Fact checkin’ – five-headed monsters

Written By: - Date published: 3:48 pm, October 24th, 2008 - 114 comments
Categories: election 2008, Media, national, spin - Tags:

The New Zealand Herald is, as usual, uncritically repeating John Key’s latest lines on the front page of its website. This time Key’s scaremongering that a Labour-led government would be a “five-headed monster”. Much better to go with a simple, straight-forward National government, says Key.

It’s a pity we don’t have the resources for basic fact-checking in our media anymore, because it would save everyone a great deal of time and embarrassment. The Herald quotes Key:

“Do [New Zealanders] want to put in a National government with a fresh view that will work going in one direction with a small group of parties, or do they want a potentially five-headed monster?” he said.

His comments come in the wake of a TV3 poll, which last night showed a Labour-led coalition with support from the Green Party, the Maori Party, New Zealand First and the Progressive Party could govern.

Um, no, actually. The TV3 poll, which the Herald linked to in its own article, had NZ First at 3.5% and out of Parliament. The options on the table were either Labour + Progressive + Green + Maori or National + ACT + United Future + Maori. Either way, that’s a four-party arrangement.

It would seem the monsters are all in John’s imagination. Basic fact-checking, that’s all it takes guys.

114 comments on “Fact checkin’ – five-headed monsters”

  1. Sarah 1

    Unless New Zealand First does get in?

  2. Tane 2

    Even so, there’s no saying you’d need all five parties. There may be a deal out of four of them. Plus, I’d hardly count Jim as a separate party. A likely left arrangement would be essentially three parties at most.

    The fact is National is likely to need as many parties as Labour is to form a government. They’re simply scaremongering as they watch their support crumble to the low-mid forties.

  3. vidiot 3

    Maybe his own polling is showing him something happening at one of the crown jewels ? Is there someone that he’s factoring in, that is currently under the radar ?

    Or as Sarah says, the rise (god help us) of Winston.

  4. the sprout 4

    “Basic fact-checking, that’s all it takes guys”

    Tane you seem to assume, rather charitably, that the Herald has an interest in accuracy.

    captcha: expected luxuries

  5. randal 5

    Keys is just putting up a smokescreen to disguise the fact that his team and his policy, and his party is not FRESH.
    it is the same old voodoo economics rotten right wing trickle down theory of bash the workers.
    whats fresh about that?

  6. Sarah 6

    National’s support isn’t really crumbling. Sure they have lost some of their real soft national, which is understandable, but their vote seems to have stabilised.

    And all present day polling seems to suggest that it will need to be either a four way or five way coalition if Labour is to get a fourth term. TV3 has offered the best results for Labour out of all the different polls, and even then, Labour will still need four parties to form a coalition.

    It is scare tactics to an extent, but voters need to know that a four way coalition will not be the best in the tough times ahead.

  7. Pat 7

    Since some polls show National above 50%, I took from his comments that he is advocating Party Vote National so they can govern alone.

    And he is wrong about the monster. It would have 7 heads, since Greens and MP have co-leaders.

  8. Sarah – well you could make all kinds of assumptions then… the fact is the herald piece says “a TV3 poll, which last night showed a Labour-led coalition with support from the Green Party, the Maori Party, New Zealand First and the Progressive Party could govern.” and that’s incorrect

  9. Positive and ambitious 9

    All the over 70s I know (I don’t know many, but ALL of them) are going to vote for uncle winnie, for the first time ever. And this before he was cleared by the EC. Count him in I’d say.
    Why Key has made a special announcement today that he still won’t work with Winston is a bit of a mystery to me… I thought he had categorically ruled him out under any circumstances previously. Perhaps he thinks people expect him to go back on his word?

  10. Pat 10

    Positive – do the country a favour and lock your grandparents in the garden shed on polling day.

  11. Pat …. not Patrick Gower who wrote the story, per chance? I hear he’s a bit of an internet-type, stalked young labourites round facebook after the secret agenda tapes came out.

    anyhoo, the current government comprises two coalition partners, has two support parties, and has an abstention agreement with another, plus a party voluntarily abstaining, whole only two parties voted against it on confidence and supply – that’s a eight-headed monster!

    If anything, a LPG+M government is likely to be simpler than the arrangements we had this time because it was Winston who wanted to be a minister but not have his party in a coalition

  12. Ms M 12

    Had to have a chuckle to myself this morning when I saw the headline. Seems like John Boy’s feeling a tad uneasy about Nationals ability to form the next Government.

  13. coge 13

    The prospect of the five headed monster would, I suspect, frighten Labours more moderate voters. Such a coalition would be heavily left-leaning courtesy of the Greens. There would therefore be tax increases for workers to fund green initiatives & electoral promises, & other new legislation yet unspoken of.

  14. Pat 14

    Who is Patrick Gower and what did he write?

  15. randal 15

    more to the point is who is coge and who is paying him to wirte tripe like that?

  16. vidiot 16

    Who is Patrick Gower and what did he write?

    The original NZ Herald Article that this thread is be-moaning.

  17. Ianmac 17

    Hope it is not off topic but has anyone looked at the significance of the Herceptin/Pharmac plan? Pharmac was admired internationally as an independent body free of Political interference eg Vote buying. The political decision from Key to fund Herceptin (and I sympathise with the women) is very serious, as is the plan to raid the Health vote to fund from the $40mil to $180mil. Could be a critical election issue if it gains traction???

  18. Pat 18

    Well spotted Ianmac. Watch this potato to get thrown at Helen at the next Leaders debate.

  19. Johnty Rhodes 19

    A left four/five headed monster is a scary thought, the Greens are economic numpties. They will destroy NZ by taking money out the productive sector to give to the non productives. Wealth destroying policies.

    Wait for the ETS to kick in.

    Labour have no business nous at all so go figure what the difference is with the right.

    [lprent: Personally I’ve never noticed you having any ‘nous’. Making vague generalizations like that is sure to get you in the shit. There are a lot of private enterprise business people who support Labour for a variety of reasons. The reason that they support them is mainly that Labour builds for the future. So if you’re building a long-term business, that is appreciated.

