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Heart and balls

Written By: - Date published: 9:41 am, October 29th, 2011 - 106 comments
Categories: election 2011, labour, leadership - Tags: ,

Labour’s opening address shows that the Party has rediscovered its heart. It’s policies show that its rediscovered its balls as well! I’ve written on this recently (and I also welcome the focus on policy rather than personalities). But I’m not the only one, the accolades for Labour’s boldness are flowing in:

John Armstrong:

Party’s courage setting agenda

Is Labour exhibiting genuine political courage with its sudden willingness to tackle sacred cows such as the age of eligibility for super?  Or is this just an electoral ploy to outflank National on the question of which party is willing to act in the country’s best interests rather than just out of self-interest? Probably a bit of both. …

Labour’s willingness to be bold ought to shake National out of any preconceptions about how the campaign will unfold. Labour has everything to gain. If being seen to tackle sacred cows works electorally, it will have been worth the gamble.

But it is still a gamble. Labour still has a lot to lose.

Duncan Garner:

Labour is about to announce a hugely controversial policy. It agrees with the Retirement Commissioner that the age of eligibility for National Superannuation should rise to 67 by 2033. It will announce it at 2pm today. … It really throws the cat amongst the political pigeons.

Labour’s approach is now very, very clear. It will be big and bold, risky and realistic. Phil Goff and his team certainly aren’t going down without a fight. …

But it’s bold. It shows Labour is prepared to debate the big issues. I congratulate Phil Goff and his team for that. Their collective heads are above the sand. Others are buried below it. …

So Labour has lifted the lid on a policy area previously seen as taboo. The issue that can’t be discussed. Good on Goff. Good on his team. It needs to be debated, it needs to be discussed. It’s very clever politics from Labour. It knows Key is hamstrung by his promise to resign. It fits perfectly into the narrative that Labour wants to debate the hard issues, and Key won’t.

Labour is taking a risk.  But it’s a calculated, clever and cunning plan. Don Brash will agree with it. And any other right wing or centrist politician should have the balls to front up and support Labour in this debate.

It makes economic sense – we can’t afford not to debate this. Even John Key knows that.

The Herald:

Labour takes a bold step on retirement

Having already grasped the nettle of a capital gains tax, the Labour Party has gone out on another limb by announcing it would lift the age of eligibility for superannuation to 67.

The risk inherent in this is obvious, especially with voters who are approaching retirement age. But that only makes it the more commendable.

For too long, the sustainability of NZ Superannuation has been sidestepped by politicians, not least the Prime Minister.

Now, Labour’s retirement and savings policy means a much-needed debate on the age of eligibility and other options, such as means testing, will finally take place.

And so on and so on. Even Farrar manages to dig deep and congratulate Labour.

The Left are the massive underdogs going in to this election.  We’re starting the race from a mile behind.  Conventional wisdom says that Labour should be meekly sleepwalking to defeat.  But Labour has shattered conventional wisdom.  I for one have never been prouder of the Party than I am right now. If we lose, it will be a defeat to be proud of.  And who knows, we just might win…

106 comments on “Heart and balls ”

  1. Jenny 1

    What a joke. Labour want to lose this election.

    The reasons: Labour’s commitment to neoliberalism, means that they can only offer austerity programs little different to National.

    Labour’s fear of the political parties to their left, pushing policies that don’t sit with neoliberal solutions embraced by Labour.

    Mark my words now.

    Labour will suffer a big hit in the polls as a result of this deliberate sabotage.

    Hopefully voters won’t take their votes to National, but give it to the smaller parties, who at least will take the National government to task in a way not seen by the Labour’s lukewarm opposition.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Don’t be ridiculous.

      You have no idea what real austerity is just as you have no idea the energy and resource depletion storm which is coming to visit us within the next 10 years.

      Labour will figure out the way forward while the Greens are still poncing around worrying about the effects of climate change in 100 years, and seriously considering under what circumstances they would partner with Key and English.

      • Jenny 1.1.1

        I have a very clear idea of what is coming. And so do the Labour hierarchy, this is why they are frightened of taking the lead.

        CV this is not a policy of courage but of a cowardly retreat in the face of the coming crisis you allude to, but which is very, very real and threatening to overwhelm us all.

        If Labour really wanted to put up some hard nosed unpopular policy because they have given up on this election, why do they have to go with right wing austerity?

        Why not a give a serious commitment to rein in the fossil fuels industry which is destroying the future and for which more and more evidence is arriving daily?

        • Afewknowthetruth


          Well said.

          The dinosaurs of the upper echelons of Labour are both out of touch with reality and cowardly. And so are the newcomers.

          The faux rescue package that the criminal elites cobbled together to ‘save the Eurozone’ will hold things together for another few months, after which ‘all hell will break lose’. You cannot solve a debt and interest crisis by increasing debt levels and charging more interest. And the implosion of the economies of the US and Japan continues unabated, despite the manipulated rise in the share indexes which presents a picture of recovery (still a long way down from the peak of November 2007, by the way)..

          By presenting the the NZ public with the big lie that present economic will continue into the 2020s Labour leadership has proven itself to be craven and mandacious. In other words, no change.

          As for ‘austerity’, ya ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

          What we have witnessed in Greece over recent weeks will seem like a picnic in the park a decade from now, when global oil extraction will be down by anything between 10 and 30 million barrels a day and the CO2 content of the atmosphere will be 415+ ppm.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      @Jenny. “Neoliberalism”? Are you sure you know what the word means?

      • Jenny 1.2.1

        The ACT Party know what neo-liberalism is that is why of all the parliamentary parties they are the only ones to applaud this policy.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Um, what? You haven’t mentioned any specific policy and neither have I. Since you are quoting Act agreeing with Labour I conclude that you are talking about raising the eligibility age for super. Now all you have to do is equate that to market deregulation and lower taxes on the wealthy, and you’re home and hosed. Good luck with that.

          • Jenny

            Anonymous bloke, I mentioned austerity in a general way. Because Labour’s pledge to raise the retirement age is a signal that austerity is where Labour want to go if they become the government.

            I dare you to dispute it.

            • burt


              It gets better:


              ”The official baby boomer population, born between 1946 and 1965, will all be in the retirement ages by then, or at least 67 to 87 years of age. So it won’t do anything at all to resolve the impact of the baby boomer wave,” Jackson said.

              ”It will actually make things harder for those who will then be approaching 67, and whose taxes will have been stretched to pay for the boomers.”

              It’s not even sensible… it’s just politics and all it will do is further punish the same people who have been paying for the fact the major parties have been too bloody scared of losing their seats to do anything at a time it would have made a difference.

            • The Voice of Reason

              Yeah, that’s so totally confirmed by Labour’s pledge to lift the minimum wage to $15 ph, strengthen collective bargaining and tie the super to 66% of the average wage. Not to mention boosting personal saving via Kiwisaver.
              Mind you, I suspect if Labour do get over the line, there will indeed be some austerity. For the rich. Do you have a problem with that, Jenny?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Dispute it? You have to establish it first; feeble arguments about “signals” don’t mean jack shit. Here is Labour’s policy in detail – neoliberalism? Pfft!

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Labour has always had plenty of heart and brains. And you’re right. Now it’s got balls too.

    I don’t think Key has the stomach for a real election fight, he was looking forwards to a smile and wave campaign.

  3. Pete 3

    Today’s Horizon poll suggests that Labour’s approach might be starting to pay off. With 36.6% of respondents wanting a Labour led government, 42.1% wanting a National led government and 21.3% undecided. This campaign is far from the foregone conclusion I was worried about 6 months ago.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      I’m going to go out campaiging for Labour all afternoon. Screw these Tories and their support for the 1% at the expense of our nation.

      • Nick C 3.1.1

        Please go door knocking CV. You will win more votes for National than Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury could ever hope to.

        Oh and Pete – Its a Horizon Poll…

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Compare and contrast National’s campaign in 2002 and Labour’s campaign this year.

  5. burt 5

    I really enjoyed the Labour party opening address. It really demonstrated how much the flip-flop of ideology roots the NZ economy. How every time Labour stagnate the economy with generous welfare National make the necessary cuts and straighten it all out just so we the dim-bulb voters can restart the failed ideology cycle. We pay taxes to build, tear down and build again… just so the red and blue team leaders can both claim to have the answers.

    Now we the voters may be the fools for not noticing that this flip-flop costs us a fortune and gets us nowhere – but where is the leadership that says – Hey, lets not just repeat this doomed cycle.. It’s not in Labour and it’s not in National.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      How every time Labour stagnate the economy with generous welfare

      My partner who ran a significant retail business for many years has always said that the single biggest and most sustained hit to turnover she ever experienced was in the wake of Ruth Richardson’s ‘Mother of All Budgets’.

      There was nothing about her business that made it especially dependent of beneficiary income… what she saw however was an immediate stagnation that was the direct result of less money circulating in the community.

      If you want to stimulate an economy it’s now pretty well known that giving it to the lowest paid and poorest will ensure the best result.. because they always spend it promptly, increasing the velocity of money circulation, boosting demand and creating new jobs.

      • burt 5.1.1

        We were in recession and couldn’t afford to keep paying the welfare we were paying. Terribly sorry your partner’s private business suffered when the country stopped going further and further into debt – but really this isn’t about what is best for private companies.

        • KJT

          Get it right Burt. In recession because of Richardson’s policies.

        • RedLogix

          Let me suggest burt that you consider very carefully how you put words into my mouth. That last comment was a deliberate and malicious distortion of what I just said.

          • burt


            It certainly wasn’t being malicious, on reflection it was personal so I can see why you were offended. I apologise.

            What I was really trying to say is that I think retail companies are too narrow a point of reference to judge ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in economic policy. A hell of a lot changed in retail leading up to and following the Richardson years. Likewise I didn’t feel sorry for car dealers who went to the wall after vehicle import tariffs were removed and the price of cars plummeted.

            (fingers crossed RedLogix’s partner was running a Japanese import car yard)

            • Ari

              I think you miss the point where this was not the only business experiencing that issue.

              Recessions aren’t just causes of economic downturn Burt, they’re also caused by economic downturn. If you slow down a big enough part of the economy through policy. (for instance, by redistributing money away from people who spend a large proportion of it, like those on welfare, to somewhere it’s not spent at all- for instance, paying down debt)

              Even treasury economists get the idea. It’s not uncommon, it’s not left-wing, to think that moving money out of welfare can cause or worsen a depression. Now, whether that depression might be helpful in the long term to sort out what they regard as economic problems, that they’ll disagree about.

          • burt

            that was supposed to be;
            (fingers crossed RedLogix’s partner wasn’t running a Japanese import car yard)

        • lprent

          As far as I can see, national is the party that puts the country into government debt. They usually cripple the economy with ideologial stupidity, then whine about the resulting welfare.

          Labour is the party that corrects the economy, gets people back to work, and either stops the rate of growth in government debt or actually pays it back. They also tend to handle disasters a lot better beast they pu in the prep work decades ahead.

          I find it weird that anyone with any brains would ever vote for those dumbarse short term thinkers from National.

          • Nick C

            I think its fair to say that Labour is the party more willing to impliment sweeping reform: e.g. Savage, Douglas. National tends to be fiscally conservative and doesn’t impliment sweeping reform, 1990-1993 being an exception.

            Other than that I think any generalisation would be inaccurate and disingenuous, especially since the political spectrum fundamentally flipped in the 1980s.

            • lprent

              Ummm.. I’m not really generalizing. I have been around the political scene long enough to see the types of people inside the main parties and the processes of diffusion of strains of thought from ideas to policy over the decades.

              The difference between the parties is mostly about proceesing ideas into policies. Mostly I find National activists to be monumentally short term thinkers and so inertial in their viewpoints that to get a new idea is a generational miracle – they usually pinch all of their ideas. Labour people seem to buzz with ideas and most of the work is winnowing them.

              National has a strong tendency to keep doing things that demonstratably don’t work or are not sustainable. They seldom seem to check what the effects of things are before they do something stupid. They always seem to be reactive to change and don’t plan for it. 90-93 was a case in point because they were almost entirely persisting with the Douglas ‘plan’. The union bashing was just a hangover from their origins. There was nothing innovative in it. It was entirely an exercise in excessive economic stupidity leading to a economically dead decade.

              Labour usually has thought about things long beforehand and is implementing policy that is targeted towards the future generations. The exception was post 84 when Muldoon had pushed the economy to the wall and quite simply they were required to do emergency actions. Even there they actually had people in the party with a viable plan to shift the eonomy (which was pursued with a bit too much vigor). The sheer diversity of talent and opinion inside Labour has always impressed me.

              National by contrast seems to only have deadweight in it.

              But you know, the accounts are public. Go and look at the debt levels adjusted for inflation. What you need to look at is the rate of change rather than the absolute amounts (because government spending levels are slow to change)

          • Colonial Viper

            Yet Labour has too often lost its connection to the voters, and failed to move the country to the Left. Successive Governments have successfully shifted the core institutions of the country to the Right however, leaving Labour at more and more of a disadvantage.

            The conversation is as much about where Labour has not been true to itself and the people of NZ, as it is about the shortfalls and short sightedness of National.

            Stepping up and ripping the NATs a new one on behalf of ordinary workers and every day decent NZers is a good start.

            • Ari

              I think a lot of this is that Labour tends to vacillate between viewing itself as an institution and a movement. Labour is at its best when it thinks of itself as a movement that is highly responsible and accountable to its base and the public at large. What gets dangerous is when Labour starts to feel the public have to support the Party to get what they want, rather than the other way around, and then that’s when you get that nasty streak of entitlement that can run through the labour movement, with MPs and even supporters implying that they are entitled to people’s votes.

              Don’t get me wrong, even when Labour is ossifying it is still a very bright bunch of people and largely not a bad organisation, but this is what I think engenders this cycle of Labour constantly disconnecting from its voters. It’s not even a Labour-specific thing really, it happens to all parties to one degree or another- the trick is to set your party up so it can correct for itself a bit better. Labour needs to stop relying on centralised leadership so much and get a bit more grassroots, I think.

      • lprent 5.1.2

        I was running Cargo Kings inventory in 1990. Sales fell like a stone across all of our stores across the whole country. I noticed it up the following days immediately after the announcements when I pulling in the tills countrywide. People stopped buying before the actual changes to benefits took place – not only beneficiaries, but also pople in work.

        It was the biggest loss of confidence and retail drop that I had seen before and since. It was a lot deeper than this current one for NZ

  6. millsy 6

    ‘stagnate the economy with generous welfare’.

    Yes because the only way to have an economy growing is by having single mothers and their children begging on the streets, and people dying because they dont have health insurance.

    • burt 6.1


      The cycle is ridiculous isn’t it. I’m glad you recognise the down side of this ideology flip-flop we have had in NZ for the last 50 years – now stop voting to repeat it!

      • millsy 6.1.1

        If you want to live in a country where there is rampant homelessness and people die because they cannot afford health insurance, then I suggest you go to the USA.

      • KJT 6.1.2

        Yeah it is ridiculous. Every time we build up our national capital, including human capability, and resources a right wing Government come along and fucks it.

