Labour being tricky again

April 27th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

have announced they will extend the Veterans’ Pension to all veterans, rather than just those who were injured or impaired. They have an entire page devoted to their policy, and like me, you probably concluded that this means retired veterans will get a higher pension than they currently do.

But no, it is Labour being tricky again. You see the level of NZ Superannuation and the level of the Veteran’s Pension is identical. There are some differences around abatements if in long-term hospital care, but the level of the core benefit is the same.

I was alerted to this by Graeme Edgeler on Twitter. He makes the point that Labour deliberately chose to not include in its materials the fact that the level of the pension is the same. Once again, they’re being tricky. There are benefits to being able to get the Veteran’s Pension – but Labour have tried to con people into thinking they include a higher level of benefit.

Edgeler makes the point that sure you might not expect the advertising to mention this salient detail – but you would expect it to be mentioned in the full policy.

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48 Responses to “Labour being tricky again”

  1. OneTrack (2,578 comments) says:

    Groan. These are basically the people who protested in the streets when men returned from Vietnam, but, since we have just had ANZAC day and they can see all these potential votes, out they come with another, yeah, nah, policy. Can someone, anyone, sit down with these gurus and tell them they need to spend more than 15 minutes on these “policies” and not to do it when they have been drinking?

    The … mind …. boggles.

    Ok, I can now see them getting into the teens now in September.

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  2. thor42 (903 comments) says:

    What a bunch of *hypocrites* they are.

    Protesting against war in the 60s and 70s, but now that they need votes from those same war vets it’s all fake “sweetness and smiles”.
    If I were a war vet I’d tell them to “shove it”.

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  3. mikenmild (10,620 comments) says:

    So why would this policy represent an additional expenditure of $11 million per year? And where exactly was it mentioned, or implied, that the veteran’s pension was more than national superannuation?
    Doesn’t seem like much of a story.

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  4. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    I like the way Clare Curran tweets: “@GraemeEdgeler I will have an answer in the morning Graeme but let me point out to you that I’m a bit over your sanctimony”

    This is oh so complicated. Curran was Dotcom’s Labour Party minion for a while, visiting him whenever he summoned her and letting him write Labour’s IT policies for them. There were rumours that Curran was the sitting MP who was going to jump ship and join the Don’t Extradite Dotcom Party. Now Edgeler is Dotcom’s legal minion. Is Curran pissed because Dotcom dumped her and replaced her with Edgeler, like a middle-aged woman whose husband has left her for a younger woman? And what does it mean for the Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana-Dotcom-Maori coalition when the Dotcom Party are pointing out the vacuous emptiness of Labour’s policies, and Labour are complaining about the sanctimony of Dotcom’s minions?

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  5. doggone7 (677 comments) says:

    Being tricky?

    John Key will be rapt that his simplistic label has seduced all and sundry to the extent it has become such a part of the vernacular. When it gets used by political commentators, even supposedly serious ones, it becomes a marker of either an intellectual vacuum or an epithet of mere propaganda.

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  6. Manolo (13,330 comments) says:

    It’s pleasing to see G. Edgeler, Kim Dot Com’s minion, keeping an eye on socialist Labour’s falsities.

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  7. Yvette (2,687 comments) says:

    Echoes of the baby bonus bribe.
    Because of the abysmal delivery, people fussed about extended maternity leave or the $60 a week, but NOT both together.
    So much fuss that few looked at the commencement date April 1, 2016
    Fucking 2016, not 15
    The policy applies to children born only after that date.
    After talking about the present 50,000 in poverty
    And another 15,000 a year, so 30,000 more until 2016
    80,000 who get nothing!
    Tricky

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  8. mjw (208 comments) says:

    What a beat up. I clicked through to the policy and immediately read that they are proposing to implement the recommendations of the Law Commission and the Royal New Zealand RSA, at a cost of about $11m. And this is somehow being deceitful?

    Good grief. I don’t think it is Labour being tricky here.

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  9. mikenmild (10,620 comments) says:

    Careful mjw, I got downticks for mentioning that. It hurts.

