Labour’s first 100 days – where the messaging needs to be

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‘The first 100 days’, an expression coined by President Roosevelt in 1933, is generally used to describe the successes and accomplishments of a government at the time when their power is greatest.

During the 2008 election campaign, John Key issued a document that promised to bring in 27 new policies in the first 100 days in order to provide ‘confidence that we had a plan and that we would implement it with urgency’.   His roadmap was designed to help NZ ride out the financial crisis.  The incoming Key Govt did implement their 27 new policies, but while rather innocuous, they set the scene for tax cuts for the wealthy, increases in GST for all and a raft of other measures that benefited the few and disadvantaged many.

Now, finally, in the spot light is another insidious crisis that the policies of this Key government has amplified and that needs to be addressed with the same vigour and energy as any financial malaise: that of inequality.

We now live in a country where 10% of the population own 50% of the wealth and where the top 1% own 3 x as much wealth as the bottom 50%.  In fact, by many measures, we now have one of the most unequal societies in the developed world.  This is a disgrace that needs to be remedied.  In a country like New Zealand we don’t have to chose between fiscal responsibility and social accountability: we can have both.

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This is why I would argue that the first 100 days are extremely important to any Labour-led government because the country is at a philosophical crossroads where if changes aren’t made in urgency, the status quo is in danger of becoming the norm as peoples expectations adjust to acknowledge the situation where inequality is ‘acceptable and inevitable’.  The Minister of Finance already has.

So what should a Labour-led government promise to do within this timeframe?  Keeping in mind that 100 days after the election will take the country up until Christmas.

Whatever Labour does up until election day, it has to be bold in order to capture the imagination of the electorate in a way that gets them out to vote.  I am not talking about political expediency, but rather implementing a social democratic agenda that will benefit a significant proportion of the population, while no doubt, raising the ire of a significantly smaller percentage: and unapologetically so.!

There are three key themes that every new policy must at least meet one in order to tackle the issues around inequality:

  1. money in the back pocket of good hard-working kiwi men and women
  2. alleviate the scourge that is child poverty
  3. create sustainable, well-paid jobs.

If a policy doesn’t tick at least one of these, then put it in the second draw for implementation during the 2nd or 3rd 100 days.

So below are some ideas; not exhaustive, but simply a few that immediately come to mind:

  • money in the back pocket of good hard-working NZers.
  • Immediately legislate to increase minimum wage to at least $16/hour with a promise to review this after 6 months.
  • Immediately implement the living wage for all government employees and contractors.
  • Overhaul monetary policy settings in a way that allows the Governor of the Reserve Bank to manage settings for more than just inflation and provides him with a wider range of tools than just the OCR.
  • Announce, set up and drive forward a Tax Commission with a mandate to undertake a complete overhaul of the NZ tax system without the constraints of the last one (where a whole raft of measures, including a capital gains, were off the table).  Promise that this overhaul will ensure that companies and individuals currently ripping off, avoiding and evading the present system will be held to account, and everyone will be required to ‘pay their fair share’. I would love to promise to implement a capital gains tax within the first 100 days, however, I don’t believe that a CGT can be comprehensively designed, let alone legislated in without a much wider overhaul of the whole tax system, and this simply can’t be done in the first 100 days (but must be done in the first 365) – a separate post on my ideas around recommended changes to the tax system will come later.
  • Legislate for compulsory superannuation with a graduated plan over the next 12 years that takes employer and employee payments to the same level as the Australian plan
  • Implement the Power policy and ensure that the first power bills are lower than the last under a National government
  • Address child poverty
  • Take Dr Russell Will’s Child Poverty report with its 78 recommendations and implement the ‘first step’ and the ‘Initial priorities for immediate attention at relatively low cost’, while also putting in place a plan with a defined timeline to implement  the ‘Initial priorities over the longer term’.
  • Use the rest of the report’s recommendations as the blueprint for a series of policies that will be implemented over the course of the first two terms of a Labour-led government.
  • Implement policies that will create 50,000 new jobs within 300 days.  For example
  • Ensure that the Kiwibuild policy (10,000 new homes a year) is up and running and that anyone under contract to build these houses is compelled to take on apprentices (including all sub-contractors)
  • Joint venture with major infrastructure companies on a massive road building and upgrade system across the country (roads cost about 3 to 4 x the cost to build in NZ than they do in, for example, Australia).  In fact, I would instigate a Ministry of Works with an operational mandate to drive down the cost of infrastructure builds in NZ.  If this means building roads themselves, then so be it.!
  • Start the forestry planting programme and ensure that at least one significant wood processing company is signed up to build a major value-adding plant in regional NZ.
  • Recapitalise Kiwibank to the tune of at least $2b specifically for business lending at the rate of inflation to companies that are gearing up for expansion.  And the government’s investment will be actively managed through the provision of competencies that many companies don’t have the ability to access (international trade development and market development managers etc etc).
  • Rebuild NZ Trade and Enterprise from the ground up and reorient the mandate to one of active international market development and innovation rather than one of simply support.

 

Labour needs to be unapologetically… Labour… in its policy settings and election manifesto.  There will be a financial cost to any innovative programme, however, there will also be increase in govt revenue.  This doesn’t mean being reckless with taxpayers money, but prudent on one hand and visionary in a way that takes people along on the other.

My interactions on the doorstep so far tell me that voters are looking for the type of leadership that Labour has provided in the past, and a passion, vision and commitment that Labour will take into the future.

 

91 COMMENTS

  1. Nice try Stuart. but you’ve missed the elephant in the room……housing costs.
    Building 100,000 homes in ten years is a great LONG term policy, but it doesn’t remotely resolve the problem any time soon…….along the lines of your first 100 days in Government theme.
    Presently there a large number of people writing about this topic, which for some reason you may have not read or noticed………..BAN foreign speculation in the NZ housing market on the first morning in power.
    This will cause these speculators to NOT continue buying, and those that own already (A HUGE PROBLEM !!!!) to sell up immediately (maybe introduce a tax for those that already own properties, such that the sooner the sell, the LESS tax-penalty they pay).
    This will cause house prices to fall back towards their long term average, nearer to three times average salary equals average house price.
    It’s presently SEVEN times HOUSEHOLD income, so that’s about ten times average salaries.
    Now EVEN the National party agree houses are over priced and need to fall from seven times to four times (Nic Smiths comment last week ish). SO they can hardly claim Labour will have ‘crashed the market’ (that by the way NEEDS popping in a controlled manor, or it’ll pop in and uncontrolled manor any month now).
    So house prices will fall, such that the average Labour voter will be able to afford to buy a property again. BUT MORE LIKELY, the renters will see their rents drop SIGNIFICANTLY, as the buyers of the sold properties CAN (and WILL) rent out the property at a MUCH lower level and still get the same return on (the) investment, as they paid less for the rental property in the first place.
    The Government could buy up any houses ‘that over hang the market’ by way of the ‘increasing the Government stock of rental houses’ (IF NEEDS BE).
    Thus we’ll increase the money in the back pocket and increase the finances of the average Kiwi, WITHOUT INFLATIONARY EFFECTS, that most of your above ideas will cause……….although I DO get why you want to introduce them.

    But with this idea, we make MOST Kiwis (and especially Labour voters) significantly better of financially and WON”T cause inflation, which just aids the rich, long term, as IT ALWAYS has done !!!!

    • the govt (actually any govt) shld be dealing with the amount of empty nzhc houses that are sitting empty 1stly, buy up the houses 4 removal and put them on land. get prisoners or trades schools (and l mean proper trade schools) 2 get in2 these and wrk on them. it wld quickly add 2 useable stock, instead of sitting empty and collecting NO revenue at all. these house cld be used by young kiwi’s also as rent 2 buy, the quicker its paid 4 better.
      jst a thought, there are many nzhc housing stock that cld be also altered 2 make them bigger without much effort.
      NZ need 2 look 4ward as the population is only going 2 get bigger and if you dont believe that, hello, we dont want 2 be china with 1 child policy.

    • Kevin,
      Skyrocketing house prices are only occurring in Akld and Chch. Granted; these are two major markets, but the Reserve Bank’s blanket LVR measure has hurt first home buyers trying to get into the market up and down NZ (for example, in Napier 1st home buyers have dropped by 25% since LVR was introduced).

      What I would do is implement a 25% stamp duty on non-resident purchasers of NZ land (including farms, residential houses etc). On current figures this would raise around $1b/ann, and would go into a dedicated infrastructure fund. The rationale is that the infrastructure that makes our cities and towns first rate has been paid for from the taxes generations of hard working Kiwis; this is just to even up the score a little.

      But a good point.

      • Housing is unaffordable across the entire country, stuart.

        It didn’t just become unaffordable in the last couple of years. It has been unaffordable since the early 2000’s.

  2. Frankly I found this post totally uninspiring, I’m not surprised Labour is falling in the polls if this is the best they can come up with.
    Pray tell where you’re going to find all these mythical jobs when we all know technological advances are constantly reducing the number of required jobs, except for low paid jobs in the service industry.
    Why aren’t you addressing the fact that the benefits of technology are only enriching the oligarchs?
    Why no mention of massive tax evasions and subsidies for corporations?
    Why no mention of climate change, the latest IPCC report, or deep sea and national park mining? Bathurst’s plans to strip the Denniston Plateau without extracting any coal not worthy of mention?
    TPPA and GCSB off the radar?
    Has Labour forgotten it was formed by unions for the betterment of working people not the powers-that-be?

    .

    • The jobs aren’t mythical at all. Understand the NZ economy and you understand where we are failing under this government.

      Re tax evasion – thought I had mentioned this in the guise of a Tax Commission (I acknowledge the post is a little long) as I believe that the time is right to totally review the tax system and rebuild it from the ground up. Perhaps a post elaborating on this later.

      Climate change is not a 100-day issue as it doesn’t meet any of the key themes as outlined. I’m not saying that it isn’t important, but the vast majority of Kiwis struggling to make ends meet don’t give climate change a second thought. I doubt any of the 285,000 kids living in poverty know what climate change is.

      • Stuart,
        Thank you for taking the time to reply to my rather disparaging comments, it’s much appreciated.
        My limited understanding of the NZ economy is that many of our manufacturing jobs have been out sourced to developing countries, as has our fishing/shipping industries, even our customer call centres have moved overseas.
        Surely it’s an irrefutable fact that technological advances have made many jobs redundant. I’m old enough to remember telephone operators, bank staff, electronic repair staff, petrol pump attendants and knowledgable shop assistants; to name a few who’s jobs have been replace by new technology.
        I remain of the opinion that the benefits of this brave, new world should be shared with all society and it should be our government’s duty to insure this occurs, instead of facilitating the enrichment of a few corporate people on top of the pile. Good luck getting your Tax Commision’s evasion issue past that lot.
        Perhaps you’re correct in stating that all those children in poverty don’t even know what climate change is, however, I would suggest that it won’t be too long before they know more about it than they want to. When that time comes come, the inevitable question will be why didn’t we do something to mitigate its effects while we had the chance. You’re right, climate change is not a 100 day issue; it’s an issue that should have been addressed years ago, so why delay for another 100 days?

  3. The ongoing list of problems caused by this current National government is so enormous that no one hundred day plan no matter how ambitious is going to rectify it. We need to get this country back on the path it needs to be before all that which made this country great is gone forever. We need progressive polices to be implemented during a whole term of government to halt the erosion caused by the national party, for the longer they are in power the more damage they are causing. The first one hundred days are about putting the brakes on this damaging path that we are travelling in regards to our democracy, our environment, and New Zealand’s sense of fairness.

    • KATE –

      “The first one hundred days are about putting the brakes on this damaging path that we are travelling in regards to our democracy, our environment, and New Zealand’s sense of fairness.”

      Well said, that is more realistic than the “great” aspirational action package that Stuart has drawn up. I am starting to wonder whether he is serious, or already suspects that Labour may not make it this time, and so he can present and claim as proposed policy whatever he wants, as it will never happen this year anyway.

      I have thought like you, the first thing is to stop immediately the measures put in place, like the draconian welfare reforms, which are at some stage going to take their first victims of WINZ clients that may take their lives.

      They must first start stopping further risks and damage to people, and put a firm brake on the mad and irresponsible welfare measures, such as pushing mentally ill into “plans” to get work ready, and to look for jobs, already from day one now, once they report in sick, and claim a benefit for health reasons.

      That is what is happening now, at your local WiNZ offices. I posted a comment further below at 09:45 pm, it is not up yet, but I hope that the administrator here will publish it.

      There is some real nasty stuff going on, and I cannot believe that Labour’s welfare spokesperson remains so silent on all this.

  4. nothing about the scourge of general poverty…

    ..suffered by the unemployed/sickness-beneficiaries etc..

    ..(just pie in the sky aspirational bullshit about ‘jobs’..)

    .a ‘scourge’ only fixed by/with cash..(anything else is just auto-eroticism..)

    ..nothing about spooks/tpp etc. etc ..

    ..just the same old same old neo-lib labour..

    ..and..(as already noted)..nothing about climate-change..

    ..with this post you just increase the reasons to look away from labour..

      • especially when ..

        (as far as the poverty suffered here/now/today by so many..and this being their forseeable future..is concerned..)

        ..that is all you have..?

        ..and your first ignoring of this issue..

        ..and now this glib-wordplay (attack of the pete georges/passive-aggressives..?)..

        ..as yr only answer..

        ..probably sez/reveals more about you than you would like..

        ..and just confirms those already stated reasons to look away from you/labour..

        • ..’aspirational’..

          ..you could almost build a political career on regular outbursts of ‘aspirational’..

          ..couldn’t you..?

          ..i mean..you never have to actually deliver..do you..?

          ..at that same next stage in the cycle..

          ..you just roll out some more..(probably even the same as last time..eh..?..)..’aspirational’..

          ..don’t you..?

          ..and it’s so ‘third way’…isn’t it..?

          • ..i mean..you never have to actually deliver..do you..?

            ..at that same next stage in the cycle..

            ..you just roll out some more..(probably even the same as last time..eh..?..)..’aspirational’..

            ..don’t you..?

            ..and it’s so ‘third way’…isn’t it..?

      • Imagine scum sucking political vermin like you didn’t wreck entire industries with their neo-liberal nonsense.

        The slave ships are still sailing – and Lianne Dalziel gave me her personal assurance that was all over back in 2000. NZ doesn’t have a deepwater fishery – you political scum gave it to Russia.

        Aspiration – people like you killed it.

        • Are you talking to me? Imagine my surprise after just telling someone that the respondents on this site rarely descended into the personal, rather were much more constructive with their criticisms and comments; which I like as I find it helps develop my understanding of issues that I certainly don’t profess mastery over. Life has obviously shat on you from a huge height at some stage for you to even consider typing such bile, and that is sad, but, really, what’s the point in being so dreadfully negative. Man, you haven’t even got your facts right, which is the ultimate bummer for you I suppose. Anyway, that’s life 🙂

          • I know those particular facts intimately Nash.

            Don’t tell us lies about aspiration…

            Try to fix a few of the things your party has broken, re-establish the public’s trust. You’ve got your work cut out.

            • Shane Jones is gone, who will be next in that Labour caucus, some of whom are rather close to where National is positioned?

              I just wonder whether there is a “purge” of sorts going on, or whether some are voluntarily jumping ship now, as new lines seem to be drawn, but it remains unclear yet, where exactly they will end.

              The “old guard”, and who may belong to it, or be friendly with it, seems to be on the out.

              • I don’t think it is a purge, or if it is it is a badly handled purge. David Cunliffe did not sound like a happy man on Morning report this morning.

  5. It is not true NZ is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world and also not true that the National led government has amplified poverty and inequality. This is just leftist spin.

  6. Two things I would want to see is:

    1. Compulsory Union membership for any person paid less than $20 per hour. Those union representatives would also be required by law to be competent in employment law to a legal standard and for that union to be held accountable should they fail to represent their member fully, in other words when they can’t really be bothered.

    This change would take away the political pawns that get traded off when governments such as National blindly follow their business donors request to be fastest to reach the bottom and to protect low paid workers from exploitation because it happens everyday from employers big and small. You may pay low but you will do so ensuring people are paid on time, correctly and have all the labour law rights strictly adhered to.

    The temptation to pay low would be far less than it is today knowing you cant rip off your poorly paid workers quite so easily and we should start seeing incomes heading in the right direction.

    2. Compulsory unemployment/sickness levy taken from workers wages from the moment they acquire a tax number (a rainy day fund). This could be topped up dollar for dollar by the government. The accumulating total would be invested firstly in NZ and if better returns could be netted overseas then that as a last resort. Over an individuals working life if they don’t touch the fund it also doubles as a superannuation fund thereby creating the incentive to avoid ever accessing it.

    It would have safe guards against abuse such as only been able to be accessed when genuinely too sick to work or made redundant (not leaving at will or being sacked for incompetence, negligence, dishonesty etc or because you want to be dismissed to access the funds to go on holiday).

    Clearly this would require a solid continuous work history and be done in the knowledge that what you have is very finite but it would be the only form of social assistance, short of government assistance vouchers in extreme emergency.

    The incentives for the individual to make this work vastly outweigh the negatives.

    This policy would require a lot of other adjustments to the current social welfare regime but having watched Paula Bennett and her government pathetically use beneficiaries as a punching bag over the past 5 years, this would depoliticize this area of life and be affordable and contributed to by the individual and probably solve several problems on the horizon notably our retirement fund supply.

    These are outlined ideas, not detailed policy, but I think with work could define Labour easily from the rest and provide a very positive alternative to National.

    • We had compulsory unionism, enforced by the state. It was taken away with the stroke of a pen and the bureaucrats had rolled over and asked to have their stomachs tickled at the first sign of the Rogernomics challenge. Any compulsion must come from the workforce itself, by refusing to work with non-unionised labour, or it is worse than meaningless. Let’s not go down that road again. It was a detour.

  7. Overhaul monetary policy settings in a way that allows the Governor of the Reserve Bank to manage settings for more than just inflation and provides him with a wider range of tools than just the OCR.

    The most important thing that needs to be addressed as far as monetary policy goes is the ability of the private banks to create money. The private banks should not be able to create money – only the government should have that capability.

    The second thing is that the government should never, ever, borrow money – as it can create money it doesn’t need to.

    Then we need to look at the use of foreign funds in NZ – we don’t need them either.

    • I think you’re absolutely completely right.

      The crux of all our problems is how our economy is structured, and the underlying structure of the economy and how it works is how money itself works.

      It’s the cause of our quest for never ending growth (which in a finite space is an impossibility) and our ever increasing levels of debt.

      But most people have no idea that it is private banks which create new money when they create loans, that essentially money = debt. They think new money is somehow created by an increase in productivity. It is not.

      I would advocate an interest free demurrage currency. We needn’t even change the NZD, we could create a new currency alongside the NZD and say we’re offering the market “choice”. As long as it’s a legally accepted currency like the NZD it would work.

      An interest free demurrage currency would flow much faster, increasing the amount of money in circulation for the needs of business, resulting in more economic activity and more jobs.

      It’s been tried before, most famously in Worgl, Austria in the Great Depression. It had a massive positive effect. But that experiment ended when the Austrian Central Bank got wind of it. It threatened their ability to create debt based money.

      http://www.lietaer.com/
      http://issuu.com/margritkennedy/docs/bue_eng_interest

      • But most people have no idea that it is private banks which create new money when they create loans, that essentially money = debt. They think new money is somehow created by an increase in productivity. It is not.

        QFT

  8. I like this article Nash,

    I love the 3 key themes

    On reading the naaasty views of people about beneficiaries on other sites in the last round of Bene Bashing from National – it struck me as very sad the viciousness expressed toward those without jobs.

    What has this country come to when workers are apparently envious of those without jobs?
    Are jobs so bad in this country that people resent those without them?

    I am beginning to suspect so.

    This is why I like the emphasis on raising work conditions, alleviating poverty and creating sustainable jobs in NZ that you have conveyed in your article. This approach will cut through the crap that has become the NZ working (or workless) conditions for the least well off and I am sure such an approach will end up creating more work and less unemployment and certainly less envy of those without work therefore I am very confident that the approach you outline is extremely beneficial to those currently without work as well as those experiencing crappy work conditions.

    I also like the way you say you will heed the advice of expert reports – wow! what a lovely change to have a government that actually heeds expert advice – I suspect National don’t read the expert reports given to them (which take a lot of time and effort to produce) – they most certainly don’t heed them.

    Thanks Stuart, now all Labour has to do is repeat, repeat, repeat this message, please don’t be distracted from repeating ad nauseam – Labour will be an exponentially better than a Nat government. Just please keep repeating the 3 points and link them to every issue that is raised from now until the election – every time, all the time. This is required to counteract National’s lies.

    • I also like the way you say you will heed the advice of expert reports

      Depends upon the experts. After all, following Treasury’s advice over the last thirty years has left the country worse off.

  9. Not bad Stuart, though housing I think is rightly identified as being critical. The problem has multiple parts, from banking to council regulation, speculation both foreign and domestic, affordability, and sustainability. Some thought needs to go into transitions also as the unwise present structure has encouraged people to put their savings into realestate. And, NZ has un unusually high proportion of realestate agents – a reflection of our lousy job market. Some thought as to how these people might transition to more productive careers might be in order.

    I’d like to see a renationalistion mechanism for property, something like land owned by non-resident foreign citizens will be reacquired by the crown after five years, at 90% of GV. This gives current owners ample time to divest themselves without making the divestment process a profit opportunity at NZ’s expense. The five year delay in the system is to smooth out the effect on the market and on recent or intending purchasers, or people seeking residency but delayed. The reserve bank should be able to float money sufficient to purchase such properties, given that the proceeds from their resale returns to the crown.

    A similar clawback mechanism for electricity assets might not hurt either, and a robust legislative measure criminalising the kind of asset theft that characterised Rogergnomics, including significant penalties for asset thieves is overdue, in the public interest, and will get you elected.

    • Some thought as to how these people might transition to more productive careers might be in order.

      A supportive education system that extends into industry.

        • That’s not what I said nor what I meant. I meant an education system that exists within industry as well as classrooms such as apprenticeships.

          BTW, I’m also really pissed off that our education system has no way to recognise peoples self-learning.

    • Thanks Stuart – what I think is worth discussing is a 25% stamp duty on non-resident purchasers of NZ property (as outlined in a comment earlier) as well as a CGT of course (with with exemption of ‘primary residence’ not being restricted to primary residence in NZ, but rather a global definition).

  10. “Labour needs to be unapologetically… Labour… in its policy settings and election manifesto.”

    If you really believe that, then why did you ignore welfare Stuart?

    And ‘affordable housing’ is an insult to potential voters…are you living on $30,000? If you think $400,000 is affordable housing then you really need to quit politics and do something useful with your life.

    What about student loans / student debt?..You just going to keep thinking education is a personal responsibility? How very neoliberal of you.

    This is why Labour are stuck in the mud. Same old, same old…

    • How is ‘alleviating the scourge that is child poverty’ and ‘creating sustainable jobs’ and even ‘putting money into the back pockets of hard working New Zealanders’ not speaking to welfare issues?

      Think about it: How do Labour address poverty without in some way addressing the conditions of those on welfare?

      Other ways the 3 points mentioned by Nash are addressing welfare: The more people who have jobs the less unemployment there is – the more people who have good jobs the less likely they will be so easily whipped up into a frenzy of irrational hatred and resentment by the lying Nats toward those still on welfare and in those conditions the more likely welfare recipients who can’t work will be treated well.

      • “How is ‘alleviating the scourge that is child poverty’ and ‘creating sustainable jobs’ and even ‘putting money into the back pockets of hard working New Zealanders’ not speaking to welfare issues?”

        True, but they are all indirect and long term ways of de-stigmatising beneficiaries – and do we believe they would manage that at all? Remember Stuart’s post is about the first 100 days, so why not increase welfare payments within the first week. Make the claim that welfare will no longer be a process of disempowerment, instead, welfare will provide the opportunity for people to participate in society. That probably means increasing welfare payments by 20-30% and stripping away the WINZ gate-keeping processes. This should be the first priority…then comes those other policies because they will take months to become effective (and like you say, negate the need for welfare to be used)

        Also, tbh, those three points are hardly much different from what Key gave us in his first 3 years and what Labour gave us last time. It’s very third-wayish.
        What about the aim of full employment? Why is this not introduced within the first 100 days?
        ‘Alleviating the scourge that is child poverty’ – should be ‘eradicate child poverty’.
        ‘Creating sustainable jobs’ – should be ‘aim for full employment’.
        ‘putting money into the back pockets of hard working New Zealanders’ – …I’m not even sure what that means? Really, wtf does that mean? Can you name one politician that would be against that statement?

        • ‘Creating sustainable jobs’ – should be ‘aim for full employment’.

          Labour is still firmly in the neo-liberal camp as far as full employment goes. They will never implement full employment policies.

        • ‘putting money into the back pockets of hard working New Zealanders’ – …I’m not even sure what that means?

          I don’t know, but back pockets aren’t the best place to put money. Good place for pick-pockets to help themselves, whoever they are?

        • Hi Fatty,

          Thanks for the response. I respect your views.

          Perhaps indirect and long term is a good thing in the current climate.

          I have been influenced by having recently reading comments on facebook and the Herald website and noticing a shocking amount of people who take the time to express hateful and apparently envious attitudes toward people without jobs or in unfortunate circumstances. It appears we are living in a climate of misinformed hate-fuelled hysteria. In such a sorry climate I suspect (not entirely convinced, yet heading this way) it is best that Labour are a bit indirect when it comes to presenting what they will do for those in the most unfortunate circumstances.

          This is a very very sorry state of affairs if I am correct in my view and I am not entirely convinced that so many people are so lacking in perspective that for a political party to say ‘we are going to make things better for all people, including those in the most difficult circumstances’ would lose them an election, however it is starting to look this way from my perspective.

          It is like, for example, that Orewa speech by Brash – their poll ratings soared after having delivered it. What is it with New Zealanders and divisiveness? Are we that misinformed and disempowered that we get a kick out of kicking those that are down? It appears that way.

          I think, therefore, the time for Labour to be raising the state of awareness and compassion in people is after they get voted in – and I truly hope that this is what they will do – because at present it appears that there are a lot of people who have been whipped up into a rabid state, where one small bit of misinformation gets them jumping on a hate-fuelled bandwagon. This truly reflects very poor conditions in New Zealand and if Labour mean what they say and are going to prioritise improving work conditions (including pay) and take poverty issues seriously then I think this is the best way of defusing the apparent state that we are in as a Nation- where those in the most unfortunate or challenged situations are scapegoated, targeted for venting frustrations and used as political poll raising pawns.

          I personally like your rewording on those 3 key issues – your wording is more confident and you make your point re ‘unapologetic’ in that regard.

          I just hope that people can read between the lines that Labour are targeting the very things that are most likely to raise the standards for the greatest number of New Zealanders, and doing so in a manner that is the least likely to activate certain very wealthy sectors prone to frothing at the mouth and drumming up other less informed members of our society from doing so too.

          I hope Labour get in because they are far more likely to address the matters that you raise – education being a very important one – opportunities of which have been lost for many people under this government – Labour will be a far better government overall because they have respect for political processes and principles.

          The more people that vote further left – the more likely that Labour will run a people over profits focussed government – and we are lucky to have the choice of influencing the government in this manner – so I hope people see that and are positive about Labour when they put out positive ideas because the parties further left haven’t got a shit show of influencing the government when the Nat sell outs are in government… and let’s face it even if the new government turned out to be NZ First & Labour that would be light-years better than the sellouts.

          • Yeah, fair call Blue Leopard – I always agree with what you have to say too.
            I suppose the difference you have expressed to my point is slightly different ways of getting to the same place.
            I think at the moment there is a contradiction in rhetoric and policy, and that makes it difficult to get traction and votes. I have a problem with the term ‘broad church’ because it’s not really what the original party was about – they were working class focused. And although ‘working class’ is meaningless, we have an economy and society that shares many similarities with the early 1930s…A broad sector of society is struggling – hence I don’t believe Labour should be, or need to be, ‘broad church’.

            • Thanks Fatty,

              My conclusions might be quite incorrect – they are based on self-selected feedback – not random selection.

