PoliticsSeptember 26, 2017

All the people I’m extremely mad at after the election


Enough of the objective electoral examinations and commitments to creating a better country in spite of the Government. It’s time for irresponsible anger and finger-pointing, observes Hayden Donnell.

There’s been a lot of sober, informative analysis following Saturday’s election. Spinoff public transport tsar Simon Wilson explained the things we learned from the vote, and the delicate dance of democracy both major parties are about to embark on with Winston Peters. Graeme Edgeler wrote about the possible impact of the special votes on the final result. Newsroom’s Bernard Hickey argued Labour lost votes because it raised the spectre of a Capital Gains Tax.

Meanwhile many people on the losing side have been responding to the loss by trying to find ways to make New Zealand a better place. They’ve shown maturity in the face of defeat.

To both the objective commentators and the magnanimous losers I say, screw that! Screw it to hell! I’m mad as a bat! It’s time for some rage and recrimination! The only thing that will make this divided nation stronger is anger and blame! These are the people I’m mad at! Get ready!

Bill English’s pizza

The pizza was too powerful.

People who got angry at Bill English’s pizza

You only enhanced the power of the pizza.

Nadia Lim

She legitimised the pizza, increasing both the power of the pizza and its creator.

Pizza itself

A very overrated food.

People who get mad at me for saying pizza is overrated

If you love pizza so much, why don’t you marry it?

Clarke Gayford

He did a few ill-advised tweets and slaughtered thousands of fish.

Landline truthers

Every time a poll came out, people who didn’t like its results would say it wasn’t accurate because they only surveyed people with landlines, and people with landlines aren’t statistically viable human beings or something.

Despite journalist Frances Cook’s heroic efforts to repeatedly drag them on Twitter, landline truthers won over politicians who should know better, like Golriz Ghahraman of the Greens, who blamed telephones for the Greens’ poor polling in an appearance on Backbenchers.

No-one sucked worse than serious evidence-based statistically informed Policy party TOP though. It rounded out the campaign by citing a random poll that showed up on the AM Show’s news ticker, and having Gareth Morgan angrily moan into a webcam about how the party would exceed its 2% polling.

TOP got 2.2%.

David Seymour

Did a bunch of dumb-as-hell tweets, got roughly 16 votes, and still gets gifted $200,000 to flail ineffectively from the back benches or the pub or wherever National lets him sit these days. When will Act stop taking Government welfare and accept it has been rejected by the market?

Kennedy Graham and David Clendon

Resigned from their own party in the middle of an election campaign, damaging its election chances, dooming its co-leader, and screwing over their colleagues. In exchange they got the reward of seeming like bungling goofs themselves. A  historic trade-off. Congrats to all involved.

Most of the media coverage during the Metiria Turei story

This really got out of hand. I feel like we lost perspective a little.

Mike Joy

Endorsed TOP. Forgot he endorsed TOP. How do you forget TOP? This is a genuine question. I want to forget TOP.

Steven Joyce and Bill English

Maybe it wasn’t a lie at first. Maybe it was just a mistake from a guy who dropped out of economics at university. That’s relatable. Let those of us who haven’t incompetently embarrassed ourselves in front of the nation cast the first stone. But it was definitely a lie for Steven Joyce and Bill English to keep repeating the line about Labour’s $11.7 billion fiscal hole after every mathematically literate person in New Zealand said it didn’t exist.

As it says in the Bible, the lie begat more lies: Labour would raise income taxes. Labour would tax this house that is not necessarily a family home but definitely looks a lot like a family home.

In the end, a general tax-ey vibe seems to have counted against Labour. Admittedly there’s no real data to support that claim yet but this interview Russell Brown conducted with a random taxi driver provides strong evidence it was a defining issue for voters and that’s good enough for me.

Most of the media coverage of the lying

We probably didn’t go hard enough on the lies.

New Zealand First voters and New Zealand First

Winston Peters used his speech to the nation on election night to desperately plead with his own MPs not to say anything embarrassing or stupid in the next few days. The camera immediately cut to Shane Jones, who looked like he’d just sicked up in his mouth. Thanks to roughly 7.5% of voters, this talent-rich party will decide the next Government of New Zealand.

Sean Plunket

Spent most of the campaign calling Spinoff overall tsar Duncan Greive a cunt, which is admittedly pretty cool, and obsessively haranguing Lizzie Marvelly on Twitter, which is not.

Plunket eventually offered to delete his Twitter account if TOP didn’t get 5%.

But like all TOP promises, it hasn’t come to fruition [ed’s note: he has said he’ll stop tweeting, but not deleted his accounts, so…] and has actually backfired into a kind of negative promise, with Plunket seeming to step up his tweet-rate post-election. Still, his main sin was helping…

Gareth Morgan

First off, this isn’t about the cats.

Yes, Gareth Morgan wants to kill cats. He wants to herd them all into a warehouse like a feline-luring pied piper and murder them with precise karate chops to their furry throats. Maybe that betrays a kind of utilitarian ethic that regards human emotions as irrelevant obstacles to be overcome on the way to crafting a Perfect Society through Policy. Maybe that slightly misanthropic attitude underlies many of Morgan’s actually sensible and well-crafted Policies.

But it’s not about cats. The main thing about Morgan, and TOP as a whole, is that it was not only a waste of time – its existence actively worked against its aims. Morgan said housing was TOP’s top issue, that Boomers were voting as a block to exclude their children from the market. Then the party attracted 50,000 wasted votes that would’ve mainly gone to parties with more progressive housing policies. It helped National – a party with little interest in upsetting the status quo – extend its lead.

It’s not like this was unpredictable. TOP polled between one and two per cent for the whole campaign. But when it came time to accept its imminent defeat, it lapsed into denial and tinfoil-hatted poll trutherism. TOP’s evidence-based approach didn’t extend to polling data.

In the end, the fresh ideas party helped usher in a stale Government’s fourth term. The anti-politics-as-usual party became a monument to a millionaire politician’s unbridled ego.

New Zealand


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