Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Local Heroes?

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  • Kumara Republic,

    And where exactly did the "$50bn welfare bill" figure come from, since the media don't seem to be telling us the whole story? Treasury figures? Or just the twisted imagination of a few yes-people?

    If it's the latter, then Orwell lives.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    "Need" is what we might some day get around to responding to, when we feel sufficiently magnanimous and the budget allows for it. A "right" just has to be fulfilled as a matter of duty.

    This. What I was trying to say earlier. Define it as a right, and then defend the hell out of it.

    I also see Sacha's point about 'needs', but I wonder if there are many that could not be traced back to a fundamental right? If we allow institutions of government a language of scant imperative, then they will, as they are, run roughshod over our 'rights'.

    The trouble is party members are more or less emasculated

    I call bingo.

    Bingo, bongo the drums the drums.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    And where exactly did the "$50bn welfare bill" figure come from, since the media don't seem to be telling us the whole story?

    Let me guess. They projected the last two years forward?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    NACT top tricks #1208 take an annual amount, apply inflation and compound interest to it until it reaches a suitably huge number. Publicise this number through the tame and inumerrate media.

    Bonus points - limit access to education to ensure an even more innumerrate population that won't call you on it.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Currently she's being denied resources left right and centre and the philosophy of every single provider is that she has a need, not a right.

    "Need" is what we might some day get around to responding to, when we feel sufficiently magnanimous and the budget allows for it. A "right" just has to be fulfilled as a matter of duty.

    Can I suggest the lack of funded quality services is partly because the argument about value has not been well made?

    Unfortunately in this country we have a wet bus ticket approach to enforcing human rights. We also lack civics education and are not otherwise immersed in regular talk of our citizenship or constitution like say the Americans.

    Declaring that I have a 'right' does not mean others must agree they have any obligation to respond. Nor does my 'participating' communicate any inherent benefit to others. In a social climate fostered by two decades of neocon selfishness, "what's in it for me?" is a question that needs to be answered to get political and public support for action and investment.

    "I have a right to participate" therefore strikes me as a pretty weak position to take, compared with making the case for investment and painting a picture of what others would miss out on without it.

    I also see Sacha's point about 'needs', but I wonder if there are many that could not be traced back to a fundamental right?

    Sure, but this is more about how we frame and communicate the issue. As we've heard from both Giovanni and Russell, there's a big difference already between the rhetoric and what's actually delivered. No one is doing a particularly good job of holding politicians and public servants accountable for the deliberate decisions that have created that situation. I reckon the current widespread aged care cuts might get over the consciousness line first, because people understand old age better than disability.

    Disability campaigners have relied on 'human rights' as the main angle for 3 decades - do you really think it is working well? I'm not suggesting ditching it - especially given the leverage it can offer as part of the toolkit - just not using it as the primary argument to appeal for public or political support.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And where exactly did the "$50bn welfare bill" figure come from, since the media don't seem to be telling us the whole story?

    Where's Keith Ng when you need him? I'm sure he'll be able to rip that figure to shreds in about three paragraphs and half a graph.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    people are sick to the back teeth with being treated with smug reverse snobbery for daring to disagree with a certain socially liberal POV

    There's a lot of sound and fury in your posts, Tom, but I'm not exactly sure what it signifies. Which people? What's the 'socially liberal POV' they're sick of? And if it's solely that you find listening to the concerns of people who aren't exactly like you problematic, then I'm kinda going to have to call 'tough shit', you know?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I got an electorate mailout from Grant Robertson last week - it is quite clear that not only is Labour campaigning against all GST, they are also campaigning against there being any charge for electricity or rates and a bunch of other things as well.

    Maybe he was unintelligible, but Goff also suggested we could look at no GST for fresh fruit and veg. Now, I understood, which should suggest he was, intelligible.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    And where exactly did the "$50bn welfare bill" figure come from, since the media don't seem to be telling us the whole story?

    Actually, the media have told the whole story. But only once or twice, before latching onto the $50b figure. It's a valid number, but with a very, very, very fucking dodgy premise; namely, that everyone currently receiving a benefit continues to do so for life. As I said, valid, but dodgier than a dodgy thing playing dodge-ball on St Dodger's Day.

