Roll out the (pork) barrels

September 1st, 2013 at 8:30 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

The pork barrels have been rolled out in the Labour Party leadership battle, with Grant Robertson promising to introduce a “living wage” of more than $18 an hour for all government workers.

He told 350 party members and unionists in Levin yesterday that he would set a timeframe to phase in the living wage, which is currently set at $18.40 an hour for a family to live without suffering poverty.

He also pledged to lift the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and repeal all of National’s industrial relations laws.

All? So there goes the 90 day trial law, which would make us almost the only country in the OECD not to have one.

With 20% of the vote, the contenders are forced to promise the unions everything they want.

Robertson later said he did not yet know the full cost of his promise, and that would determine how soon it could be introduced.

Who needs to worry about cost! Just send the bill to the taxpayers!

Robertson’s announcement gazumped rival David Cunliffe, who was expected to make similar announcements at the two meetings in Auckland today.

Cunliffe declared he, too, would repeal employment relations laws, and introduce a Government-wide living wage over time.

If one of them declared that they will nationalise the banks and ban all foreign investment in New Zealand, I suspect the other will have pledged to do the same by the end of the meeting based on how loud the cheers are.

“It will be a strong package of policies that will put unions back in the centre of the fight for equality.”

He denied it was simply an attempt to court the union vote, saying the party had always held a strong role in industrial relations.

“It has an industrial wing and a political wing. We will win when those two wings fly together.”

What this means is that Labour passes laws to benefit unions, and unions use their extra funds to help Labour stay in power so that Labour can keep passing laws to benefit them. At the last election unions represented the vast bulk of the third party spending.

The third leadership contender, Shane Jones, focused on the need to build up small-town New Zealand.

He said he would focus more on Pasifika and working-class issues at today’s South Auckland meeting and “more intellectual” issues for the audience in West Auckland.

Intellectual issues for West Auckland? And if there is a forum at Wainuiomata, he’ll talk about his arts policy there I guess :-)

 

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48 Responses to “Roll out the (pork) barrels”

  1. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  2. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

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  3. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    ross69,

    You appear to have missed this part from the quotes of Claire Trevett’s article:

    and repeal all of National’s industrial relations laws.

    Robertson has pledged to introduce a living wage and repeal all of National’s industrial relations laws.

    And then Cunliffe jumped on the same bandwagon

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  4. CHFR (219 comments) says:

    Ross you can’t seriously be that stupid.

    “He also pledged to lift the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and repeal all of National’s industrial relations laws.”

    There read the story for ya.

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  5. CHFR (219 comments) says:

    Ross who are these tories you speak of. I wasn’t aware that the Conservatives were in power in NZ

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  6. duggledog (1,426 comments) says:

    “Who needs to worry about cost! Just send the bill to the taxpayers!”

    The way I see it, you can’t do anything about these people. A lot of my fellow Kiwis seem to want champagne on a beer budget.
    So I’ll take my foot off the gas and go fishing more during whatever term Labour has whenever they have it (probably not long). No point working too hard for it all to be sucked up by the filthy socialists. I’m a contractor with no debt and good assets, so fuck them.

    When it’s all over and they have finished wrecking the economy I’ll increase my asset base by buying cheap property.

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  7. Colville (2,168 comments) says:

    Great news for National. 3 numpties playing one up manship with spending promises.
    JK will have a field day reminding the voters of the true character of the eventual Liarbore leader.

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  8. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    And just wait for them to justify the additional cost of the living wage using what has been identified as the Broken Windows fallacy – the idea that its all good because that extra expense will return so much more good as the workers will spend it and the Keynesian multiplier will take over, but which conveniently ignores the fact that the money used to fund the higher wage would otherwise have been used elsewhere in the economy in the form of expenditure or savings; it creates no new money and no greater economic outcome.

    An intellectualized version of alchemy, built on a foundation of quicksand.

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  9. projectman (206 comments) says:

    So let’s not involve Labour’s caucus in setting policy; much better for it all to be done by a leader acting alone.

    Aside from the issue of getting a leader that the caucus is comfortable with, it’s beginning to look like it could be a major problem to have policy directions pre-committed like this.

    Will it be good for Labour, in both the short and long term? I doubt it.

    Should National be worried? I doubt it.

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  10. wiseowl (817 comments) says:

    Where the hell are employers going to get the money from to lift wages to $18 or $20 or why not $25 ?
    Policies like this from Robertson and Cunliffe would hasten the demise of this country.

    Money grows on trees.I see.

    And yes National is good at buying votes and making the money traders happy .

    We need a Government who gets out of our lives ,stops interfering, cuts expenditure, provides a base for exporters and stops trying to pick winners.

    Dreams are free.

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  11. kowtow (7,921 comments) says:

    If there is to be a living wage I take it all the other give aways like WFF ,rent supplements etc will be done away with…..

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  12. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    Shows how fiscally dyslexic the Labour aspiring leaders are. If there is any possibility of these clowns getting anywhere near Treasury benches you will see firms relocating, investors taking their money out, and where then, will they find the money to fund these promises . . . not the farming community, they want to stifle that as well. Anyone who supports losers such as these (the only one I have seen is “Snake Vance” in the Fairfax branch of the Labour Party) deserves a similar fate to that awaiting this trash.

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  13. jcuk (635 comments) says:

    The problem with Unions is that they are not powerful enough. Compulsory unionism should be brought back. The right wing experiment against unions has proved to be an utter failure. However there is also a need for sensible behaviour by both management and unions for the common good of workers and the business. Neither side to date have shown much responsibility. I seem to remember some sense coming from Little when he was a unionist but normally it is the tub thumping nonsensical stupidity which we find at The Standard and here at Kiwiblog, and probably elsewhere at blogs I do not read.

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  14. Simon (712 comments) says:

    “Once the monkeys learn they can vote themselves bananas, they’ll never climb another tree.” Robert Heinlein

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  15. Michael (899 comments) says:

    When will they release a tax policy to pay for these extravagances?

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  16. davidp (3,556 comments) says:

    >which is currently set at $18.40 an hour for a family to live without suffering poverty.

    Set by the Anglican church. Which means that the church is going to be in charge of setting government wage and salary rates under a Robertson or Cunliffe government.

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  17. jcuk (635 comments) says:

    I see above the silly rightwing talk about giving people a ‘living wage’ instead of subsistence. Do not the fools appreciate that the money feeds right back into the community and increases the properity for everyone in the worker/management chain. Some people are simply so short sighted I wonder they know where their noses are. Instead of being intelligent capitists they read like ignorant workers.

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  18. double d (225 comments) says:

    Colville. Good comment.
    if I was JK, I would point out the blindingly obvious. Labour sycophants seems to be feeling good about this US style election process but all I see is naked ambition and lust for power. Why will the Labour party be any different once the new leader is anointed. The losers will be go back to parliament and brood away with ambitions thwarted, but not forgotten. The winner will face the reality of trying to unify a heavily factionalised caucus. They will need to figure a way of getting close to costing bribes thrown out during the “primary” and somehow reaching out to coalition partners.
    The next few weeks will be a fertile ground for JK as the 3 amigos target the left vote to be elected Labour leader and at election time next year, when they target the centre vote, he can pull out the quotes and have a field day.

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  19. OneTrack (2,794 comments) says:

    Michael – No need to release a tax policy. We all know it involves taxing “rich pricks”. The only problem is that there is some uncertainty about what a “rich prick” is – $50k maybe. But since at least Robertson is making promises without bothering to work out how much it costs, that threshold may have to go lower. Labour has become the party for beneficiaries so maybe everybody earning more than a beneficiary is a rich prick. Besides, they have a “mate” who has a printing press – what could go wrong?

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  20. UpandComer (523 comments) says:

    Hey Ross69, you illiterate. A living wage wouldn’t matter to the thousands of workers and ancillary workers that would have been either out of work or suffering reduced business if the smelter went under. Rio is actually not in good stead dealing with their ridiculous Alcan purchase and problems at Oyu Tolgoi. Numpties like you think it’s just really easy to structure major asset transactions like the power company sales. $100 million is at the low end of the normal percentage costs of complex major transactions. If your mates hadn’t tried to sabotage the sale there would have been more raised on the IPO and arguably the structuring would have had reduced risk allowances. New crown cars which were a hold over from Labour. A skycity convention centre that Labour supported, still support if left to their own devices apparently, and probably will be in the high rollers suites if they get in god forbid – they were in the box, so why not in the casino itself? The only difference is that Labour can’t get anything like skycity done – they think by definition any kind of business that expedites things like the convention is evil capitalism, but they’re happy to swan about in the facilities that other people built. They would happily undo all the good work, relationships and efforts John and even past labour govts did with our free trade deals. I imagine they will oppose the TPP. You forget the part where National has paid off twice the debt labour did with half the GDP etc etc. Your stupid party is boxing itself into a far left corner where everyone in the real world is going to leave them – free lollies for Ross69!

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  21. OneTrack (2,794 comments) says:

    I had high hopes for Jones but in that sentence above he manages to dis both south auckland and west auckland voters in one fell swoop. Not looking good.

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  22. jcuk (635 comments) says:

    I see that common sense, remember Roger D?, quickly gathers negative ticks from the twits LOL

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  23. flipper (3,824 comments) says:

    0
    jcuk (201) Says:
    September 1st, 2013 at 9:12 am
    The problem with Unions is that they are not powerful enough. Compulsory unionism should be brought back. The right wing experiment against unions has proved to be an utter failure. However there is also a need for sensible behaviour by both management and unions for the common good of workers

    *************

    Oh crap, as is the rubbish from Rossie69.

    These two fools obviously have not realised that the world of 2013+ is far, far different from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 560s into which their concrete like gumboots set.

    The single greatest impediment to the US economic recovery is the power of the US teacher and State/Federal Government employee unions.

    The fact that the moronic MSM parrots the views of illiterates like Robertson, liars like Cunliffe, and worse, the likes of TV3′s Bruce and Campbell, is indicative of the danger in 2014 and 2017.

    It does not take a sensible and gifted economist like Oliver Hartwich to work out that if things progress in the same path through 2017, then by 2017 NZ will be near the top of the OECD income nations – provided, of course J. Key and W. English keep their heads, sell some more of the infrastructure assets, and don’t spend everything.

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  24. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    Labour should have a range of policies established in annual conferences, and the present exercise be to establish who is best suited presenting those and who could best better the style and arguments of the opposing parties.

    But somehow three Labour members are instead offering policy options, not established in the usual way, in an effort to gain personal votes.
    Is it only Labour who could get this simple exercise so arse about face?

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  25. double d (225 comments) says:

    great comment Yvette.

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  26. All_on_Red (1,488 comments) says:

    Is Ross69 Brian Gould?
    They say the same stupid things

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  27. OneTrack (2,794 comments) says:

    Ross69 8:40 – remind us again, exactly how much taxpayer funding is involved in the Sky City convention center? What would it be under Labour/Green/Mana/Winston/UnitedFuture?

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  28. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    Well done DPF. You have given the Nats their most powerful advertising voice over for 2014:-

    “What this means is that Labour passes laws to benefit unions, and unions use their extra funds to help Labour stay in power so that Labour can keep passing laws to benefit them.

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  29. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    Projectman

    ” much better for it all to be done by a leader acting alone.”

    Think ‘Rudd’ and watch the flames on Saturday.

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  30. JeffW (324 comments) says:

    It seems to me that there are two options for how the 3 clowns think: either they are lying, or, worse, they believe the rubbish they are espousing. If they believe this, and get to implement these idiot notions which ignore that spending has to be paid for, the country will be even more ruined than it is already. And who will such a state hurt most of all – the less well off sectors of society, whom Labour claim to be trying to help. I hope they are lying.

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  31. Psycho Milt (2,363 comments) says:

    The single greatest impediment to the US economic recovery is the power of the US teacher and State/Federal Government employee unions.

    That’s what I love about Kiwiblog – just when you think the hilarious, noisy stupidity has gone about as far as it can, someone sets the bar even higher.

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  32. Fisiani (992 comments) says:

    The Labour beauty contests leadership 11 meetings are simply an auction to buy union votes. The wide range of bribes, to be paid with your increased tax and overseas borrowing , will be ratcheted up meeting by meeting. They will also claim that they will stop building roads, never dig up underground wealth, never tap into our oil fields and give free chips and ice cream to everyone. They will surely be crucified by their outrageous ridiculous pledges to kneecap the economy and vastly increase unemployment in 2014. Or perhaps it is true,,,,,You can fool enough of the people at least once.

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  33. Psycho Milt (2,363 comments) says:

    What this means is that Labour passes laws to benefit unions, and unions use their extra funds to help Labour stay in power so that Labour can keep passing laws to benefit them.

