The Greens’ billboards, too good?

Written By: - Date published: 4:50 pm, September 7th, 2008 - 86 comments
Categories: greens - Tags:

Green Billboard

I’m impressed with the Green’s new billboard campaign and I’m pretty certain it’ll work as it is clean and effective marketing and reminds me of the best work that was coming out of Saatchi when they were at the peak of their powers.

One thing about the billboards disquiets me however, and that is that they are too brand aware. It’s an old saw of mine that the political process is becoming too commodified. That politics is being treated too much like an exercise in marketing a product that is related to the voter only in terms of their “purchase” in the polling booth.

The effect of this style of politics is that it treats voters like consumers and consequently disengages voters from partaking in the political process.

As ‘Sod pointed out in his “Brand Key” post this method of engaging voters is extremely effective but unlike ‘Sod I don’t like the implications it has for our democracy and it makes me uncomfortable to see the Greens indulging in it (especially as they have done it so well).

Call me old-fashioned but I don’t believe political participation should begin and end in the polling booth and I think that this kind of marketing works to enforce the idea that it does.

That’s why I’m pleased to see a group like Vote with Both Eyes Open appearing on the scene: it aims to take political action back from the spin doctors and admen and put it in the hands of citizens. I highly recommend people from the left sign up and get involved and if you’re from the right then you might want to consider starting your own version. After all, this democracy is supposed to belong to all of us.

86 comments on “The Greens’ billboards, too good? ”

  1. IrishBill: It’s polite to include an <a href… link when you use an image off someone else’s blog (http://www.policy.net.nz/images/GRN003_Girl.png) and by definition their bandwidth.

    IrishBill says: sorry about that Bryan. We seem to have a problem with our server that is stopping us uploading our own images so I just grabbed yours. I’ll link it through.

  2. “One thing about the billboards disquiets me however, and that is that they are too brand aware. It’s an old saw of mine that the political process is becoming too commodified. That politics is being treated too much like an exercise in marketing a product that is related to the voter only in terms of their “purchase’ in the polling booth.

    The effect of this style of politics is that it treats voters like consumers and consequently disengages voters from partaking in the political process.”

    Agree but that kinda ignores the reality of politics doesn’t it ???

  3. No probs, I wouldn’t wish server problems on anyone.

  4. IrishBill 4

    Tell me about it, we’ve also lost out blog roll and our tags. I’m hoping Lynn has some time free soon.

    [lprent: Fixed after I got back from yet another campaign planning meeting. Backups jammed.]

  5. Lord Hyperbole 5

    I hope that young child has suitable adult supervision near by? Dangerous near the water without a life jacket? Holy Hell what’s the country coming too?

  6. Bill 6

    Aw c’mon.

    The economy is going to tank. Solution. Buy stuff.

    You want a bride? Buy one.

    Not very happy? Buy something.

    Feel hopeless? Get some buying power.

    And while your at it, why not buy in to the wonderful world of representative democracy. It’s a bargain! Nothing down. No interest for for life. And don’t miss our five dead fish offer if you sign up and give away genuine democratic aspirations within the next 30 days.

    Hallelujah, our saviours have a new colour, a better colour, a colour of life.

    I’m buying. You buying? It’s cheap and hey, what could possibly go wrong?

  7. Tim Ellis 7

    This is very interesting Irish. I sometimes wonder about how much the political message gets massaged and manipulated by the ad people too and how sanitising the result becomes. I wonder how much damage this stuff does to the party brand.

    I don’t know much about marketing, but I’m surprised that the Greens would put out a billboard with no green coloured logo. I would have thought that would be pretty fundamental to the Green’s brand.

    I don’t know how this advertising design process goes, but in my head I imagine somebody deciding on a theme of nice, heartstring-pulling pictures with variations of “Vote for me, Party Vote Green”. Then somebody else goes off and comes up with pictures like this one, of a cute kid off Mission Bay. Then the graphic designer comes in and whacks the message in there, and finds that you can’t get the contrast to make the thing readable if the word “green” is actually coloured green, so decides to turn it white.

    Like I say I’m not an expert by any means, but I think making it white dilutes from the Green’s message. Can you imagine a Labour Party billboard with no red? Or a National Party billboard with no blue?

    The first national party billboard annoyed me because there seemed to be far too many design features crammed into the space, and they detracted from each other. The logo was too small. I imagine a graphic designer sitting in the room saying: “No, you can’t make it bigger! It won’t look as pretty!”, ignoring the point that the main point of a billboard is to advertise the party’s brand.

    I’ve had some other National Party material in the post as well. Brochures from candidates, for example, where it looks as if the graphic designer has taken the text that the copywriter has put in, and the two experts haven’t talked to each other: the logos are tiny and the text is so small as to make it almost unreadable. It might look pretty if you’re not expecting people to read it, but from a layman’s perspective it doesn’t seem to effectively get the whole message across.

  8. outofbed 8

    Why does the second link link back to “sods” post ?
    I think you will find that the Greens also believe that the political process doesn’t begin and end in the polling booth.
    However I think the the Greens campaign of getting people to think about climate change and their Children’s ,future very much helps this.
    I have noticed a huge increase in participation in local environmental groups here in Nelson. People are getting much more involved. It is very good to see And if these GP billboards get more people thinking hard about the things that really matter, more power to their elbow methinks.

  9. IrishBill 9

    oob, I know full well that the Greens believe in participatory democracy and as you know I am a Green supporter. But I was a little disconcerted about this billboard campaign as they have no reference to policy in them at all. I know the Greens need to play the game to get influence and achieve outcomes but at what point does playing the game come at the cost of your core beliefs? I don’t think these billboards are anywhere close to that line and I still endorse the greens but you of all people should know this is a tension that has run deep in the party for some time.

  10. jaymam 10

    Here’s the National billboard in Fanshawe St.
    There’s so much wrong with it. What a cheap site – the sun reflects off it so the writing is all washed out, and the shadow from the tree makes it look like it is saying “Wave goodbye… to your loved ones”.
    And it’s impossible to take the photo without that No Right Turn sign in the way.

    http://i34.tinypic.com/atd1s.jpg

  11. Vote with Both Eyes Open

    Que?

  12. Hmmm. I kind of agree with Irishbill. The problem with the last couple of elections was that the billboards had too much policy on them – they didn’t convey information very well at all.

    Of course I’m biased, but I think there are two potential problems here. The first is that they risk taking their approach to the (talking heads) debate away from the issues. Considering that they have a huge amount coded into them, and the simplicity begs us to ask what further policy they have, I don’t think that is too much of a risk. I think they’re still very policy gain focused, and a couple of billboards won’t risk that.

    The second is that if these are successful in the longer term they’ll direct more of their attention to marketing and the game. Slightly more likely.

    If anything, if it means Russel talks less about issues of concern to the “safe food and rivers” demographic and casts wider, it’ll be a good thing.

  13. outofbed 14

    At what point does playing the game come at the cost of your core beliefs?

    Ah yes that is indeed the question, probably as many different answers as there are Green party members.:-)
    Speaking for myself, just barely creeping over the 5% threshold is the point where it makes me think that we should play the “game” just that little bit better, The 5 Green MP’s punch far above their weight in parliament however. much is needed to be done and increasing our participation to achieve outcomes is surely our biggest aim. I don’t think we will cross that line of selling out our core beliefs to achieve that, but as you say there is robust debate in the GP as to that cost.
    As long as we remember and reference the four guiding principles that all Green parties adhere to
    we should be ok 🙂

    Ecological sustainability is paramount

    The just distribution of social and natural resources

    Decision making at the appropriate level by those affected.

    Non-violent conflict resolution

  14. weka 15

    *But I was a little disconcerted about this billboard campaign as they have no reference to policy in them at all*

    Wasn’t that a problem at the last election though, that the billboards focussed on policy too much and so the message was missed by people driving?

    I hear what you are saying, but the Greens are damned if they do (too commercial) and damned if they don’t (criticised for needing better ad campaigns). I for one am very happy that these billboards are so good.

    And presumably there will be other ways that the Greens are communicating policy. These billboards say ‘this is what it comes down too’.

    Does anyone know what the writing in the bottom corner is?

  15. outofbed 16

    authorisation statement

  16. John 17

    These ads are great. They focus on people. Something the National ads don’t do, but that is not a surprise. For the Nats its not about people it is about marketing terms like Labour Plus punters.

    Still I’ll be sticking with Labour with my votes this time.

  17. Anita 18

    I have mixed feelings about the Green’s billboards.

    On the one hand they’re beautiful and clean, on the other white-on-light… how will they be looking in eight weeks?

    On the one hand they’re a great use of a symbol, on the other there’s no content. I would hate to see the Greens become all about symbolism and lose their focus on content and detail.

    I’m kinda hoping that these are the symbols of the campaign, and the detail will come out in other forms. So these billboards become the frames of a content packed campaign.

    Fingers and toes crossed 🙂

  18. Anita 19

    Epic apostrophe fail!

    I miss edit 🙁

  19. Lord Hyperbole 20

    I hope the boards on the jetty don’t fail Anita as that young girl might fall into the water and drown without a life jacket on . We are an Island and the road toll is down but people are fleeing this psychotic bad dream country by the thousands.

  20. Anita 21

    Lord Hyperbole,

    I hope the boards on the jetty don’t fail Anita as that young girl might fall

    Me too.

    Um….

  21. Anita 22

    Yay! You (the inanimate non collective nonsentient entity) are back. I missed you 🙂

    [lprent: A little database glitch. Backups had jammed up and the space was filling up. ]

  22. Lord Hyperbole 23

    A glitch a day keeps Helen at play.
    [lprent: You’re looking to me like a troll. Lift your Standard or leave. So far I haven’t seen anything useful in any of your comments. ]

  23. Baron bombast 24

    Winston the glitch.

    Has a certain ring about it

  24. These billboards are brilliant!

  25. rave 26

    The wharfs OK as Mum and Dad would have checked it out already.
    The message is great. We can see Rangitoto above the waves, the child is on dry land (sort of). If it were a National poster the child would be drowning pulled down by market turbulence. Labour would have the child swimming in waterwings with a fully funded instructor and life guard and ACC assessor standing by.

  26. Once again, I have to agree with The Standard…

    The billboards show just how much the Green Party is becoming just another bland, apolitical, PR-controlled organisation. They are trying to sell their “brand” in the same way that a marketer sells coca cola or Pepsi.

    This should illustrate just how pragmatic the Greens have become. They want to be “all things to all people” and are being ultra-careful not to alienate anyone by actually talking about politics or policy.

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

    [lprent: You mean you agree with Irish (who wrote the post)? I’d hate to think that you were agreeing with a rather stupid php program. It wouldn’t say nice things about your intellectual level…. ]

  27. The Green campaign makes sense in context:

    1. The media won’t allow a substantive debate on issues dear to Greens. They are too busy chasing Winston Peters and other irrelevancies to the REAL decisions we all need to make…..and coincidentally pursuing the National Party agenda for getting rid of Peters…by using proxies, as they did with respect to MMP in 1993.

    2. Most of the public isn’t interested in detailed discussions and many of those who might be just don’t have the time.

    But you have an election fight….so what do you do?

    You do this….and do it well.

  28. IrishBill 29

    I never said that, Bryce. There needs to be a degree of pragmatism in politics or nothing gets done. I see the greens’ campaign as flirting with the commodification of politics but they are still an organisation connected to its roots.

  29. Peter 30

    WTF are some of you people talking about?

    The Green Party creates a bilboard that has a simple, straightforward clean clear message. And suddenly people are suggesting it’s a sign that they may lost of direction and becomce driven by PR?

    Get a grip.

    What would you have them do, post up screeds of policy statements for people to peruse on their way to work at 100ks an hour?

    It’s a freaking bilboard.

    And pretty well sums up why I would vote green. A vote for the future rather than the immediacy of the ‘me, now’ mentality of last moment election bribary.

    Vote for something more important than yourself.

    Sums it up pretty well for me.

    And sure, it’s emotional, but name me something that’s REALLY important that doesn’t have an emotional attachment when you consider it.

    In your mind would incompetant marketing be a good sign for a political party?

    Who’s being superficial now?

  30. burt 31

    IrishBill

    It’s not often I agree with you. But this is on the money.

    I’m impressed with the Green’s new billboard campaign and I’m pretty certain it’ll work..

    I stopped reading after you started the denigration of National.

  31. Felix 32

    burt are you sure you’re on the right post? Or are you back on the pipe?

  32. Draco TB 33

    Bryce:

    The billboards show just how much the Green Party is becoming just another bland, apolitical, PR-controlled organisation. They are trying to sell their “brand’ in the same way that a marketer sells coca cola or Pepsi.

    They do need to get noticed and having a billboard full of policy detail won’t do that whereas these probably will. The art in using such billboards would be how they’re backed up by policy discussion in the media and on the internet etc. If these billboards do get people looking at the Greens policy and if that policy is well communicated then we end up with a more informed populace which can’t be bad for our democracy.

    That said – I find that these billboards are a bit of a turn off. They don’t communicate to me at all. Hopefully the rave reviews of them in the media et al are more representative of the populace over all and that people are looking at the Greens Policy.

