Labour's Ōhāriu candidate Greg O'Connor takes aim at critics

Labour's Ōhāriu candidate, former Police Association boss Greg O'Connor, says despite what some might say about him, he's not "a right-wing fascist who makes Kim Jong-un look like some sort of pinko liberal pacifist".

Mr O'Connor for years has been a strong advocate for arming frontline police, and in a post on Labour-aligned blog The Standard, says it's "understandable people have judged me on that segment of my life and views".

"Some of the comments on the blogs about me and my candidacy for Labour in Ōhāriu have made for interesting reading," he writes.

"I'm not upset by the comments; I'm well used to having flaws in my character pointed out, and that's usually before I leave home in the morning."

Labour's allies the Greens haven't been too enthusiastic about Mr O'Connor's selection, co-leader Metiria Turei telling Newshub she didn't agree with many of his stances.

But they ultimately decided not to stand a candidate in Ōhāriu to improve Mr O'Connor's chances of taking the seat from Peter Dunne, who has backed the National Government for the last eight years.

"We're saying 'Look, if you want to change the Government, then Ōhāriu matters and we're simply gonna stand out of the way," Greens co-leader James Shaw told Newshub last week.

In the post on The Standard, Mr O'Connor says Labour was the "natural choice" for him.

"As a long-term cop, and father of a special needs son, I have spent my life around people who, by accident of birth or circumstances, struggle to get by.

"I say let people with the wherewithal, motivation and ability reap the reward of their hard work and risk. The world needs them.

"But don't condemn those who chose other pursuits, or who don't have the ability, education or opportunity to follow that path, to a life of deprivation."

He also points out it is the poor who need the police the most, as they're far more likely to be victims of crime than the wealthy.

In an ideal world he says police wouldn't need to be armed, but that's not where New Zealand is at in 2017.

"My position is that arming is inevitable unless we, New Zealand, get on top of the illegal gun situation… My personal priority is to use any influence I have to make sure that we stop the flow of firearms to those who should never have them, while at the same time protecting the rights of legitimate users. That would negate the need for arming."

Mr O'Connor says he wouldn't have got the nod from Labour's Ōhāriu members if he wasn't a true "lefty".

"I'm not a Kiwi Putin intent on world (or even Ōhāriu) domination."

Newshub.

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