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Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe

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  • Kumara Republic,

    I'm personally of the view that Cunliffe had his chance at the top job, and lost the bet. He'll be best re-purposed in his old stomping ground of ICT and/or Commerce.

    And regarding Grant Robertson's sexual orientation, it's hardly ever an issue for National MP Chris Finlayson, and both men aren't particularly flamboyant about it (think Julian Clary or Perez Hilton). Which leads me to suspect that doubts about Robertson's suitability because of his sexuality are being wilfully fomented by certain propagandistic quarters. I've met Robertson before, and I can safely say that none of the usual stereotypes apply. Especially when he's a fan of, IIRC, the Otago Highlanders.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Sacha,

    Exactly. And the complacent warriors of the soft left wonder why we’re concerned.

    Ditto again.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    .. if she wants it. The pressure is not fair if she isn’t ready, for the good of the Party. Think about it.

    I've got no great read on Jacinda. She does do well in Akl Central but can't yet win it, that's risky?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    Cunliffe was championed early on by Big Russ. He is a great wonk.

    He saw through telecommunications reform, which was a historic legislative achievement. He really had a grasp of the detail.

    I thought he was the best option when Shearer stepped down, but I can’t see any scenario involving his re-election as party leader which isn’t a complete disaster.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Robertson’s sexuality doesn’t really seem to me like the issue that could break the left. I don’t think that even the center right is as homophobic as that. The extreme right, sure, but they’re lost, and fuck them, I say. It could actually sit there as the one thing that nobody can slag off. It’s the one thing that any candidate will actually gain sympathy for, when ruthlessly attacked over it. It corners the bigots and begs them to shine the light on themselves.

    I've been thinking along the same lines, with the proviso that it's a big ask for Robertson's partner to have Slater et al sniffing around.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to BenWilson,

    If nothing else, instead of coming across as “smarmy with something to hide” he’s “open, honest and professional”. That’s as well-liked a combination in this country as the other is disliked.


    I've never personally met Cunliffe but I have attended a few public functions/lectures where he has attended. His demeanour left a lot to be desired and I can see why some label him as "smarmy".

    Robertson, OTOH, while certainly appearing confident has an image of someone willing to get stuck into electorate issues.

    I accept my impressions of both are based on a small amount of interaction but if voters' perceptions influence which circles they tick then it's a propos.

    And as for Robertson's sexual orientation, are there really that many social Neanderthals who consider this an issue?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines, with the proviso that it’s a big ask for Robertson’s partner to have Slater et al sniffing around.

    Would they really be that stupid, especially in the light of Dirty Politics? If people like Slater want influence, they will now have to prove some level of credibility. All he provides now is an echo chamber filled with the unpleasant sound of extremists self-pleasuring one another.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report

  • Timmy Hayward,

    Okay, so the contest is on and opinion here goes both ways with stronger support for Robertson.

    But who for Deputy - this is the opportunity for someone new isn't it? National effectively run a triumvirate with Key, English and Joyce.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 7 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    One sighs… fits all…?

    I can’t see any scenario involving his re-election as party leader which isn’t a complete disaster.

    Does that say more about him
    or the Labour people voting for him?

    Which entity has changed most from core ‘Labour Values’?

    Is it time to scrap the executive and start again from the electorate up ?
    Perhaps a ‘change places day’ just so the upper echelons all know what each others shoes, and paths, feel like… real world.

    They do have to please themselves before they can even start to please the rest of the country…

    As there is a great schism in this country already, why not embrace it and work with it…
    Two* Labour leaders, one each looking after and communicating the needs of Citizen NZ and Corporate NZ, but working together to ensure there is an NZ!

    it is effectively what is trying to happen now
    (ignoring the prevailing Pushmi-pullyu model)

    ;- )

    </simplistic world view>

    <edit> * Triumvirate could work as well!
    as pointed out above</edit>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Ian Dalziel,


    Do you imagine that Key has undergone some sort of rebirth towards centrist politics? IMO he's just as neoliberal as he always was, but he recognises that in ACT he would wield no power, while pretending to be centrist in National he can blame entreme stuff, such as privatisation of education, on ACT.