        • Colonial Viper

          Every time we build up our national capital, including human capability, and resources a right wing Government gets voted in by the people and fucks it.

          That’s what has to be examined very closely.

        • Draco T Bastard


          Not that the RWNJs will admit that. They can’t as doing so will force them to admit that the right-wing policies that they believe in are the problem.

          • burt


            You can’t attack me both ways;

            I can’t be a RWNJ when I started a comment thread saying “It really demonstrated how much the flip-flop of ideology roots the NZ economy.” unless you are also a RWNJ by agreeing with me, and CV, that we need to examine this.

            • Draco T Bastard

              So, you’ll be voting left this year?

              Yeah, didn’t think so.

              • burt

                I’m getting it now, you now call all non Labour voters RWNJ’s. Good luck with forming a coalition.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Considering the fact that I don’t support Labour – no. In fact, I’ve been calling Labour a right-wing party since before I started commenting on this board. My point is that it’s the left-wing politics that Labour is slowly getting back to that produce the best results.

        • burt


          Let me fix that for you;

          Yeah it is ridiculous. Every time we build up our national capital, including human capability, and resources a right wing Government the voters come along and fucks it.

          Now the question is why? Why if Labour govt is so bloody fabulous do they so seldom run for more than tow terms and why are they typically followed by the voters electing harsh medicine?

          • KJT


            Stockholm syndrome??

            Or maybe just as Key did last night. National lie like flatfish to get back into power..
            And, like you keep repeating the same memes until they even believe their own bullshit.

            • burt


              National has no monopoly on that score. Be realistic, people don’t vote for serious hardship when things are apparently glorious unless they are truly masochistic. The flame of Labour’s great revolutions burns bright and fast. Nek minnit we have a National slash and restructure govt. Surely this tells any reasonable person that there is something not so pretty about the hangover from a Labour rebuild/revolution party.

              • Colonial Viper

                Better to sell the country and its farm land off to foreign investors and bankers, because that will really help our children won’t it.

              • KJT

                National Governments after world war 2 were almost as socialist as Labour, compared to current Governments. They tinkered with the welfare State rather than wholesale destruction.

                Muldoon got in, not by promising slash and burn, but by borrowing for election bribes for his voters, (Farmers and geriatrics) lies about communists in Labour, and later, electoral boundary gerrymandering.

                1990’s National got in because it was the only way we had of showing our disapproval of the first ACT Government.

                This national Government got in by pretending to be Labour lite. And because Labour disillusioned their voters who expected them to go further in dismantling Neo-Liberalism.

                National are deliberately being low key about their extremist aims, while throwing a few bones. They are also borrowing excessively, like Muldoon, to bribe their voters.

                • burt

                  That’s right KJT, the parties have also flip flopped relative to todays views of ideological purity. My point is this, the red team and the blue team just play ‘opposition policies’ on key heart and mind issues. Whatever one says yes to the other says no. That differentiates them sufficiently that we tend to vote for one or the other. While doing so they build, tear down, build, tear-down again on our dime and at our say so.

                  We need to vote for a change of path, not a continuation of the painful cycle or nationalise, denationalise, nationalise, denationalise.

                  • KJT

                    Except it is the Neo-Liberals who have killed societies all around the world.

                    If NACT really were for New Zealand they would not tear down.

                    Glad you realise it is socialists who build and right wingers who destroy.

                    Switzerland has managed to avoid this cycle. Maybe we should look at their system of government.

                • burt

                  Perhaps I could reword my original comment;

                  It really demonstrated how much the flip-flop of ideology roots the NZ economy. How every time socialists stagnate the economy with generous welfare neo liberals make the necessary cuts and straighten it all out just so we the dim-bulb voters can restart the failed ideology cycle. We pay taxes to build, tear down and build again… just so the red and blue team leaders can both claim to have the answers.

                  Now we the voters may be the fools for not noticing that this flip-flop costs us a fortune and gets us nowhere – but where is the leadership that says – Hey, lets not just repeat this doomed cycle.. It’s not in socialism and it’s not in neo liberal.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Still wrong. It’s the socialist policies that benefit society – not the neo-liberal ones that you have so much faith in. History proves this.

                    • burt

                      So spending more than we earn ending in recession and a neo liberal government benefits society – how ? How is another round of just reversing the changes of the last nasty National government going to work this time when it’s just been welfare boom and bust every other time.

                    • KJT

                      We were not spending more than we earn.

                      Due to previous Neo-liberal Governments, much of our earnings now disappears permanently offshore, for the beneficiaries to lend back to us with interest added.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    ‘stagnate the economy with generous welfare’. Bullshit. Prove it, with evidence, not your feeble attempts at advocacy.

    • burt 7.1

      1990, 2008. Any little bells ringing ?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1

        What part of “evidence” don’t you understand? As in facts, figures, sources, as opposed to your pointless assertions.

        • burt

          One Anonymous Bloke

          Watch the Labour party opening address again, just the intro party history bit. Think carefully as you watch it and recognise that every time it shows “nasty” National cutting spending and doing the nasty stuff we all despise that it was because the Labour party policies failed and as a county we were living above our means.

