Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Five further thoughts

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  • brin murray, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    I’m not convinced the foreignness is a *huge* part of it… I think the bigger part is his questionable moral/criminal history (and present) and how conspicuously he was trying to influence the election

    I think the point would be, not that Dotcom would not have been targeted in any case, but that xenophobia is recognized as an effective and acceptable way to do that.
    As for his criminal present - it depends on your definition of criminality. Laws are only ever as good as the people who make them, and national have already started changing ours (GCSB) to fit with the American agenda.
    Dotcom is simply competition to American media interests, which are global media interests. My understanding is he hasn't even broken copyright law, but that others can use Upload to do so. Corporates don't want to chase hundreds of millions of individual (poor) downloaders around the globe. It's all about the money: John Key is afraid not to give America what it wants. There is no real moral disapprobation here. The blacker he can paint Dotcom now, the less pusillanimous it will seem when he hands America his head on a plate.

    nelson • Since Sep 2014 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • brin murray, in reply to tussock,

    what Mana said, before the election, is a huge sum of money and people got dumped on the wider region two days out from the polls, busses and signs and radio and newspaper adds, after Mana had spent theirs and couldn’t respond. That it came from all of New Zealand First, National, and Labour. Every single bit of it focused on killing the Mana party with bullshit attack slogans that they had no chance to respond to.

    What is interesting to me - bigger picture person here, not that interested in the internecine in-the-trenches- caucus stuff - is where Cunliffe was coming from. I don't buy that he simply doesn't like minority far left parties very much. National were whooping and punching the air when Hone lost: you would think Cunliffe would enjoy having people beside him who can discomfit Key in a way he himself has signally failed to do. I also don't buy that he did the clever thing and dissociated himself from a party which he knew the voters would reject - unless he was in on the media hate campaign before it happened, unlikely.
    Cunliffe is as frightened of Dotcom as John Key. Last week talking to Katherine Ryan he failed to correct her time and again when she insisted that Key had exonerated himself with his cortex revelations: Cunliffe's either inconceivably dim and did not pay attention at the moment of truth, or he was perfectly happy to let that disinformation slide into the public consciousness. I suspect the latter. The only reason I can think of for the pure antipathy he has consistently shown here, is that he knows that if he does get in, he will be the one at the top with full knowledge that mass surveillance is going on (if he doesn't know already), and he has no intention of taking on America over five eyes. Similarly it will be him handing Dotcom over to America, and that's awkward to do to a former ally.
    Or - last explanation and least likely, but kind of funny - he knows Dotcom is a whole lot smarter than him (Key certainly does) and they both find that scary.
    But in one way that backfired for Dotcom. One and a half hours of solid well-argued cogently presented convincing evidence is too much for the soundbite generation, or maybe even the average person. What they heard were the 3news headlines next day, 'Dotcom bellyflop etc.' All you had to do was listen people....

    nelson • Since Sep 2014 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    So you don't believe that there was a Winston National and Labour effort 2 days out? Winston did call for Maori to back Davis which goes against his never backing other Parties but Was there a deal done with National and Labour or not?

    As far as I'm aware of there was no deal done between National and Labour and besides I think any previous Hone voters who National told to vote for Kelvin would probably only reinforce their vote for Hone. The part about Winston is true and had a huge impact, probably the decisive one. In all the Northland electorates NZ First got a huge vote - often nearly equal to the Labour party. I think the number of voters who voted party NZ First and candidate Kelvin Davis will probably make the difference.

    But I see nothing nefarious in this. Winston knows Northland and knows Kelvin Davis and in his opinion (whether you agree with it or not) he would honestly believe that Kelvin Davis would do more to help the region and be the better person for the job.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • llew40, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Blairism will destroy that party, and I mean that literally.

    Jose Pagani's vision of a grand coalition with National must be the only reason she continues to drag out the rancid carcass of Blair's legacy

    Blair is/was all kind of odious things and failed/corrupted promise incarnate, but he was also very electable. And after the misery of a generation of Thatcherism (and Majorism) electability counted more than anything at the time. My read of the election results here is that like it or not the electorate have rejected the Labour parties leftward shift. One can argue that this is only because the message wasnt delivered with enough clarity or the messenger was a bit shit. Or one could argue that the people didnt like the message. So does Labour double-down or look for a centrist leader?

