COMMENT

Having navigated my own teenage years alongside a brother and a sister, and now raising five teenagers myself, I feel qualified to say that you can't attack someone over what they did at age 14.

William Wood, the National candidate for Palmerston North, is discovering the brutal reality of being in politics, and how much of your life can come back to haunt you. How keen people are to dredge up your every error and mistake and hang you out to dry for it.

At the ripe old age of 18 now, (yes a very young candidate), I'd say there's likely more mistakes on the way.

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He's still incredibly young, still with potential for a few more poor decisions. He is after all, a teenage boy.

Until you've had a couple of those, don't tell me it's a walk in the park and they get everything right all of the time.

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The problem with an election year, is that every single thing you do, say, infer, allege - or even once did in your past - is going to come back to you. That's really tough if you're only 18. It's particularly tough if you're living in the age of cancel culture as we are, where one misstep and you face a public flogging.

The same could be said for the young TV1 Breakfast reporter reprimanded on air by the show's host, who ironically mentioned not "punching down" as he punched down his own colleague on live television.

John Campbell rebuked Wilson Longhurst on air for his comments about a woman being pranked by her ex-boyfriend. Photo / TVNZ
John Campbell rebuked Wilson Longhurst on air for his comments about a woman being pranked by her ex-boyfriend. Photo / TVNZ

That reporter's not a teenager I imagine, but he's still a young man in a tough environment of early morning live telly, who may periodically get stuff wrong.

It happens all the time, if we lynched every reporter who during a live cross let the wrong thing slip out of their mouths, we'd probably have no one on our screens or radio stations.

But back to William Wood. He's now being targeted and bullied, after he apologised for an old image of him at age 14, looking to be posing like Hitler in a social media shot.

Key things to bear in mind there – 14 and social media. Show me the 14-year-old who doesn't have something on their social media they regret or didn't think hard enough about.

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As I said at the start, welcome to the world of teenagers. You could argue not all teenagers want to stand for politics and, at 18, Wood is an adult and should be clean as a whistle, but look at the environment he's entering. Not even the seasoned pros and adults have got their act together and could claim that.

William Wood is the National candidate for Palmerston North. Photo / Supplied
William Wood is the National candidate for Palmerston North. Photo / Supplied

His leader Judith Collins is defending him, and so she should, she says he showed immense maturity by fronting up to it and apologising so quickly.

Judith Collins defends 18-year-old Palmerston North candidate William Wood over 'Hitler' photo. Video / Mark Mitchell

I know this is an election year and the gloves are off and, for some reason, people love to traverse othesr' social media accounts looking for indiscretions, but seriously?

Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig
Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig

Can we try to find some actual real issues to talk about between now and September 19?

I don't know about you, but I'm not here to vote on what people dressed up as when they were 14.