GUEST BLOG: David Cunliffe – In a land of plenty

Like many Kiwis I spent part of this summer camping. A mate had a patch of dirt where I could pitch a tent and he let me use the old hut nearby to shelter when it rained six inches in three days. My sturdy tent held up well, but sick of the wet I bugged out in the end.  I had a choice.
While I was play-camping reports surfaced of people living rough in the bush in my electorate of New Lynn.  These young people have far fewer choices than most of us.  No backup shelter when it rains. No sturdy tent.  And no home to go back to when playing bush gets uncomfortable.
Young and mostly male, the New Lynn homeless are a visible part part of the bigger tragedy of high youth unemployment.  If you are under 25 you are twice as likely to be out of a job. If you are young, brown and male, make that at least four times.
The misfortune of these young people is that they have no steady income to pay the rent.  Let alone the four weeks bond, four weeks rent in advance and agent’s fee every single time they have to move.  They have no leeway to catch up or pay off debt.  No way to keep up with, let alone get ahead of Auckland’s crazy property market.
Their story happens to be in my area, but most Auckland and urban MPs are facing the same sad issues.
This is a Government failure.  The solutions to the housing crisis are pretty obvious.  Build more affordable houses, fast.  Give renters decent rights and make landlords do what is necessary to have safe, healthy rental accommodation. Restore Housing NZ to be a community provider not a profit-raker.
Don’t outsource the problem offshore.  Manage offshore speculation in our homes.
This Government’s so-called economic growth is not delivering for everyone. It is relying too much on unrestrained offshore money flows to keep the sagging boat afloat.
The truth is there are just not enough jobs, and even fewer for those in our community who lack the skills increasingly needed in a tech-driven economy.   It is a tragic failure of this Government to have cancelled adult and community education.  And it is Labour, not National, who is driving new ideas on the future of work.
Instead, National just throws people off welfare – driving them to desperation – and the bush in my electorate.  Punishing those on the bottom might work for redneck focus groups, but it does not solve the job or housing crises.   Sowing the seeds of a social underbelly that in the end indicts and damages us all. No wonder National’s spin doctors are in overdrive and ministers have belatedly sent Work and Income in to “see what can be done”.
Meanwhile the people of New Lynn have been picking up where the Government has failed and delivered food parcels and blankets and tents.
I know the people in my electorate are pretty special people. But I also know the are representative of most of New Zealand: they have a strong sense of community; they value work; they want their kids to get ahead; and they also want their neighbours to be OK too.
In other words – they understand much better than this Government that having the filthy rich living cheek by jowl with abject poverty is not sustainable – for anyone.
We all benefit from a society where all can do well, where there is a safety net when misfortune strikes and a hand up to get back on your feet.
Just ask the homeless bushies of New Lynn.  It is past time for a change.


  1. How about Labour going back to its roots and representing the Left? How about promising to undo the grotesque changes National have rammed down our throats? How about standing up to the ultra rich?

    A change in Labour would be the best start because the way things are at the moment, Labour do not represent the interests of the downtrodden.

    • WELL SAID 100+
      If Labour won’t stand up then its time we took legal action for mis representation – they should have to change their name to “National Lite”

    • Grotesque changes?

      You mean a 1% top rate tax reduction to cover bracket creep and the closure of tax loopholes for landlords which increased overall taxation of the top 5%?

      If MSJ was alive today he would immediately classify many of the current crop of unemployed as malingerers and layabouts.

          • But anyways I digress again. Let’s not get ahead of yourself:
            1. Non-state taxes are highly regressive.
            2. Non-state spending is highly regressive.
            3. Non-income state taxes are highly regressive.
            4. Our market and justice system is also regressive, whether by circumstance or intent.
            5. Capitalists can take advantage of progressive government taxes/spending by implementing regressive salaries/benefits that cancel it out, transferring the profit to themselves.
            6. The question of what taxes “should” requires you to address what is fair and affordable to the population. Myopically focusing on state income taxes will not give a valid answer to the question.
            7. Why on would any one take tax advice from an anonymous avatar.

      • @ Andrew – “If MSJ was alive today he would immediately classify many of the current crop of unemployed as malingerers and layabouts.”