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  10. Steve (North Shore) (4,491 comments) says:

    Yvette,
    So Labour can do the math – for the stupid. The bribes will never stop with Liarbour

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  11. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    It’s pretty clear what Labour are offering if you read this: https://www.labour.org.nz/media/veterans-short-changed

    There is no implication, implied or otherwise that the veterans pension is at a higher level than superannuation but just in case Edgeler or Farrar don’t understand it here is the relevant bit:

    ‘This pension is in place of, rather than on top of, New Zealand Superannuation. It confers some small benefits such as a lump sum payment on death, a Community Services Card and continuation of the pension if hospitalised.’

    Hopefully that is clear enough.

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  12. Southern Raider (1,539 comments) says:

    Seems like an insult of a policy to me. There must be a pile if veterans and Labour makes a huge deal out of sharing $11million between them.

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  13. Alan (1,055 comments) says:

    A sensible policy, doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. Fairly cheap to $11m to implement.

    National should adopt this policy and move on. This kind of thing shouldn’t be party political

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  14. jp_1983 (184 comments) says:

    just wait, they will raise the eligibilty for age and introduce a means test.
    that is the next policy.

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  15. doggone7 (677 comments) says:

    mjw

    Those down ticks call to mind the little kid in the room holding his hands in front of his eyes thinking that no-one can see him. He opens his fingers to peek through then closes them to hide again. The amusing thing about the down ticks is that the kids don’t actually realise that the best way to not face up is to get out of the room. They peeped and couldn’t handle it – lovely!

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  16. Crusader (275 comments) says:

    The present leaders of the Labour Party, in the 1970′s, would have been screaming and spitting at returned soldiers and calling them “baby killers” etc. Now they want to buy their votes with a few bucks? Which amounts to the same as the national super anyway? Who’s writing policy for this bunch of clowns?

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  17. Judith (7,487 comments) says:

    @ Crusader (229 comments) says:
    April 27th, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    That’s rather a broad statement to make, do you have any actual evidence to support that? Just because some members of the Labour party protested back then, on what basis do you claim that the current (and very different) party members would have done the same? You wouldn’t be using a bit of artistic licensing would you? ;-)

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  18. Alan (1,055 comments) says:

    ” The present leaders of the Labour Party, in the 1970′s, would have been screaming and spitting at returned soldiers and calling them “baby killers” etc. ”

    David Cunliffe would have been in primary school in south Canterbury at this point, Grant Robertson barely out of nappies, just starting in kindy, Jacinda Arden not even born. David Parker, just about in high school. David shearer a teenager, no evidence he ever did this.

    Yesterdays battles are gone. Move on.

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  19. Ross Miller (1,661 comments) says:

    I am happy to be acknowledged as both a National Party activist and a veteran activist. I had a small part to play, along with the late Lt Col John Masters, in the campaign orchestrated by Judith Collins that led to the Health Select Committee’s determination that VVets were exposed to Agent Orange and the like. It is a matter of record that the Labour Party were late converts to that investigation. Indeed, I have in my possession a letter from the then Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon George Hawkins, demanding that I produce the ‘map’ (that was the catalyst for the Inquiry) to him for authentication having earlier labelled it a fake. I declined, worried that he would somehow ‘misplace’ it. The rest is history. The Inquiry led to the Winteringham Commission and later to the signing of the MoU between the Government and the RNZRSA and the Ex-Vietnam Services Association.

    Included in the MoU was an agreement to review that 1954 War Pensions Act carried out by the Law Commission. Following an extensive and time consuming process they came back with a report that contained 170 recommendations. The Government accepted 132 of those recommendations, in full or in part, in introducing the Veterans’ Support Bill currently before the House.

    Implementing those 132 recommendations will cost an assessed $60m spread mover five years.

    For a veteran to access the Veterans Pension (VP) he/she needs to be in receipt of a War Disablement Pension (WDP) at the 70% disablement level or higher. The VP is paid at the same rate as NZ Superannuation with some important add-ons including that when a recipient goes into long term care the pension continues unabated (recipients of NZ Superannuation have theirs reduced to pocket money levels). When a recipient dies the estate may be eligible for a funeral grant while the spouse (provided he/she does not remarry) receives a special non taxable pension in his/her own right in addition to any other pension entitlement).

    Both the Law Commission and the RNZRSA argued to do away with the 70% WDP entry benchmark. I have some sympathy for that position. Disablement is recognised by the award of the WDP which can be as much as $381.63 per week, non taxable, in addition to any other pension entitlement.

