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Why Is Labour Such a Hard Sell Now?

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, November 10th, 2022 - 140 comments
Categories: economy, grant robertson, jacinda ardern, labour, uncategorized - Tags:

So why is Labour and Ardern struggling when the economy is so strong?

For the deep left this government is doing most things right; recentralising and renationalising like Socialism 101. For the centrists the economy is performing well, and anyone with a house or two is a now a millionaire. Workers and the not-working haven’t been subsidised so much in 30 years.

Most of their policies particularly in the economic realm are correct.

They have passed pro-market climate legislation, stupendous infrastructure spending, supported unions, propped up vulnerable families and vulnerable businesses alike. They went into debt to save society like any decent leadership would.

Poverty hasn’t exploded, property has de-frothed but not imploded, exports are high, unemployment low and wage rises strong.
So why the heck is Labour having such a hard time selling their economic record?

Let’s put aside all other portfolios and concentrate on Finance. Outside the leadership head-to-head it’s the only portfolio that matters.

One word: inflation. The job market is still hot, even with the Reserve Bank raising rates. But inflation in housing, rent, food, electricity and fuel is outpacing wage growth, and that’s what people feel on a daily basis. So politicians who have a focus on bringing costs down – like newly elected Mayor Wayne Brown – reap sentimental rewards without yet trying. Never mind that New Zealand inflation has little to do with anything Robertson has done, but rather of a paradigm shift in the global economy that has come with the end of the “cheaper is superior” model.

The past 40 years of our economy and that of the developed world has been predicated on cheap money, cheap labour, and cheap energy. Cheap tourists, cheap fruit pickers, cheap public services, cheap welfare.

Now with the United States Federal Reserve consistently raising rates and with the end of global quantitative easing, cheap money has gone.

Cheap energy went the minute Russia invaded Ukraine. We are probably heading for insecure energy.

Cheap labour has gone too as any restaurateur, hotelier or orchardist will tell you. Business owners complaining about wages going up tend to be Koru Club and Northern Club members doing everything they can to keep profit margins at record highs. Or they just sell out and enjoy life.

I am amazed that people are still writing about wage inflation as though it’s entirely a bad thing. It’s only a bad thing for corporate C-suites and Ministers of Ministries doing everything they can to keep private profit margins and public tax income defended at near record highs: from cutting workers (in the case of retail outlets, bank tellers, oversized tech groups) to cutting services by stealth (like health, fire and emergency, and tertiary education), or supermarket portion sizes. Everyone wears the pain of superprofits, taxpayer and worker alike.

The problem is that if you don’t pay people at some point, the maths stops working. The race to the wage bottom is theirs but it is extracted from waged time taken from our families for as long and far as the horizon of the time of our remaining lives.

Robertson and Ardern came to power inside Labour because they promised nothing other than inflated words, and on that they have delivered. The real problem is that actual economic inflation was always going to go up for a certain period of time, then after nearly half a century easy money and outsourcing came to an end. Robertson’s fiscal spending has little to do with the larger paradigm shift we are going through. Pass the parcel stopped with Labour. And yet Labour as also the Democrats are taking the heat for inflation, which is making it difficult for them to message all their gains.

So, what do to?

Robertson needs to set out, often, how he and his team are reigning in our corporations and pressuring costs down. The DIRA legislation to require Ministers to appoint a majority to the Fonterra pricing committee. The new powers of the Commerce Commission. The vast COVID subsidies to business. The tens of billions turning massive construction companies into subbies in return for increasing network productivity. Hundreds of millions to shore up council utilities particularly water, in turn supporting all businesses reliant on water. The massive subsidies by paying for apprenticeships. The huge support for local business in buying back Kiwibank, support and investment opportunity for NZSuper and ACC. Why doesn’t Robertson just set out his stall about the purpose of Labour with business?

Big business owes this government big time, but Robertson is failing to state why he has earned their fealty. Labour has done successful charm offensives to business before and they have worked. That is the piece in Labour politics we are missing right now.

Ardern fans herself about corporate price gouging about once a year, but every reporting cycle gives increasing data to back up the fact that companies are using their disproportionate power to keep their profit margins constant rather than sharing the pain that the rest of us are feeling. If Robertson doesn’t message better by demonstrating how they will continue to reign in New Zealand’s major corporations nd their margins, Labour will end up like the luckless Efeso Collins who offered the lesson in promising no public corporate control and unending spending then wondering … why.

Roberston must deliver a smarter message about the Labour economic record with business: it’s his part in stopping Labour losing.

140 comments on “Why Is Labour Such a Hard Sell Now? ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Because the narrative is completely controlled by the voices of the boss class, the rentiers, and the speculators. Strong wage growth is either ignored or portrayed as bad. Low unemployment is presented as slowing growth. Both we are constantly told are feeding inflation. Falling house prices are a disaster, says the MSM – whose sole remaining strong revenue stream is nowadays advertising for the real estate ponzi. Sef-serving bank economists daily remind us that unless austerity is imposed and their profits are guaranteed disaster lurks just six months down the road.

    In sum, there is no counter voice to the caterwauling of the capitalist winners of neoliberalism, who have assiduously stilled, stifled and sidelined every counter-vailing view.

    The ambient values of our entire civic discourse are now presented as being those of the financiers and landlords, aided and abetted by a uneconomic and decadent media model that has ceased to even pretend to be a responsible fourth estate and instead is addled by the cheap highs of a late stage addiction to click bait dopamine hits.

    • roy cartland 1.1

      Excellent summary, and very eloquently stated yesyesyes (and true, of course).

    • DB Brown 1.2

      Well said. The narrative is sickening I can't even be bothered with NZ media anymore. That's probably their goal, to turn the left away from even bothering. Incessant assholes, shameful dishonest and infuriating.

      I for one shall be cheering when we start to eat the rich. Metaphorically of course, my vegan diet has done me the world of good.

    • Tiger Mountain 1.3


    • Macro 1.4

      Hear hear Sanct. Totally agree.

    • In a nutshell Sanctuary!! We need some simple charts/diagrams showing improvements. Instant information on each area . A list of a hundred things is too much. Put the advances under headings. Health and Medical/ Housing/ Transport & EVs. Flood/Fire relief/Education…etc. Each Minister should take every opportunity to list successes and current efforts. It is not good to attack the opposition person, rather attack silly ideas. "How do we help the homeless and working poor?'

      A Do we give more to the well off through tax and hope it trickles down?

      B Or do we set up help for those people through funding for partnership schemes income, and training support? We chose Set B as set A failed last time.

      • satty 1.5.1

        I agree (also with Sanctuary – reminds me of Logan's Run).

        However, how many people (public) are actually going out and looking for such information themselves? I do it every now and then, but sometimes it's a little time consuming and the provided information might not be as clear as I would like.

        Do the ministers get the appropriate time and opportunity to present such information in interviews? If the interviewer has a certain agenda and wants an outcome fitting that agenda, questions / material that doesn't support given outcome might not see the light of the day.

    • millsy 1.6

      Pretty much it in a nutshell. The only ideas that National has is importing workers from overseas.

    • Louis 1.7

      yes Sanctuary.

    • Thinker 1.8

      Pretty much spot on.

      Not only local narrative against Labour but a global narrative against inflation.

