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Right-wing Herald element goes OTT

Written By: - Date published: 8:29 pm, December 10th, 2011 - 61 comments
Categories: national/act government, privatisation, schools - Tags:

John Armstrong’s column today – not yet on website – is extraordinary. “Elements on the left”, “cried wolf”, “secret agenda” – that’s just the first paragraph.  Armstrong’s faux outrage is generated by the fact that National’s charter schools policy was not flagged in the election, and some people have pointed this out. Shock horror.

Funny how people on the left are always “elements” – couldn’t possibly have a mind of their own. I put two and two together when I heard John Key’s twentieth or so justification for the “partial ownership” model of asset sales was that a billion dollars would be put aside for investment in schools. Any competent political journalist could have done the same. My instinct proved to be true.

What we have now got is the failed experiment of asset sales to pay for the failed experiment of charter schools. That’s not crying wolf – that’s just predicting another disaster. I suspect had voters been posed the question “Would you rather have higher prices for your electricity to pay for letting a few kids into an experimental school or two” their answer in the recent election might have been different.

Just don’t hold your breath for the Herald to do it. Certainly not Armstrong – he gets tangled in his own overblown rhetoric as well:

The contents of the eight-page document might suggest that National has lurched to the right.  But those contents were more likely shaped by other factors such as Act’s surprising degree of negotiating leverage, National’s willingness to continue its confrontational approach to what it sees as vested interests blocking reform in compulsory education or simply because National had already been planning to do what Act wanted.

Already been planning? Undisclosed? That’s not a secret agenda?

Maybe though I have been too hard on the Herald. Perhaps their website editor also thinks Armstrong’s article is crap.

61 comments on “Right-wing Herald element goes OTT”

  1. Blue 1

    Armstrong’s just an old Tory hack who’s become so into his cheerleading he’s lost his grip on reality.

    John’s greatest hits of late have included his claim that John Key has ‘gravitas’, his fervent belief that John Banks has negotiating leverage and his confident assurance that David Shearer was not seriously trying to win Labour’s leadership now, but just playing the long game for the future.

    He should be thinking about retirement, or standing for National at the next election – whichever comes sooner.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    The simpering highly unsavory Armstrong ranks as one of the ‘filthy few’ among New Zealand’s already swollen cadre of degraded journalists.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    I’m looking forwards to the day the NZ Herald goes under, replaced by an analytical and cuttingly insightful left wing daily.

    • lefty 3.1

      I’m looking forwards to the day the NZ Herald goes under, replaced by an analytical and cuttingly insightful left wing daily.

      This really does need to happen. The left can never be taken seriously as long as they can’t get it together to do this. Its not impossible if there was a real will to do it.

    • We live in hope .However reality is we are doomed to a Rightwing and far Right press/
      The whole of the Fairfax group was just a propoganda newsheet for National. It was so bigoted it was unreal/Our local Fairfax give aways had an average of ten Nat photos to one (perhaps) Labour . In one issue of Waikato Times there were 6 photos of the local Nat in one issue. How can we compete with this.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        We need a left wing MSM.

        • Vicky32

          I am down to one hour of TV a day, maybe two, and it’s mostly Prime. I watched a Prime ‘newsbreak’, 3 items, 2 sport, last night. (Saturday). The non-sport item said
          “Labour loses two MPs as the specials are counted”. (I had no context, but that brought me down bigtime).
          Next “newsbreak’, two hours later, “National are still able to rule”. (Rule? Seriously?) He might as well have said ‘reign’..

          • mik e

            CV the you tube is the media we need to harness with a good quality program of our own young people know how to use this medium thats where we can punch above our weight.
            We need to set up our own online news service that is not boring and is kept fresh with short documentaries interviews and proactive services to re engage the ! million non voters or so.
            Take it mobile as well With tvnz7 disappearing we need to step up to the mark !

            • Colonial Viper

              yeah my man, I’ve been thinking along similar lines. Plus we can link in content from the likes of Al Jazeera and Russia TV, they are extremely capable and unbiased news services…when they aren’t reporting on anything to do with their home countries lol

              • Gosman

                Russia TV unbiased?!?

                This is the same network which was promoting the myth of Gaddafi still being firmly in control of Tripoli when the rebels were in the middle of Green/Martyrs Square. Russia TV makes the pre-2003 Iraqi information ministry look positively like a beakon of journalistic integrity in comparision. Nice to see you showing your true colours on this matter C.V. Any system you impose if you had the chance would be like North Korean State Television.

                • RedLogix

                  No more unbiased than CNN, BBC, ABS, Fox, Al-Jazzera or any of them. They’ve all promoted views that have with hindsight have proven to be wrong.

                  But they all contribute a viewpoint, each of which has blindspots …. covered by others.

