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A vision for manufacturing

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, October 1st, 2012 - 117 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, jobs - Tags:

David Cunliffe has given another excellent economic development speech. I think what’s interesting is that he’s not really proposing new policy – what he’s saying is largely in line with the platform Labour ran in on 2011, but he’s articulating the vision behind those policies – the why, rather than just the how – which was lacking from Labour in 2011. Great stuff.

Here’s my favourite part of the speech:

40,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2008 when National came to government and there are more layoffs to come. Some 65,000 more New Zealanders are unemployed and that’s not counting what Bill English now calls the “safety valve” of 54,000 other New Zealanders giving up and moving permanently to Australia in the last year alone – an all-time record.

So we desperately need a high-value manufacturing strategy in this country. Gone are the days when manufacturing was just some unskilled worker bolting two parts together. That style of manufacturing is now inevitably done in low-wage countries. In most cases, we simply can’t compete with Asia when it comes to large-scale, low-cost manufacturing.

However, we’re not out of the race, by any means. According to Statistics New Zealand, there are about 22,700 manufacturing businesses in New Zealand, which together produce about $20 billion of sales. $20 billion.

I believe we could triple that, not by lowering our environmental standards or paying our workers less, but doing what we do so well.

New Zealand is very good at thinking small and thinking smart. We can do small production runs of specialist items. We can process raw materials that were gathered nearby. We can produce products on demand for our local market or international markets.

Above all, we can think smart. We can take an idea from concept to manufacture, often on a budget that wouldn’t pay for lunch in America or Germany.

Should the government be backing the manufacturing sector? Absolutely. Just look to the Scandinavian example.

Prof Göran Roos, a leading Scandinavian industrial economist, points out that every dollar in manufacturing business leads directly to $1.74 in turnover elsewhere in the economy. And he and others point out that with increasing linkage between manufacturing and high value services in global trade, you can’t win without manufacturing capability. Buy a new car, get a regular servicing package.

The Scandinavians understand that a successful manufacturing strategy provides high-value jobs, good incomes, and helps reduce our overseas debt.

Labour will work with unions and businesses to enhance skills training to help support a strong manufacturing heart. The heart of a high-performance manufacturing sector is highly-productive workplaces with excellent training and decent living wages.

Like in the Scandinavian countries, we want workers to have the training and support to adapt to changing jobs with ‘flexicurity’ throughout their lives. Flexicurity: it means ‘flexible security’.

This is important. Look at what’s happening with the West Coast coal miners. After a lifetime of hard work in the coalmines, these miners are now facing the economic scrapheap thanks to National’s plans to railroad the sale of Solid Energy. The miners must now adapt to a changing world. Can they do this overnight? Of course not.

That’s where the government can help, not with a handout, and not by lowering environmental standards or strip-mining national parks, but with an investment in the future of those workers and an investment in the future of our entire country. It’s time to recognise that our most valuable resource is not just our land, but our people.

A New Zealand where we produce more of the manufactured goods that we consume – rather than importing – and export more high value products – rather than going for mass exports of barely processed commodities. Some contrast to National’s vision of lower labour and environmental standards, selling off everything that’s not nailed down and much that is, digging up our precious places, and filling our rivers with cow shit so that a privileged few can maintain and grow their wealth.

117 comments on “A vision for manufacturing ”

  1. Kotahi Tāne Huna 1

    When I read David Cunliffe’s speeches, I am always better informed and occasionally inspired as a result.

    This is what a leader does.

    • Dr Terry 1.1

      Such supreme ability and intelligence is more than “what a leader does” – it clarifies “who the leader should be”. No other current politician could compete with this show of brilliance.

      • geoff 1.1.1

        Ugh, don’t be such a sycophant.

      • LOL.

        Look, I think Cunliffe would’ve been a better choice too, but that’s just hilarious. I’m sure several people on both the front and back benches could compete given the right circumstances. Good leaders are hard to pick, (msotly because you have to ignore all the dumb pressure to make the wrong choices) but they’re not actually that rare.

  2. ad 2

    This one reminded me of that one by Hilary Clinton 5 years ago “It Takes A Village”. While the theme of that speech is that it takes a whole community to support families, Cunliffe riffed on something quite different.

    He used an organic metaphor throughout: economic gardening.

    He explained that good business and people and the land need to coexist as if they really do depend on each other. In fact he started the whole thing off inferring that the economy and people are as interdependent and plants and people to breathing. It’s pretty striking as a metaphor. So, so far removed from the current government’s approach, which is viewed through the two tropes of fiscal discipline and disciplinary hygiene.

    Also striking is that this is the first time in living memory that a Labour member of any note has gone out of his way to praise farmers, and to turn their work into a metaphor for the whole economy.

    And finally, it’s a huge feint greenwards in its tone. The total collection of the themes and images could easily fit into Russell Norman’s delivery. Looks like he knows what he’s doing politically with this.

  3. Peter 3

    And why isn’t David Cunliffe the leader again?

  4. Hilary 4

    A leader of the left in NZ needs to be able to work collaboratively with all parties to meld them together into the next government, and get on with all the diverse and strong personalities involved. I think this is probably Shearer’s strength. He seems to be quite laid back and not driven by ego and anger as some other politicians are (although not thinking of anyone in particular).

