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Polity: A paucity of vision?

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, June 9th, 2014 - 68 comments
Categories: labour - Tags: , , , ,

polity_square_for_lynnHey, we won’t get in the way of a good stoush on the net about Labour’s policies, in fact we will encourage it. Here is Rob Salmond’s response to Idiot Savant’s post at No Right Turn. NRT’s post was going up later in the day, but this is way more fun. We’d also suggest that people look at Mike Smith’s post from this morning and last night (that probably has the nuttier conspiracy theorists going by now) for a third point of view.

I/S at NoRightTurn isn’t impressed with Labour’s recent policy announcements. I do not agree with his analysis. I would like to have made my points as a comment at his site, but NRT is comment-free. So instead I will respond by re-posting his words here, with some commentary interspersed.

Labour made a policy announcement today: special earthquake courts, to resolve Christchurch’s insurance case backlog. Which as great as far as it goes, but still a little meh. The same could be said about last week’s “big” policy announcement, the restoration of adult and community education. Yes, its good, yes, ACE is valuable, but as policies go its just a little… small. As for their other campaign “highlight”, keeping trucks out of the fast lane and cheap registration for caravans, the less said about it the better.

None of these policies are particularly bad, and some are even good. Its just that they’re nothing-policies, tweaks around the edges, and together they speak to a paucity of vision. From their policies so far, you’d think that Labour’s grand vision for New Zealand is “the same as it is now, only it works a little better” (except of course in superannuation, where they promise to make people’s lives worse). If you needed a better example of their diagnosis that the fundamental problem with our country is that some other people (rather than them) have the comfy seats and the fat ministerial salary packages, you’d struggle to find one.

I/S seems to suffer from widespread amnesia. Labour has diagnosed much, much larger issues in New Zealand society than night classes and caravan fees. These issues harm everyday people, and the current government is refusing to address them. Housing prices are an obvious one, so too is the cost of living, especially power. Inequality is a third, at an individual level, because of the hollowing out of our regions, and in opportunities for young kids.

In response, Labour already has bold, large-scale plans to shake-up the housing sector, improve the quality of rental homes, decrease the cost of power, re-tool our tax system, kick-start our regions, and so on.

Portraying Labour as the status quo with a lower caravan rego is false and disingenuous.

Labour’s campaign supposedly revolves around re-contacting the “missing million” and persuading them to vote again. To point out the obvious, I don’t think anything announced recently is going to do that. People who feel that politics isn’t about them and offers them nothing are hardly likely to flock to the ballot boxes because the government promises to clean up a disaster at the other end of the country a little better. And I really don’t think anyone will go “cheap caravan registration? Two ticks for Labour!” It just looks like more vision-less managerialism from a party which has given up on them, and given up on the idea of change. And while Labour has bigger policies – paid parental leave and regional development – its just more of the same, more tinkering around the edges. Its been offered before and rejected; what makes them think the “missing million” will bite this time?

First, Labour’s campaign is not solely focused around turning out the missing million. Labour knows that it also has to win back some of the people who used to vote for Helen Clark but have recently voted for John Key. If Labour does not do any of that, the left loses. Labour will do that with boldness and persuasion, not insipid pandering – witness KiwiBuild, NZ Power, etc.

Second, Labour’s campaign to increase turnout is not based around a grab-bag of small-fry ideas. Labour’s campaign is based around a vision of a country where more New Zealanders can again afford to own the roof over their head, keep the bills at bay, and provide a great start in life for their kids.

Michael Joseph Savage promised us a better New Zealand, one fundamentally different from the past. Norman Kirk promised generational change and modernisation. David Lange promised the same (while Roger Douglas betrayed everything). Even Helen Clark promised this. By contrast, modern Labour promises nothing. All it offers is the status quo, only with different faces (and in fact it offers worse than that, because they’ll fuck you over on superannuation). Please forgive me for not caring.

Well, please forgive me for not caring about complaints from bloggers who conveniently ignore Labour’s major policies while declaring Labour has no major policies.

68 comments on “Polity: A paucity of vision? ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Here’s how it works – as though you need me to tell you this: Labour announces major policy, media invents a nickname for it then leads with comment from John Key. Labour announces minor policy, media criticises lack of focus on major issues.

    • blue leopard 1.1

      I agree. And it appears to be working – even for some on the left, who really should know better.
      Why oh why do people keep falling for these tricks?

