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David Cunliffe Q+A

Written By: - Date published: 3:09 pm, June 29th, 2014 - 190 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014 - Tags:

david_cunliffe_new_leader_MasterFirstly, it’s really good to be back at the Standard – in the last few weeks our opponents have made it clear that they’re going to play a rough game this election. But we are strong enough to withstand dirty tricks and to focus on what matters to our people – our work, our homes and our families. I’m confident we can win this election and make real change by working together.

Secondly, you’re all welcome to come to my Congress speech in Wellington next Sunday where I’ll be outlining the kind of change we need to make. You can click here to register.

Last Wednesday David Parker and I released our alternative budget. It includes the provision of a billion dollars a year to ensure inflation and demographic increases in health, education, and other social services are accounted for.

Unlike National, we’ll be upfront with our policies in these areas – new policies will come from new spend.

We’re also going to raise the top rate to 36% for every dollar earned over $150,000 a year and we’ll raise the trust rate to the same amount. This will raise as much revenue as raising the top rate further and will cut any incentive to hide income in trusts.

We’re also cracking down on tax avoidance by multi-nationals. We’re doing this because we believe that to get a fair society we need everyone to pay their fair share.

We have carefully shown what we have available to spend on election policy and where we are funding it from. Again, unlike National, we are going into the election campaign with a transparent and accountable position. We have a plan for a fair society, a society based on strong and progressive values – Kiwi values – and we know how we will pay for it.

The kind of values expressed in our Christchurch housing policy that we announced on Friday which states our commitment to building 10,000 new houses, 3,000 of which will be set aside for affordable rentals while the housing crisis is fixed, and another 100 that will be used as emergency housing.

In that announcement we also committed to increasing the Canterbury accommodation supplement by up to $50 a week – Christchurch has some of the most expensive rents in the country, the accommodation supplement hasn’t kept up, and people in Christchurch are suffering. That’s not right and Labour will fix it.

Over the next few months we’ll be releasing more policy focused on making a positive change to New Zealand and building a progressive and egalitarian society, but for now I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and answering your questions. We’re going to win this together.

David Cunliffe

 

 


 

lprent: Stay broadly on topic, and be aware that I will be fully moderating every comment.

David will be here at about 4pm. It’d be good to have your starting comments up by then.

The usual rules apply – don’t be stupid. I will not be allowing boring speeches on commenter’s own pet topics, the author sets the topic.. People who make “when did you kill your mother” style accusations may find that they get a 3 month ban for being really stupid.

You don’t have to be nice. Just make your comments short and intelligent. Remember David is only giving us up to an hour.  If you want your comment answered then don’t waste his time or ours

I prefer to have guests doing Q&A’s to want to come back.

190 comments on “David Cunliffe Q+A”

  1. Demelza 1

    Provincial NZ is struggling, and CRI like AGresearch are making scientists etc redundant when we should be building our research capabilities. How will labour change this approach to science and to AgResearch future footprint plan?

    • David Cunliffe 1.1

      All the evidence is the whole of New Zealands suffers when regions aren’t strong. We’re all in this together.

      We desperately need to shift our economy from National’s short term focus on raw materials that hold us hostage to the commodity cycle, and move towards to value-added exports which create high paying jobs in New Zealand.

      Our Economic Upgrade is that plan: https://www.labour.org.nz/economicupgrade

      The essence of the Economic Upgrade is in boosting the three Is: High levels of local Investment, increased Innovation to give Kiwi business a competitive edge, and strategic Industry and regional development to create good jobs in every region of New Zealand.

      Take for example the Forestry and Wood Products section which includes:

      1. A ‘tax deferral’ for investment in plant and equipment in the forest and wood products industry, by means of an accelerated depreciation provision.
      2. Reintroduce an R&D tax credit to encourage stronger private investment in high-quality R&D.
      3. Ensure that public science works to further develop wood-plastic composites.
      4. Work with the industry and BRANZ to develop building standards for wood construction to accommodate advanced wood construction technologies.
      5. Support iwi forestry clusters to analyse options for their land.
      6. Support universities, polytechnics and wānanga, and the forestry ITO to further contribute to the industries and communities they serve.

      Red Stag Timber has said that if our Forestry upgrade went ahead they’d build new plant and that would create new jobs in regional North Island.

      To specifically touch on AgResearch, David Clark has been doing stellar work with his petition to save Invermay. Under a Government I lead Invermay will stay: http://www.davidclark.org.nz/2014/06/labour-will-save-invermay/

      • Demelza 1.1.1

        Thanks David, it’s not just Invermay that jobs are at risk now unfortunately.

        • ffloyd 1.1.1.1

          I have a close relative who has just been made redundant after 14 years from AgResearch Ruakura. (one of five) And it wasn’t done in a good way. Some very upset people.

          • Demelza 1.1.1.1.1

            I have someone close to me who just had the same thing happen, 14 yrs at grasslands, 5 jobs gone in a flash. Very upset people there too.

  2. BM 2

    Do you agree with Nationals just announced roading plan.
    If you don’t, are there any aspects of the roading plan that you would push through if labour did gain power?

    • David Cunliffe 2.1

      This is an election u-turn from National. We’ve been calling for the funding they took from rural roading to be restored for a while. That said, I’d like to see whether the numbers stack up on the projects they’ve picked. Labour allocated more to regional roads than National has.

      The bigger picture is that that National’s trying to pass this off as regional development. I think most Kiwis will be wondering why they haven’t come up with a decent plan for jobs in the regions. A proper regional development plan would focus on sustainable jobs, based on getting the best from each region’s potential.

      • BM 2.1.1

        Thanks for the reply David.

        I’m happy to read that labour still sees value in improving the roading network.

      • I’m curious- would you consider incentives for telecommuting as part of the regional development plan? There are a lot of people who want the sort of IT or administration jobs that are highly feasible for telecommuting that would be happy in the regions- while it wouldn’t be an immediate gain for them, people with stable telecommuting jobs will most likely naturally move out of Auckland and Wellington to cheaper housing markets.

  3. blue leopard 3

    Hi Mr Cunliffe, Thank you for all your hard work and for coming here to answer questions.

    Here is one by another commenter, Freedom, who couldn’t be here at this time:

    2 questions

    1:
    Mr Cunliffe, with Drones now being an unavoidable technology, will Labour commit to refusing to support the US Drone Strike missions and insist that any support to the US Drone missions supplied via any resource from New Zealand is for search & rescue missions only?

    2:
    Mr Cunliffe, with life long access to education being a critical foundation for any society, will Labour fully re-instate all Education funding that has been removed since 2008, including Adult Education programmes and all Tertiary assistance for mature students?

    • David Cunliffe 3.1

      I’ve been very clear. Labour has always supported the UN Security Council as the place to decide multilateral peace and security issues. I’ve also been clear that we will not send combat troops to Iraq. New Zealand expects any operations to be compatible with international law.

      • phillip ure 3.1.1

        are you confirming that new zealand will not continue to be an ally of the americans in targeting/assisting in any way with drone strikes..?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        It’s a pity that you didn’t answer the second question. Although Labour have said that they will bring back ACE funding I haven’t heard anything about the repeal of National’s changes to the Student Allowance for mature students. It is often mature students that need societal support most due to their job becoming obsolete due to changing technology or other changes outside of their own control. National’s policies take these people and, effectively, throws them and their experience on the scrap heap.

        • blue leopard 3.1.2.1

          Yes Draco, I was really curious to hear the answer to that one! I am wondering whether this is being left for timing issues – bringing out good news at some time? Hope so – rotten to bar people from education. There was no warning either. Just cut. Naasty Nats.

      • freedom 3.1.3

        Thank you for your clear and concise answer Mr Cunliffe.
        I understand not every question can be addressed in the short time you had available.

        • big thanks to you blue leopard for submitting the questions on my behalf.
        • blue leopard 3.1.3.1

          My pleasure, Freedom. I had no real pressing questions of my own, so thought I’d be of service to others’ questions instead. :)

  4. Clemgeopin 4

    Dear David, here are my three questions.

    [1] What is your policy on the mass secret surveillance of Kiwis by GCSB and the Five Eyes Programme? What changes will you make?

    [2] Will you legislate that Charter schools that receive public funds (a) Can not receive more public funding than public schools (b) Should abide by the rules as required by the education department such as trained/qualified teachers, subject to ERO and public audit of performance and accounts (c) should abide by (a) and (b). Otherwise, no public funds will be available to them.

    [3] Is is correct to say that National focuses on Key’s cult personality while Labour will focus on policies and the people?

    • David Cunliffe 4.1

      Under Labour there will be a full and substantive review of the security services, early in our term.

      We’ll also repeal the TICS Bill and the new GCSB legislation, and replace them with laws that protect New Zealanders privacy and freedoms.

      There will be no surveillance of a New Zealand citizen, by NZ security services, without a judge’s warrant. End of story.

      • politikiwi 4.1.2

        Excellent news!

      • Tautoko Viper 4.1.3

        Excellent!

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 4.1.4

        Great. As it should be.

      • Pasupial 4.1.5

        There will be no surveillance of a New Zealand citizen, by NZ security services, without a judge’s warrant.

        What about other countries’ security services sharing their surveillance information on NZ citizens with NZ security services in return for similar information about their own citizens, will that also be within the scope of the review?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.6

        There will be no surveillance of a New Zealand citizen, by NZ security services, without a judge’s warrant. End of story.

        This is excellent news. As you know, there are further concerns about how local security services might regularly “outsource” surveillance activities (eg to other FVEYE partners) in order to sidestep local controls and local legislation.

      • Jenny 4.1.7

        Such great news. Let us hope that there will be efforts put in to detecting and punishing any breaches. And that the penalties for committing such crimes will be enough to act as a deterrent.

        The surest way of of detecting such crimes will be from insiders, ie those in the know. Will a Labour Government strengthen the laws which protect whistle blowers, and encourage them to come forward?

        Will we see a Kiwi Edward Snowden any time soon?

        Will he/she be able to tell us the names of those being illegally spied on now?

  5. Jackal 5

    Given the level of public concern about the impact on Maui’s dolphins from oil exploration in the West coast Marine Mammal Sanctuary, is Labour prepared to review their support for seismic surveys and drilling in the sanctuary?

    • David Cunliffe 5.1

      We’ve taken a clear position on this. We’re calling it for the dolphins. Maui’s Dolphin is a critically endangered species.

      It’s up to the industry to prove that it is safe before they start. This is a high bar for them to meet, but we’re immensely concerned about Maui’s which is why Labour created the sanctuary and stopped set-netting.

      • Jackal 5.1.1

        Thanks for your answer David.

        • Jenny 5.1.1.1

          While we are talking about oil drilling.

          The new unconventional oil technologies, deep sea oil, fracking, etc, have been promoted by their supporters in both National and Labour as necessary to increase New Zealander’s living standards and eradicating inequality.

          This argument was made most forcefully for the North, where rural poverty in particular has become endemic. (Most loudly by Shane Jones).

          The question must be asked, will this new oil boom really lift people out of poverty?

          The record from overseas, Nigeria and even Texas is that the opposite is the case, as well as degrading the environment that the locals live, along with all the attendant health problems, but almost without exception they are cut out of the rewards and that come from oil development and become much worse off and even more marginalised.

          “Atop a Sea of Oil, Poverty Digs In”

  6. Pasupial 6

    Mr Cunliffe, You state; “I’m confident we can win this election and make real change by working together”. My Questions relate to what parties you feel that you could work together with:

    Would you be willing to accept Internet/ MANA Party MPs as part of a Labour-led government if that gave you the numbers to form a progressive coalition post-election (and a mutually satisfactory relationship could be negotiated)?

    How about; a United Future & Maori Party MP(s), if they have votes to offer and were willing to negotiate support (I’m assuming a yes for both; Green Party and NZF, a no for; National, ACT & CP, please correct if I’m mistaken)?

    Best of Luck for the election.

    • David Cunliffe 6.1

      In our party’s constitution Labour’s first core principle is “All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.”

      We won’t be doing pre-election deals. It’s up to New Zealanders to decide who they send to Parliament.

      After the election I’ll talk with anyone committed to changing the Government. It’s fair to say that won’t include National, Act or Colin Craig’s group.

      • Rodel 6.1.1

        Quote from David Cunliffe….
        ” We won’t be doing pre-election deals. It’s up to New Zealanders to decide who they send to Parliament.”
        You have my vote sir just for that thought.

  7. Ergo Robertina 7
    • Would Labour require government departments to shift large processing/admin functions to the regions to rejuvenate these areas and help relieve housing pressures in Auckland and Christchurch?
    • Would Labour abolish Health Benefits Ltd?
    • Are there too many DHBs, and would amalgamations be likely under Labour?
    • Will Labour reinstate a Minister of Regional Development?

    [lprent: probably a bit brief on the last 3. A short why would help? ]

    • Ergo Robertina 7.1
      • Health Benefits Ltd’s approach to cost cutting is largely through centralisation (kitchens, finance, procurement jobs) which worsens the de-population/over population raised in the first question. There’s also its well publicised poor relationship with DHBs and the ‘ponzi scheme’ charge in the media recently.
      • DHBs: They are encouraged to co-operate on a regional basis, but how far can this go without more amalgamations, and are they a legacy from a market driven model that is basically defunct?
      • How high on the agenda will regional development be, and would you appoint a minister of regional development?
    • David Cunliffe 7.2

      I am very committed to regional development – so much so that as leader I have taken the portfolio for myself. There will absolutely be a Minister of Regional Development in my Government.

      Annette King’s exposure of what’s been going on with Health Benefits Ltd has raised some very disturbing issues. We need to get to the bottom of what’s been happening. Annette will be announcing our Health policy soon.

  8. blue leopard 8

    Another commenter, Kiwiri, also requested someone to ask a question with regards to the retirement age:

    “Can someone ask a question about the retirement age please.
    I won’t be around later this afternoon to raise that.”

    So I will try and flesh that out :)

    There is quite a lot of criticism expressed re the retirement age by people here on the Standard – how is it that National can put forward we can afford it, yet Labour are saying we can’t?

    Are there going to be exceptions for those doing manual work?
    Will people who retire early be penalized financially or not?

    When is that policy’s details coming out?

    • David Cunliffe 8.1

      Labour’s committed to a sustainable, universal New Zealand Superannuation system – which means every New Zealander is ensured of dignity in retirement. We will never sell that principle out.

      To be sustainable, New Zealand has to be able to pay for it without burdening the next generational with crippling levels of tax or debt. The reality is New Zealanders are living longer; life expectancy increased around 3 years during the 9 years of the last Labour Government.

      We think it’s important to be honest with New Zealand about the need for very gradual change, so that people can be prepared – while also being assured that universal super will be there when they need it.

      The fact is John Key is not being upfront about this, and he knows it. So, under Labour the age will gradually rise by one month a year from 2020.

      Noone currently at or near retirement would be affected.

      Equally importantly, we will protect those who cannot continue to work in their current jobs or because of physical hardship, where they need financial support by making available a transitional benefit at no lower value than NZ Super.

      We are also committed to pre-funding through the very successful Cullen Fund, and we recently announced our investment plan in our fiscal package: http://labour.org.nz/fiscalplan

      • left for dead 8.1.1

        Like the sound of this policy.best of luck,David

      • KJT 8.1.2

        This, more than any other policy, has convinced me that Labour is still no more than National lite, re-arranging the deck chairs of Neo-liberalism just a little.

        What happened to ‘not cutting our legs off’, instead of just ‘adding anaesthetic’?

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        To be sustainable, New Zealand has to be able to pay for it without burdening the next generational with crippling levels of tax or debt.

        Increasing the tax on the rich to 80% as suggested by Piketty isn’t crippling. In fact, it’s freeing.

      • blue leopard 8.1.4

        Thanks for such a detailed answer Mr Cunliffe,
        It is good to hear about those details and in particular about the transitional benefit.

  9. (someone has already covered drones..so just two questions thanks..)

    1)..i understand that you have yr own timetable of policy-release..(and i am not requesting any premature details)..

    ..but cd you assure us that labour will be releasing ‘poverty-busting’ policies in that timetable..?

    ..policies that will address the plights of the worst off..both children and adults..

    ..thank you..

    2)..i understand you have already given a big ‘no’ to any idea of cannabis-law-reform..

    ..does the herald digi-poll this wknd showing a majority supporting ending prohibition soften/change that stance at all..?

    ..and the surprise from that poll for me..is that 45% of national party voters support either decriminalisation..or full-legalisation..

    ..so to my mind..were labour to be more open to that change..you could well woo soft-national-party voters..

    ..yr thoughts on those factors..?

    ..again..thank you..

  10. ropata 10

    Hi David,
    Recent elections have been little more than a side show of the current PM goofing around and glibly pulling ‘facts’ from his a*** in order to win a TV debate. How are you going to combat the “smiling assassin”, when sober debate doesn’t win ratings?

    • David Cunliffe 10.1

      I’m going to be straight-up with New Zealanders. Everywhere I go Kiwis tell me they want to see politicians putting the country and its people first. They want to see real solutions to the problems in their lives. We’ve done a huge amount of policy work and we’ll be making the case for positive change.

  11. David H 11

    2 Questions

    1: Is labour going to make deals with other parties on the left to win marginal seats, or to muck up the Nats ‘Cup of tea deals?

    2: Is the Labour Party going to make FULL use of Social Media this election?

  12. kiwigunner 12

    How would you spend the $358m that National have found for Education. Can you categorically say that National Standards will go under the new Labour government?

    • David Cunliffe 12.1

      On that first question you’ll have to wait until we release our education policy, but we do have serious concerns about National’s policy. On the second question. Yes.

  13. (one more question..if i may..)

    research done by treasury showed a small financial-transaction tax on inter-bank/financial-intitutions’ transactions..wd raise enough revenue to enable gst to be abolished..if we chose to use it for that purpose..

    ..given the public disquiet at the enormous amounts of profits being taken out of the country by those banks..

    ..do you think the timing is right..and that you wd get public support for such a policy..?

    ..and will you implement a financal transaction tax..?

    ..thank you..

    • David Cunliffe 13.1

      A financial transaction tax is something that needs further careful consideration in an international context. We are monitoring global developments with interest.

      Our revenue policies recently announced focus on closing down avoidance loopholes and ensuring everyone pays their fair share – including multinational corporations.

      • phillip ure 13.1.1

        my understanding is that many oecd countries already have (varying-models) of domestic financial transaction tax..

        ..do we really have to wait for some international agreement..which cd well be on the never-never..?

        ..cd we not pick the best/simplest from them..

        ..and implement that now..?

        • Sacha 13.1.1.1

          We would need at least Australia on board, surely, given that they own most of our banks. Promising signs from the EU.

  14. cogito 14

    One question, Mr Cunliffe:

    What practical steps are you taking to target the so-called “missing voters”?

  15. ropata 15

    Hi David,
    In the light of recent disasters such as Rena, Pike River, and ongoing fatalities in forestry, can you please reinstate some of the “back office” functions of government (ie safety inspectors) that the current govt has cut?

    • David Cunliffe 15.1

      Rena, Pike River, forestry fatalities and leaky buildings all have a common cause: deregulation or self-regulation of commercial activities.

      There need to be clear rules, properly overseen, to ensure that health and safety rights and consumer rights are robustly protected from the short term profit pressures of the market.

  16. idlegus 16

    I realise you are a very busy man but will you show yourself in the suburbs, do walk abouts, door knocking, show your face & meet ppl, i mean normal ppl not just business ppl. especially in places like south dunedin. thank you & good luck!

    • David Cunliffe 16.1

      I do that every week, all around the country – and I love it! Getting face to face contact with people wherever they are in their communities is one of the parts of this job that gives me the most satisfaction.

      • idlegus 16.1.1

        thank you, hope to see you down here sometime. i def will come see you talk & encourage friends to come.

  17. ianmac 17

    Will National Standards in Primary Schools be allowed to be published as League Tables?
    (You have said that National Standards would be used by schools if they so wish.)

  18. Julian 18
    1. I have to ask this: what will Labour do to ensure the disabled of this country have equal opportunities. This includes being able to work, finding adequate housing to live in, having a larger say in what can be done to make their lives easier. Given that 25% of the population now has a disability it is important that whoever gets into government address these issues.
    2. The benefits have to be changed to reflect the rising cost of living. Also, they need to be changed so that those on them do not get penalised. ACC needs to make adjustments to living costs also.
    3. How will Labour propose to meet the needs of long term ACC clients, especially complex needs. ACC should also respect that those long term clients know their own needs.
    4. Will Labour also help look after the elderly? There have been far too many reports of elder abuse.
    5. Please tell me also what Labour will do to combat crime?

    I look forward to your answers Mr. Cunliffe

    [lprent: I have broken up your comment into the rough points that I see in it. Can I suggest that people don't try asking quite so many questions in a single comment. If your really have to then at least separate them to make them more readable. ]

  19. fisiani 19

    I am interested in what you would reverse or tolerate.
    1,Will you abolish the 90 day right to prove yourself act?
    2. Will you stop the harvest of West Coast wind blown timber?
    3. Will you stop Partnership schools and National standards?

    • infused 19.1

      Yes to all of those. I’m sure it’s been stated before.

      The 90 day trial is the stupidest. It’s more of a pride thing though.

    • David Cunliffe 19.2

      The 90 Day fire at will bill is a disgrace. I’ll axe it in our first 100 days.

      • fisiani 19.2.2

        Not sure if that means a U-turn on West Coast timber and Partnership schools.

        • Weepu's beard 19.2.2.1

          That does not make sense and you speak to the leader of the opposition like that? What are partnership schools? What’s your point, even? Most of your posts today have been unashamedly a paid presentation of the new Crozby Textor #Teamkey.

      • Jenny 19.2.3

        “The 90 Day fire at will bill is a disgrace. I’ll axe it in our first 100 days.”

        More good news.

  20. Hello David, long time no speak.

    I agree with mana/internet being last cab off the rank, is the reason Hone, his association with dotcom or is it something else?

  21. lprent 21
    1. The fiscal drift caused by wage and income inflation over the years. Can Labour propose in legislation a way to regularly review and adjust the taxation bands? This would reduce the ability of rabble rousers to make up myths about taxation.
    2. Could Labour also get adjusted wage bands to be automatically collected by payroll systems from whatever computer system replaces the junk iron that the IRD has now?
    • Draco T Bastard 21.1

      As a suggestion to you first question, tie the tax brackets into the median wage:

      Median income 44000

      Brackets Dollar value Tax rates
      Step 1 11000 10.5%
      Step 2 22000 14.7%
      Step 3 44000 20.6%
      Step 4 88000 28.8%
      Step 5 176000 40.3%
      Step 6 352000 56.5%
      Step 7 704000 79.1%

      First bracket is set as 0.25 of Median Income. All brackets after that are set as twice the preceding bracket. This makes the median income the third bracket. This allows the brackets to maintain a set relationship while also accounting for inflation.

      Tax rates are also set as relational, not from the median income but from the tax rate on the first bracket. Each bracket is set as 1.4 times the preceding bracket.

      And you’re probably going to have to format that so that the table looks good.

  22. Daniel 22

    I hope you are feeling better after hearing that you were sick with the flu. There is a lot of online support for you, and the Labour Party that at times do not seem reflected in the polls. The way people use technology has changed. Most people I know don’t have landline accounts instead opting for mobile accounts instead. They are all heavy Internet users, do the odd random paid survey and would most likely ignore a political poll, especially if they were confronted with an electronic voice. These are smart, engaged people who would find this kind of behaviour patronising. Those few people out there who persist with a landline account have all been older national voters.

    1. Do you believe with the changes to people’s technological attitudes and habits that the polls and the way they are going to be conducted in the future need to be improved?
    2. Do they need to account for online activity also, and lastly as you enter what is going to be an exciting campaign, are Labour going to concentrate more on building a strong Internet campaign or use the more traditional methods?

    [lprent: I broke out your questions from your (probably not required) speech. ]

  23. ropata 23

    Hi David
    Will you be reviewing the effectiveness & democratic functions of local government (I’m thinking ECan and Auckland SuperCity) and their stewardship of public assets such as Ports of Auckland and water quality in Canterbury?

    • David Cunliffe 23.1

      Yes we will be reviewing these. It’s important that central Government respects local democracy.

      ECan should be returned to democratic governance as soon as possible.

      It seems that under the current government, irrigation rights come before democratic rights.

  24. politikiwi 24

    David,

    Thanks for your time.

    Do you feel the “war on drugs” – in terms of treating drugs as a criminal justice issue rather than a health issue – is working? If not, what do you plan to do to improve outcomes?

    • David Cunliffe 24.1

      I want to see more resources devoted to treatment of drug addiction, and Iain Lees-Galloway has been doing excellent policy work in this area. I’m not going to pretend, though, that drug abuse isn’t a gateway into criminal activity for too many users.

      • William Rea 24.1.1

        Its only a gateway because of prohibition, all drugs should be legally regulated. legal regulation means taking the drug trade out of the hands of criminals and placing it under the control of governments – through doctors pharmacists and licensed vendors. We should regulate drugs, not because drugs are safe, but because they are potentially dangerous and no drug is made safer when it’s sold by gangsters and unregulated dealers! Legal regulation is the middle-ground position – between hard-line supporters of the failed war on drugs, and libertarians who believe drugs should be made freely available. Different drugs require different levels of regulation, the more harmful the drug, the stricter the controls that should be placed on it.

        • While prohibition is definitely a chunk of the negative effects of several illegal drugs, there are some like, for instance, P, that will drive crime even when they’re legal. In transitioning to a health-centred model, it may still be important to prevent usage of drugs that directly induce violent behaviour and aren’t safe for recreational usage, however that list is a lot smaller than the current list of illegal drugs. That said, prevention for these sorts of drugs can just mean that distribution is illegal, and we could restrict police action against addicts to preventative detention and referral to drug treatment centres.

          Just because current policy doesn’t work well doesn’t mean that going in the completely opposite direction for all drugs is practical.

        • politikiwi 24.1.1.2

          “Its only a gateway because of prohibition.”

          Quoted for absolute truth.

  25. Sacha 25

    Labour’s policies so far seem well thought-out. Communication of them has been a worry, however. How do you plan to improve that?

    • David Cunliffe 25.1

      More Q&As on The Standard for a start!

      I’ll be visiting every region of the country personally, and we’ll of course be communicating through every available medium.

      As well as that, dedicated Labour activists will be engaging in every community the length and breadth of New Zealand.

      I also recognise the importance of social media and we will continue to be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

  26. Robin Lane 26

    Key is pleased with stats showing crime is down which is totally contradictory to what we are seeing concerning family violence, in particular abuse on children. Will Labour have any particular focus on this aspect – and will you wipe the smile off Key’s face during debates on this subject? A news item the other day mentioned 37 deaths of children in the last 4 years. Other stats in this same segment were very worrying.

  27. Tautoko Viper 27

    How will Labour help and encourage small businesses?

  28. Ryan Jones 28

    Hi David, what plans do you and Labour have for the Dunedin area? Focussing around employment. And will you be visiting Dunedin before the election?
    Thanks,
    Ryan

  29. David Cunliffe 29

    Great to be with you here on The Standard.

  30. Would your government set benefits at levels which allow people to live with dignity, and ensure benefits increase to match rises in the cost of living?

    Will Labour in government stop categorising beneficiaries who are unable to work as “Jobseekers” – and the subsequent harassment from WINZ to justify their situation/seek jobs they can’t do?

    • David Cunliffe 30.1

      I’m not going to announce our welfare policy here. But what I can tell you is that the systematic victimisation and demonisation of beneficiaries we’ve seen under National has absolutely no place in Labour’s values or a Labour Government.

      • Colonial Viper 30.1.1

        This policy area has been a concern to many on The Standard, and Labour voting for National’s welfare amendment initiatives has not eased them. Therefore it would be great to see strong signals on this, during the campaign.

  31. Chooky 31

    What policies will Labour have to attract the young voter to regard Labour as their Party ?

    1) student loans and interest rates ?

    2) full employment and skills training for those under 30?

  32. Jrobin 32

    Hi David,
    Thank you for your time.
    One question.
    Does Labour plan to return University funding to pre National rule levels . If so in what time frame? Cheers.

  33. Skinny 33

    Hi DC,

    Have you got a strategic line up of meetings arranged amongst us activists within the regions so we can be parachuted into campaigning in the identified large bloc area’s of non voters like South Auckland. I mean it’s a numbers game and the target areas need to have all hands to the pumps to get full effect. Far better to fully resource these areas at the expense of lesser votes in our own area.

  34. William Rea 34

    Did know that there are officially about 400,000 adult New Zealanders who currently use cannabis, and also that NZ has the world’s highest arrest rate for cannabis ‘crimes’. Isn’t this a huge waste of Police time?

    • David Cunliffe 34.1

      We see drug use as a health issue but our position on drug law reform is a conscience issue.

      • William Rea 34.1.1

        Thanks for the reply, but that didn’t answer my question. 400,000 adult New Zealanders currently use cannabis, NZ also has the world’s highest arrest rate for cannabis ‘crimes’. Isn’t this a huge waste of Police time? Whats your opinion?

      • That’s a good step forward. Hopefully this creates some room for some sensible liberalisation and health-focusing of drug policy when we all get a new Government. :)

  35. Hi Mr Cunliffe,

    Thank you for coming on to this public forum to discuss your outlook and policies for New Zealand.

    Climate change is an issue that affects everyone regardless of their social, economic and cultural background. But the effects of climate change tend to be unequally distributed to those who are vulnerable to its effects such as the poor, young and the elderly.

    –What do you think we can do to help mitigate negative effects of climate change on vulnerable New Zealanders?

    Awareness of climate change is driving significant economic changes globally and this will only intensify as more and more countries begin cutting back emissions. This situation could be a great opportunity or a real risk for New Zealand.

    –In 2007, Prime Minister John Key said “Action on climate change is also needed to ensure the prosperity of New Zealand’s economy in an increasingly carbon-conscious world”. Is this still accurate?

    –What sectors of our economy would you target to reduce emissions and reduce the risk of climate change?

    –Current government policies will see carbon emissions rise significantly by 2030. The Greens have introduced a carbon tax to combat carbon emissions. Do you see this as a effective way of tackling climate change?

    Almost 50% of New Zealand’s carbon emissions are due to transport. Public transport, lifestyle/urban planning changes and technology offer ways to reduce emissions. Better transport solutions also have strong co-benefits for health, community cohesiveness and commuting efficiency.

    –Is building more motorways instead of investing in public transport consistent with tackling climate change?

    –Public transport is an effective way to reduce carbon emissions and combat global warming. Will your transport policies prioritise climate action?

    Thank you for your time.

    • David Cunliffe 35.1

      Climate change is the greatest environmental threat we face. I want to reaffirm my personal commitment to strong action against climate change.

      I’m a father as well as a politician – and I don’t think it’s acceptable to pass this problem onto our children without doing everything we can to protect them from its consequences.

      The science is indisputable, and the consequences are known to be somewhere between serious and catastrophic.

      You’d have to be totally irresponsible to withdraw New Zealand from international negotiations.

      Action on climate change needs to be part of a broader strategy to transition our economy to a low carbon, high value, renewable energy future.

      Part of that is a properly functioning ETS with a real carbon price, and decent public transport.

      There are many wins to be had in that process. What we cannot do is stick our heads in the sand and pretend the problem will go away – as the current government is doing.

      • If you were to successfully form a government after the election, how positively would you view the Greens’ policy of switching to a Tax & Dividend approach on limiting CO2-equilivalent emissions, especially given its popularity in British Columbia as a sustainability tax cut? Would this be an approach to climate change that’s more resilient to “reform” next time National is in government?

      • Jenny 35.1.2

        Question: “Current government policies will see carbon emissions rise significantly by 2030. The Greens have introduced a carbon tax to combat carbon emissions. Do you see this as a effective way of tackling climate change?”

        Answer: “Part of that is a properly functioning ETS with a real carbon price…”

        Oh Dear!

        Internationally and locally Pollution Trading Schemes have been proven in practice to be the biggest Green Washing fraud ever perpetrated on the world, allowing business as usual to continue.

        The dumping of the ETS is the single biggest demand that Russel Norman made when he announced that it was the Green Party’s intention to make climate change an election issue.

