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“The purists can weep”

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, November 3rd, 2013 - 105 comments
Categories: Economy, Privatisation - Tags: ,

Labour’s new KiwiAssure policy has been welcomed by John Armstrong as good politics. And it is. But it’s also good policy – at the same time we’ve got a government hell bent on making sure electricity profits flow to overseas investors, David Cunliffe’s policy is about giving Kiwi’s the ability to ensure that any money made from their insurance stays in the country and pays for hospitals, schools, and New Zealanders’ retirement.

But back to the politics. As Armstrong points out:

When it comes to honesty and ethics, the public ranks insurance companies only slightly above used-car salesmen.

So David Cunliffe cannot really go wrong in committing Labour to setting up a state-owned general insurance firm, KiwiAssure – especially at a time when private companies’ premiums are soaring through the roof and their cover is falling through the floor.

There’s a couple of other threads to this too, one is the close ties National have had with the insurance industry over the years (note how muted Gerry Brownlee has been about recalcitrant insurers in Christchurch), the other is that this policy is another milestone in the return of the Labour party to its roots – the last state insurance company was privatized in the dying days of the neo-liberal fourth Labour government. Which is why Armstrong’s comment that “the purists can weep” is so piquant.

David Cunliffe has brought the Labour party back. Not just to the members of the party but to New Zealanders. There could have been no more appropriate walk-on music as he approached the stage to deliver this policy than a song called “Aotearoa”. “We are New Zealand”. Indeed.

105 comments on ““The purists can weep””

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Wonder if Labour will be using that song as the anthem for their 2015 campaign.

    I’ve always thought Minuit really wrote themselves a winner in terms of royalities with that song. TV4 used it for advertising for a while a couple of years ago.

    • Saarbo 1.1

      wow, powerful video…great.

      That is New Zealand to many of us who proudly live in diverse communities. but I reckon half of National voters live in mono cultural environments (I was in Takapuna recently, ewww), we know from research that 70% of them dont know anyone who is unemployed, so wont appeal to them.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        It’s actually not really that representative at all: the photos are from Minuit fans who sent them into their facebook page back in 2009 when they made the music video.

        So it skews heavily young.

        • IrishBill 1.1.1.1

          I don’t know about that. I’m pretty sure I saw a couple of old mates in the tour footage.

        • Saarbo 1.1.1.2

          Well Lanth, it may be perfect if you consider this from the SST today.

          “Yet, from young people, there’s been barely a whimper.

          The point has been raised before – young people are bearing the brunt of decisions made in the name of necessity, so why aren’t they taking to the streets? More than that, many don’t vote. Although eligible voters aged 18-24 represented 13 per cent of the total voting age population in the 2011 general election, they accounted for nearly half of the total who did not bother to enrol.”

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/9356042/New-lending-criteria-labelled-unfair

    • Just Like Tiger Woods 1.2

      Twee “we’re all just like each other” socialist pap.

      Some people contribute. Some people don’t. Some people destroy. Whoever you think the destroyers happen to be, should they be treated just the same as the everyone else?

      If you think not, then you don’t believe in social equality regardless of input.

  2. Tat Loo (CV) 2

    Great that Armstrong came out with some fairer comments today, unlike the bizarrely one side piece yesterday which basically criticised Labour for doing things the Labour way.

  3. Sacha 3

    Brownlee muted? The clown was defending the insurance industry vigorously on the radio.

  4. Anne 4

    Just watched a petulant display of the sulks by Matthew Hooton and Claire Robinson on Q&A. Hooton was his normal self… using the language set out by Crosby/Textor. That is, lie, distort, misrepresent and don’t give your opponent a chance to respond.

    Claire Robinson berated Labour for no policy announcements and then contradicted herself later by praising Cunliffe for announcing KiwiAssure even though she had previously criticised it. When Williams (rightly) pointed out that her “years of statistical evidence” were nothing compared to his “years of political experience”, I thought she was going to dong him one!

