- Date published:
8:03 am, July 18th, 2019 - 98 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, greens, julie anne genter, making shit up, national, same old national, spin, transport, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: stacey kirk
I must admit always having major reservations about Stacey Kirk’s commentary. It is probably because I cannot recall the last time that I agreed with something she said. Critical analysts will annoy me occasionally, anti left partisan analysts will annoy me all of the time.
Her latest article is more annoying than many. Basically because she engages in no analysis whatsoever of the merits or otherwise of a policy but celebrates National’s rather disingenuous attacks and then criticises Julie Anne Genter for trying to counter National’s spin with reality.
The background is the Government’s announced proposal to make the country’s vehicle fleet more fuel efficient. The proposal is intended to be fiscally neutral. This means importing fuel efficient cars will be cheaper and importing fuel inefficient cars will be more expensive.
The motivation? If we are going to be carbon neutral by 2050 we will need to stop the introduction of petrol fuelled vehicles by 2030. And we may as well start now improving the fuel efficiency of the fleet.
National went to town on the issue and issued a whole lot of graphics like these:
The basic problems with these ads are they are disingenuous to the point of being dishonest. Only cars in the process of being imported would be subject to the tax, poorer kiwis tend to buy locally sourced cars and will therefore not be affected, and the more fuel efficient cars will mean less petrol tax is paid so the change could be fiscally neutral or even positive.
So what does the Government do to this sort of spin? Sit back and do nothing or respond and point out case by case why what National is saying is crap?
Julie Anne Genter chose the latter course.
But Kirk thought this was a tactical failure because the Government had not anticipated that the opposition would tell these particular lies about the policy.
It seems that for all the planning that took place to announce it with maximum coverage, apparently far less thought was given to how to defend it.
This has left Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter seemingly with no other choice but to stoically dive deep into the heart of Opposition online territory as the last bastion of defence against misplaced skepticism of Government policy.
These facebook messages are offered as proof:
Genter’s comments were made in response to Bidois’s claim that “Labour’s Car Tax will make some of NZ’s most popular cars even more expensive. But Minister Julie Anne Genter MP reckons it’s just a “small fee.””
Kirk then says this:
The issue for Genter is she’s not up against a relative newby to the transport portfolio.
She’s up against Simon Bridges on this one. He’s a former transport minister who knows exactly what he’s doing, and one whom the Government can’t credibly argue is opposed to electric vehicles either.
I am not sure that Bridges knows what he is doing. For instance yesterday he showed he does not understand the difference between new capital projects and maintaining existing projects:
If by defending the policy Kirk means imagining how dishonest the opposition may be in presenting the policy and then having an immediate response Kirk may have a point. But if she thinks that the media’s job is just to comment on the optics and ignore what should be its basic job and that is analyse the facts she should rethink this.
Joshua Drummond has a phrase for this sort of misinformation and calls it shit speech. His definition is:
Shit speech is the stuff that might not necessarily be described as hate speech, but it occupies much of the same spectrum. It’s speech that presses the buttons of prejudice, bigotry and outrage, but isn’t necessarily hateful per se; that isn’t (always) lies, but is most often inaccurate, skewed, or otherwise misleading. It’s the floating turd in gutter journalism.
The media’s job ought to be to analyse what politicians of all shades say, tell us when they are saying porkies and criticise them for doing so rather than others having to defend perfectly reasonable policies against outrageously disingenuous presentation of those policies.
Well done Julie Anne. Shame on you National and Kirk.