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Slogan politics

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, June 20th, 2013 - 82 comments
Categories: economy, greens, political alternatives, vision - Tags: , , ,

We have an unfortunate tendency in New Zealand to reduce politics to dumb slogans. The “fart tax” was a classic example. The current case in point is “printing money”.

Last October the Greens put out a discussion document (contrary to some lazy headlines it was not a “policy”) on quantitative easing. The discussion that followed was sadly lacking, and pretty much amounted to the Nats screaming “printing money!” and “snake oil!” and trying to drum up hysteria. Good old-fashioned hippie punching as Gordon Campbell put it.

I’m not an economist and I have no strong opinion on quantitative easing. But noting that QE is being implemented by many countries, and recommended by the IMF and others, I assume that it can’t be an obviously loony approach. Russel Norman, who spearheaded the proposal, is no fool. As even Audrey Young concedes: “Dr Norman was already establishing his credentials as a highly credible economic spokesman”. That credibility should have brought the Greens a more rational discussion than they got.

So now the proposal has been dumped. This is variously described as a U-turn, or smart politics, depending on your side of the political spectrum. Maybe this is the correct decision, I really don’t know. But what I do know is that our fondness for slogan politics does New Zealand no favours. We should be open to serious discussion of radical sounding proposals. We are going to need some in the future.

82 comments on “Slogan politics ”

  1. Ad 1

    I agree.

    And yet, other than Stop Asset Sales, what are the rejoinder slogans? To me, complaining about the media sloganeering is a bit like complaining about the weather changing.

    From great long expository speeches to newspapers to television to emails to blogs to tweets, the first is generationally older and with more time for consideration, gradating to the last which is shortest and dumbest and most compressed.

    It’s simply the way it’s going. So someone on the good side better get better slogans.

    So he got beat. Norman will get up and fight.

    • Winston Smith 1.1

      Axe the tax… 😉

    • Jokerman 1.2

      You certainly can hitch the seed-drill and sow the ‘chard Swifter than any ol’ Joe Blogg Ad.

    • Agreed Ad. If you want to see smart and sassy this email by Teddy Goff about Obama’s campaign is interesting. I must admit I saw it on Slater’s site. I have washed it carefully and it is clean.

      The basic essence of the video is that politicans should not be lame with their messaging, especially in the days of social media. No matter how annoying and dishonest and destructive Key is to the country the one thing you can say about him is that his messaging is not lame.

      Video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-IWto8XTKY

  2. King Kong 2

    So the great Greens sellout has begun. Ginge and fatty must be pretty keen on the beemers.

    Next thing you know they will be travelling on planet killing planes, driving on polution encouraging roads and buying goods from the evil chinese…oh wait.

    • framu 2.1

      ” Ginge and fatty”
      grow the fuck up and stop it with the personal attacks

      • King Kong 2.1.1

        tell that to ginge

        • framu

          im talking to you – grow up!

          havent heard norman call key a long nosed jew or anything have we?

          • farmboy

            I think framu might be a fat redhead. Chin up dude only another 5 or so yrs of a great government, then you get your whingn ,limp wristed lot back, and I can sell me cows and move to a tony abbott government in aus

            • Jokerman

              where you will feel right at home; and to think Abbott was a ‘seminarian’; well Aussie digs what Aussie digs; mind the Angels won’t you, careful as you go son.

            • framu

              if you can get the back legs of a sheep out of your gumboots you might just make it into abbotts speedos

              your a farm boy so you obviously fuck sheep dont you?

              Nope, not a fat redhead – just sick of cock knockers like you and KK spouting absolutely offensive bollocks as a substitute for an argument.
              What if norman was african? would it be darkie and fatty?

              Unless of course you admitting that calling people fat and ginge is the best youve got?

        • Cemetery Jones

          King Kong 2.1.1
          20 June 2013 at 12:35 pm

          tell that to ginge

          Keen to hear you criticise Key over his ‘Devil Beast’ rant then.

  3. Populuxe1 3

    Twaddle. It has always been thus: “The New Deal” being a classic example. Hell, it goes back to the Romans, “Bread and Circuses”.

    Quantitative Easing has always been a last resort when the interest rate can’t be dropped any lower, and countries only do it in the direst need – the UK and the US because of the GEC, and Japan because the arse fell out of their economy in the 1990s, and yes, most economists view it as “printing money”





    There is no eveidence to suggest our economy is at the point where we need to do this yet – it also carries significant risks

    What we need is a new government, not Quantitative Easing

  4. Anne 4

    Good points Anthony but one qualifier… it’s not we, but they. Those of us who are left of centre are not the guilty party – it’s the right and their media sycophants. It’s dumb, it’s insulting and it descends to the lowest common denominator.

