National MP challenge in Wellington Central

National list MP Paul Foster-Bell, who stood in Wellington Central last election against Grant Robertson and James Shaw, is being challenged by Nicola Willis, who appears to be backed by John Key.

Newshub: Prime Minister recruits corporate high flyer for 2017

If the headline is an accurate reflection then Foster-Bell’s chances don’t look great, if he doesn’t get the hint and pull out.

One of Prime Minister John Key’s confidants and former senior advisors is set to enter Parliament, with Newshub learning she is being lined up as National’s Wellington Central candidate.

Nicola Willis has launched a challenge against incumbent candidate and list MP Paul Foster-Bell for the party’s nomination, which opens in January.

When nominations do open, it is my intention to put forward my nomination and to stand for the candidacy,” she told Newshub.

“This is a decision I’ve come to after lots of conversation with my family. It’s up to the National Party members to decide who their candidate is, so it’s them I’ll be focused on,” says Ms Willis.

The Prime Minister says she’d be a welcome addition to Parliament if she successfully challenged Mr Foster-Bell.

“If Nicola decided to try and come into Parliament, and obviously that’s subject to her either having a seat or getting on the list or whatever that might be, but she’s extremely talented. She’d make a very fine MP,” he says.

Implying that he doesn’t see Foster-Bell as such a fine MP.

 

 

Wellington Central last election:

wellingtoncentral2014

A strong National candidate could make that very interesting.

It could create a quandary for Labour and Greens – will Shaw push hard for the best Green party vote again and wink-wink the electorate vote in Robertson’s direction? Or will he go hard out for an electorate win?

Both Shaw and Robertson are probably assured of winnable list positions (unless Labour’s vote crashes further), but there could be some importance on Wellington Central.

James Shaw contesting Wellington Central again

Green co-leader James Shaw will contest the Wellington Central electorate next year, running against Grant Robertson again.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out now Labour and Greens have a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ and Greens have already opted out of the Mt Roskill by-election to help Labour there.

Greens may have decided that the focus for them close to parliament in an electorate where they got more party votes (11,545 at 29.50%) than Labour (9,306 at 23.78%) was too important to not stand in.

Generally  Greens stand candidates in electorates to get exposure and to solicit party votes. They will be wary of losing party votes if they opt out of electorates to help Labour candidates.

There may be a lot of wink wink campaigning, sort of like what happens in Epsom and Ohariu.

NZ Herald said yesterday that Shaw was set to be confirmed in Shaw to contest Wellington Central, scotching rumours of a deal with Labour in Ohariu

Green Party co-leader James Shaw is set to be confirmed as his party’s candidate for the Wellington Central seat.

The Greens’ Wellington Central branch will select its candidate at a meeting tonight, and Shaw is the only nominee.

Shaw confirmed his confirmation in advance via Twitter after Robertson responded to this article:

Looking forward to another Wgtn Central contest with Can’t believe media bought into ACT spin re Ohariu

Thanks, . It’s been a pleasure to run alongside you in Wellington Central in 2011 and 2014. Looking forward to 2017!

The 2014 results in Wellington Central:

wellingtoncentral2014

I don’t know if Robertson has been officially confirmed as Labour’s candidate for 2017 but if not I expect it will be a formality.

Roberston’s Future of Work report

Today  Grant Robertson released the on the findings of Labour’s two year Future of Work commission.

A plan for the future

Everyone knows that the world of work is changing. Technology is developing at a pace faster than ever before, and many of the jobs and roles we know today simply won’t exist in a decade. 

At the same time, technology is also making it easier than ever to start a business and connect with people all over the world. There is enormous opportunity, but also significant risk that this change could lead to higher unemployment, greater insecurity and inequality.

It was with this in mind that the Labour Party launched the Future of Work Commission in 2014. For two years, we’ve been getting out and listening to New Zealanders about their hopes and fears. And today we are releasing our report with more than 60 recommendations on how we can confidently face the changing world and ensure decent, secure and well-paid work.

This does not mean that we can predict the future. Rather, it’s about preparing ourselves to be resilient and adaptable as times change. We don’t want to be the passive recipients of this change; we want to shape the future in accordance with our values. Decent wages, respect, dignity and safety at work — wherever that is undertaken.

The core recommendations in our report are to support training and education throughout life. That is why we are proposing three years free post-secondary school training and education. It is also why we will have professional career guidance and planning for every student. We also believe that every worker who loses their job as a result of technological change and disruption should be supported to retrain. We need a just transition — no one should be left behind.

We also need to be ready to take the opportunities that are offered for people to take control of their own economic destiny. The era of ‘trickle down economics’ is over. We are proposing that we focus on building wealth from the ground up. We are recommending more support for entrepreneurs, stronger collective bargaining, digital equality and investing in our regions and in research and development.

