Labour’s big reset

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, December 13th, 2022 - 77 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, covid-19, economy, health, jacinda ardern, labour, national - Tags:

New Zealand politics is at an interesting stage.

National is no longer tearing itself into pieces, at least publicly.

It is currently maintaining discipline and its modus operandi is clear:

  1. Present a small target by having no policies whatsoever.  The one policy that it had to feed raw meat to its support base, tax cuts for the wealthy, it has walked back from.
  2. Attack and criticise Labour at every opportunity.  The themes are clear, Labour is incompetent and Labour is out of touch and Labour is dangerous.  One or more of these themes is present in every press release National issues.  Even pot holes, symptomatic of wet weather and long term cuts in maintenance funding, is all Labour’s fault.
  3. Blow that dog whistle hard.  Three waters and co governance has provided National with the perfect opportunity to be racist even though it is trying not to sound overtly racist.

Labour is not helping itself.  It shows signs of third termitis.  Senior ministers look tired and there is a feeling that big structural reforms like the TVNZ Radio NZ merger are not being advanced quickly enough.

It is a feature I have experienced with Wellington.  It will drag you down into dealing with ever increasing minutiae when a quicker more general based decision is perfectly appropriate.

The TVNZ Radio NZ merger is clearly having an effect on the entities involved.  Radio New Zealand now gives prime time broadcast rights to a right wing aligned lawyer involved in litigation relating to three waters and still lets her attack the Government on a program involving commentary on politics.  I cannot understand how RNZ’s management can think this is acceptable.  The state broadcaster should not be giving a loudspeaker to a lawyer with a clear conflict and then pretend that it is a political discussion.  Especially when the litigation is being funded by the Taxpayer’s Union.

And main stream media is doing what it always does and is attacking the government mercilessly.  In the Herald over the past few days there have been attack pieces by Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett both pretending to be independent commentators.  And yet another hatchet job from Ian Taylor who is deeply upset that Ardern appeared on the front page of Woman’s Weekly.  He is still railing against the MIQ system despite the real benefit that system gave us time to prepare.

The reasons for Labour’s fatigue are clear.  It has been a hell of a few years.  Ardern and others must be running on empty.  They did the job.  The country locked down hard to prevent the spread of Covid, then the vaccination effort was exemplary and most of us complied.  Tens of thousands of lives were saved.

But since then a small extreme group of individuals (looking at you Liz Gunn) have attacked Ardern mercilessly, suggesting that the decisions she took were wrong and lacked compassion and evidence of a socialist threat to control us all.  Of course their rhetoric is empty.  Burning up a large amount of your political capital to keep everyone safe is not the actions of a despot.

And the safety concerns posed by some rather deranged followers of Gunn’s mean that Ardern’s contact with the public has been reduced.  This has not helped.

There is a general tiredness in Aotearoa right now.  It is not only a local phenomenon, the world is going through the same sort of malaise.

It is not helped by economic problems.  Every new issue reinforces the feeling of tiredness.  There is a phrase for how people are responding and that is going goblin.  More than a few voters are doing the same with the Government.

So a big reset is required.  Labour needs to reassert itself.

This week it is said there will be some announcements of Ministers standing down at the next election.  Politik has indicated that David Clark will be one and there could be three or four others.  That is a good thing.  Rejuvenation of the party is absolutely vital.

Ardern has also announced that Ministers will be considering which policies and projects should be continued, with the clear inference that if they are too expensive or too big a distraction then they should be quietly buried.

Again this is a good idea.  The government should be focussing on the issues that are really important and bed them in.

National showed how extreme this action could be taken.  They fiddled at the edges of issues, put up simple tweaks to complex legislation to generate press releases.  The only systemic change they achieved, partial privatisation of some of the SOEs was an abject disaster to the country but a boon to their supporters.

Labour does not need to stoop this low.  But it needs to get rid of the distractions and make sure that the big issues are addressed.

It needs to continue with the roll out of public housing.  My very strong impression is that the housing market is correcting and so far in a way that is not devastating.

Three waters needs to be completed and bedded in.  If you need any justification for the reforms then read Ad’s very perceptive blogpost on the subject.

It needs to continue to address child poverty.  Despite the rhetoric thrown at this topic things are improving.

And it needs to continue to prepare us for climate change.  We have no time to waste.

It is not all doom and gloom.  Despite everything there is a resilience in Labour’s polling and National’s support appears to be very brittle.  And its leader is Christopher Luxon.