              I am deeply shocked, however, how many people take the time out to make hateful comments about those in poor circumstances – one would hope that they chose something more constructive to do with their time. 🙁

              Such people are either very well off and disengaged from how things are for others or poor themselves and resentful – not sure which one is most likely.

        • Hi Fatty, thanks for the feedback. We have had full employment before and there is no reason why we should accept anything less again. I am, however, interested in your definition of ‘full employment’. Please don’t think I am being glib or a smart-arse, however, economists tend to define ‘full employment’ as around 97% of the available workforce in employment (and only North Korea has had a higher percentage in this generation). There is the belief that around 3% of the workforce simply won’t work, no matter what the conditions: now I don’t know if that’s true or not, but certainly we never got below 3% under Labour when the global economy (and NZs) was growing at a great rate of knots (relative to others in the OECD). Interested in your comments.

          re “putting money into the back pockets of hard working New Zealanders’ Can you name one politician that would be against that statement?”. Yes – every politician who opposes a living wage or a rise in the minimum wage. My my reckoning that’s around 52% at least…

          • “however, economists tend to define ‘full employment’ as around 97%”

            I’d agree with the number, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life it’s to never use economist’s definitions…
            The way I’d term ‘full employment’ is like you say 97% getting work hours that they want – so that means that working 10 hours counts as unemployed. My post above stressed the need for a welfare overhaul to be the first thing to be done – that’s because there will always be some without work, can’t work for health reasons etc. The welfare shouldn’t be a mission to get – it’s been a disincentive to work since the 1990s because of all the stand-downs and hoops to jump through. Full employment also has to include a liveable wage – I cannot fathom how this is even debatable, let alone not in Labour’s policy.
            Perhaps Labour should ask themselves why they think people should be working poor – how did Labour get to this position? If Labour’s minimum wage is $16 then you are saying that Labour will continue with an economy that include working poor.
            Your point about Labour’s unemployment rate last time is true, but let’s not forget that economy was run on a housing bubble and now we have homeless people. Affordable housing doesn’t start at $400,000 when $16 p/h is minimum wage…these policies are not unapologetically Labour, they are apologetically third way. Housing is not a commodity – Michael Savage would be disgusted with this ideology.

            Regarding your response: Yes, every politician who opposes a living wage or a rise in the minimum wage. My my reckoning that’s around 52% at least

            National just increased the minimum wage, sure not as much as Labour’s proposal, but both refuse to give a living wage. Also, the term ‘hard working’ is kinda repulsive, it suggests that not all people are hard workers and that poverty is an outcome of individual laziness

          • There is the belief that around 3% of the workforce simply won’t work, no matter what the conditions:

            Nope, it’s that around 3% of the workforce are transition between jobs at all times. The people who won’t work aren’t included at all.

      • How is ‘alleviating the scourge that is child poverty’ and ‘creating sustainable jobs’ and even ‘putting money into the back pockets of hard working New Zealanders’ not speaking to welfare issues?

        Jobs will keep declining as technology advances and developing countries become developed.

      • It’s going to take more than rhetoric, having experienced much disappointment, stirring rhetoric just doesn’t wash with the great unwashed no longer.

        With regards to job creation, the road building idea, is that really essential? Didn’t National promise to create jobs by building roads? Not very original and reminiscent of the thirties or for that matter the Roman Empire, technology has rendered many jobs in that sector obsolete. What have we found? Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on consultants. I can remember the proposed Transmission Gully as a kid, now as an aging adult still no sign of a road. I wonder how much consultants milked from that one?
        Bringing down the cost of road upgrades/maintenance is good though, seeing the cost and results of many projects one can’t but wonder where did the money go. Corruption?

        Waiting for the market to deliver jobs is hardly proactive. Will incentivised lending to companies to expand necessarily create jobs? I can easily imagine many that become particularly successful later outsourcing overseas. Some form of protection won’t go well with the TPPA.

        If overhauling the tax system, perhaps introduce or even just investigate a universal basic income scheme. Strike down two birds (tax/welfare) with one stone. Possibly one of the best wealth distribution schemes around, with the possibility of increasing entrepreneurs, social welfare and cutting the bloated WINZ bureaucracy back.

        The established level of unemployment since the economic reforms of the eighties I doubt will ever recede with cautious policies/proposals. Just five months out from the election, if Labour was serious we should find some bold policies already, time is running out.

        • “Didn’t National promise to create jobs by building roads?”

          True. If Brownlee came out with that we’d all call him a moron. In fact we’ve been calling Brownlee and Joyce morons for the past few years for their ‘build more roads’ policies.

          …and your other points are spot on Andy K

          • Agree 100% with Fatty. Love most of your points, but road building is one area where Labour needs to temper its enthusiasm. Auckland is already choking on traffic, and the solution is not more roads, it is more public transport.

            That is, (once Waterview is finished) Auckland needs no more major roads. It needs more major roads like an alcoholic needs a bottle of bourbon. It needs to be weaned off the roading addiction with a strong injection of quality public transport.

            Start with the CRL, add airport/southwest rail, add rail to the Shore and busways to the north-west and east, add electrification to Pukekohe and sustainable mid-density development around new stations en route, finish with a generous dollop of quality management, and stir. Result: one world-class public transport network, and a city changed for the good.

            Cost: Much of the above is achievable just with the money National wants to spend on the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway. Then there’s the billions more for the further extension to Wellsford it wants, but can’t even figure out how to do.

