Let’s get back on-message

One of the big disappointments of the Northland by-election was that National went off-message.

Until then the message was clear and consistent – a growing economy is the means for improved services and infrastructure, without compromising the environment, and National’s recipe for that is working.

We’ve had sustained growth, without inflationary pressure, in spite of the financial and natural crisis the government has faced.

That has been achieved by careful management of public finances while looking after the most vulnerable.

A big part of the plan, and its success, is addressing the causes of long-term problems and thereby reducing the costs which go with them.

This is why National has increased money for education and put more in to helping those most at risk from long term welfare dependence.

It is why it has made delivering Better Public Services one of its priorities.

To do this, we set 10 specific measurable targets in 2012 that we expected the public service to achieve over four to five years to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly the most vulnerable.

These 10 targets are in areas that have been challenging to governments, not just in New Zealand but all around the world – such as welfare dependency, crime, child abuse, and educational achievement.

This focus on results, and being accountable for achieving them, is changing the way the public service is thinking and operating.

Three years on, we are making progress on all 10 targets and it’s now starting to make a difference that improves the lives of New Zealanders.

In February 2015, we released our twice yearly update on the Better Public Service programme.

Key highlights of the latest update include:

  • Immunisation rates of young babies have reached an all-time high.
  • Rheumatic fever rates have dropped considerably.
  • Crime numbers continue to fall – the crime rate is now at a 35-year low.
  • Last year nearly 5,000 people came off long-term JobSeeker Support benefits and into work.
  • More 18-year olds are achieving NCEA Level 2.
  • More young people are achieving higher qualifications.
  • And the number of children who experienced substantiated physical abuse has decreased by almost 200, or 5.6 per cent, over the past year.

There’s still a lot of work to do and we will continue to focus on making strides on the things that matter to New Zealanders and their families.

These matter everywhere in New Zealand, including the provinces.

But there is no doubt Northland had an itch to which Winston Peters applied his usual prescription of charm without substance.

It is possible that no matter how good a campaign National ran it wouldn’t have been able to counter Peters’ persuasion.

But there would have been a better chance of success had it stuck to its message and it must get back on to it.

It has the right prescription and it must keep applying it everywhere including those parts of the country which, fairly or not, feel it isn’t yet addressing their ills.



24 Responses to Let’s get back on-message

  1. Andrei says:

    Let’s get back on-message

    Getting “back on message” carries the connotation of “spin” and controlling the national conversation

    How about debating the significant decision to support militarily the US lead intervention in Iraq?

    The Nat’s want that buried and not talked about – even going to the extent of having our people leave unacknowledged and without fanfare.

    To be sure this has been spun as a measure to protect their families and anybody who would harm in anyway the families of people serving overseas is beneath contempt or criticize those sent by the Government for obeying their superiors for that matter. I’m not sure that this is really the reason we are heading off without cheering crowds waving flags

    And this is not an endeavor that should be hidden from public consciousness, it is I believe, wrong headed and wrong altogether to be doing this on many levels

  2. Gravedodger. says:

    Forget any reference to “the message” referred to above, as good and as many as there are, all of NZ is waiting with baited breath as to what the message the winner wants to take to Wellington and how that will be heard.

    100 years on from the Disaster at Gallipoli, almost to the day and the National Party clearly have studied not one whit as to how that went so wrong in defending the Northland heights and that should have been far simpler than attacking them.

    The General had nothing by way of experience or understanding as to how to approach a single electorate test in a one off by-election.
    The General decided that with a good man to lead the assault what could go wrong.
    The General Staff clearly had no briefing papers, nor tactical understanding and no clear desire to even try and understand the unique factors that made finding a successor to Mike Sabin such a potential problem.

    Were there no results of studies from Marlborough in 1970, when following the death of Tom Shand the seat went to a telephone operator in Picton for Labour with a turn around of nearly 4000 votes.
    Then in 1978 Sir Roy Jack passed and the blue ribbon set of Rangitikei went to Beetham of Social Credit two years later Frank Gill went to Washington as ambassador and SC picked another blue seat in East Coast Bays. The two SC victories were in as fertile a medium as the soils that nurtured Lazarus on Saturday.
    Given the not very well suppressed matters around Mr Sabin, Mr Goodfellow and his Board should have seen the train wreck coming long before the resignation was in, and I understand Pete wants more time at the top.
    His resignation should be in the hands of the Party Executive as we consider what it is his abject failure has threatened us with in reality.

