Hard News by Russell Brown

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

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  • Dave Waugh,

    Cheers (heh) for that Russell.
    It's really not an easy job for journalists covering an election.
    The rest of us get so caught up in either our own lil ranty land rage or flee to planet denial of electoral existence, that we mostly don't notice just how much work the journos have to put in.
    The blog has had me reflect on that and go offer beers to a Political journo that visits my shop occasionally, she's a fellow craft beer fiend so should appreciate it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    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.”

    Sure, but National has also had nine years of actually running the tax policy with all the resources of government at their disposal. It's not really the same thing at all. It's easier for the incumbent because their tax plan is already in place, and the information they have is far superior. Currently almost ALL of the ministers responsible for running the government are in National, with entire ministries working for them. A tax working group is presumably something that Labour is intending to direct government resources at, rather than the money of their party donors.

    I think it's actually a pretty sound idea not to try to lock in an entire budget until you have some idea what your coalition is even going to look like. It's a highly specific specialist job to practically design a taxation system, and broad brush strokes are all that the majority of the electorate are about. I mean seriously, if I were to ask you for the proportions of the budget currently directed to each area off the top of your head would you have much of an idea? Let alone specific line items within those headings. Let alone guesses at how much revenue the government will collect. Are you really in a position to make an informed comparison between two highly speculative plans on the future of the NZ economy? Can you really assess if they add up? Personally, I can't. All I can look to is the facts that:

    1. Labour has been the government in NZ 5 times before and managed the economy just fine.
    2. The finer details are likely to get nutted out by specialist bureaucrats
    3. Currently, I'm really, really unhappy with how the economy is working out for a very large and growing class of the poorest NZers.

    To announce specifically that they plan to tackle poverty head on rather than simply denying that it is a problem is still a promise you can hold them to. You don't have to make up your mind right now how you do that either. They don't get let off just because you can't see the future either, and they cock something up majorly when it comes along. The triennial vote is not the only opportunity the Government ever has to seek public opinion, nor should it be the only one we hold them to.

    I don't even plan to vote Labour except with my electorate vote. But I do know I'd rather have them without needing to get all the specifics of their policy. Under National it will be more of the same, for sure. Under Labour it might be a bit different. Depending how much of a mandate they get. Maybe this election will astound everyone with a massively changed turnout profile. I hope it does.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dave Waugh,

    The blog has had me reflect on that and go offer beers to a Political journo that visits my shop occasionally, she’s a fellow craft beer fiend so should appreciate it.

    The system works!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Neil,

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

    and I'd got used to my gym socks smelling wiffy, time for a change.

    Since Mar 2010 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to william blake,

    It was a joke on the TV3 poll

    If there is a swing then most likely it is to with tax.

    If you're retired and had listened to Cullen re saving and investing for your retirement then a land tax is going to sound like a change in the rules that wipes away all your plans.

    Since Nov 2016 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Sure, but National has also had nine years of actually running the tax policy with all the resources of government at their disposal. It's not really the same thing at all.

    I take your point as far as it goes, and it's a fair one, but I'm not sure it really goes far enough. Yes, I know being in Opposition is not the same as being in Government - to be Captain Obvious for a moment. Incumbents have a record to stand (or fall on), but opposition parties aren't exactly locked in a basement broom closet with a calculator and a box of paper clips. They are well-resourced, both in and out-of Parliament (with taxpayers picking up a non-trivial chunk of the tab), so yeah... I expect everyone to develop, articulate and defend the policy. I expect the media to not just talk about "speaking truth to power" (and those who aspire to it) but get shit done.

    And. look, I'm not forgetting that the only poll that matters here is a secret ballot. If I walk into the polling place and decide to vote for whoever has the nicest bum? Well, nobody can stop me -- and they shouldn't be able to. I certainly don't want to get into condescending fap about "low information voters", but that doesn't mean I don't think pols and the media still need to lift their game about providing it.

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

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I agree entirely about National's social media scaremongering campaign about extra taxes and their apparent success in disseminating it over the past couple of weeks.

    Due to family dynamics, I get a lot of "rural NZ" in my Facebook feed. Those users seem worried about being blamed (and more importantly, taxed) for farm water runoff and generally suspicious that Labour might somehow take their cows away. There's a poem going around people's walls (it has tens of thousands of likes and shares so far) advocating "two ticks blue" due to Ardern's supposed plans to "tax this and tax that" and do various other nefarious things that won't go over well in Ashburton or Masterton.

    It all puts in perspective the various self-styled communists who also show up on my feed accusing Ardern of being an uber-neoliberal Blairite shill.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I expect everyone to develop, articulate and defend the policy.

    They should do it, but it's mostly a game because whatever they come up with will not be the policy we get, because after the election it's about swapsies anyway. It really will be all worked out in committees, that's the honest truth no matter who gets elected. Then the real world will alter all the plans made by the committees anyway. The party in power will spin that out, and may or may not be believed, depending on many unforeseeable factors. In the long run they probably get judged on results more than on promises.

    I’m not forgetting that the only poll that matters here is a secret ballot.

    That's not something I agree with. It's the poll that matters for the election, but they should always be at least taking account of the public will at all times. They may disagree and act differently, but they sure better hope it works out when they do.

    It's a conceit that election promises are the whole meat and potatoes of our electoral system, a massive overrating of the power of our single triennial vote that we elevate to mythic proportions in order to get people to even bother. The promises are mostly broken. The details is forgotten and was unrealistic when made anyway. People will latch on to the small number of promises that were important to them and then hold the government accountable with their tiny bit of power. They'll even hold them accountable for things they didn't promise. I hold National accountable for the shocking homelessness problem, even though they've neither admitted to a problem nor promised to fix it over all those years. It's a major reason I can't countenance voting for them - they won't even promise it, let alone do a damned thing to deliver it. I hold Labour accountable to this day for tertiary fees, and Peter Dunne for never having done the things that he claimed he always believed should happen in his extremely long tenure. I hold ACT accountable for pretending to be social liberals but never actually achieving nor even particularly stressing anything that was actually socially liberal.

