The difference between Labour and National

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, March 17th, 2022 - 141 comments
Categories: benefits, climate change, labour, national, poverty, science, tax - Tags:

I understand lefties, in the pursuit of a perfect world, are frustrated at the pace of change shown by the current Government.  My personal view is that given we are in the middle of a one in 100 year health crisis and the huge amount of work required to address this that the level of pace of change is not surprising.  Others are more critical.

For instance there is this piece from Verity Johnson who expresses disappointment about the lack of transformational change by toying with the idea of voting for National.

She said this about Labour:

They were great at getting us through Covid. Even after the RAT test debacle, Auckland’s feeling so ignored last year, and the suffocating stress of running a small business with ever-changing rules. I agree with what they keep reminding us, that this has been a world leading response. And yes, we’re grateful.

As for the RAT test debacle the country is awash with them and there is no price gouging.  And there are many, many, many reports on how inaccurate they are.  Who would have guessed that in the middle of a pandemic a centrally controlled system of testing using high quality tests and ensuring the central aggregation of important data would have been so important?

As for thinking about supporting National can I offer the following comparisons of policies to suggest that for any progressive supporting National would be a strange thing to contemplate.  These lists are not exhaustive.

Support for people

Labour has or shortly will:

  • reduced fuel excise duty by 25c;
  • instituted half-price public transport;
  • lifted 65,000 children out of poverty;
  • increased the minimum wage to $21.20 per hour;
  • increase Working for Families, which will make around 346,000 families better off by an average of $20 each a week;
  • adjust the income thresholds for childcare assistance annually in line with average wage growth, benefiting 1,500 children;
  • increase benefits up to $35 a week from 1 April, bringing the total increases for beneficiaries with children to an average of $175 per week, including to $207 per week during the 2022 winter period;
  • increase student allowances by $25 from 1 April;
  • increase superannuation by $52 per fortnight for a single person, and $80 for a couple from 1 April.

National has proposed to cut taxes which will result in:

  • 1.1 million taxpayers on incomes under $14,000 would get nothing;
  • 1.7 million taxpayers on incomes between $14,000 and $48,000 would get up to $2 a week;
  • 700,000 taxpayers on $48,000 to $70,000 would get up to $15 a week;
  • 700,000 taxpayers on $70,000 to $180,000 would get up to $20 a week;
  • 90,000 taxpayers on more than $180,000 would get an average of $180 a week.
Roughly half the tax cuts would go to the top 10 per cent of earners, while the bottom quarter get nothing.
Climate change
Labour has
  • passed the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019;
  • banned off sea oil drilling;
  • instituted the Climate ChangeCommission;
  • designing light rail for Auckland;
  • halved public transport fares at least temporarily.
National will or prefers to:
  • scrap the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration;
  • remove all public subsidies from public transport fares;
  • cancel Auckland’s light rail project.

By all means be critical of the Government when it does not go far enough although realise that it is currently operating in a one in 100 year health crisis.  But do not ever think that National will be better.  From its policies already announced it would take the country back decades and cement in a level of inequality that we have not seen since the 1990s.

141 comments on “The difference between Labour and National ”

  1. Cricklewood 1

    You forgot how much extra money theyve made property owners and speculators..

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Housing inflation has stalled. There are no quick fixes to these issues. And National proposes to reverse the tax changes that appear to be having a beneficial effect.

      • Cricklewood 1.1.1

        The only thing having an affect really is uncertainty… but damage is long done… and to think Labour came to power on the back of the housing crisis. I thought they were meaning to fix it… not to make make affordability many times worse…

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          So record numbers of new dwelling consents in Auckland last year 2021- more than 4x that when National was in government exactly a decade back.

          They are ridiculously expensive but have no trouble selling .

          Isnt more , much more houses a solution- alongside reduced migration inflows . or do you prefer hand wringing.

          The price rises in Auckland – which flow onto the rest of the country as it makes them look cheap- seem to be partly related to the final Unitary Plan which allows higher density.

          Just up the road was a small cottage, looked like 1920s style on a full site . The land alone which was cleared before Xmas now allows 3-4 townhouses from a rough count on the concrete slab now there.

          Building costs up up but so is time delays . I knew of a builder in same suburb who built lower cost homes, single story in 9 -10 weeks. All the tradies knew which day and morning or afternoon they needed to deliver major supplies for the construction to proceed in orderly way.

          The lack of competition in the building supply area, but not say windows or doors which have dozens of local suppliers in Auckland, means they have ramped up timber supplies . Yes sawmills closed down in 9 years of neglect and it was more profitable to send logs to China

        • lprent

          …and to think Labour came to power on the back of the housing crisis.

          …and to think Labour National came to power on the back of the housing crisis in 2008.

          All that they did was keep making it worse despite saying things like this in October 2008

          National party leader John Key says his party's Gateway Programme is similar, offering first home owners the possibility of paying only for the house at first, and the land at a later stage.

          Mr Key says National would tackle other factors to make housing more affordable such as reducing costs through reform of the Resource Management Act and the Building Act.

          Of course National (as usual) did fuck all. Building plummeted, consents in particular nose-dived and National only noticed that there was a problem 5 years later after they had effectively killed the building industry outside of rebuilding Christchurch. Unlike National – numbers don't lie.

          Sure there was a GFC, however National (like now) seems to think that giving tax-cuts to me plus everyone else earning over 100k or 200k and having a cheap imported workforce is more important than making sure that people can be housed.

          In NZ the key for doing that has always been the state making sure that enough housing gets built. Something that hasn't properly happened for at least 3 decades. Labour are simply less of a problem than National because get off their arses and keep pushing. National doesn't. Should they do more – of course! The issue isn’t that right now. The issue is trying to build a building industry to build the required housing.

          At least right now we have finally managed to get to the point where house prices have effectively stopped rising in this quarter.

          Basically National have clearly been incompetent at providing leadership over decades. It shows in our every economic indicator.

          • alwyn

            You claim that under National "Building plummeted, consents in particular nose-dived and National only noticed that there was a problem 5 years later".

            What a shame that the graph you include shows no such thing.

            Consents declined steadily from about January 2004 to April 2009. All except the last few months of the decline were under the Labour, Clark led, Government. However the fall was all the fault of that Government as even a true believer like yourself doesn't really believe a new Government can turn things around in less than a year or so.

            They then bobbled around a bit for about 2 years of the National, Key led, Government and then started to rise steadily from July 2011 until the end of the National Government in September 2017.

            The pattern of the graph shows nothing at all like what you claim, does it? In particular their was no nose-dive in consents during the time of a National Government and things were picking up long before your five year time period.

    • Ad 1.2

      You mean 64.5% of the entire NZ population or around 3.3 million people benefited from that.

      • Blazer 1.2.1

        Please explain how 3.3 million have benefited from…this?

        • Ad

          They own at least 1 house.

          • Blazer

            No way that 3.3 mil out of a pop of 5 mil own 1 house.

            Of those that own 1,many have a 30 yr mortgage.

            Anyone who owns more than 1 has made eyewatering gains,at least on paper.

            Security of tenure is a basic need and the social consequences of this runaway housing ponzi are…dire.

            • pat

              The stat is the percentage of people living in an owner occupied dwelling….it may be mum .dad and 3 kids….the 3 kids dont 'own' the property….at least not yet.

              definitions here

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Yes. You have to start from what is 'a household'.

                Theres single person ones, then 2 people ,mostly older with no kids living at home, and then there is the rest mostly families

                • Ad

                  Still the case that 3.3 million benefited from house price rises.

                  Either directly, or just waiting for their parents to divest equity one way or another.

                  • felix

                    What makes you think homeowners benefit from house price inflation exactly?

                    My house is apparently worth about a million more than it cost me 10 years ago but I haven't seen a cent of that million. I could sell it and be a homeless millionaire living in my car I suppose but I'm not sure I would count that as benefitting.

                    So what exactly do you mean?

                    • Ad

                      Equity either for yourself or future generations.

                    • felix

                      My equity 10 years ago was one house worth of equity. It is still one house worth of equity. Please tell me exactly how I have benefitted from house price inflation.

                    • Incognito

                      Yeah, that’s a tough one, depending on how you frame it.

                      Compared to a renter, over those 10 years your net equity has risen by 1 million dollars and yet you feel no better off!? Boohoohoo crying

                      When you sell, that net equity alone allows you to rent a nice place @ $1,000 per week for almost 20 years (assuming the rent doesn’t go up, otherwise you may have to find a bridge after < 20 years). Or an even nicer place @ $2,000 per week for almost 10 years. Would you’ve been able to rent out your current house for those 10 years and rake in a net income of $2,000 per week all that time? I don’t think so.

                      You can also sell up and buy a nicer house in a cheaper area with your nice fat deposit.

                      These are just some examples of what you can do with extra equity.

                    • felix

                      Nonsense. 10 years ago I could just afford a house. Today if I sell I could just afford a house. The value on paper is only value to a bank who, having added no value, will get to ream the next owner if I decide to follow your very wise advice and find a bridge to live under.

                      "Compared to a renter, over those 10 years your net equity has risen"

                      Sure, you can say I have more equity than someone with no equity but that's not Ad's argument at all and it's irrelevant to mine, which is that as long as I want to own a home to live in, I'm no better off from house price inflation.

                      "by 1 million dollars and yet you feel no better off!? Boohoohoo"

                      I never mentioned my feelings you sanctimonious prick, I'm talking about functional utility. Go fuck yourself.

                      "When you sell, that net equity alone allows you to rent a nice place @ $1,000 per week for almost 20 years (assuming the rent doesn’t go up, otherwise you may have to find a bridge after < 20 years). Or an even nicer place @ $2,000 per week for almost 10 years. Would you’ve been able to rent out your current house for those 10 years and rake in a net income of $2,000 per week all that time? I don’t think so."

                      And ten years ago I could have done that instead of buying a house. There's no gain to me doing it now instead of then.

                      "You can also sell up and buy a nicer house in a cheaper area with your nice fat deposit."

                      Yes you already mentioned finding a bridge to live under but I think I'll probably just stay in my house thanks.

                    • Incognito []

                      On paper, you’re $1 million better off than you were 10 years ago. When you sell, you’re $1 million richer than if your house hadn’t risen in value. You didn’t have to do anything for this except sitting on your lazy ass and make sure the house didn’t fall or burn down.

                      It was exactly Ad’s argument, and he made it multiple times, that home owners and people who live in owner-occupied homes have benefitted from steep house inflation over many years. You didn’t have an argument, you had a question, which is how you’ve benefitted by $1 million over 10 years.

                      You don’t understand any of it, obviously, and you don’t think you’re better off, but you have no feelings about it!? Yeah, right. If you’re typical of home owners who have seen their property go up massively in value over the years I can see why they all feel so hard done by. Poor sods who are literally millionaires but moan that they’re no better off because houses are sooooooo expensive. Cry me another river.

                      So, 10 years ago you could have rented a place @ $2,000 per week “instead of buying a house”?? You make no sense. My point is that 10 years ago $2,000 per week for rent would have been absurdly high and you would probably not have been able to rent out your present home for that amount (actually, more than this because we’re talking about a net gain of $1 million). Nor would you have been able to pay that much a week on rent, in all likelihood. Nowadays, $2,000 is high but no longer absurdly high in Auckland but often takes two people to work full-time. Guess who cashes in on these higher rents? Yes, people like you who own those houses. And just like you they moan that they haven’t benefitted from the spectacular house inflation here in NZ.

                      Whether you want to stay in your current home is not the point. The point is that have the option, or should I say the luxury, of selling up, pocketing $1 million more than you paid for it 10 years ago, and move to a cheaper area or wherever, or rent. If you want to borrow money you have $1 million more as security.

                      You simply refuse to see how much better off you are because you have owned your home during these years and you refuse to see how much you’ve benefitted. You’re one of the (many) lucky ones and don’t even realise it or don’t even want to acknowledge it. You give home owners a bad name.

                      BTW, if you insult me again like that I’ll kick you under the bridge where trolls & morons live.

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    There is no 'benefit' in the sense of free money as another house is just as expensive to buy.

                    My parents house cost around £4500 in the middle sixties , to buy the same now is well over $1 mill. ( used)

                    The banks have benefitted much more directly it seems and just a bit of tighter regulation around responsible lending has seen prices plateau.

                    Who knew the lenders were fueling the price boom

                    • felix

                      Yes the banks have done very well out of the last decade. They even gave John Key a super sweet job to thank him for all his hard work overseeing it for them.

                    • Ad

                      When you inherit you will be sweet. Directly.

                  • felix

                    "Still the case that 3.3 million benefited from house price rises."

                    In fact if they bought anytime in the last decade they have obviously been massively disadvantaged by house price inflation.

                  • Blazer

                    Ah so..very good…so the higher house prices t go..the better off 3.3million out of 5 million are!

                    You no.1 economist Ad…lets hope an average house in Auckland goes to $3mil ..then majority better off…so need to..argue.devil

                    • Ad

                      We just need more old people with equity to die and redistribute.

                      The NZ middle class are about the same as the Bingleys in Pride and Prejudice.

                    • Blazer

                      @Ad…ah so you good economist even more…need people die now to get more money from high house price…why you so..clever?

                  • Blazer

                    This statement does not withstand scrutiny.

                    How do they 'benefit' if they do not sell?

                    Are you talking about credit scores=the wealth effect on spending?

                    The assumptions you make regarding the benefits of high prices to the offspring of homeowners is arguable.

                    The banks are the biggest beneficiaries of this artificial construct.

                    Their business model relies on expanding interest bearing debt,and savers are punished.

                    RE agents,insurance,building suppliers and companies do o.k too.

                    Unearned income is a cancer on healthy productivity.

                    (There is over $700 TRILLION in the swaps market.)

                    Plenty of evidence that ludicrous house prices do not benefit society.

                    But I guess we can conclude Labour and the Natz are in lockstep re ramping prices.Labour winning atm -30% in one year is hard to beat.

                    'Researchers in the UK also argue that increases in housing prices change the distribution of welfare towards home owners, and away from non-homeowners.

                    Study shows higher house prices linked to income inequality – NZ Herald

          • Martin C

            I don't.

      • Cricklewood 1.2.2

        On paper at least my home has 'earned' more than double my salary over the last 18 months. Blooody productive house that…

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Only if you sell it and live on the streets in a wheelbarrow.

          Rising tide lifts all boats and you would find selling to buy another leaves you with no spare change from your illusory 'earnings'

          • Craig H

            There are options for Aucklanders and Wellingtonians to sell up and buy something cheaper in another city or town e.g. Christchurch. Agree that someone selling and buying in the same or similar market doesn't get much out of it (especially with legal and real estate fees to pay).

            One area of gain is anyone whose equity increased to over 20% which would then make them eligible for lower mortgage rates.

            Another is the ability to draw on the increased equity to undertake improvements, repairs and maintenance of their home (we replaced our carpets and curtains, repaint our house inside and out, and fully insulate it), and another is starting a business if someone particularly wants to do that.

            Another option is to upgrade to an electric vehicle.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              People generally upgrade when changing houses, ie a flat to a townhouse or to a more expensive area or larger section further out.

              many many years ago a friends parents had house hopped around north shore but would have been better off financially if they stayed one of original home in a prime Devonport location

              • Craig H

                Agree upgrading to some extent would be the most common scenario, but it seems moving to other centres and either downsizing or moving into retirement facilities is increasingly common compared to 10-20 years ago.

                Moving into other centres has been a problem for a while in that it drives up prices there as shown by Aucklanders moving to Hamilton or the BoP (for example) and using money from their higher Auckland prices to upgrade nicely in those other areas (fits with your point about upgrading, but maybe there's more upgrading by moving city than previously).

                The downsizing/moving into retirement facilities will pick up pace as well as the baby boomers reach that stage of their lives. The earlier boomers are now 70+, even 75+ for the earliest, so that sort of consideration will be top of mind for at least some of them.

              • Ad

                You can't get household movers out of Aukcland right now for 4 months in advance: now that they are able, many are selling down and getting out as fast as possible.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Auckland and the usual culprits are still growing. Not as fast as before , I think from around 2000- 2020 it added as much people as lived in Wellington region. It was mad growth

    • SPC 1.3

      You mean the RB Governor and Treasury. The RB G's QE was based on Treasury predictions of the impact of the pandemic.

      There is a clear difference when looking at policy on rentals – Labour seeks better standards and is ending tax deduction of interest paid by landlords on existing property (which should direct them to new investment and allow more first home buyers into property ownership as the market values decline 10%+).

      And on state housing – Labour is committed to ensuing their is a greater number of state houses, National would sell as many as they would build.

  2. mac1 2

    " But do not ever think that National will be better."

    When it all comes down to it, that is the cruncher. As a member of the NZLP for fifty years, I have not always agreed with every decision. Voting for Labour is akin to Churchill's evaluation of democracy-" the worst form of government, except for all the others."

    But it's far better than Churchill's cynicism, as mickysavage's list shows. A simple example to illustrate his point. Our local National MP was in favour of selling local State houses. He said they were to be replaced by new builds. Far more were sold than were built. Our town is short of some 900 houses. Workers don't come here as there is little accommodation. Meanwhile, another 2250 Kiwis returning home will have returned to our province which has 1% of NZ's population, if we get our fair share of the returnees. Another 1000 houses required because of that statistic……..

    BTW, I wonder what will be said about my quoting favourably a Tory politician?

    • Well, Mac1, I can't speak for all lefties on The Standard, but I for one will forgive you for quoting Churchill.

      I always recall the statement made during the elections near the end of the war: 'we love thee, Winnie, but we'll nowt vote for thee.' The workers knew Atlee had their 'social' interests more at heart than Churchill ever could.

      IMHO, voting for a Natz/Act government, in the face of an intensifying climate crisis, to take just one example, would be a case of national suicide!

      No Right Turn sums up the Natz position:

      Labour, God knows, are not perfect, and, constrained no doubt by the pandemic, have not done enough to satisfy my leftist tendencies, but make no mistake, they are infinitely to be preferred to anything on the right!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      Not so fast on the numbers of expats 'returning'

      This was 2020 but not so different now and even if it doubles thats only NET of say 15,000 arrivals for whole country

      As a result, net migration of New Zealand citizens for the year ended March 2020 is provisionally estimated at 7,200.

      • mac1 2.2.1

        Yeah, mistook returnees for being a net figure.

        That simplifies matters a huge amount! Thanks, ghostwhowalksnz.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Whilst I agree that one doesn't really need a microscope to discern the difference between National and Labour, and your list of differences proves that point, the binary nature of the way democracy is structured will continue to induce mainstreamers to do their ritualised flip/flop as usual.

    Verity seems a typical youngster in this respect. She signals her potential to flop into National's arms due to being underwhelmed by Labour's performance in govt. I agree the pandemic is a useful excuse for Labour but unwise to deduce that it will operate as such in the next election campaign. Labour will be judged on results or lack thereof.

    • Nordy 3.1

      The pandemic is not a 'useful excuse', it is the reality we are all having to grapple with. In the real world there are limits on resources and time, therefore, plans and priorities need to continually reviewed and adjusted.

      The core argument I suggest MS is making is that there is the proverbial 'country mile' difference between the intent, values and therefore policies of Labour and National.

      Therefore for a person to suggest they might switch their vote (to a party that does not believe in transformational change) because of perceived lack of transformational change is non-sensical.

      • pat 3.1.1

        Trump and Brexit wernt logical either….they still happened

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.2

        a party that does not believe in transformational change

        Well if Labour weren't they'd do some, eh? To prove themselves authentic, I mean. So what's your rationale for the current lack of such proof?

        • Patricia Bremner

          Nordy can not prove your negative Dennis. Transformed Education back to centering on NZ children not overseas cash cows. Transforming the Health system to offer better to all not just those who live in a "Good" postcode. Transforming Development builds by providing support for the costly underground infrastructure. Transforming the perception of transport as needing to pivot from oil to greener fuels. Transforming Banking and farming, by having strategies to plan and mitigate problems. Just a few things. Oh and Covid management as well.

          • Dennis Frank

            Repackaging incrementalism as transformational could indeed succeed as a marketing ploy. You're not totally wrong about Labour and I'm still willing to support Mahuta's effort. If her process delivers, it will be sufficiently transformational for Aotearoa that it will go down in history as such.

            However when mainstreamers like Verity are flipping their support, the writing appears to be on the wall. Unless Labour can score a few big wins the best they can expect is to head into the next election in parity with National.

            Okay, perhaps that's too gloomy. Say if the pandemic eases off, the economy rebounds, Labour don't produce any more Twyford-style screw-ups, and one or two transformational achievements like Three Waters kick in, then it still remains possible they can build a significant lead back. Lotta ifs tho.

      • Patricia Bremner 3.1.3

        yes Yes Nordy so true.

  4. Weasel 4

    We have had a one in 100 years health crisis and Labour has dealt with it exceptionally well, but what I, Verity Johnson and many other supporters are exasperated about is the lack of ambition of this government.
    Labour when it was elected with an absolute majority had a one in 100 years (hopefully less) opportunity to be transformational. Instead, it has been incremental at best. Many ministers in this government seem to have sat on their butts and done SFA. For example, Broadcasting and Media Minister Kris Faafoi had a mandate to transform the media. After five long years consulting and supposedly planning he came out with the lamest possible announcement of a proposal that will falls far short of establishing a true public television broadcasting service and leaves all the detailed work to an establishment board. Instead of setting up a commercial-free public service, he has arrived at some vague mishmash dog that will easily be swept away by the fast-arriving moment of a new National Government Covid played no part in this level on procrastination and incompetence.
    Climate change is supposed to be Jacinda Ardern's nuclear-free moment for her generation. Good work has been done on setting up the Climate Commisson (note you incorrectly call it the Climate Change) but when it comes to action, it turns out we are going to pay other countries to plant trees to offset our government's refusal to force change our carbon-producing behaviour at home and even then we appear to be basing this on dodgy data.
    |Many of the items you list in your defence of Labour are simply price adjustments, many of which will not even keep pace with inflation that has suddenly surged (which is not all Labour's fault). For example, the idea of cutting public transport fares was not based on a thought-through policy to transform car use and reduce emissions – rather it was a knee-jerk reaction to worries about soaring inflation and National's resurgence in the polls.
    Transformation would have been to accept the findings of the Tax Working Group and institute a capital gains tax as every member of the group recommended. Instead Ardern's government has been content to allow the wealthy to reap massive asset price gains, that have rocketed ahead due to the Covid response measures, that are all tax-free. House prices have inflated to the point where the only young people who can contemplate buying a house are the children of the wealthy (mostly National voters).
    Andrew Little with his proposed health reforms is showing the way on what transformation looks like. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta is hopefully going to do it with the Three Waters Reforms. Why have so many of the other ministers used Covid as the excuse to delay and procrastinate?

    • Ad 4.1

      You fools who want climate change transformation are nowhere to be seen when panic buying queues around the block at the petrol stations last week.

      A Capital Gains Tax would have sunk the economy with COVIDtanking us. Extending the Bright Line test to 10 years did the job with more subtlety and most of the effect.

      Carbon Zero plan has required a term and agreement of both sides of Parliament as it should. You can wait until Budget in May.

      Hey sorry Verity et al suck it up or leave.

      • Nic the NZer 4.1.1

        "You fools who want climate change transformation are nowhere to be seen when panic buying queues around the block at the petrol stations last week."

        Your castigating people who didn't need petrol last week for not adding to the panic buying?

    • mickysavage 4.2

      This one in a hundred year crisis has been draining for the Government. I am not sure you appreciate how all consuming it has been or the amount of work that has been required through all portfolios.

      The items are not price adjustments. Many of them are implementation of the WEAG recommendations. Health reforms are not able to be done quickly.

      Climate change is going to be a marathon.

      The government operates in a political system. You can see the kick back they received from something as simple as wearing masks. To complete climate change policies will take a determination and a resilience to attacks that no government has ever had to tolerate.

      As I said before house inflation has stalled.

      If you are upset about these things and think that the Government has not gone quickly enough can I suggest that you should not consider supporting National.

      • Poission 4.2.1

        1) light rail is a dead duck,a vanity project that locks up to much capital in an economic regime of increasing inflation and capital cost.for the same expenditure we could put solar into every house,a heat pump and replace all gas cooking appliances.

        2) Whilst the government has put in place short term measures with the reduction in the fuel tax etc (which will also be deflationary) its bio fuel mandate will claw back the savings made from January in a significant way.The model used 5c litre for petrol and 10c litre for diesel both which are well under what feedstock will the high cost of agriculture feedstock.

        The costs will impact significantly on food prices which are now at record highs.
        Indeed the high cost of food prices is linked to both speculation and ethanol prices and global instability.

        Physical methods can be used to identify the most important behavior-affecting factors in a complex system. In this case, they point to the role of speculators and ethanol in world food prices. The fitting of actual prices to theory has a p value of 10^{-60}, and the out of sample fit is as good as many theories’ in-sample fit, p<0.001. This demonstrates the incredible accuracy that is possible for this kind of theoretical analysis of real world problems.

        The ethanol mandates and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed speculation in the commodities market, are both disastrous policy decisions that should be rolled back. However, as NECSI’s president Yaneer Bar-Yam points out, “Because of large profits for speculators and agricultural interests, a very strong social and political effort is necessary to counter the deregulation of commodities and reverse the growth of ethanol production.”

      • James Simpson 4.2.2

        What has stalled house inflation though?

        Government policy or the forecast of higher interest rates to combat the inflation which thee government largely have no control over (in their view)?

        • lprent

          Almost entirely government policy between housing initiatives, the various clamps on speculative investment (inadequate as they are), constraints on profitability of rentals like not treating interest as an expense, and making sure that banks couldn't do predatory lending when we were moving into a higher interest rate environment..

          The interest rates are still pretty low. ~4.5% fixed for 3 years is exactly what I had for my previous mortgage before I re-fixed at ~3% last year.

          • Poission

            There is only 1 way interest rates will go,as has been signaled in the Feds statement and that is up.

            The markets do not like surprise so the Central banks communicate very carefully,and rises are usually priced in.

            The 90 day bill rate which is used by the banks to price mortgage lending and tracks close to the OCR.(margins go on top)


            The wholesale interest in NZ on the 90 day bills has risen by 18% since the 7th March.


            3 year mortgages were 5.25% at asb today,so looking at around 7% by the general election next year.

            • lprent

              I'm aware that they are going up. That was why I re-fixed everything last year.

              4.79% fixed classic for 3 years at BNZ this morning. It was a little over 4.5% a few days ago.

              Definitely look around time 🙂

              However in NZ, I suspect that the OCR 90 will settle this year to between 2 and 3% returning to the last decade norm. The RBNZ overshot on the inflation coming out of the 2020 lockdowns as evidenced by the extremely high employment participation, the building production, and constraints in local supply chains pushing costs. Building and housing costs are starting to ease, as the builds start spreading out again after supply constraints during lock downs.

              RBNZ kept the interest rates low to cause growth because our 2020/2021 inflation and growth were so damn low. They overshot. The credit now gets more expensive to dampen it out.

              Plus we're now getting prices rises and inflation from local and offshore. The housing/building portions were the main price drivers. Now we'll also get transport related drivers. But that isn't likely to be long lasting, but more of a readjustment that was going to happen anyway. As the world economy wakes up fuel gets expensive. Dropping Russian and Ukrainian supply won't help

              But RBNZ won't want to significantly constrain any regrowth either. That was the problem after the GFC. I'd pick 3 year fixed interest rates to not rise much above 6% and then falling back after the .

              I suspect we'll get higher than usual inflation and interest rates, but have a dampening of both well before year end.

    • lprent 4.3

      …Labour when it was elected with an absolute majority…

      You mean about 18 months ago?

      After five long years ….

      Apparently not. If you remember that far back, then you should also remember that Labour in a coalition government from 2017-2020 had a few issues with progressing their agenda , or having the money for it after conceding concessions to their coalition partners.

      Transformation would have been to accept the findings of the Tax Working Group and institute a capital gains tax as every member of the group recommended.

      Ah nope. Your memory appears to have had an early age-related event (I am trying to be kind here). Let me refresh it.

      “All members of the Group agree that more income from capital gains should be taxed from the sale of residential rental properties. The majority of us on the Group, by a margin of 8-3, support going further and broadening that approach to include all land and buildings, business assets, intangible property and shares.

      What Labour did was to follow the unanimous report – not the majority report.

      They increased the collection of capital gains from residential property by increasing the bright line test to (now) 10 years for residential investment properties. Now that have also started to stop deductions for interest. They also helped to implement constraints on banks lending that reduce the ability to have highly leveraged mortgages.

      That has effectively shifted the cost/benefit for residential investors quite a lot and contributed to the shuddering no-price rises in the past few months.

      Plus of course helped to massively increase the amount of building going on.

      But they literally are limited by what the population is willing to vote into parliament with them. Somehow I don't think that voting National will help with any of that because they are fundamentally economic idiots who can't find their arse with their own hands.

  5. Reality 5

    The greed of National giving the top tax bracket $180 per week is typical. It's as if they think they deserve it more than those further down the ladder. "Don't you know who we are" syndrome.

    Considering the extraordinary challenges faced by the government in the last few years, I am more than willing to try and be patient with how things are going. I cannot recall any government in my lifetime having so many major events to deal with (each very different) one after another. I am tired of the grumbling, whining and lack of appreciation. Just how do people think National would have managed given their leadership debacles, unsavoury candidate selections, and last but not least Judith.

    • they deserve it more than those further down the ladder.

      Of course they deserve it more – private hospital insurance, private school fees and overseas holidays are expensive, don't you know? /s

  6. barry 6

    National are still the Party of Punishment.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    The frustrating thing even for us critics of the Govt. on welfare and public housing is NZ Labour is reluctant to toot its own horn on the scores of useful incremental changes and reforms it has carried out–such as increasing PPL provisions, healthy increases to minimum wage, school lunches (aha there are free lunches!) and restoring funding to various NGOs that sirkey maliciously cut.

    If you are on a Labour mailing list you will know these things, but the great unwashed would not have a clue about things in the Far North via PGF such as tiny settlements getting new wharves on the Hokianga and Kaipara, a new business hub in Kaikohe, traffic easing roundabouts on SH10 at Puketona, Waipapa and Kawakawa, harbour boardwalk at Mangonui etc. etc.

    National is no answer, they have the Trump act down pat–point out the pain but never have any intention whatsoever of alleviating it.

    Ultimately to have a life beyond the 2020s the Labour Caucus and Party still have to make a grovelling apology for Rogernomics when they are eventually pressured by new gen voters to repeal all the rotten legislation that underpins the NZ neo liberal state–Reserve Bank Act, State Sector Act etc.

    • Corey Humm 7.1

      Agreed labour needs to promote it's legislative achievements far more often to combat the negative on the left and the right it actually has a long list of legislation output

  8. Patricia Bremner 8

    Weasel, Why have other ministers used covid to delay and procrastinate?

    The answer is money.

    It has cost us many billion to come through covid with world beating figures of lifespan gain and few comparative deaths. In bad times the rich retreat to property ownership as a tangible asset.

    We have an opposition who has stirred the anti pot the whole way, with attacks which involved outright sabotage lies and corruption.

    Some of the perpetrators are now presented as 'a government in waiting' who are talented and better than the current crop.

    Please, that is so silly it is ludicrous.

    After four leadership coups Luxon's first action said it all. "I am too important to walk 200 meters. bring on the Limo" so he supports oil and gas!! Quell surprise.

    He plainly is another "Don't you know who I am?" and talking to his wealthy property owning mates "I will remove all taxes Labour have put on"and I will give you tax cuts"

    It is not Labour who is desperate to change things back, it is all those affected by this Government's actions. This is a taste of the coming climate change fight. The wealthy will in many cases fight any changes they see as preventing the accumulation of power.

    Consider that for a moment or two. Articles like Verity's are just a chorus of anti voices supposedly having lost faith. The chorus of haters on face book, the protest with the large food supplies and payment of fines. It has all escalated in the last three months.

    All the way it feels like Key's backroom boys are operating again, helped by Trumps' idiotic ideas which are conning many through the net.

    To run a democracy, the people must come with you on the journey, and in politics that can change in a heart beat and it is clever nimble strategies which achieve long term goals while also incrementally achieving change now and in the future.

    Two large areas have changed, though both have been heavily affected by covid. Education and Health have had huge structural changes. These will be more obvious after the peak of covid.

    The support for the cost of infrastructure in the development field has seen a great growth in that area.

    Now transport changes are being bedded in, and also Climate Change is starting to be tackled with farm plans. Granted the bogey of carbon credits loomed, but even that is being mitigated.

    All this while keeping the economy ticking along, with changes to banking to strengthen and provide stability.

    If the Law did not grind so slowly several fraud cases would be over, and several high powered individuals would have been exposed to the public eye. Justice delayed is often justice denied.

    So this Labour member says, they have done enough in one true term to deserve a second which may be more MMP type Government, with hopefully a Labour Greens Maori Party? coalition, continuing to put people first.

  9. Corey Humm 9

    Labour needs to do a big pr campaign akin to the "big NZ upgrade" at the start of 2020 promoting it's legislative achievements and despite what the haters on the left and right think, this is the most progressive labour govt NZ has since 1975. Not that that's difficult but my god when I listed all the policies this govt had passed in 4.5 years I was impressed.

    The public need to hear what they've done in a PR campaign and what they will do because non political people (the average NZ voter) is impressed when they hear it. There's still a lot of love for the PM especially among young people and women.

    Labour should be proud of its legislative achievements and not shrink away because they are not good enough for the left, we're not trying to convert lefty's who don't like labour because they are not left enough, they can vote green, NZ has been economically right wing for decades this is the first govt in decades to increase the power of the state, first govt in decades to raise benefits and by April it'll have implemented most of the welfare advisory groups.. it's not a perfect government but it was never going to be, it has a done a lot of good and should constantly remind the average voter, not the hateful kind of lefty who secretly prefers a Tory govt (and no I'm not talking about the kind of lefty who wants to push labour left, I welcome them with open arms, I welcome the greens with open arms, I'm talking about that miserable hater lefty who just wants to live under a Tory govt to constantly cosplay revolution)

    They do need a cabinet reshuffle, the older ones need to make room for the next generation of labour leaders so the new generation has cabinet experience.

    They need to do more and when promoting their achievements they need to constantly remind people "we're just getting started"

    Labour needs to stop being embarrassed of its achievements.

    When the govt does something good the wider left needs to give it some credit not just bash it for the sake of bashing be critical by all means but, I always see the right using attacks on the govt they got from the left.

    The entire left needs to work together if we want a third term of a center left govt. Labour has done some real good a labour green govt could do even more but if we just bash the govt the people who like the govt we won't get a chance.

    Labour needs to gain its confidence back. Remind us constantly what you've done and labour and the greens need to remind us what they want to do.

    Let's get back to bashing Tory's and the party of participation trophy's that is act…. If they get elected. … I don't wanna think about it.

    • Patricia Bremner 9.1

      yessmiley Agreed Corey. Norm and I have doubled our small regular donation and turned it into fortnightly instead of 4 weekly. We definitely do not want a National government in our last years Cheers.

  10. DS 10

    Nationals new policy is. Let's give all our MP's a big fat pay raise.

  11. Blade 11

    The basic difference between Labour and National is National concentrates on the productive, while Labour concentrates on the unproductive.

    Micky could have added to his list:

    • National will scrap Three Waters.
    • Cut funding to Maori ( long overdue)
    • Hopefully cut government bureaucracy.
    • Cut back on consultancy fees.

