NZPA on Budget

May 23rd, 2010 at 5:13 pm by David Farrar

A very astute analysis by NZPA Political Editor Peter Wilson:

Wellington, May 23 NZPA – Post-budget best case scenario for the Government: Most people react responsibly, saving or investing their tax cuts. Inflation rises but far less than Treasury’s forecast. Reserve Bank raises interest rate by a quarter of one percentage point, says it’s because the economy is growing and has nothing to do with the budget. Families realise they really are better off, Labour fails to find anyone who says they are worse off. Petrol and power price rises caused by the introduction of the emissions trading scheme are accepted as necessary to deal with climate change. New Zealand First slips to less than 1 percent in the polls. Solo mum says “I’m voting National”. All Blacks win World Cup.

Post-budget worst case scenario for the Government: Most people spend their tax cuts, saying they don’t have a choice because GST at 15 percent is hurting. Inflation rises above 6 percent. Reserve Bank announces vicious interest rate rise and blames the budget. Families realise they aren’t better off, Labour finds hundreds who say they’re worse off. Opposition to emissions trading scheme becomes a serious problem. NZ First reaches 7 percent in the polls. Wealthy property owner says “I’m voting for Winston Peters”. All Blacks lose to France in quarter-final.

I think it will be obvious in a couple of months which scenario emerges.

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Media on Leaders’ Debate

October 14th, 2008 at 9:38 pm by David Farrar

The Herald rates the debate. First Audrey Young:

The debate brought out the best in John Key. He looked human, he talked about real people, real redundancies and up against the policy supremo, he more than held his own. She was awful to begin with, talking mainly in theories and statistics. Berating him over the Springbok tour was a mistake.

She was more convincing when talking up her leadership record. She had by far the best campaign launch on Sunday but he wiped the floor on the debate.

Then John Armstrong:

While there was little to separate the pair in a pretty even contest, John Key has to be declared the winner of tonight’s debate. …

In a tight battle, he even scored points at Clark’s expense. She was as rock solid as always, but predictable.

Key will have consolidated support for his party. National’s wobbly election campaign is back on track.

Fran O’Sullivan was the only dissenter:

Gripes aside: Clark scored best on the issue du jour – the international credit crisis. She has a post-election plan. Key doesn’t.

Key was initially ineffectual letting Clark walk over him (shades of Don Brash). He recovered and successfully challenged Clark’s rhetoric on climate change and crime.

Then we have NZPA Political Editor Peter Wilson:

John Key might not have been around politics for long but tonight he matched Helen Clark’s formidable abilities and vast experience as the National and Labour leaders went head to head in the campaign’s first TV debate.

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MPs survey of the media

September 29th, 2008 at 3:20 pm by David Farrar

Last week I set up an online survey for MPs, asking them to rate various media organisations and senior gallery journalists on a scale of 0 to 10. Just under one quarter of MPs responded, and the results are shown below.

As the media often rate how well MPs are doing, I thought it appropriate to reverse this and ask the questions in reverse. The media are a hugely powerful filter, and it is appropriate (in my opinion) to have some focus on how well they are perceived to be performing.

The questions were:

  1. For each media organisation please give them a rating from 0 to 10 for how well you think they do in their parliamentary reporting. This should take account of all relevant factors – accuracy, fairness, thoroughness, relevance, substance etc.
  2. Now for some individual senior members of the press gallery, please rate from 0 to 10 how well you think they perform at proving fair, accurate, unbiased and informative reporting on Parliament. You can skip any that you do not feel able to rate.
  3. Finally can you indicate your party grouping as National, Labour or Other. Your individual identity is not sought by us, and we have no way or interest in identifying individual respondents. However we would like to summarise results for all MPs and by the three groupings to see if they vary by party grouping.

It is important that these be read in context, so make the following points:

