Every so often, one will witness a Member of Parliament accidentally shooting the mouth off in a burst of complete nonsense. It might come out of frustration with how their day is coming or be intended as a cheap political points scoring exercise. Whatever the motivation, every time an M.P. is interviewed, s/he is on show, making their best pitch to New Zealand – everything they say is subject to being broken down and analyzed; every action feted or rued.
It is like a tight rope over a pool and the M.P. has no idea what lies in the waters, but a sneakily placed microphone or other recording device – as the infamous cup of tea at a cafe in Auckland showed – can cause a packet of grief.
Over that time, emboldened by a weak Opposition where sometimes the most effective opponent has been the leader of the fourth largest party in Parliament, the perceived arrogance began to grow. It was not helped by a media establishment that went ga-ga over the Prime Minister. With a Speaker of the House only too happy to do some dirty work for National, when he should have acted like the neutral House official he was supposed to be, it is possible that Mr Ngaro became detached from reality.
Unfortunately Alfred Ngaro’s comments were not the first outburst from a National Party Member of Parliament. Many will remember the commentary that erupted from the mouth of the National Party-list Member of Parliament Aaron Gilmore during dinner at a hotel in Hanmer Springs where Mr Gilmore got angry and insulted staff who refused to serve his group. It caused national outrage and led to Mr Gilmore resigning from Parliament after a second, pre-Parliament incident came to light regarding inappropriate e-mails being sent by Mr Gilmore.
Other comments come from Prime Minister John Key. Mr Key, in a fit of irritation with the Human Rights Commission hinted that if the Commission did not pull itself into line, he might see fit to ensure that the funding it had at the time from the Government would be its last. The comments came after the Human Rights Commission criticized a Bill of Parliament going through the House regarding the conduct of the spy agencies and the scope of proposed changes.
So, thank you very much Mr Ngaro. You have epitomized, however unintentionally, what so many people find off putting about National as a party. Whether we as a nation remember this unfortunate incident in September is another question altogether.