Russel Norman
The sucker test

If something bad happens, and you think someone might be responsible for it, you go ask them whether they did it or not.

If they put their hand on their heart and repeatedly say “no, it had nothing to do with me”, then generally you say, “OK I’ll take your word for it”.

But then, what if, irrefutable evidence emerges from other sources that they actually did do it, that they had directly and consciously lied to you. And to add insult to injury, there is never a proper apology.

So next time, when they say they won’t do it, or they didn’t do it, are you suspicious or do you just happily accept their word for it again?

Are you a sucker or not?

At the last election a series of pamphlets were delivered to every household in the country attacking the Greens and Labour. National denied that they had any knowledge of the pamphlets or their authors. Then it was revealed that the Exclusive Brethren put the pamplets together and that they had done so in consultation with the National Party campaign team and leadership. They even coordinated the slogans on the pamphlets so they fitted National’s campaign. National lied and when they got caught they never issued a formal apology. They just changed the front people, kept the backroom people, and hoped we’d all forget about it.

And now the National Party are trying to tell us that they won’t have anything to do with similar campaigns in 2008.

Well, I am a Green, that is I am idealistic about the future of New Zealand and the planet, but I ain’t no sucker.

47 thoughts on “The sucker test

  1. I agree.

    They must think we are suckers.

    Have we all read Hazel Armstrong’s piece in the DomPost yesterday on National and ACC?

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  2. Russell

    The real sucker test is expecting us to swallow the “Nandoor is considering his future” PR spin, the next sucker test will be the press release from the Greens explaining why the next in line decides to stand aside and let you into the house.

    The morale of the story Russell is that you cannot post this type of comment and not expect the same questions to be asked of you and your party.

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  3. Russel, why don’t you do a line by line rebuttal of the EB claims against the Greens?

    You won’t of course because not even one was wrong. They were all based on fact easily obtained from your own website.

    Of course you obfuscate, the EB’s broke not even ONE law in their campaign in fact they went out of their way to ensure they didn’t break the law. In stark contrast to your party and to Labour who you support. You even assisted them to pass a law to make legal what was illegal.

    Do you think we are suckers, I’m not a green and I’m no sucker.

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  4. Russel,

    Your so right. We all hate being lied to and cheated on. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be any party that puts honesty above policy or a chance to gain an edge in election. The Green party is no different in this, and the smear campaign against National on this issue is a very clear example of this, as is the Eloectoral Finance Bill which is clearly designed to favor the incumbent government and reduce the chance of it being unseated by a new up and coming party.

    The Electoral Finance Bill does as much damage to the individuals right to freedom of speech, as it does to prevent commercial interest from trying to influence the outcome of an election by buying succesful advertising campaigns. The EFB also allows existing MP’s to use Tax Payer resources to send their propoganda to every nz home without it being counted as a part of their electioneering spending. This was previously not allowed.

    If the Greens have an issue with the Exclusive Brethrens pamphlets, and allege that they were slanderous and full of lies, then they should have taken legal action against the Exclusive Brethren rather than try to get mileage against National for it. That they didn’t shows that maybe there was significant truth in the content of those pamphlets!

    I could spend all day giving examples of the greens mis-information, lies, and many other under handed tactics to try and get their policies pushed thru, and win votes come election time.

    So pull your head in!

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  5. Horse-puckey Mr. Whaleoil.

    …and we aren’t suckers enough to bother doing again what we’ve done already.

    http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/other9194.html

    Outright lies and distorted half-truths that reflect little in our actual policies and distort what is correctly cited.

    I come from a culture that has had and still has, campaigns that range in the billions of dollars. I know exactly what it means to have people “swift-boating” a person or a party in the midst of an election. That was what was attempted here in the last election and we were fortunate it didn’t work.

    Imagine that someone spent a million bucks to spread similar lies about National or ACT? Someone who tried to hide both his affiliations and the sources of his funds?

    BJ

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  6. This post suggests that the Greens are stuck in 2005 and have failed to actually comprehend the huge damage that the Exclusive Brethren campaign had for National. Being associated with groups like Give NZ a Fair Go would be electoral poison for National – just as the Greens have been careful not too associate themselves too much with the activists arrested firearms charges.

    This year’s general election is National’s election to lose. So they won’t be taking any risks at all, and they’ll be doing everything they can to appear squeaky clean. No party – especially National – will want to be seen as being involved in anything untoward or covert. National is likely to play the game by the book. And they’ll do their best to disassociate themselves from anyone seen as extremist or religious nutters.

    To suggest otherwise is either just grandstanding politicking or political naivety.

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

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  7. It will be very interesting if the Nats gain power this year. I suspect a lot of traditional National voters will feel a lot like the Labour voters of 1984- the party they thought they had elected was something else altogether.

