Grant Robertson’s speech to the 2015 Labour Conference

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, November 7th, 2015 - 68 comments
Categories: grant robertson, labour, Politics - Tags:

It is a pleasure to be back in Palmerston North, the city of my birth.   It is true to say that my family left Palmy reasonably soon thereafter, but there is no truth to the rumour that as a 16 month old I went to my mother to request a transfer!

Coming to Palmerston North these days is to see a city and region that is bursting with potential.  A strong university, science organisations to build on on the primary industry base, the potential for new and innovative businesses. Now, if we could just get a government that backs the regions!

Delegates, it is school prize giving season. For anyone cynical about future generations, attendance at these is a life-affirming experience.  They are heart-warming celebrations of success, albeit a bit of a marathon for parents and unsuspecting MPs.

Success comes in many forms at these prizegivings. From the students winning subject prizes, to the awards for leadership, sporting and cultural achievements, to the students who have proudly made it through five years of school. All of them are celebrated, because as one principal put it to me, we don’t judge our success on the marks our dux gets, we judge our success on producing a cohort of confident, resilient young people.

But how do we judge the success of the economy? There are many people devoting many column inches every day to opining on this. Every morning we hear or read of the rises and falls of stocks and the trade weighted index.

We hear about businesses that do well, and not so well, we hear about who is and isn’t on this year’s Rich List and what they are worth.

They are all measures that tell us something about our economy, but are they adequate to measure its success?

From this government – we hear about the surplus. The yardstick they set to decide if they are good managers of the economy. Success has been declared, and job done so far as Bill English is concerned.

Well, if you ever wanted evidence that some measures of success in our economy might not be all that they appear, then this is it.  Having set the political target of a surplus in 2014/15, a political solution was found to make it happen.

The Earthquake Commission returned nearly half a billion dollars to the Crown accounts this year because they decided they did not need it for Canterbury. Just ask the people of Christchurch if all the claims are settled and that money is not needed. It was a cynical ploy to meet a political target.

And worst of all, there is no consideration of making these surpluses sustainable. In the Labour Party we know about sustainable surpluses. We had one. Every single year when we were last in government. But not even Bill English is predicting that there will be a surplus in coming years. It was plain and simple – manufactured for one year to meet the propaganda needs of the National Party.

But, beyond the manufactured surplus, can we judge the economy a success when

–       151,000 New Zealanders are out of work, and the rate of unemployment is six per cent, with projections that it will head towards seven per cent next year. 151,000 people.  Think about that.  It is nearly twice the population of this city out of work.  It is nearly 50,000 more than when National took office.  In Gisborne one in every ten people is out of work. It is clear that John Key and Bill English see levels of unemployment like this as collateral damage in their blinkered economic vision.

–       Where exports as a percentage of GDP are now the lowest they have been since 1997, coincidentally the last time Bill English was given the keys to the car.

–       When wage growth is the weakest it has been since the depths of the GFC five years ago, and in the coming year working people are expecting the smallest wage increases in over a decade.

–       Where there is such a disparity of wealth in our country that we see some corporate CEOs paid salaries of four or five million dollars a year, while 115,000 Kiwis survive on a wage of $14.75 per hour.

–       Where 305,000 children grow up in homes where fridges are often empty or where their parents cannot earn enough money to buy the shoes and clothes they need.

–       Where the house price to income ratio for housing in our biggest city is 9:1,there is the lowest home ownership rate in 60 years,  and where thousands of New Zealand families live in cold, damp, overcrowded rental accommodation, or worse  in garages and sheds.

That is not success.

If Dan Carter got World Rugby Player of the Year, but the All Blacks lost the Rugby World Cup, would we be hailing the year a success?

As American businessman and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria has said, ‘success unshared is failure’.

And this is not just because of our inherent sense of fairness. It makes economic sense as well. The OECD has recently joined the chorus of those who are acknowledging that a fair go for everyone means a more wealthy society.  They said that the increase in income inequality in New Zealand over two decades from the 1980s had reduced our growth rate by more than 10%.

