Andrew Little on The Nation

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, March 11th, 2017 - 84 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour - Tags:

A good interview with Andrew Little on The Nation:

Lisa Owen talks to Labour leader Andrew Little about his superannuation policy, housing, and how he plans to win the election.

Lisa Owen: Can we really afford to pay super to everyone over the age of 65?

Andrew Little: Yes, and we have to, because far too many New Zealanders right now who have a physical component to their job struggle to get to 65 right now. The idea of working another couple of years is just not acceptable.

Well, 18 months ago, you said that it was unfair and costly that people who were still working full-time got super at 65. Why are you doing a complete U-turn on that?

It’s not a complete U-turn. I stood for the leadership of the Labour Party on the basis that I was opposed to our previous policy of lifting it to 67. I absolutely stick by my policy – the leadership that I provided the Labour Party – of leaving it at 65, and that’s what we will do.

Okay, well, let’s move on to housing. Now, one of your big ideas to fix the housing crisis is KiwiBuild – 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years. Is that enough or do you think we need more now?

That 100,000 homes is on top of, you know, the build that is already happening, so all our projections are that that will make a significant difference.

You’d stick with 100,000?

We’re sticking with 100,000 over 10 years.

Negative gearing – are you going to get rid of it?

Yep, we’re going to have a look at the negative gearing rules. In principle we’re saying, “Why should investors who own these investment properties have a tax advantage?” And so we’re going to look at that, and that’s part of, you know, dealing with the speculators of the market.

So, gone – negative gearing’s gone under Labour?

Yep, pretty much.

Are you going to go higher than 36 cents?

Well, we’re not saying anything about tax rates at the moment, because we need to know where the Government is going to get to, having foreshadowed possible tax changes in – whether it’s earlier or in this budget.

Will you tell voters before the election what your tax rates are going to be?

Yes.

Okay, because before the last election you balanced your budget based very heavily on the capital gains tax and the revenues that that would bring in, also raising the age of super to 67, so how are you going to pay for all your spending now?

Every commitment that we’ve made under my leadership we can pay for out of existing tax revenue. Actually the Government has achieved more tax revenue than they expected. Just earlier this week, I think, the Government said they are now expecting a surplus this year of $1 billion ahead of the Treasury projections, so the tax revenue is there. The commitments we’ve made and the phasing of those commitments in putting them in place means that we can fund those out of existing tax revenue.

Okay, well, if you can fund them out of existing tax revenue, then are you making a commitment not to raise taxes?

We’re not planning on raising taxes and we’re going to see what the Government talks about, you know, in its tax changes that it’s foreshadowed, but we are making no plan for lifting taxes.

But we just talked about the 36 cents over 150 grand.

From the previous election, yeah. This is 2017 – different election.

Yes, I know. So you’re sticking with that?

We are not planning on any tax changes for the 2017 election. We will finely calibrate what we do once we see what the Government does in its foreshadowed tax changes, which we assume will be in this year’s budget, but who knows?

Okay. Now, you’ve put Winston Peters on the Intelligence and Security Committee. You came out strong on super – he’ll love that. What else are you prepared to give him to keep him on side?

I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at, but we have good relations with all the other Opposition parties – Greens and New Zealand First.

Well, could he be the Prime Minister in a Labour government?

No.

Absolutely not? You’re ruling it out?

Yes.

What about Deputy, then?

You’re not going to start – I’m not going to start negotiating coalition arrangements when we haven’t even had an election. Please, give me a break. We’ve been very clear.

If I have the privilege after the 23rd of September to form a Government, my first phone call will go to the Greens and New Zealand First will be not far behind.

Alright. Thanks for joining us this morning. Good to talk to you.

Thank you.

Plenty of interesting stuff there. Read the full interview for more.

84 comments on “Andrew Little on The Nation”

  1. Cynical jester 1

    That was an interesting interview. He was pretty good but at certain parts of this came off as very weak . He mumbles stutters and ignores questions. Owen was very good at saying the questions over and over again when he tried to ignore or change the subject. He doesn’t come off as a leader and im doubting he ever will, but John Key never did and Bill English never will! Id love to see some Bernie style progressive magic but Labour is to the right of Bernie.

    • r0b 1.1

      Tim Watkin seems to disagree with your assessment there CJ.

      • Sam C 1.1.1

        The panel on The Nation were unanimous in their assessment that Little was hopeless.

        • adam 1.1.1.1

          LOL, sheesh Sam C what next, the sun will set?

          Paint will dry?

          Elvis is alive and living in Bluff?

          Can the rwnj’s get better memes, the old ones are looking tired and worn.

        • lprent 1.1.1.2

          You forgot that they said the same in that same panel today about Bill English, Winston Peters, the Greens, and (implicitly) Jacinda Arden.

          Was there anyone that they could have liked? Brash perhaps.

          • Sam C 1.1.1.2.1

            No, I didn’t forget that. This post wasn’t about English (although he was worse than useless last week).

        • mauī 1.1.1.3

          It would be a big surprise if panellists David Gower, Hoots and Dick Johanssonsonson liked anything Little did.

        • Johan 1.1.1.4

          Sam, do Act Party members tell the truth?

    • The Chairman 1.2

      “He was pretty good but at certain parts of this came off as very weak. He mumbles stutters and ignores questions.”

      Yes, he’s improving but still has a long way to go. 

    • lprent 2.1

      Doesn’t mean much. But I thought that was quite interesting. Effectively they just muttered together about how they disliked everyone in politics.

  2. Wayne 3

    It can’t be credible that all of Labour’s promises can be funded out the current tax take.

    For instance resuming contributions to the Super Fund is a $2 billion commitment alone. Labour will in addition promise to spend at least $2 billion more than National, quite possibly more. Presumably on health, education, social housing, conservation overseas aid, etc.

    So logically there has to be some form of tax increase, even if it is just the top rate to 36%. The alternative is going into deficit.

    Otherwise the electorate hardly has much of a choice to make. A vote for either Labour or National would result in very similar outcomes.

    • lprent 3.1

      Ah. That is more than slightly daft and self-serving analysis.

      Depends where the money is placed – something that there are large differences between Labour, Greens, NZ First and National.

      Much of the surplus money that National has already been playing with has been wasted on wasteful and uneconomic investments that are good electorally for them. Offhand the vast amounts of pretty useless investments in the holiday highway to the north and the motorways in the Waikato come to mind. Apart from the necessity of ChCh, they certainly haven’t been investing in projects that have economic benefits for the whole country.

      The Cullen fund also doesn’t rely on $2 billion being put each year into it. The amount that should go into it is what is affordable at the time. From memory, Cullen was putting in quite small amounts and grew it up as he was able to.

      National just squandered the same surpluses in giving tax cuts that had absolutely no discernible economic benefits apart from giving some Act supporters wet dreams for a short period before they started whining again for another handout.

      As it stands right now fiscal drag alone is going to be sufficient to raise the surpluses with existing taxes. ie there need be no tax increases. Just bracket movement and better enforcment of our existing systems should be sufficient. For instance actually enforcing Muldoon’s speculation tax would help a lot.

      If we had another ChCh or Kaikoura earthquake, then I’d expect the contributions to drop. If they got a period with good economic returns like the diary windfall of a few years ago, then I’d expect them to increase.

      But as it stands at present, National are intent on never doing anything more than expressing vague good intentions about someday doing something about forward loading super. But I don’t think anyone believes them (including you I suspect). Labour and its coalition partners will.

      • Wayne 3.1.1

        Iprent,

        The broader point I was making was that if both major parties are going to operate within the current revenue lines, and base all their election promises on that, then the public really will be deciding on the margins.

        Obviously National is going to have some sort of tax package, probably changing the thresholds for the two main rates, (but perhaps not the threshold for the 33% rate). I guess they will have other things as well.

        Labour won’t have tax cuts, but will have more social spending, plus contributions to the Super fund. I am pretty sure they won’t divert road taxes into general spending.

        Given all this has to be done within current fiscal settings (based on Little’s comments about taxes) the scope for difference is not going to be that large.

        The election might largely turn on personalties, which team seems better, more appealing , more competent or some combination thereof.

        Is this what Standardnistas been railing about for the last 9 years? Surely you want a bigger difference than Andrew Little is apparently forecasting in the interview on The Nation.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1

          Oh noes! We might have to vote Green or something 🙄

          Jacinda Ardern’s remarks about kindness indicate that there’ll be at least one fundamental difference. I don’t imagine employment legislation will be for sale either. Human rights and the rule of law will probably be supported. The vicious attacks on education will cease.

          Not to mention the increased economic activity and competence that always accompanies governments not formed by amygdala-driven delusional lackwits.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.1.1.2

          “The broader point I was making was that if both major parties are going to operate within the current revenue lines, and base all their election promises on that, then the public really will be deciding on the margins.”

          I have to agree. We have such astounding inequality that some deliberate transfer of wealth from rich to poor is needed – and Labour is very quiet on that.

        • lprent 3.1.1.3

          Obviously National is going to have some sort of tax package, probably changing the thresholds for the two main rates, (but perhaps not the threshold for the 33% rate). I guess they will have other things as well.

          I’d point out that the statement from Little that the current tax rates would be maintained is a strong concession to our National storm troopers (using the original WW1 sense for all of the historical fuckwit trolls who would like to get banned for historical stupidity).

          Of course if Bill chooses to change those current rates and thresholds in the budget, then all bets and such concessions are off :twisted:. They’d just get reversed in a future election. That is my reading on what he actually said. Interesting the constriction that you placed in it though – it could have been done by a PR fool.

          I am pretty sure they won’t divert road taxes into general spending.