Decisions over the next couple of months will determine if next year’s election is a repeat of 2005 or 1975.  For the long term interests of the country Ardern and Labour have to get this right.

77 comments on “Labour’s big reset ”

  1. arkie 1

    The important issue as always, will be the focus:

    PM Jacinda Ardern on plans for next year: ‘Making sure the economy is our priority’

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Cabinet members will be looking at where to trim back over summer to ensure the economy was top priority, but would not say whether that meant changes to the RNZ / TVNZ public media merger.

    “We have had as a government a lot on our agenda – and it’s because there’s been a lot of issues.

    “Going into 2023 we do need to make sure we are totally focused, we prioritise, and that we will be making sure that where we need to pare back we will.”

    Over summer Cabinet members would be expected to look again at what is on their agenda.

    “And just asking ourselves whether or not either from a spending perspective, investment perspective or just from a focus perspective those are things we should be prioritising at this point in time.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/480550/pm-jacinda-ardern-on-plans-for-next-year-making-sure-the-economy-is-our-priority

    Let us hope they share this understanding:

    https://twitter.com/jasonhickel/status/1381531793753567232

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.1

      This "focus on the economy" is braindead neoliberal garbage. Talking about the economy, while ignoring inequality, is like looking at the temperature of the earth while ignoring the effect of the sun.

      The wealthiest 40% of New Zealanders own about 2930% as much as the poorest 40%.

      Inequality is what drives the wealth (or lack thereof) of most New Zealanders, not economic growth. But this government is instead going to lose sleep over whether annual GDP growth is 4% or 4.5%!!? And of course economic growth accrues mostly to the already-wealthy, not to the poorer majority.

  2. Descendant Of Smith 2

    Labour are going to have to decide whether they implement things now to make peoples lives better and to reduce poverty or whether they hold those things back as election bribes e.g. increasing benefit rates further and other non-implemented WEAG recommendations.

    They have fallen into the trap of letting the right set the narrative in many areas because in my view they have been captured by the managerial class in the upper levels of the public service who are right leaning – especially after nine years of national and the transfer of private sector cost of everything value of nothing managers into the system. The classic was MSD advising not to lift benefit rates as this would disincentivise people to go to work when it now becomes clearer and clearer that having a pool of unemployed is deliberate economic policy – even though many of us knew that anyway.

    So do they achieve some more stuff while they still can, do they risk it all by saving it as election bribes to try and get back in or do they do the current status quo neo-liberal pale blue policies that they are accustomed to.

    Marginal people who have gone down the COVID and conspiracy rabbit hole are a lost client base – the right has done a brilliant job across the world of getting these people to hate the left and vote against their best interests. That will continue for some time.

    They need to articulate a clear picture of future costs for NZS, health and the consequences of an aging population. Several crucial workforces have near a third of their workforce over 55, diabetes and dementia volumes are rapidly increasing, mental health continues to have reduced bed numbers and difficulty in having trained staff – someone needs to start planning for this future – it isn't a future of continually increasing productivity – not unless we move away from commodities and into more technology / intellectual products with lower costs and higher profit margins.

    Skilled workers will be competed for across all countries who equally have aging populations – albiet some even more aged than ours. We are going to need to bond student debt away and pay them more. Other countries will be offering them more.

    Maybe if they could paint this picture properly then people might start to think about how we might meet this cost.

    • tWiggle 2.1

      Agree with you 100% about being the government being hijacked by existing public service execs. When Helen Clark came int npower, the public service got a good shake-up. Some extremely talented people were employed at the top who got things humming, at least in the sector I was involved with.

      National ran all this down, recruited and employed refugees from the British and Aussie public servicse, and outsourced much crucial policy analysis to large firms.

      Adern's governments seem to have just rolled over the Nat's setup for the core public service. The exceptions are, of course, the Justice and Health sectors, which are no small cheese to reorganise. However, seeing from the inside, via a family member, the hash that is occurring in one govt dept due to the most inept management decisions, Labour doesn't appear to care much about good workplace relations in the general public sector. Which is a tragedy, in my opinion. Not really a "labour" government at all.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    I have been around long enough to know well that political progress is not exactly linear, more one step up and one, or two, steps back. But there are periods where improvements are made for the many, and then a hiatus or clawbacks, or defence of previous gains–particularly for working class people.