And income inequality is only part of the picture. Those statistics do not take into account wealth inequality- the assets, like houses some of us are lucky to own, and the security and choices they provide.  These assets, this wealth, are now concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer New Zealanders.

Addressing wealth and income inequality is fundamental to our future well-being as a society.  As a recent report from the Centre for American Progress said “for democracies to thrive rising prosperity must be within the reach of all citizens.”

That is the challenge we must meet.

So what is a successful economy?  Of course it needs careful management.  Remember, while I started life here, I grew up in Dunedin and I’m from a long line of parsimonious Scottish Presbyterians.   I have also taken the extra pre-caution of having the Rev Dr David Clark as my Associate Spokesperson in case I get too profligate.

In government we must be disciplined and treat each tax payer dollar with the respect for the hard work that went into earning it.

But that cannot be the end of the line.  The economy does not exist for its own purposes.

The economy is not a person with feelings that we need to protect. It’s there to serve the interests of people, to be the means to a better life for all our people. It’s not an end in itself.

Many New Zealanders have expressed their concerns about the TPPA.  When I listen to those concerns I hear the overwhelming feeling that  the corporation matters more now than the citizen. Companies got the inside word on the negotiations and the special briefings, while ordinary people were kept in the dark with our interest treated as an irritant.

We need an approach to the economy that turns this view on its head. One where we don’t just measure the health of the government’s books but also the health of the people.

We need to embrace a new economic order- people first.  A focus on prosperity- not just for some, but a chance for all to share in it.

I come to the job of Finance Spokesperson with a clear mission.

It is time to reject the idea that our country will prosper by waiting for wealth to trickle down, and instead to embrace building wealth from the ground up- through our small businesses, iwi, our regions and our innovation.

It is time to reject the idea that the success for the 1% is the best we can hope for, and embrace the value to our economy and society of a fairer share for all.

It is time to reject the idea that the government should stand aside and let the market determine the opportunity of future generations, and embrace the transformational role of government to help New Zealanders build their dreams.

It is time to reject the ethos of success based on privilege, selfishness and greed, and replace them with a fair go, opportunity and a relentless pursuit of shared prosperity.

That is our mission. The economic goal of the next Labour government will be shared prosperity- an opportunity for everyone to meet their potential.

We are a fortunate country, blessed with tremendous natural resources, and talented and driven people. New Zealand businesses and workers work harder than most of their equivalents around the world.  We are in many senses already a wealthy nation.

There is an opportunity to work with businesses and regions to be prosperous, to create decent work.  Our record demonstrates that when we do this, the country grows.

There is an opportunity to build an economy and in turn a society that offers the quality of life to all its citizens that is the envy of the world.

I want New Zealanders to be proud of what we make possible in our country.

The economy that I will manage on your behalf in government will have specific goals to support New Zealanders to all have the chance to build the future they dream about.

I want our success in building the path to shared prosperity to be judged in five core areas:

–       The opportunity for decent work wherever you live in New Zealand.  Our goal will be to reduce unemployment to below 4% by the end of our first term in government. There are many changes ahead in the world of work. In the next few years we must continue to put the income, security and dignity that work provides at the forefront of our economic thinking.  We must invest in our regions to create opportunities and to relieve that pressure on Auckland.  We must support small business to thrive, to innovate and to provide decent work.
The dramatic drop in dairy prices and the slowdown in China point to the need for urgent and aggressive support for diversification- of products and markets.  The government’s plan to wait for one industry to fail in order to see diversification happen is simply not good enough.

–       Lifting incomes.  We must lift wages. There is no single silver bullet to do this, but the government can play its part through investing in the infrastructure, innovation, research and development that will help create high wage work.   We can do it by lifting the minimum wage and showing leadership by ensuring that anyone who works for the government is paid a living wage. We can do it by restoring rights of workers to bargain collectively. And we can do it by preparing for the new world of work, which I will return to shortly.

–       Zero tolerance for child poverty.  We will measure the success of our economy against how fast we can eliminate child poverty.  Andrew will speak more about this tomorrow, but suffice to say that we will put that goal at the centre of our economic plan.