    Now people like that may not talk to you, but they do tend to talk to me, because that is where I work and what I’m trained in. Anyway, I think you’ve a troll, so we’ll put you on the dissection dish of moderation. I still need more data on troll sayings.. ]

  20. Tim Ellis 20

    Tane said:

    Even so, there’s no saying you’d need all five parties. There may be a deal out of four of them.

    Pretty much all the polls have been consistently saying the same thing: for Labour to form a Government, it would need NZ First to cross the threshhold, and include Labour, Maori, the Greens, and NZ First. The mathematics so far don’t allow for any other majority to be formed on the Left. That’s four heads. [no, four polls in the past two weeks have given a Labour-led govt, not one of them includes NZF. SP]

    Conversely, polls have consistently said that National can form a majority with Act and United Future, with few exceptions. I’d preface this by saying that all of the polls appear to assume that the Maori Party will only win 4 seats. I think it’s more likely the Maori Party will win 6 or even 7, pushing the size of Parliament out to 125 seats, needing 63 seats for a majority.

    Plus, I’d hardly count Jim as a separate party. A likely left arrangement would be essentially three parties at most.

    In that case, then you couldn’t count Peter Dunne as a separate party, since the polls put UF’s support at about the same level as Anderton’s. So it is a five-headed monster on the Left versus a four-headed monster on the Right. [Tane means Jim will be with Labour no matter what so is effectively Labour, not that he is too small to count. SP]

    There is a good argument that the spread of policy differences between a National-Act-United Future grouping is much more narrow than the policy differences between a Labour-Greens-NZFirst-Progressive grouping. The policy spreads widen considerably when you add the Maori Party into the mix. It is almost certain that the Left will need the Maori Party to form a government. It is much less certain that the Right will need the Maori Party to form a government.

    I think John Key makes a good point that at present, the Right is much more likely to be able to pull together a cohesive, unitary and decisive government to take the steps necessary to deal with the problems associated with the international economic crisis, than the Left is.

  21. Daveski 21

    I really can’t see what the excitement is here.

    After all, this is the reality of MMP and Key can point this out.

    I bet if it was Helen front page talking about the same, it would be scaremongering but it would be highlighting the flexibility and strength of MMP.

    Seriously, if you’re going to get defensive about this non-issue, you must be really worried about the possibility of losing.

  22. Pharmac said that even if they had an extra $40 million there are other drugs they would prefer to subsidise with that money. Herceptin is only an ‘issue’ because it has a strong lobby group, better health outcomes would be achieved with other drugs for other diseases.

    but National sees a few votes in this one, so the science goes out the window.

  23. randal 23

    well I think that john Key is not able to put together a government to represent the best interests of all New Zealanders. till he explains why he wants to sell kiwisaver and privatise ACC then he has not got a leg to stand on.
    see that was short and quick and no long boring bullsh*t to wade through.

  24. coge 24

    Randal, are you happy for a new round of tax increases? How about GST?

  25. Sarah 25

    SP, so the herald made a simple mistake about stating NZ First as a coalition option and suddenly its whole credibility is under fire? Winston might win Tauranga for all we know. Jim might not win Wigam. For all media outlets, it is rather hard to identify coalition options before the election when there are so many different variables which can still change. The Herald made a small mistake. If that. But I don’t think it’s worth a whole post questioning whether the Herald can do basic facts.

  26. Tane 26

    Sarah (Palin?) the Herald wasn’t musing on whether Winston might win Tauranga, they explicitly said TV3 had a Labour government with a five-party arrangement. That’s not true, it was a four-party arrangement, the exact same kind of arrangement Key would need.

    That invalidated their entire story, including Key’s scaremongering.

    Some critical analysis and a bit of basic fact-checking is all I’m asking for.

  27. randal 27

    how about and end to scaremongering too?
    the tories are now on about increased taxes.
    talking rot again coge.
    if you hold your breath long enough you will turn blue in the face!

  28. Tim Ellis 28

    SP, I really wish you would comment in a separate comment rather than edit my comment. It makes it difficult to track what you’ve said if there’s no comment line in it, and it allows you to make points in my post which can’t be rebutted within that post.

    You said:

    [no, four polls in the past two weeks have given a Labour-led govt, not one of them includes NZF. SP]

    No they haven’t. Only one poll in the last month has the Left (LPGNZF) achieve a higher percentage of the vote than the Right (NACTUF). That was the Morgan poll with the median date of 28 September. Three others came close–both the TV3 and Morgan polls since, but they still showed a very slight advantage to the Right. All the other polls conducted during that period–five of them–showed a Right-Left margin of between 9-13%.

  29. Dancer 29

    Great interview on Checkpoint with Mary Wilson right now – with Mr Key struggling to explain why his multi-headed monster would be any different. I’ll watch for the audio to go up and put a link through….

  30. coge 30

    Randal, if it’s rot why has there no official denial?

    Why do you expect a “mini budget” scheduled for after the election?

  31. gobsmacked 31

    Dancer

    Yes. And at the same time, Bill Ralston on Radio Live was smooching Key’s buttocks, as usual. What a contrast with Mary Wilson: she’s a professional interviewer, he’s a party stooge.

  32. Janet 32

    Yes just heard Mary Wilson. She is a rare interviewer in our media who actually keeps people accountable for what they say. Had John Key whining. he will probably refuse to be interviewed by her again.

  33. coge 33

    Mary Wilson knows how to ask the tough questions.
    But I’ve never heard her ask one of Clark. Can anyone find an example of this?

    -Thanks

  34. gobsmacked 34

    Coge

    Yes.

    You’re welcome.

  35. randal 35

    the toughest question she could ask at the moment is ar eyou all there coge?
    talk policy man.
    not some sort of conspiracy stuff you dream up at a young nats meeting!

  36. the sprout 36

    it must be difficult for them though, anything short of a handjob from the journalist would seem like a tough interveiw for Key after the free ride he’s had.

  37. Dom 37

    Key is getting more right wing as the election period goes on. They’ve been banking on ruling alone (he knows he couldn’t have made the coalition that has ruled in the past three years work) and he’s doing a typical wedge-style campaign to scare voters into voting for National.

