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The election campaign is at a delicate stage

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 am, July 28th, 2014 - 128 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, john key, labour, national - Tags:


David Cunliffe scarf-1-2

We are entering an interesting phase of the election campaign and a number of recent events may have a critical effect on the eventual outcome.

Firstly nothing is more important in politics than momentum.  The latest Colmar Brunton poll result 1 suggests that Labour may be developing some of that most cherished of political assets, momentum in the polls.

Thankfully the slide in Labour’s support has reversed and there has been a healthy increase from poll results with Labour polling nearly 5% above the recent Roy Morgan and a previous Ipsos poll results.  Expect however for the right to renew efforts to attack David Cunliffe in the next couple of weeks.

Secondly I attended the West Auckland launch of the local Labour campaigns last Saturday.  The launch was well attended with over 150 people present.  Enthusiasm was high and many of the attendees were attired in red scarfs as a gentle but obvious reminder to the media that its criticisms of David Cunliffe had reached the naff stage.

The event made me reflect how 15 years ago I attended a similar but smaller gathering of people wanting to get David Cunliffe elected as the MP for the then seat of Titirangi.

David was the new kid on the block making his first attempt at Parliament and trying to topple the incumbent who was a National Minister.  He came out from nowhere, he initially knew practically no one in the area but after running a tremendous campaign with the help of some very dedicated activists he converted a National held seat into a safe Labour seat and has held it ever since.

He is now engaged in a comparable contest but this time the stakes are so much higher.  Because in less than 2 months he could be Prime Minister.

If you need a reason to realise how vital it is that he succeeds how about

  • 250,000 kids living in poverty
  • Working pay and conditions going backwards for most of us while the rich become even richer
  • An education system that is failing our children
  • A government that refuses to do anything about climate change
  • Workplaces that are becoming increasingly unsafe as the dollar dominates concern for safety

This time he is up against a formidable machine whose practice of the black art of propaganda is the most cynical I have seen.  There are a bunch of people down in Wellington spending their working lives devising ways to attack him and then feed their ideas to the media.

I do expect David to give this campaign his all.  And like Titirangi 15 years ago if he meets enough people and gets on a roll then he may succeed.

Thirdly National has announced its list.  No matter which way the results go it looks like three quarters of its next caucus will be male.  National is trying to say that this is a merit based selection process but it is a strange world where men are considered to be three times as likely to be of merit compared to women.  I am sure this will start to resonate strongly and negatively with women voters.

Finally John Key is due to announce this afternoon who National is going to do deals with.  It is clear that United Future and ACT will be given assistance.  It also seems more and more likely that the Conservatives will not.  Key announced this morning that Murray McCully will be standing in East Coast Bays and the only way I could see Craig winning the seat is if McCully is stood down.

Key must appreciate that either by doing a deal or by not doing a deal with Craig there will be damage to National’s chances.  The Conservatives would be electoral poison to centrist voters if a deal was done and if a deal is not done the Conservative vote will be wasted and not count.

We live in interesting times …

1 This post has been written in a style which right wing commentators usually use.  Of course Labour needs to get its polling up further, there is a danger in relying on a single result, or comparing results from different polls and of course the reliance on landlines even with adjusting for bias means that survey results should always be treated with some caution.

128 comments on “The election campaign is at a delicate stage ”

  1. Chooky 1

    +100…Great Post…i get positive feelings about a Labour Left Alliance winning this Election!.

    TIME FOR A CHANGE !…. as they say

  2. Pete 2

    “This post has been written in a style which right wing commentators usually use.”

    I was wondering why it was so coherent, structured, and rational. A one-off no doubt?

  3. Gosman 3

    Why do you think the education syatem is failing children considering NCEA results have been pretty consistent over the past few years?

    • Clemgeopin 3.1

      “considering NCEA results have been pretty consistent over the past few years?”

      Do you really think that is due to Parata and National? Think again.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        I think any impact National has had on education is too early to identify so no I don’t think it is due to them. However I wanteds to know why the poster of this article thought the education system is failing children. Do you know how it is failing children?.

    • Tom Jackson 3.2

      NCEA fails children. It’s a pointless waste of time meant to make parents feel better.

      • NCEA is actually overall a much better system of assessment than School Certificate was, which had to rely on adjustments to fit a statistical model to come up with results half the time, ignoring the possibility that some years may just have people doing better or worse than others.

        That said, there are issues with it, many essentially “teething problems” and implementation issues. They should be fixed, (ie. things like taking more classes makes you more likely to “pass”, results being difficult to read, critical questions that fail you on the entire test if you can’t answer them, etc…) but a standards-based assessment is a much better basis than statistical modelling.

      • Pete 3.2.2

        As a parent I am qualified to respond. Your view is utter rubbish, parents are overwhelmingly keen to know how their kids are developing, by way of their social skills, and their achievement against the curriculum. The use of appropriate metrics for the latter is an absolute necessity, as the old saying goes ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’. I don’t give a damn if the education unions feel aggrieved about member assessment and performance, I want to know how my kids stack up, and where I can assist in meeting their needs should they be falling short. Having a common standard it a key component of making that assessment. Sure the NCEA is an evolving beast, but it’s better than the vacuum the unions would prefer, and which many would agree is a smoke screen for protecting substandard teacher performance. Consider this analogy; in the forestry industry we have let the sunlight shine in on H&S because we detest seeing a stream of deaths and injury, the onus is on the education sector to let the sun shine in an ensure that the small minority of teachers failing their pupils are appropriately addressed through further training, and that a cohort of kids are not failed by the sector because of union resistance to performance measures.

        • Tamati

          Nah, it’s a truly awful system. It’s good as showing employers what kids can do, but totally useless at preparing kids for university study. Kids can ‘pass’ whilst having little knowledge of the subject, while smart kids can get disappointing grades because they don’t tick all the arbitrary boxes.

          I’ve no experience with the old system, so can’t say if it’s better or worse though!

          Source: I tutor NCEA level 3 sciences.

        • Fran

          The teacher unions do not want a vacuum. They serve their members, yes the very teachers who are in front of your kids every school day. Teachers want what is best for the kids they teach and their unions give their thoughts voice. Teachers have performance measures, stringent performance measures. Perhaps you should look at the facts not the oft spoken fiction of people who are afraid of an educated population.

