The Dim-Post

January 28, 2010

I have located my nagging doubt

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 4:26 pm

I knew there was a problem with the speech but didn’t see it until I was walking home – the major themes of the speech have nothing to do with the major policy announcement.

Goff makes great points about sharing the wealth, makes the (very vital) point that ‘bludging’ is something that is practised by the very rich as well as those on benefits, makes sound points about inequality – all good solid left wing stuff – and then announces he’s capping salaries for the public service.

What does renumeration for the Treasury Secretary and the head of the DSW have to do with any of the arguments in the speech? Beats me.

I don’t think the policy will be unpopular – if it were released by a right-wing politician who gave a speech ranting against the evils of the civil service and the bureaucracy it might really strike a chord! But it’s a weird policy for a Labour leader to announce when he’s giving a speech about income equality, child poverty, collective responsibilty etc.

Meanwhile, Lew dissects the language in Goff’s speech and finds it vague. I don’t think this stuff matters so much, since only a hundred or so people in the country will read the speech. What’s important are the themes, the money quotes and the policies: they’re what gets on tv and radio or picked up by the columnists and pundits, and then amplified or distorted out to the persuadable voters.

The message here is ‘we must all share in the economic recovery and I will do that by cutting the salary for the DIrector General of Health.’

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32 Comments »

  1. What’s important are the themes, the money quotes and the policies: they’re what gets on tv and radio or picked up by the columnists and pundits, and then amplified or distorted out to the persuadable voters.

    Also handing the Government a golden opportunity to find every press release Goff’s deputy leader (and former Health Minister) and ex-Education and State Services Minister Trevor Mallard put out defending these wicked and extravagant pay packets.

    Comment by Craig Ranapia — January 28, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  2. since only a hundred or so people in the country will read the speech

    you exaggerate to make a comic point, as always.

    Comment by Stephen Stratford — January 28, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  3. What’s important are the themes, the money quotes and the policies: they’re what gets on tv and radio or picked up by the columnists and pundits, and then amplified or distorted out to the persuadable voters.

    That’s New Zealand. Government by distorted soundbite. Ultimately, all that really matters is what John Armstrong thinks you are trying to say.

    Comment by georgedarroch — January 28, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

  4. I’d suggest you re-read the speech, nowhere does it say Public Servants CEO’s will get pay cuts…….and hes got a point…..its called “Public Service”!

    Comment by kerry — January 28, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

  5. Goff: Labour – a little bit different to National but with even less talent and imagination.

    he’s still very keen to characterise the Seabed and Foreshore Act issue as empty symbolism. Must be a bit embarassing to lead a party that made one of the biggest blunders in NZ political history all over nothing.

    someone should inform him that it all started over an issue of economic equal opportunity.

    Comment by Neil — January 28, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

  6. Have watched Obama’s speech. Pretty good on the whole but he did he make the mistake of not bagging senior civil servants.

    Comment by Neil — January 28, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

  7. …and then announces he’s capping salaries for the public service.

    Which is what gets run on 3 News, leaving anything else he said (I ain’t one of the “hundred or so” who’ll read it) in the minds of only the people he spoke to. And even then Garner spends the whole time on the not-unreasonable point that Goff was in govt for 9 years while these salaries were reaching their current levels and has only discovered a problem with it now he carries no responsibility for doing anything about it.

    Are Labour not polling any more, or did they by coincidence survey exactly the small number of people for whom public-sector CEO salaries are a burning issue?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 28, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

  8. Are Labour not polling any more, or did they by coincidence survey exactly the small number of people for whom public-sector CEO salaries are a burning issue?

    No. They just made the mistake of writing a speech that couldn’t be fit into a really really simple narrative. So the media did that for them.

    Comment by George Darroch — January 28, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

  9. ‘I’d suggest you re-read the speech, nowhere does it say Public Servants CEO’s will get pay cuts…’

    Grant Robertson on blog.labour seems to think salaries will be capped at the level of the PM..around $400,000.