    So really, the sideshow of their official policy and the election posturing generally, with all the building up of some kind of Rocky storyline has just worn thin with me. The microanalysis of the meaning of every poll despite them having significant sampling and non-sampling error. The tedious "debates" and the analysis of who won, as if it matters.

    Very little of that shit is going to happen, and most of this is about setting up the grand narrative tone: Is it time for a change? Is a new generation getting a shot, or will it be old men carving up the goodies one more time? If the nation chooses a change, it doesn't have to be that specific about it's criterion for holding the incomer accountable for actually making a change. It can't and won't be specific. And the more specific the contenders are, the more chance they can't actually fulfill promises. Even if we get Ardern, there's still a damned good chance that the nation will be carved up one more time by old men. I'll hold her accountable on that score, no matter what she promises.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to dave stewart,

    how can the disparities in the current tax system possibly lead to a more fair and equitable NZ

    Exactly the point Labour should be making. I had initially wondered whether the TWG after the election idea was an accommodation to the Greens given they are campaigning on a CGT and Labour is not?

    Yes, TOP did say they would pull out if not looking to get to 5%.

    And I couldn't agree more on bare land covenants and the part they play in our housing affordability problem.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to BenWilson,

    Even if we get Ardern, there’s still a damned good chance that the nation will be carved up one more time by old men. I’ll hold her accountable on that score, no matter what she promises.

    I’m trusting Ardern’s government – being often an optimist – to rebuild the public service. As an observer/spectator, I get the impression that the infrastructure doing the big picture thinking for the Government has been a bit depressed. I mean, our intellectual wealth has been squandered. It’s easy to see people begging on the street. Harder to see what’s happening in the big ministry buildings.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3865 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I’m trusting Ardern’s government – being often an optimist – to rebuild the public service

    The Public Service is dead and buried - surely the attempted hit on Winston Peters, clearly connived at by senior civil servants, has shown that.

    The biggest favour an Ardern government could do would be finally put the myth of the neutral public service out of it’s misery (chalk it up as another victim of neoliberalism) by demanding the tendering of resignations by every senior civil servant, so they may be re-confirmed or replaced at the pleasure of the incoming government. Then everyone, including the public, would know where they stand, every utterance of a public servant could be taken for what it is, and the actual radicalism of an incoming administration could be ascertained by looking at their likely appointments to key roles in the bureaucracy.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • matthew, in reply to simon g,

    My vote for best news source of 2017 also goes to the Spinoff.

    auckland • Since Nov 2013 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    the attempted hit on Winston Peters, clearly connived at by senior civil servants

    More likely to be the chief party servant in the PM's office, surely.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    It all puts in perspective the various self-styled communists who also show up on my feed accusing Ardern of being an uber-neoliberal Blairite shill.

    It certainly does.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart,

    I think Newsroom could have THE scoop of this campaign with this story today:
    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/13/46657/national-mp-trained-by-chinese-spies
    Melanie Reid again - she's had a great year.

    Since Aug 2014 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    So now we know Labour's real problem - it is insufficiently well connected to be able have a foreign spy in it's caucus for six years. Makes me wonder if the Aussie citizenship requirement isn't a good idea after all.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    So now we know Labour's real problem - it is insufficiently well connected to be able have a foreign spy in it's caucus...

    Amateurs. The closest they got was Dutch double agent Harry Duynhoven.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4524 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker, in reply to dave stewart,

    It's mind boggling that it took more than five years before any media organisations began to investigate the background of this MP. Dr. Jian Yang has never mentioned his education or career in China in any of his CVs. That's a 16-year blank (1978-1994) in his background, ffs. And after six years as a NZ MP, we now have some questions being asked. Well, it certainly puts into perspective who the National Party are actually working for.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 643 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    Yang was asked if he was aware while working as a lecturer he was teaching English to people training to be intelligence officers, so they could monitor communications.

    “If you define those cadets or students as spies, yes, then I was teaching spies. If that is the case. I don’t think so [they were spies]. I just think they are collecting information through communication in China. If you define that way, then they were spies. But for us, it was just collecting information.”

    Yang agreed when he was asked if his students were using the English they were learning to monitor the communications of other countries.

    “If you say spying, then spying,” Yang said, before National MP and party whip Jamie-Lee Ross cut in and ended the press conference.

    Well, that went well, then.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    If one wants to get ahead in China then there's probably little option other than to work within the Party system.

    This guy eventually chose to make a life somewhere where opportunity isn't so tightly controlled.

    I don't think he deserves to be hounded in a Chinese sounding names manner.

    Since Nov 2016 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to Neil,

    I don't think he deserves to be hounded in a Chinese sounding names manner.

    Presumably you'd agree that a 16 year hiatus in a CV is worthy of some investigation, however.

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

  • Neil, in reply to Trevor Nicholls,

    It's already known what he was doing in those 16 years.

    The implied allegation is he's currently disloyal to NZ.

    There doesn't seem to be any evidence other than guilt by association.

    Since Nov 2016 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    The implied allegation is he’s currently disloyal to NZ.

    No, I think the implied allegations are much more serious than that.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    I was using understatement.

    Peters' is now claiming Labour leaked this information. Seems unlikely but, well this could wind up go strange places.

    Since Nov 2016 • 142 posts Report Reply

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