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Rewarding incompetence with a 4th term?

Written By: - Date published: 8:26 am, November 20th, 2016 - 76 comments
Categories: accountability, disaster, national, spin - Tags: , , , , ,

This was predictable – Stacey Kirk: have the quakes locked in a fourth-term National Government?

He’d never admit it, but the 7.8m North Canterbury quakes may have just handed John Key a fourth term as Prime Minister.

It only “locks in” 4th term if we want to reward incompetence. National’s handling of Christchurch has been a shambles – Christchurch rebuild projects gets worst performance rating in Treasury report

Major projects contributing to Christchurch’s earthquake rebuild have received the worst performance rating from Treasury.

It was the only programme given a red rating in a list of projects assessed across government.

Treasury highlighted “significant issues” relating to governance and transition of Christchurch rebuild projects as the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) began to wind down and new entities took over.

On private dwellings EQC has received over 23,000 complaints on substandard repairs, with official reports listing at least 5,500 “shoddy repairs”. This mess was on top of suspending democracy in Canterbury.

Not only has the Christchurch response been incompetent in itself, the National government failed to learn its lessons –
Huge quake exposes problems in how New Zealand prepares
Civil Defence overhaul due after ‘unacceptable level of confusion’ on tsunami warnings
Wave goodbye to your tsunami alert
How ready are we? Kaikoura earthquake timeline exposes issues
Even Fran O’Sullivan – NZ too slow to learn from quakes

Just five years on from the disastrous February 2011 earthquake which devastated the Christchurch CBD, what lessons have really been learnt?

Conflicting tsunami warnings and a 111 system that did not work properly are just the outward manifestations of a civil defence system that is too amateurville for the seismically challenged land we live in.

The Government is now calling for technical investigations into the failure of relatively new buildings in Wellington.

But surely these technical investigations should have happened before now – particularly after the swarm of earthquakes in Seddon in 2013 which rattled the capital.

Exactly. Meanwhile we’re taking on construction with unknown quantities of substandard Chinese steel and locking in another set of avoidable fuckups when disaster next strikes.

Disaster response is about more than showing up for photos and cancelling a trip or two. National has made a mess of Christchurch and comprehensively failed to learn its lessons. They should in no way be rewarded with a 4th term.

76 comments on “Rewarding incompetence with a 4th term?”

  1. Ad 1

    I hope you are right.

    A Green-Labour government would I hope have got into proper nation-rebuilding gear in both earthquake sets.

    • Garibaldi 1.1

      I know you are right Natwatch. Just how do we get NZ to listen to the truth about this govt? It will never happen through our bloody mainstream media.

      • mosa 1.1.1

        By pass the media Garibaldi ? Simple

        Blanket drop thousands of anti government messages and call it the truth response.

        Recyclable paper should suffice.

  2. mike 2

    Is it too early to say that Key should be Minister of Disasters?

    Which God’s he praying to to have all these disasters helping him onto TV continually.

    History will show him to be a Disaster as a Prime Minister.

  3. Kevin 3

    And the same clown will be in charge of this disaster as well.

    I think those in Kaikoura will find the aftermath worse than the quake itself.

  4. james 4

    I think it short sighted to say that its the earthquake that will deliver a 4th term.

    They were looking good for it regardless – their poll numbers are looking strong, the economy is looking in good shape, and in general (again according to the polls) – most people think that the country is heading in the right direction.

    Im still thinking that they will win a 4th term.

    • Clump_AKA Sam 4.1

      I don’t think the country is headed in the right direction.

      It was never the case New Zealand would grow at 3%. You get your good years of 3% but it’s never sustained. We don’t want 3% any way, I’d prefer a better distribution of 1.5%. So which would you rather have, a 50% stack in a shrinking economy or a 5% stack in an exponentially rising economy

      I’m thinking T.O.Ps will screw every ones calculations

    • Bearded Git 4.2

      @James 30+12+9=equals outgoing PM John Key.

      Kaikoura is not CHCH. I reckon they will have SH1 open in 3-4 months which is too far from the October election to make much, if any, difference.

      • Garibaldi 4.2.1

        James if you think excessive immigration and a huge housing bubble are good then you are in for a rude shock. Take your ignorance away from this site.

