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Fact checkin’ 3

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 pm, November 5th, 2008 - 87 comments
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Good debate so far, addressing the issues and the policies, rather than the politics, which the other two debates have been focused on. From looking at Key so far it seems he might drop the lies.

oops. spoke too soon.

Key: People are leaving for Australia in absolutely record numbers
Lie. For the third time in three debates, Key tells this lie. The number of people leaving is within historic norms and we get more immigrants than we lose emigrants.

This is the best debate so far. Clark, especially is putting on the best performance so far.

Key sounds like he’s losing his voice like he did during the adjournment debate.

Key: Sheep and cows are indigenous

Did Key just say that you deliver welfare on a case by case basis? Good God, the Government cannot be dishing out money to people in that way. The Government has to try to give the best value it can with the resources it has but it must do that within a rules-based system, not individual decisions for individual situations. Anything else is an invitation to injustice and nepotism. I don’t think Key meant what he said, but that’s half the problem, so many of the things that come out of his mouth are not thought through.

I have to say I’m impressed that Key has dropped the lies. The lies won him the first debate and dropping them has defanged him – I think this is clearly Clark’s debate – but at least he has been more honest.

The questions have probably lead to a better debate. Deeper questions on unsual topics have forced Key off his pre-prepared lines, and we are seeing genuine answers from both of them for once. The result, of course, is that Key just doesn’t stand up to Clark who is not only more deeply principled but more knowledgable. Clark’s softer approach is coming across well, we’re seeing the person behind the Prime Minister.

Politics of envy? I don’t think people vote to ‘send a stong signal’, they vote for a government to do the job.

87 comments on “Fact checkin’ 3 ”

  1. Carol 1

    Looking at “Kiwi” so far? Does he look like a flightless bird that grovels around on the forest floor?

    yes. I’m sick of the use of “record numbers” – it’s not a record proportion of the population leaving.

  2. milo 2

    So did he say record proportion or record numbers? There is a difference you know. It seems weird to claim he said proportion when he said numbers, and then to describe this as a lie. In fact, its seems like a gross misrepresentation on your part Steve. Numbers or proportion? Is there a difference?

    Update: Looked at your ‘rebutting’ link. It’s about net migration. Key is talking about departures to Australia. There is a massive difference. It’s really a bit rich to accuse Key of lying when you are prepared to twist things like this.

  3. Farm animals Indigenous?

  4. Ianmac 4

    Mark Sainsbury should be shot! Every time they get a topic which could be discussed he moves on to another question. The right of reply is lost! Must say our Helen is looking and acting good. I think John has a degree of constipation! And looks slow unless trotting out the same slogans. 7:29 by my clock.

  5. Lampie 5

    record numbers which can be right and wrong

    10000 of 4000000 2008 is different to 9000 of 3000000 1998 say

    record number but better result

  6. Carol 6

    Key said ‘record numbers”. I’ve been paying attention to this point because he’s said it so often. It’s not so much a lie, as putting a misleading slant on it. He blames Clark/Labour for the record numbers leaving. That’s a kind of lie, because, really, it’s not a record at all. And you also need to factor in other things eg poplulation structure, numbers going other places etc. It’s a superficial slur, that doesn’t really mean waht Key is implying.

  7. Lampie 7

    stats is the art of lying

    media is good at bullshit stats

  8. deemac 8

    all he has is these stock phrases, while Clark has real policy points

  9. cocamc 9

    john key had a good response on health though

  10. Carol 10

    Yeah, but I think Key’s stock phrases probably go down well with a lot of the general public. Oooh. Sainsbury just told Key he’s not listening. Yes, he’s kind of dismissed international stats that show NZ does well in those social services. But people who don’t know the stats will probably just accept what Key says.

  11. milo 11

    But it is a record. Here’s what the Department of Statistics says.

    “The net PLT outflow to Australia was 33,900 in the September 2008 year, compared with 26,200 in the September 2007 year. This is higher than previous peaks in the January 1989 year (33,700) and the December 1979 year (33,400).”

    So John Key tells the truth. And the data from the Dept. of Statistics backs him.

    Maybe you could pass a law to retrospectively alter the statistics?

    [you can’t look at migration numbers irrespective of population. Australia has 5 times the emigration that NZ does, does that mean emigration from Australia is at higher levels than NZ? All else being equal, we expect the number of people, and the number of people coming, to grow as the population grows. SP]

  12. Janet 12

    When has Key ever been in a public hospital – especially in recent years. If I was a member of staff in a hospital I would feel a lot more affirmed by what Helen says.

    But it would be nice if Obama dropped into the debate to raise the level of oratory and hope a bit more.

  13. Carol 13

    Key is sounding quite cnvincing on a lot of things. Clark, as well as being convincing, is failry soft and personable, rather than being totally as commanding as she can be. That control of policy & detail can be a bit off-putting for a general TV audience, I think.

    So far, I think it’s probably a close contest re-the general audience. But I think Clark is better on the policy details.

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    Maybe you could pass a law to retrospectively alter the statistics?

    Why would we milo, when anyone who thinks about it will realise that 33,400 in 1979 is far, far higher than 33,900 now, unless we’re looking at decontextualised raw data.

  15. Lampie 15

    correct carol, i have plenty of workmates like that so when i show OECD and ministry state they get a surprise

    And that is what does piss me off, have a brief on the state of the country such as waiting list times and show a long time period, state of education vs rest of world, we are above average by miles

    Something so people can base there opinions and values on actually information insteed of crap and vote on personalities

  16. gobsmacked 16

    I thought they both did OK on the brain tumour question. Hard to get the tone right on that one, and easy to over-promise.

    But Key’s just said he never smoked or inhaled, not even once as a kid! F**in’ PC nanny state wimp …

  17. Roflcopter 17

    Janet – “When has Key ever been in a public hospital – especially in recent years. If I was a member of staff in a hospital I would feel a lot more affirmed by what Helen says.”

    My wife is a senior nurse who refuses to step into a management role, and I can tell you that she is laughing her ass off at what Helen is saying… and says John is absolutely bang-on as to what needs to happen in hospitals.

  18. Ianmac 18

    Well. He let a longish discussion go on about cigarettes! Cigarettes? Why not about Health system in depth. Distinguish between Health care and discretionary less urgent operations waiting lists in detail. Slogans don’t help John! What would you do to fix the system John?

  19. Francois 19

    I’m sorry Steve.

    I think it’s over. This isn’t supported by logic or any other thing I can put my finger on, but it’s over. It doesn’t matter how well Clark does in this debate, New Zealand Media is in a perpetual circle jerk around John Key and no matter how crap he does they will spin this to become a Key Victory.

    It’s over. The Maori Party hasn’t declared it’s preference for Labour yet because they wont.

    It’s over. The Pacific Party led by a convicted criminal is going to siphon off 1-2% of the vote.

    It’s over. The Crosby Textors of New Zealand have distilled Key’s message into a series of catchy slogans he has no chance of fulfilling. “1 in 5 don’t graduate for NCEA” “Record Numbers of New Zealander’s are Leaving.”

    This election isn’t about reason or logic. It’s not about reality. it’s about appearances and making a set of catchy slogans that appeal to the ‘middle class’ that for the most part isn’t looking about substance. That’s why it’s over.

    It’s over. That doesn’t mean that I”m not going to work my ass off to fight the inevitable. That doesn’t mean that between now and Friday I’m not going to deliver 2000 leaflets after school so close to exams. That doesn’t mean just because I think we’re going to lose that I’m not going to be spending all of election day telephone canvassing and getting out the vote. I’m going to keep hoping till the very end that I’m wrong. It doesn’t mean that I won’t vote straight ticket Labour.

