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Posts Tagged ‘Caretaker Leader Judith Collins’

The Microbiologist, the Caretaker Leader, and some Nasty Germs

14 September 2021 7 comments

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The recent faux “scandal”  and pile-on levelled at one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s top microbiologists, Dr Siouxsie Wiles:

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— is indicative of how threatened the Right feel about the country’s covid closed borders. Despite mistakes and some slow implementation of policies, the leadership of the current government has saved lives.

First, some numbers we should not overlook:

Aotearoa New Zealand’s covid death toll currently stands at 27.

By contrast, Sweden’s death toll currently sits at 14,662. They have had 1,138,017 covid cases compared to our 3,949 .

Yet, Sweden’s population is ten million – just double ours.

It takes no stretch of the imagination to consider the impact on our health system had we even half of Sweden’s infections, hospital admissions, and death toll.

Our nearest neighbours,  New South Wales (current death toll: 177) and Fiji (current death toll*: 535) also offer grim reminders where we might have ended up had it not been for our political leadership; dedicated health and MIQ border professionals; and committed scientists to lead us through this global war.

Anyone taking note of the facts would quickly realise that this is a ‘beat up’ by right-wing bloggers and the current Leader of the National party. Even some National-leaning media commentators have bought into the “scandal” narrative:

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Let’s be clear. This was not a “scandal”.

“Beat up” by the Right – yes. Pile on by covid-deniers, conspiracy fantasists, misogynistic cranks, and assorted RWNJs – yes.

Scandal? Not even close.

Critics of Dr Wiles have accused her of breaking the 5 kilometre rule of travelling for exercise. Except… there is no such rule in this country. Those critics have either dim-wittedly, or deliberately, conflated our country with New South Wales. (Easy mistake to make. Both places begin with “New”. They could easily have confused us with New York.)

The rules for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Level 4 lockdown, as published on the government covid website:

Recreation and Exercise

You are allowed to leave your home or place of residence for recreation or exercise at an outdoor location in your local area that is easy to access (including by vehicle).

You’re strongly encouraged to wear a face covering and should keep a 2 metre distance from people outside your household bubble, where this is practical. You legally must not attend or organise a gathering of people.

You are not allowed to do any dangerous activities, including:

  • swimming
  • surfing
  • scuba-diving
  • water-based activities with boats (sail or motor)
  • using motorised equipment
  • hunting in motorised vehicles
  • tramping
  • flying aircrafts.

Note where it states: “including by vehicle“. Dr Wiles rode her bicycle. She also, contrary to some mischievous claims, did not enter the water.

The New South Wales rules, by contrast:

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National’s Caretaker Leader, Judith Collins, was her usual measured, composed self when she described Dr Wiles’ exercise outing:

“I think she’s a big fat hypocrite, actually, and I’m sick and tired of listening to her telling everyone else what to do, and here we have the evidence that she had travelled from Freemans Bay to go and visit with her friend on the beach at Judges Bay in Parnell.

That’s about 5km, and unless she ran there – and I doubt it – then she wasn’t exercising. No masks on, sitting there on the beach, and the friend goes off for a swim. I watched that video, and I thought: big fat hypocrite.

I’m so sick of her telling us all what to do. She’s not doing it? Just do it… If those TV stations have her back on telling everyone what to do, I think we should just turn them off.”

It’s a shame Ms Collins did not approach Dr Wiles for her side of the story before attacking the much-respected microbiologist.

Dr Wiles’ comprehensive explanation of events on the day she went to the beach totally discredits Cameron Slaters blogpost. (This blogger will not link to Mr Slater’s post. It does not merit referencing. Readers can search it out if they feel so inclined. Have some disinfectant handy afterwards.)

On Twitter, Dr Wiles stated:

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Several anons (usual; name/word + numbers) attempted to perpetuate the attack on Dr Wiles, but were mocked and derided by other social media users who understood that this was little more than one of Mr Slater’s ill-conceived, malevolent beat-ups.

The support for the good Doctor was clear indication that most Kiwis respect and admire the work she has done to share information and educate us about covid. She has well earned her New Zealander of the Year title, plus some:

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As with death and taxes, it can be guaranteed that neither Judith Collins nor Cameron Slater will ever have to compose a “thank you” speech for winning “NZer of the Year”.

For Ms Collins to engage in a diatribe that – let’s face it – suggests that the pressures of her job; her ongoing lack of popularity; National’s stagnation in the polls; and David Seymour eclipsing her as Preferred Prime Minister – have raised questions about her emotional stability.

Ms Collins’ reference to Dr Wiles as “big, fat” is juvenile at best; Muldoon-style malevolence at worst. It is not the first time she has made snide comments based on a person’s appearance. Or even seven years ago.

Her desperation to keep her leadership rests on achieving the near-impossible: replacing the most popular, articulate, and effective leader this country has had for a long time. The pressure to succeed has seen her lashing out in ways that would be utterly unacceptable in any other part of society.

National’s more moderate MPs, hierarchy, and membership must be shaking their heads in despair at Ms Collins’ worsening irrational outbursts. They must lie awake at night wondering what the next headlines will reveal about their increasingly erratic Leader.

Several must be shaking their heads in despair that Ms Collins is once again associating with former Whaleoil blogger, Cameron Slater. They understand; no good will come of this.

The attack on Dr Wiles is a large dollop of misogynism writ large. No other virologist, microbiologist, epidemiologist, medical professional, or any scientist – who happens to be male – has been attacked as mercilessly; doggedly, and viciously as Dr Wiles.

Not one.

It is revealing that most of her attackers are men. Most are too irrational, with fragile egos, to engage in rational discourse. Dr Wiles is clearly threatening to this minority with their own intractable personal “issues”.

But politically she is also a threat to National and it’s aspirations.

This government has embraced decision-making based on science and safety. Economics comes after. Labour’s decisions have been largely successful, avoiding the over-whelming of our hospitals with covid cases; corpses stacked high in mortuaries; and a death toll in the hundreds – if not thousands.

For Plan Bers and others who want to see Labour fail, it must be galling for them to watch the government’s success thus far. Dr Wiles has been prominent, articulate, and popular in pushing the scientific framing of our covid policies. With her gender and bright pink hair, she has become an easy target for the anonymous on-line trolls and political opportunists, for sustained bullying.

But Dr Wiles is a strong woman and she understands that these people are, deep down inside, like frightened little children. Look at her reasoned, measured, gentle responses to trolls on-line and it’s like a mother reassuring a scared, anxious child during a violent lightning storm.

As another woman said so many years ago (but who holds not even a molecule of the same mana as Dr Wiles); “The lady’s not for turning“.

And as for National’s Caretaker Leader, Judith Collins? Dr Wiles will have her job after the next election. The same cannot be said for Ms Collins.

How to Fight Nasty Germs.

Far from being passive observers of the targeted harrassment of Dr Wiles, many good people are resisting. They are fighting the Germs that have tried to infect and defeat this incredible woman with their misogynistic hatred.

As reported by Stuff’s Josephine Franks (no relation):

People are donating to Dr Siouxsie Wiles’ research after the microbiologist was accused of breaking lockdown rules and called a “big, fat hypocrite” by Judith Collins.

A video of Wiles at the beach with a friend was circulated in blogs this week. It showed the pair talking on the sand without masks on, before the friend goes in the water. The clip was accompanied by accusations of rule-breaking and hypocrisy.

Wiles told Stuff this was a “really clear case of disinformation” that was spread to discredit her and disrupt the country’s collective response to Covid-19.

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“It costs us about $250 to test each fungus, and we’ve over 10,000 fungi to test, so your support could help us discover more of these life-saving medicines,” the donation page reads.

People have been posting screenshots of their donations on Twitter with messages of support for Wiles.

“Donation made to a hard-working, intelligent and patient lady who has gone to great lengths to keep us all informed,” one said.

“Thank you Dr Siouxsie for your amazing work!” another read.

Some dedicated their donations to Judith Collins after the National leader called Wiles a “big, fat hypocrite” in reference to the video.

Wiles was unfazed by the insult, saying: “I get that comment every day, so it’s nothing new. Fat shaming someone who was exercising was kind of ironic, really.”

It would be the best karma ever if the Collins/Slater vendetta against Dr Wiles actually enhanced her work, with people responding to the bullying by donating to her Auckland University research fund:

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Make a donation (whether $5 or $500 – the amount matters nought); take a screen shot; and post it on @JudithCollinsMP (Twitter) or @judithcollinsmp (Facebook).

Like… this:

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This is the best way to fight germs – whether the microscopic variety or equally unsavoury, two legged specimens. As the American saying goes, “Don’t get mad. Get even.”

And we support a fine scientist in her work to beat Germs.

You just can’t get “revenge” more delicious than that.

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(* Fiji’s death troll is likely to be under-reported.)

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References

ODT: Collins calls Dr Siouxsie Wiles ‘a big, fat hypocrite’

Stuff media: Covid-19 – Dr Siouxsie Wiles warns of ‘disinformation’ after claims she was caught breaking lockdown rules

ODT: Dr Wiles hits back at accusations she broke lockdown rules

Newshub: Ashley Bloomfield defends Siouxsie Wiles’ maskless beach visit as Judith Collins labels her ‘hypocrite’

Worldometers: New Zealand Coronavirus

Worldometers: Sweden Coronavirus

NZ Herald: Covid 19 Australia: NSW, Victoria outbreaks grow – Queensland dodges lockdown

Worldometer: Fiji Coronavirus

NZ Herald: Judith Collins’ leadership flagging before Dr Siouxsie Wiles scandal

Covid19.govt.nz: Permitted movement within Alert Level 4 – recreation and exercise

NSW Government: Greater Sydney restrictions

Newshub: Siouxsie Wiles hits back at Judith Collins over ‘big fat hypocrite’ jibe

Twitter: @SiouxsieW – beach walk – 10.9.21

NZAwards: New Zealander of the Year 2021

Newshub: ACT’s David Seymour overtakes National’s Judith Collins as preferred Prime Minister in Newshub-Reid Research Poll

RNZ: Judith Collins – Obese people must take responsibility for ‘personal choices’

Stuff media: Collins jumps in ‘racist’ clothes-fight

Stuff media: Covid-19 – Donations fly in for Dr Siouxsie Wiles’ research after Judith Collins calls her a ‘hypocrite’

Auckland University: Beating the Superbugs

Twitter: @ConanMcKeggNational are goong after her for purely political reasons – 12.9.21

ABC: Medical experts say a third of Fiji’s COVID-19 deaths may be unreported

Additional

The Spinoff: New Zealand urgently needs a serious opposition leader

Other Blogs

The Standard: Dirty Politics does not work any more

Previous related blogposts

A fitting response to National MP’s recent personal attacks on Metiria Turei (Feb, 2014)

New Clothing Standards set by National Party (Feb, 2014)

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Acknowledgement: Weston Frizzell

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

21 August 2021 13 comments

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21 August: Day 4 of living in lock-down…

No report from this blogger of what has been happening around the Wellington region. Being a day off, I am staying at home. Plenty of housework and reading to catch up on.

Meanwhile…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 31

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

Today’s Eyebrow-Raiser.

Caretaker Leader Judith Collins on pointless sniping from the sidelines

“I think we’re very wise to sit back and wait a little while before we go charging into full Opposition mode.

I think one of the problems we have is if people see us as constantly sniping away from the sidelines and not putting up very good policies… then we’ll go the way of traditional Opposition which is further down, and that’s not something we want to do.”

Also Caretaker Leader Judith Collins, on the sidelines

“We are in lockdown because the government did not act with urgency to protect New Zealanders. Their complacency and inability to ensure supply and delivery of the vaccine roll-out has left New Zealanders as sitting ducks; completely vulnerable to the Delta variant when it inevitably got into the community.

It is not enough for the prime minister to lock us in our homes and speak from the podium once a day. New Zealanders don’t need sermons, we need vaccines in arms right now.”

She just can’t help herself.

At a time when we are facing an even worse crisis with a vastly more transmissable mutation of covid – the Delta Strain – the nation needs calm leadership. Sniping from the sidelines is a distraction already-stressed New Zealanders will not welcome, nor thank.

Let’s not forget that the Delta Strain came from Sydney.

Let’s not forget who put pressure on the government to open a Trans Tasman “bubble” with a petition.

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Let’s not forget who seems to have conveniently forgotten that petition.

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She got what she wanted. The consequences were inevitable. Now she’s sniping from the sidelines the government isn’t cleaning up the mess she – in part – is responsible for.

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#CaretakerLeaderCollins

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By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 51

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

So ended the fourth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 11 new cases in the community, including three in Wellington

Newshub: Judith Collins wants National to avoid ‘constantly sniping away from the sidelines’ as it rebuilds

RNZ: Covid-19 – National criticises government’s handling of latest outbreak

Newsroom: Sydney returnee likely source of Covid outbreak

National Party: Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition

Twitter: Judith Collins – Trans Tasman Bubble Petition

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 21 new community cases in New Zealand today

Previous related blogposts

National: Demand the Debate. Also National: No, not like that!

Judith Collins and National: It’s a trust thing

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cartoon judith collins

Acknowledgment: Sharon Murdoch

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The freezing cold invisible hand of neo-liberalism

11 August 2021 1 comment

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Genesis Energy CEO Marc England

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Following the power brown-out through the north island on Monday night – something that supposedly happens only in developing or marxist nations and not developed free market economies – Genesis Energy, chief executive, Marc England was interviewed on RNZ’s Checkpoint by Lisa Owen.

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clown

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Trying to ascertain where responsibility lay for power cuts ping-ponged between Transpower and Genesis Energy until Mr England made this astounding admission;

“We don’t have any legal or regulatory accountability for security of supply in New Zealand, our only accountability is to be sure we can supply our customers.”

To emphasise the point; the CEO of one of our main electricity gentailers; currently 51% State-owned/49% privatised; formerly a 100% state owned enterprise; and prior to that, part of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand has formally expressed his company’s zero obligation for “any legal or regulatory accountability for security of supply in New Zealand“. His only concern was “to be sure we can supply our customers“.

Let that sink in for a moment: ““We don’t have any legal or regulatory accountability for security of supply in New Zealand“.

That is where the splitting up of state electricity generation and retailing; partial privatisation; and the so-called “free market” has led us: “We don’t have any legal or regulatory accountability for security of supply in New Zealand”.

Being a commercial entity, the sole purpose of all gentailers is to return a dividend to shareholders.

It can do that any number of ways but it has no “regulatory accountability for security of supply in New Zealand“. It’s only “regulatory accountability” is to it’s shareholders. End of.

If it can achieve higher dividends by reducing power generation and thereby pushing up prices by virtue of scarcity – then that is it’s priority.

Not to New Zealand.

Not to customers.

But to shareholders.

It is noteworthy that since part-privatisation in 2014, Genesis Energy has not built any further power generation.  There are no incentives for it (nor any other gentailer) to do so. To generate more electricity would increase supply and drive down prices. By keeping generation static – especially in moments of high demand – it can drive up prices.

Electricity consumers can expect prices rises in  months to come.

Welcome to the logical – if insane – conclusion to the neo-liberal experiment.

The only solutions are;

  1. Regulation by government to force gentailers to build more renewable energy generation (geothermal, solar, hydro, tidal, and wind).
  2. Re-nationalise.
  3. Close close all coal-burning at Huntly and elsewhere.

Otherwise, New Zealanders can expect more-of-the-same: static or reduced generation; rising prices; brown outs.,

Otherwise, as Mr England stated with crystal clarity: “We don’t have any legal or regulatory accountability for security of supply in New Zealand”.

The free market has spoken.

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Caretaker Leader Judith Collins

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Responding to the power brown-outs on Monday night, National’s caretaker leader, Judith Collins made these two asinine posts on Twitter;

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clown

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Note the time-stamps on both: 9.05PM and 9.06PM.

Ms Collins would have had no understanding why the brown-outs were occurring. In  fact, for much of the affected areas, they were still in darkness. So no one knew what was happening or why.

Yet, that did not prevent Ms Collins from posting two childish “digs” at the government.

This is indicative of her personality; vindictive and willing to lash out.

It is clear that with each successive political poll, as her standing among voters continues its downward trajectory, she is becoming more desperate. And more erratic.

This woman is not fit to be Prime Minister. She is barely suitable as party Leader for National.

#CaretakerLeaderCollins

#NationalNotFitToGovern

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References

RNZ: Checkpoint – Power outages – Genesis CEO says Energy Minister scapegoating, but Woods has questions

Wikipedia: Genesis Energy

Wikipedia: Electricity Corporation of New Zealand

Wikipedia: Genesis Energy – Power Stations

Twitter: Judith Collins – Thanks Labour9.05PM –  Aug 9, 2021

Twitter: Judith Collins – Natural off shore exploration ban is looking a bit short sighted – 9.06PM  Aug 9, 2021

Additional

RNZ: UN sounds ‘code red for humanity’ warning over irreversible climate impact

Other Blogs

No Right Turn: The electricity market screws us again

The Standard: When We Needed Electricity, it Was Shut Off

Previous related blogposts

Judith Collins wins a Hypocrisy Award

Politics through a crystal ball, palmistry, or chicken entrails?

History Lesson – Tahi – Electricity Sector “reforms”

The Vote, Electricity, and Sex! (That’ll grab your attention!)

Labour, Greens, NZ First, & Mana – A Bright Idea with electricity!

Do National Party supporters prefer higher electricity prices?

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free market cartoon new zealand aotearoa

Acknowledgement: Dylan Horrocks

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National: Demand the Debate. Also National: No, not like that!

8 August 2021 2 comments

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demand the debate. not like that. young nats silenced

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Up until recently, National’s Caretaker Leader, Judith Collins, has pushed her party’s #DemandTheDebate rhetoric – implying that the current government has somehow, mysteriously, successfully stopped the entire country from debating “important issues”.