    What I would like National to do is:

    • Keep Marsden Point open.
    • Stop excessive taxes on cigarettes. Let the working man have something to look forward to. I really feel sorry for smoke butt pickers . Tariana did them no favours. Some have to walk miles to find one smoke butt.
    • Arm all police and harden up on crime and bad state tenants. New Zealand has become a very unsafe country. This has gone beyond being a ideological football. Action is need now.
    • Have a clean out of the education ministry. Bring in performance pay for teachers.
    • Build state run reservations (that would be the reality) for people who live like animals. Have houses made basically of plastic. Walls, floors and perspex could be replaced cheaply and quickly. Housing has sunk Labour. Housing will sink National if they aren't careful. Radical reform is needed if Rotorua is anything to go by.
    • Blazer 11.1

      Too funny.

      Productivity did not increase when the Natz were in power.

      One trick pony=immigration and ,money laundering property inflation.

      Z takeover already approved…goodbye Marsden Pt.

      Natz are so predictable ,same old,same old,-bash beneficiaries,defund public service,bang the drum on law and order,and tax cuts for the…rich.N.F.I.

      And of course NZ 4 SALE…apply to ….!

      • Blade 11.1.1

        ''Natz are so predictable ,same old,same old,-bash beneficiaries,defund public service,bang the drum on law and order,and tax cuts for the…rich.N.F.I”.

        Head in the sand…you hope it will all go away. It won't. Wake up…and smell the Maggi noodles soaked in cabbage water.

        • Blazer

          You dirty rotten elitist clearly do not know how much..a cabbage..costs ..these..days.

          • Blade


            • Poission

              $5.94 plus tax.

            • mac1

              Some would say $6.99 buys 12 seedlings, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower. Two months weeding and watering in two square metres of garden, enough to eat and share.

              • Blade

                Yes, but that calls for thrift, common sense and a little mahi. That isn't the modern way. In fact, given the weather we are having, you could strike out watering. Hell, when cabbages reach $12 a head…police will be dealing with vegetable thieves. Goes well with sheep rustling.

                • mac1

                  Happens now with roses in public gardens….. for weddings, seemingly.

                  Who would that be, I wonder?

                  As for home gardening other things called for are tools, property available for the growing period, and for serious longterm gardeners sufficient security of tenure to justify digging, planting, composting, crop rotation- which are not always available.

                  Community gardens are a help. Is that concept a difference between 'Labour' and 'National' in the folk fostering those, and in the giving away of produce?

                  • Blade

                    ''Happens now with roses in public gardens….. for weddings, seemingly.''

                    I have a rose ( Fragrant Cloud) that had the last of the seasons flowers blooming. Went out yesterday and noticed the scent was missing. The flowers had been cut and taken. Each stem had been cut on a 45degree angle. That meant the thief knew their roses. Maybe florists are finding things toughsad

                    ''Community gardens are a help. Is that concept a difference between 'Labour' and 'National' in the folk fostering those, and in the giving away of produce.''

                    My experience with community gardens hasn't been great. Mainly because people start out with enthusiasm, but soon grow tired of doing their fair share. The garden then falls into disrepair. That doesn't mean they can't be successful. I know of one run by state housing tenants. It's a great little producer. One tenant had an old half acre state house section ( becoming very rare). They used the excess land for the garden. Sadly, I would say, that property will soon be craved up for high density housing.

                    Now, whether such ventures allude to a difference in philosophy between the Nats and Labour, would be hard to know. My guess is it would be more of a Labour thing as the Left are better networkers.

                    The Right are more into quiet giving in monetary terms. Charities usually receive money from the well off. The wealthy hate having their affairs in the public domain. That includes philanthropy. New Zealand is a tall poppy society, and any known philanthropy can be twisted to smear a benefactor with all types of slurs. But we do know Bob Jones supports Woman's Refuge and has started scholarships for young refugee women, and Banksie supports animal causes.
                    Maybe giving and helping has no political borders?

                    • mac1

                      The community garden I am involved with for over a decade is successful. There is a demand for plots and plenty of support from neighbours with plants, advice. The local food kitchen gets a good share and the age range is wide.

                      Some theft but generally as the space has grown so has the theft diminished- perhaps greater security with higher numbers, perhaps just smaller amounts taken and less noticeable. Who really cares when some food goes to needy folk? It's the wholesale thieves stealing for onsale such as took our entire kumera crop one year. 100 kg gone over night.

                      But again, get the politics of social need right and those typse of theft will diminish.

                      My friend is going to suggest a stall for surplus produce for people to take, with the unused then taken to the food kitchen.

                    • Blade

                      Good stuff. The stall and food kitchen sound like a great idea.

                    • mac1

                      Thinking about the rose theft. The local authority went and trimmed the rose bushes that were raided because they feared that the thieves would not have cared to disinfect their blades. (no joke intended!)

                      I'd consider that for your Fragrant Cloud. You've got a good nose to detect the absence, btw, and I recognise the feelings.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Vegetable thieves? Sheep rustling? Are the ferals back then laugh

                  Miss Minnie Bannister used many opportunities to say "We'll all be murdered in our beds!" or something along similar lines; after being swallowed by a tiger: "We'll all be murdered in our tigers!", or in "Shangri-La Again": "We'll all be murdered in our monasteries!"

                  • In "The End Confessions Of A Secret Sennapod Drinker", Minnie gives a legitimate reason for her catchphrase – as Jack the Ripper was never caught, she believes he's waiting until the outcry about his murders have died down…"And then we'll all be murdered in our beds!"


    • JeremyB 11.2

      "Keep Marsden Point open"

      How? Nationalise it or subsidise it?
      And how would National pay for either of those and still cut tax?

      • Blade 11.2.1

        Good question. Probably pay out the companies and nationalise it. Even if just for the short term. It is utter madness to close MP.

        I read Bechtel Corp built MP. They are well connected. I have one of their company procurement folders for employees in the Middle East. Basically they can have what they want within reason.

        • JeremyB

          So buy it rather than nationalise it righto.
          Then what? subsidise the oil companies to ensure crude is shipped here?

          And you’ve avoided the question of where these funds come from.

          • Blade

            Sorry didn't see your other point.

            Buy the infrastructure. Nationalise production and distribution if the global economy collapses. The fact is if we can't process crude we come to a complete stop.

            Megan Woods considered underwriting MP for 10 years.

            As to where the money comes from, I don't know. What is it worth? How much to keep it idling over? So I can't give you an answer. But I would assume given the government set aside $685 million for a walking and cycling bridge, I'm sure the money could be found in an emergency situation.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Yes, we cant make them use the refinery . Already Gull is a direct importer and price setter in many regions.

            In the end though like the end of coastal shipping it will all turn out badly but its 'too hard ' to wind back the clock to the 1990s

    • Patricia Bremner 11.3

      Bladeangryjust too silly for words. What a poor view you have of your fellow man.

      I take it you think you would never be an unfortunate on the receiving end of your list!!sad

      • Blade 11.3.1

        ''Bladeangryjust too silly for words. What a poor view you have of your fellow man.''

        Let's hear your suggestions – not your rhetoric.

        ''I take it you think you would never be an unfortunate on the receiving end of your list!!''

        I never take things for granted. Given our global and local situation, anyone could wind up on my proposed reservation.

    • Ad 11.4
      • I'd like Labour to renationalise Marsden Point and start refining again. Should never have been sold.

      – Cigarette taxes are working. In 2006 18% of adults smoked. It's down to 9.4%. Youth 15-17 years old have 98.9% not regular smokers.

      – Police have more access to guns than they ever have had. It's enough.

      – I think teaching is harder than it used to be, so I don't see how performance pay would work

      – Whole state house suburbs are being re-built to function better as communities.

    • mickysavage 11.5

      Blade I bet you have never voted Labour in your life.

      • Blade 11.5.1

        Correct. In fact I don't vote.

        • Dennis Frank

          I don't vote

          Been there, done that (early-mid '70s). No faith in democracy?? All options on offer having seemingly fatal flaws? Secret hankering for autocracy? Meritocracy?

        • Incognito

          That’s not what Micky said. You seem to imply that you’ve never voted, which would be rather odd for someone who’s been commenting here for almost 6 years with well over 1,100 comments.

          • McFlock

            Some atheists are just as dogmatic as the ultra-religious 😉

            • lprent

              Some atheists are just as dogmatic as the ultra-religious 😉

              Don't you mean

              Some atheists are just as religous as the ultra-religious

              When it comes to religion and blind faith of atheists or ultra-religious, give me religious and atheistic moderates every time.

              That group tend to live their faiths rather than trying bludgeon everyone else into submission.

              Personally I'm highly agnostic – I simply don't care, don’t see any substantive evidence one way or another and trust that anyone as immortal powerful as alleged are highly unlikely to be interested in guilt-tripping smelly animals who fart excessively, have big egos and short lifespans.

          • Blade

            Sorry, I must be missing something. I took what Mickey wrote at face value and answered. What hidden meaning am I missing? That I've always voted Right and would never vote Labour? That I'm a fish out of water here?

            ''You seem to imply that you’ve never voted, which would be rather odd for someone who’s been commenting here for almost 6 years with well over 1,100 comments.''

            Time flies. Of course, I haven't been a constant commentator over those years. There has been gaps between postings.

            As for my tally of comments that some relish quoting me ( you are the third I think), that's because I get trolled on a regular basis… and baited, which I sometimes cannot resist. Naturally I fire back…I hate to disappoint. Hence my high tally.

            For the record (again):

            I'm not a rightwing stooge. I only support the Right over the Left for the simple reason I believe they do the least damage to the country and voters. In fact, I have more respect for the Left given they GENERALLY stick to their ideological inclinations. The right in that regard have lost their way. I'm not a political sycophant like many on this blog and have criticised National on many occasions. The latest was calling Luxon woke and a waste of space. And I'm having trouble taking to Nicola Willis. She may have the credentials but personality wise she seems to come from the Judith Collins mould. She is cold.

            So why am I still here taking a beat? I love the challenge. The ways of the socialist are vicious and cunning. For me, you run the best show in town.

            yes ​​​​​​​

            • Incognito

              If you have never voted, you have never voted Labour nor for any other political party. If you have voted most or all your life, but never voted Labour, you have always voted for another party. That’s the difference. One would think that somebody who’s a long-term active commenter here has enough skin in the game to actually vote, regardless of political leaning or persuasion. You know, put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

  12. AB 12

    Thanks Mickey. The number of people who actually benefit when National is in power is (bewilderingly) smaller than their electoral support. When Bill English got 21% in 2002, I thought National's support was close to reaching a rational level.

  13. Puckish Rogue 13

    Wow, one poll and this is the resulting panic.

    • mac1 13.1

      Yes, National ate in a panic. The possibility of being in power two or three elections away and they look around to see who they have to fill the ministerial positions….. and,,,,,,, panic.

      The inevitable result of poor selection processes within the party.

      We know who has gone- some 18 MPs. They're left with 33, and one of them has gone already this year. Obviously Bridges saw that he was not going to be Finance Minister this side of fifty.

      So, who's left? Eight members of caucus from the evangelical right, and some wannabe hangers-on.

      And who's missing? A huge group of representative Kiwis- women, Māori, Pasifika, other minority ethnic groups, all under-represented in National's MP ranks.

      I'd be panicking. Or doing something about it. Six leaders in six years hasn't yet done it.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 13.2

      Luxons poll bounce .

      Same happened with Bridges poll bounce , and then Mullers poll bounce and the bounce for Collins

      Plus it was from TV1 News and Colmar Brunton who had a colosall fail at last election prediction for National a week or less from election day was 31% , actual result was 25% So its a 6% !! ( similar too low for Labour)

      Thats around 2 x margin of error at the 30% number they predicted. many people have long said CB has a over estimate problem when it comes to national.

      Thats a big fail which TVNZ ignored completely as they do.

      • swordfish 13.2.1


        Luxons poll bounce .

        Same happened with Bridges poll bounce , and then Mullers poll bounce and the bounce for Collins

        Assuming you're talking about changes in Party Support following the anointing of a new Leader … TV1 polling suggests you're right on Muller, wrong on Bridges & Collins.

        National up 4 points in first TV1 poll following Luxon leadership & up another 7 points in the second poll = Nats up a hefty 11 points over first 2 polls under Luxon = significant bounce.

        National up 9 points in first (& only) TV1 poll under Muller leadership = significant bounce.

        Nats up a mere 1 point in both the first and second TV1 polls following Bridges ascent to leadership = 2 point rise for Nats over first 2 polls under Bridges = minor increase / MoE territory.

        Nats fall 6 points in first TV1 poll after Collins takes the leadership, then down another point in second poll = Down 7 points = significant plunge.

    • Byd0nz 13.3

      Your right. One poll and a long way out, but remember the owners and policy makers of corporate news have little in common with Labour Voters and so treat the Labour Party like 'Russians' and National like the defenders of Western thinking, thus influencing the politically dumb.

    • Gypsy 13.4

      It’s far more than one poll. It’s an underlying sense that Labour are in trouble over a whole range of issues, from housing to the cost of living to 3 waters, surely one of the greatest political albatrosses of all time.

  14. Poission 14

    The gods have spoken,political dogma will be more expensive.

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. (Kipling)

  15. Churls who do not recognise the achievements of this government in the face of extraordinary adversity are to be expected. In particular, the Left’s ability to praise or thank is striking. When we mount our high horse of rectitude we make Austen’s Mr Collins appear sympathetic.

    Unfortunately, Labour must always do more than its opposition. It’s why they (the opposition) are conservative as Mr Luxon’s first stabs at economic policy all too well indicate. We, on the other hand, believe in change on behalf of the mass of working people, who, without Labour, have no effective political voice. And because we believe in change, we have high expectations of Labour. Truly, it makes life hard for Labour governments.

    The challenge is the strategic thinking on the Left. Since the 1950s, and in the context of the unpalatable nature of Soviet style models, a clash has swayed to and fro between two traditions: the better management of Capitalism and a democratic transition to Socialism The latter is currently substantially out of favour in Labour, Indeed, its mention is frowned upon. Our current government is firmly in the former tradition, and very actively so. The list of measures that they have introduced or envision is impressive. Those measures are substantially about a better life under a moderated Capitalism, a modern version of Crosland’s vision of a Labour future, a model of piecemeal interventions “pepper potted” across the legislative table.

    Some of us want Labour to go further. For example, the parking of tax reforms may have been politically expedient, but it limited the tools for effective transformation. The grinding out of the FPA measure indicates the limited status of industrial democracy in modern Labour thinking. Measures to increase voice in the workplace and the community are not high priority. All three are fundamental for a sustainable future.

