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Amateur hour – or how to take a good idea and turn it into a bad campaign

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 am, April 21st, 2011 - 110 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Asset sales. Nobody likes them (except the few elites who stand to gain from them) which means stopping asset sale is a good thing right? Right. Unless you decide to go about doing so in a way that potentially infringes on traffic law and on electoral law.

Which is pretty much what the goffice has done.

Now I could write a post about how stupid and amateur it was to take guaranteed points on the board and turn it into a black eye, but I think that’s been covered from the left to the far right already.

Because even if you put the godawful execution of the campaign to one side (and I am putting it to one side) the problem with this campaign it is that it is hermetic. There’s nothing about “stop asset sales” that references back to any prior campaign or to any overarching message – no language signals no brand signals. Even if they had pulled the campaign off perfectly it wouldn’t add a great deal to any ongoing narrative or easily roll momentum into the next issue-based campaign. Which means right from the get-go its return on investment is limited.

That’s the real loss; the egg-on-face of poor execution only has a news-cycle lifetime. And it was a loss that was built in from the start. Which is a shame because there are some very simple stories that connect asset sales to service cuts to wage stagnation to increasing unemployment – it’s just nothing of that bigger story is captured in the “stop asset sales” campaign to start with. If it had a few silly technical mistakes wouldn’t have made much difference.

Labour’s problem isn’t just that they don’t seem to understand this slow narrative building technique but that the tories do. They know it all too well because they learned it the hard way – by doing nine years in the wilderness and by sticking to their guns with their messaging from 2004 until they got their hands on the government benches. Make no mistake that was a four year campaign.

And because National is hardwired to this oppositional mode they’ve not found it hard to take the ever growing pile of Labour’s small executional failures and use it to create a narrative of labour as incompetent. As in not fit to govern. Despite all the good policy ideas labour has and the competent management labour showed last time it was in government.

National knows this is a good story for them because they know that nobody wants to associate themselves with incompetence no matter how well-meaning the incompetent party is or how unwell-meaning their opponent is. And remember – voting is association.

Update: I’ve been told the signs are authorised so withdraw criticism on that point.

110 comments on “Amateur hour – or how to take a good idea and turn it into a bad campaign ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Ummmm…the red octagonal signs which say “Stop Asset Sales” are merely an opening salvo my friend. Additional battery fire is incoming between now and Budget day, and more after that.
    You want a long slow fuse of a narrative to bring NZ onboard? You got one  🙂

    • rosy 1.1

      I hope you’re right CV because, jeez, otherwise you couldn’t make it up could you? I did wonder about the legality but thought that surely they must have got it right. It also reminds me a bit of the Greens GE campaign a couple of elections ago. They thought they’d hit on the mood of the nation and ran a single issue campaign whereas they had only addressed one of the things people were concerned about and their vote didn’t reflect that on election day.

      captcha: uncertain – yep.

    • Sam 1.2

      On par with the “Red Fern” logo.
      Another stupid idea.

  2. Very bad form by Labour; surely you’d have expected someone to check the legality of replicating what is a pretty significant road sign.
    The real question though is how those who were part of a government who sold assets by the dozen in the 1980’s, notably Goff, King and Mallard can expect to be taken seriously when they now oppose asset sales on a far smaller scale than those which they supported.

    • Zetetic 2.1

      not proven these are illegal, of course. no-one would actually confuse them for stop signs.

      But where’s the text on the website: ‘in the interests of road safety, these signs are not be to displayed beside roads in a manner that could be confused for real stop signs’

      then Labour’s taken reasonable steps and is in the clear.

      • Paul Campbell 2.1.1

        I’m largely a Labour/Green supporter but this is amateur hour stuff – any party’s advertising staff should know the ins and outs of the electoral act and its regulations – which in this case say it can’t be visible from a road:

        6.Shape and colour of advertisement of a specified kind
        An advertisement of a specified kind may not be erected on any road or in any place visible from a road if the advertisement of a specified kind—
        (a) is similar to or the same as any traffic sign in its shape and colour; and
        (b) is liable to be mistaken for a traffic sign.

      • SHG 2.1.2

        So far this morning I’ve seen photos of Iain Lees-Galloway, Darien Fenton, and Lousia Wall holding bright red octagonal signs saying “STOP” in white letters next to public roads. Muppets.

        • Colonial Viper

          Oh look, Labour MP’s and activists taking their campaign on the road.
          Be scared buddy its going to be a long year for Key and English.
          By the way, don’t you have trust that NZ’ers to be able to tell the difference between a stop sign and a political campaign? LOLz

          • SHG

            If I’m driving at speed and I see out of the corner of my eye that I am passing a red octagon with white lettering on a pole next to the road, then my first reaction is to slam on my brakes. I can’t believe that no-one in the Labour comms team considered this.

