Labour plumbs new depths

The Labour Party has sent out a direct mail to pregnant women and beneficiaries which is the most disgusting piece of campaigning I've ever known.  I got to talk about it with Labour strategist John Pagani on Nine to Noon and, to be fair to John, he didn't really defend it that strongly.

Labour has form for this sort of thing, of course. In 2005, it sent state house tenants a letter saying they would be evicted from their homes if National won the election.  This one, though, is even worse.  Cactus Kate outlines some of the wider issues around it, but there are other scenarios as well.

Let's say someone got the letter:

  • who has cancer
  • whose child has cancer
  • whose relationship is about to break up
  • whose relationship has already broken up and whose partner is now threatening access
  • whose relationship has broken up and whose partner has just been offered the job of a lifetime ... in London
  • who has themselves finally been offered a great job ... in London
  • who has agreed with their ex-partner that the ex-partner can have their child on their first birthday

And so it could go on.

What sickens me even more, is that Labour's campaign spokesman Grant Robertson is defending the mail out.

Grant has been a friend or at least an associate of mine for nearly 20 years. He was a student president and I was press secretary for Education Minister Lockwood Smith.  Because we were all in our early 20s and involved in the politics of education, there was a network of people who, while having different political persuasions, would socialise together.  And, because we were all political junkies (we all thought we would be prime minister) we all got on much better than most would expect.

I am appalled that Grant is defending the mail out. I am National to the tips of my fingers, but the very first time I went on Radio NZ's Nine to Noon I attacked Don Brash for his Orewa speech that he was giving that evening (and a draft of which I had seen).  I attacked National in every forum I could for its Iwi/Kiwi billboards in 2005.  Grant appears unable to similarly understand his party has likewise plumbed new depths.

I have texted to say how disgusted I am.  I told him: "That mail out you have done is absolutely fucking appalling. I'm not an innocent but I opposed iwi/kiwi because I knew they were wrong. You obviously don't have even my fairly weak moral compass."

I don't expect a reply but I hope Phil Goff will over-rule his campaign spokesman and distance himself from this disgusting (and factually incorrect) mail out that Grant appears to have sent out on Labour's behalf.

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