    In sum, Janus like, one may simultaneously understand and praise all that this government has achieved under the most difficult of circumstances, whilst challenging it to do more where it really matters.

    • mickysavage 15.1

      Thanks Nigel good comments especially these:

      The challenge is the strategic thinking on the Left. Since the 1950s, and in the context of the unpalatable nature of Soviet style models, a clash has swayed to and fro between two traditions: the better management of Capitalism and a democratic transition to Socialism The latter is currently substantially out of favour in Labour, Indeed, its mention is frowned upon. Our current government is firmly in the former tradition, and very actively so.

      And this:

      … one may simultaneously understand and praise all that this government has achieved under the most difficult of circumstances, whilst challenging it to do more where it really matters.

      • Nigel Haworth 15.1.1

        And, as I think you understand, that's why I remain convinced that the only route forward for sustainable progressive economic and social policies is a Labour Party committed to a sustainable post capitalist (indeed, socialist) society, which, in turn, requires the Party qua party to meld more effectively short term support for the government with a much stronger Party led, long term approach to social and economic change.

        A strong, well funded and active Party membership is fundamental to that approach. Equally important, therefore, is a "distance", constitutionally and organisationally, between Party and Caucus. This is, for obvious reasons, not a popular view, but, for me at least, it's the key to Labour's long term political relevance.

        The alternative is to drift into a social liberalism, constantly engrossed in the three yearly demands of elections.

        • Dennis Frank

          Sensible advice to Labour, just one small problem; the time for them to act on that basis now lies 32 years back in the past. Since then they've been diligently performing that alternative you mentioned (a "drift into a social liberalism"). Since the non-militant tendency is now so embedded, the chances of anyone or anything jolting them out of that rut seem slim.

        • Tiger Mountain

          The primacy of the “Parliamentary wing” and Caucus over ordinary members and even LECs has long been the bane of NZ Labour in my opinion.

    • Ad 15.2

      Yeah I try to do posts that alternately thank them and roast them.

      • Incognito 15.2.1

        You’re confusing the commentariat – their labels won’t stick.

        He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, …

  16. Blazer 16

    Thanks Labour!

    Look at this tragic tale….and weep.

    The poor couple only made 227k.

    Family dealing with health crisis falls victim to bright-line test |

    • mac1 16.1

      Assuming the couple in question have been high earners, what amount of tax would they pay on $227,000 capital gain?

    • Incognito 16.2

      The bright-line test, which was introduced by the National Government in 2015 but extended by the Labour Government to require properties to be held first for five years and then 10 years …

      The bright-line period started from the date the interest in land was acquired, she said. In the Spenceleys’ case that was March 1, 2021, which made them subject to the test if they sold within five years.

      Why don’t you thank National as well? This Post is about the difference between the two parties.

      • Blazer 16.2.1

        Please accept my apologies..Incognito….my mistake was thinking my post radiated sarcasm….here's a sledeghammer….the missing emtion…sarc.

  17. Patricia Bremner 17

    Interesting post Nigel. Yes the expectations put on Labour Governments are always "Fix it". Many an argument at our family gatherings as we had both mining and farming in our background, with differing views on the the protectionist practices towards farming, and the extortionist practices in mining.

    Now mining is a dirty word and farming practices under the environmental magnifying glass.

    Janus. Yes the doorway to new beginnings, where expectations may outrun reality.

    • Herodotus 17.1

      Labour Governments are always "Fix it".Yes and how well they have done with house affordability. 9 years in waiting as the opposition 4.5+ year in government and they have screwed it up. And let us be reminded of the promise of Kiwibuild and the example Unitec. Doing nothing is labour "Fixing it" as can be seen from the announcement in March 2018, even continental drift moves at a greater pace!!!!!

      As development within Auckland has happened on the periphery (Drury, Pukekohe, Pokeno, Silverdale, Kumeu, Wellsford etc) where Public transport is poor and the dependance on private transport is essential with large costs both financial and time for those unable to afford central living.

      IMO Labour will not fix it because most within Caucus are so removed from the real world, and need to be kicked out of office before and appreciation what the real world challenges are.

  18. Stuart Munro 18

    Labour have got a few things right, and are apparently working on intransigent problems like housing, that might amount to something before I die. Maybe. The petrol tax change was an afterthought in response to poor polling however, not an integral part of policy looking closely at the lousy outcomes created by unrestricted immigration and housing speculation. They have a lot of MPs, but the talented proportion is not large, perhaps a quarter. They have no particular economic acumen, and will likely continue down the blind alley of pretending real estate inflation is growth, just like their predecessors. They have pushed through some frankly silly gender ideology policies, creating the largest ever pile of submissions against, which secure in their imagined superiority, they rubbished or ignored. Their environmental policies inspire scepticism, not enthusiasm.

    National is sick with desire and fastened to a dying animal, but has no actual soul. The competence fraction is even lower than Labour's – there might be as many as half a dozen, but if so they are well down the list and out of the media spotlight. They have no economic chops at all, and basically rely on insider deals to appeal to 1%ers, with the 1%ers themselves supposedly inspiring some proportion of workers through remnant feudalism. ACT looks better than National and probably is – just not much.

    • Gypsy 18.1

      For the past 30+ years, there has been a consensus around managing the economy that has served this country well. This government has begun to unravel that, and we are only just beginning to see the negative impact of their naivete. When a future government has to tackle the increasing imbalances within the economy, it won't be pretty.

  19. felix 19

    Pretty underwhelming list of routine measures to (maybe but probably not) keep pace with inflation.

    And it's highly dishonest to announce those benefit increases as if that's the amount people are actually going to get, as weka keeps pointing out and the Labour hacks keep pretending not to understand.

    Let's face it, the only compelling reason to vote Labour in 2023 is to keep National out. And that's not nothing, but it's nothing to be proud of.

  20. DS 20

    It's only a small thing, but honestly, restoring universal membership to Students' Associations wouldn't cost a cent, and would ensure that students are less at the mercy of their institutions. The lack of action, in light of conference votes, and the number of past Student Presidents in the caucus, is appalling.

    • Gypsy 20.1

      " restoring universal membership to Students' Associations wouldn't cost a cent, and would ensure that students are less at the mercy of their institutions. "

      If the SA's are that worthwhile, students will joint them. If not, why should they?

    • lifted 65,000 children out of poverty ? was that before or after the increase in fuel and food prices ?
    • If they had BALLS they would increase the corporate tax rate which would fund all of the infrastructure costs they currently collect with ACC , fuel tax and GST.
    • Cmon Mickey demand better from your Blairite third way capitalists.
  21. Mark 22

    Yeah, and all the supposed achievements of Labour in handing out more and more dosh will mean zilch when inflation takes off partly fueled by their own profligate policies

  22. Mark 23

    In the end as Elon Musk says, "if you don't make stuff there is no stuff"

    What has Labour done to make NZ more productive? NOTHING

    Elon Musk: Let me break it down for the FOOLS – If you don't make stuff there is no stuff – YouTube

  23. Mark 24

    National will or prefers to:

    • scrap the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration;

    I'm not a National supporter but for fucks sake is not energy independence the one lesson we can take away from the current Russia/Ukraine imbroglio????

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