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David Cunliffe

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, September 4th, 2013 - 262 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, labour - Tags:

cunliffe labour leader campaign

I’d like to thank Lynn and the authors of the Standard for this opportunity to contribute a post here, where Labour members and the broader left come together online. The Standard is certainly one of the most respected political blogs and I am a regular reader.

I’m standing for the leadership of the Labour Party because we need to take New Zealand back from John Key and we need to build a fairer, more inclusive New Zealand.

I entered into politics because political power directly affects our lives. And, just like the first Labour Government did, the sixth Labour government will make life better for all of us.

I grew up in small town New Zealand, the son of a vicar and I know what it is like to do it hard.

New Zealand needs a united, progressive and transformative Labour Party. I’ve no doubt we have the talent in our caucus, and the strength in our affiliates, in our membership, and among our supporters, to turn New Zealand around and lead a Government we can be proud of. We just need to bring it all together.

The next election is critical for Labour and for New Zealand. We are at a turning point in history. The Global Financial Crisis and the Great Recession have busted the neoliberal consensus and exposed it for the dodgy pyramid scheme it always was.

Next year we will have the first chance in a generation for real change. Historically, at great junctures of New Zealand history, it’s Labour that has set the agenda for a generation. We are proud to be the party of big ideas.

The First Labour Government led us through the Great Depression and built the welfare state, ensuring housing, education, health, a decent job and social security for all. The fifth Labour Government respected this tradition but also took steps to start New Zealand on the long treck to sustainability. Climate change and resource depletion are issues that we have to act now to address. Continuing with the status quo is not an option.

The neoliberal project has run out of steam. Kiwis can see it offers no answers to the challenges they face. It hasn’t delivered jobs, it hasn’t delivered security, and it hasn’t delivered the prosperity it promised.

The next Labour Government must not be a continuity government. We need a transformative economic and environmental agenda and we need leadership with the vision and the credibility to see it through.

We must also have leadership that has proven it can stare down vested interests – because make no mistake, the beneficiaries of neoliberalism will not give up their privilege quietly.

My Labour stands for better future in this country. A better future, with well-paid jobs where people are respected and valued. A future that is full of opportunities for our kids; a good public education; housing; free health care and a secure retirement. A decent New Zealand.

And the Labour Government that I lead will drive full employment.  Every New Zealander who is ready, willing and able to work will be in a job or training for one.

And these jobs will be well paid. As well as strengthening employment laws, I will introduce a living wage for all employees of Government agencies – and I will extend this policy over time to any business that seeks to win Government contracts.

The next Labour government will have a solid programme of economic development. We will use the state to lead economic development that creates good jobs for Kiwis and supports regional New Zealand.

And in doing so we will not compromise our beautiful environment and clean green image.

The alternative is listening to John Key and his government tell you that everything’s just fine. That we’re just around the corner from his brighter future. Just like he’s been promising for half a decade now – yes, it’s been that long. The truth is, under his government, doing things the way he does,  it’s not going to get better. Not today, not tomorrow.

The truth is that we have a country that is undergoing massive change. Behind the Prime Minister’s empty promises, behind his PR stunts, and his carefully staged media appearances, behind all of the distractions and diversions and cant of this government there’s a much bigger truth. The truth of a few very wealthy elite getting richer and richer and the truth of the rest of us paying for it. And we’re paying, and paying, and paying.

But that’s not how it has to be. I believe that as the leader of the Labour party, a party made strong by all of you, we will make this nation a better place. I believe that together we will win.

David.

www.cunliffe.co.nz

262 comments on “David Cunliffe”

  1. lprent 1

    Note that this post will be fully moderated (ie a moderator has to release all comments).

    David will apparently be online for a while to answer questions.

    Speeches that are not related to the post or framed as questions for the first half hour or so will be shunted to OpenMike.

    Any other candidates who wish to use this site for a guest post are welcome to send it through and the same rules will apply.

  2. s y d 2

    Can I just say thank you for posting. Looking forward to hearing from you and the others this evening too.

  3. r0b 3

    Hi David – thanks for your post here!

    When you say that we need an alternative to the busted neoliberal consensus – can you be more specific? What does the alternative look like?

    Cheers
    Anthony R0bins

    • Hi Everyone,

      Great to join you. Yes this really is me not a proxy, live on-line. Thanks Rob for a great question.

      When National says they are going to cut people’s legs off, Kiwis don’t want to hear that Labour will too, just nearer the ankles and with more anaesthetic.

      The GFC has finally proven what many of us believed for a long time: that free markets left to their own devices are ultimately destructive of human well being and even economic performance. Unregulated markets tend towards monopolies and often concentrate vast wealth in the hands of a very few. Neither outcome is sustainable or morally right.

      In no particular order, and off the top of my head, core elements of a post-GFC modern social democratic alternative must include:

      – using the power of the State to intervene when markets fail, just as I did when I broke the old Telecom monopoly as Minister for ICT, splitting the company into three, beefing up the Commerce Commission and getting cheaper broadband and phone calls to consumers
      – guaranteeing fair workplaces and decent wages by leaning against the power of the bosses through fair employment relations laws: repealing National’s anti worker agenda; protecting vulnerable workers; bringing in industry standard agreement; and saving ‘smoko’ breaks just to name a few. That is a first 100 days commitment from me
      – direct intervention to address the worst income inequalities by lifting the minimum wage immediately to $15, and rolling out a living wage as fast as can be afforded. Starting with the core public sector and creating preferences for living wage employers who contract to the State as we roll it out
      – taking a bold approach to economic development; building new partnerships between communities, regions, industries and an empowering, investing State. Only the State can take a long investment horizon and represent the whole community well being. I won’t make commitments on the hoof but I would like to see us study projects like a rail link to NorthPort, opening the eastern Bay of Plenty aquaculture and accelerating forestry down the East Coast, particularly erosion prone land.

      The macro economic settings that fit this active, partnering State are new Keynesian. The government’s fiscal position should be managed across the business cycle and give confidence to the economy. But we should not be shy about investing for growth during a recession, nor underwriting high value long term infrastructure.

      The State may also need to play a more direct role where markets have failed. For example, I think we will need to study the insurance market very closely as the full implications of the Christchurch earthquakes and current seismic activity flow through.

      Monetary settings need to be revised. Inflation is not the only goal worth pursuing, and while it matters, so does growth, employment and our external balance. Amending the Reserve Bank Act would be a significant priority.

      That’s enough to get debate going and to give you my general thrust. A Labour government that I lead would be true red not light blue; bold not shy, and compassionate not uncaring. NZ desperately needs a change and to achieve that we must win in 2014. That is why I am offering to lead Labour now.

      • r0b 3.1.1

        Many thanks for a detailed answer. Inevitably the political right will respond with warnings of Doomsday, threats of “capital flight”, “investors pulling out of NZ” and so on.

        How would you respond?

      • Zorr 3.1.2

        You talk about the “first 100 days” here and there are a couple of points that I would hope find a place in that to-do list. The ones I am specifically interested in knowing about are:
        - repeal of the GCSB bill and the TCIS bill (if it is passed)
        - 90 day “fire-at-will” provisions
        - asset sales and whether there will be a plan to renationalise the assets already hocked off by National

        Thanks

      • Ennui 3.1.3

        David, New Keynesian worries me big time. Galbraiths comment was that “Keynesianism was for a time but not all times”.

        The worries: if we had a world in which today’s investments could be paid for with an expanding energy supply, expanding tax base, and growth then Keynesian policies would be ideal. None of those preconditions exist. Or are likely to again (ever). We are at Peak Bloody Everything.

        When you win, you David will face an economy that is heavily in debt because we have reached to far into assumed future income from resources we no longer have access to. You David could attempt to create credit…and print money. The debt loading will go up and it wont be payable, ever.

        So to pay for a fair community and an economy that offers us a future is a real challenge. A better way might be to form an agreement with all sectors on sharing pain, and limiting the damage whilst recreating our economy into a sustainable solid state model where we live within our means. This is actually the only possibility available to us that offers any semblance of us remaining as a cogent society and nation. The other possibilities are very scary.

        From a good news end, I think that you are the only candidate that can achieve this…the other two would (IMHO) quite happily go down the business as usual path. There are taniwha.

        • Rogue Trooper 3.1.3.1

          Excellent, as always Ennui

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.3.2

          You David could attempt to create credit…and print money. The debt loading will go up and it wont be payable, ever.

          You say that “printing” money (in reality, electronically crediting it to a Treasury account) will cause the debt loading to go up. Why?

          Like US Colonial Scrip, tally sticks, or the local currency used in Worgl, the NZD can be issued debt free, exactly like minting a dollar coin issues that dollar coin without the creation of an opposing dollar of debt.

      • Steve Bradley 3.1.4

        Much of New Zealand’s domestic insurance industry is now owned by IAG through taking over various NZ companies, including the former mutual, AMI.

        Most of these companies have decided to arbitrarily change their polices to nominated sum from the previous replacement system.

        There has been no discussion with New Zealand policy holders: it’s just “We’ve changed our mind; take it or leave it.”

        Long overdue for a Labour led government to provide the opportunity to join the insurance needs of citizens, with the guaranteed revenue, and investment capacity within a publicly-owned crown corporation.

        If only to keep the foreign dominated market players honest.

        But also to give kiwis somewhere to go when they don’t like being stood over.

        Cheers

      • miravox 3.1.5

        Hi David,

        The social democracies of Europe place an enormous emphasis on jobs – not just job creation, but structural fit between jobs available and skills available, with investment in skills a priority – job experience, apprenticeships and on-going skills training. Plus, they use government resources in managing cyclical downturns to maintain high levels of employment. But I guess you know this. They also have strong views about the rights and responsibilities of, and to, people who can work as well as the right to a decent life of those who cannot.

        A legislated commitment to worker participation in decision-making on the shop-floor, in boardrooms and in government is, I feel, one of the great Social-Democratic achievements.

        What is you view on this commitment to workers, and to worker participation in decision-making, in terms of economic and business management for New Zealand?

  4. Frida 4

    Thanks David, your message certainly resonates with me and I wish you all the best. I believe that you of the three are best equipped to take it to these clowns on the Treasury benches and I’ve already voted for you.
    Please please please, for the sake of NZ and for the sake of ordinary NZers everywhere and for the sake of NZ children growing up in poverty, Labour HAS to win in 2014. We can’t limp along any more, people are suffering and every day there are more and more outrages against democracy perpetrated by Key and his mates. Enough is enough.

  5. Jimbo 5

    Thanks David. Great to see the strong economic focus coming through as well as the need for the next government to be transformative and not just more of the same.

    I’m interested to know what you think has changed in the world and in NZ between the fifth labour govt and now, and, assuming you’re elected, how these changes will influence the government you lead in 2014.

  6. Craig Glen viper 6

    Good on ya mate! It is indeed time for a change not just in NZ but in Labour as well.If we keep doing things the way its been done for the last few years we will get John Key for another term NZ just cant afford that.

  7. tinfoilhat 7

    Hi David

    As a Green supporter I’d like to know which parts of the Green manifesto you support/don’t support and whether you would be prepared to offer the finance portfolio to one of or MPs if labour was the larger partner in a Labour/Green coalition.

    • weka 7.1

      Thanks for posting David.

      I’d like to know if you become leader what kind of relationship you will build with the Green Party, both now and post election.

    • While my job as Labour leader will be to maximise Labour’s vote, I have good relationships with Russel and Metira should that be what voters decide. I value their skills and experience, while I have confirmed publicly that we would have a Labour Minister of Finance, I would be willing to consider Russel in some form of senior economic role.

      • tinfoilhat 7.2.1

        I was tempted to ask if you would be happy as serving as Minister of Finance in a Green led Green/Labour government but I thought that would be a bit provocative.

        [lprent: Tell me again - why did you pick that pseudonym? :twisted: ]

        • tinfoilhat 7.2.1.1

          My grandkids were talking about tinfoil hats and giggling and I had no idea what they were on about – I like it as a on line pseudonym in preference to being stalked by odd people.

  8. A. Foolish-Dickhead 8

    Mr Cunliffe, you say, “…We will use the state to lead economic development that creates good jobs for Kiwis and supports regional New Zealand…” Can you expand on how this “creating” will be done? I’ve only heard about how low wages will increase, paid for by reshuffling existing resources.

    [lprent: Changed your handle to something more appropriate as "P. Davis" looks like it was specifically designed for identity theft. I wouldn't imagine that it is likely that you are either Peter Davis or actually have a surname of Davis. Despite the strawman argument, I will leave your question in. However you will be required to carry this handle for further comments on this post. ]

  9. Bill 9

    One question kind of messily broken into three.

    What makes you tick? What experiences or personal observations – or what influences from others – have impacted on/informed your politics? What made you what you are today (politically)?

  10. geoff 10

    Hi David,

    John Key has already come out against the living wage policies that yourself and Grant have been talking about recently.

    How would you rebut his response and that of others who believe such policies would also be inflationary?

    • First, my policy has been carefully costed by calculating the number of employees at each salary band level across the core public service. My best estimate is around $25M in the first full year to extend the living wage across the core public service.

      John Key, unsurprisingly, has tried his usual trick of overstating the issue and then trying to shoot it down. He included all employees across the whole economy both public and private sctors, and said paying them a living wage would cost $4B. Rubber numbers.

      My commitment was very specific: public service first for $25M; then gradual rollout across Crown entities (including DHBs) and those contracting to them.

      In any case, John Key is shamed by the hefty dollars $4.2B in tax cuts he gave mostly to wealthier NZers who didn’t need them. That policy alone resulted in a $1B fiscal blow out over 4 years. Why is a billion dollar hole OK when it feathers nests of rich people, but a $25M investment on getting food on the tables of the poorest, is not?

      • Clement Pinto 10.1.1

        Great answer.

      • Worth pointing out as well that a phased rollout of this system should mitigate the cost of earlier stages somewhat with the stimulative effect that raising lower wages can have for the whole economy.

        While it’s not necessarily sexy to “middle New Zealand”, this could easily be one of the pillars of the next Labour government’s economic policy. And the rest of us will be for it when we realise it means more customers for all sorts of businesses and services.

      • geoff 10.1.3

        Thanks for the reply.

        Have you heard of the US economist Robert Reich? He has a bunch of great little (2-3mins) vids on you-tube which neatly explain why the US economy is screwed and how to fix it.
        A lot of the material has parallels to NZs economic situation.

        Here’s one on raising the minimum wage:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct8CGJy9eF8&

        Maybe Labour could make vids like this for the election??

  11. Pasupial 11

    Candidate Cunliffe

    With the present PM being so contemptuous of the non-binding citizen initiated Asset Referendum, what (if any) changes would you to enact to; Referenda Legislation, if you were in his place?

    Respect.

  12. hush minx 12

    Thank you for your post – it was great to see your ideas laid out. Of course there will be more detail to come I’m sure. But leadership isn’t just about ideas – it’s about being able to bring people with you. What do you think you will do in the job differently to those who have gone before in the Labour leadership teams? What are the lessons you have learnt from watching them operate?

    • I think its important to unite the whole caucus and get the best out of every caucus colleague. The caucus needs ‘all its wings to fly’.

      I want to lead from the front, working closely with my caucus colleagues to set a bold clear policy direction and communicate strongly with the electorate.

      Above all I want Labour to win, right now in 2014.

  13. weka 13

    What is your view on Work and Income beneficiaries, esp re Labour policy (carrot or stick)?

    How do you intend to repair the damage done by the deserving working poor vs lazy/cheating beneficiary meme?

    • I am not into beneficiary bashing in any way, shape or form. I do want to see intensive case management with support for unemployed kiwis to find work. That means there has to be jobs to go to. And we also have to respect people’s individual challenges and family circumstances.

  14. Greywarbler 14

    Hello David, kia kaha. Do you plan to talk to Australia to attempt to gain fair treatment for NZs there, after initial periods of working and taxpaying?
    And the right to apply for citizenship again not just residency?
    And also consider establishing an insurance scheme that NZ residents going to, or in Oz can pay into that will give them transport home if hard times strike? Seriously something needs to be done to help stranded kiwis in this basically unfriendly country.

    • That’s an idea worth looking at. Thanks for putting it up. I do think we need to stand up for ourselves more as a country in relation tour Aussie mates. Along time ago I spent a year working for their foreign affairs department and I recall first hand how clear they were about identifying and pursuing their national interests. Ours and theirs overlap a lot but there are differences. We need to put our case clearly and strongly and not put up with inferior status.

  15. Boadicea 15

    Who will you appoint to Fisheries?

    • I am being very clear that I will not be horse trading jobs as part of this election process. The proper order is first to earn the confidence of the party and the caucus, then to sit down with each of my caucus colleagues and listen to what they are passionate about, and work out how to support each member of the team to be the best that they can be. I can unify the caucus with the Party and the broader movement we will be an unstoppable force for 2014.

  16. just saying 16

    Hi David,

    My voting papers are on the bench as yet unopened.

    I’d like to hear you talk about what appears to have been a ‘road to damascus’ experience which has seen you move from the right to the left of the party. I want to be sure you are sincere, and will be mighty angry if you lead another ‘third way’ government which continues to throw the poorest and those doing it hardest under the proverbial bus. What will you do for this group? Specifically?
    Are you prepared to stare down the threat of a capital strike?

    And will you please stop using those awful third-way buzz-phrases like “hard-working families” Why do you need to divide the hard-up into those with or without kids, and those in or out of paid work?

    As an aside, the comfortable middle class, ie the real middle class is way wealthier than ever before in my lifetime. These professional/business people are not being “squeezed”, they are busy renovating the kitchen for the fifth time, organising tax-minimisaton on the rental properties portfolio and planning their next OE…..

    Thanks.

    • idlegus 16.1

      +1. & i will add a question, will you be open minded towards the mana party?

      if you are leader i probably will vote for the labour candidate here in south dunedin. i cant stand & dont trust or like the other 2 (jones & robertson) or clare curran but thats my beef, so good luck david!

    • I never was on the right – what makes you think that? I turned down a job in Treasury in the late 1980s because I couldn’t stand Rogernomics and I have never changed my view. I think the GFC has made it easier for others to come around which is useful.

      • Mary 16.2.1

        Could you have a crack at responding to the other parts of just saying’s questions? I think they’re good questions, important questions.

  17. Ad 17

    Oh man more thought and passion in that than last 5 years of Labour,

    Just win.

  18. lprent 18

    There are obviously a pile of people sitting online pressing refresh *grin*. The real-time analytics is showing 38% of you are doing exactly that.

    I’ll sneak a question in myself.

    David, in what ways will you get the parliamentary caucus to help reinvigorate the NZLP system?

    It is currently locked into mode of organisation that probably made sense in the 1930′s, but makes little or no sense these days when most people meet online.

    • lprent thanks for all you do for TS and the Left.

      Reunifying the caucus and the Party is clearly a top priority if the Left is going to win government in 2014. That will involve working with each and every caucus colleague to be the best that they can give.

      Within the caucus we need to get our systems right: more teaming of MPs around portfolio clusters with direct research and communications support; more involvement of the backbench in briefing the leadership by requiring Leader’s office staff to include MP advice and comments in all briefing processes wherever possible.

      We must take seriously and respect the new constitution of the party. We must be faithful to and rigorously implement the Policy Platform that so many have worked so hard to build.

      I commit to regular ongoing consultation with the President and General Secretary, and NZ Council, and with affiliates to ensure that never again do we open up a gap between the Parliamentary party and the rest.

  19. Smoker 19

    Hi David, Would you support an Australian style decriminalisation of pot?

    • Polish Pride 19.1

      Hi David would you support legalization of Cannabis and turning this into a regulated industry with a view to aiding NZs economic recovery and growth?

  20. Matthew 20

    Hey David, big fan. I have one question and it is abut the TPPA. Provided this document is not signed by the time you take office, what will your Labour government do about this so-called trade deal. All the released information shows that it is a toxic deal, with very little benefit for the country, at potentially great cost.
    I want to know how this ‘deal’ is viewed by the Labour caucus in general, & what steps will be taken to ensure NZ is not taken to the cleaners by corporate America?

  21. Smoker 21

    And any chance of an Auckland to Hamilton commuter rail link?

    • Greywarbler 21.1

      Smoker
      That would be good. And perhaps a drive on railway car flat, so taking a lot of pressure off that road and the outer part of the Auckland motorway.

  22. “We must also have leadership that has proven it can stare down vested interests – because make no mistake, the beneficiaries of neoliberalism will not give up their privilege quietly.”

    This is what we’ve been waiting to hear from Labour for far too long. Good luck, David!

  23. Greywarbler 23

    About Parliament David. Do you think you could start discusssion about improving Question Time Rules? So the Question is answered, reasonably and factually and with some detail or background.
    And only Questions that ask about specific policies are allowed- not whether the PM agrees with everything that’s been done.
    And no shouts and catcalls and no speech lasting longer than 10 minutes to prevent filibusters. That sort of thing that is sensible, beneficial to sensible discussion.

    • I think we should ensure that the way we handle Question Time supports the brand we want to build for Labour: modern, professional, tough on the issues, but not dirty or personal.

      • Daisy 23.1.1

        …and I hope you will not allow your ministers to speak to people in the community in an arrogant, derogatory, name calling and insulting manner. A manner we have endured in Christchurch from Brownlee and a man who has little respect for ideas and voices of local community…and Key doesn’t rain him in because he too is cut from the same cloth.

  24. fermionic_interference 24

    Hi David

    Many thanks for the effort and initiative to post here.
    Would you be able to clarify your position on the following?

    You state

    And the Labour Government that I lead will drive full employment.
    The next Labour government will have a solid programme of economic development. We will use the state to lead economic development that creates good jobs . . .

    Do you have a plan in place, ready to implement when the right-wing PR machine grabs hold of these quotes and uses them to attack you credibility as a financially prudent and capable government?

    Because currently the balance of power, in terms of argument framing and simple and convincing (even though inaccurate and at times completely false) arguments used by National etc continually gain traction in the media and thwart and real discourse on the viability of alternative options.
    So, again, do you have a plan to take the front-foot on these debate and policy framing issues and win the debate so as to win the next election?

    Cheers and best of luck with the leadership primary.

  25. James 25

    I’d like to hear what David Cunliffe has to say about education.

    National Standards is widely regarded by teachers and parents alike as a fiasco and a massive waste of teaching resources and time. The previous Labour government had put in place the NZ Curriculum, an internationally recognised system for improving the education of our kids.

    I haven’t heard David comment on education as yet, so I’d like to know his views on this.

    • Frida 25.1

      Thanks James, I’d like to hear this too. Has Labour actually come out to say they will repeal the travesty that is National Standards? For the sake of our kids, I hope so.

      [lprent: I'll let that through. But David Cunliffe's ideas are not Labour policy. Confine yourself to asking the candidate. ]

    • I am no fan of National Standards. As the MP for New Lynn I visit all 30-odd school in my electorate regularly. In my electorate almost four out of ten constituents were not born in NZ and many kids starting school, have English as a 2nd language. So telling them that they have ‘failed’ because they don’t meet a blanket average is not helping anybody. Nor do League tables which accelerate flight into winner and loser school. However as a parent of two school aged boys I do want to know how they are going and how I can support their learning in partnership with their school. (And for the record both my kids go to state school).

      Providing good robust information that supports real learning is a good thing. National standards in the current form are not.

      • fabregas4 25.2.1

        ‘In the current form’ – this type of language freaks me out. Almost every educator and educational and assessment academic in NZ would say NS in any form do not provide robust information.

        • Molly 25.2.1.1

          +1. Although I understand the lure of standards for parents of schoolchildren, the reality is they do not in any way reflect the excellence of the learning environment OR the whole picture of a child’s abilities or strengths.

          It is a seachange that I have made over the years after some thought, perhaps the same will occur to others after reasonable public debate – sorry, discussion. The adversarial framework of debate often gets in the way of information.

          • Macro 25.2.1.1.1

            Totally agree The current obsession by parents and politicians with children’s “learning” and “objective reporting” is depriving them of an education!
            And I say that as someone who has spent a lifetime in education, educating not only children (including my own) but adults as well.
            The current reporting process in particular is an absolute travesty!

        • Saarbo 25.2.1.2

          Fabregas4, this probably isnt the best place to discuss this but I will do it anyway. Im on the Bot off a school with 65 pupils. We have 12 children falling below standard in reading, so we have allocated extra resources towards these kids. So for this purpose, it made it very simple for us to make this decision. But as a parent and in terms of understanding how my 2 children are doing, it is abysmal. I guess the point I am trying to make is, under the old system we did seem to gain a much better picture as parents, of understanding how our own kids were doing, but the more macro picture wasn’t as easy to assess, which is possibly more important for the BoT/Principals. Personally, I am with you regarding the National Standards, we have lost a lot of detail around assessment, but how do we get the bigger picture info for those resource allocation type decisions?

          • fabregas4 25.2.1.2.1

            Well first of all as soon as you talk about falling behind the standard you are on the wrong track. The standards are based on nothing of substance. I am sure that your principal and teachers could have (and probably did) identify your 12 kids before the NS nonsense. Allocating resources was even simpler then because some arbitrary and inconsistent level didn’t determine need – the school did. Your position on the BOT allows and encourages you to ask the principal about the progress of children and to allocate the resources that maximises the opportunity for your students to succeed – every single one of them – the top achievers and the ones needing assistance. The achievement data provided by the Principal should encourage these discussions. Ask him/her – about what is happening for your top performers to extend them and what is happening to assist those needing extra help. That would be a start and quite frankly (whilst working cooperatively with your principal) is your job.

            When NS was introduced Anne Tolley (remember her?) talked at length about the need to inform parents of progress. Her narrative was around the ‘many conversations over the BBQ’s where parents said they didn’t know how well their child was doing’. NS reporting has made it worse all right.

            The truth is this I think. Talking to your school, being involved with your children, taking an interest is the best way to ascertain your own child’s progress. From a BOT perspective ask the principal to share data on progress and achievement using proper assessment tools (ones that are nationally normed not this made up rubbish). They will love that you asked and value sharing this with you.

            One last rant. If you are wondering about resourcing from a National level this NS data won’t help because it is interpreted so differently across the country – and always will be. Especially as the govt wants folk to use it to compare schools (though they know this is bad). We had a great way of checking National performance in a system called NEMP (national education monitoring Project) National closed this down. But it gave us a picture of where NZ kids were at after Year 4 and Year 6 – it was normed, reputable, – but now gone – wonder why?

            • Saarbo 25.2.1.2.1.1

              Thanks fabergas4, very useful :-)

            • lenore 25.2.1.2.1.2

              That’s the other thing many parents like myself don’t know about all the various assessments that have been around that worked and as you said have been dumped by National. No word of this in msm either.

      • Rodel 25.2.2

        good answer ..Thanks!

  26. One Anonymous Knucklehead 26

    Mr. Cunliffe, how do you propose to protect New Zealanders from the wholesale surveillance that is currently being employed?

    Do you think it will be possible to re-criminalise such behaviour without withdrawing from the “Five Eyes” network? What is Waihopai’s fate?

    • I have strongly opposed the GCSB and TCIS Bills. A Labour government that I lead will immediately review and then repeal the GCSB Bill in favour of legislation which protects civil liberties and personal privacy and requires that all activity and information gathered in relation to NZ citizen must be warranted at all times.

      I am deeply concerned that John Key’s attitude to this is part of a much wider agenda to undermine civil liberties such as by starving citizens access to legal aid, overriding local government processes, cutting sleazy deals with casinos and media companies, and undermining New Zealanders trust in government.

      I was particularly appalled when John Key response to criticism from the Human Rights Commission was to threaten to cut its funding. For goodness sake, the HRC is an independent statutory watchdog and it was absolutely doing its job. Cutting the funding of statutory bodies you don’t like is a trick that hasn’t been tried since Rob Muldoon and Ruth Richardson.

  27. Colonial Viper 27

    Damn awesome, Mr Cunliffe.

    The sixth Labour Government needs to shake things up big time, while society still has the time and resources to do so. One hard job will be to bring the public, the forward looking elements of the business community, and the media along with what is going to be quite a ride.

    Some hornets nests are going to be stirred up along the way but it will be a measure of statecraft to ensure that powerful vested interests know what is being done and why it is in the long term self interests of the nation and for themselves as well.

    Looking forwards to what is going to be a damn difficult, but very interesting, journey.

  28. Pete 28

    Hi David

    Over the past two terms we’ve seen the government play fast and loose with civil liberties. Do you think New Zealand is ready for an entrenched Bill of Rights (like the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) to safeguard against further excesses?

  29. Ben Uffindell 29

    Hi everybody,

    I’d like to know what David has to say about Pokemon. As many of you will know, I grew up at a time when we had free access to generations 1 and 2 of Pokemon, in the form of Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold and Silver. These – particularly the latter two – were the best games in the franchise, in large part because they had a thoroughly well rounded selection of well-designed Pokemon.

    But since those days, Nintendo have designed countless more Pokemon, and generation by generation, they have been of diminishing quality.

    What I want to know is, how can we ensure that today’s youth have access to the same quality of Pokemon that we enjoyed when we were young, or will they become the lost generation who never knew what a Geodude was?

    • The only ‘mon’ I want to poke is John Key.

      • CnrJoe 29.1.1

        well that could be misconstrued

        Good luck Mr Cunliffe!

      • amirite 29.1.2

        uh, pokemon = proctologist :-)

        [lprent: That was obvious. How did I miss it? Writing code and moderating I guess.... :twisted: ]

      • Hami Shearlie 29.1.3

        I’ll happily provide the sharpened stick, David! – As a newish party member and voter in this leader election I will just say Good Luck, you have my vote – my cousin knows you well and speaks very highly of you – That and seeing your work in Government and Parliament is a good enough recommendation for me – GO HARD!!

  30. Hi David
    Could you give us your reasons for supporting the government’s Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill with your vote in the House last week? What do you say to critics of the bill like Auckland Action Against Poverty? Are these the kind of anti-beneficiary measures we can expect from a Cunliffe government?

  31. Morgan C 31

    Hi David,

    How do you plan to bring back the life long Labour supporters that have become jaded with Labour filling its list with ‘career politicians’ and very few people with real world experience. Who believe that Labour is out of touch with middle New Zealand?

  32. I run a charity representing families bereaved by suicide. With an average of around 550 suicides in NZ each year, victims as young as six years old and strong evidence from the WHO that the current approach to suicide prevention in NZ increases rather than decreases suicide, we met with John Key to request a commission of inquiry. He refused. Would you support such an inquiry and would you be willing to meet with families bereaved by suicide to discuss their concerns and the evidence that our approach to suicide prevention in NZ has failed and requires change?

    • Gidday Maria,

      I remember you from school and take my hat off to you for your courageous work against youth suicide. There can be no greater tragedy for any family and the current suicide rate is a damning indictment on our whole society.

      I would certainly signal to our incoming social development team that I see combating youth suicide as a top priority and I am not opposed to a commission-based approach, but I would want to discuss the mechanism with them to ensure we do it right and make a difference.

      If we do undertake a Commission, getting the terms of reference right is crucial as I am also concerned about the increasing rates of elderly suicide.

      SiIgning off now and running out the door, back on line as soon as I can……

      • Thanks David. I appreciate your response but you didn’t answer my question about whether you would be willing to meet with CASPER families.

        • lprent 32.1.1.1

          My questions to you are:-

          1. Wouldn’t making appointments be better done via his staff rather than on comments in a blog?

          2. What in the hell is CASPER? Please give a small explanation and a link over in OpenMike and I will link it back. Decontextualized questions on acronyms are kind of a pain to read.

          • James 32.1.1.1.1

            You can find out more about casper by using this amazing invention called the internet, and this super cool website called google. I didn’t have the faintest idea what CASPER is until I did this, and then I found their website.

            http://www.casper.org.nz

            That should cover off a lot of questions.

            [lprent: Obviously I know that.

            My question was educational for someone who obviously wasn't accustomed to speaking in a online public forum. The problem was that she was using an out of context acronym in a public forum. She should have made the context more accessible to other readers. I wind up doing these little educational kicks periodically when people are unaware of etiquette and site rules.

            Looking at your previous history, you don't have ignorance as a barrier. So my educational kick for you can be less subtle. 1 week ban for stupidity, and an extra week to allow you time to read the policy to find out why I consider it to be stupid. ]

            • tinfoilhat 32.1.1.1.1.1

              Seriously lprent, get a grip, James was just politely trying to help.

              [lprent: Yeah right. If you think that is the case then I have this cheap bridge for sale in downtown auckland...

              But really it doesn't matter. On any social media, perception is everything. This is particularly the case on topic based sites like this. This looked like stupid sarcasm to me and an education in netiquette (ie making sure it wasn't perceived as being stupid sarcasm) usually comes with nasty (but highly educational) cost.

              James will have received an education in what happens when you have a go at a sysop, and will hopefully read the policy to realise the same happens when if he tries it on with authors or moderators. ]

              • QoT

                Yes, it’s so polite to tell the sysop of a website about “this amazing invention called the internet”.

                It’s called sarcasm, tfh.

          • Maria Bradshaw 32.1.1.1.2

            CASPER is a charity run by families who have lost their loved ones, primarily children, to suicide. Our experience with other politicians is that the only way we can get a meeting with them is to get an assurance in a public foruim that they will do so as once such an assurance is given publicly it is more difficult to avoid meeting with us. My question was for David, who as you will see from his response knows me and my organisation. Others can easily google CASPER.

            • lprent 32.1.1.1.2.1

              Thank you. My point is that this is a public forum and it behoves you to consider the other people reading around you and who are unaware of what you are talking about. At least provide some context to them by at least dropping in a link. A few sentences like you just provided helps a lot as well.

              BTW: The link is http://www.casper.org.nz/

        • David Cunliffe 32.1.1.2

          Hi Maria, no problem with a meet.

          • Suitably Clueless 32.1.1.2.1

            And for all those lacking patience, here you go. Obviously Mr Cunliffe is a rather busy man right now, so crowing for follow up answers is not constructive.

            My question to David is this, and it will be a very tough one to answer. Are you going to let our parliament come into the 21st century by jettisoning a lot of dead wood that the Labour party have accumulated over the last 20-30 years that seem to be doing nothing but bench warming? I think you will find that this is a reason as to why there is voter apathy, people have heard the same voices and same faces on their 6 o’clock news for far too long. I understand this could be too difficult to answer, so I’ll simplify it, will you campaign for term limits and a parliament overhaul?

