John Hartevelt ran a piece yesterday about National’s paint by numbers press releases. The problem here is not with National MPs and candidates using the same words to describe their policies or government spin. It’s when they claim, in identical words, to have had information from the public when that isn’t true, it’s just a cookie-cutter line and a lie.
The similarities started in March when Leonie Hapete was chosen to stand in Palmerston North and Jonathan Fletcher was picked for National in Rimutaka.
In separate statements, both said they got ”the sense” from their community that people welcomed the Government’s ”comprehensive plan to grow the economy, to start living within our means, deliver enduring jobs, and build the critical infrastructure to future proof New Zealand and our region.”
The electorate chairs in both cases said the ”calibre of candidates” they were picked from ”underscores the enthusiasm in the party as we move into the election year contest.”
Several other electorate chairs expressed exactly the same thing when other candidates were announced.
Barry won selection in the North Shore after losing out to Jami-Lee Ross to stand in the Botany by-election.
When she won selection in May, she also noted a ”sense the community understands National’s plan to grow the economy, to start living within our means as a country, deliver enduring jobs, and build the critical infrastructure to future proof New Zealand and our region.”
Among the other candidates who said they too had ”the sense” their communities were behind exactly the same things were Scott Simpson in the Coromandel and Paul Foster-Bell in Wellington Central.
The best part is this:
National Party president Peter Goodfellow said he was surprised to hear criticism of statements that were months old.
”It’s probably a consistent message that a lot of our candidates are getting from the people that they meet. … All of our candidates have been pretty active in the community so they have a good sense of what the community is saying to them,” Goodfellow said.
You’ve been rumbled, Goodfellow. At least be man enough to admit it.
Now, Hartevelt is wrong in one respect. This has been going on since at least 2009 when Jackie Blue mucked up by publishing a copy of the generic press release without replacing the placeholders:
…..The launch of National Standards follows months of consultation and feedback from teachers, parents and sector groups. It’s been great to receive positive feedback about National Standards and our other education initiatives from parents in [insert region here].
You see, the problem is that Blue claims to have “receive[d] positive feedback” but so does every other National MP who printed the press release. Have they all really received that feedback or are they just lying in an attempt to influence the media and the public’s perception of the popularity of National Standards?
It’s the same with the “the sense” line that Hartevelt picks up on.
In fact, every press release on the first page of Blue’s website (I didn’t go back further) is a cut and paste job which other Nats have printed too, often with them claiming to have had particular feedback or concerns expressed by their constituents. Like when she and at least four other Nats claim to have been told that locals in [insert region here] “are disturbed by the growing prevalence of loan sharks in our community”
Like I say, there’s nothing wrong with getting a good form of words and repeating it ad neasum. Actually, it’s something the troglodyte Nats are very good at doing and the Left could be better at; it’s how you get your message to stick. But cut and paste press releases with the faux local [insert region here] references and the made up constituent feedback are a disgrace.
No wonder National’s backbench is seen as a talentless Greek choir and the likes of Cameron Slater are wondering where the next generation of leaders will come from.