ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12a.m. - 5a.m.

Comment: Bridges' plunges to new depths in latest attack

Author
David Cormack, NZ Herald,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 1 April 2019, 3:10p.m.
Simon Bridges has taken aim at Labour for not supporting a 2013 bill. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Simon Bridges has taken aim at Labour for not supporting a 2013 bill. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Simon Bridges attacks a lot. Attacks everything. He just sprays and sprays like a firehose not being held by anyone. He had a crack at Jacinda Ardern last year for being a weak leader. Following the Christchurch terrorist attack I think we can put that notion to bed. She was inspirational and hopeful. She made quick decisions without being rushed and she said all the right words.

Now he's attacking the Labour Party from 2013 for voting against giving the GCSB more wide-ranging powers six years ago. He's stopped short of saying it explicitly, but the implication is that Labour voting against the GCSB bill in 2013 is at least partly responsible for the Christchurch terrorist attack.

Simon, mate, just last week I praised your displays of unity. I said your speech struck a positive tone and National was making all the right noises. And then one week later you plunge to new depths of awfulness by suggesting Labour are somehow responsible for the terrorist attack.

What's stupider is that the 2013 bill passed. The GCSB got wider powers despite Labour voting against it. And the Christchurch terrorist attack still happened. If you're going to politicise a tragedy and blame a political party for it, at least make sure it stacks up.

Even more staggering is that the GCSB asked for a funding increase in 2015 to help rebuild their technology and this was denied for 12 months. Do you know who was in Government when that happened Simon? You were. The National Party. It was also the National Party that was in power when it was decided against toughening gun laws in 2017.

But you haven't heard the Labour Party rushing out to suggest it was somehow National's fault that a man was radicalised and murdered 50 innocent people in cold blood. Even though the National Party's website hosted a petition against the UN Migration Compact that seemed a motivating factor in the attack. Which the National party moved very quickly after the attack to pull off its website.

And then we got some conflicting stories about when the petition was pulled down. First it was "weeks" ago, but after evidence emerged that the petition was still up when the attack occurred, it was apparently some "emotional junior staffer" who pulled it down after the attack. Emotional Junior Staffer seems like they'd be a more empathetic leader of the National Party right now.

So no the Coalition hasn't blamed National. It's behaved like a Government. It addressed what it can quickly - the assault rifle ban - and is now in the throes of setting up a Royal Commission to properly understand how this tragic event happened.

There's also a review happening to identify if we need stronger hate-speech laws. The Government isn't rushing through anything, despite what David Seymour might have you believe as ACT flails around looking for a purpose to exist.

Look, Simon, I'm sorry that you're completely sidelined at the moment. And I'm sorry that your attempts to be relevant is just you sitting in a corner, fingers mashing away at your phone as you send out one typo-riddled tweet after the next demanding that we bring in tougher surveillance laws. New Zealand doesn't want policy made up on the hoof by a man who voted against gay marriage, by a man who supports keeping abortion on the Crimes Act, by a man who when Minister of Energy and Resources signed off on allowing drilling in a National Park without realising, or in fact ever having even heard of the National Park.

You've tried your best, mate. You went on a tour of New Zealand so that people could get to know you better and all that resulted in was more people wanting Judith Collins as Prime Minister than you. I've met you one to one and you're a decent man. But you just don't exude leadership. It's not your fault. I'm the same. I could never be Prime Minister. But I've accepted that. Maybe it's time for you to realise that you were an adequate Government MP but a dreadful opposition leader.

The country wants to heal. We want to look inside ourselves and see what needs to be done to make us the country we believed we were. We want to move forward undivided. We want an inspirational leader who can take us there. And we have one. It's not you.

David Cormack has worked for the Labour and Green Parties and interned for Bill English while studying.

 

ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12a.m. - 5a.m.