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A day of wins for the Left

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, June 13th, 2012 - 67 comments
Categories: Left, national - Tags:

We should remember to celebrate our victories, and yesterday was a day full of them.

First, there was the announcement of a settlement in the Oceania rest-home dispute – the workers held out and got the additional government funding passed on as they should. This was an example of a scummy employer taking advantage of workers it perceives as weak. Well, they stood up and we saw who was stronger.

Then, the man the Nats selected to drive through ACC privatisation was pushed on to his sword to protect Crushless Collins. John Judge is the sacrificial lamb for a culture of disdain for people in need and people who oppose government policy that has been fostered by ministers. Of course, the replacement, Paula Rebstock, is like replacing a pitbull with a rabid werewolf – at least she’s only temporary.

There was the addition to the Mixed Ownership Model (ie Asset Sales) Bill of a clause for returning the companies to SOE status by Order in Council. That means the coming Labour-Green government can return the remaining assets to public status with the flick of a pen after coming to power. It was also an acknowledgment by National that it may need to cancel the sales itself if the numbers don’t stack up.

Finally, the Nats gave up trying to stop caregivers getting paid for looking after their own family members. The Nats are still whining that there’s not enough money to pay these people fairly because, you know, they’ve blown all the money on tax cuts for the rich.

And, there was what they didn’t do. Bill English admitted that superannuation needs to be fixed – with the best option being Labour’s proposal to raise the main retirement age to 67 while allowing medical retirement from 60. But National still won’t act. They are isolated and, by their own acknowledgment, lacking in the political courage to do the right thing for future generations. (I don’t want to get into a long debate about this, so here’s the short version: when Key says it would save 0.7% of GDP by 2030, that’s $3b a year. Even if you offset a third of that for medical retirements, that’s $2b a year. There’s a lot of things that are higher priorities with $2b a year than supporting 65 and 66 year olds who can work – I would always spend that money on kids, poverty, and education instead).

Yesterday was a day when the Nats showed they have firmly lost control of the political agenda. Everything they did was a back-track, every one of their objectives was frustrated. If they had hoped to close the book on the class size debacle and move forward, they have failed.

Expect an attempt at distraction any day now. But also expect it to be greeted by the media as a attempt at distraction that it is.

PS. And another win was rumored on Twitter yesterday – apparently, Ports of Auckland has abandoned contracting out!

67 comments on “A day of wins for the Left ”

  1. tracey 1

    Tony ryall was churlish yesterday over the caregiver appeal. He is decimating the health system of any compassion.

    Usually an issue like raising pension age wld be hugely controversial. Jk is putting himself ahead of an issue that cld now be put to be with house-wide approval. Perhaps he is saving the backdown as a band aid for the next govt f#2@up?

  2. tracey 2

    I cldnt edit above. Can i just say that the cost of ibstitutionalised care for the people currently cared for by parents has always been significantly higher than paying the carers. False economy and lack of compassion on two counts.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      But it does create jobs…

      • bbfloyd 2.1.1

        ugly lanth…. truly ugly joke….

        • Lanthanide

          It’s not a joke. It’s factually correct: paying people to look after other disabled people creates jobs.

          • Vicky32

            It’s not a joke. It’s factually correct: paying people to look after other disabled people creates jobs

            Very difficult, poorly-paid ones. Unnecessary ones, if the family are paid, and properly supported with available respite care when needed.

  3. just saying 3

    Not forgetting the deferring of starting work on the roads of notional importance. An alternative government in ’14 may not have expensive quarter-finished projects to deal with.

  4. Bunji 4

    Also yesterday, got wind that Ports of Auckland have agreed to pull out of their Contracting Out proposal – still waiting for that to filter into the media though…

    But a great day of wins, definitely.

  5. Carol 5

    Seemed to be a break through in the Ports of Auckland dispute yesterday, too.


    And, in the House yesterday, Bill English was spinning the success of his budget and Nact economic success as if there is no tomorrow. Did his nose grow?

  6. Carol 6

    The photo that heads this post?

    And Metiria Turei?…. so some on the left are colluding with the MSMs reconstruction of the centrist-moving, Normanisation and masculinisation of the Greens? And Mana?

  7. On privatisation: The (hopefully) incoming Labour/Green government shouldn’t stop at reversing the privatisation of the remaining assets, it should re-nationalise the ones that were already sold- and if they want to be really generous, they should offer to compensate the original buyers if they still hold their shares. (Anyone who’s resold already clearly wasn’t investing, they were speculating, and has already been compensated adequately. Tough love to people who were fueling the speculation and were landed with the shares and don’t get paid out)

    On retirement: We need to be careful here. When you say poverty, that also includes people at or near the retirement age. I think it’s reasonable to consider helping out with anyone’s costs once they hit 60 if the alternative is to leave them in poverty, not just people who are there for medical reasons.

