Right questions, wrong answer

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, October 21st, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

Colin James has a column in today’s Herald in which he lays out the difference between perception and reality in New Zealand politics. In it he goes through seven points: crime, healthcare, education, the treaty, immigration, poverty and social engineering and points out that in nearly every case Labour has taken action and in each case they have copped flack and the public have perceived they haven’t done enough. I’d recommend you read the linked story but here’s an example of what he’s talking about:

Four, Treaty of Waitangi settlements and Maori wellbeing. Michael Cullen has rung up deals on claims like an icecream vendor on a hot day and dumped barrels of money into benefits and other assistance.

Yet the Maori Party claims Labour is anti-Maori and flirts with National and Chris Finlayson, one of National’s sharpest minds, insists he will “speed up” settlements if minister. Really?

Interestingly each of the points James covers has been a target of the New Zealand Sucks campaign National and its proxies have been running for several years now and in every instance the NZ Sucks talking points have been repeated by the mainstream media verbatim despite the facts not supporting them.

Disappointingly, James finishes his piece with the claim the reason people don’t have a sense of the real situation has something to do with the economy. What that is isn’t clear nor is the reason this has has been happening for a lot longer than the economy has been an issue. As he puts it:

It’s a matter of belonging and feeling you or your children can make good. Too many now don’t. That is at the heart of this election.

I’m sorry, Colin, but I think if you want the real reason the public’s perception doesn’t match the facts I’d recommend you look a bit closer to home.

56 comments on “Right questions, wrong answer”

  1. IrishBill 1

    I should also note that the MSM have really picked up their game in the last couple of weeks and started to show some real analysis. Whether this will be enough to counter three years of soundbite journalism I’m not so sure.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Eduction ?

    IrishBill: Fixed.

  3. Daveski 3

    Someone needs to talk to Stuff then – they obviously haven’t got the message.

    It’s all over bar the shouting

    I must admit there’s a certain irony in linking to the NZH when any negative comment in the same paper is dismissed outright.

    Fundamentally, I don’t think the election is about economic fundamentals – both parties agree largely on these areas and much to the chagrin of both those further left and right.

    In terms of asking the right question, the question should be what will the potential coalitions bring NZ.

    My hope is the last sentence of Long’s article:

    [Key]He will talk to the Maori Party. Agreement will involve meeting Maori aspirations in education and Maori development, with the abolition of the Maori seats policy being shelved indefinitely.

    This will shake the grassroots of National, as well as the Maori Party, but there are prospects here for a remarkable and historic accommodation.

    I fail to see how that equates to the mythical New Zealand Sucks strategy.

  4. Forget “perception” ,does the Labour Party know the difference between deception and reality in New Zealand politics?

  5. Matthew Pilott 5

    I fail to see how that equates to the mythical New Zealand Sucks strategy.

    That’s because it’s from a Richard Long column. His perception sure challenges reality, I’ll give you that. ‘Meeting Maori aspirations in education and development’? What part of National policy was Long’s basis for that statement?

  6. lprent 6

    Daveski: Granny – for the same reason we concentrate on the main opposition party and its leader, we also focus on the main media. Both need to be examined because they aren’t particularly good at doing their job at any real level. They concentrate on the short-term

    The problem with Granny in particular is that they have a bad habit of writing or slanting stories in a way that gives the best headlines. That means that bad news is splashed on the front page, and the good things are on page 1-x, where the better they are the greater the number of x.

    The writers here habitually point out the things on those back pages that Granny has failed to draw peoples attention to.

  7. dave 7

    Disappointingly, James finishes his piece with the claim the reason people don’t have a sense of the real situation has something to do with the economy. What that is isn’t clear nor is the reason this has has been happening for a lot longer than the economy has been an issue.

    What onearth does this last sentence mean? It’s not clear. Disappointingly.Needs a rewrite.

    IrishBill: having read your blog in passing I’d suggest the issue may be your comprehension skills rather than my prose style.

  8. Daveski 8

    LP Understand that but there is a lot of fun to be had switching from here to TOB (that other blog) and seeing the diametrically opposed viewpoints of the same media. One day the NZH is a Tory puppy and the next day, it is the source of profound wisdom (and vice versa).

    In terms of coalition partners, I think Frog made the same point yesterday – in an MMP election, the key issue (pun intended) relates to coalition partners.

