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Shearer’s speech exceeds expectations

Written By: - Date published: 7:50 am, March 15th, 2012 - 211 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour - Tags:

You all know that many of  us authors at The Standard have been critical of David Shearer. Well, I’ve just read Shearer’s speech. It’s brilliant.

It talks about the big issues head on – shades of Cunliffe and The Standard in some of it.

There’s no party line pap and some nice stylistic points.

It damns Key without ever mentioning him or his government and is an even more devastating critique of Key for it.

Shearer provides no policy detail – apart from saying he thinks a capital gains tax is pro-growth and questioning the logic of the tax-free zone – and is completely unapologetic about it. He puts a big emphasis on education, which he says must be the backbone of our future success.

He says the next two years is about going around and finding the best ideas – to have a complete plan ready for government – and he’s not going to try to pull the plan out his arse now.

He also says he would rather govern well and make a lasting difference, citing Finland’s Esko Aho, than govern for a long time (contrast to last night’s video of Key, where he was talking about 4 terms before even being elected).

The proof will be in the pudding, of course. But this is one hell of a recipe.

211 comments on “Shearer’s speech exceeds expectations”

  1. Lew 2

    That sound is a collective exhalation of relief among some of us who were questioning our haste in backing Shearer.


    • insider 2.1

      I could have sworn it was sniggering from the ninth floor.

      • bbfloyd 2.1.1

        which is johnny sparkles standard response whenever he’s got nothing useful to say, or is in over his head… so you agree key hasn’t got a clue how to respond to real issues and non party political drivel then….

        good to have you on board at last… had assumed you were just a tory twit…

  2. He says the next two years is about going around and finding the best ideas – to have a complete plan ready for government – and he’s not going to try to pull the plan out his arse now.

    This makes sense, it’s far too early in the election cycle, under a new Leader, to have detailed policy positions. He might get flak for it – media like stories NOW (except when they dredge up four year old ones) – but good things take time.

  3. gareth 4

    If I’d heard that speech 12 months ago I would have voted differently and I’m sure many others would have done the same….

  4. higherstandard 5

    Waffle. Waffle. Waffle.

    Has anyone seen Key and Shearer in the same room together I suspect they are the same person.

    The only thing of substance was keeping a form of CGT as part of Labour’s policy which is great and needs to be debated at length.

    • You mean that you arn’t going to vote Labour next time HS?  How suprising …

      • higherstandard 5.1.1

        I don’t know Greg – the election’s a couple of years way.

        I would hope that they’ll have cleared out more dead weight and have some detail around what their plans are if I was to vote for them, and Yes the same goes for the other parties as well.

        • bbfloyd

          that’s a rather trite assumption to voice considering that’s exactly what was flagged….(fleshing out the details of policy).. i have always found this kind of criticism for it’s own sake to be rather pointless, and self serving….. do you have aspirations to join the tvnz news team?

          • agreed

            Agreed. The cynicism is merely prediction based on very limited information. Forethought, consideration and a new direction after the last election is hardly something to throw your skepticism at this early on. Lets see what happens.

        • Dr Terry

          It seems to me (based only on what I see here) to say a lot without quite saying anything much. There is a way to go yet for Shearer, without impatience, we need watch and wait. The terms are very broad, though sound. I agree that there is reason to give him a fair opportunity.

  5. Very good speech. Simple and direct and it sets out clearly where the next Labour Government will move New Zealand. The comments about education are in part very good. Aiming to have the best education system in the world is an ambition that I approve of.
    The line about bad teachers is a bit awkward.  It suggests that the right’s onslaught on teachers unions has some merit.
    The tone of the speech is supuerb.  Shearer is a nice guy and the speech reinforces it. 
    I agreee that he should ignore his opponent and talk about the future.  We need future looking leadership.  Badly.

    • higherstandard 6.1

      I thought we were rated as having one of the best educations systems in the world ?

      I disagree with your view on his comments about teachers and would suggest that you’d get few members of the teaching profession or of the general public who would disagree with those sentiments.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Bad teachers, bad accountants, bad lawyers, bad mechanics, bad business owners. *Shrug* Train them up or cull them out, every industry faces similar issues.

        • Old Tony

          Difference is all professions except teachers recognise poor performers exist. Teachers recognise them only as a theoretical possibility but they have never actually met one.

        • burt


          You astound me,

          *Shrug* Train them up or cull them out, every industry faces similar issues.

          When not so long ago you were saying;

          backing ignoramuses like Tolley and Banks in looking after our children? FFS.

          This country needs stronger, more effective and more widespread worker organisations. So I’m definitely backing the unions – its the monied neoliberals who are going to get the electoral kiss of death mate.

          and in response to a comment from nadis you had this to say…

          What a fucking joke maybe the private sector could lead the way instead of being the bludgers on society attacking the next generation.

          So what’s changed CV other than who said it might be a good idea ?

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.2

      “The line about bad teachers is a bit awkward.”

      And of course is the soundbite that is being reported… “we can’t afford to have bad teachers in our classrooms.”

      Disappointing. The rest is good though 🙂

    • mikesh 6.3

      “Growth”, “education”. He’s certainly learning to master all the usual buzzwords.

  6. Mike 7

    I don’t know if Nokia is such a great example, they are getting killed in the smartphone market right now

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Nokia in small little agriculturally minded Finland, transformed itself from a forestry and electricity company into one of the world’s most leaders in telecommunications technology.

      Them getting killed in smartphones last 3 years is, to me, a lesson that you can’t sit on your laurels. Which sadly, is what Nokia did after being market dominant in mobiles for many many years. They missed the brand new product category started by the iPhone.

      • burt 7.1.1

        Them getting killed in smartphones last 3 years is, to me, a lesson that you can’t sit on your laurels. Which sadly, is what Nokia did after being market dominant in mobiles for many many years. They missed the brand new product category started by the iPhone.

        And this is why these sorts of things shouldn’t be state owned.

        Lets imagine CV that Nokia is a NZ SOE. How many years ago would you have started calling for a monopoly phone company in NZ? Would you have used arguments of efficiency through no marketing wastage or would you have gone economies of scale? Or both?

  7. higherstandard 8


  8. Colonial Viper 9

    Awesome speech, the direction for NZ and courage for action embodied within it is great. Let’s follow through.

  9. Ant 10

    It’s a positive message but I hate that “growing the pie” shit. Until there is some actual concrete policy it’s all hot air, a bog standard aspirational speech.

  10. Eddie’s praise doesn’t exceed expectations, but no chides of March must be a good thing from his own side.

    Sounds like an enhanced package of what Shearer had already begun, short on specifics but aimed at rallying the troops.

    A pity he’s been sucked into the CGT. If Labour get into Government in 2014 it will be the 2020s before there’s any tax return.

    • Eddie 11.1

      If you bothered to read the speech you’ll see he praises cgt as pro-growth because it stops speculation. He says the revenue, if any, is by the by

      • gareth 11.1.1


        If only we had one 15 years ago….
        My house is @ 40 yrs old. In the early 1990’s it sold for $120,000 then again in the late 90’s for a smidge over $200,000 before I bought it 2006 for just under $300,000 and the mortgage is crippling. CGT would have kept a lid on it, stopped private debt to Aussie banks from exploding reducing the $ getting sucked out of our economy and kept housing in reach of young people.

        I guess I’m lucky in that although I’m on the bones of my arse I can at least own my own place, well after 30 years anyway….

        Although the hose has bolted somewhat with regards to affordability we can try and stop it getting worse…

        • insider

          Is it that simple? There has been a large housing bubble in Aus and they have stamp duty and a CGT on investment properties

        • alwyn

          Unfortunately your logic is about-face.
          I assume that you live in the house and that the person you bought it from did so also.
          The Labour party CGT proposal, along with that of the Greens, was to EXCLUDE family homes from CGT. This provides an incentive to pay more, not less, for your family home. This selective non-taxation of one class of asset, the family home, provides an incentive to invest your money into a bigger family home and hope to sell it at a capital gain when you want to retire. Investing into productive assets attracts a higher tax burden and therefore acts as a disincentive.
          Houses are therefore likely to increase more in price if the CGT scheme that Labour have proposed is implemented, and they are likely to get bigger. That is one of the reasons for the MacMansions we see.
          The same effect occurs in Australia where the equivalent of our National superannuation is meens tested. They exclude the family home from the asset testing. People continue to retain homes that are far to large and expensive when they retire because to downscale the house, and invest their money in a productive enterprise will reduce, of eliminate, the state superannuation entitlement.
          If we are really going to introduce a CGT it should apply to all classes of asset if it is not to introduce distortionary effects.

          • gareth

            I would be happy with a cgt on all property… including the family home. It just has to be high enough to discourage people buying in for capital gain only.

          • gareth

            Also to point out the market was fuelled by high demand, demand created in part by easy credit and the fact that tax free windfall gains and tax rightoffs encouraged people to accumulate houses.

            One friend I have who was to be fair pretty smart used the equity in his 1st house to by another and as prices rose so did his equity. He would re value every 4-6 months and use any gains to buy more property. He owns around 15 houses now and plans to retire early on the income generated through been somewhat of a slum lord, He told me that his wealth increased by over $400000 on capital gain alone.

            Get the CGT up high enough property investment for capital gain will no longer be attractive which will soften demand and result in less heat in the market.

        • Old Tony

          Might be worth considering the research that Westpac did a few years back showing that a considerable chunk of the price increase in housing during the noughties was directly attributable to the Labour Government’s increase in the highest tax rate which incentivised the use of trusts, LAQCs etc to invest in property and thereby stoked the boom which was already on the way because of loose credit.

    • toad 11.2

      A CGT is not about raising shitloads of revenue. It is about leveling the playing field, so property speculation is no longer more attractive as an investment option than productive enterprise.

      • Pete George 11.2.1

        I’d prefer what National did a couple of years ago to what Labour may or may not be able to do in a few years time.

        It may need tweaks but it doesn’t need a whole new tax structure. If policed properly the tools are already there.

      • Ant 11.2.2

        Realistically property speculation will still probably be more attractive than any other investment options in New Zealand.

        • insider

          Given Shearer’s vision includes “a place where the rest of the world wants to live” – the only way will be up for property.

        • mikesh

          The way to bring down property values would be to get rid of fractional reserve banking. The banks bring money into the country by exchanging it for NZ dollars, which they create out of nothing. Curtail this practice and you stem the flow.

