If you are explaining, you are losing
Darien Fenton is losing this morning; the Herald reports:
The Mad Butcher had "the wind taken out of his sails" by comments from a Labour MP who said she would "never go near him again".
Despite Darien Fenton's comments that she chooses "not to buy stuff from those who support Tories", the politician said she was not calling for a boycott of the Mad Butcher chain, which Sir Peter Leitch founded.
The debate began three days ago when, after hearing Sir Peter advocate John Key on Radio New Zealand, Ms Fenton posted on her Facebook profile: "So, Mad Butcher. You have a choice, but so do I."
When others asked Ms Fenton to explain her comment, she called Sir Peter a sycophant and said: "[He was] sucking up to John Key big time. I'm never going near him again."
Ms Fenton said she was upset that Sir Peter had recently been complimentary towards Mr Key and that the Mad Butcher had invited the Prime Minister to join him to watch the Warriors play at Sunday's NRL grand final.
Oh dear; Darien Fenton's SMOG (which we blogged about on Tuesday) has hit the mainstream media, and she's backing up the truck big-time. Unfortunately for her, her words have been recorded for posterity.
And if Darien Fenton thought that Sir Butch would go away and be quiet, she's made a big error of judgment; read on:
Sir Peter told the Herald from Melbourne that he did not know what to say when he heard what Ms Fenton had said about him.
"I honestly don't know what to say, to be fair - and it's not often that I'm lost for words. I don't know what I've done wrong.
"I'm very disappointed and it's just taken the wind out of my sails. I'm absolutely gutted by her comments."
Sir Peter said he supported Helen Clark when Labour was in power and took her to Warriors matches.
"The National Party never complained that I supported Helen Clark," he said.
"I've done nothing with John Key that I didn't do with Helen Clark - I've been a little bit more vocal."
In response to Ms Fenton's claims that he was "sucking up to John Key big time", he said: "I thought freedom of speech was one of the things people went to Gallipoli for. But obviously in her opinion, it's not."
He also said it was unfair that she was taking her frustrations out on the 37 Mad Butcher stores which he sold in 2007, but still promotes.
Ouch! How much the world has changed in three years since Labour basked in the Mad Butcher's friendship with Helen Clark. That must now seem light years away for the embattled Labour Party, languishing as it does in the opinion polls.
Sir Peter Leitch is a great New Zealander, and is revered in some communities. Darien Fenton made a huge mistake by attacking him via social media; one of the biggest SMOG's that a Labour MP has scored, and there have been plenty to choose from.
Darien Fenton can make a strategic retreat, but the damage has been done. And there's one final irony; many of those who revere Sir Peter Leitch, and who have benefitted from his philanthropy are people from lower socio-economic areas; people who work in low wage jobs, and who are members of unions such as Unite and the Service and Food Workers' Union. And where did Darien Fenton work before she became an MP?
Whaleoil is right; explaining IS losing. And this morning, Darien Fenton looks like New Zealand's version of The Biggest Loser.