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Labour Leadership Virtual Hustings Meeting Questions – Full List Of Questions

Posted by on September 14th, 2013

Labour Leadership Virtual Hustings Meeting Questions – Full List

submitted by members – Sept 3rd to Sept 10th 2013

published 14 Sept, 2013

The questions below were submitted by New Zealand Labour Party members for the “Virtual Hustings Meeting” held by the party from September 10th to 14th 2013 and organised by Scoop Amplifier.

14 of these questions were selected and provided to candidates to answer with a 200 word limit. The Questions and Answers were then posted on the Scoop.co.nz and Red Alert ( blog.labour.org.nz ) websites. As this is published a discussion is taking place on the Red Alert site about the answers.

The questions and answers can be viewed at the links below:

1. Environment : What are your views on a clean green NZ?
2. Poverty : How would you ensure no one needs to live in poverty?
3. TPPA : Will you make the TPPA process transparent?
4. Equal pay : What would you do about gender pay discrimination?
5. Peoples : How would bring Maori & Pakeha into a multi-ethnic future?
6. Justice : What is your view of the New Zealand justice system?
7. Disability Issues : Would you create a Ministry for Disability?
8. Voter turnout : How do we motivate more people to vote?
9. Economy : How can we convince voters Labour’s economic policy will work?
10. Older New Zealanders : How would you advocate for older New Zealanders?
11. Party Leadership : What Labour values drive your work for New Zealand?
12. Party Unity : How would you unite the party as a whole?
13. Experience : What have you learned from failure & how would you apply it?
14. Winning : Why are you the one to take on and beat John Key?

CONTENTS

(click these links to jump to questions about each subject below)
Arts sector
Australia and international relations
Commerce
Constitution
Defence
Economy
Education
Employment
Environment
Green and sustainability
Health
Immigration
Income and Tax
Justice
Legislation
Older NZers
Labour Party
Regional issues
Winning edge

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Arts sector

What value do you place on the Arts and Creative Industries as contributors to our cultural health and wellbeing, our ability to achieve distinction, and our economic wellbeing?
John Smyth

Is it important to cultivate and sustain ‘the New Zealand voice’ and ‘the New Zealand story’ or is ‘cultural product’ just another item of trade, like a plastic spoon?
John Smyth

What are your thoughts on the Arts’ budget…….drama, orchestral, dance, etc and for the training, encouragement and support required?
(Margaret) Heather Grimwood

Will you look to create more opportunity for overseas movie houses to come to NZ to shoot films?
Christine Small

Lyndon Johnson said “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” Under the current government the arts have been abandoned and the people are perishing. What will you do to ensure the performing and visual arts will be actively supported in New Zealand to aid communication, express visions beyond words, and provide a medium for cultural enlightenment that enables the spirit of the people to flourish?
Helen Gaeta

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Australia and international relations

Would you personally engage with the Australian Prime Minister/Government in seeking to redress their current policies with regards to entitlements for ex-pat Kiwis?
Janet Phillips

Would you consider becoming less tied strategically to the U.S?
Jackie Steincamp

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Commerce

How will you stop private equity firms buying and owning media companies, especially in the Mediaworks and Channel 9 Australia’s situations?
Gary Wills

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Constitution

Would you consider policy that would lead to the appointment of our own Head of State, as in this day and age it seems ridiculous our sharing a Head of State, also a foreigner, with another nation. This would also presumably lead to our becoming a republic.
Murray Eggers

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Defence

I would like each candidate to outline under what circumstances would they send NZ troops into a war zone or peace making deployment, if they were the prime minister?
Julie Beriman

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Economy

Do you support a return to surplus as the priority for fiscal policy, and do you have a time-frame target for achieving this?
James Bews-Hair

Labour spends a lot of time in a deep hole called monetary policy. Last time it was moving from Opposition to Government it emerged from the hole with only a small and ultimately inconsequential change to policy settings. Is there anything decisive that can be done about monetary policy? If not shouldn’t more focus be on more direct efforts to change the structure of the economy?
Patrick Hine

Given the failure of ‘third way’ politics, what does a post-neoliberal New Zealand economy look like to you?
Damien Rogers

What are three major strands for an economic development strategy for New Zealand which the current Government has failed to consider?
Dolores Janiewski

The old (present) economic ideas seem to have failed for many. However the voting public will be sceptical about change (remember Labour and Rogernomics?) Also John Key will come out and say that any new Idea of Labour’s is unworkable. Labour will have to provide concrete proof that any change will work for the marginalised and poor. How can we get the voting public to believe that the present economic thinking has failed? and that Labour’s ideas will work for them?
Angie Croft

Would you consider reducing the high New Zealand dollar to improve international competitiveness?
Jackie Steincamp

Given the general failure of Simon Upton’s competitive CRI model to serve this country well, do you see a need to revert to something closer to the original cooperative DSIR model for the Labour Party?
Alan Mark

Until such time as free trade agreements are allowed to become ‘restricted trade agreements’ so that local production has a chance to flourish locally and then internationally, unemployment levels of 160,000 people will never disappear. My question to each of you is: Are you prepared to take this fight on to the IMF and the WTO and tell them these facts and that their neo-liberal template is causing huge, permanent unemployment in New Zealand and around the world and that we want to be able to decide our own economic, social and political destiny?
Adam Browne

Will you make the TPPA process transparent ?
Christine Small

What are your views on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement?
Vicki Bunch

Please outline your personal stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. In particular: 1. If negotiations are not concluded before a change in government, would you as leader support your Trade Minister to continue negotiations? 2. If negotiations are concluded prior to a change in government, do you envision taking steps to extricate NZ from this agreement?
Natalie Arnold

What is your view on the TPPA?
Cushla Dillon

If you are elected do you intend to lead NZ into the TPPA agreement?
Cushla Dillon

With Kiwi build is there any provision for low income housing with a provision for income related rents?
Gerard Hill

What is your position on an immediate return to making contributions to the NZ Super fund?
James Bews-Hair

Would you consider implementing an Investment Reserve Fund in an effort to help protect the New Zealand economy against future recession? and if not, why not? (such as found in Sweden or Norway – Relevant article: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/projects/bpea/1982%201/1982a_bpea_taylor_baily_fischer.pdf Also detailed by Peter Katzenstein’s Small States in World Markets: Industrial Policy in Europe )”
Matthew Luke Weaver

Do you think it’s now time to seriously consider a robin hood tax on foreign transactions?
Christine Small

Will you be removing GST from basic food items?
Trevor Scott

If you are elected do you intend to lead NZ into the TPPA agreement?
Cushla Dillon

If you are elected how important will it be to you to discuss openly with NZers the impact the TPPA will have on many aspects of our lives, including trade, our environment, copyright laws and medicine prices.
Cushla Dillon

Do you see an end to the business as usual model and if so when?
Frank Cook

The labour party has said it is in favour of a capital gains tax. Would the gain be counted from when the good was purchased or from when the tax law was changed?
John Raven

What changes would you make to the laws governing home insurance to force insurance companies to pay out within a reasonable period of time?
John Raven

What action will you take to help people trying to get a fair deal from their insurance companies and/or EQC for earthquake damage?
John Raven

Will you make a change in the law that allows people with bare land to insure it?
John Raven

I have a question on housing policy – a possible contradiction as I see it. Labor has accused National of “tinkering arround the edges” of the housing affordability crisis. By this statement Labor have suggested that their initiatives are substantial and will make homes in Auckland/Christchurch and NZ more affordable (at a regions given wage structure). If we believe this, then does this mean that a New Zealand that you lead will encourage and plan for debt deflation? What consequences do you intend housing policy to have for the wider NZ economy.
Jeremy Adrian

I note come of the rhetoric in the media indicates a move to the left. That is fine but how far, Labour is a Centre Left Party, Helen Clark was no right winger but pragmatic. I am concerned that too far left will give Key the Centre and power. Undoing the changes to the latest Bill on Employment Relations is good but what else do the candidates suggest?
Peter Jamieson

Since the 1980′s NZ has been running trade deficits and borrowing abroad to fund our lifestyle. Most of our trading partners use trade restrictions against our exports and yet we generally allow them to have greater access to our market and so we get deeper and deeper in debt. Many of them also use currency manipulation which disadvantages our exporters. How will you level the playing field for our manufacturers and farmers who export and also those who face unfair competition in our domestic market from abroad? Why are we such weak traders, are trade deficits the only way we can reduce inflation?
Dave Wollman

Should the next Labour Goverment institurte a “NZ first” preference in all contracts for goods and services?
Jonathon Everist

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Education

Can you commit to bring back the very valuable Adult Community Education night classes which were killed by the Nats?
Clement Pinto

I believe ECE is the most necessary area of education funding. Will you ensure as a priority that all ECE staff are trained teachers?
(Margaret) Heather Grimwood

Do you think Te Reo Maori should be compulsory in all schools; if so, how will you implement it?
Anaru Ryall

The National Government has made it harder for kiwis to access tertiary education. (Capping numbers/restrictions to student loans/allowances etc). What would you do to improve kiwis’ abilities to further up skill and educate themselves?
Janet Phillips

What strategies would you wish to put in place to ensure no one needed to live in poverty?
Ken Hutchison

How will you reduce inequality in New Zealand?
Perce Harpham

Outline how you would like to see the reduction of inequality progressed in New Zealand, such as higher taxation for those on top incomes, through cost of living increases etc?
Jackie Steincamp

New Zealand has been “internationally regarded as a flagship in creating the necessary infrastructure of early childhood policy around issues of quality, qualifications, access and curriculum. … the undermining of these policies is dispiriting, and even embarrassing, as there is continuing worldwide interest”. (Carr, May & Smith, 2010) What do the leadership candidates plan to do to reverse the watering down of ECE quality? In particular would the candidates favour re-instituting funding for centres with 100% qualified staff?
Anne Smith

Is it possible to have universal free education?
Jonathon Everist

Should more “‘integrated’ schools’ be permitted?
Jonathon Everist

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Employment

What can we do to make sure that there is gainful employment available to suit the abilities and temperament of the least able and that it pays well enough to ensure that individual a reasonable standard of living and ability to participate fully in our society?
Gregg Sheehan

What concrete practical moves would you introduce to increase employment everywhere?
Jackie Steincamp

What support will you give to business owners/managers in daily operation of their business? Instead of watching workers, treating workers as “thick” and “simple”, utilization of workers e.g casual moves to part time, part time moves to full time position.
Gary Wills

What Concrete, practical moves would you promote to engage disaffected youth – and get them into paid employment?
Jackie Steincamp

Would you ensure that carers (Resthomes etc) receive the increases that the recent court hearing has decreed they should receive?
Jackie Steincamp

Gender pay discrimination in NZ is a reality. The recent ruling in the Kristine Bartlett/SFWU case gives some hope. How would your leadership promote progress on achieving equal pay for work of equal value?
Lesley Soper

Would you institute the increased Minimum Living wage across the board (not just Government organisations)?
Jackie Steincamp

Would you consider legislating a pay ratio such as 1:20 for minimum wage versus Maximum possible wage in all public or private organisations in the country in order to ensure better social fairness and social justice to help bridge the ever widening gap between the wealthy and the relatively poor?
Clement Pinto

Presently Support Staff in schools can and are being paid as little as $15.03 per hour to support the learning of quite often our most vulnerable children. What do you see as the labour party’s role in achieving a well resourced workforce in our schools, namely Support Staff?
Linda Jordan

What can we do to make sure that there is gainful employment available to suit the abilities and temperament of the least able and that it pays well enough to ensure that individual a reasonable standard of living and ability to participate fully in our society?
Gregg Sheehan

What concrete practical moves would you introduce to increase employment everywhere?
Jackie Steincamp

What support will you give to business owners/managers in daily operation of their business? Instead of watching workers, treating workers as “thick” and “simple”, utilization of workers e.g casual moves to part time, part time moves to full time position.
Gary Wills

What Concrete, practical moves would you promote to engage disaffected youth – and get them into paid employment?
Jackie Steincamp

Under the National Government there has been a disconnect between the government, in its communications and policy, and the teaching profession (including teachers, principals, boards of trustees and education experts). What would you like to see done to improve this relationship?
Bridget Dymock-Johnson

I agree that all workers deserve a living wage, but, as a provincial Chartered Accountant, I see real difficulty in many small employers, for example in the retail sector, being able to afford $18.40 an hour. They have little opportunity to increase margins when already facing stiff competition from major retailers and online outlets. How do respond to this conundrum?
Bruce Ellis

What specific economic policies will you put in place to help job and wage growth?
John Raven

Do you acknowledge there is an unemployment/ under employment problem in New Zealand especially for those under 25 and over 50?
John Raven

What specific policies will you put in place to help the young and over 50s find work?
John Raven

Would you put in place a mechanism whereby someone can do an apprenticeship at any age?
John Raven

Would you alter the exceptional circumstances threshold for notifying a personal grievance outside the 90 day period?
Steven Zindel

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Environment

Given that the Puhipuhi plateau to the north of Whangarei is a vast storehouse of mostly locked up mercury , how do the candidates feel about the prospect of this area being sifted for minute quantities of gold and silver, thereby unlocking the mercury and allowing the possibility of environmental degradation from Puhipuhi to the Kaipara Harbour?
Jeff Saunders

What are your views on a clean green NZ?
Heather Mannix

What are your views on our one pure gold asset “water” and protecting our waterways?
Heather Mannix

Given that the Puhipuhi plateau to the north of Whangarei is a vast storehouse of mostly locked up mercury , how do the candidates feel about the prospect of this area being sifted for minute quantities of gold and silver, thereby unlocking the mercury and allowing the possibility of environmental degradation from Puhipuhi to the Kaipara Harbour?
Jeff Saunders

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported in June 2013 that the planet is on a trajectory for a temperature rise around 4oC, well above the 2oC limit of the Copenhagen agreement. They have proposed a 4-for-2 policy to try to bring us back on course and talk of the need for political resolution. What measures, locally and globally, will you pursue to make the Copenhagen target technically feasible?
Frank Cook

Do you believe that global warming is a real and severe threat to our planet.. which includes New Zealand. If so (1) – do you support mining on the Denniston Plateau [which actually was categorically put aside when the Stockton Plateau was given the go-ahead? (2) do you support exploration/mining for oil in our EEZ seas? (3) - would you cancel the MacKay's to Peka Peka Expressway and replace it with the consented Western Link Road? (4) - can you work co-operatively with the Green Party to encourage a sustainable, greener economic policy?
Rochelle Wilson

What aspect of the RMA reforms passed by National would Labour repeal if returned to power?
John Raven

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Green and sustainability

Do you agree that NZ should diversify its primary industry base by developing its significant renewable resources (hydro, wind, solar and marine energy) both to supply the local energy market and to add value to primary products by local processing of energy intensive exports (wood, agriculture, fisheries, iron sands, freezing capability, Australian bauxite, nitrogen fertiliser, cement, glass, ceramics and hydrogen)?
John Irving

Given the economic environment and the benefits of having investment brought to New Zealand via our natural resources, Coal, Gold, and Silver etc. At present environment groups with the best of intentions are costing tax payers and companies money while safe in the knowledge that they will not have costs awarded against them. How do we maintain employment and income while looking after our other natural resources like our Rivers and Wildlife without having a long drawn out court battle like the one currently on-going over the Dennison Plateau between Bathurst and Forest and Bird? We need the employment and we need to keep New Zealand green, how do we do both?
John Adams

How do you intend as Leader to manage the conflicting priorities of economic development and environmental protection?
Lesley Soper

As the NZ Labour Party Leader will you be supporting solar energy within all new homes?
Heather Mannix

As the NZ Labour Party Leader will you be supporting solar energy within all new homes?
Heather Mannix

For Shane Jones: How does he reconcile his support for augmenting West Coast coal mining with the imperatives of reducing global warming by shunning fossil fuel trading and consumption?
Peter and Margaret Bartlett

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Health

What is your view on health? should dental care be subsidised? should primary health be fully funded? should residential facilities for the aged be adequately funded? Should there be one comprehensive hospital in Auckland or should each geographical area have a tertiary hospital?
Julie Berriman

We have a diabetes epidemic. This being caused by the lifestyle factor of being overfat. Overfat is created by eating too much energy to energy use. Not only does this affect people's physical health it impacts on social, mental, psychological and spiritual well being. What will you do, as leader, to tackle this excessively expensive and preventable lifestyle dis-ease which is now starting in early childhood and extending to old age?
Vivienne Shepherd

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to addressing the discrimination against certain impairment groups (such as adults with Aspergers) which means they are unable to access support through the current MoH’s NASC system?
Hilary Stace

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to demedicalising disability support services by creating a new Ministry for Disability Issues with a high-ranked minister in cabinet and a chief executive committed to the social model of disability and, preferably, lived experience of disability?
Hilary Stace

What will you do about the national disgrace of children living in poverty in New Zealand? And how soon will you do it?
Mary K Dearsley

WINZ staff need to improve their attitude to the beneficiaries are any of you willing to bring more positive model from the negative model done by current government?
David Maclure

Is it possible to have a universal dental health subsidy as we have for doctors?
Jonathon Everist

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Immigration

There is no point training more apprentices if we are only going to export them to Australia. Will your Government manage the rate of immigration to ensure that labour supply does not exceed demand as has been the practice introduced as a feature of Roger Douglas' neo liberal macro economic policy to ensure that wages in New Zealand were driven to rates less than in Australia?
Lou Yukich

Would you tighten up the immigration laws to push employers to train people already in New Zealand rather than just importing experienced people from abroad?
John Raven

If, like the Australians, you are faced with boatloads of refugees arriving, what will be your policy?
Alastair McKerchar

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Income and Tax

Would a government led by you consider phasing in overtime Income splitting for couples?
Peter Hutchinson

Would a government led by you consider phasing in overtime raising tax free income threshold to the minimum amount required to live? ..eg if an individual needs 15k P.A to meet the basic needs to survive. ..start taxing every dollar after that amount, not before
Peter Hutchinson

Would a government led by you consider phasing in overtime introduction of a "Guaranteed Minimum Income" or GMI of the like proposed by Gareth Morgan?
Peter Hutchinson

As a 53 yr old ex labourer, tradesman, factory supervisor and business owner. I feel bringing in a living wage will just cause higher inflation to the basics of living, and once again the people that need assistance the most will be on the losing end. John Key gave away 4 billion in tax cuts, what will you do to reverse those to truly put money back into the pockets of the workers of this country?
Peter Hutchinson

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Justice

Would each candidate outline their views on the justice system in NZ, do they endorse restorative justice or prefer the fill the prisons option?
John Berriman

What would you do about: a) lawyers not being allowed to act for many people involved in parenting disputes; b) most criminal defendants not being able to choose their lawyer on legal aid; and c) paying lawyers the same legal aid fixed fee per case, irrespective of the work done?
Steven Zindel

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Legislation

Why not make public drunkenness and disorder a crime – rather than fixating on closure hours of bars?
Jackie Steincamp

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to repealing the NZ Public Health and Disability Amendment Act (No 2) 2013?
Hilary Stace

Are you as a potential leader prepared to support Maryan Street's End of Life Choice Bill, and if you become leader of the Labour caucus and should you become leader of the govt, would you be prepared to support the EOLC Bill as a Govt Bill with a conscience vote?
Jack Havill

Labour did away with Knighthoods/ damehoods when last in power, but they were reinstated by National. Would you support their abolishment, as such awards are incompatible with Labour/Socialist principles.
Murray Eggers

Will you investigate the Governments selling Government owned real-estate to itself without going through public auction?
Christine Small

Will you look into revoking any Social welfare reforms initiated by this Government?
Christine Small

What is the candidates’ view of the recommendations from the Electoral Committee to ditch he ‘coat-tails’ clause for leaders of small parties and to lower the threshold to 4 percent? What action would they take as Prime Minister?
Jenny Pattrick

Considering the extremely high incidence of child abuse in NZ (seventh highest in OECD Countries!) what do you each consider about legislation fully covering Mandatory Reporting in Child Abuse in NZ and as modelled on all Australian States (except, I believe, Western Australia) who have each submitted positive reports to us thoroughly endorsing that legislation (refer to myself for copies or to Jacinda Adhern).??
Robert W Walker

Will your Government amend the Holidays Act S14 provision to return it to the provisions it had prior to the National Party amending it to the disadvantage of workers?
Lou Yukich

Will your Government reinstate the provisions of the Holidays Act that allowed all employees the right to determine when they took alternative days (lieu days)?
Lou Yukich

New Zealand has, along with Australia, the highest rate of teenage cannabis use in the world. We also have the world's highest arrest rate for cannabis offences. Why are we criminalising our young people in this way and what should we do to stop this insanity?
Phil Saxby

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Older NZers

Senior people (those 50+) represent 53% of NZ voters, currently. As an active Labour supporter for some 40 odd years, I have been seeking from the Labour party the policy which will bring this group to strongly support Labour in 2014. Are any of the leadership candidates able to state what he is prepared to advocate for us, Seniors?
Dean Chandler-Mills

Will your Government increase the qualifying age for National Superannuation?
Lou Yukich

Would you support Maryan Street's Member's bill [if " pulled from the hat"] re End-of Life choice for NZ citizens?
Rochelle Wilson

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Labour Party

Who would be your finance minister if you were PM?
Bob Davies

I know it is always possible that the other candidates would not be in the cabinet, but for the sake of argument let’s say they are. What portfolios would you allocate to your fellow candidates if you became the leader (prime minister)?.
Bruce Rogan

What would your Labour Party caucus members say about your leadership style, your leadership strengths, and your leadership weaknesses? What would their perspectives tell me about how you will be leading the Labour Party in the next 18 months?
Dalene Mactier

To ensure a victory in the 2014 election we need courageous leadership. Failure is part of courageous leadership. Tell us about a time that you failed as a leader. What did you learn from that experience and how would you apply your learning in the future?
Dalene Mactier

At times it seems as if politics and integrity is an oxymoron. Tell us about a time where the Labour party caucus direction was in conflict with your personal integrity. How did you manage it and how would you apply your learning in the future?
Dalene Mactier

Did you Vote for David Shearer for Leader at the Previous Caucus vote? if so what did you see in the Candidate that would have suggested he could have won the next Election for Labour, or did you simply see him as a Temporary Leader prepared to loose the next Election until someone better came along?
Geoff Silbery

Why did you join the Labour Party over other parties and what are the key Labour values and principles that drive your work for Labour and New Zealand?
Annalise Roache

What books are you currently reading? What have you read in the last 6 months that has influenced or guided your thinking?
Bryce Bartley

Tell us about a time when you led a group of people to achieve a positive outcome. What did you do and what was the result?
Bryce Bartley

When Labour is mentioned people often refer to the party as the PC patrol or returning to the nanny state, including John Key’s current rhetoric that any of your Leadership would take the party further to the left. What are your key messages to the public in response to charges of PC’ism?
Annalise Roache

Since the last term of the Clark government the Labour party seems to have lost its way and connection with everyday New Zealanders. What do you think lead to this, what can you learn from it and how will you remedy for the future?
Annalise Roache

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to actively encouraging disabled people onto winnable places in the party list?
Hilary Stace

I am a woman and have three grown daughters and now three granddaughters. Each and every one of us has been able with the right personal attributes, determination and education to achieve without any bias towards us on the basis of gender. Why is there such emphasis on the 50-50 split of male/female MPs for Labour?
Marilyn Geddes

The best government for New Zealand, I believe, is a Labour-Green coalition that tackles global warming and energy supply. What are Labour’s plans for forging an alliance with Greens?
Jocelyn Harris

If it came down to a coalition between NZ First or the Greens, which would you be inclined to go with?
Joss Debraceny

I am in my early 40’s, live in Auckland Central and my friends and I would be described as left/centrist. Less than a handful of people I know vote two ticks for Labour, these days the average urban person simply isn’t aligned to one party, unless it’s National. What do you think of this and as Leader how will you work more authentically and collaboratively with the Greens to be more representative of today’s voters?
Annalise Roache

if you were elected would you agree to formally sign an affirmation of the parties new Policy framework and if in Govt were going to take a decision which was contrary to that party policy be prepared to bring it back to the party for confirmation/ratification?
Edwin Daniel

Critics have said that Labour is divided. How will you unite the party behind you?
Bridget Dymock-Johnson

As the candidate for the leader of the New Zealand Labour Party what qualities/initiatives can you bring to the party and within caucus and the rest of the membership within the country to unite the party as a whole?
Heather Mannix

Would the 2 losing candidates give there FULL support to the winning candidate, and get behind the new leader and party to win the next election?
Whakiao Hopmans

Will the 2 losing candidates tell those caucus members that supported them, that they should now unite, and have no divisions?
Whakiao Hopmans

Given your commitment to unifying the party, will you consider dismantling those branches of the NZLP which enshrine differences based on gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference, so that we can become a party of equality and opportunity for all of New Zealand’s workforce, rather than a broad church hijacked by the special interest agenda?
Damien Rogers

Michael Joseph Savage left an enduring legacy on our Party and on New Zealand. In terms of principles, beliefs and views – how do you relate yourself to our first Labour Prime Minister?
Mark Byford

Undercurrents in the Labour party are compromising a Labour victory in 2014. What was your role in the past in the undercurrents and how will you build unity and synergy in the future?
Dalene Mactier

Our strength is often our weakness too. What do you see as a key strength that you will bring to the Labour leadership that could potentially become your weakness in the future? How will you manage it?
Dalene Mactier

As the Labour leader and prime minister, you will be required to steer the party and the government with a firm hand. How will you ensure that you maintain control, while allowing autonomy and encouraging innovation in younger MPs to ensure we continue to grow strong leaders in the Labour Party?
Dalene Mactier

All of you have identified the importance of Party Unity. What do you see as areas of disunity? How would you promote unity?
Bryce Bartley

I am a gay man in a relationship for the last 35 years. Acceptance has changed but I still find an occasional unexpected pocket of bigotry and abuse. Will NZ accept a gay prime minister?
Chris Brown
Leaders are good because they lead. Telephone canvassers, door knockers and letter box teams do the work on the ground. What difference will your leadership make to building the foot army required to win the 2014 election? Please base your answer on what you have already achieved in your local area.
Steve Farrow