–       Access to affordable and quality housing.    This is vital to reducing wealth inequality and to building safe and stable communities. We need to harness the power of the government to invest to build affordable housing.  We will crack down on the speculators who are shutting people out of buying their first homes. And we must improve the quality of our rental stock and the security of tenancy.

–       Our ability to create a sustainable future.   There is no point crowing about economic success if it comes at the cost of the environment or the well-being of future generations.  Our economic approach will be dictated by what is good for the well-being of future generations, not the next news cycle.  We must restart our contributions to the Super Fund as soon as possible, and build on the success of Kiwisaver.  We must take urgent action to build an economy that transitions us to a low carbon economy and gets real on climate change.

This will mean moving beyond the simple measures of success that fuel the news cycle and the vanity of politicians. Measuring GDP has a place – it is a decent proxy for activity in the economy. But what does it say about the quality of that activity?  The earthquakes in Canterbury were horrific events for the people who lived there- but by god they have been a boon for GDP. Earthquake recovery has contributed up to a third of the country’s growth in recent years. But waiting for natural disasters is not a plan.

We need to measure ourselves on the quality of life our economy can create, how it improves the environment, how many kids it lifts out of poverty and how we are building our prosperity for the future.  They will be the benchmarks of the next Labour government.

Delegates, no issue highlights the importance of a government that is focused on shared prosperity than the Future of Work.

Massive change is underway.  A report prepared by NZIER last month estimates that 45% of jobs currently in the New Zealand economy are at high risk from automation.   The New Zealand Herald headline of 26 July this year was ‘Robots Cleaning Auckland Airport’.  The change is happening and it is happening now.

There is no doubt that the future of work is full of opportunity. New technology is set to drive a wave of productivity and innovation that will generate significant wealth for those who seize the opportunities.

On the other hand it is also set to grow inequality and leave many behind, with work and income less secure and success more reliant than ever on having skills and expertise that you can apply widely.

In the face of this there are two paths to take.  We could sit back and let the market dictate what happens to New Zealanders, we could be the passive recipients and let the wave of change sweep us along or drag us under at its will.  Or we could lead the change, seize the opportunities and protect the values we hold dear while building a new path to decent work.

We have chosen the latter path The Future of Work Commission has now released all of the discussion papers that we outlined to you at regional conferences earlier this year.

We have had thousands of responses to our on-line work survey, and hundreds of submissions on the discussion papers.  Along with the Lead MPs for each of our workstreams, I have spoken to dozens of businesses, unions, LECs and community groups about the Commission, and the importance of a plan for the future of work.

I even managed to be on the panel at an event organised by the Chartered Accountants Association of Australia and New Zealand that was hosted by a hologram and had a drone and a driverless car taking the attention of attendees.

Why would the accountants care about the future of work- because accountancy is one of the most at risk professions that there is. This is not just about manual labour,  it is a revolution in the nature and experience of work.  The changes coming from the future of work have the potential to be scary, but the opportunities are vast as well.

The Commission will produce a final report at this conference next year which will include a range of policy proposals. It’s tempting to say that we know all the answers now, but it is important to us that we spend this year listening to what New Zealanders want, fear and hope for in the future of work.

I can say this – the work of the Commission has shown us already that there is a huge desire to continue to put work at the front and centre of our future.  The Labour Party was born 100 years ago next year by people who wanted their contribution at work to be fairly valued and respected. Nothing has changed in terms of our values, but much has changed in the experience of workers. We know that the future of work will look very different from the 9-5 job of the past. We need to consider a future where many workers will hold down six to eight careers, and have multiple different employers at any one time.  Where being your own boss is not only more possible it will become the default position.

Paul Mason, the economics editor of the Guardian newspaper, has written a book called the End of Capitalism, which foreshadows a future of work that redefines the economic order that has governed our lives.  With technology breaking down barriers to old forms of employment, and the power enabled by access to information and data, there is the opportunity for working people to take more control of their lives- to develop a new system that is defined by a shared prosperity.

Imagine for a moment if we could find a solution to the poverty wages experienced by the cleaners at Parliament, by giving them the chance to be their own bosses based on a cooperative business model. Or to support more profit sharing or so that workers can have a real stake in the organisations they work for. Or supporting social enterprises that are productive, profitable and improves the well being of people and the planet.

