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Shearer promises active government

Written By: - Date published: 1:58 pm, January 27th, 2013 - 78 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour, leadership - Tags:

David Shearer has just made his opening speech of the year at the Labour Party Summer School.

There’s no new policy to give the speech real heft, but (given the significant policies already out there, the stage of the electoral cycle, and the lack of teaser hints) I think that was never likely. As such it’s about values and vision, and a solid restatement of Labour’s plans. For me the main content is the promise of active government:

NEW ERA – HANDS ON GOVERNMENT

We desperately need real leadership now more than ever.

The Global Financial Crisis has exposed the frailties of the old economic wisdom. The National Party believes the financial crisis is just a blip to get over. Their solution is to apply their failed ideas of the past over and over. They are wrong. The hands-off, simply leave it to the market approach has failed all over the world. …

We need a government that recognises times have changed. We need a Government that finds the courage to act, not better excuses for why we can’t. We need a government prepared to stand up for hardworking forgotten Kiwis. We need a smart, hands-on Government. A government that is prepared to be a player, not a spectator. That will be a Labour Government, and the Government I will lead. …

Labour’s plans are out there. I’d be delighted if this government picked them up and ran with them. For example:

We’ll pay employers the equivalent of the dole to take on apprentices.

We’ll back Kiwi businesses to get their slice of the $30 billion dollars the Government contracts out every year – but we will require them to take on apprentices and trainees in return.

We’ll give tax breaks to companies doing world-leading research and development, so the innovations – and the jobs – they create stay right here in New Zealand. …

Since we announced KiwiBuild last year, excitement is growing. Architects, construction companies and designers around NZ have been in touch. They see an opportunity to build affordable, energy-efficient – even energy generating – houses. Houses that use home grown sustainable materials. Houses that families will be proud to call home. This is an idea the country is embracing. More than 70 per cent of Kiwis support our KiwiBuild programme to build 100,000 first homes.

New Zealanders are also behind our other new ideas and those numbers are growing. Most people see the need for a Capital Gains Tax on investment properties. Nearly six in every ten New Zealanders support our idea to make KiwiSaver universal. And nearly two-thirds of you back our pledge to protect universal superannuation for future generations by gradually lifting the age of eligibility. …

HANDS ON – A GLOBAL TREND

Labour isn’t alone in knowing the time has come for active government. A movement of leaders and people across the world have realised the old hands-off solutions take us nowhere. It’s a new way of thinking and it’s evolving. New Zealanders are looking to a government that will roll up its sleeves and back them. You do your part, and we the government will do ours. In 2014 that’s the Government I will lead.

The speech goes on to set out an “agenda for 2013” – check it out.

I’d be hard pressed to call it an exciting speech, but it describes the kind of government that I want. Active, involved, doing things. Leaving everything to the market has had it’s turn and the (lack of) results speak for themselves. Time for a change…

78 comments on “Shearer promises active government”

  1. millsy 1

    Solid speech, look forward to the policies as they come our.

    • xtasy 1.1

      “Solid speech, look forward to the policies as they come our.”

      Yes, I have been waiting for detailed policies for over a year now.

  2. millsy 2

    Solid speech, look forward to the policies as they come out.

  3. James Thrace 3

    *yawn*

    “Number one is jobs. It is our most urgent priority and cuts across everything we do.
    Labour’s plan to build new affordable homes will create thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships.
    A job is more than a weekly wage, it’s gives people a purpose and pride in themselves.
    That’s why I’m focussed on jobs.”

    Translate

    Jobs are good. Jobs keep people. Only jobs to build houses will exist under Shearer Labour.

    “Our housing proposals are at the cutting edge of urban design and energy efficiency.
    This year we will bring together the best ideas of architects, designers, urban planners and others to a housing conference.
    I want KiwiBuild ready to roll on Day 1 when we take office.
    First-home buyers shouldn’t have to wait.”

    Translate

    We use super heap big expensive housing designer and planners. This is good. This make job. No thought given to super heap big expensive council fees for “consents” to put holes in super heap big expensive land. Just jobs be made for super heap big expensive architects, designers and urban planners.

    “Jacinda Ardern, my Social Development spokesperson, will produce an alternative white paper this year, setting out our direction to help lift kids out of poverty.. There are 270,000 children in hardship in this country, and the government is failing them.
    Kids deserve the best chance in life regardless of their parents’ wealth, and with Labour they will get that.”

    Translate

    That Jacinda, cor whiz blimey, she a looker innit! Too busy trying to score one punch on bennet but big bennet bullet dodging. Poor children in poverty. Super heap big hard to create policy. Annette King be talking about super poor children since 2007 but no result cos super heap big hard to give money directly to poverty line families. Easier to develop super heap big expensive third parties to divest money cos that create jobs. Jobs good.

    “Their best opportunity is from a world-class education system.
    We’ve already set out our plan to put food in schools and extend reading recovery so our kids aren’t destined to be drop outs from their first day at school.
    This year I’m asking my education team to look at ways to improve transitions from school to further training and high-skill jobs.
    85,000 young New Zealanders are not in work, education or training.”

    Translate

    Super heap big plan for food in schools designed with urban planners and architect. Create jobs. Jobs good. Education Team of Robertson and Mallard. Yes Mallard, school closure minister, responsible for closing more schools in the 5th Labour Government than National, except now with Parata, maybe more school to close. Schools heap big expensive to run. Need more jobs so create jobs to close schools. Super good plan.

    “I’ve spoken of a clean, green, clever economy many times.
    We need our environment to drive our economic success and our economy to keep our environment clean.
    The reality is we will not create more better paying jobs by simply exporting more milk powder.
    We’ve been talking about it since Mike Moore invented lamb burgers.”

    Translate

    Jobs good. Economy create jobs from the Environment. I know not what this “Environment” is but we must take votes from the Greens. Jobs good. Super heap big jobs come when “Environment” is mentioned. Don’t know how “Environment” creates jobs but …. what’s that Grant?… oh, yes, Environment, Environment, Environment.

    “I am committed to rebuilding Christchurch from the grassroots up, not the Beehive down.
    That’s why I’ll be talking to Cantabrians about how they see their future.
    To ensure their voices are heard.”

    Translate

    That Dalziel supports Cunliffe, I know she good with the Eastern suburbs but she supports Cunliffe. National is committed to “rebuilding Christchurch” and they won with that slogan. Mallard thinks it will win us some votes too. Rebuild Christchurch. Create jobs, jobs good. We don’t want to invest in Christchurch, no, too different. Rebuild Christchurch! Good Idea Trev.

    • The Fan Club 3.1

      Yeah mate, who could be committed to rebuilding Christchurch ’cause it’s the right thing to do. Must be some ploy to win votes, right? And who’d point out that National’s running roughshod over local wishes in Chch? And recycle Dalziel’s pet theme of community strength not state power? Only someone advised by a cynical incompetent, clearly.

    • Macro 3.2

      yeah that’s about it! 🙁 (referring to James not the fan club)

  4. QoT 4

    Well, I’m certainly glad the time is now for active government. It’s not like an active hands-on government has ever been a good idea before the GFC, so thank heavens David Shearer thinks it’s an idea whose time has finally come. 🙄

    • Well spotted.

      I noticed that too: “times have changed” and therefore we need a hands-on government. Previously (e.g., the 80s, 90s and 2000s), it implies, we didn’t have such a need. Rhetorical choices can be revealing.

      Also, looking down the ‘hands-on’ list in the extracted quotation, it comes down to involvement in the market, as opposed to erecting non-market (i.e., social) means of provision (i.e., R&D tax credits, private tendering for government contracts, subsidising employers for apprentice wages, Kiwibuild, etc.). The other policies are simply either orthodox economics or neoliberal (i.e., a CGT and raising the age of super).

      That’s only ‘hands-on’ in the sense that a Liberal Party would advocate ‘hands-on’, rather than how I would expect a Labour Party to advocate ‘hands-on’.

      I’m starting to realise that many MPs in the Labour Party are probably just Liberals who don’t understand the difference between being Liberal and being democratic socialist.

      That’s a pity, if only because it’s confusing. Maybe it results from the lack of a Liberal Party in New Zealand that could soak up some of those Liberals-at-heart and give them a proper home.

      Where are the Labour Party policies advocating new initiatives in non-market provision of public goods and services or in increasing the redistribution of wealth (and hence lowering inequality directly)?

      I guess school lunches across the board would be one – is that the form the ‘food in schools’ policy Labour have put forward would take?

      Maybe the Social Development review will provide some more of these?

      • Tim 4.1.1

        “I’m starting to realise that many MPs in the Labour Party are probably just Liberals who don’t understand the difference between being Liberal and being democratic socialist.”

        Me too!!!

        And now they’re asking for us for support.

        Once betrayed (1987)
        Twice betrayed (when Helen Clarke decided to have a lay down in the 3rd term) – so much that COULD have been done in backing out the previous regime’s programme. (much harder to do now than it was then – and perhaps that’s a lesson for the future eh Mike?

        Not thrice though. Thankfully we now have alternatives and I’m not sure over-ambitious little pratts from the Hutt Valley, OR bovver boys entertaining Catholic Gurrls dressed in buzzniss suits made out of my grandma’s couch have actually cottoned on to that.

        Labour will actually have to DEMONSTRATE they’re no longer welded to neo-lib/3rd way/4th Reich bullshit before they EVER get my vote again (and those of a rather large extended family). I wish them well though. Failure to me seems self evident.

        • Drakula 4.1.1.1

          My sentiments exactly, Shearer has to prove that he can walk the walk and if asked “are you a democratic socialist?” What will his answer be? Yes or No?

          I will be supporting the Greens I would like to support Labour but I can’t take any risks with those who may be all shiny on the outside and shit on the inside.

          If there was an opposition coalition and Green was in the lead then Labour politicians would have to earn their patch and gain back the credibility they have lost over the decades.

      • Puddleglum 4.1.2

        To clarify my point about market intervention/guidance vs non-market provision it’s worth noting the mirror image of this thinking in the public sector itself.

        PPPs, charter schools (even vouchers), sub-contracting to private medical providers to meet operation targets, etc., etc. all use the same logic as these ‘hands-on’ policies – i.e., that, in many areas, it’s best to have a mix in which the government has goals and the market manages the provision.

        That is nothing other than the governance-management split which is a pure neoliberal idea that ultimately devolves to the notion that the market can ‘manage’ to provide what ‘we’ all want so long as we send it clear signals as to what provision will be rewarded.

        The only difference between National and Labour then becomes that National claims that it believes that individuals should send the signals to the market while Labour says that the government can send the signals to the market.

        All well and good – and there’s a long, Liberal history of this kind of thinking – but, once again, it’s not what I would expect from a Labour Party.

        Perhaps a party name change is in order? Just to avoid confusion and to respect the historical meaning of words.

      • xtasy 4.1.3

        “I guess school lunches across the board would be one – is that the form the ‘food in schools’ policy Labour have put forward would take? ”

        I am afraid that this kind of stuff is exactly what Labour is about. It is full of tokenism, of little signals of symbolic value, but not intent on changing the system.

        The media are happy with it, the right wing may not like it, but can to some degree accommodate it (as long as it costs not too much), and otherwise it does not address the root causes.

        That is where I see Labour, full of words and tokenism, but not prepared for REAL social and economic change. By the way, has Shearer qualified the talk about “hands on”? I have not heard or read it, so surprise me, please.

        It is just all designed to win some votes, and too little substance, I am afraid. Shearer, fail, 4 out of 10 I’d say.

  5. fatty 5

    We’ll pay employers the equivalent of the dole to take on apprentices.
    We’ll back Kiwi businesses to get their slice of the $30 billion dollars the Government contracts out every year – but we will require them to take on apprentices and trainees in return.
    We’ll give tax breaks to companies doing world-leading research and development, so the innovations – and the jobs – they create stay right here in New Zealand.

    Sweet!
    Shearer’s gonna pump Government money into companies so that the job creators might take a risk and train up some of those deceitful roof painters.

    The trickle down myth continues…

    • QoT 5.1

      Because paying employers to “create jobs” has never ever resulted in existing workers being fired.

    • infused 5.2

      The red tapes not worth it. Like getting any big govt contract, only the big boys play in that area.

    • xtasy 5.3

      Paying the employer the equivalent of the dole to train someone is easily abused, I would say. What conditions would there be? Is a trade qualification at the end of it? Or can employers use the scheme, say they will do this and the other, but then just use the young trainee to do menial work no other employee will do, and if there is any issue, just off-load the trainee?

      It gives a lot of power over to the employer. I fear that there is maybe not enough detail to ensure the trainee or apprentice also is heard and respected.

      So Shearer is talking stuff some employers and others may like, but the detail is needed to fairly judge on what it means and how it will work!

      • Treetop 5.3.1

        Job seekers are already being abused due to being bullied about finding a job which may lead to nowhere. At least job training has some future.

        Employers have always had power, this is why unions need to be strengthened or to have better dispute resolutions. Detail is required to ensure any scheme will not treat a person unfairly.

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    So what does Shearer propose to do about climate change, especially now that Lord Stern (author of the Stern Report) has admitted he got it wrong and the situation is far more dire than he thought [in 2006]?

    I think we can rely on the Labour Party to carry on ignoring the issue of climate change, just as they continue to ignore Peak Oil (now in the past, and causing economic mayhem ) and the imminent meltdown of the money system.

    Hands on government. What a laugh! Shills for global corporations and money-lenders more like it.

  7. handle 7

    National has been very ‘hands-on’ since 2008. All that damage doesn’t happen by itself. Which genius chose to hang Labour’s campaign on this easily-countered theme?

    • Coronial Typer 7.1

      Even the phrase “commercially interventionist” could be owned by National at this point. I think it was Hooten who recently pointed out the range of pretty direct commercial interventions. The point Labour needs to refer to is WHY intervene; not merely to prop up multinationals and the few squillionares we already have. The point of intervening is to increase the wealth for everyone; ie as many as possible, not the few, and they should be New Zealanders not so much foreign owners.

      • xtasy 7.1.1

        This could easily be dealt with by drawing up and bringing in a universal “investment charter”, demanding compliance from all, overseas, national and government when investing, to ensure some minimum benefits to NZ and NZers as a whole. I wonder why this has never been done? Countries like Singapore are a bit more ahead apart from such thoughts, but little NZ thinks, open the boarder, free flow of money, investment, labour, migration and so forth, that will be the panacea for all.

        Somehow it does not work I fear.

  8. just saying 8

    I wasn’t going to comment. I’m as tired of all this as the ABC club must be.

    But what utter bollocks.

    And couldn’t he have worked in “hard-working” a couple of dozen more times. Sheesh, some listeners (and I doubt anyone other than the die-hards would have kept awake beyond the first few predictable, and trite paragraphs) might have missed all of those whistles.

    • CV - Real Labour 8.1

      Yeah it was pretty dense on the “hand up, not a hand out” memes.

    • Rhinoviper 8.2

      And fluffies are kitten. That’s nice. We’re nice. We’re holding the accountant to govern. And so on.

      I’m wondering how you can be “hard-working” if you don’t have a job… unless painting roofs is hard work, and he’s including the poor and beneficiaries in his “vision” after all.

      Maybe the speechwriter got it sort of right in their banal way, but how was it delivered? At this point, I’m ready to support HAL 9000 – he was clear in his speech.

    • Bill 8.3

      The welfare safety net will continue to be hauled ever higher in any goverment under this Labour Party as it’s currently configured. And the mesh on that net will be made larger so that no ‘undeserving’ poor are inadvertantly caught up in smething intended only for the ‘deserving’ poor (ie, working – and to become increasingly working and lower middle class only at it’s lower extremes).

      So you best make sure you can ‘do your bit’.

  9. CV - Real Labour 9

    There are solid elements to the speech, like working with local councils on things like rail projects. But as AFKTT states, nothing on climate change, nor on peak oil, two existential threats to our civilisation.

    I’m also particularly concerned about this:

    It’s about getting our priorities right, being thrifty about our economy.

    Bringing our debt under control.

    Unless Shearer is talking about increasing the tax take, this seems to point to austerity measures.

    There is also a distinct absence of help coming for those beneficiaries trying to live on the lowest incomes in the country.

    The Greens housing policy is superb, and Key has come out with a pretty strong apprenticeships policy. To my mind, Labour needs to be putting more bold policy out, faster.

    • xtasy 9.1

      ‘Real Labour’ now – The Greens are doing so much rather well, they may overtake Labour within the coming 5 years!

    • ordinary_bloke 9.2

      CV, I get that message too. Once Key retires, they bring in a hitman from the centre-left. Great blindside tactics, except for those of us, poor sods, struggling from week to week ..

      • Just gettin by 9.2.1

        I dont like the housing policy. It sounds as if we are going to be herded into low cost high rise slums. I like the kiwi dream, soil under my feet a lawn and vege garden, bring up a family and just relax!!!!! Write off the student loans would be a good idea too. I cant get a job because I will have to start paying off my student loan. These rich pricks had free education, so should I.