    Hyper:

    I hope the boards on the jetty don’t fail Anita as that young girl might fall into the water and drown without a life jacket on .

    Anita:

    Me too.

    You’re both assuming that she’s actually at the beach rather than standing in front of a blue screen. I know digital artists and their tools are getting better but that photo looks completely fake to me.

  33. T-rex 34

    I’m with Peter.

    While I very much agree that dumbing down politics is bad, that is not what the greens are doing. They are making their core message clear, clean, and simple. That is a bloody great thing, both for the vote it is likely to get them AND for the fact that it makes it clear what they stand for.

    Dumbing down politics happens when parties hide their policies behind a non-threatening/dog-whistling brand. You still get to have the policies, but people don’t look at them because you wave something shiny for them to go after instead.

    Not what’s happening here. The brand the Greens are pushing is an embodiment of their policy, not a distraction from it. Successful may it be!

    To clarify what I mean:

    National Billboard: “More doctors and nurses, less [sic] beurecrats”
    Implicit message: Better healthcare by focussing on what’s ‘important’.
    National Policy Reality: Less funding, privatisation, worse healthcare, far worse healthcare access.

    Green Billboard: “Vote for me (Children)”
    Implicit message: Vote to allow your children to grow up in a nicer world than the one you started with. Don’t create problems and lump them with finding a solution.
    Green Policy Reality: Exactly that – fix the problems of previous and current generations. Clean up environment. Create sustainable economies. etc.

    The Greens learning to play the branding game without selling out their values in the process is the best thing I’ve seen come out of this years election leadup so far.

  34. G 35

    National Billboard: “More doctors and nurses, less [sic] beurecrats'[sic]

    Too funny. 🙂

  35. T-rex 36

    Beaurecrats is one of those words I can never spell (see, I know that one’s wrong as well), but I conceed that was one of my worse attempts.

    I didn’t even proof read that first one: might not be able to spell it, but do know it’s got two a’s in it.

    ‘course, I’m posting on a blog. Were I printing off a 6m wide billboard I’d use a spellchecker. There’s making mistakes, and then there’s spending thousands of dollars to advertise them.

    I have to say I’m unaffected by the billboards though. I already thought National were largely incompetent – flawed grammar doesn’t really change my opinion of them at all.

  36. Stephen 37

    Has anyone thought about how they’d view these “awesome” Green billboards if instead of the Green logo, they had ACT or National on them? I would expect quite a lot of sneering…

  37. bill brown 38

    Stephen,

    See T-Rex’s comment here:

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2960#comment-85668

    and work it out for yourself.

  38. Phil 39

    The objective of most advertising today is not to ‘sell’ anything directly, but to build awareness of a brand. The Greens (despite my fervent hope they sink without a trace come election day) have nailed exactly what a billboard is supposed to be – very well done.

  39. You’ve got it wrong Irish – I never said the brand approach was a good thing I said it was the appropriate response for the current cultural condition.

    The Greens have done bloody well with these billboards and like Phil says (probably the first time I’ve ever agreed with him and hopefully the last) this is exactly what billboards are for.

  40. GMan 41

    It’s nice and all, but I have an irresitable urge to push that girl off the jetty and straight in the drink. 😀

  41. outofbed 42

    It makes me have an irresitable urge to Paty Vote Green

  42. Bill 43

    So the Green Billboards convey the core values of the Greens. And they do that effectively (emotive without being sentimental).

    How many ’rounds’ of billboards are to be expected? I mean, would a second series be expected or is that it? If a second series hones into specific policies, then I’d say they’ve nailed that aspect of campaigning pretty well.

    Now if they could get the media coverage on other substantive day to day issues, rather than being wheeled out for a sound bite on environmental issues…

  43. Matthew Pilott 44

    Stephen – it depends on whether anyone believed National policy would help children. Hmm, there was something about involuntary boot camps, and a general impression that National thnik they’re all taggers. Oh yeah, they want to adjust zoning so rich kids can go to nice schools. Yep, I’d sure be sneering.

    So, have the Greens ‘sold out’? Basically, you have to look at what a billboard is for. It’s not an effective method of communicating a detailed message at all – so if any of you think they’ve sold out because of this billboard, you’re wrong, it is because they’ve used billboards per se. It’s not as if they can put their manifesto on a billboard just to satisfy you lot – no one else would take a second glance!

    Then you’re arguing that using a fairly traditional method of communicating a simple concept, and effective means of raising awareness, is selling out. I don’t think so.

    Interesting variety of opinions though.

