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David Cunliffe’s speech to the New Zealand Institute

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, March 14th, 2014 - 124 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, labour - Tags:

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

I would like to acknowledge the New Zealand Initiative and its Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich. Oliver it’s great to be here with you today – and I know this group greatly values the open contest of ideas.

You were formed from a merger of the New Zealand Institute and the Business Roundtable. This is not an audience that some would naturally associate with the Labour Party.

But I believe that we have a shared interest in an economic upgrade to a high-value economy that will support better jobs and higher incomes.

It is a project that matters to all New Zealanders, and it is one in which I have personal experience.

Before I entered politics I worked as a business consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. We worked to help companies grow, export and create more value in their operations.

In one project I led a team of mill workers at a large NZ pulp and paper mill.

Our goal was to seek practical ideas from the shop floor workers about how to do things smarter and reduce waste.

My role was to build the system that allowed all the team to contribute their best ideas, and to ensure they were analysed, implemented and tracked.

It worked beyond our expectations.  Millions of dollars a year were saved by ideas as simple as changing the wrapping on paper bales and improving work flows.

Together, we saved jobs and helped build the business.  It’s a tough industry and there have been other changes since, but we got the best we could out of what we had.

And working together – that’s what we must now do for the New Zealand economy as a whole.

Vision

New Zealanders love to say we live in the best country in the world. And it’s true. The people are great, our landscapes are spectacular, and we have a wonderful multi-cultural society.

But we are not making the most of our potential.

The problem is, while this is the best country in the world to live in, it’s not the best place to make a living.

I want to shift the New Zealand economy into high gear.

I have a vision of a New Zealand that harnesses the potential of all our people.

A vision of a country with the most productive and competitive businesses in the world.

A vision of a country with better jobs and higher wages.

It is a big step to get there.

To achieve this vision we need an economic upgrade.

That’s what I’m here to talk about today.

What’s the problem?

An old Chinese proverb says: “A peasant must stand a long time on a hillside with his mouth open before a roast duck flies in.”

It’s a warning.

Sometimes good things can fall into our lap, like periods of high commodity prices.

But it’s not a serious long-term strategy to tie our economic well-being to forces that are largely beyond our control.

Yes, New Zealand floats like a small boat on the ocean of the global economy. But I refuse to accept we can’t influence our own destiny. Together, we can achieve sustainable long-term growth.

Small states like Sweden, Norway and Singapore prove it is possible.  It’s time we woke up to what has been happening in these economies, rather than staying locked in a 1990s time warp.

I’m sure there will be some in the room who disagree. But it is the view of the Labour Party that a disproportionate and growing share of the value of the New Zealand economy is accruing to the top few percent.

Labour supports positive business, but trickle-down economics and its neoliberal parentage have failed New Zealanders and left many of our emerging businesses starved of investment capital and skills.

The opportunity gaps have widened and there is no clear, shared strategy to a high value, high income future.

That’s something Labour will change. We want an economy that works for all New Zealanders.

But in order to share wealth, first we have to make it.

We need to move away from a dependence on commodity price cycles, to build an enduring, high-value, job-rich economy that leverages our innate strengths.

What’s the solution?

An economic upgrade is needed because our economy runs on old “software”.

It’s a combination of poorly-structured investment in infrastructure, macro settings geared towards the interests of a small number of speculators, a hands-off approach to innovation, and a deficit of government-industry partnerships.

We keep doing what we’ve always done in spite of the evidence from those vibrant economies overseas. They show an intelligent hands-on approach plays an essential part in securing long-term sustainable growth.

A successful economy needs the right kinds of capital investment. It needs a culture of innovation and risk-taking which takes years to mature, and sometimes only months to lose.

It often needs partnerships at a regional and sector basis which are hard to build and to maintain.

And it needs a focus on producing more value in our businesses and our economy, instead of just a greater volume of the same old raw products.

A value focus will take a strong, far-sighted government, in partnership with business, to progress.

I have watched with dismay as many sectors of the New Zealand economy have found it increasingly hard to maintain the focus on value.  The goal seems to have slipped further away under the current government.

It will be a major strategic priority for the incoming Labour-led Government to support New Zealand business in the journey from volume to value.

From an economy driven by land banking and speculation to one extended by advanced manufacturing and innovation.

I want to set out three main parts to Labour’s economic upgrade:

  • Investment,
  • Innovation,
  • Industry.

Investment

We cannot upgrade our economy without investment. To become a high-tech economy with better jobs and higher wages, then more money going into the right areas is essential.

At the moment there is a serious shortage of cash. The NZX is a shallow cousin of stock markets around the globe. Our savings rate is dismal, meaning most new investment comes from overseas and not from local sources. Our poorly structured foreign direct investment means profits far too often drain overseas, deepening the hole in our current account.

There is significant shortage of capital, especially venture capital to go towards Kiwi businesses.

To make matters worse, most of our investment goes into the out-of-control housing market where property speculators make a killing. The productive economy sees very little of that money.

Our banking and insurance sectors, which are supposed to be the main conduit for financing smart Kiwi businesses, have become almost entirely overseas owned. That doesn’t help Kiwis build an economy they own.

Labour’s strategy is to upgrade the size and focus of our capital markets.

We will dramatically increase the local investment pool available to New Zealand businesses.

We will make KiwiSaver universal.

Every employee will contribute to their KiwiSaver account, not only ensuring financial security for New Zealanders in old age, but also making a significant boost to capital available for investment now. We have seen the success of this across the Tasman. I want to replicate that, and I know I am supported in that goal by many New Zealand businesses.

We are also committed to restarting contributions to the Super Fund. This was one of the great successes of the last Labour Government, and it will be so again under the next one.

But increasing the investment pool is not enough in itself.

Our capital gains tax will dissuade investors from speculating in the housing market and encourage them to put money into the productive exporting side of the economy.

That’s money to invest in the economic upgrade. It’s also policy many New Zealand businesses support.

The second major element to the investment upgrade is overseas investment. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a good thing, if managed well.

But right now FDI is poorly managed, and it’s Kiwis who are losing out. Overseas investors are buying up land, farms and good companies, then sending the profits and jobs offshore.

New Zealanders want choices in their future. We need to make sure this happens.

Labour will revamp FDI to attract quality investors with a credible business case designed around creating jobs and providing new technology to New Zealand companies.

Overseas investors are welcome to be part of our economy but they must contribute to the upgrade.

Our changes to Overseas Investment Office (OIO) rules will ensure overseas investors will bring access to leading-edge technology and new overseas markets.

Investment works best if costs and barriers to business are reduced. The biggest obstacle to our exporting businesses is the consistently overvalued and volatile exchange rate. Labour has long signalled it will review monetary policy to ensure our dollar is more fairly valued to help business and lower our external balance.

My deputy and Finance spokesperson David Parker is leading this work and will be speaking more on this in the near future.

Increasing investment and getting it into the right areas with the right payoffs will be a major part of the economic upgrade. Primarily it will help fund the economic upgrade for innovation.

Innovation

Innovation is essential to New Zealand’s economic upgrade. To be a high-tech, sustainable economy that offers skilled jobs and high wages we need to be at the forefront of global innovation.

If we don’t innovate we can’t compete.

The innovation upgrade won’t just be about new gadgets and great products. It will require a culture of change.

Thankfully New Zealanders have an innovative culture. We think outside the square. We’ve always had to. We have great bones to build on.

