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A smart speech from Goff

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, December 7th, 2010 - 85 comments
Categories: election 2011, labour, leadership, phil goff - Tags: ,

Goff started the year with an excellent speech, The Many, Not The Few. He followed that with an alternative vision for a budget, Higher Incomes, Better Jobs, and a Conference address that broke the stranglehold that neoliberal thinking has had on the economy for decades. Now he has finished the year with another excellent speech, The Squeezed Middle. Stuff reports:

Goff starts election year early

… Goff today outlined his battle plan for the next year at a speech in Auckland. It included paying off net debt faster than the current Government, reforming the Reserve Bank to help exporters, increasing savings and developing innovation and high value exports. The speech was billed as Goff’s “final major speech” of the year and as preparing the ground for the coming election. …

Goff said that Labour would not go into the election campaign promising to tax and spend. If elected the party’s approach to the economy would be ”more aggressive” and ”hands-on.”

”National is simply sitting back, trying to ride out the tough times,” he said. ”So far, it’s come up with nothing but gimmicks like cycleways and job summits. It has no plan, just blind faith that somehow giving big tax cuts to top earners will trickle down to middle and low-income earners.”

Goff made a bid to appeal to the middle classes. He said lower and middle income earners were still feeling the pinch from the global financial meltdown and paying a greater share of tax. Labour would turn that around, he said.

“Middle income earners are being squeezed and the financial pain they’re feeling is getting worse not better. National has no plan to help them. It’s left them feeling frustrated, unable to get ahead and worried about the future for themselves and their children.”

He said middle income earners don’t want ”big promises”. ”I am realistic about what it takes to turn things around,” he said.

”Our strategy involves creating higher income and better jobs. Our priorities will be creating jobs, keeping the cost of living down and giving our children the best start in life. Any new social spending will need to be paid for by reallocating spending or growth.”

This is smart work from Labour and Phil Goff. Squarely targeted at a middle New Zealand that saw little of National’s tax cuts and far more of their job losses and rising prices. Maintaining the economic line set out at Conference that allows for more hands-on direction of the economy. A focus on a “clean, green, clever economy”. Honest about the challenges and not taking the easy route of impossible promises. And pointing out the obvious, that National has failed to deliver on the economy, and has no viable plan to do so.

If I have one criticism of the speech, it is that the genuinely poor deserve as much air time as the “squeezed middle”, much more than the single throwaway line that they got. Working for Families lifted children out of poverty – be proud to build on that legacy! But beyond that, and of course a desire to see detail that will have to wait for the policy of election year, I have little to fault. I’ll be proud to be backing this Labour Party into election year.

85 comments on “A smart speech from Goff”

  1. just saying 1

    “Middle income earners need someone on their side”.

    Yes they do. We all do. So it’s lucky they have political representation from across the political spectrum. Parliament is drooling over the”middle” vote.

    “We won’t be going into the election promising to tax and spend”.

    -Phew

    “Any new social spending will need to be paid for by reallocating spending or growth.”

    “Labour’s economic plan involves…….. paying off net debt much faster…”

    = Austerity people!

    Seriously, when can we officially call bullshit on Labour eschewing neoliberalism?

    • Marty G 1.1

      not necessarily, there are some phrases in the speech that indicate top level tax rises, not cuts, to pay down debt.

      And, remember, if we had borrowed to put money into the Cullen Fund our net debt would be hundreds of millions less than it is.

      • just saying 1.1.1

        That’s like hearing satanic messages when you play a Stones track backwards.

        Does it suffice?

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Ah. To wake up and laugh. Thanks js

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.2

          So you’re criticising Marty for reading “top level tax rise” into the speech, but don’t see any problem with reading “austerity” into it yourself?

          Given the tone, and wanting to *help* the ‘middle’ NZers, I think it’s much more obvious that top level tax rise is being hinted at, which primarily hurts the rich, than austerity, which primarily hurts the middle and poor.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Now was Goff referring to net public debt or net private debt or both?

      Because at the moment it is net private debt which is the most dangerous to NZ society.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.1

        What can the government directly do about private debt, apart from push the $ lower to encourage exports?