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 4.1

      That’s it? The ability to get along with “people”? Like, for example, almost 100% of politicians?

      I think the ability to inspire is equally if not more important. When is Shearer going to demonstrate any of that? Oh, sorry, I forgot, Matthew Hooten and David Farrar just love him.

    • Khandallahman 4.2

      @ Hilary
      Pathetic crap. What a gutless commentary on an important issue. It you are a reflection of Shearer’s support, we are truly fucked. Go back to bed, keep out of the way.

      [lprent: Silly pointless abuse. You didn’t say why you disagreed with Hilary and it doesn’t reveal itself in the comment thread. I’d suggest that you read how I handle pointless abuse in the policy before I demonstrate the effective use of the pointed abuse technique on you. ]

      • Te Reo Putake 4.2.1

        Khandallahman, it would probably better if you kept out of the way, at least until you’ve got your anger and abuse issues under control.
        Hillary, good assessment. Shearer’s previous work was in building coalitions in unstable situations, a useful grounding for bringing together the parties that will form the next government.

        • Hilary

          Remember that David Lange could inspire and entertain and was a wonderful orator, but he wasn’t terrific at building a team, and he let Rogernomics happen. We need all the diverse talents: the orators, the organisers, the writers, the peacemakers and good hard working electorate people, to work together for sustainable change.

          • Kotahi Tāne Huna

            “…to work together…”

            100% agree – so why does Shearer keep on defending right wing bullshit?

        • Lanthanide

          “Shearer’s previous work was in building coalitions in unstable situations, a useful grounding for bringing together the parties that will form the next government.”

          Sounds like good skills for the deputy leader.

      • Wayne 4.2.2

        Now, that is what I would call appropriate moderation, as oppossed to objecting to an inconvenient fact which does not suit the moderators viewpoint (which is censorship).

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna

          Um, “facts” are not subject to “viewpoints”, but from what I’ve seen of your comments you think you’re entitled to your own facts anyway.

        • lprent

          And your judgement means bugger all – you don’t appear to have the experience to judge. Mostly what moderators are targeting are “snowball” effects where they have observed the end effects of many times (before they understand both the problem and the causations).

          In the case of comment you are referring to above, the downstream consequences are pretty obvious. Being able to abuse without offering an shred of argument just ignites tit-for-tat and the comment stream goes to crap. It is like trying to predict laminar flow over a aircraft wing or stream bed rather than the turbulent flow closer to the metal or stream bed. The former is simple, obvious, and could be calculated by a calculator. That latter requires super computers and frequently they get out performed by straight guesswork by experience.

          Consider, for instance, if I actually censored the site and enforced a level of politeness on the site by not allowing any abuse. Then it will inevitably force the comment stream into mould where people constrain their actual opinions into a mode of coded statements to express their opinions. That shifts the commentators into a clique of those who know the ‘language’ of the forum and those who do not – lawyers, sports nutters, and parliamentarians are all obvious examples. But it extends across most areas. The pattern is pretty obvious in most professions and obsessions, but isn’t that suitable for a political forum trying to get a wide range of views.

          There are many examples of that around the net. It gets really boring really fast, stops a site from growing because newbies don’t get a chance to learn before they violate some unwritten rules or leave through boredom, and largely stops the site from serving a useful purpose. The exact causation and final nature of the problem isn’t going to be easily defined. However it becomes pretty obvious in hindsight how it drifted into the pattern.

          But similarly the moderation you are referring to was some dickhead who was trying to game our system to insert a meme with an unsubstantiated, unverified ‘fact’ that wasn’t linked. It is a classic pattern in political forums.

          When I just looked at it now, it turned out to be one of the parliamentary services IP’s (thought I’d seen it before). It was most likely an idiot staffer playing at fire-and-forget astro-turfing. But I didn’t need to track the IP either then or now. The pattern of semi-professional gaming behaviour was obvious to anyone who has seen it innumerable times before. Sure I ‘censor’ it. Moronic spambots trying to push viral memes use exactly the same type of behaviour. Do you think that I censor the free speech of moronic machines as well? Like the spambots, once you allow PR memebots on your site then every competing interest will plaster like a Ponsonby building site’s walls over time.

          You’ll find that sites that survive for long periods of time (and I realized we passed 5 years in August and I was too damn busy to write a post) tend to have quite simple rules enforced by a few of the people more experienced in forums – and who would really prefer not to moderate. Mostly what they are doing is warning about what will be accepted. Mostly they are targeting behaviours that they have seen screwing up forums long dead. They also automatically identify and kill behaviours that you’d have no idea even exist until you have seen the downstream effects..

          And guess what… Having commentators setting themselves as the arbitrageurs of moderation is another boring snowball effect. Why? Well it is because almost every commentator has their own opinion of what is acceptable and what is not – and they seldom agree. So any discussion of acceptable behaviour usually winds up as this incredible unreadable clusterfuck of political manoeuvring as cliques attempt to set the standards. It isn’t hard to find old archives on the net where that has happened and the people running it have simply shut it down. I’d suggest late-90’s usenet nz.politics archives is a good place to start.

          We allow some of discussion of moderation policies to be aired because it makes it easier for commentators to self-moderate. But you’ll find that limit is pretty damn clear and it is invariably set at people directly or indirectly trying to tell operators how run their systems.

          The inevitable response is along the lines of “… if you want to control something – then set up your own damn site..”, followed by providing an incentive to do so. The net is wide open to doing that and the entry constraints are few. The numbers of sites set up by critics that actually survive for more than a year are few and far between because they learn the basic lesson pretty fast. That getting a forum to be successful as a forum involves a damn sight more than just good luck, being a critic is easy by comparison, and being a unthinking git will often give people opportunities in promoting up your own site – ask Pete George…

          As I’ve pointed out before. You should learn to suck your own eggs before offering dumb and ill-informed advice. You need to know why things are done rather than just observing the forms.


          • Wayne

            Well, all I can say is that no-one has denied the accuracy of the fact, only that it was not “linked”. But, hey, it is your site.

            • lprent

              Ah no – exactly the opposite way to how it operates here. This isn’t Whaleoil’s site where fabrications are the norm. Read our policy yet again. If you assert that something is a fact, then when challenged it is up to you to provide a link to a credible external source or a reason for others to believe why it might be correct. The preferred way is to link to something reasonably credible to explain why you think it is ‘fact’.

              If you want to claim it from personal knowledge then you can do so. However that usually involves stating how you know. That usually doesn’t get believed from pseudonyms unless you can display some deep knowledge about the area. There are always people here who can trip most pretenders up.

              The presumption is that without backing, then it is either a direct fabrication or a repeated one. In this case, I haven’t seen any such substantiation. If you have, then perhaps you should link to it rather than making another assertion of fact.

              …all I can say is that no-one has denied..

              Incidentally, you have just done the ‘presumption’ fallacy. Stating a fact or an argument and then having no-one arguing it does not mean that you have ‘won’ an argument. Usually what it means is that either no-one can be bothered because they have seen that argument hundreds of times before (and there are pages describing the antithesis), or they think that you are such a idiot that it isn’t worth engaging with you.

              I moderate for that as well, and frequently ban people if I think that they are doing it deliberately. It invariably winds up with a claim of ‘pwned’ or ‘owned’ – which starts some irritating flamewars…

    • prism 4.3

      Hilary 4

      Please not the word laid back. We have had that from Jokey Hen, now we want enthusiastic people who get up and do things not skip out and leave it to their underlings while eating grapes.

  5. Bored 5

    David Cunliffe desperately wants a high-value manufacturing strategy in this country. Gone are the days when manufacturing was just some unskilled worker bolting two parts together. That style of manufacturing is now inevitably done in low-wage countries. In most cases, we simply can’t compete with Asia when it comes to large-scale, low-cost manufacturing.

    On Saturday Richard Heinberg was interviewed by Kim Hill and gave a rather mild version of what the future holds for “industrial humans”. In short the vision of high value may be appropriate as a strategy for today’s world, it will fall horribly short tomorrow. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2534058/richard-heinberg-end-of-growth.asx

    A more dire but probably more prescient diagnosis is that of Kunstler who predicts a rapid decomplexification of industry, with a concentration on localisation and support of an agricultural sector that will be massively compromised by the end of today’s petrochemical based industrial agricultural model.

    With that in mind whilst I think Cunliffe is heading in the right direction I have doubts about the medium to long term strategy. The good thing for those opposed to the neo lib globalist corporatist model is that it has a limited shelf life, when the oil goes it goes with it.

    • I agree Bored and I had the chance to ask DC about peak oil.

      His speech was more optimistic than his previous speeches.  He pointed out that in his third speech he had said:

      “Let’s not get side-tracked by the wonderful fantasy that we can continue living a 1950s American Dream lifestyle.  Nor be deterred from harnessing every bit of Kiwi ingenuity, every good idea, for a more resilient and sustainable future. 

      I would love to say that’s all we need to do, but it’s not. We need to act on a personal level, a local level, a national level and, finally, a global level.

      On a personal level, we need to act in an aware, caring and responsible way. We need to recycle, we need to buy goods from ethical sources, and we need to teach our children the value of doing more with less. 

      On a local level, we need to support city councils and interest groups that act responsibly. 

      On a political level, we need to support parties that acknowledge the depth of the problem and are prepared to do something about it. 

      We can’t just close down every dairy farm. We can’t just ban cars and hope that someone builds a railway. 

      In the meantime, every bottle you recycle, every heater you turn off, every vote that you cast, is one small drop. And, never forget, an ocean is made up of nothing more than small drops.

      And an ocean is a powerful force of nature. 

      And, finally never let us forget, that there are seven billion people on this small planet. Like drops in the ocean, we’re all this together.”

      So the fourth speech had a great deal that will assist the problem.  The development of clean tech, getting away from exporting bulk raw materials, developing a local manufacturing sector will all slow down the consumption of oil and minerals.  But they will not cure the problem and more will be required.

      He also had a great description of 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.” 

      • Bored 5.1.1

        Of all the people in Parliament Cunliffe is the only one I hear who seems to have an inkling of the size of the issue we face. He has my vote for that reason alone.

