The Dim-Post

June 28, 2012

The whisperer in darkness

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:43 am

Vernon Small writes about David Shearer’s recent showing as Labour leader (‘a work in progress’) and argues that he’s quelled doubts about his leadership due to improved performance.

On TV just being himself, in shows like Back Benches or Would I Lie to You, he has been a revelation; relaxed, funny and engaging.

In the House he is still far from electric, but far more fluent. Press conferences are still a challenge, though.

Some hesitancy has gone, and his briefing lines come to him more easily.

But when a question comes from left field I swear you can hear the cogs whirring as he seems to go through a sort of internal interrogation. What is our policy? Is this an elephant trap? Where does the caucus and the party stand? Am I sticking my neck out?

And his answers are often mushy and unconvincing on key economic and financial issues.

I haven’t seen the TV shows or press conferences Vernon refers to – actually I haven’t seen much of Shearer at all, recently. My impression is that Labour has moved to an informal co-leadership model, and while I still have no idea what Shearer stands for, and suspect he was made leader far too early in his political career, I don’t have any doubts  about Grant Robertson’s convictions or his ability to put together and run a very high caliber government in 2014. My only real criticism of the party as it stands is that it seems absurd not to give Cunliffe the Finance portfolio, given the standard of his recent speeches on the state of the economy, National’s dire performance in this area and Labour’s inability to get traction on the issue despite everything.

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51 Comments »

  1. In general I agree with the article. His big weakness, apart from not mastering sound bites, is his seeming inability to lock horns with Key in parliament. Far too often his questions leave a hole that Key, a master of slipperiness, has no trouble using to attack either Shearer or Labour in general. Mind you the same applies to most Labour questions in parliament – far too frequently they are poorly worded and allow ministers off the hook.

    Comment by Allan Alach — June 28, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  2. From the title, should we assume that you think that David Shearer is a remote-controlled face and hands for an alien fungiod? Or merely that he wants to put people’s brains in jars?

    Comment by Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) — June 28, 2012 @ 8:53 am

  3. Cunliffe would be good, I suspect, with the science/research/development portfolio as well. Then of course he would risk becoming the anti-Brownlee.

    Comment by Ben — June 28, 2012 @ 8:55 am

  4. ….and while I still have no idea what Shearer stands for…..”
    Do you know what John Key stands for?

    Comment by xianmac — June 28, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  5. “I still have no idea what Shearer stands for”

    He’s a Marxist.

    Comment by Redbaiter — June 28, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  6. @xianmac: “Do you know what John Key stands for?”

    Hitler had a pretty clear manifesto … does this make what he did OK?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — June 28, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  7. And yet Labour is still climbing in the polls while the Greens are dropping, so Shearer is obviously doing something right

    Comment by Mighty Kites — June 28, 2012 @ 11:10 am

  8. Hitler had a pretty clear manifesto…

    Ironic Megan Woods-inspired Godwinning?

    Comment by Ethan Tucker — June 28, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  9. Not meant to sound nasty, because I do genuinely want to be impressed by the guy, but …

    It really seems like Shearer has some kind of psycho-linguistic handicap. So in an interview, he’ll want to say the simple line: “Most New Zealanders (are against asset sales/larger class sizes, etc) …”. But his brain is shuffling through the verbal playlist … (“Most? The majority? Ordinary? Hard-working? …”).

    … and so his mouth says: “Yeah, the maj – most – ord – yeah, hard-working New – most people …”.

    You can actually hear him start and stop and restart. Of course, it’s what we all do in everyday conversation, when we’re having an inconsequential chat. Unfortunately, that’s not what the leader of the Opposition is supposed to be doing.

    If it’s unfixable, he’ll have to go. And as Danyl suggests, Robertson is going to be doing the job anyway, sooner or later.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — June 28, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  10. @Ethan: “Ironic Megan Woods-inspired Godwinning?”

    Yes.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — June 28, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  11. Not saying Cunliffe wouldn’t be a good choice, but Labour’s inability to make National’s handling of the economy look bad may not be solveable by a change of spokesperson.

