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Andrew Little: The working futures plan

Written By: - Date published: 3:02 pm, January 31st, 2016 - 283 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour, Politics - Tags:

Andrew Little backing the dream-3

Jacinda, thank you very much for that kind introduction. It’s a pleasure to be introduced by the next MP for Auckland Central.

Can I also acknowledge our Labour Caucus, including our deputy Annette King and finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

I’d also like to acknowledge Phil Goff.

It’s funny, Phil seems to be at every gathering in Auckland with more than three people for some reason.
Phil, this is going to be a big year for Auckland, and I know you’ll do a fantastic job as Mayor.

Right, I want to tell you a quick story about the Future of Work and I promise it’s 100% true.
When I ran the EPMU, I got an incredible insurance claim form to sign off from one of our senior organisers.

He’d taken his union car into the carwash to have it cleaned.

He’d punched his code into the computer and had driven in.

The machine was running, the car was covered in soapy water and then he remembers he’s left the cell phone aerial up on the back of the car.

He hops out, leaving the driver’s door open, and runs around to the back to get the aerial.
The problem is, our man’s a bit short.

He can’t just reach up to grab the aerial, so he opens the back door and stands on it to boost himself up.

Now he’s trying to reach the aerial, and he’s slipping and sliding and the water’s raining down and the big brushes are whirring, and he’s fighting with the aerial as the brushes get to the back of the car.

Just as the brushes are about to go over the open door, the aerial suddenly comes loose, he slips backwards on the soap, bangs his head, and the brushes push over both open doors, snapping them back against their hinges and sending water all through the car.

So the poor guy has to run in to talk to the clerk. He’s got his aerial in his hand, he’s sopping wet — completely bedraggled — and he says
“Mate, can you stop the bloody machine?”

These days, our man owns a fish and chip shop in Fielding, where there’s considerably less automation, but I like to think that was his first experience with the Future of Work.

The reason I wanted to open with that is our economy is a bit like that story — the machine’s started, there’s nothing we can do to stop it, it’s coming towards us and we’ve got to decide what to do about it.

So today, I want to talk about the ways in which our world is changing, and what we need to do to take advantage of that change, and to ensure that no one is left out or left behind.

But before I start can I just say a big thank you to everyone for coming along to our picnic today.
This is a great time of year.

It’s a time of renewal, where we are looking back on the year that’s been and we’re thinking about what we want to change for the future.

Children are starting school.

People are heading off to new jobs, some are even taking the plunge to leave their jobs and to start their own business.

All over the country, Kiwis are looking to the future and chasing their dreams.

It’s part of what makes us who we are — our optimism, our sense of the future.
For Kiwis, our dreams are pretty simple.

A good job, a home of our own, a future for our families and the people we love.
That sense of security in our lives and in our future.

That’s the Kiwi Dream.

And it’s a dream we need to fight for.

The truth is: it’s getting harder for most Kiwis to get ahead.

The economy is slowing. Unemployment’s getting worse.

Our major trading partners are facing economic downturns which will only make it tougher for our exporters.

Our housing market is out of control and homeownership rates are at record lows. Auckland is now the fourth most expensive place in the world to buy a house.

$1.7 billion has been cut from our health budget and Kiwis are missing out on the care they need.
And then we see that our environment is under threat. Climate change is accelerating and the rivers and waterways our kids swim in are becoming polluted and toxic.

So, we’ve got some big challenges.

Now, by themselves, these would be bad enough.

But taken together, one after another, year after year, it means that people are feeling a growing sense of insecurity. It seems like the Kiwi Dream is slipping away.

We’re going to do something about that.

Because the reality is: if we don’t do anything, that sense of insecurity will only get worse.

There is a tsunami of change headed our way and we’re already starting to see the effects.

It’s an age of disruption. Some are even calling it the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Whatever you call it, it’s a big deal.

Technology is changing faster than at any time in world history.

This has huge implications for our lives and our work.

It’s going to mean huge insecurity about employment, as new machines make more jobs obsolete.

It’s happening already.

Auckland airport is replacing its cleaners with machines.

Law clerks being replaced by computer searches and algorithms.

Some people even invented an algorithm to write political speeches. So if you think we all sound like robots now, just you wait.

Just down the road, you’ll have seen the straddle carriers at the Port of Auckland, the big vehicles that move containers around.

This year, the Port is looking at replacing those with machines that drive themselves.

Now, just for a moment, imagine that you’re one of those workers being replaced.

It’s a good job. It pays well. You can pay the mortgage and take the kids to the movies once in a while.

And then one day, that job is gone.

It’s not your fault, there’s nothing you could have done. But you get replaced by a machine just the same.

So, there has to be a transition, and it must be a just transition.

We often talk about just transition in relation to climate change, and the same is true of the future of work.

And having spoken to both the company and the union representing the port workers, it’s pleasing to see they are working on just that.

But we can’t just sit back and hope that’s going to happen in every instance.

As President Obama said recently, changing technology has the power to broaden opportunity or widen inequality.

And that’s the big question.

If we don’t work together to address this issue, poverty and inequality will only get worse as people get left behind.

The Kiwi Dream will fade away and life will be so much harder for the next generation.

Well I’m telling you today, I’m not going to let that happen.

Because we do have a choice in this. We don’t have to give up on a decent future for all.

I’m not going to accept a world where thousands of Kiwis are told “I’m sorry, there’s just no place for you anymore.”

That’s not who I am. That’s not what I believe in. My life’s mission is to make sure there is decent work for all.

We can do better.

If we plan ahead and act now, we can seize on the opportunities that come from new technology and we can do it in a way that brings people with us, instead of leaving them behind.

That’s why I’m so proud that it has been Labour, through our Future of Work Commission, that has been leading the thinking on this issue.

Thinking that will let us harness this change for the good of everyone, not just a few.

That’s the choice I want our country to make.

To create opportunity instead of watching it slip away.

Today, I want to talk about the changes we can make to ensure that our economy and our education system are giving people the tools to adapt and to succeed in the 21st century.

I want to tell you how we will build a better future for New Zealand, together.

But before I do, I want to make one thing very clear.

We’ll never get there with the current mob in the Beehive.

They’re not thinking about these opportunities. They like to say that the people who do are scaremongering.

They’re obsessed with the political day to day.

To them, it’s more important to win the day than to win the future.

More important to score points than to solve problems.

That’s why they avoid big ideas, or big changes, or anything that looks remotely like political risk, even if it would actually help people.

The truth is, this government has given up on the future.

They’ve been selling us short.

There’s no better example of this than the TPP agreement the government will sign next week at Sky City.

You know, over the summer, I managed to work my way through large parts of that agreement.

It wasn’t the breeziest of summer reading, I’ll say that much.

But what the text of the TPP makes very clear is that this Government has traded away our democratic rights.

Under the TPP, our democracy is under threat.

New Zealand’s parliament will be constrained in its ability to pass laws in our — your, mine, our kids’ interests.

In fact, on issues like labour laws, and environmental laws, our government is now obliged to give the governments of eleven other countries — and their big corporate players — a say on the laws we make.
New Zealand MPs will no longer be solely responsible to the people who elect them.

And I cannot accept that.

Labour has been a champion of free trade for decades. But we have never been asked to pay the price of the erosion of our democratic institutions.

Binding future parliaments, making our government accountable to politicians and corporations overseas instead of voters here at home?

That’s not free trade.

That’s special rules for the powerful and privileged at the expense of the voters of New Zealand.

We have to stand up for New Zealand.

So it’s clear: if we want a better future, we need to change the government.

New Zealanders are an optimistic and ambitious people, and I want to lead a Government that lives up to that spirit.

I’ve already talked about some of the ways we go about securing our future.

We’re going to fix the housing crisis by building the thousands of new homes that we need.

We’re going to end the scourge of child poverty in this country once and for all because it has no place in a nation like ours.

We’ll be adding more policies to back the Kiwi Dream this year.

And today, I want to add the first of these:

Restoring security for people in a changing world.

It starts with building an education system that’s fit for the 21st century.

Our party, the Labour Party, has always believed in the power of education.

We know that education changes lives.

It liberates people. It unleashes new ideas.

It levels the playing field between rich and poor.

Our party has always believed in a free education system that gives Kiwis the tools they need to succeed.

Think back to the amazing vision that Peter Fraser had for our education system, when he said that every New Zealander has a right to a free education of the kind for which they are best fitted and to the fullest extent of their powers.

We need that approach now more than ever.

Generations of Kiwis have built a world class education system here in New Zealand.

We’ve got some great teachers and great educators, and we should be proud of them.

Because we back our education system, our party has always been about expanding opportunity.

And now, in this new era, we need to do it again.

Because at every step of the way in the Future of Work project, we have heard the call for life-long learning.

We are going to build an education system that fits the new realities of our economy.

A free education system that doesn’t stop once you leave high school.

We are entering an age where education throughout your life is more necessary than ever.

Skills, knowledge, training and retraining — they are the currency of the future of work.

We have big challenges, that’s for sure.

But that means it’s a time for big ideas. Time to be brave.

If we want to win the future, we have to be bold.

So I say the days of small ideas are over, it’s time to do better, to go further.

Today, I am recommitting our party to the principle of free education in the 21st century.

I am announcing that the next Labour government will invest in three years of free training and education after high school throughout a person’s life.

That’s right.

Three years of free skills training, of apprenticeships or higher education right across your working life.

Everything you need to train and retrain as the world changes.

That’s the future we need.

That’s the ambition we need.

Just think about what this means for the worker who’s been on the job for twenty years only to find out that their job is being automated.

With this policy, they can retrain for a new industry, with new skills for a new job. Their families will have that security.

Think of the doors that we can open for our young people if we make it easier to get the skills they need without taking on huge debt.

Think how much easier it will be to start a family, or buy a home, or launch a business.

If we do this right, our children won’t have to become Generation Rent or Generation Debt.

Think of the people from less affluent backgrounds, who never dreamed they would be able to afford higher education.

Think of all they can achieve if they are given the right opportunity.

And think of what this will mean for our economy.

With Labour, Kiwi businesses will have some of the best educated, most productive workers in the world.

Our Working Futures Plan will be available to everyone going into education after high school from 2019. It’ll also be available to everyone who’s never studied past high school before.

The big changes are starting now, but it is New Zealanders at school today who will face this new reality from day one of their working lives.

We’ll start with one year of coverage, with the second and third years following in our subsequent terms in office. Offering the first year of this plan will cost $265 million a year.