          The into is rampantly dishonest actually – it shows great rebuilding and somehow it suddenly ends with a National govt making cuts (over and over again) – no mention of why that happened. Very partisan but that is to be expected from an party opening address.

          • Colonial Viper

            Our country is not ‘living beyond its means’. This country has plenty of means, just not plenty of will.

            The top 150 on the Rich List have $45B of wealth.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Are you so lazy you expect me to turn your unsupported drivel into a cogent argument for you? Or so incompetent you can’t actually do it yourself? Lazy and incompetent; you must be a National party supporter.

            • burt

              One Anonymous Bloke

              I though you would find that evidence hard to swallow.

              Why, after every great rebuilding in the Labour party history is a National govt elected to slash public spending ?

              What could possibly make us do that other than the reality that Labour policies, although attractive and well intentioned, are unsustainable and stunt growth resulting in recession forcing drastic change.

              I really get the well intentioned bit, however Labour harking back to this period of great build tear down rebuild and tear down again is not actually comforting.

              • Draco T Bastard

                burt, Labour policies have always been better for the financial economy* than National ones. History proves this. The fact that you believe the opposite is proof that you’re delusional.

                * Just not the real economy – there both main parties fuck everything up.

                • burt

                  If that is true then why the flip-flop Labour spend/National cut/Labour spend/National cut ?

                  Do we just get bored when things are going really really well and say hey lets f##k ourselves up for a while?

                  It’s not a great leap of logic to see that if the pattern of history is National borrowing out of recession following Labour spending like a drunken sailor on social programes that perhaps Labour just take it too far and are not learning. Over and over.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    If that is true then why the flip-flop Labour spend/National cut/Labour spend/National cut ?

                    Again, you get it wrong. Labour don’t spend. Or, to be more precise, they spend within the budget whereas NAct cut the budget and increase spending.

                    It’s not a great leap of logic to see that if the pattern of history is…

                    No, that would be a leap of faith and contrary to what actually happens.

                    As for why the voters vote Labour out once they start feeling rich again – NFI.

                  • KJT

                    Still in your alternative universe, Burt.

                    Why is it we all do better, including business when a genuine Labour Government is in.

                    National has got in several times with less than a majority due to totally dishonest gerrymandering of boundaries.

                    Why is it that in every OECD country. The most successful periods by all measures for all these countries have been at the times of highest progressive taxation and Government spending.
                    Which party has increased debt the most each time in power. It wasn’t Labour.

                    If you were really concerned about the flip plops you would join me in advocating a Swiss style democracy. Which has been extremely successful in delivering stable Government and a prosperous economy.

                    RWNJ’s though, are terrified of people power because we would never vote for their policies if presented honestly. That is why they like FPP so much.

                    Key hardly mentioned policy apart from a few dog whistles to swinging voters. Obviously focus groups tell them that swinging voters like beneficiary bashing, lock em up and other mindless policies.

                    If National were honest about their intentions.
                    Who is going to vote for sell our assets and lose another few billion in future income, reduce wages to third world levels so a few can escape with all the wealth we produce, killing of small business so multinationals can take over, and destroying our society.

      • KJT 7.1.2

        1990 was the end of the first ACT Government. Any bells ringing.

        2008. Was a huge improvement on the mess National left us in.

        Never let evidence get in the way of ideology though!

  8. Jenny 8

    Today’s Horizon poll suggests that Labour’s approach might be starting to pay off.

    Pete it is unlikely that this Horizon poll would reflect voters views to Labour’s latest policy release.

    Let us see, what voters think when it sinks in that they will be taking home less pay and waiting for retirement longer.

    When the polls are rising in support of a Labour led government, whatever the pros or cons of this policy release, tactically Labour has deliberately kneecapped itself.

    I suppose it takes courage to shoot yourself in the knee, but it is cowardice if it is to refuse to fight.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Was that before or after they faked the moon landings and used HAARP to alter the surface temperature record?

      • Jenny 8.1.1

        Labour’s savings in retirement policy

        Labour supporters have justified raising the age of retirement by claiming that modern work is less arduous and less physically damaging. That may be true. But workers are working longer hours and the pace of work has increased making it more stressful, not only this but since the invention of the 24 hour society, tens of thousands of workers now work shifts.

        The Working Nightmare

        How Labour’s austerity plan will kill workers.

        “The older the worker, the less tolerant they are to withstanding the adverse effects of shift work… It disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms, that is, its daily cycle, causing tiredness, mental stress, cardio-vascular diseases, gastro-intestinal disorders, menstrual disorders, reproductive system dysfunction and increased accidents.”

        …..working odd hours puts the body under chronic stress, leading to a potentially fatal increase in abnormal heart rhythms. There is also an increased risk of breast cancer. A Danish study of 7,000 women who worked nights found they were one and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

        “Often, women who work nights have delayed periods or missed periods. Sleeping patterns are disrupted, so the immune system is affected. People who work shifts are generally off sick more and there is anecdotal evidence it causes depression.”

        If Labour is to persist with this vicious anti-worker anti-woman austerity measure, all shift workers, (especially cleaners), should be exempt.