    As for Herceptin – it drives me crazy to hear National spout off about it. The real figures behind this drug ARE NOT that impressive. It is not snake oil but it is nota miracle drug, it has simply been VERY cleverly marketed.

  38. coge 38

    A proposed mini-budget. Why is this necessary & what kind of tools do you expect to be produced from
    Dr Cullens bag? Tax increases. I await confirmation that this will be ruled out. After all they do admit the cupbord is bare.

  39. randal,

    what we ascertain from coge is that coge likes:—
    1. officials;
    2. mini-budgets;
    3. tax increases;
    4. paying more gst;
    5. five-headed monster prospects;
    6. and rot or not

    without any of which he would have nothing to say..no?
    ps: BTW: who is this commenter.. my guess is a silent partner to the mon santo of ge fame 🙂 If so we can hope the terminator gets him .. heh-heh

  40. outofbed 40

    Labour and the Greens say National’s transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson, has slipped up by revealing his party intends exempting major roads from the provisions of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

    Labour’s environment spokesman, Trevor Mallard, circulated copies of a report published in the Upper Hutt Leader newspaper which quoted Mr Williamson as saying National would declare “roads of national importance” exempt for the Act although still taking into account environmental issues.

    PLEASE DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY MORE INFO ON THIS ? URGENT

  41. coge 41

    jo zinny, obviously you are concerned that mentioning tax increases is unpalatable to the electorate prior
    to polling day. December would be the more pragmatic time to address them. Alternatively, if they are not planned, they could tell us now. Anyone know if the Greens are in favour of tax increases?

  42. Pat 42

    Outofbed – John Key’s been saying this publicly for months. Nothing new here. Why the panic?

  43. outofbed 43

    Labour’s environment spokesman, Trevor Mallard, circulated copies of a report published in the Upper Hutt Leader

    Anyone get me copy ?

  44. DeeDub 44

    I thought Helen dealt with this beautifully on 3 News tonight. As usual she was quickly to the point, appeared very calm, and made it obvious what a ridiculous National beat up this whole ‘five headed monster’ sh** is..

  45. outofbed 45

    THIS IS WHY THE GREENS ARE ON 11.5%
    http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZhS2YdwIO4

  46. marco 46

    Politics in this day and age is all about scare tactics and Labour are the kings of spreading fear. Thats why I cannot vote for them, unfortunately National are practically useless and laden with the ineffective ministers of yesteryear. Meaning I’m stuck with voting for United Future for the second election running, or I might just get drunk at home on election day in a sad protest at the current state of our parliament.

  47. Draco T Bastard 47

    That article reads as if National are getting scared – the numbers no longer add up to a National government.

  48. the sprout 48

    that’s right Draco, they are scared. most sensible response i’ve seen from National since the campaign began.

  49. Felix 49

    coge:
    “Anyone know if the Greens are in favour of tax increases?”

    I have seen one report – on this very page – from someone called coge who said:

    “Such a coalition would be heavily left-leaning courtesy of the Greens. There would therefore be tax increases for workers to fund green initiatives & electoral promises, & other new legislation yet unspoken of.”

    Of course this would be completely at odds with the Green party who actually want to lower income tax (as anyone who had looked at their policies would know) so I wouldn’t take “coge” too seriously, he sounds like he’s just making shit up.

  50. Pascal's bookie 50

    Tim,

    There is a good argument that the spread of policy differences between a National-Act-United Future grouping is much more narrow than the policy differences between a Labour-Greens-NZFirst-Progressive grouping. The policy spreads widen considerably when you add the Maori Party into the mix. It is almost certain that the Left will need the Maori Party to form a government. It is much less certain that the Right will need the Maori Party to form a government.

    I’ll take your word for it that such an argument exists and ask that you point me to it.

    Asserting it is all very well but but only merits the response ‘O RLY?’

    Looking at the left grouping Labour and Progressive are fine together, and I can’t actually see too many problems getting an agreement with the Greens. What is the big stumbling block? NZFirst has it’s problems with the Greens, but Winston can decide what he wants, give Labour led govt confidence and supply or not. The mP is quite close to the Greens in a number of areas, and is certainly closer to Labour than National. If they give C and S in return for entrenching the seats it’s all over rover. I’m not seeing the big spread of policy that you are.

    On the right hand side, where you see such a narrow spread, I see ACT demanding Douglas as MoF, and Key saying he won’t even be in cabinet. Given the brand of ACT is so tied up with it’s ideological purity what do you think they will be wanting? Remembering that Key has pledged ‘Labour plus.’ If ACT goes into coalition with National and gets no privatisation or roll back of the ‘creeping communism’, their reputation is finished.

    For all your oathing that we are silly to suspect that National has a more rightwing agenda than what they have been campaigning on, the argument you say could be made depends on such an agenda existing. If ACT really is closer to National than the Greens are to Labour then Nationals Labour plus talk is lies.

  51. the sprout 51

    yeah Felix, coge studied at Jenny Shipley’s knee.

    now there’s a name you don’t hear much of – wonder why National aren’t parading her around as a reminder of how things can be under National?

  52. the sprout 52

    pb
    i think that’s “National is Labour plus” as in Labour plus Roger Douglas.
    which would make it 1984 all over again.

  53. ak 53

    Fascinating to watch the tory spin descend into ever-decreasing rhetorical eddies.

    The frenzied, media-abetted Onan-typhoons of “They’ll never last the term!”, “Nanny State!”,”Corrupt! Corrupt!”, “NZ Sucks!” “Winnie is toast!” inevitably blew out before a last, retching, “Greens could go with NACT” gasp.

    Carnival over. Just an eerie calm and the furtive rustling of desperate scavengers trying in vain to re-elevate the polling detritus of their pathetic, synthetic storms as it softly plummets earthwards.

    “Moral authority to lead” if NACT ahead on the 8th? Hilarious. 1993: Lab/Alliance 52%, Nats 35%.

    Reds under beds? Nope – now it’s Communism by Stealth ‘R us.
    Nanny State and Snaggletooth Hags? Nope, now we need them laydeez votes.
    NZ Sucks? Nope, focus groups say negativity sucks.

    Only one bullet left. The OneLaw dumb-dumb. Put a foot wrong Pita and the whole country gets it.

  54. Pascal's bookie 54

    Ah I see, I’m sure the slippery haddock will let the voters in on that soon enough. probly just waitin’ for it to come up in ‘is diary.

    and with a hat tip to hard news, off topic, a good read in comments over here:

  55. gobsmacked 55

    The media are faithfully trotting out Key’s line. But let’s be clear about what has really happened here.

    1) Key was ready to accept as many heads as his monster needed, to get power (except Winston, who he thinks is going to be decapitated by the voters)

    2) The heads have been rejecting his body

    3) Now, like a teenager who gets dumped, he’s pretending it was his decision all along.

    Here’s the Herald (June 1, 2007):

    “Could Jeanette Fitzsimons be a minister in a John Key government?”

    National Party leader John Key has floated the possibility of offering the Greens a post in Cabinet if he is in a position to form a government after the next election.

    Mr Key today said he did not see big barriers in the two parties working together on environmental issues.

    “It’s possible. We don’t want to pre-judge those things yet. As I’ve said all along our main goal is to get the maximum party vote we can then look at the details once the votes have been cast”.

    But instead, the Greens took the initiative. Key’s response is an adolescent sulk.

  56. Lew 57

    Tim, PB: There’s also the consideration of political culture. Broadly speaking, parties on the right tend to be more conservative (National is certainly more so than others in contention here) and less `liberal’ (in the sense of ‘opposite to conservative’ – notwithstanding the fact that National is clearly a liberal party – I trust you to not quibble too much about these definitions). Conservatism is by its nature less tolerant of diverse opinions and more inclined to `my way or the highway’ attitudes, and therefore less prone to playing nicely with others in a coalition. Rawls’ idea that democracy itself relies upon a background culture of liberalism for success, and cannot endure without it, would seem to apply equally to coalition agreements. Neither a background culture of go-it-alone entrepreneurial impetus, nor the desire for a return to the old ways of single-party government encourages consensus or toleration. This is largely why the 1996 coalition failed: both parties to the agreement were autocratic at heart.

    This is clearly the case we see before us now. We have a group of parties on the left with fairly diverse views who are nevertheless prepared to negotiate in good faith to work together, and accept that coalition is about compromise. On the other hand, we have ACT who have isolated themselves from working with anyone other than National, and National, whose entire attitude to compromise and consensus is that it’s an impediment to executive authority and decisive rule. In a sense the two sides are not so different, however, since the National party remains internally very factionalised – their divisions are implicit, whereas those on the left are explicit.

    As hard as it is in coalition government, in a minority coalition government it’s so much harder.

    L

  57. Ianmac 58

    Actually the short history of MMP, the two tries for National 2 Fails. The 3 Tries for Labour led 3 successes. Pay your money and guess the odds.

  58. the sprout 59

    Ianmac how can we keep repeating our mistakes if you go and remind people of history like that?

  59. deemac 60

    Key’s complaint is really about MMP itself – suspect any Nat led govt would try to move against MMP sharpish

  60. Felix 61

    sprout,

    Yeah they’re very quiet about Shipley. Even Bolger looks competent compared to every leader they’ve had since and remember what a doofus he seemed at the time?

    Pb,

    I think Tim is referring to the actual spread between Nat and ACT (fairly narrow)
    while you’re taking the Nats at their word – and why shouldn’t you?

    The answer of course is that people like Tim know that the Nats are putting on a completely bogus show of being moderate and they don’t mind at all.

  61. Pascal's bookie 62

    Spot on Lew.

    I know what you mean about the definitions. I blame the yanks. I think the axis got messed up there somewhere. As I see it Conservative is to Radical as Authoritarian is to Liberal. Looked at this way, national is a slightly authoritarian conservative party, and Labour is a slightly radical liberal one.

    Another aspect of that same dynamic is the way the two big parties have reacted strategically to MMP.

    National has tended to try and eliminate other rightish parties that it sees as stealing their votes. NZFirst is the most obvious bugbear, and the animus towards Winston is simply awesome. They’ve also been attempting to get rid of ACT in the past, though they seem to accept that Rodney can have Epsom.

    Labour seem to have taken a less aggressive approach, but similar. They still have the two ticks thing, but don’t appear to be at all concerned about ‘enemies’ to their left. They (rightly in my view) believe that having other more radical/ideological parties on their side of the fence actually serves Labour’s interests as well as the left’s more generally.

    Having the more radical left in their own parties enables Labour itself to be less threatening to centrist voters. Centrists can vote Labour to keep the radicals out if they want, and Labour can form coalitions with the centrist parties, (with the options of C and S from the more ideological parties). This may slowly pull centre voters into Labour’s fold as Labour’s more leftwing voters move to the left wing parties. Eventually the centre parties go pop.

    National is left to try and thread the needle of holding (and regaining) the centrist voters while dogwhistling the more ideological rightwingers.

    It understandably pisses the Greens off, as well as Labour’s left wing but even if the National Party can form a government in Nov, Labour may still be the new natural party of same.

  62. Pascal's bookie 63

    …and National, whose entire attitude to compromise and consensus is that it’s an impediment to executive authority and decisive rule.

    heh. Was it Grover Norquist in the US that described bipartisanship as “date rape”? If not it could have been. When I first read the phrase I naively though he was arguing against bipartisanship. Sheesh. The last 8 years learned me some on that score. Those Republicans sure are something.

  63. ak 64

    (totally anecdotal and completely off-topic but simply had to share – just returned from a function for the terribly well-to-do and ego-inflated pillars and pillocks of our little society, and am simplystaggered, darlings, to report that no less than five, yes five, totally separate and utterly unassociated parties possessed of a previously unshakeable and, yes, tenacious even, adherence to the tory line, confessed, completely unsolicited and to my complete astonishment, an admiration – and in three of the five cases an unequivocal determination to actually vote for, one Winston Peters! And in the other two cases, the sole equivocation of intentions involved the Democrats for Social Credit! One can’t help but wonder, dear brothers and sisters, if the times, the polls and the “five-headed-monster” invective may be frightening the horses just a little? Ah well, dreams, Pimms, a comfortable bed and Winnie’s profile, what more could one ask?)

