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Bill’s Wikipedia edits

Written By: - Date published: 2:03 pm, February 27th, 2008 - 38 comments
Categories: inoculation, national - Tags: ,

Again from a Parliamentary address, the following passage was deleted from Bill English’s Wikipedia entry in June last year:

He married a Catholic GP, Mary, and they now have six children – five boys: Luke, Thomas, Rory, Bartholemew and Xavier; and one daughter, Maria. He is a devout Catholic himself, and upholds his churches opposition to [[abortion]], [[voluntary euthanasia]] and [[physician assisted suicide]], [[civil unions in New Zealand]] and [[prostitution in New Zealand]].

His wife Mary edited the newsletter of an anti-abortion medical practitioners group, “Doctors for Life,” and served as President of a conservative Christian women’s group known as the Family Education Network, before stepping down when her husband was elected Leader of the Opposition. Both organisations are now defunct.

picture-35.png

It’s well known that John Key is cagey about his views on most things, preferring instead to tell people whatever it is that they most want to hear – I sometimes think of him as kind of our very own walking, talking Mirror of Erised.

I did think that at the very least we could rely on Bill to be straight with us about what he really believes though, mainstream or not.

Instead, it looks like their political consultants have got National rolling out systematic inoculations caucus-wide.

38 comments on “Bill’s Wikipedia edits”

  1. it’s pretty funny that he reomved all that stuff. is Bill not proud of his demonstrable devotion to the good book, or is he like his leader, willing to “adjust” his past to suit his audience?

  2. mike 2

    Keep digging kids I’m sure you’ll find some mud to stick sooner or later.
    You guys are appearing a little desperate though.
    With talkback raving about Helen attacking her old darling media friends its all looking a tad grim at present eh.

  3. Steve Pierson 3

    This is another of those stories that would be covered if it were the government caught doing it, but the anointed party gets a free run.

  4. Hoolian 4

    Oooh, stop the press, someone is editing Wikipedia. For Christs sake, Standard, its a free world.

    Besides, everyone knows that the DPMC edits Clark’s page. Its a glowing report on all her acheivements. But as Mike as already said, keep digging. I’m sure this kind of news is exciting in your kind of circles…

  5. andy 5

    Hoolian,

    what is “DPMC” ?

  6. Phil 6

    Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

  7. andy 7

    Hoolian

    cool, so how many people work there? How many edit helens wiki page ? How many of them know what wiki is ? Who makes the final editorial decisions?

    Jeez, wish I could erase my past that easily, speeding tickets gone, bad relationship gone, increasing waistline gone all befor lunchtime…

    captcha: forgetting in

  8. Steve Pierson 8

    Andy. I’m sorry to burst your bublbe, but Hoolian is just making stuff up.

    The idea that DPMC, a government department, edits Clark’s wikipedia page to make it more positive is laughable. Do you honestly think they employ people to do that, that they waste their time having meetings on editorial decisions on a wikipedia page, do you honestly think that just slips by all the checks and balances on public service neutrality?

    Look, you want proof that DPMC doesn’t edit Clark’s wikipedia page? Go to the page and find any instances where something negative has been deleted (if there are any such incidences), check out the IP address. DPMC is based in the Treasury building, is that where the IP address is from? Of course not.

  9. andy 9

    steve,

    Laughable, I agree! Hence the the questions, because ‘everyone knows’!! I don’t care who edits any of the wikis.

    Like i said if only I could rewrite my past, it would be sooooo much better than reality :)

    I find it odd that someone is editing these things from BE wiki page, I don’t agree but is nothing to be ashamed of IMO.

  10. and it does kind of fit with National’s rather pragamatic image
    http://thesproutandthebean.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/when-winning-is-all/

  11. Dean 11

    “This is another of those stories that would be covered if it were the government caught doing it, but the anointed party gets a free run.”

    A mouthful of coca cola just got invulntarily snorted up my nose. It’s the evil media, striking again! Oh, the HORROR.

  12. It seems that the same IP range made positive changes to Nandor Tanczos, Chris Carter, John Tamihere, Darien Fenton, Anita McNaught, Darren Hughes, Tim Selwyn, Charles Chauvel, and Keith Locke

    Somehow that doesn’t fit your rather pathetic attempt to link English with an edit on his page now does it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Contributions&limit=500&target=202.22.18.241

    btw, you do realise that Whale scooped you on this last year, even listing Bill English and Allan Peachey as among those edited, right?

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/?q=node/4753

  13. mandy 13

    Is it now considered fair game to drag Bill’s family into this muck? It’s not a good look with The Standard mentioning the children’s names of a Nat MP for political points, when Government MPs are going to turn out en masse to celebrate Children’s Day on 2 March.

  14. Dean 14

    “and it does kind of fit with National’s rather pragamatic image”

    This is fabulous, because every single thing you’ve put in that picture is so easy explainable. Let’s begin.

    “Native logging” – Heaven forbid we should harvest natural resources. That would be just ghastly.

    “Public asset sales” – Because they were SO efficient at delivering a result to New Zealanders before, right? Right? Oh, wait. They weren’t. Short memory syndrome again on your behalf.

    “Iraq” – Yes, because dictators shouldn’t be opposed. Ever. Especially middle eastern ones. Nope. Not at all. People might die! Except that they already were. But your moral equivalency is breathtaking.

    “s59″ – It’s difficult to see why you don’t like this when so much of New Zealand is in disagreement with you. Maybe it’s the will of the people you don’t like and you’d instead prefer to be on the side of acedemics? It’s hard to tell. Please explain more.

    “Religion” – It’s always a bad thing, right? Except when a Labour MP advocates the stoning of gays. I’m sorry I’ve mentioned that though, because I hate to shatter people’s sheltered world views, no matter how black and white they may be.

    “No nukes” – It was always a thorough stupid idea. NO PENICILLIN! NO ANIMAL TESTING! Let’s all live in the dark ages like the Greens want us to. I mean, to hell with modern science, right? I hear the bible belt are into this sort on nonsensical reasoning, based on nothing but faith. But wait, there’s the religion thing again. How very confusing it must be.

    “Doctor’s fees” – Must explain why the public health system is in such tip top shape. No changes are necessary. No, sir.

    “Tax cuts” – Even Cullen admits this one is a dead dodo. Why you’re persisting on it is news to everyone.

    “Global warming” – A global farce. To be fair, Key should never have backtracked. But hes got to win the election somehow.

    “Maori seats” – I adore institutionalised racism. Obviously you’re not that fussed about it either.

    “ANZUS” – Armed forces = BAD. Or something. I don’t really know, but whatever your explanation, it’s bound to be stupid.

    “Service cuts” – Government spending is not inflationary, right? It’s somehow, you know, different? Right.

  15. Scribe 15

    Maybe, just maybe, he didn’t want details of his family out there in the public domain.

    Oh no, that couldn’t be it, because then the intellectual heavyweights at The Standard would miss out on another non-story.

    And I’m sure it’s got nothing to do with any concern about “his demonstrable devotion to the good book”, Sprout.

    Check out other MPs’ wikipedia pages and see how many explain spouses’ career details.

  16. Scribe 16

    Heck, the Labour party website doesn’t have biographies for their ministers, and The Standard’s complaining because Wikipeda may or may not have all the information about an MP’s wife and kids.

    What next? (I shudder to think. Maybe a Nat MP goes shopping without one of those reusable green bags!!!! That’d be worth six or eight posts.)

  17. John 17

    This post is about as low as the right wing bloggers who query Peter Davis’ sexual proclivity.

    Really move on and post something topical rather than this cak.

  18. Matthew Pilott 18

    Scribe, Mandy, John, mabye, just maybe, the point was about Bill English’s viewpoints on traditional conservative christian issues and not about his family – did all three of you miss those points by mistake?

    Fair eough if his wife’s details are removed, I doubt anyone gives a toss – it’s about his conservative christian image. Why do you think someone is trying to hide that?

