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Show us the plan Labour

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, October 22nd, 2020 - 154 comments
Categories: grant robertson, greens, labour, poverty, welfare - Tags:

Jostling around in the post-election, waiting to see what happens period was this interview by John Campbell with Grant Robertson on Monday.

Cute that Labour are stealing the Greens’ priorities of inequality and climate. But is it anything other than government formation politicking?

Talking about Labour now having an electoral mandate, Robertson says,

I think the mandate is the stability that we’ve shown, particularly over the covid period […] but also for the plan that we’ve got that to start addressing some of those big long term issues, that you and I have talked about a lot, John, on this show, and that is around climate change, inequality, growing those higher wage jobs, we have a plan for that.

Ok, so Labour has a plan for inequality. Is there a reason they haven’t told us what it is?

Campbell asks him if, given they picked up lots of National voters, Labour intend to occupy the centre ground. Robertson’s response is they laid out a plan in the election and they’re asking National voters to trust that.

When asked specifically about the WEAG report and if raising benefits meaningfully will be supported by the centre right, Robertson says they’re using the report as the blueprint, but they need to bring New Zealanders along with them. It’s not that I don’t believe that. I do think Labour want to do right by poor people, and I do think that they are one of the organisations working to shift the welfare Overton Window.

I also think that the Greens are the ones who’ve thrown the window open and said hey, there’s a better way to do this.  We are now being asked once again by Labour to be patient, as they ignore the fresh breeze coming in and instead rearrange some furniture. To clarify the mangled metaphors there, the Greens are talking about ending poverty, Labour aren’t.

Yep, so much centrist ‘we’d love to raise benefits, we just can’t do anything about that right now, but we have a plan’, followed by some vague hand wave to the future.

The thing that fucks me off about this part of the interview is that while the question about National voters is valid, the complete absence of questions about what beneficiaries might be thinking about this ‘governing for all New Zealand’ government is damning (of Campbell and Robertson).

Thanks mates, we get it. National voters need to be heeded, beneficiaries are the things to be talked about.  We know that we are the objects in this national conversation, but maybe try and make it not quite so obvious.

There is plenty of low hanging fruit in welfare, and Labour have not only not touched it they can’t even bring themselves to talk about it. It’s not simply about raising benefits, it’s that Labour have no grand narrative that makes sense to beneficiaries. We’re just left out of the picture.

I don’t believe they have a plan other than Make More Jobs (a worthy goal but insufficient for those that can’t work for whatever reason). I guess there’s the idea that if we create jobs and grow the economy there will be more money to support welfare. Somewhere down the line. When we have a mandate. Unless we have more crises that rock the economy like climate change, another pandemic, and earthquake, the US going full postal and so on.

The framing of budgets in wellbeing is important, and Labour did a phenomenal job managing the country during covid. But there’s a disconnect here when Robertson says as finance Minister it’s not just about balancing the books it’s about the wellbeing of people in the community. I’d like to see him come into The Standard or onto twitter and talk with listen to some of the regulars here who are long term beneficiaries and care givers, and have him front up to why they’re not being included in this governmental wellbeing for all New Zealanders.

(I’m still in two minds about what the Greens should do, but there seems a clear conflict between the need for climate action (better served by Shaw as Minister) and addressing inequality (probably way better served from the cross benches)).

154 comments on “Show us the plan Labour ”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    Of course I run the fishing yardstick on Labour's claims of job creation. Instead of building a stable, skilled, professional local industry, with well-paid jobs and a sustainable industry model, they've facilitated a model of foreign charter crews who can exploit and be exploited and then be disposed of as fisheries fail, as QMS managed fisheries invariably do.

    It looks good on neoliberal isometric paper, but in every real sense it is a failure of epic proportions – de-skilling an industry, devastating resources, failing to develop or sustain niche opportunities, and failing to create the positive workflow through the wider community that an integrated local industry should.

    And make no mistake, it is the use of slave crews in the fishing industry that was the model for other displacements, like the RSE workers, dairy labourers and so forth. There is no wisdom in this practice – the slave farms of Sicily destroyed Rome, and our neoliberal civil service is determined to repeat that history as farce.

    • weka 1.1

      "And make no mistake, it is the use of slave crews in the fishing industry that was the model for other displacements, like the RSE workers, dairy labourers and so forth."

      Didn't know that.

      Are they talking about training programmes for locals at all? Or are they leaving it to industries to sort out?

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        Yes interesting weka eh! And helpful to get the background behind the street-view, or should I say the scenic sea view.

      • Stuart Munro 1.1.2

        There are perennial training programs – for entry level crew – but they are essentially cosmetic. As with dairy and fruitgrowing, the companies don't want NZ crew. Entry level jobs don't deliver a lifestyle consistent with the requisite sacrifices of long hours and long absences. We can only begin to believe the industry is treating NZ crew fairly when they are the mates, skippers, and chief engineers.

        • RedLogix 1.1.2.1

          lifestyle consistent with the requisite sacrifices of long hours and long absences.

          Totally with you on this Stuart. In recent months I've been seeing the faces of these guys on various decks; it's a tough life. Yet their work makes everything about our modern comfortable existences possible.

          But because they're out of sight and mind we pretend they don't matter.

      • anker 1.1.3

        Weka @1.1 I saw that one of the stipulations for bringing in the Russian fishers was that the industry trained locals.

        • weka 1.1.3.1

          I heard that too, but am not sure that it's happening, and if it's being left to industry or if the govt is driving it.

          Edit, see Stuart's comment above

          • Stuart Munro 1.1.3.1.1

            The requirement used to be be that they made a statutory declaration that they had searched for but could not find any suitable New Zealanders. One used to see fake ads in the newspapers every six months or so (back when jobs were in newspapers) for vast numbers of fishing crew, to meet that requirement – but the ads were a fraud – no applying New Zealander was ever hired from them. The government and Immigration knew it was a fraud and went along with it, which is why we have the mess we have today.

            I would not be at all surprised if industry had signed up for some subsidized training program, so long as it let them keep their rort – but I wouldn’t repose much faith in it as a vehicle for supporting NZ workers – more likely a regular source of cheap exploitable entry level workers.

  2. Devo 2

    "Bringing New Zealander's along with us" sounds like double speak for delay delay delay. The WEAG's recommendations were forecast to add something in the range of $5b per year to welfare expenditure – but Labour have boxed themselves into a corner by promising no new taxes besides the new bracket at $180k. The other way they could find the cash is to add it to the borrowing we are currently undertaking for the Covid-19 recovery – increase the peak above the 55% of GDP they campaigned on – this also seems unlikely even though every credit rating company and bank is saying that countries like New Zealand can take on significantly more debt at record low borrowing rates

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      but Labour have boxed themselves into a corner by promising no new taxes besides the new bracket at $180k. The other way they could find the cash

      Can you please stop repeating the BS that has been proven wrong?

      The government is not cash restrained as it is not a household. It is a government of a country that has its own currency and is thus the issuer of that currency. As currency issuer it can never run out of money.

      A government deficit may exist but the government doesn’t have to borrow to cover it:

      “If the markets [refuse] to fund their governments they [can]… ask their own central bank to do so instead”

      Which is what our government has been doing.

      • Devo 2.1.1

        Of course the government can borrow more money. If you read the rest of my comment you'll realise I was also referring to the fact that Labour have also set themselves a low peak debt target – one that doesn't allow themselves to spend the kind of money that is needed in the welfare portfolio

        We haven’t quite got to the stage of the RBNZ directly lending to the government. They are still going to the bond markets to raise cash

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          Of course the government can borrow more money.

          The government doesn't need to borrow at all.

          If you read the rest of my comment you'll realise I was also referring to the fact that Labour have also set themselves a low peak debt target – one that doesn't allow themselves to spend the kind of money that is needed in the welfare portfolio

          Which is looking at the monetary system the wrong way. As governments have no need to borrow then, even when they have deficits, they have no debt.

          We haven’t quite got to the stage of the RBNZ directly lending to the government.

          Except that we have. The government has been issuing bonds and the RBNZ has been buying them with printed money.

          They are still going to the bond markets to raise cash

          Nope. They're still selling bonds to the private sector so that rich people can secure their wealth with no chance of losing it.

  3. greywarshark 3

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/428807/building-support-for-transformational-policies-crucial-to-labour-s-vision-jessica-berentson-shaw

    I put this on Daily Review but think it belongs here. Good thinking.
    Jessica-Berentson-Shaw
    There are two significant reasons elected politicians, even those with large majorities, need to constantly build support for transformational policies as opposed to just waiting for the public to come around to the idea that change is needed.

    First, we all have significant cognitive biases that protect our existing thinking about big problems and the best solutions to those problems.

    Second, the narratives that dominate our information landscape tend to protect status quo thinking and action.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    Labour can count – in this case, they can count to 64 (or possibly even as high as 66). This means they are calling ALL the shots.

    Of course, by winning a majority Labour doesn't have to show anyone anything – however, I am sure they will point anyone interested to their website…

    • weka 4.1

      That's right, they don't have to show anyone anything. But if they use rhetoric like 'for all NZers' then people will point out they are full of shit if they say they have a plan and they actually don't. They can string us along only so far.

      2023 isn't that far away. I'm sure Labour are aware of this, which why they're not in fact taking a 'we've got the mandate, fuck off' approach.

  5. Kay 5

    But haven't you heard, Weka? Apparently we don't vote. That's all politicians are interested in.

    • weka 5.1

      that's pretty much how the interview came across. It's not just MPs. How often does RNZ have underclass voices on? They have advocates sometimes, academics more often (talking about). Then they have the Panel talking about without even any level of expertise.

      • Kay 5.1.1

        Good point, but I can understand why it would be very hard to find underclass voices, especially those prepared to speak on the record and provide their real name. I'd love to, but not with the combination of it a) affecting my current and future accommodation b)letting the entire country know my beneficiary status and of course, c) having no idea how what I said would be used against me by WINZ.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          that's all very real for many beneficiaries. I suppose with things like the Panel I think they just don't use working and under class people much because of their target audience, so it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.2

          Yes, the poor are routinely oppressed by the current system by the very real fear that they will be made worse off if they speak out against it.

  6. weka 6

    I heard that too, but am not sure that it's happening, and if it's being left to industry or if the govt is driving it.

  7. anker 7

    Oh come on guys. Its pretty clear what the plan is. Its to upskill NZders and raise the minimun wage a(which they have done already, more please). and To offer the training allowance the Paula B to away back to beneficiaries. Very soon anyone who is earning a benefit will be able to earn an extra $160 a week. That's a significant increase. Where are the jobs you might say in this Covid world. Just today the hotel and tourism industry bleeting about the need to import labour as there are starting to be skill shortages……..That sort of crap has to stop!

    If you plan for NZ is to increase benefits, then I would say that is not very aspirational.

    They also have a plan for housing. They failed in many respects, but not entirely and I believe they will now know how to fix the housing market. It is of course to build more houses. I commented about a green shoot a couple nigh on the minimum wage, on help who bought their first home with kiwisaver and and a govt housing grant.

    We need more kiwi build. the govt has prioritized apprenticeships and now there are double the number training.

    • RosieLee 7.1

      No. It is not the business of a Labour government to build homes for the middle class. The number one priority has to be a massive state house building programme, utilising trade training and apprenticeship schemes, as well as the clear NZ expertise that already exists in high spec modular and transportable houses. Whatever it takes.

      Then get rid of the nonsense about "getting on the property ladder" and "mum and dad investors". Tax the hell out of capital gains.

      • anker 7.1.1

        I posted about a young couple who have bought their first home thanks to a Govt grant and kiwisaver. No family help and near earning of the minimum wage. I think this is a great outcome.

        Labour have had a lot more success with building state homes than kiwisaver.

        If "middleclass young people can't afford home on the open market, what are they suppose to do? Just rent? I have a relative in this position and its very unstable for them…….

        I don't have a problem with the govt prioritizing state homes, but also think good to help young people buy a home

        • greywarshark 7.1.1.1

          What I would really like is for government to build state houses and then in each region they would be turned over to a local Housing Trust. The new owners would pay off the houses in rent-to-buy and when they wanted to move they would receive much of their payments back as a net amount after disbursements for maintenance etc. but onto that would be say a 2% interest payment multiplied for each year of their residence.

          So it would be their house, with something invested as a saving, and they would have security of tenure. Possibly they could then shift with a deposit, or apply for another Trust house in the new area when available. This would help people with a lifetime on a low income to have a life, and make savings. And the houses would remain in public ownership but not at great public expense. There would be costs of management and improvements and painting etc. every decade or so.

          • Phillip ure 7.1.1.1.1

            Wot greywarshark said..that so many people have no hope of ever owning their own homes is an abomination..they are forced into a life of subsidising the rentier class..that money must be spent/used as their 'step on the ladder’..it is a simple/clear solution..and if they don't do this..we must demand that they do.

        • RosieLee 7.1.1.2

          We used to do that via State Advances loans – no banks or finance companies.

    • weka 7.2

      they have a plan for people who can work anker. Why do they not have a plan for people that's can't work? Why are disabled people expected to live in poverty, a poverty that is compounded by the disability?

      • Nic the NZer 7.2.1

        I think you have missed a key point on the jobs issue here. The Labour govt plan is still to mostly leave the amount of and kinds of work to the market. They may look at training or other schemes to improve economic performance but leaving it to the market guarantees that from time to time there will be insufficient jobs to employ everyone (actually at any skill level). I also suggest this has a negative impact on people who "can't work" because for a lot of the 100,000 odd in this category its that they can't work full time, but I believe many would take a job if it was possible for them to control their hours (yes there are a small number of people who are incapable).

        This has been an issue since Labour abandoned full employment as a policy after 1984, and the countries unemployment rate has shifted from 2% (where it may be due to job changes) to about 4% or more since then (and despite downgrades in the definition of unemployed).

        But the point is that the government does very little about guaranteeing anybody who wants to work will be able to find work (despite the rhetoric).

        • anker 7.2.1.1

          Ok Labour are absolutely not leaving employement to the market. Why do you think they have persistently raised the minimum wage, even when about to go in lockdown and Simon was squaking about it.

        • greywarshark 7.2.1.2

          And it eats away at the job seeker to be rejected all the time, looked at coldly or kindly but told they are not required. How does government think about this, if at all? One is expected to work, given Nazi slogans about how good work is for you, which is often a complete lie because it just adds a hardship that doesn't offer sufficient money to pay all the ordinary costs plus those incurred around the job and the transport required, managing family etc. Job creation, Green Task Force as in previous years is needed, not just tweaking minimum wage rates in hope that something will happen.

          It calls to mind a biblical quote about kindness and compassion – the questioning of callousness, something like "I asked for bread and you gave me a stone." Another saying is 'I'll make you eat your words", but there isn't any protein or carbohydrates in, the effect would be an upwelling of bile in the body. All the same, it's only words that are received under neolib welfare, and the money that you get handed is reluctantly handed over. I think PM Ardern was quoting lowish unemployment figures the other day, presumably putting the minds of the major financial players at rest.

      • anker 7.2.2

        I am not sure what their plan is for people with disabilities. I have a close relative in this category who potentially can work a few hours a week and wants to work. This will make a difference to them.

        • weka 7.2.2.1

          Good for them. Thankfully they're not reliant on TAS, and can work. TAS by definition goes to people in serious hardship. Labour will continue to penalise those people when they work.

          "I am not sure what their plan is for people with disabilities."

          That's because they don't have one.

          • anker 7.2.2.1.1

            Weka my very close relative is reliant on the TAS.

            "That's because they don't have (a plan for disabilities) one"

            See my comment below

            • weka 7.2.2.1.1.1

              afaik someone with TAS will lose $1 TAS for each $1 they earn.

              • anker

                Didn't know that. That should be changed.

                • weka

                  yep. This is what I (and others) are talking about. There are many things like this that aren't being addressed. It's complex and I don't envy any Minister of Welfare, but it's important that we keep naming it.

    • weka 7.3

      btw, the hardship grant, TAS, afaik still abates from the first dollar earned. There is no earning $160 for those people. I'll look up the numbers getting TAS later, but it's not an insignificant number of people. Many of them are long term beneficiaries, and disabled, so that's multiple compounding factors.

        • weka 7.3.1.1

          cheers.

          Makes me worry now how many people on SLP aren't getting TAS.

          • Kay 7.3.1.1.1

            Safe to say there's plenty. I periodically find myself talking to peers who haven't even heard of it, yet alone know they're probably eligible for it. Just because the Ministry is just as legally obliged to inform us of our entitlements as we are of having to inform THEM of everything, doesn't mean it happens.

            • Descendant Of Smith 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Aye and there is another whole group who don't receive any assistance at all due to partners working with some apparently societal and government expectation that the sole income earner not only supports them but also somehow manages to save for two retirements – on top of all the additional medical costs one incurs.

              No-one I know in that position has joined Kiwisaver. The minimum percentage rates simply make that impossible. If the minimum was equivalent to the government subsidy it would be manageable maybe – 3% x 2 people is just not manageable. Even at median wage of $52,832 the difference between 3% and the government contribution is over $500-00.

              3% of $52832 = $1584
              Minimum contribution from government $1024.

              The assumption that everyone can have two incomes simply isn't true. Finding $3,000 per year (increasing if you earn more than median wage) out of a budget simply isn't possible for lots of us.

              My well off friends on two incomes meanwhile not only both have Kiwisaver as do their children from when they were born – to get the $1,000 lump sum. It's very much a two income/high income scheme as is most things these days.

              Couples with one person working also pay more tax than a couple with both working earning the same amount e.g. much more tax is paid on one income.

              Let's take the median wage.

              One person earning $52832 would pay $8869 in tax. Two people earning $26416 each would pay $3642 in tax each or a total of $7285. This is a difference of $1584.

              If it was say $80,000 income – earning $40,000 each the tax difference would be the difference between $17320 tax as one income to $6020 each or $12040 as two incomes. This is a whopping $5280 difference in net income for a couple with exactly the same amount coming into the household.

              The baby boomers of course for many years had the advantage of income splitting. Peter Dunne looked at this but was only interested in couples with children. Couples whom their spouse couldn't work through illness or disability didn't even get a mention.

              "New Zealand’s past experience with income splitting 3.4 New Zealand currently taxes on an individual basis. Family-based taxation is not, however, an entirely new concept to New Zealand. Between 1939 and 1962 New Zealand required the aggregation of a married couple’s incomes if it exceeded a moderately high level in aggregate. However, this measure was not targeted at families with children. In fact, because tax rate thresholds were not raised when aggregation was required, it acted to increase wealthier families’ tax burdens rather than decrease them.

              3.5 In contrast, the 1982 Report of the Task Force on Tax Reform (the McCaw Report) strongly recommended income splitting be allowed in New Zealand as a means of reducing the tax liability of many families. The recommendation did not require a family to have children to be able to split income. The rationale behind the recommendation was the concern about a lack of recognition of the costs associated with the family unit in the tax system at the time. Essentially, the differences in tax liability between one income and two-income families with similar abilities to pay tax were seen as unfair."

              https://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2008-dd-income-splitting.pdf

              So in summary a couple with one spouse not working not only has to meet those costs of that spouse and the actual real costs of their disabilities where they exist but also pays substantially more in tax than a couple earning the same amount and the spouse can get no support but somehow with those additional costs paying a further 6% of your income to Kiwisaver is supposed to be an option.

              (People on benefit have no show – at the very least the government should pay their $1024 minimum while on benefit if they wanted people to have some retirement funds).

  8. Pat 8

    Good summation…I suspect Labour are waiting for the major economies to do one of two things before any 'transformation' occurs and are attempting to ensure they are in power if and when either occurs.

    Adoption of MMT (and the accompanying admission that 'debt' will not be repaid) or the crash of international markets and supply chains.

    They choose to be constrained by the international consensus in a way that Savage wasnt in a much less globalised and mobile world.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    I don’t believe they have a plan other than Make More Jobs (a worthy goal but insufficient for those that can’t work for whatever reason).

    Make More Jobs isn't a plan. It isn't even a viable basis for a plan. If they truly wan more jobs then they have to look at the entire economy and work on how to develop it so that it employs more people.

    The problem that they have is that they look at how well things are going in what the country is already doing and simply look at doing more of it. As this inevitably results in excess production for the local market they're only solution is exports and hence why they're looking for an export led recovery.

    There's a major problem with that philosophy: Every other nation is also looking for an export led recovery.

    And as every other country can, and will, produce everything that we produce the only thing that sort of economic philosophy will produce is more poverty as wages are driven down to cover the tyranny of distance that applies to a small country at the bottom of the world.

    And, no, China won't save us and nor will the US. China is looking to grow its own dairy herd using NZ cows and the US produces so much excess dairy that their farmers are having to dump it. Dairy exports to the US will never happen while that going to China will decrease. And the Rest of the World won't want it either as they can produce their own as well.

    And that was happening before the pandemic hit. A policy of free-trade (where regulations are comparable) between nations must result in minimal trade between nations.

    If the government really do want to create more jobs then they're going to have to develop the economy.

    If they just want to decrease unemployment then they're going to have to look at bringing back penal rates to stop people working excessive hours (which I think they should do anyway).

    But there’s a disconnect here when Robertson says as finance Minister it’s not just about balancing the books it’s about the wellbeing of people in the community.

    As New Zealand uses a fiat currency then there's no need for the government to balance the books as a deficit is actually a measure of the development of the economy. Instead, the government needs to be looking at balancing the economy and that most definitely doesn't mean doing more of the same shit as was done before as that's obviously not working.

  10. Corey Humm 10

    You'd think national had a 76 seat majority and had just promised to halve benifits and privatize whatever's left of the country the way the left make out.

    And I'm not talking about you I'm talking about the wider left you're generally quite reasonable.

    The govt hasnt even been formed yet, there's still half a million votes in it and we don't know the final make up of parliament a) a lot of list mps are running around like they are certain to be in parliament and b) everyone's expecting a socialist revolution tomorrow or somehow this govts a failure.

    I think this govt needs to do 3 x as much as the last on every single issue and work 3 times as hard.

    But can we not write them off before the votes have been counted. Some of us actually need to have hope in this govt, I know feeling happy and hopeful is not a left wing virtue ( we like miserable, angry and hopeless) but until the votes are in… And we all want change prime minister Jacinda Arden included, can we celebrate easily the biggest left wing victory in our lifetimes because victories for the left are few and far between so we need to actually savior this moment. Then the real work begins. Labour govts need to be pushed by the people just like fdr and savage was …. But for decades there's been no movement to push govts whenever there is a labour govt.

    • Kay 10.1

      I know feeling happy and hopeful is not a left wing virtue

      Interesting comment. I think we are able to be, but certainly in this particular context (even before final votes are counted) we've got every reason not to get our hopes up, based on the noises already made, and from bitter experience.