        • Jason

          Garibaldi. Im certainly no current fan of the National government, but i have voted for them in the previous 3 elections. surly you want this site to help convince people to vote for change? For there to be change we are all going to need to convince people who hqve previously voted National to change sides.
          I do not think telling people to go away is going to actually help do that..

      • wellfedweta 4.2.2

        Your maths is sound, but not your assumptions. There is no guarantee NZF would join and Labour/Green government, and there’s no reason to believe NZ voters would set up that possibility. Nationals strength is it’s dominant numerical position as a single party. Labour need to be in the 40% range before they will be seen as credible. They can get there, but not with current personnel and policy mix.

      • Jones 4.2.3

        Unless Key calls an early election…?

        • Bearded Git

          mmm taking advantage of a tragedy…not sure how that would play. I can imagine Winston castigating them for such rank opportunism. Wouldn’t be a great start to a campaign.

          • Dale

            Taking advantage of a tragedy. Isn’t that what Labour and ts are doing right now? Rather hypocritical statement don’t you think?

            • Leftie

              “Taking advantage of a tragedy. Isn’t that what Labour and ts are doing right now?”


            • Incognito

              Please spell it out for all of us to read and understand otherwise your comment is just innuendo and negative vibes. Take your time …

            • Leftie

              “Taking advantage of a tragedy. Isn’t that what Labour and ts are doing right now?”


        • mosa

          Its not in Keys nature to call an early poll…he is sitting pretty, stable government and all that.

          One thing is certain we have to have a general election no later than Nov 18th 2017.

          He has plenty of options and the usual announcement of the date will be early in the year going by the previous election years of 2011 and 2014.

      • Interesting. All the estimates I’ve heard a are that it won’t be fixed until after the election.

      • Robertina 4.2.5

        More like 1 or 2 years, probably. It’s not a case of just getting the road ”open”. The whole infrastructure of a coastal road and rail corridor needs to be considered and they can’t even do geotechnical assessments yet.

      • James 4.2.6

        Have a link where nzt has said that they will go with the greens and labour?

        Nope ? Just throwing out numbers without anything to back it up.

        Ok – I will play. 48 + 15 = 63 and labour on thebout for another 8 years.

        • Bearded Git

          @James Let me see, Winnie has a choice between an honest opposition leader whose policies align somewhat with his own party’s and a dishonest PM whose policies align less and (more importantly) who tried to destroy him and his party by means of a Dirty Politics style scandal in 2008.

          Tough choice. 33+13+10=56=Hawaii for Key.

    • Johan 4.3

      ….and the polls were looking good for Clinton as well.

  5. Pasupial 5

    What does this even mean?

    The Government are yet to put a foot wrong, but credit must also go to Labour leader Andrew Little and his party for making all the right moves – even if they’re not conducive to being in Opposition.

    Little also cancelled a planned trip to India and Pakistan, and Labour MPs have displayed a united front to put politics aside in support of quake victims in the immediate aftermath.

    Maybe she doesn’t understand the definition of; “conducive”, and is just throwing it in to try sound literate. This is the same Stacey Kirk who has previously shown herself unwilling to research basic facts (hat-tip TRP):

    Is Stacey Kirk NZ’s nastiest journalist? The Fairfax hack has just been forced to admit that she published an unsubstantiated smear against a group of women dying of cancer…

    As well as slagging off cancer sufferers, Kirk also made up a story about internal divisions in the Labour caucus over Keytruda funding.

    “It’s understood there is deep disquiet within Labour, over the issue. It’s believed some MPs and wider party members are privately unhappy with the moves to interfere with Pharmac’s purchasing model.”

    “It’s understood…”. “It’s believed …”.

    These weasel words are also bullshit. Kirk and her employer may have decided to attack Labour as a diversion from the more obvious hypocrisy of the National Party. In opposition, National bellowed long and hard about the need for Pharmac to fund Herceptin. In Government, they’re happy to watch women die.

    Stacey Kirk’s Stuff Up

    • Incognito 5.1

      I think Stacey Kirk and many MSM ‘journalists’ display lazy dichotomous thinking & writing. Politics nowadays, especially under MMP, is much more complex than simple Left-Right, Government-Opposition or For-Against stuff, it is not Black & White anymore like playing chess, for example.

      Only political dinosaurs rigidly cling on to these themes from yesteryear although they may have their reasons to do so.

      In the past NZLP certainly has made moves towards non-partisan solutions to big problems but I believe that without exception these got pooh-poohed by National. In fact, National has repeatedly thwarted and blocked moves by the Opposition to improve or change things; it even willy-nilly ignores the will of the people.

      In opposition, National bellowed long and hard about the need for Pharmac to fund Herceptin. In Government, they’re happy to watch women die.

      I don’t think it is quite as crass as this. Politicians love to play on people’s feelings & emotions and voting behaviour is very much driven by irrational decisions. However, and perhaps paradoxically in this era of post-truth politics, politicians can also rationalise difficult decisions and remove all emotion and empathy (!) and thus justify actions or inactions that may seem (or indeed are) insensitive or even cruel.

      In other words, (almost) nobody is happy to see other people suffer and/or die but they can rationally justify this. The current Government’s a priori opposition (!) against a euthanasia law is a good case in point or families living in cars. I guess this leaves unanswered the place of politicians’ individual (and collective?) moral values.

      In an ideal situation we might strive for full harmony between our emotional & rational/intellectual ‘sides’, and our moral values in everything we do (as in: think, speak, do, etc.) but I don’t know that his is even possible – some people hold that there is indeed one overarching ‘quality’ for want of a better word. Thus we try to avoid internal conflict and friction as much as possible – this would take too long to go into right here & now for obvious reasons 😉

      • Pasupial 5.1.1

        Maybe I should have left off that last sentence, but when you’re cut&pasting a quote, it’s easiest to grab the whole paragraph. However, it does distract from the previous; “Kirk and her employer may have decided to attack Labour …”, which seems more relevant to this discussion. Fairfax being an Australian company which was recently in merger talks with NZME (Herald etc), until that ran until problems with the commerce commission.

        They might be calculating that positive spin for the government might translate into political pressure on the commission’s current review. Key certainly has no qualms about reducing media diversity:

        Prime Minister John Key wasn’t sure of the reasons for the interim decision or whether they could be changed but said Facebook was a competitor for Fairfax and NZME.


    • rob 5.2

      Totally agree. I was wondering if any of many had noticed but +100

    • Leftie 5.3

      +100 Pasupial

  6. adam 6

    5 years to put into place systems that work after Christchurch, and what have this lot done. Nothing!

    This is what happens when you strip the cupboard bare, in pursuit of some sort of economic nirvana. If I could only have one criticism of national government it would be this, ideological purity dressed up as economic common sense.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Another matter that I regard as an example of the incompetence of an authoritarian government which does not include the people’s wishes and seek its knowledge before making decisions.

    The MPI says don’t touch let nature work and the pauas will move out to sea and go on with their life cycle.. The people whose business and lives rely on paua say don’t be foolish you desk bound expert working on a theory. The people are thinking that the paua can’t escape out to sea they are lifted above the tidal level. The ones we are taking are stranded and dying and if any die from our efforts they are a small proportion of what we have saved that will die if left.

    Then there is the business that government is operating under an artificial construct that the foreshore doesn’t belong to anyone, so what gives the government the right to step in and interfere in the attempt to conserve valuable resources.

    Other similar happenings, the government refusing businesses affected by the earthquake in Christchurch, the right to go in to the area once it was established what the risks were, and spend a short time under managed safety controls, to get records, and recover important or valuable stock.

    Pike River, government refusing to listen to miners with experience and willing to take a calculated risk, to inspect the mine in the window of opportunity after blasts to see the status for themselves. Police did not have to be involved and saving life, or respecting the bodies of the dead took precedence over whether it was a crime scene and evidence may have been destroyed by searchers. A respectul, humane government would not have taken such an attitude.

    However a cold utilitarian government run as an autocracy does, (which is still a bit like royalty without the pomp and colour or human interest), being more about making machine-like decisions working on cold, hard figures demonstrating efficiency and not spending money on people, but only on profit-producing ventures.

