I’m So Dizzy

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, August 9th, 2010 - 43 comments
Categories: economy, employment, gst, spin, unemployment, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

So the latest unemployment figures aren’t 0.8% up and 19,000 more unemployed (and many more jobless), they’re 0.3% down (from the worst peak since National were last in power). Besides, somehow John Key believes that our employment percentage is better than Oz. I’m sure those 19,000 families who’ve lost a breadwinner will be comforted.

The wage gap with Australia hasn’t risen $40/week since National came into power, no, it’s better than it was under a Labour government… before Labour made some serious progress in reversing the damage National did last they were in power.

We’re repeatedly told about the 9 years of Labour’s economic mismanagement – that left the economy in such good shape National felt justified dropping tax rates in a recession (albeit with only their rich mates as true winners).

Removing worker’s rights is good for workers – as long as they want a chance at a low wage, no conditions job in a high unemployment economy.

It’s hard to keep up. What’s next? Moving neurology away from Dunedin will be good for patients and the training of our doctors? Reducing state housing will decrease the numbers of kiwis in need of affordable, good quality housing? We’ll all be better off after they raise GST? Oh wait, they’ve already claimed that…

43 comments on “I’m So Dizzy”

  1. Carol 1

    What’s next? Welfare “reform”?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4003372/Warning-of-50b-bill-on-welfare

    Sue Bradford on Nat Rad as I type talking about how this “reform” is being ideologically driven & that the “government is manufacturing a crisis” and that the problem is a rise in unemployment, and a need for more jobs.

    Bradford has been great lately. Glad she is onto this new NACT initiative immediately.

    • Anthony C 1.1

      A point that popped up in their report that gave me a WTF moment was:

      Most people on a benefit have little or no focus on paid work, with a growing number “locked into” the system for years.

      How did they justify that statement?

      • Carol 1.1.1

        Most people on a benefit have little or no focus on paid work, with a growing number “locked into’ the system for years.

        I think this was clarified by the woman responsible for that report, Paula Rebstock, when she was interviewed by Kathryn Ryan this morning:

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon

        In fact, it seems that quote was refering to the people on sickness and invalid benefit – about 15%, as I recall, who have been long term on sickness/invalid benefit. And, overtime, they will cost $50 billion.

        Rebstock argued that once they are classified as sick/invalid and unable to work, they continue to be considered unsuited for work.

        So, I think the newspaper article kind of misrepresents the research.

        Also, as I recall, Ryan pointed out that, the average amount of time spent on sickness/invalid benefit was between 1 & 2 years.

        • Adrian 1.1.1.1

          That’s 1-2 years before they die. The lazy bastards, work ’em till they drop and the by the way, floggings will continue until morale improves.

        • Ed 1.1.1.2

          The “Warning of $50b bill on welfare’ article by John Hartevelt says:
          “In 1960, only 2 per cent of the working-age population was receiving benefits. Now, the figure is around 13 per cent and roughly one in five of Kiwi children live in benefit-dependent families.”

          Now we don’t quite know what is meant by ‘benefits’ here – in 1960 I suspect we still had ‘child benefit’ – which I am would have expected meant that more than 2% of the working population was “receiving benefits”. Are we comparing apples with pears? Perhaps in 1960 2 percent were receiving more than one benefit?

          The article also says:
          “In 2008-09, benefit payments cost about $6.5 billion. If everyone already on a benefit stayed on it for life, it would cost on average, $140,000 per benefit and $50 billion in total.’

          Now we know of course that not everyone on a benefit will even stay on the benefit until next month, let alone for life; if the total payments are $50 billion then that may be able to be generated from a much lower current capital sum if we allow for any investment income. It is a meaningless figure if all current hospital patients stayed for life how much would that cost?

          “Rebstock argued that once they are classified as sick/invalid and unable to work, they continue to be considered unsuited for work.’

          It is true that some (but not all) of those who are classified as sick/invalid for a long time may never become suited for work, but it is wrong to imply that this say that this will always happen once a sick/invalid classification has been made even those who have been sick/invalid for a long time will be periodically re-assessed; and those that can be brought back into the workforce are encouraged to do so. Whether the sloppy writing is the result of sloppy journalism, or sloppy statements by Rebstock uncritically reported is not clear.

          • Pete 1.1.1.2.1

            “Whether the sloppy writing is the result of sloppy journalism, or sloppy statements by Rebstock uncritically reported is not clear.”

