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Bait and switch

Written By: - Date published: 3:47 pm, June 28th, 2008 - 78 comments
Categories: election 2008, national, slippery - Tags:

It strikes me there is a disconnect between what prospective National voters expect it to do in government and what it has actually promised it would do. Some examples:

Tax Cuts
How much larger do you expect the tax cut National will offer you will be compared to the ones Labour has announced? $5 a week? $10? Hardly any difference. National supporters weren’t satisfied with Labour’s cuts, they’ll want a significant amount more and such puny offerings would make a mockery of National’s endless fixation on cutting tax. Seems to me they’ve got to offer at least $20 a week more or the expectations of potential voters will be disappointed. How are they going to find the $3 billion needed to satisfy this minimal expectation? Not through cutting ‘waste‘.

Reverse the Child Discipline law
The Bradford amendments to Section 59 pf the Crime Act is one of National supporters’ main bugbears. Despite the fact that National voted for the law, Labour is blamed. Surely, then there is a strong expectation that National will reverse the amendments. But it’s not going to happen. John Key says they would change the law if there was evidence good parents were being criminalised and he says that is not happening.

Lower petrol tax
A common refrain from National supporters is that petrol prices are the fault of taxes (in fact, higher fuel prices reduces government tax revenue and raises its costs). Labour is blamed for this over-taxation and they believe electing National will change this. It won’t. National has repeatedly stated it won’t remove or reduce taxation on fuel.

Power prices
Think power prices are too high? Expect National to lower them? Think again. National has no energy affordability policy. It does, however, have a policy of extracting more profits from SOEs, and the biggest SOEs are Meridian, Genesis, Mercury, and Transpower; National wants power companies to make more profit, from higher prices. It opposes the Electricity Commission, whose reserve generator at Whirinaki gave us a buffer during the recent ‘power crisis’.

It is no coincidence that the expectations of National’s supporters and its actual policies are different. National’s strategy relies on hit and run attacks on the government. This encourages a belief that National has some plan to tackle the problem at isuue when it doesn’t. Securing the votes of people who have expectations that don’t gel with reality, what the Americans call ‘bait and swtich’, underpins National strategy.

So, if you’re thinking of voting National, ask yourself: what do you expect from them and do these expectations match with National’s actual statements?  Or are you falling for the bait?

78 comments on “Bait and switch”

  1. higherstandard 1

    According to the latest polls Tax cuts are not top of mind anymore.

    ” ..The economy continued to rate as the top issue likely to affect respondents’ vote (23.8 per cent).

    But public concern about crime saw law and order selected as the next issue most likely to affect voting, rising to nearly a quarter of respondents (23.4 per cent) – up from just 11 per cent in May. It overtook tax cuts (19 per cent) as the second biggest issue.”

    Not surprising that law and order is of rising concern with the spate of shocking incidents in Sth Auckland recently.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10518834

  2. Yeah, and National has no solutions for those issue either, yet I bet a lot of potential National voters think they do.

  3. higherstandard 3

    But both you and I know that governments are blamed when things turn sour not oppositions – tis the way of the world.

  4. But is that why you would vote National?

  5. Perhaps National can increase the fines for those losers that park in Handicap spots to raise money for tax breaks.

  6. erikter 6

    [lprent: banned remember]

  7. bill brown 7

    Not surprising that law and order is of rising concern with the spate of shocking incidents in Sth Auckland recently

    I would say:

    Not surprising that the msm is concentrating on law and order after the gap between National’s and Labour’s tax cut package was minimised.

  8. Monty 8

    you leftards just do not get it. It is not just those points above which is why Labour are so far behind. It is because they are arrogant (see Clark parking over disabled park for latest proof) Cullen has refused to give tax custs for nine years despite massive surpluses, and the list just goes on and on. Chris Trotter summed it up during the week when he said in his column “The trouble with this government, is that it’s always telling us what to do.” The Labour government as the current economic recession tells us have not actually managed the economy well.

    At present households in Auckland are struggling as evidenced by the increase in mortgagee sales, defaults on loans, drop in house sales (no confidence) and retail sales falling through the floor. The perception (and quite corect as well) is that Labour has robbed the woring classes to fund their social programmes. The middle classes who have funded the Labour ego have had enough.

    Labour as a result will suffer their worst defeat in a generation. In 12 months time while Labour are still licking their festering wounds and wondering how to cope with life with Helen controling every aspect of their lives, some on the left will undertake an objective analysis. The cause will be several things, but top of the list will be
    Cullen and his arrogance
    Electoral Finance Act
    Clark and her vindictiveness (and lust for power)
    The Anti-smacking law
    The Health system (and the sheriff in charge -)
    High interest rates
    Falling house prices (and no consumer confidence)
    destruction of the independant Public Service (it is not the government’s plaything)
    The theft of $800,000 of taxpayers money
    Increases in violent crime (and lack of real action on P and gangs)
    the drift to Australia of friends and family (everyone seems to have lost a son / daughter/ brother / sister to the West Island)
    And most importantly the arrogance of every single labour Party member of parliament.

    What does amaze me is that your support has not yet slumped to 20% – but given current polling trends I am certain that will be acheivable

  9. RedLogix 9

    Monty does the perfect demo of the sucker who has swallowed the exact “bait and switch” routine SP writes about. Classic.

    Monty gets the “Unselfconcious Irony Award” for the week.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    This will be the very shiny silver lining if National do win – getting out the popcorn and watching the show, as the penny slowly drops among the fingers-in-the-ears John Key fan club. Like when you start dating “HotChickHot4U” off the internet, and she turns out to be a scam artist who ends up with half your house. How did that happen? Coz you stopped thinking and followed your dick.

    Self-delusion is not compulsory, it’s a choice. And if people can’t be bothered to try and find out what they’re getting, they get what they deserve.

    PS Have just yawned my way through Monty’s long post … couldn’t find a single National policy there either. Says it all.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    Redlogix says it all really. Someone who considers ‘leftards’ a clever call it top of the list of people to get suckered by national. I wonder what muzza thinks Key will do for him – or maybe he just likes his smile.

  12. Lew 12

    Monty: On this thread I offered you a bet of a case of beer if National win 75 seats. Since you’re predicting Labour falling to 20%, I should think you’d be all the more keen now to put your money where your typing fingers are.

    Do we have a deal?

    L

  13. Key and National would be a disaster in government and there would be a bit of schadenfreude in seeing that go down. Problem is that it would be the people who really suffer, not National’s wealthy base.

    Monty, Brett – I hope you see that you’re ust showing that you’ve been suckered in by misdirection and the bait and switch. Honestly, I can’t image supporting a government in circumstances where I can’t name what they will do… it seems all you see National as is ‘not-Labour’. Incredible. Do you really want a government like that, with no policy and no solutions?

  14. coge 14

    Well Steve, it’s a case of knowing what Govt we don’t want, & knowing how best to get that result. This Clark led Govt is considered by most to be an abject failure. I anticipate both they & their coalition partners will be roundly rejected by the electorate.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Ha ha ha … that’s brilliant!

    (You are a parody, I take it?)

  16. higherstandard 16

    Key and National would be a disaster in government .. how so ?

    Problem is that it would be the people who suffer not Nationals wealthy base …. really how so ?

    So those people who voted National in the last election and in this are the wealthy ? and they voted or are thinking of voting National because they’re wealthy and greedy … really … do you really believe that ? After your rant some time ago regarding the young Nats I’m starting to think you actually do.

  17. coge. If the Labour-led governments are such a failure, how come National wouldn’t reverse any of their changes?