This is an opportunity for us in the Labour movement to once again lead and innovate. We need to be at the forefront of ensuring the new economy develops with our values at heart. New models of business are sprouting up everywhere that use technology to break down barriers.   This represents the so-called peer-to-peer capitalism or the sharing economy.  We have to make that technology available and support the creation of those businesses.

There are legitimate concerns about the rights of workers in less formal working environments.  What appears as flexibility can actually be a front for exploitation and a loss rights and conditions.  Labour would never allow that.   The flexibility we strive for is to allow you to build your work around your life- not the other way around.

To take the opportunities of the future of work we need to equip our people with the knowledge and skills to adapt and thrive, ensure income security and begin to value unpaid or non-traditional forms of work.

Some clear messages are already emerging from the Commission’s consultation.  We urgently need to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Information is now so readily available to us, the real focus of education, and indeed what employers are telling us they want are the soft skills- collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking.

But employers also want school leavers to have the basics  well covered – a driver’s license, digital and financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills and a sense of citizenship and civics. We also urgently need to professionalise careers advice and develop it as a partnership between students, schools, businesses and training providers.

We also need to turly create life-long learning. Alvin Toffler’s words from several decades ago, have come true, “ the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Every worker is going to need training and re-training in the future.   We need to work with businesses and workers to ensure this is possible for all, including those in small and medium businesses who traditionally struggle to fit training into their lives.  We are investigating a range of options for this, but it is certain that this will be a significant outcome from the Commission.

Delegates, former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam once said his country was faced with a choice between the habits and fears of the past and the demands and opportunities of the future.

As a country we face that choice today.

The challenges are real, but the opportunities enormous.  Decent work, income security, lifelong learning, safe and warm homes for all and thriving and resilient regions are not only possible, but essential to a successful country.

The path to shared prosperity that we will take will be founded on opportunity and optimism. If we give every New Zealander a fair go, they will repay us many fold.

Over the coming two years together, we will develop our economic vision on that basis, and we will build for New Zealand  a path to shared prosperity.

Thank you.

68 comments on “Grant Robertson’s speech to the 2015 Labour Conference”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Good speech. A couple of highlights …

    “We will measure the success of our economy against how fast we can eliminate child poverty. Andrew will speak more about this tomorrow, but suffice to say that we will put that goal at the centre of our economic plan.”

    And …

    “There is no point crowing about economic success if it comes at the cost of the environment or the well-being of future generations. Our economic approach will be dictated by what is good for the well-being of future generations, not the next news cycle. We must restart our contributions to the Super Fund as soon as possible, and build on the success of Kiwisaver. We must take urgent action to build an economy that transitions us to a low carbon economy and gets real on climate change.”

    And about TPP

    “Many New Zealanders have expressed their concerns about the TPPA. When I listen to those concerns I hear the overwhelming feeling that the corporation matters more now than the citizen. Companies got the inside word on the negotiations and the special briefings, while ordinary people were kept in the dark with our interest treated as an irritant.

    We need an approach to the economy that turns this view on its head. One where we don’t just measure the health of the government’s books but also the health of the people.”

    • Bill 1.1

      Oh dear.

      I did try to read through that entire post. But remember that scene from ‘The Simpsons’ where Bart is talking to Santa’s Little Helper and all the dog can hear is “blah, blah, blah”?

      These speeches where people tell me that they’re good guys and inform me that they will do ‘x, y and z’, all the while talking at me and never to me (just like all royalty tends to do)… where they address abstracted ideas or notions that inhabit bubbles in the air instead of directly addressing all of us people down here with our feet on the ground.

      Their real world, or day to day life concerns and experiences, aren’t the same as mine. And it shows. They abstract mine into a mix within that bubble in the air, to be dealt with from a distance by a benevolent royal ‘we’ that doesn’t include me.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        Bill
        It presses my buttons and I feel good (lasts for about five seconds.)

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        So what are you wanting them to do or say, then?