If you were elected leader, would you be happy to work with either of the other two candidates as your deputy?
Lucy Marsden

We are not just electing a Labour leader. Equally importantly, we are electing the person we want to lead a Centre-Left government in 2014. Why do each of the candidates think they are the best suited to lead a campaign that will unite Labour, the Greens and NZ First into a confident, winning team? And how would they go about this vital task?
Phil Saxby

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Regional issues

What steps will you take as leader to support the people of Christchurch in the Eastern Suburbs who are still suffering due to EQC and the lack of transparency and information to support constituents moving forward with their lives?
Heather Mannix

As leader of the party what involvement/input will you have in choosing the by-election candidate for Christchurch East and will you listen to the local membership?
Heather Mannix

Bearing in mind the National Govt’s short-term ‘solutions’ [e.g. $30 million for the Tiwai situation, which only buys a 3-5 year breathing space for the 3200 local jobs at stake], what is your stance on economic development strategies for regions such as Invercargill/Southland? What would you do as Labour Leader to support regional development and jobs?
Lesley Soper

During early protests against the Kapiti Expressway Labour indicated it would stop work on this project and reinstate the two-lane internal western link road if the former had not progressed too far. It now seems unlikely that by the time of the election work on the Expressway will have progressed to the extent that any work could not be incorporated in a Western Link scheme. Would you support work stopping on the Expressway in favour of the hijacked Western Link Road?
Murray Eggers

Will your Government build a railway line from Kaitaia to the port of Whangarei?
Lou Yukich

Will your Government build a new production facility at the Marsden Point Oil Refinery to process New Zealand oil that is currently all exported for want of a processing facility capable of handling New Zealand oil?
Lou Yukich

As a supporter of all Kapiti residents who are “motorway refugees” orwill be stranded within 200 metres of the monster road, I would ask what you would do about the proposed road through Kapiti.
Graham Bathgate

Why should a Labour-led government not develope the collection and exportation, to a desperately thirsty world, of the hugely abundant and squandered volumes of fresh water that the main divide delivers through the West Coast into the Tasman Sea? (water mining!)
Peter and Margaret Bartlett

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Winning edge

What methods will you engage in to bring about a large drop in the number of electors who do not bother to vote?
Graham Adams

“How can you as an individual help to get the voters – especially the young, who were disengaged in the last election to get out and vote this time?
Steve Cole

To win the next election we need to motivate people to vote and win some of the swing voters in the middle. Share one strategy that you think would be most effective in achieving this?
Dalene Mactier

What guarantee do we have that the leftward shift in rhetoric and policy doesn’t evaporate once Labour becomes the government and the status quo of more right orthodox policies set in?
Geoff Cartwright

It would be good to see Labour lift its game as a strong and passionate oppositional voice. How will you show strength and leadership in this area?
Bridget Dymock-Johnson

Leadership is about many things but the qualities that I have found missing in politicians since the late 70’s are the ability to share a vision for the future of NZ and the ability to inspire. Australians know they are building a nation; why can’t we?
Chris Rapson

I have voted Labour since 1978, and ever since then I have heard all the rhetoric, from all parties about the trickle down theory and stopping the gap between the haves and have nots. Well its not working because to me all politicians are either too scared, or don’t know how to address the situation. Instead we waste huge amounts of money and time on populist vote catching, eg alcohol ,driving laws, or crime. Are any of the candidates prepared to do something radical if voted, and not be another centre left puppet?
Peter Power

Looking back over the last 18 months, what was Labour’s biggest mistake? How will you do this differently in the next 18 months to ensure we have a Labour 2014 victory?
Dalene Mactier

Looking back over the last 18 months, what was your biggest mistake? How will you do this differently in the next 18 months to ensure we have a Labour 2014 victory?
Dalene Mactier

John Key seems to be made of Teflon, people love his down to earth way and the fact he is a self-made millionaire, what do you think is needed to take the shine off his unwavering popularity and why do you think you can be ‘the one’ to take him on and win the next election?
Annalise Roache

Do you believe that there are sufficient votes on the Left of the NZ political spectrum to get Labour into government in 2014, or do we need to frame policies which attract voters from the Centre, and quickly repudiate policies which will lose votes from the Centre?
Gordon Gandy

Wherever you come from, List or Electorate, how will your voting base translate into New Zealand wide voter-appeal?
Steve Farrow

The reality is that to send John Key to the Opposition benches will require a Labour/Green coalition. How do the candidates envisage working with the Greens to produce a public face on policy and co-operation that will maximise the Centre Left vote to reenergise those who didn’t vote in 2011 and to claw back the swinging votes from National.
Bruce Ellis

What do you think is the major reason for Labour’s poor performance in the polls (and last election) and what, under your leadership, will you do differently?
Fraser Newman

All three of the MPs have great ideas, but how are those ideas to be implemented and for those MPs that have the same ideas, why can you do it better than the other MPs (e.g. unifying the party)?
Emma Burke

If when you are in Government you believe that you are going to make a decision which goes against Party policy how will you deal with it?
Edwin Daniel

What do you plan to do to win back traditional labour voters who have become disillusioned with the party/ it’s leadership and have started voting Green?
Phillipa Mallinson

How will you make yourself and the party relevant to undecided/swing voters?
Phillipa Mallinson

While you say that Labour no longer (at last!) subscribes to the neo liberal “free” market economic perspective, Aotearoa is tied into this mode of global economics in several ways, not the least of which are the Trade Agreements (most of which were negotiated by Helen Clark) and we are threatened currently with becoming signatories to the TTP. Our Bill of Rights has virtually no teeth – not to mention religious/Church organisations being blatantly able too violate human rights in the name of Faith/Religion! We are looking at our Constitution to write it or not to write it. For me these three factors, amongst others are utterly inter-connected and any Government looking to bring about constructive change is faced with doing so within this context – which has to change for the dignity and welfare of all people and survival of our planet as a habitat for humans and other species alike. These are, as Grant acknowledges, moral as well as ethical, justice and, above all, spiritual issues. Until politicians recognise that all people are intrinsically of equal dignity and worth and that the above situation needs to be altered accordingly, no piecemeal tinkering with what has happened to this country will be adequately effective. Labour needs to set about systematically undoing what Geoffrey Palmer proclaimed labour would do, and succeeded in doing, that is, change the culture of this country from a perspective of service and respect to the profit motive and commodification of people. The machinery put in place to make the changes proclaimed was systematic and comprehensive and immoral. I remember it well, but then I am much older that you are. Furthermore, of even greater importance is our understanding of the place of the human in planet earth, the universe, the context in which I lives have any meaning. Our industrialised, technological society is damaging the earth, causing unprecedented numbers of species to become extinct and destroying the physical and mental health of people and whole peoples. It is essential that all institutions operate out of our relatively new understanding of our evolutionary development and what that means for how we behave in the inextricable relationship we have with all that exists – we have the knowledge from science – we are acting blindly if we do not teach, learn and understand and act out of what we now know. QUESTION: To what extent does what I have written have meaning for you and if it does how will it inform the way in which you wIll operate as Leader of Labour (Prime Minister) or as a member of caucus working in solidarity to take this country into the future in a comprehensive, wholistic manner?
M Clare Pierson

The Labour Party has a reputation amongst much of middle New Zealand as being a supporter of the “nanny state,” multi-generational welfare and minority politics. How do you propose counteracting that negative perception while still communicating Labour’s values in a compelling way?
Rachel Jones

What specific policies have you seen working in other countries that you think could be imported into the New Zealand context?
Rachel Jones

What policy ideas do you have to offer the party that might be considered fresh and innovative?
Rachel Jones

Many people are frustrated with adversarial politics. Where do you see scope for reaching across the floor?
Rachel Jones

ENDS


Winning : Why are you the one to take on and beat John Key? Labour Leadership Q&A #14

Posted by on September 13th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 14

Winning in 2014 : Why are you the one to take on and beat John Key?

Question : John Key seems to be made of Teflon, people love his down to earth way and the fact he is a self-made millionaire, what do you think is needed to take the shine off his popularity and why do you think you can be ‘the one’ to take him on and win the next election?

Submitted by : Annalise Roache, Auckland

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from David Cunliffe

For too long, Labour has consistently under-estimated John Key.

I won’t. I’ve got his number. John Key and National are prepared to spend billions in next year’s budget to make sure they win the next election. We must be ready to win and lead.

I can foot it with John Key or any other National Minister in any debate, anywhere, anytime. But we need to offer a clear alternative to John Key and his Government.

A Labour party I lead will offer a clear vision for a fairer, more prosperous New Zealand.

At the last election more than 800,000 people didn’t vote. We must engage and re-energise these people. They don’t want to hear that Labour is just a paler shade of blue; they want a true Labour party.

We must harness the collective talents of our Party, caucus and Labour movement for a common cause.

We need a renewal of our single, united purpose to speak for those who can not speak, to advocate for workers and their families, and recognise the needs and rights of hardworking New Zealanders everywhere.

