Labour and the ‘typical’ New Zealand family

Today I cleared the mail – nothing there except for a Labour Party pamphlet on “What the 2008 Budget means for you”.

The main photo was of a very happy looking family, apparently very content with what Labour was offering – personal tax cuts; funding for teachers and more operations in hospitals; investing in rail and broadband…

Labour Happy FamilyBut hold on. Is that really a happy New Zealand family? The grass looked a little too green. The plants in the garden looked a little too exotic. The teeth were too perfect. Too much plaid in the clothes. Just too perfect.

Perhaps it takes an ex-photographer to spot a stock photo, and an American one at that…I went straight to www.istockphoto.com and on the 3rd page of a search for ‘happy family’ there was exactly the same image.

Unless they’re expats they probably don’t give a damn about New Zealand tax cuts.

Now, I’m all for saving money and with the Electoral Finance Act they have less to spend, but please! Dignify us by at least using New Zealanders.

Perhaps they couldn’t find any?

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  • By madelyn benn, June 9, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    i just can’t believe that they would be that silly to use such a stock photo. if it wasn’t such a serious matter it’d be laughable! not a very clever move. good work eagle eyes!

  • By Graeme, June 11, 2008 @ 8:45 am

    This is a great find. And looking at the photo now … well Grass just doesn’t look like that in New Zealand.

  • By Jon, June 11, 2008 @ 9:04 am

    Another photo with the same couple has the American Flag in it!
    http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/object/5737127_american_family_at_home.php?id=5737127

  • By Ray, June 11, 2008 @ 9:29 am

    Nice catch

    Where are the “investigative journalists” when you need them

  • By Ben, June 11, 2008 @ 9:41 am

    Why the hell do we need this sort of crap socialist propaganda anyway? do the dickheads in charge not actually listen to public sentiment and realise that the majority of us think they are incompetent and corrupt?

  • By Bruce, June 11, 2008 @ 10:47 am

    Labour probably outsourced and didn’t specify their requirements very well it seems…doh!!
    Hey maybe a US Agency got the job over a NZ one because a NZ Advertising Agency would have considered the importance of using a NZ family photo.

  • By touareg, June 11, 2008 @ 10:53 am

    Don’t you guys have anything better to do?!

    I mean, seriously. It’s a stock photo.

    If they spent NZ$5k on getting a local NZ photographer to take the photo, you all would be the first to complain about the cost and why a more reasonably-priced stock photo couldn’t be used. Bah!

    The point is that the people in the photo, and the house, could easily have been in NZ.

  • By Dominic, June 11, 2008 @ 11:08 am

    I see the Herald story is gaining momentum on digg – http://digg.com/politics/Labour_s_happy_New_Zealand_Family_is_American

  • By Matthew, June 11, 2008 @ 11:47 am

    $20 well spent…get over it.

  • By Mike, June 11, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

    pointless bit of information and i cannot believe it has made the nzherald. do we not have much more concerning issues to deal with?

    don’t get me wrong, cannot wait for a change of goverment but we jump on any small thing at the moment and it is just plain stupid.

    i agree with touareg, if they had spent $1000′s on the photography you would still complain?!

    get over it.

  • By paul, June 11, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

    The grass is greener here. They look like any kiwi family i know.

  • By Hayden, June 11, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

    Come on, they have used a $10 (US) photo from a very reliable source, and saved the tax payers a load. We use i-stock photos all the time, often for NZ uses, that is the point of “Stock” photography. What would you rather they go out and spend $2k on a photoshoot? Sorry to be a hater, but does it matter? Really?

  • By Kirsty, June 11, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

    I’m not sure if it’s a ‘real’ issue or not, but surely there are already photos taken of NZ families they could have used instead? I find it quite sad they don’t want to show NZrs on their mailouts.

  • By cindy, June 11, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

    hmmm

    maybe they couldn’t find a family who wanted to be associated with a Labour advert?

  • By Micky Cullen, June 11, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

    Nothing to see here – no laws broken – a storm in a tea-cup – not worthy of our time – move along, now!

  • By Clunking Fist, June 11, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

    It doesn’t really matter…except that it is $20 of my money they spent trying to get me to vote for them.
    Liarbore supporters laughed over the National Party’schoice of music on the Key DVD. Now it’s my turn to laugh at Liarbore.
    I wouldn’t hate their guts so much, except they keep stealing my money (which I need to feed, clothe and house my family) and piss it away.

    Hang on a mo while I take my pills: the rooms beginning to spin.

  • By Berend de Boer, June 11, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

    touareg, I really don’t care if they spend $5000 of their own money. But as you perhaps realised, this is $5000 of my money.

    But after 9 years of Labour, it’s no surprise they can’t find a happy NZ family.

    And touareg, you would be the first to complain if National or ACT had an American family playing a NZ family, wouldn’t you? It’s just utterly embarrassing.

