Brian Edwards Media

A dissenting view of Aaron Gilmore

Rod Emmerson's cartoon in The Weekend Herald 11/5/13

Rod Emmerson’s cartoon in The Weekend Herald 11/5/13

[After Question Time in the House today (Tuesday) , Aaron Gilmore made a considered speech, in which he expressed regret for the events which had ultimately led to his resignation from Parliament. He apologised to the Prime Minister, his colleagues in the House and the National Party at large for any embarrassment his conduct had caused. His words were without rancour, accusation or blame. They were greeted with applause from all members. It was, in my view, a dignified exit.]

***

It’s possible that only the Germans, whose language is full of nouns composed of (sometimes several) other nouns joined together, could have invented the term ‘Schadenfreude’. Schaden means harm and Freude means happiness or joy. So the two joined together can be roughly translated as ‘joy at other people’s misfortunes’.

There was, it seems to me, a significant degree of Schadenfreude in the nation’s response to the downfall of Aaron Gilmore. It was combined with the righteous indignation of a populace seemingly without sin and therefore more than willing to cast not just the first stone but a positive volley of stones. The Germans could no doubt produce an exceptionally long word to describe this phenomenon.

Prominent among the righteous were Gilmore’s former friends, colleagues and acquaintances a number of whom, preferring to shun the limelight, took to dobbing him in for a variety of past crimes, real or invented,  via the honourable device of the anonymous leak. 

But nowhere was joy more unconfined than among those exemplars  of probity and propriety – the news media. The charge was led by TV3’s Paddy Gower, who could barely contain his excitement at such a treasure-trove of poor judgement and wickedness. He was assisted by the channel’s self-appointed avenging angel, the shrewish Rebecca Wright, whose performance at Gilmore’s 15-minute ritual humiliation before the  media suggested she thought kicking a man already down and bleeding was actually recommended under Marquess of Queensbury rules.

[To be fair to the saintly Mr Gower and the spotless Ms Wright, I should perhaps note that I rarely watch One News, so there may well have been even more pious commentators there.]

But it was left to the Herald’s brilliant cartoonist, Rod Emmerson, to deliver the coup de grace to the worthless Gilmore. In the best traditions of cartooning during the Third Reich, fun would be made not just of Gilmore’s actions but of his appearance – he would be portrayed as a toad.

I took the trouble to look up the definition of the word in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary. It reads in part: 1. ‘Any of those amphibians that have a dry warty skin, walk rather than leap, and were formerly reputed to have poisonous attributes. 2. A repulsive or detestable person.’

Lest anyone miss the fun, the Weekend Herald devoted a generous half-page to Emmerson’s cartoon of a drunken and dishevelled Aaron Gilmore with the unambiguous caption ‘Waiter! One more for the Toad…’

On Sunday’s The Nation I commented that had I been subjected to the avalanche of personal abuse and character assassination that Gilmore had endured over the previous two weeks, amounting to the annihilation not only of his reputation but of his very raison d’être as a human being, I might well have contemplated suicide.

Later that day Gilmore resigned. Blaming ‘the intense pressure’ that media scrutiny had put him under, he said, ‘I am human.’ It was a definition of himself which he must have felt the need to reassert.

I doubt that these musings will find much popular support. Gilmore is not an attractive personality – a boastful and bullying narcissist careless with the truth. But nor is he worthless. His reputation and career are now in tatters. It’s a heavy price to pay for getting drunk, throwing your weight around and telling a few porkies.

I feel just a little sorry for him. And I doubt that many of his detractors, least of all in the media, have themselves lived exemplary lives. It is one of a number of reasons why I never call myself ‘a journalist’.

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94 Comments:

  1. There’s a fair bit we disagree on Brian, but we’re on the same side here. To be sure, he carried on like a plonker and probably had to go, but the tone of much of the coverage has left an awful lot to be desired.

    • Interestingly in all the brouhaha over Gilmore I heard only one comment pertinent to the real issue – after all everyone in N.Z revels in drunkenness – and that was the nasty, arrogant attitude of Gilmore towards a ‘lower class”, restaurant lackey. As a politician whom did he assume he was representing – the rich and important?

