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Greens attack stupid spending, rattle Key

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, June 16th, 2013 - 54 comments
Categories: greens, john key, local government, transport - Tags:

Julie-Anne Genter of the Greens has been doing some stellar work on public transport, including this exposure last night of the utter fiasco that is “Drive Social”:

The website is called Drive Social. It’s described as a “unique online experience that lets people see who they share the road with”. There’s a flash TV campaign to go with it.

But the Greens say it’s all an enormous waste of money.

The campaign has so far cost $1.6 million and 9500 people have signed up. That’s a rough cost of $174 per person.

As a bus user in Wellington, I was always suspicious of the Drive Social campaign because they kept putting ads in bus shelters.  Guess what?  Probably not going to find your target audience there, peeps.

Anyway.  What really struck me was that Key immediately lashed out with an over-the-top “well the Greens just think everyone should cycle everywhere” – which just makes you look silly when the next minute (and all over Twitter) Genter is being the calm, sensible voice of reason.

And even more so when, you know, you’ve spent $174 per person on a website with no tangible or even measurable results (and $40 per YouTube view of your very expensive video.)

Is this another example of the right drinking their own Kool-Aid?  Does Key really think he can just brush off obviously-ridiculous expenditure like Drive Social by saying “but they’re hippies, they don’t know anything”?

Is he shooting from the hip, unprepared, caught off-guard (he’s obviously answering TV3’s questions next to an elevator) and letting the happy she’ll-be-right facade slip for a moment?

Or is he just looking a bit tired?

54 comments on “Greens attack stupid spending, rattle Key”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    Earlier this morning I began a google search for this “Drive Social” initiative (to critique it for further discussion) yet the entire concept and branding was so ‘memorable’ I could not remember what it was called. The Nats need to reference The Dog and “Lemon Guide”, ’cause man, have some marketing parasites sold them and the NZTA a Dunneger.

    • QoT 1.1

      Ironically, I’ve only ever rememered what it’s called because (a) of the amount of advertising at bus stops and (b) because it just sounded so vague, I spent a bit of time (while waiting for my bus!) trying to figure out what it could mean. And wondering why they’d gone with a smiley-face’d version of the Monday Night Football logo.

      • Rogue Trooper 1.1.1

        along with all this Twittering and Facebooking, many of the entrenched political and bureaucratic classes appear to be seduced by, and entralled with communications technology, like children in a sweet-shop; pathetic to watch really, like all those Lorries getting stuck due to GPS directions in the UK for example. Bring on the Sunspots Baby. 😀

      • Rogue Trooper 1.1.2

        as an aside, I would despair, before moving to The Standard for fellowship, at the members of congregations going through all the steps to ‘touch-screen’ a scriptural reference / passage on their e-pads and notebooks, while some 😉 flicked to the concordance and back to the passage in a Hares-breath; very strange to witness. sigh. Children of Men and all that.

        • Colonial Viper

          More technology is better, the old ways are prejudicially quaint and backward; this is the new faith, brother, a subset of the civil religion of ongoing progress. When you look for it, you can see its acolytes everywhere (even here…)

          Written on my Android 4.2 device

          • Rogue Trooper

            Well, Stone Me!
            “Half a mile from the county fair
            And the rain kept pourin’ down
            Me and Billy standin’ there
            With a silver half a crown
            Hands are full of a fishin’ rod
            And the tackle on our backs”.

            (conceptualized as a typewriter / library / common room in one attache case).
            Had to begin word-processing out of necessity, All Those Years Ago, as some of you know, Bullies (including my own transgressions) get me riled, a little too much at times. Amazingly still have all me fingers. 😀 Glad those days are over. What about these fools shooting out the Bus shelter glass; The Public Transport system in Christchurch was Excellent; one could comfortably commute anywhere at an affordable cost and know that a team of diligent technicians would service your (and the Bus Drivers needs) promptly and professionally.
            Did I ever tell you about the time I changed a compressor in a low-floor at 2AM in the morning by torch and headlight…or installed a 50kg plus rear-suspension yoke on me tod…they like to test your mettle these old hands with a little authority. 😉
            Much prefer the Eastern Orthodox approach.

            • Colonial Viper

              Multi talented; a man to keep around for the nearing future

            • Colonial Viper

              Re Eastern Orthodox, just did a quick read up, many good things there I can appreciate, the Hesychasm for instance, very powerful stuff.

              • Rogue Trooper

                I get by (with a little help from my friends, and this)- “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me (sometimes Ad in ‘and the world’), guide my path, and be a lamp unto my feet”; A variation on the Franciscan practice of the Jesus prayer.
                Working so far, and so far is all that matters. KISS.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I had a look at Drive Social a while ago and couldn’t see the point in it. I don’t particularly want strangers to know who I am or my whereabouts.

    Let alone that obviously you need a smartphone to do anything with this, and mobile data, which drastically cuts down the potential audience for it.

