Taogaga, Wogistan, and do political candidates have to have faultless pasts?

A way to deter a lot of people from considering to participate in democracy and standing as a candidate is to dredge through everything a candidate has posted online and make a big deal about something minor from the distant past.

Like this:  Labour sacks candidate who praised racist ‘Wogistan’ column

Labour has sacked a candidate from its list after it emerged he once praised a column describing Islam as a “Stone Age religion” and its followers as a “sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”.

Kurt Taogaga was ranked 68th on the party’s 84-strong list to contest the election in September – on recent polling an outside chance of making it into Parliament. Taogaga stood in Helensville in 2017 but lost to National’s Chris Penk.

In 2013 – before entering politics – Taogaga said on Twitter “we need to see Islam for what it truly is”. He linked to a news article about what he called a “brave” column by then-New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser in Investigate magazine.

In the article – written after he had a pocketknife confiscated by airport security – Prosser said Muslims threaten New Zealanders’ way of life and said young men who “look like a Muslim” should be banned from flying.

In response to another Twitter user saying Prosser was “only voicing what others are thinking”, Taogaga said “Hear hear. I get that feeling as well. Let’s debate this rather than shout him down. Islam is deserved of serious analysis”.

He then tweeted at scientist Richard Dawkins – an outspoken critic of religion, and particularly Islam – inviting him to come to New Zealand.

Asked about the comments on Newshub Nation, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wasn’t aware of them.

“It is not the belief system of the Labour Party, but I am happy to reflect on a column from, again, seven years ago, and take any steps that might be required as a result in terms of making sure our candidates are familiar with the values we hold as a party.”

At 68th on the Labour list this won’t make much difference to the election, but I wonder who searched back and discovered this fairly minor transgression (if it can even be called that) and outed Mr Taogaga.

And I wonder who was involved in the decision and who made the decision to dump him from the list.

There may be more to this than has been revealed, but on the surface dumping him seems like an over reaction, and is yet another example of how picky and petty and PC that politics has become.

This sort of thing will deter and discourage people from getting involved, and is likely to lead to more blameless and bland candidates and ultimately MPs.


Taogaga hs commented on Twitter: