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David Cunliffe on The Standard

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, May 13th, 2014 - 160 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, labour, Politics - Tags:

David Cunliffe will be online after 5:30pm today to clarify any points people care to raise. The comments will be fully moderated. Check the rules below before commenting.

David Cunliffe picThis is Budget week and the government is already trying to tell us that the measure of success is a surplus so small it may as well be a mirage.

In doing so they’re asking us to forget about the other numbers – the decline of wages, the rising costs of living, the children in poverty.

But a budget is about more than numbers – it’s about New Zealanders. We believe that politics should serve people, not the other way around.

That’s the difference facing New Zealanders this election. A choice between a Government focused on paying favours to their privileged donors or a Labour-led Government that puts people first.

My vision is to make New Zealand the fairest, most decent society in the world. One where everyone has the opportunity for a well paid, secure job. Where the opportunity to own a warm, dry home hasn’t slipped out of reach of the next generation. And where every child has the best start in life.

As the election approaches you’ll see more policy from Labour on these key areas of work, family and home.

Today I announced that the next Labour-led Government will get aim to unemployment down to 4% in its first term.

We’ll do this by upgrading our economy to create skilled, well paid jobs. Our monetary policy ugrade challenges the status quo that is failing New Zealand’s exporters and the people they employ.

And our manufacturing and forestry economic upgrades will create thousands of skilled, well paid jobs in our regions – the places that need them most.

We’re doing this because to build strong communities you need a strong economy.

You also need decent, affordable homes.

Labour will build 100,000 new affordable homes over ten years, introduce a capital gains tax excluding the family home to stabilise the housing market and restrict offshore speculators from driving up house prices.

We’ll also introduce a Healthy Homes Guarantee to ensure all Kiwis have a warm, dry home – because that’s what every Kiwi kid deserves.

Our kids also deserve the best start in life, which is why I announced our Best Start package earlier this year including 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, a $60 a week child allowance and an extention of free ECE to 25 hours a week.

Work. Family. Home. Those are our priorities.

We will be a progressive government. Kiwis have always believed in working hard, and in looking after each other, and we have always believed in equality and in freedom.

We’re a nation I am immensely proud to be have grown up in, to be a part of.

And we are a nation I will be immensely proud to lead.

The next Labour-led Government will end the politics of division, the politics of the privileged few versus the rest, and will work alongside all New Zealanders, in the interests of all New Zealanders.

Because I believe that we need to put people first if we are to build the prosperous and vital nation we all want to live in. I’m really keen to talk to you about how we get there, together.

160 comments on “David Cunliffe on The Standard ”

  1. lprent 1

    Note: that this post is fully moderated and David wrote the only speech that will be allowed in this post. He is an author and a guest on site. Treat him as such.

    Comments made by trolls and bottom-feeders will immediately trashed without warning. People who come to make speeches are likely find their long speech in the comment deleted. Write the speech elsewhere and link to it.

    Otherwise have fun.

    • lprent 1.1

      Ok, he is offline

      That’s it for now, sorry. My team’s got me booked for the rest of the night.

      Keep your comments coming in – I’ll be reading them all.

      I’ll keep passing the comments through, just as a lower rate as I make dinner.

  2. Jenny 2


    [lprent: That is something that I suspect David is not…. Nice thought though. 😈 ]

  3. shorts 3

    Kia ora David

    How long do you think it will take for labour and your partners to address the issue inequality in our land?

    By that I mean how long for the people to see real changes to their lives and standard of living – appreciate you can’t give an exact date but I’m interested in how long you feel it’ll take your polices be enacted, to bed in and start to have a meaningful effect.

    • As soon as possible is the short answer. We’ll be moving on the most urgent issues in our first 100 days, like raising the minimum wage and giving Kiwi workers their rights back.

      But we’re trying to dig our way out 30 years of neoliberalism. It’s not going to happen overnight – case in point, John Key has racked up a crushing debt.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Repairing neoliberal vandalism is obviously one of our many (and entirely reasonable) expectations. What are its lynch-pins and how will you tackle them?

  4. amirite 4

    Hi David,
    what are Labour policies concerning people on benefits, the raising of retirement age and the means testing for pensioners? Also, Labour stance on mining and deep sea oil drilling.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Our priority is to get kids out of poverty – that’s why our Best Start payment includes the children of beneficiaries; they shouldn’t bear the brunt of their parents’ misfortune.

      But the real answers to benefits are secure jobs that pay decent wages.

      Retirement age: Managing a long-term transition to a 67+ universal NZ Super – with a transition benefit for those cannot continue work in their normal occupation after 65 and they are in financial need, so they’re no worse off.

      Short answer on deep sea drilling: Principled and pragmatic. We see it as only possible under world best practise environment standards, including full liability cover, clean-up capacity, local input, and a realistic level of public revenue – and all this within a clear plan for transition to a low carbon renewable energy future.

      • Hi David,

        Just a followup if you or your team has time at a later point- why allow any more oil drilling than’s already happening given that the fossil fuel reserves energy companies already have are more than enough to drive us into climate disaster?

        Basically as below I’d like to hear more about what Labour’s plans are for the environment and climate change, (both where it’s similar and where it diverges with the Greens, who I’m sure you’d be working with closely in this area) which given the what current science is thinking, pretty much sways my entire vote.

  5. Tracey 5


    already govt is suggesting you are spending more than you will bring in.

    in one sentence, what is a response that people can understand repeat to others without ridicule. well, maybe two, but this is a soundbite world.

    good luck and thanks for engaging.

    • I was part of the last Labour Government that delivered a surplus every year, and I’m going to lead the next Labour Government to do the same – unless a significant economic downturn means we need to keep people in jobs.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        So your answer is essentially “trust me”.

        Is it possible to sum up the actual concrete actions that will be taken in 1-2 sentences?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Gather more revenue than you spend”?

          • Lanthanide

            Tracey is asking for:
            “a response that people can understand repeat to others without ridicule”

            A trite answer such as you’ve given will not cut the mustard. Cunliffe’s answer boils down to “trust me” and that won’t fly either.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Nonsense. A debate about government spending is meaningless unless revenue is considered. The National Party slashed government revenue in 2008, and here we are.

              • Lanthanide

                So the 1-2 sentences are “We will be increasing government revenue, through re-focussing of the tax burden, as well as putting policies to grow the economy at a faster rate, thereby increasing revenue. Other areas of low quality ideologically-driven government spending such as the Roads of Notional Significance, charter schools and national standards will be cut, freeing up spending for more worthwhile causes”.

                Pretty easy.

                • Tracey

                  I wasnt here during the evening and I wanted tot hank you for your responses in this line and also other below. I enjoyed your thoughtfulness on different topics.

                  I am a little concerned that it seems there is no pre-thought out response to my question despiute it clearly being national’s line for months now. national has one line memes…

                  look at the PM repeating his BS about unions selecting leaders and so forth… didnt say it once, used it again, word for word, the next day…

                  People will consider to wonder what Labour stands for, imo.

                  • Lanthanide

                    NP Tracey. I thought your question was quite pointed and I too was disappointed that Cunliffe didn’t really engage with it (maybe he just misunderstood what you were after?).

              • bevanjs

                National didn’t slash though did they? [rhetorical]. They’ve done near nothing to reduce Govt spend.

                • Stuart Munro

                  They’ve redirected a lot of spend poorly however. Novopay gets NZ money. Aussie companies orchestrate the asset theft launches. Billions spent on consultants.

                  Real services have been slashed, it’s just that they’ve achieved nothing by doing so.

        • Crunchtime

          No it wasn’t.

          “I was part of the last Labour Government that delivered a surplus every year”

          Pretty straightforward: can’t get much better than a proven track record.

  6. Ad 6

    Will your economic development policy be sector-focused, or sector neutral? If I squint my eyes hard I see milk powder as a transition to a more capital rich economy, but Fonterra are honestly hopeless at value-add. Yet the government and economy are addicted to them.
    So, neutral or targeted?

    • We’re going to be an active government, engaging with industry sectors and regions to create better jobs for every Kiwi. The common elements of our industry strategy are to help our businesses move from volume to value, meaning more is earned right here in NZ.

      So the Economic Upgrade framework is sector-neutral and applies across the economy, but as with our Forestry and Manufacturing packages we have shown how it can be applied to specific sectors. We will also be working in partnership with individual regions to ensure they have regional development plans that get the best for every part of our country.

      More here: https://www.labour.org.nz/economic-upgrade-overview

  7. Disraeli Gladstone 7

    Hi David,

    I want to ask about what safeguards are you putting in place for low and low to middle income families with your new monetary policy and compulsory Kiwisaver? I know several people who opt out of Kiwisaver because they simply cannot afford it yet or it would make them live miserable lives. It doesn’t necessarily just extend to the very poor, there’s various situations (they’re living on the edge of they’re paycheck, they’re retraining, they’re paying off student loans). Making Kiwisaver compulsory would threaten their livelihood or cause them to live a very austere lifestyle. What are Labour planning to do to protect these people?

    • Bottom line: This policy doesn’t sit by itself – We’ll be raising incomes, because strong savings drop interest rates and create jobs (and we’re raising the minimum wage and backing the Living Wage campaign).

      Who do you want to be paying extra to: your landlord, your bank – or your future self.

      Withdrawl rights will remain for a first home purchase, extreme hardship, death or emigration.

      • Disraeli Gladstone 7.1.1

        Thanks for the answer, David. I’m not sure lprent wants multiple questions, but you don’t have to answer it anyway!

        I know Labour will seek to improve wages and that it’s better to pay into your retirement funds rather than a foreign bank. But would you say wages are likely to improve say 3-4% in a year or will people be hit in that first year of the new policy?

        Also, as someone involved in the sector, would you consider any exceptions for people with student loans? People who may want to take the choice of postponing Kiwisaver to voluntarily save beyond their repayment obligations and get rid of their student loan quicker (for travel, for emigration, etc)? Or people who may not have found great paying jobs and be now expected to pay back their loan at 12% and make contributions of up to 4.5% to Kiwisaver?

  8. Kawhia 8

    G’day David..

    Enjoyed your time on John Campbell, thanks for allowing NZL inside your home.

    Anyhow..question: despite a huge blow-out in net core Crown debt since National took office, with a rise from $10 billion in 2008 to $60b now and forecasts it will top $70b by 2015, is there going to be any thought put into lowering this dept and getting rid of it once and for all?

    cheers for your time

    • We are working on a plan to re-pay all of National’s $60 billion Crown debt, and we will be setting a specific timeframe to do so.

      When last in Government we got net Crown debt to zero – we’re aiming to do it again.

  9. Jenny 9

    Where is David Cunliffe, what have you done with him?


    [lprent: You did read the post right? I’m sure I said he’d only be here after 5:30… It is 5:25. ]

  10. Bill 10

    All things being equal, that all sounds quite nice – even, I dare say, desirable to many.

    But all things aren’t equal.

    Being very conservative here – the best available scientific data and analysis predicts 2 degrees or more average surface temperature rise within the next few decades….2050 at the outside.

    Obviously, those rises in average surface temperature will undermine current notions of ‘work, family, home’, while ironically, orthodox pathways to realise current notions of ‘work, family home’ exacerbate AGW.