    Stuff gives an indication of salaries…http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/3131141/10-000-a-week-for-civil-servant

    Comment by Peter Martin — January 28, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  10. Yeah, the choice of capping civil servant pay as central theme was poor, because it doesn’t tie in strongly enough and it has crowded out what ought to have been the point of the speech: reconnecting with the electorate and defining who he stood for.

    Regarding the language choices; I agree it won’t get much direct play, but that’s not the point: it’s part signalling game, part lexicon-building exercise. As it stands he’s sent unclear or waffly signals to everyone except confirmed partisans, failing to make direct appeals to the groups who have abandoned Labour since 2005, and except for one particularly strong line (the title) not established the rhetorical basis for future political sorties against National.

    L

    Comment by Lew — January 28, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

  11. Lets be fair to Phil, who were you expecting that he would ‘re-connect’ with? I just can’t imagine who would roll over and nuzzle back into he Labour bosom in 2010 or 2011 or 2012. The electorate need to lose respect for National, that will only happen part way into the 2nd term when National push through their agenda early one and then do a Helen and bribe the punters to get a 3rd term.

    Comment by Minty — January 28, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  12. ‘who were you expecting that he would ‘re-connect’ with?’

    I see him as the last of the Lange era. I have mixed feelings about that time. I had felt that Clark was the end of it.
    I see these years as wasted time for Labour.

    Comment by Peter Martin — January 28, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  13. Wasted time indeed.

    The early Clark years ie he first term were a good sea change for the country but after that it turned into an ego trip.

    Lets hope Key has a personality better equipped to deal with power than Clark.

    Comment by Minty — January 28, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

  14. the two most recent posts at redlert are devoted to dealing with the civil servant pay issue. that’s certainly put the Nats on the back foot.

    when Mallard gets back from bullying over at facebook he can join in the fun.

    Comment by Neil — January 28, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

  15. You know, the more I think of it, the more I come to the conclusion that Phil hasn’t gone far enough.

    So, the Police Commissioner doesn’t deserve to be paid more than the Prime Minister?

    Fine.

    Now, how about no Member of Parliament (including the Leader of the Opposition) should be able to earn more than a freshly minted police officer? Or a newbie nurse? Or a kindergarden teacher with the ink barely dry on her certification?

    If you want to tap into populist rage, don’t piss around — or is it a case of, when it comes to politicians’ own well lined pockets, “the many” can go get fucked?

    Comment by Craig Ranapia — January 28, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  16. I’m not sure the idea of capping public sector CEOs is an attempt to make Goff sound like he’s being tough on the rich without scaring potential private sector funders or a really clever way to make sure the media spend the next two days repeating the fact John Key’s salary is nearly $400k

    I suspect the former.

    I must say I liked the rhetoric but a policy that focused more clearly on stopping private sector rorting or clawing something back from speculative finance would have been nice.

    Comment by IrishBill — January 28, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  17. yes, it not the politics of hope, rather the politics of small minded envy.

    but as much as it’s such good sport poking fun at Goff spouting nonsense written by morons, it’s worth sparing a bit time to have of sympathy for the next Labour PM who will be shortly be on the receiving end of Tolley’s brilliant ideas.

    Comment by Neil — January 28, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

  18. Goff has got John Key to publicly defend the over-paid technocrats who run our large public sector entities – exactly the sort of crime of protecting privilege you so recently accused Labour of. That has got to be a win for Goff.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 28, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

  19. I thought one of the great failings of the speech was that it was delivered by Goff. I read the speech when it was posted on the Standard, and thought it would resonate reasonably well. Then I watched a clip of Goff actually giving the speech and thought that it lost all heart. That may be simply me applying my worldview of Goff.

    Also, all this stuff about “no public servant should earn more than the prime minister” would seem inappropriate and ego driven if there was a real likelihood that Phil will become P.M soon. I guess that says something.

    As an aside, why is it that whenever I picture Goff giving a speech, he has a sheep over one shoulder?

    Comment by J Mex — January 28, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  20. The TV shots looked like Goff was holding his speech in a resthome, and their expressions suggested he was making them late for afternoon tea.

    I guess you can’t blame him for tracking down where all the NZF voters are, and getting them to swear allegiance.

    Comment by Pat — January 28, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

  21. I’m not sure the idea of capping public sector CEOs is an attempt to make Goff sound like he’s being tough on the rich without scaring potential private sector funders or a really clever way to make sure the media spend the next two days repeating the fact John Key’s salary is nearly $400k

    I suspect the former.

    Instead, Irish, it gives Key the opportunity to start pointing out how public sector CEO’s salaries increased between 1999-2008, when Phil seemed singularly unconcerned. If Key has real moxie, he could also point that there are plenty of folks who might well think the Police Commissioner should earn more than the Prime Minister — and the Leader of the Opposition. Certainly that front-line officers deserve to earn more than any MP.

    Still, if you really want to try and paint Stephen McKernan and Howard Broad (both appointed on Labour’s watch, BTW) as trough-snuffling swine, be my guest.

    Comment by Craig Ranapia — January 28, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

  22. speaking of the empty thud of soap boxes, “stopping private sector rorting or clawing something back from speculative finance”. How emotive and meaningless.

    Comment by Minty — January 29, 2010 @ 5:49 am

  23. Pat,

    You do not fuck with a rest home dwellers meal schedule if you know whats good for you.

    A marauding mob of demented octogenarians is a dangerous phenomenon.

    Comment by Minty — January 29, 2010 @ 5:52 am

  24. Still, if you really want to try and paint Stephen McKernan and Howard Broad (both appointed on Labour’s watch, BTW) as trough-snuffling swine, be my guest.

    Nope. I thought I made it reasonably clear what I wanted when I said:

    a policy that focused more clearly on stopping private sector rorting or clawing something back from speculative finance would have been nice.

    But feel free to pretend I said something else if it makes you happy.

    Comment by IrishBill — January 29, 2010 @ 5:55 am

  25. Doesn’t it also give Key the opportunity to point out, he gives his salary away?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 29, 2010 @ 5:58 am

  26. CF,

    Goffs comments and the lefty probings on the matter are empty rhetoric and best left unanswered by Key. If this rebirth of politics of envy is the best that Labour can come up with then last person on deck straighten the chairs…

    Comment by Minty — January 29, 2010 @ 6:03 am

  27. cf, it does, but I bet he doesn’t.

    He promised to give a chunk to charity at about the same time he promised the average wage earner $50+ dollars a week in taxcutz.

    Haven’t heard much about that lately either.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 29, 2010 @ 7:40 am

  28. Doesn’t it also give Key the opportunity to point out, he gives his salary away?

    Which gives Labour the opportunity to remind us that John Key was a banker and is rich and has lots of rich banker mates – CLEVERER THAN YOU THINK PERHAPS

    Comment by StephenR — January 29, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  29. Bill:

    Fair enough: If Goff and his party think the Director-General of Health and Police Commissioner are going to be easy populist targets as Judy Bailey and Christine Rankin, he better think again.

    Comment by Craig Ranapia — January 29, 2010 @ 8:01 am

  30. “Which gives Labour the opportunity to remind us that John Key was a banker and is rich and has lots of rich banker mates – CLEVERER THAN YOU THINK PERHAPS”

    Except that, aren’t “ordinary” kiwis aspirational these days? If Key being a banker (nay, a rich banker) was an issue, don’t you think some polls would reflect that? Esp since world leaders like (snort) Braun and Obama told us, via the (n)ever vigilant MSM, that it was them evil bankers wot caused the worst recession since the great depression (assuming you ignore, like, the oil shocks, black monday, asian contagion, the medievil warm period, etc)?

    LABOUR: NOT AS CLEVER AS THEY (OR YOU) THINK, PERHAPS?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 29, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  31. Yes no maybe.

    “Braun”? He’s a smooth operator?

    Comment by StephenR — January 29, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  32. Cutting/capping pay for 16 or so people at the top doesn’t of itself make anyone else better off – it just scratches the itch where even if people are not envious as such, the amount of money seems incredible. The question for Labour is: what is the policy to move “ordinary people” forward, and does this include the poorest of them or will attention be skewed to the middle where the votes are? The problem in NZ is not too many very rich people but that too many are too poor and staying that way.

    Comment by Michael — January 29, 2010 @ 2:30 pm


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