    In that respect, I think National has a stronger hand IF they can negotiate a ground breaking agreement with the Maori party. It would be a circuit breaker and would undoubtedly change the political landscape over the next couple of years. The downside for National is the fear factor of ACT (in the way the Greens scare off some of the right).

    BTW – how are your stats going? Based on comments, you must be still growing. I’ve grown to really like version 2.02 – great job on the upgrade.

  9. G 9

    “Eduction” — Ha! Well spotted, higher(education)standard(s)!! Quite a few contributers to this blog really do need the Nat’s to win and help their literacy.

    IrishBill: “less bureaucrats”. Nuff said.

  10. IrishBill 10

    Daveski, I’m not so sure I’ve described the Herald as “the source of profound wisdom”. If anything I’d say my post is critical of James’ analysis.

  11. Daveski 11

    IB – agree, you didn’t – I’m big on generalisations. We will however agree to disagree on the NZ Suxs campaign.

  12. G 12

    People in glasshouses is the flipping point, Irish — not that you’re ‘educted nuff’ to see it. 🙂

  13. Ianmac 13

    I can never understand why from Brash onwards the constant denigration of NZ and wow! Australia is the country to look up to. It is the Gold Standard some say. Currently Key is highlighting the 20% with poor reading/maths levels. This has been around forever and some kids are not that bright. But like Bill English with NCEA it diminishes the confidence of the people. Lets test them more! The Media has been uncritical and the Listener for example has actively promoting the negative. And the Herald.

  14. Janet 14

    Daveski
    You quote Hollow Man Brash strategist Richard Long as some sort of independent commentator?!

    I hear he’s doing the round of Wellington Central election campaign meetings so wait for next week’s column of adoration for fellow far-rightie Stephen Franks.

    I do wish the Dom Post had some balance to the angry old rich right wing white men – Long, Bob Jones, Karl du Fresne etc who seem to dominate their opinion columns. Occasionally Chris Trotter makes an interesting observation but he is usually far from being a friend of the left.

  15. Daveski 15

    Hi Janet

    I was only pointing out different versions of the truth. I did not suggest he was independent (ps your turn to apologise to me :))

    The only part I quoted was the last sentence which is a comment I’ve made consistently on this site. That IF the MP and the Nats could reach meaningful agreement, it would be a real circuitbreaker and could herald a new era in NZ politics for both Maori and the “right”. As a result, it would challenge the Labour party in particular to respond.

    I’m not sure that the “angry old rich right wing white men” line is something we want to debate either. It’s as bad as my generalisations.

  16. Ianmac 16

    I reread the James column. It could have been well written to highlight the huge gap between reality and perception. Instead it blurred.
    Janet said:”I do wish the Dom Post had some balance to the angry old rich right wing white men – Long, Bob Jones, Karl du Fresne etc ”
    Whether you are a fan or not of Winston the covern of five old men witches on Bill Ralston’s assassination of Winston late on Sunday night Prime, shows just why so-called journalists are despised. Garner was a Hooten lookalike! It was a Hooten display by them all in the absence of Winston who refused to participate given the antipathy often shown by Ralston and others.

  17. Janet 17

    Ianmac – please don’t use witch as a derogatory term – it is a term constructed as negative, dangerous and anti-women from centuries of men’s fear of the mysterious powers of women.

    Daveski – apologies if I implied you suggested Richard Long was independent. But Stuff – a version of the truth – whose truth might that be?? A reflection of the manipulative capitalist powers in charge of the media more like.

  18. Ianmac 18

    Janet: Witches. No disrespect to women. My wife is one. A woman I mean! I had visions of Macbeth-Ralston but with 5 instead of 3.

  19. Daveski 19

    Cheers Janet

    I don’t think there will ever be a media version of the truth that will be universally accepted.

    There is a delicious irony – the left always blame the capitalist owners and the right always blame the left leaning journalists 🙂

  20. Janet 20

    I know a lot of journalists but only the rare one could be called left leaning eg Simon Collins in his early City Voice days in the 1990s (when he was one of the first to challenge the “there is no alternative’ Roger/Ruthonomics mantra). Mostly they are moderate conservatives with an eye on the editorial line they have to follow. Again when Simon Collins was his own editor, City Voice was a true independent.

  21. Janet 21

    By the way as someone who wanted to be a witch from an early age, I have not seen any metaphysical analysis of the election. Considering string theory and the possibilities of multiple dimensions, there is a lot that could explored. And has anyone noticed the increased interest in UFOs lately – maybe things are happening on higher levels.