      • Mark 11.2.3

        Great in theory, but anyone investing their capital in a business then becomes a “rich prick” exploitative bastard, who then gets the arse taxed off him for his troubles, and/or has to sit back with his arms tied watching a Union run his business (into the ground)
        I guess the consolation is that his benefit will be so high that he won’t try that shit again! 

        • Mark

          My 5:38 was in response to Toad’s 9:35.. unfortunately being in moderation (WTF?) loses the thread of the argument.. and then I couldn’t edit??

          [lprent: The re-edit is broken due to some crazy coding in the updates (the plugin changed coders). I’m in the process of building a minimal replacement for the site. ETA this weekend. It is a bit constrained by also being on the code optimization release cycle and coming home a wee bit tired at the end of the day. ]

  11. King Kong 12

    The key will be keeping Shearer off the cough syrup long enough to deliver the speech without sounding like he’s just woken up from a four day bender.

    So with the assets already sold Labour would still push on with a CGT if they got in next time. Good to see that some things don’t change and stuffing Governments pockets with our cash for poor quality spending is still Labours modus operandi.

    • Galeandra 12.1

      Back into your cage KK.

    • muzza 12.2

      What, as opposed the Nact who just flat out steal and blatantly hand it to their mates via corporate bailouts and the like…

      Nah thats different maaaate…

    • Jackal 12.3

      That you’re presuming National selling our profitable state assets is going to fund anything is stupid enough, but to imply that Labour’s spending is of poorer quality than National’s is simply ridiculous! John Key et al are the crony kings, hell bent on stripping money out of communities to give to their rich mates.

      It is pretty inevitable that Shearer will be PM in a few years, but the real miracle will be whether Labour can repair some of the damage National has caused. The Natz can blame other factors all they like, but the reality of the situation is that they’ve mismanaged New Zealand into a huge financial hole in order to help pay off a small proportion of private debt.

      That’s why there’s a mass exodus, with over 100,000 New Zealander’s leaving permanently for Australia since John Key became PM. I recall the snake oil salesman also promised to reduce permanent migration and close the wage gap with Australia. I guess National supporters like being lied to.

      • King Kong 12.3.1

        Key infrastructure investment versus working for families for dole bludgers. It’s not even a fair fight.

        I would also love to see some images of this cabal of monocle wearing fat cats you talk of. In my minds eye I can see their pale shadowy faces cackling maniacally as they rob the poor NZ worker as he uses his cloth cap to wipe the coal dust from his face.

        • Jackal

          You mean building highways of little significance vs feeding, clothing and housing the poor properly? You’re right, there really is only one choice to make.

          If you want to know about National’s cronyism, I suggest you read this link at No Right Turn. Unfortunately your embellished imaginative description isn’t far from the truth.

          You like saying ‘Key’ lots King Kong. Around here, that’s a dirty word.

    • lprent 12.4

      There is no money in the asset sales apart from a relatively small one off of something like 2 billion (which is what I’d expect they’d get). The loss per year in reduced earnings for the government is something in the order of 100 million.

      So unless the government manages to ‘invest’ the two billion in something that returns more than 5% per year there will be a nett loss. Bearing in mind that they currently seem to want to waste this money on building roads of negative returns, and have a track record of giving money away to media companies at very low interest rates; then making rational economic decisions with the windfall doesn’t seem likely. Even retiring debt offers a lower return because the government gets a lower interest rate

  12. muzza 13

    Is Shearer a member of Parliamentarians for Global Order? Darian Fenton confirmed she is, and the list of others who are too, is known.

    Quite why anyone buys into the hype I guess signifies the desperation to have a NZ which is under NZ control, and in large part to feel like “their team” has won the game, and has control. Lets face it though, NZ is not under its own steam, and the TPPA over the next couple of years, as they nut out the details, while hiding them from “sovereign nations”, under “commercial sensitivity”, might well be the end of NZ sovereignty for all we would know…

    But hey, lets just keep on wishing on a star and perhaps we might well get a class change of conscience from the public to start paying attention and demand better, and or the politicians become answerable to those who elected them…they go hand in hand those two factors!

    Half decent speech though otherwise….

  13. Jenny Michie 14

    I agree it’s a good speech. I like the tone, relaxed and nicely authorative. I wouldn’t have expected Shearer to give away too much detail at this point. And if the last 4 months of ‘going quiet’ has been part of a strategy to keep everyone waiting with bated breath for him to say…well, anything really…then I call it a success.

  14. just saying 15

    I was pleased to see him dismiss the ridiculous tax-free threshold, ie giving a couple of hundred bucks a year to everyone supposedly to combat poverty for those at the bottom of the heap. I want to see effective targetted help for those worst affected by National and Labour policies over the last 30 odd years.

    And particulary given Labour’s moral responsibility, it’s not good enough to just help future “lambs”. There are many “ewes and rams” that deserve a better future than being tucker for rich farmers’ dogs. If Labour intends to continue to sacrifice these people for a dream of a brighter future for others, well…..

    Btw, I reckon this speech was modified because of the left-wing commentators who made it clear that overt beneficiary-bashing and other dog-whistling the bigots would not be tolerated. Thankyou those people.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      A tax free threshold can be an extremely progressive tax tool. It helps those on the lowest incomes the most. Going with a 39% income tax on those earning over $150K pa, and a 49% tax on those earning over $500K pa completes the package.

      • Mark 15.1.1

        CV, there is some merit in this.. how about if we lower the company tax.. or better still just lower the rate on owner/operator income..  will that encourage high personal rate payers into setting up a productive business employing people?

    • Uturn 15.2

      There was no clear indication about helping the poor with targetted anythings. Education was offered instead. Well you can’t eat books. “You’ll make a fine scholar in ten years, Poor Johnny, if you survive this week living off water and pop corn.”. What he offered was the same National threat of the poor being able to help themselves, while ignoring that once poverty strikes, you can’t will people out of it, you have to go get them. To be frank, it’s fucken unacceptable, coming from Labour. Then again, that attitude has been brewing for a while, I guess I just didn’t want to see it cemented in stone.

      • rosy 15.2.1

        ” once poverty strikes, you can’t will people out of it, you have to go get them. “
        I like the way you’ve phrased that, Uturn.

        This bit…

        It’s important to acknowledge that some of the fixes need to happen outside the school gate, in homes where children grow up in poor or dysfunctional families. I’ve spent my life fighting for children in this situation. I want them to succeed.

        I guess we’ll have to wait and see what that means to Shearer.

        • Uturn

          Yes, he knows what’s right, what should be done in the present, but in the context of his speech, the marathon story, the story about books in wartorn countries saving the future instead of the present, they all affirmed that he could only offer half the solution – and half will fail. It breaks my heart to see what may be a good man – I don’t know him personally, never met him – disappearing off into the idiocy of NZ politics.

          How can he know what’s right and ignore it? Why are all his words ringing alarm bells for me? In the context of NZ politics, he’s behaving like a fraud and a liar… but how can that be? He’s behaving like a man too eager to watch those who are in a hopeless situation, die. Goddamn it’s frustrating.

          Maybe that’s it. I’ve been told that there is so much death in Africa, for example, one more starving person on the side of the road isn’t worth your time or your water bottle. They’ve reached a point where nothing will save them. I bet Shearer has seen it. Having not seen it myself, or watched my compassion and emotional energy disappear into barely breathing corpses, I still think that NZ’s people can be helped. A child with respiratory damage from the avoidable diseases of overcrowded damp homes may be physically scarred for life, but to withold compassion, concern, human contact and assistance in the present because they will never come first in the economic marathon of life, that is wrong. I would know the difference between terminal decay and hunger. It’s not the same thing to say a damaged lung is just like terminal starvation. We don’t have people laying on the street here, dying and skeletal, they may be undernourished, begining the cycle of starvation, just plain sick, but who says we must turn our backs now? It’s too early! I resent Shearer’s implied claim that certain parts of NZ are too far gone to save. It’s bullshit. The results of selfishness are not anything like a war zone. If we were at war, the wharf dispute would be over, one side destroyed. If we were at war, legitimate business could not operate. If we were at war, we wouldn’t be having this discussion!

          I haven’t got time to wait. I have to find and support what I think is a better plan.

          • Bored

            That resonates with me Uturn. I am going to try and drag a few Labour MPs to listen to Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh) from Theautomaticearth.org She is on tour here next month, recommended attendance.

    • AnnaLiviaPlurabella 15.3

      Universal allowances do work. There is a plenty of research to back that simple but highly effective and efficient approach.

  15. DavidW 16

    So .. “aspirational” is acceptable today it seems. And the wheel turns … Ho hum

  16. insider 17

    I think you guys are so desperate to be wrong about your dismissal of him (or desperate that you were right in supporting him) that you are losing a few critical faculties.

    This is a speech he should have delivered in bidding for the leadership not months later after some navel gazing. As he said himself “At a certain point, you have to stop talking about what you’re going to do, and start doing it.”

    I’d sum it up as: “In two years I’m going to have a plan, and it’ll be new, honest!”

    It seemed a bland series of platitudes with great lines like “I believe we can look after everyone better, not by cutting taxes, but by earning more as a country and making sure that everyone gets a real chance to earn their share.” Yay wohoo. Never heard that before from a Labour leader

    And others like: “It means questioning the comfortable assumptions we make.” which he immediately follows up with the comfortable assumption “We have smart, creative people and a clean, green branding.” and (to paraphrase) ‘let’s make a NZ Nokia’ -WOW! Never ever heard that before, ever.

    And on education:

    “I won’t be satisfied until every child in New Zealand is getting an excellent education, and until every child in New Zealand is being equipped to flourish.” Well welcome back Anne Tolley.

    This is not a New Jerusalem.

    • Jackal 17.1

      Typical RWNJ to not like anything anybody says concerning a reduction in inequality. Who would you hate upon if there was true equality and the poor and dispossessed weren’t available for you to lambaste insider?

      • insider 17.1.1

        How many times did Shearer mention reducing inequality?

        • Jackal

          1 + 1 = 2 insider. What do you think “I believe we can look after everyone better,” actually means?

          • higherstandard

            What do you think “I believe we can look after everyone better,” actually means?

            Nothing when it comes out of the mouth of a politician.

          • insider


            I think it sounds like exactly the kind of thing any aspirational politician in NZ would say. A bit like “The Kiwi Way: A Fair Go For All”, John Key 2007.

            “We want all kids to have a genuine opportunity to use their talents and to get rewarded for their efforts. That’s The Kiwi Way, and I believe in it.”

            • lprent

              The obvious rejoinder to that is “Worked for him didn’t it?”

              But I haven’t read or watched it yet..

              • insider

                And the obvious rejoinder to that is David Shearer = Key-lite. I’m sure that will get the forces of the left motivated.

                • felix

                  You can accuse him of aping Key, or you can say they’re both just saying what “any aspirational politician in NZ would say”.

                  Probably want to pick one or the other though, or it looks a wee bit like you have a barrow to push but nothing in it.

                  • hawk

                    Quick question, do Key and Shearer write their own speeches ??

                    As I take from what the comments have implied in here that the speech is all Shearer. I would have thought that both Key and Shearer just deliver what the backroom staff prepare for them.

                    Can anyone adivse me on this ?

                    • insider

                      Pagani probably could have, but he’s just been banned for like forever.

                      Given Shearer’s been wandering the country gathering info I wouldn’t mind betting he was the driving force behind it and am hoping the layers of cliches he came out with are the result of a brain dead speech writer given the task of ‘polishing’ it.

                      Key has said he has written some of his own speeches in the past, but I don’t think this was one – too long and important for him to go it alone. I expect him and his Beehive unit would have come up with core themes, his advisers would have provided proof points and filled it out and then they polished it. Today’s one read like it came from a speechwriter in his office.

                • lprent

                  That has been the question hasn’t it…

                  But of course in the Nat’s case it didn’t involve many volunteers. The 2008 on the ground effort by National was pathetic and 2011 was even worse. But it did get quote a lot of campaign money which allowed them to hire people to do the legwork. And labour-lite “didn’t scare the horses” to quote Bill English.

                  Of course with John Key steadily drifting to the dark side of being snide and dangerous and generally not being that nice John Key, it is creating space for Labour to pick up the timid.

                  I did a brief scan of the speech and it looks aspirational (which I tend to view as a swearword after seeing it for 40 years in NZ politics). It doesn’t look particularly motivational to me as an activist.

                  But it is focused on the right areas – export, education, and environment.

                  Labour did a great job at fostering IP export industries in the 5th. The problem is that we started from such a frigging low base. The 80’s and 90’s were a desert for export industries in NZ to the point where most of the people I know who were educated for IP exports left the country or went to work for a useless corporate servicing the local economy. By the time we actually got some of those industries underway we had to hire the skills from offshore.

                  National is as usual ignoring anything based on people in favour of special deals for their mates in the local economy and exporting from extractive industries. They’re the idiots of the short-term. At the end of that process a few people wind up better and bugger off to live in the Swiss alps, but the country is poorer

                  For instance contrary to what that crippled intellect Joyce thinks, you can’t just look at wages post courses here, because the best people don’t do law and accounting and are at least partially limited to this country. If they have any sense then they do something that is portable, so if they don’t find something suitable here, they bugger offshore to join the other million of so kiwis. That includes people with skills as mundane as being able to solder electronics. They don’t show up on IRD’s tax records because they aren’t here…

                  I suspect that David needs to look at export industries here first. Because we don’t have the jobs to hold the people we want to keep now who are being trained now. You can guarantee that the frigging Nat’s will never look at that. They go into the future looking bravely into the past – just like Joyce is.

                  • fisiani

                    National people on the ground in Wellington Central were prominent for months. People in Karori and Brooklyn were getting 6+ visits in the final 4 weeks. Next were Greens and only a handful of Labour workers showed up.
                    Guess what the election results were in Wellington Central?
                    1st Place National Party 2nd Place Green Party 3rd Place Labour Party

                    • lprent

                      Could be. On the ground is the most effective technique at grass roots by far.

                      Obviously being an isthmus Aucklander I know bugger all about on the ground politics in Wellington. For me it is about as alien as the North Shore.

                  • ChrisH

                    I endorse LPrent’s point about the 5th Labour government fostering IP export industries. It’s not as well known as it should be.

          • rosy

            That’ll be 3 – I was pleased he mentioned everyone being ‘fairly rewarded’ for their work, and earning a ‘fair share’.

      • TightyRighty 17.1.2

        trust a useless wart such as yourself to focus on one niggly part of that whole comment as justification as to why the speech might have possibly been any good.

        • Jackal

          It does justify what I said though TightyRighty. insider was being naive about the meaning behind Shearer’s words, which just goes to show how stupid Nact supporters are. They are in fact an intelligence free zone, lapping up rightwing rhetoric like a bunch of moronic zombies.

          I think the main difference is that Shearer actually believes what he is saying, where as Key is just a yes man… he will say or do anything to stay in power, blatantly lying in order to secure more wealth for the elitists.

          There are many parts of the speech that make it good and where Shearer referenced policies that would reduce inequality. I presume insider didn’t bother to read it properly before making such idiotic comments. Possibly that’s your problem as well TightyRighty?

  17. queenstfarmer 18

    Good enough. Glad that he puts the boot into accountants. And a relief that, unlike Labour circa 2011, he seems to understand that CGT is not a cash-cow, but is a re-balancing tool:

    I’ve always believed the best argument in favour of a capital gains tax was the economic effect it had. A CGT is pro-growth. It helps switch investment from sectors such as housing, to the productive sector where we desperately need more capital. Over time I can also see the revenue it raises being used to offset the tax you have to pay in other areas.

    And as long as he fixes Labour’s recent loophole-ridden CGT, it may.

    • King Kong 18.1

      I don’t understand why it has become de rigeur to hate on property as an investment when it has been a good performing, safe vehicle for Kiwis forever. Unlike the equity markets which comparatively have been hopeless.

      I know why Key trots out this nonsense (because he is in love with old numbnuts Weldon at the NZX) but why are Labour beholden to this lobby group?

      Money will always find its way to a good idea no need to force the flow of investment.

      • queenstfarmer 18.1.1

        It’s not about hating on property as an investment, it’s about the reality that NZ will not get wealthier by borrowing foreign money to buy houses off each other for ever increasing sums.

        And it’s also about eliminating distortions that (according to some, with whom I largely agree) unduly favour property over other forms of investment such as shares. A well designed CGT could be part of that mix. If National continues to take its ideological position on CGT, then hopefully Shearer will be able to put forward a pragmatic sensible proposal.

        • King Kong

          All I am saying is that artificially driving investment to one place or the other through some “well designed” tax won’t magically make the recipient of that capital a world beating mega income earner.

          Build it and they will come.

          • queenstfarmer

            Correct, it won’t. But putting money into houses & apartments does little if nothing to create sustainable, export-led growth opportunities.

            OTOH putting money into a innovative new business – which believe me are hungry for capital – could lead to major opportunities and successes.

            • lprent

              …which believe me are hungry for capital..

              They sure are. And it is usually pointless looking for capital here because it is all in property as the tax regimes make that as close to risk-free investment with high returns (if you don’t act like an idiot) as it is possible to get,

              So most of the businesses I’ve worked in for years are either overseas owned (including overseas kiwi’s) or were eventually brought by overseas interests because no-one locally had the capital to buy them when the owners wanted to leave.

            • Mark

              On the other hand.. we have a shit load of exotic timber we are exporting as logs from areas with high unemployment.. and we have a housing crisis in areas like Auckland, leading to overhyped rents leading to further property speculation exaggerated by lack of new stock.
              So does the State own timber processing facilities, providing jobs and milled building materials? Do we build shitloads of new houses/apartments providing jobs and training?.. What is the social/economic benefit ratio.. how much will it cost everyone else? Do we then have to rationalise existing social housing.. do we have to create whole new suburbs, and where, and what does this do to transport & other infrastructure requirements? and peak oil, and who pays the Carbon Tax on the deforestation.. and where does the downstream cost end up when everyone in the chain is eligible for a much increased minimum wage?
              I’m not pushing any barrow here, one way to fund it all would be to quickly mine like fuck after felling the trees, and have prisoners earn a reasonable wage to replant. 

    • DavidW 18.2

      Fair comment qsf re accountants. But remember that justb like lawyers, accountants work within the framework provided by Government. Simplifying tax law would certainly reduce the tax loophole industry and that would be a good thing. From an economic efficiency point of view Shearer’s dreams should also have a couple of minutes in technicolour on simplifying commercial and criminal law with a view to reducing the absolute black hole that is the legal profession and its constant loophole-hunt and exploitation.
      Now that would be a radical transformation to our society.

  18. Uturn 19

    I’m now convinced Labour will not produce anything more than faith based promises six weeks out from the next election. Between then and now, there will be silence or reluctant appearances after the horse has bolted on issues that were once their prime concern. I don’t like that they sneakily targetted teachers and the underclasses and instead sided with those who want to be rich in any way that’ll work. Though they tried to muddy the admission, they are now officially a party for aspirational middle NZ, not of the Left, at all.

    • Draco T Bastard 19.1

      Though they tried to muddy the admission, they are now officially a party for aspirational middle NZ, not of the Left, at all.

      I realised that awhile ago. All they’ve done is try to come up with solutions for neo-liberalism using neo-liberalism.

      • Macro 19.1.1

        Yes – I’m afraid that is it in a nutshell! 🙁
        Labour has finally admitted it has no aspirations for those at the tail end of society. They are little more than National Lite.

  19. Mark 20

    So, CGT..
    If I made a big capital loss on a property, business etc.. would I then receive a tax credit for that..
    For example, I buy a beachfront property for $1M, then have to sell and it’s only worth $500k .. I guess the Govt would then give me 20% (or whatever the rate is) of the loss?

    • Te Reo Putake 20.1

      No, Mark, I imagine the Government would join the rest of us at laughing at the stupidity of your business model.

      • Mark 20.1.1

        Ok, so if I made poor decisions you wouldn’t expect the Taxpayers to bail me out?

      • Mark 20.1.2

        What about if it was just “bad luck”? Could I get Govt support by way of tax credit then?

        • Te Reo Putake

          I don’t get government support when my TAB bets go wrong, so why should should you be bailed out when your business dealings go sour? It’s just welfare for the rich and a further tax on the poor.

          • Mark

            But if you can’t feed your kids breakfast or buy them shoes when your TAB or Pokie machine bets go wrong (bad luck??) When you need bailing out is that then welfare for the rich (who can afford to gamble?)

