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Cunliffe responds to Marty G

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, December 2nd, 2010 - 70 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

Given the importance of this debate, I thought I’d just lift this straight from David Cunliffe’s post on  Red Alert:

I guess it’s all in a day’s work, but MartyG on The Standard misintrepeted my position on PPPs in this recent post.

1.  His opposition to PPPs appears to be as blindly ideologically based as National’s blind ideological support for them.  Labour’s policy before and since the last election has been based on providing the best value for New Zealand taxpayers, regardless of ideology.

2.  The vital point of difference between National and Labour on this issue is that National is committed to the private sector first and foremost, while Labour is committed to providing infrastructure in the way that works best for New Zealanders.

3.  That is why Annette King, when she was Transport Minister, set up a working group to look at the effectiveness of PPPs, particularly in relation to large projects like Waterview.

4.  Labour has yet to be convinced of the value of PPPs for any particular project, but we are willing to weigh up the evidence. When considering the (de)merits of a potential PPP project we would take a range of critical factors into account.  I mentioned two in my recent speech:

“The project scale must be right and the PPP benefits must outweigh any increase in cost of capital”

5  Marty G and I should agree that this sets a high hurdle, because the Crown can always borrow at lower (sovereign) interest rates.  The offsetting benefits would have to be very clear, large enough in net terms (after deducting overheads like the cost of tolling), and not available by other means (e.g. non-PPP contracting) to clearly outweigh this cost of capital disadvantage.

6.  It is also obviously necessary that whoever is evaluating a potential PPP for the state has to have the expertise and resources to really test the proposal and establish rigorous accountability.  I have not changed my view that setting a $25 million threshold for compulsory consideration of PPPs by all government departments, as Bill English has done, is ridiculous and bound to lead to bad decisions.

7.  Labour also has a longstanding policy that there needs to be a non-toll alternative before any toll-based transport projects could be approved.   That was reinforced recently in our tighter rules around foreign direct investment in monopoly strategic infrastructure.

8. Labour is not soft on privatisation. Our opposition to private prisons and SOE sales underlines that.  My recent speech explicitly ruled out any dilution of any Crown equity in any state asset or existing subsidiary.  That bright line test restates our strong “no sale’” policy that provides ongoing strong differentiation form National.

Labour is committed to an active and strong state sector.  It takes seriously its responsibility to adopt policies and projects that deliver sustainable value to Kiws.  Clear thinking and evidence-based policy are even more important when funds are tight, if we are going to get this economy going again.

70 comments on “Cunliffe responds to Marty G”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Even if you still don’t agree with him, Marty, at least you’ve gotten a very clear and thorough reply from him, and in a public forum so now the media don’t have any excuse for misunderstanding his words either (and in the future National can’t quote him out of context without looking stupid).

  2. Gina 2

    The problem with labour even broaching PPP’s is that the media will not inform the public as to the difference between labour and National on PPP’s and you will have lost a major platform. You will have legitiamised Nationals policy stance even if you don’t agree with it, where you have the chance of dealing them a major blow at election time. It is unlikely PPP’s will be able to match the costs of government projects so I suggest labour just don’t go there and instead attack Nationals policy for what it is. If anyone in labour even mentions PPP’s I’ll vote green and I’m not 100 % keen on them.
    I have been attacking National on PPP’s so if folk think your doing the same then well its all been for nought.

    • Craig Glen Eden 2.1

      Gina PPPs its been in policy documents already ( going back to 89 election) If only things were so black and white in Government sadly they are not.
      “If anyone in labour even mentions PPP’s I’ll vote green and I’m not 100 % keen on them”.

      Its this type of behaviour (lack of thinking)that kept the Greens out of Government last time, it seems the new Green leadership and some of its members have learned nothing from there last failure. Could be another term out side of Government for the Greens.

      Labour simply will say to the public/media no asset sales eg No privatisation of ACC but as Lanth has said no one can misrepresent Labours policy as Marty G did.
      If the Greens want to run with no PPPs fine !

      • jcuknz 2.1.1

        “Absolutely no PPP” is the sort of extremism that puts me off the Greens …. David Cunliffe’s approach if it is sincere and not just political waffle makes excellent sense. Dismiss PPP’s with reasoned argument not ideology and accept the ones that balance out in our favour as a country..
        The same with toll roads, just as when in the Uk on the M6 took the penny pinching route instead of perhaps the free-er toll route .. I had a choice … so long as there is a viable non-toll route I see no reason why capitalists shouldn’t be allowed to gamble on the impatience of their fellow citizens.

        • BLiP

          The position on no PPPs is based on evidence – facts. The extremists are those who persist in their necromantic economics in the vain hope that everyone is as ignorant of the issues as you are. If you want a world where the rich get better government services than the poor then clear off back to the UK. You’ll quickly learn just how successful the capitalists are with their gambling habit. Ask the Irish.

  3. Bill 3

    “Given the importance of this debate….”

    Dunno Tammy.

    Blefuscudian and Lilliputian egg cracking comes to mind. Serve up the market in this fashion or that fashion? Who cares? The fundamental effects of the market in dictating our behaviours, in demanding we rip shit and bust our resources and on ensuring we remain hamstrung with regards taking action on crumbling eco-systems and the collapsing climate system; these things remain the same no matter the fashion or otherwise of details such as PPP’s and so on.

    A serious debate would question our continuing use of markets to determine questions of production and resource allocation.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      A serious debate would question our continuing use of markets to determine questions of production and resource allocation.

      The use of markets is not the question I feel, more how much benefit and say ordinary workers get when supplying and participating in those markets.

      BTW market activity for ordinary products and services are good things, and have been with us since human civilisation.

  4. felix 4

    It’s not enough.

    To take one example:

    David Cunliffe says “Labour also has a longstanding policy that there needs to be a non-toll alternative before any toll-based transport projects could be approved.

    But why is Labour supporting toll roads at all? Does Labour no longer strive for an egalitarian society where we all drive on the same roads? Why not?

    And from a purely strategic point of view, it’s so easy for National to match. They only have to say “Yep, us too.”

    And the reason it’s so easy for them to match is that it’s already very close to National’s position. They don’t have to reverse anything to match Labour’s “alternate road” policy, they just have to make a minor detour (sorry).

    And if it’s so close to National’s position that National can match it that easily, then why would anyone vote Labour on the basis of this policy?

    This is philosophically wrong and tactically wrong.

    • One of the reasons for tolls is to suppress car usage and preserve resources for PT. Arguably they are egalitarian.

      • felix 4.1.1

        That may well be an argument for tolls, but it’s not an argument for a two-tiered roading system.

        If anything, it’s an argument against having non-tolled alternate routes.

        • the sprout

          Agreed. It’s just cryptoneoliberalism.

        • mickysavage

          The environmentalist in me wants to toll every road to dissuade people from driving and to make sure they pay the full cost. The socialist in me wants to provide an alternative route for the working class. Sometimes the environmentalist should win out.

          • Bright Red

            the price of carbon emissions should be paid through fuel purchasing, not through road use. You want to target the problem precisely.

          • pundit X

            Unfortunately that’s when working people vote National.

      • Nick C 4.1.2

        Heh Micky you really are a hoot. I’m sure that whenever National has proposed a toll road previously you have come to their defense on the grounds that tolls supress car usage and are therefore egalitatian.

        • mickysavage

          Nick C

          Please let me know which toll roads National has proposed recently and then point out my opposition.

          You can then hoot to your heart’s delight.

          • felix

            Forgive him mickey – he thought you were talking about “troll roads”.

          • jcuknz

            You make sense to me Mickey on this, perhaps a bit extremist … but then I’m one of those them there capitalists, with a dollar or two in the bank and no cents in my head according to some here 🙂

      • pundit X 4.1.3

        The best way to supress car usage is to have alternatives like public transport rather taxing usage when there is no viable alternative.

  5. Shane Gallagher 5

    What I don’t understand is that if the bar is set SO high that PPPs would NEVER be used then why even say that you would consider them? You cede ground to National and ordinary voters will not be able to see the nuanced argument and admittedly big point of difference, because it is a technical difference and not a clear policy difference.

    Don’t the Labour party read the international press? Europe is in meltdown and there is a huge resurgence of the left in opposition to neo-liberalism. Or basically a massive opposition to neo-liberalism. Now, since we are so far away from these things we get a clear signal about where the world is heading to – and that is away from the free-market. Labour should be setting themselves up to catch that wave when it hits here. But for some reason they still think the game is where it was 3 years ago. They appear leaderless and rudderless… they will not get into government unless they can show real points of difference.

    They are, like most politicians, too set in their ways to change.

    • Francisco Hernandez 5.1

      Sorry – I have to contend with your statements here.