  5. Rogue Trooper 5

    speaking of ‘purists’, Shane Jones appeared to have diluted his his cocktail, toasting the gender remit; “the capacity of the women in the party should not be underestimated” – 3News

    Gower also drew out a couple of tensions from the conference;
    -retirement age
    -TPP- increasing skepticism within the party, outright opposition by the unions.

    KiwiAssure- Excellent

    Ditching the monarchy-Even more Bodacious

    • Paul 5.1

      Grower was looking for tensions.
      He is not a journalist, but a propagandist.

    • Sanctuary 5.2

      “…Gower also drew out a couple of tensions from the conference;
      -retirement age
      -TPP- increasing skepticism within the party, outright opposition by the unions…”

      Party membership of NZ political parties collapsed during the era of Douglas and Richardson. Now, I know Labour is a long, long way from the halcyon days of tens of thousands of members but by the sound of things a bit of sap is running into long dormant political roots.

      That mean if Gower was born around 1970 he will have no memory of what a mass membership party looks like and how it operates, so for him & the rest of the media amnesiacs – brought up on and used to a normality of husk parties going through a charade of annointing the decisions of a central cadre – seeing delegates debating issues and arguing vigorously over remits must look very strange indeed.

      • Macro 5.2.1

        Agreed… They have no knowledge of what the Labour movement – it never wanted to call itself a ‘party’ in those days looked or felt like. The Party of recent times has been a poor image of the robust debate that formed the policy of the early movement.

      • Rednex 5.2.2

        Nice one! I got that feeling watching him and that other fella interviewing Davo on TV One this morning. It looked like they really didn’t understand what was going on..

      • Rogue Trooper 5.2.3

        ;)

  6. tricledrown 6

    Brownlee defending the insurance companies ripping off New Zealanders,
    If not for Campbell live Gerihatric brownoselee would have not done one thing to push
    Insurance companies into paying out.
    The profits these insurance companies are extacting from NZ now is criminal.
    Brownlee is wrong on saying kiwisure requiring the govt to bail it out they can get reinsurance just like the other insurance co’s.
    Kiwibank isn’t covered by the govt taxpayer either but has forced down bank charges for every one.
    Kiwisure will break the cartel that is in the insurance market.

  7. Wayne 7

    KiwiAssure is a bit of an indifferent policy. It will have as much impact as KiwiBank. Now I know a lot of people like the idea of KiwiBank, but has it really led to a dramatic change in NZ banking?

    Interesting item on Q&A on poverty this morning. It seems to me the biggest impact on child poverty (apart from jobs) would be to have more state houses. Dr Wills own research confirms that. Which is why I asked the question in post a few days ago about the numbers of poor children in state houses as opposed to private rentals.

    It is surely easy (and popular) Labour party policy to build an extra 3,000 to 5,000 state house a year over the next 3 to 5 years.

    Interesting speech by David Cunliffe yesterday. A lot of clever rhetoric to appeal to the party faithful (including the left), but rather less actual policy that would be different to what Labour has already announced.

    And as I suspected, he was taking a careful line on TPP on Q &A this morning. In my view he would almost certainly support (or at least not seriously oppose) TPP if it comes to Parliament next year which is not so likely given that I imagine a deal won’t be done till sometime in 2014.

    Mind you I suspect the Nats would quite like Labour to oppose TPP in election year (if TPP is done soon), since they could paint Labour as not being ready to be responsible guardians of the economy. Which is never a good space for a major party trying to win an election. But I imagine David Cunliffe is alert to that risk.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      “Now I know a lot of people like the idea of KiwiBank, but has it really led to a dramatic change in NZ banking?”

      Yes. Prior to KiwiBank, all ‘everyday’ bank accounts had fees. After KiwiBank started up, all of the big banks introduced various accounts with no monthly fee – there are strings attached, like no chequebook and some require online statements etc, but happily none of those strings are of any inconvenience to myself.

