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The Herald reverts to type

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 pm, September 16th, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: election 2017, jacinda ardern, john key, labour, Media, Politics, superannuation, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

I suspect that a few progressives’ screens this morning had blobs of coffee sprayed all over them as they read John Armstrong’s attempt to derail the Jacinda juggernaut through the power of his words.  The only problem is his words now have little force and the logic in his sentences is hard to ascertain.

He is the man who in an unforgiveable example of hyperbole demanded the resignation of David Cunliffe for forgetting about a form letter written a decade beforehand during the 2014 campaign.  Remember the Donghua Liu scandal and how at a crucial time during the campaign Labour was robbed of momentum and smeared with allegations that it had accepted funding for political influence.

And what was really funny is that National’s sting was taken by the media hook line and sinker.  It subsequently transpired that National had received a large donation from Liu and because of some unethical use of the disclosure laws the donation was not disclosed at a time that Maurice Williamson was sacked as a cabinet minister for overstepping the mark in relation to Liu.  If the media had only done its job properly who knows what could have happened.

Armstrong has appeared again and written this attack piece on Jacinda Ardern.

He claims that Ardern has tripped and made a campaign killing error in changing Labour’s position on tax and on the retirement age.  In making this claim he blissfully ignores most recent polling which suggests that Labour is still improving and the Green Party is consolidating its vote.

He claims that Ardern’s desire to bring the New Zealand people along with her is somehow a weakness and contrasts her to John Key, who never ever relied on focus group results or changed direction if he thought there was political merit on doing so.  No siree.  Not once.  Never.

He says this:

Much of Ardern’s amazing rapport with voters has sprung from her being something of a female version of John Key – approachable, open, down to earth, not judgmental, and arrogance-free.

But there is one major difference between them. She has insisted any government she runs will listen and then act. It will lead, not follow.

Of particular note has been her declaration that she will not shy away from tackling the “big generational issues”.

When it comes to such issues, they do not come any bigger or more vexed than the fairness of the country’s tax system and the affordability of current state-funded pension entitlements. With regard to the latter, she has gone Awol.

She has adopted John Key’s pledge to resign as prime minister were the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation to be raised under her watch. Likewise were there to be any reduction in current entitlements enjoyed by those who qualify for the state pension.

Sure, Ardern has made assurances that Labour will restore the annual payments into the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, whose purpose is to meet the shortfall in funding to pay the burgeoning cost of the pension as the population ages.

That might be fine if Labour could guarantee it will be in power for the next 30 to 40 years without interruption.

It can make no such assurance, of course.

Relying on National to feed the fund is optimism at its most hopeless. Despite wallowing in deep surpluses, the ruling party has opted to postpone the resumption of contributions for another three years.

Armstrong’s last three paragraphs provide the perfect reason to change the Government.  National is hopeless at planning for the future. But blaming Ardern for this is many levels of weird.

It is Key and National who have gone AWOL.  Labour’s policy is to resume contributions to the Cullen Fund to address the affordability of superannuation.  And in a world where jobs are going to become more insecure and the future of work is going to become less and less predictable it is actually a good idea to allow older people to retire to allow younger people to take their jobs.  Work is disappearing.  We need to change things so that everyone can live in comfort and this is precisely why keeping the retirement age where it is is a good idea.

Armstrong then says this about Labour’s capital gains tax policy.

Ardern’s ducking the matter has been completely overshadowed by the U-turn on a capital gains tax, however.

Some would argue she is deserving of huge credit for having tried to speed the implementation of a measure which organisations as unalike as the International Monetary Fund and the Green Party agree is essential.

Ardern and Grant Robertson, Labour’s finance spokesman, have sought to downplay the change of mind that will see any such tax subject to receiving a mandate from voters at the 2020 election, rather than being implemented before then.

The mauling that Labour received from National this week was a reminder enough of how politically poisonous such a measure remains.

The attempt to short-circuit the usual process for introducing a reform of such magnitude is likely to prove to be wholly counter-productive.

Who in their right political mind is going to go into bat for the measure at the 2020 election?

Earth to Armstrong. Labour continues to have as its policy the extension of the bright line test for house sales to five years as well as the preferential tax treatment given to speculators being removed.

And other aspects of a capital gains tax have not been discarded, the Tax Working Party is still planned.  It is just that the changes will be put to a popular vote.

It is a strange column really.  Armstrong is essentially criticising Labour for being nearly as bad as National.

45 comments on “The Herald reverts to type”

  1. Keepcalmcarryon 1

    The usual suspects have been stretching every analogy to print negative headlines for labour on both stuff and nzherald. Most noteable with the one poll that had national well out front.
    I thought there were laws regarding journalistic balance during an election campaign?
    Armstrong is a hack.

  2. John Armstrong still trying to attract attention to himself long after his used-by date has passed. A mean-spirited and pathetic character.

    • Yep he is sour and curdled. A forgotten person still irrelevant as he was in his heyday.