        Russel Norman is provenly and morally correct in demanding the total dumping of pollution trading under the ETS and making it an election issue.

        I can’t believe that you want to hang onto this shredded veil. I can’t believe that Labour want to go head to head with the Green Party in these elections in opposing them on this issue.

        What this signals is that you do not really want to stand up to your responsibility as the leader of this nation’s biggest Left Party to champion taking leading action against the deadly international threat posed by climate change.

        This is not in the tradition of Labour leaders of the past, from Michael Joseph Savage who led the world on Social Welfare, through to Norman Kirk who again led the world in taking action to oppose Nuclear testing and proliferation.

        Shame on you Mr Cunliffe.

        • Jenny 35.1.2.1

          In another time, in another age, Michael Joseph Savage stood up to another deadly international threat. Without evocation and without compromise, though we were a small and distant nation, he made us the first country after Britain to declare war on Nazi Germany.

          An opponent of fascism and the appeasement. Michael Joseph Savage declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939 by memorably declaring “Where Britain goes, we go! Where she stands, we stand”.

          Where in this age and time where imperialism (even British imperialism) are frowned on and condemned, if taken literally and out of context of the time, we might not fully agree with this sentiment, but what we can take from it, is it’s fighting spirit.

          When it comes to climate change let us again be the bulldog of the Pacific, come on Mr Cunliffe let us lead the world again.

          • Clemgeopin 35.1.2.1.1

            So, now you want Mr Cunliffe and the Labour parety to follow Mr Norman and the Green party wholesale? You get it that Labour and the Greens are two separate distinct parties with separate independent policies? You go and bat for your green party policies and garner your own massive public support for them. Good luck.

            • Jenny 35.1.2.1.1.1

              “You go and bat for your green party policies and garner your own massive public support for them. Good luck.”

              I will do my very best in every forum open to me.

              And my policies are not set by Mr Norman and the Green Party, they are set by the physics of atmospheric heat trapping.

              For the record; Though many of my closest friends are members of the Green Party, I am not. Nor have I ever been a member, so Clem if you were thinking of trying to pigeon hole me as a disgruntled ex-Green you would be out of luck there to.

              Personally I’d prefer to keep my options open, so that I can converse with members of every party and in every forum, without the handicap of sectarian rivalries getting in the way.

              It also means I retain the right to make fair criticism of their record, on the issue of climate change, without fear or favour.

              • Clemgeopin

                The Green party is advocating carbon taxes. No problem. Let them make that their most important election issue, convince voters and become the main opposition party. No problem.

                For now, Labour has decided not to make the green party’s carbon tax proposal an election policy for LABOUR, but will stick with ETS.

                For you to call Mr Cunliffe ‘shameful’ and demand that he and the Labour party should follow the Green policies is not only arrogant, it is plain rude. Labour has affinity with Greens but it is NOT the Green party. Labour caucus, membership and leaders decide what policies they want to fight the election on.

                If Labour were to endorse and follow the Green policies, then what USE is the Green party? They might as well pack up and go to Timbuktu or some other place and start their party over there.

                No use having grand policies without getting adequate public support, cannibalise the Green vote and foolishly gift the election to the idiot National and ACT.

                I hope you get my point.

                • Jenny

                  “For you to call Mr Cunliffe ‘shameful’ and demand that he and the Labour party should follow the Green policies is not only arrogant, it is plain rude.”

                  Clemgeopin

                  First of all Clem, these are not Green Party policies, these are survival policies dictated by the physics of climate change.

                  Secondly I didn’t call David Cunliffe “shameful” I said shame on you, maybe a small point, but it is his support of pollution trading that is shameful.

                  Emissions trading as it is euphemistically called, is not just shameful it is morally indefensible.

                  We all know the fable of Brer Rabbit and the Blackberry Bush.

                  Pollution Trading is favoured by the coal industry and oil companies because it makes it appear that a country and a government are trying to do something about climate change,while in practice ramping up CO2 emissions. (Making a nice little side business for the money traders in speculation in carbon shares.) Like rabbits love blackberry bushes, fossil fuel polluters, financiers and neo liberal economists rather than fearing ETS love Emissions Trading schemes.

                  And actually are quite at home there.

                  Shame on Labour for supporting such a dishonest and ultimately destructive scheme.

                  Pollution trading is the orphaned brain child adopted by the fossil fuel industry.

                  Case in point:

                  Emissions Trading is supported by one of the biggest coal magnates in the world, Clive Palmer. Clive Palmer is also an MP in the Australian government. An extreme Right Winger, Clive Palmer once tried to use his money and power to make Joh Belke Peterson Prime Minister, and has latterly accused Greenpeace of being funded by the CIA for calling on restrictions on coal exports.

                  Clive Palmer has called for the scrapping of the Australian carbon tax and its replacement with an Emissions Trading Scheme.

  36. Descendant Of Sssmith 36
    1. Does the Labour Party believe in an 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week any more and will they take any steps to reinstate this to all workers if they do?
    2. Last time Labour were in power they re-instated the $20-00 per week cuts back onto NZS. Will they now immediately do the same for other benefits, and remove the youth rate as well that was moved from 18 to 24 – effectively another cut?
    • David Cunliffe 36.1

      Yes we do. We’ll be overhauling industrial law to make sure workers and their unions can get a fair go.

  37. Kim Edmonds 37

    Hi David,

    Will Labour look at the minimum wage and what People are earning in each industry? it is very hard to look at people in Australia earning more for the same jobs, why stay in New Zealand?

  38. Jon 38

    Hi David,

    What are your thoughts on National’s new roading policy for the regions, and will Labour be creating one of its own and supporting regional development through construction of better roads for us all to travel on for us non-Aucklanders?

    Thanks for your time.

    [lprent: It was already answered further up. See here ]

  39. Tired 39

    What will you do to best remedy Labours forgotten economic record? Do you believe running a campaign (historically based) might help this situation?

    [lprent: Even I can't figure out what you are asking - reframe it. ]

    • Tired 39.1

      There seems to be a common theme when people talk of Labour and that is its inability to run a successful economy. How will you go about changing this misconception?

      • David Cunliffe 39.1.1

        That’s a nonsense – and even the National Party spin machine knows it.

        Over a generation Labour governments have overseen higher levels of economic growth than National governments.

        During our last term in office we ran fiscal surpluses in 9 years out of 9, and cut net Crown debt to zero.

        What’s more, Labour takes a broad based view that doesn’t pretend that fiscal surpluses are the only target that matters. We will reduce unemployment to 4%. We will pay off National’s record debt by the end of our second term. We will grow good jobs with higher wages in all our regions.

        We have the plan and the team to deliver on this promise in a robust and real way. No reader of The Standard should allow themselves to be sucked in by National’s hot air on this issue.

        Check our https://labour.org.nz/economicupgrade for more.

        • Dave 39.1.1.1

          I thought about finding a way to point that out to you when Mr Key was standing up in QT saying that Labour approved more rigs in the dolphin sanctuary than National had, makes sense to me, there has been bugger all innovation and expansion in the last six years. National couldn’t run a bath, let alone a country.

        • That has nothing to do with Labour policies in particular and is an argument about legislative whiplash when the Government changes. (ie. it applies equally to National governments) Not sure how it’s in any way relevant to the point Tired raised.

      • Delia 39.1.3

        The facts speak for themselves. Nobody can screw up a country like National. You only have to look at the Muldoon govt. Borrowed into bankruptcy. You won’t hear Johnny walk about that.

  40. Syed 40

    Hi David

    Thanks for your time. My Question-

    Why Labour party becomes so strict on immigration?

    Thanks

    • David Cunliffe 40.1

      Labour has long been committed to an open and multicultural society that values every individual, no matter where they come from, and seeks to build strong integrated communities.

      We’re committed to a great immigration system, we’re a nation of migrants and I’m a huge supporter of multiculturalism. We announced our immigration policy yesterday, I’d urge you to take a look at it.

      https://labour.org.nz/immigration

  41. Richard Christie 41

    Hello Mr Cunliffe,

    Why hasn’t Labour committed to restoring to public ownership state assets sold over the past two terms of National Govt.?

    Thankyou.

