Conference was buzzing from start to finish and I imagine a lot of us will be reflecting on what we saw, heard and discussed over the next few days.
The results of the recent Local Government elections meant many of us arrived feeling positive – positive about what the results said about what New Zealanders do and do not want and positive about the platform this provides for the General Election. The Len Brown campaign showed that people respond to messages of fairness and inclusion and most importantly to clear and bold policy platforms.
Our conference was about Labour profiling the work that has been happening since the last election – the listening, consulting, debating and thinking about what we put before the people next year. Conference included policy workshops, new thinking sessions that included speakers from outside of Labour and key note speeches that all were all exciting, challenging and forward looking. And most importantly the framework of a BOLD programme to provide real choice to New Zealanders.
Underlying the work is putting the needs of people first – not some people but all of us. We cannot be successful on the back of poverty, of lack of opportunity and not investing in people. Annette’s speech the importance of placing children at the centre of our policy – we cannot be successful if children live in poverty, in fear, without adequate food and shelter and without quality health and education services and without a loving family. Phil’s speech emphasised improving opportunities for all New Zealanders. He emphasised the need for fundamental changes to deliver a stronger economy where all of us share in the rewards. We need to be focused on increasing exports and employment, we need to protect our assets, invest in education and research and development, control monopolies and lift the incomes of New Zealanders. Unfair, unequal countries cost everyone, not just those at the bottom.
National’s policies are making it harder for most New Zealanders, inequality is growing.
Next year the choice for New Zealanders will be very clear. Several hundred of us left conference today motivated about putting Labour’s vision in front of New Zelanders.