Cunliffe seen winning on points in first leaders debate with Key, who seemed flat and rattled; Your view?; Collins denies plot to roll Key and calls Winston a liar

Cunliffe seen winning on points in first leaders debate with Key, who seemed flat and rattled; Your view?; Collins denies plot to roll Key and calls Winston a liar

By Bernard Hickey

With three weeks to go until the September 20 election, here's my daily round-up of political news on Friday August 29, including the verdicts on the first leaders debate and the latest on Winston Peters' claim that a supporter of Judith Collins approached him to suggest he deal with a Collins-led National Party.

David Cunliffe surprised a few viewers and commentators in last night's TVNZ leaders debate by putting on a more polished and confident performance against a slightly subdued John Key .

The debate was not as dominated by 'Dirty Politics' as some might have expected or feared, focusing instead on foreign ownership, housing and economic management.

The verdicts were not unanimous and Cunliffe delivered no knock-out blows, but the Labour leader was viewed as keeping his hopes alive with a combative and assured display. Key was judged to have appeared as either too low key or too dismissive and uneasy.

In the NZ Herald , John Armstrong declared Cunliffe the narrow winner, saying he came across as genuine and did better than Key on the area of economic management. Audrey Young thought Key won, saying Cunliffe sounded like the vicar's son he is. Toby Manhire said Mike Hosking and Cunliffe were the winners, with the Labour leader curbing his tone and bossing the hour.

In Stuff, Vernon Small said Cunliffe grabbed the debate by the scruff of the neck and Key seemed out of sorts, lacking his usual humour and confidence. "With the possible exception of the "turn-off" factor of his interjecting, Cunliffe was the clear winner of the first debate," Small wrote.

Fairfax's Political Editor Tracy Watkins wrote in Stuff that Key was rattled and frustrated, while Cunliffe appeared composed.

TVNZ's Corin Dann said Cunliffe had probably won the debate on points and had at least showed he could match it with Key on the big issues. TVNZ's viewers' poll said Key won.

Radio Live's Duncan Garner said Cunliffe looked strong and won the debate, while Key was "too passive and slightly rattled."

Hosking said in his morning editorial on NewstalkZB the debate was a tie, but he criticised Cunliffe for having too many hangers-on behind the scene.

After the debate, Key himself described the debate as "scrappy" because of the interruptions from Cunliffe.

"I thought he'd be good, and I thought he'd be aggressive, and he was both of those things," Key said of Cunliffe, adding he had been better than Phil Goff , but not as good on the policy detail as Helen Clark .

Cunliffe, for his part, said Key had contributed to the "positive atmosphere". He also complimented Hosking's moderation as "very professional and fair."

Collins denies plan to roll Key

Judith Collins keeps returning to the headlines as an unwelcome distraction for the Government.

Last night Winston Peters claimed one of Collins' supporters had approached him to see if he would be more amenable to a Collins-led National Party than a Key-led one.

Peters was reported on Stuff as saying a Collins "bagman" had approached him out of the blue and asked him: "If you can't talk to John Key after the election, can you talk to her?".

Earlier in the evening Paddy Gower reported Peters describing the approach thus: "Well this might come as a surprise to you, but I'm going to put it to you and nobody else has heard this, but I had back-door approaches from the Collins camp."

Collins denied the approach this morning on NewstalkZB , accusing Peters of lying. Key described the idea as "nutty."

Peters stood by his comments, saying: "She would say that, wouldn't she?"

Fresh poll results

The New Zealand Herald's Digipoll published on Thursday afternoon showed Labour down 1.1% to 24.1%, while National rose 0.7% to 50.7%.

The Green Party fell 2.3% to 11.4%, while Internet Mana rose 1.3% to 3.4%. Conservative rose 0.7% to 3.3% and New Zealand First rose 0.7% to 5.0%.

Stuff/Ipsos poll published this morning found support for National had fallen 4.3% to 50.8% in the last two weeks, while Labour had risen 3.6% to 26.1%. Green rose 0.5% to 11.8% and New Zealand First rose 0.6% to 4.0%. Conservative was the biggest winner among the minor parties, rising from 3.4% to 4%. Internet Mana firmed to 2.2% from 2.1%.

Meanwhile, a TVNZ Colmar Brunton poll published this morning found 61% of eligible voters thought Collins should be stood down or resign, while 26% thought she should stay, while 13% did not know.

National party supporters were evenly divided on whether Judith Collins should be stood down or resign, with 44% saying go and 43% saying stay.

I'll update this regularly through the day.

See all my previous election diaries here.

See the index for's special election policy comparison pages here.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Frankly , I as a middle class New Zealander,  am  fed up with this dirty politics mudslinging by the left who have nothing constructive to offer but the anti-social gutter behaviuor, dishonesty  and the extremism we are seeing in the media .
Finally we are getting down to the nitty-gritty of real policy issues and things that concern us about  the future .
Both John Key and David  Cunliffe were good in the debate  , controlled, rational  and put their ideas forward in convincing manner.
Even though I will not be affected , Labours idea of a Capital Gains Tax is enough to keep me voting National

Well frankly as a middle class NZer I really dont agree with you.  You come across as a person who doesnt give a damn about democracy, honesty,  truth or how others are [mis-]treated, even at gun point it seems.  Im even surprised you would vote that far left as national.
"not affected" yet I thought you said you own[ed] rentals and shares?  both not attracting CGT?  Or that a left Govn will greatly reduce the electrical SOEs ability to price gouge and yet you own Mighty River shares?
Vested interest to the eye balls I think.

Dont worry steven .. the-man-in-the-boat is a self-confessed troll .. always looking for a bite

What those on the left don't seem to have grasped is that for CGT to take effect - and deliver any revenue - house prices will need to rise even further than their current absurd multiples of income. If houses become "more affordable" then there will presumably need to be a CGT credit due to sellers. This suggests the left will be very keen to stoke up inflation - a disaster for those on fixed or modest incomes (but great for speculators who will simply treat any CGT as a 'cost' of doing business). It also suggests they will support even higher levels of immigration. On they other hand they might secretly be planning to make the tax retrospective in order to give themselves a more advantageous commencement date. They might also be planning to levy the tax on an un-realised basis as well - as per the Big Kahuna.
Moreover, this nonsense you get from Labour & Green 'top brass' about being happy to pay a higher marginal rate of income tax! Utter drivel. Why? Because, by virtue of being in office and in a position to raise taxes, they will have enjoyed massive salary increases via their new jobs as cabinet ministers. Thus, as they offer their pious left wing drivel about sacrifice, they will actually have a net increase in disposable income whilst other hard-working and more talented Kiwis make do with less.

CGT, no (or yes)  I think its back dated, so if you bought a house for say $200k in 2000 and its $300k today you pay 15% on the 100k. If you have an actual policy statement on that I am all ears. Though it doesnt apply to the family home anyway.
Inflation, well you base absurdity on in-accuracy.  More immigration, well I think not from the left from what I can read.
Lots of mights and baseless speculation not based on policy even, facts are good, please stick them out there.
MPs salaries look way to high I agree, sadly I see no way to fix this.

No, if you care to do the research you will note that Labour's proposal is "forward looking". Indeed, I believe it includes three acceptable options to establish an asset's value at the time of CGT implementation. Therefore, the only way Labour can derive revenue via CGT is through further inflation of property prices. As I understand the situation losses will only be allowable within strict criteria - in other words: "heads the government wins and tails the government wins ".
As to the family home you need to do some research on the history of taxation. Tax, like rust, is ever expanding. Go buy yourself a copy of The Big Kahuna and perhaps you won't be so sanguine about the sanctity of the modest Kiwi home.
Inflation - no not absurd. I think you will find it was John Maynard Keynes, in quoting Lenin, who pointed out that the way to steal from one group in society - to advantage another - is via  the process of inflation. He did go on to point out that such a process is something "not one man in a million can diagnose" so I guess an ignorance of how monetary debasement impoverishes the general population whilst enriching a socialist elite is forgivable. One would have thought those on the left would "know their Keynes".
As to immigration a clear political  consensus has existed throughout all western countries over many years that mass influxes are good. NZ was relatively late to this process but I think you find it was the Labour government that fiollowed Sir Robert Muldoon that instigated the doctrine of pro-activity. 
Facts: Labour cannot collect on CGT without dramatically increasing the money supply (inflation) and retaining, or indeed increasing, current migration flows. Consequences: declining real incomes for those of modest means, erosion of pensioner savings and even less affordable housing for our youngsters. 
CGT is a profoundly dishonest political expedient that relies on envy, ignorance, and a failure of the proletariat to do their due dilligence. It's rationale is fundamentally reposed on governments stealing the purchasing power of their citizens via inflation - thus creating an illusory capital gain that can then be used as a pretext for confiscation. 

