Making mountains out of malehills over advert but little defence of KiwiBuild

National enraged a bunch of people who seem to be perpetually looking for things to get enraged about with an advertisement criticising KiwiBuild that has received a huge amount of promotion from media reporting the enragement.

I do think there are a number of people active in social media who seem intent on making mountains out of malehills.

What is glaringly absent in this is a lack of defence of KiwiBuild. It is all ‘attack the messenger’ diversion.

Outrage over men holding a beer talking to women, blonds and the use of sausage quips in political clips seems like over the top attempts to sanitise everything.

Perhaps it has driven some people to tears – but how do you say anything publicly without risking annoying, enraging or devastating someone?

I’m betting tired of those arguments and attempts to PC everything – and using outrage as a way of trying to attack and discredit and divert in politics.

But there are some interesting associated issues. Did National deliberately provoke ‘progressives’ to get a sort of Streisand effect?

And, this has been all attack of National and no defence of KiwiBuild.

Danyl Mclachlan (The Spinoff):  Notes towards a grand unified theory of the terrible National Party sausage ad

Here’s my grand conspiracy theory. Progressives are actually the primary target for this ad and it is designed to offend them. Offense and controversy makes things newsworthy and earns you coverage in the mainstream media, thus potentially reaching a far greater number of viewers than National would get through making a non-controversial, non-mansplaining ad.

The way you communicate the KiwiBuild critique to the wider public – who are never going to watch a political ad in their feed, even if you boost it – is by breaching progressive rules of etiquette and provoking a controversy.

Presumably there will be more: maybe the next shocking thing will be the next National Party ad, giving online progressives the chance to spend the whole year furiously amplifying National’s talking points.

Whether National inadvertently bumbled or deliberately provoked, they got far more attention than they would have for most attempted political hits.

While are ‘progressives’ so easily riled? Concern about a fairly impotent Opposition party? Or despair that the Government has made a mess of KiwiBuild with no solution in sight?

Bradbury has a good point. On eof those claiming sexism rather than defending KiwiBuild was Phil Twyford.

Newshub: No one entered KiwiBuild ballot for Waikato development

Newshub can reveal how unpopular KiwiBuild has become: absolutely no one entered the ballot to buy any of the homes in one of the developments.

The Government’s flagship housing scheme is now at the stage where developers are offering up bribes to get people interested.

But KiwiBuild isn’t just backfiring for the Government – it’s backfiring for National too.

The party’s latest taxpayer-funded attack ad has drawn widespread criticism for showing a man explaining KiwiBuild to a woman.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said it was “clearly sexist”.

“I would think a lot of people find it offensive.”

I would think a lot more people would find Twyford’s failure with KiwiBuild of rather more concern.

There was one person reported as defending KiwiBuild:

“We as a Government are building more houses than any Government has built since the 1970s, which I have to say feels roughly about the era of that ad,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Don’t dare suggest that is sizzle without, ah, substance.

 

Mallard and Parliamentary Services cleared of Bridges leaked

A lack of evidence connecting Trevor Mallard or Parliamentary Services to the leak of Simon Bridges’ expenses makes more of a mountain out of what looks increasingly like a mole in the National Party.

RNZ:  Bridges’ expenses inquiry narrows down possible leakers

Mr Mallard initially called a Parliamentary inquiry into the leak but that was overtaken by political events.

His inquiry ended in August after RNZ revealed the person claiming to be both the leaker and a National MP contacted Mr Bridges and Mr Mallard pleading for it to be stopped for the sake of their mental health.

Subsequently, a National Party inquiry was launched – the findings are expected in the next week.

Mr Mallard arranged a forensic investigation of emails and relevant databases connected to his office and those staff involved in the preparation of the expenses – about 20 staff in total.

KPMG, who carried it out, has concluded there is no evidence that Mr Mallard or any Parliamentary Service finance staff were responsible for the leak.

“On the basis of this independent review there is no evidence that staff in the office of the Speaker, Mr Speaker or Parliamentary Service finance and corporate staff released details of this quarterly expense disclosure report to any unauthorised parties,” the report said.

This doesn’t surprise me – why on earth would Mallard or anyone in Parliamentary Services leak expenses information that was due to be officially released a few days later? It defies logic.

With those possibilities ruled out that leaves National MPs and their staff or someone in the National Party.

Mr Bridges has repeatedly insisted none of his MPs were responsible but now that Mr Mallard has all but cleared his own name, his office staff and the Parliamentary Service staff involved in the preparation of the expenses, the finger of blame is pointing to the National Party.

The National Party’s own investigation is being led by PWC and Simpson Grierson.

It will consider both the original leak to Newshub and the subsequent text sent by someone citing mental health issues.

PWC will conduct the forensic work and lawyers at Simpson Grierson will be responsible for filtering what information is and is not passed onto Mr Bridges and his deputy, Paula Bennett.

So this bizarre issue will keep festering away for Bridges for a while yet.

If the leaker is discovered and revealed to be a National MP that will be tricky for Bridges to deal with.

If Bridges decides not to reveal the outcome of the inquiry it will be tricky for Bridges.

It’s hard to see a good outcome for Bridges. He may have created a mountain of a mess from a mole in his party.