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Andrew Little’s Palmerston North Speech

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, October 26th, 2014 - 38 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour - Tags: , , , ,

Video and speech from the Palmerston North meet the candidates meeting

Tēnā koutou katoa.

Good evening everybody.  My name is Andrew Little and I want to begin first of all by thanking you all.  This has been a pretty tough year, for us a hard year and in the end a pretty disappointing result for us.

But it is a testament to your dedication and commitment and to the spirit of this great party that so soon after that election and the events of election night you are prepared to turn out to be part of this very important democratic process for this great party.  So thank you for doing that because this is important as my fellow leadership contenders have pointed out.

New Zealand’s values are Labour values.  They are the values of looking after each other, doing things together, solidarity you might say.  Making sure that no one is left out and no one is left behind.  That is what we stand for, that is what we have always stood for.

The truth about New Zealand today is that growing numbers are being left out and are being left behind.

We have a quarter of a million children living in poverty, living below the poverty line.  Turning up to school with empty bellies, and not being able to learn.  They are being left behind.  And we have situations in our workplaces now where growing numbers of working people are dependant on multiple jobs, part time jobs, low paid jobs, insecure jobs, just to make ends meet.  They are being left behind.

This is not the New Zealand that we ever expected and nor is it the New Zealand that we should accept and tolerate.

And we have another major challenge as well that we are about to face and this is about the future world of work.  Technology is rapidly going to change the nature of work, the availability of work, and what people do.

And if we are to confront that challenge as well as the ones that we have right now then we need a Government that takes work seriously.

It sits at the centre of so much of what people do.  The way people earn and whether or not people earn determines whether or not people can fulfil their dreams and their ambitions.

But for so many people they do not even have dreams any more.  Young people on reasonably good incomes who no longer aspire to owning their homes because it is just so far out of reach.  That’s the New Zealand we have got today.

There is only one political party in our political system that takes these issues seriously and actually works to ensure that people do get ahead, that they don’t get left behind, and that they don’t get left out.  And that is the New Zealand Labour Party, our party.  The party we worked so hard for this election, and the last election and the election before that.

And the truth is, we are not getting elected, we are not in government.  And because we are not in government we will not see those issues being properly addressed.

But if we want to be in Government the reality is that after three successive defeats and a still declining vote we have to make change.  We have to get our house into order.  We have to fix the machine.  Because it is not working.

There are two areas we need to address soon.  The first is about caucus’ cohesion.  We need to be communicating effectively and acting cohesively.

The other is about the party.  We need the party organisation to be the best it possibly can.  We need a party organisation where all parts of it, the voluntary part and the paid part are talking to each other and effectively.  Because we need to run a good party vote campaign in a way that we have not done in the past few elections.

And we need to harness the great resource and capability that are our affiliates.  Thirty or forty thousand working people are our affiliates.  But we don’t use them in a way that we could if we were an effective machine and an effective operation.

I am standing for the Labour Party Leadership for two principal reasons.  Firstly I have led significant change in a large organisation.  When I took over at the EPMU, our largest private sector union, we were an organisation in three parts.  Some people were not talking to each other.  The organisation was not coordinated. People just went off and did what they liked.

I made the organisation one organisation.  I gave it a single purpose that it organised to and worked under.  And I turned it into a high impact organisation.

I nurtured the talent that we had and I brought in new talent.  And I made it an organisation that was the envy of the Labour Movement and indeed of many others.

So I have done change.

The second reason I am seeking the Labour Party leadership is because of what drives me.  What has driven me in every job that I have had as a lawyer as a Union Leader and as an MP.

It is about justice.  In fact it is about injustice.  I cannot stand injustice.  And when I talk about injustice I am talking about when the powerful take advantage of the weak.  And we have a society and a country where increasingly we are allowing the powerful to take advantage of the weak, the economically powerful, the privileged taking advantage of those who don’t have that privilege and that power.

And it sticks in my craw and it is wrong and it is against every Labour principle that we all know.

And so I want to take that drive and my energy and turn Labour around and give it the same unifying single purpose the way that I did with the EPMU and give it to the Labour Party.

To nurture the talent and lets face it we have great talent in our caucus.  You only had to see those maiden speeches yesterday and seem y caucus colleagues to know that we have a huge depth of talent and use that to take us forward.

We have to regain New Zealand’s trust.  And we will do that when we are talking about New Zealanders’ issues, when we are standing alongside them helping them fulfil their ambitions.  When we are talking about not just what is wrong but also what is right.  If we want to fix child poverty, if we want to address the future world of work and the major challenges that brings to us we need to be in Government.

We need a leader to bring us there.  I am that leader.

If other leadership candidates want to have speech transcripts and video posted drop us a line.