        Labour needs to focus on getting rid of the loans first and then get the rents for public housing back down to $50 per week. They might get my vote then.

    • Drakula 9.3

      CV; I agree, increasing the tax take? There is no other way around it; not austerity but TAXING THE BLOODY ONE PERCENT!!!

      And capital gains tax to finance affordable housing could be a good place to start.

  10. Bill 10

    Just an observation, but I contrasted that speech with Metiria’s ‘State of the Planet’ speech. Both speeches have more or less the same intent, though obviously content and emphases differ. But here’s the thing (as best as I can get a handle on it).

    Whereas when Metiria speaks it feels natural enough and agreement is invited, with Shearer, even where he is trying to take the same approach…well, that’s it really. It feels that Shearer is always trying and reaching and attempting to force agreement onto the listener rather than inviting it.

    It kind of goes – Here’s a homily and this is what I conclude from that homily or the attitudes it speaks of…. and now I’m going to apply that conclusion and/or those attitudes to you. It’s bloody horrible.

    It’s like the man is standing on the outside speaking in and overlaying or imposing his thoughts on ‘others’ who are listening, instead of speaking from a common ground and sharing common concerns and experiences.

    • IrishBill 10.1

      He does have problems with his style. This had the feeling of a whole lot of “shearer says” emails stitched together. I think, Bill, the sense of imposition you’re getting is because Shearer is telling rather than showing. He needs to learn to lead the reader/listener into his idea so that when he makes his point it’s self-evidently correct.

      Met’s is better but slightly patronising. She needs to work on using more concrete language and elucidating her points more clearly especially if the greens are interested in expanding their vote out to the suburbs. Phrases like “agent of hope” and “thought leader” ghettoize her message.

      • Bill 10.1.1

        I dunno Irish. I think it’s way beyond mere style. I think it’s what he is…detached.

    • lightly 10.2

      maybe you can learn that naturalness. It’s worth noting that Shearer’s not only the newest of the party leaders in Parliament as a leader, he’s also spent the least time as a politician.

      His speeches certainly read better (and more leftwing) since they got Julian Robins in and shut Pagani out.

      • Rhinoviper 10.2.1

        Well, signs of hope there. Maybe in time he’ll be ready to perform as a competent minister in Bill Rowling’s cabinet.

  11. Rhinoviper 11

    CV:

    The Greens housing policy is superb, and Key has come out with a pretty strong apprenticeships policy. To my mind, Labour needs to be putting more bold policy out, faster.

    Bill:

    It’s like the man is standing on the outside speaking in and overlaying or imposing his thoughts on ‘others’ who are listening, instead of speaking from a common ground and sharing common concerns and experiences.

    Agree with both.

    This is Stepford Labour as a printed speech (Cthulhu only knows what Shearer did to mangle it in delivery) versus the Greens’ real focus.

    Keeping your powder dry” was always nonsense, and the Labour Caucus, when campaigning needs to lay down a narrative, establishing a commonality between the storyteller and listener right from the beginning. I’m glad that they’ve appreciated this blindingly obvious point at last. However, a good storyteller knows their audience and wants to be one with them, but McLabour has talking points and the result is something like a bad romcom: they have all the elements the marketing people said would do well in the midwest, they’ve eliminated absolutely everything that would scare anyone anywhere on earth as well as several hypothetical alien species, but the cast is second-rate and all the laughter is canned.

    Principles, heart, passion, solidarity, genuine empathy, courage, a “fuck you” to the banksters. Try it.

  12. Anne 12

    Whereas when Metiria speaks it feels natural enough and agreement is invited, with Shearer, even where he is trying to take the same approach…well, that’s it really. It feels that Shearer is always trying and reaching and attempting to force agreement onto the listener rather than inviting it.

    To be fair Bill. Metiria is a former lawyer. They are trained to be articulate and are usually good at expressing themselves. She’s also been in parliament a long time now. David S is still a novice in some ways I know, and public speaking doesn’t come naturally to him. But he is improving all the time so let’s give him a bit longer to prove himself. IMO, the re-shuffle will be a better indicator.