        That’s not very charitable.

        Try walking in the shoes of the less fortunate, before making ignorant statements such as you have done here!

      • Oh you mean you know there are plenty of jobs, well cough up tell us where they are. The number of malingerers I suspect is about 1% but why stop there why not promote the myth that the current crop of Nat MPs shout about. If in fact there are the jobs we could have a policy of full employment and when we have all the jobs THEN AND ONLY THEN we can cancel the unemployment job.

      • If MSJ was alive today he would immediately classify many of the current crop of unemployed as malingerers and layabouts.

        Prejudice like that, Andrew, is why you are dismissed as an ill-informed crank.

        In 2007, unemployment stood at 3.4%.

        Now, it’s at 6% and estimated to rise.

        Did the unemployed all throw in their jobs, for the princely sum of $200 (approx) per week, net, for a person over 25?

        Or are you just wallowing in redneck ignorance? No thought required.

        • Nope, we had the GFC. In case you didn’t notice.

          Also National wound back the trickery of Auntie Helen when she transferred thousands of unemployed on to sickness benefit in order to hide the true level of unemployment.

  2. Can you pick up that squirt Key and take him out of parliament?

    Thanks for the great post very good to hear from you, keep up the great work!

  3. “The solutions to the housing crisis are pretty obvious. Build more affordable houses, fast.”

    What did those homeless people think of your $400K ‘affordable’ housing at the last election.

    That wasn’t a solution.

    • Agree. State housing needs to be increased – forget about “affordable housing” until later.

      It is the wider community that benefits from the provision of healthy, accessible homes for all incomes, and so, it is only the state that will have the long-term interests to invest money knowing that returns are delivered in positive social and community outcomes.

      That said. State housing needs to be protected long-term from future governments selling off communities. Establish a local community/government partnership that will avoid this.

      • Yes, but ooh, we cannot build too many homes, and not just for those who are not working, as that would be “unfair” to the “hard working” middle class who have invested in their equity in their homes. So many may “lose” value, and then they won’t vote for the government, because what we have bred for decades is selfish thinking, encouraged by neoliberal propaganda and brainwashing.

        And as Labour want to get those votes also, they will only do so much, that is if they get elected into government.

    • He also ignores the problem of land supply. It is all very well increasing capacity to build houses but if there isn’t enough land available then all you will do is drive up the cost of housing as the government becomes a major player in the demand for space. It is simple economics that Labour seems to have missed.

      • More lies and B.S from you Gosman. Anything else, like the fact you find his call ideologically repugnant. Sheesh, I wish you could be honest with yourself at least.

        Your out right repeating of lies, and misdirection of this present national led government does not surprise me, what surprise me is you dishonesty to just not say you oppose this on ideological grounds.

        But then again, you know your on the wrong side of history, so histrionics is your only defense.

      • Key went to China to get a dairy deal,to get it he allowed Chinese and other nationalities to come to NZ and have the same rights as NZs to but land and properties. The dairy deal was a fizzer because Chinese invested in farms and dairy exporting for themselves, the goose killed the golden egg,and dairy farmers suffered and milk prices leapt up in price.

        These people came to NZ and bought property as investments so pushing up prices that only investors could afford ,ordinary NZs were shut out of housing market,rents skyrocketed, so shutting people out of that market.
        So Gosman never mind state housing ,all housing has been affected by this government. Labour hasn’t missed anything its National who caused the problem.No matter how much land is available it will still be out of reach,investors can buy any cheap housing that’s available,nothing withing an hour of Auckland will be affordable,we cant blame investors ,they can be expected to profit.

        • And Labour allowed anyone to buy up anything don’t forget. Yes, yes we have that government body that vets them all, but seriously how many have they ever turned down. If you don’t live here, don’t have residency then you shouldn’t be able to buy.

      • Newsflash, Gossy – land supply is a finite resource. Especially in Auckland.

        An alternative is to build up infrastructure in other parts of NZ and attract people to other dentres and regions. That way we reduce pressure on Auckland and don’t need to increase supply in a finite resource.

      • “He also ignores the problem of land supply”

        That’s a right-wing solution. Furthering private property shouldn’t be a concern of the Left.