          I’m not. I am quite convinced if they had any sense, they’d stop some of the stupid spending in useless road networks in sparsely populated rural electorates in favour of ones that benefit the people who pay for the roading. That will leave a lot of non-roading money that is being diverted to go towards useful purposes like superannuation. It has been interesting to a numbers nutter like myself, how the NZTA tax and expenditure records have been getting quite opaque in recent years.

          The election might largely turn on personalties, which team seems better, more appealing , more competent or some combination thereof.

          Do think that it likely that I’d give a shit? That is pretty much a perspective that idiots toothguard dipshits like Gower or Garner oe that cretinous munter Hoskings think. Those who are unable to create are only good as useless critics. There is a reason why public airwaves TV has been dying. It is called the moron brigade – those owners of Italian cars who are incapable of driving them because they can speak to an ever diminishing group of conservatives who are unable to discover the net.

          That group are the socially retarded… That same type of economic morans who voted for Trump.

          Is this what Standardnistas been railing about for the last 9 years? Surely you want a bigger difference than Andrew Little is apparently forecasting in the interview on The Nation.

          Actually no. I realise that you are of the last generation who see FPP as the answer to the problem of probabilities in the electorate. However all of us who were educated in statistics from secondary school onwards look for a nucleus of a government that embraces disagreement. It is the style that we foster here and it appears to be slowly winning over even the most intransigent of the old parties outside of National (who appear to act more like a paramecium than a member of their local ecology).

          I’m sure that Little won’t like all of the members who make up his government. I am sure that he will learn to live with the choices that the voters made for him to live with.

          National? I am sure that they will spend some time in the wildness learning why you don’t eat your potential coalition partners.

          • Antoine 3.1.1.3.1

            I agree with some things you say but not the bit about roading funding being redirected to other types of spending. I expect it would have to remain in the land transport area, be it more meritorious roads or public transport.

            (I suppose a cut in petrol tax is out of the question?)

            A.

            • lprent 3.1.1.3.1.1

              The question is in what area it gets spent. On partial motorways in the middle of the countryside almost entirely used by personal cars on weekends.

              Or where there are daily gridlocks?
              Or where there are large numbers of trucks running on a daily basis – for instance some of the logging areas that go to ports or processing plants.

              • Antoine

                Totally agree with you on the quality of roading spending.

                I was only questioning the specific issue, of whether reducing roading spending, would free up money for uses _outside_ land transport. My understanding was that it would not, but I started to question that when you seemed to be saying that it potentially could.

                A.

        • One Two 3.1.1.4

          ‘The Public’ has been, and is continually denied the right to make best decisions influencing their lives, due to ‘media blackouts, deceptions, and outright lies’

          As a result ‘the public’ is being marginalized by an entire global enterprise, predicated on protecting the ‘money/debt’ LIE

          Major (all) parties “operate within the current revenue lines” because of the LIES sold as monetary/fiscal policy, money as debt, and therefore ‘forced’ to subscribe to the ‘either or’ facade..

          Education or Health (for example)…’can’t have both’

          When did you or your party open the discussion in the public domain regarding

          The Scarcity of Money lies?

          Your question, Wayne!

    • Sacha 3.2

      Stopping National’s crazy highway-building spree would free up many billions for a start.

      The Tamaki-Onehunga east-west trucking highway is now projected to cost $1.8b (3x the original estimates).

      Here’s the next batch of pork-barrelling: http://transportblog.co.nz/2017/03/08/rons-2-0/

      (ah, snap)

      • monty 3.2.1

        A couple of things about RONS – firstly the roads that are being built are having massive benefits in terms of quality of life, productivity and making accessible areas of land for industry and housing. For example the Wellington solution will effectively bring kapiti closer to Wellington and as a result some people that could not consider kapiti now can as a place to live.

        The second point is that the roads are being paid for by the users, in particular the people who pay RUC and petrol taxes

        Thirdly as the good people of Wellington and kapiti if they consider the recently opened kapiti expressway a waste of money. I’ve barely seen a negative comment

        Roads are essential infrastructure and will deliver benefits to users and community for generations and hundreds of years

        • dv 3.2.1.1

          Re Kapiti
          1 there is a train
          2 There will still be the bottle neck at Tawa on.

          • Mrs Brillo 3.2.1.1.1

            And when you finally get to That Wellington, there’ll still be nowhere to put your bloody car.

          • monty 3.2.1.1.2

            Yes there is a train and that is an extremely popular service, but as I drive in the morning heading north, I notice a huge number of Utes, trucks, vans. The vehicles of chipotle for the trades. Public transport does not work for those guys who need to carry tools and materials.

            I agree there will be bottle necks at tawa and I expect to see an additional lane at some point. But that is not a reason not to build the transmission gully and kapiti expressway.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.2.1

              The vehicles of chipotle for the trades. Public transport does not work for those guys who need to carry tools and materials.

