A tale of two Cunliffes

December 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

Cunliffe also uses an essential duality – which has been accurately pin-pointed as “talking out of both sides of his mouth” – to try to assuage middle-class and politically adept New Zealanders that he doesn’t really mean all the tosh he threw as bait to Labour’s bedrock base to garner voting support during his leadership campaign.

What fascinates and frustrates is that it is difficult to work out which side of Cunliffe’s mouth will triumph if he ends up this time next year as Prime Minister.

Will it be Raging Red Cunliffe or the former consultant for Boston Consulting Group?

But at year’s end, Labour under its new leadership is no further ahead in the political polls than it was at the start of the year.

The pendulum has swung back again towards National, with the optimism indexes showing much of the country in good heart and the Government poised to post a return to Budget surplus next year.

The problem facing Cunliffe is how he can convince enough voters the country is on the wrong track given the resurgence in economic growth. This growth will continue into next year as a result of a range of factors including Auckland’s housing boom, big demand for dairy exports, the Christchurch post-earthquake rebuild, immigration and the favourable terms of trade.

Overcoming this is no easy feat for any politician even one as experienced and competent as Labour’s leader.

My predictions – lots of tax and spend promises.

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71 Responses to “A tale of two Cunliffes”

  1. RF (1,407 comments) says:

    The greasy fella in the pin stripe suit. Now where have I heard something similar to this.

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  2. skyblue (211 comments) says:

    Will we see Cunliffe or Cuntliffe?

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  3. southtop (265 comments) says:

    Yea nah

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  4. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    When you become an elite you become like God (with a different perspective) being a tad scathing of the ordinary person (especially if he has the cheek to look like you).

    Case Study <a href="http://www.cis.org/articles/2006/back706.html&quot;.&gt>; Immigration and Usurpation: Elites, Power, and the People’s Will

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  5. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “My prediction – lots of tax and spend promises.”

    That’s my prediction too. Pure irresponsibility and (probably) more welfare-dependency – all disguised as “generosity”.
    They will have a very hard road trying to sell the “economy’s on the wrong track” approach. They’ll probably keep flogging the dead horse of “no (partial) asset sales”.

    Almost all of Labour’s policies can be defused with Key’s famous four words – “show me the money.”

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  6. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Immigration and Usurpation: Elites, Power, and the People’s Will

    Ahhh! That’s Better!

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  7. Simon (728 comments) says:

    “My predictions – lots of tax and spend promises.”

    NZ is a huge debtor nation. NZ’s overseas creditors wont tolerate too much of this shit from Cunliife.

    About the only way there is a massive lurch to mass left wing policies if they really opened up immigration. Get another million people in here over 4 or 5 yrs to help cover the wreckage.

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  8. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    You can’t blame Labour politicians for being two faced. The other alternative to getting out of a quagmire is impartial independent advice, for example The Savings Working Group . But what happens when you don’t like the advice? You disagree of course (along with Labour and the Greens).

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  9. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    “Talking out of both sides of his mouth “, more like his arse.

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  10. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    Overcoming this is no easy feat for any politician even one as experienced and competent as Labour’s leader.

    Competent?

    Every story I’ve seen about silent “t” uses this word. Who are they trying to fool?

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  11. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    But what happens when you don’t like the advice? You disagree of course.
    :roll:

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  12. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has *really* painted Labour into a corner with his taking Labour further to the left.

    It’s all about “class warfare – us versus them, many versus the few”. The tired old “politics of envy”. Throw in *much more* state intervention in the economy and there you have it – “Venezuela Cunliffe”.

    Heck, I would *love* to face Cunliffe in a debate. I would piss all over him.

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  13. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    ‘My predictions – lots of tax and spend promises.’

    Easy prediction when speaking of out of the closet communists.

    National will always stay in the closet.

    But….with another record Christmas spending, it would seem National should feel secure about another term.

