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Cone of Silence?

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 pm, September 3rd, 2012 - 101 comments
Categories: benefits, david shearer, grant robertson, labour, welfare - Tags: , , ,

A couple of weeks back I wrote a post offering Shearer, Robertson or Pagani an opportunity to justify their (more or less) blanket attack on beneficiaries. At the time, I didn’t realise Pagani had been banned from ‘the standard’ for (from memory) being an idiot . So, okay – he’s not able to respond via ‘the standard’. But as for Robertson and Shearer, well…still waiting. And the post I wrote certainly wasn’t the only one on the blogosphere to cover the matter. Giovanni Tiso who writes ‘ Bat Bean Beam’ wrote a post too and had a tweeted exchange with Robertson who acknowledged that he had read ‘thestandard’ post. But what Robertson didn’t do was offer any explanation or justification for the message that had come from the Labour Party and that he was partly responsible for. He simply sought to excuse himself…to run for cover behind the fact that he helped his constituents, some of whom would be on a Sickness Benefit.  But you know, I’ve no doubt that someone like Benson-Pope also helped some of his constituents who were on a Sickness Benefit – even as he was preparing legislation (Temporary Additional Support) that amounted to the largest reduction in benefit payments since Ruth Richardson.

What makes me curious though, is whether there has been any substantive response (ie, not a running for cover response) from either of these gentlemen anywhere that any one is aware of. I know some people sent my post to their local mp’s asking for a response. Were any forthcoming? I mean, this is the party that claims in press release after press release that they are ‘keen to receive feedback’ on ideas that they will ‘working on in the coming weeks and months’.

So wtf?!

Is ‘half’ the blogosphere being up in arms about a mentality that will inform at least some of  those ideas not feedback?  Or when they say they want feedback, do they merely mean they want people to talk to the proverbial brick wall rather than enter into any dialogue?

So please. If you’re aware of any responses to concerns raised by any number of posts on numerous blogs following Shearer’s speech to that Grey Power meeting, will you post links or whatever in the comments?

Cheers.

[lprent: I will unban John Pagani in the interests of discourse. Hopefully he will avoid making up his own stories about what authors said and confine himself to what they did write.

He has been making comments about it in other semi-private media like facebook. Most of what I have seen concentrates on smearing opponents and avoids the actual issue. So I wouldn’t hold out much hope of any rational debate from him. ]

101 comments on “Cone of Silence?”

  1. captain hook 1

    when you have a party fixated on the politics of sex and a whole gang of skool teachers who have never done a tap of real work and are experts in pandering and mollycoddling to infantilised consumers then what do you expect?

    • Qdig 1.1

      Mr. Hook, I take it you have never done a tap of teaching? I very good family friend of ours is a teacher, and she has worked her arse off.. Good teachers do a hell of a lot more for society, and are for more important than lawyers, bankers or financial advisers.

      You want to see someone age? get them to teach for ten years, that’s why most do a stint and leave for greener pastures.

      It’s a stressful environment, and a badly underpaid one. In no way should they be compared to childish, pap talking, spineless politicians, in any party.

      Hard work for your own benefit is in no way comparable to hard work for the benefit of society as a whole.

      Thank you very much.

      Q

  2. Shearer’s explanation – excellently forced out of him by Aaron Hawkins of Radio One in Dunedin – is transcribed as an addendum at the bottom of the post of mine you linked to.

    • Bill 2.1

      Yeah, I saw that Giovanni. But that’s not so much a response as a lot of ducking and diving for cover. Either they stand by what they said and justify it or they apologise. Unreservedly. Coming out with incoherent shit that claims what they meant/said wasn’t really what they meant/said doesn’t cut it, imo.

      • I sincerely doubt you’re going to get any more than that. Even if they realised it was a misstep (big “if”) they’ll just want to move on now.

        • gobsmacked 2.1.1.1

          The best we could get is “I did nothing wrong, but I won’t do it again.”

          Quite apart from the moral aspects, it really is strategic stupidity. Lots of supporters (current or potential) pissed off, and no evidence at all that any target voters were reached. So it wasn’t a “lose some, win some” trade-off – it was a self-inflicted defeat, not even a draw.

        • Bill 2.1.1.2

          I’m aware that given short news cycles and memory holes, they’ll have decided two weeks ago to keep their heads down and wait for things to blow over. And I’m aware that will probably happen/has happened (although referring to roof painters seems to have become a bit of a meme in some quarters).

          And I meant to put this post up last week on the tail end of stuff, but hey…their silence is an implicit admission they stand by what was said.

          Meantime, although the specific focus of bashing those on welfare entitlements has ‘blown over’, I’m wondering how much medium/long term damage these clowns have caused in terms of the level of trust and reliability people feel they can invest in the Labour Party.

          And I must admit, in this instance, it would have been nice to do a post that drew absolutely no comments :-)

          Anyway…

          • Giovanni Tiso 2.1.1.2.1

            I’m totally with you on this, that’s why I kept asking Shearer whether his anecdote was even true – to a resounding silence. It’s not an episode that’s worth forgetting about for the sake of unity and the party. Quite the opposite in fact.

