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Business leaders endorse Labour / Green government

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, September 11th, 2017 - 67 comments
Categories: business, election 2017, greens, labour - Tags: , , , , ,

An interesting piece (Francis Cook in The Herald):

Fear of a Labour/Green Gov ‘gone’ says business leader

Fear of a Labour/Green Government in the business community is well gone, says SkyCity chairman-elect Rob Campbell.

A refreshingly honest comment, especially given the amount of time and credibility the Nats “invested” in SkyCity.

Speaking to Fran O’Sullivan for the Herald‘s Mood of the Boardroom series, Campbell said the Jacinda effect of the new Labour leader had “changed the game significantly” and the business and wider community was relaxed about the prospect of a change in Government.

“The old election roulette wheel is well and truly running, and a lot of money is going on the red squares,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the Greens had improved their standing in the business community, removing the concern about a Labour/Green coalition. “The element of fear that was in the business community about a Labour/Green Government, I think, is well gone,” he said.

“Businesses that are good businesses will still be able to do well under everything I’ve seen from the Labour party.”

“Business doesn’t necessarily do better under National led Governments,” he said.

Productivity was the biggest issue facing the business community in the country and growth was nominal without it, Campbell said. … “There is an increasing recognition among the business community and the wider community that things have got a little stale,” he said.

Inequality was another big issue for Campbell. “The people who are at the wrong end of the inequality really have genuine social and financial needs that are not being met under the current system,” he said. …

This is a very important and well deserved endorsement. It will help a lot of fence sitting voters to cross the line to Labour Green.

67 comments on “Business leaders endorse Labour / Green government”

  1. Brendan 1

    Rob Campbell will still be voting National I bet.

    • r0b 1.1

      He knows which way the wind is blowing though!

    • Nick 1.2

      Brendan, Didn’t sound like he was voting for the Natz, felt like he is switching to Labour Greens and telling everyone too.

      • Bearded Git 1.2.1

        doesnt really matter what he does…the perception of what he says matters and this is that the Nats are stale so a change is fine …he also seems impressed with the labour focus on productivity

    • tracey 1.3

      Do not be so sure. I have come to “know” him online in recent months and do not think he is automatically right wing. He and his companies are genuinely working to implement diversity in their workplaces and to get more women on Boards

      • Siobhan 1.3.1

        Diversity is vital, but I wonder if its a bit of a ‘wash’ and distraction for modern capitalism and politics.
        In an American study of companies with good diversity Citi bank and Merck where number 1, JP Morgan Chase and CocaCola tied for second place, Dell, McDonald’s and PepsiCo, tied for the third.

        Bottom line is these guys, modern capitalists, neoliberals, whatever, don’t care about your colour, your gender, your orientation, just as long as they get the money and sidestep the tax, and keep the shareholders happy.
        The old definitions and concerns about the ‘right wing’ are pretty irrelevant when the power and agenda is now largely controlled and set by ‘The Middle’.

        • tracey 1.3.1.1

          I hear what you are saying and agree. In my dialogues with Campbell he does have a social conscience and a perspective lacking in many in business.

      • Stuart Munro 1.3.2

        It may be something as simple as self -interest (Not in a bad way). A bloke who’s children I taught in Korea, a merchant banker, was the first to hire women into merchant banking there. It wasn’t especially political – he didn’t have strong feelings one way or another. But he found they were on average better qualified, didn’t fight as much, and worked harder. Divisional morale soared too.

        Wherever there is a gap based on prejudicial convention it costs to maintain it, and, conversely, whoever breaks the convention gains an advantage.

    • Bill 1.4

      (He) will still be voting National I bet

      No. He’s a former member of NZ Labour’s Executive (1984)

      So as long as NZ Labour remains broadly Liberal, he’s probably happy enough to vote for them to protect his own interests. (The article’s entirely misleading to claim he endorsed the Green Party or Green/Labour government btw)

  2. adam 2

    Working people – bosses get their elects again.

    Now shut up, and do as you’re told.

    • Tony Veitch (not etc) 2.1

      We (Lab/Greens) must be doing something wrong when the bosses endorse us!

