Labour – clearing the decks

Written By: - Date published: 6:47 am, November 7th, 2015 - 53 comments
Categories: election 2017, labour - Tags: , ,

Labour has positioned itself astutely in the run up to and early stages of its conference. It has tackled the difficult topic of the TPP:

Andrew Little moves to clarify Labour’s position on TPPA

Labour leader Andrew Little has moved to clarify Labour’s position on the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPPA) free trade deal to prevent it overshadowing the party annual conference.

Speaking to reporters at the start of the three-day gathering in Palmerston North, Little said the text of the deal, released late on Thursday, met four of the party’s five bottom lines, but failed on the fifth – the party’s policy to ban foreign buyers of existing residential properties.

He said if Labour won the election in 2017 it would pass legislation to implement the foreign sales ban policy. It would also try to renegotiate the deal on the foreign buyers issue, something Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser had indicated was possible over dairy exports.

Little said Labour was a free trade party, but standing up for the right of Parliament to legislate in the interests of its citizens was not anti-free trade.

Although I will personally be sorry if the NZ Power policy goes, Labour seems to be ready to swallow this dead rat:

Labour leader drops party’s controversial policy

Labour leader Andrew Little has all but dumped the party’s controversial NZ Power policy. In his opening address to the party’s annual conference in Palmerston North Little said the policy, which aimed to set up a single buyer for the country’s power generation, was too complex to explain simply to voters.

Little said the policy, which was unveiled before the last election in concert with a similar policy from the Greens, was important. There was something wrong with the power system, given rising prices and the high salaries paid to top executives in the sector. “But our answer to that has to be something we can explain simply to New Zealanders. … So we will have to revisit the NZ Power policy.”

Little said Labour at the next election would campaign on a small number of priority issues – six at the most – not 140; a reference to Labour’s extensive platform at the last election.

Most important of all for the 2017 election, Labour is signaling (at last!) that there will be proper cooperation with The Greens this time round:

[Little] also pledged to show the voters what a Labour led coalition government would look like.”they will know what we stand for.” He said the party had good relationships with the Greens and NZ First.

Hopefully this will involve a formal agreement with The Greens. Let’s see an alternative government in waiting this time!


Is peace going to break out all over the left? Even the erratic Martyn Bradbury seems to be feeling the love.

53 comments on “Labour – clearing the decks”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    The MSM coverage I have seen on Labour’s TPPA stance is that they’re confused and unwilling to commit to anything.

    Good job on focusing on only a few key policies, which is what National did and Labour under Helen with the pledge card did.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Am I the only one thinking that if Key can sell the TPPA (in secret and 6000 pages long apparently) – and Labour feels it cannot sell something as relatively simple as NZ Power – that we have a problem Houston?

      • jenny kirk 1.1.1

        I don’t think CandyKey has been successful in “selling” the TPPA, RedLogix. Look at the numbers protesting / objecting about it. What he has done – or rather Crosby-Textor have done – is sell it to the puppets who impersonate our mainstream media.

        • RedLogix 1.1.1.1

          I realise the govt has the bully pulpit of power … which makes it easy for them. But despite the numbers protesting the TPPA I see no evidence that it has hurt Key in the polls.

          Yet a fairly straight forward policy like NZ Power is dropped because it got labelled ‘interventionist”?

          I’m not necessarily blaming Labour or the Greens for all of this – but cannot anyone else see the embarrassing imbalance here?

          • srylands 1.1.1.1.1

            “But despite the numbers protesting the TPPA I see no evidence that it has hurt Key in the polls.”

            You think?

            FFS who would have thought?

            So now what he is saying is that it is OK to break agreements with other countries? So it is fine if all the TPPA signatories legislate to over rule the bits they don’t like?

            AS for NZ Power, it was a dog. All it did was transfer massive wealth fronm taxpayers to those who bought the shares, as the prices rebounded when it was clear there would be no change of government. I made at least $800.

            I recall commentators here deriding me as the price of MRP shares tanked after the IPO. Well it worked for me. And all Labour did was rip off the workers. As usual.

            • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1.1.1.1

              NZ Power wasn’t a policy about tanking the sale deal. It was a signal that Labour and the Greens would commit to fixing the power market, even if it didn’t involve nationalisation.

              If they want simple, they should just commit to nationalising the power generators.

            • Tracey 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Dont be too smug yet. Stuart nash is writing a big report on how to reduce power bills by 300 to 500 bucks pepr year.

              Some of us remember when you thought you loved in australia and gst in nz was currently 10%

              • Colonial Viper

                Stuart Nash is going to come up with a plan to drop electricity sector profits by $500M p.a.? Sounds like NZ’s first ISDS lawsuit under the TPP investment clause.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        Key, and governments in general, get an extra level of trust by default that Labour doesn’t get.

