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Business as Usual

Written By: - Date published: 11:13 am, February 22nd, 2016 - 65 comments
Categories: blogs, Dirty Politics, election 2017, interweb, Media, Politics - Tags: ,

Danyl McLauchlan over at The Dim-Post makes some observations about the latest Roy Morgan and Colmar Brunton polls out.

My reading of it: that two years into their third term, the Labour and Greens opposition have been quite ineffective in getting soft National voters to seriously question Key’s Government.

Voters have little motivation to even consider the alternative programme for the nation that Labour and the Greens are presenting (whatever that alternative may be).

McLauchlan says that it is astonishing that the party in government is still sitting at near 50% support in the polls three terms into their reign, but that none of us should be that surprised given the low impact performance of the opposition parties.

In his own words:

Opposition MPs talking about values and visionary aspirations and compromised sovereignty and the future of work and what a jerk they all think John Key is is all very well, but if Key’s government is seen to be doing a good job in delivering the core government services that voters value, they’re not going to change their votes. And they shouldn’t!

The full, brief blog post is available here.

65 comments on “Business as Usual ”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    It really is depressing that notwithstanding the governments proven incompetence and corruption, they maintain historic levels of support.

    I agree with your analysis that those soft national voters (probably 25% of their support) are not moving.

    It is even more worrying that the big bang policy announcement of free tertiary education does not appear to have any impact on the polls. The worry of course is there is now not a lot of room for more spending announcements, as they have banked a lot of this policy which hasn’t been received as well as hoped.

  2. Tc 2

    This is not the opposition thats going to dump key with its current agreeable manner and absence of passion on behalf of voters it wants.

    Little is captive to a middle of the road party lost in the crush and easy pickings for the dirty politics crew. Mallard, cosgrove, nash are albatrosses around their neck.

    Fire in the belly and some short cutting slogans are required so get on with it Andrew.

    Honeymoons over, its time to serve it back with interest and expose the soft underbelly of lies and corruption everyone knows is there but is not being hammered.

    The msm are not your friends, keep it simple as they are a large part of your challenge.

    • Anne 2.1

      I agree with Tc there is not enough passion in the Opposition parties. The only one who comes anywhere near showing passion is Winston Peters and… look who is rising in the polls.

      I agree entirely with Little’s ‘steady as she goes’ strategy and I’m not concerned the tertiary education policy does not as yet show any real traction. It’s a well known fact that Mr and Mrs Average Voter take at least two months to catch up with policy announcements and in today’s media pro govt. climate… it’s probably longer.

      But that doesn’t mean a political leader can’t express passion on occasion. One of Little’s problems is he has a soft voice and it does not project well either in parliament or when he is being interviewed on camera. At QT time Key makes a point of bending slightly towards and into the microphone and his voice comes through loud and clear. Little on the other hand seems to have forgotten there’s a microphone there and he’s often difficult to hear – at least on air. This might be seen as a small point to some but its not. Why has he not sought training on how to project his voice better?

      • The Chairman 2.1.1

        “I agree with Tc there is not enough passion in the Opposition parties. The only one who comes anywhere near showing passion is Winston Peters and… look who is rising in the polls.”

        Indeed.

      • Gosman 2.1.2

        Why can’t The Greens or Mana capture this mood then?

    • David 2.2

      Do you really think a new slogan is what is missing?

  3. Nelson Muntz 3

    The worst thing we can do is compromise our principles just to get a few swing votes. The best thing is to keep hammering the truth.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3.1

      The worst thing we can do is compromise our principles just to get a few swing votes.

      Just dumb. What it is you love about opposition?

      • Puckish Rogue 3.1.1

        I’d imagine that for the vast majority of left wing politicians a job in opposition is more money then they’re ever likely to see, short working hours and even shorter if you’re a list mp, you can say what you like without having to back it up and you can always lay the blame on someone else as to why you’re not getting cut through

        Its a great gig being in opposition

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1

          So much fail in so few words.

          • greywarshark 3.1.1.1.1

            Unfortunately OAB PR is an unreliable fellow. He can’t be relied on to come out with RW cliches and hyperbole all the time. Damn him.

