OPINION

Chloe Swarbrick went on Jack Tame’s show on Sunday as the Greens seek to influence, by their handmaidens in the media, the outcome of the looming Privileges Committee hearing into Julie Anne Genter’s misbehaviour both inside and outside the House.

The matter of privilege arose when she crossed the floor of the house to vociferously and vehemently remonstrate with Matt Doocey about something she disagreed with.

Genter herself tried a little bit of contrition in the Herald on Friday and now Swarbrick is trying to mitigate the reputational and political damage from Genter’s outbursts of anger.

But Swarbrick, who likes to think she’s smarter than the average bear, got outsmarted by Jack Tame of all people.

Green Party co-leader Chloe Swarbrick says Green MP Julie Anne Genter’s intimidating behaviour was not comparable to a previous case involving a National MP – despite her attributing a description of Tim van de Molen’s behaviour to that of her MP’s.

In an interview on TVNZ’s Q + A this morning, host Jack Tame tripped up Swarbrick while questioning her about the party’s response to Genter’s behaviour in Parliament.

The interview foreshadowed Swarbrick’s first big speech as co-leader this afternoon in which the Greens hoped to put successive controversies behind them.

“Quote: Aggressive in the sense of being hostile, unprofessional with an element that was objectively threatening but not in the sense of physical violence – do you know who that describes?” Tame said.

Swarbrick: “You tell me, Jack.”

Tame: “Come on.”

Swarbrick: “I am assuming you are talking about the behaviour of Julie Anne Genter which she obviously immediately apologised for.”

Tame said the quote actually referred to National MP Tim van de Molen, who was found in contempt and censured by Parliament last year after being accused of threatening a Labour MP in a select committee meeting.

NZ Herald

Ouch, outsmarted by Jack Tame!

He noted that National Party leader Christopher Luxon stripped the MP of his portfolios at the time and asked whether the Greens should be doing the same with Genter.

Swarbrick said they were “two completely different circumstances” because Genter immediately apologised and acknowledged her actions were unacceptable while van de Molen denied his behaviour and only expressed regret after being censured in Parliament.

She would not say whether she would strip Genter of her portfolios if she was found in contempt of Parliament.

“Julie Anne made a mistake. She messed up. She owned up to that. And there have been [consequences] through the likes of the public chastising that have occurred over the past few weeks.”

NZ Herald

Of course the two cases are different: the Greens are covered by the shield of sanctimony. They never think they should be held to the same standards as everyone else because they are Greens. That’s why Golriz Ghahraman thought she could pinch stuff, it’s why Darleen Tana thought she could exploit migrant workers, it’s why Chloe Swarbrick can make genocidal chants and it’s why Marama Davidson can make racist and sexist remarks – all without ever having to fear a media pile on or close scrutiny from anyone.

They’re the Greens and they are covered by the shield of sanctimony, and if that fails they’ll throw on the cloak of hypocrisy.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...