Fact checkin’

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 pm, October 14th, 2008 - 71 comments
Categories: election 2008 - Tags:

Live fact-checking of the debate.

Key: The unions supported National’s position on Kiwisaver.
Lie: The unions do not support National’s plan and never have. “We have supported 2+2 arrangements as a starting point but under the current scheme, this attracts the full value of member tax credits and employer tax credits. Under the National Party proposal there would be enormous pressure on workers to pay for the employer contribution by forgoing a wage increase.  And for those who joined expecting a 4 per cent employer contribution, this is a major reduction”

Key: Productivity has halved under Labour
Lie: Productivity is up 15% under Labour

Key: Labour has got unemployment beneficiary numbers down by moving people to the sickness and invalid benefits.
Lie: Total benefit numbers are down 100,000. The sickness and invalid number growth has been in line with a growing, aging population. Unemployment is down 120,000.

Key: We should be slower on the ETS, our Kyoto liability is so big
Contradiction: If we go slower on reducing our carbon emissions through the ETS our Kyoto liability will be higher. Our Kyoto liability is forfeit for not meeting our commitments to reduce emissions; the ETS is a scheme for reducing emissions.

Key: interest rates have doubled up Labour
Lie: 2-year fixed mortgage rate in December 1999 – 8.3%. 2-year fixed mortgage rate today – 9.0%

Key: carbon emissions from coal have doubled under Labour
Lie: electricity emissions have increased 20%, more electricity is generated per unit of emissions, there is a ban on new baseload thermal generation, and Huntly will be replaced by renewable generation.

Key: power prices have increased 50% under Labour
Lie: power prices are up 18% after-inflation (source 1,2). Incomes are up 25% after-inflation (source 1,2)

Key: we’ve had an explosion in the number of bureaucrats from 26,000 to 36,000
Misleading: Key is talking about people employed by the core public service. That includes the Police, corrections staff, customs, social workers. Key has promised policies that wold require at least a 1000 new people in those departments.

Key: 322 workers at Carter Holt Harvey lost their jobs today because of Labour’s economic mismanagement.
Lie: according to Carter Holt, the jobs were lost due to oversupply of timber in the international market. As Key should know, the timber industry is going through a major correction at the moment having overexpanded during the global housing bubble, which has now collapsed.

Key: people are leaving in record numbers
Lie: the current level of emigration is well-within the normal cycle

71 comments on “Fact checkin’ ”

  1. randal 1

    keys couldn’t lie straight in bed

  2. GordonF 2

    What about him having a go about forests being cleared under Labour.
    Hey John, National felled native forests!

  3. Julie 3

    Really glad you are doing this, I was watching his claim that power from coal has doubled, and thinking that it sounded like it might be somehow related to Brownlee’s debunked claims about coal power stations going full tilt in summer…

  4. randal 4

    Yep…did a few thousand acres myself! that is before I saw the light!

  5. Joanna 5

    This is great, but realistically, will only reach a tiny % of NZ voters. This information should come out in the debate. I realise it is impossible to fact check every statement but, for example, why was John Key allowed to challenge Labour’s record on climate change without having to say what he would do,
    re: critising increse in coal power generation- are national’s plans to reduce coal power usage? by how much? etc?

    Wouldn’t it be better in a debate to cover a few key issues in good depth rather than scratching a lot of surfaces?

  6. Lew 6

    Joanna: Your question presumes that debates are there to inform the electorate about policies and politics of the politicians and parties participating. It isn’t quite that simple.

    L

  7. randal 7

    Joanna…mark shrewsbrewery has the attention span of a flea and couldnt be voted in as chairman of anything. thats why he is on teevee because anyhting else except swanning around being mirk shrewbrewery would be far too difficult. He had the temerity to ask beofre this debate who DESERVRED your vote as if it was a popularity contest. He doesnt give a stuff about the details.

  8. Andy 8

    The herald website is attempting some live comment and assessment but no real correction of misleading information.

  9. Paul 9

    Key, Clark’s record on the environment is worse than GW Bush’s. LIE. What a habitual wanker – even ‘under his watch’ he’s a liar.

    Cheers for this guys.

  10. Andy 10

    Mark Sainsbury – Asking Key if he has got enough ‘mongrel’ to be PM?

    Hahahahaha what a trait to put on your CV

  11. Julie 11

    It’ll certainly be interesting to see if the Herald do any fact checking on tonight’s debate in tomorrow’s edition – Saturday’s Herald did not mention the two polls that came out the previous evening at all…

  12. Joanna 12

    Hi Lew,
    yes, I was under that impression about debates… what else are they there for?
    (but then I also think the whole election should be based on comparing detailed costed policies and voting on the best vision for new zealand so maybe I’m being naive)

  13. ghostwhowalks 13

    Notice Keys big lie about Sharples claim that he has said ‘off the record’ dont worry about the proposal to abolish maori seats , Key of course says there was no ‘formal agreement’
    Hello strawman, claim something that Sharples never said

  14. Principessa 14

    I’m disgusted with the texting and 99 cents a minute polling options. Some National Party members will be able to afford calling the line 1000 times. Many Labour supporters will not be in a position to afford this.

    Also- visit this page http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/10/the_tvnz_debate.html#comments

    Labour’s advertising on Kiwiblog! Wonder how DPF feels about that.

    [lprent: Well National won’t be advertising here… ]

  15. Akldnut 15

    Got home a bit late! Did key actually give one straight yes or no answer to any question?

  16. Ebolacola 16

    i gotta say Clark failed to attack the cut in the top tax rate, she should have had the figures to point out the size of her, Sainsbury’s, and Key’s tax cut(assuming his 50 million was earning bank interest) and then the proportion of Nationals tax package that goes to this cut in the top rate.

    on a lighter note if anyone has any free time could they please post this over at policy blog as a gesture of solidarity

    First they came for the Redbaiters, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a Redbaiter.

    Then they came for the Philus, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a Philu.

    Then they came for the satirists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a satirist.

    Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

  17. Principessa 17

    Oops the advertising changes everytime you go back to the page but I swear I saw a Labour ad on DPF’s blog.

  18. higherstandard 18

    Despite my low expectations I thought both Clark and Key presented themselves very well.

    I take it from the bleating here that Key performed better head to head vs the formidable Clark than many expected.

  19. Felix 19

    As you say Joanna, no depth.

    We need to see a debate like this every week for at least 2 months to get in any way informed – one specific policy area each week, chaired by relevant experts instead of self-serving hacks.

    I think it would also be much more compelling tv and I have no idea why it isn’t being done. But like you, I’m hopelessly naive about these things.

    captcha: display sham

  20. Dom 20

    Who told Key that ‘I left a lucrative job to go into politics’ was going to endear him to anyone but those already voting for National?

    Also, new drinking game. Everytime Key says ‘on my watch’ take a drink!

  21. Paul 21

    Don’t you love the lies and half truths.

    Apprenticeships were abolished under National last time
    Overtime was abolished under National last time
    Max Bradford, now there’s a name to remember with regard to electricity Mr Key

  22. mike 22

    “Got home a bit late! Did key actually give one straight yes or no answer to any question?”

    Key cut Helen a new one tonight and helen didn’t know what hit her.

    Her feeble response “you might be able to shout people down at home”
    WTF? poor old hel’s does struggle with the whole family thing eh..

  23. Pascal's bookie 23

    Principessa, don’t worry about the texty thing. It’s meaningless.

    Basically it’s got nothing to do with polling. With one hand let viewers feel like they are taking part, and with the other hand give the tv pundits something to talk about for a minute. With the third hand collect money.

    Any voter that has their opinion influenced by it is so lost that they’ll be changing their mind another ten times before the election anyway, for equally random reasons.

  24. randal 24

    oh god mike. you are so macho and tuff. john keys cut helen a new one. WTF. are you a big swinging dick at merril lynch or something?

  25. Paul 25

    “on my watch” the Rolex he got at Merrill Lynch?

    silly (or fun) drinking game, too irresponsible, we’d all be comatose by the end of the debate.

  26. milo 26

    This bogus “fact” checking (ie. checking what Steve Pierson wishes John Key had said) is really weird.

    If a nine-year incumbent needs the help of internet “fact-checkers” to manage a debate, then she is clearly past it.

  27. Dean 27

    “”I’m sorry John, I’m sorry John …. you might be used to shouting people down at home….but you won’t be shouting me down”.

    Typical Clark. Always ready to play the person and not the ball. Ranks up there with “haters and wreckers” or “last cab off the rank” don’t you think?

  28. forgetaboutthelastone 28

    key did better than i thought he would for a start but gradually faded – very evasive with most of his answers. helen was equally direct with hers. helen was able to talk over key many times.

    spring bok tour – key makes a joke about his wife and has a good laugh – camera cuts to deadly serious journo.

    calls pita sharples a liar after spending a whole minute trying to avoid the question with the most obvious waffle.

    talks about fresh faces and helen points out just how fresh they are.

    Key agreed with helen on a lot of things – Clark agreed with key on very few.

  29. Felix 29

    hs,

    Johnny did ok presentation wise, a few too many pre-rehearsed answers but he’s clearly been practicing his interrupting so as not to make Brash’s mistake.

    I think if I were a nat supporter I’d be fairly pleased. No substantial answers of course (tv debate) and he did get shown up a few times for weasel words but I think many nats will be pleasantly surprised that he didn’t fuck it up completely.

    edit: sorry hs, that wasn’t you at all.

  30. gobsmacked 30

    No major gaffes or killer lines, so the media will call it a draw, therefore Key wins on the ‘Palin Law of Lower Expectations’ (I don’t quite see how that Law makes sense, as if being inferior gives you an excuse, but never mind!).

    A poor format. In the modern, media-savvy age, politicians are always going to be able to deal with a one-off question, just by spouting their prepared responses, whether it’s directly on topic or not. So what you need is tough follow-up, repeating until you get an answer.

    The only time this happened was on the Sharples/Maori seats story, and Key wriggled a bit, but still got away with the rehearsed line.

    Overall, few minds will have changed.

  31. Key is right about emissions from coal doubling. It isn’t a lie. The rest of them I’m happy to assume are.

    This is almost entirely due to Huntly station switching in late 2003-early 2004 from 20%coal 80%gas for generation to 80%coal 20% gas. Huntly accounts for 44% of our emissions from coal, and 6.4% of our total emissions. Running out of Maui gas was eminently foreseeable, for any who cared to listen.

    It would be easy for the left to forget about the bitter fights environmentalists have had with this Labour Government over coal. Huntly, Marsden B, Pike River, Happy Valley.

    Incidentally, our Kyoto liabilities would be near the black without the huge emissions of Huntly. Conservation and efficiency, and regulating this onto the private sector would have been a much better solution, economically, in terms of health, the wellbeing of New Zealanders, comfort, and environmental outcomes. The Government has only acknowledged recently, but deserves credit for the small amount it has done.

  32. randal 32

    how about someone asking him how many people he actually fired when hired as the hatchet man and did he get his $50 million nest egg as a payoff?

  33. Pascal's bookie 33

    “So what you need is tough follow-up, repeating until you get an answer.”

    Agreed. What I’d like to see is the fake journalists hand the job over to someone with QC after their name, ditch the silly fake debate formats and have each party leader interrogated for an hour each.

  34. Paul 34

    milo is a bogus wannabe politician can’t get into office without lying to the public… he’s clearly not up to it.

    And frankly I’d be happy for TVNZ and TV3 to do proper follow up fact checker on both or all leaders on these debates.

