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Too many hedgehogs

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, June 7th, 2014 - 220 comments
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Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise – the art and science of prediction) and website FiveThirtyEight uses an old idea to distinguish pundits as hedgehogs or foxes. Originating with Archilochus  through Isaiah Berlin to it can be summed up as “the fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The test for hedgehogs is “Do your predictions improve when you have more information?” Foxes do – hedgehogs’ don’t.

So every time there’s an unfavourable poll for Labour and another post on this site says that it is because of right-wing bias, or media motives, or moves away from landlines, or the two blocs are still neck and neck and that’s all that matters, or the pollsters analysis has got it wrong, or there is some magic law that pulls the polls together at election time, I must confess I think they have must been written at night and the hedgehogs are out.

Silver famously made his reputation as a fox in the 2012 US election campaign where he used a whole variety of polls to draw his conclusions, that in the end proved the most accurate. The best we’ve got is the poll of polls, and that shows a steady divergence in favour of National and away from Labour since the beginning of the year. I think they are a powerful wake-up call; my worry is that Labour is still dozing.

In my experience, the polls change because the parties change what they are saying and how they are saying it. Wishful thinking doesn’t cut it. I’d like to see us discuss what we think Labour should do differently to shift the polls in our favour so we do win the one that matters. I don’t think it is impossible, but my view is that the sooner things do change the better. I’ll offer what I think tomorrow – I’m interested in what others think.

220 comments on “Too many hedgehogs”

  1. Off the top of my head, late on a Saturday evening … I want to see the passion I saw from the whole party during the leadership selection. Bold statements, righteous principles, and well-defined outrage with easy solutions and no apologies. But then I am a dreamer :D

    • blue leopard 1.1

      +1 I agree, I think this is very important. Bit too much apologizing going on IMO

      • Karen 1.1.1

        +1
        The polls showed a big increase for Labour after Cunliffe was elected leader … then he went quiet for what seemed an age. Mistakes were made in the delivery of the ‘babybonus’ policy and the media seized on every opportunity they could to show Cunliffe in a bad light. His use of a trust fund is still being used against him. As a result Cunliffe seems to have lost confidence and the right wing of the Labour caucus appear to be running the show. Stupid point scoring in parliament isn’t going to win Labour votes. Brave, visionary policies will.

    • Labour_Voter 1.2

      Stephanie – I don’t think the passion is missing. As Cunliffe pointed out in the news the polls are in the right direction and it is early days yet. Once people get to know Cunliffe more, they will move towards Labour. I am optimistic Labour with the help of Greens and Internet-Mana will be able to form a progressive centre-left government.

  2. Weepu's beard 2

    They need to recognise they can’t do it on their own. Most of the noise on the left is coming from elsewhere right now.

    • lurgee 2.1

      I am not sure the NZ electoarate is quite an MMP electorate now. Because they are unhappy with Labour bein rubbish, they are tending to switch to National, who have done a good job of retining the defectors from 2008. Labour haven’t really given them many reasons to vote for them.

      Worse the idea of an unruly coalition of three or four minor parties, with no-one decisively in control, makes voters uneasy. Better, they think, National and loyal hangers on than a seething mass of red and green and perhaps Winston and that scary fella from te Tai Whatchermacallit and who knows what else because who knows what demented ideas they will foist on us?

      That’s hy I’ve always said Labour needed to to get into the high 30s, so it would look like a dominant party that could control a coalition, rather than one of several near equal participants.

      They haen’t mnaged to make that progress, so the significant number of people who might leave National – because they know the Nats don’t represent them – won’t switch.

  3. Redzone 3

    Exactly. Labour need to start showing some real leadership on the left. The rest are out shouting them and it’s looking damn messy. Starts with Cunliffe. Where is he? leaving it to the campaign to fire will be too little and too late. time is now! Seize it.

    • Kiwiri 3.1

      “my worry is that Labour is still dozing”

      “Starts with Cunliffe”

      Blame it on the ABCers. Shearer should have stepped down much earlier for DC to build up a really credible team and a strong campaign. Shearer should not have been installed as leader. The ABCers did the party a disservice putting someone in who was inexperienced. Actually, Shearer should not have even put himself forward. :roll:

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Actually, Shearer should not have even put himself forward.

        Ah huh, but remember that a number of the most experienced hands in Labour were pouring sweet reassuring poison into his ear for their own ends and sadly, he was too inexperienced to realise it. It is they who hold the greatest responsibility.

        • blue leopard 3.1.1.1

          Actually this line of conversation reminds me … I sincerely hope there are not any of the same strategists being employed in Labour that were involved in the elections, (or those suggesting leadership ideas to David Shearer) ….because I am beginning to suspect there are the same people present… there is the same sense of disengagement with popular sentiment, with timing, with responses, with what matters, starting to show up that was present in the last election. Cunliffe didn’t come across like that at first, it is like he is getting poor advice from someone….

          I really don’t think people respond well to mediocrity or playing it too safe.

          • Kiwiri 3.1.1.1.1

            At the rate the net effect that the Labour Caucus MPs and combination of policies are coming through, I will vote them new big brooms. That would apply in relation to utilising both my electorate and party votes.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    I think they are a powerful wake-up call; my worry is that Labour is still dozing.

    IMO, Labour’s not dozing – they’re actively trying to lose (well, at least some of the caucus are).

    What should Labour do?

    1. Get some discipline in the caucus and stop a number of members from speaking from their arse
    2. Stop attacking their allies
    3. More left leaning policy
    4. Drop the bloody stupid raising the age of retirement
    5. Although they’ve made some announcements about upping NZ manufacturing they still haven’t really addressed the lack of high tech manufacturing
    6. Direct government R&D that the government can then lease the IP to NZ businesses so that it becomes self funding while still having the long term patience that matures blue sky research
    • Anne 4.1

      Nos 1 and 4 should be top priority!

    • Kiwiri 4.2
      1. “bloody stupid” – that is very polite and most restrained

      John Key will win the retirement age argument even before opening his mouth. There are increasingly more accounts (and I have heard it first hand a couple of times now) where the elderly at this time of the year are choosing whether to “heat” or to “eat”. Things don’t seem to be getting better and Labour wants to make it worse?? What do Labour MPs know? They have a good super in store for them and a couple of the ancient ones even have a gold plated scheme waiting for them when they decide they have served way past their expiry date.

      The Labour Caucus really need to wake up or pinch themselves/each other hard when the only party championing the lifting of the retirement age is ACT.

      If anyone has any stunning analysis as to how the super policy will bring out the missing 800k voters or even get some of their loyal supporters to root for that policy, I would most dearly love to hear it and I am dying to be persuaded to vote for it.

      • Kiwiri 4.2.1

        apologies. the numbering changed while i was editing.

        that should be:

        1. “bloody stupid” – that is very polite and most restrained
        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          Seemingly, LPrent has fixed the automatic numbering :twisted:

          • Kiwiri 4.2.1.1.1

            argh. it happened again. never mind. it is obvious from the context.
            let him enjoy his saturday evening.

      • Psycho Milt 4.2.2

        If anyone has any stunning analysis as to how the super policy will bring out the missing 800k voters or even get some of their loyal supporters to root for that policy, I would most dearly love to hear it and I am dying to be persuaded to vote for it.

        It’s no stunning analysis, but here you go. Superannuation policy should be based on what’s the best way of handling it scalably and sustainably. It should definitely not be handled the way National does, and the way you’re recommending, which is to base it on what’s the best way of encouraging people to vote for us. Labour under Parker and Cunliffe are looking like they are actually interested in implementing policies based on what the country needs rather than what individual voters want. That wil give them a hard uphill struggle against a government whose only principle is ‘become the government’ but if they can pull it off the country will be the better for it. If they switch to basing policy on ‘what do we have to promise to get elected?’ we might as well just stick with the government we’ve got.

        • KJT 4.2.2.1

          The country needs progress towards looking after all New Zealanders, not in the opposite direction. Labour should take note that the strongest advocates, for reducing super, are Act and their greedy and selfish supporters, and the finance industry who want to “privatise” super..

          If we can afford to donate 9% of our wages to the finance industry to gamble with, we can afford 5% to Pay as you go super, instead. Keeping the money within the New Zealand economy to provide jobs and infrastructure.

          • Psycho Milt 4.2.2.1.1

            It’s not ‘progress’ to have an ever-increasing proportion of the population living as idle beneficiaries, paid for by a reducing number of workers – it makes no sense and is likely to eventually result in social disorder. It would help if governments would bite the bullet and peg the retirement age to the average life expectancy at 60, but in the absence of governments with bollocks, at least Labour’s policy is a move in the right direction.

            • KJT 4.2.2.1.1.1

              Bullshit.
              Nice of you to worry about the workers, (sarc) typical of those whose hardest task on the job is the walk to the watercooler, but those who have really worked in physically and mentally demanding jobs, are lucky to have more than a few years of retirement.

              It is definitely not progress when fewer and fewer workers can produce all that we need, but we are expected to work harder and longer, so that a very few can get rich on our labour.

              Claiming that we cannot afford to feed and house our elderly, (and our young, ill and handicapped) in a country which produces enough for many times our population, where worker productivity has increased out of sight in 30 years, is not only self-absorbed nonsense, but is also an example of a society which has lost its way.

              Amazing how many of those who oppose welfare, would be the ones living in a cardboard box on the street without our welfare state, and the education supplied by us “socialists”, who believe in a community.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2.1.1.2

              It’s not ‘progress’ to have an ever-increasing proportion of the population living as idle beneficiaries, paid for by a reducing number of workers

              That’s one of those physical things that we can’t actually do anything about. Has to do with that Baby Boomer Bulge. What pays for that bulge isn’t more workers but increased productivity. The reason why we can’t pay for them under current circumstances is that all the benefits of increased productivity are going to the already rich rather than to society as a whole.

              The one thing we cannot afford is the rich.

              That said, many people won’t retire anyway as they’d get bored. They may decrease the amount they work some but they’ll still work. The few who won’t will be the ones that physically can’t.

              • KJT

                The majority of elderly people actually do work, if they are capable.

                Work that is necessary for a functioning society and the health and well-being of the next generation. It is simply not paid for, or acknowledged, especially when done by women.

                How many Grandparents are looking after children while both parents work, because wages are derisory. Effectively subsidising employers.

                One of the, substantial, unacknowledged costs of removing universal super, or privatising it, is the cost of paying for that work to be done by younger people.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Well this nation’s workforce planning is up the creek. Massive youth unemployment but Labour still wants to keep people in the excess labour pool even longer by raising the super age.

                  • KJT

                    While adding to it with excessive immigration and allowing employers to treat workers as disposable commodities.

              • KJT

                http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/11/livable-income.html

                “A liveable income should be a human right.

                We accept that someone can inherit unearned millions, but we do not accept that someone else should inherit enough, from our society, to live on, as of right.

                Who actually has the culture of unearned entitlement?
                The Koch’s, Romney’s, Bennets, Shipley and Keys getting thousands a day for contributing very little.
                Not a teenager who has been struggling unsuccessfully to find work for two years and is expected to live on $130 a week.

                The days of constant growth and full employment are gone.

                We can produce enough for everyone to live in comfort in NZ with fraction of our present activity/employment.

                I do not have the figures for New Zealand, but, rather than a more equal distribution of income making everyone poorer, if the USA’s current production was shared equally, every family in the States would have an income of around 180k annually.

                The right wing idea that a more equal distribution of income means equality in misery, is an obvious fallacy.

                A surgeon, teacher or entrepreneur should earn more than an unqualified cleaner, but by cutting extreme wealth there is plenty of room to eradicate poverty in New Zealand. Or the US.

                No one except for some rare exceptional entrepreneurs, “earns” millions.

                Note that in both the USA and New Zealand when they were at their most prosperous the top progressive tax rate was much higher and inequalities in wealth much lower than they are now.
                Trickle down does not work.” http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/blog-post.html

                Note that, no-one seems all that concerned about those with inherited millions, living in idleness and contributing nothing.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And mostly, those rare entrepreneurs “earn” their millions not by selling goods or services, but by convincing the oligarchy to back them via a $100M IPO or buy out.

                  Uber’s latest valuation is an interesting example though. They seem to be innovating a real world service (as opposed to just online hype) which might truly become useful in the near future.

                  Its still part of the global speculative VC game however.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  No one except for some rare exceptional entrepreneurs, “earns” millions.

                  And not even then. No one is worth millions. IMO, no one is worth more than $100k/year and that’s being generous.

                  Note that, no-one seems all that concerned about those with inherited millions, living in idleness and contributing nothing.

                  QFT.

                  • TheContrarian

                    “And not even then. No one is worth millions. IMO, no one is worth more than $100k/year and that’s being generous.”

                    What about members of parliament? What do you think they should be paid?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Between $90k to $100k – and they should also all be paid the same amount, i.e, no extra for being a minister.

                      Have you missed the bit where I’ve said that public servants shouldn’t be paid any more than $100k?

                    • TheContrarian

                      Doesn’t that just make you another RWNJ trying to take power away from the many by telling them that they’re paying too much for their representatives?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hmmmm, Ministers of the Crown have significant extra duties and responsibilities, and should be paid somewhat more IMO.

                      Although $150K pa plus benefits seems to be rather a lot for some of the waste of space MPs which are sitting around the House at the moment – on every side.

                      And not even then. No one is worth millions. IMO, no one is worth more than $100k/year and that’s being generous.

                      I personally think that 10x the minimum wage of $29,000 is a good, motivating upper limit for incomes in NZ.

                      Apply an 89% tax rate on all income received in excess of that level.

                      I agree with you that no one is worth an income of millions. Financialisation has meant that the rationale nowadays is – anyone who can game the casino capitalist system for lots of money deserves to be paid lots of money themselves. Meh.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Last time I looked the many weren’t asked how much we should be paying them.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Hmmmm, Ministers of the Crown have significant extra duties and responsibilities, and should be paid somewhat more IMO.

                      That’s because our parliament is set up wrongly. Instead of having one person or two per ministerial job the governing party/s give multiple roles to one person and they then become the Cabinet – essentially the ruling clique within our parliament. Too much power and responsibility in too few people.

                      I personally think that 10x the minimum wage of $29,000 is a good, motivating upper limit for incomes in NZ.

                      I think that much is too much because people can’t actually spend that much. The excess then goes into the bank and the people with that excess start demanding, and getting, laws to suit themselves as well as buying up productive assets that allows them to have an income without working. Ownership of those productive assets also allows those people to restrict others unless they themselves get even more.

                      In other words, excess income leads to the oligarchy that our democracy has become as well as increasing poverty.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “Have you missed the bit where I’ve said that public servants shouldn’t be paid any more than $100k?”

                      Huh, no response. I guess you missed the bit where you stated that questioning/querying ministerial pay was in fact the attempt at taking away power from the many by telling them that they’re paying too much for their representatives.

                      We all get a little confused sometimes.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      In other words, excess income leads to the oligarchy that our democracy has become as well as increasing poverty.

                      Well, on this principle you are quite right – plus with that excess income they buy up additional income earning assets and very soon you end up with a rentier class

                      Nevertheless with an 89% income tax applied at over 10x the minimum wage, the motivation to do that is going to be much lower and the motivation to do things which contribute to life and family satisfaction in other ways will be much higher.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Huh, no response.

                      WTF?

                      I guess you missed the bit where you stated that questioning/querying ministerial pay was in fact the attempt at taking away power from the many by telling them that they’re paying too much for their representatives.

                      I didn’t say that, you did.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And the answer is still no as I happen to think that we should vote on it. In other words, we should be the ones to decide how much MPs are paid and not some unelected, unaccountable Higher Salaries Commission.

                      Also, I’ll admit that I worded that badly. RWNJs have a habit of complaining about how much union reps are paid implying that the union reps are taking the union members for a ride.

                    • TheContrarian

                      So when a RWNJ complains about MP pay (however inarticulate) it’s “trying to take power away from the many by telling them that they’re paying too much for their representatives?” but when you do it’s not?

              • That’s one of those physical things that we can’t actually do anything about. Has to do with that Baby Boomer Bulge.

                I’m thinking more about the increase you get from setting the retirement age at 65 and leaving it there while average life expectancy at 65 keeps going up – even with a perfectly stable age distribution that will cause a steady rise in the numbers receiving superannuation payments. Pegging the retirement age to life expectancy would prevent that increase.

                Nice of you to worry about the workers…

                The overwhelming majority of the workforce do not engage in body-destroying manual labour any more. It would make a whole lot more sense to deal separately with the minority whose work has made them decrepit at 60, than to put everyone on welfare at 65 regardless.

                • Colonial Viper

                  What work?

                  You have 150,000 people who are unemployed and probably another 150,000 who are under-employed.

                  Why do you want to keep people in an excess labour pool for additional years when the government refuses to ensure that each such person has full time work to go to?

                  even with a perfectly stable age distribution that will cause a steady rise in the numbers receiving superannuation payments. Pegging the retirement age to life expectancy would prevent that increase.

                  “Prevent that increase” in order to achieve what end?

                  • Why do you want to keep people in an excess labour pool for additional years when the government refuses to ensure that each such person has full time work to go to?

                    Er, what? That comment only makes sense if you want people retiring to take them out of the workforce and thereby reduce unemployment. Are you seriously suggesting good governance involves paying able-bodied, skilled and experienced workers in their 60s to quit work and go on welfare so as to free up jobs and thereby save the government the trouble of having to think about employment as something other than a zero-sum game? And you’re a Labour Party candidate in this election, didn’t I read somewhere?

                    • KJT

                      Didn’t you see the bit where we can produce everything, with less and less people working.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I’m thinking more about the increase you get from setting the retirement age at 65 and leaving it there while average life expectancy at 65 keeps going up

                  Yes it will but very little compared to the increase in birth rates that we had after the second World War.

                  • KJT

                    We supported a much greater number of non-workers, in proportion, when the population surged after the Second World War.

                    Not only the extra children, but the majority of women.

                    To say that we cannot support a lesser proportion, in the near future, given the huge increase in productivity, is an indictment on the way our economy is run.

                    Getting rid of universality is unjust to workers, women who have been caregivers and others who have contributed to the community, rather than trying to find ever more creative ways of ripping off their fellow citizens.

                    If it is means or income tested, watch the farmers who pay $1800 a year in tax, millionaires who have declared incomes of under 70k, or 400 million in a tax haven and speculators who avoid capital gains, will still get it, while those who have paid millions in tax into the system in their life, or those who have contributed huge amounts of time to the community, miss out.

                    If we privatise it, with Kiwisaver and other gifts to the finance industry, the future bailouts or the cost of poverty, when the finance industry have their inevitable crashes, will cost infinitely more than our present system..

                    Not to mention all the cheap or free work contributed by the elderly will cease if they are all required to be in paid work until they drop. How much does childcare from strangers cost, compared to a Grandparent.

    • blue leopard 4.3

      ‘IMO, Labour’s not dozing – they’re actively trying to lose (well, at least some of the caucus are).’

      I’m starting to get the same feeling :(

      • Murray Olsen 4.3.1

        It fits the facts and is the explanation Occam would go with. The other is that they are massively incompetent, but incompetence to that degree would see them needing chaperones to find their way to the shithouse each morning.

        My suspicion is that most of the influential MPs actually believe in what NAct has been doing, probably feel unrequited love for Tina, and are prepared to let Key have another three years. Then they’ll think it’s their term, and present everything done so far as a fait accompli, which they can’t change. They’ll tinker a bit and include “Dear comrade” and “Yours in solidarity” to state house eviction letters and benefit cutting notifications. They need to grow ovaries and join ACT, because that’s where most of them belong.

        • KJT 4.3.1.1

          I think, they may know that a recovery, after National has finished asset stripping, may be impossible.

          Whoever gets in this year will be presiding over the “train wreck” left by National, when the dairy boom, from US “money printing”, sorry, QE, buying Chinese goods which in turn buys our commodities, busts, and there is nothing else.

          • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1.1

            The unwillingness to consider, discuss or convey truly alternative paradigms of our economic and social future is what has stuffed Labour. Trying to be a more socially responsible neoliberal will of course leave no options left on the table when the game of ‘pretend and extend’ finally fails.

            Energy depletion and peak financialisation are waves which will be crashing on our shores with full force before long.

            I don’t think that anyone in Wellington is up for the challenge.

          • Murray Olsen 4.3.1.1.2

            “I think, they may know that a recovery, after National has finished asset stripping, may be impossible.”

            That’s why I would never buy back assets. Anyone who buys or sells them is attacking the country economically, effectively declaring war on us all, and deserves to lose everything.

    • Ant 4.4

      +1,000,0000 Draco

      I think attacking allies is a big problem, you don’t have to agree with them but the attacks just make the left look unstable. But discipline geez, there seems to be a lax culture among caucus that they just spout whatever they are thinking at the time.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Wishful thinking doesn’t cut it. I’d like to see us discuss what we think Labour should do differently to shift the polls in our favour so we do win the one that matters. I don’t think it is impossible, but my view is that the sooner things do change the better.

    Excellent suggestion.

    It’s really important that the electorate get a consistent feel for and confidence in the party between 6 and 12 months before the election. Having built that up (which takes significant time of course), in the last 3 months of the campaign you won’t be caught scrambling to build basic credibility and awareness of who you are with the electorate, and so can focus on rolling out a sharp, convincing agenda to the incumbents within a tightly woven but multi-stranded alternative narrative.

    A sharp alternative narrative also forces minor parties to fall into line with you as they have to adopt it to some degree, leaving them with very little narrative space to simply go off and do their own thing.

    Wait – what do you mean the election is in 16 weeks?

    • blue leopard 5.1

      Oh, I could have just ‘+1ed’ your comment. (snap, kind of!)

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        great minds lol

        • blue leopard 5.1.1.1

          …and isn’t it excellent that if some smart alec decides to come along under your comment here to state the old chestnut ‘fools seldom differ’ we both know where the perfect links are to disprove such a terribly misguided notion. :lol:

  6. blue leopard 6

    Good idea, Mike Smith

    I agree with rather a lot of the comments that have already been posted.

    I think your comment ‘the polls change because the parties change what they are saying and how they are saying it’ points to something that Labour are doing wrong: they keep coming out with policies and statements and then in response to questioning or attacks sort of wither – fudge what they are asserting. I suspect this will be a large part of their downward trend.

    When looking at the Poll of Polls, I note that the Greens and NZ First are registering an upward trend. I would, therefore, tend to look toward these two parties in order to gain an idea what it is in what they are doing that is causing a positive response from the public.

    To be honest, I haven’t noticed NZ First a whole lot (- perhaps it is what Winston is doing on the ground that is causing NZ First’s trend?) So I can’t really comment on them. However the Greens have been more visible and I think that they are coming out with clear policies and tending to stick to a consistent, even-minded message most of the time – when they are responding to attacks or current issues going on with the government. They appear to think about the ramifications of what they say and of the policies they put out and show a capacity to explain both these things clearly to the public in their media appearances. They appear to have good discipline in their messaging and conduct.

    Labour, on the other hand, seem to be quite the opposite. They leave the impression they have not thought things through – at the first sign of attack, they appear to cave and try and reverse from what they have said; they appear to be prevaricating a lot.

    Also, recently they have become aggressive toward their fellow left-wing parties and on the social media are starting to look less harmonious between themselves again. I don’t think this has reached the mainstream media yet (I haven’t seen it anyway), yet if they continue this, I have no doubt it will be aired for all to see….

    I am suggesting that because it is Labour that is on the downward trend, it is they that most need to lift their game and my suggest is that they require the type of discipline, confidence in their ideas and clear communication that the Greens are showing. It is getting to a point that it doesn’t so much matter about their policies – the requirement is for them to become more confident in what they are presenting that is the issue.

    Cunliffe seems pretty excellent in interviews, I think his voxpops on the News needs work though – he does come across as somewhat insincere often on these – like he is being told too much how to be and what to say and not being encouraged to be himself and come from the heart enough. I think people really pick up on this type of vibe – staged – and it is picked up as insincerity. This is a shame because I think Cunliffe is actually very sincere about the positive improvements he wishes and intends to make for New Zealanders.

  7. fisiani 7

    Actually the finger of blame for the inexorable decline in Labour’s polling can be squarely placed at Grant Robertson who is happy to lose in 2014 if it means he can be PM in 2017. Ask yourself –who benefits from loss.

    • Kiwiri 7.1

      ” Grant Robertson who is happy to lose in 2014″

      Wellington Central? Was he the one who took the party vote to turd position last time?

      • fisiani 7.1.1

        Yes.The only constituency in NZ where Labour came third.He will deliberately lose the Party Vote campaign again. National led by the very competent Paul Foster Bell will scoop first place in PV and the Greens led by the enthusiastic James Shaw who do does not want to be next cab on the rank a second time will secure second place again.

        • bad12 7.1.1.1

          Please tell us Fisiani, How has Grant Robertson’s master plan been put together, you claiming to know all MUST surely be able to show us all a definitive series of acts that Grant has used to ensure this Labour loss you claim will be engineered by Him,

          You are also wrong with your view that Wellington Central was the only contituency where Labour scored third, without adding in the Party Vote,

          Waiariki is your hint…

  8. infused 8

    labours problem is they offer nothing. their words are empty

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      No, that would be National who’s words are outright lies.

    • bad12 8.2

      infused, you are obviously confused, a name change might be appropriate, Labour offer screeds and screeds of information that if implemented as a Government would make them far from empty,

      You however, by the production of the above sentence without a shred of evidence nor a contextual narrative to accompany it do exactly what you accuse Labour of doing,

      Your words infused are simply as empty as your head…

  9. swordfish 9

    “The best we’ve got is the poll of polls, and that shows a steady divergence in favour of National and away from Labour since the beginning of the year.”

    Well, it’s certainly true that the Left was at an apex during the second half of last year and that, in broad terms, a swing from Labour to National has occurred during the first half of this year. Not sure whether you could quite describe this trend as a “steady divergence”, though. Much greater volatility than that. Here are the monthly poll averages according to my calculations:

    Late 2013

    NOVEMBER
    Nat 45%, Right Bloc 49%, Lab 33%, Left Bloc 45%, NZF 4%
    (1) Nat lead over Lab = 12
    (2) Right lead over Left = 4

    DECEMBER
    Nat 47% (+ 2), Right Bloc 49% ( = ), Lab 35% (+ 2 ), Left Bloc 47% (+ 2), NZF 3% (- 1)
    (1) Nat lead over Lab = 12
    (2) Right lead over Left = 2

    2014

    JANUARY
    Nat 45% (- 2), Right Bloc 49% ( = ), Lab 33% (- 2), Left Bloc 46% (- 1), NZF 5% (+ 2)
    (1) Nat lead over Lab = 12
    (2) Right lead over Left = 3

    FEBRUARY
    Nat 49%, Right Bloc 53%, Lab 32%, Let Bloc 42%, NZF 4%
    (1) Nat lead over Lab = 17
    (2) Right lead over Left = 11

    MARCH
    Nat 46% (- 3 points), Right Bloc 50% (- 3), Lab 31% (- 1), Left Bloc 44% (+ 2), NZF 5% (+ 1)
    (1) Nat lead over Lab = 15
    (2) Right lead over Left = 6

    APRIL
    Nat 46% ( = ), Right Bloc 49% (- 1), Lab 30% (- 1), Left Bloc 45% (+ 1), NZF 6% (+ 1)
    (1) Nat lead over Lab = 16
    (2) Right lead over Left = 4

    (APRIL compared to FEB: Nat – 3, Right – 4, Lab – 2, Left + 3, NZF + 2)

    MAY
    Nat 49% (+ 3), Right Bloc 53% (+ 4), Lab 30% ( = ), Left Bloc 42% (- 3), NZF 5% (- 1)
    (1) Nat lead over Lab = 19
    (2) Right lead over Left = 11

    So very steady throughout November, December and January (and given the consistent over-stating of both National and Right Bloc support in the run-up to previous Elections, I’d suggest National’s lead over Labour at this time was significantly less than 12 percentage points and, much more importantly, that the Right and Left Bloc were essentially even).

    You then see that significant swing to National and the Right in February (with the associated crowing from the Right and doom and gloom from the panic-pants section of the Left), but then a clear swing back to the Left in March and April (which, like it or not, the MSM utterly failed to pick up or convey to the voting public), and now, over May, another swing back to the Nats/Right Bloc, largely on the back of the Budget and, hence, we’ve returned to the February scenario again.

    I’d suggest, then, that things are bouncing around a little more than you’ve implied and that we do indeed need to focus first and foremost on the Left/Right – rather than Lab/Nat – percentage point divide. I’d also say that not much more than a month ago (March/April), Left support was within a point or two of the Right (again, taking into account the latter’s historic inflation).

    None of which is to even remotely suggest we should be dozing or indulging in wishful thinking or looking through rose-tinted spectacles. At the moment, we are behind and certainly do need to shift the polls. But we also need to keep things in perspective and not assume it’s “all over bar the shouting” (as Chris Trotter once predicted). The major worry has to be that, once again, the MSM will relentlessly push the “Labour is Dog Tucker” headlines week after week through to September.

    “…the two blocs are neck and neck and that’s all that matters…”

    Well, I wouldn’t quite say that but it’s important people realise that the Country is pretty evenly divided politically. As I argue here, the latest 2 Fairfax Media-Ipsos Polls reveal that respondents were virtually evenly split on whether or not we need a change of Government, despite the polls’ party support figures suggesting a vast divide between National and Labour and a significant divide between Right and Left Blocs (with the associated Fairfax hyperbole). The Left really do need to mobilise as many of these erstwhile Left-voters as poss. Many are Undecided but clearly Left-leaning, others are decided Lab/Green/IMP supporters but possible/probable non-voters.

    “or media motives…or the pollsters analysis has got it wrong…”

    Yeah, I don’t agree with those who think there’s some massive conspiracy between professional polling companies, the MSM and the National Party to make up poll figures as they go along. But, as I’ve suggested here, the MSM do get things badly wrong at times and always in a way that turns out favouring National. This, however, has nought to do with the Polling companies.

    In the end, I’m neither hedgehog nor fox but pure swordfish. And a tasty one at that.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Two full Tory terms, grinding unbalanced economic conditions, Christchurch rebuild fucked up, National Ministerial scandal one after another, highly unpopular asset sales, GCSB policies.

      But all the while the Left has trouble holding even with National, and Labour – the proud self declared “broad church” – has trouble keeping its head above 31%.

      Which tells me that the Left remains disconnected with the mood of the electorate, and that the Left is not communicating a vision and a competence that the electorate values and has confidence in.

      As others have noted, Cunliffe and Labour were doing their best when they were unashamedly pushing a deep red, true red Labour Party, not one which would simply use a better anaesthetic.

  10. felix 10

    Labour has three choices:

    1) concede the election

    2) lift their support from 31% to 51%

    3) figure out who their friends are and fucking well work with them instead of attacking them.

    • Tautoko Viper 10.1

      My list would include
      4. Total ban for labour caucus on tweeting of any political issues or politicians.

      • felix 10.1.1

        Well, yeah, and they should dress better too, but that’s not going to decide the election. They still have three choices.

        • Tracey 10.1.1.1

          option three is being ignored, as you know, and will feed the flight to national. Because for some reason people expect the left parties to agree on everything but not the right.

          Labour turning on the left makes people think they are just national in red, so why not stick with national.

    • blue leopard 10.2

      Sounds good Felix – putting it that way should make it easy enough for them to understand.

  11. Gruntie 11

    IMO labour leadership needs to give the 800,000 – 1,000,000 non-voters a reason to vote – who are those non – voters ? A major portion are poor, brown, & young – what do they want? – job, better pay, warm homes, food on the table – great schools and good healthcare – try promising the basics and REALLY deliver it. And stop this bullshit that we can’t form a coalition before the election – the other pricks have no fear doing that.

  12. Jrobin 12

    Interesting though to compare polls with I Predict. Is this because polls seem to lag behind the issues which are current? EG The Budget a strong point for National so affects the polls. But this rise in polls emerges later and is then presented by many media commentators as a reaction to the events which are concurrent with the poll. Labour announcements of policy are then interpreted as not producing a rise in the current poll. The timings of the NZ tv polls seemed to favour the ruling party as they missed most of the Judith Collins scandal and waited for The Budget. The poll that did register reaction to this, only one, was Roy Morgan poll which had left bloc ahead. So timings and reporting of polls are an important factor. Polls are used in this way to quiet down dissenting views as a positive poll for National is released strategically after a difficult period and can be seen to stultify any opposing views. Then if a poll does register support for Opposition parties it is not reported on front pages and headlines. I am not disagreeing with many comments made on tentative and undisciplined behaviour by some MPs, but polls do appear to be being used to Shape opinion rather than reflect opinion. If you analyse the timings, the reporting, the overarching narrative that most of the media seem to reiterate, the dominant message that comes through is “National are going to win, the Left are disorganised, don’t bother resisting, There is No Alternative”. This is working very well too as so many people who are not going to vote National still feel overwhelmed by the feeling they are out numbered. people like to back winners. Group dynamics have powerful effects on emotion. Emotion is what John Key uses to manipulate people. He has been good at it till now too but slippage is occurring. I think he has misread public opinion on Housing, Immigration, tourist drivers and Dot Com. He looks mean spirited. Lets see what happens next but lets do be sceptical of Polls, they are a powerful manipulator, in my humble opinion.