          • Maria Bradshaw 32.1.1.2.2

            Thanks David. Will arrange it with your staff :)

  33. coolas 33

    “The neoliberal project has run out of steam.”

    Music to my ears. Good luck David Cunliffe. I hope you win Labour leadership.

  34. fabregas4 34

    Man! This post almost made me cry! But then I have lived through all the neo liberal Chicago School lies and like many I guess I am wondering if the brighter future it promised will ever arrive for me or our country. My feeling is that the world is beginning to make the change back to more conventional economic policy – my question is – do you believe that the Labour Party in general has come to this realization or is it simply you?

    • I think the realisation is spreading within our caucus, but we are still a broad church and there are a range of views. That is probably true in any Party and what counts is the strength of the collective process that gets us to a position we can all support.

  35. Thanks everyone – I’ve got to travel now to Tauranga for tonight’s Leadership meeting. Please keep posting and I will come back on later in the day as soon as I can. Cheers, David

  36. Olwyn 36

    “The next Labour Government must not be a continuity government.” These are the most heartening words I have heard from a politician in a long time. Go well, David. I have already voted for you, and now I just really want you to win.

  37. Demelza George-Franzmayr 37

    Hi David, my husband works in science but funding is constantly being lessened, what initiatives would you and a labour led govt bring to this area?

  38. Polish Pride 38

    Hi David what are your thoughts binding referendums such as the model used in Switzerland thus New Zealanders more of a say in legislation passed and more opportunities to participate in our democracy?

  39. John 39

    Hi David,

    Thanks for doing this. My question is as follows: National have been rather ambitious in setting the ten priority results for better public services. Will Labour pursue something along these lines in terms of public sector management? If so, how will the desired results differ from National’s? If not, why do you feel this is not an effective strategy?

  40. billbrowne 40

    David, I would appreciate it if you could give your thoughts on the following points:

    A return to apprenticeships in the public sector starting with:
    – Returning the electricity generation sector to public ownership
    – A significant increase in the rail network over the spend on roading
    – A re-nationalisation of Chorus

    A refocusing on trade training through polytechnics which include a state sponsored and monitored apprenticeships scheme

  41. Polish Pride 41

    Hi David
    I (and I suspect many others) want to know what we get if we vote Labour, not just for the next 3 year election cycle but what our New Zealand will look like longer term.
    ie. What is your 5 year plan, 10 year, 20 year plan, What does NZ look like at these points and how do your policies get us there?

    Not expecting an answer today but would like this looked at as it is not provided by any party. Many of us want a shared vision we can buy into and call our own.
    If you become leader of the Labour party it would be good to have this done. It is also a powerful tool to use against the opposition who won’t have done this.

  42. Mary 42

    Hi David,

    Carrying on from Giovanni Tiso’s question, will a Labour led by you denounce the removal of the special benefit that Labour was responsible for in 2004? Will a Labour led by you restore meeting need as the primary purpose of social security? Will a Labour led by you ensure that social security benefits are set at levels that people can live on? Will a Labour led by you abandon ideas of welfare based on punishment for being poor?

    Also, why has Labour up to this very day failed to clearly outline what its social security benefit policy currently is? Is it because it intends to carry on in the same direction as previously as characterised by it removing the special benefit, its Social Security Amendment Act 2007 and now its support to the select committee of the Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill?

    • Greywarbler 42.1

      David could your Labour government think about social welfare being versed first as maintaining people to participate in society as long as possible, and second caring for them in their old age with benefits matching income and assets? Thus the financial and other support is considered to help towards the goal of them doing something, even small to support society function.

      That would be an approach that goes beyond Depression thinking and could mean a cessation to calls to raise the age for OAP/super. It would make a sad finish to life to have the present rabid attitude to keeping the elderly employed continue under Labour. Because of the difference in the administration of welfare policies, and their intention when drawn up, there needs to be a complete change of attitude from government and probably Treasury to older people. From crippling dependents on the state to useful aids in society helping maintain positive, healthy, young communities live well, productively and proudly.

  43. Lance Cash 43

    Hi David. Fantastic read. Really happy to see clarity of vision and climate change/resource use right there on the agenda.

    What do you see as the key opportunities for New Zealand to step up on climate change? What policies would you seek to implement to address climate change in areas like electricity, transport, housing or industry?

    Thanks
    Lance.

  44. Paul Y 44

    Hi David. It’s fantastic to hear you speaking directly and bluntly about the need for low carbon transformation, now. To me that is the big issue of our time, and must be at the heart of a vision for a fair, prosperous and jobs-rich NZ.

    My question is whether you see this as one of the key platforms you would take to the election battle next year?

    With this government’s assault on climate policies, and the environment more generally, it seems to me like a strong wedge issue you could win on if framed as a positive vision.

    • jaymam 44.1

      Dear David
      By all means make it an election issue to mitigate the effects of climate change in NZ and around the world, particularly in the Pacific region. That’s obviously a good idea, and there will be votes in that.
      However a good way to lose votes would be to align yourself wth any organisation with a one track mind with its negative attitude to carbon. Please keep Labour away from them.

  45. Clement Pinto 45

    Hi David,

    A good article with nice vision for the party and the nation. I especially liked this sentence:”We must also have leadership that has proven it can stare down vested interests – because make no mistake, the beneficiaries of neoliberalism will not give up their privilege quietly.”

    I would like to see:

    (1) The restoration of the very valuable (especially for rural poor folk) Adult Community Education Night Classes which were killed by this stupid Government, saving a few million dollars extra for the entire programme for the entire country (About $13 million as was costed then)

    (2) To bridge the widening gap between the very highly paid and the very low waged workers, would your Government consider a wage ratio between Min and Max of say about 1:20 ? And have measures to prevent organisations of circumventing the spirit of the law through perks, bonuses etc?

    • Colonial Viper 45.1

      There’s a pretty good fringe benefit tax regime which can be tightened up; also there are a few sneaky corporates who pay their senior execs through offshore companies based in lovely low tax places like Ireland, the state of Delaware, Belize, etc…that needs to be cleaned up.

      20x the minimum wage of $28K pa or 10x the median wage of $41K pa are good starting points for curtailing excess income beyond any possible societal worth.

  46. PI 46

    At present, the (effective) tax burden falls disproportionately on the middle class/individuals/families who may have good (or even comparatively high) incomes but low wealth. In contrast, many high wealth individual/families pay very low effective tax rates (due, in part, to the absence of capital gains tax).

    Would you implement a ‘wealth’ tax and, if so, what form would it take (e.g. capital gains, land tax, estate/death duty etc)?

    Would you implement an additional marginal income tax bracket for ‘super’ incomes – at, say, $1 million per year (or a series of brackets above that)?

  47. expatriot 47

    Good morning David,

    Thank you for your articulate and inspiring post. While I haven’t lived in Christchurch for several years, the city is still extremely close to my heart and is still home to many of my family and friends, particularly the decimated eastern suburbs. It really hurts to see the city in the state it is in with a government that really seems not to care particularly about the plight of the less well-off residents at all. Can you advise as to how a Labour government led by you would approach the Christchurch rebuild?

  48. IrishBill 48

    Hi David,

    Good to see you here and clearly enjoying yourself. My question is would you be keen to continue to do occasional live chat posts here if you become leader and PM?

  49. Tracey 49

    Hi David

    Will Labour raise the highest tax threshold if you become leader (and govt) and if so to what level?

    You spoke the other day about looking at how trusts are used for folks to avoid taxes. Can you be more specific about how you might do this?

    [lprent: David is on his way to Tauranga at present. ]

  50. Matthew 50

    Hi David,
    Do you know much about the Swedish/Norwegian Investment Reserve Funds that are designed to combat boom/bust economics? and if so do you think that it would be applicable in New Zealand?

    • I only have passing knowledge. Oil and other resource revenues have helped build up a future investment fund that provides ongoing income stream for when the resources run out. The funds can be invested to earn interest and can cushion structural shifts in public finances in future years. Sounds good? [Sounds a bit like the Cullen Fund]. Shame John Key’s Government isn’t doing the same with royalties from NZ’s finite extractive resources.

  51. Alison 51

    Do you consider yourself a feminist? What do you think are the biggest concerns facing women at the present time and what do you plan to do to address these concerns?

    • Yes and I’m married to another one. There are a whole raft of issues that you probably know better than me Alison. From inequality in earnings and pay rates, to family and sexual violence, to the near ubiquitous ‘glass ceiling’ that holds back even the most able professional women. Not to mention ‘super women’ syndrome where women are expected to do everything men can do but only better, yet also somehow bear primary responsibility for managing homes and families. It gives a whole new sad meaning to the phrase “doing more for less”.

      Addressing it: Parliament, and the Labour Government that I lead, will push for true equality. Sue Moroney’s Paid Parental Leave Bill, enhancing antenatal care and support, early childhood education, improved workplace rights, supporting women’s health issues and pushing back against all forms of discrimination, educating men around anger management and domestic violence, and ensuring our refuges are properly funded are just a few of the very many things we can do to turn our culture around. It is possibly the most ingrained form of discrimination we face.

      • miravox 51.1.1

        Thanks for putting family and sexual violence above the ‘glass ceiling’ in your list of feminist issues, David. (although the ‘glass ceiling’ is important, it’s not the blight on society that domestic violence is). The massive human cost ruins too many lives – and that’s for the perpetrators as well as the victims.

        I also reckon there is enough evidence out there that reducing domestic violence will seriously reduce government spending on health, social welfare and fixing up lost education for kids in these traumatic households.

        Reducing family violence must be a win-win for the individuals suffering, society and government, yet all we’re getting are withdrawal of services, reductions in funding and punitive welfare reforms from the current government that increase stresses on families and leaves them to their own devices when they really need help.

      • karol 51.1.2

        Thanks for such a full answer to that question, David, showing a very good awareness of gender issues.

        I would add that beneficiary bashing also hits women particularly hard, especially single mothers. I am pleased to see that you strongly oppose any bennie bashing.

        I am hoping you will be elected leader, and then PM. I also know pressure from the right, and the media will be to continue undermining beneficiaries one way or another.

        I would also like to see some positive policies to return social security to it’s original aim: something subsequent (post 1930s) governments have whittled away. This would be Michael Savage for the 21st century, with a contemporary understanding of gender equality.

  52. Jum 52

    David,

    Re the TPPA; can you clear up the question of buying back any SOEs, post TPPA, sold off to private business before the TPPA is signed off. Is it true that any future Government could be sued by private business before an overseas tribunal if government bought back an asset and thereby reduced corporate business’ profit margin? (National was, just yesterday in Parliament, challenging Labour to buy back assets, knowing that would be financially disastrous post TPPA).

    Re Water, the new Gold; how safe is publicly owned water from being privatised or contracted out for decades, which effectively means the same thing, and where does that leave half privatised Mighty River Power water use and Meridian? There are global water wars; are we the latest country to be plundered?

    Thank you.

  53. lloyd jordan 53

    I would just like to ask what your position is on killing off Westpac as the governments bank and transfering its banking to kiwibank thus lessening some capital flight

    • bad12 53.1

      True, Kiwibank, in my opinion needs to be bolstered so as to be able to undertake all the Governments business once the contract with Westpac expires,

      In addition to this would it not be a good idea to deliberately build in one city or another an IT hub where the best in IT that New Zealand has can be grouped together so as ‘a whole’ they can compete for Government IT contracts…

  54. You said you will raise Taxes, can you be more specific?

    Do you have any plan to bring in Compulsory Unionism?