    From the evidence, it appears that National has been hijacked by the extremists of the neo-liberal school. The Grand Plan for this bunch is the continuation of the “shock doctrine”- restructuring of the NZ economy for maximum profit extraction as dictated by offshore businessmen and multinational companies.

    It is abundantly clear from their published emails that National represents only the narrow economic interests of the super-rich- they are bought and paid for. Policy is only a tool to win the elections, after which the slashing and burning will begin.

    The future of NZ under this bunch will be like any 3rd world country- a small number of incredibly corrupt wealthy individuals and a vast majority of destitute working poor…

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  8. uk_kiwi – I don’t think there’s much in the way of evidence to suggest that an incoming National Government is going to swing things dramatically to the right in NZ. There’s a New Policy Consensus in NZ politics which is very strong. Basically no parties can do well if they intend to push things outside the consensus. That’s why all the parties – and especially Labour and National – are increasingly similar in ideology and programme.

    I’m not suggesting that this new consensus is necessarily a good one. Far from it. The new consensus involves accepting the neoliberal economic framework that previous Labour and National governments have implemented. This is not a moderate economic framework – and that’s also why National won’t be a radical reforming government: it’s already been done. Neoliberalism has run out of steam and further reform is utterly discredited.

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

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  9. UK-kiwi,

    “The future of NZ under this bunch will be like any 3rd world country- a small number of incredibly corrupt wealthy individuals and a vast majority of destitute working poor…”

    But uderstanding Marx, it is the right prescription for a communist takeover. Losts of poor to have a revolution. What is standing in the way of a revolution is the comfortably numb middle classes.

    So role on National election in November. About 2011 be right for a revolution under you scenario.

    eh,mmmmm, Was labour not supposed to carry out that plan and lead to the socialist revolution? After 9 years of trying the middle class is still there and I guess in another 9 years they still will be.

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  10. Whaleoil – It is clear from reading the link that the people at NZConservative failed to actually read our policies before they did their “review”, much as the EB did. They weren’t really interested in what we really believe, just what they think we stand for. The classic one is the capital gains tax issue. The policy is: We believe New Zealand should investigate whether introducing a capital gains tax exempting the family home would be good for our country. This, of course, is hailed by the EB and NZConservative as a Green call to tax the family home! Then they are surprised when it makes us angry. Go figure!

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  11. Um … Frog, I’ll think you’ll find the argument that the Greens would institute a CGT on family homes is based on this statement from your 2001 submission:

    The Green Party believes the Review needs to seriously and thoroughly examine a comprehensive capital gains tax (CGT) for New Zealand.

    And then this subsequent statement, apparently the only place the family home is discussed in the document:

    There is little information available on the effect of CGT in practice. In particular, the treatment of owner-occupied private homes is a vexed one. It would be helpful to consider the impact of a comprehensive CGT on house values over time. To the extent that aggregate capital gains on the housing stock fall, the impact on individual home owners may be positive.

    A slower rate of appreciation of house prices makes housing more affordable as well as lowering the asset value of homes. The latter effect does mean that any comprehensive CGT would need to be introduced with a long transition to avoid seriously disadvantaging those who have used home ownership as their main retirement savings plan.

    NZConservative make the following points:

    What do they mean exactly when they say “the treatment of owner-occupied private homes is a vexed one” and do not follow it up with, “but not really, because we would exempt it”?

    And their final sentence about introducing CGT with a long transition period to avoid disadvantaging those who use home ownership as their main retirement savings plan implies that there may well be a CGT on the family home.

    My apologies that I can’t check with the original Green Party submission document, it doesn’t appear to be on your site anymore. Are the quotes accurate?

    What does the word “comprehensive” mean?

    What did the Green Party mean when they said that CGT on family homes was a vexed issue?

    Why do the Greens favour a long transition to a comprehensive CGT to lessen the serious disadvantage to those for whom a family home is their main retirement savings?

    How is something vexed, and how does something pose serious disadvantage if you know your mind, and it won’t actually apply?

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  12. bryce you really are going to let yourself get fooled again. the evidence is there in spades that the new right still rule the roost at national – the cosmetic leadership change for one, the lack of strong new policy for another. they’ll try to make tax cuts the big issue again – already are trying to.
    you’re thinking “national will be o.k., they wouldn’t be silly enough to try that again”. who’s to stop them once they’re in?

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  13. Russel, the EB are the least of your problems right now. Forget the EB, they were amateurs. Jesus Christ himself could stand for parliament and the EBs would smear him because he hung out with 12 guys and a prostitute.

    What the Electoral Finance Act has done is rattle the cages of the professional creatives, activists and sponsors. They will not resort to wild and wacky claims in order to question the Greens. They’ll have graphs showing what economic damage is possible, how many jobs lost (with footnotes) because of the Greens.

