Teenaa Koutou. I want to thank everyone at The Standard for an opportunity to lodge this post the day before the Labour Caucus votes on who will lead it to 2014 from now. Our overall ambition to reconnect and re-energise people who did not feel the urgency to get out and vote will be central to our efforts this term. Yet we must not take our core vote and constituencies for granted as they more than anyone recognise that a Labour-led Government will provide better opportunities for everyone. It’s an important decision where personal interest should not affect our real goal to push for victory in 2014.
I have valued the opportunity to speak to our members about the ideas and plan I share with David Cunliffe to bring about real change in the Party over the last week. I want to acknowledge the overwhelming support I have received from those in and around Labour.
That won’t happen unless there is a willingness to reset our compass and charter new waters. David Cunliffe and I spoke about this at the Auckland leadership forum. We are committed to the first challenge of getting our house in order. Building on the strengths and talents of the caucus team will be a major task. This can be a sensitive time and with change there can be some resistance to trying and doing things differently but we must if we want a chance to win in 2014. We know that the whole team must be prepared to hit the ground running, holding the opposition to account, leading on issues from the front and ensuring that Labour is recognised as a strong and credible alternative. We also need to strengthen our ability to work with others, issue-by-issue in the centre-left political field.
The next task will be to ensure that as we require change from our Parliamentary caucus, it should be accompanied by the effort to rejuvenate our Party organisation. The Review is a real opportunity for members to get involved to ensure that our vehicle is future fit for purpose. We are a party of ideas and we must be a party of growing membership as well.
The challenge to reconnect will be to diverse communities, the provinces, to young people, working families, Maori, Pacific and ethnic communities. A well-integrated party and parliamentary team can create the type of ‘buzz’ in the community to generate interest and get people talking about Labour people and ideas more often.
The people we represent urge us as candidates to put their interests above our own, whatever the outcome on Tuesday I am committed to working in a Labour team.
I was raised in the small town of Huntly. Many families who grew up in the homes of miners and freezing workers were encouraged to pursue education or get a trade to make a better living for themselves. I believe that a strong platform of investment in education, skills and training makes all the difference for many hard working families.
We need to be relevant to aspirations in the provinces, this means that we need to support our provincial candidates more effectively so that they are not having to fight an election on a single issue and not without the resources and support of the party. As a provincial member myself, I understand the need to communicate our policy and our people through our community networks. Regional economic solutions to grow jobs, support local innovation or further clean-tech solutions are but some of the real opportunities to assist. Similarly the role of small and medium sized businesses are important and we must ensure that Labour policies reflect the important contribution they make to our regional economy.
Our communities are diverse. We need to harness the creative energy of all our young people so that they can contribute to a thriving and vibrant new economy. Better paying jobs in new industries must be articulated in policies that optimize the potential of our young people, drive science and innovation, r&d investment and look towards our export potential.
As Deputy Leader, I would also take responsibility alongside the Caucus for really reaching out across New Zealand. I want to focus on how we rebuild our relationships with youth, Maori, Pasifika, Women and importantly right across New Zealand, not just Labour strong-holds. We must accept that over a million New Zealanders didn’t vote and they didn’t consider Labour as their alternative, we must know why and address that.
I want to make a contribution to a Labour leadership team to reset our compass, to move forward with energy, conviction and passion for the people we serve. The aspirations of Maori, Pasifika and Ethnic communities are at a critical juncture. The values of Labour assure us that there is space for diverse communities to see themselves reflected not only in the party, but really helping to steer the Labour waka in a purposeful direction where there is a clear choice for change where everyone benefits!
Kia Ora Nanaia
lprent: As a word of warning – I will be moderating and all comments on this post will auto-moderate. I apologize about the late posting – I wasn’t expecting it, and so wasn’t reading my e-mail.