It must be just 4 years since I brought my sister to Dunedin to check where I had chosen to live. I remember watching the US Presidential results on TV while in Manapouri. We also watched the NZ election results in the same week. Those results made me consider whether I was making a mistake. I had just finished living through more than 10 years of John Howard as Prime Minister of Australia. I opposed nearly everything he stood for. Now I was watching a Labour Prime Minister, Helen Clark, whom I admired from a distance, being replaced by a conservative John Key. I hoped he would not be like John Howard and thankfully he has not been. However he needs to control his language.
Last week while speaking to a group of school students in Dunedin he said English footballer David Beckham
was "thick as batsh*t.
I do not know nor care much about David Beckham but this is not Prime Ministerial language especially in front of school students. When I was a teacher I would have reprimanded any student who used such language about another person.
Worse, last Friday he teased a radio presenter by saying his red sweater was 'gay'.
After the criticism that naturally arose, he dug himself deeper by saying he used the term "gay" to mean "weird". He continued "Young people use it all the time, I don't think too many people would be offended by it"
Sir Ian McKellen warned Key that his
language was "careless" and could damage lives.
In an open letter to Mr Key the NZ Post Primary Teachers
Association's "Rainbow Taskforce" said the Prime Minister's
use of gay as a derogatory term belittled a vulnerable group
of young people.
The taskforce had been developed to educate secondary
teachers about the challenges lesbian, gay, transgender and
intersex youth faced in classrooms and on playing fields at
The focus of the campaign was getting teachers to challenge
the use of homophobic language, specifically the use of the
"So we are saddened to hear the leader of our country not
only use this homophobic language but then explain it away
with, 'young people use it all the time, I don't think too
many people would be offended by it'.
"You are perpetuating the harmful use of such a simple word,"
the teachers said.
I totally agree with them. His language was offensive.
I end with a statement by comedian Guy Williams.
"John Key is quickly becoming to New Zealand what Borat was to Kazakhstan."
8 hours ago