You call that policy? This is policy

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, June 23rd, 2008 - 88 comments
Categories: greens, national, slippery, workers' rights - Tags: ,

National has released a brochure, laying out all its policies. They take up two A4 pages of double-spaced bullet points. That’s incredibly lightweight. Contrast that with the policy files of another party outside government, the Greens.

National has 14 vague policies. The Greens have 51 policy area pages, each containing dozens of actionable policies.

There is no detail behind most of National’s policies. Their ‘Youth Guarantee’ policy page has 383 words, barely more than this post. The Greens’ policy pages contain over 100,000 words.

The summary page of the Greens’ industrial relations policy alone is longer than the summary of all of National’s policies. And, they have more than just a list of bullet points and slogans. One more click takes you to a comprehensive policy page, laying out 37 detailed, actionable policies. That’s only industrial relations; an area in which National has just one policy: the 90 Day No-Rights Bill, the only piece of legislation they have ready to enact if they win.

National policy is just being designed now, by a small clique excluding even the relevant spokespeople. Many policies have only come out as slips. In contrast, the Greens have an open policy development process culminating in ratification by delegated members and policy development is an ongoing process, not a last minute hash job.

We have a very clear, exhaustive, and honest statement of what the Greens hope to achieve. What National would do in government, apart from weaken workers’ rights, is anyone’s guess.

88 comments on “You call that policy? This is policy”

  1. Monty 1

    Patience lefties – when we are 20% to 26% points ahead there is no need to rush out comprehensive policy – we know you are desperate to start slaying National Policy regardless of merit, National have made it clear that they will wait unttil after the elction is announced before they wil release comprehensive policy.

    In the meantime we will soon have double Labour’s support in at least one poll, and although Helen is in denial, three polls over the weekend all supported each other.

    I also understand that in Auckland Labour’s soupport is now at an all time low – does this indicate that people understand the general if not specific policy direction of National and understand that they will take the country forward.

    So Advise the election date and we righties will then be in a position to start releasing policy. Until then, enjoy life in the vacuum – because come the Monday after the election, you guys will be screaming about reality.

  2. “The Greens’ policy pages contain over 100,000 words.” The Greens’ policy pages could have 1,000,000 words but would still be pointless when they can’t even get support for them from Labour let alone National.

    [in fact, the Greens have had a number of members’ bills passed with Labour’s support and been crucial in some policy areas. A slightly cartoonish understanding of politics could even argue that Labour moves forward by adopting Green policies (I would argue the presence of a respectable party to the Left with a sound policy platform allows Labour to explore it’s own leftward leanings from time to time) SP]

  3. Tane 3

    does this indicate that people understand the general if not specific policy direction of National and understand that they will take the country forward.

    If you’re to believe the polls then the Dom Post this morning makes interesting reading. Apparently the people saying they intend to vote for National are the ones least expecting National to make any significant changes.

    Essentially they’re voting for a nice smiling man who’ll keep Labour’s policy platfrom in place.

  4. T-rex 4

    Steve, this post should clearly have headed with a Notional logo.

    That section on economy is pathetic

    The fact that their broadband package, the only thing they’ve actually assigned so much as a number to (and are still hopelessly short in detail on) gets its own special blue box to show how (relatively) well developed and superduperspecial it is…

    Pretty much the only definitive statements are under youth justice and Law/Order. If that’s not a sad indictment of their philosophy I don’t know what is.

    Give police more power to storm and remove gang fortifications“???? Someone needs to spend a bit less time playing Call of Duty I think.

    Damn they suck.

  5. lprent 5

    Monty: Assuming you are right and the nats manage to stitch a coalition together, then I have 3 years of fun to look forward to.

    The Nat’s are sticking themselves in an incredibly vulnerable political position. They have raised unreasonable expectations in the public. It is hard to find two people that even agree on one thing that they think the Nat’s would do. However they each separately think that the Nat’s would help them even when the outcomes are incompatible.

    That means that to maintain the current state to election that the Nat’s will release ‘fuzzy’ policy – full of waffle and little detail (in fact like what they have released to date).

    So post-election it is just a matter of exploiting those lost expectations. Whisper campaigns. Denigration campaigns etc. We’ve had 5 years of an example of how to run a negative campaign and I’m going to love dishing it back.

    It may not be good for the country, but I think that having the Nat’s around for any length of time is likely to be worse… Just too incompetent.

    But I think that the voters are smarter than falling for this level of waffle.

  6. Monty 6

    I am sure the 55% of people voting for national based on current polling are voting for much more than a nice smiling man. For staarters they are also voting to get well rid of Helen Clark and her government which is so obviously past its useby date.

    I suggest they are voting to get rid of the nanny state, the interference in our lives.(By the way it seems we will hhave a referendum on anti-smacking – oh dear)

    Some will be voting against the Electoral Finance Act,

    Otheres will be voting against Michael Cullen and his arrogance.

    The list goes on = I understand that there is a significant part of the strong National support that is voting against Labour but in my view it is not the reason why National’s support is so strong in spite of no policy, what is important is that National will maintain this support all the way to the election.

