Last week, along with Young Labour, I helped to organise a commemoration for the people killed in the horrific, senseless attacks in Norway. These attacks were especially poignant for Young Labour and the Labour Party as a whole because the majority of those killed were attending a Young Labour Summer Camp. Beyond our grief and sadness for Norway and for a fraternal social democratic party, with whom a number of us have personal contacts, it was hard to escape the thought of what a similar attack would mean here, where Young Labour also organise a Summer School on an annual basis.
As the Labour Caucus was gathering in Wellington on Tuesday this was chosen as the day for the event. Red balloons were suggested as an appropriate motif for the occasion. Young Labour wanted to speak, and Phil Goff was scheduled to say something on behalf of Caucus. Phil had lost his voice that day, and as a result Jacinda Ardern was asked to say something. As I am sure you know, Jacinda was President of the youth wing of the international social democratic parties organisation (IUSY) before becoming an MP. She knew many of the people on the island that day. She spoke movingly.
All of the above is why I find the statement you made in your column today about Jacinda using the Norweigan tragedy for political purposes, utterly offensive. If anyone is using it politically it is you, in the middle of a column designed to promote Jacinda’s opponent in Auckland Central, and denigrate Jacinda.
On what basis would you say Jacinda is “known to exploit anything for political gain“? That is a horrible accusation, and one which you should be ashamed of making. Moreover, describing Jacinda as a “catwalk revolutionary” is just the kind of personal, dare I say sexist, mudslinging I am sure you told us in the past had no place in politics, and was one of the reasons you left.
I could go on to critique the rest of your column as well, but I will leave that to others, except to say, that I can kind of see why someone might question Nikki Kaye advocating for increased spending on public transport given the neglect shown towards public transport by this government. A goverment that she is actually a member of, despite what she might want Auckland Central voters to think much of the time!
As you might tell I am angry Deborah. Jacinda is my friend and I stick up for my friends. Though she will probably be furious with me for writing this when she is perfectly capable of responding herself if she wanted to. But more than being a friend she is an intelligent, compassionate, hard-working MP, who deserves far better than your pathetic diatribe.