    I don’t suggest the left plumb such depths, but I do wish they would counter these memes. There seems to be a proven failed strategy (especially from Labour) that what is ignored will go away. That is head in the sand stuff.

    • dewithiel 4.1

      Quite. +1.

    • handle 4.2

      You wish WE would counter these memes, then. Not some faceless ‘they’.

      • Anne 4.2.1

        THEY are the left of centre politicians and their party strategists. THEY are not faceless. Everyone knows them. Are you trying to be smart handle?

        • handle

          You said “Those of us who are left of centre are not the guilty party”. Yet no one is making us put up with incompetent representatives, are they?

      • Anne 4.3.1

        … Conservatism may be the refuge of the dim. But the room for rightwing ideas is made by those too timid to properly object

        Self-deprecating, too liberal for their own good, today’s progressives stand back and watch, hands over their mouths, as the social vivisectionists of the right slice up a living society to see if its component parts can survive in isolation. Tied up in knots of reticence and self-doubt, they will not shout stop. Doing so requires an act of interruption, of presumption, for which they no longer possess a vocabulary.

        Take note Labour caucus and strategists.

        That is why we badly need David Cunliffe on the front bench. He understands and isn’t afraid to say the truth.

        Thanks for that DTB.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    The Greens didn’t have an effective public framing for the policy of QE, and they hadn’t lined up enough credible backers to say…this is something nz needs to at least talk about.

    The Greens have significant room to improve in other words.

    As for the Fart Tax – again highly effective framing from the right and the Feds. While the left tried to argue back using complexity, which is often required, but you also need the help of a good sharp catchy headline to the story you want to sell to the electorate.

    • s y d 5.1

      too many smarty pants trying to expalin the obvious…a cows arse is simply a meat chimney, emitting vileness into air and water…a four legged factory…

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Well yes, that’s pretty simple and clever. The imagery is certainly ummmm, striking. Want a job in the Leaders office?

  6. Tom Gould 6

    Maybe someone could tell Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that ‘printing money’ is a wacky, fruit-loop, far-left socialist plot? I guess John Key knows better than him, and the Wall Street bankers and business titans in the US who are begging him to keep the ‘stimulus’ going? What would they know, eh?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Jonkey used to work for one of the Primary Dealers. He knows exactly what the Fed, BoJ, BoE, ECB has been doing.

  7. tracey 7

    I dont know why Norman hasnt used the Uk and USA retort over QE, unless he has, an the MSM dont want to use it? I meanw ouldn’t Key look stupid if following the hippie funny money jibe the retort is tell that to the US and UK? Your mate Cameron?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Labour refuses to endorse the QE policy and the Greens are compromising as a result. Not a good trend for either the future of the Greens or for NZ.

      • Jokerman 7.1.1

        imho, it was a prudent decision to move on from the QE discussion, for now.
        Interestingly- “it’s a Labour-led government, it will be a Labour minister of finance”.- David Shearer.

        and, in a related groove, regarding Solid Energy paying 50K to Unsworth / Saunders to “smooth the message”, their counsel was that Cunliffe and Cosgrove were the “two most problematic” MPs to out-play. “A badge of honour” said Cosgrove. This assessment speaks volumes.

        • tracey

          David Shearer wouldn’t be finance minister…

          • Jokerman

            just a quote from DS tracey.

            • tracey

              I misread. Sorry I thought it was sayibg shearer wld be finance minister. Shearer wld do well to say wait and see. Labour needs to lose the self righteous sense of entitlement to top billing

              • Tom Gould

                It’s not about self-righteousness or entitlement. It is simply that the markets would go nuts at even the thought, so just like Norman over QE, they need to be pragmatic, whether they like it or not.

                • tracey

                  ridiculous, Uk and US are following the proposal Norman suggested

                  • Colonial Viper

                    And the markets are going nuts that Bernanke is even considering “tapering” off QE over there. Frankly our leaders are all idiots and have no idea what is already accepted as general practice out there by the banksters.

                    • felix

                      Or they know very well and are lying to us (!!)

                      Annoying idiots or evil fucks?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      …or the argument that QE only works in a deflationary economy is correct?

            • tracey

              I misread. Sorry I thought it was saying shearer wld be finance minister. Shearer wld do well to say wait and see. Labour needs to lose the self righteous sense of entitlement to top billing

        • Colonial Viper

          If I were the Greens I would sign a narrow confidence and supply with Labour and debate policies issue by issue; but would certainly NOT go into power with them. The long term risk to the Greens is way too high at this stage.

