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The Standard Week August 8-15

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, August 15th, 2008 - 30 comments
Categories: standard week - Tags:

Quite a quiet week after the excitement of the secret agenda tapes last week. The Tories are keeping up their hunt for the person who exposed their secret agenda (God knows what they expect to do if they catch them). National’s welfare policy was in a predictable vein – punitive and targeted at some of the most vulnerable women in our society. OK, so these aren’t the ‘eat the poor’ policies of last election, when Brash was Leader and Key was Finance spokesman, but they do show that National’s heart still lies in the same place. Two competing visions of our energy future were presented on Thursday – the Government’s renewable energy policy paper and National’s energy policy. One contained a vision of a New Zealand using new technology to reduce environmental damage while supplying dependable power, the other involved crossing our fingers and hoping the oil and natural gas don’t run out on us. And The Standard turned 1 today. Thanks to all the readers, commentators, and people who email us with info and ideas. We couldn’t do it without you. Here are our favourite posts of the week:

On Botox and pet grooming
Pansy Wong’s ‘expose’ was never about fixing a problem. It was only ever intended to undermine public confidence in ACC in order to soften the ground for privatisation…[more

Nats bashing on solo mums
This is not about solutions; it’s just beneficiary bashing to grab a few votes…[more]

Should the sins of the father be visited upon the children
No child should be disadvantaged because one of their parents was violent, or left the other. No child should be disadvantaged by the breakdown of their parents’ relationship…[more]

Renewable energy policy
It looks like a pragmatic and feasible programme, and, as Trevor Mallard says, it ‘won’t require damming every river and putting wind turbines on every ridge line’. The elephant in the room, however, is transport energy….[more]

Petition: sign the Enforced Disappearance Convention
New Zealand supported the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance aimed at preventing and punishing ‘enforced disappearance’ – but didn’t sign it. You can help change this by joining No Right Turn‘s petition. Download the petition…[more]

Desperate Nats reduced to bounties and bribery
Key’s gone from being seen as the PM-in-waiting to being seen as a cheap con-man. They’re angry and they’re desperate, and they’ll use the one weapon they’ve got at their disposal, money, to try to find and hurt the person who exposed them for what they are…[more]

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30 comments on “The Standard Week August 8-15”

  1. Rob 1

    Interesting week I guess
    Well isn’t it refreshing to see that John Key hasn’t come out with any snide comments about Helen Clark taking a few days off to tramp round the Mountains in a storm warning. Unlike what she did to him when he had a few days off with the kids at Omaha during school holidays shows he wont stoop to Labours level of Politics.

    Great to see the National Policy coming out well thought out and giving Labour very little to attack it on.

    Energy Policy fantastic to see the pragmatism Kiwis like that sort of thing being practical rather than being driven by ideology or agreements with the Greens. Will also give Business some confidence to invest in New Zealand if they know they are going to have power rather than waiting for the wind to blow.

    The RMA definitely needs a revamp its being use as a progress halting tool at the moment another very positive step.

  2. Matthew Pilott 2

    Well isn’t it refreshing to see that John Key hasn’t come out with any snide comments about Helen Clark taking a few days off to tramp round the Mountains in a storm warning. Unlike what she did to him when he had a few days off with the kids at Omaha during school holidays shows he wont stoop to Labours level of Politics.

    Unlike you eh you little B!%@#.

  3. vto 3

    “after the excitement of the secret agenda tapes last week”

    SP, how many times do I have to say it? There is no secwet agenda.

    But there was certainly a lot of excitement.

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    “There is no secwet agenda”

    Sure there is. Locky says there are some things National would like to do, that’s an agenda. He ain’t sayin what those things are, and that makes them a secret.

  5. vto 5

    PB, yes he said something like that but it was also said that such things would only be done when the consent/mandate of the people was there. He also said that you need to work to get that trust/mandate of the people. So, no secret agenda, just politics as per normal.

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    So what’s in the agenda then? Can’t say can you?

    ’cause it’s a secret we haven’t been let in on yet. 😉

    The fact that they plan to tell us about it later is just spin at this point. I think he talked more about discussion papers than mandates actually, which is a totally different episode of Yes Minister.

    Keep hammering away vto, but don’t get too dizzy.

