The Prime Minister says new Labour leader David Cunliffe will
take voters from the Greens and put pressure on their leader
Russel Norman but won't challenge the Government.
John Key told TVNZ's Breakfast that Mr Cunliffe, who was
confirmed as the new leader yesterday, would be more
articulate in the debating chamber than his predecessor David
"There's no question David Cunliffe will be more articulate,
actually that will put quite a lot of pressure on Russel
Norman, who's been getting quite a lot of airtime as a sort
of de facto almost leader of the opposition," Mr Key said.
"So in a way it may change the split of Greens and Labour but
I don't think it will grow what is effectively now the far
Mr Key said Labour's leadership campaign had been focused on
talking to union leaders and members, who were "fighting the
battles of 20 and 30 years ago".
"We're going to go into an election campaign with Labour and
the Greens on the far left and National, which is basically
running orthodox economic policy, orthodox policy around
education and health and the advances we want.
"And I think for the bulk of New Zealanders who are kind of
in the middle of the bellcurve, very much want stable,
dependable, predictable policy, then I think they're going to
stay with the National Government."
Mr Key dismissed calls for a living wage of $18.40 an hour,
saying it would cost much more than claimed.
"That means $18.40 an hour for New Zealanders to earn as a
basic wage instead of $13.75 as a basic wage, okay, but he
also said that costs $20 to $30 million, actually it's $2.5
to $4 billion."
Mr Key also said a draft recommendation by the Commerce
Commission that copper broadband prices should be dropped by
25 per cent was "completely off the wall".
"No one really believes when you look at the legal
interpretation of that, that that's the right way," he said.
Mr Key said the recommendation would put a lot of pressure on
Chorus, and was a very narrow reading of the law.
The Commission sets pricing for copper broadband because
Chorus has a monopoly on the infrastructure.
He said the Commerce Commission would come out with a new
determination soon, which would then be released for
consultation. "Let's see what that actually looks like."