Red Alert has been on the scene for some time now. It carries the logo of the New Zealand Labour Party, and carries these words:
These are the voices of Labour MPs on issues that we care about - and we'd like to hear what you think too. What you’ll read are the individual opinions of MPs. We won’t always agree with each other and sometimes our opinions may change.
A range of Labour MP's have posted on Red Alert, from Phil Goff down. Trevor Mallard is the most frequent contributor. But Red Alert is clearly a Labour Party blog, sanctioned by the party.
There have been some "interesting" posts on Red Alert in the last wee while, to say the least. All of these have carried Trevor Mallard's name. He carried out a personal campaign against Simon Lusk, a person outside Parliament with National Party links, and the posts included a number of photographs copied and pasted from Lusk's and others' Facebook sites. On Friday, he got into name-calling in a post about Cameron "WhaleOil" Slater, calling the blogger "blubber boy". We've seen how THAT post has developed!
Late yesterday the image above appeared on Red Alert. In a post entitled Penguin campaign cover and tagged as "humour", Mallard is again into peurile name-calling. But that's the least of our concerns. Look at the last item on the page; is Trevor Mallard alleging that David Farrar has been involved in corrupt behaviour over National Party fundraising? That would be a serious allegation, akin to the smear perpetrated by Mallard, Pete Hodgson and Chris Hipkins over the BMW's, and Bob McMillan's donation to the National Party.
Remember; those allegations were made in the House under parliamentary privilege, have been refuted, and not repeated outside the House. Red Alert may be Labour's official blog, but parliamentary privilege does not apply in the public domain, and we reckon that it would be interesting for DPF to get a legal opinion as to whether Mallard's comments are indeed actionable.
Trevor Mallard also fails to see the irony in his allegations. Has he forgotten Helen Clark's visit to the grief-stricken Muliaga family? Has he forgotten Owen Glenn's largesse to Labour and New Zealand First, and the attendant "cash for Consul" allegations. As for rigging polls; National has no need to rig polls at the moment; Labour is its own worst enemy, and stunts like this show why.
But the biggest question raised by this story in our opinion is whether this is the kind of behaviour that should be expected from an MP of 24 years standing; the man who is the Shadow Leader of the House, and who has just been appointed as Labour's campaign manager for the 2011 election campaign. We don't believe that it is, and we'd be interested to know what you think. We'd also love to know what Phil Goff makes of all this, and whether this is conduct which he has sanctioned, given that it was he who announced Mallard's appointment as campaign manager just days ago.
We suggested at the time of the Simon Lusk posts that Trevor Mallard trod a fine line between MP and shock blogger. We reckon that over the last 48 hours, he has well and truly crossed that line.