    Will you let Kiwis themselves decide if they want to invest in the share market?

    Will you interfere and try to keep the dollar down?

    Would you clean up NZonAIR and stop funding music acts that have had their
    whole career funding by the tax payer?

  55. BLiP 55

    As a Geenie, I’m keeping myself out of the Labour Party leadership discussion except to voice my support for you based on your time in Parliament, your experience as a Minister, and this speech – http://youtu.be/Rl-yc4Gk1eQ . Exposing the “Budget Surplus” for the “funny money, rubber numbers” spreadsheet fanatasy that it is will, IMNSHO, assist greatly in a change of government next year. Thank you and MOAR!!

    One thing I would like to see from you is an assurance that what we are hearing now is not just pandering patter which will subsequently be tempered once the leadership process has been resolved.

  56. Keir Robertson 56

    Hey David – Just a word to say all the best. Hope you get the nod – just don’t let us down. My generation are sick of being lied to and showered with short term political thinking that does nothing for our long term health as a nation …

    • Colonial Viper 56.1

      Getting your favourite lefty politician voted in is just the start – applying continuing mass pressure and multiple reminders to them to “stay on track” is absolutely crucial.

  57. Dear David,

    I have two questions:

    1/ In light of the vote against participating in what will be a war against Syria outside of a UN mandate in the commons in the UK, (which voted against participating in a war for the first time in about 200 years will you support the pending strike by the US) how would you vote if John Key would have allowed that?

    2? If you would be elected would you address the Derivatives portfolio which has been building up under National to the tune of (2011) $112 Billion and counting and New Zealand’s dependency on the international financial cartel?

  58. Draco T Bastard 58

    My Labour stands for better future in this country. A better future, with well-paid jobs where people are respected and valued. A future that is full of opportunities for our kids; a good public education; housing; free health care and a secure retirement. A decent New Zealand.

    If you want to do that then the first thing you need to do is to define the purpose of the economy is to provide that rather than the present norm where the purpose of the economy is to provide profit for the few.

    The second thing you need to do is to remove from the private banks the power to create money so that the economy looks something like this. Get rid of the BS that wealth comes from the private sector and make it obvious that wealth comes from the community.

  59. davejac 59

    Hi David. First time Standarder, some time Labour voter, current Green member, but that could change…

    1) Yesterday Prof. Gluckman released an audit of several department’s use of evidence in policy formation and implementation. The results are pretty damming. (http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/The-role-of-evidence-in-policy-formation-and-implementation-report.pdf) What sort of attitude towards evidence based policy could we expect from a Labour government lead by you? When is it appropriate for a Government to ignore the policy advice of experts and go in an alternative direction?

    2) Do you agree with the current model of targeting R&D funding towards Primary industry? Why? What (if any) alternatives would you explore? Would you be looking to target money into other industries?

    3) What would you do to promote private sector funding of R&D?

    4) The current government has defunded a lot of the post doctoral fellowships and research support for early career researchers. What (if anything) would you do to keep these people in the country?

    5) Would you increase funding for blue sky research in New Zealand?

    6) Would you consider regrowing the beard? Do you think can grow a better beard than either of your rivals?

    Thank you for your time.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 59.1

      +1000 for evidence based policy, if only because the National Party would have to rewrite its entire manifesto.

      • davejac 59.1.1

        I’m more interested in hearing what might happen when the (good, credible) evidence is up against Labour policy. It’s simple to abuse your opponents for not following the evidence, but it’s a lot harder when that evidence is stacked up against one of your sacred cows.

        • Davejac: With the proviso that we clarify that there’s a difference between “hard evidence”(usually provided by hard sciences, engineers, and experts in applied knowledge where things can be demonstrably right or wrong) and “soft evidence”, (usually requiring a lot of interpretation) the government should ALWAYS follow hard evidence, no matter what government it is.

          Soft evidence is a bit tricky. For instance, Treasury claimed repeatedly (and probably still does) that there was no proof whatsoever that smaller class sizes improved the quality of education. But that’s very open to interpretation and there haven’t been good meta-studies on that research that clarify the sort of assumptions underlying that result, and I believe it’s also based on SAT scores, which are a very poor predictor of positive outcomes later in life when compared to other outcomes. Would you buy treasury’s conclusion? The government has a right to interpret evidence that is open to interpretation, which to be honest, applies to the economics of any given policy. Unless it deals with IT, science, or policy with excellent comparative data available, we’re unlikely to be able to “prove” it in more than a subjective sense.

          • Colonial Viper 59.1.1.1.1

            the government should ALWAYS follow hard evidence, no matter what government it is.

            NO it should NOT.

            Because you still have to evaluate the evidence in the context of the priorities and values you want to operate to, and there is always a need to identify the context, priorities and values of the “evidence” that you are looking at.

            In other words, the process is still very highly SUBJECTIVE.

            • davejac 59.1.1.1.1.1

              Government should be forming policy with the appropriate community, expert, ethical, scientific, legal, and economic advice.

              However, once they’ve formed that policy, the implementation needs to be left up to the experts. Most people have no idea what levels of particulate matter is dangerous to health, so the experts need to set those levels. Most people don’t know how to set up a vaccination schedule, so experts need to set that up. Most people have no idea what you need to do to prevent Maui’s Dolphins being caught up in nets, so experts need to set those limits. Most people don’t know what dose of chemotherapy someone needs, so experts need to set that dose. I think this is what Matthew was talking about when he said Hard Evidence.

              Where it comes to Soft Evidence, you’re right, it is very subjective. I would prefer a government which knew the limits of this soft evidence, so they don’t come in and claim the evidence is behind their policy, when really the evidence doesn’t show that. I want a government who won’t come out and deliberately abuse the evidence, and I want those that to to be held to account. And governments are well within their rights to go against expert advice- I want a government who will tell us why they’ve decided not to follow that advice, whether they understand that advice, how ideological their reasons are for rejecting that evidence.

  60. feijoa 60

    Hi David
    Your position on Free Trade Agreements please?

  61. beGone Craven SpyBill leopard 61

    @ Mr Cunliffe,
    It is extremely heartening to hear you refer to an aim at ‘full employment’.
    I am not really posing a question here, just alerting you to one area that might lead to improving the quality of NZ workforce and unemployment statistics.

    While we are being sent the message that we need a more skilled workforce, are you aware that there are obstacles to some NZers gaining an higher education? Are you aware that for some the student benefit is $80 less than the unemployment benefit? (the ‘living at home rate’) and this rate might be affordable for those from wealthy families, however isn’t viable for those with no financial backing.

    Even when the student benefit is the same rate as the unemployment, (living away from home), due to the additional costs, and huge debt one is obliged to agree to incurring, this makes for a very difficult, if not impossible, affirmative decision for those who haven’t got a whole lot of financial backing.

    I would have thought it was better to encourage those of us who are unemployed and capable of higher education to get educated, this is categorically not happening and there are obstacles being created to doing this. I am given financial assistance by WINZ to get myself into seasonal work that only lasts a few months and end back on unemployment, whereas if I choose to get an education in the same circumstances there is no additional assistance, in fact I take a massive cut in the assistance available to me.

    I would have thought that making some changes to these anomalies would serve the interests of NZ and not solely those who are the immediate recipients of improvements to student allowance rules.

    Thank you for putting your name forward for NZLP leadership.
    I sincerely hope that the unions, caucus and membership vote for you.
    I think you have a passion for making real improvements and the capacity for doing so. The type of improvements you speak of serves everyone’s interests.

    • just saying 61.1

      I would have thought it was better to encourage those of us who are unemployed and capable of higher education to get educated…

      Wouldn’t it be better to provide adequate assistance to everyone in need, as opposed to just those “capable of higher education”?

      • beGone Craven SpyBill leopard 61.1.1

        Hi Just Saying,

        Yes, of course, re ‘adequate assistance to everyone in need’ however I am being specific about a certain area of assistance that isn’t functioning very well and might only concern a percentage of people; I added ‘and capable of higher education’ to acknowledge that I am addressing a specific concern that may not be a concern to all.

        I do, however think that addressing this issue would lead to healthier employment stats and more opportunities for many more.

        I comment because I think that the obstacles to education could easily be overlooked and seen as not as severe as they are by those who are instrumental in creating policies because being in fairly comfortable positions financially it would be easy to miss how the student allowance is only affordable if you have some form of assistance from elsewhere and for some this just isn’t the case. However if this issue was noticed and addressed, it could supply benefits (in the realms of positive statistical feedback) to a government who chose to do so.

        It is extremely hard to agree to tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt when one hasn’t had any earning power whatsoever or have had a job on the minimum wage and noticed that extra money to pay back any debt is non-existent. It is also very hard to afford to study, after having been on a low rate of pay, or on welfare (and thus having nothing saved) with some of the current student allowance rates.

        Isn’t it better to have people studying than festering on welfare? I would have thought so.

        • just saying 61.1.1.1

          …the student allowance is only affordable if you have some form of assistance from elsewhere and for some this just isn’t the case….

          This is true of all government benefits.

          I’m aware of your situation re tertiary education, I’ve been in it myself. It’s not that I’m unsympathetic, but I find your statement that beneficaries “fester” like pestulant sores, highly offensive.

          • beGone Craven Spy Bill leopard 61.1.1.1.1

            Please reread my comment JustSaying, there is no reference to ‘pestulant sores’.

            I speak for myself. I have festered on welfare when I could have studied. FACT.

            I have noticed what a struggle it is to feel good about myself when without work or meaningful activity and it is made worse by the way one is treated when unemployed by WINZ staff , by politicians when it suits them to spread negative feeling re welfare recipients out into the community, and by judgmental freaks who had it a whole lot better when they left school and yet seem to have a favourite pastime of putting down people in worse situations than themselves. I have observed the same struggle in mostly all the others I’ve met in the same circumstances. ‘Festering’ is the word I use for that experience I would hardly refer to it as ‘flourishing’ now would I? and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

            (n.b. I must say though, ‘pestulant sores’ would be a good adjective for those that create the unemployment by the policies they pursue.)

            • just saying 61.1.1.1.1.1

              The quote marks were only around the word “fester”, but maybe I should have said as if they were pestulant sores.

              Festering is something that happens to things that are infected or rotten. It sounds like you might have taken some of that discrimination on board for yourself.

              ps – I agree with you about those that create unemployment by the policies they pursue. I really hope you are able to get the education you want.

              • beGone Craven Spy Bill leopard

                @Just Saying,
                Another definition of festering in the Oxford dictionary is ‘stagnating’ which is the sense in which I use it.

                I take your point re internalized oppression though, this is part of the ‘struggle’ with which I refer to and it is extremely hard to avoid.

                I am studying currently, thank you, and doing it has been what has alerted me to the issues with student allowance. Prior to studying I had berated myself for not completing education earlier, however, now I can see I was perfectly sensible to wait until I had rock hard motivation, desperation in fact, prior to committing myself to a course of mass debt and poverty because that is about the only thing that keeps me in such objectionable circumstances.

                …and this really is the point I am trying to convey; is it wise for a government to make circumstances while studying so poor that one such as myself would delay it. Isn’t it better to encourage people into an education, rather than create obstacles to them doing that?

            • Rebecca 61.1.1.1.1.2

              I feel your pain mate! It’s really tough when you find yourself stuck between a rock, a hard place, and the edge of a cliff. I too struggle with the sense of guilt, shame and general hopelessness since being made redundant from my job, which can be utterly paralysing and on bad days I don’t even want to leave the house for fear of running into someone I know and having to face the dreaded questions: “How are you? What are you doing these days?”. These are the kind of things that WINZ and judgmental bene-bashing Kiwis living comfortable lives just don’t understand.

