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Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (rua)

8 September 2017 Leave a comment

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National’s Running Ad – Unintended Messaging?

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Nearly everyone has seen National’s “running ad” – a variation on last election’s rowing-boat advertisement – but without the plagiarised and illegal use of an artist’s music.

The full advert can be seen here, on Youtube.

The messaging is fairly uncomplicated and straight-forward; the blue (actually, more like teal) team is a metaphor for National running together as a team, whilst other “joggers” – representing Labour, Greens, and NZ First – are limping along. It’s about as subtle as burning a cross on a Black American’s front lawn.

But, take another, closer look as the Teal Team does it’s cross-country running…

First, the obligatory Clean and Green and 100% Pure message;

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With not a hint of  cows defaecating in the background creating polluted, unswimmable waterways;

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Yup. New Zealand as we imagine it in our fantasies.

It becomes pretty clear though, that National is strong on presenting an image – an Aryan image;

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With the brown folk somewhere in the background, and very bloody happy with their lot in life;

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The jog takes them along a deserted country highway. By now the “jog” is beginning to look very much like inmates from one of  National’s boot-camps, enduring a  forced run;

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Back to wide-open scenery – as the runners jog across a dammed river or lake;

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Is this really National’s vision of an unspoiled, 100% “Pure” countryside – with a dam across it?

But here is where it really starts to get creepy with an unintended subliminal message beamed out to every household in the country. The Teal Team approach runners from a mixed Red (Labour), Black (NZ First) and Green (ditto) team. The other Team are clearly struggling;

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The Teal Team run past;

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As they do, the Mixed Team begin to  stumble;

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The Mixed Team stumble and collapse, falling to the ground;

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And down they go;

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The Teal Team seem apparently (?) oblivious to the situation and continue to run on;

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So the “message” from this advert is that National will readily ignore other people in obvious distress and carry on their merry way?

The subliminal theme presented by the Teal Team is one of callous indifference.

This may not have been National’s intended message. But it sure ties in with child poverty, homelessness, income inequality, and other dire social problems ignored by National. Not  until the media spotlight is focused sharply on the plight of families living in garages, cars, or tents, does National react.

The focus groups presented with this advert clearly didn’t understand the subconscious meaning  within these images when they gave it their ‘thumbs up’. Or maybe they did – but just didn’t care.

Postscript

As at 1 September, the National Party runners ad scored 570 ‘Dislikes’ as opposed to 173 ‘Likes’.

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On Youtube at least,  the Nats have already lost the election.

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The Real Green ‘Jogger’ who tried

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The doom of Metiria Turei  was well and truly sealed when the Establishment Media (aka, Media Elite) and assorted right-wing bloggers and commentators ripped her reputation to shreds like a pack of blood-crazed pit-bulls in a feeding-frenzy.

Some of the public understood her situation.

Many did not. The conservative public passed judgement on Ms Turei because, well, passing judgement on someone elses’ perceived moral ‘lapses’  makes the Judger feel so much better about him/herself.

Ms Turei’s sacrifice appears to have struck a chord with a significant number of  people;

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The Dominion Post, however, barely reported the story in a meaningful way;

Former Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has received the most nominations for the 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards so far.

Support for Turei increased after her resignation following her admission she’d lied to Work and Income to receive higher benefit payments in the 1990s, the awards organisation said.

The nominee with the second highest number of nominations is the Australian deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce – although his eligibility to win won’t be assessed until nominations have closed.

Joyce was recently revealed to be a New Zealand citizen because his father was born here. The revelation came during a spate of Australian senators having to step down after checking laws preventing them holding dual citizenship while in office. Since then, Joyce has renounced is New Zealand citizenship. Stuff has contacted Joyce’s office for comment.

The Dompost focused more on Australian deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, than on Ms Turei’s public support.

The NZ Herald  barely mentioned the fact  that Ms Turei was leading nominations with it’s story;

Despite Turei’s fall from grace after she publicly admitted she lied to Winz about her living circumstances in the 1990s she has received the most nominations.

In an act of casual minimisation, both papers made sure their stories did not reflect any degree of public support for the former Green Party co-leader.

One thing seems  clear – there is an under-current of support for Metiria Turei.

Postscript

Anyone wanting to add their voice to nominate Ms Turei can do so on the New Zealander of the Year website.

