Tagged: election 2011

Not a good look

October 3, post by Eddie on The Standard:

Key broke law on radio show

Prime Minister Moonbeam clearly broke the law on Friday on the radio show that he chose to run instead of dealing with the downgrade crisis. The law is clear: Key wasn’t allowed to make political statements.

First, Key promised to “talk to someone important” about Coronation Street moving time … That was, of course, a political promise to act in his capacity as Prime Minister. And it was clearly intended to encourage people to vote for him and his party.

October 4, unauthored post at The Standard:

When things look black

A clever billboard from Labour.  Apparently it has Kiwiblog’s knickers in a bunch, so it must be good!

Pay attention, kiddies:  a non-explicitly political manoeuvre designed to nevertheless build support in a crucial pre-election period by leveraging off popular current events is illegal when it’s John Key on the radio, but not Labour on a billboard.

Though as Idiot/Savant notes, Labour’s own official policy on the former is that it would’ve been fine if they’d given Phil Goff pseudoelectioneering airtime too.

Family First launches awesome election tool. 4 srs.

And I’m not talking about Bob McCoskrie’s boner, though I’m sure somehow, somewhere, he is.

The trick is to remember that the Value Your Vote site was built on Opposite Day so the smiley faces are bad things.

Of course, that’s not entirely true, since they’ve got the usual range of “family issues” covered, i.e. a strange mishmash of Christian fundamentalist morality (abortion, euthanasia, prostitution) and God-focused anticapitalism,e.g. voting against Easter trading gets a smiley face because it’s an important Judeo-Christian holiday.

Nevertheless, the podium for voting history is occupied by Dunne, Brash and Peters, and on a candidate survey basis, Peters/Brash/Dunne, with the leaders of the Maori, Mana and Labour Parties rockin’ the low end of the scale.

I suppose one could get antsy about the obvious bias etc, but in all seriousness, chur, Family First;  it is actually a democratic good for people to be able to discover candidates’ views on divisive issues like abortion, prostitution, gay marriage, and … whether all billboards should have to be rated G (even if one is immediately reminded of the Jonas Brothers using-purity-rings-to-sll-sex-to-children episode of South Park, and is forced to wonder how precisely sexgear.co.nz’s excellent “All our customers do is scream and moan” would fare, unles the word “sex” itself is deemed un-G).

The McCroskie himself says,

“We are pleased to offer this resource to assist families in making an informed choice at the polling booth this November.”

Taken out of the context of his usual preachy wank, I am compelled to say: that man deserves a DB.

A “bad Labour” does, in fact, make it *worse*

I feel like I’ve been making this argument forever, but I’m prompted to make it again by this post at Imperator Fish (the title of which must be satirical … except that as I’ve already predicted, it’s probably going to be used a lot more seriously on 27 November).

Scott states:

Even if there’s some fair comment amidst a great deal of the carping I’ve heard about Labour and its leadership, direction, PR, etc, it doesn’t change the fact that a bad Labour’s still (in my totally unbiased opinion) miles better than a good National.

Well, to continue my horrid carping, Scott, that’s not a fact.  It’s an opinion. Like you just said, in fact.

Here’s a few scenarios to kinda prove my point:

Scenario one: My personal, entirely uneducated, pick

The polls turn out to be [roughly, and surprisingly] on target and National scrapes in with a set of agreements allowing them to deal with ACT, the Maori Party, maybe even the Greens on certain issues, Peter Dunne if he survives.  But they don’t have the numbers to ram through the vicious rightwing agenda they really want to; for the first year or so at least, John Key wants to maintain his fluffy-bunny facade so they only partially sell our state assets, they only slightly cut taxes for the rich, they only mildly shaft the health and education systems.

By 2014, New Zealanders are starting to get bored, John Key probably fucks off to early retirement in Hawaii, Bill English and Steven Joyce enjoy a bloody feud, ACT implodes again, Labour has a proper rejuvenation of personnel and approach, and voila, a mighty [centre-]left victory ensues, in good time to renationalise our assets and save our social safety net.

Scenario two:  Labour at all costs

Labour miraculously scrapes together a coalition with the Greens and Maori Party/Mana.  ACT are trounced, Dunne vanishes, Winston bites off some of National’s base but is once again pretty much robbed when he doesn’t win a seat.

But Labour are still kinda floundering.  They’ve got capital gains tax, and that totally populist “mess about with monetary policy” policy, but Phil Goff still isn’t Helen Clark, one of the Davids gets tired of playing the waiting game (having been banking on a 2011 defeat to shake stuff up), there’s no clear direction, there’s no [authorised this time, please?] pledge card of good solid achievables for people to say “I’m glad I voted for Labour, they’ve ticked off all the boxes and really made a difference.”

2014:  the centre thinks “Well that was a fucking waste of time, wannit?” and goes back to National, which now gets to openly campaign on its vicious rightwing policies under the banner of “you gave Labour a go and they did fuck all, so clearly we’re the only people with answers”.  Labour is a one-term government and the Right claim a firm position as The Only People With A Clear Idea Of What To Do.  We get royally fucked.

Scenario three: my personal dreamland

Labour get their shit together, the All Blacks lose terribly, John Key is caught embezzling charity money, Mana and the Greens stake out nice mutually-exclusive patches of policy and take 15% between them.  A new era of socialist awesomeness dawns.

But that’s not really the point.  The point is that I have no time for the idea that any Labour under any leader with any level of cohesion is better than any National-led government.  It may feed nicely into the beltway left’s firm belief that John Key is actually Beelzebub and when the light of the full moon hits the Beehive on the equinox everyone will “wake up” and realise who their true leaders-by-right are, and it certainly dovetails with that whole entitlement complex that apparently I’ve just been making up in order to personally destroy the Labour Party.

But National, especially National led by John Key and operating in an MMP world which puts them on shaky ground for stable coalition partners, is simply not the reincarnation of Rob Muldoon, or the third coming of Roger Douglas.  And when the alternative is potentially a “bad Labour” which solidly fucks the entire left movement in this country for a decade by failing to produce a concrete, inspiring ideology … yeah.  Fuck that “fact”, Scott.  Whoops, there I go again, sowing discord, I’m such a baaaaaaad leftie.

Clare Curran is the reason I will not vote Labour

ETA: Clare Curran has apologised, hat-tip to NRT.  Of course, interestingly it’s about her intentions, which are of course magical, doesn’t refute the idea that Labour does feel entitled to votes (only that she didn’t want to make that argument) and would prefer to bag the Greens than do something about it, and provides a nice platform for people to continue rolling out the “who cares about stupid armchair bloggers anyway???” barrel.  Oh, and no mention of referring to critics as “feral”.  But one supposes it’s a start.

~

… and that’s only slightly hyperbolic and somewhat metaphorical.

Sauce: NRT and matching wine: Dim-Post.

Recent polls have put Labour in the mid-20s.  Which is obviously bad.  It probably means you’re down to the absolute core of people whom you could wheel semi-comatose into a voting booth and they’d manage to tick the red box through sheer force of will.

And I totally understand that as a geeky politically-sarcastic blogger, I am by no means the “middle New Zealand” or the “swing” vote that Labour has lost along with the large proportion of lefties who would honestly rather risk a second NACT term than return the current pack to the Beehive.

But seriously.  How long has Labour, and some of its supporters in the blogosphere, been trying this fucking pathetic “OMG HDU VOTE 4 SUM 1 ELS????” line?  How has it not yet sunk in that you are not our dad, we don’t have to listen to you, and your entitled fucking attitude might just have the tiniest bit to do with our continued lack of interest?

It’s certainly not just Clare Curran, though she’s got the best online history of this, including awesome posts about how everyone should just shut up and pitch in, as though we’re still in a two-party FPP system where there are no alternatives for an angry leftie/progressive.  And it’s really awesome to see a party’s technology spokesperson, the one who’s meant to be all internet-savvy, resort to tired old cliches about how anyone who comments on a blog must by default be a reclusive shut-in with no life and no real friends who never does anything.

