No faith in Nats’ economic ‘plan’

Written By: - Date published: 8:53 am, March 15th, 2011 - 123 comments
Categories: Economy, election 2011, greens, labour, national - Tags:

So, how are you enjoying your brighter future? Not too flash, eh? GST up. Wages down. No jobs. More crime. Earthquakes. Oil and food shocks. No bloody cycleway. Discretionary income (after tax, housing, food, transport) is down about 15%. No wonder Kiwis don’t believe Key and National can deliver on their promises.

There’s no denying that the country has been dealt a tough hand in the last few years, both before and after National came to power. But government isn’t about cruising along on a wave of good fortune. It’s about building in the good times while making insurances for the future – like Labour did by paying down debt, building up savings, and getting unemployment down. When tough times come, it’s about actively managing the situation to protect jobs and families.

National hasn’t done that.

We elected a party government in 2008 with Key as chief merrymaker. After 10 years of economic good times (and despite the recession that had just started) the mood was that everything was going well and it was time to cash in our chips, in the form of tax cuts, and have a great big party. Sure, most of the dosh would go to the rich but we would all get some to play with.

It didn’t work out like that and National had no plan, nor the ideological framework to even create a workable plan to get us out of recession or at least make sure that the hurt wasn’t borne by the most vulnerable. Sure, they created the illusion of having a plan with set-pieces like the Jobs Summit and the 2025 Taskforce, but nothing ever came of that play acting.

No wonder a new Horizon poll shows people have lost faith in this government’s economic management:

Confidence in Nats … Not confident Confident
… reducing unemployment 75.7% 18.6%
… achieving economic growth 62.4% 28.9%
… reducing Government debt 68.3% 24.3%
… reducing private debt 74.6% 15.5%
… increasing household incomes 81.6% 12.5%
Worse Better
Household finances since last year 52.2% 12.6%
Disapprove Approve
Nats handling of the economy 39.4% 25.5%

I think this is why Key’s clowning around has suddenly started to wear so thin. While most people were still doing OK and hadn’t been touched by the recession, he was funny and people cheered him on. Now, everyone is feeling the pain whether it’s from a lost job, a real wage cut, the effects of the earthquakes, higher petrol prices, or higher food prices.

Well, nearly everyone. Key and his buddies like Mark Weldon don’t experience or understand our world, as was revealed when Key’s clown mask slipped twice – first, with his foodbanks comment and, second, with during the limo scandal.

So, quite suddenly, a tipping point was reached where Key simply isn’t relating for a large and growing portion of the population. That occurred only in the last couple of months; in November there was 34.2% approval of the government’s handling of the economy and 32.4% disapproval.

Key’s clowning now looks out of touch and artifical. But, as Zetetic pointed out so cuttingly yesterday, Key’s got nothing else. He will keep on clowning because he’s the party time PM.

For Labour and the Greens, these numbers tell me that the economic argument is won. They don’t have to go out there and try to convince people they are worse off under National. They know it’s true without seeing Cunliffe and English argue in increasing arcane fashion over which statistics to use and how.

What Labour and the Greens have to do is translate dissatisfaction into votes. That means making the economy the big election issue by hammering home the message ‘are you better off under National?’ and presenting a plan of their own that is attention-grabbing.

Labour and the Greens can and must do this. Not just for their own electoral success but for the hundreds of thousands of Kiwi families hurting under Key’s neglectful leadership.

123 comments on “No faith in Nats’ economic ‘plan’”

  1. Craig Glen Eden 1

    Key fooled so many for so long and he will continue to fool some just like any good clown at the circus. HMMM the brighter future no need for shades under National

    • jbanks 1.1

      Dunno about those horizon polls

      NZF poll is wrong

      • Marty G 1.1.1

        poll aside, the numbers on crime, unemployment, wages, inflation, don’t lie. very few people are better off since national came to power and most are worse off.

        • Jim Nald 1.1.1.1

          Since National came to power, a few of my friends are better off …….. in Australia.

          About a dozen fairly close friends left in the past two years. At this rate, there will be fewer of us in NZ who will be leaving!

        • jbanks 1.1.1.2

          I guess we’ll have to wait until the election to see if people blame National for being worse off, and if they think a Labour government would have made any real difference in the context of a recession and natural disasters. I think generally people understand this is bigger than National.

  2. Fisiani 2

    I recently joked that there would probably be a post on here one day blaming the earthquakes on National. The joke has come true. How sad. Must be really desperate.

    [lprent: He did not blame the earthquake on National. That is a deliberate rewrite of the contents of the post.

    I see that your last offense was for much the same thing and that we’re spending too much time leaving notes on your comments.

    I can’t be bothered dealing with idiots who appear to be incapable of learning during the campaign period. My personal policy as moderator will be to exclude them from commenting on the site until after the election. This should reduce the moderators workload.

    You are banned until November 28th. ]

    • Tigger 2.1

      So Fisi, National has no responsibility for our economic situtation?

      Anyway, it wasn’t the Nats who caused the earthquake. It was the gays. Or Charlie Sheen. Maybe both.

      • south paw 2.1.1

        Yes, and the Great Financial Crisis is a socialist leftist plot to destroy capitalism and make rich white boys look bad. The perfidy!

      • Well at least they did not blame the Jews. Mind you I did hear that the synagogues were full, all praying”Please God not the Jews”.

    • Eddie 2.2

      If irish was around, you would get a week ban for intentionally misrepresenting what i’m saying. Debate properly or get lost

      • fizzleplug 2.2.1

        If intentionally misrepresenting what people say was a banning offence, the tumbleweed would rule the internet.