    • lprent 2.1

      I still have absolutely no idea what it is for. I just read the website and I still have no idea *what* purpose it is intended for. Their website doesn’t help http://drivesocial.co.nz/find-out-more

      drivesocial.co.nz lets you put a face to the people you share the road with. It does this by collecting and comparing weekday morning commutes.

      Huh? Thats it? Why in the hell would I want to do it? And why would I be looking at facebook while I was driving – aren’t there laws against it?

      The only thing I can think of is finding out who certain idiots are and giving them some basic driving lessons. Like the fuckwit who drove halfway across the lanes on Great North Road off the bullock today and then stopped to wait for traffic on the other side of the road to pass. He blocked the traffic in his lane.

      That is a moron who needs to be told what the white centre portion of the road is for. You pull into that when you can’t merge..

      • QoT 2.1.1

        That is a moron who needs to be told what the white centre portion of the road is for. You pull into that when you can’t merge..

        Well see, lprent, apparently if you could “put a face” to this guy and understand that he lives just around the corner from you with his partner and three cats called Athos, Porthos and Aramis, you wouldn’t be pissed off! And then the world would be a happier place!

        For the $1.6 million spent on this amazing programme so far I’m wondering how many of the Natural Party’s yogic flyers we could have hired …

      • weka 2.1.2

        “I still have absolutely no idea what it is for.”

        Me neither. I just used the website non-FB version, and all it did was pop up some avatars saying these were the people that do the same commute as me. In order to get more information I would have to supply an email address, which I declined to do (NZTA have some strange data collection and management practices). So that was it. To start with I thought maybe they were going to match people up to ride share (now that would be a good use of technology, but afaik most places have their community run systems already). But yeah, in the end I had to read QoT’s TV3 link to find out that it’s apparently about reducing fatalities. All a bit subtle for me I’m afraid.

        • weka

          Irony alert – it does seem designed for people with smart phones. Is NZTA encouraging people to combine driving with smart phone use?

  3. Wayne 3

    Is John Key really rattled by Julie-Anne Genter? I would have thought his reaction indicates the opposite.

    • QoT 3.1

      Key normally has a snappy-yet-relaxed comeback for everything. In the 3News clip linked above he waffles on to the point that they cut him off midsentence.

      He may be rattled, he may be tired, he may not give a fuck. But it is not his typical behaviour.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Key has plenty on his mind right now; wondering why they didn’t just farm it off to some junior minister actually. That’s what they would’ve done in 2010.

        • QoT

          That’s why I wonder if he was (for lack of a better word) ambushed by it, given he’s not commenting in the forum of a scheduled press conference or anything.

    • Bearded Git 3.2

      “Key immediately lashed out with an over-the-top “well the Greens just think everyone should cycle everywhere” ”

      Can’t you see Wayne that this lifts the lid, yet again, on what Key is really like when he forgets to follow his spin lessons?

      • AmaKiwi 3.2.1

        We (Standard bloggers) should shame the MSM for reporting Key’s frequent petty attacks on his accusers.

        If a valid issue is raised, the MSM should ONLY report a reply that speaks to the issue. Otherwise they are trivializing political issues and reducing our political discourse to cheap personality attacks.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      He’s rattled. He doesn’t like being called on his obviously incompetent spending.

    • Populuxe1 3.4

      What is with Genter’s accent anyway? Sort of mock valley girl over forced kiwi

      • karol 3.4.1

        Just reflects the places where Genter has lived: from California via Paris to NZ.

        Pretty usual for someone who has lived in more than one place.

      • QoT 3.4.2

        Couldn’t be bothered taking two seconds to find her Wikipedia page, Pop?

        • Rogue Trooper

          yes, I wondered about that logo (and a few other scripts). Yep, Drive Social advertized at a Bus Stop, like advertizing for cycling at VTNZ.

        • Rogue Trooper

          yes, I wondered about that logo (and a few other scripts, like the Contact Energy envelope). Yep, Drive Social advertized at a Bus Stop, like advertizing for cycling at VTNZ.

      • Rogue Trooper 3.4.3

        Be kind Populuxe 1. Julie-Anne is honey on the lips, amber before the eyes, and sonorous round the ears. 😎

      • Draco T Bastard 3.4.4

        What’s with you being concerned about her accent? What she’s got to say is far more important.

  4. The Greens should broaden their campaign – basically, every government-funded ad campaign is a useless waste of taxpayers’ money. It may be a bit harder to quantify exactly how much of a waste of money it is creating ad campaigns telling people they shouldn’t smoke and drink so much, shouldn’t drive drunk, and (my personal favourite) that it’s wrong to beat their wife and kids, but I suspect it may be a simple matter of totaling up how much was spent and declaring it as the amount wasted.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Well let’s start with this one Drive Social bullshit campaign first. Whoever the advertising company is, they’ve taken taxpayers for an expensive ride.

    • QoT 4.2

      Yes, PM, that’s exactly what they should do, gosh you’re so clever.

