Left Unsaid: What Andrew Little Didn’t Say In His Pre-Budget Speech

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READING ANDREW LITTLE’S pre-Budget speech, one could almost be forgiven for thinking he was the leader of a socialist party. Almost. Because in spite of the fact that he’d asked the Parliamentary Library to dig him out the most important statistic in class politics: the one showing how much of the additional wealth society creates goes to the bosses, and how much to the workers; he offered no practical suggestions for how to even-up the (now seriously boss-heavy) scales.

For those who are still catching up on the detail of Little’s speech, here’s the kicker. Since Labour left office in 2008, the share of economic growth going to employees has fallen from around 50 percent to 37 percent. Over the intervening eight years, that represents a loss for the average Kiwi family of $13,000 – or, roughly, $50.00 per week.

That dollar figure is only the most tangible expression of what Little’s statistic really communicates – i.e. the degree to which the international working-class has been deprived of its former economic, social and political power. The downward plunge in global living standards occasioned by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) accounts for the lion’s share of its losses, but the pro-employer policies imposed by neoliberal governments in response to the GFC have compounded them significantly.

In most cases these elite-friendly policies were introduced in the name of “austerity” and took the form of savage cuts in the scope and scale of welfare payments to the most vulnerable. In New Zealand, however, it was possible for the Government to rely upon the existing workplace relations legislation to ensure (with one or two helpful tweaks) that a constant downward pressure was maintained on workers’ wages and conditions. Throw in the Key Government’s relentless, but invisible, downsizing of the public sector; and its unofficial campaign to drive thousands of beneficiaries off the welfare rolls; and those “Middle New Zealanders” unaffected by the changes were easily persuaded that they were living under a kinder, gentler National Party.

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Little’s mission is not only to expose the falsity of this widespread political perception (and his $50.00 per week stat does that admirably) but also to advance a clear and unequivocal policy for reversing that 13 percentage point reduction in the size of the workers’ slice of the economic pie.

Both the UK’s Jeremy Corbyn and the USA’s Bernie Sanders are in no doubt as to what any policy-package intended to rebuild working-class power must include: measures to strengthen the right of working people to organise themselves in trade unions. So, what does the leader of the New Zealand Labour Party say on that subject?

Well, the only reference to unions that I could find in the entire speech was in this sentence: “We’ll work with businesses and with unions on lifting productivity and sharing the gains fairly.”

Now, that could mean that Labour intends to remove the legal leg-irons currently preventing the trade unions from extracting a fair share of the economic growth generated by their own members – not to mention the hundreds-of-thousands of unorganised workers who have similarly lifted New Zealand’s productivity. It could also mean that Little intends to introduce legislation making it a lot easier for workers to join unions, and a lot harder for outfits like Talleys to “persuade” them not to join. “We’ll work with businesses and with unions” could mean anything from German-style “codetermination” to full-scale “industrial democracy”. Or, it could simply mean inviting the head of the CTU and the head of Business New Zealand into the PM’s office for a friendly chat – and nothing more.

That’s the problem with including just one sentence about unions in a speech highlighting the degree to which the workers’ slice of the economic pie has shrunk. It leaves far too much unsaid. Like: how much of the pie are the workers entitled to? Fifty percent? Sixty? How big was it in the days when New Zealand’s workplace legislation ensured that 50-60 percent of the workforce belonged to a trade union? Is that Labour’s target?

And, if it is, how are we to reconcile a Labour Party committed to increasing workers’ power, with a Labour leader promising to “encourage more young people to start their own business, to be their own boss, with our young entrepreneurs policy”? What share of the pie does Labour believe these millennial capitalists deserve?

Unfortunately, you won’t find the answer to this, or to any of the other questions raised here, in Andrew Little’s pre-Budget speech.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Problem definition first, Chris. Show people this government isn’t working for them. Then come in with solutions.

      • @ Sam.

        Ah ? Oh yes, they have.