    Policy for the Nats will come – but other than political junkies I suggest for many, specific policy may not be that important whereas getting well rid of labour is important. That will be hard to fight – especially as funding from donations must be drying up, Labour are getting hung by the EFA at every turn, and no one wants to back the donkey that in Labour in this election race.

  7. dave 7

    The first sentence of the National brochure says that these are some of the policies National has announced, not all of them.

    So why didn’t you mention that? Did you lie, or merely make an error

    [No, National has listed all its policies on the flyer. They’ve just injected the word ‘some’ to make it appear they have more. Ask yourself a) if there are more policies, why didn’t they include them b) what National policies have I heard announced that aren’t included? c) If you only had 14 vague policies to list, wouldn’t you try to hint that there are actually more? SP]

  8. QoT 8

    What, no “peace in our time”?

  9. T-rex 9

    Sigh.

    Don’t be a pedantic wank Dave, it’s National’s brochure, they’re clearly presenting it as their existing policy.

  10. Tane 10

    Interesting Monty, once again all you can cite is reasons to vote against Labour, not for National. That doesn’t strike me as the most solid platform on which to elect a government.

  11. Tane 11

    The first sentence of the National brochure says that these are some of the policies National has announced, not all of them.

    Tell us about the rest of them, Dave.

  12. It has been interesting watching the National party and its members this year. National party members have no say in policy. At best, they get to choose one local candidate who will then go on to the party list. National party members have no say over the list or its ranking. National party members have no say at all over who the party leader is.

    By contrast, the Green party member is expected to participate in all these things: party policy development and refinement, candidate selection by nomination locally and ranking on the list by preferential vote of all party members nationally. The male and female co-leaders of the party must be initially elected to the job by vote of all party members and they are re-confirmed in that role by vote of party delegates every year at the party AGM.

    It’s as though the National party doesn’t much like democracy at all, really and their members don’t appear to mind at all. They are happy with whatever the Leader they had no say in selecting says – even if he just makes it up as he goes along, as former leader Don Brash appeared to think would be just fine, in a recent Sunday Star Times interview.

    So here we are: a tiny clique at the top of a not-very democratic party composing policy on the fly that no one is being consulted about….and National party members seem to think that’s just fine. No transparency and little accountability. So much for open government from people who like to operate that way.

    What a lot of unthinking, negligent sheep they must all be. I’d never support a party like that, of ANY ideological stripe. Not in a million years.

    National’s policy list would look very much in place on Twitter.

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    dave, truth be told, it’s because at any one stage, Key can’t know which incompetant backbencher may have let loose with another policy.

    It’s all of their policies thus far, but no one in National knows it.

    dave and monty – what do you think is the best thing about their “policies” – the lightweight bullet points, or the substantiative statements that reinforce the Labour policies they can’t touch?

    I like them equally.

  14. rjs131 14

    and maybe Lprent you can elaborate on how labour will manage a coalition which at this stage will need the greens and nzfirst. I am sure that the greens and nzfirst will have a lot in common say regarding law and order. How about defence or foreign affairs. Who woudl be minister of foreign affairs – Winston or Keith Locke?

  15. mike 15

    “If you’re to believe the polls”
    So Tane is in denial just like Helen, but what else can she say I guess better to bury head in sand.

    “For staarters they are also voting to get well rid of Helen Clark ”
    Monty -you sound like Matt McCarten.

  16. Monty 16

    Tane – Even the most optimistic person could not believe that 55% support is due to National Policy when they are holding off releasing policy. 55% cannot possibly be a solid platform – (I wish it was). I remember some months back the left blogs were saying Labours support was solid at around 40%. It seems to me that somehwere in the mid to late 20s is where support is solid for each party.

    But How the support is made up is not the question. How or can Labour claw back some of that support to even get competitive (without destroying the Greenies in the process is another challenge)

    And it is made harder because it usually is four to six times harder in business to get a new client as opposed to retaining an existing client. I am not sure politics are differnt in that respect. Nats support may soften a little – but the longer the massive lead in maintained the harder it is going to be to claw back some support. And what makes it worse, it that National will take the reins thanks to the support of about 50% of the population – including people who have never voted for National before and then they may become very comfortable with National. The horror stories that the left spread will come to nothing, and as the government, National will have much stronger resource to stay in government, in much the same way that previous governments certainly find it easier to win a second and even a thiird term than the opposition has of winning the government benches (forth term is another matter as you are more than aware)

    By the way I went onto the Labour Party wensite over the weekend and it seems all their policy dates back to 2005. When are Labour goinig to release fresh policy?

  17. Monty. Policy development is a constant process for most parties, it’s evolutionary, the past is not disgarded, it is built upon. National isn’t like that. It keeps on veering wildly from centre to right to who-knows-where, which is why it’s the only party with a policy vacuum (and when we say policy vacuum, we’re really talking a principles vacuum).

    Moreover, Labour is governing, you see it release policies daily.

  18. Yes Monty – Labour hasn’t released any prudent or commonsensical policy to help the dire circumstances New Zealand currently finds itself in. Good point Monty. Hi roger nome and tiger tea.

