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A good week for the opposition

Written By: - Date published: 10:20 am, July 27th, 2012 - 52 comments
Categories: greens, human rights, labour, minimum wage, Parliament, privatisation - Tags:

3 opposition private members’ Bills passed – extended paid parental leave, Mondayisation, and lobbying disclosure – on Wednesday (moving a ban on land sales to foreigners up the list). Then, all 5 drawn from the ballot on Thursday opposition bills too: marriage equality, $15hr minimum wage, super-majority/referendum protection for asset sales, charging government agencies that pay access to info, and controlling water pollution.

They’re all worthy Bills that have a good chance of passing.

The marriage equality on has obviously got the most coverage. It should pass. It will basically depend on how many non-bigots there are in National. I would estimate that there’ll be maybe 5-10 no votes among the opposition parties and the Maori Party (for only the Greens, this isn’t a conscience vote, the party has a policy and the MPs will vote for it)- so those votes plus one will have to be countered by yes votes from the Nats.

The initial soundings aren’t a good omen. Joyce, English, and Finlayson all saying they have more important things to think about. That’s bullshit – of course – it’s a pretty simple issue to have come to a position on and all National MPs have to do is vote when the time comes, it takes no more effort on their part to vote yes than no. But the fact they’ve set out by denigrating the legislation suggests they’ll vote no. Still, it’s hard to believe there aren’t any liberals left in National. So, I reckon it’ll squeak through.

The SOE one wouldn’t stop the current asset sales because it only prevents companies being removed from the SOE Act and the companies that they want to sell already have been but, that might actually give it more chance of passing because its very consistent with the sales that United Future says it opposes.

The $15 minimum wage one would be great but it wouldn’t be the big leap by the that it would have been a couple of years ago (I nearly wrote quantum leap, but that’s actually a very small subatomic change) – since the Bill probably wouldn’t pass until some time in 2013 after the next minimum wage round, it would make the 2014 increase up to $15, rather than, as is likely $14. Still, $40 a week is nothing to be sneezed at and, since its not a huge increase, it will be hard for United Future to vote against.

Unfortunately, most of the votes would come down to Peter Dunne who is being insufferable and lording his swing vote over every New Zealander, threatening to change his votes on Bills if parties don’t suck up to him. I guess we’re just going to have to put up with it for a while longer. Rumour is Dunne’s going to retire rather than lose in 2014.

52 comments on “A good week for the opposition ”

  1. Carol 1

    I am for the marriage equality bill, and feel that there is now enough public support that it should pass.

    The SOE Bill is a very important one, and it’s a pity that it will stand or fall on te whim of the self-serving Dunne.

    Is there an overview somewhere of what’s in the Mondayisation Bill? Will it be rationalised to include weekend workers getting their fair share of public holidays?

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      “Is there an overview somewhere of what’s in the Mondayisation Bill?”

      I’d like to see this, too.

      “Will it be rationalised to include weekend workers getting their fair share of public holidays?”

      I believe the current bill intends that Anzac day and Waitaingi will be treated the same way as Christmas/New Years: if it falls on the weekend and you normally work on the weekend you get it as holiday leave, everyone else gets the holiday shifted to the Monday/Tuesday (which can make staffing problems for New Years holidays particularly difficult – there’s no time-and-a-half sweetener to get non-rostered staff in).

      Are you referring to the above arrangement, or are you talking about all public holidays in general, or something else?

      • Carol 1.1.1

        if it falls on the weekend and you normally work on the weekend you get it as holiday leave, everyone else gets the holiday shifted to the Monday/Tuesday

        I mean the reverse situation: if Waitangi Day/ANZAC Day falls just before or after a weekend, do weekend workers get a day off at the weekend ? ie does everyone then get 11 days public holiday (pro rata) every year, regardless of whether they normally work weekends or weekdays?

        • Lanthanide

          Yeah, that’s not addressed by this bill at all.

          I agree with you that it should be looked into, but I seriously doubt the various business lobbies that are backing this bill would back that one.

          • Lanthanide

            Also pro-rating public holidays would be something new, because at the moment they are based around specific days (or the special case provisions for Christmas/New Year) of work. If they were to be pro-rated they’d effectively become more annual leave, unless you put special rules around it like “within 1 week of the day”.

            This would get weird though if someone normally works 16 hours a week, so would be entitled to 40% of public holidays if they were pro-rated, but because they work on Mondays they end up having 4-5 holidays during the year which is more than their pro-rated allotment, so suddenly they don’t get the holidays as holidays any more?

            This quickly becomes a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare. Probably the simplest solution would be to get rid of public holidays altogether and just add it to the annual leave allotment, and add some weak provisions that encourage employers to observe the traditional dates. Given the stink over Mondayising Anzac day and Waitangi day, I think this would be a pretty big ask.