      • felix 7.1.1

        It’s worth noting that in Wayne’s world 20 or 30 bucks of bank fees is “indifferent”.

        • Lanthanide 7.1.1.1

          A lot of the alternative ‘flat-rate’ options are $5/month, so $60 a year. Which actually is pretty sizeable if you think about it in terms of interest on savings: equivalent to $3,000 in a bank account earning 3% and paying tax at the 33% rate. Then again maybe $3,000 sitting in a savings account isn’t much to Wayne, either.

          Or you can go with one of the old-fashioned “pay as you go” accounts that charge you fees for using EFTPOS etc, as if it’s some fan-dangled new technology that “kids these days” are hip with.

  8. Populuxe1 8

    Except that New Zealand First passed KiwiSure as a policy remit at thier convention several weeks ago and it’s virtually identical though perhaps better thought out

    • I have to say … I may be biased, but “KiwiSure” just rolls off the tongue easier than “KiwiAssure”.

      Cunliffe certainly seems to think so – he keeps dropping the “A” when he says it in interviews!

    • insider 8.3

      Better thought out? Really? Exactly how will it work, how is it going to be funded? How will the risks be managed? What will it cost? I’ve seen nothing on that in Cunliffe’s speech or media release. For a so called major policy I’d expect a bit more than a clichéd name and it will be sold through post shops (no doubt furtHer lengthening the queues). Kiwi bank is struggling so is hardly a great model. I note Cunliffe’s hedged his bets with a discrete ‘subject to a business case’.

      • Macro 8.3.1

        Of course State insurance was always a dog…As is ACC… I mean you twist your ankle – go see the doc – all those forms and stuff .. pay thru the nose…. Govt insurance has never been tried before and is bound to fail…

        • insider 8.3.1.1

          So are you saying acc is the model? They are going for compulsory insurance?

          • Macro 8.3.1.1.1

            compulsory insurance! What a bloody good idea!
            Of course public health isn’t insurance and look how poorly that works.. compulsory health insurance.. maybe Obama should have thought of that… Bloody governments get their fingers in the insurance pie…

        • Rogue Trooper 8.3.1.2

          lol

        • Curwen Rolinson 8.3.1.3

          “Government insurance has never been tried before and is bound to fail”

          Well with an attitude like that …

          Also, no, I think you’ll find if you open a history book that New Zealand used to actually HAVE government insurance. Why did you think State Insurance was called State..?

      • You would appear to have misread my party comrade’s comments. We are not Labourites.

        We are from New Zealand First, and we are praising *our own* KiwiSure concept, not heaping opprobium or praise on Labour’s “KiwiAssure”.

        • Lanthanide 8.3.2.1

          I wonder if KiwiSure was the name Labour had initially cooked up and NZFirst snatched it up first.

        • greywarbler 8.3.2.2

          Good to know that Labour and NZFirst agree on this insurance scheme. What other matter are they in parallel on.

          • Curwen Rolinson 8.3.2.2.1

            Well we don’t like asset sales … but it remains to be seen whether Labour will join NZ First’s call for renationalization, or endorse our stance of retaining a 65 age of retirement.

      • felix 8.3.3

        “Kiwi bank is struggling so is hardly a great model.”

        Yeah, KB is totally failing to suck kiwis dry like the foreign banks do. :roll:

  9. tricledrown 9

    Wayne has found his brain .
    But the Tpp will not be in place anytime this side of 2020.
    As it requires govts to drop agricultural tariffs.
    Conservative govts rely on the rural vote for power they will cut off the hands that feed them!
    Korea Japan The US will not give one inch on farm subsidies!

  10. tricledrown 10

    Populuxe that will mean it will be a good fit for NZ1st as a coalition partner.

    • pledge to renationalize assets first.

      Then we may talk.

      Rest assured NZ First has many awesome ideas for you to pirate. We don’t even mind giving a few away for free for the good of the Nation :D

      • Tat Loo (CV) 10.1.1

        Bearing in mind that any sertious talk of the govt bulk buying back shares is likely to cause the share price to dramatically rise, giving the big institutional investors an instant win fall.

        It’d have to be done smart, were it to be done.

        • Curwen Rolinson 10.1.1.1

          lol, who said we’d be renationalizing at the market rate? That WOULD be a problem.

          NZF policy’s the state reacquires the shares at no more than the purchase price. Turns asset sales into an effective zero-percent-interest-loan.

          (although we really must introduce you Labourites to the PowerBond scheme we passed at our last Convention :) Ain’t gonna be no large institutional investors loving it)

          • Rogue Trooper 10.1.1.1.1

            Fawking funny Guy! :-D

            • Curwen Rolinson 10.1.1.1.1.1

              you wait till you see the actual policy. It’s hilarious.

              (Provided you’re not a foreign pension fund, investor or carpet-bagger)

              • Rogue Trooper

                I’ve always maintained, Winston earns that constituency which is there for the taking. All credit to him for a man who perpetually rends the english language asunder. Now, time for a cuppa-tea.

              • MrSmith

                What’s funny is by the sounds of things NZ First won’t be involved in any coalition with National after the next election.

              • Tat Loo (CV)

                Mr Rolinson. Random question for interests’ sake.

                Does your ordinary membership take a vote on who NZF would enter into coalition with, if anyone?

                Or is it a purely NZF caucus decision, divorced of input from your members?

                • Legit question, Tat.

                  I’m given to understand that the official way we do things is the Parliamentary Caucus gets a say, and the Board of Directors (which I’m on, by some bizzare piece of happenstance) gets a say. The Board is supposed to represent the wishes and will of the Membership in this equation.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Thanks for your reply. And, congratulations Curwen, I’d read about that.

                    • Ahaha. Thanks. Well if you’re referring to what I think you’re referring to, congratulations may be a little premature. I believe I find out the outcome tonight.

                      Depending on how it goes, solidarity and support may prove more appropriate.

            • bad12 10.1.1.1.1.2

              As seen on TV, Backbenchers i do believe…

  11. Paul 11

    KiwiBank
    Kiwi Assure
    Kiwi Build

    • Rednex 11.1

      I don’t like Kiwi Assure (the name that is not the policy) just doesn’t trip of the tongue well. Should run a competition on it…

      • Lol. NZ First came up with “KiwiSure” two weeks ago as a name. How does that sound to you?

        • Tat Loo (CV) 11.1.1.1

          Labour couldn’t possibly use that mate. It might make it look like we were copying policy off you, or something…

          • Curwen Rolinson 11.1.1.1.1

            Lol, we’re always more than happy to provide progressive … inspiration :D

            • bad12 11.1.1.1.1.1

              By the way, welcome to the Standard, a NZfirst perspective will be an ‘interesting’ addition to the debate…

              • Thanks. There’s been a few of us NZF people who’ve occasionally inhabited the comments-threads of The Standard for awhile now (Hello Populuxe et al), but it’s nice to have a more formalized welcome :)

                I’m sure you’ll find we’ve got creative contributions to the national conversation.

                • bad12

                  Lolz, i am finding NZFirst now has 3 policies that i agree with, taking back the power generators,(should wait for the Labour/Green single buyer to kick in first which will have them begging to unload the proceeds of such theft),

                  65 as the age of retirement Full Stop, (although i would entertain a look at an abatement rate for those who choose to work and collect the pension),

                  The insurance biz,(can’t find any objection in my bones,Government has a role in business especially where manufacture can lead to a more valuable export commodity for our primary goods, the super-fund should be the beneficiary of all such Government business)…

                  • :D

                    #Renationalization’s awesome, yeah. You’re also correct to note there’s a potential synergy between NZPower and Renatioanlization – although it may potentially be a little unfair to some of the actual mum & dad investors (yes, there are some out there) to renatioanlize for *too* terribly much less than the price we sold them for.

