Go well Grant Robertson

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 am, February 21st, 2024 - 72 comments
Categories: bill english, brand key, Christopher Luxon, david seymour, grant robertson, john key, labour, nicola willis, politicans - Tags:

Yesterday it was announced that Grant Robertson was leaving politics.

The announcement was not surprising. His going list only was a strong indication that he may not be around for long, particularly if Labour lost the election.

The announcement was met with some really mean spirited comments from the Government parties. No wonder politicians are held in such low regard.

Christopher Luxon was actually not that bad. The following quote is recorded in this Radio New Zealand article:

“Look, I just want to say to him today ‘thank you for your public service’. He’s had 15 years in this place both in Parliament, been a great servant of Parliament and also in government, we wish him well,” he said.Luxon had previously said Robertson was the “worst finance minister of all time”.

“I don’t want to get into that today,” Luxon said. “It’s a day where actually he’s announced his retirement, and actually I just want to acknowledge that he’s put service in there. We disagree with how he might have gone about it but we wish him well.”

Nicola Willis made similar comments.

But then David Seymour was asked his comments were less magnanamous.

ACT leader David Seymour was less conciliatory. He seemed to regret Robertson’s resignation, saying that “were he to be replaced by a more competent person, that would make it harder for the ACT Party”.

“Grant was a very good opponent for the ACT Party, we’ll miss him and actually we’re not sure what we’ll do without him,” Seymour said.

“We could always rely on Grant for great humour, but also great opportunities to point out what the Labour Party was doing wrong.

“Grant Robertson’s legacy unfortunately is $100 billion worth of debt. His job as finance minister was to get value for money from the public purse and now this government is going to have to work doubly hard to save money to make up for the debt that he accumulated.

And it looks like Winston Peters was also handed the same attack lines. He is quoted as saying this:

NZ First leader Winston Peters, the deputy prime minister, offered a mix of heavy criticism and well wishes.

“I think he’s well fitted, he’s going off to a university that’s $100 million in debt, having left this country in debt, so he’s well practiced as to what he should be able to do now. But I wish him all the best.”

He said Robertson had not handled the Covid-19 pandemic well at all.

“The second time around in ’21 and onwards, the handling of that was a disaster. And that’s why as time goes by the inquiry will find that out, and the level of indebtedness was massive, unjustified.”

Both Peters and Seymour displayed the same level of class you would expect from Donald Trump.

Compare this with what Andrew Little said when John Key announced he was leaving politics:

John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to stand down.

“I can empathise with his reasons. Politics requires much sacrifice. We may all be politicians, but not all our lives are politics.

“The Prime Minister has served New Zealand through times of considerable global instability, and will leave politics proud of his achievements. I wish him and his family the best for the future.

Or what Jacinda Ardern said when Bill English bowed out:

Bill has worked tirelessly as Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and Opposition leader among his many public roles. Very few serve for so long at such a high level, but garner the respect of many,” Ardern said.

“He has always stood for what he believes in. He is a man of clear convictions who has always had a genuine concern for the well-being of New Zealanders, and gave a huge portion of his working life to serving on their behalf.

“The impact of public service on a politician’s family cannot be understated. In the 27 years Bill served as an MP, with the support of his wife Mary, his children were born, and grew up. They have made great sacrifices so he could do his job to the best of his ability.

“I wish Bill and his family all the best for the future.”

The allegation of expanded debt is an old trope that the right always engage in. But when you look at the Government’s finances over time the last Labour Government built up considerable net worth. From 2017 to 2023 the Governments accounts show that net Government worth increased by $151.7 billion while net debt increased by a more modest $50 billion.

Government net worth verses net debt

And given Robertson’s major role in keeping 20,000 kiwis alive during a one in one hundred year global pandemic as well as avoiding dire predictions of the economy crashing throw away lines about how debt is unsustainable is ridiculous.

The one criticism I had of Grant was that he needed to increase spending even further on climate change and infrastructure. But I could not fault his dedication to the job or his ability to be a very good manager of the country’s finances during times that were unprecedented.

And this morning new Finance Spokesperson Barbara Edmonds started off by deftly avoiding answering questions about a capital gains tax as policy while at the same time acknowledging that there is a party process to follow. The election of a progressive Policy Council by Labour members recently is no accident.

From Radio New Zealand:

When asked on Morning Report about her view on tax reforms such as bringing in a wealth tax or a capital gains tax, she said she wanted to look at revenue being earned that wasn’t taxed.

“It is something that Labour will need to take into the next election, a really clear fiscal plan, and tax is a part of it.”

She added: “I think there’s a case for re-examining all the different revenue bases that we need to look at, because we do have some really long-term pressures on our fiscal position.”

She refused to say whether she supported Robertson’s recommendations for a wealth tax taken to Cabinet around six months before last year’s election.

She preferred to “draw a line in the sand” on what position she had taken at the time.

“I need to start again in my own shoes and have a look at what we need to do. But there’s also a party process too and I’m going to respect our party process and go through that.”

One thing that Labour will need to do is build up a counter narrative to the Government’s branding of the economy. The fundaments are actually fine, way better than those of many other countries.

But all the best to Grant. Thank you for your sterling work for the party over many years.

72 comments on “Go well Grant Robertson ”

  1. Reality 1

    I personally know someone who worked in Grant Robertson's ministerial office last year. Loved every minute. He was a fabulous boss.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Absolutely most important characteristic of a Labour MP. Anyone who fails this should think of alternative career opportunities.

  2. SPC 2

    I have not come to praise H3 Going Home ward bound.

    But to bury his successor under a street with her name.

    She says our debt to GDP should be over 40%, but Labour has by some slight of hand been reporting it as well under 30%.

    It is called investment, or growth in value of government owned assets. That is why everyone knows the NZSF as the Cullen-Robertson Investment Fund.

    Her predecessor, Bill English opposed Cullen in founding it – saying paying down debt was smarter. Debt cost has been under 5% and the Investment Return has been stonkers. Bill English's refusal to invest over 9 years has cost us between $10-20B of after debt cost return.

    But even he counted debt net of the growing NZSF – he and foreign credit agencies knew what an asset was.

    The idea of not counting assets when identifying debt – tell it to landlords when leveraging their assets to access more loans from banks.

    A government that exaggerates its debt is up to no good and wants to run a TINA scam on the voters.

    • AB 2.1

      A government that exaggerates its debt is up to no good and wants to run a TINA scam on the voters.

      Neatly said. And also applies to deliberately increasing debt by tax cuts targeted at the already-comfortable.

  3. James Simpson 3

    His legacy will obviously be COVID. He was faced with something no Finance Minister had really been faced with since WWII, and got us through it. He calmed our collective anxiety when we were told we had to go home and stay home for 9 weeks. Thank you Grant.

    My critique is he (and his government) didn't get on and change things in the second term when they had the absolute majority to complete transformational reforms. The New Zealand economy is by and large structured in the same as it was in 2017. The Rogernomics reforms from the 80s remain and my fear is a future Labour government will never have the absolute majority in Parliament to dismantle them like it did over the past 3 years. That will forever be my frustration with Grant and that Labour government. They had the ability to do more, but didn't.

    • Darien Fenton 3.1

      Oh ffs; there's always one. Mean-spirited.

      • Michael 3.1.1

        There are a lot more than one who believes Grant didn't redistribute wealth like a Labour government should. Full marks to him though for opening the cheque book during the pandemic but I think he kept it open for too long after the pandemic was over (Adrian Orr deserves some blame there). Grant also deserves kudos for (a) government asset and liability balance (as per graph above); and (b) high employment macroeconomic settings. But social insurance and two-tiered welfare scheme during pandemic are big minuses, in my book. And starving universities (which will now bite him).

    • Anne 3.2

      We have two generations of voters who know nothing but the current "market place" ideology. That includes most of the MSM. They are fodder for the right wing neoliberal view. Change can only be made in incremental steps over a long period of time. Helen Clark started it between 1999 and 2008.

      If the last government had tried to speed up the process they would have been hounded out of parliament altogether. Blame the voters who fall for the ideological crap – not the political party and Finance minister trying to 'gently' return the system to some sense of equilibrium.

      • James Simpson 3.2.1

        The voters (including me) gave them the majority they needed to do that. Once the election was over it was solely up to them to do something. They failed to.

        Jacinda said capitalism was a "blatant failure". But that failed system is still in place.

        So no, they don't dodge critique simply because they are our team, and "gently" tried to change things.

        There are only two governments in our history (or at least the past 100 years) who have made real transformational change. There was no incrementalism about them. Labour ’39 (Good), and Labour ’84 (Bad), show things can be done if there is the political will and courage.

        That being said, Grant did a good job with the restraints put around him by his colleagues' conservatism.

        • SPC 3.2.1.1

          Labour 1935-49.

        • Louis 3.2.1.2

          The second term was taken up with the global pandemic, trying to keep people alive and preventing the health system and economy from tanking.

          • Dolomedes III 3.2.1.2.1

            And yet, Ardern and friends found time for He Puapua and Three Waters. A question of priorities.

            • SPC 3.2.1.2.1.1

              The He Puapua report/plan was a consequence of the National government signing up to UNDRIP.

              National have an alternative to Three Waters and it is not as good – the ultimate difference is that it uses ratepayer cost to drive councils to the option of asset sale, whereas Three Waters used co-governance to enable separate finance from council debt.

              • Dolomedes III

                Interesting opinions, but not relevant to the point I'm making. Louis claimed LINO were unable to roll back neoliberalism because they were too busy dealing with the pandemic. But they found the time to prioritize what mattered most to them – identity politics. You'll recall also the "Safer Online Services and Media Platforms" bill? Another attempt to restrict freedom of expression.

                • SPC

                  Sure – Labour could easily have applied a rent freeze from 2021 or a 3% rent increase pa cap (Green policy) to contain living costs and prevent child poverty.

                  They were working on the FPA Industry Awards.

                  The on-line media regulation issue came out of the pre pandemic mosque response. And was part of a worldwide concern about hate speech on social media platforms.

                  Whether that required domestic law change was another issue. Race hate speech is already covered under the Human Rights Act – the issue was whether that was included to other areas of identity where discrimination can occur over difference – religion, ethnicity, sexuality, sex, gender, marital status etc.

                • weka

                  Interesting opinions, but not relevant to the point I'm making. Louis claimed LINO were unable to roll back neoliberalism because they were too busy dealing with the pandemic. But they found the time to prioritize what mattered most to them – identity politics. You'll recall also the "Safer Online Services and Media Platforms" bill? Another attempt to restrict freedom of expression.

                  That Bill was a response to the livestreaming of a mass murder on NZ soil. You seem to be arguing a libertarian position, so I'm curious where you see the line is for freedom of expression. Do you think illegal acts should be prohibited from being shared on line? How about targeted bullying of a person? Or organised, politicised abuse directed at a class of people? Where are lines on all of those?

                  • Dolomedes III

                    "Do you think illegal acts should be prohibited from being shared on line?"

                    YES, I do. Livestreaming a terrorist attack (by the perpetrator) is sick.

                    "How about targeted bullying of a person?"

                    Do you really think it's feasible to stop online bullying? About as feasible as stopping playground bullying. I think it's more realistic to teach people how to deal with bullying.

                    "Or organised, politicised abuse directed at a class of people?"

                    Can you provide an example of what you mean? We might not agree on what constitutes "organized, politicized abuse of a class of people. And where would you draw the line, weka? Would you prohibit comments like these below?

                    "Trans women aren't real women" (I wouldn't). I know the statement will be offensive to some, but someone being offended is not a good basis for censorship. I don't believe in gratuitously offending people, but neither do I believe in draconian censorship.

                    "Maatauranga Maaori does not belong in a science class" (I wouldn't). As we've seen recently, statements like this produce howls of outrage from activists, but I'd love to hear which achievements/discoveries of MM are actually relevant to 21st century science.

                    "[derogatory term for gays] are disgusting" (I wouldn't). This is not something I would say online, but I don't think there's a case for censoring it, any more than there is for censoring "Russians are disgusting" or "white men are disgusting".

                    I've just revisited the "Safer Online Services and Media Platforms" discussion document. It starts off sounding fine, but soon gets lost in a morrass of identitarian nonsense. The evidence presented is flimsy, and is handled with little consistency or rigour. Let's look at a couple of statements from the document:

                    "The new framework should recognise the harm Māori experience through discriminatory and threatening content"

                    The document does not show the Maaori are more exposed than others to online "harm", so we are being asked to "recognize" the existence of something that has not been demonstrated. The limited evidence preented in the document (self-reported online harm and exposure to "hate speech") actually suggests Asians (not Maaori) experience the highest levels of online "hate speech". Yet the document references Maaori 47 times, and Asians only once – a bit tendentious, don't you think?

