Labour Party launches online, social media policy-making

Twitter, party blog among forums for wider input into party policy

The Labour party has gone online to begin its push for open development of policy. As revealed in Computerworld earlier this year, the new policy development process will seek to involve as wide a public input as possible by using the party’s blog site and other web 2.0 tools such as Twitter and the wiki format.

The first item up for discussion is, not surprisingly, the party’s policy on “open and transparent government”. The exercise will start with a “brainstorming phase”, says communications and IT spokeswoman Clare Curran.

“We want to hear all your ideas, suggestions, and the issues you think are important regarding open and transparent government,” she says, on the Labour party’s RedAlert blog.

“At this stage any contribution is welcome and valid, no matter how left-field,” Curran writes. “Blog posts, links to news articles and reports or research, commentary on what’s happening in other countries, your half-thought-through or fully structured thoughts, anything is welcome.”

Anyone interested in contributing is asked to:

Append a comment to Curran’s own introductory blog post;

Make a post of their own on RedAlert, using the tag “OpenLabourNZ” and linking back to Curran’s post;

Post a message on Twitter, using the hashtag #OpenLabourNZ;

Post on the contributor’s own Facebook page “and make sure you let me know”.

Alternatively, Curran says, they can email her directly at Parliament or even send a letter; those not interested in or not confident with electronic media are not forgotten.

Labour will host a public event “in about four/five weeks (date to be announced)” which contributors can attend in person, or through remote access.

“We hope to stream it live and to have several prominent speakers on open, transparent government,” she says.

After the public event, a draft policy paper will be put together by an independent writer who will draw together all the major themes and issues raised during the prior phases. The draft paper will be put on a wiki for editing by anyone who wants to participate, over a defined period. “It will then be finalised and presented to Labour as a major piece of input into our policy development process,” Curran says.

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