      Inflation happens when prices go up (or when the dollar value falls – if a tin of beans costs a dollar and the value of the dollar falls by 10% then it takes $1.10 of the new dollars to buy the same tin of beans but all we see is the price increase)

      Prices also go up when demand for (let's say) the last remaining tin of beans in NZ. Before, only one person could afford it and the company had to sell it for $1 but because wages have grown three people can afford it and the company is in a position of stronger selling power because one of the three will pay $1.10 to push the other two out.

      When the dollar drops, local firms are more competitive here and overseas and when wages increase people have more spending money.

      As long as it doesn't get out of hand, a small (10% is a good example but way too high in reality) inflation rate is not so bad. Unless…

      You have $100 to invest. Say 12 month term deposit rates are 5%, tax free. I invest my $100 for 12 months and the bank gives me $105. Now, the 10% lowering of the value of the dollar reduces what $105 will buy compared to last year. $105 * 90% leaves $94.50c worth of what I could buy last year.

      So it's no surprise that some people oppose any inflation with a vengeance. But no inflation is a stagnant (some call it 'stable') economy that doesn't help the average worker get a higher standard of living.

      I think that's how it works. For 4 years, I shared an office with an economist who tried to explain these things to me…

      Stable vs stagnant… I guess the conclusion is he who controls the media controls how things are reported to the masses.

      PS my economist friend's an ACT supporter so he'd hate how I translated his teaching!!!

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Oh and in terms of what to do, it is difficult to present a counter narrative in a media so invested in the prevailing orthodoxy. Whilst what you suggest is a start, a Labour government ought to be mindful that the commercial media as structured basically acts as a giant propaganda megaphone for the values of hyper-individualised rentier capitalism.

    Proactive reformist measure that wouldn't require shooting the pastors and turning their churches into palaces of culture would see the cultivation of alternative sources of opinion to the Thatcherism of the MSM. Strengthening workers voices through FPAs should, over time, create more muscular and well funded unions. A more direct insistance that state media – TVNZ and RNZ – explicity promote more Rethian values, and fund them appropriately to make that happen. The goal should be to proudly want to put the tawdy talk back Taliban out of business. Or how about the government taking a leaf out of America's book, and hiring and resourcing "community organisers" for disadvantaged and atomised communities to mobilise them politically? You know, everything from getting a pool repaired to stopping the bulldozing of a park to making sure the community gets to the polls on election days.

    The chances of course of this Labour government – essentially one of professional careerists centrists – doing any of the above are remote; The best they offer is effective managerialism of the established order with a lot of middle class welfare and a more sympathetic view of the poor than National, a party stuck forty years in the past and completely captured by the stealth authoritarianism of neoliberal dogma.

    • newsense 2.1

      Ironically the government’s best communication tool has been Facebook. Public media is all very well ( that said I admire the job Dick Griffin did at RNZ a good deal more than Simon Power at TVNZ.)

      The problem is it is hard to be simple.

      How do you hit back?
      can you say

      1) National would have cut your job and crashed the economy during the pandemic. They can’t be trusted.

      2) National are bigger flip floppers than Liz Truss and they admire her policies. They can’t be trusted. Truss-ted. They would have crashed the economy.

      3) National can’t be trusted to leave women’s bodies alone. They aren’t being honest on abortion, they flip flop and are secretive about their true position. They have secret plans they know they can’t tell us.

      4) National have no plan on water, apart from rate rises, control going to the big cities and no guarantees of safe service.

      The question is who can say these things and where, to make them effective. The PM can’t do it direct on FB. Or if it’s a good idea to fight fire with fire. But it rather feels like no fire is going down without a shot being fired. To mix metaphors.

  3. Sabine 3

    Because on the ground people don't have money, have no rental stability, are scared of future lockdowns, their kids aren't doing well, crime is 'up' and seemingly there is no justice for some no matter what they do and the world generally looks bleak.

    Underemployment and Underutilization are still around 10%, the biggest drop in the category of 'more unemployed since june 2022' as per the stats are women (adult human females but then who knows lol) and with that goes a lot of extra income specially if these unemployed women – and also men don't receive unemployment benefits because their partner meets a 'threshold' of to much income per couple, as these people literally have not a dollar to their name despite having worked, paid taxes and supported the system.

    Never mind the fact that a kid died of tonsillitis gone septic in a hospital due to understaffing, the fact that getting sick and needing medical care is currently something that is very scary due to understaffing and underfunding the medical field. A nice new organization is a lovely employment opportunities for some managers, but we need nurses and doctors.

    Never mind the news today for example, that the government 'may' have paid homeless to go to Rotorua a town with no other industry then tourism (what is left there of) and a bit of forestry (red stag timber) and no spare houses, thus cementing these people into permanent homelessness and joblessness for the largest part.

    The Government says it is possible it has paid for out-of-town people to move to Rotorua for emergency housing but says it does not "actively relocate" people.


    And then of course the fact that people will eventually just disengage when they find that they are not being taken serious in their concerns, being called all sorts of names for daring to speak a different narrative then the one that is offered, and even worse, being made a second class citizen for refusing a medical treatment that may not have been as awesome as sold. Non of that will help promote a party or a person as kind, relatable and electable.

    Never mind the ramraids, the dead downtowns, the food parcels for thousands of people, the schooling issue, the family separations during the covid lockdowns – i know of a couple that ended up being separated for two years – they had no luck with the lotteries. Never mind self ID and total affirmation. Never mind any of that stuff that was not debated, will not be debated lest some gets called a four letter word. Never mind any of that. let’s keep moving, god knows to where.

    And fwiw, there are no easy ways out of this dilemma for Labour. Quite a few people will not believe any promises they may make, and the time for some real meaningful changes to be implemented is short until election day.

    One must sleep in the bed they made and Labour made themselves a hard bed.

    • Molly 3.1

      Thanks, Sabine.

      Add to that the looming knock-on effect to both homeowners and renters of the increased mortgage interest rates when many are already struggling. A blunt instrument to cool the housing market, (while continuing with other measures that keep it elevated). Brutal for the non-speculator homeowners (amongst others) who are barely making current payments:



      Despite knowing about pressing issues for a long time, as well as failings in health, housing, inequality, education, climate change etc. Labour has taken the opportunity that knocked with a majority and performed a little soft-shoe shuffle in front of an audience of five million expecting music.

      They repeatedly demonstrate a failure to care about negative impacts on those they have no connection with. The group feeling that lack of consideration is steadily increasing.

      Particularly think this is true:
      And fwiw, there are no easy ways out of this dilemma for Labour. Quite a few people will not believe any promises they may make, and the time for some real meaningful changes to be implemented is short until election day.

      One must sleep in the bed they made and Labour made themselves a hard bed.

  4. observer 4

    Robertson and Ardern came to power inside Labour because they promised nothing other than inflated words

    This re-writing of history as fiction is the right wing trope. Sad to see it peddled here.

    They came to power inside Labour because National were set for a 4th term, and they prevented it. If you lack the imagination to understand what a disaster that government would have been, and how all the things we now take for granted would never have happened, then you might get to find out after 2023. Frankly, some people deserve to experience it, but sadly the rest of us will have to as well. So, let's not.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 4.1

      Plus what Sanctuary wrote @1 / @2. The cognitive dissonance in the minds of those who rail against unaffordable housing and falling house prices is – well, I’m lost for words.

      • Molly 4.1.1

        The cognitive dissonance in the minds of those not understanding that falling house prices does not necessarily translate into affordable housing is – familiar.