                    "Community and minority groups are increasingly experiencing discrimination or are being targeted by hate speech and harassment, particularly on social media." (my underlining)

                    The document provides no evidence that hate and harrassment of minority groups are increasing, and I'm not aware of any studies that convincingly show this.

                    This bill was supposedly a response to the Christchurch terror attacks. But it goes way beyond the remit of combating terrorism, and turns into a full-scale culture war offensive. I'm relieved it's been canned.

                • weka

                  But they found the time to prioritize what mattered most to them – identity politics.

                  What would be some examples?

                  • Dolomedes III

                    Weka, you really need examples of the previous government's obsession with identity politics?

                    • He Puapua: nothing less than a blueprint for a Maaori ethnostate.
                    • Three Waters. As I've pointed out previously, there IS a case for centralized control of waters. But why put an unaccountable iwiocracy in charge? That's what so many people object to (myself included)
                    • Decreeing that maatauranga is "co-equal" with so-called "Western" science, and shoe-horning it into the science curriculum. This is a form of science denial, effectively denying the radical transformation of our world produced by the scientific revolution of the last 500 years. This is a radically stupid idea that is leading people astray, encouraging one blogger to make the absurd claim that NASA are only now catching with the discoveries of Maaori astronomers https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022/09/05/another-bizarre-attempt-to-show-that-traditional-ways-of-knowing-in-new-zealand-are-even-better-than-modern-science/
                    • Funding maatauranga students at a higher rates than science, medicine or engineering students. Apparently it's more important to graduate specialists in "indigenous ways of knowing" than doctors or engineers.
                    • The "Conversion Practices" legislation, which may criminalize Any parents or medical practitioners who are unwilling to endorse "gender-affirming" care (such as Orwellian name). Ardern herself acknowledged she could not rule out prosecution of parents or healthy professionals in such situations https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/08/prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-doesn-t-rule-out-parents-facing-charges-under-conversion-therapy-ban.html
                    • The "Safer Online Services and Media platforms" bill appeared to propose that identity should determine people's rights to express themselves. "Maaori must be free to express themselves" said the text – why only Maaori? BTW, the handling of the evidence in that bill was grossly tendentious.

                    There.

                    [During the short period of commenting here you’ve already received several warnings (e.g. https://thestandard.org.nz/a-sad-lament-from-the-serial-left/#comment-1989588 and https://thestandard.org.nz/a-sad-lament-from-the-serial-left/#comment-1990032 and one Mod note (https://thestandard.org.nz/get-ready-for-your-water-to-be-privatised/#comment-1989949) from three different Mods.

                    Your MO is not engaging with commenters, not engaging in good faith, not supporting your assertions with evidence, making up false accusations (https://thestandard.org.nz/go-well-grant-robertson/#comment-1990452) and generally wasting people’s time. The list is getting too long and tedious and you appear to be making up stuff and spreading mis- and disinformation on this site.

                    There’s no Safer Online Services and Media Platforms Bill. I looked for it on the website of Parliament (https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/all) and couldn’t find it.

                    Provide a link to it.

                    The […] bill appeared to propose that identity should determine people’s rights to express themselves.

                    Provide evidence for this in the Bill, e.g., paragraph or section number, page number, etc.

                    “Maaori must be free to express themselves” said the text

                    Show us where in the Bill it states this quoted text.

                    Funding maatauranga students at a higher rates than science, medicine or engineering students.

                    Provide evidence for this.

                    Apparently it’s more important to graduate specialists in “indigenous ways of knowing” than doctors or engineers.

                    If this is your assumption then make this clear. If this is a claim about the funding then back it up with evidence such as a link and point to the exact section of text.

                    You’re in Pre-Mod until you have complied with this Mod note and I won’t let through any other comments of yours. Don’t waste anymore of my time and lift your game here, stat – Incognito]

                    • SPC

                      – He Puapua: nothing less than a blueprint for a Maaori ethnostate.

                      The report was a requirement of National signing up to UNDRIP in 2016.

                      Peters was among the ministers who commissioned it.

                      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2023/03/winston-peters-says-labour-hid-he-puapua-but-newshub-can-reveal-he-was-among-those-who-commissioned-it.html

                      The report merely outlined a range of ways to provide a standing and place to the indigenous people in governance.