        Our country’s chocked with fools educated beyond their intelligence. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the nightmarish cluster fuck that is our socio economic shambles.
        I say to those parasites; Don’t kill off your host. Otherwise, stupid, you go too.
        There is another answer to the seemingly insane greed and cruelties levelled at the most at risk which will cause a die back of the extremities.
        The plan might be to get in quick, rape and pillage an infrastructure built by a minority foreign exchange earner then get out with billions then leave others to mop up the mess.
        Did Andrew Little mention where our money might come from in order for it to then be tinkered with?
        Is it tourism? Is it urban property? Is it film and television?
        What if Andrew Little had said: “ The Farmer and their down stream service industry must Unite collectively to protect NZ’s greatest asset, our ability to produce, and maintain that production, of food and other agrarian products for export “ .
        The fact that he didn’t means he’s either stupid, ignorant or shit scared. My guess would be the latter. Someone should ask him?

        • Not quite true. The government can borrow as much as they want so long as that money isn’t used to buy debt and/or pay debt.

          Governments have this wonderful ability to borrow, then spend, then collect that money back through taxes or broaden the tax base.

          (And I think 100k TDB readers eyes just glazed over)

          • The government can borrow as much as they want so long as that money isn’t used to buy debt and/or pay debt.

            The government doesn’t need to borrow – it can simply create the money. In fact, that’s the only valid option that they have. Borrowing the money adds to the imbalance that Little and many before him have identified. Creating the money does the opposite.

            So now you know why the rich always complain about the government creating money but have no qualms about the private banks doing exactly the same thing.

            • Yeah. I agree. Governments can right off there own debt because unlike the private sector the government has its own bank.

              Where that new spending goes tits up is if that money then goes on to stagnate by turning it into debt, a recent example is this new social housing debt slaves highlighted by Campbell’s Cheak Point.

              I mean there are umpteen different ways of explaining monatary and fiscal policy. I just don’t like getting too complicated.

              Ultimately the government is the only thing with the access to credit that and mandate to solve New Zealands problems. The government is being forced into this position because private sector debt has peaked.

          • That’s fair enough. I favour increased taxes on the rich (for once) and new taxes on capital gains, financial transactions and polluters.

            • Don’t know about an increase of taxes for the wealthy but we are about to here the elderly are going to be screwed over on Friday when their gold cards will be worth nothing when using public transport., Another lie by Key that he wouldn’t touch the gold card, his excuse, it wasn’t the information he was given when first asked about any changes to the gold card. He is a nasty prick.

              • If people had been paying attention, they’d have realised Key was a nasty prick years ago. It’s sad that it’s only when he starts putting the boot into them personally that they start screeching about the man’s casual cruelty and utter contempt for anyone not like him. He’s been knifing the rest of the country in the kidneys for quite some time.

                • That goes without saying, it’s just nice to refresh that he’s a nasty prick as we all know where the “smiling assassin” came from.
                  I have studied Parliament T.V. since Key came to office. This should be mandatory watching. Then and only then will people see the real Key not the snippets and soundbites on the news.
                  So don’t worry yourself Wensleydale and don’t be sad Key has and will always be a nasty prick.

        • What if Andrew Little had said: “ The Farmer and their down stream service industry must Unite collectively to protect NZ’s greatest asset, our ability to produce, and maintain that production, of food and other agrarian products for export “ .

          Then I’d be calling him an idiot. Farming is not the be all, end all of the NZ economy. In fact, under present farming productivity it should be about 2% of it and that doesn’t include exports as we can’t actually afford them.

          • Erm,…. I dunno… seems housing is our new industry at least domestically … if we could just jolly well export those houses we’d be rolling in clover…

            Til then … I guess we’re stuck with boring old farming…

  2. That’s why Labour fails to inspire: they’re the have a bet each way party, they don’t have the power of genuine conviction. They don’t really care for poorer kiwis.