            He in taking the mickey out of Labour is just saying what has been posited here a number of times. I think it is right. I don’t think they want to take every possible step to ensure they get the numbers to get in. I think they want to win on their own count, and stick to their own approach, not be a coalition, and march in to pomp and majesty with their chests sticking out, to the grand march from Aida, and then sing in three-part harmony I Did it My Way. And that’s their goal, not to jump in to the storm with a lifebuoy for us, with or without speedos.

            Your comment can read another way if referring to Labour, ‘So much fail in so few words.’

            • Puckish Rogue 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Well to be fair I think that every single politician that enters parliament truly believes they’re there to make a difference and that they will make a difference.

              However you have to ask the question of why someone like Trevor Mallard is still in parliament, I mean he was first elected in 1984? So I think its fair to say that whatever he was going to do hes done and really the only thing I can think of why hes hanging around is theres nowhere else he’ll get the same money, perks and the little bit of power that he has where he is

              (If people don’t like the Mallard example then substitute any example you care to think of…Williamson perhaps)

              • Gristle

                How about a limit on the number of years in Parliament. 12 years max for everybody except the leader of a party with more than 4 MPs (they get 15 years.) 4 Strikes and you’re out!

                Careerist MPs worry me, but not as much as technocrats.

                • greywarshark

                  I think 15 years for PM is enough to sink a country. The suggestion above that they should be able to do their good stuff in so many years applies. I think 3 terms of 3 years for PM. Mps can stay on an extra one so as to give a carry through effect.

                  And worry – here’s the vid I pull out to remind me not to.
                  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0e10baH6cE
                  Monty Python Terry Jones

        • Tautuhi 3.1.1.2

          Most of them are on the bludge.

        • Tautuhi 3.1.1.3

          Labour need to have some clear policy on where they want to take NZ and how they are going to do it? Otherwise they ain’t going to get the votes.

          Most NZers see John Key as an economic guru, and they don’t see any alternatives, unless Labour have something to offer people will stick with the status quo.

          People I talk when discussing how useless National are, say to me “what are the alternatives?”, hence National are winning via a default mechanism.

    • Chuck 3.2

      “The worst thing we can do is compromise our principles just to get a few swing votes. The best thing is to keep hammering the truth.”

      And yet the left are convinced salvation is at hand in the form of Winston Peter’s NZF to propel them into Government! Winston’s principles would mean more then a handful of compromises…so good luck with that.

      • ropata 3.2.1

        Politics is the art of compromise and yet everyone spazzed out when AL didn’t just baldly announce he’d exit the TPPA. Instead he gave a nuanced answer about bottom lines…

        Labour needs to (re)learn the art of over promising and under delivering (i.e. politics and PR). Without an appealing vision we are lost. (Ref)

        • Tautuhi 3.2.1.1

          The Natzis over promise and under deliver that’s what gets them elected, Labours proposed “capital gains tax” before the last Election went down like a lead balloon as most New Zealanders have their capital tied up in housing.

          It was like swallowing a dead rat for many New Zealanders.

          Promote the good stuff, leave the shit until you get elected, like John Key putting up GST by 2.5% didn’t affect National and JK one little bit and 50% of people in NZ still love JK.

      • AmaKiwi 3.2.2

        “The worst thing we can do is compromise our principles just to get a few swing votes. The best thing is to keep hammering the truth.”

        Here’s a novel idea: do what the people want, not what the caucus thinks are it’s divinely inspired principles.

        Labour caucus’s reply: “Can’t do that. That’s populist clap trap.”

        It’s called democracy. Got a dictionary? Look it up. The people decide, NOT the caucus.

    • Grantoc 3.3

      And stay powerless in opposition.

      I would have thought the ‘worst thing we can do’ is to stay in opposition in perpetuity.

  4. swordfish 4

    Had my say at comment 14 on Danyl’s thread.

    Agree with him on importance of valence issues, not so much on the notion that there’s been no change in the polls over the last 7 years.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Had a look for and read your comment on The Dim Post. The question now is, despite softer support than in 2008/2009 do the polls suggest that National can be confident going into 2017.

      I reckon yes, but a sustained 3% to 4% drop will have them on the ropes.

