Clare Curran’s accusations

Clare Curran has been busy on social media this week criticising National, especially Bill English, about a lack of availability to constituents. She posted on Red Alert:

A message to Bill

Bill English, it appears many people in your electorate don’t want you to sell our assets. And how about being a bit more available to them!

She tagged this ‘representation’. Clare has often talked about more open government. This is something I’m also interested in, it is the main reason why I got involved in politics.

Clare followed up with another post on Red Alert:

How many electorates aren’t being well served by National MPs?

Posted by  on September 4th, 2012

My post yesterday on Bill English and his mostly closed electorate offices in Balclutha and Gore has attracted some interest on Red Alert and on facebook.

A number of people commented that they were experiencing the same issues in other National-held electorates.

I’m wondering how many National Party electorate offices are actually staffed on a regular basis?

And how much direct constituency work they do and what options are open to constituents if they try to approach their local MP and are rebuffed, ignored or can’t make contact because it’s always closed.

Would be interesting to find out.

As it happens, I’ve been ‘rebuffed, ignored or can’t make contact’ with Clare and also my electorate MP David Clark. Both usually ignore emails. And both have blocked me from their social media. So I commented:

Pete George says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm
MPs can be too busy to be available all the time.

Both my local Dunedin electorate MPs don’t usually respond to my emails.

And my own electorate MP (Dunedin North)seems to want to avoid contact on Twitter:
“You have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user.”

I was having a dig for sure, but Clare was having a dig at the unavailability of Bill English and National MPs so I think it’s fair to point out her own deliberate unavailability.

(I have once had an email reply from Bill English but he usually ignores my emails too).

Clare responded:

Clare Curran says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Oh Pete George let’s be honest here. I didn’t know you had been blocked on twitter, but I have unfriended you on facebook.

You are a troll. You are one of Cameron Slater’s (Whaleoil’s) tipsters. You pretend to be something you aren’t and you remain a commenter on Red Alert on notice.

I am a very liberal person. I believe in free speech, but I also believe in honesty and accountability. I don’t believe in pushing false information.

My response:

“You are one of Cameron Slater’s (Whaleoil’s) tipsters.”

What do you base that claim on?

“You pretend to be something you aren’t”

What do you base that claim on? I’ve been very open about who I am and what I do.

Calling me a troll is a cheap and/or ignorant shot. At times I promote and publicise what Labour (and you) do. At times I question you. Shouldn’t MPs and parties be open to scrutiny?

“I am a very liberal person. I believe in free speech, but I also believe in honesty and accountability.”

That’s not how you are acting here.

“I don’t believe in pushing false information.”

Can you clarify the intent of that comment?

I’m very active in social media but I’m not a troll – that’s a term that’s often misused.

I’m not ‘one of Cameron Slater’s (Whaleoil’s) tipsters’.  I’ve had some contact with him as I’ve had with other bloggers, that’s common. And I comment on his blog as I comment on others, including Red Alert.

‘You pretend to be something you aren’t’ is an outlandish accusation, I’m one of the most open people on political blogs. What on earth does Clare think I’m pretending to be? She ignores me, blocks me, she refuses to engage and then thinks she knows about me. She is wrong.

I also believe in free speech. On the same blog thread:

whodunnit says:

Offensive. Banned. Clare

I don’t know how offensive the comment was so can’t judge on how justified this was.

I also believe in honesty and accountability. Clare seems to actively avoid accountability while criticising other MPs for being unavailable.

“I don’t believe in pushing false information” – neither do I, I don’t know what she is implying by saying this. I’ve asked her to explain but she hasn’t responded yet.

I first contacted Clare about three years ago and have tried to actively engage with her and other MPs in Dunedin. I’ve criticised her at times, but I’ve also praised her and published positive information about her.

One of my main aims in politics is to improve communication between Dunedin MPs and the people of the city. This has to be two way. And it means MPs have to be prepared to communicate with people outside their comfort bubble.

People want to be heard more. In Clare’s own words, “how about being a bit more available to them!”

If Clare is serious about open government and if she’s serious about MPs being available to the people then I invite her to work together with me to achieve a better connection between MPs and people in Dunedin.

I’ll email Clare as well to make sure she gets this invitation.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Just posted the following at Kiwiblog Pete:

    I was banned from Red Alert midway through last year for making a flippant “nek minnit” comment about Phil Goff and asset sales. People went in to bat for me afterwards, which drew this response from Ms Curran:

    Jem and others: Inventory2 was banned for several reasons. He was personally offensive and he lied. A number of others who comment regularly in a similar vein are running close to the line and are on notice.

    For the record, I completely reject the allegations by Clare Curran that I was personally offensive and a liar. Those who have engaged with me online know that. I am still banned at Red Alert, and I can’t remember the last time I visited the site.

    Clare Curran might support free speech. But it is very much free speech on her terms, which doesn’t make it very free at all IMHO.

    Clare Curran deserves all the opprobrium she attracts.


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