Bill English and Jacinda Ardern go head-to-head: Ardern says she'd rather resign than raise Super age; both desire flat house prices; Winston Peters ruled out as Finance Minister by both

Bill English and Jacinda Ardern go head-to-head: Ardern says she'd rather resign than raise Super age; both desire flat house prices; Winston Peters ruled out as Finance Minister by both

By Alex Tarrant

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern says she would rather resign as Prime Minister than raise the Superannuation age. In just one of the many exchanges during three's leaders' debate Monday night, her comment allowed Bill English to insert himself - at least for a minute - as the champion of generational fairness: “Well isn’t that letting down her generation because they’re going to have to pay the bill for that."

In a wide ranging affair, Ardern and English were quizzed on whether they wanted house prices to drop (both wanted stable values for existing homeowners while more affordable housing also came on stream and incomes rose), and on positions Winston Peters might or might not be allowed in Cabinet if part of a coalition - both ruled him out from being Finance Minister, although the Deputy PM job is still open.

Immigration, Maori Affairs, poverty, backing a US war with North Korea and education were also canvassed. One interesting exchange on child poverty saw English commit to lifting 100,000 childeren out of poverty within three years - 50,000 from Budget 2017's families package, and a futher 50,000 in two-to-three years when National is eyeing up a similar incomes policy. Ardern reiterated a commitment to eradicate child poverty.

Labour's tax policy kept reappearing throughout, with English also taking aim at Labour's fiscal plan. Ardern managed to get in a number of digs at English needing to now give Labour a go at running things.

Our live blog below covers the key exchanges between the two - written during the debate with the latest exchanges at the top and updated every ad break. We have put each new topic in bold.

Debate coverage - latest at the top:

09:50pm - latest:

A quick fire round to end – I was a bit busy with the last update, so here are a few:

One is would they still be around if they lose the election? Both say they wouldn’t resign.

One policy they’d like to enact first? Ardern says to eradicate child poverty, English says he’d like every child to get further through school.

What would they march in the streets for?: English is a bit stumped: “The right to govern this country, actually,” he comes up with eventually. Ardern: Ending homelessness – everyone having a home.

And both say they’d sack a Minister for deceit / misleading the leader.

Well, we'll leave it there for tonight - both are set to return to the stage to join the expert panel to say who they think won the debate, apparently - I'll let you all cover that one. Cheers.

09:40pm: Gower puts the them that Donald Trump is ringing at 3am in the morning asking for NZ troops to join a war against North Korea. What to do? English says NZ makes own decisions based on own interests. If Trump were to call at 3am in the morning and ask for support from New Zealand for another war then you couldn’t just make a commitment over the phone. Would not give a commitment over the phone over military commitment, English says – a lot of discussion needed even when deciding whether to send three more non-combat troops. Ardern pretty much agrees - says would want UN and China to have been involved first.

Another fun bit, now. How would they deal with Winston Peters? What if he wants a stint as PM? Both rule that out.

Deputy PM? English says it depends on the voters. Ardern says that’s not off the table either. Both do say Finance Minister off the table.

Associate Finance? “Paddy this isn’t some sort of auction,” Bill English jumps in for both of them. Both agree that ultimately what voters give them, they’ll have to work with.

An interesting one is why would Winston turn to you over the other? “I don’t have baggage,” is Ardern's response. “That’s a matter for Mr Peters,” English says – known him for a long time, and it’s up to voters, he says. Obliged to make it work if that's what voters give us, he says.

More fun on Winston’s bottom lines – Gower reads them out. There’s a few. What’s one thing that Peters won’t get? Ardern says no to a referendum on the Maori seats – at least that’s what Labour’s campaigning on, she says. English: “Paddy I’m not negotiating with you.”

Onto conscience – it's abortion: change the law? “It shouldn’t be in the Crimes Act,” she says. A very simple view: There’ll be people who disagree with it – it can be their right to not have to abort, but says women out there should have the right to.

Gower puts it to English – he says he supports the law as it stands. But does say a vote would be a conscience vote if it went in front of Parliament. Whether it’s in the Crimes Act is a matter for Parliament, he says when Ardern asks him whether it should be in there. “I support the current law.”

Cannabis: Should people be allowed to walk around with 40 grams or less? English says wouldn’t do it along those lines. English says somebody has to make a case that there’ll be less harm from decriminalisation. If Colarado experience shows there could be less harm, then English could be open to it.

“We’re not campaigning on that,” Ardern says, but takes it onto wanting a health based approach instead. Wants conversation to be on health, not justice – locking someone up for having weed is a waste of time, she says.

09:29: After the break Gower tries to get them on a desired population number. Ardern doesn’t bite but says Labour’s plan would likely see 20-30,000 fewer people coming into the country a year. English says he sees the population rising further above 5 million.

Ardern tries to ask English how he’ll deal with Auckland’s problems with that sort of population growth. English starts talking about government initiatives like Waterview. That’s not a plan, Ardern says. What would we replace it with, English asks – a vision? “You can’t replace a tunnel with a vision.” He keeps saying vision. Gets a few laughs.

English is asked how come National didn’t plan to be bursting at the seams from population growth. He ‘admits’ nine years ago, when 40,000 Kiwis a year were leaving for Australia, we didn’t know that now that number would be zero now.

Ardern tries to attack National’s economic plan: “Selling houses to one another and immigration” isn’t a plan, she says. Raises Innovation, R&D policies.

Onto education. Gower puts to English whether National has its priorities right. We have 3000 prefabs being used as classrooms, and National is focussing on toughening national standards, he puts to English.

Englsh says they’re actually called “modern learning environments.” That’s a fancy name for a prefab, Ardern butts in. Few laughs.

To tertiary education – why are you giving future lawers, doctors, engineers, some of our highest earning workers, one year free education, Gower puts to Ardern. “…factory workers, future plumbers, carpenters,” Ardern replies. Says Labour wants to give opportunity to everyone to access tertiary education.