      • ianmac 4.1.1

        Pretty finely balanced currently but one day an issue that resonates will arise and 3-4% drop will change things completely.
        After 2014 Nat supporters talked of a “landslide victory.” Really it was/is a knife edge stuff.

        • AmaKiwi 4.1.1.1

          “one day an issue that resonates will arise”

          The issue is staring us in the face but we don’t have a Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, or Yanis Varoufakis to enunciate it.

          “People are angry. People are outraged because the system is not working.”

          Yes, I included Trump with the 3 Lefties because the majority of infuriated people will follow whomever resonates with their anger. Politics is more emotional than rational.

        • Katipo 4.1.1.2

          Yup there sure is not much in it, would only take a rouge government MP or another by-election to upset the apple cart, then watch the caucus and coalitian cracks appear

      • swordfish 4.1.2

        Odds mildly in the current Govt’s favour, I’d say.

        But this sudden post-May-2015 divergence between two sets of pollsters – Colmar Brunton and Reid Research putting the Opposition ahead in every single poll over the last 9 months, while the Govt leads in all of the Herald-Digi polls and three-quarters of the Roy Morgans – is beginning to intrigue me.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1

          It’ll just be the sampling model each company uses to try and approximate the demographic makeup of NZ.

          Pollsters that lean to the right might possibly have more of a ‘likely voter’ bias?

          • Nic the NZer 4.1.2.1.1

            I thought the Roy Morgan was the most reasonable estimates of actual voting. Is this incorrect? I had attributed some systematic bias to others. But this result jars with this certainly.

            • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1.1.1

              No idea.

              Roy Morgan has been preferred around these parts in the past because they published a poll every 2 weeks. The frequency allowed a better trend to be ascertained, especially when supplemented with polls from the TV networks/newspapers.

              But now Roy Morgan only poll once a month, so they’re not as useful any more.

        • Tautuhi 4.1.2.2

          Maybe they have different sampling methods?

      • AmaKiwi 4.1.3

        “Can National be confident going into 2017?”

        It ALL hinges on the economy. In early 2008, Helen was OK to get re-elected because the global markets were holding up. By October-November they were in a tailspin and ALL incumbents got trashed. Key has been re-elected on rising markets. If that ends (which I think it has), National will be trashed not matter who the opposition is.

  5. thechangeling 5

    The idea that Labour and the Greens are not making good responses to the Governments stuff ups is disingenuous. Good speeches in Parliament by Grant Robinson and others have been posted here but their snippets have not been screened or played on MSM radio or TV news which gives the impression there is no opposition.
    This is a deliberate and very effective ploy used by the right and their cohorts to silence opposition voices through their networks of business, media and political relationships.

    • ianmac 5.1

      Not so much to silence as much as ignore distract divert.

    • tom 5.2

      Absolutely correct.
      Until the left can gain control of the narrative again we are all stuffed. As the Corporate media is pretty much the only game in town in terms of the overriding narrative that most NZer’s are exposed to, they control that narrative. Not to mention the role the PR hacks in creating this false narrative.
      These, in my opinion, are the main battle lines of which the current political is being fought and won.
      Until the left can make inroads into this we will continue to struggle and have to push every idea against the vast current of RW (Corporate) BS.
      This is not an easy thing, and is getting harder and harder as PR grows and media is more and more controlled by Corporates.
      My belief is that the left political parties need to make the rise of Comms PR and the rise and rise of Corporate media as a main tower of their policy platform, as average Kiwi’s whatever their stripes do not like being BS’ed and spun, and if made aware will not like that PR is growing out of control like a weed, and is meaning that instead of our govt/media/corporates paying people to do things, they now pay more people to spin things instead, and just who is being spun, well all of us.

      The left when they get back in power must IMO as the very first thing they do is re entrench a proper media with an arms length charter from Political interference, and no advertising, so Corporates cannot interfere with the fourth estate either. Media must be de politicised. So the public gets a fair hearing of the facts from all sides of the debate, which has not happened in this country for a fair while.