        If you want to address housing affordability then propping up the continual increase in house prices is probably something to avoid, yet they jumped in with both feet: Kiwibuild (which ensures developers an elevated price), and returning to encourage immigration numbers when the major services of government for well-being, health, education, infrastructure – as well as housing is still under stress. They also endeavoured to paint all landlords as beyond the pale, while removing state housing availability and not bringing all their state houses up to the standard they required from all others. Private landlords providing the housing that was not accessible by ownership or by state provision. But they made a convenient scapegoat.

        Not considering the negative effects of policies – (so they can then create programmes that mitigate them) – seems to be a standard approach of all politicians, not just Labour. While Labour politicians worry about the political optics of large banking profits from mortgages, many already stressed NZers from all parts of the political spectrum will be in danger of losing their homes. Some of them will have just managed to make it through the financial impact of Covid, and will find that struggle was in vain.

        I don't think National and Act would have done any better. They may have been worse.

        But Labour were in government.

        Better than National and Act is a low bar and still they stumble to get over it.

    • Bearded Git 4.2

      Agreed Observer.

      I hate the people who try to paint Labour as being almost the same as National.

      They should take a look at the 12 things Labour is doing that National says it will repeal if it wins the election. That will be the tip of the iceberg.

      Bishop…Luxon…Willis are blinkered small minded free marketeers intent on benefitting the top 10% and bugger the rest.

    • Too true "observer" too true. I totally agree!

  5. Jenny are we there yet 5

    Cost of living crisis – Remove GST off food.

    Housing crisis – Empty homes tax

    Failing health system – windfall tax on banks ploughed into hospitals.

    Rapturous applause.

  6. Chris 6

    It's all about messaging, all right. It's easy to blame the media and most of the criticism of the media is likely justified, but the media report what people say. If Luxon blames Robertson and Labour for inflation and the cost of living crisis, the media reports "Luxon says this…" despite the prevailing view among economists is that government spending does not materially affect inflation. Labour's messaging, therefore, must focus directly on the lie at the heart of the particular erroneous claim.

    Labour misjudges what the public can understand. When it comes to dispelling the constant flow of untruths gushing from Luxon's and Willis' mouths, Labour assumes the public can decipher what's bullshit and what's not. Is it common knowledge that government spending doesn't affect inflation? I certainly didn't have a clue until a few weeks ago after wondering what Luxon was going on about in one of his off-the-hoof rants. I googled "does government spending affect inflation" and found a raft of articles and discussions about the precise topic. Is it something people just know? It certainly isn't, so when Luxon and Willis spin bullshit about Labour's performance people believe them.

    I don't know if Labour's inability to properly communicate ideas to the public comes from Ardern's disdain for negative campaigning, but one thing's for sure: if Labour continues to allow National and Act to lie to the public in the way they're currently doing, they will lose the election.

    • Nic the NZer 6.1

      This is a good point to highlight. Economic debates about this put somewhat aside but a lot of the reporting/discussion is that the cause is inflation via overly generous wages. But FFS New Zealand is well known to be experiencing a simultaneous cost of living crisis. It really doesn't help that the RBNZ monetary policy is understood to be mandating 50,000 additional unemployed to push down these supposedly excessive wage rates, which also seems to be ignoring the evident cost of living crisis.

      If the public rewards this rhetoric with a National government, then well have an austerity drive and we will be back to circa 1991 again.

    • Poission 6.2

      despite the prevailing view among economists is that government spending does not materially affect inflation.

      Fiscal policy such as stimulus,when inflation is underway due to MP easing,forces both demand and supply costs in the reinforcing direction via synchronization.

      Monetary policy fights inflation through two channels – by reducing demand and by re-anchoring future inflation expectations. Expansionary fiscal policy can undermine both effects, while contractionary fiscal policy can reinforce them.

      Specifically, spending increases and tax cuts work to boost demand in the near term, while high levels of projected deficits and debt can boost inflation expectations. This is especially true if markets believe the government will attempt to inflate away a portion of its debt.


    • newsense 6.3

      The message is the message! I think…

      Im not an expert in these things, but Stardust, new bubba glow and a real belief in positive change was a good tactic before.

      The public don’t really associate the crazies with the Nats or the NACT coalition. So that tactic from the States is out.

      The big one to counter is the perception that somehow white dude in a blue suit is the best for the economy. If you can batter that a bit you might get home. By actually managing it better and by messaging a lot better about it..? Or?

  7. Darien Fenton 7

    Just have a look at the US mid terms right now, I am going to be interested to see the get the out vote numbers and the local organising that has probably led to the demise of the Trumpster. Yeah, Dems may have lost the House but still could win the Senate, by a smidgeon, but this is an extraordinary result when everyone was predicting a Republican "red" wave across the country. It says to me this : local organising matters and people don't care that much about these kind of "intellectual" arguments, They care about their locals, their community, their whanau and the direction of their country. But it also matters to them that they can vote fairly and freely and rights like abortion are not interfered with by Fundamentalists. I will be interested to see the young voter turnout, because what I hear they have been out in unprecedented numbers ; and unions, as always have been at the forefront, Conspiracy nonsense has not taken hold as we feared it would. It gives me hope for our country,

  8. Corey Humm 8

    The economy is great on paper and this government has made the rich astonishingly richer.

    Everyone else is in abject misery on the verge of nervous breakdowns about their accomodation, if their tenancy isn't renewed they are screwed. Trying to find a rental in 2022 is harder than trying to buy a house in 2017.

    Every viewing has about 200 people attending for even the scummiest flats. Its horrific and scary.

    Meanwhile the govt goes on and on about it's house building success, which not even labour members cheered for at their own convention, noone believes it.

    Everyone is shit scared of losing their current rental, and going into a motel or being put in one of the UK style slum villages the govts full of extremely antisocial behavior and no evictions that the govts pulling down state houses to build.

    Then there's the cheap private housing being torn down from city to the suburbs to build high density 2 bedroom boxes that sit empty cos noone can possibly afford the rent.

    Then there's our outrageously high food prices due to the duopoly and the govts piss poor reforms.

    While we're all freaking out about being homeless or starving the pm has been asleep at the wheel since October last year and when she does awaken her biggest priorities are three waters, co-goverance and hate speech reforms.

    The govt has wasted two years trying to bring the public on board with no success and seems hellbent on losing an election simply to pass unpopular policies that will be immediately overturned by the next govt.

    If three waters were an economic policy it'd have been dropped faster than a capital gains tax. It needs to be dropped

    Meanwhile the public has been overexposed to Ardern, she's been more involved in people's lives than any pm and many can't stand the sight of her.

    Sure the COVID response was a great success but people have seen too much of her and are burnt out on her and grant. Everytime she does a conference or schedules an announcement people's arse holes clench while flashbacking to her announcing lockdowns.

    Labour has been far too involved in people's lives for nearly three years, while much of it was necessary, people are burnt out , have PTSD from the global experience and don't like seeing her cos she reminds them of the last three years.

    And people think her priorities for the last year have been totally warped and focused on constitutional and social reforms not on the day to day challenges of housing and inflation.

    You can't sell some people don't want to buy.

    • Good points Corey, but as we near the election, National are going to inflate talk of crime homelessness and the economy.

      Comparisons of approaches need to be drawn.

      When the homeless were dossing down in business doorways, there were serious discussions by some businesses under the previous Government about cold sprinklers to be turned on at random times to "move them on".