            • Carol

              Oh, well, then, there’s nothing in this bill for us weekend workers to cheer about. We will just continue to be grateful every few years when a public holiday is at the weekend.

              • Madison

                Hi Carol, I spent a few days quizzing Labour on Red Alert about getting the loopholes plugged to allow us shifties and weekend workers all 11 holidays and they aren’t too worried about fixing it. They want the small shiny win to wave in front of voters rather than sink the bill fighting for the full fix. Darien Fenton said it would have to wait until Labour was in power again.

  2. Kotahi Tāne Huna 2

    What a grotesque display of petulance from the Hair. No wonder politicians are universally reviled.

    • Carol 2.1

      Dunne always comes across to me as a pompous book-keeper with an aspirational self-belief that is above his capabilities.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 2.1.1

        This will be a test of his character, which I expect him to fail spectacularly, twittering weasel words the whole way.

  3. I agree it’s been a good week for the opposition, and for parliament as a whole. And for United Future.

    The SOE one wouldn’t stop the current asset sales because it only prevents companies being removed from the SOE Act and the companies that they want to sell already have been but, that might actually give it more chance of passing because its very consistent with the sales that United Future says it opposes.

    Yes, it has some consistency with some UF policy from the last election. But the principle of using a super majority mechanism for selectively blocking legislation is an odd way to do policy (or prevent policy). Dunne has said:

    “I don’t really think that it’s feasible – I think that it’s a matter the Government of the day should determine,” he said.

    Isn’t this a fair point? And for the election of the day to be a contest of policies?

    I guess National could put up a bill that requires a 75% vote to bring in new taxes like CGT, or a 75% vote to increase the minimum wage by more than inflation, but that would be as ridiculous and I would hope Dunne wouldn’t support that either.

  4. gobsmacked 4

    A bouquet to whoever is rigging these ballots. Probably a disgruntled public servant who has been told they’re going to be replaced by a “consultant.” Keep up the good work, comrade! 😉

    On marriage equality …

    “I haven’t given it a moment’s thought” – funny how this exact same line (lie) was used by several Ministers yesterday. They’re certainly on-message, but shouldn’t they make it a bit less obvious? Silly billies.

    And credit to Louisa Wall, who is showing more tactical nous than many of her more senior Labour colleagues. In her round of media interviews yesterday, she cleverly thanked John Key for his support. Never mind that Key has actually taken every possible stance on the issue, depending on his audience … Wall has obviously seen “Yes, Minister”, and understands that if you announce something, then it becomes a ‘media fact’, unless it is denied. She knows that only Key can stop the bill, because the National herd will follow him. So she has put Key on the spot, killing him with kindness. It’s already guaranteed to get past the first reading, and after that, the Right will be split between fundamentalists (“stop depravity!”), pragmatists (“ignore it”) and those who actually support the bill. Key’s two faces will be working overtime.

    • And credit to Louisa Wall, who is showing more tactical nous than many of her more senior Labour colleagues.

      I agree. In stark contrast to Cosgrove’s lack of nous, which is a symptom of a big Labour problem (also displayed here at times). Divide and conquer doesn’t work with MMP, especially when you’re polling at about a third of the vote.

    • Jim Nald 4.2

      Well, lotsa “straight” faces at suppressing their real thoughts – see:


      Listen to the laughably pathetic responses – haven’t given it any thought (yeah right!), simply haven’t looked at the bill, dunno what is in the bill, thought they could quite honestly (aw, come on, where have you been, you parliamentary representative of the people?), etc etc

      And a camp response at 1’20” – 1’30” 😉

      • Pascal's bookie 4.2.1

        Gay people getting married you say? Crikey. That’s a thing is it? Well I never, I mean to say, ah wow, dumbfounded I am. Never even heard of the idea. Has this been talked about before, ever, anywhere? This is so out of the blue, I mean, like, Wow, right. I simply don’t know what to say. Gay people getting married. Gosh. You’ve certainly given me sonething to think about.

  5. Rumour is Dunne’s going to retire rather than lose in 2014.

    It’s just a rumour (again) – or wishful thinking. On Q+A recently:

    SHANE Finally, because we have to start wrapping up, I know it’s two years away, but I wonder if you’ve decided whether you’re going to stand again at the next election.

    PETER I’ve always made the position of determining what I do at an election about a year out or so from the next election. So I’ve made no call either way, and I guess I’ll probably think about it sometime next year. But at this stage I’m more than happy doing what I’m doing. I’ve got a lot of challenges on my plate, a big workload, and that’s what my focus is.

    SHANE Is there anything stopping you at the moment from standing again?