    Some things have stayed regardless of whether the dirty filthy Natzos are in office or a Labour led Govt. e.g. Nuke Free NZ, Smoke Free, Lesbian and Gay rights, Paid Parental Leave, Minimum & Living Wage. Labour has made hundreds of incremental reforms that rarely make the news–such as restoring funding to NGOs that sirkey removed.

    The major problem for NZ Labour is that something else remains who ever is in office–a neo liberal state that runs on monetarist rules and principles. Until Roger’n’Ruth’s legacy is despatched once and for all Labour will be a “lesser evil” option. Changing faces in Caucus will not achieve a lot unless there are some undercover marxists in there! The best of the bunch seems Mr Michael Woodhouse.

    Labour with that amazing majority should have gone in hard 2020/21 but they stuck with their Blairist approach and may well pay for it, as will a lot of us when Baldrick and ACT come for workers, Māori and even pensioners (if you read ACT policy).
    They needed to embark on a nationalisation programme of power generation and supply and a Works Ministry to fully handle public infrastructure, and consign Treasury and Reserve Bank to minor roles.

    Norm Kirk was PM when I became politically aware but soon enough we had “Robs Mob”. The class composition of NZ involves hundreds of thousands of self employed and small business operators, and rural workers who despite being essentially working class often identify with the employing class in an aspirational way. This fed the eternal balance of Parliamentary forces including the MMP era, though now the generational shift looms. By 2026 new gen voters will outnumber boomers–yay.

  4. Ad 4

    3.4% unemployment, wages up, employers begging for workers, billions in projects. Exports up. Tourism up. Ridiculously subsidized business for over a year. Crime way down. Major reforms done.

    On RNZ this morning Wood was competent and fact driven and and unflappable. We need more Woods and fewer Jacksons.

    • tc 4.1

      Totally. Media management required with the partisan press and time to draw a line under ministers not up to it.

      RNZ management have not been serving us since griffin was dropped in to 'realign' it. Been doing a fine job for the hollowmen since then.

      • kat 4.1.1

        When Kim Hill appears on RNZ its well worth a listen, she certainly exposes the "hollow-people" and those that like to promote negative perceptions about the govt.

    • RosieLee 4.2

      Major reforms done? What about state housing and state health systems? That's the bottom line for dealing with wellbeing and poverty. The rest is neoliberal fluff.

    • Labour_Voter 4.3

      Crime way down. So true.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    I agree that Labour needs to shelve unpopular policies to focus on what is important to kiwis so far as the coming election is concerned.

    However, voters will likely be very suspicious that an unpopular policies shelved in the new year will be reinstated should Labour win the election. So, perhaps Labour has left it too late to make these sort of changes.

    • Robert Guyton 5.1

      Labour is feeling pressured to shelve policies that opposition forces have frightened the public into fearing.

      Voters will continue to be subject to the regressive, fear-inducing pressure from those anti-progressive agencies (Nat, ACT et al.)

    • How does Labour refresh and re-engage?

      People based policies.

      Doing more people polling and listening.

      Showing frequent clear graphs of the progress. Clearly state the current policies briefly.

      Clear out some bureaucratic blockages.

      Get control of inflation through balancing spending and pricing.

      Bring in the work insurance scheme, as it will mop up some inflation, and be beneficial with both employer and employee contributing.

      Focus on climate change, getting communities discussing and planning for risk and planning for insurance underwriting.

      Sell Government as help against bad times, alongside communities.

      Strengthening ways to assist communities who have had bad planning and face great challenges.

  6. Reality 6

    The media for some time have lambasted Labour on every issue. Compared with acquiescing to whatever National has to say, by mentioning it but certainly not critiquing it. Their dropping the top tax rate if in government was just a shrug of the shoulders by the media. The other thing I have noticed is that Luxon is often shown first on a TV1 news item. With the PM shown later. As PM she deserves priority out of respect for the role.

    The Nats have a viciousness about them which is hard for Labour to counter. Luxon's 'garage' comments have barely made a headline in comparison to Willie Jackson's recent interview.

    • tc 6.1

      Nothing new there, labour often make the mistake it's a level playing field when it's anything but as you've observed.

  7. Chris 7

    That's all well and good, but the reality is that nobody gives a fuck about climate change and child poverty. One of the biggest problems Labour has is dealing with the fallout of its moves to increase first-time home ownership. Ironically it's those who've lost a $100k or few on the value of their properties, which is a heck of a lot of people, who are pissed off with Labour and won't vote for them next year. Add all the other fluff and bullshit like 3-waters, the media merger and other racist or misogyny-driven views being fed to a naive redneck general populace, and we've got a perfect storm for near-complete decimation at the next election…

    …and nobody knows what to do, including Labour. That's pretty much where we're at, it seems.

