Following the recent release of populist policies by Labour leader David Cunliffe, government minister and National Party strategist Steven Joyce has come up with a list of questions you stupid liberal pinky journey should be asking.
- How is Labour going to pay for all the policies it is currently releasing? With money?
- If Cunliffe thinks this policy is so great why doesn’t he go and live in Stalinist Russia or Australian or most of Europe who already have this type of thing?
- Why doesn’t Cunliffe put up or shut up. What other policies does he have? Why can’t we know them all immediately instead of being drip-fed over a number of weeks?
- Has he seen The Hobbit yet? If not, why not?
- When the lights went out at parliament the other night I lost my keys. Has he seen them? If not, why not?
- Is he aware that Lorde won some Grammys this week?
- I’ve also mislaid my wallet so I was wondering if he could spot me a deuce?
- Can he tell me the answer to 6 across (a letter in section, Theodore)?
- In what year did Red Rum win the Grand National?
- Which year did he arrive in New Zealand from outer space?
- Is he aware we live in a sovereign democratic nation and it could be argued that stealing votes off the ruling coalition is a treasonous offense?
- If a train leaves Grand Central Station travelling west at 70 km/hr and another leaves Chicago travelling east at 67 km/hr, how long will it take for you to admit your policy is rubbish?
- Did you know that I don’t like you very much?
- You are ridiculous.
I know that last question was a statement but I think it’s important that the media are far more probing against the Labour Party because everybody knows that when they spend money they are pulling it out of a rabbit’s bum, but when we spend it, it comes from wise spending decisions such as cutting taxes and giving millions to teachers. Paddy Gower is just not asking the right questions.
I think that should sort out a few things.
Insanely worded press release ends.
Yesterday Labour leader David Cunliffe delivered his first big policy announcement of the year – $60 a week for parents of new-borns. On Sunday the Greens announced their plans for “school hubs” where social services are coordinated through schools. Maybe Labour’s policy targets too many of those households earning over $100,000, but both policies are fresh and redefine the gap between a progressive left and the same-old same-old we’ve been swallowing since I was at high school.
What was very telling, however, was the overwhelmingly rabid reaction of the right-wingers I follow on twitter. The sputtering death gurgle of the neoliberal beast may very well be upon us.
Here’s just a sample of the quality dialogue we will be getting in the lead up to the election.
Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) tweeted at 2:21 PM on Mon, Jan 27, 2014:
Labour advises their spend-a-thon would resume immediately. Labour & Greens already an extra 3/4 a billion a year & it’s not even end of Jan
David Farrar (@dpfdpf) tweeted at 1:49 PM on Mon, Jan 27, 2014:
So this policy will pay $60 a week to any Labour MP (except Ldrs, Whips) who has a baby. That’s really targeting to those most in need.
Whaleoil (@Whaleoil) tweeted at 2:29 PM on Mon, Jan 27, 2014:
@CactusKate2 the feral underclass who already vote Labour will be ecstatic they get $60 extra a week for fags, booze and lotto
There are a number of things to consider. Firstly, these people are all successful, intelligent people. I don’t for on second think they actually believe New Zealanders are going to charge straight off to bed and start creating new humans on the promise of sixty bucks a week. Labelling the poor as useless, drug-dependent, booze-fueled baby factories suits their narrative just fine.
Secondly, the sheer repugnance of some of the bleating suggests those on the right are utterly terrified the narrative is changing from “me” back to “us.” Cunliffe and the left are offering New Zealanders something different to trickle up and they don’t like it one bit.
Thirdly, the reactions suggest there’s just a little bit of “this money’s mine. I made it. You can’t have it.” Which is just a little bit rich since they’ve been supporting policies that fleece low income earners for years.
Any way you look at it, this is now a battle of the mouths. Communication is paramount. If Labour and the Greens can project a positive vision onto the electorate they may send them packing.
Then we will hear some real whining.
PS: this looks a bit off formatting-wise because I wrote it on my phone.
Hot on the heels of announcement from her own party and the Green Party of Aotearoa, Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced a radical new plan that is set to save the country billions and give the Finance Minister plenty of wriggle room when it comes to budget time in May.
Dubbed “No More Schools” the visionary programme, announced today during a frenetic twitter-based exchange of policy ideas with Whaleoil, David Farrar and CactusKate, would see the closure of every single school across New Zealand.
“Currently the government spends over $13 billion on education annually,” said Parata, “if we can get that figure down to two or three-hundred thousand then I think we will be able to see some real progress in the areas of subsidies to those very needy groups in society such as farmers or multi-national oil, film or mining companies.”
