Sound bites no substitute for substance

The year of delivery was nothing more than a sound bite:

. . .It was supposed to be the government’s “Year of Delivery” – or so Ardern declared to the press at the beginning of 2019. It was a neat line, because 2018 had been the “year of the working group” in which little reform was carried out, on the promise that the experts would hand the government some major new policies to implement.

However as 2019 rolled on and key promises such as KiwiBuild’s 100,000 affordable houses, a capital gains tax and alleviating child poverty failed to eventuate, the “Year of Delivery” line became a stick with which to beat the government at every turn.

We have now learned that Ardern’s “Year of Delivery” promise was only ever a slick catchphrase dreamed up by a speechwriter, not Ardern herself.

Last week Beehive insiders told leading political journalists that the “Year of Delivery” promise was actually a spin-line produced on the fly by the PM’s top spin doctor to get his boss out of a tight situation when she needed something memorable to say at the start of 2019. The explanation from the Beehive was to convey that it’s not actually fair to hold the PM to account for a catchphrase that was never intended to be taken so seriously.

It is extraordinary that something presented as a solemn promise to the electorate is now being explained away as nothing more than a manufactured PR soundbite. But, in fact, this episode perfectly epitomises the year in politics – showing how PR has come to dominate. . .

Sound bites get headlines but are no substitute for substance.

The year of delivery line was not just spin, it was really bad spin that dramatically over promised and completely failed to deliver.

That is symptomatic of this government and its leader who are both very strong on style and very weak on substance.

It provides great fodder for their political opponents and nothing but disappointment for the people who believe the spin and need the substance to improve their lives.

6 Responses to Sound bites no substitute for substance

  1. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    What a pathetic excuse for non-performance by Ardern’s flunkies; we never meant it seriously, so Places don’t hold us to account. Yet still the media, at least some fete Ardern as a leader. Bizarre. Even more bizarre are the legions Of voters who still seem to think she is a good PM and leader.

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  2. Marc Williams says:

    Yet political ‘journalists’ like Audrey Young still think Ardern is our top performing Minister – what a moron.

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  3. Heather Adam says:

    Ardern is not good with the hard questions. That will be the main reason she campaigned in schools and kindergartens in 2017. You can see Helen Clark’s hand in this. Many years ago a friend of mine went to a Labour campaign meeting in the Waikato where Clark said ‘We will infiltrate the education system , get into the minds of the young.’ … and what are we seeing ?

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  4. Roj Blake says:

    All politics is now about soundbites. Left. Right. It doesn’t matter.

    When the occasional politician (think Bill Shorten, Jeremy Corbyn) goes to the electorate with detailed policy statements they are crucified because detailed policy needs detailed discussion, not sound bites.

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  5. Sound bites are one thing, but the pattern I’m seeing with Ardern is continual passing of the buck. I’ve noticed they don’t hesitate to throw their public servants under the bus which wasn’t so noticeable under the last government.

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