  19. Mr English 19

    Oops. We forgot to authorise it… I hope no one prints one out…

  20. Don’t worry Mr English as Robin cleared it with Batman so it’s all sweet bro.

  21. Steve Withers. I know what you mean, there’s definitely this belief in National that a leader should lead and the rest should follow.

    Talking with a couple of drunk National backbenchers one night brought that home when David Bennett said “[Key] he works us like dogs, as he should’.” and “‘John doesn’t really know what he wants to do if (when, hah!) he becomes Prime Minister and he certainly hasn’t told us!’

    At the core of the born-to-rule aspect of tory thought (and it underlies everything from tax cuts for the rich to less regulation to opposing Kiwisaver) is a belief that the strong should lead and those who aren’t should accept their fate (we know what that is called in its extreme case).

    We see this now in the Righties comments. They really think we should give up, roll over like little David Bennets, and not oppose National just because the polls are against us. They don’t understand that for the left it’s about fighting for what we think is just, not merely being the strongest. That fatal misunderstanding is why they think they can beat us once and for all but they never will.

  22. lprent 22

    rjs131: Beats me what coalition Helen would stitch together. She has surprised me every time. Last time I thought Progressive, Maori Party and Greens. Got Progressive, United Future, and NZ First. 1 out of 3 ain’t bad.

    But at least she has experience at both stitching them together and holding them together. The Nat’s haven’t – but they do have experience at making them implode. Helen has as well – Alliance in 2002.

  23. Vanilla Eis 23

    Sometimes I wonder if d4j is actually just one of those thousand Shakespeare monkeys, but somehow got loose and held onto his keyboard. One day, eventually, he will come up with something coherent.

  24. I do like Bananas and Vanilla Ice Cream in my cage.

  25. Matthew Pilott 25

    And it is made harder because it usually is four to six times harder in business to get a new client as opposed to retaining an existing client. I am not sure politics are differnt in that respect.

    They’re called swing voters – the clue is in the name.

  26. Skeptic 26

    Oh FFS. It’s a brochure highlighting major policy areas. It’s not an exhaustive list of all the policy documents and material, which are freely available on National’s website.

    There’s far more policy material on National’s website than there is on Labour’s. But Steve Pierson is too dishonest to observe that.

    Steve asks why National didn’t release all of its policy detail in the brochure. Well, buddy, it’s an A4 brochure, double-sided, designed to present an overview of key intiatives. Duh. Why wasn’t the pledge card in 2005 much larger, and much more detailed? Was it because it was taxpayer funded, and the Labour Party was concerned it didn’t want to present a more expensive taxpayer-funded document to the electorate?

    No, don’t think that was the reason.

  27. Monty 27

    And at the moment they seem to all have swung to National – (Long may they see the light and become baseline supporters). But the question remains what is Labour offering to try and get a few back. It will be hard to convince those swing voters to back Labour again – especially while Clark Cullen Jamderton are there.

    Do you not realise that the problem as well as the asset is Clark? Cullen is of course all problem and no asset.

    So Labour who also seem a little devoid of policy have no idea how to gain back the voters who are flirting with John Key. Leftards only seem capable of bagging the Nats and Especially John Key – that is not a policy. And every time you try it John Key just seems to get more popular – what is Labour’s Plan – or are things is such a mess (despite Clark’s Brave face and denials) that policy has not been formulated. Being in the seat of power gives Labour the opportunity to develop policy with the massive resources to hand – yet I fail to see even a vision from Labour except retain power at all costs. Key talks about a vision for a prosperous NZ – that seems to be enough at the present time for the majority of voters.

  28. Skeptic. I’ve been to National’s website, have you? There aren’t proper policy docs there. Hell, the policy page on the Youth Guarantee (including the much vaunted boot camps) is 383 words long.

    The biggest policy doc there is the Blue-Green Strategy and it doesn’t have actual policies in it. Plus, most of the Nat caucus rejects it as too lefty, tree-hugging.

  29. Skeptic 29

    Lynne this is again why you should stick to technical things, because your political history is faulty.

    “But at least she has experience at both stitching them together and holding them together. The Nat’s haven’t – but they do have experience at making them implode. Helen has as well – Alliance in 2002.”

    But Helen Clark wasn’t always successful at stitching together coalitions. She failed on her first attempt in 1996. 1999 was hardly a major effort–there was not a big bridge to overcome. Even less so in 2002. 2005, both Peter Dunne and Winston said they would negotiate first with the party with the most seats.

    National does have experience in stitching together coalitions. What do you think 1996 was? Don’t you remember how bitter Helen Clark was when Winston didn’t come through for her? She expected Winston to come to her party. He didn’t. He went to National, because at the time National had better negotiating skills. So too had Bolger stitched together coalitions to hold together a minority government between much of 1993 and 1996, before MMP, when United, Christian Coalition, and the Conservative Parties set up. Maybe you also forget that Bolger managed to get Jim Anderton not to vote down the National government between 1993 and 1996.

    Or you may have forgotten how when Jenny Shipley rolled Jim Bolger and then fired Winston Peters, she managed to hold together a coalition government that went to full term. That took considerable negotiating skills as well.

    Given that senior people in New Zealand First and now Peter Dunne are saying that it is National’s election to lose, and National’s current support base suggests it’s likely to govern alone it’s a big call to make to say that John Key, who’s spent his entire career stitching together deals, doesn’t have the negotiating skills to build a coalition when he needs it.

  30. ants 30

    SP – “They don?t understand that for the left it?s about fighting for what we think is just, not merely being the strongest.”

    Thats incorrect – for the majority of the left its about:

    “What party will ensure I get my WFF still?”
    “What party will ensure that I keep my public sector job?”
    “What party will ensure my student loan remains interest free?”

    For the majority of the right its about:

    “What party will ensure I get to keep more of my income?”

    You’re completely taking the piss if you believe people vote for a common good – 99% of voters, whether left or right leaning, vote selfishly.

  31. Monty. Lucky we’ve got people like you calling people Leftards. I want to see you out there on the hustings every day of the campaign calling anyone who wants better social service a ‘leftard’

    If you think Cullen is a liability you’ve never seen the work the man does. Does he have a great media image? No. But he does the actual real business of government, the stuff that matters, better than anyone.

  32. djp 32

    Broadcaster: “An A4 page of paper contains less information then the internet, news at 11”

  33. ants. Here’s a clue – life isn’t all about money for me or other leftwingers or most people. The fact that all your examples of both left and right wing thought are solely concerned with money shows the shallowness of your political understanding, and why you can’t understand a leftwinger’s worldview.

  34. Skeptic 34

    Try to be honest for once, Steve. That’s the summary document. There are also five keynote speeches on justice and law and order issues.

    Labour hasn’t released any law and order policy since 2005. But the youth offending section of Labour’s law and order policy in 2005 takes up, wait for it, a whopping FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY WORDS! And very little of it concerns new initiatives.

    But nice try at being dishonest again Steve.

  35. Speeches aren’t policy documents. Honestly, direct me to the policy document on the Youth Guarantee. I’m dying to see it.

    As for Labour’s policy, um, check the relevant ministries… you’re not comapring apples with apples when you’re looking at the policies of a party in govt with one that’s not, a party in government has the entire policy capacity of the civil service at it’s disposal and announces policy through the Ministers, not through the party – that’s why I compared with the Greens.

    And you don’t need to call me a liar to win the debate if you actually have evidence.

  36. lprent 36

    Skeptic: I’d have said that 1996 was more about nationals desperation to retain power than anything else. The deal that they gave NZF was generous, EXTREMELY generous. In fact one could look at it as being extremely stupid on the part of the Nat’s negotiating team.

    Helen didn’t care to follow in such a level of stupidity. After all anyone can put a stupidly generous deal together. In case you hadn’t noticed, Helen is both smart and pretty tight about what she gives away in deals.

    Now remind me Oh wise one – what was the result of that 1996 coalition agreement? I seem to remember that NZF fell apart inside the coalition. The maori rump that went with national got richly rewarded by the maori electorate. I wonder if there is a lesson in there for the maori party?

    But really – who in the current national caucus engaged in these deals? McCully perhaps? Anyway if the Nat’s wish to make stupid deals then they will do so. Personally it is what I’d expect.

    The 1993-1996 was just the usual horse trading by national to get around their own caucus. It wasn’t threatening to the government, as they always had an option of not putting the policy forward that they were getting resistance inside their own caucus.

    BTW: It is likely that I have been around politics longer than you. In all likelihood I probably have a better formal education in it as well. I used to collect degrees as a hobby, just like I collected programming skills as a hobby and turned it into a career.

  37. don't vote labour 37

    “By the way I went onto the Labour Party wensite over the weekend and it seems all their policy dates back to 2005. When are Labour goinig to release fresh policy?”

    Labour never releases fresh policy, all they do is recycle stuff from the bottom of the socialist rubbish bin.

  38. Scribe 38

    Steve,

    National has 14 vague policies.

    Where do you get the number 14 from? By my count, that pamphlet has 18 subheads, plus the little box on broadband. That seems to me like 19 “vague policies”, if that’s what we’re going to call them.

    The first lesson in criticism class is make sure your criticisms are factually correct.

    Keep plugging along, though. Something will turn the polls around eventually — or not.

    Captcha: bad selection (of number of policies?)

  39. Non 39

    Those are the Greens 2005 policies dickwad.

  40. T-rex 40

    Bye Non 🙂

  41. Luke C 41

    The brochure doesnt seem to have an authorization statement on it. Surely this must be counted as electoral advertising?

  42. Hey D4J shall we have another round?

  43. Steve: You are right, the Greens have helped Labour to be labeled the ‘Nanny State government’ with such successes as :

    -On 16 May, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill passes into law, ending the availability of the ‘reasonable force’ defence for the purposes of correction which allowed parents to legally beat their children.

    -11th June 2007 – Sue K – Government introduced new Food & Nutrition Guidelines in Schools.

