Nanaia Mahuta – Standard Q & A

Yesterday Labour leadership contender Nanaia Mahuta had a Q & A at The Standard. Her introduction:

Greetings Standarnistas!

I am proud of our country and the Labour Party and I know that it can be better.

We are a progressive movement for change and we are at an important juncture. We must take stock to assess the challenges we face in a political landscape where we must earn back the confidence of New Zealanders.

Hard-working Labour members and supporters campaigned for the types of policies that could lift our desire to become a smart, innovative and caring nation in the 21st Century. The election outcome told us that we just didn’t get cut through, the missing million didn’t mobilize, the prospect of Dotcom raised more concern than support and ‘Dirty Politics’ may have turned punters off altogether. We must keep confidence with the base of support we do have as we work out our way forward.

We need to be prepared to do things differently. The Party has started its programme to modernise the way we do things and that must continue. The Parliamentary wing needs to modernise its approach and represent the aspirations of New Zealanders who despite their working class roots may see their needs better responded to by other political parties. We need to reclaim this space.

My upbringing and my world-view are different. Leading a life of service, contributing to the collective aspirations of community and working amongst diverse groups are just some of the experiences that have shaped my approach.

Being involved in change programmes has given me insight. The Organisational Review for the Party and the Governance and Representation Review for my tribe have tackled challenges of structural, cultural, organisational and leadership change.

When I entered Parliament the caucus culture was that one must ‘do their time – look, listen and breathe through your nose’. Mentoring was a myth and it wasn’t until the 2004 foreshore and seabed issue, I took my place in the caucus as an elected equal with my colleagues. I used the process to effect change for my electorate where they have never been prejudicially affected by any subsequent piece of legislation.

Where you stand in the hard times are a good test of character. After 5 elections I have retained the confidence of Hauraki-Waikato people whom I have never taken for granted.

New Zealand is now more diverse as a nation. The challenges of modern society require a collaborative and sustainable approach. Communities, Business, Local Government our academic institutions are already moving in this direction.

We can uphold our values of a fair and decent society. We can promote economic prosperity and environmental responsibility as mutually inclusive aspirations.

We can ensure that our children and old people are cared for at the most vulnerable times of their life cycle.

We can affirm to working people, and those who share our aspirations in the productive sector that there is everything to gain when we have thriving communities and regions.

We can explore the rich contribution of diversity.

We can be stronger when we work together.

Mauriora!

Nanaia Mahuta

Edited questions with full answers.

Will you work collaboratively with other parties on the Left?

In opposition I think that building a strong relationship with potential coalition partners is important and I would take a constructive approach across the parliamentary and party levels of leadership over the next 3 years.

Do you consider a strategy for the LP to get MPs on the ground over the next 2.8 years working on a nationwide education programme with Unions, utlising their extensive infrastructure to educate NZ workers about the value of union membership as a way to improve their wages, working conditions, security of job and family a worthwhile strategy? If yes, how would you instigate it. If no, why not.

I would tend to agree with the approach you have imied and would work in partnership with unions to achieve that objective. Our effort in Parliament would amplify to hard working New Zealanders that a productive economy and the protection of worker rights have mutual advantage to regional growth and productivity.

Very general answers to begin with.

I am interested in caucus dynamics. I am not breaking any confidences by saying that the dynamics within Caucus are not ideal.

What changes do you think should be made to improve things?

It appears to me that this decision will again be one where the membership will express a preference and Caucus will need to act in a more disciplined way or risk further perception that the party and parliamentary wing are not in sync. We must be disciplined in the next phase to rebuild confidence that we will get our house in order.

Very good. Thank you Nanaia for that gracious and thoughtful, in depth, reply.

“Thoughtful, in depth” seems out of sync with her answer.

More specifically are you able and/or willing to face down the Right Wing ABC faction to give David Cunliffe a senior role in your shadow cabinet?

All members will be treated without fear or favor based on their aspiration to work towards a united team, a focussed opposition, a strong voice for working people and able to build credibility around a credible Labour alternative to Create a vision for NZ where all peoples can live, work and thrive.

I believe that DC has a huge contribution to make as do other members of our caucus. Our commitment to the team will determine how talent will be recognised.

Mahuta has been a supporter of Cunliffe and only stood for leadership when he withdrew.

If at the next election Mana were the make or break for the formation of a left wing government, would you choose to take their support on confidence and supply or would you choose to remain in opposition? (note, I am not asking if you would go into coalition with Mana, just if you would accept their support on C and S). If you would accept their support, how will you communicate this to the electorate pre-election?

It seems to me that it will be very hard to regroup with no presence in Parliament. I remain open to conversations to opposition parties represented in Parliament as a first step to build the campaign to change the Government.

Do you intend for Labour to develop policy specific to Work and Income beneficiaries, esp those who are not in a position to enter the workforce? (as opposed to policy directed towards low income people in general). Will you support Labour rolling back the worst of the Paula Bennett welfare reforms?

How do you intend for Labour to address the cultural and structural problems within Work and Income? How do you intend for Labour to address the wider society cultural issues regarding welfare eg the bludger memes?

The team I lead will be highy motivated to present an alternative economic vision where regional development will provide tangible opportunities for the productive sector to grow jobs and transition to a low carbon economy, we will further establish credibility and support for education and training investment and ensure that our public health and education system become a hallmark of a caring society and where opportunity is available to all.

There doesn’t seem to be anything original or informative in that answer.

What policies will you bring forward to address and eradicate poverty in NZ?

We will emphasise policies that promote a high value productive sector to grow good quality jobs, we will push for targets on child poverty in order to keep the Government accountable to its responsibility, and we will further advocate for the rights and interests of the most vulnerable.

For those modest hardworking families we will ensure that there is a coherent policy package that addresses their needs so they can see that we support them. Housing, Working for Families, the cost of child care and cost of living pressure are the range of issues that would need to be factored into this approach.

Interesting to see her emphasis on “we”.

[1] Have any of the Pākehā caucus members (non Maori, non PI) indicated their first preference vote for you? If yes, is that number at least two?

No

[2] Please describe briefly what your approach will be to reduce the ever increasing wealth and income gap in our country.

Please see previous comments above. In addition to that I would take the approach that Labour would need to lead an inquiry on the changing nature of work to better understand sector by sector the extent of the challenge to reduce the wealth and income gap and to better inform where our ‘investment’ approach might best be focussed. As we move from a high volume to high value economy we need to transition the current and future labour market towards that goal.

[3] Do you have enough confidence that you can take on and fight Key for the Prime ministerial position during the next election campaign?

With a United and Focussed Team Labour is formidable. I will certainly change the landscape on which that fight will take place.

[4] Will you be able to be a fair and effective leader for all New Zealanders?

That can only be assessed over time.

That’s right – until anyone becomes a leader and is seen in action over time it is difficult to assess how they will perform. Some rise to the challenge, some don’t.

During your 18 years in parliament what 3 achievements would you consider your greatest triumphs?

1. Being an effective advocate for my Electorate where I was unafraid to test my mandate on the hardest of issues (Foreshore and Seabed) where Labour suffered huge electoral damage. I continue to serve my electorate and hold their confidence.

2. I have always put my name to comments to the media and have not brought the Party into disrepute.

3. As Minister of Youth Affairs I initiated exactly the types of projects that grew participation of young people in decision-making, that fostered mentoring, that tackled issues of their time mental, sexual and reproductive health initiatives and teen pregnancy.

There are other things but these particular three speak to the values that I hold as a person.

Mahuta’s lack of apparent impact and visibility over 18 years in Parliament is a common criticism. Maori MPs often seem to have a lower public profile, I’ve wondered if that’s due to lower effort or if the Maori way of representing is just more discrete, or regarded as not newsworthy.

Would you consider overseeing the establishment of an independent commission against corruption for NZ, tasked with cleaning up all relevant areas?

In the first instance I support greater transparency in the political system as we unravel issues raised in ‘dirty politics’ there may well be greater impetus to pursue your suggestion.

If you are elected leader of the LP do you accept that the right both directly and through their channels will seek to undermine you with fact and fiction? If you do accept this what strategy do you and your advisors have to get beyond that to ensure the LP messages are heard?

Connect with more New Zealanders and enter into a broader range of relationships with stakeholder groups and communities that tend not to have affinity with Labour. It will take effort to earn the confidence of more New Zealanders they need to know how and why we think the way we do and what motivates us to build a New Zealand that works for everyone.

Do you think that there are enough activists in the Labour Party who you can work with to further the interests of the country and the people on the lower to middle-income strata? Do you agree what is needed is more supportive and effective welfare and creation of jobs through work schemes, small loans and business and government service initiatives?

I agree that there needs to be a strong emphasis on work that is genuine and sustainable. I also recognize that by ensuring the most vulnerable are cared for we create a fair society. Work and better paying jobs has to be a core motivation. But we can’t stop there as people should aspire to achieve more no matter where their starting point.

Will you consider measures to stop the sale of NZ land and assets to foreign interests?

Our policy on the first issue proposed to do just that stop further asset sales and raise the bar for foreign ownership.

That didn’t answer the question, she says what was Labour policy, not what she would consider.

Do you like Bob Marley?

Yes.

Do you think liberalism as an economic theory works for Maori?

No.

Your husband is awesome, does he look after the tamariki [children]?

Yes with whanau help.

Is it ok to call you kaitiaki?
[kaitiaki: trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.
Kaitiaki is a term used for the Māori concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land.]

Mmm not sure about that one.

How do you propose to deal with National’s lack of aroha [love]?

That’s not for me to do we as a Labour team need to practice the values of aroha through a fair and decent society.

It’s wise to avoid a loaded question like that but not useful to end with a “fair and decent society” generality.

There were a handful of mixed responses to Mahuta’s Q & A. It wasn’t very illuminating and unlikely to have won or lost any support.

I haven’t seen Mahuta reveal much about herself in any of her engagements apart from her ability to memorise well worn phrases, something she shares with many bland politicians.

Chris Hipkins on the election result and Labour’s future

Chris Hipkins, MP for Rimutaka and Labour’s Chief Whip, gave a speech in today’s Address In Reply – he congratulated National on an election win that gave them a clear mandate, he acknowledged Labour’s poor result and some of their poor efforts over the past few years, and he detailed what he thought Labour needed to be and needed to do do.

Speech – CHRIS HIPKINS (Labour—Rimutaka)

Draft transcript – Wednesday, 29 October 2014 – Address in Reply debate

CHRIS HIPKINS (Labour—Rimutaka): Thank you very much, Mr Assistant Speaker Mallard. Can I congratulate you on your elevation to your new role, and can I congratulate the National Party members on their re-election as the Government. It is not the election result that I was out there campaigning for, but I do want to acknowledge that it was a clear election result and congratulate them on that.

I would also like to thank the people of Rimutaka for once again investing their trust and confidence in me to be their elected representative in Parliament. It is a tremendous privilege and an honour to represent the people of my home town, and I look forward to doing so again over the next 3 years.

As I mentioned, it was a disappointing election result for the Labour Party, and I want to acknowledge that, and I say to the New Zealand public “message received”.

Clearly, the Labour Party in recent times has not been speaking to the hopes and aspirations of a wide enough section of New Zealand society, and that is a challenge that we need to take on board as we head through the rest of this parliamentary term.

New Zealanders want to hear us talking about the issues that matter to them, but New Zealanders also want to know that if they work hard they will be able to get ahead, and that there is a Government in place that rewards the hard work and effort of all New Zealanders, not just those at the top.

New Zealanders want to see the Labour Party being a voice for the people who are struggling at the moment and working hard but not able to get ahead to create a better life for themselves and their families.

That is what the Labour Party has always stood for, and that is one of the challenges that we face in this Parliament—to return back to some of those basic principles upon which the Labour Party was founded, and to speak to the hopes and aspirations of a much broader range of New Zealanders.

I said that we should be celebrating success and we should be ensuring that those who work hard are able to get ahead. I want to quote, rather unusually perhaps, or rather controversially, Frank Underwood, the chief whip in the American television series House of Cards.

Hon Maggie Barry: Now you’ve got our attention.

CHRIS HIPKINS: That is right—he is a great role model. Frank Underwood said that those of us who have done well in life have a responsibility to send the elevator back down. I think that that summarises a lot about what the Labour Party does stand for and what we should stand for.

Yes, we should be celebrating the success of those who have done well in life, but having done well in life we then have responsibilities to others around us to ensure that they have those same opportunities that we have enjoyed.

I have little time for people who boast about being born in a State house and then seek to sell off State houses and remove those vital social services from future generations.