A change of tack sees Gower ask each for one policy that will make a difference for Maori. English says National has raised the number of Maori receiving NCEA level two. Will continue that. Ardern talks about dealing with poverty and deprivation. Best Start, winter energy payments, she says.

Pike River – Ardern backs Labour’s policy that they want to go in. English says he can’t rule out not going in - would go if it was safe, but that it’s not a political decision.

09:12pm:  We come back in on poverty – why won’t National commit to a target for reducing child poverty? Gower asks. English says 50,000 fewer kids will be in poverty after National’s families package. If National gets reelected then they can have a crack in the next 50,000 over two-or-three years. English uses this to tout National’s social investment package.

Is 100,000 now a target? “Yes I am committing to that,” English says.

To Ardern – what’s Labour’s target. “We’ve been asking him to do that for nine years,” she says – we’ve got 290,000 kids living in poverty... English says that not’s true – Ardern allows him to keep speaking – he has a crack at Labour not having any policies.

Put the targets into law, Ardern says. English again says Labour needs policy: “What’s the policy to reduce poverty…apart from putting up taxes?”

Ardern says Labour wants at least 10% out of material deprevation, she says. English is liking his new 100,000 target – keeps raising it. To which Ardern commits to ridding New Zealand of child poverty. WfF tax credits – Ardern is onto Labour’s families package, winter energy payments, and Beststart. English tried to butt in – “Wait,” she says – gets a bit of a laugh.

English says a big chunk of Best start will go to 80% of families that don’t need it. Says need to focus in rather than spraying money across every family in New Zealand. Ardern says English’s ideas have been tried and haven’t worked.

Here's a big one: Age of Super at 65 – will she keep it there? Ardern has just reaffirmed Andrew Little’s stance that Labour won’t raise the age. She agrees that she’d rather resign as PM rather than raise the Super age.

“Well isn’t that letting down her generation because they’re going to have to pay the bill for that,” English says. Puts to Gower National's plan to raise the age by two years in 20 years time.

09:00pm: Into the numbers – Ardern is backing Labour’s fiscal plan. Same arguments as earlier in the day. English is focusing on the fact that one date was changed from 1 April to 1 July. Is trying to argue that Labour doesn’t have anything left for anything else than health and education spending. He’s used it to argue that higher taxes will be inevitable

Ardern jumps in to correct – says these numbers were based on Prefu. If it’s not in there then it’s because you haven’t budgeted for it, Bill. They’re talking over each other now – English says he’s tracked every dollar since we were in an $18 bn deficit. He knows the numbers.

Ardern says this is just going to sound like two bickering politicians. She’s waving around Labour’s fiscal plan now.

Moving on to money in people’s pockets. Gower raises the ‘bonfire of growth’ – many decent Kiwis haven't had a decent pay rise in years, he puts to English. The median wage up 3.6% the last 12 months English says – womens’ pay went up further than mens’ he says – raises declining gender pay gap – benefit of a growing economy - few claps there.

Gower puts to him real wages – they’re pretty flat and aren’t moving the way you say they are. English again uses National Super argument to say the average wage has risen higher than inflation.

Ardern says the main question is how people feel. Two-thirds of people didn’t get a pay rise that matched the cost of living, she says.

English asks why Labour then wants to keep raising taxes – CGT, income taxes… “That is scaremongering Bill…I’m going to call you on it.” Ardern tells English that’s patently false. She’s onto the minimum wage – English says Labour’s plan to raise the minimum wage isn’t aspirational. Ardern actually agrees – it’s a floor. But we need productivity improvements, she says.

Gower moves onto why Labour is cancelling National’s tax cuts – why doesn’t Laobur trust people to spend their own money? Ardern says axing the tax cuts allows Labour to put in a package that will make 70% of families better off than under National’s plan.

English is asked what he’ll do with his $1,000 – he’ll put it towards his family – six kids.

CGT now – could it apply to the family bach, farm or boat? Ardern says Labour will extend the bright line test to five years. Then Labour will do a review. She’s asked again up by Gower – farm, bach, boat? Ardern says she’s not going to predetermine what the working group finds. She wants to preserve the ability to act in government in the best interests of New Zealanders. Treasury will provide recommendations on who sits on the Group.

English is given a shot at having a go at a CGT – it’ll include the person who starts a new business. Says he doesn’t know why Labour don’t just say they want a CGT. Ardern again says let Labour get the experts together.

08:45pm: We’re off – Host Patrick Gower says the debate is in front of a crowd of uncommitted voters. He starts on trust – asks English if he can survive politics without lying? You can certainly earn trust English says – National was trusted to bring the country through the recession and to get the books to surplus. “None of us is perfect."

We’re into Todd Barclay – Gower asking English whether he really was just a bystander – is trust a sliding scale? English back to the normal response that he was caught in a situation between two people he happened to know.

Onto Ardern – what if you’re caught leading a lie with the New Zealand public, Gower asks. Ardern says it’s possible to get through politics without lying. She even says she’s never told a lie in politics. If she makes a mistake, it’s about fronting it.

An interesting question now from Gower - name one policy on the other side that I’d like to take on? Ardern – National's GP announcement “That’s a good idea…and we took it on.”

English says National took on free GP visits a few years ago. He then turns it onto Labour – says the one they should take on is National’s social investment policy. "Bill, it’s called early intervention and Labour was built on it," Ardern interrupts.

Here's the one we've been waiting for - do the leaders want house prices to drop? “I want them to stay flat while incomes rise,” English says. Ardern says she doesn’t want existing home owners to lose their value, but that Labour wants more affordable houses to come on stream. Smaller houses too, she says.

Gower is taking Labour on about a desire for house prices to drop. Ardern fights back saying she wants more affordable homes available, again. Turns it onto National’s track record about unaffordability rising. “It’s not about losing value for current home owners," she says.

To English – is his government responsible for killing the Kiwi dream of home ownership? English responds that he recently went to a subdivision in South Auckland. 60,000 FHBs over the next five years will be helped into ownership through Homestart and Kiwisaver. Raises his kids – that didn’t take long – said they’re part of the generation wanting to buy now.

English says house prices were raising at 20% a year, and now they’d flattened out. The houses are coming, he says. Ardern jumps in and says Bill has had nine years. Home ownership is at the worst in 60 years, she says – teachers, police officers can't afford. “It’s time to hand over to someone with a vision and a plan,” she says.

English hits back with Capital Gains Tax talk. Gower picks up on that. Kiwibuild building numbers relies on immigration – does Labour want to stop immigration? Ardern says Labour will stop foreign speculators buying homes. Onto immigration, Ardern says in New Zealand there is skill and talent – raises KiwiBuild visa which should contribute to 5,000 overall of migrants and apprentices.

English jumps in – 5,000’s nothing – it will stall the construction boom. He’s jumping in a bit tonight – a few jokes attract the crowd.

Homelessness – 4 motels purchased by the government, Gower puts to English – will they have to buy more hotels. English says National understands how high prices in the market have put pressure on people. Government subsidises half of private rentals in this country, English adds. So government is doing what it takes. Onto National’s house building programmes and he says government “is pulling every lever.”

Ardern attacks National for subsidising the private rental market. It’s true, it’s not, true, no it isn’t on lower number of state houses between the two. Another cut in from English has the crowd laughing – Labour copying National’s policy.

To end, what’s different about English this time than last time. “I got up again,” he says – raises that he built the country up from a recession to become great again. Ardern on her experience – what does she have that English doesn’t? “Generational change and a vision for the future of New Zealand.”

To the break – that was fast out of the blocks!

08:00pm: Good evening and welcome to interest.co.nz's coverage of three's (TV3) leaders' debate on Monday night. We'll be adding updates here (latest at the top) through the full 90 minutes (90 minutes! - the TVNZ one was only 60...) begining at 8:30 pm.

Today was an interesting one on the campaign trail - with National's Steven Joyce going head-to-head with Grant Robertson over Labour's fiscals. I'd encourage you to listen to Brian Fallow on that this evening on RNZ's Checkpoint if you've got any questions on that.

No doubt though, Bill English will be looking to increase the pressure on Ardern over Labour's numbers, economic plan and tax. Where last week's 1 News debate was a rather policy-driven affair, I'd expect tonight's debate to be a bit more prickly between the two. Not to mention, Patrick Gower is moderating this one - so we could get a few left-field subjects and lines of questioning. This one might be classed in the entertainment category of your TV Guides. 

The gloves are off. We'll being following the debate from 8:30 - please do leave your comments below. And refresh every so often - we'll try and have all the highlights posted here for you to return to.

In the meantime, I've got Steely Dan blasting - Dirty Work has just come on if you were wondering.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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.

122 Comments

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Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Oh dear ... she does not perform well under stress !! Temper Temper !!

19
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she actually let Bill rant on and he shot himself in the foot.

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Sounds like Bill and Joyce were being as honest on the Labour finance numbers as Bill was on Todd Barclay and the text messages too.

Either lying or incompetent / not fit?

Nonsense. Labour have been caught with their pants down ; not a pretty sight.

Funny!

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Incorrect though:

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/04/46047/election2017-fiscalhole-tmo

You'd expect National to be ofay with this stuff. Incompetent or deliberately dishonest?

Sounds like more just bad spreadsheet skills from Stephen (economic nous!) Joyce and he's since conceded.

But likely some fans will continue to run the line.

Lying and incompetent at it at that.

Bernard Hickey;
https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/04/46047/election2017-fiscalhole-tmo

Unbelievable; Labour had Bernard Hickey to review their fiscal plan. We all know what the result BH will provide.

Maybe you should read the aftermath with Joyce admitting he got it wrong.

Big question is...did they knowingly go with it despite it being wrong (in which case they were lying to try to win) or was it simply a lack of financial ability that caused them to get it wrong?

Much better questions this week. A few flawed policies being exposed!

And a few non policies- housing, immigration.....

Not really important I suppose.

She's looking a bit stressed.

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She looks totally confident to me. BIll is a joke and very desperate as he is being pulled up on 9 years of failure on poverty, housing, Maori, debt, migration etc.

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Who cares. She's exposed his 9 years of failure and that's all she needs to do.

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Worse then failure, creating generational problems.

lol, shopping in a supermarket and paying with Vision is ...priceless !!

Yet to see any substance and solid stuff from Labour !!

Not to point out the obvious...but that's the same joke as last week, just recycled. Hope you didn't laugh too hysterically.

Should give some time to die hard national supporters to come to term that national is on the way out come election.

9 years and now they talk about child poverty, homelessness................

Gone, now no one can save national only feel bad for BE - Deja Vu.

He should have said that will retire if booted out but no - he will also march down the street to protect his job. Paddy was fast to catch up on that.

Jacinda is being constantly interupted by both Gower and English. Looking forward to Mike Hosking again for the third debate, he at least allowed them pretty much equal time.

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Bill is making a complete cock of himself constantly interjecting. He is showing all the signs of a man who has just been given redundancy notice.

English reminds me of Cunliffe, interjects and full of himself.

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Poor old bill - just like the UK and USA - he and his party have totally underestimated the mood for change across all sectors of NZ society and his lack of ability to connect with the voters could see Labour take a landslide victory and not need Winnie.

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So Nationals solution to Aucklands housing hyperflation (caused by high immigration & foreign buying) is to increase immigration into Auckland to supply the builders (while our under 25 year olds suffer 25% unemployment).

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Strike 3 and your out.

" English says he sees the population rising further above 5 million."

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Migrant figures underestimated by 60,0000 wtf! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11916879

Ecenomy growth and prosperity is only by increasing immigration for national.

Think and Vote

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She has acquitted herself well after what was clearly a nervous start, which I imagine one or two on this site will deem a capital offence.

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Jacinda - the Prime Minister in waiting with a vision for the future. The panel conclude they both came out firing but Jacinda was the winner debating with passion and conviction. Goodbye Bill - the trust has gone mate!

At the end of the day you can campaign on the housing crisis, not raising or adding taxes etc. but those are promises. You need to at least act consistently with the promises you make...trying and failing to achieve them would have been better than the outright dishonesty and denial National has displayed. All they've shown to the electorate is that they may campaign on things but they feel no obligation to keep their promises.

NZ Herald poll on who won the debate
Currently Jacinda 30% Bill 64%
Looks like Nat voters are on the Internet on their fancy iPhones.
Am I being cynical?
:-)

Not cynical at all. I told the household they either voted for National or the wifi went off for the night.

More importantly I asked my eldest if he would bother actually voting this time? He said there were some really abusive people on Redit and he was considering making an effort this time. I'm sensing it will be for National if he does vote as he thinks the abuse was from the Greens. So little thought put into it but it's still a vote. Gotta love democracy. You can post vote for change on a daily basis and it has no more weight than that of a casual 21 year old.

Can you share a link of that abuse? Sometimes it can feel like abuse when values that you hold as part of your identity are challenged.

Encourage freedom of thought, that's what democracy is about.

Fake news

Cheers for the heads up did not realise there was a poll 53% 37% in favour of English when I voted, the rest for third option, neither. I guess there are more like me who did not realise there was a vote. Interesting to see where it lands in the morning

Poll or no poll. This election is for change.

After last time around I would absolutely not be surprised if there were a bunch of astroturfers voting to back their side. Maybe a rent-a-crowd.

Whoever wins, the next 3 years will be tough economically.. because much of the world have still not dealt with the GFC yet.. Unfortunately, things will probably worse if it is a left/left leaning government.. rather than the centre/left we have currently..

I'm afraid that although she held her own in the first debate, Jacinta took a clear hiding in this one - visions are very important, but its not hard to state one, whats hard is understanding what policies will achieve them, and have the ability to explain why - probably one of the biggest performance gaps I've seen in a debate since Lange killed Muldoon in the 80's.

I agree. I thought English was more convincing.
But I vote on overall policy and on that count I am still with Labour.

Nah, she wiped the floor with him

Hi Finance Minister
You must have been watching another show.

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All I can do is take quotes from Bill as he cracks me up.

"English said Labor's policies such as a possible capital gains tax and clamping down on immigration would stall housing supply."

Yes we need more builders to build houses for all the people that are immigrating to build houses. Maybe its demand as well Bill.

Im going out on a limb here but I think its easier to stop 20,000 people from entering then it is to build 20,000 houses.

So What

you can have a labour vision or a national policy

National have had a mountain of policies that haven't worked

They are both so weak..good grief..

Things I learned tonight.

1. Paddy doesn't ask (and press) the important questions. He ask's and presses on questions that he wants a soundbite for.

2. Jacinda has been pantsed well and truly on Tax, and is trying to cover it with faux anger.

3. Bill just bleats on about stability, and he is right. The ship that is NZ is incredibly stable as it sails straight into the rocks.

4. Our post debate "analysis" is terrible. Nothing insightful at all. I actually thought two of them were going to dive in for a selfie with Jacinda.

Yeah those 'analysts' were quite mediocre.
Hooton is a clever man (even though I disagree with his politics) but was a bit subdued.

The most disheartening bit was I saw what a good analyst looked like in the US elections, and know we have nothing even remotely nearing that caliber.

We just have a bunch of media lackeys fighting for more face time.

I agree.
It was another train wreck.

What NZ needs at this point is visionary leadership underpinned by a sound economic plan.
Neither of those parties deliver anything close to that. Jacinda has a vision, and she will win the election on the basis of this. But it's a whimsical vision not really supported by a plan.

I'm also unsure as to what National actually has - it certainly isn't vision. And they appear to be just as economically inept if they can't reconcile Labour's budget numbers.
They also have equally wishy washy policy. I mean, wtf was that comment by Bill on the fly that they are now committing to reducing poverty by 100,000. That reeked of desperation.

As you say, NZ is stable, but the navigator has her firmly destined for the rocks.

Unfortunately the analysts need to speak on terms that are comprehensible to the majority of NZers. It highlights clearly the problem with democracy - dumb people are allowed to vote, and often represent the majority.

You know it was bad when we agree.

Well put

At one point where BE was interfering when she was responding - a quick Keep quite from Jacinda did the job :)

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On that super question of 65 or 67, Alex;

“Well isn’t that letting down her generation because they’re going to have to pay the bill for that,” English says. Puts to Gower National's plan to raise the age by two years in 20 years time.

But in 20 years time, Jacinda's generation will already have paid for all the baby boomers (Bill English and his cohort) through their retirement which started at 65. If he wanted to give Jacinda's generation a break, then 67 should have started immediately.

His/National's idea is to raise the age just as Jacinda's generation is nearing retirement!

He's talking through a hole in his head again.

Kate - it was raised on the baby boomers during their years from 60 to 65. Jacinda's generation will start later again, but even with the later start, will still be in retirement, and being paid super, longer than the typical baby boomer - its one of the simple calculations that demands the age keeps going up until life expectancy peaks.

The way I look at it, Grant, the baby boomers are a much larger in number cohort. As NZS is not pre-funded, the inequity arises where fewer current taxpayers (i.e., Jacinda's generation and younger) are paying for the super of a greater number of retirees than any future generation is likely to face. Hence, the 'hump' in costs falls on her generation and younger (and it's growing at an alarming rate yoy).