    Comment by Hugh — June 28, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  12. @4 Do you know what John Key stands for?

    Yes:
    https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/duel-mode-government-and-diminishing-returns-of-crushing/

    Comment by Me Too — June 28, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  13. if I was Labour i’d be a little freaked out by the fact that it’s getting increasingly rare to see articles which have commentary from just him and john Key. instead it seems like these days the coverage often has John Key, Russel Norman, Winston Peters and David Shearer. Course, that’s my entirely subjective opinion which could be wrong….

    Comment by Raewyn — June 28, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  14. The problem with Shearer, and the rest of the Labour opposition is that they are focusing on 1 issue, to the exclusion of all others – and they’ve lost that one – the law has passed – many object to asset sales as a principle, but now, don’t care enough to get more than mildly annoyed about it, and (I predict) once the 4 companies are sold, won’t care at all – too much more important things to worry about.

    At that is the problem, the Labour Party is not focusing on those things that matter and wasting their time on this, mostly trivial opposition to asset sales, when everyone knows they did it when last in government. Thus it:
    - comes across as hypocrisy – the government have pointed out where current Labour MPs arranged and voted for asset sales
    - comes across a uncaring – as Labour MPs are not raising issues around things people do care about, i.e. jobs, housing, benefits, education, health, etc.
    - comes across as Labour = Losers – why pick opposition to something that you know you’ll not change, and will be all over before the next election, and the Labour MPs must have known that this would have been something the National Government would ‘die in the ditch for’. But more importantly, them must also know, that for all the dislike of the policy by the public know, once it happens the public will not care (both National and Labour government’s sales of assets in the past has proved that, many times over).

    As for the referendum, leave that silliness to the Greens, it is making them look bad – having to pay people to collect signatures is counter the NZ culture – but something I think the Greens, not being as connected to ‘mainstream NZ’ (made up mostly of activists) would not realise.

    Comment by Anon — June 28, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

  15. As for the referendum, leave that silliness to the Greens, it is making them look bad – having to pay people to collect signatures is counter the NZ culture – but something I think the Greens, not being as connected to ‘mainstream NZ’ (made up mostly of activists) would not realise.

    This is a really strange comment given that;

    1. Grant Robertson has been at pains to point out (though IMO unsuccessfully) that the referendum has all his idea
    2. The Greens approach is dominating public discourse around Asset Sales, forcing the government into a legislative urgency process that looks anti-democratic
    3. Th referendum has forced a backdown around the loophole that would have allowed the Govt to sell more than a 49% stake in future
    4. The idea of a referendum seems to be fairly popular with ‘mainstream NZ’ given that 100k+ signatures have been collected in 6 weeks with no sign of flagging, and polls indicate about 64% of the population are opposed

    The effectiveness of the message can be judged by the fact that even though the vote is lost, the referendum is still gaining traction while conversely, the sub-story around the party funding of signature collection disappeared after a few days.

    I think in terms of mustering an effective and rapid popular campaign on a shoestring budget and presenting to the electorate as the de-facto ‘principled opposition’ (they have gained a ton of exposure for an 80k spend), the Greens are looking incredibly good.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 28, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  16. Disagree with the Green’s funding of the petition – it just comes across as desperate as it has been presented. They should not be constantly banging on about the government implementing policy they clearly signalled prior to the election regardless of whether it’s unpopular. Most policies the Green’s will get through once they get into Government will likely be similarly unpopular, and they’re just opening themselves up to future embarrassment. Same applies to Labour.

    Comment by leftyliberal — June 28, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  17. They should not be constantly banging on about the government implementing policy they clearly signalled prior to the election regardless of whether it’s unpopular.

    You really don’t understand politics at all do you, leftyliberal.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 28, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  18. “Most policies the Green’s will get through once they get into Government will likely be similarly unpopular, and they’re just opening themselves up to future embarrassment.”

    +1

    I imagine they are banking on political amnesia and the average Green supporter’s deeply held conviction that the same rules don’t apply to their parties as to other parties.