      Betraying the interests of the working class, perhaps?

  3. Sanctuary 3

    The rats have started scuttling out of the portholes of the sinking SS National…

  4. Matiri 4

    Tacitly endorsing Robertson over Joyce.
    “[Robertson] is probably more inclined to think and research issues than Steven might be,” he said.

  5. Nick 5

    He was talking future of work too. The breakfast for the kids was a good line.

  6. Siobhan 6

    In other words..“things have got a little stale, so we’re voting for a little ‘freshening up’ of the ol’ status quo, A nice little breather for the proles before we get back down to business.”

  7. cleangreen 7

    A very good sign here Anthony;

    We should rejoice at the business community endorsement.

    Especially if they endorse Green Party policy (just announced) to support restoration of regional rail to Gisborne and other regions also as NZF has already committed to.

    Jenny Kirk reminded me last week that Michael Wood Labour had committed to Gisborne rail only if it proved “Viable”.

    Strange that it was Michael Joseph Savage in the first labour Government that completed the rail line to Gisborne in 1942!!!!!!

    If we need NZF to achieve this, we hope they all will join in a coalition.

  8. Enough is Enough 8

    Business leaders always want to be close to those who hold power. They will always endorse the side which is likely to win, whether they agree with their policies or not.

    If you want a constructive relationship with the post election government, you don’t attack them during the campaign. In fact you pull out the PR team and start telling everyone how wonderful they are.

    It is cynical big business bollocks.

    • tracey 8.1

      Is it possible to have a business and not be a selfish arsehole? I think it is.

      • Andre 8.1.1

        Possible, yes, but quite difficult and rare. In my experience, the few that run a business and aren’t total selfish arseholes are a small portion of the ones that started their own business. I’ve yet to meet any that got to the top by corporate climbing that aren’t complete arses.

      • McFlock 8.1.2

        Anything’s possible.

        But running a business conditions one to be concerned primarily with one’s own minutae of wellbeing: am I legally covered? What are my assets? What are my liabilities? What is my income? Where is it from? Am I doing better than my competitors?

        Rather than the questions of how society is doing, and if others are worse off how can I help them.

        What we do for 8 or 12 hours a day colours how we do things the rest of the day. I find that rote work stultifies the mind, and needs to be compensated by creative hobbies. My current job tends me towards logical literalism, and quantitative rather than qualitative perspectives. I need to actively try to work around that (or buy an anorak and start trainspotting).

        So yeah, it’s possible to run a business and not be a selfish arsehole, but I think it would take a lot of people conscious effort to do so. And, frankly, the most selfish, “fuck you jack, I’m ok” people who I’ve encountered, and the most egregious dick moves to make a pittance extra were committed by, small business owners.

      • Adrian Thornton 8.1.3

        Yes of course it is…but probably not a business that gathers more than half it’s income from addicts…ie gambling addicts…only an arsehole or a sociopath or a mix of the two could possibly live with themselves making money from that type of licensed social destruction.
        But I am sure he is nice to his kids and cats……

      • Enough is Enough 8.1.4

        Yes – But I wouldn’t put Sky City in that basket

      • Sans Cle 8.1.5

        Anyone know of any historical incidences or regulatory experiments where it was required to divide profits (or any proportion thereof, for e.g 50%) to workers, then remaining proportion goes to business owner/shareholders? I realise this in essence is a company tax, but any cases in the past when this “tax” goes directly to employees?
        Would be interesting to see the effect on profitability, productivity and success of a company that tried it.

  9. Bill 9

    Far be it for me to suggest that’s less an endorsement of a Green/NZ Labour government than a hope that NZ Labour has successfully consumed the Green Party and so can form a government with NZF…

    Actually, I’ll let the words of SkyCity chairman-elect Rob Campbell speak for themselves.

    From about 50sec in to the vid on the linked piece.

    …to the extent business was concerned about Labour, one heard issues around the Greens and Labour, and the Greens dealt with that problem themselves. So that the element of fear if you like – fear’s a kind of strong word – but the element of fear that was in the business community about a Labour/Green government, I think is well gone. And the people I find around the business community are very relaxed about the prospect there’ll be a change.

    edit – and not another single mention of the Green Party nor any Green Party MPs throughout the rest of the interview.

    • tracey 9.1

      Interesting point Bill. Thanks for highlighting that. Large Corps still hankering for FPP?

      • Bill 9.1.1

        Nah. I don’t think they’re hankering after FPP so much as ensuring the Liberal status quo is preserved. In that respect a change of the guard is all good.

    • Ad 9.2

      Like the Greens are more salt to the dish than a complete vegetable.

  10. Adrian Thornton 11

    “Fear of a Labour/Green Government in the business community is well gone, says SkyCity chairman-elect Rob Campbell.”

    A refreshingly honest comment, especially given the amount of time and credibility the Nats “invested” in SkyCity.

    WTF…an endorsement from the CEO of the biggest seedest lowlife gambling den in New Zealand is to be taken as a positive? are you actually seriously saying this is a good thing?

    Personally I would have thoughty the opposite would be closer to the truth, if real life fundamental change to market first, neoliberal economic ideology was wanted, I take it, that it is not?

    But I guess if all that is asked for is plastering up the obvious cracks in this unjust system, but carrying on ‘business as usual’ is more you thing…then yes, this really is a great endorsement.

    • McFlock 11.1

      heh, I tend to agree.

      One of my mates who’s a few years older than me reckons he knew lab4 was truly off the rails when the ODT published a glowing editorial about how good lab4 was for business.

      On the flipside, I think a lot to do with skycity support is abandoning the loser’s sinking boat, rather than genuine support. And that they don’t see Labour overly harming skycity’s specific market any time soon.

      But I’d be really concerned if BusiessNZ were doing similar puff pieces on Labour this time next year.

      • Adrian Thornton 11.1.1

        “But I’d be really concerned if BusiessNZ were doing similar puff pieces on Labour this time next year.”
        Yes, but the question is would you be surprised if they did?…I wouldn’t be.

        Also you are quite right that they are just abandoning a shipping Nat ship, but that they are quite comfortable jumping straight into Labour’s ship is a serious canary signal…well it is in my view.

        Labour, neo liberal light, nothing more nothing less.

        • McFlock 11.1.1.1

          I actually would be surprised if Labour received an endorsement from businessNZ.

          If Skycity were early adopters to Labour, then yeah. But basically they’ve waited until the last minute to jump on the bandwagon.

          It’s damage moderation, not eager endorsement.

          • Bill 11.1.1.1.1

            See greywarsharks links below McFlock.

            Campbell, who was speaking for himself mind, is an ex- member of NZ Labour Party’s executive (1984) – a ‘third way’ Liberal.

            • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1.1

              which is slightly better than the cold-hearted mercenary capitalist oppressor I expected him to be, being boss of a casino.

              Unless he endorsed Labour in 2011 and 2014 as well, I still think it’s more an indication of who’s winning than any particular policy angle.

    • red-blooded 11.2

      In the context of an election, it is a good thing, Adrian. And yes, it may be simply that he’s recognising the way the wind’s blowing, but he’s also saying that a Labour Green government is just as likely to run a strong economy and that the business community aren’t likely to fight to endorse the Nats.

      I found this article refreshing.

      As for your comments about “plastering over the obvious cracks in this unjust system” – well, sorry, mate, but there’s no way that NZ are going to elect a revolutionary socialist government. That doesn’t make any other kind of option bad, though. You work with what’s possible, in the context of a democratic election. What’s coming with a Labour-led government is a hell of a lot better for a whole lot of people and for our natural environment. That sounds pretty good to me.

      • Adrian Thornton 11.2.1

        I like the way you settle so easily for the crumbs the centrist liberal political system offer….I am sure Rob Campbell and his pals will appreciate you for your sensible objectivity it too.

        • adam 11.2.1.1

          Oh adrian thorton, you extremist for actually caring about people, and the underlying things that cause them harm.

          red-blooded is a middle class technocrat, so they know better than the likes of poor suckers like you and me. He and his ilk running around making sure working people don’t rise their voices, becasue wouldn’t it be bad if working people had a voice, rather than being told how to act, and think, by their middle class technocrat betters.

      • Bill 11.2.2

        … but he’s also saying that a Labour Green government is just as likely to run a strong economy…

        No. He said (and I quote) “” to the extent business was concerned about Labour, one heard issues around the Greens and Labour and the Greens dealt with that problem themselves

        In other words, as far as he’s perceiving it, the problems around the Greens have been resolved – ie, he does not see them being as having political heft in any upcoming government.

        He might even be quietly looking to a NZ Labour/NZF government, which given recent polling numbers is well within the bounds of possibility. And sure, so is a MP/Green/NZ Labour government depending on how NZ Labour choose to play their hand.

        But have you witnessed much negative stuff flying Winston Peter’s way from NZ Labour under Ardern/Robertson? All I can bring to mind is something about a single malt…

  11. cleangreen 12

    It is little wonder after hearing this fiery exchange between the demure John Compbell and blustery belligerent Steven Joyce over his slip up on the 11.7 billion hole in this debate as during the 2.26 minute section john says hang on a minute while he wants to finish his point and Joyce thunders over him with a stern ‘no you wait a minute’ in a ordered way, that we see the real nature of this dominant man now.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201858046

    Surely any fair minded business person would feel uncomfortable at this man Steven Joyce’s attitude at simply not accepting John Campbell’s fair comments.

  12. Gabby 13

    How’s that convention centre coming along I wonder.

  13. gsays 14

    Horribly cold blooded and sort of typical business headed coming from a ‘key beneficiary’ of this flailing national regime.

    If everyone in society is better off, surely that is good for business, including casinos.

  14. greywarshark 15

    Got onto a searching mode and looked up Rob Campbell, ex Labour MP I think and I guess, writer of a book on the postal systems around the world affecting NZ.
    ‘Politics of postal transformation: Modernising postal systems in….
    by Robert M. Campbell from google E-book.

    He states about the 1980s in NZ:
    NZ fell from 5th to 22nd place in world GDP per capita in the post war era.
    [Prior to the change to free markets and less government in 1980’s]: It’s economy was marked by low growth, high inflation and increasing unemployment.

    In comparison:- In world GDP per capita in 2016
    NZ ranked 35 in the world.
    And under Oceania heading we ranked 67.
    http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-capita-ranking.php

    (Our economy is marked by medium growth, low inflation and increasing unemployment, underemployment and declining basic standards of living.
    What wonderful gains have been brought to us by this brilliant financial management of Treasury, Roger Douglas, David Caygill and Richard Prebble, as unpleasant as having a stone in one’s shoe!)

    Interesting background to Rob Campbell:
    6July 2012
    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/lunch-boardroom-rob-campbell-gb-123023

    13 July 2017
    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/business-and-ethics-inseparable-says-veteran-director-rob-campbell-b-205236

    An interesting point about the above link for World GDP per capita stats I looked at was the absence of some names – Russia and China. (Though Taiwan, Province of China was there). Also the absence of No.1 on world international GDP in billions. But there was USA at No.2 with tons more than the rest 18,561 billions.

    Perhaps someone else can find No.1.

    • Bill 15.1

      Interesting links there greywarshark. Thanks. So a committed “third way” Liberal endorsing NZ Labour. Gee.

      • adam 15.1.1

        Always thought so called “third way” politics was the final capitulation of anything socialist.

        A way for wets to sleep at night, whist the country rotted slowly. The pretended position of ‘we care’, but really the only care is about money.

    • NewsFlash 15.2

      But didn’t Roger Douglas, David Caygill and Richard Prebble take over from Muldoon, and wasn’t the whole country fucked at that time? I don’t condone what has transpired, but 1984 was an eventful year, to say the least, the govt did some unusual things, removed subsidies from Farmers, but drastic measures for drastic times, everybody always blames Lab, but at the time, it was a reaction to the terrible state of the economy thanks to the mismanagement by Muldoon, I blame him.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 15.2.1

        It is a bit like Trump. Americans chose him because they were sick of being ignored and abused.

        They were right that there were problems, but wrong about the solution. When things are bad, it provides opportunity for bad people to make it much, much worse.

        • greywarshark 15.2.1.1

          Newsflash and Uncooked Selachimorpha (Is that mouthful good to eat?)

          Chris Trotter said this:
          By November 1982, the National Party’s grip on New Zealand had regained its full strength. A wage and price freeze had reduced the economy’s machinery to a slow grind. Unemployment was rising rapidly. And Labour’s new leader, David Lange, had yet to hit his stride as Opposition leader. The whole country seemed to have retreated into itself.;;;
          http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2010/12/stupid-silence-farewell-to-2010.html

          So yes things were bad. But we have got to change judiciously not jump onto the pendulum and swing in the opposite direction. Left of centre would have been okay.

  15. From first link:

    Campbell said the current Government had provided economic stability but a lack of growth.

    Hahahahahaha

    No, what National have delivered is an economy based upon a major housing bubble that will burst and significant increases in poverty that drives impulsive change. The exact opposite of stability.

    Campbell described Bill English as a very capable economic manager and one of New Zealand’s best Finance Ministers, but said he had not had a chance to prove what kind of Prime Minister he would be.

    Actually, Blinglish has shown that he’s very incapable of managing the economy (this is typical of National) and a liar to boot. So, not a good PM and also just bad for the country.

    “The people who are at the wrong end of the inequality really have genuine social and financial needs that are not being met under the current system,” he said.

    Well, at least he got that bit right. Doesn’t seem to have associated that bit with the poor economic management by Blinglish though.

    Campbell said the Government needed to provide additional income support at the base.

    And then demands more government subsidies for business.

    • Stuart Munro 16.1

      Stability is an easy claim for non-performing economists. Real ones would be looking seriously at growing NZ’s per capita GDP – oddly not a promise any of the parties dares to make.

      I knew a bloke called Lee Kie-Hong, who was the economist who planned South Korea’s recovery from the war from about 1950. At the time they were poorer per capita than Somalia, and starvation was an ever present threat. I edited part of the English version of his biography.

      He was singularly successful, and South Korea has prospered in spite of a significant military threat, a dearth of natural resources and quite limited land area. You’d think folk like this, who achieved the world’s greatest increase of relative prosperity for their people in the last hundred years, would be of interest to NZ politicians.

      But he is not: our politicians think they know it all.

        • Stuart Munro 16.1.1.1

          The US were a curious partner. Lee was in the US seeking more aid when Park toppled Lee Syngman – so the US turned him down.

          Park appointed him to lead the equivalent of treasury and build a recovery without the aid that had been expected. The biggest export at the time was human hair – used for extensions by black Americans – the traditional east coast trade with China having stopped dead with the advent of the war. Korean currency was so soft at the time that when aid resumed the government traded in into the market at a significant premium – not self enrichment like NZ’s current ppps – the extra went into the rebuild.

          A lot of US aid was not in cash however – the Texan rice subsidies that exist to this day were to provide material aid to Korea. Lee invested in civil servants – often paying them in bolts of cloth that allowed the small tailoring businesses to spring up. His big three achievements were probably securing work visas for Korean miners for Germany – which brought in significant foreign exchange at a favourable rate, construction and medical staffing projects in the middle east, and the New Community Movement – a kind of material precursor to contemporary microbanking.

          • McFlock 16.1.1.1.1

            It was pretty spectacular – in thirty yearse they went from a demolished, ravaged, largely rural country into having heavy industry and being the third country in the world to develop a 1MB chip.

            But if they hadn’t been a “domino”, I don’t think it would have happened.

            • Stuart Munro 16.1.1.1.1.1

              I believe the access to the US market was as important to them as the aid – historically their trade was mostly with China and what became the North – it wasn’t just that the peninsula was essentially deforested and most of the structures wiped out.

              Lee gave considerable credit to Meiji, whose school he had attended in Hiroshima. Meiji was a very energetic technocrat with rather good judgment – among other things he specified that Hirohito must never govern.

              The US access game isn’t as natural for NZ – they make many of the same kinds of agricultural products that we do.

              The New Community Movement was a big deal, for all that it started by accident. The cement works had produced a significant overage, and the government, using Lee’s material aid paradigm, distributed a couple of bags of cement each to a very large number of peasants. Many built concrete floors, but a lot of villages built a bit of road, a small bridge, or an irrigation dam. It became a kind of national competition – who could make the best use – and this became the bottom up end of the technocratic management whereby communities could propose plans and ask for funding, because the treasury were calculating thousands of projects for cost effectiveness from the top end.

              It’s still in operation, though it was ultimately compromised by politicians (chiefly Park) trying to cash in on the fervor, and is now treated with some caution.

  16. Siobhan 17

    I just did a ‘Sky City’ search through old articles in ‘The Standard’.

    It’s hard to believe that we are meant to be rejoicing over an endorsement from a representative of a company that was so vilified a few months back.

    How very pragmatic.

    I wonder how Caroline Alpine feels about that.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11344363

    • Enough is Enough 17.1

      I agree 100%.

      Sky City have simply started a public offensive to keep on the right side of the incoming government.

      They are a terrible corporate citizen prying off the poor.

      Their endorsement should be roundly rejected.

      • WILD KATIPO 17.1.1

        Agreed. Its a blight on this society , and just because certain officials wanted to be just like other international destinations , doesn’t mean to say we needed that sort of skulduggery here.

        Off topic but always had contempt for the place, – no matter how big they made their phallic monument to impress.

      • Once was Tim 17.1.2

        Oh come on! They wash foreign black money cleaner than a brand new NZ$5 bill
        (/sarc)

      • Stuart Munro 17.1.3

        I don’t mind them saying positive things.

        But given their role as money launderer to NZ’s P gangs, the legislation that legalized them should be revised. Vice is a lousy economic strategy – NZ doesn’t need them.

  17. NZJester 18

    A lot of medium to small and some big businesses do much better under Labour Governments anyway. Even with a higher tax rate, they tend to come away with a higher after tax profit because more customers have the money to spend under a Labour Government. National with their belief in the theory of Trickle Down Economics always stagnates and sometimes even erodes the local economy by giving the rich no reason to invest in the economy to keep the money flowing so that it stagnates or allow multinationals to siphon large amounts of cash out of New Zealand eroding the local economy.
    A lower tax rate is meaningless if it means you are going to end up in the long run with lower after tax profits.
    I see the results all the time of all the empty shops of small businesses in towns that have gone out of business under National as their customers simply did not have the cash to spare for their quality goods and have to buy cheaper shoddier merchandise from the bigger companies.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 18.1

      Absolutely – austerity kills economies and communities, while a degree of socialism tends to build things up. That’s the only small problem with right wing ideology – it doesn’t actually work.

      What we need is some “tax and spend”.

  18. cleangreen 19

    A great political debate tonight where Green Party & NZ First came out as the only two parties backing rail with full commitment. labour sat on the fence National discounted rail.

    greens/NZ First rare moment of joining forces.

    A must see.

    Winston Peters, Julie Anne Genter. David Parker & Shane Reti.

    Newshub sponsored the show which went for two hours.

    Can we have the whole video put up for our members please post election??

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/election/2017/09/livestream-northland-rail-debate-in-whangarei.html
    Livestream: Northland rail debate in Whangarei
    21 minutes ago

    Stream TypeLIVE

    Fullscreen
    Northland’s rail line is in such poor shape KiwiRail has banned passenger trains from using the tracks. Railway workers say the tracks need to be fixed or they’ll walk off the job.
    The state of the railway has emerged as a major issue in the minds of voters, and will be under the spotlight at a debate in Whangarei on Monday night, hosted by Newshub’s Lloyd Burr.
    The event will consist of three separate debates, with the first featuring Whangarei electorate candidates Ash Holwell of the Green Party, Shane Jones of New Zealand First, Chris Leitch of Democrats for Social Credit, Shane Reit of the National Party and Tony Savage of the Labour Party.
    The second debate will have National, Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party debate the major issues of the election. The third and final debate will also include the main political parties and focus solely on rail.
    A livestream of the debate will be available from 7pm.

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