    The Greens have also had wonderful successes in getting Labour to squander taxpayers money on their flaky hippy beliefs (homepathy, naturopathy etc):

    -The Greens secure $450K of funding in the 2007 Budget for a new Chief Advisor: Integrated Care, to work within the Ministry of Health. The Chief Advisor will be supported by a policy analyst to look at ways to integrate complementary healthcare and conventional medicine, particularly in the area of chronic condition management.

    -The Complementary Health Resource within the Health Ministry website, http://www.newhealth.govt.nz/maccah.htm, funded by a Green Budget initiative, is launched.

    (This website is now effectively dead and no DHB’s use SCAM (supplementary complementary alternative medicine) practitioners)

    http://www.greens.org.nz/about/achievements.htm

  44. T-rex 44

    Bryan:

    Re: Your first two points. I can’t believe you actually said that. F*ck you’re a gumby. Fancy the government intervening and “ending the availability of the ‘reasonable force’ defence for the purposes of correction which allowed parents to legally beat their children” (your words). God knows we need more children beaten, not less! And promoting good nutrition??? Who does this government think they are! Clearly we want more malnutrition, not less!

    On the last… maybe it is hippy medicine. But some of it has supporting empirical evidence, so hey, what’s the harm. Oh wait, I see the harm, as you say it’s the government SQUANDERING MONEY! All 450k of it.

    Quick Clinton, update wastewatch, Bryan has found another 0.00027c/week! Nail in the freakin coffin right there!

    I mean sure, like most waste it WOULD require cutting services that some people might value quite highly, but those are OTHER PEOPLE so who cares.

  45. Quoth the Raven 45

    You’re completely taking the piss if you believe people vote for a common good – 99% of voters, whether left or right leaning, vote selfishly.

    What utter sh*t. The difference between most left and right wing voters is that we on left vote for the common good. Those on the right vote for their back pocket (or so people who aren’t like them get sh*t) and even then they get it wrong.

  46. T-rex 46

    Raven – I think it’s also that people on the left are smart enough to realise that in the mid and long term actions that maximise the common good are generally the same as those that maximise the personal good.

    Ants – I imagine a significant number of the more left aligned on this site could personally discount your theory. I certainly can. Perhaps i vote selfishly and I’m just smart enough to be effectively selfish.

  47. T-Rex: Gumby ? You mean that cute little claymation guy with a penchant for mischief and mayhem ? Sounds exactly like me 🙂

    If you follow the link you will see these are all quotes from the Greens website, sorry I forgot to indicate that.

    Have a listen to Matthew Hooton and Laila Harre on Politics on Nine to Noon theorising that Labours 25% lag behind National in the polls is partially down to ordinary Kiwis being sick of told what to do by the Government. The latest example being the ditching of incandescent lamps.

    Left to it’s own devices Labour would never have been dumb enough to let Sue Bradfords ‘anti-smacking bill’ see the light of day. Helen Clark is a saavy operator and must have known how much of an insult it would be to most parents who would never smack these kids and how ineffectual it is in preventing the evil monsters who beat their kids to death. No doubt Labour needed the Greens to support some other initiative ( maybe the EFA ) and this was the Greens price.

    On SCAM (supplements complementary alternative medicines) this is $450k a year of pure waste: again no doubt some payoff from Labour to the flaky end of the Green Party. The poor bugger who gets the job of Chief Advisor will be in the unenviable position of trying to get doctors to adopt practises like homeopathy that any scientifically trained person finds ludicrous. I can see this dying a quiet death like the “Complementary Health Resource within the Health Ministry website” which hasn’t been updated since 2004.

    Earlier this year I had some email correspondence with a ‘senior policy advisor’ in the MInistry of Health. He confirmed that while there is no MOH restriction on SCAM use in DHB’s not a single one has adopted any of the practices discussed on the above mentioned section of the MOH website.

    I know $450k isn’t a lot to Wellington policy wonks but it would pay for 5 extra teachers or nurses on the frontline. INstead it is being squandered on the deluded belief system of some aging Green Party spinner hippy chick with an unresolved father issue ( Sue B or Sue K you choose).

  48. burt 48

    Quoth the Raven

    What utter sh*t. The difference between most left and right wing voters is that we on left vote for the common good. Those on the right vote for their back pocket (or so people who aren’t like them get sh*t) and even then they get it wrong.

    What utter sh*t. The difference between most right and left wing voters is that we on right vote for the common good. Those on the left vote for their back pocket (or so people who aren’t like them get sh*t) and even then they get it wrong.

    See two can play partisan myopia.

    For gods sake is that the best you can do? Don’t forget that when Labour are looking sad in the polls they pull out bribes like increases to WFF – you can’t convince me that people didn’t vote for that gift directly into their own back pockets. Oh let me guess, the 25% of families not eligible are all left wing and it was their gift to the poor disadvantaged right wing families, so they voted Labour in…. Yeah right!

  49. T-rex 49

    Bryan – It wasn’t that I thought you were misquoting, just that I couldn’t understand how you could represent achievements such as those as bad things. It’s really weird!!!