  44. Stephen 45

    Matthew – yeah ‘it depends’ is right…but I guess that’s the point, they’re targetting people who already have at least a semi-favourable opinion of the Greens with this, rather than trying to convince anyone with an unfavourable opinion with ‘policy’.

  45. Stephen – read my piece on “brand key” (Irish linked to it in this post) and pay particular attention to teh analogy I draw with the marketing of Coke.

    You don’t lure voters with policy as well as you do with branding and IMHO this billboard will do exactly that. It’s not targeting people who read and analyse policy it’s targeting people who consume ideas through associative narratives – people will look at these billboards and feel that they represent a halcyon narrative of New Zealand they identify with (ironically, not one that is based on their own everyday lives). A fair few of them will associate the green brand to this narrative and cast their votes simply because they feel this is a brand that best fits their own. Or rather, what they wish their own to be.

  46. Stephen 47

    Zigactly! I think my above post wasn’t too original in the context of this thread, but I just thought ‘screw it!’

    I don’t really like it, but it’ll work.

  47. randal 48

    if thats the case then why dont ‘we’ set up re-education camps and force people to read the history of all the party’s and their manifesto’s, have a compulsory 3month digestion programme and then vote?

  48. Rocket Boy 49

    Nice, simple and effective. Says a vote for The Greens is a vote for the next generation and vote a for the well being of your children.

    Of course this is reducing the Green message to a ‘brand’ but this is a billboard, you have 0.5 seconds to read it and get the message.

    I thought that the Greens media at the last election was below par, their TV ads in particular were appalling. I hope that this election that they are more polished and professional, there are plenty of young, environmentally conscious film makers out there so lets hope we see some of that drive, passion and creativity from The Greens during the election campaign.

    Also nice to see a picture of a person in The Greens billboard ad, if politics is not about people what is it about? Compare that to the National Party’s cartoons and slogans.

  49. Randal – 1987-1990 was the last time the major parties published detailed manifestos. Then they realised they’d be held accountable, and pre-election policy discussion should be confined to soundbites, slogans, and pledge cards. (not to say they didn’t actually have policies of course)

  50. Edosan 51

    I think these billboards are great, remember that they are not the only part of the campaign. If anything should have less substance it’s the bit that people quickly drive by.

  51. Tane 52

    George: http://www.labour.org.nz/policy/manifesto_2005.html

    220 pages by my count.

    I understand why you might have issues with Labour, I have them myself. But they do at least tell the voters what they stand for.

  52. Crank 53

    I wonder if the little girl in the ad realises that if the Greens had their way she would be wearing a hemp sack and living in a cave.

  53. Crank and if the Right had their way, she would be too busy working in a factory for this pic.

  54. Felix 55

    With you, crank?

  55. If the right had their way, she would be learning about personal responsibility at school, and that the government doesn’t owe anyone a living, you owe yourself.

    What did JFK say?

    Ask, not what your country can do you for, but what you can do for your country?

    That is what the left USE to be about.

  56. randal 57

    if the right had their way it would be her CHOICE to go to university or become a sex slave in the arabian gulf!

  57. higherstandard 58

    Randal – Even though this thread has become fatuous in the extreme, you’ve reached a new low.

  58. Billy 59

    randal, aren’t you banned?

  59. higherstandard 60

    Billy – you should know better.

    To be banned you have to fulfil both of the following criteria.

    1. Be perceived as being to the right of the political spectrum
    2. Perform a misdemeanour

    IrishBill says: I banned Randal for two days. I have also banned the ‘sod a couple of times. You’re from the right. Have I ever banned you? I think you should reassess your prejudice in light of the evidence.

    [lprent: hs: The criteria is behavior on this site, there are a number of things that will raise the ire of the moderators.

    Foremost of course is to attack the site (ie attack me) or to attack the writers at a personal level (which attacks the site). Those cause some very long bans or outright total bans and generally without bothering to warn, because that is really impolite and shows a seriously bad set of social behavior. I prefer to keep writers over commentators.

    For lesser behaviors that don’t add to the comments, we’ll usually warn, and usually put in lesser bans as required. Some ignore warnings from the moderators and get bans. ‘sod, Randal, and a few others tend to be the only ones on the ‘left’ who ignore gentle warnings occasionally, and pick up a ban.

    Yes, it appears that the ‘right’ commentators often value the continued running of the site less than the ‘left’ because they try to trash the comment stream more without adding anything of significant value. They also seem to be intent on disruption because they seldom read the warnings of the moderators. The modus operandi seems to be to write inflammatory comments and never look to see what response they get.

