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David Shearer’s second e-newsletter

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, August 18th, 2012 - 47 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

This week our MPs have been back in Parliament, holding National to account on the issues that matter to New Zealanders.

Education is top of our agenda. National is running down our public education system. They’re not ruling out increasing class sizes in future. And John Key says parents shouldn’t get ‘hung up’ on the fact their children may be taught by unqualified teachers in charter schools. The Prime Minister was out of the country this week, so I tackled Bill English on the issue in the House. It is incredible that the Minister and his colleagues think parents shouldn’t be worried about their children getting a quality education. Education is a priority for Labour. It’s the only way to make sure our children get the best start in life.

The Social Development Minster’s flippant attitude to the well-being of our children was exposed this week when she refused to quantify the problem of child poverty under questioning from Jacinda Ardern, Labour’s social development spokesperson. Paula Bennett simply doesn’t want to admit how bad the situation is or to expose her failure to deal with the issue. She has released submissions to her paper on vulnerable children but it shows she is ignoring key issues like poverty and poor housing.

Parliament will get a chance to debate child poverty after a bill was drawn from the members’ ballot to extend the universal in-work tax credit. Labour will support the bill through to select committee because we are committed to reducing child poverty and this is a useful opportunity to debate new ideas about how to help the 20% of children living in poverty in New Zealand. Extending the in-work tax credit was our policy at the last election. We are looking at a range of ways to address the issue but in the meantime we support all attempts to highlight the issue and the Government’s failure to do so.

We also took the Social Development Minister to task this week over her disgraceful attitude to privacy. Paula Bennett breached the privacy of a woman when she made details of her benefit payments public while trying to score political points. She’s refused to apologise and says she may do it again in future. Bill English has chipped in too saying that if people challenge the Government they can’t expect to have their privacy respected. That’s appalling and well below the standard I would apply to any of my Ministers. Clearly, your private information is not safe with this Government.

I’ve been getting plenty of feedback on my newsletter last week, so please keep it coming. As this week’s newsletter shows, we’ve renewed our focus on working as a team to highlight National’s dead-end approach for New Zealand and to say what Labour would do differently.

Thank you for your help too in getting the Labour message out to New Zealanders.

Warm regards,



Congrats to our Olympians! They did a fantastic job bringing home 13 medals – six of them Gold. Our athletes have really done us proud. Click here to watch my speech about their tremendous efforts.

We’ve continued fighting for the issues that matter to our regions, focusing on transport. Phil Twyford has led the charge against the Government’s stripping of funding for local roads to spend on big city motorways that aren’t a priority. One Mayor has told us that tar-sealed back roads in his community are being returned to gravel because they don’t have the funding to maintain them. That’s just not on. The regions make a massive contribution to our economy and it’s not fair that residents miss out on decent roads and other services.

David Parker and David Cunliffe have had the Government on the ropes over its so-called ‘comprehensive exports plan’ which boils down to story-telling, branding and photo opportunities. In contrast, Labour has a strong plan to deliver real growth in exports by increasing our investment pool through boosting savings and pro-growth tax reform. You can see more of our ideas in David Parker’s speech to the EPMU here.

Darien Fenton is calling for a high-level inquiry into the exploitation of migrant workers. TVNZ’s One News has exposed cases of migrant workers being blatantly ripped-off. Some were being offered pay rates of just $8 an hour. That’s disgusting.

Our Women’s Affairs Spokesperson Sue Moroney confronted the Government over its lack of commitment to reducing violence against women. She grilled the Women’s Affairs Minister in the House about news that Rape Crisis has had to cut back its services in Wellington because of a funding cut.

Last week, I attended the memorial service for our two fallen soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. Labour joins with their family and friends in mourning the loss of two dedicated young New Zealanders. I passed on our sincere condolences in Parliament.


47 comments on “David Shearer’s second e-newsletter”

  1. xtasy 1

    “The Prime Minister was out of the country this week, so I tackled Bill English on the issue in the House.”

    I heard this question when watching the repeat of question time on Parliament TV. That question re unqualified teachers in planned charter schools was answered by English in his usual, dismissive and distracting manner, but I had the impression he felt hardly “tackled” by the challenge.

    Also Nationals argument is that those “teachers” or other experts simply do not need to be “registered”, which is a bit different to “unqualified”.

    And that is the only question from David Shearer that I actually remember having been asked in the House last week.

    Good for attacking the government, where it happened, but I feel, that many readers and commenters here, same as in the traditional and prospective Labour voter base, and certainly also the wider public, would like to hear a bit more about the alternatives that a Labour led government could and would offer.

    And for: “Darien Fenton is calling for a high-level inquiry into the exploitation of migrant workers.”

    This is certainly NOT a new problem. It must be addressed, but a high level inquiry will not solve much. I know through wider associates that it is more widespread than many may think, and for a young, trendy and aspiring journalist from TVNZ to suddely “discover” this is absolut bull-shit journalism.

    There are stories I raised with MSM journos, but they were never interested before!

    • David H 1.1

      If s thats a good week then why am I so unimpressed. Where was Cunliffe ripping English a new one ? No, all we got was a luke warm utterance from Parker, a light weight compared to Cunliffe. And, hey Shearer! 2 questions DO NOT make a good week!

    • Karl Marx 1.2

      If parents don’t want their children to be taught by unqualified teachers, then they don’t have to send them there.

      A tertiary qualification does not instantly grant somebody the ability to perform. The fact of the matter is that many teachers who are qualified are complete shite. Another by-product of the 9 dark years and comrade Helen’s rule.

  2. gobsmacked 2

    This has been done before, better …


  3. QoT 3

    and to say what Labour would do differently.

    Except … he doesn’t. “Education is a priority”, “we’ll support a bill at first reading only” .. the closest he gets is “I would hold my Ministers to basic ethical standards”. Even given a plum opportunity to commit to funding Rape Crisis, he doesn’t, just says “Sue Moroney confronted the government” and leaves “what Labour would do differently” hanging.

    It’s all framed with such a boring set of basic madlibs (the opening sentence should theoretically apply to any week when the House is sitting, for starters). I guess it works if you assume the readership are already Labour supporters, but are they the people Shearer needs to be talking to right now?

  4. Sunny 4

    This email news letter is another epic fail and a sure and certain sign that nothing is changing over at the bats in the attic caucus. It’s dull, predictable, insincere, cringe making (soldiers aren’t ‘the fallen’. That romantic claptrap is designed to keep sending young men to their deaths for access to oil and gas) It’s stupid, out of touch and wouldn’t inspire me to follow the ‘leadership’ out of a wet paper bag. Get someone who can do the job or get the hell out! Now!

  5. Clashman 5

    If this weeks performance in Parliament by Labour is considered to be “tackling” and “taking to task” the Govt., then it looks like the Nats are gonna have two more easy years and another win at the next election.

  6. This newsletter is a lot sharper and more pointed than the first.  IMHO it is a significant improvement.  I think the Goffice (or is that now the Shoffice?) is listening.

    • seeker 6.1

      I agree mickey s.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        They are listening ms and seeker!

        I think that might be one of the reasons why a certain husband and wife team are currently very upset with The Standard. Mind you, I agree with IrishBill. A few commenters here have gone a bit over the top with their criticism. (ms not included.)

        • Colonial Viper

          Yep there was more of an edge to this email and I quite liked it. I had read it originally thinking it was going to be more soft PR cheese but it managed to be more substantial. As Carol suggests below, a pass grade.

  7. Carol 8

    Uninspiring summary of the week. C+

    Some of the general aims seem OK. But who’d want to read it other than the Labour faithful.

  8. cron 9

    This government is crazy. One minute they want to increase the quality of teaching (cut costs through raising class sizes) and next bring in untrained teachers. The underlining motive for National is to have an uneducated cheap labour force while cutting the overall expense of Public Education. Wait for it though- more money for Private Schools. Come on David you need to be even more vocal for the future of our children!

  9. Honestly, Labour should be writing for general audiences on their website regularly and just link to their articles via their newsletter, it works well for the Greens.

    • xtasy 10.1

      What Shearer should have done long ago is:
      Challenge TVNZ to give him a spot on Breakfast after the Prime Minister’s weekly chattery to the drivel hungry public. Also he should phone Radio Live and offer himself to do an hour a month free talk back with listeners. Maybe put a bit of pressure on by stating, that Labour may look at broadcasting standards and a boost for quality public broadcasting in the future, and if they do not offer him the same “privilege” as Key, they may be facing a new standards regime, that could cause major losses in listeners and viewers for them.

      And of course, it is due to hammer out a bit more of a plan now, it will soon be a year since the last election, heading for mid term of this government. So get cracking, Labour, ideally with a more charismatic, more aggressive and convincing leader. But that is for Labour members and caucus to sort, right?

  10. BM 11

    I like the way Labour are heading, finally back on track with David Shearer at the helm.

    Even I, some one who has never voted Labour may give the party some consideration at the next election.

    • Anne 11.1

      Oh dear…

      • Salsy 11.1.1

        Exactly Anne…

        • BM

          Why?, I prefer a more moderate, centre orientated Labour party.
          Hell of a lot more voters out there like me than there are of the type that’s found on here.

          • dancerwaitakere

            Because the Labour Party was not started to be a party of the center.

            It is the party of the workers and disenfranchised, for the workers and disenfranchised.

            • Colonial Viper

              And last seen acting as such around Kirk’s time…

            • BM

              Times change, have to move with them.
              National was started initially to represent farmers they’re now a hell of a lot broader that, you would be stunned how many blue collar/no collar workers vote National.

              • Colonial Viper

                But you notice how National has never abandoned its traditional farmer base? And in fact still goes out of its way to look after them, despite ongoing criticism of irrigation schemes etc.

                The Nats are smart – they know how to protect and enhance their core support.

                Times change, have to move with them.

                Stick with the tried and true, not the flavour of the month.

                • BM

                  The Nats are smart – they know how to protect and enhance their core support.

                  Do you think going hardcore socialist is going to enhance the core support of Labour.
                  I don’t.

  11. gobsmacked 12

    A suggestion for David Shearer:

    In the next newsletter, please give specific details for your diary (private/family matters aside).

    “On Monday I did ABC, on Tuesday I did XYZ”, etc.

    What the general public see is: Shearer asks a question in the House (that’s 5 minutes). Plus some regular media slots.

    But the news doesn’t stop. The media keep reporting the news – and the Labour leader isn’t there. Sometimes I do a search for “David Shearer” on Google News and … “Your search found no results.”

    Where are you? OK, maybe the MSM are all meanies and don’t report your many activities and statements (though they seem able to tell us what the Greens or Winston or Hone are up to). Well, this newsletter can directly by-pass the media.

    I am a politics junkie and I have no idea what the Leader of the Opposition (sic) did this week on Thursday, Friday, Saturday … and if politics junkies don’t, you can be damn sure those “swing voters” you’re after won’t have a clue.

    So, please tell us. Thanks.

    • xtasy 12.1


      Shearer asked 2 questions during question time this week just gone. That is as far as I can count. It was question 1 on the 14th (to which he refers in his e newsletter), and a question 3 on the 15th. Correct me if I am wrong.

      Both were addressed within not that much time, as far as I can recall. See the parliamentary notes:


      Yes, I am a little bit of a “political junkie” too, I admit, and I tend to follow the news and more regularly, in NZ and overseas.

      So it is right, Shearer has his good moments and scores, but few bother to follow Parliament TV or radio, only some listen and watch the news, but most the media is regrettably “main stream”. They are manipulative, but as you say, they do at least now and then report on what certain pollies say or do, and they also have some interviews.

      Shearer could do well with some more media training and exposure, even though he likes to be just the ordinary nice guy from around the corner.

      Peters is good, and the Greens have also worked out how to use msm. I am sure that more can be done by Labour.

    • just saying 12.2

      On Monday I did ABC…
      Had to laugh.

  12. “Confronted the government”
    “Hold the nats to account”
    “On the ropes”
    “Took the minister to task”

    Is the above a desire or a reality?

    I watch parliament tv and have never seen any strong opposition
    appart from adern,cunliffe,robertson at times.
    At the time when there needs to be a statement to media on the
    absolute hypocrisy and absolute affront by the nats to the section
    of the community that labour are meant to look out for,there is
    nothing, we wait and wait and wait,still nothing.
    This newsletter i suspect has had more than one hand on it,
    more than one brain,more than one idelogical viewpoint and
    i am not buying in to labour’s attempt to appease those who
    have their hands on their own keyboard and can reply to such

    • xtasy 13.1

      To be honest, at present, I see Robertson as the best bet for a leader, NOT Shearer, and Cunliffe must improve his team and social skills, then we can talk! Ardern needs a few more years to grow into the role, she has potential though, same as too timid Hipkins, although he is trying and doing well at times. There is also some other hidden potential, but they ALL need LEADERSHIP and thus motivation.

      • Rhinocrates 13.1.1

        I wish you were right, but Robertson is my electorate MP and my impression of him is that of someone who is a competent party apparatchik who is a useful manager, but not leadership material. On a number of issues, he’s talked big and failed to follow through. That’s the kindest thing I could say about him and I think that ultimately, he’s more a part of the problem, not the solution. Keep him on maybe, but not as leader.

        • xtasy

          thanks for front line feedback! May need a bit more before further judgment!

          • Colonial Viper

            So, what’s the poison of the evening? 😛

            • blue leopard

              @ cv

              …oh gee! did you HAVE to say that CV?…I sense another batch of hysteria from Snake Oil blog spot welling…. 🙂

            • xtasy

              Poison should be: Palace Revolt! I am waiting for it! I t is there in abundance, just needs to be spilled!

  13. AmaKiwi 14

    “Paula Bennett breached the privacy of a woman . . . Bill English has chipped in too saying that if people challenge the Government they can’t expect to have their privacy respected. That’s appalling and well below the standard I would apply to any of my Ministers. Clearly, your private information is not safe with this Government.”

    NO! It’s not appalling, it’s criminal. They have declared war on our right to privacy. If I complain, they will publish my tax returns, health records, psychological evaluations, military record, school reports, police reports . . . anything and everything!

    Labour was mistaken to not DEMAND Paula Bennett be removed from office.

    This is a brazen criminal mentality.

    “National is the party of law and order. Yeah right!”

    Labour should also demand that EVERY government file on Paula Bennett be made public immediately.

    • blue leopard 14.1

      @ AmaKiwi


      Would it come under false advertising that this is found on the WINZ website:

      Listed under “what you can expect from us”

      You have the right to:
      be treated with courtesy and respect [FAILED]
      cultural sensitivity
      use any of our services
      be given information about the services we offer
      be given correct information and entitlements
      be listened to
      be given fair, non-judgemental service [FAILED]
      have your information kept private and confidential [FAILED]
      have any decisions we make explained to you
      have a support person there whenever you deal with us
      make a complaint or ask for a review if you disagree with us. [FAILED]


      What is the point of having service charters when they are not followed by the head of MSD?

    • xtasy 14.2

      National: “National is the party of law and order. Yeah right!”

      Yeah, it is the party of ORDER for some, for the privileged and who have their OWN kind of order. Law is dispensable, because everyone has a different interpretation of law and justice. So they just laugh about it. They are quite experienced at laughing about it, since they cut legal aid to make it so unattractive for lawyers, hardly any are left to work for that kind of pittance.

    • Murray Olsen 14.3

      It’s totalitarian mentality, where the government is not bound by the law. All opposition parties should be all over it. To my mind, it’s the most dangerous thing this regime has done. Bennett has no place in a decent society, let alone in parliament.

  14. xtasy 15

    Shearer for Minister of Education, full power, but NOT for Prime Minister, I am sorry!

  15. Gawd i watched a n—i programme on tv last night,it was hard watching but
    bought up how a certain power can target one section of a community and
    destroy it totally in the eyes of others,while retaining the premis that they
    deserved it and no-one stood up and said ‘thats wrong,its needs to stop’
    persecution of a certain section of nz’ers is under underway of being
    totally destroyed by a dictatorship here and those followers on the right
    and left, say’go ahead, make my day’
    Just what the hell has happened to nz when even the left and shearer can’t
    standup and protect those on sickness and invalids benefits? and publicly
    denounces them,doctors evaluations don’t count anymore either,just
    politicians views.
    No amount of e-newsletters will correct the feeling that labour has
    deserted the core vorters,it started in clark’s time and continues on
    in earnest.

  16. Tim 17

    at the time of trawling through all this, I was watching Dateline London on BBC World News. A commentary on the Mit and his mates. Some toff commented that Romney has now done the ultimate, and outsourced his brain.
    Shudda cudda wudda taken a look at NZ politics! Key outsourced his a long time ago and chose to live on persnil krisma, smiling and waving, and the esprayshnull hope (and knowledge) of a knighthood.
    I hope Shearer hasn’t done likewise though – just about now I suspect he may well have done – to a pair of “thoroughly nice Chardonay-drinking, sheep-raising, (and probably olive-picking) gorgeous people whose primary concerns seem to be a good surname (in the case of Josie), and that bloody awful traffic they have to encounter when negotiating some SUV type vehicle onto a perfectly adequate highway – presumably to deliver the offspring to unaffordable daycare-to most, or to (let’s slum it shall we? – some Kapiti Coast state skool)

    God I’m disappointed (so far) in Robertson – just for a start!
    I’ve been wondering how I could possibly vote for Labour ever again!. Adhern, Hipkins, Robertson and one or two others were BEGINNING to turn me around. But as is generally the case with Labour who have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot, they’ve so far FUCKED it royally!
    Get a fucking GRIP people!
    Why newter the very people that provide you with half a chance?
    I know – it must be the cheep wine and gorgeous little soirees and all that feigned concern for the underdog. Next thing you know, we’ll be hearing Shearer harp on about the benefits of philanthropy by the well-off ffs! And this cnut was supposedly in the UN in African territories?
    GIVE ME A FCKIN BREAK. I could give the guy stories about refugees here in NZ who have been separated from kith and kin travelling Ethiopian and Sudanese zomes whilst living on snakes and monkeys in order to survive and who NOW get regularly ripped off by empoyers DESPITE promises of a better life.

    GET WITH THE FUKN PROGRAM David! Jacinta, Chris, Grant (and quite a few others). As IF there wasn;’t enough evidence in order to embarrass this gubbamint into ekshun. Either that or go get a real job if its all too hard – I’m sure there’s a Pulla Bent (being a ploimint sultint) that could advoise

  17. AmaKiwi 18

    Here is what Shearer should have asked about privacy during question time:


  18. bad12 19

    Dear Dave,

    I find i am a little short this week what with bills and stuff to pay, do you think you might be able to manage to sweep a couple of extra Mango skins off of the table in my direction,

    A sicknes bene…

    • Craig Glen Eden 19.1

      Yup theickness Beneficiary comment was the first sign that the illness is indeed terminal.The question becomes how long will it take to kill the Patient.

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    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
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    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
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  • MSD and their investment approach
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
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