        • Colonial Viper

          Get over it.

          Unless you’ve got evidence that an extra 2 years of shift work from 65 to 67 dramatically worsens someones health status who has already done 40 years of shift work up to 65 years of age, then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

          • Jenny

            Unless you’ve got evidence that an extra 2 years of shift work from 65 to 67 dramatically worsens someones health status who has already done 40 years of shift work up to 65 years of age, then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

            Colonial Viper

            CV, according to a study I read published in New Scientist a few years ago. (sorry I can’t locate the link), shift workers die on average seven years earlier than other workers.

            The study identified shift work as being as dangerous to your health as smoking.

            The damage is done through disruption of the body’s natural bio rhythms. Another deleterious side affect of shift work is weight gain, often leading to obesity due to the affect of eating meals when the digestion system is in it’s rest phase. This compounds the problem, as people suffering from obesity also die younger.

            Think of all the women who clean our offices and public buildings during the night, surely among the hardest working and most under appreciated section of the community.

            Most of them will never get to enjoy a pension as it is. This regressive austerity policy will make doubly sure of it.

            Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary proof.

            Carl Sagan

            However the dangers of shift work especially for older workers is hardly an extraordinary claim.

            CV just google the dangers of shift work.

            Here’s what I found on my first hit.

            Ergonomics for schools – A Primer: Shift Work

            As a human being, you have a ‘daily body clock’ or circadian rhythm (animals have this too). Your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and mental ability are synchronised so that they are higher during daylight hours than at night, when the body is prepared to sleep and recover from the day’s activities. Even if the normal influences of day and night are taken away, such as natural light and knowledge of the time, this internal clock still works and operates a cycle of between 22 and 25 hours…..

            ……Night workers often suffer from disturbed daytime sleep, which may be due to increased noise, but it is more likely due to the body just not being ready to sleep during the day. This lack of good quality sleep among night workers can lead to chronic fatigue, which can be shown as tiredness, irritability and depression. They may also suffer from loss of appetite and digestive problems……

            ….Workers on late or night shifts often feel isolated from their family and friends because they are working when others are socialising. Family life can be difficult.

            About two-thirds of shift workers suffer from some kind of ill-health…..

            This primer for schools on shift work, says that because of it’s deleterious effects:

            “Night work is not recommended, but if it cannot be avoided, then the following guidelines should be considered:

            Ideally, night shift workers should be not be older than 50 years of age, or younger than 25.”

            Pertinent to this arguement CV. Note “should not be older than 50….”

            Who hasn’t seen an elderly man in a baggy security guard’s uniform hanging off his elderly frame on the late shift.

            Labour’s “reform” will undeniably be increasing the risk of early mortality in these workers by forcing them to work for another two years.

            On the evidence Labour should be lowering the age at which these workers retire, not increasing it.

            “no legs to stand on, CV, Next you will be claiming that Labour is doing this for workers benefit.

            The fact is that Labour agree with Key and Brash of the need for austerity, and that this austerity should be imposed, not on those who caused the crisis, but those least able to defend themselves.Think again of those women office cleaners, unlikely to reach retirement age as it is.

        • RedLogix

          So Jenny… on the basis of that you should be arguing for a reduction of the retirement age …no?

          Of course the problem is not as simplistic as you make out. The real problem, and I accept one exists, is the nature of employment for older workers. Personally I have to agree that while I can see myself working until I’m at least 67 or even older… I already struggle with all-night callouts and long hours. I simply don’t bounce back the way I did in my 30’s..

          My grandfather was still working on the mutton chain at Westfield at the age of 75 when he died. On the other hand in those days the Union ensured he was on what was called ‘light duties’, in other words he doing work that was appropriate for his age.

          Working into your 60’s is quite achievable, as long as the nature of the work is suitable.. Achieving this is quite straightforward if employees are in a position to negotiate what is suitable for them. But that of course is not what you are arguing for Jenny.

          You probably aren’t arguing for a lowering of the pension age and you are opposed to raising it. What are you asking for?

          • Jenny

            Working into your 60′s is quite achievable, as long as the nature of the work is suitable.. Achieving this is quite straightforward if employees are in a position to negotiate what is suitable for them. But that of course is not what you are arguing for Jenny.


            Truely weird – in stating that raising the pension age is an ethical and tactical mistake I am informed by a defender of this measure that I am arguing against workers negotiating what is suitable for them.

            In defence of this right wing austerity measure logic is certainly getting a good strangling today.

            And by the way, in an age of mass unemployment I do think lowering the age of retirement would be a good idea. It’s not like we can’t afford it. New Zealand has never supported more billionaire financiers who can openly engage in multi million dollar speculative dealings on which they are not taxed 1 cent.

            How about instead of Labour’s version of austerity, a financial transaction tax on all the billions of untaxed speculative profit.

        • Afewknowthetruth

          The thread is moving too fast.

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    You have to love the proliferation of witless trolls commenting herein. All they post is noise, but the signal is clear as day 🙂

    • Rijab 9.1

      Ah the trolls … it took them a few hours to figure out the narrative on this one but here they gooooo!

