Poll – trust in institutions, politicians, media and bloggers

A third “Who do we trust?” survey, taken in March 2019 by the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies in association with Colmar Brunton, surveyed 1000 New Zealanders on various issues of trust and life satisfaction.

New Zealanders who trust the government to do what is right for New Zealand:

  • 2016 – 48%
  • 2018 – 65%
  • 2019 – 63%

People satisfied with life in general (10=completely, 0=not at all):

  • 10 – 6%
  • 9 – 12%
  • 8 – 25%
  • 7 – 25%

Total ‘satisfied’ (7-10): 68%

  • 6 – 13%
  • 5 – 11%
  • 4 – 4%

Total ‘neither nor’ (4-6): 28%

  • 3 – 2%
  • 2 – 1%
  • 1 – 1%

Total ‘dissatisfied’ (0-3): 3%

Total who comment on blogs and social media who are dissatisfied? Not asked, but I suspect that is disproportionately high going by the tone of many comments.

The most distrusted groups are Bloggers/online commentators, followed by Members of Parliament and Media.

But it may not be as bad as it appears at a glance. At the bottom of the pile are ‘Bloggers/online commentators’:

  • I have complete trust – 0%
  • I have lots of trust – 3%
  • I have some trust – 30%
  • I have little trust – 43%
  • I have no trust at all – 24%

So a third of people have either some or lots of trust. That may seem low, but many if not most people will have little to no idea about ‘Bloggers/online commentators’ apart from a smattering of negative headlines, if that.

I don’t trust some but I do generally trust many.

There would be few if any bloggers with a public profile (as a blogger) other than Cameron Slater, David Farrar, Dermot Nottingham and Martyn Bradbury.

New Zealanders perceptions that citizens’ interests are equally and fairly considered by government

People who live in Auckland, who were born outside of New Zealand are more likely to say citizens’ interests are considered a great deal.

People who are dissatisfied with life, distrustful of people and who have political leanings to the right are more likely to say citizens’ interests are considered very little or not at all

Victoria University: Latest trust survey explores link to political leanings

 

The pre-budget political circus symptom of a bigger problem

The politically created and media stoked pre-budget circus over insecure Treasury data was a symptom of a growing problem.

Treasury, the Government (in particular Grant Robertson), and the National opposition all came out looking worse to the public.

The circus demonstrated how out of touch with ordinary New Zealand politicians and the media are getting.

Bernard Hickey suggests: Our political metabolic rate is way, way too fast

No one comes out the Budget 2019 ‘hack’ with any credit, Bernard Hickey argues. The ‘scandal’ is symptomatic of an accelerating and more extremist form of politics in a social media-driven age of snap judgments and tribal barracking.

I turned on Radio New Zealand’s First at 5 programme, expecting and wanting to hear the latest burp and fart in the saga.

Instead, I heard presenter Indira Stewart asking some year 13 students at Tamaki College in South Auckland about what they wanted from the Budget, and comments from the tuck shop lady Nanny Barb about the kids at the school arriving hungry and needing breakfast. Listen to it here.

It stopped me in my tracks.

Year 13 students Lu Faaui, Uili Tumanuvao, Sela Tukia, Francis Nimo and Efi Gaono thanked Nanny Barb for their meal. They talked about what they wanted from the Budget. They had been forced to move out of state houses in Glen Innes (Tamaki Regeneration Company) to South Auckland and their parents were working multiple jobs to pay for private rentals.

They were paying $40 a week to travel across Auckland each day to Tamaki College.

“Just like Sela said, it’s forced us to move out of GI (Glen Innes) and yeah my family just decides to cope with it. It’s made my Dad work even more hours. My mum gets two jobs, my sister gets two jobs. I mean, money is money you know,” said Lu.

What they didn’t care about

They didn’t care about how an Opposition researcher had done 2,000 searches on a Treasury website to try to find Budget 2019 information four days ahead of its release.

Or that Simon Bridges had then recreated 22 pages of Budget information and released it to the public to highlight Treasury’s IT system flaws and embarrass the Government. They didn’t care or even know that the Treasury Secretary had jumped to the conclusion the information was ‘hacked’ and needed to be referred to the police.

Or that Grant Robertson had made the mistake of trusting Makhlouf and leapt to lash back at Bridges by suggesting illegal activity. Or that Bridges had then accused Robertson of lying and the Treasury of being incompetent, and that it was a deliberate smear and a threat to democracy.

They did not hear the Opposition Leader jump the shark by saying: “This is the most contemptible moment in New Zealand politics.”

Really? Worse than Muldoon outing Colin Moyle? Or the Dirty Politics revelations? Or Jami-Lee Ross’ allegations?

All those teenagers wanted was affordable and convenient housing and transport so they could easily go to school and their parents didn’t have to work so hard.

That sort of thing is reality for many people who don’t care for posturing and point scoring, which turns most people off politics.

This is how politics works now

If I had time and they were still interested in talking to me, I’d explain how politicians and the media operate now.

I’d show them my twitter feed and how news and commentary have ramped up into a blur of headlines, memes, click-bait, extreme views, abuse and a desperate game of trying to grab the attention of a distracted media and whip their own social media bubbles into a frenzy.

The best example of how this increased metabolic rate of politics has warped the public debate is to point to what has happened in America and Europe, where increasingly polarised politicians shout at each other from their own bubbles of supporters and nothing changes. Meanwhile, other forces keep screwing the scrum of democracy to further their own interests.

The end result is a disengaged public, policy paralysis, a lot of noise and not much light.

It isn’t unusual for politicians to be out of touch with ordinary people living ordinary lives.

But the media a real concern – they are supposed to shine a light on politicians and Parliament, hold them to account and inform the public.

too often they seem too intent on lighting the fires, or at least providing the petrol and inflaming things way out of proportion to their importance.

I understand how it happened and I’ve been living in it now for a decade. A political firmament driven by social media, sound bites, cheap shots and one-day-wonder stories is not going to solve the problems of South Auckland or Tamaki.

Everyone should take a chill pill, stop jumping to conclusions for a quick political hit and instead think beyond the beltway to the real world and long term concerns of citizens.

What’s the chances of this happening? I see no sign of it.

 

New Zealand politicians as cars

From Reddit:

From comments:

The Andrew Little van is a Hiace, not aa Hilux.

Iain Lees-Galloway- Citroën Visa

  • Great to pick up dodgy looking hitchhikers in

  • Hard to maintain properly so doesn’t bother

  • Rear view mirror is great to groom beard in instead of reading boring files

  • Only a five seater but once crammed 11 people in and 3 on the roof

Iain Lees-Galloway – Chevrolet Corvair Gen I

  • Sharp looking

  • Not road-worthy

If David Seymour was a form of transport he would definitely be a new and untested, yet surprisingly feasible but also not entirely thought out form of transport.

Judith Collins is more a Ford Ranger.

Who’s the Outback/Legacy? Gotta be Bill English

Gareth Morgan – gen1 Toyota Prius

  • smug self-superiority and endless virtue signalling

  • thinks the only reason you don’t like him is because you hate the planet

  • actually a good idea with lots of positive hype, actually runs like shit when the chips are down

Some comment on Chloe Swarbrick:

I think this is a bit mean to Chloe, is she really that hated?

She’s completely my brand of politics but she still pisses me off. Would totally vote for her, regardless.

I think a lot of people like her (including me) but a few are pissed off, and I guess the creator just made everything about everyone more dramatic.

I wouldn’t say hated, but she slightly annoys me. I’d still vote for her, she has good ideas.

She’s a bit smug imo. As someone who voted green I would have rather had her further down the list to make room for the prior competent green MPs who didn’t make it back in like Mojo Mathers

I don’t hate her, I’m just bored and exasperated.

This must have been picked up from Facebook.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, car and text

 

World’s most powerful female politicians

Forbes Magazine has named Jacinda Ardern as the 13th most powerful female politician in the world. I think this is a bit premature, but it will increase Ardern’s international profile.