  8. Incognito 8

    The biggest problem that Labour, as well as the Green Party, is facing is that of public perception.

    As long as it cannot overcome negative perceptions of incompetence, in-fighting, loony lefties, etc., it won’t be ‘rewarded’ either at election time.

    Status quo remains intact.

    • red-blooded 8.1

      Two years ago, I might have agreed with that comment, Incognito. However, it’s been a bloody long time since there was any serious infighting either within Labour or between Labour and the Greens. The MOU has been an effective public positioning move and Little’s leadership has settled down a caucus that was panicking and self-sabotaging because they lacked direction and were ineffectively managed.

      As for the “loony leftie” label; Labour is most often attacked on this site for not being far enough to the left. I think they are pretty damn aware that they can’t pull too far away from the voters. However, they do have to stay true to their own kaupapa. Again, I think they’re doing a reasonable job. I guess we’ll see next year what the electorate thinks.

      • Incognito 8.1.1

        I agree with all that but my point was about public perception. Some of National’s shills will always try to hark back to Labour’s past missteps.

        I would not consider the TS community to be representative of or reflecting the general public and opinions here are not necessarily the same as the sentiments that live among the rest of the country. BTW, I am not saying that TS is an echo chamber; if it ever becomes one, which I sincerely doubt, I’d be out of here.

        • The issue is it’s notoriously difficult to back up “public perception” without extensive public interviews. How do we know people really think this is the case unless they’ve told journalists so? Even then vox pop merely tells us what they’re willing to be quoted on, not their actual perceptions. And it’s pretty easy to lead people into a perception by asking pointed questions.

          Has scientific polling told us that Labour “look” disunified or incompetent? I doubt it. This is merely a meme journalists have manufactured based on the rebellion against Cullen, which was true back then, but has no obvious grounding in reality today, and is lazy narrative-based journalism.

          And of course, it’s hard to know who is in the bubble without relying on either polling (which at the moment suggests a pretty even race) or the general election itself.

          • Wayne

            An interesting point about perception.
            While I agree Labour looks quite unified, it seems to me the public just do not believe they look like a credible alternative government (more accurately the leading party in such a govt).
            The logical reason being that 25% or so in the polls just does not look like Labour has gained the confidence of voters as the alternative government. Now of course I know all about MMP and coalitions and that there can be different types of coalition. However, the sense I get is that the public expect the leading party in a coalition to be doing a lot better than the mid 20’s. Not necessarily National’s 45% or more, but at least north of 35%.
            Of course this is just my view based on my experience. But am I obviously wrong on this point?

            • Incognito


              You wrote

              While I agree Labour looks quite unified, it seems to me the public just do not believe they look like a credible alternative government (more accurately the leading party in such a govt).

              Why do you and the public have these beliefs about Labour despite evidence on the contrary?

              How do you “sense” that >35% polling is the magical cut-off between leading a coalition government and why do you think that the public has these expectations?

              I accept your tacit knowledge but I do wonder whether there also is a little bit of ‘urban myth’ at play here AKA self-fulfilling prophecy.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              The point at which we know a party has the confidence of the public to lead the government is when they’re the largest part of a grouping that reaches 50%.

              It doesn’t matter if Labour is polling 15% but has three coalition partners that will bump them over the line who are similarly sized. They still have the public confidence.

              Right now, the public think that New Zealand First get to decide the government. It doesn’t matter if Labour is, on average, polling in the high 20s, (RM generally has them between 25-35% in 2016) if they and the Greens and New Zealand First form a government, by definition they have the confidence of voters.

              • Clump_AKA Sam

                If we’ve learnt anything from polls it’s that left leaning parties actual take of votes is 2%-6% higher than what pollsters/presenters/MSM/experts publish in the public realm. If MSM is partisan you know the other guy is doing better than the meme.

                • My point was more around “does Labour have a mandate if they poll over ten points below National?”, and other similar memes, to which my answer is simply “yes.” Whichever coalition grouping wins the most of the party vote has the biggest mandate, regardless of whether the biggest party in that group is no longer a “large party” by whatever arbitrary definition right-wingers want to use. Other list-based systems have legitimate governments where nobody polls over 20%, and it works out just fine, and everyone accepts the largest party gets to have the Prime Minister. That’s why everyone was getting excited about the possibility of the Pirate Party governing Iceland a while back.

                  You’re a bit incorrect on the inaccuracies of polling there, though. Looking at averages, polling overestimated all three of the largest parties, (but yes, National was overestimated the most) and underestimated New Zealand First, and very slightly undershot on ACT and the Māori Party, not that I can blame them on the last two, it’s incredibly difficult to get an accurate read on parties that are polling under 5%. Pundit have a good graph over at http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/poll-of-polls, which uses coloured dots to show the election result, while the jagged lines show movement in their average of polls.

                  Some specific polls overestimated National more, but that may actually have reflected voters swinging against the government near to election day. It’s hard to tell.

                  There’s only two active pollsters at the moment. Roy Morgan tends to paint a pretty balanced picture but you should ignore their analysis that comes with their polls because it’s horsecrap. They’re also the only one that polls regularly, so despite how bouncy they’ve been, they’re actually the only really “reliable” poll of New Zealand voters.

                  Colmar Brunton polls semi-regularly, (every 2-3 months) and tends to overstate support for large parties, particularly National, although from time to time it has an off-trend result for Labour that’s too large, as well.

                  Reid Research, which I wasn’t counting as active, has released two polls the entire year, but they’ve both been pretty on-trend so I’d say they’d be reliable if they actually polled on a monthly basis or more. In theory Ipsos also polls for Fairfax, but I haven’t seen anything from them in 2016. I expect Fairfax is saving their cash to commission polls in 2017, when it will actually make money for them. The results Stuff have online from Ipsos are from when Russel Norman was still the male co-leader for the Greens.

                  (I’ve been doing research because I rate each company for how reliable their polling practices are in determining my own average)

                  A lot of us who were looking at averages of polls last election got a little worked up over the fact that Labour and the Greens were in range of winning. However, it was so narrow a result looking at the averages, that once you assumed the 3% margin of error that all the polls give, it was a statistical tie, and the results worked out to be within the relevant confidence intervals.

                  • Clump_AKA Sam

                    After the dust settled one of the most important lessons I have learnt this election cycle is that the university system is a disaster, low standard of education, politicization of campuses bans on free speech, ideas, critical thinking & independence of thought. Human Capital is no longer Human nor Capital. Some of this is doubtless an overshoot. That is natural after a surprise. But voters had plenty of time to prepare for low-probability events, and yet still seemed to change their mind on the fly after the event.

                    The critical change in assumptions I believe was generated by the economy itself. Pre-election, the assumptions that opposing parties would prompt market chaos and force the the winner, to be more lenient than it had wanted. Mr Keys enthusiastic plans for infrastructure would also help. But whether they come to anything at all once passing through the fiscal hawks in parliament, is questionable. And it will be a long time before any extra revenues show up in crown coffers and loss accounts, even if an infrastructure bill passes swiftly.

                    All of these calculations exclude the rather drastic macro issues. The sell-off in property, especially in regions, suggest that a dose of intervention is not so much likely as a necessity — Regional companies, and labour, are now more competitive. Deeper stress for regional markets would damage the revenues of the crown. Increasing votes carry the nagging risk of a systemic incident.

                    And then there is the broader issue of whether the crown is up to its new job. Before the election, many in the business community doubted this. With the team keyster only just beginning to come together, and many details of Northlands bridge program either sketchy or inconsistent, it seems very premature for pollsters, measuring implied volatility of voters, to have tumbled since the election. It looks like a recoveries on the cards. But lower participation would be an unambiguous positive for the status quo.

                    Searching for policies that offer benefits for those looking have not yet been found, accordingly when found should repay the effort.

              • Wayne

                Well of course you are right about 50%. Any grouping that gets that forms the govt. However, as I am sure you are aware, NZF is not automatically in the centre left bloc. They can go either way. And hard to predict which way they will go.
                A three way of 25 Labour, 10 Green and 15 NZF or some similar combination thereof is not nearly as neat as 45 Nat and 15 NZF. And I would suggest 45 for Nat will give them more political/moral authority to form a govt.
                Of course these are all reasons why National will campaign to get more than 45, to avoid the uncertainty. I am sure they will prefer the current setup.