      We at least kept Paula Bennett's "put them in a motel." until we could provide enough homes which could now happen as soon as next year.

      The right show their distain with labels "Bottom Feeders"

      So does Christopher Luxon sees himself as a Top Feeder?" Who mentally sees himself as an apex predator in the food chain? The rest of us fight over the scraps?

      Over the next twelve months I hope to see less white anting and more constructive recognition of what has been achieved, and more support for moving ahead with the overarching projects to improve all lives. The ship of State turns slowly otherwise we could get huge social dislocation, as has happened before.

      We are all tired jaded and anxious, but believe me that could be 10 times worse. Imagine austerity "sinking lid policies" National will bring in to undo Government Departments which will begin the mortgage sales and the fire sale economy all over again as people are “let go” or “made redundant”.

      Business will then demand tourists and cheap workers, and as the locals won't have much money it all becomes self fulfilling and so it goes.

      But it does not have to.!! We need to keep Nat/Act out!! That needs to be a priority.

      One of the saddest things is when Council's try to do some social good in housing and self interested parties complain about the homeless in motels ruining their business, but fight tooth and nail to be nimby's about where the social housing will be built. They show failure of reasoning. So those businesses will next complain about those homeless sleeping in their doorways again!! (If National win)

      Our big challenges of Climate Change, are as Kelvin Davis put it “Here now”.
      Keep the progress going Thanks Ad a good thoughtful post.

      • Belladonna 8.1.1

        but as we near the election, National are going to inflate talk of crime homelessness and the economy.

        Well, yes. But, knowing those are likely to be the significant campaign issues, don't you think it would be a good idea if the Government stopped faffing about with social engineering (3 waters, hate speech, TVNZ/RNZ merger, co-governance) and actually made those issues (the ones which affect people's daily lives) a priority (along with health – which is an utter rolling PR disaster on a weekly basis).

        Having Carmel Sepuloni on RNZ saying there is no projected end date to emergency motel housing in Rotorua – doesn't exactly cut the PR mustard.


        • Belladonna Fighting the algorithms of disinformation, securing our water piping and waste, housing the homeless are important if unglamorous things. Hardly "faffing".

          So you think the Government should

          Not worry about disinformation? Conspiracy theories?

          Just leave Councils to swim in their waste and get flooded because the drainage is inadequate and Ratepayers will be hit with outsized bills?

          Being homeless. as Corey explained, is weeks away for many, as there is still a shortage, and every home lost to climate change will make it worse. Tell me do we turn them out of the Motels before the building programme completes?

          What are your suggestions?

          Further, National always go Economy Crime Homelessness. We need to get our answers ready., not give up on important ideas.

          • Belladonna

            Tell me, Patricia. Can you articulate the critical importance of the TVNZ/RNZ merger? Because not even the minister seems to be able to do so.

            How about co-governance? Why is that top of the agenda?

            3 waters is mired in controversy. Is it *really* one of the top 3 priorities for the government? In any case, much like Health, any change will be at the administrative level – and downstream effects (if any) will be years if not decades away. And that's assuming that it isn't reversed as soon as the government changes.

            If keeping National/ACT out of power is the number one priority – then perhaps ditching some of the more divisive and unpopular policies needs to be seriously considered.

            Just, precisely, so that resources (including the attention of the cabinet) are focused on the issues which are critical to the voters (health, housing, education, crime).

            Corey was referring to the squeezed middle (not that many Standardistas appear to believe this group exists), the people living pay cheque to pay cheque. Who are juggling bills, when every dollar buys less each week. Who are concerned over rents increasing, and/or landlords selling up – and therefore having to find another rental.

            Those people care about inflation. They care about the rocketing violent crime and burglary rates they see daily in their neighbourhoods. They care about hospitals being in continual crisis in ED, and surgery wait-times ballooning out. They care about homeless people dumped into substandard motel accommodation (when Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency chairwoman Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is describing "motel living for children is tantamount to child abuse." – you know there is a critical issue)

            They want their Government to show that their concerns are the number one priority. And, if the Government doesn't demonstrate this – then they will take their vote elsewhere.

            If the Government's 'important ideas' are more important than getting re-elected, then they should absolutely continue down the current pathway.

            • Patricia Bremner
              1. To provide a Public Broadcaster.

              2To cap expensive and unrealistic salaries.

              3To provide accurate science and fact based commentary.

              4To provide more NZ and Maori and other etnicities with suitable programmes.

              Now that is just my understanding from reading and listening. Guess the "proof will be in the pudding" they finally produce.

              Co-governance is a Treaty issue, which does not infer ownership, rather more a voice.

              The Health issue is only just being implemented, after Covid, and all issues have actions in place or underway. Many countries are understaffed as the pandemic killed nurses and doctors as well, and our aging work force is a problem. Not a quick fix sadly.

              • They actually have all of those goals already achieved without the merger. Apart from the salaries – over which the new entity will have exactly the same control as the current ones (i.e. the market rules)

                And, there is a very strong argument that the gutting of the contestable NZ on air funding – in favour of the new entity – will actually reduce Maori programming.



                My prediction is that this will be ditched early next year. As Labour realize that they need their limited window of delivery pre-election to deal with issues people actually care about.

                Regarding co-governance as a Treaty issue is pure spin. There is nothing in the Treaty of Waitangi – either in the English or Maori versions – which describes anything approaching co-governance. And a clue is in the name 'governance' does *not* imply only a voice in decisions – it describes action, direction and implementation.

                Well, yes, the Health merger is only just being rolled out. It beggars belief that, in a once in a century (we hope) pandemic – the government's top Health improvement priority was an administrative merger – which has zero short-term effect on health services – and may (or may not) have good medium to long term results.
                Effective immediate strategies have been laid out on TS on multiple occasions (adding nurses to the Green light immigration list, sorting out the pay dispute (outrageous that it's gone on this long), abatement of training costs, properly staffing ED, etc.). Do we see the Government implementing them? [Rhetorical question, of course not]

            • James Simpson

              If keeping National/ACT out of power is the number one priority – then perhaps ditching some of the more divisive and unpopular policies needs to be seriously considered.

              This is exactly where I stand. Whatever the merits are of those policies, a higher priority is ensuring the right does not gain power next year.

              Give people something to vote for. Co-governance and centralising the administration of water assets are things that people are more likely to vote against and put Luxon in power.

      • millsy 8.1.2

        People who complain about motels being used to put homeless need to realise: These people are never going to be housed in a private rental. Ever. Even if you shredded any and all rental property laws in this country, no landlord would agree to house them.

        That is why the social house waiting list is so long. Most of the people have no hope in hell of getting a private rental.

        • Belladonna

          I'm sure that is true of some of them.

          But it can't be the whole answer. The waiting list for state housing has ballooned from around 5,000 in June 2017 to over 26,600 in June 2022.


          You can't even blame Covid – as the increase has been pretty stair-step steadily upwards throughout the whole period.

          Many of those must have been in private rentals – until the rentals became simply unaffordable.

          Part of the problem with the utterly disastrous motel-housing experiment (seen at it's worst in Rotorua) has been that it drags all of the residents down to the lowest common denominator. Families with vulnerable and impressionable children are in the same housing complex as violent criminals and drug dealers.

        • Sabine

          You might want to feel good about yourself telling yourself that surely these people in Motels must be the rejects of society, and they are not.

