When photo-ops backfire

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 am, June 27th, 2012 - 41 comments
Categories: national, spin - Tags:

3 years ago, a National minister dancing on a flattened boyracer car would have been a PR coup. And certainly that’s how National’s spin doctors expected it to play out last week. But times have changed. Now, it’s being criticised as an unseemly act and a waste of money through-out the media. These tipping points creep up on governments. Strengths suddenly become weaknesses.

National’s public agenda (as opposed to the substantive agenda like privatisation, which it prefers not to talk about) has always been gimmick-based – ‘closing the gap with Australia’, ‘jobs summit’, ‘cycleway’ etc etc right up to this latest ’10, sorry 14, results’ – but gimmicks only work as long as they’re not seen as gimmicks. When the first round in the media becomes ‘National tries another distraction’ and ‘minister in new gimmick’. Then they’re stuffed.

And that’s what is happening right now. The public and the media are no being taken in by the big distraction any more, we’re immediately pulling back the curtain to reveal the man pulling the levers behind.

It’s about now that National might be wishing that it had developed a positive, popular programme of actual policies – rather than getting elected with a small target strategy, then practising the art of distraction while pushing through asset sales and other policies that are deeply unpopular. Or maybe not. They got their two terms. They will get their 6 years to plunder the public wealth. And they must know they never would have gotten it if they had put their substantive policies front and centre, rather than leading with gimmicks.

41 comments on “When photo-ops backfire”

  1. Carol 1

    Times have changed , too. Dancing in high heels and smiling atop a car they’ve willfully crushed, is not a great look in times of “austerity”.

  2. jack 2

    “The public and the media are no being taken in ”

    I don’t agree with that. The public is being taken in because the media is so biased. The media is foreign owned or government owned. Until there is a policy that will keep foreign owned media, like APN and Fairfax, out of New Zealand, the public will continue to be sucked in. It’s obvious the media have an agenda now. The unsuspecting public buy into this crap.

    • Fortran 2.1


      Fairfax in New Zealand are reorganising – Sunday Star Times first to be devolved into three parts.
      They have been given 12 months or ……………………..

  3. I didn’t like any of the car crushing crap, it was a pandering gimmick. I agree that the high heel show was tacky showwomanship.

    Seems to be a common theme at the moment. [a week ban for attempting to derail the thread with off topic link whoring. Eddie]

    • [Deleted. I cleared this from spam queue by mistake, wasn’t aware of the ban. — r0b]

    • Kevin Welsh 3.2

      Bout time the link-whoring was cracked down on. I don’t have a problem with posters using links back to their own websites as long as they are naked links.

      I don’t have much time for PG but I hope this will also be applied to others.

      [lprent: Just wave your mouse over the link. The browsers show what the link is. Chrome for instance displays it in the bottom left of the screen. ]

      • bbfloyd 3.2.1

        Nice to see the back of you little chief ” bad hair”…. it is an improvement on anything else you’ve shown us so far…

        Looking forward to you joining the national party once U.F becomes too toxic to use as a vehicle for your ego….

      • Pete, your ban has been a long time coming. There’s a reason every time you show up in a thread someone says “not Pete George derailing everything again.”

      • mike e 3.2.3

        Polemic Gawk bad hair day

    • Dv 3.4

      Only a week. Bah.

    • John M 3.5

      Yeah, go get your hairdunne.

    • felix 3.6

      Should give him a permanent ban for helping Peter Dunne sell out our country.

  4. No one tell Petey but his link is broken.  Symptomatic of the quality of his thought processes …

  5. ad 5

    Call me a Cro-magnon but I loved the crushing. Communicated better than any other policy I’ve seen in years to a whole bunch who don’t intersect with government other than generally in the Justice and Corrections sector.

    Mind you my wife the lawyer said there’s a separation between parliament and the executive for a reason. She said I’d be arming Minsiters with tasers next.

    • You are a sick puppy ad!

    • Jackal 5.2

      There are families in New Zealand that are really struggling and cannot afford a car. It was a complete waste and I’m glad the grandstanding backfired on National. The moronic Anne Tolley should be charged for not wearing appropriate footwear at a work site… complete breach of safety regulations.

      • Murray Olsen 5.2.1

        Some people I know are trying to lay a complaint about the inappropriate footwear. I suspect the rules won’t apply to Tories though.

  6. Roy 6

    What are Minsiters?

