Posts Tagged ‘National Party’

Nats’ adman “Finds the truth amongst the bullshit”

September 7, 2008

John Drinnan’s column in Friday’s Herald contains a little, overlooked nugget:

“The Business Herald understands that a key creative talent for the Nats is Glenn Jameson, a creative director at the freelance advertising bureau The Pond, and who has an impressive CV working in New Zealand, the UK and the US.”

Jameson didn’t return the Herald’s calls, so we can’t be 100% certain that he is the “brain” behind those winning billboards. But he does say, on a fruitcake libertarian blog (sample comment “we’ve seen the ACT policies and they’re rather socialist too!”):

“When I took the role on the marketing team for the National Party I knew I’d have to suffer the enmity of most of you here.”

It’s absolutely gobsmackingly incredible that his personal profile on the ad agency site is still up and still proclaiming his special talent…

“Finding the truth amongst the bullshit.”

Says it all, really.

The personal profile also reveals that Jameson’s politics are to the right of the right — which is, I should stress, perfectly legal. Some of his libertarian fruitloop mates are not happy that he’s mixing it with the socialist National “scum”. Sample: “National! Heart-breaking. Glenn’s going to need an awful lot of vomit bags to get through this election.”

Update: But wait, there’s more. Seems that Jameson, or someone posing as him, has been commenting on Willie Jackson’s Eye to Eye programme. Here he is taking on the “brown clowns” (his words) on Te Reo:

“With one in five New Zealand kids leaving school illiterate isn’t it about time they concentrated on a language that will afford them better employment opportunities? Objectively speaking, Maori is, outside of their own communities, schools and Maori TV, completely and utterly useless. And these brown clowns want to make it compulsory?! As Lindsay said, mind your own bloody business! Go ahead and waste your money and your kid’s precious school time if you choose, but give me the choice to let my kids learn a language that will help them communicate with the world outside New Zealand. The moral inversion these debate create is sickening, with brown-nosing dimwits like Linda Ross-Smith bleating on about the “bigotry displayed by your two pakeha guests.”


Less Te Reo Maori badges. Better litracy.

September 5, 2008

The Greens have opened up a new front in the battle of the billboards, with some neatly effective offerings. Chris Trotter gives them high praise.

Meanwhile, the Nats’ efforts continue not to inspire.

For those who don’t see the Herald, this was, “snapped on Fanshawe St, Auckland, by Stephen Minhinnick.”

Better still, they show off their lack of literacy with their latest effort. They mean “fewer bureaucrats”…

The Nats’ next offering:

Less Te Reo Maori badges. Better litracy.

[Update: Improvements on the doctors/nurses billboard at 08 wire and The Standard.]

6.5% and closing

September 4, 2008

Another poll shows the gap between National and Labour closing, to 6.5%. It confirms the trend revealed by other recent poll results.

The latest Roy Morgan poll — of 841 electors over 18–31 August — shows National at 44.5% (down 3.5%) and Labour at 38% (up 4%). Bad news for NZ First, down 4% to 2.5%, with the others largely unchanged: Greens at 8% (up 0.5%), Maori Party at 3.5% (up 1.5%), ACT at 1.5% (no change) and United Future at 1% (up 1%).

The previous Morgan poll was conducted between 28 July and 10 August, so would not have included much of the impact of the loose lips debacle. The current one does, along with much of the Peters saga.

Another factor may be increasing confidence in the Government:

“The Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has risen strongly for the third New Zealand Morgan Poll in a row, rising 11.5pts to 115. It is now at its highest level since being at 118.5 in late February. For the first time since February, a majority of New Zealanders 50.5% (up 6%) say the country is “heading in the right direction” compared to 35.5% (down 5.5%) that say the country is “heading in the wrong direction.””

The interest rate cuts may have helped, and there are more of those on the way.

It is only one poll, but should it prove accurate then the Peters saga has affected NZ First but not Labour or ACT. This would not be a surprise, as most NZers probably understand only too well that had Labour done as National suggests, and shut out Peters, then we would simply have had an early election. This doesn’t seem to be wished for outside the right-wing blogs and John Key.

According to Tane’s calculations the latest result puts a Labour-led coalition in by a nose. Morgan on the other hand say that, “If an election were held now New Zealand would have a Coalition Government likely to be led by the National Party.” Even though Tane doesn’t factor in the overhang from the Maori Party seats, it looks as though the Maori Party would hold the balance of power.

But this is really beside the point. Political events in NZ are moving at a breathtaking pace, and anything could happen between now and the election, whenever that is.


September 1, 2008



As Tane puts it over at the Standard:

“It’s busy, the message is confusing, and the strapline seems completely at odds with the lines they’ve been building up for the past five years.”

He’s right about busy and confusing. Not sure about that last bit. Colin James keeps hinting that they have some big policy announcements to make in the area of innovation and research. We’ll see.