        • smhead 1.2.1.1

          Lots of things government can do Lanth. Like raise consumption taxes and reduce personal income tax, meaning people can keep more of what they earn and there are disincentives to blow money on a new TV. Or reduce the likelihood that people are going to put money into property and instead into wealth creating businesses.

          Both things Labour did nothing about when in Government. Labour ministers showed they were model citizens by buying up big property portfolios and riding the property wave.

          • Lanthanide 1.2.1.1.1

            Most of the countrey’s debt is tied up in mortgages. House sales don’t attract GST, so lowering income tax and raising consumption tax seems that it would make real estate even more attractive.

  2. National is simply sitting back, trying to ride out the tough times,” he said. ”So far, it’s come up with nothing but gimmicks like cycleways and job summits. It has no plan, just blind faith that somehow giving big tax cuts to top earners will trickle down to middle and low-income earners.

    Amen to that.

  3. lprent 3

    Amusing. I have had several people say recently that what was lacking in politics here at present was a clear direction about the middle income households and where the country is heading as far as being able to make a income long term. The word being used about the Nacts was directionless.

    My old man who at 71 and reasonably affluent ( ie does not really affect him ) was talking about it last night on the phone last night. But several of my more apolitical but generally conservative friends in a number of different age groups seem to have the same rudderless feeling with John Keys government.

    I think that is a good line for Goff to push. But he will have to be somewhat specific. I get the impression that meaningless phrases and empty gestures of the type that Key favors are out of fashion.

  4. just saying 4

    …as far as being able to make a income long term.

    nail – head.

    “Middle” NZ would be willing to take a fair share of the hit from the recession if they were convinced it would facilitate long-term job security,an adequate net to catch then when they fall and when those they care about do,and other “social spending” stuff like being ‘safe’ if they happen to end up in a NZ hospital, and for greater social justice IMO.

  5. ooooh yay…speeches !!!

    …can’t wait to hear Fa’afoi’s maiden one next. I bet that will be the most excellentest Labour speech since the last most excellent one.

    Speeches are like Mana from heaven. i just love how we can feed, clothe and educate our kids on speeches.

  6. swimmer 6

    Goff made a fine speech and I like his vision. 🙂

  7. toad 7

    I have to say I’m not at all enthused by the speech, r0b – for the reasons you cite in your last paragraph.

    By implementing discriminatory policy against beneficiary families through its In Work Tax Credit component of Working for Families, Labour in Government ensured that the poverty of the 130,000 poorest New Zealand families would be entrenched.

    Goff’s speech, focusing on middle income New Zealanders rather than the genuinely poor, leaves me feeling that Labour still has no more commitment than National to genuinely reducing inequality. There is no class analysis behind it – just a plea to the hip pockets of middle income New Zealanders for their votes.

    • QoT 7.1

      I agree with this comment so hard I want to feed it cake and bonbons. As long as the political conversation in this country allows people on bloody comfy incomes to pretend *they* are the bottom of the heap, and to ignore the fact that there is real, serious “proper Third World” poverty in this country, it’s going to just be more of the same from the two big parties.

  8. joe bloggs 8

    a smart speech…

    what the fuck? Did everyone miss Phil’s Gaffe? His speech was so short on substance and so long on failed ideology that all it will be remembered for is his embarrassing reference to his Finance Spokesperson David Caygill….

    On the same day that the backstabbing Te Atatu electorate memo was made public…

    Seriously, New Zealand deserves a better Opposition than the pathetic sideshow it’s getting at present. Why doesn’t one of you degenerates get off your arse, mobilise the LWNJs, and roll the bugger once and for all. Put us all out of our misery

    • felix 8.1

      Did he really drop that?

      Shit, that’s quite a Freudian slip dontchareckon?

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      I loved Goff’s speech joe. LAB’s policy direction for 2011 is becoming very clear. Yes, details are still needed but I’m very confident – LAB’s plan for the economy is looking very different to NAT’s lack of plan.

      Only problem today is that we have a MSM who would have been happy to focus on Goff having a sneeze during his speech and replay that 100 times on if it gave them an excuse not to focus on the content.