      • RedLogix 20.1.3

        I think you will find that CGT regimes usually account for capital losses as well. For instance in the USA:

        Capital losses If an individual or corporation realizes both capital gains and capital losses in the same year, the losses (except losses from the sale of personal property including a residence) cancel out the gains in the calculation of taxable gains. For this reason, toward the end of each calendar year, there is a tendency for many investors to sell their investments that have lost value. For individuals, if losses exceed gains in a year, the losses can be claimed as a tax deduction against ordinary income, up to $3,000 per year ($1,500 in the case of a married individual filing separately). Any additional net capital loss of the individual can be “carried over” into the next year and “netted out” against gains for that year.[12] Corporations are permitted to carry any size capital loss back three years to off-set capital gains from prior years, thus earning a kind of retroactive refund of capital gains taxes. After the carryback, a corporation may carry the unused portion of the loss forward five years.[13]

        Bear in mind that the CGT is likely to apply assets like shares as well as property, and as anyone knows they can be exceedingly volatile. It would be very biased if the govt was only to ever tax the gains and never payback on the losses.

        It would make any share investment far too risky and have the opposite effect to the one intended; ie investing in productive businesses instead of property.

        • Herodotus

          RL agreed losses were signaled to be able to be offset but only with capital gains achieved in the same tax years or following years. Unfortunately (and to Insider 20.2) the detail was not yet worked out refer Herald link and the wixz kid committee to work out the details post election, except for the exceptions like “The family bach would be caught by the tax, but only if it was sold. If it was handed down through the generations, no CGT would be paid.” Why should property being passed intergenerational be exempt, the property has been sold (I always wondered who this was pandering to- not the workers thats for sure!!!)
          and from the herald link “Capital losses could be carried forward and offset against future capital gains, but ring-fenced so that they can only be used for that purpose and not to offset income from wages or salaries, for example”

          • Red Rosa

            Maybe it is time to look past CGT’s. Everyone else has them of course, and they can bring in useful amounts of revenue.

            But you have to consider carefully the fishhooks exposed above. Realized and/or unrealized? Offset capital losses? Don’t we capture some CG’s in the current tax system anyway? etc etc

            Extension of the current local government rating system to a central government property tax would be simpler, far cheaper to administer and give a more reliable revenue stream.

            Nothing new in this idea – it turns up regularly in tax discussions- but it needs more exposure.

            • Pete George

              Don’t we capture some CG’s in the current tax system anyway?

              Yes, capital gains are taxed now if assets (property or shares) are sold with the intention of making a profit. And compliance was tightened up by Government a couple of years ago.

              By exempting family homes Labour’s proposed CGT would encouraging investing more in family homes so could boost housing bubbles.

              • Herodotus

                Sure trading in property does incur the paying of tax – yet the Lab govt and the IRD were so relaxed about it that except for a few isolated cases (Queenstown being one) they did not care. We have a register of property being traded (LINZ) so why was this database never utilized ? Why were builders able to charge for their family home being built at cost (or below, as building materials were costed to legit jobs – reducing the profit and tax bill ) then being onsold within a year and replicating this 3-4 time, and no Tax?
                Why was the family house able to be traded in annually/biannually some cases I am aware of 8 times in less than 7 years and no Tax??
                Why was property able to be onsold before titles or code of compliances issued & no Tax ???
                Because it was easier to attack the PAYE worker paying full tax and allow recidiviest traders to escape. And soem wonder why Labour had lost contact with its traditional support base.

    • insider 20.2

      When Goff proposed this I recall them saying it was a one way tax – no credits given.

    • Blighty 20.3

      you would get a credit against future capital gains under Laobur’s 2011 policy.

      But if you want to go out and lose $500K to be able to offset $75K of CGT at some future point, good luck with that.

  20. Blue 21

    I liked most of the speech. I couldn’t agree more that it is time for real change, not just talk. I like the idea of focusing on what is most important, and not being distracted by stuff that shouldn’t be a priority. Putting attention on non-essential stuff like changing the NZ flag, for example, is something that irritates me no end. Having a plan for growing the pie by growing our high-tech export sector is bang on too.

    But I as I read down to the line about ‘bad teachers’, that’s where Shearer loses the plot. I don’t know where he gets off jumping onto the right’s teacher-bashing bandwagon. No one is going to pretend that all teachers are fantastic, amazing paragons of inspirational learning, but teachers in NZ are for the most part pretty damn good. They are extremely dedicated and enthusiastic about what they do, and the failures in the education system cannot be laid solely at their door the way Shearer appears to do in this speech.

    Poverty, abuse and neglect are all things that should be looked at before blaming the teachers. That’s just basic, and if Shearer can’t get that right, there’s not much hope for him.

    The subtle beneficiary bashing at the end of the speech doesn’t go down well either. Yes, WE KNOW that people who can work, should work. FFS. Every politician of every stripe trots that one out every other day. The language around welfare cannot keep pandering to the lowest common denominator.

    It’s pretty simple – people who claim welfare when they are not entitled to it are criminals and any government will prosecute them. Any pollie who has a bash at people who are claiming legitimately because it’s good politics to be seen as ‘tough on welfare’ is a nasty opportunist.

    Jury’s still very much out on Shearer.

  21. Hami Shearlie 22

    I agree with you Blue. I’m still far from convinced that Shearer is the right leader!He’s up in the polls because John Key and the Nacts are stuffing up, not because he’s suddenly so amazing! Talking about everyone who can work should work, duh, we all know that. So shouldn’t more in the speech be about job creation, apprenticeships for young people, so our own people can rebuild Christchurch? There’s too much smell of Pagani for my liking. Just my opinion, he could prove me wrong, but will he?

  22. lonelyavenger 23

    He wants to be New Zealand’s version of Esko Aho, a right-wing PM who was booted out of office after implementing severe austerity?

  23. OK lets have titanium deckchairs on the Titanic. And make sure our cliches are not hackneyed.

  24. Bunji 25

    Oddly the Herald’s line is: “Shearer hints at harder-line welfare policy

    Does anyone else get that? It’s always been Labour policy that “everyone should be contributing to the workforce if they could”, and that hasn’t meant a “harder-line” on welfare before… Herald trying to provide cover for National’s horrendous reforms to force mums of 1-year-olds to go to non-existent jobs? Labour’s way of getting people working is to provide an economy with jobs – very few people don’t prefer to work if they can…

    • agreed 25.1

      Yeah, I agree 100% with that sentiment. That’s one of the most blatantly misleading and misinterpreted headlines ive ever read from the herald, and thats saying something considering the whizzers theyve had in the past.

  25. tsmithfield 26

    “Shearer’s speech exceeds expectations”

    For that to happen the expectations must have been incredibly low.

  26. Draco T Bastard 27

    Typical delusional bullshit. Still harping on about growth and exports and saying nothing about the physical limits that the real economy sets. Still operating on the principal that money is everything.

    • agreed 27.1

      That’s a dumb comment to make. Firstly, he made it pretty clear that research and development was more important than property speculation and our failing export markets which cant keep our economy afloat anymore. When you’re not even running on your own steam, growth is important. What “physical limits” are you referring to?

      Secondly, governments need money in order to be progressive. Of course money is important, having said that, you must have heard a different speech because the one I heard put a whole lot of emphasis on educating our children and not exploiting our environment for lazy mineral-money and instead smartening up our economy. Shearer made it quite clear money isnt everything to him, considering he’s making it clear hes not going to mine on conservation land and sell assets for a quick fix, something our current government has not obliged themselves to. That decision alone says that the environment and the peoples’ choice and rights are more important than money.

      • Draco T Bastard 27.1.1

        What “physical limits” are you referring to?

        The physical limits imposed by what resources we have – how much we have and what’s available over time. Growth must increase use of those limited resources and eventually use them all up at an unsustainable rate resulting in the collapse of society (Peak Oil will be doing this to the global economy over the next few years).

        We also need to consider what the environment can handle. All indications are that we have too many farms and actually need to cut back on them quite significantly. What we need to replace them with is native bush and forests so that they can go back to being the filters that clean up the mess created by animals as well as the essential reservoirs of biodiversity.

        When you’re not even running on your own steam, growth is important.

        Growth is only needed to pay the interest that the banks charge on money that they created out of thin air. And the only way to get growth in a market economy is by having more people to sell to and the world’s already over-populated (those hard physical limits again). Then there’s the fact that every other country is quite capable of producing everything we produce which means those growing markets are actually shrinking markets (they’re developing their society as well remember).

        On a monetary basis we already produce more than enough for our needs as proven by the average wage. What we really need to do is to cut back on what we produce (bring our society back within physical limits), diversify to minimise international trade and distribute what we have more fairly.

        Of course money is important, having said that, you must have heard a different speech because the one I heard put a whole lot of emphasis on educating our children and not exploiting our environment for lazy mineral-money and instead smartening up our economy.

        He’s going on about R&D to produce income, ie, money. If we printed the money that we need with no interest as a tool for internal distribution rather than borrowing from overseas we wouldn’t actually have a problem with money. I’m all for R&D (and arts and crafts) to develop and improve society but it shouldn’t be done to increase the amount of money we have as increasing the amount of money doesn’t actually achieve anything.

  27. bobo 28

    On tv3 midday news they showed a bumbling Shearer using “A brighter future” line a few times. Any clips online yet of his speech?

  28. Fortran 29

    CGT – great new business – easy to get round legally (as in UK and Australia).
    Financial Advisors need a new market from which to increase their incomes.

  29. her 30

    Another tax to be wasted on someone elses pet projects.

    I’m thinking it will be a hard sell.

  30. Dave 31

    But this is one hell of a recipe.

    Yes , it may be one hell of a recipe, but when is it time to get some ingredients and do some cooking. Or are people arguing about when to turn the oven on?

  31. geoff 32

    Same old ‘Export-led growth’ waffle from the barely left-of-centre. Beggar-thy-neighbour economic policy is naff and also ironic when coming from Shearer as he, in the same breath, talks about not treating the environment as an economic externality.
    Sod the rest of the world, economically speaking, if we cant get a decent standard of living by ourselves then there is no way we can from flogging our shite overseas.

  32. Bafacu 33

    You must have excepionally low expectations. I guess though that this leaves a LOT of room for improvement – because if he doesn’t it’s another 3 years wondering where the ex-Labour support has gone!

  33. Enough is Enough 34

    I have done a 90 degree turn on Shaearer. I was a fan and advocated for his selection. However the more I see of him the less convinced I am that he is the man to change things.

