Archives for posts with tag: David Cunliffe

I’ve spent the last few days in reflection, contemplation and conversation. My reaction to the results of the election was not anger or sadness predominantly, but a form of numbness. Watching the election coverage on Saturday, I felt a surreal sense of déjà vu.

I am worried.

But perhaps not about the same things as some.

One of the things that has become increasingly clear to me is how partisan we have become. It’s difficult to see how things could be any other way at the moment. (For those who don’t know, partisanism is “the term is used for [those] who strongly support their party’s policies and are reluctant to compromise with their political opponents”, and if you observe U.S. politics, it’s typically not ideal for a healthy democracy.)

After the release of Dirty Politics, the revelations about mass surveillance revealed by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald … for those of us who were predisposed to believe these things, it was already hard for us to trust the current government, and it just got harder. This is especially galling given that John Key’s position on mass surveillance is simply that: “Trust me, don’t worry what the letter of the law means”.

For those who do trust the Prime Minister, or don’t trust people like Greenwald, Snowden and Hagar, or simply didn’t believe there was any substance to the allegations … Well, I suppose it came down to much simpler questions for them.

But here’s the problem. For many of us on the left (or even the centre), who believe Key is not to be trusted, it’s very difficult to see how others could ignore what we see as pretty substantive evidence of wrongdoing. And it is conversely very easy to write off those who gave National their renewed and strengthened third term as selfish, ignorant or much worse, based on some of the stuff I’ve seen flying around social media.

I urge you all — please do not limit your relationships with people based on their voting preferences, and please do not attack them for their position. (Though if you feel they are resorting to damaging rhetoric, of course I believe you should be clear that you do not see things that way.)

When we all retreat into our ideological corners, it becomes very difficult to discuss issues, and near impossible for us to agree upon anything. And one of the big things I am discovering post-election is that people cast their votes for a number of different reasons. No, not all of them make sense to me. But they are what they are and you won’t change anyone’s mind if the conversation is accusatory or altogether absent.

This election campaign was one of the weirdest ones New Zealand has perhaps ever had. And I can’t really hold it against people if they retreated from the chaos into something that presented itself as stability. And for many people, I think it did come down to that.

For others, it was the same problem as the 2011 election — what they perceived as “negative campaigning” from the ideological left. (That it mostly came from third parties was clearly beside the point for those people.) And I guess I can’t hold it against those people either. There certainly was a lot of “change the government” talk, and some of it came courtesy of persons who simply were not trusted by a broad swath of New Zealanders. (And this one doesn’t fall along ideological lines. Many progressive “lefties” didn’t like Kim Dotcom either. I think that is well evident now, looking at the election results.)

The problem is, although Labour did try to run a clean positive campaign (even going so far as using the word in their motto, as though we might not realise otherwise) it didn’t really look that way to many people given the kind of external stuff that was going on, especially given that Key kept saying it was a left-wing smear, and since all the parties on the left bought into the allegations, I suppose for some that was all the confirmation they needed that he was correct.

For those who do trust Key (and I might not be one of them, but I must acknowledge their point of view), they saw the left campaign as not just accusations against him, but accusations that there was something wrong with New Zealand. And the National campaign said the opposite — New Zealand’s great, we’re headed in the right direction, don’t you worry, National’s got your back. Also, we’re stable as fuck. Don’t you like stability? Yeah you do.

Perhaps the left parties could have looked a lot more stable if they had co-operated with each other more. I was pleased to hear such sentiments from David Cunliffe post-election. I hope Labour have learnt from this election, because they didn’t seem to learn an awful lot from their 2011 defeat. (Obviously I don’t have all the solutions to Labour’s problems. I wish I did.)

But here’s my point. Those of us on the political left might well spend some time in contemplation at our loss. But more than that, contemplation at National’s win.

I urge you — talk to people who voted for National. Keep your cool. Find out why. They have their reasons, and I promise you, they aren’t all selfish or stupid. It’s infantilizing and arrogant to assume that.

Believe it or not, many people who voted National in this election care just as much as you do about New Zealand. They just have different ideas about what’s the best thing for the country. And I know it’s difficult, given that many of us who are socially progressive feel like we see something National voters don’t (or won’t) about the state of inequality, poverty, environmental damage, media manipulation, mass surveillance and the economy, but I wonder if we need to swallow that attitude occasionally and try to hear people out a bit more (though I hope you realise I direct these comments at those of us who have the luxury and privilege to be a little more removed from the hardships many are suffering).