          • lprent 2.1.1.2.2

            Well I’m still pissed about that simple “anecdote”. What with moving house and the subsequent exhaustion I haven’t finished the post that I was writing on the topic from my perspective. I’ll put it up in a few days just to keep roasting the caucuses balls over the flame….

            It really is a core issue for the Labour party. Scapegoating the most vulnerable sections of the community by using exceptions to smear the majority for electoral support isn’t something that I support. It is also something that I’m not going to support any party that does by the individuals stating such stupidities in policy speeches.

  3. fisiani 3

    When did saying that people can can work,ought to work, become a blanket attack on beneficiaries?
    I cannot see the link.

    • gobsmacked 3.1

      You’re not supposed to see it, you’re supposed to hear it. Woof woof!

    • Uturn 3.2

      When?

      Has its origins circa 1860, but I assume you mean later examples in NZ, in which case, how does early 1970’s suit you?

      Why can’t you see the link?

      Probably through an over-reliance on certain cognitive functions.

    • blue leopard 3.3

      The message that Mr Shearer gave may well have been intended to be one of “those who can work, ought to work”; however he chose a poor example if that what he was intending because most of us realise that the guy at the focus of the criticism was being paid to paint his landlord’s roof at the time of the observation.

      ….and thus the ACTUAL message he sent out was that if you are on a benefit, ensure that you are not seen out and about being active, it was a call to those on benefits to stay indoors and do nothing..well, not without the curtains drawn….because otherwise your belligerent neighbour might get hurt feelings.

      Mr Shearers message was one of a warning in time to halt on the path of evil for the additional concern that it might also have the devastating effect of allowing other more positive neighbours to see that you are motivated and have skills and they might end up offering you more work-

      …and we CAN”T be having that now….it may be well and good for the beneficiary involved, however we can’t be having people currently unemployed acting in a way that might lead them to employment; what in heaven’s name would our two main political parties have to discuss if everyone ended up with jobs??

      Hell! they might have to start thinking about political approaches that encourage unity and wellbeing in our communities; instead of creating division.

      Horror!

    • Dr Terry 3.4

      fisiani. Has it not yet occurred to you that for a majority of benefiiciaries there is NO WORK AVAILABLE (are these words big enough for you to see?)

      • Tazirev 3.4.1

        “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” so it doesn’t matter how big the words are

      • Bob 3.4.2

        If there is no work available, shouldn’t he be on the Unemployment Benefit, not the sickness benefit? It may sound like symantics, but the difference is, no-one at Work and Income will be helping him find work on the sickness benefit.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.4.2.1

          That makes even less sense than what Fisiani said.

        • blue leopard 3.4.2.2

          @ Bob

          Your question does make sense. Yes, if someone is able to work they are meant to be on the unemployment benefit. People with limited/short term work incapability go on the sickness, people with long term limitations go on the invalids benefit. (Is my understanding)

          However recent changes mean that people on the sickness are being required to look for work too. And the recent push to pressure such, in the face of increasing unemployment is a tad frustrating and what I believe Dr Terry to be referring too.

          If a person with a back issue, which causes a limited work ability goes to a job interview in competition with fully healthy people, at a time when job opportunities are scarce, it simply leads to a lot of rejection for the sickness beneficiary and loss of confidence and no uptake of work. It would be a different story if there was a wealth of jobs around.

  4. Raymond A Francis 4

    Like others I can’t see how a (clumsy) story about someone ripping off the tax payer can be considered a “blanket attack on beneficiaries”

    So “Bill” are you trying to tell us that you don’t know anybody ripping the system off and do you think that is ok
    Because I don’t think it is ok, on the other hand I certainly don’t worry about it as there are already people paid to do something about it and they aren’t all National party MPs

    • gobsmacked 4.1

      But Raymond, the whole problem is that we can argue what Shearer really meant forever … because he won’t say anything. At all.

      If he had a point, he should make it. But he won’t.

    • We’ve come to expect so little of political speeches that we read them as little more than impromptu yarns, when they are anything but. The anecdote was put there, at the beginning of the speech, to position Shearer and Labour politically, as a leader and a party who won’t be soft on welfare. This would be unbecoming of a left-wing politician at the best of times, but is especially galling and cowardly during the most sustained attack on welfare since Ruth Richardson. Shearer says “I don’t care if it’s a millionaire not paying his taxes or a person on a benefit who shouldn’t be getting one…”, but it’s the latter he chose for his little story, and there is nothing whatsoever that is casual about it.

      Bill’s original post really was very good. This comment from just saying was also eloquent:

      “Please don’t continue to insult me with your disingenuous crap about “we never said all sickness beneficiaries are bludgers”. You set the dogs onto people like me deliberately, each one of you, for personal gain, and Paula Bennett is better than every one of you because when she does the same, because she only goes through the motions of pretending she hasn’t. It’s not like she expects anyone to believe her.”

    • Carol 4.3

      A Labour party, or any party of the left, should be focusing on the real problem for all of us: the wealth/income gap, the way the wealthy and powerful have skewed the system in their favour, and the far more destructive and costly rorts carried out by some of the most well-off in society.

