Leadership Election: Candidates Start Painting Themselves Into Corners

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, October 30th, 2014 - 74 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, david parker, grant robertson, labour, Nanaia Mahuta - Tags: ,

lprent: At a rough guess this guest post is probably from a David Parker supporter. But hey, this is politics. Unlike me people have opinions (this is the hardest work I have ever had for a political campaign as a voter). It looks like guest posters are starting to wise up and are disappointingly not letting me select a classics title 🙁  


 

In my opinion Andrew Little has painted himself into a corner by bagging the Capital Gains Tax. I’m certain I  knocked on more doors and rang more punters in this election than Andrew  and capital gains tax was not an issue that turned off our voters.  The second problem for Little is his approach to Labour policy-setting. Labour’s policy is set by the members, the Policy Council and the Caucus. The days of the Leaders dictating policy on the fly, as happened in 1984, are over.

Robertson’s Pledge Card reads like a wish list – more politics than substance. The Party certainly needs to improve its organising capability but whether finding and funding regional organisers is the way to go again, is a decision that should not be only for the Leader to make. My estimate is that you would be hard put to pay a salary of less than $50k and with offices and travel costs (car included for at least four) of say another $30k, we are looking at a $500k per annum.  I think that sort of money would be much better used training and supporting hundreds, if not thousands of active Party members.

I’m also not at all sure about his Pledge Card plan to elect ‘members’ to the Election Campaign Committee. The Campaign Committee is, in my opinion, already too big to manage and any more elected members on it is a waste of time.  In fact, because of the day to day needs of a campaign, a much tighter team needs to be formed with demonstrated campaigning expertise.  Adding another layer to the already clogged representative morass that is the Labour Party, is a waste of time.  That is one area where the Leader should select people.

Former Cabinet Ministers Parker and Mahuta are the so-called back markers.

Parker has been a revelation.  By all accounts his Wellington effort was pretty good but Robertson and Little predictably gained more applause.  However, Parker’s Palmerston North effort was outstanding and he cleared away from the pack.  With a solid base in caucus I certainly won’t be writing him off. His trip to the Savage Memorial for Labour Day was a great stroke and from the TV it looked like he pulled a crowd – that may become a seminal moment in his career and it would be good to see him back regularly to respect MJ Savage on what is, effectively, his day – it fits with his outstanding speech at the Party Congress earlier this year.

Parker is sticking to his line that by improving working peoples lives we will have the time and money to look after the vulnerable.  Now that is not going to be easy, given that the jobs that supported the working class through the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s are gone – the freezing works, the car plants, F & P, the Railway workshops.  Parker will be addressing this at an event with entrepreneurs Rick Boven and Sel Pellet at the Polish Society on Sunday 2nd  at 430pm.  The discussion with business representatives also pitches Parker as somebody who can bridge the gaping chasm Labour currently has with the business community.

Nanaia Mahuta is an intelligent and insightful politician, experienced and well-grounded. Again one not to be overlooked. She will certainly have a major role of one sort or another in this coming Parliament and beyond.

InsideOut

74 comments on “Leadership Election: Candidates Start Painting Themselves Into Corners”

  1. Torney 1

    There is no doubt that Parker is smart and has strong social democratic convictions, but he is a policy wonk who loves the details and struggles to cast a vision that is much bigger than the conglomeration of those details.

    As Mahuta says, it is not about policy. The problem with Labour is much wider and deeper than that. I think all the leadership aspirants understand that, but only Robertson is painting anything like a path forwards.

  2. James Thrace 2

    Parker is tacking to the liberal side of the Labour party much like Cunliffe tacked to the socialist side.
    Either way it’s doomed to fail.

    Mahuta with her classic, and singular pitch to the community aspect of the party’s roots is really the only contender.

    Labour is for community. It is from the community. It is about helping communities succeed and recognises that communities do need help from central government because the market isn’t going to provide for the likes of Pahiatua, Tokoroa, Kawerau or Winton.

    That single point of recognition about community from Mahuta is what sealed the deal for me to vote for her.

  3. “I’m also not at all sure about his Pledge Card plan to elect ‘members’ to the Election Campaign Committee.”

    Yes because the unelected team they have already is doing a quite outstanding job at winning elections.

    • InsideOut 3.1

      The 2014 campaign team consisted of 5 elected representatives and 4 paid staffers.

      • The Al1en 3.1.1

        Elected reps from where? Do you mean mps, party members, affiliated unions or somewhere else?
        What was the breakdown?

        And who installed the staffers?

        • InsideOut 3.1.1.1

          I am uncertain as to the final membership of the team, but I think it may have been elected reps were: Women’s Vice President, a Regional Representative, President, Maori Vice President, Vice President. All positions elected by members.

          The Parliamentary team consisted of the Leader obviously and the appointed Campaign Manager and members of the Leaders office staff who provided technical expertise eg Rob Salmond etc. Another MP may have been on board and I think it was Phil Twyford who has the broadest campaign experience of anyone in Caucus.

      • Keir 3.1.2

        Isn’t Robertson suggesting the elected representatives be directly elected? We haven’t done that before as far as I know. (It is not the proposal of his I am the most keen on, but I’m ok trialling it.)

    • Ian H 3.2

      During the campaign I was phoned up twice by a Labour party person seeking my vote and had an interesting chat over the phone both times. No other party contacted me directly. The Labour organisation at electorate level seems to me to be just fine. The Labour party is lucky that it has so many committed people at grass roots level willing to campaign hard for it.

      But the committed volunteers need an electable parliamentary team to sell. That is why, as a center voter, I didn’t vote Labour this time around. It was nothing to do with how the campaign was run. It isn’t the advertising or the sales team. It is the product. If Labour candidates are trying to blame the campaign organisation for the loss, then they are pointing the finger at the wrong place

  4. her 4

    You say “capital gains tax was not an issue that turned off our voters” but it sure put off a lot of the others.

    I’d never vote for more taxes. Especially as I think a lot of the taxes we pay already are wasted.

    • Barfly 4.1

      ….and thank you for that comment on behalf of who? The Act Party?

    • Tracey 4.2

      You must have been gutted when GST went up, petrol and tobacco taxes went up… did it change who you voted for?

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.2.1

        Not to mention fee increases for filing company returns, prescription charges, and many others.

      • Clemgeopin 4.2.2

        and gutted with the loss of massive recurring revenue to the government when they stupidly sold our power company assets mainly to the wealthy….?

  5. Tracey 5

    “I’m certain I knocked on more doors and rang more punters in this election than Andrew” Really? On what basis?

    • InsideOut 5.1

      On the basis that i know how days he did door knocking and phoning and how many days I did – simple calculation – I did around 5 times combined than Andrew – and I wasn’t a candidate!

  6. Lanthanide 6

    “and capital gains tax was not an issue that turned off our voters”

    Missing the forest for the trees with that statement.

    • Tracey 6.1

      Wasnt there a poll at some point during the election which was in the 40’s or higher for capital gains tax support?

  7. AmaKiwi 7

    “capital gains tax was not an issue that turned off our voters.”

    Wrong.

    Absolutely, positively dead WRONG unless “our” voters means only lower economic level.

    My Chardonnay liberal friends said it was the MAIN reason they voted against Labour/Greens. Their rental properties are their only retirement plan and they are angry.

    • Tracey 7.1

      soooooo they voted national? ACT? How liberal of them 😉

      • Barfly 7.1.1

        amazing it’s 15% of the bloody profit ,,,,,15% ffs…..how goddam miserable do you have to be?

      • AmaKiwi 7.1.2

        Tracey (6.1)

        You can march outside parliament with a “I’m Politically Pure” sign.

        I want the Treasury benches.

        • Tracey 7.1.2.1

          good for you. self interest rules and when you get your treasury benches they will look a little like national.

          Nov 2013

          The poll of 1030 people found 52.3 per cent believed a capital gains tax on investment properties would help control rising house prices compared with 37.2 per cent who said the same of low-deposit lending limits. That support has risen since the August poll when 37.1 per cent thought a capital gains tax would be effective and 50.7 per cent said it would not.

