OPINION: Despite his party's relevance in the upcoming election fading by the hour, Colin Craig was given another 15 minutes in the spotlight yesterday - and he used it dismally.
A hoax website - colincraig.co.nz - puts a satirical spin on Conservative Party policies, but the killjoy reaction from Craig was the last thing he or his struggling party needed.
Already a media plaything thanks to his bizarre quips and photo shoots, and reeling from the National Party's decision not to give him an easy run in the East Coast Bay electorate, here was an opportunity for Craig to show humility and a sense of humour - maybe even come across as a candidate average Kiwis might identify with.
Politicians being punked by fake websites and Facebook pages before elections is nothing new, and most don't have the good manners to run disclaimers promoting their satirical intentions as the fake Craig site has done.
The site mocks the Conservatives as being made up of "business men that show women where to go" and jibes the party's populist tendencies; claiming it will back the government to the hilt "unless the public say otherwise, in which case we won't be the government's backbone, we'll do what the mob wants".
Though not likely to tickle the fancy of Conservative Party members or supporters, it's mild mockery next to what would get dished out on a TV show such as 7 Days.
Rather than use the bonus attention as an opportunity to display some wit or at least advocate the merits of his actual policies, Craig is going after the culprits, challenging their use of the domain name in an intent to shut them down, and suggesting legal action is warranted for breaching The Electoral Act.
It is not the first time Craig has reacted to parody po-faced. Last year he abandoned an attempt to sue satirical news site The Civilian for defamation over made-up quotes.
What Craig fails to realise is that even if he gets his wish this time and the website's owners are identified and raked over the coals, there is no win in it for him.
Craig will be perceived as the petty politician who not only couldn't take a joke but didn't have the nous to reserve the domain name himself.
It is also a bit rich of him to accuse a satirical website of misleading voters a day after his own party had its "Vote" logo rejected by the Electoral Commission because it might confuse or mislead electors if included on ballots.
Had Craig greeted satire with smarts instead of being a sourpuss, the hoax site would have likely swiftly faded from view. Instead, it appeared to be so popular yesterday its server crashed.
- Manawatu Standard
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