I have little time for people who talk about how they dragged themselves up by their bootstraps, raised themselves, and relied on the State support that was available to them, and then seek to limit those same State supports to future generations of New Zealanders. That is pulling up the ladder behind them and it is blatantly unfair.

There is nothing wrong with them being proud of their success—they have every right to be. My challenge to them and my challenge to everybody else is to ask what they are doing to share opportunity around so that others have that same opportunity. That is the challenge for this Government.

I similarly congratulate people who have done well in business. I think that creating a business, building a business, and being successful in business is a fantastic thing, and it is something we should encourage and reward New Zealanders for doing. But we should also recognise that businesses exist within communities.

Yes, it is great that somebody has built a business and has made him or herself into a successful business person, but we should never forget the fact that they are using a workforce that was educated by the rest of us. The education of their workforce was paid for by the New Zealand taxpayer. They transport their goods on roads paid for by everybody. They have their property rights protected by law enforcement agencies paid for by all of us.

So, yes, it is great that we celebrate the success of businesses, but businesses exist within communities and businesses and those who create them and run them have responsibilities back to those communities as well. We should be looking at both sides of that equation.

It is great to celebrate success and we should do that more often, and I have no hesitation in saying so, but we should also talk about the reciprocal responsibilities that come with that. We should do that as well. There is no doubt that New Zealand faces some big challenges, and we are going to have to address some of those over the life of this Parliament and beyond.

We have a significant change in the demographics of our population, as our population gets older. Our older New Zealanders have the right to security in retirement, and dignity in retirement, but we also have a responsibility to ensure that our settings around that are sustainable into the future.

As we have more and more New Zealanders leaving the workforce and into retirement, and as we have more and more New Zealanders living longer, with the pressure that brings on the health care system , we need to make sure we can continue to pay for that, so that it is not a hollow promise.

And yes, it might be politically convenient to push those debates aside in the short term , but in the longer term we are going to have to address those, and it is better to have an honest and open discussion about that now rather than pushing that away for future generations to have to confront.

We do need to talk about how we lift New Zealand’s economy up the value chain so that we are creating higher-value jobs.

I have lost count of the number of people whom I have spoken to in my electorate who say: “We are willing to do the heavy lifting. We do not mind getting out there and working hard, because we want a better life for ourselves and our families, but no matter how hard we work at the moment we cannot get ahead. We cannot get a foot on the property ladder. We cannot provide all of the things that we want to be able to provide for our kids.”

Those are ordinary, everyday New Zealanders who are happy to do the hard work, they are happy to get out there. They just want a Government that makes sure they have the opportunities. And that is what the Labour Party stands for. We want to say to those New Zealanders: “We stand beside you.”

In the Labour Party we want to make sure that the opportunities are there so that those who work hard can be rewarded and can get ahead.

In the Public Service we have a challenge here with a Government that is overly focused on measurement and is only focusing on the things that can be easily measured, rather than on many of the things that are important. In education, for example, it is easy to focus on what can be measured.

So we can have a measurement that says that every child has to achieve national standards and get National Certificate of Educational Achievement level 2 . What happens if they leave school and still end up going on the unemployment benefit at the end of it? Surely the thing that we should be focused on is the outcomes, and the outcomes are more difficult to measure, and therefore manage, than the outputs, if you like, in the form of qualifications.

These are the honest and real debates that we should be having. We in the Labour Party will be holding the Government to account in this term of Parliament.

We recognise the election result that has delivered the National Party a clear mandate to be the Government, but we have a responsibility to hold the Government to account, and we will do that.

We will hold it to account when it sells off State housing, as National has done in the past.

We will hold the Government to account when it tries to inflict employment law changes on the vast bulk of the working population that benefit the few and penalise the many.

We will certainly hold them to account on issues around foreign policy and stay fast and true to the principle of New Zealand being a proud independent country that makes its decisions on foreign policy independently.

We will hold the Government to account on issues around child poverty, because in a country that is as rich as New Zealand—and although we might not always feel it, we are a rich country—there is simply no excuse for children to be growing up in this country living in poverty. I want to acknowledge over the last few years that the Labour Party has not always put its best foot forward.

We have sometimes struggled with the challenges of balancing Opposition with proposition.

We have two roles here. One is to point out where the Government is going wrong and hold it to account, but the other is to be proposing alternatives, and we need to make sure that we do that in a positive way.

I also want to acknowledge that it has been difficult to provide space for robust internal democracy whilst also presenting a unified and coherent vision to New Zealanders, and I think we will need to redouble our efforts there.

We need to make sure we look outwards to the half a million New Zealanders who used to vote for the Labour Party and now vote for someone else.

My message to all of them is: the Labour Party is back, we want to talk to you, we want to engage with you, and we want to know, quite frankly, what it is going to take to get you to reinvest your vote in the Labour Party. I think that is the discussion that we will have over the next 3 years.

To conclude—it is a fantastic honour and a privilege to be back in the House representing the people of the Rimutaka electorate. I thank them once again for the opportunity to serve and represent them.

I would be dishonest if I said I was not disappointed with the election outcome. I would far rather be sitting on the Government side of the House than on this side of the House, but I have received, like all of my colleagues, the message that the voters of New Zealand have sent to us, and I can tell this Government that it is in for a tough 3 years.

We will be rigorous in holding it to account, and we are absolutely resolved and determined that in 3 years’ time we will be over there on the Government side, and they will be over here.

That is the challenge that is ahead of all of us. We will certainly be focused on that because I believe that New Zealanders deserve better. John Key has failed to deliver them the brighter future that he promised them, and the Labour Party will be holding him to account for that.

Robertson and Ardern, Grant and Jacinda

As widely expected it was announced at Grant Robertson’s launch yesterday that he would put forward Jacinda Ardern as his deputy should he become the next Labour leader.

Ardern is effectively Robertson’s running mate, and as Ardern said, they are mates in general terms, with Ardern referring to Robertson as “my colleague, but first and foremost my friend.”

RobertsonArdernThis ticks one of the most important boxes for Labour – it looks like a very different face of Labour leadership after a run of three older male failures.

It also has risks. The deputy is chosen by Labour’s caucus after the leader has been selected by the party. If Robertson wins the leadership and his caucus chooses a different deputy it could make for an awkward start to his leadership.

And it will make addressing another of Labour’s problems difficult to address – unity of caucus. A leadership team of two friends does not cover reaching across the caucus factions very well.

Greg Presland writes about this at The Standard.

Although Ardern may be the best choice in Robertson’s part of caucus it is hardly a decision that will unify caucus.  And to those who say that such a selection should be based on competence there is a whole lot of competence amongst the party’s female MPs to select from.

Sepuloni brings distinctly non beltway grass roots qualities that I believe are vital to the party’s interests.  If Robertson is intent on establishing unity then if he wins Carmel or Nanaia should be at the forefront of any list of potential deputy leaders.

A Robertson and Ardern partnership could have both a positive and a negative impression for voters. They might appeal to some in middle New Zealand where Labour needs to win back voters – but they may struggle to appeal to Labour’s supposed labouring base, blue collar (or high-viz) workers.

They look markedly different to recent Labour but do they look like labour Labour? They risk the same image clash with their supposed constituency that Russel Norman and Metiria Turei have, more slick slick preachers than sleeves rolled up Salvies.

They seem to be interested in the celebrity circuit, with a magazine promotion coinciding with the campaign launch.

RobertsonArdernMagazine

Does that look like a party leader and deputy leader?

Does that look like a future Prime Minister and deputy Prime Minister?

This could be an inspirational innovation in campaigning, or it could be a big flop.

While the voting population may be attracted by the women’s magazine approach it may be a hard sell with Labour’s caucus, party activists and union affiliates who get to choose their leader.

Robertson has made a bold move pairing up with close associate Ardern, but it’s very risky.

David Parker – Standard Q & A

David Parker’s live Q & A at The Standard.

Introduction:

Thanks for the opportunity to join a Standard Q&A. Really looking forward to hearing from you.

I’m happy to chat about any questions and I’m really keen to hear from you about my belief that the way back for Labour is to focus on economic fairness for working New Zealanders. When working New Zealanders succeed they are proud to look after the vulnerable. It’s about working to ensure everyone’s getting a fair go.

And this is about us agreeing a central purpose to unite us all. My experience is that unity between members, Caucus and the Party is the cornerstone to re-engaging working New Zealand. That’s what’s needed to get confidence, trust and votes back.

Why did Labour do so badly at the last election, and how do we win the next one?

We’ve lost our connection with too many NZ’ers. Elections are win or lost on a combination of people, policy & presentation. We have to be willing to address all aspects of what we do.

We will not restore confidence until we are united in pursuit of a common purpose that we can rally around, and NZ’ers believe in. That purpose has to reflect our values, which have not changed. That purpose has to be relevant to NZ’ers, who have to see us as an extension of themselves. We have to share their hopes & aspirations. Be someone who’s looking out for them. Someone they can rely upon in the good times & when time are tough. We must become someone they’re proud to introduce their friends & neighbours to.

Labour was formed by and for labour.

We must concentrate on giving NZ’ers a fair go. This starts with recognising the aspirations of working NZ’ers to get ahead. Secure work, good pay, a decent stake in society, including home ownership, and a decent education.

To look after vulnerable NZ’ers, we need to be in government. To be in government, we need to be relevant to more than the vulnerable.

A fair go and a fair share!

Sounds like a continuation of election campaign slogans.

Secure work, good pay and a decent education available for all, are all very important.

What would you do for us life time renters?

Why do so many in the Labour Party put so much stress on home ownership, rather than focusing more on enabling affordable private and state owned rentals?

Increase supply, and regulate for a minimum standard of energy efficiency for starters.

could you please detail/specify for us what you would do in your first one hundred days as prime minister..

..to address the open sores of poverty and inequality…

..what will you do for the poorest..?

Issues that I believe we urgently need to address include affordable housing. We’d kick off with building more homes, and enforcing a healthy homes warrant of fitness.

We need to lift incomes. By the time of the next election, I want people when they hear “Labour” to think higher wages. Wages lifted immediately for the lower paid via minimum wage. Wage increases for others via better labour laws and a strongr economy investing in productive jobs rather than speculation.

Incomes for the poorest families need the likes of the Best Start package. Shamefully, the Nats equivalent deliberately excludes kids in beneficiary’s homes.

That doesn’t address the poorest, beneficiaries.

You spoke yesterday about unity. Were you, as the deputy, fully loyal to Cunliffe before and after the election?

(There were two lengthy questions/statements on issues related to support of Cunliffe, Parker just gave a brief response to this one).

Caucus members, including me, were loyal to David Cunliffe.

This brevity wasn’t well received.

[r0b: Part of this deleted - stricter moderation in this thread than usual.] You did not even care to answer my questions honestly with any integrity. I thought you were better than that. I am disappointed.
Why was Cunliffe put in a position to resign?
Why did he need to go?
Why were the whips changed by caucus even before Cunliffe resigned?

And…

Parker didn’t answer the question.

Good on you, what Parker said was [r0b: deleted - I'm applying a stricter level of moderation to this post than usual].

Ok.

What David Parker said was a lie.

And…

He answered standard questions but did not answer the tough straight up questions about personal loyalty, betrayal, caucus crookedness etc with straight up answers. Not impressed about that. A leader should be able to handle difficult uncomfortable questions too, especially as he had plenty of time to think about the answers.

Back to questions.

What would you support to strengthened the role of organised labour in our economy?

Under my leadership, Labour would support the rights of workers. We always will. Collectivism is needed to counter the power of the employer and ensure fair outcomes.

We need to go further than traditional employment relationships and draw in tied contractors, by giving them rights (eg to give them statutory minimum wage, sick pay, holidays and the right to organise currently sometimes banned under the terms of their contracts).

The single biggest policy problem I had was the complusory Kiwisaver VSR. The reasoning behind this is that I felt it unfairly impacted on low to middle income families (and therefore not exempted) who would have a retirement fund but would have lived without nice things, holidays, and so until the age of 67.

People, say, like a solo mother with several kids who earns $50,000 and rents. She’d be able to survive, but maybe wouldn’t be able to take her children on holiday or buy them monthly books because she’s losing 3-4.5% of her income without giving her a choice.

Do you think the policy crossed the line of asking people to be austere in their prime to have a wealthier retirement? In effect, asking them to be worker drones till 67.

The underlying issue remains, but we’ve got to reflect on whether this is the right solution or the right process.

By the end of next year the NZ govt spends more on super than education. Its already more than all benefits combined plus the accommodation supplement and WFF tax credits.

But we’ve been rejected twice on this, and our promise to protect those who can’t work past 65 in their normal job did not cut through.

Maybe we should leave it to the people via a referendum.

My overriding objective is to protect super because I know the people we represent need it.

And…

I think NZers should not be on the breadline. They should be paid enough to save a bit. They key lies in wage increase. At the bottom end, that means increase in the minimum wage (which also flow to other wage rates). In the end, wages are in part related to productivity, and savings help lift the sophistication and value of what we sell, and therefor the wages that can be paid.

The Aussie experience is that the contributions in part pay for themselves bc productivity increases flow to higher wages.

What weaknesses do you think that others perceive in you? And how will you address those weaknesses?

I have cultivated a bookish image in order to restore confidence in our fiscal credibility. Its time to cast that aside and show my passions.

I am driven.

I want Labour to win in 2017.

I am a builder.

I have experienced the joys and sorrows of success and failure in business.

I am a protector of civil liberties and the rule of law.

I am an environmentalist, and have a record of decades of advocacy for clean rivers, and clean energy.

I love the outdoors. I love the arts.

But most of all I stand for an egalitarian society.

The challenge for me is to display this to New Zealand.

If you win the leadership contest, how will you address the disunity in the caucus which, in my opinion, was a major factor in Labour’s poor election result and on-going low polling;; and, how would you go about building a stronger membership base?

We will unify around a clear purpose – see above.

Apparent disunity in caucus is one of Labour’s biggest problems. Not addressed.

And in relation to your plan to raise the age of superannuation entitlement, would you not concede that this impacts most unfairly on our Maori and Pasifika citizens who at this point have a lower life expectancy?

Absolutely acknowledge the need to be fair. And its about more than impacts upon manual labour (covered briefly above)

The most important thing is to continue to reduce that unfairness through the right health and work policies. My fear is that under the current government, with increasing inequality the life expectancy gap will again widen.

How is it possible to justify keeping more people in the work force for longer, when we are already short of roughly a quarter million full time jobs?

You touch on one of the biggest challenges facing social democracy world wide.

How do you fairly share work and income in the face of technological and demographic change?

Yes, part of the answer lies in economic development, but that will not be enough.

Unless we in social democracy get this right, we will see increasing gaps.

I just about wrote a book on this very issue about 20 years ago. Sharing available work through encouraging penal rates for overtime, sharing of jobs, care re immigration etc – its a complex picture that I am very interesting.

But spending ever more on super than education is not a solution.

This is a vague answer for “one of the biggest challenges facing social democracy world wide” that Parker has been aware of for twenty years.

Over and over the Labour caucus seems to have minimal patience for providing the support needed to keep Party Leaders around and enable them to hit their best. How would you seek to change this dynamic?

Leadership engenders trust. Success breeds success.

I think the key lies in agreeing our purpose and focus. That is not to deny the relevance of other issues, but you can’t emphasise everything.

Caucus will rally around whoever is selected as leader. The will too.

This will have to be seen to be much improved on how it’s been over the last few years but it’s unlikely to just happen.

Have you ever been a union member and where do you stand on awards or industry bargaining?

Yes, but in recent decades I’ve been self employed.

I want employers to invest in productivity and reward workers rather than competing down wage rates.

I agree with our policy to encourage industry bargaining.

As the UN declaration of human rights records, this is one of the most important human rights.

Do you support NZ parliamentary recognition of a Palestinian state? If so, how will you go about facilitating this?

Yes. I certainly think Palestine has a right to exist and to stop encroachments by Israel.

Do you support party members having greater say and participation with caucus? If no, why not? If yes, what more and what new initiatives would you promote?

In terms of day to day decisions, the platform already binds caucus. The party also controls who is in caucus. Caucus has the mandate and duty to take day to day decisions within these parameters, and I would not change that.

What affect is the democratization of our party having on the parliamentary wing.

It’s a bit messy at times like this, but overall it works.

Where do you stand on the subject of abortion and any potential reforms?

My mother was active in ALRANZ during my youth. I believe in the fundamental right of women to choose. The criminal code is out of date.

ALRANZ – Abortion Law Reform Association.

How urgent do you consider it to be to fix housing?

Would you start with a single parent/s in a boarding house with a young child/ren, (not at school) or with a family purchasing their first home or else where first?

There are two main part to solving this crisis.

Kiwibuild addresses one part.

The other is social housing. Boarding houses are part of it.

The thing that vexes me most is the plight of the mentally unwell, who need forms of secure and afford housing, with allied health services to help them and those around them. We have not got this mix right since de-institutionalisation, and it’s overdue.

HOW, to quote the great Sir Ed, to “knock the bastard off” and reclaim the govt, for not only Labour, but the wider ‘left’?

Hard work, focus, unity.

We have the opportunity to leverage off the 100th anniversary on the founding of the Labour Party.

Lets make it a milestone not a tombstone.

So many great achievements to celebrate and build upon.

If we can’t leverage off this, we should be sacked.

Using this disastrous election as a learning experience, how do you think the relationships between possible progressive coalition parties and Labour should be addressed by the Labour Party in next election period?

We have to give confidence in the left. That’s why DotCom was a disaster because that was an impossible task.

Respect and mature behaviour are important.

But we must never stop competing for votes, especially the party vote.

We cannot succeed (or maybe even survive) as a subset of a subset of a subset..

We must be the main party of the left.

This doesn’t acknowledge the nature of MMP.

Obviously Labour wish to remain strong, (large) however please consider the advantages of cooperation and not solely competition.

Dotcom was never going to be in parliament – that really should have been pointed out ad infinitum to the New Zealand public by members of the left.

New Zealanders are fed so much rubbish, it needs to be countered strongly, again and again – not responded to as though the propaganda has some truth, because it doesn’t

Please Mr Parker, and Labour, please look into stronger counter propaganda.

Fair point.

Maybe we would have fared better if Nicky Hager’s book had been titled “Abuse of Power”, or if it had been released earlier (perhaps impossible).

It is ironic that DotCom donated to John Banks, not Labour and that it was Labour that kept Internet Mana out of Parliament. And that the deals in Epsom and Ohariu Belmont were unprincipled.

The proposed sale of 20,000 state houses is a disaster. What action do you suggest the activists take to stop it?

The biggest action anyone can take is to help change the government. I want us all to rally to the cause. Activism is to be celebrated, and is what causes the media to keep interested. This will reinforce the concerns of many fair minded kiwi voters.

Response:

and that is an question not answered – spoken like a true politician.

we are still fudged.

The economy is a subset of the environment. Discuss.

I love that quote. A barren environment will not support any economy. Its as simple as clean water and the air we breath.

It comes from an economist at the World Bank – Herman Daly. I used it in a speech earlier in the year titled “You can have both – Labour’s Alternative to National Destructive Environmental Policies”

https://www.labour.org.nz/media/you-can-have-both-labours-alternative-nationals-destructive-environmental-policies

Are you aware that there is a conflict with centrist narratives being created by National, (propaganda based on people’s lesser natures and ignorance of wider issues) and left wing principles?

If so, how do you intend to address this problem?

Helen Clark took the centre and moved it. John Key has taken and moved it back.

My job is to reshape New Zealand’s political consensus, by reframing these narratives in a way that is consistent with Labour values, which are at their heart Kiwi values.

This means pushing economic fairness, which is not to deny the importance of other values. I set out my vision in my speech to congress earlier this year.

I am clear and resolute about this. I want us to stand for more than equality of opportunity (a term narrowed by the Nats). I want more equal outcomes.

If you do too, then vote for me to be your leader because I am confident I can carry the party and the country to this end.

Read more here:

https://www.labour.org.nz/media/speech-david-parkers-speech-new-zealand-labour-party-congress-2014

How do you propose to bring into line the tiny handful of caucus leakers who, in my view, have done more to bring Labour into disrepute than anything or anyone else?

I maintain a high standard myself, and expect the same of others.

Integrity and discipline are fundamental. Unless we show unity, NZers will not trust us to unify the country.

I also believe that a high trust model more often succeeds than threats.

Where trust is broken, there should be consequences.

You failed to hold onto an electorate seat. Do you believe young politicians should have to fight in local govt and electorate seats before being given a good place on the List?

I arrived in parliament after the biggest upset win in the 2002 election. I am proud I took the Otago seat from the National. Knocked off their ag spokesperson!

I worked bloody hard to hold it. I increased my personal and party votes at the next election, but still lost in the face of the swing to National.

I think a range of life experience is important. We are weaker if we are all the same. Competence must always be the primary criteria. That includes organisational experience.

What is your stance on the TPPA?

Cautious. Acting in New Zealand’s best interest must be the fundamental duty.

Its the investment protocols that we must take care about.

Well aware of the many hooks. Investor- State dispute resolution, possible curbs on SOEs, improper extensions to scope and term of patents and copyright, rights to regulate.

ie we must protect our sovereignty.

If NZ cannot get good outcomes as per above, then maybe the best outcome would be a deadlock.

One million voters never voted (again) in 2014. What single issue/policy would you believe could get those “unknowns” to the polling booth in 2017 to cast a vote for Labour?

There is no single issue, but trust and confidence that Labour relevant to them are key.

Would you consider working strategically with the Greens in the next election to win electorates? What about Mana?

In my opinion Kiwis do not understand MMP and the primacy of the Party vote. Can we change that?

Which parties would you rule out of joining in a Coalition government?

Absolutely agree the lack of understanding re the Party vote. Fed also by the actions of our competitors.

We must communicate BETWEEN elections. Too many people hear nothing from us.

Our comms must include info about how the Party vote elects the government.

See above for my perspective on building our share of party vote and working with potential coalition parties.

What do you think of the solutions to inequality as proposed by Prof. Thomas Piketty, in his recent publication, “Capital in the 21st Century”?

Unless we tax all income (including capital income) the gaps will grow ever larger. A modern form of fuedalism, where concentrations of assets will substitute for large land estates, and wage earners and beneficiaries will become modern day serfs.

Hi David, do you like beer and rugby? Beaches and BBQs?
I hope the next Labour leader can show that s/he’s “one of us”

Bob Hawke would still scull a jug faster, but I have been King of the Table many a night at the rugby club.

I played rugby for many years, then soccer socially until I was elected. My tennis is OK. I tramp and I ski (downhill and back country).

I love a hot day watching the cricket with friends.

My surfing is pretty appalling, but I still try. I fish a bit, cut the grass and am a decent builder. I hate gib stopping, and don’t like painting much more than that.

I have a heavy traffic licence, and have had a wide variety of jobs.

I love art.

I love life and look forward to voters getting to know me better.

Has anyone ever referred to you as a quick thinker?

I must say I am impressed by the speed of your answers, yet they have some depth.

Duh. (note the proper punctuation)

Some openness about the problems you faced as deputy to DC would be appreciated. People can be pretty understanding if you’re open with them.

Not appropriate for me to reply. Sorry.

I’m interested in the balance between environmental imperatives (which require a long-term approach) and finance/employment/regional development agendas (which tend to be more short to medium term). What would a Labour Party you led do about things like strengthening our emissions trading scheme or introducing a carbon tax? How about pulling back the ongoing drive into more and more dairying? Giving more support to public transport…?

The ETS can be easily fixed, by making the price real (by excluding or restricting overseas emission rights, leaving the NZ emission rights short),

Both an ETS and a carbon tax can work. Indeed, they are very similar. The ETS is better then the Green’s version of a carbon tax bc of how it works in forestry (and therefor the balance between dairy and forestry).

I live in Dunedin. We feel like our services and high-value jobs are slowly being pulled away (e.g., the funding formula for health services does not work for spread out areas like the Southern District Health Board). I’m sure there are other small cities and regional centres that feel the same. Any comments?

Re services in the provinces, I agree. Efficiencies from IT do not mean that all the centralisation that follows should be to Wellington.

Labour leadership events and links

Leadership contenders’ links:

The election will now proceed, with ballot forms being distributed electronically and by post from Monday 20th October onwards. Voting closes and the result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November.

Upcoming events:

  • 9 am Sunday 19 October – Q & A debate
    @CorinDann lines up the 4 contenders for the Labour leadership for a TV debate… Sunday @TVONENZ at 9
    Our panel: Dr Raymond Miller, @FranOSullivan and @ngar1mu
    Facebook
  • Wellington (Wednesday 22nd October at Wellington Girls College, Pipitea/Murphy Streets starting at 7.30pm)
  • Palmerston North (Thursday 23rd October at the Community Leisure Centre. 569 Ferguson St starting at 7.30pm)

Stuff: ‘Clean’ Labour leadership race: Contenders

Labour’s four leadership contenders are promising a respectful campaign as they vie for the party’s top job.

Grant Robertson, Andrew Little, David Parker and Nanaia Mahuta posed for the media this afternoon ahead of the official “primary” run-off that will see them address 15 hustings meetings, including one online, starting on Wednesday next week

Key Decisions Made About Labour’s Forthcoming Leadership Election

Labour’s New Zealand Council has made the key decisions about the timetable and process around the election of Labour’s Party Leader. The result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November, following a comprehensive and extensive process unique to New Zealand politics but common overseas (see overleaf). Following closure of nominations on Tuesday 14th October, a clear majority of the thousands of participants will receive their ballot papers and vote electronically

There will be 14 hustings meetings for Party members featuring the nominees, with the first part of each meeting open to media :

  • Wellington Wednesday 22nd October, evening
  • Palmerston North Thursday 23rd October, evening
  • Nelson Tuesday 28th October, evening
  • Christchurch Wednesday 29th October, evening
  • Dunedin Thursday 30th October, evening
  • Invercargill Friday 31st October, evening
  • Hawkes Bay Monday 3rd November, evening
  • Tauranga Tuesday 4th November, evening
  • Hamilton Wednesday 5th November, evening
  • New Plymouth Thursday 6th November, evening
  • Whangarei Saturday 8th November
  • Auckland Isthmus Sunday 9th November
  • West Auckland Monday 10th November, evening
  • South Auckland Tuesday 11th November, evening

The elections are governed by rules which are available on Labour’s website, www.labourparty.org.nz. Once nominations are in a Code of Conduct for candidates will be finalised, and the Party will also be making clear its expectations about the behaviour of all Party members.

The resignation of David Cunliffe on 30 September 2014 as the 14th Leader of the Labour Party triggered a Party-wide Leadership Election. Nominations close on October 14th 2014, with the result announced on November 18th 2014.

Here are 10 Key Facts about the Labour Leadership Election:

  1. NZLP is the only significant NZ political party which operates such a comprehensive and democratic process for leadership selection. However, this approach is the norm for NZLP sister parties overseas, and also for some conservative parties.
  2. The Leader of the Parliamentary Party is the political leader of the Party, so it is rational that all sections of the organisation should have a say in their election.
  3. The NZLP adopted this system in 2012 following a significant organisational review.  Our agreed approach has given Caucus a more significant voting power than many other systems, and also factors in a separate affiliate voting section. The combination of these two factors differentiates our approach from that of the Australian Labor Party and the UK Labour Party.
  4. The election operates through a three-section College, comprising Caucus, Party members and affiliates. Each vote in each section has individual weighting, and each voter has the same choice of candidates (ordered in a fully randomised manner).  The affiliate vote is divided between the Party’s seven affiliates in proportion to the registered total affiliate numbers (see footnote page 3 of the Rules).
  5. Affiliates all adopt the approach of utilising their internal democratic processes to generate their voting body, which in general means their elected Conference delegates. The Service and Food Workers Union have a different decision-making process, which means that they have adopted a system in which members can vote in person at any of the Leadership Election Husting Meetings.
  6. In 2014 the Party is adopting the option of default emailing out voting papers, and only posting to members with no email address, or upon request. In 2013 the voting papers were posted out, but the fact that 47.24% of members still elected to vote online encouraged us to take this step.
  7. The Election has three levels of Rules – the key constitutional clauses mandating the system and the trigger used (agreed by Conference), the Election Rules for the Parliamentary Labour Party Leadership Elections (agreed by Council), and the Code of Conduct (agreed by the Leadership Election Advisory Group). The General Secretary of the Party usually acts as Returning Officer, and is in this case. Deputy Returning Officers may be appointed by him or her.
  8. The Leadership Election is administered by electionz.com, a Christchurch-based company which has conducted over 1,800 elections and processed over 25 million votes in the past 13 years.
  9. The Husting Meetings are a Rule-mandated element of the process, with 14 planned for 2014. They run to a set format, with media being allowed in before the meeting and up to the point when candidates speeches finish. A question and answer session follows.  In 2013 over 3000 people attended these Husting Meetings.
  10. Only Labour Party members can vote in the election. New members must have joined before 11:59pm on Wednesday October 1  (the day after the Leadership Election was triggered). Unfinancial members (anyone who has been a Labour Party member in the past three years and who has not paid a membership fee in 2014) can rejoin and receive a vote until 11.59 pm on 11 November

Mike Williams on “an unusual leadership election, which can produce unpredictable result”…

When Labour adopted the preferential voting model for its democratised leadership elections, it probably didn’t factor in the possibility of a four-way contest.

Simply put, if no candidate wins 50 per cent plus one more vote on the initial count, then the lowest-scoring candidate is excluded and that candidate’s second preferences are distributed. This process continues until a candidate gets the requisite majority of 50 per cent plus one vote.

If, for example, three candidates score about the same level of support but none reaches the magic mark, then the least popular candidate’s second preferences may well decide the result.

Thus the MPs, party members and affiliate electors have to think not only about who’s best to lead a disconsolate party, but also about the possible levels of support for each contender and who’s likely to come last.

LabourAbbeyRoad

Source:

Labour leadership contest – David Parker

(nominated by Damien O’Connor and Jenny Salesa)

Live chat at The Standard intro:

Thanks for the opportunity to join a Standard Q&A. Really looking forward to hearing from you.

I’m happy to chat about any questions and I’m really keen to hear from you about my belief that the way back for Labour is to focus on economic fairness for working New Zealanders. When working New Zealanders succeed they are proud to look after the vulnerable. It’s about working to ensure everyone’s getting a fair go.

And this is about us agreeing a central purpose to unite us all. My experience is that unity between members, Caucus and the Party is the cornerstone to re-engaging working New Zealand. That’s what’s needed to get confidence, trust and votes back.

Q&A edited: David Parker – Standard Q & A

Supported by:

  • Mike Williams: David Parker’s my pick of the bunch
    David Parker has to be the front-runner for the Labour leadership. Excluding Nanaia Mahuta’s capricious candidacy, Andrew Little and Grant Robertson have too narrow an appeal and are making their moves prematurely.
  • Mike Smith: David Parker: my choice for leader
    Heavyweight Cabinet experience, strong egalitarian values, a cool debater, with a passion for manufacturing and a high-value economy, a good deal of steel and with an open mind and a twinkle in his eye – these are the reasons why I support David Parker for Labour Party Leader.