                    Will have to tell you about the PowerBonds policy remit we just put through our own Convention on a related note :) (oh, while on power, I do note a cabinet paper prepared by David Parker in iirc 2006 which declared the case for nationalization and amalgamation to produce arguable efficiency gains over single-buyer)

                    65’s legit, and I’m glad we’re exerting electoral gravity (so to speak) by having made that a bottom line. How do you feel about Compulsory National Savings?

                    And yeah, you’re right – KiwiFund and KiwiBank (along with, surprise surprise, Kiwis) ought to be the main beneficiaries of government business and transactions.

                    Here’s another NZF policy you’ll agree with : doing everything in our power to ensure government banks with Kiwibank rather than foreign owned ones :D

                    • bad12

                      Definitely agree on the banking, it will tho take a serious cash injection and some robust IT work to bring KiwiBank up to such a capability but there is plenty of time to accomplish both while the clock ticks away the time left on the Westpac contract,(doing so as far as IT goes might need the setting up of an IT campus where one company is not of such robustness as to be able to carry out all the necessary work but a number of IT companies working together probably could),

                      The other leg of this policy has already been signaled by Labour/Green in that all Government spending should be examined line by line and Favor given to those firms based in New Zealand employing Kiwi’s and paying their fair share of tax,

                      The areas of policy agreement across the Labour/Green/NZFirst spectrum seem to be piling up in such a fashion as to out-weigh the disagreements and as far as i can see such disagreements are more to do with the means of achievement and the extent of the policy reach than the actual policy outcomes…

                    • Tat Loo

                      How do you feel about Compulsory National Savings?

                      It’s got to be kept well away from the private investment banking and hedgefund sector, for starters.

                      Idea:

                      The government puts your money into your own KiwiBank national savings account, which sits there as a massive cash asset on the government’s balance sheet, to which it electronically credits 1.0% interest per month for the first $10,000 invested. This is new money, electronically generated, designed to push the circulation of money into the economy from the ground up, and benefiting small savers the most.

                      No need for it to be invested in speculative markets.

                • karol

                  Hi Curwen.

                  Are you claiming Populuxe as one of yours? Or as a strong critic of NZFers?

  12. Foreign Waka 12

    Q&A this morning: Paula Bennett is so below par that it is astounding that even a National Party welcoming all the rhetoric and denying poverty, is keeping this person in her job. On the question of whether her department should actually do the research instead of private funding via the Children’s commissioner – her answer is no! My god, why is she paid in the first place. Even the business lobby knows that what you cannot measure, you cannot manage. Perhaps this is what quintessential the issue is: National does not WANT to measure as it would become quite clear that NZ has now outpaced the British from last century by far. I admire Dr Russel Wills for his professional approach and his commitment to change the situation. Perhaps he should be in charge of that issue and his recommendations binding. 265 000 children in poverty – NZ shame on you!

  13. Fisiani 13

    So correct me if wrong but nationalised electricity, nationalised insurance and nationalised building. More tax, more borrowing , more government spending. The North Korea of the South Pacific. And there will be still more bribes to come. 1,000,000 votes to come apparently from raising minimum wage and paying even teenagers working for the government a wage dreamed up for a family of four despite these policies costing at least 50,000 job losses.
    There come a point when no amount of emotive language and crocodile tears will be able to con the public. They are not that gullible.
    If I am wrong and they are that gullible and believe in the money fairies then the Labour/Green polling should be over 50% next poll.

    • Paul 13.1

      Fisiani, are you:
      a) a disciple of neo-liberalism and so indoctrinated you believe in the cult of selfishness as proposed by Ayn Rand ..despite all the evidence now apparent.
      b) a paid puppet of the corporates who write their spin.
      c) a member of the 1% yourself who actually benefits from the present paradigm.

      Just wondering what motivates you to write the rubbish you do.