    Nobody should lie to the public full stop, but Key seems to think that’s OK, but then again he did work for Wall St wonks and they thought it was all right to lie too…

  35. IrishBill 35

    milo, I think the issue is Key won but he did so by lying. Unlike some of my fellow Standard posters I don’t feel outraged by that as lying is clearly a valid political tactic (or politicians would never do it). It’s not one I would ever recommend as the repercussions of the outright lie are extremely hard to predict.

    It is certainly too dangerous a tactic to use for something like a leaders’ debate. But perhaps Key’s handlers are still betting on a complacent media.

  36. Felix 36

    milo,

    “ie. checking what Steve Pierson wishes John Key had said”

    I’m pretty sure he did say those things. Are there any in particular you’d care to refute, knowing that half the people here have got the whole thing recorded?

  37. mike 37

    “Key wins on the ‘Palin Law of Lower Expectations’ (I don’t quite see how that Law makes sense, as if being inferior gives you an excuse, but never mind!).”
    Clark has been doing this 21 years longer than Key and was expected to monster him. She came across flat and tired compared to Key

  38. Lew 38

    GWW: You can’t know whether Key promised Sharples that. You have to believe one over the other. I know who you’ll believe, of course. There IS a credibility gap. Since the answer to the question (was Sharples or Key lying, or was it a genuine misunderstanding?) probably won’t come out in a verifiable fashion before the election, the question is irrelevant. But perception matters, because of three things:

    1. Hope springs eternal in the human breast. People will often believe things which favour them or their agenda.

    2. Risk aversity. Essentially, Māori have been bitten on this sort of thing by prior governments (on both sides) and are (justifiably) shy. On the other hand, National’s traditional base are concerned that their party might be getting a bit lily-livered and turning into Labour Lite.

    3. Uncertainty increases projected regret – which is a fancy way of saying `if you harbour doubts about someone’s policy, you’ll be worried about them failing to follow through and you might consequently not vote for them’.

    So a big chunk of the electorate (Māori) are thinking Key might be lying, because hope springs eternal. They’ll be rightly pissed off if the Nats renege and fail to entrench the Māori seats (yes, the allegation isn’t that they won’t abolish the seats, it’s that they’ll entrench them).

    Another chunk (the Nat base) will (because hope springs eternal) think that it’s not true, that Sharples is lying – and so if it does come to pass they’ll feel with some justification that the post-Brash Nats have sold them and their One Nation ideal out.

    There is a credibility gap between Sharples and Key here, which I’ll not go into. But in pure terms (presuming both stories are equally credible) this is no-win for National in the long term. Or, to put it another way, it’s a matter of who each group believes in the short term, and a matter of action in the long term. Because hope springs eternal, people will tend to vote for the party whose story seems to favour them, in the hope that it will. So we could in this case see a transfer from Labour to National, after which National would have to either: alienate Māori, or alienate part of their One Nation base. Bad choice.

    L

  39. Paul 39

    Pascal’s got a point. Why not have someone with real class, do a very stoic BBC one on one with each of the leaders, that would be very interesting. Not for a 7min segment after the news, for a real hour, and with someone who’s not afraid to say “hang on a minute, can you back that up, that seems to be somewhat stretched” etc

  40. Dom 40

    I agree – format was poor. And agree, because Key didn’t fuck up he ‘wins’. But does that mean more votes?

    I wonder about the own goal at the end – where he says because the world is a mess you should hand the reins to me. There is NO logic there. When things are messy, you stick with what you know, not take a gamble. When Clark pointed that out Key looked very small.

    Plus he stood oddly with his feet inwards. He is pigeon toed?

  41. Proctor 41

    ‘She came across flat and tired compared to Key’

    Really? Verdict here was she looked composed and intelligent whereas he looked like a nervous dork.

  42. Lew 42

    Joanna: “yes, I was under that impression about debates what else are they there for?”

    Well, you’re presuming only one stakeholder: the electorate who wants to be informed. Other stakeholders include the broadcaster and their advertisers; the candidates and their parties; the journalists on the panel; the vocal (or activist) electorate who does up YouTube videos, etc.

    All these people get their needs met to a certain extent by the `scratching many surfaces’ format – but none dominates.

