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Grant Robertson

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, September 7th, 2013 - 112 comments
Categories: grant robertson, labour - Tags:

Grant Robertson

First off, I’d like to thank the Standard for the opportunity to communicate directly to the many members of our movement who read this blog. You play an important role in providing a platform and forum for the left in New Zealand.

I will lead us to victory in 2014 to rebuild New Zealand as a fair society where prosperity and opportunity are shared. I believe I am the only candidate who unite our party and deliver New Zealanders a clear, consistent and direct message that Labour’s values and policies will create a better life for them and their families.

I represent a new generation of leadership. It’s time to throw out the neo-liberal agenda and build a genuinely progressive vision for New Zealand. That’s what I offer. I will give our values a modern, strong and clear voice that connects with the lives of New Zealanders, and allows us to change our country for the better.

We should be proud of many things that the Clark government achieved, but the economic framework of that time has past. My government will not have a third way agenda, it will have a Labour agenda. Where we put people first. Where its not about the deals and vested interests of John Key, but where your hard work and the support provided by our collective endeavours define success.

That means my government will be hands on in creating jobs and opportunities. It also means my government will be prepared to put equality at the centre of our vision again. Growing inequality is the most urgent problem that our movement must address.

I will not let our children’s future be limited by poverty. When I am out door knocking and see children growing up in cold damp homes, getting sick and missing school, I know we must act. Every New Zealander is entitled to hope for a better tomorrow; to know that there is opportunity for them and their children and grandchildren to prosper.

I want to see us invest in our young people so that every single one gets a warm safe home, a clean environment to live in, a good school, and a doctor in the neighbourhood. The basics. We can’t do that with the old way, based on a failed neoliberal consensus. We can do it based on our values and a new generation of leadership.

We are a party that is based on the principles that everyone’s contribution should be valued, that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay, and that we have obligations to care for each other.

In my first 100 days as Prime Minister I will introduce legislation, developed with unions, to restore fairness to our workplaces. We will introduce Industry Standard Agreements, increase the minimum wage to $15, pay Government workers a living wage and repeal National’s employment relations changes like the 90 day law and restore protection for vulnerable workers.

Our clear goal must be full employment. This not about a few fixes here or there. I stand for genuine change that empowers all workers to get a fair deal no matter what industry they work in. All New Zealanders should have the opportunity of good, decent jobs.

I have demonstrated a life-long commitment to promoting education as the key to our potential. As a student leader I fought the introduction of the user pays tertiary education. During the Clark government I pushed for the interest-free student loan policy which ensured that thousands of young kiwis could have the opportunity of tertiary education, without the crushing burden of interest-bearing debt.

A free, high quality public education system is at the centre of my vision for education. Education which gives all New Zealanders a decent start and the opportunity of life-long learning. Charter schools and national standards, that serve no educational purpose, have no place in that vision.

I have been a Labour Party members since the late 1990s. I have served our party at all levels, from the branch to Helen Clark’s office. I have made the policy and I have made the tea. As Deputy Leader I have shown my strong commitment to a democratic Labour Party that empowers our members. I am proud of the organisational change process to democratise our Party. We are stronger for it.

I have had a leading role in bringing about the Policy Platform. It will be an enduring document that will give members a direct say in binding the caucus. That’s a big step forward and I am proud of my role in that process. I am committed to the Platform and to leading an inclusive, democratic party.

Norman Kirk said that New Zealanders want a job to do, a home to live in, someone to love, and something to hope for. That has always resonated with me and I want to give it a modern voice. A job, a home, a family and a future. That is what Labour can bring to every New Zealanders. A sense of hope and opportunity.

We can’t afford another term of a National government. I am the person to bring our team together and win. We have the best team pound for pound but we need to harness its potential.

I will stand up and fight for Labour values. I will take the fight to John Key. I have proven my ability to put him under pressure in Parliament, and I can do that across New Zealand.

I believe in Labour’s values. I believe they are New Zealand’s values. They are enduring, and I am committed to them. With your support I want to give them a modern voice so we can win in 2014 and build the New Zealand we need and build a nation of fairness, hope and opportunity for all.


112 comments on “Grant Robertson ”

  1. lprent 1

    Note that this post will be fully moderated (ie a moderator has to release all comments).

    Grant *may* be online for a while on sunday to answer questions (haven’t had an answer back on that yet). Saturday with meetings in both Wellington and Nelson will be busy.

    Confine yourselves to comments on the post or questions directed at Grant. Speeches and rants that are not related to the post (even disguised by framing as questions) will be shunted to OpenMike. Comments on comments are ok, but stay within the confines of the context of the post.

    If the remaining candidate, Shane Jones, wishes to use this site for a guest post then he is welcome to send it through and the same rules will apply.

    • r0b 1.1

      Thanks for that Lynn – I hope that Shane takes up the opportunity too.

      Hi Grant – thanks for your post here!

      When you say that we need to “throw out the neo-liberal agenda and build a genuinely progressive vision” – can you be more specific? What does the progressive vision look like?

      Anthony R0bins

  2. Salmon 2

    Excellent post Grant – you have my first preference.

    I am loving this leadership election. A chance to really hear some visionary stuff. Excited!

    David gets my second preference – I like what he says too – but he doesn’t have the authentic voice that comes across in this. At least that’s my impression.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      When I think of Grant I see Shearer sitting next to him. As a Green voter – who will vote Labour in the constituency seat – I find Grant to be the third most appealing.

      • kenny 2.1.1

        I also see Mallard, King, Curran, Hipkins and all the ABCer’s standing right behind him.

        Grant, can you please explain to us what this ABC thing is all about?

        • Salmon

          I think that is an unfair attitude. Grant has strong relationships with many people in caucus – that is one of his strengths. I don’t think it is appropriate to criticise him for standing by the Leader. Unity it vital to winning in politics.

          Grant has the “old guard” behind him. But he also has Jacinda, Kris, Parker, Maryan, Andrew, Megan etc. Some of our best and brightest. I mean – I don’t think David supporters should play the game of comparing who in caucus supports who – not a winning tactic for them.

          I thought we all had a pretty good idea where ABC comes from. David himself acknowledged at the Levin meeting that he should have taken a better attitude to caucus when he first showed up. I’m prepared to put it in the past. Others are having a more difficult time. I suspect they have reasons I don’t know about.

          In my experience, Grant hasn’t participated in the ABC stuff. Actually I have seen him discourage it. It’s important that he has kept his hands clean on that. It will help him build a more unified caucus if he wins.

          • aerobubble

            I think that’s Grants nail, the caucus brought us Goff and then Shearer, and given the new rule changes how brilliant it would be if the Cancus went against the party and unions.

      • Tim 2.1.2

        When I see Salmon (the poster above [with a ‘t’] – I see high levels of Mercury and a Sealord’s waka desperate to catch as many as they can with an Ayeshun crew being whipped – and with a Herr Capitan screaming faster, faster you cnuts – no dinner tonight!
        I also see a Jones’eeee’ pontificating and obfuscating ready to pull out a Key-style “I’m comfortable with thet …. Oim comfortable we’ve got out ‘settings’ about right, of course we can always improve”
        IOW (Oh that’s netty-speak for in other words” B T W)”- I see bullshit.

        • Tim

          Ohh, in case you think there’s confusion – my thinking is that Grant will kick in behind should the main man being elected, excusing himself on the basis of loyalty and party unity.
          IOW, ego and ambition before party, people and principle – so what’s the record so far?

    • Benny 2.2

      To me, that is a shame, I feel you have wasted your vote

    • Boadicea 2.3

      Excellen smoke blowing Salmon. Welcome to TS, nice to see “first time callers”.

  3. Ramsay 3

    Grant – I am a little bit worried about how the minimum wage proposals are going down in the provinces. It is very hard to combat the “buy less of something the more expensive it is” argument and it doesn’t help to have people like Robert Reid saying that SMEs who can’t afford a big increase in costs over productivity should go out of business.

    Not everyone works for Telecom or Parliamentary Services and I worry that your and David’s position is prone to scaremongering outside of the main cities (where Labour really need to make gains to be a 40% party). It’s all very well to say you will improve the messaging but how specifically do you intend to do that?

  4. deemac 4

    however you measure it, Grant is the left candidate. For a start, he is the only one to give the correct answer on abortion, that it’s a woman’s right to choose, not the waffle about “conscience” that we got from the other two candidates.

    • Ramsay 4.1

      The “correct” answer. Not the careful balancing of competing values but a metaphysical certainty on the scale of 2 + 2 = 4. Does Grant favour extending availiability post-viability? To D&X procedures? Where should the line be drawn, if it’s such a simple question?

      Most Kiwis broadly favour the availability of abortion but I don’t think everyday people see it is a simple matter to be reserved to the individual in some instances and society in others. Some waffle and circumspection is accordingly both appropriate and electorally prudent.

    • QoT 4.2

      Abortion is not solely a women’s issue as not only women get pregnant. Grant’s (and David’s) responses on the question, when put to them, were good – but my question is: where were you and what was your feeling around Steve Chadwick’s bill, which was shot down by a Labour caucus of which you were a member?

        • QoT

          Actually you are wrong. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Beatie

          (Please note: any response on the lines of “Thomas Beatie is really a woman” are shitty, transphobic, and merely highlight your ignorance about the wonderful diversity of human life.)

          • Ramsay

            Thanks for the pre-emptive strike on my response. Let me amend to, “Actually, only genetic females get pregnant.”

            (Please note: any response along the lines there’s no such thing as biological sex – even if you are open to it not being the chief determinant of gender identity – is an elevation of political orthodoxy over scientific reality, and merely highlights your jacobinism about the biological facts of human life.)

        • Psycho Milt

          It’s a matter of philosophy. To traditionalists, purveyors of the ordinary and the mundane, “man” and “woman” are nouns and therefore have meanings. These tiresome pedants naturally consider that, by definition, only women get pregnant. However, to the enlightened postmodernist, “man” and “woman” are merely names and you choose the name you feel suits you better. This avant garde naturally considers that of course a man can get pregnant.

          • QoT

            Actually, it’s a matter of biological and social fact. Even our chromosomes don’t reduce us down to “people-with-wombs-who-can-get-pregnant” and “people-with-penises-who-can’t”.

            • Ramsay

              Acually, it’s a matter of biological fact.

              Member of the Mammalia class of the Animal Kingdom? Got a Y chromosome. Guess, what? You can’t get pregnant. That’s not a “social construction” but a metaphysical fact.

              That doesn’t entail being intolerant or uncompassionate to transgendered people. Not at all. It does, however, require not being pedantic about gender ideology in the face of the common sense that the ordinary people – who used to vote for Labour and don’t anyway more – subscribe.

              “”Here! I’ve got an idea: Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb – which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’ – but that he can have the *right* to have babies.”

              • QoT

                That doesn’t entail being intolerant or uncompassionate to transgendered people.

                It does if you insist on labelling abortion a “women’s issue” when it affects men who can get pregnant (or if you insist on misgendering those men).

                It’s also problematic in that many people who have XX chromosomes and uteri may not actually be able to become pregnant, so it’s harmful to reduce them to their reproductive capacity.

                And there’s nothing pedantic involved. You just have to use the word “people” instead of “women”. It’s only a problem if you don’t think women are people.

                • weka

                  On the other hand, arguing in the way that you do that men can get pregnant reduces humans to two genders (male, female). Which isn’t how I see it myself.

                  • QoT

                    … I don’t see how. I’m using the example of a man who got pregnant to illustrate – to people who *do* still think there are only two sexes and that sex = gender – that abortion doesn’t just affect women. At the same time, I always refer to pregnant “people”, which covers everyone, including people who don’t fit or reject the gender binary.

                    But given I’m arguing against people who are quite happy to say that someone like Thomas Beatie, who absolutely identifies as a man, is “really” a woman, bringing genderqueer folks into it would probably just result in more harmful misgendering.

                    • weka

                      All I can say is that’s how it came across – there are men and there are women, and some men can get pregnant. Doesn’t make sense to me, and certainly won’t make sense to most people (I think your illustration fails and probably just confuses people, although it may prompt some people to go do some research). I’d think about it in terms of most humans who can get pregnant are women and there are also people who are transgender men and intersex who can get pregnant. Short form: women, trans men, intersex people can get pregnant. That takes us neatly out of the male/female binary.

                      In terms of abortion, rather than saying it’s an issue for people, I’d say it’s an issue for women, trans men and intersex people. Saying it’s an issue for people is just going to leave some people thinking this is a woman/man issue.

                      Even though I don’t completely agree with the direction you are going I get and agree with what you are trying to do in raising awarenes and normalising all folk. Not sure how Grant Robertson or the other candidates fit into that.

                    • QoT

                      Well, I started out this whole thread by saying:

                      “Abortion is not solely a women’s issue as not only women get pregnant.”

                      I think that pretty much covers the point I was making.

                  • Call me a stirrer if you like, but I’d be interested to read Grant Robertson’s view on this controversial issue of whether men can get pregnant or not. Do you take a side on this, Grant?

                    • QoT

                      I wouldn’t call it stirring since Grant himself framed abortion as a women’s issue (and has his fandom declaring this was the “correct” answer all over the internet).

                    • Salmon

                      QOT – both David and Grant framed this as a women’s issue. Maybe the best approach would be to remind them to choose better words next time. I think both would be open to that.

    • Mike S 4.3

      I don’t see how you can attach abortion rights to being the ‘left’ candidate. I would have thought that someones opinions on abortion are their own feelings and not political ideology? I personally am not happy about abortion and probably view it more as something of a necessary evil. I certainly don’t see it as something we (humans) should be proud of or happy about. In saying that, I support a woman’s right to choose. Regardless, these are my own feelings and are not connected with whether my political leanings are left or right.

      Anyway, I’ve strayed off topic again.

      I would like to ask Grant if he thinks that it is an acceptable situation where we allow foreign owned private banks to create and control our money supply (96% of it anyway) and to milk massive profits from creating our money? Does he agree that the public should enjoy the benefits of money creation, not the private banks and that money should be created to benefit society?

  5. Kevin Welsh 5

    Hi Grant thank you for taking the time to post.

    I have two questions:

    1. Do you agree that the neo-liberal economic experiment that New Zealand has suffered under for that last 30 years has run its course and it is time to rip up that playbook and find a way that brings economic equality and fairness to ALL New Zealanders; and

    2. No matter who wins this leadership election, do you pledege to fight agains the back-stabbing and self interest that has ben exhibited by a number of Labour MP’s who see themselves as more important than the membership that is the backbone of this great Party?

    Have a great day and keep up the good work.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Grant, under your economic leadership, do you see situations where a Labour Government would directly intervene in major markets (in addition to electricity)? Say with more hands on regulation or perhaps other means.

    The two areas I have in mind are:

    – Fast internet access at home for low socioeconomic and also rural communities.
    – Retail banking, which seems to be making over-sized profits hurting both small businesses and NZers with too high fees and interest.

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    Is Grant Robertson the “only uniting candidate” for leadership of the Party or for leadership of the caucus ? while he jettisons the “neoliberal agenda” and avoids the “third way” becoming more things to more people than the mercurial David Cunliffe.

    on The Audacity of Hope

    Will there be increases to benefit base-rates, or does one have to work for the government to share in this largess concerning minimum incomes?

    These are not the days of Big Norm 😉 , although, from your book-marking of historical claims and your demonstrated passion for the provision of educational opportunities, a great Minister of Education you may make.

  8. Bill 8

    Hi Grant.

    When you proclaim that under your leadership, Labour will pursue a ‘Labour Agenda’; what does that actually mean to you? And if your explanation highlights a significant departure from Labour under David Shearer, then why did you use your position in caucus to prop up a Shearer led caucus for so long?

    The same question…your participation in maneuvering to first of all deny the members’ their choice of leader and then, later, to thwart our input by keeping everything ‘in caucus’ through casting questionable votes of confidence, comes to mind when I read “As Deputy Leader I have shown my strong commitment to a democratic Labour Party that empowers our members.”

    Can you please help me square your fine sounding words with your less than fine actions?


    • Mary 8.2

      Tui ad moment: “Of course Grant’s going to answer that question.”

      Just like the questions about social security, there’s no way Robertson will go anywhere near answering them. Robertson just isn’t a viable leader. The more I hear him speak the more turned off I get and the more I see him as a charlatan. Sorry Granty, but you just ain’t credible.

  9. Clement Pinto 9

    Grant, I am keen to hear your specific answers to these five seven questions:

    [1] Will you reinstate the Adult Community Education Night Classes?
    [2] Will you legislate for a set ratio such as 1:20 for Min to Max wage allowed in any organisation/industry to peg the widening gap between the low and high waged and to help reduce the income gap in the free market economic system?
    [3] Will you extend the WFF payments to families with children but non working caregivers?
    [4] Will you reduce GST to 12.5% and increase the top tax rate to the original 39% above a certain threshold?
    [5] Will you encourage and support Kiwi parents to bear more children in order to reduce immigration and influx of foreign workers into the country?
    [6] How will you ensure the inflation is kept low and the wages are kept in pace with rising inflation every year?
    [7] Will you include the family home for the CGT?

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      A lot of those questions are things the Labour party as a whole would have to agree on, it’s not up to the leader, whoever it is, to set policies like that.

      • Clement Pinto 9.1.1

        Surely, he can still have a view on these issues.

        • Lanthanide

          Sure, you can ask for his views on the issues, however all but 1 of your questions are phrased seeking a yes or no answer.

          • Clement Pinto

            Even if he answers yes or no, I am assuming that, as a potential leader seeking votes, he will justify his reasons for his choice as it is important for voters to know what his philosophy, leanings, values and likely policies are.

            • Mary

              Robertson will not be answering any of these questions, let alone ones that show up his right-wing tendencies. That’s the kind of guy he is.

  10. Mary 10

    Are you proud of the Social Security Amendment Act 2007, Mr Robertson?

    • xtasy 10.1

      Mary, Mr Robertson is a very “private” man, as you may wish to respect. He was on TVNZ asked about his partner, who was at another table at the same pub the journalist met him, and he said his partner was “not there”.

      So if that is the style that may be acceptable, all else may “not be there” either, policies, promises, words or whatever, right or wrong, ahem, I dare not to risk more questions or hypothetical answers.

      At least I know I live in the body I still can touch and feel. I hope others may feel and realise the same, otherwise we or you may be in real mental trouble.

  11. the sprout 11

    Hi Grant
    Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
    My question, which goes to political judgement, is what was your rationale for choosing David Shearer’s leadership in the last contest, what caused you to eventually realise that Shearer was a disasterous choice, and what leads you to believe that you would now be better suited for the job than your last choice?
    Looking forward to your response.

    • Glen Forrester 11.1

      I want to know this too the sprout.

      Grant thank you for coming on.

      The David Shearer party had a terrible websight and a attitude to blogs and socialmedia I call bullying. But your campaign has started with some video and a websight and things and now you are on TS.

      Why did David Shearer not get new communications when you were the Deputy? Maybe he did not listen to you but from where I am it looks like you were busy setting up your own campaign.

  12. Furrball 12


    As an expat, born in the mid-60s, and one used to speaking to other Kiwi expats who are reluctant to return to New Zealand, as well as being in regular contact with immigrants to New Zealand, there seems to be one running thread through all their concerns which is:

    The absurd and frankly, mind-blowing cost of living in New Zealand, coupled with endemic low salaries and poor housings standards. In short, living standards at their fundamentals in relation to the median income: housing quality and costs, utility and grocery bills, primary health care etc.

    What are your views on the following progressive measures:

    a) Rolling back or eliminating GST, either across the board, or adopting the UK’s general measure of excepting unprocessed food — not just fruit and veges — as well as reduced rates on energy.

    b) Introducing a zero-rated tax band at perhaps 30-40% of median income, in other words, a tax-free allowance.

    c) Given the almost third-world rates of respiratory and other infectious diseases, eliminating all primary care fees.

    d) Introducing stringent and much-improved legislation of housing rental standards in regards to tenancy protections and insulation.

    That’ll do for starters. Cheers.

  13. billbrowne 13


    What is your position on the following points:

    – Fully funding state tertiary education including the elimination of student fees
    – Eliminating the requirement for state tertiary institutions to compete for students
    – Re instigating the role of state polytechnics as the provider of trade training coupled with an apprenticeship scheme supported by the government through such things as cadetships run by are-nataionalised electricity generation department and telecommunications infrastructure provider.

  14. (Not) Dunedin North 14

    Grant do you support members having a vote in choosing their leader and if so why did you thwart attempts for members to have an input into David Shearers selection?

    [With respect to the commenter, who I may well know IRL, please don’t use a name that implies that you speak for a whole electorate, thanks. r0b]

    • lprent 14.1

      As far as I am aware there was no capability inside the NZLP constitution/rules in 2011 to have anything *definitive* in terms of member voting for two of the positions (leader/deputy) defined in that document. So the only people who could have voted were existing MPs.

      At best to try to change the voting rules or to have more “input” would have been indicative and not binding. At worst even having such a vote indicative or not would meant whoever lost would have had a perfect right to challenge the process as being illegal under the constitution/rules.

      The *only* way to change that is in conference as was done in late 2012. So instead the party at the end of 2011 organised a speaking tour so members could have a look at the candidates and make their informed views known to their nearest Labour MP. That was pretty much as good as it could have gotten unless they organised to change the conference date and literally hundreds of people travelling to coincide with xmas or they ran without a leader for quite some time…

      So remind me again how Grant could “thwart” any attempts to have more input than was given.

      But perhaps you should concentrate instead on the upcoming conference and look at how to change the rules towards something that you’d prefer..

  15. darko 15

    Hi grant. I like a lot of what you say and you seem like a nice bloke but My question is how can you represent “a new generation” when your core supporters include trevor mallard, phil goff, and annette king?

    My fear is that like david shearer’s “new face” slogan in 2011, your slogan is simply cover for the same old guard who have done so much harm to the party so far.

    I’d also like to know whether you would make trevor the speaker if you became pm.

  16. Euan R 16


    It seems to me that if the next Labour Leader is not the person who gets the highest number of votes from the membership, then the Labour will continue to be beset with the destructive infighting it has suffered since David Shearer was appointed.

    What are your views on this please?

  17. Kia ora Grant,

    I’m interested in your view of Hone and the Mana Movement. I would also ask about your view on the Treaty of Waitangi and where you believe we should aim to get to in regards to the relationship between the treaty partners.


  18. Pasupial 18

    Candidate Robertson

    With the present PM being so contemptuous of the non-binding citizen initiated Asset Referendum, what (if any) changes would you to enact to; Referenda Legislation, if you were in his place?

  19. Pete 19

    Hi Grant

    Civil liberties are becoming an issue under this government around things like access to information, privacy, and search and surveillance. Do you consider civil liberties a priority, and how do you plan to restore the public’s trust in agencies of state?

  20. hush minx 20

    Hi Grant, I think many of us really appreciate you taking the time to write- and hopefully answer some questions too 🙂
    Mine is one I’ve raised on another thread. What would you do differently as leader to what you advised you shearer over the last 20 months? And when did you become aware Maryan Street was developing a letter of no confidence in your leader, and what action did you take when you did become aware?

    I’m sure we all appreciate your passion and commitment Grant. But some at least think perhaps the timing might not be quite right.

  21. Rebecca 21

    Just wanted to thank Grant for his post. You’ve got my vote. There’s been a lot said on this site, in posts and in comments, about Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe, that bear very little relation to reality as I’ve experienced it. I have been involved in progressive politics – unionism and feminism mainly – for twenty years and I have always found Grant to be a solid left winger, a democratic and inclusive leader, and an all around top guy.

  22. Tim 22

    Thanks for taking the time to engage with TS Grant.

    1. Do you accept that, at its extreme, the neo-liberal agenda is anti (not un), but anti-democratic, and that after 3 decades of its progression – it is evident that it is a complete ideological failure?

    2. Do you accept that what is effectively the corporatisation of the Public Service has achieved exactly the opposite of what was intended (with due reference to a recent survey of Public Servants). The promise was for greater accountability, efficiciency and effectiveness, and ‘de-politicisation’.
    Its my observation having worked as a public servant in the late 70s/early 80s, then again in the 90’s and 2000’s, that rather than accountability, efficiency and de-politicisation, EXACTLY the opposite has occurred with some departments and Ministries effectively being run as feifedoms and with junior and middle ranks working in spite of their senior management, rather than BECAUSE of them?

    3. Do you clearly, and unambiguously reject further progression of neo-liberalism?

    4. Do you accept that the current agenda is damaging to smaller businesses in favour of larger corporate interests, and that rather than what was supposedly the benefits of a capitalist programme of competition, the tendency has instead been towards monopoly and duopoly interests – at the expense of ‘consumers’ and ‘tax-payers’ – worse STILL at the expense of the citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand Aotearoa?

    5 Do you accept that natural monopolies – which include such things as the electricity grid, the water grid, the gas grid, the copper and fibre optic telecommunications grids, rail and road grids, Public Service media (the Public Sphere), etc. must either be PUBLICLY owned and accountable to local and national citizenry, OR heavily regulated in a way that ensures citizens best interests are the priority? ( NOTE: this is not to say that private interests should not be involved in such things as telecommunications exchange switching, or private media interests operating alongside)

    • Tim 22.1

      oh …. P.S.
      6. Do you accept that one effective way of moderating and regulating the excesses of private enterprise – i.e. FOR PROFIT interests, is for a duly elected government of a sovereign state to operate services alongside the private sector (such as a Kiwibank alongside foreign owned private interests; or an insurance company; or an electricity generator; or a telecommunications service provider, or a commercial radio or tv station – whose profits might/could be used to fund public service broadcasting/the public’S sphere) ?

      7. Do you accept that the factionalism, the self-interest, the unfettered ambition of personalities has brought the Labour Party very close to its demise, and that – should it continue, we may well see it operate as a spent and ineffective political movement within the next decade whereby we may well become losers whose only option is to vote for alternative representation?

  23. Tim 23

    oh oh oh P.P.S …..
    7. at the risk of being slurred …. Do you accept that M&S’s is not now the coolest gig in town despite its decor, but that IVY is now more broad brush, has better music, less “I paid me dues attitude – so therefore I’m entitled as an expert on all things GAY – plus me best mate is Geooooorgina – last time I looked (feigned concern fir her current health usshhyoos)”, and that it may very well be a better option – given the intended mainstreaming et al.
    (Not that I am an expert in any of it)

    (There may very well be a Populexicle along shortly to rescue you just in case Annette is busy on the bog)

  24. Boadicea 24

    When Shearer and Parker announced the NZ Power Strategy in April you immediately moved to supress any repetition of such interventionist strategies. Why?

    “But this is not a signal that Labour is going to intervene elsewhere in the economy.”

    • Ad 24.1

      That was truly craven soft-cock behaviour that sought to deliberately hobble a future Labour government. Only Hekia’s National Standards was worse in terms of catastrophic policy launches.

  25. bad12 25

    Grant, welcome to the Standard, good luck with ‘the vote’ and i would ask you, should you not win this contest to put your full energy into supporting whoever does and the skills i know you have in demanding of the wider Caucus their full support of the Labour Party program and whoever is voted as the leader to implement this….

  26. Naki nark 26

    Grant the NZHerald said that you said *I was really proud to be part of the team that brought in interest free student loans to reduce some of the debt burden* http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11119884

    I thought That Is Good!!! but then I thought more about it and my loan went interest free because of Helen Clark in 2005 or 2006 or back then. Now I have done reading on Wikipedia and it says that you did not even get elected as an mp until National John Key was in!

    Did the NZHerald type the wrong thing that you said?! The NZHerald is always against Labour!

    • hush minx 26.1

      I seem to remember interest free student loans while studying came in when Labour took power in 1999/2000. And I think this was when Grant was overseas? He may however have assisted with the expansion in the 2005 manifesto. Guess you have to be careful with your words when you want to be leader 🙂

      • Mike S 26.1.1

        In fairness to Grant, I think he was Helen Clark’s policy advisor or something like that and he was in fact the one that put forward and pushed through the interest free student loans policy. Whether it was to get the votes Labour needed to win the election or out of genuine concern for students or society, or a bit of both, who knows.

    • Colonial Viper 26.2

      Grant was working for Labour in Parliament at the time, and as I understand it did play a pivotal role behind the scenes as H3 to get that policy across the lines.

      • Naki nark 26.2.1

        I do not think it is good for Grant to say he was part of *the team* if he was not an MP. I vote for MPs to be the representative and not the people who work for them. Some people who work for MPs have been mean to me when I have done things to try to help. Lots of people who post here say the staff are big part of what is wrong with Labour now. I care about all workers but if I was always rude and losing everything I would not have a job either!

