A u-turn or not?

“Hey Clint” was calling me a liar on Twitter yesterday because on Newstalk ZB last night I scoffed at (presumably his) the spin that the Greens had not done a u-turn on the printing money policy, ad I cited what Russel Norman said on Q+A. Clint is arguing their policy was a “proposal” which is different to a policy under the Green Party constitution.

This is a degree of subtltly that I am sure was lost on 99% of the public, and it seems even his own leader. Listen to this audio of him on with Susan Wood. She says to him “Why the backdown and change of heart” and he accepts the premise of the question – it is a backdown or u-turn.

And let’s look at the transcript of Q+A to see whether the average person listening would have taken this as a discussion document or a firm policy:

Well, today the Green Party’s releasing a proposal around the exchange rate.

So in Greenspeak, now when they propose something – that doesn’t mean they support it or it is a policy. It just means they want to talk about it.

SHANE                         So just so we’ve got it clear – you want the Reserve Bank to go out and print some new money to buy some earthquake bonds off the government. The government then would use that money to help with the Christchurch rebuild – help build the sewers and the streets and that type of thing – and also to go towards saving for our next disaster.

DR NORMAN              That’s right.

When your party’s finance spokesperson and co-leader says they want the reserve Bank to go out and print some new money, it is clearly a policy. It has been advocated by your most senior politician. Not a single person listening to Q+A would have taken this as something the Greens were not committed to. Arguing the dropping of it is not a u-turn is ridiculous and desperate spin.

Also Dr Norman himself has spent months on Twitter highlighting other countries doing QE, and lamenting NZ is not doing the same.

SHANE                         Can I ask you will Labour support this policy?

DR NORMAN              We have spoken to Labour and given them a heads-up about what we’re talking about today.

So Dr Norman doesn’t in any way say “No, no this is not a policy. It is only a discussion document”.

Yet for me pointing this out, a Green spin doctor calls me a liar. More Muldoonist smears.

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