  7. Anita 7

    “There are things I’d like to do, but I’m not telling anyone what they are because they’d be really unpopular and we need to win the election. I reckon, though, that if I work at it after the election I should be able to find a way to do them and get the public on side.”

    If that isn’t the perfect example of a secret agenda I don’t know what is.

  8. the sprout 8

    a very damaging 2 weeks for National.
    regardless of how much it shows in the general polling, the greatest injuries have been to National’s actual and perceived unity, and National’s credibility with the media.

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    There’s an interesting take on this from Duncan Garner http://www.decision08.co.nz/tabid/125/ArticleID/500/Default.aspx, who released the secret recordings. His view seems to be that John Key neutralised the issue reasonably well by blaming Labour for the secret recordings. Only time will tell whether they have any effect. Realistically I think these things take a while to sink in, if they are going to change things, not this polling cycle but the next one. My view is that the secret recordings saga only reinforce existing prejudices: if you’re a hard-line Labour supporter (i.e., all the pro-Labour commenters at the Standard) then it confirms your existing view that there’s a secret agenda going on. If you’re a hard-line National supporter (i.e., all of the pro-National commenters at the Standard) then it just confirms your view that Labour is mud-slinging and engaging in dirty tricks this campaign.

    As for the middle ground, I sense that they don’t actually care one way or another. Many of the middle voters are either too busy with their daily lives to engage in politics, or don’t care even if they have time. We make a big mistake as political activists to assume that everyone’s as engaged as we are.

    Time is running out for Labour to claw back the huge deficit. They will be looking for some impact from it this time, but more the next time. If there’s no impact at all this time, then there’s unlikely to be much more during the next round of polls.

    Garner also suggests that this last week has been pretty good for National, despite the rabid Left proclaiming otherwise. The great majority of the response to National’s welfare and energy policies has been positive. National clearly has plans to progressively roll out policy, and the more this happens the less people will claim National’s not releasing any.

    I see, SP, that you’ve got a list of the highlights of the Standard, rather than an accurate representation of what you’ve written this week. To be fair you did do a hit and run attempt to claim that National’s media minders are trying to carefully manage the media. You claimed without foundation that National tries to dictate to the media what questions John Key would answer. That claim got a decisive slap-down from the media person concerned. If you’re going to be credible, you should probably award yourself a brick-bat for that unproven claim.

  10. Tim. I was just reporting what I was told and happy to correct the information. the fact Key pulled out of the interview without givign a reason was true.

    And you’re right, it is a list of highlights, it goes out to an email list.

  11. vto 11

    anita, that’s just silly. the three of them said different versions of “there are some things we would like to do but can’t yet because the public aren’t onside. We are prepared to work to convince the public that the ideas are good and once we get to that point we will. But you know, it can be difficult to get elected, and sometimes you have to accept things (wff) that the public like, whether you like it or not.” or similar.

    Now that is simple political pragmatism. Practiced by all practitioners.

    Do you seriously think that if/when the nats get in they will abolish WFF? sell the trains and kiwibank? get rid of the nuclear free policy? Because that is what you are saying. And I just think that is crappola.

    P’s bookie, I may end up dizzy but certainly no dizzier than those that keep claiming secwet agenda.

  12. Tim Ellis 12

    Come on, SP, that excuse isn’t adequate, and hopefully you’ve learned from it. A few weeks ago Vernon Small put out a really pompous article about whether blogs and journalism needed to be defined and whether gallery accreditation be given to bloggers. But if you’re going to set out to raise the standards of blogging and debate, then you can’t just rush into printing something just because you heard it, or resort to rumour-mongering like you do. There are plenty of rumours about the Labour Party and even the Standard, which you don’t allow on here because there isn’t any proof. That’s fair enough, but if that is the standard you expect from commenters then you should probably try and verify claims like that with some evidence.

    For example, there isn’t a shred of evidence that the National Party offered money to track down the originator of the secret recordings, yet you happily waved it about. Not only did you do that, but you made it one of the highlights of the week. It wasn’t a highlight. It was mischievous, not based on any evidence, and undermines the Standard’s credibility. I am not lecturing you on the boy who cried wolf (even if re-reading this it does look like a lecture), but since you’ve got so much time on your hands to write so much stuff, if you focussed more on quality rather than quantity you might get better feedback from this commenter, at least.

