For Labour party members and supporters in the Auckland region if you are looking for something to do today come along and see David Cunliffe’s state of the nation speech.
Stuff has already hinted at what might be in the speech:
[David] Cunliffe last week formally ditched two of his party’s 2011 policies: a tax-free band on the first $5000 of income, and a pledge to exempt fresh fruit and vegetables from GST.
Together they would have cost $1.5 billion a year, and scrapping them has created room for Labour to spend in other areas to help low-income families.
Cunliffe said new policies would be better targeted than the two dumped tax breaks, which gave the same, or even more, to the rich as to the poor.
He would not say whether the new initiatives would use all the $1.5b saved.
Speculation has centred on a new payment to low-income families, likely to be targeted at those with children, but Labour MPs have refused to confirm this.
Finance spokesman David Parker would say only that the axed policies had created “fiscal headroom”.
Labour’s message that the Government is overseeing a tale of two countries – the haves and the have-nots – is aimed at countering the better economic news emerging, including forecasts New Zealand’s growth rate will make it the “rock star” among developed economies this year.
As well as attacks on the unequal distribution of the benefits of recovery, Cunliffe is expected to warn of the damage rising interest rates will do to those struggling to get ahead and pay for the increasing cost of housing.
He is also likely to renew a call for fundamental reforms to macro-economic policy that National shies away from.
They include a capital gains tax (exempting the family home), changes to the way the Reserve Bank operates monetary policy and steps to gradually increase the state pension age from 65 to 67.
If you cannot attend but want to watch it the speech will be streamed through here.
Update: The hall is absolutely full and there will be a delay in starting …