    Signs aplenty yet no one in company HQ or the General Staff saw it coming.
    I think any criticism of Mark Osborne resembles the inane childish behaviour at the “G” on Sunday when the boorish men in yellow could not even acknowledge Elliots effort.
    OK Mark Osborne was a boy on a mans errand, he was a large man, he did not present well on TV and that sadly is a fact of life and has been since Kennedy beat the blue beard Nixon over half a century ago and in the almost total anonymity that a General Election presents all such candidates, he may well have won the seat by thousands. The electorate National Party leadership were woeful in combatting a man with history, charisma, and rat cunning in spades yet even after NZF nominated first, no-one in National saw any problem. I even wonder if those facts have been seen yet.

    Mr Joyce had absolutely no clue and I doubt anyone will tell him how he and his “Tonto”, Ms de Joux were so wrong. Running a campaign from the war cabinet is nothing like a battle on ground that is not that friendly or safe.
    That is weeks and weeks of hard work and they gave themselves four. Hell even NZLP saw how things could go down in a By-election, to the point where they threw everything at Christchurch East when Dalziel went to City hall and the Parachute candidate was at risk and that was a battle they could lose with no resonating national fallout.

    New Zealand is now a car accident, a stroke or a heart attack away from a change of government should another person fall as the Key Government scales the heights above their very own “Anzac Cove”.
    Parliament is now 122 mps and only 59 are of the party that won so well under MMP last year and of those who have said they will give supply and confidence only ACT’s David Seymour is safe. That is 60 Vs 62. Already Maori Party number two and The odious man from his protected citadel in Ohariu are rubbing their grubby mitts.

    Messes Joyce, Goodfellow, and co have not just put any hope of meaningful RMA review out the window, they may well have handed all the positives outlined above to the coalition from hell and that is very scary.

    I know not one of them will offer to resign or even take responsibility, and that encapsulates how many wheels have fallen off.
    The only messages I want delivered, read and understood are the many from the soldiers at the front as it seems their ability to fight on is seriously misunderstood and the battle was four days ago.

    Please someone, tell me I am wrong.

  3. MarcW says:

    A good assessment GD, however I fear your prescription applied to Joyce (resignation) would end up with the scary nightmare scenario of the coalition from hell. Maybe resignation from the position of Campaign manager yes – but whatever happens, his dreams of succession to the top job have certainly been dashed.

  4. RBG says:

    This government is not going to measure New Zealand’s total greenhouse emissions. Back on-message eh? The message this sends to the rest of the world is that John Key’s government doesn’t care about climate change.

  5. Gravedodger. says:

    To clarify MarcW, I meant from any connection with election strategy he does have talents to harness as a minister so was not calling for him to leave the building, that said some mea culpa would go a long way forward.
    AFAIK it is somewhat different with good fellow Peter he could start by giving that special Banana state guy a call.

    Think of the great people who chose to donate their lives to National and serve their time at the board and/or as electorate soldiers with no apparent desire to graduate to the parliament, the current president has me putting him in the category I place some Lions. Knife and Fork members who revel in the tea meetings and just love to be in the front row when the photos are taken but are always too busy elsewhere when the hard work threatens.

    Those who perpetrated this latest cluster fornication must demonstrate they were responsible not to the party, not to the voters as a group, but to those who perception dictates their vote.

    If the new Zealand Cricket team had done an England and departed at pool play we would expect those who ran the ship aground to accept their part and at a minimum admit it.

  6. farmerbraun says:

    ” John Key’s government doesn’t care about climate change.”

    Perhaps they are simply aware that caring about the fact that climate changes cannot stop the climate from changing.
    An entirely rational perspective , shared by many people.

  7. farmerbraun says:

    “Please someone, tell me I am wrong.”
    You are not wrong , but I would suggest that if you are not employed as a political correspondent, then you may have missed your calling 🙂

  8. RBG says:

    No farmerbraun, the climate is changing due to global warming as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and all the world’s major scientific organisations acknowledge that. Your view on the matter is irrelevant, this is about international relations between governments, not your opinion. New Zealand signed up to the Copenhagen accord to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees, Homepaddock’s National government acknowledges man made climate change is real, yet now won’t measure the greenhouse gas emissions that affect it. The message that sends to other countries is relevant and its not a good one.

  9. Gravedodger. says:

    That is fine RGB now please tell us why your warming has been suspended for 17 years and counting.

  10. Willdwan says:

    What of the message other countries are sending us RGB? Many have pulled out of Kyoto, the rest have made it clear they will do nothing meaningful, just empty gestures like stabilising emissions sometime in the future. Or not.

  11. RBG says:

    It’s not my warming Gravedodger, it’s the planet. I’m paying attention to the dozens of international scientific organisations that say man made climate change is real. No point in trying to argue with you lot on the subject though, nothing I can say is going to change your minds.