Steven there is no Left......There is only Right and wrong.......

oh funny ha ha......ha.

Well no Steven , I dont own any rental houses other than the one I live in .
I am deemed a trader in shares for Tax purposes , so I pay income tax when I make a profit from seling shares , because I buy and sell shares about 20 times a year
We have a discretionary trust with interests variuos commercial properties , but these assets will never be sold , so no Capital Gains tax issues will arise .
And yes I have some mighty river shares , which are a long hold stock , and we are in it for the dividend stream , and this is because I want to retire comfortably without being a burden on the taxpayer .

Steven , who has ever been held at gunpoint by the Govt in New Zealand ? This is not Syria

Boatman, when the Greens rolled in you'd be better off selling those shares, properties etc..put the fund in an off shore account (read Cayman Is).  Because the Greens would love to look after those who got nothing..

Offshore wouldnt work I expect as the income coming in would be questioned.  Hence you have to leave NZ if you think its going to be that bad  with the Green's in Govn.

try saying no to the government - although it tends to be taser-point these days - dead serfs pay no taxes

The mud begins to stick to JK (as well as Judith's reputation) so that CGT could be a goer after Sept 20.

Pre-book I think it was looking a slam dunk for JK's third term and that was DC's and Labour massive failure IMHO.  Post-book, yes it looks marginal.
The 20th will be an fascinating evening, dont think Im working that weekend so I'll get to watch in real time!
The trouble is I think DC winning this will mean no clean out behind the scenes that I think Labour needs to have.  Both parties smell "ripe" to me, just National's a bit more pongy right now.

Was hoping The Kiwi Expat party was a goer but they somehow didn't make the registration process (I smell a rat!).  Nat and Lab in my book are just a bad as each other!  The Greens.. I had some email from RN way back before he was made co-leader, darn I wish I kept those emails now.. naturally he won't get my vote!

Nat and lab, well the nats have certainly demonstrated utter disregard for ppls rights IMHO.  Are Labour better? well would they have caved into the USA over the dotcom raid? hard to answer I suspect so. 
So that leaves the choice as who you vote for that can influence the bigger party. On the right that option doesnt exist.  For the left we see The Green's and NZF will have an impact if they are in Govn with labour.

There is some real straw-grasping right wing sentiment on this website. Honestly boatman accusing labour of dirty tactics?  What sort ofobfiscation subdiffuge garbage is that. I take it you havent read Hagers book.   In the same vein CT your inflation argument doesn't even make sense.  Actually its National who are desperately creating inflation in New Zealand.  They're doing it by embracing hot money flows from QE countries.  the money ends up in our housing and land asset markets.   Destroying the nzd purchasing power and future of young New Zealanders in the process.  

Oh, Boatman has been enthusiastic at joining in the mudslinging over the years in the direction of Labour Greens, parroting many of the National talking points (c.f. North Korea). so his tiring of mudslinging may  relate more to the direction of the wind is blowing at the moment, since at the moment if you sling National talking points it lands back on you.
What this actually reminds me of is the way many Republican's in the U.S. reacted to Watergate- The other side are just as bad but we have no actual evidence to show for it (and that doesn't actually change the need to deal with revealed criminality), can't we stop talking about this (without dealing with it), the reporters are working for Nixon's opponent's to smear him, etc, etc. While I was in the U.S. in that period I wasn't old enough to understand what was going on, but looking back on it there are strong similiarities. And Nixon was re-elected.

My argument does not make sense to you because you clearly have no idea of how the business of politics works. This idea - that those on the left are somehow morally superior to those on the right - is demonstrably ludicrous. Go look at Britain and the appalling things the left has done - stealing Diego Garcia and destroying Iraq while twittering on about 'human rights' for starters! Look at Obama and what he presides over - a police force strutting round like the East German Stasi, millions on food stamps, and inexorably falling real incomes.
Sorry to disappoint you but politics is largely the business of exacting tribute. Now of course Key and his cronies are presiding over the inflation of housing. What Labour and the Greens want though is to get in on the act and take a direct slice of the ( so called) profits. In classical parlance they want to take 'tribute'. They then have the downright cheek to claim they are doing this to help the peasantry. Their frequently simplistic supporters are gullible enough to think they are benefactors - exactly what some of London's old East Ender's used to say about the gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. The actual dichotomy between the ideas of the Krays and the ideas of most governments are much smaller than we like to imagine. Both rely on monopoly power to take things. Ronnie and Reggie generally had better dress sense though!
Yet let's come back to the core question that I have not one heard one of the CGT brigade answer (of course, it would help if politicians on the right were capable of asking some incisive questions):
"Given that CGT will only commence at the point when the legislation is passed how will Labour raise any revenue unless house prices rise still further thereby destroying the entire justification on which CGT is based - namely making houses more affordable"?
It's childish nonsense to think this CGT business has anything to do with helping our young people or the working poor. If Labour and the Greens gave a damn about them they would advocate for sound and honest money - instead they see the consequences of global financial stimulus washing up in NZ and they want their juicy slice of the pie.