        • Bill 1.1.2.1

          It’s not the ‘what’, it’s the ‘how’. (See below in response to Ad. 2.1.1)

          • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1.1

            Ahh, I see. I agree.

            • Michael 1.1.2.1.1.1

              I feel the same way. A disappointing speech from someone who has had long enough to get his head around economic ideas and develop a credible plan. Grant’s goals are laudable and his diagnoses of New Zealand’s economic challenges are impeccable but he fails to propose a credible plan to deal with them. The only positive is that Robertson – and Labour – will have many more years in opposition to ponder the missing ingredients.

    • AmaKiwi 1.2

      Robertson in TPPA:

      “Companies got the inside word on the negotiations and the special briefings, while ordinary people were kept in the dark with our interest treated as an irritant.”

      Wrong! 1,000% Wrong! Corporations WROTE the TPPA.

      How can Labour MPs fall prey to the extraordinary belief that the nastiest men with the nastiest of motives wrote TPPA for the good of all?

      (Modified Chris Trotter quote)

      • Ad 1.2.1

        So what exactly?

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          So Labour will cede NZ sovereignty to transnationals exactly like National would. A few of our 1% will profit handsomely, the rest of us will be sold out.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1

            that doesn’t actually follow from:

            Companies got the inside word on the negotiations and the special briefings, while ordinary people were kept in the dark with our interest treated as an irritant.

            We need an approach to the economy that turns this view on its head.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.1

              it’s ambiuous though. What does it mean?

              • McFlock

                Well, to “turn that view on its head” would be for “ordinary people to get the inside word on the negotiations and the special briefings, while company interests are treated as an irritant” (given that companies are made up of people, they can’t be kept in the dark).

                I don’t think it’s ambiguous. And it certainly doesn’t sound like “ceding NZ sovereignty to transnationals exactly like National would”, because national did it in secret.

                • RedLogix

                  Notice how few of the rightie trolls are in here kicking Little about like they did Cunliffe.

                  He’s speaking in a code they understand. (And I’d love nothing more than to be proved wrong … )

                  • McFlock

                    I think it’s more down to the idea that the tories are quite good at finding the most damaging buttons to push. Cunliffe was a hero-figure, so you attack the man. Shearer was more diplomatic than forceful, so you call him weak. They tried with the “angry andy” meme, but it never really took off. So now they’re working more on trying to create the illusion of schisms, eg King vs Ardern, Little vs Robertson, and the conference must be in bitter disarray with knives drawn. All bullshit.

                    And on the flipside, the self-loathing labourites aren’t gnashing their teeth quite so much as they were with Shearer, either. The tories love the polls at the moment, but it’s too early to worry about them yet. I’m just enjoying a period of stability in the parliamentary left…

    • srylands 1.3

      You think that was a “good speech”?

      The average voter would have simply heard one of those annoying white noise buzzing things after the first 30 seconds.

      How about some real policies that would make a difference? 10 would be a nice round number. I’ll give you suggestions for the first 5. You can pass them on in Palmerston North.

      1. Ensure that all young people achieve at education by serious education reform.

      2. Stop middle class capture if early childhood education. Ge the best ECE services into South Auckland and Northland. I can tell you how to do it if you like.

      3. Seriously embrace the NZPC report on housing affordability.

      4. Progressively increase the NZ Super eligibility age to 70 over the next 20 years. Lots of time to adjust.

      5. Adopt policies for older men to respond to labour market shocks and economic change through retraining opportunities.

      6. (a bonus) Put a price on carbon by adopting an emissions trading scheme that works.

      Now I know you love abusing me so go ahead. But instead of waffly rhetoric crap, Andrew and Grant could have announced an overarching strategy and 10 good policies. And they could do a lot worse than the ones I set out here. But they are paralysed.

      If they want my phone numner I am happy to give them a quote on advice.

      • Ad 1.3.1

        “seriously embrace” is your best at concrete policy?

        Stick to your day job Srylands.

      • Tracey 1.3.2

        Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn

      • It’s vastly amusing that you think preventing ecological disaster is a “bonus”. That has to be the fundamental policy for any party that care about the lives of anyone under the age of 50.