      Had you survived the experience of being a beneficiary in the 1990s, the election of a Labour government in 1999 was certainly a reason to be happy and hopeful. It didn't take them long to betray us, and we haven't forgotten. Hence the cynicism and not expecting things to change for the better.

      • greywarshark 10.1.1

        That bi-polar mental problem, I think many of us are quite unstable now mentally as we wait and will understand a little how difficult it is to keep balance if one is bi-polar.

    • weka 10.2

      94,146 people on SLP (sept figures). That's people with disabilities sufficiently bad that they can't work to support themselves and need long term assistance. Labour have no plan for them, despite having been in government for 3 years (and they had nothing useful to say in the 2017 election campaign either). They can't even bring themselves to talk about those people.

      It's nothing to do with vote counting and govt formation. Robertson said they have a plan re inequality. Either they do and they're not telling us, or they don't and it was porkies. But I'm reasonably confident that whatever they are planning to do, it's not going to be something that takes those 94,146 people into account, because they simply haven't been talking about or with them for years. You cannot develop policy for disabled people without talking with them.

      • Kay 10.2.1

        Because, as per my earlier comment, even if all 94,146 of us voted it wouldn't sway an election. And the reality is for multiple reasons a lot can't/won't vote and they know it.

        And TAS numbers have gone up by 30,000 in just 2 years?? I put most of that down to soaring rents. When your rent is more than the core benefit all the supplements are needed for everyday survival. Of course, if the politicians an general public really can't stomach the idea of directly financially helping a specific group, there's always the indirect option that will benefit ALL- whatever it takes to lower rents and slash power prices, and break the supermarket duopoly.

        • weka 10.2.1.1

          wow, I need to look up the cost of that. Labour would rather pay out on TAS than raise benefits? And put us through that crazy continuous hurdle jumping.

          I do wonder if Labour are doing back door things like the winter energy payment and TAS so that they don't have to deal with the backlash from raising core benefits.

  11. Enough is Enough 11

    An absolutely brilliant post that echoes my thoughts.

    This election result was bad for the left because Labour will do nothing but talk about fixing inequality at some undisclosed point in the future. They will never do it now unless they are forced to by the Greens.

    Unfortunately this result means they can kindly tell the Greens to fuck off, everytime the Greens try to make them do something which might upset centre voters.

    • greywarshark 11.1

      A good reason for Greens to stay out of the coaliton and stick to con and sup?

      • Enough is Enough 11.1.1

        I would be happy for them to be a constructive opposition party. Forcing change by highlighting Labour's failure to act on their rhetoric.

        My hope is I am wrong and Labour actually do something meaningful, but I am far from confident that they will.

  12. AB 12

    "governing for all New Zealand"

    How does this work if the economy is a place of competing interests – where the poverty of one person enables luxury for another?

    If the lion lies down with the lamb, is it in the lion’s interest, or do you have to change the consciousness of the lion first?

    • RedLogix 12.1

      where the poverty of one person enables luxury for another?

      Zero sum game scarcity mentality?

      In reality we are entering a new era in which ageing populations are consuming less, and constant innovations in technology are delivering the capacity to produce more productively and efficiently than ever before. At some point in this century scarcity will no longer be the dominant consideration.

      • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.1

        They are also spending less so an economy based on growth (selling things) is likely not sustainable.

        The boom generation has had a substantial period of mortgage paid off, two incomes, no kids for many. They have been spending all over the place. Part of the economic change occurring as they retire they will spend less – well not those who can capitalise on booming house pries but that's a smallish group overall.

        They got lower taxes at a time their earnings capacity was peaking.

  13. anker 13

    Gee a lot for me to answer here. And right now I don't have time. but maybe tonight.

    I do trust that Labour will govern for everyone though. Their housing policy of building state houses will help the people you are talking about, i.e. the disabled. Have worked previously in the psychiatric disability field, I know many of the people I saw with psychiatric disabilities would be capable of some work and would want that and benefit from it and the connection they feel as part of the community. Not being part of the community in that way was very alienating for them. I realize not all disabled people would be able to do some work though.

    For people with problems like bi-polar disorder and I know this well, more money for mental health from labour will benefit many of them.
    opps just lost half of what I have written. Maybe more tonight.

    • weka 13.1

      it's not that Labour is doing nothing. And it's not that there won't be side benefits for people not directly targeted. But Labour aren't talking about ending poverty, and they don't have a plan for people in SLP. They simply won't talk about it.

      So some people on SLP will be helped directly by community housing, but will still be expected to live on a sub-liveable income. Others will indirectly benefit if rents drop, but same re income. All will still be penalised if they get TAS. If they have any assets when they become disabled, the govt will slowly strip those from them, because the govt treats long term SLP people roughly the same as those on the dole short term (i.e. expects them to use up their savings and sell their assets and use up the cash). This is what I mean by no plan. Many of us could write a long list of the stuff that Labour isn't talking about.

