Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A week being a long time in politics

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    According to Joyce, 81% agreed that there were more important issues to focus on, and only 13% said the so-called tape was worthy of further attention. This, said Joyce, was evidence that the matter was of interest only to those within the "Bowen Triangle", while the public was of a higher mind.

    There's a gap between what people think they're supposed to think, and report back to pollsters and what they actually think and base their private voting behaviour on.

    It's also the case that overall majorities aren't that important here. If 4% of National supporters switch their vote over to Winston Peters on the basis of this affair, then that's a strategic catastrophe for Joyce's party, no matter what the other 96% do.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    while National's aggressive response may well serve its short-term interests with the public, it's storing up longer-term trouble with the press

    The Herald's oft-sympathetic John Armstrong rounds on our glorious leader.

    Has John Key completely lost the plot? The Prime Minister's statement yesterday that National's success in cutting the crime rate has given police spare time to pursue his complaint about the secret taping of his conversation with John Banks sounds astonishingly naive, but is also deeply disturbing.

    It invokes the memory of another National leader from a different era - a leader National has long sought to consign to the history books.

    It is unlikely that the spirit of Sir Robert Muldoon has taken hold of Key. But you have to wonder.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Framing questions on the assumption that the recording was illegal – without the decision of a judge or even a charge laid yet – seemed fairly leading to me. I asked David Farrar, the owner of Curia, about this last night, and he assured me the actual phrase used was “so-called illegal tapes”, which is a bit more neutral.

    But not by much – I know there’s a hell of a lot of certainty both ways, but I’m not so certain. And, with no desire to troll for a fight, I’d note Andrew Geddis (that nototious Tory lick-spittle) is not assuming Bradley Ambrose will get the declaratory judgement that he wants – and which, I think it’s fair to say, many here assume is a no-brainer.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Sacha,

    I can't tell you how much Key reminds me of Muldoon. He was a nasty piece of work, but at least he was honest about it.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And, with no desire to troll for a fight, I’d note Andrew Geddis is not assuming Bradley Ambrose will get the declaratory judgement that he wants – and which, I think it’s fair to say, many here assume is a no-brainer in his favour.

    I think it’s worth a crack for Ambrose, but my advice is the same as what Geddis is saying – that he probably won’t get his declamatory judgement because the judge will probably decide it goes to matters of fact that are already the subject of a criminal investigation.

    None of which means the recording can confidently be said to be illegal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Trying to tell the media what to say. Epic fail. If police seize media's computers = loss of election (I hope).

    Later, http://www.laws179.co.nz/2011/11/reading-tea-leaves-declaratory-judgment.html
    This seems reasonable.
    "The uncertainty about legality is, I think, inhibiting political and electoral discourse. "

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Yeah. I was too young really to know why my parents hated Muldoon so much. But every time I talk to my Dad over the phone in Christchurch, he tells me it's like living in Muldoon World 2.0 down there. And I believe him.

    And if the phrase "unbridled power" really were uttered during The Conversation, well, you have to wonder.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 433 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    None of which means the recording can confidently be said to be illegal.

    True - but I'd respectfully suggest it also suggests there's a lot of over-confidence flowing in the other direction too. (Of course, no matter what the poor bastard - or bitch, let's not be sexist! - who ends up hearing this rules, it's near-certain someone among the usual suspects is going to scream "political bias". *sigh*)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    None of which means the recording can confidently be said to be illegal.

    Unless you're National's comms team, facing little challenge.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    But every time I talk to my Dad over the phone in Christchurch, he tells me it's like living in Muldoon World 2.0 down there.

    Brownlee is perhaps a closer resemblance politically.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Meanwhile, anyone else surprised that Winston’s stunning revelations (which the media lapped up like dogs on their own vomit) didn’t live up to the hype. A week is a long time in politics, but where the press and Winston is concerned three decades isn't long enough to make a simple lesson stick.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Rough recollections of National’s internal poll from my friend …

    Initially a question along the lines of do you think ”things are going well at the moment?”

    “If the election was held now who would your party vote be for?”

    Followed by: “any chance you will change your mind before the election?”

    Then questions about whether the following issues were best addressed by either “the National Party, the Labour Party, or another party” (these were the
    only options)

    Then:

    Which party has the best economic policies?
    Which party will best “crack down on crime”
    Which party has the best team behind its leader?
    Which party has the best education policies?
    Which party will be best for the health system?
    Which party will be best for the environment?