If we retain the values that have guided us for one hundred years, we can make the policy choices for the 21st century to invest in people, and we will rise to the challenge to give New Zealanders security and opportunity in the future of work.

Read the full report here >>

Robertson gave a speech on the findings at Labour’s conference. Here is the speech with the political bits lopped off the top.


…what I want to talk to you about today is one of the most ambitious projects that the Labour Party has undertaken in recent memory.

A project that is about what really matters in our economy. Decent work that gives security and opportunity, and a fair share for all in prosperity.

It is of course, The Future of Work Commission. And today we will launch the final report after two years, dozens of public meetings, hundreds of submissions and thousands of people telling us what work means to them.

At the outset I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the project, including many of you. I particularly want to acknowledge a willing group of MPs who you see here today who gamely took on leading our work across six workstreams. I want to thank them for their hard work and for only needing a gentle amount of nagging and a few minor tantrums to come up with your chapters.

I also want to make a special acknowledgement of the best researcher you will ever find. A man who carefully planned his wedding around milestones in the project. Rob Carr, you are an absolute treasure.

We quickly found willing partners outside the Party. We intentionally sought advice and guidance from a wide group of New Zealanders. Our External Reference Group of business, union and community leaders provided fantastic input. I want to note that Helen Kelly was initially on the group, and in mourning her passing I would like to think she would be pleased to see us at this milestone.

We are proud of this report, and we think that the 63 recommendations that are contained in it map a path that re-asserts in our centenary year the importance of our Party’s core values.

100 years on Labour is still the party of work and the party of workers.

So, what have we learned in this project. Well, a lot can happen in two years. When we started this project the world was a different place. The UK was staying in the EU, the idea of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate was a script for a bad reality TV show, Jeremy Corbyn was a UK Labour backbencher about to defy the Party Whip for the 489th time; and Australia was the number two ranked rugby team in the world.

So, we learned that a lot can change in a short time.

We may not be able to say with total precision what is going to happen in the future, but in Labour we are not prepared to stand by and simply let the market forces decide.

Our best approach is to prepare ourselves to be in a position to shape the future on the basis of our values and the outcomes we desire.

The pace of change in the world of work is undoubted. The uptake of technology in the digital age is at a pace estimated by McKinsey’s to be ten times that of the industrial revolution at three hundred times the scale.

The impact of artificial intelligence, 3D printing, sensors, algorithms, and robots has only scratched the surface of what is possible.

Higher levels of unemployment from rapid automation, and less full time stable work seem likely.

Along with technology, the other key factor driving change is globalisation. The movement of people around the world in search of work and security is unprecedented.

The movement of capital is similarly expansive. The combination of the two has seen the opening of markets and opportunities, but also the destruction and hollowing out of industries and jobs.

The fundamental premise of our Commission is that the Future of Work is not predestined, and it can be guided by our policies and our priorities.

Three major themes have emerged from our work.

The value of decent work

Throughout the Commission the importance that New Zealanders place on work has been reinforced. Decent incomes matter of course. In addition we need to recognise the importance of non-income benefits.There is a sense of dignity in work, and a desire for work that is fulfilling and part of doing good. This is what people value about their work – the skills they gain, the relationships they develop, the recognition they receive, and the autonomy that they are accorded. Decent work needs to include all of these.

We met a lot of people during the work of the Commission like Tiso Panapa. Tiso spoke at our Wellington seminar. He is a security guard at Work and Income. He’s paid not much more than the minimum wage, he does not have guaranteed hours. He struggles to look after his family. An unexpected bill could blow his finances apart. Tiso and his family deserve better – a higher minimum wage, actually a living wage and secure work.

We believe we must underpin all future working arrangements with the same set of values and principles regardless of their nature.

Let me be clear, strong and effective unions will, as they have in the past, play a critical role in making this happen.

Risk of growing inequality

The last two years have been marked by increased attention to the impact of inequality on our societies and our economy.

New Zealand is now the most unequal society it has ever been. Wealth has concentrated in the hands of a small group. This is wrong. It is unfair and it is not the New Zealand that Labour or any government I am part of will let continue.

Even the IMF and the World Bank are seeing that inequality is a drag on the economy!

The future of work runs the risk of increasing this inequality. As automation takes hold, there has been a hollowing-out of those ‘in the middle’ whose jobs have been associated with clerical or easily automated tasks.

Many of those in low-skill jobs have suffered the same fate with poor work conditions, low wages and high levels of insecurity.

At the same time, those with in-demand technical skills, and at management level have seen large pay increases. In New Zealand, the average chief executive salary has increased by 12% in the last year, compared with around 3% for average workers.

The lesson of this project is that the flawed logic of ‘trickledown’ economics has been fully exposed. What is now needed is a new approach that takes the opportunity offered by the changing nature of work to develop a new economic paradigm that values building wealth from the ground up.

