NZ POLITICS DAILY: Labour takes aim at Johnny Foreigner

David Shearer

The Labour Party can be just as inclined to descend into populist dog whistle politics as National.

And if National has welfare bludgers, boy racers and theoretical boat people to blow their dog whistle about, then Labour’s high-pitched equivalents are typically foreign investors and foreign workers (and lately welfare bludgers too). It’s the foreign worker that Labour currently has in its nationalist sights.

The recent release of Labour’s jobs policy, which included proposals to limit the number of migrant workers, has provoked criticism both of the politics and the effectiveness of such moves. Chris Trotter has put forward a stinging criticism today in his column Without immigrants economy would stall. Trotter says that although Labour leader David Shearer correctly identifies the problem – the loss of skilled labour to Australia that has to be replaced by migrants – Shearer has not addressed the actual cause of the problem: ‘A careful reading of his speech reveals that increased incomes have been relegated to mere aspirations: something Labour would like to see; expects to see; but will do nothing beyond a modest increase in the minimum wage to achieve’.

Xenophobia is the basis of Labour’s anti-immigrant policy according to the Herald editorial Patriot drum rolls up dire work policy, and it will cost the economy dearly. Political journalist Andrea Vance makes the same points, but as a recent migrant herself (originally of Ireland), she takes the issue more personally: ‘Under a Labour government you'd be made to feel as welcome as that other infamous interloper Kim Dotcom’ – see: Migrants worthy of New Zealand. In defence of Labour’s policy, blogger Robert Winter argues that it is legitimate in any nation to debate the level of immigration. He thinks the attacks are more about de-stabilising Shearer’s leadership, something Shearer himself may be contributing to: ‘He's taken to making these speeches with little regard for Labour's internal debate, creating not a little friction’ – see: More dog-whistle.
 
David Shearer’s other major attack of late – about the alleged existence of a GCSB videotape – has been widely panned for lacking substance, but Danyl Mclauchlan thinks the substance was there for a successful attack: ‘It worked out badly for Shearer because he’s a bad politician, but it was tactically sound’ – see: GCSB tape revisionism. Shearer would have done better to move onto the WINZ security scandal last week advises Claire Trevett in Lesson for Sheriff Shearer: make sure gun loaded. She says that at the parliamentary showdown ‘When he pulled the trigger, all that came out was a little cartoon-style flag with "bang" on it’. Trevett thinks that the slogan of ‘show me the tape’ might become as damaging for this Labour leader as ‘show me the money’ was for his predecessor.
 
Other recent important or interesting political items include:
 
- National might have found its best defender of its approach towards iwi claims over water: Ngai Tahu and its chairman Mark Solomon, who appeared on TVNZ’s Q+A in the weekend to say that his tribe couldn’t support the Maori Council’s attempt to win rights and interests ‘by advocating the taking away of rights and interests of other people’. Solomon seems to be advocating that National’s approach will lead to a ‘win-win’ model for all – see TVNZ’s Tribe's investment in assets depends on returns – Solomon. And certainly Ngai Tahu are being very careful not to rule out any options when it comes to share offers or other solutions. Tahu Potiki put their approach succinctly in his Press column, Maori want fair discussion over asset sale. In contrast, the Dominion Post editorial thinks some iwi have been unwilling to genuinely engage with the Government to find a solution outside of a courtroom – see: Negotiation a two-way street.
 
- Iwi should be wary of the latest shares proposal from the Government says Maori politics blogger Morgan Godfery: ‘Shares-on-credit are an attempt to co-opt pre-settlement iwi and mitigate the government’s legal risk’ – see: Missing the point on water rights. The pitfalls are dealt with in more detail by Tim Selwyn in Maori aren't New Zealanders: the Government's "shares minus" scheme explained. But the assumption that SOE shares will be money trees for qualifying iwi is challenged by Stephen Franks in Who will Maori blame for taking dud SOE shares?
 
- What are iwi-owned business entities for? To make profits, foster Maori businesspeople, or remedy social ills? And should they invest in the National Government’s partially privatised energy assets? These are some of the issues dealt with in Tim Watkin’s thoughtful blogpost, Should iwi become the 'brown welfare'? Watkin looks at the differing expectations and realities about what treaty settlements can or should achieve. 
 
