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Andrew Little’s speech – the next four and a half months are a fight for a better New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 1:49 pm, May 14th, 2017 - 93 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, election 2017, labour, Politics - Tags:

Text of Andrew Little’s speech delivered today to the Labour Party Congress.

Facebook live feed is here.

Delegates, we have four and a half months ahead of us, and a great opportunity to give this country a fresh approach:

to make sure everyone has a decent place to live;
for hospitals that can treat everyone who turns up for care;
to give hope to young people looking for work;
to make our rivers clean again and take real action on climate change and the environment.
Delegates, the next four and a half months are a fight for a better New Zealand, and for everyone in this magnificent country of ours.

Delegates, we can do this. We must do this.

Thank you for devoting this weekend to the cause of Labour and contributing so much to this year’s election.

I acknowledge our President Nigel Haworth and our General Secretary and campaign manager Andrew Kirton. Thank you for the tremendous work you both do.

And, of course, I acknowledge my Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern.

Jacinda, thank you for the support you give me. Thank you for your speech yesterday and the passion with which you advocate for our children and young people. Thank you for the policy you launched yesterday of health teams in all our schools, which is just one of the ways we’ll bring a fresh approach to our neglected mental health services.

To all our MPs and candidates for Parliament – thank you; thank you for putting yourselves forward, either again or for the first time.

And – most important of all – to all of our dedicated activists and organisers who are going to sweep Labour to government on September 23rd. Thank you.

I also want to take a moment to thank the Labour MPs who are retiring from Parliament. All have served our party and our country with distinction.

To Phil Goff, David Shearer, David Cunliffe, Clayton Cosgrove, and Sue Moroney, thank you for your service to Labour and to New Zealand. We owe each of you an enormous debt.

I especially want to pay tribute to Annette King.

Thank you Annette, for everything you’ve done for everyone in this room, and for the people of New Zealand.

Annette has been our rock. She helped me lay the foundation for rebuilding the Party after the last election.

Thank you, Annette, for your lifetime of service to Labour. You are a titan of this great Labour movement.

Of course as current MPs retire, Labour has an impressive crop of new candidates ready to come to Parliament after the election. They’ll be fantastic MPs.

I’m especially proud of two things:

We’re going to bring at least nine new, amazingly talented women to Parliament as Labour MPs.

And, get this, after the election, at least 1 in 4 Labour MPs will be Māori.

We are going to have the largest representation of Māori MPs of any party, ever, in New Zealand politics.

You know, it was such a nice feeling to be introduced by Leigh before. She has sustained and supported me in challenging roles over many years, and I am hugely grateful.

I couldn’t do this job without her.

Leigh and I have been together for nineteen wonderful years. She’s my soulmate, and we have a son who is our pride and joy.

We’ve lived the typical Kiwi story in many ways.

Leigh and I met just after I started working. We settled down, bought a house, started a family, and got married – which is a very 21st century order in which to do things.

Many of you will have a similar kind of story to tell.

That first house we bought in 2000 cost us $315,000. That wasn’t a small amount of money for us, but it was manageable.

It got us a nice, three-bedroom starter home, built on a hillside in Wellington.

And, like any good Wellington house, it was up about a thousand steps!

For Leigh and me, being able to buy that first house gave us a measure of financial security and certainty. More importantly, Ii It gave us a sense of our own place.

It was the house we brought our baby boy home to.

I remember that time vividly. Preparing the baby room. And putting this precious bundle of humanity in his cot for the first time. This tiny little thing, in this ocean of sheets.

Of course, Cam’s nearly 6 foot tall now. He doesn’t fit in the cot anymore!

The story of our first home is a story told by thousands of Kiwi families every day.

A place to call home.

A place to raise your children.

The Kiwi dream.

It’s the story Labour wants for every Kiwi family.

But let me tell you something. We bought that house in 2000 for $315,000. Now, it would cost around $830,000. It’s gone up by half a million dollars in 17 years.

Its value has nearly tripled.

But here’s the thing: Families’ incomes haven’t tripled since 2000. Nowhere near.

That’s why housing is getting further and further out of reach.

New Zealand’s housing crisis – yes, crisis – is not just about out of control prices. It’s about the insurmountable barrier that many first home buyers now face. It’s about the rapid increase in rent that tenants are seeing now.

It’s about the disruption it is causing to the education of thousands of children.

It’s about the fact that what is happening with housing is now the main cause of growing inequality and growing poverty in New Zealand today.

You know, I was out door knocking in Mt Roskill last year with Michael Wood. It was a typical Kiwi street, modest family homes – sports gear in the front lawns and washing lines out the back.

I knocked on one door, a typical house, and I realised very quickly there were three families living there. Not one family – three! It wasn’t a big home; it was a modest home. I was gobsmacked by that.

Then, the next door I knocked on, on the same street, had the same thing. Multiple families crammed into a house designed for only one.

And it wasn’t just one or two houses on the street, it was house after house, all with families packed in.

Delegates, that’s not the New Zealand we want.

We can do better.

As Jacinda and I travel the country doing public meetings, housing is the number one issue people raise with us, every single place we go.