This is a big, long term investment. It is the opposite of what the current government is doing.

It’s an upfront investment for a long term return. We are being responsible, and we are phasing this in over time.

The money is there — the Government just has it earmarked for tax cuts. We will use that money instead to invest in New Zealand’s future.

We can afford to do this. Because there is no better investment than our people and their futures.

New Zealand, for too long we’ve been held back by a government that’s tried to make a virtue out of its lack of ambition.

But we can do better.

We are on the edge of one of the most exciting times in our history.

The future of work is creating incredible opportunities that we’ve never had before.

Opportunities to remake our economy, expand opportunity and end poverty and inequality.

To set every Kiwi up for a better future — for themselves and for their families.

We’ve got the chance in front of us.

All we have to do is seize it.

If we’ve got the courage to make the big changes.

To remake our education system and transform our economy.

To grab big ideas and seize big opportunities.

If we can do that, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.

I am so optimistic about our future.

I’m so excited about the incredible things we can achieve together.

If you agree — if you see the opportunities I see,

If you feel the excitement I feel,

If you want the better future I’ve spoken of today, then I’m asking all of you to join us. To join our

campaign. To spread our message.

New Zealand, together, we can do this.

Together, we can seize these opportunities.

Together, we can win the future.

Thank you.

283 comments on “Andrew Little: The working futures plan ”

  1. Plan B 1

    excellent, great speech.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Aye I was there and he spoke really well. He is one of the most inspiring speakers I have seen in quite a while.

      • tinfoilhat 1.1.1

        NZ hasn’t had a good political public speaker since Shane jones left parliament and then before him David Lange.

        Sadly it’s a skill which are politicians are woeful at.

        • Lanthanide

          Shane Jones was never a good speaker except in his imagination.

        • Stuart Munro

          Oh come on!

          Maurice’s Big Gay Rainbow speech went global – he can pull it off sometimes. As corrupt and useless as his colleagues but he can talk a good game.

        • lprent

          Problem was that Shane Jones was good at talking. However when you went off and analysed what he said it always wound up as being vapour and had no content. David Lange was pretty much the same in my view.

          I don’t rate good political public speakers when they don’t have any real content (sausage) to go with the sizzle. It always feels like I wind up hungry and cold after I have been screwed over.

          Coming to think of it, I don’t rate “good political public speakers” at all.

          I rate people with ideas that they can express and are likely to work. Little tends to have sausage in his speeches. I prefer that to sizzle.

      • i'm right 1.1.2

        Ahhh Mickey, Really?, [deleted]

        [lprent: Banned permanently for stupidity (see the policy). I really can’t be bothered with dickheads trolling bullshit without sourcing or their own opinions, especially when they attack an author.

        You really are a stupid fuckwit – go back to LF. ]

    • AmaKiwi 1.2

      “The system is fucked,” is the winning message today. (Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, Yanis Voroufakis, etc.)

      The old message is, “We’ll give you a bigger slice of the pie.” All I heard from Little is that old message.

      I heard no mention of how corrupt the economic and political system is under the dominance of the 1%. That’s the new winning message.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        The Labour caucus are Blair, not Corbyn. Clinton not Sanders. This is not worth the celebration like some are doing on this post.

        I’ll make that point clear shortly.

        • weka

          funny because didn’t someone compare you to the Blairites in this very thread? 😉

          • Colonial Viper

            Heh, also to Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Che Guevara etc. Or is that to come? 😉

        • AmaKiwi

          What is the state of the nation, Mr. Little?

          Corrupt. Unashamedly corrupt from the top down.

          That’s where the Kiwi dream has gone. To a millionaire Saudi businessman. $4.2 million to a failed charter school. $5 or $6 billion a year in bank profits to Australia from what were once NZ owned banks. To Apple and other foreign multi-nationals who dodge our tax system. To Sky Casino. Ruined rivers because of underfunding DOC.

          The list goes on and on and on.

          • Colonial Viper

            Labour seem to have aimed for the zeitgeist of the times, but somehow their salvo has totally missed the broad side of the country’s barn.

            Yet so many on The Standard are cheering away at the attempt. Mysterious.

      • weka 1.2.2

        Why would you expect to hear the new message from Labour? Genuine question.

        • Colonial Viper

          Because UK Labour managed it, and being British they are even more entrenched in the establishment aristocracy than NZ Labour is.

          So why can’t the NZLP get its shit sorted and do the same, instead of policy directing most of the money to 30-40 something white middle class parental types, i.e. the ones whose teenage kids are most likely to go to university by ~2019.

          • weka

            The UK situation is not comparable to NZ for a whole bunch of reasons you are well aware of. Can’t be bothered going down that cul de sac.

            I do really wich you would stop the bigoted shit, it’s embarassing.

            • Colonial Viper

              What’s embarrassing is that you can’t see a pitch for the comfortable middle class swing voter when its right in front of your face.

              • weka

                Oh I can see that part of the strategy just fine CV (see, there you go again making really stupid assumptions about my politics based on your own personal issues). But I can see all the other people who will be helped by this policy and I don’t appreciate you making them invisible.

                • Colonial Viper

                  How are they going to be helped?

                  Underfunded tertiary institutions get zero additional money from this policy.

                  Students already get their course fees paid for them, via student loans.

                  Those studying but in poverty don’t get a single extra dollar to pay for power, food or rent.

                  And the massive student loan mountain will keep increasing at more than half a billion dollars a year even after Labour implements this policy.

  2. Craig H 2

    Good plan, but I think 3 years may need to be extended to 5 or more at some point.

  3. millsy 4

    This actually isn’t too bad an idea, but there are fishhooks, notably those who have had tertiary education before are excluded from the policy, plus it it effectively is a voucher scheme for post-secondary education, which ignores the structural issues in that sector.

    At least Labour is trying though.

    • Keith 4.1

      It is about retraining for those otherwise unable to afford or make the change as traditional jobs disappear because of technology, (using the straddle crane drivers jobs as an example) and its very far sighted, something in the world of John Key’s short term punts we are not used to hearing. What it is NOT about is making the unemployed suddenly all become brain surgeons. The speech was quite clear about that!

  4. fisiani 5

    We’re going to end the scourge of child poverty in this country once and for all because it has no place in a nation like ours.

    Given the current definition of poverty how is that possible? Making the maximum income $80,000???

    So the poor guy has to run in to talk to the clerk. He’s got his aerial in his hand, he’s sopping wet — completely bedraggled — and he says
    “Mate, can you stop the bloody machine?”

    Now that I can believe.

  5. Gangnam Style 6

    I like it, its a good plan, I would vote for this.

  6. Hami Shearlie 7

    Wonder what the next political polls will show after this speech? This is a massive policy which will affect a huge number of families in NZ – I wonder who dreamed it up and who wrote the speech? Stephen Joyce must be choking over this one, bet he never saw it coming!!

    • fisiani 7.1

      Next poll for Labour could well start with a 2.

    • Why? It may work for a couple of years but what’s the bet that when everyone has three years of higher education that employers will start demanding 5 years. Just as years ago, SC was the requirement but fast forward to today and you will see that a diploma is now also required.

      • Lanthanide 7.2.1

        You don’t just click your fingers and get a 3 year degree, you know. You have to live of a student loan while you’re studying. It’s not like you get a 3 year degree while simultaneously gaining on-the-job work experience.

        This will make it an easier choice to go in for education, but by no means is it going to start a torrent of graduates like you suggest.

        So your thought that “employers will just demand 5 years of education” is ludicrous.

        • TheBlackKitten

          I disagree.
          Due to less jobs than people, many employers are requiring a degree or higher education for positions where the degree has no relevance or does not help them in the job they are applying for. Employers use this as a screening process to whittle down the huge amount of applicants they get when advertising a position. Another words, they can be picky. Here is an example. A junior accounts clerk 30 years ago required only secondary education to gain a position with no work experience. Today, a business or accounting degree/diploma is required. So, if suddenly everyone has secondary education plus 3 years higher education please explain why you feel that many employers would not demand even more higher education to whittle down the amount of applicants applying?

          • Lanthanide

            “So, if suddenly everyone has secondary education”

            That’s just my point. This policy isn’t going to unleash a torrent of graduates like you suggest it will.

            “A junior accounts clerk 30 years ago required only secondary education to gain a position with no work experience.”

            I’d suggest that the job today is a lot more technical than the job 30 years ago. Arguably you could just say that the individual junior accounts clerk is now expected to do more than they were 30 years ago, and that’s why it’s more technical. But that’s just another way of saying “workplace efficiency has increased”, and by efficiency I mean “more work gets done with fewer people”.

            • Colonial Viper

              I’d suggest that the job today is a lot more technical than the job 30 years ago.

              Regardless, a university education is still useless for that position. 6 months competent on the job training would suffice.

            • TheBlackKitten

              The only thing that has changed is computer systems and we all know that anyone young has been brought up with the things so will not need any extra training in using them. 30 years ago you were required to understand the theory behind what was happening as there was no computers to automatically do it for you as they do today so I disagree, that it’s become more technical to the point that you need to go into debt to learn it at a higher education institute.
              A junior level requires secondary education only and the only reason why employers now request higher education is because they are being picky and are using that to whittle down the high number of applicants that they get for these positions.
              As SC (school certificate) was never requested for many jobs 50 years ago, then became mandatory due to high levels of unemployment the same is happening with higher education. The more that have it the more picky and demanding employers will become as it is used as a tool to whittle down a high number of applicants and it is really not necessary for the many, many roles where it is now requested.

              • lprent

                The jobs have changed as well. There are few clerical staff adding up numbers. Virtually no newspapers pages being printed (how thin is the NZ Herald these days). New cars, like most machines, are run by electronics and code. Most factories run with computer controlled equipment.

                Etc etc across many industries. And that was just the first round. The pace of change is increasing, not slowing. Anyone around the computer industry like me can tell you how much the world of work is going to change and will keep changing. And it is getting faster now that the sensors are better and the CPUs are massively faster and less storage constrained.

                Like every other technical system, automation changes the jobs. But the way that code + sensors + hardware operates these days changes virtually ALL industries and all jobs from repetitive to smart and/or creative and/or customer focused. That is because machines are better at being repetitive machines than people are.

                If an employer needs a machine, then they buy or hire one. But they hire humans to think. They pick employees who have shown that they can learn and think because they require less work to manage, and therefore less overheads and less cost, and they work better at doing the things that machines are and will be useless at.