        They talked against NZ Power by saying it was simply to sabotage the asset sales process, which hurt all NZers because we got less money for the assets, and that by interfering with the market there would be power cuts.

        All Labour can say in reply is “power will magically be cheaper but everything else will be the same”. It’s just not convincing.

        Gareth Morgan had a much simpler suggestion – charge the hydro companies for the water they use. The marginal cost of electricity will stay the same, but the government gets an extra revenue stream they can put to any use they like – which could be extra welfare specifically targeted at the poor, or put into insulation or solar power schemes etc.

        • RedLogix 1.1.2.1

          Another perfectly acceptable alternative Lanth – but ‘too hard to explain and probably interventionist’.

          • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1.1

            Don’t agree.

            “Setting up a new monosony company to buy power and sell it to the public at cheaper rates” sounds confusing and frankly impossible.

            “Putting a tax on water that only affects hydro power companies and using that revenue to fund insulation” is quite straight forward.

            • RedLogix 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Only impossible when you still believe in the neo-liberalism. That’s the point – they sold us the total lie that the God of Competition was the Only Way. There was no alternative.

              And from here it looks like Little still in his heart of hearts believes this.

              Oh and taxes can ever go down – so a tax on water – is never going to float either.

        • Ad 1.1.2.2

          Mr Morgan’s idea is very sound.

          A national water regulator that priced the use of water – for both commercial and residential use – would be a great start as well.

          LIke the Electricity Commission and its funded offshoot EECA, there would be public good water stuff funded out of it.

        • Alethios 1.1.2.3

          How about we properly charge all companies for the water they use?

          *Tip of the hat to Ad who got in there before me.

    • Sacha 1.2

      “The MSM coverage I have seen on Labour’s TPPA stance is that they’re confused and unwilling to commit to anything.”

      To be fair, that’s exactly my impression too based on reading what Little has said so far. Inability to communicate clearly is not good enough in politics, even if it’s to _mislead_ clearly like our current govt so often does.

  2. savenz 2

    I’m not sure sure how Labour can be sure that TPP does meet their bottom lines. Some of it is still secret for gods sake.

    Someone posted this yesterday about the crisis in the US. Very interesting. They also talk about how hope keeps people ‘passive’, the MSM, investigative journalists etc. Something for everyone framed in the US context. Interestingly they were saying about record levels of US unemployment which is hidden in statistics and the fear of ‘hackers’ enemy no 1 as being able to show war crimes and so forth by people in power.

    Sounds pretty similar to NZ. But do we want to get to the US situation where they are thinking 50% of people live in poverty and and another large chunk are close to it?

    Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges sits down with Ben Makuch at the Toronto VICE office to discuss what it takes to be a rebel in modern times.

    • Ch-ch Chiquita 2.1

      The objections and fear from what the TPP will bring is the same in all countries that are a part of it. I heard the same things when I was in Canada recently for example. Part of me is hopeful that we will be saved by other nations that are a step ahead of us (eg Canada and its new elected government that makes noises that they are about to do things differently).
      I have recently watched an interview with Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz who also opposes the TPP. I woner if those ridiculing Prof. Kelsey will also say Prof. Stiglitz doesn’t know what he’s talking about, seeing that his prize is in economics.

  3. just saying 3

    Pathetic.

    Labour continues to earn this adjective, and it’s the kindest one I can use, frankly.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      +1

      Labour continues to follow the neo-liberal line that is destroying our society.

    • Macro 3.3

      Yeah – Pathetic….
      I think those who think that the TPPA has something to offer this country should read Prof Jane Kelsey’s post here:
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1511/S00099/governments-snow-job-on-tppa-now-exposed.htm
      Labour are fools if they think the ISDS process is all sorted – there are many loop holes and fish hooks still there. As for Pharmac it still is a unclear just how much extra NZ would have to fork up.
      And as for preserving and increasing work for people in this country – well forget it! With every “free trade deal’ we sign we are just shipping more jobs off shore.
      How “Labour” after 99 years of supposedly being the workers party, can continue with this failed “economic theory” (which they forced on this country 30 years ago), and which continues to abuse the very people they are supposed to represent, I cannot understand.

  4. maui 4

    Ok that’s good, now we know for sure Labour suppprts the TPP. Good luck with trying to rework the deal.

  5. “”Our moral obligation is to do the best for New Zealanders.””

    This line seems to be a theme – I’m sure I’ve heard it before when the ‘facts’ about who buys the houses in auckland came out.

    Firstly – make it simple, short and sweet – I think Labour/Little have done that. I do have reservations around ‘moral’ a word that can mean anything. And I wonder if it just may be a little too broad – what is ‘the best’ – for instance if 4 out of the 5 bottom lines re TPPA are met – is that really ‘the best for nzers’.

    I am still struggling to see a courageous game changer – more time needed I spose…

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    The TPPA meets 4 out of Labour’s 5 bottom lines?

