Opinion: National's candidates claim they have exactly the same 'sense' of their community's views
By John Pagani
It's a bit of a laugh that National candidates have been caught out making cookie cutter statements about their selections, but there's something a bit worse going on in this example:
The similarities started in March when Leonie Hapete was chosen to stand in Palmerston North and Jonathan Fletcher was picked for National in Rimutaka.
In separate statements, both said they got ''the sense'' from their community that people welcomed the Government's ''comprehensive plan to grow the economy, to start living within our means, deliver enduring jobs, and build the critical infrastructure to future proof New Zealand and our region.''
When she won selection in May, [Maggie Barry] also noted a ''sense the community understands National's plan to grow the economy, to start living within our means as a country, deliver enduring jobs, and build the critical infrastructure to future proof New Zealand and our region.''
When you claim you have a 'sense' from the region, you are making a specific, refutable claim that you had a specific feeling derived from things that a particular group of people said to you.
You cannot gain a sense of the community from a head office cookie cutter press release. To claim you have a sense you have to have actually sensed the particular thing you are claiming to have sensed.
This is different from a customary cookie cutter release. A local candidate might put out a release claiming that a government policy will create xyz jobs in their electorate. They might say that the government policy of building more widgets will be specially suitable for their electorate. All run of the mill. It is ok for everyone in National to think tax cuts are great for everyone in New Zealand, and everyone in Labour to think higher wages are good for everyone. Nothing exceptional, and campaigns wouldn't be doing their jobs if they didn't send those lines to the candidates.
It is different to claim you have a feeling from the community when you have no such thing - you are fabricating emotions, and attributing your confection to the people you are asking to trust you.
You can't say you saw a pig flying if there was no pig.
You can't claim you heard a tree fall in the forest if a tree hasn't fallen in the forest.
You can't claim you have a sense there will be an earthquake on a particular date if you have no such sense, but someone has told you to say it.
We further know the claims are nonsense because:
* The government does not have a comprehensive plan to grow the economy; or if they do 'the community' has never heard it.
* The government does not have a comprehensive plan to deliver enduring jobs.
But we don't need to prove those points. Even if they were conceded, the claim National candidates are making is that they personally understood these talking points were in fact sensed by each of them, independently and without modification. And that plainly hasn't happened.