Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

MP Asenati Lole-Taylor on the 'BJ' word

NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor.
NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor.

While the colloquial term for oral sex has probably been uttered in Parliament before, it's safe to assume that it was never done so openly and loudly enough to be recorded in Hansard.

That is until NZ First MP Le'au Asenati Lole Taylor used "the BJ word" in a question to Police Minister Anne Tolley a few weeks ago.

While NZ First MPs apart from Winston Peters have mainly captured public attention for the wrong reasons, Samoan New Zealander Mrs Lole Taylor has been noticed for reasons she is proud of.

That includes her members bill which would make the presence of children at P labs and other drug related premises an aggravating factor in sentencing.

"My bill is the first one that NZ First has managed to get passed the first reading" she says with some satisfaction.

She's looking forward to giving NZ First's annual conference Christchurch this weekend an update on the bill.

It's part of her campaign to tackle intergenerational problems including drug abuse and prostitution in South Auckland which is the focus of much of her work in Parliament.
In that vein she startled virtually every body present in a few weeks ago, when, with the forcefulness of a regimental sergeant major, she asked Police Minister Anne Tolley how she would feel if she was walking down the street and someone asked her how much for oral sex.

Except the actual term she used was what she now calls "the BJ word".

Mrs Lole Taylor laughs about it now but indicates it was a premeditated strategy to bring attention to a serious problem.

"She didn't answer the question but she let me know afterwards that she got the point."

"Would anyone have taken any notice of that question if I didn't use that particular word?"

She tells the Herald it is a word she hadn't even heard of until her 21st birthday party when someone used it in a joke.

"I asked what do you mean and everyone laughed and then it was explained. I got the fright of my life."

She says she was a very shy 17 year old when she moved to New Zealand in 1980 to complete her secondary education. Thirty three years later and during a career that has taken her from factory floors through to stints in the justice, corrections and local government sectors, there's little trace of that shyness now.

The church-going mother of three is now a forceful and at times combative presence, as she frequently demonstrates on Twitter.

She attracted attention for a series of spats she got into on the social media platform during the marriage equality debate.

The robust expression of her views riled liberals in the Twittersphere at the time but she says she was equally at odds with religious extremists at the other end of the debate.

Lole-Taylor voted with her party against the legislation but says the words and tactics used by some opposed to it were abusive toward gays, which upset her and shifted the focus away from the core issues of the debate.

With regards to the arguments she got into on Twitter with those from the other end of the debate, she says she learned a lesson.

"It's not worth having blood pressure so high, I'm just going to block them and be done with it rather than me saying something I might regret later on.

"Sometimes I think I could have been a bit more diplomatic...It took me some time to realise that being a Member of Parliament you lose so much freedom to be upfront about how you honestly feel."

A recent dig at older drivers on Twitter and her use of the "BJ word" suggests Parliament hasn't entirely sapped her forthrightness.

- NZ Herald

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