    • Robert Guyton 7.1

      "That's all well and good, but the reality is that Chris doesn't give a fuck about climate change and child poverty".

      Chris is "pissed off with Labour and won't vote for them next year. Add all the other fluff and bullshit like 3-waters, the media merger and other racist or misogyny-driven views being fed to Chris and we've got a perfect storm for Chris not voting for Labour at the next election…

      …and Chris doesn't know what to do. That's pretty much where he's at, it seems.

  8. Gosman 8

    Your list of policies after you suggested that Labour focuses on a select few policies and ditch the others did not include the health refroms currently underway. Does that mean you think they should be reversed?

  9. Mike the Lefty 9

    I would hate to see Labour becoming a centre-left version of NZ First and embracing blatant populism, rather than doing what needs to be done. But that will probably be what happens.

    • Reading interest.co.nz, there is not much respect for National's goals, and very little for Christopher Luxon.

      There is comment about a tired Government. I hope the PM gets some personal and family time to refresh along with her team.

  10. Pataua4life 10

    let's face it. We know Jacinda ain't exactly in charge, with every decision she makes she has to think how will my Maori caucus react to this. hence she will not drop anything that has co-governence as part of it, e.g 5 waters, health reforms, TV, etc.

    An internal shit fight is the last thing Labour needs. The ones that are leaving know this and hence rats leaving the sinking ship.

  11. BAW 11

    Nat voter here.

    A well written post. NZ is tired. We are bitchy. And we feel unsafe.

    But a change in cabinet never ensures that you win the election (See the recent crazyiness in the UK)

    My only question – What is Labour doing to try and get some high performing candidates in at the next election?

    Win or lose NZ needs a high performing Labour party.

  12. James Simpson 12

    Rejuvenation of the party is absolutely vital

    I agree, but even with a good result Labour is going to lose a lot of their existing MPs. It is going to be very difficult to bring in new blood when the party loses 40% of its caucus.

  13. Pataua4life 13

    Latest poll results. The big reset will be done by attrition.

    Taxpayers’ Union/Curia poll December 2022

    The public results are here.

    Party Vote

    Seats

  14. swordfish 14

    .

    A significant misreading of the contemporary zeitgeist … there is so much to take issue with here.

    To take just one example …

    Labour is not helping itself. It shows signs of third termitis. Senior ministers look tired and there is a feeling that big structural reforms like the TVNZ Radio NZ merger are not being advanced quickly enough.

    A "feeling" ? Who's "feeling" ? Given your post is essentially analysing the current public mood, you seem to be implying voters themselves are upset at the delay.

    Yet a very recent Curia poll (Nov 2022) found 54% opposed to the merger, just 22% supportive & 24% unsure.

    And:

    Blow that dog whistle hard. Three waters and co governance has provided National with the perfect opportunity to be racist even though it is trying not to sound overtly racist.

    Same Curia poll found voters were largely opposed to Three Waters … 60% opposed, 23% supportive, 18% unsure.

    I seriously doubt voters are taking too kindly to this sort of ludicrous moral posturing & absolutely outrageous smearing of anyone expressing opposition to a radical, anti-democratic, ethno-nationalist constitutional revolution being forced onto them by a narcissistic authoritarian elite.

    To be sure, the cost of living remains the core driver of voter disenchantment with the Govt … but its profoundly elitist, anti-democratic steamrolling of highly unpopular legislation with far-reaching implications & (tightly intertwined with this) its obvious scapegoating of the hoi polloi (if they possess the out of favour skin colour) is certainly reinforcing the disgust & disillusionment.

    You've become arrogant little autocrats with disturbing manipulative & Machiavellian tendencies … so much done by stealth, ruthless smearing of opponents, utter contempt for the general public … transforming the once great (and inherently democratic) Labour Party that my grandparents & parents helped build into little more than a Vanity Project for self-interested, authoritarian upper-middle narcissists.

    Little monsters masquerading as angels.

    • Ad 14.1

      The Labour Party from 1935 to 1949 were waaaay more authoritarian than this lot. These current people only recentralise from within the core, and never touch the private sector other than to throw dumptrucks of funding at them.

