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Labour Congress so far

Written By: - Date published: 11:33 am, May 14th, 2017 - 11 comments
Categories: grant robertson, jacinda ardern, labour - Tags: , ,

Speeches and policies from Congress so far.

Jacinda Ardern’s full speech is here, some extracts:

Jacinda Ardern: Labour Congress Speech

Kia ora koutuo katoa.

Nigel, Andrew, all of the Labour Family. It is my privilege to speak to you today. First and foremost as a fellow activist. And humbly, as your Deputy Leader.

I was born in Hamilton. My father was a policeman and my mother ran my school canteen. I started my schooling in Murupara before we all moved back to the Waikato, and to a small town called Morrinsville. I spent most of my younger years on a plot of land that was first an orchard, and then when my mum got sick from the sprays, was converted into a plot for sheep.

The first thing I ever drove was a large red massey Ferguson. The first thing I ever crashed was a large red massey Ferguson, straight into a nashi tree, another Nashi tree, and then into my father.

I eventually learnt to drive, to grade apples, to operate a cheery picker, and to dock lambs. Yes, I cared deeply about the world around me, and politics. But in my mind, that did not mean I would end up in politics. Especially when I had a bit of an issue with public speaking.

But perhaps a bigger hurdle than that, was the fact that no one in my peer group aspired to be a politician, or even followed politics. That part certainly hasn’t changed, and I worry that it has gotten worse.

We often talk about this phenomena. The idea that young people seem to be so put off by what we do here.

The statistics bear that out. Currently, only 65% of 18-24[1] year olds are on the electoral roll. And last election, of those young people who were enrolled, more than 126,000 didn’t show up[2]. That’s roughly the population of Hamilton, our country’s fourth largest city.

Many non-voters have reported to the Electoral Commission’s surveys that they simply can’t be bothered with politics and politicians. The number of people who feel this way in New Zealand has increased.

I don’t believe we are immune to the ructions we have seen internationally from those who have felt disempowered and disengaged with political institutions. If we are looking for what that disempowered, disengaged group looks like in New Zealand, I would argue that it is our next generation, it is our young people.

I am on the cusp of that generation. Children of the 80s and 90s have been labelled Generaton Y, and also the e- generation, given they will spend up to a third of their lives online. And while this generation may not have grown up through a depression, or a world war, social researchers have still determined them to be powerfully resilient.

Some of that might seem obvious – If you’d been subjected to a childhood of flouro Lycra and episodes of “Who’s the boss,” you’d be resilient, too! But it is much more than that.

Generation Y are the product of social breakdowns and two decades of rapid economic and global change. And what did that mean here in New Zealand? It meant that basically, they are the product of a time where WE, politics and politicians, told young people we didn’t owe them anything.

We sold their assets.

We told them their education wasn’t a public good anymore.

We traded on our environment while we polluted it for those who follow.

We stood by while home ownership amongst young people halved in a generation and is now the lowest it has been since 1951. [3]

Generation Y have been the ones to watch inequality rise, they have been the ones to watch poverty rise, and they will be the ones who’ll see it compound even further as those who have become those who inherit.

This generation may not be having the same experiences as generations past, but just because they are different, doesn’t make them indifferent.

In fact, I think this next generation are nothing short of remarkable.

In the face of crushing automation based insecurity, where multiple different careers will be the norm, and where competition is increasingly borderless, our workers of tomorrow are showing they are motivated by collaboration more than competition. They get job satisfaction out of purpose, not just wages. And they are perhaps more aware of the world and environment around them than any other generation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, party members and friends. I did not come into politics for the sport. I came to politics to make change for a generation who so richly deserves it, and who so desperately needs it.

Labour is a progressive party, a party driven by values, people and hope, we are the ones who can deliver for the next generation, and on the 23rd of September, that is exactly what we’ll do.

Thank you.share on twitter

Grant Robertson’s full speech:

Grant Robertson speech to Congress 2017


It is an honour and a privilege to stand before you at this critical point, not just in our electoral cycle, but for New Zealand.

At the election in September voters will face a choice between a government led by Andrew Little with a fresh approach to give every New Zealander a fair share in prosperity or the continuation of a tired government, out of touch and stuck in the past.

A choice between fairness and inclusion or deepening inequality and division.

When Andrew asked me to take on the Finance portfolio I was clear with him that I did not view the job as one that was just about spreadsheets and statistics, or share markets and currency movements.

Don’t get me wrong, those things matter. But they don’t matter as much as people.

It is time now for us in Labour to create a new vision for the economy. My driving ambition as the next Minister of Finance is to help create an economy with a purpose. Shared prosperity. It is time to focus on building wealth from the ground up.