To win, Labour needs urgency, unity, and strategy.

That is what I offer. I am ready to win.

******

Answer from Shane Jones

John Key is a wealthy man and has been able to convince voters that they too can enjoy his good fortune.

I believe I can match his down to earth ways.

I can relate to the 800,000 voters who have not turned out to vote Labour in 2011.

I do not trot out jargon because I believe kiwis want to hear an authentic voice.

A voice which brings Maori, provincial, Pacifica and working class votes forward.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

More than half New Zealanders say that they don’t believe what John Key says.

I believe that the shine is wearing off him. New Zealanders feel that he is out of touch. But we can not underestimate him.

We need to speak directly, consistently and clearly to them to show that National has failed them, and that Labour has the values and the policies to make their lives better.

I have proven that I can put John Key under pressure in Parliament, such as during the GCSB/Ian Fletcher debacle.

Now is the time for me to take it to him right across New Zealand.

I would love nothing more than to go head to head with him in debates to call him out on his failure to deliver a brighter future.

I believe I have the skills to put Labour’s message authentically, directly and clearly to New Zealanders, and the political judgement to know the issues to use against him.

ENDS


Experience : What have you learned from failure & how would you apply it? Labour Leadership Q&A #13

Posted by on September 13th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 13

Experience : What have you learned & how would you apply it?

Question : To ensure a victory in the 2014 election we need courageous leadership. Failure is part of courageous leadership. Tell us about a time that you failed as a leader. What did you learn from that experience and how would you apply your learning in the future?

Submitted by : Dalene Mactier, Southbridge

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Shane Jones

Prior to becoming a Parliamentarian I was the Leader within Maoridom that bought the fifty plus tribes together and resolved the Treaty fisheries dispute.

This took great courage.

Obviously I enjoy a florid style of speaking. This campaign has been a lesson to me about softening some of my rhetoric.

Immoderate remarks have offended some women and I realise I need to improve.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

The best example in my life came from time as a leader of the student movement in the 1990s.

After fighting rising fees, cuts to allowances and massive interest on student loans for several years, we were struggling to get people involved in our campaigns.

Re-igniting the movement required going back to the first principles of what we were fighting for (equality of opportunity) and knowing that whatever happened we had to keep fighting.

We took inspiration from the civil rights movement saying “Keep your eyes on the prize, keep your mind on the struggle.” We kept the faith, and it was great to be part of working on Labour’s policy many years later that saw interest removed from student loans.

The lesson being – always remember why you are doing what you are doing, and never, never give up.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

I have learnt some hard lessons about leadership in the past year. I have listened to colleagues and supporters, buckled down in my portfolio, and worked hard.

Going through hard situations can really prepare you well for the future, and as Labour’s leader I would want to put the lessons I’ve learnt to really unifying and energising our party to win the election in 2014.

ENDS


Party Unity : How would you unite the party as a whole? Labour Leadership Q&A #12

Posted by on September 13th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 12

Party Unity : How would you unite the party as a whole?

Question : As the candidate for the leader of the New Zealand Labour Party what qualities/initiatives can you bring to the party and within caucus and the rest of the membership within the country to unite the party as a whole?

Submitted by : Heather Mannix, Christchurch

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Grant Robertson

I have a proven and consistent record of working across our Caucus and Party for unity.

We simply will not win the 2014 election if we are divided. I have made clear to our Caucus that the time for talking about ourselves is over.

We must make our sole focus the hopes and concerns of everyday New Zealanders, and let them know that Labour is on their side.

My leadership will be inclusive of the talents of our Caucus. We have a great team that person for person outshines our opponents. We must work alongside the party members and supporters and the wider labour movement to build a strong cohesive force.

As a leader I believe that the most important attributes are good political judgement, the ability to unify and the courage to be bold to make the changes needed in our society.

New Zealanders need to know they have a leader who will not let them down. I will be that leader.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

As Labour’s leader, I would lead from the front. I will unify the party, caucus and wider labour movement so that it is an unstoppable force in 2014.

I have experience and skills in government, business, and around the world that mean I can lead a Sixth Labour Government to victory in 2014, and to strengthen our credibility once we get there. I can make tough calls when needed, even against powerful vested interests.

As a Minister and a front bencher, I busted the Telecom monopoly and kicked out a health board full of conflicts of interest because I believed in doing what was right.

I am committed to building a strong Labour team that values, encourages and supports the talents of every member of the caucus and we will work together with the Party, its members, and our affiliates.

Together, we can kick John Key and National out.

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Answer from Shane Jones

I bring qualities which will enable Labour to recover votes from those who have drifted to the right, to the Maori Party and blue collar families who no longer vote at all.

I am confident that my communication skills will jolt the 800,000 non voters to march for us to the ballot box.

I would change our campaigning strategy so that our branding and logistics is appropriate to the task of reaching out to those who feel that Labour left them, rather than them leaving Labour.

ENDS


Party Leadership : What Labour values drive your work for New Zealand? Labour Leadership Q&A #11

Posted by on September 13th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 11

Party Leadership : What key Labour values drive your work for New Zealand?

Question : Why did you join the Labour Party over other parties and what are the key Labour values and principles that drive your work for Labour and New Zealand?

Submitted by : Annalise Roache, Auckland

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from David Cunliffe

My values are Labour values. I know that all I am now and all I ever will be came from the opportunities New Zealand gave me when I was growing up.

I was born in Te Aroha, a small town in the heart of the Waikato. I grew up in a vicarage and some earliest memories are of mixing with the wealthiest families in the district, and with those who were doing it tough.

In Te Kuiti, when the cement works closed and the milling tapered off, unemployment and poverty were all around us.

I remember proud and good people, who through no fault of their own, were thrown into a situation of having nothing.

Not that my family was rich by any means. We knew what it was like to struggle.

As a teenager, my Dad lived with serious illness and there was little to spare. I worked evenings and weekends in a fish and chip shop, and I mucked out pig pens for a dollar an hour.

But I was also given huge opportunities thanks to a great education at the local state school. This was the foundation of all my opportunities that followed.

I have been incredibly lucky in my life and I am really committed to making sure that the same opportunities are open to all New Zealanders.

I want to build a fairer, more inclusive New Zealand with a future that is full of opportunities for our kids; a good public education; housing; free health care and a secure retirement.

A decent New Zealand. That is what Labour stands for and that’s why I am Labour.

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Answer from Shane Jones

I joined the Labour Party because of its history of reform. It has championed the interests of Maori and other minorities.

Fairness and collective responsibility for all sectors in our society is a key principle for Labour and New Zealand.

This motivates me.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

I never really considered joining another political party. My family’s links with Labour meant it was part of my DNA.

But as I was leaving school at the end of the 1980s I felt I could not join the Labour Party given the direction it was taking under Rogernomics.

I settled for campaigning against user pays in education for the next few years, but under Helen Clark’s leadership I saw that there was an opportunity for Labour to re-build New Zealand and so I joined in the late 1990s.

For me the values that drew me to Labour still hold dear today- fairness, solidarity and opportunity.

I believe that your success on life should not be determined by who your parents are or where you are born, but by your hard work and the collective support we can provide.

I believe that everyone’s contribution should be valued, that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay, and that we have obligations to care for each other.

Those are Labour values and they are enduring, but I believe we must give them a modern, strong and clear voice that connects with the lives of New Zealanders.

I represent a new generation of leadership that can be that voice.

ENDS


Older New Zealanders : How would you advocate for older New Zealanders? Labour Leadership Q&A #10

Posted by on September 13th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 10

Older New Zealanders : How would you advocate for older New Zealanders?

Question : Senior people (those 50+) represent 53% of NZ voters, currently. As an active Labour supporter for some 40 odd years, I have been seeking from the Labour party the policy which will bring this group to strongly support Labour in 2014. Are any of the leadership candidates able to state what he is prepared to advocate for us, Seniors?

Submitted by : Dean Chandler-Mills, Birchville

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Shane Jones

Senior people, myself included 54 years old, can expect from me affordability for doctors visits and prescriptions.

This is extremely important given the ageing profile of our society. Supporting the St Johns Ambulance service is vital to many senior people especially in the regions.

Personal security is a major priority. I am prepared to examine the feasibility of assisting seniors to keep there residences secure

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Answer from Grant Robertson

Labour must ensure that older New Zealanders continue to be valued for the contribution they make to the community.

One important policy is to ensure that aged care is funded and delivered well. This means enabling people to stay in their homes as long as possible through good in-home support, and investing in aged care facilities so that they have the quantity and quality of staffing that is needed.

This will mean minimum staffing levels and improved pay and conditions for rest home workers. I believe older New Zealanders should have the opportunity to learn, re-train and pass on skills.

I would restore funding for Adult and Community Education, and reverse National’s changes to student loans that are both limiting the opportunities of older New Zealanders. In addition programmes like SuperGrans and MenzSheds need to be supported to give the chance for older New Zealanders to pass on their skills.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

It has to be more than one policy.

We need to get it right from the start. We need a transformative economic agenda that creates a fairer, more prosperous New Zealand.

A better future with well-paid jobs, and where people are respected and valued. A future that is full of opportunities: a good public education; housing; free health care, and a secure retirement.

Our Party’s values recognise that older New Zealanders built this country and deserve respect and we value the skills, knowledge, and experience that older people contribute to their families and communities.

Labour will support older New Zealanders to be fit and able – not only to contribute to the workforce and communities but to enjoy their retirement in good health

ENDS


Economy : How can we convince voters Labour’s economic policy will work? Labour Leadership Q&A #9

Posted by on September 12th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 9

Economy : How will you convince voters Labour’s economic policy will work?

Question : How can we get the voting public to believe that the present economic thinking has failed? And that Labour’s ideas will work for them?

Submitted by : Angie Croft, Christchurch

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Grant Robertson

We have to relate our economic vision to the reality of everyday lives.

This means an economy where people come before money. Where the centerpiece is full employment- decent jobs paying decent wages.

We need to talk about Labour using the power of government to help create a productive economy, not one like National’s that is based on speculation and selling off assets.

To create this economy we cannot tinker at the edges. We have to leave behind the neo liberal agenda and create a Labour way. This means changing the settings of monetary policy, giving Kiwi firms a fair go at government contracts, lifting wages, reducing power prices, building affordable homes and investing in industry and regional development.

The message from Labour must be, the economy will work for all New Zealanders not just John Key’s mates.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

We need to be clear that the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) blew the lid off the myth that trickle-down economics will create a fairer, more prosperous New Zealand.

Free markets left to their own devices are ultimately destructive of human well-being. Unregulated markets tend towards monopolies and often concentrate vast wealth in the hands of a few. Neither outcome is sustainable or morally right.

When National says they are going to cut people’s legs off, Kiwis don’t want to hear that Labour will too, just nearer the ankles and with more anaesthetic. The post-GFC modern social democratic alternative must include:

• using the power of the state to intervene when markets fail;

• guaranteeing fair workplaces and decent wages through employment laws, including industry standard agreements;

• lifting the minimum wage to $15 and rolling out a living wage as fast as can be afforded;

• building new partnerships between communities, regions, industries and an empowering and investing State; and

• revised marco-economic settings that do not solely focus on inflation but include growth, employment, and our external balance.

New Zealand desperately needs change.

The next Labour Government mustn’t be more of the same.

I am offering Labour a bold economic agenda and leadership with the vision and economic credibility to see it through.

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Answer from Shane Jones

Our ideas are exciting. We will use both the market and the State.

I am convinced that our tax system can be refined to incentivise and expedite fresh investment.

Industry will be actively supported, regional development will be promoted and in special cases underwritten.

Our mix of economic stewardship and equity is desperately needed throughout NZ.

I have the experience and the communication skills to sell this narrative.

ENDS


Voter turnout : How do we motivate more people to vote? Labour Leadership Q&A #8

Posted by on September 12th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 8

Voter turnout : How do we motivate more people to vote?

Question : To win the next election we need to motivate people to vote and win some of the swing voters in the middle. Share one strategy that you think would be most effective in achieving this?

Submitted by : Dalene Mactier, Southbridge

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from David Cunliffe

We need three things: strategy, unity and urgency. At the last election more than 800,000 people didn’t vote. At the 2011 election, Labour failed to persuade enough New Zealanders that it was a credible alternative.

When National was telling them that they would cut them off at the knees, they don’t want to hear from Labour that it would too, just a little nearer to the ankles and with more anaesthetic.

I will lead a true red Labour Party, not a pale blue one. I will lead a team that is a clear alternative to John Key.

Voters will understand the difference between Labour and National and how we will build a fairer, more inclusive New Zealand.

We must be united to win. Voters disengage when there is disunity.

Everyone in Labour must put the interests of the party and the country first. We also need to be ready to win now.

We have less than a year to lift our numbers. John Key will spend billions to get re-elected. He is battle-ready and has the best spin money can buy.

New Zealanders need us to win so that they can get back on the ladder to success.

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Answer from Shane Jones

Voter turnout is essential.

I am confident I can reconnect the Party with a broader range of voters. I am able to deal with the reasons why 800,000 kiwis chose not to vote in 2011.

A significant percentage of them are in the provinces.

I believe I can broaden the appeal of the Party to these people.

There is no single silver bullet.

However a robust organisation on the ground with vivid messages will work.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

We need to be talking to people about the things that matter in their lives – how can they afford their first home, what opportunities are there for their kids when the leave school and university, are there decent jobs out there for them?

If we talk to people about the issues that matter to them, they will see that Labour has the vision and the policies to make a difference in to their lives.

I don’t think for a minute that middle New Zealand is better off under a National Government.

Under National their wages are stagnant, their power bills are growing and our public schools are getting shafted.

I will unite Labour so we can focus on selling our policies to New Zealanders and if we can do that we’ll win.

ENDS


Disability Issues : Would you create a Ministry for Disability? Labour Leadership Q&A #7

Posted by on September 12th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 7

Disability Issues : Would you create a Ministry for Disability?

Question : Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to de-medicalising disability support services by shifting them to a new Ministry for Disability Issues which has a minister in cabinet and a chief executive who is committed to the social model of disability and, preferably, has lived experience of disability?

Submitted by : Hilary Stace, Wellington

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Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Shane Jones

I will not be supportive in establishing a new Disability Ministry.

I realise how important the disability issues are across society.

The building code is an area where further work needs to be done.

It is important we keep a strong degree of visibility on these issues in our future Cabinet.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

I will do everything possible to ensure that this is a country where disabled people have meaningful lives within their communities based on respect and equality, where disabled people have their diversity recognised and rights protected.

An important part of that is making sure that those with disabilities have a strong voice in Government. I would be prepared to look at a new structure for providing disability policy and support services, but I am wary of creating new bureaucratic structures.

One of the issues we urgently need to address is the squeeze on funding for front-line services for Austism which has happened under this Government.

Included in that is a review of the definition of disability that dictates the eligibility for government support – which currently excludes people with autism.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

It is important that we support those with a disability to follow their aspirations, to make choices, and lead a quality life.

Those with a disability should be recognised as individuals, with their own set of needs and aspirations.

Our approach is based on the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I support having a Minister for Disability Issues.

However, there is still a long way to go before all disabled people are living in a fully inclusive society that values them and enhances their position.

I am supportive of improved public education and information sharing so that wider public better understands disability issues so that people with disabilities can truly participate in a fairer, more inclusive society with more independence.

ENDS


Justice : What is your view of the New Zealand justice system? Labour Leadership Q&A #6

Posted by on September 11th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 6

Justice : What is your view of the New Zealand justice system?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over the past 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting today (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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Question : Can you indicate your views on the justice system in New Zealand. Do you endorse restorative justice or prefer the fill the prisons option?

Submitted by : Julie Berriman, Blenheim

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Grant Robertson

I think it’s time we admitted that the lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key justice system hasn’t worked.

Instead of making our communities safer, prisons too often result in criminals graduating to more serious crime – perpetuating the problem.

Rather than treating justice as a political hobby horse we need to have a rigorous debate on how to build a pragmatic and evidenced based response to crime.

We must address the causes of crime, in particular unemployment, poverty and lack of educational success if we are to have any hope of reducing offending.

While prisons will remain an unfortunate necessity for serious offenders, restorative justice can play a much larger role than it does now.

It’s been proven to lead to better outcomes for victims and reduce re-offending by up to 20%.

Where prison is required its vital that we invest in effective rehabilitation such as drug and alcohol counselling, teaching literacy and skills training so offenders break the cycle of crime.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

I believe all New Zealanders should have the chance to live in and enjoy safe communities. One where crime levels are low and there is a fair justice system.

Those who commit crimes should be dealt with firmly and responsibly to encourage rehabilitation and reduce repeat offending.

More prisons and prisoners are not sustainable.

We need to address the causes of crime and wider symptoms and create a safe and secure society that guarantees civil and human rights, ensures equal access to justice, and promotes public safety.

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Answer from Shane Jones

The prisons are already full of too many Whanau from te Ao Maori.

Our focus should always be on early intervention, jobs and industry for our young people to steer them alway from crime.

A weak job market, limited training opportunities and poor investment in our regions breeds hopelessness.

Obviously security is vital in the community however economic remedies are the best investment for changing people’s lives.

ENDS


Peoples : How would bring Maori & Pakeha into a multi-ethnic future? Labour Leadership Q&A #5

Posted by on September 11th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 5

Peoples : How would bring Maori & Pakeha into a multi-ethnic future?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over the past 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting yesterday (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. All-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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Question : How are you going to blend the two main traditions we have in New Zealand, Maori and Pakeha, to provide the basic identity profile with which we can go forward into a multi-ethnic future?

Submitted by : Ian Free, Auckland

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from David Cunliffe

A Labour Government that I lead would honour the Treaty of Waitangi and invest in that proud diverse future.

I will commit to a regular series of iwi forums across the country, to develop lasting partnerships with all major iwi. I want to demonstrate that Labour is committed to the treaty partnership and it is part of how we work together.

We would encourage the arts across the board, and invest in further building our unique, strong national identity. But most of all, I have a deep and unswerving commitment to honour the diversity of all our communities and all our people.

As a West Auckland MP, with almost 40% of my constituents not born in NZ, I also know the value of an inclusive multiculturalism built on our bicultural foundations.

Both are built on the same principles that are fundamental to Labour – that every New Zealander is of the same moral value – and that every Kiwi kid deserves a good start so they can make the best of their lives.
Labour needs to deepen its alliances with our ethnic communities. Labour’s policy of a creating a Ministry of Ethnic Affairs with new powers and responsibilities will help to achieve this. Their struggle for a fair chance in New Zealand is part of our broader struggle for a fairer, more decent New Zealand that celebrates diversity.

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Answer from Shane Jones

As our leader I am totally confident that I can offer a unifying influence given my ancestry, education and communication.

Identity is not static. It is imperative however we not cast ourselves adrift from the bi-cultural narrative inherent in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The creative sector and our curriculum should encourage the blending of Maori culture into our broader civic culture.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

I think the word ‘blend’ in the question comes from the wrong starting point.

For me, using the Treaty of Waitangi as the base as our founding document we can create a strong foundation.

I support New Zealand becoming a republic, but it must be done acknowledging the Treaty. I also support the teaching of Te Reo Maori in all schools as a way of strengthening our culture.

What we must do is support the celebration of the many cultures in New Zealand, including through language and culture weeks, teaching of language in schools.

Our rich diversity provides a terrific platform to build our nation for the 21st century.

ENDS


Equal pay : What would you do about gender pay discrimination? Labour Leadership Q&A #4

Posted by on September 11th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 4

Equal pay : What would you do about gender pay discrimination?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting yesterday (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The three candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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Question : Gender pay discrimination in NZ is a reality. The recent ruling in the Kristine Bartlett/SFWU case gives some hope. How would your leadership promote progress on achieving equal pay for work of equal value?

Submitted by : Lesley Soper, Invercargill

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Shane Jones

The previous Labour Government made progress in this area.

It increased the wages of nurses.

I will use my position of leadership to ensure that the States resources are spent to give concrete improvement towards pay equity.

This is a core feature of Labour Party strategy and will not be neglected if I am leader.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

I am really proud of the work of SFWU, Kristine and her lawyer Peter Cranney in getting that ruling.

It offers the prospect that equal pay will now become a matter of common law, and we will not need legislation to ensure it.

But we must be vigilant. National has no commitment to equal pay, and if legislation is needed, just as previous Labour governments have done we will pass it.

An immediate increase to the minimum wage, scrapping the Youth Rates, support for the Living Wage campaign and re-establishment of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit within government are also important parts of ensuring that we achieve equal pay for work of equal value

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Answer from David Cunliffe

I believe we need to lead by example. National has not been ambitious for women. When National took office, there were 1153 women in boardroom positions. Today, there are only 1059, and falling. Government has a role to play in setting a leadership example, that is why I am committed to no less 50 % of the Labour caucus being women by no later than 2017.

Labour has a strong record of working to address gender pay inequality.

I am committed to investigating legislative and policy changes to close the gap based on the work of the Human Rights Commission and the Pay and Employment Equity Unit. This includes, recognising the right to equal pay, a positive duty to advance equality, and a mechanism to determine work of equal value.

I am also supportive of ensuring information about pay rates are made available so that comparisons can be made and unfair inequalities in pay rates between men and women are revealed.

ENDS


TPPA : Will you make the TPPA process transparent? Labour Leadership Q&A #3

Posted by on September 11th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 3

TPPA : Will you make the TPPA process transparent?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting yesterday (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The three candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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Question : What are your views on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement? Will you make the TPPA process transparent?

Submitted by : Cushla Dillon, Auckland

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Grant Robertson

The TPPA is more than a normal trade agreement and needs to be treated as such, with caution.

I am a supporter of trade agreements that gain our exporters access to markets that will mean they can create jobs here in New Zealand. But we have to ensure that our rights to make laws, regulate and protect our people and environment is upheld.

In the case of the TPPA we must set clear bottom lines. No change to the PHARMAC model, protection of IP and copyright law, and ensuring our sovereign right to regulate and make policy is supported.

We do need more transparency in the way we deal with trade. I would set up an independent trade advisory group with representation from across the community to ensure there is public participation and understanding of our approach to trade agreements. We must be at the table for these sorts of negotiations, but it is vital that it is a Labour Government at the table.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

I am concerned about the TPPA. We cannot trade-away our ability to set government regulation. I am worried that John Key and his Government will continue to keep us all in the dark about the text and its implications and I fear they will then present us with the final text some time near the end of this year and insist that we accept it otherwise we will harm our trading relationships.

This will leave us with little or no opportunity to consult with our communities about its potential implications.

We must protect Pharmac, ensure intellectual property provisions are suitable for New Zealand business, and we must not accept limits on our sovereign right to regulate. Any agreement must be in New Zealand’s best interest.

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Answer from Shane Jones

A very challenging issue. It is vitally important we retain the capacity for our Parliament to regulate for public good.

It is essential that this deal does not hobble our technical industries through punitive patents. Ultimately however I do not want to see our Trade partners in a club without us.

ENDS


Poverty : How would you ensure no one needs to live in poverty? Labour Leadership Q&A #2

Posted by on September 10th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 2

Poverty : How would you ensure no one needs to live in poverty?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over the past 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting today (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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Question : What strategies would you wish to put in place to ensure no one needed to live in poverty? What steps would you advocate to significantly reduce the gap between the rich and the poor?

Submitted by : Ken Hutchison, Hastings and Bob Kirk, Auckland

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Answer From David Cunliffe

Inequality is one of the biggest issues we face and we must strive to build a fairer, more inclusive New Zealand.

I am committed to a top tax rate of 39 per cent, the introduction of a capital gains tax, and making sure the wealthiest New Zealanders pay their share of tax. I will repeal National’s changes to the Employment Relations Act and I’ll ensure that we have fair employment laws, starting with industry standard agreements. I’ll raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in the first 100 days of a Labour Government and I’ll also invest in a living wage for all Kiwis – our government will set the standard.

We will need to create decent well-paid jobs. My aim is full employment, with every New Zealander who is ready, willing and able to work in a job or training for one. Creating these jobs will require an economic development package that gets Government off the side-lines and into new partnerships with the community, the regions, and local government to create economic and social value.

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Answer from Shane Jones

The minimum wage should be lifted to $15per hour. However as our housing policy, power policy, early childhood education, primary health care improvements roll out, household budgets will improve.

A review of supermarket behaviour is vital because the cost of food in NZ is absurdly high. The cost of rental property must come down.

I understand the need for a living wage. I would start by implementing such a policy in the aged care sector as per the report by Judy McGregor.

I do not have the fiscal data to offer an open ended commitment beyond that point. I am concerned that this policy could be seen as good for State employees but will not apply to those in the private sector. We must remember it will be paid for by tax payers not employed by the Government.

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Answer from Grant Robertson

Growing inequality is the most urgent issue facing our country.

We must have the courage to be bold and tackle it head on. This includes giving all children a good start in life in a warm, dry safe home. And it means lifting wages.

We can directly influence this by lifting the minimum wage immediately to $15 per hour, and supporting the Living Wage Campaign.

The government should show leadership to lift the wages of those who work for us, and send the clear signal that anyone who contracts to government should pay the Living Wage.

We also need to build a productive, people centred economy that will deliver higher wages. This includes giving workers back some power in wage negotiations through collective bargaining and industry standard agreements.

I will introduce legislation in my first 100 days, developed with unions to make this happen. We must also use the tax system to ensure everyone pays their fair share. This includes a capital gains tax, cracking down on tax evasion and lifting the top rate for high income earners. If everyone pays their fair share, everyone can have a fair go.

ENDS


Labour’s Policy Platform

Posted by on August 4th, 2013

One of the more significant developments from Labour’s Organisational Review has been the decision to create an enduring Policy Platform for Labour.  This is to be a high level framework for Labour’s policy, outlining the values, vision and approach Labour will take to policy in government.

The Labour Party conference last year decided that it will be binding on elected representatives of the Party, and the manifesto written for each election has to be consistent with the Platform. (The last point is important- the Platform is meant to be high-level. It is not a manifesto for a particular election.  Not ever policy area is covered, it is not meant to be an exhaustive list. The specific commitments that Labour will make at each election will continue to be put through the normal manifesto process).

