Ignorance is no excuse

Yesterday Whale Oil carried a story about the use of an anti-Semitic term by a Labour Candidate to describe the Prime Minister.


This post is not about the comment, but the way it has been handled, and what this says about those involved. I am not sure how long the comments by Steve Gibson remained up on the page. But my reading of Steve Gibson’s recent post on his Facebook page is that the comments where there until today, when the story broke.


Steve Gibson also claims that he was not aware of the meaning of the term. However, Greg Presland, whose post the comment was made on, is a lawyer. He is claiming on Radio New Zealand that he was just repeating comments that he has heard elsewhere. However Greg Presland should also be being questioned about his knowledge of the term. Does he claim that he was not aware of the meaning of the term?


Greg Presland is a close advisor and friend of David Cunliffe and was one of the lawyers involved in the setting up of the secret trusts used to fund David Cunliffe’s leadership challenge. He has held office in the Labour Party, including being electorate chair for David Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate, he is a member of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, and is descirbed by The Daily Blog as a “labour activist“. It is not like this post was made on the profile of Steve Gibson’s friend Joe Bloggs. Considering the profile and position of Greg Presland his actions, or lack thereof, in relation to this post should also be raising questions.


Compare Greg’s actions with what David Shearer posted over night:


The key phrase is

NZ is a tolerant society. We pride ourselves on it. Most of what I’ve seen shows the utter ignorance of the writers. I’ve taken the worst off my page here when it crops up. I don’t want to see it.


There appears to have been no comment, from anyone, about the nature of Steve Gibson’s post on Greg’s wall, until it became public, two weeks after it was posted. If Greg had replied to Steve, pointing out the offensive and anit-Semitic nature of this post, or if he had deleted it before it became public, then it would have been a clear sign those involved in the high levels of the Labour Party take seriously the issue of anti-Semitism and their pledge Vote Positive. However neither Greg Presland nor any of his friends, appear to have made any comments, or taken any action to counter these comments.  Does this lack of action, or comment, from a senior figure in the Labour Party, and his friends, suggest an acceptance of the comments and their nature?


Actions, or lack thereof, on social media give an insight into the thoughts and views of those who are involved. When you make the choice not to call someone on their racist comments it reflects on you. This is something to consider for all who use social media, but even more so for those hold sway within the senior ranks of major political parties.