    • swimmer 8.3

      Oh nobody could miss the gaffe, that’s all that was reported on and not the actual speech. I’m happy with the speech. The letter is an embarrassment and a sideshow, it will also achieve nothing. I think these people should give up because the leader is not going to change before the election and stop giving the party bad publicity. They are inviting the right to win and doing nothing to help their own party. I would be embarrassed by the writers if I were Labour. 🙁

      • dilbert 8.3.1

        I agree swimmer the Leader won’t change before the election. But I have money on it changing less than 12 months after the elction though.

        • swimmer 8.3.1.1

          People would make that a self fufilling prophecy with their letters and other unnecessary actions. There are some people out there who actually want Labour to win in 2011 and it’s really what these people should be focussing on, a change of government, instead of selling out the entire party.

        • Treetop 8.3.1.2

          Good on Goff for making the Gaygill gaffe, it shows that he is human and is looking back at history so as to not repeat it. Now this is strategy, and Labour also has future strategy.

          Susan Boyle also gets a beat up when she makes a gaffe. I think she is having the last laugh with her millions and good on her.

    • Vicky32 8.4

      Like Garner, joe bloggs, you’re making a big something out of nothing! Did you notice Garner’s sneer at Cunliffe because he refused to get bent out of shape about it? 🙂
      Deb

  9. Mark M 9

    Goffs speech was not excellent , he is simply stating the bleedingly obvious .
    Its like saying that to win a Gold medal you need to be first.
    How you get first is the important part.
    Plenty of poiticians prattle on about creating high value jobs , keeping costs low , exporting hi value hi tech products radi rah, but come on Mr Goff , tell us how you plan to do this.
    Tell us what you would do differently from the last nine years you were in power.
    Tell us what you would do differently than in 1984 or 1987 for that matter.

    The general public arent interested in Goffs speech , the media only saw the dementia gaffe and the letter from the lady men of Te Ata Tu

    • swimmer 9.1

      It’s too early for him to be getting into a great deal of detail, you’ll just have to wait.

    • Jum 9.2

      I remember JKeyll and Shotgun Bill refusing to say anything about the substance of their policy until people were so suckered by the tax cuts and fishy lies that they didn’t hear the small print until the blue light of the fascist state started circling and still is. And still there is no real policy apart from attacking workers and engineering a debt situation which will give JKeyll the excuse to sell off our remaining assets, and reduce the wages of workers further.

      With the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement signed by Key, the final nail in the coffin, and New Zealanders will no longer have any say in their own country. It is not about trade between these countries; it is about America controlling the countries stupid enough to sign their people’s rights and freedoms over to a foreign monster of many heads called corporate America.

      Don’t forget the meeting tonight in Auckland at 6pm at St Matthew-in-the-City, Cnr of Hobson and Wellesley Streets, Akld, to hear Professor Jane Kelsey, Hone Harawira and others explain the dangers of that.

      Goff should certainly be making public that that Agreement will be null and void when he becomes PM next year. He needs to make it clear to any corporates seeking to plunder New Zealand that stupid decisions by this government will be reversed when they endanger New Zealanders’ rights and wages; contracts that do not include a compulsory referendum 80% agreement from all voting age New Zealanders, and only after both sides of the issues are presented in words of one syllable, will be made invalid, and the assets nationalised back to Kiwis. Plenty of warning to those circling sharks inside or outside NZ.

      I should say any legislation put through under urgency by this government should be reversed and then I realised that 99% of all their legislation was forced through under urgency by advice from their Act overlord Roger Douglas. What a shameful legacy from NActU and some M.

      More importantly, whichever party becomes government in 2011, it will be the last 3 years that the workers of New Zealand will be sleeping while their rights are eroded. I can’t believe any New Zealander, and JKeyll keeps trying to convince us he is a loyal one, could allow international corporates to control Kiwis. It will take 3 years for the fallout to commence against New Zealand from any new Owner/Controllers and for Kiwis to finally wake up.

      By that time, unfortunately, New Zealand will no longer be the New Zealand we were born into.