You know, last Friday, I was in Hamilton with Nanaia Mahuta, Jamie Strange and Brooke Loader. I met a woman there called Shirley, and her daughter.

She lives on Jebson Place, an area that was once a thriving state house community. But, she told me, the current government has gradually emptied out all the other houses.

Her community is gone. She showed me what is left – a bunch of broken down buildings, a haven for crime.

Shirley couldn’t understand it. Why have they left those houses empty and rotting in the middle of the housing crisis? She told me she just wants her community back. She had tears in her eyes.

So, I told her why I was there that day. I was announcing that Labour will tear down all those abandoned old buildings. And in their place we are going to build a community of 100 affordable KiwiBuild and state houses – a place for families, once again.

Well, you should have seen Shirley’s face. She was beaming from ear to ear.

Security, community, hope. That’s the difference we will make up and down this country by building those homes.

You know, that’s why I do what I do. That’s why I come to work every day. I do it because when I meet people like Shirley, or the people crammed into houses down that street in Mt Roskill, or even look at my own son, Cam and his mates, and wonder what the future holds for them, I know we can and must do better.

And I’m damned well determined to do something about it.

New Zealand urgently needs some fresh thinking on housing.

Every Kiwi family should have a place that they can call home.

And everyone should have a shot at owning their own place.

So here’s what we’re going to do.

The first thing is we will build homes that families can afford to buy.

We will lead the largest house building programme since Michael Joseph Savage carried that dining table into 12 Fife Lane.

We’ll use the money we get from selling the first bunch of houses at cost to build more homes and sell them. And we will keep on doing that – build, sell, build, sell – helping more and more and more families buy a place of their own.

But… building houses is just part of the answer. The other part is dealing with those things that jack up prices and put homes out of reach for so many.

If we want to make sure all Kiwi families get a fair shot – that when it comes to buying a home they have a level playing field – we’ve got to get the speculators out of the way.

We can’t let our homes be gambling chips anymore.

So there are three things we’re going to do to level the playing field:

First, we’ll ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses. Simple as that. We’ll do that in our first hundred days.

Second, we’ll make speculators who flip houses within five years pay tax on their profits.

Third, today I’m announcing Labour will close the tax loophole that allows speculators to claim taxpayer subsidies for their property portfolio.

Right now, speculators can take losses from their rentals and offset that against their personal income. It allows them to avoid paying tax.

This loophole is effectively a hand-out from taxpayers to speculators. It gives them an unfair advantage over Kiwi families.

So I’ll tell you.

We will close the loophole. It is over.

Families don’t deserve to have the odds stacked against them by their own government. They deserve a fair shot. With Labour that’s what they’ll have.

Now, let me be clear. This isn’t about the mum and dad investor who has bought a rental as a long-term investment. The vast majority of them don’t use this loophole. Those that do will have time to adjust.

This policy is about the big speculators who purchase property after property. It’s about those big time speculators who are taking tens of thousands of dollars a year in taxpayer subsidies as they hoover up house after house.

I say to people who would defend these loopholes – how can we as a society possibly defend handing out subsidies to property speculators when most young couples can’t afford to buy their first home.

You ask me whose side I’m on? It’s families. It’s first home buyers.

Removing the speculators’ tax loophole will save taxpayers $150m a year once fully implemented.

Now, Grant, before you get too excited about Treasury getting that money – I’ve got plans for it!

Today, I’m also announcing Labour will invest those savings into grants for home insulation and heating.

Homeowners and landlords will be able to get up to $2,000 towards the cost of upgrading insulation to modern standards or installing heating.

Over a decade, we’ll help make 600,000 Kiwi homes warmer, drier, and healthier.

This is a perfect complement to my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill that requires all rentals to be up to a standard where they are fit to live in.

40,000 kids a year go into hospital in New Zealand for illnesses related to living in cold, damp, mouldy homes. We’ve got to change that. We can do better.

And Labour will.

That’s the fresh, new approach we’ll bring to housing.

We will build affordable homes.

We will level the playing field.

We’ll make our homes healthy, warm and dry.

You know, National’s had nine years to tackle the housing crisis. And they have failed at every step.

I’m telling you now, where they’ve failed, we will succeed.

Why have we made getting housing right such a priority?

Because it is absolutely essential to New Zealanders’ sense of security and stability.

Home is about “our place.” It’s a place of celebration; a place of refuge. A launching pad to face the day’s adventures and challenges. It’s our landing spot to rest and get ready for the next day. It’s where life is lived. Where futures are dreamed.

Without a place to call your own, it’s hard to have any of these things. To thrive, to prosper, to stand on our own two feet, every New Zealander needs to have a place they can call theirs.

It is Labour’s mission to restore the foundation stone to strong families and strong communities – decent housing.

I’ve focused on housing so far today, but the same values that make housing such a priority underpin everything else Labour does.

We are putting people first.

That’s why we’ll fund our health system so people get the care they need, and not just the care they can afford.

That’s why Labour is facing up to the crisis of neglect in mental health.

And that’s why we’re going to have an education system that has what it needs, and that prepares our young people for the future of work.

Labour has so many fresh ideas for New Zealand.

We’ll ensure the Government buys Kiwi-made to keep work here and invest in regional infrastructure.

We’ll get young people off the dole and into jobs improving their communities and the environment. I am committed to lifting wages and improving work rights, especially for lower income workers.

We’ll make our rivers cleaner and tackle climate change.

Through all these policies and in every decision, Māori will be at the table. Māori aspiration sits at the core of Labour’s vision for New Zealand.

Because we are a progressive party – we stand for a better future for each generation; we think ahead; we invest in the future.

We are a party of great passion – for our people, for ideas that make this a more perfect country.

You know, the election in September will be about who’ll invest in New Zealand’s future. It’s not about the lolly scramble we’re seeing in this year’s Budget.

This election will be about who has the vision, the guts, and the plan to build a better New Zealand that puts people first.

The answer is: Labour does.

Only Labour will build the houses.

Only Labour will reverse the health cuts and boost funding for GP visits and mental health.

And only Labour will make tertiary education and training fees free for three years.

In Labour, we have the vision, we have the guts, and the plan.

I’m here because I believe that all our people should have a fair shot at the Kiwi Dream.

I believe that, just as Norman Kirk said so memorably, we should all have “Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for”.

I’m here because I believe that a government that puts people first is at the heart of making that vision a reality.

I’m here to help build a better New Zealand.

But, before we get that opportunity to help build that better New Zealand, we’ve had to build a better Labour Party.

We’ve had to build a party that is ready to win, to govern, to lead.

As I look out at this Congress, today, I know we have achieved that.

We’ve done it by working together.

We have built a dynamic, modern party.

We have packed out halls and pubs around the country with ordinary Kiwis, keen to hear our vision. Keen to support our plan.

We have built a strong relationship with the Green Party to show that there is a stable alternative government, ready to go.

And because of all that, we’ve been winning. In the local elections. In Mount Roskill. In Mount Albert.

You know, by the time of the Mt Albert by-election, National had stopped even bothering to show up!

Our Party is in amazing shape.

We have a fantastic caucus, amazing new candidates, a huge army of volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of Kiwis signed up as supporters.

Labour is ready to win in 2017.

This election is ours to win. All over the country, people are telling me they’re ready for a change.

To make that happen, we need much more than politicians on a stage.

Ours is a community movement. It’s powered by people like you.

Mums and Dads.

Students and teachers.

Workers and families.

You and me.

Our movement wins when we bring thousands of committed people with us.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

New Zealanders have a clear choice at this election.

We can choose a tired government that has run its course.

Or we can choose a new, positive vision for a better New Zealand.

This isn’t going to be an easy fight. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be tough.

I’ve faced tough fights before, and this is one fight we simply have to win.

Here’s my message to New Zealanders this year:

It’s time for a fresh team with energy and passion.

It’s time for new ideas on housing.

It’s time to give hope to our young people.

Vote for a better New Zealand.

Vote Labour.

Delegates, let’s do it.

93 comments on “Andrew Little’s speech – the next four and a half months are a fight for a better New Zealand”

  1. Ad 1

    Property and housing is Labour’s best shot at this.

    Good work, and good luck, Mr Little.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      No, I think Labour’s (and other Left parties) best shot would be to define how the purpose of the economy can be measured.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        People will vote for change if they can see a plan that is good for their lives and has a credible chance of working. Property is a core anxiety of much of the populace now. It’s the right fight to have about the right thing, at the right time.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          The problem being that property isn’t the solution but the problem.

          • Ad 1.1.1.1.1

            I know, property is theft right?

            All we have to do is shout that out and families wont have to bring up children in a car.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I know, property is theft right?

              Nope.

              Ownership of property encourages usury and that is theft.

              • Ad

                The campaign slogans are rolling off your tongue this evening.

                Little has it dead right, and it is precisely the Labour recipe from days of old. Plus he’s left space in the campaign to address rentals later.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Little has it dead right, and it is precisely the Labour recipe from days of old.

                  You may not have noticed but it didn’t work too well in the days of old either. Sure, it worked better than what came before but he’s not really talking about a major change from we have now and what we have now isn’t working.

                  Housing is the issue – not ownership. Ownership is the problem.

                  Plus he’s left space in the campaign to address rentals later.

                  Private rentals I assume? I truly doubt if he’s going to address the rentier capitalism that we have now.

                  • Ad

                    If you are looking for something as big as MIchael Joseph Savage’s programme, that’s exactly what Labour has in mind. Regulating landlords, and targeting their ability to write tax losses off, is a precise target against rentier capitalists. The top 2% of New Zealand are addicted to precisely this ability.

                    However what Andrew Little and Labour are not proposing is nationalizing the whole of private real estate in New Zealand. If that is the kind of “addressing” you are looking for, it will never be in this country.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’d be quite happy with MIchael Joseph Savage’s programme. It’s very similar to my Real Monetary Reform.

                      However what Andrew Little and Labour are not proposing is nationalizing the whole of private real estate in New Zealand.

                      Hey, did you know that nobody in NZ owns the land that their house is on?

                      It is a point that most people don’t seem to grok.

  2. Red 2

    Devine intervention will be required, god or Peters As PHIL Quin articulates labour have no show under angry Andy leadership, I suggest 2020 is a long shot unless Arden pushes labour back to the centre and reverses the alliance takeover of labour Election will Be alot of fun and wailing post election on about how dumb the voters are from the primitive left

    • Cinny 2.1

      Hiya’s Red, shame you are feeling so negative today, here have a Snickers.

      Guess what? The day after the spring equinox EVERYTHING will change, EVERYTHING.

      Looking forward to a link for the video of the next PM of NZ aka ALPHA ANDY delivering his speech, he’s an incredible public speaker, compelling, motivating and interesting. I guess that could be part of the reason that he has been speaking to packed venues up and down the country.

      All the best to you and yours Mr Little, I watched you on Q&A this morning, great interview. Looking forward to the leaders debates in September.

    • The Fairy Godmother 2.2

      Phil who? I have been involved in the Labour Party for some time and have never met the man. What would he know about NZ Labour?

      • The decrypter 2.2.1

        Probably about as much as james.

        • James 2.2.1.1

          I never I said I knew much about labour.

          My knowledge of them is being on the outside looking at them.

          • The decrypter 2.2.1.1.1

            Well if that’s the case james come with me and the likes of me into the inside and see what we see looking outwards. Give it a try, I think you will be surprised , possibly even a convert. I hav’nt given up hope on you like some others.

          • Johan 2.2.1.1.2

            James when you use the word “I” in one very short sentence, your character is open to scrutiny;-))

      • Anne 2.2.2

        Phil Quin fell foul of Labour a few years back. He came from the right-wing neo liberal sect (last one left in the Party) who supported Rogernomics. He has an almighty chip on his shoulder and grabs every opportunity to attack Labour with obsessive ferocity. He set himself up as a political commentator but no-one seems to take much notice of him anymore.

        Oh, and he’s a friend of the self-promoting former Labour politico who has a propensity for advancing the obvious in the mistaken belief she was ‘the first to think of it’ Blairite, Josie Pagani. Click on to this morning’s Q&A panel section for a good example of her [lack of] genius.

      • James 2.2.3

        I think you not knowing him shows your lack of knowledge- not his.

    • Nick 2.3

      A “centre” Labour is literally nothing. You lose the Left and gain nothing from the complacent Right.
      Why is there a Labour Party at all?
      Answer that EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU SPEAK, or you are wasting everyone’s time.

      Let the “middle people” if they exist, buy into that. Let them be inspired by that.
      Let them say “Oh yes! That is what it has always been to be a New Zealander; I always thought so!” or it isn’t worth trying to take power in the first place.

    • millsy 2.4

      Who cares what some latte drinking gay hipster has to say about Labour?

      • WILD KATIPO 2.4.1

        I can hear the screams of anguish of the benefactors of neo liberalism from here with this speech from Andrew Little. I cannot wait for the change in govt that’s coming this September.

        Like a healing balm on an inflamed and diseased limb.

  3. ankerawshark 3

    Went to hear the speech. Majorly impressed. Little came across as articulate, genuine and witty at times. Actually found it a very engaging speech.

    I think it was pitched just right

  4. Anne 4

    It reads extremely well. Anyone with an ounce of decency would not argue with any of it.

    • Incognito 4.1

      Yes, it reads well with a familiar ring to it.

      What I will argue with is the strong nostalgic sentiment that is channelled in this and other (previous) speeches. I suppose this part & parcel of election campaigns and politics particularly in times of upheaval & uncertainty such as these, but is it truly being honest? That said, my dissonant voice is likely to be ignored and/or rejected by many here.

      • Nick 4.1.1

        The only thing New Zealanders have to be proud of is their past.
        It still, potentially, has mobilizing power.

        • Incognito 4.1.1.1

          With so many migrants the number of “pasts” will be huge and they will be as diverse as the people having/carrying them. What kind of message is it supposed to send and to whom?

          • WILD KATIPO 4.1.1.1.1

            ” What kind of message is it supposed to send and to whom? ”

            Semantics. And the message it sends is to all those New Zealanders left out of Nationals ‘ brighter future’ – of which there are now scores of them.

            I welcome a Labour led govt this September.

            A properly functioning government at long last.

          • Nick 4.1.1.1.2

            Don’t be silly.
            Individuals have history, sure, but there is a widely accepted national institutional history of which the country – all the country, not just those with a genetic connection to the actors – are rightfully proud.

            From the impulse to establish a treaty with the indigenous population, if not it’s implementation, universal voting franchise and financial benefits for retired people, a country that was a world leader in egalitarian principles, our support for the UN and other trans-national equity bodies, our nuclear stand etc etc.

            No one is suggesting for a moment that New Zealand’s history is without blemish, and many of these articles of pride are almost virtue by circumstance or accident, even.

            But such is the mythology. It would be a mistake to imagine that a firmly held belief is without merit or consequence.

            We see ourselves as a moral and ethical little country even as the last vestiges of the egalitarian state are under more threat than ever before.

            And this self-image, in my view still has an enormous power to unite and direct the public will.

            • Incognito 4.1.1.1.2.1

              All good.

              How long do you think it’ll take before an immigrant feels (like a) Kiwi and proud of this country? It is a rhetorical question, of course.

              Most of us look for security, a sense of belonging, a desire & need for love, but we also look for a purpose, a meaningful existence. I think what you’re saying is that there might be such a thing as a ‘common’ or shared purpose, a nation-wide purpose. There are indeed some very interesting examples in history, not all positive; people tend to rally for and they tend to rally against …

  5. Tui 5

    typical speech by a cis male. i don’t care if he is the leader of the labour party! nothing in it for women, transgendered women, maori/transmaori.

    ~ tui

    • DoublePlusGood 5.1

      Having housing be affordable and healthy is very important for women, trans people and Māori.
      Little also touched briefly on health, mental health, education, job, wages and worker rights. These are all important issues for women, trans people and Māori.
      There’s really nothing in the speech that would justify attacking him for being a cis man.

      • Johan 5.1.1

        Great speech by Little along with a superb delivery. Those who disagree are probably the ones who wouldn’t vote Labour/Green anyway.

    • Well, nothing unless they live in a house (or want to), use the health system, pay taxes or have a job (or would like one). But sure, for however many trans Maori who don’t want any of those things, there was nothing in it at all. Call me optimistic, but I’m picking it’s not a huge proportion of the electorate.

    • Nick 5.3

      It needn’t be a lolly scramble for identity subsets.
      We are, presumably, all in this together.

    • ankerawshark 5.4

      Except Tui, if Labour do as well as they are polling more Maori and Women in their caucus than ever.

    • James 5.5

      Sorry (not being rude – genuine question) what is a transmaori? A trans person who happens to be Maori or something else.

      • Tui 5.5.1

        someone born pakeha, for example, but who now self-identifies as tangata whenua.

        ~ tui

        • marty mars 5.5.1.1

          imo they aren’t tangata whenua – they may be whānau but you can’t wish whakapapa – it is or isn’t.

        • millsy 5.5.1.2

          WTF?!

          Im pretty sure that if I rocked on up to the local marae and tried to make out I was Maori, I would be told where to go.

        • Psycho Milt 5.5.1.3

          someone born pakeha, for example, but who now self-identifies as tangata whenua.

          I like this concept. It makes me transyoung, transbeautiful and transsexy, not to mention a transgenius.

          • DoublePlusGood 5.5.1.3.1

            I suspect you do not know what the prefix ‘trans’ means…

            • Psycho Milt 5.5.1.3.1.1

              Apparently, it now just means self-identifying as something you’re not, if the quoted comment is anything to go by.

              • DoublePlusGood

                No, it means ‘opposite to’ or ‘moving from one state to another’.
                E.g. transalpine, transaction, transport, transcendant, or trans- in chemistry.
                Might not be what you were wanting out of your four neologisms.

                • Well, duh. It’s almost like Tui’s use of the prefix ‘trans’ has something wrong with it that commenters have picked up on, isn’t it?

    • You have said Little didn’t offer anything for this new group* you’ve coined at the end of your sentence – what did you want him to offer that group?

      * to me the phase is disrespectful to transgender people and Māori so I’ll not use it.

  6. Heather Grimwood 6

    Visually it was extremely good too Anne. Only a person who speaks from the heart can sound so natural while passionately powerful at same time. It certainly heartens me.

    • And this EXACTLY what we need. A leader who acts from the heart and conscience with creative pragmatism and cognitive reasoning .

      We are all now completely over those callous ideologically driven neo liberals who view people merely as ‘economic units’ to be used to create their wealth and then thrown out in the trash when they cannot see a fiscal reason for their existence anymore. It is time we threw THEM out into the trash.

  7. Nick 7

    The one thing we have on the Left is discipline.
    It’s not that Andrew Little is the ideal leader or his vision the ideal vision.
    It is just that he is the ONLY leader, so he will have to do.

    But everything anyone ever manages to do is a trade off between three poles: money, time and inspiration. The less you have of the one, the more you need of the others.

    As time gets short before the election and it is not clear that we can outspend a Government in survival mode, that is when inspiration: style, ideas, swagger, philosophy, outreach…are needed. “Le mot juste”, that telling phrase, something that turns a head or the better expresses a national sentiment… a concept that makes someone say :”Yes! That’s just what I was thinking!”

    Andrew Little is a trained lawyer. he is an experienced Union man. He is a tried and true Party President. He is a worthy and solid guy. But all his experience tells him: detail detail detail. What are the minutae of this situation. Discipline. Attention to detail. Big picture? What big picture? Knock heads together. Stick to the facts. Don’t get too flowery or get off the matter at hand.

    But I, as an always-Labour guy, am frustrated and infuriated that no one is giving me a vision of a better New Zealand.

