Commentary: Pat OD
Soon after the Terror raids the Commissioner of Police, Howard Broad gave an interview to the Sunday Herald in an attempt to win hearts. Howard Broad tried to court popularity, by giving a media interview, on of all things, his garden. Unfortunately there is no indication of when this interview occurred, though it was probably before the Solicitor General dumped the terror charges, which Broad had been expecting to proceed with.
The interview entitled "My Secret Garden", could just have easily been entitled, "Terrorists at the bottom of my garden"Canvas editor Michelle Crawshaw, commenting on this weirdly sinister interview, felt compelled to quip, "I bet Police Commissioner Howard Broad's tomato plants would do exactly what they're told to." The Herald interview was accompanied by a photo of the Commissioner posing for the Herald photographer standing in his palatial grounds before his duck pond, (complete with arched bridge, a gazebo, spreading trees and large two story home in the background.)
In his own words Howard Broad, talked to the Herald about what he called Operation Morning Glory, He said "I went on a search-and-destroy mission for convolvulus and nasturtiums,""At the moment I'm just about to announce victory. There is one small colony of dissidents, but they're heavily entwined in some big plant that I don't know the name of. Weed killer doesn't work on convolvulus. There will be people who tell me it does, but basically it's get in there and ruthlessly hunt down and destroy them, and then take their roots to the dump. I'm passionate about getting rid of the roots of convolvulus, I have to say. Fork them out, sieve the ground, then you can nuke them with weed-killer if any fresh sprouts come up."
My question is, is Howard Broad really talking about his garden at all, or about "Operation Ate"? Given, that this is his only, at length statement since launching Operation Ate. It seems strange to me, that in his only extended interview in the print media, all he wanted to talk about, was his garden. I, and most people could be forgiven for thinking that he is talking (in a coded way) about something else entirely. Why is Howard Broad so "passionate" about his garden, when as he tells it, he only brought this property on being made Police Commissioner and is already selling it again, having bought another property nearby.
In his own words, he even admits his own doubts on his credibility. He said though he enjoyed making speeches, "I'm always apprehensive about what I'm going to say and whether, in fact, people will think I'm talking crap. The key to good public speaking is having a range of stories and the way they're constructed - it's very easy to work that stuff over in your mind when you are gardening." This sounds more like a recipe for rehearsing your "range of stories" and/or drifting into fantasy. There is no need for a reality check, while working in the garden.
In his interview on his garden, Howard Broad also revealed a hint of the close political links that funnel the "Global War on Terror" hysteria, into our country's police and security services. His favourite shirt that he admitted wearing only in the privacy of his own home and grounds is a law enforcement polo shirt, a gift from the American FBI. However in the aforementioned publicity photograph he is either not wearing this shirt or has covered up the FBI logo.
Is the Commissioner of Police really talking about his garden? Or in a sly nod to his supporters, giving a veiled outline of his motives and methods for the attack on Maori and other political activists? Just before he died, Peter Sellers, in the last movie he ever made, which was called "Being There". The lead character Chauncey Gardener is running for President of the United States. During the campaign,Chauncey Gardner (Peter Sellers) gives a media interview, about his garden. Of course everyone takes this for a metaphor for his policies for running the country.
My question is this; Is Commissioner Broad a naive incompetent bumbler like the character Chauncey Gardner? Or is Howard Broad a Machiavellian conspiracy theorist, who feels that his political views on dealing with what he calls "a small group of dissidents" i.e. "hunt them down", "destroy them", "fork them out", "nuke them" are too extreme to be stated openly. Could it be, that like the Hollow Men in Nicky Hagar's book, Howard Broad knows his public utterances must be guarded. And his views on protesters, activists, and Maori, cannot be stated openly without risking public opprobrium.