  64. dave 65

    Basic fact-checking, that’s all it takes guys.

    Actually basic reading and comprehension is all it takes. Particularly when the word ” potential” is the key word.

    The Herald wasn’t musing on whether Winston might win Tauranga, they explicitly said TV3 had a Labour government with a five-party arrangement. That’s not true

    You’re right , its not true. The Herald said nothing of the sort. There’s nothing in the article that explicitly said TV3 had a Labour government with a five-party arrangement. The TV3 reference makes no mention of NZ First. I quote the Herald ” a TV3 poll, which last night showed a Labour-led coalition with support from the Green Party, the Maori Party and the Progressive Party could govern”

    Basic comprehension and fact checking. That’s all it takes guys.

  65. Peperi 66

    If we’re talking about five headed monsters perhaps we should check out the look alike photo match of money speculator monsters both of whom have left the burning building! picture here

  66. Robin Grieve 67

    A lot of this is academic the main problem and why a Labour led govt will be a monster is because Labour is polling quite low and Greens quite high so that whatever people think they are voting for if they were to vote labour is not what they will get. After the election the deals will be done, policy will be adopted and some discarded and what results will be something nobody voted for.

    On the other hand a strong and popular National party will have to make few concessions. On this basis National will be more likely to be able to deliver what they promise whereas labour have little chance, having to make major concessions to the Greens.

    Such concessions will see food prices soar way higher than now with biofuel taking food out of the starvings’ mouth and an Emission Scheme designed to take money out of our pockets and give it to an overseas country.

  67. r0b 68

    So Robin, you’re arguing that having a single party able to ram through its own agenda (eg hard line right wing retorms of the 80’a and 90’s) is preferable to negotiation and consensus (the popular and successful governments of the last 9 years)?

    I beg to differ. MMP begs to differ. The days of single party control should be gone forever. Especially when that single party is as lying and duplicitous about its true (secret) agenda as National is currently.

    Checks and balances people, negotiation and consensus, it’s just good sense.

  68. the sprout 69

    Indeed r0b, the checks and balances offered by multi-party government are especially important for preventing “elected dictatorships” in systems like ours with no Upper House.

  69. coge 70

    Felix & Sprout. Are you absolutely sure big tax hikes
    are not part of Decembers mooted mini-budget?
    Heck, the people can afford them now, as interest rates & petrol prices have come down. When better to introduce unpalatable policy than early on in a fresh term. Remember 1999.

    The multi-headed monster that has been mentioned would indeed be left leaning, that is not in dispute. The current coalition would be National in drag by comparison. Mark my words, there are likely be tax increases, “for the good of the planet”

  70. Ianmac 71

    ak: I think that your post is expressing surprise or even contempt for anyone who chose to vote NZF. What happened to democracy? Surely we each have the right to have our choice treated with respect even if we disagree with them? Tut Tut.

  71. RedLogix 72

    A stable center left coalition of five parties would be a vindication of MMP and a testament to Helen Clark’s political leadership. Cooperation, compromise, respect for minorities and inclusiveness are the vital characteristics driving authentic success in this modern world.

    Clearly it is a trick that the Nats cannot pull off. This “five headed monster” drek is an admission of where their real intentions lie regarding MMP. As r0b states above, the era of the old “one party state” and it’s implicit “we know best” authoritarian mentality is so last century.

  72. higherstandard 73

    ak

    You should stop attending functions at rest homes for the befuddled if it gets you in such a state.

    coge you forget that that Labour’s secret plans regarding tax increases will only be for rich pricks (cough cough) earning in the top tax bracket – stay with a plan old boy high earners are all evil duplicitous scoundrels as are businesses.

  73. Felix 74

    coge,

    Green party policy is to reduce income tax, not raise it.

    Try a bit of reading.

  74. Ianmac 75

    National+Act+UF+Maori=4 heads
    Labour +Green+Prog+Maori=4 heads
    Uhh?

  75. higherstandard 76

    ‘As r0b states above, the era of the old “one party state’ and it’s implicit “we know best’ authoritarian mentality is so last century.”

    Hah funniest thing I’ve read for a long time – to suggest that Labour and the Greens are any less authoritarian are hysterical, as is the possibility of a “stable” centre left coalition of five parties.

  76. higherstandard 77

    Felix

    The Greens most enlightened economic policy is in relation to capital gains taxation.

  77. RedLogix 78

    HS,

    Your little attempt at humour above:

    coge you forget that that Labour’s secret plans regarding tax increases will only be for rich pricks (cough cough) earning in the top tax bracket – stay with a plan old boy high earners are all evil duplicitous scoundrels as are businesses.

    reminded of this article:

    Washington, D.C. –

    A new study based on unpublished Internal Revenue Service data shows the rich are different when it comes to paying taxes: They hide more of their income.

    The previously unreported study estimates that taxpayers whose true income was between $500,000 and $1 million a year understated their adjusted gross incomes by 21% overall in 2001, compared to an 8% underreporting rate for those earning $50,000 to $100,000 and even lower rates for those earning less. (The “net misreporting rate” as the IRS calls it, includes both underreported income and inflated deductions.)

    In all, because of their higher noncompliance rates, those with true incomes of $200,000 or more received 25% of all income, but accounted for 40% of net underreported income and 42% of underreported tax in 2001, the new analysis finds.

    Rich cheat more on taxes

    So yes the US IRS has concluded that the rich are indeed duplicitous scoundrels.

  78. Felix 79

    hs,

    “You should stop attending functions at rest homes for the befuddled if it gets you in such a state.”

    Heh. In fairness though, it can be a bit unsettling to meet WP voters in real life. It’s what I imagine it would be like meeting a werewolf or a hobbit for the first time – you’ve read about them and seen them on screen but never really thought about them existing on the same plane as you.

  79. Lew 80

    PB: Thank you, we are in agreement.

    Robin: You make my point ever more clearly than I could, that for the Nats, compromise is a pain in the arse and it’s better to govern unfettered by the need to consult or justify one’s actions to anyone. Thank you.

    RL: That may be so in the USA where they have very complex taxation systems, but there are far fewer opportunities do so so here. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but those numbers aren’t strictly relevant here.

    Ianmac: John Key is including NZ First in that Labour-led coalition. Take from that what you will.

    L

  80. RedLogix 81

    Lew,

    I agree with you to some extent, but the article I linked to goes on to state:

    The main reason for the income-related cheating disparity: Higher income folks receive more of their income from sources that are easier to hide, including self-employment earnings; income from rents, partnerships and S corporations; and capital gains.

    “The distribution of noncompliance lines up pretty closely with who gets income that’s hard (for the IRS) to keep track of,” Slemrod says. Still, he notes, the distribution of income by source doesn’t explain all the increased noncompliance at higher income levels.

    In its 2001 tax gap study, the IRS estimated that individuals underreported business income by 43% overall. Sole proprietors, who report self-employment income on schedule C of their tax returns, underreported their income a stunning 57%.

    Much the same opportunities exist here in NZ (except the capital gains element) and would no doubt be exploited wherever possible. But the big driver of tax compliance in NZ has been GST. Because GST gives IRD a fairly accurate picture of cash flow it makes it more difficult (but by no means impossible) for business people to hide income. You are also forgetting legendary locally based scams like the Winebox and H-Fee affairs.

    You will be too young to remember, but when GST was introduced here, IRD reported a massive rise in business tax compliance accross the board. The point is of course, that given the opportunity, either due to over-complex tax laws, or weak enforcement …. the rich DO cheat on their taxes.

  81. coge 82

    H/S, Capital gains tax at a time when all asset classes are in decline, certainly won’t deliver what the Greens intend. Even they should understand that. So either GST will go up or substantial & comprehensive income tax hikes for workers come December. You would think Dr Cullen would dismiss such suggestions at such a critical time in the electoral cycle. I don’t expect he will however.

  82. ak 83

    Ianmac: ak: I think that your post is expressing surprise or even contempt for anyone who chose to vote NZF.

    Au blooming contraire my dear Ian, indeed if Winnie is hovering near the threshold on Nov 7th, I will be urging any and every left-leaning voter of my wide acquaintance to maximise their voting efficacy by plumping his considerable bloc over the bar.

    As the mouthpieces of moronity keep conveniently reminding us, “a vote for Winnie is a vote for Helen”: to paraphrase another space cadet, one small percentage-step for Winnie, one giant seat-leap for the Left. Why wouldn’t one?

  83. Lew 84

    RL: Yes, I see. However, there’s also the matter of incentive: highly progressive taxation systems mean greater incentives for avoidance at the top end. One of the chief benefits of a flat taxation system would be a rise in compliance as it became less worthwhile to avoid tax. (Not that flat taxation is a good idea.)

    L

  84. RedLogix 85

    ak,

    And as much as I have better things to do with my life than defend Winston Peters, I cannot help but notice that how after weeks of lurid MSM headlines and reams of fervid blog postings all aimed at painting the man as a monster of deceit and corruption; now that WP has been largely cleared of any actual illegality by both the SFO and the EC…. the entire matter has been unceremoniously stuffed down the memory hole.

    In particular one Shaun Plunkett owes Winston a retraction and grovelling apology on air.

    Lew,

    But even when the Bush administration flattened taxes considerably… the avoidance continued unabated.

  85. higherstandard 86

    Red

    Do you honestly believe that NZers who happen to be in the top tax bracket are rich ?
    Do you honestly believe that they cheat on their taxes more so than any other sector of society ?

    What you conveniently forget is that those captured in the top tax bracket actually contribute very significantly to what this blog refers to as the social wage. If it wasn’t for these rich pricks – most of whom probably don’t consider themselves rich at all, our current tax take would be significantly less.

    And as an aside the critical issue with Winston Peters is not about illegality – much as he’d like to paint it that way – it’s purely and simply about the continual lies I never thought anything he did was illegal just outrageously duplicitous – if he hadn’t gone through the charade with his no no no signs and his denials that he and his party received funding from a variety of business and other funders the whole fiasco would never have occurred.

    The man is a cock and that persons such as the idiotic ak would want him back in parliament just to increase the likelihood of a Labour government despite that fact that they probably find most of his policies obscene is tragic.

  86. the sprout 87

    “Do you honestly believe that NZers who happen to be in the top tax bracket are rich?”

    Yes, I do

    “Do you honestly believe that they cheat on their taxes more so than any other sector of society?”

    I think they are likely to have more opportunity and incentive to than most, yes.

    “If it wasn’t for these rich pricks”

    Blah blah… if it wasn’t for us poor pricks they wouldn’t be rich either.

    “I never thought anything Peters did was illegal just outrageously duplicitous – if he hadn’t gone through the charade with his no no no signs and his denials”

    True. I don’t like many of his policies or tactics myself, but I’d prefer and trust him over Hide, who despite leading a party that pretends to self-righteous perk-busting was also happily ripping off the system by concealing donations from Robert Jones.

    It’s a matter of fairness to me. As long as people like Hide remain then people like Peters should too.

  87. RedLogix 88

    Do you honestly believe that they cheat on their taxes more so than any other sector of society ?

    Well I did link to some compelling evidence that this is true of US taxpayers (incomes > U$200k)… and while there is a case to be made that the NZ tax system is simpler and more robust than the US one… at the same time I think that the ball would have to be in your court to provide some evidence to back the assertion you are making….especially given the usual history of sordid scams and dodges much the same here in NZ as everywhere else in the world.

    What you conveniently forget is that those captured in the top tax bracket actually contribute very significantly to what this blog refers to as the social wage.

    And what you conveniently forget is that much of those in the top tax bracket have also benefited considerably from the physical, commercial and social infrastructure built up by generations of hard working ordinary New Zealanders. This is an argument that flow both ways.

  88. Felix 89

    coge,

    You keep talking about Greens pushing for tax increases when Green policy is clearly and unequivocally to lower income tax (and no, not just by means of a cg tax).

    But I guess you wouldn’t know about that. I mean it’s not like it’s been pointed out to you repeatedly and it’s not like you’ve got access to the internet to find out about it or anything, so it’s totally understandable that you’d just keep repeating something that’s 180 degrees from true.

    It’s probably too much for you to go to their website and read it for yourself I mean it’s not like there’s an election on or anything and you can pretty much get all the info you need from Farrar anyway right?

  89. Chris G 90

    Higherstandard: “”Do you honestly believe that NZers who happen to be in the top tax bracket are rich?’

    Comparatively to the rest of NZ, yes they (Presumably you, also) are.

    Now this may shock you but:
    70% of wage earners in NZ earn less than $40,000….Clearly you werent aware of that and thats a fact that tories LOVE to forget.

    Source: 2006 Census data, would link you to it but the site isnt responding to my clicking very well.

  90. idiotic ak 91

    HS: I never thought anything he did was illegal…….The man is a cock…blah, blah….most of his policies obscene….blah blah…tragic

    Hiya, Ligher: yep, cock. You forgot to include cak. Idiotic ak likes the cak-filled cock. (heh – sounds like Dr Seuss: Cak-filled cocks put their black-and-white socks in the pack on the back of the idiotic yak. But I digress…)

    Yep, the man’s a cock. So what. Nothing wrong with your average cock, HS – it’s the apparatus surrounding them that you have to watch out for. And a loveable, colourful cock like Winnie who has delivered millions to the meagre pay-packets of your seniors can be forgiven the odd xenophobic obscenity I reckon – unlike the doddery serial adulterer and the rest of the tory machine that tried it on in a cold, calculating fashion in 2004 and has never repented.
    What’s your new shiny, slippery cock ever delivered HS? Besides a copious lining to his own pocket of course, now there’s a word for that…….merchant banker?

  91. coge 92

    Felix, do you honestly expect the Greens to spit the dummy, if a larger coalition party demands GST/income tax increases? Hasn’t Cullen said the cupboard is bare, so tax hikes will certainly be looked
    at in Decembers mini-budget. Unpalatable prior to an election I know. Just like in 1999.

  92. Ianmac 93

    Sprout said: Peters, “I don’t like many of his policies or tactics myself, but I’d prefer and trust him over Hide, who despite leading a party that pretends to self-righteous perk-busting was also happily ripping off the system by concealing donations from Robert Jones.”
    To me it is not so much that his guilt is proven or not. I dislike the mentality where media, political spin etc is used to denigrate any individual or minority group. (5% of pop.)The real hypocrisy is in the mouths of those like Hide and Key must be guilty of far worse “crimes.” Incidentally the “NO” was in relation to “did you or your party receive money from Owen Glen. No. And to this day Peters maintains that position. True? Don’t know but the continual denigration from our society bothers me more. (Still vote Labour though.) 🙂

  93. Pascal's bookie 94

    Coge, Labour ran on a policy of tax rate hikes in ’99. It was all out in the open and people voted for it. Probably because the neoliberal religious belief in ever lower taxes is rightly seen as stupid by most NZers.

    Cullen is a Keyensian, that is why he didn’t cut taxes when the economy was running at full steam and the government coffers were overflowing, and that is why he won’t raise taxes when the economy is in a rough patch. He sees tax rates as a tool that can be used as a buffer, (along with govt spending) to smooth out the more ludicrous effects of a market based economy.

  94. Felix 95

    coge do you expect ACT to spit the dummy if, for example, a National govt were to refuse to sell state assets in their second term?

    If not, would this mean that ACT are opposed to state asset sales? Of course not.

    The Greens have some very interesting ideas for the tax system but raising income tax is not one of them.

    Their policy is clearly to lower income tax. Why are you suggesting otherwise?

  95. coge 96

    Pascal & Felix, I hear what you are saying about Dr Cullen & the Greens. Surely it would be prudent of both parties to put the idea to bed? Just to clear things up for the moderate voters. The thought of a mini-budget post election, might be a bit scary for some, given the time frame. As far as I’m aware the idea of tax hikes, of whatever stripe, has not been ruled out.

  96. Draco T Bastard 97

    Labour ran on a policy of tax rate hikes in ‘99. It was all out in the open and people voted for it. Probably because the neoliberal religious belief in ever lower taxes is rightly seen as stupid by most NZers.

    I just hope that those same NZers are able to understand that tax rates will have to be put up again as the world comes out of the depression that it’s presently falling into.

    As far as I’m aware the idea of tax hikes, of whatever stripe, has not been ruled out.

    Now is not the time to increase taxes according to Keynesian theory and so it won’t happen.

  97. Pascal's bookie 98

    Coge, When is John Key going to rule out implementing mandatory pigfucking? Just to clear things up for those of us whose amorous intentions are more conservatively limited to the Humans of our nation. Personally I think the rumours are false but still, a public announcement would calm the fears of the nervous nellies out there. I think he needs to do it.

  98. coge,

    Not deregulators’ RECESSION for the good of the planet…?

    BTW: could it be c.. oge.. part of the parcel aka roger,,?

  99. coge 100

    I know it’s been a long & hard campaign. How about we stick to the issues? I for one, and many other Kiwis are interested in what is likely to happen taxwise under a left leaning multiple-party coalition.
    Multiple agendas, well they don’t come cheap.

  100. r0b 101

    How about we stick to the issues?

    Losing faith in Key’s pretty smile coge? Seems to be a bit of that about.

    I for one, and many other Kiwis are interested in what is likely to happen taxwise under a left leaning multiple-party coalition.

    Nothing much I expect, it’s too politically sensitive to touch.

    I for one, and many other Kiwis are interested in what is likely to happen to lower income earners and to the environment under a right leaning multiple-party coalition.

    That Roger Douglas agenda, well it don’t come cheap…

  101. oob 102

    I am left wondering what it would be like under a National Act MP and UF
    Coalition
    It is obvious that the parties of the left will be a much more stable option

  102. coge 103

    rOb, of course it’s politically sensitive, that is why a mini-budget has been penciled in for December.
    Having said that, the moderates & undecideds need to have answers from Labour to address tax hike concerns. These issues affect every NZer.

    Key has already set out Nationals tax position post election.