    Poorer people doing better. Sure I’m all in on that. Housing for upwardly mobile young Aucklanders? Not so much, but if you have to. More money for this or that? Okay, if it helps. But none of that is going to swell the ranks by a single vote.
    In every single area of national life: foreign policy, prisons, schools, housing, work and income, whanau ora, tax policy, trade, the Left have inspiring answers and a view that can be transformative, but nothing will happen if no one comes along. It isn’t policy that will change the equations. It is outreach and big-concept. What is wrong with the status-quo? What will be better in a Labour World? (Not housing or any other single thing; a country where we live like we used to: watching out for each other; and proud of our contribution to the world!)
    What is needed is a single big-tent concept and it is this: National does not believe the Government can do anything. They spend just enough to quiet the population and not a penny more. $25 anyone? (“Now you can say no more about poverty, we’ve DONE poverty”). The environment? We have a “clean” water policy. Wade-able rivers and a predator-free New Zealand in the never-never. But God forbid we spend the money necessary to achieve those “ends”.

    The Left believe the Government can and must help. The Right believe in buying off interest groups and tricking voters into believing they are doing something. They take that attitude because at heart they believe the government neither can nor should do anything but facilitate business.

    If the Left can establish that concept they might just win.

    If not, the only hope is that National lose from exhaustion and boredom.

    Andrew Little is the guy we’ve got. So it is up to him to enunciate a vision. I’m sure he is getting advice from all sides, but it is up to him to take SOME of it.

  8. Wayne 8

    To quote the speech, the plan appears to be “build, sell, build, sell”

    Although the speech does not provide numbers to be built, I presume it is the 100,000 houses over the next ten years being a mixture of first home buyers and state rentals. It seems surprising in such a keynote speech, the numbers were not restated. It begs the question as to whether it still applies.

    i also see from Labours website Auckland stand alone houses will sell for $500,000 to $600,000. Not exactly cheap. They will be affordable for people whose family income is a bit above average but not for those on the average or under. Actually not hugely different to Nationals various hosing policies.

    I presume the major difference is a big expansion of state rentals, but by how much? Is it say 2,000 or 3,000 extra state rentals being built per year?

    The tax policies, well I guess not too many people will have big objections. I presume overseas buyers (who are aparently all described as speculators) will have to buy new build houses. Same policy as Australia.

    Incidentally what are the heath cuts that he is going to reverse. Heath spending has been growing at a significant rate for many years. For instance 25% more doctors than in 2008, presumably many being immigrants.

    And finally how do the various spending promises fit into the Labours Budget Responsibility Rules, keeping the core crown spending at 30% of GDP (rule 4).

    • Nick 8.1

      In my view, if people want a house and can’t afford to buy in Auckland, come to the provinces. The government can spend some dosh on improving infrastructure to make it easier to commute and set up businesses in non-Auckland New Zealand, just as they used to, and the smaller towns will be revitalised.

      An Auckland-or-bust policy is actually unpopular out of the Metropolis.

      Try thinking outside the AK-box.

      • Red 8.1.1

        Agree Nick the market will eventually lead to this

        • WILD KATIPO 8.1.1.1

          @ Red

          All the market has done so far under National is lead to a car being seen as the new luxury mobile apartment.

          Thank goodness Labour’s on to it because National sure as hell are not.

      • weka 8.1.2

        “if people want a house and can’t afford to buy in Auckland, come to the provinces.”

        All that does is replicate the problem elsewhere as Auckland money outspends local money.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        Come to the provinces and be even poorer.

        Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to be a winning slogan.

      • Molly 8.1.4

        Housing is not just a location. People are in Auckland because their jobs are, their extended family are, their life history is.

        Those who most vocally advocate a change of location, are often those who have made a change based on a higher paying job in a new location. Or who have their moving expenses paid, and have a higher disposable income that allows them to visit friends and family often.

        Auckland is not just a place for higher income earners. Many Aucklanders are struggling to make ends meet primarily because of the high cost of housing. If this is addressed, they can remain in their city of birth and retain those connections with community and family that are the cornerstone of a healthy society.

        And – given the amount of public money that has gone into Auckland’s infrastructure and amenities – and will continue to go – why would you leave those benefits to be enjoyed only by the well-heeled?

    • Anne 8.2

      Thanks for letting Little and co. know how National plan to attack Labour during the campaign period Wayne. Awfully good of you.

      • Red 8.2.1

        Hard questions that need answers Ann, I suggest oh we will set up a working committee and work it out later won’t hold

        • WILD KATIPO 8.2.1.1

          As opposed to 40,000 kids in poverty , family’s sleeping in cars and garages and Nationals solution of putting up family’s in expensive motels and plunging said family’s into debt they can never pay off.

          Yup. That’s a smart policy emanating from National ‘ brighter future’ , alright …

          I really don’t think the far right wing has a leg to stand on if it wants to take shots at Labour at this stage leading up to the September elections.

          Remember THIS , Red ? :

          Aroha of McGehan Close flees NZ | Stuff.co.nz
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10468960/Aroha-of-McGehan-Close-flees-NZ

      • Wayne 8.2.2

        Anne,
        Surely by now you must know my posts are personal. Political blogs that allow some debate are just one o my things, presumably as it is yours.
        Yes, I am on the conservative side of politics (mostly) so I tend to look at policies through that philosophical perspective. If others make similar points to mine that is coincidental but hardly surprising.