                  • Gosman

                    Good to see you at least acknowledge RT is biased, which is not Colonial Viper’s position. However if you bemoan Fox news for being one eyed and an insult to good journalistic practices then for consistency sake you need to do the same for RT. Some of their reporting on Libya was laughable in it’s paranoid delusions of reality.

                    • RedLogix

                      My answer is that each contribute something.. well maybe not Fox. Even you have to admit that they are beyond biased.

    • Bazar 3.3

      And that would be a terrible day for free thinking in all of NZ.
      Last thing i want is a dedicated and biased MSM.

      Better to have media that has both left and right wing articles in the same outlet, so people can get a better picture and both sides of the argument. Better still to have an unbiased media reporting in an accurate and fair manner, but that’s just fantasy thought.

  4. ianmac 4

    Be kind to poor old John Armstrong. He has sunk his reputation on being able to predict huge gains for his John Key Party. Like those who forecast the arrival of Aliens or of Jesus they are not able to face the lack of the Coming. So they plough on defending the indefensible. Be Kind to poor old John Armstrong in his twilight years – or months.

  5. Nick K 5

    Can someone explain why power prices will be going up when the shares are sold.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Did you not do business 101? The one which says maximise your return on capital for your private shareholders?

      • Matt 5.1.1

        Ironic considering in a consumer NZ shows that Contact is the second lower in power prices, just more than Energy Online. The SOE’s are the most expensive. Or are facts just a conspiracy?

        See: http://www.powerswitch.org.nz/powerswitch/region/N02/N024/price_trends

        • Colonial Viper

          Matt you better look up the history which showed Contact raping and pillaging their customer base for almosst 10 years.

          • Matt

            You see with capitalism the wonderful thing is you don’t need to put up with that crap. Seems as though they have learnt their lesson. Labour has no legitimacy on this issue. They used power companies as cash cows. If they lowered the price and excepted lower returns National would have struggled to sell them and Labour’s argument would have been legit.

            • Colonial Viper

              Cash cows used to pay down this country’s debt and provide services to all NZ’ers.

              Not ship profits overseas to foreign shareholders.

              Do you understand the slight difference there, Matt?

              Labour has no legitimacy on this issue.

              Labour speaks for the 3 million NZers who oppose asset sales.

              • Matt

                It’s not used to pay down debt at all. All it does is line the pockets of politicians for their re-election campaign. We can invest in other economies and their power companies by they can’t provide capital for ours? Hypocritical? No? Your beloved fortress economics sends us backwards. So far backward, we’ll end up in North Korea.

                If Labour speaks for 3 million people then explain 27%?

            • Jum

              Matt – whoever sold or will sell our SOEs had NO RIGHT to do so. Labour learned its lesson; NActMU has not. Greed – private greed for Key and Co – obviously is the difference.

              How much will America’s monkey Key gain financially and personally (knighthood) from the betrayal of other New Zealanders? He will probably double or even triple his asset base as he is dismantling ours.

              And yes, you’re still a greedy idiot.

      • lulu 5.1.2

        To CV
        “Did you not do business 101? The one which says maximise your return on capital for your private shareholders?”
        This is your explanation of why power prices will go up under the partial (49%) sale of the SOEs in response to Nick K’s question. A couple of points about this.
        First it assumes that the current SOEs haven’t been as assertive as they might have been when it comes to putting up retail electricity prices. Do we know that? Wolak reported to the Commerce Commission and the 2009 Ministerial Review suggested the reverse. The result is the state funded promotion of retail competition this year (whatsmynumber) that has increased churn and resulted in flat retail electricity prices.
        Second, if 49% is sold then the shareholder with a majority share, i.e. the Government, can still restrain the organisation from increasing retail prices unduly should it want to do so. But see point number 1.
        Can you explain how this was resolved in business 101 please?
        Can you explain the thinking that will go with the new ownership model that will result in higher retail prices rather than just saying effectively if you don’t know you are ignorant?

        • Colonial Viper

          Yeah prices will go up because foreign shareholders won’t give a shit what some NZ households have to pay for their power, and since they can get a corner of every generator in NZ we won’t have anywhere to turn. Collusion is more profitable than competition. And the greatest competitor of all is state power generation.

          By the way when SOEs put up their power prices today – it goes to fund our schools and hospitals, not private shareholder earnings in Australia and Singapore.

