More nonsense from Labour

February 12th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

He made his comments after Labour leader David Cunliffe said the plain-packaging tobacco legislation to be debated later today should be passed through its stages without delay and accused the Government of “running scared of tobacco interests”.

Running scared? I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. The Government has hiked tobacco excise tax massively and decided to introduce plain packaging, and signed up to a plan to reduce smoking rates to under 5% by 2025. How the hell is that running scared? It’s more than Labour ever did.

While the Government bill providing for mandatory plain packaging on cigarettes will get a first reading later today, its final passage will be stalled until a World Trade Organisation case against Australia’s plain-packaging law has been concluded.

“I think that is regrettable,” Mr Cunliffe said this morning. “I think the best way through this would be for New Zealand to take a very clear and upfront position on plain packaging.”

Let us think about how stupid this position is. If Australia loses the WTO case they will have to pay tens of millions of dollars of damages to countries affected by their plain packaging law. Cunliffe is saying that we should not wait for the lawsuit to be resolved, but go ahead and pass the law while the case is being heard – which will mean that NZ taxpayers will also have to pay tens of millions of dollars to foreign Governments if the WTO case goes against Australia.

Mr Cunliffe in Parliament this afternoon called on the Government to release the text of the TPP agreement before the Cabinet signs it – although not until the negotiations have concluded.

His motion to have the issue debated was blocked by the Government, as can be done by any member on a motion without notice.

When asked earlier if Labour had conducted negotiations with China for a free trade agreement in the same way as the current Government was negotiating TPP, Mr Cunliffe said: “We took a different approach to full and open briefings by including folks like environmental and labour groups on our delegations so they were briefed as the negotiations were going on.

“The current Government has not done that. What the current Government has done is negotiate effectively in secret.”

I’m sorry but that is a lie and a slur on the MFAT staff who have been working on TPP.

MFAT staff have held numerous briefings on the negotiations with stakeholders. I know this because I’ve been at some of them. They can not show you the exact text being negotiated (as that would get NZ expelled from the negotiations) but they have been incredibly open and helpful about what the key issues being negotiated are, and what the NZ position is.

The draft text that was leaked on Wikileaks, shows that the NZ negotiators had been entirely honest with stakeholders about the NZ position. What they told us they were asking for, is reflected in the draft text that was leaked.

As far as I know there has been no difference at all between how the Government has consulted stakeholders with the TPP and the previous Government did with the China FTA.

Cunliffe is saying do what I say, not what I did.

Even putting aside the hypocrisy, what Labour are demanding is simply not possible. NZ can not unilaterally release the text until the parties unanimously agree to release it. NZ would be expelled from the negotiations and never allowed into a trade negotiation again if it did so.

I support the draft text being released. I think it would be a good thing to have draft chapters released at certain stages. But that has to be agreed by all negotiating parties at the beginning of the negotiations – it can not be done unilaterally halfway through.

No tag for this post.

40 Responses to “More nonsense from Labour”

  1. chuk (45 comments) says:

    We keep seeing bare-faced lies coming from this (potentially) dangerous twat. Perhaps we’re now seeing quite clearly why aspects of Cunliffe’s character don’t endear him to a majority in his caucus. They certainly don’t endear him to me.

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  2. Huevon (228 comments) says:

    Am I a bad person if I secretly want Cunliffe to win the next election just to enjoy the ensuing trainwreck?

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  3. tvb (4,553 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is a former diplomat and Cabinet Minister. He understands perfectly well what the Government is on about. This is another idiotic stance from Cunliffe. Shearer is looking to be more effective each day. On paper Cunliffe should be a serious challenge to Key but instead he thrashes about like a demented catherine wheel.

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  4. Monty (899 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is a complete idiot. John key was right in the money calling cunliffe an idiot.

    Cunliffe is proving himself to be a nasty little idiot who is also a serial liar. NZ must be losing all faith in him as his lies are so easy to expose. What I am struggling with is why Cunliffe is incapable of actually telling the truth , or preferably just shutting his idiot mouth until he can actually say something constructive.

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  5. PaulL (5,446 comments) says:

    @Huevon: yes, you’re a bad person. On the upside, you may be in good company. :-)

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  6. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    I also had to laugh at Phil Goff’s hypocrisy in attacking Bill English for the outrageous act of changing his views on the Smoke Free Environments Act.

    This would be the same Phil Goff who was once an acolyte of Rogernomics but has now (purportedly) changed his views – at least while it’s politically expedient.

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  7. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    hate to say it but Labour has gone up in my estimation.. they got rid of Wendy Brandon.

    No one would actually resign because of shingles would they ?

    wonder what is stressing her out??? Corruption in Auckland council perhaps.. ???

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  8. tvb (4,553 comments) says:

    Goff has had more positions on economic management that the Kama sutra.

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  9. Ed Snack (1,936 comments) says:

    I think many of you overlook the fact that Cunliffe is playing to his supporters, and they will lap up every such attack on the government. The correctness or hypocrisy of his utterings are unimportant to the “in” crowd, the attack is sufficient justification in itself as they all know that this, or any, National government is evil incarnate anyway. They take bribes (very secretly of course !) from Tobacco companies, drown kittens, and carry out other unspeakable acts like secretly disparage teh gayers (or anyone LBGTGHPMBxxyZE), just because they CAN !

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  10. RRM (10,097 comments) says:

    Running scared? I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. The Government has hiked tobacco excise tax massively and decided to introduce plain packaging, and signed up to a plan to reduce smoking rates to under 5% by 2025. How the hell is that running scared? It’s more than Labour ever did.

    DPF – you’re not thinking like a Labour supporter. Which is to say, you’re thinking.

    Cunliffe is still trying to re-consolidate the Labour voter base that may be straying to Mana or the Greens, one “You can’t trust that dodgy John Key” bullshit sound byte at a time.

    This isn’t an attempt to capture swinging votes, or the centre, or people with a brain.

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  11. tvb (4,553 comments) says:

    If Cunliffe is trying up to shore up the Labour base then he has already lost the election. The Labour base should be well and truly locked in by now. Cunliffe needs to project himself beyond that – which he could – the nice house in Herne Bay, the successful career, the Minister’s son made good. It could appeal to aspirational Kiwis. That is why he could be so potent against John Key. But he isn’t.

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  12. smttc (767 comments) says:

    Is there no issue this fuckwit won’t try to play politics with?

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  13. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    If you believe anything Labour says, you’re a bloody idiot.

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  14. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    That is an overly long post to tell us what we already know.

    Cunners is a fuckwit.

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  15. Mobile Michael (472 comments) says:

    Will any journalist ask Cunliffe that if he is PM in November will he immediately release the draft text, even if this will result in NZs suspension from the TPPA negotiations? Watch him squirm out of that one.

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  16. Liberty (277 comments) says:

    Ed Snack
    “ I think many of you overlook the fact that Cunliffe is playing to his supporters”
    ED you are correct. It will also help Cunliffe to lose.
    Cunliffe will be attracted to by NZF old and infirm. And the Alliance retard vote that is lurking around the greens. And every vote he takes from one of his comrades is a loss for the coalition of loses. If Labour are going to have the village idiot as a leader. What else can you expect.

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  17. Cunningham (846 comments) says:

    DPF and even some of the MSM are doing a great job pointing out just how much BS comes out of this guys mouth. However what worries me is that the general public don’t seem to be listening. The LabGreens are still within striking distance of a win. You have to wonder how many more examples do people actually need before they start plummeting in the polls. Maybe most people just don’t care at this stage.

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  18. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    If Australia loses the WTO case they will have to pay tens of millions of dollars of damages to countries affected by their plain packaging law.

    And it is absolutely correct that we should delay until after that happens.  The Government should be very careful about removing rights to property of citizen or company, and even more cautious about removing rights to property of people or companies who can make claimes under Bilateral Investment Treaties.

    I actually don’t support the plain packaging law change at all, because of the property rights issue, but the rest of the plan is laudable.

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  19. alex Masterley (1,535 comments) says:

    TDM,
    You took the words right out of my mouth.
    and FES. Agreed.

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  20. PaulL (5,446 comments) says:

    I don’t support the plain packaging law because I believe it won’t intend its stated aim. Its stated aim is to reduce smoking, but the evidence from Australia seems to be that it reduces legal smoking, but doesn’t reduce the overall smoking level. Removal of branding encourages smoking of generic cigarettes, and it’s a small step from generics to smuggled/untaxed cigarettes (chop chop I think it’s called in Aus). They’re seeing the amount of legal smokes going down, but surveys are suggesting that people are smoking smuggled smokes instead.

    That’s a really bad outcome, unless what you really wanted to do was to stop the big cigarette companies making profits from smoking, and actually didn’t care at all about whether people smoked. And when you think about it, that’d probably align quite closely with the belief system of many in Labour and the Greens.

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  21. mara (769 comments) says:

    As a recent ex-smoker who had a 35 year habit, I seriously believe that anyone who thinks smokers really care about packaging has rocks in his/her head. And since you ask, I quit easily when I discovered decent e-cigarettes (vaping.) Why is the govt. not promoting these useful devices instead of titting around with plain packets?

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

    We should tell the WTO to go fuck itself on this one. They can’t do squat.

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  23. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    The only problem with David Cunliffe’s credibility is that he is yet to develop some.

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  24. Albert_Ross (337 comments) says:

    @ Tom Jackson, they actually can – WTO is pretty much unique among international organisations in that it’s got real teeth. If a WTO member is challenged by another and found not to be abiding by the rules (rules that WTO members themselves negotiated and agreed), then the first member – the party found guilty – loses some of the protections that WTO membership gives it. The second member – the party that brought the complaint in the first place – may now impose trade barriers, tariffs etc with regard to exports from the first party – ie impose real economic damage – unless and until that first party rectifies its rule-breaking.

    Before you decide you don’t like that and would rather tear up the rule book, you might want to ask yourself how a small exporting nation such as New Zealand would be likely to get on in a world where there was no constraint on how other nations used their trade power against it. How do you think, for example, we would have got on in seeking to persuade Australia to stop banning the import of apples from New Zealand without access to WTO rules and enforcement processes?

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  25. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Huevon

    I have the feeling but the problem is I and my nearest and dearest will have to live in their friggin train wreck.

    I have a sneaky suspicion some in the Labour caucus are letting him make a complete dork of himself and ohh his sidekick Russell Norman proves the negative of Muldoon’s statement. When people were leaving in number to Australia Muldoon said them leaving increases the average IQ of both countries. Russell Norman proves the opposite. Norman immigrating here decreased the average IQ of both countries.

    Pity Norman doesn’t have a law degree. He could go to the US as Dotcom’s chief advispr.

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  26. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    I just rolled a JPS red plus, it was crap!!

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  27. Dave_1924 (121 comments) says:

    If they must pass this law, and I understand its part of governments agreement with the Maori Party re their support in this parliamentary term [happy to be corrected on that if my understanding is incorrect], then do it in a way that doesn’t expose NZ to potential damages claims from the tobacco cabal. Australia can play the lightening rod on this issue in my view.

    Personally don’t agree with plain packaging – what’s next no toucan’s associated with my preferred beer? Lollies in plain packaging because of the nasty sugar in the product which can cause diabetes etc??

    If people want to kill themselves with cigarettes I frankly don’t care and pretty or plain packaging is not the issue, the issue is personal responsibility and choice – we all know the hazards involved so buyer beware.

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

    @ Tom Jackson, they actually can – WTO is pretty much unique among international organisations in that it’s got real teeth. If a WTO member is challenged by another and found not to be abiding by the rules (rules that WTO members themselves negotiated and agreed), then the first member – the party found guilty – loses some of the protections that WTO membership gives it. The second member – the party that brought the complaint in the first place – may now impose trade barriers, tariffs etc with regard to exports from the first party – ie impose real economic damage – unless and until that first party rectifies its rule-breaking.

    Call their bluff. I somehow doubt that in the end other countries will demonstrate great zeal to side with tobacco companies. Trade is mutually beneficial, and they would be hurting themselves.

    I used to smoke. I support the right of people to smoke if they absolutely want to. However, tobacco is a dangerous and highly addictive substance that generates significant externalities, and probably would not be available legally were it introduced today. Given those facts, it’s the right of a state to look out for the health of its citizens over any commercial rights a foreign corporation may have.

    These people are the moral equivalent of crack dealers – they work for companies that earned millions of dollars over years whilst lying to the public about the effects of cigarette smoking. They deserve no breaks – none. Had we lived in a just society, all assets of every tobacco companies would have been seized by the state once the extent of their lies had become public. You don’t get any breaks after lying to the public and poisoning millions of people.

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

    If people want to kill themselves with cigarettes I frankly don’t care and pretty or plain packaging is not the issue, the issue is personal responsibility and choice – we all know the hazards involved so buyer beware.

    No. People who have never smoked do not understand how addiction works. That’s the main reason for restricting sales.

    The owners of tobacco companies took no real responsibility for the deaths they caused by lying to the public for decades about the effects of cigarette smoking.

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  30. Ed Snack (1,936 comments) says:

    Maybe I read it wrong, but I understood that the preliminary work done on the impact of plain packaging is that it is ineffective as a way to reduce smoking. So why are governments so stupid (I’m looking at you, John Key) to want to implement ploicies that don’t work ? Is this the old “do something, anything” method of politics accompanied by pious sounding speeches on the evil that is being addressed coming to the fore more obviously ?

    If they want to reduce smoking, make tobacco illegal just like marijuana is illegal, that will work for sure, and it’s morally less dubious.

    I suppose though this is the authoritarian coming out in governments, people cannot be allowed to make choices that we disapprove of. It isn’t financial cost, tobacco taxes pay for the health impacts plus some surplus. So, is it true that enough people simply are incapable of making their own decisions ? That is, are they simple souls gulled by the nefarious “Big Tobacco” industry who must be protected for their own good ? And if so isn’t any potentially anti-social behaviour or “cause du jour” just as suitable for coercive government action ? It’s not a case of where does it start but how far will it go before the populace objects.

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  31. PaulL (5,446 comments) says:

    @Tom Jackson: all of which is predicated on a belief that plain packaging a) would have any impact on smoking rates, and b) would have an impact greater than whatever we’d do instead with the money we’re wasting talking about it.

    If we really care so much about smoking, just ban it. If we’re not prepared to ban it, why all the screeching and carrying on?

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

    Fair enough, Paul.

    My only position is that countries should take a hard line with goods that generate significant negative externalities. There’s a touch of the Opium Wars about the tobacco companies’ threats.

    So, is it true that enough people simply are incapable of making their own decisions ?

    It’s called addiction.

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  33. Ed Snack (1,936 comments) says:

    Tom, if you don’t get any breaks for lying to the public and causing many deaths, then there’s a hell of a lot of politicians due for “no breaks” ! One B Obama in the US qualifies on the lies side for certain (if you like your doctor…etc), perhaps we should simply confiscate all his assets as well ?

    And perhaps I’m lucky, I tried to smoke as a lad (it was tres cool back then, especially as one was very strictly not allowed to) but after a brief trial I just couldn’t stand it; the taste, affect (such as it was), smell, whatever.

    I do notice, at least where I live and work, that smoking is very class bound. With limited exceptions, no one in management or the more professional disciplines smokes, and yet a significant minority of the factory staff do. Like a lot of behaviours I suspect it is culturally bound, for those who want to rebel in a small way, smoking is a good choice, initially. But like all “addictions” the simple way to stop is to just stop, having the will power to do so is the hard part. Maybe I don’t really understand not having the willpower to stop if you really want to.

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  34. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    Spare a head shake and roll of the eyes for the cardigan/brothel-creeper-wearing hand-wringer with the gravy stains on his only tie and the thread-bare trou that he wears every day who actually thinks that sticking a plain wrapper on a pack of cigarettes is going to stop someone wanting to buy some smokes from actually buying them. They hid them in the cabinet. Great success. Not. Now this. Pfft.

    How long before we have to duck around to the butcher’s back door to buy a slab of pork in plain paper wrapping and scuttle down the street with it tucked discretely under an overcoat?

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  35. mara (769 comments) says:

    Ed, in my experience many,if not most mature smokers, know that the habit is unhealthy and expensive and that, were it not for the ADDICTION, they would quit smoking tomorrow. They really don’t enjoy being social “lepers” or standing in damp,cold doorways getting their fix. Some poor old wretches on pensions go without food in favour of smokes occasionally because of the high and rapidly rising cost of their ADDICTION. I could go on … No Govt. really gives a stuff about their health; smokers already pay for their own ill health through the fag-tax they pay and by dying sooner. If they really wanted to improve health, they(the Govt) would educate themselves about smoking cessation methods that really work, introduce cheap e-ciggies, promote them thus eventually obviate the need for addicts to use tobacco at all. Yes, is is fairly class bound. There is some very useful and instructive material on naked vapour.co.nz. And no, I am not commercially involved with them.

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  36. PaulL (5,446 comments) says:

    @Tom: smoking generates significant externalities due to our socialised health system. We tax the crap out of it to make up for that, and I believe that the last calculation I saw said that smokers were net positive for the taxpayer given shorter life expectancy and the contribution from excise. If plain packaging is predicated on externalities, then I’d say that case falls down. If it’s because we think people shouldn’t smoke, then logically we’d actually try to stop them.

    The main fly in all that ointment is the fact that prohibition doesn’t work, banning cannabis hasn’t exactly stopped people smoking it. For that reason my personal belief is that we should apply an excise tax equal to the externalities, we should limit who gets access (i.e. not minors, similar to alcohol), but otherwise we should stop worrying about people’s choices.

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  37. Akaroa (612 comments) says:

    Plain packaging of cigarettes? Complete waste of time! What’s the point? If they want to smoke – let ‘em!

    I don’t believe that the consequent load placed in the health service – which is a questionable claim, anyway, IMHO – is of any consequence in the wider scheme of health care and disease control. To me this plaintiff wheedle – that “we’re all paying for the damage their unhealthy and disgusting habit causes” – is just dodgy PC quasi-trendiness.

    I used to smoke. Paid ten-pence (5p) for 20 Senior Service in Hong Kong in the 50s for UK Forces duty free. Gave up when I got back to UK and found they were – then – with tax, three shillings and fourpence halfpenny (40P) for 20!. Haven’t touched a cigarette or any tobacco since.

    My motivation was “If you think I’m paying that when I know how much they actually cost, then count me out” The Chancellor – (UK this was) – can get his exorbitant tax take elsewhere, thank you very much!!

    But I don’t denigrate smokers. I’m sure I have habits which others might condemn. That’s my business, just as smoking is smoker’s business

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

    @Tom: smoking generates significant externalities due to our socialised health system. We tax the crap out of it to make up for that, and I believe that the last calculation I saw said that smokers were net positive for the taxpayer given shorter life expectancy and the contribution from excise.

    No amount of money brings people’s mothers and fathers back.

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  39. PaulL (5,446 comments) says:

    Sorry, you’re quite right Tom. On that basis, I propose we immediately ban all cars in NZ. No amount of money brings people’s mothers and fathers back.

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  40. mara (769 comments) says:

    John Key, if you want kiddies to not smoke cigarettes, clamp down on the providers and parents who allow it. Leave the rest of us alone.

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