Labour needs to get back to its roots

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, September 12th, 2009 - 107 comments
Categories: labour, socialism - Tags:

Goff is using Labour’s national conference to swallow some dead rats, distancing himself and the party from the social reform agenda of the previous Labour government. Good.

People like the socialist element of Labour’s agenda – retention of public assets, nationalisation of important infrastructure (Kiwirail), intervention in failing markets (eg Kiwibank), redistribution of wealth, stronger work rights (eg paid parental leave, four weeks annual leave), a higher minimum wage.

What the public tired of was the liberal stuff, what became known as the ‘nanny state’. Labour expended far too much public goodwill on relatively trifling issues. The obvious example – Labour was willing to die in a ditch over s59 that, we hope, will make a long-term culture change but was basically a pretty small change to the law that certainly hasn’t led to lots more child bashers getting locked up (just as it hasn’t seen good parents locked up). In contrast, Labour significantly weakened its reformation of employment relations law because it was unwilling to get into a fight with business.

I’m not saying that Labour’s liberal social agenda was wrong – civil unions, legalised prostitution, and ending the right to assault children for correction will be remembered as major achievements in developing a better society – but I don’t think it should have been a priority over the socialistic economic agenda.

Key was willing to put aside previous National objectives that he clearly believes in himself (nuclear ships, privatisation, abolishing WFF etc) because he recognised them as relatively low importance issues from National’s point of view that were losing them a lot of votes. Without selling out its principles, Labour can learn the lesson from Key about prioritisation.

Goff’s opportunity is to redirect Labour towards its popular (soft) socialist economic agenda. It’s what people want from Labour. It would set up a clear contrast between them and National.

107 comments on “Labour needs to get back to its roots ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Shorter version: Populism gets your butt on the Treasury Benches.

    As it has done for countless leaders whom history has subsequently turned it’s back on.

    Social reform will always be contentious, especially ones like the S59 Repeal that are perceived to affect Mr and Mrs Ordinary. If such changes are always put to the bottom of the list as ‘low priority’, they would never get done.

    The fact remains that once Sue Bradford’s Private Member’s Bill was drawn from the ballot, the underlying force of it’s moral argument was so strong that almost the whole of Parliament was inexorably compelled to support it. Indeed if the whole of Parliament had unaminously and whole heartedly backed the measure (instead of indulging in white-anting and dog-whistling), it would have likely passed with as little fuss as it has in other more enlightened countries.

    John Key’s stroke of populist genius was to position himself and National, so as to simultaneously put one foot onto the moral high ground by supporting the Bill, while at the same time dangling the other foot back into the anti-camp.. offering them just enough reason to think that once in power he might repeal the Bill, or water it down. The end result was to divert the resentment onto Helen Clark. Clever politics yes, something I admire… no.

    • Zetetic 1.1

      I don’t think it’s mere populism. It’s a matter of doing things that you believe in that are worthwhile and that the public want you to do, rather than things you believe in that are pretty trivial and will make you unpopular.

      It’s not merely twisting in the wind, following whatever grips the popular mood – it’s making choices from the range of things you want to get done. You don’t have time to do them all, so do the ones that matter and won’t get you kicked out of power.

      • Ari 1.1.1

        It’s a matter of doing things that you believe in that are worthwhile and that the public want you to do, rather than things you believe in that are pretty trivial and will make you unpopular.

        Bad comparison. Labour is both a social-democratic and a liberal* party, it believes in both these kinds of changes. A lot of the liberal laws that it passed that were unpopular actually really mattered and made big change for the country, like say the EFA, even if they were not perfectly executed or marketed.

        The problem is not liberalism. The problem is that Labour aren’t good enough at it. 😛 For that they need to practice with things that aren’t going to turn into hot potatoes, and that means ceding that Labour executed these laws wrongly, but not that they had a negative outcome.

        I don’t mind calling for less market and more social focus from Labour, but that doesn’t require less liberalism unless you want to have Labour veer sharply to the left and take the former place of the Alliance on the political spectrum. And that would probably be a strategic mistake for Labour, even if it might be good for the country in the long term by allowing the development of a real centre swing party.

        *(social-liberal, not classical liberal)

    • Swampy 1.2

      The fact remains that Bradford was and is the wrong person to have spearheaded that debate. Labour should have taken on her Bill, only on the condition that she had nothing more to do with the matter and kept her mouth shut. Plenty of people were turned off that debate because of Bradford’s well known background, if she had all the right credentials why isn’t she in the Labour party.

  2. Herodotus 2

    Sorry to disagree, but WFF was a synicial way to give the middle clases the tax cut that was not delivered to their expectations. Otherwise why do almost 10,000 families receive WFF and yet own rentals. Where was the analysis of threasholds. Why did at the time a family of 4 earning over $65k become allegeable. No recognition of income splitting why did a school teacher earning 100% of income on $70k not able to receice,yet a 2 income family earing $65k end up with more disposable income? To help those who needed it, their assistance was diluted by the already mentioned “gifting” to the middle classes.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      WfF is a business subsidy as they just aren’t paying enough. The real response to poverty is higher wages but the businesses won’t pay them so we end up with WfF. Income splitting won’t actually work – it’s far too expensive in administration and open to abuse.

      This isn’t to say the present system is perfect but it’s better than nothing.

      • Herodotus 2.1.1

        There are better ways to target. “Free” under 5 doctors visitis (One thing Winny did do”) should have been increased. That is one way to target great utilisation of public funds. Ask any parent about the shock you get when you child turns 7 and they then visit the doctor. Why is it that tertiary students get a large amount of $ from the govt (Yes I know they vote) but if we want to move people upwardly with incomes, increase the bottom end pre & primary. Increase the ability of the least able.

        • George D

          Free dental care.

          I mean it. By free, I mean as free as possible for as much as possible for as many as possible. A “Teeth for Families” perhaps.

          It would be bloody expensive, in the realm of billions, but it would be a sure vote winner, and good for everybody. New Zealand has terrible dental health, because many people feel they can’t afford to fix their teeth. I said to Labour people many times in the last few years that people care much much more about their teeth than saving a few minutes down the motorway, where Labour and now National have thrown billions and billions towards. Cut new road spending, put it into their mouths.

          Rudd is very seriously looking at how to do this in Australia, so it’s not some pie in the sky idea that only flakes consider.

          • Noko

            If I read correctly, the British National Health System provides free dental care.

            Under eighteens here in New Zealand get free dental care (as long as the dentist is cooperative with the scheme, too many aren’t). It rocks going into the dentist and not fill out any billing information.

            It seems a matter of gradually applying this to everyone, rather than an all-in-one hit to the coffers. Maybe extend it to 21, and then to parents with children and then to adults above 21 ad nauseum.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox

            Free pre-school education would be just as useful. This is where we learn to learn. If you don’t get that at the start you start school behind the eight-ball.

            • George D

              Indeed. Government spending isn’t limitless, of course, and decisions have to be made.

              But big ideas tend to work better than incremental ones, because they give people a sense of purpose, that something bold is being done.

              I think this is one (there are others, of course) reason why Labour lost last year. No sense of boldness, and new plans, like they’d engendered in previous years. It was all – keep things as they are – when for many people things as they are are still pretty hard, even with a better economy than in the past.

        • Draco T Bastard

          GP visits should be free for everyone but it’s certainly not a better way to target poverty. Poverty is every week and nobody goes to the doctor every week so decreasing doctors fees isn’t going to help those in need.

          I have NFI what you’re rambling on about in regards to tertiary students.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Otherwise why do almost 10,000 families receive WFF and yet own rentals.

    Or own any other form of business? Exactly what is it that you find so offensive about landlords?

    Last I saw it costs about $250,000 to raise the average child from birth to age 20, and I can’t see why that’s any less for landlords than anyone else.

    • aj 3.1

      I seem to recall the opposition at the time clamouring for help for working families. Labour delivered so whats the beef? I’m still waiting for the north of $50 tax cuts for the average worker that never materialised, meantime English happily rorts the allowance system.

    • Michael Foxglove 3.2

      I’ll tell you the problem Redlogix. No citizen should have to pay a fee to another citizen just to live in the land in which they are born. It’s an absolute disgrace that all habitable land has been appropriated as private property, leaving the landless to squirm and forced to pay to occupy a space.

      We have a right to living space, by virtue of our humanity and existence on this planet.

      I don’t think individual landlords are to blame, because it’s the system which is inherently unjust. But surely we as socialists should do all we can to stop perpetuating this injustice?

      • Noko 3.2.1

        I think I’m in love.

      • Ari 3.2.2

        See, this is why we need another left party. I’d love to see someone advocating nationalising the housing industry.

        Of course, you can imagine how much worse leaky homes would have been if national had had a state building sector on its hands.

        • Sonny Blount

          It would be an environmental disaster. People look after their own land much better than public land. Have a look at the environmental records of the eastern bloc countries during the communist era.

          • Draco T Bastard

            No, they don’t. As I said elsewhere, that particular piece of tripe has been thoroughly disproven over the centuries since it was first postulated. Go check out all the pollution from the farmers.

      • RedLogix 3.2.3

        I’ve long advocated that all urban land should be leasehold, here and here.

        That alone is a radical enough suggestion, if you want to go the next step and fully nationalise the entire housing stock… I think you’re dreaming.

  4. Red Rosa 4

    Labour is in danger of caving in to the Hard Right, by default. All this soul searching and raking over the embers of 2008 are getting them nowhere. But they do distract the current MPs. They need to fight! And starting now, or the situation in 2012 will be the same or worse..

    Most voters don’t see last year’s election loss as some sort of seismic shift. They didn’t vote for much change – they voted for John Key. They got a bit tired of the Gummint and thought they would give the other guys a go.

    The question today is not what happened 12 months ago. It is whether (currently!) well paid Labour MPs have the guts and fighting spirit to take on a popular government which has some thoroughly nasty policies sneaking under the radar

  5. gargoyle 5

    “People like the socialist element of Labour’s agenda retention of public assets, nationalisation of important infrastructure (Kiwirail), intervention in failing markets (eg Kiwibank), redistribution of wealth, stronger work rights (eg paid parental leave, four weeks annual leave), a higher minimum wage.”

    While I’m in agreement with you that people do like many of these elements I’m not sure nationalisation is such a slam dunk for Labour – as Kiwirail starts to become more and more of a blackhole for the government and the public see money being flushed down the khazi this will be viewed as as one of Cullen’s biggest errors – although in fairness I think he did it as a vote gainer rather than in any belief it made sense.

    There’s an interesting discussion on Kiwirail as below

    When New Zealand’s former Minister of Finance Dr Michael Cullen announced the re-nationalisation of KiwiRail last year, Rail’s alleged ‘failure’ was presented as an example of ‘the failed policies of the past.’ The story was that selfish foreign interests had bought our rail system, stripped it off its assets, and run it down leaving the government to pick up the pieces.
    The reality was quite different. In repeated advice to Dr Cullen, the Treasury had advised against the purchase of the rail system warning that changing ownership of Rail would not cure its underlying problems. This includes the unfortunate fact that it isn’t commercially viable. It earns roughly enough to cover operating costs, but the capital costs of rail are unmet and substantial. It has too much track and not enough custom.
    The rail system required a subsidy under private ownership to operate a network of this size. This policy will continue under public ownership except that the subsidy will get larger. KiwiRail has already cost the taxpayer a billion dollars and will become a soak hole for taxpayer cash.
    In purchasing such a fraught asset, the previous Labour government demonstrated its allegiance to an ideology: that government ownership and operation of rail is inherently more desirable than private operation and ownership.

    “The government bought the asset hurriedly and went into the last election with the campaign slogan of ‘Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, KiwiRail keep it Kiwi, Vote Labour,’ as if public ownership of assets were something worth fighting for.
    There is a problem with this approach: Nationalisation of utilities and transport systems is a policy of the past. In fact, organisations such as the World Bank say that ‘privatisation is now so widespread that it is hard to find countries not using this approach: North Korea, Cuba and perhaps Myanmar make up the shrunken universe of the resistant.’

    That’s not exactly the kind of company New Zealand should keep.
    The buyback was, to use the words of Michael Cullen ironically, ‘an ideological burp.’
    Reform, rationalisation and resale of KiwiRail should be high on the Key government’s agenda. The longer Rail remains in state hands, the longer taxpayers are exposed to risk and ever-rising costs created by political meddling with what should be a private operation.”

    • Zetetic 5.1

      gargoyle. Your first mistake is using the Centre for Independent Studies as any kind of authority.

      The buy back of the rail was wildly popular. you saw the polls at the time. Not only that. It was the right thing to do.

      • gargoyle 5.1.1


        ” Your first mistake is using the Centre for Independent Studies as any kind of authority.”

        As I said it’s an interesting discussion on Kiwirail nothing more nothing less – they’re certainly no more partisan than those commenting at the Standard.