            • Carol

              Maybe there should be more of those electronic signs in your area that say slow down?

              • SHG

                Carol have you considered what it would be like for a migrant or visitor from a non-English reading background to drive past one of these signs? The whole point of the law is to prevent dangerous confusion regardless of what words are on the sign. It’s the same colour and shape as a real STOP sign and that’s enough to make it dangerous when placed next to a road.

                • Colonial Viper

                  SHG I love it when you try to be all PC.
                  Hey what about we look at this again once we stop thinking that migrants and non-English speakers are all as gullible as you make out eh?

            • Colonial Viper

              then my first reaction is to slam on my brakes.

              Even if the “STOP sign” is positioned at knee level? Next to half a dozen others at knee level?
              What do you do when drive by white crosses by the road? Is your first reaction to drop off flowers?

              • PeteG

                That’s all beside the main point – it’s illegal.
                Speeding is illegal, even when it doesn’t do anyone any harm.
                Drink driving is illegal, even when it doesn’t do anyone any harm.
                Illegal signage promoted by a political leader is dumb.
                Putting up illegal signs because your leader says it’s still a good idea is dumber.

                Is Goff trying to set a precedent – laws don’t matter when it comes to electioneering? Anything should be ok if you feel the cause justifies the breach?

                • Colonial Viper

                  That’s all beside the main point – it’s illegal.

                  Nah mate, its up for a court to decide whether it is illegal or not, not you.

                  Is Goff trying to set a precedent – laws don’t matter when it comes to electioneering? Anything should be ok if you feel the cause justifies the breach?

                  Is Key trying to set a precedent? Weakening our democracy legally by changing and interpreting laws as it suits him? Taking legal assistance away from people who need it?

                  • PeteG

                    Nah mate, its up for a court to decide whether it is illegal or not, not you.

                    New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt said based on the photo, “on the face of it they are in contravention of the rules”.

                    Nah, not up to me, but on the face of it, Labour, egg, on.

                • Armchair Critic

                  “That’s all beside the main point – it’s illegal”
                  Not true. The furthest you can legitimately take this is that it might not comply with a guideline. I think that, if it were put to the test, these signs would be found to meet the guidelines. Either way, it’s a hell of a leap from “might breach a guideline” to “illegal”.
                  Please feel free to disagree, though. Frankly, the more publicity Labour get on their opposition to asset sales the better – I hope they stick to their guns and keep using the signs.

                  • PeteG

                    It’s more than a guideline, it’s: Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004.
                    If Labour want to extend Amateur Hour into Amateur Campaign it’s up to them. It’s really a continuation of Amateur Term. It ain’t working.
                    More and more people are more openly grumbling as Labour keeps fumbling and stumbling. If they stick to their guns there’s a real risk of changing from two major and several minor parties to one major and several plus one minor parties.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey mate take it to court if you want.
                      It’ll just be more publicity for Labour’s Stop Asset Sales campaign.

                    • Armchair Critic

                      Great, a reference to a rule for Road Controlling Authorities (hint, Labour is a political party, not a Road Controlling Authority) and how they should use Traffic Control Devices (hint, the sign is advertising, not a Traffic Control Device).  You really are chasing castles in the clouds.
                      Which just leads us back to the Advertising Guideline, which is, just in case you missed it, a guideline.
                      Another concept to ponder (in case you are so stupid that you have trouble telling the difference between an advertisement for Labour and a Stop sign), National’s advertising is likely to look like some of NZTA’s blue road signs – similar shape and colour.  An important difference will be that NZTA’s signs are accurate and truthful.

                    • SHG


                      A number of Labour Party campaign signs have been removed from a Hutt Valley street after being found to be in breach of road requirements.
                      The signs, which emulate road stop signs in shape and colour, but contain the message “Stop asset sales vote Labour”, had been erected along the median strip of a road in Petone.
                      The Hutt City Council, which is the road controlling authority for the area, said this afternoon that the signs had been taken down.
                      “The signs did not meet any road signage requirements and following a complaint from the public they were removed,” the council said in a statement.

              • outofbed

                That was really funny CV

          • Clint Heine

            I don’t care if NZers can or can not tell the difference. That doesn’t bother me at all. I am simply applying the letter of the law about this.

            Somebody, somewhere has stuffed up. But I do admire your attempts to stand up for them.

            • Colonial Viper

              I am simply applying the letter of the law about this.

              You go cry to the judge.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The letter of the law is not always right which is why we have juries and judges. And why we get round to amending and re-writing laws every now and then

              • Jim Nald

                Indeed, it is not about blindly adhering to the literal wording of the law.
                The court examines compliance with the purpose, intent and spirit of the law.

