Nats in a world of their own

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, October 25th, 2011 - 87 comments
Categories: Economy, election 2011, labour, national - Tags:

National’s new online ad campaign shows a roadworker with a stop sign, supposedly representing Labour (he has a red hat and red swandry so you get the point) and another roadworker with a go sign meant to represent National (although his sign is green … searching for a support partner?). It’s pretty bare-faced cheek from the party with the worst economic record in this country’s history.

It’s not just this time that National has the poorer economic record. National gets beaten by Labour hands d0wn since the two modern major parties emerged:

(Trevor Mallard’s more recent graph shows Key’s growth record is now very slightly positive although GDP per capita is well down)

To be fair, National is moving us at a record pace in two aspects:upwards in terms of government debt and downwards in terms of credit ratings.

That 1800% increase is the fastest increase in government debt since – no, not World War 2 like you would expect, and not the Depression either but since the New Zealand Wars.

If I was Labour, I would be rubbing my hands in delight that National is trying to have a fight over the economy. It’s where Labour can win against Double Downgrade and Double Dipton, and it suggests National’s polling shows that the last few weeks of cock-ups mean National knows can’t win by smiling, waving, and three-way handshakes alone.

87 comments on “Nats in a world of their own”

  1. You are right Eddie that advert is so banal as to be totally meaningless.

    I wonder if it is a tactic though?

    I am a consumer of political advertising and appreciate Labour and Green ads that say what the problem is and what is proposed.  But I wonder if they are aimed too much at the activist edge of the market where opinions are already well formed.

    National’s are much more stupid and presumably aimed at the swinging voter part of the market.

    But I wonder if they are effective in focus group world? 

    • felix 1.1

      Forget focus groups micky. They’re the problem, not the answer.

      Go straight to the people and tell the truth.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      The Labour guy looks kind of slouched and slightly messily dressed, while the National chap is looks quite smart and confident.

      • marty mars 1.2.1

        yes and they have put the labour guys hat on crooked too, and made him look ‘overweight’ by dressing him in baggy clothes. No workboots under labour. The clouds on the gnats shoulder offer some hope but it probably came from lower down. It would be interesting to see this ad with a range of different ethnicities and assess the response.

      • felix 1.2.2

        Yeah, it’s the “Mac vs PC” format isn’t it?

        Oh those smooth hipster Nats.

      • Carol 1.2.3

        But the Nat guy looks like a store-front model, and not like a real manual worker. He’ll probably start singing, “Y.M.C.A.” any minute.

      • Puddleglum 1.2.4

        I don’t mean this insultingly, but the ‘Labour’ one does look more like your average Kiwi bloke.

        • Lanthanide

          Yes. Therein lies another layer of aspiration.

          • Puddleglum

            Possibly, but just like people don’t like being told they’re stupid, I’m not sure they like being told that they are dis-shevelled, lazy do-nothings. 

            • Lanthanide

              They want to identify with the smart looking confident chap, so they’ll vote National.

              Just like guys want to attract lots of women, so they’ll use Lynx deodorant, etc.

              • I guess so.

                But for every aspiring metrosexual I think there will be more than a handful of, perhaps, older, more conservative Kiwi blokes (a ‘market’ now heavily leaning towards Key) who would identify less with the chap on the right – aspirationally or otherwise.

                Maybe they’re already ‘in the bag’ for National, though.

                You could be right when it comes to younger people.

                At the end of the day, just one of those very minor little ‘nudges’, I guess. 

              • Colonial Viper

                Just like guys want to attract lots of women, so they’ll use Lynx deodorant, etc.

                Effective advertising eh Lanth.

                • Lanthanide

                  Judging by the number of guys in my high school that used lynx and nothing else, yes, it is quite effective.

                  Only time I’ve ever bought lynx is when it was on sale and cheaper than all the others.

  2. Uturn 2

    It’s a new low in metaphorical muddling. Are they saying I shouldn’t stop at roadworks signs and just plow ahead, bumping off workers in my path and crashing headlong into oncoming traffic? Or are they saying that stopping at any time is wrong? Or are they saying I already know the road ahead and should be able to decide which choice is correct, but that they aren’t going to help me in any way, because I should have a history of making good choices.