        “The buy back of the rail was wildly popular. you saw the polls at the time. ”

        Once again read what I said ……… “as Kiwirail starts to become more and more of a blackhole for the government and the public see money being flushed down the khazi this will be viewed as as one of Cullen’s biggest errors although in fairness I think he did it as a vote gainer rather than in any belief it made sense.”

        “Not only that. It was the right thing to do.”

        Well only time will tell – what is fairly clear is that the government paid well over fair market value.

        • RedLogix

          what is fairly clear is that the government paid well over fair market value.

          What market value are you talking about?

          Toll’s initial asking price was $1b. It took 18 months of hard-knuckle barginning to get them down to $670m. That was the market price.

          Book value is really just an accounting number that has little direct relationship to market value.

          • sk

            The $1bn was all bluff. Cullen could have pointed to the polls, and said in six months time National will be in, and Toll will be left with a crap asset in a deteriorating credit environment. Toll would have sold for $200m as with a National Gov’t they would be stuck with Kiwirail for ever.

            What was wrong was not the decision to buy it, but that the price paid bore no relationship to the underlying weakness of Toll’s bargaining position.

            Zetetic, this is a fantastic post. As a traditional Labour supporter, who sits squarely in the middle, I have despairing of the recent posts / comments. These are the issues that need to thrashed out for Labour to become government again.

            • RedLogix

              but that the price paid bore no relationship to the underlying weakness of Toll’s bargaining position.

              Toll was not at all keen to unload their rail system, and sure if we had waited another six months the price would have been lower… but it’s always a pointless exercise to second guess history.

            • Swampy

              Very astute of you. I think Mr Cullen was wrong to believe he would be able to buy enough votes, or that his motivation was to blow the surplus so there would be nothing left for National to spend if they won. The hard threats that Toll made were to shut down the system, ideologically unacceptable for Labour as was the fact they were dealing with Toll, because of the general xenophobic attitude to Australian corporates, and union hatred of Toll across the ditch. To put some background into it, the Australian and NZ rail unions held a combined “Toll” conference to coordinate their campaigns.

              I’m not hugely surprised that the biggest industrial battles are being fought by Labour’s affiliate unions, against corporates that have been targeted extraordinarily by the former government. Toll and Telecom are in the same league here.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Toll wasn’t in a weak position, the government was due to the existing contract. Toll wasn’t paying as much as it should have been for using the rail lines forcing the government to subsidise them. Continued subsidy of a private company who was quite literally holding us to ransom was an untenable position – there’s no way the people would have put up with it for long. Throw in the fact that Toll wasn’t putting in enough investment into rolling stock and it all adds up to the government having to buy it back.

              It’s value will be more easily seen in the future once Peak Oil really starts to bite. $200/barrel really isn’t that far away. If oil does get that high then, IMO, NZ won’t be looking for an export led recovery as we won’t be able to afford to export anything and we certainly won’t be importing.

            • George D

              This is EXACTLY, what this post is about. Labour wasn’t willing to fight business, but it was willing to fight on other things.

              The $1billion was too much, certainly. And I don’t think Cullen got a good deal (despite it being the right thing to do). He should have brought in independent valuers instead, had the system valued, and then imposed a compulsory sale (nationalisation) on the uncooperative owners.

            • RedLogix

              Besides just how often do we have to hear of Dr Cullen paying perhaps a few hundred million over book value for the rail system (at least we now own it), when we hear nothing of the 10 billion dollar cost incurred as a direct result of the early 90’s National govt totally fracking up building standards.

            • Ari

              @Redlogix: It’s not a financial mistake if National did it. Or if it is, National didn’t do it. 😉

    • RedLogix 5.2

      The only reason why rail transport struggles to gain commercial momentum is that the big trucking companies continue to treat rail as a competitor.

      The only reason why the trucking companies stay in business is that the roads they use are massively cross-subsidised by the ordinary motorist and general taxpayer. If they had to build and maintain actual roads for their own exlusive use they wouldn’t last ten minutes.

      The last time the rail system was busy in this country was when it was a fully state owned and run as a public service. It had the added purpose of being an employer of last resort in many provincial towns. When it was privatised it was asset stripped and run down so far that it failed.

      You really are a slow learner aren’t you?

      • sk 5.2.1

        “but it’s always a pointless exercise to second guess history”

        RedLogix, I am afraid you are wrong. It is not wrong to second guess history, that is how you learn. If Labour had had better channels of communication with NZ and international business/markets, they would have found out in 30 secs how weak Toll\s position was.

        Tolls hand was incredibly weak. They were just great poker players

      • Swampy 5.2.2

        The extent of the cross subsidy is exaggerated. What is not exaggerated is the extent of anti-private loathing in Labour last term, when they tried to get through an increase in road user charges with no notice. (Which in the context of this thread, is an important consideration if you want to figure out why they really lost the election)

        • RedLogix

          The extent of the cross subsidy is exaggerated.

          How long would truckies survive if they had to build and maintain their own roads? Answer that and you understand the cross-subsidy.

        • Ari

          I’ll believe you once we pay for all roading by RUC, if truckies can still compete with rail.

          Really, truckies shouldn’t be competing at all in a market this size. They should just go places that rail doesn’t, and pick up its slack.

    • Swampy 5.3

      Kiwirail is many things – including payback for a key union affiliate which has got a sympathetic ear from Labour all throughout its 9 years in office.

      • Ari 5.3.1

        Yesss, it’s all about the unions, and not at all about Toll’s tidy profiteering while the trains and track ran down slowly and it received government subsidies that went directly to lining its pockets.

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    Very interesting thoughts zet. I don’t necessarily agree with the prescription you’ve described, but you have laid down a challenge for the socialists in the labour party to take the upper hand from the liberals. There will in my view be some internal fall-out to come, since I don’t imagine that the liberals will give up power lightly.

    Secondary to these issues however is the issue of whether Mr Goff is the right person to bring about this kind of refocus. Notwithstanding Mr Little’s endorsement of Mr Goff (of the kind you do when you don’t expect the leader to be around for much longer, any weaker and Mr Little would have said: “I support Mr Goff… for now…”), there are major issues here in my view. Mr Goff is not very socialistic economically. For the last 25 years he championed rogernomics then free trade, and is as blairite as blairites get in New Zealand.

  7. randal 7

    Yes the party does need some reengineering. I find it hard to believe that OUR party completely lost touch with the anger and frustration caused by the suburbs being turned into private racetracks by legions of pimply faced youths. Meanwhile media advisers like Brian Edwards were in the cook islands in their summer houses devising plans to ace his nemisis boag while she just grinned and wiped the floor with him. Helen misjudged that one badly. furthermore no notice was taken of the 24/7 attack on democracy by radio ritalin and the drunks on radio squawkback. just because the professors up there on the hill call it political science does not make it so. Its about people and their antics and staying in touch. not about the agenda set up by geeks on the beltway. ignore this at your peril.p.s. Fire Brian Edwards. oh I forgot. He has taken hi ill gotten gains and decamped back to the cook islands.

  8. Ag 8

    Labour’s problem is pretty simple. Since the end of the Soviet Union, left wing political parties no longer have an alternative economic platform to offer. Hence we get all this social policy and a bunch of weak moral arguments in favour of equality.

    The problem is that moral arguments are “soft”. 50 years ago most New Zealanders shared a common religious tradition, which sufficed to ground moral arguments in some sort of shared value structure. Contemporary capitalist societies are radically pluralist, so people tend to think that government moralizing is inappropriate. I’m not saying they are right, but it’s just like that right now.

    The Labour Party does almost nothing to make the economic case for social democracy. I personally find this astonishing, since the countries with the world’s highest standards of human development are almost all heavily social democratic countries. Economic arguments are perceived as “hard” arguments, and the right currently monopolizes these, which is ironic given that the right are mostly clueless about basic economic concepts such as market failure.

    In the end, if we want a social democratic country, the Labour Party will have to make the case for higher personal taxation. There is no avoiding this. That being said, it will be a difficult and lengthy task, but it has been done before.

    • George D 8.1

      Yep. It’s stupid Anglosphere thinking (prevalent in NZ) that worsens this problem. If they looked further afield they could point to the places which have the highest standards of living, which all adopted socialist policies before they became rich. Instead, our thinking is dominated by the US and UK, which have relatively low median incomes which have stagnated and even declined for decades, but plenty of billionaires. Australia has strong labour and wage protections, but nobody in “Labour” seems interested in considering reimplementing these seriously in NZ.

    • RedLogix 8.2


      That’s the single best comment I’ve read all month. Congrats.

      • Ag 8.2.1

        Thanks. I guess all I can say for myself is that even the worst batsman hits a few sixes in his career.

        The fact that you said it means much. 🙂

  9. Bill 9

    If ‘labour needs to get back to it’s roots’ then labour needs to be rid of the labour party.

  10. Tom Semmens 10

    “…Sorry to disagree, but WFF was a synicial (sic) way to give the middle clases the tax cut that was not delivered to their expectations…”

    Complete rubbish. WFF gives tax cuts to people who mostly need them, whilst making sure the undeserving rich continue paying their fair share. That is why rich right wingers hate WFF – they pretend it is because it is “midle class welfare”, but really it is because they think that they are the only ones who shouldn’t pay any tax.

    • Tim Ellis 10.1

      Extra welfare distribution isn’t a tax cut Mr Semmens. Dr Cullen railed against tax cuts for a long time, saying that WFF was preferable to tax cuts. Labour only started calling it a tax cut after they realised that the public wanted tax cuts.

      Whatever you think about WFF, it was never thought of as a tax cut until it was rebranded as such after the fact.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        Dr Cullen railed against tax cuts for a long time, saying that WFF was preferable to tax cuts.

        Another misdirection. WFF is targetted tax reduction.

        Whether WFF was achieved by WINZ giving a benefit/refund, or IRD applying a lower rate of tax is largely a question of administrative efficiency. Ultimately it is WINZ who have the people and the infrastructure to deal with public in terms of all the changing dynamics of families and caregivers and who is properly eligible for WFF, whereas IRD has a much smaller public footprint these days.

        Calling WFF a tax cut or benefit is just political wheel spinning.

        • sk

          Actually, WFF is income support. Very complex and hard to make work equitably, but a fine concept – particularly when child poverty is a major concern. That is why National will not get rid of it, because they know it makes sense.

          An example where Labour won’t simply and clearly stand for what it is. An inferiority complex at work

          • George D

            Except, it’s income support that deliberately excludes the poorest in NZ. Those without incomes.

            It buys into the right-wing idea of deserving poor and undeserving poor. If you don’t work (for whatever reason), then you don’t deserve WFF.

      • Jum 10.1.2

        Tim Ellis
        Just to illustrate who the real manipulators are:

        Labour said in 2000: “”Tax cuts are a path to inequality and underdevelopment in today’s circumstances. They are the promises of vision-less and intellectually bankrupt people’

        National lied once by John Key, the National leader and again by Bill English just before the 2008 election: “In 2000 Helen Clark was saying: ‘tax cuts are the promises of a visionless and bankrupt people’.

        She was right about the character of NAct. They have no vision apart from manipulating the desperate unemployed – that’s come to fruition – and to ensure both unemployed, women and the working poor have no support systems.

        But, they actually do have support systems. The Standard is just one of them.

    • Herodotus 10.2

      Where is/was the debate on what is a substainable disposable living income for a family, I ask any one in parliament “What is a level of income a traditional family of 4 should be able to live off with any assistance from govt?”. No one wants to enter this topic. Why because it would reiterate that the welfare system is NOT providing for those whom it should. With tax creep, price gouging for state owned power coys, the cost of health, provide for retirement to name a few.
      If you do not know what this level is then how can you provided the needed help to those that really need it. As you may be under providing and excluding some who do need it, or providing to some that are above the level. Then the money spent on those who do not need it could be better utilised on essential services

    • Swampy 10.3

      What a load of rubbish. It is completely biased against single people and only pays out to families.

      • Herodotus 10.3.1

        Welfare is based on family earnings, yet PAYE is by the individual. The 2 do not make a complete fit. Then you can complicate it by getting cash that is not considered income. Any financial person knows continual cashflow is what counts not where it is sourced from.
        My point re WFF is that is was poorly setup for what it was conveyed to achieve. If Labour wanted to target there were better mechanisms to achieve this.
        They wanted welfare for the middle class but could not say they were tax cuts. Tax cuts to Cullen was like getting sorry out of Winston !

        • RedLogix

          If Labour wanted to target there were better mechanisms to achieve this.

          Enlighten us.

