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Andrew Little’s pre-budget speech

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, May 22nd, 2016 - 170 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, budget 2016 - Tags:

Andrew Little-1

Thanks so much for coming along today, and for giving up some of your weekend.

Today, I want to talk about the type of Budget that New Zealand needs to see this coming Thursday.

As every Kiwi family knows, setting Budgets is about making choices.

It’s about choosing where the priorities lie.

For most Kiwis, our priorities are pretty simple.

People want a good job, a home they can call their own, a good school to send their kids to, and healthcare if they get sick.

They want to know if they put the effort in, they will have a decent chance to get ahead.

These are the goals most New Zealanders have for themselves and for their families. That’s the Kiwi Dream.

But right now, too many people feel like those goals are further and further out of reach.

It’s becoming harder for many people to get ahead.

Harder to find a good job or get a pay rise.

Harder to find a home, put some savings aside, or get the health care you need.

Parents are paying more for their childrens’ education, but our schools aren’t performing as well.

And for those who are already doing it tough, life is only getting worse.

What this means is that some of the things about our country that we are proudest of are slipping away.

Look at the headlines from the last couple of weeks:

Children sleeping in cars or forced to lives in houses that make them sick.

Plummeting home ownership.

Rising unemployment

Stalled wages for many people.

And while this is happening, look at who is doing well. The property speculators. The land bankers. The tax dodgers.

This isn’t who we are. It’s not the kind of country we want to be.

Today, I want to talk about why and how we got here.

And I want to talk about a different, better way of doing things.

I want to talk about the kind of Budget my government will deliver in our first year in office.

A positive plan that’s about rewarding effort and supporting ambition.

A plan to ensure that middle New Zealand is better off, not just the few at the top.

Let me start with why we need a different approach.

Our country is facing some big challenges right now.

In the economy, in housing, in health and education.

In all of these areas, things are going in the wrong direction, and the government just isn’t doing enough to set them right.

Let’s start with the economy.

It’s been pretty clear in the last few weeks where this government’s economic priorities lie.

Faced with multinational corporates who earn big revenue in New Zealand but pay little or no tax, our government says there’s nothing they can do.

Seeing an opportunity to attract the wealth of the world’s mega rich, the government did nothing to stop the explosion in foreign trusts that let the mega-wealthy dodge their tax obligations.

And while the few at the very top got to enjoy special rules that meant they didn’t have to pay their fair share – everyone else is paying the cost.

We’ve seen increases in unemployment. There are now 144,000 people out of work in New Zealand, 40,000 more than when National took office.

And it’s not just that more people are out of work – it’s that many more are out of work for longer.

Under this government the number of people unemployed for more than a year has tripled – up over 11,000 since they took office.

The situation is especially tough for our young people.

Under this government the number of young people who aren’t in work, education or training has risen by more than 26,000.

The truth is those are the young people this government has given up on – the ones they label as ‘pretty damn hopeless.’

For those in work, getting a pay rise has become harder. 43% of New Zealanders saw no increase in their incomes at all in the last 12 months.

With special rules for those at the top and a sluggish economy for everyone else, it’s no surprise that we are seeing a growing inequality in how the gains from economic growth are shared.

Under the last Labour government, the share of economic growth going to wage and salary earners was over 50%.

Today, it’s 37%.

The slice of the economy going to workers has fallen each year under National.

This year, that lost income works out to be fifty bucks a week for the average family.

That’s the real cost to Kiwi families of an economy that’s tilted in favour of those at the top.

This growing inequality means that even if economic performance does improve, the gains are more likely to go to the very wealthy, rather than middle New Zealand.

That’s only going to make it harder for people to get ahead.

And as incomes have failed to keep pace, private borrowing has shot up.

In fact, New Zealand’s level of private debt is higher now than it was on the eve of the global financial crisis.

An increase in interest rates or economic pressures from other parts of the world could cause real problem’s here.

When the Reserve Bank says it’s worried about the country’s financial stability, that’s what they are talking about.

As well as stagnant wages, the big driver of household debt is our runaway housing market.

Here’s the thing, we have a housing crisis in this country. And it isn’t just confined to Auckland anymore.

The Government doesn’t like to admit it buts it’s true.

When kids are sleeping in cars. That’s a crisis.

When families are crowded into garages. That’s a crisis.

When an entire generation is locked out of ever owning their own home, that is a crisis.

Instead of owning up to that and fixing it, the government is siding with property speculators and land bankers, while everyone else misses out.

Every initiative our bumbling housing minister Nick Smith has tried on housing has failed. Rather than go after the causes of the problems, he’s flailed around with gimmicks.

Remember special housing areas? Fewer than 1000 homes actually built.

Remember his gimmick from the last Budget? Releasing crown land? It turned out to include substations, cemeteries and even Government House.

While the government’s been tinkering, the problem’s gotten so much worse.

In March, the average house price in Auckland rose by over $2,200 a day.

Let me say that figure again. Over twenty two hundred dollars a day.

How on earth are you meant to save enough to keep up with that?

We can’t keep going like this.

If we do, we’re going to be left with a country where home ownership becomes the privilege of just a very lucky few, rather than a birth right for most Kiwis.

But if we don’t have a government that makes restoring widespread homeownership a priority, that’s what’s going to happen.

We can also see the problems the government’s misplaced priorities are causing when it comes to health.

Because while our Prime Minister speculates about fuelling his next election campaign with three billion dollars of unfunded tax cuts, the public services that middle New Zealand relies on are stretched to breaking point.

According to Infometrics, we’ve had $1.7 billion dollars cut in real terms from our health budget over 6 years.

That’s meant that 160,000 people in the last 5 years have been unable to get the appointment they need with a specialist.

And there are real people behind those numbers.

People like Ken Smith, a pensioner from the Hawkes Bay, whose knee was bone on bone, who was in agony, who was told he desperately needed surgery, and who saw a specialist only to be told “if I could do your knee tomorrow, I would, but there’s just no money.“

So Ken had to spend $20,000 of his own retirement savings. $20,000 gone.

That’s wrong. People like Ken are who our health system should be there for.

Instead of talking about giveaways to the very rich, our government should be providing a public health system that can look after every Kiwi.

We’re seeing the same issues in education.

At the same time as National has poured millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money into privately run charter schools, our public education system is struggling.

In the last year alone, National has cut funding for pupils by $150 each.

And so schools load more costs on to parents in order to fill the gaps.

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you the cost of uniforms, class activities, camps and of course ‘voluntary donations’ just keep on rising.

And what parent doesn’t want to do the best they can for their children.

No parent wants their child to miss out.

But here’s the thing: while costs are rising, standards are falling.

In 2006, we were ranked 5th in the world for reading.

Now we’re 13th.

We were 7th in science.

Today? 18th.

And in maths? We’ve fallen from 11th to 23rd.

We’ve got to do better.

Education is fundamental to our ability to provide opportunity for the next generation.

We know that education changes lives. It inspires and empowers people.

It is the single best way to lift people out of poverty and deprivation

Because while our economy may be delivering bigger gains than ever for the very wealthy, more and more Kiwis have found themselves struggling.

As a country, we pride ourselves on being compassionate and big hearted.

On looking after our mates and our neighbours.

On not leaving people out or leaving them behind.

But in the last few years, that’s been slipping away.

305,000 children growing up in poverty.

Sleeping in cars, going to school hungry.

42,000 children a year hospitalised because they are forced to live in poor quality homes.

That’s where we are today in New Zealand.

That’s the background to John Key and Bill English’s 8th Budget.

That’s the direction their first seven Budgets set us in.

More roadblocks that stop people getting ahead, fewer opportunities for our young people, a struggling health system, an education system in decline.

After 8 years in office, one thing is blindingly obvious this government has lost touch.

Their priorities are all wrong. They’re increasingly interested in looking after the few at the very top, and forgetting about everyone else.

We can see that in an economy where more of the gains of growth go to the mega-rich.

We can see that in a housing market that rewards speculators while locking out first home buyers.

In a health system where people miss out on the care they need because of a lack of funding, while our Prime Minister calls for more money to be given away to the already wealthy.

And we can see it in a public education system where achievement is falling while more money than ever is pumped into privately run charter schools.

That’s the plan our current government is delivering.

Focusing on the few at the top while it gets harder for everyone else.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

We can do so much better.