            THAT would be a vision for Auckland that David Cunliffe could sell and get started on in the first 100 days. Not just ‘moar roads’ – which is all National has to offer re transport in Auckland

  11. Some good stuff Stuart. Making a list like this pretty much guarantees others will say “ But what about …..” and predictably this is exactly what I am doing.
    I’d be arguing for not just a “to do” list, but also a mindset change. Is there really a will, a determination in Labour to make the differences it talks about ?
    My issue with aspects of the list is that Labour has to be clear with the public that one policy will not solve any of the big issues. Housing, poverty, regional development, education, etc etc are all complex issues. Coming up with a policy like raising with the minimum wage and suggesting to the voting public that it will reduce poverty is just a nonsense. It is a good thing to do but only if part of a package which has to engage several government departments ( education, social development, labour, treasury, Maori,etc) commercial partners , community partners, the newly powerful iwi corporates in an alliance to make serious changes in NZ. This is, I suggest, the boldness that is required and which might capture the imagination of sufficient voters to turn the tables on National. If Labour is to commit to reducing poverty then it has to really get stuck in and not tinker because nothing much will change otherwise. I recently wrote to the party offering to discuss this process – but no response.
    Labour should be looking to bundle issues. The Mana Party is wanting housing development linked with trade training opportunities linked with regional development. This is exactly what a progressive Labour Party should be doing – looking at policies which address several areas of concern at the same time. Don’t go and lock up a housing policy driven by Fletchers. Think smaller. Think local. It doesn’t matter (within reason) if this is a bit more expensive. It doesn’t matter if it takes a bit longer – great things take time. You can easily enough argue other benefits – employment, tax revenue, population shift to smaller communities.
    And reducing poverty issue need not be a left/right division. It could be quite unifying if presented well. Part of the promotion of investment in a whole suite of poverty reduction policies can be about reducing welfare dependency ( reduce welfare spend), increasing tax revenues ( contribute to balancing the books), increase the health and well being of populations ( reduce pressure on burgeoning health costs), improving education outcomes (improve our OECD rankings), etc etc. So it should appeal to more liberal conservatives.

  12. Some good stuff Stuart. Making a list like this pretty much guarantees others will say “ But what about …..” and, predictably, this is exactly what I am doing.
    I’d be arguing for not just a “to do” list, but also a mindset change. Is there really a will, a determination in Labour to make the differences it talks about ?
    My issue with aspects of the list is that Labour has to be clear with the public that one policy will not solve any of the big issues. Housing, poverty, regional development, education, etc etc are all complex issues. Coming up with a policy like raising with the minimum wage and suggesting to the voting public that it will reduce poverty is just a nonsense. It is a good thing to do but only if part of a package which has to engage a host of government departments, commercial partners , community partners, the newly powerful iwi corporates in an alliance focused on a cohesive attack on this ( or any other ) major issue. This is, I suggest, the boldness that is required and which might capture the imagination of sufficient voters to turn the tables on National. If Labour is to commit to reducing poverty then it has to really get stuck in and not tinker because nothing much will change otherwise. I recently wrote to the party offering to discuss this process – but no response.
    Labour should be looking to bundle issues. The Mana Party is wanting housing development linked with trade training opportunities linked with regional development. This is exactly what a progressive Labour Party should be doing – looking at policies which address several areas of concern at the same time. Don’t go and lock up a housing policy driven by Fletchers. Think smaller. Think local. It doesn’t matter (within reason) if this is a bit more expensive. It doesn’t matter if it takes a bit longer – great things take time. You can easily enough argue other benefits – employment, tax revenue, population shift to smaller communities.
    And reducing poverty issue need not be a left/right division. It could be quite unifying if presented well. Part of the promotion of investment in a whole suite of poverty reduction policies can be about reducing welfare dependency ( reduce welfare spend), increasing tax revenues ( contribute to balancing the books), increase the health and well being of populations ( reduce pressure on burgeoning health costs), improving education outcomes (improve our OECD rankings), etc etc. So it should appeal to more liberal conservatives.

      • The term liberal can be used in many ways. In the US they use the term liberal to mean left wing, so they have the liberal vs. conservative spectrum (conservative as right wing)
        However liberal can also be used in a more philosophical way, or from a Marxist/radical perspective, and this can mean that ‘liberal’ relates to economic policy. So for example, ACT can be seen as liberals, but in the US socialists are often termed ‘liberals’.

        I think we could call some National MP’s liberal conservatives – and if they go into coalition with NZ First, Colin Craig and ACT, then John Key will probably become a ‘liberal conservative’ in his 3rd term (economically liberal, but socially more conservative).

        Terms like liberal and conservative can get confusing and it depends on context and whether we are talking about social policies or economic policies

  13. Its not so much,give us your idea of changing the shift of unequaled share.

    Labour got sucked into that Media hype,as soon as our Corporation,anounced the election date.They came out this and that,and the Corporation capitalised with a minimum movement.

    4 odd months to the election.

    Remember Neil Young,his first ever concert in Aotearoa.Saying, i know you want me to talk about your country and our political being,all i can say,is look after your freinds.

  14. I don’t think Rajen Prasad has read this article. His message today was criticising the fact that the non convicted druggie Nigella Lawson should be allowed to come to NZ. I trust he will now move to actively ban the Rolling Stones from coming here. That will be a vote winner! Is this more policy on the hoof? Come on Labour, surely you can do better than this.

    • Joe public says overhaul our drug policy and consider decriminalisation – Labour no-name suggests that someone who has used drugs in the past should not be allowed in NZ.

      Let’s hope Labour don’t think they can paint Key as ‘out of touch’ during election campaigning.

    • She’s wouldn’t have been stopped from coming here because of her use of cocaine but because the US had refused her entry. Of course, the US had prevented her entry because of her admitted use of cocaine.

      We don’t know if she’s still using.

  15. What Labour needs to put up amongst the top priorities is also: To immediately STOP the implementation of the hideous welfare reforms the Key led government has imposed on the weakest of the weak in this society!

    It is nothing less than 24/7 beneficiary harassment what we have now. And to get an idea of it, have a listen to this interview that the rather useless or gullible Kathryn Ryan of Radio NZ National had with MSDs “Director of Welfare Reform”, Sandra Kirikiri, on 15 April:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2592666/winz-expands-scheme-to-support-unemployed-with-illness-issues

    Now that is a 22 minute long interview, and it requires careful attention, and “reading” between the lines so to say, as it contains a lot of information, which any person who has some insight in these matters will understand.

