Once it was there (or so we are led to believe). But now it’s not.
Nope. The word “carpetbagger” couldn’t be found in Wikipedia’s article on Tau Henare (although the search might have been less than thorough).
What’s more, the NZ Herald is reporting here this morning that Alf’s colleague Tau has won an apology from Wikipedia.
It’s all over this carpetbagging malarkey.
As the Herald explains –
Anyone can edit the online encyclopaedia and John Creser, a former associate, has admitted adding descriptions on multiple occasions of Mr Henare as a “carpetbagger”.
Mr Creser listed his source as a blog posting about Mr Henare having stood for New Zealand First and Mauri Pacific before National.
There’s lots more howz-yer-father about the repeated addition and removal of the term “carpetbagger” to the article on Tau because it seems this expression is regarded in some circles as a “slur” .
If Wikipedia are going to let it be used, they need to be able to substantiate it, and it seems blogs are not considered reliable sources.
Alf is inclined to regard this as a slur, actually, because his blog is impeccable in the credibility department.
Anyway, A second user, under the name HenareT, started editing the Wikipedia item on Tau. Wikipedia’s man in New Zealand blocked that account, thinking it was the same person who was bandying the word “carpetbagger”.
He now acknowledges he might have made a mistake by blocking HenareT.
“John Creser has now denied operating the HenareT account, and I have unblocked it with an apology,” he said.
This Creser feller meanwhile remains unrepentant about his use of the “carpetbagger” term.
“It’s not a slur, it’s the truth,” he said. “It’s not just backed up by a blogger, it’s about 50 or 60 different commentators if you look at it closely.”
Alf invites him to provide – let’s say – five references.
This challenge is laid down because Mrs Grumble googled “Tau Henare” and “carpetbagger” today and could find but one clear reference.
It was contained in an article by Karl du Fresne, a feller who lives 10 minutes or so down the road in Masterton and who – in August 2008 – had something to say (here) about the National Party list.
He wrote –
I was appalled in 2005 when Wairarapa candidate John Hayes was placed at 50 on the National list and Tau Henare, a carpetbagger from the disgraced Mauri Pacific party, was ranked 29.
He proceeded to tell his readers that Hayes had come to politics
…with a background as a distinguished and courageous diplomat who literally risked his life to broker a peace deal in Bougainville.
Alf won’t bother you with du Fresne’s description of Tau’s achievements, but let’s say he was not impressed.
Hayes won the Wairarapa seat, of course, and worked hard for his electorate.
When the 2008 list was drawn up du Fresne was disappointed.
So how has the party hierarchy rewarded him? Well, fancy that – he’s still at 50. And Henare? He’s been promoted three notches, to 26. What he has done in the past three years to earn that promotion isn’t immediately clear, but there you go. I did say National’s internal politics weren’t easy to figure out.
Du Fresne was left wondering what sort of message this sent and he wondered if Hayes had ruffled feathers within the party.
It would have been a much better article, of course, if du Fresne had looked at Alf’s ranking on the list and his hard work for the wonderful electorate of North Eketahuna.
It would have been a better article, too, if du Fresne had explained why Tau was being described as a carpetbagger.
He has been a party hopper, sure, from New Zealand First to Mauri Pacific to National.
But Alf confesses to not knowing where he actually lives – or where he lived when he was described as a carpetbagger. The fact is, Tau has never invited the Grumbles to drop in for a cuppa or a drink or two.
He stood for Te Atatu again in the 2011 election, but failed to win it and sits in Parliament – not too far from Alf – as a list member.
The Herald on Sunday did not include him when it gave readers a rundown on the carpetbaggers at the 2011 election.
In the lead-up to November’s general election, plenty of politicians will be keen to tell voters how close they are to the people of their electorates. So the Herald on Sunday has decided to reveal that handful of MPs who aren’t close to their constituencies at all – they have been elected yet choose to live elsewhere.
Alf is confident he will never appear on a list of carpetbaggers.
Accordingly he will never have to try having that word expunged from the Wikipedia account of his achievements.