    PM is only concerned about one aspect. Getting the TPP under his belt. He’ll move on immediately from there. Very predictable. He only came to sell off the country to vested interests. Very obvious considering he’s flying in the face of the polls.

    Big problem for National…. third party representation. Most of those parties, being more substantial than Nationals allies, should rationally tip the balance to Labour. Will Maori Party risk their support base to side with National ?

    Only if their PI index rose according to their walk out of Labour. Let’s remember, Michael Jones snubbed National.

    And that’s exactly what he did.

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  14. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    It’s all that Harvard suckling (yuck) and exaggerated CV stuff I can’t get past.
    John Key’s ‘brand’ is his authenticity – he is what we see and has never changed.
    Pseudo Cunliffe will find it almost impossible to match Key for being genuine. Because he’s not.
    Like Clark, Goff and Shearer, he is a very wealthy member of the affluent landowning middle class masquerading as a defender of the poor and downtrodden. Don’t make me laugh.
    I bet we never see a women’s magazine airbrushed profile of him in his Herne Bay mansion!

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  15. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    The most positive thing that I can say about David Cunliffe is that in taking Labour to the Left, he is now fighting with the Mana and Green Party for the same votes. The centre is now fertile ground for National.

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  16. greenjacket (466 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s only chance is a lolly scramble of epic proportions. I reckon we will see promises like first $50,000 of income tax-free, free Playstations to every voter under 30, free broadband to every household, increase WFF, increase Superannuation to 75% of the average wage…

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  17. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    “The problem facing Cunliffe is how he can convince enough voters the country is on the wrong track given the resurgence in economic growth”

    Going on how many morons are ticking Labour / Greens in whatever poll is current already, it’s not necessarily an insurmountable problem. It’s absolutely extraordinary that so many kiwis are that stupid they can’t see they already live in a socialist paradise, and are getting pretty much a free ride.

    This is why I didn’t buy MRP shares, there are just so many people still prepared to vote for economic illiterates who will promise anything to knock the incumbents out on purely ideological grounds.

    They won’t just fuck the economy. Taxes will hike back up to 39%, and I believe death duties, CGT and whatever else they can steal from us will be fair game. New Zealanders need a wake up call, and National need to paint a really, really clear picture of what could happen under Labour / Green etc coalition

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  18. Jaffa (94 comments) says:

    The trick is to be genuine.
    If you can fake that, you’ve got it made!

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  19. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    If New Zealand can survive the lunacy of Rogernomics it will survive a Labour, Green, Mana coalition.

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  20. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    My gut says he’s not promise a lolly scramble, I expect him to tack hard towards the centre, if gaining the ninth floor means swallowing some dead rats along the way so be it;

    Never doubt the cunning and desire to win of the left

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  21. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Yoza

    Rogernomics was the best positive that has ever happened to this country and if that fat prick Lange had actually had balls he could have gone further.

    Labour greens is not a positive – it a group of no fucking hopers desperate to get some power and they will continue to make outlandish untrue statements in an attempt to do this . Cunliffe is not even liked by labour people FFS, Norman is a economically illiterate goose

    The people of New Zealand are not a social experiment where you leftie clowns get to try out all the fucked ideas you had as pimply students when you couldn’t get a girl to go out with

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  22. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    David Cunliffe is weak sauce.

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  23. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    2014 will see the most lies ever from the left, they are desperate and the only hope they have is the laziness and illiteracy of the electorate who will swallow the tripe that will be forth coming.

    Its going to be a fantastically dirty campaign – Cunliffe is probably more desperate than the left in general. The media will side with them and the shit that will come out will be staggering.

    National has to be proactive and attack every lie with a factual rebuttal to close it down immediately, It has to challenge the media when lies are perpetrated other wise untruths will gain traction.

    1975 was a simplistic campaign of genius – 2014 will require more subtlety but the threat is economic ruin if those wankers from the left get any sort of control

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  24. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s only chance is a lolly scramble of epic proportions.

    They tried that in 2011 and it went down like a lead balloon.

    Here’s hoping it’s a case of ‘rinse & repeat’ on both counts.

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  25. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    If New Zealand can survive the lunacy of Rogernomics it will survive a Labour, Green, Mana coalition.

    The only things that would survive a Labour, Green, Mana coalition are cockroaches.

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  26. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    Yoza

    Rogernomics wasn’t fully implemented because the coward Lange lost his nerve. Would be a different country if he hadn’t. You wouldn’t like it because basically there’s be less government, more self and social responsibility, more entrepreneurs, more rich people across the board.

    Nothing Douglas set up has been abandoned even by Labour

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  27. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    .PEB:

    “where you leftie clowns get to try out all the fucked ideas you had as pimply students when you couldn’t get a girl to go out with”

    Ouch! True, but… ouch

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  28. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “…the lunacy of Rogernomics…”

    Pfffft….. “Rogernomics” was the only *good* Labour government that New Zealand has ever had. If it wasn’t for that (and the much-needed “Ruthonomics” that followed it) then New Zealand would be in a truly dire economic position.

    So you think left-wing policies are the way to go, Yoza? What have they done for Australia? What have they done for the U.S.?

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  29. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Yoza

    20% flat tax, we could have had this for 30 years, imagine, 30 years of just 20%.

    The figures were done it all worked but Lange sat down to piss and it was flagged

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  30. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    The world is moving towards the right –
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/a-left-wing-america-stands-alone/

    Only Yoza, wikiwhatshisface and the rest of Labour haven’t caught up yet.

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  31. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Will it be Raging Red Cunliffe or the former consultant for Boston Consulting Group?

    Or both? Back in 2008 we got to wonder whether the new PM would be the slick currency trader who called Working for Families “communism by stealth” or the slick politician who did a media parade through a Sth Auckland slum pretending that he was interested in helping the residents. As it turned out, we got a bit of both – which is unsurprising when you consider that NZ is a parliamentary democracy, not a dictatorship.

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  32. Reid (16,511 comments) says:

    Fran writes: “Cunliffe perplexes many political commentators.”

    You’re not much of a political commentator if you can’t even see what Cunliffe is really about is himself, period and this is why he adjusts what he says according to the audience he is speaking to.

    If Cunliffe thinks it will bring him power, he’ll say and do anything, regardless of whether or not it is going to be good or bad for the country or for particular groups. He is the most unprincipled politician since Hulun and that’s saying a lot given she was our most unprincipled politician ever. He doesn’t even have the excuse the Gweens have, since he knows precisely how the economy works whereas they suffer from terminal naivity in that dept. But he doesn’t care about that.

    The big tell for me in Cunliffe’s personality was the revelation that when he was in his first job at Treasury all he was interested in was greasing up to those managers who could help him and stuff his contemporaries. That behaviour in one so young says a great deal about someone’s fundamental drivers and what it says is: it’s all about me. It’s me me me all the way, no matter what, forever and ever, Amen.

    As soon as you view Cunliffe through that lens, everything he says and does falls into place, just like it does with Len as soon as you view him through the lens of someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    So I predict they will come out with some type of interest-free Student Loan type policy and they’ll announce it too late for Treasury to do any costings on it. It will probably have some sort of cross-over like with Student Loans, where that not only got the students it also got a significant number of parents and grandparents of students and it was the latter two groups who were the real target market since most students already vote for them, anyway. I don’t know what it will be but it will be something incredibly costly and it will be an albatross around our taxpaying necks.

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  33. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    What National need going into the 2014 election is a really simple campaign that cuts to the chase for the medium to low info voters. I think the iwi / kiwi etc billboards were pretty out there but nonetheless clever; people still talk about them and remember them.

    I hope to god the Nats don’t over think the campaign and use an agent who tries to be too clever or cryptic; or an agent who hasn’t got the balls to tell a story however unpalatable. This election is the big one; the goal has to be governing alone.

    Maybe you can try this idea John Key:

    Run a campaign for Labour itself, but not Cunliffe’s Labour. Remind New Zealanders of Labour’s history and roots, just to show how far they have drifted from it. The Labour Party of yesteryear would have been to the right of today’s National.

    Just that, with the prospect of all the horse trading that will have to go on with the Greens & other partners, repetition of all the things the Greens want to ban, and a reminder of how many leaders they have had since Clark should do the trick. Oh, and show us the money!

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  34. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I would do a lot of “Tui billboard”-style campaigning.

    “More government intervention will be great for the economy” – Labour.
    “Yeah, right…”

    “The economy’s going in the wrong direction” – Labour
    “Yeah, right….”

    “The greasy fulla in the blue suit” – Cunliffe from his Herne Bay mansion.
    “Yeah, right…”

    The Tui billboards are loved by everyone. That approach is simple and effective.

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  35. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    Reid you’re on the money in your last para.

    Only problem we seem to have is – whatever outrageous promise Labour comes up with, if it finds favour with enough of the constituency, National will look at adopting the policy! Like 6 months PPL.

    Yes we’re growing the economy to hopefully pay for everything and then some, and that’s commendable of course, but when will we have a winding back of this colossal spending by Government?

    When I was younger our domestic spending was just too high. So me and the Mrs decided instead of working longer hours and taking on more clients, we would get rid of various costs, downsize others and work less instead. We’ve never looked back

    Thor42 – you’re a bloody genius! Shits all over my idea.

    Come on kiwi bloggers – give John Key some ideas!

    Yoza – I’d love to hear yours for Cunliffe please

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  36. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    The Labour Party of yesteryear would have been to the right of today’s National.

    Good point AND they actually cared a wee bit for the low income percentage of the population and didn’t regard them as money in the bank votes like this bunch -none of whom would know a days work if it bit them on the backside.

    I love the labour talk about “workers” when none of them have any fucking idea what work is

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  37. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @duggledog – “Thor42 – you’re a bloody genius! Shits all over my idea.”

    Great minds must think alike….. ;P

    But yeah – the Tui billboard approach would be great IMO.
    Simple, brutally to-the-point and effective.
    What I LOVE about it is that it effectively *uses Labour’s own policies against them!*
    It puts them out there and ridicules them.
    You basically get twice as much “bang for the buck” with that approach.

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  38. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I completely agree with your concerns, duggledog, about needing to wind back the *massive* amount of wasteful spending. Things like WFF.

    I would suggest that the government do these things (these would be a very good start) –

    * Axe WFF and simply bring in zero taxation for incomes of under (say) $10,000 p.a.
    * Phase out the DPB (“solo parent support” I think it’s called now) by saying that as of date “x” no new applications for it will be accepted.
    * Phase out all welfare support for children by (at first) restricting payments to only the first two children. If you have more than two children, you’re on your own. “You breed ‘em, you feed ‘em.”
    * Put a time-limit on the dole and *force* everyone who is already over that limit to work. NO EXCEPTIONS.

    We *do* know that there is strong support for welfare reform.
    If the rationale for these steps were carefully explained, they *could* be done.

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  39. Michael (910 comments) says:

    National are suspiciously quiet on post 2014 policy. Am I right in thinking one party is keeping the powder dry? Of course, it will still be a lolly scramble of other peoples money.

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  40. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Lange stuffed up properly -he was a loud mouth economic illiterate – after all he worked in the Accounts Department of a London Insurance Company subsidiary (Legal & General subs) before returning to NZ, so reckoned he knew it all by that time.

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  41. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    There’s nothing suspicious about National being quiet, Key has said that he will make key policy announcements early in 2014 plus give a clear indication who he would be prepared to work with in Government.

    It will be interesting to see what he says about the Conservative Party, he has now had a chance to see the lack of poll response to Craig’s substantial media exposure over the past couple of months. Should he try and blow CP away? Or take a risk in promoting their chances when 3-4% for CP would hinder National’s chances.

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  42. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    “The problem facing Cunliffe is how he can convince enough voters the country is on the wrong track given the resurgence in economic growth”

    Can’t agree with that. If Cunliffe is smart he will not go near such an idea, not only is at odds with reality but he will be pushing it up hill. If anything he must share the plaudits among the public congratulating them for enabling the economy to improve through their hard work and sacrifices. Negatives won’t help, even with the sweeteners attached. He also should not be seen as divisive but rather as someone working with others to benefit those middle voters that didn’t turn out last time, perhaps because they didn’t buy the negative arguments and couldn’t see the end of economic downturn anyway – and certainly not at Labour’s hands.

    Something else shouldn’t be overlooked, with the economy improving the ‘pain’ is often soon forgotten. The Nats need to concentrate to ensure that there is not a feeling ‘that all is done’ in terms of the next election. The public only have limited attention when the public belly is full and are less deterred by promises of spending and that big issue from the last election child poverty. While in fact a lot has been done in that area, I doubt it’s foremost in the public mind compared to the economy. It may likely be that the ‘lost’ voters may in fact feel the need to vote whereas they didn’t last time, if only because the mood is brighter.

    The ‘tale of two Cunliffes’ may be being overstated. As Mr BHudson will recall here I was boots and all into Cunliffe a year ago as disloyal, but now I’m far more open minded about him which might be part of the idea abroad that“Cunliffe perplexes many political commentators.” Not that I could consider myself a political commentator but it is very interesting to see if that ‘talking from both sides’ of his mouth, as it has been called, might have been part of silencing fears about union influence in the longer term. An active union voice leading into the election that is divisive won’t help Labour, it will be interesting to see if Cunliffe has brought that off. As much as anything a smart Labour leader will have to adjust to a time when even fair people in the public don’t like the vitriol of the Helen Kelly’s of the world.

    John Key said recently that he sees the election as finely balanced, he’s right. Moreover, it firmly seems to be shaping as a contest between he and Cunliffe. It obviously didn’t get a lot of debate on KB but Cunliffe ‘giving up’ his place at the Mandela funeral in favour the Leader of the Maori Party may have helped dispel some views formed by his having his photo on the wall at time he made his speech after being elected party Leader. That might have just been an oversight of course, just as the ‘stepping aside’ might have been deliberate political leverage. Anyway, it’s what make the contest more interesting. That, and of course, whether Cunliffe ‘takes on’ a fight about the economy or Bill English’s handling of it front on. I suspect it will be a hallelujah from JK if he does.

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  43. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    Silent T will contradict himself and lie to all and sundry in order to win the election.

    The productive sector of the NZ economy will pay a very heavy price if this liar is elected (with the Luddites poised to become the wreckers of the country.) The bludgers and parasites will rejoice, though.

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  44. Rowan (2,409 comments) says:

    Cunliffe and labour have no chance of being in government after the election. Not that the Nats are great, they are just the best of a bad lot and Key is a long way ahead of the arrogant David Cunliffe

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  45. MH (762 comments) says:

    and Hone the kingmaker needs to be seen shaking hands with Key on his doorstep in Maui, saying “we’re both at home here,bro eh?”.

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  46. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I’m noticing most of the usual lefty suspects are very quiet.

    I have deduced that they are holiday and don’t have access to their employers (government or univeristy) paid broadband.

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  47. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Or take a risk in promoting their chances when 3-4% for CP would hinder National’s chances.

    @PG,

    Given no one is seriously suggesting that National will not be the highest polling party, can you please suggest how, under MMP with a 5% threshold, that the CP polling 3-4% would actually hinder National’s chances?

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  48. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    Yoza – “If New Zealand can survive the lunacy of Rogernomics it will survive a Labour, Green, Mana coalition.”

    I don’t think that is true. Furthermore, this is not the old Labour (ie Helen Clark ) and earlier. This is the new hard-left version, with two coalition partners who will pull it into hard socialist/light Communist territory. And who will be in the drivers seat? Cunliffe, Norman, Turei?

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  49. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    bhudson – because those 3-4% of votes are then lost to the centre-left (ie National) which means the hard-left coalition of envy might win the election. What have I missed?

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  50. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    I disagree. Cunliffe will realise three things:
    1) The ‘typical’ New Zealand voter does not want the Greens holding the levers of power
    2) The combined Labour and Green vote needs to increase to win in 2014. This will only come from getting a few more votes from the centre.
    3) If the economy is doing well in 2014 (as predicted) then he will need to prove that Labour can also manage the economy well.

    So I predict that Cunliffe will move to the centre and not scare the horses. He will make promises that don’t cost too much (ie are more ideological than fiscal) and which will appeal to the centre voter.

    So some more predictions:
    1) He will obviously say there will be no more asset sales.
    2) He will increase the length of paid parental leave as this will not cost much and appeal to the centre voter
    3) He will change/reverse employment laws that will favour employees rather than employers
    4) He will attack Nationals weakest link (Parata) and spend more on education, particularly in low decile schools. This will include free lunches at low decile schools.
    5) He will increase the number of state houses and introduce a scheme of cheap loans to get low income workers into houses.

    National will push Cunliffe to show where this money will come from without increased borrowing, so Cunliffe will turn this to his advantage and introduce a higher tax rate for the top income earners, eg $150000.

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  51. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @bc – Interesting predictions.

    “Cunliffe will turn this to his advantage and introduce a higher tax rate for the top income earners, eg $150000.”
    I don’t think that raising taxes on that group will bring in very much – the reason being that I don’t think there are enough of them to make much difference.

    Then again, whether or not it makes a difference doesn’t really matter. What matters to Cunners is that he makes the *appearance* of doing something. Whether or not it works is immaterial – the only thing that matters is if enough voters get conned so that he gets into power.

    Cunners has a big problem in that he has no credibility. He made all of those rash big-spending “promises” on the campaign trail. If he keeps those promises, he is seen as fiscally reckless. If he doesn’t, he is seen as a liar and an opportunist.

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  52. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    @OneTrack,

    Those votes become ‘wasted votes’ and, while they are not actually distributed across the parties that did make the threshold, the net effect is as if they were. With National being the likeliest highest polling, they would benefit most from CP not making 5%. (The same would be true if it was NZ First that got only 3-4%.)

    Parties not making the threshold effectively increase value of the % that the other parties actually receive. It is actually possible to get 50% of the seats without getting 50% of the Party Vote.

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  53. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    A country get the government it deserves. Get on with it, New Zealand.

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  54. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    ‘1) The ‘typical’ New Zealand voter does not want the Greens holding the levers of power’

    I agree, he has already cleaned out the ‘bedroom’ to some extent. On that point he has been decisive where Shearer dithered. I’m not so sure about your point 3) and also the higher tax rate. Could happen of course, but if he’s not going to scare the horses he needs to apply that across the board – remembering that an improving economy and more jobs helps everyone and creates less focus on the 90day issue. As for the idea of ‘taxing the rich,’ it’s slipping backwards from a moderate central position. Parental leave, education and increasing the housing stock in some way knocks on the doors he will need to open. If he’s going to have a chance it’s in the middle, if he’s going to be bending over for the Kelly clan he should try whistling instead.

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  55. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    “The problem facing Cunliffe is how he can convince enough voters the country is on the wrong track given the resurgence in economic growth”

    Actually if you look round the world you’ll see that left wing parties tend to win when the public thinks the economy is good, they feel they can take a chance. The right wins in situations of danger and worry.

    Having a recovery isn’t a bad thing for Labour, it allows them to spin a “fairness / share the proceeds of growth” meme. It’s bullshit of course, but it’s compelling bullshit.

    Many people misremember the last election and conclude that National won it well. The facts show that an additional 10,000 labour party votes would have seen the Maori party holding the balance of power, they could have put Phil Goff into office. In fact if Labour had lost Te Tai Tonga instead of winning it by 1,400 votes, this situation would have occurred. 3 years later the demographics favour Labour more.

    National is in trouble strategically, it may be that a deal is required with Winston.

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  56. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    ““Cunliffe will turn this to his advantage and introduce a higher tax rate for the top income earners, eg $150000.”
    I don’t think that raising taxes on that group will bring in very much – the reason being that I don’t think there are enough of them to make much difference. ”

    There may not be many of us, but I think people on $150k+ pay something like 50% of all income tax.

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  57. deadrightkev (472 comments) says:

    “20% flat tax, we could have had this for 30 years, imagine, 30 years of just 20%.

    The figures were done it all worked but Lange sat down to piss and it was flagged”

    If we had a visionary government we could still have the above. Trouble is we don’t have a visionary or a leader with a spine.

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  58. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    I don’t think that raising taxes on that group will bring in very much – the reason being that I don’t think there are enough of them to make much difference. ”

    The amount of money does not matter, the principle does.

    It’s the same envy tax the loathsome comrades Helen Clark and (Sir) Michael Cullen hiked from 33 to 39% to show how much the socialists despised productive NZ.

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  59. lolitasbrother (702 comments) says:

    I do not see why it is essential to be a dual personality in politics., talking out of both sides of the mouth, as Fran O’Sullivan asserts .
    I think the opposite is true.
    I am also convinced that the lack of personal following Cunliffe has within his Caucus is represented again in the electorate at large.
    I am predicting a third NZ Nat Government, although I completely agree with the brothers above who see the opportunities lost by this Government, and the apparently flaccid nature of it.

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  60. kiwi in america (2,454 comments) says:

    Fran O’Sullivan captures Cunliffe’s dilemma very well. National’s recovery in the polls to bring the parties to essentially the same place they were a year ago must be a real worry to any honest Labour strategist after all the positive media publicity Labour got during and after it’s primary. I disagree with Alan – voters are less of a mind to scare the horses if a recovery is underway and ordinary NZers are benefitting.

    National have some potent electioneering weapons. The first and foremost is all the footage of Cunliffe’s harder left policy promises made to win over the activist base (always further to the left than average Labour voters and middle NZ) and to the unions who represent less than 20% of workers. Cunliffe is damned if he does or doesn’t implement these policies – if the deeper red Labour he promised in the primary emerges, National can point to the real damage Labour/Greens could do to the recovery. If he tacks hard to the centre in the face of the welter of good economic news undercutting his appeal to ‘rejecting the old failed orthodoxy’ then National can play on Cunliffe’s yeah nah two-facedness running side by side clips of the primary campaign’s full throated socialist direction versus his measured equivocating centrist mutterings.

    National has risks for sure arising from its dysfunctional current and possible future coalition partners but Key has managed to neutralize both Cunliffe and Norman being content to allow the left to fight amongst itself for the centre left vote confident in the knowledge that the economy is set to accelerate even more in 2014. National will need to ramp up its GOTV to overcome the complacency that cost it majority government in 2011. It will be a very dirty campaign as Labour still thinks that personal attacks on John Key will won them government. At a dinner this year an old mate who has fought deep in Labour trenches in years gone by and whose political instincts are still as sharp as anyone in New Zealand told me his erstwhile colleagues have consistently and significantly under rated Key’s political skills to their detriment.

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  61. RF (1,407 comments) says:

    kiwi in america 7.31pm. Good summary. You have nailed it. My spies in Labour reveal unrest with their great white hope the silent T. For some reason John key is still the target. Good for National and bad for Labour.