    The collapse of the world economic system in the transition to a new level of humanity has long been predicted. Oprah Winfrey may call Obama ‘the one’ but it does seem he is more in touch with more than just the petty here and now US. John Key may seem to be the lucky person of the moment but he has come out of the narrow financial capitalist version of the world that is now on the way out. And it is obvious that Helen Clark has more of the holistic earth mother concern for a sustainable planet than many world leaders.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the current financial meltdown is just the beginning of some major upheaval and challenges to our planet and humanity and that Helen and Obama are the forerunners of a new type of leader.

  22. higherstandard 22

    “Ok”

    …… he said backing away slowly.

  23. Ianmac 23

    Janet: A real paradigm shift? Not a butterfly one surely!

  24. Matthew Pilott 24

    Hey higherstandard, I like the way you instinctively mock anyone who has a different outlook to you. I hope you don’t have children with aspirations.

  25. rave 25

    Well at least the Granny Herald economic editors today are worrying about Key’s knee jerk promise of $300 billion to Aussie banks for making risky loans to their own subsidiaries in NZ. That would be around 10 times the profits sucked out of NZ by the big 4 over the last few years.
    Then Rod Oram on RNZ this am made a strong case for the independence of the kiwi banks and Reserve Bank securities and oversight.
    No-one as far as I can see is suggesting nationalising the banks.
    I would say that if the Aussie parents dont want to feed their NZ kids, Labour should legislate to merge them with Kiwibank. How’s that!

  26. higherstandard 26

    Hey Mat

    My kids are excellent thanks very much.

    I also find your post somewhat duplicitous when you inhabit a blog who’s posters main interest is in mocking those with a different outlook than theirs.

  27. higherstandard 27

    Mat

    By the way I am also very proud of my kids – abuse me all you want but no slings in their direction please.

  28. randal 28

    daveski..why dont you want to go near the angry old men of the dompost? overall they are mysogynistic not to say misanthropic and they are all basically social climbing snobs with no real interest in the world except their own quest to tick their boxes. there is more to life than creeping round restaurants for free wine and getting ya bum kissed by another lot of grovelling sycophants. btw a snob is someone who has not yet achieved the class position they aspire too and the only way to protect their fragile egos is to pretend that they have and therefore the way they act is the way they think their betters would act.

  29. Daveski 29

    randal

    the point i was making was that attributing qualities to people based on age, gender, sexual orientation or any other characteristic should be inappropriate in any forum, especially this one

    except of course if they are white, old, and male

  30. Pascal's bookie 30

    Dave it is it ok if we attribute qualities to those grumpy old white dudes based on what they write?

    What if those writers profess to hate ‘PC gone madness’, and bravely say things that they feel are so outside the pale that you can only say them in the privacy of a syndicated newspaper column.

  31. Felix 31

    Oh come on hs, there’s no way to interpret Matt’s remark as abusing your kids.

    And you must know he has a point about your mocking tone. It’s kind of your trademark.

  32. Daveski 32

    PB – at this rate, I could easily be accused of PC madness although I wouldn’t stoop to denigrate witches or other protected minorities 😉

  33. randal 33

    yes well the point is that they back the New Zealand sucks campaign (see header)with no questions asked and if the conjunctive factor is not that they are old white men then what is the thing that unites them in their idiocy not to say incipient senility.

  34. Phil 34

    No-one as far as I can see is suggesting nationalising the banks.

    If I may be so bold to suggest, rave, that is because nationalising our banks would be a monumentally stupid idea.

  35. higherstandard 35

    Felix

    Yeah you’re right – just like there was no way that Helen Clark was inferring John Key shouts at his family I guess.

  36. Pascal's bookie 36

    hs, Stop hiding behind your kids. Your kids were not in any way criticised, you were.

    And you mean implying rather then inferring.

  37. Janet 37

    Daveski
    Watch out for those witches – especially as Halloween looms.

  38. Chris G 38

    Ive always loved it how the DomPost/ Star Times always make it obvious in the title of Chris Trotters Columns “From the Left” or words to that effect. Where as Richard (Nats Hollow men strategist) Long’s articles are always titled “The Long View” as if to make the ridiculous claim that hes the objective one. What tripe.

    I can’t believe that tories continue to call the media ‘the liberal media’ where nowadays it is much easier to find blatant right wing bias in the media. For example lead at the frontline by Fairfax Media….. who I suspect one of these days will alter their name of Fairfax by replacing the ‘airfa’ with a big ‘O’ and taking on the repititive slogan of ‘Fair and Balanced analysis’ a la a certain news giant in the USA…..

  39. higherstandard 39

    Pascal

    Fair enough – I just hope you and Matthew don’t have any kids because they’ll suffer some very odd ideological indoctrination.

    Infer and imply are synonyms the last time I looked.

  40. Pascal's bookie 40

    Then I guess you are about as good at using a thesaurus as you are at constructing analogies.

  41. higherstandard 41

    My mistake English never has been my strong suit.

    Helen implied that John shouts at his family in the confines of his house ……. happy now ?

  42. HS – “infer” is what the listener/reader does “imply” is what the speaker/writer does. Thus I may infer something you implied but I cannot infer something to you…

    Cap: “hardest hostesses”. Oh yeah!

  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    I just hope you and Matthew don’t have any kids because they’ll suffer some very odd ideological indoctrination.

    The same as at least a third of our population. Are you trying to give us a repeat of Brash’s ‘mainstream New Zealanders” comment? Think about how well that worked out.

    HS, you just said to leave kids out of this. Same doesn’t apply to you obviously. An equivalent statement coming from me after that would be “I just hope you don’t have any kids because they’ll be hypocritical and intolerant wankers.”

    So maybe you might want to rethink your approach, there’s a difference between talking about how you treat other people, and what other people are like.

    I realise it wasn’t the best comment, but I thought you, HS, were one of the few who would be able to understand it, and wouldn’t stoop to this level in response (you know that by pretending it’s a cheap shot is a cheap shot in itself, as PB and Felix have pointed out). It seems I was mistaken, so I’m sorry, for what it’s worth. But feel free to get off your high horse – it was a sling in your direction, not at any one else. If you want to see duplicitous, take a look at your comment in response.

  44. higherstandard 44

    MP

    Apology accepted and back at you.

    Sod

    Thanks for the lesson – Are you sure you’re not a closet tory this sexual proclivity combined with your dalliance with ashcroft would make you a prime candidate, all we need now is you in a cross dressing scandal with a few football players and you’d be a shoe in for either the house of Lords or the British conservative party 😉

    captcha (Archer piqued)… he he

  45. Daveski 45

    Janet – thanks for the tip! If there is life on the other side, I’m doomed. I wonder whether there’s blogs and other activities for the damned?

  46. higherstandard 46

    Dave – perhaps you are in hell and your punishment is to comment on the std for all of eternity ?

  47. Draco T Bastard 47

    I’m sorry, Colin, but I think if you want the real reason the public’s perception doesn’t match the facts I’d recommend you look a bit closer to home.

    And right in his article is the reason why

    after nine years of the most repressive Government in decades,

    repressive is completely the wrong word there and gives an impression that is, IMO, totally different than what he means given the context. By using the word repressive he draws a parallel with our government and, say, Robert Mugabe’s government rather than the truth that the present Labour government has been the toughest on law and order in this country for decades.

  48. Daveski 48

    HS – indeed. Although I expect it is hell for the true believers here who have to wade through my prose 🙂

  49. Are you sure you’re not a closet tory

    Bro – I ask my self the same question sometimes – especially in light of the fact I seem to be getting balder and fatter every day…

  50. higherstandard 50

    Sod are you David Farrar ?

  51. No. I’m a lot taller than him.

  52. higherstandard 52

    Fair – I could have accused you of being that B Spondre but that would have been just plain offensive.

  53. Ianmac 53

    HS: Have you got that sentence back to front. ” Is David……?”

  54. Matthew Pilott 54

    Apology accepted and back at you.

    Ditto. Let’s all be friends again. Maybe your punishment will be to engender a few liberal-leftie brats! Not sure what I’ll get…

  55. Lampie 55

    Ditto. Let’s all be friends again. Maybe your punishment will be to engender a few liberal-leftie brats! Not sure what I’ll get

    after you make millions out of selling over-valued stock, they will be stuck-up spoon feed right wing poofs, going to private schools and been 1 in 5 illiterate rich sods getting hand-outs from the parent for the rest of their boring lifes

  56. Felix 56

    hs,

    “…your punishment is to comment on the std…”

    You had me quite baffled for a bit with “std”. Heh.

    Also, if think ‘sod has done you a service by arming you with the correct use of the words “imply” and “infer”, think again. He’s just cursed you to endure the grating sound of other people misusing them. 😉

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