I missed this part of last night’s debate at Auckland University. Newshub managed to get a headline out of their efforts.
Patrick Gower did quite a bit of swearing too, but that didn’t make their news.
At the Auckland University debate on Thursday night, Mr Harawira was defending his policy that immigrants should buy a newly-built house when moving to New Zealand.
Newshub political editor and debate MC Patrick Gower asked Mr Bishop what he thought.
“It’s the worst sort of politics to blame foreigners for our problems,” Mr Bishop said, when Mr Harawira interjected.
“Nobody over here is blaming foreigners,” he said.
Mr Bishop fired back, taking the debate on a different tangent: “Hone, you said before you worked hard. The last time you were an MP, you turned up to Parliament so little, we had to pass a special law to make sure you got fined for not turning up.”
He won cheers from the audience, before Mr Harawira raised his voice. “You don’t have the courage to get up and speak for yourself, and that’s why you’re in the National Party, because you let yourself be told what to do.”
Mr Harawira said an MP should fight for his people, “and if you won’t do it, get the hell out of Parliament!”
Does Harawira not understand that different MPs fight for different people? Bishop is credited with working hard in the Hutt South electorate and looks a good bet to win it off Trevor Mallard’s successor, having pushed Mallard close in 2014.
Bishop has also been successful getting a Members’ Bill through Parliament and this is also helping some people. See Chris Bishop delighted at record number of live kidney donors
Chris Bishop MP is delighted at the increase in live kidney donors reported, just months after his Member’s Bill, Financial Compensation for Live Organ Donors, passed into law.
The numbers reported by Organ Donation New Zealand on World Kidney Day show that the number of living kidney donors continues to increase, having a massive impact on the lives of patients and their families.
Back to the debate:
Mr Seymour chipped in to defend Mr Bishop: “That’s right, Bish does what he’s told – when he has to be in Parliament, he’s actually in Parliament.”
Mr Bishop then accused Mr Harawira of a taxpayer-funded trip to Paris.
Gower tried to bring order back to the fiery tit-for-tat, but Mr Harawira wasn’t having any of it.
“Paddy! If this is a housing question you should have f*cking slapped him down the minute he started making a personal attack. He’s turned it into a personal attack and if he wants to go down that track, let’s do it.”
But Mr Harawira then got back to the issue.
“This is not an attack on foreigners.”
As he talked, Mr Bishop continued to interject, until Mr Harawira threatened him.
“Sit down Chris Bishop, or you could end up in a place you don’t want to be.”
That’s a vague sort of threat, and Harawira isn’t the only one who swore during the debate, Gower had legitimised it through his own ‘colourful language’.
But I don’t think the prospects of Harawira working with a National government if both Harawira and national succeed in this year’s election.
Did any good come out of the debate? Most people will never know.
Debates have become another media tool to create news and headlines. As usual the worst little bits of the debate get the media coverage. Is it any wonder people are turned off voting?