This isn’t how a responsible government should be running a country after eight years in power.

Eight years in to the last Labour government, they had implemented significant and enduring changes such as Working for Families and KiwiSaver.

One of those policies responded to the failure of the labour market to lift incomes and avert poverty, especially for low income earners. The other lifted our national savings and deepened our pool of local capital.

These were big measures. They boosted incomes. They added to the country’s wealth.

They were nation building.

They were good for the economy. Unemployment fell. The government paid off debt. New Zealand prospered.

We expanded opportunity to more New Zealanders than ever. We lifted people out of poverty.

That’s the kind of approach we need again.

An approach that gives people opportunities, that helps them fulfil their ambitions.

That backs them to get ahead and make the most of themselves.

If it was Grant Robertson and me delivering the Budget next week, that’s where we would start and things would look very, very different.

We’d start with building an economy that works for everyone, not just the few at the top.

Labour would kick-start our economy, and deliver a sustained lift in living standards.

We know our economy does best when everyone has a stake in it and everyone gets a fair shot to make the most of themselves.

Our economic focus needs to be on the things that will deliver more good jobs, higher wages and stronger growth for everyone.

We’d invest heavily in new infrastructure to kick-start the economy, especially in our struggling regions.

We’ll work with businesses and with unions on lifting productivity and sharing the gains fairly.

We’ll diversify our economy with research and development tax credits and back our small businesses with simpler tax rules.

We’ll make a greater investment in skills training to make it easier for our businesses to find skilled staff.

And we’ll encourage more young people to start their own business, to be their own boss, with our young entrepreneurs policy.

We’ll provide mentoring and start-up grants to young Kiwis who might have the next great business idea but who just need a chance to get started.

In Labour, we know that the economy is there to serve people, and that it does best when all our people can succeed.

That will be the economic philosophy of the next Labour-led government.

And to help everyone succeed, the government I lead will address the real causes of the housing crisis.

We’ll roll out a comprehensive plan to restore the dream of home ownership.

We’ll crack down on the offshore speculators who are driving up house prices and locking families out of the market.

That’s why Labour will say to overseas buyers, if you want to purchase a house in New Zealand, you have to add to the stock, just like they do in Australia. It’s a commonsense solution that our current government has opposed for far too long.

The other thing that’s commonsense is that we simply don’t have enough houses.

That’s why Labour will launch a mass home building programme to deliver new, affordable homes in Auckland and around the country.

It’s why we’ll replace the urban limit in Auckland that has choked the supply of housing for too long, with a smarter way of managing Auckland’s growth.

We will also turn around the decline in health and education.

Under a government that I lead, our health and education systems will be amongst the best in the world.

Under Labour, Kiwis will know that if they get sick, the public healthcare system will be there for them.

That’s why we are committed to meeting the cost pressures that are depriving people of the care they need.

We know we can’t do it overnight but we will progressively restore the money National has cut from health, and give our doctors and nurses and healthcare professionals the tools to do their jobs.

That’s what’s going to keep Kiwis healthy.

Budgets are about priorities, and under Labour, health will be a priority again. We shouldn’t be spending money on $3 billion of unaffordable tax cuts when we could be fixing our health system instead.

We can use that money so much smarter. For example, Labour will introduce an early access scheme for the latest life-saving medicines purchased through Pharmac.

That will mean people with hard to treat diseases will be able to get new medicines early. It means when the latest medical breakthrough happens, when we have the power to save lives, Kiwis won’t have to wait.

On health our approach is simple:

Labour stands for a stronger public health system where everyone can get the care they need.

And the next Labour Government will recommit our country to the principle of high quality, free public education.

We’ll end the government’s practice of pulling money out of public schools to pay for profit focused charter schools, and we’ll put that money to work building great schools for everyone.

We’ll fund schools properly so parents don’t constantly have their hands in their pockets or feel ashamed they can’t afford to contribute.

We’ll restore 100% qualification requirements in ECE so kids get better teachers earlier.

And under Labour, the education system will support you throughout your working life. We’ll never give up on expanding opportunity and giving people the tools they need.

That’s why we are committed to three years’ free post-school education so that Kiwis can train and retrain across their working lives, without having to take on huge debt. That’s how we support our people and its how we tackle the challenge of the future of work.

If there is one thing I am clear on it is this: the next Labour government will not tolerate poverty in New Zealand in the 21st century.

Under Labour, our focus will be on lifting people up and giving people opportunity, instead of giving more money than ever to the people already doing well.

Our priority will be getting the building blocks of strong communities right. Good housing, good healthcare, good education and support when people need it.

We’ll introduce a dole for apprenticeships scheme to give young people the opportunity to get into paid work.

We’ll raise the number of hours people can work without having their benefit cut.

We will feed hungry kids in schools and when I’m Prime Minister, every Kiwi kid will grow up in a house that is warm and safe and dry. That’s what my Member’s Bill which is going through parliament is about and I hope all parties will support it.

We don’t have to settle for poor quality housing and we’re going to fix it.

Eight years into John Key’s government, there are too many areas this government is neglecting. Too many areas where people are struggling.

It isn’t economic success when thousands of people don’t have a roof over their head they can call their own, or a roof over their head at all.

It isn’t economic success when tens of thousands are missing out on healthcare they would have received just a few years ago.

It’s not economic success when we put more of the cost of education on families even as we tumble down the international rankings.

Right now, the government isn’t focused on these things and people are missing out.

That needs to change. If a Labour government was delivering the Budget this week it would.

So, this week, when you see the Budget, look past the gimmicks. Look past the spin.

Ask yourself, is this a Budget for middle New Zealand?

Will this help most Kiwis get ahead?

Will it grow our economy and give New Zealanders their fair share?

Will it fix the housing crisis and restore the dream of home ownership?

Will it restore our health system?

Will it help send our kids to better schools?

If it doesn’t do all of those things, then we need a new plan.

If it’s just another Budget that favours the few at the very top over everyone else, then we need a new approach.

We need a government that will build a fairer country, for everyone.

Because if we work together, that’s what we can deliver.

We can make sure everyone can get ahead and that everyone can fulfil their ambitions.

We can grow our economy and share the gains fairly.

We can restore the dream of home ownership.

We can have world-class public services again. Better schools. Better hospitals. Doctors and nurses with the resources they need.

That’s what a Labour government will deliver, with your support.

Together, we can restore the Kiwi Dream.

Thank you.

170 comments on “Andrew Little’s pre-budget speech ”

  1. Very well said Andrew Little.

    We have been on the downward slide ever since the clueless Key and his henchmen came to power.

    Such a destructive Government, we have never seen the likes of before, and it is only going to get worse until National are tossed in the rubbish bin.

  2. thechangeling 2

    Damn good speech really!

  3. Bill 3

    Hands up please if you are ‘middle New Zealand’. What…no hands?

    The ‘Kiwi Dream’…(just to pick up on one constantly recurring aspect) – Home ownership. Has anyone got hard data on the number of people who actually want to own their own home regardless, as opposed to those who would be quite happy to rent if renting wasn’t such a rip off and so insecure?

    And did I miss the bit where potential policies and programmes were couched in the context of actually existing reality? Or is it …

    a) – just being taken as read that everyone knows it’s not the 1950s any more and to take half of what’s being promised with a sack of salt on the understanding that AGW/climate change changes everything, or…

    b) a case that political parties (Labour in this case) have their heads under the blankets or hands over their eyes and are singing a loud lalalala tune to some song title about dreams and growth related prosperity along the tracks even though the air is filled with the rumbling roar of an AGW freight train?

    Apologies to Labour party supporters or potential Labour party voters who might be upset because they want to believe that Labour offer a hopeful path forward. I’m not meaning to single Labour out or ‘bag’ them. I just think that their apparent disconnect is indicative of an entire political system or establishment being nothing but a bust flush these days.

    • lprent 3.1

      Hands up please if you are ‘middle New Zealand’. What…no hands?

      Sort of, so I’d better put my hand up. I meet all of the usual criteria apart from having kids (my siblings and cousins did those instead) and having a rather higher education than was really required for my generation.

      However I’m probably as eccentric as most of “middle New Zealand” are. At least of that large proportion whose families have been raising kids here for more than two or three generations. They are routinely kind of crazy individualists by the normative standards of statisticians. Their very diversity is their defining factor.