Secondary Principals’ Association president Tom Parsons called it a “wonderful initiative”.
“It’s super, what a game changer, what a tremendous thing. This policy is quite simply the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I was in Berlin in 1989 when the wall started coming down; I was in South Africa the day Nelson Mandela was released from jail; I was there in the stables when Jesus was born. None of these events compare with Parata’s plan for schools. She is just amazing. Totally amazing. I want to kiss her feet. And John Key’s feet. I want to kiss both of their feets. At the same time. I love their feet. They have the best feet, and the best education policies for all New Zealanders.”
Former ACT Party leader Rodney Hide, a well-known expert in a wide-ranging number of fields including education, welfare, climate change and business, welcomed the government announcement.
“It’s about time parents faced up to their responsibilities,” said Hide to a packed audience outside the house where he stays with his mum, “If they can’t provide then it shouldn’t be up to us to pick up the pieces of their poor parenting and educate, clothe, feed and nurture their children. We’re not the bloody government.”
Both the New Zealand Herald and Stuff.co.nz welcomed the plan printing word-for-word all government press releases and asking no questions at all.
PS: Inspired by a tweet from @jofromgreylynn
Of course, Hekia could stuff up the Greens plans by closing all the schools. #takethatyoupeskyGreens
— jo (@jofromgreylynn) January 26, 2014
Today the Green Party are releasing their education policy. Metiria Turei says their policy will be focussed on the kids – in contrast to National’s policy which focussed on buying out the principles of the principals.
I expect National to hammer the Greens with a “how much is this going to cost you tin-foil hat wearing fruit loops” strategy. Because they have nothing.
My predictions for 2014.
- New charter school permission slips will be handed out. Expect at least one of them to go to a massive corporate charter provider from the United States (Kipp or one of the other big chains). If Labour have any cojones at all they will reiterate Green Party plans to “renationalise” all charter schools when they become the government.
- This election will be full of lies. Lies from John Key, Steven Joyce and other National Party stalwarts (Whaleoil & David Farrar). Unfortunately, politicians being like they are, expect lies from David Cunliffe and Labour as well. Promises will be made by everybody (including this week’s education announcement) that will be reneged on after the election because of “coalition negotiations” or something.
- Labour will only win the election (i.e. be largest part in parliament) if they can re-energise the missing vote from last election. They will only do this with vision and policies that show this disenfranchised group they matter and are worth voting for. As I tweeted the other night, Labour might want to take a leaf out of their UK counterpart’s book and announce a policy to decrease the voting age to 16. This would be genius because a) it would probably give them more votes than National and b) National wouldn’t be able to criticise it too vehemently for fear of being labelled anti-democratic (oh… hang on… Canterbury Regional Council…).
- If National are the biggest party after the election, but fail to form a government because all their buddies have been slaughtered by a coordinated phalanx of left-wing electoral tea-pottery, expect the right-wing bloggers and the mainstream media to literally implode with disgust. Those of us left in the wake of this enormous right-astrophe could possibly be sucked into their black hole of doom so we should all be very careful.
- Lorde will win at least one Grammy.
- All teachers across New Zealand, whether they agree with government policy to privatise education or not, will continue to deliver high quality learning experiences to the children in their charge. Because that’s what we do.
- Any and/or all of these predictions will be completely wrong because I have absolutely no idea what will happen. I don’t have a time machine and I haven’t travelled forward in time to December. Anyone making predictions for the year ahead is in the same boat. Nothing ever happens until it happens. Remember that when you are reading the latest round of nonsense from John Armstrong, Audrey Young, Fran O’Sullivan, Vernon Small, and especially Paddy Gower. All of these people think they know what’s going on but their view of the world is so skewed by being constantly lied to by the very politicians they report on they have absolutely no perspective. They are not prepared to ask the hard questions because if they do, as Morning Report and Campbell Live have found out, politicians just refuse to speak to them. And if that happens in the pretty lights of government-sponsored Media land there is no job for you. All political reporters are so compromised as to make them eunuchs of punditry.
Good luck with your 2014. I’m sure it will continue on normally because you, like most of the country, realise how utterly detached politicians – especially those with millions of dollars – are from the regular populous.
PS: I have not included Whaleoil or David Farrar’s Kiwiblog in the punditocrisy because, let’s face it, tied as they are by umbilical chords of payola to the ruling elite, what they say has to be taken with a grain of salt the size of all the salt in the world.