Russel Norman – you are the leader of the Greens, you are not Trevor Mallard on roids.
My criticism of Russel Norman’s bizarre and ill spirited spite rant against Hone and Laila has provoked an adolescent and juvenile response on Twitter from Russel…
…and Russel is 100% right. As a champion of Internet MANA I was terribly, terribly wrong and I offered up my slice of humble pie the very next day on how wrong I called it. I honestly believed that if NZers saw the real Dirty Politics/Mass surveillance John Key, kiwis would recoil from him. Helen Clark was crucified for signing a painting she didn’t paint, a speeding ticket, energy saving lightbulbs and water saving shower heads, Key’s henchmen on the other hand were alleged to have blackmailed an MP, hacked Labour’s computer and downloaded their entire database, were handed SIS information to embarrass a political opponent, attacked public servants and planned a corporate hit job on the head of the SFO. Add to that the mass surveillance falsehoods exposed by Assange, Snowden and Greenwald and it never occurred to me NZers would vote for that.
In the end, Nicky Hager was right. Dirty Politics worked and hoping to reverse 6 years of media collusion with Key’s black ops team in 6 weeks was in hindsight a false hope.
Kim is the first to admit the demonisation of him damaged Internet MANA, and I’ve given my thoughts on the Moment of Truth, but to blame a wronged person whose only difference is that he has the wealth to fight back for the well co-ordinated hit job he suffered at the hands of the media and Government seems churlish in the extreme by Russel. To put the boot into Hone, Laila and Kim by buying wholeheartedly into the mainstream narrative while refusing to criticise that media for their abdication of fourth estate responsibilities is beneath the leader of the Greens.
If Russel is now through with blaming everyone else for the election result, will he be turning that same level of Canberra viciousness to his own performance as leader of the Green Party? Here is a leader who said 15% was their target, a Leader who has had plenty of exposure, plenty of years in the media spotlight, a Leader who has had every advantage while Labour is in disarray to push the vote up.
So what the hell happened then?
I certainly believed they had 15% in them, great candidates, a solid set of policies, some which cleverly managed to straddle the left/right divide and seek voters from the soft blue without alienating their environmental base, so what went wrong?
Well, apart from a pretty lacklustre appearance from Russ who seemed to think it was all a bit beneath him at times, the Greens ran the worst billboard campaign of any election I can remember. Their weird ‘Love NZ’ Billboards looked like they were promising more traffic congestion, child poverty and polluted rivers – they didn’t look like the political solution at all. The messaging was ill conceived and had as much marketing success as abattoir slaughter house photos bearing the McDonald’s ‘I’m loving it’ logo.
Where’s Russel’s responsibility for that messaging decision?
The entire country was plastered in these weird billboards, and managed to communicate nothing but negative gut reactions. The party machine on the day once again failed to spark and the lack of traction despite the Greens large social media footprint are all questions Green members should be demanding answers to. Seeing as Russel promised 15% and managed to under deliver by 30% – is it time to call into question his Leadership in all of this?
If under performing by 30% while slagging off Hone, Laila and Kim and moving the coms team to the centre is the best Russel can manage, perhaps Green supporters might start asking aloud what could a Kevin Hague co-led Green Party alongside Metiria achieve instead?
Russel’s behaviour in all of this is beneath the leader of a political party, his spite rant and the twitter insults he followed his tweet to me up with are more graceless boor than the actions of a genuine leader. Personally disappointing for him and embarrassing for the Greens.
Russel Norman is much better than this childishness and the Greens can’t be happy having their brand now associated with bitterness. Russ needs a herbal tea and a massage.
It is sad in the extreme that Hone can continue to show more dignity in defeat than Russel Norman has ever managed in his years of victory.
After bashing Hone, Kim and Laila, I’m waiting for Norman to now attack Nicky Hager for publishing Dirty Politics to excuse his election result.