      Both National and Labour have continued tightening up on things for the beneficiaries in recent decades, so now they have only really a small target to aim at. Bennie-bashing is about smearing all beneficiaries as a scapegoat, masking and diverting from the real problems in the country (and the world).

    • Bill 4.4

      Shearer’s anecdote assumed guilt, Raymond. Geddit?

      As for your faux concern about people ripping off the system…is there a qualitive difference between a person struggling financially because of the constraints placed on them by the system showing a bit of initiative and earning an illegal $20 or $40 from time to time and a financially comfortable person paying someone else to find tax loopholes or construct trusts just because?

      Maybe not, in your world.

    • Dr Terry 4.5

      Raymond, you call somebody “clumsy”? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!!

    • Draco T Bastard 4.6

      Like others I can’t see how a (clumsy) story about someone ripping off the tax payer can be considered a “blanket attack on beneficiaries”

      It was a blanket attack because there was no proof that the guy on the roof was ripping off the taxpayer.

    • QoT 4.7

      someone ripping off the tax payer

      [citation needed] (which is kind of the entire fucking point, Raymond)

    • lprent 4.8

      Raymond – you do realise that there was zero evidence offered in the speech to indicate that the sickness beneficiary was ripping off anything?

      Nothing to indicate that the neighbour was capable of making a medical diagnosis from the other side of the street. Did he have access to medical records? To the case file from WINZ? There was no information even how often or long he’d observed this poor bastard on the roof, what his injury was, or what his capabilities were.

      Basically it was a pile of crap from a irritated neighbour and somehow Shearer’s speech made the assumption he was correct to make it because it was about ‘fairness’. Perhaps he and you should look at the concept of ‘fairness’ a bit more and extend it beyond thinking purely about about how you think it was…

      There is absolutely no indication that David Shearer or his staff did any work to find out anything about this person – yet somehow he was put up as example in front of a political audience as an example of fairness in the welfare system by someone who to me appears to have not bothered to find out what people on sickness benefits are meant to do.

      Guess what. People on sickness benefits are able to potter around and are usually encouraged to do so. In fact they are usually required to do so by both their doctors and by WINZ – but apparently not by idiot neighbours with a grudge or gormless politicians wanting to make political points. Hey I’m still fucking furious about that speech.

      Think it through. Why just last year I came out of hospital with a stent shoved up an artery. It could have been me up on that bloody roof getting a bit of exercise with a chore. Bloody Shearer could have and evidently would have made me a target for any shithead neighbour with an attitude to take potshots at. Hell you sound like you’d like to encourage them…

      Leaving hospital I got advice about smoking and whacking great pile of substitute gum, patches, etc to make the point I suspect. Advice about diet. And ideas on how to proceed for work and the like.

      I was told to take it easy – but to do something anything every day because I’d had a hell of a shock to the system both physically and mentally. Having a oxygen shutdown to the brain because of a heart failure is generally a problem for the cognitive functions. The efforts of the people to keep me alive were quite rough, very successful, and rather painful after the event. Lyn and the ambulance people didn’t break the ribs but they must have come bloody close. The rest of my body wasn’t exactly in a good condition either for reasons ranging from lack of circulation to having a heart that felt like it wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

      I was also pointed in the direction of the parts of the welfare and health systems if I needed them (including the sickness benefit), and advised that it could be months before I was ready to work again and that I wasn’t to drive for a minimum of three months. I certainly wasn’t up for much sustained physical work for quite a few months because any exertion tired the hell out of me. But I certainly would have been capable of doing a few hours of roof painting long before I was capable of doing any heavy lifting walking more than a few hundred metres without feeling woosey.

      This is what the health system is for. It is what the sickness benefit is for. That is what I have been paying taxes for nearly four decades for (I started paying income taxes at about age 12 or 13 and paid taxes that were similar to my allowance even when I was a university student).

      In practice because of the type of work that I do and that I didn’t have sufficient oxygen deprivation to cause issues with my ability to think meant that I was back at work fast. But that was literally a matter of pure luck. Lyn was at home and was suspicious enough to come upstairs to find out why I was making funny noises as I was trashing myself towards death. There was literally a few minutes window between my being able to continue programming and being highly retarded. There was only a few more minutes between that and death. If the ambulance had been more than 5 minutes away then Lyn’s efforts would have simply caused me to prefer to be dead – I wouldn’t have been able to code.

      After hospital and Lyn was having people continually coming around to pester me while she was at work (she was in the crucial phases of a project) and she was worrying so damn much. So I went back to work a week after I got out of hospital. Keyhole surgery and stents are great. I had to take a taxi each way and was a bit short of concentration for the first couple of weeks and had to recode some stuff a month later. But programming c++ was a hell of a good exercise for my brain and I was probably more efficient than most programmers.

      …you don’t know anybody ripping the system off…

      I don’t currently. I am aware of two or three people in the last 30 years that I’ve known who in my opinion may have been. However my knowledge in each of those sounds like it is way more the David ever had and I couldn’t say for certain that they were ripping off the system or even if it was likely. I’m puzzled that you can from either David Shearers description or in most cases from the outside of any particular case. Quite simply there are way too many variables and you usually have to have the files in front of you to decide what is going on (more on that further down).

