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THE NATION - Interviews with David Cunliffe, Jamie Whyte

THE NATION Transcripts - Interviews with David Cunliffe, Jamie Whyte


From Patrick Gower’s interview with David Cunliffe:

• Cunliffe admits error in attacking John Key for being “out of touch” because he’s rich and lives in a “leafy suburb.” “Look if I had my time again Paddy, honestly that would not be a line I would use. So fair cop, I learned from that… We’ve [Key and Cunliffe] both done bloody well and we both started from humble beginnings.”
• Saying he lives “a reasonably middle class existence” when he and his wife are both in the top two percent of earners “probably not my best line”, Cunliffe says for first time he took “a big pay cut” when he went into parliament.
Gower: “You’re rich yourself aren’t you?”
Cunliffe: “I think we’ve done well.”
• Cunliffe refuses to guarantee the Greens’ place in Labour-led government – “that depends on how the voters decide.”
• Withdraws promise by previous Labour leader David Shearer that Greens will get a proportionate share of Cabinet seats – “we’re different roosters, I’m not doing it that way” – and won’t discuss coalition deals before election.
• Cunliffe says Labour will look to buy back partially sold power companies “as soon as affordable.”
“We’ll look for some open market opportunities [to buy back assets] as they come and we will look to strengthen the crown’s net asset backing.”
• Doesn’t accept raising the age of Super to 67 is a dead policy, despite bottom-line opposition from New Zealand First and National.
• “I know I haven’t done everything right and I’m learning.”
• “The polls aren’t really what we would like them to be.”

From Simon Shepherd’s interview with Jamie Whyte:

• ACT leader says “yes” it’s logical that his support for legal incest means he’d also support legal polygamy, but it’s not ACT policy, and admits he was “a silly thing to do” to “get drawn in” to a “philosophical discussion” about incest.
• ACT to promote extending three strikes legislation to burglary.
Whyte suggests third strike could mean life imprisonment, but struggles to answer questions about how the policy would work.
“On this policy, we haven’t yet worked out the tariffs we would be in favour of for the crime but there will be a three strike policy”, and Whyte is happy for increased government spending to pay for it.

• Denies it’s a return to Rodney Hide-style populism: “being tough on crime is completely consistent with the free market, liberal kind of ideas of the ACT party.”
• Believes ACT can win Epsom by itself and doesn’t need a deal with National: “We haven’t met, we’ve had no explicit discussion about it because I don’t think a deal is required… there’s no need for us to do an explicit deal.”
• Whyte isn’t sure whether New Zealand government should own conservation estate: “On the whole we believe that conservation is best done by private ownership.”
• Whyte wouldn’t have voted against GCSB bill, unlike predecessor John Banks, and hopes he wouldn’t have buckled under pressure.
• Says when people think of ACT, “…a handful probably remember the original ideas when we got going and you’re right they probably think about the various scandals.”
• Whyte says “I laugh a little” when asked for his impression of potential coalition partner Colin Craig and despite past partnership believes Maori Party will be reluctant to work with ACT now, raising questions about future coalitions.

The Nation, 9.30-10.30am Saturdays on TV3, repeated Sunday 10:10am and available on demand. Supported by NZ On Air’s Platinum Fund.

www.3news.co.nz/TheNation

- ends -


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