    HS. You’ve seen all the stats, I can’t remember how many times we’ve showed the minimum wage and median income graphs, the distribution of income vs tax cut graphs…. National doesn’t believe in raising the minimum wage or improving work rights, plus a cornerstone of neoliberal economics is unemployment to suppress wage demands. Who suffers then? The people, not the wealthy. Are Natioanl supporters for those things because they are ‘bad’, no of course not. They believe that those policies are best for society in the long-run (‘with the right incentives, everyone will work hard and be rich doctors and IT contractors’), problem is (and again, we’ve shown this in a dozen different ways) they aren’t, they are best for those at the top, and the poor get shafted.

  18. RedLogix 18

    Coge,

    You are posting on a political blog site. It is openly left-wing partisian and there are a number of people here who are highly politically literate. As with all blogs the level of debate is can be variable, but allow me to assure you that if you continue posting here in this miserable vein you will be challenged to raise your game.

    1. You assert that this Labour led govt has been a failure. What is your definition of failure and how are you going to measure success? Specifically at what points do you think this govt has failed?

    2. You are welcome to your opinion that you do not want a Labour govt. Fine. But what DO you want, and what evidence do you have that National (the only plausible alternative at this point) will deliver anything like what you are hoping for?

    Surprise me with a coherent, reasoned and evidence based argument if you will.

  19. polaris 19

    yes, with Lake Hawea about to go the lowest it is allowed to go, the “power crisis” is really over isn’t it Clinton?

  20. coge 20

    RedLogix. Yes, it’s abundantly clear what sort of blog The Standard
    is. I think it is positive that many folk of opposing political stripe post are able to post here. I’m sure you understand this makes for lively debate, & thanks for your invitation. In my world political literacy is purely a subjective concept, as with the ideas of failure & success. But now we need to look at some facts, so I can answer your questions.

    1/Polling. In my opinion Labour are not polling at the levels that make them electable. How do I come to this conclusion? Since 2002 when Labour trounced National, Labours polling has fallen into a longterm downtrend, a slow decline if you will. Conversely National has experienced a longterm uptrend. Six years of this has made a huge difference. Now please answer this. For Labour, how can this be any measure of success? If it is not success, surely it is failure? I admit it is all based on statistics, but speculate that Labour has alienated many of their former supporters.

  21. KK 21

    cOge? So you ‘re everything thing on polls. 1/Polling – is that it?

    “In my world political literacy is purely a subjective concept, as with the ideas of failure & success. But now we need to look at some facts” – your sentence makes about no sense and you named just one fact.

  22. coge 22

    RedLogix,

    2/ As to the alienation of some former labour supporters, well three terms is a long time for any Govt. The scandals, the advent of “Nanny state”, the economy, the P epidemic & attendant crimes etc, night after night on the media. National are seen as the new broom, when you’re in opposition you can’t make any real mistakes.
    From my own personal point of view, National traditionally are better custodians of the economy & have a better handle on crime. They also understand business, which time & time again Labour demonstrate ample ignorance in.

    One final comment. Intellectual bullying which raises it’s head on this blog once in a while. It’s not a good look for Labour & I fail to see how it helps your cause. Perhaps you would care to comment?

  23. lprent 23

    coge: I think that RL was quietly warning you about me and/or Irish. We like having people of different opinions around here when they discuss things. We don’t tolerate trolls for too long because they don’t contribute to debate.

    The comment he was referring to caused me to give you a troll scan – it was a classic troll comment. But you seem to occasionally contribute – hopefully you’ll get better :D

  24. Short of Labour digging up some real dirt on Key/National, the Right is going to be making up the next coalition government. Not that it will make any difference to the economy, National seems unlikely to reverse Labour’s biggest mistake: Working For Families.

  25. KK 25

    cOge “From my own personal point of view” – that’s tautology

    Nanny state, the economy, the P epidemic & attendant crimes etc, night after night on the media.

    have you ever given thought that the mainstream media is not the only source of information? Your arguments are seriously baseless mate.. perhaps if you backed them up and presented a coherent argument they’d be less of this “intellectual bullying”

    Do you really think that Labour “demonstrate ample ignorance”, I’ve heard the contrary I think that you’ve been mislead by the media and the key-loving machine.

  26. coge 26

    Iprent, thanks. A troll scan? Didn’t hurt a bit.

    Generally shorter communication is the most efficient. In this case it was noticed.

    Cheers

    [lprent: Shorter is efficient around here as well, at least for banning. You have to explain the why as well as the conclusions. That allows people to pick apart the arguments. Short usually leads to flamewars and I stomp on those because they’re too annoyingly mechanical to scan. Consequently short usually leads to bans or moderation on the general basis that I like killing rogue code and the trash is the fastest and most efficient solution]

  27. Billy 27

    SP: If the Labour-led governments are such a failure, how come National wouldn’t reverse any of their changes?

    So, Steve, given that Labour have never reversed the benefit cuts of Ruth Richardson’s first budget, I take it we are all agreed that they were a great success.

  28. Dean 28

    SP:

    “coge. If the Labour-led governments are such a failure, how come National wouldn’t reverse any of their changes?”

    If the mother of all budgets and the 90s welfare reforms caused such division and poverty, why isn’t Labour prepared to reverse them?

    You really are a sycophant if you continue along this line of hypocrisy.

  29. Dean 29

    “So, Steve, given that Labour have never reversed the benefit cuts of Ruth Richardson’s first budget, I take it we are all agreed that they were a great success.”

    Snap! And about 1 minute apart. I wonder if SP will find the time to explain this one away?

  30. Lew 30

    He’s already done so several times.

    L

  31. coge 31

    KK, it seems you & I are not voting in the same election.

    Where does the general public get information from? How does the economy effect their opinion of the encumbants? What are the polling trends indicating to you? This all represents aspects of public opinion.

    Splitting hairs on this blog will not make one iota of difference to public opinion.

    I was a Labour supporter for many years, what I see now is a different party that has tired of listening, as it seems you have.

  32. RedLogix 32

    Coge.

    You made the effort therefore I’ll attempt an honest response.

    Yes we know the polls have the Left as underdogs going into this election. As you correctly identify, there is a natural electoral cycle. The longer ANY govt stays in power, the more inclined the electorate is to simply hanker change for change’s sake. Moreover as you correctly identify, being in power makes you an easy target.

    It’s made harder when large and influential sectors of the media are nakedly committed to changing the govt as well.

    It’s made harder when the general standard of political debate in this country is so low, that outright lies and smears are routinely substituted for facts. For instance I personally became politicised in 2004 when I witnessed National and Federated Farmers derail a long overdue reform of Public Access to Crown lands and backcountry recreation assets with a deliberate, malicious and hysterical campaign of lies and disinformation. The Minister, Jim Sutton who had shepherded a long and careful process of consultation and policy development through to the point of introducing legislation was crucified. The very cautious reforms his working party had proposed towards mapping and negotiating legal, LINEAR access to public land, along pre-defined corridors over private land… was hysterically twisted into a fearmongering vision of hordes of townies, criminals and vandals “WANDERING AT WILL” over farmlands and forests raping burning and pillaging. It was a deeply retrograde and cycnical exercise in sustained lies that has eroded my rights as a New Zealander to do what I love most… getting out in the backcountry to tramp, hunt or fish.

    The scandals, the advent of “Nanny state’, the economy, the P epidemic & attendant crimes etc, night after night on the media.

    The scandals were mostly beat-ups. In fact compared to the non-stop debacles of the 90’s Labour have run a pretty well disciplined and competent ship. Of course things do inevitably go wrong. In fact life on the 9th Floor is a constant succession of mini to major crisis… but almost without exception, the issues have been dealt with that within reason have balanced the need for accountability and the need for natural justice and fair process.

