National MP won’t rule out crossing the floor on conversion therapy bill
The National Party may wish for unity under Judith Collins, but it will only be a wish while MPs are as openly defiant as Erica Stanford was this morning. Whereas dissent may be fine within caucus, it is a massive lack of judgment to express it in public and especially during an appearance on a hostile network such as Newshub.
Stanford was asked by Newshub Nation host Simon Shepherd if she would rule out crossing the floor on the Conversion Therapy Bill if the Nats voted against it. At first she said she would support the caucus decision whatever it was, but when pressed later appeared to deflect from the issue. She should have replied with an emphatic “Of course not”. (see video)
Stanford also took time to speak derisively of what extreme left Newshub writer Dan Satherly refers to as “off topic debates”. Asked her views on the removal of Winston Churchill’s portrait and whether New Zealand’s name should be changed to Aotearoa she replied-
“I’m not distracted by any of that stuff, I don’t even think about it, it doesn’t worry me. Quite frankly, I haven’t been paying attention… I’m not worried about paintings and all that other stuff. If other people want to worry about those issues, that’s up to them.”
Sid Holland was one of the founders of the National Party in 1936 and he helped author the fine set of principles the party has gradually and now almost completely disavowed. Who can imagine Mr Holland saying such a thing about such a serious attack upon the culture of the people who built this country?
Ms Stanford’s solution for the immigration problem was to assemble a talk-fest, and have a “conversation”. She also said quite emphatically, in a complete surrender to the ideas pushed by the He PuaPua document, that Maori would have separate and race based representation at that talk-fest.
Her revealing statements this morning indicate that she was almost certainly the unnamed source who gave Newshub similar headlines last week when just before the party’s annual conference they reported “the delegate was keen to see the National leadership stop focusing on culture war issues”.
Ms Stanford’s defiant stance is similar to that of John Key, who when asked by Tova O’Brien at that very conference if he thought Judith Collins would still be leader by the time of the next election wouldn’t answer. Even when pressed on the issue by O’Brien, Key refused to say “yes”, but instead said the matter was up to “the public and the party caucus”. An evasive response very similar to Ms Stanford’s on Newshub Nation this morning.
What Key should have said to Ms O’Brien was “Of course she will be, and you need to stop trying so hard to sow division in our party merely for the sake of a headline”.
However he did not say that, and in fact the whole exchange had the air of being scripted. Scene one was Key engaged in conversation with Luxon. Scene two O’Brien approaches and Luxon conveniently walks away. Scene three she questions Key as above.
If someone had wanted to engineer an embryonic rebellion, they could hardly have done so in a more subtle or simultaneously effective manner. Key has made no secret of the fact he wants Luxon as leader.
During the Stanford interview it was striking how her mannerisms resembled those of the Prime Minister. The excessive handwaving, the constantly moving upper body, the head shaking, and even her hair style was desperately reminiscent of Jacinda Ardern. Ms Stanford’s failure to understand the importance of the culture war suggests that there is also little ideological difference between herself and the PM, and her intent is merely to do socialism better.
If this is the case then she is clearly in the wrong party. Sure, she is articulate, and not unintelligent, but if she can’t commit to opposing the massive ideological warfare being waged by the left, then she should leave the National Party and join Labour, and cease undermining the efforts of those who are brave enough to fight and do understand why the battle is necessary.