"demonstrably ludicrous" and  this applies to the right as well....yet if you look at the proponents of say eugenics they tend to have been "upper class" and right wingers.
CGT does not need to commence at the point the legislation passes. The only thing that needs to commence is collecting of the tax.  On top of that even if that is the case it removes the tax dadging incentive to load up with debt and use it to claim a reduction in tax yet get a tax free payout on retirement.
All good things.
"childish nonsense" yet you just said "that those on the left are somehow morally superior to those on the right - is demonstrably ludicrous." thus  by your own words demonstrating you consider yourself morally superior....
yeah right.

but it takes money from the rich so it must be better, right?  ('cause we're not rich)

fat pat - what are you trying to suggest, that because  they stole a private individual's emails and proved that a lot of stuff is leaked to the media and meany bloggers, the left doesnt do the same thing ?  love to see them testify that they don't. But the inflation comment is a complete joke, its amazing how quickly you forget the 5% inflation we had under the last Labour Govt. Then again maybe you can argue that's the RBNZs fault not the Govt's, I'll give you that - then what argument do you want to run with here about the Natiknal Govt's performance on the inflation from - been too low at under 1% for quite a long time ?

"They" being? 
Based on the hacker the Herald has been talking to it has nothing to do with "the left" it is a hacker with strong feelings about corruption who then leaked the material to an international renowned investigative journalist.
Do you have any actual evidence for a conspiracy of the left, because at the moment that does seem rather an attempt to derail interest into the criminal actions of people in and associated with National.

Grant A, yes if labour had implemented measures to protect our asset markets in 2002 we wouldn't be in such a mess.  However, by 2009 it was obvious to everyone that trillions of dollars of QE were creating, or were about to create hot money flows.  Other countries did stuff to protect their citizens purchasing power.  National did several things.  1 it pretended foreign investment either wasn't happening or wasn't a problem. 2 it relaxed foreign investment rules so that the OIO wasn't to scrutinise purchases unless they were 6000 Ha or more.  So basically surpress information and facilitate foreign asset purchases.  As for the "dirty politics" business, dh sums it up.

Again - research is needed before commenting. I suggest you do a little due diligence on the political left and eugenics. You will find this deeply sobering!
Of course any tax liability can commence anytime - but we are debating the specific Labour proposal being advanced during a General Election campaign. That policy is based on CGT commencing at the point when the bill becomes law. As to removing an incentive to load up on debt I have never read such nonsense - Britain has CGT and never has the "buy to rent" market been more frenetic. Never have young people and those of modest means been more excluded from home ownership. To the speculator CGT is nothing more than a cost of doing business. Indeed they love it because it reminds them of how "on-side" government is In asset price inflation. Once government decides to formally back that inflation - which is powerfully signalled via CGT - matters are considerably de-risked for the speculators.
I return to the question that no one will answer:  "How, unless house prices rise even further, will Labour be able to collect any CGT revenue?

the political left is not one fixed world wide entity, nor is the political right, both have changed over time. And most countries have other axis or division that are as or more important. for example the way the Southern Democratics became the Southern republicans because race trumped class.

According to your logic CT if labour builds new hospitals you'll villify them for making people sick.  Why on earth would you need new hospitals unless you were secretly planning on increasing the number of sick people.  Silly argument.  The real benefit of labours proposal IMHO is the exception of the family home.  It provides a tiny fincial insentive in favour of personal ownership.  Let's face it, at the moment everything's geared towards rentals. 

Exemption I mean...


so Capital Gain on a family home is ok?  Is that buying Family Home's for ones dependants too?  Is there a limit to the number of family homes a person can have?

Since the law (if legimate, it would be a rort against NZ legal fundamentals to backdate the effects - as it is imperative that people can make sound decisions based on the laws applying at the time) would only affect sales forward of it's passing.   therefore anyone not buying someone elses family home will have to have the sellers CGT liability....
 ... and the higher the inflation in an area, then the more CGT will be collected for government paychecks and projects (and out of private citizens pockets).

Property will be hotter, as you say, because being on the ladder early will be more important, as there is less incentive for landlords to sell. (higher sale cost, low supply, higher demand, bigger savings for ownership)

... if Winston isn't lying , and there really is someone who still backs Crusher Collins for leadership of the Gnats , then they'd have to be nuttier than a forest full of squirrels ...

DH - I agree. Politics simply comprises brands that develop over time. Just like the motor industry - what you offer today is ostensibly very different to what was offered in the past. However the core philosophy is unchanged - you are providing something with four wheels that gets you from A to B. Politics is fundamentally no different - there has been metamorphosis but the core philosophy - taking - is unchanged since the stirrup was invented. That invention enabled men to stabilise themselves on horseback and simultaneously cut down with a weapon. Thus the temptation to form into bands (cavalry) and to take from the unwilling developed. For all its respectability politics is merely an extension of this (as is organised crime). Club owners in the East End of London during the 60s were forced to finance the Jaguar driven by Ronnie and Reggie Kray whilst taxpayer’s decades later were forced to finance Tony Blair's fraudulent war on Iraq. Where frankly is the difference?
FP - Again, you refuse to answer my question about CGT. If Labour oversees more home building (and a powerful case can be made for this) then a form of Gresham's Law will emerge. Thus the subsidised 'new builds' will crowd out the private sector leading to asset deflation - splendid. Trouble is where then does our CGT revenue come from? If Labour were to stand up and commit to breaking the back of this asset price nonsense I would be all in favour. Yet they want to have "a bob each way". On the one hand they claim they will make housing more affordable, on the other hand they play the politics of envy by boasting that they will screw the so called "rich" with CGT. It is simply nonsense and it disgraces the likes of the National Party that they do not seem capable of pointing this out. As to the family home being exempt be very careful. Invest in a copy of The Big Kahuna for a start and see where this "capital tax" doctrine may ultimately lead. Also, again consider the broader principle of Gresham's Law. If you do succeed in crowding out investment in rentals then monetary replacement/speculation into family homes is a likely consequence. This will lead to yet more mis-allocated capital (or more correctly debt) and, in due course, a clamour to extend CGT to include all property.

Why would "new build" developers deliberate create for themselves an oversupplied falling market?
(this isn't kiwifruit or goats...)

They wouldn't - unless effectively forced or pressured to do so by government.

You said: "Club owners in the East End of London during the 60s were forced to finance the Jaguar driven by Ronnie and Reggie Kray whilst taxpayer’s decades later were forced to finance Tony Blair's fraudulent war on Iraq. Where frankly is the difference?"
That nobody voted, or even had the opportunity to vote, for or against Ronnie & Reggie, whereas they did for Blair...?
You ask about the additional tax take from a CGT (and it's implications for a continued inflationary bias):
Maybe the real benefit of CGT will be that it might provide one more small nudge towards investment in revenue earning assets (instead of investment optimised for the purposes of asset appreciation), rather than that it will raise a massive amount of additional revenue...?

Antz , that doesn't even make sense.

IF there was a nudge towards "revenue earning assets" then that puts the appreciation price of those assets considerably higher - that's why dairy farmers and commercial property is so expensive, the purchaser not only has to pay for the base-asset-invested-wealth but they also have to buy out the "goodwill" which is the projected base revenue that the current owner would have received for several years.    that's why it's phrased as "biggest fool" because the new owner always has to pay more than what income the previous owner was expecting (and the previous owner already knows the business's operation)

that's one reason why "revenue producing companies" with large old market share, and aged equipment and product are generally flogging off the junk to the unsuspecting.  that gives them fresh capital to restart without the dross.   Very little difference from buying a second-hand car really.  If it was such agreat deal, why is the owner selling (the revenue)?

Antz - Remember, Blair never secured anything like a majority of votes yet he cynically took us to war. Moreover, one could argue that the Krays had proportionately far more support than Blair. Evidence - the biggest turnout for a funeral since the death of wartime leader Winston Churchill when Ronnie died.