Andrea Vance

Translating what politicans say

Andrea Vance has a handy list of translations of what politicians say.

If some wag could make this into a bingo card we could have a great deal of fun come the election debates.

“I’m focused on the issues that really matter to New Zealanders.”

This has two possible interpretations: “These questions are getting a bit sticky, I’m going for the moral high-ground.” Or, if a political rival is in trouble: “There’s no way I’m going to get caught out criticising political donations.”

“This is a distraction from the real issues . . . ‚Äė’

More of the same. Except when it’s happening to an opponent. Then it’s holding them to account.

Labour and David Cunliffe are the worst offenders at this. Almost always they are focussing on beltway issues…which is the next on the list.

“This is a Beltway issue.”

I know everyone is talking about this, but I’m going to annoy journalists by suggesting they are out of touch with ordinary folk.

Most journalists, particularly gallery journalists are actually out of touch. They live in the rarified atmosphere of Parliament, they eat, drink, socialise and some even root the politicians.

“I’m relatively relaxed about this . . .”

Because my chief of staff is working like billy-o to find an official we can pin the blame on.

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Dumber than a sack of hammers

David Cunliffe must be dumber than a sack of hammers.

Yesterday in parliament he tried to smear the Nats for his own ineptitude, faulty memory and tricky behaviour in an effort to shore up his failing support.

All that happened is he got mauled by the Bill and Gerry show.

For a start he asked a question of the Prime Minister when he isn’t even in the house.

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Andrea Vance on conspiracy theories

Andrea Vance has a helpful explanation about the various conspiracy theories out there.

The cybersphere has been full of conspiracy theories since Internet Mana announced a “strategic alliance” last month. But do the theories stack up?

1. There is fear, desperation and total panic in the eyes of the Right because finally a political party on the Left has financial clout.

Internet party founder Kim Dotcom stumped up a $3m war chest to fight the election campaign. Pow! The US, Barack Obama, Hollywood and John Key didn’t see that coming.

Sure, $3m is a lot of campaign coin. But National spent $2.3 million in 2011, and looking at donations registered this year Key won’t be rummaging down the back of the sofa.

The last round of polling put National above 50 per cent. Both Mana and the Internet Party are on about half a per cent each. Polling day is three months away. So, no, that’s not fear in campaign supremo Steven Joyce’s eyes. They’re just red from all the time he spends trolling on Twitter.

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Greens raise the shield of sanctimony again

After weeks of banging on about transparency in politics the Green party has once again deployed their shield of sanctimony along with the helmet of hypocrisy.

Andrea Vance reports:

The Green Party is demanding transparency of political donations – but will hold a closed door auction to raise funds later this month.

Last month co-leader Russel Norman called for more details about¬†National’s Cabinet Clubs – where ministers mix with donors over lunch or breakfast. The money raised from ticket sales goes into National party coffers.

It sparked a ”cash for access” row with Norman saying the Government has put democracy up for sale, and calling for a ministerial disclosure regime.

However, the Greens are coy about their own¬†fundraising¬†methods. An agenda for next weekend’s annual day meeting shows the media are barred from a pre-lunch ”party¬†fundraising¬†session” on the last day of the three-day conference. ¬† Read more »

The letter was a mistake, what about her double dipping troughing?

Tracey Martin has apologised for her ill-conceived idea of heavying a Police district commander on NZ First letterhead over an operational matter.

I wonder perhaps if Winston peters would like to apologise for his tirade now that Tracey Martin has acknowledged that what she did was wrong, something the arrogant sod couldn’t admit himself.

Laura McQuillan reports:

Days after Judith Collins accused her of interfering in the police, a New Zealand First MP has admitted she made a mistake.

Tracey Martin wrote to police in March, with concerns about a Warkworth cop being transferred to other duties, saying it would leave a gap in community initiatives.

She wrote it as the chair of a school board of trustees, where the officer is also a member, but it was printed on her MP letterhead.

Ms Martin admits she got that wrong.

“That was a mistake on my part to be perfectly frank, and that was me doing something on a Sunday and just working at a fast pace.

“I mixed my roles and I should not have mixed my roles.”

In other news featuring Tracey Martin, i see she has been caught double dipping. ¬† Read more »

National’s strategic stupidity, Ctd

Yesterday I blogged about how MMP hands defeat to John Key, yesterday Andrea Vance also wrote about the exact same issue.

Chin up, Labour. So far most of the polls suggest you are doing a rubbish job at winning this election. But there are five reasons why David Cunliffe can cling to hope that he could still be prime minister this year.

1. The electoral system.

Well, duh. Obviously. Under MMP, post- elections negotiations are a bit like a nail- biting penalty shoot-out. Until now, Winston Peters has hammed up the role of kingmaker to dramatic effect. Now we’ve got a whole new crowd of mavericks on the field: who knows which way Colin Craig, Kim Dotcom and his mystery MP will swing. National can’t even rely on its old pals. The Maori Party is a shadow of itself, likely to take a huge hit in September. ACT’s Jamie Whyte is failing to live up to expectations – with no significant lift in polling since he took over as leader. Last week’s Roy Morgan poll is the first of the year where the left-bloc have regained a lead over National.¬† Read more »

A message for Cunliffe?

