An electoral consequence is not a threat

The Stuff headline:

A Dunedin City councillor received a threatening email from a community board member before the council voted to include Māori representation on two key committees.

A threatening e-mail? Did she go to the Police? Was it violence that was threatened? Arson? Theft?

Cr Carmen Houlihan said she received a ‘’threatening’’ email from a community board member before Wednesday’s debate.

The email, seen by Stuff, said: “You will no doubt vote how you wish but I thought I would pass on my little piece of info … believe me the quiet Kiwi will vote next election.”

The e-mail, if described correctly, is not a threat. Stating that someone may receive fewer votes because of how they vote on a controversial issue is part and parcel of politics. If you regard such an e-mail as a threat, you are a snowflake.

A standard definition of a threat is:

an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage

It is disgraceful of Stuff to label the e-mail as a threat. Of course this only happens because it is an issue on which they are incapable of being impartial.

I remember warning several National MPs that if they voted against same sex marriage, it could damage them politically down the road. According to Stuff I was making threats against them! Of course if a centre right political figure complained to Stuff that someone warning them of electoral consequences was threatening them, I guarantee it wouldn’t be a story or headline.

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