Grant Robertson

Rob Hosking on Jacinda Ardern and her flakiness

Rob Hosking adds further comment on Jacinda Ardern and all of her fanbois and fangurlz out there rushing to defend the princess.

The piece I wrote on Saturday did not even mention any supposed attractiveness for that very reason (the ‘pretty vacant’ url was inserted by a head of digital who had been thrashing the Sex Pistols a bit much).

Heh, I wondered where that came from.

I don’t give a damn if she looks like Angelina Jolie or the Elephant Man.

What I do give a damn about is the vapid, substance-free politics Ms Ardern has offered so far.

Her joint run for Labour’s leadership last year, with friend and colleague Grant Robertson, was an empty void. The only thing the two offered was being a “new generation” of politicians – itself one of the oldest cliches in democratic politics.

While pledging that one was born after 1970 is a promise more likely to be kept than most other political promises, that is about all that can be said for it.    Read more »

Vernon Small: “Jacinda Ardern is A political heavy-weight”

Vernon Small seems to be able to see things that the rest of us can’t.

A few Woman’s Day covers may improve name recognition for a poll, but they’re setting the poor little girl up for a big big fall.   

Wait until the next preferred PM poll.  Rating her as the fourth most preferred leader of this country, as a political journalist, should be a sacking offence.

Do we still have to be debating the appropriateness of male media mouths calling senior politicians – or anyone else for that matter – “a pretty little thing”?

That was Graham Lowe’s “acute” summary of Labour front bencher Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday morning – though he did also note she was “smart”, presented the right image, and would in fact “look good” as a future prime minister.

Nothing wrong with saying she looked good – it is something anyone might say about any politician. But “pretty little thing”? Please.

Lest we forget, in a new poll Ardern is running fourth as preferred prime minister.

That rates her as voters’ choice behind three of the country’s most experienced and able political operators; Prime Minister John Key, her leader Andrew Little and the veteran Winston Peters.

She is also a front-runner to replace Annette King if, as scheduled, Labour elects a new deputy later this year.

That makes her much more than a “pretty little thing” – it makes her a political heavy weight, and throws her into contention as a future prime minister.

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An asset sale by other name would smell as sweet

National falls in the trap of making non-equivocal statements, like “no new taxes” and “no more asset sales”.

But then they have to start farting around the edges with semantics.  Oh no, that’s not an asset sale, it’s a sale of unused, erm… you know, things.  But it’s not an asset sale!

The Government is looking at raising money from the sale of unused land and under-utilised assets held by state-owned enterprises, Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed.

Treasury documents suggest about $2 billion could be raised and Labour says it’s a backdoor attempt to continue the asset sales programme.

“National promised before the election not to sell more assets,” Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson said today.

“This paper indicates there is an extensive list of assets held by SOEs that are now on the chopping block.”     Read more »

Clare Curran chucked under the bus in Labour plagiarism scandal

Clare Curran has drawn the short straw for Labour’s plagiarism scandal, admitting it was her who cut/pasted whole paragraphs from other media to claim as their own thoughts and ideas.

Accusations of plagiarism have been levelled at Labour, with passages in the party’s flagship “Future of Work” document appearing to have been copied directly from the Economist.

In his first major speech as Labour leader, Andrew Little announced a commission to look at the future of work and prepare the economy for the impact on jobs and job security of automation and technology.

Led by finance spokesman Grant Robertson, the commission released its technology paper on Thursday which, after feedback, will help form its policies for the 2017 election campaign.


A team of independent expert advisers was helping 10 MPs to investigate themes including the impact of new technology and demands for greater workplace flexibility.

It’s understood the passages in question were contributed by the party’s ICT spokeswoman, Clare Curran, who has apologised.

“A large number of documents were used during the research for this paper, from many sources over a period of weeks and months.

“These paragraphs should have been cited in the final text and I apologise for the oversight. The document has been updated on our website.”

Robertson did not immediately return calls for comment.

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Good news, Grant Robertson has discovered how to steal ideas and cut/paste them into policy

Grant Robertson is the person responsible for Labour’s much vaunted “Future of Work” policy initiative.

Phil Quin, though, has discovered that he is simply cut/pasting exact phrases from news organisations because they sound about what Labour wants to say.

I have reviewed one small section of Labour’s Future of Work discussion paper, and uncovered three clear cases of plagiarism. I can only imagine other such instances are rife throughout the document.

The section in question is titled “Emerging Challenges and Opportunities”.  In total, the section comprises just over 1,200 words.  Among them, a straightforward Google search uncovered three occasions where the drafters of the report directly lifted whole sentences and paragraphs from articles in the Economist and Business Insider.

Labour wrote:

Complex tasks such as programming a computer or writing a legal brief can now be divided in component parts and subcontracted to specialists around the world.

On January 5th this year, in an article titled “Workers on Tap”, the Economist reported:

Complex tasks, such as programming a computer or writing a legal brief, can now be divided into their component parts—and subcontracted to specialists around the world.

Labour went on to write:   Read more »

Will Robbo arsehole Twyford like he did Goff?