          • Herodotus

            As only a pleb voter I have only basic ideas but here is a few from the top of my head
            Oral Health for primary school children, increasing subsidy for doctors visits for under 6, a PLAN for reducing the bottom tax rate (either reduce tax rate or increase threasholds), increase stamp duty for non primary residential address (It is currently 0%). Not increasing fuel tax (as labour has done). Should have incorp the insulating homes as Nat/Green has done. Not allowing poor to pay top marginal rate for power (Prepaid basis). Greater controls on small south Ak type Fin Coys. Supporting the likes of Otara Budget group.

            • RedLogix

              All those are fine ideas in themselves, but don’t address the question; how to target working families with children for income support? Raising the average child costs around $250,000 from birth to 20 yrs.. a burden that falls on all parents, regardless of their income. Even National have accepted that it makes sense.

              The main reason why WFF was implemented as a benefit via WINZ, rather than a tax cut via IRD, was that the latter organisation is setup to deal with individual taxpayers. By contrast WINZ is far better placed to work with families/households. It was largely a matter of administrative efficiency. You’ve more or less identified this important distinction in your own comment above.

  11. Pat 11

    It seems to me that Goff and Little are deliberately drawing a line between Labour and the Greens. Look what they are saying Labour got distracted by – smacking debate, showerheads, lightbulbs. All Green initiatives.

    It also explains why Labour lay down over the RMA reforms – Goff didn’t want an anti- tree pruning label pinned on him the very week he is heading into the Labour Party conference denouncing the Nanny state.

    • Tim Ellis 11.1

      Interesting point, Pat. Why would Mr Goff try and do that? When Labour’s support is south of 30%, why would the leadership try and alienate the liberals of the party so that they defect to the Greens?

      I’m not sure Mr Goff really knows what he wants Labour to stand for. I don’t think he knows what he wants Labour to apologise for, except he knows he has to apologise for something.

      It is quite disingenuous of Mr Goff to try and infer that Labour got side-tracked by Green liberal policies though when they never included Greens in government.

      • Pat 11.1.1

        Goff knows he has got only one shot at the title. Taking the party left won’t win in 2011. He has to take Key head on for the centre vote.

        And this is where Goff is most comfotable anyway. A stong NZ economy, business, farming, trade. That’s what he truly believes in. If he is going to go down, he may as well go down fighting as the centrist he really is.

        • sweetd

          But does the labour party want to move to the centre? Goff is the last of the mohicans in the labour party, that is the last of the socialist right. Look around at the front bench, all clark loyalists, not one a member of the fish and chip brigade.

          Feck knows how he got the job over one of them.

          As for the strong nz economy yada yada yada, there is already a party that represents them, its called national.

      • sk 11.1.2

        The problem for Labour is that the right faction of Labour got gutted in the 1990’s, and that those who took over had no concept of what a big church traditional Labour was, as they were all from (Waikato) National families who interest was the liberal bias that lost the last election.

        That is why Labour are now lost. Goff has no idea what policies a modern centre-left party (with a right faction which has the leadership) should stand for. He is floundering around coming up with Blairite/ Alastair Campbell-lite positioning.

        What was lost within Labour was an interest in economics, and any substantive debate on economy policy. Cullen was allowed to run the whole show. And Cullen had clear ideas and was not interested in debate. (For instance, how did selling National Bank to the Aussies make sense. He could have blocked that .. . within a fews years Lloyds was bust and NZ gov’t could have bought it for a song).

        The paradox of the last Labour gov’t is that they were contemptuous of anyone associated with business, and yet pathetically weak in negotiating with them.

        • sk

          And another point, Labour has no fundamental interest in environmental issues, which makes no sense

          As an example, the way the wind resource was so completely mismanaged that we still do not have a national strategy in place, just a bunch of ad hoc applications under the RMA

  12. Macro 12

    Normally I agree with your posts Zeltic – but today I couldn’t disagree more. I agree that the defining difference between left and right in this country should be “social justice”. The last labour led government had 9 years on the treasury benches and apart from WFF baulked at the hurdle of improving the working poor’s lot; who were firstly Rogered by the Lange Govt, and then Mothered by Ruth Richardson, and Jenny.
    But social justice doesn’t just end with improving ones economic lot. Equality and fairness in society are also paramount. The main problem was not that the last govt worked on improving social equity and fairness – but that they failed miserably to redress the imbalance in wealth created under the two previous administrations.

    • Swampy 12.1

      The problem is that you can’t sell that policy to a majority of the electorate. It is not a symptom of our times, or anything other than the stark reality: most voters don’t accept that viewpoint. There has to be a clear message in here.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        The problem is that you can’t sell that policy to a majority of the electorate.

        True, but it will be easier after a few years of rape and pillage by the Nats; just as it was in 1999.

  13. burt 13

    So what was so wrong with robbing peter to pay peter and making sure rich kids in $750,000 houses had new iPods while claiming there was no underclass. Out of touch – pfffft.

    Labour were well in touch with how to win elections and what else matters ?

    • Tim Ellis 13.1

      That’s a very good point Burt.

      As much as Labour might want to paint WFF as a social justice measure, it was welfare for the middle class for nothing more than to shore up middle class votes. So too the student loans announcement in 2005. The fact Labour resisted tax cuts and went around saying: “we don’t need tax cuts, we need working for families” and then called them “targeted tax cuts” after the fact shows how cynical and manipulative that they are.

      I remember Labour spending millions upon millions of dollars promoting working for families in the year of the 2005 election.

    • Macro 13.2

      Social just matters burt – but you are so out of touch with morality that you wouldn’t understand such a concept.

      captcha borrowing – just what the kids in the $750,000 houses are doing

  14. Swampy 14

    You will not sell socialism to the electorate. Everyone knows the connotations of it, which is why it is a creature of a small faction within Labour. Labour “going back to its roots” implies to me the original party formation around 100 years ago when they called for the nationalisation of land. Or maybe you mean the strong trade union roots of that era. But you won’t sell that kind of militancy to the public either. Labour has spent most of its history steadily moving away from those roots, as the voting public considers them irrelevant. A party has to be able to evolve, it does not want to die in a ditch over ideology. After decades the Alliance/Greens still only have around 5% support for their hard left agenda.

  15. coge 15

    Redlogix, the last time Rail was fully state run, it was losing $1 million per day for NZ. That was an enormous sum in those days. The Labour govt of the day understood that situation was unsustainable.

    In order for democratic govt to be successful, effectual opposition in a must. Labour needs to urgently reinvent itself. The toll rail purchase was just another symptom of yearning for the early 1970’s, by senior Labour MPs. Labour needs to present new faces & new workable ideas. A general clean out will eventually occur, the more time passes the bigger it will need to be.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      Redlogix, the last time Rail was fully state run, it was losing $1 million per day for NZ. That was an enormous sum in those days. The Labour govt of the day understood that situation was unsustainable.