    • I would agree to some extent that Labour are trapped but not that they don’t care. How to tell the greedy dont-give-a-f–k property speculators, second/third/fourth home owners, and bastard landlords that they are part of the problem and their activities should be reined in or curtailed is never going to happen. How is the basic problem of low wages going to be solved – raising the minimum wage to a living wage in all circumstances? A minimum wage is its own trap in that employers will simply take advantage of it. Businesses have no natural, “common -law” right to exist so it doesn’t matter if some go to the wall if they are amoral/immoral in the way they treat and pay their employees. How is Labour going to ensure that the rich and multinationals are going to pay their fair share of tax?

      Rant over.

  3. Entrepreneurs are created on failure. Lots of failure. With large forign cooperation with huge cashflow they just buy up the winners, all the good ideas and new technology. And pay Feke all tax in return. So we do all the research and delepoment which is payed for mostly by the tax payer in universities then some Apple exec comes in, puts the new idea in the App Store and pays Feke all tax to boot.

    I think you’ll find that 16% wealth distribution enbalance figure fits nicely into tax dodging figures.

  4. Yes I noticed that…the lack of detail regarding just HOW without strong labour representation , a more balanced equilibrium could be achieved.

    I also noticed the reference to a Labour leader promising to “encourage more young people to start their own business, to be their own boss, with our young entrepreneurs policy”? … and how that would square up with workers having their share of the pie returned…

    We could say that there was simply no room to elaborate in that speech, – or that ‘ all will be revealed and rolled out ‘ closer to the election. But it does seem like wanting a finger in both pies.

    There is one aspect, that of National having a huge presence of extremely wealthy donater’s , backers and lobbyists – which plays out in affording greater media backing along with money poured into polling groups and the like. Which means they can effectively soften issues and silence opposition that could jeopardize the run up to the election – as they did last time.

    And this means that at some point – any leader who advocates this – must come out in the open and state the obvious : that trade unions must be restored to a realistic position of power to give validity to the concept of fair bargaining. Currently,… they have very little power that isn’t monitored and shepherded every step of the way to ensure power remains with the corporate’s / employer.

    And if this sounds radical – it has all been done before – and in the USA during the 1940’s , no less.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal did just that. Empowered greater unionization . There are old clips and articles of him stating he supported the unionization of the workplace to ensure fair wages and conditions. And there were other American Presidents who endorsed just those same ideas as well.

    I can give a personal example of empirical evidence to demonstrate the ripping off of workers over the last 3 decades of far right wing neo liberal fanaticism.

    In the 1980’s I worked for the old ARA… at the time I left I was earning around $18.00 per hour, we had time and a half, double time and triple time – as well as danger money, foul air money ( as we worked on the Dams out in the bush etc ) With no threat of job loss if we declined work if we had other things happening on weekends/public holidays etc either…

    I started when I was 18 years old through to 24… and though it was good wages it was also hard yakka.

    That was in 1980 – 1986.

    Since that time and for many years after the hourly rate was as little as $8.00 per hour, then $10.00, $12.00 , and $13.00 – and only recently has it lifted from the minimum to the latest minimum- $ 15.75 I think it is now.

    Im now 53 years old.

    And its the year 2016.

    And if any bastard tries to tell me wages have kept up with the pace of the cost of living or that neo liberalism isn’t a straight out theft of the commons wealth by stealth Id call them a grubby little parasitic carpetbagger that needs to be expelled unceremoniously from the rear end of NZ politics.

    Unions aside… the mere fact that we now have significant numbers of people living under bridges, whole family’s in cars, having to pay dirty little opportunistic landlords $400.00 per week to live in their shitty garages , a minister who tries to pass off 3000 new beds as a new enterprise when in reality it is a direct result of this failed govt’s deliberate policy making to garner votes with tax cuts instead of putting funds towards responsible solutions to house its own citizens – demonstrates just WHY we need a leader to come forward with a bold plan – and not just pussyfoot around with what MUST BE SAID AND ACTED ON NOW !!!

    • It’s not as simple as that. If the price of labour goes up too high, the corporate sandbaggers just move activity out of the country. Alot of people don’t realise they are competing with Philipinos, Indians, Chinese not other NZ’ers.