          • lulu

            To Colonial Viper
            I don’t necessarily dispute your view on the relationship between some of the 49% of SOEs sold off to foreign shareholders and funding for our schools and hospitals. However that still doesn’t address Nick K’s question.
            On the basis of my experience on boards discussing recommendations to increase the prices of our goods it is not apparent to me that the new boards of partially listed SOEs will raise prices any more than previous boards. Your “foreign shareholders won’t give a shit” comment isn’t exactly business 101 quality analysis and nor does it satisfy the question.
            Your reference to collusion troubles me further. Are you suggesting these boards will somehow collude? This is a serious accusation and if you have any grounds for making it I am sure everyone will be most interested to hear it.
            My understanding of the standard at The Standard is a high level of analysis and/or reason. All I can see from your responses is a weak understanding of economics supported only by an ideological position and no experience in how boards make their decisions. If I am wrong then you will be able to explain what the boards will do that is different under the mixed ownership model and you will satisfy Nick K’s question.

            • Colonial Viper

              All I can see from your responses is a weak understanding of economics supported only by an ideological position and no experience in how boards make their decisions.

              If you still believe in the university and professional discipline of ‘economics’ at this late juncture, I bet you’ve also got your stockings hung up for Santa.

      • lulu 5.1.3

        To CV:
        I guess you don’t feel the need to answer the question. Flippant and vacuous one liners are the order of the day for you. Shame. I thought you might have had a considered view. On something. Anything.

        [lprent: It could also have been something as simple as there were a *lot* of comments and posts going on in the last couple of days related to the leadership change in Labour. CV seldom avoids arguing which is why he is the single most prolific commentator here. Like everyone apart from overworked moderators, he misses comments. I’d suggest that you try leaving a comment with a link backto what you want him to look at in the mornings OpenMike or find a recent comment by him to reply to. ]

        • Colonial Viper

          Oh give me a break you expect me to take your questions seriously when they include ones along the lines of “please show me evidence that future not yet formed boards of directors, with an as yet unknown composition, moight be tempted to collude or not collude”

          BTW there are over 10000 corporate boards of significance in the world, I doubt you have served on enough of them to be able to make a representative conclusion as to how they decide pricing.

          And of course they dont decide pricing. Which makes me question how much experience you do have.

          [lprent: I wrote too soon… 😈 ]

          • Colonial Viper

            😀 Cheers mate.

            • lulu

              It is not my question that needs answering and I can see CV everywhere on every thread so fair point.
              However, I made a simple request and I will make it again because despite several responses he hasn’t addressed it.

              Nick K asked an interesting question. I am wondering the same quesiton myself.

              Can someone explain why power prices will be going up when the shares are sold?

              I would be interested in an answer supported to CV’s own “business 101” standard. How hard can it be?

              For the sake of clarity I am not convinced that they necessarily will go up faster than the counterfactual and I am open to being helped to understand.

              • Colonial Viper

                The primary argument against asset sales is not about prices. It is about where the money goes, who it benefits, and also the strategic nature of the energy assets.

                Having said that, and even understanding that your question is not genuine, foreign owners will happily jack the prices up on a completely captured Ma and Pa customer base that is too far away for them to hear the howls of pain from, because the shareholders they will want to maximise return on their new investment.

                It’s business 101, Mr Corporate Director.

  6. mike 6

    “The contents of the eight-page document might suggest that National has lurched to the right.”

    Yup, either that or they were already there.

    “But those contents were more likely shaped by other factors such as Act’s surprising degree of negotiating leverage,”

    Yeah, who would have thought that with just one seat, the John Banks Party would be able to dictate policy to the John Key Party. Very ‘surprising’.

    “National’s willingness to continue its confrontational approach to what it sees as vested interests blocking reform in compulsory education”

    Is this the confrontational approach regarding education they campaigned on before the election that I don’t remember hearing about? Or the one they’ve announced after it with a “That’s MMP for you” shrug of the shoulders? And those vested interests, those would be teachers and teachers unions right? Like they care about what’s best for the kids education…

    “or simply because National had already been planning to do what Act wanted.”

    Oh shit! So ACT was planning to shove charter schools down our throats, and at the very same time, National was planning to shove charter schools down our throats. I guess it’s just one of those amazing coincidences.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      In the end, Key is a weak negotiator who, when all is said and done, has no problem with the privatisation of our school system.

      • Policy Parrot 6.1.1

        lol – whats to negotiate. You don’t have to be Don King if you both agree.

      • Anthony 6.1.2

        What does negotiating matter to him anyway… He is in the enviable position of not having to deal with the outcomes of his policies. So he can gamble on his parties policies (or his support parties ones) with little or no risk to his own situation.

        It’s the result of someone who does not have same stake in the success of our society as the majority of us. He is not so much “out of touch” with society, as untouchable by it.

      • Deadly_NZ 6.1.3

        Or the backers Textor and co just told em what to do.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      “…blocking reform in compulsory education.”
      That’s “compulsory” education, don’t forget. As opposed to the freedom pink fluffy education you’ll get in Randistan.

