Watkins on Goff

July 25th, 2009 at 2:07 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

As the reality of John Key’s prolonged honeymoon sinks in, two things are happening within the Labour caucus.

I do wish media would stop explaining high poll ratings by claiming Key is still enjoying his honeymoon. Not only does this ignore all the potential problems such as a Budget that cancelled tax cuts, a Ministerial sacking, the Rankin appointment and a massive by-election thrashing – it goes against all the numerous tome media and thers have already proclaimed the honeymoon is over.

Duncan Garner called the honeymoon dead on 9 June for example. The Herald on Sunday on 17 May. Even Labour called it over on 13 May.

A honeymoon period is when you have no real problems. It is not a term meant to apply whenever the Government remains high in the polls.

The first is that they have become gripped by a sense of grievance that Mr Key’s honeymoon is only down to the media giving him an easy ride.

Yes I recall how easy the media went on him over Richard Worth, the by-election and Christine Rankin. As in, not at all.

Even defeat was seen as nothing more than an interruption to normal transmission. Labour MPs who wore the mantle of martyrdom about as well as could be expected for those who have taken a massive cut in salary and been forced out of their ministerial homes concluded that the temporary mood of boredom and recklessness that gripped voters on election day would be overtaken eventually by the realisation they had squandered a capable and much-loved government.

The culture of entitlement, as they call it in Canada.

Mr Goff’s blunders this week were twofold; he tried to dress up a reheated election policy as a new one, but was left scrambling to fill in the gaps when pressed to flesh it out. It was intended to put the Government on the back foot by painting it as devoid of ideas in the face of a looming unemployment crisis.

But the consequence of the rush was a badly thought out policy that pledged welfare for the rich, when the intended recipients had always been the battling middle classes.

Money for millionaires!

To compound the problem, Mr Goff championed the cause of a “Kiwi battler” who claimed to be on the brink of losing his home of 20 years because he could not get an unemployment benefit after losing his job, even though his wife earned only $21,000 a year.

The man’s story, which featured in an Auckland newspaper, rang alarm bells among many who read it on the Wednesday morning. It did not ring true that with 20 years of mortgage payments under their belt and a lifetime of frugality, the couple were a step away from the poorhouse.

And it was exactly that scenario which was the emotional string-puller. The Goff painted fantasy that you can have owned your home for 20 years, paid all your taxes, yet lose your home within months of unemployment because of the nasty Key Government.

The argument that taxpayers should pick up the tab for a couple with property worth well over $1 million is one that most would find preposterous. Worse, it transpired that Mr Goff and his team knew about the man’s other properties. But where warning lights should have flashed up after the newspaper’s failure to dig up the pertinent facts, Mr Goff and his team saw a green light instead.

Hopefully the media learn a lesson from this also. Ask for all the relevant facts when presented with a sob story. Mind you a Herald staffer said on radio that they had asked Labour if this couple had any other sources of income and were not told about the properties.

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13 Responses to “Watkins on Goff”

  1. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    I find this case to highlight how much personal responsibility has gone down the gurgler in NZ.
    Why should the taxpayer pick up the bill for an asset millionaire because he has made some bad investment decisions? If Burgess has negative equity on his investment property then that is his fault, and a failing of greed in my opinion. Similar to people who sunk their life savings into finance companies- why would any sane person sink all their money into one institution?

    Don’t get me wrong. I would staunchly support a welfare state that assisted those in the most dire of need- but this is not such a case. As DPF said, surely he must be able to arrange some kind of refinancing at the bank? And also, how can you be in the workforce for 40 or so years, hit a rough patch and be fucked for money in a month or so? Has 40 years of work left them no savings?

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  2. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    Yes, and suppose that Tracey Watkins could well have repeated that line of rubbish in the DomPost and other Fairfax papers. She never said that alarm bells were ringing in her head at the time, so they could not have been.

    Frankly, I am sick of her (the word I was thinking of would probably have earned some demerits).

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  3. coge (181 comments) says:

    Clark has left the building. When will Labour get their balls back?

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  4. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    The fact that Liarbore aren’t able to make inroads despite the fertile conditions granted them via the GFC really underlines just how useless they in fact have always been.

    The media is so compliant it’s not funny. All Liarbore has to do is raise a whiff and the idiot journos and childishly naive editors are all over it. How disappointing it must be to media left wing that their mates in their party of choice are so fucking incompetent that even with their willing help, they’re unable to put even one run on the board in the minds of the reef fish.

    It’s like keystone cops. Of course sooner or later they’ll score a palpable hit and idiots like Power who suggest enacting a law which already exists, don’t help.

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  5. Michael E (274 comments) says:

    I thought the first thing an editor tells the first day journalist is: “If your mum tells you she loves you, make sure you check it out.” That kind of paranoia and healthy skeptism by journalists has claimed many scalps.

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  6. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    The culture of entitlement, as they call it in Canada.

    Labour reminds me more of the Chinese Empire’s Mandate of Heaven

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  7. gomango (100 comments) says:

    The most embarrassing part of the week was Annette King fronting the media as Phil Goff was “busy”. Take a man pill Phil.

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  8. wreck1080 (3,815 comments) says:

    even the left don’t seem to rain on jk too much.

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  9. johnbt (90 comments) says:

    I think Tracy Watkins has finally realised that her beloved Labour party is not going to come back for quite a while. It must really piss her off. Her colleague Vernon Small is taking a lot longer to get over it. I used to think his stories were actually done by a certain chap by the name of Cullen. I am probably right as these are two of the most biased journos outside of the SST.

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  10. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > you can have owned your home for 20 years, paid all your taxes, yet lose your home within months of unemployment because of the nasty Key Government.

    That was never the argument, so it does you no credit to peddle this line. The issue was, shouldn’t someone who has worked all his life (and thus paid taxes) be entitled to the dole after being laid off? Remember the dole is only $190 a week – to call it a safety net is straining credibility. And remember that in Mr Burgess’ case, his wife is earning only 21K. It’s remarkable that there are some, including yourself, who seem to want to punish the Burgess’ by denying them the princely sum of $190 per week, despite the fact that the Burgess’ have paid their taxes for so long and now find themselves in a position which they couldn’t have envisaged. Ironically, if they’d been slothful and wasteful, they might be getting better press from you! But they still wouldn’t be getting welfare.

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  11. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > If Burgess has negative equity on his investment property then that is his fault

    Absolutely, but the Burgesses are not saying otherwise. And they are not saying that the govt should do anything about that. The issue is that one of them is unemployed and should be entitled to the dole. Maybe you would prefer it if the Burgesses split up but not before they wasted all they had earnt. Both Mr and Mrs Burgess could claim the dole and/or an accommodation allowance. Would that be more acceptable to you?

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  12. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Sheesh, Ross.

    Its a shame the savage injustice of this didn’t occur to you at some earlier point in the past ten years. Such as when the the world economy was growing, and the government had a surplus to squander. And Labour was in power.

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  13. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Whenever Tracy uses the word “reality” you know it means anything but and she trying to explain soemthing she doesn’t understand.

    She uses that word a lot.

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