                • Wayne

                  A further point.

                  Is the mood in NZ one of change? This of course is a variation of the “right direction/wrong direction” poll.

                  At least to me it does not feel like NZ is ready for change. This is borne out by the fact the polls consistently show NZ is going in the right direction, by a quite significant margin.

                  However in MMP quite small voter shifts can result in change. For instance the govt only has a one seat majority notwithstanding that National got 47% in 2014 election.

                  So even a small change will result in an uncertain outcome (in the sense that Winston will then decide who is the government).

                  But all that argues for the fact that National will be pitching a strong “don’t put it all at risk” message.

                  Hillary tried that but it did not work. The “right direction/wrong direction” poll in the US has consistently been showing wrong direction, so a “don’t put it at risk” message did not have much resonance, in fact was something of a turn off. Clinton got a lot fewer votes than Obama, in fact several million less. She simply could not get enough Democrats in key seats to actually turn out and vote. By staying home, those voters were in fact quite prepared to risk a Trump presidency.

                  • It’s an interesting point. I actually think “change” or “status quo” is too simplistic a way to look at it.

                    I think the issue is that right now, the public are tired of National. They never gained significant extra votes to win in their entire three terms, rather they have relied on Labour’s support not turning out. It’s more been a matter of Labour losing the last three elections than National winning, so there doesn’t so much need to be a mood for change so much as a reason for Labour voters to turn out. I’m pessimistic that Labour will manage to turn out their voters, but optimistic that National might manage to lose the election anyway, as they’re terrible at governing, and only seem to do well campaigning because they have been relentlessly checking their positions against opinion polling to stay popular, a strategy which is being compromised by the problems caused by their own policy failures such as in housing.

                    “Don’t put it at risk” is a terrible campaign slogan and I will be ecstatic if they run it, because it will likely help change the government. It’s one of the things that lost Clark her last election. It’s hard to pull off even when people like the direction you’re going. People always want some aspect of positive campaigning and that’s an exclusively negative message, which only works if your opponents also have nothing positive to say, which is simply not true of Labour, and especially not true now that the public know they get the Greens with them too, who are basically nothing but positive.

                    Your analysis of Hillary is wrong in the same way, FYI- people actually disliked both her and Trump. He performed worse than Mit Romney, who lost to Obama, it’s just that she performed even worse in critical working class constituencies that she needed in order to carry the Electoral College. Essentially it was someone who people were unenthusiastic for versus someone who was controversial, and controversy managed to bring enough enthusiasm to steal a win via the EC.

                    Little and Key have the same problems- Little garners no enthusiasm, but Key has actually become highly polarising to the electorate. He scores well in preferred Prime Minister because he has a strong support base, but practically everyone who doesn’t want him as PM hates his guts. If Labour can offer more than just “not key,” and if they can look like a real team, they’ll win, but that may be asking a bit much.

                  • Perhaps a quicker way to say that would have been “yes, there’s a mood for change, Labour just doesn’t know how to campaign to the public anymore so I don’t know if it’ll matter.”

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      When you have some one like John Key there’s a lot of elite liberal reaction. We see the limits of democracy but in the wrong sense, in the sense that you see ordinary people seduced and so on. The concept of dirty politics. Meaning democracy is not only formal rulz of election, democracy is a thick network of unwritten rulz about how consensus is built. And now I think New Zealand is at a very important moment. At the moment this machine that builds consensus is braking down. These moments can be disastrous, in these moments fascist can take over. But these are also moments when the left or what ever would be the new left provides the answer.

                      My reaction to those pointing at liberal elites, redneck, idiots and so on voting for Key is yes but it’s your responsibility to vote. The ruling ideology mobilises certain machinery to keep people in check, In the voting both this machine manufacturing consent no longer works. To the left John Key is the devil and so on, I claim it’s much more complex. John Key is but not quite a fascist phenom. But. It’s because the liberal/centrests/mainstream/left failed. But if you are left you should welcome John Keys 4th term in office, because he will single handedly destroy the National Party.