      Also the left needs to plan some action to bring down the vast power of the PR hacks, especially as the left will never be able to match the Right for access to money – by the nature of the beast, the Corporates are always more aligned to the Economic right, so while the left stumble along against Crosby Textor and vast swathes of other PR groups aligned to Corporates, we are shouting in an echo chamber and that chamber is controlled by money, money that we do not have.
      An example could be making all PR companies be transparent about who they work for and what they do, how much they are paid and by whom, with auditing of their actions, making criminal any actions which undermine democracy. Lets make Comms people just that, Comms people, so they can openly advocate their clients position, but any underhand tactics need to be exposed and driven out of our world.
      As most of us, except said PR trolls and those who refuse to look outside the Corporate driven narrative know, that the Corporations and their minions in RW political block, are full of BS and outright lie most of the time, and if the public are given the full facts to digest, a move to the left is a certainty. Which is why the right won’t allow this to happen and why the left must make it happen
      Just my thoughts.
      A great summation of the rise of PR can be seen in Hager’s great book Secrets and Lies, if you have not and hate PR hacks as i do then please read this as a starter point

      • wyndham 5.2.1

        Didn’t I read somewhere that Key now has 27 PR bods working for him ?

      • Chuck 5.2.2

        Good god, why not just roll out the good old USSR again, state controlled media forcing private companies to be audited, with the penalty of imprisonment etc. Look in the mirror, the reason you are not winning the hearts and minds of the people is not some PR boggy man (or woman), its having decent policies and politicians that can inspire and show leadership. You will then find fundraising becomes easier, and the polls start to go in your favor, simple really.

        [lprent: Sounds like NZ under National 1975-1984. That was exactly how Muldoon organised it.

        FFS if you want to wank out some trite crap with such an effort of unthinking bigotry – then do it at whaleoil.

        But if you want to write here and not to be considered to be a stupid ill-educated and moronic troll trying to start a flame war, then engage your fingers via your brain. And learn some history rather than being a parrot. If you want to demonstrate that idiotic flamewar trolls like you appear to be are only useful as parrots speaking the words of others – then do your wanking elsewhere.

        Read the policy. Banned for 2 weeks so your finger tracing doesn’t cause your hands to be worn out. Deleted your two later reply attempts to deliberately pour gasoline on the flames. ]

        • tom 5.2.2.1

          F off troll, go somewhere where hack comments are appeciated, or read widely, learn, participate and be part of the solution.
          Who pays you to be on this site, or are you a fool who cannot look beyond the narrative you are having rammed down your throat.
          What is your expert analysis of Hagers Secrets and Lies then?

        • Puckish Rogue 5.2.2.2

          Well when you recall how the Labour treated Owen Glenn, Sir Peter Leitch and the Chinese community in Auckland they won’t be finding fund raising easier for a very long time

          • tom 5.2.2.2.1

            ‘Well when you recall how the Labour treated Owen Glenn, Sir Peter Leitch and the Chinese community in Auckland they won’t be finding fund raising easier for a very long time’

            You accidentally bought up a great point, that we also must take the private money out of politics, NZer’s do not want Owen Glenn, Gareth Morgan, Rich foreigners, and especially hacks like the Business round table, and massive Multinational Corporations using private money to influence our politicians, and as you suggest if politicians take them on, regardless if it is warranted, they can withhold important funds for a political party and hence influence our democracy.
            Not to mention all the money that skirts the political parties but assists in that parties goals, like the Think tanks and Corporations that assist in reinforcing certain messaging, say around TPPA, or Union bashing.

            If those wealthy benefactors want to help with politics they can thru their taxes, so the money is spent not on their personal, narrow political ideologies but evenly across the political spectrum, and they can have their vote like everyone else, anything else is not a fair democratic process. Example if i was a billionaire i could use that to influence an election undoubtedly, and that is unfair on the rest of NZ who only get a vote once every 3 yrs.
            So thanks for bringing that important point to the debate, even if that was not your intent and you were actually just trying to be a fly in the ointment

        • The Other Mike 5.2.2.3

          Typical Moran – can’t even spell “bogey” man….

      • Magisterium 5.2.3

        Until the left can gain control of the narrative again we are all stuffed. As the Corporate media is pretty much the only game in town in terms of the overriding narrative that most NZer’s are exposed to, they control that narrative. Not to mention the role the PR hacks in creating this false narrative.

