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Shearer’s pre budget speech

Written By: - Date published: 12:24 pm, May 8th, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: budget 2013, david shearer, economy, labour - Tags: ,

This morning David Shearer gave Labour’s “pre budget” speech. No new policy, but plenty of good one-liners and a strong statement of Labour’s position. Full text here, some extracts below.

Speech: Putting people first

John Key isn’t interested in the problems faced by hardworking families … He’s too focused on share-floats to care about the Kiwis working their guts out to make ends meet. He’s more focused on his mates than your mates. So it’ll be no surprise to you that when Bill English delivers his fifth Budget next week, there will be something missing. People.

You’ll hear a lot about glossy business growth agendas and progress reports. But there won’t be anything to help you find a job – or get a better job. To help you buy a house, to help you pay your bills or to stop your family moving to Australia. Because that is this Government’s record. This government makes promise after promise in Budget after Budget. But it hasn’t delivered. So why would you believe them this year?

Let’s take a look at their scorecard.

John Key promised he’d give Kiwis a reason to stay.

But as of last week, 200,000 people have left for Australia since he came to power.

At the last election, he promised 170,000 jobs. But in the last year there were 30,000 fewer.

There are now more than 163,000 New Zealanders unemployed.

In Budget 2010, they promised higher incomes. But since John Key’s been in office rising prices have outstripped pay packets.

In 2007, he promised to help our “growing underclass”. But income inequality in New Zealand is now the highest since records began.

There are now almost 24,000 more people on benefits and 21% of our kids live in poverty.

Under his watch, the gap between the top 10% and the rest of New Zealand is widening faster.

He promised to close the wage gap with Australia too, but New Zealanders are now earning an average of $58 a week less than their neighbours across the Tasman.

In the 2010 Budget, he promised a step-change in the economy. Instead, he has delivered a step-back for many.

John Key once said he was ambitious for New Zealand. I haven’t heard that for a while. The only thing he’s ambitious about now is his excuses.

You’ll have heard yesterday that he’s certainly not ambitious for Wellington – in fact he’s already signed its death warrant.

Talk about absolutely negatively John Key!

This Budget won’t change your life.

It’s a Budget for the boardroom, not the smoko room. …


20 comments on “Shearer’s pre budget speech”

  1. karol 1

    Yes. I was pleased to hear/see so many good one liners and focus on income/wealth inequalities.
    But the main focus is still on the working poor and home ownership, rather than the plight of beneficiaries, renters and the need for more state and community housing.

    This is framed in the opening of the speech, using the ploy of refering to someone Shearer spoke to:

    A few weeks ago a woman contacted me asking for help.

    She and her partner both have jobs. They pay their bills. They keep up with the mortgage and are raising four children.

    But they’re struggling to get by from week to week.

    There are specific direct references to home ownership later in the speech:

    But there won’t be anything to help you find a job – or get a better job. To help you buy a house, to help you pay your bills or to stop your family moving to Australia. ..

    Let me give you another example.


    House prices are rocketing up and the rate of home ownership is sliding.

    That’s why we’ve come up with an innovative way to help 100,000 Kiwi families into affordable homes.

    It means building houses – bricks and mortar – not fiddling with the RMA or pushing the blame onto councils.

    But nothing specific on state and community housing.

    There are some very good mentions of poverty, damaging inequalities, increasing unemployment and people struggling to pay the bills. But there’s nothing specifically on improving social security, especially for people unable to work. It’s all about rewarding hard working Kiwis, improving the business environment and a fair society.

    • DH 1.1

      ” It’s all about rewarding hard working Kiwis, improving the business environment and a fair society.”

      I read it as targeting the largest & most influential voting bloc, I’d think the working home-owner wins or loses an election for the main political parties. To be fair to Labour they do have to carefully navigate what can be a bit of a quagmire. If they frame housing & Kiwibuild wrong it leaves them open to the Nats campaigning on Labour destroying house values, a surefire vote loser with that voting bloc.

      Middle class Kiwis are probably to the left in their views but they’re not going to give up their house values for anyone. Self interest rules there.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1


        Extending “working for families” to beneficiaries went down like a lead balloon for Labour. Specifically having transparently beneficiary-favoring policies is a net vote loss for them, because the working poor don’t see any reason why they don’t get any lollies when beneficiaries who don’t work, do.

        So I think Labour are in the position of wanting beneficiaries to vote for them, but not being able to actively court them, but hoping that the beneficiaries will vote for them because they know that National would be even worse for them than Labour. This lets the Greens and Mana more actively court their votes, which is fine by me.

        It’s just the same way that ACT promotes the far-right policies that National can’t themselves advocate for.

        • Colonial Viper

          It’s pretty gutless and unimaginative, is what it is. And in the medium term, positions Labour as the party of the top 50%.

          • rosy

            “positions Labour as the party of the top 50%.”

