Apology won’t heal the harm – updated

September 30, 2011

Labour MP Darien Fenton has apologised for the vitriolic attack she made on Sir Peter Leitch when she took exception to his support for John Key.

He is a man with a very big heart and no doubt he will accept the apology.

But it won’t heal the harm the comments have done to Labour.

She says she wasn’t calling for a boycott but she said she wouldn’t use the Mad Butcher shops, even though Sir Peter no longer owns them:

The owner of The Mad Butcher chain, Michael Morton, says Labour MP Darien Fenton is grossly misguided in suggesting a boycott of the butcheries.

“She is having a go at The Mad Butcher founder, Sir Peter Leitch, simply because he made some nice remarks about the Prime Minister, John Key. Well he has made favourable comments in the past also about the former Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and she (Ms Fenton) didn’t get mad about that,” said Mr Morton today.

“Sir Peter hasn’t owned The Mad Butcher for more than two years now, although he still promotes the brand.

“Her postings on the internet are mean-spirited. Peter has earned his knighthood– he has not only done a lot for New Zealand in supporting the Warriors and contributing to charity, but he is also apolitical.

“And to also try to drag the company into her argument is ridiculous. I think she owes apologies all round.”

The apology as printed in the Herald doesn’t specify whether she takes back her threat not to buy from the Mad Butcher again.

It is unlikely her rant had any impact on the businesses but it inflicted another wound on her party, even though her leader Phil Goff was far more gracious:

I’m a real Warriors fan. I’ve been going to their matches for years and have
caught up with the Mad Butcher many times. He is a great guy and a great
ambassador for rugby league. He is absolutely entitled to express whatever
opinion he likes. Go the Warriors against Manly.”

Fenton’s comments were what Keeping Stock refers to as a SMOG – a Social Media Own Goal.

She made them on Tuesday and it’s taken until Friday for her to realise she “went too far”.

In the meantime it’s gone around the blogs and into the mainstream media reminding voters yet again that Labour is making too much of a mess of opposition to be trusted anywhere near government.

UDPATE: Whaleoil, who broke the story, had a phone call from Sir Peter who said how badly hurt he was.


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