    • Jenny 9.2

      …..the signal is clear as day

      One Anonymous Bloke

      What signal is that?

      You had better spell it out for us Anonymous Bloke.

      The signal that I am reading is that Labour are throwing this election away because Labour only want to rule alone, so as to be free to impose austerity measures if Labour sees fit to, and not have to listen to any pesky coalition parties who might have objections. And never ever have to face challenges on our left from those who think we should instead be punishing those who caused the crisis not the victims of it.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Open your eyes and see that Labour is the only hope in this election for a $15/hr minimum wage and stronger negotiating powers for workers and unions.

        Your repetition of “austerity” is inaccurate and misleading.

        Unless you believe that the Retirement Commissioner, whose recommendations Labour has modelled its policy on, has been pushing for austerity as well.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2.2

        Spell it out for you? I think I’ll just let the trip-trapping of my hooves on your bridge tell the tale.

  10. Well I’m with Jenny on this one. Labour’s commitment to neoliberalism was declared in the 1980s. Muldoon refused to concede control over NZs economy even to the point of a massive capital flight. Not because he was pro-labour but because he was pro-protection of farmers from world prices for energy etc. Rogernomics was the policy of international finance capital (neoliberalism) to destroy protectionism. Douglas prepared his plans as early as 1980 as anyone who read ‘There Must be a Better Way’ knows. Labour had the unions in its pocket so by the time its so-called ‘red’ leaders woke up under their beds it was too late. They were rewarded by Labour stripping the unions of basic rights just before the election 1990. Labour has done damn all to reverse its sellout of those days. It reformed the ECA but basically the unions never recovered their mass membership. If Labour has got balls today its because they roped the unions for castration in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Since then Labour in office has accepted the neoliberal parameters it imposed in the 1980s. Its ‘rescued’ some stripped state assets like AirNZ and NZRail but for the sake of business not workers. State provision of basic infrastructure has always been the role of the state in NZ as a subsidy to capital. So basically Labour has accepted the neoliberal ‘settlement’ of the 1980s and imposed further limits on the sovereignty of parliament through fiscal and monetary policy constraints.

    This is why it no longer has the tools (or the balls) to tackle neoliberalism and opts for fake ‘tough’ options like making workers work longer. Labour’s tax adjustments are fiscal fiddling with steeply regressive taxation. Labour introduced GST as part of the neoliberal shift of taxation from rich to poor. Taking it off FF&V is a sad joke. The CGT is another grim joke. It won’t do anything to stop speculation and boost productive investment in jobs. That’s why Labour’s excellently produced lead add everyone is gushing about is a fake glossing over its historic sellout to finance capital with clips from the Savage and Nash eras falsely claiming to be going back to Labour’s social justice roots. Why not let them RIP?

    Well the OWS has something to say about social justice and already its demand for a Robin Hood Tax its showing it is growing the balls to take on Finance Capital. After Robin Hood comes the trial of the Sheriff and then the deposing of King John. That’s balls.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      We have to acknowledge that today, NZ is enmeshed in a globalised financial and trade system. That is the starting point from which we find ourselves and need to extracate ourselves from.

      Labour is still a capitalist party, yes. But many of us are pushing for a more democratic socialist outlook. And you will notice that the tide is turning. It needs people to back a change however. Not just a hundred commentators on the Standard, but hundreds of thousands of people in the electorate.

      And how do you deliver that?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1

        Well said.

        • Tiger Mountain

          The most jagged reef for marxists Dave after internationalism is reformism. The reality is NZ is at a fork in the road at this election. 70s/80s Chilean style labour relations, the peoples assets flogged off, final degredation of the welfare state. Despite the contradictions inherent with a bourgeois parliament it is essential that National/ACT are deposed or at least dealt a serious blow as capitals current representatives.

      • dave brown 10.1.2

        We keep criticising them to hell and still Vote Labour and Mana precisely because most workers will see them as the ‘lesser evil’. The point being unless Labour and Mana are challenged all the way we resign to workers powering down through one austerity measure after another. Take the Spanish and Greek ‘socialist’ parties powering down. Meanwhile there is a movement that is is powering up the OWS. The logic of Robin Hood tax meets the Sheriff in the form of social democracy is to arrest the Sheriff in order to depose the King.

  11. Afewknowthetruth 11


    If you take a look at almost any Asian country you will see men and women in their 50.s, 60’s and 70’s riding bicycles, picking up cardboard for recycling, working in fields etc. There is no such thing as retirement.

    People in western nations have a totally unjustified and unjustifiable sense of entitlement that has been the consequence of a short term aberration in the grand scheme of things -rampant use of fossil fuels: that particular game is rapidly coming to an end and will essentially be ‘all over’ a decade from now. The ‘energy slaves’ upon which western economies are founded will decline in their work rate over the next decade (also taking down the industrialised food system).

    At this point of time Western societies remain firmly locked into denial, despite all the geological evidence which dates right back to M. King Hubbert’s correct identification in 1956 of the year of peak for US oil extraction of 1970, and his subsequent identification of the early 2000s as the time when global extraction would peak.