          Can the Green Party resist the baubles of Cabinet?

          • Te Reo Putake

            Winston would be thrilled with your idea, CV! LP/NZF Gov’t with Greens giving C&S. Same arrangement as the last Clark administration.

            But, actually, the Greens want to be in cabinet. And why shouldn’t they be? They’ve matured over the years, they have solid support and clear policies. They’re ready for Government.

            ps, just as an aside, are you still an LP member? And, if so, why?

            • Colonial Viper

              Winston would be thrilled with your idea, CV! LP/NZF Gov’t with Greens giving C&S. Same arrangement as the last Clark administration.

              I’m not interested in what Winston “would be thrilled with”, I’m interested in maximising the negotiating leverage of the Green Party, while ensuring they don’t fall into the Lame Lib Dems Nick Clegg Trap.

              BTW I would say that between NZF and Labour, they will hold approximately 42% – 44% of the party vote. You want to try and form a government on that, do you?

              EDIT just looking at the 2005 election results Helen Clark won just over 41% of the vote, Labour only. It’s going to be very very different in 2014 and the points you bring up about a replay of that scenario are, for that reason – unlikely.

              But, actually, the Greens want to be in cabinet. And why shouldn’t they be? They’ve matured over the years, they have solid support and clear policies. They’re ready for Government.

              Nothing about my argument is related to being “ready (or not) for Government”.

              ps, just as an aside, are you still an LP member? And, if so, why?

              Does Labour currently stand for the political economics that I think NZ needs? No, certainly not. However I am very supportive of some members of the Labour caucus.

              I am disappointed however that eg. with the abandonment of the income tax free threshold for low earners, that Labour seems determined to be a centrist party of the middle class.

              Now let me ask you the exact same question – why are you still a Labour Party member, esp given the current leadership of the party?

              • Te Reo Putake

                Ha! Answer my question and I’ll answer yours.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I did answer your question above – I remain a member because I am very supportive of, and have faith in, several of the current Labour MPs.

                  Now your turn.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    Because the LP remains the party of working class New Zealand, despite some of the MP’s and the uninspiring leadership. And good or otherwise, I won’t be sulking, I’ll be knocking on doors, erecting the signage and do whatever it takes to change this Government.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Because the LP remains the party of working class New Zealand

                      How do you justify that statement, other than historically? I do talk to a lot of “working class NZers” who once were Labour supporters in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Many of them wonder why their party left them, in fact.

                      As far as I can see, the NZLP today is an economically centrist while socially liberal party.

                      By that I mean that it is dedicated to ensuring a reasonable and moderate balance between the interests of large corporations, well off middle class NZers and the working class.

                      And that this is done within a highly orthodox economic and monetary framework, using an ideology of ‘market mechanisms’ and ‘light touch’ regulation where at all possible.

                    • felix

                      Today’s working class New Zealand can’t really be said to have a party, certainly not one they own in the sense that Labour once was.

                      Today’s working class is politically disengaged and disconnected, too busy struggling to keep up with capitalist culture to struggle against it.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Today’s working class is politically disengaged and disconnected, too busy struggling to keep up with capitalist culture to struggle against it.


          • DavidC

            I wonder if Labour would not tell the Greens to fuck off yet again and form a minority left govt with WinsonFirst.

            That is assuming things track around where they are and Nats ends up mid 40’s but no dance partners.

            • Anne

              To be fair David C the reason Labour had to tell the Greens to fuck off was all to do with the numbers game. In other words, the voters (in their infinite wisdom – sniff) didn’t give the Greens a sufficient number of MPs in 2005 to offset NZ First.Winston refused to work with the Greens and since Labour needed NZ First MPs to be able to form a viable government, they had no choice but to walk away from the Greens.

              I’m not sure they did the right thing but that was the way they saw it at the time.

              • DavidC

                Greens/UF/MP would have given Clark the numbers. But yes She gave Winny the baubles and sent him on a 3 year jaunt on the tax payers tit never to be seen again.

                • Colonial Viper


                  Please tell us all how you were going to convince Turia to support Helen Clark in 2005. Labour couldn’t figure it out but apparently you did?

                • felix

                  Bullshit DavidC, Dunne also refused to sit at the cabinet table with the Greens.

                • tracey

                  like it or not, want the thaw with the US or not, Winston was in a large way responsible for the crowing the Nats now do about our relationship with the US

  8. Sosoo 8

    They wouldn’t do it if hoi polloi didn’t fall for it time after time.

