Patrick Gower at TV3 reports:
Labour’s pursuit of the Pacific Islander vote in the Mana by-election has been dealt a blow, with a member of candidate Kris Faafoi’s campaign team forced to apologise for calling a National Party rival a “dumb-ass coconut”.
Litea Ah Hoi is a hardcore Labour supporter out fighting for votes in the by-election – so hardcore her Facebook page carried a message calling a rival a “dumb-ass coconut”.
“It’s Pacific humour,” she says. “Whether you put it together with dumb-ass, and then the coconut… if she took offence to it, then like…” Ms Ah Hoi pulls a surprised face.
But the target didn’t laugh – she found it abusive.
Liz Tanielu says Labour doesn’t like losing the Pacific vote to Hekia Parata – and bullies anyone who gets out of line.
Indeed, they don’t like it when “their people” dare to endorse someone not from Labour. Just like the principals who get bullied for daring to disagree.
“If this was a non-Pacific person who said that, they would have been sacked,” she says. “There would have been severe consequences.
“Well the same thing should apply to Litea and her flunkies.”
But 3 News found Ms Ah Hoi working in Mr Faafoi’s campaign headquarters today. She will be staying on, even though Mr Faafoi himself doesn’t like the term.
“In some senses it can be funny,” says Mr Faafoi, “in a context when it’s comedy. But in this context, it’s wrong.”
It is comedy, when done in humour. It isn’t comedy when done as a way to slag some one off because they said good things about Hekia on television.