                50 years ago it was different. Many of the jobs you are talking about have disappeared because they were jobs that machines now do. During that same 50 years we have also automated an enormous number of women out of working entirely in the home to working in our industries. But despite that vast increase in the workforce, we’re still way way short of people who can look at problems and issues and solve them intelligently.

                Education of any sort fosters that. Apprenticeships, tech, university, nightschool, re-education… The only thing that doesn’t work are bloody stupid courses that are over-subscribed for dying industries (for instance journalism courses come to mind) because they don’t lead to any starting work.

      • riffer 7.2.2

        Even IF you are correct and the majority of employers will demand a high educational attainment as a requirement for a job, one thing you’ve missed TheBlackKitten is that, even with that potential downside, you end up with a much higher educated workplace, with all the benefits that flow out of that. Milking cows isn’t gonna save New Zealand anymore.

        • TheBlackKitten

          Yes but then you will still need to pay for your education as you do today ie five years required to get a job as opposed to 3 so you are still paying for the extra two years. And a more skilled workforce is not everyone just simply sitting in a classroom reading a book and sitting diplomas.
          See that’s what’s wrong today. Suddenly to learn trades like hairdressing, floristry and building requires theory learning that incurs student debt and fails to give students the skills needed to do these jobs as opposed to the apprenticeship system that is on hand practical training that gives experience in the actual job. The idea that all skills can only be obtained via theory only is a serious issue that needs addressing and is responsible for the serious skill shortage that we have in this country that has resulted cheap overseas labour been imported. Granted, you will always need a degree to be a doctor, lawyer or an accountant but for trades it is ridiculous and wrong.

    • Colonial Viper 7.3

      This is a massive policy which will affect a huge number of families in NZ

      And annoy every single current uni student as well as recent (and not so recent) graduates who owe the Crown tens of thousands in student loans.

      Unless Labour make their policy retrospective, of course, and not just starting years from now.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.3.1


        • weka

          Really, Labour should just not do anything good for fear of upsetting the people who’ve been shafted by National, and Clark and Lange’s governments.

          • Lanthanide

            CV wants Labour to print $50,000 and give it to everyone in the country, but for there to simultaneously be no inflation or deflation.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Yeah, typical neo-Liberal running dogs Labour: only pay out to people who are actually alive and in the country. If they had any real Socialist values they’d pay out for all the ancestors who’ve ever lived here too. And their pets.

            • Colonial Viper

              CV wants Labour to print $50,000 and give it to everyone in the country, but for there to simultaneously be no inflation or deflation.

              It’s an accounting adjustment in the government’s books. No money needs to be “printed” to eliminate student debt.

              Also, I never said that such an adjustment would be or even should be inflation neutral.

              But getting rid of student debt, or most of it, is a very good idea for NZ.

              • Lanthanide

                So it IS true: no matter how ridiculous a parody you make of certain political positions, there will always be someone who will think you were being honest.


                • McFlock

                  With some the distinction is easier than others.

                  It’s a depressing observation on humanity that I can’t think of anyone who cannot be confused with satire, but someone like Trump is completely indistinguishable from all satire…

      • Raf 7.3.2

        It might annoy current students, yes, but they’ll all have friends and family who WILL benefit; and they can also get some comfort from knowing they won’t have to fork out for THEIR children.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          They’ve every right to be annoyed: with the people who proposed, implemented and subsequently failed to reverse the policy.

          With the people who did reverse the policy? Not so much.

          Perhaps it would help them to remember that it’s far more likely that the policy was enacted and maintained out of stupidity rather than deliberate malice. Except for Judith Collins and Steven Joyce: they do it out of malice 😈

        • Heather Grimwood

          Excellent point Raf (7.3.2)

      • Reality 7.3.3

        CV – Any new policy has to start somewhere and some will not benefit, such as when paid parental leave was introduced and earlier generations of parents had not received it. Is that a reason for doing nothing, ever? Would be nice if you could sometimes be a happy chappy for a change.

        • Colonial Viper

          Seriously? By the time Little implements this policy (and I don’t think he will get the chance), total student debt will be ~$20B and increasing at over $1B a year.

          Little’s little contribution today will reduce the rate of student debt increase to about $750M per year.


          Happy happy now now.

          • Raf

            Hey CV – have you been looking the other way while education has been moving online? Another area of our lives being “disrupted”, and getting cheaper and cheaper. Don’t be like the guy who predicted that the size of New York would be limited by the amount of horse dung it could stand – because he couldn’t predict cars.

    • David H 7.4

      But now watch the Nats steal the idea’s , Bastadise them, them call them their own, all the time while calling out Labour for not supporting thier own ‘policy’. A Typical Joyce move!

  7. weka 8

    I am announcing that the next Labour government will invest in three years of free training and education after high school throughout a person’s life.

    That’s right.

    Three years of free skills training, of apprenticeships or higher education right across your working life.

    Does that mean 3 years of tertiary education, once in your lifetime?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Also worth reflecting that it takes at least 4 years to get an engineering degree, 5 years to become a minimally qualified vet, dentist or doctor, and years more than that to move into and do anything worthwhile in the postgrad world.

      • Jenny Kirk 8.1.1

        To CV – Its an excellent start on getting our screwed-up education system working properly for ordinary people – no doubt as Labour in Govt gets the economy working again too, other measures will follow.

        To Weka – I read the three years of free skill training across your working life as meaning to be you could take it up six month or yearly slots – depending on what the course/skills needed are.
        Or perhaps you go straight into a job from high school and then later on – perhaps when you’re 25 and have a young family, you need to upskill and you could do that then – maybe over a 2 year period without it penalising your young family. That sort of thing ……

        • weka

          thanks Jenny. If Labour do that alongside other proactive employment policies it has a lot of potential. I’m guessing the whole 3 year degree thing will get knocked on it’s head as the standard for education once the automation age kicks in.

        • TheBlackKitten

          But how will you support your living costs like food, power and rent? It’s all very well having the education for free but you have still got to eat and been tied up all day at tech or Uni won’t allow you to work to earn to pay for these things. Most people at people at 25 have no one else to support these costs for them.

          • Lanthanide

            That’s what student loans are for. How do you think students do it these days?

            • Colonial Viper

              Fuck the Crown indebting future generations of NZers just so that Kiwis can feed themselves day to day while accumulating more and more debt before they can even make a living.

              It’s wrong.

            • Colonial Viper

              Fuck the Crown indebting future generations of NZers just so that Kiwis can feed themselves day to day while accumulating more and more debt before they can even make a living.

              It’s wrong and its unnecessary.

              • mickysavage

                CV I don’t get you. This is a positive policy that will help students and you are saying it is bad because it should help them even more?

                • b waghorn

                  Hell hath no furry like a jilted wannabe mp.

                • + 1 “It’s wrong and its unnecessary.”

                • Colonial Viper

                  MS, firstly, the policy is better than a swift kick in the shins. That’s all.

                  Let me contextualise this.

                  The Crown currently holds $15B in student debt over the heads of ordinary Kiwis. That’s enough to buy 20 thousand median Auckland houses.

                  Little’s announcement keeps that debt servitude locked in place, intact.

                  It’s a mountainous shitload of debt.

                  This debt impairs new household formation, takes wages and salaries out of local communities, and encourages young Kiwis to leave NZ in search of incomes which can actually service that debt.

                  By the time Labour gets to enact its policy the mountain of student debt will be up to ~$20B.

                  Under Labour’s new policy I expect that the rate of increase of this multi-billion dollar student debt will reduce by a couple of hundred million a year. Little said by $265M a year.

                  But the overall total will likely keep increasing, albeit more slowly.

                  A massive multi-billion mountain of debt still heading in the wrong direction, but now with Labour’s $265M p.a. worth of massaging on the edges.

                  • mickysavage

                    Agreed. I never had to worry about a student loan. My kids did but because they had the opportunity to work in jobs and through family support the debts are not high.

                    We need to wind the system back. Having an “asset” on the country’s balance sheet that is a whole lot of debt owed by young people is an insane thing.

                    The sooner we get rid of it the better.

                    Today’s policy will start to improve things. Not instantly. But it is a very good start.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Wikipedia says that the student debt mountain is increasing at approx $1B every year now. Labour’s policy will reduce that rate of increase by about $265M p.a. But it will still be going up.

                      I am personally peeved as well. I started university around the time Labour brought in student fees. I spent a lot of years studying, accruing more and more debt every year.

                      This policy does zero for me and fails to recognise the tens of thousands of debt that I have had to manage my way through and leaves in place a system where student debt overall will continue to increase.

                    • Andre

                      CV, maybe it’s not always all about you.

                    • Macro

                      I tend to agree with CV – There are literally thousands of young people out there with an enormous amount of debt over their heads, that has been the result of Phil Goff’s mangling (yes it was he who had the bright idea in the first place)

                      Goff’s moves to introduce a student loan scheme (later canned because the banks would not take part) and charge university fees of $1250 had not gone down well among students used to free tertiary education. Goff’s argument that it was the only way to prevent capping student numbers fell on deaf ears.

                      Goff emerged from opening the Hunter Building at Victoria University in March 1989 to find students lying on the ground all around his car. He walked back to Parliament, trailed the whole way by students chanting “Phil Goff F*** Off” – led by the then Victoria University Students’ Association president Andrew Little.

                      Good to Andrew Little getting his own back – and seeing the back of Goff.

                    • weka

                      I don’t think anyone here believes that student loans are a good thing. Labour are never going to do the kind of economics that CV talks about. What they’re doing is not ideal but at least they are doing something.

                      Nice bit of history thanks.

                    • Macro

                      Yes! I think its called “karma”. 🙂

              • David H

                And what about the near $200 Billion dollar anchor around our fucking necks, courtesy of the thieving Nats?????? That won’t go away on the back of out of date idea’s, like milk powder, so called Swamp Kauri, and Bullshit. You Need to have a divergant workforce or else, it’s Game over. And we all end up as Slaves.

            • TheBlackKitten

              If you read my comment carefully you will understand the point I am making is that someone who left school and started working would have gained independence and would be using the income from their job to pay for their food, rent etc. Then if they leave their place of employment to obtain higher education those expenses will still need to be met. The higher education may be free but the living expenses are not and a student loan is not for free is it?

              • sabine

                then they can get a job as millions of students since ever have done.

                Frankly, as long as I can remember students have worked. They have waited tables, worked part time in offices, drove taxis, etc etc etc.