    • Anne 12.1

      The timings of the NZ tv polls seemed to favour the ruling party as they missed most of the Judith Collins scandal and waited for The Budget.

      Someone will tell me if I’m wrong, but this simultaneous release of political polls by TV1 and TV3 has only become apparent since the start of this year. I’m not saying it has never happened before, but I think we have had three in a row this election year. Collaboration by the respective parties involved? I suspect so.

    • blue leopard 12.2

      +1 I agree Jrobin,
      The interpretation of polls is particularly bad and you describe it well.

      I was pretty shocked by Roy Morgan’s comments on the latest poll:

      ‘In addition the Greens (9%, down 4.5%) have slumped to their lowest level of support since before the last New Zealand election after announcing last weekend a proposal to introduce a Carbon Tax in New Zealand in place of the current Emissions Trading Scheme.

      The poll they conducted couldn’t have reflected response to this Carbon Tax because of the dates that the opinion was collected. I usually have some respect form RM polls, but this is was just plain wrong – extremely inaccurate.

      I also find their commentary on Internet-Mana party a bit pre-emptive.

      http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/5620-new-zealand-roy-morgan-voting-intention-201406050202

      Just watched a program on TV3 @ 9am today ‘Re-think’ it had a discussion on the effects of polls and some of what you say was raised. Winston Peters was on it and was speaking about that ‘backing a winner’ effect, that he thought polls needed to stop closer to the election because they skew opinion and kept commenting how wrong NZ First polls are and that overseas the polling companies would get together and try and improve the accuracy if this kept happening – but not here.

      The guy who wrote this blog
      http://sayit.co.nz/blog/what-political-polls-tell-us
      was on it too – he is a head of UMR (of some sort – can’t be bothered looking it up sorry!).
      His article fairly well proves National are regularly polling higher than others. He also says the Greens are, but I get the impression that the Greens are being underestimated at present. I guess historically they have got less than the polls. It is worth a read.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        The poll they conducted couldn’t have reflected response to this Carbon Tax because of the dates that the opinion was collected. I usually have some respect form RM polls, but this is was just plain wrong – extremely inaccurate.

        That wasn’t just inaccurate but an outright lie and should see RM being fined.

  13. Bill 13

    Any and all decent minded people to get down to the electoral office of their nearest ABC MP and tell them to pull their fcking heads right in. Inform them clearly that Cunliffe gets member backing even in the event of Labour’s support crashing. That would do it.

  14. wyndham 14

    Seldom does the name Matt McCarten pop up of late. Wasn’t he supposed to be the master of policy making? The shining light that would unite Labour and guide the Party to electoral success?

  15. Ian 15

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. ‘Without a vision the people perish’
    Labour continues to come out with policy after policy announcement but who can make sense of it all? If you’re a single issue voter, great but for the rest of us its just a big incomprehensible mess! We need a clear statement about what Labour is about – an ideological framework if you like and then develop policy that we can hang on that frame AND when Labour announces its policy initiatives it needs to explicitly identify how this or that piece of policy relates to its big picture goal and purpose.

    • Foreign Waka 15.1

      Exactly my sentiment. Labor looks like a child lost in the crowd for quite some years now. Regardless of the change of leaders, it seems they cannot reconcile the principles of the party with the dynamic world around us. Unfortunately, most people live by slogans and it is easy to win them over with little statements like “labor wants to separate families” as it was in regard to immigration. That this was a deliberate emotive statement addressed to the pacific people is quite clear. But it is also clear that it is a publicity stunt and may have worked. Labor needs to get some vision going, the big picture is missing.

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        Labour is unwilling to present an alternative economic narrative, instead choosing to back disjointed and disparate initiatives all of which dont seem to fall too far from the neliberal tree.

        The nation is sleep walking into an age of energy depletion.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1

          +1

        • Foreign Waka 15.1.1.2

          And this is why the Greens are currently the only Party that makes some sense…

          • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.2.1

            Yes, but if Labour are a full 10% of the way towards the necessary policy settings and action that we need in this nation to pull the next 50 years off, the Greens are probably on about 15%. Both are still D’s.

    • Anne 15.2

      Labour continues to come out with policy after policy announcement but who can make sense of it all?

      This is nothing new. It’s been going on for decades – drawn out policy statements that are way too complicated for the average voter to even bother to assimilate. They consistently over-estimate the voters’ ability to understand the policies and to be able to mesh them in to the over-all objectives of the Party.

      Short, pithy points easy to understand Labour. Helen Clark understood it. Why can’t you?

  16. geoff 16

    The ‘Labour cant do anything right’ meme is definitely strong at the mo.

    Something that nobody has mentioned as a cause of their low support is that home-owning swing voters may see Labour’s policies as diminishing their net worth.

    Unfortunately the property market may need to get even worse or crash under National before a majority will see that we cant carry on the way this government is taking us.

    • BM 16.1

      Something that nobody has mentioned as a cause of their low support is that home-owning swing voters may see Labour’s policies as diminishing their net worth.

      Stating the obvious there, Geoff.

      I do wonder sometime if labour does all it’s policy planning in a vacuum.

      • geoff 16.1.1

        No, most of the time Labour is just trying to do the right thing.

        This property market means we have one half of the population playing off against the other half of the population. It’s only going to get worse under National because they ideologically refuse to step in.

        That doesn’t mean Labour should have policy to perpetuate the unsustainable.

        • BM 16.1.1.1

          How do you define what the right thing is.

          Artificially manipulate the market, yes prices will probably drop and some people who couldn’t buy a house can, so in their eyes labour has done the right thing.

          The majority of the home owners though would be rather angry to see their major asset get cut in value and would consider that labour has done the wrong thing.

          The problem with labour directly trying to manipulate the market is that Labour is responsible for any drop in value and will directly cop any back lash that comes from it .

          If you are going to try and manipulate the market you want to do in quietly in the back ground, that way people just blame the “market” and accept that their property has lost value.

          • geoff 16.1.1.1.1

            It’s easy to define what the right thing is: affordable housing, accessible to everyone.

            You could be correct about a backlash against policy that causes a drop in housing prices which could be one reason behind Labour’s poor polling.

            I also think that means it may well keep getting worse until something breaks because the system is encouraging short-term, selfish decisions and National is refusing to do anything about it.

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1.1.1

              geoff, not sure home owners have any cause for worry: i dont see anything in Labour’s policies which will reduce house prices materially.

              • blue leopard

                How do you draw this conclusion CV?

                I thought Labour had policies to curb speculation and to build more houses – I would have thought this was creating conditions for prices to drop. Is it that these polices won’t drop prices, they will just cause less of a astronomical increase?

                • Colonial Viper

                  The upward pressure on Auckland house prices due to massive population influx is too great to be held back by a minimal CGT which excludes the majority of Auckland houses anyway (peoples own homes). Also any “affordable housing” (minimum $450K) built in Auckland will be a drop in the bucket, on locations far far away from the city centre.

                  Its the appearance of doing something while knowing that Auckland house prices will never fall back to even a totally unaffordable 8x the median full time wage with these measures.

              • geoff

                CV:

                It isn’t just the expectation of price drop, it is the perception of a loss of year on year price increase and that ‘feeling rich’, ‘I own top performing capital’ expectation that Auckland house owners have gotten used to.

                If Labour builds 10000 homes a year for 10 years then that is definitely going to put a dent in those price rises. That’s one of the main purposes of the policy.
                Why would Auckland homeowners vote fior something that is going to reduce their return on capital?
                That’s my perception of how many of those homeowners will perceive it anyway.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Only a fraction of those homes will be where they are needed. Will this additional supply “dent” the rate of house price increases in Auckland? Quite possibly. Will it be enough to make any actual difference to affordability to a median full time worker? No.

                  If you are looking at why Labour is not getting traction in the polls i dont think nervous homeowners explains it.

                  • geoff

                    I think you’re looking at it from the view of a worker who is trying to get onto the housing ladder rather than someone who thinks they are playing capitalist.

                    Meanwhile your argument that Labour’s policy will do nothing for those trying to buy a home means that you think their housing policy isn’t going to sway voters at all, whether they own a house or are trying to own a house. Do I have that right?

                    Edit: I also think you underestimate the power of the words ‘negative equity’ to a heavily indebted home owner.

        • blue leopard 16.1.1.2

          This issue reminds me of the whole ‘we will get back into surplus’ line that was running at the last election.

          National was saying they would achieve that by this year (I think) while Labour was saying they would achieve it a year or two later. the outcome of the election made it appear to me that people simply thought the ‘quicker the better’ without assessing a. whether National was being over confident, or b. how the surplus would be achieved by these two parties. i.e. Labour was clearly going to achieve it while still holding onto our national assets, and under National we would end up with less revenue generating assets.

          It appears to me that my fears were well founded – whilst National have managed to return a surplus this year – (which I actually didn’t think they would even manage nominally, so I wasn’t entirely correct) I don’t really believe this ‘surplus’ is a genuine one – like, for instance, how they deferred repayments owed to something to do with Auckland. I think there are lots of things they have done like this that has lead to the ‘surplus’ of a highly ephemeral nature. They have also cut back on low cost high return investment like the adult education and tertiary education support, the wide negative effects of which will take time to show (if they are reported on at all).

          I would have preferred the type of surplus Labour would have achieved, which would have been of a real nature (not book-keeping tricks) that also wouldn’t have created hidden damage to our society at large. I think the country would be in a better state of health in real terms had Labour been in. But no, NZers voted in a manner that showed over-confidence and trickery was more appealing. :(

          I view the housing issue as similar, because I fear New Zealanders will base their stance on shallow propaganda techniques, rather than assessing that there is likely to be problems whoever gets in this year and looking deeper at what party is going to really try and remedy the situation and what one is simply going to cover the issue up with a song and a dance and lead the overall situation to degenerate.

          Like will people go past the issue of the value of their houses and consider what will the effects be on wages, the likelihood of job creation, real wages vs cost of living in relation to who they vote for? I’m hopeful they will, but won’t hold my breath on the matter.

          • geoff 16.1.1.2.1

            Anybody who owned a house in Auckland has seen their ‘paper’ net worth increase enormously in the last 15 years.

            I think there are a lot of those homeowners that don’t want those increases to stop, and they don’t want to know about how socially destructive it is or how the wheels will eventually fall off whether they like it or not. They don’t even want to consider that they’ll likely never see those gains realised unless they’re prepared to go and live somewhere else cheaper. All they are seeing is $ signs.