    The debate here is not about core Labour values, but about who has the charisma and intelligence to stop Key et al. from stuffing the country. Labour should stop arguing about factions and so called core values and focus on the crisis at hand and the need to find a leader who can recapture the treasury benches.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report

  • jh,

    John Mclenan

    "I find your society genuinely admirable in many ways. For example, I met Helen Clark while I was in Wellington. I was invited to her official residence, and waved in by a lone policeman who didn't even check who I was, then I had a barbecue with her. I congratulated her on the public's enlightened attitudes towards racial issues, but she disagreed. She said to me that New Zealand was really a very racist country, and she was determined to do everything she could as prime minister to change that. I thought that was a very bold, honest statement to make to a foreigner, and I really respected her for that."


    New Zealand has never been adverse to remaking itself in various ways during its relatively short life as a modern state. Whether it was the 1890s, the 1930s or the 1980s, far-reaching reforms have dramatically altered the institutions and policies of this society. The 1980s marked a range of changes – economic, social, cultural – as the country sought to re-align its geo-political connections and the domestic and international competitiveness of its economy. For most of the 1980s, the dominant cultural debates centred around national identity, and what might be labelled “post-colonialism”, or in During's (1985) terms, coming to know New Zealand in our terms, not those which originated with a colonial power. At the core of this re-assessment was an emergent biculturalism which involved placing indigeneity and the effects of colonialism on the tangata whenua as a key consideration of political and policy development from the 1970s, and more particularly from 1985. Whether it was the delivery of Maori-sensitive
    welfare and economic policy, increasing the awareness of the impact of colonialism both in an historical as well as a contemporary sense, or Treaty settlements, there was a significant re-orientation of public perception and practice. It also involved inviting others, notably Pakeha, to explore their own post-colonial identity (Spoonley, 1995). But almost simultaneously, decisions were being made about New Zealand's immigration policies that were to have far reaching consequences for the cultural politics of New Zealand, although it was to be almost a decade before there was an awareness of what exactly this meant. Those decisions about immigration that saw policy altered from 1986
    onwards have remade the cultural mix of New Zealand and have added a new layer to the evolving imagery and policy concerns of this country.

    Actually NZr's an no more or no less racist that the other human animals.

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report

  • jh,

    2.3 Changing policy expectations
    While useful, models do not capture all the effects policymakers expect from immigration.
    When New Zealand moved to increase the numbers and skills of immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s, policymakers appear to have considered that these changes had the potential to have major beneficial impacts on the New Zealand economy, reinforcing the gains from
    the other liberalising and deregulating economic reforms undertaken during that period.
    At that time, it was considered that skills-focused inward migration could: improve growth by bringing in better quality human capital and addressing skills shortages; improve international connections and boost trade; help mitigate the effects of population ageing; and have beneficial effects on fiscal balance. As well as “replacing” departing New Zealanders and providing particular help with staffing public services (for example, medical professionals), it was believed that migration flows could be managed so as to
    avoid possible detrimental effects (such as congestion or poorer economic prospects) for existing New Zealanders.

    Since then, New Zealand has had substantial gross and net immigration, which has been relatively skill-focused by international standards. However, New Zealand’s economic performance has not been transformed. Growth in GDP per capita has been relatively lacklustre, with no progress in closing income gaps with the rest of the advanced world, and productivity performance has been poor. It may be that initial expectations about the potential positive net benefits of immigration were too high.

    Based on a large body of new research evidence and practical experience, the consensus among policymakers now is that other factors are more important for per capita growth

    The Savings Working Group are blunter

    “The big adverse gap in productivity between New Zealand and other countries opened up from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The policy choice that increased immigration – given the number of employers increasingly unable to pay First-World wages to the existing population and all the capital requirements that increasing populations involve – looks likely to have worked almost directly against the adjustment New Zealand needed to make and it might have been better off with a lower rate of net immigration. This adjustment would have involved a lower real interest rate (and cost of capital) and a lower real exchange rate, meaning a more favourable environment for raising the low level of productive capital per worker and labour productivity. The low level of capital per worker is a striking symptom of New Zealand’s economic challenge.


