Looks like Damien O’Connor’s political instincts have been blunted.
Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson has come out today in support of a rural breast cancer fundraiser.
So far, so good.
But he has been galvanised to lend his support to the campaign after learning that older farmers are loath to be associated with the colour pink.
Damned right, they are.
Take a butchers at the promotion picture above.
Can you spot anything there that a red-blooded Kiwi cockie would be proud to show off to neighbours?
And so it has been reported that farmers ‘of a certain age’ have not embraced a PGG Wrightson/Tru-Test Group promotion that saw $7 from various pink Speedrite products donated to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.
The media statement from Damien (here) tells us he is keen to make pink more acceptable.
“While younger farmers, life-stylers and women had no qualms about purchasing these products, the older blokes were apparently very hands-off,” Damien O’Connor said.
“Maybe that’s not surprising, but it is a real shame because it’s an excellent cause.
“Thankfully there are enough astute women in the farming sector who know that by purchasing these products they will be contributing to that cause, and possibly helping save lives.”
Fair to say, Damien did come up with a a good practical reason for going with pink.
“One advantage of having pink gear is that it will be it easier to find in the mud, and there’s plenty of that around at the moment.
“So all I can say to those old guys is that the world’s changing. They need to harden up. I know plenty of men who wear pink. Hell, even I’ve got a light red shirt.”
Hmm. Light red.
That’s coming dangerously close to pink.
How will that go down in the rootin-tootin’ West Coast-Tasman electorate?
On the other hand, wearing a socialist red shirt wouldn’t do his chances much good either.
Damien is obviously treading a fine line.
But he trod it well in the run-up to the election last year.
Alf recalls (and it is recorded here) that –
History was made in West Coast-Tasman with Labour’s Damien O’Connor ousting sitting National MP Chris Auchinvole only a term after he unseated O’Connor.
He had gambled and won.
O’Connor withdrew from the party list in April, being saved by it in the 2008 election, after being unimpressed with his list position.
At the time, he controversially accused Labour’s list selection of being run by ”self-serving unionists and a gaggle of gays” and staked his political future on regaining his former seat.
There is little doubting the vote was for Damien, not for red socialist or pink gay colleagues.
While O’Connor won resoundingly with a 2287-vote majority, claiming 14,646 of the 31,298 votes cast, Labour’s party vote slipped significantly.
It dropped from 33% in 2008 to 27% today, with the Green party increasing its margin from almost 11% in 2008 to more than 13%.
In light of all this, going out to bat for the fund-raising promotion for breast cancer is another bold move for Damien.
Alf’s inclination would have been to try to persuade the organisers of the campaign to change colour.
Blue would be good.