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Phil Goff interviewed on TVNZ's Breakfast

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

TRANSCRIPT: Labour Leader, Phil Goff interviewed on TV ONE's Breakfast at 7:20am this morning the 1st November.

The full length video interview can also be seen on at,

PHIL GOFF interviewed by CORIN DANN

Corin: The 2011 election campaign is here well and truly with the leaders of our two main political parties going head to head on the first television debate last night. Well joining me is one of those leaders, Labour Leader, Phil Goff. Good morning Mr Goff. A pretty fiery debate last night, there was quite a bit of animosity between you two.

Phil: Oh look I really enjoy the debate. Animosity look I don't worry about personality politics, but I am pretty passionate about issues, and I am pretty passionate about when people say they are going to do something, they honour their promise, and very clearly on GST John Key hasn't.

Corin: But that's a pretty strong accusation to call the Prime Minister a liar.

Phil: Well what do you call it when somebody promises you one thing and does the opposite Corin.

Corin: His argument is that he made that promise on GST at a very different time, when we weren't aware of the trouble this economy was going through. He argues that it was to do with no raising GST to pay off the deficit. It's a neutral thing because he had the other taxcuts to balance it out.

Phil: You know the truth of that one Corin. He made that promise when we knew all of the facts about the global financial crisis, we were right in the middle of it. Just like he made the promise with weak tax cuts. We were well into the financial crisis there. That's when the crisis was really getting underway, and he also promised that you know he was gonna make big taxcuts for the wealthy. Well the last thing you do when you - he's borrowed 38 billion dollars, he's talking about me borrowing - he's borrowed 38 billion dollars, and a lot of that has been taxcuts for the top 10%. Now you don't do that in a crisis.

Corin: Yeah but he wouldn't not borrow that money though, because that money was essential to propping up this economy over the last two years.

Phil: Oh look he was really fortunate that Labour had left the government accounts in surplus. You know we'd paid back the debt, we'd done the responsible thing, saved for a rainy day.

Corin: Yeah but you blew the kitty come that last year into the election campaign.

Phil: The time that you spend is when you're going into a global financial crisis, a recession, otherwise you drive your economy into depression. The reason that we were able to do that was because we'd been such sound financial managers before that.

Corin: This economy was in recession before that, before the global financial crisis.

Phil: We had a drought remember, that was the only thing that differentiated New Zealand.

Corin: Let's talk about the asset sales. John Key made a good point last night. Air New Zealand a very good model, it's working very well, that is a mixed asset sale if you like. If you had a problem with that why didn't you buy the whole thing back?

Phil: Mixed ownership sale they're just weasel words, look it's asset sales, pure and simple. New Zealanders don't want to sell what we already own, our power companies, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand. Do we own all of Air New Zealand. No, we bought back most of Air New Zealand.

Corin: But the point is the model, the way in which Air New Zealand is working, works well for everybody doesn't it?

Phil: Look, Air New Zealand's a very successful carrier, it's our national flag carriers, why would you sell off shares in it when those shares are returning dividends to New Zealand, and that airline is representing this country individually. Why risk that airline having more and more shares fall into foreign investors' hands. It's a no brainer, New Zealanders don't want it, John Key's promising it, and the way that you stop that happening is by voting Labour.

Corin: The problem you guys have got is that the asset sales, they've booked those asset sales already, the funds, they've got six or seven billion in there, you've gotta find that six or seven billion and that's why?

Phil: You know the really interesting thing Corin? They've booked the returns from the asset sales, but they haven't booked the loss of dividends. That's a bit of creative accounting. You know that's phony accounting. Those assets last year returned us 900 million dollars.

Corin: That was a one off year.

Phil: Over time it's been three or four hundred million dollars regularly. When you sell the assets you lose the dividend stream. Look if you were a businessman and you were in some trouble, would you get out of that trouble by selling your most - your best performing business?

Corin: Maybe you'd take the risk or the idea that you want to grow those companies, that you want to see those companies thrive and get bigger and be more ambitious for New Zealand.

Phil: Oh look those power companies are doing really well. You paid for them, you as taxpayers paid for them. You and we own them. When you sell them you lose them forever, and you lose the dividend stream that goes with it. New Zealanders don't want that. The election choice is very clear, if you want to sell your assets vote for John Key. If you want to keep those assets New Zealand owned, vote for Phil Goff and Labour.

Corin: That's fair enough. Let's talk about that hole in the books that you are going to have, that John Key has called you a drunken sailor running around with the cheque book. How are you going to balance the books by the same time as National when you've got some big spending promises, the $5000 tax free, those sorts of things?

Phil: Every time I've come on this programme and we've announced something that we're gonna spend money on, for example the rail link, we've explained exactly how we're gonna do that. Reprioritise, no holiday highway, but inner city rail link. Research and development to grow the economy, because nobody's talked much about growing the economy. Research and development critical. That's paid for by the ETS on agriculture. We will produce our financial spreadsheet, we will get back into surplus at the same time as National, but we will still have our assets, and that's the real difference. Those assets will be still there returning dividends to New Zealanders.

Corin: But it is true, that you will, in the short term at the very least borrow more than National.

Phil: Yeah but if you're talking about borrowing why doesn't the National Party have the guts to take the hard decision that everybody knows they need to take when we've got double the number of people going into superannuation, into retirement, that's tens of billions of dollars that we're talking about. They won't front up and make the hard decisions, even though Treasury told them that GST will have to go up to 19% to pay for it.

Corin: Alright Phil Goff, Labour Leader, thank you very much for your time, we appreciate it.

Petra: Phil Goff we're getting a bit of feedback coming in and saying you're looking angry rather than passionate. What do you say to the people who interpret your passion as anger, what are you?

Phil: I'm very passionate about it. Why am I in politics? Because I want to see a better New Zealand. You know what I want to see? I want to see a New Zealand where my grandkids grow up in this country not in Australia, but 100,000 New Zealanders have left for Australia in the last three years under John Key.

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