Home > Media, The Body Politic > The Dark Art of ‘Spin’ – How It’s Done

The Dark Art of ‘Spin’ – How It’s Done



The beginning of May contained bad news for National: unemployment was up again to 160,000 people – 6.7% of the workforce.

With the recession “officially over”, unemployment is supposed to be tracking down – not up. This is not in accordance with neo-liberal economic theory.

John Key’s response, four days later was this incredible statement,

The number of people looking for work or in work is virtually a record in New Zealand, the second highest rate ever. What that shows you is that New Zealanders are more confident the economy is coming right and actually bothering to look for work. I know it sounds crazy.”

See:  Key: Europe shows zero Budget wisdom

Key’s statement beggars belief; “ What that shows you is that New Zealanders are more confident the economy is coming right and actually bothering to look for work “, and adds ” I know it sounds crazy “.

Key is right – it is crazy.

His statement is the product of National’s  spin doctors – highly skilled experts at media manipulation; deflection; and bending the truth until it crosses the line into outright lies.

The simple truth is that National, and it ‘smiling and waving  Dear Leader, have been blind-sided by the realities of their own neo-liberal doctrine.

Despite everything promised by National and it’s devotion to free market economics, their  results have been damning.

Outcome: nil.

Verdict: fail.

On 16 July 2010, John Key stated that the 90 Day Trail Employment scheme had  been successful,

The results of that have been stunning, it has ensured that a lot more New Zealanders have the opportunity to engage in work.”

See: Govt to extend 90-day dismissal law

In June 2010, unemployment was at 6.8% in the household labourforce survey. Since the introduction of the 90 Day Trial Employment scheme, unemployment has remained stubbornly high.

See: Employment and Unemployment – June 2010 Quarter

Outcome: nil.

Verdict: fail.

* In October last year, John Key announced National’s “Starting Out” wage-scheme  set  at 80%  of the $13 an hour adult minimum wage. It would apply to;

  • 16 and 17 year olds in their first six months with a new employer
  • 18 and 19 year olds entering the workforce after being on a designated benefit and
  • 16-19 year olds training in a recognised industry course worth at least 40 credits a year

Key stated that,

The starting out wage will give some of our youngest and most inexperienced workers a much-needed foot in the door.”

Key added that “the changes to industrial law were aimed at giving businesses the confidence they needed to invest, grow and create higher-paying jobs”.

See:  Nats ‘starting out’ youth wage plan

In August last year, youth (15 – 24) unemployment was at 58,000.

See: TV3 -Unemployed youth would fill Eden Park

This year, it has climbed to a staggering 87,000 unemployed – a massive increase of 29,000.

See:  Scoop – Youth unemployment needs to be a priority

Interestingly, this was predicted as far back as June last year, when trade unionist James Sleep said,

Research from the Treasury, Motu and the Department of Labour clearly states there is no link between the abolition of youth rates and the loss of jobs. When youth rates were abolished for 18-20 year olds, employment increased, not decreased. If the Government do consider this as a way to solve youth unemployment, they have chosen to ignore the informed advice of their officials and that’s bad policy making

The Government’s cavalier approach to solving youth unemployment is going to leave behind a lost generation. Youth unemployment for the 15-19 age group has gone from 17% to 27.5% under National. This is a social disaster and a ticking time bomb that is going to come back to bite.”

See:   Scoop – Youth rates will not solve youth unemployment

Mr Sleep was 100% on the nail – National’s quasi-youth rate scheme not only failed to reduce youth unemployment, but actually increased it.

Outcome: nil.

Verdict: fail.

* Throughout National’s programme of tax cuts, both John Key and Bill English have steadfastly maintained that the tax cuts; rise in GST; and other policies have been   “fiscally neutral”. In March last year, Bill English said,

A number of property and other tax changes will encourage sound investment decisions, make the tax system fairer and ensure the overall tax package is broadly fiscally neutral.”