      And of course Labour 1 were profoundly undemocratic with it; plenty of conscription, industry nationalisation, and smashed heads.

      National from 1950 were arguably even more authoritarian than Labour were.

      You simply don't know your Labour history very well.

      • swordfish 14.1.1

        .

        Surprising given I studied New Zealand (& Australian & British) Labour History at Uni … read very widely, derived a wealth of info from my parents & the wider family and undertook quite a bit of original research.

        • Ad 14.1.1.1

          Well clearly you have forgotten what you read..

          You could do with a decent theory of power since you spend most of your time vacillating between this state being too woke to enforce, or too strong to be democratic.

        • SPC 14.1.1.2

          Did you conclude that the tertiary educated middle class people joining the Labour Party did so as a place to manifest their narcissism (imagining that the working class would hero worship them)?

          And also their masochism, given the white middle class majority would be joined by those white working class folk enlightened by higher education to gaslight them on both flanks.

      • Tiger Mountain 14.1.2

        Nationalisations by an old school 20th century social democratic Govt. are a way from authoritarian due to clearly being intended to benefit the “many not the few”.

        NZ Labour in Govt. has always been a multi class party, and in the early days also benefitted a number of NZ capitalists such as Fletchers.

        “National more authoritarian than Labour” surely were, Nats bought in the Waterfront Strike (lockout) Emergency Regulations 1951 which was as close to fascism as NZ has ever come. They also scrapped a progressive post WWII “green plan” as some have latterly termed it, for Auckland, and went hammer down for trucking, roading expansion and urban sprawl, the effects of which people today may be familiar with.

    • swordfish 14.2

      .

      … in Aotearoa right now.

      While I personally quite like the name (although the notion it was ever employed by Maori to denote New Zealand as a whole is a myth) … let's bear in mind polling suggests just 7% of Euro/Pakeha & just 21% of Maori support changing the Country's name to Aotearoa (1 News-Kantar Sep 2021).

      So its constant use in the MSM once again highlights an elitist imposition on an unwilling public … same contempt for the hoi polloi … "our highly privileged little Establishment cadre knows best … we've deluded ourselves that we're morally & intellectually superior … so you'll do whatever we say & we'll ruthlessly smear you if you don't"

      [LOL … As I was typing this … with Radio New Zealand on in the background … newsreader just finised an item with “… in Aotearoa”]

      • RedLogix 14.2.1

        While I personally quite like the name

        Which is exactly how I feel about it. I am quite happy to see it used as a our cultural name, similar to how Finland is also called Soumi by the people domestically.

        But when I arrived at Auckland airport a few months back and I walked through to the Customs Hall passed under a large sign saying Welcome to Aoteoroa in giant letters and (New Zealand) underneath in tiny ones – I felt a tad pissed that no-one bothered to ask New Zealanders as to whether they wanted this change.

        Pure fucking arrogance.

    • Anker 14.3

      100% Swordfish.

    • lprent 14.4

      The problem is for 3 waters and for the public broadcasting is that the questions are rather useless.

      I'm not in favour of joining RNZ to TVNZ. But that is because I can't see any point to TVNZ at all these days. I'm worried that a merger will do nasty things to the only radio station that I can be bothered actually listening to.

      I'm in favour of selling TVNZ or just shuttering it. Startup a no-advertising TV station with a news and current affairs focus with local feature content. Like TVNZ with pictures. I haven't watched free to air TV since 2012 because they simply a pain in the arse to watch.

      I either use a streaming service or I download from the net and bypass the ads.

      The only way to ask about 3 waters is to ask the question about how they want to pay to upgrade their sewerage systems to standard and give them pricing options.

      Continue the way we are with councils (outside of Auckland or ChCh roughly a +200% increase in cost over 30 years if we are lucky).

      Privatise the water either with companies or by small councils raising bonds (Act policy) – the same 200% + a 100% for profit.

      Three waters which will probably be about a +50% over next 30 years because we fix the old equipment early with government low cost borrowing and utilise resources across a wider base to increase efficiencies.

      Because I'm not hearing ANY suggestions for a better system than 3 waters. Not from National (who are essentially silent), nor from Act, not from the LGNZ and other interested parties.

      And that includes you Swordfish. I'm just scanning some of your recent commentary..

      You've become arrogant little autocrats with disturbing manipulative & Machiavellian tendencies … so much done by stealth, ruthless smearing of opponents, utter contempt for the general public … transforming the once great (and inherently democratic) Labour Party that my grandparents & parents helped build into little more than a Vanity Project for self-interested, authoritarian upper-middle narcissists.

