Well the left pulled out the full range of hysterical reaction to Orewa III (or arguably IV), and this was before they even knew what was in the speech. Never has so many worked so hard to demonise.
Tony Milne predicted before the speech that “there will be a few dog whistles to red-neck talkback land”.
Russell Brown said he hoped Brash “will manage to get through one of these speeches without actually scapegoating any sector of New Zealand society”. Jeez Russell is it okay if I say I hope minister xxx can get through a speech without urinating on anyone. I mean is there any more subtle but cunning way to disparage someone than starting it with “I hope they don't”. Yeah I hope Simon Dallow doesn't have sex with Wendy Petrie while reading the news also (a view probably shared by Alison Mau). So let's just say it so people will think he may have done it otherwise.
Anyway after Judith, Tony and Russell getting all excited about Dr Brash's jihad against immigrants let's look at what he actually said:
The first of these is immigration, not least because it is intimately connected to economic policy. Indeed, immigration has been thought of by many people as being relevant only to the economy. How do we fill gaps in the workforce? What level of gross immigration is needed to offset the steady outflow of New Zealanders? How do we ensure there are enough people of working age to ensure that older New Zealanders are cared for in their old age?
But just as importantly, how do we do this while retaining the common values that bind us together as a nation? New Zealand is a liberal, tolerant and secular society, a society that embraces the Western Enlightenment ideals of personal liberty, private property and rationality as the basis of decision-making. These are values so central to our society that we hardly even think about them. Immigration can add greatly to our society, but it also has the potential to undermine the glue that holds our society together.
Our current immigration policies have evolved without serious public discussion or debate, and we will be giving careful consideration to this issue through the coming year.
Now read the above again. This is what Judith Tizard claims is “attacking migrants”. How on hell can we have a serious debate about immigration if people like Judith Tizard claim that the above is “attacking migrants”. This is of course labour arrogance at its very worst – disagree with us and you are a bigot and a racist.
And as for sanely debating immigration (something NZ First has sadly made even more difficult to do) well anyone who thinks we don't need to talk about the role of values in immigration is living on a different planet to Europe.
Now moving onto the media coverage of Orewa III let me start with the appalling TV coverage last night. The guest on breakfast tv this morning basically ripped it to shreds as it spent almost more time on the fact John Key arrived late than you know the actual content of the speech. Almost a total triumph of banality.
Almost as laughable has been the 9th floor inspired spin that this speech is somehow a last gasp chance for Brash to cling onto the leadership with vultures circling. Let's take a reality check:
* Brash achieved the best result for National since 1990
* Brash came within 2% of winning the unwinnable election
* National is actually ahead of Labour in most polls
* A Government traditionally post-election has a honeymoon in the polls where they put on a significant lead. This time there hasn't even been a one month honeymoon (thanks to our Foreign Minister mainly)
* The economy looks to be seriously slowing down and this normally damages a Government
Don't get me wrong – I am not at all complacent about the work needed to be done by National to take a commanding lead and keep it. There is a hell of a lot to be done. But these ridiculous attempts to manufacture crisis are well ridiculous. As I said above when TV spends more time almost on the significance of an MP being late to a speech (hmmn must be a cunning plot) than on the actual content of a speech – well no wonder ratings keep dropping.