The Dim-Post

February 21, 2013

Crowdsourcing the government’s scandal-crackdown tactic

Filed under: blogging — danylmc @ 9:02 am

I’m trying to put together something to document the relationship between National’s countless scandals and blunders and National’s equally countless and seemingly closely correlated ‘crackdowns’ on prisoners, beneficiaries, boat people etc. So could people list either scandals, blunders or crackdowns in the comments; if you could link them to a news story or press release that’d be even better.

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36 Comments »

  1. What about Labour “foot in mouth moments” or other implosions

    Comment by Raymond A Francis — February 21, 2013 @ 9:12 am

  2. @ Ray- What about them? Poor communication is not the same thing as the politics of targeting the vulnerable. But good job on trying to get a distraction going, Kevin Taylor has a job for you.

    Comment by alex — February 21, 2013 @ 9:22 am

  3. “Scandals, blunders, and crackdowns” is my new favourite tongue-twister.

    Does the “free contraception for women on benefits *and their daughters* but certainly not any of the blokes” thing count?

    Comment by Jolisa — February 21, 2013 @ 9:24 am

  4. But on a more substantive note, this from June 6, 2012: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10811189 – “The Government is considering ways to prevent child abusers having more children or taking their children away at birth.
    A few days earlier Parata was being slammed repeatedly on class sizes, with this May 28 article describing the govt as backing down: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10808913

    Comment by alex — February 21, 2013 @ 9:31 am

  5. @ Ray @ alex I think it’s important to keep the focus on those who currently hold the power over people’s lives.

    That said, a parallel timeline of Opposition Muffs, Mumbles, and Fumbles would be powerfully useful for the bigger picture of what the *entire* house of representatives has done for us lately. Also a (probably quite short, but invigorating) list of Palpable Hits. Keyed by party membership, of course.

    Comment by Jolisa — February 21, 2013 @ 9:32 am

  6. Zip it sweetie

    Comment by Another Kiwi — February 21, 2013 @ 9:38 am

  7. Perhaps you might want to include information about other crackdowns such as with tax avoidance. The govt has given notice of a range of measures with increased auditing. Accountants are now offering audit insurance ie to cover the accounting costs of meeting an IRD audit which for a small business could be quite onerous.

    These don’t get so much news but would be important to include in any theory that National is just cracking down where it’s politically expedient.

    I’ve seen various graphics comparing how much is lost to benefit fraud to how much is lost in tax evasion with the implication being that the govt is somehow ignoring the real problem. A more honest comparison would include the different amount of govt resources consumed in countering these.

    Comment by NeilM — February 21, 2013 @ 9:46 am

  8. Dot Com shenanigans; On 24 September 2012 Prime Minister John Key revealed that, at the request of the police, the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) had spied on Dotcom, illegally helping police to locate him and monitor his communications in the weeks prior to the raid on his house.[54] The GCSB is not allowed to spy on New Zealand citizens and Dotcom had been granted permanent residency. From Wikipedia

    Comment by Another Kiwi — February 21, 2013 @ 10:00 am

  9. You might find a better correlation between National’s faux pas and co-incidental opposition botch-up distractions provided by Shearer, Mallard, and other assorted ex suckers off public teats. That would be a conspiracy worthy of uncovering.

    Comment by DavidW — February 21, 2013 @ 10:22 am

  10. “Full moon: expect National scandal and/or blunder and welfare crackdown within a few days either side, with likelihood of punitive justice policy.”

    Comment by lyndonhood — February 21, 2013 @ 10:41 am

  11. I can’t decide if this post is a dog whistle or given #15 it’s a wolf whistle.

    Comment by TransportationDevice A7-98.1 — February 21, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  12. the easiest solution to benefit fraud would be to do away with benefits and have a negative income tax.

    but since we have a benefit system and no major party is proposing otherwise we’ll be stuck with the unseemly business of the govt prying into relationships.

    in general people who knowingly benefit and collude in crime are prosecuted so if we are stuck with benefits then we’re also stuck with having some consistency.

    Comment by NeilM — February 21, 2013 @ 11:05 am

  13. National appoints a totally partisan Speaker in Mr Carter who protects Ministers from having to answer direct questions. Or answers for them so that the Minister (Parata, Key) escapes being held to account. eg 20 Feb Question Time. An abuse of power.

    Comment by xianmac — February 21, 2013 @ 11:24 am

  14. “These don’t get so much news but would be important to include in any theory that National is just cracking down where it’s politically expedient”

    It’s the getting news that’s important. This isn’t about any particular policies, it’s about the government’s pattern of AVOIDING RESPONSIBILITY for its mistakes by distracting its critics with attacks on beneficiaries who are supposedly avoiding their responsibility to create jobs for themselves.

    The tax avoidance policies you mention are laudable but since they don’t make the news they’re not distracting anyone from anything

    Comment by nommopilot — February 21, 2013 @ 11:44 am

  15. “I’m trying to put together something to document the relationship between National’s countless scandals and blunders”

    LOL. What ever get you through the night in the one party state.

    Comment by Simon — February 21, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  16. The tax avoidance policies you mention are laudable but since they don’t make the news they’re not distracting anyone from anything

    I’m surprised they don’t make the news but it’s hardly the fault of National that they don’t. Perhaps if there was a more even attention given by the media the govt wouldn’t be able to distract.