Balance between flexibility and security

The third major theme to have emerged is the balance between flexibility and security.

The changing patterns of work, driven by technology, are already apparent. From large workplaces adopting open-plan, ‘hot desk’ environments to flexi-time arrangements, few people would recognise their workplace from even a decade ago.

Many more New Zealanders are self-employed, managing a portfolio of work that is built around their lives.

Young people in particular, talked to us not so much about the jobs that they would do in the future, but rather the work that they would create.

Early on in the project two young first year university students who had received a prize from me in their last year at secondary school visited to tell me about their holiday plans. These consisted of establishing a fully fledged design company, with clients and business cards. And you know what. They did it. They saw no boundaries or limits to what they could do in the future of work.

We have met many people, young and old, who are seeing enormous opportunity through social entrepreneurship, shared value creation and less hierarchical business models to create decent work.

The Commission is recommending that a future government support these new models of work. At the same time we must ensure that there is a balance between supporting the innovation that comes from flexibility with the right to secure and fair conditions of employment.

After two years of work, I can say that predicting whether a particular industry or job will exist or what will replace it is fruitless.

What the Commission has done is map a path that gives New Zealanders the confidence to face and lead the change.

We need to be inclusive, offering opportunity and harnessing the talents of all.

We need to be resilient to deal with the changes and shocks that are coming our way.

And we need to adapt to be able to lead the change and shape it in line with our values of fairness, sustainability and innovation.

The Future of Work Commission is proposing a new social partnership between business, government and workers that places decent work and a good standard of living for all people as our priority.

There is not time today to go into detail of all the recommendations, but they come under five broad headings.

We owe it to all those affected by the rapid change in the world of work to support a just transition.

We are proposing active labour-market policies not seen before in New Zealand.

We believe that every person who has their work disrupted or eliminated in the changing world of work needs to be supported to be trained and re-trained.

The absence of skilled workers was the number one issue that the business community raised with the Commission. We can’t rely on the market to provide, or immigration alone, to import our solutions.

We want this to be delivered through a partnership of government, business and unions to identify training needs early, and deliver on those continually, to support people into new and meaningful work.

Our specific proposal is that the government will initially fund up to six weeks of free full time training per year to workers who lose their job or have it fundamentally disrupted by technological change. This is of course in addition to the entitlement to three years free post school education and training that we have already announced.

Over time we would like to see this develop as it has in countries such as Denmark to be available across the workforce, and for it to be funded in partnership with business.

We are recommending that consideration be given to specific skill training levies in industries where businesses are not stepping up to train the next generation of workers.

Equally, for a just transition in a world where full-time paid work may become less certain, we will need to think again about income security. Part of this is in short-term income support measures, and a genuine commitment to lift minimum wages and support a living wage.

We are also recommending recognising unpaid and voluntary work as fulfilling work obligations, and further consideration of basic income provision.

The phrase just transition is of course borrowed from the environmental movement. Climate change and its global impact was ever-present in the work of the Commission.

In our report we are calling for decent work that supports our move to a low-carbon economy. We will support a just transition for those communities and workers who find their livelihoods under threat. We are backing an Independent Climate Commission to drive the shift to a low carbon economy that still delivers high wage work.

The Future of Work must also be one where we address the unjust aspects of the world of work that already exist.

Labour needs to be the party that says once and for all that we will not stand for a world where women are not valued equally to men in the world of work.

In this project we have also tried to ensure that we have responded to the calls we have heard.

One of the loudest is for the abolition of secondary tax. For people, especially younger low paid workers, two or three jobs are essential to make ends meet. It is within our power, and it is our recommendation, to get rid of this relic of a past era.

Learning for life

We live in a world where the notion of completing your training and educational journey at the end of high school is wholly inadequate.

That is why the first major policy announcement from the Future of Work Commission was for three years of free post-secondary school training and education. This is a clear statement that we want all New Zealanders to build their knowledge and skills throughout their lives. As part of this we must value far more non-university training and education, through greater support for trade training and apprenticeships.

We are recommending a focus on developing the attributes young people need in a changing world – creativity, collaboration, connectedness. We recognise the importance of science and technology, but these are only part of the picture. We need to invest in humanities, the arts and design too.

We are proposing changes in the focus of our education system to unlock the potential of every student. We need to focus less on rigid standards and assessment processes and more on the individual interests and learning needs.

This includes a strong partnership between schools, businesses and the community to support every student to have a plan for their career, for careers guidance to be an integral part of their educational experience, and for programmes that mix school and work-based learning to be available.

We are recommending the adoption of a school leavers toolkit that includes digital and financial literacy, a drivers license and the skills to be a good citizen.

We need to provide the maximum range of opportunities for training and skill development beyond school. The importance of appropriate and targeted opportunities for Māori and Pasifika communities to do this has been recognised and accepted by the Commission.