        • infused 1.3.3.1

          If you read the post on kiwiblog, you will realise the whole ‘stopping climate change’ will never happen.

          As I said many years ago on here. If China didn’t pull its head in, might as well forget it.

      • Kevin 1.3.4

        At least they had the opportunity to listen to a speech by someone who speaks English as a first language. Unlike the fuckwit in charge who speaks an advanced form of gibberish.

        • Michael 1.3.4.1

          I think srylands’ recommendations are positive and later objections are really just hairsplitting. They are better than anything in Robinson’s speech.

        • alwyn 1.3.4.2

          That really isn’t a nice thing to say about Grant’s boss, Andrew Little.
          On the other hand Little would probably best be described as speaking a primitive form of gibberish

  2. Really positive stuff from Robertson. I think he’s enjoying the responsibility he’s been given to drive the Future of Work project. Really great to see the caucus members working well and in a genuinely united way.

    And kudos to the Palmy Labour crew! What a fantastically well organised conference this is. I count 450 in the hall at the moment, which is up there with the best of recent conferences. I guess the turnout is helped by how easy it is to get to Palmy, with it being only a couple of hours drive for people in Welly, Hawkes Bay and the ‘naki and not much tougher for folks in the Waikato and Ak. It’s great that the LP are showing their commitment to the provinces in a really practical way.

    • Ad 2.1

      Great to see you back TRP.

      I really enjoyed that.

      Bill, try to keep up with the pointy-headed kids will you?

      Robertson does rather set himself up for a “but where’s my jetpack?” thing i.e. the future is generally more mundane than the projections, less scary because actually we got there, and less worrisome because we’re pretty adventurous and methodical as a species when it comes to facing the big ones.

      Plus, I’ve never heard a futurist speech that could forecast the eradication of the need for politicians to blather on.

      Good to hear Labour stretching into multi-syllable words and expect people to watch policy formation in action. Plenty of time for the ‘I-personally-wanted-more-of…” lists later.

      I am personally buoyed to hear a good turnout.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Bill, try to keep up with the pointy-headed kids will you?

        I’ll try my best there Ad 😉

        But see how academics can do the pointy-headed kid routine and that’s okay because we expect academics to be a wee bit pointy-headed and detached? And know how politicians are meant to connect?

        This isn’t a go at Robertson – the following example, plucked readily and at random, seems fairly ubiquitous in Labour politican’s speeches.

        and where thousands of New Zealand families live in cold, damp, overcrowded rental accommodation

        Can you see the disconnect? Any politician worth their salt would be saying something like

        and where thousands of us live in cold, damp, overcrowded rental accommodation

        The entire speech – and I commented similarly on a previous Andrew Little one – is riddled with a kind of positioning that, when taken in totality, leaves an impression that reality (our reality) is being addressed as something akin to a piece of dog-shite on a pointy stick that they’d rather not touch, aren’t touched by, and would rather not, or can’t, identify with.

        Late edit – Why not ‘New Zealanders’ in this bit? “like houses some of us are lucky to own

        • Tracey 2.1.1.1

          Cmon bill if any politician said it they would be howled down and the media would focus for 2 weeks on the persons house… i dont know the answer so to that extent your idea cant hut.

          Remember turia being slammed by collins and bennett… did it backfire or not?

          • Bill 2.1.1.1.1

            So hang on Tracy! It’s fine to use the distancing or detached (‘Not us, not me!) language of ‘New Zealanders’ when talking of bad shit like crap rentals, but fine to use the all inclusive (‘Me and maybe you too!’) ‘us’ when talking of good shit like owning a house?

            • Tracey 2.1.1.1.1.1

              No bill… i get my comment was confusing. I was tryi g to work out if it works or doesnt…

              Clearly saying i grew up in a state house got someone traction in a misleading way as we know.

              I was genuinely musing whether turei came out better than the snipers cos if she did it is some support for your preferred phrasing?

              • Bill

                Yeah, nah. It’s not about ‘back story’ or any such. It’s about how people talk and what their choice of phrase suggests about what or who they identify with.

