“Constructive Criticism NOT Welcome within Labour”

An on and off Labour supporter/member is unhappy he has been told he can’t rejoin the party because he operates a Facebook page “which has from time to time contained unhelpful comments which could well be regarded as risking disrepute”.

The Facebook page is Labour Members & Supporters Coalition.

  • Affiliation
    New Zealand Labour Party
  • Short Description
    NZ Labour Party Members & Supporters Coalition
  • Bio
    A coalition of Party members and supporters formed to achieve unity, stability and modernization within the NZ Labour Party.
  • About Me
    Member of the Labour Party since 2006.
    Young Business and Community Leader.
    Member NZIOD.

Posted yesterday:

Constructive Criticism NOT Welcome within Labour.

Coalition Page Founder has had his application to re-join Labour DECLINED by the Labour Party Council. See email below from Tim Barnett (Party General Secretary):

Should this be challenged? Your thoughts?

***************************************************************************
Dear Nigel,

I am writing to you on behalf of NZ Council.

Many thanks for your patience following the Council meeting at the weekend.

As you know, you resigned your membership of the NZ Labour Party on May 14th 2015 and sought to rejoin on August 28th 2015. Council retains the right to decide on membership applications, and in your case has decided to decline the application. Under Rule 6 of the Constitution we will be informing the Taranaki King Country LEC of the decision which we have made.

Although there is no obligation to provide reasons for this decision, Council were well aware that you operate a “Labour Members and Supporters” Facebook page which has from time to time contained unhelpful comments which could well be regarded as risking disrepute. The delay in informing you of this decision was entirely related to the timing of Council meetings.

Best wishes,

Tim
Tim Barnett
General Secretary

***************************************************************************

Background:

Nigel (our founder) first joined the Labour Party in 1998 (when it was truly a Party of the People), he left the Party in 2002/2003 (rather the Party left him), re-joined in 2005 following the general elections and has been a financial member since, well up until May 2015 when for personal reasons he chose to resign his membership and sought to re-join in August 2015.

Nigel is a young, active and passionate community and business leader – elected member of a rural District Council Community Board (a community which delivered NZ the blueprint for “Zero Youth Unemployment” strategy), a member of the Institute of Directors and a Masters (Executive MBA) candidate.

In 2014 Nigel was nominated for the Labour Party List and achieved a higher ranking (by vote) than the constituent candidate at a regional list ranking conference, he also met the Party’s key strategic selection criteria, however despite this and his regional ranking, following moderation by the National Committee he did not make it onto the final list.

In 2014 Nigel founded the Labour Members and Supporters Coalition page (initially a support page for DC), he continues to sponsor our page. Nigel has been active in challenging the Labour Party’s “outdated” and “out-of-touch” ideals and policies, pushing to modernize, rejuvenate and make Labour “relevant” again.

Following New Zealand Labour Party‘s historic defeat in 2014, as a party member he publicly called for Moira (Party President), Tim (General Secretary) and Party Council Members to resign from office. During the recent Northland by-elections he launched a campaign to encourage Labour supporters in Northland to vote strategically (getting ahead of Andrew Little), supporting Winston for Northland (this ruffled a few feathers in the Prime for Northland camp and within the Party hierarchy).

Recently Nigel also shared a few key recommendations which would strategically assist with improving the Party’s performance and voter appeal, right wing commentators predicted that Nigel would be excommunicated from Labour for speaking out/sharing these publicly (via the NZLPMSC page).

This begs the question: Is Labour truly capable of change?

Being outspoken appears to rule out membership, in this case at least. It’s not the only time being outspoken oline has been unwelcome in Labour. A little ironically one of those in the comments thread is another Labour supporter who has agitated for change in the party – Tat Loo. He comments under the pseudonym Colonial Viper at The Standard.

In 2012 Clare Curran, then a moderator on Labour’s now failed Red Alert blog, laid a letter of complaint against Loo for his online comments. I posted on this as it unfolded:

In the last of those posts Colonial Viper is quoted:

This Viper certainly sees the irony in your “faceless commentators” remark, Mr Mongoose, since Clare, Trevor, and a substantial portion of both the Labour Caucus and NZ Council know exactly who I am.

And I don’t just “claim” to be a Labour Party member, I’m a Labour Party member, donor, activist, and organiser that the ABCs threatened in person, and then wanted to revoke the membership of via disciplinary proceedings in front of NZ Council.

But in this incarnation of the Labour Party, this is simply situation normal :twisted:

And Curran:

Ms.Curran said the people she complained about were party members, some of whom were using pseudonyms and had contributed to other party members being attacked and the Labour Party being undermined.

”There are questions about the conduct of anonymous bloggers who belong to the party but may be bringing it into disrepute, and it’s an issue the party needs to grapple with in the digital age.”

Ms.Curran said she had sought discussion at the party council level about what was an ”acceptable” standard of behaviour, particularly when a member was expressing views anonymously, in a way in which was intended to damage other party members and the party overall. She also made suggestions about how the party could deal with the issue professionally.

”Not at any point have I sought disciplinary action against any individual.”

That sounds similar to what is happening with Nigel. Online ‘disrepute’ is still frowned on.

Note that in October 2013 Colonial Viper revealed that he was Tat Loo in a Standard Post – see Tat Loo: Viper Pilot. I had met him when we were both candidates (for different parties and electorates) in 2011.

