Brian Edwards Media

On David Cunliffe, the political divide and why I’m still wondering.

Waitakere News

If you got out of bed early enough on Saturday or Sunday to watch TV3’s The Nation or its counterpart on TV1 Q & A, you might have noticed something interesting: No Labour Party spokesperson appeared on either of television’s principal forums for political analysis and debate. The Nation had SOE Minister Tony Ryall being cross-examined on asset sales by Duncan Garner; Q & A’s Paul Holmes looked at where the economy is or should be heading  with the Greens’ Russel Norman and  New Zealand First’s Winston Peters. The two  are increasingly filling the media space left by Labour as the official Opposition.

The absence of anyone from Labour on The Nation was explained by Garner at the very start of the show. The programme had invited Labour’s Spokesperson for Economic Development and Associate Finance Spokesperson, David Cunliffe, to discuss more or less the same things that Norman and Peters were discussing on Q & A – the future direction of the economy. Cunliffe was happy to appear but, conscious of the current sensitivities in the parliamentary party over Labour’s leadership, sought an assurance that that topic would not be canvassed in the interview. He received that assurance in writing from Executive Producer Richard Harman and Garner himself. 

Despite those assurances, Cunliffe’s appearance was later vetoed by what Garner called Labour’s ‘top team’ which he defined as ‘David Shearer and the media team’. The reason given was apparently that the ‘top team’ didn’t want anything to distract from Finance Spokesman David Parker so close to the Budget.

But the real reason was the party’s reaction to a ‘positioning’  speech given by Cunliffe to the New Lynn Women’s Branch of the Labour Party on 29 April. Judy and I both considered the speech brilliant, as did many other commentators from both sides of the political divide. As it happens, and if I read it properly, it was the political divide that the speech was actually all about.

The conventional political wisdom these days seems to be that, if it is to win the next election, Labour has to ‘move to the centre’. But if you’re on the left, the only direction in which you can move closer to the centre is to the right. Logic tells you that that can only result in loss of differentiation between you and your political opponents and an at least partial loss of your identity – in this case, what Labour stands for.

There is an inherent dishonesty in this approach which involves pretending to be something you aren’t in order to gain the power to reveal who you really are. But that of course is commonplace in politics.  

Anyway, ‘the top team’ didn’t like Cunliffe’s brilliant speech and he was apparently bawled out by Shearer and others and told the  speech was’ naive and stupid.’ That tends to be the price you pay for idealism. And, according to the extremely  well informed Duncan Garner, the  price may be high for Cunliffe who has been ‘put in his place, somewhere down the bottom of the pecking order’.

This is so utterly stupid that it beggars belief. Cunliffe is not only intellectually brilliant, he is by far Labour’s most accomplished debater in the House and on television and radio.  No-one in the Labour Party can hold a candle to him as a media spokesperson. Stammering and stuttering seem to be the main criteria for that at present.

I’ve written two major posts on Labour in recent months. The first was before the leadership vote and headed Shearer or Cunliffe? Why I’ve changed my mind. The second began, ‘I find myself wondering whether I want to be bothered with the Labour Party any more.’ It was more or less about the sort of things David Cunliffe was talking about in his speech to the Labour ladies of New Lynn.

I’m still wondering.

Finally, given the paranoia that clearly surrounds Cunliffe in the Labour Caucus, I should perhaps add that nothing in this post came from him.

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  1. Well said Brian. My reading of the speech to the Women’s Branch of New Lynn Labour was the same as yours. A thoughtful and yet passionate case for true Labour values. As one on the left I would have no desire to work for the election of National Lite.

  2. Looks like some people know exactly whats going on.

  3. …yeah good one Brian, I have a lot of time for Cunliffe and he should be at the helm…

  4. but Cunliffe didn’t win, because the people who know him best didn’t choose him. Seems to me that Brian Edwards spends more time criticising Labour than attacking the Nats these days. Come 2014 there will only be two possible outcomes: A Nat-led govt or a Labour-led one. That ought to concentrate our minds, not nitpicking.