            • blue leopard 16.1.1.2.1.1

              I agree.

              I wonder how much people are borrowing against the value of their home though? I was going to say that re they don’t get the gains unless they sell – but having an expensive house allows one to borrow against it – I wonder how many people are doing that? Possibly a lot more than I presume?

            • Naki man 16.1.1.2.1.2

              I agree with most of your post, many Aucklanders probably feel wealthy and don’t want their net worth to drop but the rest of the countries houses ( excluding Christchurch ) are not far from 2008 values so we have little sympathy for wealthy Aucklanders and their children who don’t want to buy a house in an area that they can afford.

              • geoff

                The trouble with that is Christchurch and Auckland together constitute almost half the population of the country.

                And my point was that these people aren’t actually wealthy, they are living in a bubble.

                Also, 2008 house prices are still high, that’ll be why most of the people under 40 round where I live (small town, Sth Island) are renting. I’m confident many would buy if they could but wages are so low that saving for a deposit isn’t possible.

              • Draco T Bastard

                No point buying a house in an area that you can afford if it then makes it so that you can’t afford it because there’s no job. Larger cities tend to have more work in the first place and the regions have been in decline as what was once done in small private businesses is now done by massively centralised multi-national corporations.

            • Foreign Waka 16.1.1.2.1.3

              Epson electorate? Because South Auckland cannot be in that picture. There is a study out that food for a family of four would need $340.00 per week and most poor working class and beneficiary have just $ 38.00 left after paying rent. Now I don’t know what country NZ has become but by my reckoning it has been hoodwinked big time with a lot of propaganda because it is more akin to South Americas poorest then to anything resembling first world. And I don’t make any excuses for calling a spade a spade.

          • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.2.2

            Government surpluses are achieved by depriving households and small businesses of income, savings and services. Surpluses are NOT good things. For the NZ govt to be in surplus, the private sector MUST be in deficit.

            Would the Left please get that.

            • blue leopard 16.1.1.2.2.1

              I was reading something about that the other day – I don’t think I will have the time to find it again – it was saying that when the economy is in a certain state, what you say is true.

              It would be good if you could link to an easy explanation of what you are putting forward, so I can understand the point better :)

              I’ll go and have a quick look for what I was reading….

              • Colonial Viper

                This is a good little primer:

                http://era-blog.com/2013/09/18/a-government-surplus-is-a-private-sector-deficit/

                If you start thinking of the economy in 3 parts (i.e. 3 sectors) which ALWAYS have to balance out exactly:

                1) NZ Governmental sector
                2) NZ private sector (i.e. non-governmental) sector (this includes businesses, households, etc)
                3) Foreign sector (everything else and includes foreign owned corporates here in NZ).

                The background to this is that our foreign sector bleeds net cash overseas year after year after year (the current account deficit).

                If in this chronic condition of current account deficits, the Government ‘successfully’ “balances its books” (which ignorant politicians, journalists and public like) the result must be that dollar for dollar the NZ private sector has to suffer a deficit exactly equal to the foreign sector bleed out. Because that is where the money going to pay the foreign sector will be coming from. The form this deficit occurs takes will be in lower profits, incomes and savings for NZ companies and households (and probably higher debt).

                If the Government “records a surplus” (which ignorant politicians, journalists and public love even more) that means that the government took in more from the NZ economy than it spent into NZ the economy. The result is that the losses suffered by the NZ private sector increase even further, and will match the sum of the foreign sector deficit PLUS the government sector surplus. After all, the Government taking more money out of the economy than it spends into the economy, is the very definition of a “surplus.”

                If a Labour politician crows that Labour would run bigger surpluses than National, they are in fact saying that they would take more savings, profits and income out of the NZ private sector, and spend less into NZ economy (which as explained above is of course how you get a surplus).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The form this deficit occurs takes will be in lower profits, incomes and savings for NZ companies and households (and probably higher debt).

                  Unless there’s massive borrowing (both government and private) to counter the loss caused by foreign investment which is, of course, what’s been happening now for many years with this government massively increasing the borrowing.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yes during the Clark years the private sector borrowed massively, going into debt to allow Cullen to extract his much vaunted surpluses. National has done it by pushing the government sector deep into the red.

                    You understand the dynamics of this very well

                    • blue leopard

                      @ DTB & CV

                      (Thanks for the link CV)

                      External debt is a problem is it not? If I am reading the tables on the treasure site correctly we have 24 billion dollars in external debt ($100B total)- isn’t the point of a surplus to pay this debt off – and to keep total debt down – if the total debt becomes too high then the interest repayments start becoming a problem.

                      Had Labour not been paying debt off, for instance, then the amount the National government has borrowed would have come very close to exceeding 60% of GDP and that would have been a problem.

                      So despite what National have been saying, Labour left the books very well, having lowered the debt so that this country ended up being able to ‘cope’ with the unforeseen circumstances of the GFC and the ChCh earthquake without reaching that limit (it looks like debt got as high as 40% of GDP and is now down to about 34%).

                      Therefore it seems to me that Labour created surpluses in a boom time, which is the time to create surpluses, and allowed National not to exceed safe levels of debt.

                      So it appears that surpluses are not always bad – the time not to create surpluses is in a downturn, seems to be the thing I am reading.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well you make some decent points which demonstrates solid understanding.

                      As I’ve said before, that “boom time” Cullen used to pay back debt was at least in part fuelled by cash which was being pushed into the economy from the private sector going deep into debt. Cullen swapped government debt with private debt.

                      In other words, over that period of time, even though NZ Govt debt decreased, NZ private debt also increased, and total NZ debt was never really changed.

                      You can discuss with DTB tomorrow – but the root of this problem is that we have been forced to get our NZ Dollars – by borrowing them from overseas at interest – instead of the way we should have been getting them: directly issued by the government with no interest.

                      This absurd structure benefits only one group in the global economy – the financial and banking oligarchs.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well you make some decent points which demonstrates solid understanding.

                      As I’ve said before, that “boom time” Cullen used to pay back debt was at least in part fuelled by cash which was being pushed into the economy from the private sector going deep into debt. Cullen swapped government debt with private debt.

                      In other words, over that period of time, even though NZ Govt debt decreased, NZ private debt also increased, and total NZ debt was never really changed.

                      You can discuss with DTB tomorrow – but the root of this problem is that we have been forced to get our NZ Dollars – by borrowing them from overseas at interest – instead of the way we should have been getting them: directly issued by the government with no interest.

                      This absurd structure benefits only one group in the global economy – the financial and banking oligarchs.

                    • blue leopard

                      @ CV
                      Yes, re the government printing money, I was interested in a comment you made perhaps a week ago which I never got round to replying to – I thought this would require a whole big change to the system, yet it sounded like it was pretty easy to set up.

                      Judging from the reactions to the Greens suggestion last year of doing just that, though, I really don’t think NZers are quite ready for that yet – needs more awareness raising first – in the meantime, I really do think that Labour have offered some approaches to shift the system so that it focuses more on people issues rather than being focused solely on profit for a few.

                      Why does private debt go up if the government pays down debt? Is that because they are providing less supplements to businesses? Or because the rightwing govt achieves the surplus by keeping wages down (so people borrow more to make ends meet)?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Why does private debt go up if the government pays down debt?

                      The economy is, supposedly, a balanced system. All the debt and assets are supposed to add up to zero. What this means in practical terms is that when you have more in one place (government surplus), you must have less somewhere else (private debt).

                      Is that because they are providing less supplements to businesses?

                      Not exactly. If the government is running surpluses it is taking money out of the economy. This decreases the money available for private surpluses and so the private sector looks for ways to increase profits and the only way they have available to do that is to increase borrowings from the private banks and other financial institutions which increases the money supply via borrowings from offshore and the banks creating money. In fact, this is likely to be driven by the banks as they’d be the first to notice that their profits are decreasing (which, BTW, is why National were squealing for tax cuts) and so they’ll make less risky loans (mortgages) far easier to get (guess what fed the 2000s boom).

                      But it’s also more complicated than that. People who don’t have enough to live on (quite a lot in this low waged economy) tend to go out and borrow the difference. Then there’s the fact that our system of growth requires ever more money and that money is created via loans. Even if the 5th Labour government hadn’t been running a surplus, private debt would have gone up just maybe not so fast. As it is, the system forever needs more debt.

                    • blue leopard

                      Thanks DTB

                      I will have to think on this, however it is sounding to me like there are assumptions being made with regard to ‘standard business practice’ that makes this business of paying off debt a problem in boom-times (I accept the arguments for it being something to avoid in recessions/downturns).

                      Isn’t the expectation that profits need to be constantly growing here the problem? Not whether the government takes money out of the system when there is a lot of it about?

                      Low waged people struggle whether it is a boom or not, so the argument for them hardly holds water -apart from the fact that prices rise. Who rises the prices? This government has directly risen prices (GST & petrol tax) yet I suspect it was more private sector who raised the prices when Labour was in (food and housing).

                      One thing I have been suspecting for a long time is that once there is a boom – noone who has experienced the most benefit of the boom – ever lowers their expections after that boom has finished with regard to their salary/profits. i.e. once someone has experienced the extraordinary profits that a boom brings they continue to expect these profits after it has finished. Consider they are making a loss if this is not so. i.e. the people/economy never adjusts back to ordinary condition – apart from those on the lowest wages who appear to ‘take up the slack'; expected to ‘tighten their belts’ to make up for the unrealistic profits those further up the food chain are continuing to expect.

                      I would be interested to hear if this initial suspicion I have (as written above) is playing a part in this issue. This is simply my first reaction to what you are writing about and like I said, I have to think about what you relayed. Thank you for the explanation.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      One thing I have been suspecting for a long time is that once there is a boom – noone who has experienced the most benefit of the boom – ever lowers their expections after that boom has finished with regard to their salary/profits.

                      You should check out Hyman Minsky’s financial instability hypothesis. You’d like it.

                      The hypothesis of financial instability was developed by economist Hyman Minksy. He argued that financial crisis are endemic in capitalism because periods of economic prosperity encouraged borrowers and lender to be be progressively reckless. This excess optimism creates financial bubbles and the later busts. Therefore, capitalism is prone to move from periods of financial stability to instability. This is a type of market failure and needs government regulation.

                      Financial Instability could be summed up as:

                      Success breeds excess which leads to crisis

                      Or

                      Economic stability itself breads instability.

                      http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/6864/economics/financial-instability-hypothesis/

                      Judging from the reactions to the Greens suggestion last year of doing just that, though, I really don’t think NZers are quite ready for that yet

                      NZers are ready. That adverse reaction was from the mainstream corporate media, mainstream (big bank) economists, and John Key-banking employee who squeeled the most.

                      And when you think about it, a lot of NZers were ready for social credit monetary philosophy 30 years ago, which is way edgier than a government issuing its own money!!!

            • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1.2.2.2

              You do realise that the government surplus is the equivalent of private profit don’t you? Both result in money being taken out of the system and thus requiring more money to be created to keep the system going. With the private banks creating the money through loans and then charging interest on it the way that they do the amount being taken out is increasing exponentially requiring ever more loans. It’s a nasty spiral that must result in collapse.