        • lprent 2.2.1.1

          It is when people try to rewrite what authors say. It always has been here, at least since Jan 2008 when we started moderating. For some reason the number of commentators (and readers) just keeps climbing despite the moderation. So I suspect your tumbleweed theory has a few obvious flaws.

          F’s tactic is a well known way of attempting to divert the discussion away from what the post actually says, usually to something completely irrelevant. You can see this in the comment thread after F made his comment.

          Moderators will tolerate that in OpenMike – we don’t tolerate it as top level comments in a authored post. We will often tolerate it if a comment thread diverges off into a different direction.

          But to do it on a top level comment in a post that isn’t OpenMike will often carry educational award, as F just gained.

          Because we’re likely to see a lot more of this type of tactical crap between now and the election, I’m going to eliminate my workload for anyone foolish enough to try it. It is a good idea not to try diversion tactics on this site.

        • RedLogix 2.2.1.2

          If fisi had confined his sycophantic, faux-gloat trolling to the odd post now and then he would have been tolerated. After all we’ve been giving him oxygen for at least a year now.

          But we rarely saw fisi engage in any meaningful debate. Instead we got this ‘hit and run’ routine, dropping some noisome content-free bit of trolling into a thread and then never hanging around to man up to the responses.

          To my mind it was this persistent pattern of cowardly behaviour that was always and ultimately going to earn him a long ban…. because it served no purpose than to disrupt discussions and/or give fisi some perverse gratification.

      • lprent 2.2.2

        Um… I can’t be bothered with a weeks ban. His track record is that he’d just try it or one of the other idiot tactics again.

        I banned him until after the election. It isn’t like he brings much to the discussion in any post anyway.

        • Lanthanide 2.2.2.1

          An appropriate ban length I think anyway. Then again I think I’m a bit stricter when it comes to obvious thoughtless trolls.

          • Armchair Critic 2.2.2.1.1

            An appropriate ban length I think anyway.
            Dunno. kiwitroll123 got a lifetime ban, didn’t he? Fisiani was less fun than KT123, less prone to actually engaging with other commenters (and thereby more deserving of a lifetime ban), but only gets banned for a few months. What’s up with that? Hmmm, well, it’s not my site, I don’t get a say in the rules.
            Dunno about the ban ending on 28 November, either. The way things are looking at present I shudder at the thought of what fisiani will say on that day. Ugh.

            • Lanthanide 2.2.2.1.1.1

              I don’t recall kiwitroll123. Perhaps they did other things that were deserving of a lifetime ban, things you never saw because the moderators cleaned it up or were in areas you couldn’t see?

              Typically bans around here are a preventative measure taken to reduce future moderation workload.

              • lprent

                kiwiteen123 ran into IrishBill who doesn’t quite have my tolerance for teens that I gained after being around the families teens quite a lot.

                I can understand the reasons that IB gave him a lifetime ban though – it was the incessant blathering about very little while trying to beat felix for the largest number of comments. Not that felix was interested. In fact I suspect he was more dismayed at how many of those biting little remarks he’d left in 2009. But it was the lack of quality in kt123’s comments that got him banned.

                • Armchair Critic

                  I can understand the reasons that IB gave him a lifetime ban…
                  Me too.
                  I’ve been keen to see fisiani permanently banned for quite some time. A long ban is great, a permanent ban would have made my day.
                  You and your tolerant ways, LP – shakes head. Also, I may have been influenced by Rage Against the Machine, I seem to be in a foul mood today.

                • The Voice of Reason

                  Just re-reading the comments in the link, LP. For all his faults, Kiwiteen was at least able to argue intelligently and occasionally humourously even if it was often from a position of inexperience or even outright ignorance. Given that he is a whole year older now and his life experience has hopefully grown as well, is there any chance of reconsidering the ban? Some sort of probation, perhaps? Life seems entirely out of proportion, especially given the relatively short bans used on older, more embittered trolls who don’t have naivety otr teenage pomposity as an excuse.

                  • lprent

                    Don’t ask me – ask IrishBill. We follow and support each others bans.

                    Periodically I remove the lifetime hardwire bans for all except the most obnoxious (like Blue Peter under his many names) in an unannounced amnesty and see what peoples comments are like. If they repeat the mistakes of the past, then they go straight back on them. Otherwise they stay until they violate the policies under their new or old handles.

                    It has happened once to kt already who constrained himself for a while but then cut loose into the same pattern.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      I asked you because you responded to AC’s comment, Lynn, and I assumed you would be easily able to communicate the request for a reprieve to our Fenian friend, not actually make the decision yourself (which would be out of line, as I see it). Would you mind letting IB know?

                      I’m prepared to offer lashings of whiskey, if an inducement would help!?!

                    • lprent []

                      I’ll bring it up next time I talk to him.. Happens every other month

            • gobsmacked 2.2.2.1.1.2

              I shudder at the thought of what fisiani will say on that day

              “Key offering Winston Deputy PM was decisive action by a true leader and great statesman …”

            • lprent 2.2.2.1.1.3

              If the election goes badly, then the hangover will prevent me from caring.

              If the election goes well, then the hangover will prevent me from caring.

              In either case, I probably won’t care that much. Can you think of a better day for anyone silly enough to annoy the moderators multiple times to be allowed back on site?

        • Mac1 2.2.2.2

          Dang. Fisiani used to fire my blood up of a morning. He was also useful as a touchstone for what was hurting the Nacts. My anti-spam word is “quoted’ which is what Fisiani never did, when asked.

          Ah, well, guess I’ll have to find something socially useful to do now, rather than chip Fisi.

          Now, there is an election to fight, they tell me ………..

    • gobsmacked 2.3

      @Fisiani

      I know you’re not interested in any good faith debate, but let’s pretend you are.

      Please click on the link. Read the poll. See the words …

      “before the earthquake”.

      That is all you need to do. Why won’t you?

    • Lanthanide 2.4

      National are in full control of the response to the earthquake.

    • Cnr Joe 2.5

      Fizzy Noooooooooooo!

  3. Rosy 3

    ” nor the ideological framework ”
    They had an ideological framework, it was just hidden for awhile, and the measures derived from it were never, ever going to get us out of recession.

  4. fizzleplug 4

    Earthquakes? Really?

    • Marty G 4.1

      You don’t think the earthquakes hurt the economy?

      • fizzleplug 4.1.1

        I don’t think they can be lumped in with all the other things that National has been listed as not doing. It’s like blaming them for droughts. Or the Middle East turmoil which is causing oil shocks.

        After all, these things would have happened regardless of the Government of the day.

        Let’s blame National for higher petrol prices! It’s as pointless as blaming Labour the last time they were this high.

        • Kaplan 4.1.1.1

          I don’t blame them for the earthquake or the oil shock. Nor do I blame them for the global recession or pike river.
          I sure as hell blame them for their pathetic response to all the above though.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.2

          Yes, lets blame National for their response to higher petrol prices: building Roads of National Impotence instead of funding public transport and a rail loop for Auckland.

        • Blighty 4.1.1.3

          they’re not lumped in with things National is not doing, they’re lumped in with bad things that are happening to the country –

          “GST up. Wages down. No jobs. More crime. Earthquakes. Oil and food shocks. No bloody cycleway. Discretionary income (after tax, housing, food, transport) is down about 15%… …. There’s no denying that the country has been dealt a tough hand in the last few years, both before and after National came to power.”

          One wonders if these righties got past primary school some days.

          • fizzleplug 4.1.1.3.1

            Actually, the first sentence where we are asked how we are enjoying the brighter future implicitly ties National to the things listed after. Especially when concluded with a sentence asserting that Kiwis don’t believe Key and National can deliver on promises.

            Before I’m accused of de-constructing and misinterpreting, it’s all right there in the first paragraph. Starting the post with the second paragraph, and listing all the things that have happened after the first sentence would see no argument from me whatsoever.

            And why resort to questioning my education levels? What does that prove?

            • Lanthanide 4.1.1.3.1.1

              I agree with your reading, fizzle, however clearly it would be farcical to blame National for a natural disaster that no one can predict or prevent.

              So, because Eddie isn’t an idiot, I assumed the point was “National’s poor response to the earthquake” not “that earthquake that National decided to unleash on Christchurch”.

              Sure, you can be a pedant if you want. I often am, and routinely point out minor phraseology or points I take issue with. But in this case it’s pretty obvious what the intention behind the sentence is.

            • lprent 4.1.1.3.1.2

              Your comment does beg the question if you’d read past the first paragraph. Particularly when the second and third paragraphs say exactly what Eddie was saying what s/he thought National was responsible for..

              There’s no denying that the country has been dealt a tough hand in the last few years, both before and after National came to power. But government isn’t about cruising along on a wave of good fortune. It’s about building in the good times while making insurances for the future – like Labour did by paying down debt, building up savings, and getting unemployment down. When tough times come, it’s about actively managing the situation to protect jobs and families.

              National hasn’t done that.

              But you didn’t try to restate what Eddie said, so when I’m in my role as a moderator, I don’t care. As a commentator, I’m also concerned about your ability to read more than one paragraph.

              • fizzleplug

                I do read past the first paragraph, but as everyone knows, the first is the most important when deciding whether to read further.

                • lprent

                  Only if you’re a TV presenter or radio talkback host who has to repeat the same simple meme over and over again.

                  Print media, which this blog is, don’t operate that way. You usually have to read the whole article to get to a conclusion – which is usually where you find the summation.

                  By your logic, you should really only read the headlines…

                  • Lanthanide

                    “By your logic, you should really only read the headlines…”

                    I think his logic is really the reverse, in that a lot of people only do read the headlines or first paragraph (I myself do it when dipping into articles/topics that I’m not too interested in) and then decide whether to read the rest of the article.

                    He does have a point – putting apparent bollocks in the first paragraph of a post is likely to turn first-time visitors off. I don’t think that’s a particular issue this blog needs to worry about though, especially as it is updated multiple times per day.

                    • lprent

                      Yeah, but fizzleplug wrote a comment that appears to be based entirely on the first paragraph.

                      Who goes to the effort involved in writing a comment without at least scanning the rest of a post?

                      The most common type of person who does is usually described as a….. (begins with a t). However he didn’t trigger my instincts when I was running the moderation sweep because his question was relevant based on the first paragraph – for the reasons you elucidated.

                      Fisiani did because he explicitly stated that Eddie did something that was quite incorrect. Moderating is a fine line.

                  • fizzleplug

                    when time is a constraint, and everything can’t be read, then yes. Headlines are used to make decisions about whether to read further. Surely you don’t read every article in the paper all the way through before deciding if you should have read it?

                    • lprent

                      I’m blessed (or cursed) with a extremely high reading speed. I don’t ‘read’ every article, but I do scan through them looking for things I’m interested in. If the article is interesting then I’ll slow down and read it more closely.

                      How do you think I get time to moderate the comments here? I scan them while waiting for cross-compiles .

                      Not to mention my morning habit of scanning/reading the NZ Herald, Economist, Sydney Morning Herald, New York Times, and several local blogs between waking up and until after breakfast each morning.

                      So I’m probably not the best person to ask about normal reading styles. But from the research I’ve seen on reading patterns and from the patterns of reading that I see in the stats from readers on this site, I’m pretty sure that you’re wrong.

  5. Steve Withers 5

    The main problem I see is the over-arching assurance from National that their tax cuts were affordable. It should now be staringly obvious they were not affordable. The disaster in Christchurch was the sort of “rainy day” Michael Cullen was talking about when he argued against tax cuts. But National isn’t alone. We also have the editorial staff of our foreign-owned corporate media to thank for stoking the demand for tax cuts that were – clearly – not prudent. It is that singular, self-interested lack of prudence that makes it clear to me that the Multi-National Party can’t be trusted with public resources.

    • Bored 5.1

      Spot on Steve. The tax cuts were always going to be paid for by debt, it must have been fairly obvious to even economic illiterates that the economy was going to be recessionary. The cynic in me says that the Nats and their financial backers (the Business Round Table – ACT- corporate nexus) knew this but were prepared to use this as an excuse to justify the sale in their second term of state assets to themselves to pay for debt,. Also to concurrently justify via the Rebstock report the slashing of benefits so as not to pay for massed unemployment with more debt.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        I think it’s all part of the parcel really. Recessions in themselves generally don’t hurt the elite – they benefit from the fire sales.

        So:
        1. Cut taxes (rich benefit)
        2. Cutting taxes helps insure a recession (rich benefit)
        3. Recession used as excuse to cut public expenses (rich benefit)
        4. ? What’s next?

        • Bored 5.1.1.1

          NEXT UP….They corporatise the Public Service, sell it to themselves. Then health and education et la. In short the bastards keep doing similar to the public domain it until we are all serfs to them and indebted up to the eyeballs.

  6. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6

    I think this is why Key’s clowning around has suddenly started to wear so thin.

    Ding ding ding. You win!

    This is the 10,000th time since 23 November 2006 that someone at the Standard has predicted that “people are waking up”. You win class consciousness and a toaster oven. Meanwhile, Key remains as popular as ever.

    • Marty G 6.1

      This is your big problem. Key isn’t as popular as ever. Support for a nat-act government is down 10% from peak and falling. But do keep up the hubris, it’ll be your undoing

    • gobsmacked 6.2

      OleOle

      Do you dispute the results of the poll? If so, why?

      If you accept the findings (within a margin of error of 2%), then you must conclude that Key is personally popular despite widespread public dissatisfaction with his government.

      So, if you’re arguing that the opposition are failing, you’d have a point. But if you’re arguing the government is succeeding, clearly you haven’t.

      Is the Prime Minister responsible for his government?

      • Inventory2 6.2.1

        Horizon eh? Aren’t they the polling organisation favoured by the Sunday Star-Times which had Winston Peters at 10% support, about 300% more than any other of the pollsters?

        ‘Nuff said …

    • lprent 6.3

      My god, we’re better at this blogging lark than I’d ever realized. We have time travel and can write posts in the past. At least according to that pundit Oleolebiscuitbarrell

      The blog only started in August 2007.

  7. D.Fren 7

    Key’s comments that he wouldn’t stick around for a Leader of the Opposition role should have rung warning bells. He has switched the controls to auto-pilot and left the cabin. But it makes little difference. It’s just business as usual for NZ politics. I could bring up a similar statement by Helen “…everyone who wants a job, has one…” Clark. Auto-pilot again.

    For me, any repeat of past political rhetoric will fail to get me to the voting booth. This stuff is old:

    “What Labour and the Greens have to do is translate dissatisfaction into votes. That means making the economy the big election issue by hammering home the message ‘are you better off under National?’ and presenting a plan of their own that is attention-grabbing.”

    and pretty much spells out the lack of leadership and direction that a Labour Coalition can offer. I don’t care about how “well off” I might become while my local environment descends into criminal chaos, broken families and poverty on the one hand and unrestrained consumerism supported by borrowing on the other. Clearly offering the aspiration of the white middle class dream to everyone is nothing more than a pipe-dream.

    When forming plans for long term economic development, immediate personal gain shouldn’t be the measure. Personal tax reductions are small change when strategy is reviewed. It shouldn’t be such a difficult thing to have two small Islands become a Nation, but there is no coherency between any two policies, any two depts. or any two ministries. Both parties have a tendency to pander to base human emotion, then it’s all a big surprise why no plans develop as expected. Policies polarise around hate of the rich (rich pricks), and fear of the poor(bludging scum) or it’s the environmentalists(hippy greeny commies) against businesses (evil corporate neo cons). This is the culture that our style of politics has bred for NZ. Not only does it destroy new growth it restricts cashflow, which is the oil in the wheels economic development – whether your definition of development is high-tech or organic.

    Leadership is what the country needs, not another bunch of middle managers. The Left have done the fears and dreams of the 1930’s to death. National, in classic action/reaction stance, were created to combat those ideas. Now they’re two obsolete juggernauts, sloth-like under the weight of their own decay. Which party will be the first to step into the new millenium and offer something relevent to the present? Or is this all it will ever be?

    • Bored 7.1

      DF, couple of points:

      Now they’re two obsolete juggernauts, sloth-like under the weight of their own decay...truly splendid imagery!

      Also Leadership is what the country needs . I would contend that we need to learn to lead ourselves first, how else can we judge our leaders unless we cease to be (in some one elses lovely term) “sheople”.

      • D.Fren 7.1.1

        In the absence of the perfect leader, or even knowing what a leader looks like, would it be too much to ask to have the leaders of our political parties to remember they represent the direction of a Nation. They should be seen to be treating the position with the respect it deserves. This doesn’t mean permanent scowls and deadpan monotones on every occasion – but talking about firing squads, getting involved in broadcasting standard disputes or making guest appearances on fishing shows should be out of the question. They needn’t be reaching out to the youth market on student radio every thursday – or any “demographic” – their job is universal message. The big picture.

