Written By: - Date published: 2:56 pm, February 20th, 2014 - 226 comments
Categories: brand key, class war, david cunliffe, election 2014, greens, john key, labour, Media, Metiria Turei, national, poverty, same old national - Tags: media bias
I have been rather bemused by all this fuss about David Cunliffe’s home. It is no secret that he and I know each other and I have been to said house. It’s a nice house in a nice street, but it’s no mansion. It’s the kind of place you’d expect a professional couple who have done well in life to live in. And David has enjoyed success before entering Parliament and his wife is a very talented and highly regarded lawyer.
As David said on Firstline this morning, he has never been ashamed of where he lives, or tried to hide it. Like John Key, he’s come from a modest background but has been successful. But unlike John Key, I know David is genuinely in politics because he wants others to have the same opportunities he did.
His original comment about Key getting out amongst the leafy streets of Parnell was made after Key had said about the author of the Salvation Army State of the Nation report needed to get out more. An off the cuff remark has been seized upon and given significance it does not deserve.
Being a progressive politician does not require you to don sack cloth and forsake all of your worldly possessions. It does require you to advocate for policies that will address social and environmental issues such as poverty and climate change. Labour does not believe that wealth is inherently wrong, it believes that everyone should have a shot at the best lifestyle possible and there should at the same time be a minimum adequate quality of life for everyone. National does not, and Key’s hypocrisy in taking advantage of the welfare state and then dismantling it is disgraceful.
Without a shred of embarrassment the National Party are now scouring David’s and his wife’s records to try and make some kind of point about their wealth. Matthew Hooton for instance is tweeting asking for evidence that Cunliffe has interests in two or more properties on Marine Parade. I know this to be absolute nonsense. They only own the one place and have no other property holdings whatsoever. The way the Right are dragging David’s family into this shows just how desperate they are.
I would advise my fellow lefties not to follow the Nats down this rabbit-hole. I was particularly disappointed to see a fuss being made by some on the left over Tova O’Brien’s interview of David in front of Fitzroy Yachts in New Plymouth. The reality is David was there doing a stand up about 120 New Zealanders who have just lost their jobs. It’s a pity there hasn’t been so much outrage about that.
Addendum: For the benefit of the National Party Research Unit when I say “own” I mean “have a beneficial interest in”. Lawyers often act as independent trustees for trusts that they have no beneficial interest in.