      My suggestion: Take everything that is said about Labour and their policies, particularly by National and the mainstream media, with a grain of salt until you find good proof that it is accurate. i.e. reverse the tendency to trust what is said is true until proven otherwise.

      Question – don’t simply believe what is said

    • Saarbo 1.2

      Exactly +1

      If anyone has any doubts about RNZ moving Right then listen to their news reports from yesterday afternoon reporting on Labours Earthquake court…they quoted the Insurance Council and Brownlee, continuously through the afternoon. I would have thought they could have interviewed some people from chch who have been waiting for action for 4 years.

      Hopeless RNZ, don’t forget that you represent the people not big business.

  2. clean up a disaster at the other end of the country“???

    Some of us live ‘at the other end of the country’. (Some live even further ‘away’.)

    Also, the loss of votes between 2008 and 2011 for Labour in Christchurch was principally a loss of votes to ‘not voting’, rather than to National. Certainly, some went the Green’s way but the rest just vanished.

    Anything that appeals to the ‘missing’ tens of thousands in Christchurch is an appeal to the non-voters.

    • Tracey 2.1

      i love the other end of this country. For what it is worth i am only one of many aucklanders i know who DO give a shit about tge people of christchurch and kaiapoi.

      • weka 2.1.1

        Am kind of gobsmscked that nrt said that.

        • swordfish

          Yeah, my jaw dropped at that, too.

          But, to be scrupulously fair to I/S, we need to look at his broader context. He’s arguing from the point of view of the alienated Greater Auckland sub-set of the ‘Missing Million’. And wondering if a policy on the Chch earthquake re-build is going to mobilise Aucklanders who didn’t vote in 2011 to vote this time.

          But, still, it was a pretty harsh way of putting it.

    • Populuxe1 2.2

      The disaster at the other end of the country being the country’s second largest city and the main service hub for nearly half the country. But we’re used to being peripheral to teh JAFA mentality after all these many years.

      • lprent 2.2.1

        Funny thing is that I/S doesn’t live up in JAFA country. I do, and I also have a hell of a lot of relatives and friends most places. Virtually all Aucklanders do.

        But I guess he could be talking about the more recent immigrant communities from the English to the Sri Lankans. Of course the largest immigrant groups up here are from other parts of NZ, including these days a very sizeable recent group from Christchurch.

  3. adam 3

    But Rob, if Labour still embraces the current economic dogma – by definition they are little more than tinkerers. I’m sorry but to me that is the problem. Yes it could be argued, most people don’t understand the economic – but I think that is being disingenuous. I know those in power, hate the working class, but they are being shallow and vacuous if they think the tinkers gifts of silver plate is going to work again.

    • blue leopard 3.1

      How is aiming at full employment, including shifting the goalposts of treasury to achieve it, following current economic dogma?
      How are statements along the lines of ‘all New Zealanders should share the wealth of the country, not just a few’ pursuing current economic dogma?

      I accept they haven’t shaken off the major dogma – yet do believe what they are proposing is enabling that to happen.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        How is aiming at full employment, including shifting the goalposts of treasury to achieve it, following current economic dogma?

        It’s exactly following the current economic dogma. Compare and contrast this plan:

        Just hire 50,000 people into full time work goddamit, with an emphasis on those who are 25 and younger, instead of hoping that market signals, price incentives and Reserve Bank policy is going to do the hard work for you.

        • blue leopard

          No it is not following the current dogma
          If you look at unemployment rates – they jumped up when neo-liberalism (Rogernomics) came in and have remained higher than prior to that time – this isn’t a coincidence, nor can it be put down to incompetence, it is because the focus on unemployment was actively dropped and was placed solely on inflation.

          (used drop down menu on the left to extend the range of years)

          If you look at ‘unemployed persons’ it is even clearer how many people such an approach is failing. One could be forgiven for thinking the high levels of immigration could simply be being used to cover these huge numbers of people without a livelihood from the general public’s awareness (If people are imported that have jobs/create jobs the unemployment ‘rate’ can drop without providing any jobs to those without them.)


          Since neo-liberalism came in, any concern re unemployment has had nothing to do with how it affects people without livelihoods and everything to do with manipulating the stats to make the problem go away from public awareness and when that fails encourage the public to blame the unemployed for the high rates of unemployment, whilst continuing to advantage business owners by keeping the minimum wage at a minimum – so much so that you now need supplements from the government to make ends [barely] meet – even with a job – when on the minimum wage.

          Cunliffe’s message speaking of aiming for jobs of all and raising the wages of jobs that exist may be lost on you, but not for me. It is a watershed in the narrative.

          I hope that Labour get in so they can finish the good job they did on lowering unemployment when they were last in power – the only government to achieve such low rates since neoliberalism came in – and to show that it is unacceptable to blame people for falling victim to government approaches that breed unemployment.

          • Colonial Viper

            You can only lower unemployment by increasing spending into the economy.

            Labour is talking about running a government surplus which says that if there is to be any spending into the economy, they won’t be the ones doing it, other than minor elements here and there with the onshoring of government contracts.

            Cunliffe can talk about jobs for all, but why doesn’t Labour just create 50,000 jobs instead of trying to coax the market to deliver – which will not happen.

            I hope that Labour get in so they can finish the good job they did on lowering unemployment when they were last in power

            In our current system you can only lower unemployment by increasing spending into the economy – usually by using big debt increases.

            • blue leopard

              It is well and good, CV, that you may come up with better schemes, however it doesn’t take away from the fact that Cunliffe is giving very clear signals that they are changing the narrative and shifting the focus. I think this has been done quite subtly, in a way – which is clever because it doesn’t get the defenses up of those who might have to change their ways of thinking and behaviour – however the down-side of this subtlety is that it is clearly going over the heads of some on the left!

              That Cunliffe has signaled this shift is what I was pointing out to Adam – not that there may not be better ways of going about it (not sure if your scheme is better or not – just saying it may be)

              “In our current system you can only lower unemployment by increasing spending into the economy – usually by using big debt increases.”

              Unless you discourage the speculation of [squandering of ] capital and encourage it into productive enterprises – another clear message Labour have given regarding their intentions. This is yet another issue that Labour has signaled they intend to address and provided concrete examples of how they will do that and, again, it is another issue that has simply been ignored for years

  4. mikesh 4

    The West’s best times economically seem to have been the Keynesian period from the end of WWII to the mid seventies. A retreat from neoliberalism and a return to Keyneianism should therfore be what Labour is promising. Instead they seem intent on apeing National by committing themselves to balanced budgets etc. And if they will have to borrow in order to impliment Keynesian “demand management” policies, they should be promising to do it by borrowing from the Reserve Bank, as we used to do in earlier times, rather than from Westpac.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      The West’s best times economically seem to have been the Keynesian period from the end of WWII to the mid seventies. A retreat from neoliberalism and a return to Keyneianism should therfore be what Labour is promising.

      Not possible; you cannot today replicate the cheap energy, cheap resources, and flood of productive young workers (consumers) entering the economy during those years.

      • mikesh 4.1.1

        I agree cheap energy had a lot to do with the prosperity that we enjoyed in the immediate post war period, but a return to keynesianism would still be preferable to the more recent neoliberal alternative.

        • Colonial Viper

          We need a new formula for a new era mate, some elements of Keynesian economics will be useful here and there, but to what end? Just so people have well paid jobs, get wealthier and then use that wealth consume more useless shit at the cost of additional resource extraction and climate change?

          Nah the paradigm needs to change.

          • Bluey

            We do need a paradigm change, but it’s never going to happen under the current system; too many vested interests of the elite who believe they can control their destiny with money and power.
            Until there is a pile of rubble, nothing will change one iota.

            • phillip ure

              as depressing as it is..i agree with bluey..

              ..humans are fools..!

              ..and seriously..!..i have yet to see anything inspirational from labour…

              ..national-lite pretty much covers it..

              ..no poverty-busting policies on view..just a bit of tweaking around the edges..

              ..all the talk is of ‘children’..and ‘workers’..and ‘growth’…

              ..once again labour just ignores those in real poverty…

              ..and drilling/mining etc etc..?..all still go..!..(climatechange..?..what climatechange..?..)

              ..labours’ boosters are really drawing a long bow..

              ..getting disgruntled at those disgruntled with labour..


          • mikesh

            “We need a new formula for a new era mate, some elements of Keynesian economics will be useful here and there, but to what end? Just so people have well paid jobs, get wealthier and then use that wealth consume more useless shit at the cost of additional resource extraction and climate change?”

            I don’t think the above criticism is any more applicable to keynesianism than to another paradigm that you could come up with. What sort of policy will halt consumption? Euthanasia?

