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Labour Conference 2012 policy remits

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, November 18th, 2012 - 25 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

The policy remits this morning. There isn’t a lot of time. However they are prioritized

Passed Remit 1: The future of privatized state assets
THAT Labour in-principle supports the restoration of 100% public ownership of any assets part-privatised by the current government, and will develop a clearly articulated approach towards this objective that takes into account different options for achieving the objective, available resources, fiscal priorities, and the strategic importance of each asset.

Passed: Remit 10: Lowering the voting age, Civics
THAT Labour in Government commit to reducing the voting age to 16 alongside the embedding of a strong, compulsory civics education system in the national curriculum

The debate was pretty impassioned. Charles Chavel and other speakers were probably the most effective when they were talking about the falling levels of voter participation. The conservative agenda is to put barriers into the way of citizens to vote. Getting kids both learning civics (which is not part of our kid training) and doing it as early as possible is important..

Failed Remit 12: A New Zealand republic.
THAT the Labour party support the declaration of New Zealand as a republic as soon as possible.

Opps went to a card vote. 210 vs 226
The debate has been interesting primarily because there wasn’t a single speaker that I heard speaking up for the monarchy. Just concerned about timing

Passed: Remit 16: The future of public education
THAT Labour notes the flexibility already offered by our public education system in delivering a diverse and high-quality school system governed by local communities, and so agrees that:
a) National’s “Charter Schools” will not add to this system due to the lack of mandated teacher quality and curriculum coverage, and pledges to end the Charter Schools experiment; and
b) public-private partnerships that do not offer any advantages to the public education system will be ended; and
c) Labour will phase out public funding to all private schools
Amended to add
d) Labour will remove National Standard.

No debate except on d, and that was only about if it was already in the policy.

Passed: Remit 43: Hillside Workshops and procurement
This has been extensively rewritten in workshops. Essentially that Hillside workshop should be re-established.

Having a group of workers from Hillside certainly helped.

Passed: Remit 35: Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement
THAT in light of the Labour Party’s strong commitment to both the benefits of international trade and New Zealand’s national sovereignty, and recognising the far-reaching implications for domestic policy of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, in which trade is only a small part, Labour will support signing such an agreement only if it which:
a) Provides substantially increased access for our agriculture exports to the US market;
b) Does not undermine PHARMAC, raise the cost of medical treatments and medicines or threaten public health measures such as tobacco control;
c) Does not give overseas investors or suppliers any greater rights than domestic investors and suppliers, such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or reduce our ability to control overseas investment or finance;
d) Does not expand intellectual property rights and enforcement in excess of current law;
e) Does not weaken our public services, require privatisation, hinder reversal of privatisations, or increase the commercialisation of government organisations;
f) Does not reduce our flexibility to support local economic and industry development and encourage good employment and environmental practices;
g) Contains enforceable labour clauses requiring adherence to core International Labour Organisation conventions and preventing reduction of labour rights for trade or investment advantage;
h) Contains enforceable environmental clauses preventing reduction of environmental standards for trade or investment advantage;

There is an amendment by Phil Goff to “Labour will support signing such an agreement only if it which“. The rationale is that it is a negotiation, getting 90% and then being unable to do it because of absolute adherence to this list would be daft. I think that he is right to insert that amendment. The TPPA agreement is pretty problematic in my view – but that is because of the current information of the US stance. This appears to be the stance of the most of the unionists which is interesting.

The lack of information on the TPPA is the real issue.

Passed Remit 46: Te Reo Maori in schools
THAT Labour expand the availability of Te Reo Maori teaching in all schools and that Te Reo will be available if parents and communities want Te Reo taught to their children as guaranteed in the 1989 Education Act, S61, 3a(ii) through funding support, expanded
teacher training and professional development opportunities.

Amendment to remove “if parents and communities want Te Reo taught to their children” – passed.