              The next Labour-Green government needs to ensure the costs of tertiary education are affordable for all, particularly when you are forced to retrain after redundancy.

              As a single woman, how can I afford to pay for university course fees and still buy a house one day? Or should I just leave the country again and risk my luck in Oz? Where the hell did it all go wrong….

              • beGone Craven Spy Bill leopard

                @ Rebecca,

                Exactly!

                I’ve noticed that I keep away from socializing when without a job too for the reasons you describe. This is part of the problem, because social connections help keep one’s spirits up and good spirits and social connections also help with getting work. It is,however, extremely damaging when one meets up with people who are judgemental or insensitive to the experience of joblessness and so alienation ends up being the preferable choice. It is very sad.

                I am of the opinion that houses are over-rated (er…well, actually at present they are!) and that it is better to get into something that you can do and enjoy doing, than getting a house and if that means Uni or Polytech at present there seems to be no other option other than agreeing to massive debt, ['happy happy joy joy, more bonuses for us' sing the banksters] yet that is the choice I have made….after a very long time of avoiding such a decision.

                I really hope you find the best way forward soon! Best wishes on getting to a happier place….fast!

  62. Murray Olsen 62

    David,
    Firstly, good luck in your campaign. We need a government that will stand with Greens and Mana on the issues that affect us all. I am glad to see you have turned from neoliberalism. My question is this: I haven’t seen much from you on Te Tiriti during this campaign. What role do you see Te Tiriti playing in 21st Century Aotearoa?

  63. Saarbo 63

    Hi David,

    Great vision statement above, incredibly challenging but desperately needed!

    Having worked with you in the late 90′s I know you have the broad experience, brains and work ethic needed to make it happen.

    You have 2 votes from our whanau.

    Good luck!

  64. Kia ora David

    I’m interested in your view of Hone and the Mana Movement. I would also ask about your view on the Treaty of Waitangi and where you believe we should aim to get to in regards to the relationship between the treaty partners.

    Thanks

    edit – oops snap with Murray above :)

  65. Belladonna 65

    I would like to hear your plans for beneficiaries and pensioners. Do you have any intention of making life easier for these people or will you stick with the same inhumane treatment that Labour and National have dished out to these people over recent times.

  66. George D 66

    I’m not in Labour, but I know a number of members who are concerned about the TPPA. You’ve heard some of these above.

    They express concern about the ability of New Zealand to make and enforce legislation and regulation if the investment protection provisions of the TPPA are enforced. While these concerns are particularly acute in the areas of intellectual property and medicines, they apply to all areas of the economy. Even as we speak, a review of NZ’s IP law has been suspended so that it is not written in a way which counteracts the extensive provisions of the TPPA. Assuming you take office in 2014, what will be your Government’s approach to this agreement?

  67. Tracey 67

    To those asking policy questions please also see the info at the LP website

    Our 2011 election manifesto remains Labour policy unless we specifically announce a change to it, although all policies in the manifesto are under review as Labour builds toward the 2014 election.

    https://www.labour.org.nz/sites/labour.org.nz/files/2011%20Labour%20Party%20Manifesto.pdf

  68. Hi everyone. I am checking in from the back seat of a car winding up the Kaimai’s Not the best for writing considered replies but want to assure you that I will get back to this thread as soon as I can. There are some awesome questions and I am really looking forward to continuing the conversation.

  69. Bill 69

    The intermittent, yet routine ‘bene bashing’ that has come from both sides of the house down through the years and the cynical ploy of playing ‘the deserving’ poor off against the ‘undeserving poor’ – will these things have any place within the culture of a reborn Labour Party under your leadership?

    • bad12 69.1

      As a related topic, are we likely to see the Working for Families Tax Credit extended to the children of beneficiaries by a Government you lead,

      Obviously to do so it might need a name change to reflect such a universal nature, thanks…

      • Clement Pinto 69.1.1

        Suggested possible names :

        [1] BRIDGING INCOME GAP FAMILY ASSISTANCE.
        [2] INCOME GAP BRIDGING FAMILY ASSISTANCE.

        Any other good suggestions?

      • lurgee 69.1.2

        Family Tax Credit?
        Family Assistance?

        Why make it more portentous than it has to be?

        • Clement Pinto 69.1.2.1

          The phrase ‘tax credit’ will be somewhat of a misnomer if the assistance were to be extended to the children of beneficiaries.

          • QoT 69.1.2.1.1

            Why? Beneficiaries pay tax, both through income tax and GST on purchases.

            • weka 69.1.2.1.1.1

              And just so it’s really clear (because too many people don’t get this) beneficiaries pay income tax on their benefit, and many also pay income tax on part time or casual work, where as well as paying PAYE or the self-employed tax rate, they also get taxed by WINZ on everything earned over $80/wk. The people in variable part time work are hit even harder because they are often forced* to declare earnings weekly instead of yearly (eg if they earn $0 this week, and $150 next week, they get that $70 abated at whatever rate, whereas if they were allowed to declare the $150 over a fortnight, which is how they actually spend the money, then they wouldn’t be taxed on it). The whole situation is a complete fucking mess, creates more poverty, and is a huge barrier to beneficiaries getting back into work.

              * and by that I mean they are told they have to declare weekly, despite WINZ having the ability to request yearly declarations instead.

              • Colonial Viper

                Some serious shit needs to be sorted out around this. Seriously.

                • weka

                  Here are the abatement rates

                  http://www.communitylaw.org.nz/community-law-manual/chapter-5-benefit-rights/benefit-rates-and-how-earnings-affect-them/

                  eg

                  If you’re a single beneficiary [jobseeker benefit] without dependent children:

                  the first $80 gross (before tax) per week doesn’t affect your main benefit
                  after this the main benefit abates (reduces) by 70 cents in the dollar.

                  eg

                  Abatement for Supported Living Payment

                  The income test for the Supported Living Payment is based on annual earnings, with the start date for this annual period being your anniversary date for benefit purposes.

                  The abatement rates are as follows:

                  The first $5,200 in addition to $20 per week earned from your own effort does not affect the benefit.
                  The next $5,200 reduces the benefit by 30 cents in the dollar – that is, if $10,400 is earned after the deduction of $20 per week in which the money is earned, then $1,560 will be deducted.
                  After $10,400 the abatement rate increases to 70 cents in the dollar.

                  note that the abatement is on pre-tax income, so you lose money on money you don’t actually receive.

              • Bill

                That’s secondary tax on any income from any work btw (then there’s the 80c in the $ after $80 gross earnings)

              • weka

                Here are the abatement rates

                http://www.communitylaw.org.nz/community-law-manual/chapter-5-benefit-rights/benefit-rates-and-how-earnings-affect-them/

                eg

                If you’re a single beneficiary [jobseeker benefit] without dependent children:

                the first $80 gross (before tax) per week doesn’t affect your main benefit
                after this the main benefit abates (reduces) by 70 cents in the dollar.

                eg

                Abatement for Supported Living Payment

                The income test for the Supported Living Payment is based on annual earnings, with the start date for this annual period being your anniversary date for benefit purposes.

                The abatement rates are as follows:

                The first $5,200 in addition to $20 per week earned from your own effort does not affect the benefit.
                The next $5,200 reduces the benefit by 30 cents in the dollar – that is, if $10,400 is earned after the deduction of $20 per week in which the money is earned, then $1,560 will be deducted.
                After $10,400 the abatement rate increases to 70 cents in the dollar.

                note that the abatement is on pre-tax income, so you lose money on money you don’t actually receive.

              • David H

                Weka you missed the fact that Any Beneficiary that works is taxed at the Secondary rate, So there’s a hit there.

                And having been on both sides of the employment thing. I know this $80.00 pittance that Beneficiaries are allowed to earn, can be a pain for the boss as well, because when working out rosters they won’t work for more than the 80.00 because it starts to cost the staff very quickly . when you add in the costs of:

                Travel to and from work, Public or car.
                Clothing and footwear for said job. Food stores need clean, and presentable clothing and shoes.
                Also WINZ take their 70c out of the GROSS not the NET so you are taxed effectivly twice there alone to say nothing of the GST, and sec tax.

                This really needs to be looked at, as it is really just putting more and more stumbling blocks up, with what seems to be, the aim to stop anyone making any serious cash to get off of a Benefit.

    • Greywarbler 69.2

      Bill +1

    • just saying 69.3

      David,
      This question has been raised numerous times in this thread in various ways. Will you please answer it?
      I’d really appreciate it.

      [Bunji: to be fair to David, he's still travelling to Tauranga, hopefully he'll get back to us in a bit...]

    • Puddleglum 69.4

      Hi David,

      This is a crucial question and needs a response.

      In recent times, Labour has appeared bereft of the rhetorical wherewithal to turn the ideological debate over social security away from the divisive notion that a significant proportion of people are on a benefit primarily as a ‘lifestyle choice’.

      To be on the left, I’ve always believed, is to be committed to solidarity with those with the least power. To be on the left, I’ve always believed, is to understand that the obligation to treat people with dignity supercedes the right to demand others don’t ‘burden’ you.

      If it is true that ‘middle New Zealand’ now despises those on benefits then I’d expect any Labour Party worth its name to remind middle New Zealand of the reasons why legions of New Zealand families, communities and individuals have been cut adrift from ‘NZ Inc.’

      I’d expect any Labour Party worth its name to remind ‘middle New Zealand’, forcefully, that the task of uniting New Zealand and New Zealanders has to begin by treating all of our citizens with equal dignity. I’d expect it to remind ‘middle New Zealand’ that if we start with the presumption that beneficiaries aim to ‘bludge’ then that says far more about ‘middle New Zealand, its attitudes and its ‘soul’ than it does about beneficiaries.

      Where do you stand?

      • Clement Pinto 69.4.1

        Well said. I agree entirely. Would be nice to hear Mr Cunliffe’s take on your question.

      • just saying 69.4.2

        Hear hear Puddleglum.

        What say you, David?

        [lprent: Badgering guest posters and demanding their attention is one of the faster ways to get me to help people to learn patience. You know that right? ]

  70. lurgee 70

    He just copied all the ‘Shearer Says’ posts into one, didn’t he?

  71. Brendon Harre 71

    Hi David

    Are you aware of vibrant debate on interest.co.nz regarding housing affordability? Where issues of how to fund infrastructure, Municipal Utility Districts, how developmental fees push up prices for all houses, removing urban growth limits so residential land can bought at rural prices versus the state compulsory acquiring rural land before rezoning it to residential. Whether compact easily walkable urban centres are better than more spread out eco -villages that are self sufficient from a food and energy point of view. Capital gains taxes and whether non-residents should be able to buy residential property. What is your view?

    My belief is that no political party has developed a complete package regarding housing and this has distorted our whole economy leading to excessive private debt that only benefits a few wealthy property owners and our foreign owned banking system.

    A second question is I am a nurse in mental health. I have seen that management are made up of people who are willing ‘to sell there souls’ to whatever management agenda is the flavour of the time -privatisation, identity politics, patient rights etc. These agendas usually have an element of usefulness, but management push them to extremes as a way to set up a loyal chain of top down patronage. Repeatedly I have seen competent nurses hold themselves back from promotion while less competent and more ethically ‘flexible’ people jump ahead. I have been told other areas of public service have been infected by the same problem.

    I believe this problem comes from excessive executive power who abuse their patronage powers to enact change. I think if we had more checks on constitutional power this would be less of problem. For instance if the Speaker was selected by a near unanimous vote in parliament and they appointed top managers in the public service. Your view?

  72. karen 72

    Hi David,
    I’d like to know what you will do about state housing. I know Labour have a low cost house building policy but there are a lot of New Zealanders who aren’t in a position to buy a house, yet they still need secure, warm places to live. As someone who was brought up in a state house I will always be grateful for not having to be constantly moving house and school every time the rent goes up or the landlord decides to sell. There also is a real need for decent pensioner housing and this can’t just be left to charities and councils.

    • bad12 72.1

      In relation to this question can i please add, for a country of 3.3 million people we had 75,000 State houses,

      The population now, 4.4 million and we have 67,000 State houses and that number is constantly under attack, this would suggest we need another 30,000 State houses,

      i would also like to point out that as a % we have the same number of both poor and working poor people in our society whether the total population was 3.3 million or the 4.4 million we now number,

      A robust State house building program in both Auckland and Christchurch would do 2 things, house the most ‘in need’ in our communities, and, by taking away from the house price equation Tenants the demand for rental investment property will be reduced,

      i favor a ‘new’ model for HousingNZ where there is an A and a B waiting list, the A list being for the most in need among beneficiaries and the B list for the most in need among low waged working families with all new build State houses to be equally shared among the A and B lists,

      As the low waged working family category would be in effect paying 25% of income as rent, but in monetary terms more in actual dollar terms than the beneficiary list this would create a cross subsidy in the HousingNZ portfolio,

      Your thoughts please David…

  73. risildowgtn 73

    Hi David.

    What will you do regarding the Beneficiaries who are too sick, disabled to work that have been suddenly forced onto newly created Jobseekers *Allowance* by Bennett?.

    Riz

    • Chooky 73.1

      Riz +1

      • xtasy 73.1.1

        +10000

        • Mary 73.1.1.1

          Might be in the too hard basket again, xtasy.

          • xtasy 73.1.1.1.1

            “Patience”, Mary, patience, we gave David (the other) some time, maybe the new “David” also needs time???

            • Mary 73.1.1.1.1.1

              Sure, but given it’s been nearly six years of silence I don’t think you can blame someone for giving just a wee friendly prod. Am sure just one wouldn’t hurt.

              • xtasy

                Mary I should not even be here any more, as for my sign off below, and I will reserve comments, somehow Cunliffe appears our “last hope” in Labour, besides of Grant (I am digging in through there), but we need cultural enlightenment like this for a start:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jILwKIK1Z-w

                We need something similar from Tangata Whenua and more to lift spirits, this country is otherwise a consumerist, commercialised, amercianised waste land, where few even get what is happening or at stake!

                Really, I better sign off for the night, before I get “banned”.

                Keep it up, you are onto it!

  74. GregJ 74

    The neoliberal project has run out of steam. Kiwis can see it offers no answers to the challenges they face. It hasn’t delivered jobs, it hasn’t delivered security, and it hasn’t delivered the prosperity it promised.

    David,

    1. It heartens me to see this statement. The legislative framework which neo-liberalism has been pursued in this country has been constructed around the State Sector Act, State Owned Enterprises Act, Reserve Bank Act & the (now repealed) Employment Contracts Act (although the current ERA has been criticised by some as still retaining too many elements of the ECA). In a Government that you lead which would you look at retaining, reviewing or repealing to dismantle that framework?

    2. Although being Prime Minister in a new transformative government will be a big enough job by itself what additional areas might you be interested in playing a role in?

  75. thechangling 75

    David,

    My own Masters dissertation research tells me that the true underlying cause of unemployment in New Zealand is free trade agreements. These have robbed us of the ability to grow and diversify our manufacturing sector and employ significant numbers of kiwis because our shores are continually flooded with cheaply made imports primarily but not exclusively from China.
    This situation means that we now have what no politician wants to truly acknowledge which is, a permanently high level of unemployment in New Zealand. Until such time as free trade agreements are allowed to become ‘restricted trade agreements’ so that local production has a chance to flourish locally and then internationally, unemployment levels of 160,000 people will never disappear.
    My question to you is:
    Are you prepared to take this fight on to the WB, IMF and the WTO and tell them these facts and that their neo-liberal template is causing huge, permanent unemployment in New Zealand and around the world and that we want to be able to decide our own economic, social and political destiny?

  76. KJT 76

    “The neoliberal project has run out of steam. Kiwis can see it offers no answers to the challenges they face. It hasn’t delivered jobs, it hasn’t delivered security, and it hasn’t delivered the prosperity it promised”.

    How do you reconcile this statement and raising the retirement age. Part of the neo-liberal meme of “we cannot afford welfare”. Driven by a finance industry who want our savings to prop up their ponzi scheme and those who do not want to pay taxes.

    And an attack on those who have been too low paid to save for retirement and those who have been in mentally and/or physically stressful jobs.

    http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/on-new-zealands-retirement-income.html
    “http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/what-superannuation-crisis.html
    “So, in 2050, we’re projected to be paying only 1% of GDP more in superannuation than we were paying in 1990. Quelle horreur! This is not a difference to be terrified of, and it is easily manageable with a modest increase in taxation, either now or in the future (though that perhaps is exactly what those pushing for change are frightened of: higher taxes)”. ”

    “Super has always been paid for by current production. However you finingle it financially, whether through current taxation or savings, it still comes from the production of the current generation.

    If we want to keep super affordable we should tax the current generation to invest in a sustainable future. Invest in energy, housing, education and other infrastructure so that we can keep all our people. Not in financial ponzi schemes which will fall over in the next GFC.”

    • Colonial Viper 76.1

      This is especially true as the NZ government can spend into existence the NZD it requires to cover that 1% difference. Mind you, a 1% difference in GDP is still a heck of a lot of nominal dollars.

    • Comrade Coba 76.2

      Many loyal Labour supporters saw this policy as a last straw reason to leave the party. I thought it had been scrapped. I ‘m not impressed Labour is carrying it on. Many workers will be turned off if it’s allowed to stay!

      If you want us pushing the party rethink this one for the blue collars.

      • KJT 76.2.1

        Personally. I would like to avoid the entire issue of intergenerational transfers, cost of administration of welfare, and the whole deserving/undeserving welfare recipient idea with a liveable UBI.

        • Indeed. I’m not a huge fan of funding a super system that is likely to be scrapped by the time I’ve made it to retirement anyway, so I’d much prefer that we stop the ongoing principle of politics catering to people who are either baby boomers or older and just start universalising good ideas.

    • Malcolm 76.3

      +1

  77. Sable 77

    David,

    I was a Labour supporter but now support the Greens. Still as a probable alliance partner I’m interested to know if Labour have plans to consider entrenching a Bill of Rights for New Zealanders? This would curtail some of the human rights abuses we have seen from the Keys regime.

  78. pollywog 78

    Hey David

    Can you please tear Bill English a new one ?

    Cheers!

  79. Swan 79

    In terms of big picture neoliberalism, is there any difference in substance between the fifth Labour govt and the current National govt?

    My answer to the above is “no”, and so I would ask – are you distancing yourself from the fifth Labour government?

  80. Richard Down South 80

    David, good to see you posting here…

    I was wondering if you could put forward your positions on:

    - Environment Canterbury (I’m from Southland, but democracy interests me)
    - Planned changes to the ERA by National
    - Tax Evasion, especially corporate

  81. Lanthanide 81

    Hey David,

    Any plans to regrowing the beard? You look much sexier with it.

  82. the sprout 82

    Really great you’ve taken the time and thought to talk here David.
    Very different from Mr Shearer who unwisely believed blogs could be ignored, and failed miserably.
    I can’t wait to see if the pretenders, both of whom thought Shearer was a great choice, have the sense and confidence to front too. But I won’t hold my breath.
    Best wishes for the coming days.

  83. Thank you David for not only producing the post but taking the time to respond to some of the comments.

    Speaking as someone not connected to the internal workings of the party-political processes, the chance to engage with one of our representatives, no matter how virtually or incompletely, is much appreciated.

  84. millsy 84

    Good luck with the leadership challenge David.

    This country needs something different than the whole neo-liberal bullshit foisted on us over the past 30 years or so. The economic boom and low unemployement that Labour trumpeted was built on:

    1) Agressive expansion of credit, in terms of home lending and consumer credit
    2) Fudging of employment statistics, with most jobs created being casual and part time, and others being pushed into the tertiary education system.

    If you get into the leadership, and put together a decent left wing manifesto, then I might just vote Labour.

    If it all turns to shit, well, there is always Kim Dotcom’s party. Who knows, they might promise to digitise the school journal collection – Vol 10, 1981 in pdf format, anyone? You can read it on a tablet :-)

  85. xtasy 85

    Dear David Cunliffe -

    You will surely be busy, busy, busy and yet more busy, and it is highly appreciated that you came on here to present your policy position and answered to some questions, but one major question has not been addressed, I feel and fear!

    I also know of a mate called Marcus, who sent you some question and lots of information re WELFARE POLICY under this government, and asking what your position is on WELFARE.

    So I have not heard or read anything on this, as there are of course some of us, NOT work shy, but due to serious ill health, disability and incapacity, who depend on welfare payments and a fair treatment, but this present government has rammed through abysmally horrendous new laws, that treat every one as kind of “work shy”, as “malingerers”, or whatever, and we are now work tested in ways like they have been doing in the UK, where over a thousand died in 2011 alone, either through ill health while trying to work, or through SUICIDE.

    There were cases where people lying in hospital beds were declared “fit to work”, and the likes.

    We want to know for sure, where do you stand on welfare, and the new work capability assessments they are now using, as it sound incredibly unreasonable, also the MSD and WINZ now even pressuring doctors to declare sick and disabled “fit” to do some work and then expose them to WINZ pressures to compete with fit and healthy to work.

    I can confide to you, that there has been some response by Grant Robertson’s staff and office re this, same as some other MPs whose names I will not disclose, but after the same was sent to you, Marcus tells me, there has been NO response by you yet.

    A reply of sorts would be appreciated on the concerns raised here, thank you!

    X

  86. weka 86

    I tried to edit that comment and got this message

    “Your edited comment was marked as spam. If this is in error, please contact the admin.”

    [lprent: Interesting - code problem I'd guess as I haven't pushed anything into spam. ]

  87. Hi Everybody,
    I am back on line for a short period having just finished up with the Tauranga public meeting etc. Sleeping is for cheating so I am going to spend the next wee while going back and answer some of the fabulous and searching questions that you’ve posted.

  88. Signing off now for tonight as my brain has gone to bed and my body wants to follow. I’ll come back on line tomorrow and we can talk some more then. Cheers, David

    • Mary 88.1

      We’ll look forward to getting into those welfare questions!

    • Colonial Viper 88.2

      Good night David, you’ve definitely earned your six hours shuteye :twisted:

      • lprent 88.2.1

        Nah that way lies heart attacks (and white hair). Believe me, I know after my decades of 4-5 hour sleeps dreaming of code.

        Use Helen Clark’s route as expressed during her Tedx session in Auckland. Take care of yourself. Good food, good sleep, enough exercise, and take holidays. I’m finally starting to do the latter. I’m still lax on the exercise bit..

        Anyway, I’m off to bed myself. So anyone leaving comments here overnight will probably be moderated thru until morning.

        • Colonial Viper 88.2.1.1

          Nah that way lies heart attacks (and white hair). Believe me, I know after my decades of 4-5 hour sleeps dreaming of code.

          Yes, I’m hearing ya.

  89. xtasy 89

    Signing off also lprent, so you do not need to worry, as I have other things planned, but thanks for allowing me to put a question, we will wait and see. All the best, thanks for all the good work on keeping this site going!!!

  90. karol 90

    Thanks for posting and answering questions, David.