    The term “Nanny State” is meaningless rhetoric.

    The economy is doing quite well internally, but is like every other nation going to be challenged by the catastrophic fiscal debacle caused by the US Bush Administrations disasterous policies.

    Actual crime rates are either falling or static, despite John Keys claims that they are “rocketing out of control”. (Another absurd statement that the media gave him a free pass on.) What is happening is that it is election year and the media will run as always the usual “who can be toughest on crime” soundbite auction that they always do. Nothing new here.

    What has changed is the advent of P. Note carefully this substance was NOT introduced as the result of Labour policy, but getting tough on it would require the banning of the precursor chemical pseudoephidrine worldwide. This would cost the big drug companies billions of dollars. Can you see a Key led National govt committing to such a policy?

    As for your notions that “National traditionally are better custodians of the economy & have a better handle on crime.” the truth betrays the fantasy. In fact world-wide, middle of the road, social democratic govts have generally done quite well in both respects

  33. RedLogix 33

    Splitting hairs on this blog will not make one iota of difference to public opinion.

    So why are you here then?

    (This being the shorter and more efficient version.)

  34. Ari 34

    Billy/Dean- Choosing not to fight on one front is slightly different from adopting your competitor’s policy wholesale on about six different major fronts after bitterly opposing them. Really, it’s only because of the It’s Okay If You Smile Hard Enough principle that Key got away with it. ;)

    I agree with you though that Labour’s refusal to commit to even moderate benefit increases is sad, but it still leaves plenty of their principles intact.

  35. RedLogix 35

    On further reflection I can take that a step further. From Chris Trotter:

    Take away the direct, popular participation in the processes of decision-making, he told his audience of academics and diplomats (and by participation he wasn’t simply referring to the voting, but to all the talking, arguing, organising and footslogging required to mobilise public opinion) and democracy is emptied of all its meaning and power.

    In his own, memorable, formulation: “The discussion is the democracy.” Or, as he confided to me later, over dinner: “The great failure of social democratic parties came when they decided it was easier to assemble a symbolic majority of parliamentarians than build a genuine majority of citizens.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4599177a1861.html

    The media does not do conversations. It largely shuts us OUT of the debate, or filters what little we are allowed to say. But here on the blogs we ARE having conversations… we ARE doing democracy… we ARE the authentic public opinion… not that fake opinion that the polling companies thrust down our throats for their own profit.

    The Standard has been around less than one year, it’s early days. It’s far too soon to dismiss the blogs as irelevant to public opinion… far less to the future of democratic government.

  36. Draco TB 36

    National traditionally are better custodians of the economy & have a better handle on crime.

    For the last 70 years Labour has always handled the economy better than National. The one time they didn’t was the Fourth Labour government where they carried out massive structural changes that benefited the few at the expense of the many.

    They also understand business, which time & time again Labour demonstrate ample ignorance in.

    Define ‘business’?
    This may seem like a silly question but National always tends to ignore the biggest business sector in society. This, of course, is what the Fourth Labour government did as well.

    Where does the general public get information from?

    Unfortunately they get most of their information from the MSM which is massively biased in Nationals favour. This results in a misinformed populace.

  37. Bill 37

    “It strikes me there is a disconnect between what prospective National voters expect it to do in government and what it has actually promised it would do.”

    I’m not so sure that prospective National voters have any expectations per se.

    The problem could simply be that Labour voters didn’t get their expectations realised through the Labour led government. Admittedly I’m stating this on purely anecdotal evidence, but there is a lot of it.

    One example. There was a CTU/ Labour ‘meet’ about a year ago. The Labour cabinet members were there and a plethora of Union Officials. So far, a lot of (mostly) like minded people. There were also delegates, and that is where paths diverged.

    The fact that Labour and the Officials more or less engaged in mutual back slapping over Labour’s achievements overlooked the fact that a hell of a lot of the delegates present were not impressed, nay, pissed off.

    The overwhelming feeling amongst delegates I spoke with (a fair number)was that labour was ‘crap’ but that there was no other choice available. There seemed to be a sense of resignation that the interests of workers had not been and wouldn’t be addressed. If people were going to vote Labour, then it would only be because there was no other choice and in spite of the resentment felt.

    Nobody likes being told “We’ll give you (x, y or z) but you’ll have to wait 18 months, 2 years or whatever.” It pisses people off. When the x, y or z finally materialises, it is received, not with any sense of gratitude, but with resentment. (Try it with a kid. Buy them a bar of chocolate, tell them they can’t have it until next Tuesday and feel the resentment. And possibly be on the receiving end of some ‘get even’ behaviour?)

    National with their hit and run tactics and so on are merely (cynically) echoing or feeding off a sense of discontent felt by large numbers of workers. Throw in the line that things will be ‘different’ under National and you have a potential Obama scenario; empty platitudes that get filled by false wishful thinking. Maybe with National it’s more a suspension of disbelief and convincing yourself that things won’t be as bad as you know deep down they will be, married to the fact that you want to get a bit of your own back on a government that you feel has let you down.

  38. lprent 38

    RL: I originally got involved in this blog because I was interested in the effect in the 2011 election. I usually start political projects a long time prior to the effective date to figure out the bugs (as we’ve been doing). Besides the political systems are a bit sluggish and resistant to change. The msm were (to put it mildly) crap because of their sound bite problems.

    We needed a medium that was less chokeable and leads to better debate. Otherwise the political process would start having some severe difficulties in the longer term.

    As you say this is early days. But I have been surprised at the effectiveness of this medium. It shows in the sluggish responses just before I have to upgrade capabilities yet again.

  39. coge 39

    RL, Thanks for your considered reply. You have expanded my understanding of your position. Yes, politics is a brutal game, still a two edged sword even after years of MMP. Generally my politics are in line with ACT, but that remains to be seen.
    I agree with you about the quality of political debate, particularly in the use of the internet. Perhaps that’s why I’m posting here tonight. For better or worse that is the future which
    all concerned will need to embrace. Much like crickets descent into 20/20. Public opinion wins elections & I believe Labour are losing on that front.

  40. Lew 40

    RedLogix: “we ARE the authentic public opinion not that fake opinion that the polling companies thrust down our throats for their own profit.”

    Self-selected partisans defending a line or ideology anonymously on the interwebs aren’t anything approaching public opinion. This is one of the major delusions possessed by the blogosphere.

    The thing to realise is that once blogs become genuinely relevant, they will be institutionalised – either by the media or by those whose positions they espouse. The current ad-hoc model under which we participate lacks credibility, isn’t sustainable and doesn’t scale well. For a better model, look to something like OhMyNews – this got a good profile on Mediawatch last Sunday.

    DracoTB: “the MSM which is massively biased in Nationals favour.”

    The MSM seems currently to favour National for two structural reasons:

    1. Commercial media outlets use news as a means of enticing people to watch, read or listen to their advertisements. They compete for the same eyeballs and earholes. This means that, given tight resources resulting from the need to generate profit, they go with what will more easily attract eyeballs and earholes. National have three advantages here – firstly, they’re in opposition, and so don’t actually have to do anything; they just have to appear to want to do something. Secondly, anything bad which happens (and bad things will inevitably happen) is the fault of government, and bad things sell news – if it bleeds, it leads also applies to public funds. Thirdly, and most critically, National package their messages in order to make them useful to the media, relying upon the media business’s love for efficiency. Journalists are expensive; research and investigation are hard. Victory goes to those who make it easiest to simply print their press release, play their soundbite, or accept their glib assumption. This effect is redoubled in conjunction with the first caveat: because National aren’t in government, they don’t have to deliver on their statements. This may well be their downfall, but by then they’ll be in office.