The party’s billboards screamed “Demand the Debate”, with Ms Collins’ glaring at us with her forced, Bond-villain-style smile:

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demand the dumb debate by national desperate to be relevant

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he puap[ua demand the debate

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Social media wits were quick to take the p*ss. National’s efforts were mercilessly lampooned:

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National's billboard

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The entire exercise was more a desperate attempt to remain relevant in New Zealander’s lives and control the narrative rather than any real call for debating issues.

It was telling that the real issues – covid/border controls, housing, health, climate change, poverty – were all missing from the billboards. These are issues National wanted buried. Their history of inaction on these points left them vulnerable to public questions demanding:

“Wait, what? Just what the hell were you doing during your nine years in government?”

But nowhere is National’s lukewarm commitment to debating issues more apparent than their recent appalling mistreatment of their own youth wing, the Young Nationals.

As Henry Cooke reported for Stuff media:

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The Young Nats had the temerity to question their Elders, calling for National MPs to vote to send the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill to Select Committee for public consultation and – debate.

Instead, not only did National MPs vote against debating the Bill at Select Committee – but their Justice Spokesperson, Simon Bridges, railed against transgender and non-binary people:

It is important that we consider sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately. Sexual orientation requires no medical intervention, whereas when it comes to gender identity/expression, parents are naturally concerned about being able to make decisions about their children being given puberty blockers and hormones .”

Just another normal day for cis heterosexual men (and a few women, sad to say) determining the sexuality of other people when really, it’s none of their damned business. Are we re-litigating the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform and Marriage Equality debates all over again?

Mr Bridges, et al, we do not get to “consider [other peoples’] sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately“. We can consider our own sexuality – that’s it.

The Young Nats – though hardly expressing unqualified, fulsome support for the Bill – made it crystal-clear:

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One has to wonder – where are the Free Speech warriors leaping the the defence of the Young Nats? (Indeed, at least one supposedly staunch proponent of free speech has roundly condemned the Young Nats for their simple request for an open debate at Select Committee.)

Not only did the National Party conference condemn their own youth wing (not a very smart move, as they are potentially the future of the National Party), but they called for at least one head to roll:

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Young Nats president Stephanie-Anne Ross​

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Meanwhile, incumbent Peter Goodfellow, was re-appointed President of the National Party – despite his considerable over-weight baggage notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, the ACT Party – whilst expressing reservations about some aspects of the Bill – still did the right thing and voted to send it to the Select Committee. As Party Leader David Seymour explained:

“We’re gonna vote for it at the first reading because we believe that people deserve to have a say at select committee.”

ACT has also been recently criticised for allowing a Parliamentary venue to be used by a transphobic group. At the time, Mr Seymour also supported their right to debate:

“Speak Up For Women has a right to conduct what is a legitimate debate without being subject to intimidation.”

Regardless of what one may think of ACT’s policies or the so-called “Speak Up for Women” (and this blogger has no time for either) – David Seymour has proven his principled stand on free speech.

Whereas National has demonstrated a clear lack of integrity; shifting principles, and willingness to engage in double standards dependent on which way the political winds are blowing. (This criticism does not extend to Young Nationals who have shown themselves the real adults in the room.)

A simple message to National: “demanding the debate” has zero credibility when an opportunity arises to debate – and they dodge it.

The clock is ticking on Judith Collins’ erratic leadership.

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#NationalNotFitToGovern

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(But give the #YoungNats a crack at it, eh?)

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References

Stuff media: National Party members vote to rein in board and seat-hopping MPs

Parliament: Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill

RNZ: ACT, National warn of conversion therapy bill ‘risk’

Twitter: Young Nats – Conversion “Therapy” – 10.29am Aug 5 2021

TVNZ: Goodfellow remains National Party president, Carter resigns

Newshub: National creates two versions of election review, one with ‘gory details taken out’

The Spinoff: David Seymour to host controversial Feminism 2020 event in parliament

Additional

Newshub: National MPs defend vote against conversion therapy Bill, despite saying they support a ban

Forbes: This Is Where LGBTQ ‘Conversion Therapy’ Is Illegal

Other Blogs

The Jackal: Calling all transphobes

Previous related blogposts

First they came…

Apartheid in Aotearoa New Zealand – yes, it does exist

Fairfax media and Kiwiblog revise incorrect story denigrating trans-people

Anti-trans activists fudge OIA statement – Report

The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response

Judith Collins and National: It’s a trust thing

The Shifting Faces of Simon Bridges

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Alice for proofreading. Much appreciated!

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National always on the wrong side of history

 

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