Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Dunne Speaks: Post Truth Politics and the Housing Debate

Dunne Speaks: Post Truth Politics and the Housing Debate


There has been much comment recently that we have entered a “post truth” era of politics, where politicians not only no longer tell the truth, but worse, have given up any pretence of doing so. According to this line of argument, what matters most with voters is the impression that a politician’s comment leaves, rather than its substance.

The most striking example the commentators quote comes from the recent Brexit campaign, where “leave” campaigners claimed that Britain’s membership of the EU was costing British taxpayers £350 million a week, which could be better spent on health and social services if Britain left Europe. In fact, the claim was quite untrue, but its simplicity struck a chord with disenfranchised voters. Similar claims are made in respect of the recent Australian election where it is argued that misleading texts from Labor sources about the future of Medicare under the Turnbull Government swung many voters in marginal seats. The Trump campaign in the United States offers similar examples as well – from the wall to keep Mexicans out, to the ban on Muslim immigration. The point is that, on any rational assessment, none of these things are either true or achievable, but in the “post truth” environment that is an almost immaterial consideration.

New Zealand politicians are learning the lesson, sadly it seems, if the current housing debate is anything to go by. A complex and difficult social problem with many levels to it is being reduced to inane, empty slogans (just build 100,000 “more bloody houses” to quote the elegant language of the rather crude Leader of the Opposition) without any regard to how all that might be achieved. To one political party, the housing problem is all the fault of the Auckland Council and the Resource Management Act, which resonates with its developer audience; to another, it is all because of immigration, which plays well with its xenophobic audience; and to another, the blame lies with property speculators, as that suits its style of envy politics. The common point is that not one more young family is being housed as a result of these positions. But, the political spin-masters would argue that is a secondary consideration to getting the parties’ respective brands across.

Oh really? The starting point surely has to be that there is a housing problem at present. We know about the Auckland situation, as that is the most obvious manifestation, but right across New Zealand young families are finding it difficult to finance themselves into a first home because of restrictive bank lending policies. There is also a shortage of available rental accommodation, and social agencies are reporting more and more genuinely homeless people.

These are difficult times for liberal, centrist parties like UnitedFuture because the “post truth” approach to politics shows little tolerance for reasoned and well-considered responses. Yet, in the interests of future generations, there are practical steps we should be taking to make progress on the housing front. We need a more inclusive approach through a Housing Summit, bringing together central and local government, the building industry, the Reserve Bank and the trading banks, and social housing providers to develop a comprehensive, integrated plan which all sectors can buy into and implement in a properly co-ordinated way. It is all very well, for example, to propose building more affordable homes if the banks are not prepared to lend to young families to buy them, as is the case at present. (In that regard, UnitedFuture has proposed allowing families to capitalise their Working for Families payments on an annual basis to help bridge the deposit gap or assist with mortgage repayments.)

Politicians of all stripes ought to be accountable for their actions. “Post truth” politics and the focus on slogans ahead of policy simply removes meaningful accountability. “Post truth” politicians are not leaders – they are mere charlatans strutting every stage and saying things they hope are popular and newsworthy, without any regard to practicality.

Simple solutions, bold ideas, call them what you like, rarely work, as history shows. Often, shattered societies are left to pick up the pieces. Unfortunately, the way the major parties are playing the housing debate shows every sign New Zealand is heading down that path. It is not something future generations will thank us for.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, lest he be carried away in the slavering jaws of Jack Tame…. but this was mere incompetence, not malice. At the same time the President of the United States was (a) falsely accusing one of his media critics of murder, and (b) threatening to shut down Twitter for attaching a warning label to Trump’s attempt at poisoning the electoral process by falsely claiming that postal voting has led to extensive voter fraud... More>>


 


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>

ALSO:

National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>

ALSO:

Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>

ALSO:


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes


The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>

ALSO:


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>

ALSO:

The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>

ALSO:

Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>

ALSO:


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels