Francesca Rudkin: National finally gives us an election choice

Author
Francesca Rudkin,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Sep 2020, 10:01AM
Business has a lot of faith in Judith Collins, but Paul Goldsmith (right) comes second to Grant Robertson. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)

Francesca Rudkin: National finally gives us an election choice

Author
Francesca Rudkin,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Sep 2020, 10:01AM

Is it just me or has the world starting to lose its sense of humour just a little?

This week The Recorders and Early Music Union filed an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over the way a Pink Batt’s television commercial, exploits and degrades the recorder and their efforts to promote it for artistic and recreational purposes.

The ad for Pink Batt’s Silencer sees the man in the pink onesie playing a recorder, and a woman on the other side of the wall checks the noise reduction levels provided by the insulation. The Pink Batt’s mascot makes a comment that implies he’s so pleased no one can hear him play.

The Recorders and Early Music Union felt the ad drives the stereotype that the instrument should not be taken seriously and should be an object for derision. They felt it gave "rise to hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule".

An overreaction in regards to the recorder, (come on, it’s an annoying instrument, but one that we’re kinda fond o0f, right?) but these are the words you expect to hear during an election campaign. And here I am again, right back at the election;  and here’s the thing, it is what we should be talking about.

Last week I called it the Don’t Rock the Boat Election. Others have called it a race to the centre, some have gone so far to say boring. 2020 has already thrown so much at us that many are finding it hard to engage with an election.

I get that, but this weekend we know two things we didn’t know at the start of the week.

  1. The PREFU and GDF figures, which reminds us that while the implications of COVID are awful in the short term it’s during the next government’s term that the reality of the economic and social impact of Covid will hit.
  2. We finally learnt more about National’s fiscal plan, and how they will differentiate themselves with their tax policy.

Labour made a small adjustment that affects roughly two percent of taxpayers, but National’s plan, while temporary, is more expansive and impacts all taxpayers by lifting all the tax thresholds in an attempt to achieve short term stimulus.

National also announced it would make cuts to day-to-day spending, and give businesses a tax break. It has been less ambitious on its initial plan to reduce core Crown debt – the new target is 34.9% by 2033/34.

Election bribe? “No”, says Collins.

But at the very least, for the first time National have given us a real choice: a choice between what’s best for me personally, and what’s best for the country. National will be hoping it also raises a nagging thought – could they be the same thing?

An interesting sidebar of National’s fiscal policy is that they plan to use roughly $10 billion left over in the $50 billion Covid Fund to make this happen. Let’s not forget, they didn’t find money under the couch; what they found was a slip of paper, one with IOU written on it in big capitals.

It’s a gutsy move by Collins and Goldsmith, but they really had no choice. If you’re second best at the game you’re playing and want to win, you’ve got to change things up. Election bribes have a proud tradition - interest free student loans anyone? - but this one won’t win over everyone who is thinking hard about the decades long consequences that will result from how we’re governed in the next three years.  

By the way, the ASA dismissed the complaint saying the badly played recorder was merely used as an example of a noise that some people wouldn't like to hear, adding it was unlikely that the ad would cause "widespread offence".

At the end of the day, any instrument played badly is only a joy to the person playing it.  

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