        I have looked up and David Cunliffe and Shane Jones were part of the actual team properly.

        I will vote for David Cunliffe!

  27. QoT 27

    Hi Grant. As someone promising “a new generation of leadership”, how would you categorise your role as Deputy to David Shearer over the past 20 months?

  28. the pigman 28

    Hi Grant,

    What was your advice to David Shearer on the demotion of David Cunliffe after he came out in favour of democracy at last year’s annual conference?


    the pigman

  29. Rhinocrates 29

    Hi Grant, when Ari Smith was beaten up by thugs in blue, you said you’d “like” an inquiry. What did you actually do to get one to happen?

    [lprent: Who? Link. Ah Arie Smith perhaps? ]

  30. Ad 30

    I cannot understand why Grant Robertson would not front up to commenting on The Standard, especially with the promise of high moderation.

    Hello Grant? Come on in!

    [lprent: Don’t. He will get here when he has time. ]

  31. felix 31

    Hi Grant.

    It appears that someone in a very senior position in the Labour caucus has been leaking like an enuretic child the entire time you’ve been deputy.

    1. What have you done about it?

    2. Why hasn’t it worked?

    3. What are you going to do about it as leader?

  32. Ad 32

    “That means my government will be hands on in making jobs and opportunities.”

    How will your government make jobs?

    Which industry sectors will you target to do this?

    You have taken your inspiration from Norman Kirk – which economic intervention of his would you like to see implemented?

  33. Neoleftie 33

    Hello Grant and nice to see you on TS making your views known.

    Now you talk about a new direction, a new pathway away from that failed neo lib consensus. Care to elaborate in more detail without flowery rhetoric and pithy statements.
    Also with this public stated new or next way will it be a true next economic pathway or simple smoke up our arses and then a drift back to a more safe centralist position and go about the same old orthodox methodology of the last thirty years of mild think erring on social policy.
    Your faithfully, an old comrade from dunners town.

  34. aspasia 34

    Hi Grant

    Great to see you engaging with TS. I have an unashamedly one-eyed Jafa question to ask you. If you win the leadership, how many days a week are you prepared to pledge to spend in Auckland? I have heard you speak here 3 times and each time I have felt you have had a tin ear when it comes to speaking to an Auckland audience. I know you grew up in Dunedin but the voters are in Auckland and you need to put in the time here to be able to sound like you know who we are. Mai Chen has snuffed the breeze and moved her office up here— how much, of your time are you prepared to promise us?

  35. pollywog 35

    IB: Nope.

  36. Rhinocrates 36

    Why were you so quick and eager to reassure “the market” that a Labour-led government would not “interfere” after the announcement of Kiwipower? Did you not think that such a statement in support of unfettered capitalism would sabotage the aims of the Labour movement? Why does “the market” matter more to you? How do you reconcile this with your supposed “left” statements now? It appears that you were either being insincere then, or that you are being insincere now – so what is the case?

  37. Red_rooster 37

    Grant, you have my unequivocal support. Lead us to victory, please.

    • Boadicea 37.1

      Welcome to The Standard, Red_rooster.
      Grant will be as pleased with this expression of support. And congratulations for your noisy laddish behaviour at Wellington Girls last night. You managed to move a few undecideds to Cunliffe.

  38. the sprout 38

    Hi Grant
    Great to have you here interacting with members on the Standard.
    What do you think of the ‘small target’ theory of campaign communications, whereby one offers lots of vague, vacuous platitudes with no response to requests for elaboration, and whereby one avoids making any unequivocal, detailed concrete statements about anything? I ask because I think members found this a very unappealing feature of the Shearer-Robertson leadership.
    Thanks for giving the time and consideration to answering.

  39. tracey 39

    Thanks grant. It is very useful to know not just what you stand for but what that will translate to as action.

    I also wld like to hear from candidates what they mean by an end to neo lib.

  40. tracey 40


    do you visit the standard and read posts here often, sometimes, never.

  41. Unionist 41

    Aspasia, Mai Chen is not someone to be emulated, particularly by the left. She’s a self-serving self-promoter.

    • aspasia 41.1

      I completely agree that she is not to be emulated in most things, unionist. But as the ultimate beltway insider she has been astute enough to recognise that her self-seeking self-interest is best served by being based in Auckland. Labour won’t win the seats needed to govern without a leader who also recognises the crucial significance of the Auckland vote and who can talk to us as if he knows who we are.

  42. Grant Robertson 42

    Hi all, its really difficult with so much travel to be able to answer, so here is my first go, and I will try to get back with further answers later.

    – On questions of what post neo-liberal/new progressive vision looks like. It has the creation of decent jobs, with fair pay at the centre. That means an end to myopic monetary policy, light handed regulation and weak protections for workers. It means active government investing in industry and regional development. It means strong support for training and skill development. On the social side it means heavy early investment and support for children and parents, backed by public health and education.

    – Questions about ABC/David Shearer etc. For me the decision to back David Shearer was simply that I saw him as having the best shot at broadening our appeal and delivering the Labour message in a way that we had struggled to do. It was not about David Cunliffe. Things did not work out for David S, and I am sad about that, but acknowledge that we now have a great opportunity to revitalise the party.

    – Questions about unity. I think a check with my Caucus colleagues will tell you that I have worked hard to build links across the Caucus and with the Party. I do not carry baggage on this issue, which is why I am the person who can best unite the party.

    – Questions about market intervention. I strongly support both NZ Power and Kiwibuild which are about intervening where the market has failed, along with changes to monetary policy which are a form of market intervention. I fronted the media in the wake of NZ Power and said we did not have any plans to further intervene in other markets. We didn’t, and to this day we have not got policy to do that. I will always be open to intervention where the market fails our people.