    Comment by NeilM — February 21, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

  17. Bullshit NeilM.
    You seriously think that the cosy tête à têtes between political flacks and their pet journos don’t result in a wishlist for tomorrow’s headlines?

    Comment by Gregor W — February 21, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

  18. “Perhaps if there was a more even attention given by the media the govt wouldn’t be able to distract.”

    The difference is, Neil, that there’s nothing controversial about a policy to increase audit requirements on tax evaders. People earning enough to do any serious avoiding of tax are rich enough to handle such things (ie. buying audit insurance, cf. beneficiaries can’t afford to insure anything), and would not receive any sympathy from the general public if they were to complain.

    On the other hand, the government know that attacking the poor and powerless will be controversial and the resulting arguments will drown out the latest piece of stupidity the government have brought forth. By the time the goldfish have done a lap of the bowl, all is forgotten (including whether their policy ever gets implemented or has the effects they claim).

    You know very well how distraction works, because every single comment you’ve made on this thread has been a distraction. And look how well it’s worked on me.

    “it’s hardly the fault of National that they don’t.”

    Sorry, whose job is it to promote and publicise the policies of the National Party? If their tax audit policy isn’t getting them enough attention, perhaps they need to take it on a nationwide bus tour. That’s how you promote a policy! :-)

    Comment by nommopilot — February 21, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  19. You know very well how distraction works, because every single comment you’ve made on this thread has been a distraction. And look how well it’s worked on me.

    I blame Danyl, he distracted me and I distracted you.

    The other point though with bringing up other areas that the govt is cracking down is that to me the argument, as I’d being made by Ardern, that the IRD I’d soft on tax avoidance and therefore this policy is wrong just makes no sense. It suggested not having a lot of dealings with the IRD.

    Comment by NeilM — February 21, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

  20. It is amusing that certain words become inextricably linked to certain other words…for example “crackdown” with “solo-parents” or “beneficiaries” or “National plan…”.

    In the same vein I once wrote to the DomPost to point out that they had published a story about a “hospital” without using the words “botch up”…clearly an oversight.

    Comment by PPCM — February 21, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  21. Once again, this thread is not about the policy. It is about the timing with which National release policy that they know will create an outcry.

    Ardern’s point is that there is a huge lack of symmetry between the amount of energy and media effort National put into publicising welfare policy and the impacts the targets of those policies have on the economy/community, when compared with other similar but far more damaging groups.

    If National really want us to believe they are pursuing tax avoiders and white collar criminals as urgently as they are benefit fraudsters, they would have introduced a bill creating a new offence for the spouses of such criminals making them automatically an accessory to their spouse’s crimes. And, if so, that should really be extended to any crime that a spouse should reasonably be expected to be aware of. Once you start down toward that logical conclusion it becomes apparent very quickly what a totalitarian nugget of pure shit that aspect of the bill is.

    But really, it’s about timing, not content.

    Comment by nommopilot — February 21, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

  22. So that’s what Gareth Morgan was up to. He stole the cat crackdown the Nats were going to use to when their environmental credentials hit the limelight!

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 21, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

  23. So that’s what Gareth Morgan was up to.

    Cats have always been the enemy of the lizard people.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — February 21, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

  24. Yeah, Gareth is close to the green ethos

    Comment by titsonabull — February 21, 2013 @ 9:17 pm

  25. Ardern’s point is that there is a huge lack of symmetry…

    I thought Ardern’s point was to spout vacuous nonsense to distract from the fact they Labour will not reverse what National has done.

    I tend to think people who pay a lot of attention to party politics have an exaggerated view of how much the media effects the views of people who don’t.

    There’s a large number of information networks out there. Getting told by accountants that the govt is cracking down on tax evasion is a much more powerful message than a few media commentators going on.

    Comment by NeilM — February 22, 2013 @ 12:12 am

  26. “Getting told by accountants that the govt is cracking down on tax evasion is a much more powerful message than a few media commentators going on.”

    If you can afford an accountant then a government crackdown on tax evasion probably will not be a popular policy for you, since an accountant’s main function is to evade tax. Probably why the government doesn’t publicise these policies anywhere near as vociferously as their bene-bashing policies…

    Jacinda Ardern probably spouts the least vacuous nonsense of all the nonsence spouted by Labour (or National for that matter).

    Apart from that, I’m not really sure what your point is…

    Comment by nommopilot — February 22, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

  27. Nommo – an accountant’s main function is to minimise or avoid tax.
    Abetting tax evasion would probably see an accountant in court.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 22, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

  28. @32 You say Tomato… :-)

    Comment by nommopilot — February 23, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

  29. also, if you can afford an accountant you’re probably about 99% more likely to be voting National than someone on a benefit…

    Comment by nommopilot — February 23, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

  30. You’re also probably about half as likely to suffer an act of piracy, or some other made up factoid.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 23, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

  31. I have to make up my factoids. You think I can afford one of those fancy factoid checkers? interns?

    the point I’m making is that beneficiaries are an easy target for National because they have very little chance of alienating thier core and attacking them tends to get the other teams rather worked up into a distractionary tizz.

    whatever they’re doing about tax fraud and white collar crime is clearly not enough, and yet people just don’t seem to care about it very much. my guess is because it’s complicated, opaque and extremely boring crime that does not lend itself to sensationalist headlines. New Zealand needs a Matt Taibbi…

    Comment by nommopilot — February 23, 2013 @ 10:31 pm


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