Curran needs to answer gagging accusations

There have been credible claims that the Labour Party has been gagging party members on blogs. ‘The sprout’ confirms this in a blog comment at The Standard:

My friends were heavied in an attempt to intimidate me to stop posting during the leadership contest between Shearer and Cunliffe. Clearly someone in Wellington didn’t like me saying their pony was a rightwing puppet who couldn’t lead a party to save himself. Despite me only stating the obvious, it spurred a pretty awful and nasty intimidation campaign. They knew the people being threatened weren’t me, but they knew too that doing that to my friends would quieten me. How shitty North-Korean is that?

So far it’s been CV, millsy, Peter Wilson, and me – that I know of – but who knows who else has been leaned on to shut up?

That’s on a blog post – I, Vipertacus – dedicated to solidarity for one of those who have been gagged, Colonial Viper., in which Zetetic says:

We’re not like the disgrace of an MP who has hounded CV into silence because she can’t handle honest criticism (and she’s not just a disgrace for that – she’s the first Labour MP in the history of her seat to let it go blue). Proud of you lot for standing beside our own against a bully.

That gives a strong hint about who the MP is who is leading this gagging campaign. This also alluded to on Friday:


A damned shame, but highly reflective of the state of affairs with the NZLP currently. I too know the identity of the person involved in this, and there will be future consequences no doubt. Will be interesting to see what happens for me, blogging under my own name, in the future.

Nah, it’s more that some MPs are spending a large amount of their time trawling through blogs, and Facebook etc, and then intimidating members based on what they say, particularly if it doesn’t agree with them. I don’t know if its an overt strategy or policy of NZ Council, but it’s certainly a policy of about 3-4 core MPs, and there may even be a a rogue one in there who can’t help themselves.

I have the evidence, as do others. It exists, and if the behaviour doesn’t stop, it may just come out.

Hilarious. Most people who’ve hung around the Labour Party know who I am. But for the record, my name is Peter Wilson, I was a former party member, LEC member, Otago University youth branch founder and president, Otago/Southland Labour regional council chairman for three years. I’ve chaired list conferences, fought on four campaign committees, including two as campaign manager in tough tory blue country. I have also worked in paid employment for a number of MPs, including the MP in question today.

… I had already received cease and desist messages privately.

There’s more ‘hints’:

Another Viper

Perhaps we show solidarity with CV by including Viper in new pseudonyms.
Clare has him in her sights and Tim Barnett et al will execute on her wishes.

Viper Anne

Does CV have a blog site, or a role inside the membership which would explain this attention?

Not to my knowledge except he has shown himself to be a very effective communicator. I suspect that was the sin he committed.

I know CV lives in Dunedin because he has mentioned it on occasion. The MP in question also hails from Dunedin. In my view she has simply lost the plot. While there may be some other incidences of bullying going on, I don’t think its a campaign on the part of the Labour caucus to stamp out criticism or dissent. I hope not.

All this was sparked by this post on Thursday night:

Just how wrong can you get it?

Written By: – Date published: 9:03 pm, December 6th, 2012

Word is that a senior Labour MP (who will go unnamed) has been lobbying National Council to put rules in place for party members who participate in the blogosphere. It appears they don’t like the idea that members might voice their concerns about the way their party is run. I can only assume that there would have to be some kind of a process whereby members who broke these rules would face a loss of membership or some other form of censure.

And IrishBill clarifies and emphasises:

Nope. That was a turn of phrase that perhaps made it sound more like gossip than fact but it is fact.I can also assure you that I don’t air the party’s laundry like this without good reason.

It has been going on at least since the Labour Party conference:


Nope. This is an actual problem. There was a threat of “outing” by a MP that came up during the lobbying at conference. Subsequently it was raised by the same MP in the NZ Council as part of the lobbying to push Tamihere’s membership through.

It fits the same pattern of behaviour as Shane Jones demonstrates. A caucus that does things less by focused strategy and more by stupid intimidation.

I’d advise people to think carefully before putting comments at Red Alert if your identity can in anyway be traced back to you. I guess that is why the comments are dropping like a stone over there.

It is quite unacceptable net behaviour.

It’s even more unacceptable behaviour from an MP and a political party. More from lprent:

TRP: There is more than sufficient evidence. At least for me.

The lobbying at the conference which is where this round of it seemed to have started was pretty intense and I’ve had quite a four people independently describing it to me.

The NZ Council debate is something that I have had several direct and indirect sources on.

Much of this information is coming from identifiable Labour Party members. Another member (a conference delegate) questioned the evidence:

Te Reo Putake

To be fair to Labour, there is no evidence presented that supports the claim of bullying. A few people are hinting about dark dealings, but nobody’s fronting with the facts. Name and shame, I reckon.

There is no reason why the evidence should be suppressed. Therefore, it is possible, even likely, that the evidence does not exist. IB, LP and PW are credible people, hence my amazement at their singular failure to back up their position.