  9. Anne 9

    You might be right tracey. The ‘left’ has retorted but the MSM choose not to highlight it – they are deeply embedded in Tory pockets and have to be careful not to ruffle the feathers that feed them.

    Even so, CV is right. The left are often wanting when it comes to the framing of their public announcements. They seem to cling to the belief that the general public will understand them. They may have years ago… but so many of them have been too dumbed down now to be logical about anything. The left need to line up well known ‘experts’ in advance, so that they can give credibility to their policy platforms as they are released.

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    Clever framing worked well with “marriage equality” rather than “gay marriage”, Mana has done well too with “Stop the war on the poor” and “Feed the Kids”.

    The right are in it for keeps and the left have to be likewise or suffer further. Which is why we should say “Down with Brown. Minto for Mayor.” The right may have several Super city candidates and Lenslide has been captured so go for it. Millions around the world are at the moment.

    • Rosetinted 10.1

      Tiger M
      Would he (or commercial interests) object if the slogan was used – ‘It’s Moments like these you need Minto’.

      • Tiger Mountain 10.1.1

        Think it was used during ’81 tour, certainly the cops named their batons “Minto Bars” and artists against apartheid like Pat Hanley used the Mintie (Minto) Sweet wrapper on placards and banners. Prob too dated for younger voters but who knows. John has a good media presentation these days that is for sure.

        • felix

          “Prob too dated for younger voters”

          And for our Prime Minister who would have no idea what you’re talking about. Honest.

  11. Rosetinted 11

    The left are often wanting when it comes to the framing of their public announcements.
    Dead philosopher once said –
    Advice is seldom welcome and those most in want, want it the least.

  12. Enough is Enough 12

    The slogan, or repated phrase, that I detest is:

    “John Key and his rich mates”

    It is quite clear that such a tool would have no mates.

    • Rosetinted 12.1

      Dead philosopher once said: Birds of a feather fly together.
      If he has rich mates he must have money too, and they are all tools together.
      If he had poor mates then there would be a different dynamic.

  13. Macro 13

    The slogan “fart tax” was a most “effective” and stupid non-think campaign which effectively demolished any hope of NZ adopting a sensible policy to control the burning of fossil fuels. Well done by those who introduced that slogan and may you rot in hell.

    • UglyTruth 13.1

      effectively demolished any hope of NZ adopting a sensible policy to control the burning of fossil fuels

      No harm, no foul.

  14. Jokerman 14

    The Clash (with Joe Strummer) knew the power of the SLOGAN and lettering.

  15. aerobubble 15

    Key doesn’t know why QE would be bad, US is doing it
    and so he’s too weak to speak out against the QE in the US yet
    somehow the media manages to make him look like he knows
    something, the QE is bad for NZ.

    Now sure QE could potentially crash the debt binge in the NZ economy
    and Key would not want to draw attention to Key’s lack of attention to
    the private debt bubble, and the huge run up of govt debt under his watch,
    and how he bailed out the top of end of town by given them tax relief
    while raising taxes on everyone (GST).

    But hey, Key has the economic media delusion to thank for his poll ratings.

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    The biggest mistake The Greens made about the government printing money was that they put it in perspective of Quantitative Easing. That’s not what’s needed as we really don’t need more money – we need our resources to be fully utilised (within sustainable limits). The government creating money and spending it directly into the economy would actually achieve that which the tax cuts for the rich that National gave out hadn’t. And because it wouldn’t have interest on it it would actually be far cheaper than the governments borrowing.

    The left parties need to be more vocal about how money is created as well. This would lay a good foundation for changing the monetary system.

  17. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 17

    Social Justice!

    Living Wage!

    Tax Cuts for the Rich!

    • BM 17.1

      Class war!

      Manufacturing Crisis!

      War on the poor!

      Democracy under attack!

      • felix 17.1.1

        Oh what short memories.

      • mickysavage 17.1.2

        Um “Democracy under attack” was the stupid right wing slogan when Labour tried to stop the rich from having too much say in elections.

        If that was an attack on free speech it is nothing like what is happening now.

  18. pollywog 18

    Show me the monkey !!!

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      You can’t use a racist slur like that! wash your mouth out with soap! 😎

  19. Binders full of women 19

    i reckon that QE is the slogan and money printing is closest to the truth.. certainly easier for this Joe Schmoe to get my head around. My personal peeves are our tendency to put -gate on the end of anything and everything… it’s lacking lately though.. Dunnegate, Clintgate, Printgate, Leakgate, were all possibilities- and other pet peeve is ‘tory’. And i suppose MSM.. are there any Ms in NZ that aren’t MS?

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