There’s an odd trend among National Party backbenchers. Slipping in on the list, or shunted into safe seats by a party at the height of its power, they’ve bought all the spin and never been told the cautionary tale of the dark days of 20.93%. And then, when someone questions their divine right to do whatever they want, they completely lose the plot.
Aaron Gilmore was elected in 2008 off the list and had to resign in 2013 after being a right prat to a waiter. He was succeeded by Claudette Hauiti who lasted just over a year before she had to resign for misspending parliamentary money on a holiday (and kept spending up large even after she announced her retirement from politics.)
Later, emails from Gilmore’s time at MoBIE emerged, showing him to be a bit of a workplace bully, puffed up by his imminent return to Parliament.
Now, Shane Reti, elected in 2014 in the safe seat of Whangarei, has been accused of threatening a local lobby group to stay quiet while the Northland by-election hangs by a thread.
It’s appalling behaviour, but is it surprising? After all, can you pick which of the quotes below were said by Shane Reti, and which by Aaron Gilmore?
1. “I only tell you this as I am sure this thing will come back to haunt you.”
2. “What I tried to say to you, before another email arrived, hold your breath.”
3. “You may want to consider your penchant firing off messages to all in sundry trying to undermine people simply because you don’t agree with them”
4. “The only thing I would say to you is … the more threatening the emails are, almost certainly my approach will come to an end, I guarantee it”
5: “Its not your questioning of analysis … its some of your emotive emails which I have seen this past week or so you have sent to others”
6: “If the next two and half weeks is so critically important to have that tone then go ahead and do it. No problem. And we will see what the consequence is.”
ANSWER: The odd numbers are Gilmore; the even numbers are Reti. The over-wordy, very concerned, maybe you should watch what you say tone is identical, isn’t it?