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Polling companies confirm reputations

Written By: - Date published: 12:02 pm, June 3rd, 2008 - 61 comments
Categories: nz first, polls - Tags: ,

Another pair of TV polls, another embarrassment for Colmar Brunton as their poll goes widely out of line with the others even as TNS/TV3 is confirming the established trend. Still, neither of the polls looks great for the Left. National would govern alone under either result.

That said, given the trend of 35% for Labour, 6% Greens, National 50%, Labour is only 5% off its results in the last three elections and National is only a few percent clear of another losing result. Labour will believe it can claw back that 5% off National once National is, eventually, forced to release real policy. National must also think its policies will cost it votes otherwise it would not be leaving this dangerous policy void.

The one to watch in both polls is New Zealand First. They are moving up to striking range of 5%. With Tauranga also open to Winston now Burqa Bob is gone, it is looking certain that NZF will be back in Parliament, a negative for National – both because Winston favours Labour and more wasted votes makes it easier for National to get a majority.

Remember also, the Maori Party is likely to win more than the four seats assumed here. That will create a large overhang and the majority needed to govern may go as high as 63 seats. That gives more power to the Maori Party, another negative for National.

61 comments on “Polling companies confirm reputations”

  1. Phil 1

    “… another embarrassment for Colmar Brunton as their poll goes widely out of line with the others ”

    Actually, given a 3.2% margin of error (at 95% confidence) they are not “widely out of line” at all. The overlap between between 51.8 and 53.2 means they could both be right.

    The only thing suffering credibility issues with your statement; You.

  2. When a polling company’s results are regularly 5% out of line with the rest and it is always Nat high, Lab low that polling company has a credibility problem.

  3. Monty 3

    The TV1 poll was in line with the Herald poll a few days earlier which I remember you guys were keen to call a rogue poll.

    Well two rogue polls within a few days of each other? I think unlikely.

    In reality the difference is now probably extending out to about 20 points from the average of 15 points over the past few months. Say a 20 point gap is realistic then you leftists are starting to look very sick. No wonder the Labour MPs and their staffers are in such a foul mood at present.

    As for Winston – well I am not sure the good people of Tauranga will vote him back in. Why would they want a tired arrogant prick who has essentially ignored Tauranga for the past two and a half years when they could vote for a young smart likelable local lawyer. Winston will get more votes than Labour but that is about it. On election night he will run close to the wind and may pick up disaffected Labour voters (as could the Greens) but that is because the electorate so desperately want Labour gone. (anyone better than this current Labour Government). But he may easily slip under that crucial 5% and good bye if he does. After Cullen he would be one of the most dispised MPs in Parliament.

    And there will be the problem for both the Greenies and Winston should they return after the 2008 election. I am convinced that the only thing currently holding up the NZF and Greenie vote is disaffected Labour Voters. Once Labour lose, Cullen and Clark will go, then enough of the voters currently supporting NZF and Greens return to Labour and at the same time decminate those two minor parties in 2011.

    But in the meantime National will prove to be a very popular Government (as labour was in 1999 to 2002) and National will return as a strong government in 2011. Labour will rebuild over the next six years and should be able to mount a credible threat to National in 2017 (by which time National do doubt will have become arrogant, tired and the electorate will demand a change.

  4. Tane 4

    Monty, no one here called the Herald Digipoll a ‘rogue’. Here’s what I wrote:

    Another Herald Digipoll is out today, with a sample taken both before and directly after the Budget.

    The poll pretty much confirms what Roy Morgan showed us last week – the gap between the two main parties remains about fifteen percent and the controversial and highly publicised Fairfax poll was probably a rogue.

    Evidence suggests the Fairfax poll was indeed a rogue.

  5. Monty. Not sure which Laobur MPs and staffers you’ve seen recently but ones I’ve run into have enjoyed watching Key unravel over tax cuts and Kiwisaver and believe this is the trend for the future.

  6. Julie 6

    I’m finding the polls very depressing. And the reporting even more so. But I think it is fair to say this reflects electoral unhappiness with Labour, rather than satisfaction with National. As National releases actual policy, and saying to the pollster “I’d vote National” actually starts to mean something other than “I’m fed up with Labour” maybe we’ll see some closing of the gap?

  7. TomS 7

    Whilst I believe that huge variance in the polls must be causing alarm bells in the polling companies (after all, this is how they make their money and these variations show SOMEONE must be wrong) I think that the polls are just confirming what we’ve known increasingly since the National party’s deliberately devisive Croby/Textor 2005 election campaign: New Zealand is now sharply divided along class and identity lines. The top 20% and the bottom 35% of the population might as well live on different planets in this country, and depending on how and when you poll, you’ll get a results that reflects that reality. The fact is the middle class ( and various fringe identity politics groups like fundy religious nutters) – the top 15-20% of our society – from which practically all the opinion and key economic decision makers is drawn from is now waging what effectively is a class war in an attempt to prop up their standard of living at the expense of the lower 80% of society. Given how all the key positions of power and opinion in the media are held by this class it is difficult to get a handle on the real mood of society in favour of National. All we know is the ruling class loath Labour and they are doing their level best to use their power to ensure they get enough of the rest of the population to vote against their best interests to get a National government.

    Now, I know the Standard likes to run a Kremlinology series which is excellent, and part of the art of Kreminology lies in working out why someone isn’t doing something. Here is a bit of speculation: Both Labour and National’s internal polling is showing that the anti-Labour vote is just that, an anti-Labour vote, and when polled on specific issues those who say they will vote National often have views more in line with Labour than National policy. In other words, National’s support is very soft in 30% of swing voters, and the polarisation of the electorate means there can easily be an avalanche away from National if they announce policy that is two right wing.

  8. Phil 8

    “When a polling company’s results are regularly 5% out of line with the rest ”

    Prove it – meaningfully. I’m willing to bet you a beer you can’t.

    Using DPF’s graph of averages, CB have been above the average over the last two or maybe three out of four – but as I pointed out above, not by a statistically significant margin. You would have to be 6.4% above everyone else to be significantly different.

    CB ‘matched the market’ when it comes to the run-up in National support early/mid 07. The only result that I would generally call statistically abberant through all of ’07 is when they had National on 56% in May.

    You should also note that they nailed the 99 election result bang-on for Red and Blue, overcalled Labour in 02 slightly, and then had a bad day in 05. As far as calling elections go, they are no worse than any of the other poll-sters over the last three.

  9. I’m no poll expert but I thought the point of a poll was that it was a snapshot and by rolling polls in together you end up mixing completely different time periods and methodologies. I may be wrong about that (and if I am can someone explain how) but if this is the case then surely averaging polls is a pointless exercise?

  10. Phil 10

    Random thought for the day;

    In ’02, when it was clear that the Nat’s were going to get a thrashing, a number of ‘traditional’ National voters ticked Labour, with the intent of keeping the Greens out of power. The logic was “Better off a Labour majority, than a Labour-Greens coalition”.

    Now, whether or not they were right, or effective, is not the reason I bring this up. I do so because I wonder if we may see 2008 do the same thing to Labour?
    I guess it all hinges on how loud Roger Douglas is allowed to bang the Act Party drum…

  11. Phil 11

    Sod,

    Yes, averaging a poll taken in, say, early May with another taken late in the month, brings about timing issues.

    My personal preference would be some kind of rolling day-weighted system, but I don’t think we ever have two or more polls being conducted on any given day, which would be needed to make that work.

  12. higherstandard 12

    TomS

    Poppycock !!

    NZ is one of the most classless societies in the world.

    Your comment that

    The middle class ( and various fringe identity politics groups like fundy religious nutters) – the top 15-20% of our society – from which practically all the opinion and key economic decision makers is drawn from is now waging what effectively is a class war in an attempt to prop up their standard of living at the expense of the lower 80% of society.

    Is the most absurd shite that I’ve read on this site.

  13. slightlyrighty 13

    Could anyone enlighten me as to what would not be a rouge poll?

    As I see it we have 2 recent polls showing a 26-27% lead to National (Fairfax and Colmar Brunton) and one showing a 15% lead to National (3 news TNS)

    Given the margins of error I might go so far as to put the true reflection somewhere in the middle of these 2 extremes but who is to say that the 3 news poll is NOT the rogue poll and shows a bias towards Labour?

    I could easily believe that the fairfax or colmar brunton poll taken in isolation might be rouge, but when 2 unique polling outlets come to similar results, then perhaps there is more substance.

    Labour supporters will publically deride such results in public, but I would hope that they are not so blinded by ideology to not sit up and take notice.

    [No. we’ve had two polls showing a 26-27% lead for the Nats, one of which is the least accurate polling company in NZ. We’ve had polls from Herald-Digipoll, TNS, and Roy Morgan within the last week all putting the gap the same as it has been for the last four months 35% vs 50%, I fully expect the Roy Morgan later this week will show the same. Got to get your facts right if you’re going to draw any conclusions from them. SP]

  14. higherstandard 14

    A “rouge” poll would be one which had a marked swing to Labour.

    [If, say, the next Roy Morgan poll had Labour on 40% and Nats on 45% or some other major Leftward shift, I would welcome it but be hesitant. Especially if that appearant movement doesn’t follow in the wake of a major political event that was pro-Left. I would want to see the trend confirmed by other polls before getting too excited. SP]

  15. Lew 15

    slightlyrighty: There are in fact three polls showing roughly a 15% split – TNS, Roy Morgan and the Herald Digipoll. Only two showing >25% split, CB and Fairfax. The former three are in line with historical trends; the latter two aren’t. All are googlable.

    L

  16. mike 16

    “both because Winston favours Labour and more wasted votes makes it easier for National to get a majority.”

    What is this statement based on Steve?
    Certainly not the fact that the vast majority of NZ First supporters want a deal with National. And not to mention Winston has said he will negotiate first with the biggest party….

  17. It’s based on everything that comes out of Winston’s mouth regarding his opinion of National and everything National says about Winston, including their anti-Winston campaign attacking the funding he got for Mfat.

  18. TomS 18

    Higherstandard, I don’t know what country you’ve been living in over the past 25 years but New Zealand now has one of the largest wealth disparities in the OECD. the poorest 50% of the population has only 5% of the wealth, and the top 10% controls over 50% of the nations wealth. When you have the group that has least – the bottom 50% with but 5% of the nations wealth amongst them – being whacked to subsidise a huge tax cut for the group who has the most – the top 15-20% – then if that isn’t class war, what is it?

  19. “higherstandard

    NZ is one of the most classless societies in the world.”
    ————–

    bullshit, it has one of the highest levels of income disparancy in the developed world.

    “your comment that

    The middle class ( and various fringe identity politics groups like fundy religious nutters) – the top 15-20% of our society – from which practically all the opinion and key economic decision makers is drawn from is now waging what effectively is a class war in an attempt to prop up their standard of living at the expense of the lower 80% of society.

    Is the most absurd shite that I’ve read on this site.’

    ———

    Guilty conscience perhaps?

  20. Lew 20

    The idea that it’s `classless’ is one of NZ’s national mythologies – like the idea that kiwis aren’t racist because they know heaps of maoris and islanders.

    Part of the issue is that class is very mobile in NZ – it’s possible for some groups to change their economic, educational or social status within a generation, which gives the impression of classlessness, but genuine classlessness is where such stratifications don’t significantly disadvantage people to begin with.

    Both the right and the left are somewhat torn by this.

    L

  21. slightlyrighty 21

    OK, so there are 3 polls with a 15% gap and 2 with a 26-27% gap.

    Admittedly there is quite a discrepancy in these results but the very existence of 2 polls with a 26-27% gap would tend to discredit the notion that any one was a rogue poll.

    As I have said, I would still regard the true figure as being somewhere in the middle of these variables at closer to 20-21%. Or put another way, 67 seats to the Nats and about 43 to Labour.

    As to the accuracy of polling organisations, I would not look at either extreme for a trend, but all the organisations in question are showing the same broad trend, and that is a swing away from Labour.

    What happens between now and November should be quite interesting.

  22. higherstandard 22

    Killing

    No just sick of pinkos like yourself trying to create class issues in NZ where there aren’t any.

    SP

    Clearly you didn’t get the joke.

    TomS

    One of the largest wealth disparities in the OECD – the phrase lies damn lies and statistics comes to mind

  23. Phil 23

    “It’s based on everything that comes out of Winston’s mouth regarding his opinion of National and everything National says about Winston…”

    Sounds to me like SP is too young to remember ’96.

  24. Lew 24

    Sounds to me like Phil is too old (?) to remember what happened to the ’96 coalition.

    L

  25. “higherstandard

    Killing

    No just sick of pinkos like yourself trying to create class issues in NZ where there aren’t any.

    I suppose your going to run the “its and issue of morals not money” line then?

  26. Phil 26

    Lew,

    Touche
    =)

    I suspect that whichever of the two parties won the day in ’96 we would have ended up with something similar.

    I don’t mean to discredit HC’s ability to manage divergent interests, but she must be very thankful that she had a chance to watch an MMP gov’t from the sidelines, before having to run one herself.

  27. Lew 27

    Slightlyrighty: “I would still regard the true figure as being somewhere in the middle of these variables at closer to 20-21%.”

    My instinct tells me this too, but the numbers don’t support it yet. A split of 20% would mean nothing more than an extra `x’ above the blue line and one below the red line here, so it’s still too early to call it a trend. But further results like this certainly will indicate a trend, and poll results themselves (and the coverage they generate) tend to drive polls to a certain extent. As far as mashing the polls together to get a better picture, well – it’s methodologically fraught, as discussed on that thread above.

    Phil: Right on. If you can’t learn from your enemies’ mistakes, whose can you learn from? I suppose this is one explanation for National wanting to go alone this time – the bad blood against Labour has at least partially been a result of being beholden to minor parties.

    L

  28. Julie 28

    Hmmm if NZ is a classless society then I guess it’s also never a racist society, or a sexist society, or homophobic, either?

  29. higherstandard 29

    Yes

    Quite right Julie we must take account of those middle class homophobe feminists and those upperclass gay KKK members….. give me strength !!

    Despite the fact we have rich people and poor people gay and straight and everything in between NZ is indeed one of the most classless societies in the world.

    The fact that people on this site what to pigeon hole the public under specific headings is rather irrelevant.

  30. Lew 30

    HS: You keep making this assertion without qualifying it, but it seems there are several working definitions of `class’ in play here, and people are talking across each other. Are you seriously saying there’s no `class’ by any definition? Or do you presume a `common sense’ definition?

    L

  31. higherstandard 31

    Lew

    For ‘class’ substitute ‘social hierarchy’

  32. Lew 32

    HS: OK.

    If you think there isn’t one of those, does that make you an `underclass denier’?

    I’m not taking the piss – you personally might not buy the `underclass’ line. I’m just wary of folk who try to have it both ways.

    L

  33. Ari 33

    Higherstandard, class is usually used as a label of your relative economic privilege outside of the UK, rather than as institutionalisation of your family’s previous economic privilege as a social heirarchy. I’d certainly agree that we haven’t entirely built our social heirarchy out of it like happened over in the “good old motherland”.

    That said, social heirarchy not being defined by economic origin doesn’t mean it isn’t influenced by it. The usual identity-based discrimination is held back against people who are seen as having “beat the system”, and achieved economic parity with their “betters”, they are accepted as white men despite who they are, rather than accepted as people because of it. They become “our people” and no longer the other because they act in a way consistent with our notions of economic classism. I’m not sure how you can seriously sit there and say there’s no influence of class-based thinking on our society, even if we picked up the principle of social mobility as a colonial nation. Having mobile classes is not the same as having none, because where there are no classes money has no influence, and we’re treading into the murky waters of post-capitalism. (or if you prefer, anti-capitalism)

  34. Oh dear.

    The polls are inaccurate. I spend a great deal of time talking to ordinary people and most of them are essentially quite content or dare I say it happy but they are starting to feel the effect of the hysteria being beat up by the right wing.

    Colmar Brunton is not credible. It’s last election day poll predicted National 44%, Labour 38%. The actual result was Labour 41% National 40%. It was 7% out. This is the best evidence of the accuracy of its polls.

    Why? The answer is simple. CB does not ring cellphones. Poorer people do not have landlines any more, they tend to rely on prepay cellphones. And they love Helen Clark. They know a good thing when they see one.

    The only worry is that this continued assault of bad news is having an adverse effect on our democracy. Labour needs to realise this and campaign directly to people, bypass the established media and remind people of the changes that have been made and how much they have to lose…

  35. burt 35

    Ari

    That’s a good analysis. There are very few barriers to class mobility in NZ. Exceptional examples like Bob Jones & John Key show us it’s possible. Perhaps more remarkable however are the examples we see in our teenage peer groups, decades down the track.

    Where a peer groups starts in low socioeconomic circumstances there will always be a proportion who stay there, a portion who move to even lower socioeconomic circumstances and proportion that improve their circumstances significantly. The “class system” you so aptly define as “good old motherland’ would not allow that mobility. I suspect primarily by denial of association.

    IMHO the biggest barrier to class mobility in NZ is created by the ‘victims’ of the classes. As an example, many low socioeconomic parents might say to their kids over the years ‘why go to Uni, it’s just a waste of time and money, just get a f##king job’, but that would be much less frequent in higher socioeconomic households. Hence the cycle tends to continue.

    Creating artificial class hierarchy such as defining ‘rich pricks’ in taxation thresholds and denigrating people based on their financial status are classic symptoms of the good old motherland class separation. Defining people as good and bad based on their socioeconomic circumstances creates further barriers to mobility.

    I like the mobility in our class system, I have benefited enormously from not being locked to my ‘parents income status’. I strongly resist anybodies attempts to decrease that mobility by creating ‘classes’ of people in they way they describe NZ people or in the way they treat them in social/tax policy.

  36. randal 36

    whatever…the fact remains that the national party is convinced already it is going to win so we’ll just wait for the final poll on the day shall we? Labour all the way with a few exclamation marks for emphasis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Lew 37

    burt: A valiant speech full of noble sentiments with which it’s hard to disagree, but your argument boils down to the usual dogma of `blame the `victims”.

    L

  38. Razorlight 38

    Mickey Savage

    Due to the EFA they will really struggle to “campaign directly to people, bypass the established media and remind people of the changes that have been made and how much they have to lose”

    Kind of hard to get your message across through any means other than the media when you are effectivley gagged for the whole of election year.

    Now who had the bright idea to introduce this legislation again?

  39. r0b 39

    Burt: I like the mobility in our class system … I strongly resist anybodies attempts to decrease that mobility by creating ‘classes’ of people in they way they describe NZ people or in the way they treat them in social/tax policy.

    Sorry Burt, you have it a bit backwards as usual. Higher social mobility is correlated with lower income disparity (people are more mobile when there is less separation between rich and poor):
    http://econrsss.anu.edu.au/~aleigh/pdf/InequalityMobility.pdf
    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/28/38335410.pdf
    However in NZ income disparity (the gap between rich and poor) is growing:
    http://www.socialreport.msd.govt.nz/economic-standard-living/income-inequality.html
    So if you want to increase social mobility in NZ you want to decrease income disparity. A progressive tax system is part of this mix, as is assistance targeted at low income earners (raising minimum wage, Working for Families etc).

    RL: Due to the EFA they will really struggle to “campaign directly to people, bypass the established media …”

    You have it backwards too. Bypassing the media bypasses the costs and therefore the spending limits of the EFA. The EFA makes the option of old style door to door / town hall meeting (and new style internet / viral marketing) even more attractive.

  40. Lew 40

    The other thing people always forget about the EFA is that it’s actually quite hard to trigger its provisions. If you run an issues-based campaign without an explicit call for or against a given party or candidate you’re very probably not electioneering.

    L

  41. burt 41

    rOb

    However in NZ income disparity (the gap between rich and poor) is growing:

    Yes rOb, that’s right. It’s growing under the policies of envy where working class scabs and rich pricks fire shots at each other denigrating each other based on social status in parliament. Who would have picked that…

    So if it’s growing and we have a govt hell bent on redistribution (for 9 years) then the only logical conclusion is redistribution increases class separation. I know I know I’ve got it backwards, can’t have that reality can we… so come tell me why I’m wrong by proving me correct again – please please rOb, spin what I said and use it to prove me correct.

  42. burt 42

    Lew

    burt: A valiant speech full of noble sentiments with which it’s hard to disagree, but your argument boils down to the usual dogma of `blame the `victims’.

    Blame social conditioning. The word ‘victim’ in quotes as I had it was not a slur on them as individuals, it’s a statement of how people feel trapped in their class by their own perception.

    Perhaps it was the bit about calling people ‘rick pricks’ that upset you, I guess it was always risky to point to attitudes of senior ministers as a factor in class separation on this blog, but how about debating the validity of that aspect of what I said rather then having a shot at me for pointing out the f##king obvious.

    I’m not sure where to find the information, I might do some time on google later to see what I can find, however it would be very interesting to look at the percentage of people who go onto university from decile 1 through to decile 10 schools. My gut feeling from my life experience is that there will be a correlation, but at this stage it’s a gut feeling. You on the other hand just know I’m wrong – how smart you must be.

  43. r0b 43

    Yes rOb, that’s right. It’s growing under the policies of envy where working class scabs and rich pricks fire shots at each other denigrating each other based on social status in parliament. Who would have picked that

    Do you ever read the stuff you write Burt?

    So if it’s growing and we have a govt hell bent on redistribution (for 9 years) then the only logical conclusion is redistribution increases class separation.

    No Burt, the only logical conclusion is that the redistribution has been far too timid to counter the massive “trickle up” effects of an economy which is still too fundamentally right wing. I wish that Labour had been bolder.

    I know I know I’ve got it backwards

    Yes Burt, you do.

    so come tell me why I’m wrong by proving me correct again

    Once again Burt, try reading what you write before you post it, just to make sure it is at least internally consistent.

  44. higherstandard 44

    Burt I suggest you give up r0b won’t be happy until there is a set income for all decided by some new government department.

    Perhaps analagous to the the higher salaries commission but for everyone else.

  45. burt 45

    rOb

    So by increasing redistribution we make it worse therefore we need to increase it more…. You’re brilliant.

    Talking points rOb, I’m arguing they are crap and you are arguing they are valid. Sadly the facts talk for themselves. It’s getting worse….

  46. r0b 46

    HS: r0b won’t be happy until there is a set income for all decided by some new government department.

    Don’t be silly.

    So by increasing redistribution we make it worse

    Burt before you eject these premature little explosions of incoherence please at least try to understand what you are replying to.

    Let me try to put it in a simple analogy. The boat is sinking (income disparity increasing) even though we are bailing out water (redistribution). Is bailing out water causing the boat to sink? No. Should we stop bailing water? No. Should we bail faster? Yes.

  47. burt 47

    rOb

    That’s a good analogy. First thing is to check that the bung is in, if it’s in – is it the right bung or was it one you got from a different boat? If it’s the wrong bung can you make it fit by simply telling everybody it fits?

    If the bung isn’t a good fit then there is no point wasting all the energy you need for swimming once the inevitable (boat sinks) has happened.

    But hey you could bail away as long as you can then drown of exhaustion when the boat sinks.

    You’re assumption is that the redistribution policies we have are perfect and we just need to be more aggressive in how we apply them (bail harder).

    Change the bung get one that works then bail the water out once it’s not coming in faster than you can remove it. It’s not rocket science is it.

  48. Lew 48

    burt: “The word ‘victim’ in quotes as I had it was not a slur on them as individuals, it’s a statement of how people feel trapped in their class by their own perception.”

    This in itself is the slur – the implication that people are disadvantaged, not by the societal and economic and cultural structures around them, but by their own perceptions. You’re essentially saying that people are tricking themselves into failure; that if they’ve failed it’s because they didn’t have enough self-belief. That’s insulting. Yes, people like John Banks emerge from the depths adversity to become rich and powerful – but their success is the exception, not the norm, and is the product of a whole lot of factors. One specific, anecdotal rebuttal: the two `rags to riches’ stories you cite, and mine, are all Pakeha men. There are other such rebuttals.

    “Perhaps it was the bit about calling people ‘rick pricks’ that upset you”

    Nope, I’m not upset at all – and I’m not taking any sort of shot at you, just asking for some reasoned argument rather than talkback talking points.

    “it would be very interesting to look at the percentage of people who go onto university from decile 1 through to decile 10 schools.”

    Yes, it would, but it wouldn’t answer the question you raise above, even in an anecdotal sense. The hypothetical `don’t fucking bother’ message which could deter people from higher education emerges from a much more complex set of cultural and social circumstances than simply family income, which is what decile represents.

    L

  49. Lew 49

    burt: “You’re assumption is that the redistribution policies we have are perfect”

    I think he’s arguing they’re good enough. If you’re arguing they’re not, that’s a useful argument. But there’s no such thing as perfect, which is something utopian extremists, of both the free market and socialist variety, don’t seem to get.

    L

  50. burt 50

    Lew

    I came from a low socioeconomic family, compounded by alcoholism and the dissolution of my parents marriage. My high school results were astounding. My parents told me if I wanted to go to Uni I was on my own, but if I got a job I could stay at home, paying board, while I got myself established. This fact cannot be argued with. Other people in my peer group had similar sentiments from their parents.

    My careers advisors pleaded with my ‘parent’ at several ‘interviews’ to encourage and support me into further education, my parents response was to rip up all letters from the school requesting discussions about my future.

    It was a low decile school, many people left that school at 15 (most of my friends did), possibly less than 20% of that school (at that time) completed 7th form and went onto Uni.

    So spurt as much bile as you like, I’m talking from experience. I was deliberately keeping the personal circumstances out of the equation, but sadly to support my position I need to include them.

    Now, what was it that made my parents want me to get a job rather than study and further my education?

