Cunliffe backs Goff as Labour leader despite polls

Photo / Stuart Munro
Photo / Stuart Munro

Labour's finance spokesman David Cunliffe has thrown his weight in behind current leader Phil Goff, despite Goff's continued poor showing in preferred Prime Minister polls.

In a live chat with readers today, Cunliffe, who has been touted as a future party leader, was asked when he expected to take over the party.

"We are all backing our leader Phil who is doing a great job on this election," he responded. "That's what we are all focused on.

"We're a team and we're well led. We are all focussed on winning this election so that National can't sell New Zealand's future out. Let's get that job done."

Among other responses to readers' questions, Mr Cunliffe said he did not believe John Banks would win the Epsom seat - meaning they would fail to return to Parliament, a financial transaction tax is "in principal" a good policy idea and worth looking at, the party is dedicated to repealing the repeal of Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Act and removing National Standards from schools.

Cunliffe said "fundamental problems in our economy have gone unanswered" by the National Government, resulting in the credit downgrade.

"By contrast, we have a real plan to make positive change happen: [Capital Gains Tax] and universal Kiwisaver to lift savings and correct the tax bias in favour of property - combining to enrich capital flows for local business. Raising the super age while protecting the vulnerable in transition addresses the long term fiscal crunch.

"And our active economic development package will lift innovation, productivity and growth. NZ can again be one of the best places in the world to do business, but as the rating agencies point out, it will take more than just deregulation to achieve that. "

Cunliffe faced several questions from readers who believed Labour did not understand small business, as policies such as repealing the 90 day probation periods and increasing minimum wages were seen to unfairly target small businesses.

He said his wife runs a successful small business, and he spent five years himself in the private sector before entering Parliament.

"I've always worked my way through as a student and have done a wide range of jobs. As a local MP I'm in touch with small businesses throughout my electorate of New Lynn. I honestly believe our economic plan will help put the country to rights. Deregulation and hands off government has failed. NZ is poorer now than three years ago. We want government pushing on the scrum alongside kiwi business, not sitting on the sideline having a cocoa."

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