38 comments on “Andrew Little’s Palmerston North Speech”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Can I repeat that if other candidates want to provide video and/or speech transcripts then one of the Authors will I am sure be willing to put them up in a post. Nanaia Mahuta has today provided a guest post and we are working out the best time for her to be available to answer questions.

  2. You stood in the House and led your party in opposing the right of prisoners to seek compensation. Could you clarify how you reconcile that position with the statement “I cannot stand injustice”?

    • chris73 2.1

      He did that? Good on him, maybe he is the right man to lead Labour.

    • mickysavage 2.2

      Greetings Giovanni. Are you referring to the Prisoner and Victims Claims Amendment Bill past last year. It changed a law that was padded by the Clark Government in 2005 before Little was in power. To be honest I thought the original law to be ham fisted. Part of the law had the same effect as a well designed Injunction. The other part placed some restriction on claims for compensation and required any payment to be held pending payment of outstanding fines, legal aid and creditors who applied.

      Little as Justice Spokesperson would have to front the issue. From what I understand Caucus supported the bill and since many of them had supported the original Act they had no choice.

      • “Having no choice” to support an horrid authoritarian law is not something that smacks of leadership. Let alone of all those values that supposedly Labour “has always had”.

        • Tracey 2.2.1.1

          but…but…but middle nz!

          • Colonial Rawshark 2.2.1.1.1

            The way we imprison Kiwis, the massive numbers we put inside, and how we treat these Kiwis once they (almost inevitably) return to our communities. SUCKS. And watch for the encroachment of the US and UK style prison industrial complex.

            Put simply, a brown male under 30 is a liability to society unemployed, but in prison, becomes a massive income generating asset to the private sector.

            Make no mistake, this is a kind of new-age slavery.

            Labour’s one saving grace in this situation is that they are going to return the vote to prisoners. But any pandering to the Garth McVicar crowd has to end.

            • Giovanni Tiso 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Their policy going into the last election wasn’t to return the vote to prisoners, but to return the vote to prisoners serving a sentence of less than three years.

              For some reason, participating in democracy is not viewed by them as part of the rehabilitation process it seems.

              • bruhaha

                Three years lines up with the rules for Kiwis voting overseas doesn’t it? I’d guess it’s about giving the vote to people that will participate in the society they vote for.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Ah yes, that’s right. Thanks for the clarification.

    • Murray Rawshark 2.3

      In Brazil the extreme right have a saying: Direitos humanos para humanos direitos. You can probably get the meaning, but for others, it’s basically: Human rights for right thinking/acting humans. Many in the Labour Party, with Goff and Shearer being prime examples, take this approach. Economically they pretty much all take it, what with WFF not applying to unworthy beneficiaries.

  3. karol 3

    I liked the structure of Little’s speech. He started with what the Labour Party needs now. Then he gave his credentials for leading that process. He ended with a fairly sincere sounding statement about his commitment to social justice.

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      I have not met Andrew so this is an unprejudiced view.

      I was impressed. The speech was “tight” and focused. No b.s. generalizations.

      I intend to meet Andrew on Labour Day at Servo Cafe, 450 Old Te Atatu Rd. from 2:30 pm. I also plan to meet David Parker at Bastion Point from 10 a.m.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1

        Ask Parker about the very serious depletion of fossil fuel affordability and availability especially oil, over the next 20-30 years. And what NZ needs to do to get ready for it.

  4. Whateva next? 4

    So easy to keep whipping these guys who have the courage to put themselves in the spotlight, perhaps those who want to pick out parts of the speech could put their money where their mouth is and go into politics themselves? Could they do a better job? Or should we simply hear what each contender has to say, decide who is best suited ( knowing that none are perfect) and vote? Then accept that we are stronger together than divided, so actually support to start creating a decent society again.
    The alternative is National.

  5. Atiawa 5

    The labour movement also requires change. Andrew Little turned the EPMU into a national organisation and the next step is to begin unifying the union movement. The majority of unionised workers won’t care which union they belong to, however they will want a movement that speaks & listens to them, organises and educates them & advocates on their behalf with a set of common goals. Unions should be in the first instance sharing their resources to enable effective research, legal, education and membership support teams. They must organise on an industry basis and have a physical presence in communities and work locations close to their members and potential members. Unions need to focus more on what they can do, not what they can’t do. Just as the Labour party is unable to affect change sitting on the opposition benches, unions are unable to change the draconian right-wing actions of the current government with a “business as usual” approach.
    If business were able to create monopolies without the scrutiny of the Commerce & Securities Commission they would not hesitate to do so. Capitalism by its nature requires competition to exist, yet,a competition’s outcome is a winner and many losers.
    A unified workers movement at least gives a chance for more winners and fewer losers, and there are no impediments for that not to occur other than ego’s and dung heap protection.