    • Rogue Trooper 4.3

      you make a good point Psycho; all these years of ad campaigns, still high Domestic violence and CAN stats, binge-drinking culture, speeding, road-rage, breath-alcohol excesses from across all sectors of society, drug-use, tobacco use, elder-abuse, financial scam victims, unhelpful diet, increases in STI incidence, problem gambling…The old tip-head-and-insert-knowledge ruse; can muster the sheep to the drench trough…
      and then there are all those trees of glossy, and not so, lining shelves of government ministries, departments and NGO’s the country far and wide. Mind-boggling.
      Maybe TPTB could detour from the short-cuts and actually get along-side people and listen to them.

      “Is there anybody in there, just nod if you can hear me, is there anyone home.”

    • Lanthanide 4.4

      I think all advertising that is funded by public money needs to say somewhere how much the advertising cost.

      Eg city council puts out a big brochure about what they’re up to and things that are happening in the city, should say on the back how much money the brochure costs. Government advertising campaign on TV, should say how much it cost. Government advertising campaign on the radio, should say how much it cost.

    • Green machine UpandComer 4.5

      Psycho. I commend you for this stance. But you do realise that the Greens are ‘in favour of’ said campaigns? Basically what you propose is the antithesis of the Green’s attitude to public policy expenditure. The Greens are the ones who want to ban smoking outright, ban alcohol advertising and sale as much as they can get away with, ramp up drink driving campaigns, and absolutely ramp up anti-domestic violence campaigns. This stuff is the Greens reason for life. National has done a great job at stamping down on the most egregiously stupid and unnecessary fun-police activities and the Govt funded public policy special interest groups industry in general. Don’t let one item that slipped through the cracks suddenly turn your entire world upside down.

      Watching any member of the Greens talking about overspending or zealous govt with respect to social policy is a painful exercise in viewing hypocrisy in it’s purest and boldest form.

  5. National loves building roads to nowhere, why would it stop at roads? Now it has found websites, there is no limit to it’s tax the poor and middle class into the grave plan, to fund their madcap schemes and tax cuts for the rich. 😉

  6. irascible 6

    I’ve seen the TV advert and never understood what it was on about. Thought it was a campaign to encourage group photographs or community social groups.
    Agreed the campaign can be classified as a big fail.
    More serious, though, is the campaign that Jammy Lea Ross is launching to destroy the labour laws in NZ. If his Bill, or the Simon Bridges version, passes into law then there would be no need to drive social… as wages and work conditions would be inadequate to sustain anyone in a decent job.

  7. Arfamo 7

    Can anybody see the “Yeah Nah” campaign persuading anybody to drink less?
    I can’t even figure out who they are targeting with this ad. It seems a complete waste of money to me.

    • QoT 7.1

      Don’t even start me on the “Yeah, Nah” ads. Everyone I’ve talked to about it has no idea what it’s meant to say – unless, that is, it’s meant to show what a great time you have when you’re drunk.

      Heineken’s “dawn belongs to moderate drinkers” ad is honestly far more effective at making the same point. And all it’s trying to do is sell more Heineken.

    • I’ve never seen it with the sound on, but it looks to be saying you’ll have a great time if you get pissed with your mate but it would be better if you didn’t. Hard to imagine anyone nodding along and thinking “My God, they’re right, what was I thinking?” Still, I can’t wait for the obvious sequel, the “Yeah, nah, just ease up on the sex” ad campaign, that should be a laff riot.

      • felix 7.2.1

        No campaign is ever designed or intended to get a reaction of “My God, they’re right, what was I thinking?” and it’s either naive or disingenuous to pretend it might be.

        From what I’ve observed I wouldn’t usually describe you as “naive”.

  8. felix 8

    Drivesocial? FFS.

    Between doing the crossword, checking facebook and twitter, keeping my beer upright, answering the phone and rolling cigarettes, haven’t I already got enough to do behind the wheel??

  9. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 9

    Yet the Greens squealed when the equally immeasurable, pointless and expensive “Buy New Zealand Made” programme was canned.

  10. erentz 10

    I’m surprised more isn’t made of what the really obvious hypocrisy of this whole campaign, given who the messenger is:

    “If we stopped thinking ‘cars’ and started thinking ‘people’, would it change the way we drive?”

    Hello? NZTA!? What if YOU stopped thinking ‘cars’ and started thinking ‘people’, how could it not change the way you spend billions of dollars?

  11. tracey 11

    I assumed it was to arrange carpooling and that was after watching the tv ad ladt night

  12. Kevin Welsh 12


    “More dubious spending from ‘hip-hop’ fund.

    National Party Social Services spokeswoman Katherine Rich says she has uncovered yet more dubious spending from the fund that paid for the now infamous ‘hip-hop study tour’…

    …”It’s time someone took responsibility for these poor funding decisions. The buck must stop with the Minister.

    “Taxpayers expect much better from a Government that’s spending so much of their money,” Mrs Rich says.

    I feel better now :-)

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