    But I won’t be. It’s over. Not only is it over, but it’s over in a big blowout, National will win a landslide with the help of it’s lies. The traditional Labour voters of Maori and Pacific peoples will be distracted and short sell their long-term interests for the heady buzz of voting for someone ‘like them’ who ‘understands their issues.’ It depresses to no end that it’s over. But I’m going to keep hoping and do my damndest to make sure that we win a 4th Term Labour Government. I’m just prepairing myself for the psychological crush which will come this Saturday, I’m sorry…

    Depressed Labour Supporter,


  20. Felix 20

    Key’s responses to the health questions:

    “Oh it’s all case by case but I helped one of those little ethnic kids once”

  21. Lampie 21

    too right MP

  22. marco 22

    Key looks tired, it appears the grind of the campaign has taken its toll on him.
    Clark is looking way more articulate and her softer approach is helping to take some of the edge of the nasty campaign she has been running. Its a smart move.

  23. Carol 23


    So we put the question to Prof. Richard Bedford, Director of the Population Studies Centre at Waikato University. He kindly replied from Prato (yes, Prato, Tuscany, Italy, the lucky begger), where he’s attending a conference. He says:

    I agree with your reader though that we do not have record levels of migration to Australia in per capita terms — that record remains with the late 1970s when our population was at least a million smaller than it is now. I have made a similar point to the one made by your reader on occasion over the past few months in response to requests for comment on trans-Tasman migration from different media. The movements of New Zealanders to Australia have increased, but we need to recall that they fluctuate and we were having higher levels of return from Australia a few years ago than we had had for a while as well.

  24. milo 24

    But Matthew, the argument that “if he said something different that would have been a lie” just doesn’t cut it. You might disagree with an implied premise. But describing a fact as a lie puts you straight into Alice-in-Wonderland territory.

    I encourage you to use the language as she was intended. Guv’nor. A lie is a lie is a lie. John Key did not lie. In fact, you could make a better argument that Standard Posters have told the lie on this matter.

  25. Carol 25

    It doesn’t matter what you call it. Key is using the stat to mislead the public.

  26. milo. would you prefer if i wrote ‘purposely misleading the people of New Zealand’?

  27. Lampie 27

    Nice find Carol, spread the word

  28. Matthew Pilott 28

    the argument that “if he said something different that would have been a lie’ just doesn’t cut it.

    …which is why I didn’t make that argument.

  29. Ianmac 29

    Francoise A more sophisticated form of: ” I was going to vote Labour but now I can’t because of the terrible things Labour has done etc…….” There is a ring of insincerity in your words.
    There is a risk of losing. Of course there is but my glass is half full. If you were genuine, how is ya glass?

  30. milo 30

    Carol: Let’s look at the underlying premise then. If you think the underlying premise is that “Things are the worst they’ve ever been” then that’s clearly not supported. If you look at the idea that “Things amongst the worst they’ve ever been” then that clearly is supported.

    That seems bad enough to me.

    Oh, and by the way, I recall Helen Clark praising our growth rate without reducing it to relative per capita purchasing power parity. Does that make here a liar too? It would seem to, by Standard Logic. Certainly, it gives a misleading impression given that we are slipping down the OECD ladder, not going up it.

    But I think both are legitimate ways of presenting the facts. What the facts mean is always debatable, but that doesn’t make it a lie.

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    Oh, and by the way, I recall Helen Clark praising our growth rate without reducing it to relative per capita purchasing power parity. Does that make here a liar too?

    No, a growth rate is absolute irrespective of population. A growth rate will not be affected if your population is 500 or 500,000. Your output will change markedly though…

  32. milo 32

    Steve Pierson: I don’t think you have evidence of that either, just supposition.

    I’m reminded of a quote I heard the other day from Josef Stalin – who said of his statisticians that they were the kind of men who “could squeeze shit into bullets”. A great, and very Russian quote, if it’s true. And very appropriate here I think. (And believe it or not, that is meant as a complement.)

  33. forgetaboutthelastone 33

    jesus – its a love fest. snore.

  34. cocamc 34

    A very weak answer on the changing mind from Helen Clark. Key did much better and was honest

  35. gobsmacked 35

    Cocamc – you obviously weren’t listening, or hit “submit” too soon.

    This is the best I’ve seen Helen Clark in a long time. If only she’d been on this kind of form throughout the campaign.