    Was it that they didn’t think higher education was necessary for a spotty faced boy from the NZ version of a ghetto? Was it they didn’t want me to fail after having topped the school academically? Was it perhaps because they simply couldn’t afford to see me through uni in the days before student loans? Perhaps it was because I had already achieved more educational success than my brothers and sisters and themselves so they couldn’t understand why I should bother to go any further?

    Irrespective of what it actually was one way or another they actively perpetuated their lower education status onto me. This is not occurring the same in higher socioeconomic families. Pick the ‘victims’ bit of that equation and be offended by it if you like, that’s your right. However I think in an effort to discredit what I’m saying you have missed the point. The point is class mobility is not something that just occurs, people do need to actively move outside their comfort zone and the comfort zones of the people that are their peer group or family.

  51. burt 51

    Lew

    If you can find me a thread where rOb isn’t claiming the status quo is the best choice then I’ll request the moderators to change that word from ‘perfect’ to ‘working well’.

  52. r0b 52

    Change the bung get one that works then bail the water out once it’s not coming in faster than you can remove it. It’s not rocket science is it.

    Arguing with you is certainly a surreal experience Burt. Now you seem to be all in favour of income redistribution. A full flip flop in the space of two comments.

    You’re assumption is that the redistribution policies we have are perfect and we just need to be more aggressive in how we apply them (bail harder).

    Please stop trying to state my assumptions Burt, because you are wrong every time.

    If you can find me a thread where rOb isn’t claiming the status quo is the best choice

    This thread Burt. I am unhappy with the status quo in income disparity. I want to see it reduced.

    Lefties are seldom happy with the status quo Burt. I’m certainly not. That is why the left-wing governments are usually reforming governments, governments of change. Conservative governments, by their very name and nature, are the ones that try and preserve the status quo. So sorry Burt, once again you have it backwards.

  53. Lew 53

    burt: Claiming something is `the best choice’ doesn’t denote perfection, it denotes the lack of superior options. But yes, this is a technicality.

    This conversation has become bitter. It seems you think I’m attacking you, when what I’m attacking is your rhetoric.

    I’m not spurting any sort of bile, and I’ve certainly not speculated about your own situation. For what it’s worth, I had a disadvantaged background too, but you’re right – playing family-fuckup bingo is unseemly. For one point of commonality, I’m also the first person from either side of my family to graduate from university. All I’m essentially arguing is that `data’ is not the plural of `anecdote’ – not in your case or in mine.

    What I take issue with is your tendency to generalise away the factors which keep families poor and uneducated and dysfunctional to a `victim’ mindset, as if it’s all their fault. Yes, people can overcome great adversity if they have to, but it wouldn’t be great adversity if people didn’t fail to overcome it most of the time. What I’m focussed on is lessening the adversity.

    “The point is class mobility is not something that just occurs, people do need to actively move outside their comfort zone and the comfort zones of the people that are their peer group or family.”

    Put this way it’s defensible, and I agree. But I don’t think the cure matches the illness.

    Take benefits for an example. Many on the right (I’m not sure if this includes you) would consider that they give people an excuse to remain in that victim mindset and refuse to better themselves. In my case (anecdote again) our family simply would not have survived the 80s intact without the widow’s benefit. We kids would have grown up in foster care at best. In the 20 years since she came off the benefit, my mum has established a professional practice which earns her six figures a year, and has raised her kids to be mostly law-abidin’ and productive citizens. She has succeeded. This wouldn’t have happened under the sort of `if you want it badly enough you’ll find a way’ system many on the right advocate, but let me be entirely clear: it’s not that we’d have failed out of a lack of self-belief, it’s that we’d have failed out of a lack of the economic security which allowed mum to carve herself out a niche in a difficult profession until she could get established.

    Perhaps that some can succeed without needing the opportunity provided by a benefit makes them superior – but I don’t think that’s your argument here. My point is that some can’t. Do we want to maximise the number of people able to break free of their poor circumstances of birth, or don’t we?

    L

  54. burt 54

    Steve P.

    Can you please change the word “perfect” to “working well” in my comment here;

    Polling companies confirm reputations

    I acknowledge that rOb is not defending the status quo redistribution polices that are failing – he wants to do more of the thing that is failing.

    rOb: One question if the gap is getting worse then under your analogy there is still more water entering the boat than is being bailed out. Do you agree with that?

    If you don’t then please feel free to suggest a new analogy because you have failed to use an analogy that makes sense when things are still getting worse. Bailing a sinking boat without identifying the cause of the leaks is folly, as is giving more and more money to poor people and wondering why they simply spend it on today rather than use it wisely.

