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Hit and miss

Written By: - Date published: 10:13 am, July 8th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: national, spin - Tags:

Let’s look at some of the issues National has hit and run on. They were all you heard from the Nats for a while and then they were dropped when their marketing usefulness wore off.

“Power crisis” – dropped in June when it started to rain

“After-tax incomes” – Dropped in May, after the Budget, when it became obvious to even those fooled before that tax cuts can’t significantly lift after-tax wages.

“The wage gap” – Dropped back around February, they still release on every update of the migration stats but no longer mention the wage gap because unions have adopted it as an argument for wage rises.

“Suppressing free speech” – started to look at bit silly when protests against the Electoral Finance Act were not, in fact, banned.

and all the way back to…

“the underclass” – Key dedicated his first major speech as leader to the problems of the ‘underclass’ but he betrayed them. If you were fool enough to be taken in, you would have thought Key, like the Left, genuinely believes in using the power of the Government to help the most vulnerable in our society. Unfortunately, for the ‘underclass’ was just a gimmick. Key never had any intention of helping the poorest of the poor; they were just a tool for Crosby/Textor to turn the man who had spoken of ‘mothers breeding for a business’ into ‘that nice Mr Key’. He hasn’t even mentioned the ‘underclass’ in over a year.

24 comments on “Hit and miss ”

  1. What about ‘waste’ in the public service? Proved wrong by SPARC.

  2. T-rex 2

    Through the magic of GerryBrownleeFUTUREQUOTE:

    “Melting snow in the alps has led to an excess of water in the hydro lakes. Poor planning by the government means that this water will be wastefully spilled by the dams, going to waste in a wasteful fashion. National will take progressive and ambitous steps to prevent this waste in the future, through an all encompassing review and $1 billion program to increase available storage, allowing significant tax cuts to ordinary New Zealanders. This will ensure that the power crisis that didn’t happen will be prevented in the future.”

  3. leftrightout – but they need ‘waste’ as the other side of the ‘tax cuts’ coin. It’s wrong but they can’t get rid of it yet.

  4. T-rex 4

    No, they can fund tax cuts with the $1billion spend on hydro storage – just like the broadband plan.

    You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that money comes from somewhere. It’s technically true, but the somewhere is (as Key can attest to from his currency trader days) OTHER PEOPLE. And hey, they’re probably losers, so who cares?

  5. sean 6

    SP – I was wondering about the tens of billion in surpluses that we have apparently had over the last few years.

    Where has all that gone? Or was Cullen’s “superior” fiscal management actually hot air? Surely if it actually exists that can be used for some of these schemes?

    [it has gone into capital investment, paying down debt, the Cullen Fund and other capital expenditure. Those multi-billion figures you would hear about were operating surpluses, which don’t include those expenses. New programmes like Kiwisaver, tax cuts, and additional funding to health etc have reduced the operating surplus to nearly nothing in the coming year. There is no pile of money sitting around doing nothing and there never was. SP]

  6. BeShakey 7

    sean – firstly, there have never been ‘tens of billions’, but I’ll assume that was hyperbole. The majority of the surplus is exactly where it has always been – the Cullen fund, ACC’s fund, and student loans. Unless you (or National) want to eliminate the future security we now have for superannuation, get rid of ACC (perhaps they do want this but they deny it), and call in all the student loans, then the amount of money available isn’t the same as the surplus.
    Conveniently, the amount of money available for spending is always provided, however reporting or discussing that would undermine the “Labour is sloshing around in pools of your money while you struggle” story and the “National will spend lots on new programmes and give large tax cuts and won’t borrow” story.

  7. oldhippy 8

    He hasn’t even mentioned the ‘underclass’ in over a year.

    State of the Nation speech January 2008:

    This time a year ago, I talked about the underclass that has been allowed to develop in New Zealand. Labour said the problem didn’t exist. They said there was no underclass in New Zealand.

    But who now could deny it? 2007 showed us its bitter fruits. The dramatic drive-by shooting of two-year-old Jhia Te Tua, caught in a battle between two gangs in Wanganui. The incidence of typhoid, a Third World disease, reaching a 20-year high. The horrific torture and eventual death of three-year-old Nia Glassie. The staggering discovery of a lost tribe of 6,000 children who are not enrolled at any school.

    The list goes on and on. The fact is, that under Labour, there has been no let-up in the drift to social and economic separatism.

  8. sean – most of the surpluses have been invested in funds (i.e. Cullen fund) but a big chunk was used to pay down debt we owe to international entities.

    By paying down debt owed we position ourselves better to weather the turbulent global economy. Sounds like great fiscal management to me – definitely superior to increasing our debt levels to pay for tax cuts.

  9. yeah, oldhippy, I knew about that quote but that hardly counts as a mention – oh he uses the term and has maybe two related sentences in a half hour speech. if anything it shows how little he actually cares that he brings up his old catchcry only once in his biggest speech so far this year.

  10. commentator. eh? I don’t believe they are going into moderation.

    Maybe you have the same IP as a troll.

    We welcome all comments that aren’t just mindless abuse or trolling.

  11. Scribe 12


    if anything it shows how little he actually cares that he brings up his old catchcry only once in his biggest speech so far this year.

    Kind of like the “top half of the OECD” catchcry? Or “closing the gaps”? Or “knowledge wave”?


    Chocolate fish for you for showing Steve up as someone who’s (to be generous) economical with the truth.

  12. Pascal's bookie 13

    I dunno Scribe.

    If you could find 5 instances of Key making a passing reference to the underclass in the last 9 months then maybe you could say Steve was being economical with the truth.

    Afterall 5 isn’t a lot, but it’s some. To claim that one instance makes it generous to call him economical with the truth seems harsh.

    Now if you had a few instances of Key actually talking about real, joined up thinking policy solutions…

  13. Commenter 14

    [Tane: I’m moderating your comments. You’re using a fake email address and I have strong reason to believe you’re a commenter who was previously banned for breaking policy.]

  14. Scribe 15


    Steve’s comment was “He hasn’t even mentioned the ‘underclass’ in over a year.” Then he says he knew of a time Key had mentioned the underclass. Need I go on?

    Now if you had a few instances of Key actually talking about real, joined up thinking policy solutions

    Well, if that was what we were discussing…

  15. Scribe. i knew that John Key had said ‘underclass’ in passing in a speech 6 months ago – he didn’t say anything substantive on the issue.

  16. Pascal's bookie 17

    He did say that scribe, and as a professional writer I would have thought you would recognise a bit of dramatic license. Surely when you read his whole paragraph you would see that he meant something substantive, no?

    Are you so literalist with everything Scribe?

    John Key wants to lower your wages, did you hear?

    But anyway, if you’re just in the mood to throw around pedantic ‘liar liar’ accusations, have at it.

  17. Scribe 18


    I made a conscious choice to not use the word “liar”. I often disagree with Steve, but find throwing around pejorative terms like that unhelpful.

    The reason I wanted to highlight this instance, though, with an assist from hippy, was that there is a pattern emerging in Steve’s posts of this sort of economy of truth. There’s a difference between dramatic licence and dishonesty; it’s often a fine line, but I think it was crossed here (and in other places).

  18. Pascal's bookie 19

    Come off it scribe, ‘to be generous’?

    What does that mean, if not “I’m not saying he’s a liar, but he reality that’s what he is”.

    You did not use the word Liar, but that’s what the words you did use meant.

    All hyberboly, metaphors etc are lies if you want to be a literalistic ass. And the bible, to pick a random text, is full of them.

    omigad!! God’s a liar, sorry, ‘economous with the trooff’.

    In this instance, the context of the whole paragraph makes clear what Steve meant. No?

  19. Scribe 20


    What is the Bible full of? Hyperbole? Metaphors? Lies? Or literalistic asses?

    Maybe I was having a bad day. Sometimes the half-truths bug me and I just let them go. Today I didn’t feel like putting up with Steve’s antics.

    I’ve got it out of my system now.

  20. Pascal's bookie 21

    “What is the Bible full of? Hyperbole? Metaphors? Lies? Or literalistic asses?”

    Haha. All of the above I suspect. 🙂

    Let’s see what I can come up with off the top of my head. No offense intended.

    Hyperbole: The thing about descendants of Abraham numbering like the stars of heaven or the the dust of earth. Can’t recall which it was, or maybe both, but that’s a lot of descendants!

    Metaphors: Lot’s. the temple being rebuilt as a metaphor for Christ’s resurrection will do though. Or perhaps more controversially, depending on your theology, ‘the tree of knowledge’ business in genesis, Jesus being shown and offered the whole world in the desert, and ummm, whatever it is that St John’s Revalation is about.

    Lies: The above, if we accept that they are metaphors and we are being literalistic asses about it. But no ‘lies’ if we are allowed to accept that metaphors and hyperboly can stand in for underlying truths that people are trying to convey?

    Literalistic asses: Shaky ground here but I’m betting the one that Jesus rode into Jerusalem wasn’t prone to poetry. Though if there is something in the text…

    I’ve got it out of my system now.
    Good. me too.

  21. Rex Widerstrom 22

    Heads up, lads. Seems like the ABC have been reading the Standard. Australians are about to be treated to a new comedy series set in the office of a PM (who’s never actually seen, or named) but who favours sound bites and glib “solutions”. It’s title sounds hauntingly familiar for some reason 😀

  22. Kevyn 23

    Well the ABC should have no trouble selling this to in every democracy in the world. Everybody will think their current/fomer PM/Leader pf the Opposition is the role model. You have to go all the way back to Muldoon or Lange to find a PM or aspiring PM who didn’t favours sound bites and glib “solutions’.

  23. Kevyn 24

    Steve, Aren’t you being a bit premature including the power crisis in your list of hit and runs. We’ve had less rain than in ’92 and storage in the upper Waitaki lakes is till at a precarious position where the next souherly front could make or break the crisis. Too cold and all we’ll get is snow and a spike in consumption.

    Hodgeson’s solution was bizarre, completely ignored the root cause of the problem. When these schemes were planned every new home had a fireplace, many had wetbacks, firewood was free, coal was subsidised and winter smog was something London suffered from, and no sane person heated their home with electric heaters unless they were filthy rich. By the time the schemes were completed in the 70’s none of thode things were true anymore. Since the original assumptions pointed to modest storage needs that’s all that was built.

    National’s solution adresses the supply side of the problem. The Green’s focus on insulation adresses the demand side. Either insulation hadn’t been invented in the 50s/60s or people were too keen to own their own home and cut corners with some very short term financial thinking. Either way it gave us a housing stock which can’t even utilise the warmth available from the winter sun. Blue skies are a feature of southern winters so this is actually an important area to target. Yet Labour and some Labour led councils such as Christchurch City have been woefully slow to do this even with the houses they own, rented to people who can least afford to spend money on heat that goes straight through the walls.

    Why aren’t there low interest loans for supeannuitants to insulate their houses? Possibly even with repayments deferred until the home is sold or ownership transferred to a trust. The benefits in reduced health costs would justify the favouratism. I can’t see why even National would oppose the plan if a caveat was placed on the home to ensure the loan was repayed.

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