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John Roughan on Labour’s birthday

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, July 10th, 2016 - 60 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, articles, john key, labour, Media, national, newspapers, slippery - Tags:

labour birthday-1-2

Yesterday in the Herald John Roughan offered some thoughts on Labour on the event of its birthday, some of which I agreed wholeheartedly. He is someone who is often criticised by the left but he is capable of very complex views on matters and occasionally his writing is quite beautiful. This editorial contained passages that qualify for that description.

He started off by offering a historic perspective of the party.

Labour is the party of most of our writers, historians, artists, educators and creatives. It may have spent more of its century out of power than in it, but there is no shame in that if you are the party of courage and change. The towering figures of our 20th century politics are nearly all Labour prime ministers, possibly larger in death than they were in life in some cases, but that’s fine. The view we take of leaders once they are no longer vying for our votes is usually more accurate, fair and balanced than the contemporary argument was.

So I was looking forward to a deluge of books, film, ceremonies and seminars this year about Labour’s beginnings in the coalmines, ports and railways of early last century, its formation in World War I and its struggle to emerge from the three-sided politics of the 1920s.

That would make a keenly interesting study for a generation that has never seen its like though it is ever possible under MMP.

I thought we would be treated to reassessments of the Great Depression and the first Labour Government, the party’s golden age. Michael Joseph Savage and the Social Security Act 1938 are still Labour’s mythic touchstones and rightly so. They were so popular they kept that Government in power for 14 years, longer than any in New Zealand since.

The party has been engaged in events and ceremonies where all of these things have occurred.  That the media has not picked up on them more is more to do with the media’s imperatives rather than the importance of the occasion.

Labour can even claim to have given birth to the National Party, formed in 1936 when the non-socialist liberal and conservative parties realised they could not match Labour’s appeal separately. Labour defined mainstream politics in New Zealand for the next 50 years. National could not win power until it convinced the country in 1949 it would not dismantle social security.

One of the prevailing successes of the first Labour Government is that it shifted New Zealand leftwards almost permanently.  It has taken sustained attacks by neoliberalism over many decades for the protections placed by Labour to be eroded and dismantled.

National won most of the elections through the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s by matching or outbidding Labour on benefits, culminating in Muldoon’s 1975 National Superannuation scheme which, as he boasted, paid the universal pension Savage had wanted to deliver. Savage had realised the country could not afford it.

Key clearly recognises this.  Under Don Brash National failed to win.  It took Key’s assumption of the leadership and a series of speeches and photo events about the crises of housing and the underclass before the 2008 election to persuade people that National was now just as concerned as Labour about poverty.  Eight years into their rule and this concern was clearly less than heartfelt.

Centennial reflections could have challenged one of the enduring myths of politics in most countries, that the left is more loose with money. It is not true. Labour governments, like most working people, are more cautious with money than people in business, less comfortable with debt, more likely to live within their means, matching spending with taxation. The second Labour Government, led by Walter Nash, was defeated for raising taxes in a “black Budget”, as National labelled it. National wrote red budgets through the prosperous ’60s.

And Michael Cullen paid off the country’s debt, leaving us well placed to weather the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes.  It is galling that National still uses the “decade of deficits” claim which has as much substance as National’s claim to be concerned about the homeless.

Times have changed and Labour has changed. Kirk was its last working class leader, though Mike Moore might challenge that claim. The post-war generation that grew up in Labour’s welfare state, the first generation to be given easy access to higher education, came to government as economies were becoming crippled by excessive protection, regulation and taxation.

It fell to Labour, the party of equality, to open the doors. The refreshing winds of competitive markets were as much a shock to farmers and business as to Labour constituencies but they adjusted and, 30 years on, few outside Labour’s constituencies look back.

I suppose Labour still finds it too hard to look back but what a pity. Fundamentally, politics is the tension between economic energy and social equality. The right balance is always arguable and Labour argues for equality, as it always did.

Rogernomics was a mistake and a bad one.  In Australia where neoliberalism was not so passionately embraced the country did perfectly well thank you very much and has outperformed New Zealand in wealth terms.

So thanks for the birthday wishes John.  I agree that Labour is the party of most of our writers, historians, artists, educators and creatives, although it is as well as the natural home of our diverse ethnic communities and of the trade unions and of any collective organisation.  Labour did move National to the left and National can only compete when it adopts the veneer of being a sort of Labour light, and Labour governments are better handlers of the economy despite mass propaganda to the contrary.

And of course Labour should argue for equality.  It always has and it always should.

60 comments on “John Roughan on Labour’s birthday”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    “It has taken sustained attacks by neoliberalism over many decades for the protections placed by Labour to be eroded and dismantled”

    The great irony of Labour’s history is the most severe attacks that you refer to came from within Labour – from 1984 -1990.

    Labour did more to destroy the Savage legacy than any other government.

  2. save nz 2

    +100 especially “And Michael Cullen paid off the country’s debt, leaving us well placed to weather the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes. It is galling that National still uses the “decade of deficits” claim which has as much substance as National’s claim to be concerned about the homeless.”

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Labour pays off the credit card so that National can spend it up. A great relationship.

      BTW our government should ALWAYS run a deficit, if it is not to deplete households and small businesses of income and savings.

      • dukeofurl 2.1.1

        On a cash basis they still do.

        Current new borrowing is around $7bill per year, thats whats required to have an ‘accrual surplus’

      • Incognito 2.1.2

        In Western democracies the Left and Right form a symbiotic relationship.

        I am sure that there is economic theory that states that the government should always run a deficit although it is not clear to me why this has to be the case without some context.

        For example, when the economy is booming why not run a (moderate?) surplus? Are you perhaps referring to inflationary pressures?

        The logical consequence of always running a government deficit is government debt, which means that interest has to be paid. Doesn’t this also deplete the private sector of income& savings?

        John Key’s banking mates in Wall Street won’t mind financing our national debt; it’ll provide them with a healthy steady stream of our hard-earned New Zealand dollars.

        • Nic the NZer

          A lot of this needs a thorough debunking.

          First of all govt borrowing doesn’t deplete private sector savings. This notion is incorrect in practice because its based on the banking system lending from a limited supply of savings. In practice banks create new spending when they lend.

          The consequence of govt deficit does not have to be govt debt. The govt opts to borrow back deficit spending in order to allow the RB to have an above zero OCR. But there are even other ways this could be arranged to make that work.

          And finally the govt debt is actually supporting private sector savings. Its used by banks and insurance companies as a very low risk investment. Maybe there can be distributional problems about who holds the savings but the question is why confiscate savings off the private sector given the state of the economy?

          • Incognito

            Thanks Nic the NZer!

            I have never been formally taught economics so I’m prone to suggest debunkable stuff.

            I’ve heard about banks creating credit (AKA money AKA “spending”) out of thin air (97%?); has this something to do with fractional reserve banking or so? Does this also apply to government borrowing money?

            Our government currently is in debt and does borrow money (overseas I assume) and most definitely pays interest on these borrowings. It might not have to be but this is how it is right now. Why, if there are “other ways”? It seems to be supporting a certain financing system in which some are reaping huge benefits.

            So, given government debt, how is this creating a low-risk environment that actually supports private sector savings? Low-risk investments are associated with lower interest and lower premiums, aren’t they? In New Zealand the interest rates are relatively high so where are those benefits and who really benefits?

            I am not sure what you mean by “confiscate savings off the private sector”. It sounds terribly similar to “taxes are a legitimate theft”, don’t you think? Coincidence?

            Edit: I just noticed your comment @ 7.35 pm

            • Nic the NZer

              I didnt receive any formal training in economics either though i have done significant study so am fairly well versed in macro economics arguments now. Its an advantage i think because the current formal training is myth generating. Anyway.

              Yes banks create spending when they make loans. They do this by expanding their balance sheet with a matching asset (a loan document, stating the borrower will repay them) and a liability (a payment they make for the borrower). As you can guess this means banks can lend as much as they can find credit worthy borrowers.

              The govt also has a captive bank, the reserve bank where all the other banks in NZ keep their reserve accounts (payments between banks or to the govt are made in bank reserves). So if the govt wants to spend all it needs do is get the reserve bank to credit the bank of the payee with reserves. So the question is where do they get these reserves?

            • Nic the NZer

              One way the govt can get the reserves would be for the reserve bank to give it an unlimited overdraft (remember the reserve bank functions under an act of parliament so if parliament desires this can be legislated). Another is for the reserve bank to buy as much govt debt as is needed to facilitate spending (which it could write off later if it chooses) another is for the govt to borrow it from the private sector which reduces the total reserves in those reserve accounts i mentioned.

              Anyway as you can see, a govt which controls its currency issueing central bank has ample access to money for all its spending needs. The NZ govt is not borrowing from overseas the simplest way to think of it is that govt spending creates the money as it occurs. The fact that the govt has ample access to finance is what makes govt a very safe borrower. There is nothing that can force a govt like NZ to default on its repayments as it can always get the RBNZ to repay its obligations. Look up the ‘risk free rate of return’ for more on that.

            • Nic the NZer

              Now interest rates. The RBNZ is the most important element in interest rates. They decide what the OCR will be. If you look at the RBNZ chart on the OCR you will also see the a 90-day bills rate. Thats the rate commercial banks lend each other reserves at. Notice it tracks the OCR closely thats the RBNZ determining (to a large extent) what people pay for bank loans (given the state of the economy).

              The 90-day rate is determined by banks lending each other reserves for settlement as some banks will be short reserves to make payments from time to time. Say too many reserves to facilitate payment are present in the reserve system, what happens? Well the surplus reserves will be loaned between banks causing the 90-day rate to fall below the OCR. And this is why we borrow Govt spending its to create the amount of reserves to maintain the RBNZ control of the OCR. Its also why the interest rates in NZ are relatively high thats what the reserve bank and govt decided as policy.

              And what happens if the reserve system is short reserves (you might ask) well thats what the OCR rate is about. The RBNZ will always lend as many reserves as desired at the OCR which creates a ceiling on the 90-day rate.

        • Nic the NZer

          The argument for regular deficits is as follows.

          When the private sector saves its income then that turnover is removed from the economy and GDP falls as a result. So the optimal level of spending over all (resulting in similar spending in subsequent periods) is that which results in the private sector being able to save as much as it desires and no more.

          The private sector has a natural propensity to want to accumulate savings. For example as retirement funds or sometimes to pay down debt. So the govt will frequently want to run a deficit to top up savings leakages (or to replace a leakage when the current account is in deficit).

          Govt deficits increase non govt savings and govt surplus reduce non govt savings. So if the private sector wants to save more and the govt wants that to happen it needs to run a deficit to allow that.

    • Nic the NZer 2.2

      This is a terrible myth amoung the left wing.

      By paying down the govt debt the govt shifted all the debt growth to the opposite side of the national balance sheet (e.g the private sector mostly). Witness the housing bubble which started out largely under the Cullen term.

      The collapse of the financial crisis began with a crisis of excessive private sector debt, in NZ mostly this crashed the finance company sector which was heavily in property speculation. Though the causality is not straight forward the govts decision to pay down debt and allow the private sector debt to ramp up resulted in a more fragile private sector finance system (not the more robust economy suggested by the rhetoric of this piece).

      If there is anything responsible for a limited fall out in NZ its due to the limited size of the NZ finance company sector and the relatively good regulation of the full banking system in NZ. And then the reasonable response of the country to support the economy following the crisis.

  3. Jenny 3

    “Labour did move National to the left and National can only compete when it adopts the veneer of being a sort of Labour light,…”

    This sentence so strongly reminds me of the 1990 election where Labour had moved so far to the Right that to become the government National had to run a campaign to the Left of them. Promising to stop privatisations. Promising to reverse student fees. Promising to end the Super SurCharge. All extremely unpopular policies that the Labour government had introduced, and which National promised to repeal. National won the election in a landslide. But of course being torys, on gaining the treasury benches instead of honouring their promises doubled down on all these right wing policies.

    The effects changed the political landscape…

    Poor old Winston Peters who had campaigned strongly in Tauranga (NZ’s retirement capital) on National’s promise to remove the super surcharge was left out on a limb, with his constituents seething.

    Facing complete revolt Peters had no choice but to break with National or never be returned in Tauranga again.

    The following 1993 election saw a hung parliament as following two landslide elections, one for Labour in 1987 and one for National in 1990, but which after the neoliberal attacks from both parties the electorate quivered in the middle like a wounded beast.

    This lack of electoral choice led to the groundswell movement which gave us MMP.

    Where we are today.

    • mosa 3.1

      Labour won a second term in 1987 by keeping its majority it was not a landslide.
      1984 was the year that Labour won the landslide defeating the Muldoon Government by 19 seats and kept that untill 1990 where the next landslide bought in the the nasty Nats and the mother of all budgets.

