Rodney Hide on Wicked Campers

Rodney Hide adds his comments to the Wicked Campers debate.

Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett is “thrilled” at the ban on three Wicked Camper vans. She thereby proves herself devoid of principle and political nous.

Banning cartoons is not the job of ministers in western democracies.

Not it isn’t. Paula Bennett is showing some Stalinist tendencies.

We should also not be pleased with the Police spending time taking photos of camper vans with naughty cartoons on location such as the public carpark, Te Anau. We would rather they were chasing burglars.

Or people doing 1km over the speed limit?  

The Office of Film and Literature Classification – that by rights should be out of a job – has, thanks to Mrs Bennett, achieved renewed political significance.

The banning has the camper vans labelled “objectionable” and in law equivalent to child pornography. All sense of proportion and principle has been lost.

Simple possession or creating the images on the vans risks 10 years’ imprisonment – the same as for child pornography. The banning is also retrospective. The original creators of the images and those who had the vans are now liable for their past deeds.

And here’s another bit of illogic: I can still describe the images for you. Indeed, I can even publish photographs of the offending vans. It’s only the image on the van that’s “objectionable.”

I will describe the vans, with the advisory that any offence you take is your responsibility.

Van One has Snow White snorting two lines of coke. I am sorry but I think that’s funny.

Van Two has the Cat in the Hat with a bong to his nose and the speech bubble, “I did a bong/I did, I did!/A bong! A bong!/A bong I did!” I laughed. At the cartoon – and at the government.

Van Three has Shaggy from Scooby-Doo puffing a joint with the words, “Someone pass Shaggy the baggy so he can roll Scooby a doobie…”  That’s funnier than anything NZ on Air has ever funded.

Heh. I find it hard to believe that a van is a Film or Literature.

The Police explain that the camper van signage “tends to promote and support the use of illegal drugs in children and young persons through the depiction of the drug use by a popular and easily identifiable cartoon character on the side of the vehicle.”

Say what? My five-year-old knows Snow White but she knows nothing about snorting coke. She’s at no risk.

And when she’s old enough to know, she will understand the wonderful juxtaposition of images that humour and art often provide. I can’t imagine her becoming drug-addled because of a cartoon on a van parked near Te Anau.

Cocaine is a Class A drug. Snort coke and risk six months in prison; drive the van and risk 10 years.

It wasn’t so long ago our politicians were declaring themselves “Je suis Charlie Hebdo.” I guess Mrs Bennett would say that was different. But I bet she can’t explain the difference as a matter of principle.

Paula Bennett doesn’t have any principles.




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  • tas

    What if the vans had depictions of Muhammad?

    • RightofSingapore

      then its occupants would be dead?

      • OneTrack

        Of course not. We only have “moderates”(tm) in NZ.

    • XCIA

      That would be a genuine Health & Safety issue.

  • Cadwallader

    This action by the government reminded me of a film I saw about 10 years ago set in East Germany in the 1980s. “The Lives of Others” wherein the main character’s sole job was to spy on a neighbour, not due to anything he had done but what he might do to offend the State. The main character had a personal crisis when he realised what his own life had been reduced to. Perhaps Paula, who I have previously quite liked, ought watch this film?

  • Spiker

    Well said Rodney. Here’s one for Paula.

  • Rick H

    A “Wicked Camper” I saw had the words – “Life Sucks – – When your girfriend Dosn’t”.

    I thought that was very funny.

  • old school

    Rodney points out the total lack of priorities shown by certain government agencies. Lets deal with the real problems.

  • Jaffa

    One said “A wife is an attachment you screw on the bed to do the housework”.
    I find that mildly offensive, I must be turning into a fffeminist!

    • waldopepper

      i find that one hilarious. still, we live in a world now where rather than be relaxed and have a laugh like we did in the 80s and 90s, everyone wants to be serious, outraged, offended or find a way that it victimises them in some way. im not one of those, but the problem for me is that i agree that some of these wicked campers go too far. i guess the problem for enforcement is deciding the criteria to decide which ones go too far. an unenviable task.

      • LesleyNZ

        You might find it funny but do you think that it is OK for kids to read it? That is the issue.

        • Most kids have their heads in an ipad on car trips or fighting with each other and are sitting in the backseat obscured by the driver front seat passenger. The kid argument is dopey.

          • Paul Marsden

            Yeah, and I wonder what they’re watching on their I pads too.!!?? When this matter is juxtaposed to what kids of any age can access on the internet nowadays, you have to wonder what Paula is on about. Silly bint,

  • Effluent

    I am sorry to say that this is probably because she has never learned to think through a problem, and relies on her accrued experience to inform her decisions. The fact that a person with such an uninfomed view and ignorance of history can hold a ministerial warrant does not speak highly of the calibre of people available to form the cabinet.
    It also indicates that the civil service are no longer fit for purpose, if her advisors are unable to explain to her why this is such a poor decision, unless of course, she has simply overruled them.
    Of course, things could be worse, and I expect they would be, if Little Andy’s clique were to be in the position of making these decisions.
    The sad part is that very few of them, irrespective of party affiliation, act out of principle, show any leadership, or have the intellectual capacity to explain why they do what they do.

  • Christie

    Oh thank God. I have spent weeks wondering why these vans have caused so much outrage. Sure, some of them are a bit over the top, but they are not aimed at anyone specific. They are meant to be a bit of fun. Any woman who can’t handle a few feminist jokes these days needs their head read. As for Snow White snorting coke – hell, that IS funny. Must be living with all those dwarfs that does it.

  • Dog Breath

    Has no principles how can you say that, surely what she has displayed is a different set of principles to your own or Rodney’s. It’s like values we all have our own values that we live by but they are not always the same.

  • hookerphil

    I have mentioned before how on a 3/4 day trip around Wanaka and down to Fairlie etc I only saw 3 vans of which the “scribblings” were kind of unreadable and certainly to my mind not funny, crude or anything really.
    Last week another 3 day trip in the same are including this time Mt Cook I never saw one Wicked van.
    I would think it just might be far more important if the Government did something about the vehicles and vans that display a blue self containment sticker that can be obtained by internet to go on vehicles that you couldn’t even squat in to go to the loo, let alone any running water. Perhaps they should be worrying about, and assisting Councils, to halt the pollution of our bushes, parks and rest area of white paper rather the possible pollution of our minds.

    • TK

      Similarly we spent a week last month travelling around Nelson/Marlborough and down the West Coast and to Queenstown. We only noticed 5 Wicked Campers amongst hundreds of the opposition’s. One had the writing sprayed over by someone.

      I don’t like the messages but it appears they don’t have a big slice the market share.

  • LovetoTeach

    Well, I’m stoked with her.

  • CoNZervative

    The better way is to get WICKED via the Copyright rules and the appropriation of copywritten characters (Disney especially would prosecute re the Snow White icon) Someone email them!

  • CoNZervative

    Can we have the Wicked Campers’ Mother on the vans doing naughty things?

  • Mad Captain

    You would have to pay millions for this sort of publicity – in what is a very competitive market. Everyone is talking about their brand (including us) – kudos to their marketing team, brilliant.

    • localnews

      They will be sitting around coming up with more crazy slogans to keep themselves in the media. Paula should be reminded she is part of a rightish party

  • LesleyNZ

    “Paula Bennett is showing some Stalinist tendencies” Really? I suppose I am a Stalinist then too. For me as a grandparent I am glad that Wicked Campers has been taken to task about their R16 slogans. There is nothing funny about Snow White snorting coke Rodney – don’t be sorry – because you are not really sorry.