Therefore, if Bill English really wanted to create more intergenerational equity, the age would have been raised immediately - a means test would have been applied - his government would have continued contributions to the Cullen fund - and forward planned to begin to draw down on that fund as a means to get over the 'hump'.

Kiwisaver should provide more assistance/flexibility into the future where Jacinda's generation are concerned. That and the re-start on the Cullen Fund, in addition to perhaps someday doing the right thing and means testing the universal component of the current scheme.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but to me the boomer generation of politicians in NZ has failed miserably in solving the problem of providing for their own generational cohort's retirement.

You start with "the way I look at it" - at least you are looking.
There is the issue of variations in the working population - immigration could stop and Kiwis could move out in greater numbers - or on the other hand we can keep bringing in ever increasing numbers of immigrants preferably from 3rd world countries so they will stay.
And there is the issue of lifespan - so far quite simple medical changes have allowed more of us to live longer - for example the blood thinners and high blood pressure tablets I take but also improvements with cancer treatment. This may be about to become a much bigger problem - they are close to cracking the causes of aging (pity too late for me) but what will happen to pensions when say a select number of wealthy people can afford to extend their lifespan by say 50 years?
Conclusion - move to a system where superannuation is paid for when you work. Kiwisaver is a good system but inadequate for this task - even if it was compulsory some will simply be far far poorer than others.

Lapun - one size does not fit all. Think about all the people out there who are not in the workforce for reasons like disability, whether physical, psychological or medical. How would all the unpaid volunteers out there fit? I could make a huge list but would just ask, how do you intend to deal with them when they reach 65/67?

Sorry - didn't make myself clear. Each generation should pay for itself. The problem at present is young people believe they are paying my pension and I don't blame them for being angry. Of course when I was a worker I paid for the pensioners alive at that time.
Your point is the same point I would make about Kiwisaver. It is a good system but it does not solve pensions merely gives you a useful lump sum when you retire.
So just to be clear everyone aged say 21 should be paying into a single account that accumulates until they reach retirement age - everyone puts in up to their capability with the disabled putting in nothing and the rich a lot but when they take it out is is shared equally.

The point where things start to fall down is when it gets out of balance. We've always had a social democracy where folk have been looking after one another and contributing to this via tax. In return, the benefits of being part of that society are gained.

The problem now is that historic approaches that fostered housing affordability, access to education, healthcare etc. have been allowed to decline - and windfall has gone to those born at the right time, in the case of housing - while young people are still expected to fund the older Kiwis so their lifestyle isn't affected so adversely.

It's always been about balance and quid pro quo. It's just things are a bit out of kilter now.

We all agree that NZ ship is steady and sailing well .... but we cannot be certain that we are heading to the rocks cos we just doubt that Nat steering step could veare us away from it to better waters ... compare that with steering in the other direction and with more probability of losing steam when driving into stormy waters if we use up our strengths...

I almost choked when heard the name of BH came up among independent economists to assure us that the hole of 11.7B was not there ..!! BH ?? jesus!! was that a joke?

I did not like her stance on AUS and showing as if she was the next Margaret Thatcher or Helen Clark ... that comment on the hoof was silly, reckless, and uncalled for !!

Vision alone leads to nowhere !! , it could inspire and motivate some young inexperienced lads and guls, but when it comes to substance and actual solutions planning and implementation becomes a must ... and all that is left till after the election - where there is no guarantee that her vision would not be trimmed down by WP ....
Just before I get any silly remark on this , Nat has limited vision but seems to have a good plan to stay the course and preserve and generate more steam, and maybe that is their weakness in satisfying the hungry youth of NZ ... like that panelist who almost spill over himself !!:)

She did not budge on Taxes and Immigration numbers - she remained vague and I guess she will drag that as long as she can ...very weak and slippery on consolidating numbers and clarifying the (no plan) ...all we get when asked about these two subjects is Poverty and everyone Owning his own home - which is a big BS and she knows it ....

It is quite clear now that the aim is to make the 12% of NZers who generate over 80% of Tax, have a haircut and give more to the 88% who found themselves worse off in the last 5 years - Whether that is Just or Fair, remains debatable!! .... there is no other vision than that !! .... The reality is that Labour seems to agree with everything else National is doing and will just do it a bit differently albeit to distribute the country's wealth as they see it fit ... plus being behind the steering wheel for a while ...

I might start entertaining the thought of voting for WP ... but will need something stronger than a coffee to do that :) - pretty sure he won't go into a 3some or 4some!!

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"Nat has limited vision"

They seem to have very coherent vision.

5 million plus people, a tunnel, and 70,000 immigrants a year to build houses, pick fruit and drive trucks, plus house the homeless they created in Motels.

Chuck in a few bribes to boot.

Nice one.

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"....the 88% who found themselves worse off in the last 5 years..." you just shot yourself in your big red shoe... yes more people are worse off because of National. How is that strong and steady? More people getting poorer is not the sign of good governance. You really need to think your argument through before tirading. But other than thinking how you're going to bludge more money from your hard working tenants... oh wait... you're doing exactly what you are accusing Labour of going to do. Wonder what that says about you as person.... hmmm?

Please point out one time Bernard Hickey was found to be lying to support any partisan agenda.

While you are at it, please let us know what economists are prepared to put their reputation on the line backing Joyces smear.

Also remind me when the last election was that National did not make up lies about the opposition.

No we do not all agree.

a) You talk about "we all agree" at the very start, you are incorrect because I for 1 do not agree with you and looking at the election polls 45% (ish) also do not agree with.

b) BH is actually pretty solid in his analysis, backed up with others and even National now agree they got it mostly wrong on Labour's Math.

c) If you look at the so called top 12% the wealth they generate is, i) only for themselves, ii) it is parasitic ie much of what they do not hurts many NZers. iii) The middle income PAYE actually pays the bulk of tax as the top 12% who are not only parasitic dodge most tax so in reality a double whammy.

d) WP solves nothing but is more of the same. Taking the Green's and Labour together look like 45% on their own, and improving. Meanwhile to cross the line National + WP is looking pretty flaky so which ever way you look a 3 or 4 way coalition looks probable come the day after.

e) "plus being behind the steering wheel for a while" this from the accounts I have seen was why more than anything else HC lost after 3 terms, no reason this wont repeat for National.

f) Throw in the Jacinda effect, she is getting the votes as a "preferred PM".

All this adds up to an interesting night to get comfy in front of the TV.

The idiotic questions asked about Winston showed the lack of intelligence or bias from the interviewer. I would put money on Winston not being the slightest bit interested in taking any of those positions. The obvious positions are MP for Northland, Leader of his Party NZ First and being relied on for supply and demand. Far more powerful position and being able to get his Policies through. Compere it with the Maori party tenure!

Red red whine

We're doing songs?

How about "Blue Moon"?

You did mean for us to see in our mind's eye, an image of Nick Smith, sans pants, didn't you?

Regardless of political leanings, the retirement/pension question will need to be addressed. We looked at this in-depth in some classes I took recently, both NZ and around the world: the rate of coverage required + those expected to provide the coverage for this were trending in the wrong direction, i.e. unsustainable.

One of the many things that irks me about politics is ignoring the elephant in the room.

Too much of:
"Labour did this!"
"So, then National didn't do this!"
"Red is better than blue!"
"No, Green is better than all!"

It's frankly ridiculous, and due to the inherent tribalism, divided into left & right, then conquered, I daresay we'll find an easy solution in the right amount of time, before being forced into it. Particularly with the short-term nature of NZ politics.

Labour were wrong to introduce un-needed welfare for middle-income families, and create a social-welfare-pig in the python that led to today's broken families + uneducated masses.
National were wrong to preside over nine years of steady as she goes, ignoring poverty, homelessness, and immigration without a plan of how to incorporate the newcomers effectively & efficiently.
The Greens were wrong to stick by a fraudulent leader who took the mickey on the benefit, then watched as the thread unravelled further.
NZ First (Winnie) is wrong to point the finger at johnny foreigners, in a classic "it's not my fault, it's the foreigner because they're different!" mouth-breather sympathy ploy play.

We can all agree we want the best for NZ, we want to improve the country, and hopefully for everyone involved. Even if we differ on the ways to get there.

I don't have the answers, but I do see a lot of vitriol on both sides, and I largely think we should be ashamed of how easily we've been misled into thinking it's a binary decision/solution, and that the other side are enemies to be destroyed. Viewing things from an opposing perspective should be the first step.

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Hes not doing that at all, he wants less immigration. Hes happy if they have the right skills. Even the UK who has 60 million people are reducing immigration to 100K. Little old NZ are ramping it up.

Immigration is not bad its the sheer numbers entering thats the lunacy of it.

Im not sure if its as simple as left vs right. I voted National 2 times in a row. But now Im tired of paying money for housing that has escalated out of control, Im tired of being stuck in the traffic, Im tired of waiting in ques at the hospital and the airport, Im tired of Bill calling the young druggies, Im tired of homelessness, Im tired of the lies about money laundering and no forigners buying our property.

I'm assuming -- could be wrong -- that you speak about Winnie. I hope we can agree Winnie wants what most politicians want, power, and more of it. What his true intentions are only Winnie can know, so our time is not well-used hypothesising.

That being said, given NZ has so much space, it would be possible to have many more people. Yet, I agree with you, the manner in which we integrate people should be proactively managed.

What skills do we need? Where can we fill these skills from? Why can't we plan better for population growth, i.e. hospitals, schools, aged-person facilities? This has a flow-on effect to the construction industry, and various players in that industry. How big would that number be, then? Could be bigger, could be smaller.

Is there a way we can effectively manage this with greater transparency for all? Should NZ public have a say in this, through more modern, direct democracy methods, a la Switzerland? They vote on everything there. They voted not to have an extra week of holidays (!) - is that something NZ would have voted against? I don't know. Perhaps, perhaps not.

We're all tired of one thing or another, and we have more tools than ever to start to fix these problems. More transparency, more data, more ability to ignore the politicians blathering. It's a shame in a way, I guess many great minds would look at politics and see the mire for what it seems to be, and decide to pursue other careers.

Perhaps it's time for a Number 8 wire version 2.0 to be implemented. Not just making do with an intermediary, cheaper solution as we may have done in the past and starting to get realistic about our priorities as a country, both planning long-term and paying for a premium solution.

Would the public be furious if the government -- whichever flavour, I don't care -- laid out in clear detail the goal of a pilot program, and a fully-costed summary, which subsequently failed to achieve expectations? What if the pilot got 50% of the way there with clear lessons-learned?

Seems to be our politicians are too short-term in their thinking, and too many of them talk utter b*llocks to save face, protect themselves and keep on living the good life. Until we, the general public, are outraged enough to shake them from their relative slumber, I daresay it'll be more of the same.

Question Gower should have asked. After 18 years of failed WFF type subsidies what REAL changes will you make to get people of the government teat?
More of the same failed b's from both I.e vote no change

Thanks to waymad below - here is your answer;

http://www.labour.org.nz/workplacerelations

I am surprised that nobody has raised compulsory Kiwisaver as an issue, or have I missed something?
This would surely be complementary to preserving the 65 age retirement age.

Weirdly, that's the one thing that would get me to vote for one of the big parties. If either promised to keep kiwisaver (there is still no guarantee it will exist when I get to retirement age) - I would be voting for them in a heartbeat.

I could live with super kicking it at 67, or 70, or 75. Provided kiwisaver was still eligible to kick in at 65, or even 60.

Reality is - it's more than 30 years until I retire regardless. And I expect there will either be no NZ Super by the time I get there, or the entitlement age will be closer to 75 than 70 due to population demographics.