  1. This is the opinion of MPs only. It does not set out to be an objective rating, and should not be seen as such.
  2. MPs get reported on by the gallery. While this makes them the group of NZers potentially best able to have an informed opinion on the media (which is why I surveyed them), it also gives them a conflict of interest. MPs may score journalists lowly due to personal run ins with them, or the fact they are too good at their job! This should be borne in mind.
  3. I only e-mailed the survey to the 121 MPs, but it is possible that one or more responses was filled in by a staff member who has access to the MPs mailbox. I think this is unlikely, as most staff are very professional. However MPs were not required to prove their identity to vote, as confidentiality of individual responses was important. You need to know the Survey URL to be able to vote.
  4. National MPs made up 43% of responses, slightly above their numbers in Parliament. Minor Party MPs were also slightly over-represented, Labour MPs under-represented and some MPs did not give a party identification.
Media Mean Median Mode Minimum Maximum Range
NZ Press Assn 6.1 6 6 4 9 5
Newsroom 5.8 6 5 1 10 9
Trans-Tasman 5.5 6 6 0 8 8
NZ Herald 5.3 6 6 0 8 8
Scoop 5.2 5 5 0 10 10
Newstalk ZB 5.1 6 7 1 8 7
Listener 5.0 5 3 1 8 7
NBR 4.9 4 4 1 8 7
Radio NZ 4.8 6 3 1 9 8
Radio Live 4.4 5 1 1 8 7
Sky/Prime News 4.3 5 5 0 7 7
The Press 4.2 5 1 1 7 6
TV Three 4.1 5 6 0 8 8
Dominion Post 4.1 4.5 1 1 7 6
TV One 3.9 5 5 0 6 6
Maori TV 3.7 4 5 0 6 6
Herald on Sunday 3.5 3.5 7 0 7 7
Sunday Star-Times 2.7 3 3 0 5 5

NZ Press Association tops the rankings with a mean or average 6.1 rating – and received no very low ratings from anyone. The two Internet agencies were in the top five, indicating MPs like the fact their releases are carried in full. Trans-Tasman also does well.

Television generally gets ranked lowly with all four stations in the bottom half. Sky News actually ranks highest.

Radio is middle of the field with NewstalkZB being the highest ranked radio broadcaster.

The newspapers range the spectrum. The NZ Herald is up at 5.3, Press at 4.2 and Dom Post at 4.1. I would have them all higher, but this is a survey of MPs, not of my views.

Now the sample sizes are of course very small (but of a limited population) but let us look at how National MPs ranked media compared to all the other MPs:

Media All Mean Nats Mean Others Mean Difference
TV One 3.9 6.3 2.2 4.2
TV Three 4.1 6.2 2.6 3.6
Maori TV 3.7 5.2 2.5 2.7
Sky/Prime News 4.3 5.5 3.3 2.2
Sunday Star-Times 2.7 3.5 2.1 1.4
Radio Live 4.4 4.8 4.2 0.6
Radio NZ 4.8 5.0 4.6 0.4
Dominion Post 4.1 4.2 4.0 0.2
Herald on Sunday 3.5 3.5 3.5 0.0
Newstalk ZB 5.1 4.8 5.4 -0.6
The Press 4.2 3.8 4.6 -0.8
NZ Herald 5.3 4.2 6.1 -1.9
NBR 4.9 3.3 6.1 -2.8
Listener 5.0 3.3 6.3 -3.0
NZ Press Assn 6.1 4.3 7.4 -3.1
Trans-Tasman 5.5 3.3 7.1 -3.8
Scoop 5.2 2.8 7.0 -4.2
Newsroom 5.8 3.0 8.0 -5.0

National MPs ranked the four TV channels much higher than other MPs did. Maybe this is minor parties upset that they do not get on TV much?

Despite the generally accepted lean to the left of Radio NZ, National MPs ranked Radio NZ higher than other MPs did. And while some on the left attack the NZ Herald at favouring National, National MPs actually ranked them lower than other MPs did. The Listener and NBR also get accused of leaning right, but again get ranked lower by National MPs.

The Nat MPs also rated the online media very lowly.

Now the journalists. I decided not to list all members of the press gallery, but only those who are relatively senior, and are more likely to have a reasonable number of MPs have formed opinions about them. Looking back I could have included more.

If any journalist is unhappy about being missed out, happy to include you next year. Now again it is worth remembering these are only the opinions of those MPs who responded to my survey – it is not an objective rating.

Journalist Mean Median Mode Minimum Maximum Range
John Armstrong (NZH) 6.4 7 2 2 10 8
Peter Wilson (NZPA) 5.8 5 5 3 8 5
Audrey Young (NZH) 5.7 6.5 7 0 10 10
Ian Templeton (TT) 5.6 7 7 0 9 9
Jane Clifton (Listener) 5.6 6 6 2 9 7
Barry Soper (Sky & ZB) 4.9 5.5 7 1 9 8
Ian Llewellyn (NZPA) 4.9 5 5 1 8 7
Vernon Small (DP) 4.6 5 6 1 8 7
Colin Espiner (Press) 4.5 5 6 0 8 8
Guyon Espiner (TV1) 4.4 5.5 7 0 7 7
Tim Donoghue (DP) 4.1 4.5 2 1 9 8
Brent Edwards (RNZ) 4.1 4 4 0 7 7
Tracy Watkins (DP) 3.8 4.5 6 0 7 7
Duncan Garner (TV3) 3.7 3.5 3 0 8 8
Gordon Campbell (Scoop) 3.6 5 5 0 7 7
Ruth Laugeson (SST) 2.7 2.5 2 0 6 6

John Armstrong tops the ratings, followed by the NZPA Political Editor Peter Wilson. Generally MPs ranked journalists slightly higher than media organisations. As can be seen by the minimum ratings showing, some MPs were very harsh handing out zeroes. Did WInston multiple vote? :-) (Note I have no idea if Winston did vote)

And once again we compare responses between National MPs and other MPs.

