This week, a fake pink penis pricked the Prime Minister’s bubble. After failing to consult with Maori over TPP, tensions at Waitangi were running so high, John Key flagged the event. Turns out he dodged a dildo. There had been talk of someone getting a slap in the face but no one, especially Steven Joyce as it transpired, could have foreseen the rubber cockslap in the face that was about to take the world by storm.
Just when the country should be basking in the afterglow of signing the TPP, Josie Butler took the matter into her own hands and flung a rubber sex toy and herself into world political protest history.
Here is a representative selection of world headlines: Steven Joyce to go down in history as ‘Dildo Baggins’. New Zealand politician hit in face with sex toy by protestor. Flying penis slaps-down NZ MP Steven Joyce in Trans Pacific Partnership protest. This NZ politician was just hit by a pink fake penis. World reaction to Joyce’s stiff opposition. WATCH: Unbelievable moment politician gets smacked in the face with sex toy. The serious reason a New Zealand politician had a sex toy thrown at his face. Steven Joyce and #dildogate: Internet goes into overdrive. Flying Pink Dildo Hits Politician In The Face During Presser. TPP protester boldly chucks dildo at Steven Joyce at Waitangi. Dildo thrown at MP’s mouth for ‘raping sovereignty’. Politician Gets Smacked In The Face By Giant Pink Dildo On Live TV And Takes It Like A Champ. Un ministre reçoit un godemichet dans la tête en pleine interview pour la télé néo-zélandaise. Minister bekommt Dildo ins Gesicht geworfen. A véleménynyilvánítás új módja? Vibrátorral dobták arcon a minisztert.
The coverage was extensive and hilarious with perhaps the New York Post’s vivid retelling the most lurid: “New Zealanders have a unique way with expressing themselves through protest: This time, it features an economic development minister — and a flying dildo. … It slapped against his lips and bounced off a nearby reporter’s breasts — before falling limply at their feet…The Minister took it on the chin — before making a quick withdrawal. Social media immediately erupted into a frenzy of witty quips. #dildogate and Steven Joyce surged into the top trends. When asked if this was a first for him, Joyce began: “Yes, it would be fair to say, under any circumstances …”He then quipped: “It would be unfortunate for being known for this incident.” Too late.”
Was it a good look for the nation on its national day? Of course, I could be biased but I don’t remember a single piece condemning the protester or New Zealand. If anything, there was more sneaking admiration than condemnation. As one American commentator wrote for Addictinginfo.org, “George W. Bush was famously attacked with flying shoes. So was Hillary Clinton. William Kristol was hit in the face with a cream pie. Last month, Donald Trump barely escaped being hit with tomatoes. The takeaway? American projectiles are lame. In order to see how it’s really done, we have to travel by video to New Zealand where Minister Steven Joyce was hit in the face this week with a flying rubber dildo hurled by a protester”.
The original, unique and innovative nature of the protest generated the wit and tweets of wags across the world and the protestor’s aim won wide praise and respect. More importantly, her words were heard and reported alongside the image: “That’s for raping our sovereignty.”
Only one person on the planet didn’t see the funny side. AS TVNZ reported, John Key said the ” ‘juvenile’ sex toy throw (is) not a great look for New Zealand” He was “appalled that people around the world have seen images of a sex toy being thrown at a senior New Zealand politician attending Celebrations for our national day. The Prime Minister said the sex toy thrown at Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce yesterday was “crude and basic” behaviour at what is essentially a family occasion. “That’s the image that’s now gone worldwide … it isn’t the right image for New Zealand”.
Of course, John Key knows something about great looks for New Zealand. His own juvenile antics and inappropriate actions have hit the global headlines with a disturbing regularity. Surely you remember “John Key’s ‘prison rape’ stunt goes international. New Zealand prime minister John Key criticised for ‘rape joke’ stunt. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key slammed after taking part in ‘prison rape joke’ stunt on live radio using a bar of soap. New Zealand PM John Key under fire for participating in ‘prison rape’ radio joke. John Oliver – John Key the Ponytail Puller. #PonyTailGate: People post awkward pictures of NZ Prime Minister John Key touching girls’ ponytails on social media. New Zealand’s ponytail-pulling PM gets a dressing down on Twitter. John Oliver thinks John Key’s ‘wees’ interview is amazing.”
After his ‘family-friendly’ prison rape jokes and admission to shower-pissing, it was impossible for the PM to take the moral high ground. Worse, when the rest of the world (even, to his great good credit, Steven Joyce) could see the funny side, he came across as a humourless hypocrite. On New Zealand’s national day, as the world joined with us to celebrate a little harmless rubber sex toy humour at a pompous politician’s expense, he alone, lemon-lipped, secreted in some bunker under Eden Park, berated his country. His was the only bad review. He talked his country down. On its national day. For many, that was not a great look New Zealand.