Building wealth from the ground up

The opportunity exists in the Future of Work for working people to have greater control over their economic destiny.

We need only look to the UK and the United States to see the sense of alienation felt by those who have not benefited from globalisation. This is a driving force of political change, division and instability worldwide. If New Zealand is to avoid falling victim to these forces, we need to an economy that gives everyone a stake in our success.

A core plank of this has to be a new employment relations framework that is focused on strengthening collective bargaining and enabling effective unionisation. We need to expand the rights of contractors to ensure those who would otherwise be an employee still have the right to be paid a minimum wage, join a union and participate in collective bargaining.

We are recommending a greater sense of ‘workplace democracy’. In our project this was exemplified by Air New Zealand and E Tū and other unions in their High Performance Engagement process. HPE is built around teams made up of equal number of management and workers solving problems and making plans by consensus. Once an organisation that was riven with industrial dispute, HPE is contributing to Air New Zealand being a more productive, inclusive working environment with better pay and conditions. We want to support other workplaces across New Zealand to adopt new models of workforce engagement.

New Zealand is already a nation where small and medium businesses dominate our landscape. It is also a place where innovation has thrived in our garages and workshops. We must now take the opportunity to develop this further.

We are proposing to remove the barriers to growing these types of work whether they are poor regulations, skill deficits, or a lack of capital.

There is a generation of socially minded entrepreneurs and creators of value who will make New Zealand proud if we are prepared to support them. That is why we have already announced a Young Entrepreneurs Programme to give 100 young New Zealanders the opportunity to develop their smart and innovative ideas.

We want to support every New Zealander to have opportunity in the future of work. That’s why we are proposing a goal of digital equality across all divides by 2020.

No matter where you live or what your background is, we must ensure that all our people have access to technology and the ability to understand how it can act as a tool to create better lives.

Our young Māori and Pasifika communities should be at the forefront of growing our prosperity. The message received by the Commission from these communities is that a heavy investment in education, and a partnership to support indigenous and grassroots economic development is essential to harnessing these opportunities. We accept that challenge and the desire for a partnership to make it happen.

An active and capable state

Just as the clock has turned on the failed notion of ‘trickledown economics’ so it has on the idea of a hands-off state being able to deliver a prosperous and decent future of work. Leadership and innovation in government are core requirements to a successful transition to the future of work.

The government as an active partner in economic development is essential. Throughout our project we have heard that communities and regions can see potential for their residents to live good and fulfilling lives. They are not looking to be told what to do by central government, but they do want to know that we are all in this together.

The government must use the levers it has to partner in every region in New Zealand to support sustainable and decent work. In this report, we propose business clusters as an example of how this can happen. In general, we see the need for strong regional development projects and investment in our infrastructure around New Zealand.

Similarly in all of the interactions between state and citizens we need to be looking to develop the social partnership further. For example, we are recommending culture change at Work and Income so that it is not just be a processing and transacting agency for beneficiaries, but a central point in supporting people to train, work and thrive.

Inventing the future

Our productivity and prosperity as a nation requires us to not just accept the change, but to get in front of it. To support the aspiration of future generations we need to substantially lift our game in science, research and innovation.

You know every time we held a Future of Work Conference Simon Bridges put out a release about a pizza delivery robot or drone. That is not good enough. We must not simply be just the test-bed for others’ ideas and inventions, but be the designers and inventors.

We are proposing that ICT become our second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.

We are going to reform government procurement to give Kiwi firms a fair go. No more Hillside Workshop closures.

We are recommending a sustained and significant lift in our investment in research and development in the public and private sector if we are to lift productivity. This will include an investment in basic science, research, better collaboration between government and private sector, and a shared vision for how to harness all of that to create decent work.

Delegates, this is a big agenda. It can not all be implemented at once. It requires a long term view. At our conference last year I quoted the words of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, when he said his country was faced with a choice between the fears and the habits of the past and the demands and opportunities of the future. Through the Commission, we have laid out the framework that embraces the demands and opportunities of the future of work.

I urge you to read our report. There are some copies available today- and you can find it on our website. Share it with your friends and family. You will not find any other political party that is stepping up to the challenge of plotting a path through this rapidly changing world. It is our historic mission – to build a better and fairer New Zealand. We will do that by investing in people and giving them the confidence to face the changing world.

There is reason to be optimistic about New Zealand’s future and the future of work generally.

If we are prepared to make clear and positive policy choices.

If we are prepared to renew a social partnership.

If we support a business sector that is innovative and inclusive.

And if we give workers a stake in their future and the opportunity to build wealth from the ground up.

One hundred years on from the women and men who banded together to give political voice to the hopes and aspirations of working people, through this Future of Work Commission we are re-asserting Labour as the party that has the vision for decent work that gives New Zealanders a sense of purpose and a chance to shape a prosperous future for them and their families.

Anti-money-laundering legislation

Grant Robertson questioned Justice Minister Amy Adams yesterday on the timetable for the introduction of anti-money-laundering legislation.

It appears that a target of having a bill in Parliament by the end of this year won’t be achieved, but Adams made assurances that the Government is still working towards having the bill passed by mid-2017.

Anti – money-laundering Measures—Prime Ministers Statements

8. GRANT ROBERTSON (Labour—Wellington Central) to the Minister of Justice: Does she stand by the Prime Minister’s statement to this House in September on phase two of the anti – money-laundering measures that “there will be a bill in the House by the end of the year”; if not, why not?

Hon AMY ADAMS (Minister of Justice): That was certainly the Government’s intention at that time. However, as the Prime Minister also said, there are far-reaching implications for a large number of New Zealanders from these reforms. The time frame that we have been consistently working towards is to have the bill passed by mid-2017, and this has not changed However, the introduction of the bill may now occur early next year to ensure that we do what we can to minimise the cost of the reforms to New Zealanders.

Grant Robertson: In what way has the process of implementing phase two of the anti – money-laundering changes, which would include real estate agents, lawyers, and accountants into the regime, been accelerated, as she and the Prime Minister promised in May of this year?

Hon AMY ADAMS: It had not originally been our intention to have the reforms passed by July, the middle of next year. Now we want to make sure that the legislation is passed by that time. Previously it would have been into 2018 before the legislation was intended to be in place.

Grant Robertson: Has she taken papers to Cabinet committees this year that would have seen the legislation introduced this year?

Hon AMY ADAMS: I have certainly taken Cabinet papers addressing the reforms, and that made it very clear that we are working to the time frame of the legislation being passed by the middle of next year.

Grant Robertson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question asked whether the Minister had taken papers to the Cabinet committee about introducing the legislation this year. It was a specific question.

Mr SPEAKER: I think that on this occasion, to the dissatisfaction of Grant Robertson, obviously, the question has been addressed. The Minister then said she had taken papers to the Cabinet committee. I think it has been addressed.

Grant Robertson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: I have ruled on that matter, Mr Robertson.

Grant Robertson: It was a very specific question about the introduction of legislation, which was not addressed by the Minister.

Mr SPEAKER: The member may not have heard me. I listened carefully to the answer, and I think on this occasion the question was addressed.

Grant Robertson: Has she taken a paper to a Cabinet committee this year that would have proposed the introduction of legislation on phase two of the anti – money-laundering measures. [Interruption] You could have answered the question, but you transferred it.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am very likely to rule a question out of order if the member continues like that.

Hon AMY ADAMS: The Cabinet committee that determines the introduction of legislation is the Cabinet legislation committee. I have not taken a paper to the Cabinet legislation committee. I have taken policy papers on the proposal, and that has us on track to continue with having legislation in place by the middle of next year. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! My patience will run out very quickly, with the interjections coming from both sides of the front bench.

Grant Robertson: Is it her intention that the details of property buyers and sellers will be captured under part 2 of the regime?

Hon AMY ADAMS: We have made it clear that part 2 of the reforms will extend to lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, and high-value goods dealers. Further detail of that will be made apparent when the legislation is made available.

Grant Robertson: How can she possibly argue that she is accelerating the work when she is actually still finalising policy work, which is the same position she has been in since 2014, and is the only reason that acceleration was even mentioned not to take the heat off John Key during the Panama Papers?

Hon AMY ADAMS: The member is simply wrong. The process has been accelerated so that the legislation will be in force sooner than otherwise would have happened. I point out to this House that this is a regime that will have considerable compliance costs on ordinary New Zealanders, and on this side of the House we want to ensure that those costs are no more burdensome on average mums and dads than they need to be. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! I gave a fairly severe warning, and it applies to the Minister who is at the moment answering questions.

Grant Robertson: In light of her own statement that she has had no push-back from lawyers on phase two of the reforms, are the further delays and calls for more discussion documents the result of lobbying by the real estate industry or just that Steven Joyce does not want to upset his mates in the Koru lounge?

Hon AMY ADAMS: First of all, I suggest to that member that he should not take his information from the media. What we are doing is making sure the proposals do not impose any more costs on New Zealanders than are necessary. We are still working towards—and are on course—to having the legislation in place by the middle of next year. That has not changed, Mr Robertson.

Robertson slams Brash, praises Government

Opposition MPs and parties, especially Labour, have been copping a lot of flak for being relentlessly negative, for barking at every passing car.

But they deserve credit when they give credit where it’s due to opponents.

Like most people Grant Robertson has slammed Don Brash’s latest stunt, and in doing so praised the Government’s handling of Treaty issues.

