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Cunliffe’s vision

Written By: - Date published: 8:06 am, September 9th, 2013 - 128 comments
Categories: david cunliffe - Tags:

Just a few days of hustings to go, and next Monday we’ll have a new Labour leader. David Cunliffe looks home and hosed: the polls show he’s favoured by Labour supporters and, importantly, the wider public; the only unions to declare a preference have backed him; and there’s a steady trickle of MPs swapping to get themselves on the right side of history. He’s done it by offering what Labour’s lacked: vision.

There’s a lot of nonsense being talked about a shift to the ‘hard-Left’ under Cunliffe. But the facts don’t support that. The ideas he’s put forward are mainstream policies that have worked here in the past and work now overseas. What’s different is that Cunliffe doesn’t and won’t put them forward in a tepid, half-ashamed manner.

And what else is different is is unashamed focus on the economic causes of inequality. For quarter of a century, after being stung by Rogernomics, the Parliamentary Labour Party has been dominated by middle-class liberals and has predominately pursued liberal issues. It has failed to have a credible vision and plan around the economy, the small-s socialist side of things has withered, and Labour has largely bought the neoliberal consensus (including, to be fair, Cunliffe himself although the GFC was a wake up call and, to his credit, he responded where many haven’t). The working class has abandoned a Labour that only considers them as an after-thought. That will change with Cunliffe.

Cunliffe has the nous and the economic literacy (something our last visionary leader, Lange, never had) to go out there and promise a fair deal for New Zealand. He can cast Key as the guy who’s writing cheques with taxpayers’ money for foreign corporates and ignoring the working man and women. I reckon Cunliffe’s fair deal will say ‘yup, if you want higher wages, you need to let workers bargain together, you need a government that is a good employer, you need a good minimum wage’ and ‘if you want affordable housing, if you want good jobs, in a country like New Zealand it’s up to Government to lead the way by building those houses, by buying Kiwi-made, and by not leaving everything to an uncaring, inefficient market’.

Is that ‘hard-Left’? It’s hardly the collectivisation of the means of production, is it? It’s just sensible policy that works, for all of us, not just the elite.

128 comments on “Cunliffe’s vision”

  1. Tracey 1

    For a start he ought not have to apologise if he were “hard left”. In New Zealand being “hard left” hardly means you represent pure communism, it just means that you might favour policies which attempt to bring genuine equality.

    Since the 80’s most kiwis have been waiting for the good times to trickle down. Sure, the use of trickle down as a phrase has gone but the reality has been the same.

    I hope you are correct that he is going to win and he is going to swiftly move to address poverty. HOW he communicates that move to address it will determine if Labour forms the next government with Greens.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    “David Cunliffe looks home and hosed”

    No one in Team Cunliffe is slacking off a single mm until midday Sunday. To do so would be totally disastrous. Grant will campaign hard and tough to the end. Every single vote counts so if you know someone who has a vote and hasn’t cast it yet make sure they are putting Cunliffe first, or SJ first David second, if needs must.

    • Anne 2.1

      Grant will campaign hard and tough to the end.

      My concern CV is some of his caucus supporters will play dirty to the end. We’ve already seen two MPs issue a press release in an attempt to coerce their members to vote for Robertson. I have no issue with individual MPs publicly revealing their preferences – they have as much right as the rest of us – but to arrange for a press statement to appear in the local daily newspaper on the day of the leaders meeting in their region is, in my view, out of order and worthy of a reprimand.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Absolutely, Anne.

        There are also still quite a large number of member and affiliate votes to be cast.

        People have to make the voting deadlines which starts this week on Friday delivered for postal ballots (so you need to get them in the post by Wed latest), and then Sun 12pm for online voting.

        • Anne 2.1.1.1

          Yeah well, my vote was cast last week on the same day the ballot paper arrived. I don’t intend to reveal my first preference. 😆

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            My concern CV is some of his caucus supporters will play dirty to the end.

            Funny how this has predictably eventuated.

            • Saarbo 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Team Robertson is starting to fight dirty alright. Tonights article by Gower on TV3, then Robertson’s email tonight to Labour Party members has plenty of veiled attacks against Cunliffe. And the ABC’er are working their media friends on over time. Its going to be a fight to the end.

              • Mary

                While Jones’ behaviour during this contest has shown him to be a complete liability to Labour, Robertson will be a complete liability to Labour purely because of having lost the contest. I don’t think Robertson has ever truly grown up. He’s really very much still a child.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Fourteen years old, lean, hungry and anxious, to be precise.

                  • Mary

                    Which raises the question of what to do with him. How ever remote or impractical personally I’d kick Jones out of the party, even if that’s done by making him number 50 on the list next year. Robertson’s not so simple.

                    Edit: when I say Robertson’s not so simple I’m not suggesting for a second he should be kicked out of the party – I mean where should Cunliffe put him? Deputy? Front bench? Where?

              • chris

                I didn’t get that email and not only am I a member I live in his electorate…

      • Neoleftie 2.1.2

        Being a Dunedin labour member and at the husting on Sunday, the decision by the two mp in question to release their vote choice had no bearing on me and from what I saw and people I spoke too had little bearing on their own personal decision. People were their to listen and rejoice in their right to a vote in the selection process.
        I still am struggling to make my own mind up.
        Cunliffe tick all the boxes for me cause I see we as a country need a paradymal system change and I speak as one from the furthest left of the party but also a realist.

    • finbar 2.2

      Bang on Viper,there is till a way to go and it is most definitely not in the bag yet.

  3. karol 3

    Not there yet. Waiting for next Monday before breaking out any bubbly (non-alcohol version is my choice). I will be working when the leader is announced next Sunday. Sorry I’ll miss the live announcement.

    Yes, Cunliffe can articulate a vision and policy clearly and with a minimum of words to the public. He is the strongest of the 3 candidates, IMO on many fronts. How much of a new direction he would lead, remains to be seen. But he is making some hopeful noises.

    Pleased to see he has been reported as speaking/writing to these significant issues during the leadership contest: inequality gap, social security, affordable housing, jobs and fair employment legislation, climate change, funding for study/uni, living wage…..

    And state housing?

    • Tracey 3.1

      a property in Mt Roskill, Auckland went for 1.4 million the other day. The 5 bedroom home will probably be smashed down and 3 townhouses built. The developer who purchased will be looking at close to a million per home. This is Mt Roskill. Affordable housing will not happen without more state housing, imo.

      I dont necessarily believe people need to be able to buy their own home but they sure as hell need to
      be able to rent one for a reasonable price.

      I have friends, 2 18 year old boys, a 22 year old woman and their mother living in a 2 bedroom unit, with no insulation, in three kings in Auckland and it costs them $400 per week. She was recently made redundant, the boys are at school and the daughter is a student. The boys share a tiny room. There is no back yard.

      The father only paid maintenance for the children when winz made him, so when she had a 42k a year job he paid nothing. Now they are 18 he pays nothing.

      She recently suffered a stroke. WINZ one week paid her $7.20 and the next $187.00

      That added to the stress.

      We have used our contacts to get the boys part-time work after school which they hand over to their mum.

      They are hard working, the family are fine NZers. The mum has started to ease back to work 2 months earlier than doctors advice to ensure they have some regular money. BUT she is still only earning $42k per year (pre-tax) to take care of them all.

      This family are NOT the exception. This is not the NZ I picture for them or anyone else..

      • karol 3.1.1

        Thanks for this information and your efforts on it, tracey. So much needs to be done to turn this situation around for the benefit of the many.

      • chris 3.1.2

        It is probably worthwhile your friend contacts I.R.D.

        I was in a similar situation with the children’s father not paying his child support, he moved to Aus thinking they wouldn’t chase him… he was WRONG. I kept on I.R.D’s back and received my last payment in child support arrears in 2011. My youngest was 26yrs old by that time, he had long left home.

        oops edit… reply was to Tracey 🙂

  4. Tracey 4

    A week is a long time in politics

  5. weka 5

    “There’s a lot of nonsense being talked about a shift to the ‘hard-Left’ under Cunliffe.”

    Really? Who’s been saying that? I’ve seen lots of people saying that Cunliffe will shift Labour left again, or begin that process, but haven’t seen anyone talk about him going to the hard-left.

    • karol 5.1

      Cunliffe yesterday claimed he was strongly red. His speech at Dunedin.

      The Labour Party I lead will be a true red Labour Party, not a pale blue one.

      • Ennui 5.1.1

        A “Red” Labour Party…hmmm. The party of M J Savage took a Fabian socialist approach as far as they could without ever challenging underpinning the tenets of capitalism: private property and free enterprise. Labours approach was to regulate the operation of the capitalist state in order to balance the distribution of profits between labour and capital.

        That I suspect is what Cunliffe means by a “Red” Labour party, as opposed to the Red socialism of Marx. Neo Liberalism and Communism being out of the same school of rationalist materialism have proven very unkind to people. Lets hope that a Cunliffe Labour leadership eventuates that treats people as worthy of human considerations as opposed to mere numbers.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Labours approach was to regulate the operation of the capitalist state in order to balance the distribution of profits between labour and capital.

          That I suspect is what Cunliffe means by a “Red” Labour party, as opposed to the Red socialism of Marx.

          Correct. Cunliffe is not proposing anything which has not been done either by NZ previously, or by other countries in the world right now.

          In the most basic terms, NZ currently operates as a far right country, as evidenced by how highly we keep scoring in the “ease of doing [rentier capitalism] business” surveys.

      • weka 5.1.2

        Cunliffe yesterday claimed he was strongly red. His speech at Dunedin.

        “The Labour Party I lead will be a true red Labour Party, not a pale blue one.”

        Sure Karol, but what does he mean?

        • karol 5.1.2.1

          weka, Cunliffe does spell out more what he means in the print version of his speech that I linked to. For instance,

          In doing so, we can redefine our social democracy in this post Global Financial Crisis age.

          Gone are the old lies that free markets are always efficient or fair; gone the ‘third way’ marketing gloss.

          Gone the Washington Consensus that inflation-only monetary policy and balanced budgets were the sum total of economic management.

          The last Labour Government never ran a fiscal deficit, and National has yet to run a surplus.

          The Labour Government I lead will put the power of the state into long-term investment, and manage responsibly across the business cycle.

          Gone is the failed dogma of light-handed regulation that has ruined so many Kiwi families through the leaky homes and failed finance companies.

          The Labour Government I lead will take on the vested interests of markets when necessary to guarantee the wellbeing of citizens, just as I did against the old Telecom monopoly.

          Our challenge must be to build a smart and high-value economy.

          He gives some examples in his speech.

          • Bill 5.1.2.1.1

            That most definitely isn’t a transcript. I mean, it’s close to what was said, but not a comprehensive account of what was said. For example, before the line about ‘The last Labour Government never ran a fiscal deficit…’ there was something said along the lines of ‘Gone, the lie that Labour cannot manage the economy…alongside some acknowledgement of Pete Hodgkin as member of the previous government and who was in the audience and so on.

            And it was ‘number’ not ‘measure’…same meaning, different word employed.

            Guess the link might be to his speech as prepared rather than as delivered?

          • weka 5.1.2.1.2

            Thanks Karol. Are you saying that is hard left?

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.2

          Lots of things that Standardistas have been waiting for. The analogy Cunliffe has used before is that if National say that they are going to cut you off at the knees, it is not enough for Labour to then say, we’ll only cut off your ankles, and with anaesthetic.

          If you ask a more specific question, you’ll probably get a more specific answer.

  6. BM 6

    Cunliffe strikes me as a my way or the highway sort of guy.

    I wonder how he’s going to get on when caucus says “nah we don’t like that idea David, we think it should be done like this”.

    And this is where it’s all going to fall a bit flat, unless he gets Caucus on his side he’s going to achieve nothing.

    Expect the ABC division to throw away the shovels and bring in the diggers.

    • Tracey 6.1

      yea BM cos Key isnt a my way or the highway guy at all….

      Is the PM re-arranging his schedule to get to San Francisco?

      • BIGDOG 6.1.1

        Nothing would surprise me regarding San Fran Tracey.My son in law is still taking stick over Shonkey darting out of the crowd and pumping his hand at the last Warriors grand final attempt.When things have been going badly this year it always cheers me me up to ask him were his mate might be sitting.

    • Ad 6.2

      Well for the last 5 years we have had the “we’re so incoherent and disorganised we don’t even know what my way even looks like”.

      We need to know and see what unity of purpose and policy and leadership looks like. Hasn’t happened for a while, and it’s time we had someone in there with the right balance of wisdom and spine.

  7. Appleboy 7

    Oh how surprising BM. Cunliffe in charge making you nervous?

    • BM 7.1

      Not at all.
      Just saying he’s only one Man, one Man amongst a lot of enemies.

      I think there’s going to be quite a few disappointed party members once it all starts to play out.

      • Tracey 7.1.1

        I agree there will be disappointed members if they think changing the leader is all it will take to win the govt benches in 2014.

        however it is quite refreshing to see the process of leadership (given we cant vote for a leader at an election) and who can forget “No Brash. No Cash”. That’s how one party elects its leaders.

      • geoff 7.1.2

        He’s one man who most of the membership have thrown their support behind.
        If he fails to live up to the expectations of the membership he will lose that support and it would probably spell the political end of him.
        However, if he is as good as his word then he will have a very strong and loyal support base and any caucus member who tried to disrupt that would be both stupid and out on their arse.

  8. Rogue Trooper 8

    from 41:
    The way out into the light often looks dark.
    The way that goes ahead often looks as if it went back.
    The way that is least hilly often looks as if it went up and down.

    What is sheerest white looks blurred.

    David, when the world has the Way, running horses are retired to till the fields.
    When the world lacks the Way, war-horses are bred in the country-side. (from 46)

  9. Jenny Kirk 9

    Darn it, James Henderson – please don’t count your chickens before they hatch! Its too scarey …….

  10. Fisiani 10

    Cunliffe will surely lead Labour to an easy victory next year. He is clearly the only leader who can motivate the masses.

    • Tom Gould 10.1

      Indeed, who in their right mind would miss the opportunity to vote yourself a pay rise? They will be lined up around the block.

      • Rogue Trooper 10.1.1

        lol

        • amirite 10.1.1.1

          So? It worked for those who were demanding tax cuts, didn’t it?

          • burt 10.1.1.1.1

            Pay a little less tax – get a little more free money – yep – same thing if you believe you are entitled to other peoples money because they have more than you !

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1.1

              The money is issued by the NZ Government. It’s not your money.

              • Mike S

                In fact all money is owned by the banks and we pay a large fee (interest) for the privilege of using it. The reserve bank owns all of the notes and coins, it just allows us to use them. The other 96 odd percent of our money supply we are just holding for the banks who own it. All money (apart from notes and coins) can only come into existence as a loan from a bank so all money is owed, somewhere along the line to a bank, as is all of the interest attached to it, which hasn’t even been created.

            • David H 10.1.1.1.1.2

              Well that’s what Key did, he gave the top earners tax breaks, FREE money for them.

        • Rogue Trooper 10.1.1.2

          some of those “lined up around the block” will have their sleeping bags at hand to get in on those “Once a year, Boxing Day…” crumbs from the Selfridge cafeteria.

    • Crunchtime 10.2

      It won’t be an easy victory. Cunliffe needs to win the vote, then unify the caucus. THEN the real hard work starts, with much of the media going against them along the way.

      • BM 10.2.1

        Number 2 is where it’s all going to turn to shit.

      • lprent 10.2.2

        Without too much time to set any of those conditions up.

        That was what was so irritating about the experimental leadership stuff at the end of 2011 – it was a waste of time. Successful politics in NZ or in any country is a matter of practice and experience. That takes at least a decade in the heart of politics here to acquire the required experience. Ideally it would be in a range of positions including inside the party ground-level running electorate campaigns, party organisational, parliamentary debate, select committee, and with successful ministerial experience.

        If you don’t have those (ie the John Key/David Shearer model and most list positions) then regardless of how good your backstory and non-political skills are, then you’re going to have to have some absolutely trusted highly critical people behind you who are willing to limit their own agendas to prop you up in each of those areas. Key had that ability to accept his own weaknesses, accept input from a range of people and views, and people willing to disagree with him while giving good relatively disinterested advice. David Shearer was limited on the first because he wasn’t aware of what he did not know, wasn’t good at the second, and therefore lacked the third.

