Labour’s Super policy

Labour have announced their superannuation policy. It includes pledges to keep the entitlement age at 65, and resuming payments to the Super fund.

Labour secures the future for NZ Super

A Labour Government will secure the future for New Zealand Superannuation so we can continue to provide superannuation to those retiring at age 65, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“One of the first things a Labour-led Government will do is resume payments to the NZ Superannuation Fund, so we can secure its future. National’s failure to invest in the Fund puts the retirement plans of New Zealanders at risk.

“Despite finally running surpluses after years of trying, the Government says it won’t resume Super contributions until 2021/22 financial year, while promising tax cuts that will hand $400 million to the top 10 per cent of income earners.

“The value of the contributions not made by National during its period in office is nearly $14 billion. Currently the Fund is worth $33 billion. The NZ Super Fund estimates that, had contributions continued to be made, it would now be worth $52.6 billion.

“National has sold the future of New Zealand short by billions and billions. By the time National plans to finally resume contributions, a Labour Government will have doubled the size of the current fund to $63 billion.

“This will equate to $6,500 per person extra in the Fund by 2021/22 under Labour. More importantly, we can continue to afford to leave the retirement age at 65; unlike National which wants to lift the age to 67.

“The argument to lift the age from 65 just doesn’t stack up. I’ve spent 20 years working with people who struggle to get to 65 now before they retire because of the physical nature of their work; that hasn’t changed.

“I’m absolutely clear that there will be no change. A Labour Government I lead will keep the age of entitlement at 65 and we will re-start contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund immediately.

“This election will provide a clear choice – only a Labour Government’s fresh approach will make the investments we need to secure the future for all New Zealanders,” says Andrew Little.

More from Grant Robertson via RNZ: Labour pledges to boost Superannuation Fund

Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said if payments had continued over the past eight years, at nearly $53b, instead of its current worth of $33b.

“We cannot afford if we want to keep paying Super out to people in a sustainable way, to not be contributing to the Super Fund.

“We can’t lump on to future generations the full cost of Super, we need to spread it out.”

Mr Robertson said National made the right decision to suspend contributions as New Zealand recovered from the Global Financial Crisis, but the government should have restarted the payments by now.

“Back then National said when once they got into surplus they would restart contributions. They then changed their position to be tagged to an arbitrary debt-ratio. We don’t believe that’s correct.

“We can see from the past performance of the fund that New Zealanders would be significantly better off had we been making contributions.”

But the country would have clocked up substantially more debt, or would have clamped down on spending much more.

Hard out on housing hand ups

The Government went hard out yesterday promoting it’s $1 billion housing infrastructure fund. Housing has been one of National’s weaknesses heading into the election.

$1b infrastructure fund accelerates housing supply

The allocation of the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund today is another milestone in the Government’s plan to increase housing supply for a growing New Zealand, Prime Minister Bill English says.

“The infrastructure projects announced today will speed up the delivery of 60,000 houses across our fastest growing population centres over the next ten years,” Mr English says.

“This is another major step forward in our plan to permanently lift the capacity of the construction sector to support a more confident, expanding New Zealand.”

The funding will be allocated across nine projects in five different council areas, Auckland, Hamilton, Waikato, Tauranga and Queenstown.

“I want to congratulate the Councils in these areas for their positive engagement with the fund and the quality of the infrastructure projects they have proposed,” Mr English says.

“These projects will make their contribution to lifting housing supply alongside the Government’s own Crown Building Project, the Special Housing Areas, our planning changes, and the already record levels of new home construction taking place across New Zealand.”

The successful proposals are in critical high growth areas including:

  • Auckland Council – $300 million – 10,500 houses

 Greenfield development (North-west) at Whenuapai and Redhills.

  • Hamilton City Council – $272 million – 8,100 houses

Greenfield development (Peacockes) on southern edge of Hamilton.

  • Waikato District Council – $37 million – 2,600 houses

Te Kauwhata (new development on the shore of Lake Waikare).

  • Tauranga City Council – $230 million – 35,000 houses

Greenfield development at Te Tumu (eastern end of Papamoa) as well as a capacity upgrade to the Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant and a new (Waiari) water treatment plant (at Te Puke).

  •  Queenstown Lakes District Council – $50 million – 3,200 houses

Two new greenfield sites (Quail Rise South and Ladies Mile) on the Frankton Flats and an extension of the Kingston township.

They kept the PR flowing through yesterday:


Bob Jones scorns funding of fight

Bob Jones, a long time boxing fan and in the past a mentor of Joseph Parker, is scornful of attempts to secure Government funding for one planned bout.

Newshub: Backlash over Duco efforts to get Govt money for Parker clash

Duco wants funding from what’s called the “Major Events Fund”.

“Oh crap it ‘put us on the map’,” says Sir Bob. “Let me tell you, this year there’s been numerous world heavyweight title fights. Is Chechnya on the map because they conducted one?”

“The Government should have nothing to do with this whatsoever. It’s nonsense. It’s a fraud.”

In any case there may be no funds available, as the Major Events Fund is committed for the next two years.

And it’s highly questionable whether one boxing bout could be termed a major event.

If the Government manipulates funding to give Duco a handout it would be controversial, in part because Parker is related to Judith Collins.

Jones is not just scornful about this attempt to get a handout, a few months ago he heaped scorn on modern boxing.

NZ Herald: Bob Jones: Boxing world a disgraceful circus

The meaning of the word “champion” is hardly debatable, thus there can only be one. Yet at any given time today there’s as many as six supposed world champion claimants in each weight division. Here’s the background as to how this absurdity arose.

World championship boxing in the eight original weight divisions from flyweight to heavyweight, became firmly established in the early 1880s. Despite no world governing body, there was never any dispute as to who the champion was, he being the boxer who won the title by defeating the existing champion.In 1922, New York journalist and boxing historian Nat Fleischer launched Ringmagazine.

Fleischer invented ratings, a practice which extended first to other sports and subsequently spread to every conceivable activity. Ring magazine became boxing’s bible, its integrity and ratings unquestioned, and remained that way for a further decade after Fleischer’s death in 1972, despite the advent of numerous rival periodicals.

In the 1960s, it was accepted the eight weight divisions had too wide a range spanning lightweight, welterweight and middleweight and two new divisions, light-welterweight and light-middleweight were introduced.

Championship fights were always huge global events in each division and their title-holders were frequently household names. Compare that with today’s scene with nearly 100 boxers claiming to be the world champion in the now absurd 17, largely contrived, weight divisions.

This ludicrous situation arose through satellite television which turned boxing into an incredibly lucrative sport for boxers and television channels.

In response, in the 1980s opportunists formed purported world governing bodies, referred to cynically as the alphabet soup by aficionados.

The World Boxing Council (WBC), the World Boxing Association (WBA), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and many others sprouted up. By 1990 a dozen such organisations existed who claimed to be the world governing organisation for boxing.

Essentially, they were motivated by profit, charging promoters “sanctioning fees” to “recognise” their contests as either championship fights or, as with the Parker-Carlos Takam bout, mandatory challenge bouts. The financial benefits were further enhanced by insisting that their members be given judging and refereeing roles and their travel and hotel costs be met and they paid fees.

All of this was at the urging of television channels who wanted audience-pulling championship fights. To compound their earnings through more championship bouts they created an absurd seven further weight divisions, some with only a few pounds differential. Their greed did not stop there.

Next, they created dozens of different imaginary championships such as Pan Atlantic, Asian-Pacific and such-like nonsense. Thus once coveted world championship boxing events became meaningless with every contest, no matter how insignificant, being labelled as some sort of championship bout with a cheap ornate victor’s belt being brandished for the winner.

All of these outfits issued ratings for each division, often bearing little relationship to each other. It was no secret that one could buy oneself a ranking. How else do you think Joseph first cracked it?

After Lennox Lewis retired in 2003, Ukrainian, Vitali Klitschko was universally accepted as the heavyweight champion.

Over the subsequent decade he successfully defended the title against allcomers, retiring in 2012 to run for the Ukrainian presidency albeit, to avoid vote-splitting with the other major pro-West liberal candidate, eventually withdrawing and instead becoming mayor of Kiev.

Following his retirement his young brother, Wladimir (known as Dr Steelhammer – he has a PhD, as has his brother), was widely and rightly accepted as the world champion as he also had also beaten all major contenders.

Last year, Vladimir, now 40, lost the title in a shock upset to England’s unbeaten Tyson Fury.

Then on flimflam grounds the IBF declared the title vacant and nominated two relative novices to fight for the vacant championship. The winner, American Charles Martin (by an injured knee, which says it all) was then lured to Britain to defend his bogus championship against Anthony Joshua.

Joshua, the London Olympics gold medallist, is a much-loved British sporting figure who is undefeated, although like Joseph, mostly against poor opposition. But the fans happily bought into it and filled the 02 Arena to watch him easily dispose of the hapless Martin in just over a round. In doing so they deserted their own true world champion, Tyson Fury, never popular for being from the despised traveller group.

Joseph Parker is highly talented. I discerned that in his amateur days and put him on the payroll, thus enabling him to fight all over the world before eventually turning pro. But he and his team should be patient. He is not a huge puncher and constantly fails to use his best weapon, namely his jab. His No1 IBF ranking is farcical.

He would at best rate 15th in the world. At 24 he has time on his side and should be taking learning fights against better quality opponents and not the Solomon Haumonas of this world.

At the moment, he could not foot it with the real top level heavyweights and should steer clear of them for a couple of years, when he doubtless will be able to. Sadly, it appears this won’t happen.

I don’t follow boxing but one thing has seemed quite odd about the title conjecture surrounding Parker – there is usually an absence of American fighters mentioned. They used to dominate world boxing championships. Perhaps they still do – different ‘championships’ to those that Parker is being positioned for.

It seems farcical that the Cabinet would even consider a Parker fight as a ‘Major Event’.

Investment criteria

Event organisers seeking investment will be required to show evidence that the event will significantly and measurably impact on the following areas in the immediate and long-term:

  • Tourism revenue e.g. will attract international visitors and expenditure to New Zealand.
  • New Zealand brand promotion e.g. opportunity to showcase New Zealand through international media.
  • Business and trade opportunities e.g. investment and export opportunities created.
  • Increased participation in sports, arts or culture e.g. growth in participation and high achievement in event field.
  • Increased employment opportunities e.g. short and long-term employment created by the event.
  • National identity and pride e.g. opportunities to celebrate New Zealand culture and heritage and include local communities in event delivery.
  • Event sector capability e.g. building additional event governance, management and delivery skills.

An event is unlikely to receive support if it:

  • Requires an investment in offshore international rights fees, which is disproportionate to the economic returns to New Zealand from hosting the event;
  • Generates benefits primarily to the region in which it is hosted i.e. does not generate national benefits;
  • Does not allow for sufficient time (ideally two years from the application date) for the event to develop and deliver a significant leverage and legacy plan and/or enable the government to leverage the event for wider government objectives

Two months would appear to be far from insufficient time.

Beehive insiders are saying there are concerns about the perception of putting up taxpayer money for a fight Duco would make money off and Sky would charge for.

They should have concerns about more than that.

National addresses housing with $1b fund

At the National Party conference John Key has announced new measures aimed at alleviating the housing problems in high growth centres, which currently means Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga and Hamilton.

It includes a new contestable Housing Infrastructure Fund for councils to speed up building  in new housing areas.

Details are on National’s  website: Housing affordability

National is committed to addressing the challenge of housing and we have a comprehensive programme of work underway.

National has a comprehensive package of measures underway to address the challenge of housing supply and affordability.

Our package includes:

  • Creating special housing areas in high demand areas across New Zealand to fast-track the building of homes.
  • A $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to accelerate new housing in the high-demand areas where it’s needed most. The new fund will focus squarely on financing infrastructure like roads and water needed to support new housing.
  • Setting up independent Urban Development Authorities to speed up housing development in high-demand areas – they’ve proved successful in many other countries.
  • Reforming the Resource Management Act to make it easier for councils and developers to get houses consented and built.
  • Tightened rules to ensure people buying and selling property for profit pay their fair share of tax.
  • Requiring Councils to ensure land supply for housing keeps pace with growth.
  • Passed legislation to restrict Council development charges to reduce the cost of building.

There are no quick fixes – these issues are longstanding – but there are positive signs we’re making good progress.

Most of these measures were already in place but the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund is new.