Maybe if you can have the right conversations, you’ll find out something that surprises you. Maybe not, but if we can try to have respectful conversations now, my hope is we can build something more constructive for all of us. Even if that is entirely limited to mutual respect and nothing else, that would be a pretty massive achievement in my mind. After all, no argument ever got resolved without mutual goodwill.

Now, more than ever, we need to find the middle ground.

And yes, that means the political parties on the left need to negotiate their own middle-ground and be more co-operative with each other, but I also think we as citizens need to try to find middle ground with our fellow citizens. We need to try to find the room to understand each other. We need to try to find a way to live with each other.

I know that none of this addresses what many of you perceive as violence towards the poor, or beneficiaries, or the school system or a multitude of other issues, and I’d like to assure you that I do share your concerns.

I just am not sure that we actually help those things by attacking or outright rejecting that which we do not like or understand fully. If we do that, aren’t we the same as those who refuse to read Dirty Politics because it’s a “left-wing smear”, or those people who didn’t think there was any substance in “The Moment of Truth” solely because it was associated with someone they didn’t like?

I am not suggesting that we take the high road. I am suggesting we take the middle path, and perhaps along the way, we might find some wisdom.

None of us are perfect. But one thing is certain — we are all human, and many of us care deeply about the future of this country, no matter who we voted for or what simple or complex reason we had for doing so.

Hi New Zealand,

National cares about you guys like soooooooo much. Not even kidding. I mean, I’m really relaxed about it, but we’ve been working for New Zealand heaps. You’ve seen me on the news working at denying allegations for New Zealand, working at falsifying crime stats, for New Zealand, working on loosening New Zealand’s labour laws for New Zealand, kicking people off benefits for New Zealand, ignoring scandals for New Zealand.

I think New Zealanders know that we really have New Zealand’s best interests in mind. I mean, when Paula Bennett gets the stats put to her about the number of people living in poverty who are also working (40% of those in poverty are working), compared to those on benefits, it drives her to look for ways to make changes, and drive even more people into working poverty. It’s just better that way — poverty we don’t have to pay for.

I think most New Zealanders agree with me when I say poor people should all get jobs. Because you’re 60 times more likely to be a poor if you’re not working. I know, because I am super good at maths, that’s how come I know that trickle down economics is pretty much the best kind of trickle that there is.
 

 

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And rich people are definitely the right people to run economies. No conflicts of interest have arisen at any point, and definitely not in my cabinet. Not at all. If you hear any different then it’s a left-wing smear campaign and it’s all lies and I don’t want to talk about it, but I’m probably still pretty comfortable about it, you know? (Also, maybe tax cuts? Yeah, you like that don’t you, New Zealand?)

Paula knows that the best thing for the poors is work, and that’s why we’re forcing them off benefits and into work. I mean, two or more jobs at unliving wages taxed higher than everyone else with one job is at least 40% better than being a poor on the benefit, that’s just maths and junk.

I mean, at least they get out of the house and away from those hungry children they’ve got.

(Also, possibly there’ll be tax cuts if we get the benefit claimants right down. Don’t worry about homeless people, they’ll mostly be living in people’s garages where you can’t see them, and your local councils will ban the ones who turn up outside Smith & Caugheys smelling funny and making you feel uneasy and guilty about buying things — you have a right to feel as comfortable as I do about everything.)

And you really shouldn’t worry about poors turning to a life of crime to support themselves and their families. That won’t happen on my watch. And if it does, don’t worry, because I’m tough on crime. And criminals. Little known fact about my government: criminals aren’t allowed to vote anymore! Cool eh? Oh, I mean, it was on the news, but I mean, hardly important if you consider that David Cunliffe might’ve bought a bottle of wine that one time. (No new taxes!)

Yeah, tough on crime! But a sensible level of toughness. I mean, I like to call it tough love, because we’re going to make them work full-time jobs for free because we love money and privatisation, but it’s tough, because we’re making criminals work which is tough for them because they turned to crime because they were lazy and just didn’t want to get one of the many, many jobs available in our rockstar economy! After all, prison isn’t a holiday camp, it’s a business.