August 28, 2008

The Herald’s editorial this morning goes to some length to ignore logic in a desperate bid to parrot today’s National Party talking points.

Echoing Farrar’s “who has the most to gain by not telling the truth?” line, it begins with its conclusion:

“If Winston Peters had the decency his position deserves, he would now resign.”

Problem is, it doesn’t come down to “who has the most to gain by not telling the truth.” If it did, I’d be 99% inclined to go with Peters having the greater motivation, but would still be mindful of Glenn’s estrangement from Labour that Farrar and co want us to overlook.

But it doesn’t. Having decided that Peters has the greater motivation to lie and is therefore guilty of doing so, and should resign in consequence, it notes:

If neither is honestly mistaken in his recall, then one of them is not telling the truth.”

I’ve added the emphasis, because this is the point at which the analysis should have started. Belatedly the Herald admits that its reasoning is based on overlooking the point that the conflict of evidence may not result from one (or both) lying.

The problem is that the Herald does not demonstrate that “neither of them is honestly mistaken in his recall”. I wish it could.

This sort of stuff puts the Herald in the same league as Farrar, who begins his post, “Owen Glenn has told the truth in his letter to the Privileges Committee.” I’m now strongly of the opinion that right-wing bloggers should be exempted from all jury service, because of the way they rush to judgement!

One thing the Herald gets right:

“Even National, ever tentative, has now cast him aside.”

Key held off as long as he could before taking a stand. Courageous? What a joke.

Perhaps it pays not to snub billionaires, Helen?

Perhaps it pays not to snub billionaires, Helen?

Peters saga developments

August 27, 2008

NZ First has announced its support for the Government’s emissions trading scheme (ETS), following the Green’s signing on yesterday. Some might add, and following the PM’s continuing support for Winston Peters as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Peters says his party has “secured a package that will ensure that all households will receive a one-off payment to mitigate the impact of the ETS”, which includes increases to power and fuel costs.

“As well, all those on low incomes, including New Zealand superannuation, will receive a front-loaded CPI adjustment to ensure that they keep ahead of the projected cost of the ETS to their households.”

He also said that NZ First have ensured that within the one billion dollar energy efficiency fund negotiated by the Green Party and available to all households, a dedicated portion will go to SuperGold Card holders which will reduce their costs and create warmer, healthier homes.

And that’s it in terms of detail. Overall, it is better that the proposed ETS proceed rather than gets kicked into touch as big business and its National Party clients want. The idea that National can magic up a scheme that doesn’t entail major costs is fairy story stuff.

But, as Gordon Campbell points out, any meaningful ETS scheme is going to result in major transfers of wealth, however many hundreds of millions are spent to mitigate the effects.

Meanwhile, John Key has declared that Peters, “would be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by him unless he [Peters] can provide a credible explanation on the Owen Glenn saga.” Such a man of principle. After National’s reluctance to attack Peters until today’s bambshell, I can’t see National getting much credit for this move, however much Farrar and the right-wing bloggers may crow about it.

But Labour could have a much bigger problem on its hands should it be seen as protecting Peters just to cling to power. It’s a pity the ETS doesn’t have more substance. Then it might be able to convincingly sell its association with Peters from a higher moral plane.

Nats are losing control of their narrative

August 26, 2008

It’s my belief that commentary on recent political events in NZ would be improved were it framed in terms of political narratives. Everybody seems to be missing this point.

Reviewing recent polls I commented that:

“Still, even if there is no immediate pay-off for Labour from the loose lips debacle, the episode may prove valuable in the long-run. Gardner imagines Labour putting together advertisements that feature English and his comments as part of a campaign based on trust, leadership and privatisation. I’d say that last week’s events might prove very useful to Labour as it seeks to build a narrative around “hidden agendas”. (emphasis added)

That’s the point. The loose lips debacle gave credibility to the “slippery John/secret agenda” narrative that Labour has been running all year. The strengthening of Labour’s alternative narrative didn’t show up in the first opinion poll results, but at a deeper level something important happened.

Why did the media jump on the story when hapless Maurice Williamson let slip that motorists might be paying $50 a week in toll charges under National? Because they were sensitised to the alternative narrative.

Williamson’s over-enthusiastic but revealing gaffe fits the counter story. Its significance doesn’t need explaining to the viewers/readers.

The counter story is also much more intriguing than the uncritical hagiographies about the boy from the state home that the Herald has been dishing out of late.

As political consultant (and occasional guest poster here) Neil Stockley pointed out in June, “you can have a politcal narrative, but you can’t own it.“:

“Most of the debate around “what is our narrative?” still tends to gloss over one brutal truth: we don’t control our story. Nobody controls their story. One story can be drowned out by counter-stories, especially if the latter are simpler and more deeply rooted in the audiences values or prejudices. Most importantly, it is the political audiences who decide their brand perception of any politician or party.”