    Comment by Hugh — June 28, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  19. Political amnesia? Sure. Every party that comes to power relies on that.
    If we didn’t vote in hypocrites, Parliament would be pretty empty.

    I would disagree with your second clause though; the cloak of sanctimony can probably rightly be applied to elements of the ‘socks and sandals’ brigade (in the same way that it can be applied to any political tribalists), but I don’t think it applies wholesale to the 90k odd voters picked up during the 2011 election.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 28, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

  20. I was using “Green supporter” as distinct from “Green voter”. It’s not those 90k who are behind the CIR campaign.

    Comment by Hugh — June 28, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  21. “Most policies the Green’s will get through once they get into Government will likely be similarly unpopular, and they’re just opening themselves up to future embarrassment.”

    If the argument is that if the Greens don’t make a big deal about asset sales then the National Party will go easy on them when they are in government, then you are dreaming.

    Honestly, when the Greens are a part of the government, the National Party will go absolutely bonkers.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — June 28, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

  22. @Pascal: The argument is that the Greens are giving National such a high bar before they concede that it has a “mandate” for its policies that they will probably be held to the same standard themselves. One doesn’t even have to agree to the standard for that to be a problem (I don’t) – it’s a matter of making them look like hypocrites.

    Seriously, imagine how many people would sign a CIR petition against a Green proposal to, say, put a moratorium on non wind or wave power, or to draw down funding for roads in favour of increased funding for public transport. Would they regard themselves as having a mandate to pursue their policies in that situation? If not, why not?

    Comment by Hugh — June 28, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

  23. (Although I suppose now that I think about it, the Nationals used to claim that it was wrong to pass laws like prostitution reform or civil unions without a referendum, and nobody holds them to that these days)

    Comment by Hugh — June 28, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

  24. ” Green’s will get through once they get into Government”

    Now there’s a line I never thought I’d see from one of the brown crowd.

    Comment by Moz — June 28, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  25. “The argument is that the Greens are giving National such a high bar before they concede that it has a “mandate” for its policies that they will probably be held to the same standard themselves. One doesn’t even have to agree to the standard for that to be a problem (I don’t) – it’s a matter of making them look like hypocrites.”

    I take your point here. but…

    I really do doubt that it will be a problem though. Not just because of the people’s memory length. The argument the Greens are making is aimed at people who voted National in spite of the asset sales policy. It is completely correct to say that that those people did, as a matter of constitutional nicety, give National a mandate to sell. But so what?

    It’s anecdata, but as an example, my neighbour voted National, and has signed the petition. She’s well aware that she voted for National, and knew about the policy. But she is pissed at the govt for other reasons. She feels let down about the things she did vote for them for. As far as she is concerned, Key lied to her about the ‘show me the money’ stuff. So as far as she is concerned, she was tricked into giving them support for asset sales.

    It’s people like her that I think the mandate argument speaks to. It certainly doesn’t speak to people that support the policy, and people that didn’t vote National are pretty much irrelevant to it.

    Now if the Greens or Labour make the people that voted for them feel the same way as my neighbour feels about National, then I reckon they deserve to lose their support. But if the people who voted for a party are ok with what they are doing, then arguments about mandate won’t achieve anything.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — June 28, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  26. “My only real criticism of the party as it stands is that it seems absurd not to give Cunliffe the Finance portfolio, given the standard of his recent speeches on the state of the economy,”

    Maybe they are not keen on a finance minister that wants to take a turn to the (nationalist, conservative) left.

    Comment by Swan — June 28, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  27. Grant Robertson is very popular in Wellington Central. Grant can, with Zero preparation, let loose a flow of words on most subjects. Impressive when in his presence, Totally forgotten the next day. Grant rejects his background as a party hack. It’s all by rote and charming.
    Cunliffe is an original specimen. Doing the hard empirical research himself, working with gnr brightest OUTSIDE and inside The Party. Now free at last to share his well developed thoughts with us. Let us get get on with it. It is obvious. David Cunliffe can lead ALL the opposition, red rid of these amateurs and start building a country for All.

    Comment by Lifeonlucretia — June 28, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  28. This is strange territory for me.

