A blame and inflame campaign

David Shearer posted this on Facebook:

ShearerOnBennett

There’s currently 340 comments, ranging from this:

Meegan Edwards What a blatant waste of taxpayers money once again. I’m sure they would rather be elsewhere too. Paula Bennet is a self righteous unpleasant user who is where she is not because of hard work but because she got a hand up…and then some. Disgusting human.

And:

Jonathan Taylor Good man. Show these cowards for what they are. If she needs body guards she needs to hire them. Members of the public would struggle to get that kind of protection. I wonder what dairy owners think when they know the respond times for serious crime then see this.

To:

Mark Unsworth I have huge respect for David Shearer but that comment was total nonsense .David’s caucus colleague Phil Goff needed a similar police presence when he was Minister of Education and bravely faced protestors at Vic University.His former leader Helen Clark needed the same at Waitangi. Were they out of touch ? No- just doing their job

Jared Gibbs Also I doubt very much that the minsters themselves organise their own security detail.

I’m disappointed with this from Shearer. He should know that the Police decide what protection MPs require and provide it accordingly.

It is an ugly but essential sign of our democracy that MPs are seen to need Police protection.

Shearer is adding to a blame and inflame campaign against Bennett that has resulted so far in the claimed need for police protection – I don’t know who else was at the meeting and what it was about, nor whether the protection was specifically for Bennett.

Pat Allen I used to think Shearer was smart and had potential. But now I think he’s stupid. Doesn’t he see the correlation between his statement and Donald trumps promotion of violence. He should be condemning the people who threaten his fellow politicians, not blaming the politicians, whoever they are.

Blaming and inflaming can contribute to mad people doing bad things, like what happened in Orlando.

Newshub in March: Paula Bennett condemns Facebook shooting threat

Despite a violent social media post calling for her death, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says she doesn’t want to have constant police protection while out in public. 

Ms Bennett today revealed someone on her Facebook page said she should be shot dead at her next public outing.

The post in question says: “People own guns out there i dare any1 2 shoot the b**** dead at hr next public appearance [sic].”

The person goes on to say they hope the Prime Minister is standing behind her so it’s “2 birds 1 bullet”.

It’s very sad to see this sort of thing in New Zealand politics, and Shearer should be well aware of the risks.

Newshub yesterday: Why the extra security for Paula Bennett and Nick Smith?

In an unusual move, a police bodyguard provided close protection for Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett and Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith at a public meeting in Auckland on Monday night.

The plainclothes police officers stood beside the ministers as they addressed the crowd at the housing meeting in Blockhouse Bay.

Usually only the Prime Minister requires the protection of the Diplomatic Protection Squad and his ministers travel freely.

Prime Minister John Key says the amount of police and security at the event was “standard”.

“When we have public meetings sometimes if the issue is particularly hot and we’re aware through social media you’re likely to get a significant number of protesters then the police attend those meetings and that’s a logical thing to do.”

But it’s not just the former Labour leader who is taking cheap political shots over police protection.

But Labour leader Andrew Little says security detail was required because the Government has angered the community over its failure to address the housing crisis.

“Ministers have been doing community meetings since time immemorial and last night they turned up with a security detail. Nick Smith did not speak without a security person being there within spitting distance of him.

“That tells you ministers are under siege, people are angry, they are concerned and they hold this Government responsible.”

Little is also guilty of excusing and legitimising the threat and blaming the Ministers.

It’s very sad to see the need for police protection for our Ministers.

And it’s sad to see Little and Shearer indulging in what looks like a blame and inflame campaign.