I would venture that the Nat’s own carefully honed narratives are quickly being drowned out by the counter-story about their neo-liberal agendas, and that this is a real danger to their chances of forming a government after the election. Ironically, should the non-right parties be able to form a government in a few months time, they’ll have some of National’s neo-liberal die-hards to thank.

A new chapter in National’s counter story

[Update: With nearly half the population hooked into the counter story, it’s not something that the old media are able to ignore, even if they wanted to.]

Nats’ list: when diversity isn’t

August 21, 2008

National’s house organ the Herald gives its party list a great big sloppy kiss this morning (hat-tip: kiwiblog). The editorial opens with great fanfare:

“When the National Party published its candidate list on Sunday a greater ethnic diversity was immediately apparent. Six Maori, three Asians and a Pacific Islander have been placed high enough on the list to get into Parliament if National polls as well as it expects.”

Note that last little qualification.

But the saddest bit of the editorial is where the continuing exclusion of women is swept under the carpet with a single sentence:

“National’s list, incidentally, still looks light on women; only four rank in the top 24, from which a cabinet would be likely to be drawn.”

Farrar’s apologia is instructive:

“There is still some way to go. It looks like women will comprise 26% to 28% of National’s caucus, much the same as is currently the case. This is more than double the international average for female parliamentary representation. The problem is not so much where women are placed on the list, but that not enough stand to be a candidate.”

Farrar also says that it’s “very foolish to assume that the top 24 are automatically the Ministerial pool.” True, but it would be very foolish to assume that the vast majority of Cabinet don’t come from that almost exclusively male pool. And only two of the top ten, all guaranteed to be in Cabinet, are women (and they’re at 7th and 10th).

One wonders whether National’s problem recruiting (and retaining — remember Katherine Rich — women is in some way related to the way they treat their women.

So, it’s “incidental” that there are hardly any women in the top 24. Sorry, but in gender terms, National’s list is about where Labour was in 1984. Come on Granny, even Blind Freddy can see that the Nats have a woman problem!

[Edit: 1980 changed to 1984 after DPF pointed out the paucity of women in Labour’s caucus in that year. For which thanks.

Stargazer posts on National’s women candidates at the Handmirror.]

National’s trust deficit

August 21, 2008

Turns out that Colmar Brunton drilled a little deeper (as 08wire puts it: hat-tip) in their last poll. And they found that Labour’s campaign to question National’s borrow-to-build strategy and make its hidden agendas a defining issue is working.

Half of Kiwis doubt National’s honesty about its policies. This includes some of its own supporters:

“ONE News asked voters in the poll whether National is being open about its plans. Fifty per cent say “no”, while 37% think they are. And a quarter of National’s own supporters say they are not being honest.”

When asked about National’s plan to borrow more to fund new infrastructure, 52% say they disagree while 39% agree.

John Key says he intends, “to campaign on trust. I intend to be a prime minister that earns the trust of New Zealanders and I’m going to keep that trust.”

Finance Minister Michael Cullen says, “People know where Helen Clark stands. They don’t know where John Key stands. So if this election is about trust, we’re very much back in the running”.

08 wire say that “…trust is an emotion that rises and falls slowly, and which morphs into partisan preference slowly, too.” Thus:

“First, it will be hard for National to turn this trust deficit around within the next three months. And second, the trust deficit’s transformation into “Labour plus” voters turning their backs on National is probably incomplete.”

Exactly the point that I made about the results of the latest batch of polls. Any bounce for Labour may have been slight (although a continued substantial recovery from the depths of June), but the long-term and more deep-seated damage done by the loose lips debacle may have been hidden.

John Armstrong also says “Right now, National has both a debt problem and a trust problem”. He interprets the poll as showing that National’s “soft” vote “amounts to around a quarter of its current support.”

With a little under three months to go to the election, Labour’s challenge is to exploit these doubts and prise the wavering National-leaning punters away from National. Then the whole picture changes.

[Update: AndrewE asks why Labour should be preceived as more trustworthy. Labour’s pledge cards may have been paid for by the taxpayer, but the promises were kept, is the answer.]

Nats’ forced labour

August 12, 2008

About the most interesting thing about the Nats’ benefit policies has been the range of the response on the left, what with National’s swagger about an “unrelenting focus” on getting beneficiaries into work.

Predictably, the government seeks to portray it as a “hoary old beat up on single parents”. And on one level it is.

It is an unashamed appeal to the prejudices of the ‘labour plus’ voters, and those conservatives who are beginning to wonder whether National is adopting so many of Labour’s policies that it risks losing its way. There are an awful lot of NZers in business or work who feel that it’s unfair that some people “get something for nothing”, “don’t have to work for an income like I do”, etc.