    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report

  • WH,

    After three misses in a row, it's hard to take the alleged pros and cons of the prospective leaders seriously. It feels like new wrapping for the same old fish and chips.

    Choose whoever you want, but find a way to make it work.

    Labour needs to build something, to have its members gather momentum from each others' efforts. The regularity and tone of these leadership contests is not helping.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines, with the proviso that it’s a big ask for Robertson’s partner to have Slater et al sniffing around.

    Would they really be that stupid, especially in the light of Dirty Politics?

    Slater et al have no 'moral' position on anything. They'll smear someone for being homophobic if they sense it will aid their agenda. Whoever the next opposition leader turns out to be, their partner will be scrutinised for vulnerabilities by these ratbags.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • jh,

    Tony Alexander's view on house prices

    In BNZ Chief Economist Tony Alexander's weekly overview, Auckland house prices are set to move upwards nicely. Here are his 19 reasons why:
    1. Auckland did not enter the 2008 recession then late-2008 into 2009 global financial crisis with an over-supply of property. Shortages of personnel constrained house construction from 2004 through 2008.
    2. The shortage has become worse in the past four years and last year annual consent numbers were at a four decade low.
    4. The government is explicitly aiming to grow Auckland’s population as a means of achieving “agglomeration” benefits for economic growth which accrue from high interaction amongst economic players.
    9. A big fall in apprentice numbers in the past five years coupled with the loss of skilled people to Australia and older tradespeople leaving the sector rather than get licensed means labour-related construction costs will rise and labour will not be available to build houses even were more land available.
    13. The migration cycle appears to be on the cusp of turning and if the housing market has performed so well with net outflows over 3,000 in the past year the implications of positive gains are clear.
    14. The nature of net inward migration is changing toward greater numbers of people coming from Asia and with Asia’s middle class booming in size potential inflows of wealthier people are large.
    17. The government has announced its efforts to improve housing affordability (lower prices) and they are minor and unlikely to have a noticeable impact if any for many years.
    18. Any credibility people may have assigned to those who have been predicting big price declines simply because prices have risen a long way and now fallen sharply in some other countries has gone out the window. Few people will now listen to their price decline views.
    19. Members of the Opposition believe monetary fairies can make the exchange rate settle permanently lower by forcing interest rate cuts and printing money while letting inflation therefore go up. Given the non-zero possibility that such economically ignorant policies get introduced it is worth getting inflation protection by investing more in property – not less.


    and the response from the opposition was.....?
    [ squeak ]

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Slater et al have no ‘moral’ position on anything. They’ll smear someone for being homophobic if they sense it will aid their agenda. Whoever the next opposition leader turns out to be, their partner will be scrutinised for vulnerabilities by these ratbags.


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • jh,

    Key on a roll. Speaking to John Campbell:

    What do you want to be remembered for?”
    “Going back to that main point I think it was Muldoon who famously said “I want to leave the country in no worse condition than I found it”.
    “Isn’t that a low ambition?”
    “Yes I want to leave the country in better condition than I found it and if theres something (I genuinely beleive) It would be lifting our confidence to a certain degree about how we see our selves in the world and what we think we are capable of achieving. Now I think individually there is masses of ambition that sits out there there but can we actually take that and convert that to take the opportunity .
    And I always thought what was happening in the opposition of politics (of course they would oppose National, that’s their job actually apart from everything else) but it was a bit negative about out place in the world. So we played a bit about whether people coming here was a good or bad thing whether people should invest here was a good or bad thing, or whether we have a trade agreement with parts of Asia was a good or bad thing, but actually in my mind, the reason that I want to say yes to those things is because they are the opportunities that reflect our opportunities to both get wealthier (which is all about what you can do with that money) and then ultimately the oppurtunities for Kiwis. I’d like New Zealanders to feel (after my time as Prime Minister) they have become more confident outward looking nation more multicultural.