      That’s why we at least need Labour in in 2011 – at least their hearts are in the right place – pity their fighting spirit is so badly damaged by ‘relaxed’ New Zealanders rejecting their only real and future support – unionised support – I can’t hear the battle cry yet.

    • Treetop 9.3

      Oh Mark M, Goff has been the leader of the Labour Party since the last election, (two years ago). It is not easy being the leader of the opposition. Come back after the next election as I think the lot we have in government will be a one term government. The last time this happened was 1972 – 1975.

      Goff has the balls to sort out his members of caucus.

  10. ianmac 10

    Last evening Phil was interviewed on National Radio about his speech. The first part from Mary Lamb focussed on his slip of the tongue. Phil soldiered on and answered. Unfortunately his answer was far too long. He should have said, “Yes. I did say the wrong name. My intention with the speech was to show that we need……” He has to sharpen up the rhetoric.

    • swimmer 10.1

      I saw him try to do that on the tv interviews, but they kept harping on about him saying the wrong name.

      • mcflock 10.1.1

        only saw the coverage on the late news – I found it (the coverage) interesting. TVone referred to Caygill as a former colleague from 15 years ago, whereas TV3 not only mentioned Caygill as Minister of Finance but dropped the “Rogernomics” bomb. I guess private and public sector know on which side their bread is buttered.

        As to the slip itself, it is what you make of it. Is it Goff trying so hard not to repeat rogernomics that it overflows from his mouth? Are rogernomics his secret agenda that slipped out? Does he regard Cunliffe as an out and out tory so tha name “Caygill” slipped out? Or is he merely so confident of being the next prime minister that he accidentally slipped the name of a Labour minister of Finance? Who knows.

        Funnily enough, I find myself less inclined to take this as an indication of underlying blue as, say Cunliffe talking about PPPs. I still don’t trust Labour, but I think that the slip, although an indication of something, is not enough of an indication to be indicative of exactly what it is indicating – to go all Bernard Woolley on you.

  11. WOOF 11

    Don’t throw him in the dog house. I’m sure he can smell the wolves at his door, ready to take another bite out of a thin issue. Swimmer once called me the wrong name, he said “get here you flammin mongrel” , it took me a while to drop the sheep and realise that he was talking to me. 🙂

  12. Bill 12

    Maybe Goff’s speech was ‘good’ in traditional left/right market bounded terms. Maybe not.

    But given climate collapse and peaking or peaked oil, isn’t it time politicians began to speak of lowering the living standards of the wealthier and more profligate instead of promising to (somehow) raise ever more of us to the same position?

    The initial phase could be achieved reasonably easily through redistribution (taxes?).

    But it should be sold in a straight down the line fashion with the rationale up front. ie because this party where we’ve become blind drunk on material consumption is nearly over and we either experience ( and possibly fail to survive) the mother of all hangovers or we begin with the mitigating glasses of water now.

    Surely, the stupidly narrow ‘aspirational’ model in current vogue has to be turned somewhat on its head or broadened. Not too hard to do.

    For the ‘middle incomes’, the question might be : Do you want a more rounded and full life achievable through having more free time and avenues opened whereby you can focus on personal rewards beyond those measured by material accumulation? Or do you want to slave away…endure… for gizmos and keeping you head above the waters of relative material wealth/poverty?

    In other words, less remunerative work and more productive leisure time resulting in a richer life.

    For the poorer, the question is far simpler : Do you want an end to this interminable struggle?

    The rich are so few and so ‘gone on it’, might as well forget about them.

    As from now, have Kiwi Bank offer low interest loans on criteria predicated on social return, not merely financial return. This would, hopefully create a ‘feel good’ factor as we witnessed the emergence of a richer and more empowering social environment facilitating productive and engaged uses of leisure time that would simultaneously act as a counter to the fear riddled and predictable squealings of the rich that an individually less materially profligate life would equate to a life in cloth sacks and hovels.

    Oh yeah. And I forgot this. Nationalise any financial sector without compensation and gear it to produce social and not merely financial return… just like Kiwi Bank.

    frustrated rant ends

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      The conversation and the pressure for a static state economy, and for wealth (especially capital) redistribution, has got to come from the public not the pollies.

