If we needed any more confirmation that way too many people in this country have lost their sense of humour and are constantly looking for a reason to be offended, look no further than the fiasco surrounding the new National Party MP for Upper Harbour.

Cameron Brewer has become the first man to win the seat since it was formed nine years ago.

Paula Bennett was the original MP in the electorate before the Labour tide of 2020 took Sri Lankan born Vanushi Walters to Parliament for a three year term during which her performance could kindly be described as anonymous.

Brewer won the seat comfortably with a majority of 11,192 restoring normal service to what has traditionally been a National voting stronghold north of the Harbour Bridge.

At a celebration party on election night, Brewer said publicly, in an ironic and self-deprecating way, that he was “a glass ceiling breaker, the first male MP for Upper Harbour” and that “stale pale males are back.”

He said this five weeks ago. It was a fun comment, about which nobody could possibly be offended, could they?

Sadly, the answer is yes. Some sad sack had been recording proceedings at Brewer’s victory celebration and more than a month after the event, released the tape to that perpetual promotor of the perpetually offended, Radio New Zealand.

Isn’t it extraordinary that someone – who presumably is a National Party supporter otherwise why would they be at the party? – finds it worthwhile to give the wokest of our woke media outlets a free hit on a newly elected MP who hasn’t even been sworn in yet?

Sadly, Brewer has not responded well. He has found out quickly that the left wing media will come hunting if they get the merest sniff of a misstep by a right wing MP, especially a newbie.

What Brewer should have done is told Radio New Zealand to naff off, get a life and a sense of humour.

He could also have challenged them on their reporting of some of the more outrageous statements that left wing MPs have made in recent times – like Marama Davidson’s utterly incorrect claim that “most violence in the world is carried out by white cis men.”

Instead Brewer, probably under instructions from his leader’s office walked back his comments, apologized if he’d offended anyone and said his comments were silly.

Oh dear.

When are we going to have some National Party MPs with a dose of independence and some strength of character, let alone someone who can have a laugh?

I had high hopes for Brewer. He was a live wire on the Auckland business scene when he was promoting Newmarket twenty years ago. But he’s started off showing us that he’ll be just another MP falling into line behind a leader who with each passing day gives the impression of being the least inspiring Prime Minister since Jack Marshall half a century ago.

Those who jumped on Brewer for what he said like to point to the lack of diversity in the National caucus – the party’s MPs are 70 percent male and 80 percent Pakeha.

I wonder if it’s ever occurred to those who champion diversity that this is the way members of the National Party want it? That’s why so many men were selected to be electorate candidates. They were picked because they were, in the minds of the party members, the best candidates.

The voting public didn’t appear unduly worried by those percentages either. After all, National was comfortably the most popular party in the election.

So Cameron Brewer had every right to crack a joke after his big win. His big mistake was not backing himself to defend what he said.

For more from Peter, listen to Pete's Ponderings on RCR.

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Peter Williams
Peter Williams scarcely needs an introduction. He is a veteran of New Zealand broadcasting with more than 40 years in the industry. Peter has worked for various media outlets, including TVNZ, Radio New Zealand & Sky Sport, and is considered one of New Zealand's most talented and experienced broadcasters. More recently Peter has made a return to speaking on the national stage to highlight issues that he sees as critical to the future success of New Zealand .

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  1. Avatar
    Louanne November 22, 2023 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Well said Peter!!

  2. Avatar
    Mark November 24, 2023 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Agreed ! You dont apologize for a harmless comment when you have just won an election.

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    James November 24, 2023 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Very similar scenario to Maureen Pugh’s comments about the lack of evidence re man’s influence on the climate.

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