It was his second public appearance that many thought was not a great look for New Zealand. At the TPP signing, the PM wore a lapel pin featuring the red, black and blue flag of John Keyland. Meanwhile, outside on the streets, many hundreds, perhaps thousands waved or wore the current flag of New Zealand. There were no reports of any sightings of the John Keyland flag. Not a single solitary sighting. Not one. None. Nada. Nil. Nought. Zip. Zero. Zilch. As David Fisher in the NZ Herald reported, there “wasn’t a single Kyle Lockwood flag to be seen. Above the crowds protesting the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement were plenty of the current New Zealand flag, the tino rangatiratanga, United Tribes flag and the Mana Party banners. But not a single fern on black, blue or red.” But why should there be? New Zealand and John Keyland are two different places. One is real and the other imaginary. One has a long history of standing up for what it believes and the other a short history of standing up for….standing up for….well, let’s just leave it at a short history.
In the Bay of Plenty Times, Rosie Dawson-Hewes thought “Key’s fern flag pin at TPP signing insensitive.” She wrote “This week, Mr Key stood in front of the world as New Zealand’s representative. He was representing you and me on that stage. Except his insistence on wearing a flag, that hasn’t been selected by me or you, meant he didn’t represent us at all.”
That has been the emerging narrative of TPP: John Key doesn’t represent us at all. That was certainly the message of the protests that shut down central Auckland for five hours. That was the message of the massive march down Queen Street and back up to Federal Street.
According to Mohsin Siddiqui in an article for The Vineyard Saker, that day “was a good day to be out and about in Auckland. A bouquet of human values was on display that is usually confined to that, overtly distorted, place called ‘personal space’ in this ever shrinking public space. The protests in Auckland were anticipated by the vast majority of the population in this truly unique Island in the Pacific. There is an almost electrifying blend of people from all walks of life who came out to voice their dissent. To their credit the people were 100% peaceful with their protest and civil disobedience. Men, women, children and the elderly marched in solidarity cheerful, hopeful and dignified as their rights were being signed away at a casino. The government decided to sign a fundamentally undemocratic treaty in the one place they could. The policemen kept the peace and somewhere in their stares into the abyss one could see them struggling to contain their own outrage at this farce. Most policemen were calm, friendly and jovial.”
There were no arrests. It was 100% peaceful. A bouquet of human values. An almost electrifying blend of people from all walks of life.
Of course, some, like the PM, didn’t see it that way. Heather du Plessis-Allan was infuriated: “The opposition to the TPP was ugly. Worse than that, it backfired. At first, the crowds of thousands walking Auckland’s streets in protest were impressive. Until you talked to them. Too many of them didn’t even know why they were protesting. But what TPP-haters have done is drive the thousands of ordinary Kiwis who don’t really understand the deal and its implications straight into the arms of the TPP fan-boys and girls. Whose argument are you more likely to believe: the guy who can relay the solitary blog post he’s read on how great the TPP is, or the guy lying in the middle of the road clutching a molotov cocktail because he’s angry about something vaguely to do with the price of medicine?”
What? Did anyone see a guy lying in the middle of the road clutching a molotov cocktail? I’ve read a lot of crap of late but this desperate cant took the cake. Journalists (and here I use the term in its widest sense) should take care to report what happened. Not what could have happened. Or, in the case of the guy lying in the middle of the road clutching a molotov cocktail, what didn’t happen at all. This was ugly, Heather. Inaccurate, inflammatory and just plain ugly. Perhaps you should go back to ordering firearms online and let those who oppose this corporate coup get on with practising their right to peaceful protest.
But before you do, ponder Heather the following and ask yourself whose argument are you more likely to believe: John Key or Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz. John Key or Senator Elizabeth Warren. John Key or Rod Oram. John Key or Rob O’Neill. For Stuff, he wrote ‘On the TPPA, words are cheap’ : “In signing last week, New Zealand formally abandoned its bottom-line on dairy access. As former trade minister and TPPA champion Tim Groser (now NZ Ambassador to Washington) warned in October, we swallowed some dead rats. We swallowed more than we expected. There are economic benefits to the agreement but they are tiny, even according to official modelling. Here’s a fact: the TPPA is a disappointment, an opportunity lost, a setback rather than a victory in New Zealand’s long fight for access to major dairy markets in the US and Japan. That should not be a controversial statement. It’s obvious and it’s true. We have little to celebrate.”
So, in spite of the hoo-ha, with TPP, we have nothing to celebrate. John Key wanted to negotiate it in secret and have it signed sight unseen. Failing to consult with Maori demonstrated a disrespect that will not be forgotten. By failing to be transparent about the treaty’s contents, by promoting only its margin of error benefits and flat-out denying its proven and profound downsides, by wearing a non-New Zealand flag at the ceremony, by running down his country on its national day, the lone voice, he revealed himself as a man who does not represent us at all.
This week, a fake pink penis pricked the Prime Minister’s bubble. Perhaps next time he will be more careful when trying to ram a cock and balls corporate coup down the throats of a fiercely independent and freedom loving nation.