      The reality is we will have to put the trade barriers back up and be more interventionist if we we want to raise incomes of the working class. This is a difficult pill for many NZ’ers to swallow now. I fear it will take a crisis of epic proportions to change the game now.

      • Yes ,…I realize that… we had tariffs before and little to no ‘free trade’ deals.

        I also realize that certain country’s such as Japan and laughably… the USA still have quota and tariff systems ( USA farmer subsidies and protection for one ). And that is kept quiet and played down from the general public’s view in NZ.

        I also allude to such former assets as our forestry- sold off to overseas buyers. What I’m talking about is a quite radical top to tail reform WHICH doesn’t take into consideration neo liberalism.

        And just as the neo liberal agenda was sold to the public and then implemented by degrees so too can reversing those destructive policy’s.

        I do not have to remind anyone of the mass dissension and anger of so many sectors of the NZ workforce during the 1980’s-1990’s. Its all there to see. One only has to pop over to The Standard to view the archival films and documentary’s. And Keys mentioning of the selling off of SOE’s is still a major sticking point with the public.

        Another example is the TTPA itself – the epitome of the free trade issue – and the negative effect that will have on wages and conditions.

        Compared to the sheer fanaticism of the neo liberal implementation – and its ruthless dogmatism – it is sheer laziness and lack of conviction / cowardice on the behalf of those political leaders and party’s who believe neo liberalism is not in everyone’s best interest to then not have the boldness , courage and nous to set about a long term objective implementing by gradualism steps to dismantle the destruction that neo liberal policy’s have wrought.

        It took 32 years of neo liberalism to dismantle our social democracy – are we foolish enough to think it wouldn’t take an equal amount of time to restore what once was?

        As for this being ‘ a difficult pill to swallow’… so what? … so was neo liberalism. And they did it by constant mesmerizing dogma , slogans , lobbyists ( Business Roundtable etc ) and deceit / slanted and cherry picked statistics. Counting also the fact that 3 decades means children born throughout that period means they had no pint of reference. Keynesian economics and social democracy is unheard of to the current generations.

        Lest we forget … we are part of the 5 eyes spy network. The USA are hardly going to throw the baby out with the bathwater simply because we start making some structural changes to our economy. Nor will that affect trade.

        As for competing with Philipinos, Indians, Chinese – that is generally alluding to the big corporate’s – (usually foreign owned but not always ) so ask yourselves this : what benefit are they to the greater NZ population anyway?… many of them don’t even return sufficient tax , – yet they bleed this country dry with their price gouging.

        As for these corporate’s extracting profits which go out of this country – do we need them? Re nationalizing of our assets by increment over time would ( albeit at cost – cost incurred because of successive neo liberal govts ) ensure the profits remain in NZ – as they should have in the first place.

        The poverty and crisis this country is in now is a direct result of neo liberal ideology. Fact.

        If we continue to have merely varying degrees of neo liberal ideology in the leading party’s and supporting party’s then don’t expect any change. There wont be any.

        If there is no change to halt this process we will still have vast amounts of money travelling from these shores into the hands of foreign corporate’s. We will still see our social fabric and social services degraded. We will witness the futures of our children being jeopardized . We will have a constant pool of the working poor, those without homes, saddled with massive debt they cannot hope to repay, creation of a hierarchical class based system ( already has happened ) – in short – the gutting and impoverishment of a country that once was ranked one of the most wealthy per capita country’s globally.

        When viewed in that light… perhaps we can now see that ‘ crisis of epic proportions’ has already happened.

        • Yes yes yes and yes. And a thousand more.

          Just how could this country NOT benefit from tariffs?

          The other day I came across a Romanian website where Countdown were advertising for workers. ‘We’ll arrange your visa etc etc.” WTF!!

  5. Chris, the fact that a large proportion of the voting population have been blinded by their privileged positions to the degree that they have been “easily persuaded that they were living under a kinder, gentler National Party,” is the left’s problem in a nutshell. If those National voters can be so easily controlled, and most would be better off under a more progressive regime, how the heck are they going to react if Labour spell out that they’re going to take us back to pre-1980s levels of wealth distribution by making unions stronger – with all the propaganda ammunition that will provide to our mainstream media? More people are going to have to feel the pain before Labour moving to the left will be an attractive proposition to the voting majority – and by that stage people will be as likely to jump further to the right.