    Where in any of the Labour Party vision is the reality of any of this being taken into account, and what measures (if it is being taken into account) are being considered in terms of mitigation and preparation?

  11. Skinny 11

    Hi DC you got my support and apart from the leadership donation own goal your doing very well, congrats.
    I like the narrative about taxpayer funding election campaigns, as obviously National are showing they are guilty of cronie capitalism, keep this talk up!

    I know many swing voters who fear voting for National this year because they dont trust them to turn hard right.

    When will you start the rhetoric of ‘don’t trust a third term National/ACT Government’?

    • Skinny 11.1

      Come on Cunliffe get off the fence and reply to people that do the ground work getting the vote out. Personally I have always found you a bit sulky for my likes.

      [lprent: He wasn’t kidding about his staff having him running around for the rest of the night. He will be back when he has some time. Stop being a sulky wee impatient child. ]

      • Skinny 11.1.1

        Yes cheerleader!

        • lprent

          Seriously? When have I ever even looked like being a cheerleader for anything? At my best I’m a sarcastic grumpy arrogant bastard. I treat all non-programmers and non-authors with a certain degree of disdain. My highest usual compliment for food is that it was quite edible.

          I just recognise other people with too little time.

  12. cricklewood 12

    Hi David,

    I am a little worried about the effect compulsory kiwisaver will have on families like mine. Recently we made the decision to by a house in Auckland basically due to have surety of accommodation and schooling for my daughter. Im worried losing so much of our joint income to kiwisaver will put extreme pressure on our household. Whilst it may keep interest slighlty lower I calculate I will be in a worse net position as I would likely have to move to an interest only mortgage.
    Also Auckland rents are so substantial that a large drop in take home way will put a big hole in the weekly budget. My family is currently not entitled to working for families or similar what do you plan to do to mitigate the damaging effects this will have on my family.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      Cricklewood, it seems you’re talking about the compulsory part of Kiwisaver rather than the increase in contribution rate by itself.

      Personally I would guess that if Kiwisaver were made compulsory, for those that were not already in it they’d start off at a contribution rate of 1%, rising by 1% per year, as how it was initially introduced to the public at large. It would be overly penalising to go from 0% to 3% (or more) in a single year for those who hadn’t budgeted for it.

      In that respect if you were in a financial position where you couldn’t accommodate a 2% drop in income in a single year with your mortgage, then you clearly can’t afford the mortgage you have.

      Obviously I’m not DC so can’t speak for him, but politically I don’t see they could do it any other way without getting a backlash from National, budgeting services and representatives of those on low incomes.

    • Tracey 12.2

      Are you really saying that as an earner not receiving WFF, a 1-2% deduction from your wages will push you over the financial edge? Then how did you plan to deal with the current view that within 2 years your mortgage will be at 8%, when you decided to buy your home?

      • cricklewood 12.2.1

        My mortgage is very affordable currently Lanth provided a potential answer to what I was asking but my main concern lies 4 or 5 years down the track if the contribution rate rises to 8 or 9 percent and interest rates are still higher than they are now.

        • Lanthanide

          Ok, so as I understand it, the 9% target is the combined total contribution rate between employee and employer. At the moment it is 3% 3%, which is a total of 6%. I think in terms of likely contribution rates we’d see something like 4-5, 4.5 even or 5-4 split between employee / employer.

          So I don’t think you need to worry about personal contribution rates of 9%, unless of course your employer takes a “total remuneration approach” – which incidentally was illegal under Labour but National reversed, except for those on the minimum wage.

          • cricklewood

            Where I work they use the total renumeration approach as part of pay negotiation so basically its likely that if I join it will likely be my future pay increase as well.
            I realise that national altered that particular rule I guess I was hoping David may have been able to offer a little clarity around those sort of things but I guess its rather complicated and to hard for a 30min pr exercise.
            Im hoping there is greater clarity upcoming as I am more than a little apprehensive about it as are several colleagues. I think the issue is Auckland centric in a way as accommodation is such a large cost or you save a bit and live further out and spend the money travelling to work. Im in better shape than some but it is potentially a large drop in take home pay.

  13. Dear David,

    Today National said that and I quote:

    “In the end someone has to pay the bill. There aren’t little pixies at the bottom of the garden printing cash.”

    However on the website of the Bank of England the following statement appeared recently:

    “Where does money come from? In the modern economy, most money takes the form of bank deposits. But how those bank deposits are created is often misunderstood. The principal way in which they are created is through commercial banks making loans: whenever a bank makes a loan, it creates a deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money. This description of how money is created differs from the story found in some economics textbooks.”

    With this in mind and with the remarks made last week about having to fix the Reserve bank on this blog would it not be more prudent to take back the right to print our own currency, make social credit loans to kick start our economy and take the model of the bank of North Dakota as a prime example of how we should manage our money creation needs?

    Thank you for taking my question!

    • Pick and choose eh? Why am I not surprised?

      [lprent: The words “limited time” mean anything to you? He was only there for half an hour last night. There were about 70 comments by 6pm. Of course he picked the comments that were of interest to him. You are just being unreasonable. ]

      • Lanthanide 13.1.1

        I suppose we should be grateful he did it at all, but I was quite disappointed it was only 30 minutes. I was expecting about 90. We didn’t get any real chance at ‘interaction’, just a smattering of answers to a few questions.

        • lprent

          Hoping for more time next time (if there is a next time) for whoever. We’re still learning this.

          But I think that a lot of it will be getting the post a bit earlier and more time up before the politician comes on. About 2/3rds of the comments that were there at the end came in during that half hour.

      • Travellerev 13.1.2

        My comment had number 13. I put it in very early to make sure I had it almost at the top. So yes I was aware of his limited time online.

        And yes of course his team picked comments that where of interest to him. Never mind that we have a very serious situation on our hands with “our” Reserve bank, a Banking Prime Minister who has been loading up our books with almost an entire annual GDP in fraudulent derivatives and a unsustainable global financial system based on debt created by private interests.

        We will never get honest answers on questions such as mine because they go to the heart of our system and there is nothing David Cunliffe can do about it as he is part of the system.

        My point is that unless a politician is willing to address the fact that we are bound to a corrupt system of private fiat money creation in the hands of a few he is not worth even the miserly 30 minutes he is spending online pretending to talk tough answering the few questions his team pick for him.

        We don’t need tough talking politicians decrying marginal issues such as slave labor on Iwi fishing boats but leaders who are willing to speak the truth on major issues such as fraudulent monopolized money creation, NATO membership with our troops training for war with Russia in the Baltic states amongst others and the TPPA.

        If you think my insistence that these issues be addressed before I decide whether to vote for Cunliffe or not are unreasonable feel free to call me so but you do so at your own peril.

        • lprent

          To me it sounds more like you already had your mind made up. But what you were asking for was something that was another speech, not something that could be done in less than an hour to answer one question.

          It isn’t surprising that he passed on something like that when he had a mere half an hour and answered quite a lot of questions during that time. Just to give an idea, I scan read the comments at about 1730 when there were about 40 or 50 there. Took me about 5 minutes. That was after I’d put some serious restrictions on the type of comments to be made.

          I gather that he warmed up to the tasks after the first 10 minutes. But seriously – this was effectively in real time. His staff were getting his avatar attached to his email and getting a new password (that they could remember) working after I put the post up.

          From the description of process, I gather that some staff were suggesting comments to answer both from before he arrived and during the timeslot. Unlike me, they couldn’t simply let the news comments show by auto-refresh as they arrived even during the half hour before he arrived. They had to look at them on the list, via RSS (which has about a 5 minute minimum cycle), or by simply refreshing the page.

          What was more surprising was that he gave us that half an hour, attempted to answer so many, and that he answered some of the comments that arrived during that half hour and did it in real time.

          I think your expectations are a wee bit over the top… But I’ll have a think about the process and see what we can do better for the next politico online.

        • Stuart Munro

          Respectfully, I lost my career to those slave workers.

          A number of my former friends and colleagues committed suicide. It is not marginal to me.

  14. Curtis Omelvena 14

    Hi David

    What can Labour do to encourage more job opportunities for university graduates in the regions?

    Also is Labour working on policies to address and help people with mental illnesses especially male depression in regions?

  15. SPC 15

    Has Labour considered a surcharge on rental property mortgages to go with the Kiwi Saver tool?

    The reason being, how they are advantaged (and often over multiple properties) by a lower OCR with the use of a Kiwi Saver tool.

  16. Suzanne 16

    Hi David, I encounter people who have concerns about welfare rising under a labour government. There is a perception Labour are the hand out government and welfare is one thing the National Government have managed to bring down. How do you respond to this perception? and I assume this will be one JK will try and level at Labour during leader debates too.

  17. cricklewood 17

    My other question concerns kiwisaver. I worry that future governments will change the age of eligibility to access kiwisaver will labour commit to enshrine the age or way of entitlement in such away that it cannot be changed if it becomes compulsory?

    • Tamati 17.1

      I’ll answer that. Unless we have some major constitutional changes it’s pretty much impossible for a Parliament to bind a future Parliament.

  18. Logan 18

    Hi David,

    I realise Labour will not be officially co-campaigning with the Green Party this election, and i understand that decision.
    Can you clarify however, for those outlets that wish to portray this as a left-wing division, that both parties would still have excellent potential to work together in a post-election government, should the opportunity arise?


  19. Pascal's bookie 19

    I’ve only got one question,

    Would Labour bring up human rights abuses, particularly the obligations under various torture treaties, when meeting with the US, in the same way that we mention these things in talks with China?


    • Yes. We’re proud of New Zealand’s reputation as an honest broker. We call it as we see it.

      • Tracey 19.1.1

        can we not use terms like broker and NZ Inc.

        NZ is not a company, it’s not a market trader it’s a society of living and breathing people who deserve more than to be regarded as economic units.

  20. The Chairman 20


    [lprent: If you really want to have that kind of a discussion, then I suggest that Whaleoil is your best bet. They love those kinds of silly pig-fucker discussions there. ]

  21. Philj 21

    Hi David,
    Establishing a high quality non commercial public broadcasting tv channel is essential in a healthy democracy. What are you proposing? Marion Hobbes failed previously.

  22. James Thrace 22

    Hi DC

    Has the party given any thought to removing the unfair tax advantage given to rentiers in respects of them being able to claim interest costs, rates and insurance costs, and other maintenance costs, for doing nothing more than providing a social service?
    The supply of rental housing should not be seen as a commercial income generating method.

    Would you, or the party, give serious thoughts to removing those tax breaks from rental property speculators, and providing them to home owners?

    This then means home owners could claim interest costs, maintenance costs and other deductions up to xx amount per year (say $15,000 total for argument sake)

    I am aware that CGT would still allow speculators to claim those costs but would like your response to ignore CGT and have a focus on the potential benefits at helping first time home buyers obtain a house in the knowledge that up to $15k pa could be refunded and applied to their mortgage principal each year.

  23. blue leopard 23

    Hi Mr Cunliffe,

    I am hoping for a left-wing government by the end of the year and fully support and appreciate your party’s, the Green’s and Mana’s efforts toward making that happen.

    Hopefully this is not too off topic.

    When political parties today talked in parliament of ’employment participation’ and unemployment/employment rate is it really true that those who work even 1 hour are included as employed?

    From House hold Labour force Survey definitions:

    Employed: people in the working-age population who, during the reference week, did one of the

     >worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employee relationship or self-employment

     >worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business, or professional practice owned or operated by a relative

     >had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday.

    If so, when you get into government will you be more clear with the general population about part-time compared to full time employment/unemployment figures?

    Perhaps this is more of a request than a question, however, I would really like to know what is meant by ‘participation’ and ’employment’ and whether this refers to those who work full time or those who work even solely for one hour are included as employed in such stats.

  24. BigSeanB 24

    Hey David!

    Any comment on when/what we can see a research and development policy from Labour? Any chance of bringing back the Postdoc programme and some of the CoRE funding?

  25. Clemgeopin 25

    Hi David,

    When this present government killed the pretty inexpensive but excellent Adult Community Education Night Classes, Labour led the charge to oppose National’s unenlightened narrow minded policy. ACE helped to employ over 2,000 tutors in part time jobs around the country while providing invaluable easy low cost access to hundreds of thousands of people, especially women in rural towns, to up skill, gain knowledge, trade, and build up confidence, social cohesion and community leadership.

    Will you help the restart of ACE through funding and support?

  26. SPC 26

    As supplementary question, did Labour consider the option of a surcharge on land and property mortgages as an alternative to raising the OCR?

    A former RB Governor suggested a surcharge was a viable alternative.

    Instead of increasing the OCR by 1% over a year, a 1% surcharge instead, by either .25% or .5% instalments.

    There is some tax revenue advantage (offset only in a part by lower tax off interest income).

  27. Stuart Munro 27

    What will become of the slave ships? And what of those who contrive to make them happen?

  28. Graeme 28

    David, have you ever considered a communications strategy of telling the media, public and the opposition that the Labour party simply has no interest in seeing the country going bankrupt and would have nothing to benefit from this? There seems to be a belief that ideological purists think you are in politics with the aim of wasting other people’s money.
    Given your support of Pasifika communities, what is your position on the charter schools that are directly aimed at raising the achievement of such communities?

  29. Geoffrey Smith 29

    Hi David,

    I have always voted National because I thought they were the Party for rural New Zealand. Then I had your candidate here in Wairarapa knock on my door. We talked for about 30 mins and I must say I was impressed by him. Now I’m considering breaking a habit of a lifetime and voting Labour. I just wanted to say I think you should make sure you get more blokes like him in Parliament. Then you may be able to address some of the perception issues Labour is currently facing. Why do you think there is that perception? Most people here think you are only interested in the cities.



  30. Tamati 30

    Hi David,

    In the past, you and Daivd Parker have claimed that a capital gains tax will encourage investment in more productive assets, and less investment in housing. The Labour plan exempts ‘the family home’ but taxes most other investments.

    -Could you please define what you mean by a family home? (Specifically can a single person be a family)

    -Wouldn’t exempting the family home just encourage people to investment more in their own home instead of in more productive assets?


  31. Malcolm Richards 31

    As National have put off until after the election responding to UNCAT giving us an answer to weather they are going to give us access to proper rehab to recover from the torture we suffered in lake alice and proper compensation for the years we have suffered still getting counselling now as have just become strong enough to deal with the abuse i suffered what is labours position on this

  32. Pete 32


    Can you please explain when do you propose disclosing your secret donors, so we know you are not being hypocritical regarding transparency as you so rightly demand of all political parties?

    I expect you will moderate this into oblivion so will repost elsewhere.


    [lprent: Are you still going on about the leadership donations? I can answer that. Those who wished to remain anonymous had the money refunded. Those who were willing to have their names public had their names made public. Don’t you read the news? Perhaps you should try. It is actually better than breathing the stale air at the sewer. ]

    • At my request the trustee of the campaign trust asked all confidential donors to disclose themselves.

      Of the 5, three did and 2 did not. Those 2 had their donations refunded by the trustee. There’s nothing more I can do.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 32.1.1

        It could have been done better. I was pretty much gobsmacked but then SNAFU has a way of creeping up like that. Seriously: brains trust fail.

      • Enough is Enough 32.1.2

        Yeah but there was something you should have done at the beginning when you were advised to set up the trust.

        At that point you should have said no and we wouldn’t be facing these questions which will continue to follow you.

  33. Hi David,

    Thanks to Campbell Live we now know you as a guy with a beehive in his backyard. Are you concerned about colony collapse disorder CCD and how it can impact on bees and horticulture?

    The latest evidence points strongly towards use of pesticides containing neonicotionoids being the culprit behind massive bee die offs. The EU already has implemented a 2 year restriction on the use of this type of pesticide.

    Would Labour move to act to restrict this use of these damaging pesticides before they can further damage our vital rural sector?

    • Karen’s the bee expert.

      I know our hives have no varroa mite, and it’s an organic hive.

      • Oh Busby 33.1.1

        Couldn’t believe that a suburban lawyer would work on a hive without gloves – superb stuff!

        Ask your good wife for her opinion on the CCD-neonicotionoid connection as spring approaches and the hive restarts for the season. As always there will be costs and benefits to restricting any chemical use.

        But we have alternative pesticides that don’t use neonics. We don’t have an alternative for bees.

        Thanks mate

        • Kiwiri

          Karen’s got her beehive in the garden and, together with the many of us who support your leadership, we will get you into the Beehive in Wellington 🙂

  34. Liberal Realist 34

    Hi David,

    When will Labour provide public disclosure of the TPPA, should a Labour lead government be elected in September?


  35. James 35

    With ESOL teaching schools throughout the country complaining about low student levels (companies I have worked with have halved their staff within the last 18 months) and the importance of being able to speak a language to be able to integrate properly into a society, does Labour have any policy regarding language development in foreigners, which from my experience in ex-pat societies in China, Russia and Central Europe is usually a clear sign of acceptance of the host culture and willingness to integrate into the culture and norms of a country?

    Secondary question, is Labour looking at allocating funds towards night-school education, similar to what was available before the funding was axed by National?

  36. risildowgtn 36

    Hi David

    Will the Labour Party make available to those who are chronically ill, medical marijuana.?

    If not why not? (as it is a core greens policy)


  37. Jackal 37

    Hi David Cunliffe,

    I was wondering if your wife, Karen Price, might like to consider being a Green party MP? She certainly does appear to have the required qualifications 🙂

    On a more serious note…how does Labour plan to service the huge debt National has mismanaged New Zealand into while also delivering positive social policies that benefit all Kiwis? Which one of these will Labour prioritise?

    Also, how quickly do you think our forests will be replanted under a Labour government? I believe National’s policy means only 1/5 of our forestry stock has been replanted. Does Labour have a plan to reestablish this resource while also increasing safety measures?


    • Pretty sure she’s voting Labour.

      • Jackal 37.1.1

        She could still vote Labour if she wanted while being a Green MP 🙂

        • J Mex


          Not sure what you are on about there. That raising chickens and having a bee hive in your yard qualifies you to be a Green MP?

          If you look at her record as an “Environmental lawyer” you would see that she is is usually on the side of big business…

          “Advising Seafield Limited, a joint venture of de Beers and Oppenheimer interests, on an innovative off-shore minerals prospecting application and gaining consents under the Continental Shelf Act and the Crown Minerals Act”

          If she was the wife of John Key, I suspect she would be roundly attacked here for being an environmental wrecker.

          [lprent: It is pretty clear that you don’t understand what the job of an environmental lawyer actually is. Most of it is advising their clients on what it is legally safe to do, the processes to follow to be able to get permission to do it, and preventing them from causing environmental disasters. They are just about as likely to be acting for a corporate one day and acting for environmental defense groups the next.

          Virtually all environmental lawyers I know (including an ex) see themselves as acting in a balance between the extremist nutters who can’t see a landscape without wanting to run a chainsaw or a bulldozer through it and those who feel humans should drop back to a starving scavenger-gatherer society.

          My guess is (based on reading many of your juvenile ideas over the years) that your ideas about what lawyers do is more formed by comic strips than anything to do with reality. Perhaps you should try to graduate to reading books?

          BTW: You really didn’t need to put the same comment in twice. But I guess it is hard for someone of your clearly limited intellect to hold on to more than one idea at a time. I deleted the other one. ]

  38. Yash Vyas 38

    Dear Mr. Cunliffe,
    What exact measures will you be taking in regards to the status of New Zealanders currently residing in Australia, which is a cause you have spoken about earlier? Also the Australian government is about to unleash a level of cuts and price increases unprecedented in Australia, with effects on things like healthcare and education that will affect New Zealanders disproportionately (for example, deregulating fees for universities will mean that NZ citizens who currently do not get student loans will basically have no ability to get an affordable education). How will you help us in that regard?

    All the best for the election!

  39. Jessica 39

    Hi David,

    What’s labour policy surrounding the environment? Big question sorry, but maybe to make it more specific, how does it differ from the Greens?

    Thanks, and all the best for the election!

  40. Jessica 40

    Hi David,

    What is Labour policy surrounding the environment, and how does it differ from the Greens’?

    Thanks, and all the best for the election!

  41. That’s it for now, sorry. My team’s got me booked for the rest of the night.

    Keep your comments coming in – I’ll be reading them all.

    • Tamati 41.1

      Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

      • blue leopard 41.1.1


      • NickS 41.1.2

        +1, it’s damn good to see the leader (and hopefully future PM) of a NZ political party take the time to do this and the answers Cunliffe makes me a hell of a lot happier to be voting Labour this election!

    • lprent 41.2

      Thanks. I trust that the site speed was a bit better than the last time we did this…

      • RedLogix 41.2.1

        @ Lynn – thanks for organising this.

        • lprent

          I didn’t. The request came from Cunliffe’s staff. They did most of the work.

          I just went to work early so I could go home early to moderate

    • Jenny 41.3

      Thanks Dave for appearing here at all. I imagine this would be a big step for a mainstream politician to take. What with all your political enemies waiting to pounce on the smallest misstep.

      Thanks for committing to read all the comments, I hope you can find some food for thought.

      Cunliffe interacts on Tuesday evening (rescheduled)

      And my special thanks to your “team” for letting you stray off the reservation even for this short time.

  42. meconism 42

    Hi David are there any Labour plans to fix the Nats postgraduate and allowance debacle for mature students?


  43. Lisa 43

    Hi David

    What will Labour do to create healthier food environments and to help consumers make healthier lifestyle choices beyond just telling them what they should do (as is the case under the National Govt)? Will you reinstate HEHA or something even better?

    Great Campbell Live interview by the way.

  44. Mary 44


    I don’t think that anyone can be blamed for seeing Labour’s support for the Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill as a clear signal that Labour if in government would just continue down the neo-liberal road when it comes to welfare, like how it axed the special benefit in 2004 and was responsible for the 2007 amendment Act.

    Can you explain why Labour gave support to this latest welfare amendment bill, and describe what plans Labour has for social security benefit entitlements?

  45. Jon 45


    Many people are asking where the money will come from to be able to implement some of your policies. Will you release the costings of your policies to show that they are affordable before the election? Thank you.

    • Lanthanide 45.1

      Yes. It’s called an election campaign. It hasn’t started yet.

      • lprent 45.1.1

        Can’t recall having seen the budget (isn’t May kind of late?) or the PREFU yet either

        • Colonial Viper

          Just looked up…last years budget was delivered by English May 16, 2013…

          • lprent

            Oh right. Yep. The one in 2008 was May 22nd. I guess my internal calendar was off. For some reason I had them mentally as happening in April. But I guess with a March year, that simply doesn’t make any sense.

            PREFU’s are typically about 4-6 weeks from the election and usually trigger the rapid intensification of the year long campaigns.

  46. Jenny 46

    Kia ora David,

    As you are probably aware, in the best tradition of the New Zealand protest movement, (Bastion Pt. 1981, Nuclear Ships, etc.), many Green Party members and others, are preparing to mobilise to stop the huge new expansion in coal mining on the Dennistion Plateau.

    #1 If this protest proves to be successful in impeding the progress on this coal mine is your party on becoming the government likely to crack down on this movement?

    #2 Coal has been identified as the number one cause of Climate Change and has been recognised as a deadly threat, in response to this threat Green Party official policy is “No New Coal Mines” and has been for a long time. Is “No New Coal Mines”, something that your party would agree too in the negotiations to form a government with the Green Party?

  47. One Anonymous Bloke 47

    The worst possible system apart from all the other ones doesn’t seem so bad when you can blog with the future Prime Minister 😀

  48. Richard Bradley 48

    Will labour dump the failing system of national standards and allow school to return to the intent of the new. Nz curriculum?…. Or will labour maintain a flawed shonky system…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 48.1

      Hipkins already committed Labour to ditching both NS & CS.

      • newsense 48.1.1

        link please? i’d heard the latter, but not necessarily the former.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Hansard. Sorry I haven’t got time to find the link for you right now.

  49. Sacha 49

    David, I encourage you to honour Owen Woodward by putting all disability support arrangements on the same footing as ACC as he recommended, so we help everyone contribute to the fullest.

  50. ianmac 50

    Hi David. Will Labour make National Standards not compulsory and forbid the League Table publication for Primary Schools?

    • Lanthanide 50.1

      OAB at 48.1 says Hipkins has already committed to dumping NS and charter schools.

  51. Tanz 51

    Will the student loan system be improved or changed in any way?

  52. james 52

    Hi David,
    I’m interested to know if labour will be strengthening workers rights( through legislation) around collective bargaining, to give more workers a shot at collective bargaining and more of a voice in the workplace.

    • dave 52.1

      james theres a cracker of policy on way regarding collective barging its one to watch out for guess what the bad employers are going to hate it lolololololloo

      • Draco T Bastard 52.1.1

        The only thing that should happen to bad employers is that they go out of business and become bankrupt.The only thing that would really achieve this is a UBI and massive government support to set up cooperatives.

    • miravox 52.2

      and improving worker representation in the legislative process, so worker’s interests can be included when considering the impacts of legislation on jobs.

      • Clemgeopin 52.2.1

        One way would be to legislate that every workplace should have a mandatory workers’ union
        for collective bargaining regarding wages and conditions. It should be compulsory for new employees to be members of it for at least one year after which they could opt out if they so prefer.

        It should be the employer’s responsibility to ensure that new workers are initially enrolled in such a workers’ union.

        Also, it should be mandatory for every business, organisation or work place to have a workers’ representative on their health and safety panel.

        • miravox

          Yes, I fully agree with workers representation in the workplace – especially on HSE panels.

          But I’m thinking a little bigger, more like this.

          • Clemgeopin

            That is an awesome idea! Something like that here through egislation would be wonderful. Could be managed by the CTU or by a separate joint government/Industry/CTU outfit.

            You should pursue this very worthwhile initiative through the Labour party/CTU.


  53. Amanda 53

    I would like to see Labour NOT support the TPPA. Anti- TPPA should be one of your stronger campaigns, as there is so much opposition to it. New Zealanders want their sovereignty, not to be controlled by corporations. Please could you push an anti TPPA campaign for this election – trust me it will win you heaps and heaps of votes too. Thanks.

    • Lanthanide 53.1

      Personally I don’t think we truly know enough about the TPPA to know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It seems highly likely to be a bad thing, but until we have a full public debate about it, I don’t think it’s a good idea to rule it out. Labour’s position of only signing it if is of acceptable quality (vs National sign-at-any-costs) is the right approach to take.

    • Clemgeopin 53.2

      Personally I would like to see and read the TPPA document before taking a blind stand.
      If the provisions disadvantage us in any way, sure, we opt out and we don’t join. Right now, we DON’T know what is in it as it is being discussed still.

  54. miravox 54

    Hi David
    I understand the major parties are treating the housing shortage as a matter of urgency, however I’m not convinced that the national policy statement and working with councils to improve the consents process will substantially improve the housing stock for the people at risk of living in caravans, tents and in someone else’s (no longer) spare room.

    What are Labour’s plans for housing people who won’t be able to afford ‘affordable’ homes and are likely to be lifetime renters? I feel the accommodation benefit is a subsidy to landlords, rather than an serious attempt to improve the quality of life for the poorest and that a substantial state housing build is essential to improve the stock of safe and affordable rental housing. I feel that if housing is treated as an essential need (like as healthcare and education) and as investment in individual, family and community health rather than as a market and profit-making venture we’d all be a lot better off.

    I say this from a position of observing the differences between New Zealand’s reduction in state housing and disregard for this most essential need, and Vienna’s 60% social housing, rent controls, long-term leases, proactive housing research and state-led development for future housing needs.

    All the best, I’m looking forward to coming home to a more caring, Labour-led New Zealand next year.

  55. Karl Sinclair 55

    David, you communicated in 3 simple points your party’s priorities:


    Thats really easy to digest and clear, great.

    However Bertrand Russell said

    “The 3 primary aims of government should be three: security, justice and conservation. These are things of the utmost importance to human happiness, and they are things which only government can bring about”

    (Taken from Reith 1948 – Bertrand Russell: Authority and the Individual)

    How do you plan to address, in particular Bertrand’s point on conservation with your parties priorities? And in particular how do you intend to engage the farming sector and big business around it?

    (also related, if you get time, please see this comment – http://thestandard.org.nz/john-key-challenged/#comment-813582)

    [lprent: A lot better than the one I dropped into Open Mike. I was looking for the point in the other one and wondering who’d made Shane Jones stop with the etceteras ].

    • Lanthanide 55.1

      For someone who rated himself highly as a orator, he sure did a lot of etcetering.

  56. John 56

    David I noticed you and members of your caucus attended recent protests over the TPP can we take this as a commitment of your potential future government not to sign up to the TPP.

  57. Draco T Bastard 57

    Silicon Valley was started by the simple expedient of the US federal government building the necessary fab plants and other infrastructure (The Entrepreneurial State by Mariana Mazzucato). These fab plants were then made available to entrepreneurs so that they could have their designs manufactured for very little. This effectively launched the electronics revolution. US federal funding still leads US innovation.

    Would the Labour Party, under your lead, be willing to build such infrastructure so that our own entrepreneurs and innovators can realise their dreams?

    • Colonial Viper 57.1

      US federal funding still leads US innovation.

      Mostly in weapons systems and security state surveillance apparatus nowadays…

      • Draco T Bastard 57.1.1

        Don’t kid yourself, i.e, 75% of new drugs out of the US are government funded.

  58. Lloyd 58

    Will Labour invest money in relocating all strategic assets at least 60m above sea level if it is still interested in digging up coal and oil? This is the sort of sea level we can expect once Greenland and Antarctica are all melted.

    Did you hear the latest news from Antarctica that Western Antarctica glaciers WILL melt and raise sea levels several metres and do this within a probably quite a short period?

  59. greywarbler 59

    How are you able to counteract what appear to be blatant lies from John Key? Or say he is partly right but mostly wrong. Would it be suitable to say that you want to put the record straight or would it be letting him run the discourse? Getting Labour’s profile and its policies and refreshing on past outcomes to the voters is important. But getting through the fog of misinformation is hard with these attacks.

    What is your favoured method to reach out to voters most effectively?
    I note a couple of comments that Key has made recently:

    But under the Labour Government, up to 100,000 people a year listed as being in industry training were in fact “phantom trainees” who achieved no credits, and, in some cases, were no longer alive.


    But the Labour Party has questioned whether money is being held back from the Canterbury earthquake recovery to make the books look better.

    John Key said that was rubbish, and the surplus was the result of a huge effort.

    “It’s not the largest surplus in the world but it’s quite a milestone to get there after the mess we inherited from the previous Labour government, and the predictions from Treasury that we would never get back to surplus anytime over the next ten years or more.”

  60. Murray Olsen 60

    In your housing policies, there seems to be a gap at the bottom. “Affordable” seems to be based around the idea of, and ability to, buy a home. This begins above the economic level of many Kiwis, so how about an expanded State Housing scheme? This would feed into employment, safe forestry, and skills training as well, so that another Christchurch event would see us better prepared.

  61. Ecosse_Maidy 61

    Hi David,
    It is my understanding that a capital gains tax is only paid on a property once it is sold.So really it doesn’t act as a disincentive to investors at the buying end of the market.It wont make any more houses available to lower income kiwis who are out priced from the very beginning. Unless you are going to only allow access to those homes to people who have less of an income in the first place.I hope there are 100,000 more homes built but not if the average family in this country,earning an average wage is still locked out of the market.
    I wish you luck in the election.Hope you read this and understand where I am coming from.

    • SPC 61.1

      I agree there needs to be a policy to encourage landlords to sell to owner residents/tenants.

  62. Anthony 62

    Great Policys Mr Cunliff.

  63. Kaye 63

    Late of the mark here too, but I hope you will read this at some point.
    Labour hasn’t had much to say on the puntive system WINZ has become in recent years. The reality is there will always be people reliant on benefits no matter who is in power and so far you haven’t had a great deal to say about our current plight.

    So what is Labour’s welfare policy? If you become government will you reverse the sanctions that are making our already miserable lives completely unbearable? Will we be able to pay the bills and eat?
    Will consistent case managers be re-introduced for people on long-term benefits? When can we expect to see your full policy published?

    Unfortunately Labour did nothing during your last period in power to help reverse the damage done in the 90s. As a result you’ve lost a lot of our votes in recent elections (mostly to the Greens). Please convince me I should give you my party vote.

  64. Hetmes 64

    David, why were you apologising on TV last night, for union influence in the Labour party. This is Labour, you should own the fact you represent workers. And why do you come across apologetic and uncomfortable (Campbell Life) for the fact you live where you live. Since when can’t someone who lives in Herne Bay fight for the people less fortunate?

  65. SPC 65

    What is Labour’s policy on the level of the accommodation supplement in Christchurch?

    Apart from a rent controls/freeze (after the horse has bolted), why not move the area from category 3 to category 2 to reflect the higher rents?

  66. Crunchtime 66

    I’m probably waaaay too late to the party, but… I’d like to see your comment about the reduction in govt spending vs the ballooning govt foreign debt.

    This really needs to be hammered home, I’m still more than a little incredulous that newsmedia is so partisan as to ignore this stuff.

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