It’s also the awesome hypocrisy.  Attacking other members of the left for nicking your rightful votes, while releasing those parties’ decade-old policies as your own with a wide-eyed, “Oh look!  A completely original and earthshaking idea which surely shows how brilliant we are!”  Attacking Idiot/Savant (you know, that guy whose spreadsheets of currently-lodged, previously-lodged and to-be-lodged-in-future-depending-on-results-of-currently-lodged OIA requests could, I assume, save any Excel nerd from ever needing aphrodisiacs) for doing nothing while your own campaign manager has spent a hard day out-cycling a pondscum blogger whose irrelevancy would be a lot easier to throw in the media’s face if only you’d stop fucking dignifying him.

And as always, it’s the amazing ability I have to predict the future.  To know with absolute certainty that when Labour don’t roll Goff, don’t shake up their front bench, don’t make any effort to bring back the alienated left,* they will be on Red Alert the next day having a whinge because why don’t we stupid people realise that our votes are theirs out of manifest destiny.

The 2000 US election was a key part of my teenaged political development.  I could sympathise, a little, with Democrats’ anger at Ralph Nader’s temerity, “stealing” rightful D votes in an entrenched two-party system.  You don’t have that excuse, Labour.  This is New Zealand’s sixth MMP election.  We have options, and you really have to stop acting surprised when we use them.

ETA:  This just in:  I am part of National’s “cadre of attack bloggers”, apparently along with Lew, Danyl, and Russell Brown.

~

*I assume that unless John Key’s mansion is discovered to have a basement corpse collection rivalling that of John Wayne Gacy, the centre will quite happily remain National’s.

Time to show if you care about women, Mana

It’s a bit shit for a political party to have a Facebook page, ostensibly to reach out to potential voters, and then leave it unmoderated so that said potential voters, when asking questions about your policy, can be called “whores” and “lezos” by your supporters, n’est-ce pas?

Your move, Mana.

PS. Please don’t just delete-and-pray, though, the screenshot finger is twitchy tonight.

PPS.  Just let Sue Bradford at him and all hope will be restored.

PPPS.  More thoughts at The Storyteller Project.

Child poverty: NRT nails it

It is totally time to do something about child poverty.

Benefits were cut to sub-starvation levels in 1991 to provide an “incentive”, and have never been restored. While Working For Families helped the working poor, it deliberately excluded those on benefits, again to provide an “incentive” for work. The resulting underclass was largely ignored by Labour when they were in office – they were invisible, and nobody wanted to talk about poverty in the good times. But now there’s a recession, exacerbated by National’s “hands-off” approach to economic mismanagement, and the problem is now too big to ignore.

If the left can’t make this a massive election issue, I lose faith both in our political representatives and NZ society as a whole.

Kids are going hungry, peeps.  In New Zealand.  And it’s our bloody job to stop that shit happening because even the better-off among us shouldn’t want to kick back texting our mates before dinner while children go hungry in our own damn country.

Shut up Phil, you’re not my real dad

H/T No Right Turn, who pretty much sums it up:

It’s Monday, so that means it must be time for the regular weekly failure by Phil Goff. This week’s fuck-up? refusing to work with Hone Harawira’s Mana Party

I flatter myself to have been saying this for two and a half fucking years, though it’s not really flattering to admit one’s been bashing one’s head against a brick wall for that length of time and clearly lacks the readership or influence to have got the message through to anyone, but nevertheless:

Dear Phil (and fellow anti-Mana naysayers),

Not all of us on the left are solely motivated by giving you and your mates a pay increase and a shiny Beehive office.

Many of us probably voted either for the Greens or for parties which clearly had no chance of breaking 5% specifically to get this through to you.

Some of us were probably thinking of voting Mana just to re-iterate that message to you given your clear desire to pretend like 2008 was all a bad dream.

Ever wondered if maybe confirming that you’re a racism-pandering centre-soliciting no-hoper focussed entirely on becoming John Key Mk II might not change our minds on that one?

Ever wondered if maybe we might quite like the idea of a leftist party with a practically-guaranteed electorate seat which you just might have to put your big boy panties on and deal with in 2011?

Given your single-minded focus on being PM, I think we can be pretty sure you’ll swallow that dead rat if you have to.

So how’s about you try getting a vision, being an opposition, running a campaign based on actual values and clear, focused key messages which are more than “we’re John Key lite” or “we’re populist and shallow too”, and stop treating the left voters who either switched teams or didn’t even bother turning out last election day like we’re silly little children who don’t understand how you’re just entitled to our votes.