      Neoliberalism has been proven to be flawed and should be in decline world-wide.

      But the reality is – it isn’t.

      Social democratic parties around the world have been falling out of power. First NZ, then UK, nearly Australia, US midterms etc.

      • KJT 5.1.1

        They have been voted out I suspect because in our form of “Democracy” the only way to show disapproval of “Social Democrat” parties continuation of right wing neo-liberal policies is to vote them out.
        Even if the other lot is worse there is always the hope a term in opposition will scare them into remembering what they stood for once.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    I’m not sure if the criticism was around PPP’s per se – it was around the handing of the debate to national. Let’s face it – politics is conducted at the level of bumper stickers slogans these days, and Cunliffe’s nuanced arguments won’t butter many electoral parsnips.

  7. grumpy 7

    “Marty G”….????? “misinterpreted”….?????

    Can’t believe that, must have been someone else…

  8. Herbert 8

    One of the things that I have learnt over the years is that the worst kind of ideologue are those that claim no ideology. Take for example the first point that David raises:

    “His opposition to PPPs appears to be as blindly ideologically based as National’s blind ideological support for them. Labour’s policy before and since the last election has been based on providing the best value for New Zealand taxpayers, regardless of ideology.”

    The point I am raising here is that what is the ideology behind “the taxpayer”? Implicit in that phrase is idea that the only ones who have a claim on the government are those who are paying tax. Moreover, how much tax do you have to pay to really get listened to? I admit that the argument could be made that every one pays tax under GST but I do not think that is what is meant here.
    Why is it that we cannot have politicians who talk about what is best for the community? What is good especially for the weakest members of our community, be it young children, the elderly or, dare I say it, those who are on benefits?
    Yeah, I admit it, I’ve got ideology. But what’s David’s?

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1


    • Craig Glen Eden 8.2

      No ideology behind the term Tax payer Herbert, but if you look hard and long enough you will see what ever you want!

      • Bill 8.2.1

        Herbert does have a bit of a point.

        Speaking of ‘New Zealand Tax Payers’ instead of ‘people’ or whatever is dehumanising. This ‘off the cuff’ or thoughtless reductionist terminology being applied to us as though we are nought but an economic function is kinda crass.

        Anyway. The unacknowledged ideology is marketism (for want of a better phrase). And it’s unacknowledged because Cunliff, in line with many, many others genuinely cannot perceive of the market as only one in a range of economic options. The market is self evident, ‘natural’ and so beyond question or query.

        Which means that all economic prescriptions are administered at a recommended dosage poured from little marked bottles of market solutions.

    • David’s ideology is that capitalism is the only game in town, provided he is elected to manage it on behalf of taxpayers. Problem with his ideology is that it accepts the capitalist ideology that income is classifed as factor shares, wages, profits and rent earned by the economic function of workers, capitalsits and landlords, and does not originate in the expropriation of surplus value from workers. In reality (not ideology) workers create value, get a wage in return minus income and consumption taxes, some of which is recycled back to workers as the social wage but an increasing part of which is appropriated as the bosses corporate welfare.
      As well as the value of the wage workers produce ‘surplus value’ which is expropriated by the capitalist who pretends to have a right to it as profits earned by risktaking, entreprenership and moral if not genetic superiority etc (belied by moral hazard, bailouts and clear moral bankruptcy) and then claim that its unfair to pay back more than their fair share of taxes on profits, preferably none.

      • mickysavage 8.3.1

        I disagree dave and I can speak from experience.

        David Cunliffe is a typical current Labour MP, he is well educated, he has enjoyed the best that our education system can provide. But he also has Labour DNA hard wired into him. He can talk economics with the best, impress the business elite but when you ask him to make a decision he will back the ordinary person every time.

        If Phil does not make it, and I hope he does, David is the next leader of the left.

        The participants in this debate already have their political beliefs firmly formed. For me I am tribal Labour but if I changed I would go Green but maybe consider Matt McCarten’s grouping. I will never vote right.

        The people who decide elections do not normally have their political antenna so well formed. They tend to be influenced by things such as how they are feeling, are their finances better or worse, are they afraid they will lose their job, who they feel they can trust.

        This debate is interesting and important. But it will not decide the next election.

        • Green Tea

          If Labour said the Earth was flat would you believe that to?

          • mickysavage

            Um GT

            That is an interesting comment and one made without the slightest understanding of reality …

            If Labour said the earth was flat I would definately go to the Greens if they would have me.