    2. Commercial media outlets are owned by transnational capital and, where it doesn’t harm revenue (per 1 above), will take the line which advantages those interests.

    The hierarchy here is 1 over 2, because ultimately transnational capital doesn’t care how it gets its profits. The classical propaganda model is that the media drive consumption, because consumption drives advertising, and advertising drives revenue; not because they ideologically want a particular party to rule. The media want governments who will keep the economy strongest and demand highest. If (and both of you seem to agree with me on this one) that government in NZ would in fact be Labour-led, why would they oppose it? The answer is: National makes their work easy.

    L

  41. RedLogix 41

    Self-selected partisans defending a line or ideology anonymously on the interwebs aren’t anything approaching public opinion. This is one of the major delusions possessed by the blogosphere.

    Only because at present the vast bulk of public opinion is actively disengaged from political debate. Hell according to one media article last week there is a whole GenerationY out there that makes a point of ignoring politics.

    If I allow that you are correct, then the democratic experiment is doomed. Eventually it will all come down to who has the biggest marketing budget and slickest branding exercise. Nothing else will matter.

    If you will permit me my delusions for a moment. Four years ago I didn’t give a rat’s patui about politics. The internet was my portal to an issue I cared about, and one I wanted to participate in. Now I am a very ordinary citizen and to some extent I resent the label “self-selected partisian”. It’s a dismissive and minimising label, much the same as the term “party activist” is often used to minimise the sheer hard work and dedication of thousands of people committed to political causes. Without their efforts we wouldn’t have a democracy to be arguing about.

    Same for me. Yes I am a self selected partisian. I choose my social democrat outlook on life for all the same reasons Michael Cullen outlined in his speech in Wgtn to us just a few weeks ago.

    I’m not ashamed of believing in the innate moral equality of all people, I reject the unspoken assumptions of social hierachy I hear from the right.

    I instinctively select for long-term considerations, not short-term ones. The ability to defer gratification and work toward long-term goals is the most powerful predictor of genuine success. I reject the short-term live for today, maximise this quarter’s bottom line philosophy that is the main driver of unrestrained capitalism.

    In a complex world of competing demands, I am willing to seek a balance between the individual’s needs and rights to pursue opportunity and success on their own terms, against the wider needs of society to provide security for those vulnerable ones least able to protect themselves. I reject the delusion that ‘self-interest’ governs all, that the mythical ‘free market’ somehow solves all problems. Examples of market failures abound, and a critical role of govt is to provide moderating regulation and intervention in order to protect the interests of society as a whole.

    And yes I accept that the current blog model is immature and clumsy. With time they will evolve into something else… perhaps more institutionalised…. but the nature of the internet means that all attempts by institutions to capture the debate will fail. To quote an old line… the net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.

  42. lprent 42

    Lew: I don’t think that they can colonize this media all that easily.

    Currently the key issue for most media is the entry and maintenance costs.

    There is bugger all entry cost because the software is currently free and maintained by a vast base of geeks. There are few setup costs. The only real ‘code’ I had to do was to put plugin’s together and tested, plus a bit of css to get the exact effect required. Most sites spend way to much effort in getting good looking graphics – but that is to get the advertisers interested. That leads on to my second point.

    The direct cost of running this blog is now about $150/month on a standard commercial provider with considerable room for expansion. I don’t forsee needing more upgrades at the current growth for a few years.

    This gives me complete control on the system and I’ve used that to tweak performance. For instance I’ve dropped the data transmitted by a third in the last couple of months by tweaking the ModWrite caching rules.

    Technically, msm would have to figure out how to offer something significantly more effective to the end users that could be used as a choke point. Problem is those geeks know how do that stuff as well and will duplicate the algorithms and publish the code.

    //—-

    Now the non-technical. Writing and moderation are the keys. But it has to be a cooperative effort. A blog site requires a reasonable number of people to run effectively.

    The writing has to be pretty good and frequent. I’d anticipate slowly increasing the number of posters here over time as we get past beta hassles. Most of them would be recruited from the commentators doing it as a hobby. Some will come from other sites with moderation problems. That gets the main face of the site.

    Comments are a form of dialogue that is probably as important as the posts long term. A lot of lurkers look at them and often get involved eventually. Problem is that it is debilitating for writers to look at some of the crap that shows up as comments. This is what eventually killed Usenet. But it doesn’t take that much effort to kill the trolls and shills. You just have to have a ‘flexible’ general policy that can get very preemptive and quite arbitrary.

    Eventually the comments will self-regulate to a high degree because if you comment it is a total bastard to be cut off when you get banned, moderated, or have ugly sarcastic notes added.

    That is the toolkit I’m going to play with after this election. I think a lot of that can be automated without going the whole “you have to login” style. That is why I’m looking at what I call the rogue program look of trolls.

    Anyway, I think that the msm will have problems with people doing this as a hobby. They have few competitive advantages

  43. Lew 43

    RL: “the vast bulk of public opinion is actively disengaged from political debate … the democratic experiment is doomed.”

    I don’t think this follows. Democracy is rule of/by/for the people, and if The People don’t care about it then that’s their prerogative – it’s still democracy. It will stop being democracy in a meaningful sense if tests as to political knowledge, or similar, are implemented as a requisite to suffrage. I agree, though, that democracy is better with an aware and engaged populace, and I encourage all means to inform and engage people in the system, and to dispel cynicism about it.

    “Eventually it will all come down to who has the biggest marketing budget and slickest branding exercise. Nothing else will matter.”

    This is reductio ad absurdum, but even so: it’d still be democracy. People might be deluded or mistaken or just plain wrong in who they want to vote for, but that’s their right. There will always exist a bloc of the electorate who is politically aware, astute and somewhat more resistant to spin and marketing, and even if your reductio ad absurdum line comes to pass, it will be those voters who are kingmakers.

    “Now I am a very ordinary citizen”

    This is a nice delusion, and many people hold it, but by your own definition of ordinary citizens as disconnected from politics, it can’t logically be true.

    “to some extent I resent the label “self-selected partisian’. It’s a dismissive and minimising label,”

    I am possessed of strong political and ideological beliefs, but I am not a partisan. I use the term in its strict sense: supporter and defender of a particular party. That’s what most of the people commenting on blogs are, and fair enough too. I am an ideologue – I support and defend ideological positions, not their implementation by a particular group of people. So yes, to an extent, I am dismissive of partisans – not for their ideological positions necessarily, but for their common insistence that one party’s particular implementation is flawless or perfect.

    “much the same as the term “party activist’ is often used to minimise the sheer hard work and dedication of thousands of people committed to political causes.”

    I value the work of activists, and even partisans, very highly, but I see it for what it is: a means to an end.

    “Without their efforts we wouldn’t have a democracy to be arguing about.”

    This is only true for a certain, fairly narrow, ideal type of democracy, as I try to explain above.

    “the nature of the internet will I hope mean that all attempts by institutions to capture the debate will fail. To quote an old line the net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.”

    The major problem here is information overload. It’s not that there won’t ever be good, non-institutionalised content and analysis on the interwebs – I’m certain there always will be, just as there are self-published and self-distributed handbills, newsletters, films, songs, photos and essays – but how many of them have you seen? And how many of them has the notional average voter seen? To win the battle for the blogosphere, the media industry doesn’t have to censor or shut things down – it just has to make its own offerings the default and the most accessible. They will do it; mark my words. The reason they will do it is because they have all the same skills and technology as the current volunteer community has – plus they have money.

