TDB Summer Election Special: What Labour Party MPs need to read today at their New Years Caucus


The pressure is now really on the Labour Party.

Which is weird and strange when you consider the Left’s greatest enemy, John Key, has mysteriously left with no real questions asked by the corporate mainstream media.

The real pressure comes on Labour because the assumption has been that National wins because of Key’s smile and wave, which is true.

So why are Labour floundering in the Polls?

There are plenty of reasons, but the biggest is the total lack of political vision Labour have been offering.

As Labour gather next week for their New Year caucus in Martinborough on Monday and Tuesday they need to read this story.

Labour’s simplification of message is valid enough – housing affordability, meaningless nothings   about education and health and a bit of good fashioned redneck baiting get tough on law and order crap.

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It has something for the actual voter (affordable housing), something for the unions (meaningless nothings about education and health) and National lite voters (more Police blah blah).

Minimising the platform is smart but it’s totally dead when it comes to exciting ideas.

How does any of what they have suggested impact that Gen Xer who doesn’t bother to vote or votes National?

Nothing, it does nothing.

There’s little point in chasing Millennial votes for Labour, because they are all going to the Greens, so Labour must play to their strengths with women voters, Maori voters, Pacific Island voters, Boomer voters and Gen X voters.

How do they do that?

They have to motivate hopeless voters who don’t believe in the system with hope.

Here are 5 policies Labour are free to steal for Andrew Little’s rebuild of the Civil Society:

5: 3 month Small Business Tax Amnesty

As the article points out, many Gen Xers were forced into being small businesses on contracts, and many former unionised workers suddenly had to become small businesses. If Labour came out and talked about a new deal with the people of NZ, starting with a small business tax amnesty for 3 moths that allows small and sole business owners (who make up the vast majority of businesses in NZ) to have past debts forgiven as long as they sign up to the new automated tax services offered by IRD so that they are paying their correct tax moving forward, then Labour party would immediately look like they are on the side of small business in a meaningful way.  If you ask most small business owners what their biggest fear is, it’s the IRD. Why should grotesquely high penalty rates designed for corporations be used against small business?

4: Student Debt Civil Rebate

We have a massive problem with student debt. It’s billions and billions that cripple Gen X and Millennials. Why not construct a new way for those to pay off that debt (at a Living Wage rate) while providing a massive new resource of volunteers for the many NGOs and Community groups we have? A Student Debt Civil Rebate would allow anyone with student debt to volunteer from a set list of Community Charities and the value of that volunteering be deducted from their loan. It would allow a huge influx of volunteers into out Civil Society while allowing tens of thousands of NZers to escape the debt trap of education.

3: Welfare Debt Civil Rebate

There are tens of thousands of beneficiaries who have been trapped by the Neoliberal Welfare State into debt using fraudulent and vicious means. Allow beneficiaries to work off the debt (at a Living Wage rate) they owe by working for Community Charities.

2: Artist and Volunteer Allowance

Instead of punishing people on a job seekers allowance which is purposely difficult and punitive, why not build towards a Universal Basic Income by having an Artists Allowance or Volunteers Allowance which is paid to budding artists and those without student loan debt or Government debt who work for NGOs? This would again help rebuild the social contract between the Crown and all NZers and it would provide a huge resource for those organisations that build civil society.

1: Reinstate Adult Education 

For many, adult education classes were some of the only social interactions they had. The National Government gutted Adult Education in their first term which stopped cooking classes, language classes, hobby classes and skills classes at all after hour Schools throughout NZ. In doing so, National cast aside the importance of people interacting while ups killing themselves by claiming the market could do that. Well, for the elderly, new migrants and lonely people, those Adult Education classes were the only way for them to interact. It is vital for the health of a society that lonely people have positive social interactions and leaving that to the market is just ludicrous.

Labour must do more than not offend people if they want to be the Government. They have to offer hope and vision, and while affordable housing, education/health blah blahs and  some tough on crime crap is all fine and dandy, it does nothing to inspire those living with the grim realities of debt and everyday life. These people are Labour’s people and at the moment, Labour is doing bugger all to truly appeal to them.