And that starts with giving everyone security and opportunity. That is why the next Labour government will be relentless in getting the basics right- the building blocks of housing, education and health. In each of these areas we will take a bold and new path. Based on evidence and with a long term plan to ensure every New Zealander is secure in their knowledge that we have got their back.

These building blocks are not just important parts of our social fabric, but also make our economy work. Let’s just take Housing. Unless we have affordable, secure, warm, dry and safe housing for New Zealanders then they can not achieve their potential. Employers in Auckland are telling us that they are unable to find staff who can afford to live in the city. We also know that the low quality of our rental stock is making people sick, and spending time out of the workforce.

This is why Labour is committed to the biggest developments in housing since the first Labour government. Andrew will go into this in detail tomorrow, but secure, affordable and healthy housing is at the core our economic plans because through that we build strong and prosperous communities.

Building an economy with a purpose was also what lay behind our ground breaking Future of Work project. We must prepare ourselves now for a world of work that is changing more rapidly than ever before. I still fundamentally believe in the value of work. Not just for income but for all of the fulfilment and dignity it brings. As Minister of Finance I will re-assert Labour’s historic mission of full employment. In the first term of government we will lower unemployment to 4%.

If we boil down the big lesson of the Future of Work programme it is the central and present role of education and training as core to our current and future economic success. All the evidence suggests that the best indicator of a country’s economic success is its investment in education.

And I want to be clear. This is not a narrow view of education. Far from it. In fact what the Future of Work study told us was that more than ever we need a broad and wide-ranging education system – one that supports and encourages creativity, collaboration and problem solving. One where the humanities matter as much as science and technology.

And we are going to address the scariest number you will hear this year – the 90,000 15-24 year olds who are not in employment, education or training. Under Labour we want every young person earning or learning.

The challenge for the next Minister of Finance is to properly move our economy into the 21st century. To focus on lifting our productivity; building a Future of Work with sustainable, high paid jobs and delivering security and opportunity so every New Zealander gets to make choices about the lives for them and their families. I am up for meeting that challenge.

With your help, we will get New Zealand at its best. A fresh approach. An economy with a purpose. A fair share for all in prosperity. That is the Labour way.


Cold day but warm tone at Labour congress
Labour promises a nurse in every secondary school
‘Not only a life lost, but a community shattered’ – Jacinda Ardern’s heartfelt mental health plea
Labour tackles youth suicide, unemployment
Labour promises to knock 1 percent off unemployment
Labour to shut down ‘negative gearing’ tax break in crackdown on property investors
Labour vows to crackdown on property speculators
Labour to overhaul property investor tax loophole
Labour’s immigration debate ‘about policy, not race’
Labour’s Finance Spokesman Grant Robertson: ‘We can’t be scared to have a debate’

11 comments on “Labour Congress so far ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Jacinda’s speech is actually here.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    I use the word disease with purpose. Suicide is a nationwide disease. We have come a long way when it comes to discussing issues of mental health and well-being, but I still fear that we treat it as something that can be overcome with will power.

    No one would tell someone with heart disease, to pull it together, sort themselves out, or focus on the positive.

    Except that people do. Mostly in the US but we follow them pretty closely.

    There should be no politics in addressing an issue like this, there should only be one thing- the value we place on new Zealanders of all walks of life having a sense of belonging, a sense of support, and a sense of hope.

    That would require that everyone have access to the resources that they need to live a whole life and that would take those away from the rich and they aren’t going to give up that power.

  3. Incognito 3

    “An economy with a purpose” or “[A]n economy for a purpose”; subtle or big difference?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The economy has a purpose. For most economists and politicians that purpose seems to be to make a few people rich.

      Most other people don’t seem to realise that it has a purpose at all and, IMO, that purpose is: To provide everyone within a society with a reasonable living standard that fits within the sustainable means of that country.

      This cannot be done with capitalism as it’s goal is solely to make a few people rich and powerful and that means taking from everyone else.

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        Right, so it is crucial to explicitly define the purpose rather than to leave it to each and every individual to give it a specific meaning?

        • Draco T Bastard


        • Draco T Bastard

          The important thing about specifying a purpose for the economy is that it would allow us to measure how well it’s meeting that purpose. At the moment we do not have the measure to compare it with.

          • Incognito


            National had a similarly-vague and emotionally-appealing slogan Building a Brighter Future without specifying anything: how bright and when exactly; just some deliberately-vague notions IMO.

            I’d like to add that achieving some kind of purpose for the economy per se is and cannot be a measure of how well the Government or our society for that matter is doing; it is a measure of getting the basics right, the means to an end. It does not at all give an indication of what that “end” might be like or entail; it is open-ended or Utopian IMO.

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