    I don’t consider this a bad thing – just the nature of the beast. Something, as you say, to route around. Keep making the better mouse trap.

    L

    Edit: Lynn, I hadn’t read your comment when I wrote this, but I think I’ve mostly given my views to it :)

  44. lprent 44

    Lew: I agree about what the msm will do.

    I don’t think that the posts are as likely to be as interesting. But their problem is going to be the moderation. If you don’t have it then the comments deteriorate to the lowest denominator. Too much and it becomes flat and weak.

    The msm posters will need content. They get it from good informed and opinionated comments. I don’t think that msm blogs can achieve that. They simply can’t pay the people capable of it enough to do it.

  45. RedLogix 45

    Clarification:

    “Now I am a very ordinary citizen’

    By this I mean that I am not employed by nor hold any office in any political Party, or semi-political body such as a Union. I have never worked directly for Central Govt nor by the Civil Service. I’ve never stood for public office (although I am compelled to respect those who have the guts to do so).

    All of us are unique in some way, but I make no special claims in regards to politics.

  46. Lew 46

    Lynn: Why won’t they be able to use the same moderate methods you use? What will prevent them from harnessing the same communities you do?

    Content will come from the same people who generate content now – journalists and opinion drivers.

    As far as comments go, I agree that they are at least as important as content – the bidirectional aspect is the major paradigmatic difference between this and traditional media formats. I see potential for all sorts of reputation-based commentary systems – escalation of privileges for good posters (like commenters in good standing here have the chance to make guest posts); micropayment systems rewarding insight; citizen-moderation, etc. I agree it’s a tricky problem as readership increases and becomes more general, but I don’t see how the volunteer community has any advantage.

    L

  47. Lew 47

    RL: I see what you mean, thanks.

    L

  48. RedLogix 48

    Lew,

    You make some strong points. But the difference is this… if the media attempt to capture or censor their content, then the barrier to entry for a more attractive competitor is so low that they could loose their dominance very quickly.

    Consider what has happened on the net already, look at how quickly huge outfits like AOL, or Yahoo have lost participation. Look how quickly whole new models like Facebook or Second Life have arisen. I’ve often thought that Fairfax made a big error of judgement in paying so much for Trademe, when a new alternative model could so easily take it’s place.

  49. ak 49

    Lew: The MSM seems currently to favour National for two structural reasons:
    Very good Lew (and Red)- nice analysis, but the biggie is the age-old fact that the tories own the MSM

    5% gap in November last year, now 20% thanks solely to the reportage from the Herald and her sisters.

    Just look at today’s headline: PM FORCES DISABLED MAN TO WALK.

    That such an utterly disgusting anti-Clark distortion of the facts can be laid before the public with such apparent impunity confirms my fears that we are rapidly adopting the “South American disease.” And all it entails.

    Key would have led us into Iraq and made us and our grandchildren targets of terrorism forever: are kiwis such naive ingenues that we cannot learn the lessons of history?

  50. ak 50

    (err – sorry to interrupt your geeky conversation, as you were)

  51. outofbed 51

    Don’t worry AK
    I have a healthy regard for the intelligence of Kiwi’s and in spite of the polls not looking good. I am absolutely convinced that the Tories won’t get in.
    I can’t see the 2005 Labour vote of 41% dropping by more then a few percent. Sure the Tories will be the biggest party but I am not convinced that they will get above 45%.
    I’m picking a LGM win and that is what I will be working my arse off to achieve

    night

  52. The sad part about the economy is that the world’s economy is suffering due to the consistent incompetence of the conservative US President, George W Bush. He turned surpluses into US$250B annual deficits thanks to his tax cuts to the top 1% of earners. His invasion and occupation of Iraq bring total to US$550+ billion annually. Those deficits and that war are the reasons for global economic heartburn, high oil prices and the credit crunch.

    It is bizarre to blame the economy on a centre-left government who refused to have any part in invading Iraq and who wisely did NOT cut taxes through 8 years despite intense pressure from National’s media allies.

    Voters appear to be making up their minds on emotive issues that actually have no real significance in their daily lives. Most are the consequence of a series of media beat-ups intended to make people think the present government is the “nanny-state”…and mainly over issues that in the big scheme of things are trivial.

    The people I talk to who don’t like Labour have that “We’ll show HER!” air about them. Never mind she doesn’t actually deserve it. They have been convinced somehow that she does….and the facts have nothing to do with it.

    They most often have no detailed understanding of ANY policy. They are voting their (apparently ignorant) gut.

    Not good….but too late now to change, I think. People learn slowly at the best of times.

  53. RedLogix 53

    As suspected. The Persuaders have been at work:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4601215a10.html

  54. lprent 54

    Why won’t they be able to use the same moderate methods you use? What will prevent them from harnessing the same communities you do?

    They’re corporates, average residence time of anyone in a single position is less than 2 years. Frequently a lot less.

    They haven’t managed a dynamic moderated community yet that has lasted more then 5 years. Almost every long lasting one has been done either by individuals or small companies. It is always a labor of love. Most of the advantages of capital don’t apply.

    What makes you think that corporate wage slaves can achieve it in this media?

  55. lprent 55

    RL: I liked that. I’m sure that the writer are going to have fun.

  56. Lew 56

    ak: “nice analysis, but the biggie is the age-old fact that the tories own the MSM”

    This is a particular point of disagreement between us, and probably worth discussing at some length (perhaps at another time). I see the business model as master to the ideology, not the other way around. One thing is sure – the media aren’t going to starve whether National or Labour (or the Democrats or the Republicans, or the Conservatives or Labour, or the Liberal Coalition or Labor) are in office, because ultimately these parties all represent the same basic ideology of globalised liberal-democratic capitalism – it’s a few details of implementation which separate them.

    “5% gap in November last year, now 20% thanks solely to the reportage from the Herald and her sisters.”

    But you haven’t actually addressed why the media are reporting this way. Saying `it’s because they’re all Tories at heart’ is a cop-out which if taken to its logical conclusion will result in anyone who’s not a Tory shunning the media. This path leads to electoral ruin. You have to learn to live with them, because politically, you can’t live without them.

    Steve Withers: “Voters appear to be making up their minds on emotive issues that actually have no real significance in their daily lives.”

    As they ever will. Feelings and suspicions trump rational consideration any day. People will engage in all manner of logical gymnastics to justify their gut instincts, but it’s rare to see someone change their deeply-held opinions in the face of actual evidence. I’ve quoted Murray Edelman’s argument on this blog a couple of times in support of this principle: it’s foundational to the art and science of political persuasion.

    RL: “As suspected. The Persuaders have been at work”

    I’d be shocked if Key and co. hadn’t contracted them again, or someone very much like them. They’d have been fools not to do so. Hager’s article there is, like The Hollow Men, not so much an indictment of National as a window into their world. Anyone who thinks it’s substantially different in other major parties might want to think again. I suspect it might be a little bit different within NZ Labour – but not within any of the other parties I listed above. The reason I think it’s different within NZ Labour is that I don’t see the sorts of advantages which derive from a well-constructed and well-implemented media/PR strategy accruing to Labour at present.

    Incidentally, the presence of articles like Hager’s in the Tory-owned media puts the lie to the somewhat conspiratorial idea that they’re dead-set against the left.

    L

  57. Lew 57

    Lynn: “What makes you think that corporate wage slaves can achieve it in this media?”

    `Corporate wage slaves’ as you somewhat uncharitably term them achieve plenty in all sorts of fields. I do take your point about continuity, however, that just suggests to me that a greater emphasis be placed on retention.

