friend Sir Robert Jones saying that, in private, Peters believes none of it.

Like Matthew I think the only thing worse than a bigot, is someone who is not a bigot, but pretends to be just to get votes. I respect people from the left who genuinely disagree with my beliefs, and I respect “social conservatives” whose views differ from mine also. But I have little time for nationalists and populists who believe in nothing and will say anything to get elected.

Matthew goes on to criticise Trotter and many others on the left for their constant support of Peters. And then he states his opinion of Clark:

Clark has dictatorial tendencies. She has marched through the institutions. She has improperly brought the civil service under her control, including, most outrageously, the police. She has stolen taxpayers’ money for her election campaigns, deliberately broken our election spending limits, run filthy fear campaigns such as the letters to state housing tenants saying they would be evicted under a National Government, told lies about all this, and rammed through retrospective legislation to legalise her own staff’s and party’s crimes.

Constitutionally, she is far worse than Muldoon, who people like Chris would eagerly have called a fascist in the early 1980s.

The Clark/Peters Axis? You bet.

I’m not in the same space as Matthew here. Don’t get me wrong – I think Clark is shockingly unethical and I think someone from Labour should have gone to jail for the $800,000 overspending in the last campaign.

But I never find comparisons to Nazis, fascists, “evil regimes” or “eyes of a killer” particularly useful on the blogs.  On the billboards against the Electoral Finance Act, we did feature praise for the EFA from various dictators but that was purely in response to an Act which deserves to be vilified as it was designed to silence critics of the Government.

And as someone with Jewish relatives, I find comparisons to Nazis especially ranging from trite to offensive. I disagree with Matthew that Bolger was justified in comparing Peters attacks on Asian immigrants to Hitler’s attacks on Jews.

Matthew then talks about his role with Don Brash and the as wrongly claimed he was an architect of it. They could not have been more wrong.

Then I pushed Don to do his controversial press conference at the Tamaki Yacht Club a bit later, where we really put the knife into Bill, and then …. the rest is history.

(Unfortunately for me, Don was forced to do the Tamaki thing a week earlier than I had planned, and I had law exams, so I couldn’t go to Wellington for the vote, so Catherine Judd arranged for Byran Sinclair to do the media work instead, so I missed out on being part of all the drama …. )

I’m not sure I ever mentioned this to Matthew, but I was sort of responsible for Don having to bring his coup announcement forward a week. I was unofficially on the team trying to keep Bill in office and heard whisperings of what was coming and alerted the leadership to it and they forced the coup out into the open. So Matthew was working for Don and I was working to keep Don from winning – sort of ironic as I then ended up working for Don when he did win. In fact it said a lot about what a great guy Don is that he kept me on, despite me having featured on television the night he won plotting victory at the Backbencher with the English team.

And then it came to the fateful Orewa speech.

I was sent a draft for comment and I hated it. The truth is, I’m a “sickly white liberal”, as Peters would describe it. I got Diane to pay me to write an alternative that had the same policy ideas (because they had been agreed by caucus) but which wasn’t as nasty in tone.

When it was confirmed to me that Brash was going with the Keenan [version of the] speech I cancelled my table. Lockwood tells me there was a gap, which he – as local MP – was embarrassed about, but which I am quietly proud of.

The Standard obviously need to re-read the Hollow Men, as the book makes it pretty clear Matthew was an opponent of the Orewa speech.

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