Kiwiblog – still happily fomenting mischief…

By   /   February 11, 2014  /   5 Comments

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Sometimes, being a mischief-maker can have it’s pit-falls…

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kiwiblog and Green Party

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Sometimes, being a mischief-maker can have it’s pit-falls…

Case in point – Kiwiblog administrator, David Farrar, who at the end of January, posted a story on a “leaked” Green Party draft Party List for this year’s election. David wrote,

“I’ve been leaked a copy of the draft an unoffical Green Party List. This is the version done by the hierarchy and leadership. The initial draft list is done by the hierarchy and then members then get to vote on this, and tweak it. They often do make some changes, but the bulk of the rankings don’t change much.” [sic]

David Farrar  then published the List rankings, complete with promotions and demotions. (Though his blogpost wasn’t entitled “Two Greens MPs facing demotion with Green Party List”. The more sensationalist, oily heading of “Two Greens MPs facing sacking with Green Party List” was used instead.)

Only trouble is – none of it was true. Someone was either playing silly-buggers or David Farrar was telling porkies.

My ten cents plus 15% GST is on the former; this was someone playing  David Farrar for their unknown agenda. Why do I believe that the Kiwiblog editor  wasn’t deliberately spreading lies (despite the mis-leading headline to the original blogpost)?

Because David Farrar is no Cameron Slater.

When a right wing blogger publishes a damning piece demolishing another right wing activist’s (Luigi Wewege) reputation for telling outright  lies;

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Kiwiblog - not in a relationship

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- then that speaks well for  his credibility. (That’s not to say David won’t present  a story biased according to his  own experiences, beliefs, and worldview – but then, what right or left wing blogger doesn’t? And yes, that includes me.)

On 10 February, David Farrar published an updated blogpost on this story, stating,

“I published last week a draft Green Party list. The Greens said it was an entirely unofficial list, and was not the list that the hierarchy and electorate delegates put together for members to vote on. That is correct, as that list is yet to be drawn up. But in political parties it is not unusual for different factions to start circulating what they see as their desired list.”

This bit is pretty much on the nail. I recall my own participation in Alliance List Ranking meetings. Various factions would draw up their own lists; discuss them; pass them around; lobby for support… Until the day of Regional List Ranking selection and it came down to delegates voting according to their electorate wishes. Some of the “pre-determined” list rankings were successful – but most were not. (After all, only one person can sit in each ranked slot.)

David Farrar should have known this because the Green Party selection  is even more direct, transparent,  and democratic than the Alliance. Or the new Labour Party voting process for leadership contests.

In fact, the Green Party is probably the most open and democratic of this country’s political parties. At the other end of the spectrum is ACT, where Leaders and candidates are selected by the Party’s Board of Directors. ACT members have zero say in the selection process.

So it was hardly surprising that David Farrar  offered up this explanation,

“A manager with the parliamentary party has said on the record that the parliamentary leadership and senior staff have not had any involvement with the unofficial list that was sent to me. They can’t rule out that someone at Parliament hasn’t compiled their own wish list, and been pushing it – but they are unaware of any activity like that and do not sanction it. I believe those assurances.”

Indeed.

The Green Party confirmed to me, in writing that “pre-selected lists” do not exist,

"Our party is proud of our committment to our internal democracy. Appropriate
decision-making is one of the pillars our our party's charter. We take this
committment seriously as Co-Convenors and elected representatives of the party.

Recently a blog site, and reports by the mainstream media, claimed to have a copy of
our draft list - the ranked list of MP's that the party devises that informs which
candidates are elected into parliament once the party vote is counted after the
election. The draft list is a fiction - the party list formation has not yet begun.
Our party uses a participatory approach to develop our party list.

[...]

We can expect an unprecedented level of scrutiny, interest, and, from some, attack on
our internal democracy and the party in general this year. The media, commentators,
bloggers, and other political parties are all interested in our party list. Given
this interest, we can expect some misreporting of our party processes and
list-ranking processes..."

One part of that statement leaps out at me;  “We can expect an unprecedented level of scrutiny, interest, and, from some, attack on our internal democracy and the party in general this year…”

What an odd world we live in when the political Party with the most democratic and transparent candidate selection process is heavily scrutinised (and often criticised) – whilst other Parties – where a culture of transparency and democratic involvement by rank-and-file members is not so well developed – do not suffer the same level of scrutiny and criticism.

