Another state house scare letter

November 21, 2011

Stuff’s report on the awful letter sent to a beneficiary has attracted 214 comments including this one (the 20th at 1:43):

We’ve received a Labour flyer all (with my name and address on it) about not losing the “family home”. Apparently the house we’ve owned for years is actually a state house, and National will sell it out from under us. Go Labour, we’ll be rethinking our options if they get in power. Australia or England?

And the 57th at 1:54:

I received something similar over the weekend. printed label with my name on the envelope stating that if I choose to vote national I will loose my state house. The funny thing is is that I dont live in a state house. Somehow Labour have obtained my details and possibly my social welfare history and placed their own meaning on it. These tactics just make me ashamed for the Labour party

Just this morning Keeping Stock had an excerpt from the States Services Commission on what happened last time labour tried that:

This flyer reminds us of a letter sent to state house tenants by the Labour Party prior to the 2005 election. Then, as is now, dire predictions were made; in that case the letter took the form of a fake eviction notice. In his report to Parliament for that year, the State Services Commissioner noted:

 Eviction notices

The last issue I wish to raise is the unintended and complex consequences for State servants of actions taken during political campaigns. In this election period, the Labour Party sent fake “eviction notices” to several thousand individual State house tenants as part of a housing policy promotion. This action had two consequences for the State Services. Firstly, it raised trust issues as tenants were suspicious that a government agency had given their private information to a political party, and, secondly, Housing New Zealand staff had to manage calls from worried and scared tenants.

Housing New Zealand confirms that it did not release its tenants’ mailing list. Labour Party president Mike Williams stated the party “constructed its own list” from publicly available information (New Zealand Herald, 10 September 2005). However, the outcome of this communication meant that Housing New Zealand call centre staff were placed in the potentially difficult predicament of managing calls from concerned tenants. Call centre staff were given guidance that they must remain neutral and not get into the position where they are discussing the pros and cons of various party policies on housing with tenants.

Repeating the same lies when they know the distress it causes recipients and extra work it causes state servants is despicable.

Kiwiblog has the letter and the facts on National’s record:

The reality under National is has increased the housing stock, with the only sales (a few dozen) being to existing tenants, and the capital used to buy more houses. In fact the total number of state houses has increased by more than 1,000 under National. National has also renovated or upgraded 50,000 state houses.

It is an absolute lie to say National is reviewing all state house tenancies. The policy clearly says only *new* tenancies will be placed on periodic review.

Whaleoil also has a copy of the letter and states the obvious: Labour is the nasty party.

National’s policy is here.


Law lags behind life

November 21, 2011

The Electoral Commission advises no campaigning is permitted on election day and says:

News stories posted on websites before election day can remain, as long as the website is not advertised on election day. Comment functions should be disabled on all websites, including social media sites, until after 7pm on election day to avoid readers posting statements that could influence voters.

That is the law but it is lagging behind life with so much communication taking place on social media.

Texting (which I don’t think is included), Facebook and Twitter are modern versions of letters and phone calls.

It would be impossible to police all Facebook and Twitter interaction and the idea that someone might be falling foul of the law for telling their friends something which might be construed as influencing their votes is ridiculous.


Where are your principles Pita?

November 21, 2011

Pita Sharples says the Maori Party opposes National’s plan to sell a minority share in a few state assets but:

He says the Maori Party could support the policy if iwi groups would be able to have priority access to the shares.

What’s happened to his principles? 

The policy is either worth supporting or not. 

I believe it is and that it is a necessary part of much-needed policy to reduce debt.  Some iwi agree and have shown interest in buying shares.

But supporting the policy only if iwi, or anyone else, has priority access is completely unprincipled.  

John Key has ruled out preferential treatment for anyone, saying all New Zealanders would be treated equally.


Look at the people who are telling you not to

November 21, 2011

Campaigners for MMP are telling us to support them because of the people who are telling us not to.

The same argument can be made for voting for change.

Look who’s telling us not to:

Green Party, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU), the Public Services Association (PSA), New Zealand Dairy Workers Union (NZDWU), Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), The New Zealand Nurses Organisation, First Union Incorporated, Campaign for MMP Incorporated, Labour Party, Rail and Maritime Transport Union Inc (RMTU), Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ), New Zealand Amalgamated Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Inc (EPMU), Unite Union, New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

Online hlep to get off the fence

November 21, 2011

A group of Massey University students have  launched a non-partisan web based tool to encourage young New Zealander’s to vote in the Election:

As part of a third year Massey University Design & Business project, five design students from various disciplines were challenged to design and develop a simple web-based tool to aid voters’ decision making in the 2011 New Zealand General Election. Moving beyond the classroom, the students believe it will make a difference to the way their peers engage with politics.

The interactive tool matches the users’ values with the values of different parties, as assessed by a panel of experts. A best match is then calculated to narrow down the options to present the most compatible parties. The tool doesn’t tell a user how to vote or specifically who to vote for, but does provide a sense of direction for further independent research. It aims to help put trainer wheels on the future for many young people who believe that politics has no shaping influence in their lives.

On the Fence Project Manager Kieran Stowers said: “A huge number of young people feel peer pressured when voting, either by going along with what their friends think or voting for a particular party just because that’s what their parents do. Or even worse, they don’t vote at all! It shouldn’t be seen as a chore, voting is a way of expressing yourself as an individual and we wanted to help people find their voice”.

You’ll find out more at On The Fence (though when I clicked on both launch it and tutorial my screen froze).

WIll the worm turn again?

November 21, 2011

The worm used for a telelvision debate between party leaders in 2002 influenced the result of the election.

Peter Dunne made a few sensible comments which the worm, recording reactions of undecided voters in the qudience, responded to positively.

That got media coverage and whatever his party was called then got its best result.

An updated version of the worm, the Ray Morgan Reactor,  is being used for tonight’s debate between John Key and Phil Goff on TV3.

Given that people self-select its results will be unreliable and a distraction from the debate. Just another example of media focussed more on entertainment than enlightenment.

That said, it you want to play the game you can download the reactor for iPhones here and for androids here.

iPhone Screenshot 2

Desperate lies

November 21, 2011

How much lower will Labour stoop in its desperation?

Cactus Kate calls it  cataclysmic in vileness and she’s right.
Imagine how you’d feel reading this  if you, your partner or you child were ill.
Imagine how you’d feel reading this if your marriage or partnership was rocky.
Imagine how you’d feel if you were on a benefit and didn’t know this is lies.
Imagine how you’d feel if you had a young child, already working and feeling guilty about not being with your baby most of the time.

The woman who received it sent it to Whaleoil and said:

A very ‘classy’ threat from Labour (see attached), it makes me wonder how do they get information about my child… and even if info is accessible, the use of it is rather inappropriate.

Political parties have access to electoral rolls which gives occupations and that could show someone is a beneficiary. But to the best of my knowledge they don’t have access to information on which benefit someone receives or the age of their children.

Regardless of where they obtained the information it is inappropriate use of it, especially when they are lying.

Labour has form for this type of lie-based campaigning. Keeping Stock reminds us of their letter to state house tennents in 2005 and the impact that had on state servants who had to deal with worried recipients.

That letter was full of lies and so is this.

For the record, National’s welfare policy is to introduce the obligation to seek part-time work when the youngest child turns  six five.

UPDATE: As Deborah points out in  the comments the policy also says someone on a benefit who has a subsequent child will have a part-time work expectation when that child turns one.
Note the words part-time and expectation.
That is very different from: under National’s new welfare policy beneficiaries who get pregant will be forced to find work when their baby turns 1 which is what the letter says.
The policy applies only to those who have a child while already on a sole parent benefit and the expectation is for the recipient to seek only part-time work.

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