I get told I’m biased all the time. People on Twitter tell me I’m a Tory one day, then tell me I’m a Labour insider the next.
Others heckle you after interviews on the campaign trail if you’ve asked tough questions. Comments on Facebook are another story.
But I’ve never been accused of bias by a politician or candidate, not publicly or in writing anyway.
Which is why I found it astounding when an email from Labour’s Selwyn candidate Gordon Dickson appeared in my inbox this afternoon. Wow.
He calls me lazy, tells me I’ve failed as a journalist and finishes by telling me to “grow a pair”.
Long story short: I first met Mr Dickson in Christchurch two days ago when Labour leader David Cunliffe was voting early.
He approached me and ordered me to interview him, before Labour’s Ilam candidate James Macbeth Dann swiftly interrupted and ordered him away and not to give out his business cards “because they are not authorised”.
Later, I approached Mr Dickson to see what he wanted to say. He replied “Ask the Prime Minister if he has faith in Anne Tolley, Minister of Police. Thank you”. He walked off.
When he refused to elaborate, I told him I wasn’t prepared to ask questions blind. He accused me of being a National Party insider – but left with my business card.
Two days later I got this astonishing email.
Here’s the letter, verbatim – complete with original spelling and formatting:
Attention My L Burr
Thank you for your time the other day when at the early voting with M P David Cunliffe and myself in Riccarton Christchurch At which you at the second attempt managed to recorded my questions of the National Party's candidate and current Prime Minister John Keys relating to his confidence or otherwise of another cabinet Minister. This one being the Minister of Police Hon. Anne Tolley of Ohope Beach in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and National Party candidate for the East Coast electorate. Anne Tolley is contesting the seat against current Labour List M P Moana Mackey
As I havent heard back from you with John Keys answers I can only assume you have failed to ask the Prime Minister and hence seek the reasons? To fail to be carry out such a simple task begs the question are you unable, unwilling, lazy or perhaps protecting this National Party candidate from public scrutiny
Please remember John has had to accept the resignation of one Cabinet Minister recently. A M P Judith Collins Perhaps that has escaped your attention Lazy
Perhaps you are lazy? To help you rediscover your previously perceived role in our society i. e the "fourth estate" I attach a copy of my formalised request already in the possession of the Prime Minister and the National Board of Directors as well
Kindly prove you are not lazy and not afraid to ask a reasonable request of John Key by another Political party Give him the opportunity and please do not yourself, like last time tell me "of course he will have confidence in the Minister of Police" (he said that about the Minister of Justice) Let him answer please Lazy
When you fail to do a reasonable job of reporting in a fair and even basis is there an avenue of redress for members of the public to explore? Perhaps you are a member of an association or similar Kindly advise Lazy
I await your response and as you will see on my blog this is not the first failure by the media to protect our society from dirty politics
Have a nice weekend and grow a pair
Gordon J Dickson
NEW ZEALAND LABOUR PARTY SELWYN ELECTORATE CANDIDATE IN THE 2014 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
Authorised by Gordon John Dickson 6a Kidman Street, Rolleston Canterbury New Zealand
How on earth did this man make it through Labour’s selection process and win the nomination to contest the Selwyn seat?