    That could have something to do with the avowed intent of the site expressed in our About. For some reason some people can’t abide having a effective voice of the labour movement on the web. Thats fine, because I don’t like having ineffective voices of the right here either. You should be able to argue coherently and with other people on the site.

    The smart ones learn – notably BDTR who actually looked to see what daft words and silly phrases I had in the auto-moderation list.

    The more socially inept (defined as stupid) find out about our “evolution in action” attitudes. ]

  60. Tim Ellis 61

    That is interesting Tane, but I can’t find Labour’s 2008 manifesto anywhere. Do you know where it is? If they haven’t released it, why not? Where are the policy documents that Labour is releasing for the 2008 election? I haven’t seen them either.

    I don’t think Labour can credibly argue that National is devoid of policy when it has made 25 policy releases this year so far against zero from the Labour Party, and has far more policy material on its website from both 2005 and 2008 than Labour has ever had. I know you’re not a spokesperson for the labour party Tane, but in light of this how credible do you think Labour’s attacks on National for not releasing policy are?

  61. Billy 62

    OK, randal, I see you’re time is up:

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2943#comment-85355

    I look forward to more of your thoughtful comments.

  62. insider 63

    You want sotty nosed kids in barefeet and hand knits running the country? VOte Green. Putting the village into global since 199mumble.

  63. Vanilla Eis 64

    Tim: 25 policy releases? You’re not confused with 25 bullet-points of policy perhaps?

    I really don’t remember 25 releases this year, if you could link me to say… fifteen of them then I’d take your word on the last ten.

    And it is said time and again that Labour are actually enacting their policy plans, right now. If you want to know roughly what they’d do next year if they were in power then read the budget – I gather it’s fairly hefty.

  64. Vanilla Eis 65

    Billy: “You’re time is up” – ‘Sod would hide his face in shame.

  65. Tane 66

    Tim. I understand Labour are currently working on their manifesto. It’ll be out, just as it is every election.

    I’m not a Labour Party member, or even a Labour voter, so I can’t speak for them. But I think National’s line that Labour has no policy is absurd on the face of it – what on earth do you think all this urgency over the Emissions Trading Scheme has been for? What’s that Real Estate Bill that passed the other day? Didn’t they just pass a meal breaks and breastfeeding amendment into the ERA? And close a loophole in Kiwisaver?

    The point is when you’re governing you’re issuing policy all the time. People know what Labour stands for – they’ve spent the last nine years delivering policy, they’re delivering policy right now, and they’ll no doubt have a detailed manifesto full of policies going into the election.

    National, on the other hand, has a few pages of bullet points and a strategic vacuousness to hide their true agenda. People simply don’t know what they stand for, and I strongly believe that’s the way National wants it to be.

  66. Lampie 67

    The billboards show just how much the Green Party is becoming just another bland, apolitical, PR-controlled organisation. They are trying to sell their “brand’ in the same way that a marketer sells coca cola or Pepsi.

    Disagree, name any organisation, Greenpeace, World Vision, churches, etc, etc. They are all “brands”. Not all “brands” are a commericial goal entity. In fact, these billboards are a fraction of the marketing process that any organisation uses and they all do.

    Question to the above, “what is The Standard 2.01 then?

    [lprent: The name of a 1930’s/40’s labour movement newspaper. It saved time thinking about a banner if we could just flog it and add a “version 2” to it. The 2.01 was because I’m a programmer and I always increment version numbers.

    Of course it was pretty easy to roll TheStandard off the tongue when telling people the URL – pity that most kiwi’s don’t know that there is a org.nz.

    Brand – well I guess it is these days – it is consistently the biggest search phrase used to find the site.]

  67. Muldoon Magic 68

    [deleted]
    [lprent: goodbye Rob.]

  68. Billy 69

    VE,

    Oh no. What horror. That’s twice in two weeks. I may just have to accept the fact that I am not as clever as I think I am.

  69. Tim Ellis 70

    Tim have a look at them at http://national.org.nz/policies/policies.aspx . Some of the things are speeches, rather than policy documents, but there are two dozen policy documents released. Labour hasn’t released any policy documents or manifesto. I don’t think they can use the excuse that they’re in government and the budget has a lot of policy, because they released a manifesto in 2005. Where is their policy this time?

  70. Stephen 71

    I think (surely) what one means by Labour not releasing any policy is ‘what policy would they like to enact after the 2008 election’? Score 15-25 to National, 0 to Labour.

