What does Labour think?

June 3, 2014

On the face of it a tax to discourage something that isn’t wanted is okay.

It works for tobacco.

Perhaps that’s why the Taxpayers’ Union uncharacteristically is welcoming a new tax.

. . . “For us the key questions are whether the Green Party’s policy will result in a simpler, more transparent tax system and whether it will reduce New Zealand’s overall tax burden. From what we’ve seen to date, it appears the proposals could do both.” . . .

The Green part doesn’t want to reduce the overall tax burden.

It wants to add a capital gains tax without any compensating reduction in other taxes and it’s planning other taxes including charges on water.

But the most important question about this policy is what does Labour think?

. . . For the policy to be implemented it would have to be accepted by the Labour Party as part of a coalition deal, and there would have to be a change of government.

Labour isn’t commenting – which usually means it doesn’t agree with what the Greens want.

The tax would impose higher costs on households than any compensatory reduction in other taxes and that would hit the poorest people hardest.

A carbon tax was one of the big factors which sank Julia Gillard’s Labor government in Australia, Labour here will take that into account before it decides whether or not to support the policy here.

 


Rudd retires

November 14, 2013

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced he will retire from parliament.

. . . In a shock announcement on Wednesday night, an emotional Mr Rudd, who served twice as Prime Minister and was one of Labor’s most polarising figures, said there came a time in every politician’s life when their family said “enough is enough” and there was no point “being here for the sake of being here”.

He leaves at the end of the week and did not say what he planned to do next. The general reaction among his colleagues was a mixture of sadness, relief he was gone and concern for the byelection and the pressure it could place on Bill Shorten. . . .

It is very difficult for a former leader to go back to the back benches.

His presence there and active undermining of Julia Gillard destabilised her government.

Had he retired when she beat him in the leadership race the Labor Party might not have retained power but it would almost certainly be in a much stronger position than it is now.


Ruxon on Rudd

October 17, 2013

Former Labor MP Nicola Ruxon has delivered a very frank assessment of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

NICOLA Roxon has called on Kevin Rudd to quit parliament, defending the 2010 coup as “an act of political bastardry” that was warranted because he had been “such a bastard himself”.

Delivering what would be her “first and last” public comments on Labor’s time in government, the former attorney-general launched a blistering attack on Mr Rudd.Ms Roxon said it was the “bitter truth” that as long as Mr Rudd remained in parliament, he would feature in leadership polls and be a destabilising figure.

“In my opinion and it is only my opinion, for the good of the federal parliamentary Labor Party . . . Kevin Rudd should leave the parliament,” she said.

“Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure, but this act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself.”  . . .

It’s difficult to understand why former leaders hang on when they’ve been ousted.

It must be very, very difficult to go from leading the country to warming a seat on the back bench.

Julia Gillard acted with dignity when she accepted her defeat as leader and didn’t seek re-election as an MP.

Rudd’s determination to stay in parliament will continue to destabilise his party.


September 29 in history

September 29, 2013

522 BC – Darius I of Persia killed the Magian usurper Gaumâta, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire.

480 BC  Battle of Salamis: The Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I.

61 BC  Pompey the Great celebrated his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday.

1227  Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

1364  Battle of Auray: English forces defeated the French in Brittany; end of the Breton War of Succession.

1547 Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes  Saavedra was born (d. 1616).

1650 Henry Robinson opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters – the first historically documented dating service – in Threadneedle Street, London.

1717  An earthquake struck Antigua Guatemala, destroying much of the city’s architecture and making authorities consider moving the capital to a different city.

1758 Horatio Nelson was born (d. 1805).

1810 English author Elizabeth Gaskell was born (d. 1865).

1829  The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded.

1848  Battle of Pákozd: Hungarian forces defeated Croats at Pákozd; the first battle of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

1850  The Roman Catholic hierarchy was re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX.

1862  The first professional opera performance in New Zealand was put on by members of ‘The English Opera Troupe’ and the Royal Princess Theatre Company.

NZ's first professional opera performance

1864  American Civil War: The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm.

1885 The first practical public electric tramway in the world opened in Blackpool.

1907 The cornerstone was laid at Washington National Cathedral.

1907 US singer Gene Autry was born (d. 1998).

1911 Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

1913 US film director Stanley Kramer was born (d. 2001).

1916 John D. Rockefeller became the first billionaire.

1918  World War I: The Hindenburg Line was broken by Allied forces. Bulgaria signed an armistice

1932  Chaco War: Last day of the Battle of Boquerón between Paraguay and Bolivia.

1935 US musician Jerry Lee Lewis was born.

1936 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was born.

1941  World War II: Holocaust in Kiev German Einsatzgruppe C began the Babi Yar massacre.

1943 Polish president Lech Walsea was born.

1943  World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice  aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson off Malta.

1951 Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, was born.

1954  The convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was signed.

1956 English athlete Sir Sebastian Coe was born.

1957 20 MCi (740 petabecquerels) of radioactive material was released in an explosion at the Soviet Mayak nuclear plant at Chelyabinsk.

1961 Julia Gillard, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1962  Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite, was launched.

1963 The second period of the Second Vatican Council opened.

1963  The University of East Anglia was established in Norwich.

1964  The Argentine comic strip Mafalda, by Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino, was published for the first time.

1966  The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, was introduced.

1975  WGPR in Detroit, Michigan, becomes the world’s first black-owned-and-operated television station.

1979  Pope John Paul II became the first pope to set foot on Irish soil.

1988 Space Shuttle: NASA launched STS-26, the return to flight mission.

1990  Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was completed.

1990 The YF-22, which later became the F-22 Raptor, flew for the first time.

1991  Military coup in Haiti.

1992  Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello resigned.

1995 The United States Navy disbanded Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84), nicknamed the “Jolly Rogers”.

2004 The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth.

2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize.

2006  Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 collided in mid-air with an Embraer Legacy business jet, killing 154 total people, and triggering a Brazilian aviation crisis.

2007  Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, was demolished in a controlled explosion.

2008  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell  777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.

2009 An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands caused a tsunami .

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Importance of purpose

September 15, 2013

Julia GIllard has broken two months’ silence to write in The Guardian of the pain – personal and political – of losing.

In it she, criticises her party’s rule change which could entrench a leader, even though under it she would still have beaten Rudd the first time and been able to see off his challenge which unseated her.

But the piece which resonated most with me was this:

. . . Above all else, in politics, in government and in opposition, purpose matters.

Voters do not reject political parties because they believe they do not know how to read polls or hold focus groups or come up with slogans.

Purpose matters. Being able to answer the question what are you going to do for me, for my family, for our nation, matters.

Believing in a purpose larger than yourself and your immediate political interests matters. . .

Our government has a purpose. It’s a positive and aspirational one – to make New Zealand better for everyone.

It’s a purpose not achieved easily or quickly.

It’s a purpose which includes reducing the burden of the state, providing the environment for sustainable growth and helping those who need help to look after themselves to do so, while ensuring those who can’t are looked after.

Contrast that with the purpose of Labour’s three aspiring leaders. They’ve learned nothing from past mistakes and their purpose is to get elected through pork barrel promises  with no thought of the cost in financial, personal or social terms.

Their purpose is power at any cost, not progress at a sustainable price.


Labour worse than war zone

September 9, 2013

Quote of the day:

“I always felt, oddly enough, more comfortable in a war zones than I did in the Labour Party— not so much in the Labour Party but in politics. I mean, obviously in politics you’re getting sniped at from all directions. In a war zone, you can generally tell who the good guys are and who are the bad guys.”David Shearer.

That’s a very revealing insight into the Labour Party in spite of correcting himself and saying politics.

There’s nothing unusual at getting sniped at from the other side, it’s the sniping from you own side and not knowing who are the goodies and who are the baddies that is hardest to combat.

That was what Julia Gillard had to cope with while she was Prime Minister and lack of loyalty from her own caucus was what eventually toppled her.

Shearer faced similar undermining from his colleagues which made it impossible for him, or his party, to make any traction.

Whether his successor fares any better will depend on whether or not he can unite his caucus and the party.

Given the number of factions and depth of divisions between them, that could take some time.


Labor’s lessons for Labour

July 2, 2013

Political leaders almost always get the blame for their poll woes but Luke Malpass points out there is a lot more to Labor’s problems than its former leader.

. . .  it’s often overlooked that Mr Rudd was dumped in large part because many of his policies were either poor quality or unpopular and his administration inept.

Many “policies” were either mismanaged, or simply never materialised.

Climate change topped the list of Rudd policy failures. Despite bloviating that it was “the greatest economic, moral and social challenge of our time”, Mr Rudd quickly abandoned doing anything when it became unpopular.

An ineffective fiscal stimulus was still being spent in school halls years after the global financial crisis had passed, while a home-insulation disaster came complete with house fires, deaths, and a ruined industry.

He presided over an abandoned laptops-in-schools programme. He introduced an unworkable and punitive mining-super-profits tax.

He legislated the Fair Work Act, taking industrial relations back to the 1970s. He dismantled the “Pacific solution” for asylum seekers, helping restart the odious people-smuggling trade, and 100 boat people are now arriving daily.

For this reason Mr Rudd’s elevation will probably make little difference. The policies are the same, and are still unpopular.

The basic conceit, under which Labor has operated since 2009, is that it is no good at “selling its message” – the notion that people might just not like the policies is never countenanced.

The policy failures, political ineptitude, blatant spin and deceit under both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd have been staggering. . .

There are lessons in the Australian Labor Party’s mistakes for the New Zealand labour Party.

The inability for its leader to gain traction is part of its problem.

But that is compounded by its chasing the Green Party to the left and obvious internal instability.

David Shearer’s leadership has never been secure and gets less so with every bad poll.

But just as a change of leader for Labor didn’t improve its policies, dumping Shearer won’t make Labour’s prescription any more palatable.

It has criticised every move National has made to rein in public spending, make the public service more efficient, reduce the burden of the state, encourage people from welfare to work, and other policies which have helped the country weather economic storms and track back to surplus.

Criticism is one role for an opposition. But it also needs to come up with compelling alternatives that make it look like a government in waiting.

Labour has failed to do this and like Labor, failed to see that people simply don’t like its policies.


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