    On your other flank you’ve got a Labour party which, when push comes to shove, doesn’t care where their vote comes from. If Labour take all the credit for the carbon-neutrality thing, why vote Green? Labour will grab votes wherever they can find ‘em. Remember the Alliance Party?

    So pretty please with cherries on top, STFU about the Exclusive Brethren.

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  14. Whaleoil – It is clear from reading the link that the people at NZConservative failed to actually read our policies before they did their “review?, much as the EB did. They weren’t really interested in what we really believe, just what they think we stand for.

    I disagree. I was interested in what you submitted to Parliament to have passed into law, not what you say you stand for.

    That’s not saying I don’t believe you are against Capital Gains Tax on the family home, (you have since clarified this) but that I’m saying in spite of what you say, the Greens have the capability of making recommendations that are add odds with what they say.

    My direct quotes from your submission ABSOLUTELY prove this.

    I challenge you to point out, using your submission and not “but we said something else” to prove otherwise.

    I can also therefore say the same of you: Instead of investigating WHAT YOU WROTE, you called the Exclusive Brethren liars for reading your submission. You should have apologised for the confusion YOU caused on at least this point. Are you really interested in considering a valid interpretation, or is your mind already made up?

    Here’s my link to the full analysis: The CGT Tax Submission

    My theory for this mistake (if you are interested) is that you borrowed the Eco-Tax ideas from other Green parties, probably largely from the Australian Greens, and didn’t properly proof read the full detail before making your submission – thus your submission was at odds with your intent. You probably are all over-worked scant resource, and happy to tap into the global Green movement?

    I reviewed Jeanette’s “rebuttal” of the EB Brochure, point by point, and Jeanette too was very opinionated in trying to disprove the equally opinionated EB statements. Tit for tat. Not moral superiority.

    The short answer is everything is debatable, but the Greens claims of “outright lies” that they have pushed out to the media isn’t as clear cut as you might hope. The Greens have continued to vilify the Exclusive Brethren for the audacity of having a different opinion, and this is fundamentally hypocritical, as you have simply proven an incapacity to understand a valid alternative point of view to the way you have positioned your policies.

    I also did a fairly detailed review of your Eco-Tax policies: Eco-Tax because quite frankly, I understand all of the Global Warming hype you like to ride to make a case for voting in the Greens, but I wanted to understand how that lines up with the “cure” you are proposing.

    Most people I tall to that vote Green have no idea of your policies, they just expect you to fix the problem. Your membership trusts you, and doesn’t care too much about the detail. That’s good at the start, but when the ride gets rough, you don’t want them to think they were mislead? Or maybe they’ll just assume “no pain, no gain” and you will continue with carte blanche?

    I found the detail a little light, but I also admit you have information spread across many documents, and that the circumstances have changed (and therefore your proposals would likely change) since the initial burst of documents. I look forward to you articulating your policies this year, being an election year, and I’ll do my best to work out what effect they will actually have, and comments are welcome.

    Supposedly, any amount of light on the Greens is something you will welcome, as is the opportunity to explain your policies, rather than vilify your critics.

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  15. how about stopping living in the past russel..?

    there are urgent issues facing us..

    how about using this forum to present your answers to them..?

    and not just for whining/faux-outrage justifications for your poxy electoral reform bill..

    do you have any..?..answers..?

    or is the golden ring of a co-leaders’ ‘earn’/ministerial perks dazzling you..?

    but i tell you one thing..

    you whining constantly about the exclusive brethren does you/the greens no favours..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  16. btw..thanks for the restrictions on internet free speech you refused to support amendments to remedy..eh..?

    how does that fit with your (supposed) support of ‘free speech’..?

    eh..?

    poxy bill..!

    and it could well be your political epitaph..

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  17. I do not give a rats rear end what some right wing jackass THINKS I think. The fncking liars who smear us have been playing fast and loose with the truth for so long that they think THEY can tell us what OUR position is.

    I said when we first saw this thing we should have sued the socks of the SOB who had it printed and I wish to hell we had.

    Cut defense in half? Blatant lie.

    Promote all illegal drugs? Blatant lie.

    Support Capital Gains tax on the family home? Blatant Lie.

    Back in 2001 someone thought it would be a good idea to STUDY the question of a comprehensive CGT and said the exemption of owner-occupied was “vexed”. That means that the people who want to STUDY it think that there are problems both with AND without (CGT on owner occupied)… and that it seems impossible to avoid giving SOMEONE economic advantages. Which means that studying it might not be such a bad idea.

    What a concept, actually trying to understand the situation! Of COURSE this engenders fear and hatred from the extreme brethren and their extreme apologists….

    “Green Party policy does not address the issue of implementing a Capital Gains Tax.”

    The word “study” is different from the word “Implement”. Studying something implies thorough consideration of all the possibilities… actually quite different from the ideologically driven environment the right is used to….

    Consider that if that stupid pamphlet hadn’t shown up the EFB might never have taken off OR taken the shape it did?

    However Frog, Russel…? The absence of that submission from 2001 is an error. It leaves Ivan’s summary as the ONLY referent on our site.. it looks like we’re hiding something, and it allows people who read lightly and without full attention to misread our position. We should have placed an unequivocal rejection in that summary, not just pointing out that we don’t address CGT as part of the “eco-tax” framework. Now of course we have Jeanette’s statement as well, but the damage is done and these maroons are still arguing.

    Lies Whale0il…
    Lies Edge…
    Lies Zen…

    But I don’t want to go further on this because it is PAST history and Phil has a good point. Just as Zippy does…
    ———————————

    The EB are the least of our worries.

    ——————————–

    This election will see a squeaky clean National campaign and few of Brash’s better blunders. English may provide some grist for the mill, but overall they have a hell of a position of strength to play from and we’ve managed to p!ss off a lot of people …and start a slanging match with folks who buy ink in railroad tank cars.

    Call me old fashioned but that’s a poor way to get 5%. Of course, if it looks as though Labour will fail complete we might get some swing voters abandoning that sinking ship but we are going to very shortly see how much we get bitten by doing stuff that has STUFF ALL to do with the environment and which damages our chances of doing anything at all FOR the environment.

    It is a nice thing to have principles. It is politically astute and a lot better for the future of the planet if we also apply some priorities to those principles

    Job number one is to save the planet for our kids.

    To accomplish this task it is quite important that we obtain and retain enough political power to make the environmental question important to whoever forms the next government.

    We FAIL our mission if we are distracted by goals of lesser importance and get kicked out of power as a result.

    My apologies to people who are offended by this truth. It isn’t going to go away. This is a Political Party and we have a purpose that seems to have been forgotten and appears to be often neglected and all too frequently undermined.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  18. The EB pamphlet did not claim that the Green Party wanted to promote all illegal drugs.

    Not only did they not use the word “promote”, they didn’t even use the word “legalise”. They asserted the Greens wanted to decriminalise “drugs like cannabis”. The Green party does want to decriminalise drugs like cannabis.

    And just because a 2005 rehash of your 2001 submission on tax asserts you don’t know how you’d “implement” a CGT (which implies you want one, but don’t have the details of how it would come into effect – rates, enforcement, etc.), doesn’t mean your 2001 submission was that reticent. Especially when the 2005 rehash appeared after the EB pamphlet had been published, and after Jeanette’s repudiation of the claims.

    Why would you want to investigate a “comprehensive” CGT, and the vexed issue of family homes, if you were 100% sure you didn’t want a comprehensive CGT, and didn’t think the family homes issue was vexed at all.

    Even going to Jeanette’s rebuttal of the argument, part of that rebuttal is that Australia already has a CGT on family homes – which is only relevant if you’re thinking about one in New Zealand. If Green Party policy was to under no circumstances ever have a CGT on family homes, then the fact that other people think it’s a good idea is a waste of time, and an investigation is a waste of time.

    It really does appear that in 2001 the Greens made a submission, the submission used the words “comprehensive” and “vexed” and called for CGT to be implemented over time so as not screw homeowners with few other assets over. The members of the EB saw this, and published a pamphlet, outlining the position you’d had in 2001 and hadn’t repudiated. Jeanette rebutted it, and two days later you put excerpts of your position paper on the web, with the new proviso that you don’t know how you’d implement your policies.

    The policy wasn’t a big deal for the Greens (your focus was on other matters like the environment and eco-taxes etc.) and when you were called on it, you backed away. It doesn’t mean the EB were lying.

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  19. Hi Guys,

    Is no-one here interested at all in Hazel Armstrong’s comments about National and ACC?

    I am very disturbed to think that once again National are seriously considering privatising accident insurance. Correspondents in Australia are scathing about the work place insurance they suffer under.

    I agree with BJ, first save the environment. If it all turns to chaos and custard then food, water and shelter will be the critical issues.

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  20. bjchip, nice rant. However, I’m left with the feeling that when some-one criticises Green policy it just gets an over-reaction from the Greens.

    All this “engenders fear and hatred from the extreme brethren and their extreme apologists….” sounds like yet another poor justification to restrict freedom of speech through the EFA.

    I don’t hate the Green Party. I don’t fear the Green Party.

    I do feel I have a right to criticise the Green Party. I know a lot of my thoughts are opinions only, that they might be wrong as much as right, but criticism is a healthy thing in a democracy.

    I do not accept you writing it off as “extreme”. Extreme was the Labour Party sending out fake eviction notices. Extreme was the unions going on about people dying under National. Extreme was Chris Trotter saying “corruption was necessary” by Labour to avoid a civil war.

    In such an environment, it’s no wonder everyone gets hyped up. However, it’s about time the left realise they do it just as much. The EB brochure wasn’t outright lies; the extreme reaction from the Green’s though proved they are no different than all of the other political parties.

    How we raise the playing field to one high standard is the challenge – not how we level it.

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  21. Edge

    “Decriminalize illegal drugs” is not limited by the “like Cannabis” clause in this sentence. It is an example given, but it is not specific. Cannabis is an illegal drug.

    ” Decriminalize some currently illegal drugs like Cannabis” is true. They didn’t say THAT. Moreover, the fact that the meaning changes so completely with the addition of those two words demonstrates their failure to temper their words with even small truth.

    Actually stating our policy properly would not have the same impact on their target audience and taking their words in the context of the rest of the pamphlet that wording is not accidental. Edge… if I started in making up sh!t about ACT or National in the same way that this pamphlet was made up, I’d be in trouble with ACT and National. I have absolutely no doubt I could do it. Nothing that ANYONE says is so unambiguous that a wordsmith cannot turn their words on them.

    That IS NOT the challenge of politics. The challenge of politics is to get the truth and to provide the truth.

    ———————-

    Even YOU do it here in this forum. Twisting words on themselves and subtly changing the meaning of what was actually said. I am sorry but you are showing your true colours here and they have nothing to do with truth.

    “…and called for CGT to be implemented over time ”

    No… we did NOT call for the CGT to be implemented at all. We called for it to be STUDIED.

    As for wanting a CGT… the point is and it is VERY clear even on the summary, that we HAVE NO POLICY on CGT.

    Some of us would like to see a “comprehensive” CGT… but of those of us who favour that, you could count on the fingers of one foot the number who would accept it on the owner-occupier. ( I note that in the US you can get hit for CGT on your house if you don’t stay in it long enough… does that count as a CGT on the owner-occupier )

    “Australia already has a CGT on family homes – which is only relevant if you’re thinking about one in New Zealand. “

    No… it is however relevant to the idea of studying what the effects of a CGT are, INCLUDING the effects on house prices.

    “with the new proviso that you don’t know how you’d implement your policies”

    What policies Edge? WHAT Fncking Policies are you talking about? The one you just made up for us? We EXPLICITLY state that there is no policy and you go right on and assume that you know what ours is, lay it out for everyone and then tell us we don’t know how we’d do “it”.

    That is EXACTLY the way clever people lie… and mixing some truth into the paragraph makes it appear believable and it does take someone equally clever to catch them in it. It does not exempt them from being despised for their abusive way of thinking.

    The EB pamphlet contained lies. Lies because claims there is a policy where no policy exists, and then it writes the non-existent policy for us.

    The Green Party is perhaps, too transparent for black and white perceptions.

    We say we’d like to study something and you say it must therefore be our policy to do it. That is NOT true. You clearly know better. To make it part of the pamphlet as an ABSOLUTE a lie.

    BJ

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  22. Zen

    If someone criticizes our policies there are certainly TRUE things and areas where criticism is warranted. I was appalled to see the actual wording of the actual policy relating to prisons. I was aghast that there simply WAS NOT a defence policy.

    My problem is (and you are right that there is a tendency for this in politics that goes way too far on both sides of the aisle) that people will attribute positions to other people or parties in politics and then attack the attributed positions without actually quoting accurately and with context, from the relevant policy or the person being attacked.

    That is part of my reason for the way I approach the EFB changes. You remember, everybody has to shut up EXCEPT the parties themselves for 60 days to 90 days before the election and NOBODY has more than 90 days warning of when the next election occurs.

    There is too much noise and not enough truth gets heard, and that applies to National as well as to Green and Labour.

    The thing is that National doesn’t want to destroy the country. They don’t want to starve kids to death. They aren’t (well most of them) monsters. They seem to favour business and growth over measures to improve social conditions, and where they pay attention to social conditions some of their answers are IMHO, wrong. I do not however, attribute this to evil intent on their part. I try to read their actual policies and statements rather than what people say they say. It is important to do that for ALL the parties, as the second hand goods that are common currency in the public domain are counterfeits.

    The EB wants to destroy the Greens. Some Unions regard the Business Roundtable as a suitable target for their own rants. I don’t hold with either.

    I got a pamphlet in my mailbox. It told me that I thought things which I do NOT think. It told me that my party was advocating and doing things that I knew it does not advocate and do. That isn’t criticism.

