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Kate Hawkesby: Grant Robertson scored an own goal complaining that he needs more security

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 22 Sep 2022, 8:50am
Grant Robertson. Photo / NZ Herald
Grant Robertson. Photo / NZ Herald

Kate Hawkesby: Grant Robertson scored an own goal complaining that he needs more security

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 22 Sep 2022, 8:50am

I think Grant Robertson hit something of an own goal this week complaining that he needs more security and that politicians are under more pressure these days out on the streets.

People have hurled insults at him and there was a threat of a lamington being thrown. Other MPs say they don’t have these issues and they consider being out and about on the streets a key part of interacting with the community.

Now for Robertson, I get that he’s a recognizable and familiar face, he’s more likely as Finance Minister to be held responsible for a lot of the pressures facing Kiwis right now. But former Labour Party chief of staff Mike Munro even admitted on the show yesterday that Robertson may just be being a bit sensitive here.

I think if he’s paving the way for a 'woe is me' approach and some sympathy come election year, it’s a bad move. The most common text we received yesterday was that it’s a bit rich for politicians flanked by cops to be crying foul on people yelling abuse at them, when there are dairy owners and jewellery retailers literally fearing for their lives. These people are facing down a lot worse, on a daily basis, and have been for months.

I mean they’ve got armed offenders smashing through their front doors and not a cop to be seen. Grant had a threat of a flying lamington and got the DPS to whip him out a back way to avoid it.

There’s also the argument other MPs have had a lot worse thrown at them over the years, stuff that actually landed, not just threats of it. Then there’s Rotorua’s Tamati Coffey who says he had his car scratched. He said he had to take his name and Labour branding off it. Now being in Rotorua, a city absolutely wrecked by this Government, flooded with emergency housing, gangs and reprobates, are we surprised a Labour car gets scratched? That’s probably the least of the offences taking place in Rotorua right now.

And then we learn yesterday that Rotorua tourism operators are so fed up, they now want the Government to fix the mess it’s created. The damage it’s done to 'brand Rotorua'. Fair enough too.

Robertson dismissed it yesterday saying the Government had already invested a lot of money in it, that tourism was still busy for the city, and that the Government’s done a lot to support the area. Not so, argue tourism operators who say the damage is long term, and the government’s been too slow in its efforts to fix it.

The complaints from these operators and hospitality venues have been coming a long time. Just like the complaints from CBDs and suburban dairies and liquor stores and jewellery shops and all the malls and shopping precincts around the country being increasingly targeted these days.

So it’s a bit rich for government ministers to dip their toes out of their cosy beehive bubble and experience a bit of how feral it is out here in the real world at the moment, and then complain they may not be able to do walkabouts. Cafes and shops have closed, people have been run out of their businesses and livelihoods, thugs rule the roost, because we have a societal problem with lack of consequences and a fundamental lack of respect.

This is the New Zealand that’s been created over the past few years. The real problem is the degradation of our society, our streets, our cities, our suburbs, our schools. And to just gaslight us and say it’s us who need to behave better, in order to have politicians continue to walk amongst us, is to completely miss the point.

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