    Or is it a trick question: aren’t those roadsigns both stop and go depending on which side is presented? Does that mean National will say they will go forward, but really they will stop. And while Labour look like they will stop the traffic, they will go forward? Will some cars get through, then the traffic will stop, trapping the rest from going forward?

    And what about the Greens? Doesn’t G for Go match G for greens? And aren’t Swandries now made in China?

    the choice is anything but clear.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      They’re saying road-workers and menial labourers should vote National.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Spot on – they are appealing to the working class with their imagery while screwing them with their policies and GST.

  3. randal 3

    national is the party of klingons.
    they never took a risk and they always trying to muscle in on someone elses party.
    like leeches.
    labour builds and national takes away.

  4. Carol 4

    We don’t know what’s beyond the flagmen, and the both appear to be standing in the sky….? So is the way forward a pipe dream, a pie in the sky, and heading right over a cliff?

  5. KJT 5

    Note also how much Labour is pulled down by the 1st ACT Government in the 80’s.

    And how low growth correlates with more rightward Governments, either Labour or National.

  6. Nick C 6

    “To be fair, National is moving us at a record pace in two aspects: upwards in terms of government debt”

    Wait, I thought the official line was that government debt isnt actually a problem, and in fact we should be willing to risk a downgrade because we need more government debt to stimulate the economy:

    /the-great-debt-myth/ – debt not a problem
    /nzs-debt-in-perspective/ – should be willing to spend more and risk a downgrade
    /expansionary-austerity-fail/ – Should spend more, not reduce govt debt.

    Also you have used that growth graph before. The stronger correlation is clearly the date in which the government is elected (older governments having higher growth). Could well be correlated with the fact that government used to make up a far lower percentage of the overall economy It could also just reflect that people vote National in to fix messes made by Labour.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      John Key famously said before the 2008 election: We’ve got a growth problem, not a debt problem.

      Well, now we have both.

    • Ari 6.2

      Government debt is not necessarily a problem, so long as you buy things with it that are going to return a lot more than the interest rate. It is a problem under National, as it’s being fed directly to the richest New Zealanders in the form of enormously regressive tax cuts, regardless of whether they need or want it, and tax cuts to the already-wealthy don’t even earn back as much money as you have to spend on them. It’s like borrowing a hundred dollars from a mate and then flushing fifty down the toilet, instead of buying something you need to get to work and earn more money.

    • McFlock 6.3

      “The stronger correlation is clearly the date in which the government is elected (older governments having higher growth). ”

      National govts order of GDP growth: 1,2,4,3,5
      Labour govts order of growth: 1,3,5,2,4

      So yes, National governments are getting worse in general, but labout are long-term consistent (4th labour govt being an exception)

  7. Bill 7

    An obvious song for National

  8. felix 8

    Challenge for Labour: Co-opt this message into the “Stop Asset Sales” campaign.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      National have already co-opted Labour’s campaign.

      Just saw this add on Stuff. If you click on the red “This way to stop” arrow you get taken to this site:

      • felix 8.1.1

        What’s your point, Lanth?

        Give up cos the Nats are playing too?

        FFS this is the game. Stop being such a pussy.

        • Lanthanide

          No, I was pointing out that National already had, because this was new information that was not included in the original post.

          • Colonial Viper

            I’m glad National is putting the spotlight on their own massive borrowing programme and double (soon to be triple) credit downgrade.

    • Does this mean that National have managed to run foul of the laws about road signs not just once, but twice on the same billboard???

      • Lanthanide 8.2.1

        I believe the law about road signs is in respect to them being visible from the road in a context that might confuse drivers.

        Putting up a road sign facsimile on billboard would most likely not be a problem, but putting one up on a post along the side of the road might be.

  9. M 9

    Labour should immediately get the second graph on to billboards everywhere so even the most politically unaware could get clued up.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      No, just putting the graph up won’t help. National has repeatedly blamed Labour for the debt by blaming them for WFF, interest-free student loans and public sector bloat. If you read the comments on Pagani’s stuff column you see a lot of ignorant people repeating National’s lies, as well as what I’m sure is a pretty concerted astroturfing campaign going on.

      • felix 9.1.1

        Wah wah.

        Listen to yourself. You think there’s no point saying anything because the Nats will say something back?

        You might as well go curl up in the corner and wait for this election to pass seeing as how you’ve already decided there’s no point having the fight.