                Heck i have one student work for me. Will it be enough to cover all costs? No, but it will be enough to keep any loans to a minimum especially if course costs are gone.

                fuck me, but really this argument that not all costs are met are bs. And I venture to guess that those in NZ that had the courtesy of free education still needed to cover their living expenses and housing costs.

      • marty mars 8.1.2

        yeah what have the fcuking romans ever done for us???

        On the speech I like the education thing. I think whoever wrote the speech did a good job and Little delivered it well by all accounts. The speech was designed for the voters they want – no problem with that. Can’t see many leftie activists getting all teary about the speech – not the content for them (me). I do have problems with all of the assumptions – jobs, the future and so on – but unless we go to a war footing no political party is going to do much about the big issues and hope is precious so I can accept it and say – get into it Labour, increase momentum and let’s get the gnats off those benches.

        • David H

          “yeah what have the fcuking romans ever done for us???”

          They gave you Hot baths, and they gave you running water, and they gave you violent entertainment the like that have not been seen until the CGI movies of the 90’s 0ies ’10’s and the teens of the 21st century. So Far!

    • Karen 8.2

      A total of 3 years free tertiary education but it doesn’t have to be taken all at once.

      Presumably it will be extended at some stage, but it is a good start.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Thanks for clarifying, I found the across the lifetime thing a bit confusing, probably because I’m old enough to remember when we had free education across a whole lifetime 😉

        “Presumably it will be extended at some stage, but it is a good start.”

        I agree, on both points.

  8. fisiani 9


    Pity Andrew Little did not read the Guardian and simply listened to the warped bribery reasoning of Grant Robertson.
    I predicted his comments but cannot believe that it covers all ages and all abilities or none.

    Or even the New Statesman

    Simplistic ideas have unintended consequenses.
    Do Labour not have researchers and analysts? Oh that’s right they declined the offer of one from Treasury.

    • AB 9.1

      Bah – The Guardian writer is just saying the money to close the inequality gap should be spent earlier in the child’s education rather than at tertiary level. He’s not saying it shouldn’t be spent at all – so you still wouldn’t get your (undeserved) tax-cut.
      A civilised country would do both.

    • millsy 9.2

      You may have firm ground if you accepted that Nat4 turned tertiary education into one big free-for-all where anyone could set up a school and offer a worthless qualification.

  9. Colonial Viper 10

    Churning out higher numbers of more highly educated people into a slowing economy with fewer and fewer skilled jobs.

    An economy where both skilled and unskilled employment is being exported to India, Bangladesh or Vietnam, and other work automated or simply left unfunded and undone.

    Free tertiary education is a great policy of the 1950s and 1960s, and especially before Labour introduced user pays universities.

    From Labour its better than nothing, but its utility in our 21st century environment is both slightly limited, and slightly misplaced.

    What would be nice to see is a policy to write off the multiple billions in student debt the Crown currently holds over Kiwis of all ages and which currently disadvantages hundreds of thousands of NZeers.

    • weka 10.1

      I’d like to see the full policy in the context of other policy. I’m guessing it’s not just about more higher education in conventional terms, but opening up the way for retraining multiple times as the jobs change. So not so much about more people being ‘highly educated’ but more people being able to adapt to change via education.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        but opening up the way for retraining multiple times as the jobs change.

        It’s only for 3 years of post secondary training/education, not multiple lots of it.

        • weka

          Are you assuming that all retraining takes 3 years?

          Are you assuming that if Labour does this that that’s all they will do?

        • DoublePlusGood

          Well, that’s sufficient to at least get someone 3 years of a bachelor degree, or an apprenticeship, or vocational training, that at current often requires large borrowing.

          • b waghorn

            Its obvious most here are only thinking full three year block courses ,I read it to be more flexible , allowing people to do a one course to open the doors to the next career. Whether that’s running a business or going shepherding.

            • weka

              Yes, and if the careers are closely or even somewhat related I’d expect to see new bridging courses that aren’t full time or degree length.

    • Incognito 10.2

      I would like to think and hope that some of those “more highly educated people” would actually create (job) opportunities for themselves as well as for others.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2.1

        Individuals can only hire or increase staff according to market conditions outside their control. That said, a better educated workforce with lower debt levels can’t hurt 🙂

    • McFlock 10.3

      Churning out higher numbers of more highly educated people into a slowing economy with fewer and fewer skilled jobs.

      An economy where both skilled and unskilled employment is being exported to India, Bangladesh or Vietnam, and other work automated or simply left unfunded and undone.

      What makes you think education should be linked to employment? That’s just falling into the delusion that the value of an education is related to the income it directly produces.

      • weka 10.3.1


        It seems to be that some in this thread lack imagination.

      • Chooky 10.3.2

        +100%…Labour is on to a winner!…and the Nacts hate it!

        Education has intrinsic value in itself !….It teaches people to think…and that is a threat in itself for the neoliberals…and the wealthiest 5 % who think they have the right to rule the world and exploit everyone in it

        People who can think, analyse , evaluate, enumerate and have a knowledge of history, literature and culture are essential for a working democracy and an egalitarian society

  10. alwyn 11

    I do love the photo on the summary page (The first screen when you enter The Standard)
    It deserves a caption contest. I would suggest he is saying
    “And the fish I caught was much, much larger than those herrings Shearer displayed. I can’t actually show it to you but I’m sure you will believe me”

  11. What’s interesting is that over time unemployment has continued to rise and with that the expectations of qualifications required to do a job have become more extreme. I think many jobs today only ask for these qualifications due to weeding out the many applicants they have applying for roles. For example why do you require a business degree for a junior accounts clerk role when 30 years ago only high school education was required and before that, only basic reading and writing skills were required. My point is that the many qualifications demanded by employers today do not necessary contribute or help you do the actual job you are applying for.
    I think that employers in regards to trades have been very sneaky in passing the cost of investment of training back to the employee rather than supplying the old style apprenticeship that allowed and gave good practical on hands experience and training. Fast forward to today and tell me how does a young person get the skills needed to become a hairdresser? There are few if no apprenticeships, instead costly courses by higher education institutions require thousands of dollars of debt that provide a certificate and require time spent in a classroom that fails to give the student the ability or skills to do the job. They fail to give the student the ability on completion to walk into a hairdressers role and do the job as the old style apprenticeship system did. I think we need to revisit a lot of this so called training and how we pass skills down to the younger generation for trades. It’s due to our appalling way of passing skills on that has resulted in skill shortages in many a trade that we now import from cheap overseas countries.
    I would have liked Mr Little to focus on employers investing in good on hands practical training as opposed to students having no choice but to incur debt for these pointless diplomas by higher education institutes.
    So what happens when everyone gets the free three years higher education and as a weeding out process the employers start demanding 5 year degrees instead of three years or when they start demanding two degrees instead of one just as at present they demand a higher education diploma for job that 30 years ago would have only required secondary school education?
    Mr Little with his free higher education for three years is ignoring the real issues and offering a simplistic band aid fix that will not address the issues I raise.
    What happens when higher educational institutes start taking even more advantage of youth my dreaming up the dream job courses such as hip hop dancing and promise students glamour a futures when in reality, these skills lead to very few opportunIties.
    The real issues need to be addressed, not just some simplistic band aide that ignore them.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      What’s interesting is that over time unemployment has continued to rise and with that the expectations of qualifications required to do a job have become more extreme.

      I checked out the application form for some jobs going at the new supermarket in Green Island, Dunedin.

      They are really expecting a hell of a lot from their applicants and I suspect almost all the jobs will be paid at $18/hr or less.

      Mind you, when you get 20 or more desperate people applying for every single job going, I guess you can afford to be picky.

      • Yes and that’s the crux of the problem. There are more people than jobs and that in itself is an issue that needs addressing.

      • Rosie 12.1.2

        If it’s foodstuffs advertising jobs and it’s less than a managerial position they will start on $14.75, minimum wage. If it’s countdown they will start on $16.50 an hour as they have a collective agreement with FIRST union who have successfully negotiated pay increases each time bargaining comes up.

        And, yes, they expect a hell of a lot for little in return, in terms of both remuneration and conditions.

        • TheBlackKitten

          The best cure for mean employers is more jobs than people. That’s why I believe that government always has a certain level of unemployment, to keep people in line.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Another example of increased unionism linked to higher wages – need more of the public to realise this. Was talking to a 20 year old the other day – he didn’t know what unions were or did!

          • TheBlackKitten

            When jobs are few you definitely need worker representation but the real issue is the wage limit. Currently we have a minimum wage which any employer can pay any employee regardless of skill or qualifications required to preform in the job. I would prefer to see set rates based on skills, work experience or qualifications required. The issue is with what I suggest and with worker representation (unions) is that when jobs are few, too many people are too scared and won’t come forward to ask for what they are entitled to. Since the introduction of the ECA(which the labour government never reversed despite 9 years of power) wages in NZ have got lower and lower in comparison to cost of living. What would really fix this would be more jobs than people. You can have unions, but with high levels of unemployment people will generally focus more on keeping their job safe than asking for what is really their right. Unfortunate but true.

            • Macro

              Very true.
              It is of course current govt policy to run 6+% unemployment for this very reason. (although they won’t state it as such – but strangely all their projections for the future don’t seem to involve reducing unemployment below 6% in the near to medium term.)

              • Colonial Viper

                Labour’s policy can slightly reduce that unemployment rate by squeezing more unemployed people into universities for a few years.

            • UncookedSelachimorpha

              Something to remember – if you are paying your workers the minimum wage, you are indicating that you would pay them less if it wasn’t illegal.

              Your point about Labour ignoring the ECA is sadly a very good one – the key piece of legislation that has trashed the well-being of the people labour purports to represent. They need a rethink on that one.

              You don’t really need more jobs than people – there are other ways of increasing the share going to employees compared to owners e.g.

              – higher minimum wage

              – ban on any profit or dividend taking by owners if any workers in business are below living wage

              – encourage collective bargaining and strong unions

              – Replace the ECA!

    • weka 12.2

      Black Kitten, I agree with much of what you say, but you seem to be assuming this is Labour’s only policy on employment. It’s not. I’m not a Labour person, but what I’ve heard previously from Little suggests he knows what you are talking about and is working towards a range of actions to address those issues. I’m guessing that alongside free education Labour will be promoting policies to address the very issues you raise. Perhaps one of the Labour people here could post policies or previous speeches?

      I seem to remember that it was government that disbanded the old apprenticeship schemes rather than employers, don’t remember which govt.

