Jacinda Ardern’s ‘Dear Don’ letter

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, May 24th, 2011 - 28 comments
Categories: don brash - Tags:

Dear Don,

I saw your letter week before week; the one to John Key resigning from the National Party. John Key mentioned that he didn’t plan on replying to you; a bit rude, really. But given you did send the letter to every media outlet in New Zealand, I guess it lost that personal touch.

I didn’t want to see your letter go unacknowledged though, so here I am, writing to you to say thanks.

Thank you for reminding me that you believe low wages are the route to higher employment. Paying young people less is not what I would call a comprehensive list of ideas to deal with unemployment, yet it’s the only one I have heard ACT raise in two and a half years. Points for consistency, but none for ignoring the fact that the last time youth unemployment was this high, we were paying young people less than everyone else.

Thank you for restating your position on the environment. You claim we should be fast followers on the issue of climate change, for the sake of our farmers. I would argue we should be leaders of environmental reform for the sake of all of us.

Of course, supporting our exporters is crucial and that includes the dairy industry, as our biggest export earners. But surely that means acknowledging that our brand matters. There is a reason that the UK labels our butter as ‘free range’- there is a growing global movement of conscience consumers and retaining our brand advantage means that it’s time to stop pretending we’re clean and green, and start acknowledging that lagging behind will not only have environmental repercussions, but economic ones also.

Thank you for highlighting what the National party really stands for. I’m writing this during budget week, and while legislation is going through Parliament to cut Kiwsaver, working for families, and restrict student loans. The way the Government is talking, it would be easy to think these are all steps that they’ve been forced into because of the Christchurch earthquakes and the global financial crisis. Let’s be honest though, if fiscal restraint was the only game in town, they would have pulled back on their almost $25billion in tax cuts, which is responsible for roughly $130 million a week worth of our borrowing. Instead, they’ve gone for the things they never really believed in: Working for Families (which in opposition they called ‘communism’); student loans, which John Key called a bribe; and Kiwsaver, the personal savings scheme which you all called too ‘generous.’ Ultimately, these cuts will hurt, but they won’t fix the real issue- our stagnant low wage economy.

Thank you for reminding us again, about the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia, but I would add a few more ‘gaps’ to the list. The skills gap is one. Recently, I had a desperate mum contact me. Her son had just graduated from MIT with a plumbing qualification. The next step in his career was to become an apprentice, something that shouldn’t have been hard given the lack of qualified tradespeople across the country. Despite a desperate search, he couldn’t find a single placement in New Zealand so he turned to Australia. He is now training in Melbourne, where he has been bonded for the next 3 years. And what has the Government response been? To cut $55 million from industry training. Of course the wage gap matters, but let’s not pretend that money is the only reason our young people are looking offshore or that there is nothing the Government can do about it.

Thank you for mentioning superannuation. Not an especially sexy subject matter, but incredibly important nonetheless. Your answer though, to raise the age of entitlement, seems to come without any analysis of the other choices the government is disregarding. It’s not a default option, but it becomes that way in lieu of decent planning. I still remember sitting in Parliament for the Government’s first budget as they suspended all payments into the country’s superannuation fund for the next decade and realising that this was the moment they wrote off my generation.

In many ways though Mr Brash, I fear that you have written off not just my generation, but New Zealand. There was no hope in your letter, no sense of aspiration or of the idea that we can build a prosperous country and do it without adopting an ‘every man and women for themselves’ mentality. And that’s the real reason I want to thank you, because you reminded me why I got into politics and why I became an MP- because we have the potential to be so much more than what you would consign us to.

Yours sincerely

Jacinda Ardern

28 comments on “Jacinda Ardern’s ‘Dear Don’ letter”

  1. sean maitland 2

    Ummm Jacinda – I’d just like to point out that the deficit we have at the moment is because the country is stuck trying to pay for super, KiwiSaver, student loan borrowing, Working for Families, DPB, Sickness benefit, Accomodation supplement, 10,000 extra public servants that Labour hired and Kiwi Rail (among other items).

    They were costed in times of surplus and a booming economy, and are now simply unaffordable. The borrowing the government is doing is to pay for these schemes. Its not to pay for tax cuts.

    All the rhetoric and fluff in the world about expanding our economy and training schemes is not going to change the fact that we have a massive social welfare bill that our country simply can’t afford.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      “All the rhetoric and fluff in the world about expanding our economy and training schemes is not going to change the fact that we have a massive social welfare bill that our country simply can’t afford.”
       
      That’s the whole point of expanding the economy and training people, you know. So that they’re employed. And therefore not being paid the unemployment benefit. National is (belatedly) trying to do the same.
       
      Seems this guy is just a thoughtless troll.