You’ve gotta love context driven ads. Looks at this effort from the NZ Herald.

A message for David Cunliffe? Context driven advertising adds hurt of its own to Labour

A message for David Cunliffe? Context driven advertising adds hurt of its own to Labour

Corin Dann was almost in tears last night, but being a top notch political analyst thought good weather was a factor in Nationals surge. The Greens appear to have been rumbled as complete loons, what with shrieking about racism when none was on offer, living in a castle, twerking and then cuddling up to Kim Dotcom.

Andrea Vance in Fairfax seems equally perplexed and she puts it down to Cunliffe’s lack of exposure.

Cunliffe suffered from a lack of exposure in the last month, dropping two points in the preferred prime minister stakes to 10 per cent.  Key maintained 43 per cent from the last TVNZ poll in October.

I think we saw plenty of him flip flopping and trying to explain the debacle that was his baby bonus.¬† Read more »

I wonder if the media and left-wing blogs will express outrage over this revelation

In Jono Milne’s Herald on Sunday story about bloggers he drops this little bomb.

On the other side, Bradbury says he regularly talks to Labour leader David Cunliffe, and his goal this year is to see Cunliffe elected Prime Minister.

Bradbury leans forward on his elbows at the cafe table: “The old rules are gone,” he grins. “This election is going to be incredibly vicious.”

Perhaps the headline should have been,¬†as Pete George suggested, “Blogger linked to David Cunliffe declares campaign is going to be “incredibly vicious”.

Martyn Bradbury is fast becoming a political whore.

He has worked for pay for the MANA party, and worked for pay for the Internet party. Now he seems to be very closely aligned to David Cunliffe…in his ear even.¬† Read more »

Less than honest from Fairfax

Lately many stories have been popping up in other media pimping the poor, hard working people on struggle street, and I really hate using this word relating to anything in NZ…..poverty. ¬†We’ve heard all sorts of stories about poverty. Child poverty, beneficiary poverty, working class poverty, and on it goes. We also hear constantly by those sad faced families sitting on the couch with their 15 kids surrounded by luxuries like sky remotes, xboxes, playstations etc hear how hard it is and that it is all the current Governments fault.

But what we never seem to hear about is journalism poverty. The kind where the National Government is neglecting the journalism community by failing to provide them with a “living wage” of newsworthy material. So much so, they’re having to resort to the desperate means of manufacturing and fabricating the news to fill the newsprint and web pages.

A few days ago Andrea Vance, Michael Fox and Siobhan Downes from Fairfax published one such story ¬†called “Economy rockstars or roadies?“about several working couples who were struggling to make ends meet and having to go without luxuries like alcohol and movie tickets, but there is one part of the article about a particular couple that requires some special attention.

Hawera nurse Anna Tairawhiti is another who hasn’t seen any extra in her pay packet in almost seven years. The medical practice where she works restructured last year but despite the upheaval, and having to re-apply for her job, still no rise.

Her husband – a truck driver who works “shockingly long hours” – got an extra 50c an hour last year. With interest rates set to rise, the family must do without little luxuries such as movie tickets for their teenage children, and alcohol.

“I’ve asked numerous times [for a raise] . . . I’m pretty much sitting [on the pay scale] not much higher than a new grad[uate], even though I’ve got nearly 15 years’ nursing experience. They lay the guilt on that there is not enough money,” Tairawhiti says.

Tairawhiti and Manson are not alone – almost half of workers did not receive a pay rise last year, according to the latest Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll.

Right, so lets pick apart the incomes and circumstance of Mrs “Tairawhiti”¬†and her husband to put some things into perspective here. Mrs Tairawhiti ¬†says “¬†I’m pretty much sitting [on the pay scale] not much higher than a new grad[uate],¬†even though I’ve got nearly 15 years’ nursing experience”.¬†

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KIwi al Qaeda sympathisers fighting in Syria

Andrea Vance reports on Kiwi al Qaeda sympathisers fighting in Syria, or attempting to fight in Syria.

New Zealand passport holders have been identified fighting alongside anti-Government forces in Syria, Prime Minister John Key says.

In some instances, the Department of Internal Affairs had cancelled their passports ‚Äď some were dual nationality, including Australians, he said.

A small number also had their documents confiscated before they were allowed to leave for the civil war-torn Middle Eastern state, the prime minister said.

Rebel factions have been battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.

Key refused to say how many Kiwis have been fighting, or give any details.

He knew of no prosecutions, saying “it was handled in a different way”.

The revelation comes after weekend reports that Australians were “flocking” to the front line. Across the Tasman, the government fears the fighters will return as hardline radicalised Islamists, ready to launch domestic terror attacks.

“Yes, there is likely to … have been a small number of New Zealanders who have fought with the rebels in Syria,” Key said today.

“There are a small group of people that have gone to Syria to fight. There’s a small group that were going to Syria that we stopped … we have physically stopped some and we are clearly aware of others who are in Syria.”¬† Read more »