Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Limping Onwards

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  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    It may be that the future leaders of the Labour Party - Cunliffe, Parker, whoever - don't want to be leader now because of a near certain election defeat, but that shouldn't be the only calculation.

    Conspiracy theories abound that Goff's leadership was a deliberate strategy to tank the match while the Cunliffes and Robertsons had time to build up their heavy artillery.

    Seriously, any doubts I had about Goff being more than just a stop-gap leader have evaporated with the handling of the Hughes affair. And does anyone see similarities with Mike Moore in the 1990-1993 term, where his biggest millstone was that he couldn't, or wouldn't, shake off his association with Rogernomics?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5423 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Which might be a fairer thing to say if you’d cited any facts rather than simply presenting your claims as self-evidently correct.

    Fair enough Russell…so why did you not post this reply to Jackie’s original posting for the same reason?

    one should start with corporate tax shenanigans, untaxed capital gains etc. – all systems “milked” by “those on higher incomes”, and I’d hazard a guess worth a whole lot more than benefit fraud

    I agree – I’m all for it. And you know what – National are looking in to these areas. I also know plenty of people on lower incomes who have milked untaxed capital gains while claiming family support. Basically gambling with taxpayers money for their own gain. And of course – not all high income earners are involved with “corporate tax shenanigans, untaxed capital gains etc.”.<

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Ooops - duffed my quote syntax!

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tristan,

    Conor Roberts quit the mayors office they need you in Wellington!

    Trust me, we need him in Auckland and for pretty much the same reasons.

    Today brings yet another call to hock the family silver from one of the region's rightie dunces who doesn't understand the value of ownership. You'd think the 80s and 90s had never happened or that we haven't seen how these particular neo-lib notions work out in reality (hello, overseas debt):

    Auckland's business community believes that in drawing up its funding plan, the Auckland Council must demonstrate greater self-reliance to fund these big infrastructure investment projects.

    ...

    The Auckland Council needs to prioritise what it needs to own and what commercial assets it doesn't need to own, and transfer the freed-up capital to areas of most need.

    Many people would encourage Mayor Brown to accept that his pre-election undertaking to sell nothing should not be kept at any price.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rik,

    Those on higher incomes bear the lions share of personal income tax revenue - is it such a crime that they get a break every now and again?

    Let me point you to our Keith Ng fisking that claim with some canny graphs.

    So the top 1% of taxpayers pay 15% of the tax, and the top 3% pay 26% of the tax? Does it mean we overtax our rich?

    No, and I'm sick of writing about it. So, here are some interactive pies I prepared earlier.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Are KiwiSaver, Working for Families and the Cullen fund the policies of a conservative government?

    I'd say that Kiwisaver and the Cullen Fund would fit happily into the policies of a (fiscally conservative) right wing government.

    Besides, these are good policies as far as they go, but they're tweaking at the edges (which is why National haven't killed them yet). They're about giving a small, electorally important group (slightly-above-average earners) a little boost, while ignoring the way their living standards are being steadily eroded.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rik,

    I agree – I’m all for it. And you know what – National are looking in to these areas.

    They've had two and half years and all the mandate they could have wanted. I'm fairly sure they've done everything they were going to do in that area.

    I, too, am a high-income earner, but I recall the years with a young family when it was pretty hard. But I'd debate that it was actually easy to malinger on a benefit under Labour: it wasn't. And I think what's happened in the past couple of years for sickness and invalid's beneficiaries is simply wrong: they're vulnerable and they've seen the goalposts moved without the rules being actually changed.

    I think that WFF is a fair target for National -- there are reasonable arguments against it. But some family earners will get a terrible shock if National guts WFF and they lose their tax cuts and then some.

    Basically, I think the last tax cuts buggered the revenue base to an extent where the government can't run the sort of country they purported to be able to run. The comatose nature of the economy doesn't suggest a high degree of stewardship either.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    But I don't think that's how the Goff-lead Labour Party see themselves. I think they're mostly just a collection of individuals who are personally ambitious to be important and powerful, and they understand that they need to be seen to oppose the National government's policies in order to get their jobs.

    This is not a new narrative from you Danyl, not very sophisticated though, just completely cynical.

    I know a fair number of these people quite well. Probably others who comment here do also. It is quite wrong to dismissive them all as entirely selfish and unprincipled - because that is what you are saying, their "opposition" is entirely convenient. They're not going well at the moment and I agree they desparately need to.

    I'm unhappy with the way the Hughes situation has been managed and I'm equally annoyed it'll distract from fundamental issues. That's a leadership problem certainly.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Would a new leader losing the next election automatically mean they too had to step down afterwards? This seems to be a commonly held axiom but is there any basis to it? Why can't Cunliffe (or whomever) take over now, lead Labour to a slight but not catastrophic loss, and then continue building for the next election? Surely that's better than Goff's no hoper?

    I'm genuinely asking.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The comatose nature of the economy doesn’t suggest a high degree of stewardship either.

    the reasons for the sorry state of our economy go back a long way and neither Labour or National govts have been able to do enough to prevent NZ being highly exposed to the financial crisis.

    I think the last tax cuts buggered the revenue base

    National shifted tax more towards consumption and also started moving against tax incentives for property investment. Those were moves a left of centre govt could have made good arguments for and did not alter the revenue base that much.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    So the top 1% of taxpayers pay 15% of the tax, and the top 3% pay 26% of the tax? Does it mean we overtax our rich?

    No, ...

    Yes, I remember reading Keith's post Sacha. Looking at the above statement there are different interpretations to Keith's conclusion. As Russell said about me, just because Keith sees it one way does not make it true, it is just his opinion that it is fair that the top 3% of income earners pay 26% of the income tax base.

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to James W,

    Would a new leader losing the next election automatically mean they too had to step down afterwards? This seems to be a commonly held axiom but is there any basis to it? Why can't Cunliffe (or whomever) take over now, lead Labour to a slight but not catastrophic loss, and then continue building for the next election? Surely that's better than Goff's no hoper?

    I'm genuinely asking.

    If somebody took the reins now they'd be all but gauranteed to remain as leader after the election I would think.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Rik,

    I agree – I’m all for it. And you know what – National are looking in to these areas.

    Isn't National's stated strategy for combating tax evasion to make taxes low enough so as to not be worth evading? Not quite what I meant.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rik,

    more like "fuck any lazy bastard who think the world owes them a living" which is not such a bad thing.

    Have you seen Inside Job yet?

    "In the spasm of moral recrimination that followed the collapse, some blamed the bright kids who passed up careers in science or medicine to make millions on Wall Street and charged millions more on their expense accounts for cocaine and prostitutes."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5423 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Basically, I think the last tax cuts buggered the revenue base

    I tend to agree, however I don't think the GFC or Christchurch quake have helped much either.

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    That's how you see it, Lew, and fair enough. That's not how I see it.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Rik,

    And Rik, I'm really sorry but I'm not going to tell you why I believe what I believe, simply because 1) I can't be faffed and 2) there are people who are much better at it than I and some of them have already addressed your comments. See? Efficiency from a Labour voter. Unbelievable I know.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • John Morrison,

    It's a strange thing - if I remember correctly the Worth Affair was handled similarly by Key when it blew up, but the media never questioned his leadership. There has been grumblings within the Labour caucus with the way Goff handled this, but I haven't heard any of them saying he should go. But that hasn't stopped the media continuing the refrain that Goff is under threat. They have even talked to Carter who isn't in the party anymore. Goff doesn't strong-arm the government like he should but that's the nature of the guy. Anyway. I can't think of anyone in the present caucus who could.

    OK, he made mistakes in handling this issue especially when it broke, eg. not informing Little, but I believe Labour has been working hard to provide alternative policies to the current set that has NZ sliding towards oblivion. Whether kiwis are listening, or allowed to listen, is another thing.

    But when you have Mr Smile'nWave headlining TV news with a significant package for ChCh reconstruction from a private bank, but invisible at the ChCh-losing-RWC-games announcement, I just think Goff/Labour have a hard job just now breaking through the blue smoke-screen that pervades NZ media currently.

    Cromwell • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Clint Fern,

    I can't see why getting rid of Goff would be damaging to the Labour vote. He's failed to become a credible leader at all in 2.5 years and his stock really has no chance of recovering before the election, much better someone that may just manage to lay a few hits on Key.

    Having said that Goff at least has the excuse of having been up against Key. Annette King aside from her role in the Hughes saga has unforgivably failed to make any impression against Paula 'do me a bar-chart so I can understand' Bennett. The so called safe pair of hands that this 'leadership' team represents has fumbled so badly that I imagine that the electorate wouldn't see switching horses in midstream as panicking more a positive removal of dead wood.

    Nelson • Since Jul 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    It's a strange thing - if I remember correctly the Worth Affair was handled similarly by Key when it blew up, but the media never questioned his leadership.

    You do not remember correctly. The first thing we found out about Worth was that the PM had sacked him.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    No-one seems to be arguing that keeping Goff will gain Labour more votes at the next election.

    Therefore, the argument for not rolling Goff appears to rest at least partly on the assumption that rolling him would lose Labour votes at the next election.

    So, would it? If so, why?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson, in reply to John Morrison,

    if I remember correctly the Worth Affair was handled similarly by Key when it blew up, but the media never questioned his leadership.

    There were certainly questions raised about Key's leadership

    "The Prime Minister had ample reason to sack his Minister months ago but lacked the necessary leadership to do so."

    However there is a big difference about party leadership. No-one is going to consider that a leadership challenge is credible on Key when both he, and the Nats, were on a poll high.

    With Goff, a party rating of ~32%, and personal of what, 5%, is a much more vulnerable position.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Russell’s post sums it up pretty well; so what happens next?

    Six months is, after all, an eternity in politics.

    I would like to see Labour hop off the spontaneous combustion cycle and present as a “credible government” in opposition.

    That could prove wishful thinking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to DexterX,

    Six months is, after all, an eternity in politics.

    I agree. The election campaign hasn't even remotely started - it's not as if the new guy (there would appear to be no viable gals) would be lacking time to make an impression.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    You do not remember correctly. The first thing we found out about Worth was that the PM had sacked him.

    But not that he was subject to police investigation. He had resigned for "personal reasons" and there would be no further comment.

    At the time, Key had known about the allegations for a fortnight -- the same length of time that Goff kept his own counsel on Hughes.

    I think it's fair to say that Key had far less to lose by throwing Worth under the bus than Goff did with respect to Hughes, his popular party whip. OTOH, Goff chose to make political capital capital our of Key's prevarication.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

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