      • 1.1.1

        Diana…well yes. He was a Nat, he was a list MP, he’s from Christchurch. So yes he’s not working for the downtrodden brown masses. He’ll presumably have opportunity to reflect on all this while he rubs shoulders with the disenfranchised and disenchanted down at Work and Income.

  2. I agree with you about Rebecca Wright’s M.O.
    One of their other reporters was similarly obnoxious when collaring Russell Norman about the supposed 100,000 unacceptable signatures on their asset sales petition.
    It’s all a bit ugly.
    Perhaps the channel is feeling emboldened by the decimation of TVOne’s Close Up time slot by the campaigning of Campbell Live?

  3. Thank you for this balanced view on the Gilmore saga. While definitely not a fan of Gilmore I have not seen the point of the media mercilessly dragging him even further down than he let himself fall. I am pretty sure there have been bigger news stories in NZ over the last two weeks that have not got the attention they deserve due to the media’s focus on this issue. There is something a bit putrid about kicking someone when they are down, even if they got there all in their own doing.

    • Am I allowed to say your piece shows a wisdom that sadly seems to be missing from within NZ media? I don’t want to appear ageist :)

    • Hear, Hear! There has been a lot of uncalled-for comment on this man. Now leave him alone to lick his wounds. I watched his final speech live, and thought he was conciliatory, humble, and left with dignity. Well done, Aaron.

  4. 4

    Deborah Morris-Travers

    I agree with you Brian. Getting drunk and being a dick are a national pastime. I have seen many an MP and journalists behave outrageously, making all manner of grand declaration. I hope that Aaron is able to recover from his fall from grace.

  5. Maybe the Gilmore saga will go down as a sort of text book, “how not to do political damage control”. I have felt a tinge of sorry for him, here and there, along the way. But blow me down there’s more and much of it his own doing. I do think a lot of this is due to the seething hatred of the critics of this government and also lately the National Party’s determination rid of him. I’ve noticed the political mood change over the past few weeks with the asset sales share squabble intensifying. Schaden freude for sure and even on a good day, no one likes a haughty Tory. Nasty business politics and a swipe at Gilmore for many is a swipe at the smirk on the face of the brighter future guy.

  6. 6

    Raymond a Francis

    Looks like we all agree.
    It was just a bit over the top and as for his friend and drinking mate it pays to remember why lawyers don’t get attacked by sharks.
    Professional courtesy

  7. “It’s a heavy price to pay for getting drunk, throwing your weight around and telling a few porkies.” I don’t really agree with this. I think the reason he got more than 5 minutes of being a national joke – brought on by the “don’t you know who I am” – is because he seems to have seriously upset a bunch of people when he was in a position of power over them.

    I think it was the emergence of other allegations that did for him. Bullying and threatening to lie about people is serious. Lying about his CV makes one wonder what else he lied about. Workplace bullying is a more serious problem in NZ than many people realise – but many people have been on the receiving end of it, and/or of abusive behaviour from landlords, customers etc – and it struck a nerve.

    • An entirely reasonable comment. But I actually think his ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ was an attack on the great (perhaps the greatest) Kiwi virtue – to be modest and self-effacing. When a Kiwi jumps into a crocodile infested river to save a child, loses both arms and legs in the process and his torso is finally dragged from the water, the first thing he has to say is, ‘Hey,it was nothing. Anyone would have done the same. I’m no hero.’

      • Agreed – but I think that only accounts for the initial furore. There was a hoodie with “don’t you know who I am” doing the rounds… reminded me of “naturally I finished my set”. If nothing else bad came out about Gilmore and he apologised at the start, I reckon he would have almost been able to laugh along with us.

  8. It was the email thing that floored me. In my lengthy work experience I have received and sent emails far nastier than those many times. They must be very precious petals in the public sector these days. To think he lost his job for that….

    What’s wrong with the boss chewing him out and telling him not to be a plonker?

    It’s all a bit like disciplining kids these days, endless varieties of emotional cruelty rather than a quick slap around the legs.

  9. Well written, Brian.
    I’ve spent a lot time in media one way or t’other but nowadays the current crop on telly are really nothing much to do with anything remotely relevant to our lives or aligned to information we need to know.
    We appear to be living in a two-step world where politicians make decisions with little regard to whether we want it or not and now these amateurs on the TV news go about their carnivorous business delivering us a daily diet of guttersniping and info. that most of us just look at and think ” what does that have to do with me ?”