    • Jokerman 5.2

      support the process of plant origin food production

    • Peter 5.3

      I’ve had a few yarns to Cunliffe about peak oil and resources in the past, and he does definitely “get it”, but like all politicians, he’s pretty limited in what he can say within the system. There are no political solutions to peak oil really, well, no solutions that most countries can adopt. There might be a few hopes for NZ, but it requires an approach to political economy that we haven’t seen since the days of Bill Sutch.

      • Macro 5.3.1

        Cuba has been living with “Peak Oil” for the past few decades after the USA turned the tap off.
        There is one solution. And Cuba is the one nation that not only enjoys a high level of equality, medical care, and education – but also lives within the constraints of earth’s resources – unlike any “developed” economy in the world today, where our demand far outstrips the capacity of the planet to provide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Human_welfare_and_ecological_footprint_sustainability.jpg

        • Peter Wilson

          Yeah it has, quite well actually. The challenge I want to issue to NZ is to see a similar transition (and NZ has vastly more natural resources) within a democratic framework. Peak oil isn’t a reason to throw out a fantastic democratic legacy, if anything, it’s a reason to strengthen it. Democracies handle turbulence a lot better.

  6. TightyRighty 6

    because the rest is pure waffle and spelling out the obvious, lets focus on what labour are acutally going to do, should they get the chance.

    “Labour will work with unions and businesses to enhance skills training to help support a strong manufacturing heart……”

    “Like in the Scandinavian countries, we want workers to have the training and support to adapt to changing jobs with ‘flexicurity’ throughout their lives. Flexicurity: it means ‘flexible security’.”

    So Labour will work with unions and business to enhance skills training. Through what channel? Polytechs would be the obvious answer, but it seems recent studies put the value of their degrees at close to zero. So no tangible ideas here. just an idea about an idea.

    Funny how “flexitcurity” in work is such a good idea, yet “flexicurity” in a childs education, another scadi idea is a terrible on.e

    Claiming this to be an excellent economic development speech just lets all those Journo’s off the hook, the ones who you hate for not asking the penetrating questions. Why is that? If this speech is excellent, then the bar for excellence is pretty low.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 6.1

      And yet you make not one substantive criticism.

      • TightyRighty 6.1.1

        Really? I pulled out the one thing of substance in this speech and showed how it wouldn’t “just” work because shearer wanted it to.

        • mickysavage

          Ever been to Scandinavia TR and seen how it works?  While we are at it why are the countries following neo liberal economic policies (UK, US, NZ, Greece, Spain, Italy …) doing so badly yet the Scandinavian countries are holding up remarkably well?

          Rather than just writing something off because (gasp) trade unions are involved how about analysing the situation?

          And the Scandinavian proportion of education is well known.  Finland for instance would never dream of introducing something like National Standards. 

          • insider

            Greece and Spain neoliberal? Since when?

          • TightyRighty

            I am not writing it off because the unions are involved, I am writing it off because there is no substance to it. There is no single, concrete idea to make it work. Shearer hasn’t defined the channels to provide education has he. He has just said that they will work with unions and businesses. But the reality is the “flexicurity” he is talking about can only be provided off site as it obviously isn’t job specific. So how is it going to be achieved?

            I have been to to Scandinavia actually, I have important suppliers there and have seen how the manufacturing works. I saw none of this flexicurity.

            The neo-lib policies of NZ, UK, US etc? 5 of those nations mentioned have been involved in quantitative easing, 3 of those you mentioned are tied into the disaster of a unified single currency. Only one has actually grown throughout the recession without resorting to cheap government tricks. which one? NZ. NZ is actually doing pretty well considering it’s reliance on export markets that are suffering badly.

            • bbfloyd

              Having a bad case of willful blindness doesn’t qualify as a helpful trait when attempting to debunk approaches espoused by those who havn’t got the same affliction….

              When we look at the people who ARE in a position to actually implement policies designed to restore our manufacturing base, we see a complete dereliction of thought, and duty of care…..

              So, we can assume those that would put any, and all statements of intent by opposition parties(particularly labour) under a faulty microscope are more than happy to accept a government utterly bereft of sensible ideas, and no desire to act on behalf of it’s own citizens….

              Strange how disloyalty to ones own people is rewarded, and celebrated, by those without the “vision” to see the damage they are assisting….

              The critisism is apt tight boy…. you are part of the problem, and will never be part of the solution…

              • TighyRighty

                As usual bbfloyd comes along and adds nothing of any value. You are just the most unpleasant person. Instead of actually having a belief and arguing it, you just use snide remarks and nastiness all based on supposition. I at least can explain my thought processes as to how I arrive at my conclusion about something. You just jack off over the thought of someone getting butthurt by you.

                • Rarely talks to me Buddy 😛
                  You’d think he’d be jumpin on me by now ! 😛

                • Just search for “BloodyOrphan Mistress” 4 my resume
                  Bware, words like Butthurt will attract me ;-P
                  Would u care to restrain Me ?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  As usual bbfloyd comes along and adds nothing of any value.

                  I thought it was a rather good and succinct summary of the attitudes we see from Tories in general actually.

                  • Ae, He just uses big words so they think their smart 🙂
                    He is civilised afterall, can’t have them developing a Inferiority complex because of him.
                    Best too let them figure that stuff out on there own aye bbfloyd.

