So, Chris Carter is threatening a ‘tell-all’ book on the Fifth Labour Government published at the next election. But he says he won’t publish it if he gets to stay in Labour. It’s blackmail, a further act of treachery for which he deserves to be evicted from the party. Carter’s rot is the corruption of all MPs who forget who they were elected to serve.
The fact that Carter is willing to threaten Labour’s election chances, and by extension the success of the policies and principles it stands for, turns my stomach. It’s Carter saying that his paycheck and the feeling of pride he gets from being an MP matters more to him than what Labour stands for. Get rid of him. The selfish bastard has forgotten his job as a Labour MP. He has forgotten that his job is to represent the needs, beliefs, and aspirations of working Kiwis above and beyond his self-interest.
I don’t think Carter has anything juicy either. If he really had the ability to hurt Labour, he would have made this threat privately, not tried to use the media to magnify it.
This problem, I think, goes further than Carter within Labour and in other parties too. There are too many MPs and staff who get used to the good pay and the power – who come to feel they’re entitled to it and become adverse to going out on a limb to fight for the people who put them there because they have too much personally at risk.
How can Labour avoid this?
By telling prospective MPs from the outset that Parliament is not a career. A very few MPs might stay on for 6,7,8 terms but they must be the exception, not the rule. Any MP who is not on the track to be a senior minister some day shouldn’t hang around more than two terms. Without a moment’s pause, I can think of half a dozen current Labour MPs who have been allowed to hold safe seats while contributing very little for too long – and they’re nearly unmoveable now because they have been allowed to build an iron tight grasp on their local party organisations.
To remind MPs and staff that they are there to serve Labour, that it is the Labour Party and its supporters who got them where they are, all should have to tithe. Everyone should give 10% while MPs and senior staff on 100K plus salaries should give at least 20%. It would act to remind them at whose pleasure they serve, who put them where they are. It would go a long way to fixing the money troubles too.
By selecting candidates who aren’t careerists. Labour has some very good junior MPs who got their start in politics in the Leader’s office but I think there’s too much of it going on. There are too many who are too young and who owe their position to relationship’s within the Parliamentary wing, rather than achievement in the wider labour/social justice movement.
Of course, we can say the same about National – that party faces a real problem with the endless parade of useless seat-fillers it has taken on in the last two terms. Bennett, Lee, Young, Gilmore, Bakshi, Wagner, the other Bennett, Lotu-Iiga, King, Adams, Ardern, Auchinvole, Blue, Calder, Coleman, Dean, Foss, Goodhew, etc. Who’s going to be the next leadership generation from that lot?
But I don’t care about them. I care about the Left. And Labour, as the Left’s biggest party, needs to pay more attention to the people it gets on as MPs and keeping them focused on the fact that their job is to deliver for the working people of New Zealand, not for themselves.