Promote, not contrast

The Herald has a profile of and interview with Waitakere candidate Carmel Sepuloni.

Now as I said on Sunday, before she was selected, I regard Sepuloni as the candidate who would do best against Paula Bennett. Chris Trotter is less convinced incidentially, and a fascinating discussion in the comments there.

Anyway some extracts:

Ms Sepuloni, who is from Waitara in Taranaki, said Ms Bennett’s local connections played some part in her victory, but “it was because of the shift that occurred toward the National Party generally”.

To some degree I agree that in 2008, it was primarily the shift to National. Paula had less split votes from Labour voters, than the national average.

However back then Paula was relatively obscure. She is not obscure today, and I would not assume that the 2008 voting pattern will be the same in 2011. I think Paula may attract considerable non-National support.

Of her own links to the electorate, “it’s more what the electorate looks like that I’m connected to”, said Ms Sepuloni, who is of Tongan, Samoan and European descent.

And from Taranaki.

“It’s got a strong working-class base and quite a large Pacific population. It’s got a comparatively large number of sole-parent households and generally, in terms of the people that live there, I think I’m quite capable of connecting with them.”

This I agree with – in fact is why I said she would do best of the four Labour nominees.

Both women are sole parents, but Ms Sepuloni says she is “more down to Earth, more authentic, more genuine”.

This is the statement that really grates, and I genuinely suggest Carmel not use it again.

First of all, it looks strange to apply labels such as authentic and genuine to yourself. By their nature, they are attributes others will decide whether they apply to you. Some attributes such as hard-working, compassionate, sounds fine when talking about yourself, but calling yourself authetntic and genuine doesn’t sound very down to earth.

But the statement goes beyond that, and specifically says more down to earth, more genuine and more authentic than Paula. Again, you look somewhat ridicolous when you claim that as if you are some sort of neutral observer, and it comes over a personal attack on Paula’s character.

Now if you want to run a character based campaign against Paula, so be it. But I really wouldn’t.

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