    • Chooky 5.1

      +100…unionisation of NZ workers is not encouraged in many work places and when this is combined with non New Zealand companies owning the employment …it makes NZ workers very vulnerable…especially if they are not allowed collective bargaining and action …they can be kept at the lowest possible rates…lower than even equivalent jobs in the same company overseas, where workers have more rights and higher pay rates

  6. KJS0ne 6

    One thing I am getting really sick of is this idea within element of Labour that it is the ONLY party that takes the issues of employment, poverty, and education seriously. It belies the fact that the Greens for example campaigned on child poverty and had extremely comprehensive policies in all the aforementioned areas. It’s that arrogance that turned no small amount of voters off, and as someone who was considering putting Andrew Little first, I am now thinking of taking him down a notch in my vote.

    Labour will not govern alone, so these guys need to stop the pretensions of being the only party with a moral compass.

    • Atiawa 6.1

      Andrew Little is not standing for the leadership of the Greens! His chances in New Plymouth were not aided by the closeness of association between Labour & the Greens. New Plymouth is an oil & gas town – Energy City -.
      Labours policies are not theirs exclusively, however make no mistake, their association with the Greens did nothing to enhance their chance of victory.
      The Greens need to put their energies into core “Green Issues” and if they don’t, Labour should continue to put distance between them.
      Any review of the Labour Party’s election performance, rightly or wrongly, requires this understanding.

      • KJS0ne 6.1.1

        I’m sorry but what I’m getting from you is more of the same arrogance, that I’m taking issue with: That the Greens should be defined entirely by their environmentalism and leave any ideas about Child Poverty, Education and well, anything involving social issues to the one and only party fit for thinking, talking and deciding policy about social issues – Labour.

        So when Andrew Little says Labour is the only party that takes these issues seriously and the only party that actually works to achieve those ends on the one hand, and claims the need to work with other party’s on the other, I am left feeling like “working with” is a continuation of the platitudes that Labour have expressed towards other left parties over the years. Giving lip service to left wing solidarity while continuing to believe in the absolute primacy of the one true party. This was evident too in the amendments to the Labour signage across the country in the last weeks of the campaign: “ONLY a party vote Labour will change the Government.”

        New Zealanders do not like arrogance, never have, never will. And Labour’s false belief in its monopoly over morality and social policy is just that, arrogance. How low does the party vote have to sink before this ‘sinks in’?

        • Atiawa 6.1.1.1

          I am aware of plenty of previous/potential Labour voters who because of the possibility of a Labour coalition with the Greens gave their vote to either National or NZ First. Why?
          Are you suggesting it was Labours arrogance that saw that vote flee elsewhere?
          The Greens have plenty to be passionate about without attempting to poach their potential coalitions partners vote.
          Labours focus has to be about winning another 25% of the party vote if it is to become government. They can’t be concerned about offending the Greens.
          Oh, and by the way New Zealanders must love arrogance. They just voted into power one of our most arrogant governments ever.

          • karol 6.1.1.1.1

            “poaching” their vote?

            What a strange view of democracy. All parties need to earn the votes they get. No party can assume some people’s vote belongs to them of right.

            If people choose to vote NZF or National rather than Labour, they probably aren’t committed to left wing values.

            The Greens have always had a social justice as part of their values. It’s not possible to split the environment and a sustainable society from social justice issues.

            It’s good to see that Labour in recent years have been developing stronger environmental polices. I don’t see that as an attempt to “poach” the Greens’ vote.

            In fact, Labour have recently developed other policies that were first taken up by the Greens.eg CGT.

            • Tracey 6.1.1.1.1.1

              people first.

              green party slogan at some point i think.

              encapsulates many things including the environment

          • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1.2

            Labour has left a lot of voters for parties further to the left than itself to pick up. And pick them up they will.

            By the way, National gets away with acting arrogantly because they know how to do it and communicate it as strength and direction. Labour doesn’t. It communicates it as weakness, divided purpose, and a cultural inability to understand MMP and cultivate allies.

            Labours focus has to be about winning another 25% of the party vote if it is to become government.

            That’s exactly what I mean. Why on earth do you think Labour needs 50% to lead a government. This is not FPP. It hasn’t been for almost 20 years!!!

          • KJS0ne 6.1.1.1.3

            Plenty of previous Labour voters giving their votes to National because they were scared of a Labour/Greens minority coalition?

            I think you’re blowing hot air. I can say that Jennifer Lawrence flew in and visited me in the night, but unless I give evidence to back it up, it’s nothing more than hearsay. I can tell you that I have an uncle who’s an ardent National voting farmer, who has much less antipathy towards the Greens than he does Labour, but it doesn’t back up what I’m saying in the least because A) it’s a sample size of sweet f.a. and B) I could also be making it up (I’m not, but how would you know). Furthermore, leaving tax aside, Greens economic policy was in many ways more centrist than Labour (higher and faster debt repayment, lowering company tax rate etc). And few are arguing which side Russell Norman’s bread is buttered on (it’s the right side of left). I just don’t see that argument having much of a logical basis.