Look at how the supposed too radical policies of Corbyn are actually accepted by the majority.



  1. In short … economic policy need not to be tinkering around the edges. Need to hammer CGT, remove GST completely, need to introduce a serious Stamp Duty on every other home other than main residence, penalise LandBawankers, implement a decent UBI around the $28k mark. Introduce Tariffs and do away with subsidies …. then bring back a govt House Building programme. The likes of Fletchers can look after the private sector without govt subsidies because the private sector is the private sector. Grow the manufacturing base by using the revenues generated from the tariffs. Simple really.That’ll take care of all the above. Restructure the economy! Can be done by lunchtime!


    Firstly Labour need to place a sword in the ground stating to the NZ electorate that;


  3. Better still just wipe all student and beneficiary debt full stop.

    No mucking around it was a bullshit idea student loans and the like in the first place,

  4. “As Labour gather next week for their New Year caucus in Martinborough….”
    Well there’s a bloody surprise! How twee!
    They can sidle up to a few vintners (outsourcing their labour so they don’t have to worry about those pesky labour working conditions), and perhaps have a little soiree over a glass of Shard (at a very close relatives place).
    Gawd Strewth! Hillary… on High are you going to justify telling me to keep the faith? The bow’s getting pretty bloody threadbare and no amount of resin is going to be able to fake it.

  5. While labour’s poling has gone down to about 60% of it’s best, Labour’s membership has gone down to about 6% of what it once was. This reflects the fact that those supporters who took some interest in politics, enough to join a party have moved on or just given up in disgust. The remaining support is largely from a sector that takes no interest in current affairs , let alone politics , but turns up to vote out of habit (sometimes depending on the wether). These people are not sufficient to win an election; but neither are they going anywhere soon, and neither are they going to start thinking anytime soon. So a change of government depends on English blowing it.
    Cheers D J S

  6. The best thing that the Labour Party could do for the “left” and the country is disappear. It is full of Rogernomes and identity politics acolytes and little else.

  7. Ok. To be fair? I never read the above Post. I don’t care too is why.
    I will, however, put forward an opinion regarding its contents never the less.
    Here goes.
    The reason the Nats own us, and don’t care whether we like it or not, is because they have the money. Farmer money. Both historical and contemporary money. And they have a great deal of it. All tied up and tidied away, out of our sight and out of our minds.

    Labour do not have have the money because the NZ farmer has been sold the idea that United working urban class is despicable and not much more use than tits on a bull. And to be fair? They’re not. Sorry working class Kiwi fellas and shelias but the Chinese are cheaper and will work for peanuts in filthy and dangerous conditions, just to send Wong to a good Uni’ here.
    National blind the farmer with logical fallacies, lies, threats, deliberate constrictions of on-farm incomes and feed farmer flesh to the Banksters which is their pay off for the hoops the banks throw at farmers, especially when times threaten to become better.

    The reason Labour can’t, and never will, go anywhere near the farmer would be to risk the bullshit story that is our economy from coming out. One ought to remember that both National and Labour have had many flat feet in the export earned money trough so they must play tag team with National to keep the dubious status quo from imploding.

    Keep an eye on english and he’ll come away from the UK with amazing export deals.

    You’re all being played people.

    • “amazing export deals”.
      Possibly, but they’ll be all those amazing deals that don’t include people.
      As for people, there’ll be a one-sided deal that allows Brits (whose currency is 2-3 times the value of the NZ Dollar) to come here and drive up house prices, whilst giving NZers a pile of very smelly faeces in return.
      This is very reminiscent of the 1970s – if only because they’ll be allowed to run our public service (such as it is) in government administrative departments such as Police and that Joyce vanity project MoBIE, amongst others.
      High time we applied the same rules to the ‘International’. partners we want to trade (or shovel shit) with, as they apply to us …. be they Australians (with a lopsided system of welfare …. propped up by some romantic notion of an ‘ANZAC spirit’, the British … relying on (again) romantic notions of a failed Empire ….. or Chinese – who won’t allow me the priviledge of property purchase ….. or whom the fuck ever

      Queue: claims of racism, xenophobia, paranoia and any number of other labels

      • Teresa May…response to English in response to allowing kiwis into the U.K.

