If a National MP wants to avoid abuse maybe it’s better to live far away from greenies

The occasional tossers – probably lefties and greenies – makes derogatory and always-unjustified comments about Alf on this blog.

Now and again tart remarks are made about him in the Parliamentary debating chamber (and much more obviously lefties and greenies are his verbal assailants).

But that’s to be expected. We are politicking in the chamber on those occasions and only now and again do differences spill over into a bit of physical argy-bargy.

But Alf has not experienced the threats and abuse that apparently have troubled other MPs out in the community

No doubt that’s because of his avuncular charm.

Perhaps if other MPs were similarly charming they would avoid some of the difficulties they and their families experience.

These difficulties have become apparent after a study based on an anonymous survey of 102 sitting MPs found nearly all of them had been subjected to unwanted harassment.

Alf was not one of those who was surveyed. Just as well, too, He takes strong umbrage at being surveyed, especially by plonkers who make unsolicited phone calls to speak to whoever in the household happens to be over the age of 60, or pays the household bills, or whatever.

These plonkers have a gift for phoning just as he is settling down with Mrs Grumble to watch an evening’s telly, or just as he is about to head for the Eketahuna Club, or at some other highly inconvenient time.

But that’s to digress.

According to this Stuff report on the survey findings:

More than one in 10 had been assaulted, and a similar number had been stalked, or had received deaths threats.

One in three had suffered property damage at the hands of angry constituents, and half had been physically confronted by their harassers. Most had been harassed more than once.

National Coromandel MP Scott Simpson said the abuse he and his staff had received had at times been “scary” and resulted in calls to police.

“We’ve had physical damage done to the electoral office here in Thames. We’ve had people who are in an unwell state who are frustrated, in process usually, wanting to come and sometime vent with the local MP.”

Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe has had to contact police due to the nature of some of the threats he and his staff have received.

But Alf imagines this is one of the downsides of living in a region which is apt to attract muesli-munchers and snail protectors with a strong aversion to development of the sort favoured by our government, such as chopping down trees and digging big holes in the ground to suck out the mineral wealth.

Dammit, the Coromandel voted for a bloody Green to be their MP not too many years ago (but before the nation lost its collective brain and voted to bring in MMP).

At the time they were hooting: 

The Green Party’s Jeanette Fitzsimons has won the Coromandel electorate by 246 votes after the counting of special votes on Tuesday.

Different considerations presumably apply in the case of Alf’s mate, the Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe.

He has  been on the receiving end of unsavoury behaviour, once being abused while out getting groceries.

Macindoe said while a lot of the abuse is on social media, he will not tolerate abuse against his staff or family.

“I took a pretty dim view of that because there is no reason anyone working for me in my office would have to put up with bullying. It can be really intimidating when a fairly large man starts bullying them just because she does her job for an MP. We acted pretty strongly when that happened.”

Macindoe said he has had to contact police in some situations.

“We are fair game in one sense. After all, just by virtue of the fact that we are representing one political opinion and a large number of people have different views. They’re naturally going to be unhappy at any individual decisions we make, sometimes they’ll get pretty agro if it’s a controversial issue.”

It is tempting to think poor old Tim has opted to live in a city where too many uncouth lefties are running loose.

But Alf acknowledged that Labour list MP Sue Moroney, from Hamilton West, has been given a hard time too.

She recalls a website which encouraged people to go to her home address and abuse her.

“They published what they thought was my home address and encouraged people to go around to my home to basically have a go at me on my vote against hitting children. That was a direct threat to me, it was a direct threat to my children.”

Moroney said the website owners had in fact got her address wrong, but she alerted police to the incident.

The Labour Party list MP said that New Zealand had a robust democratic society, where people had good access to their representatives and said it would not be good if that access was limited because of the danger.

The Stuff report which Alf has been reading quotes Parliamentary Service general manager David Stevenson.

He said the study confirmed much of what was already known, and had arisen after the service’s own investigation of “fixated individuals” overseas.

The report’s recommendations would be considered and could result in better security co-ordination with other agencies, such as police and mental health agencies, he said.

Better security co-ordination sounds appropriate, especially the bit about mental health agencies.

Betcha lots of lefties and greenies can be found inside the systems they control.

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