A “thorny” issue about politics and Wikipedia

Deborah Russell is no longer listed as a current MP or as an incumbent.
Deborah’s quoted reason for standing is “A commitment to fairness. … For people to be free, you have to enable freedom.” (NZ Herald p D21, September 19, 2017).

It is sad it took so many days for Deborah to remove potentially misleading wording from her profile; it is also sad she did not let me know she had done this.

Some other Wikipedia pages may have changed (hopefully) by the time you read this.


New Zealand has a general election taking place presently.

I believe in a level playing field.

Do you think it is fair that some candidates who have never been MPs, are being represented as currently being MPs?

Deborah Russell has never been an MP (Member of Parliament) in New Zealand.

Although there is a notice that the page below is a work in progress, I did not initially see this on my 23 inch screen (centred at the top of the screen).

I found the page using Google when looking for info on Deborah Russell.

It is currently viewable by anyone who finds the page:


(the page may have hopefully changed by the time you read this post)

On the page it says:

Dr Deborah Russell (born 14 January 1966) is a New Zealand academic and politician. She is a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives for the Labour Party.


Deborah appears to have been unable/ unwilling to do anything about this herself.

In an email she says:

I’ve been trying to deal with you in good faith, because of your concerns with the draft page about me (and I’m assuming, your equal concern with the pages set up for people such as Chris Penk, Nicola Willis, Simeon Brown, Erica Stanford and so on).

The people named above are in another party.

Deborah is a candidate in my electorate. The other candidates named above are not.

Do you think it is fair to have Deborah (and some other new candidates) presently being represented (already) as a current MP?

I personally believe all these pages are unfair and misleading (particularly to the other candidates in the same electorate).

Our democratic process needs to be fair to all candidates and the information viewable currently accurate.

To me there is an unfair advantage given to a candidate who appears to be already an MP when s/he is not.

Should anyone be able to say anything they like on a Wikipedia page so long as it is claimed to be a “work in progress”?

All Wikipedia pages are in fact a work in progress and should represent the true facts as they are known presently.

The main election day is Saturday 23 September. However voting has been taking place since the beginning of this week.

I personally do not think pages like the above should be viewable by the public until after the election.

I have suggested something similar to the following be put under the name of candidates who are not currently MPs:

Note: This candidate is not yet an MP (Member of Parliament).
This page is a draft pending the outcome of the 2017 election.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_New_Zealand/politics/New_MPs

To my mind there is also a credibility issue when any candidate/ the “taskforce” thinks it is acceptable to represent that a candidate for election is already an MP when they are in fact not.

In my opinion this subverts the electoral/ democratic process.

Any “work in progress” message  does not help.

Deborah appears to be the only candidate in my electorate (New Lynn) with such a page.

These pages should not be viewable to the public until after the election.

What do you think?

Deborah said she could not find any other Labour candidate with this issue. However see (includes the first two listed below alhapbetically):

There appear to be many new MPs that may have similar pages:



Daily prompt: Thorny

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Capt Jill says:

    I think there should be honest and fair reporting of the facts, but I seriously doubt that will happen. I would really love to see a level playing field in politics, but I’m pretty positive that will never, ever happen! There is just too much money, power and so corruption involved.
    My question is always: WHY do we need any politician?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AlanGraceNZ says:

      I think most people (except complete anarchists) would agree we need laws and a free and open discussion about new laws/ amendments to old laws. I think politicians are required as part of this process. It’s part of what we like to call the democratic process.


  2. Dreeny Crim says:

    I think if she’s not an MP, she shouldn’t be listed on Wikipedia as an MP, especially during an election. I’d like to think New Zealand people are smart and know when something is false, but even then there should not be misleading information out there.

    Liked by 1 person

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