      So what. All it needed was a bit of a scrub up at management level, some new blood and fresh thinking. Besides, you omit the costs that have been incurred as a result of privatisation. In the long run it would have been much cheaper to have never sold it.

  16. Bill 16

    Once upon a time there was a battle between labour and capital over who should own or manage the means of production. Labour lost. And we got a Party that 90 odd years later has adopted a neo-liberal economic perspective.

    Nowadays the battle lines have moved and (broadly speaking) the issue is about either a) preserving some form of capitalist production, or b) saving ecologies.

    The Labour Party advocates a) and as such is deeply conservative…ie, not a vehicle for our future.

    Which goes back to my comment at 10:55 which I suspect most people mistakenly assumed was just a facetious throw-a-way line.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1


      Although, I’d put your b) as saving ecologies and communities. That can’t be done under capitalism because the whole point of capitalism is to tear communities apart so that a few benefit at the expense of the many.

      • Macro 16.1.1

        Ahem to that!
        And is why I have not voted Labour for a very long time and could never support them under their present guise either.
        The market economy is flawed and has lead the western world to the mess it is now in. I’m talking about the unbridled pollution of our atmosphere and environment here – not so much the financial malaise of today. If we as a human race are to save ourselves from the impeding disaster of runaway climate change, then we are going to have governments that see themselves as part of the solution – not more “government is part of the problem” ideology of neo liberalism.

        • gargoyle

          “The market economy is flawed and has lead the western world to the mess it is now in. I’m talking about the unbridled pollution of our atmosphere and environment here.”

          Are you suggesting that those bastions of socialism the USSR and China hAD a better environmental record than the “western economies”

          The largest problem with the environment has more to do with the fact we have twice as many humans pottering around the planet than when Neil Armstrong was pottering about on the moon than the market economy.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And yet if you asked Karl Marx or Engles about the USSR and China they wouldn’t call either of them communist. IMO, capitalism itself is the problem. Partially for two reasons
            1.) The same reason why USSR failed, dictatorship is always a failure
            2.) Eternal exponential growth is impossible and the capitalism requires that growth to pay the interest

            The free-market could work* if we realise that it isn’t a growth model but stable state model.

            * Not for everything as it’s far too expensive but certainly for some things where competition brings progress.

            • Macro

              The free Market Model for an economy has many problems – not the least of which is that it is based on false assumptions – such as – unlimited growth. Secondly the concept of Private Ownership goes back to the ethics of John Locke – developed for Britain in the Georgian era and the initial colonisation of America. Again the notion is seriously out dated – assumes unlimited existence of land and ignores indigenous rights. Today I was listening to a PhD student in Agriculture describe the farming practices in Botswana – most farmers use COMMON land to graze their herds. We in the west are so wedded to the free market model we cannot think outside the square anymore.
              Western economies are based on sand. As a mathematics/philosophy major student studying a few economics papers 40 years ago I realised that what I was being presented with was pure fiction, with little correlation to reality. I fear that the mystical “science ” of economics has not progressed much since.

            • Draco T Bastard

              not the least of which is that it is based on false assumptions

              And if you look real close you’ll notice that all of those false assumptions support capitalism. Remove those and the model starts to make a bit more sense. It’s still not perfect and probably shouldn’t be used for modeling the real world but it does show an interesting point.

              In the perfect market with infinite competition and perfect knowledge there is always someone who will sell you the same item cheaper but nothing can be supplied at less than cost price. Everything has a cost, labour, resources, everything. In a perfect market these costs will be more or less constant and can’t be cut. So the person who is willing to sell you the same item cheaper must be cutting something else and there’s only one thing that can be cut – profit. The real value of financial capital in a perfect market is zero.

              I’m pretty sure the capitalists are quite happy that the market is highly restricted and owned by them.

              Private ownership is the heart of capitalism and is the true source of poverty in the world.

              Growth is required to cover the interest charged and no other reason. Our productivity is already such that we could probably support ourselves on about 2 hours work per day each. Everything above that is make work.

              Tragedy of the Commons Revisited

              A commons is destroyed by uncontrolled use—neither intent of the user, nor ownership are important. An example of uncontrolled use is when one can use land (part of our commons) any way one wants.

              The argument that people who own the land/water/resource will take better care of it than common land has been disproved time and time again over the centuries. As you say, it’s an outdated concept and one that is a complete failure.

              Talking about the term free-market I believe that I may be using a slightly different meaning than the one generally accepted. I should probably get around to defining my terminology and think up another phrase for it.

          • Bill

            Neither the command economies nor the market economy has taken the environment into consideration.

            A command economy could.

            A market economy won’t and can’t because it twists production and technological advances in strange and irreversable directions. It only takes a moments thought to figure out why we did not move away from fossil fuels many, many years ago….deliberately and ridiculously mis-priced crude shutting out R&D in other technologies …industry lobbyists ensuring that our lifestyles and oil became ever more entwined , eg the automobile, rubber and oil industries in cahoots to bury public transport systems and foist a world of individualised transport options on us.

            Beyond oil and regardless of population levels, there is the primacy of the profit motive and a ‘compete or die’ culture that doesn’t just rob us of our dignity, but compels us to partake in the production and consumption of unnecessary crap that, although really good for profit margins, is often deeply damaging to us and our ecosystems.

            In sharp contrast to the Labour Party, Labour once railed against the pointless and dehumanising aspects of Capitalist production. Labour needs to get back to those defiant roots, move beyond the irrelevant strategies and visions of the old left ( of which the Labour Party is a vestige) and formulate new visions and workable strategies for a future flowing from today’s realities rather than yesteryears ideologies.

      • George D 16.1.2

        Saving communities is very important. If Labour does this (and it should because it is right), it will gain the support of those communities. Just look at how the current Government is taking away funding for clean water for small communities – a perfect opportunity to stand up for them.

  17. Pat 17

    If I was Goff, I would confisgate all mobile phones at the door to make it a Helen-free conference.

  18. gobsmacked 18

    It is complete nonsense to characterise Goff’s necessary (and overdue) tactical / communications moves as some kind of harbinger of a soft right sellout government under Labour.

    Clark had to (or chose to) accommodate Peters and Dunne. So she shifted to the centre.

    Goff will have to accommodate the Greens. There won’t be any other options in Parliament.

    He will also have to deal with a caucus which is well to the left of the one Clark inherited from Mike Moore.