            • Kotahi Tāne Huna

              “I have been to to Scandinavia actually…I saw none of this flexicurity”

              Perhaps your hosts decided they didn’t want to listen to a right wing nut job ranting about bludgers.

            • lprent

              NZ is actually doing pretty well considering it’s reliance on export markets that are suffering badly.

              Of course it does help to be selling food during the fastest rise in populations worldwide ever recorded.

              So what happens when the rate of increase drops away? Well you can tell pretty easily. Just look at the effects of what happened before during and after the end of Korean war. We went from boom to government welfare for the poor sheep farmers in less than a generation.

              • Peter

                That, and a giant ticking legacy of 50 years of nitrogen in the soil horizons, waiting to further damage our rivers.

              • TighyRighty

                We can cross that bridge when we come to it. At least this growth isn’t built on unsustainable credit consumption like the last governments.

                • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                  Which “growth” – there isn’t any at the moment. You must be talking about the growth the sixth Labour led government will achieve.

                  • TighyRighty

                    To stupid for words you are. Google “NZ GDP growth 2012”

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      Too predictable for anonymous blokes you are. Last I heard the “growth” in the economy is less than or equal to population growth. In other words, “it isn’t the economy, stupid”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      English is borrowing at $250M-$350M pw. And its barely enough to keep NZ in stagnation.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Yes it is – the banking system hasn’t been changed. Also, our farming is already far beyond what our country can support and that in itself is unsustainable.

    • insider 6.2

      Cunliffes says manufacturing is our best hope. Fine. Winston’s been saying that for over a decade. But his lack of specificity in some key areas left me thinking it was just more cliche bingo.

      “New Zealand is very good at thinking small and thinking smart. We can do small production runs of specialist items. We can process raw materials that were gathered nearby. We can produce products on demand for our local market or international markets.”

      So who is currently doing that and what can we learn from that?

      “We can take an idea from concept to manufacture, often on a budget that wouldn’t pay for lunch in America or Germany.”

      Ok so where is the example that puts meat on this belief?

      “Our capacity for working wonders with reduced resources has led us to developing the world’s first electric fences, jet boats and so on. The list is almost endless and the ideas are often brilliant. ”

      So what are they? All you’ve mentioned is two 50 year old ideas. Nothing more modern in this almost endless list?

      You’d think he could give us a bit more. He is happy to quote Sweden and Swedish experts at length yet seems to struggle for NZ examples to support his argument.

      Note also that, like NZ, Sweden’s currency has increased significantly against its major partners in recent times.

      • mickysavage 6.2.1

        Um, Rakon, Fisher and Paykell, anything to do with agriculture.  NZ business history is littered with great ideas that get bought out.

        • Colonial Viper

          yep. Anything to do with horticulture and agriculture. Including wine and viticulture. Scott Technology, Jade. Datacom, Tait Electronics. Shame the bastards at F&P offshored most of their (increasingly shit) product line.

          Note also that, like NZ, Sweden’s currency has increased significantly against its major partners in recent times.

          That’s because we’re all in a de facto currency war against the Chinese, the US, Japan and the Eurozone.

          • David H

            Yeah I have not bought a F&P shit since the FP Gentle Annie that had Kamakuza brand electronics in it.

    • Blue 6.3

      Have you forgotten that Labour’s policy at the last election was to invest in apprenticeships?

      Instead of paying the dole to a young person, they would pay that amount to an employer willing to take the young person on as an apprentice. That sounds like working with businesses to improve skills training to me.

      • BM 6.3.1

        The problem with most small business is that there isn’t enough time,money or inclination to train someone up.
        Most employees basically want staff who can do the required job right from the get go, which is the reason they’re hiring immigrants over kiwis.
        It’s a recipe for disaster also the amount of tradies retiring in the next 10-15 years is massive which will just make the situation miles worse.

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna

          So the solution is to cut funding for adult training, degrade public education, and build private prisons. On Planet Key.

        • lprent

          Yes. There is absolutely no incentive for anyone to train anyone outside of the education sectors. It isn’t just in the trades. It is across almost all sectors.

          It takes me nearly 6 months to make a university graduate in compsci *useful* as a programmer (ie they reduce my workload rather than increasing it). There are other things that I much prefer doing – like programming. Then whoever I invest effort into will usually leave within a few years. I have noted a almost automatic reflex these days in myself to automate tasks out of existence purely so I don’t have to train yet another graduate.

          You could drop the wage rate for kids down to zero and it would still cost most employers more to train a kid (and deal with the inevitable time wastage and screwups) over their employment period than it does to pay more for someone upfront who has some experience.

          • BM

            This is indeed the crux of the issue, do you see any solutions?

            Another point is that not everyone is cut out to be a teacher, I remember when I was an apprentice mechanic, some of the mechanics were brilliant at passing their knowledge on while others were utterly hopeless.

    • insider 6.4

      The highest ratio of youth unemployment vs unemployment in general in the OECD is in Sweden.


      Both employers and the Federation of Swedish Trade Unions (LO) agree that the education system, is partly to blame. Too many young people graduate without the necessary skills for the job market, partly due to their own choices.

      “About 20-25% do not get adequate school results. Of those who do, many choose an education where there are more graduates than are needed. We often cite education in such sectors as tourism, media and professions such as hairdressers as examples,” Christer Aagren, Deputy-Director of the Swedish Employer’s Union told the newspaper Aftonbladet recently.

      The young do not have a chance to get any experience in the job market. “Many young people do not have any experience of working; which can be obtained by internships or working part time with school. If, in addition, your junior high school studies are not successful then you are in a bad place, “says Thomas Carlén, economist at the Federation of Swedish Trade Unions.

      There is disagreement on how to fight youth unemployment. The Employer’s Union demand more flexibility and lower mininum wages. The trade unions, on the other hand, want more subsidies to create jobs for the young and long time unemployed.

      • geoff 6.4.1

        Youth unemployment has been increasing around the world for a long time. This is occurring
        because of increasing automation. Governments such as ours (Labour & National) have been hiding what is essentially systematic unemployment by promoting tertiary education. What is NZ’s student loan debt? ~$14 billion.

        Keep young people out of the workforce and you keep them out of the unemployment stats, everything looks great and you can claim education(Good Thing! ®) levels are high. Never mind that young people are saddled with stupid amounts of debt before theyve even started to work in a world where everything is getting more expensive. Oh and theyve lost 3+ years of earning potential whilst training. (Thanks, Lockwood Smith!)

        Increasing technological automation will continue to remove more and more jobs from the table.
        Of course peak oil may change that and then we’ll all have sweet jobs tilling the fields by hand.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Increasing technological automation will continue to remove more and more jobs from the table.

          And this is a Good Thing if we manage it right. Unfortunately, the RWNJs want to prevent us from doing so.

          Of course peak oil may change that and then we’ll all have sweet jobs tilling the fields by hand.

          Not going to happen. Ever since we discovered agriculture it’s taken less than the full work of the population to feed the population. We can also power tractors using electricity of which we have lots available and it’s renewable. People who go on about losing industrial society seem to forget these two facts.

  7. weka 7

    Matthew Hooten just said on RNZ that it’s time for Cunliffe to be sacked (for undermining the leadership)  🙄

    • weka 7.1

      hmmm, are smilies not working?  😕  🙄

      [lprent: Testing 🙂 😈 🙄 Looks like a regular expression parsing error. The second eyeroll is placed on an lower line. The first one didn’t activate because it seems to have gotten confused with trying to parse the ‘:-?’ ]

    • Olwyn 7.2

      Sacked for what? For proving an excellent spokesman in the field of economic development, which he has been allotted, and in which he had been working hard. If someone who is not the leader proves more competent, more riveting, etc. than the leader, then surely the problem lies with the leader, and not with that someone. Does loyalty to a leader mean feigning incompetence and indifference to make him look good? Unbelievable!

      • weka 7.2.1

        Exactly. Although I suspect what Hooten really meant was Cunliffe should be sacked because if he becomes leader of the Labour party NACT are going to def lose the next election and not only that but the left will have someone competent in charge. 

        • Colonial Viper

          So Hooten reckons that Shearer is absolutely the right guy and that Cunliffe should absolutely be sacked.

          What conclusion to be drawn from this peeps?

          Maybe its some kind of hyper-smart Right Wing reverse psychology???

    • Is this the same Matthew Hooton that recommended Shearer for Labour’s leadership. I always have the urge to do the opposite.

      Besides this speech was run past everyone and got the tick.  Cunliffe is just doing his job.  Why should he be sacked for this? 

  8. ad 8

    Odd that on the same weekend as a further good speech from Cunliffe, we have Shearer come out on the same weekend inferring a reshuffle of portfolios by Christmas – and from Friday to Sunday we see Whaleoil, the NBR and Hooten all expound on why. All the usual outlets well briefed beforehand.

    And of course that the notable target of a reshuffle to start with would be Nania Mahuta, who was the proposed Deputy Leader when Cunliffe had his leadership run.

    Anyone who likes what Cunliffe is saying should support him right now, because he looks like he is being isolated in his own caucus.

    • Matthew Hooton 8.1

      That’s not quite how it happened.

      • ad 8.1.1

        Are you part of the Anyone But Cunliffe club?

        Or are you turning around like Garner?

      • weka 8.1.2

        Matthew, what do you think of Cunliffe’s economic development speech?

      • mickysavage 8.1.3

        Well smoked out AD.  Matthew why did you advocate for Cunliffe to be sacked?  The speech was mainstream, chock full of existing policy and was given the tick off by the powers that be.

        Engaging in a bit of mischief making …

        But why?

        What do you want to achieve? 

      • felix 8.1.4

        “That’s not quite how it happened.”

        But it’s close enough; exactly who suggested what to who and in what order is irrelevant.

        Now can you all stop taking notice of these fuckwits who are being paid to distract you please?

      • David H 8.1.5

        Oh look HAW HAW Hooten. So you do crawl out from under your rock sometimes

        And you do know who the last person to be called HAW HAW was? Let me enlighten you.

        William Joyce (24 April 1906 – 3 January 1946), nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw, was an Irish-American fascist politician and Nazi propaganda broadcaster to the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was controversially hanged for treason by the British as a result of his wartime activities, being taken to owe allegiance to the UK by his possession of a British passport, a document to which, ironically, he was not entitled.