    I guess the upside of the Gilmore crucifixion is the hopeful deterrent effect for our “pollies” for boorish behaviour and the fond hope they’ll remember the golden rule…don’t get caught as that strange -looking Paddy Gower is waiting in the wings for his next victim..

  10. The Media may have been merciless but was it perhaps the unsavoury taste of his own medicine that really hurt.I have no time for the attitudes he embodies and would find it bitter pill to swallow allowing him the opportunity to help govern our nation.Perhaps the lawyer who shared the table with him only exhibited the behaviour found with birds of a feather.Gilmores appearance as a toad may have something to do with that famous character at Toad Hall . I must admit I find the dictionary meaning fits like a glove.

    • After saying, ‘I am human.’ Gilmore added: ‘I’m determined to learn from those lessons as I continue my life with more grace and humility.’

      • Gilmore has said a lot of things. I’d take what he says with a grain of salt. Now, it seems, he wants to take revenge. So much for showing “grace” and “humility”.

  11. I agree. For all his faults he is human with the same feelings as the rest of us. Those without sin cast the first stone seems to be appropriate here. Maybe we could start with Gower?

  12. I think Gilmore’s pasting was a bit over the top, too. After all, though it’s not a good look, being sloshed and lippy in public (in this case, with the bar staff) is hardly a hanging offence, and not something most of us haven’t accidentally involved themselves in at least once.

    Gilmore clearly demonstrated some arrogance and poor judgement in the wash-up though, which ultimately made him a juicier target: he should’ve taken counsel from Zak Guilford. Obviously Arron Gilmore’s not of politician material, so I’d say he’s better off out of it.

  13. 13

    I agree with you Brian, and this not the first politician who has suffered from a mass media attack. I would say, though, that in many of these stories, the same element occurs. The politician outright lies, stretches the truth or obfuscates. I get the feeling that this is when the sharks start circling for an attack & in no time it’s a feeding frenzy. Like any slaughter it’s a sickening sight and one that I do not want to watch!

  14. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover … but I do think I have read enough to think the guy has no right to be reprsenting anyone other than himself.

  15. Sorry but he lost all integrity with his faux apology where he, rather than accepting responsibility for his own actions, he tried to blame the whole group.

    What integrity? What leadership? No wonder those he tried to tar refused to accept his public statements and defended their own personal reputations.

    This is just a continuation of a practise of politicians to never accepting personal fault.

  16. “It’s a heavy price to pay for getting drunk, throwing your weight around and telling a few porkies.”

    Perhaps, unless you are one of the 121 people who successfully put themselves forward as being up to the job of leading the entire country. Is sobriety and decorum for 3 years (or less in his case) too much to ask?

    • And that’s surely the point, isn’t it? This isn’t some boofhead footy player or Dancing with the Stars “celebrity” but a Member of our House of Representatives.

      No one press ganged him into the role; he sought it with considerable energy. Having attained it it behooves him to remember that he is our representative.

      Yes, New Zealanders take egalitarianism to extremes, as with Brian’s apocryphal armless, legless hero. Sometimes perhaps too far. But few Kiwis would berate a waiter, then try to shift the blame to their mates, and generally behave in a way that gives every impression that they think they’re quite a bit better than the rest of us, and that we’re all the stupider for not knowing that.

      I’m sure Gilmore isn’t the only MP with that opinion of themselves, but the fanfare with which he trumpeted it, on many occasions, marks him out as particularly unsuited to be one of the 121.

      If the Germans have a word for most NZer’s reaction to his comeuppance, the Jews have a word which characterises his failing – chutzpah. In buckets.

      • Aaron Gilmore was a Dancing with the Stars celebrity

        Opps, sorry that was the other one

    • ‘Sobriety and decorum’? I take it you haven’t watched Parliament of late.

  17. Undesirably toady though he may have been , the type of attention he was subjected to was akin to bullying- it was distasteful – as much if not more , than his bullying behaviour . I think the whole incident did take a life of its own- and one probably quite different to what AG was presenting in his boorish tanty at the waiter. This was probably fuelled by the texts and by those of the media that found him an easy target. Those leaking texts and emails whether anonymously or for unwholesome purpose from this sorry business (why would one release contents of personal texts) deserve derision. Perhaps now that he has left we shall get some other aspects of this saga to round things off ! -waiter, other diners and Mr Gilmore himself-
    Is he not giving a final address tomorrow? Then oh please let the media not flog a dead horse . It is boring.