    A Labour-led government under Goff would not be any more “right wing” than it was under Clark.

    BUT the Labour Party *does* need to distance itself from the Greens. In the same way that John Key ringingly declared he wouldn’t have Roger Douglas in his Cabinet, and positioned National well away from nasty old ACT

    … before happily giving Rodney Hide a major role in his government, after the election. Gosh, what a surprise!

    If you want to win, vote Labour. If you want to define the win, vote Green.

    And if, after five MMP elections, you still don’t understand how this game works …. well, I give up.

  19. burt 19

    The best possible outcome from Labour’s recognition that they put themselves ahead of the voters in the cynical self serving pursuit of power would be the empowerment of the minor parties and a shift away from the two horse race that has dominated NZ politics. “Two ticks Labour” is going to look bloody funny when they are polling so poorly and clearly need to work with other parties to get back into govt.

    Imagine how much more parliament would be representing the people if the dinosaur major parties were only holding 25-30 seats each. Bring it on I say.

    • Ari 19.1

      …is going to look bloody funny when they are polling so poorly and clearly need to work with other parties to get back into govt.

      National is highly unlikely to get enough support at the election to govern alone. Give it up. It’s not happened under MMP and it seems most voters don’t want it to happen, as there tends to be large drops in polling after parties start hitting 49-50%. And it’s a bloody good thing too, as National with Act is bad enough.

      Relying on coalition partners is a strength, not a weakness, and it’s one that National is still not as strong in as Labour- although Labour could certainly improve, too, as it’s essentially their fault that the Maori Party is in such a weak position.

    • burt 19.2


      I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I’m very please that National didn’t (and are unlikely in the future) to get enough votes to govern alone.

      My point is that the major parties have solidly campaigned “Two ticks [insert_party_name_here]” since they first had delusions of representing the view of the people. These organisations (both the red one and the blue one) are self serving enough to actually believe their BS that one size fits all.

      Relying on coalition partners is indeed a good thing but the major parties remember the good old days of FPP and with their “two ticks” policy clearly don’t want to share anything.

      When I said “dinosaur major parties were only holding 25-30 seats each” I was meaning both major parties. I don’t care for a blue FPP style parliament anymore than I care for a red FPP style parliament.

  20. Zaphod Beeblebrox 20

    Why are we all arguing about the past? The future will look nothing like the past. Climate change, oil dependence, the new global economic environment will put huge pressure on society and individuals within it not to waste resources and to ditch dependence upon stuff produced and made elsewhere.
    If I were Goff I would be looking at the 5-10 year time frame not just next year or 2011 but beyond. Put the groundwork in now and reap the benefits later.
    Everyone said that Obama was too green and radical to win last year, talking about climate change, nuclear reduction targets, face to face talks with Iran, Venezuala etc.. In the end though even an electorate as right wing as the U.S. saw that he was the only realistic option for the future.
    Just because the Nats opearte in the 1980s mindset doesn’t mean we all have to.

  21. Quoth the Raven 21

    I don’t think Labour’s economic policies differentiate them that greatly from National. There is a difference, but it’s not great and it’s the same with their social policies. I used to support Labour. My political views are a million miles from that now and I’m quite disgusted in myself for ever having supported them. Their social liberalism is just relative to National. They’re still pretty socially conservative. No doubt that the repeal of s59 and the legalization of prositition were commendable, but civil unions were a cop out so as not to irate the traditionalists and go for full gay marriage. The ideal, of course, should be to get the state out of the marriage business altogether. Today they’ve shown again how sickeningly socially conservative they are. What about all the things these purported “social liberals” didn’t do in nine years like abortion on demand and same sex adoption. Then there are all the things they did do like putting BZP in some ludicrous drug class, jumping on the law and order bandwagon and overseeing a balooning in our prison population, enacting the terrorism suppression act, arming police with tasers and so on.

    Someone who is an exponent of individual liberty, is egalitarian, supports economic freedom, is opposed to violence, and is anti-capitalist like myself can hardly find a thing worth supporting in labour.

    • Draco T Bastard 21.1

      Considering the damage that the Undie 500 does I don’t think that it’s too much social conservatism to ban it. If the students showed that they were more responsible then it wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, they completely fail to do this so don’t blame the government for banning it – blame the students for being stupid.

      • Quoth the Raven 21.1.1

        I would think you could see fit to do both. Burning some couches in the street, drinking and having fun is doing no harm. There’s no reason for the state to bring it’s violence upon people going about peacful civil activities. If violence is occuring that is unacceptable. However, there’s no reason for the gangsters in blue to break up a party merely for burning couches. I don’t know the details and one wouldn’t unless one was present. If you could detail the “damage” they were doing that would be good. But it is simply unacceptable to ban it. It flies in the face of liberty. Something labour has ample experience in.

        “Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order.” John V. Lindsay

        • Draco T Bastard

          Burning couches in the street has the possibility of setting the neighborhood alight. Peaceful? Getting extremely drunk and loud, rowdy, smashing bottles everywhere, couple of punch ups here and there, smashing windows, burnouts in the cars etc etc. No, peaceful doesn’t come into it.

          Your liberty ends at the tip of your nose. If anything you do impacts upon others they have a right to stop you.

          • Quoth the Raven

            I agree with that last sentence that relates to the law of equal liberty and no government in existence adheres to it. I put it to you that you weren’t there and getting extremely drunk loud and making a mess is not violent, nor is damaging your own property and burning couches does not put the neighbourhood at risk. I do not condone damaging others property nor commiting violence (though statists neccessarily do). One would hope they would be considerate of others and that others would considerate of them and their right to enjoy themselves. I have yet to see anything so bad that it required the intervention of riot police (hired government thugs) and neccesitates the infringement of basic civil liberties in order to ban such an event.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Making a mess isn’t violent but it does impact on others who have to pay to clean it up afterward. Being loud also impacts others especially @ 2am.

              Burning couches produces lots of sparks that can start a fire which then burns a house down. Then there’s the poisonous fumes that the burning foam in the couch gives off.

              I wasn’t there this year and I’ve never participated in it but I have seen the results. It’s a mess and it’s expensive. Like I said before – if the students weren’t being stupid it wouldn’t be a problem.

              I agree with that last sentence that relates to the law of equal liberty and no government in existence adheres to it.

              And that’s just something else we need to work on then as a society then isn’t it?