          A total of 45.7 per cent of respondents said a capital gains tax was fair to first-home buyers, compared with 29.8 per cent who said the same of LVR restrictions.

          July 2014

          According to the poll of 750 New Zealanders earlier this month almost 41 per cent of respondents were either strongly or moderately in favour of the tax. That’s up from just under 38 per cent in July 2011 and more than 10 percentage points higher than the number of respondents who said they would vote Labour in September.

          In Auckland, 45 per cent of respondents backed the policy in the latest survey.

          Those across New Zealand strongly or moderately opposed went from 37 per cent in July 2011 to just under 35 per cent this month.

          • aj 7.1.2.1.1

            Labour had a several policies that had good public support in polls. Trouble is, they did not cast a vote in Labour’s direction. Many of them gave their party vote to national, whose policies has less support in those polls.
            Go figure.

    • DoublePlus Good 7.2

      Your Chardonnay friends will be fine if their rental properties were obtained with the idea of getting on-going rental income as a supplement to their retirement. CGT only affects them if they sell.
      If they were planning to buy up rental properties and then sell them for a capital gain, why shouldn’t they pay tax just like everyone who gets income from working for wages or salary?

      Plus, if your Chardonnay friends have only invested in a property market currently experiencing a huge bubble with the intention of reaping capital gains, instead of having a diverse investment portfolio, then that’s their own stupid fault for not minimising the risks of their investment. Which, I would have thought was the kind of Investing 101 basics that people who drink Chardonnay would know!

      • AmaKiwi 7.2.1

        DoubleCross Good (6.2)

        You’re missing the point. The question is, “How do we win an election?”

        The answer is, “By promoting popular policies which don’t offend an important block of voters and keeping your mouth shut about ones that will.”

        Get real. Learn from John Key. This is how politics works.

        • Liberal Realist 7.2.1.1

          Hear hear! +1

          Labour need to learn to take power first and then implement the progressive policies that the RightActNationalMSM block hate so much!

          National has been successful at implementing policies that no one wants such as the GST increase, by doing just that. Win the election first Labour!

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.3

      My Chardonnay liberal friends said it was the MAIN reason they voted against Labour/Greens. Their rental properties are their only retirement plan and they are angry.

      I hope they enjoy their retirements with their grandchildren forever renting those same properties from them (or their peer group). Or maybe the grandkids will be far away overseas as we are not making any room in our society for them.

      • les 7.3.1

        so how do you win them back?The 4 contenders for leader espouse feel good Labour values and ideology,but lets face it,they are preaching to the converted.

    • Nic the NZer 7.4

      Could somebody explain what a CGT is suppose to do for the economy? My understanding is that its suppose to re-balance away from housing and to investment in more productive areas, but every example of a country with a CGT also seems to have a large property bubble, e.g Canada, UK, Australia.

      On this basis we would have to question does this policy even work? It appears to be another example of main stream economic theory screwing up the economy. I can certainly see reasons that main-stream economics might think this policy works, when in fact it doesn’t or may even have a negative effect on what its trying to achieve.

      Its also easy to understand why its unpopular. Yes, a lot of people have their retirement funds as equity in property. Also Labour need to learn if you are going to introduce a policy like this you don’t do it as the government, you get the reserve bank to push it through. LVR restrictions which would have made National immensely unpopular were done this way, for obvious reason.

      The main basis for having a CGT appears to have been other countries do it, I certainly didn’t see anybody backing this policy willing to back that its actually going to solve any economic issues (because its at best unclear that it will do so). That’s really not a good basis for this policy and its a terrible reason for the Labour party to make itself un-electable by nailing its colours to the mast over it.

      • Liberal Realist 7.4.1

        Simple. CGT is fair.

        I pay tax on every dollar I earn, whether it be through investment or salary so anyone who makes profit from capital gains should pay as well. IMO it’s about closing a loophole. That said, the corporate loopholes need to be closed as well…

        The secondary effects are as you say, directing investment into productive and value add sectors of our economy. Investing in property produces nothing but price inflation when you’re investing only to make profit off capital gain.