    You are absolutely right that all previously-successful models like this have been done on a small-scale, decentralised basis, or (like Slashdot, for instance) as a mostly-independent subsidiary owned but not managed by the larger corporate. Also, you inferred earlier that an edge could lie in distributed Free Software-like models of co-operation, code and method-sharing. There are indeed huge advantages to be gained here, and as yet corporates have been very reluctant to relinquish the necessary control over their systems to allow these to work.

    Interesting times.

    L

  58. IrishBill 58

    “Anyone who thinks it’s substantially different in other major parties might want to think again.”

    I think you would be surprised to find out how amateur most parties are when it comes to their political PR, Lew. Most of them do their spin in-house and develop their messages through groups of politicians and internal advisors with a bit of help from sister parties from other countries (particularly Australia and the UK). The hired gun approach is relatively new in NZ politics and not widely practiced simply because most parties don’t have the funds for this level of advice (a single round of focus groups costs tens of thousands of dollars and to be effective you have to run them continually) and are not willing to cede that much control of their campaigns to “outsiders”. I would hate to see the bill the Nats have run up with CT over the last two and a half years. I suspect is would be heading toward seven figures or more.

  59. Tax Cuts
    I’m not concerned with tax cuts; anything that National’s weak leadership offers will simply be a bribe to get them into power.

    However, the tax that is being collected is simply not being well managed. We are fast approaching Australia’s 1/3 of the work force being civil servants, who unfortunately are not “productive”; they don’t increase GDP ratios – the only reason Australia are so high on the GDP per hour list is the mining industry boom.

    NFP organizations which include most government departments have a fundamental core culture of adding layers of bureaucracy. What the private sector called middle-management-bloat.

    Cull off some of this and put the money back into the following:
    front line education/health/law
    grants for developing business; including subsidised employment for long term unemployed with REAL support structures
    increase innovation through dollar for dollar matching of R & D (not the insignificant 15% they currently put forward)

    A manager can manage 30 people comfortably. Why then is the ratio in government closer to 1:7. Cut the wasters. Put the tax where it will improve NZ’s shocking GDP per hour productivity statistics.

    Section 59
    I don’t personally use physical discipline on my child. However; I don’t think Section 59 was well considered. Assault is assault; and the judiciary already had powers to convict, but the police kept messing up due process and evidence chains.

    Petrol
    Lost opportunity with Tui Oil Fields and the likes. Also, put 20% of the current revenue generating by fuel taxation into R & D for alternative fuels. Balance of tax to subsidise improving our fleet by dumping all vehicles over 10 years old and improving public transport alternatives. Will pay for itself in relatively short time frame. Roading initiatives can be put on hold – they are such a short term view it is a waste of capital.

    Power Prices
    As it is an essential service; all profits should be retained for infrastructure and improved technologies.

    Summary
    Nothing National will do will improve those four things; and if Labour were actually serious about fixing problems, they would take a more pragmatic approach and provide real support for innovation in internal processes and infrastructure.

    They are being too timid; we could lead the world in energy infrastructure innovation. Bugger the agricultural industry; R & D and innovation in new technologies is where NZ should position itself to make it a wealthy country once again.

    And that all falls back to having a secure infrastructure and education.

    So National have no leadership or experience, and can never achieve what New Zealand needs. I pity the National supporter. They probably know in the back of their mind that National will make a complete hash of it.

    [Apologies Karl, for some reason you got caught in the spam filter]

  60. Anthony 60

    “and if Labour were actually serious about fixing problems, they would take a more pragmatic approach and provide real support for innovation in internal processes and infrastructure.”

    The problem with Labour (or any other party) encouraging innovation, is that it will breed success, and that will mean there are less people dependent on the state – i.e. Labour’s support base will not need them in government to guarantee their benefits if they aren’t on them anymore.

    And Labours subsequent response to this success would once again be their short-sighted income re-distribution policies, which actually ends up stunting growth and innovation, instead of rewarding it.

  61. Draco TB 61

    Lew:

    But you haven’t actually addressed why the media are reporting this way

    It’s because they’re being told to.
    The Independent

    The minute stated: “For The Sun and News of the World he explained that he is a ‘traditional proprietor’. He exercises editorial control on major issues like which party to back in a general election or policy on Europe.”

    He may not maintain control over other editors but you can be fairly certain that he maintains influence. Such influence was recently seen here in NZ when APN forced an editor of a local rag to print a correction.

    Capitalism = Ownership and Ownership = Control

    Incidentally, the presence of articles like Hager’s in the Tory-owned media puts the lie to the somewhat conspiratorial idea that they’re dead-set against the left.

    Or it adds to the illusion that their reporting is unbiased. I’ve read some of the studies and done my own research and the conclusion is inescapable – the msm are right-biased.

  62. Lew 62

    DTB: I’m aware of the Murdoch and APN cases, and I’ve seen Outfoxed too. They show that there is some causative link between ownership and editorial content, but not that there is a throughgoing line of editorial argument in all media determined from the top.

    The argument that `Capitalism = Ownership and Ownership = Control’ does have some currency, but broadly speaking it’s limited to a few publications in a stable; the reason for this is that as soon as you take a partisan line, you turn off a large chunk of your target audience. This goes doubly in NZ, where the market is so crowded that a paper has to appeal to as broad a cross-section of the populace as possible just to stay viable. News of the World, The Sun and Fox have already segmented themselves away in that market niche on the reactionary right – they have nothing to lose from holding that line, and in fact they stand to gain from holding it by giving their audience what they want to hear. In NZ nobody has that luxury.

    I’ve never argued the ideological imperative is not there; just that it’s subservient in most cases to the profit imperative.

    Your argument that the presence of contrary voices in the media is to give the `illusion’ of a lack of bias is cynical. The whole idea that there’s an `unbiased’ media is a utopian fallacy. If you talk to any political editor long enough they’ll acknowledge their own and their outlet’s biases; that they exist and broadly what they are. Contrary to what you might think, most people do take these into account – in fact, it’s the main reason why people choose that medium over others.

    I hire a lot of people to work in the media industry. Question 1 in the interview is about what media literacy: what are your media consumption habits? I get a variety of responses, and I don’t judge on the basis of what but on the basis of why they choose particular media. I’m particularly hard on people who choose the echo-chamber approach of only listening to Newstalk ZB, or National Radio, or reading the Dominion Post. An argument like yours which would if taken to its logical conclusion mean something like `I don’t trust the media because it’s all owned by international capitalists’ shows a sorry degree of media literacy indeed.

    From your comments it’s clear to me that you don’t live in an echo chamber – so you clearly see some value in the capitalist-owned media. Why for you, but not for others? Or are you not actually arguing that people ignore the Capitalist Media in favour of the Peoples’ Media (if it even exists)?

    L

  63. bill brown 63

    “…where the market is so crowded that a paper has to appeal to as broad a cross-section of the populace as possible just to stay viable”

    Or it creates a large cross-section of the populace that agrees with it and therefore are more likely to read it to hear what they want to hear.

  64. Lew 64

    BB: Doesn’t follow. There is a feedback component to media consumption (that is – media outlets both create and respond to markets) but it’s not as clear as you claim. In NZ, there aren’t enough eyeballs and earholes for an outlet to simply be able to create a market for itself.

    L

  65. bill brown 65

    Not sure about that. What’s the Herald’s competition in Auckland? If you wake up in the morning and decide to buy a paper, which one do you buy?

    I think this gives the Herald the ability to create a market, I agree attenuated, but not by as much as if there were a competitor.

    If you hit the right note – and anecdotal evidence is that Ak is bluer than the rest of the country – you may be onto a positive feedback winner.