    He almost seems like a reverse Bill English, lets not scare the horse and eat a few rats while we are at it.

    I know we are a long way from the elction but there was nothing in todays speech about how he intends to reverse the injustices in our society. Tinkering with CGT, opposing Asset sales which will be completed by 2014 and using fluffy aspirational language is a load a fucking bullshit.

    We are coming to the cross roads. Kiwis are sick of the inequality. Our mates are being locked out from Affco and sacked on the wharves while their bosses take home offensive salaries. There will be a general strike at some point in the next 12 months. We need a political leader in tune with the sentiment of ordinary kiwis. Someone to lead the workers war against excessive inequality.

    Stand the fuck up Shearer and go into bat for the workers.

    • Bored 34.1

      At least you are giving Shearer a chance…..he really needs to get rid of the idea that “middle New Zealand” is going to support him. They are busy becoming redundant and losing their “status”.

      • Colonial Viper 34.1.1


        The $60K-$80K pa middle class are noticing some uncomfortable truths at the moment.

        A hell of a lot of their friends have already left the country, and their newly graduated kids can only seem to find shelf stacking jobs.

        Those on $125K pa plus are still able to maintain their illusions, however.

  34. Kotahi Tane Huna 35

    Shearer Delivers a Lemon – Kelvin Smythe hits back. Hard. And connects.

    • Olwyn 35.1

      I did not support Shearer, I supported Cunliffe, and I have been trying to restrain myself from commenting on this subject all day. I agree with Enough is Enough, that we are coming to the crossroads, and that we need real leadership against a deeply ingrained inequality – which is not just about who gets what, but about one group’s hands being tied while the other punches.

      Why, I ask, are the Labour leader’s praises being sung by the Tory shill, John Armstrong, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10792232, while the insightful and academically published Kelvin Smythe despairs? Why, after the hijacking of the eighties do we still have right wingers in and advising the parliamentary Labour Party? Can we not put up constitutional barriers to at least make it hard for them? And if we must have them, must they then have such a shallow, amoral and condescending conception of centrism?

      This speech looks like every word from the top since Shearer was elected: try to appeal to middle class prejudices without going so far as to incite a mass walk out of the membership. The “centrism” suggested between lines that are carefully constructed to say virtually nothing is the same old neoliberalism wearing an “I care” badge.

      • Draco T Bastard 35.1.1

        Why, after the hijacking of the eighties do we still have right wingers in and advising the parliamentary Labour Party?

        It’s what you get in a centre-right party.

        • Olwyn

          The party membership though, from what I have seen is largely centre left and left.

    • Jackal 35.2

      Who connects again with what now?

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 35.2.1

        Smythe’s criticism connects with the weakness in Shearer’s speech.

        • Jackal

          Smythe’s criticism is well off the mark. First he says:

          Once again the hopes for a true analysis of where we are in education and an exciting way forward have been dashed.

          Then he contradicts himself by saying:

          we needed a speech that advanced on all fronts, not one that speciously and dangerously brought it all down to education, and school education at that.

          So did Shearer talk about education or not and in what world is a speech meant to be an analysis? Shearer in fact made it clear that this speech was not the entirety of Labour’s policies.

          But what really pisses me off is that Smythe often argues against what was not said, and is therefore making shit up. He also makes a completely disingenuous claim:

          You say that ‘schools don’t look so world class now.

          When what Shearer said was:

          But if you track back along the rest of the field, it doesn’t look so world class.

          Smythe is therefore lying about what was said. Shearer was saying that there is room for improvement, and that our failures make our achievements less successful. Smythe is arguing here that there is no failure in education, while around 20% of New Zealander’s are in effect functionally illiterate.

          Smythe conflates the issue by saying New Zealand’s education is the best in the world, but all that shows is that the world standard is not that great. We should be comparing ourselves to the outcome in New Zealand, and that unfortunately is not always so great.

          Smythe claims that Shearer is attacking the teachers for failings in the education system, when no such thing was said. It is incorrect to view Shearer’s broad statement on wanting to improve our education system and improve the capability of teachers in this way.

          Then Smythe really pulls out a doozy:

          The rightwing is really saying the corporates can do it better.

          The rightwing talk in code about education because they’re on a stealthy path, and now, here you are on the same path, drawn to it by the opportunity for political advantage.

          Where did Shearer say he was in support of privatizing our school system? He didn’t. That’s around the fifth straw man Smythe has built. Disgustingly Smythe uses National’s education policy to attack Shearer throughout the rhetoric drenched piece. He cherry picks what information to respond to and ignores the qualifying statement. Here’s an example:

          You ‘want to put badly run schools on notice’ – why David? There are no schools that want to be badly run, just get in there with the appropriate help, which will be positively received. Why the grandstanding? Would it be political advantage at the expense of teachers and children?

          When this is what Shearer said:

          As a parent, I want to put badly run schools on notice. I expect excellence from every school. We need to spend more on early childhood education. Experts agree a dollar spent on a child before five will save $11 spent on crime and welfare later.

          How does improving resources for education translate into Smythe language as detrimental to teachers and children? Smythe then says this is a kind Poujadism… FFS! Does he even know what that means and is he reading the same speech as the rest of us? The old fool then contradicts himself again and appears to advocate less spending on education:

          how about focusing on stopping the Orwellian creep into our social democracy to the multiple benefits to all parts of society.

          How on earth he manages to accuse Shearer of being Orwellian is beyond me. It appears that the speech was the antithesis of this… forward looking, factual and expressing real beliefs developed from working on the front lines.

          Please don’t link to anymore bullshit Kotahi Tane Huna, you’re simply wasting people’s time reading such trash.

          • Kotahi Tane Huna

            20% functionally illiterate is quite simply a lie. Just because John Key says it in Parliament doesn’t make it true, you know.

            What “badly run schools”? Again, repeating right-wing talking points doesn’t make them come true.

            Smythe correctly identifies a whole bunch of right-wing lies that Shearer simply reinforces. I hope it’s a result of ignorance.

            • Jackal

              Actually Shearer was talking about students who fall through the cracks and this making our schooling system not so world class. Are you claiming that there are no students who fall through the cracks Kotahi Tane Huna? Perhaps you think all those people in jails are educated and have just chosen to be criminals?

              The real cost to New Zealand’s economy because many thousands of people have not had a proper education can be measured in billions of dollars. Recognizing this fact is not an attack on schools, it is acknowledging that we can do better.

              Shearer believes investing in early childhood education is the way forward. Please point out where Nact have promoted a similar policy?

              If 20% of New Zealander’s aren’t functionally illiterate, how many is it according to you? I don’t recall John Key saying any such thing in parliament, although I don’t follow his every word. I searched for the information from various organisations working in education, with most of them agreeing that one in five Kiwi’s are functionally illiterate.

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                “According to me” I wouldn’t have a clue, so I am relying on information provided by Professor Terry Crooks. But go with John Key’s figures if you prefer.

                Perhaps you are unfamiliar with recent research proving that inequality in NZ has risen more than in any other developed country, and perhaps you are also unfamiliar with the fact that educational outcomes strongly correlate with measures of equality.

                Vague fuzzy concepts like “falling through the cracks” are a poor substitute for understanding the forces at play.

                • Jackal

                  So if you believe that it is around a 7% failure rate, is that acceptable? As I said before, John Key didn’t provide the 20% figure, although he might have quoted it at some stage. Are you able to link to this quote you keep talking about Kotahi Tane Huna?

                  I’m well aware that inequality is increasing dramatically under a National government, so no need to be glib. The fact of the matter is that there is responsibility on institutions, parents and the government to make sure education remains functional. That is what Shearer was talking about, ensuring children especially in their early stages have the ability to learn. If you don’t get early childhood education right, all the rest is a waste of time.

                  Falling through the cracks is not a vague fuzzy concept… it is the reality for many Kiwi’s… and usually through no fault of their own. Unfortunately many people are not able to achieve and reach their full potential in New Zealand, perhaps one of the main reason so many are leaving. It does not matter whether that potential is lowered because of a handicap, (according to Terry Crooks you can’t count those with disabilities), all children should be given an equal opportunity to achieve.

                  So is it Shearer’s fault that the social dynamic is not conducive to ensuring young people are able to achieve… no! Should he have mentioned it… perhaps! But again you are arguing against something Shearer did not say instead of what he did say. That is a cowards debating style where nothing is resolved. It is a pathetic mindset that pervades the right wing to the detriment of Aotearoa.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    If you mean a link to JK, I have searched Hansard for you: he has repeated the lie several times now. On 11th May 2011, for example, during the Financial Position and Savings—Prime Minister’s Statements.

                    I’m not arguing against anything Shearer “didn’t say”: I’m expressing disappointment that he framed his remarks the way he did, and hoping that he lifts his game.

                    I also didn’t say anything about “acceptable” – that is the sort of lazy and feeble argument that sadly is not confined to the right-wing, to the detriment of Aotearoa.

                    Olwyn & Puddleglum sum it up a lot better than me, though.

                    • Jackal

                      You must be joking?

                      Perhaps you might like to at least try to get past the first paragraph of my argument and actually provide the links requested. “I have searched the Hansard for you” but cannot provide a link to John Key actually saying 20% of New Zealander’s are functionally illiterate? Have you pulled it out your arse Kotahi Tane Huna?

                      Your argument is feckless!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Oh for fuck’s sake, I gave you an actual date and the actual search string to look for, you lazy drone.


                    • Jackal

                      Thanks for the link Kotahi Tane Huna. I’m not sure how it supports your argument that Shearer’s speech was weak though? Is it your contention that politicians aren’t allowed to say what other politicians have said even when that information is widely known and accepted by most organisations? What a strange world you live in.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      One strawman after another! I said Smythe connects with “the weakness” (singular – English words do have actual meanings you know) in the speech, not that the speech is weak.

                      It’s funny how you seem to understand the point Olwyn makes about context, but when I bring it up I live in a “strange world”. ‘The “information” is widely’ disputed, in fact, and I note you have failed miserably to provide a single reference for John Key’s version beyond your claim to have read it somewhere.

                      Criticism of David Shearer will not go away just because you’re in denial.

                    • Jackal

                      What straw men exactly and why do you keep ignoring my questions Kotahi Tane Huna? Are you in denial or simply don’t understand the words I’ve written perhaps?