  71. Tane 72

    Tim, re-read my comment above.

  72. Vanilla Eis 73

    So, for example, under Law and Order where the top four items all have the same date, we can safely assume that they were released in the same speech? And where each of the things has four bullet-points of “National’s Plan” we’re meant to assume that behind each of those is a comprehensive document.

    Ie:

    1. Introducing Tasers

    National will introduce Tasers, subject to a positive evaluation of the Taser trial.

    Tasers have been shown to be an effective tool for deterring offenders who would have gone on to harm the public or police.

    http://national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=28241

    Yeah. I can see why you’re antsy that Labour haven’t released a manifesto. But I’d also like to see one from National at some point – their policy page is laughable. It’s not policy, it’s just excerpts from speeches with nice bullet points. I doubt they’ll let anyone hold them to task for failing to:

    1. Expanding Police Surveillance

    Amend the Crimes Act to make it easier for police to conduct surveillance on gang communications.

    http://national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=28240

    Again: That isn’t a manifesto. Labour don’t have one either at the moment, but don’t pretend that National have somehow released a whole lot of policy already.

  73. Matthew Pilott 74

    Muldoon Magic (AKA Rob, I presume), were you in nappies at the age of 5? Seriously, read Green policy instead of commenting like an uninformed numbskull.

    I hope you’re some form of parody – otherwise the irony of someone complaining that the Greens are Luddites, when anyone vaguely proficient with the internet can see what Green policy is all about, will have escaped you. Ditto insider, I guess.

  74. Lampie 75

    Brand – well I guess it is these days – it is consistently the biggest search phrase used to find the site.]

    yeah, wish people didn’t associate brand with “another evil way to make money”. Those righties would think TheStandard is evil lol.

    Board looks fine to me (white writing so it stands out!!! Not Green so it isn’t seen when you drive quickly pass), it is simple, clean and to the point reflecting the Green’s image

    Not getting my vote though!

  75. randal 76

    yes I got banned because I am working class and proud of it and speak my mind without beating around the bush. I dont take shit from namby pamby pantywaists and I can smell an agent provocateur from the stench on the screen. among other things I have also “saved” a rain forest which meant not only organising the intital campaign but hanging around for a few years making sure the ‘things’ did not sneak in the back way for their 400 tons a day. I learned a lot about politics form that including the fact that the idiotes in wellington had prioritised and were wiling to trade our rainforest for theirs. so in the end everybody is fair game and not only those who say they beleive something but like picasso and sartre only TALK THE TAlk AND DONT HAVE THE COURAGE TO WALK THE WALK. YOu hve to k now who your friends are.

  76. lprent 77

    Stephen:

    This election is going to be too close to call. I’ve been watching elections for a long time and largely at the business end of campaigning. I’ve been getting pretty good at calling the effective result. In fact every election since 1981 except for 1996.

    The ‘right’ of Nat/Act/UF is not going to get a majority. They will probably wind up with numbers very similar to Lab/Green/Prog.

    I think that Nat/Lab percentages will be about 44/40 or a percent either way. The only way that the Nat’s could have got an outright victory was to make the election look so hopeless that Left/Green voters didn’t go and vote. They tried that as a strategy and it has now failed (miserably).

    IMO: It is going to come down to skills in how to build a coalition with that other 15%. That is going to be interesting because I don’t think that either John Key or Bill English have the skills. They appear to have enough problems keeping the coalition together inside of their own party.

    In case you didn’t realise, I’m kindly reminding you that this isn’t sport – it is politics

  77. Muldoon Magic 78

    [deleted]
    [lprent: goodbye Rob.]

  78. randal 79

    lprent…’farwest’ has the dirt and nat/act/anyone is not going to get a GO just becuse they want one. Labour and Greens will form the next government because New Zealanders want security plus WFF, Kiwibank, and a government guaranteed ACC. Key has a history of delivering policy and or ‘contracts’ that are opaque and unable to be understood properly.

  79. frog 80

    Thank you Peter, and T-Rex, for both saying what needed to be said.

    How ludicrous to say the the Greens have ‘sold out’ just because we’ve built a better billboard than we ever have before. Do you not remember how appalling they were in 2005? No you don’t. Because they were not memorable in any way. Not thirty seconds after you drove past them.

    And to suggest that the new ones lack substance and/or policy is also ludicrous. Children, the environment. If they are not the basis and purpose of our efforts, why do we get out of bed in the morning?