  66. Lew 66

    BB: That’s the thing which explicitly prevents the Herald from creating its own strongly partisan editorial line: the threat that a competitor paper might move in. If the Herald went strongly pro-National, to the point where Labour voters weren’t satisfied with it, there would be an opportunity for Fairfax to launch a competitor paper, or an Auckland Edition of the DomPost, or something else.

    You are right in a sense, though – the Herald can move its editorial line to the right or left as public opinion shifts, as long as it does so without alienating a large enough market share to allow a meaningful competitor in. This is also subject to the feedback effect, so it could stimulate a further shift in political views – it’s a tricky business.

    Internationally speaking, it takes about 1m-1.5m people to support a broadsheet daily newspaper. NZ has four full-scale metros, plus the Waikato Times and various regionals. That’s about saturation; all those papers are working to very tight margins and under very firm competition, even though they’re all-but-one run out of two main offices. And you can still get the DomPost or the ODT in Auckland, or the ODT or the Herald in Wellington. I tried to get a Dom post or a Herald in Christchurch once – no dice there.

    L

  67. bill brown 67

    It is true you can get the Dom Post in Ak. However, even as a DP subscriber, when I’m in Ak I read the Herald.

    On a nationwide level, we may be at saturation, however I do not agree that there is competition for the Herald in AK (or for the dom post in Wellington) They are very city centric papers – even if the Herald has illusions of grandeur with its name!

  68. Lew 68

    BB: Yes, they explicitly aren’t national papers, though the Herald does aspire to be, as you say. But if one gives up ground on either side of the great divide, it’s a small step for the other to become a national daily, and then it’s on. A bit like mutually-assured destruction :)

    L

  69. Draco TB 69

    Lew:
    I see value in all media and have no difficulties with media bias. I can recognize it even as I recognise my own bias. I would prefer it if the media acknowledged their bias as not everyone will recognise it. The hidden aspect of MSM bias leads to times when articles like the Hager article are published and people will point to that article and say ‘see, they’re not biased’ – exactly as you did (Yes, I know that’s not exactly what you said but that’s how it came across). So, the MSM occasionally publish left wing articles which leads to the continuing illusion that the MSM aren’t biased even though 90%+ of the articles they publish have a definite right-wing slant.

  70. Lew 70

    DTB: “90%+ of the articles they publish have a definite right-wing slant.”

    I know this was an off-the-cuff figure and I’ll not hold you to it, but I’d love to see some methodologically sound research into that question; quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the Big 4 over a fair length of time, controlled against how it was at, say, this time in the last National government’s term. I suspect there’d be a correlation, but not as strong as you might think.

    The hard bit, of course, would be getting a good definition of what constitutes a `right-wing slant’.

    This is the root of my problem with people bagging the media as biased, incidentally: nobody does it on the basis of hard data or methodologically rigorous research. I don’t trust peoples’ gut feelings on these matters, especially when there’s such a strong correlation between someone’s own political views and their perceptions of bias against them: the fact that The Standard thinks the media is all biased against the left while KiwiBlog thinks it’s all biased against the right seems to me a good indication that it’s less biased than either group thinks.

    L

  71. Quoth the Raven 71

    coge – I have said this before but I’ll say it again; You can’t blame the P epidemic (if indeed there is one) on Labour. This has been a worldwide problem. It hasn’t mattered whether governments have been more or less left or right. P has been around for a very long time. There wasn’t much of a problem with recreational use until the rise of ephedrine and pseudoehpedrine based cold medicines. The vast majority of these chemicals are made in half a dozen factories around the world and the product sold to big pharmaceuticals or to illicit drug makers. If you want to blame someone for the P epidemic blame those companies. Coming down hard on users is certainly not going to solve the problem and neither is wasting time and effort chasing after each and every pusher (an approach which hasn’t worked for any drug). P is unique in that the source of drug (unlike something that can be grown in your backyard) could be easily targeted and controlled but governements around the world haven’t bothered with going after the source they’ve instead chosen to go after every little pusher or restrict in some way the sale of cold medicines. A much harder and in the end ineffective approach to the problem.

  72. Draco TB 72

    the fact that The Standard thinks the media is all biased against the left while KiwiBlog thinks it’s all biased against the right seems to me a good indication that it’s less biased than either group thinks.

    The problem with this methodology is that real studies have shown that the MSM really are right leaning and the Kiwiblog Right are just spouting what they’ve been told by their leaders – facts be damned. ie, basing a judgement by averaging what two opposing groups think of the same item doesn’t get you close to what the actual truth is.

    I’d point you you in the direction of Political Communications in New Zealand by Janine Hayward and Chris Rudd (eds). It’s not exactly what you’re looking for and probably doesn’t answer the specific question that you’re asking. Bill Rosenberg has an interesting take on it in News media ownership in New Zealand.

  73. Draco TB 73

    the fact that The Standard thinks the media is all biased against the left while KiwiBlog thinks it’s all biased against the right seems to me a good indication that it’s less biased than either group thinks.

    The problem with this methodology is that real studies have shown that the MSM really are right leaning and the Kiwiblog Right are just spouting what they’ve been told by their leaders – facts be damned. ie, basing a judgement by averaging what two opposing groups think of the same item doesn’t get you close to what the actual truth is.

    I’d point you you in the direction of Political Communications in New Zealand by Janine Hayward and Chris Rudd (eds). It’s not exactly what you’re looking for and probably doesn’t answer the specific question that you’re asking. Bill Rosenberg has an interesting take on it in News media ownership in New Zealand.

    EDIT: I may have submitted this twice – the first time it didn’t seem to go through.

  74. Glenn 74

    1. National will usher in a new Dark Age, slashing workers rights and sacrificing babies on the altar of neoliberalism.

    2. National are really no different than Labour.

    Which is it, boys and girls?

  75. Lew 75

    DTB: For one thing, an `I reckon’ based on the fact that blogs on both sides claim the media is against them isn’t a methodology, and I’d never claim it was one.

    I’m not aware of any close content analyses of NZ media which have found a strong rightward bias, which is why I called for some. Rosenberg’s work is good and useful, but it is not such a piece of research, and in my view overemphasises ownership. It doesn’t actually demonstrate a link between ownership and editorial policy; it hypothesises one and asks us to take it as fact. It’s fair enough – actually proving the link would be a great deal of work and he or others may well be in the process of proving it.

    This is ultimately my point – it’s arguable, not set in concrete. And arguing about it is valuable.

    L

  76. Lew 76

    Glenn: False dichotomies are easy.

    L

  77. RedLogix 77

    Glenn,

    Almost right, only as Lew points out you’ve created a false choice. What you should have written is:

    1. National will usher in a new Dark Age, slashing workers rights and sacrificing babies on the altar of neoliberalism.

    2. National will pretend to be no different than Labour, before the election.

  78. There is an old saying “when the world gets a cold NZ gets pneumonia”
    My wife and I are pensioners so are on the Old Age Pension.
    She handles the money expertly. I have tried to get her to give me say an hour a day and I would write the book for her. No way “hose”! Let them find out for themselves.