                      Although I don’t want to feed your obsession with trivial semantics… my question concerned why John Key saying one in five school leavers can’t read properly supports Smythes contention (that you support) that there is weakness in Shearers speech? There is no context to your argument, whereas Olwyn has not gone off into lalaland.

                      The fact that 20% of New Zealanders are technically illiterate is a widely known fact. Unlike your obscure and irrelevant John Key quote, such information is easy to find.

                      The IALS survey is considered to be the best review of the literacy levels of New Zealanders. Measuring literacy on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest level, this survey found that one in five NZ adults have a literacy level of just 1. This means more than half a million adult New Zealanders struggle with their competency in either reading, writing, numeracy, comprehension or all of these. That survey is from the 90’s, so it could be that there is even more illiteracy these days with National cutting funding for our schooling system.

                      I’m well aware that people who criticize Shearer won’t go away… and I’m not asking them to. What I would like to see though is some honesty in the criticism… not baseless speculation that looks like it came from Nact propagandists.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      That’s it? A study from sixteen years ago? I note your moving the goalposts to “technically”, even as you admit that your supporting material is well out-of-date.

                      In answer to your question: “Is it your contention that politicians aren’t allowed to say what other politicians have said even when that information is widely known and accepted by most organisations?” I pointed out that the “information” is disputed – as Terry Crooks’ info from not sixteen years ago might have clued you up to.

                      Oh, and that was another strawman, since I had said nothing of the sort. The other one was your contention that I described Shearer’s entire speech as “weak” – as answered (not “ignored”) in my last comment.

                      As I already pointed out, Olwyn and Puddleglum have articulated my objections very well. Rather than simply regurgitate them, I think you should devote a bit more time to understanding them.

                      But if you would rather invent fevered conspiracies about my credentials as a “Nact propagandist”, that’s a perfectly valid way to come across as lazy and deluded, so please don’t let me stop you.

                      I enjoyed the speech overall, but when I got to the line about “bad schools” it pretty much ruined it for me. The teachers who comment on another forum I follow are expressing similar opinions. Perhaps they are Nact propagandists too. You think?

                    • Jackal

                      Did you happen to bother reading the study to see whether it is valid or not Kotahi Tane Huna? Yes! It’s an old study, but nothing has changed that would make the results better. In fact many things make me think the results would be worse if the same study was conducted today.

                      People might have differing opinions, but it’s widely accepted that one in five New Zealander’s are technically illiterate. Just because you don’t like the information and John Key uses it to attack Labour with, doesn’t make the actual research incorrect.

                      It’s interesting that you took the Nact propagandist comment to heart. It was made in a generalized way. Without reading the comments you’re referencing, I cannot say whether they’re possibly made by Nact propagandists. Your logic divide is really starting to become unbridgeable.

                      Then you start with the ad hominem again. I’m not in denial, lazy a drone or deluded. I don’t think it’s very productive to resort to baseless juvenile insults just because somebody disagrees with your analysis of Kelvin Smythes’ post. He did not hit back with any kind of accuracy… there was no connection with any weakness in the speech because there was no weakness, which you should have realized if you didn’t have ulterior motives?

                      I have reiterated the question regarding this. It was not a strawman and you’re going around in circles trying to say it was.

                      You also ignored the question re Shearer being able to use information John Key has used? Shall I ask it differently so you comprehend… you referenced John Key saying one in five New Zealander’s were technically illiterate and his statement somehow made it untrue. The academic consensus shows that it is correct. Therefore the other part of my question concerns whether you believe Shearer can say things John Key has said… or do you have some sort of Machiavellian delusion about who owns information?

                      Shearer wanting to focus on our schooling system to ensure every child in New Zealand is getting an excellent education is justified. If you consider that many children are currently not getting even a good education now, then you must realize that this is a new policy direction and there is huge room for improvement. The fact that there are children who do not have the spring board they require is what’s important, and anybody who works to fix it has my support.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      “The academic concensus” is precisely what you have failed to show, despite paragraph after paragraph discussing me (yawn).

                      Your only reference is to a sixteen year old study – clearly you were not aware of the figures provided by Prof. Crooks, and it is natural for you to reject them since they challenge your beliefs.

                      The study you quote (and I read) is based on data gathered in 1996. Are you aware that an entirely new curriculum has been implemented since then? In the context of your assertion that “nothing has changed”, for example?

                      Oh, and for the nth time, the fact that John Key attacks Labour with a lie may convince you of the lie, but unlike you, I checked – and I discovered he was making shit up, as Terry Crooks shows.

                      Academic concensus? Pfft!

                    • Jackal

                      Are you aware that there are other studies that show one in five New Zealander’s are technically illiterate, and do you want me to link to them all? The IALS survey is still relevant, unlike you’re pedestal prof who thinks people with disabilities shouldn’t be included in the survey. Do you share similar bigoted beliefs?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Yeah whatever, Jackal. I’m a bigot and Terry Crooks is just being mischievous, whenever he finds time in his busy schedule of eating disabled babies.

                    • Jackal

                      So do you think that people with disabilities should be included in reading comprehension surveys or not?

                  • fabregas4

                    The things is some % of failure rate is actually inevitable but still not acceptable – quite a tension. That it is better than most other places on the planet should actually be applauded because we don’t have any idea of the natural level of rate of failure in the world but given that we are near to having the least we must be doing a whole lot of things right or at least better than others and this is despite our investing a lot less per capita than most other comparable countries.

                    The issue I see is that nothing happens in a vacuum – policy has changed or is changing education around the world. For this to happen in western countries there has been an attack on schools and teachers etc but very little light shone on the policies themselves that have not only affected educational outcomes but also all the things that affect them – poverty, housing, health, employment, equity and so on.

                    There is a real feeling that pollys are using schools as scapegoats for their failed policy in other areas and this maybe supports this thought – if these changes in our system are so in response to our level of underachievement then why are the same things being done to schools and teachers all around the world? Are all the teachers in the world useless? Seems unlikely really – more possible that the ideology of western governments drives policy which in turn causes problems which in turn need an explanation which in turn sees teachers and schools blamed rather than the ideologues who wrote the policy.

          • Olwyn

            The piece by Smythe certainly is not trash, nor is it raddled with straw men, nor does it begin with an inconsistency. It is not inconsistent to say that education must be seen within a broader social framework. The two claims, that the hopes for an exciting way forward in education had been dashed, and that he had hoped to hear about an underlying philosophy are linked by what he sees as a default to managerialism, and a narrow focus on school education.

            He did not claim either that Shearer was in favour of privatising education, he said that Shearer used the same form of coded language as is used in support of such policies. Here you have built a straw man of your own. I could go on, but I have other things to do right now.

            • Jackal

              You’re right, it is not inconsistent to say that education must be seen within a broader social framework. But that is not the only thing Smythe used because of its absence to besmirch Shearer’s speech. And what exactly is this exiting way forward that Smythe is so upset Shearer did not mention?

              Kelvin Smythe claims Shearer dismissed further funding for tertiary education, when I fail to see any mention of this in Shearer’s speech. Perhaps you might like to enlighten me of this all important decision Labour has made, which Shearer has portrayed in his speech that Smythe based much of his defunct argument on?

              The implication was there that Smythe was likening Shearers speech to the same “code” used by National to support privatizing our schooling system. I really fail to see where Labour’s policies can be likened to National cutting a deal with Bulldog Banks that we had no idea about prior to the last election. There simply is no comparison. The Nat-lite concept is a myth dreamt up by Nact propagandists.

              If you have the time, perhaps you might like to read some of these articles before commenting further.

              • Olwyn

                Yes, I see that some of these articles pull National up on various questionable policies. Some I have read earlier. But the thing is, Kelvin Smythe is not the only person to ring alarm bells, he just did so very articulately. Look at many of the messages on this thread. Something that Smythe draws attention to, correctly in my estimation, is the speech’s calling the same old stuff of the last 20 years new and fresh, and trying to pass off positioning as truth and angling as sincerity.

                Some of us who care about the Labour Party do not want to see it hijacked again, and nothing has been said so far that would rule that out. Many of us do not want to see Labour presiding over a period of austerity that impacts most on the already desperate but gives some “thrifty” minister or two a chance to display their prowess as financial whizz kids. Nothing rules that out either, and under JK the debt is racking up. The new “positioning” looks hopelessly inadequate and compromised in relation to what people are suffering already. Andrew Little in his maiden speech spoke of the dangers of gaining the world and losing your soul. The parliamentary party needs to take heed.

                I only wish that the Nat-lite story was a myth dreamed up by NACT propagandists. The evidence seen so far does little to evaporate it.

                • Jackal

                  There have been a few people saying Shearer is insincere. Personally I see no evidence of this. Could you perhaps highlight an instance that has made you think Shearer will betray Labour’s policies and what exactly has rung your alarm bells? Shearer is not like Douglas or Prebble for instance, and that’s some insult you’ve implied.

                  I prefer to take Shearer at face value. Until I see some evidence of betrayal, which I haven’t, listening to baseless speculation about what he hasn’t said is a waste of time. Keep in mind that many on the right will pretend to support Labour in order for their “concerns” about Shearer to be listened to.

                  Smythe is a good example of the spin doctoring that is based on easily manipulated presumptions. He has purposefully set out to misrepresent what Shearer said, and then imposed his own beliefs onto the speech. Smythe’s post is based on his ego, when there is no evidence that it should be so over-inflated. The fact that some have accepted his dishonest scribbling doesn’t make it correct. In my estimation his offering is a piece of trash and you’ve not changed my mind about that Olwyn just by saying it isn’t.

                  The Nat-Lite meme is a myth. I would suggest that you ask any of the Labour MP’s whether they want to emulate National.

                  • Olwyn

                    I did not “just say” that Smythe’s piece was not trash, I offered a very limited defence of it. Shearer and and his defenders need to be able to honestly answer to such challenges and not merely write them off as trash.

                    Don’t get me wrong, I do not know enough about Shearer and his mode of leadership yet to either write him off or wholeheartedly support him. But I do regard what I see as a rightward positioning of the party with suspicion, especially at a time when the NZ workforce is being clobbered and inequality is growing. And I am not easily convinced by rhetorical waffle peppered with subtle dog whistles.

                    In line with what I have said of Smythe, I would like to see policies and commitments that allay my concerns, not just insistence that I am wrong in having concerns.

                    • Jackal

                      LOL I wouldn’t call myself a defender of Shearer. I simply don’t like somebody being picked on when they’ve done nothing wrong. You might note that I did in fact honestly answer Smythes propaganda before calling it trash. Just because it’s well written doesn’t change the fact that there is conflated dishonesty throughout the piece.