    PETER Oh, there’s nothing stopping me. There’s nothing actually on the other side saying to me, ‘You must do it.’ It’s an open book. But I’ve always said that to be the case. That’s been the case since 1987 when I first had to make this call. But, as I say, my priority at the moment is my workload, my portfolios and the job that I’m doing.

    SHANE So you could go either way?

    PETER Oh, who knows? Who knows? Time’s got a long way to unfold yet, and I think it’s utterly premature to even start speculating about, A) when the next election might be and, B) what individuals will do in respect to it.

    That’s consistent with what I’ve heard.

    • felix 5.1

      🙄 .

    • bbfloyd 5.2

      old “little chief bad hair” is back practicing his “saying absolutely nothing” in as many words as possible…

      Amazing that an utterly equivical non answer can be interpreted as a “no i am not retiring”… Big chief ad hair seems to be taking lessons in how not to give a straight answer to anything from johnny sparkles media coach…

      Which, of course, makes his utterances completely meaningless…. still, it gives little bad hair the chance to sound like he knows something…. not an easy thing to do on the evidence so far…

    • McFlock 5.3


  6. Kotahi Tāne Huna 6

    The super majority proposal has some merit – parliament must have the power to levy taxes, but this will not affect that one bit. In fact as we have seen with Bill English and John Key’s lies over asset sales, there is every likelihood that preventing further looting of New Zealand will protect revenue.

    It has little chance I suspect though, since it relies on the “word” of a man who will use any excuse to avoid voting for it, all because once upon a time, Clayton Cosgrove upset him.

    As Dunne’s tweets make clear, whether the policy is good for the country simply doesn’t factor in his calculations; truly a disgusting specimen.

    National are running the risk of being in a similar position over marriage equality – it’s a proposal from the left so they naturally want to oppose it. As for them having better things to do, I suppose that includes yelling at insurers to zero effect.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 6.1

      Edit: Lightly (see above) is right – Dunne’s vote is as irrelevant as he is. Bill’s got no chance.

  7. Te Reo Putake 7

    Funnily enough, despite Dunne’s occasionally snippy tone with the opposition, I get the feeling he is positioning himself for the change of leadership at the next election. In terms of his own self preservation and income maximisation, he’s no mug, so I expect to see him move to a more ‘independent’ position as this term winds down. In particular, I think we will see him start sucking up to Shearer and being more critical of Key as the exit signs start flashing for National.
    One thing is certain, United Future dies with Dunne. Whether he retires or gets rolled, either way, UF is 2-5 years away from oblivion.
    ps, big ups to felix and the others putting out the DNFTT eye rolling avatar. The Standard has been vastly improved in the last couple of weeks by the absence of circular, waffling exchanges. Less is definitely more in this case.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 7.1

      With any luck the left won’t need him and he’ll lose his baubles, his weasel influence, and thereafter his seat.

    • bad12 7.2

      Makes you wonder tho, with the ‘Hairdo’s’ comment on not knowing when the next election will be has He sniffed something in the wind, or, does self preservation having counted the numbers in His own electorate have Him waiting for the day the Maori Party finally decide to shrug off the Poodles collar in a belated attempt at their own self preservation, so He can prove He is not a pathetic pointless political prostitute to whomever can place His butte into the leather of the Beamer by pulling the plug on Slippery and the sleazy National crew…

  8. Billy Fish 8


    Ignoring all aspects of if you are for or against – interesting how almost every reply is
    “I haven’t given it any thought”
    So that was the briefing line was it? C’mon next time there is a breifing line on what to say please give them some choices so its not too obvious 🙂
    And well done Tau – I can’t believe I just said that…….

    • bad12 8.1

      Yeah even i had to ask myself ”what the hell am i thinking’ when i gave Tau a well done for displaying His disgruntlement over rack raising the tobacco tax…

  9. joe90 9

    More to ignore.

    NASA: Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

    Extent of surface melt over Greenland’s ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as “probable melt” (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as “melt” (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. The satellites are measuring different physical properties at different scales and are passing over Greenland at different times. As a whole, they provide a picture of an extreme melt event about which scientists are very confident.

  10. Eddie: The $15 minimum wage one would be great … Still, $40 a week is nothing to be sneezed at and, since its not a huge increase, it will be hard for United Future to vote against.

    …a spokesperson for Mr Dunne says he won’t back the bill as he is satisfied with the existing process for determining the level of the minimum wage.


    That response shouldn’t be a surprise.

    Mr Clark says people deserve to earn a living wage for an honest day’s work.

    Mr Clark will have to come up with much more substantial arguments than that to make an impression.

    As Labour’s Revenue spokesperson maybe he would be better off working on much bigger issues in preparation for actually being able to do things in government. Addressing the whole convoluted mess of taxes, credits, benefits and supplements and finding better ways of targeting specific problems would be better than convincing people the ‘deserve’ more via simplistic campaign slogans.