        The international experience, IMO, is more about risky lending behavior by banks rather than CTGs being ineffective. They’re ineffective because of the lack of consequences for banks that over leverage themselves with risky debt – they know or knew they would/will be bailed out.

        • Nic the NZer 7.4.1.1

          “The secondary effects are as you say, directing investment into productive and value add sectors of our economy.”

          This is the problem actually, the model of banking where banks have limited ability to invest (used by many main-stream economic models), is wrong. At best then a CGT will just reduce investment in property. Banks can today (if they think its profitable) lend to both the productive sector and non-productive sector opportunities they see actually. This probably has a lot to do with why the economies I suggested which have a CGT, also have significant property bubbles and didn’t actually re-balance as a result of this policy.

          “Investing in property produces nothing but price inflation when you’re investing only to make profit off capital gain.”

          The reserve bank appears to disagree with this as well. They are not overly focused on property price increases as part of their inflation measures for one thing.

          If the left can’t put a stake in the ground and show examples where the CGT has actually made a difference to the behaviour of the economy then its fully correct to say its just a jealousy tax. This policy should be abandoned, it clearly doesn’t do anything useful to the economy.

          Fairness has nothing to do with it by the way. Labour was not proposing to reduce other taxes based on introducing a CGT (say removing GST in return) they were proposing to introduce CGT. I know they will say it allows the government to pay for more stuff, but that’s actually poppycock and the government can already pay for all the social spending it wants to in its budget, without raising additional taxes and regardless of what the deficit/surplus situation is.

    • Paul 7.5

      Hardly socialists then, are they.
      Looking after number 1.
      Probably mumble other nonsense they learnt parrot fashion from ZB.

  8. Barfly 8

    I’m fine with CGT but it’s complicated, cumbersome and a huge target to shoot criticism at.

    I m voting for Andrew Little his talk of utilizing the strength of the Unions membership to help the Labour Party’s efforts is an example of the leadership the party needs.

    • Tracey 8.1

      I guess that’s why so many western countries dont have it. 🙄

      • The Lone Haranguer 8.1.1

        Tracey,

        Governments love taxes. if a nearby one has one the neighbouring ones will look on with envy till they can have one too.

        I would suggest a capital tax (1% per annum maybe) would be easier to operate, and a lot fairer. Tax all capital as equal.

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    I spoke to Parker about the capital gains tax.

    He was deaf. “More people want the capital gains tax than voted Labour” he said to me.

    The stupidity was trumpeting a policy which enraged a significant number of voters.

    When we win the election we appoint a commission to recommend making the tax system fairer. Surprise! The commission recommends a capital gains tax and the Labour/Green government simply enacts their recommendation.

    Key does it all the time. Get someone else to take the heat for your unpopular policies.

  10. Jenny Kirk 10

    ” Parker is sticking to his line that by improving working peoples lives we will have the time and money to look after the vulnerable. Now that is not going to be easy, given that the jobs that supported the working class through the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s are gone – the freezing works, the car plants, F & P, the Railway workshops. ”

    Inside Out also forgot to mention the more recent loss of jobs in manufacturing and elsewhere, and the older people made redundant who find it difficult to get a new job, plus the spectre of raising the superannuation age. This was Parker’s baby, and he didn’t resile from it one little bit …… so how does this “improve working people’s lives” – when it was very clear that working people did not like this particular policy ?

    • Skinny 10.1

      I agree Jenny, Parker is now copying Little by going down the future of work track. The more the merrier I guess, however not very original of him.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    Jenny Kirk (9)

    “Parker is sticking to his line that by improving working peoples lives we will have the time and money to look after the vulnerable.”

    Parker’s version of trickle down economics.

    • @ amakiwi..

      “..Parker’s version of trickle down economics…”

      ..aye..!

      ..or..shorthand for:..’don’t worry..!..i’ll continue to ignore the poor..!’

  12. Jenny Kirk 12

    Of course, AmaKiwi – just a new way of saying it so it sounds good !

  13. Pat O'Dea 13

    “Parker is sticking to his line that by improving working peoples lives we will have the time and money to look after the vulnerable.”
    INSIDEOUT

    With his support for fracking, deep sea oil drilling and new coal mine expansion, David Parker echoes John Key’s claim that economic growth will be the best way to eliminate poverty. However a growing economy, or in fact any economy at all, is impossible without a suitable climate to sustain it.