    All the best for the leadership vote – you are clearly the most capable contender for the leader, and PM roles.

  91. Roy 91

    David, when you have rested, I would be interested in your comments on child poverty, and what can be done to prevent and alleviate it.

    • Mary 91.1

      And perhaps poverty generally, including how he sees the benefit system should operate, and whether he’s apologetic about what Labour did to beneficiaries between 1999 and 2008? Nobody from Labour has ever addressed these questions in the six years since being in opposition. While it’s been exciting hearing what David’s saying about other things, I’m reminded of that same feeling of excitement in 1999 which was soon followed by the dismay at Labour’s complete turnaround, culminating in the abolition of the special benefit under urgency in 2004, and then continuing right through to the 2007 amendment Act. While at the moment many might feel hopeful and rejuvenated, I’m also prepared to be let down yet again with more of the same disdainful policies towards the poor that Labour was responsible for between 1999 and 2008, and which nobody from Labour has had the courage to talk about since.

      • Greywarbler 91.1.1

        Mary +1

        I’ve thought that was partly because of a middle class capture of Labour with no nterest in the hard-doers of society who are often on low pay. The labourers, cleaners, semi skilled and skilled.

        Shane might think he is closer to them but there is a blankness in some of them to women and so merely getting someone who identifies with the ‘working class’ doesn’t mean better consideration.

        I hope David Cunliffe will be able to lo mingle and go on to work with the lower income people even with his high education and qualifications.

  92. dave 92

    Impressive effort from Cunliffe to spend a good deal of time answering these questions in the middle of what must be a very busy time.

    Good stuff.

  93. Vinscreen Viper 93

    Mr. Cunliffe. This is the most important question facing any politician today. All your other policies grow from it. And as I anticipate no response from you to it, I anticipate voting Green at the next election.

    For >99.9% of mankind’s history population growth has been a lot less than 1% per generation. Now the earth’s population is doubling every 40 years, and that time is going to get even shorter* – and this in a world of limited and already exhausted resources.

    I note you have two children. I take it that is a matter of choice. My wife and I chose to have none. So do you believe it is still the place of the State to smile benignly on people who bring 6, 8, 10 or more children into the world – a’la J. B. Bolger (9), S.W. English (6) et al?

    So far only Chinese politicians have tackled this problem but unless the rest of us do and soon we will be drowning in our own excrement within a generation.

    *https://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/09/the-real-population-problem

    • Clement Pinto 93.1

      The Greens are going to tackle this ‘problem’ how? By legislating for euthanasia for babies or by compulsory sterilization of couples or by some other means? How? I am keen to hear your solution that is causing you not to vote Labour but to vote for the Greens as you state.

      • weka 93.1.1

        Yes, because the only way to limit population growth is by the state killing babies :roll:

        Education, public awaress raising.

        Free contraception.

        Free abortion.

        Unihibited access to abortion and contraception.

        Incentives, via taxation perhaps.

        Once we get used to the idea (via education and public debate), then legislate. If you think this sounds draconian and unrealistic, look at how the state has managed smoking cessation. It started with education and publicity, and then moved through various stages of legislation over several decades. In that time public attitudes to smoking have changed dramatically.

        The main difference between smoking and population growth (apart from the obvious) is that the worst outcome of the state doing nothing abotu smoking would have been an increase in health problems and the associated health budget. The worst outcome from not limiting population is people starving and societal collapse when PO/AGW/GFC and Peak Everything kick in.

        I always find it interesting when people object to population control as they seem to think there is a choice here. Well I guess there is, we can choose to do nothing and suffer the consequences.

  94. Vinscreen Viper 94

    Clement Pinto – I asked David Cunliffe what his views on this matter were. What I or the Greens or anybody else thinks is “the answer” is irrelevant to this thread.

    Weka – despite ‘education’, free contraception, free abortion &tc. wealthy, informed and intelligent people like Jim Bolger and Bill English can still father fifteen children between them – and be admired for it in some quarters.

    The State can either continue its hands-off, “everyone has the right to breed a dozen children if they choose” approach, and so have to come up with policies to secure food, water, housing, education, jobs, medical care, pensions &tc. for an exponentially increasing population – and provide a military to protect what we have against ever inreasing numbers of refugees who no-longer have it – or it can recognise that we as a species are breeding ourselves into extinction (taking a great many other species down with us), and take steps to avoid it.

    I asked David Cunliffe what his opinion is. And if he thinks I’m wrong (or rather that the author of the piece I linked to is), I ask him why.

    • Clement Pinto 94.1

      I know you asked Mr Cunliffe, but it is good for him to know how other members like me feel about this issue too as I am also interested in his opinion to your question.

    • Puddleglum 94.2

      Hi Vinscreen Viper,

      In New Zealand’s case, if we ignore migration, the natural population growth is on the back of previous, higher rates of birth (20-40 years ago). For the past while the fertility rate in New Zealand is ‘sub-replacement’ (and has been since the 1970s) and projections are that deaths will begin to overtake births and continue quite a marked decline.

      See this page of the Stats New Zealand website.

      Here’s another Stats New Zealand page that might help ease your concerns, at least about the New Zealand case.

      It’s also best not to focus on particular cases that spring to mind (e.g., Bolger or English) when thinking at the population level.

    • weka 94.3

      “Weka – despite ‘education’, free contraception, free abortion &tc. wealthy, informed and intelligent people like Jim Bolger and Bill English can still father fifteen children between them – and be admired for it in some quarters.”

      Yes, and if that was all I suggested you might have a point. I did lay a broader approach though.

  95. Matthew Hooton 95

    Wow, more than 200 comments. Well done lprent and The Standard team.
    I may have missed it, but what was DC’s answer re the TPP? I support the deal and am interested in whether or not a highly likely prime minister does too.

    • Colonial Viper 95.1

      I support the deal and am interested in whether or not a highly likely prime minister does too.

      Can you tell us a bit more about the detailed provisions of the TPPA so we can decide for ourselves if it benefits NZ?

      • Crunchtime 95.1.1

        +1 to Colonial Viper.

        I’m not sure how you can support the TPP if nobody (outside of certain select government ministers) know what the hell it actually entails.

        All reports so far (including the nakedcapitalism link below) indicate it’s about giving more power to the world bank and more power to transnational corporations, compromising the ability of sovereign governments to manage their own affairs.

        Which is pretty much what “globalisation” means when you hear the media talk of it. Remove barriers to multinationals sucking all the money they possibly can out of the entire world, increasing world poverty and concentrating wealth ever more with a tiny minority.

        so if Matthew Hooton has some useful info to disabuse us of these notions I’m sure we’d love to read all about it.

        • weka 95.1.1.1

          “I’m not sure how you can support the TPP if nobody (outside of certain select government ministers) know what the hell it actually entails.”

          Being paid by the stakeholders would be a good incentive for support would it not?

          • George D 95.1.1.1.1

            An excellent backgrounder from the CFR on the US and tobacco in the TPPA. It’s long, and worth reading in its entirety, but the following paragraph summarises the piece:

            Two weeks ago, the White House revised its previously announced proposal for a tobacco control-specific exception under the TPP agreement. The revised proposal cites tobacco within the standard public health and safety exception that appears in U.S. trade agreements, but it no longer includes other tobacco-specific protections. The U.S. proposal still includes the language used in other recent U.S. trade deals that enables companies to legally challenge public health, safety, or environmental regulations, but it also includes standards that reduce the likelihood of those challenges prevailing.

            http://www.cfr.org/trade/tobacco-problem-us-trade/p31346

            Labour’s current trade spokesperson, Clayton Cosgrove
            Labour supports the development of a Trans Pacific Partnership in principle. However, I can assure you that Labour firmly believes that New Zealand must have the right to legislate and regulate in the public good. I can also assure you of Labour’s commitment to ensuring that the passing of legislation is open and transparent, and that expert and public opinion is considered.

            There are many positive benefits that can come from closer relations with the United States and other countries, and the TPPA has potential to benefit all New Zealanders.

            Given the large influence the TPPA is likely to have on the ability of future Labour Governments to make and enforce legislation, an indication of a future leader’s position on this key subject is important. I don’t expect firm commitments – the Labour Party should make policy, and the caucus should enact it. However, given that foreign affairs are not conducted through Parliament and are instead the prerogative of the executive, considerable latitude exists for de facto policy making.

            I hope Cunliffe returns and expresses an opinion on this subject.

            • Greywarbler 95.1.1.1.1.1

              This is important to consider TPP. But David Cunliffe can’t be expected to read long dissertations in his sparse spare time. It would be better in Open Mike.

  96. Vinscreen Viper 96

    This piece gives some of the reasons Matthew Hooton, and the Nats in general, support TPPA:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/category/globalization/page/2

    (particularly the comments.)

    But can we please keep this thread to its intended purpose, which is to hear from David Cunliffe.

  97. Aotearoean 97

    What about Sua William Sio for the Front Bench,South Auckland would appreciate it.

    • bad12 97.1

      i second that, Sua would make an excellent Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, He makes a pretty good speech in the Parliament too without needing to read off notes and has consistently served National a mouthful whenever He has the chance to speak in the House…

  98. Suzanne 98

    Dear David ,

    I think REALTY who commented on the loss of Learning Media said it best….Reality (Wellington)
    Friday, September 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM
    New Zealand’s School Journals have been the pride and joy of our educations system.
    Not only that, but the Ready to Read series (for small children) are also produced by Learning Media. The quality of their texts have helped generations to learn to read about New Zealand by kiwi writers. They have been the envy of education systems overseas.

    In America and else where, there are no free texts available for schools. Teachers often have to buy books out of their own pocket and resources are poorly written and designed. Schools often pass texts written overseas because we want kiwi kids to read about and learn their world: pohutekawa trees in summer, Hokianga, gathering mussels, fishing, visiting Te Papa. They are also of much inferior quality and $8 each.

    It is heartbreaking and disgusting that this government says it wants to help underachievers, while all the while cutting and killing any initiatives that have helped New Zealand’s education system be the envy of the world.

    “Judge those by what they do rather than what they say they do, for there is the real truth.”

    What would you do?
    Love Suzie

  99. Clement Pinto 99

    I hope David has not forgotten about this page and will come back asap here when time permits to give his views on the questions here.

  100. Matthew Hooton 100

    So what was the answer re TPP?

  101. Greywarbler 101

    David you made a good and strategic point on this that has been a project for Nick Smith in Nelson. When you have time can you drop in again, soon?
    This is part of the Radionz item on the meetings
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/220945/labour-leadership-roadshow-in-wellington-and-nelson
    David Cunliffe said slave labour on foreign fishing vessels has to go.
    He said the boats put every fish they catch into foreign factory trawlers that take them to Asia for processing paying no tax, adding no value and creating no jobs in New Zealand.

    I liked this quote from Mr Robertson – I guess who these descriptions are meant to apply to.
    Robertson maintained that he was the man who could unify the Labour Party behind it, vowing that the party had to cease talking about itself, and focus exclusively on the issues facing New Zealanders, as he took a swipe at his fellow contenders.

    “There’s plenty of room for rhetorical flourish and evangelical sermons, but what New Zealanders need is a clear consistent message that we are on your side.”

    David if you are the evangelical sermoniser, and promise on the holy Labour rules and regulations to this -
    He told the meeting that he would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour within 100 days of forming a government, as well as having a much more interventionist role in the economy.
    then I think, believable facts and figures like these will attract a positive response. Also can we hear a definite promise to work towards the Living Wage $18 suggested on an annual basis for those 18 and over perhaps.

  102. Rogue Trooper 102

    what an engaging thread. :-D

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