    L

  43. Paul 43

    Sorry Irish

    “lying is clearly a valid political tactic ” no. Possibly the very heart of so many ills in this country is thinking that in the highest office in NZ it is acceptable to lie. I mean if it’s ok for these people to lie, where does it stop.

    They more than anyone have the responsibility to not lie and we the public should expect the stuff we are told as fact to be just that.

  44. gobsmacked 44

    Mike

    I have absolutely zero experience. On your logic, what do I have to do to win the debate? Show up on time and try not to fart?

    Will you vote for me as Prime MInister if I meet those expectations?

    [this may well be my favourite comment ever. SP]

  45. Felix 45

    Proctor,

    With such a shallow format it’s largely in the eye of the beholder. No-one’s mind was changed tonight.

    Paul,

    I nominate Tim Sebastian.

  46. Paul 46

    gobsmacked, I’d vote for you if you did fart during a leaders debate

  47. randal 47

    I’ll hold the stake if jokey is in the coffin and its daylight

  48. Dean 48

    IB:

    “Unlike some of my fellow Standard posters I don’t feel outraged by that as lying is clearly a valid political tactic (or politicians would never do it). It’s not one I would ever recommend as the repercussions of the outright lie are extremely hard to predict.”

    So THATS why you called someone an “uncle tom”. Well, at least you’re prepared to admit you’re bigoted.

    IrishBill: Dean you are a bore. Take a month off.

  49. Paul 49

    David Frost,

    because let’s face it. it’s the guy with the slug on his lip, the one with make-up under his eyes (not that there’s anything wrong with it), Soper or the boy Campell.

    Either that or Geoff Robinson.

  50. Lew 50

    Paul: Lying is only an invalid political tactic inasmuch as it is punished by the electorate. Since politicians demonstrably can and do win advantage (and probably elections) by lying, it’s entirely legitimate. You can rail all you like against how it shouldn’t be so, but while the electorate condones it, it remains viable.

    This is why I think politicians ought to be held to the things they say, to a greater extent than they are. But in a way, they reflect the electorate.

    L

  51. Ianmac 51

    Actually didn’t Key make a huge thing about Winston allegedly lying? If he is so pure wouldn’t one or several apparent lies told tonight be held up as hypocrisy?
    My wife and I found it difficult to remember the details of what was said but did notice that Helen answered fairly specifically where John was very general on most topics.

  52. Gooner 52

    Yeah, these fact-checkings are great. Shame Helen Clark wasn’t sharp enough to debate them when given the chance on TV.

  53. What are you kidding me? What is John Key, Sarah Palin? Do we call it a victory for him if he simply doesn’t implode. I thought he looked weak and tired. He doesn’t really look he’s thriving on or enjoying being there. I agree with Fran Sullivan, it looked like Clark has a plan for dealing with the financial crisis and Key doesn’t. He’s still stuck on the same track as before the markets started crashing, cutting taxes will increase growth and we’ll all be better off. It’s getting tired. And John, some of us enjoy living in New Zealand and don’t have to compare ourselves with them numerically every 5 minutes to feel good about ourselves.

    Clark wins this one 1 :0 . Key seems too shallow and inexperienced to be running a country for the first time during a crisis. And John, those businesses you were running are the reason we’re in the mess. The financial sector has sucked the life out of Western Capitalism. It used the entrepreneurs how made things that profited. Now it’s the bland financial vampires like Key who are gouging away. Put simply, Key’s the wrong man at the wrong time!

  54. Paul 54

    Ron,

    glad to see someone sees it differently to Kiwiblog. They were practically spoofing themselves over there tonight, I haven’t seen such self indulgence and chest puffing as the day Key came in. Lets just hope those rather abusive twats have it wrong (seems it’s valid political comment to take the piss out of McCarten’s stutter).

  55. mike 55

    I think many of you are really missing the point. A leaders debate is not about policy (I didnt hear anything new) nor is it about who might be telling porkies (they both told untruths) – its all about image and expectation of performance in front of the camera. Thats all that matters in programmes like this.