    Throw the country to the lions for property investors and developers. Key takes a pass from Conell Townsend runs down the left side where the defence is off having a change of bra.

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Bizarre Radio NZ headine on James Morning Report appearance.

    Failed Labour candidate James Dann threatens to quit a David Cunliffe-led party

    "Failed" meaning, presumably, "didn't win Ilam". Just like everyone other than Gerry Brownlee has not won Ilam in the electorate's entire history.

    "Threatens" in this context also appears to mean " says he will".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And isn't Josie Pagani a failed Labour candidate? And Paul Henry a failed National one? Doesn't seem they get labelled as such when they spray their views across different media.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Mr Mark, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    There's still a contradiction at the heart of what you and Keir Leslie are arguing, Stephen.

    Essentially, you, Keir and James are suggesting that, on the one hand, countless numbers of life-long Labour voters in Ilam have told you that, for the first time ever, they won't be Party-Voting Labour because they just can't stand Cunliffe. That implies that they were all still Party-Voting Labour in 2011 when the Party was led by Goff.

    But then, on the other hand, you're suggesting that Labour's 2014 Party-Vote in Ilam is only very slightly down. Indeed, you yourself, Stephen, are now suggesting that once the Specials are counted, "we'll probably equal 2011". Which I'd have to agree with, assuming the Specials fall in the same pattern they did last time.

    There's no logic there.

    How can Labour lose countless numbers of Party-Votes in Ilam (compared to 2011) from dyed-in-the-wool Labourites who just can't bring themselves to vote for a Cunliffe-led Party and yet also maintain their Party-Vote share ? You've suggested it didn't come from increased turnout. The only possible answer is that either: (1) Anti-Cunliffe former Labour voters weren't all that heavy on the ground after all or that (2) they were compensated for by a whole swathe of voters who have swung to Labour since 2011 and don't seem to have too much of a problem with Cunliffe at all.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report

  • izogi, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Slater et al have no ‘moral’ position on anything.

    Also keeping in mind that this is a guy who proudly stated, on the record, as being the person whose role in politics is “smashing your face into the ground”.

    As long as he remains an outlet for his political links, he’s going to retain the attention he has.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    It needed to be Party vote Labour to have enabled any change.

    Not true. Voting for any party prepared to be part of a left coalition would have done.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Mr Mark, in reply to Mr Mark,

    Although I guess the third option would be 2011 National voters (and perhaps voters for various other parties) moving into non-voting in 2014 at a higher rate than 2011 Labour supporters.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report

  • philg,

    Cunliffe is not perfect, but has had popular grass roots support. The issue is far larger and more complex than removing Cunliffe. A reworking of Cunliffe, as leader, and the Party is needed. A more inclusive party, including the missing one million voters, is one of the main issues. Whether the party is labelled ‘left’ or ‘centre left’ is not helpful if the party is to progress.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2011 • 7 posts Report

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to izogi,

    As long as he remains an outlet for his political links, he’s going to retain the attention he has.

    I agree that he is singularly lacking in morals but surely the Nats would see him as too exposed now. Isn't the whole point of attack politics some attempt to distance the political machinery from the attack dog? Given that the link has been clearly made, National should be running a mile from him. Anyone who allows themselves to be tainted by association with Slater will face considerable derision and criticism, the Nats feeling bullet-proof now notwithstanding. And the MSM, are they going to want to associate with him anymore, especially after his attempt to sue a large part of it?

    He's going to carry on his angry crusade against anything that doesn't gel with his warped view of the world, and that may well include smears against the partner of whoever is the next Labour leader. But will it have traction? You think he could ever get another look in for a Canon again (much as I doubt the standards applied previously, his toxicity would taint the award and the judge)?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report

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