    • Gawd I2.  Only an idiot or a troll would mistake them for an actual stop sign.  Hint, the words “Asset Sales” and the Labour logo pretty clearly say they are not.

      This is yet another example of typical Kiwi political discourse.  If a right winger spots an imperfection, any imperfection they set the pack onto it.  It is then bet up into a big story and repeated ad nauseum.  A bit like Helen being in a speeding police car sort of thing.  

      The idea is to confuse and deideologise (I hope this is  a word!) the issue because let’s face it most Kiwis hate right wing ideology.

      And raising the history to further confuse the issue helps.  Of course they should absolutely refuse to debate the merits because the right wing proposal sucks big time.

      Irish I think that the left are into this collective beatup of Goff.  There is nothing wrong with the campaign.  The signs are clear and now quite notorious.  They are not signs of incompetence.  As long as people keep them away from intersections there should not be a problem.

      How about we continue to debate the issue, rather than buy into the right wing attempt to move the debate off point.  By criticising the signs Irish perhaps you are doing the same.  I bet Whale and DPF are rubbing their hands in glee.

      • Inventory2 2.2.1

        Well micky; it would seem that whoever conceived the idea is an idiot then. NZTA’s website has a guide for advertisers on its website which sets things out as clearly as you could wish, and includes this:
        An advertising sign or device should not be displayed or constructed where visible from a roadway if it:
        • is coloured red, green, orange, white or yellow in combinations of colours and/or shapes which may be mistaken for a traffic control device


        Placing these signs on busy roadsides is not only illegal; it’s stupid. Someone didn’t do their homework, and my estimation of IrishBill has risen because he has been prepared to criticise instead of blindly following the party line.


      • IrishBill 2.2.2

        None so blind.

        • mickysavage

          I am struggling to understand why this is a “bad” campaign and why Goff is being beat up about it.  Hell there are plenty of other things he and the Goffice have done which he deserves opprobrium but I do not think that this is one of those situations.

          Shall we turn it around.  What campaign do you think executed by the Goffice is a good one?

          • IrishBill

            No we will not “turn it around”. I’ve made it pretty clear I don’t think it was a bad campaign but rather a limited campaign. And I’ve made it clear why I think it is limited. If you missed that I suggest you try reading it again minus the blind tribalism.

            • mickysavage

              I beg to differ.  Have a look at your heading.  I am happy to be described as “tribal” but I prefer to think of myself as being “discerningly tribal”.
              The message was tested and “stop asset sales” was as direct and comprehensible as you can get in a three word phrase.
              And there will be a roll out of a number of campaigns with linked messages but one at a time.

              • PeteG

                I suggest you rethink this part of the campaign:

                money to the rich!

                And this one too…

                still deserve the dole!

              • Herodotus

                Why then is it ok to continue even it is breaks Transits rules. The comment that was attributed to Phil of “We will continue to use the signs, if the council has a problem we will listen to them..” Not that if there is a problem we will desist. The message got out (in a great fashion) like a certain Pizza co once it is out there, then withdraw. Think of the additional goodwill that would be achieved, it could capture a wider audience and be a discussion as to if Lab did the right thing by removing, now the message will be mixed with yet another case of Pollys doing their own thing (some may mix it with the $800k pledge card) that the rest of us are not allowed to do A rule for them us to follow that the pollys can ignore. 
                As someone who has had dealings with transit over signage close to motorways there is a process and a check list to follow. Or do you believe that the proces is not applicable to a political party?
                I bet that there already has beeen a complaint already raised by some civic minded person.
                I really hope that Lab has a strategy to promote Micky, neg campaigns do nothing for us. 😉

                • Colonial Viper

                  Actually, I’m glad Labour are standing firm on this instead of wilting at the first hurdle.
                  We must not allow National to sell off our strategic assets, and the people must be informed that the way to stop that is to vote Labour.

                  • Herodotus

                    I to am unsupportive of selling the SOE for a few magic beans, and the beans will not enable us to find any chick that layes golden eggs to save us 😉 haha 
                    I think you will find that the Transits/Transfund (who ever they are this week !!) opposition is not with the signs per se, but with the placement of them. I am sure stuck on a banner or on a fence or even a billboard of local canditates no issue
                    This is a clear & cleavour means of communicating the issue, yet why should Lab be able to display when the rest of us are unable to or have to enter a protracted means to obtain transit approval and resource consents (if applicable if within a certain distance of motorways). Why is it pollys think that the crap they pass for all of us to follow is not applicable to them?
                    It is Phils reported response that gets me, If he gained a few pounds Shultz comes to mind (or the 3 monkeys) !!!
                    Come on Lab give me a reason to vote !!!!

          • PeteG

            I am struggling to understand why this is a “bad” campaign

            I am struggling to understand why you can’t see that doing something that clearly appears to be illegal, and suggesting that they continue to ignore the law, is not a good look for someone who supposedly wants to lead the country.
            If it was for a cause that might really make a difference Goff might get some sympathy for his approach (apart from lumping the responsibility of illegality on those that carry out his wishes) but Goff is loking more like a boneheaded chump than ever.

            • Bored

              Pete, you struggle to understand. Full stop.

              capcha: Clues (of which you seem totally lacking).

      • Lanthanide 2.2.3

        “Only an idiot or a troll would mistake them for an actual stop sign.  Hint, the words “Asset Sales” and the Labour logo pretty clearly say they are not.”

        Sorry Micky, but you really should have thought about this statement more before you posted.

        A lot of driving, and particularly the main cause of accidents, is about reacting to the road conditions quickly and correctly. It is easy to imagine a scenario where someone is turning a corner into an area they’re not familiar with, and get distracted by something (dog/child/biker/another car driving dangerously), and when they look back towards the road they suddenly see what appears to be a stop sign and react to it without thinking with a high potential of causing the following car to rear-end them. This is even more likely if it’s someone with a vision impairment where the additional white text on the sign could be more easily missed.

        Lynn: the quote button is again not working for me properly. If I select only the section of text I want quoted and press the button, it quotes everything. It seems that the behaviour of this comment editor changes when it loads. At the moment when I press enter, I get a new line, rather than a new paragraph. Other times I get paragraphs when I press enter (and this makes the quote action work correctly). Still other times that weird behaviour where it randomly inserts new-lines during regular typing appears. It seems quite flakey.

    • Sam 2.3

      H<p>Hear, hear!!
      But then Goff and co have so much bagage from that era that the “Axe the Tax” bus would have its springs collapse if brought out again.

    • Swampy 2.4

      Or the above plus Cullen, selling Terralink.

      • Colonial Viper 2.4.1

        Worthwhile remembering that Terralink financially shat itself before it was disposed of.
        Meridian and co. on the other hand are extremely profitable enterprises with huge strategic value.

        • Dion

          It’s also worthwhile remembering that Kiwirail aren’t looking that great financially at the moment.  And yet Cullen pissed away $690m buying that back.

  3. PeteG 3

    A dumb campaign executed dumbly.

    Labour’s asset sales campaign runs into road rule problem
    Labour leader Phil Goff, who launched the campaign last week, said he didn’t know who within his party had put the signs up, “but if the council has a problem of course they can talk to whoever might have put them out”.
    While the signs were modelled on stop signs “nobody’s going to mistake it as a stop sign, that’s just silly”.
    “This is just the National Party highly embarrassed by the fact that most New Zealanders don’t want asset sales and the Labour Party is standing alongside New Zealanders in that view.
    “In fact we’re leading the push back against the assets sales. That’s why they’d love to see us not have the chance to get our message out there.
    “We’ll keep using those signs. If the council’s got a problem we’ll listen to them of course, but nobody thinks they’re going to be a traffic hazard, that’s just nonsense.”

    And the dumbness is re-emphasised by Tweedledumb – this is an incredibly naive or incredibly stupid response. Keep ignoring reality Phil, of course your big campaign should be above silly little laws.

    • A dumb campaign because dumb people may think they are actual stop signs?

      • Dan 3.1.1

        That’s the risk.
        Remember it only takes one dumb kid to mis-use a toy and the product gets recalled or banned for all the other kids who had loads of fun with it.
        Leaving aside the legality of it, I’d say its a risky strategy.  It will only take one truly dumb or tired or distracted driver to cause an accident.  And if that happens it will create a stench that will follow the party for many election cycles to come.

        • Colonial Viper

          Known road black spots, officially ignored and deprived of funding for change, kill people every week in this country. No fuss, no bother, we just let it happen. And have done so for years.
          A bunch of knee high Stop Asset Sales signs is nothing. Even if there is an accident around one, I expect Labour to front foot it aggressively and tell people that it will LOWER DRIVER ALCOHOL LIMITS while in Government and do more than National to save lives.
          So its risky yeah, but playing it safe is not going to make nuthin’ happen.

          • Dan

            That may well be a valid response, but like a lot of the messages Labour are trying to get across at the moment I doubt anyone will be listening.  While the odds of it happening might be slim to none It’s a media wet-dream waiting to happen.  What do you think the headline will be, “Labour saves lives by lowering alcohol limits” or “Labour Party kills cyclist in traffic sign botch up”?
            You’re right though, there is no reward without risk.

      • Inventory2 3.1.2

        You’re mssing the point micky; it’s a dumb campaign because no-one bothered to check the legality of it first, and even though NZTA have said the signs are illegal, Goff intends to keep using them. All it shows is that Phil Goff (and by extension the Labour Party) has no repect for the law, and many people will question Goff’s fitness to lead the country.

        • Carol

          It’s not the legality of the signs so much as the placement that was in question – and even that is a matter for interpretation rather than a solid fact.  And well done righties for giving this campaign so much publicity.

        • felix

          no-one bothered to check the legality of it first

          What makes you say that? You mean no-one checked it with you?
          Nothing has been found to be illegal about the signs, regardless of what you and ts mythfield want everyone to believe.
          If some have been placed illegally they can be removed. Whoop de doo.

    • SHG 3.2

      Labour leader Phil Goff, who launched the campaign last week, said he didn’t know who within his party had put the signs up, “but if the council has a problem of course they can talk to whoever might have put them out”.

      Labour activists, under the bus you go.

  4. IrishBill 4

    I don’t think that this is the end of the world but it’s sloppy. I’m less impressed by Goff passing the buck to labour activists:

    Labour leader Phil Goff, who launched the campaign last week, said he didn’t know who within his party had put the signs up, “but if the council has a problem of course they can talk to whoever might have put them out”.

    • Zetetic 4.1

      which also reinforces the ‘can’t control his party, not ready to govern’ meme.

    • PeteG 4.2

      Worse, he tries to pass the buck for that but then suggests “we” should continue anyway:
      “We’ll keep using those signs. If the council’s got a problem we’ll listen to them of course…”

    • Bored 4.3

      Reminds me of a few events over the last year or two where the leadership and the (probably paid) servants of the Labour party allowed a number of major cock ups such as the “expenses” fiasco.

      Not too long ago I was party to the sale of a company which required total silence for commercial reasons from multiple parties, and total singing from the same hymn sheet. We did this as a team for 5 months, making sure we were aligned and kept total confidence. Eventually we got an agreement that suited both parties. If we could do it for dollars why cant Labour do it to get elected? My question is why is Labour as a parliamentary team so disjointed?  For example why was in the expenses fiasco somebody checking expenses? Why did Goff pass the buck on the signs? Why did Pagani release his little missive? Where does the buck stop?

      All I can see is bad leadership, bad management, bad administration. If they were a company they would be dead in the water.

      • Carol 4.3.1

        Well that’s the corporate & business way of controlling criticism, and that has infected even left-wing political politics, where a managerial approach is dominant.  I quite like that Labour is still not so much into that approach that aspects of policy and method become debated publicly.  I am not a fan of the National corporatised dictatorial, top-down approach.  Some times an amateurish approach, which enables grass roots activists to participate in practice and debate, seems more authenticly motivated.

        • Bored

          No, its just that corporates are slightly more onto little things such as unity of purpose around campaigns etc. Its a discipline thing, and I think with regard to little bits like expenses claims a habit of making sure it is right on an individual basis.

          I personally find corporates and businesses extremely dull but they do have some good habits which the Labour leadership and staff should entertain. Amateurishness is found inside and out of business, Labour are currently really good at it. The primary discipline they need to learn first is make sure everybody keeps their heads below the parapet, they are too easy a target.

          • Carol

            The primary discipline they need to learn first is make sure everybody keeps their heads below the parapet, they are too easy a target.

            At the moment Labour have also got people saying they should front foot issues and take some risks.  I think not putting their heads above the parapet is not that helpful at this stage.  If they learn from their errors (and I don’t see this as a major one, as there may be positive spin-offs in getting the message out), then it’s a good thing.  Still, I think there’s a lot to be said for amateurishness.  Discipline, yes.  But we’ll see.

  5. seeker 5

    An unhelpful post Irishbill-as indeed was that of Andrew Geddis.
    In using these ‘red alert’ signs Labour is using a ‘short narrative technique’, a “simple story” which says——– if you don’t want our assets sold then vote Labour.
    Short punchy and to the point.
    Negative posts which contribute to right wing jibes just add to right wing ascendancy. If you want National back in, this is the way to go Irishbill. Why not post positively on David Cunliffe’s interview the other day, as did Carol on open mike 19/4/11. Without her hard work to get it to us I would have missed it, and it was so good. It really showed there is an alternative path on the horizon, and so many people in our country are in need of a different way.
    You know how hard it is for Labour to get good media coverage, especially the positives. Media coverage mostly occurs only if negative spin can be created – and here you are doing the same thing. Was it necessary? Leave it to the right whingers who have a vested interest in this type of distracting, petty sniping, especially as November will be here before we know it.

    • IrishBill 5.1

      Yeah. It’s all my fault. If all the lefties who were pissed off with labour’s dreadful handling of campaigns would just STFU then it would all work out just fine.

      I remember a labour party in which robust debate about policy and politics was accepted as essential to the democratic strength of the party. The standard is very much in that tradition.

      • Inventory2 5.1.1

        Big ups to you for raising this issue IrishBill. In doing so you are showing far more integrity than those who continue to defend the indefensible.
        Heh: captcha = apologies; who’s apologising to who?

        • IrishBill

          I don’t need your concern-trolling IV2.

          • joe bloggs

            Nevertheless your cry for help has been noticed and responded to – good effort for raising this, IB.

            And a big thumbs-down to Phil “Above The Law” Goff for blaming the grass-roots supporters who did Phil’s dirty work to get these signs up.

            It’s reminiscent of the behaviour of a previous PM who hung her police escort out to dry after speeding from Waimate to Chch.

            Also reminds me that the last big asset sales programme was run by Douglas, Prebble, Goff and Clark, and was ably managed by David Lange.

            • PeteG

              It’s reminiscent of the behaviour of a previous PM who hung her police escort out to dry after speeding from Waimate to Chch.

              I don’t think it’s anything like that – the speeding fiasco was not Clark’s responsibility, Goff owns the Stop campaign – and promotes further lawbreaking.

              • Colonial Viper

                Law breaking? Mate, Labour’s got the NATs on the run with their programme to sell off NZ, so you better fight on your bullshit not on the issues.

              • KJT

                NACT are on the way to burgling billions off New Zealanders. And you are worried about speeding?

  6. Peter 6

    Any publicity is good publicity, trivial objections will gain more attention for the cause.

  7. Salsy 7

    I would have to agree in part to your post, the facebook page was littered with right wing nut jobs all sent over by whale oil who made them their own counter banners. Issue is, none of them make sense “Stop Self Serving Unionists.. Vote Labour? ” If you believe in the campaign, you get behind it.. Clint Heine and whale oil are doing their best to bring it down so labour must be doing something right..

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    The word “vote” might have to be removed from future signs but apart from that whats not to like?

    Yes certain labour MPs supported asset sales two decades ago and now oppose flogging off the family silver. What is the problem if these people have learnt from experience and genuinely changed their thinking. Is that not to be encouraged? 

    A sign or two on every street would be quite effective, placed out of reach of passing boofheads where possible.

    • Swampy 8.1

      Certain Labour MPs sold some assets during the 1999-2008 Labour government. They will do so if it is convenient. Labour does not have a blanket “no asset sales” policy.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Labour has a blanket “no power sales” policy.
        It will also never sell off KiwiBank.
        Ask Key about selling KiwiBank next term. Will be interesting to see what face wiggling he does.

        They will do so if it is convenient

        That’s a lie. That statement applies to National however.

  9. Carol 9

    Well, hopefully Labour learns from its errors, but it just seems like a glitch in a broader campaign.  The road sign version is not the first part of this campaign in my area.  In west Auckland there’s been several billboards beside roads with the photos of Labour MPs, information about their appearances at public meetings, and the Stop Asset Sales message.

  10. Bored 10

    Good work Irish, BUT also good work Labour. Yes it is a cock up but I am going ahead with 2 signs which will be mounted in such a way as to avoid any confusion with traffic (i.e inside buildings). At a moment when Labour is looking dross and somnambulant the signs are at least an indication of fight in the old dog.

  11. I think privatisation and climate change/environmental issues and the cost of living are three things that should be heavily pushed during the election. National is under attack when privatisation is a central issue. They are exposed on environment and climate issues. There is a anti coal campaign in Southland ramping up, anti deep sea oil campaign on the East Coast and others not far off being launched. Under National it is: more fossil fuels, more mining, more motorways. 50,000 marched against Brownlee and the brown coal gang last year… offer a counter vision of Eco Cities, clean energy, rail and green jobs.

    The cost of living is ever increasing, while Key drives around in helicopters, BMWs etc. Bill English bails out his mates, and bails on New Zealand, while Chinese etc mining companies come in for back room deals, conveniently at a time when SOEs are for sale. Privatisation will hurt national, deeply. Wellington and Auckland voted against it by removing Tory Mayors.  Connecting privatisation to the rising cost of living and climate etc issues is the next logical step. Build on strengths, attack Nationals weakness.

    They lost members when the anti mining march was on, and had to backdown. Hit them in the same spot, and build a counter vision and narrative. Fix the country, fix the economy, protect workers and the environment.

  12. climate and workers action 12

    I think privatisation and climate change/environmental issues and the cost of living are three things that should be heavily pushed during the election. National is under attack when privatisation is a central issue. They are exposed on environment and climate issues. There is a anti coal campaign in Southland ramping up, anti deep sea oil campaign on the East Coast and others not far off being launched. Under National it is: more fossil fuels, more mining, more motorways. 50,000 marched against Brownlee and the brown coal gang last year… offer a counter vision of Eco Cities, clean energy, rail and green jobs.