Anyway, as I was saying. The other thing that we really know is gonna help people find better jobs is a more competitive market place with greater flexibility. Sounds choice as eh? At the end of the day, New Zealanders just want to drink a beer and watch the All Blacks win the rugby and think about one day maybe being lucky enough to have a selfie with me. Because at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters? A Prime Minister who will front up to the hard work of PR?
 

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Hey, did you see me on the cover of Rugby News? I’m pretty much an honorary All Black. It’s thanks to me they won the World Cup. Really, I’m just like Richie MacCaw. Except richer obviously.

Right, like I was saying before I interrupted me, the marketplace needs competition and what better way to add that than by introducing mandatory 40-hour work weeks for prisoners, to compete with the working poor for the absolute cheapest labour possible. I think most New Zealanders agree that everyone should have to work and earn their living here. And actually I think that most prisoners will find that they’re at least 40% better off under this scheme than that other one. And I guess if they’re not then that’s cool too, because it’s not like they can do anything about it in the end. 

Oh hey, did I mention tax cuts? We’re definitely going to give you tax cuts possibly in a few years time if the economy is still rocking like the rockstar it is (and by extension also me) and maybe if Bill English isn’t a meanie. I mean, we might end up increasingly GST, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lied, because we never promised no tax increases, just no new taxes.

Anyway, you better get used to all this, because as my friends in the media like to say, it’s all over bar the shouting (I affectionately like to call them “glove-puppets of Cameron Slater” — it’s kind of an in-joke, don’t feel bad if you don’t get it — most New Zealanders don’t even care about glove-puppets).

We’ve already won. You can tell, because Kate Middleton’s pregnant again, and if that’s not a good omen for me, then I don’t know what is. Have you seen all the pictures of me with Kate and William and stuff when they came last time? We had a barbecue and some beers, right out of the bottle, roughing it, y’know, just two manly men with giant hunks of meat the size of a baby. ‘Cause I’m not sorry to be a man — in fact, if anything I’m not sorry not to be a not-man. I think I’ve made myself clear on this issue and I won’t be taking more questions unless they’re about rugby or royals, or having a beer with me, Honest John Key.

 

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Judith will be back after the election to be tough on crime again, since this has been something she’s allegedly been working on with Serco for ages. I mean, they might have had so many dinners over this plan, you wouldn’t believe how much Serco probably donated to our campaign as a result. But if there’s any unwisdom going on with Judith I will be sure to root it out and be publicly disappointed with it while pretty much doing nothing about it actually, you can count on me!

Don’t listen to what Winston says about Royal Commissions of Inquiry, because there’s nothing behind the curtain! It’s the same thing as a regular old Commission of Inquiry, except who appoints people, which you know, I mean, I think most New Zealanders agree that should be me. If I can’t be trusted to run my own inquiry into my own cabinet’s actions and self-regulate my own cabinet, then what does that say about self-regulation? That it doesn’t work? Another smear!

Winston’s such a liar. He lies all the time. I never lie, and I especially never lie about not lying. It’s all a left-wing smear anyway, they’re just threatened by how great I am.

Threatened by how great New Zealand is under National. I mean, it has been great hasn’t it? We’re all so much better under my fudged crime stats, my fudged employment stats and my glove-puppet media machine that helps expose important, sexy penis-in-vagina corruption like the Len-Brown type, not boring old bureaucratic political corruption like Official-Information-Act-request type. Sex scandals, not paperwork scandals unless they involve eleven-year-old letters! That’s one of National’s primary campaign promises. Also maybe tax cuts.

Obviously, we believe in working for New Zealand (especially if you’re a New Zealander in privatised prison), and trying to scare most New Zealanders about left-wing alliances.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what most New Zealanders want? To be scared and rich, trapped in their heavily defended homes, while those nasty poors get put into privatised slavery one by one? (Oh yeah, we’re increasing military spending too. It’ll be sweet, promise.) I’m pretty sure that’s what most New Zealanders want.

Yours knowingly, confidently and totally comfortable with that,

John Key

 

PS, Here’s a picture of me with a kitten from the Whale Oil website, which you should definitely check out because it’s pretty swell.

 
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PPS, Here’s a picture I drew of my beehive. It’s got an arrow to “my office” so Jason Ede and OIA people can find it. But I think most New Zealanders understand that when I say “my office” it means I’m in Hawai’i.

 
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PPPS, I mentioned tax cuts eh?

 

The following is a non-exhaustive list of various debates and interviews available online. If I have missed any, or there’s anything you’ve seen that you think should be added, tell me in the comments.

