After failing to win the Labour leadership contest last year, Mr Robertson reinvented himself to become a finance spokesman who could reach the standards set by former Labour finance guru Sir Michael Cullen.
Incidentally, Sir Michael is a supporter and mentor of Mr Robertson and, of course, both of them have Dunedin links. Sir Michael was the long-time MP for St Kilda and Dunedin South and Mr Robertson was born in St Kilda and educated in Dunedin.
In his first major speech before a business audience in Dunedin yesterday, Mr Robertson showed he was open to new ideas and suggestions. While criticising Prime Minister John Key and the Government for a hands-off approach to the economy, the creation of jobs and Auckland’s housing issues, the Wellington Central MP also started offering some hints of where Labour may look in future to gain support.
Labour needs to get Mr Robertson before as many business audiences as possible, as quickly as possible, as his message about regional support is sure to resonate well.
The government has appointed Sir Michael Cullen to head up the first review of New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies.
A former Deputy Prime Minister and a respected lawyer are to lead the first regular review of New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies, Acting Attorney-General Amy Adams announced today.
Ms Adams says she intends to appoint Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy to carry out the review.
“This will be an important and challenging review, and I’m pleased Sir Michael and Dame Patsy have agreed to lend their expertise to the task. They bring complementary skills and experience to the role. Sir Michael is a former member of the Intelligence and Security Committee and has knowledge of national security issues. Dame Patsy has extensive governance experience and legal expertise,” Ms Adams says.
Three weeks ago my mates were summonsed by Senior Insolvency Officer Annmarie Foidl. We all say WT…? I tease them. I am not called.
They turned up as ordered and Deputy Official Assignee Deborah Coles had them swear an oath. They are interrogated by Private Investigator Dennis Parsons and his sidekick Katherine Kenealy, both from InDepth Forensics, Hamilton.
Parsons questioned my mates about my movements and my activities.
I rang Parsons. Kenealy answered and hung up.
I emailed and left messages for chief Official Assignee Mandy McDonald. I heard nothing back. Read more »
Bill Gates has published his annual letter.
In it he states:
The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.
But we think the next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries. They will be living longer and in better health. They will have unprecedented opportunities to get an education, eat nutritious food, and benefit from mobile banking. These breakthroughs will be driven by innovation in technology — ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets — and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people.
The rich world will keep getting exciting new advances too, but the improvements in the lives of the poor will be far more fundamental — the basics of a healthy, productive life. It’s great that more people in rich countries will be able to watch movies on super hi-resolution screens. It’s even better that more parents in poor countries will know their children aren’t going to die.
There you are.
Hard facts. Can’t escape them. Read more »
Cullen was generally regarded as a steady steward of the nation’s funds, although many who said so conveniently ignored the fact he did so during an economic boom time when he had no idea what to do with all the money coming out of the tax payer fountain.
Upon his departure, the purchase of KiwiRail at the blunt end of $2B was as cynical as it was an act of sabotage.
But all through this period, and until recently, people still thought kindly of him when talking about KiwiSaver.
That myth just fell apart too.
KiwiSaver tax credits cost more than $800 million a year but careful analysis by Treasury economists of the best data we have on household finances can find no evidence it has boosted the accumulation of wealth, a key objective of the scheme.
Research by David Law and Grant Scobie published by the Treasury examined data from Statistics New Zealand’s longitudinal Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE).
Their first look at SoFIE found that between 2008 (the first “wave” of data after KiwiSaver was introduced in 2007) and 2010 (the last before it was discontinued) both members and non-members of KiwiSaver increased their savings, defined as net wealth or assets minus liabilities.
But non-members fared better than members, averaging an increase of $32,000 or twice that recorded by KiwiSaver members.
In English – people who avoided KiwiSaver and made their own arrangements are better off than the state-run semi-compulsory scheme that was supposed to save us (heh) from ourselves. Read more »
I called the Leaders debate a marginal win for David Cunliffe. Certainly, the TVNZ results weren’t representative of how the debate unfolded. Key was over prepared. He was driving hard to get get the messages out, and instead of being relaxed and showing us John Key, he appeared forced.
I bet the hand in his pocket was a fist most of the time.
But it turns out that John Key wasn’t just debating David Cunliffe
He spent much of his career taunting National’s front bench, famously dismissing John Key as a “rich prick” and developing a reputation as the sharpest politician of his generation.
So Sir Michael Cullen can scarcely have imagined he would later play the role of Key, charged with winding up and unsettling Labour’s leader in a hostile debate.
While critics are split on the outcome of Thursday night’s TVNZ leaders’ debate, most seemed surprised at how polished David Cunliffe was.
This was no accident. Labour viewed the importance of the first televised debate as second only to election day. It had half a million viewers, most seeing Cunliffe on an equal footing with the prime minister for the first time. Read more »
The Labour party has come out saying they would block the sale of Lochinvar station in the Central North Island.
Never mind that it was previously owned by Americans, currently owned privately by Kiwis and now being sold in a private sale. No…they would block it.
Which is in stark contrast on how they handled the sale of the neighbouring station, Poronui, back in 2007.
Finance Minister Michael Cullen and the Minister for Land Information David Parker announced the sale of the American-owned Poronui Station today, to American company Westervelt Sporting Lodges Ltd.
Westervelt Sporting Lodges Ltd had applied to the Overseas Investment Office to purchase the 6500 hectare property, which borders the Kaimanawa Forest Park.
Michael Cullen said: “We welcome foreign investment that has real benefits for New Zealand. Westervelt plans to expand the hunting business and market the lodge more aggressively overseas, which will help our tourism profile.
“This is further proof that the process introduced by the Overseas Investment Act in 2005 to ensure land sales benefit New Zealand is working.” Read more »
Mike Hosking writes about his supposed bias and completely destroys Cunliffe’s claims.
Right, where to start?
Last time I wrote in this esteemed organ, I proffered an idea or two as to why Labour wasn’t exactly breathing down National’s neck.
This drew a fair amount of feedback which is good, because if it didn’t, I’d be wondering why I’m even bothering to write these given I’ve got quite a bit of work on my plate these days and don’t really need extra.
One of the bits of feedback came from a Dr Michael Cullen, who for a period had his finger in the pie of running this place.
He made a good point, but I believe he also made a mistake in his reply.
The good point was the acceptance that people like me have opinions and should offer them, and when it comes to political debate this is no bad thing.
He is among an increasingly large number of people these days, if in fact not the majority, who have moved with the times and realise people who present the news often do so with accompanying commentary.
His mistake, in my view, was to then compare my role or job to that of Shane Taurima, and wonder what the difference was.
It’s important to point out here that I think Mr Cullen was suggesting I might have a certain established stance on various political matters, therefore assumptions are made on where I’m coming from.
Others have gone on in recent weeks to call that bias, but more on that in a moment.
In Cullen comparing what I do and its ensuing transparency to what Taurima did, is to shoot yourself in the foot.
What Taurima did was belong to a political party, stand for that party, raise money for that party and use taxpayer-funded facilities to do that fundraising, knowing it was explicitly against the rules and all the while running a journalistic unit that claimed neutrality.
In my opinion, Taurima was a moron.
The two most recent polls have shown what all of us known.
David Cunliffe has a poo fingered touch, everything he touches turns to poop.
This was entirely predictable. Read more »