    From my own viewpoint I have decuided – that just like the last national government who ran out of ideas in their third term and started doing stupid things, this labour government is in the same state now. The 6 litre shower head is an example of how off task they are.
    Some of you may also have heard this morning a comment by the contractors federation (or some similar name). Apparently Labour have released a recovery infrastructure programme – building roads etc. For starting next year. But as they guy on radio said this am, it will take years to get resource consent to get the required rock and aggregate to make the roads that are in the programme – at least 5 years.!! Obviously the programme hasnt been thought thru. Its a third term idea.

  56. Ianmac 56

    Mike said:”The 6 litre shower head is an example of how off task they are.”
    This was never a policy. It was part of a discussion paper regarding steps that could be taken to save power/energy. Many are concerned about this topic so surely they would consider shower size, cylinder insulation, solar heating etc. which is what the paper was about.
    However your first para is largely true. Impressions from a debate like this count more than substance. I wonder in what forum will the finer points on Economy strategies/solutions will happen?

  57. r0b 57

    But as they guy on radio said this am, it will take years to get resource consent to get the required rock and aggregate to make the roads that are in the programme – at least 5 years.!! Obviously the programme hasnt been thought thru. Its a third term idea.

    Uh huh. Note that Labour are bringing forward existing projects . For all we know the consent process is already well in hand.

    Labour has a recovery package plan. National has nothing. John Armstrong summed up after the campaign launches (excerpts):

    If actions speak louder than words, Labour was the winner on Day One of the official election campaign – game, set and match.

    Key’s earlier speech at National’s campaign opening in Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre said nothing new on economic policy. In fact, it said nothing new about anything.

    If that was not bad enough, Labour was getting ready to lay out something really meaty just a few blocks away in the Auckland Town Hall.

    There, Helen Clark trumped Key by delivering the recovery package he had been demanding, including contingency plans to save jobs and the promise of a mini-budget in December.

    The upshot was that Labour looked like it was governing; National looked complacent and flat-footed.

    [lprent: fixed bolds]

  58. Anthony Russell 59

    It’s a funny thing but I reckon any of the statistics given by anyone in this campaign season can be shown to be from a “reputable” source. Whether one person claims “up by 50%” and another “up by only 20%” I bet that if they are researched, both could be proven to be correct depending on where you find it and what the criteria are.

    It depends entirely on which side you bat for that you claim the stats which favour your arguments are the “right” ones.

    It’s all rubbish really.

  59. Hauraki 60

    Key: people are leaving in record numbers
    Lie: the current level of emigration is well-within the normal cycle

    i stopped reading … after the last line

    let me see, i don’t need to quote the figures from NZ Herald. 4 of my colleagues left for OZ/UK in last year alone, and a few more are planning it.

    my salary would be at least 50% higher before tax in OZ. not saying the tax cut is the determine factor here, but the stingy labour tax cut after 9 years doesn’t help at all.

  60. Hauraki 61

    btw helen lies all the time. her ministers lie all the time. winston peters lie all the time.

    election is for the stupid to cheer for the lesser evil.

    [lprent: Trolls like yourself lie about people lying all of the time. It seems like you expect everyone else to emulate your behavior. Either that or you’ve never bothered to turn your brain on.

    Around here if you want to make blanket statements like that then you will be expected to substantiate your allegations. Because there are heaps of people around here who like nothing better than to see if that closed off little mind is capable of accepting new information.

    Oh and BTW read the Policy on what I like to do to trolls.]

  61. Peter 62

    What an excellent service. Keep it up …

  62. appleboy 63

    Hauraki – 81,000 left in the year to august, 84000 arrived, including 31,000 from australia – check that on nz stats! that Key only give shalf the picture is outright deception, a bit like a business giving it’s expenses but leaving out the income line! The fact that 4 of your mates left is (A) hardly relevant and (B) could very well say something about you or what type of friends you have perhaps.

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