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Inside National’s spin machine

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, September 11th, 2015 - 81 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, spin - Tags: , ,

A very interesting post in The Herald yesterday by Grant McLachlan, a former Parliamentary researcher and a Nat campaign director. It is mostly about the bungled flag process, but includes these gems:

What National has done since 2002 is develop the most advanced voter relationship database to collect information and then target potential supporters.

Every phone call to an electorate office, every letter to the editor, letter to a minister, comment on social media, photo opportunity, or attendance at an event or meeting, – there is someone inputting that data into National’s central database. David Farrar, National’s pollster, monitors the data, then themes and phrases are tested in focus groups before John Key utters them.

If data is gold to a politician then the flag debate is the jackpot. Here is a simple issue where most people have an opinion and have expressed it. On Facebook, where most people use their real names, all comments and shares can be monitored, analysed, and categorised. In the blogosphere, commenters’ physical location (aka IP address) is traceable.

Getting people on the political bandwagon is about maintaining waves of momentum. For something to go ‘viral,’ there needs to be a combination of ‘pushers’ and ‘pullers.’ Pushers are political cronies and opinion leaders willing to pick up a ball, run with it and fend off attacks. Pullers are fair-weather celebrities who put their name behind an issue only if someone has their back and if there is sufficient forward momentum.

National has several levels within its organisation that try to sway public opinion. Groups target talkback radio, social media, surveys, and media polls. Crony commentators manipulate, obfuscate, smear, and stigmatise.

This is why National are so popular. Not because they are good at governing (they are self-evidently rubbish at that). But because they have vast cash resources, and they use them to run a systematic spin machine. The country is falling apart, but at least we feel good about it.

81 comments on “Inside National’s spin machine ”

  1. Peter 1

    ….. exactly …… they are miles ahead and will stay there

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      Yes, you are correct.

      The secret to winning elections is getting your supporters to vote.

      All the p.r. and policies in the world will not work if their supporters vote and yours stay at home.

      The Left has a long way to go to catch up. It needs tonnes of money and volunteers.

  2. save NZ 2

    Very wise words.

    And Labour and the Greens and opposition need to do something about it. It is not fair to run the country via spin and misinformation and pulling strings behind the scenes.

    Northland is the target to work out how to beat it.

  3. Bill 3

    Not buying.

    Sure, narrow and simple issues can be spun. And if no politician is talking about shit people actually care about, then the whole political environment remains shallow, narrowly constrained….and easily spun.

    Look abroad and you will see places where the only spin left is that of fear. (Greece, Spain, Corbyn, SNP) Fear has a limited shelf life and loses its effect when politicians are talking about shit people care about.

    National are popular, not because of cash or cunning spin, but because no-one is talking shit anyone cares about – and so no-one really gives too much of a shit about whatever it is that’s getting spun.

    It’s as though in the stead of anyone bringing food to the table, we’re just being constantly asked which menu we’d like to peruse. (Dessert menu? Sure. Whatever, feeling a bit listless here…)

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Thanks for that Bill. It brings a breath of fresh air into the temple of doom. And you make good points that stack up.

    • Ad 3.2

      O I dunno.

      Fear’s a great instrument if you’re in power.

      One day the Left will get in, and all the well-worn instruments will be theirs. Again.

    • adam 3.3

      I have to agree Bill.

      Nothing is talked about. It’s all reaction or negatives from the left.

      There are very few voices saying anything of note, or worth.

      I feel like a broken record, but the labour party are not helping. When you have a party that has so many people in it who are obviously Tory’s – arrrggg I want to pill my hair out. (What little is left)

      Come on folks, a the broad church approach you have embraced has not, and will not work. How much longer have labour got to sit at 30% before the message gets through?

    • Wayne 3.4

      Bill,

      It is a good point you make.

      You might be able to win one election on spin, but three, with increased majorities each time?

      Only if you believe your fellow New Zealanders really are idiots and dupes.

      • thatguynz 3.4.1

        Yet I’m sure you’d have us believe that the previous Labour government did precisely that Wayne.

      • lprent 3.4.2

        Increased majorities? Hardly. National itself has never had a majority in the house in the last 3 elections.

        The National government’s majority has kept dropping as they’ve sucked the life out of their support parties

        Year National Act Maori UnitedF Total
        2008 58 5 5 1 69
        2011 59 1 3 1 64
        2014 60 1 2 1 64
        Today 59 1 2 1 63 (after the Northland by-election)

        Where do you live? Under the looking glass?

        • Enough is Enough 3.4.2.1

          Maybe – no increase but maintaining their unprecedented popularity through their 7 years of incompetence is remarkable and scarcely believable.

          Following every poll and election I have the same thought…”WTF”

          • lprent 3.4.2.1.1

            I agree. But it wasn’t that much different with the 5th Labour government. Slightly different pattern due to the 2002 election and the Owera hate mongering.

            But Labour never got a majority and they had small but effective working majorities with much larger (but more fragile) support parties.

            It is more the stable nature of MMP style governments.

        • Pat 3.4.2.2

          Wayne is good like that (as is the rest of RW element) ….make a confident statement to support your position and to hell with the facts, nobody (or at least the majority) will take the time to question the BS you utter

      • Bill 3.4.3

        Seems you missed the point I was making Wayne. Maybe you’d be nice enough to pinpoint exactly where the easily spun shallow and narrow politics ended and the proper political discussions began? Because that juncture I’m asking you to identify is the same juncture that politics as mere spin dies; it doesn’t die at *this* election or *that* election or whatever *next* election.

        Maybe you deliberately ‘misunderstood’ my point?

        • Wayne 3.4.3.1

          Bill,

          It seems to me that New Zealanders do actually focus on the issue that matters and that is who looks they are competent to run the country in difficult times. They basically cut through all the “noise” of politics, which they basically ignore.

          This is a important message for any opposition. You have to work out what really concerns people. It is much harder to do than one might think. For instance most people will agree the the main concerns are jobs and economic prospects. But the public basically know whether the govt can control a particular outcome or not, so it is easy to focus on the wrong thing, such as something that is bad, interest rates or exchange rate, but people essentially discount the govt role.

          It is also about trust. And by that I mean trust in whether a person/Minister/Govt looks like they know what they are doing. And on the economy John and Bill rate very highly, unlike their opponents.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.4.3.1.1

            Here.

            Pretty much everythingg you write is BS Wayne and I suspect that you know it is.

          • Majic Mike 3.4.3.1.2

            The Reserve Bank Governor didn’t paint a Rosy picture.
            Only Key and English put their brighter future spin on it and the Media followed like lost sheep.
            Many Economists say we are teetering on the edge of a recession.
            With our markets struggling the housing bubble getting close to popping with lower interest rates fueling the bubble its only a matter of time .

          • dv 3.4.3.1.3

            Hey Wayne Latest debt clock

            Up 14 billion since June
            NZ$ 106,108,549,863

            Mostly from the Nats

      • Tracey 3.4.4

        good to see you agreeing with this bill.

        ” National are popular, not because of cash or cunning spin, but because no-one is talking shit anyone cares about – and so no-one really gives too much of a shit about whatever it is that’s getting spun.

        It’s as though in the stead of anyone bringing food to the table, we’re just being constantly asked which menu we’d like to peruse. (Dessert menu? Sure. Whatever, feeling a bit listless here…)

      • North 3.4.5

        Conveniently you ignore what was always intended Wayne……spin spin spin…….make it quite normal…….spin spin spin…….you’ve got a populace that’s just so accustomed to it. And constanty told by the MSM that it’s quite normal. Well what’re you gonna get then ?

        You know all that Wayne….. probably better than most. So enough of the professorial loftiness aye. You’re a man on a job !

    • weka 3.5

      Speaking of fear, looks to me like it’s the Labour party that is scared.

      • Clemgeopin 3.5.1

        of what?

      • Bill 3.5.2

        Indeed. That’s most (?) of the problem with this bullshit – the opposition are the ones who have bought into it most…hook, line and sinker, actually.

        They run scared of sound-bites and brainless school yard bullies masquerading as journalists, and wide eyed in fear they follow the dotted line but then…they’ve got nothing else on offer. “Wouldn’t you rather peruse the entrees madam? We’re sure you’ll find them far more tantilising! Worth a vote…surely!”

        • weka 3.5.2.1

          thinking about it, there’s that dynamic, which is about Labour’s relationship with those outside of the party. And there’s the internal one, whereby the culture of undermining and bullying and backstabbing creates fear (unsurprisingly). I’m thinking of how beaten and traumatised Cunliffe looked in the end. How can we expect anything good to come of that culture?

          I’m sure those two dynamics inter-related, and I’m wondering if it’s possible to change the response to the external one as long as the internal one exists.

          So to my mind, National are overt bullies and manipulators and general all round arseholes by now, but because it’s overt and external, it’s much easier to respond to or stand up to or just not engage with, or even just to understand. But when the abuse is coming from inside, it’s much harder to deal with because of all the issues that exist around lateral abuse or abuse that has high degrees of secrecy and denial.

          • red-blooded 3.5.2.1.1

            All parties have factions. They are just less obvious when a party is in power; everyone has a vested interest in not rocking the boat and while some are less happy than others, all have something to be happy about. Do you remember how split and hapless National looked under English and then Brash (who may have galvanised some but whom others despised and were embarrassed by)? They’ll go through that phase again, but right now they’re still papering over the cracks. Inside, people will be positioning themselves for the next phase; who’ll take over, after Key?

            Don’t worry, plenty of people within National are being bullied or angered by arseholes, and they are certainly denying it. It’s always easier to see the strain in the working relationships within an opposition team, though.

            Anyone else notice how Collins has been pushing herself into the media spotlight again recently (and trying hard to seem more likeable)? Wouldn’t it be fun it that was the start of a crack in the facade? Of course, it might just be that Key wants her back in the inner circle (I don’t agree with your comment that it’s all overt and external, weka).

            • weka 3.5.2.1.1.1

              “It’s always easier to see the strain in the working relationships within an opposition team, though.”

              I don’t see it within the Green Party and I think they make a better comparison with Labour than National, not least because who would want to be like National? (oh that’s right, some people in Labour would).

              I’m not really talking about factions, I’m talking about culture. By all accounts the GP has factions too, but the internal culture is such that they don’t backstab and create an environment of abuse and fear. Look at how they change leaders for an example compared to Labour.

              The bullying culture of National is much more overt and condoned. We see it in their policies, their politics, and their general way of being in the world. That’s reasonably consistent with who they are as a party (although I still think that traditional conservatives are going to look back on the Key govt in a similar way as lefties do on 1980s Labour). Labour have the problem that they’re meant to be about fairness. Their internal culture should reflect that, but it doesn’t.

              “I don’t agree with your comment that it’s all overt and external, weka”

              I think you might have missed the point. I’m not saying that National doesn’t have its own internal nasty culture (it does). I’m saying that the basic premise of fear as dictating how politics is working in NZ is twofold. It’s the blatant attack style of National (supported by the MSM, looking at you Gower, Sabin etc). That would exist irrespective of who was opposition. But Labour have the additional problem of also having an internal culture of abuse, and I think that is much more difficult to deal with. It’s hard to know how to respond to external abuse when you’re already chronically traumatised.

    • georgy 3.6

      national are popular because they are controlling the spin – even by ensuring “…….no-one is talking shit anyone cares about – and so no-one really gives too much of a shit about whatever it is that’s getting spun.”

  4. Paul Campbell 4

    It does mean that anyone who can create a fake groundswell on social media can essentially troll National into anything they want

  5. Ad 5

    Don’t be too discouraged by this.
    This story is itself part of the spin; to dishearten the Opposition and their activists by stating that essentially National are immutable and therefore unbeatable. LIke they have their own hybrid GCSB/TVNZ/ColmarBrunton/CIA Programme on all our asses.

    There are still ways that National trip themselves up (I don’t have to list them; you already know).

    And if the flag was so well polled to the public, why do most of us think we don’t want any change at all?

    And National will always be vastly better resourced that the Opposition because National will always have the greater donor base.

    But as I have said before, Labour, the Greens and NZFirst have to find policy issues that they can work on together, form campaigns on, and be seen to be a credible alternative government. They have done it several times before, and they can find it again. The principle problem to changing this government is not National, it’s in the Opposition.

    They are getting close to cooperating on the Syrian refugee crisis. It can be done.

    • Anne 5.1

      Very wise words. Thank-you Ad.

      • North 5.1.1

        “Hear Hear !” Ad. Prescient I hope…..but as for now…..very persuasive. I mean Key’s a flakey shit…..you know, as a person…..very much next year’s Kiwanis president…..which don’t match up with ‘real position’, especially when real position is evident across a substantial spectrum.

        Which is why the ‘Killing of Hone’ (for what please?) was such a fuck up ! We already had an honourable reflection of real position. And it was well respected. By people you’d never have expected. Ask Hone about the emails and the texts he got after the election.

    • William 5.2

      Definite spin, including rewriting history!

      He states:
      “Politics is murky and intelligence on potential supporters is key. Right wing blogger Cameron Slater got hold of Labour’s donor and membership database and subscriber information from a left-wing rival’s blog.”

      The last part is easily shown to be untrue, and that act was actually obtaining intelligence on potential opponents, not supporters.

      • Anne 5.2.1

        The last part is easily shown to be untrue, and that act was actually obtaining intelligence on potential opponents, not supporters.

        Correct. Almost as if the author was attempting to whitewash Slater’s direct involvement in that ‘unlawful’ seizure of Labour’s date base with intent to cause serious mischief and possibly even blackmail.

    • Aaron 5.3

      I’m not sure this is all spin. McLachlan wrote:

      “National has several levels within its organisation that try to sway public opinion. Groups target talkback radio, social media, surveys, and media polls. Crony commentators manipulate, obfuscate, smear, and stigmatise”

      Any left winger who tried to say that in the past was accused of being a conspiracy theorist but here’s a National insider stating in black and white how their machine works. I don’t think the rest of the party will be very pleased about this, insiders aren’t supposed to reveal this sort of stuff – which means this could be a major case of someone throwing their toys out of the cot.

      I mean, shouldn’t TS have a headline up saying “National Insider gives plan language description of how PR machine works!” – and all because they didn’t want his fern design!!!

      I’ll add further that most of us who comment here regularly can recognise the professional troll – they don’t engage in constructive debate and especially don’t engage if someone starts to analyse their tactics, a sure sign that they’re not just here to sound off. Well, know we know that they’re probably part of the National Party organisation.

      • Ad 5.3.1

        I agree it’s not all spin.

        It’s just another way of expressing Dirty Politics from two years ago.
        That episode laid bare most of their instruments.

        Conspiracy comes from two root words:
        “con” meaning ‘together’
        and
        “spiratio” meaning ‘breath’

        Doesn’t necessarily mean secret.
        It means you are perfectly in sync – so as to breath together.

        I might be so bold as to suggest that the Left don’t have enough operating conspiracies of their own.

        In 2017 all those Dark Arts will all be brought to bare again.

        • Aaron 5.3.1.1

          More leftwing conspiracies? Good idea.

          incidently my 4th paragraph in the comment above is nonsense. I don’t think I actually read the headline to this article before I wrote that. May I be the first to criticise myself.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      And National will always be vastly better resourced that the Opposition because National will always have the greater donor base.

      I’m sure that National are quite happy for the Left to go on believing that BS because it means that the Left won’t ever challenge them on anything as they’ll always believe that they’re powerless.

    • the pigman 5.5

      Hmm.. I’m not discouraged by this as much as Tracy Watkins’ thoughtful contribution published today: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/71917925/below-the-beltway–the-year-in-review

      Pity there’s no comment function, no thinking person would let her get away with passing that off as “analysis”.

  6. dukeofurl 6

    The most interesting part is when labour has an issue and runs with it successfully, eg Serco.

    You can see all the levers national uses to try and neutralize this including if all fails push it off the radar.

    Look an Anette Kings good work on pushing the ‘operations waiting list’ into the public eye.
    Lo and behold the TU runs a story , which is picked up by the main media without questionaing, about charges for (limited) hospital parking.

    Its the perfect distraction story , as its an easy thing for everyone to relate to. But of course the whole story has a big hole in that for major cities the DHB isnt funded for its parking buildings! build a $10 mill parking building and DHB has to borrow money for that and pay for it out of parking charges.

  7. Ilicit 7

    Sad commentary on democracy !!

  8. infused 8

    Big data has been talked about for years… you need someone better in charge at the Labour HQ.

    You don’t even need to employ people for this. A lot of it can be automated easily.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      Funny thing about automation is it takes someone to set it up, and then someone to maintain it. People with such skills generally expect compensation.

      • lprent 8.1.1

        Not to mention that without decent management the operations that feed the data into systems will get “innovated” into uselessness. Ask anyone who has ever had to manage inventory systems.

        Those managers expect to get paid as well.

  9. Ed 9

    The prospect of National’s campaign director trying to stop the flag referendum is talked about here:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11511139

    Conflict of interest seems to be the issue of the day. As Grant McLachlan says:
    “National’s pollsters are so concerned about losing the flag debate, that John Key has changed his design preference twice. The result: three of the four designs feature elements of his three different positions.”

    Would Grant McLachlan aggressively “fronting” for “Black and Silver”” conflict with National’s wishes over the whole flag issue? We can speculate that National’s pollsters will determine John Key’s personal opinion over that . . .

    • Majic Mike 9.1

      I think John Key should put a flag with a 3 way hand shake with a pony tale on it.

    • Pasupial 9.2

      Conflict of interest indeed (from Ed’s link above):

      the board of NZ Story – to which Ms Christie was appointed by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce in November 2013 – had discussed the NZ Trade and Enterprise logo and “had formally agreed to support the use of the NZ Way Fern Mark in any flag design”…

      The declarations came after flag submissions closed in mid-July but before the “longlist” of 40 flags was revealed in August. The list included a number of Fern Mark ferns.

      Ardern also questioned the decision by Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry – as one of the responsible ministers for the flag process – to wear a pin showing one of the four short-listed flags, and to put that flag in her North Shore electorate office.

      Clearly Barry had made a choice, which raised questions as to whether that had influenced her decisions through the process

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11511139

      Which all makes this seem a more viable option, if anyone has the legal skills to front it:

      The flag change legislation included a clause allowing a group of 200 or more registered voters to apply to the High Court to examine the conduct of either or both referendums. The conduct in question would need to be at a scale that would alter the outcome of the vote.

      Under these rules, the court could agree with the applicants and declare the result of the referendum void. In this case, a fresh vote would be held.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/71854321/flag-change-rules-might-allow-legal-hearing-on-red-peak-flag

      McLachlan has his own dog in this race, so is not the most impartial of sources. I dislike the UK flag’s inclusion on our current one so much that I might almost be tempted to vote for anything else. However, the conduct of the selection panel, and the responsible ministers, just looks more shabby by the day.

  10. Tracey 10

    “Pushers are political cronies and opinion leaders willing to pick up a ball, run with it and fend off attacks.”
    By that definition Wayne map could be called a “pusher”?

    • North 10.1

      “TrollMapp”…..of course. That boy knows the game. He had a spot at Mission Control for years……

  11. reason 11

    Wayne map is the worst writer over on ‘pundit’ and he displays his partisan national hack skills here at the standard on a regular basis …….

    He uses all the tools of a committed national bull-shitter but they do get a bit tiresome …..

    To inject some entertainment into the rubbish he writes I run the baloney detection kit over it….. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Fine_Art_of_Baloney_Detection

    Usually Wayne map scores very highly in the art of talking bullshit …..

    Scoring 5 or more in one post is quite normal for him.

  12. Michael 12

    Labour’s machine is an identical, although vastly inferior, model. You get what you pay for. Evidently.

    • Anne 12.1

      Silly comment Michael. Of course Labour will use the tools they have at their disposal for political gain, but they have much higher ethical standards than National. Did you not read “Dirty Politics” in it’s entirety? Or are you one of those who preferred to turn a blind eye to the truth?

  13. Smilin 13

    “This is why National are so popular. Not because they are good at governing (they are self-evidently rubbish at that). But because they have vast cash resources, and they use them to run a systematic spin machine. The country is falling apart, but at least we feel good about it.”
    Like everything these days a work in progress As long as the stats look good and everyone has their blinkers on and tunnel vision is how we view our future and have 59 seat mandatory count on every vote in the parliament and Da Fuhrer is not questioned for fear of reprisal from the data manipulators mentioned in D

  14. Smilin 14

    “This is why National are so popular. Not because they are good at governing (they are self-evidently rubbish at that). But because they have vast cash resources, and they use them to run a systematic spin machine. The country is falling apart, but at least we feel good about it.”
    Like everything these days a work in progress As long as the stats look good and everyone has their blinkers on and tunnel vision is how we view our future and have 59 seat mandatory count on every vote in the parliament and Da Fuhrer is not questioned for fear of reprisal from the data manipulators mentioned in Dirty Politics and the article above and our democracy is turned into a police state
    She’ll be right just to keep the sexism working in the National Party
    And the brains of our young becomes slaves to the machine
    “So WELCOME welcome to the machine”
    And none in power are ever held to account for their treason
    Because they are above the law
    FASCISM

  15. fisiani 15

    Looks like a thread trying to get in the excuses for losing in 2017. National do too much spin, too much money, too much organised, too much, too much. The New Zealand people are not sheep. They are not mindless. They know that they like the brighter future that National promised and are enjoying it. The economy has been rescued from the rocks and despite recent world events is still growing at over 2%. People are flocking here in droves and we are open to refugees. Manufacturing is doing well. Some export sectors are achieving great results. Children get free health care and beneficiries will get their first real rise in decades. When the tide is still coming in how can you reverse it? Question is, will the tide ever go out? Is that inevitable or just wishful thinking. If PM Key is replaced in 2026 by PM Bishop will the tide keep coming in?

    • Pasupial 15.1

      Crony commentators manipulate, obfuscate, smear, and stigmatise.

    • maui 15.2

      And if you said that in the real world you would be laughed out of town followed by lobbed fresh produce.

    • the pigman 15.3

      “If PM Key is replaced in 2026 by PM Bishop will the tide keep coming in?

      You know, fizzer, that comment is utterly, utterly revealing. Most people don’t know or care about Mini-Brownlee Chris fatFUCK (h/t Once Was Tim) Bishop.

      Why do you?

      • swordfish 15.3.1

        The Hutt Valley, where Bishop is based, also seems to be Fisi’s stomping ground (given comments he’s made in the past about canvassing etc). They’ll be as tight as two very similar green round things in a pod.

        Expect more subtle promotion of The Bish from Fisi over the next few years (in between all the mindless cheerleading for ‘Honest John’ Key).

        (Did I say subtle? Silly me. fisi doesn’t do subtle)

        • North 15.3.1.1

          Did you say “Mutt Valley” ? ……. a la only Bishop and Fistular Fizzy of course.

        • the pigman 15.3.1.2

          Yup, thanks for jogging my memory swordfish, I recall that being raised. What I don’t recall are denials from fizz. Penalty for evoking the fugly image of those two and their green round things in close quarters though…

          These Mutt Valley connections lead us into pretty dangerous territory, though I’d argue we’re not speculating as to the identity of commentators. (At this point I think we can rule out my fisi = Trevor Mallard theory… 1 down, ~4.5 million to go.)

    • Puddleglum 15.4

      The New Zealand people are not sheep. They are not mindless.

      Quite true. New Zealand people, in fact, are people and there is now an extensive literature on how people have various biases and ‘flaws’ in cognitive processing and quite a lot of that literature actually focuses on political decision making (e.g., voting, etc.). What worked, in decision making terms, on the plains of Africa I’m afraid no longer works as reliably in a highly mediated world.

      In fact, the research is so extensive on this point that it would be truly miraculous, under current levels of engagement with politics, if ‘the New Zealand people’ did not routinely make political decisions primarily on the ‘commonly accepted wisdom’ generated and manufactured – by fair means or foul – in the media.

      Do you really think National’s massive efforts and expenditures in this area are entirely misguided and a completely inefficient use of their resources? Are National strategists that poor in their judgments?

      Are they, and people like Farrar, unaware that “The New Zealand people are not sheep“?

      In fact, doesn’t the behaviour by National reported in the column that forms the basis of the post – if true – suggest that it is National Party strategists and operatives who see the New Zealand people as highly manipulable in their political opinions?

      • Anne 15.4.1

        Interesting comments Puddleglum but far too complex for fisiani to assimilate.

        • Puddleglum 15.4.1.1

          Well, I have no idea about fisiani’s familiarity with the art of following an argument but I always write for whoever wants to read; not just the person I’m replying to.

          But thanks for saying you found the comment interesting – really appreciated 🙂

    • North 15.5

      Tripping again I see Fused One.

    • Tracey 15.6

      “Getting people on the political bandwagon is about maintaining waves of momentum. For something to go ‘viral,’ there needs to be a combination of ‘pushers’ and ‘pullers.’ Pushers are political cronies and opinion leaders willing to pick up a ball, run with it and fend off attacks. Pullers are fair-weather celebrities who put their name behind an issue only if someone has their back and if there is sufficient forward momentum.”

      QED

    • appleboy 15.7

      Piss ee ar knee – you really do pump out the most bullshit I have ever read – whenever I see your posts i wince with disbelief at the utter crass right winging bile you spout..post after post after post…same old stuff post after post.

      I wonder what sort of right winger actually comes here and spouts this crap month after month – clearly a lack of like minded friends or a personality that loves annoying and winding people up – hope you are not a parent, i really do.

      Liars never get away with it for ever. This government is a bunch of lying crooks and only supported by the greedy and the ignorant – of which i have no doubt you fit both categories based on the sum of your comments.

  16. Dorothy Bulling 16

    People are shallow because they have been brainwashed into believing The Key Story. That’s why they voted him in. They don’t think about the effect of their vote and those who vote left are left in the poo as well.

  17. ropata 17

    Marketing is designed to bypass the rational mind and appeal to gut feelings and prejudice. A good campaign sells its product not on facts but by associations that elicit positive feelings in the target audience. That’s why we need the All Blacks to lose the RWC and Rich

  18. ropata 18

    … and Richie to be caught abusing goats or something

  19. Mad Plumber 19

    So Is Grant saying That when I rang my national MP and told her what I thought of the H&S reforms my name is now on file. If so is this a breach of my privacy.

  20. jackp 20

    I think that if the MSM did their job like BBC’s Hardcopy when they interviewed Key about New Zealand being 100 percent green, Key would have been gone a long time ago. You folks can argue what the opposition isn’t doing but if the “pullers” like Hoskings keep parading in Key’s favour, then any opposition will have a tough time. Look at what Bernie Sanders is doing in the US… He doesn’t put up with the media’s shit and is now drawing 10 to 20 thousand crowds. He is a straight shooter and that’s what Labour needs to do. But even Sanders will have a tough time because its the media that picks the winners. I certainly hope he wins because he is defying the odds.

    • North 20.1

      One of the reasons I’ve always had a soft spot for Winston (not so soft as to give my vote other than tactically) is that for yonks he’s been telling the M for Me, S for Sucks, M for Me……the MSM……where to get off. Quick sharp ! They richly deserve it. They’ve got piss all about them other than tailored ‘Cafe Society’ hubris. Why hold back with such shit-nothings ? Call them on their lazy unartfulness !

  21. pohutukawakid 21

    “Crony commentators manipulate, obfuscate, smear, and stigmatise.” – Hosking

  22. Sanctuary 22

    “…National’s pollsters are so concerned about losing the flag debate, that John Key has changed his design preference twice. The result: three of the four designs feature elements of his three different positions…”

    This panic at losing control almost certainly explains Farrar’s ridiculously hysterical over-reaction to the Dom-post calling for the red peak flag to be included. In fact, I would go further and say his abusive attack on the Dom-post lets slip to us his polling is telling National they’ve lost control of the flag debate narrative, and Key is in for a lot of pie on his face.

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