Most Powerful Women In Politics (Forbes):

  1. Angela Merkel, Chancellor Germany
  2. Theresa May, Prime Minister, U.K.
  3. Tsa Ing-Wen, President, Taiwan
  4. Michelle Bachelet, President, Chile
  5. Federica Mogherini, Foreign Policy Chief, European Union
  6. Ivanka Trump, Senior Advisor, The White House
  7. Ruth Bader Ginsburg/Elena Kagan/Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justices
  8. Queen Elizabeth II
  9. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister, Bangladesh
  10. Beata Maria Szydlo, Prime Minister, Poland
  11. Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor, Myanmar
  12. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation & Development, U.A.E.
  13. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand
  14. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President, Croatia
  15. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, U.K.
  16. Nikki Haley, Ambassador to United Nations, U.S.
  17. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway
  18. Elvira Nabiullina, Governor, Bank of Russia
  19. Liyuan Peng, First Lady, China
  20. Hillary Clinton, Former Presidential Candidate, U.S.
  21. Dalia Grybauskaite, President, Lithuania
  22. Kersti Kaljulaid, President, Estonia

Not surprising to see Merkel at the top, and Theresa May is probably up there as well but it’s debatable how powerful she is in the UK let alone the world.

Surprising to see Queen Elizabeth II there. She is a figurehead, not a power in politics.

Hillary Clinton well down the list is no surprise, she has no political position.

Not sure that Ivanka Trump is particularly powerful either.

RNZ: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/top/342900/ardern-makes-list-of-most-powerful-women-in-global-politics

Did Australian politicians get lazy?

Latta on what our politicians do

Nigel Latta has had a look at what our politicians (and media and lobbyists and activists) do.

Stuff: Nigel Latta: What Do Our Politicians Actually Do?

We decided to go and look at Parliament because whenever you’re looking at how to solve the nation’s problems, it always comes back to Parliament. 

Politicians are despised but when you spend some time with them, you quickly realise that almost all of them are there because they want to make a difference and do something positive. It’s just that ambition and ego sometimes get in the way. 

And the public mostly sees what our politicians do through the eyes of the media, who tend to focus disproportionately on conflict, disruption, controversy and mistakes.

Our Parliament is based on a clash of ideas and we’ve been led to believe that’s a good way to solve problems, but that’s the worst way to solve problems. It’s not the best idea that emerges, it’s the person with the loudest voice  who wins.

To an extent that’s true but it does require about 60 MPs supporting the loudest voices.

In a perfect world we’d be able to sit down as humans and talk through ideas. We’d just have a bunch of people who aren’t members of any party; they’re smart people, they’re going to talk about ideas.  They’d be genuinely open to any solution rather than driven by ideological views.

Theoretically perhaps, but what sort of people would we end up with as MPs if things worked like that?

The politician who is elected on the basis of a cause will behave very differently than the politician who is there for a career.

The problem now is we have this political class, career politicians whose primary focus is on getting reelected, and because of that they can stay in power for decades.

We seem to be getting a growing number of ‘career politicians’ under our party based system.

We spent some time with Paula Bennett, and regardless of what you think of her as a person or her politics, she works incredibly hard. She oversees a huge budget. And that’s the thing, they do an important job so we want smart people in there.

The public doesn’t see anything of the hard graft that goes on. Instead we are bombarded with images of opponents trying to destroy their credibility and careers, and of the media trying to concoct sensational stories hold them to account.

The bulk of Parliament’s work is in select committees. In the select committee that we sat on, it was the politicians who were being sensible, and it was the public servants who were trying to argue for a position that may have been legally correct, but was not in the actual interests of everyday New Zealanders.

It was the first time I’d seen MP’s as the sensible ones protecting all of us, and that was refreshing. 

MPs working for us against the bureaucrats? Who’d have thought.

One of the interesting things we did was to follow the procedure of how questions are asked in the House.

The whole process builds in intensity over the day and I can understand how they all get caught up in the drama of it all.

The problem is that while they all think it’s a really big deal getting to ask a question in the House, but none of the rest of us care. In fact most of us are appalled by their behaviour in the Chamber.

It was fascinating watching the reaction of school kids who’d come to see democracy in action. Their faces alternated between amusement and disbelief that our nation’s leaders could be acting like this. 

Ultimately though, our knowledge if what happens in Parliament comes from the media. And a lot of what we see is the antics in the debating chamber or gotcha journalism.

We see a small snapshot via a media seeking sensation and readers/viewers.