    Yeah, I think you do actually remind me of a little claymation dude. It’s not that you’re an asshole at all, you just only ever seem to think one layer deep!

    Why on earth would parents who would never smack their children be insulted by that bill??? SURELY they’d feel as though they were vindicated in the “don’t beat children” stance! As to those who do… whether it stops them or not is debatable, but it’ll certainly remove their defence when they do. And to stop them we have excellent initiatives like the “it’s not ok” ads. Or do you not like them either?

    Homeopathy – meh. I don’t have much time for it, but then I don’t expect the government to perfectly represent my views, and I know a LOT of people who think it’s valid. Why shouldn’t they have some of their views catered to, however stupid you and I may think they are?

  50. burt 50

    T-rex

    Children who are beaten by their parents probably prey for their parents to ‘only smack them’ – not they can’t even prey for that!

    I think you have nailed the point, parents who thrash their kids are not going to stop that because smacking is now illegal. One might also argue that parents who might ‘smack’ their children in public now can’t so what we will see is the removal of the ‘safety valve’ in public forcing that anger to be taken home where a beating is more likely.

    It’s a complex issue, I support the idea behind it but I think it’s all just weasel words at the end of the day. Some folk smack their children, some beat them senseless and some even beat them to death. Making the thin end of the wedge illegal will make no difference to the serious offenders, as we have seen. The killings haven’t stopped for now however the real test will be in a generation from now, will it have stopped then? Yes I agree “it’s not OK” was an excellent campaign, pity Trevor Mallard undermined a fair bit of that because he didn’t get fired – but I guess he’s a Labour MP and we know it’s just not on to fire them for doing stuff that’s illegal.

  51. T-rex 51

    I think you have nailed the point, parents who thrash their kids are not going to stop that because smacking is now illegal.

    I’m not sure about that. The law has taken away the shades of grey. There is now a clear stance of “physical force is NOT ok as a form of discipline”. It may well lead to a sea change. The worst of the worst will go on unimpeded, and will go to jail. But the ones who simply grew up with it and thought it was normal may behave differently. Certainly can’t hurt (if you’ll forgive the expression).

  52. burt 52

    T-rex

    I kind of agree with you, which is why I think it will take a generation to really see if it makes a difference. You are absolutely correct that if we smack our children we ‘normalise’ low level violence and then people like Trevor Mallard think nothing of punching other adults when they don’t have the intelligence to ‘fight’ with their words.

  53. National doesn’t work to thestandard.org’s timetable.

    They will release a more detailed account of their policies, closer to Election time, meantime they will just watch the poll numbers go up and up as Aunty Helen keeps talking her way into retirement.

  54. T-rex 54

    Wait and see hey. I just don’t think it makes sense to condemn a government for acting to protect those who can’t protect themselves.

    I’m not a fan of Mallard either. Wouldn’t be sorry to see him “reshuffled”. I can understand why he punched Henare, and aren’t really bothered by it, but generally he seems to be working with a pretty small and stroppy toolbox.

  55. Aunty Helen keeps talking her way into retirement.

    Is Helen your auntie? Shit boyo you didn’t get your brains from that side of the family that’s f’sure…

  56. T-rex 56

    I think it’s part of some desperate bid for credibility by association ‘Sod.

    Notice how seldom anyone refers to Uncle John? I guess his name just doesn’t carry the same weight.

  57. Tane 57

    T-Rex, brings this video to mind:

  58. T-rex 58

    Perceptive guy, Hone.

    Well. More perceptive than some.

    On a TOTALLY UNRELATED NOTE – Hi Brett.

  59. Eweugh! “Uncle John” sounds like something you’d pay a hooker to call you…

    But back on topic – I had a look at these so-called policies tonight and I’m amazed this tread has gone so long. I mean surely when a bullet point is given the title of “policy” it’s case closed? Or are do these chumps plan to govern by bullet point?

  60. burt 60

    Robinsod

    I took a look and I’m quite impressed. I like the 10% early repayment discount on student loans. Perhaps the Labour party could top that?

    Oh I know, no Tertiary fees and average after tax wage as a universal student allowance, no entry prerequisites and all students get a degree in Participation after 3 years.

    Surely it would encourage more people into study wouldn’t it? Get the building industry rocketing along building more Universities. More cash in the hands of more students will require more bars, car yards, Hospitals and drug/alcohol counselors. The inflation as a result of this spending would then be a lever to restrict essential wage inflation as measures need to be in place when govt spending personal spending is driving high inflation.

    However I must concede, National’s early repayment discount does none of that, it just encourages more rapid repayment of interest free loans.

  61. burt 61

    I also like the idea of National’s Youth Plan, has Labour clarified their position on raising the school leaving age to 18? It would be good if Labour could release their policy on this so I can compare at least the bullets with National’s.

    Remembering I’m not a National party voter, this brochure must have you guys wetting your pants?

  62. outofbed 62

    Policy ??
    What a National Government May Entail?
    http://election08.scoop.co.nz/what-a-national-government-may-entail/

    another good article by Gordon Campbell

  63. jbc 63

    Now, don’t take this as a defense of National’s lack of policy detail, but it seems that some of the arguments opposing are rather specious.