  19. r0b 19

    This post is about as low as the right wing bloggers who query Peter Davis’ sexual proclivity.

    Ummmm, no. It’s a legitimate observation (along with an earlier post) that National is tidying up its public face. Not exactly earth shattering, but interesting to note what they choose to delete.

    To compare that to the sustained and vile attack that was unleashed on PD by the Kiwiblog Right (though not, to his credit, by DPF himself) is quite pathetic.

  20. mandy 20

    Matthew, as the legislation mentioned were conscience votes, how about the conservative christian values of some of the government mps? maybe just maybe you missed the point.

  21. john 21

    Matthew

    So Bill Eng;ish has some traditioanl christian viewpoints …… and that’s newsworthy why ??

    What next a picture of Bill English going to church …… well that really would be a smoking gun.

    I repeat move on and post something worthwhile

  22. Matthew Pilott 22

    Mandy – not at all – it’s nothing to do with conscience votes, I’m not sure where you plucked that from. If there have been votes on such issues then I’m sure the info is freely available, hey, it might even be on Labour MPs wiki pages. AFAIK no one is going out of their way to hide this information though. I ask again: why do you think someone is trying to hide Bill English’s conservative views?

    John – sure the existence Bill’s conservative christian values are not newsworthy, that’s exactly what I said. Bill next to a church? How are those non sequitur arguments going for you? I don’t think they’re very effective. To go back to the point at hand, the reason thos blog post exists – why do you think someone is trying to hide this stuff from the public? Given they’re ‘not newsworthy,’ I repeat – why hide it?

    Here’s a hint team, you need it: when you’re trying to be populist and appeal to everyone, offend no one and release as little policy as possible, do you think you’d want to publicise strong views?

  23. John 23

    Hi Matthew

    I see what your saying and I can agree it probabaly is potilically expedient, also absolutely agree with the comment regarding releasing as little policy as possible guess that’s the nature of politics and that at present National is playing that game better than Labour.

    Unfortunately elections do tend to be won on populist opinion and manipulation of the population and media this is true for whichever side of the political spectrum you come from – I’d mush prefer a completely informed electorate who made decisions based on absolute openess from political parties but I guess we can both agree that ain’t likely to be the case during our lifetimes.

    Have a good day

  24. r0b 24

    So Bill Eng;ish has some traditioanl christian viewpoints and that’s newsworthy why ??

    It isn’t newsworthy at all, you deliberately miss the point (again). The news, and I’ll agree it’s fairly minor news, is that National is tidying up its online presence (and it’s interesting to note the items that they are deleting).

  25. infused 25

    Seems everything The Standard blogs about seems to back fire on them. This little bit of info is really stupid imo.

  26. mandy 26

    Matthew – What does it matter that he has conservative views? Isn’t that his position? His socially conservative views would be reflected in Labour strongholds.The residents of Papatoetoe, Otahuhu and Hunters Corner would agree the Prostitution Reform Bill has had a detrimental effect on the youngsters in that area.

    Is it Bill English adopting the poululist stance? Remember his state assets gfaffe on Agenda? The point I reiterate, which you dsmiss and therefore miss, is that bringing a MP’s family into public view is nonsense.

  27. Matthew Pilott 27

    John – I agree wholeheartedly, but have a feeling that with a devolution of infomation from the centralised MSM to media such as this – there is hope for informed debate. Prehaps it’s going to be harder to run without more detailed policy when there are so many more people digging aroung and trying to raise hell :) It will take a far more interested electoreate before it really changes though… Cheers

  28. Seems everything The Standard blogs about seems to back fire on them. This little bit of info is really stupid imo.

    Nobody cares about your opinion.

    What does it matter that he has conservative views?

    If they doesn’t matter why are they being erased by his apparatchiks?

  29. Daveo 29

    This little bit of info is really stupid imo.