      They were asked about the SLP rate in the 2017 election and the response was pathetic. As far as I can tell the plan is to lift some people up via work and the rest will be left behind.

  14. Michael 14

    Good writing here, Wekka – I agree with you. The Overton Window is open for Labour to substantially reduce child poverty and associated social ills. Whether it really wants to or not is questionable. With its huge majority Labour can easily choose to sit back and do nothing. For the moment it is politically unassailable. But I'm sure none of the great heroes in its pantheon would choose the path of inaction if they had the chance the current govt has to take decisive action to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in Aotearoa. This is a litmus test of Labour's credentials.

  15. anker 15

    Ok………."show me the Plan"

    I looked and I found it. My apologies to those with disabilities that I didn't know what Labour's policies were. But they are there in their manifesto.

    re disabilites

    Increasing income support and addressing debt.

    Improving supports and services for disabled and people with health conditions and their carers

    simplify income support system and ensure settings that underpin access to income support.

    There is more general stuff that pertains to people who are unemployed who are more able to work eg training incentive, increasing abatement thresholds.

    Top of the list is is to continue culture change at WINZ and improve peoples experience and ensure people are treated with kindness and dignity.

    Work towards implementing the Welfare advisory group to improve the welfare system.

    Remove sanctions

    There's quite a bit there. Possibly not enough for many, but I think the idea that Labour has no plan is untrue. I am now going to read the rest of their manifesto. Its not an insignificant document

    Sorry I can't copy it.

  16. anker 16

    more re show us the plan……….just went to the health section of Labours comprehensive manifesto……

    under health, stuff about ACC

    will work to return ACC to its original purpose of assisting all NZders who have had an injury……this will include,

    Addressing the changes made by National which unfairly disadvantage tens of thousands of NZ workders.

    Considering the range of conditions that ACC funds and taking an evidence based approach to updating the list of chronic illnesses caused by work place exposure to harmful environs.

    Will examine the inequitites of support between ACC and health system for disabled and chronic illness people.

    Transforming ACC culture for clients.

    Labour will undertake a long-term programme of reform to build a stronger health and disability system that delivers for all. drawing on the recommendations of the health and disability system review.

    Forgive me for not outlining their comprehensive Plan on housing. Got to go and cook tea. but if you look up Labours' Manifesto and read it you will see they do have a plan and its comprehensive and it will benefit people on benefits, the disabled, sickness beneficiaries and Maori.

    I am a little disappointed in this post about "Where's the plan Labour". this seems to have been written after a tv interview with Grant Robertson.

    So quite a big plan Labour has and what I have copied is just a little of it regarding benefits and disability support and services, which understandably people on this website are concerned about.

    I realize some on this site might not trust Labour to deliver on its manifesto and I understand why that is the case.

    I absolutely trust Labour to deliver on this stuff. It might not be perfect, but I believe they will deliver.

    • Sacha 16.1

      Will examine the inequities of support between ACC and health system

      Ooh, an examination. That must surely fix things!

      • anker 16.1.1

        Sacha, I usually really appreciate you comments on this site. Disappointed with the comments here.

        WTF is going on?

        Labour has won a majority. Greens have done well. They are having what appears to be positive discussions about the possibility of working together very early on in the piece, even before final result has been determined.

        Labour have saved all our bacons from Covid and continue to do so. All the people you are concerned about, the sick the disabled, poor people etc are at the most at risk in a potentially catastrophic way from Covid. Labour are aware of the problems and they want to fix them properly.. They have to ensure they do this without being voted out next time and having National reverse the good.

        This post asked where Labour's plan was and I found it and quoted from it (thanks Weka for posting the link).

        And now this back lash both on this site and other sites (Bomber Bradbury in a post saying Jacinda will bully and con the Greens, (FFS) and in my personal life with Green friends. FFS. What's going on?

        • weka 16.1.1.1

          I had an initial read through. It's not a plan. There are some good intentions there, but it's been too long anker and Labour have a poor history when it comes to beneficiaries. It's ok for the left to hold them to account on this. In contrast to how they handled covid, their approach to welfare has been lacking.

          We know that Labour's position is trust us, we will get there in time. I'm pointing out that it's hard to trust them when they are getting it so wrong. Like I said, they can't even bring themselves to talk about SLP. That's were all the people are that can't work and Labour just doesn't know what to do with them. Forgotten.

          In the manifesto, it's nearly all about work. But as pointed out, some of the the people in most hardship won't be helped by the abatement rate rise. Labour know this. Where is the plan for those people? And the ones who cannot work?