  13. Tim. I don’t have to make excuses to you. My article was correct, the only mistake in the information I had received was why Key had cancelled the itnerview and I corrected that when I was informed.

    We deliberately waited on publishing the $10K bribe story until we had heard it from mutliple ultimate sources. It was true. The Nats withdrew the offer after they started getting asked about it. Not everything in politics comes with documentary proof, doesn’t mean it’s not true.. I’ve been talking about National’s secret agenda for months and it was true, just took some extraordinary proof to confirm it.

    We don’t allow rumours about The Standard that are untrue or rumours about any political figure that deal with their private lives.

    I don’t have lots of time for writing, I wouldn’t spend quarter of the time on the blog that Farrar does on his. I write quickly..

  14. Pascal's bookie 14

    “Do you seriously think that if/when the nats get in they will abolish WFF? sell the trains and kiwibank? get rid of the nuclear free policy? Because that is what you are saying. ”

    Cite?

    That my friend, is the worst strawman I’ve ever seen. All I am saying is that they have a secret agenda, an agenda that they want to implement but beleive they can’t get elected on. I make no claims whatsoever about what that agenda entails, because I don’t know. It’s a secret, see.

    There is no spin involved vto, just what they themselves say. You claim that this is just standard politics, in which case secret agendas are standard politics. I wish they weren’t.

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    And why can’t the Nat’s work on trying to convince us before we elect them vto? The polls indicate that there is trust. Why the secrecy?

  16. Rob 16

    Tim

    Its pretty tough of you to ask Steve to present a balanced view on here I mean really!!. There’s nothing like a good conspiracy story to wet the appetite of those from the Left!!

    Steve great to see in the Paper today Georgina Byer cant get a job in New Zealand and is considering trying in Australia. I cant think for the life of me why no one in private Business would want to hire an ex Labour MP can you. Would the words objectivity, Business Nous, Commercial knowledge have anything to do with it perhaps

    That is very sad for [deleted. no derogatory comments on people’s sexuality. SP]

  17. vto 17

    P’s B I guess the only way to see who is right is to see what happens. I pick no secret agenda implemented whatsoever.

  18. Anita 18

    vto,

    What you describe sounds exactly like an agenda for change to me.

    They won’t tell us what’s on it.

    How is that not a secret agenda?

  19. vto 19

    Anita. Does it sound like an agenda? I think it sounds more like, as I said, political pragmatism. I imagine all parties will have a set of policies they would like to implement which they then adjust to fit within the thoughts and desires of the electorate. example – Cullen’s tax cuts.

    gotta go

  20. Anita 20

    vto,

    I think we are arguing over what an agenda is 🙂

    I reckon that if you have a list of things you want to do, and a bit of plan about doing some of them, and an intention to figure out how/if to do the others then it’s an agenda.

    An agenda is a good thing, I’d hate to think we’d elect a party which didn’t have a list and a plan and an intention 🙂

    Yes? No?

  21. vto 21

    anita, yes i guess that is one description. i know what you’ll say next of course.

    I have been asking for proof of a secret agenda. Nobodu on here could provide it and mostly pointed to the media reaction and, after I said the ‘evidence’ wouldn’t stand a shit show in court, the court of public opinion as such proof.

    Well, interesting poll out today. That court of public opinion clearly disagrees with Standard posters about the so-called secwet agenda. They seem happier than ever with the nats and key (for better or worse).

    The court of public opinion clearly agrees that there is no secwet agenda.

    Not sure how much there is left to say..

  22. lprent 22

    vto: Which poll is that? The only one I’ve seen is the Morgan one. I have very little time for polls except as long term indicators.

    Morgan shows a steadily worsening environ’s for National to form a coalition.

  23. vto 23

    fairfax neilson i think it was. nats 54 up 3, lab 35 steady.

  24. lprent 24

    Oh the fairfax poll (mutters something about steaming piles of..)

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4657717a24035.html
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4657579a6000.html

    I can’t find a link to the actual numbers and trends for that in any of the sites (something I always find to be suspect)? Interpretation by the newspapers appears to be of its usual low standard.

    Have a look at Morgans poll from yesterday for an example of how it should be presented.

