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John MacDonald: Attacks ads - Entertaining? Yes. Influential? No

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Oct 2023, 12:48pm

John MacDonald: Attacks ads - Entertaining? Yes. Influential? No

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Oct 2023, 12:48pm

There is an ad on the radio at the moment featuring a brilliant impersonation of Labour’s Finance spokesperson and current Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

The Taxpayers Union is behind it. They’ve also got a website that goes with it and even have vehicles painted up, as if they are a legitimate business.

They're calling it "Robbo’s Removal Company” and the gist of the whole thing is that Grant Robertson and Labour have made things so bad that they are literally making it very easy for people to move. To get out of New Zealand.

So, imagine this is a website you’d expect any moving company to have. And this one’s got cartoon pictures of Robbo and Chippy, with the big statement: “Since 2017, we have helped more than 218,000 New Zealand citizens move to other countries in pursuit of lower taxes, greater reward for hard-work and a more affordable cost of living. We make moving the quick, easy and obvious choice for skilled and successful people across the country.”

And just like a genuine website for a genuine business, it includes customer testimonials.

They say things like this from Isabella, a fictional doctor: “Robbo’s Removals made moving to Australia the obvious choice. Of course, I was initially sad about leaving behind my fellow co-workers at the hospital but they have now decided to move here too!”

Then we’ve got the attack ads coming from the other end of the political spectrum. The Council of Trade Unions, especially. These are the ones you will have seen everywhere with the image of Christopher Luxon looking like some sort of dictator.

And the message that the National Party leader is out of touch and there’s too much to risk voting him to be our next Prime Minister.

And it’s not just the ads. The CTU sent out that crazy email to all its members the other weekend saying that National wants to cut superannuation, get rid of the winter energy payment and get rid of 10-days sick leave for workers.

All wrong. In fact, if you wanted to, you could say these claims weren’t just wrong - they were actually lies. And I think they were lies. There’s no other way to put it.

And then, after the fact, the CTU came out and said it was all just a mistake.

So that’s some of the stuff the so-called “third parties” have been up to. And by third parties, I mean the likes of the CTU and the Taxpayers’ Union.

But the politicians and the parties themselves have really ramped up the attacks too.

And it’s not just the leaders. Individual MPs have been getting all negative about their opponents on social media.

So we’ve had Labour saying that National’s tax plan is a “scam”. That it should’ve been upfront from the start and said that only 3,000 households would qualify under its plan for the full “up to $250 a fortnight” in tax relief.

And yesterday, National’s Christopher Luxon was describing Chris Hipkins as the “Prime Mis-informer”. That was in relation to Labour’s plan for state-funded dental care for the under-30s.

National is saying that Labour should’ve been more open and honest and made it clear that what it was talking about was basic dental-care only. That’s why Luxon was calling Hipkins the “Prime Mis-informer”.

But is all this dissing of each other by the politicians and all the expensive ads and billboards and posters being put out there by the parties themselves and other outfits like the CTU and the taxpayers, is this actually going to make any difference?

Are they having any influence over which way you decide to vote?

At best, I’m finding some of them entertaining. But that's about it.

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