  5. Michael 5

    I agree with I/S – Labour’s caucus is timid, managerial and risk averse. The people Labour needs to vote for it are oppressed by the status quo, so why would they bother voting for it? At the very least, a pledge to establish a Universal Basic Income (preferably by exempting the first 10K of income from tax, including welfare benefits and weekly compensation) would demonstrate to the people that Labour understands their needs and is capable of delivering to them.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Instead, Labour wiped out the first $5000 income tax free and is lifting the retirement age.

    • Bluey 5.2

      Agree, so much could be achieved by tax policy without really changing anything. I heard yesterday Germany has first 17,000 euro tax free.
      Imagine if we had something similar here, along with financial transaction tax, capital gains tax, carbon tax, combined with existing taxes.
      Then I would introduce variable tax rates, administered by an independent body such as the reserve bank. Instead of playing with interest rates, kiwisaver or other means of reducing the money supply, just increase variable tax rates when inflationary pressures are high and reduce when low. Simple Keynesian economics, benefits exporters through lower exchange rates and everyone else (apart from savers) with lower interest rates.

      • Hanswurst 5.2.1

        News to me. There is an income threshold of 8,000 before one has to start paying tax, if I recall correctly, which is something a bit different. Your source may be getting confused with the income tax threshold for married couples, or with the small business law, which states that a business or self-employed person only has to register for turnover tax in the first year after they cross the 17,500EUR threshold. Having said that, Germany does have a far more progressive tax system and stronger welfare state than NZ.

  6. just saying 6

    Labour’s campaign is based around a vision of a country where more New Zealanders can again afford to own the roof over their head, keep the bills at bay, and provide a great start in life for their kids.

    This, for me is the pivotal statement. Labour used to be committed to everyone having a fair deal, a chance to participate in their community, to have the dignity of being able to pay their bills. This statement is restating Labour’s committment to look after its own – the middle class.

    This is what Labour stands for nowadays – kiwibuild for example, ensures that the children of their tribe can get into a brand new home. I’m sure under Labour regimes the middle class are more likely to treated more justly even by WINZ or ACC if they fall on hard times. This is what they are telling the electorate – if you are middle class we will look after you. If not……

  7. fambo 7

    The Greens had the best plan for Christchurch and that was simply having an additional small tax for a number of years to cover the cost of the rebuild. Simple as that.

    After the 1931 Napier/Hastings earthquake did the government sit around insisting the Napier and Hastings City Councils should be paying a good part of the bill? Ridiculous.

    • alwyn 7.1

      I suggest that you go and look at what actually did happen in Hawkes Bay before making remarks like this.

      The Government of the day did precisely that. It provided very little in the way of grants and provided any relief by means of loans that businesses and the local bodies were expected to repay.

      I suggest you read this


      The Earthquake Act talked about was an inadequate loan of 1.5 million pounds. In practice the councils could not repay these loans and the Napier, but not the Hastings, debt was written of in 1938. When you ask “did the government sit around insisting the Napier and Hastings City Councils should be paying a good part of the bill?” the answer is damn right they did.

      • Puddleglum 7.1.1

        Hi alwyn,

        From your link:

        Economist Simon Chapple, who analysed the economic impact of the quake in a 1997 paper for the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, estimated the cost of damage at about 3.5 million – $168m today.

        The Hawke’s Bay Earthquake Act 1931 granted 1.5m to the province, of which 1.25m was for private relief and 250,000 for local bodies. On top of this, the government gave 274,000 for repairing public buildings, railway lines and bridges and immediate relief expenses. The province received a further 1m in charity from a relief fund and donations from around the world, meaning all up about 2.5m was contributed to the Bay, leaving a 1m shortfall.

        The sum was nowhere near enough and local bodies were forced to raise loans. The council itself could not service the interest on its government loan, let alone the capital, and businesses were crippled by interest payments.

        BY 1938 Napier was on the brink of bankruptcy and the Labour government of the day came to its rescue by writing off the council’s loans, prompting howls of protest from Hastings, which was not granted the same favour.

        The cost of the rebuild was $168m (in today’s dollars). About 5/7 of that ($120m approx. ) was provided by charity and the government. In the end, the government bailed out Napier from bankruptcy.

        I took from the article that the one thing the government of the day did wrong was leave Napier and Hastings to hang out to dry.

        So fambo is at least correct in stating that such an approach was ‘ridiculous’.

        It was. It is an approach that involves dismissively breaking the contract that binds us together into a nation state.