  6. Chris, the fact that a large proportion of the voting population have been blinded by their privileged positions to the degree that they have been “easily persuaded that they were living under a kinder, gentler National Party,” is the left’s problem in a nutshell. If those National voters can be so easily controlled, and most would be better off under a more progressive regime, how the heck are they going to react if Labour spell out that they’re going to take us back to pre-1980s levels of wealth distribution by making unions stronger – with all the propaganda ammunition that will provide to our mainstream media? More people are going to have to feel the pain before Labour moving to the left will be an attractive proposition to the voting majority – and by that stage people will be as likely to jump further to the right.

  7. Little’s convoluted calculation seems like desperation. In reality it is irrelevant and meaningless. NZ’s growth is generated by an increasingly diverse range of business types, including the self employed, and expecting some arbitrary proportion of that growth to be returned to wage earners as a select group shows an alarming ignorance of the economy.

    • Diverse it may be, irrelevant it most certainly is not.

      Sharing a realistic part of that wealth creation is the obligation on any employer whether of a large corporate or an employer with 10 workers.

      And the fact that some large NZ corporate’s have been enabled to ‘outsource’ by successive neo liberal free market ideologue’s doesn’t change the fact they are simply using that ‘out’ to relocate that labour to foreign sweatshops.

      For those businesses remaining here , however , – if they draw a profit from the labour they employ then the obligation is still on that employer to pay for services rendered with a realistic remuneration. Not some figure plucked from the sky that is calculated as the minimum a worker needs to feed, clothe their family’s with- but a realistic wage that not only keeps up with the cost of living but also one that means they can save.

      That is a basic tenet of fair business practice. If it is viewed any other way it is trying to get something for nothing, basically – holding out your hand for a free lunch. Others would call it an extension of the ‘corporate welfare ‘ culture that is now so prevalent in the year 2016 in NZ. Therefore one must ask… just how did conditions get like this?

      And a big part of this was the passing of the Employment Contracts Act.

      This set the tone for things to come.

      And devaluation of ‘labour’ – whether that labour is in the IT industry or simply digging ditches.

      Which brings us right back to having an administrative body with teeth that can ensure that exploitative situations such as we have now with the ‘ working poor’ are not allowed to develop.

      Otherwise – expect more people struggling to exist on minimum wages and living in cars on the street. Tangible evidence of the utter failure and deceptiveness of far right wing neo liberalism.

    • “and expecting some arbitrary proportion of that growth to be returned to wage earners as a select group shows an alarming ignorance of the economy”

      Really, maninthemiddle?? I think your comment shows your own alarming ignorance of the economy if you don’t comprehend that by not returning wealth (by way of higher wages) to workers means they can’t buy the goods and services created by their efforts.

      It alarms me that rightwingers like you don’t seem to grasp the fact that a low-wage economy is bad for business. (Unless you happen to be one of the One Percenters?)

  8. Ah ? Oh yes, they have.

    Our country’s chocked with fools educated beyond their intelligence. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the nightmarish cluster fuck that is our socio economic shambles.
    I say to those parasites; Don’t kill off your host. Otherwise, stupid, you go too.
    There is another answer to the seemingly insane greed and cruelties levelled at the most at risk which will cause a die back of the extremities.
    The plan might be to get in quick, rape and pillage an infrastructure built by a minority foreign exchange earner then get out with billions then leave others to mop up the mess.
    Did Andrew Little mention where our money might come from in order for it to then be tinkered with?
    Is it tourism? Cycle ways? Is it urban property? Is it film and television?
    What if Andrew Little had said: “ The Farmer and their down stream service industry must Unite collectively to protect NZ’s greatest asset, our ability to produce, and maintain that production of food and other agrarian products for export “ .
    The fact that he didn’t means he’s either stupid, ignorant or shit scared. My guess would be the latter. Someone should ask him?

  9. If nothing else Labour are learning. Setting a precise detailed game plan for Nationals well-funded researchers and liars to pick the bones of and counter it with…well, lies and half arsed plagiarism, at this stage of the electoral cycle is idiotic. Timing is everything!

  10. “Unfortunately, you won’t find the answer to this, or to any of the other questions raised here, in Andrew Little’s pre-Budget speech.”

    That is the observation I made, so it was somewhat disappointing, yet again, talk of more to come later, always later, and just before the election it will be far too late for most voters to understand what Labour’s plan and solutions are.

    And one more thing:
    ” Over the intervening eight years, that represents a loss for the average Kiwi family of $13,000 – or, roughly, $50.00 per week.”

    Somehow I do not quite follow this maths bit. 50 dollars by 52 weeks would add up to about 2,600 per annum for one earner, and if two partners in a Kiwi family earn, that would be double the amount, I presume (at best). Somehow that does not add up to 13,000 dollars, does it?

    And if it was to be over 8 years, it makes even less sense. Perhaps Monsieur Comrade Trotter can explain this to us.

  11. The government will be quaking with fear as Labour’s pre-budget platitudes-bribe-o-meter goes berserk. Andrew Little remains National’s most potent weapon.

        • Indeed! An A-BOMB-ination if ever there was one. I find some of these Natzis interesting from a sociological perspective. It seems one thing they’re lacking is a conscience, and I wonder why. It doesn’t matter if its Chris Finalyson (who was one a half-decent fellow – doncha know – even tho’ he’d not look out of place in Jack Boots), to that pathetic specimen that goes by the name of Nick Smith. All prepared to sell out whatever principles and experiences they may once have held for the sake of self-preservation and the dollar.
          Not exactly the characteristics one would want to adopt if they had a view to their long term survival – unless of course we continue to have a failed 4th Estate and a dumbed down population with the attention span of a flea.
          I wonder about their hero-worship of their Dear Leader, and how long it’ll be before they realise they’ve been conned, successively thrown under a bus, or assassinated by a smiling sociopath.
          So far all I’ve come up with is that there is an element of fear, a huge sprinkling of ambition, an equal part of inflated ego, an inability to see logic …….

          Harder they rise, the harder they fall – which is my biggest worry – because these things often end up with violent outcomes

    • Hi Jim. Pass on our best fraternal, socialist greetings to your colleagues in “Act on Campus”.

      There’s a good chap.

      Now go have a gingernut and lie down.

  12. 29 men died at Pike River. As a result, mild OSH reforms were proposed. These proposals were met with hysterical, nay fanatical, opposition from the boss class who only saw some sort of thin end of the wedge for workers to get better organised. If the death of 29 men cannot persuade the boss class to allow the mildest of workplace reform, then the scale of opposition to allowing workers stronger rights begins to become obvious.

  13. Other things Andrew Little has not said and will not say:

    1. International banks and corporations decide government policy.

    2. Present economic arrangements and social arrangements are unsustainable.

    3. The combination of Fractional Reserve Banking, charging of interest on money created out of thin air, overpopulation, overconsumption, energy depletion and Abrupt Climate Change will bring an end to present arrangements quite soon.

  14. And at the head of the class teaching the idiots they hand pick to run Government agencies is MBIE who as Chris effectively states, as “German-style “codetermination” MBIE is the mother of all Propaganda for Government and is quietly infiltrating all local Governance and think tanks focus groups to teach the Government doctrine.
    MBIE= Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment.

    We call it = Ministry of Bullies’ Intimidation & enforcement.

    This mob is at the heart of Government policy and propaganda, similar to Hitler’s own Joseph Goebbels 1932 agency “Ministry of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda”.

    http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=1579

    Yes Chris is 1000% right.

  15. How big was it in the days when New Zealand’s workplace legislation ensured that 50-60 percent of the workforce belonged to a trade union?

    IIRC, it was about 65 to 70% of GDP. It’s since dropped down to less than 50% while the worker participation has increased.

