Dom Post on Shearer’s challenge

January 9th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

As new leader David Shearer embarks on the daunting task of reconnecting his party with the people who used to vote for it, he could do worse than take note of recent developments in Britain.

There, Liam Byrne, the British Labour Party’s spokesman on work and pensions, has written an extraordinary article calling for a radical rethink of the policy his party first introduced almost seven decades ago. …

Byrne lauds him for his vision, but says he would be worried by the way his system has “skewed social behaviour” by creating long-term dependency. “For him ‘idleness’ was an evil every bit as insidious as disease or squalor,” writes Byrne. “He wanted a responsible government taking determined action to create work, but a responsible workforce too.”

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of New Zealand’s welfare state, believed everybody, as a right of citizenship, was entitled to “a reasonable standard of living in the days when they are unable to look after themselves, whether it be because of old age or physical infirmity”. However, he also believed in the dignity of the working man.

It is inconceivable that Savage and his colleagues ever viewed welfare as a valid alternative to work, as some of their successors appear to do.

Labour campaigned at the last election that working poor with children will get an extra $10/week and those not working with children will get an extra $70/week. What an awful incentive and message they were sending out.

In New Zealand, as in Britain, the challenge for Labour is to reconnect the party with the working man, and woman.

A good start would be for David Shearer to announce the scrapping of their 2011 policy to pay beneficiaries $70/week more to not be in employment.

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21 Responses to “Dom Post on Shearer’s challenge”

  1. Monty (980 comments) says:

    I think Labour need to look at their entire policy platfrom. the level of support in 2011 (and indeed in the 3 years before the election) should be wake up call for Labour. The country has moved on from the socialist policies of the Clark dictatorship. The policies that spent money to prop up their failing administration. The socialist policies that plunged the country into a decade of deficits.

    Until Labour re-invent their policy playform (starting with the canning of their Labour Policy written by unions, their opposition to National Standards, the stupidity of GST off Fruit and Vegatables, ) then Labour will forever be the almost ran party with support in the 25% to 30% range. They will never get a mandate for anything.

    As long as they remain the party of envy of rich pricks, the party who hates success, the party who appeals to beneficaries and the whingers and parasites of society. the party with an unhealthy obsession with John Key, then they will remain in opposition.

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  2. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    You have to wonder if they will show some backbone, throw out the shit policies just as the voters did, and actually understand the stupidity of trying to bribe their way to victory. I find the hilarity of labels ‘left’ and ‘right’ all the time – Im neither, Im looking for leadership from politicians, leadership that reflects where the majority of voters want this country to go.

    For gods sake, lets talk about and address inter-generational welfare – Ive seen families at charities I work with where no one has had a job for 3 generations. Where kids know that if they need a new fridge, they go to get welfare. What hope do these kids have for goodness sake? They give up, and merely exist. I dont want that for my country.

    But I suspect that Shearer will have his hands tied – will he try and break the union apron strings? Does he have that much control? I doubt it. The fear I have is that in 2014 we will see a labour/green coalition that isnt ready to govern, and we stall, not making the changes that need to be made to address our out of control hand out culture.

    But then Im certain that such a coalition, if it gets less than 50% of the vote, would declare they dont have a mandate and go to the country again :) Tui ad!!

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  3. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    In the days when Labour was made up of working people, they talked about the dignity of Labour. Now our middle-class careerists play at being Lefties and like to have a large group of dependant poor to vote for their cushy pay packets and lifestyles.

    I think modern Labour MPs are the most cynical and destructive we have ever had – with a strong whiff of corruption as they parade in designer clothing, jet round the world to unproductive conferences and dream up blatant election bribes.

    As a consequence we have no true workingclass party that promotes the interests of the workers and upholds their rights to a proper reward for their labours, with temporary assistance available when times are bad.

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  4. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Interesting this was kind of covered by the Dim Post the other day while discussing Trevor Mallard’s recently stated intention to ‘shake up the Welfare system……

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  5. RightNow (7,012 comments) says:

    How timely…

    “Can you believe it …. they sent my Census form back!”

