I have made a point on not commenting on the Aaron Gilmore outburst that has been bouncing around mainstream and social media.
The main reason being, as some of you well know, I almost stood for National a few years back and I would love more than anything to be a Member of Parliament one day. I believed that it was inappropriate for someone with such strong ambitions to become an MP to bag out a backbencher from the party you aspire to represent.
But, I have been pondering over the last week on this. I have strong opinions on why what Aaron did (on the night and afterwards) was sooo wrong and while this post may get me in trouble with the party I feel saying nothing is saying Aaron’s actions were okay, they weren’t So I hope this post does not reflect badly on me, I love the National Party and I hate to see the far left use this as fuel in their belly for their Tory hating-business first-workers last- out of touch rhetoric that this serves to add too.
Two things I want to reflect on, and this is not the night at the restaurant, I think the media has covered this well enough already. So first of all, why the hell was Aaron not at the dinner? Ele eluded to this in a post earlier today, why was Aaron not at the Mainland conference. Having attended in Oamaru a few years back as a volunteer I know the huge reward we felt in having our MPs there to talk to, bounce ideas off and most importantly learn from. One of my most momentous times while involved in the Dunedin South Electorate Committee was meeting Bill English in private for a chat at the National Conference in Auckland, I also know the expectation from the party is that all MPs should be attending these events.
My second reflection is on my experience as a volunteer on the Dunedin South Electorate Committee for National. We were a very small team and I had been involved for five minutes when it fell on me to organise some MPs to speak to the electorate. These kind of talks usually fall when MPs are in the area for other reasons, say visiting the University or a local company etc. I organised two separate speaking/meet the MP sessions with Nikki Kaye and Aaron Gilmore. I was fresh, I am not going to deny it I was probably also out of my depth, so organising these events was very tough and daunting for me. I worked with the MPs, their electorate officers and their parliamentary secretaries. I don’t want to get into mud slinging match so won’t talk about the problems I had trying to organise Aaron’s event but Aaron was very hard to deal with and was nowhere near as engaging when he came, he also talked about how he earned way more in the private sector. We hosted Aaron in the incredible Dunedin Club, a treasure on Dunedin’s map. Nikki on the other had was beautiful (as a person) and sat in a cafe with and talked to everyone there. She was down to earth, considerate, engaging and inspiring. Nikki reinforced my want to be in the National Party.
Nikki is now a Minister in John Key’s Government, a powerful Auckland MP and really going places. Aaron is a lowly ranked list MP who many not have a job for much longer. All makes sense to me