Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Poor old Rodney Hide. The man in yellow has had a rough few months. First he lodged an unsuccessful complaint with the Serious Fraud Office against Winston Peters over an illegal donation. It was later revealed that Hide's own ACT Party had failed to disclose a $20,000 a year office space donated by property investor Sir Robert Jones.
He then fell victim to some rather nasty billboard tagging which I alerted him and his party to, and which they promised to fix swiftly. They did not. The billboard was finally removed yesterday, ten days after they had said they'd fix it.
They needn't have bothered.
As you can see in the above two photos (taken this afternoon), that same billboard and it's backing billboard on Dominion Road's underpass were re-tagged, but this time the words MEIN FUHRER were replaced with NAZI HYPOCRITE.
I pointed out in my initial post that Hide's past (and possible future) hardly screams of anti-Semitism. Firstly, he was the most outspoken of all New Zealand politicians when Helen Clark suspended diplomatic relations with Israel over an incident back in 2004. Secondly, Hide is prominently quoted on Canadian based academic John P Palmer's EclectEcon blog, which bears a 'Friend of Israel' banner. And finally, if the National Party wins the election on Saturday, Hide's coalition partner will be John Key; the son of an Austrian Jewish woman.
Those billboard tamperers' Hitler remarks would therefore presumably bear no relation to the Nazi dictator's anti Jewish sentiments.
And last but not least, the NZ Herald revealed this afternoon that Rodney Hide's canary yellow jacket may have broken the laws of New Zealand's Electoral Finance Act. According to the Act, any "published election advertisements" must carry the authorisation of the party's financial agent. Hide's $1300 jacket, which bears the ACT logo and "the guts to do what's right" slogan, does not.
If Hide is found to have breached the Act, he faces a $10,000 fine, while the ACT Party's financial agent faces a $40,000 fine.
Lucky he has wealthy friends like Bob Jones.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
After emailing Rodney Hide for a comment on his tagged billboard, (above – let's call it Rodneygate) I was disappointed to receive the following meagre reply:
All the parties get their billboards vandalized. It’s a jolly nuisance. I will get it attended to. rodney
(Yes, he spelt his name with a lower-case r.)
However I fretted too soon, because this email from ACT's Campaign Operations - Candidate Support Bruce Haycock arrived in my inbox last night:
Hi, even got a text from my daughter about this one, will fix in morning. A number of billboards have Rodney’s face excised – we think it might be the work of an unknown Rodney worshipping sect – we assume they will all Party Vote ACT. Bruce
I don't know about a Rodney worshipping sect – methinks it was more likely the work of a worshipping devotee of another, Italian besuited politician. (He and Rodney don't seem to have been getting along so well lately.)
But hats off to ACT – possibly the country's most conservative party – for being able to have a laugh about Rodneygate in what one would assume is the most stressful month of the last three years.
UPDATE 30/10 5:00pm: The offending billboard is still there – on the left hand side of Dominion Road as you're driving towards Upper Queen St. Someone needs to get their ACT together...
Friday, October 24, 2008
It's begun. Helen's in red, John's wearing his best blue tie, Rodney's pulled out the yellow blazer... New Zealand's politicians officially have election fever. And with election fever comes politicians on billboards. And with politicians on billboards comes a scientific certainty: anybody with a strong opinion and a spray can (or a stanley knife) can and will make their mark.
Case in point – the above billboard on the Dominion Rd underpass depicting ACT Party leader (and former Dancing with the Stars contestant) Rodney Hide as Adolf Hitler. If you click to enlarge it, you'll be able to see a Hitler-esque moustache, a swastika and the words MEIN FUHRER (a title referring to Hitler as the supreme ruler of Germany). This comes just days after a comment on Darren Rickard's Political Animal blog, which said "Rodney Hide is a...joke. He reminds me of Adolph Hitler..."
This is a label that no politician would want next to their name, but presumably even more insulting to Rodney Hide for the following reasons.
If the National Party wins the upcoming election, their obvious coalition partner will be the ACT Party, meaning that Rodney Hide will be in parliament alongside John Key, the son of an Austrian Jewish woman. And when Helen Clark suspended diplomatic relations with Jerusalem after two Israeli men attempted to gain fraudulent New Zealand passports in 2004, it was Rodney Hide who spoke out, calling Helen Clark's anti-Israeli sentiments, (his words) "an embarrassment". Further, the following quote "I continue to enjoy your blog. It's excellent." -- Rodney Hide, Member of Parliament, and Leader of the ACT Party, New Zealand. is prominently displayed on Canadian academic John P Palmer's EclectEcon blog, which bears a Friend of Israel logo. Hardly anti-semitic.
I gave the ACT Party a call to see what they had to say about it all, and they directed me to Chaz Te Runa, ACT's communications officer. Upon reaching him, I was told that not only could I not have a comment, but I couldn't even make an appointment for an interview until next week.
If I was working for a political party and someone called me with news that the party's leader had been depicted on a billboard as Adolf Hitler, I think I'd have something to say about it.
I hope to get a comment from Mr Hide soon.
In the interests of full disclosure I am of Jewish lineage – through my maternal great grandfather.