A middle range existence?

February 18th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

TV3 reported:

“Mr Key spent time in the money markets and has a personal fortune, which is many times our reasonably middle-range existence.”

A middle-range existence?

The Leader of the Opposition gets a salary of $268,500 a year and a superannuation subsidy of almost $30,000 so a remuneration package of around $300,000 a year.

David’s wife is a partner in an Auckland law firm. A 2012 survey found the mean earnings is $244,460. Karen Price is very highly regarded and I suspect would be earning well over the mean, but let’s go with the mean. The idea isn’t to speculate on her as an individual, but to test the claim of a “middle-range” existence.

The household income is probably around $550,000 per annum. Now there is nothing wrong with that. In fact I think should be proud that he has had a very successful business career, and now parliamentary career. It is a good thing. You can talk about how you hope others can be as successful as you are.

But what is not a good idea is to try and downplay your wealth, in an attempt to paint others as even more wealthy, for political attacks. People know John Key is very wealthy. He has never ever hid that.

The median household income is $70,180. If your household income is around $550,000 a year that is not a “reasonably middle-range existence”.  That’s eight times the median income. Definitely part of the 1%, not the 99%.

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73 Responses to “A middle range existence?”

  1. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Tv3 are as guilty as the rest of the media in attempting to tarnish John Key at every opportunity. It is getting bloody sickening and displays the envy of those that have possibly had better early opportunities in life than our popular and successful PM.

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  2. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    Oh really DPF, that poor man, the nice Mr Cunliffe, makes do with just a tatty old do up to live in. He has to live in Herne Bay, for heave’s sake Herne Bay. He can only afford one tie. He can’t afford swimmers as he had to roll his trousers up at Waitangi to pull the waka in. It is doubtful based on his public pronouncements that his children have more than 1 pair of shoes. In fact he seems to be deserving of taxpayer charity. Yeah, Right!

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  3. Manolo (13,518 comments) says:

    Beyond Chardonnay, people like the Cunliffes can be called Dom Perignon socialists!

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  4. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Who is this guy’s press secretary?

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  5. Pete George (23,437 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is all over the place with his “middle class”. It wasn’t long ago he was claiming the up to $150,000 was appropriate for a middle class baby bonus.

    Now he’s upped the range a bit.

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  6. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    I’m convinced that David Cunliffe lives in the Matrix.

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  7. Pete George (23,437 comments) says:

    Who is this guy’s press secretary?

    Who is this guy?

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  8. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    Ms Price would be disappointed if she earned only $244,460.00.
    She has a specialised practice and is a go to person in her field. Her income would be between $400,000.00 and $450,000.00. Add in Mr Cunliffes income that gets closer to a gross figure of $750,000.00
    That in my view puts the Cunliffe/Price income at the top end of the 1%.
    They are definitely not middle of the road.

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  9. Psycho Milt (2,406 comments) says:

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

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  10. dime (9,800 comments) says:

    LMAO hes on the bones of his ass i tells ya! he would much rather be living in new lynn.

    his fake Samoan accent is also crap.

    How on earth is this chump going to appeal to the waitakere man?

    no westie wants to drink with cunliffe.

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  11. redqueen (553 comments) says:

    Gosh I wish I was as ‘middle-range’ as the Cuntliffe’s!

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  12. Mark1 (90 comments) says:

    Nice deflection PM

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  13. alloytoo (526 comments) says:

    Net worth aside, I’d rather have JK at my BBQ then DC.

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  14. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

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

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  15. greenjacket (455 comments) says:

    Tuesday and another pratfall by Cunliffe.
    Maybe Labour have determined on a new strategy – they are trying to be so utterly hamfisted that they will gain a sympathy vote?

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  16. Ryan Sproull (7,095 comments) says:

    http://www.globalrichlist.com/

    $550,000 is in the top 0.03% globally.

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  17. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    This is the Labour parties inconvenient truth ….

    But but that guy Key – he’s a bigger rich prick than the Labour leader right !!!!

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  18. iMP (2,356 comments) says:

    David Cunliffe also owns TVNZ (ostensibly through a Maori trust, or lack of).

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  19. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,871 comments) says:

    This guy’s an idiot!

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  20. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    I must be bored, so here goes:
    @doggone7

    So Cunliffe is not entitled to speak about poor people now I suppose?

    I don’t see that it matters whether he’s entitled or not, what really matters is what he says. The same applies to everyone, even that nice Mr Key.

    At least he’s trying to do something constructive with his life.

    Really, like what exactly? Is he building a scale model of the Sky Tower out of matchsticks?

    DPF has turned into someone watching from the sidelines while others try to do something then whingeing, complaining and grizzling about them and what they are trying to do.

    I see you watching from the sidelines whingeing, complaining and grizzling. Waiting, waiting with a microscope ready to dive in. Only those of a certain political persuasion of course. Waah waah waah. I also see DPF has a successful business and in his spare time runs a widely read blog, but whatever.

    What a sad life doggone7

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  21. jp_1983 (205 comments) says:

    bhudson (4,670 comments) says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 4:11 pm
    Who is this guy’s press secretary?

    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has confirmed his cousin Simon Cunliffe will be his Media Director and Chief Press Secretary.

    Simon Cunliffe comes to the role from Fairfax Media where he is acting chief of staff of Fairfax Editorial Services, the company’s editorial production arm.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9413621/Labour-leader-appoints-press-secretary

    Runs in the family

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  22. Huevon (217 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s wife earns more than him?! No wonder he’s so emotionally unstable. What a beta.

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  23. radvad (749 comments) says:

    Perhaps Tricky would be good enough to inform us just how much Key is allowed to have. He could even mention that he considers Key is exceedingly generous in donating his parliamentary salary to charity. Yeah right.

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  24. Yoza (1,780 comments) says:

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

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  25. thedavincimode (6,629 comments) says:

    Simon Cunliffe comes to the role from Fairfax Media where he is acting chief of staff of Fairfax Editorial Services, the company’s editorial production arm.

    Ah, the penny drops.

    Wouldn’t Cunner’s be better off to have his cousin (“cuzzie” when he’s on the hustings) at TVNZ since liebour need a replacement there?

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  26. RRM (9,785 comments) says:

    People know John Key is very wealthy. He has never ever hid that.

    The thing about Key is that he consistently comes across as ‘one of us’ and just a GC.

    Cunliffe, not so much.

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  27. thedavincimode (6,629 comments) says:

    Cunliffe, not so much on the other hand is just a complete arse.

    I’ve got you covered RRM. Slip of the keyboard?

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  28. RRM (9,785 comments) says:

    I was tempted to say that Cunliffe, on the other hand, has a mildly amusing name. But I thought better of it.

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  29. adze (2,093 comments) says:

    So we need some sort of staggered revolution where Key and his immediate cohorts go up against one wall, then, at a later date – when the first wall has been massively extended – Cunliffe and his band of cohorts can go up against that wall. It would probably be a bit too difficult to get both cohorts in one fell swoop.

    You sound like you’d be quite at home running one of those North Korean death camps, Yoza, based on what’s come out of that latest UN report. :) I’m including a smiley in case you were just being provocative.

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  30. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    The left avoid moral scruples in their own mind about those in their ranks who are wealthy because they are portrayed as high-minded public servants who are serving the needs of the poor through progressive policies and so the hypocrisy, in their minds, is overcome by their devotion to the cause. Left leaning media understand and accept the hypocrisy and, because they largely agree that the cause is greater than the messy inconsistency between public pronouncements and private non observance of the pronouncements, most of them stay silent. The rank hypocrisy of the left is all part of the hard ball realpolitik that they play every day in the knowledge that only a few in the media will ping them for it. Cunliffe’s continuing pratfalls are testing the code of silence of the media because they cannot ignore their frequency especially in the light of the pseudo Messiah persona he cultivates.

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  31. Brian Smaller (4,007 comments) says:

    I just can’t stand the hypocrisy of someone who attacks the wealth and lifestyle of John Key when he himself is in the elite when it comes to income in this country. His cuzzie-bro accent that he uses in South Auckland seems even hollower now.

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  32. wreck1080 (3,861 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is just another rich prick.

    Cunliffe should be driving home the view that the countries economic boom is benefiting farmers and top business people (and mps :) ) and that the working man is being left behind.

    Not that I necessarily agree with such a view, but there are some cases where this could be true and labour should be going for the jugular.

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  33. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    wreck1080

    Cunnlife should be honest – tell people that union officials always earn more than union members and that the Labour party is full of rich pricks who pretend they are not when people are “watching”.

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  34. wat dabney (3,709 comments) says:

    a household on a mere $550,000

    That’s one of our two-faced resident lefties talking.

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  35. Shunda barunda (2,977 comments) says:

    C U Next Tuesday!!!

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  36. RRM (9,785 comments) says:

    How does this affect coalition deals with Mana Party? (Them with John Minto of “nobody needs to earn over $200,000″ fame… )

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  37. duggledog (1,505 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull:

    “$550,000 is in the top 0.03% globally.”

    Yeah thanks Ryan but you’re not going to like this –

    Ergo – even the dirt poorest poor person in New Zealand is still somewhere in the top 5% globally, which shits all over every piece of bollocks from people from Rev Waldegrave to Minto to Bradbury. With their conniptions about povs.

    And that dirt poor, poor person even has all the wraparound services of the state to elevate themselves further up the food chain if they really wanted to get out of bed. John Banks did and so did John Key

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  38. mara (763 comments) says:

    The song “To know, know know him is to love, love love him and I do.” Tui ad.

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  39. Ryan Sproull (7,095 comments) says:

    Here’s the tricky thing.

    Note that being able to do a good job as an MP is not a prerequisite for becoming elected to that role.

    For someone to do a good job as an MP, they require a particular range of skills.
    For someone to possess that range of skills, they require a strong combination of education and work experience.
    Someone who has a strong combination of education and work experience is valued in the business world.
    Someone who is valued in the business world can demand a high salary.
    Someone who can demand a high salary almost certainly will do so.
    Someone who is paid a high salary will pay off debt and accumulate capital.
    An educated, experienced person who has accumulated capital will invest it, whether through property ownership, shares, or starting their own business.

    So anyone who will do a good job as an MP (or a PM) is highly likely to be a wealthy property owner. In fact, if they’re not, it will be due to some kind of voluntary lower worth either through working roles for which they’re overqualified (underutilising their skills) or giving away significant (like maybe over half) amounts of their net income to charity.

    Our whole system selects for wealthy power.

    EDIT: Another possibility is that they keep their worth low by spending their money on massive coke-fuelled champagne binges on yachts.

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  40. Yoza (1,780 comments) says:

    kiwi in america (2,253 comments) says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    The left avoid moral scruples in their own mind about those in their ranks who are wealthy because they are portrayed as high-minded public servants who are serving the needs of the poor through progressive policies and so the hypocrisy, in their minds, is overcome by their devotion to the cause.

    How is this hypocrisy? I am fairly certain the ANC were aided by white people in the struggle against white supremacy in the former apartheid South Africa. Was Nelson Mandela a hypocrite for not denouncing white people generally when the ANC came to power? It sounds more like common sense to ally with anyone who can aid in the struggle in which any particular group is involved.

    Left leaning media understand and accept the hypocrisy and, because they largely agree that the cause is greater than the messy inconsistency between public pronouncements and private non observance of the pronouncements, most of them stay silent.

    The vast majority of mainstream media outlets are owned by multinational corporations and survive by selling advertising space to other multinational corporations so the meme about the mainstream media being controlled by some vast left-wing conspiracy is too ridiculous to contemplate.

    The rank hypocrisy of the left is all part of the hard ball realpolitik that they play every day in the knowledge that only a few in the media will ping them for it.

    Realpolitik is understanding how much pressure can be applied to the neck on which the boot is resting without inciting a violent reaction; Realpolitik is convincing those on whose neck the boot rests that a slight decrease in the pressure being applied is a resounding victory.

    Cunliffe’s continuing pratfalls are testing the code of silence of the media because they cannot ignore their frequency especially in the light of the pseudo Messiah persona he cultivates.

    I’m not religious, but God is and he is the one you will answer to for this blasphemy you filthy heretic!

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  41. Ryan Sproull (7,095 comments) says:

    Yeah thanks Ryan but you’re not going to like this –

    Ergo – even the dirt poorest poor person in New Zealand is still somewhere in the top 5% globally, which shits all over every piece of bollocks from people from Rev Waldegrave to Minto to Bradbury. With their conniptions about povs.
    And that dirt poor, poor person even has all the wraparound services of the state to elevate themselves further up the food chain if they really wanted to get out of bed. John Banks did and so did John Key

    Completely agree. Which part am I not going to like?

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  42. Keeping Stock (10,269 comments) says:

    Alex Masterly said

    Ms Price would be disappointed if she earned only $244,460.00.
    She has a specialised practice and is a go to person in her field. Her income would be between $400,000.00 and $450,000.00. Add in Mr Cunliffes income that gets closer to a gross figure of $750,000.00
    That in my view puts the Cunliffe/Price income at the top end of the 1%.
    They are definitely not middle of the road.

    Even then, I think you’re being conservative Alex. As a partner at Chancery Green (and the first-named partner on the website), and with clients such as Mighty River Power, NZ Refining Company, Fonterra, Telecom, Vodafone and Telstra-Clear, I would be surprised if she’s earning much less than seven figures, given the specialist area of law in which she practices.

    That in itself could raise issues for Mr Cunliffe if he was ever to become Prime Minister. Would he have to declare a conflict of interest because his wife was the lawyer for a company affected by a decision made by the government he led? When you read Ms Price’s profile, her client portfolio is a Who’s Who of New Zealand business.

    http://www.chancerygreen.com/index.php/senior-team/10-our-people/36-karen-price-2

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  43. Psycho Milt (2,406 comments) says:

    That in itself could raise issues for Mr Cunliffe if he was ever to become Prime Minister.

    Yes indeed – if only he was as totally unconnected in the business world as our current leader, how reassured we could feel.

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  44. Keeping Stock (10,269 comments) says:

    You don’t see a potential conflict of interest with Mighty River Power Milt; Stop Asset Sales and all that?

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  45. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    if only he was as totally unconnected in the business world as our current leader, how reassured we could feel.

    You’d prefer he was as connected to the union world as Craig Thomson I suppose.

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  46. thedavincimode (6,629 comments) says:

    Imagine buying a house in what it seems is the most expensive street in the country and finding Cunners is your neighbour. Urghh.

    And what will this revelation do to property values in Marine Parade? Will the banks require equity top-ups to compensate for the value reductions?

    And in light of that, how valuable does this make Cunners’ property? Would the neighbours all club together and pay the prick $5m to fuck off to his preferred New Lynn so that their house prices can be restored to non Cunners zone levels?

    And how long has he been there? After all, given what he said, the Mrs must still be breast-feeding them because he would prefer to live in New Lynn. How old are the kids?

    Or is it just vaguely possible that the breast-feeding thing is just complete and utter bullshit like everything that flops out of Cunners’ mouth?

    So many questions. So much humour.

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  47. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    You’re all a bunch of hater’s and wrecker’s. I call upon silent to lead with his chin when he grows one! :)

    Seriously folks he is a strange looking chinless little turtle-like fellow.

    I can see why the rest of the Liars caucus hate him! :)

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  48. thedavincimode (6,629 comments) says:

    Milt

    But he isn’t unconnected. He did the Fonterra deal. He negotiated all the free-trade deals. And he leapt the tallest buildings on Wall Street in a single bound to show them his contempt for big business. He da man. Try and keep up Milt! :)

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  49. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Mallard has a much more developed chin than Silent. So does Darien come to think of it! :)

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  50. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Evening minus! :)

    Are you working on getting a real life? :)

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  51. Tinshed (143 comments) says:

    I am not as partisan as most of the posters on Kiwiblog, although firmly of the classical Liberal persuasion. I normally try to give the other side a fair hearing. I used to kinda admire Cunliffe’s political skills while disagreeing with just about everything he said. How wrong was !. Forget whether he is “entitled” to criticise John Key and his well earned wealth or not, it is just plain appalling political management to expose yourself to such blatant hypocrisy. Talk about an own goal! And as we have seen over recent weeks this a real trend. Too many own gaols. And I suspect many of his caucus colleagues think the same and are beginning to wonder how the hell they got themselves into this mess.

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  52. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    What about his lack of a chin Tinshed? :)

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  53. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Grant has a magnificent chin. Almost as triple as Gerry! :)

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  54. James Stephenson (2,145 comments) says:

    To be fair to the Labour caucus, the mess is not of their making.

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  55. thedavincimode (6,629 comments) says:

    Being a liebour hack at the moment must be like some kind of groundhog day where every day you wake up to have your dreams shattered by being told that Santa Claus isn’t real.

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  56. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Sing after me to the tune of “Lloyd George knew my father…”

    ” Silent is our saviour the party said it’s so……” :)

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  57. Yoza (1,780 comments) says:

    Tinshed (46 comments) says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I am not as partisan as most of the posters on Kiwiblog, …

    At last! I thought I was always going to be the only non-partisan commenter on Kiwiblog.

    Johnboy (12,856 comments) says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    * nearly 13000 comments and still nothing*

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  58. cas (36 comments) says:

    http://www.chancerygreen.com/index.php/senior-team/10-our-people/36-karen-price-2

    His wife seems to represent a lot of interests which David would normally supposedly oppose!! Just noting this.

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  59. Crusader (302 comments) says:

    The left avoid moral scruples in their own mind about those in their ranks who are wealthy because they are portrayed as high-minded public servants who are serving the needs of the poor through progressive policies and so the hypocrisy, in their minds, is overcome by their devotion to the cause. Left leaning media understand and accept the hypocrisy and, because they largely agree that the cause is greater than the messy inconsistency between public pronouncements and private non observance of the pronouncements, most of them stay silent. The rank hypocrisy of the left is all part of the hard ball realpolitik that they play every day in the knowledge that only a few in the media will ping them for it. Cunliffe’s continuing pratfalls are testing the code of silence of the media because they cannot ignore their frequency especially in the light of the pseudo Messiah persona he cultivates.

    You correctly identify the mindset of the lefty supporters, but it is more than mere hypocrisy, it is a well known psychological factor called cognitive dissonance, when a firmly held belief (rich people are evil exploiters of the workers) conflicts with a reality (I am rich too). Wild justifications are conjured up to deal with such mental tensions (such as “but I CARE about things/people/”issues”, so I am good.)

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  60. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    He is not as rich as Key, but not as poor as everyone else.

    That would place him in the middle, right?

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  61. OneTrack (2,985 comments) says:

    The ABC club must now be sniggering “We told you so”

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  62. Yoza (1,780 comments) says:

    Crusader (199 comments) says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Wild justifications are conjured up to deal with such mental tensions (such as “but I CARE about things/people/”issues”, so I am good.

    Interestingly, people who do not care about other people/things and “issues” are commonly known as sociopaths.

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  63. kowtow (8,195 comments) says:

    4 years in a business consultancy is hardly “a career”.

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  64. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    Unless the story has changed since first posted I’m not sure what the fuss is about, the story is anti Cunliffe, it exposes Cunliffe for what he is, it paints him as a hypocrite. John Key comes out of it squeaky clean, that’s the way I read it anyway.

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  65. itstricky (1,774 comments) says:

    You lefties are always jealous of the rich pricks…

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  66. Ryan Sproull (7,095 comments) says:

    Hey, Labour supporters giving me thumbs down – address my points or shut it.

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  67. itstricky (1,774 comments) says:

    And I got three thumbs up Ryan. I don’t think they got the joke.

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  68. itstricky (1,774 comments) says:

    BTW, $70k is the *median* household income?

    NOTE: DPF, you really made a screw up in introducing that into your paragraph. Good job on actually doing it though, rather than side stepping it – I know it must have been a hard choice.

    That’s screwy. $35k/person in a couple/family?

    No wonder people have a hard time (NOTE: I did not say they were poor as in dirt poor 3rd world style, not that it’s a valid comparison)

    Why isn’t the Government correcting this?

    Then Cunliffe wouldn’t have to put his foot in it.

    Also, in case you didn’t get it – critising someone for speaking up about something that needs correcting is hardly anything else than point scoring. Ask Metria.

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  69. PaulL (5,948 comments) says:

    @itstricky: there are a lot of different sorts of households. Some have one earner. Some have one person. Some have two retired people. So I’m not overly surprised, in fact $70K is probably more than I’d have guessed.

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  70. backster (2,141 comments) says:

    Poor David, he only owns one house (through his trust) just like an average worker. Goof owned an upmarket flat in Wellinton and a farm as well while Helen owned about 10 houses.

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  71. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    19 Feb 2014: itstricky asks “BTW, $70k is the *median* household income?…Why isn’t the Government correcting this?”

    18 Feb 2014: DPF reports “The median household income is $70,180

    Nov 29, 2013: Brian Fallow reports “the median income of $68,600
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11164406

    21 May 2012: 3news reports “$62,853 – half of all New Zealand households earn more than that, half earn less.”
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Mr-and-Mrs-Middle-New-Zealand-Median-NZ-household-income-falls/tabid/817/articleID/255039/Default.aspx#ixzz2tig4ySZn

    A rate of increase of 6% per annum. I take it you’ll be voting National this year in light of this?

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  72. Duxton (636 comments) says:

    “… I think David Cunliffe should be proud that he has had a very successful business career….”

    Quite right. After all, he did establish Fonterra, one of NZ’s largest companies!

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  73. itstricky (1,774 comments) says:

    Paul thank you I clearly did not consider that for long enough before blurting. That being said the median would eliminate outliers on zero income. The retired, beneficiaries and so forth. Hence the reason to use a median in the first place and my subsequent surprise. I guess a lot of singles living alone could make a difference. It would be good to know the proportion and the stats once they are excluded.

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