The comments with each piece are my own personal opinion and should not be taken as gospel.

Will be updated as new debates are aired — Added Native Affairs Maori Electorate debates link 10th Sept, TV3 Leaders’ Debate Decision ’14 links 11th Sept

 

One News First Leaders’ Debate

http://tvnz.co.nz/one-news/s2014-ep1-video-6066764

Host: Mike Hosking

Attendees: David Cunliffe (Labour), John Key (National)

Hosted by Mike Hosking, the big surprise of the night was Hosking’s unexpected success at neutrality. Who’da thunk it? Cunliffe performed well, and by most accounts was deemed to have won, despite the fact that the online/text voting on the night said otherwise. (Admittedly, TV3s online system broke down halfway through, so hopefully they work that out if they plan to use it again.) Key seemed a little on the back foot, kind of looked tired and even gets called out by Hosking on the practical inadequacy of National’s housing policy. Cunliffe actually in his element somewhat.

Best line: National is our past, Labour is the future (Cunliffe)

Cringe line: The land is our birthright (Cunliffe — awkward, dude, awkward.)

 

The Green Room

https://www.greens.org.nz/greenroom

Host: Russell Brown

Attendees: Metiria Turei and Russel Norman

Filmed at Golden Dawn (Tavern of Power) in Ponsonby, the Green Party’s companion piece to the first Leaders’ Debate, meant to be played in the ad breaks. I went to the filming, loads of fun. It’s nice the Green Party are taking a constructive and fun approach to the media still behaving like New Zealand has a two-party political system and making their own platforms.

 

The Christchurch Press Leaders’ Debate
or the Second Leaders’ Debate

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10449997/Press-leaders-debate-2014-Live-tonight

Host: Joanna Norris (editor the Press)

Attendees: David Cunliffe (Labour), John Key (National)

I personally found this debate a little hard to watch — I found myself turning the volume up and then down and then up again. The hosts are often quite quiet and Key and Cunliffe are quite loud. The debate properly starts about 30-40 mins into the recording. Highlights for me included the host telling the audience they could “nip to the loo” in the break. Only in New Zealand, eh?

Key performs more strongly in this debate but general feeling seems to be that it was a tie. Fans of either politician will probably disagree. National still haven’t released their economic package, so some aspects of the debate feel overly focussed on criticising Labour as a result. Lots of talk about the Christchurch rebuild, naturally.

Cunliffe fails to articulate Labour housing policy clearly, giving Key an in to mislead people. Key continues to try to make “Five new taxes” a thing, but sounds shrill, annoying and looks a bit hypocritical when you consider the fifteen new taxes National have introduced. Keep shouting it though, John — maybe 60th time’s a charm?

John Key also accuses Labour of “buying votes” in the same breath he talks about possible tax cuts. It’s all about timing, John. Work on it.

Best Line: Cameron Slater can get an OIA request approved faster than I can get a pizza (Cunliffe)

Keyism: That’s a just wish list

 

The Campbell Live Minor Parties Debate
or Dinner with the Deciders

http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/campbelllive/dinner-with-the-deciders-2014090321

Host: John Campbell

Attendees: Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party), Winston Peters (NZ First), Metiria Turei (Green), Jamie Whyte (ACT), Laila Harré (Internet-Mana), Peter Dunne (United Future), Colin Craig (Conservative)

This online version is about twice the length of the version aired. It was initially supposed to include Key and Cunliffe, but as they both pulled out, Campbell went ahead with airing a slightly less formal event.

There’s a lot of discussion about validity of the Maori Electoral Roll (which is interesting and all, but I had to say I agreed with Te Ururoa Flavell of the Maori Party when he points out it’s essentially ten minutes they could have been speaking about well, anything else), and a lot of talk about the Greens plan for child poverty — a strong performance from Metiria in my opinion.

It definitely does make you realise the extent of the stark ideological divide between the parties — essentially Conservative candidates Colin Craig and ACT’s Jamie Whyte on the right with their neoliberal nonsense, the parties like Internet-Mana and Greens, who argue (correctly I might add), that many of Whyte’s claims are untrue and ideological, and the who-knows-quite-where-they-sit-are-they-centrist United Future and NZ First. Basically all of them think that Craig’s tax plans are silly and unrealistic.

