Social media and party office holders

An interesting tweet was drawn to my attention this morning.

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Now, my personal view is that this is a pretty cheap shot, and using the hashtag labourabuseskids is pretty reprehensible. The tweet that brought it to my attention came from Bayden Harris, who is a known “Labour party hack”.

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I thought I would have a look at this account, and see what I could find. I found an account that has only sent 32 tweets, Robyn obviously has a very negative, combative attitude. I have included some of them below, with a few comments.

Now, it is a matter of public (Twitter) record, that Clare and I do not see eye to eye, but I don’t think it is acceptable, or true, to call her a “shady bitch”

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I assume the above tweet relates to this one.

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All of these tweets suggest a rather negative, combative person. Not someone who would present a good image as a potential candidate.


While I was having a look at Robyn’s Twitter account, and there is no mention of her seeking the candidacy for the National Party for Dunedin South. I asked Bayden where he was drawing the conclusion that she could be a candidate from.

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The link that he included was to this Otago Daily Times article. Which included the quote:

National Party Dunedin South spokeswoman Robyn Broughton said National would open its nominations on April 19 to select a candidate to stand in the electorate.

Jo Hayes, the candidate at the last election, was now a list MP in Parliament and had indicated she wanted to stand in Wairarapa.

Ms Broughton did not believe National was leaving its selection late as Ms Hayes did not start campaigning at the last election until mid-June and won the party vote.

”We will have interest in the selection and I am sure we will have a robust selection process.

”We are using last election as a base and intend building on that,” Ms Broughton said.

When questioned on the lack of a mention of her as a candidate or nominee, Bayden responded, but then deleted the tweet, which read:

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I have two points I want to make. Firstly, if you are going to make claims about someone being a party nominee or a candidate, you should have more than “read between the lines” to back it up. If you don’t at least have the strength of your views to stand behind what you say.


Secondly, and more importantly for people involved in political parties. If you are publicly tying your name to a political party, especially as a spokesperson for a section of that party, then it might be a good idea to keep the tone of your tweets rather polite. There is a difference between a party activist tweeting things that are questionable and someone who is reported in the media as being a spokesperson for the party. One good rule to apply is if you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on Twitter. I will admit I may have crossed that line a couple of times, but it is something I am trying to implement as much as possible. However, I do not hold an official role in a political party. If you hold an office in a political party, like it or not everything you do reflects on that party. It may only be a small mistake, but each one reflects on the party. So be careful out there.