    Russell Brown doesn’t think so, http://publicaddress.net/default,4833.sm

  30. Matthew Pilott 30

    FG’sS Mandy – I don’t care about English’s family! Did you read what I said yesterday: “Fair eough if his wife’s details are removed, I doubt anyone gives a toss – it’s about his conservative christian image”? The details about his wife can be expunged from Bill’s Wikipedia entry for all eternity, and I’ll be a happy man (on that count). Hope that’s clear enough…

    Now, the rest of it, Bill English’s views (remember, Bill English is a senior MP, and therefore his views are open to scrutiny (if you can’t agree to that then this ain’t going anywhere))…

    Great if “His socially conservative views would be reflected in Labour strongholds.The residents of Papatoetoe, Otahuhu and Hunters Corner would agree the Prostitution Reform Bill has had a detrimental effect on the youngsters in that area.” So why is someone trying to obsucre these views?! Are you still missing the point? It’s not that he has those views, it’s that someone’s deliberately concealing them from the public. Why?

  31. mandy 31

    Matthew – I agree that deleting an old entry is unethical.
    But is is so important? It seem that those who should care, don’t. And those that shouldn’t, unfortuately do.

    Nice to see that you think poitically expedient electorates that won the election in 2005 don’t matter unless it agrees with this conspiritoral post. Poor.

  32. Matthew Pilott 32

    Nice to see that you think poitically expedient electorates that won the election in 2005 don’t matter unless it agrees with this conspiritoral post. Poor.

    Can you explain that, you lost me, champ… i think you’re imagining tenuous links in what i write that aren’t actually there.

    If you’re implying that I think those areas of South Auckland don’t matter, you’ll find putting words into people’s mouths doesn’t do you any favours, especially when your logic skills are as weak as you’re demonstraating here. This is a democracy, and those people will vote as they see fit. If the Prostitution reform act has affected them, then they may choose to vote accordingly.

    You still haven’t told me why someone is trying to obscure Bill’s conservative christian views. Why do you think that’s happening? Why do you think it’s unimportant – it seems to me that someone wants to hide any views that might offend people. Some would call that dishonest – do you support such behaviour?

  33. mandy 33

    Matthew – My intention was never to explain nor defend those who have obscured the religious views of Bill. So why you would be asking me to answer such a claim demonstrates your flawed logic. My questioning of your view does not mean that I support the actions of those who have deleted the Wikipedia references. Your inference that I do is just dumb.

    There was no putting words in mouth, but obviously you have not taken the time to logically and intelligently connect that Bill’s religous views will be recieved strongly in South Auckland. That they may vote with him or his party is democracy in action. Do you think they care about some discussion that is happening right now in this post about deleted references? Have you bothered to ask?

    You never bother to say who would be offended by these views? Which voters would be so appalled that they would vote another way? Isn’t the general consensus that all politicians are liars anyway?

    In asking questions, you don’t answer your flawed reasoning. Must go with the dogmatic territory.

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    mandy, I’m afraid you’ve just written a crock of absolute shite – it’s virtually unintelligible!

    Do you think they care about some discussion that is happening right now in this post about deleted references? Have you bothered to ask?

    No mandy I haven’t travelled to South Auckland in the last day or so with the express purpose of asking voters whether they would be more likely to vote for National because the Clutha-Southland MP and deputy leader’s wikipedia entry used to say that he has strong christian views. Have you?

    I’m also not enough of a conspiracy theorist to imagine that someone from the left would be editing religious views of National Party MPs to forestall some form of religious resurgence in lower socioeconomic circles in Auckland. That you consider my failure to draw this most tenuous and desperate of a connection a failure of my logic and intellect speaks volumes about your lack thereof.

    My intention was never to explain nor defend those who have obscured the religious views of Bill. So why you would be asking me to answer such a claim demonstrates your flawed logic.

    You said they were bringing his family into it. I mentioned it was about his christian views, and nothing to do with his family. You made another obscure and non-sensical comment about conservative views of other MPs – if that’s not about why someone would be obscuring Bill’s christian views that what on earth have you been writing about?! That was my point the whole time, so you’re trying to say my logic is flawed, because I’m asking someone arguing against something I said to argue against something I said instead of something else entirely, which incidentally makes little sence. Intersting concept. ;)

    My questioning of your view does not mean that I support the actions of those who have deleted the Wikipedia references. Your inference that I do is just dumb.