Winston performs quite well, although there were a scary few split seconds at the end where it looks like he momentarily forgets what he’s about to say in the middle of speaking. Being Winston, he recovers well. Phew! I felt nervous for him for some reason.

 

The Great Climate Debate

Host: Samantha Hayes

Attendees: John Minto (Internet-Mana), Russel Norman (the Green Party), David Parker (Labour), Tracey Martin (New Zealand First), Tim Grosser (the Minister for Trade and Climate Change, National), Nancy Tuaine (the Maori Party).

Held in Auckland’s Q Theatre and live streamed at various locations (as well as online obviously) around the country, this debate features some party members we don’t alway hear from.

Samantha Hayes ably hosts the evening, and I was quite impressed at the forthrightness of a lot of her questions. She says at the outset that the debate is not around whether climate change is happening or whether people are causing it, that that is taken as consensus, and follows it with a quip about it being good luck that neither the ACT nor Conservative parties accepted an invitation.

Great audience and online participation, a well-planned and executed event.

 

One News Multi-Party Leaders’ debate

http://tvnz.co.nz/one-news/s2014-ep2-video-6073852

Host: Mike Hosking

Attendees: Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party), Winston Peters (NZ First), Russel Norman (Green), Jamie Whyte (ACT), Hone Harawira (Internet-Mana), Peter Dunne (United Future), Colin Craig (Conservative), Brendan Horan (Independent)

First, and most obviously, what a sausage fest. Anyway, that’s out of the way now.

So, was I the only person who’d completely forgotten about Brendan Horan? I’m thinking not. Let’s ignore him now. He won’t be back.

For me this debate went some way to proving what I’d already been thinking — the Green Party, whether you like it or not, should be part of the main Leaders’ Debate. Their policy is well-defined, clearly thought out, smart and economically viable. I can’t think of any other minor parties who have policy that articulate or encompassing. In fact, it’s kind of embarrassing how focussed on ideology or the past some of the parties are. Can we have the Greens in the main debate yet? Russel Norman outclassed the other dudes on the stage, and rose above the random insults the other politicians slung at each other.

Not at all surprising: Jamie Whyte thinks that Rogernomics “saved New Zealand in the 1980s” (And thinks his children could do better than working at McDonalds, but dubiously tries to save it by claiming McDonalds is nutritional. Okay, weird guy.) A bit surprising: He believes ACT represents the middle-class. Is it too soon after the last time to call him weird again? But hey, who cares, he’s really there to prop up National.

Everyone wants to talk about Kim Dotcom except Hone.

Colin Craig… That guy! I get the impression the other MPs are gonna pool together to buy him a dunce cap for Christmas.

Peter Dunne didn’t set out to be spectacular, which I think we’d all assumed by now right?

Best Line: I don’t know, I couldn’t hear them since they were talking over each other all the time.

 

The Nation: The Deputies Debate

http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/thenation/debate-economy-and-coalitions-2014090613

Host: Lisa Owen

Attendees: David Parker (Labour, Finance Spokesperson), Bill English (National, Finance Minister)

Bill English and John Key just don’t seem to agree a lot at the moment do they? To raise GST or not, how much their maybe-we-hope-so-no-definitely-we-mean-it-this-time-or-do-we tax cuts will be or whether they can even say. That’s okay, “voters know the style of the government” so no sweat.

When the hell will National release their fiscal policy and how long can they put it off for? Honestly, this is getting a bit silly. Did I hear Bill say Monday? Oh, no sorry, only “a bit more detail” on Monday.

Bill English helpfully encourages Parker to clarify that Labour defines a family home as the home your family is living in. Thanks for clearing that up guys.

Cool news! Bill English doesn’t answer “hypotheticals”. Sad news! Bill English doesn’t understand what a hypothetical is.

Best Line: I call it the “Collins Tax Cut” (Parker)

 

Native Affairs Maori Electorate debates

https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/reporters/native-affairs

Host: Mihingarangi Forbes

These debates cover each Maori electorate, with appearances from top candidates for each electorate. I’ve just discovered these tonight and haven’t had a chance to check any out yet, but I’ve heard they’re great. I’ve always liked Mihingarangi Forbes, so it’s promising.

 

TV3 Leaders’ Debate Decision ’14

http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-1-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-2-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-3-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-4-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-5-2014091022

Host: John Campbell

Attendees: John Key (National), David Cunliffe (Labour)

 

Other useful things to watch/listen to

The Hot Seat

Election panel interviews with Newstalk ZB‘s Rachel Smalley and NZ Herald‘s Audrey Young, Toby Manhire and Fran O’Sullivan.