        • Sacha 16.1.1.2

          The topic I highlighted is well understood in disability policy circles over recent decades, so Labour only promising they will 'examine' it actually means not doing anything. That is the problem. Lots of other fine words in there too.

          Any government will have a tough time over the next few years but it is also one of tremendous opportunity for change. Let's not waste that.

          • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.2.1

            Yeah let's take something simple like helping people with disabilities into work. Nice words but what is the reality.

            Some questions:

            1. How much do they spend each year doing this?
            2. How many SLP clients do they help find work each year whether spending money on them or not?
            3. Is this improving or getting worse over time?
            4. With lots of able bodied people losing jobs where will the priority be – those with disabilities or those who are fit and well?
            5. Historically the government employed those with disabilities as the private sector would not – what role will the government play in actually employing people with disabilities or will it only be left to the private sector?
            6. What assessment has been done of the capacity of the private sector to employ people with disabilities e.g. how many people with Down's syndrome would they employ, or with fibromyalgia, or with depression – what is their willingness to do so?
            7. Bearing in mind that he level of disability isn't about the person – it has to do with the societal ability to cope that surrounds them e.g. the lack of a ramp and only steps is a societal constraint that disables for someone in a wheelchair not something that belongs to the person what funding and training is available to employers for changing workplace attitudes and modification

    • Phillip ure 16.2

      Thanks for clarifying that anker…it seems they could have a busy first 100 days..there is a logic chasm in that abatement increase tho'..'cos as with the $80 abatement..where do you find jobs where you can stipulate that you will only work enough hours to earn $160..?..the whole abatement bullshit needs to be increased to a realistic level ..or be abolished/done away with..this slight increase will do diddly-squat…

      • anker 16.2.1

        Ok fair comment Phillip. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Hopefully there will be some figures on it.

        As I mentioned earlier a close relative to me who will never be able to work full time, but would like to would benefit both financially and psychologically by being able to get a very part time job.

        • Phillip ure 16.2.1.1

          If $160 p.w. is a 'very part-time job..an $80 p.w. one must have been a very very part-time job..it really grinds my gears that people who have more than enough to be getting on with..through disabilities/whatever..are also subjected to this cruel/inhumane/uncaring treatment..from the state agencies tasked with caring for them…that both sucks and blows..

          • anker 16.2.1.1.1

            Phillip many moons ago I worked with the psychiatrically disabled. One big component of the team I worked with was finding people work, part time work or some sort of activity that engaged them with their community. These people were marginalized from society. And the way we thought was best to help them feel less marginalized and to break down community stigma was to find placements for them in the workforce. We never forced people of course we didn't. But most of the people I worked with who had significant psych diagnosis wanted a job

    • Phillip ure 16.3

      I went and read it…I like how they promise to honour the outcome of the cannabis referendum..and some other stuff..pay-equity..and the like..no plans to bring dental care under free health..no rent to buy/innovative solutions to the housing problem..promising too little..over too long to make much difference there..might be a useful exercise to make a bullet-point/checklist to have to hand…to see how they do..we really don't want to just 'keep moving forward'..slowly..

      • anker 16.3.1

        Great you read it Phillip.

        I do read it as rent to buy schemes in there

        "Labour will continue to parner with Community Housing Providers to support progressive homeownership and roll out a govt lead scheme"

        Labour will strengthen public and transitional housing to maintain our progress etc etc."

        Agree about dental treatment although there is something in there about increasing access.

        I think Labour have decided to under promise after Kiwibuild. Their over promising and under delivering on this would have cost them the election.

        They haven't specified how much they will increase benefits by, but they have said they will increase them.

        Yes agree bullet points to check them against would be good.

  17. David 17

    I haven’t voted Labour since the Clark era, but feeling very comfortable with this new centrist version of neo liberal Labour. Property owners set to cash in.

    [Fixed error in e-mail address]

  18. Nic181 18

    I want to see; efforts to build more houses, efforts to get NZ working and most of all, continued effort to clean up waterways and aquifers. Labour needs a very firmly place back foot when negotiating with farmers. Their ability to make money must not be at the expense of our environment.

  19. greywarshark 19

    Another place you could advise your experiences and opinions about benefits. Talk with the academics and workers in the field.

    https://thedig.nz/transitional-livelihoods/benefits-policy-panel-discussion/

  20. Mack 20

    I see the mouthing fat fucking capitalists running the corporations have already drawn up a "carbon-cutting wishlist" for Labour to implement… mostly inflicting financial pain on all NZers in order to save the planet.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/123179899/bring-in-road-congestion-charges-says-big-business-to-govt

    (The wacko with the glasses is another eye-rolling loon… and science for imbeciles from the clown drawing on the white-board. )

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