  18. I acknowledge that NZ has a cultural tendency of schadenfreude – a symptom of the so-called “tall poppy syndrome” (TSP). TSP is itself a defense against the type of grandiosity many of our european ancesstors were escaping from when immigrating here – namely the european aristocracy and class system.
    So the media response to an arrogant, self-entitled, self-deluding bully is completely understandable from that perspective.
    We expect our politicians to have a sense of decency about how they treat the common folk – and to act with integrity. Not only did Gilmore fail at both of these expectations he also failed at being clever enough to put on the pretense.
    He got what was coming to him. Fair cop. Let it be a lesson to him and any other aspiring politician.

  19. All the while the real ‘toad’ and his Teflon skin keeps his distance and washes his hands of it all. A real leader would have been on top of this from the minute it became public.

    But then when it comes to porkies Gilmore had a very competent exponent to follow in his dear leader.

    • I think you’re unrealistic in your expectations of your leaders, Kat. You’d have to go back to Jesus Christ himself to find one who didn’t spin, bend, twist, make stuff up, add bits or leave bits out. Far too often they bull their way through the job, often in self defence against worse perpetraitors, and usually whilst protesting their innocence.

      Key’s got a country to run – not a finishing school for wayward oafs who think they’re above the rules of common ettiquette. He sent Gilmore to the naughty step very early in the piece, which as I understand was about all he could do. Sacking him doesn’t solve the problem – it exascerbates it.

      MMP seems to allow a Party to put a candidate in the Beehive but not to remove him: how a list MP can’t just be replaced upon the boss’s whim escapes me. Gilmore, having been removed from the Party, could remain in the seat as an unelected, party-less independant MP, wreaking havoc at every turn – who would have knowingly voted for such a system?

      • Yes, of course Zinc, how silly of me to have high expectations of my country’s leader. As you say, Key has a country to run and we should be grateful no matter how he does it.

        Anyone else looking forward to the next election!?

        • Well, in my opinion it was a pretty minor indiscretion in the general scale of things. I wouldn’t expect the CEO of Air New Zealand to be the right bloke to bollock a technician for leaving his screwdriver in the wheel housing of a 747.

          I don’t think we need an election for quite some time yet – let’s wait until the opposition have a message of some sort, and a leader to deliver it.

          • Ground control to Zinc…….

            Message….
            1.The voters own your capsule, please don’t eject!
            2.The voters are going to appoint a user-friendly leader…soon!

            Planet NZ is blue, but there is something you can do……

  20. I have been really disgusted at this whole episode. In years gone by I have worked as a wine waiter and served many such as Gilmore. No need to describe him, we all know the type. I doubt the waiter in Hanmer lost any sleep over him, I know I wouldn’t have, and I also had to suffer the usual lewd comments associated with being female.
    However, the attacks from the likes of Patrick Gower et al in the MSM disgust me more. These so called journalists are like a rabid pack of dogs salivating from their self righteous expectation and circling for a quick and oh so clever kill.
    I know I’m not the only one who feels like this, going by your blog & commentors plus the many tweets I’ve noticed expressing similar views.
    Something really doesn’t smell right about this whole drama from the start. I wonder if the likes of Gower would consider they may well be being played…
    Twat or not, Gilmore did not completely deserve the total ruination of his life nor his family such extreme stress.
    Something is rotten in the 4th estate of New Zealand!

    • Something very Goebbelesque.

    • I watched with disbelief and disgust when Patrick Gower slobbered his rant on the TV News. Very little news but heavily biased character assassination.
      “One day Paddy old chap you will stumble and what goes around….”

      • I agree – Gower in particular has revealed a very unpleasant side to his professional character and shown that he is a long way from being viewed as an objective and reputable journalist who focusses on issues, not the person.

  21. Who is Aaron Gilmore?

  22. Gilmore is a jerk, but I cannot believe how the news media have been behaving. It says a lot about journalism in this country. Even a narcissist has feelings and one can only imagine how Gilmour feels at the moment.
    Why do NZers take so much pleasure in other people’s misfortunes? Makes them feel good I suppose.
    Nobody is talking about the National Party vetting system having failed.