      No one is talking about openly in public, no pollie is going to approach it with a barge pole.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        If the majority of the population get immediate recognisable gains, then a political party could run with it.

        Going on Marty’s ‘The New Economy’ post’s figures, which is where I’d have put my comment in the first place if I’d noticed it…. If 50% of us have ‘nothing to lose’, then hey. If another 40% of us need to reprioritise, or be offered additional measures for what it is to be ‘rich’ (circumstantial evidence is that ‘no-one’ is satisfied with all encompassing material measures of ‘richness’), then I can’t see what makes it undo-able in political terms. It’s like ‘everyone’ is waiting for a message. Witness the support for the abomination that’s the tea party.

        Actually, it’s not true that I can’t see what makes it undo-able in political terms. What makes it undo-able is that politicians are in the business of serving business and business dependent elites instead of serving us. I sometimes think they should more accurately be labelled economicians; not politicians.

        And if the pressure is to come from the citizenry, then doesn’t climate collapse and peak oil potentially offer leverage that could prise open the jaws of debate?

        I’m not at all supportive of a command economy, as I’m sure you know from previous comments. Any measure that emanated from the state should be accompanied by genuine decentralisation of power or we wind up in the shit of a dictatorship.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Bill, how is the majority of the population going to be able to tell if they will gain or not? The MSM and the fearmongers will be out in force once they see any serious move is afoot. March out the Soviet caricatures and the Great Leap Forward.

          We have seen electorates vote time and again for candidates and for parties which are not good for them.

          Re: climate collapse and peak oil, there is a perfect opportunity to weave that into a socialist theme. The Greens will not do it now that they are looking to move towards the political centre (in terms of the Left-Right debate). Nevertheless for any new party, the use of green themes is there to support moves to the political and socialist left IMO, not the other way around.

          • Bill 12.1.1.1.1

            Hence the ‘frustrated rant’ sign off.

            However, I tend to believe that people are ‘waiting for a sign’ as it were. (Maybe I have to believe that?) Unfortunately, the ‘sign’ will probably come from the right of field as evinced by the tea party and, as Chris Hedges endlessly proselytises, because of the impotence and connivance of the established liberal left who find every excuse to keep on keeping on the same old road.

            Happy as a Hangman is his latest insightful, not very cheery, and (loosely) case study based piece on the complicity of inaction (innocence as complicity) and the likely consequences for individual people.

            • just saying 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Happy as a Hangman – Just too tragically true Bill. It’s happening here. To us.

              I tell myself that there have been many turns history has taken that couldn’t have been predicted, and that we humans have committed at least as many acts of and love and wisdom. But it’s really not looking good.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2

        I didn’t think I was nobody 😛

        • Bill 12.1.2.1

          Y’know, a full stop in the middle there and you might almost have cracked Zen Buddhism, DTB…or be a mentally broken down gibbering wreck. One or t’other.

  13. smhead 13

    Have you labour lovers thought that getting the crap totally beaten out of you next year might be the best thing that could happen to your party? If you do it right it will cull a whole lot of useless timeservers out and brign some real talent into the party. That’s where you guys should be putting your efforts if you want labour to come back, getting rid of old wood now so that you have a good team in place for the 2014 election. The better you do this time (and you’re never going to win) the less likely you can renew for 2014 so that you can be competitive in 2017. Forced renewal in the nats in 2002 meant nats almost won 2005 and were so strong in 2008.

    • swimmer 13.1

      Yes, let Labour lose on purpose so that NACT can sell off the entire country during their next term. Labour already has huge renewal.

      • KJT 13.1.1

        One more term of NACT and we may as well all leave for Australia, because the country will be totally fucked.

        We need to get across the message that we cannot afford another 3 years of ne0-lib nuttiness.

    • The Voice of Reason 13.2

      Cheers for the advice, Smeggy. Hope you won’t be too upset if we ignore it and concentrate on winning a Labour led Government next year instead? Because that’s whats actually going to happen.

