How many of you have had a conversation about New Zealand politics, that involved naming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern? And when you had that conversation, how was she addressed – or not addressed?
Her name is Jacinda. Her full name is Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern. It is not “Cindy”, “Taxcinda”, “Cinderella”, or “Jacindef******rella”, as I saw someone type her name last week.
For the same reasons we should not call United States President Donald Trump “Donnie”, “Trumpy” or similar; former Prime Minister John Key “Wonky”, “Shonkey”, “Donkey” and so forth, we should avoid calling our Members of Parliament names, however much we dislike them. I do not call A.C.T. leader David Seymour “Davie”, “Seymie” or anything else along those lines, for the same reasons I will not call the Prime Minister any of the aforementioned names.
What one says to friends, colleagues is one thing, but to put these names into print as Ms Collins’ husband David Wong-Tung did when he posted to a National Party meme page on Facebook “Unite against CINDY-20”, is quite another. That it used the same graphics as the COVID19 flyers, social media and scan pages is a separate matter.
That reason is simple:
It diminishes them as an elected office holder. It diminishes the office they hold and ultimately the authority of that office. It also lowers the bar for future holders of that office.
But also it simply smacks of immaturity and lessens the quality of the discussion being had.
Columnist Andrea Vance wrote a useful column yesterday outlining these very concerns.