        You’re blinded by our capitalist ideology Gosman. Solving the symptoms of private property by perpetuating private property is a fool’s game. No surprise to see thinking this way

        • There is not a land problem. NZ has a larger land area than the UK with its 60? million population. Auckland is a bit larger than Paris, but probably occupies about sixestimes the area. (these are approximations- check out the real figures if you are interested).
          What is lacking is government planning. But this Government is opposed idealogically to that, of course.

          • Dennis, several of the points you made are perfectly correct but you missed on one important detail:

            The failure of government in this instance is in LOCAL government.

            Consider: Why is there only an accommodation shortage in Auckland? Surely if it was a failure of central government we’d see the issue in many areas.

            The awful truth is that we have elected a bunch of clowns to the Auckland Council and basically deserve what we get. These idiots have created endless bureaucratic roadblocks for developers and the consequence is a housing shortage.

            Worse: It’s looking like we’ll repeat our error and elect Goff next year.

          • UK has a good transport structure , fast trains from London to all parts of England and Wales mean people don’t have to live in London to work in London.
            If Auck had fast trains to all part of north island it would solve the land problem , but, and its a big but, NZ has close to 5 million people Uk has over 60 million.
            Planning for the future should include fast trains to all parts of north island.
            A train from Auckland to say Warkworth or Wellsford
            would take a reasonable commute,by car involves traffic jams and holdups that precludes living in these communities and working in Auckland. Transport is the answer to housing in Auckland ,plus stopping overseas speculators “investing” in Auckland housing. their gain is our loss.

        • Ummm…. regardless of who owns the land (The State or private individuals) there will still be issues with supply and demand for land. Even Communists acknowledge that.

          • oh god you are stupid.

            Exactly what kinds of problems does New Zealand have with supply and demand of land? Could it be

            – Land is shrinking? Or
            – Land magics its self from never never land, on to NZ
            – or the right wing extremists favourit. Immigrants

      • not simply a land supply issue – stop selling state houses, use that land to create sustainable Housing NZ urban living!

      • Keyster is busy selling the land to foreigner’s!!!!
        Labour stop this selloff of our children’s birth right.

        • Future “social housing”: 30 square metre apartment units with no garden, little greenery and stacked on top of each other, welcome to your future “dream”, which will be the ghettos of tomorrow.

          See this quoted comment I made in another post:
          “Twyford is now in bed with the right wing think tank and lobby group called ‘The NZ Initiative’!

          He co-authored the following article with Oliver Hartwich from that lobby group:

          “Opinion: Planning rules the cause of housing crisis | Dr Oliver Hartwich & Phil Twyford | The New Zealand Herald”

          So to them it is now all primarily a “planning” issue. The planners are to blame, for too many rigid rules, and so forth.

          And they both want to change the RMA, as the RMA is to blame also. As for the particular issues they see:
          “First, urban growth boundaries driving up section costs. Second, anti-density restrictions stopping affordable housing. Third, the expensive and inefficient way we fund infrastructure.”

          “Some people are fearful density means the kinds of high rise slums you see in Hobson St.

          It need not be this way. There are plenty of examples of density done well, you only need to look at the buildings designed by Mark Todd’s Ockham Residential.”

          So for those who do not know this, Ockham is one of the main developer submitters to the Auckland Unitary Plan (still being heard). They support high rises, smaller dwellings, less rules, more density and want to turn most of Auckland into apartments and multi-level buildings. Like other developers they want to maximise returns on costs they face, and want sound profits (20 percent is the anticipated margin). What they plan means creating a totally different Auckland, where a large number of people live in blocks that may only contain 30 sqm size studio flats and go up to 7, 8 or in some zones more levels.

          If that is what Twyford now stands for, adopting stuff from right wing think tanks, and supporting the private enterprise developers to solve the housing problem, then we know where Labour stand.

          Twyford is a great talker, great arguer, but in all honesty, he is not that far away from what Nick Smith and Nats want themselves.”