- Getting arrested seems to have done Hone Harawira’s public image no harm at all as Dave Armstrong favourably compares him with other high profile Maori politicians – see: Hone keeps the flame burning, but the rest?  Harawira also appeared in the weekend in an interesting 14-minute interview with Rachel Smalley on TV3’s The Nation. This particular piece of television earned glowing praise from Brian Edwards, who also described Rachel Smalley as ‘up there with some of the finest television interrogators in Australia (not difficult), the United States (quite difficult) and the UK (very difficult) – see: When Hone met Rachel – Now that was a surprise!
 
- Labour Day is over for another year, but the each year New Zealanders seem to be working even harder – see: No rest for the wicked
 
- New research reveals tax dodgers are ripping off the country at up to 150 times the rate of welfare fraudsters, but are being jailed much less often – see Susie Nordqvist’s Courts tougher on benefit fraud than tax dodging – study
 
- When John Banks’ lawyer attempted to convince the police not to release the file on their investigations, he used some pretty odd arguments – see Steven Price’s Breaking the Banks.
 
- Shane Jones continues to march to his own drum beat, especially when it comes to the fishing industry – see: TVNZ's Q+A: Shane Jones and Gareth Hughes interview. That Labour hasn’t actually decided its policy yet doesn’t appear to worry Jones but it should worry David Shearer says Scott Yorke in Discipline.
 
- While the government is not conceding any changes over monetary policy and the exchange rate to opposition parties, the debate itself is significant writes John Armstrong: ‘For perhaps the first time in this Administration, the walls of National's economic fortress have been breached’ – see: Labour sensing blood over exchange rate. The ‘fatalism’ with which the government accepts nothing can be done about the issue is at odds with the ‘crash-through can-do’ image it is trying to project says Jane Clifton in The NZ Government: ‘Crisis? What crisis?’
 
- Deputy Prime Minister and Southland MP Bill English is staying silent as others condemn threats made against staff at Invercargill’s newly established abortion clinic. The Abortion Law Reform Association received an email on Wednesday saying:  ‘People who work at the clinic are legitimate targets and so are you. You'll be hearing from me again, that is if your computer, or in fact your premises, are in one piece," – see Marika Hill’s Threats aimed at abortion clinic
 
- The raid on the Dotcom mansion might not be the only high profile controversy this year for the policeman who led the operation – see: Dotcom raid officer headed bike gang probe.
 
- If having your entire corporate network accessible by public computer kiosk is a bad idea, what about printing the PIN numbers on the front of debit cards? – see: Kate Chapman’s Benefit cards showing Pins stir security fears.
 
- Is the national database of vulnerable children an ‘experiment’? Starship hospital child protection team leader Dr Patrick Kelly thinks so – see Simon Collins’ Predicting trouble: Child abuse database raises eyebrows. Collins goes into detail about the pros and cons of the policy.
 
- Green MP Holly Walker responds to Mai Chen’s claims that lobbying legislation is not needed, using testimonials from Chen Palmers’ own website to back her arguments – see: Why we need lobbying transparency and listen to RNZ’s Law with Mai Chen.
 
- Finally, for the best of recent political satire, see Danyl Mclauchlan’s PM shrugs off brain fade accusations and Scott Yorke’s A Diabolically Clever Plan
 
Bryce Edwards
 
Today's content:
 
Labour on immigration
Andrea Vance (Dom Post): Migrants worthy of New Zealand
Robert Winter (Idle Thoughts): More dog-whistle
Seamus Hogan (Offsetting Behaviour): Local Workers First
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Labour’s job plan
Vernon Small (Dom Post): Labour pledges: Local workers first
 
Labour Party
Charley Mann and Sam Sachdeva (Stuff):Labour bid to reverse blue tide in Chch
James Henderson (Standard): Supernumerary
James Henderson (The Standard): Jones to jump to NZ First?
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): Discipline
 
Water rights and asset sales
Dave Armstrong (Dom Post): Hone keeps the flame burning, but the rest?
Morgan Godfery (Maui Street); Missing the point on water rights
No Right Turn: And so it begins...
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Off to court it is
Adam Bennett (Herald): Mighty River boss gets $500K bonus
 