  4. Ad 4

    “One of the prevailing successes of the first Labour Government is that it shifted New Zealand leftwards almost permanently.”
    – Lovely line there Mickey. It’s a whole evenings’ argument all by itself.

    I’ll loan you my “75th Anniversary of the New Deal” if you like.
    It’s chock with illustrations and stories of buildings and institutions that were formed then, and still largely doing a great job.

    One day I might to do a New Zealand version as a book.

    Only takes a back-read of Brian Easton’s books to show the utterly intrinsic is our relationship between a strong redistributive and activist state, and the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders as a whole.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      I agree the New Deal was an extraordinary accomplishment and responsible for America’s subsequent development and growth. Shame they are busily unpicking it all.

      The US and NZ both rode a wave. Shame they are now being left behind by European states that recognise the important of public institutions like schools, universities, central banks …

      • Poission 4.1.1

        The arguments have never changed,the are the same as those of the turn of the previous century as the last.

        There is one great basic fact which underlies all the questions that are discussed on the political platform at the present moment. That singular fact is that nothing is done in this country as it was done twenty years ago.

        We are in the presence of a new organization of society. Our life has broken away from the past. The life of America is not the life that it was twenty years ago; it is not the life that it was ten years ago. We have changed our economic conditions, absolutely, from top to bottom; and, with our economic society, the organization of our life. The old political formulas do not fit the present problems; they read now like documents taken out of a forgotten age. The older cries sound as if they belonged to a past age which men have almost forgotten. Things which used to be put into the party platforms of ten years ago would sound antiquated if put into a platform now. We are facing the necessity of fitting a new social organization, as we did once fit the old organization, to the happiness and prosperity of the great body of citizens; for we are conscious that the new order of society has not been made to fit and provide the convenience or prosperity of the average man. The life of the nation has grown infinitely varied. It does not centre now upon questions of governmental structure or of the distribution of governmental powers. It centres upon questions of the very structure and operation of society itself, of which government is only the instrument. Our development has run so fast and so far along the lines sketched in the earlier day of constitutional definition, has so crossed and interlaced those lines, has piled upon them such novel structures of trust and combination, has elaborated within them a life so manifold, so full of forces which transcend the boundaries of the country itself and fill the eyes of the world, that a new nation seems to have been created which the old formulas do not fit or afford a vital interpretation of.

        We have come upon a very different age from any that preceded us. We have come upon an age when we do not do business in the way in which we used to do business,—when we do not carry on any of the operations of manufacture, sale, transportation, or communication as men used to carry them on. There is a sense in which in our day the individual has been submerged. In most parts of our country men work, not for themselves, not as partners in the old way in which they used to work, but generally as employees,—in a higher or lower grade,—of great corporations. There was a time when corporations played a very minor part in our business affairs, but now they play the chief part, and most men are the servants of corporations.

        You know what happens when you are the servant of a corporation. You have in no instance access to the men who are really determining the policy of the corporation. If the corporation is doing the things that it ought not to do, you really have no voice in the matter and must obey the orders, and you have oftentimes with deep mortification to co-operate in the doing of things which you know are against the public interest. Your individuality is swallowed up in the individuality and purpose of a great organization.

        It is true that, while most men are thus submerged in the corporation, a few, a very few, are exalted to a power which as individuals they could never have wielded. Through the great organizations of which they are the heads, a few are enabled to play a part unprecedented by anything in history in the control of the business operations of the country and in the determination of the happiness of great numbers of people.

        Yesterday, and ever since history began, men were related to one another as individuals. To be sure there were the family, the Church, and the State, institutions which associated men in certain wide circles of relationship. But in the ordinary concerns of life, in the ordinary work, in the daily round, men dealt freely and directly with one another. To-day, the everyday relationships of men are largely with great impersonal concerns, with organizations, not with other individual men.

        Now this is nothing short of a new social age, a new era of human relationships, a new stage-setting for the drama of life.


  5. Pat 5

    Has Roughan had a Damascus moment?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      He writes like this to regain his fair and balanced centrist credentials just in time for election year.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    It fell to Labour, the party of equality, to open the doors. The refreshing winds of competitive markets were as much a shock to farmers and business as to Labour constituencies but they adjusted and, 30 years on, few outside Labour’s constituencies look back.

    The only people who aren’t looking back are the minority that are better off. Everyone else is wondering WTF happened to their country and why they can’t get the politicians to listen to them.

    The only choice available in politicians today is right-wing (Labour) and hard right-wing (National).

  7. Richardrawshark 7

    Roughan? Sorry that’s like the devil telling you Jesus is a good bloke.

    I noted big time yesterday what little said on the nation. When he said what today’s issues were not one of them was workers, their right’s and wage disparity.

    Sorry Labour, you have completely lost who you represent, the fundamentals.

    When not one mention of workers, work conditions, 90 day trials, low wages the leader is not labour he’s lost his way.

    I’m out of Labour over this.

    That was the last straw. If you want to be National lite go ahead. fk ya.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      but listen to all the cheering for Labour on The Standard over a policy to build an extra 300-400 state houses a year.

    • leftie 7.2

      Calm yourself Richardrawshark. That will all be covered, particularly in the lead up to the election. That interview on the Nation was only about housing, due to Labour’s announcements on it.

      • red-blooded 7.2.1

        So, RIchardrawshark, I hope you were calmed y his comments on Q+A today? Given a chance to talk a little more broadly, he spoke about the need to raise income levels through fairer employment laws.

  8. Adrian Thornton 8

    The Labour Party as it stands hasn’t the guts nor it seems the vision to move the country in the progressive direction it so badly needs. Always chasing and cowering to this mythical middle NZ vote, has and is destroying the very soul of what it should mean to be Labour.

    You need read nothing more than this to get the point…

    Herald 10/7 Bernard Hickey.

    Former Reserve Bank Chairman Arthur Grimes essentially undressed our politicians in front of us this week when he challenged them to embrace a 40 per cent fall in Auckland house prices.

    He exposed them as emperors without clothes.

    “What I do is whenever I find a politician who says they want affordable housing, I ask them a very simple question: ‘How much do you want house prices to fall by overall?’

    “And not one of them has been able to answer that very simple question,” Grimes said this week.


    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      you could have a brave politician say that they will freeze house prices at todays levels. And wait 20 years for wages to catch up again. /sarc

      The bottom line is that the attractiveness of houses as highly tradeable financial assets needs to go.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        Easy. It’s not the houses people are speculating on. It’s the land they sit on.

      • BM 8.1.2

        The bottom line is that the attractiveness of houses as highly tradeable financial assets needs to go.

        Leverage, there’s not too many financial instrument where you can slap down 100k and get to control a million dollar asset.

        10% rise and you’ve doubled your money, any other investment is going to struggle to compete with that.

        • Colonial Viper

          I know someone who put down a 10% deposit with a developer, on an apartment which subsequently went up in value $200K. The thing hasn’t even been built yet.

          i.e. he’s almost quadrupled his money. In less than 3 years. On paper at least.

          • BM

            That’s why houses are so popular and everyone wants to get on the property train.

            At the moment all you see, read, hear about is people becoming squllionaires from investing in property.

            Until the punters start seeing stories of people going bankrupt and being financially wiped out it’s not going to stop.

      • Adrian Thornton 8.1.3

        The fact is that any country that trades it’s family homes as just another commodity will bring down upon it’s head serious structural and ethical problems.
        Problems that can only lead to the fragmentation of first, our communities and ultimately the country, just as we are witnessing now first hand before our very eyes.
        Labour should have the moral and ethical vision and fortitude to bring this madness to a stop as it’s main platform going onto the next election.
        I mean, if not them, then who?

    • leftie 8.2

      I don’t think you have thought of the consequences that such a sudden move like that would cause Adrian.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        An inflation adjusted forty percent fall over ten years only requires a nominal house price drop of 2% or 3% p.a.

        Not too dramatic or sudden.

      • ropata 8.2.2

        What, you mean reduce prices back to the levels they were 5 or 6 years ago?

        Nothing wrong with that, what is happening in the property market now is completely irrational nonsense.