    Criticism is pointing out that there isn’t a Green Defence policy, so how can we take this party seriously?

    Criticism is pointing out that some of our more extreme social positions are damaging our chances of political survival and weakening our ability to do anything about more important issues facing our society.

    I accept criticisms, but swift-boating has nothing to do with criticism… and that mode rather than any civilized debate, has become the political norm.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  23. Joy- I read that article, you can almost see the private insurers snouts lining up for some sweet government trough after a Nat win.

    Can’t seem to find the URL though? Care to link to it?

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  24. it is VERY clear even on the summary, that we HAVE NO POLICY on CGT.

    A summary that was written two days after Jeanette responded to the claims in the EB pamphlet.

    “Decriminalize illegal drugs? is not limited by the “like Cannabis? clause in this sentence. It is an example given, but it is not specific. Cannabis is an illegal drug.

    The statement was “Decriminalise illegal drugs like cannabis (marijuana)”. You well know (or at least I hope you do) that there are illegal drugs like cannabis and illegal drugs that are unlike cannabis. It is recognition of this fact that has led the Green Party to adopt it’s highly nuanced drug policy, are you repudiating this to adopt the Anderton position that all illegal drugs are equally bad?

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  25. Sorry Edge, that’s what the PAMPHLET does by the way it is worded. Not what I did or we did.

    We would do that with SOME CURRENT illegal drugs, but not all illegal drugs and the clear implication is that we have no limits. You want to read it another way, adding the implied words that I just used but they didn’t use those words… instead they ensured that the worst possible meaning is not excluded. There is a perceptual psychology hook here…. and they used it. The pamphlet writer made it very clear what he wanted people to think we think. You can go on saying whatever the hell you like apparently, but I am sure you are smart enough to know EXACTLY what was done and how.

    You want to call us on our policy you quote OUR policy along with your restatements, insinuations and outright falsehoods.

    BJ

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  26. We’re down to parsing the word “like” and a single ambiguous sentence in a document rife with falsehood.

    “decriminalize illegal drugs like cannabis” — one can do as you do and divide the field and say they mean SOME illegal drugs, or associate an example of an illegal drug to emphasize the illegality.

    Perceptual psych makes it clear that the meaning you get from such ambiguity is a mix of BOTH meanings. Even if you ultimately choose one or the other for argument, it is not possible to exclude it from your initial perception.

    Once again, I point out that THEY did not use the word “some” which would have made it true and left us unconcerned and not coincidentally, kept it from being such an alarming statement. Add the word you imply should be there. The meaning and the alarm provided changes enormously. Take it away and watch the change again.
    BJ

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  27. The Green Party has announced at its annual conference that it will campaign to halve spending on defence from $1.6 billion to $800 million. “We see this cut as a ‘peace dividend’ providing much-needed money for social and environmental projects,” said Green Party Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke, speaking at the party’s annual conference in Wellington this weekend.

    “The saving will come from disbanding the offensive capacity of the Defence Force.

    “We’ll save $650 million by removing the frigates, their support ship Endeavour, and the air strike force.

    “Another $70 million can be saved by disbanding the SAS and the expensive and irrelevant anti-submarine capacity in our air force and navy.

    From a Green’s Press Release. Sometimes, people can get the wrong impression with what the Greens say and do, and then what they write down. Like National and Labour, maybe they are simply getting canny and think one thing, but say another.

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  28. No no ZT – the claim that the Greens would “Cut defence spending by 50% and disarm our forces” is not even a half-truth, but an “Outright Lie”.

    You also forget that by taking money from the defence budget and moving it to foreign aid “the amount of money the Government spends on making the world a safer place (defence, peacebuilding, foreign aid) would not decrease.” How can you possibly call that “disarming”?

    :-)

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  29. In politics the truth is what you believe it to be. Proof of the pudding is that Jeanette’s rebuttal of the EBs assertions regarding the Greens and transport funding are just as misleading as the EBs claims.

    There is no such thing as “roading money”? Not legally since 2003. But prior to that the Transit NZ Act used the phrase “roading revenue” to refer to source of funding for the National Road Fund. Amending the legislation to omit that phrase and create the National Land Transport Fund does eliminate the legal status of “roading money” but it doesn’t change the popular belief in roading money because that legal status is still fresh in most people’s minds.

    In rebutting the claim about the deisel tax Jeanette states that the second petrol tax is paying for the health costs of vehicle use. To the extent that any tax can be said to be paying for any item in the government’s budget this is of course true. To the extent that no Minister of Finance ever made this claim in the 30 years between Rowling introducing the tax and the STCC report being published the rebuttal is false.