      Here’s some bits from the Labour website on apprenticehips (I don’t have time to pull out the useful bits).


    • Craig H 12.3

      As a separate announcement last week, employers who take on apprentices will be paid an amount equivalent to the dole for the duration of employment or until the apprenticeship is finished, whichever happens first.

      • Good. Thats where we need to be heading. Are there plenty of employers prepared and able to do this? Do they have a proper format to follow to ensure all levels of skills are shown and taught as they did with the old style apprenticeships?
        We also need to ensure that completed apprenticeship papers are recognised as better then silly diplomas by other employers.

        • Craig H

          As with any policy, the devil will be in the detail, but I guess we’d have to implement it to find out.

    • Incognito 12.4

      I agree with your comments to a point.

      For example why do you require a business degree for a junior accounts clerk role when 30 years ago only high school education was required and before that, only basic reading and writing skills were required.

      Although people may be academically overqualified for jobs they have no work experience to match their degree and need to start somewhere. It seems likely that somebody with a business degree will move upwards and onwards more quickly than somebody with just a high-school certificate 30 years ago.

      I am not suggesting it is ideal but I don’t think it is necessarily off-putting, traumatising or scarring; it is just another life experience for some in this weird & wacky world in which we live, which is changing all the time – and we can change it!

      • Not necessarily, those that moved up did so despite education and if extra education was required then they attended night school to get it. Many qualifications are not required at a junior level and only add extra debt to a young person. Far better if they can get into a job and attend night school after hours if it is really required to move further up as due to full time employment, they are in a much better financial position to pay for it and will not be so reliant on debt. debt is a huge problem for youth, at present to get a good job they are required to hook themselves up with student debt. Goodness knows how they are supposed to save for house (joke if in Auckland) and start a family. All these current higher education requirements are just not financially sustainable.

    • millsy 12.5


      A few years ago I would have been all for this policy, however with the benefit of experience in the workforce and tertiary education, I realise that simply adjusting a bookkeeping entry isn’t going to fix the tertiary education system.

  12. Jamie 13

    CV will never be happy. It’s quite pathetic.

  13. Rosie 14

    Totally excited about the free 3 years tertiary education policy! What an uplifting announcement. Good for individuals, school leavers and people of all ages for upskilling for new work and personal fulfilment, good for creating a more equal society.

    I can take my diploma and go on to complete a degree. Yahoo! Couldn’t continue with education as it was a choice between that and saving for a house. That house that we are now struggling to pay off on one salary.

    Got to wait till 2019 till the policy kicks in and in the mean time we have to kick out those bastards that are holding us back from our true potential.

    Great speech Andrew. A glimmer of hope!

  14. Manuka AOR 15

    “Under the TPP, our democracy is under threat.

    “New Zealand’s parliament will be constrained in its ability to pass laws in our — your, mine, our kids’ interests.

    “In fact, on issues like labour laws, and environmental laws, our government is now obliged to give the governments of eleven other countries — and their big corporate players — a say on the laws we make. New Zealand MPs will no longer be solely responsible to the people who elect them. And I cannot accept that.

    “Labour has been a champion of free trade for decades. But we have never been asked to pay the price of the erosion of our democratic institutions.

    “Binding future parliaments, making our government accountable to politicians and corporations overseas instead of voters here at home?

    “That’s not free trade.

    “That’s special rules for the powerful and privileged at the expense of the voters of New Zealand.”

    Very well said.

    • whateva next? 15.1

      Second that Manuka AOR

    • Chooky 15.2

      +100 Manuka AOR….all Labour policy and New Zealand democracy and the will of the New Zealand people will go to the winds if New Zealand accepts the TPP

      ….this is why it is so important that Labour and the greens and NZF and Mana have rejected the TPP!…and will oppose jonkey nact signing it …and will rescind it if signed

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      Because the National Party is far too incompetent to even conceive of such a thing, and will deny Germany exists if they can get away with it.

    • millsy 16.2

      Germany also doesnt let just anyone set up their own learning institute, junk qualifications and watch the money roll in. That is why it works over there, and that is why we should NEVER have free education until this privatised, deregulated mess of a higher education sector is sorted out.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 16.3

      Germany also has high tax, which much of the population supports. They generally don’t subscribe to the childish ‘tax is theft’ mentality promoted by rich people in English-speaking democracies for their own selfish benefit…maybe the strong education system is part of their smarter thinking!

    • Chooky 16.4

      +100 Peter….and where you get countries which want to de- educate their people and indoctrinate them you have tyrannies

      eg Pol Pot

      “Amazingly, in the very short span of a year or so, the small gang of Khmer Rouge wiped out the center of Cambodian culture, its spiritual incarnation, its institutions.”


      ….and Mao Tse Tung

      “The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a social-political movement that took place in the People’s Republic of China from 1966 until 1976. Set into motion by Mao Zedong, then Chairman of the Communist Party of China, its stated goal was to preserve ‘true’ Communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to re-impose Maoist thought as the dominant ideology within the Party. ”


      …and where you get peoples and countries and ideologies which take over other countries you get DEVALUATION OF EDUCATION….and oppression of the indigenous people’s culture and education …and persecution and genocide

      eg Maori punished for speaking Maori… and Maori spirituality and religious values degraded in favour of Christianity

      eg. Tibet



  15. Lanthanide 17

    This policy will never be implemented as currently forecast. Am I’m not even talking about Labour needing to win the 2017 election.

    The 1 year free study will be put in place, and will be warmly greeted. The 2nd year might be put in place. But by 2025, at least one government between now and then will have deferred or outright cancelled the 3rd year. There’s also highly likely to be a fee cap put in place, as well as a restriction on the courses it can be used for. They could potentially put in other performance fishooks as well, like needing to graduate to be eligible (completely undermining the intent of this policy), or requiring a certain GPA to qualify for the whole offset.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if when the policy is fully implemented there’s some sort of requirement to stay in NZ after graduation as well.

    In other words, great sounding policy. But since the horizon for implementation is so long, it’ll never be implemented as proposed. Superannuation, health and general education costs will put paid to that.

    • Craig H 17.1

      I agree, and I also suspect that the 3 years is too short, so it will need to be revisited once in government, but it’s a good start.

      The performance fish-hook was having to pass half your courses in the previous year.

    • weka 17.2

      Lanth, are you saying that NZ can’t afford it?

      Bonding people to stay in NZ seems reasonable to me, but I’m of the generation where teachers had free education and were bonded afterwards.

      • Colonial Viper 17.2.1

        Lanth is talking about the political realities of its implementation.

        As long as we stay wedded to the orthodox regime of economics and finance, it will always seem a big stretch to afford new policies involving hundreds of millions in new spending.

      • Lanthanide 17.2.2

        I’m saying a future government will claim, for one reason or another, that we can’t afford it.

        Of course National governments are far more likely to gut or scrap it than Labour, but expect the fish hooks to start sinking in around 2021, assuming this policy ever gets put in place to begin with that is.

        Just look at what National has done with Kiwisaver – there is pretty much no part of it that they haven’t tweaked to be less generous to workers.

        • weka

          Isn’t that true of most policy that the right object to ideologically? It’s a great failing of our system of governance.

          • Lanthanide

            National have barely touched WFF or interest-free student loans. But this one seems much more discretionary.

            • weka

              how so?

              • Lanthanide

                WFF has clearly embedded itself into people’s day to day budgeting. Similarly for students at university, interest-free student loans, including after study ends, makes a massive difference in whether you choose to study or not.

                Now obviously this policy is even bigger than interest free student loans, but I’d suggest that the average student actually doesn’t think very much about the cost of their education, and the difference between an interest-free loan (and paying it back in the never-never) and getting free education wouldn’t loom large in many people’s minds.

                But crucially, when National win in 2017, or 2020, or 2023, the next tranche of this policy won’t have kicked in yet, and that’ll be the prime moment to stop it. They couldn’t repeal interest-free student loans or WFF because they’d already been in place for several years by the time they took office. For kiwisaver, they stopped the employer contribution at 2% (before eventually raising it to 3%), but they couldn’t repeal it entirely.

                So, I think just like Kiwisaver, National will put all sorts of extra fishhooks into it, once they’re in a position to do so.

                • weka

                  Well I think you are utterly wrong about how people feel about student debt, and even more so if Labour bring in other policies that broaden out what education means. eg many people feel that debt when it comes to getting a mortgage. Some people might not care (I don’t because I’m always under the threshhold) but most people are required to pay it back as soon as they start earning, so it’s like they pay extra tax. That hurts lots of people.

                  As for timing, if Labour get two terms that’s plenty of time for people to get used to a free education, and it’s not like National will start fucking with it immediately.

                  I do agree that National will try at some point.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “eg many people feel that debt when it comes to getting a mortgage.”

                    Really? Because in my experience, banks simply don’t care about it.

                    • McFlock

                      The bank might not care, but it certainly makes a dent in my mortgage payment ability.

                    • weka

                      What’s your experience Lanth?

                      For low income people, getting a mortgage is dependent on how the figures fall between income and debt and mortgagae repayment ability. The lower your income the tighter that line is and obviously any other legal debt repayment affects that.

        • lprent

          Just look at what National has done with Kiwisaver – there is pretty much no part of it that they haven’t tweaked to be less generous to workers.

          Yeah sure. But kiwisaver is still there and still growing. It is also still advantageous to both the country and the individuals as a boost towards retirements savings.

  16. blue skying

    wouldn’t it be great if new approved courses were based on building resilience, older technologies, industries that have currently shot off overseas, sustainability, transitioning to different life’s – say semi rural instead of inner city, future proofing cities such as community gardening, fruit and nut trees instead or council ornamentals, and so on and on and on. In other words courses that recognise the reality of our changing world and country and communities. Imagine how much WORK there would be for everyone, imagine how satisfying this work would be, how productive and ultimately essential. Future generations would thank us. We would thank us. Why don’t we do it.

    • weka 18.1

      I was thinking that too marty. No reason why Labour can’t do that as well, especially if the Greens are in govt too 😉

      The transition to post-carbon is full of potential for meaningful work that creates healthy environments. Sadly we seem to be in an age where doing manual labour is increasingly stigmatised.

      • marty mars 18.1.1

        I think it could be a big vote getterer – for my sins I cannot think of a negative to it at all.

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.2

        Both of you hit the nail on the head here IMO. Appropriate tech and localisation are keys of resilience to making the 21st century civilised and comfortable.

