Well I made it down to Christchurch to cover the Labour party conference for The Standard. While I’ll probably run out a few posts while I’m here, I figure that I’ll write a post per day for the more general discussion and impressions. Plus do that actual “blogging” of my experiences.
As usual I was running late to the airport after rushing out a new beta release for testing by others over the weekend. The testers get to go sailing. I get to listen to speeches. Oh lucky me. 🙂 But these days I have learnt, I fly Air New Zealand domestically because their staff don’t decamp to the exit portal and I can’t get a boarding pass at the counter.
Picked up the hire car at Christchurch and went to camp out for the next few days with relatives. This morning I braved the traffic (what traffic?) and headed to the old air force base at Wigram.
Now I’m drinking coffee eyeing up who is here for the sector group meetings. More to come later.
1405: The morning was a bit boring. As media I hung around the foyer rather than sitting in on any of the sector meetings. Interesting talking to people.
Now off into the economic workshop. This is the usual kind of workshop. Michael Wood is doing his usual uber-competent, polite, good-humoured and efficient job of going through the remits and amendments.
1445: I suspect that superannuation is going to be a hot topic at this conference. There is are several remits about the superannuation that are being debated in the conference today. One leaves the age of superannuation open, while the other fixes the value.
Excellent debate with quite varying points of view. David Parker as economics spokesperson, is looking at the numbers, in particular the rising age of average death, and the more general demographics shift. The question for him is about how to move forward.
I’m going to be interested in this since I’ve been irritated about the high unlikelyhood of my ever getting to superannuation since I was a teenager in the late 70s.
1500: Jenny Kirk should write a guest post about the her thoughts on how to handle super. David Clark pointing out that if Labour doesn’t have a plan then the Nats will force some dumbarse stupidity.
Looks like the workshop is voting towards leaving a lot of room for the caucus to find something that is sustainable in the future…
1530: The counterpoint to the question on super is the question of how to have the revenue required. There are some interesting remits on tax and questions on the minimum wage. Note to self that I have to get some time to talk to Peter Conway of the CTU to look at questions of the minimum wages.
1615: Some of the more interesting remits going through the workshop and being voted up and down. The overall trend is to make sure that they won’t get in the way of being elected.
1730: Now that is new. There is a rather large group of conference newbie delegates being instructed in how the conference operates. Damn good idea. Especially as the number of faces that are new to me has massively increased. I’ve been going to Labour conferences and congresses north and south for a number of decades and I can’t remember a conference that has quite so many newish faces.
1830: Been at the media briefing. What was interesting was how far the policy platform has proceeded after the review(s) of 2012. It is now an actual document of 61 pages (that I will find the electronic copy of) rather than being a frigging morass of barely coherent and largely self-contradictory remits. It is still too big. However my brief look through the hard copy shows it to be a hell of a lot more readable than anything I have read from Labour since they stopped producing big manifestos. I may have to start serializing bits of it for people to disagree with.
Oh and The Civilian got some sit-down time with David Cunliffe. I want to see the results for that 🙂
1850: One of the interesting topics that keeps coming up amongst many different sources today, inside and outside of conference is the concern about the low voting levels. When I get it from the non-political family, through the political people in the conference, and just now the local Maori elder Rick Tau (?) who just used part of his welcome to point out his concern about it. It really is time that the low voting levels in local and national elections is something that is now becoming a political issue.
1910: David Cunliffe speaking. Yikes. The membership of the Labour party has doubled over the last year. Good speech. I will see if there is a video. I particularly liked his line about not expecting everyone amongst the delegates to agree with everything on the platform – echoes our value here of agreeing to disagree.
1925: Poto Williams looks like a decent candidate. Lianne Dalziell is pretty damn popular here. I’m not surprised. The people in Christchurch I have met here, and the refugees in Auckland are longing for something to damn well be done. Lianne in my experience is bloody good at pushing. Poor Gerry Brownlee. And she is raising the low voter turnout as a major issue as well