Labour’s conference coverage

Labour seems to have had a successful conference and has received some fairly positive coverage.

Anthony Robins cherry picks some of the best in

Amongst the positives there were a couple of negatives, like this from Newshub.

Yesterday Labour also said it was considering a levy on businesses that don’t train and upskill their employees.

Robins grumps about that:

That last point is the one that some of the usual shills have run with of course, and naturally business isn’t keen

The ‘usual shill’ being David Farrar, as Robins ironically shills for Labour.

…but other than that, some pretty decent coverage for Labour, for Little, and for a successful conference.

That’s how it appears. It should have at least been good for Labour.

But Robins doesn’t mention one of the talking points of Andrew Little’s key policy announcement Labour: paid work for young unemployed.

Labour will:

  • give unemployed young people a job for six months doing work of public value, so they can gain work experience and avoid long-term unemployment.

Labour costed this at $60 million and this was questioned. It turns out that the calculation balances the costs of paying wages at the minimum rate plus costs of the scheme, less tax and costs already incurred such as the out of work benefit, which is fair enough.

But when pushed Little says the costing was based on an average four months in the scheme rather than their promoted six months. He says this is backed by research – again fair enough.

But it would have been simple to say this up front. Instead Labour left themselves open to being lax with numbers. This was easily avoidable and should have been predicted.

An example of Robins’ cherry picking – he quotes Claire Trevett’s article from The Herald:

Labour’s $60m plan for 6 months’ paid work for youth on dole

Labour leader Andrew Little says a proposal to give unemployed young people six months of full-time community work at the minimum wage will not be compulsory but there will be an expectation they take part – and possible sanctions if they don’t.

Little released the policy at the party’s annual conference in Auckland, where the focus is on jobs.

Expected to cost $60 million a year, it will provide unemployed people under the age of 24 with “jobs” in the community and environment, such as pest control work or riparian planting with the Department of Conservation, local councils or charities such as City Missions and food banks.

Dubbed “Ready for Work” it will be for those who have been on the dole for at least six months – but will pay the minimum wage of $15.25 an hour rather than the dole.

Little said 74,000 young people were not in work or training and there were now more than 10,000 unemployed people aged under 24 than a decade ago and Labour believed all young New Zealanders should be in work or training.

Trevett also wrote:

Little said those on the dole for more than six months would be expected to take part.

There were already sanctions in place to use on those who refused, but he hoped that would not be needed.

“The sanctions are a punitive approach to try and get the desired outcome. Those sanctions are there, we don’t want to take those away but the approach is to avoid that if at all possible.

Some young people occasionally do need a kick up the backside to get them out the door.”

He hoped mentors appointed to each worker would be able to provide that, “not the punitive sanctions”.

“We’ll be saying ‘if you’ve been out of work for longer than six months’ then you’re going to have to go and pick up one of these roles.”

Labour has criticised National for its use of sanctions such as cutting benefits of people who do not meet their job-hunting responsibilities or turn down a job.

Jane Paterson at RNZ: Does Labour truly believe it can beat Key?

The jobs policy would be for those on the Jobseeker benefit for more than six months, and would not be compulsory.

But that’s where the policy could get tricky for Labour as Mr Little said there were already sanctions in place for those on the Jobseeker benefit who did not fulfil their obligations; sanctions Labour has previously described as punitive.

When Mr Little was asked about how young people would be made to do the paid work if they flat out refused, he referred to the sanctions, and in the next breath reverted to the criticism of them as punitive.

Little doesn’t seem to handle criticism well.

Another Labour Party proposal that proved somewhat difficult to explain was a recommendation in the Future of Work Commission, also released at the weekend.

Businesses not taking on apprentices or providing on-the-job training would be levied – not taxed, insisted Labour’s Grant Robertson, as the proceeds would be put back into workplace training.

Despite the party having run hard on the issue of immigration, the high numbers of temporary work visas and the impact on the job market, Mr Robertson was decidedly reluctant to link the levy proposal to immigration.

Labour still seems to miss predicting obvious questions about it’s policies.

There were strong words from Mr Little during his speech about Labour winning the next election, but the party lacks the feeling of true confidence about its prospects of actually defeating John Key and his government – a feeling that was starting to build in the National Party ranks as they eyed the Clark government before its defeat in 2008.

Labour has not been able to break through past the early 30s in most of its polling, except for the odd spike, which puts it in about the same place it was this time last year.

If it is not starting to make some real gains at the start of next year and make inroads into National’s vote, it faces an uphill battle if it hopes to win next year’s election.

While most of the public will take little or no notice of most of this the conference was a successful step in Little’s leadership, coming up to it’s second anniversary.

The reality is that many people will make up their mind about Little from glimpses in media, based on brief impressions.

The Labour Party seems to be largely behind Little now and hoping that he succeeds, but the poll jury is still out.

Little’s style is very different to John Key’s. Where some may see forthright others may seem gruff.

Time will tell whether voters warm to it or not.