            I’d say it’s (as Sue Bradford has said) it’s all about manufacturing a crisis (ACC anyone?) by Rebstock and co, and the (expected) sloppy reporting by Hartvealt in the article on Stuff.

            Nowhere in the article does it say that we have 13% of the working-age population receiving a benefit, and that if current trends continue that “16 percent of the working age population could be on a benefit by 2050”. An increase of 3% (over 40 years with an aging population – some of whom will rightly need to get assistance with sickness or disability) – quite a crisis.

            I’d be interested to see what the parties on the left have up their sleeve in response

  2. jcuknz 2

    Yes she did sound on the ball this morning … good for her …

  3. jbanks 3

    New Zealand thinks that National are doing a great job. But they’re all ignorant fools compared to you guys huh?

    Gary Morgan says:

    “Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strengthening National vote (53%, up 2.5%) extending the lead of the National-led Government (58.5%, up 3%) over the Opposition Parties (41.5%, down 3%) — now at its widest since late 2009.

    “Revelations about inappropriate credit card spending over recent years by many Labour MPs while in Government released under the ‘Official Information Act’ are clearly having an impact on the Labour Party’s electoral appeal and appear to be behind the fall in the Labour vote (29%, down 4%) — now at its lowest in 2010.’

    [lprent: The most recent Morgan poll on July 27th had this to say

    “The latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows support for John Key’s National-led Government has weakened to 54.5% (down 4%), comprising National Party 49% (down 4%), Maori Party 3% (unchanged), ACT NZ 2% (unchanged) and United Future 0.5% (unchanged) — these declines follow a second consecutive monthly fall in the ANZ-Roy Morgan New Zealand Consumer Confidence Index — now at 115.6 (down 6.4pts in July 2010) and the lowest since August 2009 (112.3).”

    You can see why banksie was so eager to use one from earlier this year – in fact from June 9th…

    I think he has earned a weeks ban for being persistently inaccurate and not providing links to help check his facts. Hopefully that will encourage him to check in future. ]

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Which are contradicted by TVNZs latest poll which has labours vote strengthened.
      They both cant be right.
      I love this sort of thing but when pollsters call Im not interested in spending 40min on circular questions

      • jbanks 3.1.1

        You mean the one where Nationals support hasn’t gone down at all?

        The one where only 47% of Labour voters think that Labour can win the next election?

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          What poll are you reading?

          The last Roy Morgan had Labour up to 33.5%.

          The link is at http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2010/4549/

          You are looking at the poll for July 9.

          Time to get up with the game banksie.

          • lprent 3.1.1.1.1

            I wondered about that earlier when I saw his figures…. Ummm I think I will adjust his comment to reflect reality.

            • loota 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Are you sure that’s wise? Reality has a clear left leaning liberal bias and should be avoided at all costs.

          • The Voice of Reason 3.1.1.1.2

            Just an aside, but I don’t like jbanks as a handle. I think it’s unnecessarily confusing and in a blogging context is bordering on identity theft. It’s not like the real John Banks knows he has no chance of winning the SuperMayoralty and is now just spending his days making shit up on political blogs. Unless …

    • Fisiani 3.2

      jbanks This is the blog of the true faith believers. National are always evil. They really hate ordinary people. Any supporters are just deluded fools who cannot see this truth.
      Don’t let the facts get in the way of faith and blinkered idealogical purity.
      It does not matter that the economy is improving. It does not matter that there are steady improvements across the board in health, education, housing, ACC, welfare and justice. It does not matter that the decade of deficits inherited after 9 years of mismanagement are being addressed.
      It does not matter that the politically non educated see pragmatic caution and care and garnering public support rather than woffle and spin.
      This does not fit with the creed of ultimate National evil. Everything that National does is wrong. Everything that Labour does or ever has done in Nirvana.
      You get more belly laughs, reading this blog than any other.

      • Cnr Joe (withasparemoment) 3.2.1

        phukk the tories fizzy!

      • Pete 3.2.2

        ‘Faith’ is what I perceive the government have in spades mate, faith that the market will be self-correcting (despite history), faith that the New Zealand economy will ‘grow aggressively out of the recession’ (despite evidence to the contrary), faith that we will catch Autralia (ditto), faith that the cycleway will create enough jobs to lower unemployment (oh, and already-budgetted infrastructure programmes re-packaged and re-announced), faith that the polls mean that spin equals mandate (because ‘politically uneducated is always a good thing!), faith in ‘trickle-down’ and faith that cutting services past the point of logic will mean ‘everyone is better off’.

        Please give us one example for each of your ‘facts’ that show “the economy is improving” and “that there are steady improvements across the board in health, education, housing, ACC, welfare and justice” – go on – let’s get those facts on the table and change some minds here.

        And, for the record, what you often get here at The Standard is criticism for both ends of the spectrum, with a typically ‘leftist’ view by most commentors. Some support Labour, some the Greens and some no party at all. But you can come here for political discussion, sometimes emotive, sometimes empirical. If National does something worthwhile it will either be discussed as ‘good’ or simply not mentioned. But as a ‘leftist’ blog you can expect that there will be criticism of those policies and proposals that left thinkers oppose (for a whole spectrum of reasons depending on the personal perspective of the individual).

        Unfortunately we have those like you and jbanks and burt having a “you guys say ‘National=bad’, ‘Labour=Good'” tanty – at least tsmithfield and gosman sometimes have a point to make (even if we disagree almost all of the time).

        Why don’t you try to back up your shit rather than repeating the same sad spin we hear every day, or just GTFO and have a cry somewhere else?

        • Fisiani 3.2.2.1

          OK Pete
          http://www.national.org.nz/budget2010/BudgetInBrief.pdf
          a few excerpts
          Growth rate expected 3.2% in next year
          2016 budget returning to surplus 3 years early.
          1.8billion dollars of wasteful spending redirected
          increased and targeted funding for health 2.1B, education 1.4B Research321mBroadband 248m. ie Better faster more efficent service

          AND
          The number of physio visits by ACC clients has dropped by a third from one and a quarter million to 850,00.

          ACC’s total expenditure has almost halved from $50 million to around $26 million.
          “We don’t think those who genuinely need treatment are missing out. We’ve seen no evidence of that,’ says Ms Kettle

          • Pete 3.2.2.1.1

            Thanks for confirming your level of critical thought Fisiani, appreciated.

            So the data about projected economic growth is fact? And how does this compare with actual growth over the past few years? (tip – don’t link to what the Minister of Finance says in the House and call it fact – it may not be so…).

            And, has spending considered ‘wasteful’ has been independently verified as ‘wasteful’? Or is this, perhaps, subjective depending on ideology, and what one group or individual considers important (i.e. I believe tax cuts for the wealthy are very important for job creation).

            How has the spending you mention ‘increased’ in real dollar terms (i.e. with consideration for inflation etc), and how does this compare to funding cuts in Budget ’09? And how much of this spending is repackaged spending from the Labour budgets of yore?

            And how is fewer physio visits a ‘good thing’? Where is the data to support that this cut was a medically sound decision (i.e. if this was in fact necessary for the individuals)? Also missing from the equation Fisiani, what other services have been cut from ACC to allow the so-called savings (e.g. sexual abuse counselling)? Is this a ‘good thing’? And can your comment attributed to Gail Kettle be associated with empirical medical data showing that her statement is one of fact?

            No need to respond Fisiani, but I’ve just written these down as some things to quietly ponder when and if you attempt to respond to these types of questions.

            Thanks for confirming the premise of the post – that spin (and general mendacity) is replacing reality for parts of the population

          • Macro 3.2.2.1.2

            What ever you do Fis – DON”T HAVE A CAR ACCIDENT and sustain a head injury. (or maybe you have already) coz there ain’t no specialist after care for brain injuries out there anymore – it’s now all done with trained monkeys. All the specialists have left for Oz.

      • Hey Fisi

        Don’t let the facts get in the way of faith and blinkered idealogical purity.

        jbanks certainly did not …

    • gingercrush 3.3

      Roy Morgan has been doing the same fluctuations for months and as I said in its last poll that the results will reverse. As they will do next Roy Morgan poll. Though in particular one really has to wonder whether the July 5-18 poll didn’t somehow manage to capture a number of NZ First voters hence why they artificially went to 4.5% for one poll and are now back to 2%.

    • jbanks 3.4

      My mistake, I should have linked to the month I was referring to, though this is the first time I’ve failed to.

      As ginger crush said “Roy Morgan has been doing the same fluctuations for months”

      [lprent: If you have a look at the overall trend lines in the Morgan poll for this year you’ll find despite the 2 weekly noise (as each poll jumps around quite a lot), the overall trend isn’t all that favorable for the government. The question is if they can hold out until election time. You caused a scratching of the heads and then look it up, which was a waste of peoples time because you didn’t put in a link.

      In particular it was a waste of my time…. Come back next week. ]

  4. loota 4

    whether the July 5-18 poll didn’t somehow manage to capture a number of NZ First voters hence why they artificially went to 4.5% for one poll and are now back to 2%.

    That’s what you get for surveying only one street in Tauranga…

    • felix 4.1

      …with a couple of retirement villages on it

      • Rex Widerstrom 4.1.1

        “Alright, if you’re going to vote NZF, raise your hands now”

        (sotto voce) “Alright nurse, wheel out the ones that didn’t raise their hands. They’re dead”.

        😀

  5. Cnr Joe 5

    Ummm, BUNGJI,
    I believe that would be getting run over BY a zebra crossing
    oh and fuck the tories – god luvs a trier, but this mob ain’t even trying any more

    • loota 5.1

      Can over half the citizens in our fine country still think the Tories are doing a good job?

      There are some underlying issues to be dug up and examined when the gap between Govt performance and perception is wider than the Grand Canyon.

  6. randal 6

    in the brave new world of rightwing polt6ics we have been given the BRUSHOFF!

  7. tc 7

    Rebstock’s commerce commission created the supermarket duopoly, allowed fletchers to further consolidate an already uncompetitive building sector via acquisition, and reduced free to air TV choice by letting sky take out prime just to name a few examples.

    She’s chosen for this role because she doesn’t give an F about fairness for the end user, just find some confusing rhetoric to hide the agenda behind.

  8. randal 8

    well the answer is that fletchers is owned by a morgan bank in america and has been for a long time and everything esle we treasure as national icons is owned by absentee rentiers then we are probably getting off lightly.
    what I object to is the snivelling crawling of the supposedly objective media who are all in there looking for the main chance.

  9. Rex Widerstrom 9

    As someone who daily wrestles with his conscience while writing what most would call “spin” posts such as this bother me.

    I have one rule – I won’t knowingly aid a client to lie. If I know they’re going to close a hospital I won’t be a part of saying they’re not going to do it so as to get re-elected, then handily finding “new information” that allows them to “change their mind”.

    But if they’ve decided to close a hospital then it’s my duty to help them explain why they think that’s a good idea. If I don’t think it’s a good idea I’ll say so. And if I think most people will agree with me, I’ll tell them that too.

    But the bottom line is that they were democratically elected and have the power to do what they wish to do – including making stupid decisions. And naturally they’re going to want to paint their actions in the best possible light. Just as those opposing them will predict the imminent end of all that is good in the world as a result, even if it’s not that bad a decision (or even, sometimes, if it’s the same decision they’d have taken themselves).

    That’s human nature. We’re not going to do something and at the same time attribute bad faith to ourselves, are we?!

    Take out everything that’s dismissed as “spin” and we’d have dry policy statements, backed by no explanation, being thrown back and forth.

    I happen to believe the public can deconstruct this stuff. Not all can be bothered of course, but it’s not hard. The fact that my imaginary client is going to close a hospital is extracted easily from the spin. Then the competing spin is analysed and parsed according to an individual’s prejudices, experiences and knowledge and they reach their own conclusion.

    While blatant, dishonest spin is certainly annoying I’d argue it’s also counterproductive, and not something we need get as vexed about as we do in terms of it being a threat to democracy.

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      While blatant, dishonest spin is certainly annoying I’d argue it’s also counterproductive, and not something we need get as vexed about as we do in terms of it being a threat to democracy.

      While I can certainly agree with the thrust of what you are saying in theory, and I’m certainly not saying anything against what you do, I will say, umm.

      45 Minutes,
      aluminium tubes,
      “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought…”,
      Enhanced interrogation techniques,
      A few bad apples,
      Illegals,
      The worst of the worst,
      Babies overboard.

      I’ll agree that eventually these (or at least some of them) have caught up with the spinners. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t achieve exactly what they were meant to achieve.

      • Rex Widerstrom 9.1.1

        And a lot of them are lies. Children weren’t thrown overboard. Saddam didn’t have nukes. There’s nothing illegal about applying for refugee status, even if you come by boat. Etc.

        That’s not the “spin” I’m talking about. When you come down to semantics… “enhanced interrogation techniques”… then it can get greyer. But that example clearly falls on the wrong side of spin, IMHO, given that we’re talking about inflicting pain on another human being, regardless of how you label it. No self-respecting “spin doctor” should have a bar of it.

        You’ve cited some of the worst examples of the spin doctor’s dark arts, and I wouldn’t argue with you that most are beyond the pale.

        But they’re not the sort of (primarily positive) “spin” I’m defending above. Saying you’re closing one hospital to save money and improve services at another is more what I’m talking about (provided that is genuinely your intent). You’re hardly likely to leave off what you see as the benfits of your decision.

    • Puddleglum 9.2

      The ‘spin’ you describe can very easily be lying, Rex.

      Think about it in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions to do something. If I want to close a hospital because I need to close lots of things to afford tax cuts and I know that is my necessary and sufficient motive (i.e., I wouldn’t close it if tax cuts weren’t my goal and having tax cuts as my goal is sufficient reason for me to do it – i.e., even if no other reasons existed) then I lie if I claim other factors were behind the decision or were even important enough in my decision making process to push me one way or the other.

      This is the classic ‘spin’ – “there’s a multitude of reasons I’ve done ‘X'”; but all those reasons were conjured up after the decision was, in effect, made and the actual motive is either not mentioned at all or only given some marginal significance.

      Now, I may have an argument for why tax cuts are needed but, to avoid lying, I need to be clear that that is why the cut is happening – not something else like the need to consolidate high-tech services to improve the quality of provision, blah, blah, blah. I need to be honest about my motive.

      If I’m confused about my own motives and can’t do the simple ‘necessary or sufficient reason’ test, you could argue that I’m not lying (i.e., I might claim that I don’t really know what the necessary and sufficient reasons are in my decision making – I just kind of came to a decision.). There has to be a point, however, where ‘I don’t really know why I’m doing this, really’ makes advocating ANY action or policy position a lie – and surely even the terminally confused can understand the morality of that? (Hint: not to lie in this situation would be not to give reasons and to say that you don’t really have any reasons to give that convince even you.)

      To lie – by commission or omission – about your motives is to lie. ‘What we aim to do’ and ‘why we are doing it’ both matter to those on the receiving end of our decisions, for different reasons. In being honest about what we aim to do it is still possible to lie about why we are doing it. In fact, I’d argue that lying about motives can often be the more egregious form of lying, especially in the multi-layered strategic morass that is politics (since it can result in longer term harm being visited on those lied to about the motive for a particular decision).

      If you’re worried about being complicit in lying, you’d better inspect your conscience again in dealing with your clients.

      To paraphrase Malcolm Fraser – nobody said being honest was meant to be easy.

      • Rex Widerstrom 9.2.1

        Excellent comment, Puddleglum. Does my imaginary Health Minister really believe that by closing one hospital and consolidating capital equipment and staff on the site of a second hospital he is bringing about a better service?

        I can generally tell if he’s making it up (they’re not very good at hiding how damn clever they think they are, these politicians).

        But as you posit, what if he’s deluded himself? What if all Ministers have been told to slash X percent off their budgets (to afford tax cuts, repay debt, or whatever the imperative) and he’s convinced himself that he can do so without lowering standards of patient care?

        Or what if he’s out of his depth and has been convinced by some “Sir Humphrey”, or by a dictatorial PM, that closing the hospital is the right thing to do and he’s clinging to that belief in the sincere hope it’s right?

        AFAIK I’ve never been complicit in lying. The evidence being that I’m poor 😉 And that I walked out of a very nice career in NZF rather then be complicit in Lhaws’ lhies.

        If I’d worked for the corporate sector I’d be far better off than I am but would inevitably have been expected to lie. I’ve stuck to politics, NGOs and the like in the hope that they have more to lose by lying, and are starting off with greater integrity.

        I can, however, cite cases where I’ve arrived at a different conclusion tha the client, based on the same data, but have duitfully “spun” their reasoning, only to see them proved wrong. And in a surprising (to many here) number of such cases, I have seen genuine remorse.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      I’ll take the dry, factual, policy statements thanx.

      “Spin” is a polite word for lying.

    • Craig Glen Eden 10.1

      Yes Cookie it does appear that when things look bad for this Government they bring out the beneficiary for a kicking. Same old Nats same mode of operation.

  10. tea 11

    how do they get away with these lies?

    It feels like we are returning to the dark ages.

    Wave after wave of remorseless attack on civilised society- contempt of parliament, dismissal of our welfare system with bullshit assumptions (like they did for ACC) and on and on…

    Where they are held back in one battle like over mining in schedule four land or temporarily over National Radio- they just attack again somewhere else- health, education, state housing, work rights…

    Not my country.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      They’re getting away with it because they own the 4th estate which is supposed to be holding them to account and informing people of the lies, misdirections and the complete and total lack of fact in NACTs statements.

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