                      What I mean is you have two vague orientations with in the National Party. You have this hard lined Christian property speculator, and the enlightened big business elite. Both are more or less puppets of John Key. In the National Party you have these common phrases Key uses that they all copy. If you remember 13 years ago Don Brash, does any one believe Donald is a kiwi, I half joke that he is an alien, how could New Zealand have produced that. There is something so disgusting about the National Party. Second is this absolute obsession with John Key being such a good economic manger, for this to happen Jim Bolger had to be sacrificed. That is how Key sucked in the right, not because of gay rights and trade, John Key is the vote for Cold War relics. All those guys that gasped at uncle Helen axing the air combat force all of a sudden had some one to vote for and bring us into a new defence posture.

                      In no way do I support John Key because he has resided over the most radical change in kiwi values and public manners. This obscene situation where you can treat waitresses like play things, things that was unthinkable years ago with in public debate are now normal, open sexual conquest of woman and here political correctness doesn’t work because all these unwritten rulz and public remorse tell you news outlets should have roasted John Key. But here the machine broke down. And then we saw political correctness fail when news outlets were let off the hook for publishing information received under false practice.

                      Remember when in the US torture was renamed enhanced interrogation techniques. I do not believe this to be a joke but, the basic idea of political correctness that you use words that don’t hurt the other, and traumatises and so on. When we deal with marginal sexual behaviour I totally agree that in 10 years rape will be renamed enhanced seduction techniques. I do not believe it is a right not to be called names in away that hurts you. I think if you’re the PM and you publicly shame sectors of New Zealand he should be publicly called names that will hurt him and dragged through the presser and so on. In politics we have authentic enemies, every one shouldn’t be respected because it’s a real struggle of life and death.

                • I am quite aware that NZ First is refusing to say anything before coalition talks happen. (They are definitely likely to favour Labour over National if it does end up being their call, though, although that’s never a guarantee with Peters in the equation)

                  My point is that on current polling, NZ First are the ones with the mandate to decide the government.

                  There is no requirement for a mandate to be “neat.” You’re thinking like an FPP politician again where Labour gets Parliament with 1 seat going to New Labour during a 35/16 split.

                  There is no “moral authority” conferred by being the largest party in Parliament. That is a media myth, and again, FPP-based majoritarian thinking, where losing small means you win big due to vote splitting. If you’re the biggest party but you don’t have enough friends to get you over the line, then you have no mandate.

                  National needs 47%+ to win, as they effectively need to be able to govern with ACT and UF, otherwise they risk the Māori Party going with Labour.

          • greywarshark

            Want to know what is going on in Labour? Infiltrate the GCSB, that group of letters that means ISpy with my little eye and every other device.

          • Incognito

            My bad, I was referring to my perception of public perception, of course.

            In any case, public perception has got almost nothing to do with science. The ‘public perception’ is fickle and easily manipulated and people are easily distracted but the people are not stupid! This is the biggest mistake any politician or leader can make.

            I think for many people “perception” is the wrong word; “habit” or “conditioning” better describe their political beliefs & convictions and never challenge them on these!!

            If we have to rely on polling to read the people we’re stuffed. Fortunately, there are other ways that are likely to be much more informative.

            Elections are just snapshots, singularities, if you like. Interestingly, some advocate a 4-year term …

            Did you mean “Cunliffe” instead of “Cullen”?

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Haha yeah I noticed the Cullen/Cunliffe error as soon as I saw my own post when I came back. You’re absolutely correct that I was talking about the ABCs, not some imagined rebellion against the former Deputy PM.

              Public perception is not something that is scientifically formulated, (ie. the public don’t say “science says this, I should believe it!”) but it can be scientifically measured. I basically just mean “good polling” when I say “scientific polling,” ie. that questions were formulated in non-leading fashion and that an approximately representative sample of the country was taken. There are a few organisation I personally wouldn’t use if I wanted a scientific poll, but I wouldn’t categorically say they’re incapable of doing unbiased research. Curia comes to mind.