        You’re no help to anyone but the Nats right now.

        • Lanthanide

          If you just put up a graph with no explanation, people will read whatever they want into it.

          • felix

            Who said “just a graph”?

            Hey Lanth, if Labour do nothing til the election but put a graph on a billboard that would suck too, right?

            Enough of your negative interpretations.

            • Lanthanide

              M simply said “get the second graph on to billboards everywhere”.

              He didn’t suggest anything else to go along with it. Based on that, I pointed out that such a message would not achieve much.

              You’re entirely welcome to think my comment doesn’t add anything to the conversation. Alternatively you could come up with a suggestion for what else, besides the graph, should be on the billboard.

          • Colonial Viper

            Bigger bars are better, right? get a grip dude.

            • Lanthanide

              As I pointed out in my initial post, a lot of the public believe that Labour created the debt, regardless of the actual truth. This is due to National continually spouting those lies.

              Simply putting up a graph without any explanation or support isn’t going to combat that distorted version of the truth that a lot of people believe.

              • felix

                Still arguing against something you made up yourself eh Lanth?

                I agree with CV, just go vote for National and leave this to those who give a shit.

                • Lanthanide

                  “Still arguing against something you made up yourself eh Lanth?”

                  No, I’m actually pointing out that if you want to reach the public with billboards you have to do more than just put a graph up, because National have lied so long that a large amount of the public believes what they say and will automatically interpret new evidence presented to them through the filter they’ve developed over the last 3 years.

                  People don’t like being confronted with the news that actually they’re idiots for believing something, so instead they’ll deny it and try and come up with their own explanations so that it remains consistent with their pre-existing views. This is the same thing that AFKTT has been going on about for ages. In this case, it’s the public interpreting anything that Labour put out as just being baseless mud-slinging; see the way their $15 minimum wage proposal got treated for example – it’ll only push up unemployment and somehow won’t narrow the wage gap with Australia at all.

                  Apparently you already knew that, or don’t believe me, or don’t want to hear it.

                  I’m really not sure what your problem is.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    People don’t like being confronted with the news that actually they’re idiots for believing something, so they’ll instead they’ll deny it and try and come up with their own explanations so that it remains consistent with their pre-existing views.

                    we can’t save those people Lanth. It’ll take too much time and too much effort.

                    We have to focus on waking up the people who can be woken up, and energising those who already realise to turn up and vote.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “we can’t save those people Lanth. It’ll take too much time and too much effort.”

                      They’re the same people that voted Labour in 1999-2005.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And? They’re still not budging from Key.

                      Better to expend effort on turning out true Labour support.

                  • felix

                    “I’m really not sure what your problem is.”

                    That’s because you’re not paying attention. Pull your head out of your arse and stop fighting strawmen.

                    No-one ever suggested making billboards with nothing but a graph on them.

                    You’ve been regurgitating a lot of National party lines lately, in particular “there’s no point making arguments from the left because John Key is popular so no-one will listen”.

                    Starting to look very sideways at you.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Really my point is that negative campaigning, unless done carefully, is likely to have limited impact or potentially blow up in your face.

              • Colonial Viper

                a lot of the public believe that Labour created the debt, regardless of the actual truth.

                You can’t save people who are determined to be ignorant and complacent.

                • Lanthanide

                  “You can’t save people who are determined to be ignorant and complacent.”

                  When you’re relying on those people to get voted back into office, such an attitude is defeatist. You might as well just give up and go home.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I don’t need you to tell me to suck eggs Lanth.

                    I’ll bet that I spent more hours helping the Labour campaign this weekend than you did helping whoever.

                    • Lanthanide

                      And you wonder why people on the left get labelled as arrogant.

                      Apparently the average everyday NZer who doesn’t pay much attention to politics and hears National’s message about how useless Labour is and believes it, aren’t worth “saving” because they’re “determined to be ignorant and complacent”.

                      Or, maybe, National has just done a very good job of convincing a lot of people to believe their lies. Apparently your response to that it’s too hard to get the facts out their in a form that will make a difference (eg, not just a billboard with a graph on it) so it’s better just to ignore them. A stunning strategy for electoral victory if ever I heard one.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m back out supporting Labour again this week and this weekend, what are you doing.

                      People like you can’t tell the difference between “Arrogant” and “Staunch”, and its not my job to explain it to you. Like I said, a waste of fucking time.

