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What will 2018 hold for Labour?

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, January 10th, 2018 - 201 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, Carmel Sepuloni, david parker, helen clark, Iain Lees-Galloway, jacinda ardern, labour, phil twyford, uncategorized - Tags:

I wrote a week ago about this year’s prospects for National.  The post was remarkably popular for this time of year and attracted 178 comments.  And I thought I should do the same for Labour to give Standardnistas the ability to discuss this year’s prospects for Labour.

This was a more difficult post for me to write.

My impressions of the Labour Party up until July of last year was that it was really struggling.  The Parliamentary wing was not getting cut through.  The same good, decent dedicated activists were working really hard and doing what they could.  The lovely magnificent Pasifeka wing of the party continued to perform their miracles, the Trade Union movement continued to play its part although some of the older ones were holding us back, and things were getting done.  But there was no spark.  And no resources to speak of, certainly not the resources to run a proper campaign.

Then the Metiria Turei speech hit.  I will offend a few by saying this but I thought and still think the speech was ill advised and reckless.  If you are going to go out on a limb with this sort of disclosure then you have to be absolutely sure that your back story is not only water tight but also cannot be spun out of shape.

I saw the effect.  Left younger voters peeled off to support a party that was prepared to publicly champion beneficiaries.  Centrist older voters peeled off to support a party that publicly demonised beneficiaries other than superannuants.

Labour’s support sagged and the Greens and NZ First surged.  But National was rubbing its hands as the chances of a change of Government ebbed.

Andrew Little then did the utterly decent thing and stood down because he saw that the party needed a circuit breaker and that Jacinda may get the cut through that he was not getting.

Then Jacindamania hit.  The rest is history. Labour surged in the election result compared to the previous election.

And unlike last time Winston Peters decided to live up to his promise to effect change although looking back on things the treatment that he had been given by National over the past few years played a huge part.

So Labour is now in power for the fourth time in 45 years. How does it handle the very important first year?

There are two aspects it needs to focus on, its Parliamentary and Governmental performance, and its relationship with the party as a whole.

As to the first the performance of some has already been outstanding.  Jacinda has not put a foot wrong.  Her public appearances are sharp and focussed and her grasp of the detail of Government reminds me of Helen Clark in her heyday.  And she has laid out a plan for New Zealand which, at least amongst progressives, receives universal acclaim.

Who are the well performing Ministers?

Andrew Little is one.  He has gone on the front foot and promised justice for the Pike River families, reversed the utterly inexcusable and miserly offer of compensation for Teina Pora made by the previous government, and announced that the ridiculous three strikes law is to go.  As well as that he has fronted efforts to get the Ngāpuhi treaty settlement back on track and received praise for fronting up to meetings.

Phil Twyford is another.  He has a number of important and complex portfolios to handle but has been making all the right moves.  Areas such as halting the hounding of housing corporation tenants where traces of methamphetamine were found in their flats, cancelling the ridiculous east West link, starting work on light rail in the Auckland Istmus, rejigging National Land Transport Fund priorities, and the start of planning for Kiwibuild has shown that he is not going to wait around.  And his destruction of the ludicrous notion that New Zealand does not have a housing crisis and his proposals for change are the most uplifting that I have seen.

Honourable mentions for Iain Lees Galloway who has moved quickly to increase the minimum wage, and Carmel Sepuloni who is overseeing the introduction of the Government’s Families Package.  And the heavy workload of David Parker, who is one of the best brains in the Government should be noted.

The not so good?

The leader of the House who displayed a concerning inability to count, the Minister of Revenue who said that GST would go onto online purchases then almost immediately said it would not and the Minister in charge of Open Government who does not seem to appreciate that there is an urgent need to change the Official Information Act to stop past abuses from continuing.

With regards to the relationship with the party this is the area I think this is a critical area for work.

The rush of support that Labour enjoyed during the last couple of months of the election was palpable.  But now all these new volunteers need to be wedded into the party, made to feel welcome, educated and trained in political activism.  To not do so will invite a quick reversal of the good will that has been recently built up.

I have not seen any realisation of this and as a priority the party needs to work on improving activist relations.  It is not easy.  New Ministers suddenly find they do not have nearly as much free time as they used to.  And long term relationships take time.  But the work is necessary and important.

There are some MPs, such as Aupito William Sio, whose community outreach is first class.  His understand of and networks into the seat of Mangere are legendary.  He is someone whose quality of local work is something all other MPs should aspire to.  And you just have to witness the strength and solidarity of his LEC to realise that their approach is one that should be replicated across the country.

The Trade Union movement still has an important role to play within the party in fact it is even more important than it used to be.  This is why National spent the past 27 years chipping away at Union rights such as site access and making it more difficult for Unions to organise and recruit.  They want to kill it off.  They believe that an organized and united workforce is bad for profits and control not to mention their self declared right to rule.

And the gradual trend has been for union powers to be compromised.  National attacks them mercilessly (think Employment Contracts Act) and on the last two occasions when Labour regained power it only partially repaired the damage that had been caused.

There is overwhelming evidence to show that over the past three decades the flow of wealth from most to the rich has accelerated.  There is also overwhelming evidence that Trade Union power has been attacked and weakened during the same period.  These two trends are linked and the second is one of the causes of the first.  They are not random unrelated developments.

And I am convinced it is also an attack by the right on the left’s political strength.  Throughout the world the right complain about Trade Unions backing progressive political parties.  The sense of irony is palpable, after all the right relies on a small number of wealthy individuals, mostly businessmen, to fun their activities.  This recent UK example shows how small the group of conservative supporters are, and how large their resource base is.

So as a priority this Labour Government needs to review and strengthen the Trade Union movement.

Other areas that the Government need to concentrate on are environmental issues, particularly climate change.  This is the Nuclear Free issue of our generation.  Every nation need to play their part.  And I cannot think of a better issue to drive activist loyalty.

There is a thing called the golden weekend which is the weekend following an election.  The theory is that the plans and decisions made during that time will determine how good the political term will be.  I personally think it is a longer period but not too much longer.  So far so good in terms of the politics.  But it would be great for the Parliamentary Party to reach out to the membership and activist base to make sure that Labour’s new found organisational health is maintained.

201 comments on “What will 2018 hold for Labour?”

  1. Ad 1

    I have appreciated the speed of this governments’ first actions. That shows purpose and vigour. They are doing what they said they would do – and the back-pocket measures will be in place by July 1st this year.

    I’m keen to see how the Prime Minister will make a difference in child poverty, and how the government actively frames the results with the media.

    I have a feeling that this term they will be very lucky – they will spend the surplus, they will have stable economic conditions, and they appear stable as a caucus.

    The main area I don’t get any sense from them at all is how they are going to enable more wealth in New Zealand. They have spent plenty of time already reorganising the tax they take off us in redistribution, and will go through a further year of it after the Working Group recommendations. Anyone can do that in government TBH.

    The harder part is to build greater productivity and wealth. If they can’t do that, I don’t see them making inroads into National’s extremely solid support.

    • savenz 1.1

      +1 Ad, The harder part is to build greater productivity and wealth.

      They also have to look at quality of life – life is very stressful in NZ at present for many. Business are going under (today’s headline roadworks was blamed which does not surprise me as it is relentless and everyone avoids it, hence no customers to business unlucky to be near the abundant roadworks).

      Wages are effectively going down, hours are longer, jobs less secure, basic expenses higher than wages which means many have to be topped up.

      Huge superannuation issue which has been made worse by bizarre immigration criteria.

      In any instance someone can just lose a massive amount of wealth and quality of life due to a resource consent next door which are as relentless as the amount of roadworks and upgrades destroying businesses. (https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/nor-west-news/99727284/Fears-a-child-will-be-hit-by-one-of-proposed-Auckland-sand-mines-100-000-trucks).

      The net result under National has been to destroy the poor which is well highlighted but less visible is the attack on the middle class, because the businesses and homes and environments that are destroyed by the endless catering to multinational and global interests (blind population and development targets). As well as the overcrowded hospitals and schools and focus on revenue gathering and cost control not increasing outcomes for children and the sick.

      Within 10 years if it continues NZ will have more than 50% in poverty as year by year the average person’s wealth is collateral damage for other’s greed. And NZ laws are ill prepared to protect their own citizens from it happening and government and councils seem to be cheer leading it on, or blind to the death by 1000 cuts of it’s effects.

      Wealth may be in NZ hence the reasonable economy, but it’s being transferred from local people to global interests or new residents – the end result is that day by day local citizens struggle to afford to live in their own country anymore.

      Labour need to keep an eye on the middle class – they seem to understand those in poverty but not why it’s happening in the last 30 years in particular and why more and more middle class are joining them or why there is an obsession with property those with and those without. (Clue wages are insecure and not keeping pace, taxes on property don’t help that). The increasing population is masking what is really happening in the transfer of wealth stakes.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        What particularly bugs me is the number of ‘working poor’. At 4.6% headline unemployed wage pressure should be high, and inflation following.

        This government must bring all its instruments to bear (not only $minimum wage rates and not just taxpayer funded WFF employer subsidies) to force real wages up, and get that headline unemployment rate even lower for more wage and salary pressure.

        • SPC

          Another concern is the number of workers who are offered jobs that require hours longer than 40 per week, or shift work, or weekend work.

          These impact on the quality of life of these people and impact negatively on the wider community. In the past employers simply offered the permanent after hours work and weekend work separately/as second jobs.

        • savenz

          Bill English’s dream is that we are competing with Asia on Asian wages. Now we are 30% lower than Australia in wages. It will be hard to bring them up as Natz for 10 years have been going in that direction and the entire economy is geared to cheap labour and profit gouging by costing cutting aka wages not productivity gains.

          • savenz

            The other issue is that many low level jobs are going with automation. So maybe the government needs to look outside the box with how to support many in this country without a job such as a UBI. I really think the answer might be immigration not giving away residency but selling it 10 year leases to live here with the person or family having private health insurance and not able to buy property.

            Best of both worlds, we get the people and foreign money and job creation and diversity but not the extensive costs of having new people coming into a free health, education and social welfare country and using that when things go wrong or leaving to get a job on real wages and conditions once they get their residency or changing the culture of NZ with voting National in for years.

            It would also mean a transparent process, people don’t have to waste 4 years being exploited by a low wage employer to get residency or pretend to invest in a cafe business here. They can just buy a 10 year visa and come here straight away and get their families out of their overcrowded and polluted or dangerous country.

        • Kat

          Simple solution is to reinstate the MOW in a 21st century form. That should fix unemployment as it did last century. Oh, but the private sector will squirm and whine and the Fed farmers will cry wolf to govt control and the Nats will oppose it to the bitter end.

          • Ad

            NZTA, through its contracts, is already New Zealand ‘s single biggest public construction employer.

            Twyford looks like he is generating massive Urban Development Agencies for housing construction that will soak up even more.

            • Kat

              There needs to be a “driven by the non-market” re-education program to reinstall the true egalitarian principles this country supposedly proudly stands for.

              Jacinda Ardern is the first Labour leader since Norm Kirk that has the belief and the skills to make it happen.

              • BM

                Ardern is Helen Clark’s puppet, a media face, nothing more.

                Probably one of the least skilled individuals I’ve ever seen running the country.

                Her career up to this point has been rather underwhelming, to say the least.

                • Kat

                  Brace yourself to be overwhelmed then BM. But by the tone of your remarks it appears you already are overwhelmed by something of your own making and it must be very pungent and uncomfortable in the summer heat for you dear.

                  • BM


                    She has no PM skills, the only thing she’s got going for her is that she’s hooked up with Clark Gayford, who’ll use his contacts to make sure she gets plenty of positive media coverage.

                    People will tire of her very rapidly though, the giggly, goofy school girl routine has a very short shelf life.

                • weka

                  “Ardern is Helen Clark’s puppet, a media face, nothing more.

                  Probably one of the least skilled individuals I’ve ever seen running the country.

                  Her career up to this point has been rather underwhelming, to say the least.”

                  Lol, I see Crosby Textor haven’t updated their memo in a while. Getting boring, but I guess you can only work with what you are given.

                • patricia bremner

                  BM Whose puppet are you? I think you and Bill have “the blues”.

                • Ardern is Helen Clark’s puppet, a media face, nothing more.

                  Funny, that’s how I would have described Key, except for “Helen Clark’s” substituted with “the finance sector’s.” I wouldn’t have been completely serious, though – that’s because I’m not a complete fucking moron. I hope you can say the same?

      • today’s headline roadworks was blamed which does not surprise me as it is relentless and everyone avoids it, hence no customers to business unlucky to be near the abundant roadworks

        I suspect that it’s also because more and more people are buying online. It doesn’t take as long, doesn’t have the stress of going to the store and finding parking and is far cheaper.

        Instead of leading the change on this local businesses are demanding that things stay the same as they were in the 19th and 20th centuries. That’s not going to happen. And being online means that they can reach billions of people and not just a few hundred.

        Wages are effectively going down, hours are longer, jobs less secure, basic expenses higher than wages which means many have to be topped up.

        And that will continue happening while we maintain an ownership society that allows a single person to own so much.

        Huge superannuation issue which has been made worse by bizarre immigration criteria.

        The immigration is actually there to offset the superannuation issue to a large degree. We actually need people to do the work as people retire. That’s the problem with lower population growth since the Baby Boomers.

        Immigration causes it’s own problems though. What is the carrying capacity of NZ?

        Within 10 years if it continues NZ will have more than 50% in poverty as year by year the average person’s wealth is collateral damage for other’s greed.

        True and if it continues on it will destroy society as it has always done.

  2. Tony P 2

    Although some here don’t rate him, as a teacher I feel that Hipkins is making the right noises and decisions around education.

    • JanM 2.1

      I agree – just getting rid of National Standards was an important move in the right direction. The education system has become dire, however, and there is a lot to fix. Tracey Martin is a very able associate who has good ideas and will work hard for reform

      • savenz 2.1.1

        Yep big plus one for Labour on education for primary school children. Right direction for tertiary but feel that it’s not going to be effective as they think due to globalism. Need a more comprehensive and long term approach on tertiary rather than a 1 year of free tertiary education.

        • SPC

          The plan is for three years fees free, and the schedule for it is already known (second year in 2021).

          • savenz

            I just think the rule is too open and can be exploited. You should have to have been resident here most of your life to qualify.

      • patricia bremner 2.1.2

        2.1 JanM, Yes I agree, as we have, for the last 8 years, had a very narrow type of syllabus. Tick box testing of very structured teaching.

        The joke is, other societies wanted our problem solving open-ended creative education, which we failed to value. We were second in the world to Scotland at one point for our excellent teaching results.

        A huge number of NZ teachers went to areas of Asia and taught English Language when there was a paucity of positions in NZ. They came back impressed by the work ethic and the cramming favoured by these societies.

        These ideas filtered through. We got Lockwood Smith’s syllabus which almost removed creativity. Guess what? Our place in the world rankings tumbled.

        Added to that, now we have a teaching force trained, but not able to practice because of restricted budgets and resources such as Teacher Aides, a restrictive syllabus and a revamp of governance.

        The loss of the experience of older teachers, as they were no longer as attractive to Boards of trustees who were often twenty years younger, plus they were higher on the pay scale, and their salaries were often twice that of the Chair of the Board.

        Further, the determination to integrate all children with disabilities into the regular schools without enough hours of support caused endless problems.
        (Parents were not told that their disabled child was only entitled to stay at school ’till 16, in a regular school setting, where in a Special School it was 21.)

        Doing away with the role of Visiting Teacher to chase up absent or missing children has led to a lost group, who are itinerant now because of illness or homelessness or constant tenancy changes.

        We then got Charter schools, which could obtain huge start up funds from the General Education Vote, did not have to follow the syllabus, and could use their own criteria to select students. They were allowed to have small class numbers. Further, their “teachers” did not have to be trained in all cases.

        This is a firestorm of failure on many levels. It was compounded by the introduction of “Basic Standards”, which reinforced failed tick box type teaching.
        Guess what? We have tumbled even further in world rankings.

        C.E. Beeby had better open ended statements of intent in his syllabus. Filled with creativity and original thinking. We threw the baby out with the bath water.

        These two Ministers, Chris and Tracey, have expressed many of these points at different times. They need support to turn this around and valuing teachers and their requirements to meet their pupils needs is a good sound start.

        So I will be on facebook telling them when I think they are doing well. I have also renewed my party membership. I received lovely Christmas cards from Jacinda and Andrew in appreciation of support. Small donations when I could manage it, and words of support. It is a two way thing. Let’s all do this.

    • red-blooded 2.2

      I also agree that Hipkins is starting well. Not only has he scrapped National standards, but the Labour policy to increase per child funding for schools that scrap fees voluntary donations is a smart move. Plus, the review of the structure of NCEA is timely. Secondary teachers have been wondering for a long time if three years of constant internal and external assessment is the best pattern to follow in the senior school. This is an issue I’ll be watching keenly.

    • JanM 2.3

      I also think they desperately need to cast a beady eye on the early childhood sector, which is sliding rapidly away from quality education to what my sister describes as ‘kiddie jails’ where business interests are all too often paramount 🙁

  3. roy cartland 3

    As well as policy implementation, I think LAB should also look seriously into building their defences against the dirty and desperate attacks from NAT. The latter is a party with no ideas and no sense of fairness. They will spend their time muckraking and fake-news-ing rather than developing any kind of credible policy, because by definition they represent so few people they have nothing to give.

    This means the gov coalition as a whole really has to attentively present itself as united and competent. Not to us the converted, but to the wider public and of course the media.

    • savenz 3.1

      +1 roy Cartland. Better government funded media could help as well.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        There is the point, very important, about Nats and really about all free marketers and neo libs whichever party they are in, that the belief that government is ineffective, inefficient, wasteful etc. inspires them to run it into the ground, to aim low and usually miss that target.

        To fudge everything and generally to subvert the whole of our government services and usher in that awful don’t trust government thing that seems to dominate the USA. Along with that lack of commitment has gone in the belief and enforcement of high standards of everything to everyone.

        With those sort of attitudes is it any wonder that we have lies, and statistics and research that are carefully chosen to present information in a slanted way that advances the skewed lack-of-ideals that the RW display.

  4. Kay 4

    Some interesting points Mickey, and it has been very encouraging to finally see some small bits of humanity coming from Government. I notice, however, the ongoing non-mention of any attempts to bring beneficiary voters back into the Labour activst/membership base.

    A case of baby steps (lets reignite the unions first), or perhaps these small inititives like the winter energy payments are a subtle attempt to gradually woo us?

    How about coming right out and saying the anti-beneficiary sentiment is still too ingrained within Labour parliamentary ranks -and no doubt many Labour voters- that even if some wanted to change things it’s too late.

    Many of us have absolutely no confidence in Carmel Sepuloni based on her performance and attitude as Opposition spokesperson. I of course welcome the chance to be proven wrong. A token gesture to help with the power bills means nothing to us. Has a full review and upending of WINZ been ordered yet, with the aim of the bad staff being removed, and treating us like humans again? A directive that should’ve been initiated on Day One. If it hasn’t yet been, or isn’t on the immediate agenda, then why not? And the elephant in the room- benefit rates. It’s been made clear those won’t be increased so that pretty much clarifies Labour’s position on us. Nothing really has changed in 20 years.

    Labour clearly want to build up their voting base- as any political party does- but they are hell bent on deliberately throwing away up to 300,000 votes. Why?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      I expect Marama Davidson to hold Sepuloni’s feet to the fire on this issue.

      • The Chairman 4.1.1

        “I expect Marama Davidson to hold Sepuloni’s feet to the fire on this issue.”


        What has she done to date?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Thus far she’s abolished sanctions and signalled that Bill English’s Nanny-on-Steroids panty-sniffing program won’t go ahead.

          Part of the C&S agreement with the Greens involves a major overhaul of the Social Security Act.

          There’s a whole lot of changes that need to occur there, so this is not going to be an overnight process.

          “There are probably some changes that we can make in the first six months, in the first year, but there’s a longer-term process in terms of that welfare safety net.


          • Kay

            “Part of the C&S agreement with the Greens…”

            Without said agreement what are the chances this would be happening?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I dunno, but if you have a look at Sepuloni’s pre-election statements they might provide an answer.

              • Kay

                @OAB I guess my sarcasm didn’t come through. And disillusionment.
                I’ll pass at searching for anything a politician said/promised PRE-election; they can say and promise the universe- and always do- but until it actually happens there’s no point in believing anything.

                I never had any expectations from Labour and I still don’t but if they do anything to make the life of beneficiaries easier then great, although it’ll be because of those pesky Greens and that annoying C&S. They’ve still lost my vote forever whatever happens.

                As I’ve often said, at least the Nats don’t pretend to like us and are pretty open about it. All parties know exactly where we stand. Labour (and NZF) need to take a position on working age beneficiaries and let us, and the public, know their ideology and plans and stop playing games.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Well you did ask what chance Labour were going to do something without the Greens, and at this point we only really have public statements to go on.

                  I feel pretty much the same way about Labour as you do, it’s just one of those things it’d be nice to be wrong about.

          • The Chairman

            @ One Anonymous Bloke

            Is that abolished sanctions or abolished a sanction?

            As for English’s policy, aren’t Labour merely tweaking it around the edges?

            While some changes may take time to implement (and most will accept that) the longer they take to improve things, the higher the risk of voter disillusionment.

            The patience voters have for their expectations to come into fruition is limited.

            As for Marama Davidson holding Sepuloni’s feet to the fire, she’s yet to impress me.

            Lets see if she (Marama Davidson) can get Labour to fork out a little something extra for beneficiaries over Christmas (next Christmas) rather than seeing a repeat of Jacinda appealing for public charity (see link below).


            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I’m pretty sure you can find the answers to your questions without my help.

              • The Chairman

                Found this (below) from Newsroom

                Following the power shift, Sepuloni was quick to scrap the collection of personalised data by her Ministry.

                But despite this, she told Newsroom she was in favour of the concept of social investment and said the new agency would continue under Labour.

                “It has a future. They have real potential and I’m not the only Minister that thinks that.

                “I support the (social investment) concept, I don’t support the direction the National Government were taking the concept….”


                So it seems the overall big brother social investment concept has her support and will continue under Labour, but there are likely to be changes in how it’s applied.

                What do you expect Marama Davidson will do about this?

                Anything to date?

                • red-blooded

                  You’re worried about a Big Brother approach: note the statement Sepuloni was quick to scrap the collection of personalised data by her Ministry.

                  She also said “I support the (social investment) concept, I don’t support the direction the National Government were taking the concept. Their version of social investment was primarily driven by fiscal implications to the State, so how much is someone going to potentially cost us long term and how we work with them to mitigate those costs moving forward. The Labour Party doesn’t like to view New Zealand citizens as fiscal liabilities.”

                  And the article informed us that she had asked officials to look at how other countries had approached the concept, particularly in Europe where the focus was investing in a person, not on how much they could save the country.

                  The article also says In a recent briefing issued by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, senior economist Sarah Hogan said Labour’s early intervention approach, such as the Best Start policy, would greatly influence the path social investment took.

                  Perhaps not as threatening as you seem to be determined to make it seem?

                  • The Chairman

                    “Perhaps not as threatening as you seem to be determined to make it seem?”

                    Just a bit softer around the edges.

                    When the left push something, supporters tend to be more accepting. We witnessed that throughout Rogernomics. Would you be as happy if it were National driving these changes?

                    It will be difficult to target the investment if one can’t be identified, therefore there must still be some form of data collection going to take place.

    • red-blooded 4.2

      Not all policies that will help beneficiaries are targeted and labeled as being just for them. The housing policies (esp re state housing and healthy homes) and the focus on reducing child poverty are relevant. Ditto the Best Start package and moves on school fees. Free tertiary education will benefit some people currently on benefits and kids who have been raised in beneficiary families. Plus, she’s already scrapped some of the sanctions used against beneficiaries (solo mums who don’t identify fathers) and says more will be scrapped.

      As for the “bad staff” issue, this is not as easy as you suggest. I know there are some bullies and penny pinchers who work at WINZ, and people aren’t always told about entitlements. It’s pretty hard to fire staff who were acting in accordance with instructions, though. First you have to change the instructions, which Sepoloni says she’s doing. Then see who does and who doesn’t adapt their practices.

      I know there’s a lot of frustration and stress amongst beneficiaries and others who work in this area. I think we need to give the raft of policies a chance to mesh together and then see where the gaps still are, though.

      • The Chairman 4.2.1

        Labour’s state housing policy is vastly insufficient and their healthy homes policy is expected to increase rents.

        More voter disillusionment in the making.

        • red-blooded

          You want to design a state housing policy that’s practical to implement and that’ll be better than the current one? State housing has been run down and sold off for years. That’s a trend that’s already being turned around under this government.

          As for the healthy homes policy – what would you rather do? Just leave rental houses to moulder away, and the people in them? There have been subsidies to insulate and heat rentals in the past and there are subsidies under this policy too. The difference is that this is now a requirement. If all rentals have to meet the standard, then all rentals will be competing on a similar basis as now. And there are plenty of places where rents wont go up, because the market isn’t overheated. Down here in the south, this policy is going to be really good for renters.

          How about acknowledging some good, even if it doesn’t meet your standard of perfection?

          • The Chairman

            We require a sufficient amount of state home to be built, thus I expect a Labour Government to address this as a priority. There should be no lowering of the bar on this.

            As for healthy homes, I expect the state to be more supportive in lowering the fiscal burden. After all, it’s taxpayers that largely gain by the health savings, thus it’s only fair they help to foot the bill.

            As for non overheated areas of the market, the cost burden may result in a landlord retreat, with the shortfall of rentals altering demand and supply, thus resulting in higher rents.

            • red-blooded

              The state IS being supportive in lowering the fiscal burden. The estimate of cost per property for insulation and a heat pump is about $3000-$5000, and there are grants of up to $2000. Plus, there’s been heaps of warning about this, and other subsidy schemes over the years.

              I own a rental property here in Dunedin – I took advantage of one of the previous schemes years ago to insulate it (thank you, Greens – the MOU with the Nats in the first term under Key) and installed a good heat pump a few years later (I think when Labour first tried to pass a healthy homes guarantee). I don’t think the state should have to fully meet my costs.

              What do you want – for the government to pay the whole cost of upgrading private properties? There would be no practical way to ensure that rents wouldn’t rise even if there was 100% state funding. You might be able to ensure that current leases wouldn’t be altered, but after that..? And people would have improved properties which, presumably, they could sell for improved prices.

              And I’m sure you know that Labour’s already committed to building 2000 extra state houses per year. That’s already bloody ambitious and will require significant commitment in terms of training, resources, planning, links to other policy areas, work with local government…etc.

