Advice to Labour falls on deaf ears. Here’s some more

Rob Hosking at the NBR writes

Former Labour prime minister Helen Clark once, famously, told errant Alliance MP Phillida Bunkle, who had just been stood down as a minister in her government that, “when you’re in a hole, stop digging.”

That advice was not taken by Ms Bunkle – in trouble because of claiming accommodation benefits she turned out to be not entitled to – and the Alliance MP soon left Parliament.

One wonders if Labour’s last leader but four is, behind the scenes, giving similar advice to her former followers who have, after all, been milling around like confused and increasingly angry sheep since 2008.

If so, they’re not taking it.

Several deeply ingrained habits in Labour’s attack on the government seem difficult to shake and they’ve been on display in full since the budget.

One is the annoying tendency to look at whatever was being spent when Labour left office – nearly a decade back now – and simply say that if that funding was not continued, on a per capita basis, this is, therefore, a cut.

This assumes many things.

One is that all was perfect in 2008 and that any deviation from the spending and policy decisions of that time is therefore bad.

It betrays a mindset that really is that disastrously mired in nostalgia for the years of Good Queen Helen.

One glaring example: Both leader Andrew Little and finance spokesman Grant Robertson are peddling the line National cut Working for Families in 2011.

Now, on the one hand, this is true. National did.

It cut Working for Families for high-earning property investors with children.

This is because, until then, you could offset your losses on property, and claim Working for Families.

In Budget 2010, then finance minister Bill English stopped that.

Mr Little and Mr Robertson are now campaigning for that to be reinstated, it seems.

The problem with Labour is that they chase passing cars.  From election to election they end up taking diametrically opposed positions.  Think Capital Gains Tax for example.  Worse, they don’t develop any policy in detail to the point it can withstand basic scrutiny for more than 48 hours.  Almost every time the numbers don’t add up.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.