Journalist All Mean Nats Mean Others Mean Difference
Laugeson 2.7 4.2 1.6 2.6
Clifton 5.6 7.0 4.5 2.5
Soper 4.9 6.2 4.0 2.2
Campbell 3.6 4.8 2.8 2.0
Edwards 4.1 4.8 3.5 1.3
Llewellyn 4.9 5.2 4.7 0.5
Young 5.7 6.0 5.5 0.5
Garner 3.7 3.5 3.9 -0.4
Espiner G 4.4 4.2 4.6 -0.4
Wilson 5.8 5.5 6.0 -0.5
Armstrong 6.4 6.0 6.8 -0.8
Watkins 3.8 3.0 4.4 -1.4
Donoghue 4.1 3.2 4.9 -1.7
Small 4.6 3.2 5.6 -2.4
Espiner C 4.5 2.8 5.8 -3.0
Templeton 5.6 1.8 8.5 -6.7

Again very interesting. The SST is generally seen as hostile to National, but Ruth Laugeson is ranked much higher by National MPs, than by other MPs. Likewise the Gordon Campbell and Brent Edwards (both left leaning) are ranked higher by National MPs than other MPs.

Also for some reasons National MPs ranked Ian Templeton very lowly. Maybe they don’t like his weekly chats with Clark and Key, ignoring the lesser MPs?

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NZPA Political Column

July 7th, 2008 at 12:25 pm by David Farrar

NZPA Political Editor Peter Wilson reviews the week (no link):

On Friday night another poll showed National holding more than 50 percent of the party vote and leading Labour by more than 20 points.

Three previous surveys during the last three weeks, taken by different polling organisations, delivered very similar results.

They all put National above 50 percent, they all showed the gap at more than 20 points.

Contrary to the Government’s comments, public opinion isn’t volatile.

It’s about a solid as it gets, and the message for Labour is about as bad as it gets.

How long will Helen keep rubbishing every single poll as extreme? And I note that the John Key attack site has stopped publishing poll results since mid May, after previously recording every single one.

The trucking industry’s protest against the latest rise in their road user charges — clogging up feeder routes into cities around the country — would normally have been expected to provoke confrontations with motorists on their way to work.

Very little of that happened, and although industry claims of nearly 100 percent public support were probably exaggerated the truckies were getting the thumbs up from drivers.

Most of them probably weren’t aware of the details behind the Government’s actions that had infuriated the industry but they knew one thing — the protest was about rising costs and the truckies were fed up.

People are fed up. They’re fed up with the price of petrol and the price of food. They’re fed up with the Reserve Bank using the mortgage rate to control inflation and they’re fed up with the slump in the housing market.

Well I doubt many understand how the Reserve Bank acts but they are certainly fed up with high prices, high interest rates and falling property prices.

Before that, many of them perceived the Government as bossy and interfering. The law change that banned smacking was the catalyst for a swing against Labour, although it was a Green Party bill.

The Electoral Finance Act was introduced late last year amid strident opposition protest and a rash of mostly bad publicity.

And they deserve to lose for both laws. The first for the blatant dishonestry around what they were doing, and the second for trying to silence its critics and legalise its own use of taxpayer money for campaigning without it counting towards their limit.

The budget in May this year delivered tax cuts, but it did nothing at all to improve the Government’s poll rating. The reaction seemed to be “thanks, but you should have given it to us three years ago”.

This set of circumstances has come about at a really bad time for a third term government, and the impact could be catastrophic.

Not just in terms of the party vote, but in individual electorates. It is possible one could see Labour reduced to a mere dozen or so electorate seats, if the electorate vote margin is similar to the party vote. And the challenge for Labour will be whether to protect incumbent MPs on the list or allow some new blood to come in.

Against this backdrop, Labour’s attacks on National’s leader John Key risk looking like desperate diversions.

Voters don’t want more negative news, they want to hear something that will make them believe things are going to get better.

They are looking to National and John Key to deliver it, and whether or not he sold his family trust shares in Tranz Rail before or after he asked a question in Parliament about the railways isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference.

Yes, Labour’s biggest concern. That plus Crosby/Textor.

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