        Is it too much to expect a leader to know that everytime he steps out, he is a symbol of something bigger than himself, his opinions and even his own party? There are almost no times that a good leader can have beers with the boys; he is not immediately everyone’s best mate. If that is too hard to accept, don’t be a leader. The PM’s decisions effect the lives of millions of people, is that not serious business? Strategy. Always strategy. When someone asks about firing squads for looters, for godssake, talk about law and order and reinforce the direction toward calm – don’t join the emotive mire! It’s basic stuff.

        The PM’s office should not be an expression of the lifestyle of financially secure players, your friendly neighbour next door or more recently, an upper-class man imitating the behaviour of a 20 year old retail assistant. It should strive to reach the virtue of “honorable” with which it is named, not celebrity – the place it’s heading – and the prize for playing the corporate game well enough. Whether people will vote for a celebrity is irrelevent. A good leader does not offer the people the tools to their own demise.

  8. Rob 8

    The trouble for those who would like to see a change in Govt is Goff is shooting himself in the foot as much as Key – the two recent examples being ruling out Hone after describing Key’s ruling out Winston as arrogant, plus the firing squad comment.

    Yeah, we’re all starting to get cranky but a credible alternative is not materialising.

    • Craig Glen Eden 8.1

      It hurts to say it but sadly you are more right than wrong Rob. Just when Goff gets it right with not ruling others out he then effectively shuts the door on Hone.

      • Rob 8.1.1

        This election doesn’t need rocket science. More and more of us are hurting. It’s plainly obvious that a good, credible case can be made the latest tax cuts were not affordable and the election could be fought (and won) on that issue alone.

        Side issues such as working with Hone H. should be brushed aside (cause really, they mean jack sh1t to the ordinary voter) and certainly not handled with contradiction.

        @ D. Fren: well said

        • Pete 8.1.1.1

          More and more of us are hurting. It’s plainly obvious that a good, credible case can be made the latest tax cuts were not affordable

          If they weren’t affordable and shouldn’t have happened wouldn’t we then have less in the hand and be hurting more? (For those who are hurting)

          Where does the claim of 15% reduction in discretionary income come from? Is that average for everyone?

          • Rob 8.1.1.1.1

            clarification: weren’t affordable to the country

            • Rosy 8.1.1.1.1.1

              “If they weren’t affordable and shouldn’t have happened wouldn’t we then have less in the hand and be hurting more?”

              I suggest that some people would be hurting less if the tax cuts didn’t happen. The rise in GST – the apparent ‘switch’ part of the tax changes hit people who spend most of their income on their necessities

  9. vidiot 9

    Personally I think the Horizon method of polling (http://www.horizonpoll.co.nz/Prizes) is flawed, offering cash & prizes for opinions is bad.

    • Blighty 9.1

      do you think that the reward makes people likely to lie about their opinions? And, if so, in what direction would you expect prizes would tend to make people lie? And what do you base that on?

      • vidiot 9.1.1

        No it’s more like the Facebook users that try & get 400 friends to click on this URL in order to win a PS3. I value a persons opinion, I just don’t think that payment should be made for it.

        There have been numerous posts over the years about the inaccuracy of online polls/votes and that online polls/votes can be taken with a grain of salt as they are very easy to manipulate.

        In Horizons case, what checks are in place to ensure that a ‘panel member’ doesn’t create multiple accounts in order to up their chances of winning a prize/cash (answer none, the information entered appears to have no validation process.)

      • Lanthanide 9.1.2

        It may or may not change someone’s opinions in answering the poll. But it certainly will encourage people to take the poll, and certain demographics will be encouraged more than others.

        This creates a sampling bias, and also a self-selecting one as vidiot notes in #9.1.1.

        Perfectly reasonable point to raise, and one that many authors and commenters on this site have raised before.

        • Bright Red 9.1.2.1

          except for Stats NZ surveys (where participation is complusory, in theory at least), all polls are self-selecting. So is the election.

        • wtl 9.1.2.2

          Two points:

          1) I don’t think people having multiple account is much of an issue because you have enter you real name when registering and they probably will require proof of identity when collecting your prize. Plus they properly do some rudimentary checks to make sure the same IP address isn’t being repeatedly. Does anyone know if they also attempt to contact you by phone to make sure you are ‘real’?
          2) This is not a simple online poll as they try to avoid the selection bias by weighting the pole according to certain criteria (age, gender, ethnicity, region, personal income), which will definitely be of some benefit. Of course, this won’t entirely eliminate the problem as you really need a random sample to do a proper survey. In saying that, there is no doubt the other polls out there suffer from selection bias as well, even if they do attempt to use a random sample. Take all surveys/polls with a grain of salt – the margin of error is undoubtedly higher than that reported due to selection bias (and ultimately unquantifiable) – but the Horizon poll probably more so. What is telling about the Horizon poll is that the results are around 3-4 against to 1 pro-government.

  10. Sanctuary 10

    There is a tale I heard – possibly apocryphal – that the Sassinid Persians did everything they could to pretend the 550 year Parthian Empire had never existed, and they were simply a smooth continuation of the previous Achaemenid Persian Empire. I think that this current National government is doing it’s best to pretend that they are simply continuing the smooth running of government from the Shipley era, and the interregnum of the Clark Government is something they simply pretend never happened. The tired neo-liberal do-nothingism, the hysterical loathing of the poor, the war on education -all these are policies of the 1990’s, picked up again as if National had never spent a decade in opposition. It also explains the Nike like way their arrogant abuse of urgency, refusal to be accountable to the media and corrupt crony capitalism has sprung fully armed from the head of our body politic. This is the most cynical government in our history, because the cynics of Shipley’s era who form its heart and soul chose to not learn anything in opposition except to to grow bitter and vengeful.