  11. Carol 11

    This is the current assessment of for, against & undecided on the Marriage Equality Bill, as gleaned from press reports etc.


    I think some of the “yes’ people are only supporting the 1st reading at present.

    And Dunne is a “no”. Ditto Chris Finlayson….?

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      That website is nice at first glance, but should provide references where possible for the views of each person, or otherwise list a source like “email”.

    • Carol 11.2

      Peter Dunne’s entry has been changed in the last couple of hours to “yes”. Although the total yeses (55) at the top of the page hasn’t changed.

      And Banks of course says “no” – but I thought ACT was originally nooliberal, including socially liberal?

      • Lanthanide 11.2.1

        “And Banks of course says “no” – but I thought ACT was originally nooliberal, including socially liberal?”

        They were. Brash actually believed in all that stuff, and he would be voting yes. Banks doesn’t, because he’s a National plant.

        • felix

          Yep, Banks has never had anything to do with ACT.

          And any 2011 ACT voters who consider themselves “liberal” ought to be dragged through the street and pelted with offal.

          • fender

            No no not more offal, that was how they contracted mad cow disease in the first place.

        • Pascal's bookie

          That would be the Brash who voted against CUs and wouldn’t speak in a ChCH church because said church had had Helen Clark speak there a short whjile before, which he didn’t think was appropriate given her disrespect for the institution of marriage?

          Or some other Brash?

          Brash will say anything about what he thinks when the pressure is off, and he might even believe it, but put him on the spot and he’ll vote for what gives him power.

      • Dan 11.2.2

        “Liberal” is a very loaded and loose term – usually used in opposition to someone else’s rigid, orthodox position (because everybody else is likely to be viewed in this way…). ACT, as a (not very fresh) example of an economic neoliberal party, is not “liberal” in the sense of being socially tolerant. Instead, its version of “liberal” has its roots in the 1980s’ turn away from “social welfare” – ie. “liberal” means free to make money, and free to re-employ hackneyed conservative propaganda to benefit its new rich, entrepreneurial constitutents – those in jail or likely to avoid it through very creative and “liberal” interpretation of taxation law.

        • felix

          Maybe so but they like to claim “classical liberalism” which does involve social freedom.

          I don’t believe them either for the most part but I’m happy to take them at their word and hold them to it now and then.

  12. And Dunne is a “no”.

    NZ Marriage Equality lists him as Yes, and

    United Future leader Peter Dunne says he supports gay marriage and will vote for the bill in its first reading.


  13. Socialist Paddy 13

    If this has been such a good week for Labour then why did David Parker say that Labour’s views on mining were close to National’s?

    Is he really in the Labour Party?

    The Greens must be grinning from ear to ear … 

    • Murray Olsen 13.1

      The more pertinent question is whether there is actually a Labour Party, or a Tory reserve bench waiting for the next election weakly holding aloft their palest pink and dilapidated flag.

  14. xtasy 14

    If the NZ opposition had unity, enough talent, brain and determination, this would be the total game changer within 24 hours. I miss some talent and solid positioning though.

    Perhaps look at some resolute ideas Sahra Wagenknecht, deputy leader of the Left Party in Germany has for resolving the Euro financial crisis:

    1. Write off all debts by indebted Euro zone countries above 60 per cent of GDP;
    2. as a consequence some large banks and insurance companies holding bonds will go bust; she claims though, taking high risks and being accountable for this has to pay the price;
    3. after technical “re-adjustments” the states should again take over the rennewed credit issuance, but the over grown “investment banking” will be made redundant by doing the above; a prolonged recession would be avoided by more targeted and balanced credits handed out;
    4. savings and insurance deposits would only be guaranteed to a certain limit, she suggest a million Euros, so no unbearable liabilities will be entered into;
    5. credits for individual member states will in future be given by the ECB up to a defined, enforced limit only, about 4 per cent of GDP growth;
    6. The ECB will remain to be independent and adhere to inflation control limits, also controling the flow of money; yet newly issued credit would not flow to banks, but rather directly to the state budgets;
    7. banks shall be limited to issue credit to what they have in deposits, at least on a percentage basis.

    This may partly sound a bit naive, but some leading economists have given her a good comment on this being sensible steps to follow. The source of this info is Spiegel Online, by the way, leading, expert German media.

    For a NZer this all may sound bizarre, but economists will know more to do with it. Some of this should perhaps also have relevance for the NZ scenario?!

    As so many NZ economists and particularly opportunistic pollies have their “own ideas”, not necessarily making sense and certainly not shared by the more expert wider world economist profession, there should be a sound expansion of debate on this and other issues, certainly about what happens in overly dependent little Aotearoa NZ.

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