The wonderful Maggie Barry showed them Labour tossers a thing or two yesterday.
She refused to apologise for claiming Labour’s Jacinda Ardern was ill-equipped to comment on paid parental leave because she did not have any children.
Maggie made that remark while we were debating a private member’s bill proposing to extend leave from 14 weeks to six months.
The bill is sponsored by Labour’s Sue Moroney (who happens to have two children, the last time Alf counted).
Ms Ardern is 32 today, according to the Herald’s account of the debate (here).
Obviously she has more than a few years left for breeding, although Alf would prefer she didn’t because we already have too many citizens with Labour leanings and this – he strongly suspects – is why the country does not perform well economically or on the cricket pitch.
Furthermore Ardern shows she is prone to daftness because was asking people if they “preferred coal or children”.
It was a very silly question.
But it was the sort of rhetoric you are apt to hear from namby-pamby lefties.
“Stop subsidising heavy polluters and we can back kids. Build one less road of national significance and we can help kids and their families,” she said. “This Government has proven that their priority is not children.”
It cried out for a rejoinder.
Alf was about to deliver one, but was beaten to the draw.
Ms Barry, 52, responded by asking: “How many kids do you have?”
The North Shore MP later added: “Don’t be so precious, petal.”
Alf was beside himself with mirth as he watched the blood-pressure levels rise among the lefties.
The Opposition side of the House erupted with calls for an apology, which the first-term Government member refused to give.
Alf can’t be bothered keeping track of what Trevor Mallard might say on Twitter or anywhere much else.
But the Herald says –
Labour MP Trevor Mallard later wrote on his Twitter feed: “Shame on Maggie Barry … Women parliamentarians should know better than to criticise each other for not having children.”
When was that rule introduced?
The Herald goes on to note that Maggie had her only child in her late 30s.
Hence she is not hostile to motherhood or to parental leave.
But she is concerned about looking after the Budget deficit, and ensuring against its blowing out.
And she is sticking to her guns regarding her remark about Jacinda Ardern.
“I am not apologising for it. I don’t think it’s a very sensitive issue. Jacinda dishes the dirt as much as any.
“When it comes to these things Jacinda Ardern is getting her knowledge from books as opposed to personal experience.
“When people take the moral high ground they probably are leaving themselves open a bit.”
Jacinda may well be getting her knowledge from books, but it does not seem to be a particularly profound knowledge, as is attested by her inviting us to choose between children and coal.
Perhaps that’s a consequence of her having no children and hence she does not know of the absurdity of the options she gave us.
Let’s put her in the picture with some book learning from the Coal Association’s website (here).
Coal is New Zealand’s primary energy asset. Coal provides New Zealand with security of energy supply, the ability to hedge the dry year risk created by the high level of hydro generation, and a cap on price of wholesale electricity and energy. In addition, New Zealand’s premium grade bituminous coals find ready international markets.
Alf knows that most exports are of coking coal, with smaller amounts of thermal and specialist coals.
He has never heard of coking children, although he has heard of children consuming Coke.
For the record, the parental-leave bill passed its first reading by one vote. National and Act opposed it. United Future’s Peter Dunne cast the deciding vote.
But nothing will come of it.
Let’s not forget that –
In April, Finance Minister Bill English said the Government would veto the bill because it would require an extra $500 million in borrowing over the next three to four years.
Sure, Labour’s Sue Moroney obtained Department of Labour advice that showed the estimated cost was $285.6 million over three years. The costings showed that in three years, the full 26 weeks’ parental leave would cost $315.6 million a year.
We will veto it anyway.
Or scuttle it – eh? – to use a word familiar to we burners of coal.