        Hmmm A distant relative of one Steven (Ahab) Joyce ?

  9. The next election will be won from Christchurch when all seats come back to Labour.

    • Yep.  Agreed Fortran.  Last time was an aberration caused by depression and people barely coping.  This time it will be marked by anger and disenchantment.  The People’s republic of Christchurch will return …

  10. Rob 10

    Look I really hope there is s a true vision for local manufacturing as I am in it and things are tough. Consumers are not spending anywhere near what they were, and we are all having to excpet that this may be the new normal. I would like to see someone come forward on tha basis, rather than just compare back to 2008 to make a polotical point. The reality is that NZ has been losing manufacturing jobs way earlier than that.

    A lot of fabrication businesses that buy off shore and convert for local consumption are very reliant on the dollar at least maintaining 75c US$. Obviuosly our export side is damaged as a result but I wonder if anybody has caluculated the fall out for many businesses that partly import raw materials for conversion against any up side in export lead manufacturing. That would be something that needs detailed examination.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Obviuosly our export side is damaged as a result but I wonder if anybody has caluculated the fall out for many businesses that partly import raw materials for conversion against any up side in export lead manufacturing.

      The answer to that would be to see if we have the raw resources in NZ and if we can process them in NZ – which we do and can.

    • The Chairman 10.2

      Indeed, Rob. Calculating the negatives of a lower dollar vs the positives is imperative.

      Moreover, a compulsory saving scheme (as is being proposed) and at no doubt above the current percentage rate, will further reduce current consumer spending and demand.

      Additionally, KiwiSaver funds are largely invested offshore.

      • Rob 10.2.1

        It will be very challenging to increase wide based manufacturing in NZ if there is no ability for descretionary spending by consumers. The chinese manufacturing base is held up because of its massive exporting programme. true local chinese demand is not large enough to sustain this capacity. NZ manufacturing capacity has fallen dramatically as more and more is sourced off shore. For companies and investors to look seriously at investing in new lines in NZ they will need to be assured that local consumer demand will be increasing.

        I suppose your point is that by having compulsary savings and the like reduces descretionary spending amognst consumers thereby limiting the return on localised manufacturing, which is what we facing now. Anybody making any comparisons to 2008 have no idea about local business conditions.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    It might be GOOD for Cunliffe if the caucus rejects him.

    Greece 2012. The two major parties have 80% of the seats. Election. Those two parties are massacred, ending up with only 30% of the seats. Imagine 2014 and Labour and National have a COMBINED total of 30%!

    In many ways the Labour Party is a dinosaur. Some within the party (Cunliffe) are trying to get it to evolve. But at some point you walk away from the decaying garbage and start a modern party.

    Cunliffe is capable of leading that party. Shearer and Robertson would be with the dinosaurs.

    • Te Reo Putake 11.1

      Good idea. We could call the breakaway party New Labour. With a bit of luck we could get Jim Anderton and Matt McCarten to run it. I wonder why no one has ever thought of doing this before?

      • Tiger Mountain 11.1.1

        Heh, good one TRP you got a chuckle out of this “mad leftie”. A few NLP members bear the scars to this day, usually a bullet mark on one or both feet.

        Though the subsequent “Alliance” rallied a bit in government, and we still have Kiwibank and paid parental leave.

        • Te Reo Putake

          Cheers, TM. At least in those days, there was a reason to want to deal to the Labour party, but now? We should be celebrating what looks like the demise of the Key Government and those of us who are members should be working within Labour to get the best possible policies in place for the next election.
          Just as an aside, a couple of years ago, I had a beer with the Alliance member who convinced the selection committee that Alamein Kopu was going to be an excellent list MP. He was still mortified years later, but I didn’t check the state of his feet!

          • mickysavage

            Yep TRP  I always struggled with the idea that Jim Anderton was a progressive leftie wanting to build a coalition amongst a diversity of groups.  He wrecked much more than he created … 

          • Colonial Viper

            I guess a light blue flag in Government is better than the deep blue flag we have now, TRP.

    • R 11.2

      I agree with this. Mallard and the rest of the old guard are the current Labour party’s concrete shoes and the tide is rising.

      • prism 11.2.1

        That reminds me one of the recent political comments on radionz was that Trevor Mallard should be given back education because he knows that portfolio well and can thrust into the deba(cl)te. How would that go? I don’t like that guy but he could have his uses giving some bruises.

  12. xtasy 12

    How good to see David Cunliffe do some constructive, smart work. His focus is on a sound approach.

    Besides of the to be expected rhetoric spin, his ideas and plans do have some very good substance.

    I may just opt for a “win-win” type, popular and cheering up “Danish” beverage tonight on this one.

    • BM 13.1

      I agree.
      For example, if this works out the ramifications will be massive.

      Any job involving a vehicle gooone.

      • David H 13.1.1

        Oh now this will give the script kiddies something new to do. They can now have fun on the real motorways.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      As I say, concentrating on jobs is not what the economy is about. It’s about supplying everyone with a reasonable living standard within the Renewable Resource Base. From there people then go out to do as they wish but, as people like to do things, be challenged and have purpose the chances are they’ll be doing things that are of value.