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to brin murray,

    Cunliffe is as frightened of Dotcom as John Key. Last week talking to Katherine Ryan he failed to correct her time and again when she insisted that Key had exonerated himself with his cortex revelations:

    Let me paraphrase what he said: Don't worry your pretty little heads about that stuff.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to llew40,

    My read of the election results here is that like it or not the electorate have rejected the Labour parties leftward shift.

    I don't think so. Public polling tends to reveal a majority acceptance of much of Labour's policy. Labour/we-the-left definitely need more data-driven campaigning. But I reckon it's much more about how it's framed than the content being unpalatable.
    Plus: Labour (again, sigh) seem to be divided internally. That's electoral poison.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to bmk,

    any previous Hone voters who National told to vote for Kelvin

    My jaw dropped (biggest surprise of the night!) when Tau Henare revealed he'd voted for Hone every time until now.
    The real issue here is not that National and NZ First jumped in. It's that Labour failed yet again to think strategically. So we have NZ Future and ACT MPs (and probably ministers- wtf re: Seymour) who took almost none of National's party vote.
    But no IMP, no Mana - who Labour could have counted on to vote for almost anything Labour wanted, and to eg float legislation they'd like to see entertained, but don't want their name on, a la ACT/National.
    It's stupid. Should be deeply embarrassing to Labour when the ACT party applaud a Labour candidate winning.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to brin murray,

    Cunliffe is as frightened of Dotcom as John Key.

    There's something in this. Labour sure as hell weren't campaigning on an end to 5-eyes. They've gone along with it whenever they've been in govt. I'm not even sure it's something they could change, without self-destructing.
    And that's a worry.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Russell Norman has skirted that also.5 eyes is just an extension of what has always been around our Govt. It's just that it's now more invasive than ever.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Labour sure as hell weren’t campaigning on an end to 5-eyes. They’ve gone along with it whenever they’ve been in govt. I’m not even sure it’s something they could change, without self-destructing.
    And that’s a worry.

    I know it's a different issue, but Labour have been at best lukewarm on their opposition to the TPPA. In fact Phil Goff's practically a cheerleader.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    My read of the election results here is that like it or not the electorate have rejected the Labour parties leftward shift.

    I don't think so. Public polling tends to reveal a majority acceptance of much of Labour's policy. Labour/we-the-left definitely need more data-driven campaigning. But I reckon it's much more about how it's framed than the content being unpalatable.
    Plus: Labour (again, sigh) seem to be divided internally. That's electoral poison.

    You may be right Rob, but I fear that for the Labour party, framing this comprehensive defeat as "our policies are right, we just need to do a better job of selling them" may not lead to a materially different outcome. Totally agree that having a better handle on polling data is a good start. Certainly worked for Obama.

    Chatting to a friend last night about an interesting exercise that a well-known Auckland private school did with some 14 year old students in the lead up to the election. In terms of party-brand, the students mock-voted a majority for National (presumably reflecting their parents political leanings). When they stripped out the party brand names and asked the students to vote for policies in a blind taste session, the students majority voted for Internet Mana.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to llew40,

    When they stripped out the party brand names and asked the students to vote for policies in a blind taste session, the students majority voted for Internet Mana.

    They did have the best policy suite. It's kinda weird that free public transport is cheaper than building more overpasses and skyways, until you actually check the cost of running buses vs the cost of a skyway (including the opportunity cost on the land it takes up).

    The climate voter debate was classic. Minto nailed the policies over and over again, but it was internet only, so whatchagunnado.

    To National it's terrible how much we already "subsidise" a long train trip in Auckland by totalling up a bunch of vague opportunity costs: to everyone else it's insane we don't immediately halve that "subsidy" by completing the loop underground and doubling the throughput on the same lines.

    More trains is a lower subsidy per passenger, full trains is lower still, and free train rides, weird as it seems, is the lowest cost subsidy per passenger we can have. But then you don't need to build the roads, and then where would National get it's kickbacks from, eh?

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to llew40,

    for the Labour party, framing this comprehensive defeat as “our policies are right, we just need to do a better job of selling them” may not lead to a materially different outcome.