        • Bill

          You don’t, or cant see that what you’ve said is couched deeply within a dangerous and destructive orthodoxy that maintains parameters of permissible debate, or even ‘thinkability’ that leaves us in a hell bound hand basket, wheelbarrow or other such like receptacle?

          The economics and the economic prescriptions he articulates are entirely market bound…more/less direct management of the market; tweak this, that or the other to influence the play of the market…

          He can’t envisage any other type of economics or economy. Neither, it seems, can you. By analogy, Labour are indeed saying that the earth is flat…that there is no other way of viewing economic matters other than by through a flat earth market lens. Yet you afford them, by dint of their and your unquestioning adherence to market ideologies, the power to determine the future mal-utilisation and mal-distribution of all of our resources.

          That ideology, most decidedly fell off the edge of its own world view just then – in case you hadn’t noticed. And yet you’re willing to scrabble for and cling to market based solutions. Why? Honest question.,

    • …what is the ideology behind “the taxpayer”? Implicit in that phrase is idea that the only ones who have a claim on the government are those who are paying tax.

      I might agree with you but I’m not sure what Cunliffe meant.

      If it’s meant in the way you said – “only he who pays the piper gets to call the tune” – then I share your concern that this effectively disenfranchises the weakest sector of society.

      If, however, he means “I’m acutely aware we’re spending other people’s money; that we’re accountable to them for how it’s spent; and that every dollar spent building a piece of infrastructure which the private sector may conceivably build instead is a dollar less we have to spend supporting the weakest in our community” then I for one am gratified to hear him acknowledge it.

  9. Tanz 9

    Personally, I always thought David Cunliffe was on the wrong team. He is a Bill English carbon copy, and seems more right wing than Key, in my opinion. But, who knows for sure. Labour going right, National gone Left?

    • Craig Glen Eden 9.1

      Why don’t you stick to the issues Tanz.

      “He is a Bill English carbon copy, and seems more right wing than Key, in my opinion. But, who knows for sure.”

      Ok so I guess Helen Clark didnt know him as well as you Tanz? That must be why she trusted him with crucial portfolios of which he was more than competent.

      But hey I guess it suits your agenda to try and make out he is some right winger in hiding. Yup congrats Tanz you are a real left winger not like that Cunliffe fella aye.

      • Tanz 9.1.1

        Touch’e.. It is merely an opinion expressed, whether it be right or wrong, you don’t have to be so scathing in your response. Just because HC trusted him etcdoesn’t have to mean that he’s not right wing. Are you saying that Labour has no right wingers in its caucus? There a few I could name, just as National has its share of Lefties, including Key. Anyway, like I said, who knows, who cares, right wing, left, centre, whatever, it’s not the end of the world as we know it! And I agree, he was more than competent!

        • felix

          “:Anyway, like I said, who knows, who cares, right wing, left, centre, whatever, it’s not the end of the world as we know it!”

          You would find it far more difficult to be so blase if you had even the most vague appreciation for what those terms mean.

        • Craig Glen Eden

          Your shit comment deserves scathing and if you knew anything about Cunliffe you would understand how retarded and offensive you comment would be to him.

          The guy busts his arse for the left/Labour he is as loyal to the cause ( the worker and the poor ) as anyone I ever met, to compare him to English who is a thieving son of a bitch is just wrong. As for Key being left wing you have got to be off your face bloody stir fry crazy!

          • Colonial Viper

            Frakin-aye CGE.

            • Tanz

              Oh dear, Craig, don’t get so upset. Your posts are quite nasty, so I really can’t be bothered. I doubt that Cunliffe be interested anyway, he’s got better things to do, and he probably has a better sense of humour that you. Ciest La Vie, it’s only opinions…calm down.

              Many MPs could fit into Labour and vice versa for National, they are pretty much the same these days. Not a big deal, please don’t shoot me!

              • Craig Glen Eden

                You obviously have no understanding of the things you say and the words you use.

                You are the one who is being nasty, but you don’t understand that.
                You are the one who has gone of topic and attacked Cunliffe and tried to misrepresent what he stands for.
                To say that you could swap many Labour MPs to National is deeply offensive I cant think of one Labour MP that wouldn’t be offended.
                So yup I will respond to that very sternly if you don’t like it think about what you post before you post it. Because hey Im just giving you my opinion you know its no big deal!
                If you want to be silly and have a giggle this post is probably not the one for you.