Newshub: National Party better than ‘irrelevant bigot’ Don Brash, says Grant Robertson

Labour’s Grant Robertson has labelled Don Brash an “irrelevant bigot” over his latest effort to make race a hot-button issue.

“This notion of Maori privilege is ridiculous. He tried it a decade ago, the climate was a bit different, he got a bit of traction – we’ve all moved on.”

National boosted it’s popularity after Brash’s Orewa speech in 2004, but under John Key’s leadership the Government has dealt properly with ongoing treaty settlements. Robertson acknowledges this.

In contrast, Mr Robertson says National under John Key has “been really good and responsible in Treaty settlement legislation”.

“[Treaty Negotiations Minister ] Chris Finlayson’s done a really good job. It’s taken a lot of the political heat out of the issue.”

It’s good to see Robertson giving praise where it’s due. Oppositions need to pick their battles  wisely, and being on the same side of Government on this and united against the Brash campaign is a positive sign.

Within an inch of their credibility?

Grant Robertson responded to:

nzherald @nzherald
A man with a one-inch-long micropenis has opened up about his one sexual encounter http://nzh.nu/E33E304y9nE

With:

I mean seriously, do I now have to stop following one of our major news organisations because this is what they tweet out?

Robertson makes a fair point, the Herald seems to have been lowering it’s standards somewhat recently. Why? From Facebook:

nzhoneinch

Someone recently said that the Herald got a lot of clicks from Facebook, and this supports that. It may ell be good for advertising revenue.

But I don’t think it’s good the the herald’s credibility.

As someone recommended, I have stopped following but have stayed with and for now.

I can understand if politicians despair about competing for attention with click bait like this.

Waatea 5th Estate wrap up

I’ve had a chance to liksten to the final Waatea 5th estate of the year, possibly the final show altogether unless they receive NZ On Air funding for next year’s election campaigning.

In Martyn Bradbury’s introduction he said “where we wrap the most important news events with the best political panel on television. Joining us tonight to wrap the political year for our final show of 2016…”

He named a heap of people on the social media panel, saying “follow them tonight for the last time using the hashtag #waatea5thestate”. That sounds more final.

On the panel were deputy mayor of Auckland, Penny Hulse, union secretary Mike Treen, Marama Fox (Maori Party) and Grant Robertson (Labour).

The first issue discussed was housing and associated with that, welfare. The Government deserves a fair bit of criticism on housing but this was just about as over the top as you could get. It was a bashing.

The most notable comment was from Penny Hulse, saying that the Auckland council had given the Government the tools they needed via the Unitary Plan so the Government should just build houses now. The Unitary Plan took 6 years (although the building consents and land availability go back much longer) – has it even taken effect yet? To join in the Government bashing without a glimmer of taking any responsibility was a bit rich from Hulse.

Bradbury: “The second issue of the year was spin. Never before has information been so manipulated.” Pot (albeit a small one) calling a large kettle black.

He reeled of a number of justified and stupid gripes, one of the worst manipulation of information being “forty one thousand homeless people aren’t really homeless” – that was a dig at a supposed  claim from the Government but it depends on how ‘homeless’ is defined. University of Otago researcher suggests the actual number of what most people would view as homeless is about 10% of that:

If the homeless population were a hundred people, 70 are staying with extended family or friends in severely crowded houses, 20 are in a motel, boarding house or camping ground, and 10 are living on the street, in cars, or in other improvised dwellings.

http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago613529.html

Also “and the three hundred thousand kids in poverty aren’t really in poverty” is an ongoing spin, depending on what ‘poverty’ is defined as.

It was another Government bashing and Grant Robertson joined in but got a return serve from Marama Fox.

Bradbury: Marama what was your favourite political spin of the year?

Marama: Look ah actually Bomber you know what I’ve found as a newbie to politics is that these guys, Grant I love you, you know I do, but you guys are just as good at spin as the blue ones are as good at spin.

You guys spin this stuff out of control all the time to get some political leverage over each other. I am absolutely sick of the spin. Can we just tell the truth.

You know everybody moans about “oh you’re at the table blah blah blah, what has that got for you. Well I’ll tell you what it got for us because we’re at the table. Paula Bennett now spends $41 million on emergency housing….because we’re at the table. She is now implementing the Utah model that I gave her.

Bradbury spluttered a bit over that, then said “um, imagine all of the things you’re going to be able to do ah Marama if you’re at a Labour Party government next year, you’ll be able to do a hell of a lot more”.

Andrew Little has attacked the Maori Party recently and Labour want to obliterate them from Parliament.

Then, ironically, the third issue of the year was “the appalling state of journalism and the rise of click bait bullshittery”.

Bradbury then said “how can you get progressive visions out to the public when most of our media sound like Fox News?” Slater thinks the ‘media party’ bats for the other side. Perhaps it’s mostly somewhere in between these two extremists.

Bradbury: “I mean if you look at the coverage of the Unitary Plan it was literally the end of Western civilisation as we understood it, cats and dogs would start living together, planes would fall from the sky. None of that has occurred”.  None of that was hinted at or implied let alone claimed literally.

Hulse: “The Unitary Plan was landed despite the New Zealand Herald. The exciting thing for me is the rise of things like The Spinoff, then work that Gen Zero’s doing, the intelligent commentators who are now taking over that vacuum that’s been left by vacuous reporting”. She didn’t rate Bradbury or The Daily Blog as either intelligent or vacuous.

Bradbury: “Marama do you sometimes just want to slap Paddy Gower?”

Predictions for next year.

Grant Robertson:

I think we will see a change of government. The Labour Greens MoU is one of the big political developments in this year that we’ve just had and that will get it’s chance to come to fruition to lead that government. It’s going to get ugly next year as it always does when the right field…are on the back foot. It’s going to be difficult but we will come to the election and we will get result and then Marama will be able to join in with a change of government.

Penny Hulse:

If the Government don’t get Auckland right they are in for a very rough ride.

Marama Fox:

The Maori Party is going to take out four or five seats at least. [Exclamations from Robertson and Bradbury]

That’s probably no less realistic than Robertson.

We will be the king makers. Nobody wants to go to Winston. They want to see stable government. They believe in an independent Maori voice. And whether or not the Labour Party and the Greens’ MoU have said that they want us or don’t want us, when the time comes they’ll come knocking on the door and we’ll be ready with the things we  ‘re gonna negotiate to push our policies further.

Bradbury: Would the Maori Party be able to work with the Labour Party next year in government Marama?

Marama Fox: We’ve always said we will work with anybody, whoever is the government. Geez if we can work with blue undies we can sure as heck work with red undies.

Mike Treen:

I’m very hopeful that it’s going to be a change of government ah this year. I’m less confident that the change of government is going to produce the changes that we need, and I think that Labour needs to, ah  Labour and the Greens as sort of the joint parties of Opposition that are proposing themselves as an alternative government  at the moment need to come up with some things that will capture people’s imagination in terms of the type of change that is going to move the country forward.

At the moment I think it’s just a little too itsy bitsy and incremental, and it’s not telling people that it’s going to be a genuine alternative to the government that we have.

Labour in particular have nowhere near revealed their policies yet.

But what’s good at the moment is that this government is losing it’s image of infallibility, and the midas touch of John Key seems to have disappeared, and the housing issue has done that in the first instance. And so I think the chances of a change in government are much more realistic and I look forward to it.

Notably no mention of the mana Movement in any of the predictions.

Martyn Bradbury:

My final word. This is our final show. After seven glorious months a massive thank you to Andy at Face TV, the face TV crew, Will our director who’s a multi tasking technical superstar (I didn’t write that), Aaron and his team of metrosexual be-speckled uber nerds from Slipstream (I didn’t write that either), our amazing political multi functional Maori lesbian socialist friendly centre right producer and host Claudette (she totally wrote that).

Willie Jackson who shuts the bloody elevator door (I didn’t write any of this), to all our guest commentators, guest tweeters, amazing. Thanks also to our sponsors the Aotearoa Credit Union and Voyager Internet. Willie and I came up with this project because we couldn’t believe the diabolical level of debate from Seven Sharp and Story.

 In our seven months we have done more public interest broadcasting than Story and Seven Sharp combined.

Bradbury is not using comparable examples. Story and Seven Sharp are only partly political and I don’t think debate is a normal part of their formats.

Q & A and The Nation are better comparisons that are not mentioned.

We believe that democracy is only as strong as it’s media and if you are only hearing one side of the story then you have a one eyed electorate.

I hear many sides of many stories where I look.

We have a funding application in with New Zealand On Air, so we hope to see you next year as the election campaign heats up. We hope to see you next year.

So they are shutting down due to funding – I think Bradbury asked for donations recently.

Should NZ on Air fund a hard left political activist show? I wonder what Bradbury would say if the funded Whale Oil.

 

Robertson versus Statistics

Grant Robertson is Labour Spokesperson for Employment as well as Spokesperson for Finance.

In the former role today he put out a media release today:

Govt should face the facts not skew the facts

Posted by on August 16, 2016

National appears to be actively massaging official unemployment statistics by changing the measure for joblessness to exclude those looking online, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“The Household Labour Force Survey, released tomorrow, no longer regards people job hunting on websites like Seek or TradeMe as ‘actively looking for work’.

Released tomorrow? Is Robertson jumping the gun?

“That means they no longer fit into the unemployed category, meaning tomorrow’s delayed figures will almost certainly show a decrease in unemployment. This new definition saw a revision of the last quarter’s unemployment figures from 5.7 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

“These figures do not mean there is a drop in the number of people looking for work or that unemployment is actually falling. For the many New Zealanders who use the internet to search for work, the Government is telling them they don’t count.

