Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, January 30th, 2008 - 78 comments
Categories: labour - Tags: , ,

I haven’t had time to do a thorough analysis of Clark’s speech but from a quick once-over I can say with certainty that it is underwhelming. Let’s face it, this was her chance to take the front foot and show the government had a policy agenda fit for a new term. Instead her speech is a confusion of values-framing “vision” statements and bureaucratic jargon such as:

This strategy will focus on the retention of skills in the workplace, and on better ways of measuring and valuing skills, and identifying the demands for skills and how to increase supply. While the strategy will apply across the entire workforce, there is a particular strand of work in the programme which ensures that young people who are already in work are a primary target.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some very good ideas behind this but phrases like “there is a particular strand of work in the programme” don’t inspire an audience. In fact I’m not even entirely sure what that means and I can’t see it inspiring voters with its bold “vision”. And that’s Labour’s problem. They’ve got good policy and are taking the country in the right direction (albeit more slowly than I would like them to) but they fail to communicate that to ordinary New Zealanders. They are very good governors but increasingly they are looking like they are all substance and no style. Ironically they are facing an opposition that is totally the reverse.

It’s instructional to see how the media are treating the speech. They’ve latched onto the only concrete soundbite they can get from it and are running it as “Labour to lift school leaving age” and “Clark vows to keep under-18s in education” and even then are obviously having difficulty subbing it down to a sharp and meaningful headline.

I can only lament the fact that this was an opportunity to release a bold and significant policy which could be encapsulated in a few words. There was a rumour around the traps that Clark was to announce a first home buyer policy. Can you imagine the headlines? “Labour helps young familes into housing” “Labour moves on housing crisis” etc. Alas, it was not to be. But something like that would’ve set the agenda for the next year and made sure people knew what Labour stands for. It’s well known that, on top of everything else she does, Clark writes her own speeches and takes little advice on them. I would suggest she stops doing so.

78 comments on “Dull”

  1. outofbed 1

    yes its weird Key also had the chance yesterday and didn’t deliver.
    What is going on ? Maybe Clarke is waiting for the BIG budget announcement nearing Election time ?
    Both Clarke and Key are both keeping their power dry can’t say that I’m impressed with either of them

  2. Sam Dixon 2

    Ia gree, the pseech is dull.

    Clark has so much depth but has never been good at those lines that the media picks up. Yes, it’s a fault on the media’s part that they only deal in soundbites(you only need to look at the depth of analysis already out on the blogs to see it doesn’t take so long to do some analysis beyond soundbites) but that’s reality and Labour needs to get smart about dealing with it.

    Her delivery is still better than Key’s – he ‘swallows his words’ as Duncan Garner put it this morning on Sunrise, he’s overly folk-ish and lacking in any gravitas, and he doesn’t have the depth of knowledge to speak off the cuff.

  3. Well, I have to say that I was also thinking about housing policy as a really good direction to take, but let’s be honest, it’s a good idea, and you keep the good ideas for the election campaign, where it makes the most impact, and has the least period of time to counter.

  4. dave 4

    key has just trumnped Clark. And Clark knows it.

  5. outofbed 5

    A worthwhile contribution to the topic dave, thanx

  6. It’s well known that, on top of everything else she does, Clark writes her own speeches and takes little advice on them. I would suggest she stops doing so.

    This isn’t a new problem, and I gather people have tried

    I’ve just concluded in my summary that the senior politician to come out the past 24 hours best is Phil Goff. Key sounded terrible and whiney on Morning Report today — Goff sounded relaxed and well-briefed.

  7. Tane 7

    I wouldn’t say he’s trumped her Dave. Clark’s policies make sense, they’re just dull and underwhelming. Key’s policies have been panned by quite a few of the experts as unworkable.

    There was a good piece on Morning Report this morning. Unfortunately I can’t link to it as my browser crashes every time I open their site (anyone else having this problem?).

    [captcha: ‘the weekend’ – i wish]

  8. Seamonkey Madness 8

    “he’s overly folk-ish and lacking in any gravitas

    Whereas Clark is what – montonous?
    I’ll give it to Clark though, she sounds more masculine.

  9. Tane 9

    I’ll give it to Clark though, she sounds more masculine.

    Sexism is not a valid contribution to the debate. You’re only discrediting yourself.

  10. Pablo 10

    If she wants to capture the conservative/mature voter the soundbite she wanted was “more apprenticeships”. I assume the policy does promise more?

    There’s not a person I speak to who doesn’t lament the availability and price of tradespeople (and occaisionally the quality). I hear a lot about how useless young employees are too, not that I can comment from experience. Most of my hires have been of over 30s.

  11. r0b 11

    Speaking of pithy presentation of complex ideas, I’d say you totally nailed it here IB:

    They are very good governors but increasingly they are looking like they are all substance and no style. Ironically they are facing an opposition that is totally the reverse.

    That really is election year 2008 in a nutshell.

  12. IrishBill 12

    Geoff, Labour has a raft of good polices to run with. I’m just surprised they weren’t willing to put one out there to set the agenda for the year.

    Russell, people have certainly tried. I agree with you that Goff sounded good but I’ll be interested to see how much media follow-up Clark is willing to do on this speech. If I was her I’d make sure the next two days were clear to answer all media calls. She’s dynamite on her feet when she’s on form and will make soup out of Key. I just wish she’d take the opportunity to do so more often.

    Pablo, I assume so but the wording is vague.

  13. Fair enough – Key’s speech was style but lacked substance of vision. Clark’s speech lacked style and soundbites (a problem of communication) but was packed with substance – context, values, vision (the thing she was being criticised for just a few years ago).

    Clark’s speech outlined a broad and positive agenda to realise the potential of young New Zealanders. And most importantly early intervention measures to prevent young people turning into criminals in the first place.


  14. Kimble 14

    “Can you imagine the headlines? “Labour helps young familes into housing’ “Labour moves on housing crisis’ etc. … something like that would’ve set the agenda for the next year and made sure people knew what Labour stands for.”

    More like,

    “Labour’s vote grabbing antics puts upward pressure on house prices”

    “Labour says: Stuff supply, we dont even know the meaning of the word”

    “Labour convinced that house price inflation equals real economic growth”

    What sort of morons would respond to a housing shortage by fueling demand?

  15. Michele Cabiling 15

    Irish Bill wrote:

    “[Liarbour has] got good policy and are taking the country in the right direction (albeit more slowly than I would like them to) but they fail to communicate that to ordinary New Zealanders.”

    What direction are they “taking the country in”?

    [1] Ever-increasing dependency on the state (well it creates a permanent Liarbour-voting constituency and that can’t be bad if you love power);

    [2] ever-increasing state involvement in and regulation of the productive, wealth-creating sector of the economy; and

    [3] rampant hostility towards and deliberate eradication of the institutions of civil society, with the goal of creating an increasingly statist society.

    Lest this be seen as a spiteful caricature, let’s hear from you leftards as to who’d have a problem with the statments:

    “I want everyone to keep the property he has acquired for himself according to the principle: benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual. But the state should retain supervision and each property owner should consider himself appointed by the state. It is his duty not to use his property against the interests of others among his own people. This is the crucial matter. The [NZ Liarbour Party] will always retain its right to control the owners of property.”

    None of you, right?

    Yet substitute “Third Reich” for the words “NZ Liarbour Party” in the square brackets and attribute the quote to its author, Adolf Hitler, and watch you all run for cover …

    IrishBill says: another sensible contribution from the right. You’ve made your views clear Michele – you think Labour are the Nazi party. If you continue to threadjack with this absurd notion I will delete your posts.

  16. r0b 16

    What sort of morons would respond to a housing shortage by fueling demand?

    Oh! Oh! I know this one! It’s John Key!…

    “I see housing as very important and one of the core principles of National is home ownership, we believe passionately in it. […] You know we would much rather support a system which allows them to buy their own home if they want to, to buy their state house, that will allow those people to get a rung on the ladder if you like of home ownership…”

  17. Simeon 17

    “The kids terrorising our neighborhoods at ages 13 and 14 aren’t going to school now; making them stay in school until they’re 18 will do nothing to address the problem,” Rodney Hide said.

    Check out the rest of Rodney Hide’s response to Helen’s speech at http://www.nzdebate.blogspot.com

  18. Pablo 18

    Interesting post Michelle, and brief too.

    Can you point me to the quote where a member of the Labour party claims it will always retain its right to control the owners of property?

  19. Sam Dixon 19

    Michele – honestly, keep it to 100 words or less, all I ever do is read the first and last sentences of your long, rmabling posts.

  20. IrishBill 20

    Kimble, in the early 70’s there was a policy whereby first home owners received subsidised mortgages contingent to the home they were buying being new. I’m not saying that’s exactly the answer required but there are always ways to work around issues of supply and demand. And if you think the headlines you’ve provided would ever see the light of day you have no idea of how the media works.

  21. insider 21

    I’m with Kimble, housing is not a strong point for Labour at present given the overprescription of building regulations, high interest rates and the compulsory $5-$10k cost increase in new houses due to requirements that all be double glazed and insulated.

    I like this health checks policy for underfives – though a bit concerned at what looks like more badly behaved kids being labelled as having a syndrome rather than them just being kids who behave badly. The opportunity there seemed to be to contrast a constructive approach to solving a problem before it occurs with an old fashioned leave it to break then try and fix it/

  22. lawyer dude 22

    The speech is that dull I feel asleep listening to it. If I were to adjudicate on who came across the winner of the opening salvo from Key or Clark’s opening submissions – I’d declare Key a winner by a country mile.

  23. Michele Cabiling 23

    Pablo asks: “Can you point me to the quote where a member of the Labour party claims it will always retain its right to control the owners of property?”

    Are you being deliberately dim, or what? I’m drawing a parallel between the Liarbour Party’s governing ideology and that of another well-known leftard socialist.

    I have yet to hear from any of you leftards, including you, [racist comment deleted], as to whether you have any fundamental problem [disregarding the source] with the sentiments expressed in the quote cited above.

    Put up or shut up!

    Since all I’ve had back from the bog dweller are threats to delete any of my posts drawing a parallel between Liarbour’s political programme and that of the Nazi Party I guess i must be hitting a nerve.

    As for you, Sam Dixon, engage with my arguments (if you have the intellectual grunt) rather that resorting to the ad hominem “long, rambling posts” to imply some kind of mental deficiency on my part in taking the time to present reasoned arguments, rather than the sloganeering and soundbite [non] arguments so beloved of the political and lifestyle left.

  24. Tane 24

    Put up or shut up!

    ‘chele, just look at yourself. You’re coming onto this thread making absurd parallels between a mainstream social democratic party and the Nazis, then insulting us and demanding we engage with you. We’ve had this discussion before. Grow up or your comments will be deleted.

  25. Kimble 25

    “a system which allows them to buy their own home if they want to, to buy their state house”

    This doesnt increase demand. It takes a house that was being rented, and turns it into an owner-occupied.

  26. Michele Cabiling 26


  27. Santi 27

    Tane, as much as you hate to admit it, some of Michele’s arguments are well constructed and pose a challenge to the left-wingers that inhabit this blog.

    The fact that some of your colleagues refuse to debate with her is not a reason to threaten her with deleting the comemnts. In some cases I believe a link could be provided, but overall I do feel Michele’s contribution to the debate is useful.

    I agree to disagree with you on this matter.

    [Tane: Michele’s bigoted social darwinist views are the kind you’d expect from a second year politics student. I’m happy to discuss them elsewhere, but not for her to jack every thread with them. I’d also prefer it if she kept the length of her comments down.]

  28. r0b 28

    This doesnt increase demand. It takes a house that was being rented, and turns it into an owner-occupied.

    Someone should tell John. It’s part of his plan to encourage every Kiwi into home ownership. Which Kimble says is not going to increase demand at all. Uh huh.

  29. Deborah 29

    Comparing a mainstream social democratic party to the Nazis is never, ever a helpful contribution.

  30. r0b 30

    some of Michele’s arguments are well constructed

    That’s a generous description. Michele is not even consistent on the very foundation of her moral system (libertarian personal property rights):

    Damned if you do…

  31. Pablo 31

    Thanks for the clarification Michelle.

    So the Labour Party has not made a comment you attribute to Hitler. Stunning analysis by you. Have you got a blog of your own where you run this sort of stuff.

    It might interest you to know, were the Labour Party committed to Socialism, they would be planning to abolish private property and collectivise the means of production. That is what us real Commies would do.

    The Labour Party is committed to ensuring the continuation of capitalism, as long as it is regulated to ensure the contrdictions identified by Marx don’t tear the system apart. If you think capitalism doesn’t need regulation, I suggest you google all or some of the following: Enron, Slavery, WorldCom, Douglass North or Gregory Mankiew. Just a suggestion. You might want to look up Godwin’s Law too.

  32. Michele Cabiling 32

    [comment deleted]

  33. r0b 33

    Speaking of put up or shut up Michele, care to explain this?

    Damned if you do…

  34. Monty 34

    Interesting comment / post about first home buyers. The problem that socialists such as yourselves do not understand is that interference in the market ends up with the opposite and unintended consequence. For instance first home buyers usually purchase into the cheaper end of the market. Say for example $300k. The main tool for the government “helping” is to contribute money – say $10,000. The consequences will be to increase demand but the problem of supply remains. The extra buyers with say an additional $10,000 in their pocket can therefore borrow additional money (say additional $40,000 (assuming 80% borrowed against 20% equity) – therefore the price of the house gets driven up to $50,000. Intended consequence is that the first home buyer ends up with a higher debt than he / she would have had if the government had not interferred. Another glowing example of a socialist not understanding basic supply and demand economics.

    The best thing a government can do is the change the RMA so land is more easily freed up and supply is significantly increased.

    By the way the radio talkback is full of praise for John Key, while hardly a mention of Clark’s speech. Winner – John Key – future PM.

  35. r0b 35

    The problem that socialists such as yourselves do not understand is that interference in the market ends up with the opposite and unintended consequence.

    Of course! It’s all so simple now. Thanks Monty.

  36. Michele Cabiling 36


  37. gobsmacked 37

    National attacks Clark’s speech. National’s allies … praise Clark’s speech. Oops.


  38. IrishBill 38

    Monty, there’s no suggestion the best thing to do is just give away money (unless you are talking about John Key’s annual taxcuts – which raises the question of how do you give regular taxcuts when tax is a finite percentage?). I’d suggest with regard to housing that (as in other countries and in the past here) assistance is conditional on certain conditions such as that the home is new and that the home does not cost more than a certain amount. I’d also suggest that environmental factors are considered including urban sprawl and transport requirements. I note that the issue of increasing savings without freeing up cashflow in an inflationary manner was solved by kiwisaver.

  39. Michele Cabiling 39

    The jackboot fits, Tane, and rather than censoring (done like a true fascist), you should be made to try it on in front of everyone.

    IrishBill says: Michele, you would be ignored just as thoroughly if you had claimed Labour has been infiltrated by extra-terrestrials. We are not here to facilitate your delusions. Try: http://www.naziufos.com/

  40. gobsmacked 40


    If governments were elected by talkback radio, Winston would have been Prime Minister throughout the 1990’s, except for a couple of years, when he was elevated to God.

  41. Pablo 41

    [comment deleted]

    I am gutted that I missed that. My apologies for winding her up. I ignore Michelle most of the time but she really got on my tits this time. If there’s any chance of you sending a copy of her comment I’d love to read it. Well, maybe not.

  42. Michele Cabiling 42


  43. Michele Cabiling 43


  44. Monty 44

    Irish Bill – to compare any political party in NZ to 1930’s Germany is not on and agree such comments should be censored. However, I think that Michele has made a valid point about property rights.

    I think some on the rabid right (and the loony left) tend to make comparisons of either National or Labour in this way.

    I would never suggest for a second that Labour should be equated with the Nazi party. To do so would be wrong and unfair.

    However one can see very mild similarities is a few areas. The key word here is “Mild”. for instance, Hilter demonised the jew in the early 1930’s. Is there a group os slightly weird but nevertheless law abiding citizens that Labour has demonised?

    Hitler shut down free speech completely, and murdered people who spoke up against the third reich. Never would Labour dream of doing that , yet opponents of the EFA such as myself (and obviously Michele) fear incremental challenges to free speech in any form. That is the point I think that Michele is trying to make.

  45. Michele Cabiling 45


  46. Tane 46

    Monty, the issue here is threadjacking. We’re happy to have this conversation in another place in another time, but we’re not going to allow Michele to destroy the conversation with her off-topic and frankly deranged comments. She’s made her point, now it’s time to let others have a go.

    In the meantime she can amuse herself at http://www.naziufos.com

  47. r0b 47

    owever one can see very mild similarities is a few areas.

    Oh please. “Mild similarities” to the holocaust? Really?

    If Labour was “demonising” the EB then Don Brash was “demonising” me when he attacked non “mainstream” New Zealanders.

  48. Draco TB 48

    The best thing a government can do is the change the RMA so land is more easily freed up and supply is significantly increased.

    But that won’t push the prices down either. All it will do is increase the number of rental properties and continue to destroy the environment we depend upon to live.

    Oh, BTW, in Auckland, according to the ARC (herald article from last year which I can’t be bothered finding ATM), there’s about 16 years worth of housing expansion already available. So even that’s not working.

  49. Monty 49

    No Irish Bill you are wrong – tax cuts will not address the issue of supply, and in fact may even improve the situation with housing here is why. I own four houses and have a respectable income. There are several reasons why i have invested in property –
    Retirement income
    build asset base
    Capital gain (has made me a millionaire)
    something for my children to live in while at university (10 years away) and the biggest
    minimise tax liability.

    it is the last that is important – paying 40% of my income in tax pisses me off. These investments minimise the tax liability. A flatter tax structure will mean that other forms of investment would be worth considering.

    Every time I buy a house I am effectively subsidising someone eleses accommodation. It costs me several tens thousand dollars a year to provide accommodation (I get about a 4% return on each house) –

    Those same people are living cheaper than they could than if they owned the house. However free up supply and this will have a negative impact onhouse values. Actually something I could live with as I am not highly geared and hopefully my children will be able to afford a house themselves in years to come.

    Tax cuts will more often than not mean families can actually afford to pay the mortgage, and live and be rewarded for their effort. Hand-outs in any form encourage dependance and take away self responsibility.

  50. Monty 50

    Tane – I do actually know Michele and I have spoken to her since I wrote earlier. I have said to Michele not to wind you guys up – and that is is much more effective to debate the issue and it is destructive to make incorrect comparisons – I understand where she is coming from, and I understand the merit in her arguement – but language and inference of comparison is wrong.

    I beleive us righties can win the debates with rational arguement. Certainly over 50% now supporting the right (National ) agree and that is why national will win the election. On the other side of the debate – people are no longer listneing to Clark and Labour. That is probably her biiggest problem with the speech this morning.

  51. Tane 51

    Monty, I don’t find Michele a wind up – her arguments are too juvenile and simplistic for that – I just find her an annoying distraction. We set up this site as a forum for discussion, not a sandpit for Michele to spew her poisonous bile. If she learns to stick to the topic and keep her length of posts down she’s welcome. Otherwise we’ll keep deleting her comments and, sooner or later, ban her.

  52. Simeon 52

    Rodney Hide’s response to Clark’s speech sums it up well.

    You can read it at http://www.nzdebate.blogspot.com

  53. Monty 53

    Draco TB – I cannot understand how anyone can be so economically illiterate to suggest that there is enough housing out there. I work in the propoerty industry and this issue has been extensively researched.

    For starters the population is expanding. The expanding population must be housed. The rental market and the ownership market are different beasts. Not too many rentals in say Newlands compared to say Mt Victoria. Rentals in the suburbs are however becoming more popular simply because of affordability.

  54. A word of support for the moderator. There are quite a few people who can and do destroy discussions and make threads unreadable for everyone else — it’s been a problem here for a while. Michele has been asked to curb her behaviour by the site owner and simply persisted.

  55. AncientGeek 55

    I’d agree about Michele. I’ve engaged in a discussion with her a few times without a lot of point. She just thinks she is right, doesn’t really seem to listen unless I shove back really really hard, and shoves another usually copied block of bile to fill bandwidth.

    I’ve given up trying to have any kind of discussion with her.

    She has been asked politely to moderate herself many times by many people, and not just by the moderators.

  56. There is a good chance the housing boom will come to a sudden end as the boomers reach retirement and need to free up capital for health or lifestyle reasons (such as downsizing) at that stage a lot of rental properties will end up on the market. As with so many things patience is the answer. In the meantime I’m in favour of a capital gains tax on second houses.

  57. Pablo 57

    monty, you don’t pay 40% of your income in taxes, you pay 40% of what you earn over $60k. Same as me. I don’t like payin’ em, I’d rather buy myself or my kids something but I pay them cos I understand the services the government provides (and no, I don’t use them all).

    Every time I buy a house I am effectively subsidising someone eleses accommodation. It costs me several tens thousand dollars a year to provide accommodation (I get about a 4% return on each house)

    That is the weirdest comment I have seen here or anywhere. You buy a house to provide yourself the benefits you listed earlier. Subsidise accommodation? Do you insist that your tennants doff their caps and tug their forelocks when you walk past? They and you make the economic decision to enter the market. You as the seller them as the buyer. To suggest that the seller subsidises the buyer either suggests the seller is an idiot or that he doesn’t understand capitalism.

  58. the sprout 58

    “We set up this site as a forum for discussion, not a sandpit”

    Well said Tane. This place doesn’t need to tolerate troll-swamping attacks – they are too destructive of what is an otherwise very good forum.

  59. sonic 59

    Someone should introduce Michelle to Redbaiter from Farrar’s place.

  60. “There, the art of the dog whistle, the brutality of a knife twisted into a raw nerve, serve just as well. In that respect, Key has triumphed over” Clark.http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/blogs/insidethebeltway/2008/01/30/key-bests-clark-in-opening-salvo/

    hmmm yes I would always rather the people leading my country were good at manipulating me and lacking in substance than actually quality leaders. go figure dom post!

  61. Billy 61

    My God, ‘sod. Did you just suggest leaving it to the market to fix?
    I am stunned.

    I am kind of inclined to think a capital gains tax on second properties is a good idea, but doubt it will be the answer some are suggesting. How’d that capital gains tax go at cooling the property markets of Australia and London?

  62. slightlyrighty 62


    When you said “I wouldn’t say he’s trumped her Dave” I would have to disagree.

    Politics can be a bit like cards, and sometimes it’s not the cards you have in your hand, but how you play them that counts. I would have to say that Key played a better hand than Clark in this instance.

    Still, it’s a long way to november.

    [lprent – junk warning – this is probably dad4justice under yet another alias. It is in his usual IP range and with the usual comment type.]

  63. Billy – My aim in life is solely to keep you guessing (it adds a little mystery to the romance). As far as I can remember those booms came on top of a capital gains tax that the market had already adjusted for.

    I’m not saying a capital gains tax should go on and stay on – just that it is one of the levers available to take the heat out in the short-term.

    Hmm. Captcha is “dent consultant” I don’t know what it means but I reckon it’s the job for me.

  64. Michele Cabiling 64

    “She’s made her point …”

    Nice of the goose-stepping gauleiter himself to admit it …

  65. Matthew Pilott 65

    For those who think Michele makes a few good points, I’d like to disagree (although I’m not sure it’s worth the effort as it will probably be proceeded by a lengthy cun’n’paste – I don’t come to blogs for that stuff, I go to libraries. If you aren’t grown up enough to make your own argument then you shouldn’t be here).

    From her original post:

    [1] Ever-increasing dependency on the state (well it creates a permanent Liarbour-voting constituency and that can’t be bad if you love power);

    This is complete rubbish. Benefit numbers are as low as they have been for decades, and job creation is the only thing that’s rampant.

    [2] ever-increasing state involvement in and regulation of the productive, wealth-creating sector of the economy; and

    This is also complete rubbish. New Zealand is regarded as on e of the best places in the world to do business. 3rd best as I recall, with a minimum of red tape.

    But if you want to look at one aspect where state control is interfering, you need to replace “productive, wealth-creating sector of the economy” with “polluting, environment-destroying sector of the economy” and you’ll probably see why intervention is required. As always – the market wouldn’t know how to internalise a negative externality if a waste outlet jumped up a CEO’s ass.

    [3] rampant hostility towards and deliberate eradication of the institutions of civil society, with the goal of creating an increasingly statist society

    I can’t even approach this comment as it appears it’s without grounding in enitrety. I have yet to see evidence that the Government is trying to eradicate, for example, any New Zealand Charity or NGO. If she means that the Government is assisting to fund them in order to subvert them, perhaps a tin-foil hat is to be called for. Otherwise a straitjacket will have to do.

    But then Michele’s modus operandi is to toss in a few lies and shits among the pigeons and hope no-one will notice (and then if they do, paste a largely irrelevant diatribe from L. Ron Hubbard or someone as equally unlikely).

    Santi – you said that you thought her comments were useful – would you care to disagree with what I have said, and post a valid opposing viewpoint.

    Monty, you too perhaps. And to make a point to Michele, I bet you could do it without adopting the sneering, obnoxious tone beloved of 14 year-old boys talking to their mothers.


    P.S. Michell, with one so enamoured with property rights, I’m intrigued that you’d come on a blog and act like a spoilt child, then be so petulant when you’re flipped off. Surely you know how to act, given that property rights are inherent and all that bollocks. Oh, wait, property rights can be applied selectively, you said so yourself.

    You can’t ask to be taken seriously and demand answers when your values have been torn to shreds.

  66. Billy 66


    Please keep the length of your comments down.

  67. burt 67

    Matthew Pilott

    [1] Ever-increasing dependency on the state (well it creates a permanent Liarbour-voting constituency and that can’t be bad if you love power);

    This is complete rubbish. Benefit numbers are as low as they have been for decades, and job creation is the only thing that’s rampant.

    And what about WFF? Or are you going to say this isn’t a benefit?

  68. Matthew Pilott 68

    Billy. Sorry, perhaps a bit too long I guess. I thought the complaints were about posts ones that went to 3 screens (one was 12). There are a few quotes in there you don’t have to read, and quite a few empty lines, if that’ll cheer you up a bit.

    Feel free to ‘word up’ if you’ve anything substantial to put forward…

    Burt – spot on, champ. Child subsidy, rebate, whatever you call it, it’s a targeted tax break for families with children. Or are you going to say that it’s perfectly synonymous with entirely government-funded income received for doing no work due to inability (to find & hold) or illness? You realise that’s like saying subsidised healthcare or public roading is a benefit.

  69. burt 69

    Matthew Pilott

    It’s a [ benefit ] for 75% of families with children. Income tested benefit. It’s money paid by the state. You don’t apply for a tax deduction to get it, you apply for benefit. It’s administered by work and income. Ahhhh.

    WFF is nothing like public healthcare, in WFF you qualify or you don’t, and if you do qualify you get your entitlement. Public healthcare, well you qualify, and you pay but you wait. Furthermore neither public healthcare or public roading is paid out by work and income. I think you are getting a little confused.

  70. burt 70

    Matthew Pilott

    OK, it’s administered by IRD… Is it a tax credit, a benefit or an election bribe? Either way Michele makes a valid point that people are becoming more reliant on the state.

    If National said ‘We will scrap WFF’ it would loose them significant ground. In it’s current form we have only had it three years and already we can’t live without it.

    Although the other factor is that for 8 years we have been told that tax cuts are $10/week. Thus convincing people that tax cuts don’t stack up against WFF is an easy sell when you mislead them about tax cuts. The truth about tax cuts will come out this year, imagine Cullen announcing he’s got $10/week for everyone in his May budget. Glorious.

  71. ben 71

    Why are you guys still posting? This blog has zero credibility, in case nobody hasn’t mentioned it already.

  72. And yet you still feel the need to comment her, Ben. Slow morning?

  73. lprent 73

    “Why are you guys still posting? This blog has zero credibility, in case nobody hasn’t mentioned it already.”

    Not from where I’m sitting. The traffic just keeps increasing. Some big jumps recently as the trolls (like you?) have been kicked out.

    Personally I wish it’d stop growing so fast. But I’m sure the posters would disagree with me.


  74. Matthew Pilott 74

    Burt – I wasn’t thrilled with the design of WFF, but I think that the administrative nightmare that would occur if you tried to apply a similar regime to the taxating system would be enought to make the baby Jesus cry. If national could come up with an alternative system that benefited families with children, i’d be all for it. Ideally it would see them not pay the tax in the first place, but how many more tax codes would we need :p !!

    The term election bribe…I hate to say it, but people can have short memories. The more entrenched voters won’t sway, so election year promises are made to entice the swing vote – ‘election bribes’ are endemic to the system, as long as our government’s accountability to us is on a three-yearly basis. That’s not a critique of Labour, National or anyone – it’s a problem inherent with Liberal Representative democracy.

    Not something I feel up to tackling right now, but one thought – without ‘election bribes’ how would you expect a Government to operate? Evenly spread out its policy releases, so the voters have forgotten about some of them, and they lose election ‘momentum’? They all do it because they have to, and I believe it’s one of the leading causes of disenchantment with politicials and government in general. *caugh* socialist participatory democracy *caugh*

  75. lawyer dude 75

    “Not from where I’m sitting. The traffic just keeps increasing. Some big jumps recently as the trolls (like you?) have been kicked out.”

    Dear Lynn
    I seem to have that affect on blogs,just ask David Farrar as I helped put his blog at the number one slot.
    Cough,cough. Excuse me madam. I am a miner for a heart of gold and certainly no egotistical martyr belonging too the Key Klark Klan.
    Cheers big ears.

    [lprent – junk warning – this is probably dad4justice under yet another alias. It is in his usual IP range and with the usual comment type.]

  76. Matt I believe it’s spelled “cough” but I agree completely but let’s face it. Snowball. Hell. Chance.

  77. Matthew Pilott 77

    Oh crap I can’t believe I got pulled up on that one. Y’know some words you got wrong as a kid and are just never sure about? I’m hoping that was one of them!

    Sigh, if only everyone knew what it really meant.

  78. RANDAL 78


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