    Guaranteeing profits for trans national corporations and allowing NZ to be sued fits within Labour’s “bottom lines”?

    LOL what a fucking farce.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Although I will personally be sorry if the NZ Power policy goes

    I actually wont be. Sure, it’s better than what we have now but it’s still a bad option. Far better to go for full re-nationalisation and that includes installing solar panelling on private roofs. A legal requirement for 2Kw of solar panelling installed and maintained by the state owned lines companies. Installed on an as need basis, i.e, it gets installed on the poorer houses first.

    Most important of all for the 2017 election, Labour is signaling (at last!) that there will be proper cooperation with The Greens this time round:

    They’ve been needing to do that for some time now. IMO, since the collapse of The Alliance back in 2002.

    • Macro 7.1

      Nationalisation of all energy sources is the only way countries can have a s**t show in hell of ever rationalising and reducing our (western nations) over consumption, and exploitation of world resources and meeting the urgent need for a complete phasing out of FF’s. The “market” can never do this.
      Here in Perth I travel into the city at 150kph on an electric train past hundreds of houses all with 5 – 10kW PV panels. They were almost all installed when the then government gave a good subsidy to home owners to go solar. My daughters’ home, from 5 kW, pumps more energy into the grid than the family uses, so the Power company pays them each month. (Plenty of sunshine each day here!)
      Of course the power companies objected and now hardly a house these days is built with a solar array. and if it is its off grid. That’s the market at work!
      Perth could be totally reusable energy there is a massive potential for solar and wind with storage from hydro. They could power all their infrastructure and desalination (40% of drinking water is desalinated). It just needs the will of the people to do it.

      • Chooky 7.1.1

        +100…re “Nationalisation of all energy sources is the only way countries can have a s**t show in hell of ever rationalising and reducing our (western nations) over consumption, and exploitation of world resources and meeting the urgent need for a complete phasing out of FF’s. The “market” can never do this…

        However Goldman Sachs which is advising Treasury would disagree

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11262662

        http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/media/28may13

        http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/treasury-hires-goldman-sachs-run-ruler-over-kiwibank-bd-136461

        • Macro 7.1.1.1

          Yeah … well you and I know Chooky, for this shower of rogues in “govt” at the moment it’s all about you pee in my pocket and I’ll pee in yours – nothing to do with actually managing a fair distribution of wealth.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2

        Of course the power companies objected and now hardly a house these days is built with a solar array. and if it is its off grid. That’s the market at work!

        Or, to be more precise, that’s the market being purposefully shaped to benefit a few owners at the expense of everyone else.

        • linda 7.1.2.1

          best way to use solar is to heat the water that way you take the saving directly without any messy contracts with the power companies that move the goal posts when the masses threaten there profits
          i don’t trust that James shaw, little and labour have my vote !

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.1.1

            One of the reasons for solar power on private house and business roofs is to replace the use of fossil fuels so, no, just having a solar water heater isn’t the best option. The best option is to install both and have good regulation that prevents a few from profiting from what others do.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.1.1.1

              Solar water heating is the safest and most reliable use of solar at the moment from the standpoint of household economics. The regulation you are referring to may be a good idea but it doesn’t exist.

      • Brutus Iscariot 7.1.3

        NZ is already at 90+% renewables over the next couple of years with the latest phase out of coal plants.

        No point in duplicating infrastructure, but i would encourage solar on new builds.

  8. Joseph 8

    Did Little actually say he’d be working with the Greens to present an alternative coalition govt to the public? Because he can’t do it on his own, and Winston won’t allow himself to be included, since he is committed to negotiating with the Nats (and likely first if they are the largest party again) and could end up going with the Nats again. It doesn’t sound like Labour has moved much at all from their disastrous 2014 position.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      but are the Greens interested in working with Labour now that Labour realises it is so weak it must have their support?

      • Joseph 8.1.1

        The Greens have been wanting Labour to catch up with reality for years. If they actually have, it can only be a good thing.

      • weka 8.1.2

        “but are the Greens interested in working with Labour now that Labour realises it is so weak it must have their support?”

        Since the GP isn’t into macho politics I doubt that perceptions of weakness will have much bearing on it. They will work with whoever has policy in common with them.

        Besides, if Labour really do intend to work on formal relationships, that’s a strength not a weakness 😉

  9. millsy 9

    I cannot imagine myself voting Labour now that they dropped NZ Power.

    Still, I hope they dont drop NZ Inc.

  10. infused 10

    ANTHONY R0BINS – the violinist on the deck of the titanic.

  11. millsy 11

    Sry, the only people who benefit from the current power market are the shareholders and executive.

    Meanwhile people are finding it harder and harder to pay thier power bills. And no, freezing is not a viable option. Soon people will simply just elect not to have power because they cannot afford it.

    We should have ultra cheap power.

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