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  62. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I very much hope that Labour keep targeting John Key in the election campaign. It’ll do them no good. It will simply show them up as being completely devoid of constructive policies.

    National should try to anticipate the (say) three most likely policy focuses of Labour and then act to neutralise them. As others have mentioned, I’m picking housing and education to be two of the areas that Labour will focus on.

    Labour may be vulnerable in their education focus because the Nats have already introduced charter schools. Labour’s promise to axe those will be seen as purely negative ideology-based patch-protection for the teacher unions (which is exactly what it is). I think there has already been a move towards introducing breakfasts in schools so Labour promising that will just be “me too” politics.

    Housing may be an interesting battle. I would strongly suggest that the Nats focus on this area as my feeling is that Labour will push this more than other areas.

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  63. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    ‘The first and foremost is all the footage of Cunliffe’s harder left policy promises made to win over the activist base (always further to the left than average Labour voters and middle NZ) and to the unions who represent less than 20% of workers./

    Desperate nonsense. ‘All the footage,’ are you expecting replays as part of the National campaign – that will be a lead balloon. Unions representing less than 20% as you say, surely comforts the middle vote of a less than imposing voice. Try to keep up. Unfortunately your arguments and predictions sound like shouted slogans. Are you holidaying as a guest of the Polish longshoremen?

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  64. Fossil (8 comments) says:

    Why exactly was courage needed to carry on with Rogernomics? How much courage do you need to lie to the electorate like Douglas did? Get into parliament on the Labour ticket while laughing at Labour principles? Pay for your personal election campaign with money raised from your party’s opponents? Douglas lied his way into office, lied when he got there and has been lying ever since. A hero? Yeah right.

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  65. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Rogernomics was the best positive that has ever happened to this country and if that fat prick Lange had actually had balls he could have gone further.

    As if you would know anything about it. The whole lot of you don’t understand basic economics. The truth is that Labour is going to lose the election because most New Zealanders are as thick as you. It’s an indictment on our education system.

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  66. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    Tom – “It’s an indictment on our education system.”

    Is this the education system, tightly controlled by the teaching unions, which focuses on turning out “good citizens”?

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  67. PaulP (150 comments) says:

    @Thor42 December 28th, 2013 at 1:21pm

    I’ve corrected your suggestion below!

    I would do a lot of “Tui billboard”-style campaigning.

    “More government intervention will be great for the economy” – Labour.
    “Yeah, nah…”

    “The economy’s going in the wrong direction” – Labour
    “Yeah, nah…”

    “The greasy fulla in the blue suit” – Cunliffe from his Herne Bay mansion.
    “Yeah, nah…”

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

    Tom: shouldn’t that read ‘Indictment of our education system’ ?

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  69. mara (788 comments) says:

    Kevin Rudd, Len Brown and Silent T all have a mental disorder in common.

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  70. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    How far can you go if your only tactic is having to put 2 contradictory statements out for each position. One to keep supporters onside while explaining to swing voters that you didn’t mean the first thing that you said.

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  71. kiwi in america (2,454 comments) says:

    Nostalgia NZ
    Middle NZ are not as enamoured of trade unions as you seem to be. People remember the nasty vituperative campaign waged against the Hobbit movies by the unions. Workers have voted with their feet since the abolition of compulsory unionism by leaving unions in droves. If you take out the more heavily unionized public sector (comprising only 20% of all employees) less than 10% of private sector workers are unionized. Labour has already got a lock on public sector workers so fielding a leader whose election came courtesy of promising all things to entities known to be bullies who represent less than 10% of the sector most voters work in is not “shouting slogans” or “not keeping up”. Pinning your faith in a duplicitous ideologue is the only “desperate nonsense” here. National will make easy work of the inconsistencies and dichotomies Fran O’Sullivan highlights.

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