  23. Gilmore showed on a number of occasions (and still today apparently) that both he and we are better off if he is not an MP. It wasn’t just one drunken slip-up. He was unprofessional and a dickhead.

    But I agree with the media frenzy being unprofessional. Surely we’ve seen media bullying more than enough now to find a way of dealing with it.

    GoBE – you still mix amongst the media, any ideas on how to address this addiction with bloodsport? It’s not just in politics, it’s also often evident in association with court cases.

  24. Further to that, I think the balance in modern democracy has swung too far towards the fourth estate, They have far more power than before and arguably are less responsible.

    They have moved too far from being reporters and inquisitors to being makers and breakers.

    And no one gets to vote for them.

  25. What this piece and the comments overlook is the evidence of a propensity to corrupt conduct indicated the emails released on Friday. Those went beyond getting drunk and abusive and into the sober workaday attempts to parlay political position into policy influence and political revenge against an official carrying out his functions with the expected political neutrality. For that alone he should be (and should have been) disqualified for political office.

    • Yes, even outside his intoxicated state Gilmore showed his gross amateur status by not having an appointed henchman to do his bidding. The difference between being number one and number fifty nine in the National party manipulation hierarchy.

  26. 26

    Well said, Ghost of BE. Gilmore’s past and present behaviour, and his inability to learn from his mistakes, show that he lacks the temperament and judgment we are entitled to expect from a member of parliament. But the treatment of the issue by the media, especially those you cite, has been wholly disproportionate to the offence, and shows the depths to which what passes for current affairs journalism in this country has sunk.

  27. 27

    Perhaps I’m not a nice person but having suffered more than once at the hands of someone who is a “boastful and bullying narcissist careless with the truth” and with more power than I ever had, I enjoyed seeing one of them get his comeuppance.
    I await his utu (sorry, valedictory speech) tomorrow with ‘bated breath.

  28. Gilmore is a poster boy for open list ranking.

    It’s bad enough we’re saddled with a system in which a large proportion of our “representatives” are selected by a small coterie of people from within their own party (with the noble and notable exception of the Greens, who let all members have a vote).

    But the fact that someone so unsuited to public office can be ranked high enough to make it into Parliament shows it’s time the ranking were in the hands of voters. Even if they couldn’t be bothered doing the research and simply transferred their Lotto numbers to their ballot papers they could not do any worse than the grandees in the various parties presently entrusted with the task.

  29. BE: “It’s a heavy price to pay for getting drunk, throwing your weight around and telling a few porkies”.

    But it’s a lot more than that, Brian. The incident in the hotel bar finally put the spotlight on the aggregation of unsavoury conduct which destroyed him. Totally. His past caught up with him at warp-speed. There were festering scores to be settled and they weren’t slow in coming.

    Re-read the text messages between him and Andrew Richards:
    Aaron Gilmore: “FFS the batman claims the group were racist
    Riches: “What? That’s ridiculous, we were lovely to him.

    Gilmore plucked the “racists” remark out of thin air so as to polarise Riches against the barman. That is the measure of Aaron Gilmore. Despicably self-serving.

    Right now, Gilmore must feel like the loneliest person in the world. But he brought this all upon himself. The fourth estate had no hand in any of this; they were simply fulfilling a function.

    Sending out his parting “utu” texts to those who he feels brought him down, shows that he is not deserving of any sympathy. And no need to be concerned about his future employment prospects (dim). Remember, as per his bio, he has “made enough money so as to never have to work again”. Just as well.

  30. Hi Brian

    I believe this Government is dividing the country and Mr Gilmore provided a very unpleasant outlet for a great deal of discontent. And surely, in a 21st Century democracy, elected officials are still to be held to a higher level of accountability than members of the media, don’t you think?

    All the best

    Simon

  31. Brian –

    You neglected TV3’s anchor Mike McRoberts solemn-faced declaring Gilmore “the most unwelcome dinner guest since Hannibal Lecter” by way of introducing their nightly news of Gilmore’s shortcomings.

    Serial killer? Cannibal? Over the top?

    That wasn’t a quip. Or a joke. Or a cartoon. That was the introduction to a supposed serious news item.

    Rodney Hide

    • I doubt that McRoberts, a very fine newsreader, would have penned this line himself. But your point is well made. On both One and 3 News the line between factual reporting and comment is constantly blurred.