I don't mind paying my share of tax (I pay more than my fair share, given the wife and I don't have children by choice, and we can claim no benefits of any form from the government). But immigration and the retirement age really do my head in.

1. Kiwisaver should be compulsory, and should be guaranteed by the government to still exist.
2. They really need a referendum on immigration - how many people do NZers want here? For me, it's an absolute max at 5 million.
3. Whoever brings in policy to achieve point 1 and the immigration policy to match point 2 would get my vote until I retire.

1. Kiwisaver has the big advantage that the money is held by financial institutions (many foreign owned) not the government. It would be very difficult for any government to kill Kiwisaver. The way the money is invested is a strong protection against hyper-inflation.
2. Any rational public debate about immigration will be welcome. At the very least a discussion on how NZ has such an exception immigration rate and why it has not caused the genuine problems it has caused in the UK. Of course the troubles with immigration occur when there is a recession and you are laid off and your newcomer neighbour is employed. Population planning: I would vote for smaller not larger but to be fair NZ could support say 25million. Another issue with multi-culturalism is the reduction of trust in society. You may be willing to vote for higher taxes to pay for Kiwi pensions but if you identify primarily with an ethnic group then you are less likely to do so (ref the USA and its Tea party reduce tax movements).

Labour floated the idea of compulsory Kiwisaver last election;

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=1124...

But was shot down by the bank economists, e.g.,

"There is no question that to reduce the current account deficit we have to increase the national (not just household) savings rate. The problem is how do you do that. I'm not entirely convinced that compulsion does it, or that having the ability to move the contribution rate over the economic cycle would be particularly effective."

They really can be quite destructive where any changes to the status quo are suggested.

Yawn - more of the same old same old - promises promises.
Treat the symptoms but ignore the causes.
He said, she said.
Lets do one, Delivering New Zealand (to anyone who wants it)
Tired old partisan politics with a bit of green and black thrown in.
Surely there's a better way than replacing a whole bunch of nobodies with a new set of nobodies every few years to make decisions on our behalf.

FWIW - Jacinda owns Bill in social dynamics, is clearly the alpha personality and should be our representative. Pity she has to run the country too.

Interesting that the Labour labour-relations policy hasn't been led out for a trot around the park yet.

It's here. http://www.labour.org.nz/workplace_relations_policy

I remember the 70's quite well: but like clothing fashions, not so sure they suit things 40 years on.

Point is, waymad - it's those of you in that age group that remember the 70's so well that are holding the nation back from progressive workplace relations change based on your historical view of the world.

Your old world chants of 'reds under the bed' and 'dancing cossacks' is irrelevant today and into the future.

The one thing that will please me beyond anything else in this election will be to see the "I remember the 70's" doomsayers like you tossed aside as the stuck in the mud "old farts" that you are.

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/03/45897/anne-salmond-its-the-end-of-...

Don't worry yourself, waymad, the young ones have got this - it's their future not yours.

Its because of people like you that history ends up repeating itself over and over again. "Oh that's old stuff, it would never happen these days, the world has changed."

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Its taken 9 years for the government to have the books in a position where they can spend extra money on the things that really matter...and Labour is keen to 'have their go' and do the damage all over again. The surpluses in the Cullen years are a major smokescreen for the fact they were building a spending structure that totally didn't allow for events such as a GFC or earthquakes, which National had to deal with for them. The two approaches are crystal clear in that National wants to begin reducing debt so we can cope with the next crisis...Labour are pretty clear they don't believe in reducing debt.

straight from the neo-tard playbook - enjoy life on your conservative treadmill paying homage to your lords

The discussion relates to workforce relations (i.e., labour with a small 'l') policy.

Unsure what exactly you were talking about? I assume government debt/fiscal management? Here's the chart about how that's gone over the years;

http://www.interest.co.nz/Charts/Government/government-debt

I was talking about learning from history which you don't see any value in, the National vs Labour method of managing government books is a convenient example.

By the way the graph is a classic distortion of reality, due to the fact it doesn't start at zero, but also it makes the point about the debt that National had to borrow to survive the GFC (and more than survive, our economy is doing better than most), which is why they want to take the opportunity to start reducing it now - it is Labour (big L) that believes in not reducing the debt while there is opportunity to.

Yes great management like selling off the power companies.. Constantly talking about surpluses while forgetting about infrastructure under-investment due to record immigration.. Watching as NZ slowly goes backwards for the majority..

To be fair, 'historical view of the world' could be rephrased as experience.

If the circumstances are the same or largely similar to those in the past I don't see why we can't learn from them.

And it's everybody's future, no living group should be excluded just because they are old, or young, or female or of any particular race.

But, Ralph - the circumstances are not the same or even remotely similar to those in the past! The world, and New Zealand included, have never seen this level of debt. Financialization of the economy only started up in 1980 - it wasn't even an aspect of the past you are referring to;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financialization

The middle classes in the Western world were in a period of growing prosperity; a single income household was by far the norm during that 60/70s era..

The means of production and the method of exchange have all changed beyond recognition from that in the 60s and 70s. The quaint and sufficient parochialism of that era has been replaced by a need to understand and operate within the new and entirely different social order: globalism.

I don't mean to say that all over 60s don't get this - in fact I hope most do - and that the "old farts" among them are truly outnumbered.

Fair enough, wider economic circumstances are very different. That may (or may not) make labour relations policies that failed in the past work now. But that's not the argument you made.

You vilified a post because the poster was old.
You accused them of making chants they didn't make.
You inferred the poster had no part in the future.

I hate this election, it is bringing out the worst in everyone.

Thx for your kind words, Ralph. Getting a little light thrown on policy was the aim, but with heightened emotions, it's difficult to avoid the other thrown materials.....

I think the National government have bought the worst out of everyone....a foreign currency trader became a National hero and everyone decided that the idea was to do whats best for no.1, to avoid issues where ever possible, deny, dodge, divert, and not do whats best for society as a whole...