              • Colonial Viper

                You do realise that the government surplus is the equivalent of private profit don’t you?

                Almost equivalent but not quite, I would say. A government repaying debt destroys that money out of circulation, yes.

                With regards to private profit where money is taken out of circulation by hoarding, it is not actually destroyed there is always the (vain) hope that the money might eventually be spent back into the community.

        • Foreign Waka 16.1.1.3

          Geoff, think that there needs to be a balance between the needs of the generation being just a decade or bit more or less off from retirement and the young that are ready to have family. Both groups are the ones that will need a lot of assistance. The first has no time left to get more savings under the belt and the latter will not earn enough to ever have enough savings when the hit that same age. Something is really really wrong when the majority of people end up with the short straw. No party has yet stated the obvious, namely that the next 20 years will exacerbate the problem due to automation and no amount of eduction will alleviate what this will cause. Not even supermarket or low pay jobs generally will be available as these are being replaced by self serving counters. A complete rethink is needed and quickly as this will upset the social structures even more as they are now.

          • geoff 16.1.1.3.1

            While I agree with you, I don’t think those topics are anywhere near being talked about by the major parties. Look at how climate change is handled. Very carefully even by Labour because they have to cater to mining unions. Status quo politics is what stops proactive action.

            What you raise are just more things that I think we will have to drive the bus over the cliff before anything is done about it. But in my view it is still worth trying to get even a semi-retarded Labour led government in because, hopefully, that will at least lower the height of the cliff ;)

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.3.1.1

              Very carefully even by Labour because they have to cater to mining unions. Status quo politics is what stops proactive action.

              Again NO

              You get the mining unions right on side – what you say is we are going to mine and drill hard out – your members will have plenty of work – but only for the next 10 years.

              Every dollar and MJ mined is going into making NZ a completely self sufficient nation run on renewable energy. We invest the carbon right now – and then we pay it back over the next 100 years by going carbon free.

              • McFlock

                and they’ll hear “redundant within ten years, best case from labour”

                • Colonial Viper

                  Possibly. They’re going to be redundant one way or another (eg Stockton Mine); in option A they still have a good career transition and a good life for their kids+with their kids, the other way the country is fucked, they’ve screwed their kids futures in NZ and all the mines have to close anyhows due to climate and energy disruptions.

                  • McFlock

                    that’s a different topic to how (or whether) you can “get the mining unions right on side”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yep. I’m sure they will see the sense of coming onboard a great deal however. 10 year guaranteed contract at top pay? It’s gold in this day and age. Plus the kudos of rebuilding this nation for a new and more difficult age. Why wouldn’t you.

                      Anyways, their leadership will have to be broken if they irrationally don’t come on board. The future of this country and her people is not going to wait around for any single multinational corporate or union to put at risk for their own selfish interests.

                    • McFlock

                      :roll:

                      jeez, you move quick from claiming that persuading someone is a doddle into claiming that their resistance is futile.

                      It’s almost like you can read the matrix as the raw code flows by… /sarc

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Carrot and stick mate, it’s not a novel approach.

                    • McFlock

                      as advised by someone in possession of neither, but who apparently knows it all…

          • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.3.2

            No party has yet stated the obvious, namely that the next 20 years will exacerbate the problem due to automation and no amount of eduction will alleviate what this will cause.

            NO NO NO

            Automation is NOT the problem over the next 2-3 decades

            Energy depletion and a financial system which forces us to fragilise our country are the critical problems

            If we had any smarts we would be paying Kiwis a living wage so that they can express themselves, become creative, to write, draw and paint, to compose music and dance, read poetry and produce theatre, to counsel and support each other.

            We’re creating a fucked up society where the whole aim is to work yourself to the bone to make someone else money so that maybe you don’t have to eat cat food when your retirement funds run out at 75 years old.

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.3.2.1

              BTW automation and cheap foreign labour shattered western manufacturing in the 70s 80s and 90s. All the damage is done now.

              Only a small fraction of NZ workers still work in manufacturing jobs which can be touched by automation – although slave rate labour overseas and the high exchange rate remain constant threats.

            • Foreign Waka 16.1.1.3.2.2

              Oh yes, yes, yes….

              Web page…..smallbusiness.chron.com/disadvantages-manufacturing-technology-18665.html
              web page…….hardware-beta.slashdot.org/story/13/09/14/1225248/45-of-us-jobs-vulnerable-to-automation
              web page….moneymorning.com/2013/02/04/robots-taking-jobs-from-every-sector-of-the-economy/

              I do hope that the process is at least slowed but the process wont be stopped. It will need a rethink regarding the living standards of everybody really and how a new social agreement is suppose to look.
              Given the predictability of this “progress” and the situation right now where a quarter mil children live in poverty – I like to see the figures of the people over 65 – and anecdotal evidence of neglect of old people, things will get far worse. Another report today of an old lady being neglected at a level that really takes one breath away. She weighted 34.5kg at her death.

              • Colonial Viper

                Nah you’ve got it wrong and so do those wishful articles

                Our globalised civilisation is in decline, automation is not the problem as automation is merely a tool – a tool for whom – the corporate oligarchy and their profit seeking of course.

                The problems are two fold
                1) Oligarchic rule.
                2) Energy depletion.

                2) will eventually sort out 1) but its going to be a very unpleasant time.

  17. DH 17

    I’ve often wondered if political parties don’t turn polls into self-fulfilling prophesies.

    My thinking is this…..

    In a non election year polls are irrelevant. They’re just a measure of what people think of the encumbent Govt. The opposition can hardly influence polls much because they’re not in power.

    Polls leading up to an election are a useful bellwether of how a party’s election strategy is working. But that’s a double edged sword because they also tell the other parties how they’re doing too. There’s a risk of fighting mini-elections every time a poll comes out.

    A trend I’ve noticed is that Labour have a rise in the polls when they announce a decent policy intention. National see the poll change and they counter with their own version of the same policy, the polls seesaw back again. It’s jab, counter jab… all over polls that matter not at all.

    National look to be shameless political whores; they’ll happily steal Labour policy if they think it will keep them in power. So don’t tell them what the policies are.

    Without feedback from their opposition the encumbent party can only go into an election to be judged on its performance. They’ve announced their main policies in the last budget. The opposition go into the election on their future intentions, they don’t really have a performance to be judged on they’re not the Govt.

    My offering would be; Don’t give all the secrets away too soon. I think the vote winning policies are best revealed when it’s too late for the opposition to counter them. Put them out closer to the election one after the other… bang, bang, bang…. keep the opposition off balance and constantly playing catchup. Make them dance to your tune, get them rattled and the cracks will start appearing.

    Release too much policy too soon, just to boost the polls, and you risk running out of gas before the only poll that counts. To be honest I think that horse may already have bolted but….. maybe not.

    That’s my 10c.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Jesus H Christ DH your rationale is ok and indeed it reflects the ‘keeping powder dry’ school of thought in the Thorndon bubble, but have you thought about Labour offering the electorate actual Left Wing non-neolib policy that National cannot steal?

      Policies which materially and structurally advantage the working class and the underclass, for starters

      Also as i mentioned in a comment above, it takes time and effort to construct a clear and alternative narrative in the public arena and that is groundwork which has to be ongoing otherwise those big policy announcements will simply fall on hard untilled ground.

      • geoff 17.1.1

        remember months ago I was saying something about Cunliffe having to perform and if he doesn’t then he gets the arse. You were adamant at the time that he shouldn’t have that kind of pressure put on him. I’m curious to know what your thoughts are now.

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.1

          Well, it ain’t exactly summer in Majorca, is it.

          • geoff 17.1.1.1.1

            Hah. Maybe the left can limit Key to 5 terms. We should have our shit together by then eh

            • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.1.1.1

              I always had you pegged for an optimist.

              • geoff

                I am right up to the point I become an utter pessimist ;)

                • Colonial Viper

                  Heh. Life is always better with a single malt though.

                  Facing the future requires realists, not optimists nor pessimists, and neither the 0.1% nor the Thorndon bubble crowd tend to fit these requirements requirements.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    A lecture I attended years ago advanced the theory that reality has a pessimistic bias, but it’s important to remember that many on the right are pessimistic about their chances of forming a government in September :)

            • chris73 17.1.1.1.1.2

              Don’t be so pessimistic, John Key probably only wants three terms (four at a pinch)

    • geoff 17.2

      Then the media tears you a new one for not having any policy.

    • Sacha 17.3

      “Release too much policy too soon … and you risk running out of gas before the only poll that counts”

      That only applies if you have stuff-all in the tank to begin with.

      A successful party should be able to keep shaping and launching policy responses during the extended campaigns we have had for many years now. Waiting until the last few weeks worked so well last time, didn’t it?

  18. ianmac 18

    Oops @17 Agreed DH. “I’ve often wondered if political parties don’t turn polls into self-fulfilling prophesies.”
    And in this case bad polling seems to send supporters and parties into panic mode.

    And DH agreed again, “Release too much policy too soon, just to boost the polls, and you risk running out of gas before the only poll that counts.” (not sure what is meant by “To be honest I think that horse may already have bolted but….. maybe not.” ???)

    Some of us are Ok to wait for serious policies to be announced in a month or so leading up to the election. And most people outside the enthusiasts, are currently more concerned about work and bills and the kids and fixing the house up.
    But come August/September serious interest will arise especially for policy that directly affect the “most People.” I am pretty sure who I am voting for and expect one or maybe two topics to clinch me.

    • DH 18.1

      (not sure what is meant by “To be honest I think that horse may already have bolted but….. maybe not.” ???)

      I just thought they may have given away too much already Ianmac. The Nats are pretty ruthless and I don’t think it would be wrong to say that they’ve managed to blunt the voter appeal of some of Labour’s already released policies. But I could just be playing the glass is half empty role there….

      “Some of us are Ok to wait for serious policies to be announced in a month or so leading up to the election. And most people outside the enthusiasts, are currently more concerned about work and bills and the kids and fixing the house up.
      But come August/September serious interest will arise especially for policy that directly affect the “most People.” I am pretty sure who I am voting for and expect one or maybe two topics to clinch me.”

      Yeah, me too. I think the time to get the knives out is after the election…. and they may not need to come out at all we don’t know what’s coming yet.

  19. Tautoko Viper 19

    My view is that we HAVE to get the current government out, so rather than just bitch on the sidelines, (I still bitch ) I am putting my effort into trying to get Labour across the line. While Labour is not all that I would like it to be, it is imperative that people get in behind without amplifying the right wing spin. With more self-discipline from the Labour caucus so that the emphasis can be on the policies , we can roll the NActsie government. Get involved, help your local LEC, and let’s make things happen. Don’t wait until things get so bad that it becomes pitchforks in the streets and razor wire around fences because that’s the direction in which this type of government is taking the country. And if Labour is not where your politics lie, then help some other left wing party, get people on the electoral roll, talk to others, etc….Anything is better than nothing.