              It seems to me that you’re looking for a negative angle here. I agree that decent housing has to be a major government priority and – here’s the thing – so does the new government!

              • The Chairman

                There is/was no commitment from Twyford (in your link) to build 2000 state homes.

                And as the author ( Alan Johnson ) of the Taking Stock report said, “if we don’t do this… we’ll have increasing levels of street homelessness, we’ll have people living in poorer and poorer housing conditions and their lives will suffer as a result of that.”

                Which I take you would agree would be rather negative?

                As for the state being fiscally supportive, it requires to do more if it doesn’t want costs passed onto tenants, disillusioning supporters as a result.

                Yes, while there is no guarantee rents won’t increase regardless. What it will be doing is removing the need for rents to increase. Meaning landlords won’t have to increase rents to maintain margins, thus a number (mostly those with good tenants) will be less inclined to do so.

                Ask yourself, would you risk losing a good tenant if there was no need to increase the rent? I think not.

                As for those looking to capitalize off the improvements by selling, a condition could be put into place requiring them to foot the bill from the proceeds of the sale. Or something along those lines.

            • Craig H

              The houses will still be there, so how will there be a shortfall?

              • The Chairman

                Can you be a little more clear, thanks.

                Do you mean if landlords retreat?

                In this case the houses will remain but won’t really be feasible to re rent (with low demand and high repair costs) thus will more likely be sold to first home buyers. Reducing the rental stock.

                • Siobhan

                  First home buyers are renters….so in actual fact a renter will become a homeowner.
                  Therefore one less family/couple/group in need of a rental.

                  Landlords and investors who buy cheap houses are buying up the houses that should be available to first home buyers. A larger proportion of so called ‘rental stock’ should infact be somebody’s home, not a landlords nest egg.

                  ‘Stock’ can only be increased by building new houses, not by condemning people to a life time of renting the houses they should own.

                  • The Chairman

                    “First home buyers are renters”

                    Indeed, but with the demand for rentals growing while home ownership is in decline, another tenant will be in line to take their place.

                    Yes, first home buyers are competing with investors and yes, overall we need to build more homes.

                    However, it seems Labour are willing to prioritize building more homes for those that can afford to purchase a so-called affordable home over those in dire straits requiring a state home.

                    • BM

                      Rentals are no longer those old weatherboard shitboxes or concrete block bunkers we used to live in when we were young.

                      This is what the modern rental is and what younger people want and expect.


                      The problem we’re going to have is these places are built by private developers and then onsold to investors,

                      Labour really is running the risk of killing off these sort of developments if they make the rental market unattractive to investors.

                      If developers stop building because people aren’t investing then we’re going to end up in a far worse situation then we currently are.

                      I know of one group who were going to build a block of new rentals but have pulled the pin because of what Labour is proposing.

                      They’ve decided the risk is too high and have decided to sell the site.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      It seems, does it?

                      Funny, I could’ve sworn that almost the first thing they did on becoming the government was instruct HNZ to stop the sell off and reinvest in new stock.

                      Oh well, you seem to know what you’re talking about I guess.

                    • The Chairman

                      @ One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, they are going reduce the sell off of state homes (opposed to National) but they don’t plan to completely cease it.

                      And yes, they do plan to reinvest, but to date, insufficiently. With Kiwibuild being more the priority.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yeah, you asserted that before. It’s bullshit, since they’re also accelerating HNZ’s rapid build program.

                      For someone who affects knowledge of this topic you’re remarkably ignorant of the facts.

                    • The Chairman

                      @ BM
                      What people want to rent is subjective to the individual, their circumstances and requirements.

                      “Labour really is running the risk of killing off these sort of developments if they make the rental market unattractive to investors”

                      Indeed. However the Government could fill that potential void.

                      Nevertheless, it’s my understanding Labour are going to work with private developers.

                    • The Chairman

                      @ One Anonymous Bloke

                      “It’s bullshit, since they’re also accelerating HNZ’s rapid build program.”

                      Calling you on it.

                      How many new state homes have Labour committed to provide annually?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No, I’m calling you out, you dishonest concern troll. Do your own search. The article you’re looking for (where Twyford doubled his pre-election promise) was published by Stuff on November 19th, but with your vast knowledge of the topic, you already knew that.

                    • The Chairman

                      @ One Anonymous Bloke

                      You’re calling me out? Fine. I can back up my assertion.

                      As for Twyford doubling his pre-election promise, he couldn’t commit to it.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Reducing the rental stock.

                  ….and the demand for rental properties.

                • Jeremy


                  (already covered above, please feel free to remove)
                  (P.S I must remember to refresh the page more often)

            • greywarshark

              ‘We require’! Who are you to wave your royal sceptre and demand such things.

              We are not amused at the state of state housing and demand 10 houses built each week for the first year., increasing geometrically or exponentially, whichever is the fastest.

              That’s just setting targets, and what is needed is a scoping statement showing the factors, how to overcome them and then build a variety of types and see how many can comply as well as getting the people, goods, and land together and voila up they go.

              • The Chairman

                Sate housing demand stipulates what is required.

                I didn’t create the demand, I’m merely highlighting it.

                If Labour can’t even set a sufficient target, there is little chance they will build a sufficient number of state homes.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  So yeah, they won’t be accelerating HNZ’s rapid construction program then. Definitely not doing that. No sirree. That news report was just a mirage.

                  • The Chairman

                    Accelerating it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be accelerated enough to sufficiently meet demand.

                    Got a link to that report?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      It was a mirage I tell you. I imagined it was a Henry Cooke article published on Stuff on December 15th, but I just can’t seem to find the energy to help you out.

      • patricia bremner 4.2.2

        4.2 Redblooded, Yes that is a fair point. Many policies appear to be support structures which will take time to implement, but will be interacting and a useful mesh reinforcing future policy.

        • In Vino

          Red-Blooded – be aware that Chairman has quite a good record as a concern troll, despite his deceitful pretences of being really a Leftie.

    • SPC 4.3

      The advantage of being in government is being able to frame issues.

      Such as doing some assessment of the link (from the 1990 cuts to the present) between benefits and the actual costs faced by those on benefits – this is not the same as the CPI (which in including new cars and other imports is not reflective of living costs of those on low incomes).

      I suspect that this would show that the real rate of benefit has been reduced again by as much as in the Richardson era – the reason why Shipley wanted to move super to the CPI system to reduce payment levels year by year.

      This would make it patently obvious, even to the most ardent of beneficiary critics that the token increases of late, first by National and now by Labour, are in no way sufficient.

      The question then is how to silence those who would claim that this would still do nothing for children where there is poor parenting. One response is to have a
      system for placing some parents onto the spending card if they budget poorly or do not prioritise need.

  5. SPC 5

    On last year, Labour got lucky that the rearrangement of support amongst the 50% who wanted change resulted in a Labour surge and the new leader polling creditably as a future PM. This gave a Labour led government creditability with NZ First.

    Some things I would suggest is dealing with future issues that National ignored

    1. work with farmers via interest free loans (repaid on farm sale) to assist them to meet farm environment standards asap. And an indication that farm environment standards would be raised (phase by phase) in the future.

    And signal a use for CGT revenue off farm sales in this area modernisation of the rural economy (and a use for CGT off rental investment property in funding state housing and the AS).

    2. a plan to bring in a electric car power charging grid and planning for meeting this demand for energy by reducing household demand (a programme for mass uptake of solar panel as per broadband).

    3. identify future (rising) demand on the health system and plan how to meet funding required.

    4. identify areas for improvement in the health care/Pharmac provision once funding was available (perhaps using what Oz provides as a relative target).

    5. do something similar in education, it demonstrates ambition for improvement and helps to foster ambition in the commonwealth of society.

    • 1. Just buy the farms when they go under and put in place managers to update them to modern sustainability standards. No point to continue rewarding the failed farmers.

      2. Electric rail and buses would be a better idea. Electric cars would just maintain the waste of congestion.

      3. The biggest problem for the health system is the Baby Boomers. So need to plan for that and then they need to plan for the decline in demand for health services as the Baby Boomers die off.

      4. Significant increase in R&D for the drugs we need rather than always going to private offshore business.

      5. We need free education but we also need places for the new graduates to go to work. We’ve been doing terribly on the latter over the last few decades as we import from slave economies rather than produce what we need here.

  6. UncookedSelachimorpha 6

    Good post, and all strength to Labour (and their coalition partner’s) arms.

    Labour needs to understand that 50% of the population has less than 5% of the nation’s wealth, and that this has nothing to do with the strength or otherwise of the economy. This problem can only be fixed by redistributive policies, not by growing the economy.

    • +111

      The way our economy is designed will always increase poverty – as we’ve seen over the last thirty years since the implementation of neo-liberalism. We need to change that design so that we don’t have a few people getting richer but with increasing poverty in the general population.

    • patricia bremner 6.2

      US 6 So if “50% of the population has 5% of the wealth” that’s us!! Trying to turn the neo liberal ship around. Great first 100 days!! All our small crumbs will make a loaf, and we also need to learn to repeat some memes and mantras of our own.