    It is quite clear that given the above nature of this National government the last thing they will want to do is debate the dug up, stinking 1990’s corpse that makes up the bulk of it’s policies. They will run a relentlessly presidential campaign around that nice guy Mr. Key, and they’ll do everything in their power to turn the whole election into a popularity contest fought on trivial dog whistles to right wing identity politics. They will then take the election win as a mandate to do as they please, and democracy will be reduced to relying on the grace and favour of not Labour lite but Pinochet lite. Make no mistake, they’ll brook no opposition if returned with enough seats to govern alone (they’ll have their tame Maori in tow of course) – if you think the abuse of urgency, the endless ramming through of ‘special requests’, the declaration of national states of emergency, CERRA, King Gerry I etc are alarmingly corporatist and anti-democratic in tone then just you wait to see how fascist they’ll become if they convince themselves they’ve been given a mandate for revolution.

    That is why I am not convinced obsessing over Key is a good idea. The public is indeed growing weary of his ineffectual clowning around, and the water cooler conversations tell me the failure to provide any support for the West Coast (despite unequivocal promises to do so) has profoundly shaken people’s faith in Key to deliver on his promises. Issues. For the left, it has to be about the issues. it has to be about the economy. Allowing the left to get sucked into a popularity contest will be a disaster for the country.

  11. Afewknowthetruth 11

    Unfortunately Labour doesn’t have a plan either. Well not one that will work.

    We are in the early stages of the Peak Oil meltdown of industrialism, and all political parties are firmly locked into denial of reality (as are most of the people).

    It was Dopey Pete, followed by Daffy Duck, as Ministers of Energy who ensured no preparations were made for the mess we are now in.

    • Jim Nald 11.1

      An upcoming plan would definitely be for New Zealand in Nov ’11 to bury Rodney Hide together with Don Brash and their voodoo economics.

  12. Pete 12

    I have a few reservations about the Horizon polls (and they pricde results as Word docs!), regardless, I wouldn’t be surprised if confidence in National’s economic results are waning. They’ve been dealt some crap – inheriting a recession plus a few disasters – but their performance has been lacklustre.

    But, the crux this is in what the poll doesn’t answer – how does confidence in National compare to confidence in Labour? That’s largely what the election will be decided on.

    • vidiot 12.1

      That’s a bloody good question Pete. I guess the only way you could gauge that (without asking the specific question at poll time) would be to look at the preferred Prime Minister polls, add a fudge factor, take a few points off for karma, add a dash of resilience and conclude, performance of Labour has been equally as lackluster. Hell Winston’s almost polling as high as Goff in those stakes.

    • wtl 12.2

      “But, the crux this is in what the poll doesn’t answer – how does confidence in National compare to confidence in Labour? That’s largely what the election will be decided on.”

      Perhaps, but sometimes people just vote for ‘change’ when things aren’t good, without really thinking about what that change may be.

  13. Pete 13

    So, how are you enjoying your brighter future? Not too flash, eh? GST up. Wages down. No jobs. More crime. Earthquakes. Oil and food shocks. No bloody cycleway. Discretionary income (after tax, housing, food, transport) is down about 15%.

    Interestingly the poll has some opinions on that too.

    Overall, is the financial position of your household better or worse than a year ago?
    A. Much worse 13.2%
    B. Worse 39%
    C. About the same 34.8%
    D. Better 10.8%
    E. Much better 1.8%
    F. Rather not say 0.4%

    So that’s about half who think it’s worse for them.

    • Pascal's bookie 13.1

      Which would be a politically toxic number.

      Esp’ considering more people think it is ‘much worse’, than ‘better’ or ‘much better’ combined.

      • Pete 13.1.1

        Could be toxic, but going back to my previous point, it depends on how it compares to how respondents think Labour would do in comparison.

        I think our economic situation will be tough for quite a while regardless of who wins the next election – which will be a judgement of who is seen as better to manage the toxicity.

        • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1.1

          true enough, but Govts lose elections, oppositions don’t win them. Turnout matters. National needs to get those voters that swtiched last time to vote for them again. This isn’t helping.

          • Pete 13.1.1.1.1

            I know it’s not helping (National), even the passage of time is against the incumbent.

            But, even if “Govts lose elections, oppositions don’t win them” is true the crossover point is as much determined by how good the government-in-waiting looks. The stronger they seem the sooner they will cross the threshold and win.

            But but, oppositions can also lose elections. I think Labour were staring down the barrel in 2005, but Brash scared enough people (rightly) to give Labour another lease on leading life.

            • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1.1.1.1

              “But, even if “Govts lose elections, oppositions don’t win them” is true the crossover point is as much determined by how good the government-in-waiting looks. The stronger they seem the sooner they will cross the threshold and win.”

              Eh? That seems to be saying that even if x is true, it is just as much false.

              The point of that old saw is that oppositions win by not scaring the horses when govts fail to deliver. Say what you like about Labour’s many faceted FAIL, they are not ‘scary’ in the way Brash was.

              • Pete

                I’ll try explaining – if the losing party sits in the doldrums waiting for the new incumbent to drop right down to their level they will have to wait longer than if they raise their game and become a genuine competitor sooner.

                National are sliding, nor drastically but noticably. Labour don’t seem to have lifted themselves yet. They look much like they did last election minus their main asset.

                A party that seems to think it should win based on nothing more than the government stuffing up in my mind doesn’t deserve to win.

        • Mac1 13.1.1.2

          There is a school of thought in NZ that says governments lose elections, not oppositions who win them. In 1999, and in 2008, I think this happened. Certainly, government supporters stayed away from the polls on both occasions in numbers, as they did BTW in Botany.