    “WINZ expands scheme to support unemployed with illness issues” is the harmless sounding title, and the uninitiated will think, ah, well that sounds ok, they want to “help” sick and disabled to find work, and “overcome barriers”.

    But when you go through it, it is all about plans, plans, expectations, targets and so forth, it is a cunning scheme, that will apply pressures on physically and mentally ill, and the latter will in at least some cases be pushed to the limits, I am sure.

    What this means is, they are expecting sick and disabled to already start making “work preparation” efforts from the day they apply for a health related benefit under the “jobseeker” category. Forget the old system, where you were considered sick and needed time to recover and get well again. No, now they start right from day one, and get you worked on and over by case managers doing “intensive”, “individualised” case management. They are using a “staircasing” approach now, and expect clients to agree to “PLANS” (after plans), to prepare to look for at least part time work. Read up on Professor Mansel Aylward, and what he wrote about “common mental health conditions”, and that most are (according to his views) simply based on “illness belief”. WINZ have adopted the same “mad science” they have been trying to apply in the UK.

    WINZ staff have now been given “general type training” in how to work with clients with mental health conditions, Kirikiri says. Hah, would you trust your case manager to deal with conditions that some psychologists and psychiatrists may struggle diagnosing and “remedying”?

    And there is talk of their Regional Health Advisors and Regional Disability Advisors, supposedly working with case managers and doctors, to assist mentally ill and others with other health issues. Most RHAs and RDAs have rather limited or outdated “health qualifications”, one I know of is just a social worker who worked with psychologists, but is not medically qualified at all. Most are former nurses, not even registered. They get trained and managed by Principal Health Advisor Dr Bratt, for whom benefit dependency is like drug dependency.

    AND the most ominous and SCANDALOUS bit comes at about minute 15, and goes from there, where Sandra Kirikiri admits unashamedly, THAT THEY (WINZ) DO NOT EVEN TELL PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS ANYTHING ABOUT THE HEALTH CONDITIONS THE SICK OR DISABLED MAY SUFFER FROM!!!

    Now think that one through, and I tell you, they are in all likelihood doing even more irresponsible stuff, I claim that they are in their various courses, and possibly also through their outsourced “mental health employment” service providers, even encouraging clients to NOT tell employers anything about their health and so, that may risk them not getting a job they get referred to.

    That means the employers run huge risks taking on any such client from WINZ. WINZ themselves could make themselves legally liable for harm caused if an employer hires a sick or disabled who does not disclose fully their conditions that could impact on or interfere with the work they may be expected to do.

    I think this is stuff for legal experts to think about.

    Yes, this is stuff that is also happening under National, and where is Labour on this, yet again, I must ask this? I hear and see almost nothing of their welfare or social security spokespersons, what a disgrace. Sort this out, Labour, you have responsibilities to address such issues, and to announce your position on all this, thanks!

  16. * Address child poverty

    Those are a good start, Stuart, but there’s much more to do, as I’ve outlined here;

    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/a-proposed-labour-green-mana-nz-first-agenda-part-tahi/

    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/a-proposed-labour-green-mana-nz-first-agenda-part-rua/

    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/a-proposed-labour-green-mana-nz-first-agenda-part-toru/

    On the problem (I tefuse to call it an “issue”) of increasing child poverty and inequality, the simplest – but strongest – message that Labour can send to the public is that Cunliffe announces that a new role of Minister for Children will be created and that he will undertake that role.

    It won’t require a full-scale ministry to be set up – it can be the head of a group of ministerial and departmental groups, such as the PM leading a group of security agencies (GCSB, SIS, Police, OFCANZ, etc), to tie efforts together.

    The power of such symbolism cannot be understated. Especially when our current “Minister of Tourism” spends his holidays on a beach in Hawaii.

    • The best solution to child poverty is to take any children in poverty off their parents. Simple. If parents cannot give their kids the basic necessities with the Govt. assistance available today, they shouldn’t have kids.

      • Ceaușescu eh? It has been tried before IV.

        The best solution to child poverty is decent wages and a healthy economy. When parents aren’t poor, funnily enough their kids often aren’t either.

        • We have decent wages, and we have a healthy economy. We have job growth, low inflation, low interest rates, and a generous welfare system. Yet we still have children supposedly in poverty. Stuart if parents can’t look after children adequately in NZ today, they never will be able to.

    • And yet Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors. Seems like sitting on a beach in Hawaii pays off in that regard.

    • Completely agree re Minister for Children Frank.! I should have put that in there. That MUST BE the first cabinet post announced before everything else

  17. I am not sure whether this has been noticed, there seems to be something wrong with this website, and how topics can and cannot be loaded. This one can only be accessed via the front page and links from there. It does not show up if I click the template ‘Daily Blogs’ at the top of the website!!!

    Topics loaded that way are only current up to 2 or 3 days ago!

    So I fear many readers or wannabe readers may not find some of the posts and stories here, or wonder what is going on.

    Perhaps this can get sorted out, as the way things are, where newer stories can only be found via the front page, this is awkward and may turn some readers off.

    Best wishes

    Marc

  18. Why are Intrinsic Worthlessness and Gosmann still allowed to comment here? While there maybe be some interest in watching them uncover their increasingly fascistic viewpoints from the point of view of forensic psychiatry, I can’t think of any other purpose they serve. I’m getting sick of seeing them gush their hatred for their fellow Kiwis on these pages.

  19. Although you refer to Labour’s need to implement a ‘social democratic agenda,’ it appears that your understanding of social democracy is rather limited seeing as you’ve completely failed to mention both full employment and comprehensive welfare services in your manifesto, Stuart.

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