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Local Bodies: National’s Campaign Strategy Stinks

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, June 20th, 2014 - 25 comments
Categories: corruption, david cunliffe, education, election 2014, Environment, greens, john key, Mining, Minister for Photo-ops, national, same old national - Tags: , , , , , , ,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReposted from Local Bodies.

We all know from reading Nicky Hager’s The Hollow Men (or watching the documentary) that the National Party actually advocates for a small section of society. Their policies rarely support most New Zealanders and after each period of a National led Government we have costly messes like  leaky buildings and dead miners as the aftermath. This isn’t to say that Labour shouldn’t take responsibility for not repealing dodgy legislation, but National has always stood for less regulation, fewer protections for workers and the environment and an upward flow of money to the already rich.

The lasting consequences of this current National led Government are potentially going to be much more costly than the 1990s version. Our environmental degradation has never been worse, child poverty now effects 27% of children and Government debt has increased by $50 billion. There will be no easy or cheap fixes for any of these and we are still paying the costs from the 1990s.

The only people who do really well under National Governments are the already rich and the evidence for this can be readily seen. The wealthy are the only ones with any discretionary spending and it is mainly being thrown on their lifestyleshouses and new cars. The trickle down theory is still a myth with little credibility. National relies on the short term memory of voters and pre-election spending to create an image of caring for the majority when, in reality, we still have the fastest growing inequality in the OECD.

The National Party knows that most New Zealanders actually want clean rivers, we don’t want our state assets sold off and we don’t like dodgy back room deals with overseas corporates. Accusations and suggestions of corruption and conflicts of interest continually swirl around this Government and any questions regarding these are met with well practiced dodging and weaving from National’s Ministers.

National has cleverly realised that turning the election campaign into a presidential one allows them to shift the focus from their lack of effectiveness or substantial policy to personal attacks on the credibility of opposition leaders. National have an abundance of corporate smarts and one of the largest teams of spin doctors (18% increase in 2013 Budget) of any previous Government. As with our 100% Pure tourist campaign, they know it is the image and spin rather than the substance that has the most sway at the end of the day.

Key has been marketed well, he has a light portfolio load and is able to be continually placed in the media eye rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous and powerful. His image appears with royalty, Hollywood moguls and the US President. He is our most successful celebrity Prime Minister who focuses on who he is seen with rather than the influence he can exert. Although he lives in a huge mansion, holidays in Hawaii and surrounds himself with body guards, Key is able to project the manner of an average kiwi bloke. His relaxed, ‘she’ll be right’ approach strikes a chord with many New Zealanders for whom image is more important than what he actually does (try and name even one real achievement). Key is the Ronald Reagan of New Zealand politics, his genial folksy manner hides the calculated shifting of wealth from those who need it the most. This is most clearly seen in education where private schools have received an inordinate amount of funding despite catering for only 4% of students. Maori and Pasifika children, the ‘priority learners’, have actually received diminishing support.

John Key collects dirt in the same way Muldoon did. He has been quite open about his regular catch ups with the mud slinging blogger, Cameron Slater, and has referred to his file of damaging information. Any time he or his Government gets accused of dodgy activity he doesn’t even try to deny it, he just pulls out something to throw back and the word ‘hypocrisy’ is thrown around with much enthusiasm. This has been used with great effectiveness to shift the attention from National’s very compromised and conflicted relationships with wealthy Chinese businessmen. The charges against National’s Ministers are actually quite substantial and, whether it be the favoritism shown to Orivida or attempts to influence police, National doesn’t come out well.

When David Cunliffe came out swinging with accusations regarding the Government’s relationship with the Chinese businessman Donghau Liu, Key was able to reach into his extensive file and pull out a letter that Cunliffe had sent in support of Liu in 2003. It didn’t matter that there was no hint of corruption or undue influence being applied, a connection was found. Cunliffe’s high moral ground was kicked out from under him and Key again avoided the scrutiny that should have been focused on his Ministers’ behaviour and the media lapped it up.

While one could say that Labour, and the opposition in general, deserve what ever happens if they don’t cover their backs, there does a appear to be an over-eagerness on the media’s behalf when National holds out their diversionary tidbits. The Government should be held to account for their actions and too often the accusations from Key have little actual substance, yet little is done to check their veracity or relevance. How many times has Key suggested that Russel Norman did a deal with Dotcom when Russel has asked him a particularly hard question?

Maurice Williamson is still an MP, Judith Collins is still considered the highest ranked woman in National’s cabinet and John Banks was able to have the confidence of the PM despite serious charges hanging over him…and yet a perfectly reasonable letter from Cunliffe, requesting information for a forgotten constituent, has the potential of causing him to lose the Labour leadership.

Despite their shocking record in government National remain high in the polls because they have successfully shifted the debate about politics to personality and image. They have cut funding to Statistics New Zealand and removed any substantial independent reviews of the effectiveness of their governance so that their spin dominates what is in the public domain. They managed to dispatch Goff and Shearer through personal attacks and smear campaigns they are ramping it up against Cunliffe. Up to now their personal attacks on Metiria and Russel have backfired but National’s strategy is clear and this campaign is going to be a dirty one.

25 comments on “Local Bodies: National’s Campaign Strategy Stinks ”

  1. realist 1

    “Up to now their personal attacks on Metiria and Russel have backfired but National’s strategy is clear and this campaign is going to be a dirty one.”