    And a few more in that vein.

    This also stood out:

    “On a scale where 5 is the best, how would you rate the following
    politicians?

    John Key
    Bill English
    Phil Goff”

    The questions about the teapot tapes came at the end of the poll, and
    were roughly as follows:

    1. Should John Key have to answer questions about the so-called illegal tapes?

    2. Should there be (paraphrase) much more media coverage
    of this issue or far less coverage?

    3. Has the media handling of this issue been (paraphrase) trivial
    and shallow or professional and thorough?

    Mostly pretty standard stuff, but there are one or two interesting quirks in there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Does Curio poll for anyone else?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    There’s a gap between what people think they’re supposed to think, and report back to pollsters and what they actually think and base their private voting behaviour on.

    This is really crucial. It’s especially interesting in the context of the “Spiral of Silence” phenomenon Chris Trotter made reference to the other week in his (flawed) critique of opinion polls. Flawed in the general case, but I think his analysis is stronger on this point: the release of internal polling data (which is very unusual) in this way can be viewed as a form of moral suasion, a signal that if you care about this topic then you’re in the minority, out of touch, obsessed with trivia and so on.

    Precisely what every single Tory I know has been saying all week, with a substantial side-helping of “you should be ashamed of yourselves”. Bless.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to merc,

    Does Curio poll for anyone else?

    They don't, and shouldn't, talk about their clients, but they did do some work Family First.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Where's the Granny's Democracy Under Attack when you need it?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    More moral persuasion, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10766944
    I asked about Curio because if he works for no one else there may be an issue with his polling in fact being election promotion (bias in what was called "tone of voice"). Market research companies have legal guidelines as do ad agency copywriters.
    The MMP stuff is totally quoting the amended yet still onerous message of the anti-MMP advertising.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    the release of internal polling data (which is very unusual) in this way can be viewed as a form of moral suasion, a signal that <i>if</i> you care about this topic then you’re part of the minority, out of touch, obsessed with trivia and so on.

    It does appear to me that some questions were designed with potential release in mind. Which is not improper, but is certainly interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Phoebe Fletcher at Tumeke (unsurprisingly) believes the situation is bad for National.

    The truth is whether we think politics should revolve around policy or personality, it is a gladiator sport for spectators. The last month is a battle for the public attention that provides opportunities for gaffes and also for wins. The increased media attention means that people are looking for a narrative that frames and carries the diverse announcements by bringing them together and providing a human interest angle. And National have provided it by creating a meme that backfired badly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Russell Brown,

    3. Has the media handling of this issue been (paraphrase) trivial
    and shallow or professional and thorough?

    God I wish we had a Jon Stewart, or even a MacPhail and Gadsby, to rip this situation a new one in satire. It's pretty much writing itself.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    Precisely what every single Tory I know has been saying all week, with a substantial side-helping of “you should be ashamed of yourselves”. Bless.

    Yes. I feel very told-off :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    Precisely what every single Tory I know has been saying all week, with a substantial side-helping of “you should be ashamed of yourselves”. Bless

    Thanks, Lew. I disengaged with you on this on Twitter because (quote) "I don't want to say something I can't walk back". Goes double here.

    But here's a completely fucking crazy idea: Perhaps a lot of people don't give a shit about things that get us enlightened Public Address-reading types in a rapid boil of furious indignation?. Perhaps they should. Perhaps we need to calm down. More often, it may be a little of both.

    Beyond that, I've got nothing else to say because I'm not going to change anyone else's mind and vice versa. Which is what it is.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But here’s a completely fucking crazy idea: Perhaps a lot of people don’t give a shit about things that get us enlightened Public Address-reading types in a rapid boil of furious indignation?. Perhaps they should. Perhaps we need to calm down. More often, it may be a little of both.

    You're running close to telling me what to think here, though. You may have to accept that I am sincerely very exercised about the past week's debacle.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, don't take it personal -- I know more Tories than you, and you're nowhere close to the worst offender.

    Perhaps a lot of people don't give a shit. Maybe it's turning into a "pox on both your houses" issue which will simply depress voter engagement with politics. I'm not so sure, and even if they claim to not give a shit, there's still an awful lot of McCombsian agenda domination going on here, and ultimately, the pageviews don't lie.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Hutchings,

    I hope RNZ's servers are up for this one,

    It just got Boingboinged, via Juha Saarinen :)

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

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