      As I’ve been saying since shortly after the last election, Key is popular, but his Government is not. When Smile and Wave finds himself an MP or two short of forming the next Government, he’ll just shrug his shoulders and relax his way into the Hawaiian sunset. Even Farrar has twigged to the problems the Nats face. It’s Epsom. Without ACT, the Nats are gone.

      Same with the C Slug, who has pointed out that if Goff just keeps asking the question “have things got better under National?” every day till the election, he’ll piss in, because the Nats have no answer to it that doesn’t make them look like economic incompetents.

    • felix 13.3

      Smeghead,

      Most of us are more interested in what is the best thing for NZ, not for any one party.

      But thanks for the concern.

  14. ianmac 14

    I scanned five papers on-line. None headlined Goff’s speech. Most did not even mention it but headlined things like Parata first time MP promoted to Cabinet. (That will please some would-be Ministers!) Stuff ran a video. And yet Brash was given a much bigger headline. Funny that.

    • Mark M 14.1

      Just goes to show how irrelevant the left leaning MSM ,think Goff is

    • swimmer 14.2

      They are doing the public a huge disservice by not reporting it.

    • smhead 14.3

      Oh puhleeeze. He’s mr 6 percent giving a speech that says nothing. The media gave him exactly the coverage it warranted.

      • swimmer 14.3.1

        B.S. – The speech itself got no coverage, I don’t really care if he said Caygill. I can understand how it happened, they are both called David C. His percentage doesn’t do him justice. I feel ripped off as a viewer.

      • Vicky32 14.3.2

        smhead, I misread your final 2 words as “it wanted”, which is actually much more likely…
        Deb

  15. BLiP 15

    I wasn’t impressed. At all. The speech raises more questions than it provides answers. Sure, its early days yet but: What’s he doing referring to “NZ Inc”? What are these new “liquidity controls” Labour is planning for the Reserve Bank? What’s this about not “selling” but “leveraging” state assets? What “economic partnerships” with the private sector is Labour thinking of, just assisting Maori with their assets, and foisting genetically engineered goods onto the market? When he says “net debt over the business cycle” is he talking about the spread-sheet shenanigans of “build-now, pay-later”? Why would he want government reduced to the role of “economic manager” rather than its proper role of regulatory authority and policy setter?

    Questions, questions, questions. Perhaps Goff and David Cagill Cuncliffe will be spelling things out as we move closer to the election. At the moment its all a bit vague and worrying for a cynic like me.

  16. Mark M 16

    Perhaps Phils economic policy should have been the following

    It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit.

    On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

    The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.
    The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.
    The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub.
    The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit.
    The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.
    The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.
    At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.
    No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.
    And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

    • felix 16.1

      Umm, Mark. Bit embarrassing.

      I know you’ve been wanting to share that ever since you read it, but I’m sure if you waited a bit longer you would’ve found a post with which it shared some relevance and we could’ve all avoided that awful cringe.

      Also it’s a bit of a silly analogy as apparently:

      1. everyone in the village owes and is owed the same amount
      2. no-one owes anyone outside of the village
      3. everyone spends 100% of their income on paying debt i.e. no investment or job creation

      Much like the little “redistribution is evil” story burt likes to tell about the 10 men in a bar, the tidiness appeals to the simple mind but also erases any connection to reality.

    • BLiP 16.2

      And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

      Heh!! Very clever but relies on the fact that *everyone* is in debt and *no one* has charged interest.

      • Colonial Viper 16.2.1

        Lets not forget that round of a $100 note has enabled everyone to live their lives.

        Mark M is just pissed off with the scenario because everyone is happy at having been able to do their thing and the capitalists haven’t got their Return on Investment

        Heh!! Very clever but relies on the fact that *everyone* is in debt and *no one* has charged interest.

        TRUE

        Goldman Sachs et al got quantitative easing funds free of interest via the Fed window.

        They then leant those same QE funds back to the US Government at 3% interest p.a.

        Deal!