 

Leave a comment

19 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  7th November 2016

    Do you really think he seems gruff?
    I really want to see a credible alternative to National. Maybe it’s just me, but Lille doesn’t doesn’t come across to me as gruff. Helen Clark was gruff. Andrew comes across to me as weak.

    He’s weak on detail. He’s weak on data and stats. He’s weak on facts. He’s weak on direction. He’s weak on arguments. He’s weak on MoUs. He’s weak on attack. He’s weak on apologising as a result of being weak on attack through being weak on details, and facts.

    The only reason he’s being ‘sold’ as a ‘strong leader’ of the Labour Party is because they all know if they rolled him now they’re totally stuffed. They don’t have any credible replacement for him in their current ranks. I actually wish he could pull them out of the doldrums, but I don’t think he can do it.

    Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  7th November 2016

      If labour wants to be a credible alternative government then they need to come to the centre and articulate policies which to address real needs and deficiencies in National’s platform.

      Simply running around yelling “Crisis”, “Crisis” does nothing for their credibility when it appears to patently contradict reality.

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th November 2016

      ‘He’s weak on detail. He’s weak on data and stats. He’s weak on facts. He’s weak on direction. ‘…..Key is all of those too,and wheres the critique?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  7th November 2016

        I’m letting you handle that. I just uptick your comments when you do a good job of it because I have no argument with it. But the point is, Little has to do your job there too, and he farking doesn’t.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  7th November 2016

          It appears to me you just rush in to criticise Little every chance you get without even thinking through the underlying intention of his announcements.You are an unlikely Key fanbois,but good luck with siding with the modern feudal system.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  7th November 2016

            I’m frustrated with the bastards. They’re all over the bloody place. They couldn’t sell farking ice cream in the bloody Sahara.

            Reply
          • PDB

             /  7th November 2016

            Rather defensive of your good mate Little there Blazer.

            It is well established that Little is an unlikable chap by the general public. His personal ratings tend to go down when he is more in the public spotlight, and in his hometown of New Plymouth he has had a disastrous couple of electorate campaigns. which have seen his vote drop.

            Once the election campaign begins proper and Little is at the forefront of that campaign I can only imagine support for the Greens, NZL First and the Gareth Morgan appreciation party will grow at the expense of Labour.

            Reply
  2. Steve

     /  7th November 2016

    “The Labour Party seems to be largely behind Little now…”

    Well that is certainly the most preferred position if you are intending to stab someone in the back.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  7th November 2016

      They won’t knife him before the election. And possibly not after either. They can’t afford to. Who else could they put up as the next leader. Ardern, Twyford, Parker, Robertson, Davis, King, Nash, David Clark, Wall, Moroney, Curran, Mahuta etc? No chance.

      Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  7th November 2016

        Absolutely right, no one wants the poison chalice.

        Reply
      • PDB

         /  7th November 2016

        I disagree about after the election – if re-elected Key won’t go another round and nor will Bill English. Without those two National is scraping around for sound leadership themselves and some Labour MP’s will smell the opportunity of becoming PM.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th November 2016

          Fair point. But Labour could even end up with even fewer MPs than now. Pick me a new leader and deputy with a chance of revitalising this party? I can’t see anyone who stands out. Robertson has to go as Finance Spokesperson as well.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  7th November 2016

            What has Robertson done ,not done to upset you?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  7th November 2016

              He just doesn’t convince me he’s costed anything properly. And I think his performances at Question Time are useless. Any stats or figures he or Andy produce are blown away by counter-data and flim flam from National. Then they end up dead in the water. Housing should be able to be hammered, but it isn’t.

              Maybe I am judging him too harshly, but as long as they come up with policy proposals that are vague, and going to mean more tax for anyone, and can’t explain how they are substantively different from failed attempts to do the same thing by previous administrations, or from what National are doing now – they are not going to get anywhere.

              I haven’t read the Future of Work report yet, so I need to be fair and not overly criticise that yet, but what I have read about it so far suggests it has taken them two years to tell us what we already know, and I’m not sure how it differs from what National can say they are already doing, just differently.

  3. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  7th November 2016

    Little does not have the sense to take advice from folks with a track record of delivering well-thought-out policy and accurate accounting.

    Reply
  4. artcroft

     /  7th November 2016

    Labour remain underwhelming. National should be on the ropes going into a 4th term but did Labour do anything to inspire voters this weekend? Nope. This future of work project was always ambitious but Robinson’s come up with nothing innovative at the end of it. No new insights on what work will look like in the robot age or how Labour plans to deal with the changes. Just a levy on employers and a work scheme. Welcome back to the 1980’s. Not even costed properly. My guess is Robinson isn’t actually an expert on hard work, more a leave to the last minute, wing it on the day type.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  7th November 2016

      Essentially two years of toil on the ‘future of work’ project has yielded the stunning news that Labour & its allies can’t predict the work future as it’s an ever-changing environment. In the meantime whilst we currently enjoy a booming economy and low unemployment levels lets go back to the bad old days of compulsory unionism (which was hinted at) and placing more costs on businesses in this country.

      Reply

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