          I do agree, though, that a credible opposition in comparison is useful. Time yet for the media to kick into gear on their task of government removal, as the Editor of the Press saw his task in 2008. Time for policy to be prepared. Time for the further erosion of support for NACT as they continue to under-perform, or in Keys’ case, to over-perform in the stage sense. Time for people to get involved in political debate and the political process.

          I’ve just finished Joe Bageant’s “Deer Hunting with Jesus.” He talked about the left getting back into politics and the wide everyday debate with family, friends and community to counter the neo-con Right’s domination of this area in the US.

          • Mac1 13.1.1.2.1

            Oh snap, Pascal’s Bookie at 13.1.1.1 and ff. Well said.

          • Olwyn 13.1.1.2.2

            The claim that governments lose elections rather than oppositions win them is not quite right because it is not all that simple: while people trot out the nanny state, etc, to explain why Labour lost in 2008, they forget the huge amount of money, strategy and effort that went into unseating that government. I do not think that the way the anti-smacking bill was presented did Labour any favours (despite the fact that it was actually a Green bill), but the loss had more to do with the fact that big money felt it could not afford another Labour term, especially with a financial crisis looming, and pulled out all the stops. The treatment of Winston Peters was simply unconscionable, and I was very proud of Helen Clark for not succumbing to the howls of those baying for his blood. It would not have done her much good had she gone the other way anyway, since she would then have been accused of hanging her coalition partner out to dry, but I was proud of her for doing the right thing under so much pressure.

        • Rob 13.1.1.3

          @ Pete (1.21): I would argue partly depends – my view is there is some amount of unsophistication in the electorate who will not do “due diligence” and make that (valid) comparison. The trouble for Nat Pete is even some people on the right of the spectrum are concerned at a lack of action from the Govt so “how Lab would do in comparison” is an easier test to pass.

          And agree, based on current conditions the next Govt certainly has a challenge on its hands

          • Pete 13.1.1.3.1

            From what I’ve seen:

            Those more right than National are pissed off they haven’t done enough and lurched to the right.
            Those aligned with National will back them regardless although may turn out a bit less.
            Those centre-ish are bemused that National haven’t done more, they’re waiting for something bolder, and are also waiting for Labour to show signs they have recovered and “get” the post Clark 21st century.
            Those to the left will vote there regardless but think National have done too much but haven’t done enough (in other words nothing will please them).

            • Mac1 13.1.1.3.1.1

              And the killer for all governments is that the more they “do,” more people get annoyed with them for “doing” the wrong thing. And btw, not doing anything is actually doing something.

      • Jim Nald 13.1.2

        Going into the polls this time will be different and is not whether to choose blue cheese or red apples. The mood building up to Nov is the Govt has not delivered.

        • Pete 13.1.2.1

          I agree, and that mood is across the spectrum. Last election Key was given an opportunity. He’s done quite a few bits and pieces reasonably well and is still widely liked, as a person. This election is a real test of whether he is up to rising to real leadership.

          Have to remember that that what the public sees is mostly a bit of fluff on top. The Key will be in what policy package National front up with this year, if it’s mostly just more of the same and still lacks boldness they will have to hope Labout don’t lift their game enough to really compete.

    • felix 13.2

      “So that’s about half who think it’s worse for them.”

      Eh?

      52.2% say worse.
      12.6% say better.
      34.8% say about the same.

      Yeah, that’s half. In Petard land.

  14. Armchair Critic 14

    Looking at the twelve questions to be answered in parliament today, there is what appears to be a pattern. The questions from the government tend to be looking backwards, whereas the questions from opposition parties tend to be looking forward.
    National want to tell us what they’ve done. The opposition seem to have realised that National have no plan that they want to discuss. Hoping they don’t let the government off the hook, again.

    • Jim Nald 14.1

      Regardless of how they try to re-create perception, people can see the Govt is like a headless chook trying to find its feet.

    • Rob 14.2

      “National want to tell us what they’ve done”. LOL – that won’t take long.

      • Armchair Critic 14.2.1

        True. In a 1970s music shop they’d be a double A-side 7″ single, rather than a two disk LP.

  15. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 15

    So, how are you enjoying your brighter future? Not too flash, eh? GST up. Wages down. No jobs. More crime. Earthquakes.

    Did you really just blame National for the earthquakes?

    [lprent: The moderators don’t take kindly to people rewriting what authors (or even commentators) write. Read the second and third paragraphs of the post which you either missed or failed to read.

    Re-framing is a particularly annoying type of diversion trolling that inevitably leads to some of the most stupid flame wars. If you want to have a go at the writing then there are more effective ways of doing it that don’t draw moderator attention. For instance look at fizzleplug, fizzleplug again and Lanthanide who raised the same issue, but did not reframe the authors message in the post.

    See /no-faith-in-nats-economic-plan/#comment-308180 for what to avoid.

    But there are no other warnings on any of your comments. So you just had your one warning on this particular issue. ]

    • felix 15.1

      I can’t speak for the writer, but I sure don’t remember all this bullshit under Labour.

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        DonKey’s reign sure has covered a hell of a lot of misfortune and bad luck in a short 2 1/2 years.

        • Pete 15.1.1.1

          For sure. And I think it makes a very unusual sort of election year. Voter sentiment might move slowly, or it could swing significantly at any stage right through to the election. The worst economically is probably yet to come, the Japan effect has hardly started – it could be a game changer, on top of the local challenges.

          It’s important for National to show some boldness and real leadership to convince enough people they will help us out of this.

          And Labour has to start to show some boldness and real leadership potential to compete.

          Waiting for both…..

          • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1

            I reckon there will be massive disruption to the high tech sector from this event. EU and US will do very well in terms of machinery and vehicle sales. Global stock markets will be flat as Asian markets crash. NZ tourism numbers will fall heavily – but we may pick up new immigrants.

