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Labour MP Michael Wood seems to have failed charm school

In brief

  • Labour MP Michael Wood has a long history of insulting others.
  • Wood claims to be an advocate for the community and social justice, but he certainly isn’t leading by example.
  • The Labour Party and Kiwis deserve better.

Wood sometimes seems like he is from the back woods

Michael Wood is a prominent Labour MP who has been representing Mt Roskill since 2011. He currently holds the positions of Minister for Transport and Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety.

Before his entrance into politics, Wood was a commercial lawyer and community advocate.

As Minister for Transport, Wood has focused on attempting to improve public transport, reducing carbon emissions in the sector, and promoting road safety.

An advocate for social justice, Wood has championed initiatives that claim to attempt to address poverty, homelessness, and mental health issues. He is also a vocal supporter of the LGBTQIA+ movement.

Labour MP Michael Wood seems to have failed charm school - Centrist
Minister Wood has a history of comparing protesters to this. Image by Jim Linwood

Hard to reconcile

It’s hard to reconcile the so-called “caring” “social justice advocate” that Michael Wood supposedly personifies with his treatment of regular Kiwis, when they oppose his views.

In 2013  Wood received negative attention and sparked outrage when he referred to anti mining protesters opposing the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway as “a river of filth.”

Now in Government, in 2021, Wood faced renewed scrutiny after making comments about protesters who had gathered to protest a memorial in Wellington. Wood referred to the protesters as “anarchists” and “muppets”.

Wood apologized for his comments, saying his language was inappropriate: “I would never have intended for people who are concerned about the issue to feel that they were being insulted or denigrated”

Lip service

The apology didn’t stick, or perhaps it was just lip service. In 2022, during the occupation protests at parliament, Wood came out once again calling protestors “a river of filth”.

“There is a river of filth, there is a river of violence and menace, there is a river of antisemitism, there is a river of Islamophobia…I would say Madam Speaker that there is a river of genuine fascism in parts of the event that we see out the front of this parliament today.”

This wasn’t some off hand remark, in his own words “The words I say now I say with some precision and I say really carefully because I think we need to take great care with this.”

Recently, in his capacity as Immigration Minister, Wood remarked on feminist activist Posie Parker. Among other things, he was quoted as saying “she courts some of the most vile people and groups around, including white supremacists.”

In all these cases Wood is showing his own ignorance or at least intolerance, of the other’s position. He also ascribes to the whole group the characteristics of the worst person who may have any association with them. And he is also repetitive in using the same “river of filth” venom. Surely he can freshen his material.

Wood’s behavior, when talking about his ideological opponents, is far from civil. The Labour party, and Kiwis in general, deserve better.

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