      Perhaps he meant “immigrant middle New Zealand”. The first few generations here are rather (ummm) staid. Even distressingly boring even in the manner of their rebellions. Fortunately for statisticians and advocates of class wars, we do have a lot of immigration.


      • Bill 3.1.1

        So ‘middle New Zealand’ might be defined as something like middle aged with grown up children, a fairly high level of formal education and a good income….in other words a section of NZ society that kind of corresponds with a broad brush stroke idea of a typical politician?

        I wasn’t trying to be provocative in the initial comment – I genuinely have no idea who is being addressed when the term ‘middle New Zealand’ is used and so can’t understand why it’s constantly used when (presumably) seeking wide appeal and ‘buy in’.

        • Jenny Kirk

          How about “middle New Zealand” being most of us – Pakeha and Maori – ordinary everyday people ?
          All of us caught up in family matters (whether we’ve got kids or not), being undermined constantly by this National Government, worried about the future of public health, state education (especially when you see money siphoned off into private charter schools), the lack of affordable housing, and wondering where the jobs are for the future .

          • Bill

            Well, if ‘middle New Zealand’ is “ordinary everyday people”, then what demographic is the term ‘middle New Zealand’ trying to separate “every day people” from? Why is it being used? Why not just use the term “people”?

            Are there people in New Zealand who would be offended if they were referred to as people? Or who might not know it was they who were being referred to by the term?

            It’s not a biggie beyond it the fact that it keeps coming up and, to my way of thinking, seems an effort to simultaneously refer to everything and nothing; to no-one and everyone, and so finally winds up creating an impression of something akin to unflavoured, somewhat unappealing, homogenised white milk.

            Now if that’s what the intention is and the people using the term are happy enough with that, then fine. It’s just that I’ve always thought of New Zealand as a place that contained much more diversity and vibrancy than that.

            • marty mars

              ” I’ve always thought of New Zealand as a place that contained much more diversity and vibrancy than that.”

              I think that is the issue there Bill – middle nz is not too right, not too left, it is inclusive, not too smart, not too thick, average Joe and Jo, everyman and everywoman, and most importantly the term middle nz does not scare people, it is innocuous, it is neither tall or short poppy – so, as I’m sure you know, it is a slogan, a piece of propaganda, a message of oneness. It is not based on reality much.

              • Bill

                I actually think it has a rather nasty underbelly that I’m not going to mention here but that I alluded to above. And I’m holding my wheesht now.

                • Hmmm this is what andrew little said in his email to me, “The reality is National doesn’t have a plan to fix these problems. They’re increasingly focused on the interests of the few at the top, while families in the middle struggle to get ahead and we see the emergence of inexcusable poverty in New Zealand.”

                  Now I feel I could pick the shit out of those sentences – eg what’s your plan considering CC? So the gnats go for the top and labs go for the middle and the bottom can sort themselves out? Struggle to get ahead – buy a house you mean – some of us have given up on owning a house mate, do you realise that, it is the kids of the ‘middle’ that aspire to that – what do others aspire to? Ask them and listen to their answers. No emergence just some visibility that those with eyes see. and so on – but what would be the point? Those that know know. Those that don’t want to know won’t let themselves know.

                  • Sigh

                    I got the same email with the same speech. He talks at length and with passion about how poverty is inexcusable and won’t be tolerated under Labour. This is basic Saul Alinsky stuff – unite the poor with the middle against the very rich. It’s good left strategy and its stunning to see there are people here who don’t get it. You have to win over the middle who don’t currently see Labour as standing for them.

                    • yep and while the middle is being won over by whatever means necessary the bottom can sort themselves out. It is a myth that sorting the middle will sort the bottom. Sorting the bottom is sorting the bottom and this is well known – which is why the middle (votes) are targeted.

        • lprent

          I have no idea what “middle New Zealand” is. It is a non-specific phrase.

          However I suspect that it is generally viewed as one of those nice statistical phrases that looks at people in the main part of a normal distribution curve, and looks at people within one standard deviation of the norm – usually about 68% of the population.

          So in NZ traditionally, if you blur your vision down to the level that stats (and most politics) people do, that means ‘middle NZ’ is

          1. most likely heterosexual
          2. most likely had some tertiary education in anything from apprenticeships to university
          3. most likely to be or have been married
          4. most likely been in a relationship that had 1 or 2 children with a smaller probability of 3
          5. high probability of having or will have a separation or divorce
          6. most likely to have brought property to live in, and almost certainly went heavily into debt to do so
          7. most likely to have been in employment for the majority of any year except for periods of child-rearing and education.
          8. likely to have been made redundant or lost a job because of business changes at least once.
          9. most likely to have spent most of their life in NZ working in a urban area

          This would describe the life pattern of over 70% of the NZ population between the ages of 30 and 65, and will describe the life prior to retirement of even more of the people over 65. They also happen to be the demographic group that most consistently votes, which is why politicians are interested in them.

          Now of course within this, there is often considerable variation. However one characteristic that I always note is that the population of people who are interested in politics are usually quite a lot more skewed away from this group.

          • Bill

            Oh well, that being the case, I guess I’ll just point out that no resurgent left (statist) party of late in the English speaking world has enjoyed a resurgence off the back of that muddle demographic. Them youngsters, who apparently don’t give a toss, seems to be where’s its at 😉

          • Jenny

            Hi Lynne, I see you were moved to type a comment on one very small part of Bill’s comment, (consciously, or unconsciously, diverting the thread), and ignored completely the central part of Bill’s comment.

            “just being taken as read that everyone knows it’s not the 1950s any more and to take half of what’s being promised with a sack of salt on the understanding that AGW/climate change changes everything”

            “a case that political parties (Labour in this case) have their heads under the blankets or hands over their eyes and are singing a loud lalalala tune to some song title about dreams and growth related prosperity along the tracks even though the air is filled with the rumbling roar of an AGW freight train?”

            Do you agree with Bill’s comment?
            Should Andrew Little’s promise to tackle poverty be “taken with a sack of salt”, because Andrew Little pointedly doesn’t give the slightest hint of a mention to the other burning issue of our time?

            Do you disagree, with Bill’s comment?
            Are you more inclined to agree with your author, Te Reo Putake’s admitted, facetious comment, that climate change wasn’t mentioned by Andrew Little, because climate change is about as important as the condition of the foot path outside his house.

            Lynne do you think that we can really afford to go through another national general election cycle where climate change is deliberately barely mentioned?

            Do you think we should have another election, where because none will have to declare themselves on this issue, and no potential government will seek a mandate to act on this issue, that BAU will keep trundling on down a path into a very dark future?

    • Ad 3.2

      Yup. Middle New Zealand here.

      Far too early for more big policy.

      Don’t expect the Labour party to be a one-issue wonder like you are.
      Expect them to concentrate on people. And the country as a whole.

      If you’re dissatisfied with even the Greens’ lack of extremism on global warming, you’re going to stay perpetually melancholic commenting on New Zealand politics.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Prepare to be disappointed then. There will be no major policy from Labour next year; there will be conventional policy however.

        The reason being that Labour has utterly failed to set up its narrative about possibilities and options that NZ needs to discuss, and it has failed to follow on from that to actually start those conversations in the community.

        Therefore – it has no room to move in terms of providing serious alternative policy.

      • Bill 3.2.2

        My comment was about how the context that policies will need to be rolled out in and that context being ignored, rather than about the policies themselves. If they were genuinely concentrating on people and on the country as a whole, then that context would have had to have been included.

        I don’t like generally like war analogies, but…

        The Germans are massing an invasion force along the French coast circa 1939. The UK opposition party gives a pre-budget speech that, as though it’s still 1926, simply doesn’t mention that fact – and the speech makes no mention, or even hint of there being any contingencies in relation to the obvious, hugely important (yet unmentioned) context that will shape economic possibilities in the coming years.

        Someone comments on the lack of context, and gets a response that the opposition is concentrating on people and the country as a whole (hence the lack of context) and that the context is a one issue wonder thing that only extremists would care about anyway.