  10. This looks like a quite messy redux of the iwi/kiwi comparative billboards.

    On top of the redux of the ‘brighter future’ meme, this looks very tired.

    Are there no new ideas coming from National at all? 

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      I think it’s quite effective and doesn’t remind me much of iwi/kiwi at all.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Go vote for the pricks then

        • Lanthanide

          As I learnt in 5th form english, one can find an advertisement “effective” without being swayed by it.

          • Colonial Viper

            I don’t think Fifth Form English really captured the unconscious decision making processes and internal psychological biases that advertising ad PR agencies exploit.

            • Lanthanide

              You seem to be implying that because I think this is an effective ad I’m automatically going to go and vote for National now?


              I thought iwi/kiwi campaign was very clever and effective, too. My favourite was “dial 111 for cabs/cops”. I liked Act’s crashing in on that campaign too, it was something like “talk, promise, act” with the different leaders. None of these campaigns made me go out and vote National or Act in 2005 or 2008. I think National’s “brighter future” billboards are boring and stupid. I think Labour’s “own our future” is a good general brand and tying it together across all of their hoardings is quite good, although no individual pieces stand out.

      • Puddleglum 10.1.2

        doesn’t remind me much of iwi/kiwi at all.

        Hi Lanthanide,

        I wasn’t so much arguing that it will remind people of the iwi/kiwi ads but, instead, that it shows that they are re-using a comparative approach to advertising. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that in one sense since it, presumably and according to all the ‘pundits’, worked first time.

        I suppose, though, for me I would have expected a bit more innovation (from the self-styled party in support of constant innovation). What it tells me – effectiveness aside – is that there’s not much new thinking going on in general, just a reliance on what was seen as working in the past (e.g., ‘brighter future’, comparative ads).

        Ditto, not much new going on in the policy arena. 

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    It’s dumb. Never ever mention your competitor’s brand. Thanks for the free advertising dim-wits.

  12. Blue 12

    Clicking on the National side of the ad brings up a popup that says ‘Do you want to help ensure another strong, stable John-Key led National Government on 26 November?’

    The options are: red button on the left – Yes Please! or grayed out button on the right – No Thank You.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  13. Craig Glen Eden 13

    The guy on the left looks like a real worker the guy on the right does not look like he has done a days work ever ( smile and waver).

  14. Cloaca 14

    Policies, Policies – stop playing the Man, it won’t work.
    Get alongside the Greens and work together for the 2014 Election, when Key won’t be around.

    Make it a Greenlabour Party and you will win as the minor parties are effectively dead after this November Election. There will only be two effective parties. National and Greenlabour, and we can win together.

    Plan Plan

  15. Lanthanide 15

    Actually I’m a bit curious about the timing of this.

    According to the electoral commission, television and radio advertising cannot start until Wednesday the 25th of October, which is tomorrow.

    Does web advertising (on a site such as fall under the same rules, or not?

    • A quick guess – television and radio covered by the “broadcasting” provisions (which have a lot tighter controls), whereas the internet is not (treated like newspaper advertising etc).

      Greg Hamilton is the National Party General Manager.

  16. JS 16

    Is that address in Thorndon Quay the Curia premises?

    • Lanthanide 16.1

      It’s National Party Headquarters. Curia is probably not run from there.

      • JS 16.1.1

        National Party HQ is in Willis Street. Level 2, 262 Thorndon Quay houses an architectural practice. The Marche Francaise cafe is in that building and some posh shops. No listing for National Party there so I wonder who G Hamilton is (not that it matters but he/she has been signing for a lot of NP publicity).

  17. JS 17

    I took it as meaning ‘stop asset sales’ or ‘go on with asset sales’. Easy decision.

  18. randal 18

    so we all been aspiring for three years and what happens next?
    does gnashnull selling the states assets count as aspiration or just plain old klingon piracy.

  19. Red Rosa 19

    Would of course make a good Labour ad – ‘STOP this lot before they do any more damage!’

    • QoT 19.1

      Agreed, Rosa, it’s a totally sporkable ad.

      “STOP asset sales / tax cuts for the rich / bailing out finance companies”

      GO fuck yourselves, poor people / to Australia / on the dole”

  20. sam 21

    This is a more accurate representation:

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