      We are for kindness and fairness. We will talk truth to power. We value Public Service.

      These three would be a good start. We have chosen these leaders, so let us support them in this herculean task, and learn to anticipate roadblocks with ready responses.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.2.1

        Yes, the new government has already been a little more redistributive than the previous one by cancelling the Nat tax cuts. But they will need to gather more resources (by collecting them from the extremely wealthy) if they want to transform society for the better – and this is not obviously on the agenda yet.

        But they need to be wary of only trying to do neoliberalism “better” than the previous lot – instead they need to sell the idea of a new way forward that rejects neoliberalism and directly tackles inequality.

        • BM

          But they need to be wary of only trying to do neoliberalism “better” than the previous lot – instead they need to sell the idea of a new way forward that rejects neoliberalism and directly tackles inequality.

          Clark and Cullen are now pulling the strings, and we all know both are supporters of the status quo.

          The left-wing rump of Labour like the right-wing rump of National will be left disappointed by the lack of action and reform they’d expect their party to undertake.

          Businesses as usual with a bit more of a left-wing slant to it is the roadmap for this government.

          • red-blooded

            Clark and Cullen are now pulling the strings,

            Evidence? The current government are calling on the expertise of people like Cullen (tax working group, Dunedin hospital rebuild). Being assigned a job and doing it is not the same as “pulling the strings”.

            and we all know both are supporters of the status quo.

            Do we? Then maybe “we’ll” be interested that Clark (a new member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy) has just called for decriminalising of all drug use. So status quo!

            • BM

              TPPA staying,
              Free trade staying
              The ban on foreign property investors with so many holes it’s pointless
              Is there still going to be a water tax?
              Continuation of Oil exploration and mining
              Weak commitments to the environment with some meaningless goal for sometime in the distant future.
              No changes to housing NZ
              No change to Immigration numbers

              Ardern getting rapidly pulled into line after making comments about how capitalism has failed, no doubt by Michael Cullen, you won’t hear anymore comments like that from Ardern again.

              Do we? Then maybe “we’ll” be interested that Clark (a new member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy) has just called for decriminalising of all drug use. So status quo!

              More to do with how the country is run.
              Clark and Cullen both know you have to keep the banks and big business on side.

              All tinkering will be at a more superficial level which the big players don’t really care about.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              BM’s just projecting Cabinet Club ethics onto everyone else. The National Party is run by faceless unelected bribery, so other parties must operate the same way too.

    • patricia bremner 6.3

      Or by growing the “Common Wealth”

  7. savenz 7

    Labour also need to be careful with TPPA. They seem desperate to sign it but also know that most supporters don’t want them to sign it. There is an insecurity about Labour when it comes to free trade. If free trade is not going to be effective or popular, don’t sign it. Countries like Norway and Switzerland kept out of EU and found other ways to be effective economies while keeping their citizens happy. Sometimes being neutral is better especially if hard times are ahead and the resources that NZ has are in high demand aka just the country itself as a more pure and natural place to live.

    Maybe selling 10 year residency visas (without voting rights) is a better way than giving away citizenship to Peter Thiel types who don’t live here or getting as many low level skills as possible and fake degrees. There is a lack of commercialisation of what NZ really offers to many of the world – aka being away from the rest of the world in a safe place that is not heavily industrialised or polluted.

    Bizarrely the focus of development without any real controls is actually destroying what is the most valuable thing NZ actually offers to the world.

    • Heather Tanguay 7.1

      I agree the TPPA is big, there are many that do not want this signed.
      Micky has made good points regarding the environment. At this time in Auckland we need to check if we can swim at many beaches and we need to check if we can walk in the Waitakeres.
      Polluted lakes and rivers are of huge concerns to NZ.
      Save and secure drinking water needs urgent attention

    • Heather Tanguay 7.2

      I agree the TPPA is a big one and needs to be addressed. Many members do not want to see this signed.
      MS makes good points about the environment. In Auckland we have to check where we can swim and check if we can walk in the Waitakeres.. we have problems.
      Save and secure drinking water is needing urgent attention. The recent inquiry found that a major overhall is urgently needed into the provision of drinking water. 5000 people were sick in Havelock North and no one was held accountable.

  8. adam 8

    Glad you mentioned Aupito William Sio, Micky.

    He is one of the best constituant MP’s going around at the moment, his office works well, and he takes time to really listen to people. And the big one, he then helps them constructively, rather than go for a quick fix.

    Others would do well to follow his lead.

  9. Bill 9

    So – and this shouldn’t surprise anyone – I view NZ Labour being in government in much the same vein as I would have viewed a Clinton led Democrat admin in the US.

    There’s some stuff worth looking at, but in the end it’s all just so much chewing gum that’s lost its taste. And we’d be best to be spitting it out.

  10. The Chairman 10

    Managing the fallout (such as the disillusionment Labour has created by their support of the TPP, their shortcomings on cannabis reform and failure to set a deadline for the minimum wage to reach parity with the living wage) will be vital.

  11. The Chairman 11

    Considering the current strain on the health system and considering we know the easier people can access their GP’s and get aliments treated early, the less cost and strain they are likely to put on the health system going forward, one would have expected these cheaper ($8) GP visits to be implemented ASAP.

    So why are we waiting?

    Will Labour provide cheaper GP visits before the end of 2018?

    • red-blooded 11.1

      It may have escaped your notice, but these folk have had very little time to enact reform yet.

      • The Chairman 11.1.1

        It should have been in their first 100 day plan. At the leased, a time-frame announced.

        • red-blooded

          Not everything can be done in 100 days. That plan is already pretty damn full, in case you haven’t noticed!🤔

          There’s no reason to doubt that this policy will be enacted. Let’s remember that Clark, the new Minister of Health, had other priorities before Christmas (various DHBs in meltdown).

          • The Chairman

            “Not everything can be done in 100 days”.

            True, but considering the mess Labour has inherited (a health system in dire need of more funding) coupled with Labour’s self-imposed fiscal restraints (Budget Responsibility Rules) limiting their ability to sufficiently respond, unnecessary expenditure (due to delays in ailments being treated) makes it a rather high priority.

            Clearly, Labour can’t afford health cost to unnecessarily grow.

            Moreover, there is putting an end to the human cost of people not seeking treatment, ending up worst off as a result.

            “There’s no reason to doubt that this policy will be enacted”

            It’s when will it be enacted that voters want to know?

  12. Rosemary McDonald 12

    A timely Post MS, and thank you for the opportunity for us to divulge our own personal wish lists.

    Other commentors have covered most of the important issues, with Kay at “4 ” giving voice to one of mine…saves me having to go there. Thank you, Kay.

    MS…you draw attention to the apparent lack of urgency from Clare Curran for an overhaul of the Official Information Act, which is a bit weird as just last night/ wee hours of this morning I was google stalking Ms Curran to find the article I was sure I’d read some years back in which she expressed her outrage at legislation being passed under urgency….

    “…which are not able to be properly scrutinised because the advice from officials about their impact is apparently too sensitive for us mere mortals to behold. The long term ramifications of this are not good for our rights as citizens; our privacy and our ability to trust our government.

    The basis of the legislation is highly questionable but the ability to debate that and any legal risks has been curtailed by the removal (or redaction) of this important official advice from the publicly released Regulatory Impact Statement (or RIS). ”


    Now, I have no problem with Opposition MPs grabbing onto an issue and hotly criticising the Government and as a consequence getting their names and faces in the media spotlight.

    What I do object to, hotly, is those self same opinionated MPs promptly forgetting their previous moral stances and spinning the ‘let’s take one day at a time’ line.

    However…Clare Curran does make some very emphatic statements in the ODT article you linked to MS…

    “” She said the Labour-led Government would be more open than the previous government.

    A different approach to official information is going to ensue.

    Openness and transparency and doing things differently is important, so we’ve got to practise what we preach and actually do it.””


    So, with this in mind my extra task for today is to write to Ms Curran and remind her of these words, and specifically in respect to this…http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/ris/pdfs/ris-moh-fcc-may13.pdf that she took the opportunity to raise her political profile over.

    My partner and I spent some time over the silly season writing to all seven of the current sitting Government MPs who spoke out against the Public Health and Disability Amendment Act(2) back in May 2013.

    We reminded each of them what they said…https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/50HansD_20130517_00000008/new-zealand-public-health-and-disability-amendment-bill

    We asked that this Act be repealed ASAP…honouring their pre-election promises.

    We asked that the redacted sections of that RIS be revealed…as all of them expressed varying levels of outrage at the lack of transparency over legislation that removes the rights of New Zealanders.

    We asked that the failed and discriminatory Funded Family Care policy that drew so much criticism that day be abandoned and those disabled New Zealanders be allowed to use Individualised Funding to pay their chosen carers.

    We headed the letters…New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) or How you can truly earn the title “Honourable”.

  13. red-blooded 13

    I’d like to give a thumbs up to David Clark for axing plans for a PPP for the Dunedin Hospital rebuild (and any others) and for appointing Michael Cullen to run the group tasked with getting on with this (after years of treading water under the Nats). The increased focus on mental health is also long overdue.

