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Cunliffe attacks Nats’ crony capitalism

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, June 14th, 2012 - 79 comments
Categories: capitalism, david cunliffe, national - Tags:

David Cunliffe went to the lion’s den yesterday with a speech telling a meeting of Kensington Swan’s receivership and liquidation lawyers that there would be a lot less work for them under Labour but saying “the Labour Party is not your enemy. Your enemy is inefficiency, corruption, and the wastage of both public and private wealth. Your enemy is a cosy corruption that helps a few friends of the government get very rich at the expense of the community.”

It’s worth having a read of the full speech, where Cunliffe addresses not only National’s crony capitalism but also its economic management, comparing it to the failed policies of the Hoover Administration during the Great Depression.

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Speech to annual Kensington Swan insolvency function, Auckland, 11 June 2012

David Cunliffe, Labour Economic Development and Associate Finance Spokesperson

Tēnā Koutou

Thank you for inviting me into the lion’s den.

As this is a group of insolvency and receivership lawyers and accountants, it’s a fair guess that your businesses will be booming right now.

If I was speaking to a group of exporters and manufacturers, it’s a fair bet the opposite would be true.

And if this was a group of blue collar workers from my electorate in west Auckland, you can bet your boots the mood would be grim.

So many Kiwis are really struggling to make ends meet.  After the 2008 crash they were just getting along. A year later this had turned to anger, a year later to despair. This year, many of them are heading for the departure gate: 50,000 a year in the last year alone. A quarter of New Zealanders no longer live here.

So for their sake, and everyone’s sake, let’s begin this conversation by being frank and up-front.

We all know that much of the business community generally favours National.

Unfortunately, New Zealand is still a democracy, so Labour gets voted back in from time to time. That’s “tiresome”! I know, but that’s the way it is.

So, what “evil plans” does Labour have in store for the business community this time?  The answer might be welcome news for all but the insolvency team

Anyone who seriously believes that the economy can somehow heal itself by being left alone, hasn’t read a newspaper for the last 12 months.

Looking at world markets over the last few months, I would have to agree that we are “back at the precipice – with a frayed rope” (Brian Fallow, NZ Herald).

Greece may still reject its bailout package; Spanish banks are still in deep trouble; and Italy is too big to bail, or to let fail.

The Beehive spin doctors are all too ready to blame anyone but themselves for New Zealand’s repeated undershooting of growth forecasts.  None of it washes.

The Canterbury earthquake rebuild should by now be a source of positive growth – but it is well behind schedule and the government is squarely to blame.

Commodity prices can’t be the problem.  They have only just come off record highs, reminding us that putting all our cows in one basket is way too risky.

The results under the Key Government make depressing reading.

No one these days seriously believes that a totally unregulated economy will work. Just as important, no one seriously believes that a totally regulated economy will work. It’s a question of getting the balance right.

Do I want to return to the days when you needed a letter from your doctor before you could buy margarine? Absolutely not. Do I want to return to the days when people had a sense of security and trusted their leaders? Absolutely.

LESSONS FROM THE LAST GREAT DEPRESSION

It is said that “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (George Santayana); or in plain language… “History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time.”

One of the things that gets me up in the morning is the sentiment expressed in the media and in the current government that “nothing can be done so we may as well take it.”

That we may as well accept appalling emigration levels, high unemployment and record high youth unemployment, an accelerating increase in poverty, and debt that leads to regular international credit downgrades.

We should expect more from each other than that.

There is absolutely no inevitability about economic decline.

We do face utterly fundamental choices about our economic future. Effective change will occur when tens of thousands of us behave differently in our firms and unions, boardrooms and Ministries, classrooms and farm sheds.

Of course it is easier to say what we should not do, than what we should do.  So in these remarks I want to draw some lessons for what we should do differently:

1. Regulate Financial Markets

The Great Depression, for those who haven’t studied history, was caused by a lack of government regulation. Then, just like now, the vast majority of businessmen strongly resisted any attempt at government regulation.

Then, after the banks sent themselves bankrupt through unregulated speculation with their clients’ funds, the bankers tried to pretend that it wasn’t their fault.

The 1929 stock market crash triggered an economic tsunami that all but flattened America. Just like now, it was the ordinary people that bore the brunt of the crash and the depression that followed it.

And, as if the crash itself wasn’t bad enough, the government still refused to intervene, so the situation got worse. Bank after bank collapsed, along with the millions of families who had entrusted those bankers with their life savings.

By 1933, 11,000 of the United States’ 25,000 banks had failed. That’s nearly half.

People had no money, so they couldn’t buy manufactured goods. Because people stopped buying manufactured goods, factories closed down. Because factories closed down, workers got fired. Because workers got fired, they couldn’t buy manufactured goods.

And so it went on, and on, and on, until, by 1933, nearly 13 million Americans were unemployed. That was a quarter of the total workforce.

And what was the government’s response: <u>nothing</u>. Why?  Because the government was intensely opposed to any kind of regulation of big business – the same view as many of the people in this room.

The then US Secretary of the Treasury was Andrew W. Mellon, who was, by curious coincidence, one of the wealthiest men in America.

Mellon strongly opposed government regulation of the banking sector. However, he strongly pushed for austerity measures to balance the budget. Does this sound familiar?

Mellon advised President Herbert Hoover to:

“liquidate labour, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate… it will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up from less competent people.”

Alas, no. What happened in America was exactly the same as is currently happening in Europe. The austerity measures, which were supposed to turn the economy around, instead sent it into a nosedive.

You know, one of the wonderful things about democracy, is that voters sometimes show a good deal more sanity than the politicians or the vested interests.

In America’s case, the voters threw out Herbert Hoover and voted in Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt heavily intervened in the economy, regulated the banks and the stockbrokers, and set America on the path of its longest period of economic growth in history.

I mention all this, because we are currently looking over the economic precipice once more. The world’s three largest economic zones: America, the European Union and Japan/China are already in decline.

And, amazingly, the economic purists in the West are still advocating exactly the same policies as the ones that caused the Great Depression. Really? Have we learned nothing from history?

Who carried the can when the whole house of cards came tumbling down? Certainly not the bankers that set up the house of cards in the first place. As usual, it’s the ordinary people, who pay taxes and naively expect politicians to look after their interests, who are paying the price.

Despite all the promises that the European economic austerity measures would turn this tragic situation around, the opposite is occurring.

When you start firing all your workers and closing down your government departments, those people have no money to spend.  Because the workers have no money to spend, the local businesses suffer. So they start firing staff. So the economy goes into deep recession, with no easy way out.

The Labour team believes this is lunacy. If New Zealand goes into a recessionary spiral, what we are close to, we will have to be expansive too.

An increasing number of journalists and politicians are saying what ordinary people already know: that many of the economic policies of the last 30 years have ended in disaster.

You hear the National government taking about the need to sell assets because we have so little money in this country. Do you know why we have so little money in this country? It’s because a large percentage of our economic assets are overseas-owned.

For example, when the Australian-owned banks make billions in profits here, that money isn’t returned to New Zealanders. The money goes straight back overseas.

That financial drain is one of the main reasons we are not paying our way in the world – our external deficit is getting bigger and bigger.

2. Keep and build our assets

And, as if that were not bad enough, the government now wants to sell our major state assets, which is simply going to mean higher power prices for ordinary New Zealanders and still more profits disappearing overseas.

And I’m not the only one who thinks this is nuts. The economic consultants BERL, concluded that the asset sales programme would leave the public accounts looking worse, not better.

BERL’s chief economist, Dr Ganesh Nana, concluded the effect of asset sales on the wider economy would be even worse because the dividends lost to the state would quite likely go to foreign shareholders, adding to the country’s external deficit and national debt.

So why is National proceeding? Is it partly because of its promises to big business? It is partly because many National Party politicians may have links to the very people who will profit from these asset sales? Or partly because the National Party is simply blind?

No matter how many independent analysts report that the asset sales will be an economic disaster that will further increase our national debt, John Key simply looks the other way.

For how much longer, I’m not so sure. I think it’s increasingly obvious that the National government will be dog tucker at the next election. National is hoping that by then, the assets will have been sold and there’ll be nothing we can do about it.

Be that as it may, don’t get me started on the risks of selling off a major stake in our energy system at a time when the world is entering unparalleled energy scarcity and skyrocketing fossil fuel prices – that is the subject of another speech!

3. Get people back to work

If the last Great Depression provides some chilling lessons of what went wrong, it also provides hope for what can be done better.

Much of New Zealand’s response to the Depression in the 1930s and early 40’s is still working for us:

•    Around 50% of the state houses still around now were built in the 1930s and 1940s

•    Around 40% of all schools still in use were built in this era

•    Almost all the North Island dams, and the same of the pylons and substations

•    Thousands of rural bridges

•    Most of Auckland’s water supply dams and systems

•    The core of the Crown Research Agencies, in the form of the DSIR

•    Around half of New Zealand’s still-existing hospitals,

•    The great North Island pine forests, and

•    Most of our government departments now existing were formed, all in that era

Eighty years ago we saw an economic development plan rolled out that turned us all from Depression to development.  Like the United States New Deal, the Savage government’s plan altered the course of the country.

For at least 30 years after the end of World War II until the oil shocks of the 1970s, the Government response to the Great Depression still dominated political and commercial life.

In the 1960s, business and the public sector continued this partnership with the great Kinleith Mill near Taupo, and New Zealand Steel at Glenbrook.

Private capital was making money at the same time as the public sector achieved its policy goals.

By the 1980s, the whole system was in need of reform. However, in place of reform, we got a system that closed down productive industries, encouraged energy wastage, created massive unemployment and, above all handed most of  the wealth and power to a small elite who the so-called ‘free’ market.

It was this unregulated market that lead to the twin meltdowns; first the 1987 stock market crash, then the 2008 meltdown. Since 2008, the scale of our decline has been substantial.

Throughout the world, pro-business governments have imposed austerity measures and throughout the world, these austerity measures have been an unmitigated disaster.

We need to think with that degree of boldness and clarity, while carefully managing our financial resources, to truly turn back the degree of risk and decline that we now face.

4. Rewrite the invisible plan

By contrast, National is nothing if not predictable in its policies and in its results. From 1990 to 1999, and from 2008 to 2012, the same economic leadership and same result:

•    Almost no economic growth

•    Public sector cost-cutting that drove recession ever-deeper

•    A state that is weaker year after year, and

•    A country where wealth transferred from the many to the few, to the point where law firms find it harder and harder to get clients,  except in the Receivership Team.

Business is bad. And it was bad the last time National was in, and it’s no coincidence.

Let’s project the same policies after another three years. Here’s how it runs. Treasury again over-predicts GDP growth and hence tax-base income. Private debt remains high and focused on rental housing. The population stagnates and starts to decline even in Auckland.

Respectfully, a buoyant insolvency and mortgagee sector is not the economic sign we want. On the track we are on, it’s what we will get.

When the credit ratings agencies downgraded New Zealand last year, they told us that our biggest problem was not public debt, which is relatively small by world standards, but total private debt and our inability to pay our way in the world.

A new direction is needed.

Let’s not fool ourselves that just doing a little more or a little less of what we have been doing before will save us

LESSONS FROM SMALL SMART COUNTRIES

Small smart countries around the world are grappling with the same issues – how to sustainably grow jobs and incomes in an open, export-oriented economy amid a turbulent world market.

As part of my Economic Development portfolio work, I have commissioned a study of six such countries: Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Taiwan, Ireland and Israel.

The most obvious conclusion of this study so far is that none of them leave their future to chance.  The weakest, Ireland, was the one that lowered taxes, opened up to unrestrained foreign investment, and trusted the invisible hand of the market to bring future prosperity.

But whether they have governments of the centre-left or centre-right, all these countries have set a clear vision for where they want to get to, what they want to be, and how they will get there.  All set policy targets and timetables and measure their progress.

Take Denmark.  It wants to be among the top 10 richest, most innovative countries in the world.  It wants to be top 10 for quality labour supply and top three for renewable energy.

They have a 10 year plan to achieve that.

They manage their interest rates, control their housing market, and peg their exchange rate to the Euro.

They manage productivity growth by setting hard targets for education, research and innovation performance, for example:

They invest 3% of their national income in research and development: 2% from the private sector and 1% from the public.  That is still dwarfed by neighbour Finland with nearly 4%. New Zealand’s total is less than 1%.

Their innovation strategy is led by the Danish Economic Council, a broad-based top level group including key government agencies, business and labour representatives, and labour experts.

They are careful with their money, and they understand the value of investment.

They invest in research and development, they invest in their infrastructure, they invest in their forests and their environment, but most of all they invest in their people.

To the Danes, investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, is not a liability but an asset. Because without all three, their economy cannot survive.

Is it working?  You be the judge – they have fewer natural resources than us, higher population density, and a rubbish climate.

But their income per person is US$40,169 compared to our US$29,882.

Even more importantly, their exports per person are around NZ$ 26,000, compared to our NZ$9,000.

They gain about the same amount from agriculture as us, but many times more from niche manufacturing, environmental services and high technology.

Let’s acknowledge that Denmark is a member of the largest economic union on the planet and has the captive market that comes with that.

Labour under the leadership of both Phil Goff and Helen Clark had a proud record of responsibly improving our trade access. Labour also pushed for environment and labour standards in trade agreements, something we will need to continue to advocate in future.

INVESTMENT, INNOVATION, AND  EDUCATION

We need to learn from small smart economies like Denmark.  We cannot just leave it to chance, or to the market forces that have got us into this mess.

So Labour went into the last election campaigning for new and better ways to grow our economy.

At the core of our economy-wide measures were big changes to boost capital for business investment, technology and skills.  These are the fundamental drivers of productivity.

Our Leader, David Shearer, and Finance Spokesperson, David Parker, have both recently reaffirmed the importance of these changes.

While John Key was hard at work lining his own pockets, David Shearer was getting his hands dirty, feeding and sheltering the people in some of the most depressing and dangerous places on earth.  He managed billions of dollars of tax-payers funds with consummate skill, fought corruption and faced down warlords.

Which party leader do you think is better suited to lead us through this time of crisis?

So what will Labour do that shows we have learned the lessons of history?

Number one, we will have to stop the sort of speculation that got us into this mess in the first place.

We have to get investment flowing where it can do the most good – into productive businesses and exports, rather than unproductive financial or property speculation. Like both Treasury and the Reserve Bank, Labour supports a capital gains tax.

Now, nobody in this room, myself included, likes paying tax.  And nobody in this room, myself included, likes seeing their hard-earned tax revenue wasted.

I think we all agree that the tax system has to be simple, transparent and achievable.

For example France and Germany are now looking at simplified  forms of indirect taxation, such as a financial transactions levy.

It would be so small that most bank users would never even notice it, would be simple to collect, and would raise enough revenue to fund lowering other taxes while fully funding infrastructure development without incurring further public debt.  I am delighted that our revenue Spokesperson, David Clark, is keeping a weather eye on these developments.

Another tragic result of the so-called free market is that, the country is now saddled with the multibillion dollar liability of supporting the casualties of this economic religion – the long term unemployed, the single parent families, the pensioners who can no longer afford to warm their houses.

Any economic policy that does not put the unemployed back to work, rebuild the productive sector and help us to pay our way in the world is doomed to failure, and very expensive failure at that.

The current government said they wanted New Zealand  to catch up to Australia.

Well it’s working: every week, thousands of Kiwis leave the country in search of a better life across the Tasman.

Why? Because they get paid so much more in Australia.  Why are wages higher in Australia? Because the Australian government sees it’s working people as an asset, not a liability.

What’s the National Government’s solution to this – to lower wages still further while doing nothing to improve productivity.  Genius.

Clearly no-one told Steven Joyce that Germany, one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, has both high wages and high productivity.

National has again walked away from common sense.  One of the key ingredients to Australia’s success has been its compulsory, employment based savings scheme.

Because New Zealand’s workers don’t earn enough to save, the country’s vital savings pool is alarmingly small.

So our second major policy is  to lift sustainable local savings and investment is a universal Kiwisaver scheme. This would hike our savings rate four times faster than National’s pallid plan  and give every working Kiwi a huge nest egg for their retirement.

To make matters worse, National’s approach to superannuation resembles a man on an iceberg in the sun. He thinks he is on solid ground, but he has built his future on some tragically false assumptions.

The third big policy change from Labour is getting our innovation engine revving.  At the moment it is hardly even idling.  Total research and development investment in NZ is less than 1% .  In Denmark it is 3%.  In Finland they are targeting 4% .

Our innovators deserve a break – there are huge public benefits from a vibrant innovation system, and our proposed R and D tax credits reflect that.

By supporting research and development in our business community, we invest in the pillars of economic growth, innovation, education and innovation.

As Economic Development spokesperson, I will be pushing for much higher levels of investment in research and development in both the public and private sector and for a serious overhaul of our innovation ecosystem.

Remember that infrastructure is not just bricks and mortar.  Our future depends on having a world class information backbone.

It is a crying shame that it took the current government nearly three years to even begin rolling out its so-called ultra-fast broadband plan.  If three years delay is ultra-fast, I’d hate to see ultra-slow.

Fourth, we never forget that our best resource is our people.  Education and skills must be a top priority and it must be for all – not just those who can afford them.  These three pillars of skills are education skills, physical skills and life skills.

It disgusts me that the National cabinet was prepared to maintain subsidies for their own private schools while firing teachers in everyone else’s schools.

How would Labour fund further investment in education?   The answer is simple: stop investing in failure.  It is social and economic insanity to be paying people the dole while there are forests to be planted and infrastructure to be built.

Labour will get school leavers off the dole by ensuring a seamless transition into work.  We will fund thousands of new apprenticeships by redirecting dole money to job creation with real skills. We will ensure that every young New Zealander under 20 is either earning or learning.

In the twenty first century no-one should expect to be in one job for their whole working life.  That’s why learning must be life-long.  Denmark invests bullions each year into adult and community education, in New Zealand we invest pocket money.

LESSONS FROM THE GRASS ROOTS

Our economy, under National, is like an oil tanker with the captain asleep at the wheel.

Robert Wade, a New Zealand professor at The London School of Economics, summed up how governments should work with their economies. I’ve paraphrased his views:

When the economy is working well, leave it alone.

When the economy has problems or failures that can be fixed, fix them.

And when an economic policy fails altogether, do something else.

Sounds like common sense to me.

A key lesson of the Great Depression is that unregulated financial markets invariably suffer catastrophic failure.  The recent Global Financial Crisis is a classic example.

From New Zealand’s economic development perspective, we can turn around the failed policies of the past.

So that means working with individual industries, regions, businesses and communities to help make good things happen.

You have a build a wall one brick at a time.

You have to build a business one customer at a time.

We have to build our economy one region and one industry at a time.

And we must rebuild our community one family at a time.

So we could have all the fine ideas in the world about economic growth, but if it does not put one unemployed worker into a job, or put one more high value product into an export market, then it will not turn our economic boat around.

Renewing our commitment to industry sectors, regions and communities, will be a key part of Labour’s economic development agenda…

I know it’s trendy to talk about recycling. But we’ve overlooked something here. What about “recycling” human beings?  There isn’t a person in this room that isn’t deeply concerned at the numbers of young people, especially young Māori and Pasifika  who are not only unemployed, but in some cases, currently considered by some to be “unemployable”.

We also have vast tracts of public and private land that is currently badly under-utilised.

Can we please, please, learn some lessons from history. Where did New Zealand’s great commercial forests come from? Where did America’s great commercial forests come from? They were both planted in the Great Depression by the unemployed.

The American Civilian Conservation Corps is a textbook case of turning the economy around by turning people’s lives around.

Throughout America, these groups planted trees, built roads and improved both their lives and the lives of their descendants.

Labour embraced the Conservation Corp idea in our last manifesto. For Labour, the Conservation Corp has always been about skills and training, with the community benefitting. I’ll bet someone will claim that National’s already proposed this. Nonsense. What National wants is to punish the poor and prepare them for a life of dead-end jobs as lowly servants of the rich and powerful.

Instead of merely paying the dole to fit young people, Labour’s Conservation Corps plan includes education and training that will take them on to sustainable employment. I’d like to see them earning a living wage in return for a fair day’s work.

They could learn structure, discipline and life skills. They could then be sent out to do the work that’s currently not being done, from planting trees to disaster relief. Imagine, for example, the difference it would have made if we had had 5000 fit young people available for disaster relief after the Christchurch quake.

New Zealanders loved the Student Volunteer Army and the Farmy Army that helped clean up Christchurch.  However, the famers and the students soon had to go back to work. Imagine the difference a full time group would have made?

It’s not just the country that would have benefited, either. Hard work is a great healer for unemployed lives.  With training, this same army could now be rebuilding the houses that the Christchurch people so desperately need.

But for now, New Zealand needs more forests. If we could replant some of our unproductive land into forests, we could create one of the world’s greatest carbon sinks. We could create thousands of jobs planting trees, and thousands more processing the timber in a few years.

These new forests could be placed in trust for the benefit of future generations, and New Zealand could be on its way towards becoming carbon neutral.

However, there’s a deeper problem with our current forestry sector: most of the timber simply gets shipped overseas for processing. This robs New Zealanders of jobs and export revenue.

Because many of our best forests are overseas owned, by companies that have absolutely no interest in New Zealand jobs.

Labour  is keen to see higher levels of value added in our primary sector, and as Economic Development Spokesperson I am going to be pushing to get New Zealand logs processed in New Zealand mills.

CONCLUSION

While politicians squabble about balancing the government’s books, our ship is in dangerous waters.

The Labour Party is not your enemy.

Your enemy is inefficiency, corruption, and the wastage of both public and private wealth.

Your enemy is a cosy corruption that helps a few friends of the government get very rich at the expense of the community, including most of the business community.

The three pillars of our survival are investment, innovation and education.

An educated population that earns decent wages will work in your factories and offices, will buy your products, and invest in your shares.

Even as we speak, the global crisis deepens. We cannot solve the crisis of the present by repeating the failures of the past.

New Zealand rose to the challenge of the Great Depression and emerged as a prosperous and functional democracy that was the envy of the world.

There are no winning sides on a sinking ship. While we squabble on the deck, our situation grows graver every day.

Our ship cannot sail itself. We can’t wait for the crisis to overwhelm us before we respond.

A global economic tsunami could sink us. We have to work as a team; rather, we have to work as a crew, remembering that we’re all in this together. We all prosper together or we all sink together.

Thank you.

79 comments on “Cunliffe attacks Nats’ crony capitalism”

  1. Socialist Paddy 1

    I just posted this in open mike and may as well post it here.

    Wow, a politician actually analyzing things and saying it the way it is.  And no sugar coating.

    Brave speech.

    Cunliffe wants to regulate financial markets, he wants us to keep and build our assets, he wants to provide work for everyone, and he wants the state to be smart and to invest in education and research. 

    He is even talking about a Tobin tax.

    He definately does not want to leave our future to the market and he makes a pretty compelling case against doing so.

    No wonder the right wing hate him so much.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      And I’m going to say the same thing that I said in Open Mike. Cunliffe makes all the right noises but the underlying message is still more growth, more over production, more exports – none of which is sustainable. Yes, build up our capabilities but only to such an extent that we can provide for ourselves and keep it within the limits set by the environment.

      • Socialist Paddy 1.1.1

        I don’t disagree Bastard.
         
        If the growth is of the right kind it may be sustainable but persuading the human race of this is a big ask.
         
        At least Cunliffe is talking about a Tobin Tax.  For a senior member of a mainstream to do so is pretty unusual.

    • Georgecom 1.2

      Agreed that it is good to see discussion about a Financial Services Tax. More is needed however Cunliffe is leading the Labour debate about building a new system of economy. Its not the end but is a good start.

      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        I think it is the biggest start.  If you want a financial system that starts to address the excessive wealth that the top 1% has then you need to start clipping the ticket every time they send their wealth around.

        • darkhorse 1.2.1.1

          It would have a far wider and more beneficial effect than that – a 1% financial transaction tax creates “friction” that kills profit in parasitic economic activity like ultra-highspeed margin trading and also will hit currency speculators as well.  Interestingly enough Bill English commented on this as being a good idea a year or so back (every now and then Bill seems to have a spark of insight – it soon dies but at least it sparks)

          The taxation system needs to be spread across all “factors” of the economy.  At present labour is heavily taxed while capital land and resources escape from contributing to the cost overhead of running society.  Effectively this is a tariff on the cost of labour and a subsidy on the cost of capital.

          Cunliffe is taking the first brave and intelligent step in the direction that will haul our carcases out of the train wreck that is about to happen.   

      • Peter 1.2.2

        Cunliffe is one of the few who knows how to address complicated issues in a way that non-experts can understand. A rare gift!

  2. vto 2

    it is indeed refreshing to see a spade being called a spade

    more

    • Herodotus 2.1

      Funny how this dpeack was phrased levelling the caused by asdociation St national. The demise of finance coys was due to poor governance that was the responsibility of a govt agency, the cost to nz for leaky homes, emigration. We should learn from history, then how come the untaxed wealth that was created in 84-87 and in the 2000-07 was under which party?
      How can we believe that such rhetoric is matched by action ?
      The worker has seen much of the rewards of their labour be sifened off refer to graph of the workers share of GDP.
      No ownership of the past, so how can we learn if we don’t take ownership of being the cause.

      • Chris 2.1.1

        What does your first sentence mean? I really can’t follow it sorry

      • Dr Terry 2.1.2

        Herodotus, I am not sure what is your natural language, which makes it harder to comprehend exactly what you are talking about. I hope YOU know what you are talking about, for the brilliant Cunliffe sure knows his stuff! You complain of rhetoric? If I have got that right, then you certainly must despise John Key! However, I might have got you wrong, I am badly in need of a translator.
        I imagine such a sensational speech could not be improved upon in these comments, but answered conceivably by mumbo jumbo from those not intelligent enough to understand it.

      • bbfloyd 2.1.3

        wow… that speech really rattled your fantasies heroless….. that has to be the most incoherent rant you’ve put up for weeks!!

        • Herodotus 2.1.3.1

          Sure the speech reads well yet given labours past performances one must question the sincerity. As many of these issued that are referred to we issues when labour was last in power e.g emigration, unaffodabilty of housing, untaxed wealth. Pre last election we were told to wait for labour policy keeping powder dry, yet there were no answers or real depth of policy just Gst off f&v etc.
          And BBF I have little reason to support nationals response to nz problems.
          And I still require help bring able to review before sending using a phone instead of computer.

      • Labour has its problems, but they are vanishing small compared to National’s. We can talk about fair trade, sustainable job creation, zero-sum economics, and insufficient rollback of National policies if you want, but none of those are a reason to vote any further to the right than Labour.

        • Murray Olsen 2.1.4.1

          I can see plenty of reasons to not vote as far right as Labour. I think they’ll gag Cunliffe sooner rather than later and keep trying to dress Shearer as leadership material of National Lite.

          • Ad 2.1.4.1.1

            Unless we stop them. I don’t like it but without Cunliffe speaking like this, or indeed without Cunliffe, Labour really would struggle to govern with a spine.

            • Herodotus 2.1.4.1.1.1

              Taken from above “It’s because a large percentage of our economic assets are overseas-owned.
              For example, when the Australian-owned banks make billions in profits here, that money isn’t returned to New Zealanders. The money goes straight back overseas.”
              And why are our assets foreign owned? Because we have trading and current account deficits. We borrow to pay for our life style. So how does anyone suggest we reverse this trend? Spend less which will result in net savings (but reduced living stds), increase our international trade or a mixture of both. And should we go along achieving this it will result in increased inflation = increased interest rates to temper activity, or to cut spending which will result in reduced domestic activity.
              So how do we do this?
              http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/balance-of-trade
              http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/current-account

              • Colonial Viper

                And why are our assets foreign owned? Because we have trading and current account deficits. We borrow to pay for our life style.

                You’ve put the cart before the horse here.

                Our current account deficit is fueled by the likes of Telecom, Contact and Westpac sending their earnings offshore, not the other way around.

                • Herodotus

                  Yet I take it that you accept the reverse our coys, pension funds EQC doing the same?
                  Everyone wants us to be net savers but are incapable on giving us the means to do so, and as long as we expect to maintain our standard of living and what joys consumerism brings we will continue to be dependent on borrowing offshore.

              • Draco T Bastard

                And why are our assets foreign owned?

                Because the government at the time sold the bloody things when they didn’t have to, shouldn’t have and certainly shouldn’t have opened up NZ to foreign ownership.

                So how does anyone suggest we reverse this trend?

                By doing what the Treasury type economists tell us not to – building our own economy up through the use of our resources, by building up our people’s skills and trading only in completed products.

                Spend less which will result in net savings (but reduced living stds), increase our international trade or a mixture of both.

                How about neither. Monetary savings are delusional and increasing exports will only make us poor as we lose the resources we need to maintain ourselves.

                And should we go along achieving this it will result in increased inflation = increased interest rates to temper activity, or to cut spending which will result in reduced domestic activity.

                Ban interest rates, they’re useless at the job that they’re supposed to do – limiting the use of scarce resources – and end up only transferring the wealth of the country to the rich.

                As for spending, we spend* only enough to keep the population at a reasonable living standard.

                * Spend = use of limited resources

                • Herodotus

                  So your solution is to expect a dramatic decrease in our living standard a decrease in
                  Life expectancy as we are forced to live on less than we earn internationally. Less as we have to service our debt and live on the residual ?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Nope, maintaining living standard doesn’t require us to produce as much as we can, only as much as we need.

                  • KJT

                    There is no need for most New Zealanders to drop their living standards.

                    In case you havn’t noticed they are not that high for most.
                    Median wage almost half that of Denmark’s.

                    We need to stop subsidising the living standards of the wealth stealers.
                    Most of whom reside offshore, anyway.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      There is no need for most New Zealanders to drop their living standards.

                      A lot of NZers will have to give up a lot of their consumption of material shit.

                      – 12L/100km Holdens and Falcons.
                      – Honda and Toyota hybrid vehicles
                      – 46″ flat screen TVs
                      – Holiday flights overseas
                      – iPhones replaced every 18 months
                      – anything using Italian marble
                      – meals containing ingredients from more than 500km away.
                      – the list goes on.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Well, yeah but they don’t actually make a difference to living standards no matter what the advertisers say.

              • KJT

                Bullshit.

                Our trade balance in real goods and services is positive. It always has been.

                Profits, from infrastructure sold offshore, off shoring almost all our jobs, and financial borrowing is the reason for the deficit.

                First answer is to stop borrowing offshore to buy assets wholly produced in the internal economy. The banks pushing up local house prices for instance.

                Second. Own our own essential infrastructure.

                Third. Stop killing internal manufacturing for the sake of wholly illusory “free trade” benefits for the primary sector. We killed our local productive businesses with the stupid idea that if we freed up our markets totally the countries we trade with would follow suit. Unfortunately for us, they are not that thick.

                Fourth. Cut subsidies for fossil fuel and other polluters. Giving the sustainable energy and production sectors room to grow. Cut some of the billion a year paid for fuel imports. One thing where Muldoon had the right idea. He was just 30 years too soon. And got unfortunately, conned by the IMF into offshore borrowing.

                Fith. Tax profits, capital gains and financial services in proportion to their share of the economy.

                Sixth. Bring back trade unions, so New Zealanders have enough wages to save and invest.

                • KJT

                  Seventh. Have a plan. Instead of “leave it to the market”.
                  A business manager who left it to the market would be sacked. Why do we accept this garbage from our Government?

                  It will probably mean Government finance for sustainable energy, housing and other investment for the future where the private sector has failed.

                  Tax and spend, and printing money, to lend to ourselves, is exactly what we need to do. Worked in the 30’s.

                  • KJT

                    In fact. Just ask for treasuries advice, and do the opposite!

                    • Herotodus

                      Very amusing, then following you advice we still can extract value out of treasury.
                      KJT sure we may have a real goods surplus, yet as $ leave nz we are still being bleed dry. We still need to pay to service our debt and pay off the principle = spending less than we earn. So how do we achieve this ? Everyone can see the problem but no real solutions that can be implemented, or the effects on NZ. That is my issue with david’s speech here.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      We still need to pay to service our debt and pay off the principle

                      Actually, we don’t.

                      The risk when loaning out money is that it won’t be returned.

                      We can, and probably should, default.

                    • KJT

                      Just given you some solutions. If you read them.

                      Stop selling income earning assets is another. Like a builder selling his tools, to the opposition, to pay this weeks groceries.

  3. deuto 3

    Thanks James. I was hoping that we would have a post on the speech, but when this hadn’t happened, I posted a link to the speech in Open Mike.

    From my quick read (need/want to reread it to take it all in), I thought it was an excellent speech, particularly courageous in the lion’s den, and offers a lot of thought to a way forward. Just hoping that others in the Labour camp will take it up. But, unfortunately, not holding my breath.

  4. fatty 4

    I see this as just a cynical slight of hand from Labour. Why do they choose an incompetent noddy as their leader when they could have chosen Cunliffe?
    This kind of talk from Cunliffe does not inspire me at all, it does the opposite, it pisses me off.
    Labour have failed NZ since 1984 and they should be held accountable. What Cunliffe has stated should only be the beginning, Labour needs to do so much more.
    Currently, Labour has a detached leader strumming his way around the country and being nothing more than a bumbling fool…Cunliffe’s words are nothing special, nothing revolutionary…all they do is expose what a pathetic party Labour has now become. Shearer needs to do NZ a favour and step down. Then Cunliffe can build on these statements and make Labour useful again.
    Labour’s current good-cop vs bad-cop routine is an insult to our intelligence, either Cunliffe needs to walk-the-walk by leaving the party, or STFU…or Shearer could go back to his charity work…this current Labour circus is a joke…and we are the punchline.

    • Pete 4.1

      Cunliffe’s words are nothing special, nothing revolutionary

      If you want a revolution, maybe parliamentary democracy isn’t for you. Perhaps you can set yourself up as the Robespierre of what is and what isn’t left enough. I’m going to stick with what Michael Joseph Savage said when Labour won in 1935:

      “We have no desire to raise ourselves at your expense. Our object in life is to cooperate with you. To find out what you think, and to go on to do the work of building a prosperous nation. A free nation, or a nation of free peoples in these southern seas.”

      • Shona 4.1.1

        Hmmmm….. Robespierre was a brilliant man before his meltdown when it all got too bloody.
        The guillotine is a very attractive looking piece of equipment these days with thieving scum like National running the country into slavery and despair.

      • We got a revolution from 1984-88. It can happen. =/

        • ad 4.1.2.1

          Probably an unhelpful term.
          As would be anything ending with “…Spring”.
          Or “Great leap Forward”, “Masterplan”, “Vision”, “10 Year Plan”, or “Bloated series of abstract nouns like Obama would deliver”

          It’s simply the scale of what must happen to get this country upright again.

          • fatty 4.1.2.1.1

            “Probably an unhelpful term.”

            You can thank Pete for that unhelpful term…he twisted my post around to make it seem as through I was talking about a ‘revolution’.
            Nobody was talking about a revolution…I said “Cunliffe’s words are nothing special, nothing revolutionary”. I was obviously talking about a change of direction, not a revolution…it was a misread from Pete that should never have been acknowledged.
            As usual, DTB has it right: http://thestandard.org.nz/cunliffe-attacks-nats-crony-capitalism/comment-page-1/#comment-482687

    • tc 4.2

      Patience Fatty Shearer can’t be challenged until Sept and if he fails to capitalise on sideshow John’s imploding bunch of corrupt cronies then Cunliffe should challenge him but till then he’ll toe the line.

      If he fails I reckon defect to the greens as an electorate MP as he’s not appreciated or valued by mallard and the muppets who probably fear him as he’s zoomed past them in terms of ability and achievement (telecom unbundling).

      • bbfloyd 4.2.1

        I’m assuming the fat one knows david shearer personally?? otherwise that was just an ignorant, childish rant that he should be embarrassed by……

        we still don’t seem to get it, do we boys and girls…… the ability to talk for hours without saying anything, and having no scruples when it comes to misrepresenting reality to gain “political” advantage are NOT traits that qualify anyone for leadership….

        i suggest reading the WHOLE speech….. in particular, the paragraph dealing with david’s assessment of shearers skill set in relation to what is going to be required to drag us back from the escalation descent into the third world this govt is leading us down….

        it seems that david cunliffe is smart enough to see that having a blowass as leader doesn’t “fix” anything….. so he is using his undoubted oratory skills to best effect as a member of the party that he knows will have the job of, once more cleaning up the pile of dog shit left by this cabal of asset strippers….

        future leader? certainly….. but shearer has the right track record for the times…. cunliffe will make a great leader one day…. but there’s a job to do now… and he has the right job to be a major part of the recovery process……..what the future holds for him is best left to the future….

        we need to stop whining about irrelevancies , and get back to the important stuff….

        • ad 4.2.1.1

          Right with you there bbfloyd. Not a leadership speeech or anything to do with it.

          It’s stating in the sharpest possible terms for Labour’s current ideological spectrum that (to join the dots) we’ve done this before in response to the Depression, we are close to one again, and the comparable countries that survive this like Denmark are spectacularly focussed on what they are doing.

          I do think he will continue to push and solidify the progressive side of Labour, which is where any tension might be if there is any. That’s not unreasonable to have this debate 2.5 years out from election.

          It didn’t go down too badly with the audience, but no raptures either. More jokes next time I think.

          We still need more.

        • fatty 4.2.1.2

          “I’m assuming the fat one knows david shearer personally??”

          Oh, I see, since I don’t know god’s gift to boredom, that means I can’t have an opinion on him? Almost zero percent of voters will know politicians personally.

          “but shearer has the right track record for the times”

          What track record is that? Please don’t give me a rundown on his UN humanitarian ‘achievements’ …the UN might be seen as something special to the average Kiwi, but for most people in this world they are seen as the dodgy world police who perpetuate neo-colonialism and suffering.

          Labour needs to decide what it wants to be, this neoliberal, nonsensical, thirdway drivel is a bit worn out…and Cunliffe on the side, trying to seduce the disenfranchised is a bit condescending, don’t you think?

          • Carol 4.2.1.2.1

            Labour needs to decide what it wants to be, this neoliberal, nonsensical, thirdway drivel is a bit worn out…and Cunliffe on the side, trying to seduce the disenfranchised is a bit condescending, don’t you think?

            Yes, I agree Labour should be taking a strong left wing position and ditching the centre-right compromises with monetarism etc I’m glad Cunliffe’s putting his speeches out there for discussion.

            I’m not sure how things lie between Cunliffe and Shearer right now. Didn’t he get some flack in caucus for his first speech? I’m not sure whether his speeches are OK with Shearer or if Cunliffe is testing the water to see how far he can go in his own direction?

            • Georgecom 4.2.1.2.1.1

              I think we are seeing signs of a repudiation of at least some of the third way economics by Labour if you class the third way as neo-liberal economics tied to a mildly progressive social policy. The unfettered nature of financial capital and markets is being questioned, by Cunliffe at least.

              Any change of that magnitude won’t happen quickly in a political party unless the agenda is hijacked as it was with the neo-liberals in 1984. In that instance there was an upswell of neo-liberal alchemists all clamouring for change after years of a Muldoon dam holding back the flow. We don’t have the clamour yet as the mice are still running the cheese factory (into the ground). Popular support for the type of change Cunliffe is espousing is around but it isn’t yet, it seems to me, the dominant narrative.

              It is really good to see talk about an FST starting alongside a capital gains tax. Those conversations need to continue and shape policy. Where Shearer exactly stands is important but it doesn’t stop other forces within the Labour party shaping policy. A successful left party is big enough to allow other persons to shape policy other than the leader.

              One big fly in this ointment is time. Does the Labour Party have enough time to shape its policy and get the public on board before the economic-social-enviro crap really hits the fan. I think we are still not at the point of it really hitting, how far away though I won’t say.

              When it does we need thinking of the left to be far enough along to have a saleable narrative that the nation can see and embrace with some hope. Thats Labour but also the Greens, Mana and whatever other parties can paddle the waka of creating something better. We pull down the rotten national-ACT-neo-liberal edifice but need a compelling alternative to put up in its place.

              That doesn’t mean I necessarily think where Cunliffe is positioning himself is actually the full answer or goes far enough to create the proper society we will need. But, his thinking is headed in the right direction that will hopefully allow some logical progression to the economic-social-enviro framework we will need.

              So I am glad that Cunliffe is raising some of the progressive things we need for NZ. Whether he is leader or not is not such a concern for me as his ability to get some meaningful progressive policy set up by Labour.

              • Ad

                To me that policy contest looks pretty finely balanced within Caucus. Very interesting that Cosgrove this week seemed to support all the measures in the Trans Pacific Partnership. I honestly think that the political economy of Parker and Cunliffe is actually pretty similar. I think there definitely is time to solidify policy, but it really is a task that needs doing.

                The interesting task will be reconciling an economic direction between Labour and the Greens, and I would be strongly in favour of that happening before the next campaign, not during a coalition negotiation. Hopefully that’s in 2014. Not 2017.

    • Dr Terry 4.3

      Fatty, do you actually know some intelligent people? May I respectfully suggest that you change your pseudonym to “Fat Headed”?

      • fatty 4.3.1

        “Fatty, do you actually know some intelligent people?”

        Um…I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

        “May I respectfully suggest that you change your pseudonym to “Fat Headed”?”

        You can call me whatever you like…
        You put up some good posts here Dr Terry…so I ask you, are you not insulted by they way Labour is portraying itself at the moment? Do you not see Cunliffe as a tease for us who want real change? I fail to see the point of these Cunliffe speeches when Shearer is in charge and leading down another path. If we don’t critique Labour then we can expect more of the same.
        Shearer is trying to seduce the centre and Cunliffe is flirting with those to the left. This is hardly a hint of change, it appears to be just tokenism…I don’t buy it…do you?
        We have had neo-liberal/third-way/big society politics since 1999, and its time we started getting angry over this failure. We should call Cunliffe’s bluff…does he really believe this, or as Tom says below…is he just a pawn of Shearer?

        • ad 4.3.1.1

          If you want to call his bluff on anything, go and do it. He’s usually in his electorate on Friday’s. Check his reality out.

          But just to flag there will be another speech coming up on June 23rd. And it’s straight into Green Party territory: “The Dolphin and the Dole Queue”

          Don’t put the acid on Cunliffe unless you want a straight answer back, because you will get one.

      • Pink postman 4.3.2

        I would suggest “Thick Head” DR.T. I would assume that Fatty has no idea what makes a good leader. For a start he/she must have the caucus’s full support ,which Shearer has . They must be the main voice on policy which Shearer does . I think Shearer will prove to, be an excellent leader in the same mould as Bill Rowling ,which is rather interesting because the political right used exactly the same methods to attack Rowling as they are now with Shearer ( sow seeds of doubt ) this time they will not succeed so expect plan B the personal attacks simular to Muldoons filthy personal attacks on Bill Rowling and Helen Clark. Be ready fellow Lefties
        the second year of the election term is approaching and the personal attack on Labour will be full on. It would also be interesting to know
        what position Thick head Fatty holds in the National party or ACT.

        • fatty 4.3.2.1

          “I would assume that Fatty has no idea what makes a good leader”

          One that is different from the opposition

        • ad 4.3.2.2

          You know it’s odd but Shearer is growing on me slowly. A slow growth, but it could be contagious.

          Mind you, I see Cunliffe finally crept into the Preferred Prime Minister poll from TV3 this week.

  5. Tom Gould 5

    Clever of Shearer to give Cunliffe the job of running up the flag on this stuff. See who salutes it. See who spits on it. Very clever indeed.

    • ad 5.1

      Can you really detect that degree of sophistication or cynicism from this lot? I can’t.

      I think Labour broadly speaking are just happy to watch each successive tree in National’s forest fall.

    • LOL. Labour has never been at risk of running too far to the left. This is perfectly centrist stuff, as always, and more sensible than sensational.

  6. bbfloyd 6

    tom.. that presupposes an approach the nats would take….. do you know just what shearers motivations are for a fact? Or is this just another reactionary assumption based on a narrow world view?

  7. insider 7

    So what was new and concrete in there? He seemed mainly have a rather rosy view of the US response to the depression and to rehash the policies that were rejected at the last election, and he said there needed to be more regulation of the finance sector -couldn’t bring himself to say exactly what that regulation might be and what it might achieve, but he seems pretty sure we need more of it. He’s also very keen on the conservation corps and planting lots and lots of trees.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Planting lots of trees is needed as we need riparian planting and fencing on every water way in NZ. Especially the ones going through farms so that we can start on the necessary clean up of the pollution caused by excess farming.

      He’s also talking about building up infrastructure and boosting R&D. All sensible policies and my only gripe is that he’s talking about growth as if it’s sustainable when it’s not.

      There was a hell of a lot in the speech and yet you seem to have focussed down on one aspect of it. I have noticed that you do this quite often when critiquing anything. Is that because you’re incapable of having more than one thought at a time?

      • insider 7.1.1

        Nice that you pay so much attention. I’m flattered.

        I focused on the one concrete idea he seemed to be offering. and that’s the point: everything you mentioned was general wish list or existing labour policy. That doesn’t make a great speech in my book, even if he called key a rich prick and called unnamed people cronies.

        Where’s the detail about what infrastructure he wants to invest in,? How much is he wanting to spend on r&d? How’s he going to fund it? Not even a hint on them or when that detail wll be forthcoming.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          Nice that you pay so much attention.

          Actually, I pay very little attention but repeat behaviour even gets through to me eventually.

          Where’s the detail about what infrastructure he wants to invest in,?

          It was a speech setting vision and direction you moron, not a detailed economic blueprint.

          • insider 7.1.1.1.1

            I don’t consider it paticularly visionary or brave or great speechifying to restate policy they went into the last election with (much of it also national’s btw). he couldn’t even bring himself to say they would do more state houses -something youd think was core labour policy – even though he says that was a key depression fighting policy. But he did commit to more trees.

            • ad 7.1.1.1.1.1

              You have admirably high standards for a visionary speech.

              Pull out any of the best from Lange, Bolger or even TW Roosevelt. Compare. He’s not reaching for oratory, sure. But he’s saying he’s ready to organise the New Zealand economy and stating how to do it.

              That’s reasonably fresh compared to say any speech from any New Zealand politiciain in the last five years I will warrant you.

        • tracey 7.1.1.2

          yu must hate reading or lgistening to nation if you r looking for actual plans

        • tracey 7.1.1.3

          you must hate reading or listening to national if you ar looking for actual plans

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      He seemed mainly have a rather rosy view of the US response to the depression

      Rosier than bleeding out an accident victim at least, which is what austerity and forcing more debt on to sovereigns are doing for Europe.

      • KJT 7.2.1

        Well. The new deal worked, as did our response at the time.

        I am still waiting for someone to provide an example of austerity working?

        • Murray Olsen 7.2.1.1

          Austerity works at what it’s designed to do – move a greater proportion of wealth to the already rich.

    • ad 7.3

      Naturally he can’t announce new policy, 2.5 years out from an election. That wasn’t its purpose nor the place for it. The job was to show that he and Labour are ready to reorganise the economy, they know how bad it is and what has worked in the past, and open the door on 2014 they have a framework to do it.

      As for describing the Depression, the point was to show the severity of it in the US like so …:

      “By 1933, 11,000 of the United States’ 25,000 banks had failed. That’s nearly half.

      People had no money, so they couldn’t buy manufactured goods. Because people stopped buying manufactured goods, factories closed down. Because factories closed down, workers got fired. Because workers got fired, they couldn’t buy manufactured goods.

      And so it went on, and on, and on, until, by 1933, nearly 13 million Americans were unemployed. That was a quarter of the total workforce.”

      …and then show New Zealand’s similarly strong New Deal response had actually altered our economic destiny here, for decades.

      Since it was 40 minutes long, there wasn’t room to go into more detail. It packed enough in by itself don’t you agree?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Bright new fad theories expounded by academics wanting their PhDs and their publications.

  8. jack 9

    I agree with Cunliffe about regulating banks. Reagan destroyed the US, probably one of the worst presidents, by deragulating banks and then banks taking the risks with investors money and giving themselves billion dollar bonuses. First started off with savings and loans in the 80’s and then derivative trader (Wasn’t Key the head of derivatives in Europe for Merril Lynch? Yes) in the 90’s and finally collapsed in 2007. Of all people running the country at the worse time….. a derivatives trader.. Kiwi’s need to wake up and fast.

  9. Dan 10

    Great stuff. Get that idealism and pragmatic solutions out to the voting and (last election) non-voting public.

  10. KhandallahMan 11

    I have it on good authority that Trevor Mallard actually wrote this speech but is too shy to give it in public himself.   Trevor is a bit worried that his “bloke” image would be ruined if it got out that he has read a history book. Cunliffe should fess up and give Mallard the credit. 

  11. ghostwhowalksnz 12

    David is over-egging the amount of infrastructure that was built in the 30s and 40s’
    It was the 50s and 60s that the most of the North Island hydro and electricity infrastructure was built. Same for Aucklands water supply.

  12. tracey 13

    The problm with pref pm polls is you dont get to choose yours but one from the pollsters list

  13. Richard McGrath 14

    Cunliffe trots out the same tired myths about the Great Depression. Roosevelt was elected on promises of reversing the high taxes and massive spending policies of Hoover (who, for some reason, Cunliffe et al regard as “non-interventionist”). Roosevelt then broke all his promises and upped the level of government regulation and control over the American people, with predictable results.

    A very telling quote came from Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau in 1939, after eight years of socialist policies:

    “[W]e have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. …I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

    A good example of a relatively laissez-faire U.S. President was Warren Harding, who cut taxes and government spending in the face of a depression in 1920 greater than that of 1929, allowing the economy to recover in less than a year.

    The problem with socialism is that you run out of other people’s money.

  14. Max Moss 15

    This was an outstanding speech by David Cunliffe.  He covered all the issues and articulated clear proposals for a saner, more prosperous, more equal society.  This Saturday (June 23, 1 pm,) he takes on the Greens at the Titirangi War Memorial Hall.  I’ve wondered if Labour is “green” enough for my tastes.  I’ll be there to hear Cunliffe.  Saturday’s speech is “The Dolphin and the Dole Que, What would Labour do on the Economy and the Environment?”

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  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act
    In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote.… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    5 days ago
  • Mainfreight ‘appalled’ by Government’s rail madness
    The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The company has told shareholders it… ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    6 days ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    6 days ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    7 days ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    7 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    1 week ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    1 week ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    1 week ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for&hellip; ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    1 week ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    2 weeks ago

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