Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 11
Party Leadership : What key Labour values drive your work for New Zealand?
Question : Why did you join the Labour Party over other parties and what are the key Labour values and principles that drive your work for Labour and New Zealand?
Submitted by : Annalise Roache, Auckland
Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.
LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS
Answer from David Cunliffe
My values are Labour values. I know that all I am now and all I ever will be came from the opportunities New Zealand gave me when I was growing up.
I was born in Te Aroha, a small town in the heart of the Waikato. I grew up in a vicarage and some earliest memories are of mixing with the wealthiest families in the district, and with those who were doing it tough.
In Te Kuiti, when the cement works closed and the milling tapered off, unemployment and poverty were all around us.
I remember proud and good people, who through no fault of their own, were thrown into a situation of having nothing.
Not that my family was rich by any means. We knew what it was like to struggle.
As a teenager, my Dad lived with serious illness and there was little to spare. I worked evenings and weekends in a fish and chip shop, and I mucked out pig pens for a dollar an hour.
But I was also given huge opportunities thanks to a great education at the local state school. This was the foundation of all my opportunities that followed.
I have been incredibly lucky in my life and I am really committed to making sure that the same opportunities are open to all New Zealanders.
I want to build a fairer, more inclusive New Zealand with a future that is full of opportunities for our kids; a good public education; housing; free health care and a secure retirement.
A decent New Zealand. That is what Labour stands for and that’s why I am Labour.
Answer from Shane Jones
I joined the Labour Party because of its history of reform. It has championed the interests of Maori and other minorities.
Fairness and collective responsibility for all sectors in our society is a key principle for Labour and New Zealand.
This motivates me.
Answer from Grant Robertson
I never really considered joining another political party. My family’s links with Labour meant it was part of my DNA.
But as I was leaving school at the end of the 1980s I felt I could not join the Labour Party given the direction it was taking under Rogernomics.
I settled for campaigning against user pays in education for the next few years, but under Helen Clark’s leadership I saw that there was an opportunity for Labour to re-build New Zealand and so I joined in the late 1990s.
For me the values that drew me to Labour still hold dear today- fairness, solidarity and opportunity.
I believe that your success on life should not be determined by who your parents are or where you are born, but by your hard work and the collective support we can provide.
I believe that everyone’s contribution should be valued, that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay, and that we have obligations to care for each other.
Those are Labour values and they are enduring, but I believe we must give them a modern, strong and clear voice that connects with the lives of New Zealanders.
I represent a new generation of leadership that can be that voice.