                      – Three Waters. As I've pointed out previously, there IS a case for centralized control of waters. But why put an unaccountable iwiocracy in charge? That's what so many people object to (myself included)

                      The consequence of the sale of power assets was the Waitangi Tribunal determining that water asset management was a place for Maori. The Treaty is something written into our international trade deals thus allows us to use that tactically for national advantage. The reason of Three Waters was not just regionalisation (scarce skilled staff and inclusion of economically weaker councils), but also asset management external to the asset owning councils. When combined with Maori participation in governance there was balance sheet separation allowing borrowing unrelated to councils and their debt limits. It is little more than wards on councils not iwiocracy.

                      A greater amount of borrowing and at lower cost (councils had debt limits) and with a reduced risk of privatisation was the intent.

                      National's threat to legislate a limited role for the Waitangi Tribunal is about facilitating privatisation – as per power companies.

                      National's approach will first result in greater ratepayer cost and then subsequent requirement to form a separate water entity (council owned only at first) that operates by user pays (reducing costs on landlords and transferred to tenants and homeowners). But where balance sheet separation is realised by a non council shareholding sale providing the council with the means to invest new capital (their share of investment) within their debt cap.

                    • Louis

                      yes on your posts SPC, well said.

                    • Dolomedes III

                      Replying to SPC:

                      "The report was a requirement of National signing up to UNDRIP in 2016."

                      Enough of the gaslighting already. UNDRIP is non-binding, it didn't require us to do anything https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_on_the_Rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples

                      He Puapua was a choice by the Ardern government.

                      And would you care to substantiate this claim?

                      "National's threat to legislate a limited role for the Waitangi Tribunal is about facilitating privatisation – as per power companies."

                      Yes I know the shyster Key privatized 49 % of our hydro assets, but that is not evidence of National Party plans to privatize drinking water.

                    • SPC

                      The intent to limit the role of the Waitangi Tribunal is a known.

                      https://archive.li/PR4Cu

                      The Waitangi Tribunal on water asset management

                      https://www.waternz.org.nz/Attachment?Action=Download&Attachment_id=1818

                      UNDRIP is non-binding, it didn't require us to do anything

                      Peters agreed to a report being commissioned, despite presumably not intending to act on it. It is a function of government to do research on stuff, it is part of the planning process (to consider the total range of the concept).

                      Calling it a plan for an ethno-state is absurd – for example Ardern ruled out a separate Maori upper house on the reports arrival.

                      but that is not evidence of National Party plans to privatize drinking water.

                      First neuter the Tribunal and up the rates pressure on councils. Then require they place the assets in an independent water management body with heavy investment (regulatory) requirements … are you not able to connect the dots?

                    • weka

                      Weka, you really need examples of the previous government's obsession with identity politics?

                      Yes, we do. This has been explained to you in the following threads, but the gist is that no-one can read your mind, on this site you are expected to explain your thinking and thoughts rather than assuming people know what you are talking about,

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/a-sad-lament-from-the-serial-left/#comment-1989588

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/a-sad-lament-from-the-serial-left/#comment-1990032

                    • Incognito

                      Mod note

                    • Dolomedes III

                      Dear Mod

                      Thank you for the opportunity to provide more information, and to correct a sloppy mistake in some of my earlier posts. As you state correctly, there is no bill called "Safer Online Services and Media Platforms Bill". The document I was alluding to (without checking the facts) was in fact a Discussion Document of the same name. Here it is: https://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/online-content-regulation/$file/Safer-Online-Services-and-Media-Platforms-Discussion-Document-June-2023.pdf

                      In later posts I correctly identified it as a Discussion Document. The fact that it never resulted in a bill before parliament presumably reflected widespread negative public reaction in the form of submissions (I myself wrote one).

                      The […] bill [sic] appeared to propose that identity should determine people’s rights to express themselves

                      Provide evidence for this in the Bill, e.g., paragraph or section number, page number, etc.

                      Pages 67-68 of the document are devoted to The Treaty of Waitangi. On page 68, section 149 is headed

                      "The Crown must protect the rights of Māori to express themselves freely"

                      Why only Maaori? What about the rest of us?

                      "Funding maatauranga students at a higher rates than science, medicine or engineering students.

                      Provide evidence for this.