    [edit] And, as Sacha says, the numbers on welfare continue to grow at current rates (that is, at the rate of an economy that's going into a recession) and all those new beneficiaries also remain on welfare for the remainder of their lives.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I guess you have to right the wrongs before you start telling people that their rights are wrong.

    Because Sue Bradford was an arrogant MP who couldn't be bothered doing anything other than treating anyone who disagreed with her like a piece of shit on her shoe

    Oh, perleeeez. Compare Sue Bradford to Pullya Benefit; Bradford "I have been there, it sucks. Now I have a voice I will do my best to help those who's rights have been trampled.
    Bennet: " I have been there, it sucked. But I'm not there now so's fuck all youse bludgers"
    The difference being that Paula aspired to be something "Better" the kind of "Better" that John Key promised us, pull yer socks up, pull yer weight while I pull the rug from under your feet.
    Of course, they don't say it that way, they have Crosby Textor to make it sound like an invitation to the land of Milk and Money... "Youse can be just like us if you help us get our preshusss."
    You have to be careful what you get people to aspire to, didn't Hitler do a good job for the economy? But yeah, he was a Socialist.
    Since the beginning of the cold war we were told that Communism/Socialism is a bad idea and that the proof was in how the USSR collapsed, forgetting conveniently that the downfall was financed by the most powerful nations on the planet, those with the most to gain when the "Experiment" ended.
    So how do we win back the reigns of power?
    Simple, we have to instil feelings of guilt in those that possess more than their share, those that benefit from the suffering of others, those that turn a blind eye to the fact that every dollar that you sort away for your future removes it from the future of the helpless.
    It's all in the marketing.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    where exactly did the "$50bn welfare bill" figure come from

    Oh they said 'what if everyone on a benefit stayed on it forever?'

    And of course our slackarse media breathlessly relayed that utter crap without a second thought, even while telling us that those on benefits for 10 years or more amount to no more than 0.3%. That's a long way from 100% even for the junior illiterates who seem to infest our newsrooms. Total fail, and not "valid" at all.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    The trouble is party members are more or less emasculated, and I would suggest the membership (and indeed, the general population) is much more economically to the Keynsian left than both our main political parties.

    Insomuch as I have metaphorical masculinity, it's still here. But thanks for the concern, dude.

    And where exactly did the "$50bn welfare bill" figure come from, since the media don't seem to be telling us the whole story?

    As I understand it (and I may well be wrong, more informed people feel free to correct me), the figure was arrived at by adding up what it would cost if everyone currently on a benefit stayed on a benefit for the rest of their lives and everyone who subsequently received a benefit did the same.

    If so, it's another sterling example of National's very special approach to cost-benefit calculations.

    Edit: as everyone above says.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I got an electorate mailout from Grant Robertson last week - it is quite clear that not only is Labour campaigning against all GST

    Wow, so Labour is going to abolish GST? Could anyone point me to that wonderful policy on their website, because I can't find it...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    And how did their policy to ban incandescent bulbs work out?

    Thank you for demonstrating the absolute failure of Labour/Greens to get explanation of the actual policy in front of the electorate. Whether than failure was due to the media (largely, I think) or due to the parties failing to communicate clearly (also a factor, but they really did get drowned out by the "They're taking away our incandescent lightbulbs" crowd) is open to debate, but whatever the policy was it was not a ban on incandescent lights. It was an energy efficiency standard, something that's been done in a number of other countries, and something that some incandescent light bulbs meet! You can buy energy-efficient incandescent bulbs at the supermarket. I know, because I saw some last Sunday.

    Whatever the engineering arguments against fitting the entire nation's houses out with CFLs (discussions with a former flatmate, who's an engineer, suggest that the harmonic(?) load on the national grid would be quite catastrophic), the policy certainly did not limit consumer choice to CFLs or nothing.

    It's much like the debate around the low-flow shower-head policy. Labour successfully failed to penetrate the public's consciousness with the message that mandating low-flow heads was the last resort after any number of other energy-consumption-reduction measures had not been implemented, including such radical ideas as wrapping hot water cylinders and pipes. What people got was "The council's going to be coming to make sure you've got a low-flow head in the shower of your newly-constructed house" not "The council's going to make sure you've got a low-flow head in the shower of your newly-constructed house if you haven't done a single one of these other things, all of which will save you money if you do them!"

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And of course our slackarse media breathlessly relayed that utter crap without a second thought, even while telling us that those on benefits for 10 years or more amount to no more than 0.3%. That's a long way from 100% even for the junior illiterates who seem to infest our newsrooms. Total fail, and not "valid" at all.

    The Press Fucking Council.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Simple, we have to instil feelings of guilt in those that possess more than their share, those that benefit from the suffering of others, those that turn a blind eye to the fact that every dollar that you sort away for your future removes it from the future of the helpless.
    It's all in the marketing.

    How about tent cities at Parliament?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    There was a similar degree of pearl-clutching in National when John Key decided to swallow dead rats like asset sales and scrapping the nuclear free policy - 'they're great policies, it's just the media's fault the public doesn't understand them', ect (although obviously the Nats didn't have all the special pleading: 'trying to be popular and get elected discriminates against women and gays! Somehow!') that Labour will have to put up with as it reconnects with voters. Key's lesson is that ruling out a handful of unpopular policies still gives you a huge degree of flexibility once you're in power.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    'trying to be popular and get elected discriminates against women and gays! Somehow!'

    You didn't hear when I said I already had bingo? I don't need the Chris Trotter Special. I don't even know where to put a giant fluffy bunny.

    Seriously: stop with this white middle class whine already, or they'll give you a column in the Listener. You're not just saying that Labour should stop being touchy feely. You're saying it should stop passing social legislation and go back to exclusively looking after, well, you. You voted National, we understand. It's tough. Did they cut your taxes? You poor dear. I really feel for you so bad. Now if you could kindly stop trying to blame us for the fact that you elected the likes of Tolley and Bennett along with the economic conservatives that you obviously craved, it would be just grand.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Bingo. Speaking of NZ neolibs, Ron Trotter popped his clogs.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Labour ran an effective campaign grounded in the networks it had built up over years in the Mt Albert electorate.

    ...by Helen Clark in her tenure as a very well respected PM and local MP.

    Even allowing for the hapless performance of National's candidate, it was a good look.

    Melissa Lee was parachuted into that electorate over the loud objections of the local Nats.

    Local strength wins by-elections.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Melissa Lee was parachuted into that electorate over the loud objections of the local Nats.

    "I can see South Auckland from my house!"

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    How about tent cities at Parliament?

    We already have a campaign song...

    I was born by the river
    In a little tent
    And just like the river
    I've been running ever since

    It's been a long, long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come
    Oh, yes it is

    Not sure about the reference to running though..
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    It's much like the debate around the low-flow shower-head policy. Labour successfully failed to penetrate the public's consciousness with the message that mandating low-flow heads was the last resort after any number of other energy-consumption-reduction measures had not been implemented, including such radical ideas as wrapping hot water cylinders and pipes. What people got was "The council's going to be coming to make sure you've got a low-flow head in the shower of your newly-constructed house" not "The council's going to make sure you've got a low-flow head in the shower of your newly-constructed house if you haven't done a single one of these other things, all of which will save you money if you do them!"

    That is because the New Zealand media think it is their job to teach the controversy, and nothing more.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    What I do think is a good move is that Labour are opening selection for their new candidate for Te Atatu as soon as possible. The sooner they can start to build the Labour brand there around someoneelse is going to have to help.

    And it would be really helpful if Chris Carter could be secured a good well paying job (with unlimited travel budget) somewhere far far away from NZ. He might otherwise be tempted to run as an independent or perhaps as a Progressive.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I was thinking yesterday, after reading NoRightTurn's description of National's attempts to destroy the welfare state - that if Labour don't fight this shit with the savagery it deserves, I'll come back, and personally force Grant Robertson and Phil Goff to do so. Using whatever means it takes.

    It's their job, and if they want to be all Mike Moore about it, well I'm not going to abide by that. Once in my life was enough.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

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