Bridges and his cheerleaders

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, July 29th, 2018 - 112 comments
Categories: education, john key, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized - Tags: , , ,

Reading the media leading up to this weekend’s National Party Conference I could not believe how uniform the analysis was. Basically cheerleading stuff.  Everything is fine.  National’s polling was great and it is early days for Simon Bridges.

It brought back for me strong memories of David Cunliffe’s early months as Labour’s leader.  I appreciate that the situation back then was complex but the contrast in treatment is startling …

Stacey Kirk was first up.  In as idolatry fawning  piece of writing you can imagine she reviewed his early days as a tough nut prosecutor.

It starts with this:

Politicians are routinely accused of speaking for effect, but when it comes to law and order, National Party leader Simon Bridges has walked the walk. Have his crime-fighting days warped his view?

She then reviewed his first major case and suggested that he, single handedly, put a bad bastard away for 21 years.  My 34 years in the law allows me to note that most cases are fairly predictable in their outcome, and a domestic violence case where death ensues from stabbing and there is ample evidence of premeditation and there is only one suspect is generally a foregone conclusion.  Also police do the donkey work in these cases.  The Crown lawyer  is there to present rather than formulate.

She lets Bridges conclude with as good a piece of political propaganda as you could hope for:

Now, as the current Government looks at possible areas for major reform, Labour and National are locked in a battle over how to reduce prisoner numbers and the potential outcome of building a new prison that most official forecasts suggest doesn’t come close to being big enough.

“What my experience in cases like Robertson, Reihana and others shows me is that if you have softer bail laws, sentencing laws and parole laws like some of those proposed, what you’ll effectively do is make the system work less well and you’ll see more crime, more victims,” he says.

But the “easy option” was no option.

“That doesn’t work for me, and I don’t think it works for most New Zealanders because it may mean fewer people in jails, but ultimately mean more crime on the streets.”

I should not be surprised.  Kirk has form for this sort of fawning PR piece about National.

The Herald has also lept in and provided support for Bridges, specifically about National’s recent polling.

First up was Audrey Young who a few days ago let Bridges frame his dismal polling in this way:

So did the voters like him?

“Yeah I think they did. I’d often had the remark that ‘you’re pretty good, we like you, we like what you’re doing’.”

Likeability was important, said Bridges, but it was not the only factor. Work-rate mattered and giving people a sense that you are capable of doing the big job.

“I want to make sure I keep improving. I am a work in progress. I want to evolve. I want to make sure I am rounded in my policy bearings. I want to make sure I feel sharper today that I did even a month ago, that a month ago I was sharper than I was two months ago, that I’m sharp, that I’m giving direct clear answers to the media on behalf of New Zealanders.”

She then makes these comments about his polling:

… [T]he party’s polling average last month was 45.1 per cent, compared to Labour on 42.8 per cent, the Greens on 5.4 per cent and New Zealand First on 3.3 per cent (compiled by Curia on public polls including TV1’s Colmar Brunton and Newshub’s Reid Research).

Bridges himself has pretty dismal ratings as preferred Prime Minister against Jacinda Ardern (9 per cent vs 40 per cent in the latest Reid Research poll and 12 per cent vs 41 per cent in Colmar Brunton’s).

She ignores other polling reported by the Herald that suggested that the Greens and New Zealand First were both doing fine and Labour and National were neck and neck.

Then Claire Trevett let independent political commentator John Key get away with some pretty egregiously biased political analysis in these paragraphs:

Although National’s party polling has held up around 45 and 46 per cent, Bridges is still polling low numbers as preferred Prime Minister, especially compared to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Key’s own rankings were comparatively high from the moment he took over in 2006 and peaked at around 70 per cent in some polls when he was Prime Minister, but he said it was primarily a name recognition thing.

“Of course there will always be a focus on his personal numbers, but preferred Prime Minister is, in many respects, a name recognition issue. The incumbency gives you an enormous amount of benefit in that regard.

“Personally, I don’t have any concerns at all about Simon’s current personal numbers. I think the party numbers are ultimately what really matters and the other numbers will naturally track up over time.”

The outstanding feature of each of these articles is the complete absence of a contrary view, especially important where there is comment suggesting that National’s polling may not be so rosy.

The conference itself is somewhat starting. The level of choreography is high, it is as if the top brass are afraid to let their members say anything, I wonder why.

Yesterday’s big news was the return of charter schools and the writing off of Winston Peters as a possible coalition partner.

The charter schools announcement was frankly weird. Is this the best they can do? Pretend that Labour does not support poor kids by coming up with a policy from the United States whose sole actual aim is to bust the education unions?

And you have to wonder what policy will National announce next?

As for the comments disparaging Winston Peters it is clear what National’s strategy will be, even now, to destroy the Greens and New Zealand First and then beat Labour in a drag race. Good luck with that. Clearly National still does not understand MMP.

This was reinforced by its choice of keynote speaker, John Howard, who was Australian Prime Minister a gazillion years ago and won an election by lying about the Tampa refugees. Howard marked the occasion by suggesting that National was robbed of the last election.  His intolerance of minorities clearly extends to minor parties.

Simon Bridges claims that Howard is his hero but at the same time clearly has no idea of Howard’s past. Way to inspire confidence Simon.

Bridges big speech is today.  Expect something heavy on rhetoric, decrying the lack of business confidence, and short of specifics or vision.

 

112 comments on “Bridges and his cheerleaders”

  1. Ed 1

    The media lies.
    To protect the deep srate.
    If people don’t know that yet, they’re not paying attention.

  2. tc 2

    WTF is labours reshaping of TVNZ/RNZ along more independent and socially responsible guidelines ? Hootens free soapboxes, the panel and other right sided echo chambers need sorting.

    This is totally expected from nationals Herald and shills such as trevitt, young etc.

    Wasn’t this Currans only job ? sorting out the BS published as news in our media. Ardern needs to step in and sort this out quick smart IMO.

    Start with reversing Collins call on self regulation. A body with teeth over inaccurate statements being published without critique goes a long way to stopping these PR exercises.

    Massive fines for misleading the public or expect more of the same in increasing volumes across Mediawonks as well as they’ve already chimed in with a whinge about TVNZ/RNZ.

    • Wayne 2.1

      It is not the job of Ministers to try and control the editorial comment of public broadcasters. Pretty basic public service 101!

      Nor is it sane to try and change the law to deal with ones political opponents. Last time I looked we were still a democracy.

      This level of interest in National is inevitable given it is the largest party.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 2.1.1

        “Last time I looked we were still a democracy.”

        http://www.lawsociety.org.nz/news-and-communications/news/2012/november-2012/suspension-of-environment-canterbury-elections-breaches-constitutional-values

        “Legislation introduced and passed under urgency in 2010, without public consultation, suspended Environment Canterbury elections until 2013. The Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Amendment Bill proposes to continue the suspension of elections for a further three and a half years, to 2016.”

      • KJT 2.1.2

        “Last time I looked we were still a democracy”.

        Tax cuts for the rich, asset sales, TPPA, no CGT.

        Not to mention the suspension of voting in Christchurch, and elsewhere, because it wasn’t giving the results National wanted.

        “Democracy”, my arse.

        • Wayne 2.1.2.1

          All voted for in three successive elections.

          • Stuart Munro 2.1.2.1.1

            Yeah nah.

            You can’t claim a mandate for asset sales. The referendum showed that unequivocally.

            But, being a useless tyrannical fuck and an asset thief, you did it anyway.

            • Wayne 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Actually you did get to vote on that. The asset sales issue was probably the main issue in the 2011 election. And since National was elected it implemented its manifesto promise to sell 50% of the electricity companies. It is called keeping faith with the voters.

              • Stuart Munro

                Keep telling yourself that lie, buster.

                You sold us out you worthless sons of bitches.

                And if we had a real government you’d see jail for it.

                Where you belong, you and all your crooked accomplices.

          • KJT 2.1.2.1.2

            We didn’t get to vote on any of that. Just on the names of our dictatorship for the next three years. National knew their was a majority opposed to much of their agenda.
            Of course the man who said, “if voting changed anything it would be abolished”, was correct.

      • tc 2.1.3

        I never said anything about ministers dictating content Wayne so that’s a diversion. This is about having standards enforced regarding facts and not allowing anyone an unchecked public soapbox.

        Fawning sycophancy with no fact checking isn’t helping democracy but you know that wayne as it suits National’s dominance of the media. A dominance that’s been proven by quantifiable analysis of the media over time especially at elections.

        It’s another BS PR move designed to sway the gullible which I’ve no issue as long as it’s got the header ” Sponsored by the national party”. Just like any ad which is what they are.

        About time that got addressed in the interests of proper democracy not your ECAN styled one Wayne. But hey you’re a smart guy you know that already.

  3. Anne 3

    The government has been unusually quiet over recent weeks and I’m not sure why. They seem to have been letting their opponents off the hook on a few issues. If they don’t pull their socks up soon people will start to believe the current meme [cultivated by the Nats and their MSM supporters] that they are “weak and in disarray”.

    Watch Bridges enlarge on this theme in his speech to day!

    • One Two 3.1

      Opponents…off the hook…

      Nah it’s intentional, as they’re all on the same team…

      Same sponsors, same ideology…

      Same outcomes…

  4. Cinny 4

    Old white men endorse outgoing national party leader simon bridges.

  5. dV 5

    Is it Odd that Key isn’t there as a cheer leader?

    • veutoviper 5.1

      He is. A good idea is to check before you click.

        • veutoviper 5.1.1.1

          Sorry, but there has been quite a bit of publicity about two ‘old timers’ being at the conference – Howard and Key – both before the conference and from the conference.

          For example, Claire Trevett’s latest report entitled “National Party conference a bride short of a wedding” quips that –

          The National Party conference is something like a wedding with a nervous groom, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

          The blue came in the new hues of blue on the conference programme, more calm and muted shades than the bright teal preferred by former Prime Minister John Key.

          That programme cover promised the ‘new”. “new team, new ideas, new zealand ” it read, all in trendy lower case. The other ‘new’ was National’s place in Opposition rather than Government.

          The old came in the form of Key himself, as well as reassuring noises for the more traditional National supporters from leader Simon Bridges that the party would stick to the old when it came to economic policies. …

          Actually it is quite an entertaining read and has dropped the fawning of her article yesterday morning before the start of the conference.
          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=12097119

          • dV 5.1.1.1.1

            Yes found that later.
            Enjoyed the heading–
            Nat short of a bride at a wedding.

            • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I bet the delegates are keen for some ‘hate speech wedding cake’
              One thats all white outside and fruitcake inside.

            • greywarshark 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Could be said to be short of a sandweich at the (wedding) picnic.
              dukeofurl – Very good one.

          • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1.1.2

            “…a bride short of a wedding” quips that –

            The National Party conference is something like a wedding with a nervous groom, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.”

            Weird. Watching, for my sins, Our Former Leader doing what he does scenes from this movie….

            ….slithered into my mind.

            Ooooos! Maggots!

    • Incognito 5.2

      Not really, you don’t want one single cheerleader overshadowing the new Captain or, in fact, the whole Team of Players. That said, this Annual Conference is more about the cheerleaders than anything. Do we get a blue fireworks display from the Sky Tower tonight?

      Edit: I did not pre-check, obviously, but my comment stays, anyway …

      • veutoviper 5.2.1

        I agree with your ‘overshadow’ comment, and quite a few people have been surprised at Bridges’ choice to have both Howard and Key there and speaking. also see what Claire Trevett’s article says today. LOL.

        Link and quote at 4.1.1.1 above.

    • mary_a 5.3

      @ dv (4) … Don’t worry Key has been rolled out. He’s there alright as expected, in an effort to raise Natz drooping profile. What a laugh.

      • greywarshark 5.3.1

        Drooping heads, they need a water but have siphoned it off to tyhe dairy farmers and exported overseas. Are they trying to put out the California fires with our water? That will be next – siphon it off for next to nothing and sell it at huge prices loaded with toxic firefighting chemicals in emergencies.
        (If any private equitier/rentier uses this idea I want a decent percentage – will settle for anything over 10%).

  6. Kat 6

    The National party is like a swotted cockroach on its back giving the air a few final limp kicks with its spindly legs.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      You mean before it flips back over and continues as if nothing had happened?

      • Kat 6.1.1

        This particular fat cockroach will have to slim down before it can flip over and carry on.

    • Stuart Munro 6.2

      And, like a cockroach, it runs perfectly well without a brain.

      • greywarshark 6.2.1

        Yes cockroaches are not troubled by brain-driven scruples and are said to be able to survive any disaster – likely to be one of the last living creatures after fires etc.
        * Cockroaches’ ability to withstand extreme radiation exposure may come down to their simple bodies and slower cell cycles.
        Sounds like National supporters!

        https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/fascinating-cockroach-facts/

        * A cockroach can live for a week without its head.
        * The American cockroach has shown a marked attraction to alcoholic beverages, especially beer. They are most likely attracted by the alcohol mixed with hops and sugar.
        * Because they are cold-blooded insects, cockroaches can live without food for one month, but will only survive one week without water.
        * A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes, and can even survive being submerged under water for half an hour. They hold their breath often to help regulate their loss of water.

  7. AB 7

    National’s cheerleaders reputedly climbed 44% of the way up the Sky tower and declared that “the view from the top is magnificent”.

  8. AB 8

    I can recall John Howard many years ago interviewed on tv by Kim Hill and smugly defending the Iraq invasion.
    The guy is so ethically compromised you need a Dettol bath after mentioning his name.

  9. Incognito 9

    I want to make sure I feel sharper today that I did even a month ago, that a month ago I was sharper than I was two months ago, that I’m sharp …

    Simon sounds like an ad for a razorblade.

    Obviously, Simon is not sharp, he’s slick, but it would make a nice contrast with the bluntness of Judith and the empty-stomach feeling I get when I hear Paula speak.

    The National Party has always been a strictly hierarchical Ponzi scheme organisation with authoritarian tendencies, which I find hugely ironic since they proclaim to have Personal Responsibility as one of their banner values. The incongruence is clearly lost on most of their supporters too.

    • Anne 9.1

      Supporters of the National Party – and right wing parties in general – don’t have thoughts. Instead they are mouth pieces for the propaganda that rolls of the tongues of their leaders. They rarely have any input into policy because policy is the domain of the hierarchy and it is not for mere members to meddle in such activity.

      Their purpose for existing is to
      a) maintian the membership list for public consumption.
      b) donate copiously to the party coffers.
      c) turn up to events… clap and cheer when told to…
      d) support policy and declarations of intent without having a clue exactly what they are and/ or why they support them.
      e) Keep their mouths shut and leave all the talking to their leaders.

      Anyone who doesn’t agree to abide by all of the above will quickly find themselves out in the cold. Contrarian opinions are not tolerated!

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        Indeed, the group think is strong with National and its supporters but I don’t find Labour (or NZF) much better in this regard and it shows here on TS as well, sadly, I have to say.

        It is a hallmark of established power structures and also a typical trait of people in power to show an increasing bias against contrary views and contests of ideas, at least in public. A consensus approach that requires inclusion of and participation by the rank & file is my preferred option as it offers a better (the only?) chance of truly progressive politics.

        I could write a whole Guest Post on it but with Weka’s disappearance from TS this is no longer realistic …

        • Anne 9.1.1.1

          I could write a whole Guest Post on it but with Weka’s disappearance from TS this is no longer realistic …

          Why not Incognito? Plenty of us would welcome your views on this subject.

          I agree, there are aspects of the established power structures that exist in other parties – in particular NZ First – but nothing like to the same degree as National and their off-shoot ACT.

          I can attest to this because I actually joined one of those r.w. parties to check out how they tick. It was years ago but the basic premise on which they operate hasn’t changed. It astonished me how little input the members have in formulating policy or philosophical positions. They would turn up to gatherings and be told what to believe and they would accept it without a murmur. I kid you not!

          Whereas Labour is the opposite. Go to a conference or workshop and the members are fully co-opted into the decision making process. It may not be obvious to those on the outside, but Labour is way more democratic by nature than their r.w. counterparts. Of course the Greens are even more democratic, but they do have the ‘luxury’ of being a smaller party which helps to make it possible.

          • KJT 9.1.1.1.1

            Google. Authoritarian followers.

            In the West, right wing parties appeal to those who want others to do their thinking for them.

          • Incognito 9.1.1.1.2

            Thanks Anne, good comments and insights.

            I am an (political) outsider but the majority would fall in this category. It is important, to me, that parties do show, to outsiders and the public at large, that they have robust internal discussions and sound decision-making processes and that not all is dictated from above by the ‘top brass’ of the party hierarchy (e.g. Caucus). To me, this is a PR issue as much as selling policies to the public, for example.

            I like to think that this would also be reflected by the supporters of such party and that they would be tolerant of opposing/dissenting views, aim for consensus, and be willing to change their thinking …

            By and large, politics in NZ (still) is very much a tribal affair in which talking/taking down opponents, external but even more so internal ones, is viewed & practised as the only way ‘forward’. This is not conducive to progressive politics and moving forward; it is regressive, reactionary, negative, and stale status quo.

            If there were a good vehicle to submit & post Guest Posts I would try (again); I submitted one to Weka around the time she disappeared and she was going to set me up with some rights (?). I’d like to think that more people could and would write Guest Posts; the current pool of TS Authors is (too) small although we recently enjoyed a few ‘old hands’ returning to the fray, so to speak.

            NB I don’t want to put blame anywhere; we’re all short of time, it seems; I’m merely ‘musing aloud’ …

            • Anne 9.1.1.1.2.1

              Yes, I think I know what you mean about guest posts. I submitted one once at the behest of a commenter or two who were interested in my take. However, I made the mistake of listing the points (time-lines in actual fact) without a preliminary explanation, assuming whoever read it would be aware of the background. It never appeared and I suspect nobody actually got around to reading it. A bit off-putting.

              In my view, the problem with Labour is that it sometimes goes to inordinate lengths to keep internal debate on policy and philosophical issues hidden from the public. It is in response to the MSM who, with a few exceptions, are hostile to Labour and will use any hint of disagreement as a punch bag to hit them with. It was particularly apparent during the Key years.

              A good example was the 2012 Labour conference where the media set up David Cunliffe to make it look like he was planning to oust David Shearer at the conference. They did it by rounding up the various parties then editing the subsequent film footage to make it look like there was a bunfight (without the fisticuffs) in progress. I was lucky enough to witness the entire scene. Later in 2013 Cunliffe did become the leader but in quite different circumstances.

              Hence Labour is shy of admitting the ‘robustness’ of their debates behind the scenes because of the way they know it will be portrayed by the MSM.

              This is not meant to be an excuse but does explain their reluctance to admit they don’t always agree with one another.

              • Incognito

                I hear you, Anne, and it is indeed a dilemma for Labour (but not just for them). The thing is, for me, that Labour cannot expect to take people along with them simply by saying “trust us” or “don’t trust the others (e.g. National)”, which is worse. In fact, every politician and political party must engage and talk with the people, not at them (patronising) or even completely ignore them (arrogant). IMO, they should communicate with the people directly and not (mostly) through third parties such as MSM. If not, how long (better: how much longer) can we pretend to have or be a representative democracy?

            • mickysavage 9.1.1.1.2.2

              Hi very happy to consider guest posts. Will work out what happened.

              • Incognito

                Much appreciated and I will try and get your attention when the time comes but I don’t to take up too much of your time; Weka struggled with that too, which is why she wanted to give me some rights (?) I believe [I’ll go back and read her message again].

                You can reach me using the e-mail in my comments; it’s real 😉

        • greywarshark 9.1.1.2

          Don’t like consensus. It gives power to the most demented determined. In practice – try for consensus, debate the dissenting view, note the dissenting views if allowed to vote according to one’s own judgment, make decision for on 80% or more majority.

      • OnceWasTim 9.1.2

        And in the ‘olden days’, tint their hair blue, and advocate for their ability to ‘sponsor’ the arts – little polished brass name plates on theatre chairs, and an interval at those events where they can name-drop and pretend their affinity with the performers.
        Times have changed. Now they have Paula Bennett, Simon Bridges and an enterage of others ready to ‘re-image’ and undertake whatever radical surgery is necessary they see fit to remain relevant. They’d change bloody race, ethnicity, sex, gender and even history if it was possible. The humble Holy Cow – it’s shit stinks just the same now as it did when I was a child

    • dukeofurl 9.2

      That ‘advertising approach’ is straight out of the Persil playbook

      The Cannabis reform is interesting , all done and dusted before the Conference – who would likely only want ‘harsher penalties’ if they were asked ?

  10. Wensleydale 10

    Stacey Kirk’s a journalist in the same way I’m an astrophysicist. Winston Peters gave her a serve a while back, and she felt compelled to write an entire opinion piece on it.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/98117407/stacey-kirk-what-its-like-to-be-on-the-receiving-end-of-a-winston-peters-tonguelashing

    She concludes by stating “The next three years will be exhausting.” Only for anyone who expects journalists to do their jobs properly.

    • dukeofurl 10.1

      There is a year gap in her CV from linkedin when she stopped ‘working in sales’ for Thales in Wellington and started a Journalism course at Massey. That was the same time that national was new in government and took on plenty of new staff ?

  11. veutoviper 11

    If anyone can stomach it, here is a very short video (1.02 min) of john Key speaking to media at the National Party Conference on why he supports Simon Bridges.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/national-video/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=196328

    Is it me, or does Key look decidingly ‘under the weather’ ?

    Update – and here is cheerleader, Stacey Kirk, with a longer video and article on Key again supporting Bridges but also issuing dire warnings about the economy …
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/105838453/john-key-delivers-stark-warning-on-the-economy-endorses-simon-bridges-as-leader

    Sorry, would like to put up some quotes from it but my PC is having a ‘splutter’ day.

    • mary_a 11.1

      @ veutoviper (10) … a quick look and Key seems a bit worn out and bloated looking to me. Perhaps the burden of being a knight of the realm might be wearing him down. Either that, or he’s about to be sprung for treason and other past devious deeds!

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        Brave Knight Sir John – He has sticking power right till the end and should be a star on youtube.

    • Robert Guyton 11.2

      Key won’t say “Jacinda”.
      Jacinda.
      Jacinda.
      Jacinda.
      Jacinda.
      He knows what’s keeping them out of Government.

    • Obtrectator 11.3

      “Is it me, or does Key look decidingly ‘under the weather’ ?”

      He always did, to me. Especially in those photos of him playing golf with Barack Obama. The contrast that his dumpy slouched physique made with the President’s erect athletic posture was distressing to see.

  12. mary_a 12

    Not surprisingly the first day of Natz conference was spent slagging Labour. Obviously no constructive policies of its own to announce.

    Natz predictably vindictive as usual. At this rate, Labour should have a very good run over the next two/three elections 🙂

  13. SPC 13

    National’s committment to return to “its” charter schools is puzzling.

    This began as an ACT contribution to a coalition agreement.

    So why would there be a focus by them on resuming it?

    I suppose it is indicative of how they use their house monkey (sorry Adams@thunder) aka Epsom Tea Party as a front for policies it secretly supports but does not want to face electorate scrutiny over during campaigns (it was rumoured they wanted to use an ACT coalition agreement to move to welfare term limits if returned 2017).

    • millsy 13.1

      “it was rumoured they wanted to use an ACT coalition agreement to move to welfare term limits if returned 2017”

      There is a press release on scoop put out by Seymour that drops a big hint to that effect

  14. Robert Guyton 14

    Bridges is promising smaller class sizes.
    Bridges is promising smaller class sizes.
    Bridges is promising smaller class sizes.
    Bridges is promising smaller class sizes.
    Bridges is promising smaller class sizes.
    Bridges is promising smaller class sizes.

    National have always believed that smaller class sizes improve learning.
    Always.
    Always.
    Always.
    National: the Party with heart

    • SPC 14.1

      Someone will have to replace much of the rundown classroom stock, then provide more for this to be possible.

      Oh and rebuild teacher training numbers, after the decline under National. Which will involve teacher pay increases.

    • Dennis Frank 14.2

      A puzzle indeed, inasmuch as it is a direct contradiction of their favourite ideology (big is good). No more Think Big? Perhaps the idea here is for Bridges to acknowledge that Muldoon was wrong in a covert manner: `think small’. Gotta be subtle, so don’t expect blue billboards at the next election with THINK SMALL on them!

      Did a journo ask him why National governments have not actually reduced class sizes? I expect not. Too obvious. Gotta be subtle. I remember in the fifties the standard class size was 30. What is it now?

      • KJT 14.2.1

        36 year tens, in a machine shop, last time I was Teaching, but that was still under Labour. I doubt it has improved.

        • greywarshark 14.2.1.1

          My brother was a ‘manual’ teacher, woodwork etc. He has retired promptly, possibly early.
          The kids are difficult to teach and the job was increasingly unpleasant. He is a quiet man and the kids were just too obstreperous to bring up to standard I think.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 14.2.2

        Natioanal – forever ‘learning’.

        Sharp response to planned class size changes (May 2012)

        “However, Ms Parata admitted in the current economy “trade-offs” were required – and there would be a $43 million cap on the number of teachers through increased class sizes.”

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10806385

      • Heather Grimwood 14.2.3

        You were lucky Dennis Frank to have known class sizes in the 1950’s of 30! 40 was the legal limit. I taught 43 as a first year teacher and again several times in next 20 years including one year with eight pupils with no English or English as a second language.
        It was in the ’70’s that Labour reduced Years 1 and 13 to 15 pupils.

        • Dennis Frank 14.2.3.1

          Interesting, Heather. What year was it when you had 43 in that class? When Labour introduced that policy in the seventies, did it actually happen? Can you clarify what you mean by “Years 1 and 13”.