  7. Adrian 7

    When are they going to crush a truck? You are about 12 times more likely to be involved in an accident with a truck than a boy racer. Boy racers are actually only involved about 2.5% of fatalities and accidents and those crashes overwhelmingly are single vehicle efforts. These stats were quoted by Dave Cliff when he was the senior road cop in Canterbury when this whole boy racer panic was launched when Labour was in power.

    • ad 7.1

      Crushing would be too hard.

      It should be a ginormous pyrotechnical event. Like something from Top Gear, off a cliff.

    • Clashman 7.2

      The trucking industry are the Nats buddys, it will never happen.

  8. Adrian 8

    By the way, the panic wasn’t initiated by Labour. funny that.

  9. vto 9

    Young men acting with bravado on their steeds is such a new thing. I don’t think it has ever existed before. I’m sure it will easily be stopped by turning the horse into dog food.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      Young guys and their cars isnt a new thing of course, but what is new is cheap Japanese imports and cell phones which change an occasional problem to organised gatherings.
      Believe me if it happened in your immediate suburb or you live on a major road you would be quite vocal about the nuisance

      • vto 9.1.1

        It does ghosty. I slot it alongside all other nuisances, like the middle aged drunken loudmouths who spill out the pub many nights laughing and cursing and spewing and waking us. And the people who throw their rubbish around our street.

        I say crush their cars too.

      • Carol 9.1.2

        Are so-called “boy racers” all young men? The term itself, much loved of the MSM, shows the contradictory attitude in play. It romanticises loud and reckless driving by invoking the concept of brash young rebels, and is quite in-keeping with the NZ popularity of Top Gear.

        There’s also an undercurrent of individualistic consumer society in all this (choosing how you customise and drive your car to promote your individual identity).

        Such people are only following the logic of neoliberalism, but it invokes the anger of the neoliberal elite because it exposes their values to mainstream Kiwis in a less positive light .

        • Which angle are you coming at it from? There’s definitely “girl racers”, if you will, but I’ve never heard of someone who wasn’t relatively young being involved in street racing. That’s part of why it’s suggested that perhaps this is an expression of the fact that young people don’t feel it’s easy enough to get involved in the things they’re actually interested in.

  10. This didn’t look particularly ‘ministerial’ to me… http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/the-law-as-a-plaything/

    Seize cars by all means, but juvenile behaviour such as Tolley’s was not very helpful.

    • Inventory2 10.1

      Frank – the real irony was an editorial by the Herald at the weekend criticising Mrs Tolley, accompanied online by a photograph taken by the Herald’s photographer of 25 years, Mark Mitchell. I’d link to my post about it, but Eddie might get upset 😉

      The media is quick to criticise, but they are also quite happy for their photographers to get the “money shot” that might sell a few more copies; a slight disconnect there, methinks.

      • No, the disconnect is that they’re not owning the fact that they participated in manufacturing this farce. It’s perfectly fine to cover something just to criticise or mock it, if it deserves that treatment.

        • fmacskasy

          Inventory2, Matthew…

          Indeed. Good points, both of you…

          Methinks those images/vids of Tolley’s juvenile antics may come back to haunt her. Silly, silly, woman.

  11. Adrian 11

    GWWNZ< I'm not defending the stupidity, I'm just asking for a lot less irrational panic. Trucks are somewhere between 25 to 27% of traffic incidents. So called "boy racers" don't have huge PR budgets to counter the BS. Try telling the truth about the trucking industry and dozens of slick-suited mealy-mouths on 250k start spreading more fertilizer than a 10-wheeler can manage.
    And VTO, love your rejoinder, didyaknow, that around the 1870's the "road toll" was equilivent to about 4000 deaths today. Bloody horses, they look a lot better as meat pies.

    • True Freedom is Self-Governance 11.1

      Ah, don’t get me started on the trucking industry. Truckies forced to take the rap for unsafe/ overweight loads, forced to work ridiculously long unsafe hours (I’ve heard countless stories about doctoring logbooks to stay within legal limits and keep jobs) road damage, accidents, dumping effluent on roads, exhaust pollution…….While the boy-racer culture certainly isn’t my cup of tea I have to agree that the pants-wetting over this car-crushing stunt is over the top when there are other problems on our roads. Considering the power behind modern cars I’d say most of them manage bloody well.

  12. tracey 12

    It shows those in media are as guilty of playing games as the spin kids and the pollies. If the media grow tired or bored they do their bit getting rid… Until they are bored again

  13. I remember this photo which was made crap after missing the complete view.

  14. Chris 14

    I wonder why Off her Trolley Tolley hasn’t modelled the sexy new GPS ankle bracelet?

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