        Wouldn’t your eyebrows be raised just a tad were that argument made in relation to that reasonably parallel scenario? And yet, here you are…

        • Bb8

          Except climate change isn’t World War II, therein lies the problem. The public simply don’t see the urgency and the existential threat, and hence politically it falls flat. Labour and the Greens both have good policy on climate change. In government they can raise it up as an issue and take action to fix it. Right now focusing on climate change would just look out of touch to most people. It’s enraging but it’s how it is. It’s up to those of us who care about the climate to make it even register as an issue. That’s when the parliamentary parties will have the space to operate.

          • Hanswurst

            I would say that it’s up to Labour and the Greens to establish the links between climate and the economy in the public consciousness. I thought political parties were supposed to be at the forefront of formulating philosophical and ideological vision, and establishing the interconnectedness of issues in the minds of the electorate. That they are more concerned with chasing the whims of the existing mainstream consciousness in the short term is evidence that the system is broken.

          • Bill

            I’m not suggesting that a pre-budget speech should have focused on AGW or climate change. What I’m saying is that the policies mentioned should have acknowledged the context and been tailored to meet the needs imposed by that context.

            The house build policy is the most obvious. Houses stand for 30 years and more. Whatever we build right now is what we’re stuck with for decades to come. With no need to bang on a drum about it, Labour could have quietly (innocuously) signaled that any new houses were going to be built with mitigation and adaptation in mind.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hey Bb8 thats exactly what the new republic thought about the first order and look what happened to them.

            Looks like it’ll be up to the small time informal Resistance to save the day.

          • Jenny

            “Except climate change isn’t World War II, therein lies the problem. The public simply don’t see the urgency and the existential threat”

            Except that in 1939 the public then, also simply didn’t see the urgency and the existential threat either. Most Britons for instance, couldn’t have pointed to Poland on a map of Europe, or even cared less.

            The big political concerns of the day were; getting out of the Great Depression and jobs.

            There was also a very strong antiwar feeling at the time, the horrors of the last British campaign in Europe were still a vivid living memory for most, and they didn’t want a repeat.

            It took the remarkable leadership of Winston Churchill to alert his countrymen and women to the danger. And the need to take action.

            Even for him, it was an uphill battle, many of Churchill’s own class and a big section of the British aristocracy were Nazi sympathisers.

            Churchill didn’t sugar coat it. He promised the British people “blood, sweat, and tears” and then set about delivering on his promise.

            Leadership was the key and that is what is missing now.

            • Jenny

              Churchill could have done what our leaders are doing now, and ignore the problem and kick it down the road for someone else to fix. By which time the problem would have been much worse or by then even insoluble.

              Churchill gave a speech in which he warned of the dangers of such a strategy:

              “If we don’t fight when the fighting is easy and our victory is assured,

              Then we may have to fight when the fighting is hard and our victory is uncertain.

              There may even be a third option.

              We may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to die fighting than to die surrendering.

              Winston Spencer Churchill

              All the signs are that currently we are in stage two. If we don’t take resolute action against climate change now, it won’t be long before we are in stage three.

    • b waghorn 3.3

      Yep I’m pretty happy to own my own house and as long as I can get any health issues looked after and can retire with out fear of the wolf turning up at my door I’ll be happy

      • Words 3.3.1

        But what about others? How many kiwis would love to own their own house but can’t, and struggle to pay for the health care they need and retire without too many worries?

        • b waghorn

          The just of Bills post is that maybe middle nz doesn’t want these things , I would put my self at the lower end of middle class and I am happy with Littles pitch.
          And I think a great deal of people who can’t get even to my level of comfort would be wrapped if they could

          • Bill

            I was thinking of a couple of things, one being that I know people who have bought their home, at least partly off the back of realising that a mortgage was cheaper than rent (for them).

            I was somewhat absently wondering how many others might have made the decision to buy off the back of similar considerations…considerations that would never have come up if rent levels and tenancy rights weren’t so screwed.

            Then I wondered what promoting this supposed central pillar of the ‘Kiwi dream’ says to the growing numbers of people who will never be in the position to consider it as an option – no matter how high their rents become in relation to potential mortgage payments.

            And I wondered, finally, if it really is a part of some ‘Kiwi dream’ these days, or whether it’s just assumed to be a ubiquitous aspiration or ambition.

            If it’s more something being driven by circumstance (for those with enough income) rather than an actual desire that would exist no matter what, then it’s a talking point that misses the mark – the mark being to do some serious shit around rents and tenancy rights. (Stuff that should be done anyway)

            • weka

              “I was somewhat absently wondering how many others might have made the decision to buy off the back of similar considerations…considerations that would never have come up if rent levels and tenancy rights weren’t so screwed.”

              If land prices and mortage levels weren’t so screwed, more people would buy I think. Partly for best use of money reasons, but also so many people are now tied into the idea of investment.

              I don’t think much can be done about the cost of homeownership, but govt could pretty easily improve tenancy rights. Long terms leases might be trickier. As you say it should be happening anyway.

              • Bill

                If land prices and mortage levels weren’t so screwed, more people would buy I think.

                Maybe. But the point I was getting at was that in a situation where there was no financial benefit to buying, would people still buy? New Zealand seems a bit unusual on the whole house buying front when compared to quite a few other countries.

            • b waghorn

              The changes around renting would have to be massive for people to give up the ownership dream, basic security plus use of money are big drivers then there is the fact that for a lot of use the money in our houses is all well leave for our kids.
              I also find I enjoy my own home more than living in one I don’t own.

    • Pat 3.4

      think its pretty obvious that “middle NZ” that Little is appealing to is that group who have supported National the past 2 elections but have misgivings about their and their offsprings future….if a relatively small number of them are convinced Labour can address those doubts without turning their world upside down then a coalition not of National will result.

      Given what they have to work with its probably their best option

      • Words 3.4.1

        It might be obvious to you Pat, but I didn’t get the impression that Little singled out the group that supports National.

        • Pat

          would you be happier if he had specifically named them?

          • Words

            Didn’t mean to offend you Pat because I didn’t agree with you that Little was singling out a group that voted National over the last 2 elections.

      • The New Student 3.4.2

        +1 Pat. The working poor are well aware of their situation, thank you very much. They are not the primary target audience of this speech. They are the subject

    • Ovid 3.5

      In short, Bill, he means people who vote.

  4. Andre 4

    I read it twice and still managed to miss what he had to say about climate change and the environment. Can someone point me in the right direction?

    The rest of it was fairly accurate comment on the failings of the incumbents and nicely aspirational homilies, however.

    • Bill 4.1

      I’m picking a basic response along the lines of “It’s a budget speech and budget speeches are about the economy” – as though the economy sits apart from, and need pay no heed to, the limitations and possibilities as presented by reality.

      It’s a scary disconnect.

      • Jenny Kirk 4.1.1

        Not a disconnect, Bill – just being realistic. You cannot cram every subject into one speech. Ditto policies. Labour is not going to start talking about climate disruption or freshwater matters in a speech on the country’s economy – but in the end, these will all come together – with other important matters – in a rounded whole.

        You just have to have a look at Labour’s Policy Platform – easily found on the web – to see what I mean.

        • Bill

          I think it’s indicative of being anything but realistic.

          The speech mentions issues around housing and health, poverty and whatever. Generally speaking, I haven’t any problems with the policies mentioned. But the speech assumes the policies they have, will be rolled out over time, and be contained within much the same context as has existed for the past however many decades. That’s the disconnect.

          • Jenny Kirk

            Andrew Little, and Labour, know we’re in a different world from previous decades – that’s what he’s been trying to point out for quite a time now. And Labour’s policies have to fit into this very different world – which they will.

            Look up Labour’s Policy Platform. That’ll give you more detail on where we’re heading.

            • Colonial Viper

              OMG you are dreaming.

              Labour don’t understand anything. This is the party which is deathly afraid to scare the middle class horses.

              And the voting public has been punishing them at the ballot box for being totally disconnected.

              • Words

                Disagree with you Colonial Viper, Labour understand a lot more than you will ever give them credit for. Labour always has to tread more cautiously. Corrupt msm and dirty politics from John Key’s office keep the public distracted and disconnected.

                • Colonial Viper

                  in other words National set the parameters of the box, and Labour cautiously stays within it.

                  And as a strategy, how is it working out for Labour?

            • Bill

              So I looked up the Policy Platform and scanned it. There are, as you say, some nods or acknowledgements that would seem to point somewhat in the right direction. There are also commitments or undertakings that would fly in the face of any supposed shift in direction.