  36. Matthew Pilott 36

    No, cocamc, but Key sure came up with a few examples pretty fast…

  37. Francois 37

    Francoise A more sophisticated form of: ‘ I was going to vote Labour but now I can’t because of the terrible things Labour has done etc .’ There is a ring of insincerity in your words.
    There is a risk of losing. Of course there is but my glass is half full. If you were genuine, how is ya glass?

    ,…Uh what?

    I believe I said that I was going to keep supporting Labour and voting straigh ticket Labour on saturday how is that “I was going to vote Labour but now I can’t because of the terrible things Labour has done etc…” at all?

    To be honest my glass is half empty, but I’ve always been a fan of downplaying one’s expectations. So if we do come out of nowhere and win a 4th-term government, we can be happy for it. If we dont, I’ll have prepared myself.

  38. Lampie 38

    geee more human this time around, more enjoyable

  39. gobsmacked 39

    Heh. Key sends mating signal to Maori Party – plus he’s on Maori TV later this evening!

  40. Felix 40

    “Camera 2 get ready for an ECU if they start pashing. I want to see tongue and spit”

  41. milo 41

    Steve – I replied but am in moderation (foul word, I guess)

  42. higherstandard 42

    Feck most wussy debate ever why don’t they just have a big hug and tell each other that they’re both brilliant…… pah I feel bilious.

  43. Carol 43

    Yeah, that flip flop question was a gift to Key ffrom Espiner. But Clark answered it well. It still doesn’t excuse a LARGE amount of flip flops.

    Clark was brilliant on what moves/inspires her. And in so doing, she pulled the ground out from under Key’s attempts to hitch himself to Obama’s bandwagon. Key didn’t really sound that passionate about things. He says the words, but with little real feeling.

  44. Felix 44

    cocamc, if Key had kept being honest about that particular question he’d still be listing examples now.

  45. marco 45

    This is much better from Clark. Key is holding his own, there will be no knock out blow per say, but this may give her a little momentum. It was interesting to see that McCain picked up support when he dropped the nasty attack and started to concentrate on the issues.

  46. rainman 46

    So we’re a poor and developing economy now? Sheesh, what a positive message.

  47. brace yourselves…………
    Helen Clark has delivered her best performance tonight, the “make me more human” talking points have come across very well. A solid performance, a side ofhelen that the public never seem to see. Key was his usual self, polished, genuine.. A kiwi everyman.
    On another note.. Brian Edwards in the post match talkfest.. COME ON..
    Why not pick me as well, I can be incapable of offering balance as well.. The PM’s media and image adviser offering a reasoned analysis… I am damn sure robinsod could have taken that seat, offered the same view point and would probably have done it for half the price.

  48. cocmac. key had quite a list to choose from. Clark actually got there in the end with what became a very good answer

  49. Lampie 49

    Think Helen has made a smart move there

    Key – no way

    Clark – Key can still play a part even if he loses

  50. gobsmacked 50

    My call:

    Key: a boxer going into the final round who knows he’s ahead on points, and just hugs his opponent close. If you were a “rightie” and you’d seen nothing else, you’d vote ACT.

    Clark: strong on detail and principle. Probably her swansong, but just showed what we may be chucking away. Sad.

    The God question sums up the difference between them. “Do you believe?”

    Clark: No.

    Key: Each way bet, offending nobody.

  51. Roflcopter 51

    VERY interesting answers on Maori Party cabinet posts post-election.

  52. barnsleybill. the thing is those aren’t ‘talking points’

    you can pick a talking point from the sentence structure and the tone of delivery, it’s not natural and spontaneous, it’s memorised and delivered.

  53. randal 53

    thats a fair offer

  54. Carol 54

    BarnsleyBill, wasn’t one of the panel for the last debate the woman who brought Key into politics & the Nats – Michelle Voag, or some similar name?

  55. Felix 55

    Hey bill I’d watch that show.

    You, randal, d4j and ‘sod would be a good panel discussion I reckon.

    Hey anyone notice when Helen said Key had been successful in his “area of specialty” it sounded like “era of specialty”?

    edit: Carol, yep – Michelle Boag, former National party president.

