Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, June 27th, 2018 - 102 comments
Categories: Economy, jacinda ardern, making shit up, national, poverty, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, Unions, wages, workers' rights, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
National is still trying to find this Government’s weaknesses.
It is that desperate it is going back to techniques that worked well back in 1975. It is attacking Labour over Industrial Relations and strike action.
The reality is that the attack is tenuous.
Sure there has been much more talk about strikes than there has been for a number of years. Workers who after a decade of cost accounting approaches to wage increases think that the new Government will be more receptive to the idea of giving them wage increases. So of course there is greater interest. There is a lot of pent up pressure for wage increases.
But National is that desperate it is getting to the stupid stage of its analysis. And the dishonest.
Take for instance this from Radio New Zealand:
National leader Simon Bridges claims New Zealand has had more strikes and threats of industrial action under the present government than during the previous National government’s entire nine years in power.
National is keen to paint the current government as union-friendly – and said that meant more strikes.
Mr Bridges said that in under nine months, 32,000 workers had either been involved in industrial action or signaled an intention to do so.
He said this number far exceeded the 27,000 workers who took part in strike action during National’s three terms in power.
“This is remarkable. In nine months under this government we’ve seen more strikes in terms of people out there wanting to do it and doing it, than we saw in nine years under a National-led government,” Mr Bridges said.
His claims are reinforced by this tweet:
There's been more strikes in 9 months under Labour than in 9 years under National. pic.twitter.com/9g5WJ47WU7
— NZ National Party (@NZNationalParty) June 25, 2018
But let’s analyse the detail. National is claiming that more workers have gone on strike OR indicated they may go on strike during this term than went on strike during the last Government’s term.
This is like saying because the number of homeless kids under this Government AND the number of kids who do not own Xboxes is greater than the number of homeless kids there were under the last Government things are getting worse.
Surely you say this cannot be true. Well Alex Braae at the Spinoff has looked at the figures and shown cases where threatened but called off strike action has not been included in National’s figures. He also identifies a strike that did occur, Junior Doctors in 2016, that has not been included in National’s analysis. So the analysis is sloppy as well as comparing different things.
This is the sort of thing that you say when you sacrifice all pretence to wanting the support of people who understand statistics and only want the support of people who hate unions.
But this is not an unfortunate lapse of concentration on the part of National. It appears to be a design feature.
Because National came out with this tweet yesterday.
Just 9 months ago, this Govt gave a "rock solid guarantee” there would be no national strikes. Yet here we are facing a nationwide nurses' strike next week. pic.twitter.com/H0dOv95bN6
— NZ National Party (@NZNationalParty) June 26, 2018
And Te Reo Putake had the perfect response.
You lying fucks. JA was talking about the new industry standards which specifically cannot be subject to industrial action. This bullshit is why you are in opposition and likely to remain there for years to come.
— Te Reo Putake (@tereoputake) June 26, 2018
TRP is dead right. The problem is that National’s use of the video is, to use that word you use when you want to say something even stronger, disingenuous.
Jacinda Ardern did not give a “rock solid guarantee” there would be no national strikes. She said there would be no national strikes as a result of the introduction of Labour’s proposed Fair Pay Agreement collective bargaining system. Here is the video if you need proof (at 59:05).
Labour has consistently said that strikes and lockouts will be banned during bargaining negotiations under the Fair Pay Agreement collective bargaining system.
The discussion actually went like this. The bolded words are the words that National trimmed from its video.
Hosking: In these one to two of these [negotiations] per year will you go back to seeing national strikes in an Industry
Ardern: No, no, we will not
Hosking: And that is a rock solid guarantee
Ardern: Yes, no we will not
National took Ardern’s comments out of context and actually shaved some of Mike Hosking’s words off to change completely the meaning of what was said.
And compare what was actually said to the contents of National’s tweet. National’s social media gurus have taken Jacinda’s comment totally out of context and then misrepresented it.
Maybe they are that stupid they truly did not understand. Maybe not.
So what sort of political discourse are we going to haven Aotearoa New Zealand? One where the right and the left throw ideas at each other and rely on the good sense of the community at large to determine who should be trusted? Or one where one side tells fibs and distorts?
Judging by National’s behaviour over the strike data the chances of an informed contest of ideas are not good.