Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: Where are all the polls at?, in reply to simon g,

    Very strange that this same poll gave National 47% of their support, wouldn’t you think?

    Nah, further evidence that policy is not the primary factor in people's voting choice. Also random error and unknown systematic error.

    i.e. broke American states

    Also very much not broke Switzerland.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Campaign 2017: Buy a…, 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 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Campaign 2017: Buy a…, 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 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Campaign 2017: Buy a…, 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 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Surprisingly Sincere Up…, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    Anybody could have stood at the window 2m behind somebody filling out their ballots (photo attached)

    I expect they would be noticed by the officers and/or scrutineers, and told in no uncertain terms to bugger off.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Surprisingly Sincere Up…, in reply to Trevor Nicholls,

    So if your identity is a sensitive matter, this option may help you

    Yes. Also if coercion is a problem. Controlling husband won't let you out on election day? Do it when you do the shopping some time in the preceding weeks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Surprisingly Sincere Up…, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Without proof the briber cannot be sure how the bribee voted.

    No, but a photo would not really be sufficient proof anyway. They could have already advance voted and then put something that looks like a ballot paper in the box, but isn't, and then just taken their ballot paper away with them.

    I think the reason is that no one should be wielding a camera in the polling center at all, at any time. It's a thing that could cause voter intimidation, and that is an absolute no-no, so it's not that much to ask.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Surprisingly Sincere Up…, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    BTW – parents please take your kids with you on election day when you vote, we did it every time, so they knew it’s an important part of becoming an adult …

    Yes it is. It clearly made a sufficient impression my kids last time that this election they pay more attention to the hoardings than I do, and have their opinions on what should happen. The 8 year old even watched the two Leader's Debate's, which is more than I could bear to do. He asked the other day what the "Yellow Party" stood for, and being the old philosopher that I am, I gave him the political theory with pros and cons, carefully pointed out what my opinion was, and that it was an opinion, and that every citizen got to decide for themselves. Practically every day we are having these discussions on the way to and from school. I think the younger has even grasped the nuances of the threshold, and how it influences behaviour. "You want your vote to count for as much as it can?". Bingo son, all those times you thrashed me at Catan are paying off.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: That escalated quickly ..., in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Only random if you can’t see that he’s operating from the political center.

    I don't see that and it's not the only source of his randomness. I think his supporters are less centrist than Labour and National supporters. Only UF support is more centrist than they are. I think he's about as far from the center as the Greens are in the main left-right dichotomy, and about as far on the opposite side of the center as they are on the next most important direction, which is similarly hard to characterize, but it's associated with views on immigration and social liberality. On that dimension, Labour, National, UF and ACT supporters are all basically the same (bang in the middle), making them "pure" left-right parties.

    This battle in the other dimension divides and fragments the left. But the issues are important to those people on the left. Perhaps they're more important than the other dimension, even. They're not to most people, but they may be to those sub groups.

    Whether Winston himself actually takes views representative of his support is the part I consider random. He's one person, can change his mind, and seems to frequently do so. His own personal position in the resulting government is a big bargaining chip of personal importance to himself, which he doesn't take anyone else's counsel on (unlike the leaders of National, Labour, and the Greens).

    So yeah, he's unpredictable. He doesn't so much straddle the center of political opinion as he holds the only truly transmutable political position of importance. Dunne is there but he's only one guy and basically completely unimportant now. The Maori Party are there too, and are also transmutable. Their support is obviously closer to Labour, but again, a lot of it comes down to what the actual people are offered in a government.

    The Green support could be transmutable. They could offer to National to be in power to keep Winston out. But they don't, probably on the belief (which is probably true) that their support would desert them. They are a party of policy and democratic engagement with their supporters, so such deal making is very difficult for them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: That escalated quickly ..., in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’d say we’re seeing a realignment globally (certainly US and UK) from left/right to rational/irrational.

    I pretty much don't even think of left/right in terms of any fixed set of views. It's just "the axis along which the bulk of the opinion of the population is divided". I like this because it will stand the test of time, shifting as the population shifts. It does mean that the numbers on each side will always be approximately equal, even if the way they vote could be skewed from that. It's not the only way to do it, but it is a way that doesn't immediately stall on "how can you claim that's what leftists think? That ain't the left, the left is what I say the left is! Show me your evidence that this is the correct meaning of left!".

    Personally, on my way of looking at it, I do find myself on the Left, but that's not the only direction I deviate from the center on. I'm not committed to agreeing with Leftists because I happen to be on the Left. Quite the opposite, it enables me to discover in what way I am not like the others on the Left. Our differences do not invalidate their being on the Left, or me being there.

    The choice of which direction along this axis is actually the Left was not hard. It's the side Labour is on, and the other side has National on it. In fact, the centroid of Labour voters is right on this axis, and the same for National, which is hardly surprising since between them they account for 70% of the voters. The other left centroids are quite close to Labour, and NZF is included in that, as are the Maori Party. UF sits on the center, and ACT is on the far side from National.

    In this analysis, the only Right wing parties are National and ACT. That they have managed to rule comes down, IMHO, to the Left's fragmentation, that NZF and the Greens leadership dislike each other more than their actual respective memberships disagree with each other. They think they are more enemies than their actual opinions would suggest. Winston is still a basically this huge random element whose opinions are imposed over the quite large number of people who support him. Whatever he thinks matters after the election will dictate our next government.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

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