    The cost of living is ever increasing, while Key drives around in helicopters, BMWs etc. Bill English bails out his mates, and bails on New Zealand, while Chinese etc mining companies come in for back room deals, conveniently at a time when SOEs are for sale. Privatisation will hurt national, deeply. Wellington and Auckland voted against it by removing Tory Mayors.  Connecting privatisation to the rising cost of living and climate etc issues is the next logical step. Build on strengths, attack Nationals weakness.

    They lost members when the anti mining march was on, and had to backdown. Hit them in the same spot, and build a counter vision and narrative. Fix the country, fix the economy, protect workers and the environment.

  13. Gerry Brownlee is a liability to National and Hekia is doing a really bad job as temp energy minister too. Attacking Brownlee makes more sense that going for Key. There is a reason SOE Minister, Simon Power decided to leave pre the massive asset sale… Dig in. Make a plan, that inspires NZ and get stuck in.

  14. SHG 14

    Any authorising statements on the signs? We are in an election year after all. 

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Go read the electoral act again silly billy

    • Yep there is an authorisation on the sign.  Not easily visible in a snapshop but it is there.

      • SHG 14.2.1

        Yep there is an authorisation on the sign.  Not easily visible in a snapshop but it is there.

        Ah, OK. That would have been an expensive mistake otherwise.

      • PeteG 14.2.2

        Is “vote Labour” regarded as sufficient authorisation? That’s all I can see on the example on Red Alert and the phot on Kiwiblog.

        In past elections signage had to show authorisation with a person’s name.

    • Carol 14.3

      Update from Andrew Geddis:

      Has Labour managed to stuff up even a pretty good idea? [Turns out no – not as much as I prematurely thought.]

      [Update: I’ve had an email from a Labour source to tell me “there have been several print runs with different slight variations in the size of the promoter statement, but all authorised as far as i’m aware – the latest is attached.” Mickey Savage makes a similar point in the comments below.
      That being the case, then mea culpa and apologies for jumping the gun. I was mislead by this photo of the sign – the authorisation is so small it just didn’t show up on the image.]


  15. Francisco Hernandez 15

    This is why Labour will lose this year.

    When our we start trying to get a campaign rolling, which is likely looking like it will be effecitve in terms of:
    1. De-presidentializing the election
    2. Running an issues based campaign
    3. Highlighting a really unpopular National Party policy.
    and to top it all off:
    4. Get free publicity from the media (as it happening now)
    – the above things are the hallmarks of a successful campaign.

    The first thing that a left-wing blog does is to criticize and piss on it.

    I hope you’ll be thinking long and hard on your actions this election mate when the National Party continues to cut the safety nets of society and sell off our state assets. It’s fair-weather friends like this that will lose the left the election.

    • IrishBill 15.1

      Firstly, I’m not your “mate”. Secondly I’ve got a bit sick of the cock-ups. Admittedly it was reading about the lack of authorisation (which subsequently turned out to be misreported by Pundit) that pushed me into commenting on it. I probably would have let it pass me by otherwise.

      One final thing. Criticism from left wing blogs isn’t why labour will lose this year. If you believe that you’re deluded.

      If labour loses this year it will be because they’ve failed to articulate what they stand for and failed to connect with their membership, their supporters, their allies and the public. Which is a crying shame. But it’s not my fault, or the media’s fault no matter how much you would like it to be that simple.

      • Francisco Hernandez 15.1.1

        So you don’t take responsibility for the fact that you’re buying the right-wing spin hook, line and sinker without even attempting to try and counter-act the spin or running a fact check?

        If Labour loses this year, it will because of lazy fair-weather friends giving up and refusing to challenge the dominant media memes.

        Of course part of it will be because Labour has ‘failed to articulate what they stand for and failed to connect with their membership, their supporters, their allies and the public.’

        But in this campaign, Labour is clearly articulating what we stand for “STOP ASSET SALES VOTE LABOUR” – is as simple as you get. Labour will fail to connect with their membership, their supporters, their allies and the public because of a hostile media climate and right-wing spin, which to be quite frank – you’re helping.

        Stop running Farrar lines comrade. Take some responsibility for your actions.

        • IrishBill

          Stop drinking the cool aide pal. You remind me of the partyline types that walked unquestioningly into the arms of the neo libs in the 80’s.
          Also. Take a week off for the running Farrar’s lines crack. You’ve got no fucking idea.

          • Francisco Hernandez

            I might be a party hack but I’m not a party-line hack. 

