Cunliffe’s real safety net – $60 per week for beneficiary families


There had been concerns quietly muttered by organisers that maybe few Aucklanders would take the time on their anniversary day to attend, that fear quickly evaporated as the hall at Kelston Girls College rapidly filled to capacity and spilled outside. Around 700 Labour faithful packed the venue and hoped Cunliffe’s state of the nation address would prove why he should be leader.

They were not disappointed.

$60 a week for children 3 and under for households with a combined income of $150 000 pitches directly at Labour core values and including beneficiaries into this plan is the first direct action against inequality any Government has attempted.

Cunliffe set the scene of NZ far less optimistic than the one Key had envisioned last week.

-Housing costs in Auckland up 15%
-Milk, cheese and eggs up 7%
-Meat and chicken up 8%
-8% interest rates equalling an extra $136 per week for most mortgages
-National gave billions in tax cuts, sold off public assets and handed over corporate welfare to casinos, movie moguls and smelters.
-Top 10% own 50% of our wealth.
-Bottom 50% owns just 5% of wealth.
-Between 1984 and 2011 the top 1% rose nearly 10 times as fast as the bottom 10%.

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After making the case for the decay of the egalitarian state, Labour’s solutions were clearly set…

-59 000 families receiving $60 per week for children 3 and under.
-Increasing free early childhood education to 25 hours.
-More early childhood centres.
-80% of pregnant mums getting antenatal checks by 10 weeks.
-Providing free antenatal classes for every expectant mum who wants them.
-Extending visits to WellChild providers for families that need extra support.
-Increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks.

Cunliffe was relaxed, made off the cuff jokes during the speech and managed to persuasively bat away any questions the media scrum tried to put to him on issues he had little interest in focusing on. Patrick Gower kept asking questions about cannabis reform after it was brought up with the Greens, Cunliffe’s best line when asked by Paddy to offer an opinion on Obama saying alcohol was less harmful than cannabis was to say, “I think Obama has more experience on that than me’.

It was an über confident Cunliffe on display, a stark comparison to the nervous and unsure performance Key put on last week for his state of the nation address.

By ensuring beneficiaries are included in this plan, Cunliffe has shown he’s not frightened to clearly define who Labour intend to support regardless of the beneficiary bashing culture National love to bait.

It was a best start for NZ and it was a great start for Labour.


  1. Usual naff jokes about cannabis. People are afraid of cannabis because it raises the level of conscousness which makes it a threat to people who are threatened by free thinking. Still DC isnt really in a position to support it as Labour core support comes from non users.

  2. Spot on analysis, Bomber!

    If Cunliffe goes into the campaign with this kind of uber confidence – Key will have met his match. Cunliffe’s sense of humour was a joy and is an easy match for Dear Leader’s feigned “blokiness”.

    I won’t say the election is in the bag – but I’m getting the bag ready.

    • Nitrium, the reality is that Cunliffe’s underwhelming speech was shoved into the dark by Lorde’s success at the Grammy’s, and by Key’s performance at a variety of forum’s over the weekend.

      Yesterday the Herald and Stuff websites didn’t have Cunliffe in the top 5 news items. Today, Key is pictured top of the Herald site, Cunlife is 2/3rds down the page.

      Sorry but Cunliffe’s just going to be the 4th Labour leader Key sees off.

      • “They are Labour and the Greens. They are a high-spending, high-taxing government, if they ever get there. Which is good, because that is the only high Labour and the Greens look like they can agree on at the moment.”

        JK in Parliament today. Absolute classic!

        • Re your thinking that Key was “absolute classic” – only in your fevered imagination, IV.

          Keep kissing Dear Leader’s backside. You’re good at it.

          He may even give you a job as pool-boy once he’s thrown out of office later this year.

    • Yeah so much for an unbiased press… and particularly “left wing journalism”. take note journalists, we don’t give a flying F**K what you think. Just report the facts thanks .

    • Anyone relying on Hosking for advice needs to get a life.

      It is time you grew up Nitrium.

      the fact that hosking took on seven sharp demonstrates how desperate the talentless obnoxious egotistical little twerp is.

      TV! takes him for seven sharp (possibly the pinnacle of hypocritical hopkins career) and NZ is wonderfully informed?

      I do not think so.

  3. Actually, I was there too. A non-card carrying person, and I was equally buoyed by the family support measures announced. As for those who ask where the money is coming from, the next necessary moves of Capital gains tax and closing tax loopholes are eagerly awaited. Ready that bag, Frank! The “dw”=down with

    • And along with canceling the virtual promised tax cuts for the poor and use the $1.5 billion saved, for more targeted support of them.

      I will also be canceling the massive actual tax cuts on the rich and use the (insert dollar amount here) saved for more targeted support of them starting with a large government purchase of luxury cars and Mediterranean villas.

      • Just joking of course. “I will also be canceling the massive actual tax cuts on the rich and use the $billions raised to spend on targeting poverty in this country”

        I keenly await part two of David Cunliffe’s policy release.

  4. I’m pretty sure the quote from Obama in regards to pot was “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol”

    I think Tova O’Brien got it wrong on 3 news last night too.

  5. The planet is over populated, give $60 to every self employed artist and low waged workers who don’t have children. Those of us who want to create art, write books grow gardens, have time to create, get off the grid, get out of being a slave to a greedy destructive system. People who have a low foot print on the planet. This is an environmental white elephant as big as climate change!
    What life will all the babies born now have in 20 years on this planet? Can we have some reality babies is putting your head in the sand think of their future if nothing changes…

    • I tried to read your post but all I heard was..

        • O.k my bad I should have said people with kids AND without kids could use $60 a week more, yes. I know how parents think anyone who doesn’t have kids are really selfish, I think this attitude needs to change it is old fashioned and just wrong. Just a bummer when I pay tax from my painting sales I pay for your kids disposable nappies which will out last their whole life in the rubbish dump.

          • Yeah as a struggling thirty something whose been screwed at every turn by successive governments, having chosen to have kids, I’m getting pretty sick of the hand outs to people just for getting knocked up. Last time I checked, under-population was not a glaring problem on this planet.

            • Chosen not to because I want to be sure of my financial footing, which seems increasingly impossible for those other than the lucky few who come from the “right families” and went to the “right schools.” it seems like we get penalised for being sensible, and not wanting to unless we can give them a life worth living…

    • Kate the world is far from overpopulated, and the impact of man’s activities on the climate are virtually zero. And if you seriously think that the rest of us should pay for your pastimes, then you really have lost a grip.

      • Great idea! Let’s increase the population rate. Let’s consume more, and set more land aside for human activity. Let’s use more of the earth’s finite resources for what will eventually be our grand exit. Just so you can get a grip on the scale of the problem here, I have posted some sobering facts for you to consider:

        More than half of the world’s major rivers are seriously depleted and polluted

        43% of the earth’s land surface is covered by humans, this is of course taking into account land set aside for agriculture.

        We have acid rain in many major cities.

        The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.

        At least 10,000 species go extinct every year.

        29 million gallons of petroleum enter North American ocean waters each year as a result of human activities.

        I could go on …

        Also, the only truly sustainable human activity that human beings have being engaged in for thousands of years is art and culture. So my past-time as you call it, is one of the few things that can give pleasure and enjoyment to people rather than being another drain on this planet’s precious resources.

        • Coulda, woulda, shoulda…all a load of guesswork and dodgy claims(your one about acid rain is particularly humorous). And who cares is thousands of species become extinct? That’s just part of the Darwinian paradigm we live in. If you think we can influence that in any material way, you are seriously deluded.

          • Wow you have missed the point entirely! We as the stupidest species that ever happened on planet earth so far are going for the Darwin Award. Look it up and then you will understand. We will go extinct because of stupidity just unfortunate that we have to take out most of the rest of the planets beautiful biodiversity at the same time as taking ourselves out. Keep your head in the sand best place probably for it. But you are right the planet will prevail just as it did when the dinosaurs died out but without us.

            • @ Kate – I’ve wondered why we’ve never picked up signals from other industrialised, alien civilisations from deep space.

              Could it be that once an intelligent species reaches the Atomic Age, they either self-destruct through nuclear war, or pollute themselves into extinction.

              That would explain why SETI has yet to pick up an alien version of ” X Factor Alpha Centauri”…

            • Seriously if you think mankind is going to somehow die out who is materially responsible for the extinction of 10,000 species each year then you are deluded. But there is an even greater logical inconsistency in your position.

              If you truly believe in the Darwinian paradigm, then my question to you must logically be ‘who cares’? Once man kind extinguishes itself the planet will regenerate with a new and potentially more beautiful biodiversity. Who are you to determine we should stop this inexorable march towards what could be an even greater planet?


              • As I have said in the past people with your cynical worldview really should go and live as a cave man on Mars and fight your own kind. I can’t understand why living sustainably is so hard for everyone. Under the dictatorship of me, I would have sent all climate criminals there already, it would be like the Death Star with you obviously assigned the top role of Darth Vader. You don’t deserve to live here! Even if we used up all the rest of the fossil fuels sending all major polluters there it would be worth it. Maybe you will pull together and create a more earth like environment?

                • The only difference between us, Kate, is that you swallow the anthropogenic nonsense hook, line and sinker, whereas I only look at what is in evidence. Mankind is having an insignificant impact on the climate compared with natural inputs from the universe around us, and likewise man’s impact of species extinction is infinitesimal compared to entirely natural causes.
                  I am strongly motivated to look after our planet, motivated by the desire to breathe clean air, to drink clean water. But by continuing along your path of delusion, our time and energy will simply be drawn from legitimate environmental ‘good’ to flaky investment in things like Obama’s new energy projects.

      • Your worldview doesn’t seem to have moved on much from the last century, has it?? You are as deluded as ever.

        As for “the rest of us should pay for your pastimes, then you really have lost a grip” – why not? YOU make use of free services don’t you?

        Or do you hover over roads and footpaths instead of walking on them?!

        As for your comment on climate change – you stand revealed as a denialist. Congratulations, sunshine; add that to your resume of lack of reading skills; lack of comprehension; and trolling.

        In short, you’re a typical RWNJ.

        • Frank I must be getting under your skin.

          Roads and footpaths are not free, they are paid for by ratepayers like me. Nothing in this world is truly free, except perhaps the air we breathe.

          But you clearly didn’t read what Kate asked for. $60 per week so she can go and ‘create’. Not only coin.

          • Won’t be able to breath that soon, it will be like the movie Total Recall we will have to pay a corporate for air even though the corporates are destroying our life support system our atmosphere….also paintings are my babies, why should I pay tax for your choices in life and not have mine respected?

            • “why should I pay tax for your choices in life and not have mine respected?”

              Oh you shouldn’t. But that’s not what you asked for. You asked to be paid $60 per week to enjoy your choices, and out of my taxes. That is a whole different thing altogether.

            • Kate – You may be thinking of “Soylent Green”? Perhaps the most prophetic speculative-fiction movie to come out of the 1970s. It fully predicted over-fishing and collapse of fish stocks; anthropogenic global warming; the 1% owning most of the wealth; exhausting our natural resources; massive over-population; and eventual societal decay.

              It was a brilliant story (taken from Harry Harrison’s novel, “Make Room, Make Room”) – highly recommended.

              Of course, RWNJ’s will deny anthrogenic climate change. They have to. It threatens the very foundations of the consumerist, free market system.

              In fact, environment degradation – whether atmospheric; soil; oceanic; waterways; de-forestation; etc, is inevitable under the market-driven Consumer Society.

              As the name suggests; Consumer means to consume. But without careful husbanding of resources; recycling; waste minimisation; environmental protections; urban containment; etc, consumption leads to waste.

              And being a finite planet, our resources and environment are limited. Only a blind fool would argue that (of which there are plenty amongst RWNJs).

              It’s bizarre that climate change deniers insist that the Human Race has no effect on global warming. It was only a few decades ago that it was realised that chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) were damaging and reducing the Ozone Layer.

              We got rid of CFCs pretty damn quick, as a result.

              But then, CFCs weren’t a part of the fossil-fuels industry, so had no wealthy backers for the denialists and their shonkey organisations.

              And around 2.4 billion years ago, methane-breathing bacteria – Cyanobacteria – began to convert the methane-ammonia atmosphere of primeval Earth to the Nitrogen-Oxygen atmosphere that sustains current life-forms today(

              In two instance – distant past and recent-past – our atmosphere was influenced by living organisms.

              We are doing it again, by pumping tonnes of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide, into the atmosphere.

              If we don’t undo what we’ve done, we can kiss civilisation-as-we-know-it goodbye. No more “beersies” for us.

              No more anything.

          • Frank I must be getting under your skin.


            You twat. If you’re going to stalk someone and *attempt* to harass with endlessly repetitive questions demanding answers that have already been made, plus other endless nuisance posts (Ref; – you don’t f*****g announce it to the world!!!

            LMAO!! 😀

            But if anyone has gotten under anyone’s skin, it’s obviously me under yours.

            Evidently I’ve earned myself my very first obsessed RWNJ stalker!

            Gosh, kinda flattering really. 😀

            • I said I must be getting under your skin, not I’m trying to get under your skin. I don’t have the time or inclination to stalk anyone, but I will challenge views I disagree with. This is an open forum isn’t it?

          • When we were all hunter-gatherers practically all resourses were free. Civilisation appears to have been one long privatisation project by comparison.

            • Hi Andy

              When we were hunter gatherers everything ‘seemed’ free because we would just go and take the resources we required. They weren’t free in reality because we had to invest our own labour to acquire them. Since then two things have happened. Firstly land, and it’s accompanying resources, has become owned by ‘groups’, such as governments and companies. Those owners require a payment to access these resources. Secondly we now acquire resources after processing (e.g. food), and therefore have to pay for that processing.

              We could return to the days of spending all day hunting down our dinner, slaughtering it, gutting it and cooking it over an open fire, but that doesn’t appeal to me too much!

  6. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised, to read that Labour is also going to pay the $ 60 a week to beneficiary parents, who need it at least as much as the working poor.

    My only concern is with the income cap of 145 k per annum (or thereabouts), as this does leave Cunliffe and Labour open to the suspicion and criticism, of trying to “bait” or even “bribe” many better than “middle” income earners to vote for them. This is exactly what the mainstream media and government are now exploiting, labeling that part of the more complex policy set as “middle class welfare”.

    A better targeted approach could have also meant a bit more to be paid out per week per child, and avoided being labeled as the above. Or they could have made it a truly universal payment, perhaps.

    This will help parents on lower incomes, and beneficiaries, so while I remain apprehensive towards Labour, I hope and expect they will announce that they will stop the “commoditisation” of sick and disabled on benefits, who are now being sent to outsourced, private service providers, to get them into any kinds of jobs on the open market.

    There was an interesting program on Nine to Noon on Radio NZ National this morning, where for once Kathryn Ryan put some hard questions to a ‘Director of Welfare Reform’ at MSD, and also got a lot of worrying info from a provider of services, who chose not to bid for any contracts, given too high risks for meeting expectations and so forth:

    This madness – brought here on the “advice” of persons like professor Mansel Aylward from the UK, and pushed for by Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt, must stop. Sick and disabled need fairer, more supportive and more flexible help to try and get into jobs they can perhaps truly do. Creating an scenario where any service provider business has to make sure they get people into jobs, no matter what, to avoid running at a loss, that will put dangerous pressures on vulnerable WINZ clients.

    This government must go, for the well being of all New Zealanders, which includes those dependent on benefits. Labour must offer us a better alternative, and yet more constructive policies for others on welfare too.

  7. We need universal welfare policies. Targeted welfare has failed NZ and the West in general. The $150,000 cut off point is silly, not because it’s too high, but because it exists.
    Targeted welfare is neoliberalism. It creates stigma and allows others to look down on welfare recipients.
    We need the mega-wealthy to be getting an extra $60 a week so they know how precious that amount of money is to some of us. Once they see that $60 can be the different between poverty and participating in society, then maybe they can be convinced that we are all better without poverty.
    Obviously this policy is better than National’s, but its not going to remove the real driver of poverty – which is stigma from the middle and upper class

  8. Why will no-one pick up and run with the whole income splitting for taxation purposes for couples with kids. Is it because it was a United Future idea.
    I don’t care where it came from, I think that is an excellent idea

    • I used to think income splitting was a good idea but have changed my mind. In many one income families the earner is on a high income say $30 an hour or more. In this situation is it really fair that this family is benefitting from a tax break when a couple both working on the minimum wage don’t get income splitting or if only one of them is working they will only get a minimum benefit because of the low wage. I think income splitting will benefit the wealthy rather than the poor. We need to focus on a living wage rather than income splitting.