    • I’m sure you have seen, as I have over the years, a number of the ‘senior journalists’ in the Gallery behaving very badly indeed under the influence, allowing their massively exaggerated sense of power and entitlement run away with them. Of course, such incidents would never be reported as that would break the code of mutual protection. Seems these days, anyone is ‘fair game’ except them?

  32. As a member of the present government, Mr Gilmore has just discovered how nasty was the company he was keeping

    • Correct, David. They’re nasty people who just want to get the best crew they can, to do the job they’ve been elected to do.

      I’m sure under a Labour government, such behaviour as Gilmore’s will result not in ridding the party of him, but in a rousing governmental chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”, followed by hugs all round.

  33. And the Gilmore and more and more continues today, with speculation about what he might or might not say in his final Parliamentary speech today leading the news. One News have announced they will live stream it.

    It became gross overkill by media about his time last week, and has just kept on flogging and flogging a horse that is soon off to the MP knackers yard having had barely anything of note in his career.

  34. I find it interesting that the role of Gilmore’s ‘friend’ has not been subject to more scrutiny. Were Mr Riches my friend I would be looking nervously over my shoulder.

    I do not know the dictionary definition of ‘friend’ but I doubt whether it includes the words, “dobbing in”, “grassing” “telling tales” “betrayal”.

    If a friend of mine behaved as Mr Gilmore did I might be embarrassed; I would say something to him; I might apologise to the waiter. What I would not do is publicise my friend’s misdemeanour. I wonder whether Mr Riches’ first name is Judas.

    I recall at the time of the downfall of Graham Capill, a friend of his appearing on TV and speaking on his behalf. The interviewer asked him why he was doing this given the nature of Mr Capill’s crime. The response quite simply was, “he is my friend”. That is what friendship is and to be frank I think Mr Riches is despicable. However his behaviour is what I would expect from a lawyer.

    • Ben Thomas you are so right…………

      With friends like Mr Riches you don’t need enemies.

      I also find it unbelievable that a so called friend would behave in that manner. It is quite despicable and unforgivable. What was his real motive?

      Maybe he’s lining up for his own political career with the National Party. In the only interview I saw of Mr Riches he looked very natty in his pin striped suit. He would fit in very well with them. The name even suits.
      (Sorry to pun on)

      As for the hundreds of comments of people in response to the various articles in the NZ Herald on the topic so many New Zealanders have a vicious, holier than thou attitude to someone else’s misfortune. Quite unbelievable really for someone who only acted like a dickhead. Mr Gilmore hardly deserved a public flogging over it though its pretty obvious many think he does.

    • A little harsh, Ben. FYI Andrew Riches has a leadership position within the legal profession, outside of his immediate employment. He did not appreciate suffering Gilmore’s taint of being described as “boisterous”, and neither did the others. Also, he never said that Gilmore was a friend; he only has had a passing acquaintance with him.

      If anything, Riches deserves credit for taking the stand that he did. Read the texts, Ben.

      • I do not care what leadership role he has and I do not know or care about the strength of his relationship with Gilmore. It was still a pretty grubby act to make the whole incident so public.

        A quiet word and apology would have sufficed. I hardly think ‘boisterous’ is a taint.

      • 34.2.2

        I’m with Ben. Riches’ part in this hatchet job smells very unpleasantly fishy. Even though apparently Gilmore just attached himself to their dinner table and behaved like an oaf Riches seemed to behave more like a political opponent than a normal citizen.

  35. I agree it was a witch hunt, albeit self-inflicted.

    But is it really necessary to describe Rebecca Wright as ‘shrewish’, with all its nasty (& outdated) connotations?

    You didn’t use a similar description about Patrick Gower.

    • That’s how she appears to me, I’m afraid. If you set yourself up as an arbiter of other people’s behaviour and morality, you need to expect similar scrutiny yourself.

      • 35.1.1

        Sure. I just noticed you hadn’t used such a loaded word about Patrick. He’s been pretty judgemental too.
        Double standards?

  36. Of course Mr Key has not handled this very well either. Delay. Procrastinate. Prevaricate.

    • Yet his tactic of letting events take their course got the result that
      1. Was in his government’s best interests
      2. Was likely in the country’s best interests

      So what else would you have had Key do, given that he had no way of expelling Gilmore from Parliament?

