Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Campaign 2017: Buy a journalist a drink today

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    On tonight's show, Te Karere reporter Ripeka Timutimu, who followed Ardern along a string of campaign stops, frankly admits that it's very difficult not to get caught up in Jacindamania when it's happening around you.

    Try harder - though I guess that ship has well and truly sailed, hit an iceberg and gone down with Kate Winslett clinging to the bow. Sorry, but I'm really out of patience with this because, in the great scheme of things, puff piece coverage of highly orchestrated photo ops? Not that important. When you're seeing someone who might actually be leading a government in two week getting away with vague waffle about major policy being determined by working groups long after the election? That matters.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12359 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    It's been pleasing to see the appearance of tools designed to inform voters about policy differences - such as the Spinoff one. Also some good work on Sciblogs, such as this round-up by Brendan Moyle on the different parties' approaches to meeting Paris targets for greenhouse gas emissions. They did a good one on water quality as well.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 804 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Not that important. When you're seeing someone who might actually be leading a government in two week getting away with vague waffle about major policy being determined by working groups long after the election? That matters.

    I think she's simply being honest. And Labour's not "orchestrating" 45-minute queues for selfies. Reporting that isn't a puff piece, it's reporting what the reporter sees and hears.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Also some good work on Sciblogs, such as this round-up by Brendan Moyle on the different parties’ approaches to meeting Paris targets for greenhouse gas emissions. They did a good one on water quality as well.

    Yeah, that's one element of the diversity I noted. See also: our new friends from Access Granted talking through the parties' IT policies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Curran,

    Buy a journalist a drink? Maybe one or two of them. Any random journalist I meet? Hell no. There may be a few journalists doing the hard yards, but the media as a whole at the moment, is appalling. Puff pieces on Jacinda, pillorying Metiria. Almost complete absence of critical facilities.

    Statistically speaking, I'm more like to tell journalists to sod off than buy them a drink.

    Since May 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ben Curran,

    Statistically speaking, I'm more like to tell journalists to sod off than buy them a drink.

    And yet the number of journalists who have "pilloried Metiria" is vastly smaller than the number doing their jobs via any number of media channels. Media coverage of this campaign is more attentive and diverse than any I can remember.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    When you're seeing someone who might actually be leading a government in two week getting away with vague waffle about major policy being determined by working groups long after the election?

    How is she getting away with it? Every news outlet I can think of has reported that Labour is doing this. Labour has decided that they will plough ahead regardless and that's fair enough. People can vote for them, or not. It seems on the whole voters are less troubled by this than the media or the Government think they ought to be. Labour won't appreciate the comparison, but there are shades of Trump's tax returns here. He decided to thumb his nose at political convention and was successful. Labour is doing the same thing. That isn't the fault of the people reporting the election campaign.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nick Russell,

    How is she getting away with it? Every news outlet I can think of has reported that Labour is doing this.

    It’s in every debate, every interview. The Herald on Sunday covered it in two opinion columns and an editorial on Sunday.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    When you're seeing someone who might actually be leading a government in two week getting away with vague waffle about major policy being determined by working groups long after the election? That matters.

    If referring to tax policy, the good news is that media are by no means letting up on that question - it's been a front and center issue. Hence, if folks vote Labour, either tax policy from their own perspective doesn't worry them, or they think looking at the means to treat income from asset gains equally to income from other investments is a good idea.

    As I look at it - due to the persistent media coverage on the tax working group issue - everyone knows that they don't have certainty on that issue - and either they are happy with that situation or they are not.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    It's not just tax though. Ardern is also being rather vague on immigration and the TPP. That starts to look like avoidance of difficult issues.

    It's easy enough to promise spending money but not every issue can be solved quite so simply.

    Since Nov 2016 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    There is a difference between what is reported, and what is a lead story. Labour's tax vagueness is a legitimate story, getting plenty of reporting and commentary.

    If it's not the lead story, that's because National MPs keep providing other ones.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1213 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    More generally, I think the Spin-Off website has been outstanding, and not just for political coverage. I don't see how anyone could find the scattergun Herald website to be superior (*cough* awards judges).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1213 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to simon g,

    Labour's tax vagueness is a legitimate story, getting plenty of reporting and commentary

    That focus is being stoked by the right and is succeeding in getting Labour to rule out several taxes from the scope of their working party before they're even in power. Inheritance is the latest. #tamed

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    If referring to tax policy, the good news is that media are by no means letting up on that question – it’s been a front and center issue. Hence, if folks vote Labour, either tax policy from their own perspective doesn’t worry them, or they think looking at the means to treat income from asset gains equally to income from other investments is a good idea.

    National have been hammering tax really hard on in their social media advertising. I've come across a few people who have absorbed the generalised fear that Labour will unveil a volley of punitive taxes on election. Which would be pretty dumb, given that they presumably want to be elected again.

    I get that Labour wants to give itself room to move, but dispensing with the insulation of "we'll see what the working group says and then put it to voters in three years' time" has certainly made them vulnerable.

    The Tax Working Group will quite likely suggest the same reforms as National's did, and come down in favour of a broad-based, low-rate land tax – a conclusion that Key dismissed.