Grant Robertson

Aspiring Labour leader Grant Robertson cracked the shits with Phil Goff when Goff made a speech in 2009 saying that Maori needed to stop bludging and whinging quite so much.

Goff made a speech to a Grey Power meeting in Palmerston North, which remains on line.

Goff actually said some quite sensible things, and they weren’t anywhere near as racist as Phil Twyford’s premeditated attack on the Chinese.

Many New Zealanders would agree with all these sentiments.

And as Shane Jones pointed out this week, by allowing some select corporations to top up their settlements, the government is keeping the grievance going.

If you can never settle Treaty grievances, there can never be healing, and you keep alive a grievance from one age into another.

We must address grievance, but we must not sustain it.

The promise I want to make to young Maori New Zealanders is that we will work as hard as we can to help ensure that the next generation of leaders will be a breakthrough generation.

They understand tradition. They understand that the future can be changed – by education and by opportunity.

And therefore we should make sure everyone gets a fair go.

Everyone should be supported to ensure they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, so that the breakthrough generation can open any door, achieve any ambition, triumph in any test.

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Robbo grooming himself for another tilt at the leadership?

With Andrew Little’s poll ratings mired below even David Cunliffe’s you have to wonder whether or not Grant Robertson is grooming himself for another tilt at the leadership.

Despite his announcement after being rinsed by Andrew Little off of the back of the union bosses supporting Little, it appears that Robbo may actually be having a crack again.

He has ramped up his publicity…he’s gone after John Key on a privileges complaint and done a soft…and I mean really soft positioning piece with Tracy Watkins at Fairfax.

The whole article doesn’t say much at all other than Robbo is going to do some shouting. Presumably in some country pubs because that is what all Labour aspirants do…cart themselves around the provinces supposedly to reconnect.

It is hard to tell though from the article.

Rugby mad Hurricanes fan Grant Robertson must have shouted himself to exhaustion at the Super Rugby final last weekend, One of his final tweets from the match admitted as much before his phone battery finally gave out from all the tweeting and texting.

Robertson’s approach to the finance portfolio curve ball thrown at him by Labour leader Andrew Little has been nowhere near as shouty as he was forced to rapidly negotiate unfamiliar territory.

Robertson was not the obvious fit; that mantle sat squarely on former finance spokesman David Parker’s shoulders. Always the lateral thinker of the Labour caucus, Parker was the man behind Labour’s  20011 economic platform. He  won widespread kudos for tackling some of the thorny issues – think capital gains tax, monetary policy and raising the pension age – head on. But kudos failed to translate into popularity, and Little’s claim to the leadership was built on a promise to review – read dump – the more unpalatable measures.

Little may be having a rethink as a lot of the economic chickens come home to roost, in the form of Auckland’s housing crisis, particularly in light of Bill English and John Key’s halfway house move to a capital gains tax.

But Robertson’s challenge has been to craft a coherent economic position while waiting on the wider party and caucus to grapple with the fundamentals of which parts of Labour’s 2011 manifesto to jettison, and which to keep or re-package.

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Robbo’s big fat fail

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Grant Robertson has laid a complaint with the Speaker’s Office, alleging that John Key misled parliament.

Prime Minister John Key is facing a breach of privilege complaint over his claim Inland Revenue told him changes to the KiwiSaver scheme “will not make a blind bit of difference” to enrolments.

Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said Budget papers released on Thursday showed Key had been told the opposite, and the party would make a complaint to the Speaker.

As part of the Budget, Finance Minister Bill English announced an immediate end to the $1000 payment the Government gives to anyone who signs up to KiwiSaver, known as the “kickstart” payment.

The decision, which will save $500 million over four years, immediately came under fire as cutting the incentive to join the highly popular scheme, particularly for children who are not entitled to other credits.

Questioned about the move in Parliament, a week after the May Budget, the Prime Minister said it would have no impact.

“[T]he removal of the $1,000 kick-start contribution will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver,” Key said on May 26.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei asked Key in response: “What evidence does the Prime Minister have that the sign-up rates for KiwiSaver will not be affected?”

“That is the formal advice from the Inland Revenue Department,” Key said, adding that the scheme was well organised in the workplace and providers were “extremely” well organised.

“We have got about 15,000 to 20,000 people joining in a month. I would be very, very surprised if it changes at all as a result of this.”

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The Future of Work



The Labour Party are getting excited about the Future of Work, posting on Facebook about meetings they are having up and down the country, which are apparently more popular than the flag meetings that are costing us $26m.

Being a broken arse party of no hopers the Labour Party is running their meetings on the public purse, rather than funding it themselves, but even so they are not pissing away a lazy $26m on something no one wants to go to.

The real problem for the Labour Party is they seem to have completely missed the point.   Read more »

A Good Question from Farrar

Arts, Lifestyle and Travel blogger David Farrar has a very late but quite interesting post about the pommy Labour Party and comparisons with what has happened in NZ.

He points out the following sobering point:

And that change has never been more crucial than it is today. The challenge Labour faces for 2020 is epic in scale. There are only 24 seats with a Tory majority of less than 3,000. The party must gain 94 seats to win a majority of one.

That’s less of a challenge than NZ Labour has of going from 25% to 40%.

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