“Bizarrely while cutting out modern forms of job hunting the HLFS still includes outdated methods such as registering at a ‘employment exchange’ or ‘checking at worksites, farms, factory gates, market or other assembly places’ for work.

“These changes are typical of a Government that actively manipulates official data to suit its own ends. I have no doubt National ministers will embrace the massaged figures and continue not to worry about the real people who are out of work.

“Despite the many flaws in the HLFS its biggest strength is that is has been a consistent measure for almost 30 years. National’s recent changes have completely undermined that. It is arrogance of the highest order to simply write thousands of jobless New Zealanders off the books,” says Grant Robertson.

The Household Labour Force Survey is done by Statistics New Zealand – and the Government Statistician Liz MacPherson has responded:

Like my predecessors I am fiercely protective of the statutory independence of the role of the Government Statistician and strongly refute any assertions made by Grant Robertson that there has been political interference in the production of official statistics.

This independence means that I maintain the right to make changes necessary to ensure the relevance and quality of our official statistics. Changes to the Household Labour Force Survey have been made to ensure that we produce the best possible measure of the current state of the labour market and to maintain consistency with international best practice.

Far from ignoring technological change during the past 30 years, such as the advent of the internet, we are incorporating these changes so as to be technology neutral.

Within the survey questions, to be regarded as actively looking for a job you must do more than simply look at job advertisements, whether it is online or in a newspaper.

It is not uncommon for revisions to be made to official statistics as a result of more accurate information becoming available or changes to international standards and frameworks.

In addition we are introducing new measures – for example underutilisation – enabling a deeper, richer understanding of New Zealand’s labour market.

When this does occur it is standard practice for Statistics NZ to communicate reasons for revisions and anticipated changes well in advance of their official release, as we did on 29 June 2016. View the Household Labour Force Survey – Revisions to labour market estimates.

Statistics NZ has a legislative obligation to release objective official statistics. We will continue to do this at all times.

That’s quite a smack down for Robertson.

There doesn’t appear to be anything on this on Robertson’s Facebook or Twitter, where he is often quite active.

Q & A – economy, Trump, ship visits and corrections

Today on Q & A (9 am, TV1):

Today : another week of warnings about the economy – Corin Dann talks solutions with Grant Robertson and David Seymour.

Whena Owens vists Mangere and talks to a community that says Corrections is dumping too many offenders in their suburb-are they being treated unfairly?

Jack Tame reports from Ohio where he interviews two former Presidential advisors – what does Trump need to do to win?

Sir Geoffrey Palmer talks to Corin Dann about upcoming US ship visit – a victory for NZ? And why the change of heart now?

How would a Trump presidency deal with our nuclear free legislation? A Clinton presidency (the last one let the US hissy fit fester away).

Grant Robertson’s solution on the economy – “build wealth from the ground up” – fancy phrase #1.

“Yes there will be more spending”.

Many fancy phrases with little apparent substance.

In depth reporting during Parliamentary recess?

Some response to Tracy Watkins’ suggestion for opposition parties as posted here:   A recess challenge for Labour.

Fox is the hard working Maori Party list MP.

Ditto, and I reckon most of us will be. Kind of a strange column. Must invite Tracey to spend a recess week with me.
My reading of it is not so much MPs not working, but MPs not keeping media attention.

I think this is a very good point from Robertson.

Instead of journalists writing columns about what they think politicians and parties should be doing perhaps that time would be better spent investigating and reporting on what Members of Parliament are actually doing.

Most MPs work very hard. Some seek and get media attention, and that is not necessarily the hard workers, and it is not necessarily the meritorious work being reported on.

Take this column from Claire Trevett yesterday in Small parties under pump as polls loom:

There is precious little oxygen in the rarefied atmosphere inhabited by Government support parties. If evidence was needed it came this week when Dunne tried to remind people of his existence by issuing a press statement setting out the three policy themes he would be focusing on in the lead-up to the 2017 election.

The themes were: an economy that provides fairness, choice and opportunity; establishing core environmental bottom lines; and embracing and celebrating a modern, multi-cultural New ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

It was effectively a campaign launch. It fell with the impact of a feather.

Dunne didn’t defame an opponent, he didn’t stoke up racial or ethnic intolerance, he didn’t say something quietly to a reporter who told another reporter who made it into a major story about a Minister.

MPs who quietly and diligently do their jobs without providing sound bites and click bait for media don’t only get ignored most of the time, they get criticised for being boring.

Going back to what Watkins wrote, it seems she wants opposition parties to provide political media with some headlines during a quiet time, a Parliamentary recess.

I agree with Robertson, more in depth would help a lot, but journalists seem averse to doing the boring hard work that is required to inform the public of what is really going on.