      • Adrian Thornton 8.2.3

        What like exploding poverty and homelessness?
        Generations of young people left with crippling student debt?
        Nearly all the next generation growing up now will never be able to buy their own home?
        Flat to negative wage growth for working people since 1984?
        A debt to income rate that is horrific, by any standards.
        Public assets sold below cost? (sold at all)
        Police and Hospitals underfunded since 1984?
        Workers rights constantly undermined and destroyed?
        Mental health patients left on the street, waiting to be swept up by a private prison system? etc etc…
        Are those the sort of consequences you mean?
        I don’t know if you have noticed, but this stuff has already happened.

        You know what I think, screw the housing market, it is obscene, degenerate, and destructive for the whole country.
        What was wrong with the stability of long term employment, with a living wage, saving money in a bank, building integrated communities where people live in their homes for longer than five years?

        • leftie

          I don’t think there is anyone that can dispute what you are saying Adrian, and of course the housing bubble is obscene, degenerate, and destructive for the whole country. I’m thinking more along the lines of deflating the bubble, rather than popping it, NZ’s economy is already in bad shape.
          This has been built up over the years, and can be brought down over time with the kind of policies Labour are advocating. The question you quoted and were referring to in your initial post is just being politically provocative. That’s the kind of provocative language they always like to put out when it comes to National’s rival.

          • Adrian Thornton

            I think the time for this usual labour, ‘fixing things around the edges’ type of politics is done, had it’s chance and hasn’t worked… working people the poor and disenfranchised New Zealanders want change now, and they want a Party that demands that they are treated fairly now.
            Where is the outrage in Andrew Little, where is his moral indignation at how New Zealand has become so unbalanced? When are Labour going to say enough is enough and throw down the gauntlet to this capitalist nightmare, and offer real change, offer the people something that they would want to get out on the street and support with passion and fire?
            I see nothing like this from Labour, as usual just applying some plasters to the wounds inflicted on us by National, ( until next time), like some beaten partner from a violent relationship, all the time telling us everything is going to be ok…well it isn’t.

  9. leftie 9

    “The party has been engaged in events and ceremonies where all of these things have occurred. That the media has not picked up on them more is more to do with the media’s imperatives rather than the importance of the occasion.”

    Why would msm give Labour free advertising by focusing on Labour’s achievements and long history? So the msm have largely ignored it, they wouldn’t want to give the public any ideas would they?

    John Roughan’s piece was double edged, while giving credit to Labour where credit is due, and those parts were awesome, it was sadly also a put down, what I wouldn’t give just to have msm play fair and unbiased for once!!. “What’s going on inside that party”? He says, critical that Labour was not flooding the country with a “deluge of books, film, ceremonies and seminars.” Then pats himself on the back ” If the Herald hadn’t worked up a series over the past few days examining Labour’s present state, nobody would have known.” “Present state”?…interesting choice of words there… not… another put down .The msm, Herald included, have launched a series of nasty attacks, particularly against Andrew Little to coincide with Labour’s announcements on housing, after all, it is one of National’s greatest weaknesses. Roughan should have checked Labour’s website for the History seminar, birthday bash and centenary brunch. msm are not interested in covering it anyway, unless they see it as an opportunity to put the boot in The explosive fanfare that Roughan wants would require a lot of money. An election is coming up next year; Labour has their priories in focus and is getting on with the important stuff that matters to people right now, like housing.

    • mosa 9.1

      Yeah the good old Herald, they love to put the boot in to the Labour party but on the odd occasion like to be seen as to acknowledge the history of strong proggressive policies that only Labour can deliver because the National party only exists to up hold privilege something the Herald has always supported, apart from 1987 i have never known them to ever endorse the Labour parties programme in fact quite the opposite they go out of their way to vilify,destroy and abuse them and their leaders.
      Some of the editorials published from 2004-2008 were vicious and never gave Clark or Cullen the credit i think they deserved for the achievements they delivered.
      They are a perfect example and there are many of what is wrong with this countries media.
      Well said Leftie

  10. ankerawshark 10

    Ok but on a slightly different but related note, great party last night Labour! Well done, had a great time, dancing, celebrating and listening to some great speeches.

    • leftie 10.1

      I’m envious!! would have loved to have gone to that.

      • red-blooded 10.1.1

        The other thing to remember is that there are a range of celebrations spread throughout the year in various regions. While that’s putting quite a load on volunteers, it’s also intended as a way of letting people all around the country opt in.