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2008/4314/

    Notice the difference in tip basic numbers. There is currently there is an almost 6 point difference in the National number, a 3 point difference in NZF, about a 4 point difference for the greens for instance. Sort of points to a very high degree of inaccuracy somewhere.

    So the only thing of interest is the long term trends. Guess what – I can’t find them from Fairfax. All I see is some fuckwits looking at a two column graph and pontificating about changes within the margin of error.

    Does anyone ever train these journos in the basics of statistics? Or do they get issued with education levels similar to Rob.

    BTW: Generally I prefer Morgan for trends – has a better track record than Neilson.

  25. Tim Ellis 25

    I hope you’re feeling better today LP.

    VTO, the polls today are an interesting measure, and confirm my view that the whole secret agenda stuff has not washed with middle voters. I wrote earlier in this post that I thought that the secret recordings fiasco would only confirm existing prejudices at the extremes: hard Labour voters would use it to confirm their previous views, hard national voters would use it to confirm their views that Labour is smear-mongering and engaging in dirty tricks, but average middle voters who are undecided just aren’t engaged enough in politics to care about it.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, we make a big mistake as political activists to assume that everybody cares about this stuff as much as we do. Labour’s big problem is that a big chunk of voters tend to make up their tendencies a year or so before the election. They then tune out of politics and focus on their daily lives. A nine year government is always battling against how to engage voters who have decided they’re just not listening and it’s time for a change.

    While there is a time lag between the headlines and the big impact of poll results, we haven’t seen any impact of the secret agenda stuff. If there was going to be a big impact, we would see a small impact now, and a big impact later. There are a couple more polls due out soon which will give us a couple more snapshots, but it’s fair to say, based on the Morgan and Fairfax polls, you would have to be extremely optimistic to hope that the TV3 and CB polls point up a markedly contrary, positive trend for the Government.

    LP, as much as the Labour Party doesn’t want to admit to believing in polls right now, they obviously believe in them. You don’t spend the millions of dollars that Labour has spent on UMR’s polling and focus grouping without understanding their ability to gauge voter opinion. More than any other politician, Helen Clark has outstanding poll-interpreting skills. The ability to understand voter opinion through polling data has been a hallmark of her prime minister. She must know the writing’s on the wall.

  26. vto 26

    Mr Ellis I think of course she does know. Seems her hope is a failing of Key rather than a strength of her. I suspect she will simply ride out the rest of the term and keep ‘governing’, as she said at the start of the year, straight along the lines of her original mandate. She will keep her head high and be proud of what she has done. If she loses she will gracefully accept and be content with her job well done.

    If only she had her politics on a better tack hee hee

  27. lprent 27

    TE: A lot better – thanks. Not sure what it was.

    Look at the dates on when both polls were taken.

    Morgan was July 28 – August 10
    Fairfax was August 4-10

    The English tape played in the evening of 4th.

    The polls won’t have much of the effect of the tapes in it.

  28. coge 28

    Individual variations between polls, are what statistics are all about. However, in these cases the results appear to remain within the longterm established trend bands. Given the amount of time these longterm trends take to reverse, (generally over 120 days), it appears barring a miracle, that Labour will be unable to form a government post election. Three months more of this trend & the attendant effects will make it interesting viewing. Of course I may be wrong in all this!

    Iprent, I do agree with your summary of MSM statistical analysis.
    They probably don’t teach stats at journalist school.

  29. higherstandard 29

    Lynn

    Even if the polls do/don’t have much of the effect of the tapes in them, there is little chance of the next polls having any effect either – the NZ population in general will be more fixated on the Olympics and Rugby over the next week or two and will have forgotten the whole (non) affair.

  30. lprent 30

    hs: Ah that is the interesting question isn’t it. I have only anecdotal evidence about how much impact it is having on uncontacted, not answering, undecided and swing voters.

    Generally I’ve found that the polls get interesting velocities towards an election. They’re quite different to the ones between elections simply because more of the undecided decide and more people are willing to answer. They start losing their jagged nature and move more into trends.

    The best poll (in a a crap bunch) is usually the Morgan poll. They seem to use a better methodology. It is a pity they don’t expose it.

    In this case the effects of those tapes will not have worked into the polls. We will have to wait and see.

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