Dotcom
David Fisher (Herald): Dotcom says his case hurting NZ
Mark Blackham (Blackland PR): What the world says about NZ: Sept 2012
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim Post): GCSB tape revisionism
David Fisher (Herald): Stood-down spy clued in on Dotcom
No Right Turn: Justice for Kim Dotcom?
Joel Cosgrove (Workers Party of New Zealand): Who watches the watchmen? Kim Dotcom and the GCSB
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): A Diabolically Clever Plan
Steven Price (Media Law Journal): Breaking the Banks
 
MSD security
John Hartevelt (Stuff): Pitfalls in government openness 
Keith Ng (Public Address): H4x0rs and You
Chris Trotter (Taranaki Daily News): Dark arts and decent blokes
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): Hacker Accesses PM's Brain
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Bennett’s office in the clear
Gehan Gunasekara (Herald): Govt agencies should pass privacy WoF
 
Labour Day
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): A Thought For Labour Day
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Big losses in the union sector
 
Police
Hannah Garrett-Walker and Matthew Theunissen (Herald): Report a 'ritual humiliation for police'
No Right Turn: The problem
Simon Bradwell (TVNZ): Gangs in police no idle threat
 
Ross sea
Audrey Young (Herald): Labour wavers on Ross Sea
 
Economy
John Armstrong (Herald): Labour sensing blood over exchange rate
Vernon Small (Dom Post): Reserve Bank mandate faces change
Matthew Hooton (NBR):Nothing to learn from Old Europe
Bernard Hickey (Herald): Tax evaders can be artful dodgers 
Stephen Jacobi (Herald): TPP - more trade, less conspiracy
 
Employment
The Dim Post: Maximum Pay?
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): A maximum wage
Nicola Brennan, Louise Riskand and Jenna Lynch (Stuff): No rest for the wicked
Peter Cullen (Stuff): Whistleblowers beware: Risks in leaking info
 
Education
Elle Hunt and John Hartevelt (Stuff): Uni fee rise justified by Maori students
Audrey Young (Herald):Clash over charter schools
Dom Post: Editorial: A difficult choice for parents
Yvonne Tahana and Kate Shuttleworth (Herald): Tribunal: Kohanga reo in crisis
Peter Cresswell (Not PC): Waitangi? It imposed no such obligation
 
Environment
 
Child health and welfare
Kate Chapman (Stuff): Health for youth woes described
 
Parliament and voting age
Sue Kedgley (Dom Post): Renovate the House with new Speaker
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The next Speaker
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Should the voting age be 16?
New Zealand Parliament: Conscience votes
Holly Walker (Frogblog): Why we need lobbying transparency
 
Other
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim Post): Horse race watch
Martin Johnston (Herald): Why many of us are avoiding GPs
Marika Hill (Stuff): Threats aimed at abortion clinic
Eloise Gibson (Stuff): Tougher controls for repo agents
Michael Berry (Stuff): Power price fall in smelter closure
John Drinnan (Herald): TV3 in same boat as Nine
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): A dilemma for the greens
Georgina Stylianou (Press): Quake impact yet to hit - health officials
Audrey Young (Herald): Visits enhance Asean ties
Willie Jackson (Herald): Why Tyson should be allowed in
Vaimoana Tapaleao (Herald) Jackson: Tyson a changed man
Jonathan Carson (Stuff): Calorie deterrent sought in booze bill
Eric Janssen (Dom Post): Why smokers are good for NZ
Grant Robertson (Red Alert): Give students back their voice
Charlotte Shipman (TV3): National Front rally largely ignored
Karl du Fresne (Dom Post): A union leader to crown them all
Mark Blackham (Blackland PR):Political Slate wk/19 October 2012

 

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1 Comment & Question

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Invisible policies from an invisible so called leader - and no wonder, who would really want to be associated with the nasty party?

Guess who is now chasing Winnie's voter base in an attempt to undermine Winnie's growing confidence as King Maker...

Surely Labour would be much better placed to offer credible, alternative fiscal and economic policies - real, viable alternatives beyond just over-taxing the hard working to give to someone else...

Maybe even get the credible Mr. Little to talk about how SME business's are the real back bone of NZ Inc - and how well Labour/Little would treat us business owners... let's just look at his last comments...

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