    • Richard Christie 41.1

      Oh well, next time perhaps.
      It is a significant topic for a significant number of voters.

  42. Simon 42

    Hi David,

    What is Labours position with regards to the city rail link in Auckland?

  43. Mary Liza Manuel 43

    With a CGT I live in my landlords 2nd property. Just worries me that my rent may rise as a result. More secure tenancys would be great. Have you got policy around that

  44. “@DavidCunliffeMP @thestandard evidently you’re not popular: Why not put forth popular, politically savvy candidates like Jacinda or Tamati?

    “@DavidCunliffeMP @thestandard John is playing on the cult of personality… #TeamKey #KeyNo1 #VoteLeft14

    [lprent: I'm not sure how well twitter shorties quite fit into this format. ]

    • anonymous 44.1

      I’m not sure as to how well it worked either. It was a brutally frank question, and Right leaning or Right wing individuals will only see a no response as a sign of contrition, on the first point made.

      This isn’t an issue of ego, as I suspect it is for John, it’s an issue of winning the election based on pragmatism and bold decision making.

      I like the Greens co-leadership ideal, and Jacinda (a female, european descendant, gay friendly, political scientist, a popular, yet not a popularist but populist person) and Tamati (a male, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent., openly gay, political scientist, popular, yet not a popularist but populist person) would do us proud as Kiwis.

      Will cc Jacinda and Tamati on this matter… Leadership should hold no egos…

  45. Hi David, thanks for the opportunity to ask you direct questions. Mine is this.

    Do you accept that climate change is the biggest challenge of our our time and that all Governments must meet that challenge with urgent action far beyond what any previous NZ government has managed?

    • David Cunliffe 45.1

      Yesterday I said “Climate change is the greatest environmental threat we face.”

      I stand by that.

      See my response to Generation Zero above.

  46. William Rea 46

    I’m sure your aware that cannabis in its natural form is legally regarded as a medicine by 22 American States and by Canada and some European countries. In May 2011, our own Law Commission said NZ should follow this path and Police should leave medicinal users alone. Do you agree with the Law Commission?

  47. Melissa webster 47

    Kia Ora David cunnliffe, can you tell me your stance on the recriminilisation of street prostitution that has been proposed by New Zealand firsts private member bill?

    • David Cunliffe 47.1

      I’m against this New Zealand First Bill. The existing law already envisages local government being sensitive to the needs of the local community.

  48. Dylan 48

    Would a Labour government use the possible UN seat to help the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation?

  49. amirite 49

    Hi David,
    1.after the election win will you make a move to abolish the coat-tail rule and lower the percentage for Parties to 2-3% to be able to enter Parliament?
    2. would you look into the issue of political donations and maybe do away with private funding of political Parties in favour of a basic state funding for all?
    Thanks you and good luck!

    • David Cunliffe 49.1

      We’ll abolish coat-tailing and lower the threshold if we can get support to do so.

      We will also be pushing for greater transparency around donations.

      • Great to hear Labour finally supporting a lowered threshold! :D (Hopefully below the still-obscenely-high 4% recommended by the independent review) Look forward to the details.

        • phillip ure 49.1.1.1

          it should be 2%..

        • Colonial Viper 49.1.1.2

          Great to hear Labour finally supporting a lowered threshold!

          I think DC said this on Q+A start of June, and it was quite widely reported. Yep, the 5% threshold needs to be halved. I think 2.5% or so is a responsible figure.

  50. Alan Davey 50

    Hi David, will something be done about being able to vote online to encourage many more to vote, when you’re in power, so that next time there won’t be so many non voters.?

  51. Bill 51

    According to Anderson and Bowes of the Tyndall Center, our 50/50 chance to avoid 2 degrees C of global warming (average surface temperature), while adhering to concepts of equity, as per the Copenhagen Accord (NZ is a signatory) disappeared in 2010. Putting equity aside, global emissions must peak in 2020 and reduce thereafter.

    To the best of my knowledge, their interpretation and extrapolations have not been challenged by the rest of the scientific community btw.

    Anyway, do you believe that the Labour Party is taking the science of climate change fully into account when formulating policy? And if it isn’t, why do you think that is?

  52. sdm 52

    David

    As somebody with a mortgage, children, and a reasonably family income (between 130 and 150K), what reasons would you give me and my family to vote for Labour

    • David Cunliffe 52.1

      The promise of a fair society in which everyone has the chance to do well for themselves.

  53. Monty 53

    Hi David , can you please explain how a labour led government will deliver to NZers a stable government when it is very possible such a coalition government will be made up of labour greens , Winston hone liala and possible one other party. To be honest I just can’t see such a government lasting.

    [lprent: National, Banks, Dunne, and the Maori party? Or National, Winston, and Moari party?

    Bugger off Monty and try using your brain. ]

    • Monty 53.1

      This is a very serious question. And I would love a response. I’m not interested in what national May or may not do. But the prospect of a potentially unstable coalition will be one of the tools that national will use in the election campaign. For that reason I am genuinely interested in how David Cunliffe will respond to exactly this question. What is so unreasonable about the question?

      [lprent: Good. Ask John Key how he finds it and come back to me with the answer. Locking you out. ]

      • mickysavage 53.1.1

        But Monty you would rather chew your fingers off than vote left. And you have such strange view of the world where Michael Cullen was responsible for the global financial crisis. And you have mistyped Laila’s name in an insulting way.

        • Monty 53.1.1.1

          I don’t blame Cullen for the GFC at all. I blame home for massive increases in government spending in particular in the period 2005 to 2008. It was that uncontrolled spending that led substantially to the 2008 PREFU stating there would be a decade of deficits.

          The mis-spelling of Laila’s name was purely accidental.

          So without reference back to National can someone please explain how Mr Cunliffe will be able to deliver stable Government?

          • Mike 53.1.1.1.1

            The 2008 PREFU did not state that there was to be a ‘decade of deficits’, the Treasury only has a five year forecast period. (Everything after that is a ‘projection’ which is much less robust and assuming everything stays as is).
            This is just something that Bill English says that you are mindlessly repeating without actually understanding it.
            When English took office he actually said ‘this is the rainy day government has been waiting for’ in reference to our (then) very low level of public debt.

      • Pasupial 53.1.2

        Monty

        That is much the same question I asked at comment 6. But seeing as I didn’t phrase it as an; “unstable coalition” slur (as if a Nat + ACT + NZF + MP + CP + UF coalition wouldn’t be in any way unstable), I actually got an reply:

        In our party’s constitution Labour’s first core principle is “All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.”
        We won’t be doing pre-election deals. It’s up to New Zealanders to decide who they send to Parliament.

      • mickysavage 53.1.3

        And how about this from Monty on twitter?

        “@nzlabour @ColmarBruntonNZ what a terrible shame @DavidCunliffeMP won’t answer hard questions cos @thestandard protects him #leftardfools”

        And he expects to have the privilege of being able to comment here?

  54. Alan Davey 54

    Is it possible to stop the biased reporting of political news by our media outlets. This has been a bain of Labours re-election battle and has misled many New Zealanders into believing results that just aren’t true. IE. The manipulation of poll results by Fairfax Media.

    • David Cunliffe 54.1

      The freedom of the press is really important. I have huge respect for New Zealand’s journalists. Obviously, at times, journalists get things wrong – everyone does.

      • Anne 54.1.1

        Yes, there are journalists deserving of respect and praise David. There are also journalists who are deserving of nothing but contempt. And in recent times some of the latter seem to have had the upper hand. It is important to acknowledge their existence so that voters hopefully become aware of them, and will accordingly judge their utterances.

        Apart from that piece of minor criticism, thank-you for an enlightening hour. It has only served to sharpen the huge difference between yourself and John Key.

        John Key – shallow, vindictive, dishonest, greedy and a pathological liar.
        David Cunliffe – intellectual substance, caring, principled and honest.

