It’s 4 months to the election, the election year budget, and political parties are in full sledging mode. John Key will throw out some ridiculous spin / outright lies, so we can expect journalists to challenge that right? Provide some balance, clarifications around what they’ve said etc?
Exhibit 1: John Key says that there’s no way Labour could deliver a surplus – as he’s the expert on Labour (media have been going to him for the last 6 years for Labour commentary, so why stop now I suppose). Now they could easily put something back from yesterday’s article, with Labour showing that the Capital Gains Tax and higher rate for top earners covering any additional spending, and their estimates showing roughly the same surplus in 2016/17 that National are promising… Or read all the policy that Labour’s put out… Or ask Labour how they are going to deliver surplus… but no, the story is: Labour couldn’t deliver a surplus.
Exhibit 2: Suzie Ferguson, fresh from hectoring Lianne Dalziel and David Cunliffe, gives John Key great respect in asking the question and giving him plenty of time to peddle his related spin, not challenging him on any of it. Oh, under Labour we’d be $90 billion worse off by now, and not have a surplus until 2018/19? Sure John, that must be true. Only 350 went to Australia in March, it’s because John Key fixed the economy, nothing to do with Australia’s economy tanking, or it being a one-off figure after having over 1000 per week crossing the ditch for years under National? Sure John, must be true.
Exhibit 3: Considering State Funding of political parties? Labour is ‘hypocritical’ – although the article never quite says why. Apparently it’s because Labour can’t raise money, rather than anything to do with National’s corruption. Also, Labour gets lots of money from the unions, so they’re enthral to them. Because 2 contradictory lies are better than 1, but we won’t point that out. Or go to Labour for some balance comment about political funding… no.
Indeed John Key regularly puts out that Labour and the Greens have ‘no plan’ for the economy, and despite the large amount of policy both the parties release, this never seems to be challenged. He claims the Greens are anti-jobs (despite jobs being one of their priorities), and Labour have “no plan” to achieve a “pipedream” of 4% unemployment (despite plenty of policy to the contrary). I would really like to see a journalist do the stunt of printing out released policy, and weighing the pages in front of Key to show how little “weight” there is to his comments and his plan for the economy versus the Left’s.
For in reality Key is reflecting his own party’s paucity of vision. National have only had unemployment under 6% for 1 quarter since 1990 – the first quarter after they inherited high employment in 2008. Under National average GDP growth is consistently lower than under Labour whether you look back 10, 20, 30 , 40, 50, 60 or 70 years to the start of our current 2 main parties having their hands on the reigns of government.
Labour aren’t the anti-business, anti-growth party, they’re the ones who deliver booming times. Labour getting unemployment under 4% isn’t a pipedream, much as National can’t get it under 6% – the Party of Jobs delivered under 4% unemployment for 5 years before John Key took power. Labour aren’t ‘unable to deliver a surplus’ – they delivered a surplus every year for the 9 years they were in government last time, versus National’s record debt they’ve piled up.
Just don’t expect this backstory in any articles on “what John Key said”.