  20. Tracey 20

    Nick smith today pretends to blame the wealthy for stopping affordable himes being built while justifying the stripping back of the rma. Clever, tricky bastards these nats.

  21. red blooded 21

    Labour needs a solid connecting theme that people get and respond to. There is plenty of policy, most if it good, and those of us who care about policy take note of it and store it in our political mind-maps, but Labour needs to do more to develop that mental map for the media and general public, making the connections and overall direction clearer. The Greens tend to be good at this (although I think some of their stuff has been a bit wooly recently, as they can smell the possibility of power and have to think about the practicalities of actually implementing their policies).

    I think Labour needs to come up with 3 key words and then make sure their policies and statements can be referenced back to those keystones. These words should be established with the public and while it’s not necessary to endlessly repeat them, any public (or in-house) discussion should be able to be brought back to basics. This would help to give more coherence and provide a stronger sense of teamwork. (Remember “Kids. Rivers. Jobs.”, or even “yes we can”?)

    Of course it’s easier for a smaller team to seem more coherent (Greens) and the Nats just rely on a few big hitters (Key, Joyce etc). These people are used in different ways cos they’re good at different things. I think Cunliffe interviews well, and so does Parker, but they overlap quite a lot. I’d like to hear from more women in the Labour team, and from younger members. I think there are some great Māori members and candidates, but again a higher profile would be good. If they are all singing from the same songbook then it’s fine to have more than one face representing Labour.

    I also think that the personal attacks aren’t working. Collins, Banks etc are a disgrace, but they haven’t really hurt Nat cos people like Key (shudder). Let Winston run that side of things and focus on making connections.

    BTW, I would be negatively affected by both the capital gains tax and the retirement age, but I agree that they are both reasonable policies. The retirement age probably needs more finessing, though. Some access to a version of medical retirement (as opposed to ‘job seeker’ status) for those who need retirement for physical reasons after a certain age, perhaps..?

  22. Graham 22

    In reply to Draco about the rural areas in decline
    This is amusing to me because it’s not true in the South Island all rural areas are growing and have little unemployment (because of cows)
    This is an often repeated statement by the leadership of the Labour Party but census infomation shows this is incorrect
    Auckland is a kool city and one I do like visiting but unless you have a high paying job I would move
    I have relatives and friends that sold up and moved south and would never go back
    (Tradesmen)
    One told me his house 1/2 the price of hi west Auckland house and he has a 10 min commute

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      This is amusing to me because it’s not true in the South Island all rural areas are growing and have little unemployment (because of cows)

      The amount of cows we have in the country is already unsustainable thus saying that we have more work because of cows isn’t valid. In fact, I’d say that farming in NZ it self is unsustainable and will, in the not too distant future, be seriously curtailed.

  23. Graham 23

    And in the south we have 25000 foreign workers on our farms
    There must be young people in Auckland who are unemployed who could move south
    Not all will have family’s(kids)
    We hear about the youth unemployment yet we import people from the other side of the world
    We shouldn’t make excuses for these people

    • McFlock 23.1

      “these people”
      there it is

    • blue leopard 23.2

      @ Graham,

      If it is anything like orchards – they import foreign labour because they can pay them less.

      i.e employing ‘these people’ is undesirable because it cuts into the profits.

      FYI youth unemployment is a world wide problem in the west – this phenomenon cannot be laid the feet of all these ‘youths’ – they didn’t cause this predicament, their elders did – it is government failure that is creating the problem combined with the failings of ‘standard business practice’.

      I hope Labour get into government because it sounds to me like Mr Cunliffe acknowledges the real cause of the problem with high unemployment and intends to do something about it.

      I guess ‘you people’ will squeal like stuck pigs if Cunliffe gets voted in because you will no longer have any one to put the boot into who is down and less fortunate than yourselves. What will you people do then to make yourselves feel superior? I suggest you learn to find something constructive to do with your thoughts and your time. Work out a way to give back to your community and world, rather than dragging it down to the lowest common denominator.

      Thankfully the majority of people will be happy to see things improve for ‘these people’ because they deserve a livelihood and haven’t got one because ensuring there are jobs for all has been dropped from the main agenda for a generation.

  24. Graham 24

    Excuses
    If you were an employer or knew anything about immigration law you will understand we can’t pay foreign workers less
    The phillipino community well understand their rights

    You are aloud to vote labour and be annoyed with lazy people
    As I have said before a starting wage on a farm is 40k
    Yes it’s 52 hours a week
    But it’s better than the dole

    • McFlock 24.1

      how much do farmers charge for accommodation and board?

    • blue leopard 24.2

      The Phillipino community (amongst others from overseas) on the orchards are being treated extremely badly in some parts of this country – I spoke to someone who worked to help them and that person looked terribly sad and ashamed at the actions of NZ employers over what they were witnessing. I fail to believe this isn’t the case on the farms you mention too. I am unclear how it works, whether it is simply that foreign workers may agree to be being paid less, or whether, like those cases in Christchurch, they agree to higher amounts and then are simply not paid it.

      My understanding also is that people from overseas get their tax back if they leave the country in a certain time – this was a few years back, so may not be the case now.

      Too damn right I supply excuses – it is simply inaccurate to lay the blame on vast numbers of unemployed youth for the situation. It is not caused by them and therefore cannot be fixed by them.
      Blaming them serves no purpose at all, other than to shore up your own poor attitudes toward others in your community.

    • Draco T Bastard 24.3

      Yes it’s 52 hours a week
      But it’s better than the dole

      Not really. You lose 52 hours per week plus travel time and, once you take out all the added expenses, financially you’re no better off. That’s the problem with minimum wage that you ignorant fuckers just don’t seem to understand – it costs to go to work.

      • john 24.3.1

        That bludging attitude to work is exactly why we need to make the unemployment benefit temporary (like many other countries).

        • Draco T Bastard 24.3.1.1

          Yes, it’s amazing how many actually expect to get paid decently for the work that they do. Damn bludgers.

          /sarc

        • One Anonymous Bloke 24.3.1.2

          This low-life attitude to fellow citizens is why hate speech is a criminal offence in many other countries.

          Tory scum are little better than criminals. Why pretend otherwise?

  25. Graham 25

    Again you don’t understand the anything about employment law
    Ird set a figure for rent
    I try to make this simple for you
    Say a staff member is getting 800 gross a week combined with his rent value of 100
    His gross income is now 900 a week that’s how it works
    He is taxed at 900 for the less dense of you
    If we gave them free rent then FBT will kick in

  26. Graham 26

    There are 2 type of work visas
    A 12 month short term
    And a standard 2 year visa
    Farmers hire guys with 2 year visas and they pay tax and are just like a normal nz worker
    The 12 month visa is issue to certain country’s that we have recopical rights with
    Like the uk
    They are only aloud to work for a employer for 3 months before they have to work for someone else
    Ok for fruit picking but no use to dairy farmers
    Again before you abuse me get your facts straight

    • Foreign Waka 26.1

      Hi Graham, are farmers approaching WINZ regarding NZ labor? One also has to understand that for a number of people a move would mean that they leave their family behind and/or move out of accommodation for a short term stint. As a business person, looking at cost and benefit this often does not add up. Farm work is quite physical and thus only accessible to a certain age group (if this issue is approach with some degree of honesty). I guess, if a person is in an extreme situation they would move across the county and take up a job that they most likely cannot hack physically in the long term. I personally have moved a lot in my time but not everybody wants to do this.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 26.2

      @ Graham,

      The person I found that out about overseas persons getting their tax back, also paid tax, they were going to get it back on leaving the country.

      I wouldn’t take your word for it with regards to what is going on with farming because you are happy to blame youth for youth unemployment – the problems in our western world are getting too well reported and blatant to excuse that level of bigotry. This indicates you are not very good at picking up pretty obvious details on a matter – you appear happier to pick the laziest line – therefore, for all I know you are doing that with the farming issue too.

      As for knowing facts re the ins and out of the farm slave trade – yes, I am unaware of the details, it was news to me that farmers do this – I knew about the orchards. Does the government assist them to get their slaves, like they do with the orchards? It is a pity that the government and farmers don’t work together to ensure that NZ unemployed people were channelled into those farm jobs – but like I say, that would cut into profits too much. Much cheaper to ship them in from overseas.

      I am unclear what you are whinging about really. Private person makes profit and unemployment remains unaddressed . With unemployment remaining unaddressed more private persons can make more profits -because high unemployment means wages can be kept low. That is what paying insufficient attention to unemployment is all about, don’t you know that already?

  27. Graham 27

    I don’t get why you call staff slaves
    The lowest paid worker on my farm is on 40 k
    The highest 100 k
    Only one if my staff member comes from overseas
    When ever I have had vacencies I have informed winz
    But in canterbury unemployed youth not always effective
    I haven’t directly imported staff as to much hassle there are plenty of migrants with valid visas in nz
    They don’t get their tax back when they leave that used to happen for kiwis who used to work for a short time in austraila (tractor work in wa)

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      Fancy stories Graham. Mind you $40K pa for 70 hours a week is basically sub minimum wage, you better watch yourself that’s against the law.

      Hey I guess you don’t work your farm yourself do you? What are you doing, sleeping in tomorrow while your staff do all the actual hard work?

      Most of the sharemilkers I know are up and about in the paddocks by 4:30.

      Hurry up and get to bed lazybones.

    • McFlock 27.2

      seriously, how much do they kick back to you for accommodation and board?

  28. Graham 28

    The point is that there is work if people moved to where the jobs are and got out of their comfort zone
    If people can come to nz from another country to work in bloody southland. Of all places they can move from auckland
    Yes the work will be hard but they will be better off economicly
    How hard is that to get!!!!!!

    • Colonial Viper 28.1

      I guess for a moron like yourself who DELIBERATELY ignores the costs of moving an entire family, the risks of being fired in the first 90 days and being left with nothing, the huge expense of housing in Christchurch, and moving to a live earthquake zone, I guess it’s pretty simple.

      Lprent already explained manhy of these dynamics to you, so now you’re just being a little shitty troll.

    • Draco T Bastard 28.2

      The National government has just changed the law so that farmers don’t get charged for paying less than the minimum wage. Something tells me that working for them isn’t going to make anyone better off.

  29. Colonial Viper 29

    Graham can talk it up as owning millions of dollars worth of dairy farm, what a fucking joke, the 1% having a laugh, making cash using our free water and dumping their waste into sewers we used to call our streams.

  30. Graham 30

    Look stop making excuses
    Do u want to know the travel time of my staff to work
    2mins to shed
    NO one on my farm or any farm that I know works 70 hours a week
    For a start it is illegal to pay below the minimum wage
    Also think about it from a selfish point of view
    Do I want tied zombies driving my 150 k tractor
    Or working in my 2 million dollar shed
    Or moving 3 million dollars worth of cows daily

    You clearly don’t understand farming
    Repeating lies amongst people who have never been farming

    • Colonial Viper 30.1

      Sorry mate, your attitude speaks volumes that you claim to not even know the vast employment problems throughout your own industry and the suffering it has caused workers and sharemilkers.