          They are early childhood teachers with working husbands and one child, who live in a motel for over a year until a suitable charity housing unit was made available to them. And why did this couple end up in emergency housing? ,

          Because in Labours NZ as much as National NZ a household with two working parents and one child can not afford a rental.

          And that is to the eternal shame of NZ. That people with jobs, who earn over the min wage, can not afford to rent even just a dog kennel.

      • Tony Veitch 8.1.3

        Imagine austerity "sinking lid policies" National will bring in to undo Government Departments . . .

        Quite right. Nicola Willis simply shrieks 'austerity' in her demeanour – IMO she's another Ruth Richardson.

        Under the Natz, the rich will still get their tax cuts, but the 'bottom feeders' will pay for them with increased sanctions and no benefit increases.

        If inflation is causing a cost of living crisis with an interventionist government, imagine for a moment what a 'trickle down,' free market hands off government would be like!

        Frankly, this country, with all the disruption of climate catastrophe here already, cannot afford a Natz/Act government.

    • millsy 8.2

      3 waters needs to be retained as it protects public ownership of our water systems for eternity.

      I dont trust these redneck mayors with their council's water system. They will put them on the block the first time they get a chance.

      • Gabby 8.2.1

        The Minister needs to be spelling out what you said in words of one syllable, repeatedly.

      • Obtrectator 8.2.3

        Same here! Access to water that's adequate in both quantity and quality is in my view a fundamental human right. And ultimately, the only true guarantor of such rights is the government. Labour's error with 3 Waters has been one of communication, allowing the neolibs and their covetous allies to frame it as a seizure of assets. Cue the Dancing Cossacks again next year?

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    What does Labour have to do?

    The same as any party ever – they must offer a persuasive set of policies that show that they are competent and that they will leave punters better off. Persuasion is not achieved by single instances – but three strong examples will often persuade. Not everyone's interests or concerns are identical, so, to present three strong examples over a range of policy areas it would be prudent to develop at least five. So here goes:

    We are coming up to Christmas, which is a significant secular celebration, but poorer families struggling to make ends meet find this time particularly difficult. So – take the gst off meat for three months as a trial policy. Farmers might like it. Think of it as a variation on the chicken in every pot. It will be appreciated and remembered, and woe betide the government that tries to put it back on. National identity probably requires that pavlova enjoys the exemption too.

    A combination of Covid and postmodernism, together with pseudo-market driven palaver in polytechs has caused if not a collapse, at least serious erosion in our education sector. This is a long-term issue because while people are reluctant to vote for people stupider than themselves, the dumb and dumber cohort will cheerfully vote for a Trumped up demagogue. Prophylaxis therefore requires that we lift our game – and we should do so by learning from the best in class. That's Scandinavia – not the wretched standardized test driven crap they use in parts of the US. A Scandinavian turn will require consultation with and study in those countries. It will require higher teacher pay and more resources for schools, together with more student free time. Families and educators will love it – and it will quickly marginalize backward thinking like all National and ACT policy 😀 .

    Nationalize the National party. This can be achieved by making it a criminal offence to donate funding to NZ political parties unless one is a citizen. Neither National nor ACT will like it at all – the former losing its Chinese gravy train, and the latter its Gun Lobby funds. The more they whine the more public support the measure will generate. Cynical? Not a bit of it – it's merely enlightened public interest.

    Housing remains a crushing burden for the two lower quartiles. A tidy solution for part of the problem is to facilitate the building of tiny house villages. This can be done by creating standard land share agreements, and streamlining rates and building consents, with caps on council permitting charges. There is something pretty seriously wrong with a country where people are being forced to obtain vehicle WoFs for their dwellings just to get out from under the twin oppressions of exploitive landlords and councils.

    Health remains in crisis. Crisies require leadership and early and meaningful responses, not fiddling about. Freeze outstanding student loans for in country health sector staff, and forgive them at a rate of 1 year per year, so that a nurse is debt free in 3-4, and a doctor in 7. You'll get some returns, and you'll get far better retention of locally trained staff. The loan burden, which deters a proportion of prospective health staff will largely cease to be a factor also.

  10. Terry 10

    My Nephew is a young 20’s something, working for a government department in Wellington, active on Twitter and “woke” as fuck. This is something that he cannot comprehend.

    There is a perception among “blue collar” (high income tradesmen, without a degree) workers that Labour no longer represents them, and in some instances actively hates them. One place I worked at had a National Party MP come and visit us a couple of times (Friday after work BBQ& drinks), he even remembered the names of some workers on the shop floor. The local Labour MP was never interested in attending. Fair enough he may have been busy. But hey if an inbred toff can come along and get to know some oiks (who vote!) maybe a representative of the “workers” party could find the time.

    I have to say that I have received respect from my employers and business owners, than I get from people I know that are involved with the Labour and Party.

    At the smoko table the perception seems to be that Labour are interested in “the woke stuff” like hate speech laws, Three Waters, co governance, having pronouns on email signatures. Stuff that we don’t care about.

    So why should we vote for you? You despise the workers more than National despises us, so who do you expect us to vote for?

    • millsy 10.1

      The working class, especially the white working class is a lost cause. They would gladly throw their brothers and sisters in the services sector (health, hospo, retail, etc) under a bus if it meant they would get generous terms on a Ford Ranger.

      • Belladonna 10.1.1

        So, if Labour no longer represent their traditional base (the working class) – who do they represent?

        Plenty of tradies in my family – including unionised ones. No idea who they vote for. But not one of them has a problem with wage increases for hospital workers, teachers or police. No problem with hospo workers getting pay rises – though they may eat-out less frequently, if prices go up significantly.

        Not so keen on bureaucrats, however….

        • observer

          Labour have passed Fair Pay agreements only days ago. Opposed by National and ACT of course.

          Led by Michael Wood, so "woke" that he is a straight, white, Christian, male.

          Seriously, this is what is actually being done. For the workers.

          • Terry

            Unfortunately far pay agreements aren’t mentioned around the smoko table. That’s part of the problem, but I’m not sure how to solve it.

          • Belladonna

            The workers I was talking about were the tradies – who have had zero problems in negotiating higher wages over the last couple of years.
            Nor have any of the hospo workers (in fact, they can just about write their own tickets ATM – certainly in Auckland)

            Strangely enough, it's the heavily unionized and/or government employees who are struggling to get decent wage rises (teachers, nurses, ECE workers).

            • Terry

              I’ve had Teachers & Nurses in my family for ever. And I’ve always heard how badly paid they are. But up until a few years ago they were always paid way more than me.

              • I think it depends on the job and the people involved. And, right now, being able to negotiate for yourself, is paying dividends.
                I have a couple of friends, he's a builder (not a business owner, but a good competent workman with a solid lot of experience and quals), she's a nurse – again mid-career, experienced, but not management (and doesn't want to go there).

                He earns a significant amount more than she does. And has the ability to negotiate with his boss over salary, work hours, etc. (he's done this over the last couple of years). She is stuck in the hospital system – with little control over her shift-work patterns, enormous pressure to work additional shifts to cope with the staffing crisis, and zero ability to negotiate salary (and seriously pissed off with Little for not walking the talk with nurses pay). Yes, she could leave and work for an agency – but would take a pay cut (agencies pocket most of the profits from temp nurses) and have uncertain salary (the bank doesn't like this for mortgage purposes). She's also got an ethical public service streak a mile wide – and, like many nurses, wants to do good.