The work on the platform actually started last year. It is truly a member driven document, with drafts coming from Policy Committees, discussed at last year’s annual conference, revised and discussed again at regional conferences this year.

The latest draft of the document was agreed Policy Council of the Labour Party last week. You can find it here.  It will now be the subject of regional seminars where amendments can be proposed. These will be consolidated by the party’s Policy Committees, debated at Annual Conference in November where the Platform will be adopted. In future years it will be possible to amend the Platform through the regional and annual conference process.

This does represent a further step in our democratic policy making process. Labour will now have a reference point for the inevitable question, ” what does Labour think about….”. The platform shows our commitment to social democratic principles, our pride in what we have achieved and provides the foundations for future Labour governments.

The core of the draft platform is the statement of our values. These are the guiding principles for the rest of the platform and will be given life by the policy priorities that we approve in our manifesto.

  • Freedom/Rangitiratanga
  • Equality/Oritetanga
  • Opportunity/Whakaritanga
  • Solidarity/Kotahitanga
  • Sustainability/Kaitiakitanga

In the draft platform the chapters that follow highlight our vision for a productive, inclusive, caring and independent New Zealand. They also show how Labour will approach each policy area, grounded in our principles, reflecting the spirit of the age and the opportunities and challenges of our changing world. The platform shows that we are a party whose actions have a principled underpinning. It shows New Zealanders what we stand for and the values, approach and priorities that will guide us when we have the privilege to lead a government.

There has been plenty of vigorous debate within the Party about this document- and there will be more.  That is the mark of a strong political party, where we care about the future of our country and world, and where know that our values and principles matter to what kind of country we have been and will be in the future.

Whether you are a member of the Party or not, we are interested in your views on the platform. Click on the link above to have a read.  Feel free to leave them in the comments here, or if you have a more substantive contribution you can email policy@labour.org.nz

 


The Grass and the Elephants

Posted by on June 12th, 2013

Tuifa’asisina Mea’ole Keil gave a submission to the select committee on the Government’s Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill. Mea’ole is the Labour Party’s Pacific Vice President and serves cleaners and caretakers in his day job with the Service and Food Workers Union. Have a listen. I thought what he had to say was a powerful plea on behalf of New Zealand’s forgotten people, and a reminder how important affordable housing, public transport, and a living wage are for them.


Goodbye Chief

Posted by on May 4th, 2013

As a humble Kiwi Chinese, I initially felt I was not senior enough to write this kind of article to remember the Hon Parekura Horomia, our matua. But I am privileged enough to remember him as a mentor and a friend who had played a brief but important role in my entering into politics and becoming a member of the Labour whanau.

One evening in the early 2008, I was invited to Parliament’s celebration of Chinese New Year. My job was to translate for Prime Minister Helen Clark. The Labour-led Government initiated the celebration in Parliament and this has so far become an annual event. My other mission was to get my nomination form completed.

The form was almost filled out one year earlier in 2007 where I was nominated as a list candidate for the 2008 general election. Being Labour’s first Chinese-born candidate (who’s from the mainland China), this was far more than a normal nomination form. I had the minister for ethnic affairs as my “proposer” and the Prime Minister and four other senior ministers as “seconder”: For any first-time nominee, those big names meant a lot!

Could not remember whose idea it was but my supporters and I felt so strongly that we wanted to get this form completed in the presence of our matua. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to settle and live in New Zealand and we are deeply grateful to the Tangata whenua.

So immediately after the celebration I rushed to the Executive Wing. I rushed through the endless doors in Beehive trying to get hold of Parekura, the Minister for Maori Affairs. I nearly gave up because I must leave then to catch the last flight back to Auckland. All of sudden and out of nowhere, here came the giant Parekura! He barely knew me at that time but I must have presented myself well in the short space of one of two minutes. He laughed and spoke in his iconic humorous tone: “Ohkey boy, I’ll sign it for you”.

I subsequently sought permission from the General Secretary Mike Smith to keep the original form and submitted instead a certified copy. I cherished the nomination form then and will cherish it more now.

For a humble Chinese person who made New Zealand home, to have someone like Parekura witness my nomination form was more than being symbolic. We are deeply grateful to the Tangata whenua and Parekura was and will forever be our matua.

Since I’ve become an MP, we bumped into each other in the long corridors in Parliament from time to time. Each time he greeted me with a friendly “chief”. He even regarded me as one of his “browny bros” and supported me.

He’s our true chief. His wisdom, passion and humour are a guiding light for me and for us. 

 

Filed under: asian, ethnic, Labour Party
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Working harder but never getting ahead

Posted by on April 14th, 2013

I just received an email from a constituent Alisha Keoghan who describes herself as a working Mum. Alisha says what I think most of West Auckland and much of New Zealand is feeling. She and her husband are working harder and harder and not getting ahead.

Wages are too low. Houses are too expensive. There aren’t enough jobs. The costs of commuting, paying childcare, and all the monthly bills leave little left over.

Hi Phil,

I am a resident of Te Atatu South and I have received your letter in the mail re: mobile clinic.

I would have loved to come along but tomorrow it is my birthday.

I know this will fall on deaf ears but I don’t know what else to do.

I have worked full time since the age of 16 and have been a law abiding citizen paying my taxes etc.

I went on maternity leave end of Aug 2011 and then resigned from my job (of 6 years) as the cost of childcare to gas, parking, traffic to and from the city was not going to work in my favour.

My question is how am I meant to succeed in my life?  I want to work full time.  I am not a home body and I want to provide for my family and pay off a home.

I see  young teens walking the streets with the newest iphones, smoking, drinking and I cant even afford to get my son nappies from time to time?

I dont get the logic of it all? I would LOVE more then anything to go out and have a glass of wine with my girlfriends but I just get NO help from the government.

IRD and WINZ tell me we make too much $???  How is my husband earning $20 ph earning enough to pay rent, power, water, rego, WOF, gas, groceries enough?

Im so ashamed of the system!  I need help or a job!  I am a talented woman!  I worked for Baycorp NZ for 6 years in the sales area and now I am stuck in a temp job with not even a guaranteed 40 hours and childcare of $235 per week to pay for?

How is Labour going to help me?

A far as I’m concerned John Key’s only concern is looking after the rich!  I would be rich if I was given the opportunity!

HELP!

Alisha Keoghan

I replied to Alisha that this is not what we want for New Zealand. Labour’s vision is for a more prosperous New Zealand where people who are prepared to work hard can get ahead.

I cited a few of our policies I believe will make the difference she wants to see:

1.    Jobs – This is our number one priority. We will support Kiwi firms, and grow more and better paid jobs. We are going to support our exporters, and help NZ manufacturing to rebuild.
2.    Minimum wage – We will increase the minimum wage to $15\hour immediately.
3.    Housing affordability – We will build 10,000 affordable starter homes every year for 10 years. This will drive down the cost of families getting into their first homes.
4.    Public transport – we will deliver better public transport. I am campaigning for high frequency bus routes, a dedicated busway on the NW Motorway, and a commuter ferry service for Te Atatu that would mean she would not need a car for commuting to work.
5.    Skills and training – Labour will increase the number of apprenticeships, and training opportunities.

This is the job description of the 6th Labour Government.

* email posted with Alisha’s permission.


Employment law changes – 6A just part of it

Posted by on October 31st, 2012

Some people seem to think the government has cleverly covered up its employment law changes with its announcement on Part 6A yesterday.

I guess I was assuming people would remember the rest of the changes on employment law were revealed way back in May this year, when a cabinet paper dropped off the back of a truck and the Minister of Labour was forced to confirm the government’s plans – that’s after saying I was making it all up first!  The changes will impact on the pay and conditions of hundreds of thousands of workers whose wages and conditions are set by union agreements – whether or not they join the union. They will contribute to the growing income inequality gap and add to our abysmal child poverty record.

They are the actions of a government that thinks that picking on the workers and unions and driving wages down is the answer to our economic woes.

Here’s a summary of the changes I did back in May.

We have yet to see legislation – but there will be strong opposition from me and Labour.

And for the record - Labour will repeal these changes – I didn’t think I needed to say it, but apparently I do.

 


Praise for the Organisational Review

Posted by on July 22nd, 2012

Matt McCarten can be a pretty tough critic of the Labour Party, so it was really interesting to read his take on Labour’s organisational review in this morning’s Herald on Sunday.

I am amazed at the thoroughness of Labour’s review. Their working party has done a great job. Assuming the recommendations pass at their conference, the Labour Party has the tools to become a formidable machine.

High praise indeed. Matt also reports on the performance of David Shearer (and Russel Norman) at the EPMU conference. I have heard from people who were there that David gave a really strong performance based on the common values of Labour and the EPMU.

The review working group led by President Moira Coatsworth have done a fantastic job, and given the Party a great base to grow from.

Members have a further opportunity to provide feedback on the recommendations as approved by the New Zealand Council. You can check them out here.