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“Spin me a brain exchange”, said Dear Leader!

8 October 2012 15 comments

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2008…

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This was one of National’s election hoardings in 2008,

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National made a big deal of New Zealanders migrating to Australia. Essentially it became an election issue, with John Key painting  our population loss to Australia as a “vote of no confidence” in the incumbent Labour government.

As Key said,

The brain drain worries the hell out of me. I have no doubt we can kiss goodbye to at least half of you in the next five to 10 years.” – John Key, 31 May 2007

See: Business students host National Party leader

When the going gets this tough, is it any wonder that Kiwis look longingly at our Aussie cousins?  Our Aussie cousins, who get paid a third more than us for doing the same job.  Our Aussie cousins, who have been given a tax cut in every Budget for the past five years and who will continue to have their taxes cut for Budgets to come.

Too many Kiwis are looking at those stats and choosing to join their cousins across the ditch.  We have to give them better reasons to stay. ” – John Key, 29 January 2008

See: SPEECH: 2008: A Fresh Start for New Zealand

Key and the Nats made a nice little ‘song-and-dance’ about the brain-drain to Australia. They  pledged to voters  that, once elected, would set about enacting policies to encourage New Zealanders to stay and help build our economy.

So, how did it work out?

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2009…

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Hmmmm, it’s only been a year for Dear Leader and his cronies colleagues. Let’s be fair and give them more time…

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2010…

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Uh oh. Still not looking terribly ‘flash’, is it? Well, it’s only two years since the Tories were elected on a promise to engage with New Zealanders and create a country that, as Dear Leader Key said in January 2008, “we have to give them better reasons to stay“.

Maybe next year?

Let’s wait and see…

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2011…

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Bugger.

Oh well. Maybe next year?

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2012…

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Well, that seems to have flopped. Majorly flopped.

So what is National’s response to such an utter  failure of their policies? What new initiatives did Dear Leader and his well-paid, well-staffed Ministers come up with?

This is their master-stroke solution,

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So this is National’s  ‘Plan B’? Instead of calling the mass exodus of New Zealanders a  “brain drain”; lamenting the loss of our “best and brightest”; National’s spin-doctors (paid out of yours and my taxes) have re-labelled the slow de-population of our nation as a “brain exchange”?!

Damn clever these spin-doctors, eh?

Just imagine; the re-spinning of all our social and economic problems can be overcome in precisely the same ‘clever’ way. Just slap something with a re-label, and hey, ‘bob’s-your-aunty’.

As Dear Leader Key tells us,

Yup, we started that debate, but the truth is our population has been rising. At the very minimum you could say it’s a ‘brain exchange’ because there’s quite a lot of bright people arriving into New Zealand.” – John Key, 7 October 2012

Sorted.

Except, it’s not ‘sorted’. Nowhere near ‘sorted’.

Key is correct; New Zealand’s population continues to “grow”. But only because the rest of the global human population is only too willing to migrate to New Zealand from various Third World nations; poverty-stricken societies; and hell-holes like Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, etc.

This blogger has no problem with immigrants – my own parents escaped from an Eastern European nation after the Red Army rampaged through the capital city, shooting and killing.

This blogger, does, however, have a problem with a Party that was elected to power on certain promises – and has failed spectacularly at every level to make good those promises.

It is my contention that New Zealanders have ‘jumped the ditch’ – not simply because of the lure of jobs and higher wages in Australia – but because, as a nation, we have failed to instill a sense of belonging in many of our young people.

Since the tsunami that was Rogernomics swept away many of our old values, and replaced our sense of nationhood with an odious philosophy of individualistic Me First, it is my contention that we have taught this generation to ‘follow the money’. Citizenship; a sense of belonging; and valuing and being valued,  is way down on a list of priorities for many folk. Or non-existant.

I share this with the reader,

A Victorian-based Kiwi with a student loan debt, who did not want to be named because he did not want to be found by the Government, said he did not intend to pay back any of his student loan.

The 37-year-old’s loan was about $18,000 when he left New Zealand in 1997. He expected it was now in the order of $50,000. The man was not worried about being caught as the Government did not have his details and he did not want to return to New Zealand.

“I would never live there anyway, I feel just like my whole generation were basically sold down the river by the government. I don’t feel connected at all, I don’t even care if the All Blacks win.

“I just realised it was futile living [in New Zealand] trying to pay student loans and not having any life, so I left. My missus had a student loan and she had quite a good degree and she had paid 99c off the principal of her loan after working three years”.

See: Student loan avoiders told to pay up

I offer this salient piece of advice to Dear Leader andf the National Party; if we expect committment from New Zealanders – then, as a nation, we must show committment to our young folk, and to each other.

That involves old fashioned concepts and values such as pride in our country. Not just our flag or rugby team or latest successful movie by Peter Jackson – but pride in a nation that invests in each citizen with universal, free education; food in schools programmes; decent housing; comprehensive free healthcare for our young people; fair wages sufficient to raise a family on;  everyone paying their taxes (no exceptions for capital gains, sorry),  and ensuring that no one is left behind.

Our Scandinavian cuzzies have achieved this model of society. Even we used to have something similar once upon a time.

Building a sense of nationhood, therefore,  is not about building personal fortunes or buying the latest consumer gadget.

After thirty years of experimenting with the doctrine of Individualistism and Me First, I think it’s fairly obvious that it has failed us. We may have state-of-the-art flatscreen TVs – but our kids are not watching them with us. They’re skyping us from Australia, or where-ever.

If we want a sense of nationhood, it cannot be purchased; imported; traded on the sharemarket; sold; or commodified. It is something deep and innate within us that has to be nurtured by a sense of belonging.

And judging by the exodus from these islands, you really have to ask yourself how strong that sense of belonging is, any more.

The final wave goodbye from many of our fellow Kiwis,

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Sources

Exodus to Oz continues unabated (27 Feb 2009)

Kiwis move to Aussie in record numbers (29 Sept 2010)

Kiwi exodus to Australia nears record levels (23 Nov 2011)

Kiwis still flocking across Tasman (23 June 2012)

Key changes tack with ‘brain exchange’ tag (7 Oct 2012)

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Advertisements

Citizen A – 4 October 2012 – Online now!

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Citizen A

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– 4 October2012 –

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– David Slack & Selwyn Manning –

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Issue 1: two inquires, one Police investigation , spies meeting in Wellington, Key visiting Hollywood and an official apology – how much more weird can the Kim Dotcom scandal get?

Issue 2: Does the Education Ministry’s handling of school closures in Christchurch make the GCSB illegal spying look competent?

Issue 3: If crime is down, why are we building a new billion dollar private prison?

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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“Spin me a conspiracy”, said Dear Leader!

8 October 2012 21 comments

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In politics, there are several ways to discredit your  opponant or critic;

  • Humour

David Lange was the past-master of the one-liner riposte. His classic, “I can smell the uranium on your breath”, is now firmly ingrained in our culture.

  • Attack Reputations

A favourite of Robert Muldoon, who had little reservation in undermining, or even destroying, a person’s reputation if they crossed him.

  • Buy them off

Our best and most experienced journalists gave up their professions to join the Dark Side of politics, and become Press Secretaries and spin doctors for politicians, government departments, SOEs, and corporations.

Some of the most well-known media names from the  ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s now work for employers who do not want the public truthfully informed on certain matters.

  • Deride & Dismiss

If you can successfully paint your critic or political opponant as a “loony”, incompetant, naive, or possessing some  other faulty character-trait, then you may persuade the public not to listen to them.

The  Right deride the Greens as “tree hugging socialists” – and other epithets – when attacking their policies. Even when said policies are clearly delineated and sheer common sense – the derision and dismissive retorts are by now an automatic kneejerk from the Right. No thought required.

  • Off to the Gulag!

Very popular with the old USSR, and still in heavy usage in the last remaining Stalinist regime in North Korea. The Chinese have their own Labour Camps (prisons) for their political prisoners. And even the United States – the Land of the Free – has their own dirty little ‘secret’ at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Probably not feasible for dear little New Zealand… yet.

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National’s tax-payer funded  spin doctors have been working overtime this year on new angles for their Ministerial Masters to use to  dismiss the growing clamour of criticism against their policies, and more increasingly, criticism of John Key’s style of leadership.

With National dropping in the polls and Key’s popularity  not what it once was,  it is fairly obvious that critics are starting to hit home – and the Tory hierarchy is worried.

One response has been the Deride & Dismiss tactic.

Increasingly,  Dear Leader and his ministers have taken to referring to critics and political opponants as “conspiracy theorists” – a jibe designed to make someone appear to be on the fringe of politics; slightly unstable; not thinking rationally; and espousing ideas unsupported by facts.

It’s like suggesting that your opponant or critics believes in fairy tales. And it’s becoming more and more common,

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Mr Key is rejecting all their allegations.

“It went through the normal tendering process, Sky City was the only bidder prepared to look at a deal that didn’t involve government resources. They can run around as much as they like looking for conspiracies but they’re never going to find one”. ” – John Key, MSN News, 19 April, 2012

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But despite the paper, he denied there was any connection between him calling off the business case and SkyCity indicating it was considering extending its centre. “Not despite your wildest conspiracies, no,” he said. ” – Dominion Post, 24 April 2012

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But I would say it’s a really positive thing to do. You can make a difference. And it’s like the convention centre. People want to chase their tails in conspiracies. There is no conspiracy. The conspiracy is we haven’t had a convention centre for decades. We will get 160,000 visitor-nights. They will spend roughly twice as much as everybody else. The Government has got no money to pour into it.” – John Key, The Listener, 23 June 2012

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There is no conspiracy here. There’s a failure by an individual, there’s a cock-up, but there’s not a conspiracy.” [re, GCSB] – John Key, TV3, 29 September 2012

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Yeah the conspiracy theorists won’t like it they’ll be on TV tonight saying ‘yeah you know Dotcom’ and all this sort of carry on but they live in fantasy land.” – John Key, TV3, 1 October 2012

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There’ll always be conspiracy theorists out there but I’m interested in jobs, not people who live in Fantasyland and want to make things up.” – John Key,  Fairfax media, 2 October 2012
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Meanwhile Mr Key is writing off the concerns around Dotcom as “conspiracy theories”.

“I’d caution New Zealanders not to buy into conspiracy theories too much,” he says. ” – John Key, TV3, 4 October 2012

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Even Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald columnist and bearer of the Honorary Captain Key De-Coder Ring, joined in to support National’s spin-dictoring.

The conspiracy allegations against Key are over-egged.” – Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald, 3 October 2011

As these quotes show, Key has been using the “conspiracy” pejorative as often as he can get away with it.

Without indulging in conspiracy theories, one could almost come to the conclusion that “Conspiracy” and “conspiracy theorists” are the magic words in 2012 – as determined by National’s back-room spin doctors. These guys have been racking up serious over-time to create the right things for Key and other National ministers to say.

Anyone criticising Dear Leader is engaging in “conspiracies” and accusations against National are “conspiracy theories”.

Got that?

Good.

Otherwise it’s off to the Gulag for you!

Meanwhile, here is one example of pre-scripted spin being delivered incompetantly, by an incompetant Minister. Listen and weep, for our taxes are paying for this woman’s salary,

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[click on image to link to TV3 video]

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