      The Labour party is a party that traditionally has taken a range of ideas and implemented them for the future. They have invariably had to do them over the strident disagreement of both conservatives wanting no change, and vested interests masking their own interests as being for the public good.

      Have you ever considered that

      1. The people on this site mostly aren't particularly representative of much of the Labour party.
      2. You're a old conservative holding to a dream of a mythic past. Getting more so all of the time.
      3. You're rapidly becoming a silly critic with no solutions.

      I doubt that you have ever delved very deeply into the mechanics of how Labour managed to do any of their large society changing programs in the past. Especially the ones in the 30s and 40s.

      None of the things that you'd laud about Labouur of the past were easy. Nor were they usually popular. Not that you specify what they were – I guess you don't like people looking them up and pointing out why you're wrong. As I say – you're currently looking like a old silly conservative critic.

      It is easy enough to dig into Papers Past archives if you want to find out just how naysaying that ten opposition to some of those programs like housing were hammered is pretty easy.

      Just try something like the NZ Herald from 1935-1939 on housing.

      For instance – a snarky column on state housing progress from 1938 – it could be written by them about housing progress today. Shortage of workers. Bureaucracy and unions getting in the way. Competition for limited resources. Not a word about why the program was required.

      Criticism that maps down to "the private sector can do it cheaper and better" that looks like it comes straight off KiwiBlog. The problem was that private enterprise simply didn't. It took state housing to improve and increase the housing stock on NZ significantly.

      If you look at this article from 1939 about a housing survey, you realise what the scope of the problem was. 3% of all housing was irreparable and needed to be condemned. 4.5% were overcrowded and 14% in total were unsatisfactory.

      Fortunately for me, my grandparents grew up in that era. My parents were born in 1939. They all remember living in it and growing up and without what appears to be your rose tinted retrospective view – which sounds rather academic to me. They also remember how hard it was to push through changes and how deeply unpopular they were at the time.

      I can understand that you're feeling kind of a cynic at present. But FFS I have lived with a HNZ apartment next door for the last 5 years. With 5% of the housing in the block being HNZ. We get problems and it is way easier to get HNZ attention on issues now than it was even a few years. That is despite the

      I don't appreciate being called a "You've become arrogant little autocrats with disturbing manipulative & Machiavellian tendencies".

      However if you want to stay commenting here, then you now have my full attention. I'm happy to start pointing out your flaws and inflating them as well. It wan't be either manipulative or machiavellian – it will be variations of "do you realise you're becoming a complete sneering arsehole with no constructive ideas, no self-reflection, and not that good at constructing an argument.

  15. Pataua4life 15

    Will Ardern make it to the next election?

    Given the ways the polls it is likely that Labour will be the the opposition.

    The PM will win the seat of Mt Albert but be in opposition.

    1. She will pull the pin immediately after the next election and force a by-election in Mt Albert

    2. She will pull the pin before the election but not within the timeframe to force a by-election and go out a winner AKA John Key.

    Interesting times ahead for Labour. I must stock up on pop corn.

  16. Corey Humm 16

    Ardern and Labour have definitely felt aloof in the last year or so and their coms have been utterly atrocious.

    I feel like their reluctance to debate controversial and complex policies comes from a place of not wanting to give air time to the gutter of politics and that "explaining is losing" but it's just allowed the right to set the narrative and made labour seem aloof, afraid of debate or worse unable to debate or articulate their polices or "up to something"

    When they do explain their policies they answer in complex monologues not the short, sharp one sentence answers Ardern was famous for in 2017 and be a bit more like Adam Brandt to gotcha questions "just Google it"

    Ardern needs to go back to appearing on ZB. It's an incredibly large audience and she appeared on it during the previous two elections. If she is able to convert even 5% of their voters it's worth it. Otherwise zb will speak for her.

    Labour needs to be extremely careful with legislation passed under urgency, we cannot risk more public humiliation on bills like the Rotorua electoral reforms or the three waters entrenchment backdown fiasco in 2023.

    Labour also can't wait for the campaign or the budget to pass retail political politics that will help ordinary people. We need to hit the ground running early and we need to do things while in power that will get our base and convert some doubters.

    Budgets rarely if ever improve governments polling, certainly not this govt based on post budget polling so down wait around till may to announce things, shout from the rooftops.. ie if say we were to remove gst off of fresh food and vegetables… Announce it at the beginning of the year.