    I will probably upset a few people with the following:

    I think it’s time to tone down the criticism of Shearer. In my view, it is being taken a bit too far by some commentators on The Standard and is now becoming counter-productive. In fact, I think some here are playing straight into the hands of the ABC club (and their media mates) by continuing to rubbish everything he says and does. A perception is being created that TS commenters and posters are all a bunch of subversive, extremist “whackos” and it’s not true.

    • Bill 12.1

      I’m thinking that whether she trained as a lawyer or not is beside the point. Or are you likewise suggesting that because D. Shearer worked in conflict resolution situations he didn’t need to be articulate?

      See, I’ve been around when Metiria has spoken in public and she isn’t completely comfortable…like most people she takes a minute or two to ‘warm up’. And when I’ve run into her on a one to one basis the exchange is just natural and easy as between two equals. I could contrast that with former mp’s I’ve met who felt compelled to ham it up in an attempt to come across as ‘one of the lads’….y’know, by somewhat woodenly swearing a lot. (I kid you not) But can I imagine having a free and easy exchange with D. Shearer? No. He’s just not of my world and as far as I can tell shares none of my cultural reference points and (I suspect) he’d be quietly frightened by the mere presence of one of those people he seems only to gain understanding of through stories or tales.

      As for more time… and more time…. and more time. Nah. Time’s up and has been for quite some while now. But that said, as far as I’m concerned I’ll sit fairly quietly by and just wait for February and see if a party wide vote transpires….partly because I do agree that attempts to categorise authors and commenters at ‘the standard’ as whacko’s, nutters or whatever is actually happening and it’s too valuable a source of info for that to be allowed to happen. And also, importantly, because I’ve no desire to contribute to any ‘intra-standard’ strife anyone might be interested in engineering.

      • Anne 12.1.1

        Or are you likewise suggesting that because D. Shearer worked in conflict resolution situations he didn’t need to be articulate?

        No. I was talking only about making speeches etc.

        Actually I agree with most of what you say Bill – and Olwyn. Patience is running out for me too. But I still live in hope…

    • Olwyn 12.2

      Jenny has said on another thread, “Instead of delivering on their promises of reform and social justice, left social democratic parties on gaining office are finding themselves having to agree to imposing austerity. There can be little doubt this is the path mapped out by Shearer and crew for the Labour Party in Government.” This sums up my fear of the present configuration of the Labour Party. I do not want to deliver pamphlets, door knock and cheer lead for a few people to have high flying careers that are conditional on their ‘bravely” inflicting suffering on others. I agree with you Anne that attacking Shearer every turn of the way is counter productive, and I guess I will have to wait it out to see whether my fears are shown to be justified or not. Cant, threat and spin, however, do more to inflame than soothe them: I want to see some reality. And I must add that I have never been a member of the Alliance, and that I cheerfully door-knocked etc. for Clark and Goff.

  13. GeoffC 13

    @ann good comment, if we commentators of the left become counterproductive and isolated then we become nothing more than spectators dreaming of lost hopes.
    Labour will never overnight become what some of the extreme red posters purpose, it is not simply possible but if you look at the language used by shearer…
    Third way hybrid neoliberal social demo replaced with something else.
    The uk labour have labelled it one nation
    We signalled a hands on govt.
    Promising start platform now to cross link policy ESP.

  14. higherstandard 14

    No different from Key’s speech………boring load of old cant.

    Out, out brief candle !

  15. Glen Forrester 15

    IMHO it looks like he just copied from your man David Cunliffe’s speeches from last year. Just somehow more patronising… Guess now I understand all the hate Shearer pro Cunliffee stuff on this blog.

  16. gobsmacked 16

    I’m not too bothered about a lack of meat in the speech at this stage. It’s January, it’s hot, and only us political junkies are really paying attention.

    The real concern is anticipating the follow-up questions, and Shearer’s future answers.

    Interviewer – “So, Mr Shearer, “hands-on”, “a player not a spectator”, “an interventionist government” … isn’t that a clear shift to the left? Will your government be more left-wing than Clark/Cullen?”.

    The question is predictable (and perfectly fair) and so Labour/Shearer need to have an answer. Saying (again) that “left/right doesn’t mean anything” is going to get a snort of derision.

    If Shearer means what he says, then he has to be able to (a) defend on principle (now) and (b) cost on detail (later). I have serious doubts about his ability to do either. Once we get past generalities to specifics, he struggles. At least, he always *has* struggled, but we’re led to believe he’s a New Shearer, post-Conference 2012. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    • Pete 16.1

      Interviewer – “So, Mr Shearer, “hands-on”, “a player not a spectator”, “an interventionist government” … isn’t that a clear shift to the left? Will your government be more left-wing than Clark/Cullen?”

