Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What the people want to hear

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  • insider outsider,

    Notice the slight differences in the transcript with what went in the paper http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0802/Key_on_wages.pdf

    Very minor but still different. Also note the varying spellings of the two quotees' names

    FWIW I think Key meant to say 'wages gap' - it seems obvious from the contrxt, but what do I know.

    (Hope I beat Craig to first post)

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    John Key: We would love to see wages [gap] drop.
    The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more.

    it does seem like a genuine mistake

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    I don't think we should make too much of the Key statement. It appears he's trying to get his thoughts together before he speaks and is likely refering to the Australian situation. However, if true, it highlights a point that Lablour have so blood-minded, especially in social policy, in the past few years that the elecotrate may be ripe for the taking by just about anybody. It's similar in the US elections. Obama could just about say anything to some and get the nod.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    FWIW I think Key meant to say 'wages gap' - it seems obvious from the contrxt, but what do I know.

    Possibly. It hadn't occurred to me to make it make sense by adding a missing word; or to Key either, it seems.

    it does seem like a genuine mistake

    Probably. But Key could easily have said so, instead of sliming the reporter, claiming it was a joke, etc, etc. It's his response I've found dubious, especially what seemed to be an attempt to bully the paper into retracting the quote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22807 posts Report Reply

  • John,

    Words do matter that is how we communicate surely.
    The media have been using donation and loan as being the same thing. Try getting a donation from your bank even if you do agree to pay market rate interest.
    Worse than Keys tlk about wages is the fact that Bill English seemed unfazed about a loan to the meat industry as long it was not more than $200 million.
    What a couple of wallys. We don't do subsidies Bill would this be a donation or a loan?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    Words do matter - but not every single one. Context plays a big role in filling out a word picture. You can say things completely "wrong" grammatically but still be perfectly understood due to context.

    Only the extreme Standardistas really think Key wants to see wages drop, I think Russel's point about how Key (and his team) handled dealing with this error is more the issue.

    The lesson they need to draw is, do not respond on the fly and stick to your message.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    the elecotrate may be ripe for the taking by just about anybody. It's similar in the US elections. Obama could just about say anything to some and get the nod

    Partly agree, and this is why I'm not sure the Key-Obama meme is the most fatuous of last year - there are similarities in the riding an unpopular administration by making generic points and promises to all without broadly communicated policy backing or experience. Yes Obama has the policy standing but he doesn't rely on it in campaigning.
    Of course, the fact that they most likely differ quite substantially on key policy points overrides that (there was this whole "Key is the beneficiary of the shift to Rudd and Obama" discussion that seemed to gloss over the fact that Oz and the US were moving quite quickly away from Mr Key's political flavour)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    the time may well be past when advantage can be gained from attacking Key's credibility like this.

    But its never too late to try, right?

    Really, it has the feel of desperation whereby every word that Key utters is analysed, and where the slightest sniff of any possible error is immediately subject to a deluge of government-linked press releases

    [NZ Government 19 Feb
    CTU 20 Feb
    EPMU 20 Feb
    Michael Cullen 21 Feb
    Darien Fenton 21 Feb
    AUSA 21 Feb
    VUWSA 21 Feb
    Shane Jones 24 Feb]

    and hysterical blog entries [11 posts to date on the usual Labour mouthpiece].

    Is this really all that Labour has in it's cupboard?

    There was an interesting discussion on RNZ today with Laila Harre who seem to basically write-off Labour's chance of re-election, and agreed that this sort of carping attacks from Labour won't help.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    The lesson they need to draw is, do not respond on the fly and stick to your message.

    ...and that is? I ,( as a layperson/voter), watch parliament on tv and am still waiting to hear Nationals " message".

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

  • Glenn Pearce,

    The media have been using donation and loan as being the same thing

    Actually, I thought the media had been pretty good at making it clear that it's the foregone interest that constitutes the donation not the loan per se.

    If Cunliffes' handling of health so far is the best example of Vision and Talent they can come up with they're in huge trouble.

    ...and that is? I ,( as a layperson/voter), watch parliament on tv and am still waiting to hear Nationals " message".

    It doesn't matter though does it now, National don't have to say or do anything, best thing they could do is keep they're heads down and watch Labour self destruct trying to achieve the impossible in October.

    If they come back from where they are now, it will be bigger than Lazarus !

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    It doesn't matter though does it now, National don't have to say or do anything, best thing they could do is keep they're heads down and watch Labour self destruct trying to achieve the impossible in October.

    You could well be right - but what a truly appalling way to select the leaders of the country. "Damn the actual legislative program they'll put in place or their policy intent - let's just let them cage-fight it over pointless and irrelevant soundbites"

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If Cunliffes' handling of health so far is the best example of Vision and Talent they can come up with they're in huge trouble.

    Really? I'd have thought the fact that he drew applause from both Matthew Hooton and Laila Harre on the radio this morning would suggest otherwise.

    His handling of the adverse hospital outcomes report -- which could have been a bomb in the wrong hands -- was also very composed. Compared to Pete Hodgson (and that's the second time I've done that recently) he looks in quite good shape.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22807 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    There was an interesting discussion on RNZ today with Laila Harre who seem to basically write-off Labour's chance of re-election, and agreed that this sort of carping attacks from Labour won't help.