    Given how lousy they seem to be at selling themselves, fair call. But the alternative- a jump to the right, National-lite, etc – is pointless and self-defeating. If Labour believe in the policies, abandoning them to get elected is dishonest and looks it.
    If they don’t believe in leftist policies, they should leave the party, or stop pretending to be a party of the left.
    National have a very smart, articulate salesman at the helm. He doesn’t just recite the policy/values of the Nats– he at least appears to firmly and confidently believe in them. And he’s backed up by an extensive sales machine, that includes a lot of poll-driven phrasing and framing, and the best PR and advertising expertise they can buy.
    But National don’t leave it there: they also run a dirty-tricks operation, using their own outlets (Kiwiblog; whaleoil) to make the opposition look ‘tricky’ or ‘divided’ or hypocritical, or incompetent; and every trick and leak and OIA that could be worked to their advantage in the media.
    All that has to be combated. Not a small job. But at least it’s now out in the open.
    One place to start could be for Labour to do their own polling on public approval of two or three core policies, and then be very confident in articulating that they will be doing what NZ wants. Start soon. Keep it up for three years. Confidently. And hopefully force National to defend its own decisions, and explain why what is popular isn’t really a good idea.
    ETA: I think they would win far MORE credibility doubling down on most of their planks from this election, than by abandoning them. The policies are out there. They can be explained over and over. “By now, we’d have built another 3000 homes in Auckland.”
    Abandoning those policies? It just looks like you never really believed in them anyway. Who's gonna vote for that?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to brin murray,

    One and a half hours of solid well-argued cogently presented convincing evidence is too much for the soundbite generation, or maybe even the average person.

    That's not true, and it's not how messaging works anyway.

    People don't just trust ads and messages. Modern advertising is about getting the dense information set to the people who care, the ready-talky folk, and also giving them a pat message to help them remember it, help them spread it. That message goes in the ads, and the journalists and bloggers and union reps and that guy at the office and chronic nerds everywhere are already using it because it really is representative. Someone you know checked.

    So it rings true for the people who care a bit less, don't have the time, which is almost everyone, because everyone who is in a place to check on it already agrees on the message. The nerds are happy about it. See Apple's stuff for a great example.


    The ads just reinforce that. Your message has to match your policies, and your policies have to make the ready-talky folk happy about using your messaging, because it's a memory aid for them.


    That's 2011 Greens vs 2008 Greens. Basically doubled their long term vote trend. Same policies, better message. The question is, does Labour actually have a punchy representative message that could possibly encompass their broader policy set?

    To me they should do.
    CGT: Productive investment, protect homeowners.
    Minimum wage: Productive investment, protect incomes.
    Top tax rate: Productive investment, protect future generations.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I'd understand if Labour said: "We've run with CGT as our most well known policy for the last two elections and both times the majority of New Zealand has not voted for us; although we believe our arguments for the policy are valid, it is clear it doesn't represent what the majority of New Zealanders want and we must find another way to manage the housing and investment issues National continues to mismanage."

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    If they don’t believe in the policies, they should leave the party, or stop pretending to be a party of the left.

    Labour hasn't been a party of the left since the 1970's. Jim Bolger was our most left-wing prime minister in the last 30 years. People under 50 have never even voted for a left wing Labour party.

    The Alliance was a left-wing party. They imploded over joining the war on poor brown people, as you do. They had 20% of the electorate on a good day, when we had 95% turnout. Now there's 75% turnout. You do the math.

    While you're doing it, note that Labour still needs to take vote off National, even if the left could reappear in a dignified fashion (from some old Labour party splitter like last time, if only their olds weren't all Rogernomes that secretly love the National party, and Labour didn't keep stabbing them all in the back).

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Tim Michie,

    although we believe our arguments for the policy are valid, it is clear it doesn’t represent what the majority of New Zealanders want

    You can say that, but you bloody well better be sure you’re right. Do the majority of NZers – or even, NZ voters- clearly NOT want a CGT? (Assuming, and it’s a big assumption, they have a clue what a CGT is, and some understanding of how it’d work - and how a cleaner gets taxed on every dollar they earn, while wealthy landlords increase their wealth massively every year without paying a cent in tax.)
    I don’t know. Not sure Labour do either. But I bet Curia have some idea. (And they’d likely say it’s all in how you frame the question … )

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • blindjackdog, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Labour failed yet again to think strategically.

    Thanks Rob. It's incredible: Labour's still in FPP mode, and that's why they lose. The refusal to talk realistically about alliances in whatever form just comes across as bizarre.

    "Vote positive" was meaningless because there was no positive vision of how to actually form a government. Indeed, the vision seemed to be to attack potential partners on the grandiose assumption that we're actually entitled to at least 40% of the vote.