  9. Where is the financial transactions tax.

    we need gst gone and a 0.001% ftt to replace it.

    this is what the greens propose and the aliance party before them .

    why won’t labour go with it bomber.

    start pushing it folks then see personal income tax crash.

    • Does a 0.001% FFT pull in the same money as 15% GST?

      That’s a hilarious, but also apalling commentary on the state of things in this world.

      • I saw a discussion on facebook re the financial transaction tax.

        It is estimated that a 0.001% tax on all bank transactions on shares and money transaction not including what has gst on now would bring in a minimum of $ dollars a day that has currently no tax whatsoever on it.

        So I would say if gst was ditched and every bank transcation was taxed at 0.001% we would almost be able to ditch all personal tax as well.

        Now wouldnt that be nice :-0).

        Why isnt this being discussed ?

  10. ‘this plan is the first direct action against inequality any Government has attempted’ ….eh?

    You can’t have forgotten that during the 1890s the Liberals, & in the 1930s Labour, were in office, unlike Labour today, and both governments took a fair bit of ‘direct action’ to ameliorate the effects of capitalism on ordinary people, including inequality.

  11. Having had to put up with Goff and then Shearer leading Labour, it was refreshing not having to sit on the edge of my seat waiting for a misfire in DC’s speech unlike the former 2. Smart that Adern was MC, it gave a fresh look and a feel of energy and unity.

    You know your getting to National when Joyce comes on the radio all hysterical lol.

    • @ Bertie – I watched Key on The Paul Henry show last night. His fake smile was more forced than ever…

      The man is worried and realises this will be the end of his term.

  12. Henry was a disgrace mocking DC with the I wouldn’t vote for you/Labour. Key was nervous as hell and it showed. Showed how removed he is from normal Kiwis by not grasping the opportunity to name 9 native New Zealand birds, all Key was interested in was his only kind offer of donating the wining prize to charity. I note they never offer DC the chance as he would have probably got them all, opposed to just 2 that Key got.

    Christ this halfwit is running the joint.

    • So you don’t like Kry because he couldn’t name more than 4 native birds? Heck that makes a lot of sense.

  13. The Labour Party is still in thrall to the bankers and land speculators.
    Its party name should be Capital.
    A Capital Gains Tax on all investments and Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions would end corporate welfare.
    These taxes would fund jobs for all in public works and a living UBI to end poverty and the welfare stigma.
    Labour would then deserve its name.
    But then Piggy Muldoon could fly.

  14. Hear hear Dave Brown.
    LIke you I’m amazed at how ‘bank controlled’ the ‘Labour’ party seems to be.
    It’s as simple as you say. CGT and a Tobin tax… I’d add ‘print our own money’ (and not pay USA banks the privilege of letting them do it and charging us interest. Their money is not backed by any assets, except the USA military’s strength).
    So doing these three things will free up more money than ‘Labour’ knows what to do with. Plus it’ll be fair (except to those leaching off NZ society today) and income tax could be zero and no worries re: Pensions and they’d still be money left over………….do the Maths people and you’ll see I’m correct.
    That’s how much money we give away in interest charges to banks that print money out of thin air, ……………with our Governments-political parties permission.

  15. Martyn I’m curious to know whether you have followed the evisceration of DC and this policy in and around Parliament yesterday and today?

    There now seems to have been some serious errors made in DC’s announcement, for example DC claimed the benefit would be paid out for the first year of the baby’s life, as long as you earn under $150,000. However the reality is that the money starts being paid only once paid parental leave ends.

    There seems to have been a pattern of misinformation around the release of this policy that just smells of mismanagement, disingenuity, or both.

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