    From the Scoop article:

    [Nat’s policies] none have any costings. attached a rather essential ingredient if voters are to judge how affordable the ‘policies’ are, and the levels of debt that may be required to finance them

    Really? How many NZ voters are going to be spreadsheeting this stuff? How many would actually understand the workings of Treasury? Honestly.

    If voters aren’t smart enough to be trusted to judge the substance of a political advertisement [justification for EFB is that voters are swayed by advertising spend rather than message] then they’re hardly treasury wonks. If they are then they probably don’t need the numbers to make up their minds.

    I tend to agree with the present government’s cynical view of voters’ intelligence. Most are swayed by their emotions (a little to the left, a little to the right). They see cute animals on a TV advertisement and then switch telephone IDD providers based on this.

  64. T-rex 64

    Boy, I sure hope Notionals quasi-policies don’t cost any money. Especially those huge tax cuts they’re promising.

    Because it looks like 60% of NZ voters are busy quite liking the setup Labour has going. I wonder if that 60% include some of the 70% who tell pollsters to piss off. I’m picking yeah…

  65. burt 65

    jbc

    Now how much were interest free student loans going to cost when they were announced? Oh that’s right – we weren’t told were we, Treasury had some ideological burps and the information they provided was just crap.

    The silly buggers in Treasury said something about the interest free student loans and extensions to WFF causing inflation. Thankfully Dr Muppet Cullen was smarter than them and he told us that govt spending didn’t cause inflation like tax cuts did. Just as well, imagine how inflation would be looking now if govt spending caused inflation… Oh, hang on… we haven’t had tax cuts yet….

  66. Vanilla Eis 66

    jbc: I certainly won’t have the spreadsheet out, but it doesn’t take a huge amount of mental effort to realise that if National promises to spend, say, 1.5 billion dollars on a broadband network, then that $1.5 billion is going to have to come from somewhere.

    If National had the balls to do costings, anyone with 5 minutes to spare could easily tot up how much they were pledging, and then ask the next question that comes to mind: Where from?

  67. burt 67

    T-rex

    While we are on the subject of what people are thinking…. I wonder if that 60% is the same people in this survey.

    http://www.interest.co.nz/ratesblog/index.php/2008/06/21/were-worried/

    Now a record 62% of New Zealanders are expecting New Zealand to have bad times financially over the next 12 months. Only 16% are expecting good times.

    Can we assume from this that real Labour support is only 16%

  68. burt 68

    Vanilla Eis

    Did we ask the same questions when a few billion were thrown at Interest free loans and WFF. Oh no, because the govt had such massive surpluses from fiscal drag – but that was before thousands of tax payers started leaving the country wasn’t it. I suppose now that it’s not Labour planning to run rampant with the cheque book we had better stop and think because Labour are good and National are bad.

  69. T-rex 69

    burt – You can assume that if you like. I’m not astoundingly stupid, so I think I’ll assume something else, but you go knock yourself out.

    Hey, maybe it’s that in hard financial times people aren’t quite so keen to go it alone and the real value of a community becomes apparent.

  70. T-rex 70

    The National loans policy has no positive return for NZ.

    Labours interest free policy is only valid while the load holder is in NZ. If you go overseas you start paying interest. Even with a 10% discount on voluntary repayments you’d have to be stupid to pay it back while you were in NZ – oh yes, lets all rush to pay back our interest free loan when we could instead invest the money and collect interest on it.

    So the only people who will make and benefit from voluntary repayments are those leaving the country. Just the group we want to give money to right?

    Or have you got a different view Burt?

  71. andy 71

    burt

    How much has the interest free loans cost? And have the loans ballooned as The Nats predicted?

    Serious question!

    I have a student loan, I will pay it off 3 years earlier than prior to interest free. Then I get a 10% pay rise, as that is my SL deduction from wages.

    What I am trying to get to is that as a tax payer and consumer, does the interest free SL allow me to spend more (more GST) and save more (income tax on interest), allow me to get ahead buy a house etc.

    Lots of intangibles there, I also know people who were silly with loans under lockwood ‘free money’ smith and racked up huge debts, they had previously given up on paying it back, but for the first time they can see light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. So they can know better participate as above.

    cheers

  72. Vanilla Eis 72

    burt: I honestly don’t know about WFF – did you demand to know how much it was going to cost? But yes, people were aware that there was a surplus and room for more spending. You’re alleging mismanagement by the government because now there isn’t a surplus for Key to run into the ground if he takes over? Unless I’m mistaken, there wasn’t one when Cullen took over either. I’m sure you see that as a good thing, and the creation of a surplus as bad, but I see it more as good financial management on Cullens part.

    As for the interest on student loans – unless I’m wrong, student loans are counted as an asset to the government (Much like mortgages go on a banks assets balance). Writing off interest on them simply means that aforementioned asset grows more slowly. Seeing as how thousands of students were fleeing the country and those remaining were barely able to cover the interest on their loans, I don’t necessarily think that was a bad thing. Because, y’know, there’s not much point in having a fantastic asset that grows (with compounding interest!) if you never get to realise any returns on it.

