Labour Conference day 1

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 am, November 17th, 2012 - 8 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

So Lynn is giving you the media perspective, I thought I might get some delegate perspective.

Labour conference 2012 seems to be going well so far.

They’ve already had a policy win, as just rumours of a major housing policy release has caused National to flip-flop and re-instate the affordable housing component of Hobsonville, which they removed in their first term.  Now if we can just get the state housing section back…  (and maybe some more of the thousands of affordable houses needed each year in Auckland alone…)

The evening session of opening speeches started with the traditional powhiri, and in Ngati Whatua’s speeches a bit of perspective was added to the daily media bubble of politics.  The kaumatua Joe Hawke recalled when as a 10-year-old a previous National government had sent the army into their settlement at Okahu Bay, with flamethrowers that blew 40 yards, evicted them and burnt all their houses and marae to the ground.

Which just makes Patrick Gower’s carefully orchestrated camera-work getting ordinary activist Shane Te Pou to shut the door on him for a closed session seem all that bit more shallow when politics makes real differences on people’s lives.  The vast majority of sessions are open to the media by the way…  (and there’s no HeadHunters-esque initiation ceremonies to join – unless the gang lets you sign a form and pay a koha these days).

Although we wait for the housing policy (and I think you might like it), the focus so far is more on jobs.

Jobs for the nearly 100,000 18-25 year-olds not in education, employment or training for a start.  Len Brown pointed out the 30% youth unemployment rate in Auckland – and much higher for Maori and Pasifika.  Judy McGregor pointed out that the hunderds of thousands of new voters we need to offer hope to.  Prof Nigel Haworth pointed out the need to foster high-value manufacturing jobs, rather than leave the sector to the ‘benign’ neglect of this do-nothing government – with the incredible multipliers in jobs that sector creates (meaning also the many 100s of jobs lost in the sector in recent months means many more lost elsewhere).

There were lots of good policy sessions this afternoon, with lots of robust debate – as ever often more on the details.  We all love the ‘It’s about our kids’ children’s policy, but how do we make sure the goal of eliminating child poverty is achieved asap?  How do we say we want to increase public funding of dentistry, without saying we’ll instantly fund all dentistry’s costs?  Does saying we’ll aim to buy back any assets National sell leave us apparently committed and have to find $6 billion from 2014’s budget, or is it just an aspiration to be achieved as it’s possible?

Tomorrow the focus is on renewing the constitution – so we have a thoroughly more democratic party; with members voting on leadership, the policy platform MPs must stick to etc.  This’ll be a once in a generation renewal, so will definitely be worth watching.

8 comments on “Labour Conference day 1”

  1. xtasy 1

    Well, I admit, it does not sound so bad in parts, so ideas seem to be there. We know the media are only waiting for one thing: A leadership challenge.

    I would look forward to that too, but to be realistic, if some positive results come out of this conference, then that be so, and it better be GOOD!

    Employment matters, manufacturing matters, education matters, health matters, welfare matters, fairness matters, social justice matters, and certainly GOOD leadership matters.

    The latter is where I have a major problem with Shearer and Labour. I cannot see Labour gain much support and win the next election with him at the helm. A good policy package will probably not come across with the shit media we have, unless a “leader” and other supportive “leaders” within Labour also have the “gift of the gab”, sufficient charisma, honesty and total dedication, to also involve a supportive network to get there.

    That is where I feel all good intentions will fall down: Neglecting your base, supporters, the activists and networks.

    I see Labour having alienated themselves, and despite of some promising signals, I cannot see them to sufficiently mend past mistakes and harm and re-connect with supporters and voters. We know all about parties and members. The members may support stuff, but they may also be so biased and out of touch as the leadership. Which will not make good reading.

    Let us wait and see, and after this weekend, we may be the wiser, or not.

  2. Tim G 2

    Well said challenge ain’t happening xtasy – if it does I’ll eat my hat (and wash it down with a celebratory drink or two).

    Actually, no matter how much the standard activist base might want it (let’s say at least a majority), in a peculiar kind of way, if DS comes out the other end of the conference unscathed, then in the minds of some voters (who care less) he will actually appear stronger and more electable. It won’t make us any happier, but that’s politics. A mouth-breathing buffoon that plays to focus groups gets elected PM – can’t be any worse than the alternative, right?

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    Token democratic reforms preserve inequality and dull the impulse for true democracy.

    The proposal to elect the leader by 40% membership votes, 40% caucus votes, and 20% affiliate votes means an MP’s vote is worth 1,647 times my one member vote!

    This is NOT democracy. It is tokenism. It protects the control of the MP’s and the unions.

    The Greens have one member, one vote. That IS democracy, not Labour Policy Council b.s. tokenism.

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    The Greens’ party list is determined 100% by the members voting by single transferable vote.

    Labour’s so-called “list selection reforms” are more tokenism b.s.

    Labour talks about democracy the way a whore talks about virtue.

    • Bunji 4.1

      So presumably it’s less democratic to have all the party members specify the list and other selection processes than to have:

      10.1 Procedures for the selection and approval of candidates for public office including the ordering of the Party List shall be determined by the Executive.

      As the Greens’ constitution has it?

      And that STV vote for a list, how does that work? Does it have massive unintended consequences which an aggregate vote across a large list would, or is it an exhaustive vote, for all including those without internet access?
      And does that selection process guarantee a good diversity of ethnic and regional representation? Oh no it doesn’t, there was hardly anyone from Auckland in the top part of the list that caused quite some disquiet.

      Not that I really want to bag the Greens, who I’m quite partial to, and are doing a great job in Parliament; but just to say that any list selection process has its flaws.

      “Labour talks about democracy the way a whore talks about virtue.”
      You might like to tone that down…

      [incidentally Labour hasn’t even started on their new list selection process – that’s for next year, once the basics are worked out]

  5. Rogue Trooper 5

    commentators like yourself, DoS, KJT, millsy, kiwicommie, and many other recent scriptural revelations really make this site interesting to read, along with the many inveterate campaigners who grace us with their knowledge, understanding and wisdom (there sure are some bright people around the sheds, aye Flockie)

  6. Michael 6

    I agree with AmaKiwi – the NZLP will not be democratic until it adopts one person, one vote. Even the new arrangements allow the caucus to keep control. Not good.

  7. mikey77 7

    Did we expect real change?

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