Jo Jo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.

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GODWIN’S LAW hardly covers it. Drawing a comparison between the person, or persons, you are arguing with and the Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, was identified by US lawyer Mike Godwin, way back in 1990, as the point where meaningful debate ends. There can’t be many in John Tamihere’s mayoral campaign team who would disagree. JT’s “Sieg Heil to that!”, blurted out in response to a Phil Goff soliloquy on Auckland’s diversity has definitely become the takeaway comment from last night’s (17/9/19) bruising Pub Politics Mayoral Debate.

The elation in Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watch social media light up in indignation at Tamihere’s intervention. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, “there he goes again”, handing his enemies a very large stick and inviting them to beat him to death.

To make the whole debacle even worse, Tamihere explained his “Sieg Heil” quip by referencing Goff’s claim to have de-platformed Stefan Molyneux and Cheryl Southern – the two far-right Canadians prevented from holding a public meeting in Auckland in 2018. Given the views of the banned speakers, the comparison with Hitler was ideologically absurd. If Goff really did harbour Hitlerian tendencies, then he would have welcomed Molyneux and Southern with open arms.

If JT had to make some quip, “Long Live Chairman Phil!” would have sufficed. After all, it’s not just Nazis who censor their opponents, the Reds also have ‘form’ when it comes to putting a muzzle on free speech.

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The other factor JT failed to consider before blurting was that, in the grim shadow of the 15 March mosque massacres in Christchurch, Goff’s impulse to de-platform the likes of Molyneux and Southern seems much less high-handed than it does prescient. Speaking up for the free speech rights of alt-right Valkyries and “scientific” racists was a lot easier before one of their gruesome tribe gunned down 51 innocent human-beings in their houses of worship.

So, why did he do it? What was he thinking?

The host of Pub Politics and Daily Blog editor, Martyn Bradbury, put his finger on it in his review of the Goff/Tamihere clash: “Trump and Brexit won by tapping into a deep resentment within the electorate, that resentment exists within Auckland and if JT wins, it will be because he understands that.”

“And because”, Martyn might have added, “he gives it a voice.”

Long before the Internet and its lawmakers, New Zealanders used to describe that all-too-familiar Kiwi stereotype – the authoritarian boss who thinks he knows everything and takes great pleasure in making the lives of everybody below him on the pecking order miserable – as a “Little Hitler”.

Those hard-bitten Kiwi soldiers returning from the Second World War weren’t overly tolerant of such people, and in the days when the trade unions still had some kick, they weren’t frightened to let them know. Blokes of a certain age, and blokesses too, will have no difficulty in recalling those moments when one of these Little Hitlers, having rattled-off their orders, provokes one long-suffering staff-member to raise their arm in a mocking “Sieg Heil!” salute to his retreating back.

Tamihere, in blurting “Sieg Heil to that”, wasn’t signalling his membership of some perverse right-wing fraternity. All he was doing was signalling his membership of something much less acceptable – the Maori working-class of West Auckland. (Not too many of them amongst the woke patrons of the Chapel Bar on a Tuesday night in trendy Ponsonby!)

And why might a working-class Maori from West Auckland consider Phil Goff to be a “Little Hitler”?

Could it have something to do with an Auckland Council that appears to only have ears for the bicycle-riders and the public transport theoreticians – by refusing to listen to the men and women who are forced to drive half-way across the city to work every morning in a car that gets harder and more expensive to warrant with every passing six months, and whose gas tank cost more to fill – thanks to Phil.

Could it be because when the Mayor waxes eloquent about diversity, the people in his mind’s eye are the wealthy property speculators and business investors from Asia – the ones who pour hundreds-of-thousands of dollars into the pockets of the New Zealand political class. That’s not the sort of diversity that trickles down the walls of those dank dwelling-places where the Maori, Pasifika and poor immigrant workers of Auckland live. Liberal Neoliberals like Mayor Goff don’t run into very many of them at their fundraisers.

At the doors of the Waipareira Trust, however, John Tamihere meets many such people. They come to see the doctors at its medical centre; the dentists at its dental practice. Many come for help with housing (far too many) or for a food parcel to see their kids through the week. Waipareira serves them all.

John Tamihere doesn’t ask for donations from the rich – he provides services to the poor. Has done for thirty years. His words may leave a lot to be desired at times, but you cannot fault his deeds.

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. Well observed chris! We do see alot of the super city council people at cultural events when it’s all songs, dancing and speeches, but how many leave the isthmus suburbs to see the daily grind issues of those in south auckland, of the semi rural areas up north and west. Auckland was a great place up till about 10 years ago but now it’s become a big Ponzi scheme. Whom ever fixes the neverending pox of (mostly idle) roadworks in auckland will get my vote.