                      Policies and commitments to reduce inequality and increase workers rights are readily available from many political parties. As to whether you believe them, that’s not something I’m qualified to comment on. Nothing Shearer has said makes me think twice about his credibility, while we’ve learnt the hard way not to trust anything John Key says. He is a dishonest little conman and unfortunately the person in power. That’s where people’s concerns should lie.

                      Suspicion in politics is appropriate, but not when it becomes speculation on something that there is no evidence to support. Here’s some evidence of John Key’s dishonesty, I challenge people to link to anything that would question Shearer’s sincerity.

                      In terms of political positioning, Labour needs to ensure that it picks up those National voters who have become dispossessed with John Key’s mismanagement. The public sector workers, regional councillors, farmers, lawyers and business owners who will be unemployed, paid less or paying more for services. Many of these people were traditional National voters who are now thinking WTF! In my opinion the best way to achieve this is to do what’s right for New Zealand… and as far as I can tell, that’s exactly what Labour’s policies are set out to achieve.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      “I challenge people to link to anything that would question Shearer’s sincerity.”

                      Red herring – I, for one, am not contending that Shearer’s sincerity is anything but genuine. I just think he’s ignorant in this area, and ignorance is easily remedied.

                    • Jackal

                      Unfortunately ignorance is not easily remedied. If it was, much of the trouble in the world would not exist.

                      You say that Shearer is “ignorant in this are,” which I presume means he doesn’t know much about schooling. Your baseless argument is a work of fiction again Kotahi Tane Huna.

                      I challenge you to link to anything that shows where Shearer is ignorant?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Sure, the line about “bad schools” demonstrates it pretty plainly. He’s never worked as a teacher; perhaps you can explain how that means he knows “much about schooling”, but I doubt it.

                      And yes, this particular ignorance is easily remedied by the addition of better information, such as provided by Smythe, for example.

                    • Jackal

                      You’ve conflated the issue again. Here is what Shearer said:

                      We will work with teachers to develop their professional skills, but ultimately we can’t afford to have bad teachers in our classrooms. As a parent, I want to put badly run schools on notice.

                      He did not say there are “bad school’s,” he said Labour will be putting badly run schools on notice. The detail of the notice is currently unknown, but I would presume it will be in keeping to the first part of the statement, that Labour will be working with teachers to develop their professional skills. There is however a subtle threat, that teachers and headmasters who are not willing or unable to up-skill to ensure better outcomes for students will not be required.

                      You think that because Shearer hasn’t worked as a teacher shows evidence that he’s ignorant and that Smythe has provided better information? Get off the grass!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Yes, my heart sank when I read that line. I’ve been following teacher feeling and debate about National Standards and Charter schools for a while as an interested observer, and it just set alarm bells going the moment I came across it.

                      Perhaps I have “gone native”, captured by professional educational propaganda, but the fact is if Shearer isn’t speaking in terms that teachers can respond to and feel confident that he “gets it”, how much influence do you suppose he’s going to have with them?

                      Because they are saying he has bought into Tory bullshit hook line and sinker. Shoot the messenger!

                    • Jackal

                      Such gross generalizations again. “They” are not saying anything, a few people have raised concerns. You do not speak for all teachers Kotahi Tane Huna.

                      Most teachers aren’t going to mind more resources and training and perhaps changes to National’s largely unaccepted education regime. I would predict that the majority of teachers will embrace such changes after the last few years of austerity and difficult changes.

                      My mistake in the post above is that it’s not Labour’s policy to be putting badly run schools on notice, it’s Shearer’s belief as a parent that badly run schools should not be acceptable. How or if that translates into policy is yet unknown.

                      I guess then you might argue that there are no badly run schools, which again is determined by the achievement of students. I’m not too sure how you might say there’s no room for improvement to educational outcomes when there most definitely is.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      …and I’m not sure when you stopped beating your spouse.

                      I don’t want Labour to offer teachers a little more bread with their shit, Jackal, I want Labour to get on the same fucking page with the people who have actually been at the chalkface, opposing the National Party’s destructive bullshit far more effectively than the so-called “opposition” have over the last three years. Capice?

                    • Jackal

                      Yes! Capice. But I don’t understand your shoot the messenger and wife beating comments… perhaps some sort of sick jokes? LMAO not!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      A learning moment? Always happy to oblige.

                    • Jackal

                      There was no question in the post you responded to writing “and I’m not sure when you stopped beating your spouse.” So WTF are you talking about?

                      If you’re referencing my comment re you perhaps thinking there are no badly run schools, how is that a loaded question? If you’re referring to my question re your support for pedestal prof’s analysis, then I’m presuming you agree with the bigoted way he reached his defunct conclusion?

                      You can either support his bigoted analysis or admit that it is wrong. So do you support people with disabilities being excluded from education surveys or not? Either way, just like Smythe’s baseless argument, pedestal prof’s manipulated findings are highly flawed.

                      A learning moment… pft! Don’t be an arrogant twerp!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      The entire thread is full of your loaded statements/questions. Either I agree with you or I’m a bigot. Either I agree with you or I’m a propagandist. I think there are no improvements that can be made, etc.

                      But whatever. none of the criticism is valid, Shearer is a brilliant and inspirational leader and Labour are poised to win back all the support they have lost, with your strength, wisdom and unfailing ability to listen to criticism by their side they can’t fail, no sirree.

                    • Jackal

                      So do you agree with your pedestal prof’s bigoted analysis or not? If you want to hold up an unscientific opinion to refute my argument that is based on proper research, at least have the balls to stand up for it. Otherwise you are just a coward who cannot accept they are wrong. All you are doing is chewing the fat with pointless semantics and speaking in code, something you have previously criticized.

                      Criticism is valid when it is based in reality… this is sadly lacking from your incredulous and pathetic argument, which is not constructive. As I have repeated on numerous occasions, I do not speak for the Labour party… I simply don’t like liars and propagandists who promote misinformation.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      What part of my disappointment with this aspect of David Shearer’s speech is “misinformation”, Jackal?

                      Snide remarks like “pedestal prof” ill-equip you to judge arrogance or propaganda. Crooks’ analysis was his response to the chorous of Tory twenty-percenters, and I think he refutes them pretty well.

                      Now, in Jackalville (population 1), he’s a liar and a bigot.

                      Your opinion is based on “proper research”, of course it is, but just one minor point: the only data you’ve produced that supports your assertions is completely out of date. Perhaps you have some more up-to-date information, but your anger and bluster at my challenge leads me to think not. Put up or shut up.

                      PS: You are not affiliated with the Labour Party; I expect that is a source of great relief to them.

                    • Jackal

                      What part of your feelings relates to an open statement I made in a general context about liars and propagandists… how the fuck am I meant to know that? That’s about as dumb as Smythe arguing against what Shearer didn’t say.

                      Yes! Your pedestal prof has used a biased system to reach his 7% of New Zealander’s who are technically illiterate by discriminating against people with disabilities… hence my claim that he is a bigot!

                      Put up or shut up… learn to use google search you moron! There is no point in continuing this debate. Your’e welcome to the last word, perhaps you might like to at least try to answer one questions with it.

                    • locus

                      Jackal & Kotahi Tane Huna, it was 25 yrs ago, but Shearer did teach biology, geography and social studies

                    • Jackal

                      I was wondering if that claim was true, and did search. Thanks locus.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Locus, thanks for the correction. If Shearer is basing his opinions of NZ education of his experiences between 1984-7, he needs to get up-to-date.

                      Jackal, I have searched high and low for figures to back up your and John Key’s twenty-percent. Not finding them was what led to my suspicions in the first place. Perhaps my search terms were faulty, but it was a pretty exhaustive search and I do generally tend to find information if it exists.

                      I have provided you with links to my sources, you have provided me with a reference to a sixteen year old study, with a side order of anger and abuse.

                      Perhaps Crooks is wrong to exclude the results for disabled people. I can see both aides of this argument. On the one hand, of course our education system should provide opportunity to all. On the other it is a fairly common practice in statistical analysis to exclude “outliers” (in this case “students with serious disabilities”).

                      Still, repeating the phrase “pedestal prof” over and over again like a bile-filled juvenile parrot will make all that go away, won’t it? We can chant facts down in Jackalville.

                      The seriously disabled students account for about 3% – so if we include them that brings the failure rate up to 10% – not 20% as you and John Key claim. The associate Minister for Education was quoting 25% recently, so perhaps it’s gone up…

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      PS: “The 2010 figures from NZQA show: 50,902 pupils achieved Level 1 NCEA but 1633 were not formally awarded due to fees not being paid. 43,360 achieved Level 2 NCEA but 1168 were not formally awarded due to fees not being paid. 24,668 achieved Level 3 NCEA but 238 were not formally awarded due to fees not being paid.”

    • Puddleglum 35.3

      Kelvin Smythe makes the points that matter:

      We wanted to hear about an underlying philosophy of the need for a cohesive society, bolstered by healthy public institutions, supporting [sic] by clever economic development, and based on fostering a healthy social democracy – we needed a speech that advanced on all fronts, not one that speciously and dangerously brought it all down to education, and school education at that.

      All I’d change in Smythe’s words are “clever, more co-operative, socially embedded forms of economic development”.

      That’s the nub. Where was ‘society’? It was absent and replaced by Thatcher’s collection of individuals.

      There was nothing social in Shearer’s speech – except the emphasis on how ‘some’ individuals are not pulling their weight and fulfilling their side of the ‘social contract’ (which hasn’t existed for some time in any remotely recognizable form). Straight from the right wing Hymn Book.

      Was I expecting too much?

      Our salvation, apparently, is in individual opportunity, innovation and education. In other words, our salvation is purely as individuals ‘upskilling’ ourselves as rapidly and aspirationally as possible to get the cream (for ourselves as individuals) that’s made its way to the top of the great market-based race of the rats.

      It’s the liberal mirage of a meritocratic utopia guaranteeing that we all, as individuals, get our just desserts. The nation’s success is reduced to the sum total of individuals’ efforts and achievements.

      Shearer spoke of a “new New Zealand” – yet there was no sight of anything that couldn’t play twin to our present neo-liberal islands. 

      Basically, the plan is to have ‘clever’ companies rather than ‘dumb’, ‘dirty’ ones. That’s it. Oh, and no asset sales and a CGT.