            As in:

            Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.

            (my bold) Luckily, since Adam Smith wrote this sentence we have universal suffrage. Unfortunately not enough of the people with ‘none at all’ vote.

    • Bill 1.2

      Pretty sure we’re on, and have been on, a slow dive to a society where only some of us are counted as ‘in’. The current swathes of the working class that constitute the precariat are already more or less ‘out’. And increasing numbers of the currently viable working class and (so-called) middle class will also become ‘out’ in the coming years.

      And ‘out’ is increasingly going to mean reduced or no access to such stuff as a decent education (charter schools catering to those who are ‘in’ while the rest are subjected to a pointlessly run down state education), limited or no access to decent health care (an increasing need to have insurance for access), limited or no access to decent jobs or careers (obviously); all culminating in what might be described as exclusion from the society that has been built from the so-called fruits of capitalism or market systems of production and distribution.

      And modern Labour Parties, it seems, buy in to this bullshit trajectory hoping to salvage viable remnants of a market/capitalist economy (alongside the privilage and power it confers) in the face of resource depletion.

      If you want to preserve power, as those in power most assuredly do, then you don’t do it by developing and capturing productive markets in a world where population is increasing and resources are running out. You do it via simple gambles on commodity futures and such like (ie, making a killing from people being unable to afford basic food and subsequently starving).

      So…excuses for austerity, with exclusion and speedy but gradual, to make it more acceptable, impoverishment as one of its principle objectives while concentrating the benefits of capitalism with, if necessary, the aid of an increasingly empowered ‘security apparatus’.

      Now, who said the future couldn’t be lousy science fiction? Whoever it was, they lied.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        Pretty much, Bill.

      • xtasy 1.2.2

        “And modern Labour Parties, it seems, buy in to this bullshit trajectory hoping to salvage viable remnants of a market/capitalist economy (alongside the privilage and power it confers) in the face of resource depletion.”

        Yep, while “the market” is a force to reckon with, a market can be of different types and shapes, and so can be the way a government allows market forces to operate.

        In NZ it has become a neo liberal madness, selling out to oligopolists and monopolists, continuing wealth transfer from bottom to the top and dividing the middle class and more, to frown on the ones further down the social rankings.

        Labour continues to keep the vague “centre” happy, which is necessary to some degree, but they betray beneficiaries and those working in casual, low paid jobs, basically leaving them to consider Greens or Mana.

        The number of posts in this thread speaks volumes, so much for “enthusiasm” for half baked and short of ideas policies. I would expect more from a party that deserves my vote.

    • Mary 1.3

      Shearer made it crystal clear not long ago that “Labour is the party for workers”. Labour is not interested in doing anything about the ever-increasing underclass in New Zealand. Ask Shearer whether he’d support putting the words “participation in the community” back into MSD’s mission statement and he’d look at you as if you were from another planet.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    Shearer is an ‘investor’ whereas Key is a ‘speculator’. Same difference as between Warren Buffet and Bernie Madoff.

  3. pollywog 4

    Nice one Shearer!

  4. infused 5

    ‘One liners’

    Sums it up.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1

      Stop the press! Biased Wingnut Displays Bias!”

      • King Kong 5.1.1

        Don’t forget to add “lame unpopular leader delivers lame unpopular speech”

  5. Blue 6

    Shearers “concession” speech. FIFY

  6. Ad 7

    Matters little what Shearer says; he will be PM because john key is melting. Melting into smelly political sludge.

  7. Tiresias 8

    I wasn’t aware Shearer had got out of bed today until I came across this piece in TheStandard in my daily-if-I-have-time poke into the more obscure corners of the alternate media.

    However I’m sure that whatever it was he said will have heartened the handful of lefties he reached.

  8. Santi 9

    Robertson, not Shearer, could be PM. The “eloquent” Mr Shearer will lose his job.

  9. big brother and the screw u co 10

    NZ has a fledgling industry in rockets may be Key in his new budget could make a rocket big enough to fire him and his govt to land in Hawaii on his front lawn and bury themselves never to return
    So we can all breathe again and remember how it was before his capitalist regime sent us to hell in a handbasket and start a new with some basic human values that will leave our children and grandchildren with a life
    We can live with less of the crap that this govt seems to think is so important like an ever sprawling Auckland, motorways that will break the bank Tourism that will kill the fauna and flora of this country faster than than the money it is supposed to bring .Mining and oil drilling that will bugger whats left of our fisheries and an education system that will become so corporatized that any of what is now our intellectual property will be sold on
    This is nothing more than totalitarianism in a capitalist cloak because our govt is becoming more ineffectual in providing for society and that is not handouts for the poor but for the rich who keep using the country to the detriment of that which makes us what we are and have been so that we have no vision of our future other than that which this govt sees fit which is not it would seem the views of the majority
    A new govt me thinks sleep well

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