              • Tanz

                Craig, lighten up I don’t believe I was attacking Cunliffe at all, just by saying he could fit into National. National are Labour Lite, as Key has moved them left. Many National MPs could fit into Labour as well. The true party of the Left is the Greens and the true party of the right is Act, the main two parties are now both in the centre, and merging all the time. Again, my opinion…not a hanging offence! Freedom of speech. Also, I never moved off the issues, you just don’t like my comments, Craig of Glen Eden. From Tanz, of West Auckland.

                • Colonial Viper

                  True party of the Left are the Greens? Nope the Greens are loving their middle class and wealthy tree huggers who think a lot about pollution, pig farming and whales, but not much about social justice and social equality.

        • jcuknz

          What about all those lefties who formed ACT at its inception? Ex ministers of forestry, broadcasting, finance .. I forget the full list.

  10. Tammy Gordon 10

    I agree with Herbert and Bill; language is important. And one of the things I had a problem with in Cunliffe’s speech (as well as PPPs – when someone can show me an example of a government or community that hasn’t been royally screwed with a PPP, I’ll change my tune) was some of the language he uses”…private sector exports rather than bureaucrats, and rigorous performance measures rather than public sector doubletalk”.

    He sounds just like Bill English dumping on the public sector and cutting public services as if they
    caused the recession. When the Nats are moving so far to the right with talk of slashing
    ‘back room bureaucrats’ does Labour really need to follow? Couldn’t they take up some of that room in the middle or even to the left?

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      I don’t really have a problem with his words, but couldn’t you class Whanau Ora as “public sector doubletalk” in that it is lacking “rigorous performance measures”?

  11. BLiP 11

    If you’re going to tell a lie, tell a big one, and here’s a monster:

    [MartyG’s}opposition to PPPs appears to be as blindly ideologically based as National’s blind ideological support for them. Labour’s policy before and since the last election has been based on providing the best value for New Zealand taxpayers, regardless of ideology.

    MartyG and all opponents of PPPs rely on easily-verifiable empirical evidence and real-life examples of the fact that PPPs do not provide cheaper or more efficient options in the development of a nation’s infrastructure. Attempting to paint the opponents as ideology-driven is a classic Crosby-Textor-like wedge maneuver which relies on reversing the truth and alienating resistance to “going forward” . The simple fact is the proponents of PPPs in their ignoring of the evidence and use tricksy PR to alienate opponents who are ideology-driven. They are unable to accept that, in many many cases and especially in the case of PPPs, “the market” cannot provide.

    It is disappointing to see Labour using wedge tactics against own, if reluctant, supporters.

    • Craig Glen Eden 11.1

      Where is the lie Blip, Cunliffe has not said he is pro PPPs as you assert

      “The simple fact is the proponents of PPPs in their ignoring of the evidence and use tricksy PR to alienate opponents who are ideology-driven.”

      he has said however that unless it can be proven that the economics work in the Countries favour they want be used .

      “Attempting to paint the opponents as ideology-driven is a classic Crosby-Textor-like wedge maneuver which relies on reversing the truth and alienating resistance to “going forward” ”

      Seems to me you are the one with the paint brush in your hand

      • BLiP 11.1.1

        The lie is in the insinuation that MartyG is as equally blinded by ideology as National Ltd™.

        • Craig Glen Eden

          Thats not a lie its a fact.

          If a PPP was to go a head under Labour it would only be done if economically it was in the National/ Tax payers interest. If for example a PPP was used to enable the Auckland rail loop to get up and running and this would get more cars off the road and the benefits out weighed the cost who could possibly be opposed to it other than people who were ideologically opposed or people who don’t give a shit about the planet.

          Given it was one off Len Brown major policy planks and he has said he is going to look at a PPP what will you do Blip vote him out in the next election and allow a Tory to run a muck.

          So Blip and Marty G what’s it going to be a rail loop or no PPP. While you are at it, Brown said before he was elected that he would look at a PPP so it begs the question oh true lefties who did you vote for Brown and a PPP or Banks. Truth Time ideologues

          • BLiP

            The last time Labour went into a PPP was a housing development in Papakura . . . how’d that work out? Did the tax payers get a good deal on that “partnership with the private sector”?

            Check out any of Len’s speeches and/or election material and you will see no mention of the need for PPPs – only his naive assertion that they should be considered. Steps are afoot to educate Len further on the matter and if he still doesn’t get it then, yes, out the door he goes. Your bleating about there being no option for Auckland rail other than PPP is a false dichotomy. You are failing prey to the Thatcherite “TINA” doctrine.