  12. Gravedodger says:

    Not sure what you want to convince me of RBG unless it is that we will make a difference if we can just transfer more money to Gormless and all the troughers at the UN who will make not a single bit of difference to the natural cycles that this very adaptive planet continues to create.
    That might just be why people no longer skate on the Thames River.

    Now you were saying why the catestrophic changes have not happened as Gormless and his sycophantic minions have failed to inform you and the other lemmings why Tuvalu has not disappeared beneath the waves and all the other impending disasters predicted in the closing decade of last century have not turned up as promised.

    When was oil going to run out, tell us again, it is April 1st you know.

  13. farmerbraun says:

    “the climate is changing due to global warming as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and all the world’s major scientific organisations acknowledge that.”

    RBG , nobody has a problem with your believing that.

    But it cannot be shown by the scientific method that your belief is true in reality.

    Now , I am quite sure that you know the scientific method , and the need for a falsifiable proposition , and the need to falsify the null hypothesis before reaching a conclusion.
    You are almost certainly aware that , in respect of climate , this process cannot occur if there is no pre-existing Unified General Theory of Climate Regulation, and there isn’t.

    You may then argue that we should produce models of the climate , and test them against observed reality, and you are aware that this has been done , and that no model has proved successful at showing the required correlation with reality.

    So you will have to excuse those of us who insist that the scientific process be followed; we seek knowledge, not superstition.

  14. farmerbraun says:

    “nothing I can say is going to change your minds.”

    Agreed , there is nothing that you can say on this , which will have any credence, for the reasons I outlined above.
    You are in a minority in thinking that this is of importance to the human population, as numerous surveys have shown.
    Do you fancy yourself as a voice crying in the wilderness?
    Then keep it up.

  15. TraceyS says:

    I don’t completely agree, farmerbraun, that the scientific method depends on providing a falsifiable null hypothesis. Although being able to do so would certainly be neat as far as settling arguments!

    Plenty of papers in this field, perhaps the majority, utilise scientific methods without being able to falsify (or even trying to identify) the null hypothesis. These studies still add to the body of scientific evidence – just not providing the kind of certainty that we need.

    AGW research seems to be generally experimental (ie. working up to a falsifiable hypothesis but not there yet) and will continue to be until there is direct observational evidence which verifies climate models, or until someone produces a testable hypothesis which repeatedly answers the question “by how much do CO2 emissions warm the planet?” to the level of x change in CO2 results in y change in global temperature (with an acceptable margin of error).

    And that is what we really need to know. At the moment no one seems to have any idea of the answer – apart from this study which indicates the increasing Greenhouse Effect, recorded during a time when CO2 emissions increased dramatically, is very small: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/25/co2-greenhouse-effect-increase/

  16. TraceyS says:

    How about a “good news” message about the planet?

    “While the news coming out of forests is often dominated by deforestation and habitat loss, research published today [yesterday] in Nature Climate Change shows that the world has actually got greener over the past decade.

    Despite ongoing deforestation in South America and Southeast Asia, we found that the decline in these regions has been offset by recovering forests outside the tropics, and new growth in the drier savannas and shrublands of Africa and Australia.

    Plants absorb around a quarter of the carbon dioxide that people release into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.”


  17. farmerbraun says:

    Yes ,I agree Tracey.
    To arrive at the degree of certainty that RBG appears to possess would require falsification of the Null Hypothesis.
    That has not happened and cannot while our knowledge of climate regulation is incomplete.

  18. TraceyS says:

    We all differ in how much certainty we personally require and also in the ways we are prepared to be convinced.

  19. RBG says:

    So you’d both still be in doubt about the link between tobacco and lung cancer then.

  20. RBG says:

    Tobacco and lung cancer Mr E, are people who believe the warnings about smoking increasing the risk of lung cancer gullible?

  21. Mr E says:

    “are people who believe the warnings about smoking increasing the risk of lung cancer gullible?”

    What on earth about my post, made you think that?

  22. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E, I suspect that RBG is of the view that an argument from false analogy will have considerably more weight than anything presented by RBG to date.
    That view may well be correct.
    Although I would say that a logical fallacy is about as persuasive as a superstitious belief.

  23. Andrei says:

    “are people who believe the warnings about smoking increasing the risk of lung cancer gullible?”

    No RGB, everybody understands that smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer but very few realize that smokers a far less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease,

    Which one would you prefer, though of course some non smokers do develop lung cancer and some smokers do end up developing Alzheimer’s disease.

    And most of either group get some other equally unpleasant condition that ends with them in their coffin.

    Because there is a grim inevitably about our ultimate destination

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