    Labour needs to also run in the 2023 election on exciting popular policies on things like:

    the first $20 k tax being tax free.

    The incredibly popular and relatively cheap idea of universal dental. This is an election winner and the industry is calling out for it. Universal programs are always popular, ie rich pensioners love their winter energy payment and honestly this will help sort nzs horrifying dental issues for rich and poor and be a legacy policy for Ardern. It can be phased in over a period of years and national and act will spend the year saying they'll overturn an incredibly popular policy.

    Dropping gst from 15% to 10-12% or removing gst off food.

    Free public transport.

    Student loan debt forgiveness if Biden can do it. Interest free student loans certainly helped Clark. Increases to student allowance.

    Personal contributions to kiwisaver being tax free like in Canada.

    Removing relationship sanctions on benefits, doubling winter energy. Increasing benefits especially to disabled benefits.

    Constantly reinforcing we're keeping pensions at 65 and that no labour government will ever raise pensions, rule out mean testing them and giving them a few extra bucks. This will set labour apart from a nat/act govt with the most reliable voters.

    Bringing back Food in all schools.

    Increasing the percentage of state housing stock relative to overall.

    Give Corey Humm $100 million. Hugely popular middle NZ.

    Seriously though a few of these policies especially dental, first $20 k tax free, student loan forgiveness will be hugely popular with our base and middle NZ and can't be understated.

    • Alan 16.1

      Student loan forgiveness? Only if you want massive push back from the generations of past students who have repaid every cent of their loans – why should one generation get preferential treatment – oh that's right, because labour is bombing in the polls.

      The electorate would see through this in 2 seconds and would not be happy.

      • Nic the NZer 16.1.1

        Oh good heavens no, bribing the electorate that'll never be allowed (by the same electorate).

    • Anker 16.2

      Give Corey Humm $100 million dollars………that would almost bring me back into the Labour fold

      • Robert Guyton 16.2.1

        So, corruptible/bribable.

        Whose money do you propose Corey Humm gets …

        ?

        • Anker 16.2.1.1

          Lighten up Robert, I was only joking, although Corey is one of the commenters here I pay attention to.

          But hey maybe you were joking back? If so appreciate humour at this time of year.

          Merry Christmas

    • Yes, Student Loans have been an albatross around the neck of the young and not so young. They spend too much time repaying that instead of building and having families imodevil it has led to a lonely patchwork of relationships. It would be great and a definite help with budgets right now.

    • Warren D 16.4

      Yep, they need to do something inspiring if they hope to turn things round. Out of what you have listed I think these things are winners:

      "Rollback" National's GST increase to address the cost of living. The other tax changes would be too expensive.

      Free and improved public transport and dental.

      Kiwisaver non-taxed, and pension is kept at 65.

      Increasing state housing – that could be big, as there will be construction redundancies due to the housing market slowing.

      The other thing I would add is lowering immigration to a sustainable level again. We still don't have the housing and infrastructure to cope with more people without a severe and regressive impact.

  17. Anker 17

    Forget student loans, particularly for non vocational degrees.

    There should be something put in place that incentivises people to train a health professional, Dr, nurses, radiographers, pharmacists etc etc. This is what is needed. Something very very attractive.

    • Craig H 17.1

      The basic answer is to pay them to do the degree (or at least pay for the placement hours) and bond them to NZ for some period of time.

      • Anker 17.1.1

        Yes Craig and very good start.

        Also better pay, free parking, incentives to move to the areas that are savagely understaffed by nurses and Drs (?perhaps some sort of housing incentive)

        We have way to many bureaucrats and comms people, many of whom add nothing to our society

        • Craig H 17.1.1.1

          I've seen the value of a lot of bureaucrats and comms people up close, so am not as eager to ditch them personally, but that aside, there was a time when many government jobs came with a house or other accommodation. We're probably a long way from being able to do that widely, but reinstating that for more rural positions especially would help.

  18. Incognito 18

    Maybe you deliberately ignored the recent attack pieces by the hole-in-one man?

    Anywho, despite the considerable damage Sharma has done to his former team & colleagues he may also have given the necessary jolt to change things up.

  19. Nick Hamilton 19

    Something like 80% plus of people involved in the media professed to be left of centre politically. thus one the few occasions that a right of centre commentator is allowed air time they are excoriated by the other 80%.

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