                As I said elsewhere, I reckon a montage of Corbyn, Sturgeon and others speaking – people who just naturally or effortlessly resonate – being put together and then contrasted or compared with the stand off-ish and somewhat cold language of Robertson, Little et al would be….interesting.

                And OAB, if you’re reading this, I got your email. Lynn added a link to a programme I might be able to play around with.

        • Pat 2.1.1.2

          they are removed…good point

    • AmaKiwi 2.2

      The provinces can NEVER thrive until they have local autonomy on critical issues.

      This begins with:

      1. Clear regional boundaries (like Australian states)
      2. Clear regional responsibilities which central government cannot override.
      3. A solid regional tax base. Examples: Per capita tax rebates to regional governments or a fixed percent of personal and corporate taxes remaining with the regions they came from.

      Fine words and good intentions cannot overcome the reality that on a whim Parliament will ALWAYS interfere.

    • keyman 2.3

      i like the fact labour are planning ahead for the wave of automation we already starting to see the changes with journalists being layed off why hasn’t the government with the awsomness of john key doing the long term planning what are we paying john key for its his job that john key is a fukwit and in the herald our rock star government has delivered 102 houses why are national fukwits. fukwit government lead by a fukwit leader in a time dymamic changes we have fukwits

  3. srylands 3

    Christ where to start?

    “We must take urgent action to build an economy that transitions us to a low carbon economy and gets real on climate change.””

    ________

    How exactly? The last Labour Government, in 9 years, and despite all the rhetoric, did nothing to reduce the trajectory of GHG output:

    http://tinyurl.com/pj9ggco

    How is Andrew Little going to succeed? He won’t.

    We would do more for climate change mitigation by helping pay for low cost GHG reductions in other countries. It would be good for us and good for the climate. The last Labour Government refused to do that. So they achieved nothing. Which has been repeated by this Government. The marginal cost of GHG reduction in NZ is very high. It is the last country in the world to start doing it.

    Fuck I have run out of energy to tackle the child poverty bullshit.

    • Ad 3.1

      You’re still expecting something more than solid but non-revolutionary reform from any kind of alternative NZ government?

    • Tracey 3.2

      Just spend more time with your children rather than mindlessly spewing here. Theres a chance if you do that they may avoid the middle upperclass pitfalls of class a drugs idle self righteousness and smugness…

      • infused 3.2.1

        srylands is the only one talking sense here. These speeches are the same recycled bullshit.

        It’s just a sell. That’s it.

  4. greywarshark 4

    Points from Graant Robertson’s speech that I noticed.

    There is an opportunity to build an economy and in turn a society that offers the quality of life to all its citizens that is the envy of the world.

    Goal of 4% unemployment
    The opportunity for decent work wherever you live in New Zealand.
    If talking about paid work which I think he is, that misses the vast opportunity of getting people working as volunteers. Let them choose to work where they can get hours and travel and are wanted and then get approved for education for that role, so they can establish a CV.. People can add to the functions of the country instead of being despised bodies and statistics going to rot waiting for some flaky business to throw them some bones of hours. Volunteer work needs to be spelt out as a viable and acceptable option for any unemployed.)

    Referred to – The New Zealand Herald headline of 26 July this year was ‘Robots Cleaning Auckland Airport’. The change is happening and it is happening now.

    The Future of Work Commission has now released all of the discussion papers that we outlined to you at regional conferences earlier this year.

    We know that the future of work will look very different from the 9-5 job of the past. We need to consider a future where many workers will hold down six to eight careers, and have multiple different employers at any one time.

    We also need to create life-long learning. Mentions Alvin Toffler.
    (I went back to education 40 years after leaving secondary, and now have a loan to repay. That extra training has been essential in keeping up with today’s hype, will this further ed be on the student’s shoulders? )

    Lifting incomes – minimum hourly wage lift. Government living wage. Bargain collectively.

    Zero child poverty – something will be done.

    Affordable quality housing –
    Various measures, rental housing must be improved.
    More houses built. Developers not to shut out people.
    Government not going to have any useful activity it seems in the rental housing stock.

    • Alethios 4.1

      100% behind you on the volunteering stuff. We’ve got a ton of work that needs doing in our communities, and a ton of people who can do it. Why can’t we put two and two together and have ~0% unemployment?

      It’s not even a particularly original idea. Labour need to look back to their roots and programmes like PEP during the 80s. Expand on that to allow a certain level of decentralisation – empowering communities to recommend work that needs doing, be it painting the hall, looking after elderly or writing poetry.

  5. srylands 5

    Andrew Little said this:

    “We need an approach to the economy that turns this view on its head. One where we don’t just measure the health of the government’s books but also the health of the people.”

    __________

    He must have missed this:

    https://www.ssc.govt.nz/better-public-services

    and this:

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/abouttreasury/higherlivingstandards

    __________

    Either he is ignorant and is actually unaware of the current Government’s policies, or he thinks he can lie and get away with it. I have no idea which is correct but either is concerning.

    • Ad 5.1

      He was commenting about the political emphasis placed upon reaching an annual government budgetary surplus, as did Robertson. Not long term Treasury policy.

      You need to understand a basic difference between Treasury policy and political emphasis.

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        Slylands needs to spend more time and energy deconstructing national who as the governing left wing party, in his opinion, must be more dangerous to his self interested view of how things should be.

    • Tracey 5.2

      Your last paragraph displays the most self awareness I can recall from you here, apart from referring to yourself in the third person that is.. But will you seek to change or carry on?

    • DoublePlusGood 5.3

      Except that it is clear from the way in which the public service has been functioning, that the SSC and the government are not interested in providing better public service. Similarly it is also clear that treasury and government are not interested in providing higher living standards.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    We also need to turly create life-long learning. Alvin Toffler’s words from several decades ago, have come true, “ the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

    Which is why participation in education centres needs to be free and encouraged.

  7. weka 7

    This looked interesting,

    Imagine for a moment if we could find a solution to the poverty wages experienced by the cleaners at Parliament, by giving them the chance to be their own bosses based on a cooperative business model. Or to support more profit sharing or so that workers can have a real stake in the organisations they work for. Or supporting social enterprises that are productive, profitable and improves the well being of people and the planet.

    Although Bill’s point above about language and positioning takes the shine off a bit. Other than that, how realistic is that the Future of Work Commission will actually result in these kinds of things?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      ten to the power of six, against.

      Labour will not upset the capitalist order of society, its purpose is to defend it.

      • weka 7.1.1

        Yeah, but he’s not talking about wholesale dismantling of the capitalist order, just supporting some selective socialist addons (acceptable to capitalism ones). I was just curious if that’s actually something the commission will be working on or if it’s just sounds nice.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          The point is that the only way that we’re going to get society working for the majority of people while also being sustainable is to get rid of capitalism. The knowledge we now have of the physical limits of the Earth make that imperative.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            True, but I was asking a more foreground question about the current Labour party, the commission and what Robertson said.

  8. Vaughan Little 8

    some pretty sadsack comments out there.

    so this is the vision, and we can judge the party by how the policy platform stacks up against it.

    as a vision I like it. I can’t think.of anything he’s left out.

  9. Nick 9

    When I listen to Bernie Sanders, he just says No to TPPA…. No messing around with 5 bottom lines (which is just plain confusing and vague).

  10. Michael 10

    Labour doesn’t have any “Corbynites”. What it does have are a fair number of members who see the need for an alternative to the New Right status quo and most of its power holders (caucus and officials) committed to maintaining it. This is what hollowed-out democracy looks like in reality.

    • keyman 10.1

      really labour is the only party where the members get a vote to elect the leader
      not national, not nz first ,not the greens , and changes made at 2012 conference mean a Rodger Douglas neoliberal wanker can never hijack the party ever again they will be removed by the governing council by deselection

  11. Coaster 11

    What labour need to do is to win the next election as a left wing party.

    If they cant get at 40 % of the vote, nz will continue with trickle down economics, will continue to ignore climate change, and will continue with all the big brother stuff.

    When i hear bernie sanders i hear someone who beleives what he is saying, wants things to get better for everyone, and understands normal people.

    Weres our bernie sanders.

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