    I directly asked you somewhere in the region of five times – each time you skirted around the issue. If someone doesn’t answer a question and blatantly avoids it there’s a fair obvious conclusion to be made there. As for my dumb inference – it was never made. I simply asked what you thought – therefore any inference is yours and purely imagined.

    You never bother to say who would be offended by these views? Which voters would be so appalled that they would vote another way? Isn’t the general consensus that all politicians are liars anyway?

    I said this (and even told you it was a wee hint – I see that was too subtle for you, sorry about that): when you’re trying to be populist and appeal to everyone, offend no one and release as little policy as possible, do you think you’d want to publicise strong views?

    The gist of that would be that if a view might not resonate with everyone, an MP might not wish it publicised. If you can’t understand that, then there’s not a lot more else that can be said to help you.

    Visited the Herald today? Interesting article, something about Russell Brown and Wikipedia…

  35. mandy 35

    Matthew – Once again you have missed the whole point of my postings. It’s probably because of the pro partisan political nature of this website, that makes you so one track minded, that even a smidgin of disagreement is met with abosulute fury. Not everyone is going to agree with what you say. Face it and get over it.

    Yes, I have spoken to people in South Auckland recently about what is of concern to them. I have family who live there. They worry about the same things like every other New Zealnder; employment, education, health and taxes. But they are more concerned about the social changes like the Prostitution Reform. Before you jump to conclusion, and make a leap into the ridiculous, I agree the Bill needed to be introduced. However, the local community are worried that youngsters are moving into the profession. With South Aucklanders traditionally being social conservatives, there is a deep sense of betrayl from the Party they have always voted for. They don’t agree with the Nats as they remember what happened to them in the 1990s. But they do know Bill is a Christan and he has married a Pacific Islander. They still adore Helen Clark but they are wondering if there is much more they can handle regarding social change. Do you understand now? If not, get out of your seat and engage with some people face to face. Interfacing with a computer screen doesn’t count.

    You argue the major concern is that his populist stance disguises his stong views. There is no disagreement about that. But it’s cheap political point scoring to mention his family, even if they are not the main thrust of the post.

    You say: If someone doesn’t answer a question and blatantly avoids it there’s a fair obvious conclusion to be made there. So what’s the obvious conclusion? That I’m a rabid rightwinger hell bent in seeing the current Government lose, so the strong views of Nat MPs can be then unleashed on the NZ public? Wrong. I stress again since you miss the point, if I don’t agree with you, that does not mean that I am on the other side. This is no “You either with us or against us situation”? Ever heard of neutrality? I was disturbed a MP’s family can be published on a pro partisan website as supporting evidence for political points. Do you understand now? If not, then there is not much I can do to help you.

  36. Matthew Pilott 36

    Absolute fury eh? I take it you’re new to the blogging thing… However apologies if that’s how it appeared. I’d call it more frustration as I tried to understand your angle.

    I have agreed regarding the family thing. Wikipedia can only show the entirety of an edit, so the graphic includes everything that has been deleted. Perhaps that could have been edited by A_Y_B to only include references to Bill himself, but then the link to wikipedia would still show the full edit. If you have suggestions about how that could be avoided, feel free to suggest away.

    However, the post made the thrust of the article perfectly clear – nary a mention of the Wife, but questioning of what he (note the bold he in the post) believes in. there’s no scoring points off his wife here and I think you’re making a cheap shot yourself by trying to bring that point into focus, you’ll notice the debate has purely centred on Bill.

    For a supposed neutral, I’m not sure how you missed that. That’s why I ‘assumed you’re a rabid right-winger’ – their usual strategy is to ignore the actual substance and focus on irrelevant side issues that no-one else is actually debating. My apologies if I have misjudged you, but that’s what your approach has been. Doesn’t help whet you continuously ignore what someone is attempting to debate (when it’s what the actual post is about), while they’re answering your points. People call that trolling.