          Link to that post with more comments on housing:

          • We have a lot of “crown” land. The Crown is The City of London – or maybe the Vatican – BANKERS
            Time to rise up and organize into community groups to put back together what we allowed to be broken. Use our land to build homes for the homeless and share what we have with those who have little or nothing. There’s nothing to be gained by sitting and blaming government and everything to be gained by taking back our power. We put them into power we can take them out of power.

      • But Gosman, National have missed this point as well.
        It’s ok to increase density, but not through the bigger blocks in Remuera, or in JK’s back yard.
        The land and the transport infrastructure in Auckland are a big fail for everyone who wants to make this mess bigger.

      • Pretty stupid even for you Gosman. Many cities manage more housing than Auckland on less land – but they have competent and responsible governments running the show, instead of white collar criminals.

      • @Gosman try the cost of building and connecting a phone. See my post below!

        The ‘freeing up’ of land around John Keys electorate has made many multimillionaires from the SHA zoning but I think the ‘affordable houses’ are a long way off and priced at $650,000.

        Not exactly affordable.

        Love the right wing discourse that ‘freeing ‘ up land and getting rid of standards in the RMA somehow provided affordable houses. Go to Keys electorate and see for yourself ‘free market’ forces in action.

        The sections rezoned SHA were priced at $350k and bought by house building companies and cost $650k with a house, now the next round of sections are priced $450k just for the section.

        Now commuters waste another 30 minutes as they have been upgrading the north western for years and have not planned any public transport.

        The Natz in action.

        • That’s right. The sections are far too expensive. Which would suggest there is not enough supply of land for housing.

          What do you think having the Government demand for more land to build State Houses will do to the cost of that land? I’ll give you a clue – Greater demand with the same amount of supply leads to higher prices.

          • Supply side economics simply doesn’t work. And I don’t understand why so many people who passed economics 101 seem unable to realize this.

            Let’s compare 3 options:
            A. Give customers a $1000 tax rebate on solar.
            B. Give companies a $1000 tax credit on solar.
            C. Give companies a tax cut.

            Policy A is a Keynesian policy. Policy B is effectively a Keynesian policy as well, albeit more likely to be gamed. Policy C is a supply side policy, and as is rather obvious, amounts to writing companies a blank check in the vague hopes that they use it as cushioning so that they can lower supply prices and compete more aggressively. Its more likely that it will simply result in them pocketing the money.

            Oh and goose, what ever fairy girl

      • He also ignores the problem of land supply. It is all very well increasing capacity to build houses but if there isn’t enough land available then all you will do is drive up the cost of housing as the government becomes a major player in the demand for space

        I can’t be arsed explaining it fully to you Gosman, because taking on new ideas is not your forte – but quite simply, land is finite. You can’t “increase supply” without eventually,

        (a) hitting the sea

        (b) swallowing up agricultural land and our few remaining native forests.

        • Which may well be true (but in the New zealand context where population density is negliable is also moot) however what would you expect a massinv increase in demand for land to build extra State houses to do then?

        • Which may well be true (but in the New zealand context where population density is negliable is also moot) however what would you expect a massinv increase in demand for land to build extra State houses to do then?

          • You really did miss the memo goose. We now have apartment living and cash incintives to move to the regions.

            Get with the programme sport

    • afordble home on nz incomes would be between 150- 250 thousand at 3 x income this is the ticking time bomb of the housing bubble

      • You think that is the wage for the average Joe Public? Get real, the average for many I know is more like between $28,000 to $35,000. Can’t buy much of a house on that!

    • The problem is solved as soon as you realise that Auckland on this trajectory, is screwed.
      No public transport infrastructure to speak of, and a bunch of new motorway developments moving the jam a few meters.
      Housing jammed in and eating up every square inch of land.
      What was once a green and leafy city is rapidly losing it’s appeal.

      The regions have land and opportunity, but National and Labour are myopic to the potential.

      • That may very well be the issue but Mr Cunliffe doesn’t address this. Instead he writes about creating more State funded housing in Auckland. This won’t solve the problem of affordability if the land supply issue is not also addressed. If he suggested that Labour will stop people moving to Auckland and direct them to other locations that might work in this regard but I doubt they would ever advocate that policy.

  4. Ah ?

    ” This is a government failure ” you say. Well, yes it is. But it’s also a people-failure in that we still allow the bastards to get away with it.

    ” The truth is, there’s not enough jobs ” You also write.

    Fuck the jobs! More jobs is a logical fallacy and you know that. ‘More jobs’ under this current regime simply means more money for the greedy banks and sundry other swine to dip in to.
    Before the wondrous, cure-all jobs myth I say lets re nationalise our stuff and things. To make our essential services affordable again without that stuff, money and things being parasitised by cunning swine. And while on the subject of swine, lets find out where all our money went back in the day. Ya know? The Bank/Fay/Richwhite/RonTrotter etc,etc thing that went down as roger douglas was excreted from your Labour party back in the 1980’s ! Fuck you for pretending you don’t know any of this stuff Mate!
    You wax lyrical about the pretty special people in your electorate. No wonder you fucking do! They keep you in $-six figures plus entitlements
    And how about your opinion on just where our magical economy is generated? Little Money Fairies down the garden? If you want to call Farmers Little Money Fairies then you’d be right.
    Then explain why there are so many poor bastards jammed into dull little Auckland when the economic engine room that is our agricultural hinterlands is dying from gangrene for a lack of a vibrant population of skilled people making foods for a soon to be starving world. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know the argument. Not everyone wants to wear gumboots and dig about in the dirt. Well, not everyone wants to live under a shrub in a culvert in poverty much less wear a suit and live in a debt tomb until a heart attack relieves them of their miserable existence either.
    What you write here? Down on the farm? We call that bullshit.

    ( Long, deep breath. )

    You know what’s been happening to NZ’s economy and you can see the collateral damage of years of swindling and theft. Why not just say so? Are you afraid of a Norman Kirk scenario? A Paul White scenario? Well , who isn’t? Come on. Cough it up. The truth will set you free. Unlike work. Work, by itself, will not set you free. Work without the right to be able to enjoy secure down-time is just another form of slavery.

      • Ha, ha! Well said Country Boy but, yeah, a bit tough on DC.
        Remember Rogernomics and the Rogernomes, Richardson’s mother-of -all budgets, the whole right-wing cabal?
        And remember their great promise that this ‘economic revolution’ for which ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA) promised a trickledown so all would benefit! What a huge amount of BS most of us fell for (and seemingly still do, sadly)!
        It’s been much more a tsunami-up than trickle down except the tsunami hits fewer and fewer with its ill-earned truck-loads of dollars.
        So the fewer and fewer of the rich get even richer and the poor, well, they go bush – until the revolution. Until the revolution!

  5. Kiwi Capital Gain house hoarding speculators must be removed permanently from the housing market probably by a draconian CGT. One house for one family or person. It’s an unspoken scandal that has pushed up house prices to crazy levels. Because it’s kiwis no one says dicky boo!

    • “One house for one family or person”

      Yes, it’s time we rethink our ‘freedom of private property’. The dead-capital barbarians need a straight-jacket. If they’re such amazing business people, then they can invest their money into other areas of the economy.

      Rentier capitalism shouldn’t be a human right. Housing is. The former prevents the latter.

    • Don’t worry too much about it Jay1.

      The middle class who have borrowed against rising property values are about to learn exactly why over leveraging is highly risky.

      It’s a bubble. And it will burst.

      I give it two years max.

      They’ll be screaming into their lattes how unfair it is. But they only have themselves to blame. They got themselves into massive debt to invest in a single market, gambling that prices would always only go up and their incomes would continue to be enough to pay the interest on the debt. More debt to buy “investment” property, BMW’s, jet-skis and other crap no one needs.

      When bubble bursts it will remove the speculators from the market.

    • Yes. When David C. says “Manage offshore speculation in our homes” it’s not enough. Domestic speculators are a far bigger problem.

  6. “We all benefit from a society where all can do well, where there is a safety net when misfortune strikes and a hand up to get back on your feet.”

    You had 9 years in government to undo to the damage to the safety net courtesy of Ruthenasia. Nothing. In fact at the end of your reign we were worse off in real terms. And your silence in response to the ongoing dismantling of the safety net over the past 7 years is deafening and speaks volumes.

    Noone at the bottom of the heap takes any “concern” from Labour politicians about our welfare seriously anymore.