        This was my read of him after observing the Mt Albert by-election and when he made his decision to stand. I didn’t think there was much that I could effectively do anything for him I stood aside. Much of that was because I thought it was a colossal experimental mistake by caucus then and have that same opinion now. I think that many people who could have done stuff for him thought or found the same thing.

        Basically the experience will have scarred a perfectly good MP and probably very effective cabinet minister for no return. Damn silly move by the idiots in caucus who did it.

        Mostly what it did was make it harder for the left to take the next election.

        • burt 10.2.2.1

          lprent

          Take the next election …. do you mean buy it like the last 3 times labour won ?

          • Colonial Viper 10.2.2.1.1

            Whatever works burt, English is going to be out with the lolly scramble in the first half of next year, for instance.

          • lprent 10.2.2.1.2

            burt: What do you think that the totally unsustainable tax changes of 2009 and 2010 were?

            If those weren’t pure electoral bribes paid for by putting future generations into public hock, then I suspect that your judgement is simply biased.

            Ignoring the question if Labour’s policies going into elections were brides or common sense policies, there is nothing like the harm in any of Labour’s policies that comes close to the corrupt electoral practices that National or ACT follow.

            Those taxcuts that National offered as an electoral bribe are and were completely and utterly fiscally irresponsible. Unthinking selfish *old* arseholes like yourself braying for them in the last two terms of Labour’s government were responsible for pushing fiscal debt on to future generations to pay for your stupidity…

            In retrospect and looking at the exponentially climbing government debt that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, wouldn’t you agree? If not can you explain why you, National, and Act aren’t being fiscally irresponsible?

            Otherwise bearing in mind that it was obvious now (and I’d argue then) that tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible – aren’t they a gross *ongoing* electoral bribe? And why aren’t you looking at the current world rather than something that happened may or may not have happened 8 years ago?

            Hypocrite is the word that comes to mind whenever you write crap like that comment 😈

            • burt 10.2.2.1.2.1

              lprent

              Even Cullen was finally shaken from his position that $60K was rich in 2008… Offering tax cuts for the election… when 75% of high school teachers were categorised as rich by the tax system – something had to change. Oh the problems of having a big ideology and a small intellect.

              And as for what may or may not have happened 8 years ago – we’ll never really know will we – some self serving pricks made sure of that putting the previous 14 years of alleged illegal spending into the “The public must never know how much we ‘illegally’ spent” retrospectively validated bucket.

              Interesting though that once the rules were changed to ‘follow the rules’ rather than ignore them because that’s what we have always done – Labour fell flat on their face come election time.

              • lprent

                As I said – you are a hypocrite.. You didn’t deal with *any* of my questions. Instead you just did your usual whine and avoided looking at National and Act’s irresponsible taxcuts.

                Even Cullen was finally shaken from his position that $60K was rich in 2008… Offering tax cuts for the election…

                What he effectively did was to move the tax brackets to account for past fiscal drag and some more to account for foreseeable fiscal drag.

                In other words what you are implying that he should have done earlier. Of course changing tax brackets/rates every frigging year is damn expensive as it involves massive amounts of expense across the payroll systems (and on that pile of junk at the IRD – nigh well impossible).

                But as you’re probably aware (but are far too gutless to look at the implications), the the tax changes that were actually implemented by Act/National in 2009 and 2010 went well beyond that in to the region of irresponsible financial stupidity. They restructured the tax system to make the poorest pay more via GST, and the richest pay a *lot* less. When the unemployment rose, it left a gaping hole in the fiscal structure of government. It is so big now that it will take until the 2030’s to clear – if everything goes *well*…

                So are you going to offer your opinion on the irresponsibility of Act and National’s taxcuts, or are you going to continue to be a gutless whiner about Labour? Live in the past or have carry some responsibility for the future?

                Basically I suspect that you couldn’t bear the weight of owning up to your own irresponsible stupidity in demanding unsustainable taxcuts, let alone that of Act/National acedding to the dickheads pushing debt on to the future generations…

                • burt

                  Thanks Lanthanide

                  Yep, that naughty National government wanting to reign in Labour’s affordable tax cuts with smaller tax cuts that are unaffordable…. The angry sys-op will be vomiting into his chocolate milk about now.

                  lprent

                  Of course changing tax brackets/rates every frigging year is damn expensive as it involves massive amounts of expense across the payroll systems (and on that pile of junk at the IRD – nigh well impossible).

                  Now who is making stuff up….

                  The thing I started with lpent is that Labour have a pretty poor history of compliance with their own laws on electoral funding – have they won an election in the last 25 years without breaching the electoral funding rules ? It seems unlikely given how motivated they were to just bury the lot using the power of parliament to say the Chief Electoral Office and the Audit General had no idea what the law was intended to say….

                  As for ACT – I abandoned them the moment they started not practising what they preach – national have never been my cup of tea… I can’t vote for Labour while they are still stacked with self serving and (IMHO) corrupt power at any price people who think nothing of making shit up to justify their own desire to be in government rather than putting the best interest of NZ first.

                  It’s inconceivable that a finance minister who crowed about the cupboard being bare hasn’t had to face the music for such vandalism…..

                  There is only one thing I value in government over and above my personal ideological point of view – and that is integrity and principle.

                  You say National were irresponsible – if we were still in recession where Labour put us prior to the GFC – then sure their policies would be unsustainable.

                  Tax isn’t actually a lever for social engineering – it’s a device to fairly and equitably raise government revenue – I just wish the lovers of the policies of envy would understand that.

                  Pretend to bash the rich while letting fiscal drag rape gouge the middle earners – that is neither principled, fair, equitable or even sensible…. Doing that while spending money illegally to claim you are doing otherwise – that’s just wrong !

                • burt

                  lprent

                  I currently advocate for UBI type scenario. Universal benefits, higher taxation on income that really is ‘high income’.

                  Labour were once a party of universal benefits and higher taxation…. Was it the 80’s Labour governments that bent to Tory party principles of means testing? Sorry I digress.

                  So, the definition of high earner, cards on the table lprent – I say over $250K. That’s a high income. Now I can understand that if one were to genuinely believe that a large gap between the minimum wage and the top earners is a sign of sickness in society that one might get all bent out of shape about $60K ( $70K, $80K ..) being high income. But if the living wage is based around the one full time and one half time on circa $18/hour then it’s kinda pointing to about $55K-$60K for the living family. As a minimum!

                  Now how can we call $150K rich when we say the living wage for the living family as a minimum is $55K-$60K ?

                  Even under the extreme view that the top must not exceed 3 times the minimum – rich (to the point of being worthy of special punishment ) is $180K

                  • lprent

                    Problem is that a UBI with a revenue side like that is simply unaffordable.

                    Currently the bottom 67% of taxpayers pay about 15% income tax and about effective rate of 10-12% in various types of sales tax. ie roughly 25% of their income. Any workable UBI would be enough that people aren’t scraping to survive on it. Currently that is pretty much defined by the superannuation levels. Paying a UBI at that rate would mean that many of those 67% would effectively stop paying taxes.

                    The higher incomes at $250k pay up less than 30% income tax – in other words less than twice the lowest income groups. Moreover because of the types of transactions they do, I’d expect that their average sales tax cost would amount to less than 5% of their income. They expend more of their income in the GST untaxed sectors like property, finance, investment and overseas holidays. So they currently pay less than 10% more than the lowest wage earners do. And that is at the most.

                    In many cases they don’t even pay that because they pay people to ensure that their effective taxation and cost of getting there is as low as possible. People in the 250k wage bracket currently on average have effective taxation rates of something like 15% total.

                    So if the IRD *first* removes the effective tax avoidance loopholes to get the actual collected tax rate on higher incomes similar to the theoretical one – then you could look at a UBI. It isn’t like what most of their income is spent on is productive in the first place. Trying to get investment capital in NZ from NZ’ers is one of the most irritating things that any startup company has to do. Everyone from the banks onwards tends to put it in the high and largely untaxed returns from property speculation.

                    I’d start by making all incomes of greater than (oh say) 150k subject to a close yearly tax audit if they submit a tax return. Focus on statistics collected on use of loopholes to remove by legislation. I’d start by putting in tax on capital gains from property sales. Charge the recipients for the full cost of the IRD’s audit. That will make it more viable for high income earners to pay income tax.

                    Extend the same principle to company and provisional tax payers at some threshold values on the basis of their reported ratio of costs to profits.

                    If you want to do pipedreams then first figure out how to raise the revenue. Currently it isn’t enough to simply raise a tax rate if you can’t collect it. Figure out how to collect the existing taxes first and you may not have to raise taxes.

                    Now getting back to my original question which you are still avoiding. So I guess from your avoidance that you must think that National’s irresponsible tax cuts that are putting kids in debt before they start paying taxes themselves is a good idea.

                    • Macro

                      “I’d start by making all incomes of greater than (oh say) 150k subject to a close yearly tax audit if they submit a tax return.”
                      That is about to begin – as my accountant informed me and asked me to take out insurance to cover the audit. And not before time.

                    • lprent []

                      So they should. But it shouldn’t require insurance. It should be mandatory whenever people don’t pay the default (ie PAYE/withholding tax). With mandatory standardised computerised records it should also relatively cheap to do the basic audit, compare it with some norms and then concentrate on the ones that show issues. But charge everyone for the basic audit every year.

                      I had a look at my tax a few years ago and decided to stay on PAYE and withholding tax on interest. Sure I could have gone the whole route with accountants and the like. But it really wasn’t worth the effort and cost of the accountants if the IRD were actually doing their job.

  11. hush minx 11

    I heard Mathew Hooten call it for Cunliffe on RNZ this morning. The momentuum is clearly David’s – and has been since the beginning. Of course, people need to put their votes in for it to all come together 🙂

    • karol 11.1

      More significantly, Mike Williams is calling it for Cunliffe.

    • Tom Gould 11.2

      Don’t forget that Hooten was one of the Hollow Men, so let’s not get hooked on his bon mots. He’s Tory to his marrow and cunning with it. Just wait until his cronies in the Tory media get into gear. Will Cunliffe get the same 4 year ‘honeymoon’ they give their bestie Johnny Sparkles? Unlikely.

      • Tracey 11.2.1

        too true Tom, when Hooten writes or speaks you can hear the echo.

      • hush minx 11.2.2

        Yes he was already trying out his new attack lines on Cunliffe – a bit strange, unusual behaviour etc. He’ll have to work harder than that.

      • Rogue Trooper 11.2.3

        cunning as a sh*t-house rat

      • karol 11.2.4

        John Key was tipped as a future Nat leader early on by the dominant voices in the MSM. They have mostly continued to support him since then.

        Cunliffe as possible Labour leader has been treated totally differently from the beginning. It has unfolded as a 3 Act drama, and we are still only mid way through the 3rd act.

        If he’s successful, the MSM coverage will be another 3 Act drama: episode two in a series.

        Features of a 3 Act drama: 1st act opens with a usually familiar scene indicating the status quo/stability, then problems kick in with the beginning of the 2nd act. During the 2nd act the script writers through endless shit at the protagonist, one hurdle after another. During the 3rd act, the problems are resolved and some stability returned bringing closure.

    • QoT 11.3

      I have a theory that nothing Matthew Hooten says has any meaning. He might be calling it for Cunliffe because he thinks Cunliffe will win and wants to bolster his reputation as a knowledgeable political commentator/influencer. He might be calling it for Cunliffe because he thinks Robertson will win and this lays the ground for the “caucus overrode the will of the members” tr0lling. He might be calling it for Cunliffe because he has no idea who will win but he already has a double-sided A4 of excuses prepared, whoever wins, which all feed whatever agenda his present clients want him to push.

      • Puddleglum 11.3.1

        He now also seems to think Cunliffe will be the next PM (a comment he made in another post, I think).

        So much for his repeated prediction that that honour would be David Shearer’s.

        Or maybe he thinks he has ‘kiss of death’ powers now?

        Or perhaps he doesn’t really care what he says because he backs himself, like Key, to come up with some clever ‘out’ from any position he adopts – there’s a certain buzz you can get from that, apparently. A bit like base-jumping.

        • QoT 11.3.1.1

          The other thing about Hooten, you see, is that once he’s finished making a statement it becomes a past statement, and therefore he cannot be held to it because he’s moved on.

  12. hush minx 12

    It’s going to be a tense week. The public expectation is a Cunliffe win. Anything else and it will be like an AllBlack test loss where the misalignment of future and reality can cause the most amazing reactions.
    How caucus can do anything other than back the public (clear views in 3 public polls, especially amongst Labour voters) and the unions (where preferences stated publically, and at the very least – even if not more Cunliffe) and the strong showing amongst the members? Again Hooten pointed out, for caucus to do anything but back Cunliffe now would be fatal if Labour want to win in 2014. Those ABCers just have to get over it!

    • Tracey 12.1

      Hooten must be perpetually dizzy.

      Matthew Vertigo Hooten

    • kenny 12.2

      You’re right – the winning post is in sight and the leader is looking stronger all the time; the competition is slowly falling off the pace, just got to keep going and make sure you don’t put a foot wrong (and don’t count your chickens etc.)

      It’s going to be an exciting week; I can feel it!

    • Ed 12.3

      Public polls are by definition likely to include at least a small percentage of Nat/ACT/UF voters, some of whom are likely to say they are Labour voters if asked to do more mischief. Labour members should be able to make our own minds – not the opinions of polls or reporters. By promoting supporting the majority, you deny the strength the party needs from members making up their own minds. A feature if the contest has been the way in which each of the candidates have supported the statements of others – the differences are of emphasis, not overall policy. All three have gained the respect of many, regardless of who is elected. The challenge for the leader will be to break away from “presidential” politics and demonstrate that a Labour-led government is a team, respecting the opnions of others in the team, celebrating their different strengths, and not beholden to a single person dispensing favours to enforce decisions made without consultation. In my view all three candidates are capable (and there are others who could have credibly put their names forward); I believe the decision will be between Cunliffe and Robertson, and I look forward to the new team settling in and highlighting the differences between crony capitalism and cooperative politics

      • Pete 12.3.1

        I don’t think National voters are fundamentally dishonest. If they were, we’d be compelled to distrust around half the population, and that’s not really the kind of country I want to live in. Obviously there are some who get up to shenanigans like flying under false colours (John Carter pretending to be a Maori talkback caller is one that comes to mind), but I don’t think it would be statistically significant in a poll like this.

        • Mike S 12.3.1.1

          “I don’t think National voters are fundamentally dishonest.”

          I think a large proportion of them are, with themselves. How else do you explain Key’s popularity?

          “Flying under false colors” does seem to happen alot though. (Douglas, Prebble et al pretending to be Labour party MP’s is one that comes to mind). In fact I could change that to ‘pretending to be human’ for that bunch of traitors.

      • Murray Olsen 12.3.2

        ACT and UF voters could be polled twice each without becoming statistically significant.

  13. Comrade Coba 13

    I have a feeling another twist is about to unfold;

    If I was in the ABC camp (which I’m most certainly not) I’d switch all votes from the inner circle to Jones & gamble Shane’s support combined gives him firstly the numbers to take 2nd place & then he has the numbers in the 2nd preference vote to roll DC. Most of the 20% vote is for Jones as will the case be for GR.

    Then vote Grant in as deputy & bide time till some scandal involving Jones causing him to resign. Grant can stand in as Leader in the mean time and build his profile enough to win a outright postal vote.

    This is their ‘only’ chance provided Cunliffe doesn’t get the required numbers on the first preference vote.

    • Ad 13.1

      They have had too much invested in Robertson – as you have seen from the many in caucus who have already come out.

      There will be a few who get a sneak peek at the early returns before casting their vote, but for the most in the words of Richard III: “I am so far in that sin must pluck on sin.”

      • Comrade Coba 13.1.1

        It’s not about Robertson it’s all about them (ABC). Both supporters DC & GR supporters will rank Jones 2nd in other words ahead of the contender they most likely see as the main challenge to their preferred candidate. So Shane has in my opinion has the healthiest number of 2nd votes to wipe out David. It’s a tricky voting structure that may catch most people out, apart from Jones who has played a masterly hand through-out this whole process.

        • karol 13.1.1.1

          CC, sounds very clever of Jones – but not clever enough. He could just possibly win the battle and lose the wider war.

        • Bill 13.1.1.2

          Doesn’t work like that CC. The only ‘second preference’ votes that are taken into account are the ones that had the eliminated candidate as a ‘first preference’.

          Assuming that both Robertson and Cunliffe avoid elimination, but neither has 50+%, then only the second preferences on papers that voted (the eliminated) Jones as first preference get counted

          To labour the point, as long as your first preference is not eliminated, it simply does not matter who you place second and third.

          • Comrade Coba 13.1.1.2.1

            Thanks Bill, what if DC or SJ(won’t) don’t get 50+% outright, Robertson drops out and Jones picks up a huge slice of GR secondary votes. So maybe SJ is going to get the ABC’s votes just enough in numbers to beat Robertson. With the rest of the ABC backing GR & secondary for SJ. I see more votes for DC should SJ get chopped 1st. Too many assume it’s a 1 or 2 horse race which it maybe but a different horse.

            Lastly SJ the prick hang one on me during the roadshow. By greeting me like a old lost friend, putting his arm around me & giving me a squeeze ‘all in 8 seconds’ in front of the media’s camera’s & as they panned away he was gone. he did give a Welch smile back…that I gave back a nod of appreciation ‘that I’d been had.’
            Footnote: I met him in private 3 hours earlier strictly being polite, a formal introduction a line each said.

            • Bill 13.1.1.2.1.1

              So if Robertson is knocked out, do you really think an overwhelming majority the people who vote or him are going to have nominated Shane as second preference?

              As far as can make out, a fair few people are voting for Robertson over Cunliffe in the belief that Cunliffe was all set to attempt a coup around conference time – while ignoring the fact that it was Street [a Robertson backer] who was set to pull the pin on Shearer lately.

              All that aside, both Robertson and Cunliffe are indicating (to one degree or another) that they will reaffirm and promote the left credentials of Labour. So, it seems to me that Jones could only get a swathe of second preferences in the event that people view values and (potential) policy as secondary to perceived personalty.

              And if that’s the case, then a lot of Labour Party members are well and truly fucked in the head.

              • Comrade Coba

                Or they don’t like DC & see him as problematic. I have witnessed David can piss you off at a rapid rate, just recently he did to me & a group observing us.

                • Colonial Viper

                  DC certainly knows how to piss Tories off real quick.

                  Let’s get over what you find friendly and personable, and focus on who can take the fight to Key from day 1, shall we.

                  • Comrade Coba

                    Yes quite right CV I actually thought that if he can annoy me, than he sure as hell is the correct contender to Lead the LP to unsettle Key.

        • finbar 13.1.1.3

          Even trickier when the caucus members individual vote is 150 to the Party members 1.Those in the caucus and there is plenty of them who dislike Cunliffe, must be spinning on how they can pull Robinson rabbit out of the hat.

      • Rogue Trooper 13.1.2

        was musing on the difficult allegiances the ‘old guard’ carry, as I munched through home-made lasagne. (didn’t serve it cold, re-heated it). 😉

    • Ron 13.2

      I am curious. I realise that the rules of voting say you must rank the candidates, But could you vote the same person first second and third?

    • Olwyn 13.3

      The thing is, it’s their job to oppose National while in opposition, and to show some commitment to winning elections and governing. That is what they are paid to do, and paid rather well to do by NZ standards. It would be utterly ridiculous of them, as a body, to ignore polls, ignore members, ignore the unions, and manipulate the vote so as to serve some internal parlour game. It would ring very hollow if they were to do that and then cry, “Come on everybody, get unified! We have to face the real enemy now!” We are not paid to vote for them, they are paid to represent us. Our judgement depends on whether or not we think they are doing so.

      • Craig Glen Eden 13.3.1

        I agree in theory with everything you have said Olwyn then I look at the last leadership selection and the way that so many of this caucus behaved and I despair.

        • Olwyn 13.3.1.1

          I have to admit my own heart is in my mouth too, but you would think that they would take note of the facts that there’s an election within a year, and that their last sales pitch for their own agenda was not a vote winner.

  14. Crunchtime 14

    Robertson says the opinion poll results indicating strong support for Cunliffe “aren’t relevant because the Labour membership votes for leader not the public”… yeah. I think strong public support for Cunliffe is something the Labour membership will note.

    And no, I don’t think Nat/Act/UF “mischief” can affect that.

    I agree, every voter within Labour needs to carefully consider their vote and where it will take Labour… and the choice is quite clear.

  15. Winston Smith 15

    I do wonder how Cunliffe will unite the labour caucus…I reckon his best option would be to have a massive blood letting/revenge strike

    • karol 15.1

      Cunliffe has said he will work with every MPs strengths. Positive, and constructive, if he does that.

    • Clement Pinto 15.2

      That is one option. i.e, send them to back bench.

      Another option Is :

      For the sake of unity and magnanimity, give shadow cabinet positions purely based on merit, but at the first sign of disloyalty, banish them to the back bench irrespective of their ability.

  16. newsense 16

    will Cunliffe’s chats on the Standard be as famous as Clark’s chats on Bfm with Havoc????

  17. Ron 17

    Can someone please share with the community why there is so much hatred of Cunliffe. Radio tonight was making much that even MPs like Twiford DC’s nearest electorate will not support him. Obviously I cannot be sure if this is true or not but there has to be some reason beyond mere jealousy.
    Has David secretly joined the klu Klux Klan or worse secretly joined the ACT party. So how about some comment on just what other MP’s feel is wrong with Cunliffe. I would be most disappointed if it was just envy or one of the other venial sin.

    • Retired Engineer 17.1

      Phil Twyford got it into his head 5-6 years ago that Cunliffe supported Carmel Sepuloni for selection in Waitakere. This was Lynn Pillay’s seat and she and EPMU hubby Mike had a big influence.
      Phil Twyford then went on to replace Chris Carter in Te Atatu.
      But the silly blouse is still sulking over this perceived slight by Cunliffe.

    • Boadicea 17.2

      Twyford is a nice guy and will build a good seat in Te Atatu. He had a good career in Oxfam and as such has similar background to Shearer.
      He had a tiff with local Labour when he took overt from Carter. The old hands left . Loads of New Lynn Labour people canvassed for him to win in Te Atatu. Relationships are strong and GE and Cunliffe lead the West Auckland hub.

      I heard that ass$&@e on the radio. Who was he? I didn’t recognise the voice .

  18. hush minx 18

    Well I just read this on Garners blog:

    “If Cunliffe becomes leader a number of careers will end.

    Trevor Mallard and Clayton Cosgrove are well known life-members of the anti-Cunliffe club. Annette King may call time on her long career too.

    I actually think this primary has been useful and whoever takes on John Key will be stronger than David Shearer. But that leader has a massive job to do in the caucus.

    Caucus is openly bleeding and the weeping sores are there for all to see.”
    http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Robertson-vs-Cunliffe/tabid/674/articleID/37760/Default.aspx

    The thing that really worries me is how rabid some of these MPs are. So Ron, I do not think there is any logic to their actions. They are so emeshed in the emotional space they cannot see the wood for the trees anymore, and the desire and need of the party no longer matter.

    • Saarbo 18.1

      That is just fucken amazing, that these ABC arseholes continue to talk to Garner undermining David Cunliffe. I imagine that some of Garner’s story is about him trying to save face because he is looking like a real chump at the moment and his credibility is not looking flash. But obviously the ABC’ers are currently fighting hard for their survival and Garner and Gower have always been closely aligned to the them.

      This from Garners link:

      “I have spoken to a number of Labour MPs in recent days who openly despise Cunliffe. The hatred and bile towards him has not subsided. It actually seems to have got stronger and louder in the final stretch of this race.
      One senior MP in the Robertson camp described him to me over the weekend as “an insincere prat” who is “a fake that would be shown up bloody quickly”. Others have described him in similar terms. You get the point.”

      If David Cunliffe is successful it is absolutely critical he gets rid of these poisonous people, otherwise it will be impossible for him to operate, they have NOW given him no other option. He just needs to win.

      Having worked with Cunliffe he isnt a “prat”, he is someone who is very very bright and possibly works too fast for some people, and I suspect some of these people have had the big egos dented….its not Cunliffes problem.

      Bottom line: If Cunliffe wins then the ABC’er must fuck off.

      • Tangee 18.1.1

        Well to me these MPs are the problem its all their self interest and they dont care about the party or what the people are saying that they want Cunliffe. If Cunliffe dont win there is no way in Hell Robertson can take us to victory. The bad mouthing is starting to show and all because Cunliffe is showing better results yay.

      • Hami Shearlie 18.1.2

        And now that ghastly Clare Curran is stirring up trouble for anyone even mentioning that Grant Robertson’s gayness may be a negative factor in his campaign for leader!!! As if David Cunliffe cares about any of that!!! Charles Chauvel supported him and he’s gay, so Cunliffe is highly unlikely to be anti-gay!! It all smells of the ABC brigade getting really really desperate!!! Well, listen up ABCers, it sure didn’t help Robertson’s campaign that he FLAT OUT LIED about his partner Alf not being at the pub on Seven Sharp – I think that alone has people wondering – what else will he lie about?? What a time to be caught telling porkies?? Shows his inexperience I would venture to suggest!!

      • Retired Engineer 18.1.3

        Garner is the prat in all of this.
        No new news here. Various ABCs phoning journos and slagging off Cunliffe.

        Imagine he these jokers in your workplace, your factory or office. What would happen to them in a real work place. Cosgrove, Ardern, Curran and the likes are a work place hazard.

  19. hush minx 19

    And just imagine conference if the caucus play such silly games. I seriously worry for the future of the party. And I shall go back to the Greens, who just look so sane by comparison 🙂

  20. Ron 20

    I am really looking forward to conference I hope that my new found confidence that things will be done right is not going to prove misplaced.

  21. Sable 21

    Talks cheap and actions speak louder than words. If Cunliffe wants votes and more importantly wants lasting support he better be prepared to reform Labour and keep his promises or he could find himself out on his arse even if the wins this election.

  22. Mike S 23

    I think there’s alot of media hype trying to make this out as a close fought thing and a party divided. I predict an easy outright majority for David Cunliffe as new leader.

    4 of the 6 union affiliates have told their delegates to back Cunliffe. That’s around 10% of the total vote. The other 2 unions have indicated that their members are to decide. I believe they will probably both be in line with the other affiliates and show a clear majority for Cunliffe. But let’s say he gets 50% of the votes from the other 2 unions, that gives him another approx 5% of total vote.

    The members, I feel, are strongly in favour of Cunliffe. 60% of member support is a low estimate in my opinion, but that would give him another 24% of the total, making 39%.

    This would mean he would need less than a third of the caucus vote (around 10 out of 34 mp’s) to secure 51% of the total.

    Pure speculation on my behalf of course, but If anyone wants to chuck a few coins on it, i’m in! In reality I believe it won’t be anywhere near as low as 51%, but more likely a much larger majority for Cunliffe.

    • Mike S 23.1

      I hate to be so vain but the opportunities to puff my chest are limited these days. I was pretty close! (yeah yeah, except for the last f’ing sentence!)

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