The real work in Parliament happens in select committees, and a huge amount of that work happens with politicians working together to get stuff done.

It’s not as entertaining as the silliness in the house so it doesn’t get covered.

Sensible and hard work doesn’t make good headlines.

And the end result of that is that we think they’re all acting like kids all the time, when actually they only behave like kids a very small percentage of the time. The rest of their day, they’re actually doing important work.

And quite a bit of that work involves working together.

At the end of my time in parliament the thing I was most concerned about was the influence of lobbyists.

I think any time a lobbyist goes to see a politician, given this is a person who’s being paid to influence politicians and policy, we should know who’s there, who they’re representing, and what was discussed. That goes for all lobbyists, whether it be a lobbyist for big alcohol or for environmental groups. 

We should all be concerned about the influence of lobbyists.

Yes, lobbyists (and often the money and vested interests behind lobbyists) have more influence on what happens than many realise.

After watching this people might say ‘you were too soft on them’. I’ll undoubtedly get emails about why I didn’t slam them on issues like inequality, or housing or any of the other weighty problems we face as a nation.

But that wasn’t the point of going. I wanted to know more about how Parliament works, not circle round the usual policy debates. So now I know that if you want to have some influence find your local MP and feed them a question they might get to ask in the House. Because if it gets asked in the House, you might just get some media attention on your issue. 

So the influential voice is not always the loudest voice in Cabinet, it is influenced by getting a loud voice for your views in the media.

This is something that’s also attempted via social media and blogs, and it sometimes succeeds, like the Red Peak flag. But it’s very competitive, there’s a lot of political and social activists competing to be the Nek Minute in the spotlight.

There are some principled, genuinely compassionate in there who really want to make a difference.

I think most are to an extent at least.

And then I think there are people that are the complete opposite.

Some seem to be hanging in there to collect healthy pay packets. Some seem to think that destruction (of their opponents) is a requisite for getting power to change things.

For us though, as voters, I’m hoping we can learn to demand more than coverage of the trivial, or the endless inane controversies, and instead expect a higher quality of debate. We should also, just by the by, lift our own game.

To an extent at least we get (from the media) what we demand or deserve. And those active in politics outside Parliament demand sensation, as long as it is applied to those they oppose.

Ordinary people (voters) are either bored by politics or turned off by the worst that the media shows them, so they are turned off rather than inspired to demand better.

So I doubt that we will see much improvement. The noisiest politicians, the noisiest journalists and the noisiest activists and lobbyists rule, and while the rest of us allow it to continue like that it will continue being like that.

Most trusted politicians

Readers Digest have released their list of New Zealand’s Most Trusted People 2013

It’s hard to know how people come up with the rankings. It’s dominated by sportspeople, and many are hardly known outside their sporting achievements (and some in advertising). Peter Snell is at 7 on the list and has not lived in New Zealand for decades and is hardly heard of apart from his atheletics fame from the 1960s.

As usual politicians are ranked low. Here is the political rankings (with a couple of others).

44. Garth McVicar, Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson
51. Maggie Barry, TV personality and MP
53. Tim Shadbolt, Mayor of Invercargill
56. Bob Parker, Mayor of Christchurch
57. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister
66. Tony Kokshoorn, Mayor of Grey District
78. Lockwood Smith, High Commissioner of NZ to UK
80. John Key, Prime Minister
83. Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader
87. David Shearer, Labour Party leader
88. Len Brown, Mayor of Auckland
89. Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader
90. Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs
92. Matt McCarten, trade unionist, politician
93. Tariana Turia, Maori Party co-leader
95. Gerry Brownlee, Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery
96. Michael Laws, former Mayor of Wanganui
97. Winston Peters, New Zealand First leader
98. Kim Dotcom, internet entrepreneur
99. John Banks, politician, former Mayor of Auckland
100. Hone Harawira, Mana Party leader

And politicians are ranked low on the New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2013 list too:

41. Call centre staff
42. Airport baggage handlers
43. Journalists
44. Real estate agents
45. Insurance salespeople
46. Politicians
47. Sex workers
48. Car salespeople
49. Door-to-door salespeople
50. Telemarketers

– See more at: