Liam Dann on Cunliffe’s cunning plans

Liam Dann calls out Labour for their crazy policy announcement but notes that this is all part of Cunliffe’s cunning plan to hoodwink business.

The Labour Party under David Cunliffe already looks sharper than the David Shearer version when it comes to picking up on business and economic issues and turning them into ammunition for political attack.

A lot of these issues are complex and Labour seems happy to grab headlines with half-baked ideas that don’t bear serious scrutiny.

But that doesn’t really matter in the rough and tumble world of political point-scoring. Shearer’s more considered and generally more intelligent approach was getting the party nowhere. It is a shame that one Shearer’s biggest flaws was his tendency to think before he spoke.

Why waste time thinking – all that ever did was give the Greens a chance to get in first with a snappy soundbite? Cunliffe’s Labour Party certainly doesn’t.

While the strategy has seen them fall into line with the Bankers Association, the real estate industry and assorted fund managers, it does seem to be boosting their poll ratings.

So fair play to them – in modern politics it is smarter to play dumb

Until you start to pick the scabs off the policy ideas.

Let’s face it, the bulk of the public don’t have a clue about the actual mechanics of the Reserve Bank’s new lending restrictions or a how a listed company share buy-back works. Labour has managed to get traction on both these issues in the past couple of weeks.

Last week we saw Clayton Cosgrove taking a blunt stick to the Mighty River Power board over the timing of the now-listed company’s share buy-back.

Cosgrove was quite explicit in his accusation that the Mighty River board of directors had made the move to pump the share price so the upcoming Meridian float would go better for the Government.

There is no evidence for this and the suggestion that a highly respected director like Mighty River chairperson Joan Withers would breach the Companies Act and put the interests of a political party ahead of the best interests of shareholders seems quite defamatory. Not to mention stupid. The share buy-back does highlight the poor performance of the Mighty River shares but it doesn’t – nor is it expected to – get the share price back to the IPO price. So why would the Government be pleased with the timing? John Key has gone on record to say he had no knowledge that it was happening.

Never mind. It looked bad for half a news cycle and Labour successfully reinforced a perception that the Government is desperate and will try anything to flog state assets off.

The only desperation is from Labour, who are fast getting the reputation of just making shit up.

Of course, neither the property sector nor the market investment sector are going to like Labour messing around with the Reserve Bank Act.

Monetary policy has been almost sacrosanct in New Zealand politics for more than 20 years.

Cunliffe and his deputy, David Parker, seem prepared to overhaul the act. Personally, I find that worrying as it appears to be one of the few things about the economy that doesn’t need fixing.

It is worrying indeed that Labour appears to want to be so destructive.


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  • thor42

    Labour’s plan is obvious. Make lots and lots of noise, even if the “content” of the noise makes no sense. All that matters is that their knuckledragging constituents see them making noise and therefore think that they are competent.

    • JeffDaRef

      Wussell wont be happy that they have latched onto his cunning plan…

  • AnonWgtn

    The stupidity of some of these new policy wonks and statements do not stand up BUT the media do not have the intelligence to explain these outbursts in a simple language.
    They are like modern teachers whereby it is now understood that the new younger teachers – say, under 45 years of age do not have the real learned intelligence to teach a subject. Of course there may be a few who fall outside my comment.
    Teachers may know how to watch over some say 30 children for a short period of time, having been taught that at Teacher’s college, explaining stress and exhaustion, by playtime, and a quick dash to the teacher’s room, or study leave, but in fact they have not had the sound academic education and intelligence themselves to make children think by the imparting of their own intelligence.
    Older teachers, many of which are being forced out, learned and taught from intelligent people themselves.
    Like wise media Repeaters.

  • blokeintakapuna

    When you can’t dazzle them with brilliance – baffle them with bullshit.

  • CheesyEarWax

    Labour wants to look at a committee that includes the government, unions, and the RB, to set the OCR. WTF??? Does capital flight and banana republic mean anything to these idiots?

    Edit: RB

  • GarethsPussy

    So, the media is finally coming around to the idea that sound-bites, petty point-scoring and lies might actually be bad for New Zealand? For democracy?

    Well, isn’t that nice.

    Bit flippin’ late, isn’t it?

  • DLNZ

    Simon Bridges will be interviewed on Campbell Live tonight according to their FB page. Hopefully he can deal to him as good if not better than John Key did.

    • Bryan

      it was everything expected Campbell got very well roasted John Key would be very proud of him they should have a cup of tea to celebrate

      • Patrick

        God I hate Campbell & congratulate Bridges on not allowing Campbell to bully him. Great to see National MPs fighting their corner. However I suspect there will be damage done over the longer term, once the media gets offside they can play merry hell. If that is the case I hope National come out swinging & ruin a few careers, Campbell is clearly not cut out for this style of interviewing, Holmes would have handled it much better. All the sighing & face pulling just make Campbell look infantile.

  • LionKing

    Cuntliffe and Parker know the general electorate is dumber than a pile of pig shit and are lapping up the living wage idea – more money for doing sweet FA. Can’t say there’s been much from the Nats by way of response over the last week or so. Sorry, aside from sending that loopier than loopier Nick Smith out of his box. FFS

    • Macca

      I agree with what you say but disagree with the lack of response from National. The problem is that the socialist MSM won’t give Nationals rational retorts any airtime – hence shielding Labour from any proper scrutiny! I suppose it was a bit like the Auckland mayoralty race – other than Lying Len, who was given any media coverage! This is the only way the left can win the next election, by their continual lies and chest banging coupled with the silence from the media of any opposition. Please correct me if I’m wrong?

      • AnonWgtn

        Len knows that opening things, and kissing babies, gets the publicity.

  • GregM

    ” The share buy-back does highlight the poor performance of the Mighty River shares”, umm no it doesn’t do that at all. What it shows is a very healthy balance sheet with surplus cash. The board has made the absolutely correct decision to re-invest the cash in the business, and adding value to the shareholders holdings at the same time.

    Once again the numpties in Labia, and the MSM, haven’t got a fucking clue how business works.

    • GazzW

      Spot on Greg, it’s standard practise for companies that find themselves with some surplus cash. Even Cosgrove understands that but he’s never been backward in coming forward with populist bullshit.

      • AnonWgtn

        You mean that Cosgrove actually understands something – a far move from his Union leader days.

        • Bad__Cat

          What Union? Car & Vacuum Salespersons Union of Aotearoa?

          • niggly

            Hair and eyebrow grooming union, apparently ;-)

  • cows4me

    It’s easy to see why the left start spewing when their stranglehold on education is challenged. They need a large crop of poor schools and low pass rates. Keep the masses stupid and unable to decipher the bullshit coming out of their mouths. At the same time they need a few good education institutions, after all someone will have to generate the wealth they will need to confiscate in the future.

    • I wonder how many teachers would be comfortable going in to an operating theatre for surgery knowing that the surgeon was a product of one of their schools?

      • Bad__Cat

        Maybe that is why the numpties are into alternative medicine.

  • James Growley

    Has the lunatic been watching the movie of Hitler practising his speeches in a room full of mirrors, because he has all the gestures down pat……

  • Rimutaka

    The irony of all comments below. The article quoted is titled Cunliffe’s Labour smart to play dumb. The upshot was “But the fact that allies on LVRs are likely to make enemies on capital gains tax suggests that some of Labour’s positions are contradictory. It takes a special kind of leader to maintain credibility in the face of such ideologically inconsistent policy positions. John Key has been a master of selling this kind pragmatism over the five years. Now it seems he has a rival.

    and “The bottom line is that David Cunliffe is a much smarter political player than David Shearer. He’s already made enough impact in the polls to suggest he has a chance of winning the election. Unlike Shearer, he has managed to actually get in the game. Now National will have to lift theirs.”

    Cunliffe is playing the game very well, in fact brilliantly well considering the short time he’s been leader. If I was a Natfan I’d be very afraid about now. I think I’m going to enjoy the next 12 months.

  • Bad__Cat

    When you consider how dumb the average punter can be, just remember that half the population of New Zealand has an IQ below 100

    I think they are called “low information voters”