Read the small print to understand Labour’s weasel words

It must be hard attacking the government when they keep increasing the funding for health every single budget. One has to get pretty cunning to try to spin increases as a bad thing.

Fortunately for Labour they came up with a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel. The plan is simple:

Use weasel words to create the impression that increases are actually cuts.

Here is what I was sent by Labour’s campaign team. It was not until I read the fine print that I realised what they had done.




Real terms? What does that mean exactly and where did they get the data from?

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 9.24.59 AM

The small print:

If we apply Labour’s weasel words to a person’s  personal income it would look something like this.

Dear kiwi worker, over the last six years in real terms you have suffered a $50,000 cut in your salary because the cost of food and electricity and rates and rent have increased and the yearly increase in your salary just hasn’t kept up. After cost pressures like your age and inflation are taken into account your latest salary increase of $1500.00 a year is actually a cut of $8333.33 a year. This means that you are worse off and will no longer be able to afford groceries and petrol and Tuatara craft beer.

More in the next post.


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  • DangerMice

    During the last 10 years, due to the business we were in and a downturn in the industry there was a pay freeze for the majority of those years. My salary now has not caught up to where it should be even with just cost of inflation increases over that decade. I don’t say I’ve had a cut, but we’re definitely less comfortable with less discretionary spending than we were 10 years ago.

    • Jon Low

      Inflation is less than 1% and hasn’t been over 2% for nearly a decade.

      • DangerMice

        and a pay freeze is 0%….

        • And the business you were in was the government’s fault then?

          • DangerMice

            Where did I blame the government? I simply gave an example where income had not keep pace with costs and we’d adjusted discretionary spending. In “real terms” we weren’t as well off, but we aren’t calling it a “cut”

          • Jon Low

            If your pay-increases over 10 years (even counting thode occasional dot-ball years) have exceeded official govt inflation figures over that same period, you’ve seen a real increase in pay.

          • DangerMice

            8 of the last 10 years did not see a pay increase, the rbnz calculator says my purchasing power has declined by ~20%. My point though was I wasn’t calling it a cut like Labour

          • Jon Low

            Your own earnings do not the inflation rate make, bro.

        • Jon Low

          Nobody’s had a ten year long pay freeze.

  • Uncle Bully

    I think one of the key differences between National’s and Labour’s approach to public spending, is that Labour thinks the amount of money they spend is the measure of progress, whereas National is looking for “bang for buck” and measures progress on an outcome-per-dollar basis.

    That’s why National can get better results without increasing spending in direct proportion to population growth. It boils down to better and more prudent financial management. I know who I would rather have spending my tax dollars.

  • Christie

    What kills me about this is the fact that they continue to send these e-mails to a Whaleoil blogger!! It is the gift that keeps on giving – no research needed – just open your inbox. But what does it say about their own research – does no one in Labour read Whaleoil, even for information purposes? The answer to that has to be – no.

    • MrHippo

      I suppose an email recipient counts as a much needed Labour Party member… Hence the dilemma.

    • spanishbride

      It is very funny as I have made no attempt to hide my true identity. They have my real e-mail address and my real name. I think the problem is that they are so broke that they rely on volunteers to run this kind of thing. Professionals would cut me off as soon as they realised what I was up to. Then again maybe they know that I could sign up again under a made up name if they did that, so really there is no point.

  • Jon Low

    “In real terms” simply means “after allowing for inflation”. No more, no less.

  • taxpayer

    “For funding data, we adjusted the raw numbers to…” suit ourselves, so we can tell everyone funding is being cut when it’s being steadily increased and hope you won’t notice.

  • oldmanNZ

    In real terms, labour is polling higher than ever, as the poll did not include the missing millions, only if the pollster can find them.
    In real terms Andrew little popularity has risen remarkable like a hockey stick (same global warming hockey stick terms), this measured by the number of selfies people take, from 10 to 15.50% increase.

  • Cadwallader

    When MPs have their salaries adjusted does a reference to inflation get factored in? Or is it simply done on the basis that it is what the taxpayer will tolerate?