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Fran O’Sullivan… takes a jump to the Left

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Following on from several political parties expressing varying degrees of a gradual move back to state-funded tertiary education, Fran O’Sullivan – the doyen of the Right and nominally an “impartial” journalist writing for the NZ Herald appeared on TVNZ’s Q+A on 27 August as one of it’s regular panellists.

She had this to say about sales of land and property to off-shore investor/speculators; land-banking in Auckland, and current policies that drove house-prices, gifting a tax-free gain for speculators;

@ 1.09

“… when he [Phil Twyford] talked about property speculators, what and how […] what exactly are you going to do there? Are you going to bring in place capital gains taxes? Because I say that because right now, including our government officials, we’re being marketed internationally as a hot place for property investment. No capital gains tax. No stamp duty.

In China and elsewhere, the people coming out of the US buying the big stations, that sort of thing. This is a global property play we’re in and we’re being marketed as a very good place for that. We need to have a much more holistic view I think than what we got today.”

@ 6.07

“Well I was actually quite stunned that people are talking in the range of $500,000 to $600,000. For first home owners I think that’s quite ridiculous. I think it needs to come down further.

I think there needs to be very large state intervention on the land bankers. Just to free up is not enough, I think they’ve got to take a haircut […] what happened to people after the war, farms were sold at fixed prices so people could come back in. We have a national crisis and I think, you know, speculating, and land.”

A pro-National, ostensibly pro-free market commentator loudly voicing support for seizure of privately held land?  Make no mistake, this is heresy against the supreme core neo-liberal tenet of the supremacy of individual land-owning “rights”.

What Ms O’Sullivan was advocating is a giant leap to the Left.

In effect, private land ownership has not only failed to deliver affordable homes to young New Zealanders – but is actually an impediment. Our aspirations for families to own their own homes has been confounded by unfettered capitalistic greed.

Ms O’Sullivan appears to have experienced a Road-To-Damascus conversion that neo-liberalism is not the answer. Like any inflexible, dogmatic ideology, it is part of the problem.

She joins former National PM, Jim Bolger in his own personal discovery that the neo-liberal so-called “reforms” he over-saw in the 1990s are a failure;

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Nick Smith’s Mixed Message of The Month

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On 18 August, our putative “Environment’ Minister, Nick Smith, voiced his concerns that New Zealand-based company, Rocket Labs, may be impacting environmentally on our ocean floor. The concerns were that debris from rocket launches from Mahia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay could be harming the ocean floor;

“The preliminary work indicates the environmental effects are small, but after 100 launches we may want to have a fresh look as to what is the future regulatory regime beyond that.

By the time we have had 100 lots of debris hit the ocean, fall to the seabed, we will have a better idea [of the environmental impact].

Right now we are not able to get advice on exactly how much of the jettisoned material will actually make it to sea level, or whether it will burn up prior to hitting the ocean.

When we have that information we will be able to refine the regulatory regime.”

Meanwhile, National  has permitted granting of a consent to Trans-Tasman Resources  to mine 50 million tonnes of iron ore sand off the coast of south Taranaki each year, every year, for the next 35 years.

The process would involve mining;

“…50 million tonnes of sand from the seabed off the coast of Patea in South Taranaki, extract the iron ore from it using a giant magnet, and then put 44 million tonnes back”

The damage to ocean life in the surrounding sea and ocean floor cannot even be imagined. The zone of mining would most likely become a dead-zone – uninhabitable.

Unbelievably, consent was given by the so-called Environmental Protection Agency, despite receiving 13,417 submissions demanding that Trans-Tasman Resources’  application to be declined – and only 147 submissions in support.

Meanwhile the Ministry for the Environment has determined that any impact by Rocket Labs on the seafloor would be minimal;

“Overall, our view is that the risks to the environment and existing interests from jettisoned material falling into the EEZ are low and that the development of a space vehicle launch industry will have significant economic benefits for New Zealand, at a national and regional level.”

One has to wonder where Nick Smith’s priorities lie?

At the bottom of the ocean floor, by the looks of things.