        And, interestingly, the government that followed that approach had the simplistic ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstraps’ mentality that is completely ignorant of how modern cities and communities (not to mention individuals and families) exist – through deep interdependencies with other places and with the state, all of which take time to develop.

        Suddenly rebuilding a city from near-scratch is not something that can be done alone.

        The article actually suggests that the government was ‘ok’ about the cities simply dying and not regenerating.

        That would be a lunatic approach to take to Christchurch.

        • alwyn

          I must admit that I took the word “ridiculous” to mean that Fambo thought that the idea that the cities were expected to pay for things was ridiculous and that the Government provided all the assistance in the 30s.
          It was that that I thought was wrong. ie that the Government did do that, not that the idea that they would have was the thing that was ridiculous. If I have misinterpreted his meaning I apologise.
          Note that the 1.5 million was not a grant. It was only a loan and people, and local bodies had to repay it. I believe there was a high interest rate.
          The main thing that got Hawkes Bay going again was the almost dictatorial powers of the Commissioners. What they said went.
          The amazing thing in Napier, with which I am most familiar, was how quickly the CBD was rebuilt. Most of the buildings seem to have dates of 1932 and 1933 on them. Christchurch would have been finished a couple of years ago if they had been that fast.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            …but unfortunately, the National Party was in government.

            • alwyn

              The New Zealand National Party wasn’t founded until May 1936.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Are you having trouble with English comprehension? Do you see the three little dots at the start of my comment? That means you read the comment as appended to the last sentence of the previous comment.

                Glad to help you out.

          • Puddleglum

            Well, to be honest, I took that meaning from fambo’s comment too.

            I just played with it a bit and attributed a ‘kinder’ meaning to it 🙂

            And, yes, it sounds like the Commissioners in Hawkes Bay did a real ‘public service’ job, albeit dictatorially.

            Then again, I’d want to read a bit more about it (you will know far more about it than me) because these things are hardly ever straightforward – though the mythologised history can sometimes make it look that way.

  8. Blue 8

    I have heard ‘Labour has no policies’ bleated often enough by ordinary folk to be concerned. I don’t agree – Labour has loads of policies, stacks and stacks compared to National, and there are several big ticket items, such as Kiwibuild, in there.

    But people aren’t aware of them or have forgotten them, and it is a challenge for Labour to remind them about all that. It’s a tough thing to do though, given that the media would rather talk about anything other than policy and they hardly ever condescend to give Labour policy much attention. Usually just one low-placed article saying ‘Labour announces X’ followed by ‘John Key says it won’t work’ and then some right wing commentator trashes both the policy and David Cunliffe and that’s the end of it.

    I’ve been thinking that Labour might have to revive the pledge cards or something to get word out there.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 8.1

      +1 Blue

    • alwyn 8.2

      A problem for the Labour Party is that Cunliffe won’t come out and say what the details of the party policies are. When you get wishy-washy statements they tend to be ignored.
      A couple of examples I would offer are.

      1. What should the level of net migration be? On Q&A (I think) last week he said that the level was too high and that Labour would cut it. When asked what the level should be he refused to put a number on it, basically saying that that was up to John Key to say! What on earth does that say about his ability to lead?
      2. When asked about whether there should be a by-election, as if such a thing was possible, for Epsom he won’t come out and say yes or no. He simply waffles about how he would discuss it with other parties. Given that National has already said they don’t want one it really doesn’t matter a bit what any other parties except Labour think. National plus Labour is more than 75%. Without Labour there is less than 75%. Why can’t he just make up his mind and say Yea or Nay?

      Cunliffe is meant to be the leader of the opposition. Why can’t he behave like it instead of refusing to come out with any firm opinions and leave him wafling so painfully? Is he afraid that the ABC section of the party will automatically kneecap him?

      • Nordy 8.2.1

        Another day another troll attacking Cunliffe.

        1. Net migration – it always has and always will be a balance of competing objectives which ebb and flow over time. Cunlife was clear the balance is currently wrong and why.
        2. It called MMP… duh…… just because you want to work in absolutes doesn’t mean others with more political nouse will.

        If you actually read what he has said, you will see many firm and clear views and opinions, and policy.

        As the saying goes patience is a virtue….the election is not today, tomorrow or next week.