    • Tracey 2.2

      The lying of the former PM, for FA minister and former Finance Minister to funnel 11.5m to a Saudi Businessman just didnt rate as a story with Armstrong. TVNZ and aaudrey Young not hunting down English about did he know. If not, why not, as FM he writes the cheques…

  3. xanthe 3

    herald is at it again,
    content irrelevant
    the HEADLINE is all that matters now

  4. Eco maori 4

    The new Queen will bring these rogue MSM
    To heal if they had a brain they would be planning there retirement.

  5. The decrypter 5

    Got a week of this propaganda to contend with yet.-gonna come from all over the place. Shoulders back, bills storm troopers are unfortunately for him, and joyce late risers.

  6. newsense 6

    Wait John Roughan is about to announce that intergenerational thing is overcooked and he is about to make an endorsement so that will help us kids (who don’t really like Jacinda, Nicky Kay is just like them too) know who to vote for

  7. newsense 7

    The Herald is freaking

  8. NewsFlash 8

    The Death throws of a Dinosaur, panic button has been pushed, bye bye Bill

  9. Bearded Git 9

    Good post Micky…of course 308,000 people have already voted (including me) so this Armstrong rubbish has no effect on them.

    Shame on the Herald for that headline. If Key had taken a minor change of tack like Jacinda it would have been labelled a stroke of genius.

  10. cleangreen 10

    NZ Herald is an instument of corporate power and greed.

    We should accept this when any overseas corporate buys into local rags like NZ Herald.

    But when the new Government takes over we will see a shake up in the whole MSM because these instuments of Corporate control will be handed their orders for change or leave.

    We no longer need their Poisonous vile as they dont serve the interests ofthe people any more.

  11. Muttonbird 11

    I can’t believe he described Key ‘arrogance-free’.

    Armstrong along with Roughan clearly believe Labour policy is required, that change is healthy, and that National is visionless yet go on to blame Labour for not getting it done instead of themselves for fighting it with shitty anti Labour articles.

  12. AB 12

    By even looking at the thing we supply it with the internet traffic that might help stave off its commercial death. And a world without the NZH would be a much better place. And yet it has all the disgusting, inhuman horror of a car crash, so one is compelled to look.

  13. Sanctuary 13

    Roughan, Soper, Armstrong, Ralston, Hyde – roll up, roll up to see all the old men shake their fist at a cloud.

    • AB 13.1

      Let’s see – an intelligent, determined young woman who is a great communicator, has rock-solid values and a sunny disposition has added 15% to her party’s support.
      Yet somehow she’s failed? It’s beyond hilarious watching these sad, old coots, really it is.

    • Muttonbird 13.2

      Prebble.

  14. lurgee 14

    While I don’t think it is fair to say her plan has fallen apart, I think the charges that Labour have shown themselves to be tactically naive (who would have though National would attack us on tax-and-spend?! We never saw it coming!) and that Ardern is a Clintonesque triangulator rather than a wild-eyed radical is fair enough.

    That’s not a bad thing, by the way – a combination of popularity and populism, with a dash of slight left-of-right-of-centre politics is probably a feasible victory strategy.

    • mickysavage 14.1

      It is a really difficult area. If Labour gets too precise they attack us for some imagined shortcoming in the number and if we go vague they hit us for not being precise. And most of the time the media back them up.

      It is a no win …

      • Keepcalmcarryon 14.1.1

        Until labour hits office then show appreciation by regulating the f$ck out of them. Give tvnz its charter back while we are at it.

        • Wayne 14.1.1.1

          Going to form a communist state are we?
          Where all dissent is punished by imprisonment. I must have missed that section of Labour Party policy.

          • Stuart Munro 14.1.1.1.1

            Hysteria as usual Wayne – it’s perfectly proper to insist that the state broadcaster prefer qualified journalists over far-right opinionistas like Hoskings. Were your government not a sick corrupt joke it would welcome a rigorous and competent media, as any genuine democracy does.

            • alwyn 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Stuart’s definition of a “qualified journalist”.
              One who regards Labour and the Greens as being the only parties that should be allowed in Parliament.

          • Keepcalmcarryon 14.1.1.1.2

            Shrieks of ” communism”
            The rights version of Godwin’s law. The ” Mapp coefficient” – the point at which a hysterical right winger has no valid point to make and cries communism.
            You are lucky I’m not el presidente Wayne, I’d have a bunch of you troughers locked up for treason. If you are lucky I’d feed you occasionally – milk powder and nitrate enriched water from the pristine Canterbury plains.

            • alwyn 14.1.1.1.2.1

              “You are lucky I’m not el presidente Wayne, I’d have a bunch of you troughers locked up for treason”.
              You have just proved the truth of Wayne’s comment
              Luckily you aren’t in power and don’t get the chance to implement these ideas.

              • Keepcalmcarryon

                I’ve seen the level of thought from you mouth-breather Nat clones over at kiwiblog so am aware how far over your heads this all is Alwyn and Wayne.
                Irony is lost on the terminally thick.

                I’ll settle for regulation preventing monopolies and oligopolies exploiting the consumer.
                FYI that would mean breaking up the media oligopoly.
                Then start on supermarkets, fonterra, the building industry. Consumer choice is necessary for a free market – that’s not a communist concept by the way.