It's what happens when a paradigm shift gets underway. If I were you, I'd think of it positively from the perspective of living through it and witnessing that type of social change in motion. I recall it when growing up in the US when Richard Nixon went up against John Kennedy. Old guard vs new. There was a spirit in the air of the possibility of 'passing the baton' from prejudice and privilege to unity and equality. The US would be a much different place now had he lived to see his objectives through.

As I've posted before (but never tire of), the man who coined the term 'paradigm shift' in his thesis on changes in scientific worldviews, Thomas Kuhn, had this to say:

“Paradigm change is closely aligned to perceptual change and novelty emerges with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation” (Kuhn 1992, 64).

It's what happens when over enthusiastic idealism tramples people in its rush to save the world.

When you say 'tramples people', who are you referring to?

I mean in the sense that real specific persons who are demeaned, or vilified, or humiliated, or abused, or ignored, or otherwise marginalised. In extreme cases violence perpetrated on them, from bullying to death.

I mean the justification or veneration of such behaviours on idealistic grounds and with arguments or theories usually grounded in some claim to a higher morality or a higher moral ground. Ideas such as 'saving countries, people groups or even planets', 'the will of the people', 'doing it for their own good', 'for the good of humanity', 'it's a paradigm shift' or similar. I am sure you get the drift.

In common usage, Marx's belief that 'The end justifies the means.'

So how do you view the poor and homeless right now?

The poor as fellow travellers on the road. The homeless with immediate compassion so I can look in the mirror each morning.

"Every heart knows it own pain, and even in laughter the heart may ache." - It doesn't matter what you think you see on the outside, nobody gets out of life unscarred and humanity is common to the rich and the poor alike.

Are you sure you're not a left-wing supporter at heart?

Well Mr Observer, I believe mercy is more important than justice, but I also believe that an eye for an eye is often perfect justice.

I don't tolerate homelessness in my presence but feel laziness is cancerous to the soul.

I am in the top 1% of income but believe nothing that has any true value in life can be purchased with money.

I voted for Helen Clark because at that time she had the most qualified team for the job but voted for John Key for exactly the same reason.

I don't put my hope in windy words that politicians speak but believe words are more powerful than swords.

I believe Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was mining a rich vein of truth when he said;

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... an unuprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”

So I believe every time you create a label or a box (like left or right) and push me into it you make less of both you and of me.

Great answer Ralph - bravo!

P.S. I apologise, I now see I have assumed you were a Mr, but you could well be of the female sex.

My online opinions are gender neutral so no offence taken....

Ralph, 'the end justifies the means' is not Marxian philosophy - it's teleological ethics, often called consequentialism (see first paragraph);

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism

The other two key ethical schools of thought: Virtue ethics (from Aristotle) and deontological ethics (principally from Kant) - are those that Marx drew on in formulating his moral/social/philosophical doctrine;

This [Marxian] perspective is ethical in the sense that Marx completed Hegel’s attempt to synthesise Kant’s concept of freedom with the Aristotelian aim of fostering those forms of life that allow us to “excel at being human”

http://isj.org.uk/marxism-and-ethics/

In other words, a complete rejection of means/end rationality.

Interesting, thanks.

So far I have found it hard to agree with almost any quote or concept of Hobbes. I do not know why so much is hung on his opinion, he seems not to understand human nature, nor its condition.

Over enthusiastic Idealism or just straight-out wrong?
Perhaps a paradigm shift is finally occurring from post modernist delusion to something based on actual reality.
Jordon Peterson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf2nqmQIfxc

I felt the debate on particular ideals was secondary to my point, that ideals are no license to treat others poorly.

To be fair, this is a general comment and I did not mean to victimise Kate especially.

The worst of us is inside all of us.

Thank you Ralph and for your sublime reply to I O, Bravo indeed. .

I didn't feel victimised at all. I love this sort of discussion - it (ethics/moral philosophy) is one of the subjects I teach at uni.

At 3.33 in he claims that "the black community in the US is the 18th wealthiest nation in the world". And some time on from that he states that "conservatives should stop apologising for being conservative". He seems a very angry man.

Sorry Kate, with all respect, I don't understand your point/points. Care to elaborate.

That's what we're facing currently, with overenthusiastic idealism for "free market" that forgets how our society has functioned and supported its people over the last 150+ years.

The 70's were great - as were the 50's 60's and 80's - all downhill since then and unless someone can revolutionize energy production the downhill will continue.

People stood up for themselves and could afford to be locked out of work. They weren't shackled to the treadmill of neo-retarded living and pitted against each other for the crumbs on the table.

Jim Bolger 82, Helen Clark 67, John Key 56. With a few interlopers in between there is a regular shift to a new generation, so nothing new here. I'd say Bill English, if he wins on 23/9, has two years until National comes up with a refreshed line-up. It will be interesting to see what the next generation comes up with as policies. I hope to be semi-retired by then so there won't be worry about hands in my pockets.

Must Read by all - how media not calling off National bluffs

https://thestandard.org.nz/

Someone called Simon Stone posted the same link on FB. He has no friends. I'm not surprised.

Read it and weep on the 23/9. National will have the highest vote, helped by the zealots like him whom my 21 year old son already detests. Winston Peters will be a coalition partner.

No problem if Winston isn't made Finace Minister - make him Minister of Immigration!

Jacinda won the debate for me, English was embarrassing when he is put on the spot with unexpected questions simply couldn't come up with anything. Danced around the question about being honest.
Last minute help for the homeless and accusations around budget smacks of desperation ......change is on its way!!

Sadly its now going to be who takes on NZF that will get them into power. There is a real chance that Labour will get in however they will only get one term to prove all the "Vision" can be turned into reality. If we make no progress or even worse we go backwards then Labour will be obliterated for another 9 years.