      The ideal answer would be along the lines of:

      “It’s not about what’s left and what’s right, it’s about what works and what doesn’t. John Key’s government isn’t working. It’s plain for everyone to see. A Labour-led government will be solutions-oriented and willing to grapple the problems that Mr Key won’t address”.

    • Treetop 16.2

      “Once we get past generalities to specifics, he struggles.”

      This is what bugs me the most about Shearer.

  17. Craig Glen viper 17

    Shearers not a leader pure and simple and thats why people do not relate to him and he says and neither will the electorate. Shearer is pissing in the wind and the caucus and people like Mike Smith are going ooooh look people the rains nice and warm and the amazing Mr Shearer has made it yellow. What a joke..

  18. KhandallaViper 18

    Shearer’s Speech? The words were fine, even if the delivery was awkward and artificial.

    Jobs, Children in Hardship, Education, A green, clever economy and Christchurch. And all “hands on”.

    And I still feel so so uncomfortable.

    He didn’t speak, look, behave, feel like a person from whose core these words were resonating. It had previously presented elements so should have flowed. And even with tele-prompter and rehearsal it was clutsey. He will be absolute dog tucker in any live-television debate.

    Secondly I cannot get past the fact that he has the exact same team around him who have been running the same ineffective show using the same blunt instruments since 2008. These people, including Trevor the host today, got angry when some criticised the Party’s stance in the ’80s. These people are paying Mike Williams to accuse non-lovers of being Nutters and Alliance infiltrators.

    Finally there is still wholesale efforts to stop the members have a say in the leadership. That is also giving the deaf ear to membership having a REAL say in policy. Today’s speech will not excite our members, our youth, the drift to the greens. Without a real leadership debate we are lost. A show endorsement of Shearer will be a lose lose for everyone.

  19. Nick K 19

    This from Shearer’s speech:

    Since we announced KiwiBuild last year, excitement is growing. Architects, construction companies and designers around NZ have been in touch. They see an opportunity to build affordable, energy-efficient – even energy generating – houses. Houses that use home grown sustainable materials. Houses that families will be proud to call home. This is an idea the country is embracing. More than 70 per cent of Kiwis support our KiwiBuild programme to build 100,000 first homes.

    Of course they are. The businesses all want a taxpayer contract to make them millions and the “Kiwis” want the taxpayer to subsidise them into a new home. Who wouldn’t want this chequebook politics!!

  20. billbrowne 20

    Rather than just paying private employers to take on apprentices, I believe the following approaches are more beneficial:

    Apprenticeships in the public sector starting with:
    A nationalised electricity generation and transmission department
    An expansion of rail services
    A re-nationalisation of Chorus

    A refocusing on trade training through polytechnics which include a state sponsored and monitored apprenticeships scheme

    • CV - Real Labour 20.1

      yep +1

    • Macro 20.2

      Good start – and if Rio Tintocontinue to play fast and loose with Tiwai Point – kick em out and negotiate with Australia to have a joint SOE ANZAC Aluminium smelter.

      Setting Trade tariffs and import quotas on selected goods and services to re-promote NZ industry is another thing that desperately needs attention. In opening our boarders to free trade we have simply exported jobs to less developed countries. Why for instance should NZ import wine bottles from China which up until a few years ago were designed and manufactured in NZ. Yes I know – it’s ‘cheaper’. But only to the producer – society picks up the rest of the tab in increased unemployment and loss of incentive. This is just one example – it has been repeated over innumerable industries to our shame and cost. Australia has been more resistant to opening up its boarders and and as a result has faired much better economically. It is a modern myth that Australia’s current economic strength is based solely on their mineral wealth, eg the retention of their car manufacturing ‘Holden’ and ‘Ford’ in the face of a dramatically changing global automobile industry, is a prime example. We NZers may bleat about their reluctance to accept our apples – but their fruit industry survives because of it. Protectionism is an essential part of a viable Nations economy.

  21. 4wardthinking 21

    4/10 for content and 7/10 for presentation – (probably thanks to some pretty obvious media training). One speech does not a leader make…

  22. faiala4 22

    To boring / Didn’t finish. Like when he goes on the telly.