                      Here's the document: https://www.tec.govt.nz/assets/Publications-and-others/PBRF-Publications/PBRF-User-Manual-updated-February-2022.pdf. On page 16, you'll find Table 2.2, giving subject area weightings. "Maaori Knowledge and Development" gets a funding weighting of 3, higher than the weighting assigned to medicine, engineering and sciences (2.5).

                      Apparently it’s more important to graduate specialists in “indigenous ways of knowing” than doctors or engineers.

                      If this is your assumption then make this clear. If this is a claim about the funding then back it up with evidence such as a link and point to the exact section of text.

                      Funding rates are normally intended to cover the different costs implied in different fields of study. For example, training medical students obviously costs more than training a history student. Training specialists in "Maaori Knowledge and Development" is very unlikely to cost as much as training scientists or doctors, so funding this area at a higher rate than science or medicine is an incentive for universities to enroll as many students as possible in this area.

                      You accuse me of "disinformation". Please either identify specific examples in my comments, or else retract the accusation. I made a sloppy mistake in identifying the nature of a source, but my reports on the document's contents were accurate. Furthermore, I correctly identified the document in my later posts. That is not disinformation.

                      "Your MO is not engaging with commenters, not engaging in good faith, not supporting your assertions with evidence, making up false accusations"

                      What would you consider evidence of "engaging in good faith"? And can you name even one person on this site who has engaged with my comments in good faith? Your "making up false accusations" (plural) charge is frivolous. I overlooked the link at the end of a rather long post, and (more importantly) the commentator responded to one of my comments by simply pasting in extensive material verbatim from a government website (without using quote marks) as if he were making an argument refuting my comment – that was the more substantive part of my criticism. The accusation of time-wasting might sound a bit precious – apparently your time is more valuable than mine.

                      [Every commenter here always has the opportunity to lift their game, correct their mistakes, and apologise, especially when making false accusations. This shows good faith – it should not take several warnings and Mod notes.

                      Indeed, in the discussion document 2 pages (9 sections from a total of 161) are devoted on the special relation with ToW. Throughout the discussion document there are mentions of Human Rights Act and Bill of Rights Act, which apply to all New Zealanders. Your biased torchlight hid those in the darkness.

                      I checked to document for your quoted text “Maaori must be free to express themselves” and couldn’t find it. Thus, you made up the quote yourself, which is blatant dishonesty.

                      The PBRF is a research fund and as such it doesn’t fund students, as you asserted. In addition, the PBRF is only a small proportion of the total funding that NZ universities receive.

                      https://www.universitiesnz.ac.nz/about-university-sector/how-nz-universities-are-funded

                      You’re working at an NZ university and should know these things. Thus, you’re spreading disinformation.

                      As I mentioned in my Mod note, you’ve been wasting time of 4 Mods now and numerous people who responded to your unclear, misleading, and often unsupported comments and you double down with your attacks on and accusations of other commenters. A genuine apology would go a long way but instead you play the victim here.

                      Take a month off and if/when you come back here lift your game or your commenting privileges will be curtailed for much longer – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      Mod note

                • Louis

                  The work for Three Waters reforms had begun before the outbreak of COVID-19. The report on He Puapua was also commissioned in 2019.

                  Peters was among the ministers who commissioned it.

                  https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2023/03/winston-peters-says-labour-hid-he-puapua-but-newshub-can-reveal-he-was-among-those-who-commissioned-it.html

                  Much of Labour's program was put on a back burner when dealing with the global pandemic. COVID-19 was their number one priority, it was about saving as many lives and livelihoods as possible. Something the current government doesn't believe in. Winston is very hopeful that the inquiry will prove his opinion that saving lives was a complete waste of money.

                  "the handling of that was a disaster. And that’s why as time goes by the inquiry will find that out, and the level of indebtedness was massive, unjustified.”

                  https://thestandard.org.nz/go-well-grant-robertson/

                • Louis

                  The Safer Online Services and Media Platforms bill was not an attempt to restrict freedom of expression.

                  • Dolomedes III

                    Did you actually read the bill, Louis?

                    • Louis

                      About the Safer Online Services and Media Platforms review – April 2022

                      The aim of the Review is to design and implement a new approach to content regulation that minimises the risk of harms caused by content to New Zealanders

                      The updated regulatory system will be:

                      • Modern – able to respond to the types of harm caused by the wide variety of content and content platforms we interact with in 2022;
                      • Flexible – adaptive to emerging technologies, any new content platforms and future shifts in societal values or expectations; and
                      • Simple – easier for users to navigate if they have a content-related concern; for content creators and providers to comply with; and for regulators to regulate.