      • Fisiani 13.1.1

        no to a b and c. Simply stating the truth Paul. I believe that the public are actually quite intelligent. They want prosperity, higher wages and more jobs, all of which are guaranteed by the proven success of National rather than the monstrosity of a Green/Labour/Mana/NZF ungovernable job destruction coalition.

    • Puddleglum 13.2

      So correct me if wrong but nationalised electricity, nationalised insurance and nationalised building.

      Hi Fisiani, yes you are wrong. NZPower, KiwiAssure and Kiwibuild do not involve the nationalisation of those industries.

  14. Tracey 14

    You may stand corrected. You are wrong. Yes 47% of new zealanders are gullible. In the same way you continue to swallow the lies of the nats dangling the possibility of future prosperity so you will vote for policies that actual keep you stagnant and the 1% rolling on. Like you many cling to the idea that they are doing good because you would rather be foolish than admit they have duped you on so many fronts.

    • KJT 14.1

      I wouldn’t say that New Zealanders are gullible on the whole. Misinformed is nearer the mark.

      • Tracey 14.1.1

        sure, but I was referring to those who voted for national in the last election. Make a fool of me once shame on you, make a fool of me twice, shame on me type thing…

  15. Tracey 15

    Fisiani

    creating a new state insurance entity is not nationalisation. The dictionary can be your friend.

  16. lolita bother 16

    Hey Fisiani at 4:53 pm


    So correct me if wrong but nationalised electricity, nationalised insurance and nationalised building. More tax, more borrowing , more government spending. The North Korea of the South Pacific. And there will be still more bribes to come. 1,000,000 votes to come apparently from raising minimum wage and paying even teenagers working for the government a wage dreamed up for a family of four despite these policies costing at least 50,000 job losses.
    There come a point when no amount of emotive language and crocodile tears will be able to con the public. They are not that gullible.
    If I am wrong and they are that gullible and believe in the money fairies then the Labour/Green polling should be over 50% next poll.

    You print that on an Lprint or Karol entry you get banned for two weeks pal. You lucky Eddie not so extreme

  17. Would it kill them to either call a thing what it is (eg, State Insurance) or use a bit of fucking imagination? It feels like the current Labour incumbents think naming something involves sticking “Kiwi” on the front of it. Two terms into the next government we’ll have Kiwiair, Kiwicops, Kiwihealth, Kiwischools and Christ alone knows what the fuck else. Kiwinationallibrary, anyone?

  18. Dumrse 18

    “The purists can weep”. The only weeping will be the policy holders when the kiwiasure goes tits up because it can’t cover the first tsunami let alone a half decent shake.

    • Tracey 18.1

      you mean like AMI needed boosting from the government????

    • KJT 18.2

      Like AMI and all the Christchurch private insurers that people are still waiting for payments from.

      The ones that took our money for decades and suddenly cannot afford to pay out without doubling premiums.

      Yeah right.

  19. tricledrown 19

    Dumrse all insurers use reinsures to cover their arse.
    But there is no cover for being dumb unless u vote for National or Act you can become a right wing policy consultant all you have to do is tell lies and act dumb.
    Perfect fit 4u dumrse.

  20. One Anonymous Knucklehead 20

    Throwing words around equals critique, apparently, in right wing land.

    Is there any criticism of this policy that isn’t frothing at the mouth?

    I guess that’s why Cunliffe wants to see the business case; the local Tea Party doesn’t have the chops. Better wingnuts please.

  21. Crunchtime 21

    Please fix your rogue apostrophes…

    “David Cunliffe’s policy is about giving Kiwi’s the ability to ensure…”

    should be

    “David Cunliffe’s policy is about giving Kiwis the ability to ensure…”

    An apostrophe is used for abbreviation or ownership. No other reason. You do not put an apostrophe before an s for a plural. Ever.

    I’m sure we want things to a professional standard.

    Love,
    The Grammar Nazi. ;)

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