  56. Carol 56

    Yes, Key seems to be handing out cabinet posts to other parties like a major lolly scramble.

  57. Ianmac 57

    Francois: I just didn’t believe you. If you are genuinely mourning the use of repetitive slogans used by National to sway the voters, in order to win the election then please accept my apologies. I am sorry to have offended a genuine Labour supporter. But as you say keep fighting. I ain’t over until the …..

  58. randal 58

    look fleix
    randal is a hippy
    hey mr dg4 billy budd foretopman
    bobdylan changes and radical new ways of inventing the universe and all it contains
    60’s programme trax
    dont mess with hippeis
    helen wins

  59. Vinsin 59

    Helen nailed the last word, Key faltered and looked beaten already. He stumbled, went negative – which could work – called for ‘sending a message’ rather than basing the vote on common sense.

    It’s going to be a nail biter, but i think the fallout from Obama winning, English’s remarks, Key’s lack luster finish, Labour’s numbers in Sth Auckland, and the performance of Key on Tv3 or TVone on English’s remarks is going to work in the favour of the left.

  60. Principessa 60

    2 things- Was it just me or was Key slurring?

    And Michelle Boag and Therese Arseneu? Right wing panel. Same as 3.

    And 3- we never had text polls last time did we? Farrar’s call centre are probably calling the 0900 line and the BRT are probably funding it.

  61. exbrethren 61

    Godsmacked I hate to say it but you’re being a bit harsh on Shon about the religion bit. I thought he handled it the same as Clark.

    It was a weird bit of TV, more the Helen & John love in than what I’d been expecting.

    Mind you anyone would have sounded rubbish after Obama.

  62. Ianmac 62

    Helen said something which is a reason for her consistency and the reason that John does not come across as effectively.
    With a Philosophy well established over a long period of time, it is quite easy to respond consistently to almost all eventualities.
    With John he always seems to check and guess the best way to respond. I don’t think that, even though he is just a few years younger than Helen, he has a central philosophy. I think that is probably why he stumbles over some issues and fails to clarify just who John Key is.
    Off to Maori TV.

  63. Felix 63

    randal maybe you could chair it?

  64. ghostwhowalks 64

    National and Key havent mentioned TAX CUTS for weeks.

    Their primary issue has been dead dead dead.

    And all they had left was its time for a change

  65. Pixie 65

    Helen, by a country mile. She was warm, authentic and intelligent. I particularly like a couple of impromptu moments where she was delightful (growing up as a 60s flower child with Paul Holmes was a hoot).

    She showed herself to be a woman of substance, with strong ideals and courage.

    John Key had a couple of good moments, but on the whole he was out of his depth. Especially when they were invited to be a bit more personal – then, he seemed to find the process excruciating.

    No, well done Helen. It may be too late to save this election, but even if it is the last stand, you will leave us all with memories of a gracious, dignified woman who history will prove to be one of our finest PMs.

  66. Carol 66

    Helen was very cool in that debate. She shows she’s a class act. NZ would be silly to cast her aside. Best PM NZ has had in a long time. Her left coalition would continue to take NZ in the direction the rest of the world’s going.

  67. gobsmacked 67

    I can tell you the pay poll result in advance:

    Key 70, Clark 30.

    Whereas if Key had said “I want compulsory P in all primary schools” and “Richie McCaw’s a poofter”, the result would have been:

    Key 70, Clark 30.

  68. Carol, I agree completely, having Michelle Boag on the panel is equally as ridiculous as having Brian Edwards.
    Helen Clark constantly referring to Bolger struck me as code for.. “I know I have lost, I am trying to exit with dignity, please get me a nice retirement job the way I have done for Spud Bolger.”

  69. Danny 69

    Clark by a mile. That was a pasting.

    One debate each, and one draw.

  70. Vinsin 70

    Or it could be code for “the national party hasn’t changed in fifteen years, can you really expect change from them.”

    It was a tactical ploy to remind people of what the National party represents, it will work on a small amount of people i imagine.

  71. Felix 71

    Spud Bolger, heh.

    Where is this frickin post-debate analysis anyway? I can’t find anything on the tvnz site.