    • mickysavage 10.2

      Aye my head is still reminding me how good a party it was …

  11. Anne 11

    When John Roughan starts praising Labour then you know there has been a sea change. 🙂

  12. Greg 12

    Now is the time for Labour to recover its voter base, workers, whom they abandoned during the Roger Douglas era, and completely ignored during Helen Clark’s reign.
    Helen Clark replaced workers productivity gains with punitive old age saving measures, and state welfare for the middle class.

    Wage rises are not affecting the inflation rate anymore because living costs are rising faster, inflation is heading towards zero for a reason.
    And then theirs the electricity privatization experiment failure, privatizing the profit, while making the risk owned by the public commons. Supply companies who have been creaming the profits, with failing infrastructure.

    Fanfares are all fine, but not when the MSM pander more to John Key’s cult members.
    Just make valued productivity policy that will lift the peasantry up.

    • Nic the NZer 12.1

      Wage rises are not effecting inflation because many dont get a wage raise. Productivity covers the meagre raises the lower parts of the wage distribution do receive.

      The wage inequality breaks that link, and the govt policy of having a large reserve army of the unemployed contributes by expanding the size of the low wage sector in NZ.

    • red-blooded 12.2

      What’s so punitive about saving for old age? The Clark government weren’t the ones who raised the age; that began in 1991. They didn’t cut the rate of NZ Super (meaning that all NZers – including those who haven’t opted in to Kiwisaver – still have access to this at the same rate they did before); all they did was give people a way to supplement it through a combination of personal, employer and state-funded contributions (and let’s remember the balance between those 3 parties was quite different before Key and Co started paring it back). Kiwisaver gave people who didn’t have access to union-negotiated schemes and couldn’t afford private schemes a way to save. It also gave the country some investment capital. It didn’t take anything away or punish anyone. Don’t let’s rewrite history, Greg.

      • Greg 12.2.1

        it is now kiwisaver has been eviscerated by Key.
        = compounding wage rises, do the math.
        And the fact employers can take their contribution from the employee which the government taxes.
        Its not a guarantee, tail end baby boomers will lose if market crash when funds are cashed up.

        extra income over super is taxed at 40%, +economic crashes like Brexit,caused slows gains.

        So showl me it isnt an economic loss over decades without wage rise compounding…

        • red-blooded

          So, be pissed off with Key and English; they’re the ones who’ve eviscerated the original plan (which was intended to get more generous, not less). Plus, they’re the ones who (yet again, predictably) have pushed the balance even further into employers’ hands so that wages are affected. If you want wages to compound over time, elect a government who care about the rights and lifestyles of working people. (And I’m pretty sure Clark had nothing to do with Brexit!)

          • Greg

            Didnt say she had cause Brexit
            saying it wiped trillions from the big gambling stock market and it wont be last shock,

            Im simply pointing out NZ baby boomers would be taxed heavily for leaving it in the stock market when they retire.
            few will be able to keep million dollar properties in Auckland on the Super on any dividends.

            i can live okay on my super, i dont expect to much,
            just living to see the future.

            And a moon base.

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.2

        The Clark government weren’t the ones who raised the age; that began in 1991.

        Labour believes that NZ Super needs to be cut.

        They have put off raising the retirement age for now, but because they are stuck in orthodox economics, they honestly believe that NZ will not be able to afford Super by the 2050s and 2060s,

  13. Peter 13

    I wonder if the Herald is attempting to appear more balanced given that they stand to become a virtual news media monopoly in NZ if they are allowed?

    • Greg 13.1

      Or anticipating a change of jockey next year, and having a bet each way.
      I wont even bother reading the propaganda once they put nearly everything behind a paywall.
      Will there print be history closer to 2020, or 2025.

      Just stick with my Netflix.

  14. Ad 14

    Roughan is essentially admitting that Labour is tapping the wedge of housing affordability straight into National’s cold beating heart.
    And National simply can’t stop it happening.

    Sis months of this relentless media coverage and National are on 40% and falling.

    • Greg 14.1

      Its going to be along cold winter.

      Labour has a lot more stakes for National vamps, and policy that can not be stolen.
      They dont need a six million dollar war chest to win the next election.

  15. Greg 15

    Workers need real wage rises, not more welfare,


    since employers wont raise wages,
    its up to Labour to raise our economy by taking less tax of workers,
    make 18k income tax free,

    we can no longer do it with productivity value,
    because prices are determined in New York commodity market.
    not at the farm gate,

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