In fact, this blogger has not read one single MSM story or commentatory criticising ACT’s closed candidate selection process. It seems almost an accepted feature of our political system that this kind of secretiveness is “the norm” and the Green’s willingness to be open is “unnatural“.

If such be the case, and I have to choose between “the norm” and “unnatural” – I’ll take “unnatural“, any day.

David Farrar concluded by stating,

“I have no reason however to doubt the source [of the leaked "draft Party List] has said anything untrue, and that they did not receive the list from someone in Parliament. I won’t print anything I believe to be untrue. The source has been reliable in the past. Also I do apply my own judgement to a degree and the rankings in the unofficial list do meld with general consensus around the beltway around individual MPs.”

David Farrar may insist that he will not  “print anything I believe to be untrue”.

But he certainly didn’t bother checking the facts first and foremost with the Green Party prior to committing to publication.

If anyone should understand the Green’s almost fetish-like observance for democratic and transparent participation, it should be David Farrar. God knows he’s been around “the beltway” long enough.

Perhaps Mr Farrar  should start questioning “ the source” of the leaked “draft”. Because it looks like he’s been ‘played’ by someone with their own agenda.

Yup, it must be election year…

[Disclosure: this blogger supported the Green Party at the 2011 Election]

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References

Radio NZ: ACT Party elects new leader

Kiwiblog: Not in a relationship! (5 Nov 2013)

Kiwiblog: Two Greens MPs facing sacking with Green Party List (31 Jan 2014)

Kiwiblog: More on the Greens list (10 Feb 2014)

Previous related blogpost

2013 – The Year that Was (Scroll down to: Honest Blogging by a Rightwing Blogger Award)

Act proclaims new leader!?

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John Key is really hoping that dudes like me don't vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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5 Comments

  1. AceMcWicked says:

    Okay, so James Shaw is NOT going in higher on the list?

    If not it would be a crying shame because he’s a decent bloke, with some great ideas.

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  2. Marc says:

    The agenda is totally unsurprising, it is DISCREDIT THE GREENS, nothing else! As Key and National have decided to do this, by calling them “extreme left”, “fringe loonies” and now hypocrites wearing expensive clothing and talking about child poverty, Farrar as their loyal foot soldier is doing the coal face work by blogging about it.

    He is co founder of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, which is nothing but a right wing pseudo independent and pseudo official organisation, that has set itself the goal to manipulate taxpayers into believing their lies, and join them to attack the opposition and to promote National and ACT policies.

    So I am not surprised he is also giving that “union” (which is anything but a real union) so much space and time on his blog also.

    The fronts are clearly drawn now, and the plan is furthermore, to label Labour as the desperate left of centre party, being totally dependent on these “extreme left” Greens, to form another government.

    The attacks are designed to simply discredit Greens and Labour together, so National stays in office.

    I would be surprised if any informed political observer would be surprised about what Farrar is up to. Prepare for more lies, distraction, manipulation and made up scandals, we will get heaps of it this election year.

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    • raegun says:

      Gosh given the tactics, you’d have to wonder if the reason is they can’t counter the Green’s arguments.
      Couldn’t be, nah. Oh okay, I guess it is

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    • Intrinsicvalue says:

      “As Key and National have decided to do this, by calling them “extreme left”, “fringe loonies” and now hypocrites wearing expensive clothing and talking about child poverty…”

      And the left have taken to describing the Conservatives and Act in much the same way. All’s fair in love and war.

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  3. fambo says:

    What is happening at this very moment is that the Green Party is having its Campaign Conference in Auckland this weekend. This is a chance for branch convenors to meet and listen to the candidates and then report back to their respective branches their impressions at a specially called local branch meeting where the branch works out its preferred list of candidates.
    The lists of all the branches are aggregated and the resultant new list is presented to each member of the party with a bio of the candidates. Individual members then vote for their personal list preference and this is again aggregated into a final list.
    It’s a very open and democratic process with any candidate being able/vulnerable of moving up and down the list – current members of parliament or otherwise.

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Only for the purposes of Electoral Act 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989 everything on this page is: Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog, 5 Victoria St East/Queen St, CBD, Auckland, New Zealand.