    • just saying 7.1

      I know a few people who are “hanging out” for National Super, because it will lift onto a more liveable income (relative riches) and endow a new identity, one not subject to a socially sanctioned hate campaign. Letting them off at 60 would indeed be more humane.

      • Carol 7.1.1

        And an end to the wage-slave entrapment?

      • Tracey 7.1.2

        Raising it to 67 isny happening overnight, last I read the proposal is 2030

      • True Freedom is Self-Governance 7.1.3

        I don’t believe our government knows the meaning of the word humane, or how it feels to be the subject of a widespread hate-campaign (they might be feeling a little of the hate lately, but nothing like what many beneficiaries have to put up with daily, some for their whole bl**&y lives). Ideally people should be able to ‘retire’ when they are no longer able to ‘work’ for whatever reason, at whatever age that may be. There are so many ways that people who are ‘retired’ can help out in their communities, participating to a degree that is suitable for their capabilities, not dictated by an employer. With sensible planning it wouldn’t have to cost the earth, we just have to have a paradigm shift away from thinking that a person’s contribution to society can only be measured in monetary terms. If I hear one more person say “the government is like a business and must be run like one” just one more time I think I will scream!!!! NO it is not, the government is there to serve us, end of story.

      • Vicky32 7.1.4

        I know a few people who are “hanging out” for National Super, because it will lift onto a more liveable income (relative riches) and endow a new identity, one not subject to a socially sanctioned hate campaign. Letting them off at 60 would indeed be more humane.


    • Fermionic Interference 7.2

      “Anyone who’s resold already clearly wasn’t investing, they were speculating, and has already been compensated adequately. Tough love to people who were fueling the speculation and were landed with the shares and don’t get paid out”

      I’m just speculating here (pun somewhat intended), that the institutional investors will have first dig at the shares for our energy SOE’s and those with a limited (dollar value) to buy in with, ie; private/Mum & Dad investors wont be able to buy shares when they’re released because they don’t have the clout to buy enough shares to get in at the beginning.

      This would mean that quite probably, small time investors, would be very likely to have purchased their shares second hand, so in which case wouldn’t a repatriation of initial or current share price which ever is lower be a more fair option?
      It also takes out the speculation option adequately does it not?

      • insider 7.2.1

        Why not do that for every business? Sales of any shares in any business must only be at the original purchase price no matter what it’s condition or profitability. Because any subsequent share price increase was just speculation.

      • Matt 7.2.2

        But, but – “Mums & Dads first”..

      • Fortran 7.2.3

        I understand that a number of Kiwi Saver fund managers will be some of the first in the queue for the asset sales.

  8. vto 8

    John Key and Bill English expect people to do their own work for nothing (care workers).

    Yet, they do not apply that to themselves when it comes to asset sales, where $120,000,000.00 is being spent on advisers and consultants. Absolute ghastly abhorrent rude waste of money when the govt can do it all themselves. No need for outsiders.

    What rude people this governing lot are.

    • True Freedom is Self-Governance 8.1

      I agree, the government are quite capable of stuffing the country up without having to pay someone to tell them how.

  9. insider 9

    The carers issue is hardly a victory for the left. Carers have been fighting this since 1999 and went to the HRC in 2008 – last I heard there was a left govt in place during those years which did nothing to address the issue, forcing parents into the legal system. If the left were so keen on getting this outcome they had plenty of time to avoid court action.

  10. Tracey 10

    insider, it’s a victory for fairness, and one Ryall was determine not to allow. He wasted our money on the first appeal..

    • insider 10.1


      I agree it was a victory for fairness, but that was not a left or right one. It was a victory over entrenched bureaucracy and ministers of both colours who were more concerned about cost than equity. That left champion and friend of the people David cunliffe was minister when this went into the justice system. His intransigence is as much to blame for any court costs as ryall’s decision to appeal.

      • bbfloyd 10.1.1

        Oh.. i get it innie…. IT’S ALL LABOURS FAULT!!!! … well that makes perfect sense…

        • insider

          Only a hysterical partisan would think that was what I said.

        • insider

          Only those shrilly aligned would think that,s what I said

        • Draco T Bastard

          insider does have a point. This is certainly something that the last supposedly left government should have seen to.

  11. Lanthanide 11

    And yet more bad news for the government:
    “Auditor-General to probe Sky City deal

    The Government’s controversial deal with Sky City casino for a national convention centre will be investigated by the Auditor-General.”


    • Carol 11.1

      Ha! And note also, kudos to Meteria Turei for asking for it:

      In her letter requesting the investigation, Green co-leader Metiria Turei alleged that SkyCity had “an unfair advantage” over other bidders for the convention centre.

      The Auditor-General’s “Best Practice Guide for Procurement for Public Entities” stated that public entities had a general public law obligation to act fairly and reasonably.