        However, Labour’s vision of the Future of Work makes assumptions that the future has to be higher tech, higher skilled and higher qualified. Kiwis have to become coders, not crofters. Children in school need laptops, not lathes.

        I think it’s the wrong way to go.

        As for the Greens…too many of them think that $70,000 electric cars are going to be some sort of answer.

        • weka

          No reason we can’t have coders and crofters both.

        • marty mars

          We will have to do it ourselves (always the way isn’t it) – good for us and good for those we can learn from and teach.

        • maui

          They’re also a mainstream political party and if they tell everyone that the future is going to involve more hands on work, less office work and less qualifications then they’ll be ignored by 90% of the population for starters. It would bolster the rural vote though!

          • McFlock

            I actually think that the best bit about this policy is that it’s Labour putting it forward – essentially, that’s the starting position for negotiations with the greens and other parties.

            Even if it goes the way of the CGT, it still brought free education into the mainstream conversation.

            • weka


              It also means Labour can let the GP do the more obvious hippy shit and let the leading edge come from the margins (which is where it’s happening anyway, it just needs some more support). Not all the resiliency stuff has to look like hippy shit though, it can look like job creation or community building etc.

        • Macro

          This crofter started his working career as a coder.
          He still is a crofter and always has been – but is the last of his clan.

          By the way – you can buy an electric car, and a set of solar panels for your house at the same time, for less than half the price you quote CV.

          My hybrid cost less than 10,000 – i use it as EV most of the time I live on a hill – it charges up on the run down into the town and gets a large way up before the petrol motor kicks in. Unfortunately the Coromandel is just a little too far for an EV’s range at present for the occasional trip to Auckland or Hamilton, but the emissions are half of a similar sized vehicle.

        • weka

          “As for the Greens…too many of them think that $70,000 electric cars are going to be some sort of answer.”

          Still intent on poisoning the well. The resiliency movements are full of Green voters and activists.

    • maui 18.2

      Agree with you marty, but I somehow can’t imagine Labour doing a lot of those things, it’s more Greens territory, and would Labour really want to be painted as a watermelon party by the right. In saying that though I thought Labour was looking at a policy of all primary schools having food gardens.

  17. fisiani 19

    [lprent: deleted – see notes on astroturfing bumf on to the site. Learn to link. Adding another two months ban for this one as it was a separate astroturf. ]

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      you want to nationalise huge hunks of the economy without compensation – you do have a problem.

      Being party to fraud – such as the fraud perpetrated by Max Bradford, for example, entitles you to zip.

      Where predictable market failure has torn the fabric of society, there is no moral obligation to compensate those who’ve profited thereby, especially with such corrupt arrangements as Cabinet Club in place. Why is it so hard for wingnuts to understand this?

      You bought some MPs – you should know by now that politicians don’t stay bought. So diddums for your losses.

      There may be pragmatic reasons to compensate, and you lost the moral argument when you sold Ministerial access and told so many lies.

  18. Whateva next? 20

    Heartening and inspiring, looking forward to 2017.

  19. Michael 21

    I think this is a very good policy, a good start.

    While in a perfect world, we could eventually have zero tuition fees for ALL types of degrees, with no limits, this is a great start and a way to phase it in. I think it is fair to say that, at least for the short-to-medium term, people will have to borrow for engineering/medical/law degrees (since a small 1 or 2 year loan won’t be that much) as those degrees have big payoffs. Then in the long term hopefully we can extend the free education period to 5 years, then to include postgrad, etc etc.

    Also the inclusion of all types of lifelong education, rather than just tertiary education, is very smart.

    This is going to have wide appeal: it will be a big win for those on the left who have been fighting for free education, while it will swing National voters in the middle who look for fiscal responsibility (the phase-in period).

    I like this: good, strong centre-left Labour that is proudly social democratic and a real party of government.

    • riffer 21.1

      Yeah, I agree Michael. Also, it’s firmly grounded in help for the workers, reflecting the original roots of the party.

      A pity a few selfish people will have to forgo their tax cuts though… 😉

  20. fisiani 22

    Does the bribe include postgraduate study? Could I get a free Ph.D?

    Why would taxpayers want to spend over a billion dollars a year to get more people with a sociology degree? Madness.

    • Andre 22.1

      The degree progression was traditionally described as BullShit, MoreShit, PiledHigher&Deeper. Trust me, fisiani, you’re already there.

      • fisiani 22.1.1

        So you agree that Labour want to spend billions of dollars on shit.

        • Andre

          Well parried, sir!

          • riffer

            Since you obviously need a bit of help fisiani, the relevant piece you need to refer to is:

            “Our Working Futures Plan will be available to everyone going into education after high school from 2019. It’ll also be available to everyone who’s never studied past high school before.”

            So as for the free PhD. I’m thinking, nah.

    • dv 22.2

      re free PHD -What do you think 3 years mean?

    • Keith 22.3

      A bribe is the kind paid by the National Party using taxpayer money to a Saudi millionaire for reasons no one but the most crooked can answer. And lets not mention some company called Oravida!

      Improving the quality of education for Kiwis for the benefit of New Zealand is not a bribe!

      • Matthew Hooton 22.3.1

        How does this improve the quality of education? I can accept it may have no effect (although I think it risks worsening quality). But how can it improve quality?

        • weka

          It lowers the ratio of educated people being rich pricks, which has to be a good thing.

        • millsy

          Didnt you work in Lockwood Smith’s office during the 1990’s? Then you would know exactly how quality needs to be improved.

          PS: It’s not what what your boss did.

        • whateva next?

          improves quality of lives of average Kiwi’s though….which is still important to the “vast majority of New Zealand”

    • weka 22.4

      Does the bribe include postgraduate study? Could I get a free Ph.D?

      Why would taxpayers want to spend over a billion dollars a year to get more people with a sociology degree? Madness.

      You didn’t actually read the speech, did you.

    • r0b 22.5

      Could I get a free Ph.D?

      I very much doubt it.

  21. Matthew Hooton 23

    Does anyone know if Labour plans to forbid tertiary institutions from charging any fees whatsoever? Or is the plan to just increase funding by an amount they think institutions would decide not to charge fees?

    • riffer 23.1

      No, if I had to speculate, I’d say it’s most likely implemented through a voucher system, thereby removing the ability of the institutions to charge a “top-up” on the amount the government would pay, as well as removing the ability of a few idiots to spend an amount of cash put in their bank on something other than study.

      It sounds like you’d apply for the grant and the study, and the education provider would be paid the fees you would.

      • Craig H 23.1.1

        My speculation is that the Student Loan system would remain in place, and the implementation would be to wipe the year’s loan if sufficient courses (half) are passed.

    • mickysavage 23.2

      All in good time Matthew. Interesting that the right’s attacks are on the detail of the policy and not the principle. This seems to be a tactic they always use on policies of the left which will resonate with people. The response is to attack the competence of Labour and suggest that it cannot do it, rather than the principle behind the policy.

      Stand by tomorrow as we will witness the onslaught start although TV3 tonight was remarkably supportive.

      • Matthew Hooton 23.2.1

        There’s no attack. It’s just a question. Do you know the answer? It makes all the difference in the world to the credibility of the policy.

        • mickysavage

          The right tried this two years ago. Hunt around for some sort of flaw in the policy and then pronounce it as fatally flawed. It is a policy statement and the implementation starts in three years time if there is a change of Government. Requiring Labour to predict 100% how it is going to go is ludicrous but I expect after the focus groups have commented National will bring out a comparable policy this year.

    • millsy 23.3

      This is a voucher system, Hooten. Plain and simple.

      • Matthew Hooton 23.3.1

        Yes, it seems to be. But it’s not clear if institutions will be able to charge some fees above the voucher.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          When was the last time your meal-ticket released a detailed policy document, hypocrite?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Also, it’s unclear as to whether you tell lies for free, or they’re always connected to your professional mendacity.

  22. It’s nice the righties come on here asking for information to tighten their lines designed to destroy this policy and Labour – shows how desperate and frightened they are – yep I’m talking to YOU.

  23. Stuart Munro 25

    The real challenge for this policy will be in quality assurance – making sure the courses are real, and useful. We don’t need another round of TEP schemes, or any of the other merry go rounds. We need Freirian outcomes: education that sets people free of bad employment options and want.

  24. UncookedSelachimorpha 26

    We used to have free education and no student debts in NZ – as recently as the 1980’s or later. Let’s just go back to that. We are a wealthy country and can afford it, so long as the 10% who own 50% pay their share of tax like the rest of us (which they don’t).

    But a good move in the right (‘correct’, not ‘right’) direction by labour.

    • fisiani 26.1

      How many times do you have to be told that the 10% pay more than 70% of tax. You cannot keep squeezing the rich.

      • Draco T Bastard 26.1.1

        Wrong. The rich don’t pay for anything at all. The poor pay for everything including for the rich to be rich.

      • McFlock 26.1.2

        Why not? Even after all that squeezing, they’re still fucking rich.

      • weka 26.1.3

        How many times do you have to be told that the 10% pay more than 70% of tax. You cannot keep squeezing the rich.

        I’m pretty sure we established the other day that you are lying about that fisiani, so we don’t really need to hear it again.

        Andrew Little’s State of the Nation Speech

      • cogito 26.1.4

        “You cannot keep squeezing the rich.”

        You sound like Rachel Smalley who, after petrol had just gone up, complained on TV that it would cost her more to fill up her Maserati! I could hardly believe my ears!

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 26.1.5

        Rubbish Fisiani, you are repeating a deception often parroted by John Key.

        Your statement might apply if you use IRD-declared income (i.e. excluding capital gains, legal tax restructuring etc) to identify the 10% – a totally incorrect and misleading assumption, which Key repeats. Most of the truly wealthy have very little declared income – you may recall that only half of NZ’s very wealthy have any income at all in the top tax bracket!


        The rich are not being squeezed at all but instead are hoovering wealth from the rest of us – that is a lot of New Zealand’s problem.

        Given the wealthiest 10% own 50% of NZ’s net wealth, while the poorest 50% own 5% – simple mathematics indicates that we only need to squeeze 10% from the top’s wealth to give the bottom half double what they currently have.

        In other words, if the likes of John Key could get by with $45 million instead of $50 million, the poorest half of NZ could have double their current wealth. As a bonus – you don’t need to grow the economy at all to achieve this.

      • Stuart Munro 26.1.6

        “You cannot keep squeezing the rich.”