            • Craig Glen Eden

              I have never said its the only option, but like Cunliffe has identified it could be one option.
              It might not be even a good option but to rule it out based on other previous PPP with out looking at the benefit to the people/environment on a case by case basis would have to be ideological.

              “only his naive assertion that they should be considered” So you knew he was considering it and you still voted for him?

              Im not falling for nothing but I am loathed to see good people like Brown or Cunliffe being thrown under a bus when they are trying to keep options open in order to serve the peoples best interest. If it dosen’t stack up fine lets do what is best.

              • BLiP


                Did you or did you not say:

                So Blip and Marty G what’s it going to be a rail loop or no PPP.

                If you’re going to play with the big boys, stop making twat of yourself. I know you’re hard core Labour, and if you are from Glen Eden then you’re pretty close to New Lynn and have probably had quite a bit to do with Cunliffe at a personal level. All I have to go on is attendance at a couple of meetings where he spoke, and the internet. Tell me, in your heart of hearts, is Cunliffe 100% sound?

                He’s been talking up PPPs for years. Here he is from a speech in 2008:

                The message from all sectors at the Summit was loud and clear. New Zealand needs faster, cheaper broadband and we want it now. By the end of those two days we had reached a general understanding that the path to faster and better broadband access did not rest with one or two players. It is a joint effort that cuts across all sectors, business, local and central government. And it can only be achieved through both private and public partnerships.

                He’s talking here about pouring government money into an industry that a Labour government sold on the basis that “the market” would ensure efficiency and on-going capitalisation of infrastructure. Labour has not only a history of asset sales from 1990, but a sustained willingness to bail out failed privatisation in 2008 and, as of last week, a renewed interest in keeping the door open to even more.

                On the other hand, its got to be said that Cunliffe has always talked about the need for any PPP to prove its worth. He knows the pitfalls and the need for extra-particular caution when it comes to dealing with the banksters. He’s no dummy and he did good things with his Communications portfolio, Orcon being an excellent example. Perhaps you’re right. Perhaps its all politics and Cunliffe is simply going to welcome the privateers into his office, hear what they have to say, pass their proposal on to Treasury for analysis, and *then* tell them to fuck off.

                I’m going to back out of this little dispute now because its not doing Labour any good. But, be advised – you and your mate – the natives are restless.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    So peeps, Cunliffe has talked about considering PPPs as one option, not even a preferred one, in a tool kit of options around new mass transport projects. And as a result we get cries about Labour re-channeling the ghost of a not even dead Roger Douglas in preparation for Rogernomics Returns etc.

    Basically not even Labour supporters trust Labour and Labour parliamentarians, is that the idea? Everyone is waiting for Cunliffe to pull his rubber mask off and unveil a Roger Douglas clonebot? Sorry to disappoint but that is NOT what is happening.

    It just sounds like we want one simple statement from Cunliffe:

    That Labour will never consider going into partnership with private enterprise on any significant infrastructure project. Instead, a Labour Government would fully fund and lead such projects. The Crown would have 100% ownership and Labour would ensure that any resulting infrastructure was operated by a 100% Crown owned operator.

    And we can guess what NAT will come back at Labour with (its all predictable)

    – Labour is ideologically driven and inflexible.
    – Labour lacks innovation still thinks it is the 1960’s.
    – Labour does not trust business to do important work for NZers.
    – In fact, Labour does not trust business full stop.
    – Labour is making fiscal promises that it cannot keep.
    – Labour is planning to raise taxes straight after the election to pay for this spending
    – Labour is missing the boat on combining the best skills of private and public to deliver for NZ.
    – Unlike Labour, National understands how Government can partner hand in hand with the private sector to get the best, most cost effective results for NZ and for NZ’ers.

    So lets get the statement from Cunliffe then we can spend the next 8 months battling these points and complaining that the MSM is saying nothing else but the above.

    • mcflock 12.1

      When PPPs are mentioned by someone who thinks that Roger Douglas “restarted Muldoon’s broken economy”, pardon me for a shiver of trepidation.

      The other worry for me is that he didn’t view bringing up PPPs as being even possibly controversial for a Labour politician. This is either political incompetence or a paradigm-based blinker, where it wouldn’t occur to him that some folk might view them with an almost visceral loathing (having been repeatedly Rogered by them in the past).