                      As well as protecting New Zealanders from harm, the Review will ensure any new system upholds New Zealanders’ rights to freedom of expression, preserves the freedom of the press, and is consistent with Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles.

                      Why do we need this review?

                      The ongoing evolution of digital media and the rise of new content platforms has resulted in a significant increase of potential for New Zealanders to be exposed to harmful content.

                      This was made evident by the livestreaming and virality of the Christchurch terror attack video.

                      https://www.dia.govt.nz/media-and-online-content-regulation

                    • Dolomedes III

                      Replying to Louis (12:13 pm)

                      Louis all your most recent post below does is parrot the previous government's propaganda for its ill-advised piece of legislation.

                    • Louis

                      Propaganda? ill-advised? That is your opinion Dolomedes III. Do you think it is acceptable to allow live streaming of mass murder?

                  • Dolomedes III

                    Replying to Louis (1:19 pm), as for some reason there's no reply option below that comment.

                    All you did at 12:13 was copy and paste this text here, without acknowledging the source: https://www.dia.govt.nz/media-and-online-content-regulation

                    Like I said, you parroted government propaganda. And NO, I don't support live-streaming of mass murder, but the bill went way beyond that, was thoroughly addled by identity politics, and handled the evidence tendentiously.

      • Obtrectator 3.2.2

        Labour 2020-23, with increasing hindsight, appear to me to be like someone provided with a new power-tool (pun unavoidable), unfamiliar with how to work it, and not daring to do so for fear of injuring themselves.

        • Anne 3.2.2.1

          "not daring to do so for fear of injuring themselves."

          Spot on.

          The antipathy built up around Labour – courtesy of political opponents, conspiracy theorists and sections of the media – meant they would have been on a hiding to nothing had they "dared to do so". We only have to look at all the mis and disinformation around the 3 Waters legislation to see a good example.

          Some people also have very short memories. For much of their time in office the last government was grappling with a world wide pandemic and its side-effects on the economy.

          • Louis 3.2.2.1.1

            yes Anne.

          • Descendant Of Smith 3.2.2.1.2

            "If the last government had tried to speed up the process they would have been hounded out of parliament altogether. "

            So they didn't speed up the process and were hounded out of parliament anyway.

            • Louis 3.2.2.1.2.1

              “One day, it will be our job to try to understand how a group of people could succumb to such wild and dangerous mis- and disinformation,” she said.

              In the end, New Zealand’s new era of intense rhetoric and dangerous disinformation will outlast Ardern"

              "The rise in extremist rhetoric and baseless theories in New Zealand has been partly fueled by far-right movements in the United States and Europe, Jackson said, including pundits such as Tucker Carlson, who often took aim at Ardern. The prime minister herself called it an “imported style of protest that we have not seen in New Zealand before.”

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/01/20/jacinda-ardern-new-zealand-covid-resignation/

              Also, Fear by Byron Clark is a good read.

        • Louis 3.2.2.2

          2020-23 Remember the global pandemic?

    • Louis 3.3

      The second term was taken up with the Covid19 global pandemic and you gave praise to Robertson for that.

    • Ad 3.4

      Just bullshit. Ardern went for structural reforms to the state at least as large as the Helen Clark government. True not all of them worked, but many did.

      • City Rail Link despite National starting it, was a Labour-pushed project and far and away the largest infrastructure project NZ has done, and well and truly our largest PT project
      • Underwrote the wages of the entire economy
      • Massive increase in the tax of the primary source of our capital; housing
      • Polytechs had been centralised.
        • The entire health system has been recentralised.
      • The entire economy is now priced and traded on carbon
      • ACC and NZSuper were funded to grow to be our largest domestic investors. Didn't get that under National.
      • Kiwirail massively strengthened. National in process of reversing.
      • Public sector massive expansion in capacity not seen in over a decade. National in process of reversing.
      • Huge NZDF upgrades to systems, planes, and pay. Not done since second term of Clark
      • Big pay increases to teachers, nurses, and doctors. Not under Key/English
      • Increased union membership back up to 17%
      • Massive water regulation reforms, price reforms, and structural reforms. Last of which National has quickly undone.
      • RMA redone.
      • Massive expansion of public housing
      • Huge expansion to school lunches and other benefits.

