Cake and eat it

Written By: - Date published: 1:55 pm, June 25th, 2008 - 9 comments
Categories: national, slippery, spin - Tags:

I’ve noticed a new trend in the right’s spin lately (apart from their wholesale theft of campaign scripts) – the ‘have your cake and eat it’ trick. This tactic is basically a response to legislation or policy they don’t like but they know they can’t be seen to be against. So what they do is pick a small part of the policy they can feasibly attack and reject the whole thing for that reason.

This is clear in National’s response to ACC changes put up earlier this week. Now National know they cannot be seen to be attacking better cover for people who have suffered trauma so their response against the bill was this:

It discriminates against non-workers.

That’s right, National claims they bill doesn’t go far enough. It’s not that such a change would make ACC harder to privatise. It’s not that they are ideologically opposed to increasing protections for workers. It’s that the bill doesn’t go far enough. Of course I may be being too cynical and perhaps the National Party has suddenly taken an ideological leap to the left of Labour, but having said their piece National then offered no amendment! Surely if they were serious they would offer an amendment and surely Labour would then be shamed into supporting it? But no. National and Gordon Copeland were the only ones that voted against it.

I’ve used the ACC example because it’s a ham-fisted and transparent example of the genre.

But National has done exactly the same thing with:

The regulation of the real estate industry:

‘[National] wanted its scope widened to bring property managers under the power of a new independent complaints body’

The Emissions Trading Scheme:

‘the bill should be delayed to allow its shape to be properly worked through and so New Zealand could see what scheme Australia came up with before finalising its own.’

And if you can be bothered there’s a whole raft of other examples.

This shift in spin tactic has probably come as a response to National feeling the squeeze as its opponents hunt out the unpopular policy positions the party doesn’t want people to know. And the release of their farcical policy sheet is another example of them trying to quell the increasing call for policy also.

The thing is they are running out of spin options and are going to have to provide policy soon. Aping the 1990’s focus-group politics of Blair and Clinton won’t work for them for much longer because these tactics are nearly 20 years old. And that means they’ve been around long enough for most political journalists to see through them pretty quickly and from what my contacts in the gallery are saying that’s just what’s happening now.

9 comments on “Cake and eat it”

  1. Felix 1

    Cue retarded righties to debate the examples rather than the concept in 3 2 1 …

  2. Tane 2

    Same thing happened recently with the ALP’s new National Employment Standards. The Liberals responded by saying it was all too confusing due to the use of the term ‘reasonable’, despite the fact the term has been used in law for centuries, including employment law.

    It’s just a thoroughly dishonest way of doing politics, but I guess it beats “we stand for for the interests of the wealthy and powerful, and oppose the advancement of the interests of the working class”.

  3. Reading the Hansard, it seems employment-related accidents are more numerous than they have been. Clearly the onus is on employers and the self-employed to enforce workplace safety and reduce costs due to injury.

    If they don’t, the cost of increased insurance cover is more properly theirs. The average worker is NOT in a position to dictate workplace safety to employers, so not increasing their ACC levies makes sense. Let the increased cost fall where the need to change is greatest.

    If this was a private scheme, there would be no complaining. But it’s a government scheme, so the ideologues want to use that as an excuse to ignore the very real market signals that they aren’t doing enough to maintain workplace safety and reduce the cost to everyone of accidents. Insurance is insurance.

    Just one more “market signal” that National seems determined to shelter its employer donors from having to heed.

  4. Dark Watcher 4

    Sometimes bold change needs to be made for the good of the country. If Douglas and Richardson (who saved our arses I’ll remind you) had to lay out their visionary principles before the election the leftard media would have screamed and we’d have never have had the reforms. The economy would be stuffed and we’d be another third world pacific island basket case like Samoa or Fiji. You might not understand economics but don’t make the rest of us suffer because of it.

  5. roger nome 5


    You mean if we followed Australia’s example of incremental and mild reform we’d be up shit creek like the Ausies are? Yes, why demand honest politics when it means your GPD grows at one of the highest rates in the OECD?

  6. Dark Watcher 6

    The reforms were working. To the extent Labour and its corrupt mates haven’t rolled them back they’re still working. This country needs a cold, hard dose of reality. It’s never easy medicine to administer but you’ll thank us later. So a few leftards get offended along the way because they didn’t know it was coming? Cry me a river. Most people don’t even know or care what’s going on.

  7. James Kearney 7

    … and Dark Watcher proves Irish’s point exactly. Don’t trust the people, certainly don’t be honest with them. Just spin them a line, wait for them to get tired of the current bunch then unleash your hard right program once you’re in power.

  8. QoT 8

    Thanks, guys, now I’m craving Prince Regent Cake.

  9. “but don’t make the rest of us suffer because of it.”

    Just who made who suffer, DW?

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