First off, I’d like to thank the Standard for the opportunity to communicate directly to the many members of our movement who read this blog. You play an important role in providing a platform and forum for the left in New Zealand.
I will lead us to victory in 2014 to rebuild New Zealand as a fair society where prosperity and opportunity are shared. I believe I am the only candidate who unite our party and deliver New Zealanders a clear, consistent and direct message that Labour’s values and policies will create a better life for them and their families.
I represent a new generation of leadership. It’s time to throw out the neo-liberal agenda and build a genuinely progressive vision for New Zealand. That’s what I offer. I will give our values a modern, strong and clear voice that connects with the lives of New Zealanders, and allows us to change our country for the better.
We should be proud of many things that the Clark government achieved, but the economic framework of that time has past. My government will not have a third way agenda, it will have a Labour agenda. Where we put people first. Where its not about the deals and vested interests of John Key, but where your hard work and the support provided by our collective endeavours define success.
That means my government will be hands on in creating jobs and opportunities. It also means my government will be prepared to put equality at the centre of our vision again. Growing inequality is the most urgent problem that our movement must address.
I will not let our children’s future be limited by poverty. When I am out door knocking and see children growing up in cold damp homes, getting sick and missing school, I know we must act. Every New Zealander is entitled to hope for a better tomorrow; to know that there is opportunity for them and their children and grandchildren to prosper.
I want to see us invest in our young people so that every single one gets a warm safe home, a clean environment to live in, a good school, and a doctor in the neighbourhood. The basics. We can’t do that with the old way, based on a failed neoliberal consensus. We can do it based on our values and a new generation of leadership.
We are a party that is based on the principles that everyone’s contribution should be valued, that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay, and that we have obligations to care for each other.
In my first 100 days as Prime Minister I will introduce legislation, developed with unions, to restore fairness to our workplaces. We will introduce Industry Standard Agreements, increase the minimum wage to $15, pay Government workers a living wage and repeal National’s employment relations changes like the 90 day law and restore protection for vulnerable workers.
Our clear goal must be full employment. This not about a few fixes here or there. I stand for genuine change that empowers all workers to get a fair deal no matter what industry they work in. All New Zealanders should have the opportunity of good, decent jobs.
I have demonstrated a life-long commitment to promoting education as the key to our potential. As a student leader I fought the introduction of the user pays tertiary education. During the Clark government I pushed for the interest-free student loan policy which ensured that thousands of young kiwis could have the opportunity of tertiary education, without the crushing burden of interest-bearing debt.
A free, high quality public education system is at the centre of my vision for education. Education which gives all New Zealanders a decent start and the opportunity of life-long learning. Charter schools and national standards, that serve no educational purpose, have no place in that vision.
I have been a Labour Party members since the late 1990s. I have served our party at all levels, from the branch to Helen Clark’s office. I have made the policy and I have made the tea. As Deputy Leader I have shown my strong commitment to a democratic Labour Party that empowers our members. I am proud of the organisational change process to democratise our Party. We are stronger for it.
I have had a leading role in bringing about the Policy Platform. It will be an enduring document that will give members a direct say in binding the caucus. That’s a big step forward and I am proud of my role in that process. I am committed to the Platform and to leading an inclusive, democratic party.
Norman Kirk said that New Zealanders want a job to do, a home to live in, someone to love, and something to hope for. That has always resonated with me and I want to give it a modern voice. A job, a home, a family and a future. That is what Labour can bring to every New Zealanders. A sense of hope and opportunity.
We can’t afford another term of a National government. I am the person to bring our team together and win. We have the best team pound for pound but we need to harness its potential.
I will stand up and fight for Labour values. I will take the fight to John Key. I have proven my ability to put him under pressure in Parliament, and I can do that across New Zealand.
I believe in Labour’s values. I believe they are New Zealand’s values. They are enduring, and I am committed to them. With your support I want to give them a modern voice so we can win in 2014 and build the New Zealand we need and build a nation of fairness, hope and opportunity for all.