I can’t say I thought every line of inquiry by the interviewers was exactly what I wanted to know, still, nice to hear a party get a real opportunity to discuss some issues in a little depth. Each conversation is around an hour long.

The Hot Seat: Russel Norman and Metiria Turei (Green Party)

The Hot Seat: Jamie Whyte (ACT)

The Hot Seat: Colin Craig (Conservative)

The Hot Seat: Peter Dunne (United Future)

The Hot Seat: Laila Harré and Hone Harawira (Internet-Mana)

The Hot Seat: David Cunliffe (Labour)

The Hot Seat: Te Ururoa Flavell (The Maori Party)

The Hot Seat: John Key (National) This was recorded before the release of Dirty Politics which is why the topic isn’t mentioned.

Anyone find Winston? He appears to be absent.

 

Newstalk ZB’s Leaders Breakfast

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/election/ondemand/333450484-mhb—leaders-breakfast–david-cunliffe—part-1
http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/election/ondemand/1529609465-mhb—leaders-breakfast–david-cunliffe—part-2
http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/election/ondemand/850630494-mhb—leaders-breakfast–david-cunliffe—part-3
Video links here: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/shows/breakfast/highlights/mhb-election-leaders-breakfast-sep2014

Host: Mike Hosking

Attendees: David Cunliffe

Enough Capital Gains Tax conversation to shake a stick at. Cunliffe seems to be going from strength to strength! What is happening? It’s gold. Talk about polls, which as you can imagine Mike “Team Key” Hosking is happy to focus on given their current readings (which you can make a strong argument are nonsense, but that’s not for here). They talk about coalition with the Greens and New Zealand First, and what that might look like, whether he trusts Russel Norman and Winston Peters. (Hosking strangely ignores Metiria Turei. Interesting Hosking, very interesting.) Internet-Mana comes up again. Bored with this now, he’s been clear, move on, new questions.

If you follow the news at all lately, you’ve probably heard about Cunliffe’s apology for “being a man”. You might’ve heard that John Key thinks it’s silly. You might’ve seen Judith Collins referring to it in her ironically-wonderful twitter titbits.

You might not’ve heard the context though, and as we all know, context matters. David Cunliffe was addressing a women’s violence conference. He also affixed a qualifier to his statement — he said “I’m sorry for being a man right now” (emphasis mine) and then went on to explain his statement; “because family and sexual violence are perpetrated overwhelmingly by men”.

Let’s not beat around the bush here. This statement is borne out by statistics. We don’t need to discuss whether or not Cunliffe’s statement was “insulting” or not, John Key. It’s factually accurate. And that’s what the media should be focusing on.

But no. Instead of discussing the facts, we are discussing politician’s opinions in a media-manufactured gender war.

Let’s talk about how this apology has been received not just by its detractors, but also its supporters.

By and large, those who live in feminist/women’s rights/rape crisis circles have been supportive and positive. Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare said it was “gutsy” (a statement I might not have agreed with had it not become clear just how negatively the media perceived the event).

But here’s the thing guys — the people who support his statements are actually just pleased the Leader of the Opposition considers these issues at all. Because it doesn’t really feel like our incumbent government cares about issues like domestic violence and rape. It’s not hard to see why.

It seems like the detractors of Cunliffe’s speech want to focus on the apology part of his statement more than the explanation bit (“family and sexual violence are perpetrated overwhelmingly by men”), which is the part that describes the world supporters of Cunliffe’s apology actually live in.

The part of Cunliffe’s speech that matters is that he understands himself as part of that world too.

And all this talk about whether or not Cunliffe’s comments were insulting is missing the point. The point we’re all ignoring when we’re forced to engage in this media-created, two-sides-to-the-coin, knee-jerk reaction “debate” about Cunliffe’s words. Here’s the facts, not the opinions: Family and sexual violence are perpetrated overwhelmingly by men.

If Labour ends up gaining votes over this issue, it won’t be because Cunliffe said “he’s sorry to be a man”, it will be, in part, because National are making it so easy to feel sorry if you’re a woman.

But it will mostly be because Cunliffe did something simple that these voters want; something our Prime Minister and our media seemingly cannot: he recognised that we have a problem and saw himself and his country in that context.

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