        Narrative this, narrative that. What a load of tosh.

        Here’s what the left needs to do to get elected:

        NOT BE SHIT.

      • Karen 5.2.4

        +1 Tom

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 5.2.5

        Good comment Tom!

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      What the hell do traditional Labour supporters care about “good speeches in Parliament”? That’s all Thorndon bubble stuff. No one outside of the Thorndon Bubble cares very much for how good XYZ’s speech was.

      • AmaKiwi 5.3.1

        Precisely. Unless it gets reported in the media (“Zip it sweetie”), MPs are talking to the void.

    • Tautuhi 5.4

      MSM have got opposition parties f****d!!!

    • Mosa 5.5

      Perfect analysis
      Don’t underestimate MSM impact on keeping National in office
      Negative stories will always get prominence on tv and newspapers when it’s Labour related
      Anything that puts National in trouble you will find at the back of the paper every time
      Or not even given the serious attention it deserves
      The editor’s allow one anti govt letter to feature and that’s it
      Keep dissention to a minimum
      I have tried but I can’t see Little winning an election
      All the previous three leaders never rated above 12%
      None up to now really fired the public’s imagination
      Sure MSM can take some blame
      But Labour need to reach beyond that and really fire up and not be afraid
      Labour has a proud history and achieved a hell of a lot
      Maybe start there
      A lot of people are waiting for an alternative to the current shambles

  6. Gristle 6

    Good speeches in Parliament typically only have an audience the size of the quorum, plus officials.

    Ministers make pre-arranged 30 second sound bites as they scurry from Ministerial offices with the division bells adding an air impending deadlines and importance: 30 seconds full of answers to questions that were never asked. But give them the blue ribbon for “best in show” as they stayed on task and built the brand with a clip on the 6 o’clock tv news.

  7. greywarshark 7

    I’m reading a book first published in 1934 and again in 1947 by British social historians.
    Much of what they describe about the push for better conditions sounds similar to what is happening here and now. (The Bleak Age by JL and Barbara Hammond.)

    Some observations that seem to apply now
    After some unionists were transported to Australia as convicts, employers forced workers to denounce unions or leave their employment. The Grand National…Union with ‘hastily organised workmen was pitted against men made inexorable by their self-confidence and resolute by those stern qualities that had carried them from poverty to wealth.’ . ,,Its failure does not obscure the significance of the birth and life of this movement….something like a million men and women had left the routine of their lives, made sacrifices, faced dangers, and suffered punishment to proclaim to the world that (small) improved condition left them acutely dissatisfied.

    Francis Place*, one of the early Chartists said on one occasion that the working man would not do anything even for his own advantage if that advantage were remote, and that he had no desire to stir himself for the advantage of other persons. The writers say beyond that, men and women in their thousands were ready to follow any leader who promised them a radical change,..(however he talked),,,whether he appealed to the…trade unionist…or the peasant, whether to go forward or back, to build a golden future or recall a glittering past.

    The Charter seems to have been an important collection of aspirations that the working class were pushing for. 1829 saw the start of important rallying points put into a recognised form, such as The Charter. One movement was formed which became the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union in 1834. But that was the year that Melbourne in government facilitated the trial of the Dorset agricultural workers and their small union with eventual transportation to Australia as convicts. (From where they were eventually freed because of the support for them from the British workers and progressives.)

    Periodicals supplying information to the workers about their situation and the Charter were suppressed by the government by a tax that added 66% to the cost. Between 1830 and 1836 500 men were imprisoned for selling papers without the tax. Getting information to the workers was essential for their understanding and to maintain their support.

    The people trying to organise for better conditions lost heart at times, as now.
    The government tried to suppress the workers and their organisations, but they kept on. It is interesting that the writers of the book say that once the workers decided to follow someone, who must have expressed their feelings, understood their reality, they would stick with him just to get change.

    Note that NZ Labour Party. Perhaps they do need Shane Jones after all?? These people only got change by working hard and being activists to get it. They didn’t look at political parties offering them policy menus.
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Place
    edited

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      “These people only got change by working hard and being activists to get it. They didn’t look at political parties offering them policy menus.”