  55. r0b 55

    Can you please change the word “perfect’ to “working well’ in my comment here;

    Really – don’t bother.

    rOb: One question if the gap is getting worse then under your analogy there is still more water entering the boat than is being bailed out. Do you agree with that?

    Yes I do agree.

    Bailing a sinking boat without identifying the cause of the leaks is folly,

    It’s not folly, but of course you want to do other things as well. Or to reconnect with the real world topic again, reducing income disparity does not necessarily mean than just doing more of the same (e.g. a more progressive tax system), it does mean exploring options and looking for what works. For example, the income disparity figures that I cited above only go up to 2004. They don’t show the impact of Working for Families. They don’t show the impact of more recent rises to the minimum wage. It may be that the situation has already started to improve.

    as is giving more and more money to poor people and wondering why they simply spend it on today rather than use it wisely.

    What people (rich or poor) spend their money on, and whether those choices are “wise” or “unwise”, is really a separate debate.

  56. burt 56

    Lew

    I think we are on the same page.

    Lew/rOb

    I have said before (on this blog) that I support progressive taxation IF we have universal benefits. The CPAG seem to share this opinion.

    Without universal benefits progressive taxation is simply wrong. (and to be honest about it progressive taxation and means tested benefits is classic tory party policy)

    It’s not logical to tell 25% of families they can’t have WFF level of child benefits either because they are not working or because they are paying more in tax then the benefits are worth. If I paid thousands of $$$ of tax every week then why not let me have the few hundred WFF dollars, I’m still a net contributor. Likewise why deny children of the poorest people the benefits simply because we have called them a ‘different class’ of people under our social policy programme.

    The CPAG challenge may be a legal challenge, but it’s classic “don’t create an artificial class of people’ stuff. The stuff that I don’t like and are perhaps get a little bit vocal about from time to time.

  57. r0b 57

    Burt: I have said before (on this blog) that I support progressive taxation IF we have universal benefits.

    Have you? I must have missed that. All I have seen is you ranting against progressive taxation:

    Cumulative Effect

    This is why people who are not consumed with the policies of envy (read – supporters of progressive taxation) think taxes should be flat. Flat taxes don’t have the effect of extracting proportionally more income from people as their income increases.

    Cumulative Effect

    Perhaps all pay rises could be a set amount and then we could claim that the ideologies of progressive taxes are valid and that Cullen’s tax cuts are rational rather than ideological BS.

    Tax cuts = no rise in the minimum wage?

    Here is the effect (in 2004 figures – imagine it now!) of having progressive taxation. Graphing “Ideological Burps’ And to think you guys can’t get to grips with this concept .

  58. burt 58

    rOb

    A change to what?

    However – did you notice the “IF” ?

    We don’t have universal benefits so I don’t support progressive taxation. It’s that simple.

    In the absence of universal benefits I think taxes should be flat. Yes that’s my current opinion.

  59. r0b 59

    Burt, that was it? Hardly compelling, especially compared to your “politics of greed” ranting above.

    In the absence of universal benefits

    By far the biggest “benefit” is superannuation, which is universal. Many other benefits / services are also universal (20 hours childcare, ACC, interest free student loans, cheaper doctors visits, roads, public health, etc etc).

    In comparison, a small amount of assistance is targeted. To object to that on ideological grounds while ignoring the big picture is just confirmation bias.

  60. burt 60

    rOb

    Since you felt obliged to take me to task on my statement, perhaps you would like to comment on the tory party ideology of means testing benefits?

    You can’t take the “why take it off them just to give it back’ argument and you can’t take the “everybody must contribute’ something argument, as both of these arguments are destroyed by the current WFF implementation which I think you support.

    Your position seems to be that targeted benefits are good when they are what we have, and universal benefits are good when they are what we have. It’s back to this “status quo’ is perfect again isn’t it.

  61. r0b 61

    Since you felt obliged to take me to task on my statement, perhaps you would like to comment on the tory party ideology of means testing benefits?

    In general I favour universal benefits. I suspect that the cost of creating the bureaucracies to administer a means tested benefit may well exceed the costs of giving it to more people (making it simple and universal).

    Your position seems to be that targeted benefits are good when they are what we have, and universal benefits are good when they are what we have. It’s back to this “status quo’ is perfect again isn’t it.

    It depends what you mean by the “targeted” – that is not the same as “means tested”. I think a sickness benefit should clearly be targeted to sick people, but that doesn’t mean that I think it should be means tested.

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