  17. Herodotus 17

    So who are middle income families and how are they defined $50k, $60K, $100k???
    Did not the middle class get given WFF, int free loans, where is the assistance to those who missed out on Labs last lolly scamble e.g. pensioners, singles, couples without children. All these and others also favce increased cost of living, or do they not matter?
    This is scap substance, it is written in such a way as to appear inclusive to all who consider them selfs middle, yet regarding IRD income breakdowns anyone earning over about $80k is wealthy. Now is that great in a country earning about 3x the min income of less than 2x avg full time wage is considered wealthy. Takea bow Lab and Nat for allowing thru crap delivery of prosperity to this country and delivering 2nd world wage. And I hope all the cheer leaders hear take a step back and see what has been delivered. All the wealth under Helens time was “perceived” to those who own property. Great legacy was left to build on
    As when Lab last got into power and increased the top tax rate they taxed the nurses and teachers. Are we again going to see more of this?
    I would hate to see that a single income family on $90k be told that they are rich and that the high tax rate will apply to them, and yet a 2 income family on a combined $100k income be middle class and have $14+k more desposable income and be taxed at a far inferior rate.
    As both Nat and you are well aware of such issues there is no reason for major inconsistencies with such a policy, unless little thought has gone into the detail.
    Like David Cunliffs all what we “can do” not what we will do. Can someone get some substance into Labour??

  18. gingercrush 18

    It was a stupid speech and he’s made even more stupid statements since then: http://www.interest.co.nz/news/labour-leader-goff-calls-tax-working-group-tackle-tax-avoidance-take-pressure-middle-classes

    The last time National fixed tax avoidance, they were criticised for it because it would push up rents. Yet here is Goff doing the exact same thing. He then spouts on about the government borrowing too much and yet somehow is he going to not increase spending but contribute to the Super Fund, cut SOE profit and more Working for Families. And he’s ruling out a Capital Gains Tax and Lands Tax. He’s an incoherent mess and will not be elected.

  19. Jum 19

    ‘middle income’ is more a perception by the individuals that feel they are. Definitely, they are not starving. They are clever enough to have some control over their income or at least think they do; they are not poor enough to be working 3 jobs unless they want the ‘big’ house; they are not rich enough to follow the sun.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      add in that they may think that they are too smart/too independent to need unions (which you imply), they prefer to identify with the bosses, and that as professionals or semi-professionals they cannot possibly be considered working class (even though all their modest income is earned through labour hours, not through return on capital).

      • Jum 19.1.1

        Big mistake thinking they are not interested in joining a union. It has become difficult because of the way people are divided up. Certainly, some will consider that unions are a step down the ladder; that is dangerous thinking.

        Unions are absolutely necessary; without support the individual is vulnerable. I remember my Mother telling me about her work as a Tailoress. The Office Workers thought they were above the Tailoresses. The Tailoresses however earned twice as much. It made Mum chuckle. It’s all about perception. Office workers are severely vulnerable individually. Office work is low on the list of desirable career paths yet necessary to make the company flow smoothly.

        Make it cool to be in a union.

        • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1

          Make it cool to be in a union.

          Yeah…hear ya. IMO its about doing traditional things in innovative ways PLUS unions showing off being tech savvy, showing off knowing about running a business and managing a business and leading staff, being willing to be seen as productivity partners with capitalist owners – as long as workers are fairly rewarded – its about showing caring and compassion.

          In a near future economic set up unions could help their members form co-operatives and new ways of starting, owning and participating in business. (The Business Round Table sure won’t). Unions need to really grasp the 21st century with gusto.

          Plus they need to throw really good parties.

        • Vicky32 19.1.1.2

          “Office work is low on the list of desirable career paths yet necessary to make the company flow smoothly.”
          I want to be an office worker! It’s what I like… But I am doomed to be a telemarketer (starting soon.) That’s on the level of fast food service, trust me on that.)
          Deb

          • Jum 19.1.1.2.1

            Maybe I should qualify that ‘desirable career path’ Deb. A survey said…
            That so many people will be after office work that the competition will be cutthroat and will result in lower wages as a result. So if the goal is more money, that won’t do it, but it sure as hell will beat being at the mercy of people when you are telemarketing. But, that’s still better than people who don’t get paid for hard work like the wives of houses and the receptacles/minders of babies. Being all of those things is well, even more difficult…eh, Deb.

            • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.2.1.1

              My friend is a waitress at Jupiter Casino on the Gold Coast.

              She earns AU$24/hr. Oh, and before I forget to mention, AU$28/hr on Sundays and Public Holidays.

              And yes, she is a union member.

              When are you going to close the gap with THAT Bill and John?

          • BLiP 19.1.1.2.2

            Yuk!! My heart goes out to you. Call centres are the 21st Century equivalent of the 18th Century cotton mills. Poor souls, crowded into a small space, each attached to their machine, huddled over the keyboard while supervisors stride about the place monitoring numbers and push for results. Good luck, mate. Join a union.

  20. just saying 20

    From the article linked at 18

    “There are people who get some marginal assistance through Working for Families, but middle income people are people who don’t get a lot of attention because they’re not in absolute poverty, but they are really struggling to make ends meet,” Goff said.

    And what F@#king attention do those in ‘absolute poverty’ get from Labour Phil, you supercilious prick?
    -Zip.

    Goff is truly loathsome. Disgust doesn’t begin to cover it

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      And what F@#king attention do those in ‘absolute poverty’ get from Labour Phil, you supercilious prick?
      -Zip.

      Well I’ll tell you what they get from National, they get told that they are lazy, that they are good for nothing and that they are bludgers. Then National get a bunch of well paid contract bureacrats in to come up with rationales to cut benefits and reclassify the sick and infirm in order to force them back into work.

      As for what you asked about what Labour is doing re: poverty, why don’t you calm the frak down and read Annette King’s speech to conference for starters, where Labour talks about its recognition of the need to deal with child poverty in NZ.

  21. just saying 21

    “Well I’ll tell you what they get from National, they get told that they are lazy, that they are good for nothing and that they are bludgers. Then National get a bunch of well paid contract bureacrats in to come up with rationales to cut benefits and reclassify the sick and infirm in order to force them back into work.”

    And NO defence from the labour opposition

  22. Jum 22

    Vicky 32 would like an office job. Someone fix that please. Thank you.

  23. SPC 23

    When will Labour bite the bullet and propose limiting the base salary of MP’s ($145,000) to 3 * the average wage ($50,000).

    This means when their “remuneration” is next reviewed the pay does not go up by 10-25% while many workers get a wage freeze and the average wage barely moves.

    Parliamentary parties supported a deferring of their last pay round and their perks and expenses now being overseen by the “independent” body – but all in the knowledge that any pay round deferred simply means a bigger wage increase round ahead (the independent body has a track record of delivering big pay increases so they profit while others are under wage restraint). The body has proven its worth as an arms length vehicle for large gains so it’s a safe bet by MP’s they will obtain generous compensation for any loss of perks.

    And this is all sold as a more transparent process the public can accept.

    If they are really concerned about our low wages and the need to close the gap we should give them an incentive to care – linking their pay to 3* the average wage does that.

    An increase from $145 to $150,000 is more than some workers are getting at the moment.

    Labour suggesting that to the public would be really showing they live in the same world as those of the middle class.

  24. Deadly_NZ 24

    Make it cool to be in a union??????????????

    only when that stupid, unsympathetic speak first think later Helen Kelly is removed from all aspects of the union movement then i will look at rejoining the union but until this woman is gone then too bad

    • Jum 24.1

      And I have a feeling your idea of a union is the exact reason too many women voted for JKeyll the ladykiller.

    • Colonial Viper 24.2

      Helen Kelly is a credit to the union movement; she was dealt a particularly bad hand by Actors Equity and she was hardly responsible for the fiasco which occurred once Jackson decided to reneg on their agreement for personal gain.

  25. Deadly_NZ 25

    A credit???? and what about her opening her mouth about Pike river ????? she really is an embarrassment….

  26. KJT 26

    Another missed opportunity to hammer the fact that only the election of Brown slowed selling off Aucland to the lowest bidder. And that is the fate of the whole of NZ if National get back in.

    Another fire sale of public assets to friends of NACT.

    When is Goff going to get going? Good speeches lately, but NACT have plenty of things they can be pulled up on without irrelevant sideshows like Wong.

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