      The people who will be complaining about this state of affairs will be the capitalists as they will lose their extreme wealth and power. That, of course, will be good for the community. It is past time that we got rid of the last dictatorial systems that are inherent within capitalism.

  13. prism 14

    Matthew Hooton I think this morning was dissing Cunliffe, or someone recently did on the basis that he hadn’t done anything of note and was just trying to undercut Labour and Shearer by voicing his concerns and ideas about our future and for Labour. That criticism seems a bit off the mark.

  14. OneTrack 15

    “New Zealand is very good at thinking small and thinking smart. We can do small production runs of specialist items.”

    This doesnt should like a big government Ministry, but more like small business. So, what is Labour going to do to help small business meet these goals. Higher taxes. Check. More restrictive work practices. Check. Higher ETS costs. Check. That just leaves the business owner to handle the remaining simple issues such as, decide on a product to build, design the product, find a market and come up with the startup money.

    “We can process raw materials that were gathered nearby”

    What raw materials does he mean? Coal – no, surely not, kauri gum, maybe, flax,….. Ok thats me done, cant think of anything else.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      Ok thats me done, cant think of anything else.

      Well, if you were actually capable of thinking you would have gone to the appropriate government website and checked. As I’m such a fine fellow I’ve already done it for you.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 15.2

      Um, don’t mean to burst your bubble, OneTrack, but NZ slipped a place in the “ease of doing business” ranks since 2008. From second easiest in the world, to third.

      I have two questions: where did you hear that Labour are bad for business? Is it possible you’ve been duped?

  15. AmaKiwi 16

    Cunliffe is correct. Here’s an example.

    I have friend high up in Fisher and Paykel. F&P does a lot of “thinking small, thinking smart”.

    I am not sure if what my friend has told me is commercially sensitive, so I will make an analogy. NZ can’t competitively build large airplanes, but if we build the toilets for every Boeing passenger plane in the sky that’s a damn good business. F&P has prospered doing that kind of work.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      F&P has also shifted the bulk of their manufacturing jobs offshore because they see that as damn good business too.

  16. prism 17

    I guess that would be finding the niche markets that we are always being exhorted to. They must have been doing some things right for the overseas market. Their local designs for fridges and washing machines don’t impress me.

  17. adam 18

    Producing what you consume only works if you ‘protect’ the local economy from cheap imports and lethal global competition with tariffs and quotas. That means reneging on FTA’s that are enforced by the WTO. As much as i support these ideas, we won’t be able to do it alone without taking a big hit on our collective standard of living here unless there are serious policy changes in the WTO, IMF, WB, Treasury etc that are also taken up by most other developed nations that are our trading partners. It’s a complex web driven and enforced by neo-liberal ideology and diffused in governments and institutions the world over in this day and age.

  18. millsy 19

    Nice words, Mr Cunliffe, but you need to let the CRI’s, unis, polytechs and SOE’s lead the way, in terms of R and D and the like. Do that, and the private sector follows.

    • AmaKiwi 19.1

      Millsy, the private sector is constantly doing R&D. It’s called keeping up with the competition. Don’t do it and you die.

      The issue is whether the government encourages your company or whether the government pretends it doesn’t matter to the country’s economy if your company dies and in future your products and services come to us from overseas.

      Cunliffe is advocating a government which realizes the basis of modern wealth is manufacturing and develops strategies to promote it HERE in businesses OWNED by New Zealanders.

      • Colonial Viper 19.1.1

        Millsy, the private sector is constantly doing R&D.

        Not in NZ it doesn’t. The NZ private sector commits fuck all of its revenue to R&D. Just like it commits fuck all of its revenue to training its employees.

        Don’t do it and you die.

        Well, that’s whats been happening to NZ businesses.

        Cunliffe is advocating a government which realizes the basis of modern wealth is manufacturing

        I like manufacturing. NZ needs to do much more of it. But export led manufacturing growth is going to be much less effective today than it was 50 years ago.

        The key reasons for this include:

        – Every major power in the world is actively devaluing their currencies. Its unlikely we can keep up with that.

        – Energy, resource and credit depletion. These factors mean that not only is it going to be harder and more expensive to make things, fewer people around the world are going to be able to afford them.

        – China. China is the manufacturing centre of the world, and a very capable and competitive one.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And with every other country also trying to boost it’s manufacturing it means that the world is going to be awash in vast over production.

          It really is time that we started simply looking to manufacture for us with limited export/import.

          • Colonial Viper

            The world is already massively awash with spare manufacturing and container shipping capacity. Whole Chinese industrial blocks are standing empty of staff with machines idle. Hundreds of cargo ships setting around ports empty with no where to go. It’s a fuck up of massive proportions.

      • Draco T Bastard 19.1.2

        the private sector is constantly doing R&D. It’s called keeping up with the competition. Don’t do it and you die.

        R&D in NZ has been dropping over the last few decades – ever since the government dropped the DSIR as a matter of fact.

        Cunliffe is advocating a government which realizes the basis of modern wealth is manufacturing and develops strategies to promote it HERE in businesses OWNED by New Zealanders.

        Yeah, that’s why he was saying that we had to make good for the foreign investors.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
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  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
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  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
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  • District Court judge appointed
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  • Supporting a thriving wānanga sector to benefit Māori learners
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