          • DS

            And yet it took two years into a Labour Government with an absolute majority. Five years into a Labour Government overall (and while Winston Peters is not keen on unions, would he really die in a ditch to block FPAs?).

            Wood is a hero, of course. But he clearly needed to force his own colleagues' hands every step of the way.

        • millsy

          Public sector workers, the poor, the service sector and the intellectuals.

          Most tradies aspire to own their own buisnesses, and are probably naturally going to lean National.

          • Terry

            The public service workers in my family are all on good salaries.

            I doubt that most tradies want to work for themselves. But hey what’s wrong with that, & why wouldn’t Labour support it?

            • millsy

              The interests of small businesses conflict with the interests of workers.

              • Terry

                A good mate of mine started a building business after being made redundant. He now employs about 10 guys who now all make a good living.

                I’ve worked for small and large businesses, in general I have been treated well. There has been the odd “Karen” aka the bosses wife. I saying that, I fully appreciate my employer pays me well as he can’t find someone cheaper.

                by far my worst employee experience has been in the public sector and my boss was a card carrying Labour Party member.

            • pat

              "I doubt that most tradies want to work for themselves"


              • Terry

                Why would most tradies want to work for themselves?

                • Incognito

                  More impressive job title on their business card.

                • pat

                  in over 40 years of working in the trades my experience has been 'most' tradies would love to work for themselves ….the reasons why many dont are multiple and varied but desire is not generally the deciding factor.

                • left for dead

                  In fact they do,until recent (not sure of today's stats)NZ was regarded as being the highest % of sole traders in the western world.Have a look at what Cullen tried to do re-tax base "contractors" something like over 90% (workers) would be regarded as employees,that was shot down,most of our people think they can fend for themselves,look where that's is getting us.

            • Belladonna

              I agree. Lots of tradies have no desire to run their own small business. The amount of paperwork and level of responsibility is huge.

              Yep there are potential rewards (greater amounts of money) – but also lots and lots of stress and worry. And, also, many tradies actively like the hands-on aspect of their jobs, and really dislike paperwork, admin, etc.

        • Patricia Bremner

          Not so keen on bureaucrats…

          surely you mean "unnecessary bureaucrats"?

          • Belladonna

            Nope. Just bureaucrats in general. Not at all popular with the tradie community. Mostly the only time they see them is when they charge a fee or tell them they can't do something.

            The recent article about the number of 'managers' at Eke Panuku – and their inflated salaries – went down like a lead balloon at a recent weekend BBQ.


            • Patricia Bremner

              Perhaps some are not needed, but if you don't "do the paper work" some bureaucrat will of course.devil e.g. in the tax department?

              • Shanreagh

                Oh heavens and then there are the GST chasers, terrible bureaucrats. Also the ones in MFAT who make a living with actual words and nuance, and those enforcing Canadian Agriculture agreement, those who will enforce the FPAs. What about those administering drivers licences and trade certificates. Why do I have to get a different type of licence to drive a heavy truck and have retesting from time to time. Their must have been a bureaucrat behind the idea that prospective drivers should have eyesight checks, then doing the actual tests, then asking all those inane questions about following distances and going round roundabouts…….

                I often get charged a fee (WOF, insurance) or 'told' in terms of complying with the law.

                Thankfully mostly we can see that we live in a democracy that follows the rule of law and that fees are required and so-called abrogations of so-called rights such as road rules, trade compliance protections (do I really want to do my own unsafe electrical or plumbing work?) make our society work better for ALL of us.

                Again it raises the question as to whether something is missing in our education or trade training ie civics or respect for the jobs of others?

                • Are you going to defend the managerial top heavy Eke Panuku as well?
                  200 staff, 50 middle managers, 9 top tier managers.

                  But, by all means, load another batch of 'woke' civics training onto apprentices – I'm sure that will be a totally effective strategy /sarc/

                  Do you also support the 9 months (and God knows how many hours) it took me to get a code of compliance for a bathroom out of the Council. The 'issue' was that they demanded to have evidence of an impermeable membrane on the floor. Which is only required (or needed) if you have tiles. I had lino. Industrial heavy-duty lino. Coved up the walls. Way above the standard. Orders of magnitude more waterproof than a membrane. The initial bureaucrat made an error on the compliance form. It took 4 layers of management to work through before I got someone who could actually make an evidence-based decision – rather than box tick (or down-check in this case).

                  • Are you blaming the Government for a local Government cock up?

                    • Nope. I'm talking about bureaucrats. They exist at local as well as national government level (and with 3 waters they're going to exist at regional level as well).

                      Here’s my original quote
                      “Nope. Just bureaucrats in general. Not at all popular with the tradie community. Mostly the only time they see them is when they charge a fee or tell them they can’t do something.”

                      I’m not sure how you can get a local/national split out of that.

          • Shanreagh

            Yes this is important @ Patricia, and I always hope I can 'edumacate' people who have fun with these all inclusive and incorrect statements.

            So the workers who give the official consents so tradies can get the certificate of compliance and get that last payment, who monitor the health and safety standards, who do the juggling to get waiting lists working as much as they can, who do the health coding work so our health monies are assigned to the most useful health areas.

            All of these people ae bureaucrats. I am sure that they do not spend any time at all moaning about tradies per se. The only time they moan about tradies is when they get ripped off, have a bad job done……you know justified stuff.

            I also have heard these kinds of statements and from my observation they fit the 30-40 age group, male, often disparaging of women and the PM as a woman.

            I think having a more realistic view of the jobs of others comes with age, if it has not come before. Older tradies I know are more concerned with climate change, fuel costs and interested in items such as clean fuelled utes and how/if they would work, how they are being squeezed with the needs of elderly parents and the wish to send children to tertiary education.

            • Belladonna

              "So the workers who give the official consents so tradies can get the certificate of compliance"

              Yeah. About that. Councils have a devil of a job to get and retain building inspectors. There are a few older ones who know what they're doing, but for new hires they pretty much take what they can get.
              Just (last week) attended a final code-of-compliance sign-off for a minor project. Highly competent and experienced builder, had everything organized and documented. Building inspector basically had to be led by the hand through the process. He had a check sheet – and even then, had to ask what X meant at various points. Damned if I know what value he added to the process.

      • Terry 10.1.2

        Millsy, the attitude that the white working class is a lost cause is probably the root of the problem. WE DO VOTE! Insulting us is not going to get us to vote for you, & to win an election you need people to vote for you. Cutting your nose to spite your face will get you nowhere, but hey knock yourself out…

        So we know that National supports the Farmers and Employers, but they don’t despise us, and they need good employees. Why would I vote for a party that doesn’t respect me? Remember you don’t own our vote!

        I come from a white working class mining family from Westport & Deniston. My great grandparents over a hundred years ago were staunch supporters of the Labour movement. I grew up with the stories of their struggles and the oppression from the state. I’ve now seen my grandparents and parents left in despair because Labour has rejected them. While this is their perception, any political commentator will say perception is reality. they believe that they are an embarrassment to Labour.

        • millsy

          Im sorry, but if you were really 'working class', you would support things like public health/education, unions, strengthening of collective bargaining, sick leave, paid holidays, high wages, etc.

          National, and by extension yourself, and the so called 'white working class' do not support those things anymore. In fact, they will vote to take those things away.

