Barry Soper: Greens' sense of humour deserts them

Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 24 July 2019, 8:59AM


It's often been said the best revenge is when you ignore your enemies completely.

Trouble is, few politicians even follow the theory and that's particularly so in the United States at the moment. The Democrats are so fixated on the latest outbursts from the Twitter toddler Donald Trump, telling some of their representatives to go back to where they came from, that they've been totally sidetracked when it comes to finding someone to stand against him.

The Greens here would do well to learn from that.

They had been having a good run lately with queen of the roads Julie Anne Genter coming up with ways to make roads safer, while at the same time dreaming up measures to make our vehicle fleet cleaner.

Even co-leader James Shaw has been indicating a softer line could be taken on what was up until now anathema to the Greens, genetic modification. So they were beginning to present themselves as more mainstream even if their latest performance wasn't in Labour's slipstream of kindness.

What's kind about taking the mickey out of Simon Bridges' accent? He seems to be happy enough doing that for himself?

In what's being described as an attack ad, he was portrayed as a used car salesman saying how he liked cars and how prices and emissions are down along with his polling. It was hardly up there with Muldoon's Dancing Cossacks.

But it seems the kind, sensitive Green members thought it was cruel even though Bridges himself thought it was cool. Going into Parliament's bear pit Shaw was vehemently defending it, telling us the Nat leader's politics over climate change issues were absurd and he was sinking to a new low. Expressing that through humour, he believed, was the right thing to do.

Coming out of the pit just over an hour later he said they'd taken a risk and the members didn't like it so the ad was pulled.

The Greens dramatic back down on the ad drew more attention to it than it would ever have gotten under normal circumstances.

The classic line of the debate was spun by Winston Peters though, telling us with all sincerity New Zealand First was the kindest party in Parliament. This from a man who is forever taking the proverbial out of Bridges' unusual accent - remember "Choina" and "moining".

Bridges has himself come through the kerfuffle with certainly a better sense of humour than those taking the shots at him, saying in the past his rolled accent comes from his Westie upbringing and has admitted what's more to having a passion for cars.

So at least at one level the ad was bang on.



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