See:  April 1 tax changes will mean govt’s 2010 tax package will be fiscally negative for 2 more years as it struggles with quake costs

Even as National’s budget deficit was ballooning, despite massive cuts in spending, as late as last month,  John Key was almost religiously adamant in his beliefs,

The tax reforms we are introducing have been designed to be broadly fiscally neutral.

See:  Impact of tax switch in 2010 yet to be realised

And yet, revenue was dropping and the government deficit was growing – threatening to “crash” the budget, as Greens co-leader Russell Norman stated,

It is wrong for the Government to cut important public services and support for people to get an education at the same time it is borrowing $800 million a year for tax cuts for the wealthy,” said Dr Norman.

“Two years ago, National told us it could afford these so-called ‘fiscally neutral’ tax cuts.

“Now, it is crying poverty and telling New Zealanders they will have to pay with cuts to services and student loans.

“National has manufactured a crisis by committing itself to an arbitrary goal of eliminating the deficit in 2014/15 while cutting revenue needed to get there.

“Did National not realise its unaffordable tax cuts for the rich would crash the budget, or did it cynically reduce government revenue to give it an excuse to cuts services in the future?

“Neither option can give New Zealanders confidence in the economic management of their government.”

See: Scoop –  National’s Tax Cuts At Heart Of Budget ‘Crisis’

The government’s looming budget deficit is due to lower  tax revenue for the last nine months. The drop in tax revenue  was $1.58 billion (almost 4%)  less than previously forecast, by Treasury.

See: Govt tax take below forecast

So much for tax cuts in April 2009 and October 2010 being “fiscally neutral. Clearly, that claim is utter bollocks and is no longer credible.

Outcome: nil.

Verdict: fail.

Other indicators of a failed economic policy that take no account of realities,

Current account deficit widens to $2.7 billion

* Jobs-driven migration to Oz at high of 53,000

* $12 billion student debt a national liability

* Treasury’s Monthly Economic Indicators – Numbers reveal National disgrace

And adding insult to injury, Australian businesses are coming to New Zealand to set up shop, to exploit our lower wages,

* Aussie firms sending business across ditch

How does it feel, I wonder, when New Zealanders realise that corporations are viewing New Zealand as another Third World country, with cheap labour?

Little wonder that our best and brightest are leaving this country as fast as they can pack a suitcase and board the first available flight out of here.

Unless the reader happens to be a National Party groupie who worships the ground that Dear Leader walks on, it is fairly plain to see that National’s policies in job creation and sustainable fiscal policies have been a miserable failure. National has paid more attention to nutty neo-liberal economic doctrine rather than common sense.

It is reaping the consequences of blindly pursuing economic policies that have been failing since the early 1980s.

John Key and his ministers have no answer to the failings of their policies. Which is when highly paid (from our taxes) Spin Doctors take a miserable failure such as the rise in unemployment, and re-write it as a bizarre “positive,


“The number of people looking for work or in work is virtually a record in New Zealand, the second highest rate ever. What that shows you is that New Zealanders are more confident the economy is coming right and actually bothering to look for work. I know it sounds crazy.”


The Dark Art of political spin; avoiding acceptance of the truth at all costs, and spinning a yarn that – hopefully – the punters will accept with a shrug.

Yeah, it sounds crazy.



= fs =

  1. 8 May 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Dont just like this summation.. LOVE it .. and to be honest Key is beginning to sound crazier than that old coot Banks with some of the utter bollox he is coming out with….
    If there was an election right now.. I am betting the Crosby Textor spinwheels would come right off even if they did try and skew the polls with the media text… The last few weeks worth of utter b/s would run people like Brownlee, Bennett,Collins and McCully off the road .
    .All the so called Mum & Dad investors, students and quite a few small business owners I am speaking to who voted National are beginning to see ruddy great cracks in the rosetinted glasses they had on last year and are beginning to get very twitchy!

  2. huttriver
    13 May 2012 at 9:13 pm

    How many billion dollars were spent on tax cuts for the rich?

  1. 8 May 2012 at 4:26 pm
  2. 8 May 2012 at 4:34 pm
  3. 11 May 2012 at 10:58 am
  4. 18 August 2016 at 8:01 am

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