            But if you feel it, come out and clarify: Do you think the Greens are (partially) responsible for Labour election loss? Because that’s what you seem to be implying.

            +1 to everything Karol and CV said.

            • Atiawa 6.1.1.1.3.1

              I’m not unsupportive of Greens policy and I’m not a casual observer of the political landscape either. I attended four candidates meetings in New Plymouth and spent a number of hours debating and listening to other peoples point of view.
              The general narrative was the reality of Labour requiring the Greens and other parties to form a government and that the Greens environmental policies were a danger to the local & national economy.
              Little was head & shoulders above Young, Roberts and the other local candidates during those candidates meetings. Both Young & Roberts often deferred to his answers to questions as if they were their own. Amongst other things he knocked on countless doors, attended school & community events, advocated on behalf of electors when Young wouldn’t/couldn’t, he had a personal view on issues such as abortion which he was unafraid to share and had a weekly column in a community newspaper. Few other first time MP’s have risen as rapidly within a major party as he did.
              Yet he lost by double the margin he was defeated by in 2011. Why?
              Yes, it was the appeal of his leader, yes it was Dirty Politics, yes it was the ample German, yes it was the CGT, yes it was lifting the retirement age, yes it was a pretty lack-lustre national campaign, yes it was a supposedly divided caucus – and yes it was also the scaremongering associated with a Greens/Labour coalition. And who knows it might have been about Kiwis not prepared to listen to an Aussie voice telling us about our exploitation industries when his own country has done very well from exporting its mineral wealth to other peoples economies. All I know is that working people in this area weren’t interested in voting for a potential government that was a threat to their current jobs associated with farming & the energy extraction industry.
              My sister and brother in law are free-hold dairy farmers and have always voted Labour, well so they tell me.

  7. Chooky 7

    +100 …KJSOne…. “Labour will not govern alone, so these guys need to stop the pretensions of being the only party with a moral compass”.

    • whateva next? 7.1

      curious, I heard Andrew say loud and clearly that Labour need to work with other parties on the left? No hint of arrogance.

      • wekarawshark 7.1.1

        He should stop telling outright lies that negate future coalition partners then eg,

        “There is only one political party in our political system that takes these issues seriously and actually works to ensure that people do get ahead, that they don’t get left behind, and that they don’t get left out. And that is the New Zealand Labour Party, our party.”

        btw, Little has ruled out working with Mana, IMP. That just leaves the Greens, so you might want to ammend your comment so it reflects the singular rather than the plural.

        • Colonial Rawshark 7.1.1.1

          The ruling out of Mana/IMP is a sop to the conservative white middle classes.

          • greywarshark 7.1.1.1.1

            It’s time for Labour to point out that Maori business nous and profit is the saving of the ordinary man and woman. The vitality in business they put in is getting tremendous.

            However there has to be a balance that when a business gets over a certain size, it can’t claim tax-free status. Maori and Sanatarium, they make lots, put a marginal tax on successful entities of whatever type after a certain turnover, applying to Salvation Army,. Sanitarium, Southern Cross. Let them put some of that dough back into everybody’s pockets, not just into top ranking CEOs.

            An allowance for new developments would be made though, so they could start new ventures, develop new ideas. But really there will soon be no large real charitable charities left in this country.

        • whateva next? 7.1.1.2

          NZF are in there, so plural stays, but hear what you say

  8. Bill 8

    New Zealand’s values are Labour values. They are the values of looking after each other, doing things together, solidarity you might say.

    Unfortunately, here’s a lot of this rhetoric flying around in Labour speeches. Thing is, any expression of laudable attitudes revolving around some nebulous concept of egalitarianism, just aren’t a part of most peoples’ lives any more. As such, such talk is somewhat indicative of the very disconnect Labour is seeking to overcome.

    If the same things (shades of solidarity, mutual aid etc) were put out there as Labour values without trying to legitimise or underscore them by appealing to ‘NZ values’, then people would, in my mind, ‘buy in’ and occupy that space Labour seems to believe is already occupied.

    Meanwhile, to suggest that people have already bought in, is to deny day to day reality as experienced by most people. Those values that Labour would have us believe we all have and seek to express, were ripped away and trashed by successive governments touting the wonders of a neo-classical economic model that pitted all against all.

  9. Oan 9

    So why are we only talking about Little? Is he our knight in shining armour? I was at the PN husting and was not particularly impressed. I found it interesting that only Parker spoke of equality of opportunity AND equality of outcomes and a more egalitarian society.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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