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        I really wonder why Cunliffe didn’t go to town on the Right Wing Rogernomics years just to further position a more strongly left leaning Labour as it stands today after conference. After all Goff had already said that mistakes had been made in the past by previous Labour Govts so Cunliffe has the license to do so.


        • mickysavage

          I really wonder why Cunliffe didn’t go to town on the Right Wing Rogernomics years just to further position a more strongly left leaning Labour as it stands today after conference

          I am sure he wants to …

          • felix

            If only he were in position to do that. But nah, he’d have to be, say, opposition finance spokesperson to pull those sort of moves.

      • Craig Glen Eden 12.1.2

        ” The other worry for me is that he didn’t view bring up PPPs being even possibly controversial for a Labour Politician.”

        Says who mcflock? On the contrary I would say thats why he has been so explicit about the high bench mark for them happening at all.

        What I am sure of though is, he probably never thought that so many so called principled people on the left would deliberately misrepresent what he has said.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Yeah. If people that might vote labour have any doubts based on what about Labour mps say they should just STFU and fall in to line.

          Thankfully we have mmp, so labour can be forced to negotiate with the left, if the left don’t like what labour is saying.

          • Colonial Viper

            Well I still ain’t hearing anyone saying to Labour that they should lay down a firm policy of ‘Only 100% publicly owned for all critical transport assets and initiatives’.

            OK I did earlier on but that was sorta tongue in cheek because I fear it might be the basis of a wee election year disaster.

          • Craig Glen Eden

            Not at all Pb they could ask questions they could even open up a debate on PPP but what is sad is when they try to misrepresent/ paint someone ( David Cunliffe) as a right winger or closet Douglas.

            Its simply not true and it pisses me off many many many of us in Labour absolutely hate what that arse (Douglas) did to the Labour Party and our Nation. We also understand why people like Anderton left but those of us who stayed will do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

            • felix

              “those of us who stayed will do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

              Pleased to hear it. You could start by sending a message to David Cunliffe that he needs to stop talking all this public-private bullshit and start speaking loudly and clearly about Labour values instead.

              Draw some lines in the sand. Put a fucking stick in the ground. No privatisation under Labour. No toll roads. No PPPs.

              Then we can all get behind him and boot these fucking Nats out.

        • mcflock

          Let’s see – he said “We can expand public-private partnerships for new transport infrastructure. The project scale must be right and the PPP benefits must outweigh any increase in cost of capital, but that leaves plenty of scope for win-wins .” That was his initial comment on PPPs in the entire speech, as far as I can tell.

          He expounds forth on “benchmarks” as a response to subsequent criticism. When it became obvious that even some labour folk had major issues with the concept of PPPs.

          And an announcement to expand PPPs in the context of elsewhere mentioning the 4th labour government as anything other than a sell-out, or even as if it was as positive as the first Labour government – well, it sounds a bit like a Freidmanite slip. Which tends to negate Goff’s suggestion that some unnamed acts by unnamed folk were slightly regrettable in some way.

  13. ghostwhowalksnz 13

    Awesome! I just love watching fighting chaffinches

  14. pundit X 14

    In the land of realpolitik Cunliffe has circumscribed the debate on PPP for National. Its a very clever move which most of the teenage scribblers on this list have clearly missed. I’m sure Cunliffe is aware as is King of the disaster PPP was for Labour in the UK. You should all step away from the keyboard occasionally and start working for a Labour government if you are really concerned about the issue.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      There is a kind of post-Rogernomics post-Ruthanasia PTSD which exists, it seems. Certain triggers and people start getting horrible psychogenic flashbacks blended with visions of both past and future. Also what this shows is that Labour parliamentarians have not yet built up a high enough level of trust/communications with some core party supporters.

  15. Gina 15

    As I see it Labour have been chosen over Natyional in the past because of these key issues.

    1. Guarenteed Superannuation ( very important to women )

    2. Against selling New Zealand assetts.

    3. There are other issues but these 2 are top reasons I would vote labour.

    If you muddy either of these issues your very small remaining base will not turn out period.

    Labour stood for superannuation when every other party including NZ first wanted to introduce user pays super. Thats why women stuck with you.

    The other issue is assett sales and privatising of our government services. These issues are your only stronghold and Key would never have won the last election without promising to stick with your policy.

    So if you throw your only platform away labour will be lost forever and National will procede full steam ahead with privatisation.

    A very very bad move.

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