            • Quoth the Raven

              We certainly do need to work on it and that’s my whole point. We can have a non-violent, peaceful, free, egalitarian society. It’s not utopianism . We won’t say one day “we’ve arrived” it’s a constant process. But it is a process in which no one in parliament and none of their supporters are commited to. It’s something that cannot be gifted from on high and is in fact incompatible with the whole system as it currently is. Each time you support an increase in state power you move in the opposite direction. Gandhi understood this.

              People can clean up their mess, they submit themselves to the fumes and the noise is something that has to be worked out by the poeple involved. Like I said criticise them if you wish, but I still see no excuse for state violence and absolutely no justification for banning it.

  22. Quoth the Raven 22

    There is a brilliant article at Salon. I think it can apply in part to labour as well:

    Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

    But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it’s invisible.

  23. Galeandra 23

    Well, a great thread so far, with a lots of sense from all sides. The point I take from this is that we need relevant in-touch parties to make up governnments or oppositions, and that we need leadership that thinks on its feet and isn’t afraid to take decisions that help future proof the country, whatever critics say.
    I think Kiwirail was such a decision, and that a lot of the critics are using 20 20 hindsight. Time will tell how much of an opportunity it will provide in the future..
    The tensions regarding capitalistic- socialistic branding will not be resolved philosophically, so much as pragmatically. The severe problems we (and the rest of the world) face will inevitable produce pragmatic ‘solutions’ that may well not please many of us individually. What remains to be seen is whether the ‘me ‘ generation (as implied by Swampy, Ag and others) will insist on playing ‘beggar the neighbours’ in order to ensure the survival of their own standards of living.

  24. Ruth 24

    If Labour try to buy into the conservative line that will be a mistake.

    You can’t solidify your position by selling out the very people who elected you, or by pursuing the votes of people who will never vote for you.

    • Daveo 24.1

      You should read the post more carefully. Zet’s not suggesting a move to conservatism, the point is that Labour should get its priorities right. Its concentration on liberal social issues lost them a lot of support, while it ignored or watered down many progressive economic policies to keep onside with people who’d never vote for them anyway.

  25. Jum 25

    “Tim Ellis
    September 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Extra welfare distribution isn’t a tax cut Mr Semmens. Dr Cullen railed against tax cuts for a long time,”

    Just to illustrate who the real manipulators are and they aint Labour:

    Labour said in 2000: “”Tax cuts are a path to inequality and underdevelopment in today’s circumstances. They are the promises of vision-less and intellectually bankrupt people’

    National lied once by John Key, the National leader and again by Bill English just before the 2008 election: “In 2000 Helen Clark was saying: ‘tax cuts are the promises of a visionless and bankrupt people’.

    She was right about the character of NAct. They have no vision apart from manipulating the desperate unemployed that’s come to fruition and to ensure both unemployed, all women and the working poor have no support systems.

    But, they actually do have support systems. The Standard is just one of them.

  26. Jum 26

    I think we insult people at our peril by assuming that just because they support Labour they are poor, working class (whatever that means!) and not intellectual. It is the thinking intellectuals that see the merits of equalising society in order for it to move forward and not break down in to a lawless society which is always the end result of NAct’s policies that breed enmity, jealousy and fear.

    Labour on the other hand extends the hand to all people. National can’t because it is all about selling out the poor to pay out to the rich. They ensure by their 90day probation and their lower wages that there will always be a gap and many desperate unemployed to clean their mansions. That’s the ‘key’ to National’s psyche.

    Key won the last election because he did the joe bloggs act. He did the Bill English accent with the moneyman’s financial gamble and the wife and two kids, which are nothing like the average wife and two kids. He is a consummate liar and a puppet of overseas. He will do whatever is required to win the next election whereby he can enact the wishlist of his benefactors. He is not a nice man. His ‘act’ is brilliant. His public face is perfect. Kiwis have always been swayed by the family man – I find that personally disgraceful when we have such a terrible domestic violence legacy from the rugby/racing/beer mentality.

    Labour rejects its Helen Clark years for the blokey years now. I’d watch that if I were them. The ‘it’s time for a change’ only came about because Key intimated he was a Clark think-a-like – another lie from him and his backers.

    I almost think NZers should be led to the slaughter one final time to understand what National is all about. In 2011 they will vote for ownership by the (NZ)Business Roundtable or vote for a life. Ownership of their own assets or the yoke of foreign ownership. I thought the obvious choice would be owning ourselves. Since Kiwis voted in National I am no longer certain.

    The Nanny State was a NAct invention. The fascist global freemarket state will be a National/Act reality.

    • snoozer 26.1

      jum. of course, the post doesn’t assume that the only people who support Labour are working class but it’s dillusional (and politically suicidal) to think that isn’t the base of a mass Leftwing party. There aren’t enough wealthy urban liberals to be the base of a mass party. Maybe you don’t realise it but most people in this country are working class.

      “working class (whatever that means!)”

      if your political analysis does not include an understanding of class and the power relations inherent in a class-based system like capitalism you are out of touch.

  27. Jum 27

    How rich/evolved academically, politically do you have to be before you leave the ‘working class’ label behind and join the NActs?

    Roger Douglas?
    John Key?
    Paula Bennett?
    John Banks?
    Mike Lee?
    Theresa Gattung?

    The trouble with the term ‘working class’ is the use of it, usually by the left, to describe themselves. The NActs don’t. They refer to their individual working title as if to infer it is not working class but rather the ruling class. My national supporter friend would never call herself working class even though she works to pay her bills, just like everyone else. A great disservice is done when people place themselves at a disadvantage by accepting a name tag which ties them to a particular group, because it plays into the right’s hands. Thinking people respect the working ethos. The right disrespect the worker. The right has deliberately insulted the term ‘working class’ and unthinking Kiwis absorb that myth. Unthinking Kiwis want to improve their lot and being described as ‘working class’ by the media and the NActs reduces their ambition for themselves. Perception is everything, Snoozer.

    • burt 27.1


      And the people behind Labour are impoverished…. You have gone on about Labour supporters as being thinking intellectuals then listed a whole bunch of stereotypes. Umm, how smart is Jum…..

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    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 day ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 day ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    2 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    2 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    3 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    4 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    5 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    6 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    7 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    7 days ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    2 hours ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    2 hours ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    3 hours ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    6 hours ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    7 hours ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    8 hours ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    15 hours ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    23 hours ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    24 hours ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    1 day ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    2 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    2 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    3 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    6 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    6 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    7 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    7 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    7 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    7 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    7 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    1 week ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    1 week ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    1 week ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    1 week ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    1 week ago

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