          Back in the 1930's the miners worked 12 hour days with a 15 min lunch break. People like you will probably bring all that back.

          • Terry

            Millsy, I doubt that you would know a white working class person if they walked up to you and slapped you in the face.

            BTW Everything you said that I should support, I do.

            But the minute you (I mean the woke white middle class Tweeting liberal, not you personally) finds out that I really am proudly white working class, I get treated like an oik. It’s really, really hard to support someone that treats you like that.

            My employer doesn’t treat me like I’m an oik, he respects my experience and my opinion.

            That’s not something that I can say about some on the people I know in the Labour Party. It’s as though the class system has changed, The working classes at the bottom, the middle classes think they are at the top and the employers trying to get on with everyone.

            • Patricia Bremner

              The working class at the bottom….

              If that is true Terry, why has this Government supported the working class tradies with apprenticeships, and Employers with the costs? That does not seem like distain.
              Facts over feelings I think rather than perception.
              Welcome to the discussion. We are not really snakes.

            • Louis

              Did your employer take the Labour govt's wage subsidy to keep it's employees in work?

              • Terry

                No subsidy, essential industry, worked 7 days a week during the first lockdown. Oh and paid OT, additional leave, family care package each week etc. However I’m certainly appreciate that plenty of people have it very tough during that time.

                • Louis

                  An "essential industry" that didn't claim the wage subsidy yet still managed to provide so many benefits to it's workers.

                  • Essential industries worked (often worked overtime) right throughout the lockdowns. They didn't need the subsidy – since the company was being paid for the work done, and could therefore pay their workers.

                    Businesses only qualified for the subsidy, if they could demonstrate a significant drop in income (can’t remember the percentage off the top of my head).

              • Mine did. Every cent of the subsidy went to the employees. And was topped up to 80% of salary by the company. The owners took no salary during this period.
                As it's a non-essential (according to Govt definitions) business involved in physical delivery of items – we were required to close operations during the first Level 4 lockdown. A move, which was, in retrospect, almost certainly unnecessary (we subsequently operated with strict staff separation during L3 lockdowns – with no Covid case transmission at work at all). As we weren't delivering to customers, there was no income during lockdown. And, as our contracts are negotiated up to 3 years in advance, there was no recovery 'bounce' of online ordering experienced by the likes of Briscoes.

                The alternative, which was very seriously considered, was simply to close the business. Which would have put 100+ staff out of work. And sent the contracts off-shore for the foreseeable future (our competition is all Oz based – there is no NZ alternative). Neither of which would have been a good bargain for the government.

                During the subsequent, less stringent, lockdowns, we were able to run with minimal staff on site, and the majority working from home. It wasn't ideal, but it did work. At that point, all operational staff were fully paid, and no government subsidy was claimed.

                Overall, the company took a major financial hit in 2020-21 – lockdown hit right at our busiest period, in the run up to the local government end of financial year – and barely broke even (2 months of zero income is hard to bounce back from). 2021-2022 was better – though we were very badly affected by the supply chain disruptions (and still are) as well as inflation of shipping and all other costs throughout the supply chain.

                • Louis

                  "Mine did. Every cent of the subsidy went to the employees. And was topped up to 80% of salary by the company. The owners took no salary during this period" yes

                  Thanks for sharing that.

                • Yes it was a hard thing to do, but we did save lives, the stats (Prepared by the bureaucrats) proved that. Good on your Bosses Well Done. Good on the Government for helping… but now we pay the Piper.

                  • I think you missed the point, here Patricia.

                    In retrospect, it seems highly unlikely that the L4 lockdown was needed to halt the spread of Covid. The L3 lockdown was perfectly sufficient.
                    Covid spread during lockdowns – due to some people ignoring all lockdown restrictions – so it didn't matter whether it was L4 or L3 – they simply didn't care.

                    I don't think that anyone could effectively claim that L4 lockdown saved more lives than a L3 one would have. Although – perhaps you could link to the statistics (prepared by bureaucrats) to prove your point.

                    Many – maybe up to 2/3 of NZ businesses could operate (with inefficiencies- but operate) under L3; but the vast majority were shut down during L4. So, Covid payments were vastly greater under L4 than were needed under L3.

                  • And was that entirely due to L4 lockdown. Or would that have been just as true with L3 lockdown?

        • Incognito

          While this is their perception, any political commentator will say perception is reality.

          They might say that, and I’d say that perception is a choice and that those people chose their ‘reality’ (and ignorance is no excuse).

        • observer

          There's an issue there, sure. But it's the same issue as in West Virginia or South Yorkshire or the mining regions of France or the oil fields of Canada and so on around the globe. All areas where the traditional "get it out the ground" jobs have declined and with it, the workers and then the votes of those workers.

          But parties of the left can't offer the politics of yesteryear. They can't pretend that traditional industrial base can magically be revived and we can somehow restore a labour movement based on fossil fuels. We can't.

          • DS

            But dancing on the grave of traditional industry with a glee that would make Thatcher blush, while lecturing unemployed factory workers on how racist, sexist, and homophobic they are… that is not a good look.

            Leave the culture stuff to the Greens, and get back to the reason the Labour Party exists. Left-wing economics, and justice for the working class. But it's not like this Government is even capable of denouncing the crimes of the 1980s. All it does is auto-pilot off Michael Cullen.

            • observer

              Lots of assertions about things that are in your head, no information, no examples. Have another go.

              Or, look up the list of things the government has done, which you casually ignore because it doesn't suit your script. I can't be arsed to bang head on brick wall any more, you either know what has been done or don't want to. The comfort of imagination is appealing, but as it isn't real, nobody can engage with it.

        • Louis

          "National supports the Farmers and Employers, but they don’t despise us"

          I recall the previous key National govt being quite anti worker, suppressed wages, reduced worker rights, they even got rid of meal and rest breaks.

      • DS 10.1.3

        Fun fact. Westport votes like Dunedin (or did up until 2020).

        A Labour Party without the working class (skin colour doesn't matter) is not a Labour Party. It's the local branch of the US Democrats.

    • Louis 10.2

      The following examples are good reasons why the Labour party is worth voting for and it doesn't look like Labour despises workers, like the National party do.

      Free trades training and apprenticeships.

      Poutama Rangatahi.

      Mana in Mahi programme

      Increased wages

      Restored meal and rest breaks

      Strengthened collective bargaining.

      Restored protections for vulnerable workers.

      Limited 90-day trials to businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

      Wage subsidy (Covid19)

      Fair pay agreements

  11. observer 11

    You despise the workers more than National despises us, so who do you expect us to vote for?

    If you seriously believe that, in the face of all the evidence of National's attitude to workers and wages, then it seems Santayana really was right:

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it",

    The Right only wins when people vote against their own economic interests. A con job repeated all over the world, from Thatcher to Ruth Richardson to Brexit to Trump. The word "woke" is new, but the cynical strategy is ancient.

    • Yep "Turkeys and Christmas" comes to mind. Or Lemmings.

    • pat 11.2

      the problem for workers is they have no option that represents their interests, and that makes it difficult to vote against them….what they have (and have had for the longest time) is the lesser of two evils.

      I suspect all patience has been consumed

      • arkie 11.2.1

        There are parties that stand with workers, though it suits both the greater and the lesser ‘evil’ to obscure the good:

        On Wednesday the Labour Government announced that for the next three years those earning between $60,000 and $100,000 would have their wages suppressed, with only special circumstances for any increase. Those over $100,000 would have their wages frozen, whilst those on under $60,000 will be prioritised for pay increases.

