Laila Harre’s blindness to the hypocrisy of having her attempt to return to parliament funded by Kim Dotcom whose actions and principles are the antithesis of just about everything she’s ever stood for confirmed the low view many have of politics and politicians.
Her attempt to justify the Internet Mana advertisement in which a crowd of young people shout F*** John Key takes politics down several more notches.
“Offence to who?” she says. “Young people have their right to have their voice heard.”
What’s happened to balancing the right to be heard with the responsibility to say something worth hearing in an acceptable manner?
“That will confirm what a lot of New Zealanders think of the guy,” says John Key. “In the end it’s a matter for him how he wants to run Internet Mana’s campaign .”
Dotcom appears to want to run politics in the gutter and Harre is down there with him.
Earlier Massey University political marketing specialist Claire Robinson said the video cut down Ms Harre just as she was trying to claim the moral high ground.
“Laila Harre was expressing such indignation about John Key’s ‘sugar-daddy’ comment and the need for respect in the political debate, and at the same time you have Kim Dotcom posting a video inciting hate speech, in effect, among a crowd of young people.
“It is sinking to such a low, and completely at odds with what she’s trying to do, exposing yet again the enormous disconnect between Kim Dotcom’s hatred for John Key and the way that she wants to campaign. . .
But Harre was blind to the disconnect:
Ms Harre said she had no problem with the video, adding that it was a spontaneous reaction and Kim Dotcom did not lead the chant.
“The video is a true representation of youth expression. We are on the road to engage with young people over politics. We are not about censoring the way that young people engage.” . . .
It wasn’t a spontaneous chant and it wasn’t a one-off. It happened on at least one other occasion and it was orchestrated by IMP staff:
Is it any wonder that so many are disillusioned by politics and politicians when it’s sunk to this level?
Mindless and personal denigration is a long way from political discourse and it might also be a breach of advertising standards:
Family First NZ has laid an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority over the Internet Mana party’s ‘Join the Revolution’ advert on YouTube which includes a crowd chanting “f*** John Key”.
“Internet Mana is dragging political debate to a new low level. We really are in trouble as a country when a political advertisement is deemed appropriate when it simply denigrates another political leader in an offensive fashion,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Political parties should show social responsibility and observe taste and decency – especially as they seek to engage families in the political campaign.”
“New Zealanders want robust and respectful debate of the issues – not personal offensive attacks,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Advertising standards also says that ‘advertisements should not portray people in a manner which is reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule’ and ‘should not contain anything which in the light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or widespread offence.’
“The party’s advertisement is not advocacy. It is personal denigration, and Internet Mana needs to find a better advertising agency.”
It needs to find some better principles and standards too.