Frigging hell. The next one is a book!
Passed: Remit 52: Local government policy
THAT Labour adopt the following principles in its support of Local Government:
Fundamentals of Local Government
1. Labour believes in local democracy, local empowerment and local choice,
2. Labour believes that Councils must be directed by a responsibility to the four wellbeings – Social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing).
3. Labour believes that Councils must be considered competent to carry on any activities that are not specifically proscribed by statute.
4. Labour believes that the distinction between Council’s regulatory and service delivery functions must be clear and unambiguous
5. Labour believes that local democracy is paramount and that central government should have no ability to suspend Council elections, save for those instances that it might apply to itself.
6. Labour believes that relationships with iwi should remain a fundamental element of local government.
7. Labour believes that governance should deliver best value within available resources – in terms of cost, quality of service delivery, local democracy, community engagement, and shared services.
8. Labour believes that councils should preserve public ownership of major public assets, particularly strategic assets such as infrastructure, open spaces and public transport.
9. Labour believes that Council’s should keep the number of arms-length organisations to a minimum and that any council controlled organisations should be councillor controlled (e.g. having a majority of elected members on their boards and/or being fully accountable and requiring all significant decisions not covered by their statement of Intent to be endorsed by their Council).
10. Labour believes that effective community engagement is an essential component of good governance, no matter what the structure and scale of local government.
Principles to Guide Local Government Reform
11. Labour recognises that from time to time, as communities and economies change,so too we must evaluate the functions and structure of local government to best meet these needs of communities. At these times Labour will only support change which:
a. is evidence-based, has a clear and robust rationale, and which has been derived following consideration of key options and what each would achieve.

Passed Remit 57: Living wage
THAT Labour establish a living wage, and set the minimum wage as a proportion of New Zealand’s average wage.

This was amended. But they’re rushing so I missed the amendment – something about all new zealanders

Passed Remit 61: Marriage equality
THAT Labour supports marriage equality for all New Zealanders, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

First speaker is a Christian heterosexual pacifica who supports the issue and says it is just a generational issue. So enthusiastic that he was the first to have the mic turned off 🙂 And another pacifica nearly did as well. And later a pacifica opposing it. Personally I can’t see what the issue is. But 2008 was raised.

Ok – thats all – out of time.


25 comments on “Labour Conference 2012 policy remits”

  1. Bill 1

    ..pledges to end the Charter Schools experiment…

    Interesting, in that Shearer is already on record as saying a Labour led government wouldn’t abolish Charter Schools but merely offer ‘alternatives’ that Charter Schools could adopt if they so wished.

  2. ianmac 2

    Wow! A great effort. To pass and enact all of those will be brilliant! Roll on the next Labour led government!

  3. KhandallaMan 3

    Phil has just spoken on Trans Tasman Partnership.

    Phil Goff is an excellent speaker: clear, structured and knows his stuff intimately. Thinks on his feet and communicate snappily.  

    A sharp contrast to his Mt Albert colleague…

  4. QoT 4

    Labour will phase out public funding to all private schools

    Nom nom nom, it is delicious.

    • rosy 4.1

      Absolutely. I’ll dine out on Remit 16 with all the trimmings for main course and Civics from Remit 10 for dessert.

  5. Barry 5

    Remit 1: How wishy-washy!

    Why couldn’t they commit to compulsory renationalising at the lesser of current market price or original sale price?

    • QoT 5.1

      It annoys me too, Barry, but theoretically they want to avoid the situation of Labour regaining power to find out the books are completely fucked and there’s no money to do anything.

      • Barry 5.1.1

        When has that ever worried parties in the past.

        They can print money to buy them back if necessary. The remit wouldn’t have to specify a time frame.

        Labour has to stop sounding as though they don’t mean what they say. Nuanced is all very well, but it doesn’t get you sound bites.

        If they used strong language and people believed them then the privatisation would be impossible anyway.

      • David H 5.1.2

        Which could be a real possibility.

    • lprent 5.2

      I was stuck on a phone when this was on the floor, and I wasn’t in the workshops where it came up. Can’t help with the rationale.

      Perhaps someone else who was there?

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        A significant portion of delegates seemed to think that re-nationalisation of assets was going to be too expensive, that the money would be better spent on other things, or that any rash action would ‘upset the market’, so the wording was watered down well before it got to the Conference floor in order to get it passed without a hitch.

    • Te Reo Putake 5.3

      That’s my preference as well, Barry. But the sad fact is that the Nats will leave us near bankrupt in two years time and there has to be a recognition that we may not be able to buy them back all at once.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    The debate has been interesting primarily because there wasn’t a single speaker that I heard speaking up for the monarchy. Just concerned about timing


    They don’t know what ASAP means?

    Passed Remit 1: The future of privatized state assets
    Passed: Remit 10: Lowering the voting age, Civics
    Passed: Remit 16: The future of public education

    That’s good to know.

    Passed: Remit 43: Hillside Workshops and procurement

    That was pretty much a given. Labour have been saying such things for a while now.

    Remit 35: Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

    IMO, the TPPA should just be dropped. In fact, the more I think about it the more I think all FTAs, including the WTO, should just be dropped and replaced by reciprocal tariffs.