    • ankerawshark 8.3

      At primary health level there use to be 6 sessions of therapy funded through the PHO to everyone. National have cut this funding and now it is very difficult to get anyone counselling if they have depression or anxiety disorders.

      National didn’t include mental heatlh in one of the DHB’s health targets, so money has gone from there to ???????

      Also mental health acute wards closed because of lack of staff. Lack of staff because psychiatric nurses cannot afford to live in Auckland, unless they already own their own home………..not a cut to health as such, but one of the many ways the National Govt has impacted negatively on health provision.

      Many GP’s tell me (I work in the field, that they no longer bother referring patients for mental health treatment because they know they won’t be seen or given treatment. TRUST Me Wayne as someone on the frontline I know what I am talking about.

      Re Labour’s budget promises, I think that information is out there. Besides, Labour’s track record on financial management outshines Nationals’. I think you might know this.

      • WILD KATIPO 8.3.1

        Just where do all OUR tax dollars go and WHAT do National do with all OUR tax dollars ?

        Isn’t this the ‘ brighter future’ ?

        Why so much poverty and degraded social services?.. are they trying to make this like some sort of east European bloc country from the cold war era ?

    • So what, Wayne? Whatever imperfections you might find in Labour’s announcement, what actually matters is whether their proposals are better than National’s approach of pretending there’s no problem and doing their best to support their property speculator constituency – and in those relative terms, Labour’s proposals are way, way superior.

      • Nick K 8.4.1

        What proposal is way superior, Milt?

        • Psycho Milt 8.4.1.1

          1. The one to actually build some houses.
          2. The one to scrap negative gearing (and I say that as someone who benefits from it under National).
          3. The one to limit immigration numbers.
          4. The one to prevent foreign property speculators from buying NZ residential property.

          Come to think of it, all of those are pretty good in an absolute sense, let alone a relative one.

    • Poission 8.5

      The tax policies, well I guess not too many people will have big objections. I presume overseas buyers (who are aparently all described as speculators) will have to buy new build houses. Same policy as Australia.

      No they have hardened the rules,making it more difficult for foreign buyers(who apparently are described as frauds)

      http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/foreign-buyer-crackdown-as-new-identity-rules-applied-to-sydney-property-market-20160514-gov65h.html

      http://www.budget.gov.au/2017-18/content/glossies/factsheets/html/HA_16.htm

    • @ Wayne

      ” Although the speech does not provide numbers to be built, I presume it is the 100,000 houses over the next ten years being a mixture of first home buyers and state rentals. ”

      * Hence the policy “build, sell, build, sell”. Come on Wayne , – think of all the employment and injection into the domestic local economy that will provide – not to mention the ability to provide warm dry safe housing for family’s to prevent small kids from dying . Sure beats the hell out of family’s living in cars.

      ” i also see from Labours website Auckland stand alone houses will sell for $500,000 to $600,000. Not exactly cheap. They will be affordable for people whose family income is a bit above average but not for those on the average or under. Actually not hugely different to Nationals various hosing policies.”

      * Which will be consistent with a graduated ability for those family’s ability to afford them. Obviously.

      ” The tax policies, well I guess not too many people will have big objections. I presume overseas buyers (who are aparently all described as speculators) will have to buy new build houses. Same policy as Australia.”

      * Nothing wrong with that , mate.

      ” Incidentally what are the heath cuts that he is going to reverse. Heath spending has been growing at a significant rate for many years. ”

      * Has it ?,… then why do we have people dying with preventable third world diseases in cold damp moldy homes?… oh I forgot… because of Nationals virtually non existent housing policy’s.

      ” For instance 25% more doctors than in 2008, presumably many being immigrants.”

      * And just WHY is that , Wayne? ,… could it be the result of the neo liberal ‘deforms’ of the past ?.. and in particular the work of a grossly overpaid foreign consultant from England brought in to slash our health system to shreds by the name of Harold Titter?

      OR could it POSSIBLY have something more to do with thinking New Zealander medical staff leaving for Australia for better wages, lifestyle and conditions of work because of those neo liberal ‘deforms ‘, – so that we had to import immigrants ? – or was it more to do with the introduction of privatization of education and massive student fees placing medical students into huge debt before they could even think about BUYING a house ???

      • Wayne 8.6.1

        On doctor numbers. A 25% increase in eight years would be impossible from our medical schools even if everyone stayed in NZ

        • WILD KATIPO 8.6.1.1

          ” On doctor numbers. A 25% increase in eight years would be impossible from our medical schools even if everyone stayed in NZ”

          Not so much if so many of our medical staff hadn’t left for Australia more than a decade ago , though , now is it….

          And why did they leave again , Wayne?

        • DoublePlusGood 8.6.1.2

          Medschool intakes are just high to try and compensate for retiring baby boomers, otherwise the health service is buggered.

  9. Nick 9

    If you are going to build houses, where do rentals fit in?
    To buy an “affordable” $450,000 house is fine, but to house the upwardly mobile young people is not going to help any of those over-crowded families.

