The Soap Box: National needs to leave talking to English

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 12 September 2017, 6:10AM
It's hardly a surprise that National's now playing catch-up. (Photo \ NZME)
It's hardly a surprise that National's now playing catch-up. (Photo \ NZME)
It shouldn't really come as any surprise when you're forced to cringe when morality and politics morph, producing a toxic misrepresentation of meaning. And for that matter when political point scoring produces unbecoming hubris, and there have been a number of examples of that during this election campaign.
 
What was Simon Bridges new brother-in-law, National's Tamaki MP, Simon O'Connor thinking after seeing Jacinda Ardern on telly, on the brink of tears after viewing the 600 pairs of shoes on Parliament's front lawn to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day? Clearly this former Catholic priest wasn't thinking when he posted on his Facebook page how strange it was that she was so concerned about youth suicide but is happy to encourage the suicide of the elderly, disabled and sick.
 
He concluded that she perhaps values one group more than others, just saying, he added as an afterthought. Well he shouldn't have said it at all. The notion's ridiculous, as he probably now realises with the avalanche of more than 10000 mainly condemnatory comments that followed his preposterous post.
 
It has no place in a country where the suicide rate's far in excess of our much talked about to road toll. And Ardern had every right to feel upset, remembering the brother of her 13-year-old friend who killed himself and the grief suffered by the family. And she's not alone in those feelings as many of us who have had friends die by their own hand know.
 
To suggest suicide and euthanasia are one in the same is beyond comprehension. And it's even worse when you consider that O'Connor chaired a parliamentary committee on euthanasia which says little for his impartiality when considering public submissions on it. The public deserve better.
 
It's a pity that at times like this with less than a fortnight to go until the election, National can't show more discipline than desperation. It's the second time in as many weeks that Bill English has had to resign in one of his MPs for being silly.
 
His deputy Paula Bennett's blunder about gang members having fewer human rights than the rest of us was another morality morph. Couple that with the outburst over the $11.7 billion mystery hole in Labour's books that only campaign manager Steven Joyce could see, and the leaking of Winston Peters' pension overpayment, and it's hardly a surprise that National's now playing catch-up.
 
They'd do well to leave the talking to Bill English who's personally had a pretty good campaign.
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