  2. WTF. I can not believe the unmitigated drivel issuing from jaffa land. On voice of america (rnz nat.)this morning, representative of the Jewish community yells down Tamihere, uncle tom cobbly and all commenting on the dastardly deed, woke in full swinging hand bag mode? As the son of a returned serviceman WW11, although obviously i can not know for certain, i suspect that my father and his comrades would have had a good chuckle as pointed out in your blog Chris. Not being an auckland voter, i have no skin in the game, but have followed JT’s career of assisting those in need (Maori and Pakeha) for many years. Believe me if i had to choose between a man who had spent a large part of his working life helping the downtrodden, and a career politician the choice is a no-brainer.

  3. Given the history of asset sell offs in the country its likely the downtrodden of West Auckland will be among the ones struggling to pay their sharply increased water bills after privatization. I support John’s shakeup of the CCOs. They have no democratic accountability. Anyone hoping for Goff to add elected councilors to the CCO boards was dismayed when his first action was to remove them from AT. But to me the water sell off is a red line given the history of water privatization in many countries. This will be the thin end of the wedge. Expect all water reticulation in NZ to be in private hands by the end of the decade.

  4. This comment was purposefully inflamatory, JT is known for this character. It seems to be his only selling point (selling our stuff is not going to count in his favour, I believe the political left does not agree with privatisation), and that is sad. His mega bridge is ridiculous, as is a second airport. We are living on the cusp of climate change hell, who in his right mind would be creating more potential for carbon emissions? NB Trump is not of right mind so not included in this grouping. I know little of what he does with Waipareira Trust, and if it is good, perhaps we can suggest he continues that good work? Mayor is only a symbolic position, a mayor needs to be pragmatic and convince at least half of their counsellors to achieve anything. JT does not seem to possess this quality. Yes Goff is boring, and not everyone likes him, but he is less reckless than JT, and Auckland does not need a hothead representing it. And who cares who banned those Canadian imbeciles? What is important is that no one had to listen to their garbage. Now if only we could censor a few twitter accounts…

  5. JT’s mispronunciation of the German removed it a little from true Nazism to my mind: he pronounced like the Mongrel Mob of old, which to my mind does tie him more to South Auckland than to the Nüremburg rally..

  6. I haven’t seen the debate, but I suspect either the Nazi salute was aimed at Phil Goff as the figure head of Auckland Council which many people in Auckland now see as akin to woke Nazi party, in terms of an ideological, genocidal, dictatorship that is not going to end well unless they are defeated and sunlight is put on their activities behind the Arbeit macht frei “work sets you free” mandate.

    Or possibly a calculated risk, Trump style to actually create a wave of woke, in his wake, therefore activating anyone in Auckland who sees issues with the Auckland councils ideological diversity agenda, which is real terms seems to be more about blow jobs for Len Brown types or $100k donations/free China trips in return for positive affirmation of continuing the social cleansing/gerry mandering of Auckland inhabitants by essentially pricing people out of the city and replacing them with low paid workers and exploitative employee’s and drug runners/moneylaunderers and their Ponzi job schemes which fail to build any functional and practical houses/roads/cycleways/public transport/cafes… you name it…. the city is starting to die, the high street starting to die in outlying areas, as ghost houses and ghost apartments, ghost businesses, along with the ghost jobs are increasing.

  7. It can’t get any better than when two right-wing fuckknuckles like Goff and Tamihere try to argue it out. Pure gold.

  8. If Tamihere is really serious, he should change his water policy and guarantee not to part privatise the water, and he might just beat Goff. Otherwise it is just two neoliberals… fighting each other and he is unlikely to win because nobody wants privatised water…

    Otherwise it is the face of Rogernomics and TPPA vs the face of part privatising water and more road building and construction…

    Hmmm neither are actually wanted by most in Auckland.

  9. I hate surface politics, while realising it’s the half of it. Willing to do my bit to fund you Chris to attend to what centrally matters. The Labour sex scandal isn’t one of them.

  10. JT is the consumate politician, going from calling out psycho babble to blurting out ‘sieg heil’ in one breath (and seven schooners). Politics demands these contradiction word salads and I forsee John winning this master chef mayoralty.

  11. Goff and Tamihere both p… me off.
    Like a pair of performing seals each making as loud a noise as possible to get the biggest fish.
    I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland if this is the calibre of the strongest candidates.

  12. Voting papers have arrived! The only name that I’ve heard and seen in MSM is a fulla called JT So I think I’ll vote for him because I don’t know any of the others! Oh, and Mike Lee!

  13. Reading Marilyn Waring’s memoirs of her political years, where Muldoon put the unemployed above corrective economics, and knowing the last 35 years where the least came last — sorry, come last –voting for Goff is something a NZer who understands NZness can’t do. Thankfully for Goff… Tamihere, another Peters hoon, isn’t better.

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