        “But it is also important here in the United Kingdom that we do ensure we have that control. We want to see net migration coming down because of the impact we feel it has on people here in the UK.”

        Yet in contrast, English as Key did before him, has no interest in having control on immigration, it is Nationals lifeline, whether it be the Brits or the Chinese.

        • New Zealand should be seriously looking at the Immigration Issue, however Winston and NZF are the only party prepared to address the issue and the NZ Media classify Winston Peters as a racist? Even Susan Devoy of the Race Relations Office is in agreement with the media?

  8. Labour need to stand up and take ownership for the disasterous decisions they made when Lange and Roger Douglas led us down the neoliberal economic pathway called Rogernomics for which he was knighted.

    This sell off of State Assets at bargain basement prices has left the NZ Government in a hole as we no longer own these dividend producing State Assets they are now owned by Offshore Investors who are reaping the benefits?

    The funds generated by the sale of State Assets was squandered by successive Labour & National Governments.

  9. Policy Idea 6.
    Financial Transaction Tax.

    From my understanding, this simple, fair form of taxation would generate sufficient income for the Govt to replace GST and Income tax. Would favour the poor over the wealthy and the corporations.

  10. Yes Andrew Little is a missing person at the moment, especially when the new PM should not be given any room to move. Were are you Andrew??

    Yes Labour don’t want to offend any one and yes the above list is a really good constructive critical list for Labour to take on board.

    But the monthly kick in of Labour is excellent and one a certain Chris Trotter so enjoys but only if you want National re-elected. Who the hell is so naive to think that the perfect Labour Party is about to explode on to the stage especially when I read the comments that describe about 10 different perfect Labour Party’s of which few will agree the other is right.

    Does anyone think National put their true agenda on the table for voters? Fuck off, no way would they have been elected if they said, we are selling off Air NZ, Electricity generators, we will slash funding to police, mental health services, education and the health system in general, setting up NZ as a tax haven, running a smear machine out of Keys office, selling state houses and running a welfare system that we know will put families on the street. Or by way of dividends draining Housing NZ of money or in essence bankrupting Solid Energy.

    Do you think telling the public the truth we are going open our borders to cheap labour to exploit to freeze wages and erode working conditions sounded better than the weasel worded “Flexible employment” shit Key trotted out? Or the byproduct of creating a housing shortage?

    Labour certainly are not perfect but to me they are pointed in the right direction and that is about as best as one can hope for in this world. And there is the distinct probability that what they say up front does not also mask similar anti National pro worker, pro family, pro collective, pro environment policy that would otherwise be untenable to our corporate media and therefore voters who have been fed a diet of neo lib policies for decades, if clearly spelt out.

    Personally I don’t want another minute of this destructive National government.

  11. Labour are on the wrong side of the class war – they’re a party for landlords before tenants.

    They can’t even have a decent policy taxing unearned wealth in the housing market while the housing crisis rages.

    What’s the point of red neoliberals for a few years?

  12. National are smart they don’t promote policies which are not going to get them elected, as soon as Labour announced CGT before last election they were history.

    Key and National sell the good oil like “tax cuts” etc and then do the opposite when they are elected, like “increasing gst”.

    Trump is a classic example he was voted in by the poor white vote in the Mid West. He told them what they wanted to hear, anti-Islam, anti-Mexicans, anti-Establishment, will he look after the poor in the USA?

    Baby Bush did the same thing by playing the anti-Abortion ticket/card.

  13. Don’t the latest opinion polls results just confirm that the Left have been suffering from KDS (Key Derangement Syndrome) all along?

    The consequence of which is that all their attacks on Key were a waste of time because he never was the issue.

    In fact Key was marginally Left by National Party standards. He retained most of Helegrad’s legislation including Working For Families and student loans. he was never the main issue.

    The thing Labour never attacked was its own incompetence:

    Lack of vision and leadership
    Union driven politics when only 15% of the workforce is in a union
    Policy statements that could be pulled apart by a schoolboy

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