    So it does seem incongruous to link entitlement to the VP to a level of disablement. To my mind the VP is all about honouring those who served … why should a veteran in receipt of a 70% WDP get it while a veteran at the 65% level can’t.

    Clearly it comes down to cost. The Government is putting an additional $60m into the new range of benefits. Official documents show the additional cost involved in removing the 70% access point (down to zero) as $11m per annum reducing as the veteran population declines. I guess Government could have declined some of the 132 recommendations it agreed to in order to accommodate the difference. Government is all about making choices. Funding is finite. You fund something at the expense of something else. Labour has to say what programme the would cut/reduce to fund their pledge.

    Having said all of that and for me the removal of the 70% WDP entry point as the entitlement to the VP remains very much work in progress.

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  20. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    Very average policy position by both major parties.

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  21. mikenmild (10,620 comments) says:

    Thanks for putting that all in perspective Ross, and illustrating the actual issues in play here. Pity DPF was not capable of doing something simialr with his post instead of attempting (and failing) to make a cheap political point.

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  22. dime (9,368 comments) says:

    wow! great policy! $300 per year if youre on the veterens bene.

    and we all know how much labour love veterens.

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  23. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    If the headline you are aiming to generate is “Labour extends benefit to all veterans!” then you sure as fuck ARE implying that its something additional. And that is exactly the headline Labour are going for.

    “Labour policy replaces Superannuation with Veterans Benefit for 13,000 veterans” is the accurate headline and one an honest party would promote. But it is the one Labour is looking to avoid.

    Sure they don’t SAY it will be more. Thats the fucking point, isnt it! That’s why they are being accused of being tricky and not flat out lying (again). They KNOW that everyone will assume it is giving veterans more, and they are looking to gain more votes and positive headlines based on that false assumption.

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  24. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (785 comments) says:

    This policy is a great vote winner folks…Cunliffe strikes again with innovation….

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  25. Ross Miller (1,661 comments) says:

    dime 9.06 … your comment re the VP worth $300 per annum is nonsense.

    The VP is paid at the same rate as NZ Superannuation i.e $564.32 per fortnight net of tax (for a married recipient).

    The WDP can be worth up to $772.26 per fortnight free of tax and in addition to any and all other pension entitlements eg NZ Superannuation and Government Superannuation Fund payments.

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  26. adze (1,856 comments) says:

    @Ross Miller – that extra $11m doesn’t seem that much. But as long as vets are being looked after is the main thing – they are pretty much shafted in the US, from what I’ve heard.

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  27. dime (9,368 comments) says:

    @ross – should have read an extra $300 per year.

    11 million divided by 16700 veterens divided by 2 years.

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  28. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Farrar being economical with the truth yet again.

    Nathan Guy complained at the second reading of the bill that Labour’s policy would cost $40 million, and the government couldn’t afford it. How strange that there’s no mention of this fact in the post. So while National is happy to treat veterans poorly, Labour is criticized.

    Very tricky indeed!

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  29. Ross Miller (1,661 comments) says:

    adze 9.34 … good comment. The Government has a ‘duty of care’; to look after our veterans. The VSB increases funding for by veteran community by an additional $60m spread over five years. An additional $11m p.a. (reducing) on top of that would be nice but, as I said in my original post, competition for funding for new initiatives is intense and Government is all about making choices.

    Government (any Government) is judged by its choices. If the wider electorate senses the veteran community is being unfairly done by then the Government will pay a price. Not sure that is the case stacked up against the additional $60m but I certainly think the matter is worth pursuing.

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  30. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    “If you’ve served in a war or emergency, you may be able to get a Veteran’s Pension or other war allowances and grants. Getting a Veteran’s Pension instead of New Zealand Superannuation has a number of benefits.”

    The above comes from the Work and Income website. It’s clear someone is being dishonest over this issue, but it isn’t Labour.

    No doubt Mr Farrar will do the honorable thing and apologise to Labour…

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  31. Ross Miller (1,661 comments) says:

    Ross69 … 9.48. tell the whole story please … $40m over five years on top of the additional $60m over the same period to implement the measures agreed to by Govt.

    Sat through and gave evidence at the Select Cttee hearings into the VSB. Phil Goff (Labour’s Veteran’s Spokesman) thought it was so important that he didn’t bother to turn up even though he was present at Parliament. And now he’s a Johnny come lately to the party. More to do with it being an election year than any Damascus conversion I guess.

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  32. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Yes, Ross, about $40 million over 5 years, but that’s beyond this government. I guess tax cuts for the wealthy have left it short of cash. So, veterans have to pay for this government’s economic mismanagement…

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  33. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    A challenge to all of you: tell us DPF’s opinion on the POLICY and support your assertion with quotes.

    This post isn’t about the policy.

    For all you know DPF supports it. In fact, I would be surprised if he didn’t.

    No doubt Mr Farrar will do the honorable thing and apologise to Labour…

    Well, he has in the past when he has made an error. This isn’t The Standard afterall.

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  34. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    So, veterans have to pay for this government’s economic mismanagement…

    Yep, returning to surplus is mismanagement. While pissing surpluses up against a wall year after year is the sort of economic stewardship you no doubt applaud.

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  35. itstricky (1,539 comments) says:

    What a bunch of *hypocrites* they are. Protesting against war in the 60s and 70s

    LOL. The twelve people that up ticked that have got some pretty serious social stereotype images to get over (and a dose of time travel by the sounds of it) Nice reply Judith, Alan et al. PEACE OUT BROTHER ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE LENNON IS STILL ALIVE! (he’s in storage with John Wayne, just like Leary (not Timothy) predicted)

    Before too many righties get excited, that’s John the crawling one, not Lenin. Sheesh, you thought what?

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  36. itstricky (1,539 comments) says:

    A challenge to all of you: tell us DPF’s opinion on the POLICY and support your assertion with quotes.

    He has used his special word ‘tricky’ as he has been directed, to paint the opposition with a particular smear. Just like ShonKey. So, I don’t think any of this.post is about policy at all. It’s about scoring a smear with the ‘buzz’ word. ‘Tricky’ is the buzz and he will continue to ‘deploy’ it for another five.months, o e would assume. Doesn’t appear to have worked that well this time. Better luck next. I do hope.he tries to make that Labour one the tag graph much smaller by posting some National policies and thinking some time soon……….

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  37. mjw (208 comments) says:

    Kimble – I just can’t get my head around what you are saying. Labour delivered consistent surpluses, 3.8% unemployment (lowest in OCED from memory), established kiwisaver, and the Cullen fund. National borrow and tax to build roads (yes they are the tax and spend party on roads), take the credit for the economic stimulus of the ChCh insurance money, and STILL haven’t delivered a surplus, and may not at all based on the latest tax take data.

    I remember dpf going on about a decade of deficits (thereby assuming Labour would have done nothing to manage them). Well, if National are re-elected it will be 7 years of deficits, despite their much vaunted economic management, despite record low interest rates, despite the ChCh insurance money.

    Where’s the beef? This is all sizzle and no sausage.

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  38. rangitoto (193 comments) says:

    In effect, the private sector borrowed to fund the public sector surplus. That’s why NZ’s debt as a whole rocketted over that period. Government expenditure also increased considerably as a % of GDP. The plug was pulled here before the GFC hit the rest of the world.

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  39. Mobile Michael (411 comments) says:

    As a policy, not a bad one to announce at the RSA Conference later this year, but as a major policy rollout bit of a waste of time. This won’t get the public interested in Labour.

    And given that WW2 vets must now be at least 87 not one with broad application. Especially as post WW2 deployments were not a broad based conscripted population.

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  40. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    rangitoto (146 comments) says:
    April 28th, 2014 at 1:27 am

    In effect, the private sector borrowed to fund the public sector surplus. That’s why NZ’s debt as a whole rocketted over that period. Government expenditure also increased considerably as a % of GDP. The plug was pulled here before the GFC hit the rest of the world.

    It’s always convenient to dream up a narrative that squarely puts the blame on one’s ideological opponents. :)

    A key driver of private sector debt is housing.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/finalreport/19.htm

    This has been increasing through both the 90s and 00s. As house prices increase young home buyers take out larger mortgages compared to what existing older borrowers are repaying. We encourage this through favourable tax treatment and strong migration.

    Just as well the new lending restrictions are putting the brakes on house prices. ;)


    Realestate.co.nz showed 4315 new Auckland listings last February but 4098 last month. Nationally, 12,167 new properties came to the market last month, down 7 per cent on last February.