Unfortunately this intolerance of criticism within Labour (and in Labour associated blogs) is quite common.

Labour are also barely tolerant of the Greens unless they think they could be useful to them.

Open and robust debate is an essential part of a healthy democracy. And it is also an essential part of a healthy party.

I offered constructive input into Labour in 2009 when I thought they would welcome offers to assist with recovery and rebuilding. I wasn’t welcomed so I looked for other ways to do something in politics.

Labour continues to ail.

Leave a comment

16 Comments

  1. Sponge

     /  10th October 2015

    Having seen some of the utter nonsense posted by Tat Loo on the substandard I can see why the Labour Party did not want to have much to do with him. I suspect that Nigel (what a typical Labour Party name by the way) would be in the same boat. They can never accept that they are anything other than 100 % correct.

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  11th October 2015

      This sort of behavior from the Labour Party heirachy is only going to alienate more and more of their members and voters.

      I am starting to think that if they don’t get their shift together soon … that there will be a break-away party formed … which will spell the end of the current Labour Party.

      Little and his Union Cronies and Advisors are the best thing to happen to National since Cunliffe and Shearer and Goff. LOL.

      Reply
      • Mike C

         /  11th October 2015

        I typed “shit” … not “shift” 🙂

        My auto-speller appears to have begun moderating my potty mouth, because I typed “piss” over in another post this morning … and my auto-speller wrote “puss” instead. LOL.

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  11th October 2015

          Shift actually makes good sense here, unlike most spellcheck corrections. Do as I did years ago, disable it. I prefer to meak an odd tyop to having an illiterate spellcheck trying to tell me what it thinks I wanted to say. It’s even more annoying than Google asking if one meant duckpond when one asks for Dickens…

          Reply
    • Kevin

       /  11th October 2015

      And for an example of one of his nonsensical rants:

      http://thestandard.org.nz/the-gradual-decline-of-american-empire/

      Reply
      • Mike C

         /  11th October 2015

        @Kev

        Its very difficult trying to find the best non-sensical rant in that post … because there are so many to choose from. LOL.

        Reply
  2. SPLITTERS!!!!! DISSENTER!!!! The cry of the Left…… it really is entirely predictable that Labour will fracture soon….. heretics have always been booted out or burnt at the stake… or choose to leave a la St. Jim of Riccarton and form another party…..

    National has its factions – and they occasional fall out in a big way, but they seem to have a more pragmatic view on how to get ahead namely you need a 40% plus voter block to get the Treasury benches and so differences have to be set aside…plus they have a nice safety valve party to the right in ACT to siphon off the more radical elements…

    Reply
  3. John Schmidt

     /  11th October 2015

    This is why the left ultimately fail to govern. They always turn on themselves and self destruct.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  11th October 2015

      Labour is a powerful brand though. Despite being incompetent and uninspiring they are still in the running to form a governing coalition in 2017.

      Reply
      • Yes they are, but on current levels of support that would have to include the Greens and NZ First. The New Zealand electorate rallied against that in last year’s election.

        Reply
        • Kevin

           /  11th October 2015

          Not so long as they remain mired in the belief that principle trumps compromise. Sticking hard to your principles is all fine and dandy, but in politics if you’re not willing to compromise you are toast.

          Reply
          • kittycatkin

             /  11th October 2015

            To some people, compromise is a dirty word; I know someone who is convinced that it means caving in. There are some things that one cannot compromise on, but I’d hate to be so closed-minded that I couldn’t compromise on anything.

            Reply
  4. tealeaves

     /  11th October 2015

    Seems like you have to give up a lot to “belong” to a political party, like freedom of thought and action. Stuff that. No thanks!
    I was walking up Parnell road one day, the guy ahead of me was on a cellphone. He said, “it’s like XX said – if you wanna be in the XX Party, you fucken agree.” They’ve all got their ways of bringing the cats into line.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  11th October 2015

      Well, to a certain extent that must be so. There’d be little point in a Communist joining National and refusing to stop plugging Communism, attempting to change National’s stated aims and idelology. Or a committed free-trader capltalist attempting to change Labour and constantly trying to undermine what Labour stands for. If you disagree totally with a party, why would you join it ?

      Reply
  5. traveller

     /  11th October 2015

    Once upon time the old Labour Party framed themselves as a party who believed ALL citizen’s should be getting a fair slice of the pie. People saw how valuable their “labour” was as a tool and Labour NZ played a significant role in bringing social welfare to the most needy.

    In the meantime along came identity politics – feminism, LGBT rights, indigenous people’s right – for instance. Most of these people found advocacy on the left. People allegedly fighting for mainstream acceptance joined and influenced the Labour movement. The rub was that they stayed on, formed factions and their continuing politicking reinfoced their differences rather than their assimilation to the main body. There’s nothing united about a party full of factions where individuals seem more concerned for minority rights over the majority of those they would represent.

    Meanwhile over in the broad centre and the right you’ve got your Jane or John Doe who generally believe in:

    • Pluralism
    • Equal citizenship and equal opportunity
    • Freedom and choice
    • Personal responsibility
    • Personal enterprise and reward for achievement

    They have no truck with any person or group who puts themselves above our law.

    Barely anything today’s disjointed Labour comes up with can be seen as life-enhancing, let alone bring more fairness, prosperity or joy to our lives.

    Reply

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