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References

Youtube:  Keep NZ Moving Forward – Party Vote National

NZ Herald:  Cows in water supply shock town

Dominion Post:  Metiria Turei has most nominations for 2018 New Zealander of the Year

NZ Herald:  Metiria Turei and Barnaby Joyce lead nominations for NZer of the Year

New Zealander of the Year:  Nominate

TVNZ’s Q+A:  Housing Debate – Panel – 27 August 2017

Fairfax media:  The 9th floor – Jim Bolger says neoliberalism has failed NZ and it’s time to give unions the power back

Radio NZ: Rocket Lab faces government environmental checks

Mediaworks:  Trans-Tasman Resources gets consent to mine iron ore sand off south Taranaki

Manawatu Standard:  Call for moratorium on all seabed mining amid ‘secretive’ application

NZ Herald:  NZ rocket launches raise concerns about toxic environmental fallout

 

Previous related blogposts

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi)

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 3 September 2017.

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Election TV campaign ads – Opening Night

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20-september

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NZ, 23 August –  The election campaign “kicked off” on Saturday evening, with a one hour “televisual feast”. Party advertisements were broadcast for National, Labour, Greens, NZ First, United Future/Peter Dunne, Focus Party, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, the Internet Party, Conservative Party, ACT,  NZ Independent Coalition, and Democrats for Social Credit.

The content of the ads ranged in length from National’s stultifying quarter of an hour – to only a few minutes for the sprites – minor parties.

The following is my own personal round-up of what we were subjected to saw;

National

Ok, I admit I’m not fan of either right wing parties and especially John Key, who I hold as one of the most dishonest and manipulative politicians since… whenever.

However, National’s ad had to be the worst in political history. I had already heard most of it in audio form on Radio NZ the previous evening, in my car, on the way home. I made it for about five minutes before switching off the radio and putting a CD on to play.

Note: I never turn Radio NZ off in the car. People who travel with me know the cardinal law of survival if they are to be a passenger; all stations are set to Radio NZ. There are no other radio stations. They do not exist. Do not touch the frequency knob – ever.

But on Friday night, listening to Key droning on and on and on and… Too much. My ears were about to bleed.

I switched off.

On Saturday evening, being the political junkie I am, I settled down; coffee; notebook; cat on lap; and a couple of other people to gauge their perceptions.

It was the same advert as the previous night’s RNZ broadcast. I could feel braincells withering under the onslaught of tedium. I lasted seven minutes. Then muted the TV and walked away. (I asked others to let me know when it was all over.)

It last for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes of mostly Key sitting in a comfy chair (yes! the dreaded comfy chair!) replying to patsy questions from an off-screen mock-interviewer. He droned onnnnnn and onnnnn and onnnnnn… and so earnestly … and it was relentless… and by the gods, it was bad by any measure.

If Labour had broadcast that trash, it would be game-over. Cunliffe might as well email Key his concession speech and be done with it.

Now here’s the thing; as a political junkie, I’m interested in watching and listening to this kind of stuff. But I could barely last half-way through before leaving the room lest my head exploded like some scene out of Peter Jackson’s “Brain Dead“.

My guess is that the punters in Voter Land will have lasted two minutes, max. Then the TV would’ve been switched off; changed channel; or put a DVD on.

I can only guess that whoever produced this unwatchable, painful garbage is in reality an operative for Kim Dotcom or the mysterious ‘Whale Dump’.

Score: 0/10(nil)

Labour

Now this, was a delight to see.  This was a slick piece of political advertising. Most importantly it obeyed the first commandment of TV broadcasting: thou shalt never, ever bore the viewer. (All other Commandments follow on from #1.)

The opening scene has David Cunliffe – not sitting in a padded comfy chair in suit and tie – but lugging electrical extension cords and some unidentified DIY handyman’s tool (it could’ve been an egg-beater for all I know), and heading into a community centre where Labour MPs and local folk were pitching in for a do-up of the building. Everyone was engaged; everyone was doing something. And intermittently, the MPs would talk policy to the ‘Ordinary Folk’, in reply to pre-set questions.

Aside from David Parker seemingly out of his element and a tad ill at ease, it was well done and succeeded in conveying the central theme; getting of our backsides and doing stuff.

(At the beginning of the National Party ad we saw people rowing – but Key and his ministers  were doing very little except sitting around in their suits, talking.  Probably planning the next leak of info to Cameron Slater’s blog.)

