Scott at Reading the Maps interviews Labour Party MP and Waitakere candidate Carmel Sepuloni:
SH: Are you worried about what might happen next year if Labour is elected, and faces a Greek-economic crisis, along with pressure from international and local business interests to implement neo-liberal austerity measures, of the kind Greece and Spain and Italy are implementing right now? Could we go back to 1984?
CS: I’m much more worried about what National will do if they get in.
SH: I’m not saying we shouldn’t be worried about National! But I notice that in Greece and also in Spain it is Labour-style social democratic parties which are doing the work of the International Monetary Fund and local capitalists, overseeing big cuts in government spending, laying off state workers, cutting pensions, cutting union rights –
CS: I don’t know about that. I’m focused on my community here in West Auckland, and on my party.
SH: But there’s a local precedent, isn’t there? In the 1980s it was the Lange-Douglas government that brought neo-liberalism to New Zealand. They did what National could never have done, because they had the support of the unions and the poor. National could never have gotten away with Rogernomics.
CS: Labour is a different party today. And I am focused on the here and now. We need to beat Paula Bennett. I haven’t got time to get into arguments about history.
SH: I don’t think it’s an antiquarian debate. I think it’s a real danger. From the statements I’ve seen you making I think you’re on the left of the Labour Party. I think you identify with the social democratic tradition, and want to defend the welfare state and union rights and to redistribute wealth downwards –
CS: Of course. And that’s why I am trying to get the vote out against Paula Bennett.
SH: Aren’t you worried, though, about some of the more right-wing people in your caucus, people who might be future leaders, people who don’t share your vision?
CS: I have no idea who you’re talking about.
SH: Shane Jones, David Cunliffe –
CS: Cunliffe? You think Cunliffe is right-wing? I wouldn’t say that at all. I’d put him on the left of the party. Shane Jones – I wouldn’t call him right-wing. I’d say Shane’s a centrist. Shane is in the middle of the party. Someone who is on the right, I’d say, is David Parker. Don’t quote me on this, please, or I’ll deny it. But David Parker is on the right of the party, very much so. But please don’t repeat that.
(The interview appears to be a Capote-esque recollection instead of a taped transcript.)