      I suspect that like Shearer and his idiot constituent you’re simply plagued with an over-active imagination and a penchant for certainty that are likely to lead you to a supposition based on silly anecdotal evidence. I tend to notice such silliness amongst the idiot commentators I read at Kiwiblog.

      However I have personal experience of helping scores of poor bastards trying to get from the welfare system and ACC what they were entitled to get, what was required for them to become productive taxpayers again, and what I intend my taxes to pay for – especially in the 90’s. The litany of files lost in transit for people trying to move to where the work is, sickness benefits being denied, and threats that the DPB being cut off because the mother was attend appointments (said appointment was to turn up and say that her circumstances hadn’t changed). Lyn has even more tales from either personal experience of that of her friends. She started work in the 90’s and being in your 20’s then in provincial NZ was not a good experience.

      Most of the time the staff try to do a good job. But the rules and procedures made by idiots and often idiot politicians were clearly designed to act as a protracted torture – to the people who needed anything but.

      Somehow I suspect that you have rather missed this whole area of life’s tapestry. Perhaps you should volunteer some time to do something that is socially useful and a bit closer to reality.

      Basically that wee anecdote was a cowardly dog-whistle worthy of a moron in the sewer of kiwiblog and usually is several times per day. However it was uttered by a leader of my damn party who should have damn well known better in a public speech that was carefully transcribed and published. Whatever moron adviser(s) helped him or checked that speech should have been fired for terminal political stupidity.

      For the moment David has been relegated by me to either being a bit of a political fool (kind of easy to predict the reactions) or a possible arsehole. In either case I think that I’ll be looking for another MP to support (I usually expend much of my efforts in Mt Albert).

      I’m seriously considering looking for a new party because of the silence from the caucus at any level. I tend to regard silence about cockups in policy like this as being tacit and implicit support. Besides I regard gross political incompetence as being something that really isn’t something I want to encourage.

      I trust I have made my views on this quite clear…… You can probably infer what my blood pressure level your faux concern and fence straddling posture is

      • “There is absolutely no indication that David Shearer or his staff did any work to find out anything about this person.”

        Shearer said outright that he never bothered to find out if the story was true. And remember, we’re talking about one of his own constituents. In fact, he can’t remember if the guy was supposed to have a back back “or a bad something or other”. He’s been studiously casual about all this, so much so that I still harbour my doubts that the conversation actually happened.

        • Colonial Viper 4.8.1.1

          In fact, he can’t remember if the guy was supposed to have a back back “or a bad something or other”. He’s been studiously casual about all this

          So what was the man doing during the Springboks tour?

          • fnjckg 4.8.1.1.1

            or, maybe u could provide tute on leaving a tidy link for Draco instead of a long url and a wait in moderation, noe what i mean

            • lprent 4.8.1.1.1.1

              Self -inflicted wound? The system is as deeply suspicious about long URL’s as Lyn is about funny noises.

              There is some data in the FAQ.

              • fnjckg

                wounds? many, some self-inflicted, yet much is determined.(all healed now)
                no particular link, just Draco suggesting i tidy up my contributions, which i shall endeavour to do upon understanding how.
                Thanks, great site, i have learnt a lot. “echo chambers”? clearly not
                although, pretty unbelievable what people get up to at times. Good Health and Kind Regards

                -ubi bene, ibi patria

      • QoT 4.8.2

        And lprent lays down a thermonuclear level of smack. Huzzah!

        • lprent 4.8.2.1

          I think you might be able to detect a certain level of ummmm irritation?

          The question of fairness has been misused by Shearer. The whole point of having these services is so that you can stay alive with some degree of dignity despite whatever the fates throw at you. You just have to put up with WINZ and their arcane rules and nitwit systems.

          But having frigging neighbors sticking their idiotic and stupidly unaware noses into the typical pain and despair of most beneficiaries (outside of superannuiants) is blatantly unfair. Having a gormless politician use it for brownie points egging them on is just contemptible.

  5. js 5

    Accusations of beneficiary bashing by Grant Robertson are not only inaccurate but cruel and unfair.

    • Bill 5.1

      No. They’re not. Robertson, as well as deputy, was to be Shearer’s ‘mentor’…to help and advise the ‘newbie’. And so Robertson knows the contents of Shearer’s speeches. End of.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Knew and approved them, most likely.

        • Bill 5.1.1.1

          Indeed.

          • Rhinocrates 5.1.1.1.1

            I’ve had a gutsfull of Robertson making sanctimonious speeches about how much he cares, how much he’d “like” an inquiry into this or that, but the fact is, he always has something to say, he always stands up when the issue’s at the forefront… and then he finds a moment to slip out the back door when nobody’s looking because he’s got a “prior engagement” or suchlike. He’s all bluster and no action.

    • the sprout 5.2

      Robertson is very much an active driver of the disasterous labour lurch to the right, he’s just careful to distance himself from it

      • Anne 5.2.1

        I suspect you’re right… the sprout.

        I do know Labour MPs are not allowed to comment on this blog-site. To be fair, it may include all blog-sites apart from their own – Red Alert. That is why there is a ‘Cone of Silence’.

        It would be telling if we knew who came up with that directive.

        [lprent: Not by our policy. We don’t allow them to author posts for the site except under their own names and usually for specific purposes – like during the leadership contest earlier this year. ]

        • Te Reo Putake 5.2.1.1

          “I do know Labour MPs are not allowed to comment on this blog-site.”
           
          Big call, Anne. Care to give us the details of when this happened? I wouldn’t want to be rude, but that sounds like bollocks to me, and not just because its completely unenforceable.

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1

            Labour MPs are also not permitted to make any comments which appear to give credence to ‘non-orthodox’ economic approaches and theory.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Well, that would explain why I didn’t get any response to my comments on David Parker’s post.

              • fnjckg

                tutorial? i get a long url and a moderation wait otherwise i would. i luv reading up-to-date stuff
                (and, i have lost the smileys page(picture the white rabbit, the doormouse and the hatter, a cup-of-tea, and thats me)
                otherwise, i would :)

          • felix 5.2.1.1.2

            Well I don’t know nothing but it’s been a while since I saw a Labour MP comment here under their own name.

          • Anne 5.2.1.1.3

            That is what I was told Te Reo – and by a caucus member. No need to suggest it’s bollocks. I don’t make things up.

            You are right. It’s unenforceable, but if I was an MP I should consider it wise to abide by it.

            Btw, as I said… I’m sure it applies to all blog sites. Not just The Standard.

            What’s more, I don’t think it applies only to Labour MPs. Do Green MPs comment here? No. Do Nat. MPs comment here? No. It looks like all political parties have issued a similar directive.

            • Te Reo Putake 5.2.1.1.3.1

              I’m pretty sure that MP’s from Labour, the Greens and National do comment here, though anonymously of course. The odious David Garrett has popped up, too, as I recall. Or maybe that was one of his other identities ;) Mallard has commented here on occasion and Darien Fenton fairly regularly, too.
               
              It just doesn’t stack up, particularly in a party like Labour, which, as we know, can’t keep a secret to save itself. Anyhoo, didn’t mean to offend you, Anne, it was the idea of such a weird caucus instruction that I thought was bollocks, not the person reporting it.

              • felix

                “Mallard has commented here on occasion and Darien Fenton fairly regularly, too.”

                Used to. Not lately that I’ve noticed.

              • Anne

                in a party like Labour, which, as we know, can’t keep a secret to save itself.

                Perhaps it was an attempt to see if it’s possible. Whatever, it won’t last. :)

        • Blue 5.2.1.2

          Probably an attempt to stop the MPs embarrassing themselves on social media. It’s not working very well is it?

        • gorj 5.2.1.3

          “I do know Labour MPs are not allowed to comment on this blog-site.”

          What’s the point when they can still make asses of themselves on fbook and twitter? Anyone else remember trevs photo from a couple of weeks ago?

          • Fortran 5.2.1.3.1

            gorj

            Labour MPs’ should be allowed to comment here – let’s face it Red Alert is useless – there is more support and scope here than on the Jerk.

  6. Dr Terry 6

    Could you please tell us specifically what it was that Robertson said concerning beneficiaries?
    Shearer”s silence is deafening!

  7. Ianmac from Vietnam 7

    I think you critics are not seeing the wood for the trees. Two weeks later and you are still interpreting Mr Shearers words in the worst possible light. Get over it. Move on. Much more important issues at hand.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Two weeks later and you are still interpreting Mr Shearers words in the worst possible light.

      I am open to hearing an interpretation of Shearer’s words in the best possible light, if someone wants to explain it.

      Much more important issues at hand.

      Blame Labour’s speech writers for putting it at the very start of a well publicised and reported speaking engagement, then.

      • weka 7.1.1

        “I am open to hearing an interpretation of Shearer’s words in the best possible light, if someone wants to explain it.”

        Don’t know about his words, but how about the best possible light on his actions?

        He didn’t think anyone important would be paying attention to the Grey Power speech.

        He didn’t realise how badly his anecdote would come across.

        He didn’t understand the power of the blogosphere and social media.

        Or that people on SB or people who have friends and family on SB might be reading what he said and not pleased.

        He was confused about the difference between a politician and medical doctor.

        He thought his advisors knew what they were doing. 

    • weka 7.2

      “Much more important issues at hand.”

      hmm, gay rights* are unimportant, and now disability and beneficiary rights.  

      (*not you ianmac, but the argument that some issues should be sidelined for the more important ones has been made alot recently)
       

    • QoT 7.3

      Get over it. Move on. Much more important issues at hand.

      Yeah, issues like whether the Labour Party is going to remain faithful to its core values of standing up for the little guy. Issues like whether the Labour Party hierarchy are willing to buy into rightwing framing of social welfare. Issues like whether the leader of the Labour Party is either reflecting his party’s values and/or presenting the kind of leadership which can challenge NACT in the next election.

      Oh, wait. That’s exactly what we were talking about. Sorry for not falling for the “pretend it never happened” tactics.

      • Rhinocrates 7.3.1

        Yeah, love that one. “Oh, right, OK… I suppose that I’m meant to support you… but… ah… you know, there are more important issues. MY issues. You see, if they’re your issues, then the plainly can’t be important because they’re not my issues, and politics being a zero-sum game, if you win, the somehow I must be losing, somehow, so you’d really better STFU.”

        No, I don’t care if they’re someone else’s rights, because someone else’s rights are my rights. If rights aren’t universal, then they’re not rights, they’re privileges, and privileges can be withdrawn at any time. If that’s the case, then my “rights” can also be withdrawn at any time. Look at Pastor Niemoller

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Niemöller

        “I wasn’t X, so I didn’t speak out… and then they came for me.”

        Gay rights are everyone’s rights.

  8. Ianmac from Vietnam 8

    Colonial. Please meet the wood. :)

    • Olwyn 8.1

      Unfortunately, there are too few acceptable trees to speak very promisingly of the wood they constitute. People cannot let go of the anecdote because it offered confirmation for suspicions that were already rife, and which the Labour caucus appears determined not to alleviate.

  9. Uturn 9

    In order for Shearer to have said what he said, he must be of the mindset of those currently in power, within the status quo, who aren’t of the Left. You cannot be a socialist, or have any under standing of the underlying principles of social welfare, and point at beneficiaries as potentially dodgy. You’d have to have forgotten your own past, or be someone that thinks that pop culture defines the history of the world.

    If you’re a socialist, you understand that the definition of “working people” does not exclude the unemployed or otherwise uninvolved. Under capitalist systems, the unemployed are an economic tool for employers to lower the cost of shifting public resources into private hands. Under socialism, people are people, not units of potential productivity. Socialism works for the benefit of people, not private profit, so everyone works, even if while viewing it from a capitalist perspective, that work seems “inefficient”.

    How do you use a corrupted unfair system to measure “fairness”? You cannot refer to our system and use “fairness” in the same sentence. It’s an oxymoron. It is and remains illogical.

    Shearer has in effect said,

    “As leader of the major opposition Left wing party, we cannot tolerate anyone not helping us shift public resources into private hands. Furthermore, I have no intention whatsoever of addressing the injustices and immoral acts of our style of capitalist system. My vision of the future is in maintaining the status quo and has a large helping of poverty. ”

    In their silence and by association, his party condoned it. Do they honestly believe that if we just let them have their way, they’ll come right once in power? Oh that’s right, the justification is that the alternative is worse. Isn’t that… yes I believe it is… it’s extortion, backed up with oppression. The only thing more annoying than having to explain this is that the traitors in Labour will now dress up their idiocy so they sound like the real thing, so people will point and say it quacks like a duck so it must be a duck, but internally nothing will have changed. The duck will still be a goose.

  10. NickS 10

    At the time, I didn’t realise Pagani had been banned from ‘the standard’ for (from memory) being an idiot

    /snicker

    ’tis a rather bad omen when your top spin doctor gets banhammered from a blog with rather straight forward and fairly tolerant comment rules…

    And I don’t think he’ll turn up, PR Hacks like to have the conversation controlled, and here Pagani is open to being nom’ed on from all sides :3

  11. Raymond A Francis 11

    Bill I think you read into comments things the commenters don’t see

    I don’t have “faux concern” about people ripping of the system, as I said there other people paid to worry about that

    I don’t have concerns about my neighbours making a little extra on the side anymore then I worry about fat cats trying to hang onto their money even though that is legal where as the “little” exta on the side is not

    • Bill 11.1

      That’s what I thought you’d think and said as much. No qualitive difference in your world view between an act being undertaken because one is simply in a position to act *so* and one being undertaken from a perception of necessity. Jolly, jolly.

  12. captain hook 12

    anyway it is becoming increasingly clear that policy wonks like pagani and mp’s like robertson begin to believe that they are the party
    they might be right.
    try and find a branch and then try to join it.
    most people give up in disgust at this point.
    we the “constitutional advisory panel” or (———- fill in the blank) are here to tell you what to think.
    and dont you forget it.

  13. captain hook 13

    and js if you think accusations of benny bashing against grant robertson are unfair then why doesn’t he get off his ass and say what he really thinks.
    its that easy.

    • Rhinocrates 13.1

      I disagree with you, profoundly. It’s not spelled “ass”, but “arse”.

      And he won’t.

  14. the sprout 14

    There has been a real response from shearer et al, its been to raise the pitch of the dog whistling and altogether be a lot more sly and less open about the march to the right.

    Not what any of us wanted, but then labour under shearer is turning out to be not what any of us wanted. Unless you count farrar, slater and o’sullivan as ‘us’

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      And no doubt Armstrong, Hooten and Clifton too.

      • the sprout 14.1.1

        True, and probably key, joyce and english too. They all think shearer is marvellous.

        I guess its just labour members and would-be voters that think shearer is poison

  15. just saying 15

    I’ve had a backwards and forwards correspondance with my MP about the matter. It’s up to my move but I feel at a bit of an impasse as to what to say next. We have been so thoroughly invisiblised that any little opening feels important. But I just can’t seem to make a meaningful impression. I’m trying to get across that this isn’t about me and my personal situation (which is fine for the minute actually).

    I don’t think he is comfortable about what was said which means he is not irredeemable as others in the caucus appear to be. Problem is, it seems he’s all too willing to wear the discomfort in the misguided belief in the dreaded “there is no alternative”. I think if he has any say he will urge the leadership to watch their wording in future. He’s not prepared to stand up and say he opposes pandering to bigotry. I think he is part of a very disturbing, and so-far impenetrable, group-think.

    For those who are minimising what Shearer said, I can only paraphrase Bomber (probably quoting someone else): If you are not outraged and alarmed, you weren’t paying attention.

    • lprent 15.1

      Point him to my comment above and tell him that there is one bit of goo falling out of a artery wall between him and being a victim of severe neurological damage and on a sickness benefit. Then ask him what he eats at Bellamys and if he thinks his exercise regime is sufficient and if he thinks his neighbors would dob him in for gardening for a few hours.. See he can work…..

  16. Hilary 16

    I think what Grant Robertson is saying in this recent Red Alert blog is about those traditional Labour values. I see no evidence of any lurch to the right.
    http://blog.labour.org.nz/2012/09/02/on-fairness-and-courage/

    • Carol 16.1

      Good to support a fair wage for the low paid employed. But the topic here is about not employing the mythical separation of the deserving and undeserving poor to distract from bigger issues of income/wealth inequalities.

    • just saying 16.2

      I see no evidence of any lurch to the right.

      None?
      What about Shearer’s anecdote – the subject of this post.
      This isn’t the only evidence by any means.
      Do you think $15 per hour aligns with traditional Labour values (fair pay for work)? Would you find $15 per hour a fair return for your labour?

      • Te Reo Putake 16.2.1

        So, js, would you vote for a Labour leader who didn’t think $15 ph was enough? If so, here’s yer man.

        • Carol 16.2.1.1

          But Shearer and Robertson on a “fair go” and living wage does not show any evidence of moving away from the bennie bashing in Shearer’s grey power speech. They are both talking about living wages for the employed. In the grey power speech, Shearer equated fairness by people on totally different positions in the economic structure: a beneficiary earning a bit extra on the side, with a wealthy person avoiding/rorting their taxes.

          They are talking about a fair go on a playing field that is tilted in favour of the wealthy and powerful. They are not talking about a major change to the playing field, just a bit of tinkering around the edges.

          At this time in our history, after Labour has already shifted too far to the right, the left needs s total change of direction.

        • Draco T Bastard 16.2.1.2

          While it was a voluntary scheme, it had cross-party support in Britain and thousands of employees were covered.

          I think you’ll find that is the main reason why he supports the “living wage”.

      • Hilary 16.2.2

        It’s a start and will make a difference for many people. He’s not saying that is the end point, for goodness sake..

        $15 a hour or less is standard for many important jobs such as teacher aiding, carer support work and cleaning, as well as many front line NGO staff. More of course would be better.

        By the way, instead of constant criticism I think The Standard collective should start a competition whereby regular posters write their ideal Labour politician speech. The winning ones could be sent to the Party leadership.

        • Carol 16.2.2.1

          He’s not saying that is the end point, for goodness sake..

          But by not renouncing his grey power beneficiary dog whistle, he’s giving no indication that he wants to go much further. (and that is what this discussion thread is about.

          Yes a rise in minimum wage is good. But Labour needs to be working towards so much more – otherwise, next time National get in power, they will continue to drag the country further and further to the right.

        • Rhinocrates 16.2.2.2

          is standard for

          Ah, they should be grateful for what they get, the poor plebs. How dare they, like Oliver Twist, ask for more!

          More of course would be better.

          Oh yes, more of that “we are committed to…” “I would like…” bullshit. Dear me, are you going to pat me on the head as well?

          I think The Standard collective should start a competition whereby regular posters write their ideal Labour politician speech. The winning ones could be sent to the Party leadership.

          Ha ha!

          Yes, I think that that would be a good idea, just to make totally obvious what they would ignore in order to pander to the mythical Waitakere men.

          instead of constant criticism

          How about “instead of constant stabs in the back from the supposed ‘Labour’ party”?

        • gobsmacked 16.2.2.3

          I think The Standard collective should start a competition whereby regular posters write their ideal Labour politician speech. The winning ones could be sent to the Party leadership.

          The first sentence: already done. I’ve typed out the words to put in Goff/Shearer’s mouth, posted them on here several times, and then waited for them to say something – anything (I’m not suggesting my ideas are perfect, or that others couldn’t do better, far from it. But those “others” clearly don’t include the current writers of speeches or media releases).

          The second sentence: sorry, but that’s the whole problem. If the Party leadership think – and this so beggars belief – that Trevor Mallard and John Pagani etc are sources of good advice, then how can I – or the rest of us – ever get through to them? How do we make them understand the most BASIC concept … repeated failure probably shouldn’t be repeated yet again, and again?

          This didn’t all start with Shearer’s speech. Goff made a speech to Grey Power (same audience) written by same people (Pagani) with the same idea (dog-whistle) about 3 years ago and guess what? Predictably, it flopped. And was dropped – because it flopped.

          Acknowledging that they aren’t doing a good job is simply not in their DNA. They don’t want good ideas, they want control. And as long as they control the party list, they can’t possibly lose. Only the rest of us do.

        • Rhinocrates 16.2.2.4

          It’s a start and will make a difference for many people. He’s not saying that is the end point, for goodness sake..

          Lovely!

          What’s his end point then, pray tell? Do you have some insight into his master plan? I’d really like to know! What is the minimum wage he is so committed to, what standard of decent living should be available to all, except those dirty, filthy parasites who paint their roofs when the could be doing jobs that don’t exist despite their disabilities that Shearer can diagnose as false by hearsay?

          What is the end point? Tell us! You see, by telling us what the end point is, we will see that he has absolute principles, principles that will not be compromised. If we know what they are, we can decide whether he is worthy of our confidence. So then, what are they? Do you know what they are? I don’t because he hasn’t said so.

    • Rhinocrates 16.3

      I am proud that Labour had two Bills in a row

      Bullshit! It was a private member’s bill. Don’t lie and say that it was a Labour bill. Louisa Wall had the courage to put it forward, but to try to appropriate it as a “Labour” bill is an outright lie. All credit to her, none at all to the party for not making it policy indeed, quite the opposite for them deciding not to make it policy.

      • QoT 16.3.1

        And she got horribly slammed by Labour MP Su’a William Sio for advocating party policy in her Private Member’s Bill, too. Another topic on which Shearer had sweet fuckall to say.

        • Rhinocrates 16.3.1.1

          Well I’m glad that you know what “party policy” is, because I sure as fuck don’t. I think we might agree on what party policy was and what it should be, but do either of us have any idea on what it thinks the Paganis and its focus groups are telling Shearer what it should be?

          • QoT 16.3.1.1.1

            It’s on page 374 of the 2011 election manifesto, helpfully available only in PDF on the Labour website because they still have no fucking idea how the internet works:
            http://www.labour.org.nz/content/downloads

            If there’s been a reversal on that, someone should tell Grant Robertson.

            • Bored 16.3.1.1.1.1

              Page 374…..wonder how much was paid to Pagani types for each page of something that came to nothing (they lost)?

              So much policy detail, might be interesting to cross reference it with the guiding principles of the Labour Party for adherence. Seems to me the principles are all the policy they need.

  17. fnjckg 17

    in 1997, maintaining, repairing and rebuilding heavy mining machinery, i worked all the hours i chose to in AK and was earning more than police (unless sgt or above) and more than charge nurses.
    i felt at the time, that this state of affairs was rather unusual (hard work, but not many people)
    anyway, a lot of money ‘back in the day

    for seven years now, i have maintained myself on less than $9.00/hour pro rata, and i am very comfortable,
    however, it is the incomes of families that concern me most, with huge sections of the population moving into, out of, or remaining in relative, and or, absolute poverty.

    just watched History channel on medieval english class structure; well…other than the life-style trappings, it seems like 700 years just melted away

    if not comfortable with the SLAVE meme, how about PEASANTS

    • Bored 17.1

      The world is now all shrinkage. How will we share the shrinkage? Will you await the shrinkage meet your $9 before joining the shrinkage?

  18. captain hook 18

    rhino 2 lies in two sentences.
    indicates potential sociopathic tendency.

    • Rhinocrates 18.1

      Elaborate please. Oh for God’s sake, is that the standard (no pun intended) response? “sociopathic/psychopathic” as a closer? Why not just say “Jewish”? That’s just as deep and reasoned as “you’re a Nazi” because it’s meant to shut down discussion by denegrating the proposer. Yes, that is a Godwin, and if Godwin is offended, let him start his own blog.

      BTW, in my case, it’s Asperger’s. That’s supposed to be “nice”, I’m told.

      Now, care to discuss the issues or is it name-calling from now on?

  19. captain hook 19

    no I really mean it.
    you are exhibiting all the clinical indications for sociopathy.
    that doesn’t mean to say you are but if you carry on like this then you definitely are.
    and hey being a jew got nuthin to do wif it.

  20. Rhinocrates 20

    clinical indications for sociopathy

    Then you show the diagnostic skill of David Shearer. I don’t care if you “mean it”, nor should anyone. What do you mean by “clinical”? Really? Are you a clinical psychologist? What are your qualifications? Looking at a couple of wikipedia articles doesn’t qualify you, why do you think that doing so does? Why are you trying to derail this thread?

    I’m sorry that I have to spell this out, but I’m not Jewish (though my stepfather was), my point was that crude denigration based on stereotypical definitions of identity were assumed by you to be sufficient to refute a point. That, alas, is a perennial problem with The Standard – someone says something someone disagrees with and the automatic response by some individuals is to declare them a psychopath, based on absolutely no evidence or expertise whatsoever.

    Now, again, what are my supposed lies that allow you to make a “clinical” diagnosis?

  21. Rhinocrates 21

    Come on Hook, I’m waiting. What are your qualifications as a psychologist that allow you to make a diagnosis of psychopathy (sociopathy is an outdated term, by the way)?

    What is your expertise?

    … and still waiting. Are you a psychologist? Are you David Shearer?

    What were my “lies”?

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