              Which is all fine. A 60 odd page policy document that involves multiple input is almost bound to contain contradictions.

              As for which elements of the policy platform gain precedence and so set the course or general thrust of policy direction well, if the words or lack of signposts in speeches aren’t to be taken as anything to go by, I guess there’s no way to tell until various actions occur or fail to materialise.

              Which is hardly a desirable state of affairs.

          • Gabby

            Labour are not going to promise to make everyone poorer. Fucksake.

            • Bill

              What? Who said they should?

              edit – and in case you hadn’t noticed, for election cycle after election cycle people have been being promised they’ll be better off…this time. And poverty widens and deepens….

    • Ad 4.2

      Wrong party.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        OK, then where are the policies on full employment?

        Or is that the wrong party too?

        • Words

          Didn’t think Little’s pre budget speech was the platform for policy announcements.

        • Sigh

          You would have heard that if you’d been at the last party conference.

  5. The Chairman 5

    In regards to cracking down on offshore property investors, why are Labour still pushing this new build fallacy?

    Can’t Labour see that forcing offshore property investors to buy new builds will merely drive up the price of land, thus, as a result, the price of housing?

    • The Chairman.

      Have you got a better idea mate, if so don’t be shy, let it out.

      Making overseas buyers build new would seem like a very good idea to me.
      Builders would get work, painters, roofers, landscapers, concrete workers and all the suppliers and more.

      How can that be a bad thing ?
      Open the other eye sir.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        No offence intended, but fuck off with that BS mate.

        This idea is going to fall flat on its face with the electorate.

        As for a better idea – ban all foreign non-resident ownership of NZ housing and of NZ residential land; give foreign non-resident owners 5 years to divest themselves of their current holdings.

        • One Anonymous Bloke


          Speaking of falling flat on your face with the electorate 😆

          • Colonial Viper

            For those who don’t know what OAB is referring to, in 2011 I stood for Labour in Clutha Southland against the Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English. Good fun too. He was a great debate and town meeting opponent.

            And as OAB inferred, I was unable to beat English at the polls.

            • Jester

              I didn’t know that CV. I just assumed OAB was talking about Andrew Littles attempt to win an electorate seat in The Naki.

              Anyway, good on you CV, as least you didn’t just sit back and be a keyboard warrior like some people.

              • Colonial Viper

                Appreciate that, thanks.

                When you campaign in a deeply blue electorate, it is a steep learning curve indeed.

                One thing which really opened my eyes as the candidate was when I met some of the former officers who ran the long-defunct Mataura Mill Labour Party branch.

                They were all going to vote for NZ First, and told me so without hesitation.

            • swordfish

              Jeez, I’m a bit shocked to hear that.

              You mean you weren’t able to overcome English’s tiny, wafer-thin 2008 Majority of 15,000 + votes, CV ??? (English took 68% of the Candidate-Vote at the 08 Election – 22,600 – to the Labour candidate’s 7,100 (21%) ).

              I mean, OK, Clutha-Southland’s one of the Bluest seats in the Country, but still …
              it was ripe for the picking … surely ? And at a 2011 Election in which Labour otherwise did so brilliantly !!!

              • Colonial Viper

                Chur, lol 🙂

                Well, some people think I shamed the party by not falling straight on my sword after my unexpected and shocking loss.

                • The newly announced Labour candidate for Invercargill, Liz Craig, will win that seat against Sarah Dowager Dowie. Liz stood in Clutha/Southland in the last round and won great respect across the board. The votes however, as Colonial Viper points out, don’t cross borders easily.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Craig has a 10% or less chance of overturning Dowie’s 7,500 majority, and will need a very high list placing if she is to get into Parliament this round.

                    This is nothing personal against Craig, but as an unknown against an incumbent local, the odds are highly stacked against her.

                    • Cowboy

                      I don’t know Liz Craig but she reads as a credible candidate. For mine a huge issue for Labour is refreshing their list with some fresh talent. A feature of Key’s leadership is the smiling assassin ruthlessness to cut dead wood. Littles biggest liability is the perception that he is leading a reheated and talentless caucus. Labour need to be bold and allow merit and renewal to take its course and freshen up its line up. Cosgrove has gone ,Goff odds on as well but the likes of Dyspn and Mallard teal need to go.

                    • Cowboy

                      I don’t know Liz Craig but she reads as a credible candidate. For mine a huge issue for Labour is refreshing their list with some fresh talent. A feature of Key’s leadership is the smiling assassin ruthlessness to cut dead wood. Littles biggest liability is the perception that he is leading a reheated and talentless caucus. Labour need to be bold and allow merit and renewal to take its course and freshen up its line up. Cosgrove has gone ,Goff odds on as well but the likes of Dyspn and Mallard etal need to go.

                • The New Student

                  Wow +1
                  And also for “chur”

            • infused

              We know oab is a douhe bag

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Inferred or not, what I’m saying is that your opinions of what will or won’t “fall flat”, whatever they were in 2011, are distorted by your personal bias against the Labour Party you’re a member of.

              @Jester, your snide put down is well wide of its mark.

        • Simple Simon

          To VP.
          And who or which political party is going to do that ?

          Maybe Winston, but cant see any others going for your brain wave .

          • Colonial Viper

            It’s a better idea, it would be highly popular with the electorate, and it’s also one that Labour is incapable of running with.

        • DoublePlusGood

          Good stuff, CV, now that’s a policy I can vote for!

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.2

        Another thing about this bullshit about needing to hawk our land and resources off to foreigners in order to get a few little dollars off them.

        We have all the money and demand for housing internally to keep every builder in the country busy for years.

        If Labour would finally come to the party re: social housing like the First Labour Government did, and not like its recent neoliberal incarnations.

        • b waghorn

          “”That’s why Labour will launch a mass home building programme to deliver new, affordable homes in Auckland and around the country.””

          Sounds like kiwi build will still be there next election, its a policy that the head of master build said was do able.

          • Colonial Viper

            Those Kiwi Build Auckland homes, who will they be “affordable” for exactly?

            Will Kiwis earning less than $80K pa get a look in?

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.3

        Making overseas buyers build new would seem like a very good idea to me.

        Nope. It’s a really stupid idea. Just as stupid as allowing foreign ownership at all in fact.

        Foreign ownership has never done any country any good.

        We really don’t have any need of foreign money to utilise our own resources. It is nothing but a delusion to believe so.

      • The Chairman 5.1.4

        @ Simple Simon

        An outright ban would have the desired effect (reducing property demand, thus alleviating upward pressure on the price of land and houses).

        Builders etc.. will be required for Labour’s KiwiBuild policy.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Boiler plate Labour appeal to its social democratic heritage. From the party dead sure that NZ Super must be cut for our own good. Election in 15 months.

  7. ianmac 7

    Great speech. Now soon we will see the words as clear, easily understood action plan.

  8. Atiawa 8

    A clever & deliberate speech that allows room for a coalition partner or two to speak on areas he over-looked.

  9. Sabine 9

    Good speech.

  10. slumbergod 10


    Hey Andrew, you acknowledge the level of poverty many of us face living (and trapped) at the bottom of society but you conveniently dodge the things that matter to the downtrodden.

    How about reversing the worset of National’s welfare reforms so there is a safety net?

    How about acknowledging some of us have fallen through the cracks but that we still matter too.

    Your speech sounds like you care about Middle NZ and the Working Poor but you have forgotten the Underclass — those of us who are unemployable because of the scarcity of jobs at the bottom, those with mental health conditions, those with physical disabilities.

    Go for it, suck up to Middle NZ, but if you ignore your grass roots you won’t win the next election. You need us too. You need to be inclusive not selective.

    Until then, you don’t represent me.

    • Bb8 10.1

      Did you even read the speech? He talks at length about poverty and the need to make eliminating poverty a core priority of the next govt.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Thats nice talk. Will Labour reverse the Ruthanasia benefit cuts? Will Labour write off unrepayable student debt? Will Labour make it easier for beneficiaries to work part time and earn without losing their benefit?

        • Words

          You will have to wait and see Colonial Viper.

        • Ch-ch Chiquita

          “We’ll raise the number of hours people can work without having their benefit cut.”

          • Colonial Viper

            well that’s something positive, thanks for pointing that out, because at the moment any beneficiary who gets more than 3 or 4 hours work a week is likely to face an effective ~90% income tax and/or risk losing their benefit altogether.

      • Words 10.1.2

        He obviously didn’t bother Bb8 !!!

    • Words 10.2

      So you see yourself as part of the “”underclass”” (John Key’s description of the people his government have targeted and persecuted over the last 8 years), whilst you support National then Slumbergod?

  11. upnorth 11

    hold on hold on – this is dribble and I will tell you why

    Where is the DETAILED reference to Future of Work – OMG I have written so often on here this is the most important document Labour is to produce in November this year.

    His reference to Grant and I was producing this budget – does this mean all this Future for Work stuff is dead or standard catchphrases better health better houses better education .

    I am really annoyed there is no DETAILED or some ground breaking reference which is suppose to be the ground breaker for NZ by Labour

    How can this be – vote NZF and Greens everyone!!!

    Or have I turned up at the wrong tent and listened to the wrong Andrew Little(lol)

    • Hanswurst 11.1

      To be fair, he’s probably better off leaving the “future of work” stuff to its scheduled announcement. Fairly anodyne speech, though. It’s basically what any one of us on here would have come up with in any given year since 2009 if asked to predict what a budget speech by the Labour leader would look like.

      I find phrases like “middle New Zealand” and “the Kiwi Dream” absolutely nauseating.

      • Jenny Kirk 11.1.1

        I dunno that those phrases are nauseating, Hanswurst. Didn’t most NZers aspire to owning a home one day? It used to be a realistic dream for people to work towards. And under this Government, that “dream” disappeared for many.

        Especially for most younger people – and especially for those working and trying to rent a reasonable place in Auckland (and, so I’m told, in Wellington as well).

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2

        I find phrases like “middle New Zealand” and “the Kiwi Dream” absolutely nauseating.

        All NZers are exactly the same and have exactly the same dream din’t ya know?

      • Words 11.1.3

        Disagree with you Hanswurst “middle New Zealand” and “the Kiwi Dream” are NOT nauseating.

        • Wainwright

          It’d be nice if the rabid Labourites would let people express opinions here. So you and Jenny don’t find all this “middle New Zealand” malarkey nauseuating – Hanswurst does, it’s his comment. Jumping on every single negative thing anyone says about Labour just makes you look desperate and insecure.

          • Words

            That’s a petty, desperate, insecure jump you have made yourself Wainwright, I’m expressing an opinion here, aren’t I allowed to disagree with opinions I disagree with ?

            • Wainwright

              These are opinions:

              “I find that language nauseating.”
              “I do not find it nauseating.”

              This is not opinions:

              “I find that language nauseating.”
              “No it isnt so you can’t!!!!!!!!”

      • The New Student 11.1.4

        I would like to experience this Kiwi Dream, if it’s not too much trouble. Thank you very much

        • Hanswurst

          “Kiwi Dream” sounds like some sort of unsustainable, meat-flavoured icecream.

    • Jenny Kirk 11.2

      The details will come later, upnorth. You know a political party doesn’t spell out all the detail until much closer to the election : especially when the Nats cherrypick the best bits out of Labour policy and use them for their own.

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.1

        This is old FPP thinking and irrelevant now.

        You need to give the electorate time to understand and digest what you want to do and why.

        And if Labour announces policy that National can so easily steal, then the policy was clearly too centrist or even right wing friendly to start with.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Nonsense CV – the Nats just pick up on anything their focus groups tell them is a “goer” and many of Labour’s policies are just that !

          • Colonial Viper

            Then why has Labour’s party vote numbers in general elections been declining since 2005.

            • weka

              It’s the perception of competency issue. The policy is probably not a problem for most centre voters.

              • Colonial Viper

                I would argue that it is more a cultural and political disconnect.

                People don’t want more of the same neoliberalism. That’s the political disconnect.

                People don’t think that Labour selects and promotes MPs representative of them. That’s the cultural disconnect.

                • b waghorn

                  If you asked the average Joe in the street what neolibrilism is you’d get a blank steer, its not relevant , people want security for them and theirs

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You’re under estimating these same people if you believe that they don’t understand or suspect where this insecurity has come from.

                    They might not know the term “neoliberalism” (although many do) but they do know that both Labour and National have been part of the problem.

            • Gabby

              Promising not to let 65 year olds retire probably didn’t help.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yes, that might have made working Kiwis feel more insecure, not less.

          • Sabine

            well said.

        • Hanswurst

          Besides which, if the policy were left enough and National stole it, why should I care whether Labour or National were in power?

          • Colonial Viper

            bang on. And it is an opportunity for Labour to move further left. Except they don’t want to.

            • Craig H

              I disagree, we do want to. It was crystal clear at the regional conference and it’s crystal clear at every LEC Meeting I attend. The issue is that anything outside the normal economic orthodoxy gets absolutely shredded by the government and the lapdog media. Ask Russell Norman about QE some time…

              • Colonial Viper

                Your opinions as a member don’t count for anything much. One reason is that the caucus sincerely believes that they know better than you, and they believe that the general membership is too left wing for the good of the party.

                anything outside the normal economic orthodoxy gets absolutely shredded by the government and the lapdog media. Ask Russell Norman about QE some time…

                And did Labour back him up? Or did Labour just stand aside and watch Russell turn into road kill.

                With friends like that, do you wonder why Labour is alone.

                As for Russell, he made a lot of mistakes around his QE comments, not the least of which was not sticking to his guns, and not having his MPs and membership on side with the concepts before hand.

              • Wainwright

                Be nice if the caucus decided to reflect the actual party, wouldn’t it?

          • Draco T Bastard

            If the policy was Left and National uses it is the policy that they make also Left?

    • Bb8 11.3

      Calm the farm dude. Future of Work announcement is at the November conference.

    • weka 11.4

      “How can this be – vote NZF and Greens everyone!!!”

      If you want to risk National getting a 4th term, vote NZF. I’ll just keep saying it.

      • Reddelusion 11.4.1

        I think most nzf voters would not have an issue with that They are conservative in nature, thus see nzf just bringing national home in thier slightly deluded rationale

        • weka

          I was thinking more about the lefties that think party voting NZF is a relatively risk-free strategy.

          (besides, doesn’t research show that most NZF voters want NZF in a left wing govt?).

        • swordfish

          The evidence suggests that former Labour voters comprise a disproportionate % of NZF’s current support-base – people who appear to have little love for the current PM. (although, if the last few Polls are anything to go by, the Party may now be making greater inroads into National’s heartland).

          • Sanctuary

            NZ First would do well to position itself as the protest party of increasingly impoverished rural towns and cities that have known nothing but decline since 1984…. The new feudalism of the provinces, where among a new squatocracy a web of corruption based on nepotism, patronage and cronyism is flourishing in the complete absence of any media scrutiny (when i was a lad in Hawke’s Bay, we had two full newspapers, and a local ZB station. All gone now.) needs to be challenged. If the nod and wink, back scratching corruption that anyone who is in the know knows about in HB is any guide to the rest of provincial NZ, the acceptance of the casual corruption of the Key government instantly becomes a lot more understandable. Neoliberalism has basically created in provincial NZ a third world economy of a mass of low paid service and seasonal workers lorded over by latifundia elite. Amongst those excluded low paid provincial NZers I reckon NZ First’s anti-establishment message could reap a huge number of votes.

    • Words 11.5

      It’s MMP Upnorth. I will be voting Labour. NZ First and the Greens on their own is not enough to kick the Nats out. You still need Labour. I would rather a Labour led coalition government with the Greens and NZ First than what we have now under John key’s regime with his partners in crime.

      • Colonial Viper 11.5.1

        If Labour give the public something different and distinct to vote for, that would be nice.

        And Labour will have to spike back above 30% (and stay there) if it wants to lead anything.

  12. Salsy 12

    Jeezuz Little!, where is the exciting, stimulating, encouraging speech? Labour are pulling a hard line negative campaign… Voters will align Little with poverty, homelessness, charter schools, health, low wages etc, because its all he talks about.
    This strategy is so fucking painfully unsophisticated.. there is no light in that speech…

    • Whateva next? 12.1

      Well it resonated with me 100% salsa, that is because it was full of net grits and authenticity, neither of which I hear from the travesty of a government we have atm.
      Celebrity politics don’t akshully work in case you haven’t checked outside in the real world.

      • Salsy 12.1.1

        Celebrity politics don’t akshully work in case you haven’t checked outside in the real world…

        Um really? how bout Trump?

        • Whateva next?

          um, Trump is getting a protest vote, and it doesn’t mean celebrity voting is working either.

          • Colonial Viper

            A protest vote against what exactly?

            • whateva next?

              missing the point, Trump is a product of celebrity politics, reaping the benefits of the quick fix, hero worship that goes with it. People not actually stopping and thinking about consequences of anything Trump says.
              Now Bernie on the other hand……

              • Colonial Viper

                So according to you he’s not attracting a protest vote, he’s attracting the vote enamoured with celebrity stars and easy answers.

                On the other hand, Trump has demonstrated a clear understanding of the Middle East, the declining status of the USA, and the debt based financial system.

                I will give it to you that he is a showman who was very able at riling up the liberals and bringing onboard conservative voters.

    • Atiawa 12.2

      Most of us, and the numbers are increasing daily, are still waiting for the ‘Brighter Future”

      • Whateva next? 12.2.1

        Cooked the books for a shiter future those poster’s should have read.

  13. Whateva next? 13

    Integrity not net grits…..

  14. Sanctuary 14

    What is it with the cost of living in NZ???? The cost of food is insane, power prices are a scandal, water bills in Auckland are sky high, and lets not even start on housing…

    The cost of DIY stuff is 400-600% higher in NZ than almost anywhere else. WTF is going on??

    It is utter madness.

    Food in NZ ought to be about the cheapest in the world, and power from hydo schemes long since paid for ought to be cheap as well. NZ consumers are being gouged by corporate greed, rampant profiteering and monopoly pricing at every turn and not a single politician has even mentioned it, let alone proposed to do anything about it…. Where is a policy of government subsidised supermarkets offering food at cost? Anyone planning on reigning rampant power price rent seeking?

    • Sanctuary 14.1

      Actually we all know why nothing will be done. These massive rorts are a form of hugely regressive taxation via SOE dividends that allow the government to cut taxes to the salaried class and the rich. Our government is the mafia boss to a giant standover racketering operation that uses monopoly utility pricing to shake down the population and provide fat incomes for it’s corporate mates in the private sector….

  15. Incognito 15

    At first, I really struggled with this speech; it contained a lot of good points, but it wasn’t clear (to me) how they were supposed to be connected or realised.

    I also felt that many important issues and ideas were notable by their absence, e.g. immigration, environment, UBI, (foreign) trade, to name just a few. Yes, I do realise it is the pre-budget speech by the Leader of the Opposition and not (yet) a full-blown election campaign manifesto.

    Instead, the focus was only on (the) core issues: the economy (of course), housing, healthcare, and education. Not too many truly controversial things were mentioned.

    I was looking for a clear vision with an accompanying mission statement and possibly a hint of a strategic plan but the language was remarkably (but see below) ambiguous with ill-defined terms such as “middle New Zealand” and a reference to “the Kiwi Dream”. [Note the capitalisation; the word “dream” appeared five times in the speech] The way I see it, there is nothing uniquely Kiwi about the Kiwi Dream anyway.

    In short, the heavy rhetoric seemed more of a plea to or for common sense and an emotive appeal to people’s sense of fairness, equality, mateship, and hope!

    So, I was scratching my head and felt a little disappointed with the whole speech to be honest; the first 100 or so comments here didn’t make me feel any better …

    However, a different way of looking at the speech is to assume that it is trying build a realistic counter-narrative to National’s eternal and illusionary optimism that all is (very) well in New Zealand and that we can be reassured, confident even, that the management of our economy is in good hands and that our country is led by the best possible leaders of the highest ethical standards – this is Tui-ad territory.

    So, now I’d like to think that this speech is looking well beyond Budget Day and is, almost subliminally, trying to re-frame the issues that are most compelling to the voting New Zealanders. It did so without being overtly negative or resorting to personal attacks (e.g. on John Key).

    If this was indeed the intention of the speech it certainly worked on and for me! Well done, whoever wrote it!

    • Sanctuary 15.1

      If you go to public address and read Rob Salmond’s latest post on welfare, Little’s speech makes sense. Labour is intellectually bereft and hopelessly behind the times. Its ability to formulate policy is constrained by it’s continued adherence to out of date third way principles and a talentless and co-opted caucus whose members are selected primarily because of horse trading amongst factions, rather than an ability to formulate good policy or mount effective opposition to the government.

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      So, now I’d like to think that this speech is looking well beyond Budget Day and is, almost subliminally, trying to re-frame the issues that are most compelling to the voting New Zealanders.

      You may be correct but I think that such an objective misses the mark strategically.

      The people who are most likely to switch their vote to Labour from National are people who are already notably disatisfied with National in one way or another. They are people whose lives are not going as well as has been promised and they are concerned that National is not managing the direction of the country well.

      For these people, the kind of “re-framing” in Little’s speech falls short because the voters which you want to reach are not voters who need to be convinced that something is amiss – psychologically they are already there.

      What they are looking for is why Labour is going to perform differently to National, and what Labour is going to offer in terms of concrete changes to demonstrate that difference.

      This speech did little of that. So I would classify this event as a major wasted opportunity.

      And with Labour sitting consistently under 30% approx 15 months before the election, missing an opportunity such as this is a big problem.

      • Pat 15.2.1

        it was a speech that reasured those wavering National voters that Labour will not seek to create upheaval….and note that it must potentially be a winning strategy as M.Hooten was peddling (not pedaling) like mad today on RNZ to discredit it…what more recommendation is needed?

        • Colonial Viper

          I am so reassured that Labour is committing to not upsetting the proper order of our society; after all it’s going mostly good as it is but simply needs a bit of minor tinkering here and there to improve.

          • Pat

            ah but you are not the target CV…and they do not seek your reassurance for to do that would, they believe frighten the middle voter and see them sink even lower in the polls…..Labour has a shrinking base and I suspect this is the least bad option….they are fighting for survival, not seeking to sell a grand new vision.
            i believe for this reasons CC will be a very low key part of their campaign and you will have unlimited ammunition to assault them with…they will remain unconcerned of the criticism …those concerned with cc will vote green by default in the main and those concerned about globalization will vote Winston….and the missing million will continue to be missing….whos left to vote Labour?

            • Colonial Viper

              Labour has always been one of those guys who prefers to eye up the next pretty girl on the dance floor instead of giving their long time loyal partner their full attention.

              The results of such behaviour are predictable.

              • Pat

                think Labour is more the destitute old man who is aware that his charm and looks have waned with the years….trying to attract the eye of the next pretty girl.

              • Wainwright

                Still expect the long-suffering girlfriend to be their doing the dishes when they get home, too. And get outraged when she’s decided to find a better man.

  16. Incognito 16

    Unsurprisingly, Claire Trevett really liked AL’s speech http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11643048 [sarcasm alert]

  17. Stuart Munro 17

    A good speech I thought, but I want more of a framework on the economic rebuild before too long. NZ has been stagnating for thirty neo-liberal years, there is much to be done. Fastrail. Coastal shipping rebuild. Housing. Decorporatising land and stolen public assets like water and electricty. Restoring credible MSM media – even if there have to be right and left channels. And that’s before education and infra reform.

    I’d also like an outline on the punishment detail – trust fund tax fiddles: a year in chokey for every x amount springs to mind. Punitive reform of OIO, Charter School admin, Serco contract holder and Winz. Clear rules opening cabinet club and restricting donor secrecy and privilege – with tangible penalties. The Keystone cop who raided Hager out on the street in disgrace.

    And fisheries and aquaculture reform – we can do much, much better.

  18. Jenny 18

    Is this is a political speech for our time?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that it is admirable that Andrew little is taking the government to task over the government’s Housing Crisis Denial. But what about the government’s Climate Change Denial.

    I think it is great that the Labour Party leader has pointed out the failures in our health and education systems.

    But Andrew Little’s speech has one glaring omission

    Andrew Little’s speech does not make one single mention of the biggest threat to humanity or the biosphere that sustains us, that we have ever had to face. (But which our political leaders resolutely refuse to face)

    Is this what we should expect from our political leaders in the age of climate change?

    This is not saying that social justice is not as important as climate justice.

    The exploitation of the natural world and exploitation of the human world have the same roots, social injustice and climate injustice are closely linked.

    To omit one is to do disservice to both.

    Politicians will only be fiddling around the edges of both issues until they can muster the courage to grasp this nettle.

    Until politicians of the Left can start weaving these two burning issues together, then it is my opinion that they will never make real progress on either.

    The reality is, a degraded climate will make poverty worse, and impact the poor the hardest, increasing social inequality.

    As the Pentagon describe it, “Climate Change is a force multiplier”.

    And still not one single mention.

    Addressing unemployment, Andrew Little promises heavy government investment in building new infrastructure, to kick start the economy (especially in the struggling regions). But stubbornly refuses to make the obvious link to the massive job opportunities involved in building sustainable and renewable infrastructure, like investing in public transport and railways instead of urban motorways, or moving away from fossil fuel extraction to renewables. This obvious connection is not made. And I have to ask why?

    What is behind Labour and Andrew Little’s climate change ignoring?

    I invite anyone to try to explain or rationalise this.

    • I note Little also failed to mention the dismal state of the footpath outside my house. This is an issue the Labour Party have been silent on for far too long. Sure, some people will say that the explanation is that this was a speech about the upcoming budget, but try telling that to my ankle. It really hurt when I stood in that hole. C’mon, Labour, lift your game!

      • adam 18.1.1

        Yawn, really the belittling argument.

        And did not someone say…???

        • te reo putake

          Say what? If a commenter wants to write disingenuous dribble, then it’s going to called for what it is. Engage your brain, cobber.

          • Jenny

            “Hi, Jenny. I didn’t equate climate change with a hole in the ground, I equated your deliberate twisting of Andrew Little’s budget speech with said hole. To make it clear, I was taking the piss out of your beautifully crafted strawman argument.”
            Te Reo Putake


            Dear Te Reo Putake,

            Great to see that you have lifted your criticism of my commentHere from, “disingenuous dribble”, to “beautifully crafted strawman argument”.

            But I can’t see how you can justifiably claim that I deliberated twisted Andrew Little’s budget speech?

            “…I think that it is admirable that Andrew little is taking the government to task over the government’s Housing Crisis Denial. But what about the government’s Climate Change Denial.”

            “I think it is great that the Labour Party leader has pointed out the failures in our health and education systems.”

            “But Andrew Little’s speech has one glaring omission”



            No twisting here.

            That Andrew Little has omitted any mention of climate change in his pre-budget speech is a pure simple statement of fact.

            What you are objecting to, is that I have dared to point out this fact.

            Because this is not just an objection to Andrew Little’s Pre-Budget speech, but an objection to Labour’s obvious decided strategic response to climate change in the lead up to the 2017 election.

            Which is: Not to mention it.

            I am not the only one to comment on this glaring omission.

            While ably addressing the issues of poverty and inequality, Andrew Little glaringly refuses to comment on the other equally pressing, (and linked), social justice issue of our time, climate change.

            As Bill comments at the top of the thread.

            a) – just being taken as read that everyone knows it’s not the 1950s any more and to take half of what’s being promised with a sack of salt on the understanding that AGW/climate change changes everything, or…

            b) a case that political parties (Labour in this case) have their heads under the blankets or hands over their eyes and are singing a loud lalalala tune to some song title about dreams and growth related prosperity along the tracks even though the air is filled with the rumbling roar of an AGW freight train?



            Andrew Little’s speech is a progression of the Labour Party’s policy toward any mention of climate change in the lead up to the elections.

            Case in point: ‘The Future Of Work’ is an example of Labour’s strategy toward climate change, now continued in Andrew Little’s speech.
            Just like Andrew Little’s pre-budget speech, ‘The Future of Work’ also had zero mention of climate change. And this despite the huge potential for jobs to build the required renewable infrastructure that could free us from our reliance on fossil fuels.

            This silence was deafening in the face of recent big redundancies in the fossil fuel industry, particularly the coal industry, both here and overseas. (even during the period of the conference).

            Dark day as coal mines shuttered

            Solid Energy confirms job losses

            More jobs lost at Solid Energy on the West Coast

            Job losses ‘catastrophic’ for Huntly

            Continuing the same strategy of silence on climate change Labour’s Ten Big Ideas, which came out of the Future of Work, has zero mention of Climate Change.

            Ten Big Ideas

            Labour’s fifth Big Idea probably comes the closest, When Labour say they are for “Establishing a just transition”. Which begs the question, Establishing a just transition, from what? To what?

            The Labour Party doesn’t say.

            This talk of a “Establishing a just transition” has faint echoes of Green MP Gareth Hughes famous statement in relation to the government’s failed quarter $billion bailout of Solid Energy, “This money would have been better used to pay for a just transition for these workers to jobs that don’t fry the planet”.
            (In hindsight Gareth Hughes statement has been proved absolutely correct).

            In relation to the sentence in Labour’s fifth big idea t is like an East German era censor, armed with a pair of scissors hacked into this sentence, cutting out the offending words they didn’t like. “Establishing a just transition, [from a carbon economy], (snip) [to a post carbon economy], (snip) and left this sentence without meaning or context.

            Dear TRP, despite your objections none of which bear any weight. It is my intention, to keep hammering away at Labour’s Berlin Wall strategy of silence on climate change, leading up to, and during the election until Labour start taking this issue seriously.


      • Jenny 18.1.2

        Dear Te Reo Putake,

        If the hole in your footpath was a vortex sucking millions of people to their deaths along with much of the world’s biota, including the Great Barrier Reef….

        And the government of the day was ignoring it. (Or even quietly enlarging it.) Then I think, Yes! the Leader of the Opposition should mention it.

        In fact I would go further, and suggest that the leader of the opposition would be morally and ethically bound to demand that the Government free up assets in the budget to fill it in. And that, to not make such comments shows some level of complicity with the government in allowing the vortex to continue killing and destroying.

        Talking hypothetically, I would be tempted to go even further (but I won’t) and suggest that for you, and the leader of the opposition, not to demand that the hole in your footpath be filled would be a moral failing, or even an act of cowardice in the face of this hypothetical disaster.

        I suppose I could be wrong and that for some technical reason related to vortexes beyond my simple understanding of them, this very important speech has to be left to closer to the election.

        And God forbid I suggest that it will never be made at all.

  19. Jenny 19

    “If there is one thing I am clear on it is this: the next Labour government will not tolerate poverty in New Zealand in the 21st century.”

    But it increasingly looks like the next Labour government will tolerate climate change in in New Zealand in the 21st century.

    I could be wrong and that Andrew Little’s hard hitting, timely and well researched speech on poverty and social justice, will be followed up by an equally hard hitting, timely and well researched speech from Andrew Little on climate change, and climate justice.

    But I have been assured by those who know, that this speech will never be made, or delivered.

  20. max 20

    Amazing post

    • Jenny 20.1

      “Amazing post”


      A quick google search shows that a barely a week later Andrew Little’s speech is not remarked anywhere. Except at the Daily Blog. (And then not very flatteringly). Apart from that, Andrew Little’s speech has dropped below the surface of public discourse having hardly left a ripple.

      As I asked in my rhetorical question, “Is this is a political speech for our time?

      Well obviously not. If it is still not being remarked upon anywhere.

      So what could have lifted Andrew Little’s speech above the humdrum churn of political speeches and really made it a speech for our time?

      What could have convinced the commentators that Labour was serious about facing up to and tackling the issues poverty and inequality raised in Andrew Little’s Pre Budget Speech?

      Citing a study by New Zealand scientist Luke Harrington and his colleagues at Victoria University.

      Nature the world’s most well known and respected international scientific journal gives us a clue.

      Warming will hit the poorest first

      Nature 533,
      Published online 25 May 2016

      As the climate warms over the coming decades, the poorest 20% of the world’s population will see frequent temperature extremes sooner than the richest 20%.

      Luke Harrington at Victoria University of Wellington and his colleagues used climate models to simulate the effect of rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on daily…


      Now if Andrew Little had only woven into his speech about poverty and inequality as related to the budget, the issue of climate change, citing Luke Harrington’s study. And wrote that properly addressing poverty needs to be part of the vital fight against climate change…..

      Then this truely would have been a speech for our time, repeatedly remarked on and referred to.

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