    Clark’s in a portfolio that’s been suffocating for years under Woodhouse and the austerity approach of the Nats, and he’ll have a real struggle on his hands to try to restore functionality in many of the DHBs (including our southern DHB). Personally, I think the whole DHB system could do with a rethink, but I don’t think that’s a first-term priority.

  14. Reality 14

    Thank you MS for your very intelligent, well articulated and balanced post. Your hopes for 2018 seem well able to be realised and I hope you can have input officially to that happening!

  15. Reality 15

    I too have been so impressed not only with our vibrant new PM, but also Andrew Little. 10 out of 10 for both.

    • patricia bremner 15.1

      15 Reality, 1000% Brilliant honest and caring, Jacinda and Andrew shine in office.

      No-one has mentioned Grant Robertson. I am pleased with the selection for the “Tax working group”. He has not scared the horses, but has put new expectations on the R.B.N.Z. Governor to keep employment in the picture.

      • Ed 15.1.1

        As a matter of interest, what’s wrong with scaring the horses?

        • patricia bremner

          Hello Ed, I read interest.co.nz and follow business opinions. They were up in arms until the group was named. I guess there was such kick back about tax I was pleased to see they felt positive about the selection of people, as it was balanced. Nothing to gain by scaring the horses, they bolt mindlessly. Better to harness them Cheers.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          what’s wrong with scaring the horses?

          People get trampled. To death, Ed.

    • savenz 15.2

      +1 Reality

  16. Stuart Munro 16

    It must’ve been about 2000 I wrote to Pete Hodgson (then minister for science) urging him to offer funds for a few postgrad projects in solar roofing. He fobbed me off of course, and wasted a bunch of money on a vanity project solarizing the roof of a primary school with existing imported technology. We could have got ahead of the curve there, but we didn’t.

    The changeover from unsustainable practices to more sustainable ones will be expressed as growth. If we can develop the greener technologies which are our obvious strengths we could do very well – but I see few signs of a concerted effort as yet.

    Labour has made a good start – albeit curtailed by the brevity of the post-election year. If they can keep up the momentum of change there is a fair prospect of multiple terms. They should not be fooled however by nonsense statistics like an unemployment rate measured by a single hour of employment, or technical growth from inflows of migrant capital. The housing crisis is first of all an economic crisis – were people flush with money they could solve it themselves. We are seeing the leading edge of the wave of impoverishment created by neo-liberalism – things are going to get significantly worse, and significant and sustained government action will be required.

  17. alwyn 17

    One very early thing that Labour will have to do is get a new Deputy-Leader. Kelvin Davis is completely hopeless.
    You cannot possibly get by with a person who has no idea what to say in the House when he has to stand in for the PM.
    His ridiculous claims, pre-election, about what a New Zealand Government should, and could, be doing for New Zealand citizens living in Australia are also coming back to bite him.
    Where on earth did they get him from and how could he have been given a job that is so far beyond his ability?
    Who is going to take over, and how quickly can they arrange it?

    • patricia bremner 17.1

      Alwyn 17 He has done just as well as S. Nash!! Jacinda backed the statements about treatment of resident Kiwis in Aus, and threatened retaliation. The upshot was a backdown on university fees by Aus.

      As Minister of Prisons, his statements about our penal system and the bad practice has been borne out by the United Nations re solitary.

      • alwyn 17.1.1

        ” He has done just as well as S. Nash”. Well that’s strong praise!
        Perhaps so, but is that really satisfactory?
        He is meant to be the Deputy-Leader after all.
        That puts him ahead of such luminaries(?) as Little, Robertson and Twyford.
        Nash on the other hand is below people like Hipkins, Sepuloni and Clark.
        Did you ever watch Davis in the House when he was having to answer questions on behalf of the Prime Minister? You could hear the words being fed to him by Robertson and others on the front bench. He really had no idea what he was there for.

        • patricia bremner

          No I missed that. A case of stage fright? He is held in high regard in the North. He is, I believe related to Winston, so oral expression shouldn’t be a problem.
          Lack of time to train? It doesn’t come easily to some. Andrew Little had to work at it.

          • Skinny

            Nice guy, too nice. Robertson will get 2ic and I think everyone knows it, National to their credit backed off on exposing him further.

            National have their own house to get in order. Bill English is yesterdays man, Joyce is also dragging the team down, as are a half dozen of the old cabinet crew. Bit of positioning going on, Bridges & Collins will be the ticket soon into 2020.

            Something funny is going on with this coalition. They have turned off access to the activists that put them in power, hearing regular complaints now. They need to address this immediately, as grumbling over the TPPA coupled with the perception Labour could be National lite. I am not jumping to conclusions as they have been under the pump getting settled in. A one trick pony government is a fail, we live in hope they will address the concerns raised.

            • patricia bremner

              US 6 So if “50% of the population has 5% of the wealth” that’s us!! Trying to turn the neo liberal ship around. Great first 100 days!! All our small crumbs will make a loaf, and we also need to learn to repeat some memes and mantras of our own.

              We are for kindness and fairness. We will talk truth to power. We value Public Service.

              These three would be a good start. We have chosen these leaders, so let us support them in this herculean task, and learn to anticipate roadblocks with ready responses.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Did he make any throat-slitting gestures or deny any facts?

          • eco maori

            Good point on the 20 % kiwi saver fees one can see that shonky changed the rules to benefit his banker mates .The Kiwi saver fees should be legislated at 5% broker fees.
            I remember back in the day getting sold a private retirement policy I should have just burnt $3000 it was a rip off .Someone else tried to sell me another one you know that I politely declined there sham of a offer .
            When Kiwi first started I was on the 5000 cow dairy farm about 10 years ago there were 13 of us that I had got jobs on that farm I was assisant manager and I encouraged all to join Kiwi saver as I still do .The people that listened to my advice one has a mortgage and is paying off a house the others are planning to get a mortgage they should have about $40.000 .The ones that said I can not afford to part with $30 a week well they just have memories of a good time and this is my point $30 a week is nothing one box a week to forfeit for a retirement saving as I have heard all the wealthy have enroled there children and got the free $1000 + the tax rebate for each child and are paying $30 a week to get the extra $521 per annum thats $5000 alone in ten years the people that listened got $8000 free from the state . there mite be a bit of pain to start out but 10 years goes by with the blink of ones eyes.
            And then it will be all sore faces. PS You can enrole the mokos and pay $30 and get $40 dollars a weeks saving to benefit there future thats what Im all about the future equal prosperous future for all Ka pai

            • patricia bremner

              Eco Maori, I explained how valuable the teacher’s pension could be for women, when we were allowed to re-join and not have to pay the earlier years back, though you could elect to buy them.

              National did fiddle with the scheme, but it was still worth joining before it was closed. Many listened to me and were thankful for the extra money on their retirement.

              We never heard. What happened to the Kiwi Saver people from Dick Smith?
              Hope they were ok.

  18. eco maori 18

    Compulsory voteing and compulsory Kiwi saver these policies would help the stop the slow the neo liberals process of funneling OUR resources to the wealth. The trickle down effect is a lieing sham the only thing that trickled down to the lower classes is crap. People will say you can’t have these two policies. I would say shut up and look at our Australian cousins there wages are higher there unions are stronger than ours. There are other policies but I say that these 2 policies are a must for a prosperous positive future for US MAORI.
    Ka kite ano

    • savenz 18.1

      Agree with Compulsory voting, but not the compulsory Kiwisaver unless it’s guaranteed by government.

      • alwyn 18.1.1

        What are you planning to ask the Government to guarantee?
        That the client gets their own contributions back?
        That they get back their own plus their employee contributions?
        That they get back their own plus their employees plus the tax-payers contributions?
        That they get back one or another of these minus some agreed fee?
        That they get some defined, positive, return?
        At what date should the guarantee take effect?
        Should it be at all times or perhaps only at their 65th birthday?
        Should it be for every single component of the investment or only the total amount?
        Is the guarantee before or after allowing for inflation?

        It is such an easy thing to say isn’t it?
        ” it’s guaranteed by government.”
        But what is the guarantee you have in mind?

        • patricia bremner

          Alwyn 18.1.1 In Australia they have a simple insurance on the first hundred thousand, paid via a fee.

          • alwyn

            I don’t think that would cover very much though.
            I believe the minimum an Employer can contribute is 9.5%
            I suppose the employee would put in 5%.
            If you earned a fairly conservative $80,000 a year that would mean about $11,600/year going in.

            That is about the average full time earnings per year of an Australian by the way, so it isn’t just an arbitrary amount.

            The scheme has been running for about 25 years and there are going to be a very large number of accounts with far more that $100,000 in them.
            The problem is that the people who really need the money are those close to retirement. They don’t have time to build it up again. If you are 25 it really isn’t that important. You may be unhappy but there is a lot of time to recover.