  73. How about this idea:

    We are all part of the Tumeke blogosphere ranking list. Every month or so Tim Selwyn compiles this list based on Technorati listings and some other parameters.

    While these ratings do not reflect quality but rather quantity judging by the fact that Farrar with his moronic sycophants consistently makes it to number one, there have been some very interesting changes this month on this list.

    For example John Key’s site went down 10 places from 33 to 43.
    Does this perhaps mean that people are getting tired of the same bland little “feel good” speeches John Key’s staff puts on it to keep the visitor enthralled by Slippery John and are they looking for more real information about Nationals politics than they are getting?

    If you believe like me that the NZH is just a National pusher so therefore it is likely that the polls are designed to have a positive outcome for National is it perhaps possible that the Tumeke blogosphere is more representative of the Political sentiments in this country?

    I am by the way proud to announce that I’m rubbing virtual shoulders with the man. My blog went 4 places up to 44. Not bad for an unknown Dutchy who arrived here a mere 2.8 years ago and started her blog 4 months ago. I already left Bill English behind me and hopefully I will surpass our Smiling Assassin next month.

    With some very nice compliments in my comments does this mean that people are hungry for real news in stead of the pre chewed mainstream crappy news? So that hopefully they can make up their own minds rather than follow the pollsters into the next election?
    And yes I place the ones critical of my site as well.

    Ooh yuck, I just saw the National brochure. Your typical empty sound bite sized talking points, just big enough to sound like something and say absolutely nothing but trust me they’ll go down a treat for the average kiwi sheeple nitwit.

  74. How nice for you tulip.

  75. burt 75

    T-rex

    Would you lend your own money interest free and expect it to be repaid if you offered no incentive?

  76. Vanilla Eis 76

    burt: It’s only interest free if you remain in New Zealand. While working in New Zealand, you are taxed an extra ten cents in the dollar over the repayment threshhold (which is something like $18k). This money is taken out by the IRD – just look at a tex-code declaration if you ever fill one out and see that students get their own tax codes and all. So yes, I would expect it to be repaid. Anyone heading overseas has interest applied to their loan, but would you consider that they have any incentive to repay it?

    Andy makes an excellent point: Paying interest on the loan is far less productive for businesses as it means that a large portion of our income is simply being given to the Government instead of being spent on goods and services. I’ve heard the horror stories about people who borrowed $40k, have so far repaid $50k, yet still have another $30k or so to go. There is something seriously flawed with that system. I thought you right-wing lot were all against the Government making a profit off it’s citizens?

    captcha: inland $1000. Creepy.

  77. Joker 77

    “they’ll go down a treat for the average kiwi sheeple nitwit”

    Maybe from the perspective of the average clog wearing, edam eating, surrender monkey.

  78. Vanilla Eis 78

    Gah, tax-code declaration. It’s the IR330. I’m sure you’ve seen one. Students don’t get a whole lot of choice in the matter – especially since the IRD administers your loan in the first place.

    Joker: I thought the French were the surrender monkeys?

  79. Joker 79

    They are but it is such a great phrase I just couldn’t resist using it. And the Dutch rolled over in ww2 as well.

  80. Pascal's bookie 80

    Joker,
    Yep, those tough manly Americans sure proved the French to be cowards in Iraq.

  81. Pascal's bookie 81

    Natch, here’s that link joker.

    http://www.exile.ru/print.php?ARTICLE_ID=7061&IBLOCK_ID=35

  82. slightlyrighty 82

    Wow.

    National policies on 2 A4 pages?

    Labour got their on a credit card last time didn’t they?

  83. T-rex 83

    “Would you lend your own money interest free and expect it to be repaid if you offered no incentive?”

    Well for starters, there are the compulsory repayments described above.

    Next, you should probably look into the successes of the micro-loan schemes in places like Bangladesh, India etc.

    So to answer your question – yes, depending on the nature of the loan.

    Surrender monkey is an awesome phrase

  84. Joker
    LOL

    I think Holland had about a 150 soldiers on bikes in WW II and antique guns, not exactly your stand up army against the German army.
    I think they held out for two days.

    Common you have to admit that most people only listen to sound bites.
    And not just in your beautiful and mostly gracious country but world wide.

  85. Joker 85

    Thanks for that Pascal’s bookie. My wife is French and she will appreciate the reference to counter my teasing.

  86. oops, Come on was the word I was looking for.

  87. Phil 87

    After the Michelen tyre debacle at the Indianapolis GP in 2005, the phrase (at least in motoring circles) was amended to “Cheese-eating tyre-shreding surrender monkeys”

    Cap; “cents forgery”
    doesn’t sound as cost effective as forging a nice shiny $100 note…

  88. gobsmacked 88

    Update: it doesn’t seem possible for National to actually have LESS policy, but somehow they’ve managed it.

    One of the few policies that have been announced … has now been dumped.

    http://stuff.co.nz/4596970a20475.html

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