      “Public entities must be, and must be seen to be, impartial in their decision-making,” the Auditor-General’s guide stated.

      Turei also noted economic development ministry principles, mandatory rules and “good practice guidelines” which she alleged had all been breached.

      She asked for an investigation in to the involvement of the Prime Minister and Economic Development Minister in the process and whether this compromised principles of fairness and equity.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 11.2

      “That’s just one auditor general, and like lawyers, I can show you another that’ll give you a counterview”

  12. Carol 12

    And Breaking news on both NZ Herald and Stuff: ACC CEO, Ralph Stewart…. gonsky!


  13. Pete 13

    It’s like the floodgates have well and truly opened. People are realising this government is not acting in the best interests of the country.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    “Things fall apart, the centre (= right) cannot hold …”

    Tip for the opposition spokespeople – don’t keep talking about 2014, which re-inforces the idea of a stable three years. At this rate, Key will be gone by Christmas.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1


      Putting pressure on the government at the right times could bring about a snap election.

  15. Peter 15

    “That means the coming Labour-Green government can return the remaining assets to public status with the flick of a pen after coming to power. It was also an acknowledgment by National that it may need to cancel the sales itself if the numbers don’t stack up.”

    This isn’t right – section 3C(3) of the proposed Bill states that:

    “An Order in Council may be made under this section only if the Governor-General in Council is satisfied, at the time of the making of the Order in Council, that 100% of the issued ordinary shares in the company are held by Ministers of the Crown on behalf of the Crown.”

    So… it can only be rescinded before things are sold, or if the govt engages in a buyback after a sale, or interestingly, if the shares sold off are of a different category.

  16. Dv 16


    Finance Minister Bill English admits rebalancing of NZ economy towards exporting yet to happen due to high NZ$ and quake; also sees tax switch benefits taking 5-7 year


    • mike e 16.1

      Dv one of the commenter’s said that this is a very bad excuse for a failed policy by Borrowing bills Blinglsh .
      Trying to absolve them selves for a complete failure.

      • mike e 16.1.1

        mumbling [Key lying] muddling[blinglish lying] = Brighter future or Bullshit Forecast

  17. Carol 17

    And another powerful speech from Cunliffe…. not fault free, but an indication of some growth in strength in the opposition to NAct.

    Bomber has posted the speech on his blog this arvo:


    So many Kiwis are really struggling to make ends meet. After the 2008 crash they were just getting along. A year later this had turned to anger, a year later to despair. This year, many of them are heading for the departure gate: 50,000 a year in the last year alone. A quarter of New Zealanders no longer live here.

    So for their sake, and everyone’s sake, let’s begin this conversation by being frank and up-front.

    No one these days seriously believes that a totally unregulated economy will work. Just as important, no one seriously believes that a totally regulated economy will work. It’s a question of getting the balance right.
    1. Regulate Financial Markets
    2. Keep and build our assets
    3. Get people back to work
    4. Rewrite the invisible plan
    A new direction is needed.

    Let’s not fool ourselves that just doing a little more or a little less of what we have been doing before will save us

    As part of my Economic Development portfolio work, I have commissioned a study of six such countries: Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Taiwan, Ireland and Israel.

    The most obvious conclusion of this study so far is that none of them leave their future to chance. The weakest, Ireland, was the one that lowered taxes, opened up to unrestrained foreign investment, and trusted the invisible hand of the market to bring future prosperity.
    Take Denmark. It wants to be among the top 10 richest, most innovative countries in the world. It wants to be top 10 for quality labour supply and top three for renewable energy.

    They have a 10 year plan to achieve that.

    We need to learn from small smart economies like Denmark. We cannot just leave it to chance, or to the market forces that have got us into this mess.
    The three pillars of our survival are investment, innovation and education.

    An educated population that earns decent wages will work in your factories and offices, will buy your products, and invest in your shares.
    A global economic tsunami could sink us. We have to work as a team; rather, we have to work as a crew, remembering that we’re all in this together. We all prosper together or we all sink together.

    It’s a powerful and well-considered speech, a step in the right direction, but not a major change of direction for Labour. I like the Denmark example, I would also like to see some lessons from left wing South American countries.

    • prism 17.1

      First positive ‘sensible’ statement from a politician I’ve read for a while. I think I will copy it and put it in my notes for comfort reading when I start to despair of pollies with black holes, or maybe wormholes, in their brains.

    • surfboy2 17.2

      Great rhetoric but does not mention anywhere about protecting our environment, so by exclusion Labour does not give a rats arse about our rivers, lakes or special fauna and flora, dispicable but what do you expect from an anal economist .

      • Carol 17.2.1

        I’m as much to blame for that as Cunliffe.