But in commercial terms New Zealand’s investment in R&D is well below par in global terms, and it is in private R&D that we are particularly weak.

Our R&D spend is currently 1.27% (2012) of GDP, of which only 0.58% is private spending.  Compare that to Denmark, with 3.07% (2010) or Israel at 4.34% (2010).

We need to turn our numbers around, and fast.

Labour in government will restart New Zealand’s stalled innovation story.

We will renew the R&D tax credit.

We will significantly increase Crown investment in R&D, with a focus on co-funding from the private sector.

Before I became a business consultant and entered politics, I had the privilege of studying at Harvard University. In the United States I saw the value of universities, industry and venture capital working together.

That is the culture Labour will be encouraging in our research and teaching institutions; unleashing our best minds into partnerships with industry.

Labour also brings a broader concept of innovation to the table.

We must meld our creativity with capital to build small to medium companies which dominate in market niches. We must foster talent to develop innovative products and services that people want to buy, and we must protect our intellectual property.

We need to honour and replicate the likes of HamiltonJet, Icebreaker and Orion Health – mid-sized companies that have developed innovative products and services that the world wants to buy.

In these cases, the high value activity and ownership has remained in New Zealand.

But innovation is not just about hard science and new products. It is also about the softer aspects of business, such as distribution and marketing.

Our current innovation problems are hurting us in the industry that will drive our future – ICT.

If we compare ourselves with other smaller successful nations, it soon becomes clear that we have a deficit of around ten thousand high-tech jobs.

Many of our children, and those who are teaching them, are running yesterday’s technology, and are falling behind their peers in the rest of the developed world.

We cannot let that continue. ICT today plays a role similar to the railway in the 19th century.  It is the infrastructure that opens up new markets and new supply chains.

Places like Israel have realised the importance of upgrading ICT skills and related creative skills to support growth and innovation in other industries.

We need to follow in their footsteps to upgrade our ICT industry.

Labour is committed to overcoming the digital divide. We will not build a tech-savvy generation without new generation technology.

That’s why our policy is to raise the bar in terms of ensuring access to fast broadband within low-decile schools.

And Labour will introduce a “digital bill of rights” to give certainty to business and all New Zealanders that we can live, work and play safely and productively in the digital world.

We will make further announcements in this important area.

Industry

Investment and innovation are the essential frameworks for supporting business and growth and leading the economic upgrade.

But it is also essential that government mucks in and supports businesses. While I back our business community to lead in the global economy we are competing with far bigger and stronger players than us.

Government should back positive Kiwi businesses, not leave it to the wolves of international trade. Labour will do that. We want good jobs in every region in New Zealand.

That also means attracting industry to New Zealand regions that need it most.

Industry policy has become a dirty word. It isn’t. Regional development has also fallen by the wayside. Labour will bring it back. We want good jobs in every region of New Zealand.

We have witnessed a loss of heart in regional New Zealand.  There are opportunities for growth, investment and innovation in our regions, and in sectors such as forestry.

Yes, there are challenges.  But experience has shown there are ways to partner with local businesses to create value.

So under Labour the regions will play a major role in the economic upgrade.

It is time that central government stopped treating regional and local government (and their economic development agencies) as second class citizens.

Sustainable economic development means jointly developing one vision, one strategy and one engagement structure for each region.

That means simplifying the governance structures and no wrong door for businesses and communities wanting to engage in building a better future.

It means enhanced coordination and prioritisation of Crown investments, with a focus on transformative projects executed within a strong strategic framework.

Examples could include new infrastructure like a rail head to Northport or dredging the Opotiki Harbour bar to drive new aquaculture.

Or expanding research projects tailored to lead industry clusters like Scion’s Rotorua forestry expertise, or the Marlborough Wine Research Centre.

Or harnessing our polytechs to provide industry-specific training to the 70% of NZ school-leavers who do not go on to university; as centres of excellence that serve the key industries in their area, such as in forestry, tourism, fisheries, ICT, CAD, construction and viticulture.

And post-settlement iwi will have an important role as core asset owners and employers in our regions. They must be part of our shared future.

Success stories tell us something, and that is that when government is a partner in the long journey from volume to value then regions and communities can thrive.

There is no set template for regional growth. But disengagement achieves nothing. We must work together and ensure all our industries are humming.

In the very near future, I’ll be making the first of a series of industry announcements, providing concrete examples of how the economic upgrade will work.

Summary

Today I have outlined the framework for New Zealand’s economic journey to a higher value, higher knowledge, higher income and renewable future.

We want better jobs and higher wages for all New Zealanders.

We all know that in order to sustainably lift incomes we need to sustainably lift productivity.

We all know that just being a producer of raw materials, stuck on the treadmill of commodity price cycles, is not the way to that better future.

Especially when our warped tax system and our inadequate savings system incentivise over-investment in real estate, and under-investment in innovation.

New Zealand must be more than a farm to be harvested by offshore banks. We must grow our manufacturing and high-end services sectors. We must provide opportunities to inspire our best and brightest young innovators to build job creating businesses here in New Zealand.

Today I have set out for you the crucial elements of an economic upgrade that will put us on the road to shared prosperity: Investment, Innovation and Industry.

These require serious policy changes, not tinkering. That’s why we will have:

  • Capital gains tax to move from speculation to innovation,
  • Universal KiwiSaver to grow our onshore investment capital,
  • Monetary policy reform to back our exporters,
  • R&D tax credits to encourage innovation,
  • A series of industry and regional strategies that grow New Zealand’s wealth.

And all of this will leverage off a sound fiscal policy based on fairness, responsibility and sustainability.

Conclusion

We are a wonderful, beautiful country.  We can be a land of hope and opportunity for all New Zealanders.  We can truly be  – as the late Sir Paul Callaghan dreamed – a place where global talent wants to live.

We are small in size but we don’t have to be small in vision.  We cannot bet on all possible futures at once – but we can focus on what we can do well, and do it even better.

Actually we should aim to be world class in every niche we enter into.

And that – by definition – must be a shared journey. We are all in this together. Government and business, employers and workers.

Today has been about setting out the vision for a high value, sustainable future with better jobs and higher wages.

Labour’s economic upgrade is an opportunity to provide the decent society we all want.

124 comments on “David Cunliffe’s speech to the New Zealand Institute”

  1. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1

    The vision that Cunliffe is spelling out for NZ sounds infinitely more promising than National’s approach of selling out to the lowest bidder, giving contracts (& thus exporting jobs) to overseas companies, giving money to those already wealthy and keeping wage low (or lowering them) for those that are working on wages that already don’t cover living costs, ignoring workers rights to good work conditions and degenerating workers power to negotiate, amongst other things.

    • JustLikeTigerWoods 1.1

      It sounds just like what I was advocating. Deeper capital markets, more focus on investment and saving, incentivize capital investment in labour.

      So why do I get called every name under the sun, yet when Cunliffe says it, you applaud? That’s what blind tribalism gets you, huh.

      Good on Cunliffe. He’s gone up in my estimation.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Every name under the sun? I’ve barely got started.

        It’s because your prescription will deliver the opposite of your stated aims, and this is blindingly obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention.

        • JustLikeTigerWoods 1.1.1.1

          Not to you it seems, as Cunliffe is singing from the same songbook. He’s even quoting the exact same source I did, namely Sir Paul Callaghan.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1

            “The left must convince the voters that New Zealand is on the wrong track fiscally, and present policy that would make it better.”

            “what expenditure would you cut?”

            “There is no child poverty”

            Have you come to terms with Puddleglum’s exposure of your innumeracy yet?

            • JustLikeTigerWoods 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Cunliffe is advocating the exact same things I do, namely deeper capital markets, more focus on investment and saving, incentivize capital investment in labour.

              Which is why you’re desperately trying to change the topic. Nice to know you’ve come around after someone else told you what to think.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                English Comprehension 101, OAB’s special course for special wingnuts.

                My remark “your prescription will deliver the opposite of your stated aims” is an attack on your prescription, not your stated aims.

                Puddleglum pointed out how innumerate you are with reference to your errors in understanding the definition of poverty. I had spotted them before that, so I gambled that someone else would fill in the gap for me. Puddleglum obliged. However, I note that you had been drivelling about your wizened understanding of “the mean” whereas Puddleglum referenced the median. Nonetheless, Puddleglum’s argument holds.

                You’re innumerate, and yet you arrogantly presume to lecture on Economics. Fuck off.

                • JustLikeTigerWoods

                  Stick to the topic.

                  And go fuck yourself, too, but only if someone else tells you it’s okay first. Heaven forbid you’d think for yourself.

                  In response to your off-topic dribbling:

                  http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/economics/the-problem-with-relative-poverty

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Have you comprehended that everyone can be paid at least sixty percent of the mean yet?

                    • JustLikeTigerWoods

                      Why are you so desperate to change the topic? Go argue it in that thread, if you want.

                      This topic is about Cunliffe’s economic prescription, correctly identifying the need for deeper capital markets, savings, investment and investment in labour.

                      I agree with him.

                      How about you? You may need to ask someone else first….

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I agreed with him a long time before I’d heard of him. His prescriptions are hardly revolutionary, after all.

                      What I’m saying is that the policy prescriptions you have proposed here (and I have more quotes from you to demonstrate that if need be) will deliver the opposite of the outcomes Cunliffe wants for New Zealand.

                    • JustLikeTigerWoods

                      “His prescriptions are hardly revolutionary, after all.”

                      Same thing I’ve been saying, but when I say it, you go all tribal.

                      I look forward to seeing more detail from The Cunliffe.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No, cretin, it isn’t the aims you’ve been paying lip service to, it’s the established FACT that your prescription delivers the opposite of Cunliffe’s. Are you so fucking stupid you think repeatedly missing the point will prevent everyone else from noticing?

                      Yes, you are. Innumerate, cretinous, stupid. A typical National Party gimp. Low IQ, enlarged amygdala, utterly incapable of anything other than wearing uniforms and opening gates other people built.

                    • JustLikeTigerWoods

                      How can it when I’m agreeing with him?

                      It seems to be causing a cognitive dissonance meltdown in you that is really quite amusing.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      English comprehension 101, lesson three.

                      You agree with his ends, not his means.

                      PS: you even disagree with his facts, Maggot, when you deny child poverty.

                    • JustLikeTigerWoods

                      I’m not sure agreeing with the ends is a problem.

                      Let’s have a look at his methods:

                      Capital gains tax to move from speculation to innovation,

                      Needs more detail. Imposing a capital gains tax, alone, does not move money from speculation to innovation.

                      Universal KiwiSaver to grow our onshore investment capital,

                      Needs more detail. How is he going ensure NZers are diversified? Directing Kiwisaver into a tiny economy on the far side of the world increases risk cost.

                      Monetary policy reform to back our exporters,

                      Needs more detail.

                      R&D tax credits to encourage innovation,

                      Needs more detail. How is he going to prevent abuse?

                      A series of industry and regional strategies that grow New Zealand’s wealth.

                      Needs more detail.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Cunliffe is wrong.

                There, I said it.

                He’s still caught up in the free-market capitalism delusion.

          • dave 1.1.1.1.2

            Sir Paul Callaghan rip
            I had the privilege to listen to one of his last public presentations at 2011 labour party congress cunliffes speech was sir pauls blue print for the new zealand economy and I will take sir pauls plan over john keys anytime.

      • Huginn 1.1.2

        To the contrary, I think it’s great to hear this from you, JLTW. I think it shows you to be a pragmatic thinker with an open mind.

        Does this mean that Cunliffe gets your vote in September? 🙂

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1.1.2.1

          +1 Huginn

          @Just Like Tiger Woods.

          It is nice to see you saying something positive.

          Labour is a much better option to vote for than the National sell-outs

          • JustLikeTigerWoods 1.1.2.1.1

            Well, I’ll see what their other policies are, whether I think they can deliver them, then contrast them with Nationals.

            Labour would also have to distance themselves from the Greens, or give an indication of what Green policy positions they would adopt, and what they would rule out. I like how Cunliffe is talking centrist economic policy, but I have no time for the Greens and would not vote to enable them.

            • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Hi JLTW,

              I have posted a reply to this comment of yours on today’s Open Mike (15th March). It is post 4.

              I did this because my question would lead to the conversation getting off this thread’s topic – being a question re your stance on the Greens and not Labour.

  2. Tracey 2

    interesting speech. now the right will pick it apart BUT you can only pick apart something that says something.

    i am particularly interested in how this will be dealt with:

    ” The biggest obstacle to our exporting businesses is the consistently overvalued and volatile exchange rate. Labour has long signalled it will review monetary policy to ensure our dollar is more fairly valued to help business and lower our external balance.”

    • greywarbler 2.1

      +1

    • TightyRighty 2.2

      define fair. is it fair to consumers and poor people struggling to pay for petrol? or is it fair to exporters seeking greater revenue for their product?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        That seems to me like a false and misleading dichotomy. What makes you think it can’t be both?

        • TightyRighty 2.2.1.1

          so you know the optimal exchange rate point for our dollar vs say the US$, and at the same time the AUS$? and how does that fit with the relationship between those two currencies? you wouldn’t want to create the ability for arbitrage between the three would you? coz i’d speculate and take advantage of it. has the reserve bank the reserves to push our dollar the 2-3 base points in any direction it needs to go prevent distortion?

          Currency controls are a multi headed hydra. I agree that there needs to be fair environment for our exporters to work in. But they seem to be succeeding despite the pressures of a high dollar. it, like interest rates, are not the only factor.

          It’s a nice idea, but until there is some concrete policy as to how labour expects to achieve this “fairness” (which, incidentally, you can’t define and should be able to if you believe it exists) i am sceptical of it working at all.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1.1.1

            Strength is strength. Sun Tzu talks about the different types of ground (external factors), perhaps you should study that a little.

            • TightyRighty 2.2.1.1.1.1

              so you have no idea what i’m talking about. yet you honestly believe your opinion is important and should be listened to. OAB, you are a complete idiot. even the internet is poorer for you being on it. if you typify the average labourite, it’s small wonder they are lacking an intelligent message.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.2

            so you know the optimal exchange rate point for our dollar vs say the US$, and at the same time the AUS$?

            Yes. It is, in fact, implied by the free-market paradigm. It is:

            1/(imports/exports)

            Thus as our imports increase relative to our exports to the same country the value of our dollar to that countries currency goes down. This will be done for every country/currency.

            The purpose of the exchange rate is, after all, to encourage trade balance between the two countries.

            PS, that formula isn’t complete yet.