      It’s LEFT 101 and Shearer just failed the course.

      Still, I’d rather he be Prime Minister than John Key – even on this display. 

  35. Leverett 36


  36. Craig Glen Eden 37

    Im on record as not being a Shearer fan that’s a given but I think this speech is crap quite frankly.

    As for the shit about teachers Shearer should give it a go and see just how hard it is (teaching) before he starts talking about poor performing teachers he should look at poor performing Mps in the Labour Party. Case in point Jacinda Ardern she had three years of being on TV ( to raise her profile) and still couldnt beat that useless Niki Kaye in Auckland central. If Shearer wants to talk about performance he should start with not rewarding poor performers in his own caucus then he might have some authority on the subject of performance..

    • just saying 37.1

      I’m pretty sure Shearer was a teacher for a while.
      But that was long before the big fat one percenter UN salary…..

  37. Cato 38

    I’m sorry, I just couldn’t see it. It was all just platitudes.

    I truly have come to fear that the Labour caucus really was duped by Slater, Farrar et al. Why would Labour listen to its enemies?

    Cunliffe may have been self-aggrandising, and his acolytes may have been non-entities, but at least he would have brought character to the job.

    But who else is there?

  38. Herodotus 39

    A speach that many would expect to have been delivered – still it meets expectations & was delivered. Now to build on the delievery with content. Goff and Key have comenced their leadership with similar speeches and we all know what as occurred since.
    I was interested to read that David believes what some thought (many blindingly supported here) of poor policy and what appearred to be vote buying e.g. GST off F&V. At least David (to his credit) states was poor policy by Labour “So we need to take a fresh look at everything we do – and we need to ask ourselves if it really works.” I wonder how many others now realise the PR sell on such policies that would have delievered nothing tangible.

  39. Populuxe1 40

    If that rhetorical mess exceeded expectations, the expectations in question could have slid under a snake’s belly. It reads like a Steve Braunias parody – a bunch of disconnected platitudes and candyfloss so dense I actually had difficulty teasing out the policy.

  40. Reagan Cline 41


  41. Reagan Cline 42


  42. Reagan Cline 43

    The finnish tribes have their shared story and the Winter War to prove it. What is ours – forests to farms ? Where is the passion David Shearer ? Better teachers – you must be joking. What about more attentive and eager pupils.

  43. lefty 44

    Describing Shearer’s speech as anything more than a bunch of platitudes with a hint of right wing bene bashing is an exercise in wishful thinking.

    Shearer is the Green Party’s secret weapon.

    He’s kinda like Tony Blair without the charisma.

  44. Bored 45

    Just saw the Q&A session…good God! Shearer bumbled, stumbled and looked totally useless. Compare that with the smooth Shonkey delivery, and it is embarassing. Shearer is honest no doubt (compared to the lying venal psycho that is Key) but somebody needs to give him some intensive training on how to handle the media.

  45. Jackal 46

    Just love it how the RWNJ’s are going batshit crazy over the Leader of the opposition giving a speech.

  46. Tamati 47

    Thought visually Shearer was not that strong either.

    The new haircut was obviously trying to make him look younger, except it made him look like he was trying to look younger, rather than actually younger.

    The white background also made him look pastey and made his wrinkles stand out, what’s wrong with the classic power red?

    I hope like hell he didn’t hire Phil Goff’s image consultant, but it looks like he may have.

    Also noticed the PM has a bit of grey on the sides now, the job must be getting to him.

  47. Hami Shearlie 48

    Maybe the Jacinda Arderns etc should have voted the way their electorate officials and hard-working party members wanted them to! Maybe there was too much self-interest from some labour mps, too concerned with their own future job advancement, and no thought as to the wishes of the party as a whole. The members at the many meetings around the country wanted David Cunliffe to be the leader of the party , but the mps totally ignored them. Well, the members might well be saying, “We told you so”! Problem is, when are the mps going to correct their mistake?

  48. fabregas4 49

    Shearer follows blame the teacher claptrap as part of his first major speech – what a disgrace and maybe more importantly what a missed opportunity. The biggest influence on educational achievement as identified by every bloody educational expert in the world is not the teacher ( the teacher is the biggest ‘in school influence) – it is the socio economic background of the child. This is what he should be saying – we need to have fair society, one that sees well paid jobs created for all so that kids don’t go to school hungry and cold and so that their family can live interesting and healthy lives that lead to their children have a rich childhood with experiences and safety and love. So they can see the value of work and of community. But no he talks about the very small number of teachers who struggle to do their daily dose of teaching the curriculum, teaching values, feeding the kids their breakfast, dishing out free fruit and milk, bringing clothes from home, covering the school sores, chasing up truants and the like rather than about the society that chooses to stick all these problems on schools rather than facing them itself and then blames the poor buggers who do their very best to ensure that these poor kids get the very best chance that they can despite being behind a very big eightball.

    Shearer just became an idiot in my eyes.

    • js 49.1

      He said a lot more positive things about teachers and teaching in an interview this morning on Morning Report. But he needs to learn to emphasise the positive in his interviews otherwise many in the media will jump on any negative implications and make them the feature.

  49. RedLogix 50

    This is a long game: “First you have to gain their confidence and trust… then you can take them with you”

    ‘They’ being the 35% or so of people who didn’t vote this last election and might turn up to the next one. And the soft 10% of National voters who might swing.

    Not us tribal lefties.

  50. Matthew Hooton 51

    fabregas4 says: “The biggest influence on educational achievement as identified by every bloody educational expert in the world is not the teacher ( the teacher is the biggest ‘in school influence) – it is the socio economic background of the child.”

    That’s wrong but a common myth. It’s 17 years since I worked in the politics of education but from memory most studies suggest it is the educational environment in the home. I think it was Prof Tim Nicholson at Auckland University who did a study (some years ago, in a pre-internet age) that suggested it was the number of books in the home that was the best predictor of educational outcomes while Phil Silva at Otago showed language skills at age 3 trumped everything else.

    As a generalisation, a kid in a wealthy family with no books (or 21st century equivalent) who doesn’t get read to or talked with, will do worse in education than a kid from a poor family who does have books, gets read to etc. (I suspect there may be a socio-economic relationship with having the time and resources to do this although the parents’ own educational background tends to trump that, because it is more about what they value.)

    Studies like these were the rationale behind Books in Homes and Parents As First Teachers and HIPPY and similar programmes.

    • locus 51.1

      If you believe that access to the right parental influence & books at an early age are the best predictors of a child’s development and that the parents’ own educational background is crucial, then what’s the point of national standards? Better to put government funding into improving ECE facilities and ensuring access to them (particularly for solo parents and families where both parents have to work full-time). And to break the cycle how about sponsoring and promoting further education for parents, so that they have the understanding and resources necessary to do the best for their children?

      I suspect that as well as the factors you’ve highlighted, children’s educational achievement is also very dependant on motivated, well resourced, well paid teachers and small class sizes. It is simplistic, demoralising and self-defeating to focus on the educational standards achieved by children and then presume that they are the result of the competence of their teachers.

    • fatty 51.2

      Thanks Matthew Hooton for giving us a vague outline of educational studies that occurred about 20 years ago. Not only is your post irrelevant and unsubstantiated, you claim that socioeconomic factors are a “common myth”….then you go on to state that your reasoning is influenced by “a socio-economic relationship”.
      Not only do you bore me Matthew…your points are stupid and self defeating….maybe you should get someone with a brain to check your thoughts before you subject us all to your stupidity.

    • fabregas4 51.3

      Nope, you are wrong. The research clearly shows 5 key factors to educational achievement: None are at teacher level because quite frankly if the child has few or none of these attributes teachers are pushing poo uphill (though many do and achieve remarkable success). Indeed we are second only to Canada according to the OECD at having success with children in poverty.

      The 5 factors are:
      Socio Economic Status
      Parental education
      Child intelligence
      Behavioir in adolescence
      Educational aspirations

      In particular these factors are related to maori achievement which when we discuss our children in need is relevant because though there are not more Maori failing but there is a high percentage of Maori children who struggle.

      Take a look at the NZ Educational Review 1/4/2010 if you want to get up to date – 17 year old memories are rarely to be relied upon – especially when you so adamantly state one is wrong and have no expertise in the subject matter.

      • fabregas4 51.3.1

        And as for Tom Nicholson he has little credibility in educational circles and is seen largely as an agent of the National Government whose opinions are wheeled out as required – similar to Hattie before he saw the light and left for Aussie..

  51. tsmithfield 52

    From what I could see of Shearers speech, it looks like a vote for Labour gets you National with a capital gains tax slapped on. Hardly a reason for people to change their vote.

  52. The speech didn’t seem to exceed the ODT editorial team expectations:

    Softly, softly in the jungle

    He delivered its feel-good assertions with about as much passion as a man eating cold porridge.

    Something that stood out like a pea in porridge was something new, in fact:

    A completely new New Zealand.

    That’s obviously not possible, we can’t throw everyone out and start again.Why not push for a better New Zealand? A lot about our country is pretty good already, why not build on that? ‘New’ New Zealand? Woolly eyed.

    • locus 53.1

      Well for some of us, hearing a speech from a politician delivered in a calm and plain-talking manner, without hand waving, finger-pointing and soaring rhetoric is actually pretty refreshing.

      I am willing to accept Shearer’s rationale that it will take a couple of years to put together a detailed plan (with all good ideas taken on board). But given Shearer’s focus on education, “education is everything. We know that. Get that right, and everything flows from it,” I’d have liked to hear him propose what sort of performance indicators might be used. for example, primary and secondary schools’ resources in $ per pupil, average and maximum class sizes, teachers’ salaries, number of fully funded ECE centres per 100 children under 5, % of GDP on education, % or $ increase in funding for science and engineering

      • KJT 53.1.2
        The ideal would be highly trained and skilled Teachers earning 100k with a class of 20

        Funny the right wing always say they want skilled Teachers, but they never want to pay them and give them reasonable working conditions.

        But, of course, only financial gamblers and barely competent management are worth that much.

  53. KJT 54

    The speech did not meet my expectations.
    Signalling more tinkering with neo-liberalism and some vaguely centre right waffle, like Key’s.
    To me it showed a return to NACT light. Labour is still AWOL!

  54. Kotahi Tane Huna 55

    Somewhat OT, but …

    NCEA fee shuts out hard-up students.

    Unbelievable – gone by lunchtime!

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