            I don’t think insurance for $100,000 is really what savenz had in mind.
            We won’t know, of course because he isn’t answering question. Pity really.
            It is so easy to make statements like “Government guarantee” without having the faintest idea what you mean.

            • patricia bremner

              Your average Aus wage is too high, as you haven’t allowed for tax and medicare and super. More like 58 to 61 000 in the hand.

              Some costs are huge compared to NZ. Rego for a car is 6/700 a year.

              • alwyn

                The figures come from the ABS
                The average weekly wage for full-time adult workers was $1,543.80 which is about $80,500 per year.
                The amount after tax, Medicare and super deductions is irrelevant. Your super money comes from pre-tax income, not after tax I think.
                The 9.5% is based on pre-tax income is it not?

        • dv

          Yep sorta like the SCF money bak alwyn.

          • alwyn

            You really should talk to Michael Cullen if you want to know about SCF.
            He was the one who allowed them to get coverage.
            God knows why.

            • dv

              Maybe BUT who said pay them out!!!

              • alwyn

                I have explained what happened on a number of occasions on this site.
                I am not going to waste my time doing it again.
                Why don’t you use Google to find out what happened?

                • dv

                  Wasn’t it the Nats who paid them out?
                  They were in Govt. at the time

                  • alwyn

                    They were paid out because the Government had guaranteed their deposits.
                    If they hadn’t been paid then there would have been a total loss of trust in any other guarantees the Government had made, or contracts they had entered into.
                    Would you trust anyone who made a legal commitment and then, when called on to honour it, simply refused?
                    Now read up on the whole saga of SCF before you waste time and space on this blog with your ignorant jabbering. I am tired of being called on to repeat explanations because somebody cannot be bothered to read them the first time around.

                    • dv

                      Gee thanks Alwyn
                      So nothing i said was wrong HUH

                    • dv

                      And I am so sorry you are so upset.

                    • alwyn

                      “nothing i said”.
                      Just what did you say, and what did you mean?
                      And pray tell us what you think?
                      Should the guarantee have been honoured or not?
                      I’m sure we will all be interested in your opinion.

                    • dv

                      SCF were paid out by the Natz.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I read them.

                      On November 19th 2008, Key and his ministers were sworn in. That very day, Treasury Head John Whitehead signed the deed admitting SCF into the retail deposit guarantee scheme “on behalf of the Minister of Finance” Bill English.

                      The deed was renewed on December 11th 2009, again signed by a senior Treasury official on behalf of English. It was updated on April 1st 2010, once more signed by the same senior Treasury [sic] official on behalf of English. And then amended on June 17th, again signed off by the senior Treasury official in English’s name.

                      Treasury still has all the paperwork.

                      Documents on this page cover the period January to April 2010, covering the application by South Canterbury Finance (SCF) to participate in the Extended Deposit Guarantee Scheme, and the subsequent approval by the Crown.

                      The only question remaining is whether Alwyn is telling porkies deliberately.

                    • alwyn

                      To OAB.

                      “On November 19th 2008”
                      That is correct. However the whole list had been prepared under the Caretaker responsibility of Cullen. Convention holds that the Treasury Secretary wouldn’t sign it unless it was allowed by the incoming Government. It was a bit late to change the list as the thing had to be introduced immediately to match the Australian actions.

                      “The deed was renewed on December 11th 2009”.
                      Also true. However there is one thing that you should bear in mind. If SCF had been dropped from the scheme it would not taken effect instantly. They would have still been covered until the original scheme expired. I understand it was expected that all funds would have been withdrawn from SCF, it would become insolvent and the guarantee would have to be honoured if there future exclusion was promulgated. There was, wishfully as it turned out, the hope that SCF could be sorted out while still in the scheme. It wasn’t and it collapsed but paying out was unavoidable from the time it was first included. That was caused by the then Labour Government.

                      To dv.
                      “SCF were paid out by the Natz”.
                      Answer the rest of the question dopey.
                      Would you have paid them out or would you have demonstrated that the word of the New Zealand Government cannot ever be relied on? Come on, tell us what you would have done. It isn’t really to much for you to comprehend is it?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I note you failed to address their entry into the extended scheme, and therefore failed to settle the question of whether you’re lying deliberately or not.

                    • dv

                      So what about AOB point about the extension in 2010?

                      I would have NOT extend the scheme in 2010 seeing have so politely asked.

                      (Still it was still the Natz that bailed them out.)

                    • alwyn

                      To OAB @12.37.
                      The same thing applied, as was meant by my comment.
                      Once they were in the scheme the couldn’t be dropped while they were still in their precarious financial position. If it had been announced that they were going to be excluded, at some time in the future, the deposits would all have been pulled before the exclusion date,
                      The only real possibility of avoiding loss was to get the company back on a sound footing.
                      You can of course say that the Crown should have exercised more oversight, and perhaps just taken them over at an earlier date but there never was a time that they could just have been dropped from the scheme without having to honour the guarantee.

                      I notice that dv simply says he wouldn’t have included them after 2010. That would have caused the initial guarantee scheme to be triggered while it was still in place.
                      dv therefore is saying he would have, in effect, forced a pay out under the initial scheme. He clearly didn’t want to leave any possibility of the financial strife in the company being sorted out.

    • SPC 18.2

      Compulsory Kiwi Saver at 3% is hard on those on low incomes. It is good for those who can save for a home but not so much for those just struggling to pay rent and living costs. This explains the lack of take up in the voluntary scheme.

      In Oz the wages are higher (thus less of a problem for those on low incomes affording it), and this is despite the employer contribution to their saving.

      • Ed 18.2.1

        So make the minimum wage a lot higher.

      • savenz 18.2.2

        Also have a problem with the current 20% of profits currently being taken by fund managers on average in Kiwisaver. Should be 5% max.

        • alwyn

          Out of curiosity where does the “Should be 5% max” come from?
          Do you actually have experience in running one of these schemes?
          Do you plan to start one and provide all the services at that sort of fee?
          In other words do you have any knowledge at all on the subject or are you just someone who says something should be so-and-so because I SAY SO.

          • savenz

            @ Alwyn, Wah wah, banks only making billions in profits, poor them – they have to take 20% on average of some poor sods future retirement profits from Kiwisaver. My point is – if it is compulsory then it has to be have maximum fees such as 5% or under AND be guaranteed. Other countries make their banks insure their savings so that if they go under the insurance pays out. Not NZ of course. Always looking after the big guys purse and fuck off to everybody else. Thats how crap our government is at looking after people’s interests here and why we have such growing inequality – masked by rich migrants coming in and making statistics here look less hideous than they really are.

            • alwyn

              I take that to mean what I suspected.
              You haven’t the faintest idea about how the industry works and just hate the banks.
              Try finding out what they do, what the costs are and what the income from the investments might be.
              By the way. A KiwiSaver investment is not at all like a savings account in a bank. You can get really conservative versions that are close but they would be an absolutely terrible way to try and save for your retirement. If you managed to keep the amount in the account up to inflation you would be lucky. In real terms you should expect such a safe investment to lose value each year.

          • Stuart Munro

            This site at least suggests that fees in the order of 2% are on the high side.


            Of course the NZ market is different, and the operators less skilled and facing less competition. Nevertheless 5% is pretty steep. On 5% the manager is likely to make more than the investor.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Not if the fee is 5% of profits.

              • alwyn

                You are being quite unfair.
                You aren’t allowed to bring nasty little details like facts into these bank-bashing exercises.
                Profits or money invested? You mean there is a difference? Don’t tell Stuart. It will only confuse him.

                On the other hand I do think that most organisations in New Zealand charge much higher fees than are justified by their performance.
                A low fee Index fund seems quite appropriate for most KiwiSaver investments. And I do mean low fee.
                Just keep the Politicians away from any investment choices. I don’t want the Green Party deciding that peoples retirement money should be put into things the Green Party approve of.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Fair enough – though bank bashing is a bit of a stretch.

                  We have a relatively expensive financial culture, with a relatively high failure rate. Some regulation would not go amiss – more consumer protection than Green ethics.

  19. Stephen Doyle 20

    Picking up on Micky’s point about connecting with new volunteers. We need to see some leadership from Fraser House here, before all the good will evaporates. As a member of my LEC, anything would be better than the nothing support we are getting at the moment.

    • mickysavage 20.1

      It is a system problem. The individuals involved that I know are dedicated and hard working. The party is struggling because it has had a lack of resources for years but suddenly had a rush over a few months.

      Management needs to improve tho.

      • David Mac 20.1.1

        Like clothes, cars and slang, styles of organisations are subject to falling out of fashion.

        If someone was to ask me “So how do you spend your spare time Dave?”

        I’m unlikely to respond “I’m an active member of the Labour Party.”

        Would you Micky? If I was you I’d say “I’m doing what I can to pull up this kauri die-back thing.”

        To survive Labour focus will need to move with fashion.

        These days I see their USP as something like ‘People are more important than money.’