  103. Tim Ellis 104

    That Roger Douglas agenda, well it don’t come cheap

    With Act at 1.5% in the polls, and not having moved from that level in the past four months, Roger Douglas doesn’t look like he will be in Parliament. Act is likely to continue to have only 2 MPs. Hardly likely that Act will have a huge amount of influence in a National-Act-United government.

    Meanwhile the Greens’ support is rising, at the expense of Labour. If the Greens get 10 MPs, and are the largest party next to Labour, then they will have far more influence over a Left government.

  104. r0b 105

    that is why a mini-budget has been penciled in for December

    Pick up a newspaper some time coge, you’ll see there’s a bit of a financial crisis going on. If reelected Labour will be making plans to deal with it. Sounds good to me. Cullen has already stated that the tax cuts are embedded and will not be touched. (This is where you say – but he canceled them before! – and where I say well National voted against tax cuts! – there, I saved us both some time).

    With Act at 1.5% in the polls, and not having moved from that level in the past four months, Roger Douglas doesn’t look like he will be in Parliament.

    Ahh but his agenda lives on – secretly – in the hearts and minds of the National Party (1990s / Hollow Men) front bench…

  105. Draco T Bastard 106

    Key has already set out Nationals tax position post election.

    So has Cullen – he’s said that the present tax path will stay in place. The mini budget will only be for fine tuning things due to the continuing chaotic state of the worlds economy.

  106. Pascal's bookie 107

    You need to make up your mind Timmy. Either there is only a small gap between National and ACT policy wise, or Act policies will be mariginalised at best. Can’t have both mate.

    As for ACT not having any influence, that’s up to ACT, and the National negotiating team. I’ve not noticed that ACT are ones to go wet, and over the last few years the tory policy platform’s been, well, to be kind, flexible.

  107. gobsmacked 108

    A quick heads-up:

    John Key is on Agenda tomorrow morning (TV one, 10 a.m.).

    Here’s an extraordinary fact: this is the only mainstream TV interview of any length that he will be giving in this election campaign. In previous years, there were evening interview programmes (e.g. Kim Hill) but the networks aren’t bothering this time. The politicians won’t have to dodge the questions – they won’t even be asked them in the first place.

    I don’t know of any other Western democracy in which this could happen. What a joke.

  108. Tim Ellis 109

    Ahh but his agenda lives on – secretly – in the hearts and minds of the National Party (1990s / Hollow Men) front bench

    Nice try r0b. Lest we forget that Helen Clark was deputy prime minister in the last cabinet that Douglas served in, and that she voted in Cabinet for every one of Douglas’ proposals, including flat tax. Oh, but apparently National have to take responsibility for Douglas even though he’s not likely to serve in a National-led government but we can conveniently forget that Clark supported him when he was in a position of power.

  109. gobsmacked 110

    Tim

    Nice try Tim. You cleverly blurred your history lines there. Helen Clark did not become Deputy Prime Minister until well after Douglas had been dumped as Minister of Finance.

    National have to take responsibility for ACT – and therefore Douglas – because without National’s help, ACT would have no chance of being in Parliament. John Key could change that in an instant, by asking Epsom voters to vote National.

  110. burt 111

    Tim Ellis said a while back;

    SP, I really wish you would comment in a separate comment rather than edit my comment. It makes it difficult to track what you’ve said if there’s no comment line in it, and it allows you to make points in my post which can’t be rebutted within that post.

    I agree with that. lprent and IrishBill tend to do that as well. Tane is more well mannered and normally responds in his own comment.

  111. Tim,

    there was a time after douglas when mr. caygill was the minister of finance, and he admitted to not knowing what the heck was going on.. now for one of the douglas boys to not know what he should have known in that job tells us how mr. douglas did have secrets.. and no, those secrets were not reiterated last Sunday on the Radio New Zealand debate.

    The language y’see had been polished, codified, rendered unto the caesar of persuading a listening electorate. If available from audio archives I’m pretty sure you’ll hear him enunciate the four conditions that MUST prevail for acter economics. Go figure, but I’ll say how they are giveaway. Trouble is it has been blown a good long time now elsewhere. Meaning to say how out of place it would be in enzed and, coincidentally, make us all the laughing stock for voting it in. If we could be so lucky!

    The other point is that the whole political-economic global scene has changed dramatically and no sane administration could even contemplate the kind of derugulation that he once implemented here and cannot be trusted to even think about doing so himself or by surrogates again.

  112. Pascal's bookie 113

    So now Tim is trying to tell us that the policy spread between ACT and Helen Clark is narrow. He needs to pay his ‘talking points’ bill because the stuff they are starting to give him is well past the best before date. I think his latest message ran out of making sense some time in the early to mid nineties.

  113. lprent 114

    burt:

    Tim Ellis said a while back;

    SP, I really wish you would comment in a separate comment rather than edit my comment. It makes it difficult to track what you’ve said if there’s no comment line in it, and it allows you to make points in my post which can’t be rebutted within that post.

    I agree with that. lprent and IrishBill tend to do that as well. Tane is more well mannered and normally responds in his own comment.

    I’m afraid that neither of you understand the problem of moderating the number of comments that come in here every day. None of us have much available time. So we’re doing it as efficiently as possible.

    We don’t read the comment threads the way that you do. We see a list of the comments in reverse chronological order (sort of like the right sidebar), but with the text of the comment showing. We can edit the comments, spam them, delete them, and a few other things. What we can’t do is to easily add a comment to a post. To do that we have to jump a couple hoops which takes time, and makes it hard to the primary purpose of the reading.

    The primary purpose is to moderate the trolls, incipient flames, and look for challenges to posts. We have to read the way we do because a favorite troll trick is to add comments to old threads (ie pissing in a hidden corner). Stopping to write a comment when you have a couple of hundred more comments to scan during a coffee-break isn’t workable. So we write short notes on the comment (the exception is me when I’m persecuting a troll). All of the sites with large numbers of comments tend to do the same thing for the same reason.

    If you can figure out a way to give us more time to blog, we’d do more comments than notes. But in the absence of a solution this is the way it is. In short – tough. The notes and comments are done in the most effective way for our purposes – not yours.

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