    • Macro 6.1

      “IMO, the TPPA should just be dropped. In fact, the more I think about it the more I think all FTAs, including the WTO, should just be dropped and replaced by reciprocal tariffs.”
      My opinion too. These are just aids to the globalisation of poverty.

  7. Tim 7

    Christ!@#$%^, FFS people! next thing ya know Catholic Guuuurl will be asking any one of youse to be the “from the Left” on nine-to-noon.
    Better watch out aye..you’ll be up against Meth Hootin

    • Rogue Trooper 7.1

      Thanks for the “update” lprent

      • lprent 7.1.1

        NP. It was an interesting experience. I have committed myself to doing at least 3 more of them around various parties so I guess I’ll get better. I’d better. For me this would be the easiest party conference to go to.

    • lprent 7.2

      Becoming a media “personality” is

      1. Not part of any of my plans for the future.
      2. I have to work during the day programming and I enjoy programming. The idea of giving that up to waffle isn’t that interesting.
      3. It takes about an hour to switch on and off coding mode each day to the point where I’m coherent.
      4. Being on anything would be like adding a two hour commute to my day for something that I’m not really interested in

      Most of our authors would be of a similar disposition if I read them correctly. I’m going to these selected political venues because I think that we need to get a serious look at them for our specialized audience. But I’m really not interested in being the story, I’m there to observe, analyse, and report.

      So they may ask. But they are unlikely to receive unless Mike Smith wants to do it (and give up some good golfing time).

      If I did find a reason to do it.. Well I’ve observed a few vulnerabilities in the Matthew style that would be interesting to exploit.

  8. Let’s hope they are also committed to setting benefits as a proportion of the average wage to level that gives one a basic level of living at least. Also the earning limit being around 15 hours work on the minimum wage before you start getting your benefit cut but hey can’t have everything yet 🙂

  9. karol 9

    There’s a lot to like in the remits passed, especially on asset sales, education and local government.  Thanks for the full report, Lynn.

    When I first read it, I started to think for the first time in years, maybe I would consider voting  Labour Party again.

    However, on reflection, along with dpalenski, I’m concerned about what’s not there – nothing on welfare reform, ending the bennie bashing, tackling poverty etc.  So, the LP is still looking like it’s targeting the middle-classes, albeit, the socially conscious ones with a sense of community responsibility.

    So, in spite of all the good things above I would still be wanting to ensure a strong Green and Mana presence with a Labour-led government.  

    Nevertheless, the revitalisation of the LP members role, looks to be shifting policy in a direction I like.

  10. lefty 10

    Despite some progressive policies being adopted Labour still seems to be obsessed with work and those who are in the traditional workforce.

    They appear not to be the slightest bit interested in poverty, stopping beneficiary bashing, providing rental housing for low income people, facing up to the problems caused by a huge percentage of the workforce being part of the precariat, looking at how work might be shared, industrial democracy or the redistribution of wealth.

    The questions of who holds real power and how we develop a meaningful democracy is not even raised obliquely.

    I am not sure whether it is in the best long term interest of the working class for Shearer to continue in leadership, which will almost certainly lead to Labour continue on its road to becoming a marginal centre right political grouping and leave a political space to be occupied by a progressive force, or whether it would be better for party members to keep pushing for greater control, find a left leader from somewhere hidden deep within their ranks and have one last shot at revitalising the traditional labour movement.

    Perhaps things have already gone to far for their to be any real options left.

    Neither Shearer nor Cunliffe is from the left but they are both symbols in a divide within Labour that is so deep that maybe the party is not salvageable.

  11. Michael 11

    It will be interesting to see whether any of these remits make it into Labour’s policies for the next general election and even more interesting to see whether they are implemented by a future Labour-led government. The caucus has form for disregarding remits and I don’t expect anything has changed. Even if these remits make into pre-election policy, the caucus has plenty of scope to abandon it after taking office (“changed conditions”, bureaucratic opposition, lobbying from “the business community”, etc). I won’t hold my breath.

  12. maffoo 12

    I would like to see a party declare that if the TPPA has been signed by 2014 we will pull out, & if not, we will end negotiations immediately, I would also like to see them drop a copy of it into the public domain .. if that is not possible, I would insist a clause go in that any & all farm subs in the US are ended forthwith… when that didnt happen (because it never ever will), i would sue them for a trillion dollars….
    Because the TPPA will destroy this country……

    I do like the idea of a voting age of 16 & civics classes…. because I would be one of the ones teaching it ….

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