          I had 5 years in primary school, 2 in intermediate and 5 in college (12). So are you really suggesting that they created class sizes of 15 all the way through?? I’ve never heard of that happening.

          • Cinny 14.2.3.1.1

            When I was at primary in the early eighties class size was in the low forties.
            This was under Muldoon, I remember this, because us kids all got sweet f.a attention. Especially the ones who needed it.
            Mum encouraged me to write to the education minister, merv wellington and complain, which I did.

            Currently the larger schools in our region have around 30 students per class.

          • Heather Grimwood 14.2.3.1.2

            To DF at 13.2.3.1 : MY first year with 43 was in 1953…….I cannot exactly define the others, but they were fairly closely following.
            NZ primary schools have 8 yearly levels/steps, followed by up to 5 more at secondary school. Many Yr7 and Yr8 primary were and still are in an
            Intermediate school though increasingly these two senior primary classes are incorporated into the secondary school setup.
            15 definitely became required max for infant beginning year ( Yr1). I haven’t personal proof of the Yr 13 (final senior year of secondary school ) situation, but understood the decision was that the first and last years were regarded as to be most in need of reduced numbers. Contemporary research suggested that reduction in class size had little significance to learning success until down to15.
            I realise much more research will have been done since, and learning spaces etc changed ( pretty obviously there was NO room to move about
            in former times, hard for children and teacher alike.}
            The crowding I speak of was partly because of the postwar baby boom, when most Yr7 and YR 8 classes were still incorporated in the primary schools, until more Intermediate schools were built. New immigrants were beginning to arrive too. Hope this helps.

            • Dennis Frank 14.2.3.1.2.1

              Thanks for the details Heather. My schooling was in New Plymouth then college in Wanganui. Your 43 in 1953 is drastically more than my experience but that could be explained by a mid-fifties reduction or regional variations. Anyway unless someone presents evidence to the contrary I’ll continue to believe that both National & Labour governments have continuously maintained class sizes around 30 the past half century and their policies advocating reductions have been false promises.

    • Incognito 14.3

      What Simon means is that National will ‘build’ (better: provide) more pre-fab classes, e.g. using shipping containers as they do for prisoners (nothing wrong with bunking and/or hot-desking), and increasingly replace teachers with BYODs and fully-automated assessment of National Standards. Next thing is to force Tertiary Institutions to provide MOOCs. Yeah, the future looks bright under National.

      • Visubversa 14.3.1

        Nah – it just means that there will be more Charter Schools with kids taught by religious fanatics and/or military dropouts and wannabes.

    • greywarshark 14.4

      But what will be taught under National (in classrooms under Bridges)? Reading and writing of cvcourse.
      Problem-solving? How country’s run and collectively provides for the needs of citizens. How to work out odds on the likely part or full truth of what you hear and read every day.

      What to do when climate change mucks up a tottering economy. How to choose food and grow vegetables that you stuff yourself with instead of sugary stuff and alcohol and drugs making you porky and unhealthy and unhappy, and your teeth and brain to rot..

      These things plus learning kindness to each other are more important than advanced maths and science which are 50-50 whether they are good or bad short-run or long-run.

      All these things are badly needed, and everything should be aligned with making children more self reliant, more questioning about outcomes, and more appreciative of the arts and music, and the wonder of being alive. Then it’s harder to stick it to others, shoot animals for practice in killing things etc.

      • greywarshark 14.4.1

        https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018655303/fostering-independence-and-social-responsibility-in-children

        Fostering independence and social responsibility in children
        From Nine To Noon, 11:24 am on 26 July 2018
        Educator Joseph Driessen talks to Nine to Noon’s Kathryn Ryan about growing independent children who have a strong sense of social responsibility.

        As small human beings, children have an innate drive to want to belong, contribute and feel valued by their “tribe” or family, he says.

        Successful adults – at home, at work and in the community – have developed and practised this drive, and display a high degree of independence and social responsibility.

        He says some families have a developed skills/culture to give their children the opportunity to develop this sense of belonging, contributing and accepting responsibility.
        Other families don’t practise these skills, and the children can stay passive, resistant, and “childish” for a much longer time than needed.

  15. Hooch 15

    I’m enjoying the coverage of the conference, so much material to work with. 9 years of anti teacher sentiment and trying to increase class sizes is simply wiped from memory. John Key warning of a downturn in the global economy, something Winston already warned about and was derided for at the time. Bringing back Nationals charter schools? As mentioned by SPC above, pretty sure that was ACT policy Simon.

    Top this all off with back stage press passes for Stacey Kirk to write her cheerleading articles and remove any credibility she had.

    • Robert Guyton 15.1

      “I’m enjoying the coverage of the conference, so much material to work with. 9 years of anti teacher sentiment and trying to increase class sizes is simply wiped from memory.”
      QFT. Thank you, Hooch.

      • gsays 15.1.1

        You folks do realise that when a Tory says smaller class sizes, they mean: lower ceilings, thinner walls (no need for insulation) and the desks very close together.

  16. Dennis Frank 16

    I’m intrigued by the Labour internal polling result that the Herald guy mentions: “This gives the Coalition plus Greens a seventeen point lead over the opposition.”

    Could the govt plus Greens really be 17% ahead currently? Does this Labour polling methodology have a track record of credibility??

    • veutoviper 16.1

      Which Herald guy and article, Dennis?

      Been out and want to catch up.

    • Craig H 16.2

      UMR results are reasonably accurate.

      • Dennis Frank 16.2.1

        If so, the next Colmar Brunton will have to show a bit jump in govt support. If so, everyone will be strangely reluctant to give Winston the credit. Journos will rush around like headless chooks trying to figure out why the sudden jump.

        • Craig H 16.2.1.1

          They’ll probably link it to a baby…

          • Dennis Frank 16.2.1.1.1

            Good call. Truth in that, eh? Never under-rate the effect of human nature on politics – just seen the AM show commenting on Jacinda & baby showing up on screen coincident with the Nats leader speech (10,000 likes vs 200).

  17. Tricledrown 17

    Bridges school teacher policy was a dumb idea as it highlights Nationals poor record of cost cutting cheapskate policy on education.

  18. cleangreen 18

    Impeachable construct of yours today Micky all hats off to you.

    I was schooled from early 1950’s when we had very few Millionaires and many average middle class people during the halcyon days of a strong socialist egalitarian society where no-one want without much a everything was cheap (except vehicles).

    Now we do live in a divided society where the rich rustle to control the 90% of us at the bottom now.

    Labour are clever as they used the MMP political system to their benefit and national are still stunned by MMP removing them from power.

    By the sound that National Party meeting and speech by ‘Simple Simon Bridges’ he still thinks that his party will take over in 2020??

    Yet he has not laid out any policies that will set them up for a takeover.

    Here is just one instance where bridges fell down recently;

    We meet in Gisborne last week with some local folks fighting to restore their rail services and one of the members of the rail group told me that they met Simon Bridges and asked him to reopen the rail service from Gisborne to Napier again if he got back into power, and he said (quote) “No that will not happen”

    So we and our East Coast/HB communites have just finally got Kiwi rail to re-open the rail from Napier to Wairoa, and that is leaving the rail service just sitting there waiting to be opened to Gisborne just about 43 kms south of Gisborne and clueless Simon Bridges won’t even consider reconnecting Gisborne to rail again?

    Even Bridges is failing to consider the carbon emission lowering of using rail rather than just more trucks by fixing a one km washout between Wairoa and Gisborne is not important to him and his party!!!!

    Simon Bridges should’ve been smart not stupid and considered rail as an asset, he should consider to reopen a rail service to the most isolated City in our country to the NZ rail system?????

    This one issue now has vividly demonstrated why Simon Bridges and his National Party will fail to win back the regions again sorry man he is, as he now is openly stating now he is connected to an iwi as a ‘Maori’, and that was after the iwi’s in Gisborne had asked him to re-open the rail service frim Gisborne to Napier for freight and passengers and he turned them down!!!

    He does not have the sense to ‘capitalise on to capture the people in the provinces like NZF has. He showed his idiotic stupidity to the communities Gisborne and HB already over this single issue never mind all thwe other failings he has carried out .

    • Dennis Frank 18.1

      Ah yes, the old nursery rhyme we acted out at primary school, Simple Simon Says. That was in exercise breaks, remember? Maybe it’ll become a popular acronym as we head toward the next election: SSS we have no regional development policy.

      Or rather, we have to fake one because our regions will go NZF if we don’t. But he won’t tell the conference that. It’ll be done in caucus, eh Wayne? So your point about regional rail is well-made CG.

    • the other pat 18.2

      yeah but to fix that 1km is a major capex…..and the area must get on board with chit to move on rail…..get that on paper with commitments and it may happen….its not just co2 cutting that will do it…..its containers/freight on wagons that pay for the line that count

  19. rod 19

    Harold Wilson had the best advice for Tory Party Conferences. Cut out the speeches and just have standing ovations instead.

  20. Hooch 20

    Blimey even true blue Tova has just given a rather uncomplimentary report on bridges performance

    • Jilly Bee 20.1

      Have a great chuckle just a while ago looking at the various news outlets online and came across this headline for Claire Trevett’s piece about Soimun’s speech this arvo – it’s priceless – and the article isn’t too bad either – Claire did stress in one of her pieces yesterday that she hadn’t indulged in the drinkies supplied to the journalists at the conference as she wasn’t slavishly praising the Nats as she is very inclined to do more often than not, and if she was a little under the weather today before filing her report, well either her or her sub-editor who dreamed up the header made my afternoon.
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12097422

  21. Robert Guyton 21

    “Within an hour of National leader Simon Bridges’ wrapping up his first party conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was peeing on his parade.”

    Sweet.

    • Grey Area 21.1

      I thought it very shabby as well. “Raining on his parade” would have been more genteel. But maybe it is an allusion to the habits of his former boss.

    • greywarshark 21.2

      I think the ‘peeing’ word should be clearly identified with the by line which was from Claire Trevett. Standard of journalism about our life-moulding politicians? Minus 5 I would say.

      • veutoviper 21.2.1

        The columnists and writers rarely write the title/headline. This is usually done by editorial staff.

  22. Pete 22

    I’ve just read on Stuff a lot of stuff from people who think that the National Party should have prior rights to certain days. On those days no-on else should say anything because the National Party has something important to say.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/105839447/bridges-and-ardern-in-battle-of-the-babies

    Just how cretinous are those people?

  23. Jackel 23

    Bridges isn’t Nationals main failing, that goes to the greasy power mongers around him that he cow tows to.

    I find the business confidence numbers curious given the fundamentals. It just goes to show where business in this country gets its self belief from. The Tories aren’t in and they’re all crying in their pretzels. That’s a weak form of self belief indeed for a nations businesses to base themselves on.

  24. swordfish 24

    From the David Cormack piece:

    Simon’s numbers were pretty terrible too. His favourability has gone into the negatives. This means more people dislike him as leader than like him. It’s got to the point where National front bench Mark Mitchell had to deny that there was any threat to Simon’s position. To have that sort of chatter break out less than five months after taking the role is David Shearer like. And Shearer’s now in South Sudan.

    Unfortunately the UMR site is down at the moment … so I can’t compare and contrast with the UMR favourability of previous leaders.

    But … looking at TV3 Reid Research’s somewhat similar Performance ratings … I see that at the same point into their respective tenures (5 months in) … both Phil Goff and David Shearer were still in net positive territory. Not strictly comparable but probably indicative. (Don’t have figures for Cunliffe)

    It’s been a laugh seeing Hooton, Audrey Young and one or two others desperately heading right back to the Clark and Bolger years to try and salvage some sort of positive vibe from Bridges ratings. As Micky implies … they sure as hell weren’t doing that during the Opposition reigns of Phil and the two Davids.

    What’s more, you’d assume from their analysis that Clark was on her notorious 2% Preferred PM rating jusssttttt before winning power in 1999. In reality, it was well before the 96 Election. Bolger, meanwhile, was competing with another more popular politician from his own Party (one Robert David Muldoon in the late 80s and one Winston Raymond Peters in the early 90s). That’s what kept Bolger’s ratings down. Sadly, Bridges doesn’t have that excuse.

    Then, further factor-in the astonishing disparity between Simon’s personal ratings and his Party’s fortunes. When Phil and the two Davids were suffering similar basement-level Preferred PM ratings to Bridges, their Party was also down in the doldrums … Labour in the 20s / 30s (same, incidentally, goes for Helen Clark in that pre-1996 period). Not so with National. Simon, in other words, is conspicuously failing to impress his own Party supporters. Indeed, to an extent that we’ve barely seen before.

    He just aint the innately popular, teflon-coated John Key figure they need to compete with Jacinda-mania (and, indeed, Neve-mania).

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12093806

  25. RosieLee 25

    Simple Simon

    Simple Simon met a pieman,
    Going to the fair;
    Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
    “Let me taste your ware.”

    Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
    “Show me first your penny,”
    Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
    “Indeed, I have not any.”

    Simple Simon went a-fishing
    For to catch a whale;
    All the water he could find
    Was in his mother’s pail!

    Simple Simon went to look
    If plums grew on a thistle;
    He pricked his fingers very much,
    Which made poor Simon whistle.

    He went to catch a dicky bird,
    And thought he could not fail,
    Because he had a little salt,
    To put upon its tail.

    He went for water with a sieve,
    But soon it ran all through;
    And now poor Simple Simon
    Bids you all adieu.

  26. Making 26

    John Howard…only the 2nd sitting Australian PM in history to lose his Seat! As for Key…over 8 years of achieving absolutely nothing!

    • greywarshark 26.1

      Surely those flaming Aussies didn’t pull his Seat out from under him? The first bright thing they have done in a century!

  27. Gabby 27

    Slick’s promising 10 new teachers for every electorate that returns a gnasty candidate. They’ll be used to staff the new charter school.

  28. Skinny 28

    The only reason old has beens Howard and Sir Teflon fronted up was to stop any rebellion and venting by the angry mob.

    Ole Winnie has a handle on it, he has seen it all before. Bridges & Bennett are useless and not leadership material. Anyone of Collins, Adams or Mitchell would clean up Bridges hand down.

    You only have to look back to last week during oral question time where Peters mauled Bridges to the point of embarrassment.

    They were a bit hasty moving on Bill English and should have waited longer before putting a knife in his back. So now they will be flat out to contain the party vote drift Left.

    • veutoviper 28.1

      I am with you on that, Skinny.

      Having Howard there and speaking as he did about the unfairness etc of the election result also allowed all of that BS to be aired at the Conference – but not by anyone in the NZ Nat party.

      Re Winston, he certainly has a handle on it. How did he manage to be on both the Nation and Q & A this weekend ?

      Winnie’s first appearance on the Nation before the Conference got underway meant his comments on Bridges and Bennett got good airing at the Conference even though Bridges was also on the Nation. His appearance last night on Q & A in its new 9.30pm Sunday night slot meant he then got the last word. No Nats on except Liam Hehir doing his darnest to hold up the Nats banner on the panel.

      And Jacinda Ardern’s timely Facebook video complete with multitasking by rocking the baby’s cradle with her foot while doing so was the cherry on top.

      LOL, well played.

  29. sam green 29

    Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
    A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
    Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
    To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
    rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

    So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
    When we come……….

    Oh dear …….

  30. R.P Mcmurphy 30

    Bridges has changed the part in his his hair from left to right in what is a display of childish infantile behaviour. unbelievable.

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