Transtasman on Labour media management

August 1st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The latest Transtasman notes:

The tawdry cry of , marinated in bitterness and misanthropy, has been held aloft by activitists. They have a point, but not the one they think they are making. How journalists’ view political parties is affected by many factors, and individual political biases and prejudgements is only one of them – and seldom the most important. Almost every journalist in the press gallery has tales of slow or non-existent response from to requests for information, or of interviews/appearances agreed to and  then “pulled” at the last minute.

It isn’t a matter of incompetent staff: the almost total turnover in the past three years is only one indication something deeper is the problem.

No one knows what is going on because people who should be told are not told, and the big reason for this is internal levels of mistrust are so toxic.

It adds up to an organisation – and we use the word ‘organisation’ with some degree of over-stretch here – which cannot do the political equivalent of walk from Mum’s car to the kindergarten gate with out having a trouser incident. 

And of course this affects coverage.

Journalists experience this level of cluster-fornication every day and it has a deep impact. And this is before we get to the public snafus, the destructive and bitter factionalism and the way many electorate candidates are distancing themselves from the current, official election strategy. Almost everything Labour does at the moment sends the message it is in no position to run anything.

If there is a tone of disrespect in how journalists cover Labour – and there very definitely is – it is because Labour is not behaving in a way which earns respect.

The scary thing is that despite this level of toxicity, they could end up in Government in 51 days. It only needs a 4% swing or so and Labour could form a Government with the Greens, NZ First, Mana and Dotcom parties.

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15 Responses to “Transtasman on Labour media management”

  1. kiwi in america (2,449 comments) says:

    Turnout for National is everything in this election. 2011 showed that polling over 50% is a recipe for complacency from soft National supporters. MMP makes it difficult for the highest polling party to ever be a majority government – events in a campaign can cause the vote to be much closer. Labour was cruising to majority government in 2002 until Corngate slashed its polling – ditto for National and the teapot tapes imbroglio. At every level in National and its campaign the GOTV machinery must be oiled, staffed and ready to go.

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  2. lastmanstanding (1,293 comments) says:

    If Labour/Green/Mana/Internet/NZ1 look like getting into government I and I suspect a lot of others will be selling off all NZX holdings and dumping NZ Bonds and going heavy on FX. Expect to see Kiwi drop like a stone to 60/US 65/Oz 45/Euro 35/GBP

    The outflows of funds will be major. Markets don’t like uncertainty and that combo will really frighten the horses. And forget banging on how unfair it all is those foreign bastards wah wah wah. That’s how markets work.

    Oh and inflation will be at least 10% in a year to 18 months when the knock on effects flow thru the NZ economy.

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  3. lastmanstanding (1,293 comments) says:

    And the real rub will be the very people these parties in government pretend to represent will be the biggest losers with job loses and rampant inflation driving up their cost of living and putting them out of work.

    Meanwhile the smart Nat/Act voters will have their wealth protected and enhanced. Sad but that’s life folks.

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  4. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    The scary thing is that if enough National supporters think that John Key will win even if they do not vote than under MMP the coalition of losers would win. Instead of John Key getting the gold medal and standing on the top rung as the flag rises and the anthem plays the unthinkable nightmare could happen.
    Imagine a government that will suck $5,000,000,000 in CGT from every business, farm and Kiwisaver account.
    Close the oil industry despite not a single dolphin ever being harmed.
    Make West Coast loggers, millers, furniture makers and and drivers unemployed to give some worms a meal.
    Raise electricity prices by imposing the world’s highest carbon tax.
    Nationalise the electricity industry stifling innovation and investment leading to blackouts
    Hammer employers with increased wage costs and go back to no more 90 day chance to prove yourself costing 15,000 jobs next year
    Make men accused of a sex crime deemed guilty unless they can prove there was consent.
    Spend $420,000,000 to have the same crap teachers teach 24 children rather than 26 instead of following the research and improving teacher quality to do what’s best for children instead of unions.
    The list of appalling outcomes goes on and on.
    Add in the outrageous demands of Winston Peters to take GST off so called healthy food which would cost billions and Hone Harawira and Crim Dot Con demanding free internet and free university education and we would have a 3 years of Hell and be back in debt.
    You cannot assume that everyone else will be sensible and vote National.
    Part Vote National if you want a government that is Working for New Zealand

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  5. Slipster (170 comments) says:

    “The scary thing is that despite this level of toxicity, they could end up in Government in 51 days. It only needs a 4% swing or so and Labour could form a Government with the Greens, NZ First, Mana and Dotcom parties.”
    —-
    Can anyone with any sense call that combo a government?
    A number of other names and epithets come to mind but government? Hardly.

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  6. Reboot (101 comments) says:

    The scary thing is that despite this level of toxicity, they could end up in Government in 51 days. It only needs a 4% swing or so and Labour could form a Government with the Greens, NZ First, Mana and Dotcom parties.

    New Zealand – where 50% of the population (give or take 4% or so) vote for those parties. What a fucking embarrassment, and an indictment on the level of intelligence in this country. The other 50% give their votes to the left wing, populist National party.