    You’ve turned something about wiki editing into a debate about whether South Aucklanders would appreciate the content of said editing, yet don’t link it back to what we’re talking about.

    Your comments regarding social conservatism in South Auckland are interesting but I’m not sure what I am meant to understand – their concern with the prostitution reform law has nothing whatsoever to do with wiki editing and you haven’t made any specific point.

    If I started to mention the failure of Think Big to have a positive economic impact of the residents of Tolaga Bay you’d probably equally confused, for example.

    I think you’re overestimating that sense of betrayal however, there are more issues out there that people are concerned about. On the day though, people do often vote based upon a single issue.

  37. randal 37

    so bill thinks he is Moses in his spare time but he doesn’t want anyone else to know…have I got that right?

  38. Jonquille 38

    I think this information about Bill is very very relevant. There were comments made by both he and John Key a few months back quoted by one of the Sunday papers saying that they were sick of the government paying for Solo Mothers late term abortions at North Shore hospital. The domestic purposes benefit is so low I imagine some mothers don’t even have the transport they need to get to the sparsely located free clinics where they can get contraception free.

    The Nat’s don’t need to change the law on abortion, all they need to do is administer it with a different emphasis.
    In the US now the Catholic Church is buying up a lot of hospitals and denying women abortions. They are also denying them contraceptives. Practices are spreading of intimidation of doctors who do provide safe abortions for women. These doctors are been threatened with exclusion from promotions etc. etc.

    On June 7 in the US the pro life people staged a nation-wide protest against the pill for goodness sake so for many of the pro life pro family people its really more about sending women back to the dark ages where you do nothing but breed. Its not about protecting foetuses, Its about stopping women having any choices at all.
    Many of the National pro family policies are very anti to single parents and make it difficult for a woman to leave an unhappy marriage and still sustain her family.
    The child care package they promoted last election is a tax break of up to 5000 per year. But for a poor minimum wage woman alone she would probably only qualify for a small part of that. That means its not possible for her to pay for child care while she works which makes it damned impossible for some woman who don’t have family to mind their kids and help them out to get away from miserable situations etc. unless of course they go on the domestic purposes benefit which you can bet the nat’s will be attacking once in government.
    They are a very backward thinking party in total when it comes to women’s rights to exist independently outside marriage. They vote against just about every initiative to help poorly paid mothers etc.

    In their last period of government over 9 years the minimum wage increased by $1. Of the 91000 minimum wage earners during that time most were women.

    They continually blocked attempts by nurses to get pay increases yet touted the free market and paid Don Brash 1 000 000. Yes they like cheap female workers and believe in the free market for the rich and those who in their books are worthy of such excessive salaries. They also passed the privacy act which effectively made Wages and salaries private. This in effect made equal pay legislation which has existed for women here in NZ for years almost
    completely null and void. If you don’t know your boss is cheating you how can you challenge what is happening behind your back. This pay privacy can hide nepotism and all sort of shady pay practices from employees.

    Of course poor prospects for pay and improvement are the things that induce women to stay in marriages when their partners cheat on them etc etc. Basically if you have kids to feed its very hard to stand up for yourself and leave. The Nats want to keep it that way.

    They believe in the coercion of women to remain married through their impoverishment. Having looked at their voting history and having spoken with some of the people in that party that is my belief.
    Last election the Labout government introduced a penalty for employers found to be paying female employees less for the exact same job. Don Brash was incensed by this. He thought it was wrong that an employer should be penalised for knowingly underpaying women.

    When Jim Bolger was Prime minister his most important first priority was to reverse legislation achieved previously by Helen Clarke which made it possible for women working in female dominated industries to compare their jobs with similar mens jobs and claim increases based on jobs which were comparable. The legislation was only passed in a very weak form and would not have increased women’s wages by much but Nationals first priority was not to woman voters but to employers. Don Brash promised to do exactly the same thing. It was a “gone by lunch time ” policy. Top priority.
    Theres a lot more. Go look at their voting record in parliament and you will see that every effort to help improve the financial lot of women they have opposed again and again and agian.

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