Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hide on billboard vandalism


From the HOS:
Stephen Moyer, 44, is a British Hollywood star who plays a vampire on TV. I looked up his Wikipedia entry.
What prompted me was news reports of his posting pictures of defaced National hoardings and declaring: "One of the great joys of driving down to Wellington town every day is seeing how the National Party posters have been defaced."
Moyer is in New Zealand with his wife, Anna Paquin, to "lend some heavyweight celebrity endorsement to the Greens".
Mr Moyer, welcome. I hope you are enjoying your stay and learning a thing or two about New Zealand. Politics is a great way to get to know a people.
Just one thing: we don't like vandals destroying and defacing political hoardings. Yes, the hoardings are messy and it irks to have politicians we disapprove of staring at us.
But these hoardings are a powerful display of our political heritage. Yours and mine. Anyone can stand for office. Anyone can put up a hoarding. Our forebears fought hard and sacrificed much to ensure we have what these hoardings represent. In much of the world they are outlawed. Down through history the likes of you and me were not allowed to stand for office or offer political opinion. Blood and sacrifice made those political hoardings possible.
I think Mr Moyer, who I had never heard of, will be snorting at this stage. He is after all quite shallow if he takes pleasure in mindless destruction of property.

Many participants - excluding Internet chequebook conviction candidates - pay for their signs out of their own pockets or spend long hours fundraising for them.

Like Rodney I've had the experience of battling to keep them up often trying to manage the task alone in Wellington wind. I must have looked truly pathetic to any passers-by. Sometimes they were in areas deep in the dog shit people would chuck over the road from their state houses. The occupants, home during the day, took great delight in watching my efforts to stay staunch while they jeered.

One got plastered with sanitary pads overnight. I used to ring other candidates to let them know their hoardings were down until I realised they just found me a naive nuisance.

Now I'm not involved I confess to the odd chuckle at a clever piece of defacing. On the Esplanade Colin Craig's face has been carefully excised and I muse over its fate.

But isn't private property subject to legal protections? No. In an election its fair game. I had an entire large board and wooden supports stolen which someone re-erected on election day. That made me liable for a fine under electoral law but the culprit just thinks its a great joke. No risk for him.

It's that abuse of property that most disturbs me. Any complaint to the police would be an even bigger joke.

So while some will find Rodney's column today perhaps overly solemn and lofty, it actually moved me.

The purpose of my column is to ask you, respectfully, to think a little before taking joy in the defaced, damaged political hoardings of your opponents. Think about what that vandalism means.
It's damage to someone else's property. It's an attack on free speech and open democracy. It harks back to darker times.
I know you are passionate about the issues this election, and good for you, but there are bigger, more important values in play: our freedom and democracy. They are what you should be taking joy in, not the work of vandals.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

As an ACT candiate, you believe in and appreciate the value of private property.

Labour, Green, Maori, & iMANA party candidates don't just despise private property, they consider it immoral and wish it could be made illegal.

So all this shows is that each side is acting according to their ideologies.

Kiwiwit said...

Isn't it interesting how the political left-wing, that loves to talk so much about 'tolerance' is so intolerant towards anyone with a different political viewpoint? I am sure Colin Craig, for all his faults, would never deface a Greens political hoarding.

Robert Anderson said...

The idiot is a green and clearly cannot see the hypocrisy he exposes by flying from America in an airvraft using fossil feuls to deliver him to Wellington where he can drive around and view the signs.
What an uneducated fool.

Anonymous said...

Think about what that vandalism means.

It means - in spite of the rhetoric we spin ourselves - NZ is a deeply divided country. The result of this election, whichever way it goes, is likely to be a big change from the policy of the last 20 years - back through Key, Clark, Shipley, and Bolger.

If the "Right" win, it's back to Ruth & Roger.
If the "Left" win, back I guess to Marx, Lenin & Stalin.

Either way NZ will be a qualitatively different country on 21st September than it is today.

Stu Pitt said...

So Moyer is the brother-in-law of Green's co-leader Russel Norman?

Anonymous said...

'Labour, Green, Maori, & iMANA party candidates don't just despise private property, they consider it immoral and wish it could be made illegal.'...where is the evidence to support this patent nonsense?