    – Role of members in selection of Leader. Claims that I somehow was against this or tried to thwart it are completely false. I have been a strong backer of increased democratisation in our party, and I actually helped draft the rules around the Policy Platform. I did vote for a 50%+1 threshold to trigger a leadership race because I believed that was the most democractic principle.

    – Tertiary Education. I spent the whole 1990s campaigning against user pays in tertiary education. We desperately need strong tertiary institutions, both in terms of Universities and ITPs. In terms of student support I favour a universal allowance. I have never understood why students are the only group in society we ask to borrow money for food. We will have to balance this priority against the many others we will face on coming into government. So it might take some time, but it should be our clear goal.

    – New Generation. Because I will be the first Labour leader born in the 70s! Because I have an open and inclusive style of work, because I do not carry the baggage of any other government and because I am proposing an economic and social approach that breaks with the past.

    – Hone/Mana. Ultimately I want Labour to win Te Tai Tokerau. If Hone is re-elected I am sure we would find a number of areas where we could work together- and a few where we probably would not.

    Someone asked how often I visit The Standard. I try to catch up on blogs every day, but time sometimes counts against that. I also know a bit about how The Standard was created 😉

    Will try to post more later today.

    • QoT 42.1

      I do not carry the baggage of any other government

      This is true. But what about carrying the baggage of the previous leadership? What, to you, is so different about the role of Leader that you’ll be able to “revitalise” the party in a way you weren’t able to as Deputy?

      • weka 42.1.1

        “I do not carry the baggage of any other government”

        I think whoever becomes leader of the Labour party inherits the baggage of previous Labour governments. Aren’t we all living with the consequences of that? It’s good to make a break philosophically, but there has to be an acknowledgement that the very real effects of neoliberalism are going to take time to unravel (assuming it is possible to do so).

        Grant, I appreciate your time in answering openly and forthrightly. Where do you stand with regards to welfare, and how do you intend to undo to the damage caused by the deserving working poor vs lazy/bludger beneficiary meme?

    • Rogue Trooper 42.2

      Thanks Grant. 😎

    • kenny 42.3

      ‘About the ABCer’s/Shearer’ – I think it was ALL about David Cunliffe (who was the clear favourite to replace Phil Goff until caucus thought better) and in fact STILL IS, if the actions of your caucus supporters is anything to go by.

      . If you thought Shearer could widen the appeal of the Labour Party better than Cunliffe then in my opinion that calls your judgement into question.

    • Tim 42.4

      “- Questions about market intervention. I strongly support both NZ Power and Kiwibuild which are about intervening where the market has failed, ………..”

      Whenever you can get back to us and can .
      expand further, please let us know how you feel about neo-liberal ideology/dogma – not simply market intervention, which is but one aspect to it.

      I realise, given your age and experience that for most of your life you have not experienced living and participating in an economy that has either been neo-lib, or 3rd way – but I would be interested to know whether or not you accept that the neo-liberal agenda, founded on a culture of greed and individual self-interest, is still the way forward for NZ.

      Go on – be a devil – I’m listening and waiting. It could be the difference between a dozen or so votes at election time, and then whether or not I opt to rejoin the Labour Party.

    • Mary 42.5

      “I have never understood why students are the only group in society we ask to borrow money for food.”

      Yes, that’s kind of true. But what about how beneficiaries are increasingly being required to borrow to meet every other type of basic need? Hopefully we’ll hear more from you shortly about your views on how the benefit system should operate, and especially whether Labour under your leadership would continue along the same lines as it did between 1999 and 2008, axing the special benefit in 2004 and the 2007 changes to the Act etc etc. Again, I will voice my cynicism on whether you’ll respond to any of the questions here about social security, especially given the relative silence on the subject from Labour since it’s been in opposition, which is five years now. But I thought I’d ask anyway. Cheers.

  43. George D 43

    Hi Grant, thanks for coming over here. It’s appreciated.

    I’m not in Labour, but I know a number of members who are concerned about the TPPA – quite a few asked questions to David about the TPPA and FTAs in his Q and A session here.

    We’re concerned about the ability of New Zealand to make and enforce legislation and regulation if the investment protection provisions of the TPPA are enforced. While these concerns are particularly acute in the areas of intellectual property and medicines, they apply to all areas of the economy. Even as we speak, a review of NZ’s IP law has been suspended so that it is not written in a way which counteracts the extensive provisions of the TPPA. Assuming you take office in 2014, what will be your Government’s approach to this agreement?

  44. bad12 44

    Grant, i have a follow up question concerning KiwiBuild, a policy you will find in debates here at the Standard that had little support and was considered a lead balloon rather than the ‘flagship’ as previously touted,

    My question is where will KiwiBuild leave the many thousands of low waged workers who currently cannot access State Housing because of the lack of supply, and in Auckland and Christchurch in particular could never afford to service a mortgage,

    Some numbers for you, when we were a population of 3.3 million we had 75,000 State Houses, we are now getting close to being a 1,000,000 more souls inhabiting our wee islands and we are down to 67,000 State Houses with the number constantly shrinking, i would suggest to you that the % of population who are the ‘working poor’ demographic are the same % in a greater number now that our population has grown, and on a basic level this would suggest we ‘need’ another 30,000 State Houses,

    What KiwiBuild looks like from here Grant is a protection racket for all those in the ‘middle class’ who have a love affair for having 2nd and 3rd properties as rental investments, in the past 20 years 100,000 homes have been transferred into the ownership of this particular demographic which is the ’cause’ of the current high prices in Auckland and Christchurch,

    What this ‘middle class’ demographic has to have to accomplish their investment strategies is Tenants and the lack of a serious State House building program in the past 20-30 years has provided to them the ‘working poor’ demographic as tenants who could have in my parents time expected a State House to protect them from rack renting Landlords,

    Grant, would a Government you lead address this issue and if so how???…

  45. Craig GlenEden 45

    Hi Grant, first of all I want to thank you for the time you gave me $5 dollars for parking at Auckland Unis previous round of leadership meetings, you didn’t have to do that and its often the little things that people do, that show just what kind of values someone has, so once again thank you.

