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Bugger the polls!

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 am, April 6th, 2014 - 83 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, election 2014, Left, news, paula bennett, poverty, spin, Steven Joyce, sustainability, workers' rights - Tags:

An article on a Stuff web page, written by Laura Walters and published last night, shows some interesting contrasts.  It’s a report on the protest last night by the Auckland Action Against Poverty, outside the Young Nats ball.  Some extracts, highlighting the socio-economic divisions in NZ:

AAAP protest young nats ball 2014

AAAP protest Young Nats ball

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) held a block party outside the Young Nationals ball at the Rendezvous Grand Hotel in Auckland this evening in protest to the treatment of New Zealand’s poor.

[…]

Bennett was MC for the ball for the youth political organisation.

Activist and former MP Sue Bradford led the anti-National chants at the protest.

Bradford said the Government was intimidating the poor.

“We’re letting the Young Nats, Paula Bennett and John Key know how we feel about what they are doing for beneficiaries.”

[…]

AAAP spokeswoman Nadia Abu-Shanab said the objective of the party was to show National’s policies did affect people.

The AAAP event included live music from Auckland and Wellington bands.

Abu-Shanab said tickets to the ball cost $100.

“The sad fact is, that’s more than many of us in New Zealand have left after paying rent and power. This is the harsh reality of being a low-paid worker or beneficiary living under National.”

Next to the article is a very slanted poll.  The question implies various contestable assumptions.  The question:

Can Labour turn its poll results around?

Yes

No

VOTE

Related story: Cunliffe upbeat despite sliding polls

The linked article is from 2 April 2014, and doesn’t cite the latest Roy Morgan Poll.

The placement next to the AAAP protest about income inequalities, also could influence people’s understanding of the poll: i.e. that the election is to be understood in First Past the Post terms, and that the election is more about personality politics and the “horse race” than about issues, policies and values important to the lives of all Kiwis.

Add to this, the report of Steven Joyce’s cynical take on the polls, as quoted by micky savage this morning on Open Mike:

In the 2011 election I think there were quite a few people that thought, certainly erroneously, because of the nature of the polls the election was a foregone conclusion.”

The election shouldn’t be about poll watching.  And for the Left especially, it should be about communicating directly with voters about issues that affect their lives now and in the future.

paula bennett inequality

 

83 comments on “Bugger the polls!”

  1. vto 1

    I saw a beneficiary with new shoes the other day. Paula must stamp down on these people. If they can afford new shoes then they have got it too easy.

    Paula Bennett must ban new shoes for beneficiaries.

    I also saw one driving a car and I even saw one walking around Fendalton.

    • Naki Man 1.1

      Did you also see that twenty one thousand beneficiaries forgot to tell Winz that they were having an overseas holiday. And we still hear this poverty peddling bullshit, what a joke.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        You don’t know many beneficiaries do you Naki Man.

      • weka 1.1.2

        “Did you also see that twenty one thousand beneficiaries forgot to tell Winz that they were having an overseas holiday.”

        No, because 21,000 beneficiaries didn’t have an overseas holiday. They went overseas. There is a difference that you seem clueless enough to not understand (makes sense, given you are clueless enough to be spoonfed Bennett’s propaganda).

        Went overseas allegedly, because the figure seems high to me and why the fuck anyone would trust figures coming from this govt is beyond me.

        Fact check that PG.

        • RedLogix 1.1.2.1

          My brother who is deaf/blind was one of them. Came and visited us for a few weeks. It’s the first time in his life he’s been out of the country and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

          If you are visiting family, and line up a cheap webjet fare to Aus, then all up it’s not an expensive trip at all. Arguably cheaper than living at home for the same period.

          Now if this concerns you so much, and you’d like to be in his position permanently I’d cheerfully arrange for it naki.

          • Naki Man 1.1.2.1.1

            Calm down RedLogix
            It sounds like he is one of the 1% that is not ripping off the system then.
            You should listen to the facts instead of getting all bent out of shape

            http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/listen-on-demand/audio/587562624-paula-bennett-and-sue-moroney–beneficiaries-traveling

            • RedLogix 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Nah – we are on completely different pages here.

              In my world these so-called benefits are a right. As a human being you have a right to not only to access a basic level of shelter, food and clothing, but to participate meaningfully in the life of your family and community.

              In a pre-industrial world there was no need for this because most people with a few hours work a day could provide the basics of life off the common land and resources wherever they lived. While this life lacked the material sophistication and security of modern times, it nonetheless had it’s own dignity.

              In the modern world most of these commons have turned into private property, for private profit – and this closes the door to a simple, self-sustaining life for most of us. In all the industrialised nations, some form of social welfare is essential for this reason.

              The only big industrial nation without a social welfare system is China, and this notably because most people still have links to their rural peasant family to fall back upon if all else fails in the big city. When those links finally break, China too will inevitably adopt some form of social welfare.

              No-one expects living on a benefit to be a flash or generous life-style. If you want more from life then it is fair to expect someone to make the effort to earn it – but neither does receiving one make you a chattel or prisoner of the state.

              It is the obligation of the modern state to provide an adequate base level of life for it’s citizens, an obligation that arises in exchange for the privatisation of the commons. This obligation does not run the other way around..

              It does not give the state the right to tell you where you should live, what clothes you can wear, what food you eat, who you are allowed to have sex with – or whether if you can arrange for it, you are allowed to travel to another country. These things are none of the state’s fucking business. In modern nations ‘welfare’ is something you can access as a fundamental human right – it does not turn you into a kind of third-class zombie to be sneered at, demeaned and treated as dirt whenever possible.

              • In a pre-industrial world there was no need for this because most people with a few hours work a day could provide the basics of life off the common land and resources wherever they lived. While this life lacked the material sophistication and security of modern times, it nonetheless had it’s own dignity…

                …and for many people severe hardships with very little freedom and appalling life expectancy.

                Why should everyone have a no obligation comfortable (basic) lifestyle? People have different circumstances and different needs – should they nominate how much they need to manage?

                If someone on a benefit leaves the country for four weeks should they have a right to continued payments and no obligations?

                Four months?
                Four years?
                Forty years?

                • RedLogix

                  …and for many people severe hardships with very little freedom and appalling life expectancy.

                  Ah the old ‘short, brutish and nasty’ myth. That’s a very old and simplistic idea – in all likelihood most pre-industrial humans, and especially the pre-agricultural hunter-gathers, lived reasonably tranquil lives and if they survived infancy, and managed to avoid a crippling accident would have every chance of living long and relatively healthy lives.

                  And life expectancy is only an average number – it doesn’t tell you much about individuals. A relatively high infant mortality rate might easily obscure a significant number of individuals living well into their fifties or sixties.

                  For much of human history there were barely several million of us on the whole planet. Small bands of people just moved to where the food and climate was best, and rarely had any reason to be in conflict with others. By extrapolation from the very few hunter-gathers left on Earth like the Kalihari Bushmen (who live in one of the most inhospitable parts of the planet) most people would need to ‘work’ less than 5-10 hours a week to sustain themselves.

                  The big thing missing was modern medical care. Accidents and infancy would have been particularly dangerous times. But all of that is beside the point.

                  My argument is that the modern state usurps the possibility for most people to live self-sustainably from the commons, and while granting property rights to some individuals, it robs everyone else of opportunity. Universal welfare can be thought of as the inherent cost of ubiquitous property rights.

                  Why should everyone have a no obligation comfortable (basic) lifestyle? People have different circumstances and different needs – should they nominate how much they need to manage?

                  Certainly we have more than enough wealth and resources to provide everyone a decent standard of life; it’s just politics that prevents us.

                  If someone on a benefit leaves the country for four weeks should they have a right to continued payments and no obligations?

                  As long as they remain NZ citizens on valid travel visas, and do not take up residency or work permits in other countries, then I see no particular problem in a right to continued payments.

                  After all I’d guess that the vast majority of the 21,000 being frothed about here have merely hopped over the Tasman to visit relies for a few weeks. The whole thing is self-limiting.

                  • Good comment RedLogix.

                    Here’s an interesting summary of the state of the debate over the ‘warlike’ nature – or otherwise – of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

                    A bit of an antidote to Steven Pinker’s take on this – though, to be fair to him, he also emphasises the environmental structures that lead to inter-group violence (on a kind of cost-benefit situational analysis – ‘to fight or not to fight’).

                    • RedLogix

                      Thanks for the link. I was aware that I was making a sweeping assertion without evidence – but that is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been reading as well.

                      There is of course the opposite and equally invalid myth of the ‘noble savage’. That isn’t much supported by the evidence either. Reality was probably something more complex than either of these myths imply.

                      After all it’s only a very modern conceit to imagine we are somehow smarter and superior to our deep ancestors. While the material circumstances of their lives were unrecognisably different to ours, it is entirely wrong to think that they lacked insight, wisdom and compassion, or did not experience the same creativity, joys and tragedies that we do.

                      Actually I’d like to add one more personal note. I’ve done a number of extended solo tramps over the years. I accept that these wilderness experiences, however remote and challenging, could never be the same as experienced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors – but I can say this – it is a mode entirely different to ‘normal’ modern life.

                      I found myself in a very calm, meditative, highly observant and cautious state of mind. I was very aware that I was only one false step, or mistake away from causing myself a problem. It wasn’t anxiety, rather a heightened awareness, and it occurs to me that this may well be how humans normally survive, indeed thrive in a such a world.

                      We’ve just become so entangled with modern life and all it’s distractions we’ve largely forgotten, perhaps fearful, of how any other kind of is possible.

                    • Molly

                      Interesting book to read on the ability of indigenous cultures to work within environmental constraints and provide as well as create strong community and inter-tribal links is Treading Lightly. Made more interesting by the fact that part of its audience was intended to be business practitioners.

                      As the culture before colonisation lasted 50,000 years they had a lot of time to get it right.

                      One practice that I recall from the book, is when a tribe had excess supplies they would leave in a designated trading spot for the neighbouring tribe to find. The receiving tribe would then leave their surplus in the same area, and both would be attempting to estimate that the goods were of the same value.

                      Environmentally, morally and socially this concept leaves the current form of “value-added” goods and services in the dust.

                      And I believe that studies show that most tribes only worked a couple of hours a day to provide the sustenance they needed – the remainder of their lives could be spent upskilling in crafts, spending time in nature, socialising, making art, telling stories etc.

                      The “myth” of the lazy natives which was strong in Australia, is logical.
                      Why would you work for someone for 10-12 hours a day in order to provide yourself with money that could barely support you? Similar to the meme we are being served now with low wages.

                  • Populuxe1

                    There may be a slight disconnect between Kalihari Bushmen being able to “sustain themselves” and maintaining an existence that stimulates and offers contentment to late modern humans. Given that history suggests that less developed cultures readily embrace the opportunities and comforts of more developed cultures – Britons and hot Roman baths for example – your argument reeks of a reductive and paternalistic romanticisation of the “primitive” life, but feel free to become a hunter gatherer any time you like. I shall miss your posts.

                    • felix

                      Willfully or otherwise, you miss the point entirely.

                      To live off the commons is an inherent natural right.

                • Murray Olsen

                  That’s not fact checking, Mr George. That’s just repeating Tory spin. I am beginning to doubt your objectivity.
                  Given the eagerness with which WINZ cuts benefits by “mistake”, the true number of beneficiaries travelling overseas could be as low as 37. I’d be surprised if it were half of the 21,000.

              • felix

                Well said RL.

                Pete (as most people probably do) starts from the assumption that the private ownership of damn near everything is some sort of natural order.

                I consider that assumption to be the single greatest stumbling block to widespread social enlightenment.

              • Saarbo

                +1 RedLogix

            • karol 1.1.2.1.1.2

              As I recall, 4,500 had their benefits cut because they didn’t inform WINZ they had returned to NZ.

            • Weepu's beard 1.1.2.1.1.3

              Those aren’t facts. Those are sound-bites.

        • Salsy 1.1.2.2

          Does anyone remember this?

          Paula Bennett, has confirmed the Transition to Work Grant, aimed at helping people get work in New Zealand, has been used to pay for one-way flights to Australia.

          http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/winz-pays-jobless-fly-australia-work-5261001

      • Mary 1.1.3

        The 21,000 is the total number produced by the data-match between MSD and Customs. Its says nothing more than that. Out of that number many people would have told Work and Income but nothing was actioned to remove the person from the data-match. The 21,000 also says nothing about poverty because many would have had their fares paid for by relatives. Many also would have remained entitled to the payments because going overseas does not necessarily prevent eligibility. It’s whether a person remains entitled to receive the benefit while overseas that’s important. So, for example, a person receiving the supported living payment (formerly the invalid’s benefit) may very well be able to leave the country for four weeks without their benefit being affected. The same applies to those caring for children. For those receiving a work-tested benefit again the same applies – if a person goes to Australia to look for work or attend a job interview then entitlement to the benefit remains. But because the MSD/Customs data-match is a “cut the benefit now, ask questions later” mechanism the statistics cannot reflect the reality of what’s going on. This then allows the likes of Bennett, Key, Collins, Shane Jones et al to spout off about how “if people can afford overseas trips then benefits are too high…” and “if people go overseas they deserve to have the payments stop…” and so on. Even people from the community sector like the national budgeting federation head was pretty quick to throw some scathing remarks about beneficiaries around without thinking about things properly and as a result playing into the Bennett/Key/Jones agenda. When people from the community sector start buying into this sort of rot you know we’re in trouble.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.3.1

          An inevitable consequence of exempting welfare legislation from the NZBoRA is that beneficiaries will be treated as though they are subhuman.

          The parties that respect human rights need to prosecute the scum that promote and enable this violence.

          • RedLogix 1.1.3.1.1

            +1.

            You’ve concisely said in one sentence what I took several paras above to try and say. There are very many good reasons why I have long been a very strong supporter of the UBI.

            But this is the best one of all.

        • andrew murray 1.1.3.2

          Hi Mary,

          I’m interested in your comment on the national budgeting federation, scathing comments.
          Can you advise a link or any other detail

          Thanks

      • Graeme Stanley 1.1.4

        Given the propensity to muddy the figures of John Key and Paula Bennett I do not trust her assumptions in election year More Benny bashing a hallmark of an oppressive regime.methinks

      • Princess 1.1.5

        No holiday mate. I have two relatives who go specifically to spend a little quality time with their Mum and Dad whom work in Sydney (By the way, Mum and Dad pay for their air fares).

      • Grace Miller 1.1.6

        Yeah, Naki Man, my attendance at a funeral last year was a GREAT HOLIDAY. Ticket paid for by my brother. Told MSD, even before the rule came into play.

        Couldn’t stop laughing. Had a ball. Yeah, nah.

  2. Whether polls are a good thing or not in a democracy can be debated but it won’t change the fact that we will continue to get plenty of them.

    The solution is to educate journalists how to understand and interpret polls and report on them accurately and fairly. And to help inform the voters what polls mean (and what they don’t mean).

    We will keep getting them, they will continue to influence our democracy, so we should learn to understand and use them better.

    • Paul 2.1

      Of course Pete….
      We have to have polls…..
      Governments have no power to regulate them…..
      Please….Pete. this is a blog site for grown ups.

    • Tracey 2.2

      do you really believe the reason for the type of reporting on polls is the journalists ignorance of how polls work?

  3. RedbaronCV 3

    Ther are at least 8 policeman in the limited photo above. Why don’t the nats have to pay for their own security? The crowd is peaceful and it’s by the police station. Wouldn’t one officer with a radio if there is real trouble be enough. Stop wasting taxpayer money.

    • amirite 3.1

      1000

      That’s an ugly picture saying to the masses “Police – we’re serving and protecting the privileged”.

    • Anne 3.2

      I’m fairly sure John Key was present.

      I went to a Labour annual conference during the Clark years and there was a protest led by John Minto outside the venue. A lot of noise but no threats of any kind. What turned it into a drama (so loved by the media) was the heavy police presence. It gave an aura of danger about the scene as if the protesters were all armed and known to be dangerous criminals. It simply wasn’t true. Quite an eye-opener.

      I can’t remember what the protest was about now but I do recall the irony of knowing most of the delegates would have agreed with them.

      • Roy 3.2.1

        Yes, Key was present. An acquiantance posted a photo from the event on Facebook and Key was in it.

    • Why don’t the nats have to pay for their own security?

      For the same reason everybody else doesn’t have to pay for their own security. I would have thought leftists would grasp that concept.

  4. captain hook 4

    the Nats are running scared. all the polls pretend that they will win but deep in their black hearts they know they are walking on a knife edge and they are about to be exposed for the grasping, lowbrow thugs that they are.

  5. Philj 5

    xox
    I remember a Muldoon election meeting in Richmond with mega police. Down the road in Motueka there was elderly ladies with tea and scones for Bill Rowlings election speech.

  6. fisiani 6

    The polls will go up and down and most people will cast their vote in September based on their voting intentions now no matter what the polls indicate. In all probability the election results in September will be approx. National 46% Labour 31% Greens 11%. ie 46 % to 42%. We can all vote for who we want but Winston Peters will choose who is PM. That’s one man one vote democracy. Move the figures up and down a bit but Winston still gets to pick the winner.

    • amirite 6.1

      John Key has to do a lot of arse kissing in the next few months.

      • BM 6.1.1

        I disagree, Key won’t suck up to the Maori gnome.

        He’ll make him an offer, either Peters will accept it or he doesn’t, if he doesn’t like the offer, Key will tell him he can take his chance with the coalition of the fuckwits.

        • marty mars 6.1.1.1

          Why do you call him, “the Maori gnome” ? Seems like a pathetic attempt at insulting because it is nonsensical.

          • BM 6.1.1.1.1

            Because he’s supposed to be really short, I’ve never seen the man, but speaking to others they say he’s tiny..

            • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1.1

              I’ve seen him speak on a couple of occasions – didn’t seem that short.
              But any snide nickname, whether it’s true or not, eh?

            • Murray Olsen 6.1.1.1.1.2

              He’s at least 5’10”. He is significantly taller than John Banks, John Tamihere, or John Key. You should really talk to more informed people.

          • Disraeli Gladstone 6.1.1.1.2

            And I agree with this. Quite pathetic indeed.

        • Disraeli Gladstone 6.1.1.2

          I’m not sure he will.

          Key wants to retire as an unbeaten Prime Minister. Key succeeds. This is his life history. He came out of his childhood well. He went overseas and became rich. He doesn’t want to lose.

          What’s more likely is that Key will offer Peters what he wants, “win” the election and then very quickly announce his retirement as New Zealand’s most popular prime minister.

          Leave someone else to deal with Winston.

          • BM 6.1.1.2.1

            Key’s only doing politics because he thinks he can make a difference and make NZ a better place.

            If he can’t create a coalition that allows him to achieve that he’ll pull the pin, it’s not like he needs the money or has no other options available to him.

            If Peters thinks he can play games with Key, the old tosser’s in for a rude awakening when Key calls his bluff.

            • Tracey 6.1.1.2.1.1

              i have a bridge id like to sell you, BM

              • BM

                Key’s apparently worth 100 million, the PM salary package really isn’t a motivating factor for him to keep doing the job.

                So the question for you is, why does John Key want to be PM?

                • Pascal's bookie

                  ego

                • Tracey

                  the question for you is why do you think you know what motivates john key or anyone else?

                  he wanted to finish the sell off of nz, cos that would be best for the people he has associated with for thege last twenty years. he seems to enjoy meeting famous people, actors, sports people and celebrities, and the royals, almost giddily so.

                  like many people who becomevery wealthy their peer group shrinks to very particular types and they misguidedly think that making lots of money means you do know whats best for people, including people you have known nothing about for over 30 years when you were determined to get away from those people and their lives.

                  your turn?