        • Once was Tim

          Except that on either the Nation or Q+A (can’t remember which – I can only handle both programmes in very small doses) when he was repeatedly asked if he intended reducing immigration – he missed an opportunity. He could have said something like ‘not necessarily – together with policies around regional development, new New Zealanders will have work and housing opportunities in regional centres rather than exacerbating the housing crisis in Auckland and Christchurch’.

      • Lanthanide 8.2.2

        Yip, Cunliffe ended up looking like a mug on the migration thing. He strayed into the middle territory: saying there is a problem and they will “do something” about it, but not saying what their solution would be.

        If they’d said “it seems like there’s a problem and we’ll set up a working group to investigate it” or come out with explicit plans, that would have been better. Perhaps they were manoeuvred into saying they would do something by the media.

        As for the by-election issue, I hadn’t heard that. But there’s no way Labour would want one to go ahead and be branded as the party that wastes taxpayers money.

        • alwyn

          On the election thing I agree. There is no way that any party should be silly enough to come out and support a by-election that would be moot by the time a result could be declared.
          Why doesn’t he just come out and say so? Just state. “Labour will support a motion that removes the need for a by-election in Epsom”. There, wasn’t that easy?

          Of course we have MMP. It doesn’t mean we have to have unanimity though.

    • Bluey 8.3

      I want Key out of there as much as anyone, and I agree with you, but I think Labour have to keep their cards tight until the right moment, and then slay Key in the debates just before the election.
      He is susceptible when he doesn’t have his Crosby Textor script drummed into him.
      Otherwise the media and spin will control the outcome.

      • Colonial Viper 8.3.1

        Yeah but this isn’t about “slaying Key” in a one hour debate, not only is that a very dangerous tactic as Key is outstanding in those forums, but more importantly you can’t build a narrative for change in a one hour debate nor any understanding of the more complex issues facing NZ. And the non-voters the Left need to reach will probably not be watching those debates.

        • Bluey

          You can build the narrative without divulging the detail.
          Key is atrocious in debates where he has no script, his arse squirms, he looks embarrassed. Dotcom picked this up, with his “why are you turning red”. No reason Cunliffe can’t do that.
          Surely they have more than 1 hour! And yes, it won’t be capturing the non-voters but there are already other mechanisms in place for them, it is about the centre swingers.

          • Ant

            Key can lie in debates and not get called on it, he will spout bullshit numbers whereas Cunliffe will be getting fact checked and questioned for weeks.

            It isn’t a level playing field, relying on the debates will be a mistake.

            • Ross

              Key can lie in debates and not get called on it

              But we now have Pete George (!) with his fact-checking. Key will be toast. 🙂

  9. philj 9

    Sure the MSM is biased against the left.
    I think Labour’s inner sanctum is at odds with it’s own beliefs. This explains a lot. And National Radio is getting worse by the week. It took a wee while but Mission accomplished Mr Griffen.

  10. cricklewood 10

    I/S does have a point to a degree,
    Take Kiwi power in real terms it wont put a lot extra in your pocket at the end of the day in that respect not major.

    Kiwibuild slightly more affordable houses for the middle classes all good but hardly the large scale social housing we really need.

    Raising the age of Super eligibility, nothing to like about that for the working class

    Major policies yes but will they make a real difference to those that need it most? I have my doubts.

    Some of the communication has been fairly poor the immigration cuts were poorly handled as it was fairly clear from the stats that a dramatic drop would be politically difficult if not impossible to make rather better to acknowledge it and point to providing more housing ie Kiwibuild to soften the pressure on housing.
    A united front on internet mana would also have been nice.
    I have no internal connection to the party but I cant help but feel caucus are pulling in different directions and each to their own agenda.

  11. fisiani 11

    If Labour’s bold plans like Kiwibuild and KiwiPower see them languishing in the polls then surely it is time for a real change in direction. Follow Matt’s advice and go far to the Left. KiwiFood and KiwiCar and KiwiSchools. The British Labour party had it in their constitution for years Clause IV “To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”
    Go on you know you want to.

  12. Binders full of women 12

    I think NRT made a mistake.. the policy was actually- Nigella Lawson was banned from driving a truck in the fastlane unless it was a truck towing a unregistered caravan. Soooooo important for all of us who don’t live in Herne Bay!!

  13. Colonial Viper 13

    What the fuck Polity.

    There is only one way to solve the Auckland housing crisis. Don’t force 1/3 of NZ into 0.2% the land area.

    The answer is not to build a load of $450,000 houses and try and pass them off as “affordable.”

