When National leaked and then announced the home insulation fund they had a choice about how to spin it. I can easily think of four options they had (I’m sure there are others):
- Environmental/climate-change: home insulation reduces energy consumption, thus reducing the amount of generation required, thus reducing the use of thermal generation (read thermal as burning stuff :) which in turn reduces CO2 emissions which in turn reduces the effects of climate change.Â
- Environmental/sustainability/primary-production/innovation: NZ businesses are doing some really interesting work in sustainable home insulation using NZ’s primary products rather than imports. A nice photo op with a company making home insulation from wool and voilÃ , the story is about innovation, sustainability and government support for agriculture and primary production in a recession.
- Health/education/social-development: Insulated warm dry homes improve family health and child education outcomes by reducing sickness and deafness. Photo op: Minister visits family in recently insulated home, since insulation went in the kids are much more healthy and doing much better at school, little Moana might even trundle over to the Minister with a picture book and read it to him. PR gold â€“ government cares for families and kiddies!
- Traditional-infrastructure/building sector: Insulating homes means the existing builders, insulators and contractors will have more work and will weather the recession.
National chose option 4 â€“ why? It’s not the best PR option and it’s not the most on message, every other option had clear weathering the recession messages plus something forward looking and visionary. Instead they chose the staid dull message which appeals only to the traditional infrastructure industries.
The only explanation I could come up with is that traditional infrastructure is where National’s traditional funders and backers have come from, perhaps they wasted a golden opportunity for positive spin for a little old fashioned pay back?
This post was, in part, inspired by Zetetic’s post about National’s current lack of attention to the concerns of female voters. A couple of Â their options would’ve been great options if they cared about women voters, instead they chose the spin best suited for the Fletcher Building board.