  7. tc 7

    ACT is to the Nats what pump is to coke or tui is to DB etc …same business different package with the management and strategy coming from a single source.

    All about branding kids….same shit branded as if it’s different shit.

  8. vto 8

    You might want to read Anthony Hubbard’s withering attack on John Key, Bill English and their dishonest and simpleton ways in the Sunday Stay Times as a counter.

    He paints them as greedy, selfish and ignorant hypcorites with an entitlement attitude the exact same as those they decry on the benefit.

    Anthony Hubbard pretty much called them wankers and lying pricks.

  9. ChrisH 9

    Question – Was this the “game changer” in the teapot tapes? If so the Herald on Sunday has done democracy a great disservice. Somebody needs to ask this question and see if it is confirmed, denied, or dissembled.

  10. red blooded 10

    Any chance of a link to the Anthony Hubbard piece?

  11. lprent 11

    Interesting that I still can’t see a link to this John Armstrong article online.

    I wonder why? 

  12. randal 12

    the herald is rapidly descending into nonsense remarkably similar to the nahnil gubmints campaign.
    just moan and whinge and write redherrings if anyone disagrees with you.
    if that is the best the heral can do letting a noonoo head like armstrong loose every time nashnil gets a slap then there is no wonder that our democracy is under threat from elements on the right who want total control of everyhting jus tbewcause they can.
    and dont forget the pinheads in nashnil who have a lot of paying off to do and have become dependent on the ignorati and kiwi grotesques.

  13. Georgecom 13

    A new Secretary for Education appointed last year who just happens to think Charter Schools are good and who has experience implementing them in England, no mention to Charter Schools in Nationals education policy, a deal to help get Banks elected and then somehow, as if by accident, some magical act by elves, Charter Schools pop up as Government policy.

    If you told John Armstrong 1 and 1 make 2 and carefully take him through the maths I guess he would still argue it is wrong.

  14. randal 14

    its not real policy.
    its just payoffs for the rightwing nutters who think they know evverything because they have some money and want more for doing something they are not qualified to do.
    ha thats right.
    they believe that if they believe something then it is true.
    well I dont believe but I know they are just ignorant shits.

  15. Sean 15

    Well, while we are on the subject of crap columnists, guess who didn’t vote this election?

    Michael Laws.

    Guess he can’t complain about national politics for the next three years now.

  16. Takere 16

    Why “Charter” schools aren’t about quality education. They’re about funding the elite.


  17. seeker 17

    @ Takere
    WOW! Thanks Takere. That is one heck of an informative link about Charter schools. How insidious and horrendous. It reads like a Doctor Who stealth invasion plot. I will never be able to look at Lesley Longstone, without imagining her as being a reptilian alien lookalike under her synthetic human looking skin (same is always true for JKey now anyway).
    How can they abuse our children like this,? We must not let them.

  18. Jum 18

    John Armstrong said “The Maori Party was playing harder to get yesterday, refusing to commit to backing National. However, comments by co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples indicated they will stick with National.

    And why wouldn’t they? They either join up with National – securing portfolios, policy concessions and the ability to push for the implementation of their policies – or they sit in irrelevance in shark-infested Opposition, their identity swamped, and outgunned by Labour and Hone Harawira’s Mana Party desperate to get their hands on what’s left of the Maori Party’s votes.”

    The Maori party were in the winning position of being able to show what the National party and John Key stood for by the way they treated the initiatives like Whanau Ora set up and operating. If they continued with them the Maori party wins and keeps its independence. If National canned the initiatives the Maori party put in place it would show up National as being against Maori initiatives.

    It was a win-win for Turia. Key would never have stopped the Whanau Ora programme – his neo-con side would have been seen when his mask slipped, just as it has e.g. with the throat slitting gesture after a man nearly died on the floor of Parliament. How disgusting this prime minister is in his behaviour. Turia supports it all, just for a few.

    Now she has strengthened Key and backers’ position to put through so many programmes that will damage workers’ rights, give away New Zealand sovereignty through the TPPA and just wait until she is given a bribe of ‘we’ll sell to Maori iwi the assets which belong to all New Zealanders’, if Key has any MPs crossing the floor. And if there are still any Nat MPs with any integrity they will cross the floor in support of the majority of New Zealanders that do not want the assets sold in any way when their future advantages to our economy as income producers is so obvious and against the global backdrop ever more valuable. Only one needed to cross the floor; now 4.

    So much for the Maori party’s loyalty to its country and its people. All for a few baubles for Turia.

  19. randal 19

    kweewee and his party have turned into wreckers.
    how can he sit there with a straight face and let the ignoratii wreck the school system just because they want jobs and money they are not entitiled to.

  20. mik e 20

    arise sur jonkey

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