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When spin goes wrong

Written By: - Date published: 3:57 pm, July 1st, 2009 - 20 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: ,

Richard Long, the main man behind Don Brash’s racist Owera speech is just about the poorest propagandist you get:

“Why only two to a cell? When that suggestion replaced the blackboard menu outside a cafe in Ngaio, Wellington, a few months ago, it was clear the Government had won the “lock them up and throw away the key” argument.

Ngaio is one of those Labour- voting leafy suburbs, adjoining Wadestown, home of the chardonnay socialists. If the liberals cannot win the penal debate in these areas, then they have lost it completely.”

Ok. First, when did a cafe blackboard become a measure of public opinion. Second, when is this guy living? The seventies? Back then Wadestown was a haven of middle class socialism. No more. Back when Long was a young man in the 1920s, Ngaio was working class. No more.

In the Wadestown and Ngaio polling places, National out-polled Labour 3 to 2.  Check out Wellingtonista’s map of Wellington polling places. Wadestown and Ngaio are the blue/grey areas North of the concentration of red in central Wellington:

These are not the liberal suburbs of Long’s fuzzy memories

It’s maybe a trifling thing, but it’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s a pity that there seems to be no standard of fact-checking from the likes of Long who get paid very well to express their opinions in the media.
– Marty G

20 comments on “When spin goes wrong ”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    Actually, Marty, the Ngaio polling places are 54% and 51% red in 2008, which doesn’t support your argument. You might want to look at the numbers when you’re fact-checking. It would help your cause.

    54% and 51% in Ngaio, at the high water mark for National during the 2008 election makes it pretty liberal in my view.

    • Marty G 1.1

      At the Ngaio polling place, Ohariu electorate – 1083 party votes to National, 801 to Labour. http://electionresults.org.nz/electionresults_2008/e9/html/e9_part8_party_35.html

      • Zetetic 1.1.1

        Total for the three polling places in Ngaio and Wadestown:

        Labour: 1328, National: 1845 – that’s including Te Tai Tonga and the small number of Wellington Central votes cast in Ngaio

        Looks like Marty’s right

      • Tim Ellis 1.1.2

        Marty, the map you show refers to the respective left and right votes. Labour + Greens in Ngaio is 431+801, or 1232. National+Act is 1083+110, or 1193.

        Marginally left-leaning in 2008, which was the high tide mark for National. By any measure, Ngaio is left-leaning, which is what Mr Long was saying. It is a traditionally liberal suburb.

        • Marty G

          but, but aren’t the Greens on your side now Tim, and the Maori Party too? If you’re going to include the other parties, why stop with Greens and ACT? Put all the parties into Left and Right, Tim. Give us the sums. Then argue that because it’s pretty even in Ngaio that it’s a lefty liberal suburb.

          Glad to see you think 2008 was the highwater mark too. Because it was just enough to get the Nats over the line.

          • Tim Ellis

            Marty, you’re getting painful.

            The Greens advocate liberal social policies, particularly in justice areas. Act advocates conservative social policies with respect to justice.

            I used the map that you linked to to determine these numbers, which were then confirmed by the elections information for left-right voters. The data in both cases suggests that even in 2008, the high water mark for National, when it got more votes than it ever has in the past, it was still marginally swinging liberal.

            If the Greens suddenly aren’t liberal anymore, Marty, then I suggest you inform Drinking Liberally, because they had better un-invite the Greens.

            The point of Mr Long’s piece is that Labour are in trouble when National’s justice policies are resonating even in liberal suburbs like Ngaio. None of the shoddy excuses for an argument you have come up with have refuted that argument from Mr Long.

            • Marty G

              And I’m saying that these aren’t liberal suburbs. At best you can say that Ngaio is roughly evenly split between left and right… not really very liberal eh?

              I know the Greens are still liberal.. hence the mocking ‘but, but’ at the start. It’s you lot who wanted to believe that Key had worked a miracle and brought them over to your camp.

            • Maggie

              Tim Ellis, from Long’s piece the only place that you can say with any accuracy that National’s justice policy is resonating is in the mind of the person who wrote on the cafe blackboard.

              Anything else is just supposition.

              Long should never be taken seriously. He began his career as Naional spin doctor the day he finally parked his bum on the editor’s chair at the Dom (he had been angling for the job for years). When he joined Brash’s staff he just continued the role from a new office. Now he’s turned full circle, back writing for the DomPost and still spinning for the Nats.

  2. deemac 2

    Ngaio and Wadestown are two of the most expensive suburbs in Wellington, probably in NZ. If Labour is still polling reasonably well there, there is hope for the country!

  3. Daveo 3

    Strange he thought the views of one right-wing cafe owner were in any way representative of the population of Ngaio. Whatever helps to spin a line I guess.

  4. Tigger 4

    I notice he didn’t name the cafe. Is it, in fact, a fiction?

    • Killinginthenameof 4.1

      Cafe Villa or something, usually when they close they take down the days specials off the blackboard and write some kind of comment up. So he’s not making the cafe up, only the leafy liberal suburb bit.

  5. Rex Widerstrom 6

    So he’s stopped interviewing his word processor and is now doing in-depths with the local sandwich board.

    Okay so by Long’s reckoning, if I hang a sign off my balcony (which can be seen for miles thanks to a lack of surrounding high-rises) stating “We no longer live in the 1950s – shops can open after 5” then I’ve instantly won over the populace and can expect the upcoming referendum to catapault WA into the 21st century? I think not.

    We are not, to coin a phrase, a nation of shopkeepers. Simply because one of the petit-bourgeois gets little frisson imagining our prisons being downgraded to resemble that which incarcerated Jean Valjean doesn’t mean the rest of us happen to agree. (That’s quite enough showing off with the French references – Ed.)

  6. Kirbya 7

    Swhatever paper/website is posting Richard Long’s views should be obliged to note the long-standing organised litany of ties he has with the National party? I wish it was enough for people to look at the laughable anecdotal evidence he provides and accordingly decide not to take him seriously, but a warning would be nice.

  7. Speaking of ties, did anyone notice the building that the govt and Auckland council just brought for Banks and Key’s new rugby world cup bar had a big fat Talleys Enterprises sign out front. I understand that the building was previously owned by ports of auckland, but does any one know where to find out if the current tenant is getting any kind of payment for the building being sold underneath them, or if this payment might be exceedingly generous?

  8. Amusingly Long lives rather near to me in Wadestown, so it’s not even as if he’s been on a kind of anthropoligical expedition. He just wandered down to the local shops and went home again and wrote his column. Nice work if you can get it.

  9. Maggie 10

    Poor Richard. Deadline approaching, desperate for an angle, not a single idea in his head….wanders down for a coffee to try to clear the brain, sees something silly on a blackboard….saved by the bell!

    Doesn’t even bother to check whether his “Labour voting” comment about Ngaio is accurate, so convinced by his own prejudices, it probably didn’t even occur to him that he had got it wrong.

    Tim Ellis: Long did not write that Ngaio was “left leaning”. He wrote that it voted Labour. He was wrong, as the figures show.

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