    • Ben Clark 2.2

      Excellent reply Jacinda.

      sean: read this if you want to see how National have caused a $16.7 billion debt hole. If, as Lanth says, we get people employed by up-skilling them and expanding the economy, we won’t have such a deficit problem, and things become a lot more affordable. If we continue National’s course, well…

    • aj 2.3

      Sean, do you acknowledge that the tax cuts have ANYTHING to do with the current defecit?

    • Georgecom 2.4

      Sean. The so called ‘tax switch’ has left the government with a structural fiscal deficit. Everything after the tax ‘switch’ has exacerbated that deficit. On that count the government doesn’t so much have a debt problem, but an income problem.

      Yes, the global recession did hit the governments income and books. So too did the 2 earthquakes. The tax ‘switch’ exacerbated the first issue, the downturn. The earthquakes exacerbated the structural deficit. So to did English and Key taking the economy back into recession BEFORE the earthquakes.

      Global recession – one hit that lingers on.
      The tax switch, premised on very hopeful growth figures but even then requiring borrowing – large structural deficit.
      Leading the economy back into recession – exacerbating the structural deficit
      Earthquakes – further deepening the strucural deficit and adding rebuilding costs.

      Rob

    • Deadly_NZ 2.5

      You mention all the good things TROLL but as usual you have overlooked the Taxcuts that Smile & wave gave to the top few % and is now furiously borrowing to pay for this largess.

  2. billy fish 3

    I luffs her even mores 🙂

  3. Andy-Roo 4

    Lets see more of this

  4. Kath 5

    Go for it. You are the one I want to represent the Gulf Islands and Auckland Central. Tell it like it is. Good for you. Nannawai

    • Labour is full of talented people like Jacinda . Its time the media recognized
      and supported these people instead of propping up the tired old Tory hangers on !

  5. Orc 6

    Yay, someone around my age coming back from England, not going there.

    And waying in on the way we are getting screwed by this mob.

  6. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7

    “Your answer though, to raise the age of entitlement [of superannuation]…”

    Which, incidentally was the Australians’ answer as well. Gillard has happily raised it by 6 months every two years from 2017 until it reaches 67. Key has completely ruled it out.

    Remind me which one is a social democrat?

    • wtl 7.1

      Key is of the view that it can be someone else’s problem, not his.

      • Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7.1.1

        Never quite understood how it is Key can both be doing nothing and pursuing an evil hard-right agenda (which, in this respect at least, is less hard-right that the Australian Labor party).

        • wtl 7.1.1.1

          Doing nothing about superannuation simply because it won’t be a major problem until Key is no longer in politics is perfectly consistent with pursuing any agenda (apart from actually being a responsible leader, I guess). And what Rob said, below.

        • RobC 7.1.1.2

          Doing nothing is a hard-right agenda. That is, the less Govt intervention, the better. What is there not to understand?

  7. marsman 8

    Great stuff Jacinda! You have brain,Brash is dust-ball.

  8. Steve Wrathall 9

    ” Paying young people less …”
    It is you Jacinda, who favour forcing unskilled young people to sit at home for $4.50 an hour, while it is ACT who would allow them to offer themselves for up to 14.99/p.a (something Labour would criminalise). Who really cares?

    • The Voice of Reason 9.1

      “… while it is ACT who would allow them to offer themselves for up to 14.99/p.a”

      Some mistake, surely, Steve? Or is this ACT policy these days?

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      1) Jacinda is in Opposition. She can’t do squat from there, regardless of what you say.

      2) ACT is going to set the minimum wage at $14.99? Really?

      3) Lots of people care. 50% of full time workers earn less than $39,000 p.a. after all.

  9. Herodotus 10

    Let’s be honest though, if fiscal restraint was the only game in town, they would have pulled back on their almost $25billion in tax cuts, which is responsible for roughly $130 million a week worth of our borrowing.
    Is J.A. in a differnet place than I??
    Tax cuts costing NZ $130m p.a. = $8b p.a.
    yet David C (whom I trust his figures) states that the cuts cost $400m p.a. or the gross PAYE was $2.5b
    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/05/19/budget-faq-6-why-the-debt-hole/
    I do hope that J.A. tightens up her stuff. This is extremely poor from someone who should know better. Sure tell a lie enough times and people believe, NZ education standards are still strong enough to see thru this one. And it is not the 1st time J.A. has been caught out unable to calc simple maths.

  10. jeremy anderson 11

    If working families need other taxpayers to support them then they are working for insolvent businesses who cannot trade without the subsidy their workers give them by accepting low wages.

    Simple.

    The problem in this country, and has been for a long time, is that business, with every assistance that right wing economic theory could possibly have provided, are still paying low wages and earning fuck all.

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    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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