    Can people not be gracious, even as some of our far right brethren have, and acknowledge that they are most excellent? Why does every move that the Green Party makes have to be analysed as if it speaks for the whole party or the whole movement? I would concede that a higher standard is required of us because we demand a higher standard in our politics.

    If a few more voters are awakened to our message rather than the spin of our political opponents, then we have succeeded.

    Oh, dear. A frog on a soap box. I’ll crawl back under my lillypad now…

  80. Anita 81

    frog,

    Indeed, the 2005 ones were dreadful 🙂

    I, like many here, think that the billboards are beautiful, effective and clever good politics and good messaging. If, however, the Greens were going to produce nothing more substantial than beautiful clever content-free messages I’d be really disappointed.

    I am optimistic you will continue to balance beautiful simplicity with the detail-filled content which gives us a sense concreteness and completeness from which the symbols hang coherently.

  81. IrishBill 82

    Don’t be absurd, frog. I’ve not accused he Greens of selling out and I think the billboards are good but I did find them slightly discomforting. Probably because I apply a higher moral bar to the greens than I do to other parties. That said, I disagree that the last bill boards were unmemorable. Quite the reverse, they’ve entered legend for their awfulness.

    With these billboards the Greens have shown they can play the game. Good on them. They are now game players. Don’t come here with some “higher purpose” claim that you can use this kind of imagery in this way without analysis because you are more moral than, say, the Kiwi Party (who will also tell you that the future of our children is why they get up in the morning. And they’ll mean it just as much as you do) because the thing is you are using sharp brand marketing and by doing so are tacitly endorsing the consumerist paradigm. That’s fine but at least have the guts to admit it rather than getting all holier then thou.

  82. Stephen 83

    lprent, I don’t think you’re far off at the moment, but if all Labour campaign on is ‘don’t put it all at risk’ again, and National start reminding people that Labour is so far visionless, I don’t think the left will get that much of a look in.

  83. lprent 84

    I suspect that the campaign will be a mixture as per normal.

    The economy is buzzing along the best that I’ve seen in my adult life. We’re finally seeing wages across the whole economy going up now that we’ve gotten back to close to full employment (again for the first time in my adult life). We’re started to put in the infrastructure investment that effectively stopped in the 1970’s when I was starting work.

    The government is doing the types of forward looking that it should be doing rather than just trying to cope with continuous emergencies. I like the country being in a position to improve things incrementally. In particular to slowly wind up on initiatives that ensure that supports the gradual growth carrying on into the future. Government is a long-term activity. I get deeply suspicious of quick-fixes, because they never seem to work very well.

    I really approve of the government being solvent, and now starting to save to cope with the future demands of an aging population.

    The “don’t put it all at risk” is a powerful message to people of my generation, especially when the Nay’s don’t seem to have any better ideas. Certainly the Nay’s are bloody incoherent and very unforthcoming about what kinds of things that they want to do over the next decade. A lack of detail to me equates to either an intellecutual dishonesty or a degree of stupidity.

    I’d expect that Labour will establish a few more policies on their long-term objectives. Essentially I’d expect a evolutionary rather than revolutionary strategy – doing things when we can afford them. That is a strategy that I approve of.

  84. lprent 85

    Oh I forgot to say. The current robust state of the economy doesn’t happen without vision. It takes a lot of work and a lot of reasonably correct decisions. So will working the future. Thats Labour. Hell even the reforms of the 1980’s were directed to that.

    National on the other hand has exactly two disastrous governments in my adult life. The first one marched boldly forwards while looking backwards. It did the things that would probably have worked in the 1950’s to cope with problems of the 1970’s and 1980’s. It lacked the vision to loook into the future and realize things had to change. The second made a stupid ideologically based decision at exactly the wrong time (and I’d say for the wrong reasons) and plunged the economy into a 5 year recession when the rest of the world was booming.

    John Key and the rest of his team look just as potentially stupid as those previous national governments. The fibre to the home proposal for instance looks like it was dreamed up to show ‘vision’. But for fucks sake, what in the hell is it supposed to achieve? Why should I give up my hard-earned tax dollars to give people faster access to beebo and porn sites? For the few who actually can use it – then they can pay for it.

    I’d get a better return in putting it into better cheaper childcare to ensure that more parents are capable of rejoining the workforce. That is a measure I could go for, gives much better returns, and it is a hell of lot cheaper.

    The question about ‘vision’ is if John Key even knows what a vision is – ultimately it needs to pay off. As far as I can see the man has made his career out of deconstruction rather than construction. That is hardly a good approach to governemnt these days.

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