      Robertson funded all of it. Ardern supported it. If you keep framing the last government as a failure for doing too little compared to some New Zealand you think you had prior to 1984, the basic problem for you is that it was never coming back in the first place.

      • Dolomedes III 3.4.1

        Massive expansion in public sector "capacity"? Meaning what exactly? Did they increase the quantity and quality of public services? Hiring more bureaucrats and spending more money are nothing to crow about.

  4. mac1 4

    I believe that a man is seen most clearly when his behaviour is observed at unguarded moments and when reacting with people who bring no benefit except that treasure of being human with them.

    Others can talk about Grant Robertson as a politician, minister, leader.

    I want to mention the two encounters I have had with Grant. I have never been introduced to him, he doesn't know me, being lower down in the Labour ranks. Once I met him walking dwon a street near Parliament. Surprised in a big city not my home to see him, I smiled and got back a huge smile that one usually gets from old friends. We both carried on walking.

    The second meeting was in my town at a regional conference. I was not a delegate, but turned up one day to do a delivery. I met Grant coming out the door. Again a most beautiful welcoming smile for someone who was again just passing by.

    There was no political advantage, no meeting an 'important person', no favours, no smarm and false connection- just a good man acting in a most human way.

    That behaviour, that view of humanity, that connection is what makes him, in my view, what James Shaw described. "…. one of – if not the most – talented politician of our generation."

  5. tc 5

    True colours from rimmer and the deputy big tobacco grifter there mickey.

    Yes they need a counter narrative so maybe that's on next year's agenda as it's 5 months from the GE and mostly crickets is all I hear from them.

    All the best grant we were lucky to have you in the right role at the right time.

    Willis ferry debacle is one of many examples where NZ's getting screwed but hey no rush labour in your own time as usual.

  6. Ad 6

    Imagine the catastrophic hole New Zealand would be in without the stupendous state subsidies Robertson drove.

    We would look like the UK economy now: deep recession.

  7. Ad 7

    Just need to sit back and see how big the shift is for the left as of this last month:

    Losses from the Greens: Shaw, Collins, Garaman.

    Losses from Labour: Little, Davis, Robertson

    This is on top of all the Labour MPs gone in the election.

    That's a huge loss in capacity and portfolio knowledge and specialisation.

    I don't think I'm ready for silver linings or 'generational change' talk today.

    The whole is a collective loss for the left in Parliament and for us as party members.

    • aj 7.1

      Agree strongly with Ad 6 & 7

      Ref 7 we can only hope there has been mentoring and advice/communication between those gone and those remaining will continue.

      Even with the exodus I think the left of politics has a stronger team. It's a question of focus, and being as ruthless as the right.

      Q: is there any good reason ACT/NZF didn't speak in parliament's tribute to Effesso Collins today.

    • Dolomedes III 7.2

      Exactly what "huge loss of capacity" is represented by the exit of Little, Robertson, Davis and Gahraman?

  8. Mike the Lefty 8

    It's little surprise to me that Seymour and Peters chose to stick the knife in.

    Both based their election strategies on boorish behaviour and kicking people when they were down so why stop now when they having so much fun?

    I quite liked Grant Robertson, he had a steady wit and, despite what the right say, I believe he knew what he was about as a finance minister – he had the worst kind of circumstances in which to operate but managed to get us out alive at the other end, at least.

    As for his humour, my daughter used to work in a Wellington cafe where Grant Robertson would sometimes go. She got to know him a bit and like him for his gentlemanly witty personality.

  9. Go well Grant. You did us proud. Wish we had more like you.

  10. adam 10

    Can I just say without a link because I don't want to promote the slime ball.

    That mike hosking on Grant's retirement is a sanctimonious lying prick. What a sick little corporate cocksucker hosking is, how vial can the low life get?

    Dishonest small minded little men with tiny cocks are the only ones I've met who spew propaganda like that dog whistling scumbag did today. What a piece of shit.

  11. Hunter Thompson II 11

    Reading about Grant Robertson got me thinking about NZ politics as compared to the rest of the world.

    We are fortunate that NZ still has people who enter politics for the good of the nation, not to enrich themselves.

    In some other countries people don't bother to vote because elections are a sham. All the politicians are corrupt, as are the police and the judiciary. It's graft from top to bottom.

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