      • Ha! “letting events take there course”

        Good one Kimbo, Key is not self serving at all, he was just asleep at the helm…again!

        • And I note that due to the misanthropic bile that is distorting your perspective (perhaps you might want to consider the jist of the original post), you failed to answer the question I asked.

          Still, far be it from me to wake you up from your self-induced feeling of moral superiority, Kat

          • Your getting more and more bitter and twisted Kimbo, noticeably by parallel degree to the slow downhill slide of your hero Key.

            Your question has been answered many times, and by others here, even prior to you asking it. But here it is again, Key should have spoken to Gilmore directly the minute he was made aware of it and certainly at least when the affair first became public.

  37. I agree with much of the above, I think Brian you may have struck a cord here. However I would like to say a word in defense of toads those beautiful and much maligned creatures. The illusion was clearly to Wind in the Willows but having said that the appearance factor was clearly for the cartoonist a joke too good to miss, and I think politicians have to be able to take a joke.

  38. Am alllllmost in agreement. Except he is a bullying nob, and he is/was being paid off the public tit to be a bullying nob. And despite having almost two weeks to have someone – anyone – rally to his defence with a list of Good Things he has done in his life so far, the list remains unpublished. Am a little surprised he lasted this long, and concerned at the short term damage he has caused the Nats. In Helengrad he’d have been gone BEFORE lunchtime. Dalziel, Samuels and others would attest to what it feels like to reveal a clay foot under a caucus that has a decisive leader.

  39. The toad has been caned?

  40. Well said Brian. I completely agree with you. A weaker person could quite possibly have been driven to suicide.

    It has been horrible to watch the media basically bully Aaron.

    I really hope that he and his family are ok and that he goes on to do something good. I admire him for just surviving what the media and the public have put him through.

  41. Key should have come out strongly about lack of judgement shown by Gilmore, the poor selection criteria of list candidates and the lack of power to deal with situations such as this.It should be a wake up call for all parties .The public (whom a pretence of representation is expected to be shown)is sick of politicians acting unprofessionally.

  42. I hope in the years to come Mr Riches remains like Caesar’s wife; beyond reproach. I think there might be a certain amount of schadenfreude should he fail the high standards he has set.

  43. John Key must have been absolutely delighted to be handed such a golden opportunity to pretend that he & his fellows have some moral compass. The least-important last-on list member stuffs up? Great! That’ll get people forgetting how badly half the Ministers plus Johns Banks & Dunne have done likewise – or in fact far worse, given their positions. Best way to deny corruption is to have a fall-guy … and you couldn’t find a less-likeable guy to take a fall than Gilmore. End of story.

  44. Like many, I have mixed views on the Gilmore affair.

    But two points I will offer,

    1. Beware the National MP who falls foul of the Party. Their ability to exact revenge would make a Bolshevik NKVD operative nod in approval.

    I have no idea if Labour has a similar apparatus for despatching errant MPs. Perhaps they do.

    One thing i do know – this is why 99.999999% of ordinary New Zealanders would never consider standing for Parliament. It is simply dysfunctional to the point of sociopathy.

    2. I witnessed Patrick Gower’s ‘performance’ after Gilmore’s resignation.

    The sheer gloating was sickening.

    At that point I would’ve happily cast an electorate vote for Gilmore and flicked an index finger at Paddy.

    There is a fine line between reporting what must be revealed, and a media pack seeking any bit of semi-relevant tid-bit. At some point, the media crossed that line.

    • 44.1

      Good God, Frank. I agree with you!

    • Indeed so. Although one may feel it rather difficult to feel sorry for Gilmore, the nauseating level of self-righteous condemnation emanating from Gower and some others has indeed done this for me! Riches’ motives must be questionable.

  45. omg Frank me too!!!!!!

  46. What a lot of codswallop, to spend so much time and effort on a nobody, before and after that statement of, “Do you know who I am?”. The Gilmore episode proved to be a wonderful distraction for the Nats, so that they wouldn’t have to front-up on the real issues facing New Zealanders.

  47. “Maybe he’s lining up for his own political career with the National Party.”

    Yes murmiNZ, That (apparently) is exactly what Andrew Riches (appropriate surname) is doing. I understand he plans to seek the National nomination for one of the Ch.Ch. seats.