    I think that dismissal was costly, given that the group declared that the tax status quo was "not viable" – and that was in 2009.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Labour do seem to have found their own version of Teflon John. While the media can't be blamed for that, it certainly plays for ratings, and better than policy analysis.

    Where coverage does focus on policy, there is a strong tendency for it to do so in terms of its popularity. I.e. analysis focuses on what the policy means for the future of the party advocating it, rather than what it means for the future of the country.

    Any exceptions, I will hungrily pursue.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 400 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes, that dismissal was costly and the "not viable" status quo was indeed worsened with respect to the tax switch that they did implement. PAYE receipts down (i.e., more progressive taxation) as a percentage of the mix and GST (i.e., more regressive taxation) up.

    Hence the need for the quite large extensions just made to WFF and Accommodation Supplement programmes, as the more regressive shape of the overall tax system sets in and bites.

    The level of these tax transfers becomes more and more unsustainable - and to my mind, taxing wealth in a manner that is affordable to those being taxed is desperately needed.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Why doesn't Labour simply come out and say they'll reduce GST? Are they still embarrassed by the fact that they introduced it all those years ago?

    The non-hole formerly known as $11b seems trivial, considering Labour is campaigning without a tax policy.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 400 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    The message should have been that the Labour party believes that the existing set of taxes is unfair on the majority of New Zealanders. The growing inequality which is blatantly obvious in a wide variety of metrics and which is palpably felt by large sectors of the economy shows this to be a Fact.
    Instead of falling back on a "we think a CGT is a good idea and our working group will recommend how to implement it" they should have gone bigger and made the battleground fair taxation for all. As the freezing workers' families (singled out by Blinglish in the first debate) showed in later coverage, they were actually quite amenable to foregoing tax cuts in favour of a more equitable economy. Pity that didn't get more traction in the sea of potential new taxes.
    Of course what we're seeing in the media is a few very well off people telling us that a lot of ordinary people are freaked about paying more tax. It's more than projection; it's propaganda.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 293 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    National campaigned on income 'tax cuts' in 2008 and then, when elected offset that with a rise in GST, getting everybody to pay for the wealthiest earners gains.

    Jacinda Adern's main stated goal, if elected, is to get rid of child poverty in NZ and it's shameful that a NZ politician has to campaign on this issue. Will tax go up to achieve this goal? Well yes probably, is this a bad thing? Only if you have no soul or conscience.

    Every nappy, pair of shoes, loaf of bread pays for the wealthiest tax cuts. Fuck that.

    Since Mar 2010 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It’s in every debate, every interview. The Herald on Sunday covered it in two opinion columns and an editorial on Sunday.

    Yeah, and every single time Ardern gets a pass on some variation of "I don't want to constrain the Tax Working Group". They're not going to be handed specific terms of reference? (And I sure have enough respect for Ardern and Grant Robinson that I don't believe for a second they don't know exactly what they will be.) We don't have any rights to have some idea of what they'll be before we vote?

    I suspect we're going to have to agree to disagree on this, but it's not just National that has nine years to come up with a lot better than "Oh, trust us and we'll show you the details at some point after the election." And to give the media credit where due, English and Joyce are getting eye-rolled when they try it on. Hard. Relentlessly. Day after day. As they bloody should.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12359 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    I'd got used to the idea of a National Lite govt.

    Since Nov 2016 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I respect the Labour party’s stand on there tax policy details, or the hilariously well pitched water royalties. I wouldn’t be interested in voting for them if they just did it on the back of an envolope They are demonstrating good leadership, which is what it’s all about.

    Election Policy’s are just proposals. They aren't finalised. They might need modifications after the election for lots of reasons, not least is what come out of any coalition negotiations.

    We don’t insist on knowing exactly what our politicians plan to do if for example, Australia gets involved in a nuclear war. We vote for people we hope will do the right thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3865 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    hit an iceberg and gone down with Kate Winslett clinging to the bow

    That would have made a shorter movie, with a strange twist, the heroine deliberately drowns herself 30 minutes before the ship sinks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart,

    Something that concerns me is that there are a lot of media/opinion pieces pushing strong statements about how Lab absolutely must declare its tax details (i.e. scrutiny pretty much aligned with Nat's campaign propaganda). As far as I'm concerned, upending the whole tax/transfer system on the table to have a good look at holistically is absolutely what's needed in NZ right now (actually it was needed a long time ago). But I've not seen a whole lot of constructive media scrutiny of why this could be a good thing. We're being bombarded with interrogation of Lab's tax stance along the lines of Nat's argument (i.e. "not telling us what might change is scary"), but not nearly as much intensive questioning of the Nat's about the implications of their tax plans (e.g. how can the disparities in the current tax system possibly lead to a more fair and equitable NZ?).

    One other point I've seen little comment on: didn't Gareth Morgan promise to pull the pin on the TOP party if late polling showed they would be unlikely to get near 5%? It does now seem unlikely that TOP will get any more than about 3% at most. With an election this close those votes could matter a lot.

    And housing: the REAL problem is that new developments invariably have all kinds of covenants on them which specifically prevent affordable homes from being built. E.g. restrictions on minimum floor area, no transportable/kitsets allowed, a requirement to keep to a certain style etc. These conditions are all specifically designed to keep the riff-raff out and prices up!

    Since Aug 2014 • 35 posts Report Reply

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