    In response to the question: “Do you have any dependants?”
    I replied – “2.1 million illegal immigrants; 1.1 million crack heads; 4.4 million unemployable people, 86 thousand people in over 150 prisons; and 650 idiots in Parliament.
    Apparently, this was NOT an acceptable answer……..
    Whom did I miss ?

    http://niklowe.blogspot.com/2012/01/can-you-believe-it-they-sent-my-census.html

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  6. Nostalgia-NZ (5,281 comments) says:

    ‘A good start would be for David Shearer to announce the scrapping of their 2011 policy to pay beneficiaries $70/week more to not be in employment.’

    A good start for who?
    Maybe we might see the Nats continue to drift to the left and Labour look to pick up the disenchanted from the right, in many ways they’re hardly distinguishable now which makes NZF do in Parliament of more interest.
    We know about Shearer’s sympathetic side, but if he’s to make ground we need to see a ruthless economic side because kisses and hugs a strong economy does not make.

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  7. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    We know about Shearer’s sympathetic side, but if he’s to make ground we need to see a ruthless economic side because kisses and hugs a strong economy does not make.

    Yes but I wonder if he knows that, steeped as he has been all his life in a large bureaucracy with all the resources at his fingertops without him having to do anything to generate them, the only thing he needed to do was use them wisely which apparently he did but that’s only half an understanding of an economy and its drivers.

    And no-one else in Liarbore has much of a clue, steeped as they all are in their “failed policies of the 90’s” memes with all the obfuscation of the real facts those memes obscure.

    I don’t actually think NZ Labour is capable of understanding anything except the failed and flawed Keynesian model and until they move away from that they’re never going to get anywhere.

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  8. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Labour Party just packed up and went home? They lost the election and the Dom Post is trying to build them back up, giving advice Shearer advice on how to fool the population into voting for them in the next election.

    It’s a joke really. I know a number of long-time ex-Labour voters who will never vote for them again because of their interference with the family, ie the anti-smacking legislation.

    We really need a new opposition party.

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  9. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    Despite the fact that Labour were soundly dealt to by the electorate lets not get too bloody cocky. I do not much care what happens to labour in the coming term but have real concerns about the position that National is in. National has the slimmest of majorities and relies on the support of miscreants and misfits who cannot garner anywhere close to 5% of the vote. So there is no doubt that Shearer will be off looking at the problems his party has to overcome to win back some of the support that it lost but more importantly National needs to look long and hard at is tactical approach to the next election given that it is sitting alone on a rock with friends who no one else likes.

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  10. tvb (4,516 comments) says:

    Labour’s problem is half their support some from the welfare underclass. So there is a conflict between the working poor and the welfare class. John Key understands this very well. Labour think they can rely on old loyalties.

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  11. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    Mark I agree. The leftening of NZ has proceeded apace. It’s been falling apart a bit since Hulun left but when she did leave she left a huge pool of useful idiots in a high state of confusion and since then Phil, Chris and Darren did a rather disappointing job so I’m sure she’s got an appropriate revenge lined up over the years. For Chris, Afghanistan was just Hulun’s opening salvo, I suspect.

    But even now with the GFC, the leftening has resulted in many people blaming conservative policies for it, when the reality is actually it happened under all parties over a twenty year period. That’s how long the dismantling and monetary adjusting and bubble inflating took.

    It involved Clinton, Bush 42 and Obama and Blair on the other side.

    But to the pool of left-inclined NZ voters such nonsense is complete gibberish. Of course it was conservatives. They’re the bankers. Der. They think.

    Rather a problem isn’t it.

    Hopefully Mark you have lots of suggestions because the only ones I have involves me saying nasty things about lefties which DPF seems to require less of from me, these days, for some reason.

    Labour’s problem is half their support some from the welfare underclass.

    What they should do tvb IMO is educate their supporters. But they won’t. Instead they encourage entitlement thinking. That’s the least helpful thing one could do. Why is it they do that, I wonder?

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  12. cha (4,081 comments) says:

    # Reid. This covers the whys and wherefores of the crash with a link to the full report in the article.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/07/wallison.html

    Conclusion

    It is unfortunate that Wallison, who is a prominent conservative voice on financial markets issues, consistently fails to appreciate the deep problems with the Pinto research he has adopted as his own. As I pointed out in “Faulty Conclusions,” Pinto’s research is critically dependent on the broad and unjustified expansion of the definitions of “subprime,” “Alt-A,” and “high-risk” loans.

    Moreover, and perhaps reflecting his ideological bias, Pinto fails to include two loan characteristics that are actually more indicative of risk than his newly added “high-risk” loans—whether a loan has an adjustable rate and whether a loan is originated for private-label securitization. These loans are, of course, overwhelmingly attributable to the private sector. And without question they are the genesis of the U.S. housing and financial crises.

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  13. RF (1,454 comments) says:

    Shearer has an impossible task if comments in The Standard are typical of Labour’s supporters. There is a very strong theme there that drips of pure envy yet intense hatred of the right. They go ballistic about John Key and obviously very screwed up about him being successful. The left is doomed if their present thinking does not mellow.

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  14. Nostalgia-NZ (5,281 comments) says:

    Can’t be overlooked that when they polled the electorate the ‘poverty gap’ was a one the biggest issues across the board. JK has taken ownership of that now, no doubt influenced in part by the Maori Party, if he doesn’t perform on that the working class and middle class become more unsettled, if Parkers done his job – Labour maybe by default.
    Also remembering the interest in voting is falling, young people don’t see a lot of difference between the parties (even if there was any,) people vote on personalities as they have done with Key, an out with the old and in with the new mentality prevails and still maybe Labour by default. Not for a moment forgetting that they may just perform a lot better this term and we already know how finally balanced this Parliament is.

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  15. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    There is a very strong theme there that drips of pure envy yet intense hatred of the right. They go ballistic about John Key and obviously very screwed up about him being successful. The left is doomed if their present thinking does not mellow.

    I agree RF and fortunately my prognosis is their present thinking isn’t going to mellow, it’s going to become more strident and vocal as time goes on and global conditions beset us more and more.

    Er.

    Happy New Year?

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  16. David Garrett (7,558 comments) says:

    Mark: Very well said. The combination of what another commenter has called the “leftening” of NZ, and MMP – which I happen to support – means that the Nats are likely to be in real trouble in 2014. With the near distintegration of ACT – about which I take no pleasure at all – it is frightening that with close to 50% of the vote the Nats have such a tiny majority.

    Unless ACT is able to do a lazarus act (sorry) in the next three years, or some other credible party of the centre right or the plain old right emerges, God help the Nats and God help the country.

    Until I went to parliament I assumed that while misguided, the socialists had their hearts in the right place, and really did want to better the lot of the poor. I no longer believe that. Rather, as someone else said above, their whole raison d’etre is keeping a rump of dependent poor to vote for them. No-one who has seen them operate at close quarters can believe otherwise.

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  17. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    cha, thanks for that.

    Peace David. Happy NY.

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  18. RF (1,454 comments) says:

    Reid… We agree. Happy New Year.

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  19. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    Happy New Year

    Hey at least it’s interesting RF. Let’s just hope it’s the good side of interesting and not the scary, bad side.

    That wouldn’t be too good at all.

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  20. Paulus (2,668 comments) says:

    Shearer appears a nice bloke, but has he the testosterone to tidy up Parliamentary Labour. He has no real mandate from his fellow MPs. The Labour Party (non Parliamentary) will continue to select its union favourites to the lists. No real people who have had to work to earn a living.
    Most of them are a fallback to the old Helen’s socialists who know how to spend other peoples money.
    Shearer from his schollteacher days to his UN Ghandi/Mandela days still knows how to spend other people’s money.
    He has yet had to earn in the real world not from other handouts.
    The left will not give him real support. But Greenpeace will as they probably will be in coalition in 2014, with Greenpeace wagging the dog.

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  21. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    “their interference with the family, ie the anti-smacking legislation.”

    That’s no interference with my family – but hey maybe that’s just because I don’t use violence against minors.

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