    For once I am in 100% agreement with Danyl. Worrisome!

    Comment by peterlepaysan — June 28, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  29. Can someone explain why Cunliffe isn’t the obvious choice to lead Labour into 2014?

    Comment by Paul — June 28, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  30. But so what?

    the so what is that neither the Greens nor Labour are willing to hold themselves to the same high standard they demand of National. Neither party are williing to put any of their core policies to a referendum. And for that it’s fair to say that they are hyporcites and dishonest.

    So what, one might say, politics as usual. But the Greens do like to maintiain they are above politics as normal and Shearer did present himself as someone who would change Labour.

    So that’s the alternative?

    Comment by NeilM — June 28, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  31. So that’s the alternative?

    Umm, losing I guess, and watching policies you think are bad for the country be put into effect.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — June 28, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  32. Umm, losing I guess

    I see, the dishonesty is a just temporary strategy. After they win it’ll all be honest and hunky dory. Winston will attack elderly asians and wonen’s refuge – especially if it’s to do with maori – but Labour won’t mine or drill or build roads.

    Comment by NeilM — June 28, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

  33. @Pascal: I agree that there is probably a significant chunk of people who voted for National and who even might vote for them the next time round who are against asset sales. I certainly think it’s legit for The Greens to target them (I think they’re more fertile ground for Labour, but if the Greens want to make a play for them, that’s their business).

    I don’t have much sympathy for them, though, and I don’t think they get to vote selectively. To turn it around, I have voted for the Greens in the past, despite being quite strongly turned off by a couple of their flagship policies. But if I give them my vote, and they go ahead and enact those policies, I don’t get to somehow “take back” that vote, or the mandate that it went a tiny way towards providing.

    For both this hypothetical future me and your neighbour, there is already a mechanism that caters towards our second thoughts – it’s the next election. There’s no necessity to introduce some nebulous idea about maintaining mandates in order to make sure these people’s concerns are addressed.

    Comment by Hugh — June 29, 2012 @ 3:41 am

  34. Oh and to jump back a bit, I think there’s a decent chance that when the Greens are part of the government, National will be in there with them, and won’t be going bonkers (although a few of its supporters might)

    Comment by Hugh — June 29, 2012 @ 3:43 am

  35. I see, the dishonesty is a just temporary strategy.

    NeilM – Dishonesty? How so?

    I’m struggling to understand the ‘holding to the same standards’ position given that the Greens can’t possibly be held to the same standard, having not been in government or having a shot at policy implementation under their watch.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 29, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  36. Gregor W, the Greens haven’t commited themeslves to puttgin their major policies up for referanda. I can’t see how they can demand other parties to something they wont.

    On a side issue, there appears to be some confusion going on over whether Tariana made misleading statements over Te Roopu Whakaruruhau O Nga Wahine Maori getting Whanau Ora money.

    What Tariana said was true, the funding came from the Ministry of Social Development which has a fund that hapens to be called the Family Violence Whānau Ora Fund, it did not come from Whānau Ora which is run out of Te Puni Kōkiri.

    Maybe Labour supports could hold off on the fulsome support for Peters. He’ll destroy anthing to get back at National including maori funding initiatives which should be supported by Labour.

    Comment by NeilM — June 29, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  37. If you look at the Greens policy which they are likely to win concessions for if they eventually form part of a government, like say increasing funding for conservation or banning off shore oil drilling or increasing funding for home insulation or getting a tax free first $5000 of income, I question whether a) any lobby group would be exercised enough to organize a CIR on such an issue and b) the vast majority of the population would vote against.

    Also, “Seriously, imagine how many people would sign a CIR petition against a Green proposal to, say, put a moratorium on non wind or wave power, or to draw down funding for roads in favour of increased funding for public transport. ”

    Actually, surveys in Auckland have shown pretty consistently for the last 3 years that the general public does think that the govenrment should be making public transport more of a priority than building motorways. Aucklanders also indicated pretty clearly that their preference was for the pro-public transport Mayoral candidate in the last local government election. PObviously, rural NZ still disagrees but they’re a pretty small proportion of our population when all’s said and done.

