Bryce Edwards must believe like the rest of us now that David Shearer made up the “backstory” of the “guy on the roof” as he has compared this mythical character to Joe the Plumber and the Mondeo Man. Edwards also reminds us of previous back stories.
New Zealand Labour has (so far): ‘guy sitting at his kitchen table in West Auckland doing his GST return’, ‘Rangitikei truck driver’, and now ‘neighbour of sickness beneficiary painting his roof’.
David Shearer’s roof painting incarnation broke one of the basic rules of this (quite old and worn) political strategy. The negative attack on beneficiaries was actually audible to all – particularly Labour’s activist base – and as a result it has backfired badly. The neighbour has been forgotten and the focus has gone onto the beneficiary.
And that is where Shearer’s problems started. He has created the “guy on the roof” to attack beneficiaries and many are Labour voters. The centre vote do not mind holding beneficiaries to account as Paula Bennett has worked out but Labour’s left are running riot. When Cactus Kate from the economic far right applauded and highlighted the speech ten days ago as not unlike something Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble produced in their prime with ACT, Shearer should have known he would be upsetting his own foot soldier members. As represented collectively and in comment threads on The St(r)andard and when Gordon Campbell put the boot in.
Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.
Once again I call on a real journalist to do their job and demand Shearer pass details to them so they can interview the specific man that spoke to Shearer and investigate the alleged beneficiary fraudster. It is now a matter of Shearer’s credibility as he has reused and recycled this “guy on the roof” for some time now as not a general class of person but an individual, Rufus Paynter.
We all know he cannot breach either the privacy of the neighbour or the “guy on the roof” as it is all a fabrication.