    Yet another one who totally agrees with you Brian. I began by thinking Aaron Gilmore was a complete dickhead. I ended by thinking he had been turned into a scapegoat to make it look like John Key was strong, decisive and a man of principle. So sickening!

    • Well, how unsurprised I am with that Anne.

      Some people have no shame.

      Mr Riches may now have to spend time looking over his shoulder as well. How unfortunate for him.

  48. “In the best traditions of cartooning during the Third Reich, fun would be made not just of Gilmore’s actions but of his appearance – he would be portrayed as a toad…I took the trouble to look up the definition….1.’Any of those amphibians that have a dry warty skin, walk rather than leap, and were formerly reputed to have poisonous attributes. 2.A repulsive or detestable person.’…Emmerson’s cartoon of a drunken and dishevelled Aaron Gilmore with the unambiguous caption ‘Waiter, One more for the Toad…'”

    Meanwhile, at the Slough branch of Wernham Hoggs…

    Dave Brent (to “The Swindon lot”, after hearing from Gareth that they call him ‘Bluto’): Hello, sorry everybody, um, look, we are one big happy family here, yeah ? Now, I’ve been trying to welcome you new guys… you know *I* didn’t want you here but you’re here now so, y’know, (grudgingly)well done, welcome…but if there’s one thing I don’t like it’s *nicknames*, yeah ? Because nicknames are bad names, yeah ? They’re not helpful, yeah ? They can be very hurtful…but not to me, it’s like water off a duck’s back, but…

    One of the old (Slough) lot: Didn’t you use to call Malcolm “Kojak” ?

    Dave Brent: That was affectionate !!! You know, he was a great detective and a fine actor…

    One of the old (Slough) lot: Well, maybe ‘Mr Toad’s’ affectionate.

    Dave Brent: Who’s ‘Mr Toad’ ?

    Gareth: Some people call you that as well.

    Dave Brent: I thought I was Bluto ?

    Gareth: Yeah, Bluto and Mr Toad.

    Dave Brent (with utter incomprehension): Why am I Mr Toad ?

    (One of the old (Slough) lot puffs out his face and chest)

    Dave Brent (taken aback): There’s the face again. What ?!!! That’s an insult, isn’t it ? Very…Body Fascism, that’s what that is…I mean, the toad is the UGLIEST of ALL the amphibians ! I can’t…If we’re handing out insults for being fat, then let’s have a go at him ! (points his finger somewhat aggressively into Big Keith’s stomach). LOOK AT HIM !!! Why (pointing at himself as if to say ‘Why me ?’)…AND he’s got glasses !!! So, Four Eyes as well ! Why don’t we call HIM ‘Fatty, Fatty Toad-Boy’ ?!!! You know, at least START on him and then move on…….’Mr Toad’ !!!, I can’t…”

  49. Anybody who is rude to a waiter is stupid as well as acting like a dickhead. The waitperson is in a perfect position to take a horrible revenge.

  50. I couldn’t agree more. Gilmore behaved like a buffoon but also like a human being. The viscous response he got was grossly disproportionate. I felt sorry for him, and in the end the media people who stomped and bashed him ended up looking far more monstrous and repulsive than he is.

  51. One of the worst aspects of current affairs journalism is the way the reporters harp on for says and weeks long after anyone with an IQ bigger thant heir shoe size has lost interest. Allied to this is the way they repeat the same question over and over, hoping to get a slightly different answer so they can go “gotcha.” It’s damn boring, tells us nothing and is replacing hard news.

  52. Hello Brian: By the time Aaron Gilmore, who had behaved only slightly egregiously, had resigned, I had some sympathy for him. While our Holy Media was hounding him out of Parliament, other, vastly more egregious legal abuses were being perpetrated by the government. They must have been over-joyed that the news media created such a dense “Fog of War” that they could execute a series of out-flanking manoeuvres. Sacrifice a pawn to achieve check-mate – brilliant.

  53. There was, it seems to me, a significant degree of Schadenfreude in the nation’s response to the downfall of Aaron Gilmore. It was combined with the righteous indignation of a populace seemingly without sin and therefore more than willing to cast not just the first stone but a positive volley of stones. The Germans could no doubt produce an exceptionally long word to describe this phenomenon.