    Labour’s campaign is based around a vision of a country where more New Zealanders can again afford to own the roof over their head, keep the bills at bay, and provide a great start in life for their kids.

    I’m so fucking over this. Less than 20 years to go until we fall off the steep end of global energy depletion and the best you think Labour can offer is this unconvincing* visionless shit.

    What historical purpose is the Labour Party here to fulfil? It looks to me (and many others) like it’s just marking time*.

    *Which explains why the Labour Party can’t keep it’s head over 31% in the polls despite how appallingly Key’s government treats the ordinary Kiwi.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Further – harking back to Norman Kirk’s words of the early 70’s is fine and dandy but what is Labour’s future vision for the role of our nation and our people in a vastly different environment?

      • Perpetual phoney war under conditions of a security and surveillance state.
      • A global corporate and banking elite intent on oligarchic rule over the top of sovereign states.
      • Climate change caused by the very energy sources the global economy depends on.
      • Fossil fuel depletion: crude oil to be unaffordable by most circa 2030, natural gas by circa 2040, coal by 2050/2060
      • The end of the Cold War but massive new geopolitical tensions centring on the Pacific and eventually on Antarctica.
      • RedLogix 13.1.1

        Thanks CV. Just a quick note beyond the usual + (some random number).

        It’s natural to feel nostalgic about Norman Kirk – he was probably the last authentic Labour leader you could have some faith in. At least for those of us old enough to remember him.

        Most voters have no such memories. Many still have not forgotten the Douglas betrayal. And while they may have respected Helen Clark, many did not warm to her.

        The New Zealand I grew up in is gone. A small part of me mourns that fact every day. And the world I grew up in is gone too – and that short but succinct list of yours is a list of challenges the great Labour leaders of our past never had to face.

        Maybe the nation-state is no longer equipped to deal with challenges of this nature – maybe the left needs to look beyond nation scale politics. Certainly for a long while now I have believed that our focus here at The Standard has been too inward looking at the NZ scene. Yes we do make some reference to overseas events – but only rarely is this translated into global links with people and events outside of our own very narrow little Beltway.

        • Tracey

          as long as our two main parties and a few others rely on policies designed to get people “more” instead of teaching by leading by example how to use less, of everything….

    • “..I’m so fucking over this. Less than 20 years to go until we fall off the steep end of global energy depletion and the best you think Labour can offer is this unconvincing* visionless shit..”

      ..+ 1..

  14. Gruntie 14

    So IS is wrong – no worries then – a cakewalk for Labour – yeah right

  15. alternative headline:

    labour:..a ‘paucity’ of coherent-narrative..

    (and shed the question-mark..we all know that’s true..)

    (said while pointing @ national:..’we’re not quite as bad as them..!’.)

  16. Another Polity reprint backing the ABC line of corporate Labour.

    The EQC court is a pathetic response to the needs of homeless ChCh people.

    Its three years to late and should have come as a package including a return to a single State Insurance Co in response to the profiteering by foreign private insurance across the country on the back of the ChCh earthquake.

    Labour does not have a ‘poor-city of vision’.

    Its ‘vision’ as about the same as the NACTs.

    It takes for granted the NACTs framing of ChCh as a natural disaster to be used as the test bed for destroying working class existence by atomising them in legal minefields forever. This where the LP lives today in the pocket of the banks and Insurance cos.

    ChCh would not be ‘at the other end of the country’ if Labour was capable of turning the ChCh rebuild into the poster child for a campaign to bury neo-liberalism in the whole country, taking all green banked land under a Public Works Act, building decent state houses for all the homeless with the labour of the unemployed, free public transport, and to give ‘full employment’ some substance, by creating jobs for all wherever the need exists.

    This would win back all the working class non-voters who have given up on Labour’s corporate subservience, and soon sort out which ‘middle’ voters Labour could win back.

  17. RedLogix 17

    I’m much more inclined to agree with I/S than the OP.

    Yes Labour does have a whole bunch of policy – much of it quite useful and palatable. It’s there as a sop for the party activists and the few tribal voters who bother to click on the linkies.


    The MSM is going to make sure the average voter never hears about them.

    The right-wing Labour caucus is going to make sure the average voter never hears about them.

    Indeed you could argue the hidden purpose of the Labour Party itself is to ensure that the average voter never hears about them.

    No real left wing parties that could be credibly elected to government are allowed any more.

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