      Brilliant

      It is the people who should decide what is to be on the table and what is not to be on the table.

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        Brilliant, thanks colonial viper. Time someone noticed my dazzling contributions
        !
        I also notice Tautuhi. You seem on to it every time i read you.

  8. Michael 8

    Until the Labour caucus reconnects with the people it is unfit for office. Sadly, the caucus is massively disconnected and remote from the people – ordinary working, and non-working, people, not the business and bureuacratic elite, with whom the caucus seem to spend far too much time schmoozing. I saw something of this behaviour recently and it made me realise I won’t see a Labour government again for a long time, if ever. I do think, though, that Labour MPs are at their best, and most effective, when they stand in solidarity with the people against the elite. Our current caucus don’t even want to try.

    • Tautuhi 8.1

      The Natzis over promise and under deliver that’s what gets them elected, Labours proposed “capital gains tax” before the last Election went down like a lead balloon as most New Zealanders have their capital tied up in housing.

      It was like swallowing a dead rat for many New Zealanders.

      Promote the good stuff, leave the shit until you get elected, like John Key putting up GST by 2.5% didn’t affect National and JK one little bit and 50% of people in NZ still love JK.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      Thorndon Bubble

    • Mosa 8.3

      Yeah you’re spot on Michael
      TPPA in Dunedin.
      MP,s Clark and Curran never mingled in the crowd
      While Clark had a good speech Curran was flat.
      Turei and a sth African doctor were really inspiring and said what Labour should have and with conviction
      The people with the least always give the most that’s the Labour movement.
      They need to remember that.
      They are pointing the gun but National has the cannon.

  9. Rosemary McDonald 9

    There is a great deal of gloom out here in the hinterland….hate current incumbents…but Labour just hasn’t got the necessary leadership.

    I have been trying to point out Little’s good points…then he goes and puts his foot in it today when the Big Fella copped a facefull in CHCH.

    Little could have commiserated…then backed off and said…”that’s what you get when you treat people like shit for five years.”

    Showed some real solidarity.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      $240,000 p.a. and we can’t get the quality of reaction we would expect from a half decent electorate MP.

      Of course, Little has never been an electorate MP before.

  10. Tautuhi 10

    Appears that Little is a “softc*ck like Shearer and Cunliffe”?

    Hopefully he toughens up before the next Election otherwise JK will chew him up and spit him out in little pieces like he did to Shearer.

    Key won’t have a face to face debate with Winston NZF as he doesn’t have the intellect and knowledge to go head to head with Winston, unless Mike Hoskins was the patsy mediator, then it would be two against one?

  11. savenz 11

    The Colmar poll showed that Labour/NZ First/Greens could govern.

    32 +10 + 8 = 50
    48 + 1 = 49

    Collaboration and alliances should be the goal for all three parties. Leave their egos and petty squabbles at the door for the good of the country and a lasting legacy before we are tenants in our own corrupt, identity less, country under National who can’t wait to sell everyone out!

    • Magisterium 11.1

      The Colmar poll showed that Labour/NZ First/Greens could govern

      …if the election were held today.

      Reality: it ain’t being held today.

      Reality: when the election is heldthe same thing will happen that has happened in the past three elections. The public will get a good look at the candidates and policies that Labour is putting forward, and National will win in another landslide.

  12. savenz 12

    And for F sake, can the left stop obsessing about soft National voters! For every mythical soft National voter to be courted with neoliberal policy, is 1.5 lost Labour/Green voter!

    They are better to try to keep existing voters and target the missing million or as the Colmar poll shows – the opposition have the numbers to govern! Get the F talking and make sure zero leaks!!

  13. Smilin 13

    Seems to me Natcorp have set a precedent for bias against what Labour did under Helen Clarke
    Unless Labour can revert the monumental destruction by this government’s action against Education Ag Research and Development Conservation Biosecurity Law and Justice Youth and Child services Health Employment Unions and local govt and the promotion of Multinational corporate takeover of our sovereignty then they aint got much to offer
    And forget about economics finance and bankers they have had a field day for the scams they promote they need to be told where to go.It aint there country to ruin .We’ve got to live here after they leave for fresh meat

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