The best way to address housing affordability is to build more houses and build them faster and we have a comprehensive programme underway to help make this happen.

We will not allow unresponsive planning and slow infrastructure development to lock New Zealanders out of much-needed housing.

Our focus will continue to be on addressing this housing challenge and helping New Zealanders and their families get ahead.

Not surprisingly there are critics.

Today’s announcement notwithstanding, we still lack a coherent housing plan – it’s why we need a Housing Summit to bring one together

Nats’ on infrastructure more smoke & mirrors from Govt desperate to look like doing something. Councils can already borrow this money.

Instead of on-lending $1 bn to Councils why won’t the Govt just do the obvious thing and Build. More. Houses?

We need smarter approach to infrastructure ie bond-financing & targeted rate. On-lending $1bn to Councils classic Nat piecemeal response.

Because high-growth Councils are reluctant to take on too much debt. This announcement wont change that.

The housing issues and the debate on them are far from over.

Trotter and rebooting the unions to fund Labour

Chris Trotter has another lengthy complaint about Labour in relation to the TPPA, posted at  both The Daily Blog (he must have an exemption from their exclusive post requirement) and at Bowalley – Burning Down The House: Why Does The Labour Caucus Keep Destroying The Labour Party In Order To Save It?

It’s heavy going so I’ll skip to the conclusion where he suggests a peoples’ revolution to get Labour on a Corbynite track to then facilitate the People’s Revolution of New Zealand.

Only a mass influx of people determined to make policy – not tea – can rescue the Labour Party from the self-perpetuating parliamentary oligarchy that currently controls it.

Only a rank-and-file membership that is conscious of, and willing to assert, its rights – as the Corbynistas are doing in the United Kingdom – has the slightest hope of selecting a caucus dedicated to circulating the whole oxymoronic notion of democratic elitism out of New Zealand’s political system altogether.

The way this can be done is discussed in the comments, with suggestions that a return to compulsory unionism is the way to fund Labour so they can be a proper party.


The Labour party has to go to the same sources to get funding as the Gnats, therein lays the problem they have. Which is why I have said that Unions should be made compulsory again and then Labour can get funding via them.

Green supporter Simon Cohen isn’t happy with this:

So Bushbaptist you want to make Unions compulsory again so that their members dues will contribute to the Labour Party and get them elected.And you wonder why so many of us are now anti union.I would object to my union fees going to support Labour when I am a strong supporter of the only true left wing party in NZ the Greens.

That makes him a traitorous fake to the left, or at least to Greywarbler::

You don’t know anything Simon if you don’t know that and you might as well be a Nat as you think like them. Perhaps indeed you are just playing at being a Green for the purposes of commenting here. Your anti-union stance doesn’t fit with the Greens I know. But perhaps you are part of a modern plan to subvert the energy and commitment to Green ideals as RWs did to Labour? That would be par for the course for an anti-union Nat.

And Greywarbler endorses the union revolution for Labour.

This is where the unions come in, to re-energise Labour, get Labour onto its avowed task which is to look out for the country and assist all to a reasonable and now sustainable living.

And to bring funds in from those who enthusiastically back that goal, just as National gets funds from those who back themselves and their narrow clique only, with gusto.

Trotter comes in and points out an obvious problem with this plan…

Our problem, Grey Warbler, is that in order to re-boot the union movement, it is first necessary to re-boot the Labour Party and get it elected. We appear to be caught in a classic “Catch-22” situation!

…but notably doesn’t disagree with compulsory unionism being a source of funding for Labour.

Bushbaptist also slams the Greens.

Firstly the Greens have no show of becoming a major party in the medium term anyway, there is not enough grassroots support for them. Secondly they are NOT LEFT! THEY ARE CENTRIST! The only remotely thing one can say about their political position is that they are “Left” of both Labour and National. The Greens only support ordinary workers who vote for them not for the protection of all low paid workers in general.

So if the Greens aren’t proper LEFT…

Simon you have conflated what I said. You can vote for who-ever you wish. The Unions would support Labour by financing them.

…so should be forced to join unions and finance another party.

I wonder how many people choose not to join a union now because some of the unions finance Labour?

Rebooting the unions would be relooting the workers.

The revolution doesn’t look like threatening New Zealand any time soon.