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If you haven’t got anything nice to say …

Evidence of Green Party in-fighting over list rankings has leaked into public view.

One of Thursday’s headlines involved Chloe Swarbrick being called a “crybaby” by fellow Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere in not-so-private group chat.

It seems Kerekere accidentally sent her ill-advised text to the group chat of Green staff and MPs while Swarbrick was speaking in the House regarding her Sale and Supply of Alcohol [Harm Minimisation] Amendment Bill on Wednesday night.

The bill would have banned alcohol sponsorship and advertising in sports, but it failed at its first reading.

A screenshot of Kerekeres’ message was leaked to media: “Sucks that her bill goes through during list ranking! Please Universe, pick my bill tomorrow,” it said.

She went on to add, “omg what a crybaby”.

The bill that Kerekere currently has in the biscuit tin ballot from which private members bills are plucked is the Human Rights [Prohibition of Discrimination on Grounds of Gender Identity or Expression, and Variations of Sex Characteristics] bill.

The bill would add two new grounds to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Human Rights Act, but it was not successful in Thursday’s ballot.

Swarbrick sits at number three on the Green Party list, while Kerekere follows on four – for now.

For the sake of this discussion, I will set aside the fact that most, if not all, of us have sent questionable messages at some point.

Although the comments are petty, they also point to a divide within the Green Party – not that that’s unique among political parties.

But it does seem ever so slightly contradictory that the party is now beginning a “full internal investigation” into the text when co-leader Marama Davidson refused to apologise for claiming “white cis men” are responsible for the violence of the world.

Both comments are examples of things it would’ve been better to have left unsaid.

Calling an individual a “crybaby” and accusing about half of the world’s population the leading cause of violence may not be in the same order of insult, but someone will be hurting in both cases.

Speaking about men in such a generalised way can be harmful, and with the alleged rise in online extremism from “white cis men”, it does seem a bit counter-productive to ostracise the group further.

Although the men who may take those comments to heart might dwell on the fringes, they do exist.

Swarbrick has not taken being called a crybaby to heart – publicly at least.

When asked by RNZ to comment on the situation, she said she was focused on her work.

Meanwhile, Kerekere has completely denied sending the text, despite the apparent photographic evidence.

What the Green Party seems to need is not an inquiry into the “crybaby” situation but a re-think of internal relationships.

The same could be said for previous fallout within all other political parties. Presuming that situations are isolated is, well, presumptuous.

The Beehive is in many ways an overcrowded fishbowl that’s full of bloated personalities. It’s inevitable that some of them are going to clash – but you’d think take care to pick on those on the opposing side, not colleagues.

1 COMMENT

  1. We have a problem Houston.

    In the above you talk of Davidson “accusing about half of the world’s population the leading cause of violence”. Wrong

    She accused white cis men. Whites make up about 8% of the world’s population. Assuming half are male, that’s just 4% of the world’s population. In other words 96% of the world’s population do no violence. Yeah. Right!

Comments are closed.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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