              People’s political leanings absolutely do colour their perceptions, but the issue is that a lot of people’s political leanings are more complicated than just “I like Labour” or “I like National.” For instance, the majority of the country is liberal, but not in an agressively reformist way, so some of those liberals are happy voting for National so long as they don’t put too much of an emphasis on conservative policy and look like they’ve got a handle on the economy, but they would never call themselves National Party faithful. Those sorts of people will be much more likely to look at the performance of CERA, EQC, the pike river debacle, etc… unfavourably than your typical National voter, and we can’t really assume whether we know if they’ll be for or against the government without asking them.

              Basically my point was- last time it was left-wingers who were in a bubble where we thought we could squeak into government because either the polls slightly underestimated government support, or there was a late swing to the National Party. It’s entirely possible that when people hear of pro-government sentiment this time that they’re within the bubble, and the only thing we have to tell us the difference is the polls, which currently show that things are pretty even. (The conclusion from that shouldn’t be that the polls are wrong, btw. Most polls, other than Colmar-Brunton, which is generally too friendly to the Government, were within their margins of error from the General Election result)

              What that most likely means is that people have the perception that the government is failing in significant areas, but don’t believe they’re screwing up the economy or committing intolerable social injustices just yet. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of Labour, but it could change the government, and Labour has managed to squeak in before and actually build support rather than lose it, because they’re a lot better at governing than they are at campaigning.

              • Incognito

                Very nice comments, thank you.

                Indeed, perceptions are part of one’s larger framework if you like and by and large this should be internally consistent – we’re quite happy and indeed quite good at glossing over the minor inconsistencies and other niggly little ‘inconveniences’.

                In this sense I can understand the point that perhaps Professor Claire Robinson was trying to make: it takes time to adjust one’s framework – perceptions are maybe more like the waves at the surface.

                Lastly, I don’t dislike political polls because they might be inaccurate – they may well be spot on – I dislike them in the way they are used and abused and because of the way they affect the exact thing they are trying to objectively measure.

    • Bearded Git 8.2

      The problem for the Nats, and the outgoing PM, is that instead of polling 47-48% they are now polling 44-45%. They are gonners at 45%.

  9. Keith 9

    If i recall it was only last week Kirk was character assassinating Phil Twyford for having the temerity to question a fellow journo. All manner of nasty unsubstantiated rumours against Twyford projectile vomited out in her little rant.

    She’s there like the Heralds Claire Trevett, to sing and praise Key. And more than likely has probably been invited on Keys airforce jet and thrown a takeaway flat white and a cookie and in return become an unquestioning loyalist!

    [Notice the edit? You can leave out the misogynistic name calling in all future comments thanks.] – Bill

  10. repateet 10

    I had been saying for a couple of years that John, Bill and Steven were saying daily prayers for another earthquake.

    “Disaster response is about more than showing up for photos and cancelling a trip or two.” Yes, but only to the extent of making reassuring noises on the news and a few trimmings like that. Gerry will likely have an even bigger majority next time.

    How diabolical the situation is, is shown by the worst thing about the latest ‘quakes – how to fit in tax cuts.

    • Ffloyd 10.1

      I don’t know about you repateet but in our household we fell off our couch laughing at the images of our very own Laurel and Hardy choppering all over the place making inane comments and bandying about the possibility of billions of dollars to be spent *fixing* STUFF! OOHH!! Headphones, high vis, man talk, with absolutely NO IDEA of the true reality of the situation on the ground. Reminiscent of a passage in a book I am reading at the moment which described two corrupt dumb cops as ‘both solidly incompetent, so no disputes arose on either factual or professional grounds’. A match made in ??

      • repateet 10.1.1

        But on Farrarblog vomit-making posts appeared about how brilliantly Key was handling it and sycophant city went into overdrive.

  11. ropata 11

    As I said elsewhere, right wing authoritarian governments thrive on fear and panic. They just need to bypass rationality and detailed policy and get people voting based on negative emotions. John Key was very enthusiastic about throwing our troops into the middle of Iraq for fuck’s sake. These are not moral people.

  12. Dale 12

    Labour on average polling are at 26.5% National are on 47%. Labour must be on at least 40% and that won’t happen any time soon.

  13. Bob 13

    “National’s handling of Christchurch has been a shambles”
    You can link to as many stories as you like, but the election results show that feeling is not held by those on the ground and living through the Christchurch rebuild: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/255176/support-for-national-still-high-in-chch

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