              The problem there is that they’re all contractors now and own their own tools and vehicles whereas many years ago they were employees and the employers owned the tools and vehicles and kept them at a central location.

              Which, of course, was a hell of a lot cheaper on everyone because there was less vehicles and less tools being owned.

              • Infused

                God. You will cry and argue anything won’t you?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I just pointed out why it’s wrong.

                  You just don’t like that as it goes against your beliefs.

              • Cricklewood

                Its also why building etc costs so much now.
                You can easily have a mark up applied at least three times to a material or even labour by the time the client gets the bill.

          • Sam C 3.2.1.1.3

            Haha! “There is a train”.

            Clearly you don’t live in the Wellington region.

        • mauī 3.2.1.2

          You know that the people that live where these motorways are going through are affected right? All those houses/lives that were bulldozed and the others who are forced to live next door to them with poor living conditions (noise, visual and physical pollution, etc). The Kapiti expressway that cuts a swathe through the existing settlement is a great example of how you divide a community not build or strengthen one. Then there’s the lost productive land as you’ve just eliminated hectares of useful land to the community so people can drive through your town as quick as they can.

          It’s also well known that you can’t build yourself out of a traffic problem. The choke points merely shift to different points on the roading system while at the same time you’re attracting more drivers onto the road and in time the problem you were trying to solve only gets worse.

          When you add to that we’ve got a serious climate problem that this kind of project only reinforces and a serious lack of cheap oil left you have to wonder if the RONS has any semblance of sanity. Add to that the Kapiti Expressway has a reported Benefit Cost ratio of 0.2, so you only get 20% of your money invested back with a ton of bad side effects as I mentioned above. You can add financial insanity to the list.

          • monty 3.2.1.2.1

            For the kapiti expressway there were 26 houses bulldozed. Those owners were compensated. The route of the kapiti expressway did change slightly and the scale of the road changed during the planning stages but the benefit in faster and less congested road is benefiting tens of thousands of people per week. Faster and efficient roads are a major contributer to a growing economy. Benefiting both the commuters but also producers and transport operators. It will be interesting if the Labour politicians that were against the expressway are now still against the road. I work with people who live in kapiti. They love the road both as commuters and local residents. The noise is not the problem they thought it would be ( thanks to high quality construction). The cost is high at $630m but this is an asset for all of Wellington which will benefit the regions for centuries.

            • mauī 3.2.1.2.1.1

              I’ve seen this kind of talk before, anything with the appearance of progress is deemed fantastic and any real world consequences are ignored. Then people wonder why we’ve ended up where we are.

            • Macro 3.2.1.2.1.2

              “an asset for all of Wellington which will benefit the regions for centuries.”
              Ever heard of climate change, rising sea levels, not to mention peak oil?

          • Sam C 3.2.1.2.2

            The land for the Kapiti road has been designated for at least 25 years. You do know what this means, don’t you?

            • mauī 3.2.1.2.2.1

              Are you saying the people who had their houses bulldozed were wrongfully occupying a paper road and didn’t own the land themselves? That doesn’t sound right.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      So logically there has to be some form of tax increase, even if it is just the top rate to 36%. The alternative is going into deficit.

      Or they could just get that ~$7 billion that the richest aren’t presently paying that the current tax rules tell us that they should be paying.

      • AB 3.3.1

        There is no debt crisis, there is a revenue crisis. Governments no longer seem able or willing to appropriately tax the wealth of the nation.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.1

          No, they’ve forgotten that they’re stewards of the nations wealth for the people and are now giving it away as fast as they can to corporations.

      • The Chairman 3.3.2

        Ring fencing losses, thus preventing negative gearing will also increase the tax take.

      • John up North 3.3.3

        +100 Draco at 3.3

        And this is the major pivot point. We can afford a decent society if “everyone” pays their fair share.

        The current situation is that the average joe/jane gets peeled every way possible by the tax system (shit wages is another argument) where those earning a higher wage or “investing” in houses, are able to game the system (ok use the legal loopholes) and the googles/apples/banks etc… just juggle the books and export $$ by the shipload.

    • millsy 3.4

      As opposed to closing down hospitals to pay for tax cuts.

    • DoublePlusGood 3.5

      The new government will save several billion by getting rid of incompetent National stooges in public positions, stopping bribes to Saudi and other officials, stopping pork-barrel nonsense spending, ending Wayne’s pension, diversifying the economy from just milk powder, setting up a legal taxed market for marijuana, and ending Wayne’s tax breaks for his negatively geared investment properties.

  3. Siobhan 4

    Over half the population rent, and a greater proportion than ever will be life time renters.
    The majority of them will not need a State house (Well, not till they retire…then the crap will hit the fan), and will not end up ‘visibly’ homeless.
    Why nothing for that group?
    Why just policies for the middle, with a tag on for the most desperate, just to pat down any middle class guilt over the homeless.

    If Labour want to see a shift in the polls, a real shift, then how about policies that get even a small percentage of the non voters on board.

    I’d be interested to see the stats on home ownership rates amongst voters.

    • greg 4.1

      the problem with the rental supplement is that it fuels house price inflation the land lords get it. a far better to use of that money would be to build houses.
      i guess enforcing the existing tax code would upset a Tory

  4. Wayne 5

    Roads are funded out of road taxes. Is Labour proposing to use road taxes for general expenditure, because if they are they had better say so. It would change a practise of many decades standing. Not to tell people would be duplicitous.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Yeah, because you hate duplicity so much you joined the National Party 🙄

      • Sam C 5.1.1

        Why don’t you comment on the issue, OAB? That is (in case your tiny brain can’t process it), that RONS are funded by road and fuel taxes? Or do you dispute that?

        [lprent: RONS are commonly named as being of the Roads Of National Supporters. In other words if you are a ignorant dipshit uninterested in supporting the economic development of NZ, theh you would support the corruption and diversion of road and fuel taxes towards RONS. To not do so would be to indicate that you are either

        1. A paid for minion of Simon Bridges – aka a taxpaid troll.
        2. A neo liberal fuckwit contractor who is only interested in lining your own pocket – aka a private troll.
        3. An idiot troll who just made a dumbarse categorising “when did you last beat your mother” comment in view of the unforgiving sysop.

        Please explain which category you fit into – or learn to not try to define others – please elucidate which of these three categories you want me to treat you as being in?

        If you really want to be kicked in the ego when I ban you, then please carry on the way you are. ]

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          It isn’t an “issue”, Sammie. It’s Wayne Mapp posing rhetorical questions and hypothetical scenarios, with a over-sized side-order of hypocrisy.

          From my personal perspective, I’d rather we use road taxes to “sod the streets” than encourage more vandalism. There’s probably some middle ground that I could accept.

          From the accounting perspective, Labour say they can fund their program without raising taxes. Any argument to be had is in the form of numbers: expected revenue against expected expenditure.

          Anything else (eg: Mapp’s rhetoric) is just partisan noise.

        • Fred H 5.1.1.2

          Even teflon john appeared happy to tell the public it wasn’t all RUC’s(repairs for 50maxxers) and fuel tax…
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/local-papers/kapiti-observer/5494735/Asset-sales-to-fund-expressway

          • Antoine 5.1.1.2.1

            Interesting, did it ever actually happen that RONS were funded from outside the land transport fund?

            • lprent 5.1.1.2.1.1

              They are in that it affects the amount of money available for other projects.

              Firstly look at the capital position. To pay for large motorways and roading projects, the government borrows the money and gives it to the NZTA. That reduces the amount of capital that it is possible to borrow for other needs (demographic or nett migration bulges or cleaning up waterways for instance). The money for the capital project is then repaid from the NZTA’s collection of roading and fuel taxes.

              Secondly, the money used to repay the loans or to pay the interest isn’t then available to work on the more prosaic immediate needs of fixing problem areas in the current network or doing public transport. Things that can be paid for from current budget income.

              The point is that in my opinion the NZTA (for whatever reason) has a history of preferring grandiose projects in rural areas rather than dealing with the headache of upgrading the existing stressed systems. That is despite the vast majority of their revenue coming from the urban areas that need the work more and have better economic returns. If you ever look at the before and after analysis of projects from the LRF, what you find a consistent pattern of them under estimating the beneficial effects from urban projects (Northern busway) and having almost fanciful returns from rural motorways that still fall below the benefits that should be required to trigger a project (like the whole benefit from fixing most of the SH2).

              So projects that are hard to do, but reasonably tricky don’t get done. The ones where their construction crews can speed out and do it next to an existing road do get done.

              A good example is that even after 30 years, they still haven’t fixed the daily jams at Greenlane on Auckland’s southern motorway. Admitably it will be a pain of a job. Probably even more than the more urgent Newmarket flyover upgrade was over the last decade. The economic return of both is immense. Probably not as much as double tracking and electrifying the Auckland suburban rail network or putting in the Northern busway. But getting way up there…

              Another is the level to which Auckland’s public transport system has been underfunded. There has been a clear need for decades that they needed to start getting double decker buses for the Auckland central commuter cram. Same thing on the routes going over the bridge. Same ground foot print, but more than double the passengers. It is an obvious fix. But it requires a major capital injection both for the buses and for clearing the ways (remove overhead lines, fix bridges, active tree cutting or removals).

              Ah – here. http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/02/19/at-board-report-feb-15/

              Double Decker Bus Mitigation Project

              To get double deckers on the streets AT need to complete a whole lot of mitigation works to ensure the buses don’t damage things or get damaged themselves. This includes moving power poles, veranda modifications, kerb build-outs and tree pruning. They plan to have this work done by June to enable double deckers from Howick and Eastern to start running. Mt Eden is the next route planned for mitigation works which is meant to happen in the next financial year however AT are awaiting the outcome of the LRT proposal before making any changes.

              Note that this is money coming from that same transport fund. It is peanuts compared to motorways even when you look at it over decades, but it affects millions of people directly or indirectly over the course of month. This has been mooted many times for the LRT. They have always preferred to build nearly useless motorways in electorates that shout louder to their local MPs and where there is less ambiguity about where the funding should come from.

              But it finally happening – first ones went on the road in 2013 (I think). But they only started becoming common in 2016. Well you can see the progress on that now http://transportblog.co.nz/tag/double-deckers/

        • Wayne 5.1.1.3

          Iprent,

          A reasonable point by Sam C, visited by abuse from you. Not exactly moderation in the reasonable meaning of that term, the core of it being derived from the word moderate.

          Did you get out of bed on the wrong side?

          Frankly you owe Sam C an apology.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.3.1

            A reasonable point?

            Sam C asked a loaded question including an ad hominem attack. Much like your attempt to call Andrew Little a liar, and getting called out for rank hypocrisy as a result.

            I’ve got two words for your crocodile tears, Dr. Mapp: Cameron Slater. Here’s another two: Hollow Men. And another two: Dirty Politics.

            You owe your position to lies. Slow clap.

            • Wayne 5.1.1.3.1.1

              OAB

              Where did I say Andrew Little was a liar?

              I did say that not raising taxes coupled with the promises is not credible. In my view that is not calling someone a liar, more akin to asking them to justify their position.

              In any event my wider point is by apparently ruling out tax increases, Andrew Little has dramatically narrowed the range of the policy debate as between the two main parties.

              In which case it is likely the voters will put more weight on the character, competence and personalities of the main spokespeople.

          • Infused 5.1.1.3.2

            Welcome to the standard. where you can’t question anyone if you are from the right. you can’t abuse anyone either, unless you’re name is lprent/oab.

            • tinfoilhat 5.1.1.3.2.1

              Good grief OAB and lprent are you incapable of arguing your points without resorting to abuse.

    • 1) There aren’t road taxes. There are petrol taxes, RUCs, (for those who don’t pay petrol taxes, such as diesel vehicles, and maybe in the future, electric vehicles) road tolls, and insurance levies. Of the four, petrol taxes (and RUCs) are actually the ones you’d expect to be least targetted, and this is stuff that literally any MP, current or former, should be pretty clear about, so try a little harder.

      2) Petrol taxes act as a stand-in for taxing road use based on expected damage, which while not impossible with modern technology, nobody is seriously proposing going Big Brother enough to implement it. (especially because actual road use taxes using big data would more fairly place the burden on vehicles with a higher expected weight-to-axle ratio, so while truckers complain about RUCs and taxes and so on to get them tuned down a bit or at least not increased, they’re actually very secretly in favour of them over fairer alternatives because people in the know are aware they get a pretty good deal out of the current regime)

      3) Spending petrol taxes on things other than what immediately benefits petrol consumers is often straight-up in their interests, too, this is part of why petrol taxes are earmarked for land transport and not roads, because of indirect benefits, and of course the principle of taxing behaviour that you want to reduce, such as intensive vehicle usage.

      They are appropriately spent in the domain of transport, however often spending that benefits pedestrians, or public transport systems, also indirectly benefits remaining road users by decreasing congestion and providing them alternatives to using a car for when they don’t want to or aren’t able to. (there are some pretty enthusiastic motorists who can’t afford to have a backup car available, for instance) Road maintenance, improvement, and expansion should have to compete with improvements for public transport, cycling and pedestrians for land transport funding, as the latter three actually get pretty good CB ratios compared to straight up focusing on roading, and funding should be prioritised to higher CB ratio projects as a general rule. The RONS are wasteful even if you accept the grasping-at-straws arguments that ignoring the better cost-benefit ratios of non-road projects is somehow fair, as they are largely disastrously useless even in the narrow context of roading expansion.

  5. Ad 6

    Looking forward to seeing English and Little head to head.

    Seriously can’t believe my eyes Key spending most of his political capital on his succession, and all English can do is spend the remainder on raising the Super age.

    Labour doesn’t have to win; National just have to lose, and they’re going the right way about it.

    • Cinny 6.1

      Yes the leaders debates, am so looking forward to that as well.

      Was interesting to compare this weeks interview with the next PM of NZ compared to last weeks with the out going PM.

      Bill was blundering boring and just not engaging. He seemed tired and over it, his only enjoyment being his star struck moments like the call with agent orange.

      Andrew on the other hand, he was engaging, passionate and genuinely cares. You could see it in his eyes when he spoke of some of the hardships NZer’s are going through. He is motivated and strong, a real leader, our next PM

  6. monty 7

    The Bill English interview last week was awful. I thought explaining was losing. However the interview today was worse. Andrew little was evasive and didn’t have basic facts to hands such as what % of people work in hard labour jobs. I would have thought he might have that statistic straight to hand.

    Here is the issue for the Labour Party as I see it. They are polling circa 25% as they have for many years. ANdrew Little in the preferred PM stakes is about 7%. He simply is not giving the good people of NZ a reason to vote for him. I think he is on the wrong side of the debate regarding superannuation. He needs to bring over a substantial portion of national voters in order to win later this year. I doubt performances like this today will convince a single Mat voter to suddenly come over to Labour.

    • Ad 7.1

      Fair on the polling, but without Key there’s no longer a charisma premium for National.

      English just needs Maori Party to get 2, and Act to get 1, and on current polls they have Term 4 in the bag.

      Little’s coalition is the far harder job; that’s where his main negative odds lie.

      • monty 7.1.1

        Thanks D. I have wondered about the impact of KEy and a little puzzle led that there has been only a neglible impact on what few polls there have been. I believe Key had become quite polarising. ENglish represents steady as they go. But Since Key has departed, I’ve wondered if there is suddenly any significant reason for for Nat voters to change support. ANdrew Little is failing to capture the imagination of NZ? About 18 months back I had a conversation with Andrew Little and said to him that in order to win the election he had to capture the imagination of NZ public. To do so was critical under Key, but he has failed in this respect. I think NZ remains comfortable with the status quo, and to date there simply is not reason to change the government. The constant negativity of the Labour Party about NZ is off putting and does not give middle NZ a reason to vote for Labour

      • adam 7.1.2

        Come on Ad, the polls mean nothing. People now are not talking to pollsters, and if they are actually talking to them, are lying.

        It’s a brave new world.

        Polls should be treated with a grain of salt in any political debate.

      • Chris 7.1.3

        “English just needs Maori Party to get 2, and Act to get 1, and on current polls they have Term 4 in the bag.’

        That may be correct. But how do you account for Hone’s hatred of National in all of this? Surely the deal with the Mp couldn’t be about helping the nats. I say watch this space.

    • Red Hand 7.2

      I’d never vote National, not after the Holland Govt. and scared to go out when the wharfies were on strike because of men standing on the street outside our house and my parents staying quiet. Also Holyoake (“call me kiwi”) and his self interested Kinloch land deal. Muldoon who said at Otago University why should you study Latin learn something useful and the louts who he let loose over the Springbok tour. Let alone the smarmy, self righteous, incompetent losers who form the present government. I hope I live to see the end of them. Selfish, shortsighted, bigoted fools.

    • It wasn’t his strongest performance, sure, although to be fair I think they overdid the “gotcha” on not having the manual labour statistics to hand, as it’s actually a lot easier to research that stuff for an interviewer than an interviewee, and that’s not a common statistic I’d expect a leader to look up without warning or even have memorised from policy development on Super. He had the sense that it was a significant slice of the population and the statistic they gave didn’t really rebut that despite their spin. I also thought it was a little bit weird to characterise what was essentially a third of the labour force as a “small amount.” One third is a highly significant minority. If you’re running an exception for over a third of the workforce, (and Little is absolutely correct that if you bump down the age for manual labour, you also need to bump down the age for Māori at a minimum) you’re going to end up with so many “exceptional” cases that it’s going to make Super a lot more like a benefit in terms of how complicated it is to administer. (it’s also a little difficult to dilineate who would qualify for such an exception- how long do you have to be in manual work? How do you do the calculus of people doing manual work their whole professional lives vs part? Where is a fair cutoff, and how difficult is it to administer?) The advantage of the universal approach is that its simplicity makes it more efficient and effective, so too many exceptions spoils the approach, Little just didn’t articulate that well.

      I do have to agree that he’s not come out hitting with enough positive reasons to vote for Labour. He’s learned a lot of the mistakes of previous Labour campaigns, (in fact, arguably he’s also running from some of the good parts of them, too, such as dropping the CGT policy) but the only issue he really sounds like he’s giving voters any incentive on is housing, and they might not trust him on that issue yet. I hope that’s just early campaign issues, as he and Jacinda look like heavyweights up against Boring Bill and New Zealand’s most hated benefit-basher, Paula Bennett.

      I was definitely disappointed to see that Labour has no plans for any significant revenue adjustments at the moment, but hey, I’m voting Green anyway, so this is just another reason everyone else should, too. If you think that Super needs revenue-side adjustment, the Greens are the only sane party in Parliament advocating for that right now. (I mean, you could vote for NZF, but only if you want a bunch of centrist nationalists who believe in binding referenda for some stupid reason)

      I think the polling is definitely making it clear that New Zealand isn’t buying Little’s campaign just yet. There’s time to turn it around, and the polling is still in the range where the most likely outcome is still “NZF decides the government.” (Although the goal shouldn’t really be to squeak in with NZF propping up Labour, as a first term is usually the most political capital you get, so Little should really want to be in a position where he can pick and choose a bit more who his support partners are, so he should consider even “NZF decides the government” as inadequate)

      It’s also worth noting on the electoral calculus front that the Māori Party have been pretty reluctant supporters of National and haven’t exactly announced their preference of coalition partners if they’re in a position to choose who gets to be the Government. If it’s legitimately up to them, National can’t actually rely on them not to choose Labour, (in fact, I suspect despite Marama Fox’s Labour-isn’t-much-better-than-National rhetoric, they have a slight preference for Labour in terms of pushing their own policy, especially with Turia gone) despite Labour’s tactical decision to direct people who support their government but don’t want to vote for them to the Greens first and maybe NZF second-ish. So the Nats have got to get 59-61 seats for themselves, depending on who wins what electorates. (ie. the worst likely case is that Dunne loses Ōhāriu, Hone wins TTT, and Seymour wins Epsom. In that scenario, they need a 62-seat coalition, and can only rely on Act for sure, hence 61 National seats needed to guarantee they can govern) Anything less than 59 means for sure that they need the Māori Party to govern without Winston, and that’s only if the MP win more seats than last time, or ACT qualify for a List Seat, or National scores no less than 58 seats.

      And while it’s theoretically possible that Winston could swing right again, (never assume you know what he’s gonna do if he hasn’t given a firm promise to the voting public) it’s not looking quite as likely as National supporters seem to think it is.

  7. Smilin 8

    Bugger I need 3 votes this election but ive only got 2
    1 for the party 1 for the electorate and 1 to make sure national doesnt get back in

    • monty 8.1

      The wonderful thing about democracy is that it is the view of the people. Not as individuals, but rather the collective. The power sits not with the die hard supporters who vote National or Labour every election but rather those swinging voters who change their vote between the parties. These people are the ones that BIll or ANdrew need to convince. They are typically the middle or top of the bell curve who are comfortable in either camp. On Andrew little’s performance this morning I was left wondering why would those people swap their support to Labour. They are comfortable with the status quo

  8. Richard McGrath 9

    So Andrew Little doesn’t want to raise taxes. Is that because he thinks higher taxation is harmful, or because he thinks higher taxes would be good but he won’t promote this as it may cost him votes?

  9. Tory 10

    So much for the “Tax Working Group”, or is just Angry shooting his mouth off again to try and be Mr Popular?

  10. Andrew Little was pushed on his demoting of Nanaia Mahuta but avoided multiple questions about it.

    Mahuta was ranked 4 when Cunliffe was leader, but has Little dropped her to 11.

    Little claimed “I backed Nanaia, who is not only in my shadow cabinet but in the front bench” and “We have two Maori on the front bench”.

    Mahuta is seated behind Grant Robertson in the second row.

    The Māori King has entered the political arena. He has tipped his hat to Rahui Papa.

    What is being criticised though are the King’s comments toward the incumbent, Nanaia Mahuta.

    Media reports, including my own, were light on context. So here it is. The King’s comments were aimed at all of those in leadership positions within Waikato-Tainui. He targeted those in management and board positions whether junior or senior and encouraged them to “produce results” or “move over for someone who can”. King Tuheitia has been known to intervene in tribal leadership matters in the past. And yes, that has resulted in casualties.

    He ended this segment by asking, “I hope that makes sense?” To which kuia sitting in the crowd replied, “it does, it does”. There were lots of nods around the marae.

    King Tuheitia then turned to politics. He spoke of having kept a close eye on Parliament since his surprise address at last year’s coronation celebrations. It was there he severed all ties to Labour. Part of this was due to Labour’s demotion of Nanaia Mahuta.

    “Just looking what Labour has done to Nanaia… she’s gone right to the backbench now.”

    There were sighs from the marae. Not of surprise but of sadness.

    “To me she’s got no mana in there now,” he said.

    King Tuheitia then expressed his dismay at Labour’s newly elected deputy leader, Jacinda Ardern. “She’s only been in there five minutes…how long’s Nanaia been in there? 21 years.”

    He criticised Labour’s treatment of its other Māori MPs, including Peeni Henare. If you’re wondering what he’s referring to, here’s a reminder – Willie Jackson, Tāmaki Makaurau.

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/03/maiki-sherman-what-the-king-s-move-means-in-m-ori-game-of-thrones.html

    Hauraki-Waikato will be an interesting electorate to watch this election.

  11. Cynical jester 12

    Andrew Little is much more relaxed in his interview on Q/A with Jacinda. This is a bloody fantastic pairing. If he acts like that and bill English acts like he did ….. we’re looking at atleast 35%

  12. Phil 13

    Well, could he [Winston Peters} be the Prime Minister in a Labour government?

    Where the fuck does this come from? It’s truly bizarre that, in the lead up to every single election, both sides raise the unfathomably stupid possibility of a minority coalition partner being given the position of Prime Minister.

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