    The only real question as far as fossil fuels is concerned is this: will industrialised societies be prepared to make the Earth largely (or completely) uninhabitbale for coming generations by extracting and burning every scrap of fossil fuel they can lay their hands on? All the evidence indicates they will. That is what both National and Labour are in favour of. And most of the [ignorant] populace, it seems.

    • burt 11.1


      People in western nations have a totally unjustified and unjustifiable sense of entitlement that has been the consequence of a short term aberration in the grand scheme of things

      Absolutely. In the NZ context, generations believed the promises that if we just paid higher taxes now we would be looked after in retirement. So spotlight on NZ right here right now I think there is a reason for that expectation. It’s debatable how well the promise was delivered but that’s an entirely different discussion. However shifting the retirement age up again seem to be another admission that the policy was always unsustainable, but I digress.

      Generally though, I couldn’t agree with you more. Personal responsibility is not readily accepted by people living under the banner of ‘the glorious state will provide’.

      • KJT 11.1.1

        Since when have your lot ever accepted responsibility.

        When are we going to see the convictions of the insider traders in the SCF, for instance.

        Or the admission of responsibility from Douglas, Brash, Kerr at al for how huge drop in the OECD rankings, and wages, since their poisonous economic policies were introduced.

        Or the fact that Neo-Liberal economics make disasters like Pike river, the Rena and many others more likely.

        Nothing unsustainable about looking after the elderly. So long as those who take the most from the society generations of ordinary people have built up, pay their share.

  12. ed 12

    National party tactic: Invent scary future scenarios and then position themselves as the only ones who can keep us safe from these imaginary situations.

    What then happens is they lower wages and force us into slavery as punishment for being so stupid as to believe their scare campaign.

    Nice guys alright!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      They don’t just invent the scary scenarios, they help create them with incompetent economic management, and isn’t it “funny” how the solution to every single situation is the same set of policies that haven’t worked anywhere, ever.

      If only the National Party were the only people with a fetish for scary scenarios. Conspiracists to the left of me truthers to the right of me!

      • ed 12.1.1

        Speaking of policies that don’t work. Free market capitalism is the fastest way to bankrupt the world and sent us into world war three. Right Wing sociopaths like it because they can plunder the world for whatever they want, but for the rest of us it is a shit ride into a major war.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love capitalism, but I also love socialism at the same time. Balance.

    • Afewknowthetruth 12.2


      ‘Invent scary future scenarios and then position themselves as the only ones who can keep us safe from these imaginary situations’

      It worked for Hilter.. It worked for Bush. It worked for Tony B Liar.

      Why would National abandon a tried-and-tested strategy that works on the dumbed-down massses every time?

      Hence, ‘building a brighter future’.

  13. ed 13

    @ Afewknowthetruth:

    If you spend you life living under an a** hole, expect to get sh*t on your head…

    • Afewknowthetruth 13.1


      Reminds me of the cartoon of the general populace with shit all over their heads. Above them is the toilet shed labelled ‘Politicians’. Sums it up nicely.

      I’ve spent all my life living under arseholes; In Britian it was McMillan, Wilson. Heath etc.

      I came to NZ thinking I could escape them but found I couldn’t, so had to endure life under the arseholes Muldoon, Lange, Bolger, Shipley, Clark, Key etc.

      The fact is, this planet is run by global corporations and banksters for the benefit of global corporations and banksters, and they are happy with any Yes-man areshole or Yes-woman arsehole who doesn’t challenge their rort system.

      Key or Goff; it makes no difference to global corporations and banksters (other than a slight difference in the size of the bread crumbs that are allowed to fall off the feasting table).

  14. burt 14


    Because it may get lost a bit up thread, I’ll just reiterate. I really enjoyed the Labour party opening address.

    • Luva 14.1

      It was good to watch for us lovers of history. Whether goff is the answer for today is still not clear though.

      Michael savage isn’t really the solution for the financial crisis we face today.

      The national ad was fucking terrible but at least it was looking forward.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        Looking forward to more wage suppression and financial oppression maybe.

        • Tiger Mountain

          @ Luva:
          And still they wriggle out from under the sodden log. Not enough action at Farrar HQ? You have re-illuminated one tory tic at least, “going forward” which implicity denys the past or any accountibility for it.

          Labours ad, in the time constraint, acknowledged and dealt with “Rodger the Dodger” and his move to form ACT. The societal wreckage left by National’s “mother of all budgets” and sell offs, particularly state housing, deep sixing apprenticeships and building standards, shows up the torys big time.

          –Looking forward to more profits is all one can say.
          “Forget about the last one, get your self another” apol. to D. Dobbyn.

  15. Cin77 15

    Lol, I can always tell when Labours on the ball by how many trolls show up in the associated threads here. Labours little election opener has got them all a tither and I for one love to watch them squirm 🙂

    • Jenny 15.1

      On the Q&A debate on TV1 today. Hone Harawira pointed out that of 20 Maori workers, only 1 will ever get to retire. “Labour’s policy will make that worse.”

      Not just Maori, some of the other most exploited and poorly paid in this country will also be cheated out of a pension by this policy.

      Anonymous Bloke and Cin instead of throwing insults around.

      How about arguing on the facts.

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