    Asking prices continued to rise in Auckland with record highs of $656,702 in December, $663,372 in January but $677,370 last month. New Zealand reached a record price of $483,099.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11213979

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  41. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    We encourage this through favourable tax treatment and strong migration.

    So tightening the supply of new housing by limiting new development has nothing to do with it?

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  42. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    Labour delivered consistent surpluses, 3.8% unemployment (lowest in OCED from memory), established kiwisaver, and the Cullen fund.

    Labour delivered surpluses by accident. Each new year brought in more money than they were expecting. That’s why each subsequent year had more and more expenditure.

    They bloated the public sector and turned working people into beneficiaries. They pissed the surplus they were fortunate enough to get, up against the wall. They paid down debt because they would have destroyed our credit rating if they didn’t!

    (thereby assuming Labour would have done nothing to manage them)

    Well maybe you can point to something in Cullen and Clarks behaviour in the dying days of their stewardship that hint they were changing their ways? Any hint they were going to reduce the expansion of the public sector back office? Any hint they would hold union power expansion steady? Anything?

    Labour would have spent more and more and more and more. Because they is what they always did. Each new election would bring more and more extravagant promises. Oh no! the GFC! Lets spend a shit load more because Keynes! Oh no! There is a surplus again! Lets spend our way out of it!

    Cullen GLOATED about spending the entire fucking surplus! And that is the asshole you think would magically return to fiscal sanity?

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  43. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac (2,273 comments) says:
    April 28th, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    We encourage this through favourable tax treatment and strong migration.

    So tightening the supply of new housing by limiting new development has nothing to do with it?

    If land is restricted with increasing numbers of people coming in then supply won’t grow as much as demand resulting in increasing prices. So I would say it has something to do with it.

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  44. Clare Curran (11 comments) says:

    I don’t really know what the point of David Farrar’s post was, other than to try to put a politically negative spin on what was a solid policy for veterans aged over 65. Extending the Veteran’s Pension to all over 65s who have served overseas in conflict zones is a no brainer. It was asked for by the RSA and veterans and recommended by the Law Commission. $11 million is a reasonable chunk of money but of course doesn’t go far per person (it will benefit around 13,500 extra Vets). Beyond the money is the importance of acknowledging the service.
    I was one of those latecomers to realising the importance of service. I grew up in the era when it was cool to glare at our veterans on poppy day as it used to be known. But my grandfather fought in WW1 as a very young man who returned shell shocked and forever changed. His two elder sons went to WW11 as even younger men and died within a couple of years. He never forgave himself for signing the form to allow his 17 year old son to enter the army.
    I wear their medals on Anzac Day proudly. Not because I glorify the battles, but because I value the men (and women) who served and the huge sacrifices they and their families made.
    I am not the Veteran’s Affairs spokesperson so I wasn’t across all the detail when Graeme Edgeler tried to pick apart our policy late Saturday night. But I did respond early the next day and I commend Phil Goff for the work he did to get this policy through. We could do more. I will push for us to provide more support for those who served aboard the ships to Muruora Atoll and other places where nuclear testing occurred. I believe that we need a study into this, in the same way that a study occurred into the Vietnam Vets. Whole families are affected.
    I hope you’ll put aside the criticism you have of me personally and that of Labour to acknowledge that this is the least we can do. This comment is made in good faith and I hope you treat it as such.

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  45. Steve (North Shore) (4,491 comments) says:

    Clare,
    “I was one of those latecomers to realising the importance of service.”
    You are a latecomer seeing as this thread was posted yesterday at 4pm.
    Why not take it to todays’ General Debate with a link, instead of hiding your comment in a ‘yesterdays post’

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  46. mikenmild (10,620 comments) says:

    I think it’s most appropriate to call out DPF’s bullshit on the relevant thread.

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  47. Steve (North Shore) (4,491 comments) says:

    Why not ask Clare to link to here and on todays GD? She is chickenshit.
    Clare should pick on a thread that’s a week old and make a comment – nobody would notice. That is the point I am making Mike.
    Calare will back herself up saying ‘I did comment’ – but it was a week late.
    See the point? she is a shyster

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  48. itstricky (1,539 comments) says:

    Steve – blah, whatever.

    Mikenmild – DPF, DPF, wherefore art thou DPF?

    I’ll just go over to that other thread where he slandered an MP as being a source for a c* story – see if he’s fronted up there yet…

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