    Comment by Raewyn — June 29, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  38. Gregor W, the Greens haven’t commited themeslves to putting their major policies up for referanda. I can’t see how they can demand other parties to something they wont.

    I haven’t seen any statement to the effect from the GP that (i) they’ve been asked to or (ii) that they’ve refused to put any of their policy positions to referendum.
    Happy to be educated though.
    Again, as they are not in government, what would be the point? A referendum on a policy that isn’t being implemented is nonsensical.

    Hypocritical I can accept as a criticism, given the nature of politics.
    Dishonest though is a stretch.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 29, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  39. The Greens haven’t made a statement either way on putting their policies up for referendum but it would be such a departure from the norm that I think we can assume that they wouldn’t, in the same way we can assume they wouldn’t declare war on Australia despite not having made a policy statement either way. There would be a point in doing so in the same way there’s a point in announcing any other policy before one gets into government. I’ll emphasise this again since there seems to be some confusion, this isn’t about a contrast between the Greens in opposition and the Nats in government, it’s about a contrast between the Nats in government and the Greens in a (hypothetical, but likely) future government.

    @Raewyn: I don’t want to get bogged down in arguing about this or that Green policy being popular or unpopular especially when it comes down to whether Auckland is representative of the country as a whole. Unless you think that every Green policy is going to have majority support, I think my point stands. (And if you do think that, how do you explain the Greens only getting the support of 15% of voters?)

    @Gregor: No, I don’t think it’s dishonest, although that’s partly because there seems to be a fair lack of self-awareness in the Greens’ activist base. Not that that’s not true of most political activists, but the Greens do often try to tell us they are different from all the other parties.

    Comment by Hugh — June 29, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  40. I think Shearer is just what the country needs as a PM. He’s pleasant and mild-mannered, thinks outside the square, and will stand up for what he believes in and won’t go back on his word (unlike Key, who has picked the one most ridiculous issue (superannuation, which is sorely funded) and vowed not to go back on his word on that, while he’s had his head in the sand when it comes to all other National MP’s breaking promises and going back on their word).

    Comment by Dan — June 29, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  41. I think David Shearer is an ideal future Labour PM. He’s quiet and unassuming, with a friendly sense of humour, and won’t go back on his word.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — June 29, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  42. Not that that’s not true of most political activists, but the Greens do often try to tell us they are different from all the other parties.

    @ Hugh: Sure. It’s a legitimate element of the Greens political brand. Whether it stands up after the Greens find themselves in coalition and cabinet, only time will tell.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 29, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  43. @Gregor: I mean, I guess every political party feels that they are kind of special, what with them being idealists and the others being self-serving hacks. But maybe I just hear it more from Green supporters, IDK.

    It will certainly be interesting to see how the Greens do in government. It’s often quite a toxic experience for Green parties – if they are not paying close attention to the Germans, they really should be. I hope for their sake that the Greens are doing as much to prepare their supporters for the experience as they are the public at large. The problem is, every time they up the ante about the urgency of decisive action, they are making it harder for themselves to undertake their eventual necessary compromises.

    Comment by Hugh — June 29, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

  44. For both this hypothetical future me and your neighbour, there is already a mechanism that caters towards our second thoughts – it’s the next election.

    The problem in this case, though, is that asset sales are a pretty major, semi-permanent thing to do. It doesn’t matter if everyone promptly votes against National next election, it is very difficult to undo it. Unlike things like the levels of funding, priorities for ongoing projects, laws and so forth. Those can be reversed and will only really affect people for the time they are in place. If it WASN’T so major, people would probably relax and assume that the next government would ‘fix’ it (and they may or may not as everyone would be used to it by then).

    It will certainly be interesting to see how the Greens do in government. It’s often quite a toxic experience for Green parties – if they are not paying close attention to the Germans, they really should be. I hope for their sake that the Greens are doing as much to prepare their supporters for the experience as they are the public at large.

    They certainly seem to be actively planning for it, and they’ve become a lot more organised and signalled that they will at least consider compromises. (Depending on the compromise. Obviously National is making it a bit difficult for them as they are so different – but they’ll at least CONSIDER it, regardless of who it comes from, which is more than other parties will. Catch Labour agreeing to collaborate with National on anything but the most major, cross party-supported policies, much less saying they are willing to find common ground – ha, if they and National started finding common ground, they’d merge into one party! And other parties have categorically ruled out working with certain other parties. E.g. ‘we won’t work with Winston Peters’, ‘we won’t work with the Greens’, REGARDLESS of the policies that may come up). This not only signals that they are thinking more seriously about actually being in a position to do something, and how they’ll do that, but starts to ease voters into the idea that the Greens can’t just ride in and save the day/run roughshod.

    Loving the fact that this thread has turned into a serious discussion of the Greens, by the way.

    Comment by Flynn — June 29, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

  45. @ NeilM. Could we get a little bit of perspective on this whole transport funding thing here. Neither the Greens nor Labour have ever said that they would stop spending any money on roads. Obviously that would be crazy. What they have said is that they think it is unwise to put the VAST majority of our capital expenditure on transport into a few very large state highway projects, many of which have very poor business cases. At the very most, the Green Party would implement about a 50-50 split in funding between roading and other transport modes (including cap ex and op ex). Labour would probably do significantly less – around 30 for public transport, walking and cycling, and 70% for roading. And that would be in the context of a transport budget which has been radically imbalanced towards roading for about 60 years – so in terms of getting our public transport, walking and cycling facilities up to the standard of a first world nation we have a long, long way to go.

    Comment by Raewyn — June 30, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  46. “Neither the Greens nor Labour have ever said that they would stop spending any money on roads.”

    You’ll note I said “draw down funding”, not “cease funding”.

    But as I said, the argument isn’t about whether any given policy would be broadly popular. You must accept that some Green policies would provoke the sort of popular resistance that asset sales are facing.

    Comment by Hugh — July 1, 2012 @ 5:30 am

  47. “…You must accept that some Green policies would provoke the sort of popular resistance that asset sales are facing…”

    To be sure of winning the next election the left block needs Labour to be polling in the mid-high thirties at a minimum. The Greens will poll low teens. Maybe if Labour implodes with it’s useless mouths who form most of the top fifteen of their list forming a self-preservation party should Labour’s organisational and policy reviews prove to have teeth then the Green vote will grow higher as a proportion, but beyond a political earthquake like that I cannot imagine a winning scenario where the Labour party will not get at least three votes for every one the Greens.

    Given that in the next left adminstration three quarters of the mandate will be with the Labour Party, not the Greens, I think we should be concentrating on how many peanuts the organ grinder might be inclined to provide, not how many peanuts the monkey says it needs.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 1, 2012 @ 8:57 am

  48. @ SANC “Maybe if Labour implodes with it’s useless mouths who form most of the top fifteen”

    Nah, that’d never happen would it…

    Comment by Tim — July 1, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  49. @Sanc: I don’t really see how what you’re saying contradicts anything I’m saying. I’m not talking about a Green majority government which I agree is highly unlikely. I’m talking about the Greens promoting their policies as coalition partners to Labour.

    Comment by Hugh — July 1, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  50. Flynn #43: “The problem in this case, though, is that asset sales are a pretty major, semi-permanent thing to do. It doesn’t matter if everyone promptly votes against National next election, it is very difficult to undo it. Unlike things like the levels of funding, priorities for ongoing projects, laws and so forth. Those can be reversed and will only really affect people for the time they are in place. If it WASN’T so major, people would probably relax and assume that the next government would ‘fix’ it (and they may or may not as everyone would be used to it by then).”

    There could just be a workaround. Haul out the Commerce Commission, or if that doesn’t go far enough, “unbundle” them. Then they might be cheap enough to buy back.

    Comment by DeepRed — July 1, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  51. I agree with comment number 41 above.

    Also I would prefer a Prime Minister who (at least appears to) think before they open their mouth rather than have a ready made answer carefully scripted by a PR machine.

    Comment by Jeremy — July 4, 2012 @ 9:00 pm


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