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    John Key might want to have a quiet word with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Canberra's just-announced crack down on offshore speculators when he visits New Zealand this week, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says."Tony Abbott's centre right government… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government at odds on overseas driver crashes
    National backbencher Jacqui Dean has spoken out about overseas driver crashes, putting herself at odds with Prime Minister John Key who is on record as saying it’s not a big issue, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “I’m not surprised… ...
    3 days ago
  • Human Rights and the Palestine Crisis
    Last week I heard two Palestinians speak at Wellington events about the ongoing crisis in their country. Samar Sabawi spoke to a full house about the history of Palestine and gave us a lucid and disturbing account of the situation… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 days ago
  • Time to take real care of our kids
    An Amnesty International report has once again criticised New Zealand’s track record on looking after our kids, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. The annual report, which looks at global human rights abuses highlights not only the fact that high… ...
    3 days ago
  • John Key wrong about Labour’s war vote
    John Key’s desperate claims that the former Labour Government didn’t put combat troop deployment to a Parliamentary vote are simply wrong, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “It was disgraceful that the Prime Minister ran rough shod over democracy and… ...
    3 days ago
  • Māori language bill needs work
     It is clear that the first draft of the Māori Language Bill was about structures and funding rather than the survival of te reo Māori, Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.  “Labour is pleased that the Minister of Māori… ...
    3 days ago
  • Report proves troubled school shouldn’t have opened
    The long-awaited release of an Education Review Office report into Northland’s troubled Whangaruru charter school proves it should never have been approved in the first place, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This report identifies problems with absenteeism and disengaged… ...
    4 days ago
  • Reply to PM’s statement on deploying troops to Iraq
    “The decision of any Government to send troops to a conflict zone is a very serious one, and it is right that this House takes time to consider it, to debate it, and, ideally, to vote on it, but we… ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister must take action on death trap slides
    Workplace Relations Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse must take urgent action to ensure inflatable amusement rides don’t become death traps for children, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway says. “No one wants to stop kids having fun, but horror stories… ...
    4 days ago
  • Manus Island and the New Zealand Government
    This week the Greens have participated in awareness activity about Manus Island, the refugee camp on an island in Papua New Guinea where Australia dumps asylum seekers. John Key says that he has every confidence in the Australian Government’s claim… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda
    James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes no solution to Christchurch housing
    Housing will continue to be a big issue in 2015. The latest Consumer Price Index, released last month, shows both good news and bad news on the housing front. After years of being the most expensive place to build a… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Saving kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges
    It is amazing that you can hear the song of the endangered North Island kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, less than 50 kms from the central city. A heavy schedule of policy workshops at the Green Party’s Policy… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s not turn a blind eye to human rights
    The Cricket World Cup has just opened in New Zealand, and it’s an opportunity for us to shine on the world stage. International sport can be a chance for us to build relationships with other countries, and examine what it… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Its Just Not Cricket
    This week it was my privilege to work with Sri Lankan Tamil communities in this country and host Australian journalist and human rights advocate Trevor Grant. I knew a bit about Trevor from his biography but I didn’t know just… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZ to #BeCrueltyFree
    The Government is about to progress the final stages of the Animal Welfare Amendment bill. This will be our last opportunity to get changes made to improve the bill to ensure a better outcome for animals. I have put forwards… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • We want access!
    Access to buildings is a big issue for many New Zealanders. It looks like that, due to the hard work and persistence of people in the disability community, the Government may finally be starting to take access to buildings seriously.… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call on Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels
    The Green Party today called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (the Fund) to divest from fossil fuels, starting immediately with coal. The call was accompanied with a new report, Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis’ housing crisis
    Shelter is a fundamental human need along with food, water and clean air. All humans need adequate shelter; it’s a human right. Warm, safe, stable accommodation is critical for young people to be able learn and grow and just be.… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • On the River Patrol in Te Tai Tokerau
    Last Wednesday, I went on a tour of some of Northland’s rivers with  Millan Ruka from Environmental River Patrol as he monitored water quality throughout Te Tai Tokerau. The dry conditions meant we couldn’t use the boat but we visited… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Opening of Parliament 2015
    Russel NormanOpening of Parliament Speech February 2015 Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou katoa. A brief history of climate change What a summer! It's been hot, even here in Wellington, hotter than any summer I can remember. All… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 weeks ago

  • Politicians’ pay increases
    “An increase of 3.5% in the minimum wage compared with 5.5% increase for politicians is appalling. It is another example of the wealthy looking after themselves and showing no regard for the poor” says Peter Malcolm, National Secretary of Income… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Invade Mexico for Guacamole Reserves Instead
    #WagePeaceNZ, founded yesterday, along with all 7 of its Twitter followers, demands that New Zealand invade Mexico for its Guacamole reserves in lieu of sending 143 troops to Iraq. ...
    13 hours ago
  • Australian Prime Minister to thank New Zealand fire crews
    The contribution of more than 400 New Zealand firefighters in helping battle bushfires across the Tasman over the past 14 years will be acknowledged tomorrow during a visit by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to an Auckland fire station. ...
    13 hours ago
  • A simple question for Winston Peters: Where do you live?
    "Winston Peters has set a new record, being economical with the truth only hours into his campaign," claims Northland ACT candidate Robin Grieve. ...
    14 hours ago
  • Northland doesn’t need yesterday’s man
    "It's great that Winston Peters is finally taking an interest in Northland. But frankly we don’t need yesterday’s ideas from yesterday’s men in our region," ACT Northland candidate Robin Grieve said today. ...
    14 hours ago
  • Children’s Day – 365 days a year
    Barnardos wants New Zealanders to celebrate Children’s Day on 1 March, and to recognise the effort it takes to raise great kids over all 365 days of the year. ...
    15 hours ago
  • Will MPs Put Taxpayers’ Money Where Their Mouth is?
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling the bluff of MPs and has written to each one asking whether they will be accepting the backdated pay increases announced yesterday. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: ...
    17 hours ago
  • Fonterra Sneaks Round The Corner
    Fonterra’s subsidiary Glencoal has put its plans for an open cast mine on SH2 at Mangatangi on hold indefinitely. The local community is celebrating. They worked very hard with submissions on all the impacts of coal mining that you are… ...
    17 hours ago
  • How Free Is Free Speech?
    How Free Is Free Speech: Do we recommend unconstrained freedom of expression? The Chief Human Rights Commissioner, David Rutherford, will be In Conversation with Noel Cheer at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Wellington on Tuesday 3 March 2015 from 12:15pm… ...
    17 hours ago
  • No military deployment in Iraq: Nationwide peace vigils
    Peace vigils calling for increased humanitarian assistance and diplomatic support for Middle East peace processes, and opposing the military deployment to Iraq, will be held around the country at 5pm on Thursday, 5 March, coordinated by Peace Movement ...
    18 hours ago
  • Message of Nationwide Day of Action :‘TPPA? No Deal!’
    “An amazing 22 towns and cities across New Zealand have rallied to the call for a nationwide day of action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 7 March”, according to Chantelle Campbell who is coordinating the national events ...
    19 hours ago
  • New Group Against Amalgamation
    A group of Wellingtonians have launched a campaign to resist the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s scheme to amalgamate Wellington’s existing councils. The group, Best Little Capital, has been formed by Wellingtonians Michael Moughan and Digby ...
    20 hours ago
  • Stark contrast between benefit increase & MPs’ pay rise
    Stark contrast between benefit increase & MPs’ pay rise Media release Friday 27 February 2015 Earlier this week Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced that benefits will increase by 0.51% on 1 April. Yesterday MPs were granted a 5.5% ...
    20 hours ago
  • Sensible Sentencing challenges MPs to refuse pay rise
    “I realise this will take courage and we extend an open challenge to all MPs – or any MP from any party – to have the courage to be the first to stand up and publicly denounce this nonsense and… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Labour Party President Elected
    Labour Party President Elected Nigel Haworth has been elected as Labour Party President following a vote conducted among the constituent organisations and elected representatives of the Party. This follows the resignation of Moira Coatsworth in December 2014. ...
    21 hours ago

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