    BE: “Seems to me that Brian Edwards spends more time criticising Labour than attacking the Nats these days.” Really? You obviously don’t listen to Jim Mora or watch The Nation or even, apparently, read the posts on this site.’ I suggest you type ‘Key’ in the search box and see what you come up with. And why shouldn’t I criticise both Labour and National? I don’t belong to either party and am not an apologist for either. If you’re a Labour supporter, you should recognise the stupidity of effectively vetoing an appearance by one of your senior spokespeople on a current affairs programme. You can’t keep that sort of thing secret and it’s a real bad look when it inevitably gets out.

  5. 5

    I am incandescent with rage that Cunliffe could have been “bawled out” for that speech. Each & every member of the NZ Labour Party ought to put their signature at the bottom of that speech immediately, or be ordered to pick up their carpet & bagger off!

  6. @deemac: Some people may want the assurance that a Labour-led government will be Labour in more than just name. And ‘the top team’ seem to be rather coy about offering such an assurance.

  7. Maybe if your ‘political love interest’ had played by the rules, those he insists others adhere to, and consulted with his finance team colleagues before he dropped the speech, which set new policy, to the “ladies of New Lynn” and a few hand picked invited commentators, he would have been spared the ignominy of being pulled up for it? Reminds me of the type of behaviour we used to see from old Roger Douglas when he was undermining and white anting Lange. You must remember it too, Brian.

    BE: “political love interest” Don’t understand the reference. Perhaps you could explain. And at the same time “and a few hand-picked invited commentators.” Have you read the speech? And if you’re a Labour supporter, what did you find objectionable in it?

  8. I’m feeling the same- walking away from Labour, baffled by the idiocy of and incompetency of their ‘top team’.
    And Tom- how on earth did you get from “I want to be clear from the outset that this speech represents my own views and does not pretend to represent overall Labour policy” (Cunliffe in the speech you refer to) to ‘he dropped the speech, which set new policy’?
    Not via the conventional route, I’d wager :)

  9. This is so utterly stupid that it beggars belief.

    But in your heart of hearts does it really beggar belief, or is it unfortunately entirely predictable?

  10. So if David Shearer doesn’t prove to be a leader, who would replace him? David Cunliffe is a good performer in the house, is a family man and has to be a whole lot more electable than Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson or David Parker. I don’t imagine that David Shearer sleeps too well knowing that Mallard and Robertson are right behind him.

  11. It shows the level to which political rhetoric has descended if that speech is considered ‘brilliant’.

    It was a basic Labour tub thumping speech, all the usual villains and heroes stereotypes laid out, ending with a ‘Godzone’ cliche. It blamed the Lange Govt for Labour’s errors, conveniently brushing over the Clark govt’s continuation of most of them, and offered nothing concrete or different in terms of a way forward just ‘regulation is good…sometimes’. It’s intellectual highlight was quoting Bernard Hickey for crying out loud.

    The fact it is being described as brilliant is probably more to do with Labour supporters’ desperation for anything (please, anything!) to be said by one of its leaders that concretely reflects some form of traditional left values, and so fill the space Shearer has failed to occupy with his vague feel-good efforts.

  12. After the disgraceful, petty way his party has treated him, Cunliffe could be forgiven for giving up on politics and going off somewhere where his talents would be appropriately rewarded. It says a lot for him that he hasn’t done so and shows no sign of so doing. Labour needs to get over its pathetic little ego problems, give Cunliffe the top slot and then get in loyally behind him. If they did that, they might get my vote.

  13. 13

    I guess Labour has to decide whether it wants to fill a political hard left niche or be a broad church Government.

    My opinion, and I freely acknowledge how little it is worth on this subject, is that Cunliffe is unelectable but Shearer is not. I’m open to changing my mind on both counts.

  14. 14

    Raymond A Francis

    And just now on TV3 we have two clips, in one Mr Shearer says it was Cuncliffe’s decision to not show, then Cuncliffe saying it was a joint decision by the top team
    Someone is lying and quite frankly this looks bad for Labour
    If they can’t get this sort of thing right how/why should we trust them to run the country

  15. DC is by far far the stand out performer for Labour and has been for the last 3 years while the rest of them were totally asleep on the job.
    The caucus made a self interested decision on Shearer which wasn’t in the interest of the labour party, they no doubt feared that DC would demand they stepped up to the plate and earned their salary rather than taking the laid back Shearer easy life option. Where is Dyson, Street,Mahuta,Horimia and the rest of the senior Labour people ? Easy life under Shearer is better than a demanding one under Cunliffe.

  16. If rank and file Labour Party members don’t develop a cohesive united team in the next year or so, and can present this to the wider voting public,middle New Zealand will re-elect a centre right government for a 3rd term. God help our nation as we know it if National and their big business partners were to return as government in 2014. National and its centre right partners, Maori, Act and United Future (whatever they stand for) have chipped away at workers and students and a 3rd term would mean more trickle down rubbish economic theory and privatisation ideology. Personally I dont care who leads the Labour Party, although Shearers background of negotiation and compromise doesn’t appear to lend itself as a leader prepared to go for the oppositions jugular.

  17. New light on this on TV3 news tonight. They have continued the same “Row/muzzled” line, and there is a bit of dispute over who made the decision Cunliffe wouldn’t appear on The Nation – but something that had puzzled me was clarified:

    “But Mr Cunliffe says he has to run it by the ‘Labour’s media and top team’. He did and by Thursday last week – they stopped him appearing, saying David Parker was the man to speak to about Budget and economic issues.”

    So why didn’t The Nation interview Parker? Not doing so lends a suspiscion TV3 had a story to run that Parker didn’t fit.

  18. Labour is doomed under Shearer. There is something about Parker that is unelectable. Cunliffe is a bit baby-faced but ultimately is the only electable one of the lot. Question is, Labour as a party, and as individuals, doesn’t want to hear the very real fact that Labour is not as influential as it once was on the so-called “left”, and therefore is doomed to only wanting to hear potential leaders who promise to restore the glory. Well, the Greens appeal to a wide range of voters – especially younger voters – and they “get” technology and strategic positioning like no other party. I don’t think that is anything that the current Labour party is culturally capable of in anything but a superficial “of course we know that stuff … don’t be silly!” sense.

  19. 19

    Cunliffe’s speech was a breath oh honest clean clear air to this disillusioned ex LP member.

    If Shearer and his supporters have attacked Cunliffe for this speech they have signed the death warrant for a fair and just country. We will end up as a Wall Street toy run by Wall Street puppets (which is what Key is).

    Apparently this is the vision that the LP Caucus has for us.

    I am thinking I emigrate to Brazil.

  20. This sort of talk is remarkably destabilising for the Labour Party. IMO Cunliffe needs to make an unequivocal statement of support for his leader.

    Historically the Labour Party does not change leaders lightly or often. Shearer is the leader, and the sooner everybody accepts that the better for the party. If Cunliffe does not accept that he should probably be demoted and shunned.

    In the meantime everybody talking up a Cunliffe coup is kneecapping the very objective that they are seeking – a Labour Party PM at the next election. A lack of discipline is what has weakened the Labour Party since the departure of the 2Hs. It is past time for discipline to be restored to the core of the party.

    At present the election is Labour’s to lose. For some reason a bunch of people seem to be very keen on doing just that.

  21. Addendum: by “strategic positioning” I don’t mean internal NZ political manoeuvring, I mean NZ’s place in the world.

  22. Tom – you said: Maybe if [Cunliffe] …played by the rules…before he dropped the speech, which set new policy…he would have been spared the ignominy of being pulled up for it?

    I’m sorry but I can’t see doing your job as a spokesperson and MP as being out of line. And wasn’t it Shearer who made up policy on the hoof over the Cullen fund and didn’t consult caucus?

    And of course, now that he does consult TV3 tells us he was muzzled frm going on – how does that help get Labour’s message out in the pre-Budget week?

  23. I saw the Duncan Garner piece on TV3 this evening and thought he was making more out of this than he needs to. Firstly Cunliffe is not the Finance spokesperson for Labour. The discussion being had might have sounded like “economic development” but inevitably it would come back to the Finance portfolio and neither Garner nor Cunliffe could resist the urge to expound on that subject.

    Secondly Cunliffe is supposed to be part of a team and he can’t go off making speeches which undermine the team. that’s called playing by the rules. If you break the rules expect to have them re-emphasised to you. If you’re transgressing the group then you get told off in front of the group.

    Thirdly it looks to me as if Shearer has taken a leaf out of your media advice kit, Brian, by steering the debate along the lines he wants it to go and not how TV3 tries to dictate it. Garner is yet again trying to create a story where there is none. Maybe he should pass the baton to Guyon Espiner ASAP as he’s doing a marginally better job of reporting the stories.

    Lastly, every time we hear a story such as is being created here and on TV3 you see Russell Norman popping up. Are the Greens and their backers that desperate to raise Norman’s profile that they’ll risk having a prominent seat at the table in the next Labour led govt just to stick it to Shearer?

  24. Good blog and I’m particularly impressed by the high standard of comments. I agree with Pondering Still in particular…

    Cunliffe is clearly the best debater and speaker in Labour, and if the ‘top team’ actually wants to win the next election they ought to be using Cunliffe either as leader or as number one attack dog and finance spokesperson. I’m not sure if it’s for personal or philosophical reasons that they’re holding back Cunliffe, but it looks suspiciously like they’re more committed to preventing traditional Labour policy from returning than they are to winning the next election. The Labour leadership has barely moved on from Douglas if they’d rather have Key than Cunliffe.

  25. Lookit all the sockpuppets for Labour Party hacks crawling from under their rocks to sling mud at Cunliffe for having the gall to speak to traditional labour issues.

    If this thread is anything to go by, Labour hacks think nothing of calling one of their own, a traitor, a liar, even comparing him to Roger Douglas. A risky call as it is whatshisname, the leader, who is doin the Roger Douglas.

    That is pretending to adopt a humanist brand while turning the clock back to pre-Labour anti-humanist policies. Policies that the party purpoting to be to the right of them, the nats wouldn’t dare attempt.

    Trouble for these sock-puppets and the MP’s they speak for; those wannabe private enterprise millionaires angling for post parliamentary pay-offs (a la Mike Moore), voters aren’t as naive as they once were.

    I don’t have a lot of time for Cunliffe, but that is only because of the company he keeps, the parliamentary labour party, a one time humanist political movement that ‘jumped the shark’ more than half a century ago.
    However if the Labour Party screws down on Cunliffe it can only be good for NZ voters who are now sufficiently knowledgeable to see through washisname’s swill.
    Humanist voters will take their vote elsewhere. In doing so, they’ll precipitate the official death of a political movement that was killed off a long time ago by the same hubris-sodden, egocentric greed & mendacity we are witnessing in their treatment of Cunliffe.

  26. Giving speeches in the Electorate to any size audience is one of the basic tasks any and every MP should fulfill.
    Giving speeches that cause for many people to think, debate, argue and slag is what every MP dreams about.
    Cunliffe achieved what most MPs only fantasise about.

  27. 27

    Upon reflection, I’m now willing to back whichever one first promises to cancel this bozos citizenship:

  28. can only agree with you Brian – I am turning 70 this year and quite honestly I am beginning to despair of Labour ever returning to power in my remaining lifetime

  29. Labour appear determined to shoot themselves in the foot at every possible opportunity.If at the moment you are unable to score a goal at least make sure you don’t score an own goal. Joyce and his cohorts must smile while witnessing these amateur hour theatrics.

  30. And while Labour runs around in circles worrying over which David should be leader the political landscape is changing , the rise of the greens – Russel Norman making intelligent comment on economics, NZ First – yes they do have a support base, The new christian conservatives – yes they will get past 4% . Where is Labour in all this ?
    I’m not sure it’s a leadership issue rather more one of party organization.

  31. 31


    The invite wasn’t for David Parker – it was for Cunliffe. Parker is coming on next week’s 3 News Budget Special and also on The Nation’s Budget Special two days later. That’s why we invited Cunliffe on. Parker is already booked to come in. Twice. In the end Tony Ryall was on our show and Peters and Norman on Q n A. Where was the Labour representative? They need to do better than this. In my view Cunliffe wanted to come on. He was gagged.


  32. Oh come on Duncan, you and Harman wanted Cunliffe on to make mischief for Labour to even things up. And since when did a ‘written assurances’ that a question would not be asked actually stop you asking it? That’s your job, and you are very good at it. The real risk was that Cunliffe would answer it. If it was my call, I would have pulled him too. He had already proven to his caucus colleagues and his leader that his word is a ‘flexible’ concept.

  33. Thanks Duncan, that clarifies it quite a bit.

    But the answer to “Where was the Labour representative?” was still a dual responsibility, Labour chose not to put Cunliffe there, and TV3 chose not to put anyone else from Labour there.

  34. The dual responsibility idea only works if you think that TV3 has a duty not to expose dissent within a political party.

  35. Maybe there is more to being a leader than a great mind and debating skills. The population that labour may be targetting may not be one that values intellect and middle class values. When I first went to a labour party meeting in the 80s it was obvious that the old working class labour was being replaced by a more intellectual bunch. That situation seems to have got worse along with the increasing underclass in our society -maybe there is food for thought there. David Shearer has been in the job a short while. If he is spending time getting the trust of the disenfranchised then, although not yet being the actor some commentators want in parliament, he may be quietly putting the labour back into labour. NZ inc. Is not going to be changed by him in the next three years, it will be, if by being able to relate to and understand those issues and people others at present don’t want to countenance.

  36. Its time for Cunliffe to leave and form a left wing grouping of the Labour party.It mightnt have been a great career move for Jim Anderton but at least he stood for his principles.

  37. Well said Pete George and Tom. The salient three words from Duncan’s post are “in my opinion” and that’s just what this talk of gagging is all about, his opinion. Shearer is obviously not the novice puppet the media thought he was and appears to be bringing some discipline back à la the Clark years. After the fiasco of the last 4 years of episodes such as Chris Carter et al someone needs to bring these rogues to heel. I and others who are not “sockpuppets”, have no problem with the Labour Leader’s strong stand to rein in wayward MP’s.

  38. One problem Kev. If you are referring to Cunliffe, he has done nothing wayward. He made a thoughtful, reflective speech to his own constituents and supporters. That is his prerogative as an MP. He also made it clear they were his opinions. He never sought an invite to appear on The Nation, he was asked. He did the right thing and ran it past the senior media team attched to Shearer’s office. For reasons only known to themselves, the invite was declined.

    What is of greater concern is that there appears to be a Labour MP (or maybe two or three of them) who is leaking confidential caucus info. to the media – in this case Duncan Garner. In doing so, this person (persons) is undermining the integrity of the parliamentary Labour Party. In my view, that is the real crime!

  39. Shearer done good bringing this marauding malcontent to heel. A loose canon is one thing, but Cunning Cunliffe is wild buckshot spray.

  40. @Richard
    “I’m not sure it’s a leadership issue rather more one of party organization.”

    I’m sure you can be sure on that one.

  41. It took me a while to come around to Brian’s point of view, but I do believe that Cunliffe is the only option Labour has. I am a Labour Party member, and seeing Shearer, stuttering, stammering and limp along the way does the party no good. And Grant Robertson, is not a man I would like as deputy, he is a buffoon. Additionally, I don’t like to say it, but there is no way a National Party voter would cross over to the Opposition and vote for an openly gay leader. Mr Cunliffe, is smart, intelligent, reliable and dependable. He has the passion and drive to be leader. And as Mr Edwards was saying, a leader doesn’t have to be nice, or liked. They have to be respected. I do not respect Mr Shearer, I do Mr Cunliffe however. I know one thing for sure, if the ABC team oust Cunliffe from politics all together, I will be quitting my membership. And so too many other members as well I believe. And it will be just a party full of minority lefty self-interest groups, and the working man will be a long forgotten book end.

  42. 42

    Lucy Telfar Barnard

    I really don’t understand the comments about the need for discipline, and party loyalty, and bringing Cunliffe “to heel” and similar. It seems to me that a large part of the appeal of the Greens is that their MPs come across as real people. When a Green MP makes a speech, you get the sense they are saying what they really think, rather than reading from some carefully focus-group tested and well-rehearsed script. Both Labour and National, on the other hand, remind me of that old Michael Hill jeweller advertisement – cardboard cut-outs opening and shutting their mouths on cue, with a scripted voiceover. I am entirely sick of it. I want to be able to tell that an MP’s response to an issue is based on strong principle, on what they actually believe, rather than what they think other people want to hear or what the party’s told them they should think. Sure, they should know what the party policy is, and say what it is, but they should also be able to say if there are bits of it that they accept because that’s the compromise that’s been reached, although their personal opinion is actually x instead.

    An approach based on principle and allowing people to say what they actually think shouldn’t need “caucus discipline” or “party loyalty”, because it would have to include an acceptance that people may have different views on some issues. They’d still work together because of their shared principles, and would work through occasions where different views pose challenges, but they wouldn’t try to prevent discussion or dissent. That’s called fascism.

    As to the next election – it may be idealist of me, but I would rather Labour lost on its principles, than won by being better at playing the stupid game.

  43. @lucy telfar barnard and @luke. Please keep the faith. You are good people. We need you.

    I do not think the situation will get so bad that we will have a split or that we need to loose again to cleanse the party of destructive ABC type fools. There is time for Shearer to see the light. There is time for him to take personal control of the power leavers of his office and the party. He will see that Trevorism is now poison to party unity. Shearer has yet to shift and remould his Party Leader environment from being a continuum of the Goff regime. There is time to stop the strategies that failed under Goff and to encourage his senior team to make their voices heard around the country. There is time for the senior team to take the fight to National.
    But there is not a lot of time, David.

  44. Billy, re :”@lucy telfar barnard and @luke. Please keep the faith.”

    How can you expect them to keep the faith, when Labour is widely regarded as irredeemably hopeless.

  45. Somehow it isn’t Lange vs Douglas, but all the same, the last thing Labour needs is petty Peoples Front of Judeaism. Unless my inner tinfoil hatter is right and there’s a mole operating from within.

    I suspect it’s part and parcel of searching for a new identity. Should Labour swing left and risk alienating ‘Waitakere Man’, NZ’s supposed answer to Essex Man/Reagan Democrat/Howard Battler? Or should it go all out to pander to Waitakere Man and risk looking like National-lite, and giving non-voters even less of a reason to vote? Or, taking a third option, is Waitakere Man a political red herring?

    Third Wayism seems past its prime, and attention is best focused on those too cynical and disillusioned to vote.

  46. I really couldn’t care less about bruised egos and caucus jostling. I’m not interested in private pissing contests, or politics as soap opera, and nor are the vast majority of NZ voters (as opposed to commentators, party insiders, etc).

    I would just like the Labour Party leader to say:

    “This is what I believe in. This is why I believe it. So this is what I think we should do.”

    I care far more about that, than I do about the name of the Labour leader who says it. And who knows, people just might listen. They aren’t listening now. What is there to listen to?

  47. 47

    I really couldn’t care less about Labour’s factions.

    I would just like all of them to consider why on earth they think it is useful to encourage New Zealanders to believe it is better for their Government to own businesses than themselves?

    Do they really want New Zealanders to believe they are too dumb and stupid to be better business owners than a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians?

    Because that is the message they are selling.

  48. 48

    Yes, I’m a pedant but seriously, Brian, could you at least correctly spell the name of one of our main politicians. I’ll leave it to you to figure out your consistent and continued error and hope to god you do.

    BE: I’m not interested in playing silly games, Lonely Pedant. If I’ve been consistently mis-spelling ‘the name of one of our main politicians’ I’d like to know who it is. Tell me and I’ll correct it. There’s a difference between being a pedant and a smartass.

    LATER: Don’t bother. I’ve just worked it out. Russel Norman spells his first name with only one L. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. An unforgivable error of far greater importance than anything we normally discuss on this site. Now I suggest that you go into Google and type in the name Russel, nothing more. The following message will appear: ‘Did you mean Russell?’ I suppose that’s because Russell is the more usual spelling of the name. An inadequate excuse for this hanging offence, I realise, but there you are.

  49. To be fair, there was a time (about ten years ago), when National was so bad in the poles, any right-winger was ashamed to admit it. Labour will come out of this, bigger and better than ever. But I am still not convinced that this current leadership team will do it. And as for talking nonsense about “Waitakere man” etc that type of generalising about Labour supporters in insulting and patronising. Working people who have families and fight hard for them is what I feel Labour was or should be about. Anything else, to be honest can piss off. If Labour really want to reconnect, this is the demographic, if not then I am going to Aussie to earn the best I can for my family. I am really losing patience and confidence in Labour; I just want them to start caring again, and provide some leadership, and all I can see at the minute is Mr Cunliffe, providing some hope and leadership. Unfortunately, all Mr Shearer can do is shut him down. That is just simply disgraceful.

  50. 50

    What does the labour party stand for? What does David Shearer stand for? What is there to vote for? Not a lot.

    The National Party must be wetting themselves in laughter at being opposed by Shearer.

    Cunliffe, at least, is honest and tells it as it ought to to be told.

    The ABC cabal have seriously misread their natural electorate. Is it any wonder that Nat voters turned out but no one else did at the last GE?

  51. “I would just like all of them to consider why on earth they think it is useful to encourage New Zealanders to believe it is better for their Government to own businesses than themselves?

    Do they really want New Zealanders to believe they are too dumb and stupid to be better business owners than a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians?”

    You’ve semi self answered you own question; and got in wrong.

    It’s not that NZites are “too dumb and stupid” it’s quite the opposite. Those that can afford to purchase the 49% up for grabs (recent tax cut recipients) will sooner or later on-sell for (no doubt considerable) profit. And who will be paying the premium; unlikely to be good old debt rich ‘Mum and Dad’ Kiwis. More wealth that was once intrinsically New Zealands flowing offshore. Meanwhile ‘our’ (Ozzies) banks compete voraciously for the home loaners bubbling the Auck housing market and increasing our foreign indebtedness.

    I get it you’re anti [big] government; but until ALL individuals actually live up to and support a moral code (ever?) and we cease this ridiculous Darwinian rat race for ‘growth’ (complete with all out consumption of dwindling resources) that anarchist dream will never come true.

    p.s. I’m not ‘Luke’ above but +1 on his points. Hence from now this one (me) will be known as Luke.

  52. p.s. While I have your attention – B may I suggest you add an icon image (just name a 16×16 pixel image “favicon.ico”) to your website root directory. Good branding and makes discerning between tabs much easier.

    Thanks Luke. I’ll talk to my technical adviser JC about this.

  53. Wow how’s that for a coincidnece; may I respecfully suggest transparency.

    Favicon generator

    If you use Photoshop – plugin for making .ico files

    Non Photoshop method; transparency using open source image software GIMP

  54. I would like to iterate that the Luke from 16th May is not the same Luke that has satted a certain point of view on the 18th.

    Signed, Luke from the 16th May

    JC: Suggest you select a different nom de plume, Not-Luke. Then there can be no confusion. The various ‘Tonys’ have done so for that reason.

  55. 55

    Luke (whichever) at 13:52, you just confirm that the Left do think NZers are too stupid to own businesses and would rather spend their money on other things – while expecting other taxpayers to fund their lifestyles.

    The Left mistakenly believe other people share their irresponsibility.

  56. “the Left do think NZers are too stupid to own businesses and would rather spend their money on other things – while expecting other taxpayers to fund their lifestyles.”

    What a fabrication; patently false and completely disproven by ‘left’ initiatives such as Kiwibank. Nowhere have I ever said anything of the sort. Stupidity has nothing to do with it – sadly I suspect the driving motivation is greed and self interest.

    Fascinating that these commendable traits are over represented in the financial elites and correlate with wealth.

    No doubt, being the prolific net fiend that you are, you could hardly have missed articles such as

    Time: Why the Rich Are Less Ethical: They See Greed as Good A new study suggests that being wealthy primes people to act like jerks.

    It is the ‘irresponsibility’ and greed of those with the financial, political and social mobility (the wealthy and often the ‘right’) who grossly benefit from the exploitation of human and natural resources. Time and time again this has been proven. Telecoms’ decades of monopoly; over charging and under investment (while returning billions to mostly American institutional shareholders) undoubtedly helped kill NZ capitalising on the late 90s internet boom.

    Disappointing Alan; though I occasioanly disagree with you I respect your contributions and usually find them to be worth reading and free of assumption and polarising political generalisations.

  57. 57

    Luke, I’m not sure where to start on your misconceptions but I’ll begin with the rich.

    First, a critique of the Piff study: It’s doubtful it has much credibility in proving what you want to believe.

    Second, the “rich” are different in two senses. They are not homogeneous but different from each other: Also many who appear “rich” in lifestyle actually have a poor balance sheet and are spending all they earn or more.

    To get rich takes focus and skill or enormous luck. Most of those who do so via hard work do not spend much on themselves – that is the downfall of their profligate descendants, hence the old saying: “Clogs to clogs in three generations.”

    In any case, let’s assume the rich are self-interested and “greedy”. Why would that make them sell a great business? They would only sell if other investments were better value and in that case their choice would benefit the country as it would give a bigger return on investment.

    Finally, I have no idea why you think Kiwibank disproves my reduction of the Left’s philosophical opinion of New Zealanders. Please explain.