  23. Blue 23

    “Shearer promises active government” How? Is he resigning before the election?

  24. infused 24

    So that was pretty much a speech about nothing then… IE same shit re-hashed?

    You guys must be mad now.

  25. Hami Shearlie 25

    Shearer comes across to me as someone merely parroting someone else’s lines!! All the “new” table thumping and arms waving everywhere is overdone and FAKE!! He can’t sell the policies because he doesn’t truly believe in them!! This is what people are picking up on!! No-one knows to this day what David Shearer’s personal beliefs truly are!! And I’m not at all convinced that he’s as “nice” a guy as people claim he is, or if he really believes in democratic socialism!! He’s just, in a word, “unbelievable”!

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      One thing that you’re picking up on is that the speech writing has not captured Shearer’s own voice, but that of a number of different contributors to the creation of that speech. Hence it sounds a bit disjointed and inauthentic.

      Another key problem, even with the better delivered speeches, and also all the set pieces with BBQs and guitars or whatever, is that they continue to leave us with precious little sense of who the real David Shearer is, and what he stands for in his heart of hearts.

      At a visceral level, and at a political level, that is highly unnerving.

  26. xtasy 26

    Shearer is really hands-on. I see so much footage of him having his hands dug deep in his pockets. Is he “hands on” with something below the beltline? I see little else of the man convincing me that he is “hands on”. Sorry, what a disappointment.

  27. burt 27

    Hands on … hands on other peoples money to buy the vote so …. so the economy can be stagnated in just 6 years handing a rooted economy to National… Happened in the 80’s/90’s – Happened in 2008 – roll up roll up for 2020 – we can ruin the economy via intervention and popularist poor quality spending again if we just vote for other peoples money…..

  28. Tiresias 28

    Agree with the general tenor of the above.

    It was the worst of both worlds – it was a politician’s speech, but Shearer isn’t politician enough to deliver it and get away with it.

    It was, if you go into it, exactly the kind of speech Obama gave when electioneering in 2008 – praise the American people for being exceptional and tell them their problems are someone else’s fault, but he knows how to fix them because “together, we can”. But because Obama has more charisma in his little finger than Shearer has in his entire body, and because Obama could sell himself as something new on the scene, because Obama has a genuine gift of oratory and (let’s face it) because the American people are more easily suckered than cynical, morose New Zealanders, it carried the day.

    And let’s not forget that Obama won the White House in 2008 with a solid Democrat majority in both Houses of Congress and the power to achieve great things, and promptly betrayed his entire voting base in favour of his financial backers.

  29. Tiresias 29

    No new policy?

    Has a commitment to introduce a Capital Gains Tax been given before?

    Has a promise to feed children at school been given before?

    Has an undertaking to change monetary policy to deal with the exchange rate ‘to ease the load on exporters’ been given before?

    • CV - Real Labour 29.1

      1) and 3) were certainly in the Manifesto for the 2011 election, and I thought 2) giving children breakfast in schools was part of Labour’s child poverty initiatives announced for then too (from memory).

  30. I didn’t think much of the speech no policy no detail. I am looking forward to seeing his new lineup I see the Sunday Times said Mallard maybe dropped or Street Mahuta Dalziel Chauvel. According Sunday times Megan Woods Dave Clark Sue Moroney Andrew Little Kris Faafoi Shane Jones have all put up for promotion. Who do you reckon will be dropped? Some People reckon Shearer will Keep Lobbyists such as Street or Mallard in Line Up he needs to dominate them and your winner Mr Shearer if you do keep them your loser.

  31. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 31

    It is just a lie to say this government is not active.

    They are balls deep in everything:

    The $400 million irrigation fund
    the $1.5 billion for ultra-fast broadband
    $100m for export assistance
    $15m for business capability
    $30m for sector and special events
    $30m for international growth opportunities
    $50m for large budget screen productions
    $10m for major events
    $12m for venture capital
    $10m for primary industry grants
    $9m for sustainable farming
    $70m for primary growth partnerships
    $220m for CRI funding
    $178m for high value manufacturing and services research
    $106m for biological industries research
    $84m for health and society research
    $47m for Marsden Fund

    Now, you might say that all of this is bad spending. I would agree with you. But, when the government thinks it has a role to play in the economy, it will inevitably spend money on stupis shit. That’s why it shouldn’t.

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