    I would say build with Government power and advantage and sell to the TOP of the market. Use the money to build rental accommodation. Force the speculators out of the rental market and low-end homes will come on the market of themselves. It also brings young people and money into deprived communities.

    If people don’t want to buy there, let them leave Auckland completely. Not a bad result, either. House prices would sag and the churn would be way better.

  10. Upnorth 10

    There is no talk about international trade no talk about support for businesses.

    It is trade and business that grows this country.

    I am very disappointed in this speech.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      It is trade and business that grows this country.

      No it’s not. In fact, it seems to me that those are what’s causing all the problems that we have.

      • WILD KATIPO 10.1.1

        And most certainly the excessive compulsion by the far right in only focusing almost exclusively on ‘ trade and business’ , – usually to the detriment of small businesses and definitely at the expense of those who are employed , ie workers.

  11. Kevin H 11

    How does inequality not rate as a NO1 issue in NZ
    Should Labour be driving the big debate on fresh water and also on Foreign Water Exporters. The issue is huge outside of the big cities.

  12. greg 12

    i am bit worried about the plan to sell houses at cost thats predatory pricing how can other developers compete and make a healthy profit its not a level playing field.

    • Andre 12.1

      Developers don’t seem very interested in building small basic starter homes. The money seems to be in McMansions and trendy tarted-up townhouses and apartments. So I don’t see why they should object to the government filling a need in a market they’re not interested in.

      • Graeme 12.1.1

        It’s pretty much a replay of what was done in the late 70’s to solve the same problem then. Government was primarily financier through State Advances and capitalising family benefit. Housing Corp ( or whatever it was then) did lot, but mainly rental I think. Private developers came on board to, Neil, Keith Hay and Universal were cranking out very basic houses in huge quantities as well as the era’s McMansions. I worked for Neil and it was a very efficient process with a lot of very basic houses being built very quickly and surprisingly well.

        • WILD KATIPO 12.1.1.1

          @ Graeme

          Indeed . I remember those days. I was a young fella back then , but I still remember news interviews with Keith Hay and the ads on TV. It struck me even as a 12-13 year old the man had a conscience, – as well as a good business head.

          They were good years even though Auckland has always seemed to suffer from a housing problem of various degrees,… but nothing as it is now under this inept National govt.

          • Graeme 12.1.1.1.1

            I’m not sure it’s that much “worse” now. The scale of it certainly is, Auckland is twice the population now. But there were 3 families to the house / garage then too, and some of those houses were way beyond what we call grotty now.

            The frustration of first home buyers was the same as housing price rises outstripped earning ability. It sounded very much like today.

            And the cause was the same as today, a National government building the economy, and their personal wealth, through very high migration levels without the investment in housing and infrastructure. Auckland had a mayor in the late 60’s who wanted to build today’s passenger rail system, National killed it and said roads would do.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      It’s really not the governments place to ensure that psychopaths can make a profit.

      • WILD KATIPO 12.2.1

        Yes,… the glory days are coming to an end. Now they will have to compete and EARN a living just like everybody else ,- and feel just what its like to have to operate on a REAL ‘ level playing field’ .

        Maybe a few might start to realize just how it feels to have to earn a bit less,… JUST like far too many New Zealanders have had to for the past 33 years.

        My heart bleeds buckets for them.

  13. James 13

    Interesting that didn’t mention Immigration at all.

    I wonder if he’s going to back out of his 10’s of thousands comments.

    Labour have not really given any direction on how they are going to do this (other than the student visas).

    I bet Angry Andy’s mouth wrote cheques his party couldn’t deliver when it comes to stopping 50,000 people coming into NZ.

    Would loved to be proved wrong.

    • Ed 13.1

      Angry Andy.
      Troll.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 13.2

      Key’s powerful speech on the urgent housing crisis

      The National Party’s snake oil merchants are not interested in fairness.

      With so many lies (tax cuts and havens for the rich, GST increases, public asset sales, Pike River, Afghanistan), and failures (the Flag, TPPA, housing and immigration, shitty water, declining public education and health standards), it’s time for a change.

      Key got it.

      • WILD KATIPO 13.2.1

        L0L ! – he most certainly did !

        What a coward! , still ,… I guess a weasel like him deserts the sinking ship and leaves it to the Double Dipper from Dipton to take another election defeat. Par for the course with the D. D . D , it seems.

        And , … might I say simply getting the mans just deserts for being the neo liberal fiscal architect for imposing all these sadistic austerity measures on all the rest of us. Poor man,… he just doesn’t realize the world has turned and the policy’s of Milton Freidman and the Mont Pelerin Society have been soundly rejected around the world.

  14. Wainwright 14

    Nice announcement and about bloody time Labour leaders started talking about real people instead of spreadsheets of Chinese surnames (extra nice that Grant R I hear tore that sorry bit of history to shreads in his speech)

    But that line about Maori is a bit random. Like it was droped in last minute and not really tied into the rest of the speech.

    • But on the bright side looking up – it does seem like all these predatory speculators are going to get their bonny comeuppance. Serves them right for for being such viscous snakes.

      And I’ll support any party that deals to that ilk.

      A Labour led government post September general elections.

      HAPPY DAYS.

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