It crossed my mind to wonder. I'm still not clear if it was a giant mass mailing, or a targeted thing at addresses recently identified to have new occupants for the purposes of gauging political preferences at the address.
The return slip address was freepost to parliament, but I guess it could be argued that anyone responding is trying to communicate with MPs (and also authorise partisan political spam in their email inbox).
I expect Key will ditch his underperforming Ministers, copy as many of Labour’s ideas as he can get away with, and go into the election with a new, refreshed team proposing big ideas for New Zealand’s new issues.
Well, in today’s mail my wife and I received a personally addressed, tidy and colourful letter signed by John Key on behalf of the National Party. It makes a big deal about National’s success with (1) free GP visits & prescriptions for under 13s, (2) jobs & higher incomes, (3) “better education”, (4) “helping children living in hardship”, (5) warmer, drier & healthier homes, (6) breakfasts in schools, (7) grants for first-home buyers, (8) “more paid parental leave”, (9) improved mmunisation, and (10) more money in your pocket.
As I see it, at least 7 or 8 of those headlines are stomping directly onto typical favoured opposition territory.
Then there’s the tear-off slip to ask me what my priorities are for the future. I get to write my own name and address or postcode, but there’s a tiny 9 digit number at the end of the tear-off form, so I presume there’s scope in the system for them to match my name and address with my apparent political preferences, no matter who I say I am or where I say I’m from.
Not long ago we also received a personal letter from Brett Hudson. He’s the National list MP who stood in our electorate, basically to say “you should vote for Peter Dunne instead of me”. I haven’t read his letter yet, but National seems to be on a bit of a marketing drive around here lately. Or maybe they've simply noted on the electoral roll that we shifted here recently, and more targeted data about us is needed.
I wouldn’t expect it to be great in a journalistic sense, but there’s already precedent for doing more or less this, with The Project on Channel Ten, which is overloaded with comedians on the payroll thanks to Melbourne’s comedy scene. The format would surely appeal to much of the audience currently watching Seven Sharp.
…and then despite its general flippancy, the Project comes up with stuff like this (facebook video, sorry), which if anything demonstrates just how much a group of Channel 10 on-staff comedians can produce a result more similar to what Campbell Live used to aim for, yet would probably never see the light of day on Seven Sharp in its current state.
the great unwashed seems to have no problem at all ranking their preferences
The ability of often being able to tick a box to apply the recommended rankings of one’s most preferred candidate, without necessarily even considering or knowing what those rankings are and who else you might be electing, probably helps with that. Interpretations may differ but to me it seemed the whole thing’s so convoluted and confusing that they’ve built in methods to help people not consider who they’re voting for.
I’ve only needed to vote in an Australian election once (Vic local body election ranking 30+ candidates). Despite caring little about the municipal rectangle of suburban arterial roads and dog-walking parks where I spent my overnight time for the 12 month lease before I moved to a different rectangle, I felt some responsibility for others who lived there to actually make an effort to put thought into my compulsory vote. After a long, painful evening of trying to care, I just did the donkey vote thing, numbering 1 through 30-something from top to bottom.
Theoretically I think some kind of preferential system could make MMP much fairer, both in electorates and in the Party vote. But in practice, I’m also wary that one of NZ’s problems is in getting people to vote at all (and ideally actually want to vote if they do). Making the system even more complex, to the point that it’s even harder for more people to understand and trust what’s going on, seems unlikely to help with that. Australia simply gets people to vote by making it compulsory to cast a vote in whichever convoluted system is put in front of voters.
Let's hope the folks creating Yours TV can do a more effective job some day, if they're not already.
Job ads are only worsted by actual HR “interviews”.
My main experience with typical job ads has been that, at least in my own (IT) sector, they’re frequently for jobs which no longer even exist, and largely still remain in the list so recruitment agents can suck applicants in to be part of their buzzword-organised portfolio which they often don’t, themselves, necessarily care much about understanding.
I wish there were a more fair way, but with job ads in the normal places, any fairness is exchanged for a high dose of irrationality. I’m ashamed to admit that every job I’ve had to date has come either from a direct approach, or by knowing people who know me.
(embed fail…just tilt your head a little)
Or click through to the large version. (At least, Firefox auto-rotates it for me.)
Yours TV looks awesome, even if I'm not sure I look forward to a day when teenagers might have more effective and relevant media than their parents and grandparents.
Without knowing exactly how to measure and compare it, is there any word on the types of ratings or viewership it gets?
The only thing National’s doing incorrectly is refusing to publicly state the rules it really operates under. One might suggest that’s because they like winning elections, and lying about that just works better. [--snip--] The trick for making ministers behave is thus voting for the opposition. We were within about 1% of doing it last time, maybe get ’em next time.
Maybe. But even if it did state their rules outright, I think people would vote for it when the likely alternative seems to be worse. Justify it to oneself as changing the rules for improved efficiency, by the way the PM is a multi-millionaire who didn't get what he has by being bound with bureaucratic red tape and clealy knows what he's doing, or whatever you like.
I guess perceptions differ but through the last election my impression was that any number of people were, for whatever reason, just looking for whatever excuses presented themselves to write off and ignore all kinds of crazy messes from the government. Maybe information overload had something to do with it, too. Parts of the MSM were more than happy to analyse all the stuff going on in great detail, but people like John Campbell (that untrustworthy communist extremist, nice justification there) were slapped on the wrist when audiences started getting bored of the same-old lack of government response, and probably switching channels to nice happy faces explaining how everything was really perfectly fine.
It's not like the attitude doens't go both ways, either. Labour was messing up plenty before the '05 election, but I guess it becomes easier for people to come up with excuses to accept that is okay, or fail to even consciously notice it, when the alternative likely to be something headed by Don Brash.
I expect everything that's happened in the past few years will resurface at about the time the opposition parties figure out how to put up something which looks like a viable alternative. By then it'll be easier to look for excuses to dump the government than to keep the status quo, and there are heaps of excuses for anyone wanting them. But the whole viable alternative thing actually needs to happen.
It matters to me, too, and I appreciate the work that's gone into your investigation, Rob, which is at the very least yet another record of how this government's working.
I think after the last election I'm just resigned to a realisation that stuff like actual genuine integrity and honesty, or lack of it, doesn't affect elections on its own.