Should parliamentary staffers be fair game?

by Jake Quinn

A few issues doing the rounds at the moment, most of which disappoint, and a few of which I will blog on today.  In order of importance, beginning with the least important (the other one will be Goff’s Nationhood speech).

Charles Chauvel, who I will begin by saying has been particularly strong for Labour in the House and with his media lines on the ETS amendment legislation in the past week, partakes in some rather less inspiring antics with this blog post on redalert.

He posts the Facebook page of an Act staffer who jokes that he “is booked for 8 nights in the Abel Tasman National Park…before Minister Brownlee rips it ip.” Which is actually kind of funny. Hell, it’s the kind of thing I might write, if I was fortunate enough to possess such wit.

It is not the first time Charles has posted comments from parliamentary staffers on Labour’s blog (or used their names in the House).  As an ex-parliamentary staffer, and hopefully a future one, I do not find this precedent particularly encouraging.  In saying that, I am reasonably careful, at least I try to be, in what I write on platforms such as Facebook or this blog for that matter.  However, it would be nice to know that people aren’t sniffing around waiting for a badly timed joke.

Humour transplant’s for Labour have been suggested and Charles’ biggest National Party voting fan is understandably disheartened.  On the bright side, Trevor Mallard used the comments thread of the post to say he: “would have come down on the other side of the judgement call Charles made. If staff members enter the debate themselves – make more traditional public statements, attack other parties then they are fair game. But they don’t have the house to answer back as we do as politicians. Them being stupid not enough reason for having a go.” – Good on you Trevor.

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