        • mickysavage

          Thanks Dave

          Part of the motivation for the post. Labour needs to be a mass membership movement. And to do this they have to do the fundamentals really well …

          • Anne

            Hi ms,
            Can I take a tiny piece of your time to read my early experiences of the Labour Party. It was 1972 and I had just joined the party at a booth set up at the Auckland Easter show. It was a large booth, weather proof and painted white and red – inviting in appearance. A couple of weeks later I received a phone call from the local LRC secretary (it changed to LEC a couple of years later) and he arranged to come to my home (my parents home then) to meet me and invite me to the next meeting. I went (because I felt I had to) and it proved a rewarding exercise. After business which never took more than half an hour, there was always a debate on a matter of current interest with individuals arguing both sides of the case. Afterwards we would discuss the merits of each side, who had won etc. It was stimulating. Eighteen months later when I had risen to the giddy heights of LEC secretary (show some enthusiasm and you soon find yourself running or helping to run the show) I remember being phoned to tell me someone would be popping around with a stack of pamphlets. The someone proved to be Helen Clark. I invited her in for a cup of tea and home-made biscuits. She stayed for about an hour and we had an enjoyable discussion – that is how we all got to know one another in those days. There was the telephone or you personally visited one another.

            I sometimes feel that in this modern world of texting, emails etc, Labour has lost the personal touch. Without the one on one direct communication that I experienced, I’m not sure whether I would have ever become as involved in politics as I did.

            Just a little lesson that perhaps can be learned from the past.

  20. Ken 21

    They need to pay more than just lip service to fixing our archaic cannabis laws.
    Not just medicinal, but recreational too.

    • Ed 21.1

      Recreational cannabis Is not thr number 1 priority.
      Ridding NZ of neoliberalism and setting up a new ecosocialist state is.
      The legalisation of cannabis will happen once the fundamentals are changed.

      • JanM 21.1.1

        Do you not think that the decriminalisation of cannabis, with all the social ramifications that involves, will send a clear signal of a change of direction?

      • solkta 21.1.2

        “The legalisation of cannabis will happen once the fundamentals are changed.”

        What a load of shit. States are changing laws all over the US while this so called Labour party sits on its finger. And that includes the pathetic response we have had from them over medical use.

      • Ken 21.1.3

        It doesn’t have to be the number one priority, they can make a list and work their way through it.

        • Ed

          Let’s start though with dismantling the neoliberal state apparatus.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Technically, dismantling state apparati is what neoliberals do. Rebuilding public services will require rebuilding the state.

            • Ed

              Didismantling laws that set up the neoliberal regime

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                In my opinion that’s the wrong focus: you can’t repair one thing by demolishing another, and it’s the repair work that counts. Done poorly, it will collapse on its own, and to labour the metaphor, the National Party will be adding as much straw to the concrete as it can.

  21. Tanz 22

    Being ahead in the polls would be good. National are now in Opposition (due to a quirk of MMP and Winston, rather than Labour actually winning the election, they came a distant second). First time in our political history that the Opposition party leads in the polls. This isn’t a good look for a new government. Good luck at turning that around. The waka jumping bill won’t go down well with the electorate either, it’s a hugely undemocratic move. Look as though you know what you are doing in govt rather than winging it, and most of all, stop looking like a bunch of power hungry control freaks, who 60 percent of the electorate soundly voted against. Winston won’t save u all next time, NZ First are toast already. Has the cheek to change our constitutional laws at only seven percent of the vote. Huge vote loser for the govt.
    Try not to savage the economy and blow National’s gigantic surplus. Sigh. Move to Aussie.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 22.1

      It’s good to see you taking my advice, but I really think you need to ramp up the outrage a little bit.

    • Johan 22.2

      Perhaps you could brush-up on your MMP for Idiots edition.

      • Anne 22.2.1

        More like this methinks:

      • Tanz 22.2.2

        MMP won’t work for Labour as it stands though, will it, with Winston and co goneburgers next time. 2020 or less will be FPP in all but name and pretty much a two horse race. There is a huge difference in actually winning an election, therefore being there as the first choice of the populace, rather than being saved by one man and his huge ego. MMP is a broken system, as you will find when next time, it works against you. Of course, had Labour won the actual election, and Winnie had chosen National, the howls of outrage from both the MSM and the left, would be absolutely deafening. But then it’s always different rules when it suits the left’s purpose, of course.

        House on the market, headed for more democratic shores, where workers get rewarded, tax cuts are plentiful, and promises are both sensible and kept, and govts are actually elected ‘by the people, for the people, and of the people.’

    • patricia bremner 22.3

      Tanz, Aussie is beginning their own form of contracts act. Businesses over there open a “cheap” format, where they are offering no penalty rates for overtime, rolling shifts at basic pay, all this at minimum rates. This is designed to circumvent union conditions.

      As here, migrants including NZers take these jobs, because over 32 hours a week gives super benefits including money from the employer. So best of luck with moving there, as their economy currently isn’t good, and their debt is worse, and you will lose 10% of your current money to exchange differences, plus costs.

      Homes are of a better standard, but rents are awful. If you leave money in a bank account for 3 years untouched the Government will put it in a slush account, and it is troublesome to get it back. The grass is not greener, unless you have tank water. Working in 45 to 50 degrees lately has been horrific for some of our relatives. Do your homework. Oh and their political carry on is unbloody believable.

      • Tanz 22.3.1

        Thanks for the heads up. At least their govt is properly elected, and the first choice of the majority of the people. Going to try our luck anyway, don’t want to see first hand as National’s fantastic country and economy gets decimated by a group of unelected, out of their depth, schoolkids and their power-mad master/s.

        • patricia bremner

          Tanz, You also need to get references for rentals, attend open homes to apply to rent, have sufficient points through many forms of I.D. to open a bank a/c.
          Contact the Bank in the area you wish to live, find out their rules.
          Some things have to be done from here before you go.
          Good Luck. P.s. I don’t think you will find the welcome your’e expecting, as you will be in competition with Aussies. I DONT agree with your view of NZ under National.

  22. tc 23

    Good Post Mickey and you’ve identified a couple of the weaknesses IMO that Adern will have to address in the shape of Clare Curran and possibly Trevor Mallard who has lost what little mojo he had and looks every bit a beltway trougher now.

    Hipkins has been OK but it’s an easy task so far by doing the obvious in removing national standards and healing the open wounds in education national enjoyed rubbing salt into.

    It’s all about minimise the errors, keep a consistent message and weed out the national lite Labour MP’s who stir up trouble….looking at you Mr Nash.

    • Ed 23.1

      Clare Curran needs to act on the media soon.
      Top priority for this government is to deal with the corporate propaganda machine.
      Take back the airwaves.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.2

      Curran? Oust the only proponent of squatters’ rights in the Beehive? For shame!

    • mickysavage 23.3

      Cheers TC

      To be frank I can’t believe how poorly Hipkins has done. Education should have been a free shot the Nats were that bad. But Labour’s position always felt confused …

      • tc 23.3.1

        That’s what happens when you try and play down the middle to appease everyone.

        I was being generous as Hipkins is actually an idiot IMO but even idiots get a chance to show they have value. His performance is par for his course so far.

        I’m still not seeing a socialist option but at least we removed the wrecking crew for now but they’ve been far too nice to National.

        About time they started telling NZ the true state of education, health, infrastructure etc and gave an account of what happened with the power generator sale money as one example of the years of BS National fed them.

      • patricia bremner 23.3.2

        Micky Savage 23.3 Great Post Micky, very interesting, though you say “I can’t believe how poorly Hipkins has done” I feel this is a tad early to completely judge how Hipkins has done. Steps and policies are in place, but as schools are closed for 42 of the first hundred days progress is hard to measure imo.

        Are you referring to their behaviour around charter schools? The “Softly softly approach” is to be expected, as these schools were mainly taken up by the poor. To change them without total disruption to children and staff will take time and consultation.

        TC in your reply you don’t see “socialist values”, yet I thought the (fees) donation issue has been brilliant. What did you want to see done?

  23. patricia bremner 24

    Alwyn 18.1.1 In Australia they have a simple insurance on the first hundred thousand, paid via a fee.

  24. millsy 25

    This time next year, we will know if Labour has a chance of getting a second term.

    • Tanz 25.1

      They won’t. I saw it in the crystal ball. Winston is toast right now, so National will romp home, alone! The COL a one hit wonder, will go down in history as just that, as Prebble so rightly predicted. Prebble. A Labour man!
      A non-elected government will never work, and never be accepted by the whole electorate as legitimate, MMP be damned. New Zealanders are too used to a govt that came first and a major party that received the most votes.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 25.1.1

        Better. Add more exclamation marks next time.

      • patricia bremner 25.1.2

        Tanz, In Aus your vote will get moved from your most preferred candidate to a lesser preferred one under their system. Same way Andrew Little was made Leader. Of course if everyone with a vote prefers the same person that person will be elected unopposed. As Jacinda Ardern was.

        I think after a time, you will realise that you are an immigrant, not an Aussie!! Oh and you will need to get your Aus driver’s licence after 3 months or you won’t be legal.

  25. Ad 26

    Now you’ll have to do one for the Greens Mickey.

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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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  • New Zealand privacy law modernised
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