Red Alert

Archive for the ‘policy’ Category

Labour’s Policy Platform

Posted by on August 4th, 2013

One of the more significant developments from Labour’s Organisational Review has been the decision to create an enduring Policy Platform for Labour.  This is to be a high level framework for Labour’s policy, outlining the values, vision and approach Labour will take to policy in government.

The Labour Party conference last year decided that it will be binding on elected representatives of the Party, and the manifesto written for each election has to be consistent with the Platform. (The last point is important- the Platform is meant to be high-level. It is not a manifesto for a particular election.  Not ever policy area is covered, it is not meant to be an exhaustive list. The specific commitments that Labour will make at each election will continue to be put through the normal manifesto process).

The work on the platform actually started last year. It is truly a member driven document, with drafts coming from Policy Committees, discussed at last year’s annual conference, revised and discussed again at regional conferences this year.

The latest draft of the document was agreed Policy Council of the Labour Party last week. You can find it here.  It will now be the subject of regional seminars where amendments can be proposed. These will be consolidated by the party’s Policy Committees, debated at Annual Conference in November where the Platform will be adopted. In future years it will be possible to amend the Platform through the regional and annual conference process.

This does represent a further step in our democratic policy making process. Labour will now have a reference point for the inevitable question, ” what does Labour think about….”. The platform shows our commitment to social democratic principles, our pride in what we have achieved and provides the foundations for future Labour governments.

The core of the draft platform is the statement of our values. These are the guiding principles for the rest of the platform and will be given life by the policy priorities that we approve in our manifesto.

  • Freedom/Rangitiratanga
  • Equality/Oritetanga
  • Opportunity/Whakaritanga
  • Solidarity/Kotahitanga
  • Sustainability/Kaitiakitanga

In the draft platform the chapters that follow highlight our vision for a productive, inclusive, caring and independent New Zealand. They also show how Labour will approach each policy area, grounded in our principles, reflecting the spirit of the age and the opportunities and challenges of our changing world. The platform shows that we are a party whose actions have a principled underpinning. It shows New Zealanders what we stand for and the values, approach and priorities that will guide us when we have the privilege to lead a government.

There has been plenty of vigorous debate within the Party about this document- and there will be more.  That is the mark of a strong political party, where we care about the future of our country and world, and where know that our values and principles matter to what kind of country we have been and will be in the future.

Whether you are a member of the Party or not, we are interested in your views on the platform. Click on the link above to have a read.  Feel free to leave them in the comments here, or if you have a more substantive contribution you can email


Economic development ideas

Posted by on April 29th, 2012

During the recess I have been working to fill out some ideas around economic development.

These personal views build on caucus discussions and our 2011 manifesto, and take on board feedback from party and business circles as I have been listening and engaging over the last few months.

This oped, published in the Herald on Friday, argues for lifting sustainable economic growth through a more ‘can do’, positive partnership with between government and business. It argues for a clear and credible strategy that integrates economy-wide, sector-driven and regional initiaitives. It warns of the dangers of the kind of one-off ‘deals’ with indvidual corporates now so typical of National.

This speech, delivered today to a meeting hosted by the New Lynn Women’s Branch of the NZLP, goes back to first principles. It argues that, post GFC, the “invisible hand” of neoliberal economics has failed, that New Zealand cannot cut or sell our way out of a hole, and that Labour must therefore present a clear alternative economic approach to the current government based on our own enduring values.

Hope you enjoy them.

Living Wage – an idea whose time has come?

Posted by on April 20th, 2012

Who described the Living Wage as “an idea whose time has come?”

David Cameron, Conservative British PM – that’s who.

The Living Wage concept has caught on in the UK and the US and it was great to hear David Shearer put Labour’s name to it yesterday.

Everyone wants to know who, how, how much and when. But the Living Wage concept isn’t just about having a policy on paper. It’s about a movement, where communities organise to persuade the people, politicians, the council and business that paying a living wage is the right thing to do.

A Living Wage is the level of income necessary to provide acceptable standard of living for a person and their family.

It’s different to the legal minimum wage, which provides a floor below which wages must not fall, but the minimum wage is not tied to a recognised standard of living. It’s a politically decided standard, that rises or falls depending on who is in government.  Labour remains committed to lifting the minimum wage (at this stage to $15 an hour), but we can do better.

We need to get to a point where there is agreement about what is fair and what families should be expected to live on.

In the UK, London Citizens have been organising for ten years, bringing together community groups, faith based organisations, businesses, trade unions and politicians. In 2011, Citizens UK, (the nationwide equivalent of London Citizens) launched the Living Wage Foundation to respond to a growing interest in other cities.

The Living Wage  was an election issue in the 2004 London Council elections, and London Mayor, “Red” Ken Livingstone established a dedictaed Living Wage Unit within the Greater London Authority in 2004. Boris Johnson, the conservative Mayor who followed him has continued the Unit and now all of London’s councils pay all workers, including directly employed, contracted or temporary workers at least the London Living Wage or above.

This year’s London Olympics will be the first Living Wage Olympics in history. Imagine that.

Governments can lead by applying a Living Wage to everyone who works for the State Sector. Councils can do the same on the basis that wherever public money is used to purchase goods or services, low wages should not be the competitive factor. In the US Living Wage Ordinances apply this principal.

The current London Living Wage of £8.30 an hour would roughly equate to roughly NZ$16-17 an hour. This took into account the prices of staple items in the family shopping basket, along with relativities with the median income, to estimate a ‘poverty threshold wage’, and then added a 15% margin on top to give some protection against unforeseen events.

Of course such an example can only broadly indicative – but it demonstrates just why a Living Wage, not just a Minimum Wage is needed.

I’m confident that a Living Wage movement will develop in New Zealand and the hows, the whats, the whos, the how muches, and all the rest of it will gather force before the next election. It will need political support, and Labour’s David Shearer has given it.

I’m not given to quoting conservatives, but as David Cameron said, it’s an idea whose time has come.

Total Employment Change from 2008 Reveals Imminent Crisis

Posted by on February 21st, 2012

Increase in unemployment under National

Increase in unemployment under National

The Household Labour Force Survey Survey report of the December 2011 Quarter released last week revealed that our unemployment rate slipped slightly to 6.3% from 6.6%. While a rate of 6.3% in itself doesn’t necessarily mean we have reached crisis levels, the focus on the overall unemployment rate does conceal detail about our employment situation that if brought to the surface will shine light on what I believe is an immiment crisis looming in our economic horizon.

Since JohnKey’s National took office in November 2008, 53,000 New Zealanders have joined the unemployment ranks. That’s a 54% increase in the number of people unemployed to a total of 150,000. For these people, National’s promise of a ‘brighter future’ has utterly failed to materialise, especially if you have a mortgage and teenage children you are supporting through school.

While the impact of the recession cannot be ignored, the number of people unemployed has actually increased since the recession officially ended in mid-2009. The official unemployment figures only tell part of the story. Many more people are without work but are not counted as being unemployed. Many are described by the Salvation Army as being “discouraged unemployed”. They would like to work and would accept a job offer if given, but they would not be deemed as actively seeking work because for instance looking for work through a newspaper does not meet the threshold of “actively seeking work”. The number of Kiwis jobless has increased by almost 100,000 under National’s watch to now 261,300 people as of December 2011. In the meantime 59,964 people are receiving the Unemployment Benefit as at December 2011 a fall of 7% from 67,084 as of the December 2010.
So is this it? Is this the brighter future promised to all New Zealanders?

Number of people jobless

Uniquely New Zealand – Home Grown

Posted by on November 2nd, 2011

Today is the launch day of Labour’s arts, culture and heritage policy – a policy as diverse and innovative as the industry it represents, including growing poetry and literature, fine arts, galleries and museums, the film sector, music, cultural diplomacy, cultural talent, community and regional arts and culture including M?ori, Pacific and Ethnic appreciation and development, education, industry training, Archives and last but not least, honouring our unique history and heritage.

The creative sector is more than a hobby; it’s a highly skilled industry requiring discipline, education and enormous talent and everyone interested in the arts has the right to be able to make it their career. That’s why Labour is launching a Creative Industries Apprenticeship, working with the Industry Training sector to develop modules on job creation, communication skills and business nous, necessary to get the work of artists noticed.

Labour believes in making New Zealand’s rich artistic culture available to as many people as possible. That’s why I’m launching our Te Papa Outreach programme. This will bring Te Papa’s considerable collections to sites in both Auckland and Christchurch, in collaboration with local councils.

To further accessibility to the arts, Labour is widening the criteria for the Regional Museums Fund, once the current fund is fully subscribed, to allow for infrastructure development for other creative industries such as orchestras or theatres. This way we ensure that arts appreciation and development extends beyond the main centres and into heartland New Zealand.

Our full policy, which includes initiatives for the film sector, authors, musicians and those in heritage protection, is available online at

GST off bananas (and other fresh fruit and vege)

Posted by on November 1st, 2011

The Labour policy of removing GST off fresh fruit and veges is a very good example of evidence-based policy development.

The facts:
NZ is the third fattest country in the OECD (astounding). The productivity and health costs associated with this are huge – and growing.
Auckland University and Otago University medical schools undertook a joint research project into ways to influence consumer behaviour around the purchase healthy foods. Three groups were set up; 1) control group, 2) a group given very targeted information and education about the outcomes of healthy purchases, and 3) a group that were given information and a 12.5% price discount. The result: no change from control group (expected), no change from the group given a high level of education and information only (surprising), however, a 11% increase in the purchase of healthy food by those who received a 12.5% discount.

After consultation with a lead member of this research team, we decided that one of the best ways to influence buyer behaviour and promote healthy choices was provide a price incentive. This works. Six months after the study had finished and prices returned to normal for the third group, the researchers found the majority in this group were still making healthy purchase decisions.

So, education alone will not work in changing the eating habits / purchase decisions of the vast majority of NZers. A price incentive does. If anyone has a more effective way to directly target the obesity problem then I am very interested in hearing, because while it is a problem now, it is set to become an epidemic within a short space of time.

As an aside, we did briefly consider a ‘fat tax’ on unhealthy foods, however, ‘unhealthy’ is very difficult to define (under many definitions, milk and cheese are ‘unhealthy’) and so we decided that in this case, it is easier to remove a tax than add one.

Filed under: GST, health, policy, Tax

Labour’s plan for lifting wages

Posted by on October 18th, 2011

There’s been a lot of debate and hard thinking in the Labour Party about the current Employment Relations framework and how it could be part of a cohesive whole in building a high wage, high skill, high productivity, high value economy. The Global Finance Crisis has provided, if nothing else, a chance to rethink the last 20 years of our Employment Relations system, which if we are honest, is still pretty deregulated in New Zealand. The IMF, the OECD and a myriad of economists both here and abroad have, in recent times, pointed to low rates of collective bargaining in first world countries, including New Zealand, as a contributor to the global financial crisis and the high ratios of household debt to income.

Despite Labour’s changes to the Employment Relations Act in 2000 (which were pitched as being “extreme” by some in business at the time), only 9% of New Zealand’s workforce in the private sector are covered by collective agreements. Our government, the Minister of Labour and Labour Department officials go merrily off to the International Labour Organisation every year, confidently asserting that New Zealand’s labour laws provide for the freedom to join unions and collective bargaining rights, yet they know that that reality for the vast majority of workers, accessing these rights is high risk and for many, simply not realistic. So, while the Employment Relations Act theoretically provides for collective bargaining as a means of recognising the inequality of bargaining power, the truth is that most workers’ wages and conditions are still set unilaterally by their employer.

Labour’s wages policy reasserts our founding values of fairness at work as fundamental to a fair society. We aim to help lift wages in New Zealand across the board and to help stem the drift to Australia of our workforce. New Zealand’s economy must be lifted from a reliance on low wages and longer hours to an investment in more productive workplaces where high trust, high skill and high wages are the success indicators of New Zealand business and jobs. And we cannot truthfully talk about social policy and tackling poverty unless we talk about low wages and how to deal with them.

A critical first step, and one which will help the lowest-paid workers directly, is an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which Labour has long signalled.

But it will take more than improvements to the minimum wage to deliver decent wages for all New Zealand workers. The experience of the past twenty years shows that New Zealand’s current labour market arrangements have led to lower pay for New Zealand workers. Lower pay means New Zealand businesses face fewer incentives to lift productivity and lift investment in workplace, or in workers’ skills and education. It’s a vicious cycle: low wages and low productivity, with New Zealand families bearing the consequences.

Labour’s plan will tackle this long-standing problem. We will amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 to implement a new framework where better pay and standards can be extended through Industry Standard Agreements –  a new form of agreement under the Employment Relations Act (ERA) – that builds on the the existing individual, collective and multi-employer collective agreements that the ERA currently provides for.

An industry union or employer will be able to apply to a Workplace Commission for an Industry Standard Agreement. The Commission would determine the “norm” of the standards already applying in collective agreements in the industry and “extend” those to all those workplaces in the industry where there is no collective agreement.

Employers and unions will still be able to negotiate collective agreements for their enterprise as an alternative to the Industry Standard Agreement. Individual Agreements can still apply, but cannot be less than the Industry Standard. Workers will not have to join unions to be part of an Industry Standard Agreement, but unions will have access to workers in the industry to talk about the standards and other rights, as they do now.

This model of “extension” is widely used in successful economies and the adaptations in Labour’s policy will continue to enable unions and employers to bargain directly with each other when that is the most effective approach. It’s nowhere near the centralised wage fixing approach of Australia.

Industry Standard Agreements are about improving the pay of New Zealand workers. It is part of the wider structural change that needs to occur in the New Zealand economy. Labour has already signalled other changes such as tax, monetary policy, research and development and our yet to be announced savings policy.

There’s a lot more detail to our work and wages policy,  but that will have to wait for further posts.

Trickle down no more

Posted by on October 16th, 2011

On the last day of Parliament, I asked the Minister of Labour a couple of questions about wages. Minister Tony Ryall answered on her behalf and as a True Believer in the one market way he spouted the old trickle down theory.

“This is one of the reasons why the Government is focusing on growing and building a strong, growing economy, because a strong, growing economy will give all New Zealanders the opportunity to benefit in higher wages. “

Say what?

The truth is that working families and other middle income kiwis are finding it harder by the week to get by because the cost of living is rising and incomes aren’t keeping pace.

Over the last 3 years, median household income rose 1.4% while consumer prices rose 9%. The gap between high income earners and low income earners is growing, and the gap between New Zealand incomes and Australian incomes continues to get wider

Isn’t this the government that promised that it would stop our workers leaving for Australia by closing the wage gap? And hasn’t it blown out to 38% in the last three years?

New Zealand workers aren’t paid enough. We still believe in the old maxim “a fair days pay for a fair days work” but our rules don’t deliver that.

Labour will be changing the rules. We need some new ideas. Watch our for our policy announcement  this coming Tuesday.

Filed under: policy, wages

Healthy Older New Zealanders a Priority for Labour

Posted by on September 29th, 2011

Today I’m excited to be launching Labour’s Aged Care policy. I started working on this policy the instant it was allocated to me a few months ago and it’s been full-steam ahead since then.

To get an idea of the issues, ideas and concerns surrounding Aged Care I’ve met with people from all across the sector, all across the country. It’s been fascinating. I’ve spoken at Grey Power branch meetings, with the Aged Care Association, the Retirement Villages Association, Age Concern, the Service and Food Workers Union, Career Force, Presbyterian Support, the Human Rights Commission, those in the health sector like Alzheimer’s New Zealand and Arthritis New Zealand plus many members of the public. With that much input you start to build a picture of the sector pretty quickly and the insight of everyone involved has been invaluable.

This insight plus ideas from within the Labour Party have all contributed to the policy I’m proud to be releasing today.

The funding and delivery of aged care in New Zealand faces significant strain as our population is ageing and costs are rising. This requires a comprehensive, well thought out and long-term government plan of action, which this government is showing no signs of creating.

Labour’s plan includes:
• Government-funded training for all aged care staff
• Minimum staffing levels for nurses and caregivers and
• When government finances allow, pay parity between aged carers and their equivalents in the public health system.

Additionally, a Technical Working Party to be set up by Labour will investigate all the recommendations in the ‘What the Future Holds for Older New Zealanders’ report which Labour produced last year with Grey Power and the Greens, and the Auditor General’s Home-based support services for older people report.

The working party will report back on the recommendations by May 2012. It will then be tasked to chart the way for a New Model of Service Delivery, which Labour believes is essential for New Zealand to meet the growing challenges in the aged care sector.

Labour has a strategic and long-term plan for the aged care sector and the values and drive to implement it. Aged care in the future needs to be built on the values of accessibility, dignity and respect for all older New Zealanders, underpinned by transparency and accountability in the way the services are provided.

Update: For the full press release on Labour’s Aged Care policy please use this link.

Blue, Harry, Trotter – then and now

Posted by on September 26th, 2011

Chris Trotter has strong opinions, when I get the time to follow him – which isn’t often. But this short story, about Blue and Harry, stalwarts of the good old days of unionism, has turned up on my media monitoring, repeated in every little down-home country paper throughout the country. Blue says :

“I heard that Darien Fenton woman talking on the radio the other day – Labour’s industrial relations spokesperson. You know what she says?”

“What did she say?”

“She says: ‘Nobody on the Left is calling for the reintroduction of compulsory unionism and national awards.’”

“Never asked us”, said Harry.

“No, she bloody didn’t”, muttered Blue. “But I know what I’d like to ask Darien Fenton. I’d like to ask her how much longer Labour’s going to let this wretched experiment in voluntary union membership go on before declaring it a failure?

“Ninety-one out of a hundred, Harry. Ninety-bloody-one! That how many private sector workers lack union protection. Hundreds-of-thousands of ordinary Kiwis stripped of the ability to negotiate with their employers on equal terms. To look the boss in the eye and say ‘no deal’, without being sent down the road.”

Yep, well Blue and Harry (and Trotter) have got that right. There’s only 9% of private sector workers covered by unions and collective bargaining in NZ.  It’s not a NZ only situation –  and there’s plenty of international evidence mounting now, including from the IMF and the OECD, that the decline in unionism and collective bargaining has contributed to rising inequality and even the GFC.

I honour the commitment of the Blues and Harry’s and of those who followed them. I’ve worked in workplaces where there’s been strikes for weeks on end. I have my share of war stories, just like many Labour MPs (and they’re not all glorious). We worry about leaving the next generation much worse off than the one we inherited from their struggle. But the world has sadly changed. In Blue and Harry’s day, a casual worker would have been unheard of. Working the weekend for ordinary rates would be a strikeable offence. But women getting equal pay, paid parental leave, domestic leave and four weeks holiday were also just as unthinkable, so it’s not all about what happened yesterday.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t injustices, low pay and exploitation. There is plenty to go around.

But Blue and Harry would find today’s workplace unrecognisable and while we learn from our history, yesterday’s solutions aren’t the only solutions for today’s problems. Try, for instance, telling a young IT worker they should be compulsorily bound to a union.

So, Blue and Harry (and Chris Trotter) be patient. Talk with me if you want – anytime. Labour’s policy will be announced soon. We will be standing up for workers, and as we have always done, standing up for the poor and the lowest paid, and taking into account the fragmentation of the labour market, the huge inequalities that have developed, and the need to create a fairer society for everyone.

Why Key needs to get offshore advice on broadband

Posted by on April 21st, 2011

I’ve known Bruce Parkes for years. Straightshooter. Like him. Always knew where he came from. Believed Telecom should use it’s superior market position to slow competitors entry.

But with the High Court judgement quoted below showing how he illegally tilted the playing field in Telecom’s favour he can not be the principal policy advisor on a plan which abolishes regulatory oversight of Telecom’s broadband. It gives them a blank cheque to overcharge much of the country for a decade.

Even before the court decision the sector was revolting. This revelation means that there needs to be a quick expert inquiry into both the decision to favour Telecom and the process that resulted in a very unusual decision.

Because of the vested interests involved the expert(s) will have to come from offshore.

The judgement said interalia:-

The senior Telecom executive named by High Court judge Rodney Hansen in his judgment penalising the telco for historic breaches to Commerce Act, is now a senior civil servant with oversight of the government’s broadband investments.

Bruce Parkes is currently Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development for the Energy and Communications Branch. Among his responsibilities, according to his profile on the MED website, are ICT policy and the Ultra Fast Broadband plan. “In conjunction with Crown Fibre Holdings, this group will continue to implement work on the ultra-fast broadband policy, with the immediate aim of settling initial negotiations with potential providers,” reads the profile.

In London

Posted by on March 3rd, 2011

On Tuesday I flew out of New Zealand headed for London to attend a Westminster Seminary (Freudian slip, it’s a seminar) on Parliamentary Practice and Procedure. It’s an annual seminar, organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) which has 169 branches, representing more than 16,000 parliamentarians. That’s a lot!

The conference doesn’t start until Sunday night, but I took a few extra days on either side to make some visits in my portfolio areas. I’m particularly interested in broadband, mobile and broadcasting issues. And will talk to some people about open government policies.

I’m spending a couple of days in Singapore on the way back. Singapore is pretty advanced in terms of its connectivity, Will be blogging about  some of my impressions.

A few things to note:

It felt a bit strange leaving New Zealand so soon after the earthquake and I weighed up whether I should stay. My office in Dunedin is providing what support it can to the Christchurch Embassy; which has been set up at the Dunedin Railway Station to support people fleeing south from Christchurch.

The taxpayer is paying for my return trip to London and accommodation during the conference. There are three of us in the NZ delegation, myself, National MP Cam Calder and a representative from the Clerks Office. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the workings of parliament, the structure, funding and administration and the work of some of its key office holders. Since I’ve been in Parliament I have had one other CPA trip; to Australia.

All other costs, side trips etc… will be covered by me personally. I think the ability for opposition MPs to have contact with developments in other countries in their portfolio areas is pretty important for policy development.

This is a bit embarassing, but it’s my first trip to Europe.

Will keep you posted.

The Values of Everything – how to turn around failing progressive causes

Posted by on October 14th, 2010

George Monbiot in the Guardian, worth a read :-

So here we are, forming an orderly queue at the slaughterhouse gate. The punishment of the poor for the errors of the rich, the abandonment of universalism, the dismantling of the shelter the state provides: apart from a few small protests, none of this has yet brought us out fighting.

The acceptance of policies which counteract our interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st Century. In the United States, blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without healthcare, and insist that millionaires should pay less tax. In the UK we appear ready to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest. What has happened to us?


Last chance to vote on OpenLabourNZ ideas

Posted by on October 3rd, 2010

Open Labour Logo

By 2.30pm Sunday, 7293 votes have been cast on 96 ideas on what Labour’s policy on open and transparent government should look like.

Those votes have been cast by 445 people who have registered at the ideascale site. If you haven’t already done so I urge you to register and cast your vote. To vote go here.

