Gerard Otto Facebook: The self interest of the NZH and National MPs who own multiple properties who object to a CGT

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The fact 75% of National MPs have investment property and vow to repeal any CGT is not self interest according to the NZ Herald.

Gerard Otto

The self interest of the NZ Herald

Who pays the NZ Herald? Advertisers and subscribers.

While its free online reach has grown, the circulation of the country’s biggest paper, NZME’s New Zealand Herald, has been tracking steadily downwards for years, falling in 2016 from 134,000 papers a day to 127,000.

It now offers subscriptions for $1 a day and “premium content” ( lol ) will retreat behind a paywall soon in order to rescue the bleeding business model.

The demographics of the NZ Herald’s shrinking audience is well known to both the marketing and sales departments within NZME and it is careful to point out that it does not necessary agree with everything it publishes.

The demographics of the audience are also well known to the NZ Herald’s advertisers.

But let’s face it – it’s always been a conservative audience made up of get ahead empty nesters and self congratulatory recent retirees.

This is why the NZ Herald political page was covered with anti-CGT headlines yesterday.

The content feeds the prevailing opinions and prejudices of the known audience.

That’s how you keep them.

Plus the content is frequently also aligned with the prevailing views of major advertisers as well ( but not always ) especially when the vast majority of business decision makers vote National.

Neutrality is trumped by the bias of commercial imperatives.

Mike Hosking and Barry Soper ripped their spleens about how if every recommendation in the TWG report was not adopted by cabinet then it’s just not fair and a sign of bungling weakness by a naive government.

This was clearly preposterous.

No working group ever expects every one of it’s recommendations to be adopted and it is standard operating procedure in New Zealand law making that only some portion of the range of options are adopted by ANY government.

For example Judith Collins decided NOT to adopt the recommendation from the Electoral Commission to lower the MMP threshold from 5% to 4% whilst adopting other recommendations made by the commission.

This is normal and you don’t find Mike Hosking and Barry Soper ringing the bells about these matters unless it’s an issue that matters to the prevailing demographics of the audience or to advertisers.

The infection of self interest is not in dispute.

Constituencies matter including dwindling revenue streams for newspapers.

Bryce Edward’s “roundup” role is to reinforce conservative views because repetition with reach is the formula for shifting public opinion.

Top of Bryce Edwards reinforcement article today was the views of Hosking and Soper – along with Guy Espiner who had also fretted about watering down the proposed CGT to one that only focuses upon property investments.

This is all standard propaganda, feeding an audience with the prevailing perspectives it wants to hear.

Jacinda cannot walk the talk is the sound bite.

Ironically the NZ Herald Editorial today is all about how self interest plays no part at all in the decisions made by MPs when falling into their respective party political camps.

The fact 75% of National MPs have investment property and vow to repeal any CGT is not self interest according to the NZ Herald.

Their reasoning is that a poll suggested a majority of New Zealanders were opposed to a CGT in a polling period well before 20 February 2019 and because only 20% of the population own 80% of the assets that would be taxed – this clearly shows the public is not self interested but principled instead.

The weakness in this argument is that the Newshub/Reid Research poll they refer to was conducted before the release of the TWG final report to the public on 21 February 2019 and it’s not until 21 April 2019 ( approx ) that cabinet will decide what recommendations to adopt or scrap.

54% were opposed but 14% of the respondents were unsure in that poll – so there’s a fair margin for swing here.

As the public forms a view about any specific proposal – those numbers are going to move around. Some of the NO votes might became YES etc.

It’s not until AFTER cabinet release it’s policy that the NZ Herald could reasonably argue who was in support of a policy involving a CGT.

The poll they should refer to is yet to come.

But self interest might tempt them to suggest such matters are already determined and fixed in stone to their shrinking revenue base right now.

The prevailing pattern in our media starts with a huge build up of speculation and waffle which rises to a crescendo before a cabinet decision making process takes place.

Media reports what other media have already reported and a helicopter of possibilities takes off and flies around while Judith and Simon and Amy get in front of cameras and Mike Hosking knows all the answers from his pulpit.

Then something entirely unexpected happens – and cabinet makes a sensible decision that gets one day of coverage before everyone rushes off to speculate on the next topic.

Right now the CGT Speculative Helicopter is buzzing over rooftops and swooping into households, offices and retirement villages.

However it will land eventually and when it does we’ll all have some facts to consider.

In the meantime self interest rules for the press who make hay out of frenzied ongoing speculation and for the National Party who are determined to repeal any CGT no matter what it is – no matter how unfair or fair.

That self interest is etched in folding paper, timber and mortar despite the rest of the world all evolving to a far more principled position in the 21st century.

The self interest of the NZ Herald

Morning

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