                  • Disraeli Gladstone

                    I think you and BM are both wrong.

                    Pascal’s Bookie more on the money. Key isn’t PM to make a great difference to the country. He’s also not PM to sell the country down the river and run away.

                    He’s PM because he decided being PM makes a good status symbol. Money can’t quite buy you that. Being Prime Minister can.

                    It’s why Key is actually quite pragmatic (compared to say a Collins). He doesn’t really believe in much.

                    • Tracey

                      I actually agree with you. I thought I was being too harsh stating what I really believe motivates him… so I only touched on it regardig his celebrity obsession.

                • Tracey

                  dont forget the knighthood, which he wont receive in nz, the country you say he wants the best for, but in london, at a palace.

            • Psycho Milt 6.1.1.2.1.2

              Key’s only doing politics because he thinks he can make a difference and make NZ a better place.

              He’s said himself he’s doing politics because it’s always been his ambition to be Prime Minister.

              • Tracey

                which makes it even more unlikely that he cant recall his pro tour stance in 1981

            • felix 6.1.1.2.1.3

              Bahahaha!

              By the way BM, when Key arrived in NZ with his 70 million or 90 million (or whatever) was it in $NZD?

          • Tracey 6.1.1.2.2

            if he is polling under 50% in popularity now, doesnt that mean he was formerly nz most popular pm?

        • Tracey 6.1.1.3

          you prefer your monsters four-headed BM?

          • felix 6.1.1.3.1

            Key, Banks, Dunne, Turia, Sharples. How many heads is that?

            Or perhaps he’s looking at the potential future arrangement: Key, Dunne, Unclecousin, Craig, Flavel and his +1.

            Jeez what a monster.

            • Tracey 6.1.1.3.1.1

              You can tell alot about Bm, HootOn et al, by when they stop answering, and which questions they ignore.

  7. captain hook 7

    polls, molls trolls.

  8. lurgee 8

    So the demo was reported on Stuff. Let’s have less complaining about media bias, eh?

    The first half of the opening post was fine. People should be reminded, continually, about the failure of the government to deal with poverty, inequality, lack of social mobility and the declining standard of living and security faced by most New Zealanders.

    Who cares about an uncontrolled opt-in poll on the stuff website, with a profoundly stupid question? (Can Labour do it? Of course they can. Are they likely to? Hmmmm. If they do, at whose expense?)

    Realistically (Not a word we like on the left) the election has to be understood as a sort-of FPTP election. The government will either be led by Labour or National. Something so strange would have to happen to change that it isn’t really worth talking about. In 10 years time, perhaps we’ll be able to imagine a Green led government, but I suspect not. And I certainly hope we won’t be entertaining the possibility of an NZ led government.

    And if Labour can’t turn its poll fortunes, then it will likely be a National government. No numbers, no government.

    • Stuart Munro 8.1

      It’s a concern because it forms part of the pattern of anti-left bias. As professional journalists Stuff staff know perfectly well how to avoid ‘wife beater’ questions like this. They should avoid the bias, or lose their journalistic privileges.

      • Populuxe1 8.1.1

        They really don’t. Have you seen what comes out of journalism school these days?

    • karol 8.2

      The article wasn’t easy to find on Stuff. It was already buried beyond the front page, when I accessed it. It was not front page news. That’s part of the way the bias works.

      Too many polls are a turn off for many voters, one way or another. There is too much focus in the media on politics as a horse race, rather than on in depth coverage of the issues and policies that impact on people’s lives.

  9. The 3News coverage was funny – shots of Young Nats in their finery viewing the protesting hoi polloi from a balcony, looking like Tory chinless wonders from some Ben Elton comedy. It was the most effective part of the whole thing.

    • BM 9.1

      Yeah, the whole thing looked a bit ridiculous to be honest.

      I was hoping some of the young nats had poured boiling crayfish jus from the top balcony onto the heads of the protesters below.

    • Jono 9.2

      I agree looked like two totally different worlds colliding. Classic footage… Ben Elton could not have staged it as good as tonight…

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