    Why not? It has worked for the opposition for 5 years.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You could well be right - but what a truly appalling way to select the leaders of the country. "Damn the actual legislative program they'll put in place or their policy intent - let's just let them cage-fight it over pointless and irrelevant soundbites"

    Which was roughly the point of Frewen's column. He's always bagging the gallery for ignoring the actual legislative process, but in the case of some reporters, I think he's right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22807 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    What she said was, the personal attacks on Key have not worked so best to give up and focus on differentiating yourself.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    "Damn the actual legislative program they'll put in place or their policy intent - let's just let them cage-fight it over pointless and irrelevant soundbites"

    It's the world we live in isn't it ? Bit like the way TV has gone with reality programming, bugger the content it's the mindless entertainment we're after

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Why must this be cast as a personal attack rather than a policy attack?

    The problem with all these "it must have been an error" parses is that in the entire response as transcribed, Key is making a consistent argument.
    It just happens to be one that the majority of NZers do not want to hear, and would not support.

    He states -- in several ways -- that the only way wages should increase is to reflect increases in productivity. Otherwise, they should not be increased automatically, even in line with inflation, because that would add to the inflation. Thus Key "would love to see wages drop" because he believes they've been raised too much under the current government without productivity increasing.

    Never mind that we will obviously be seeing real and continuing increases in cost of living, largely as a result of fuel prices (with increased transport costs then being reflected in prices of most food items). If Key would refuse wage increases under those conditions, he is condemning the majority of NZers to a decreased standard of living.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1922 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Really? I'd have thought the fact that he drew applause from both Matthew Hooton and Laila Harre on the radio this morning would suggest otherwise

    I didn't hear him this morning but was thinking more about the Hawkes Bay debacle his "I haven't made my mind up, I'm keeping an open mind" line sounded a bit hollow.

    I think Helen might have given Labour's chances the kiss of death this morning with her 'we have work to do' comment. That's virtually an admission of defeat isn't it ? I see the Herald are running with it as the headline. already.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    bugger the content it's the mindless entertainment we're after

    Not all of us.(Looking forward to your show Russell) I may only be a voter, but I want to hear policies if I am to believe change is needed. (which I dont).

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

  • Paul Rowe,

    John Key: We would love to see wages [gap] drop.
    The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more.

    Well, everyone's being charitable to Key over "slip of the tongue". Not over something he has denied actually saying. Say the word he missed was "minimum" how would that read in the media I wonder?

    John Key: We would love to see [minimum] wages drop. The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more.

    To my ears that sounds like a viable sentence, it doesn't even need the word "the" that is clearly missing in In/Out's example or the original quote.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Which was roughly the point of Frewen's column. He's always bagging the gallery for ignoring the actual legislative process...

    I've heard or read some of these, but it never quite seemed to stack up with Today in Parliament, which is mostly - sometimes exclusively - about question time.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Really, it has the feel of desperation whereby every word that Key utters is analysed, and where the slightest sniff of any possible error is immediately subject to a deluge of government-linked press releases

    I think linger's comment above is an excellent response to this question from Thomas Johnson. The very few unscripted words Key utters on policy are pretty important I'd've thought. For instance, National are forever carping on about emigration to Australia and, I'm suire, loving every quote and story generated so surely they'd expect some scrutiny of their alternative approach (such as it is)? This is the man that wants to be PM, not minute secretary of the local car club. If what he says doesn't matter, what does; his dental work?

    Interestingly, if you insert the word "gap" into the oft-quoted statement it may well be less contentious but no more meaningful. How'd he like us to boost our productivity precisely? Boot camps for recalcitrant teenagers?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Snowy,

    the only slip by Key was in letting the public in on what he's actually about.

    of course he told a meeting of employers that he'd love to see wages drop, it has the same net effect as telling employers he's going to lower business taxes - ie. increasing business profits.

    the media's extraordinary charity towards Key in letting this one go, even after he's then tried to blame the newspaper, is very telling. lucky for him the mainstream media are being so charitable though because Key seems incapable of uttering an unscripted and vetted line without making himself look like an arse, or at best an amateur who's way out of his depth.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I gather the person asking Key the questions was not a journalist. A journalist you would think would have done a follow-up question to clarify what Key was saying. The article itself looks poorly written.

    I'm a bit mystified by the line -

    Mr Key would like to see the opposite occur.

    This appears, but that’s not clear, to be referring to NZers being lured to Oz by higher wages. So if the writer believed that Key wants to see the opposite happen then you would think that Key's apparent desire to see wages in NZ drop would have raised an eyebrow.

    It can be very difficult to do transcripts as quite a bit of meaning is contained in tone and body language. You have to rely on the ability of the writer to accurately convey what they thought the person intended to say – which may not necessarily correspond to just the exact wording. In this case I'm not convinced they did this.

    Similarly with the Southland Times piece - was this just a bit of banter?

    And I wouldn't take a Labour Party press release about what Key might or might not have said on KiwiFM as gospel.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Why not? It has worked for the opposition for 5 years.

    I think the tactics are pretty different whether you're in opposition or government. When you're the opposition you're sniping at the government so therefore you're sniping at lots of ministries, thousands of public servants etc.

    When you're the government, you're just snipping at other MPs and a political party. And what national does might annoy me, but it doesn't affect me very much until they get in power. What labour does in power does affect me, because they're running my health/education/police force etc etc.

    It's like Labour have forgotten how to be a popular government, so they've decided they're going to be an opposition a couple of years early. Can't see it's going to help them either in the election, or after they lose.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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