Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, November 28th, 2007 - 19 comments
Categories: dpf - Tags:

Never one to let the facts get in the way of a little party propaganda Farrar really has become the partyline-parrot.

It’s a shame he just couldn’t resist the opportunity to dogwhistle his party’s line on public servants with his meaningless and distortive post on relative growth between (in his words) “teachers and nurses” versus “bureaucrats”.

The core public service has expanded recently, and for good reason:

  • The biggest rise in core public service numbers was in the Corrections Department which hired 732 more staff, taking their total tally to 6332 – the department commissioned three new prisons in the year.
  • Inland Revenue added 371 staff taking its headcount to 5595. Dr Prebble said administering KiwiSaver was partly responsible for the 8 per cent rise.

So Farrar’s “bureaucrats” are prison officers, probation officers, and the admin staff essential for the operation of NZ’s popular Kiwisaver scheme.

Are these the jobs we’d lose under National’s slash and burn approach to the public service?

19 comments on “Blogwhistle”

  1. Lee C 1

    Yeah I noticed much the same so put it in the round file.

    I have to say this blog is really allowing National to dictate the terms of engagement.

    You post daily about Key, or if not Key, DPF.

    As a strategy for Labour success, I think it is short- sighted negative campaigning will back-fire on you.

    It’s fine while you speak to the already converted, but how is that going to win any new converts?

    The country has it good, so they will only eventually gaugetheir voting behaviour based on personality.

    Surely it would be better to stop obsessing about a little fish like DPF and start to promote why ‘You are Better off with Labour’?

  2. redbus 2

    Ol’ Johnny boy Key said the same thing on Breakfast this morning. Surely that’s confirmation that they will give the prison officers and supperannuation workers the boot. How lovely, and this after they gain 51.3% of a Herald digi-poll (which surprisingly asked only 912 people – does anybody else think they stopped before they got to 1000 because the last 88 people might support Labour and then they wouldn’t have a headline???).

  3. ragtag 3

    Reaally all your base you must be rather thick if you hadn’t noticed the NZPA articles very clear reference to core public sector employment outstripping health and education employment. Farrar simply echoed that. Why the NZPA “dog whistle”?

    The core public service has grown EVERY year Labour has been in power. Why?

  4. redbus 4

    ‘You are Better off with Labour’

    I think that they should stick to the new line; ‘It’s a Better Way with Labour’ (click the link on my screen-name). Why not post an article with that title and all the things Labour has done, and what they plan to do.

    If National can send a fuzzy message with nothing in it, then surely we can send a lovely message with actual substance!

  5. redbus 5

    The core public service has grown EVERY year Labour has been in power.
    Because, believe it or not, but those Government initiatives that win votes actually need people to work. I think I’d be worried if the Core Public Services were losing numbers – wouldn’t you?

  6. The Double Standard 6

    I thought that the public service was a verboten topic here because you didn’t want any discussion of the way Labour toadies are employed, while someone with a connection to a National press secretary is summarily dismissed, and anyone who questions this is likely to be attacked in parliament. Pity that everyone except Mallard seems to think that Erin Leigh did a good job.

  7. ragtag 7

    “I think I’d be worried if the Core Public Services were losing numbers – wouldn’t you?”

    No I would be worried if OUTCOMES were getting worse or staying the same with increased inputs. Guess what many are either getting worse (violent crime) or staying the same (cancer rates amongst Maori)despite the large increase in core public service jobs in those particular areas. But stupid is as stupid does so why don’t we hire all of NZ to work in the core public service since you believe the more pple the better. Perhaps we would have no social problems then huh?

  8. Wow. What a way to start the morning. I was expecting you to talk about yet ANOTHER “rogue” poll.

  9. Camryn 9

    I have views on the subject actually under discussion, but I’m more concerned with the misuse of the term “dogwhistle” on this blog and Kiwiblog. whistle comment

    To be a dogwhistle, it has to sound agreeable or uncontroversial to everyone while actually triggering the attention of a certain target group.

    AYB – You’re accusing DPF of distorting the facts, not dogwhistling. Comments of the type in question have an entirely different objective – converting opinions. Dogwhistling is more like preaching to the converted.

    Yes, I’m very pedantic.

    Lee C and Robinsod & I know how you feel about misplaced commas. How about misused words?

  10. The Double Standard 10

    Well, really, a 45% public service increase since 2000?

    Since DPF was really only re-phrasing the stuff story, I think the one blog-whistling here is ‘all_you_base’ – it is really an alert to all Teh Party apparatchiks in the Public Service to wake up, get politically active and defend their roles, otherwise they may find their cushy existence is threatened.

    After all, some of the most regular and frequent visitors to KB are Public Servants of some sort:

    * Parliament 6,661
    * Vic Uni 4,361
    * Otago Uni 2,463
    * IRD 2,095
    * Ministry of Social Development 1,191
    * Bell Gully 942
    * Treasury 939
    * APN (Herald) 796
    * TVNZ 560
    * National Library 534
    * NZX 127
    * Police Complaints Authority 127

    I guess we can expect to see an uptic in leftie troll activity in the next few days.

    Thanks for that Base.

  11. Lee C 11

    Camryn,”Lee C and Robinsod & I know how you feel about misplaced commas. How about misused words?”

    I’m pretty ambidextrous about them, actually.

    My understanding of ‘dog-whistle’ was that it described certain semiotically-loaded signs or language that would transmit a particular message to one group in society, while going over the heads of others because they don’t understand its applied usage. ie ‘Hollow’.

    Here’s another – ‘sock-puppet’ I derived great pleasure from looking this up when I was looking for a description of people who invent identities in order to covertly peddle converse views in another forum.

    The credit for this discovery is owed to Robert Owen as ‘Santa Claus’. He did well for a while, but blew it after about four days because he kept leaking little flecks of spittle every so often….

  12. MikeE 12

    I’d hardly refer to any IRD staffer as Popular, nor additional IRD staff being “core public service”

  13. all_your_base 13

    Camryn I see your point which is why the title of the post was “Blogwhistle”.

    DPF is posting what he’d call a “humourous quiz” – and a lot of people would see it as such. You and I both know that it’s about far more than that – containing a veiled reference to the politically contentious issue of public sector growth – a complex debate mischievously shoehorned into the binary “bureaucrats vs teachers/nurses” choice.

  14. T-evans 14

    IP as the Green Vote is so important in that poll
    Just posted this at Kiwiblog
    # T Evans Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    November 28th, 2007 at 9:55 am

    It does seem strange that the Greens are 0.7% in AKL
    That is only 2 people in the 300 people polled in AkL
    It would take 15 people out of the 300 to get the Greens on 5%
    So all this excitement is based on 13 people in AKL
    The recent Morgan poll had the Greens on 7.5%

    David Farrar knows about polls I would like your comment

  15. The Double Standard 15

    “complex debate mischievously shoehorned into the binary “bureaucrats vs teachers/nurses” choice.”

    Well, I guess you better complain to The Herald then

    In case you didn’t click the link here is the first para from the linked article:

    “The “core public service” is expanding at four times the rate of the public health and education sectors, a Government survey shows.”


  16. r0b 16

    “My understanding of ‘dog-whistle’ was that it described certain semiotically-loaded signs or language”

    Lee C, I would have thought that someone with an understanding of semiotics would have a more sophisticated approach to evaluating political messages / perspectives / parties. How is it that you buy in to one side of this debate so completely?

  17. deemac 17

    modern government requires penpushers! If you want to know what happens when you try to do without them, take a look at this article about how murderers go free in New Orleans due to lack of bureaucrats:,,2206214,00.html

  18. PhilBest 18

    How many of you guys have read “Parkinson’s Law? In the civil service, the amount of work to be done always mysteriously expands to fill the available time, irrespective of how many staff there are.

  19. deemac 19

    tell that to the folk in New Orleans…
    I know NZ is a tad behind the times but that book was written 50 years ago. We’ve all been through several rounds of cost cutting since those days.

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