  72. Vinsin 72

    None. I don’t see anything advertised. Maybe on Tonight there’ll be something – they’ll drag out the poll and call it for national probably.

  73. Chris G 73



  74. randal 74

    okay as long as you and jeanette and keith are there
    I’m the boss
    mr green

  75. Felix 75

    Ah well the analysis would be cak anyway.

    gs, if key said that I’d probably vote for him.

  76. Quoth the Raven 76

    Key “I didn’t inhale” man that guys a bullshit artist. Behind alcoholism and rugby smoking Cannabis is one of New Zealand’s favourite pastimes and he never tried tobacco. They should have asked him about cocaine. He was a banker in the eighties afterall.

  77. adrian 77

    Keep the faith, Francoise. I was in an agricultural equipment place today and the owner, who is also a farmer and whom I would pick as a Nat every time,said ” You know I think your Helen might just do it again” I was surprised but a bit of conversational questioning lead me to grasp that there is quite a bit of fear out there about Roger Douglas and the Yellow Dog. This bloke talks to cockies all day, every day . There’s still hope.

  78. Vinsin 78

    There’s more than hope adrian, there’s fundamental political convictions of the Maori Party, and – this is where the hope comes in – Winston could get Tauranga. Rodney could lose epsom, Kate Sutton seems to be the name on everyones lips right now. It’s going to be close but i think us lefties will have another term.

  79. Carol 79

    Yes. Keep the faith. Also, a lot of people I work with are not really following the election campaign as closely as people here. And most are sceptical about what they see of the pollls and about there being a need for a change the way the MSM seem to be playing up.

  80. Ianmac 80

    The Post Debate is at 10:30 TV1
    I have heard Brian Edwards on the Panel with Michele Boag and he very politely wiped the floor with her. Should be an interesting chat.
    The Maori TV with John was recorded on 26 October I think they said. Damn. Out of date yet John looked just as ill as he did tonight.?? Answers vague and full of three point turns (Lets take a step back) and non answers.
    Sandra Lee and the other woman um?, give Labour/Green and perhaps Maori a good chance still.

  81. Outofbed 81

    Francoise! Helen will be Pm and the Greens will double their vote
    I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever

  82. adrian 82

    Sorry about the extra ‘e’ Francois, but I used to have a thing about Francoise Hardy( like half my generation), you’re probably going”Who the f..’ . Google her ,you’ll understand.

  83. Felix 83

    I just googled her and all I have to say about that is “only half?”

  84. deemac 84

    Michele Boag is the dame who called the Westpac rescue helicopter a couple of years back when she forgot her passport. Of course she paid for it – she can afford to – but what sort of person thinks they are entitled to do that sort of thing? Sums up Nat philosophy IMHO

  85. “adrian
    November 5, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Keep the faith, Francoise. I was in an agricultural equipment place today and the owner, who is also a farmer and whom I would pick as a Nat every time,said ‘ You know I think your Helen might just do it again’ I was surprised but a bit of conversational questioning lead me to grasp that there is quite a bit of fear out there about Roger Douglas and the Yellow Dog. This bloke talks to cockies all day, every day . There’s still hope.”

    Too right, a lot of people around me know I’m well into politics, but I refuse to answer when someone asks me who they should vote for, and I’m generally coy about who I vote for.

    There’s a lot of people around where I am pre-voting and when people around me talk about it, and I ask them if they mind me asking who they voted for, there’ been a surprisingly high number of them voting Labour, they are often a bit shy fessing it up, kind of like they know they have done the right thing, but due to all the rhetoric and carry on they don’t want to admit to it.

  86. Felix 86


    Yep, and there’s a fair few who buy into a bit of the rhetoric but will vote with their back pocket for Labour.

  87. Francois 87

    Sorry about the extra ‘e’ Francois, but I used to have a thing about Francoise Hardy( like half my generation), you’re probably going’Who the f..’ . Google her ,you’ll understand.

    Haha ..I’m but I’m a guy…. Yeah I’ve regained my faith now, methinks I’ve been reading too much NZ herald…

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