  55. bad12 55

    Mr Cunliffe, i am assuming here that the Christchurch Housing announcement, which i applaud, is from within the KiwiBuild policy,

    My question, considering the state of rental housing costs in the bigger cities, would this not be a great template to apply to ALL the bigger cities where there is a definite and sizable proportion of new housing caused to be built by the State directed in the first instance at affordable rentals for low waged working families who could conceivably then go on to purchase at a later date,

    Obviously in terms of the costing of the overall KiwiBuild there would be a negative ramification…

  56. Jared 56

    David, The regions are stronger now than they were under the last Labour Government. If you look at places like Taranaki, Napier, Blenheim, Ashburton, Timaru, Geraldine they are all booming with unemployment dropping rapidly. I would like to know where I can find the facts you are reading from, as most legitimate non-political reports are saying the complete opposite of what you are in the media?

    [lprent: You believe media for hard information? That is foolish.

    Try going to stats NZ. ]

  57. Jack 57

    How does Labour get a fair deal and professional journalism reported in MSM Media Channels there appears to be a biased MSM here in NZ?

  58. David Cunliffe 58

    Team, I’m going to have to wrap this up in a couple of questions. I’ll be checking back through the evening.

    • cd u plse answer my poverty-question..?

      ..thank you..

      [lprent: No demanding. ]

    • David Cunliffe 58.2

      That’s all I’ve got time for right now – I’ll check back later to see all your feedback. It’s been really great to talk with you and I’m looking forward to campaigning together.

  59. Shaun 59

    Hi David,

    Im just wondering if you have actually sat down with the greens and other left parties and talked and agreed on policies so that the media cannot use conflicting statements on policies against you guys?

  60. Melissa webster 60

    Cheers for that, my thoughts exactly, glad to see labour gives a toss about sex workers rights as well as residents.

  61. NZJester 61

    In regards to Education:
    Would you be willing to fund an independent task force made up of people with real experience in education from nominations put forward by both sides of the house to look at our entire current education system from child to adult and have them draw up proposals for the Govenmet to action on both curriculum and discipline. Or will you just have a bunch of people with no real experience in education look at more failed systems being used overseas and force our schools to adopt them like the National Party has in the past. I also think the fact kids are being suspended from schools for trivial matters such as hair length and other forms of individuality is very disturbing and a code of practice that protects both students and teachers also needs to be looked at.

    In regards to transport:
    Will you be willing to fund a study on the Napier to Gisborne rail system to see if it would be more beneficial to the region to repair the rail-line or to improve the road link to remove a lot of the current congestion and road damage being caused by all the extra heavy traffic that is now being used in place of rail transport.

    • Sacha 61.1

      The development process for the NZ Curriculum was thorough and impressive. No need to re-do anything, just remove the added focus on weighing the pig rather than growing it.

      • Draco T Bastard 61.1.1

        The development process for the NZ Curriculum was thorough and impressive.

        Doesn’t mean that it’s perfect and doesn’t need to be looked at again.

        • Sacha 61.1.1.1

          Yes, yes it does. Other things need re-examining, not that world-leading policy.

  62. Alan Davey 62

    Thanks David, put your feet up, it’s the final episode of Broadchurch tonight, should be a cracker, Alan

  63. blue leopard 64

    @ Mr Cunliffe,

    Thanks for coming here and answering these questions, Labour’s policies sound well considered and designed to address contemporary problems that other governments have ignored, it sounds like society would be much improved by a Labour-led government and I sincerely hope that New Zealanders vote you into government.

  64. Trish 65

    Labour talks affirming words about climate change, and I like that. It definitely resassures me that politicians are aware of the risk profile and needed management of the biggest political issue that humanity is facing. But then I wonder if Labour has truly grasped the complexity of the issue – that we must reduce carbon.
    Examples are this are deepsea oil drilling, coal mining, building more motor highways, etc.
    Even if the drilling is ‘safe’ and within resource consents issued, the carbon burned will be deadly to our planet. How does Labour and a David Cunliffe Government plan to resolve these tensions? More regional development is a great start, but I wonder doing what?

    • lprent 65.1

      David is off to a radio interview. Let me put my views on it as a earth sciences grad and crazed political blogger.

      Greenhouse gas climate change is a geological process, admittedly a fast one. A faster climate change process is a nuclear winter. Human civilisation hangs in balance between the two.

      As a civilisation we have become addicted to the cheap energy of hydrocarbon bonds. To drop too fast is likely to cause issues as wars happen from abrupt population decreases. People seldom starve peaceably.

      As it stands at present we don’t have the required technologies to change instantaneously. They are being developed.

      For our hydrocarbons. I think we should leave them in the ground except for what we currently have ‘open’. The remaining maui and kapuni gas should be used, else it gets wasted. But we need to change…

      • Colonial Viper 65.1.1

        I see this comment of DC’s as very indicative of his well grounded insight into the issue:

        Action on climate change needs to be part of a broader strategy to transition our economy to a low carbon, high value, renewable energy future.

        The end of truly cheap oil means that many people are already being priced off the roads and out of the skies. A broad vanishing of affordable fossil fuels is not far away either, perhaps 2-3 decades IMO. So if we haven’t completed this truly massive economic transition by then, life will become much more difficult than it really needs to be.

      • Bill 65.1.2

        As a civilisation we have become addicted to the cheap energy of hydrocarbon bonds. To drop too fast is likely to cause issues as wars happen from abrupt population decreases. People seldom starve peaceably.

        As it stands at present we don’t have the required technologies to change instantaneously. They are being developed.

        Couple of things there Lynn. First up, not all people or expressions of contemporary civilisation have become addicted to or even have access to fossil fuel (cheap or otherwise). After 2020 (I believe that’s the correct year) there will have to have been a global peak and then a rapid reduction in fossil fuel use to give us an outside chance of avoiding dangerous levels of warming. That probably means a sustained economic crash. And (thinking of your reference to war) that creates divisions and conflict within nations rather than between nations.

        Meanwhile, if we don’t do that, then we probably get your dystopic scenario of millions upon millions of refugees and starving people every where. And starving people do actually tend to go rather quietly and not cause too much trouble.

        As for the technologies being developed. What are they and what is the projected time scale for their widespread adoption? If we are talking 20 years or 30 years, then they are of no use in terms of a solution to currently projected problems. We have 5 – 10 years to peak in order to just possibly avoid over 2 degrees C of warming.

        • lprent 65.1.2.1

          I’ll be short. I want to get back to sleep.

          We have a lot of hydrocarbons. They just get steadily more expensive.

          Most of the replacement technologies are already present. Many have been available from the 80s. They just aren’t economic against cheap hydrocarbons. And they need/needed to get the engineering for economies of scale that could really only be done when they became vaguely economic. A good example of one that has already broken through is wind power, another is hybrid cars.

          When you are looking at climate change effects, you have to remember that they are long term and cyclic. We have been in the general cool cycle since the large scale heat exchange in the late 90s. We’re just starting the el nino now, it looks substantial, and that will make it somewhat worse. But since we are in the cool cycle of the pacific oscillation it is unlikely to spike up as much as 1998.

          There will be quite a lot of painful adaption time.

          It is irreversible for the near future to the end of the century because there is simply too much heat and CO2 stored in the oceans already. This isn’t like the CF’s where the natural cycles clean them out in a decade or two. We already pumped too much CO2 into the system before we realised that we actually had a problem.

          Generally I’m not expecting big climate (ie ones that cause millions of refugees) issues until the 2030-2050 and more extreme after that regardless of anything that is done now.

          The trick at present to change the economies in an reasonably orderly fashion. Because if we wind up with breakdowns by trying for fast transitions we’re liable to lose the ability to shift at all. There is simply too much plant dedicated to hydrocarbons. Government and intergovernmental work is sluggish as hell, but slowly making an impact. But the really interesting bit is the slow creeping in of other tech at the micro level. For instance the hybrids in the taxi fleets.

          What we are interested in now is what happens at the end of the century.

          • Colonial Viper 65.1.2.1.1

            We have a lot of hydrocarbons. They just get steadily more expensive.

            Worth remembering that a very large amount of hydrocarbons will stay under the earth at any price when EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) drops below 2:1. There simply is no physical point using up a barrel of oil to extract, refine and ship one barrel of oil, regardless of the market price.

            What we are interested in now is what happens at the end of the century.

            On a human scale, this could be framed as – the kind of world that today’s 5-10 year olds will be old men and women in. It’s not that far away.

            Generally I’m not expecting big climate (ie ones that cause millions of refugees) issues until the 2030-2050 and more extreme after that regardless of anything that is done now.

