Time for a change

Written By: - Date published: 3:33 pm, May 30th, 2009 - 3 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

Remember that month when John Armstrong was away when up and comers like Patrick Gower and Eloise Gibson were getting to write pieces on the big issues instead? Oh how I miss those golden days.

Now Armstrong is back with his brand of relentless sophistric sycophancy and complete focus on the politically expedient over effective policy. If I didn’t feel obliged as a writer on a major political blog to know what he’s saying I would just turn over to the cartoons. But I am and I do, so here we are.

Just the major problems with today’s piece:

“[Bill’s awesome Budget] is tempered by the big clanger…- the suspension of Government contributions into the Superannuation Fund for the next decade and possibly longer.

To be more exact, the political clanger is English’s revealing of the likelihood that contributions are unlikely to resume until the Budget’s operating surplus is “sufficient”, something that is not expected to be the case before 2020.”

It’s not the fact that contributions are being cancelled just at the time the NZSF is making huge profits and that the end result will be the death knell of the Fund and, with it, superannuation as we know it. It’s the politics that Armstrong has a problem with.

“He could have instead declared that contributions were being put on hold for two or three years, after which the decision would be revisited…It might not have been completely honest, but it would have saved National some grief.”

Good God that’s a new low. A journalist advising a politician to lie to the public. There’s giving up on your duty as a member of the fourth estate to defend the public interest and then there’s turning traitor.

Armstrong then writes: “the Budget contains extra spending on health and education which is designed to soothe middle-class angst.” So, not, you know, to educate people and keep them healthy, especially the poor. Oh no. In Armstrong World its about the political necessity of soothing irrational ‘angst’ from the middle class.

He spends a paragraph praising the politics of the housing insulation scheme. It’s only as an after-thought that he mentions its crucial flaw “The only danger is that the scheme is heavily oversubscribed [with people who can afford to insulate without a subsidy] and those who really cannot afford to insulate their homes miss out.”

Before I turn my mind to more pleasant things, I just have to mention this from Armstrong’s piece on the morning of Budget Day:

“The public has no expectations of getting anything from this Budget. The cancellation of the next two tranches of Nationals’ tax cuts is a non-issue despite Labour trying to make it one. The public mood is one of realism. But the expectation of voters is that they will not lose out either.”

I want to know what gives this man the gall to tell us what we think about things before we’ve even had a chance to learn about them. The sheer unadulterated arrogance that underlies it. It might be OK if Armstrong were actually a good analyst but he’s not, he’s a hack.

Mr Armstrong. Stop telling me what we, the public, are meant to think and stop telling me the politics of this and that. Instead do some research, uncover hidden information on policies and their effects. Bring these facts to the public’s attention.

If you’re not up for, let someone else have a go.

3 comments on “Time for a change”

  1. dave 1

    I want to know what gives this man the gall to tell us what we think about things before we’ve even had a chance to learn about them.

    Why don’t you ring him up and ask him?

    Instead do some research, uncover hidden information on policies and their effects. Bring these facts to the public’s attention.

    You can do that yourself. If you’re not up for it, let someone else have a go.

    • Eddie 1.1

      That’s it? That’s really the best you can do?

      We do do research. I think Armstrong should aspire to have pieces that go into the issues like ours do. Rather than being mere political hackery (not to say we don’t have our share of hackery too, it’s just not all we do)

  2. gobsmacked 2

    Like all the other commentators, John Armstrong didn’t want to wait to find out what the public think. He just decided on our behalf (based on no evidence whatsoever).

    But now the results of proper polling are in, and it’s not half as rosy as the pundits had proclaimed. For example, the “non-issue” of National’s broken promise that Armstrong airily dismisses, is of concern to 61%.

    Full details:


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