            I was one of the fiercest critics of Labour expelling Chris Carter (when a Labour MP criticizes Goff for shit-can leadership skills he gets kicked out, but when Damien O’Connor makes bigoted remarks about gay people he gets… a slap on the wrist?) 

            I supported Goff getting rolled when the Hughes-gate broke.

            • IrishBill

              Okay. You’re unbanned then. Just don’t pull this lefter than thou shit on me. It’s not like I haven’t been hearing that judean peoples front bullshit for decades.

              • Francisco Hernandez

                Thanks. In hindsight, it was too aggressive of me to claim that this would help National win the election. Healthy debate and discussion is part of the Left’s founding principles.

                Going by my own theory, you’re helping Labour by bringing more attention to this. MOre attention = more coverage of the Labour Stop Asset Sales Campaign.

  16. As the “unhelpful” author of the claim that the signs were not authorised, mea culpa. I rushed to judgment based on photographs (in which the promoter’s statement is so small as not to be visible), rather than seeing the actual signs. So … sorry for a misdirect.

    I’ve also also posted some thoughts on the responsibility of a blogger to ensure accuracy in the comments section to my post, which hopefully go some way to explaining why these errors will happen.

    • r0b 16.1

      Well said I reckon.  Most of we bloggers are doing this part time without resources. Mistakes will be made sometimes.  Important thing is that we step up and own them.  As you have here.

    • Ten Miles Over 16.2

      Andrew, technically you’re not really wrong.
      The Promoter Statement on the Stop Asset Sales signs verges on deliberately obscured as opposed to clearly visible, which is the requirement under the Electoral Act. 
      I have begun the process for a determination on this, so don’t concede until the proper arbiter has ruled.

    • SHG 16.3

      Indulge me while I get all meta.

      Is a photograph of an electoral advertisement an electoral advertisement?

      If I take a photo of a sign that carries an authorisation statement and then distribute the photo across the Internet at a resolution in which the statement is totally invisible, have I broken the law?

    • seeker 16.4

      Thanks Andrew. I’ve usually looked forward to, and respected , your views on Pundit. Now I can return to my former ‘at least I can usually rely on Andrew Geddis to have some reasonably fair, objective, intelligent and informed insight and commentary’ state. Happy Easter.

  17. Irascible 17

    Here is yet another example of the crosby-textor spin on an effective campaign against the actions of a corrupt government. It is unfortunate that the “media” have seized on the spin to be a justification for the public to ignore the policies being attacked in the campaign.
    We should be erecting road signs on all major intersections and Airport terminals reading: STOP!!! DEAD-END. YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE THIRD WORLD. signed John Key.
    That should be sufficient to get a real, substantive reaction by the “media.”

    • SHG 17.1

      Yes, of course. IrishBill is a Crosby-Textor sleeper agent. It all seems so obvious now…

  18. Maynard J 18

    I read the blog post, I read the comments, and read the post again.

    Anyone else notice not a single person gave any defence whatsoever to the main point that this campaign is of such limited scope that there are some signs around the place, and a vague idea the left don’t want to sell stuff, and that’s about it?

    Which is exactly what Irish was saying.

    • PeteG 18.1

      What do you mean, limited scope? If they can discredit John Key then they’ll win, don’t you know that? National are nothing without Key’s popularity, take him down and ah, um, maybe no one will vote for them and there will be, um, maybe hopefully a few Labour faithfuls left who might vote. Or something.
      Who the hell runs their strategies? Chris Carter?

  19. I for one think that the “STOP ASSET SALES” signs is EXTREMELY effective.
    Campaigning on the issues, especially opposition to asset sales worked in the Botany by-election – the ONLY poll that counts!
    I can’t understand how people are buying into the pro-corporate campaign to constantly pick at undermine Labour at every opportunity – in order to to assist National to ideally get the numbers to govern alone.
    Honestly folks!
    WAKE UP!
    SIGNS are HUGELY effective – and asset sales are HUGELY unpopular.
    No wonder there has been this rather pathetic ‘beat up’ about these signs being ‘unlawful’?
    Where are all the National Party signs which say:
    “Support asset sales!
    Vote National!”
    Haven’t seen ONE of these signs yet – ANYWHERE!?
    Why on earth do you think THAT is? 😉
    Support for ‘partial privatisation’ is the policy John Key announced on 26 January 2011, supported by Roger Kerr of the NZ Business Round Table and other business leaders.
    So – why aren’t National ‘front-footing’ their ‘partial privatisation’ – pro-asset sale policy?
    Could the over 9000 (former?) National Party voter ‘no show’ in the Botany by-election – be evidence that even significant numbers of ‘Tories’ – don’t support asset sales – especially of electricity SOEs?
    Penny Bright

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