        The bastards whose tax evasion has put us $120 billion in the red?

        Watch me.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 26.1.7

        Fisi seems to run through the posts chucking bombs…and when faced by some actual facts, vanishes from the thread, while continuing to chuck bombs elsewhere.

        • lprent

          I don’t mind that when he is writing his own opinions. But astroturfing the words of others just pisses me off. It is way too dangerous for us and too boring for others to have to read. Especially when he takes no care with his quoting.

    • weka 26.2

      “We used to have free education and no student debts in NZ – as recently as the 1980’s or later. Let’s just go back to that.”

      I’ve been trying to remember whether there was a student allowance. I was right on the cusp and got a student allowance and a small loan for fees. My older siblings all got free education but they had multiple jobs in the holiddays and worked part time during term time so I’m guessing there was no allowance then? It would be interesting to see how that works now, and into the future with the tech changes coming up.

      • Rosemary McDonald 26.2.1

        If you got an B Bursary…paid for a year of full board in Uni Halls of Residence. Change at the end of the year if A Bursary or Scholarship. Student Teachers doing degrees….on the pigs back. 1979

        Fees…we paid maybe a couple of hundred bucks (you had to meet entry requirements).

        Student work schemes…minimum wage but usually you saved enough to buy textbooks (big expense) and stationery and some ‘pocket money’. We did some interesting community type work…and often made contacts that would give you a bit of work during the mid year break. No problem finding work…especially in rural areas.

        We weren’t rich, and few had cars, and by the end of the year we’d be struggling…but we had no debt.

        Shame on those ladder kickers…..

        I like this policy…and Joyce’s mealy mouthed response should see him keel hauled.

    • BM 26.3

      We used to have about 5-10% of school leavers going on to higher education and the other 90% going straight into jobs.

      Seems to be the other way round these days, that’s the big difference.

      • weka 26.3.1

        what happened to the jobs?

      • Lanthanide 26.3.2

        +1 BM

        Everyone likes to pine for the time of free tertiary education, but they fail to also recall that as a proportion of high school graduates, not very many people actually went to university.

        • weka

          We had polytechs too though. And professions like nursing got paid on the job while they trained.

          • Scott M

            THIS is the policy Labour should have. Introduce progressive tax rates on all entities, companies, family trusts, the lot.

            Its outrageous that the rich should seek to shirk their tax responsibilities when they have relied upon NZ workers, infrastructure and legal systems to generate that wealth in the first place!


          • Stuart Munro

            Reckon paid nursing should come back.

            & make unpaid internship illegal – too often used to depress wages.

            • weka

              When polytech based nursing training shifted from a diploma to a degree course in the early 90s there was a hooha between the polytechs and the hospitals about who was paying for what. The students were doing their academic work at the polytech and their practical work at the hospital. Was the hospital training them in the practice, and therefore should be paid for that? Or was the polytech providing free labour to the hospital and should be paid for that? I don’t remember how it got sorted out, but it does strike me as the epitome of the ridiculousness of neoliberalism.

          • Heather Grimwood

            to Weka at
            Yes , the three professions of nursing, teaching and dental nursing were paid and paid well as on government scale which rose according to which exams had been passed at school. Teachers were bonded for two years, hardly an imposition.

    • millsy 26.4

      People keep going on about how NZ is the Saudi Arabia of water. Well Saudi Arabia also has free education, etc. If we are so rich in resources then we should have the social services to match, Simple.

  25. cogito 27

    State of The Nation:

    **Key vs Little**

    In the blue corner… Key: rail tunnel and road improvements for Aucklanders
    In the red corner…. Little: three years’ free tertiary education all across NZ for young and old.

    KO to Little in first round. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Boy, that feels good!

    • mickysavage 27.1

      Yep especially when Key’s most important announcement was Labour policy from 5 years ago …

    • BM 27.2

      This policy will get torn to shreds.

      • fisiani 27.2.1

        That’s the big problem for Labour. It sounds too good to be true and voters will soon learn that it is. expect a massive rebound as the policy gets greeted with laughter and derision. A spectacular own goal from Labour

        • mickysavage

          SO without knowing if it is actually too good to be true you say that it sounds like it is too good to be true and will be negative for Labour. You have to try harder fisi, it is so evident that you are trolling.

          • Lanthanide

            National will convince everyone it is too good to be true. That’s all that matters.

        • BM

          Yeah, what happens if everyone wants to do dentistry or medical degrees.

          You’d be a fool not to, you know it’s not costing you any thing, may as well go for broke.

          Also what about all the people currently paying their student loans off won’t they be stoked to see all these people arsing around doing the same degrees for free that they’re having to pay off.

          Talk about breeding animosity.

          • McFlock

            Med and dental are already filled to capacity and admission is merit based.

            So if more people want to do them, we simply have a larger pool from which to select the highest calibre students.

            You talk about “breeding animosity” – now do you see why some people hate ladder-kickers like key and bennett? Probably not, as the expression was simply a push-button spin idea selected by a sociopath who wants to distract readers from the fact that Labour has developed yet another policy that National will steal in five years time.

          • greywarshark

            Bring apprenticeships back. Support employers who are doing a good job in training their young people.

            Remember that the newbies are getting used to the real world and if they have been slacking off at school they may need some time to adjust to the reality of being on time, and sticking at a job even if they are not being supervised. One old employer said that he had to go and get the apprentices out of bed sometimes.

            Times haven’t changed as far as that goes, especially when the government encourages bars to stay open all hours (4 am attempted closing time results in clubs and pubs and bars crying in their whisky) as they try to suck the tit dry of tourists and local trainee alcoholics.

            • BM

              When the government sold the the post office, MOW, electricity dept, railways, etc most of the apprenticeships went with them.

              Most employers just cant be arsed with the hassle for what is quite often little reward.

              • Stuart Munro

                Easy answer to that – cut off their foreign worker supply. Train kiwis or do the work yourself.

                • cogito

                  “cut off their foreign worker supply”

                  Absolutely. Or at least ensure that they only have fixed term work permits so they leave as soon as suitably qualified kiwis are available.

                  As an aside, I find it utterly incredible that our voting papers (most recently for the first flag referendum) have info/instructions in what seems like half the world’s languages. No-one should be allowed to vote in NZ elections unless they have sufficient command of English that they understand the way the political and electoral system work. It is absolutely insane the way this country, its jobs and its electoral future are being handed over to people who have no understanding at all of what this country is about.

                  • greywarshark

                    Exactly. That employer attitude is an irresponsible one, like the idea that they can account their way out of taxes.

            • Craig H

              Labour have an additional policy for that – pay employers an amount equivalent to the dole to take on apprentices.

          • Incognito

            Only Doogie Howser could get a medical degree in 3 years. Everybody else in your imaginative mind would end up picking a qualification that’ll be only about half-paid for; why would they do that? BTW, it takes blood, sweat & tears to complete these degrees. [no pun]

      • b waghorn 27.2.2

        Yes the nats will shit all over it but if it polls well they’ll nick it for sure at some point.

  26. Draco T Bastard 28

    The big changes are starting now, but it is New Zealanders at school today who will face this new reality from day one of their working lives.

    Wrong. It was the workers of the 1980s who first started feeling it. Who found what they thought to be secure jobs disappearing beneath their feet and finding that they had to retrain for the new world.

    It’s just that the 4th Labour and National governments who failed to understand the changes that they’d wrought. Who paved the way for and brought in the charging of students so that the needed retraining was then out of reach of those that needed it. The present National government has merely continued this attack on workers with their increasing of fees and removal of student allowance for those taking up that necessary retraining.

    • ropata 28.1

      But they are happy to import tons of skilled migrants for cheaper. F*ck no wonder NZ is the second most “business friendly” country next to Hong Kong. All the costs of doing business are externalised to the public purse and wages have been systematically suppressed for decades.

  27. Atiawa 29

    If people aren’t educated they will believe what they are told. Tertiary education has become focused upon finding a job at the completion of a course, training or degree. Most jobs that this economy has on offer don’t currently require a high level of education. Agriculture, tourism, building , truck driving???
    An educated society is an investment in humanity.

  28. Paul 30

    RNZ’s reporting appalling…
    Why does it give people like Jordan Williams and the ACT party so much publicity?

    Labour’s announcement welcomed and slammed

    The welcomers
    Tertiary Education Union president Sandra Grey
    New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations president Linsey Higgins

    The slammers
    Stephen Joyce
    The Taxpayers’ Union (founded by David Farrar, National party pollster)
    David Seymour, leader of ACT Party and representing 1% of the population (if that)


    • Incognito 30.1

      Nothing of any substance; just the usual hissing & growling with erect fur [not Joyce].

      The comments I’ve read so far online are disingenuous and hypocritical and lack any real bite. Seymour’s excuse is that he’s feeling a little ‘anaemic’ after all that bloodletting.

      It always amazes me that National recognises a good policy the moment they see it 😉

  29. Paul 31

    On this post , Numbers 5, 9, 11, 19, 22 and 23 all generated by rwnjs trying to derail the conversation.
    They are worried, Fisi in particular is working overtime and even Hooton has been sent to spin.

  30. RedLogix 32

    Fuck the Fourth Industrial Revolution … I’m still working on the Third one!

    Put all the automation engineers up against the wall. 🙂

    • weka 32.1

      Everytime this issue comes up I think of those appalling self-cleaning public toilets that started appearing 15 years ago. After the automation engineers, put up whoever is in charge of making decisions further down the line 😉

  31. fisiani 34

    I thought I might share this with you since you seem enthralled by Little’s evident lies.

    Open letter to Andrew Little, Leader, Labour Party, on TPP
    31 January 2016


    [lprent: I’m deleting this.

    1. This is open letter. So presumably it is on the web somewhere and should be linked to.

    2. Use quotes and excerpts rather than the whole body of anything written by someone else or tell us why it doesn’t have copyright (eg by a link). I can’t be bothered chasing copyright violations. As it is, the brief scan I did showed a phrase match with something Andrew Little wrote – which tends to indicate you haven’t quoted the whole thing correctly.

    3. What was written about the TPPA is a well known viewpoint, and one that I know Little disagrees with. For that matter I do as well – but apparently you didn’t write it.

    4. You haven’t said what your opinion is on it or why it has anything to do with a ‘lie’. We’re not here to provide space for cut-n-paste. We’re here for people to argue their points of views. Not those of others.

    5. You are banned for 2 months. FFS why violate rules something you got banned for previously. I really don’t like astroturfing multiple copies of any comment on this site. Do it once at most. We do individual’s opinions here by people writing on this site. We don’t like people using our search engine optimization to publish the materials of others.

    6. I’m getting pretty tired of doing this, especially after I let you back in early from bans. Could you please fucking learn. ]

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 34.1

      Yeah, it’s here:


      You should see Mr Jacobi’s background and clients…no surprise to see his stance on the TPP, good for him and his 1% ilk.

      • lprent 34.1.1

        I figured that it would be somewhere.

        What I found interesting was that Fis failed to identify the quotations from Andrew Little in his cut-n-paste. That was probably why it read so weird.

        But the basic arguments by Jacobi are just outright stupid.

        1. There is no ratification debate. Essentially the signing and ratification is done by the executive council. And the government has clearly signalled that they aren’t really listening to anyone. It simply doesn’t matter what is said in any of their ‘outreach’ for anything. They have ignored all of them in the past. Why would this be any different? Same with the select committee.

        2. The only thing that the government has to do is to pass some small bits of legislation (most can be done via regulation from the executive council), and they can be passed when required – long after ratification. Most of them have phase in periods. Basically Jacobi is lying, probably to himself as well as others, that there will be a “ratification debate”.

        3. There are currently few if any barriers to any manufacturing or tech in any of the markets covered by the TPPA, tariff or otherwise. There are no real gains for anything except maybe dairy and some agricultural products. Yet all of the costs of the TPPA fall on consumers or manufacturing and tech. The effect is to seriously distort our own market to favour a small group of agriculturists. Hardly a free trade position. Somehow Mr Jacobi fails to mention any of the direct costs of the TPPA.

        4. His point about stamp duty is just stupid. It’d be an easy point to challenge in the tribunals. Because there is no explicit exemption and we don’t currently have such a thing, then it would be considered to be an non-tariff barrier if it was done to investments by overseas corporates or individuals and not to locals. Now for those who say I’m wrong – point me to the part of the TPPA that states that kind of non-tariff barrier is ok explicitly. If they can’t then it is something that will require years or decades of litigation and high risk. For taht matter just imposing a stamp duty where effectively none exists now is much the same even if it was even handed.

        5. His last point is about leaving the TPPA. As far as I can see, there is no substantive benefits in the first decade in the TPPA, and those that come through are exclusively in areas of agriculture. However there are costs that kick in pretty early – like copyright and those frigging awful US style rules on litigation on intellectual property that are going to be such a pain for our tech companies. Leaving the TPPA is in itself something that could cause litigation by companies. Somehow Jacobi ignores all of those.

        Basically to me Jacobi looks like a one-eyed idiot who hasn’t bothered to look at the implications of the TPPA for actual businesses. He reads like a idiot macro-economist who wasn’t bothered to think, and just runs the religious line about free-trade.

        The whole basic idea behind free-trade is that it doesn’t distort markets. The TPPA does nothing but distort our free-ish market and make it more restrictive. It also limits our ability to fix distortions in our social structures, markets and our economy.

        • Stuart Munro

          If the Gnats had wanted informed debate on the TPP, the evasive Mr Groser would’ve released text so that assertions like those in the letter could be properly fact checked.

          They can’t say ‘We’re not going to tell you, breathless children”, and then try to sell a public interest dummy. The assertions that NZ is protected from ISDS are particularly fatuous. If they don’t constrain us, lets remove them altogether, just to be clear.

    • John Shears 34.2

      Go Iprent Fizzi needs a spell but I doubt that he will learn anything.

  32. Scott M 35

    There still seems to be a strong anti intellectual streak in NZ. If the comments on the Paul Henry FB thread are anything to go by. So many thoughtless morons.

    • Colonial Viper 35.1

      Intellectualism is not the same as intelligence.

      Academic ability is not the same as practical ability.

      All the people who brought us Rogernomics and Ruthanasia and the TPPA were very well university qualified.

      Just saying.

      • Halfcrown 35.1.1

        “All the people who brought us Rogernomics and Ruthanasia and the TPPA were very well university qualified.”

        Yeah all paid for by the tax payer. Biggest set of bludging beneficiaries going. Members of the Baby Boomers generation. The most privileged selfish generation who gave us this Neo Liberal shit after doing extremely well under socialistic systems like good health care, good education and social housing. Now who benefited by that one? and Richardson’s family, farmers, expected socialism with farm subsidies up to the farm gate and then the free market to take over.
        The same generation after doing very well thank you Jack, laid the ground rules for future generations to pay for everything.

        Fucking Joyce was on about the “fairness” of the scheme, That’s a laugh can someone advise me when this incompetent pack of shits has been “fair”

        I say good on Little for these suggestions

        • Scott M

          When I say intellectual I simply mean someone who is able to think deeply about an issue and present a perspective on it. Many people on “the right” appear to lack empathy or the ability to think about society in general, that obviously being too abstract an idea for selfish arseholes like them.

          • Stuart Munro

            The prevailing public intellectual failure of the Gnats is ignus fatuus. They launch a shallow and ill-considered attack without bothering to learn their subject in any depth, which can then be picked up for sound bites by third rate media clowns like Hosking or Henry. It’s just a shallow rehearsal of prejudices – about as far from scholarship as one can get.

  33. gsays 36

    gotta admit, i started reading this in a kinda cynical state of mind (finished the stinkest shift at work in an age and on to the 5th or 6th cider), waded thru the early rhetoric and finished mightily impressed.

    something concrete, tangible and practical.

    the likes of cv may have a point, however this is a good plank to to build a successful election campaign on, then do the horse frightening stuff.

    i haven’t said this in a while-
    well done labour!

    • Gavin 36.1

      I agree, this is something new and solid we can campaign with, it’ll help a lot, and it’s smart policy. It also looks and feels like real Labour policy.

  34. Sanctary 37

    Wow. I have had a quick read of these comments, and all I can say is CV is the most bitter and childish person currently posting here. He is like those UK all about me Blairites who stamped their feet and tore up their Labour party membership cards because people elected Corbyn. Memo to CV: stop behaving like a petulant child who is permanently pissed off at everything because he didn’t get his own way once.

    • Muttonbird 37.1

      +1. As far as I can tell CV is all about vengeance for being kicked out of a branch of the Labour party about 100 years ago.

      • Colonial Viper 37.1.1

        Has it registered to you that total student debt will be up to $20B by the time that Andrew Little gets to implement this policy (which he won’t, he’ll be gone by 2018).

        Has it registered to you that even after this policy has been enacted, student debt will still keep climbing by around $750M per year?

        So happy happy then?

        Yeah I’m pissed off with Labour, but I’m especially amazed at the people here who are gleefully scrambling at policy which barely touches up the damage Labour caused by introducing user pays education.

        • McFlock

          And what you fail to register is that the policy is a clear shift away from the 100% user pays obsession in mainstream political conversation. The conversation that actually changes things in this country.

          See, you might very well have the perfect plan to bring success, prosperity and equity to NZ and the world. The trouble is that when you make a bold announcement, nobody thinks it’s news. When Little says maybe 5% of what you want him to say, that still changes things a thousand times more than your constant gnashing of teeth ever will.

          You know what? This proposal is a good start. For it to even be made is a foot in the door.

          I actually want a change in direction. That means I encourage the horse when it starts pulling to the left. You whip it no matter what it does, left, right or straight ahead.

          • Colonial Viper

            A minor accounting change is going to do fuck all, McFlock.

            The Government already spends that exact same money on universities, through the student loan scheme.

            Now their just going to spend it as part of the Crown’s annual budget.

            The economic quality of life of students isn’t even going to improve one whit while they are at uni, due to this policy.

            It’s not much more than an accounting recategorisation of $$$ going to universities.

            • McFlock

              The economic quality of life of students isn’t even going to improve one whit while they are at uni, due to this policy.

              But when they leave, they’ll have three years of tuition that isn’t on their student loan. For many folks, that means it’s halved.

              But the real bonus is that free tertiary education is on the drawing board, and can be expanded. For twenty years we’ve been told it’s a pipe dream and never going to happen.

              Fucksake, cheer up man. This is actually a sign that something other than pure neoliberal philosophy is in the NZ political mainstream. Anyone else would say that’s a glimmer of hope that the tide is turning.

              • Chooky

                +100 McFlock…it is one step towards a truly free tertiary education right through to PhD level

  35. fisiani 38

    What is to stop tertiary facilities charging ten times what they currently charge and billing the government? Price going up from a billion to ten billion. There are so many flaws in this policy that will be exposed over the next week. By Feb 6th it will be a laughing stock.

    • Muttonbird 38.1

      This is right wing think exposed right here, isn’t it? How can I screw the system?

      No wonder they are no good at negotiations.

    • Craig H 38.2

      Being outed as rorting the government, potentially followed by criminal charges?

      Government currently funds most institutions, so can still put limits on total funding per student. Also, student have to pass, so there’s still some incentive for them to study at a reasonable fee level.

  36. Sanctuary 39

    Just a general observation from afar (Berlin!) on an aspect of the politics of this. It seems to me the National party response is, by now, utterly predictable. From their main lackey Farrar so far a complete silence. No doubt National are polling – but more importantly, probably working out the exact attack lines and buzzwords with focus groups. Normally, it takes 24-48 hours before there is a coherent attack line developed. This pattern is nowadays so developed that i hope Labour has plans to fill the news vacuum.

  37. Observer (Tokoroa) 40

    Sympathy @ Mr Fistulaani, Mr Colonial Sniper, Mr Lanthansnide.

    Listen chaps. We all understand the load you are carrying for Mr Key and Mr English.

    Collectively, under the coercion of Paul Henry, Cameron Slayer, Matthew (I can spin this) Hooten , Lugubrious Farrar, Paula and Tolley – you are lugging along $100 Billion wasted expenditure; collapsing Charter Schools sold to and run by private opportunists; worst violence/abuse to children per capita in the civilized world; Dirty deals to fatten John Key’s interest in a Casino Den. Outrageous support for booze brewers.

    Increasing unemployment; Tax evasion to the tune of $Billions on the part of your wealthy friends; Hopelessly ridiculous Housing prices; impossibly high rental costs charged by your wealthy friends; Student debt burden on the middle class. Sadistic meanness towards the terminally sick…

    No wonder you are so sour when you come on here to smash 51% of the population who think you are incompetent.

    Please fix up yourselves and your political incompetents (National, Act, Johnsonville) before you rubbish The Opposition.

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