        If you actually look at Cunliffe’s full speech, and not the extracts I selected, you will see he does mention the environment:


        But for now, New Zealand needs more forests. If we could replant some of our unproductive land into forests, we could create one of the world’s greatest carbon sinks. We could create thousands of jobs planting trees, and thousands more processing the timber in a few years.

        These new forests could be placed in trust for the benefit of future generations, and New Zealand could be on its way towards becoming carbon neutral.

        He does mention “environment” in a couple of places, although it’s not the main focus of his speech.

  18. mike e 18

    13 a black Wednesday for Nactuf

  19. MrSmith 19

    I can’t work out why National are falling on swords all over the place at the moment, bye election anyone? 

    • mike e 19.1

      treasury are predicting a depression lets hope they get this one right in the wrong way.

  20. xtasy 20

    So, are we supposed to “celebrate” the “wins of the left” now?

    Is this not a bit premature and misleading?

    What “wins” are we talking about? Is it a “win” to have “National” stumble, stuff up and not being able to cope? Is it a “win” to have a weak leader like Shearer, after months of shallow performance, to suddenly claim some “victories”, after he had a few beers and turned out boisterous at “Back Benches”?

    I think some here need their heads read!

    Labour was responsible to bring in tighter rules at ACC years ago, before even National got the reign.

    For sure, Labour put into place a very rigid and stringent regime at Work and Income in late 2007 and during 2008, before the election, to tighten up on benefit entitlements for sick and disabled. Does anybody know about the introduction of a so-called “Principal Health Advisor” by the name of Dr David Bratt? He is a staunch advocate that Bennett loves, who puts work before anything else for beneficiaries. He also was part of the Welfare Working Group Forum two years ago, speaking fully to the pleasure of Paula Bennett, to tighten up firmly on entitlements for sickness and invalid’s benefits.

    He was the one introducing “training”, yes “training” for so-called “designated doctors”, who WINZ and MSD have been commissioning since 1995 to review, assess and re-assess sick and invalids, either on benefits or applying for them. He has been managing and running that training himself, and he has cooperated with others that managed, implemented and supervised it.

    His view is that the “best medicine” to treat sick and disabled is “to work”!

    Yes, and even Annette King worked with him, tightening up the regime under idelogical ideas, that come from the UK, Canada and the US.

    So how is Labour faring on this?

    I feel the only credit in this debate goes to the Greens, to Mana, and to a much lesser degree perhaps to NZ First. Noone else deserves ANY credit. I have amply documentary and other evidence proving that Labour have themselves turned their backs on the true needs of sick and disabled beneficiaries, while they were in government.

    All this is ON RECORD! So when we have Little little man, and other raise matters in the House, they may perhaps rething some of what Labour has also done.

    Pullar has exposed with ACC the rot that is going on. She only go the attention due to being a former National hot shot. So does her mate Michelle Boag. There is much more to this story, but it drops between the gaps, as the media is pre occupied with celebrities and top dogs in parties.

    All this is an affront to the thousands of genuine ACC applicants, claimants and deserved victims that deserve fair, honest and helpful treatment. All this is equally a totally, disgusting affront to beneficiaries, not even enjoying the same rights as ACC claimants, who have been treated unfairly, with contempt and injustice by so-called WINZ “trained” (and indoctrinated) “designated doctors” that WINZ and MSD commission on a daily basis.

    I can only appeal to all that know what goes on, to raise the issues here, to the wider media and to create a big stink or revolt, about the true injustices committed by government agencies to sick, disabled and those trying to help them.

    So hopefully those getting the message will respond. Those too busy with other agendas, you have NONE of my time and that of the ones that really suffer!


    • Carol 20.1

      I agree that recent Labour policies, and Shearer, can barely/hardly be called “left”.

      But the left is so much more than the Labour Party. Many of the victories highly above are due to union activity. Unions have been doing reasonably well under Helen Kelly’s watch.

      Opposition MPs (Little and Hague especially, and Peters), have been putting the pressure on NAct over ACC and some other issues.NMAct are starting to buckle. This is good for the left generally, but there’s a lot more REALLY left stuff that needs pursuing.

      • Herodotus 20.1.1

        Carol with the current discussions around the affordability of pensions I await Winny to own up and comment for the good of the country that his Gold Card entitlement should be scrapped.
        And regarding your comment at 5:09 quoting David Shearer and that families were just getting along. Pity he was not here to experience the real hurt being felt. Interest rates 10.4%, tax creep & many cost increases that were not being reflected in CPI or inflation calculations
        And this most damming graph depicting the demise of the workers share of the what is produced. So ad that it took a recession for some real gains to be seen 🙁

        Time to take back what’s ours

        And there is no way that you should associate the words of “The Left” with “Labour”. It has not been since the Kirk/Rowling years that Labour = Left. Perhaps some time in the future Labour can be reacquainted with the left, but not yet.

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