Yes, yes, it’s early days in the race for the Most Hopeless Hypocrite of the Year Award.
But if you’re looking for an outright favourite – and remember, Graham Capill is still ineligible – it would be hard to go past Act MP David Garrett, a man whose behaviour has been so consistently cringe-worthy since thrusting himself into New Zealand politics, he’s managed to embarrass even Rodney Hide.
Garrett is a prime example of why it’s so important to have a vigorous TV news service, having now been exposed on several occasions, most recently on last weekend’s Q&A when he apologised for making sexually inappropriate comments to a female Act staff member, but in the same breath suggested such behaviour might have been “OK” in a Tongan law firm.
Oh well, at least he wasn’t being sexist.
Since then the TV news teams have been having a field day with him – and good on them. Garrett, after all, is the former Sensible Sentencing Trust representative who’s been championing Act’s Three Strikes policy on criminals while regularly bemoaning the latitude afforded to transgressors of the law.
He’s the bloke who, when told the Three Strikes “initiative” breached the Bill of Rights, responded by saying we should change the Bill of Rights.
“We’ve got too hung up on people’s rights,” he said.
Clearly, if Garrett’s recent behaviour is any guide, he still believes in this. In fact, his interview on Q&A, in which he strengthened a reputation for telling some of the truth, exposed what seemed like pathological deficiencies.
“I’m probably the only Member of Parliament who has been an oil rig worker for 10 years. It was a big adjustment to become a lawyer, and an even bigger adjustment to become an MP – I’m on a very steep learning curve,” he explained, clearly forgetting the time he described himself as “an aggressive employment lawyer who knew [his] stuff”.
You’d think “an aggressive employment lawyer” would know something about sexual harassment, wouldn’t you?
And while we’re on it, what about the idea of a law-and-order advocate trying to excuse his behaviour on the basis of his past?
Garrett was initially exposed on TV One’s Eye to Eye show last year, drunkenly confusing homosexuality with paedophilia.
Since then he’s been accused of making a racist comment to a Green party staffer, and of being deliberately misleading when maintaining 77 lives could have been saved by the Three Strikes legislation, having already been advised the correct figure was zero.
For someone who apparently takes offence at being described as a redneck, Garrett has a highly amusing way of showing it.
The important thing is that thanks to the news efforts of both main TV channels, viewers can now decide for themselves.