  7. Older people in this country will never forget that it was ‘Labour’ that put NZ on the path to disaster.

    From Muldoon on it made no difference which major party was elected -the policies remained the same: more globalisation, more financialisation, more corporatisation, more looting of resources, more pollution, and more degradation of society.

    Many Labour supporters forget that the reason Key got into power in the first place was that people were so disgusted with the hypocrisy of the Clark government.

    Now, as everything circles the drain we see the same spinelessness that has characterised ‘Labour’ for decades.

    Sure, Key is the worst NZ prime minister ever. But the reason he is still there (apart from the manipulation by the media) is because there is no credible opposition.

    • It all comes back to the bottom though, really.
      I hold no special place for Labour in my heart, don’t you worry, but they’re struggling to please the voters while also providing a left-wing vision.
      Let’s face it: people want money, holidays, tech, and all the shit that’s bombarded in their faces 24/7.

      Most people don’t know fuck all about how society works, they only know that Key looks richer, and they want to be rich, and so monkey-see, monkey-do.

      And as people become more entrenched in atomized, materialistic lifestyles, their empathy and sense of community naturally goes down; “who gives a fuck about those brown kids, they’re just bludgers anyway”, yeah, right.

      The struggle for the Left is how to wake those voters up. If those voters were awake, then a genuine left government would fall into place easily. Doesn’t _really_ matter to Cunliffe either way; but it sure as hell matters to those bushies.

  8. Not yet Afewknowthetruth but hope lives eternal and perhaps since David Cunliffe just came back to us, we may see a new left wing labour opposition spring up as well, as it should be after Micky Savage and Walter Nash set the party up as the workers party.

  9. Unless something is done about the investor disesase that ravages Aucklands property market then any talk of more and “affordable” housing is pointless. It is as futile as King Canute trying to stop the tide.

    This is THE number 1 reason your average Aucklander cannot buy a home and why so many are struggling to even rent and include businesses in that group too!

    National have failed spectacularly vaguely hoping against hope enough houses can be built, by God knows who, to satisfy investor greed and miraculously have enough left over for ordinary folk but at the same time will not do a damned thing about it and can only be relied upon to keep the current untenable situation alive!

    How many investment homes do you and your fellow opposition MP’s own?

  10. “National’s spin doctors are in overdrive and ministers have belatedly sent Work and Income in to “see what can be done”. ”

    Work and Income are damned hypocrites, all they wanted to do is damage control, as having young homeless sleep rough in bush in Auckland’s suburbia does not look good, especially when the mainstream media have for a change taken note and reported on this in the main news.

    It is Work and Income and the upper levels of their management, also their so-called “Health Advisors” and “Disability Advisors”, who make appalling recommendations and decisions based upon equally questionable ones they get from their MSD paid “Designated Doctors” and tell sick that they can work.

    The system that National has now “reformed” to follow agendas thought out in the UK was already set up by Labour in 2007, and it was under Labour that a Principal Health Advisor called Dr David Bratt was put in charge at MSD and WINZ, overseeing the new medical and work ability assessment regime. The Nats took that over and tightened it up further, adopting the mantra that work is all good, even “therapeutic” also for sick and disabled. The benefit is being likened to “a drug”, as Dr Bratt has repeatedly preached to doctors and others.

    It is beyond belief that such “experts” can go around making bizarre claims not founded on solid science, their adopted science is all stuff thought out by equally questionable “experts” in the UK:

    And even the Health and Disability Commissioner covers for the dishonest practices by WINZ:

    And for the rest – all those without a job get pressured anyway, under the “relentless focus on work” (remember Bennett!), whether healthy or not, hence more lose benefits and security and end up staying with friends and family – or as in the case mentioned above – sleeping rough.

  11. we need riots and campaign of harassment of national party mps everywhere they go they get protesters even out side there houses

  12. Prohibit the importation of cattle fodder made from oil palms,(global warming) Limit the size of cattle farms, Break up large farms into small more efficient units, (Jobs & Land conservation, Reforestation.)
    this is only one simple answer to the worlds problems, but if the TTP is signed it would not be possible to implement.