NZ Herald report: David Parker to run for Labour leader

Labour’s acting leader David Parker has confirmed that he will be entering a bid for the Party leadership.

Announcing his bid in Auckland this afternoon, Mr Parker said he will restore the party’s focus, passion and drive so it can become a unifying force for New Zealanders.

He said he had been approached by New Zealanders “from all walks of life” in the past 10 days asking him to stand.

“In less than two years the New Zealand Labour Party will mark its centenary – its 100th birthday.

“I am simply not prepared to let this milestone become a tombstone.

“A tombstone for a once great party that once did great things for New Zealand.”

If successful in his bid, Mr Parker said he would review all of Labour’s policies.

“We lost badly and I get it.”

Mr Parker said Labour needed to get its house in order.

“History teaches us a house divided against itself cannot stand.

“All of us claim to be able to unite the caucus and the party.

“From unity comes strength. Unity also brings confidence – and success.

“I believe I am that leader.”

(ODT)

Labour leadership contest – Andrew Little

(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway)

Q & A Summary – Andrew Little at The Standard

From campaign website:

I’m Andrew Little and I want to be the next leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.

Our party – and our movement – needs to rebuild after the 2014 general election.

I’ve got the experience, the skills, and the will to get Labour fighting fit for 2017. But I need your support.

You can follow my campaign on Facebook or Twitter; make a donationto help me and my team get our message out to the Party and the whole of New Zealand; or put your hand up to help directly.

Over the next few days my team will be uploading resources you can use to show your support online.

Supported by:

  • Geoff (The Standard): Why I’m voting for Andrew Little
    Little’s a bit of a dark horse, but if he gets Labour into the fighting fit state he got the EPMU into, and I think he will, then he’s exactly what we need.
  • Union backs Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    EPMU National Secretary Bill Newson confirmed the National Executive unanimously endorsed Little as a candidate and would recommend that conference delegates give him first preference on their ballot.

Labour leadership contest – Grant Robertson

(nominated by Kris Faafoi and Rino Tirikatene)

L:aunching campaign:

Launching campaign 2-4 pm Sunday 19 October.:

I will be launching my campaign to lead Labour this Sunday. It’s time for a new generation of leadership to rebuild Labour and win in 2017.

I’d love to see you at my launch on Sunday at the King’s Arms in Auckland. I’ll talk about my vision for the Party and the style of leadership I will bring to deliver a Labour government that supports the hopes and aspirations of all New Zealanders, not just the wealthy few. Where we vigorously back those who work, make, think and create. Where we seize the opportunities of our wonderful country through bold policy that is about people, and meet the challenges of 21st century issues like climate change and the future of work.

Details: 2pm – 4pm, Sunday 19th October, Kings Arms, France Street, Auckland

Statement from website:

It’s time for a new generation of leadership to rebuild Labour.  Our values of fairness, opportunity and responsibility to one another remain strong. Now we must face the future, look outwards and reconnect with New Zealanders.   We can do this by being clear, direct and consistent about where we stand, and letting New Zealanders know we stand alongside them. We can do this by being part of our communities, campaigning with and for our people, not just at election time, but every day.

My vision is of Labour at the heart of a government that supports the hopes and aspirations of all New Zealanders, not just the wealthy few.  Where we vigorously back those who work, make, think and create.  Where we seize the opportunities of our wonderful country through bold policy that is about people, and meet the challenges of 21st century issues like climate change and the future of work. A government whose priority is ensuring opportunity through education, training, health, and supporting families and where we care about each and every one of our fellow citizens and the environment we live in.

If you want to play your part in a Labour Party that is valued and respected in our community, and that will boldly embrace our future- vote for a new generation of leadership to win.

Labour leadership contest – Nanaia Mahuta

(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio)

Nanaia Mahuta Puts Hand Up for Leadership Challenge

“After serious consideration I have decided to put my name forward as a leadership candidate for the New Zealand Labour Party” said MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta.

“This decision has been made with the knowledge that as the Party reviews the election outcome, we can learn from the base of support that was demonstrated across the Māori electorates, in South Auckland and amongst Pasifika and ethnic communities”
“There is a need for our Party to reconnect with more people in their communities, and the leadership contest will be a way to commence that effort.

“Labour is a Party of aspiration for all New Zealanders, we stand for a fair and decent society that creates opportunity without pulling the ladder up”

“I look forward to meeting members during this period and thank supporters for their encouragement”

NanaiaMahuta

Mallard as Deputy Speaker

NZ Herald reports that Trevor Mallard has been lined up as Deputy Speaker.

It is understood Labour has nominated the man often labelled the party’s bovver boy for the Assistant Speaker slot traditionally reserved for an Opposition MP, and National has agreed to it.

Mr Mallard would not confirm it last night, saying it was a matter for the Leader of the House to announce.

That sounds like all but confirmation.

Labour’s Ross Robertson was deputy speaker last term. He has just retired from Parliament.

Robertson was not a prominent Member of Parliament but his catchphrase was apparently “courtesy is contagious”. He also unsuccessfully promoted a member’s bill trying to promote better MP behaviour – see Code of Ethical Conduct for MPs.

Mallard contrasts significantly with this. He has frequently clashed with speakers and has been thrown out of the House numerous times. He put himself forward for the Speaker’s position when Lockwood Smith retired.

Mr Mallard put his name forward to be Speaker by way of protest against National’s choice of Mr Carter and declared it was one of his ambitions to hold the job.

Last term he had many clashes and disagreements with Carter.

Labour will be happy if Mallard becomes occupied as Deputy Speaker.

It’s possible Mallard will rise to the responsibility. He has more experience and knowledge of what it involves, albeit on the receiving end of many unruly rulings.

…he has served as Labour’s shadow Leader of the House and is one of the Labour MPs best versed on its rules.

If this appointment is confirmed it will give Mallard a chance to prove he can do more than aspire to be chief nit picker and cantanker.

If he wants to fulfil an apparent ambition of becoming Speaker whenever Labour might lead Government again this will give him an opportunity to prove he is firm and fair enough. He will need to earn respect from opposing MPs that won’t have particularly good feelings towards him.

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