            • Rosy 15.1.1.1.1.1

              “but we may pick up new immigrants”
              I’ve been wondering if that will happen too. I think the Christchurch earthquake is too fresh in the minds of many to allow them to think this is a safe place to emigrate to.

        • prism 15.1.1.2

          Unfortunately for Shonkey, he is getting a taste of the real world outside the fish bowl of stylised finance in which he swam well along with the other goldfish with their gold sacks.

          The rest of the world is a continuum down to short and brutish. Best to keep away from that. In India the Brahmins felt unclean if the shadow of a lower caste was cast on them. Keeping well away from poverty and its problems is no doubt the way to health, happiness and beauty, and one of the mantras of Shonkey’s religion. A photo op and bit of blurb, and then eat my dust.

    • Oleolebiscuitbarrell 15.2

      I do not want not get in a scrap over this, because I understand completely that I cannot win (and I sense the moment has passed anyway) but I do look forward to this policy being applied even handedly.

      An obvious example is Key’s much-quoted comment that “Kyoto is a hoax”. This was willfully interpreted (or “rewritten” to use your term) by the left and posters at the Standard in particular to mean that “climate change is a hoax”. Rather than railing against rewriting in those circumstances, it is ignored or excused.

  16. The Voice of Reason 16

    Well spotted! Though you obviously haven’t seen what happened to Fisiani when he pointed this out earlier. Eddie has included earthquakes in the list of reasons to be disappointed in this Government, but Fisiani’s mistake was to, er, point that out. Oh dear, I think you’re in the shit, me old son.

    • Oleolebiscuitbarrell 16.1

      I am sorry. I am very lazy. I really can’t be fucked going back to the top of the thread and reading all the hysterical bullshit written by sad fuckers. I will just accept that I am “in the shit”. The same bad, bad shit Fisiani found himself in. The sense of doom is making my back hurt. I hope we make it out OK.

      [lprent: The sense of doom doesn’t last long here it lasts until a moderator sees your offending comment. I haven’t got time to be a mollycoddler to people. You tend to get pretty immediate judgement with no appeals. After all there is always another blog to go to that may suit someones style better. It is somewhat faster than wading through John Key saying yes and no in the same sentence. ]

      • Rob 16.1.1

        No surprise here. Lazy, can’t be fucked sums up most people who enjoy smile and wave politicians full of fluff and devoid of substance.

    • lprent 16.2

      You could have at least pointed out the second and third paragraphs. OBB could have simply missed them in his eagerness to contribute an unoriginal thought.

  17. r0b 17

    Eddie has included earthquakes in the list of reasons to be disappointed in this Government

    It’s a list of bad stuff going on. The Nats aren’t responsible for earthquakes, or for oil price shocks, and only an idiot would ever suggest that they were.

    The Nats are responsible for how NZ does or doesn’t respond to these things.

    The sense of doom is making my back hurt.

    I’m not sure ACC covers “sense of doom”, so just tell them you fell down the stairs…

    • The Voice of Reason 17.1

      The problem with the ‘earthquakes’ line, r0b, is that it reads like a parody of a Standard post. I don’t really think anyone thinks Key caused the earthquakes, obviously, but to read it in the list of bad stuff made me laugh. And that was before I read Fisiani’s comment. Which also made me laugh. And that was before he got banned, which made me laugh even harder, because he so really, really deserves a ban for his other idiotudes and here he is getting one for completely the wrong reason. I love irony, I really do.

      Anyone see the Arsenal vs Barca game last week? Fisi knows how van Persie feels.

      • sukie damson 17.1.1

        voice – if you are not aware of this, sharing the pain helps

        http://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-tuesday-club/id415582576

        • The Voice of Reason 17.1.1.1

          It’s all claret and blue round my way, Sukie, but I’ll give it a listen. For what it’s worth, I think v. Persie did hear the whistle and deliberately shot wide. But as there are balls aplenty on the sidelines it didn’t affect the game in the least and wasn’t worthy of the ref’s attention, let alone a card.

          You might try the Guardian’s Football Weekly if you’re keen on people talking bollocks about footie. Barry Glendenning is my God! And Football Ramble’s not bad, either.

          • sukie damson 17.1.1.1.1

            voice, i’m no gooner, but for me, this trumps jimbo/bazza/ronay et al (i struggle to get through the ramble)

            • The Voice of Reason 17.1.1.1.1.1

              Agree about the ramble. Once they start arguing the accents tend to get so broad I can’t keep up. Got the Tuesday Club down now, I’ll have a listen on the way to work tomorrow. Cheers.

  18. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 18

    Did the only other person I (don’t really) know who truly appreciates Roger McGough just call me an idiot?

    GST up.

    Nats did that.

    Wages down.

    If the left are to believed, this is part of a concerted plan on the part of the poor-people-hating National government.

    No jobs.

    Ditto.

    More crime.

    According to the left caused by National’s populism and giving poor people no options but crime (on account of how National hates poor people so much, and that.

    Earthquakes.

    Ever heard of Ejusdem Generis?

    No wonder Kiwis don’t believe Key and National can deliver on their promises.

    • r0b 18.1

      Did the only other person I (don’t really) know who truly appreciates Roger McGough just call me an idiot?

      Nah. I’m saying Eddie isn’t an idiot. and therefore didn’t suggest such a thing in the original post. You I take to be just stirring, as usual.

      Ever heard of Ejusdem Generis?

      Bizarrely enough, yes I have. But your honour, the concept being enumerated by the defendant was not “bad shit that National did”, it was “bad shit that is happening just now”.

  19. Jim Nald 19

    No GST increase, says Key who delivers.

  20. sukie damson 20

    Eddie mentioned the cycleway too.
    I work for the cycleway & we are recruiting.

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