            Incidentally this is when I expect most quality fossil fuels to become widely unavailable, making coping successfully even harder to accomplish.

            • lprent 65.1.2.1.1.1

              Incidentally this is when I expect most quality fossil fuels to become widely unavailable, making coping successfully even harder to accomplish.

              Agreed, which is why as much as possible needs to be done now.

              The biggest single change in NZ needs to be a shift from coal as a fuel to anything else. Burning coal is far and away the worst way to produce energy from a climate perspective.

              A close second would be producing cement – but that is something we don’t have many good alternatives for at present. So the second would be to make public transport more effective.

              The third would be extending the use of electric and hybrid transport.

              Then after that there are host of other things. Some of them are less of an issue than others.

              I’m less concerned about methane from farming because of its short cycle residence time than I am about trucks going to farms for instance.

              The people who seem to think that planting trees does anything useful really need to learn some earth sciences and a bit of maths. It is completely ineffective.

              But we actually have a pretty large footprint in air and sea freight that needs looking at. If nothing else for marketing reasons.

  65. Carl 66

    The carbon bubble has had further attention brought to it by
    former US Treasury Secretary & Repulican Henry Paulson( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/opinion/sunday/lessons-for-climate-change-in-the-2008-recession.html?_r=0)
    & also President Obama (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-26/giving-up-fossil-fuels-to-save-the-climate-the-28-trillion-writedown.html)

    Will Labour address the carbon bubble by supporting transparency standards for NZers investments?
    Small action but possibly large global impact.

    [lprent: Too late. DC is away to a radio interview. Hopefully we will get him back before the election. Save it for then and get in a bit earlier. ]

  66. Treetop 67

    What will Labour do to address historical police cover ups e.g. the Crewes?

    Will Labour release historical police files where there is public interest?

  67. Stuart Munro 68

    Have you given any thought to media reform? I know that traditionally NZ governments are hands off with respect to the media, but perhaps in part due to Joyce’s activities the lack of media professionalism is becoming increasingly problematic.

    [lprent: He left at just before 5pm for a radio interviews. ]

    • blue leopard 68.1

      Hi Stuart,

      I wrote to Labour this week over a very similar matter and Kris Faafoi (Labour Spokesperson for Broadcasting) responded by letting me know there is a broadcasting policy coming up that will reflect Labour’s commitment to quality, independent public broadcasting…of course no details were supplied…nothing like some suspense to get peoples’ interests up…but given some of the other things said it allayed my fears over this subject. :)

      • Stuart Munro 68.1.1

        Excellent – and thanks for letting me know Blue Leopard – I didn’t really want to use up David’s time but I think the issue has ‘surfaced’, as we say in quality assurance.

  68. Weepu's beard 69

    Great thread, congrats to those who organised it.

    I’d like to hear more on Mary Liza Manual’s question at 43.

    New Zealand home ownership has dropped significantly in the last 10 years which means there are a lot more ordinary young families renting from so called “semi-professional” property investors. This is a major social shift in our country over a short period of time. We are increasingly becoming a nation of landlords and peasants but the protections for the new and substantial renter class have not been upgraded. Renters are forced to sign week to week leases handing all the power to the landlord. If the current govt is determined to have foreign and domestic money hoover up dwellings at the expense of young, lower income, and vulnerable working families, why cannot they ensure those same families, who pay market rents, have afforded them some sort of ongoing security?

    This would help community strength by reducing the amount of unnecessary movement of young vulnerable working families.

  69. Well done David , it is very reassuring to see someone in your position , a top earner in the top bracket , prepared to try and make things more even , these are the traits we like to think our leaders have , from Key the message we get , is “keep your hands of my stack” team ego is out of control , the man must be so entrenched in his own importance , that he doesn’t realize other people have lives and worries to , the world doesn’t revolve around team ego .

  70. Lorraine 71

    It is very important that Labour don’t buy in to the trap that National have set up of playing off leader’s personalities with the #Team Key approach. There is 2 weaknesses that have been revealed recently. One is that with the team Key approach that they National is resorting to relying on Key’s popularity to pull them through. After all who would be voting for #Team Novapay, #Team Asset Sales, #Team Endangered Species Extinction, #Team School Closures and Charter Schools, #Team Pig Abuse Coverups, #Team Ponzi Scheme, #Team World Heritage Land Exploitation & Destruction, #Team Cabinet Club, #Team EQC, #Team Rena, #Team Make the rich richer at the expense of all others etc.
    Come back with #Team Labour presenting a united front of your top 5 or 6 MPs faces. Labour is not a one person brand it is more dynamic.
    Secondly John Key revealed in his book that he doesn’t like loosing and that rat would desert a sinking ship like lightening. He also has already considered giving up the job and who is to say that he will stick it through and National voters might be very disappointed to end up with the duds when the star is gone.
    GO #TEAM LABOUR

  71. Sable 72

    This all sounds good David but why have we not seen any of this turn up in peoples mail boxes, social media sites, etc. Its very clear that the mainstream media are bought and paid for by the right but Labour seem to have done little to combat this.

    Talks good but good marketing is also important.

  72. SPC 73

    One unasked question is to how Labour would respond to any National move on tax rates (below the top rate) that have now been indicated – a tar seal and tax cuts politics campaign strategy.

    Might I suggest that the 17.5 cents rate from 14 to 48,000 be replaced by 15 cents and 20 cents rates.

    15 cents to 30,000 and 20 cents to 48,000. This increases the take home pay of those in low paid jobs or in less than full-time work – while the tax at 48,000 and above would remain unchanged.

    Another move that would do the same thing is to create a low income earner tax rebate (say 2.5 cents in the dollar up to 14,000, 10.5 to 8 cents and 2.5 cents in the dollar from 14,000 to 30,000, 17.5 to 15 cents).

  73. Jenny 74

    Mission impossible

    Your mission David, should you decide to accept it:

    Is to save the world from climate change

    The crisis is all but upon us. But with no sign of any meaningful global response, it looks like business as usual right up to the end.

    Someone, somewhere, has to take a stand and give a lead.

    To imagine how this disaster will play out if we don’t act. I will use a metaphor, the most handy and best known is the Titanic

    The Titanic crisis was this:
    I am a first class passenger, should I take my place in a lifeboat, or give it up to others? (some did)
    I am crew, should I stay at my post to give everyone else a better chance to escape? (most did)
    I am captain should I go down with the ship? (He did)
    I am the bosun, should I order the 3rd class passengers be locked below decks to give the first class passengers better chance of escape? (He did)
    I am a third class passenger should I violently overthrow the bosun and his armed officers, locking me and my family below decks? (knowing that this will not create any more life boats or greatly increase the overall survival rate, though it might make the cull fairer. Most didn’t and died in far greater numbers because of it. Much like climate change which is hitting the poorest nations hardest)

    Like the Titanic example, we are facing an approaching disaster that will afflict every tier of human society, but every layer will be given a different (though dreadful) choice.

    Crisis, root word Cross, as in cross roads, as in you have to make a decision on which way to proceed.

    Let us hope our collective response what ever it is, whenever it finally comes, is better than that displayed by the microcosm of our global society that was the Titanic.

    Where the privileged monopolised the lifeboats, the loyal retainers continued their jobs to the end, the poor got sacrificed, and the leadership commit ritual hari kiri to atone for their irresponsibility and heedless inaction that brought on the disaster in the first place.

    But the sooner we act we better all our chances.

    You yourself said: ” I’m very sad to say there’s a very good chance that by the time my two young sons reach adulthood, the safe and healthy world that we all took for granted will be gone. Finished.”

    Dear Mr Cunliffe even if you think it is pointless, don’t be like the captain of the Titanic, please do everything in your power to avert this coming crisis.

    Support the Greens and withdraw your support for Emissions Trading, call for an end to fracking and deep sea oil drilling, campaign to ban all new coal mines, call for a restart for Hauauru Ma Raki. Make all New Zealand’s electricity fossil free, ratify the Majuro declaration on climate change. Be like a Kirk or Savage, take to the global stage, set an example for the world to follow, show them that it can be done if you have the courage and the political will.

    Even if you are unsuccessful in influencing the world, you will know you carried out your duty and did your very best in the patch you were given.

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