  3. karol 3

    It’s capitalism as usual, but with a more caring, NZ-focused and inclusive face.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      BINGO

      Economic growth remains a good thing to aim for, especially if the proceeds are fairly shared with workers.

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        Can I make a slightly out of left field comment? It is not economic growth per se that is the danger but economic growth coupled with environmental damage that is the problem. We should celebrate the idea that we could have more artists, teachers, counsellors, therapists, doctors etc to look after us but the problem is that growth is coupled with the consumption of resources and the production of pollution.

        If we could break that link then there could be a debate about growth being good for the economy.

        • karol 3.1.1.1

          Cunliffe uses the phrase “long term sustainable growth” more than once.

          Kind of hedging his bets while trying to avoid scaring big business interests too much.

          And Cunliffe talks about “growth” in relation to innovation, ICT industries and regional growth.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.2

          Julian Simon isn’t very popular, but his thesis that the most valuable resource on Earth is the educated healthy human mind is a valuable insight.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2.1

            Not just educated but experienced. IMO, a lot of the problems we have today is being caused by people who are educated but don’t have any experience. Blinglish comes to mind.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.3

          It is not economic growth per se that is the danger but economic growth coupled with environmental damage that is the problem. We should celebrate the idea that we could have more artists, teachers, counsellors, therapists, doctors etc to look after us but the problem is that growth is coupled with the consumption of resources and the production of pollution.

          interestingly, all the roles you have listed there are interpersonal ones – ones involved with the caring of others and the emotional labour associated with that. Or the transmission of a creative message to others, taking people away from the literal and arithmetic into a field which might inspire and transform the meaning of their lives.

          These are of course all things that the corporate state has sought to either destroy, or corporatise for profit.

          In their true form, they are not “economic” roles as understood by the neoliberal mindset – i.e. roles for creating private profit, the transformation and commodification of natural resources for sale, etc.

          If Cunliffe is setting out a new definition of what an economy consists of – or perhaps simply going back to the old definition where an economy exists to serve the purposes and needs of the society and its communities (not the other way around) – I would be very interested. However, that is what some would describe as a “radical” agenda.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.4

          We have to define what our resources are and what is a sustainable rate of use of them is. Then we develop our economy within those limits. This is real economics rather than the delusional financial stuff that’s taught as economics in our schools and universities.

  4. Saarbo 4

    Great speech, agree with tracey that the Right will try and tear it apart, the problem is that most of our Right are hopeless/lazy people who have relied on Capital Gains or as they put it “Passive Income” to gain their dollars, not clever/enterprising business. just look at what Amy Adam’s is doing with her Canterbury properties…classic National Party wealth generation.

    Smart/clever business people will end up siding with Labour, because although there may be an increase in their “Labour/Wage/Salary” costs there will be a much bigger increase in the Top Line…Labour’s historical average GDP growth proves it. Every ones a winner…or as DC says it “Walk and chew gum at the same time”

    and this quote:

    “Yes, New Zealand floats like a small boat on the ocean of the global economy. But I refuse to accept we can’t influence our own destiny. Together, we can achieve sustainable long-term growth.

    Small states like Sweden, Norway and Singapore prove it is possible. It’s time we woke up to what has been happening in these economies, rather than staying locked in a 1990s time warp.

    I’m sure there will be some in the room who disagree. But it is the view of the Labour Party that a disproportionate and growing share of the value of the New Zealand economy is accruing to the top few percent.

    Labour supports positive business, but trickle-down economics and its neoliberal parentage have failed New Zealanders and left many of our emerging businesses starved of investment capital and skills.”

    is spot on the MARK!!!

    • Dave_1924 4.1

      Norway floats on a sea of gas and oil for its wealth – so this means Labour supports the current governments policy of encouraging more Oil & Gas exploration? I’m totally in favour of that and setting up a Sovereign Wealth Management organisation to reap the benefits. Mighty be tough to get that past the Nimbys in the Greens though aye?

      Sweden made big money selling product and materials to fascists during WWII and has invested that loot well. They also have sat right on top of a hugely rich market called Western Europe and have been industrialised for a long time. How does NZ replicate those historical advantages or facts?

      Singapore has great geographic advantage sitting atop a major shipping route – they’ve exploited that well and used that advantage to diversify into Financial Services etc. But they have done so under an authoritarian regime which is just a little repressive. Is that what we want NZ to be – all decisions driven by Central Government?

      Totally for supporting innovative business practice – but not with state money. What does a career bureaucrat in Wellington know about risk, innovation and business?

      But one plus mark for Mr Cunnliffe – at least he is clearly acknowledging the engine of prosperity is business and risk taking. I wonder how that sits with the CTU?

      • framu 4.1.1

        “Norway floats on a sea of gas and oil for its wealth – so this means Labour supports the current governments policy of encouraging more Oil & Gas exploration?”

        are national and norways approach to resource extraction the same?

        not by a country mile

        “. Is that what we want NZ to be – all decisions driven by Central Government?”

        this has increased under national

        “at least he is clearly acknowledging the engine of prosperity is business and risk taking. I wonder how that sits with the CTU?”

        Do workers work somewhere other than businesses now? Do they not matter to the success of a business? Do they not take any risk by accepting a job at a particular workplace?

        FFS – must you parrot lines that are so easily dissected?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          Polly wants a cracker.

        • Dave_1924 4.1.1.2

          Re: Norways approach to Oil extraction –
          I said I was in favour of a Sovereign Wealth Fund approach as per Norways “encouraging more Oil & Gas exploration? I’m totally in favour of that and setting up a Sovereign Wealth Management organisation to reap the benefits”.
          I am also in support of a properly risk managed extraction operation – you didn’t reply to how Labour is going to get that past the Greens who want nothing to do with Oil and Gas exploration…

          Re: Increased control of by Central Government under National – examples please. Happy to be proved wrong by facts not a blind “increased under National” statement

          Re this little set of statements
          “Do workers work somewhere other than businesses now? Do they not matter to the success of a business? Do they not take any risk by accepting a job at a particular workplace?”

          Workers matter to business absolutely – valuable input to the production process for goods and services.

          But in terms of risk taking – what risks are they actually taking?

          Compared to the small business owners who employ large numbers of Kiwi workers the risk that a worker is taking is small.

          A small business owner often has a mortgage funding facility supporting their business plus having invested their hard won personal financial capital to get the business stood up. They can and some times do lose everything – a worker loses his/her job and can apply elsewhere for another one. Nothing in life, just like life itself, is for ever – change is inevitable

          That’s why Business Owners deserve the profits their business ventures generate – because they take the risk of the operation being successful and reap the whirlwind when it fails.

          If a worker wants a big piece of the pie – he/she can also form their own competing business and earn the profits the business generates. Or they can gather together and form a co-operative and share the risks and profits amongst themselves..

          You can argue that large Corporates exploit workers – in some cases I wouldn’t argue at all that is true – hence why I support unions existence to protect the vulnerable.

          But my point stands – business is the engine of growth and opportunity – and I am glad to see Mr Cunliffe admit that

          • Murray Olsen 4.1.1.2.1

            The oil exploration ships are leaving. The talk of huge reserves turns out to have been hype which, along with generous subsidies/bribes, got some of the worst countries in the world to send a few survey vessels down here. No doubt NAct was hoping for a find or two before the elections, but it’s not there. I suppose they’ll be happy with the second prize of cutting environmental protections and doing away with democratic rights to protest. It seems every black burned oil cloud has a silver lining for our masters after all.

          • geoff 4.1.1.2.2

            Business isn’t the engine of growth. Econ 101 fail.

            You’ve got your supply and demand completely around the wrong way. Supply rises to meet demand. Not the other way around.

            Remember, all pathways of economic demand must eventually terminate at a person.

            So if the population has no money to spend then they cannot create economic demand and the economy tanks.

            This is what has happened in many Western economies as the system has contorted to such an extent that the bulk of the population is now mired in debt and is incapable of generating the demand that a growing economy would require.

            • RedLogix 4.1.1.2.2.1

              This afternoon I had a conversation with a local businessman that went along these lines:

              BMan: “Australian wages are far too high and need to be cut”.

              RL: “So you would like all your customers to be a lot poorer?”

              BMan: ” Well yes, but with lower wages I could drop my prices”

              RL: “Fine but what about your other costs that are related to asset prices? Are you happy for property and asset prices to drop as well?”

              BMan (after a bit of a pause): “I guess that would be ok, but what about the mortgage?”

              RL: “That’s the problem with deflation, it’s far worse than inflation because the debt is fixed. Would it not be easier to just devalue the currency instead?”

              BMan: “But then you just finish up with a whole lot of imported inflation!”

              RL: “But isn’t that just the same as dropping wages? I thought you were keen on that?”

              BMan: “But devaluing the currency makes the whole country poorer”

              RL: “What not just the workers?”

              (Temperature drops a few degrees as it is prone to do around here quite rapidly…)

              BMan: “Only weak and failed economies have low value currencies”

              (I was tempted at this point to mention how the NZ dollar is almost at parity with the Aussie but I figured that would be a counterproductive tangent)

              RL: “So what are we to make of China fixing it’s currency at a fraction of it’s float value then?”

              BMan: “Isn’t there a paddock full of merinos where you should be right now?”

            • dave_1924 4.1.1.2.2.2

              Demand is extremely important – but was there a demand for the iPhone before it was designed and built then offered for sale? Didn’t Apple take a large risk and invent a product, employ people and firms to produce and distribute it – without the demand existing already??

              Demand and Supply co-exist. Some time there is demand for a product or service which is not already available in the market place and someone steps in and fulfils that demand. Other times demand is CREATED by people or business offering new products and services which people have never heard of before

              So – no, not econ101 fail. I actually passed that puppy a long time ago….

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.3

            I said I was in favour of a Sovereign Wealth Fund approach as per Norways “encouraging more Oil & Gas exploration?

            We don’t need oil and gas extraction. In fact, considering AGW, we’d be far better off without it. You’re a typical RWNJ – you think that there’s only one type of resource and that we need to dig it up ASAP and sell it to become wealthy.

            Re: Increased control of by Central Government under National – examples please.

            Warner Bros, SkyCity, Rio Tinto, ECan, etc, etc,

            Workers matter to business absolutely – valuable input to the production process for goods and services.

            The bit that you don’t understand is that they’re more valuable to the business than management.

            But in terms of risk taking – what risks are they actually taking?

            Lose your job, lose your house and family. Massive amounts of stress which damages the body. Yeah, huge amount of risk being a worker.

            That’s why Business Owners deserve the profits their business ventures generate – because they take the risk of the operation being successful and reap the whirlwind when it fails.

            See, that’s actually a load of bollocks. Every employee at a business is taking a huge risk which is why every business should be a cooperative.

            But my point stands – business is the engine of growth and opportunity

            Nope, business as it stands is a wealth siphon that rewards only the rich rather than supporting the whole society as it should.

            • dave_1924 4.1.1.2.3.1

              Draco – where are the peoples co-operatives? If your diatribe on workers being more valuable why are they not organising themselves into co-operatives to make a living for themselves…. Why are the Unions not leading that charge?

              Go on get out there and storm the barricades instead of ranting on a blog site. Do something practical ,form a co-operative and start trading for a living, don’t rely on those fat cat business owners….. I look forward to you posting here on the Standard a report on your success…….

              as for being a RWNJ – nah not me chap I am no fan of the far right and multi national corporations. I just don’t think central control of everything is the way to go…

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        What does a career bureaucrat in Wellington know about risk, innovation and business?

        Why don’t you ask John Key? He has, after all, been a career bureaucrat*. He also participated in the destruction of billions, if not trillions, of dollars of paper wealth and the selling out of a country.

        BTW, did you notice how Cunliffe shared a story about how they found far more value talking to the workers than talking to the business managers?

        * bureaucrat

        a person who is one of the people who run a government or big company and who does everything according to the rules of that government or company

        • RedLogix 4.1.2.1

          Which is not such a bad thing DtB. After all what is the alternative to doing things by the rules?

          Occasionally the odd flash of genius will slip through, but mostly it just descends into favours, nepotism, graft and outright corruption.

  5. Ad 5

    And he did a pretty compelling job at the Committee for Auckland yesterday as well.

    Feel the fluidity of it, and compare it to the lumpy and poorly-stitched passages in the welfare one he did at Kelson a month ago. Feels like either there’s a new speechwriter in the office who has his cadence down, or Cunliffe is taking a clearer role controlling the pen himself.

    Signs are good. Now all he has to do is throw the notes away – he doesn’t ned to deliver every line. Journos always know there’s differences to delivered text – and the really quotable stuff comes in the Q and A afterwards.

    A couple more of these and maybe the donors will come back after last weeks’ fuckups.

  6. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6

    Anyone know what the audience’s reaction was?

    I understand the NZ Institute to be a right wing think tank

    I trust some were turning varying shades of green, yellow and red (perhaps even purple needs to be mentioned for some holding the most extreme right-wing views : ) ).

    I would like to think that many [o.k even some will do] saw the sense in what Cunliffe was saying.

    What was the audience reaction, anyone know?

    • dw 6.1

      The NZ Institute was an evidence based relatively neutral organisation not captured by the neoliberal disease. The NZ Initiative is a reverse take over from the Business Round Table, and has amply demonstrated a return to it’s Roger Kerr roots. Shame on them.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6.1.1

        Thanks DV,

        I was not immediately aware* that there were two organisations with such similar names, nor that they had been conflated in this post, and thus, had carried it on (NZ Institute vs NZ Initiative). Guilty [again] of not reading carefully enough.

        *Your comment jogged my memory.

        Thank you for clarifying the matter – it is an important distinction.

  7. Fransisco Franco 7

    Would have been interesting to see David explain how a government saddled with the Greens is going to drive the New Zealand economy forward. Which will create employment and growth without blowing out in costs , red tape and compliance!

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1

      Responding to the Greens issues is not really Mr Cunliffe’s main job as leader of the Labour party.

      However the query you have is pretty simply answered.

      If you are setting up a business that stands to create problems in the environment all that is required of you to ‘save money on compliance’ is come up with a well thought out plan that minimises these environmental problems.

      If one doesn’t want to think of such considerations and push through an unsustainable idea – this costs a lot – that is when RMA is followed in the spirit it was meant to be.

      If businesses are allowed to create unsustainable businesses (i.e. ‘red tape’ and ‘compliance’ is in existence) this causes a great deal of costs to others (if not the owner as well) in the future.

      This is how having rules that safe guard our environment saves money and moves the economy forward whereas weakening such safeguards moves us backwards.

      e.g. If our water supply become undrinkable – this costs everyone ill health and someone (most likely taxpayers) the expense of new fangled water filters. In this way, living with disregard to the environment is a way to damage the economy – not move it forward.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        +1111

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1.1.1

          Heck – I just realised there is a major error in this comment of mine (thanks for reading past it DTB)

          Correction: “If businesses are allowed to create unsustainable businesses (i.e. ‘red tape’ and ‘compliance’ are undermined/removed) this causes a great deal of costs to others (if not the owner as well) in the future.

    • karol 7.2

      Cunliffe talks about sustainability several times in the speech.

    • framu 7.3

      what would be interesting is seeing people actually bothering to read what green policies are – not what their opponents claim them to be

    • Murray Olsen 7.4

      I always get a laugh when some RW douchebag names himself after a fascist dictator and spells the name wrong. A tomar por el culo, fascista!

  8. ianmac 8

    “Labour supports positive business, but trickle-down economics and its neoliberal parentage have failed New Zealanders and left many of our emerging businesses starved of investment capital and skills.”
    Now there is a basic truth that Politicians have avoided saying. And brave to do so at the New Zealand Initiative forum.
    There were some who have been critical that Labour had failed to engage with the Business. But David’s excellent speech is the opening round.

  9. Tracey 9

    less of the thinkimg tank.

    ask yourselves two questions:

    why did they change their name/s
    why do we almost nothing from them when national is in power and cant shut them up when labour is in power

    • ianmac 9.1

      True Tracey but what better place to approach the enemy but in their own bunkers.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.2

      Thanks Tracey, It is a bit hard to understand your comment – yet I believe you are responding to my reference to the ‘NZ Institute’ as being a think tank – I see I was in error – it would be more a big business self interested anti worker group of cronies, wouldn’t it?

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.2.1

        Correction: That should be NZ Initiative – not NZ Institute

  10. ianmac 10

    And come to think of it David has worked with Business and helped with innovation. John Key on the other hand has no experience other than buying and selling money. David’s approach to business innovation by involving the workers is transformational and suggest much more support for Research and Development. (Shades of Charles Handy’s approach including flatter management styles?)

    • greywarbler 10.1

      iJohn Key on the other hand has no experience other than buying and selling money
      or another way, experience in buying and selling other people’s money clipping the ticket, each time it goes round and making money from others who are trying to protect their money from people like him who are buying and selling and clipping the ticket each time, and setting arguable values on all of that, may change tomorrow, or tonight, or in the next hour, or now.

      They are busy little wasps raiding other people’s honey pots, and doing very little original gathering. That’s how John Key made his money, and the banks and finance houses who have taken ownership of the financial system and run governments and a fiefdom over the worlds’s people. And we expected him to care about we NZs? What an innocent or ignorant lot.

  11. Tracey 11

    it should make the nzi look stupid if they criticise cunliffes vision, but its how its reported that matters.

    most dont know this is the rebranded round table, which is why they merged and dropped the rt tag.

  12. arandar 12

    I thought this speech of Cunliffe’s was to the NZ Initiative?

    this: What is The New Zealand Initiative…
    The New Zealand Initiative is a business group with a difference. We are a think tank that is a membership organisation; we are an association of business leaders that is also a research institute. And we believe that these are not contradictions.

    Is it the same as the NZ Institute just wearing a different hat? Or what?

    • karol 12.1

      At the beginning of the speech Cunliffe addresses it to the New Zealand Initiative and says it was formed from the NZ Institute and Business Roundtable – so an error in the title and front page of the post.

  13. Tracey 13

    srylands, chris, bm, and others have been conspicuously quiet these past couple of days. have farrar and slater been slow to spin the collins and williamson and guy stuff?

  14. tinfoilhat 14

    Meh same old Labour (National light)……… still that’s why I vote green I suppose.

  15. greywarbler 15

    David Cunliffe’s speech strikes the right tone.
    Labour and leader Cunliffe and the NZ Insitute and their champion Oliver H.
    A bit like Ukraine and Russia squaring off.
    They need to find how to see ways to work together for good outcomes.
    A Cold War, or a hot one, a conflict or a standoff, isn’t to anyone’s advantage.

    • Pasupial 16.1

      Karol

      Yeh, I saw that earlier on. There’s some nice shots of Jones looking uncomfortable at not being able to blurt out his random brainfarts. Little footage of the actual speech, but long unexplained minutes of some unidentified hands counting out a stack of $100 notes.

      It comes across like the speech recording was done over the top of the NZI’s version of a porn tape (giving a new meaning to the term; “money-shot”).

      • karol 16.1.1

        Yes, the $100 bill inserts were strange.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1.1.1

          Strange, unless you think that someone was trying to make it look simultaneously boring and a bit dodgy. Then it would make perfect sense.

    • David H 16.2

      I just wish they would put these up on You Tube of their own site as a lot is lost in the reading the speech, when listening/watching then you get all the nuances.

  16. Penny Bright 17

    Posted in the interests of informed debate:

    If Labour are genuine about rolling back neo-liberal Rogernomics (which the 1984 -87 Labour Government started), how about ‘opening the books’ and ‘cutting out the contractors’ – at both central and local government level?

    Where does David Cunliffe (Labour) NOW stand on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)?

    I for one am not interested in any ‘weasel words’ that PPPs aren’t actually privatisation, because public assets aren’t sold.

    At central government level -the Rogernomics blitzkreig was commercialise, corporatise – PRIVATISE.

    First SOES (State-Owned Enterprises) – then PRIVATISATION.

    At local government level it was LATES ( Local Authority Trading Enterprises) then – the alphabet name change to Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs).

    Now of course – with the ‘economies of scale’ provided by the forced Auckland Supercity amalgamation – there is a greater possibility for CCOs – then PPPs.

    Just read the Ernst and Young Report that the Auckland Mayor Len Brown commissioned on PPPs (- yes – the same Ernst and Young who provided the ‘whitewash coverup review’ that helped to protect him from possible criminal prosecution – in my considered opinion).

    http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/document/pdf/201348/PPPStudyForAttachmen1.pdf

    “The Mayor has asked for a position paper to be developed on the nature and uses of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). This paper is to focus on the range of PPP options that may be suitable for major Council and CCO projects.”

    I don’t see anything David Cunliffe is saying to the former Business Roundtable (Now NZ Initiative) and (apparently ) the Committee for Auckland (who really run the Auckland region) – that would frighten these big business robber barons – because – in my considered opinion, he’s not putting forward policies that would really help to ROLL BACK ROGERNOMIC$.

    ie: Opening the books and cutting out the consultants and private contractors.

    For some suggestions for how to bring about some GENUINE ‘transparency’ in New Zealand – help yourself …..

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ANTI-CORRUPTION-WHITE-COLLAR-CRIME-CORPORATE-WELFARE-ACTION-PLAN-Ak-Mayoral-campaign-19-July-2013-2.pdf

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    • tricledrown 17.1

      Penny not so bright.
      Being a martyr to the cause is really dumb
      Time to get your house in order so you can continue the good fight.
      Not knowing when to retreat and fight another day has lost many wars.
      Time to retreat lick your wounds and have a good base to fight from
      .

      • Penny Bright 17.1.1

        ‘It is not rash to take a calculated risk’ (General Paton).

        ‘Faint heart never won fair go’ (me).

        Thank you for your concern – but I know exactly what I’m doing – defending my lawful right to ‘open, transparent and democratically-accountable’ local government.

        In the 2013 Auckland Mayoral election – I campaigned on ‘open the books’ and ‘cut out the contractors’ and polled fourth with nearly 12,000 votes.

        It would be an interesting development if others who support my stand were to email Mayor Len Brown, and state that they were considering joining my ‘rates revolt’ for genuine transparency in Auckland Council and CCO spending?

        As long as the Auckland Council and CCO ‘books’ are not open, and we’re not being told exactly where public rates monies are being paid:

        ie: the NAMES of the consultants / contractors
        the SCOPE of the contracts
        the TERM of the contracts
        and the VALUE of the contracts

        I WILL NOT PAY AUCKLAND COUNCIL RATES.

        End of story.

        Please be reminded of the Public Records Act 2005:

        http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345729.html

        17 Requirement to create and maintain records

        (1) Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.

        So – when Auckland Council does not comply with the RULE OF LAW – what happens to them?

        Oh yes – they try to neck-stamp concerned citizens / whistle-blowers who have the guts to stand up to them.

        If you think I’m going to put up with that sh*t – think again.

        Kind regards,

        Penny Bright

        http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

        • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1.1.1

          Is there somewhere we can donate to help you keep your house, your madjesty?

          If we donate, do you promise to not accuse us of corruption for funding Auckland City Council?

  17. freedom 18

    I’ve got $5* that says the ‘paper bales wrapper’ comment will become a focal point of the Government’s attempts at criticism of what is a strong and clear statement. That statement being there is more than enough proof, after thirty years, that this dangerously expensive experimental machine has failed and the future can not continue the mantras of a free market ideology driven by profit and fuelled with unaccountability.

    *I really don’t have $5 so if you don’t mind, no bets will be taken 🙂

  18. The Real Matthew 19

    The problem with Cunliffe’s speech is that the policy doesn’t match what he is trying to achieve

    “Capital gains tax to move from speculation to innovation,
    Universal KiwiSaver to grow our onshore investment capital,
    Monetary policy reform to back our exporters,
    R&D tax credits to encourage innovation,
    A series of industry and regional strategies that grow New Zealand’s wealth.”

    A 10% non-universal CGT is not going to see people abandon housing for other investments. Overseas has shown us this. Overseas has also shown us that house prices rise over time when a CGT is introduced. Surely not what Cunliffe is trying to achieve?

    Given the number of people in Kiwisaver already, universal Kiwisaver is not going to suddenly bring a huge pool of funds. Also, Kiwisaver investers need to be diversified in their investments to ensure certainty in returns. How is Cunliffe proposing to maintain diversification whilst investing more heavily in New Zealand?
    Sounds good, exactly what is the policy here? There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you tailor your monetary policy further towards exporters someone else will suffer elsewhere in the economy.

    Last time out this was a hugely complicated regime that achieved little additional R&D expenditure. Made for some additional accounting fees though so I guess one sector benefitted!

    Again what’s the detail here? Taranaki has enjoyed regional growth on the back of oil & gas exploration. Is Cunliffe backing this? Regional growth in NZ has been good and has been widespread in the last year or so. Not sure exactly what this policy entails.

    • The Chairman 19.1

      Exactly.

      These are virtually the same policies Shearer and Goff were offering. Their past approach which failed miserably.

  19. Tracey 20

    whereas nationals detail is

    ” we wont sell more assets” followed by defining silence, no plan b.

  20. lefty 21

    I read this speech several times looking for something to be hopeful about in it.

    I am really sorry that this meaningless blather is the best Mr Cunliffe can do.

    I have heard variations of the same speech made by a number of politicians, right wing think tank spokespeople and various other odds and sods over the last thirty years.

    It offers nothing to those who need relief from the drudgery and pain of poverty right now but is rich in promises on how he will make capitalism work better for those who already have plenty.

    Even if his simplistic bollocks about deeper capital markets, innovation etc were to work some time after we are all dead there can be only one set of winners in following that course and it is not the workers who create the wealth or those excluded from participating in the economy in any meaningful way at present.

    Hopeless!

    • JustLikeTigerWoods 21.1

      Cunliffe is short on detail, but he is correct about the problem. And the solution.

      “there can be only one set of winners in following that course”

      People in work or people looking for work.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1.1

        Bollocks. Their employers will also benefit. Mind you, they always benefit from the better educated healthier workforce the Left delivers.

        • JustLikeTigerWoods 21.1.1.1

          Their employers are in work.

          Are you saying people are less educated and less healthy since Rogernomics? Do you now agree, with Cunliffe and myself, that deeper capital markets are needed, more savings, more investment?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1.1.1.1

            English Comprehension 101 for special winguts, lesson two.

            “I agreed with him a long time before I’d heard of him”, means exactly what it says.

            Perhaps some sort of IQ therapy is required.

            • JustLikeTigerWoods 21.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s nice.

              Meanwhile, looks like Cunliffe and I are on roughly the same page, although I await further detail. You appear to be waiting for someone else to tell you which page you are on, lest you inadvertently agree with me, a black hole opens up, and you get sucked into the swirling orifice.

              Cunliffe is sounding very National Lite in that speech….

          • lefty 21.1.1.1.2

            Deeper capital markets, more investment, more savings.

            They won’t make the slightest bit of difference to most of us.

            And moving the precariat a bit one side or other of the employment/unemployment line by getting them into crap jobs and making bosses even richer is not the answer, even if this could actually be achieved some time in the far distant future by following the Cunliffe recipe.

            I know!, I know!

            The Cunliffes of this world believe in quality jobs based on innovation, investment in research, regional development strategies, blah blah blah and a lot more old bollocks.

            Various snake oil salespeople have offered up this blander, gentler form of business as usual in the last few decades, both here and in other countries. Jim Anderton used to talk like this for example as did the third wayers in the UK.

            It is just empty rhetoric to justify trying to make capitalism work instead of confronting the difficult task of trying to build an economy that serves us rather than rules us.

  21. adam 22

    And the winner on the day – liberalism. So we tinker whilst America burns – joy.

  22. Ron 23

    WTF! What is Cunliffe doing even addressing the NZ Initiative (formerly Business Round Table). It is giving then a legitimacy they do not deserve. Considering the unholy relationship with these people in 1984 talking to them now seems pointless and almost a betrayal of those that fought against the Labour direction in the 1984-1990 period.
    Look at the people involved. It proudly proclaims its close relationship with Australia’s CIS which Ruth Richardson was connected with if my memory serves me correctly.
    Their motto might well be “When the people find our what we are up to we will change our name and continue ripping them off for a few more years”
    Stay away DC it will only leave people with the impression that you are more interested in the fascist right than you have publicly said.

  23. BLiP 24

    David Cunliffe To Kiwi Translation Service

    A value focus will take a strong, far-sighted government, in partnership with business, to progress.

    PPPs

    We will dramatically increase the local investment pool available to New Zealand businesses. We will make KiwiSaver universal.

    Turn New Zealand’s retirement savings into a gamblers ante and commence playing the markets.

    The second major element to the investment upgrade is overseas investment. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a good thing, if managed well. We will renew the R&D tax credit. We will significantly increase Crown investment in R&D, with a focus on co-funding from the private sector.

    A corporate welfare and tax dodge combo for international corporations.

    Sustainable economic development means jointly developing one vision, one strategy and one engagement structure for each region. That means simplifying the governance structures and no wrong door for businesses and communities wanting to engage in building a better future.

    Hamilton Super City, Wellington Super City, Christchurch Super City, Dunedin Super City . . .

    1984 – here we come. Again.

    • Draco T Bastard 24.1

      Well said BLiP

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 24.1.1

        But is it well said?

        Or have some of these statements been taken out of context? [Genuine question]

        e.g.

        “We will dramatically increase the local investment pool available to New Zealand businesses. We will make KiwiSaver universal.” – Cunliffe

        “Turn New Zealand’s retirement savings into a gamblers ante and commence playing the markets”. – Blip

        If Cunliffe’s comments re a government push to stop speculation is combined with the above quote of Cunliffe’s – surely this move becomes one to increase the pool of investment for productive enterprises (jobs) and move away from ‘gambling’ ?

        “A value focus will take a strong, far-sighted government, in partnership with business, to progress.” – Cunliffe

        “PPPs” – Blip

        Again, what are Labour’s other stances that would make this move a different nature than those set up by a right-wing government. This might be that of encouraging small – medium sized businesses (as mentioned in the speech) rather than big/corporate ones.

        Blip’s third quote of Cunliffe does hold cause for concern – I don’t really understand what Cunliffe is driving at here and it does sound somewhat dodgy – particularly: “That means simplifying the governance structures “.

    • Jim Nald 24.2

      From David Cunliffe, that is a great speech, very well rounded and most sensible.

      But, just one BUT for the moment, while reading all that, what I could think of is: the Labour caucus, with David T.I.N.A. Parker’s direction and blessing, will be pushing out the age for retirement?? So what are the alternatives, David Cunliffe? Please explain and justify, Davids. (And please try not to lose out on the debate against National.)

      From BLiP, that is very interesting. I have a lot of respect for your comments and compilations, and thank you for these.

  24. JK 26

    David Cunliffe is saying publicly the neo-liberal experiment of the last three decades have failed. This , to me, is the most significant statement – and all else will now flow from that. What’s more, he has his finance spokesperson on side with that too.

    ” Labour supports positive business, but trickle-down economics and its neoliberal parentage have failed New Zealanders and left many of our emerging businesses starved of investment capital and skills. The opportunity gaps have widened and there is no clear, shared strategy to a high value, high income future. That’s something Labour will change. We want an economy that works for all New Zealanders.”

  25. Draco T Bastard 27

    Our savings rate is dismal, meaning most new investment comes from overseas and not from local sources.

    It’s not savings that are the problem. In fact, we could do without savings just as we can do without foreign investment. The problem is that the private banks create and control our money and they create it primarily into the housing sector. Take that control away from the private banks and have the government create the money and spend it where it needs to be spent and we’ll get the innovation and prosperity that we need.

    There is significant shortage of capital, especially venture capital to go towards Kiwi businesses.

    That’s because the capitalists are looking for short term sure things. They really don’t support the decades long research and development that brings true innovation to an economy. That takes a government that’s determined to actually do right for the country which, since the 1980s, has precluded both Labour and National as the chased the delusional free-market utopia. Mariana Mazzucato describes that quite clearly in The Entrepreneurial State. It’s not the free-market nor private enterprise that ultimately developed the PC that you’re reading this on.

    Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a good thing, if managed well.

    Nope, it’s always a bad thing as it turns NZers into serfs of the foreign owners. There’s a reason why we got rid of feudalism and those reasons still stand and so our governments, our political parties, should not be trying to bring it back.

    Before I became a business consultant and entered politics, I had the privilege of studying at Harvard University.

    That wouldn’t be privilege, that would be indoctrination.

    In the United States I saw the value of universities, industry and venture capital working together.

    And failed to see that most of that R&D was supported by the US government through departments such as DARPA, ERPA, NASA and scores more. The US actually has a research and development structure that works and it’s entirely centred on government support and direction. The only real problem with the US system is that the private sector ends up with all the profits while the government and the country that supported all that development gets nothing. This is exaggerated by the tax havens and other tax dodges that the private companies use to prevent paying tax.

    We will renew the R&D tax credit.

    Waste of time and money.

    Investment and innovation are the essential frameworks for supporting business and growth and leading the economic upgrade.

    Silicon Valley became possible because the US government put in, in today’s dollars, billions of dollars per year of support and infrastructure which included the initial fabrication plants.

    And, after all that, there’s still no such thing as sustainable growth. There is such a thing as sustainable development.

  26. Jim Nald 28

    DC’s speech and, particularly, his statement “We want better jobs and higher wages for all New Zealanders” brings to mind this and let’s hope he lives up to making that happen:

    “Remember the days when families could live off one income?

    “The graph shows a market failure which has made this near impossible for most families. We’re working harder and longer than ever before, but wages have remained flat. The failure of wages to keep up has meant many families are living in poverty. It hurts me to think that 270,000 kids live in poverty in this country. Part of the solution is a Living Wage for all Kiwi workers, and fairer workplace laws.

    “I’ll lead a government that is prepared to tackle this injustice head on.”

    ‘Mind the Gap” – the way forward

    • The Chairman 28.1

      Is he bringing back Unions to help restore wage disparity?

      Is he going to increase benefits to help address inequality and help drive up the minimum wage?

      Is he bringing in a price freeze to prevent the fiscal benefits of minimum wage increases being lost to inflation?

      Despite the great sounding rhetoric, just what do they plan to do to achieve this aim?

    • geoff 28.2

      Cost of living is just as important in my opinion.
      Cost of housing, food, electricity are at criminal levels considering our natural resources available and those extortionate costs are mostly due to a lack of regulation.

  27. newsense 29

    Time for Labour to set out clearly how they would pick winners as opposed to how National is doing it.

  28. Ad 30

    So I want to return to the content of this. Check out this passage:

    These require serious policy changes, not tinkering. That’s why we will have:

    Capital gains tax to move from speculation to innovation,
    Universal KiwiSaver to grow our onshore investment capital,
    Monetary policy reform to back our exporters,
    R&D tax credits to encourage innovation,
    A series of industry and regional strategies that grow New Zealand’s wealth

    He also mentions a “shift in gear” and a programme “upgrade”.

    Now compare to The Dolphin and the Dole Queue speech from two years ago.

    Both speeches are saying – to quite different audiences – that he not only analyses deep into the Structural Adjustment of the 1980s and 1990s and into the GFC. Not only that. He also wants to re-establish the radical edges of the whole polity.

    In the New Zealand Institute audience he knows he is with players who depend on radical shifts in economic policy to get radical shifts in wealth (their way of course). Our economic history of 30 years tells us that’s how it’s done. He has an audience who know that their wealth aspirations are tied to policy. They are not by and large farmers and rentier-classes.

    He is laying out the bold moves Labour has on offer. Nothing new. Except that such a set of shifts looks inevitably like it has a political energy that Key’s government utterly lacks.

    The same bold moves are also seeking a parallel place at the edges of left radicalism. No other party leader has laid out such a deep understanding of the need to find common ground with the young and hungry of both the hard left and hard right.

    This is not the same as Third Way-ism. This is forming consensus strong and hard enough that people who are hungry for economic and fiscal policy change, both left and right, will back a broad and major policy shift. He wants to make them hungry for the ideas that National will themselves not to have.

    This is the heart of a radical, providing a deep reading of his audiences, preparing to unite both hard edges of New Zealand. He is preparing to shift the heart of capital itself.

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