A threat is not a policy

March 3rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

A couple of months ago announced they would use any means possible to force the shareholders of Pike River to pay damages owed by the company.

Today they’re done similar and have said:

“A Labour government will clean the reef up. We will make the ’s owner pay through any means possible.”

That is not a policy. It is a threat or rhetoric posing as a serious statement.

Governments are not tyrants that can wave a wand and force a private company to pay money they are not legally obliged to pay. Regardless of your view on what the owners should do, the reality is Governments can’t force a company to pay money anymore than King Canute can keep back the tide.

The only thing a Government could attempt to do is pass a retrospective law forcing a company to pay money. The precedent of such an act would be hideous, but possible. Is this what Labour is saying it wiil do? If so, they need to come out and be explicit.

Just saying we will make the owner pay through any means possible is not a policy. It isn’t even a promise. It is meaningless rhetoric. If Labour can’t say what specific action they would take to make the owner pay, then their policy is as opaque as their leader’s secret trust fund.

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45 Responses to “A threat is not a policy”

  1. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    As I asked elsewhere, any truth in rumor the Throne is on order but may not be delivered for over three years.
    Comrade Putin is on to it, evidently one is now government surplus in Kiev.

    King David the first of NZ.
    Gets around all that referendum shit and The Round Tuit Corporation is assessing a massive expansion/retooling corporate plan for 2017 with funding from the Wed Wussel Finance corporation

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  2. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    Just put it on the Labour party credit card . We end up paying anyway.

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  3. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Has Cunliffe thought about making his chief of staff pay the tax he owes through any means possible?

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  4. Harriet (4,975 comments) says:

    “…..A Labour government will…”

    A Labour government will – because a Labour opposition party can’t?

    So they’re changing the law when they become government…..and in hindsight will make people pay?

    Well they arn’t legally allowed to do that either…..oh wait….

    The Labour Supermarket Party can. :cool:

    Cunliffe is a complete tool.

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  5. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Labour are sure as hell big on threats.
    Threats against Pike River shareholders. Threats to close charter schools.

    I might as well do the same.
    Labour – I threaten not to vote for you. Actually, that’s not a threat – that’s a *promise*.

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  6. Than (475 comments) says:

    They’ve said “through any means possible”, and a retrospective law is the only means possible. That already seems pretty explicit to me.

    There was a good article by Liam Dann in the Herald this morning, which closes with some advice for David Cunliffe; “Drop that economic experiment [Quantitative Easing] and convince the business community that your election wouldn’t be an absolute disaster for the country.” But when he keeps making threats like this, and when he says a new government won’t be bound by it’s agreement with SkyCity (and by precedent therefore any agreement the government makes), it’s pretty clear that a Cunliffe-led government would be the most business-hostile NZ has seen in decades.

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  7. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    The only thing a Government could attempt to do is pass a retrospective law forcing a company to pay money. The precedent of such an act would be hideous, but possible.

    Next they’ll be passing retrospective laws to make illegal police surveillance admissible as evidence in court!

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “Governments are not tyrants”

    Yes they are

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  9. Nostalgia-NZ (5,220 comments) says:

    Is ‘use any means possible,’ a threat or a bob each way, using any means possible isn’t guarantee of success only an attempt to lay claim to the higher ground without necessarily any success. But someone might believe it.

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  10. alloytoo (546 comments) says:

    Labour appears to be all about the past, and very little about the future.

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  11. Nostalgia-NZ (5,220 comments) says:

    Is that making something legal after the fact rather than illegal before the fact Ryan Sproull?

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  12. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Making
    Shit
    Up

    /Again

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  13. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Remember, his audience isn’t that sophisticated.

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  14. Harriet (4,975 comments) says:

    “…..is pass a retrospective law forcing a company to pay money. The precedent of such an act would be hideous, but possible. Is this what Labour is saying it wiil do? If so, they need to come out and be explicit….”

    “Woolworths CEO David Cunliffe can.” – Jones & ABC. :cool:

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

    it’s interesting. Someone quoted human right laws to me today in reference to security guards.

    Human right laws come from teh UN. How does the UN enforce them. A q they ask themselves frequently I would think

    UN soldiers over turning sovereign national police powers.

    Sovereignty is a dirty word in politics.

    Last MP I remember using the term was way back in the 90’s. Nat MP for Rotorua. Sovereignty laws didn’t stop him from

    privatising power companies then joining a company to fleece consumers in the millions. A National MP.

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  16. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    They’ve said “through any means possible”, and a retrospective law is the only means possible. That already seems pretty explicit to me.

    Exactly. While they are at it, could they please pass a law making me the winner of the last 15 Lotto draws?

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

    “Next they’ll be passing retrospective laws to make illegal police surveillance admissible as evidence in court!”

    Urewera raids compo bid launched

    Six people connected to the Urewera “terror raids” case have launched a compensation bid for alleged breaches of the Bill of Rights Act.

    Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara and five members of the Lambert family, whose Auckland house was raided, filed a suit against the Crown in the High Court at Auckland last month alleging unlawful search and seizure.

    Tuhoe Lambert was among the 18 originally charged over military-style camps in the Urewera Ranges but he died before the trial could start. His son Neuton Lambert was named in court papers as one of the plaintiffs.

    The group is reportedly claiming $100,000 each.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9782385/Urewera-raids-compo-bid-launched

    Some justice hopefully

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  18. Rich Prick (1,705 comments) says:

    “through any means possible.”

    Including knee capping and breaking fingers? Cunliffe is sounding increasingly like Fat Tony.

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  19. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Can I ask, why it needs to be removed, anyway?
    Assuming it is safe, won’t it become an attraction for divers? (if it has not already)

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

    We still haven’t heard th ebook of excuses Bill English will have after the election in 2015.

    You can bet J Key won’t be fronting.

    TPP signed…Hawaii aloha ho

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  21. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    These companies are ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE.

    Comrade Cunliffe is onto them.

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  22. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    Governments are not tyrants that can wave a wand and force a private company to pay money they are not legally obliged to pay

    Our current government didn’t seem to think this way when they did not hold our police or spies to the law and retroactively legislated to permit their behaviours. One might think it’s okay to pass retroactive legislation over such a minor thing a civil rights and privacy but not important issue like wallets but I personally don’t hold my civil rights in such low regard compared to my wallet.

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  23. twofish (95 comments) says:

    We will make the Rena’s owner pay through any means possible

    So vote for them. But, “Oops – we have unfortunately found there are no means that are possible!”
    It’s covered – even water-tight, so to speak.

    • 50,000 kids living in poverty today will get $60 a week if they are born after April 1, 2016
    • Cunliffe’s trust fund is so transparent you can Banks on it.
    • You can’t have a Royal Visit too close to the Election, so the 2014 Election will now be in 2015.
    • Our man-ban for a 50-50 balance of Labour members would only be illegal if we advertise it … like in a … er, um …
    Election.
    • 36 wells were drilled in the EEZ between 1999 and 2008 with no legislation in place to protect the environment, but shit
    we were really thinking about it, and if only we had time …

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  24. flash2846 (287 comments) says:

    I keep saying it – IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW LEGALLY OR MORALLY CORRUPT LABOUR’S RHETORIC IS; THEY HAVE ONCE AGAIN GRABBED THE HEADLINE.
    Their voters are thick! and they know it. A good tactic that shouldn’t be exclusive to the loony left.

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  25. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    “Tojo” best sort his donations problem out before starting playing international games. Along with his CoF, this fool is as dangerous as the wimp trying to lead the pathetic Greens.

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  26. Colville (2,272 comments) says:

    Exactly. While they are at it, could they please pass a law making me the winner of the last 15 Lotto draws?

    Offer them big enough of a bribe (hidden thru a trust obviously!) and they will do anything for you!

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  27. Reid (16,509 comments) says:

    I suspect what’s happening here is Liarbore have noted the recent headlines and probably caught a whiff of what the Gweens were going to do about it so they took a pre-emptive strike lest the Gweens ban something before they do and capture the local iwi/enviwonmental vote.

    I hope that’s what happened because if it is, we can all expect many more extremely entertaining forays into the lefty-unleashed mentality before this year is out.

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  28. Nostalgia-NZ (5,220 comments) says:

    I haven’t heard anything about the wreck presenting a danger. I think it was mission completed when all the heavy fuels were removed and some of the larger superstructure cut back to the water line. There wouldn’t be a stand down if was still leaking pollutants. The problem might be arising from the locals as a just concern, but making that convincing in comparison to the cost is a debate. The test on this one could be what Shane Jones thinks, unfortunately or fortunately, as DPF has pointed out Jones is the man with his feet on the ground and not his nose in the air making promises.

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  29. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business (3,005 comments) says:

    “The group is reportedly claiming $100,000 each.”

    For that kind of money the police are more then welcome to raid my house anytime.

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  30. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Weid is wight.

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  31. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Interesting, 29 nine men die and if the companies were shareholders they have a moral duty to pay.
    Damn I forgot, they were union members so their deaths do not matter.

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  32. Colville (2,272 comments) says:

    grumpyoldhori
    Moral duty to pay? what drugs are you on?

    Workers families got a payout by ACC. They could have self insured above and beyond that value if they had wanted. They certianly earnt enough!

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  33. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    grumpy – so you dont like the ACC and want to reinstate the rught to sue for damages? Like Cunliffe.

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  34. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    dpf – “Governments are not tyrants …”

    Can you get back to us after 6 weeks of the new Green, Mana, Labour, NZ First government? You might have a different view by then.

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  35. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    i thought it is strange they want to pass a law to punish a specific company.

    I recall, a while back there was something tabled to fix the marine law around such incidents but the political parties thought it unimportant and skipped it.

    That is the real issue, our politicians screwed up again because they were bickering about nonsense. Can’t recall if it was labour or national — they were going to increase the amount of damages though to comply with international law.

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  36. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    When it all turn to C r a p with Coal and it does and it Can

    the costs are astronomical
    the health effects?

    Getting anyone to pay or Compensate is going to be hard because some Coal Disaster s
    take on Biblical Proportions

    You need to have a look at this

    You would be wrong to assume that any coal fire above or below ground can be put out?
    this is more than a disaster

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-28/speculation-napthine-to-announce-partial-evacuation-of-morwell/5289992

    Money is no good when you are dead or your health is ruined
    as the people of Orwell will find out

    This is going to ruin a town

    it is 100m from a Main Highway

    it has been burning one month

    this is an open mine

    this was started by an arson via a grass fire

    You need to have a look at the Fires of Hell

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-27/mine-operator-asked-to-help-pay-for-morwell-firefight/5289102

    No one Cares no one takes responsibility

    And let’s be honest (for all the talk)
    Australia treated the NZ Miners and their family members
    better than NZ

    Many of the “Redundant Survivors Work in Aus”

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  37. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    ‘Remember, his audience isn’t that sophisticated.’

    There’s the rub, Rick Rowling, there’s the rub.

    See, to us, National is doing fine, we get it, we know it’s a big ship to turn around, all we need is to give the administration a steelier edge (ACT / CCCP, whatever) BUT

    Waitakere Man is easily swayed by emotional waffle like this. You’d better believe it, I know heaps of them. This is what the tradeys I know say, without exception.

    Rena – nothing’s been done. Pike River – said they’d get them out – nothing’s been done. Crime stats – down marginally; effectively nothing’s been done. Taniwhas down bore holes – nothing’s been done. Taxes – no diff. Dole bludgers – ditto. Filipinos milking cows in Southland and rebuilding ChCh – nothing’s been done. Chinese taking over NZ – nothing’s been done.

    Watch who’s advising you National; part of the reason you’re doing so well is because the opposition is so shit. It doesn’t take much for them to become un-shit.

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  38. Bob (497 comments) says:

    When people talk about shareholders paying damages they should remember shareholders are both big and small. If a small shareholder with some savings had put say $10,000 into Pike River should he now get a bill for $2k, $5k or say $20k? He has no control over the company. Limited liability means they owe only the amount of money they put into shares. For the last several years we have been exhorted to invest in productive enterprises. Who would invest in economic enterprises if it meant possible ruin? Also what of investment companies which take ordinary peoples’ savings and invest them in shares? Would they want retirement savings devalued by having to pay damages for insolvent companies?

    When a company crashes everybody loses – investors lose their money, employees are not paid, subcontractors are not paid and lose materials supplied. Of course Pike River was a terrible tragedy not just a financial disaster but the rules are still the same.

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  39. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    We will make the Rena’s owner pay through any means possible.

    So you won’t do anything then?

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  40. Dave_1924 (116 comments) says:

    The Rena – so is it leaking anything toxic? Is it visible above the waterline at low tide? Is it a navigation hazard? If the answers are no, then job done. Update the marine maps, tell the divers enter at your own risk and leave it to Mother Nature to corrode the sucker in to non-existence….

    Retrospective legislation is a bit tricky and can be a worm can opener par excellence – but Tricky is Mr Cunliffe’s middle name so no surprise he is grandstanding on this

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  41. Ben2001 (26 comments) says:

    I think the expression ‘he is looking for a bandwagon to jump on’ must have been coined specially with Cunliffe in mind. His next promise will be that he will force the Russians to withdraw from Ukraine.

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  42. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    ” His next promise will be that he will force the Russians to withdraw from Ukraine.”

    Look Vlad, we can do this the hard way or the easy way.

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  43. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    I just wonder how Cunliffe thinks he can make the owners of the Rena pay. The Rena was/is owned by Costamare Inc via a subsidiary Daina Shipping Co. It was leased by Mediterranean Shipping; and none of these are NZ companies. Costamare is Greek, with the Rena being registered in Liberia, MSC is a privately owned Swiss Company.

    What’s Cunliffe going to do, ban either company from doing business in NZ which will probably affect NZ more than either company ?Will he try international legal action, very doubtful that he will get any outcomes that haven’t already been reached, or, verging on the ridiculous, use military action somehow ?

    I guess it’s simply posturing for the believers. Yet another case of taking a position to look like you “care” and thus enabling one to flaunt one’s “moral superiority”; without however having any requirement to actually do anything of substance.

    Why does Cunliffe bring out the absolute cynic in people ?

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  44. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Retrospective legislation is a bit tricky and can be a worm can opener par excellence

    Heh. Law is a relationship between cause and effect. You can legislate til the cows come home but it will not change the nature of past law one iota.

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  45. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    It’s worse than that, he’s saying that the legal process through the environment court doesn’t matter and he will bully boy his way around as pm. Greens will override any extradition of dotcom and now cunliffe says to hell with the law I’ll make a private company do whatever regardless of what lawful decisions are made even if by a court.

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