  13. I was excited to see GUEST POST: DAVID CUNLIFFE on my Facebook feed. This post, while making good points, only repeats what we already know and offers no answers to our problems other than the vague promise that “Labour is driving the future of work”.

    There seems to be stagnation with our great party as people await what to results with the Andrew as leader, Grant as Finance Spokesperson, the policy that emerges from his Future of Work commission, and the overall policy and approach used heading into 2017.

    David, you are clearly still the favourite of the Labour left. It would be great to hear something a bit more substantial from you. Your fiery contribution to the Wednesday debate last year was hands down the best thing I saw from Labour in 2015. Unfortunately, only die-hard pols fans saw it.

    At a time when Corbyn is radically changing the UK Labour party and Sanders is surging with a genuine left-wing agenda, one can’t help but feel we might have been sold short in our turn at a mini-revolution. You spoke of socialism and Labour roots, but our 2014 manifesto was far from radical and barely bold. As the good man you are, you tried to compromise too much with people that would never let you, or us, achieve our goals.

    Those of us who looked closely enough feel we know why this happened, within Labour, within the media, within the tactics of our opponents, and within you as you struggled to deliver on the hopes of the membership.

    As a Labour member, I mourn the fact my party no longer gives me inspiration and hope. Now, the main thing I would hope to see out of Labour is a full and frank account from you, David, of those within the party that put their own interests and dislike of you ahead of the party, ahead of the membership, and ahead of the people of New Zealand that once hoped your election as leader would lead to genuine Labour policy. Because, I believe, that would have genuinely lead to a Labour-led government.

  14. Great discussions people…but don’t forget we are talking about politics. In this neoliberal era that means appeasing the middle ground where the self-interested reside. If you are lucky enough to scrape together enough funds to go up against corporate interests and “Mum and Dad” investors then you also run the risk of having the media dogs barking down your throat and ready to rip your clothes off at every turn. Here’s an idea people…get involved at the grassroots level…join your local Labour group and get on board with some fundraising initiatives. Make it happen. From personal experience I can say that you’ll also meet some really nice people giving up their time for little more than the restoration of hope.

  15. What about the 60,000 migrants coming into NZ competing for dwindling jobs and houses? Is that ok? Come displace some 24 year old who has to camp in the bush and have little hope of getting a job?

    What about wages getting lower and lower in real terms? The average salary in NZ of $882 p/w (June 2015 quarter) in NZ.

    (source –

    We can have more jobs, but if they are not high value jobs then people can’t afford to live in their own country or community in many cases – let alone with the insecurity of jobs these days so that getting a mortgage or continuing a mortgage for 25 years becomes uncertain. Meanwhile our assets like housing are being traded on a world market which has driven up prices while our wages are being driven down.

    What about building a house in NZ costs more than Australia – it is often $100k just to connect to services – a person in Auckland I know is just being charged $40k to connect a phone line, because they don’t have enough phone lines in the street. Do we really live in such a pathetic 3rd world country where getting a phone line is difficult in the Super city? Yes we do!

    Don’t even get me going about the extortion from Vector who can force people building a house to pay to pay thousands for transformers. There is no business accountability, individuals have to pay to upgrade infrastructure because our infrastructure companies don’t feel it is their job to do so and our government does not want to regulate them or help consumers.

    Forget about being able to afford a house, it’s the cost of an affordable house to connect to power, water and phone these days. Try putting a driveway in, and see where $10,000 gets you. How the hell can someone pay these charges on the average wage of $882 p/w?

    I hate the glib politicians – just build more affordable houses!! I’m afraid that boat has sailed and current affordable houses being built are something like $650k. Not exactly affordable on the average wage! Most are a lot higher.

    So building more houses is not working! Never much mention about increasing wages and conditions I notice from politicians. Far from it, under the much touted ‘free’ trade agreements locals can compete with workers whose average wages are .65 cents an hour in their own countries – $15 p/h is now a fortune!

    Oh Kiwis, can just rent to overseas landlords BUT yay, the politicians will make their life a bit easier by having more regulation. Ok, so forget about owning your own home in your own country then I guess. Someone is not exactly going to rent out a house at the average house price that the average renter can afford to rent. Lucky 60,000 migrants are coming in that need somewhere to rent and they have their own saving so don’t need to rely on NZ wages.

    What about TPP when our sovereignty is being sold? Something that Labour seems pretty cagey about!

    People might be able to take austerity for a purpose, but Labour trying to cuddle up to big business making obscene profits while having low wages and encouraging immigration into a country that has no jobs or houses to spare is not a winner, while championing free trade agreements that make money for the same few individuals but most people worse off with lowered wages and higher prices for goods like medicine (apart from TV’s).

    Even if you have a so called top salary in NZ and slaved for years to become a doctor for example, you would struggle to be able to afford to live a affluent lifestyle in Auckland (comprising of nice house, car and holiday and being able to afford kids) on local wages while paying back student loans etc.

    If you are a top teacher, forget it.

    The point is, those who work hard, are smart still can not get ahead and being told they need to pay more tax, while middle men businesses like banks and so forth are making a killing in profits. Something is wrong. The teachers and Doctors used to vote Labour, now they are being told they are the greedy ones who need to pay more and work longer.

    Yep Labour can just blame landlords again and the middle class not paying enough taxes, and get Nash to host conferences at SkyCity and blog about losing his principals to win and fight Hone Harewira to show they hate his ideas and Labour can lose a 4th term election.

    Or Labour can get real and see that NZ has BIG problems starting with Neoliberalism the whole system needs to change and the average joe is being extorted left right and centre in this country by business in most cases.

    The middle class don’t like the Natz, but what Labour is offering so far isn’t exactly going to help them either and is certainly not very clear.

    While I think Cunliffe is one of the most honest politicians in the Labour party and one of their best, I struggle with the lack of incite Labour seem to have about what is going on in this country and what is going to improve peoples lives – in particular the 65% of homeowners – I feel very sorry for people renting because it would be difficult on the average wage to buy, but there is a very wide amount of issues around property prices in NZ that are not discussed such as outrageous infrastructure charges and I’m tired of the glib replies from politicians about ‘building more affordable housing’. They need 60,000 houses just for all the new migrants last year – how many are they actually planning and if each affordable house is $650k how can Kiwis afford it on the average wage?

  16. Work is not setting anyone free these days…

    The real question is, where are the jobs in the former western world and why don’t they pay enough to live on and why is everyone on contract and earning less and less?

    “Welcome to the “1099 economy”: The only things being shared are the scraps our corporations leave behind
    Companies can hire and fire perma-lancers at will. Is it any wonder the middle class is vanishing before our eyes?”

  17. If Labour doesn’t pull its finger out and begin acting as a strong viable opposition, (challenging the FJK mobsters), representing the ordinary Kiwi, then NZ will be stuck in purgatory, with NatzKEY tearing down everything NZers past and present, worked hard for to make this nation a better place for future generations!

    However, I can’t see any drastic changes coming from Labour anytime soon. Nothing positive will happen, until the ABC neo libs traitors are dealt with and kicked out by a strong leader, and the party gets back to its core root values, of egalitarianism. When that becomes a reality, working class Kiwis will once more have a credible party to vote for.

    If Labour can’t do that, then it might as well curl up its toes and die!

  18. If Labour doesn’t pull its finger out and begin acting as a strong viable opposition, (challenging the FJK mobsters), representing the ordinary Kiwi, then NZ will be stuck in purgatory, with NatzKEY tearing down everything NZers past and present, worked hard for to make this nation a better place for future generations!

    However, I can’t see any drastic changes coming from Labour anytime soon. Nothing positive will happen, until the ABC neo libs traitors are dealt with and kicked out by a strong leader, and the party gets back to its core root values, of egalitarianism. When that becomes a reality, working class Kiwis will once more have a credible party to vote for.

    If Labour can’t do that, then it might as well curl up its toes and die!

  19. With right wing (probably paid) stooges championed as left wing commentators for Labour like Pagani – I think Cunliffe has made better speeches and resonated with more people over topic’s like the demise of democracy than this article.

    Look at the drivel which we have to endure, by people linked to the Labour party. No wonder the Labour party is divided and they have less and less support and nobody trusts them on TPP.

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