Precious only when it suits

Was it the influence of The Hobbit’s my precious that prompted Trevor Mallard to pretend preciousness over a perceived slight to Jacinda Ardern during Question Time yesterday?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Actually, Limited Service Volunteer is making a difference, and we have seen the numbers—[Interruption] Well, if you want to listen to the answer, then just zip it, sweetie, I am getting there. So what it is is that actually what you have got is you have got a number of people who do fall out in the first few—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think you heard what the Minister said.

Mr SPEAKER: I certainly did not hear what the Minister said, because the noise level was too high.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Well, we could hear it on this side, and I suggest that if you had listened you could have heard it. It was exceptionally offensive. [Interruption] . . .

It wasn’t the zip it but the sweetie to which he objected:

. . . Hon Trevor Mallard: No, no, no—she said “zip it, sweetie”. That’s what she said. [Interruption] . . .

. . . Mr Speaker, if that term was used to a member who was not a younger woman member—in that sort of approach—I think you would find it offensive. We certainly found it offensive here, and I ask you whether that term is something that is appropriate. “Zip it” might have been all right but—

Whatever it was Speaker Lockwood Smith took a far more sensible view:

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Look, there is a myth that there are certain terms that are ruled out in this House. It is a myth—there are none. Members should treat this place, this House, with respect and members should treat each other with courtesy. If members interject in a rude manner, they may get a less than perfect reaction from the Minister. The level of interjection was so high that I did not hear what the Minister had said. I accept my hearing is less than ideal. I fully accept that, and I apologise for it. But I believe that if we allow ourselves to get worked up over that, we are just being unnecessarily petty. The solution is simple: do not interject so much. It was not necessary. The member had asked a question and should be interested in the answer. It was difficult to hear the answer, so the Minister felt provoked and said something that was less than ideal, but under the circumstances I am not going to ask the Minister to withdraw and apologise for it.

Quite why sweetie is offensive escapes me but Mallard’s preciousness over this perceived slight contrasts sharply with what could be regarded as far more offensive behaviour at Labour’s conference which appears not to have raised any concern at all from him or his colleagues.

Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Judy McGregor, said:

“We produced sexy, big print bumper stickers which said A king for Miramar and Miramar needs a King. Annette was far too nice to let us use Miramar needs a King not a queen . . .

Keeping Stock asks, is it appropriate from someone whose work requires her to protect and promote equal opportunity?

. . . We accept that Dr McGregor’s comment was intended to be a joke. But so was John Key’s banter about Farming Show hot Jamie Mackay’s “gay red shirt”, and look at the furore over that. . .

If sweetie ranks as offensive on Labour’s preciousness meter and gay red shirt also provoked outrage then McGregor’s homophobic reference would be off the scale – if it came from the right.

But it came from the left and somehow slights, in jest or not, from the proponents of identity politics, don’t register at all.

Perhaps that’s because they’re precious only when it suits.

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7 Responses to Precious only when it suits

  1. robertguyton says:

    Trivial stuff, isn’t it.
    When, during one of John Key’s incomprehensible, adolescent rants in the House, Russel Norman says to the PM, “zip it, sweetie”, you’ll have a little chuckle and move on.
    Yes?

  2. homepaddock says:

    Yes it’s trivial and yes I’d grin and move on if anyone told anyone else to “zip it, sweetie”.

  3. You mean like the time that Russel Norman packed a tantie and shouted out “chicken, chicken” when he didn’t get his own way Robert? That was hardly the act of a highly principled party leader; more like how a pre-schooler would behave.

  4. Let’s get this straight Robert; you’d have no objection then if someone interjected “Tinkerbell” at Kevin Hague, or if someone from the HRC called Louisa Wall a “dyke”?

  5. Gravedodger says:

    It clearly needs explaining to you Robert but the called member is the only active microphone, therefore whatever your dribbling whiney Aussie carpet bagger might say will be lost even if delivered as a lone voice for those listening to the ‘feed’, it aint gunna happn.
    OTOH whatever it was it wouldn’t be relevant anyway, his elevated position among the anti National media hacks is more about the parlous state of the red team than Wed Wussel’s abilities and as for the ex McGillicuddy party member, less said the better.

    Go get’em Paula, they should take her advice along with the wonderful advice from Keith Holyoake and breath through their noses “sweetie”.

  6. robertguyton says:

    Who is this “Keeping Stock” that gets so lathered over my comments here, frothing heatedly about Russel Norman, who has single-handedly filled John Key with Fear in the House? Russel’s effectiveness as an interrogator of the Prime Minister is patently obvious to all but the ideologically deluded (do you fit that description, Keeping Stock? I think you do!). Russel can do what other opposition MPs don’t – that is, perservere until Key becomes a gibbering mass of nonsense (did you listen to Key’s answers to Russel’s questions? The whole House sat there with their jaws slack over one of Key’s non-answers – it didn’t even have comedic value, Key’s usual measure of ‘a good answer’.)
    As for supporting Russel’s ‘chicken’ call being a sign that the Greens have abandoned their standards – firstly, I’m not the Greens, and secondly, I more than support the accurate and perfectly timed call, I applaud it! It was funny and oh so appropriate. Russel will continue to pin Key in the House as the term progresses and every time he does, I’ll happily champion him. He’s got the bottle, green bottle that is, you know it and so does Key.
    Happy days.

  7. Richard says:

    Who is getting lathered up,and frothy Robert? Look in the mirror or go and eat a dairy farmer.

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