Whoever put the Labour Party ad together has not only earned their money – but I’d say they’ll be scoring a few more advertising contracts from new clients.

Score: 8/10

Greens

Same as for the Labour ad above – though it began somewhat jarringly with the lovely Metiria Turei popping out from the side of off-screen, David Seymour-style, and disconcertingly launching into a very exuberant speech. (Too much coffee that day, I wonder?)

The video was notable for putting across many of the Greens’ policies and touched upon wide sectors of New Zealand. There was even a well-made point regarding how National’s  Minister, Paula Bennett, had made full use of the Training Incentive Allowance to gain an education – and then scrapping it in 2009. Nice little reminder that National’s ostentatious claims for improving education and welfare services in this country are debatable – if not outright crap.

Russell Norman even managed to turn around the fact that he is an Aussie immigrant. (As long as we keep beating the Wallabies, I’m not terribly worried.)

Like the Internet Party, the Greens have an advantage over their opponents in have smart, savvy  young people as their leaders and candidates. Their policies are well-reasoned, costed, and make good sense.  The only criticism that right-wing opponents can usually come up with  is juvenile derision or name-calling.

Interesting though, how the Nats took on board Green Party policy for home insulation, eh?

Score: 9/10

NZ First

Vintage Winston Peters; immigration, land sales to foreigners, etc. Some forced smiling.

Strangely forgettable…

Score: 5/10

United Future/Peter Dunne

Usual Peter Dunne stuff. Pretending to be an independent party, whilst off-screen he’s planning to join the next, Third Term, John Key-led government. (He’ll be waiting a long time.)

Still, the video was inoffensive. Unremarkable. Actually quite forgettable.

Score: 4/10

Focus Party

I’m fairly politically au fait with politics in this country.

But.

Who/what/why is the “Focus Party”?

A staggeringly amateurish video (filmed on a hand-held smart-phone?), complete with echoing voice-over, spouting a mish-mash of policies that appear to have been lifted from ACT, Labour, National, NZ First, and Uncle Tom Cobbly. It appears to be a one-man band with one middle aged bloke fronting.

Very bizarre.

Very pointless.

Score: 2/10 (I’ve scored it for merciful brevity.)

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Ah, the good ole Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. You can’t have an election without the ALCP. That would be just… rude. Like not sharing a joint with a good mate.

Actually, it was surprisingly well done, with a cross-range of people from Kiwi society. Considering how long the ALCP has been around, it would be disappointing if they hadn’t mastered the art of political advertising by now.

My fondest memory of the ALCP was during the 1996 General Election when candidates for the Rongotai electorate assembled at the Wellington Polytechnic, in Tasman St, Wellington, for a Q and A with students.

The ALCP candidate was a likeable young chap. Very friendly. Very eager. Very stoned. As in blood-shot eyes, silly grin, and slurred speech.

The other candidates, mercifully, did not give him a hard time. (It was the Kiwi way, back then. These days, the Nat candidate would’ve been on his phone to the Police and the ACT candidate would be having a conflict of ideology; obey the law or support a person’s individual right to use drugs or not, as well as date your own sister/brother.)

I score them low only because they’re a single-issue party.

Score: 6/10

Internet Party

This one caught us by surprise and it took a few seconds to realise it wasn’t part of the ad-break. Had to quickly un-mute the TV.

An animated video, featuring a Jetsons-style cartoon of a talking cat and couple of Kiwi kids in a future New Zealand. There was mention made of getting rid of spy agencies and making New Zealand a better place to live. (Presumably all Tories had been exiled to mine the Asteroid Belt for gold, silver, etc – a kind of SF libertarian frontier world. No government. No “social welfare bludgers”. No oxygen either.)

It was quirky and never took itself too seriously. Definitely aimed for a younger demographic for whom a world of 21st Century technological marvels is as commonplace as VCRs and Vauxhall Victors were for me in the 1980s. The Jetson’s link would have brought a smile to many Baby Boomers.

Nicely done. Not pretentious. Short. Too the point. Entertaining.

Score: 8/10

Conservative Party

Honestly, did Colin Craig not look at this video before it was released upon the unsuspecting public?

The video is set in a community hall; a crowd of people looking blankly at Colin Craig standing on a stage, as he gives a speech on binding referenda, yadda yadda…

The audience looked like they’d rather be elsewhere. One wag on Twitter suggested they were all dead.