    The problem with any pamphlet, advertisement or press release is that it necessarily has to abbreviate the facts to fit into a few words. That looses all the nuances and “limitations to the study” type of detail and makes it very easy to state the facts in a misleading way. This is hardly the exclusive domain of politicians or the EB.

    Land Tranport NZs press releases on last year’s road toll state that 30% was caused by alcohol and 30% was caused by speed. This overlooks the fact that 20% was caused by a combination of speed and alcohol. So of course the two factors in isolation caused 20% each. It also suggests that the Police should be breath testing every driver they stop, but for some reason this isn’t done. Most importantly, earlier this decade when the speed percent was higher than the alcohol percent the ommission of all the facts led to the incorrect belief that speed was killing more people than alcohol, leading to an unwarranted and disastrous change in enforcement emphasis.

    Just be grateful the EB weren’t in a position to turn their version of the truth into actions imposed on the rest of us by organs of the state. Ideological politicians can do just that.

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  30. Zen

    I’ve looked pretty hard for that press release and I would appreciate a link. It is wholly invisible to me so far. If it is true that Locke said that I can certainly assure you that it is ALSO true that he has not said it to the policy group formulating the Green Defence Policy.

    A policy group I happen to have been participating in.

    There has been exactly NO discussion of halving defence spending. Nor have budgetary considerations figured in policy development at all. That is I think, a correct method of formulating policy.

    However….

    Can you justify the requirement for ASW capability based on known and projected threats?

    Can you justify the air strike wing based on known and projected threats.

    Are aging frigates the best tools for the problems our children are going to face?

    ===

    Some parts of those quotes make sense but halving defence isn’t a consideration…

    Still.. if Locke did say that and I don’t question that he might have, I’d like to know the timing and the context more exactly. It isn’t policy, no matter WHAT he said, but his ability to yank the rug out from under me (even if it turns out to be with stuff he said before I showed up in NZ) is just another part of that set of distractions that I spoke of earlier.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  31. bjchip, also remember when the Greens announced the “Peace Dividend”? It’s on the Green Archive Page introduction, and appears current.

    To mark Hiroshima Day on the 6th of August ’99 we launched a new web section on our Peace Dividend – our plan to save $800 million dollars by halving defence spending. What would you spend the money on? Hospitals and schools?

    You appear to be moving from calling me a liar, to saying “yes, we did say it, but for good reason”. I don’t mind the latter, but that position doesn’t mean I am a liar just because I get the wrong impression from The Green’s press releases and other documents.

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  32. Thank you Edge

    Zen… I never called YOU a liar. I called the EB liars and now I have a date and a condition which rather makes some sense of this… and makes me at least partly wrong.

    The EB is still misleading. If I call for halving defence spending in 1999 and 5 years of defence reductions later someone says I am still calling for halving the spending, there’s a time problem. Some things are already done and the inference that I would halve it again from a lower base is NOT real truthful.

    However, that said, I have to accept that Keith did do something I regard as unforgivably stupid. He tied defence policy to reducing defence spending to get money for other programs. THAT would have been a more universal and damning criticism that is not subject to any time question. It is less forgivable in my eyes.

    Moreover, it makes the EB pamphlet truthful (at least if we ignore the passage of time and events)… and AGAIN undermines my ability to support the party.

    Sigh… Maybe I AM a sucker. Mostly I only arrived here 4 years after he shot my feet off. Current conditions and policies are the ones that are important and the EB didn’t do very well on that basis, but my absence earlier was important. I read Green policy carefully enough before joining and while I regard Keith as a bit of a loose cannon, I didn’t go through all the releases in detail.

    I still have no choice because the damned environment is the first problem and this party is the only party which puts it in a place of proper importance.

    However, defence of the country IS equally important.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  33. If I call for halving defence spending in 1999 and 5 years of defence reductions later someone says I am still calling for halving the spending, there’s a time problem.

    bj – I don’t have any facts on it, but I had the impression that Labour were increasing the amount of money spent on defence.

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  34. This is (I think) true. However, the air strike wing IS gone. The policy we’re working on is still not released so I can’t really talk about it. The discussion however, isn’t over internally.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  35. Has anyone done an analysis of the various groups pushing governenmt policy and their interests?

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  36. bjchip, when you say that you never called me a liar, then what did you mean by this?


    Lies Whale0il…
    Lies Edge…
    Lies Zen…

    (your comment, further up the page). The way I read that short sentence, in light of the entire comment was to take inference that you were indeed calling me a liar. With other people I might be very disbelieving if you protest otherwise, but from what I have seen by the way you conduct yourself, I can understand this was simply a side effect of “rant mode”, and thus I accept that you may not have meant it that way.

    You say the EB thing is misleading, because 5 years had passed, this was the reason I commented about about the still up to date Green idea about the Peace Dividend (on the Greens Archive Home Page) which states that the intention is to halve Defence Spending.

