Positive versus negative campaigning | The Jackal

11 Aug 2014

Positive versus negative campaigning

I'm not sure if you've noticed but the left wing, particularly Labour, have been totally nailing their policy announcements in the lead-up to the September election. If you have the time, it's well worth reading through a few of them. What this shows is that Labour is ready to govern, which is more than can be said for the current government and their allies who are on the far-right fringes of political oblivion.

In comparison to Labour, National's policy announcements have looked weak and ineffective. So far all we've seen is a vague promise by John Key to lower taxes, free doctors' visits for children up to 13 and some other non-memorable announcements that have, because of their feebleness, caused a media vacuum. Therein lies the problem for National, being that they really have no new policy initiatives to speak of, they have nothing to really campaign on.

This seems to be making a number of National MPs rather bitter. They appear to be so twisted up about how well Labour is doing in terms of policy initiatives that all they can do is throw mud from the sidelines, a good example being Tony Ryall's little rant yesterday about Labour's latest health policy announcement:

Promising everything to everybody

Health Minister, Tony Ryall has described Labour’s health policy announcement as desperate electioneering in a last ditch effort to turn around their failing support.

“Labour is promising everything to everybody, with this latest $250 million on top of hundreds of millions of dollars of other promises made during the year.

“Labour has underestimated the cost of these latest health promises. For example they haven’t allowed for the extra demand that will result if things become free.

“The bidding war between parties on the left is now out of control,” says Mr Ryall.

That's the entire press release…ninety-odd words of negativity that really say nothing at all. In fact this is the same response National's used for every single one of Labour's policy announcements. They've nothing to say apart from it's unaffordable and the provided costing's are wrong anyway. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where National's propaganda contradicts itself.

I find it highly ironic that National is once again talking about tax cuts, especially when you consider the amount of additional debt the government has accrued after lowering taxes for the rich, while criticizing Labour's socially positive policy that will cost a hell of a lot less. $2 billion more debt each year isn't a figure to be sneezed at and National hinting at getting New Zealand into further debt just to buy a few rich people's votes doesn't exactly make good economic sense.

It's easy to see that Labour is generally running a very positive campaign, while National has gone very negative at every opportunity. Somehow I don't think this will work well for the right wing. After all, their target market are people who usually won't respond positively to government MPs slagging off what by all accounts is very well thought and properly budgeted for policy initiatives.

With John Key looking tired and ready to resign, clearly there’s nothing robust about National's campaigning so far. Now compare National's negativity with Labour's more effective and positive campaigning: