Gotta say Labour’s Shane Jones is bang-on when he says the Greens are too thin-skinned.
But thanks to their thin skins, the Greens have done us a favour by exposing David Cunliffe as a tosser for giving them the time of day after they complained about something Jones said about one of their MPs.
Cunliffe told Jones to pull his head in and not upset the Greens.
This is instructive and goes to show the rest of us that the Greens carry much too much clout with the Labour leadership, making the unlikely prospect of a Labour-Green coalition look highly unpalatable.
It also shows a much-too-cosy relationship between the Green and Labour heads of staff.
Here’s how it is recorded in the Herald:
Greens’ head of staff Ken Spagnolo said he had raised Mr Jones’ comments with Labour head of staff Matt McCarten.
Mr Spagnolo said it was not a formal complaint, but he had told Labour that Mr Jones’ comments about Greens’ fitness to govern were “unhelpful”.
So what had Jones said?
Nothing to get excited about unless you are unduly excitable.
Mr Jones, Labour’s economic development spokesman, had criticised Green MP Gareth Hughes on Radio Waatea for “carrying on like a mollyhawk” in his opposition to offshore mining.
A mollyhawk, one imagines, has a bird brain.
Seems not too inappropriate.
So why did this become the stuff for a Herald report about Jones?
The comments earned him a telling off from leader David Cunliffe, who said that the comments about a potential coalition partner were inappropriate.
It’s great to hear that Jones was unrepentant yesterday afternoon.
“Is this the same Green Party that complains of Colin Craig being too thin-skinned?” he said.
“I’m from Kaitaia. I know it’s mollyhawk in the north. Further down the line it’s mollymawk. Now I could’ve got my names wrong but people should just loosen up.
“The thought that it’s led to a complaint, I’ll just leave the public to judge that for what it is.”
Alf does not intend regurgitating Jones’ reasons for calling Hughes a mollyhawk because it seems to him you shouldn’t have to come up with a reason.
He does note that Spagnolo said he spoke with Labour’s chief of staff regularly but complaints were rare.
“It’s an informal complaint… it’s petty stuff.”
The best that can be said of Cunliffe is that he did not think Jones’ comments warranted an apology.
“We’re fortunate with Shane that he has a colourful turn of phrase… but on occasion his oratory crosses the line into something he might want to consider.”
He also warned Mr Jones about treading on other colleagues’ portfolios at a University of Auckland debate last week.
Mr Jones has repeatedly attacked Greens about its stance on mining and fisheries.
A mollyhawk – as Alf understands it – is the juvenile of the southern black-backed gull (Larus dominicanus)
The “anus” bit of the Latin perhaps deserves special emphasis.