Some five years ago I published a series of posts about bullying,
Minister Paula Bennett published details about beneficiaries who criticised her. She gave misinformation to the Prime Minister about the Salvation Army in order apparently to support her position, and a member of her staff released information to a journalist that appeared to smear the Chairman of a marae that was providing housing to the homeless Referee Bennett or Bully Bennett? You decide.
This was all it appears to bolster the position of the National led Government and to punish anyone who caused embarrassment to her political party. She was not the first National Party politician to do this and appears not to be the last.
On the weekend, Alfred Ngaro, Associate Housing Minister issued a public warning to a Labour Party candidate Willy Jackson, warning him to essentially shut his mouth about the National Party Politics or else, the or else was a threat to deny funding to the charitable organisations that Jackson was involved in.
The upshot of this was the Prime Minister describing Ngaro as having got a bit carried away, a couple of apologies and all is well. Some commentators have said he should be sacked, Ngaro was safe of course because a list of National Party Politicians have gone much further than merely threatening. National has a problem, the culture of privilege is insidious and dangerous. The lack of real consequences for any of the National Party Bullies indicates either a moral failure or a divided party. Paula Bennett was not punished for her bullying, she has been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister.
I have written before about the culture of the bully in New Zealand, it is celebrated and the standard is set in our highest court Parliament. Is it any wonder we have one of the highest rates of youth suicide? Is it a wonder we have such a problem with youth violence? Our system has a rotten core where bullies operate with impunity, it is time to change it. Not allowing the Government to brush aside Alfred Ngaro’s behaviour without public sanction and punishment is a great place to start.