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Calling Out Keyboard Warriors Behavior

July 19 2021 by Jim Boult, Mayor

I’m becoming increasingly concerned at the abuse handed out by (mainly) anonymous keyboard warriors. I think it’s time to call out some behaviour that is quite frankly appalling.

Many will know that I have had a career in commerce and that local body politics has only been part of my life for the past 5 years or so. It is perhaps due to this history then, that I am still consistently bewildered by the unsavoury ways some people choose to make their opinions heard. Similarly, these opinions, often ill-informed and without the benefit of fact checking, and the need to express them publicly, sadden me and those I work with on a regular basis.

From the outset I would like to state that I’ve always had an open door policy. I enjoy meeting people and decided to stand for the mayoralty to give back to a community which has treated my family and me so well for decades. So, it’s rare that anyone wishing to discuss matters relevant to council would be turned away. Indeed, I meet with a wide range of people on many different topics every day. Don’t get me wrong, I never expected local government in such a vibrant and headlining district to be smooth sailing or to be devoid of detractors but the age of the keyboard warrior has developed a number of prolific wagers of war that arm themselves with the vilest of words. Here are a few recents from my hate mail in box;

“...For me, the complete collapse (of Queenstown), cannot come soon enough, and I absolutely relish watching the people who profited from its destruction suffering... Queenstown was and is a mistake, I for one celebrate its demise.”

“...suffer baby suffer, you are all greedy greedy and more greedy”.

Many more remain ignorant of Queenstown’s role in what was the country’s largest industry and to the fact the town is not inhabited and visited exclusively by wealthy elitists. I receive correspondence regularly, in a variety of forms and with varying levels of accuracy contained, commenting on Queenstown’s current economic climate and why we should either push harder for assistance or “stop whinging about it”. People have declared that I should stop moping about the situation as well as stop looking like a cat that got the cream (referring to my relief when the Trans-Tasman Bubble reopened – albeit that was short lived!).

The fact of the matter is that where other industries, agriculture for example, experience significant disruption to their ability to operate (and therefore support the nation’s economy), Central Government step in to support and ensure their long-term viability. Let’s also not forget that our little part of NZ has for years contributed more per head to NZ’s economy than any other district.

QLDC employs upward of five hundred local people and has elected members representing our communities. Local Government, in enabling democracy and promoting community well-being, is responsible for and asked to support an enormous array of wellbeing endeavours and regulatory, infrastructure, community service and planning functions. The people work long hours and don’t deserve to be disparaged and criticised by keyboard warriors or headline seeking media without all the facts hell bent on painting a one-sided picture.

How would you like to find this in your in box – sent to one of our younger female staffers:
“How do you c***s sleep at night? How would you like it if you had someone after you for bs I’m f****** ******* ****** this is my f******* land”

I would encourage anyone struggling to see the bigger picture to enquire prior to making comment. QLDC has shown significant leadership in supporting and defending its communities throughout COVID-19. It would be good to see this reciprocated when we are being lynched online, and to see conversations that are constructive and mutually respectful.

If you have questions or would like more information from Council please ask. Preferably politely!

- Jim Boult, Mayor