Why I’m not buying the Stop Asset Sales campaign

… and it ain’t because of road safety rules or the stellar work Labour’s designers did making the authorisation as small as possible while remaining vaguely legible.

It starts with a speech by David Cunliffe in November 2010:

Crucially in a capital constrained fiscal environment, we will better leverage the Crown’s balance sheet in new and innovative ways.

We can expand public-private partnerships for new transport infrastructure.  The project scale must be right and the PPP benefits must outweigh any increase in cost of capital, but that leaves plenty of scope for win-wins .

We can unleash State Owned Enterprises to create and grow new subsidiaries with private partners and shareholders, without diluting the taxpayer’s equity, or wholly or partially privatizing the SOE.

We can turn old models of Government participation in economic development on their head by using equity rather than grants; private sector exports [sic] rather than bureaucrats, and rigorous performance measures rather than public sector doubletalk.

Which with its combination of basically saying “we like the good kinds of privatisation which aren’t really privatisation but are a magical process of getting private investment in public assets without them expecting any form of stake or ownership in return” plus buying into “the public sector are fat and lazy” rhetoric plus the line that “no seriously, this is totes New and Innovative and not the same old neoliberal shit with a few sops to our remaining lefty fans” was depressing enough.

Anyhoo, the sadly-in-hiatus Marty G took to that on The Standard, got a pretty awesomely upfront response from Cunliffe, and then pointed out that PPPs are still universally shit and that expecting to get honest, balanced advice from Treasury?  Tell ‘im ‘e’s dreaming:

There’s a difference between National and Labour’s policies on SOEs and privatisation  – National: we might part sell SOEs, Labour: we might part sell new subsidiaries of SOEs as long as it doesn’t dilute equity in existing SOEs – but they look very similar to the casual observer. Especially since National could just adopt Labour’s policy, carve SOEs into ‘new subsidiaries’, and sell them off for the same result as its policy.

The notoriously ‘pro-road at any cost’ NZTA, Treasury, and MED will be chomping at the bit for sell-offs and PPPs, and providing advice that everything will be fine.

Fast-forward to recent weeks, and Labour launch a bold, certainly attention-grabbing, Stop Asset Sales campaign.  It’s probably good marketing, it’s a nice clear message, it would definitely be nice if it seemed to be part of a concerted campaign, and it’s got two major weaknesses in that the non-politically-aware demographic might just be confused, because That Nice Mr Key said they wouldn’t totally sell asset sales* while the more-politically-aware demographic look at speeches like Cunliffe’s above and wonder, “Shouldn’t those signs read “Stop Asset Sales, terms & conditions apply”?”

And then you get a snarky hater like me who first of all looks at the “donate a sign” page for the campaign and thinks “If Labour is literally spending $10 per sign and can’t even give a discount on a 10-sign donation I may not want such fiscal geniuses in charge of my country’s economy” and then sees Trevor Mallard trying to sell the line that:

Phil Goff has made it clear that No Asset sales means just that.

Which he really, really hasn’t if you’re a sarcastic wench like me.  Consider:

“My position is I don’t want to see the SOEs sold at all,” Mr Goff replied.

“I just want to consider flogging off small parts of them under a theoretically restrictive set of conditions,” he continued.

“What I am saying to you today very clearly is that Labour won’t be selling the assets that all of us as New Zealanders own now.”

“But my Finance spokesperson also says very clearly that we will consider arrangements which basically boil down to partial privatisation, giving the private sector the benefits and putting the risk onto the public sector.”

“But I have to look after the interests of all New Zealanders, both as taxpayers and consumers.”

Because you can always spot the Labour leaders by the way they categorise New Zealanders as consumers and taxpayers,** unlike the right who focus on New Zealanders’ rights as citizens … oh wait.

“As taxpayers it doesn’t make sense to us to lose control of those assets.”

“Which of course is exactly the line National is running with that whole “keeping a controlling stake” thing, but we mean, um, a different kind of not-losing-control-of-those-assets …”

“The difference is when you have sold them you have lost them and lose the dividend stream forever.”