    • Mike 3.3

      Unified standards across the country are not bad. Work needs to be done on content.

      More trades based skills, more book keeping, home making, practical subjects.

      A return to Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Skills that lead to jobs.

  4. Tom Gould 4

    Breathing a sign of relief that support only dropped one per cent to 28 whereas the Tories only rose two per cent to 52, and the gap between Labour and Green versus the Tory only widened to 14 points, hardly shows the campaign at “a delicate stage”. The big chooks have decided to wage war on Cunliffe and from the looks of it there is nothing you can do about it. What looks “delicate” is the grasp on reality.

    • Olwyn 4.1

      It is also reasonable to assume that many of the undecideds, who rarely get a mention, are uncertain as to which party on the left will get their vote. This election is far from done and dusted, however much the media say otherwise.

      • phillip ure 4.1.1

        the left really is spoilt for choice this time..

        ..they have labor..the greens..and internet/mana…

        ..none of whom will be a wasted vote..

        ..the left have a real mmp-election..

        ..and deciding on where they put their vote will indicate their eagerness for change..

    • Cliff 4.2

      Remembering that the polls for at least the last 6 years have often speculated a National party majority of over 50% – think to yourself, when was the last time an election ended with a single party majority? Its not going to happen. Therefore the polls have a clear margin of error that leaves them borderline-useless in terms of determining an MMP election outcome. They all seem to point to the first landslide national party win. Really? You’d have to be a bit of a fool or have the memory of a goldfish to give any credence to polls with national over 50%.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    Thankfully the slide in Labour’s support has reversed and there has been a healthy increase from poll results with Labour polling nearly 5% above the recent Roy Morgan and a previous Ipsos poll results. Expect however for the right to renew efforts to attack David Cunliffe in the next couple of weeks.

    ROFLMAO!!! Of course there is absolutely no validity in comparing different polls given differences in sampling, methodology etc. More telling is the 1% drop compared to the previous result for the same poll.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Did you not read my footnote?

      “1 This post has been written in a style which right wing commentators usually use. Of course Labour needs to get its polling up further, there is a danger in relying on a single result, or comparing results from different polls and of course the reliance on landlines even with adjusting for bias means that survey results should always be treated with some caution.”

      You just gave an exquisite example of what we are up against. The selection of a particular passage out of context and then using this as a point of ridicule.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        The issue is getting traction on the campaign trail. At this point Labour hasn’t got anything juicy to anchor their campaigning on that will capture the public imagination. They might be able to do so once the debates kick off though. When is the first onme scheduled for?

        • Skinny

          Don’t you worry your little about Labour, Green & NZF ( the government in waiting) getting campaign traction. They will get plenty when their leaders appear along side each other at a gig tailor-made to promote a cohesive opposition ready to work together to better the lives of the people of New Zealand. Spring will signal the shift in the political fortunes of the Left.

          Watch this space our plans are well advanced to bring it own back!

          • Clemgeopin

            You simply can not assume that NZF will not go with National!

            Now even Greens are acting funny and tough going by Norman’s belligerent statement yesterday.

            The ONLY way to reduce the power and diminish the cockiness of these small two-bit parties is to overwhelmingly vote for Labour, in my opinion.

            • Skinny

              Wrong era Clem that is first past the post talk. I trust Winston to make the correct call and suck plenty of disillusioned National voters along the way.

              • AmaKiwi

                Why are you all ignoring Internet Mana?

                1. As Kim Dotcom said recently, “The landline polling puts us at 2.8% but most of our supporters don’t even know what a landline is.” Of seven voting age young adults in my family, NONE has a landline. ALL will vote LEFT.
                2. I predict Glenn Greenwald will drop huge Snowden bombshells in the Auckland Town Hall five days before the election. I predict the bombshells will cover far more than what Key knew about Dotcom. Consider the bombshells they have dropped on other governments such as embarrassing diplomatic cables, secret cables about what their real intentions are, their actual intentions about TPP.

                I predict Internet Mana will get more votes than Winston.

                • they don’t mention internet/mana ‘cos they are in group-denial..

                  ..doing that ‘if i don’t mention them..they don’t exist/they will just go away’…(good luck with that..eh..?)

                  ..and that denial spreads from the party leaders to their supporters..

                  ..and of course to those here who have repeatedly sneered that internet/mana are dead in the water..

                  ..and won’t even reach 2%..(how are those predictions looking..?..)

                  ..and i laugh..and wonder just how long those labour/green supporters will be able to maintain that denial..

                  ..and these are people who would rather clasp that ancient asp peters to their collective-bosom…(!)

                  ..than even mention the party with the most left/progressive policies…

                  ..and there are no guarantees that peters won’t go with/prop up national/key..

                  ..w.t.f. is with that..?

                  ..and it is kinda funny/ironic how the greens now try to treat internet/mana..

                  ..the same way labour has treated them for so long..

                  ..did they really learn nothing from that experience..?

                  ..except how to do unto others…?..what was done to them..?

                • Melb

                  Roy Morgan polls cellphones, and has Internet-Mana at 1.5%.

                  They have the whole of the Labour-Greens-NZ First-Internet-Mana bloc at only 46%.

                  The “landline polling” excuse is tenuous at best.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    So Melb, do Roy Morgan poll the same proportion of cell phones to landlines as that which IMP supporters use?

  6. Ad 6

    Labour have never beaten National out of a third term. Labour’s caucus needs to think beyond their own short term interests and get to where the membership and affiliates got to a couple of years ago: the whole of the left as well as Labour need renewing and unifying. The apparent splintering of the movement for change I read as a signal of impatience for collective change across progressives, not any failure.

    Any Labour caucus member thinking of doing something dumb at Tuesday’s caucus should hold the collective responsible for both current and future performance.

    National are making government look easy because they are presiding over a generational sweet spot. It will fade – not fast enough, but it will fade.

    Cunliffe has led Labour’s renewal process from the beginning, and Labour would be in a far sorrier state without him. Mickey could also have added that the activist base across the west of Auckland is very strong.

    Lets see how many more major mistakes National can make before voting begins.

    • karol 6.1

      Mickey could also have added that the activist base across the west of Auckland is very strong.

      Good to hear. The mobilisation of the grass roots is absolutely necessary to the strength of the wider left, now and in the future.

    • Saarbo 6.2


      Spot on Ad.

    • Colonial Viper 6.3

      It’s going to be a historic second term National loss on John Key’s watch.

    • swordfish 6.4

      “Labour have never beaten National out of a third term.”

      Mind you, Labour did win the popular vote in 78 and 81 (albeit only just).

      And the Left easily won the popular vote in 93 (but, unfortunately, not government – given the vagaries of FPP). Not to mention the close-run thing of 96.

  7. swordfish 7

    Labour’s Poll Support – June/July in chronological order

    28, 31, 23, 27, 29, 28

    24, 25, 27, 27, 28

    So, Labour does seem to have largely bounced back from that little trough.

    Although, early days, perhaps. Best see what happens in next couple of polls.
    Late July Roy Morgan should be next.

    @ tsmithfield

    No, in fact most of the 5 Public Polling companies use essentially the same methodology. There are certainly some differences in the size of the Undecided category, but overall I think it’s useful to compare polls taken around the same time, albeit while exercising appropriate caution. The fact is they have been recording very similar results.

    • Clemgeopin 7.1

      The polls that will be significant to me will be the ones in the middle of the campaign onwards, say from the middle of August. By then some campaign would have taken place, people would be thinking of policies and firming their decision.

    • Tamati 7.2

      Those numbers show nothing, they could easily be explained through random sampling variation and differences in methodologies across polling companies.

      • swordfish 7.2.1

        Hence, my cautious rhetoric. Sampling error is, of course, taken as a given when trying to interpret these sorts of possible relatively small shifts in support. And I’d suggest methodological differences between the 5 leading pollsters are not all that significant at all.

        You need to understand, too, that the MSM tends to attribute great significance to every minor swing in support (up 2 points/down 2 points), often employing hyperbolic rhetoric in their interpretations. To some extent, then, we’re forced to play their game.

  8. heather tanguay 8

    It was a great speech and yes, the election campaign has just begun. David was strong and convincing, the party faithfully were impressed. In fact, no one attending could not have been impressed with his strength, commitment and passion for making New Zealand a fairer place for all.

    • blue leopard 8.1

      @ Heather Tanguay

      It is excellent to hear about the vibe of the event from someone who was there, thanks very much Heather.

      I hope many others report back about what the events were like too.

      It is my view that Mr Cunliffe’s sincerity and passion with regard to making New Zealand a fairer place is what puts him head and shoulders above the other [non]option. He will be an excellent PM.

  9. just saying 9

    There are X people living in poverty, including 250,000 children.

    Please don’t buy into the deserving and undeserving poor rhetoric, Mickey.

    Can you imagine if people who were injured in car accidents were refused medical treatment, and this being reported as X children refused treatment? – there would be an outcry because by implication, injured adults would thereby be deemed to not matter. If you take away the moral judgement about adult poverty, making statements about child poverty in isolation is nonsensical.

    Poverty is a form of violence. Denial is not harmless.

    • Agreed.

      For me this is a central issue that distinguishes what it means to approach social issues from the left as opposed to the right.

      We know beyond reasonable doubt that the current levels of poverty were a creation of a deliberate re-engineering of economic structures. That is, they are a product of structural changes, or a form of social engineering.

      On the right there is a fundamental view that such structural change was necessary, desirable and, probably, inevitable. As a consequence, individuals, their families and consequent generations who got caught up in this (e.g., who relied on employment in the public sector, the meat industry or most areas of manufacturing) simply have to ‘suck it up’ and adapt. That’s life, according to the right.

      On the left, by contrast, the fundamental view is that, since the current levels of poverty were structurally caused they can then be structurally alleviated. Hence, there is no need to berate or even condescendingly instruct (‘compassion with a hard edge’ as used to be said in Blair’s Britain) those individuals, their families and consequent generations who have been caught up in those structural changes. Life is largely what we (collectively) make it, according to the left.

      C. Wright Mills famously discussed the ‘sociological imagination’ which included the ability to distinguish between ‘private troubles’ and ‘public issues’.

      If, for example, you are the only one out of work there’s a good chance that this is a ‘private trouble’ and, therefore, that an individual solution will alleviate the trouble.

      But, if you are only one of 1 million people unemployed then there’s a good chance that this is a ‘public issue’ and the solution, therefore, can only be addressed through public policy (i.e., a structural change). ‘Private’ solutions will not solve the problem.

      It’s as if some on the right assume that there is no such distinction or that such a distinction does not help us to see where a solution exists. The only solution, according to them, is a ‘private’ one – whether to a ‘private trouble’ or to a ‘public issue’.

      Of course, some others on the right recognise public issues for what they are but are happy not to oppose all the rhetoric about poor people helping themselves because it is electorally convenient for the right, in general, that this myth be perpetuated.

    • blue leopard 9.2

      +1 Just Saying

      That was jarring for me too.
      It is extremely sad that children are the only ones considered worth mentioning in the increasing list of outcasts our sick society is creating.

    • Bill 9.3

      Poverty is a form of violence. Denial is not harmless.

      I think I’d say that capitalism or market economics is the form of violence and poverty ‘merely’ one of its inevitable consequences. That, and yeah – denial is not harmless.

      • Ennui 9.3.1

        Bill, I am not quite convinced that your assertion that capitalism and market economics represent a form of violence is correct. I think of it as more a form of structural coercion. When that does not work violence then comes in.

        In any system “work” must be done, capitalism pays for this work with wages but necessarily the wages do not include the value added by the individual (i.e there can never be a “fair and equal” exchange of labour for wages).

        To get people to work for an “unfair” deal means that you must persuade them that it is “fair”, or you must coerce them with a worse alternative (unemployment, no wages, no food etc).

        My problem is not so much accepting the veracity of your statement as considering the alternatives. I recall a large 20th century experiment in creating a “fair” state, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”….that got translated as “work yourself to death here because if you don’t you will do so in the gulag”.

        Sadly I am yet to find a system that does not resort to coercion.

        • Bill

          Well, okay Ennui. Isn’t coercion a form of violence? And as you kind of allude to (all the deeply problematic marxist catchisms aside) the basic premise of the market is to rip off to get ahead….which creates all types of injury, and so arguably, is a mind set we have been inculcated with that constitutes a form of violence itself.

          As for being unable to ‘find’ a system that works, a good beginning would be to dispense with the false dichotomy on offer vis a vis state versus private.

  10. tinfoilhat 10

    It might be trite to remind everyone but the only poll that matters is the one on election day.

    • swordfish 10.1

      Ahhh yes. But the Polls between now and Election Day can significantly influence not only turnout but also the direction of the swing on Election Day. Staying at home, when otherwise you wouldn’t. Voting tactically, when otherwise you wouldn’t…

      • tinfoilhat 10.1.1

        Perhaps…….. my preference would be for no political polls to be published or reported on from 3-6 months out from an election.

        • Colonial Viper

          I like your thinking. No polling activity for 60 days before election day might be another useful option (less impingement on freedom of the press).

          • blue leopard

            +1 Tinfoilhat & CV (Either option is good!)

            Might calm down the hysterical drama junkie style of our media.

  11. Tuna 11

    “He converted a National held seat into a safe Labour seat and has held it ever since.” This is silly myth-making and it is unnecessary. We don’t need to resort to that.

    The electorate of Titirangi was new in 1999 after the electorate of Waitakere was split. W was won by a National candidate in 1996 largely because Alliance voters split the left vote. On paper David was selected into a Labour seat with a healthy country-wide swing to Labour.

    • mickysavage 11.1

      Are you familiar with the history? The seat and the area had swung throughout the 1990s. Cunliffe turned what on paper was a 2,000 National majority into a 5,800 Labour majority and the seat has been solid ever since.

      • Tuna 11.1.1

        Sorry, that is fabrication. The seat of “New Lynn” (helpfully the same name as David’s current seat) was won by Phil Goff in 1996 with a majority of more than 7000 votes. That electorate has more in common with the current New Lynn than it does with the Waitakere electorate you were comparing it too.

        In 1996 it is true that Waitakere was won by a National candidate (partly as a result of the left splitting its vote). However, there was still a Waitakere seat in 1999. And it was won by National.

        Worth noting too that there was a swing of 10% to Labour between 1996 to 1999.

        Not saying that Cunliffe shouldn’t be congratulated for improving Labour’s majority in NL. But this sort of nonsense “myth-making” is why some people are being turned off.

        [lprent: Cunliffe won the Titirangi seat in 1999. It overlapped but was quite a different seat from New Lynn. Similarly the “New Lynn” seat of the 1990s was a hell of lot different from the one that is there now. Much of that old seat was in Mt Albert from about 2003 until recently.

        The modern New Lynn electorate started in 2002, had substantial changes between then and 2005 (when it lost the Labour friendly Avondale to Mt Albert), and remained largely the same until the last census. Over that time period, the party vote shifted a lot in line with the demographic changes. The electorate vote did not.

        The infill housing and age related shifts from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s completely changed the demographic profile of all of the isthmus seats, and generally made them much more conservative. The most extreme example of that turnover happened in Pt Chev where the average age of the voting demographic dropped by nearly 2 decades over the course of 6 years.

        The electorates throughout Auckland are quite dynamic demographically compared to anywhere else in the country (apart from ChCh post earthquake). The only real way to look at them is to look at the elections results, polling stations (and those are pretty hard to rely on for local data in Auckland), and above all in the demographic shifts showing in the 5 yearly census data.

        Basically your brain appears to have sucked up some non-local horse-shit, assumed a unchanged population, and started using it to do your non-Auckland thinking with.

        BTW: Don’t ever attack my authors personally. I start to notice that (and choose to respond in kind). Banned 2 weeks to emphasise that. It will give you time to read the policy. ]

        • mickysavage

          Um I can lead you through the various boundary changes and show you the area that comprised the Titirangi seat if you like. The seat essentially had been held by National 2 out of 3 elections in the 1990s. Titirangi itself was the main part of the original seat, hence the name “Titirangi”. Much of it is very middle class and is decile 9 and 10. It was not an easy seat to win. David won it in a canter.

          It is considerably different to the old seat of New Lynn. The strip from New Lynn South through Titirangi out to Whatipu is entirely different.

          I can lead you booth by booth election by election through the area. I am not sure why you should say that I am “myth making” when you are comparing two entirely different seats.

          [lprent: You are too kind. But thats ok, I’ll make up for that deficit 😈 ]

  12. Puckish Rogue 12

    The delicate stage being the battle between Labour and the Greens as to who will the main party of the opposition after the next election

    I think it’ll be Labour

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      I think it’ll be National.

      • Ennui 12.1.1

        So do I, the whole thing about “complacency”…what bollocks, the Nats know the numbers and the last thing they want is to have even 2% of the non voters turn up and vote “left” on election day. And that’s because all the me firsters who vote Nat already do, thats all they will ever get.

      • Clemgeopin 12.1.2

        I think the oppostion will be National at about 43%, ACT at 1%, UF 0%, Cons 2.5%, Maori P at 1%

        The group winners will be:

        Next PM=David Cunliffe
        Next LOO=Judith Collins

        • blue leopard

          I think Greens are going to get around 14% I will be surprised if they don’t.

          (I haven’t decided who out of the left I am voting for, so am not saying that simply because I support the Greens – I support all left-wing parties – which makes the decision very difficult!)

          • Colonial Viper

            Yep. With Labour as it is now, Greens 12.5% to 14.5% is likely. Good for an extra 3-5 MPs. And they will make up around 25% to 30% of the Govt seats.

          • Clemgeopin

            I suspect that the IMP will grab some soft votes from the Greens.

            • blue leopard

              True I hadn’t thought of that.

              I really don’t think it will be as low as 10% They won’t lose a huge percentage to IMP and should gain some off bored Nats-swing-types who have seen the light too – that should make up for any loss to IMP.

            • AmaKiwi

              I disagree. I think Internet Mana will bring in a lot of new voters, characterized as cell phone junkies who are so angry they refused to vote before.

              Note a recent UK survey which found non-voters were ANGRY, not apathetic.

              • Colonial Viper

                Note a recent UK survey which found non-voters were ANGRY, not apathetic.

                Utterly critical point. Angry, frustrated, disillusioned, anxious – for many non voters it is anything but “hey I don’t give a damn.”

            • Jenny

              I suspect that the IMP will grab some soft votes from the Greens.


              Clem I suspect you are right and I can even recall seeing a poll that showed this.

              But I wouldn’t call them soft votes. I would call them hard, I would call them votes from those who want the Green Party to take a stronger line on climate change, on deep sea oil drilling and new coal mines.

              They want a party in parliament that will, (not bound by cabinet rules of “collective cabinet responsibility”) be free to strongly lobby and speak against the technologies that are killing our planet.

              They want to vote for a party that will refuse to go into a coalition and become part of a government that will be opening new coal mines and drilling the deep sea.

              At present there is only one party that meets that criteria and it is not the Greens.

        • Jenny

          The group winners will be:

          Next PM=David Cunliffe
          Next LOO=Judith Collins

          Sounds good

          (And even likely)

  13. blue leopard 13

    Thanks for the post Mickey – it is great you are keeping us informed of where Labour is at.

    I think that problems being created in higher education and social mobility would be a good addition to the list of vital reasons for voting in a left government. These issues need highlighting.

    I find it unacceptable that National have taken away assistance for education for older people and sincerely hope Labour are going to reverse that. It possibly doesn’t affect huge numbers of people (thus not terribly expensive to reverse and is also why National could get away with such a draconian policy because there weren’t hordes that were affected) yet to block the ability for those people who wish and need to retrain is seriously devoid of any practical thought or positive effects.

    I also find the levels of support being given to students of all ages needs serious addressing. It would be preferable to have student allowance a larger payment than the unemployment benefit – not less.

    We get told ‘the choice is ours’ to be poor while having all the tools that could lift us out of poverty removed – its a stunning nonsense what is going here in New Zealand.

    I feel like this country is throwing away its good fortune by these types of thoughtless approaches toward adult education. I seriously hope Labour will be announcing policies that address these issues.

    • Chooky 13.1

      blue leopard …+100

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      It would be preferable to have student allowance a larger payment than the unemployment benefit – not less.

      The Student Allowance needs to go to all students and be $50 to $100 per week more than the UB to help encourage more people to retrain rather than sitting on the UB unable to afford to retrain and unable to get a job because their skills are obsolete.

      • blue leopard 13.2.1

        Exactly. It is an ever wondrous fascination that such a no-brainer has not been considered to date.

        Perhaps all this talk of ‘incentives’ that politicians/economists do only applies to those who already have enough of everything (wealth and opportunities)…..whaddya reckon?

        • Colonial Viper

          Just part of the usual power elite attitude. If you want to motivate the top 10%, you need to pay them more and more. If you want to motivate anyone else, pay them less and less.

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    There’s no problem with getting rid of poverty within 12 months if govt decides to fund it (via orthodox or unorthodox means).

    1) Full employment policy for youth 25 and under.
    2) Lift the minimum wage substantially.
    3) Cut or eliminate taxes and abatement rates on those with low incomes
    4) Move against all fixed costs of living which regressively hit the poor.
    5) Lift all base benefits by $30/week.
    6) Make super available again from 60 years of age – if you exit employment.

    • blue leopard 14.1

      I agree this list would be very effective.

      I am of the view that Labour would be doing most on this list.

      While Labour haven’t mentioned much at all about those receiving welfare my view is the minimum wage raises they are prioritizing have to occur prior to lifting the benefits because the lowest wages are so low one ends up having less when going from unemployment to employment. (I can tell you this is really a horrible thing to experience.) I suspect after these wage rises that benefit levels will be addressed. (Granted unlikely a lift of $30). I fully acknowledge this is solely an assumption and yes, it would be better to have it spelled out – yet this is what I suspect is going on with Labour and those really struggling on welfare.

      Their strong aims regarding creating jobs and lowering unemployment would also make the raising of benefit levels easier to ‘justify’.

      Cunliffe’s explanation of the retirement age sounded like those who could no longer work would be supported – in effect their policy is simply cutting unnecessary support where currently people can work and receive superannuation .

      It would certainly be excellent if ‘3)’ was addressed. The only item from you list that I am confident won’t occur is “4) Move against all fixed costs of living which regressively hit the poor.”

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        Indeed. I put these bullet points down simply to combat the prevalent idea that it will take years and years of tinkering around with market settings and economic levers to eliminate poverty. Nonsense, just stop beating around the bush and get it done. Every additional year a child spends in poverty is a year of their potential unnecessarily permanently undermined.

        • blue leopard

          +100 That is a really good point. Promoting the attitude we need, thanks CV 🙂

          • Colonial Viper

            Always my pleasure BL and always good to have you hold me to a higher standard.

            • blue leopard

              That is very gracious of you – it is so rare to get positive feedback for the tough services I feel obliged to provide at times … erhem … 😉

        • AmaKiwi

          +1 for Colonial Viper post

    • re viper-list..

      plus one..

  15. Bob Dobalina 15

    The Herald’s ‘Porkometer’ is interesting in the fact that Labour have promised $5.15 billion verses the Nats $1.31 billion. Can’t help but feel that Labour have fired all their shots (i.e election bribes) and the Nats still have a lot of dry powder.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      $5.15B more into our communities and neighbourhoods? GREAT

      • Wayne 15.1.1

        Is it borrowed or taxed?

        Labour seem to have some pretty fanciful figures on how much they will get from a CGT. The total spend of $5 billion is around 2% of GDP, which is a lot. It is around a 7% increase in the size of govt. Is that the best thing right now when we have barely got back into surplus?

        Anyway you can easily imagine John Key in the TV debates promising fiscal prudence compared to Labour’s spend up. And in the current climate that will have a lot of appeal for middle NZ voters. They might be willingly to loosen the purse strings a bit, but increasing govt expenditure by nearly 10% (which I imagine it will be by the time the election comes), I think not.

        But hey CV, if you want to campaign on that, or even more, feel free. We will know who is right on the night.

        • Clemgeopin

          Hey Wayne,
          What is your opinion on the Tax cuts that Key/English/Nats gave in a recession that helped the wealthy the most and the increase in GST that hurt the poor the most? You were OK with that?
          Do you know what amount was that tax cut in dollar terms for these last few years and by how much will it reduce the potential revenue each year?
          As there was no surplus at the time of the tax cuts, are you aware that the tax cuts were funded by borrowings by these clever economic geniuses?
          Are you happy with the HUGE debt of about 70 B that this wonderful Rock Star Hash-Government has incurred in their just 6 years of power, while Helen/Cullen had paid most of the previous debt off leaving only only a small debt of about 10B after 9 years of government with great economic/social policies and governance including one year of the start of the global recession period prior to 2008?

          These are important facts and questions that need honest answers. I am sure you are an honourable man.

  16. Glenn 16

    Wherever I drive around New Plymouth I see hoardings with dear leader’s mug with “Party Vote National”. 4 in one block. There are dozens around. If I wanted to find Labour’s hoardings I would have a job finding them. Theres 2 outside the Labour Party electorate office with Andrew Little’s face with “Andrew Little Labour” but damned if I can find any others. Wheres Cunliffe’s face? When Helen was in power her hoardings were all over the place. I don’t think it’s just the right that don’t want David to succeed.
    No other party has hoardings up either that I can see and I drive around New Plymouth a lot.
    It looks like the sort of election campaign one would expect in North Korea. Dear leader will be so pleased.

    It’s quite depressing…That pompous arseholes face will drive me to drink. Roll on election day.

    • swordfish 16.1

      You’re in a bit of a Tory bastion there, Glenn. I’ve always liked NP, a very attractive, relaxed little city (and home to some of my forebears), but politically as Blue as a New Tatoo. Like most provincial cities these days. A couple of years ago, I worked out the political complexion of each suburb in each of the secondary cities and, if I remember rightly, just one small Left-leaning enclave existed in NP. Around the Marfell/Moturoa/Onuku area if I remember rightly. Presumably, a lot of harbourside workers and their families ?

      • framu 16.1.1

        “as Blue as a New Tatoo”

        funny thing is – new tattoos are quite red – and bleedy 🙂

    • Clemgeopin 16.2

      I find these mass National/Key hoarding damn irritating. Too many of the buggers. They must have already spent millions and millions of dollars from their dodgy donation war chest on these hoardings alone!

      There are over 500 towns, cities and suburbs in NZ. Assuming an average of 50 hoardings per each at $100 , the cost is 500x50x$100=$2,500,000.

      Can’t easily be matched by other parties!

      • Tracey 16.2.1

        twyford has a bunch every 50 metres on the rd into henderson… so much waste

  17. Weepus beard 17

    Enthusiasm was high and many of the attendees were attired in red scarfs (sic) as a gentle but obvious reminder to the media that its criticisms of David Cunliffe had reached the naff stage.

    This red scarf thing could really catch on. Whatever you think about similar red themed campaigns – red socks and red nose – these things can really work when popular sentiment gets on board.

    – Throw Tory gotcha politics and the derision of David Cunliffe right back at them
    – Scarves are warm and it’s winter
    – It would be a powerful visual device signalling to other Labour supporters “I’m with you”
    – A visible increase in momentum for Labour could be self perpetuating
    – Scarves are cheap

    – Kiwis are reticent about showing their political colours in public (red socks appealed to naked Nationalism and red noses was a charity initiative)
    – It’s hard to look good in a scarf

    • Michael 17.1

      Wearing red scarves ought to do it. In the absence of any commitment to social justice, it’s all Labour has going for it in 2014.

    • Clemgeopin 17.2

      Red scarves will be a powerful signal. I will definitely wear one when and if Cunliffe addresses a meeting in my town. People could also use red caps, red ribbons, red jerseys, red shirts, red skirts, red shoes, red roses….! Great fun too!

    • It’s hard to look good in a scarf

      I take it you’re from the northern parts of our fair country. From Wellington southwards we have to find ways! 😛

  18. Shelley 18

    To quote the Vicar of Dibley “I think I feel a party coming on” – a big one with lots of red balloons on 20 September 2014!!!!!

  19. Michael 19

    I hope you’re right but think you may be deluding yourself. The people Labour needs to put it back into office won’t even enrol, let alone vote, and why should they? Labour’s campaign has been a joke, marked by a near total absence of credible policies that will assist the poor and low-to-low-middle class voters handle the challenges of a globalised economic order while retaining their basic dignity. If Labour cannot, or will not, rise to this challenge, it has no business remaining in the political contest and should make way for other parties who will. More likely, that choice will be made for it.

  20. Hagar 20

    Michael you’re right. If I am a 45 year old Labourer/labour supporter why would I vote for labour when they want me to work until I’m 70 before I get the super, remember labour giving Nats grief for raising it from 60 to 65. For goodness sake Labour whose side are you on. It’s like a turkey voting for an early Christmas if I vote Labour.

    • Clemgeopin 20.1

      Labour is NOT proposing what you claim! In fact, as far as I know, they did some kite flying for opinions, but again, as far as I know haven’t yet announced any new plan for Superannuation.
      Here are all the raft of Labour’s ‘announced’ policies:

      I googled to find some general info about our super:

      The number of 65 year plus population will double in the next few years and the super amount needed will also double.

      “We can argue about changing the retirement age from 65 or the level of NZ Super that is currently paid, but what is the real value of NZ Superannuation – and is it sustainable?

      In the US and Europe there are well-developed markets for annuities or pensions, where an investor can go to a major bank or insurance company and purchase a pension with a lump sum. So what is NZ Superannuation worth?

      For each couple who turn 65 this year and get NZ Super, they will receive an after-tax benefit of $467,553. That’s the lump sum value of paying NZ Super for a 20-year period.

      In reality, some people will live longer, and some will live for less, but 20 years is a realistic figure.”

      The number of people aged 65 and over will grow from 610,000 today to over 1.1 million in 2031. The cost of New Zealand Superannuation will balloon from 9 billion dollars a year to 20 billion dollars a year in today’s terms. That is $7,800 per person in the labour force, nearly twice the current bill. A bigger superannuation bill is not a problem in and of itself. It may even be affordable. But it does mean we need to find savings elsewhere to balance the budget. The obvious area for savings, because it is the single biggest ticket item, would be healthcare. On past trends, health expenditure is projected to grow by 12 billion dollars or more (in today’s money) by 2031.

      If there are no changes to superannuation, the Treasury has estimated that growth in healthcare spending would need to be limited to 7 billion dollars by 2031 if government spending is to remain about 45% of GDP. The health budget would need to grow at half the pace it has in the past. This obviously has implications for access to healthcare services. We must ask ourselves if this is a trade-off we are willing to make. Relying on finding savings from healthcare is a risky strategy. International experience shows that making lasting changes to the growth in spending on healthcare is extremely difficult. The changes would need to be radical.

      A far easier and more certain way would be to control the cost of superannuation. One approach would be to target eligibility, based on some form of means testing. While New Zealand is lauded for the simplicity of its universal system, it may need to be looked at. But if that is too radical or complex a change, there are two other, even simpler, options that ought to be considered. One of these options is to increase the age of eligibility to New Zealand Superannuation from 65 to, say, 67. Other countries have gone down this track, recognising ever-increasing healthy life expectancy.

      People would need to be given time to adjust to such a policy change. If people were given 10 years to prepare, and a higher age of eligibility were introduced in 2022, it would reduce the number of eligible people by over 100,000 a year. This is equivalent to 2 billion dollars a year. But, while helpful, it only shifts the budget pressure out by a few years; it does not change the rate of growth.

      Google for HEAPS of info.

      • Colonial Viper 20.1.1

        Well, that’s a losing proposition to present in a TV debate (and anywhere else on the campaign trail, apart from maybe Treasury).

      • phillip ure 20.1.2

        um..!..clem..just before that recent poll-dip..

        ..parker was on tv..re-emphasising that labour are serious about the retirement-age raising..

        ..and joining those two dots should really be looked at..eh..?..as a cause for that support-dip..(it can’t really have helped..eh..?..)

        ..so you have normally labour-votong men/women/maori/pi…

        ..being asked to vote for them/their children having to work until they are 70 yrs of age..

        ..(when many maori/pi don’t even live to the age of 70..)

        ..and yes..key/national will be focusing on this..and will hammer cunnliffe/labour over it..and will scare those usually voting labour citizens..

        ..so just not talking about it won’t work..eh..?

        ..and i can’t see any way to avoid that hammering…

        ..this is a total shoot-own-foot-off policy..

    • Colonial Viper 20.2

      Everyone, these are the kinds of lines that National is going to start running about Labour’s retirement age increase. They are lines which will land self inflicted hammer blow after hammer blow on Labour.

      Also you gotta love JK’s audacity on this

      “It’s one factor. I have worked pretty hard over the course of the six years I have been Prime Minister to make sure I campaign on issues,” Key said.

      “I do what I say I am going to do, and I don’t think you can find examples where I’ve broken that,” he said. “But actually we’ve put it into our models and it’s totally affordable in our models,” Key said.


    • blue leopard 20.3

      @ Hi Hagar,

      Did you see Mr Cunliffe’s explanation in his Q&A here on the Standard of the retirement policy they are planning?

      Here it is:

      David Cunliffe 8.1
      29 June 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Labour’s committed to a sustainable, universal New Zealand Superannuation system – which means every New Zealander is ensured of dignity in retirement. We will never sell that principle out.

      To be sustainable, New Zealand has to be able to pay for it without burdening the next generational with crippling levels of tax or debt. The reality is New Zealanders are living longer; life expectancy increased around 3 years during the 9 years of the last Labour Government.

      We think it’s important to be honest with New Zealand about the need for very gradual change, so that people can be prepared – while also being assured that universal super will be there when they need it.

      The fact is John Key is not being upfront about this, and he knows it. So, under Labour the age will gradually rise by one month a year from 2020.

      Noone currently at or near retirement would be affected.

      Equally importantly, we will protect those who cannot continue to work in their current jobs or because of physical hardship, where they need financial support by making available a transitional benefit at no lower value than NZ Super.

      We are also committed to pre-funding through the very successful Cullen Fund, and we recently announced our investment plan in our fiscal package: http://labour.org.nz/fiscalplan

      [I have added the bold]

      It would mean that someone at the age of 45 now would retire approximately 15 months later than they would now.

      I accept this policy isn’t screaming out ‘left policy’ and there may be more creative approaches that could be applied to the issue – however it does save some money where people who are still working claim the superannuation ‘because they can’ and also makes allowances for those who are no longer able to work due to health reasons and ensures that they will be treated with the assistance they deserve.

      • Belladonna 20.3.1

        Still a stupid policy – obviously Labour can afford to lose these votes – sarc. It could well cost them the election. Cant believe the stupidity.

        • Clemgeopin

          So, what is your solution?

          • felix
            1. Recognise that there are more than enough resources on the planet to ensure that no person need be cold, sick or hungry and
            2. Re-organise society around that principle so that the resources are distributed accordingly.
            • Clemgeopin

              Huh? We are talking about the immediate superannuation problem, not how to solve the solar system or the planet problem!

              1. I just recognised that there are more than enough resources on the planet to ensure that no person need be cold, sick or hungry and
              2. To re-organise society around that principle so that the resources are distributed accordingly will take about at least 100 years with lots of smiles, love and cursing and persuasion with words, control and may be even bullets to fulfill your noble utopian dream considering the human greed and selfish and parochial human mentality. Even Jesus and Gandhi failed!

              So, now what?

              • felix

                You gain nothing by pretending this issue is isolated.

              • felix

                “considering the human greed and selfish and parochial human mentality.”

                Yep, that’s what we’re up against. It must be considered and overcome.

                “Even Jesus and Gandhi failed!”

                What, so you want to give up now? 😉

        • blue leopard

          @ Belladonna

          Labour can ‘lose votes if it wishes’ (heh) – however I don’t see why it would cost the left the election – that is if people check out the Greens, Mana’s and perhaps NZ First policies on superannuation.

          I can’t find the Green’s policy page on Superannuation but I found this in Kevin Hague’s 6 May 2014 speech in Invercargill :

          The Green Party will maintain universal New Zealand Superannuation for all New Zealanders 65 years and older, adjusted annually in accordance with movement in the Consumer Price Index, and with some other requirements about levels for particular categories. There has been a proposal from Peter Dunne for a flexible superannuation scheme where people could choose to retire early but would be paid less, or retire later and be paid more. This proposal has come about because people’s individual needs are different, with people in some occupations unable to work until 65, and also likely to pass away earlier than others, thereby missing out on many of the benefits of super.

          New Zealand currently enjoys some of the lowest rates in the developed world of poverty amongst older people. Let’s not risk that with well-intentioned but poorly thought out policy changes. If people stop being able to work before they turn 65, then let’s provide a means-tested benefit to help them transition to superannuation. Mr Dunne’s idea will increase poverty for those most likely to take the early option and increase wealth for those able to work longer. It would also be more expensive, according to Treasury. Mr Dunne’s proposal promotes the belief that superannuation is a set amount of money available to each individual. It’s not. It’s a benefit that ensures continued participation in society by older people.

          And from the Mana social wellbeing policy page

          Extend the payment of NZ superannuation to those aged 60 years and over. Throw out the current social security law which is complex and out of date, and write new law based on making the welfare system simple and fair, based on the principles of manaakitanga. –

          And from NZ First if one is willing to believe they will go with the left:

          New Zealand First will:

          Maintain NZS with eligibility at 65 years and as a universal non-contributory publicly funded pension scheme with no means-testing.

          That sums up Labour’s potential partners. (Sorry I missed the Internet party and can’t be arsed going to find it…)

          So how could you be so certain that the Labour superannuation policy ‘might cost them the election’? It pays to remember there are more than two parties to vote for these days.

          • Belladonna

            It doesn’t apply to me personally but I just dont think Labour can afford to throw away the votes of those who will be affected. Seems a silly move to me. Why didnt they at least leave it for a few years when hopefully they will have more of the New Zealand public on their side. Why now when every vote is critical. I dont believe Winston Peters will go with the left either!

            • blue leopard

              That is actually how I felt about that policy too. I agree, particularly with the current climate of confusion and highly propagandized population we currently have, it would have been better to leave this particular policy alone.

              The policy sounded better than I first thought, though, when Mr Cunliffe explained it.

              I thought the suggestion of one or two here on the Standard was the best option – to take this particular issue to the people via a referendum rather than present it at election time.

              I am unclear how a Labour government could push the policy through with all the parties they are likely to work with holding such different stances – unless, of course, National supported them….

      • phillip ure 20.3.2

        @ blue-leopard..

        ..the fact of the matter is that most soft-voters won’t be aware of those nuances/bold-types….

        ..all they will hear..is ‘labour is promising retirement-age going up to 70’..

        • blue leopard

          @ Phillip Ure

          Why would they think it was going up to 70?

          For 67 years I do agree, though, you make a fair point.

          It is up to all of us to ensure those around us are informed correctly.

    • left for dead 20.4

      Hager,read the policy,FOOL.Oh thats right,trolls don’t read.Just bark

  21. Tracey 21

    key says national accommodating ohariu for dunne and epsom for 3 legged pjg with ljpstick.

  22. Hagar 22

    Blue leopard. It’s still an extra 15 months hard labour, without parole!

    • blue leopard 22.1

      funny 😆

      ….but wait! …there is more

      Labour intend to improve work conditions too – so less torture for you – imagine that! 😉

      • Weepus beard 22.1.1

        Yep, and why anyone would be thinking about government policy 20 years hence is beyond me. The 45 year old labourer would vote for the here and now, surely.

        • Colonial Viper

          Labour came up with this convoluted scheme to ensure that people over ~58 aren’t affected at all by the age increase, presumably assuming amongst other things that would impact fewer votes.

          Doesn’t work that way.

          Many people 60 plus incl those already receiving Super see the increase in age as unfair on their children and grandchildren. That’s the difference.

          Anyway, justifying increasing an already surplus labour pool by forcing people to stay in it longer when it is already desperately short of jobs for young people is way beyond my comprehension.

          Also – I have no doubt that Labour or National will, before too long, try to increase the Super age to 70 just like the UK.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.2

      By the time it comes about there shouldn’t be any labouring jobs left. They’ll all be done by machine and we’ll be running 50% unemployment unless we change the way our entire system works where you can only get a living wage by doing 50+ hours per week.

      • TheContrarian 22.2.1

        And to those who enjoy running a crew/working in a crew of builders, manufacturers or painters..?

        • felix

          Yeah the irony is that as the building industry moves toward mechanised pre-fabrication, it’s the skilled jobs that go first. We actually still need relatively unskilled labourers to lug the shit around and semi-skilled workers to bolt it together on site.

          What we lose are skilled people who can actually make things. I gotta bad feeling about this…

          • Sacha

            If only we had a high-value industry exporting well-crafted designer furniture..

            • felix

              No matter how we put the milk proteins together they don’t seem to turn into chairs. It’s a real conundrum.

  23. Eralc 23

    “This time he is up against a formidable machine…”

    He is actually up against two formidable machines:

    (1) the Media (never pick a fight with the Media, especially at election time).
    (2) his own Caucus (never disempower or disenfranchise your team)

    There is a third: the voters. But I will hold my counsel until election day.

  24. Doughty 24

    Great article Micky, now this is the type of article we need to be reposting and reposting, on social media, websites, emails etc etc not the shyte that the so called main stream media is spewing.

    POSITIVE and true

  25. Lorraine 25

    Nigel Latta Documentary about the Haves and the Have Nots.
    Debunked the National propaganda that the social divide is getting bigger and bigger and the trickle down economic growth is actually a trick up to the wealthy.
    That those in the middle who are blaming the poor should be looking in the other direction and seeing how some of the richest people and companies are doing the best job on avoiding paying their share of tax.
    Why are so many people fooled #Team Key? I just can’t understand it.
    Is it the propaganda that Key is spreading associating Labour with Dot.Com and Mana.
    Every time a national supporter is on tv they are doing this smear of Labour and a lot of them work for media organisations.
    Why aren’t other seeing through this deception of the Nats.

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