    Couldnt agree more, its left them wallowing in poor poll results.. no doubt they will learn from these previous mistakes

    • Nakiman 1.1

      “Couldnt agree more, its left them wallowing in poor poll results.. no doubt they will learn from these previous mistakes”
      Realist I think you should change your name to dreamer
      What part of National polling at 50% is wallowing in poll results?
      Give up the one handed typing

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        Woosh!

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          That’s the sound that jokes make when they fly over your head, btw.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1

            It’s actually a tad tragic that you had to explain that to Naki explicitly, but I understand the necessity for having to do so.

      • realist 1.1.2

        Sorry sarcasm is the lowest form of wit i appreciate….

        My prosthesis does tend to limit my typing speed i grant you

  2. vto 2

    I just feel for the fish who are getting shunted aside and shat on ….. they will have nowhere left to live ….

    Saw some report a couple days ago that said most all estuaries in Southland are on the verge of collapse ….

    what a sad way to go about life.

    shame on them

  3. The Real Matthew 3

    Shocking Record in Government??
    – Crime down by huge %
    – Unemployment down
    – GDP up
    – Current Account Surplus
    – Great advancements on Treaty Claims
    – Record number of new marine reserves

    I put it to The Standard readers that this government in one of the greatest we’ve ever seen

    • ianmac 3.1

      Blah Blah Matthew.

    • James Thrace 3.2

      Crime Down – False

      Police were given new “tools” to avoid them having to deal with ever diminishing resources to prosecute people. Such “tools” have resulted in a myriad of misdemeanours being discarded with no effect on the criminal.

      If you want to visit Wellington Central Police Station’s back office, where no staff are evident, you will see pile upon pile of paperwork, some dating back to 2005, which hasn’t even been entered into NIA, because there are no staff.

      Sure, the touted benefits of “being on the road” and “ever connected” with our shiny new ipads and iphones couldn’t be further from the Truth. Police still have to fill out paperforms in duplicate, ensure that the crime fits, and whether misdemeanour applies. The back office staff used to fill this gap, but now the constables, seargents, and even DIs have to do it themselves – because there are no staff.

      Police are tight lipped about it as usual, but it’s a ticking time bomb until the next Wairarapa Child Abuse case comes up for sunlight.

      Crime has increased – but stats show it’s dropped because we have no staff to enter it into NIA which provides those stats.

      Unemployment down

      Lie. It’s increased, but as usual, WINZ stats provide 1/3rd of the figure. The rest of the figures are pulled outa Pulla Benefit’s arse.

      People simple don’t bother signing up at WINZ anymore.

      GDP Up
      – only because of the Canterbury earthquakes. Nothing else.

      CAS – See GDP up

      Treaty Claims
      – many of which were set in train by the 5th labour government. National hasn’t initiated any new ones.

      Marine Reserves
      – For every reserve, there’s an oil well approved.
      Reconcile that.

    • geoff 3.3

      Don’t forget that most of the jobs National has ‘created’ are minimum wage, part-time bullshit jobs that people cant actually support themselves on.

      Underemployment in this country is a fucking disgrace and National have only further exacerbated the problem by destroying the rights of workers.

      Evil, evil pricks.

    • Kapplan 3.4

      “I put it to The Standard readers that this government in one of the greatest we’ve ever seen”
      If you rate governments by their ability to get a large portion of the constituency to eat shit, tell everyone how good it tastes, and how they can’t wait for their next helping, then yes I agree with you.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.5

      You seem to have missed the only one that’s real:

      Government corruption up.

    • Ronnie Chow 3.6

      Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source — next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labour created man himself.

    • dave 3.7

      and key is greatest leader ever they proble beleave there own spin

  4. karol 4

    Excellent post on Key’s celebrity PM-ship and how the compliant MSM enable the business-style manipulation of Kiwis’ views.

    Thus the remnants of democracy in NZ wither and die, while many Kiwis are oblivious to what they have lost.

  5. Davethebroken 5

    No doubt right wing comment makers say the direct opposite – with both sides quoting it as fact. I think the comments here reflect the opinions of those who believe Nicky Hager – personally I can’t reconcile independent reporting of fact by someone with huge political bias. Would be like adhering to a book by Don Brash on the Treaty.

    • Molly 5.1

      Which goes to show that you haven’t bothered reading a Nicky Hager book. Other People’s Wars seemed to have about a third of the book in references. He was employed as a researcher and his method is meticulous.

      Don Brash? They limited his soundbite to match his capacity to understand – Kiwi or Iwi? Anything more would have been too taxing and liable to be mangled.

  6. Julz 6

    Excellent and insightful article on what is happening

    • Ronnie Chow 6.1

      History calls those men the greatest who have ennobled themselves by working for the common good; experience acclaims as happiest the man who has made the greatest number of people happy.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        For his soul shall deservedly reside within the Kingdom of Heaven, and his good kamma shall bear for him full enjoyment of the fruits of moral thought word and deed.

  7. Jrobin 7

    John Keys spin doctors must have been nursing a hangover today though as they forgot to give him his puppet lines when backing the military might of his best buddies and true compatriots. He looked a complete gimp. Oh the shame, David Lange must be turning in his grave at what we are becoming thanks to this sterling leadership.

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