    Well, yes. In the same way that National passes laws to benefit businesses, and businesses use their extra funds to help National stay in power so National can keep passing laws to benefit them. It’s called politics – you may have heard of it?

    [DPF: No businesses or business groups spent money campaigning at the last election. No business group donated to a political party. No business or business group is allowed to join National, sit on their board of directors, sit on the list ranking committee, stack selection meetings, block vote at conferences or get 20% of the vote for the leadership.]

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  34. Psycho Milt (2,363 comments) says:

    The Labour beauty contests leadership 11 meetings are simply an auction to buy union votes.

    Yeah, OK, I was just kidding, Flipper – raising the stupidity bar on this site really would be a task beyond either of us.

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  35. jcuk (635 comments) says:

    Anybody who thinks what politicians say pre-election is what will happen is dillusioned. The current Government is a good example of this in reverse that they justify every silly action by saying it was in the manifest. Though I still believe in the main they have and are getting it right. But that doesn’t stop me pointing out the lunacy of how industrial relations are organised.

    As for the gullible fool flipper who doesn’t realise that it is the intransigant management which matches the idiotic labour movement which is the problem … if there was a bit of long sighted common sense by both parties things would go much better. I feel really sorry for the American people having foolishly voted in a sufficient number of right wing ideologs to block everything the President and Democrats try to implement. The people here in NZ who equate National with Republicans are simply barking up the wrong tree, they are not even similar to the Democrats … THANK GOD!

    This is nothing to do with gumboots in 1930′s concrete but simple sense gained over sixty years of living in this country which considering the pressures is a great place to live … it used to be better but so was the world …. things change but common sense remains constant.

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  36. Ross12 (1,261 comments) says:

    projectman and Yvette have got it in one.

    This circus of making “policy on the hoof” shows that these guys and the Labour Party management in general, do not really understand what this whole process is about or what they intended it to be about.
    Making policy is a team / party matter not an individual matter –otherwise why bother with the party and caucus ?

    By the time this roadshow finishes it is going to look like the biggest , most confused , childish, kindergarten lolly scramble NZ politics has ever seen. No one will be a winner out of it ( and I’m not referring to the “magnificent” 3 ).

    If Shane Jones used his brains he would realise this and stick to talking about broad political issues , leadership changes neeeded ( style and approach) and forget about specific handouts. He could then easily “walk” straight between the other two as they scaramble to out do each other.

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  37. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Where do Robertson et al get the authority to be making all these “promises”. I knew labour for nine years was a dictatorship but I would have thought the caucus would have a bit of input especially as Robertson has been there 5 minutes.

    The likes of O’Connor are just sitting there watching themselves get voted out of their seats.

    Also I thought that there was a officail period that was approved for the general election.

    What these three twats are doing is starting 2014 a year early ( and fucking it up ) but still.

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  38. OneTrack (2,794 comments) says:

    Psycho – 10:59 – the flaw in your supposition is that “business”” don’t have an actual vote in the National party. Whereas, the unions have 20% of the vote in Labour. That is a strange variation on “democracy” if you ask me. But, it is always ok when the left does it, isn’t it!

    To keep his job, John Key has to keep as many voters as possible happy. For whoever wins laboursgottalent, all they have to do to keep their job is keep the union delegates happy. Union members, not so much. Travesty is the word that seems to fit.

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  39. kiwi in america (2,470 comments) says:

    jcuk
    You cannot legislate prosperity at the stroke of a pen by raising the minimum wage. Numerous studies have proven the unintended negative consequences of raising the minimum wage. First off the vast majority of those on the minimum wage are the young. They are the lowest paid because they have the least experience. They are caught in the experience trap – they can’t get hired for decent jobs because they lack experience – entry level jobs like in fast food outlets provide excellent transportable employment skills that enable youth workers to learn how to work with others, follow instructions, be on time and other tasks crucial if they are to be productive members of any workforce. When employers are forced to pay the same wage for a new entrant that they pay an older adult with more experience, they will invariably opt for the older more experienced person thus shutting younger workers out of the workforce. A so-called living wage would have another deleterious effect on employment – it acts as a disincentive for employers to hire new staff opting rather to extract higher productivity out of existing staff or hastening transition to more automated processes. New hires tend to be less experienced and may often start on a minimum (or close to) wage during a training and probation period with wages rising with more experience and success of the new hire. Few stay on the minimum for very long. Finally studies have shown the multiplier effect in the economy from raising the minimum wage is minimal due to shifting spending priorities with more money put aside into savings due to the rising perception of well being after a legislatively mandated pay rise.

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  40. OneTrack (2,794 comments) says:

    Jcuk – “Anybody who thinks what politicians say pre-election is what will happen is dillusioned.”

    But, but, they pwomised.

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  41. OneTrack (2,794 comments) says:

    Kia – what about the affect on companies with a lot of minimum wage employees and supply contracts based on that wage. A jump to $18+ might be too much to absorb and the company will just go under.

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  42. kiwi in america (2,470 comments) says:

    Labour’s activist base (the part most likely to vote in the leadership election) is well to the left of the general populace. In this left wing bidding war, the contenders are oblivious to the increasingly electorally unappealing path that they are heading down. The left thinks that they have majority support for their policies, that all they have to do to win is to wait for John Key to get unpopular and have a more articulate leader than Shearer. It just doesn’t occur to them that a majority of NZers resent the power and influence of the unions, dislike Labour’s opposition to any and all job creation ideas, are nervous about the influence the Greens might have and know that the only way to pay for all these promises is to raise their taxes. Whilst I’m sure the new leader will try hard to tack back to the centre, that is not so easy in NZ because Labour is so dominated at the party level by left leaning activists who will howl loudly to ensure that the new leader does not veer to the centre. They eschew the Jones strategy of trying to win back Waitakere Man.

    The unions’ 20% vote will be the clincher for whoever wins and it will be a very easy story to say that 6 unions representing 1% of NZers really got to choose Labour’s leader. The Constitutional amendment will eventually be an electoral millstone that will ensure Labour’s defeat in 2014.

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  43. kiwi in america (2,470 comments) says:

    One Track
    The literature shows that when this happens, existing companies shed staff to stay alive thus increasing the rate of unemployment. Liberals love passing high minded laws that are intended to do good but have the opposite effect. Obamacare’s implementation is leading to a wholesale reduction in hours across millions of workplaces as employers scramble to avoid the huge costs of its implementation by keeping as many staff below the 30 hours minimum. Other companies at or just above the 50 employee minimum to be caught by the law are either not hiring new staff or laying off staff to get to 50. Most of the people caught by the hours reduction are the working poor who are being further impoverished by government policy.

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  44. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    I note that all comments I’ve seen (from both sides of the fence) state that it will not be the “unions” deciding their 20% but a few from the unions’ hierarchy.

    The unions, in fact, have no say at all, no vote at all

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  45. Evadne (88 comments) says:

    Having just been part of a wage review with a small employer where the “living wage” was mooted by someone involved – I can say it is impossible. Allowing for the relative wage increase of the other workers (you can’t increase minimum wage of $18, but not increase someone already on $18) it meant a 30-40% increase in the wage bill (which is the major cost line).

    Since income could not increase to compensate (no increase in productivity or service) a rise would mean: a) reducing hours b) reducing head count c) shut down or sell off part of the enterprise d) going bankrupt.

    As to the ridiculous strawman raised by some who haunt here that “if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t be in business” can I say 1> reducing the potential for viable businesses only destroys the economy and reduces employemnt, it does not improve it and 2> this case is a not-for-profit service provider.

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  46. Psycho Milt (2,363 comments) says:

    No businesses or business groups spent money campaigning at the last election. No business group donated to a political party. No business or business group is allowed to join National, sit on their board of directors, sit on the list ranking committee, stack selection meetings, block vote at conferences or get 20% of the vote for the leadership.

    Well, yes – the employees are quite transparent and open about their efforts to exert political influence, whereas the employers prefer to do things behind closed doors and pretend to be above such things. Why right-wingers a) participate in the pretence, and b) make it out to be a good thing, isn’t obvious.

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  47. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    If being in accord with the rest of the OECD was a measure for policy we would have a capital gains tax on rental property.

    The 90 day rule just needs to be extended to workers, not just employers, as this would improve labour market flexibility.

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  48. doggone7 (754 comments) says:

    “Who needs to worry about cost! Just send the bill to the taxpayers!electioneering

    Does Mr Key spends a lot of time simply electioneering? Travelling hither and yon engaged in inconsequential affairs that don’t need a Prime Minister’s presence? Who pays for that?

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