Asenati LoleTaylor is a New Zealand First List MP. She is very passionate about a range of issues, especially issues around street prostitution in South Auckland. This is something she has been tweeting about for well over a year. This passion about the issue has lead to a number of interesting situations. Including the quote “how much for a blow job?” in a question to the Minister of Police.
The reputation Asenati has built up among those who follow twitter is one of a person who does not understand how it works. This is partly due to her reaction when things go wrong. As many of you who use twitter know there is a plague of spam messages with links sent via direct message that when clicked on result in your account sending out spam direct messages to people you follow. This has happened to a number of high profile people, including other MPs. When Asenati fell victim to this, people tried to alert her to what had happened, myself included. The result of this was accusations that “your (my) national party mates” had done it. Of course no evidence was provided to back this up.
During the period between Christmas 2012 and New Year’s 2013 a number of tweets were sent about the issue of street prostitution. A number of people, myself included, asked for the evidence she had to back up the claims she was making. Her response was to refuse to provide it, or its source. Her response to questioning was to hurl abuse and accusations at people asking questions. These people included members of the Press Gallery.
This kind of response appears to be the ongoing method she has for dealing with people on twitter. For a while she was the only MP, that I am aware of, to have a protected account on twitter. She has also been very heavy handed with the use of the block feature.
As can be seen by the above screen grab, she doesn’t even wait for people to start pushing her for answers before resorting to derision. The tone of the conversation goes down hill very quickly from there. The day before the following also happened, around the issue of the living wage.
The rest of the thread is far too long to screen cap, so I will embed the tweet from early in the thread, so you can go look for yourself.
— Scuba Nurse (@scuba_nurse) January 26, 2014
Now, the debate as to the question of if an MP, or specifically a list MP, should vote based on their own views or the views of the electorate they represent, is a valid one to have. However the way Asenati goes about it is not the way to go about it.
The following tweet sums up Asenati’s presence on twitter.
I will finish with a final tweet from Asenati.
To sum up, Asenati should be a case study for MPs on how not to engage on social media. However, from the information I have, her twitter persona is a fair reflection of her personality. Being an MP offers her the chance to have a great influence on the lives of people in her electorate, but she runs the risk of wasting this due to her reaction to being legitimately questioned, both on twitter and in other media.