Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, August 23rd, 2013 - 137 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, david cunliffe, democratic participation, Economy, employment, grant robertson, jobs, labour, monetary policy, sustainability, telecommunications, welfare - Tags:
I wasn’t going to express my opinion on the upcoming Labour leadership selection process. However, the usual right leaning MSM hacks seem to have been following the current Labour caucus leadership in naming Robertson as the frontrunner. This, even though Vernon Small’s piece on it, has a Stuff opinion poll on the same page, in which Cunliffe is ahead of Robertson. So far, Cunliffe is not getting a fair showing in the MSM.
I have voted for the Labour Party in the past, but in recent years they have fulfilled by left wing values enough. Instead I have party voted Green plus given my electorate vote to Cunliffe. He has been an excellent electorate MP for New Lynn. Cunliffe, as a minister in Clark’s government, ensured the New Lynn rail trench was developed – the beginning of the revitalisation of the New Lynn town centre. This, reported in the NZ Herald in December 2006.
Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey says a Government decision to spend $120 million sinking a double-tracked railway line through the heart of New Lynn has saved the town from destruction.
Added to that will be an investment of up to $55 million in “cash and kind” by Waitakere City Council, and possible private-sector contributions in exchange for air-rights above reinforced trench walls.
“New Lynn was about to be devastated,” Mr Harvey said yesterday, after local MP David Cunliffe, who is also Associate Minister of Economic Development, confirmed the Government’s agreement to lay a 1km railway trench between Portage Rd on the west bank of the Whau River and a possible extension of Clark St before tracks climb back over Titirangi Rd.
“It would have been chaos with double tracking here and the [level-crossing] barrier arms down,” the mayor said.
“New Lynn had no future. It would have had traffic banked up 5km each way. It would have been the centre of frustration. Now it’s going to be the centre of celebration.”
Of course, the trench was completed under John Key’s watch, and his government has been taking the credit.
Cunliffe has also stood up for the preservation of west Auckland heritage areas. Western Leader, June 2013:
Changes to the Resource Management Act aimed at giving landowners more pruning freedom will threaten Titirangi’s iconic bush, politician Greg Presland says.
New Lynn MP David Cunliffe says this bill is a “chainsaw massacre” to the Waitakere Ranges.
“There is a conflict between the RMA and the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act. There needs to be clarification to make sure the ranges are protected.”
Mr Cunliffe says the changes are totally unworkable because having to lodge and categorise every tree will create an enormous amount of work for the Auckland Council.
Cunliffe has shown he can work well with his electorate team and maintains their support. He also is Labour’s best performer in the House and on television: just the tough, well-prepared and clear speaker that is needed to front against John Key in the next election.
Cunliffe has also been particularly successful in developing policies and positions in relation to some of the most crucial issues for all New Zealanders: the internet, communications and digital surveillance. He has an excellent background in business and communications, and has been Minister of Health, and of Communications and Information Technology, as well as having been Chair of the Commerce Select Committee, and sat on the Finance and Expenditure and Regulations Review select committees.
Cunliffe spoke particularly well last week in the final stages of the damaging GCSB Bill. He explained how the Bill does not include adequate protections of the privacy of New Zealanders:
Mr Speaker, there are no protections against the mass surveillance of metadata, because they are not included within the definition of quote personal communications set out in the Bill. Rather, they fall within the definition of information infrastructure in the cybersecurity provisions that include, and I quote all transmissions close quote, including anything which goes across any electronic or wireless network. That means every email, every text message, every phone call, every website visit of every New Zealander is able to be surveilled firstly in terms of its metadata, without a warrant. And secondly to establish a basis, and it may already be the case, for full interception without those warranting provisions, at least through the cybersecurity clause.
I don’t agree with all of Cunliffe’s views: he is more to the centre of politics than me. However, his views are moderate and will be accessible to the majority of New Zealanders. He has a carefully worked out, and well articulated raft of policy positions, as indicated in his speeches over the last few years.
On the economy [Speech to Laingholm District Citizens Association, Laingholm, 30 September 2012]:
However, the 1980s and ’90s saw the rise of a philosophy developed by the rich, for the rich. It was called Neo-Liberalism.
Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that greed is good, that we’re all locked in an economic life-and-death-struggle with each other. Neo-Liberalism says that compassion is for suckers. Neo-Liberalism says that if the world is going to the dogs, it might as well be the top dogs. Indeed, to borrow from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, not only is greed good, “it’s legal.”
The amazing thing about the Neo-Liberals is their wilful blindness to how badly their ideas have failed. Not just once, but repeatedly. Neo-Liberal policies directly caused two of the largest financial crashes in history. Did they apologise? No way. Like some mad doctor, when the first dose of medicine didn’t work, they wanted to double the dose.
Let’s take a quick look at the ‘Scandinavian model.’
And the Scandanavian model is more like the NZ social security state was before the neoliberals began to demolish it, as John Key is continuing to do. Cunliffe takes an economic “growth” approach, when I prefer a steady state economy. He does focus on environmental sustainability, and the development of NZ’s ICT industries. He focuses a lot on creating jobs and a fair deal for workers. I’d also like to see more from him on reconstructing the social security system that Paula Bennett is busy destroying.
However, while I am critical of Cunliffe in some ways, I do think he has the skills, the experience, the ability to enthuse and excite voters, and the policy platforms to play a leading role in the next New Zealand government.
For me Cunliffe is the frontrunner for the Labour leadership at this time. The MSM Jonolists have their heads in the political bubble in Wellington, and are not looking more carefully, and in depth at what is best for the future of New Zealand and New Zealanders.