    This is where the economic theories of Key and Parker come unstuck, and they begin to look like raving lunatics completely removed from the real physical world where they hope to implement their theories.

    • les 13.1

      ‘its the economy stupid’…thats why Key just won a 3rd term.

      • AmaKiwi 13.1.1

        @ les

        1,000% correct. “It’s the economy stupid.”

        Adolph Hitler was ELECTED leader of Germany despite his dictatorial policies. He won because the economy was a shambles and the people were prepared to accept the distasteful side of Nazism in the hope the Nazis would cure unemployment. And for a while, they did. It took a lot of workers to prepare for war.

        • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1.1

          As a parallel, our coming war is with the depletion and unaffordability of liquid fossil fuels over the next 20-30 years. And climate change mitigation. These things require an entire retooling of our nation’s basic and productive infrastructure.

          So there is a huge amount of work which this country needs to get on with immediately, and a massive number of jobs can be productively created from that work.

          This is what Labour has to do, no one else can, or will. Playing games with the retirement age or a 15% CGT is like taking a row boat out through the coming typhoon.

        • swordfish 13.1.1.2

          Nazis never attained more than 38% of the vote in a free election. They ultimately obtained power through a series of manoeuvres approaching a constitutional coup d’état.

          • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1.2.1

            And this is the lesson: we can never underestimate and let our guard down around a fundamentally fascist movement. Once they are proximal to the levers of power, they can go the rest of the way via subversion, propaganda and violence.

            They don’t have to be let into the thrown room. Once they get any entry to the castle they will take it by force.

          • AmaKiwi 13.1.1.2.2

            @ Swordfish (12.1.1.2)

            38% is 13% more than Labour in 2014.

        • Bob 13.1.1.3

          Hitler never got close to 50% of the vote he just engineered himself into the position.

      • Paul 13.1.2

        You mean the rockstar one with 80 million debt, reliant one the one trick of milk solids, which are in decline.
        Oh yes and the Christchurch rebuild.
        I must say for someone who claims not to be a tr***, you echo Slater and Farrar’s lines by an amazing coincidence.

        • les 13.1.2.1

          amazing vitriol…that line comes from Clinton…it reflects how voters feel about their personal finances ,they like confidence,safety and consistency…if you haven’t figured that out yet..what hope is there!

  14. odysseus 14

    My interpretaion of what Mr Parker is pointing out here is that the lower to middling paid working people in society ( the conservative centre if you like ) , have better ” buy – in” to their taxes supporting the welfare state, if their economic prospects are also improving.
    And that is not an unreasonable proposition.

  15. Craig Glen Eden 16

    Capital gains tax is an issue alright because all people hear is TAX. The ins and outs of does it apply to them was totally lost on most people.

    • AmaKiwi 16.1

      @ Craig Glen Eden

      “all people hear is TAX” Absolutely. I cringed when during one of the debates Key pointed at Cunliffe and said “5 new taxes” (or maybe it was 4).

      Key repeated it a few minutes later, knowing how damaging it was.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 16.1.1

        Five.
        For a few of us watching that, it was like a loud, resounding take-away message from Key for that debate.

  16. Tania 17

    Im supporting Nanaia all the way

  17. BLiP 18

    How about the four contenders all agree to be Co-Leaders and show Labour Party members they can work together in a communal way? Or, perhaps, the sharing of power in the Labour Party is so novel a concept that it has escaped the Caucus eye?

    Here’s an idea – what say the election includes an option for “none of the above” and if there are more than 50% of votes for “none of the above”, the candidates have two-weeks to present something else? In my model, the candidates would not be paid during that two week reassessment period. [Hat Tip: Russell Brand]

    But, yeah – it is the Labour Party and changes to the rules at this stage would bring the whole heaving organisation to a staggering halt for six to twelve months of protracted promulgating.

    How long til this thing is over?

    • Anne 18.1

      Hopefully it’ll be all over on the 18th November (this year) but only if my choice wins. 👿

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