        “Our public sector workers helped keep us safe, taught our kids, and tended to our natural spaces all whilst in the middle of a global pandemic”, Green Party Workplace Relations spokesperson Jan Logie said today.

        “Those on that middle band deserve our thanks, not suppressed, stagnating wages. Particularly as the cost of living increases.

        “We totally support an increase in wages for those under $60,000, but we do not need to rob Peter to pay Paul. We know that the Government’s coffers are in better shape than expected, alternatively we could further tax the rich with a Wealth Tax. Nurses, teachers and other essential workers shouldn’t, and can’t, bear the brunt of this.

        “Our conversations with the Union have shown massive hurt and disappointment for this decision.


        What did Labour do?

        Newshub can reveal thousands of high salaried public servants have received pay rises despite the Government’s pay freeze.

        More than 2500 Government workers earning over $100,000 a year got pay rises that were only meant to be granted in “exceptional circumstances”.


        • pat

          You continue to fail to understand….'workers' does not necessarily equate to salary or occupation (or race or immigration status)

          Systemic settings have the greatest impact and neither party has been willing to reset them for decades….it is why so many are disappointed by Labour after all the rhetoric and why Chris Trotter is likely correct that turnout will be greatly reduced…they wont vote for National or Act, they simply will not bother to turn out at all.

          • arkie

            I fail to see where I equated anything with salary or occupation. I pointed out that parties to the left of Labour exist and provided an example of advocacy for public sector workers.

            The government has the ability to enact systemic change most quickly in the public sector, that is if they had the desire to do so.

            As evidenced by the ‘pay freeze exceptions’ Labour can’t even stick to their own austerity rhetoric let alone follow through on undoing our neo-liberal setting.

            We have a proportional voting system, it is not used to its full capability if we ignore that there are more options than the traditional ‘evils’.

            • pat

              "I fail to see where I equated anything with salary or occupation."

              Seriously??…you may wish to reread your post

              • arkie


                I agree that Labour have a serious problem in delivering for those that historically would be ready voters for a workers party. I agree it’s likely to cost them at the election. I disagree that there isn’t an option that represents workers interests. It suits both major parties to repeat this, because as you say, National can ratchet to the right and Labour can run a Democrat-style ‘lesser evil’ campaign. Systemic change is necessary to address the societal consequences of climate change, the antithesis of TINA neoliberal capitalism.

      • That Pat, is why Andrew Little worked on the Fair pay agreements so the lone or small group employees could join a wider shared interest group to have a better chance of more equal bargaining…unions and fair work agreements, basic rights, not "no rights".

    • Terry 11.3

      That’s been my personal experience, from teachers in high school, to the present day. Of course it’s not everyone in the Labour Party, but it’s enough for me to realise that I certainly am not welcome, especially if I have an opinion, that hasn’t been approved by an appropriate person. It’s like the white saviours who know what’s good for the natives.

    • Louis 11.4

      yes observer

    • Gabby 11.5

      So Labour needs to communicate that much, much more clearly and loudly.

  12. higherstandard 12

    They are cunts …but don't worry so are the rest of them in parliament.

  13. mosa 13

    Well done Terry for your contribution. You have just posted your way through the snake pit and live to fight another day.

  14. mosa 14

    Why is LINO such a hard sell now ?

    Because writers like Greg Preston think and live in Adern's warm inner glow.

    • Shanreagh 14.1

      Who are these persons please?

      Preston and Adern?

      Anyone we know?

      Give us a clue.

    • roblogic 14.2

      Mosa, do you want worse pay and conditions, a mad housing bubble, increasing homelessness, higher rates because 3 waters is cancelled?

      Take a break from Hosking, ZB, Today FM, The AM Show, Newshub etc.

      They will have you voting against your own interests & helping their mates get rich while the average Kiwi gets shat on.

  15. adam 15

    Well said Ad.

    I'd only add, that the media also need to stop acting like the election is in the next minute. It's over a year away. Calm down, and let the government do it's job.

    • Shanreagh 15.1

      I'd only add, that the media also need to stop acting like the election is in the next minute. It's over a year away. Calm down, and let the government do it's job.

      Holy smoke Adam that is so sensible that it couldn't possibly be taken on by the media.

      Drama a minute is the name of the game, if not forthcoming in the real then a stirring interview with one's key board with reckons and whatabouts will usually do the trick. Call it 'commentary' or 'opinion'.

      Also a studious avoiding of any fact that the western world is suffering in many of the ways we are is also a good move so everything can be blamed on you know who.

  16. DB Brown 16

    For you ignorant mouthpieces of no substance out there that clearly don't have a clue how the planet (or even our local economy) works…

    Water is the biggest deal of all. No water no food. Farmers overestimate their own importance they're just loud mouthed assholes without water. As for all these commentators who know jack shit about ecology arguing to dump this 'scheme' to protect our most valuable, our absolutely critical, asset and infrastructure. You are a pack of daft windbags.

    Things are changing fast and often. Water is a bigger deal than ever. Privateers will sell their children for a stake in it. We must not let them take one more ounce of our public commons nor halt efforts to protect it. Water is the key to life. The critical thing we must preserve to have any kind of livable future.

    The problem with three waters is not that it lacks thinking, it's that its critics do.

    • Ad 16.1


      Very special.

    • Shanreagh 16.2

      The problem with three waters is not that it lacks thinking, it's that its critics do.

      Yes that is correct. Its critics do not seem to be advancing any coherent ideas except anti

      • 'Murrays'
      • anti one entity one vote

      Though in conventional Communications theory if one's audience does not get it it is not the fault of the audience but of the message and communicators should be adjusting the message once it is clear this is happening.

      Posters have said a couple of times that Labour may think that the electorate is 'brainier' than they are, perhaps this is true.

      Some say to aim for a reading age of 12 years. I have even heard 9 years mentioned.

      There is also a misunderstanding of co governance and why we are doing this. I put this down to the lack of teaching of Treaty topics beyond in 'Feb 1840 at Waitangi…….we get a public holiday now.'

      Explaining water and its importance to human beings……to get to our taps involves a long and expensive process.

      ETA good post DB Brown.

    • Thank you DB Brown, yes we don't want our rivers stripped our springs pumped and water sold off or piped away as has happened in California. Water momowai must be protected for all.yes

    • mosa 16.4

      " The problem with three waters is not that it lacks thinking "

      I disagree LINO had nine years in opposition and two years with an unprecedented majority to work this policy out so " thinking " does not cut it.

      They continue to fail and still the excuses.

  17. Binders full of Women 17

    "While the economy is so strong".. are we in the same country??

    • Thank you Ad, this was a great discussion subject. Perhaps we need to look at what we might lose and how that will impact.

    • mosa 17.2

      " While the economy is so strong".. are we in the same country??

      Oh yes we are all here in gods own but the rich and Jacinda's managerial class are the only ones who prosper.

      The filthy bottom feeders and their families continue to languish and out of sight.

  18. Hunter Thompson II 18

    IMO Labour is losing ground because it is cynically pushing ahead with three Waters, which still contains co-governance at its core. CG is a stalking horse for unequal suffrage – something 99% of NZers will not accept.

    One of those people is government minister David Parker, who has rejected calls for CG to be part of the Natural & Built Environments Bill.

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