A video from Labour leadership candidate Andrew Little. Transcript below.
You know, working with the union, as a lawyer, and then as an advocate and as the secretary, you’re dealing with people and the things that they do that make their lives good. What you earn, how you earn, how fairly you’re treated, those things make a big difference to people’s lives. And for the businesses that people are working for, too, the rules that they have to work under decide whether or not the business can succeed, or is a good business.
And I decided that rather than just working under the rules, I wanted to be part of setting the rules, and the policies, the things that make a big difference. And realising too that there are choices that as a country we can make, and the choices we make are whether everybody gets to benefit, or just a few. And I’m very clear, we’ve got to have laws and policies and rules that means that everybody gets a chance, to be treated properly, treated fairly, to be paid fairly, just a chance to get ahead, because that’s what New Zealand has always been built on.
The Labour Party has been there for New Zealand at its moments of biggest change, actually the moments of biggest challenge, so when in the first Labour Government, dealing with mass unemployment and people who were homeless, couldn’t get into a home, it was the Labour government of the time that made sure that people, not just got work but got meaningful work, and were fairly paid and fairly treated. That people got into homes that were safe and warm. And led us through World War Two, and was there carving out an independent foreign policy, all those things that have made a big difference. And the most recent Labour Government setting up things like KiwiSaver, so that people have a chance to put a bit aside for themselves for their retirement.
And we’re about to face some big changes, about work, and the future of work, and to be honest I don’t trust the current mob to do anything that’s going to look after people. Labour has always been the party for whom people have been at the front and centre of their decision-making and their policies. And that’s me, I want to make sure that Labour is in government at these crucial times, because if we’re not, people get left behind.
I’ve led big change in an organisation before, with the EPMU. I led it through some pretty significant change, from an old-style sort of regional union to a modern, nationwide, high-impact organisation that made a real difference. And actually, the challenges that the union faced ten or fifteen years ago are the issues that the Labour Party is facing now. And I think that I’ve got the personal skills to lead through change, deal with the ups and downs and the difficulties with it, but also to help us reconnect with a whole bunch of New Zealanders who have just gone off us.
You know, I want a New Zealand where everybody has a role to play, people can work and earn for themselves and provide for themselves. That we have, the way our economy is structured, the way we treat people, we have a great sense of fairness, and so that people are provided for. And for those people who can’t be in work, for reasons outside their control, which I think is going to be a bigger problem for all of us, that they are properly supported and looked after, and that we don’t stigmatize people who don’t fit these kind of old economic patterns that we’ve imposed on ourselves for so long.
So I want a country where people feel good about themselves, have a place, have a role to play, can look after themselves, can pursue their dreams, and we are peaceful and safe. That’s a good place to be.
Voting for the Labour leadership closes noon on Tuesday 18 November. Full information on the Labour Party website.