      Really, there needs to be a dairy shed workers union formed.

    • Draco T Bastard 30.2

      Farm Worker

      Hours & Remuneration

      Avg Hrs / Wk: 75
      Rostered Time Off: Not Specified
      Hourly Rate: Negotiable

      We really need to bring back penal rates.

  31. Graham 31

    Bullshit to cv claiming the law. Has been changed around minimum wages
    Go on show us the links

  32. Graham 32

    Again you use the excuses of someone with a family
    How many young unemployed youth are there in Auckland
    Not all have 10 kids
    Some can move
    But you keep making excuses
    We hear about the high youth unemployment rate if they wanted work they would move

    • One Anonymous Bloke 32.1

      Reasons ≠ excuses.

      Unemployment is higher in the provinces.

      Rather than focus on anecdata, why not address the fact, as reported by Fairfax Media last month, that “Dairy farmers throughout New Zealand have been put on notice to ensure they are complying with minimum employment rights”?

      This, you will recall, after MBIE sent some inspectors around.

      The normal Tory approach to this issue is to defund the inspectors. What’s your excuse?

  33. Graham 33

    Also cv u make claims about useing your water and dumping effluent into streams
    Yet again more bullshit
    Under the RMA the crown owns water and no one pays a charge for it
    But then no one pays for oxygen either
    The government both labour and national accept that along as regulations which local communitys establish to protect jobs and the environment
    Things like minimum flows etc
    In the last 10 years with new technology ( centre pivots and storage lakes)
    We have irrigated 4 times the land with the same water
    Also also stored floods
    Any farmer putting shit in a stream is prosecuted
    And if you have evidence of that call your local council immediately
    If you have no evidence that stop bullshiting
    I live in a orange zone and my N loss is only 30
    Which is well within the rules

    • One Anonymous Bloke 33.1

      More anecdata.

      The fact is that we have a serious problem with the health of our rivers, agricultural incompetence is the problem, and all you’ve got are excuses.

      I know there are Green farmers. Stop taking this so personally, and learn to use the reply button.

    • Colonial Viper 33.2

      Hey mate you’re living in a dream land. Fortunately a lot of dairy farmers already know that current levels of intensification are unsustainable.

      Beyond that, shortages of phosphate rock and diesel are going to end current forms of dairying anyway, within the next 30 years.

    • Tracey 33.3

      you dont pay for your water? shit, where I live we pay twice… once when it pipes in and again on the way out

      • One Anonymous Bloke 33.3.1

        The Tory scum who polluted it have to recoup their costs from somewhere.

  34. Graham 34

    I live in the provinces we have had the lowest unemployment in the South Island for 20 years
    Constantly under 2%

    • One Anonymous Bloke 34.1

      More anecdata. Address the national statistics. And learn to use the reply button.

  35. Graham 35

    Again no one works more than 52 hours a week on my farm and I don’t know of any farming that makes his staff work 70 hours a week

    • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1

      Says someone who’s incapable of using the reply button. Even if I choose to believe you your anecdata means nothing: MBIE’s initial review found that 31 out of 44 farms were breaking the law.

      The whining and bleating and justifying and abject failure to own the problem were almost deafening.

      What’s your excuse for supporting these law-breakers? Animal husbandry?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1.1

        PS: no wonder no-one wants to work on a farm with a 70% chance that the employer will be a criminal.

        • Colonial Viper 35.1.1.1

          And in this case, a deliberately ignorant liar.

          Actually, strike that, a stupid, ignorant propagandist.

          Let’s balance his propaganda out with a commentary on “Nasty Dairying” from stuff.co.nz

          A recent article reported John Fegan (who is involved with dairy industry recruitment) saying that a “small number of dairy farm employers had not learnt common courtesy or how to treat people properly”. He estimated the number of “ratbags” at 2 per cent of dairy farm employers.

          In 10 years’ dairy farming I have had six employers. I can remember specific incidences where every one of them verbally abused me – 100 per cent. I have walked away from these abuses every time without returning the favour. I recognise dealing with people can be frustrating, communication gaps can occur and in dairy farming it’s common to get tired and stressed out but I am sometimes tired and stressed out too. My solution has been to move on and find another job, always hoping I am not jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

          Here’s a brief summary. Screamed at and shoulder-charged when drafting cows and calves. Threatened with a punch in the face because I suggested CIDRs might be worth a try. Verbally abused until I cried when I turned a tap the wrong way. Sworn at and put down for about an hour because I had appeared on Country Calendar. Screamed at by two men in unison about the management of an effluent system that was held together by rotten bungy cords (not my doing). Another memorable interlude was one time I asked my boss how many silage bales to feed out – his reply: “show us your tits!”

          I say, enter the dairy industry at your own risk.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/opinion/columnists/lyn-webster/7028998/Abusive-employers-all-too-common-in-NZ-dairy-farming-sector

          • swordfish 35.1.1.1.1

            Always been the way, CV.

            My Uncle went to work on a dairy farm in the mid-50s when he was a teenager (from the City). Had an extremely high IQ, but loved the idea of a rough-and-tumble rural life (as many young blokes did in those days). The Farmer treated him absolutely abominably. Like a dog. My Uncle got out of there damn quick and never forgot the prick’s cruelty.

            Dairy farmers are, of course, overwhelmingly Tory. Coincidence that they also happen to so often be utter pricks ?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1.1.1.1.1

              cf. Piff et al 2012.

              • Tiger Mountain

                Young niece works on a farm, sounds like psychological torture to me. Low pay, long hours and lives with bosses son and girlfriend in run down farm cottage. Farmers can be sadistic and mistreat both animals and people because they operate largely unobserved and unaccountably.

                Oh no, we’re not like that, we’re all modern and business like now says duuhhh Graham.
                I don’t think so when you get farmer ‘leaders’ standing for ACT (ex Fed Farmers Nichols). Farmers are 98% tory and as close to the Nats as a sheep with its hind legs in their redbands.

                Evidence speaks and stacking and racking dairy cows is the end for such agriculture and water quality if it does not wind down soon.

    • blue leopard 35.2

      @ Graham

      A question that has been puzzling me – how would urban folk be useful on a farm?

      An answer:

      “We need foreign workers because without them we would be devastated,” Leferink said.

      The upside for farmers is that they gain staff with skills, as the New Zealand Immigration Service only issues visas to people with appropriate agri qualifications.

      They’re also getting the benefit of experience, with many foreign workers, particularly from the Philippines, having worked in foreign markets. “

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/8141473/Dairy-farms-turn-to-migrants

      So perhaps some of the problem is that unskilled unemployed isn’t the best option for farmers.

      I do recall a farm training scheme for youths being reported (sadly I don’t recall where) . Hopefully you know of it – I think it was in the mid North Island somewhere – I hope you give ‘these people’ a chance to get into the industry by employing them

      As for working conditions:

      ” Help is available for dairy workers and employers caught in on-farm problems around pay, conditions, health and safety.

      Fairfax Media has been reporting complaints of bullying, low pay and long hours by workers on dairy farms in recent weeks.

      When they have appeared on this website, comments have been left of similar experiences. Others have rung but have asked not to have their stories published for fear of a backlash. (18 Dec 2013)

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/advice/9524799/Help-at-hand-for-on-farm-pay-conditions-issues

      And following up on this:

      “The dairy industry has vowed to clean up its act after 69 per cent of farms visited by the Labour Inspectorate were in breach of employment laws.

      A total of 44 farms nationwide were put under scrutiny between December 2013 and early April 2014. Of these, 31 were found to be in breach of minimum employment rights, including the only one visited in the Bay of Plenty.” (9 May 2014)

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/rural/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503348&objectid=11252478

      And from a research report (2010) summary (please note I haven’t read the report, only the summary):

      Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts identified four benefits recognised by the interviewees: earning monetary income for family and community back home, gaining useful knowledge and skills that could be applied back home, personal satisfaction from the work, and personal experiences of a new country and society.

      Four costs recognised by the interviewees were also identified: difficult working conditions, earning less money than expected, lack of freedom and choice with respect to aspects of their time in New Zealand, and the emotional difficulties of missing home and family along with implications for gender roles of being away from home.

      http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/4988

      The reason I referred to ‘slavery’ was to somewhat humorously* reflect the attitudes I suspect a lot of (not all) farmers take toward their staff – which appears to be a reasonable suspicion to have considering the articles I have supplied.

      *There is often truth in jest

  36. greywarbler 36

    Graham
    Knows about his/her own situation or some of it. He probably doesn’t know the truth of what he thinks he knows though. He just keeps repeating what he thinks he knows, my this, my that, my, my. Because he doesn’t want to examine anything.

    There are a lot of unpleasant inconvenient truths in NZ that might hurt someone’s bank balance and self esteem if they were faced up to. But humans are fragile creatures, even hardy farm types, and facing up to facts can be as scary as looking at a mad ram or bull ready to attack and even kill, or other potentially deadly or poisonous farm hazard.

  37. Graham 37

    No u pay for the pipes
    Like wise I am part of an irrigation scheme
    I pay 130 k a year to belong which covers my annual costs
    I also pay a cost to dispose of my effluent capital costs and annual running cost

    • One Anonymous Bloke 37.1

      Yeah, you’re just lovely, but in general people don’t want to work for farmers because 70% of them are human rights abusers.

  38. Graham 38

    Dairy farming on a large scale farm like my is like working in a factory
    Agito run training courses at all levels to up skill staff
    We allow staff paid time off to attend
    We run business that are worth 20 million plus
    And had a gross turnover of over 5
    You can not run a successful business punching staff,yelling,livening in substandard housing
    Come and inspect any farm in Canterbury you will find I am right

    • blue leopard 38.1

      Chances are you don’t abuse your staff – you are thoughtful enough to come on here (indicates you think about politics – not just because this is a left leaning blogsite) this possibly means you have an interest in looking at things in a wider perspective – therefore can work out abusing your workers isn’t the way to go – it is strange that you hold the view about ‘don’t excuse these people’ though, – yet hopefully you might have learned some answers to your question regarding why urban folk in Auckland don’t come down and work on farms in the S. Island.

      I also note that some areas in NZ are not able to be moved into if one is unemployed – and if you haven’t been living there very long – you will have to move out if you lose your job – this may provide some explanation why some rural areas have low unemployment.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 38.2

      More anecdata from Graham, blithering on about how no sensible business owner would treat their staff this way. Newsflash, Einstein, these aren’t sensible business owners they’re Tory scum.

  39. Graham 39

    Look believe it or not a may be a Tory but both lyn and I agree that staff are a valueable resource
    As I have pointed out modern dairy farms are grass factory’s
    There is to much capital tied up to be runing around in some Fred dagg type comedy skit
    And by the way on my farm
    1 from overseas
    1 from north island
    1 from west coast
    1 from chch
    1 from southland
    None are locals
    This is typical of canterbury farms
    So all these guys moved for the work

    • One Anonymous Bloke 39.1

      Since you’re a Tory, perhaps you could do something about the scum in your ranks.

      I note you’ve just contradicted your own lies about people not being willing to move for work.

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