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Chris Ford: Why did National put Aaron Gilmore on its list in the first place?

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford
Aaron Gilmore.

 I have a simple question to ask and it's this - why did the National Party put Aaron Gilmore on its list when they knew he was a plonker?

Last Saturday night's now publicised incident at Hanmer Springs and new allegations surrounding his treatment of tenants in a property he jointly owns have embarrassed the Nats. They haven't had a good time of it lately. The latest Roy Morgan opinion poll published on Friday gave the party a bit of a breather after a slew of polls showing them slowly going downwards.

But Gilmore's antics will have reinforced for a growing number of voters whether the Tories have more 'born to rule' parliamentarians within their ranks? The answer is of course they do - but Gilmore (obviously acting under the influence) showed the really ugly side of the Tories which few other Nat MPs would ever dare to do.

However, even Gilmore is unpopular among his fellow Nats it seems. On Friday night, I even saw the National Party's number one blogger and cheerleader, Cameron Slater, circulating on Facebook the hilarious TV3 item on Gilmore which focused on Gilmore's, shall we say, great penchant for creative writing. I doubt that even Slater (the new Editor of Truth) would offer Gilmore a writing job once he's tossed into the political rubbish bin though!

The sight of Matthew Hooton coming out and openly knifing Gilmore was even more astounding. No doubt Hooton was the unofficial spokesperson for the PM on this one as he came out and openly said how unpopular Gilmore was within the party - words John Key could never have uttered publicly himself. Instead, Key stuck to the more diplomatic but no less unsubtle diplomatic babble about Gilmore letting his party and his parliamentary colleagues, and lest of all Gilmore himself down. 

Still, I come back to the question I would like answered. Who in the National Party's Canterbury Division let Gilmore onto the list? Given his seeming unpopularity within the wider party, why did party activists and senior officials permit him to even have a ranking that provided him with reasonable prospects for election back in 2008? If anyone within the Nats had had the sense, they should have dumped him at the lowest place on their list. For any wannabe parliamentarian in any political party, that's a sure fire way to send the message - you're not wanted, go away, piss off!

Notwithstanding, I do realise that some people (obviously who are very dumb it seems) don't or can't take such hints. Gilmore appears to be one of them. 

In the meantime, though, National will pressure Gilmore into leaving parliament at the next election. They might even bribe him with a nice, juicy patronage appointment to some board or quango if they win a third term to keep him loyal enough until then. Clearly, the Nats won't do a Brendan Horan and throw him out of their caucus. In that case, Gilmore's ongoing presence will also remind voters of the continuing presence of Act's John Banks in Parliament who now faces a private prosecution over his so-called anonymous mayoral campaign donation declarations. 

While Gilmore is responsible for his own behaviour, the Nats are just as responsible for foisting this idiot and bully into Parliament.



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