  • By Dave, June 11, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

    The only embarrassing thing about this is the fact that it’s seen as a worthy news story here in NZ.

    Get over it, get a life and move on, it’s a photo for christ sake!

    You’re only unhappy because you choose to be.

  • By PhotoSales NZ, June 11, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

    Great to see that the New Zealand goverment can not support local stock photo agancies as well.

    There are plenty of New Zealand sites where they could have purchased a photo like that.

    Roll on National!!!

  • By touareg, June 11, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

    @Kirsty: With respect, you need to look into digital rights and see how un-trivial it is to do what you are suggesting.

    @Berend: The issue of spending money for this purpose can be debated but my point was solely in connection with the economical use of a photo for a specific task.

    Would I be the first to complain if National or ACT had an American family standing-in as a Kiwi family?

    Let me answer this by saying that my answer would be the same regardless of which party was involved. I have the same ethical expectations of all political parties, and are not a member of any of them (never will be).

    This is a storm in a tea-cup, and that’s my final word (or words!).

  • By Willem, June 11, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

    a great find, well done. it shows again how unprofessional the Labour Party is and well, Helen is again frustrated by her team. This is embarrasing again. A double whammy, not only a copy of an Australian brochure, but also a non kiwi family. Come on labour, keep going, change is around the corner, after that you can take a good long break. what have you got next in store for us?

  • By Berend de Boer, June 11, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

    touareg, you don’t ask yourself if the Labour party can recognise a NZ family or not?

  • By Sinner, June 11, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

    Hey Skinny

    RadioSocialism on their 5pm bulletin just now credited you with finding this out.

    I guess the quote will be up on their website from later this evening –
    until when they are closed down after the election!

    congrats!

  • By noodle von struedle, June 11, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

    but isn’t Americana imported into every facet of our lifestyles? Pop culture for the kids, stock photos for your votes, why get picky and isolate this case? is it because it challenges us to face the fact that we are rapidly becoming a mimic culture?

  • By Willem, June 11, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

    noodle and others who believe we are nitpicking….it is the obvious arrogance of labour who supposedly stand with the people, for the people but who are not other then just a bunch of politicians trying to ensure that they get another term. it is the way they do it. I am 100% certain that Helen is saying more about this “small” issue behind close doors than that she let’s us believe. it is all to do with a PR embarrasment.

  • By Oswald Bastable, June 11, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

    Surely they have a family of supporters with a digital camera, email and a good ‘teeth to tattoo’ ratio!

    Somewhere in NZ?

  • By mychillybin, June 11, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

    Nice spotting Skinny. There are plenty of kiwi family images, from local stock agencies that would have fit the bill…with no plaid in their clothes!

  • By Ross Mackenzie, June 13, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

    Well it’s about credibility I guess, that’s pretty important! Honesty, accountability, isn’t that the key to good governance?

  • By thehairyarmpit, June 14, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

    Whoopdie fucken dooo

    It’s a photo. Get over it losers!

  • By Craig Ranapia, June 14, 2008 @ 5:25 pm

    If they spent NZ$5k on getting a local NZ photographer to take the photo, you all would be the first to complain about the cost and why a more reasonably-priced stock photo couldn’t be used. Bah!

    Touareg: I actually think most reasonable people would applaud Labour (which loves to talk about the ‘creative economy’ — at least when there’s a photo op for Helen Clark to attend), for putting five grand in the pockets of a local photographer and models.

    But I think you’re (deliberately) missing the point. No, I don’t think this is the biggest scandal in New Zealand’s political history. But, as others have pointed out, when you’re running up and down the country saying the other side are all style over substance, economic with the truth and in the pockets of foreigners this isn’t a good look.

    And need I point out those lovely Government-funded adverts, with Oliver Driver exhorting us all to buy Kiwi made and help the economy, as well as talented and innovative locals?

  • By Skinny, June 14, 2008 @ 9:01 pm

    My issue (amongst others) was the fact that the government were fobbing off Americans as New Zealanders, on a feel-good-about-the-tax-cuts brochure.

    Regardless of the cost of hiring a local photographer to me that would have been preferable to using an overseas photo library.

    I know how much photography costs in New Zealand. I was a commercial photographer for 15 years. If I’d been costing that job in 2000 when I left the industry it might have cost the government short of $1000 – even less if they had provided the family and a good location (Helen Clark’s backyard perhaps?) All of that money would have been spent in New Zealand. They would have kept me busy for half a day, paid some of the wages for my assistant, taken a third of what was left for tax…

    Even if they did spend $5K on a photo it’s not for us to complain anyway. These brochures are funded by the party, not the New Zealand tax payer. What Labour does with their money is no-ones business but theirs.

    I do wonder if the National Party are racing around instructing their design agencies to only use New Zealand talent and photographers. I’ll be keeping an eye out.

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