    With that in mind I was personally disgusted with the behavior of Chris Hipkins when he publicly defamed my good friend an fellow Labour party member David Cunliffe. Personally I think there was no excuse for this lack of judgment, particularly from a whip. As you will know I wont be voting for you however I am interested to know what you would do with Chris Hipkins if you became leader because as a Labour Party member I dont believe there should be a place on Labours front bench for a MP who defames one of his own team so publicly?

    Thanks for your time in answering my question and I look forward to re- paying your kindness at sometime in the future.

  46. GregJ 46


    The same questions I asked of David

    1. The legislative framework which neo-liberalism has been pursued in this country has been constructed around the State Sector Act, State Owned Enterprises Act, Reserve Bank Act & the (now repealed) Employment Contracts Act (although the current ERA has been criticised by some as still retaining too many elements of the ECA). In a Government that you lead which would you look at retaining, reviewing or repealing to dismantle that framework?

    2. Although being Prime Minister in a new government will be a big enough job by itself what additional areas might you be interested in playing a role in?

  47. xtasy 47

    “I want to see us invest in our young people so that every single one gets a warm safe home, a clean environment to live in, a good school, and a doctor in the neighbourhood. The basics. We can’t do that with the old way, based on a failed neoliberal consensus. We can do it based on our values and a new generation of leadership.”

    Hi Grant, while talking about “a doctor in the neighbourhood”, will a Labour led government under your leadership, or at least perhaps co-leadership, also ensure that doctors will be allowed to be truly independent, and not get pressured by WINZ health and disability advisors, or for that sake the controversial Principal Health Advisor by the name of Dr David Bratt, employed by MSD, to make decisions that cull sick, disabled and other unfortunate “clients” off benefits?

    Some of us would really like to hear Labour’s future policies on welfare. Also will you personally favour the re-introduction of the Training Incentive Allowance to cover more than training or studies up to level 3, so that gifted and intelligent persons on sole parent benefit, supported living benefits and so forth can actually study to prepare for meaningful employment, to return to work some time in the future? Will you with Labour intend and deliver on actually offering services that may fairly assist sick, disabled and otherwise incapacitated people into fairly paid, stable work, which this government is actually NOT doing?

    Your reflection and later comments on issues covered by these publications would also be more than welcome, yes expected:



    Surely, welfare policy, or “social development” cannot mean yet more pressures, stigmatisation, blaming, sanctioning and punitive policies for the innocent worst off. What about truly evidence based science and policies? Something fair, reasonable, respectful, inclusive and constructive in this policy area is being awaited by me and others at least by the end of this year.

    While some want and can work, others need support to offer them a decent chance to live like everybody else. More jobs and education are great, but welfare must be delivered on as well.

    Thank you for your attention.

  48. hush minx 48

    Dear Grant, thanks for taking the time to reply, even if it was in the ‘end masse’ style. If you have time to clarify I am intrigued by this answer ‘Things did not work out for David S, and I am sad about that’, given you were deputy and that the majority of staff have a closer connection to you, why did things not ‘work out’ do you think? And what would you do differently (not just communicate better but how??)

  49. Grantoc 49


    The recent tv3 and tvnz polls of the general public have you trailing both Cunliffe and Jones, by a pretty significant margin, which suggests that of the three of you you are the one that will have the greatest difficulty in winning over the general public in the general election.

    Ultimately, this is the most important constituency to win over if Labour is to become the government.

    How do you intend to do this, given these poll results?

  50. xtasy 50

    A truly “lively” blog with many honest questions, but how many answers, I ask? I was a bit disappointed with David Cunliffe, but at least he made an effort, I fear the follow up candidates are shining with more vagueness, where is Shane, at another barbeque with Espiner???

  51. xtasy 51

    after 12:13 pm yesterday I feel like dame edna or the one who won the AUS election now, hwoa, what a bloody surprise, Grant, are you there?

  52. Grantoc 52

    Hi Grant

    With your experience being so narrow – university,MFAT, Helen Clarkes office, parliament – it raises questions like:

    i. How can you possibly relate to the average punter out there in the real world in voter land working
    to raise a family?
    ii You’ve had no experience in the real economy; how can you possibly understand how it works and
    how to make it grow (you seem to mainly be interested in redistribution, rather than growth. And
    without growth there’s little to redistribute).

    Perhaps this is why you trail the others in the polls, do you think?.

  53. risildowgtn 53


    Will you reverse the school closures in Christchurch

    What are your ideas’ re the so called Aranui superschool?

    Will you reverse Hekia Pareta’s/Keys plans for merging of these schools?


  54. Zena 54

    I had no idea who Grant was until I saw him on Backbencher’s last year & I liked him.

    BUT I don’t like some of the MP’s that support him ie Dyson, the lightweight in Wigram whose name I can never remember ( I have the same problem with the old National gal lightweight in the in my own electorate of Chch Central), Mallard, Hipkins, Curren.

    I think some of these MP are happy just to be in opposition.

    I just think Cunliffe is better known outside of Wellington. He has a more well-rounded background. I think Grant would just be be another experiment, a risk that NZ cannot afford. I cried for NZ when Key & National was elected, but they have been even worse than I imagined. I think if National were to get in for another term it would be the end of NZ both economically & environmentally.

    I agree with another poster Kenny who has said – pasting his words below

    ‘About the ABCer’s/Shearer’ – I think it was ALL about David Cunliffe (who was the clear favourite to replace Phil Goff until caucus thought better) and in fact STILL IS, if the actions of your caucus supporters is anything to go by.

    If you thought Shearer could widen the appeal of the Labour Party better than Cunliffe then in my opinion that calls your judgement into question.

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