… Unless you don’t sell them but instead allow private investment in their subsidiaries and expand public-private partnerships, right?

Goff scoffed at National’s plans to sell to “mum and dad” investors. “Mums and dads can’t even afford the power bills, let alone to buy the power companies,” he said.

Mr Goff was later observed looking puzzled and asking his political advisors, “Do you peeps think I should have maybe led with that strong, punchy mums-and-dads line instead of waffling on in terms which actually leave a lot of space for us to organise schemes and partial privatisations which the good people spending their $10 per sign will probably consider a betrayal of a rather blunt, uncompromising campaign statement?”

~

*And even lefties aren’t entirely comfortable expressing the view that everything is a lie.

**Maybe if Goff loves consumers and taxpayers so much he could set up an Association for them.

Shrieking harpies to abort Labour’s election chances

[This post was originally prepared for The Standard, where it was given a very interesting thumbnail image and a fascinating intro paragraph, and promptly attacked by writers of that site for being anti-male and anti-Labour and why didn’t I just be nice to them since they were so kind to set me up as trollbait for pageviews.]

Chris Trotter’s worst nightmare came true on the weekend of 12-13 March, as 70-odd bloody liberal lefties* came together (phwoar) to figure out how we were going to just ruin Labour’s chances of winning the 2011 election.

In short, they vowed to (whisper it) talk about abortion. Loudly. Publicly. This year.

Believe it or not, audience-made-up-of-a-shitload-of-privileged-dudes, New Zealand’s abortion laws are shite, they are outdated, they do fuck up women’s lives, and it is time for a fucking change.

Put this one on for size: you want to buy a car, so naturally you go to a car dealership. But sorry, says the car dealer, the law says first of all you need to go see this auto mechanic so he can sign off your car ownership.

And once you’ve got your appointment the auto dealer looks at you and says well, technically the law says you aren’t really allowed a car. Nope, not even if your last one got stolen and driven off a cliff. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll just put on the form that you’ll go crazy without a car.

Fine, whatever, you say. Being labelled crazy is worth it to get that car. … You can get a car now, right?

Nope. You’ve got to see another auto mechanic. And maybe they’re actually an hour’s drive away and only take appointments on every second Wednesday, but you need a fucking car, so you do what it takes, you lie to your boss, you put the goldfish in cryofreeze, you get to that appointment. And another auto mechanic says no, sorry, you don’t actually qualify for a car, even though you live in an area with no public transport and are employed as a courier. But hey, they’re charitable, they see a lot of people who really, really need cars, so they’ll just tick the “crazy” box again.

[If you’re lucky. You might not be, and then there’s a fun process of shopping around different auto mechanics hoping one will tell you you’re crazy. Only in months containing a J during full moon, though.]

Finally, you can get your car! Except that you have to wait for an appointment at the car dealer. And they’re not even in your town and while they could theoretically give you a nice, efficient car they actually only stock the ones with shitty suspension and brakes that bruise your tailbone and give you constant whiplash.

And it seems so fucking stupid, because you’re a driver, you can choose to buy a car if you need one, often you can’t actually live without one or your job and finances and emotional and physical health require one, and yet the law makes you jump through hoops to get one – and labels you as infantile and crazy into the bargain.

But quit yer bitching, lads. I mean, you can still get a car, even if sometimes you have to fly to Australia for one, so let’s not ruffle any feathers trying to change the law and get you treated like people deserving of dignity.

~

You wouldn’t fucking put up with it. We are not fucking putting up with it. We deserve better and we expect more. And when Labour refuses to take a public stand on this and continue to waffle and the feminists their allies don’t just tick their ballots like drones, Chris Trotter, who I feel almost certain has never had to worry about being pregnant, can just go cry into his fucking moustache about it.

The NZ prochoice movement, gents. Come onboard – because whether you do or not, we mean business.

~

*Left-ness largely assumed but put it this way, no one objected when the conversation veered off into government obligations to put extra funding into healthcare.

QoT can, as always, be found at ideologicallyimpure.wordpress.com, ruminating on state-smashing and why she doesn’t get paid the big bucks to talk crap the way Garth George does.