      • Craig H 14.1.2

        True that…

        Although at least the rejoinder to moaning about tax-and-spend is easy because all governments do both.

  15. mary_a 15

    The bias of NZH is so obvious now, it’s become a joke. A bit of a sad, pathetic comedy really, desperately working for the failing Natz, digging up mouldy old corpses such as Armstrong and Prebble to spread Joyce’s despicable, filthy lies. I thought grave robbing was an offence!

  16. Delia 16

    Pretty hard up for decent journalists.

  17. Barfly 17

    Corrupt evil piece of filth…

    and that’s just the Herald,,,

    Armstrong …unprintable

  18. Armstrong ,…. PAH ! , ….. Alf makes more sense ….

    ALF for President 2016 – YouTube
    Video for ALF’s speaking Politics▶ 1:52

  19. Ms Fargo 19

    Unintelligible ramblings of an old man way past his best. We were surprised it was even published. It was all over the place.

  20. Tracey 20

    The King of poll driven decisions was Key… starting with his promise of a job summit ratger than campaign detail to create jobs… Proceeds of asset sales to go ibto s Health and Education fund that never happened…

  21. Wayne 21

    Isn’t this simply the Herald having a range of opinion writers. If you want the alternate view read Lizzy Marvelly in the same edition.
    When each city only has one paper, that paper has to cover the full range of views in the community, which the Herald does pretty well.
    You don’t see all these sorts of complaints from David Farrar just because the opinion writers had substantially shifted to Jacinda a few weeks ago. And The Standard should stop complaining about it. Even if Jacinda becomes the PM it is still going to happen.

    • marty mars 21.1

      “And The Standard should stop complaining about it.”

      oh ‘should’ they wayne – jeeze you sound a bit tense mate – fair enough the blue team are a shambles and you are welded to them – must be tough watching them fall apart.

      • lurgee 21.1.1

        As 40% of the population seem to be voting National, it seem reasonable that the media provide something other than unadutlerated Ardern adulation.

        • marty mars 21.1.1.1

          they don’t and it isn’t

          • lurgee 21.1.1.1.1

            Sorry, 40% of respondents to polls, oh pedantic one. But do you really think National aren’t going to poll around 40% come the day?

            I’m aware that the Herald isn’t providing unadutlerated Ardern adulation. Look up ‘hyperbole’ in the dikshuniry.

            • marty mars 21.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t care what the gnats do as long as they lose.
              The herald is in the business of generating hits by selling the news and thus they sell anything and everything as long as it generates interest and conflict, and potential lost hopes and dreams, as in electoral contests, are like ice cream to them – they love it because they can spin both sides at the same time, claim neutrality and then keep doing it – with very little thought of consequence apart from the volume of sales.

    • Incognito 21.2

      Oh for crying out loud Wayne!

      TS are not the initials of a person unlike DPF! If you were trying to compare apples with apples you would have compared TS with KB.

      I really like your belief that the NZH is covering “the full range of views in the community”. The NZH used to have a lively community of commenters but that appears to be well and truly killed off. So, how does the omniscient NZH know that its opinion columnists are indeed covering “the full range of views in the community”? Focus groups? Polls? It may want to sell share this invaluable knowledge with politicians …

      • lurgee 21.2.1

        The NZ Herald is part of a media organisation. Its job is to deliver profit, via advertising revenue, to its owners. That means appealing to wide demographics with money.

        And yes, the Herald does make an effort to find out what its readership is interested in and caters to it. We should be grateful it hasn’t gone the full Daily Mail and isn’t focusing entirely on boobs and blood.

        Unfortunately, ‘proper’ lefties are a small part of the population, don’t tend to have lots of disposable income and don’t tend to want to spend it on new cars and cosmetic enhancement procedures. So the Herald has less interest in catering for them.

        Complaining about that is like complaining about gravity, or evolution. Its just the way things are. With the caveat that we can do something about the economic system, whereas we can’t do much about gravity. We just won’t because Jacinda Ardern – as Armstrong pointed out – isn’t really much of a radical.

  22. Wayne’s dazed and confused,…
    for so long its not true….
    John Armstrong’s got it wrong ,
    now he’s feelin’ sad and blue…
    Lots of people talk and few of them know
    Soul of the Herald was created below, yeah,

    You hurt and abused tellin’ all of your lies
    Run around Mr Armstrong , Lord how they hypnotize
    Sweet little whispers I don’t know where you’ve been
    Gonna smear you all baby, here he comes again

    Every day I work so hard
    Bringin’ home my hard earned pay
    Try to pay rent baby, but housing takes away all that pay
    Don’t know where we’re goin’
    Sleepin in cars ,- back out on the streets again…
    Back livin in cars again

    Been dazed and confused for so long, it’s not true,
    Wanted a government never bargained for you.
    Take it easy Armstrong, let them say what they will.
    (Will your) tongue wag so much when I send you the bill?

    Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused ( Song Remains the Same …

  23. e-clectic 23

    This sounded like a tired and resigned Armstrong feeling that he has to have a bleat but his heart’s not in it.

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