The fact that legal threats and intimidation are being used might explain that. But once this started on a blog it was inevitable the leak would become a flood. And word gets around behind the scenes.

Apology accepted. For the record, I never denied anything; the whole thrust of my questions was to establish the truth. I now know the facts, via a private source, but I still don’t know why the Standard won’t publish the full story, because it really is appalling behaviour by a half witted bully of an MP.

However, I’m going to assume the lack of detail is to protect the victim/s and leave it at that. But you should know that this incident leaves me very angry indeed and I firmly believe the MP concerned should be de-selected and expelled from the party.

These are serious accusations. Another blogger (Chris Richardson) quotes the party rule apparently being used to silence the critics:

302. Disciplinary action shall be applied for and ruled upon on the grounds of:

i. contravention of the Principles, Rules and policies of the Party as contained in the current Constitution and policy documents of the Party;

ii. and/or for bringing the Party into disrepute;

Free speech on blogs is not what is bringing the Party into disrepute – there has been a lot of strong criticism for sure, but it has been mostly honest opinion raising valid points as far as I have seen.

I believe draconian gagging and intimidation of party members is doing far more to bring the Labour Party into disrepute.

Clare Curran

MP for Dunedin South
Spokesperson for Communications & IT
Spokesperson for Broadcasting
Spokesperson for Open Government
Spokesperson for Disability Issues

Her spokesperson roles are particularly ironic.

Clare is also the Labour Caucus secretary and representative to the Labour Council.

Clare needs to use her communication expertise and expressed desire for openness and transparency  in politics. She tweeted yesterday:

Contradiction here re opp ITU regs vs support TPPA: Chris Barton: The global battle for internet freedom via @nzherald …

The Herald article she references began:

The online clamour – voices battling for internet freedom and others battling for internet control – became a one sided conversation last week. The voices of freedom shouted somewhat apoplectically at the voices of control, which were mostly secret whispers outed by leaks.

It gets even more serious when political parties and MPs are battling for internet control by quashing the voices of freedom within their own party. Clare already has a reputation for controlling Red Alert – I for one have been banned there. In an email  Clare told me:

Pete I simply don’t believe you. Have had too many instances of your trolling behaviour on Red Alert and my facebook page. Have watched how you comment on The Standard, Kiwiblog and Whaleoil.

I don’t feel threatened by you, I simply don’t believe you.

I think your claims of transparency are rhetoric.

The commenter called Whodunnit has been banned for very offensive comments towards me and for refusing to reveal his identity to me and for it being revealed that he routes his email through another country in order to remain anonymous. Red Alert and Labour MPs on facebook and Twitter engage in real debates and conversations. But people who have malicious intent should not be tolerated by anyone on the internet.

Feel free to publish my comments as no doubt you will.

That was in September when I queries her banning me from Red Alert. Back then I saw no need to publish Clare’s comments, but it fits in with and adds to a bigger picture of political censorship.

Clare, querying and posting honest opinion isn’t trolling. You label people as trolls if you don’t want to hear what they are saying. It is a form of insult and intimidation that you back up with active suppression of free speech.

That brings the Labour Party into disrepute far more than party members expressing their opinions and frustrations with the Labour Caucus. As a member of the house of representatives it also brings Parliament into disrepute.

And as a Dunedin MP it’s an awful look for the city too.

Clare, if you truly believe in open and honest politics and governance as you claim then you need to start being open and honest about what you are doing. Before the damage gets totally out of control.

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  1. Darryl

     /  December 9, 2012

    How right you are Pete. Clare Curran, was participating on the Trade Me message boards before the last election. Touting for votes.Hypocrite if ever there was one. Can’t stand her at half price.

  2. Hmmmm. This is interesting but UNTIL FACTS ARE KNOWN it’s a bit dangerous to go about name dropping. I’m usually at odds with the CV-Cunliffite tendency on The Standard, but I’d support him/her over this if it is true. I add the qualifier advisedly. This would not be the first time in history that a self important someone or other has decided to be the news, rather than just commenting on it. But people need to start ponying up with evidence. At the moment much to much hearsay and rumour-mongering – which inclines me to wonder if it is all some fanciful persecution fantasy of the Cunliffite cheese and whine crew.

    • I watched this unfold for a couple of days, but now I think there’s little doubt this is different to the Cunliffe ‘coup’ – then there was manouevering and denying all over the place.

      This time there are credible identifiable people all with similar stories. And it would be very unusal for CV and millsy to have faked a stand-down from The Standard to try and score points in an internal feud.

      There are too many dots that join up here.

      And I’ve asked Clare twice now to respond (yesterday and this morning) but she has chosen to ignore it.

      In addition I know for a fact that Clare is paranoid about criticism and hates the blogs because they have been uncontrollable. She has already proven quick to shut down voices she doesn’t want to hear, including mine (and a multitude of others) at Red Alert. And when I queried her she didn’t have credible answers – she was quite wrong with one assertion, she slammed me for doing the opposite to what I had actually done.

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