I see that the Labour Party has supposedly decided to open up its policy development to its membership.

However don't get the impression that the Labour Party hierarchy are about to take on board policies that are not free-market friendly.

The first set of policies that people are being invited to contribute suggestions to is on 'open and transparent' government.

According to Labour’s Communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran, the policy process is 'an experiment in how Labour could engage with the community, seek their input, build support and use new technologies and methods to develop policy. '

I'm quoting straight from the press release, the language of which betray's Curran's previous life as a public relations consultant.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the signs are not good that Labour will deliver anything other than another helping of unappetising neoliberal stodge.

Writing on Labour's Red Alert website Curran - once seriously referred to by one misguided commentator as a Labour 'left winger' - claims that the input of the membership will 'contribute' to the formation of policy.

But, perhaps attempting to dampen down expectations from the very beginning of this exercise, she ominously instructs that 'we want to be upfront with you from the very beginning.'

Oh yes? What does that mean? Get the feeling someone is about to pour cold water on any ideas that the parliamentary leadership is about to relinquish its grip on Labour?

Here is the cold water:

Says Curran:' Labour is of course a political party and politics will dictate what the final policy looks like and how it is arrived at.'

In other words any final policy will have to have the Phil Goff seal of approval which puts paid to any prospect of Labour rejecting neoliberalism and the free market.

Chances are the only people will contribute to Labour's policy formation will be Goff's kind of people. Any Labour members who have been thinking of contributing anything in the way of socialist-inspired policy may as well file such policy contributions in the rubbish bin now because that's what will happen to them once thay arrive on Phil's desk.

Of course I am assuming that they are actually socialists still in the Labour Party which is to fly in the face of reality. This is the party, of course, that thinks the truly awful Andrew Little is worthy of a seat in Parliament.

It is all well and good for Clare Curran to say that 'Labour wants to show that it is doing things differently' but its entirely pointless if this 'new process' ends up with Labour delivering the same dismal neoliberal policies we are all too painfully familiar with.


  1. What Curran is proposing is little more than an electronic focus group designed to help shape and sell the Labour "brand". It will be used to shape Press Releases and spin more than it will shape policy.

  2. Yes, I think you are right, Green Tea. But its not been sold as that despite Curran's claims about being 'upfront'.

    I find it interesting that she talks about 'we' and 'you'. I'm assuming the 'we' is the parliamentary party and the 'you' the membership. It says something about the Labour Party that the party MPs 'instruct' the membership about what to do and the membership have no imput at all other than through things like this latest sham exercise.


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