Hint to advertisers: if a bought-and-paid audience doesn’t look remotely interested, why should we?

Score: 2/10

ACT

Cue scene of ACT-leader and philosopher-cum-wanna-be-capitalist, Jamie Whyte walking over a very green, well-manicured field with strange, bizarre statues in the back-ground. Cue Whyte’s Malian wife walking alongside with him. Subtext: “I’m not a racist because I have an African wife. So I’m entitled to play the ‘race card’ to win votes by promising to abolish the Maori seats. Come unto me, Redneck Voters of New Zealand”.)

A strange video, mostly a re-hash of past policies designed to make rich old white men eventually richer dead white men,  and keep the rest of us peasants where we belong. This was made more appropriate as the video was filmed on eccentric art-collector and multi-millionaire, Alan Gibb’s estate.

Whyte was continually “ticking” the air to endorse ACT policies.

Very clinical. Lacking in any warmth, humanity, or hint of a feeling of community. In essence, a vision of an ACT world.

ACT could have done better by using David Seymour’s previous video, which has gained a measure of notoriety for it’s quirkiness. At least it contained an element of humour.

Score: 1/10

Irony factor: 10/10 – ACT took taxpayer’s money to make these political advertisements. Did they send a cheque to the IRD to pay back monies received from the Electoral Commission?

David Seymour’s video: 10/10

NZ Independent Coalition

Ex-NZ First MP, Brendan Horan’s vehicle, to return to Parliament. His chances of winning his electorate (Tauranga) is as likely as me waking up tomorrow and discovering I’ve under-gone a spontaneous sex-change through the night (very low).

What is it with waka-jumpers who feel they can cobble together a “party” and try to get back into Parliament for no reason other than, well, “I’m here anyway! Vote for me! Please..”

Score: 2/10

Democrats for Social Credit

Ah, another “blast from the past” – and boy, didn’t the Social Crediters use their history to good advantage? Clips showing past MPs during the Muldoon era would’ve brought nostalgic memories from older Baby Boomers.

In fact, I recall it was the first political party I ever voted for. I was 21 and my first time voting. I didn’t have a clue. All I knew was I didn’t like Muldoon, and I was wary of the Labour (a result of being young, stupid, and hopelessly right wing).

Even though elections then were a two-party closed-shop, run under the erratic First Past the Post system, the Social Credit Party valiantly tried to break through. That year – in 1978 – they gained one MP  with 16% of the vote. The following election, Social Credit gained 20% of the vote – and a miserly two seats in Parliament. (By this time, I had matured and moved to the left, voting for Labour.)

The face of the Democrats for Social Credit is the personable and experienced Stephanie DeRuyter, and she hosted the video in a capable, professional manner. At best, the DSC offer a comfortable link to our recent past and institutional knowledge  – something which umpteen re-0rganisations and mass-redundancies in our civil service has resulted in a form of collective Alzheimer’s.

Good video.

Still not voting for them.

Score: 7/10

Conclusion

Based on tonight’s electioneering material, I’d say the Left have their act together. The Right, on the other hand, are a shambles. (Honourable mention of David Seymour’s own effort to promote himself in Epsom.)

If the Nats win this election, it will be despite their election advertising, not because of it.

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References

Wikipedia: Brain Dead

Youtube: David Seymour

Green Party: Greens negotiate landmark insulation programme

 

 


 

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20 september 2014 VOTE

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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The election campaign begins early

16 April 2012 2 comments

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This media report today kicks of the next election campaign,

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Source

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With a shaky one-seat majority and falling support in opinion polls, National is panicking.

See:  Bugger the polls?

See:  National – The End is Nigh

See:  Bugger the polls? (Part #Rua)

Party strategists and hierarchy understand full well that their grasp on the treasury benches is tenuous, and they could wake up tomorrow having lost their majority.

National’s internal polling has probably confirmed that the writing is on the wall.  Short of a miracle, National will be crushed at the 2014 elections.

This blogger predicts that National will not make it to 2014. In fact, this blogger predicts  an early election this year, after a successful vote of no confidence brings down this government.

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In the meantime, we can expect more electioneering-style media statements, in the battle for the hearts and minds of New Zealand voters.

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