    Sophie, there didn't need to be a deal between Labour and National because Labour had already fulfilled its part of any deal, ie, competing against a potential ally and denying itself the additional seats that would come with said ally thanks to the stupid goddam threshold/coat-tailing.

    That's the real villain here. The mofo threshold, together with its handmaiden in democratic crime, coat-tailing, causing ridiculous distraction and corruption of democracy.

    For Nat and NZF supporters to vote actively negatively is kind of sickening, but it's really just yet more ugly spawn of these wagon-circling provisions aimed at denying small parties any traction (unless they can be useful to you) meaning MMP can never actually become what it's supposed to be.

    For what it's worth, I think there's a qualitative difference between Labour voters voting National in Epsom and Nat voters voting Labour in TTT -- in that, in the former instance, the Labour voters are reacting to positive strategic voting already undertaken by the Nats, so it's kind of a game-on situation.

    A better analogy would be the hypothetical of the election looking a bit closer and East Coat Bays looking like it might go to Colin Craig. How would I then feel about Labour voters voting National to avoid Craig coat-tailing in a possibly critical number of MPs. Well, I'd probably say that all's fair in love and war. But it's not good from a democracy point of view, IMHO: those Colin Craig lovers being denied their representation because of bad-faith voting based entirely in political expediency. It's just ugly.

    (Of course, the example is flawed because the Nats are not Cunliffe-style idiots, and if they really needed Colin Craig's band of freaks, I'm sure they'd manage a disgruntled McCully as the price.)

    So it's a bit rich for Labour fanboys to tell us that it's just bad luck for Hone and, well, we'll miss him and all, but them's the breaks kiddo, you just gotta live with it.

    That may be true, but here's what Labour's just gotta live with in return: my main take-away from election night was loud and clear inside my head: Fuck Labour. Seriously, fuck 'em. Arrogant, directionless, power-hungry, cowardly losers.

    And fuck the threshold. It's ruining us.

    Since Nov 2007 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Just a hypothetical line Labour might run to in essence say, "We've listened and we're doing something about it." Whether their polling confirms the CGT as a vote loser may or may not be the case. I just used as an example as it seems the potentially the policy most heard of through the last two elections.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    It’s stupid. Should be deeply embarrassing to Labour when the ACT party applaud a Labour candidate winning.

    Indeed. Labour's electorate strategy was non-existent. Instead of accepting that a coalition of the left that wins the Treasury benches was the ultimate prize - they went for an FPP mentality - attempting only to secure more votes for Labour. What NZ got as a result of Labour's stupidity was an FPP style non-coalition of the right - absolute power.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • CJM, in reply to blindjackdog,

    That may be true, but here’s what Labour’s just gotta live with in return: my main take-away from election night was loud and clear inside my head: Fuck Labour. Seriously, fuck ’em. Arrogant, directionless, power-hungry, cowardly losers.

    And fuck the threshold. It’s ruining us.

    Nailed it, exact same thoughts were going through my head at 10.30 saturday night.
    I don't believe we're alone.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I know it’s a different issue, but Labour have been at best lukewarm on their opposition to the TPPA. In fact Phil Goff’s practically a cheerleader.

    Indeed this is where academia is re-defining political ideologies - all major/centrist parties representing the same ideology of globalism/globalization. So not really the old left (socialist) and right (conservative) definitions anymore - they've both morphed into one ideology - globalism.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to tussock,

    Same policies, better message.

    Good summary of Labour's challenge to solve.
    Shuffling leaders won't help that.
    Learning how to frame might.

    They have been told this stuff repeatedly for the last 5 years. Appreciate those who still have enough energy to keep pushing but I'm about as motivated and sympathetic now as when an old friend broke up with the same guy for the fourth time.

    Rather support smart activism, and there's plenty around.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    they also run a dirty-tricks operation, using their own outlets (Kiwiblog; whaleoil) to make the opposition look ‘tricky’ or ‘divided’ or hypocritical, or incompetent; and every trick and leak and OIA that could be worked to their advantage in the media.
    All that has to be combated. Not a small job. But at least it’s now out in the open.

    Now it just has to be blown wide open with firstly a police investigation, then secondly a Royal Commission along the lines of Leveson & Finkelstein.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5419 posts Report Reply

  • icehawk,

    Matthew Hooton says "Politics is about leadership. Always has been. Always will be"

    And says this in a comment in which he argues that Labour should not present itself as leading a coalition, but as if they were magically going to govern alone.

    Oh, the irony.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 49 posts Report Reply

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