    I accept that as our Defence Forces are decimated, (have been decimated) the Greens will be able to revise the percentage of cuts downwards, but equally, the money available for the “Peace Dividend” also decreases.

    We are back to arguing about semantics and shades, and to me all that means is the EB had a point when they leveled the criticisms they did. Remember, just because they criticise the Greens over a policy doesn’t mean the Greens are “wrong” as many Greens would read the EB brochure and go “halve Defence spending – great. I’m definitely voting for them; support Kyoto, fantastic; up the price of diesel – has to happen.”

    My reasons for bothering to defend the EB brochure are more complex than this, and I am to explain it better via a post on my blog at some point.

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  37. No… .what I meant was that the EB statements were lies Zen…. not that you were lying. You’re a respectable sort… and I reckon you to be an honorable person.

    As for the EB… I have already accepted that point… though they were misleading on several points and issues, there WAS more truth in parts of it than I was aware of (thanks Keith), and it does point up that I need to pay additional attention to the Defense Policy project. Some people have motives that need further examination.

    I hate politics and I have nothing but disdain for people who think that the cavalry can come to their rescue after they’ve turned the horses into dog food. .

    No Greens would read that pamphlet the way you state. A good half the steam generated was related to their characterization of good policies as bad. There were still some lies and but there was the little bit (and a bit more than I thought) of truth contained.

    With respect to defence spending I think there is not as much traction as Keith or the EB would like there to be…. we will see…. but Keith definitely said what he said and if I ever meet him in person he will find himself less comfortable for it. Defence spending cannot ever be driven by a desire to get money for other projects… it has to be governed by defence policy and the needs set forth by the defence professionals who are tasked to implement that policy.

    Defence policy itself IS negotiable in terms of what tasks are required, but the spending cannot be at the mercy of domestic bliss… though there are limits to what the country can afford… it has to provide for the continued survival of the country BEFORE any other consideration. That minimum HAS to be afforded.

    Imagine a defence policy that required 3 full Carrier Task Groups with multiple strike wings embarked to implement it, for an example of that last. That would be a force-projection defence policy, required only if an interventionist foreign policy were in vogue. That’s something we CAN’T afford, but we can’t afford to be without the ability to stop ships we don’t want coming here, to protect trans-tasman traffic and to protect our fisheries.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  38. Edge – yes Labour has spent up large on defence. The previous National Government were actually miserly in terms of defence, and then Labour came in and launched a $8 billion splurge on military over 10 years. You don’t hear much criticism of this, even from the Greens. I detail some of the expenditure in a post entitled ‘Labour’s modernisation of the military’ at:
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2007/05/labours_moderni.html

    Andrew – the New Right may well rule the roost at National (in the same way that they do at Labour), and this means that we have a very New Right economic framework that both major parties agree upon (and parties like the Greens are increasingly silent on). But that doesn’t mean that there’s an incredible enthusiasm, momentum, or plans for another New Right revolution. The New Right have pretty much achieved what they wanted already. Now the parliamentary parties just fight about the crumbs and details. We now have a very different political context to that of the 1980s and 1990s – which is why Don Brash had to compromise so many of his policies and principles when he was leader of National. Read the Hollow Men – it’s essentially the story of Brash and his supporters having to moderate all their beliefs to have a chance at power.

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

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  39. i’m just re-reading the hollow men (good enough to re-read even though no longer “news”) & i have to say don brash et al did not compromise his policies, he merely conspired to hide them, defer them at most, but mainly to focus debate on other issues. the fact that new right policies won’t enter the debate being promoted strongly by national this time around only means they are still trying to focus debate away from that. the new right have not renounced their revolutionary zeal.
    i’m also reminded of the brief controversy during the previous national government when it was revealed some were pushing the sale of certain national treasures including copies of milton’s work gifted to the country by his heirs. it seems that they had got beyond merely selling assets to pay off debt, selling assets to generate revenue, or selling assets to make government smaller. they were looking desperately for something else to sell, just because that’s what they do.
    with that mindset, there’s plenty left to sell. the roads. the foreshore & seabed. the beehive.

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  40. I’m just reading the Hollow Men too. It proves even more how ridiculous it was to push the EFA through. I suspect all the Labour MP’s read the Hollow Men and reacted with badly thought out legislation (and many loopholes, and many areas simply not even addressed) that doesn’t level any playing fields.

    As usual, the voter suffers the most out of all of these “games” politicians play.

    Any bleating of what National *might* do has to be offset by what Labour *are* doing (or not doing as the case may be.

    Unfortunately, I have many hours of work ahead of me tonight, so this conversation will have to wait for another day.

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