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  7. Reboot (101 comments) says:

    It’s incredulous how one man was able to fuck up the entire country and its future by having a God damn cup of tea.

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  8. mjw (396 comments) says:

    lastmanstanding – that is certainly what happened in 1999/2000. Capital went on strike, and the business community took their toys and went home. But after a while they got over it, and Labour delivered one of the most sustained periods of nationwide prosperity that New Zealand has known. Of course, the biggest vote of confidence in Labour’s past management comes from the current government, who have retained all Labour’s policy initiatives and policy settings, and even gone on to increase the size of the civil service!

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  9. Bingo99 (88 comments) says:

    Nice attempt at revisionist history, MJW.

    The hard reforms continued throughout the 90s were largely kept in place by Labour, who tiptoes around them during their first term and began to tinker and write some shockingly bad law thereafter, before just vomiting cash on the electorate in the third.

    Labour simply had to not screw things up in the early 2000s and yes, they were reasonably prudent with the finances AT FIRST. But it was on their watch that ridiculously low interest rates saw property prices boom way beyond historical income:price ratios, sending the economy all out of whack and sucking up much needed capital from productive industries. Meanwhile, utility bills and food prices soared, with much-needed reforms being left in the too-hard basket because, well, Clark’s Labour wasn’t about any real reform.

    So with booming property prices and tax creep (which I’m hugely resentful for) filling the government coffers and the desperation of the 2005 election, Clark effectively decided the last chance was to make huge swathes of the electorate dependent on the government tit – hence, Working For Families – while needlessly buying off students with interest free loans. Not to mention pet projects like being done over by Toll for Tranz Rail (Cullen you smarmy prat you should be jailed for that one)

    So by the time we hit 2008, when real global crises were starting to hit, Labour had squandered 9 years of relative stability by sitting on their arses on economic reforms, dished out vast amounts of cash on petty projects to secure their base and make dependent on the State those who hadn’t been so before, ensuring a perpetual debt situation and maybe a few more votes.

    Clark came in and essentially accepted the reforms of previous governments and lived it up. Key came in and recognized that he’d have to tip toe through reform because of the dependency Clark has created. WFF should go and soon, and I expect tax cuts in its place, but I guess it’s like weening off a drug addict – takes time. Working For Families- ugh even the wording is an Orwellian monster of doublespeak.

    But by all means continue with the fallacy that growth during Labour Governments is higher BECAUSE Labour were in government at the time. If it helps you sleep at night, I won’t begrudge you.

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  10. mjw (396 comments) says:

    Bingo – lol. I admit to many of your points, but not all. The last Labour government delivered Keynesian stimulus – both when we needed it early in the decade, and when we didn’t, six years later. Their third term was pretty appalling, but they were a safe pair of hands before that. Also, three things come to mind for which they deserve credit. One is Kiwisaver. Another is 3.8% Unemployment, which nobody believed was possible, but was achieved with a very broad range of initiatives and policy setting. Another is rebuilding the arts, and I think it no surprise that arts-based economic activity has boomed since. And don’t forget they left us with effectively zero net core crown debt.

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  11. OneTrack (3,089 comments) says:

    Bingo99 – “The hard reforms continued throughout the 90s were largely kept in place by Labour, who tiptoes around them during their first term and began to tinker and write some shockingly bad law thereafter, before just vomiting cash on the electorate in the third.”

    That was Labour-Clarke. They have had a purge since then. The question now is what will Labour-Cunliffe (of the Avondale bus) do, aided by the Greens, Mana, etc. – Forward to the 70’s and carless days, strikes at Christmas, etc?

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  12. Bingo99 (88 comments) says:

    What were the policy settings that got us to 3.8%? It was the structural reforms of the 80s and 90s that got us 90% there, set NZ up to be able to deliver that outcome. Labour just sat back and lapped up the credit, particularly after they were scolded during the “winter of discontent” from industry where Clark and Cullen got royally mauled by the private sector.

    Arts? Oh screw that. And Kiwisaver? Maybe… MAYBE. Though that was Anderton. But I’d much rather just see people taxed less on long-term savings rather than a defacto forced paycut. And the Australian example is certainly not all it’s cracked up to be.

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  13. spanish_tudor (80 comments) says:

    “It’s incredulous how one man was able to fuck up the entire country and its future by having a God damn cup of tea.”

    Yeah, I still blame David Lange for stopping for a cup of tea and sacking Roger Douglas too. Imagine how much better off we’d be as a country if Douglas had been allowed to finish what he started.

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  14. Reboot (101 comments) says:

    Spanish Tudor – judging by the downvotes I got either a bunch of people thought I was referring to the cup of tea between Key and Banks or the commentors on this blog are all Labour Lite supporters.

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  15. mjw (396 comments) says:

    With respect Bingo99, now you are talking nonsense. It was working for families, the in-work payment, and various other workplace and market reforms, plus keynesian stimulus. Claiming that for the structural reforms of the 80s and 90s it simply not plausible. Don’t forget, this was the lowest rate in the entire OECD. Keep it plausible please.

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