  16. Unions are dead, which means Labour’s funders don’t have a lot of money. As a result, Labour has two choices: fund itself with business money (like Clinton) or fund itself with small donations from everyday people (like Sanders).

    Andrew Little, like the Labour leaders before him, don’t have the guts to create a grassroots movement from below. They’d rather bow down to the rich so their party can stay economically sustainable.

    We on the left should stop voting for Labour until they return to their roots. When the Labour MPs return to our side in the class war, then we should reconsider them.

    NZ Labour are all Clintonites & Blairites. I’d vote for a Corbyn or a Sanders, but I have to go to the Greens or Mana for those policies…

    • Yes, Sanders shows us how it can and should be done!

      The over dependence on the teats of corporate wealth and other business donors is nothing short of selling your souls, I reckon.

      The unions did after the Employment Contracts Act was introduced by National enter a vicious downward cycle, losing members, as people were thinking they need to conform to survive, that is with individual employment contracts.

      That was a massive mistake, and it has led to what we now have, the weaker the unions became, due to fewer members and less funding, the more they tried to compromise and offer additional services like discounts for certain retail businesses and so.

      The only way to reverse this all is by getting members to join, to commit and pay a small fee every year, and then you may suddenly have millions of funds to use to fight an election and so forth.

  17. Chris, maybe Little could have just said ” John I take your 3 billion in tax cuts and raise you 5 billion”, would that have been suffice?
    Given that Labour promoted a living wage and National scoffed at the figures by suggesting Labour raises it to $100 an hour, what did you want Little to come out with?

  18. Identifying the fact that life isn’t fair is not a major intellectual challenge.

    The problems start with finding practical solutions to make it less unfair.

    So far, the ideology of socialism hasn’t come up with one. Instead it has just embedded a different set of bosses.

    It’s not a coincidence that the daughter of Hugo Chavez is now a billionaire and by far the richest person in what remains of Venezuela.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q

    • “by far the richest person in what remains of Venezuela”

      Reference please, or another one of your lies…

      And even if you did mistakenly say something truthful, it’s irrelevant.

      Chavez created a mild version of state socialism against imperialistic violence. I’m not a fan of Chavismo – too nationalistic for me, but it’s important to understand basic history Andrew. Venezuea is a colonial country and were backed into a corner due to more recent imperialism.

      Your ham-fisted analysis is boring Andrew. Bring back Gosman

      • L0L !!!… you’re very good , Fatty and I did read the link about the ‘ conservative Left’ you supplied … however… after self analysis… I still retain a nationalistic outlook tempered by ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’…

        In other words…don’t be a bastard.

        And though I retain a certain conservatism in some respects… it is as a kick back against globalist rapine … that the common people need to have unity to resist global centralized power structures…

        True freedom is self / national self determination. In all its colour and variance. Inasmuch…all are free to be unique. And to take pride in ones country , ones community , ones family and oneself.

        But never to the exclusion or prejudice of another.

    • Andrew, so now you’re saying you’re not allowed to be rich in Venezquela?? Man, get your ideology right! I can’t keep up with your flip-flopping!!

    • So tell us, Andrew, where the Global Financial Crisis started? Venezuela? Cuba? North Korea?

      Why, nooooo, I believe it was Wall Street, USA.

      Chew that one over as you have a cuppa tea and a lie down, you simplistic little man.

  19. You are right Chris to remark on how odd it is that the former leader of major trade union could so well expose how working people have been robbed and disempowered, but could not lay out some promised increase in trade union and worker rights that could redress that imbalance.

    And I would have thought that the primary of those rights would be the right working New Zealanders to collectively withdraw their labour, to strike. This right which is recognised as a human right in international law is currently so subscribed and constrained into such narrow confines by legislation as to be almost banned completely.

    But that is not the only thing that is missing from Andrew Little’s speech.

    (Or indeed, the Labour Party’s program for the up-coming election.)

    http://thestandard.org.nz/andrew-littles-pre-budget-speech-2/#comment-1178155

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