As previously noted, this does not necessarily mean they will end up in the policy, but we are taking your input seriously.

For each suggestion you can ‘vote it up’ (if you agree with it) and ‘vote it down’ (if you disagree). You can also leave comments on each suggestion. If you have a suggestion that isn’t there, you can add that too (please read through the existing suggestions so we don’t get double ups).

There were originally 63 ideas put up a week ago. Users have added extra ones.

We will close off the vote tomorrow midday-ish. After that a report will be compiled and a workshop on OpenLabourNZ will be held at the Labour Party conference in mid October.

Labour’s policy on open and transparent government will be released at some point after that.

Vote takes off for open govt ideas

Posted by on October 1st, 2010

Open Labour Logo

Well you know what? It appears that doing things a bit differently can have a positive impact.

In the last few days more than 6000 votes have been cast for 90 different ideas to help Labour form a policy on open and transparent govt.

I’m hugely pleased with the engagement on Ideascale. It’s a new thing we’re trying out. If you haven’t already, go and look at it here.

So far there’s been 90 ideas put up (63 of them came out of the work done to date and 27 ideas are new)

6305 votes (as of 1pm Friday)

388 people have registered on ideascale to vote.

If you haven’t done so already I urge you to. It’s your chance to have a say on what ideas you like and don’t before we close it off, write up a report and take it to the Labour Party conference for further discussion in mid October.

After that, a policy will emerge to take into the 2011 election.

As previously noted, your voted preferences will not necessarily mean they will end up in the policy, but we are taking your input seriously.

It’s been an interesting and exciting process and I hope a number of my colleagues will take it up and develop some of their own policy ideas in an open environment.

OpenLabourNZ: Vote for the policy ideas you like

Posted by on September 28th, 2010

Open Labour Logo

Thanks for all of your contributions to OpenLabourNZ so far.

The policy principles and the discussions under each theme have been put on the wiki here, and will be incorporated into the final report.

Through the process many different suggested actions have been received. We’d like you now to vote for those, so we can see which ones you consider are the most important for Labour to have in our policy. As previously noted, this does not necessarily mean they will end up in the policy, but we are taking your input seriously.

To vote, please go here

For each suggestion you can ‘vote it up’ (if you agree with it) and ‘vote it down’ (if you disagree). You can also leave comments on each suggestion. If you have a suggestion that isn’t there, you can add that too (please read through the existing suggestions so we don’t get double ups).

There are currently 63 suggested actions in total. You don’t have to vote for all of them, if you don’t have time, just choose the ones that are most important to you. The suggested actions are listed under each of their themes, so you might want to focus just on the themes that matter to you the most.

If you were at one of the discussion tables for a particular theme at the OpenLabourNZ event, it’d be particularly good to have your input, and any additional comments you’d like to add. Here are the links to suggested actions grouped under each them on the IdeaScale site:

These suggested actions will be listed in the final report, with the number of votes each received, so this is a chance to have your say. Voting doesn’t require a log in, and can be done in one click.

Shift happens

Posted by on September 7th, 2010

This is one version of a variety of YouTube videos on this theme.  It was brought to my attention by some early childhood educators in Albany, North Shore a couple of days ago, when we were talking about the future of education. Some challenging, yet stimulating thinking in this clip : Hang on until the end : it will astound you.

OpenLabourNZ: View live footage and contribute

Posted by on September 2nd, 2010

Open Labour Logo

Labour has begun a new experiment in communicating with the public. A new way of developing policy, using online technology, involving citizens and committing to more open and transparent way of running government.

Called OpenLabourNZ, this is the first time a major New Zealand political party has opened up our policy development to the public in this way.

An OpenLabourNZ conference held in Wellington last weekend was a uniquely New Zealand event, drawing on similar processes used in Australia, the US and the UK.

  1. Thanks for participating in the event on Saturday
  2. You can now view the footage from Saturday’s event. It’s in chunks so you see what each participant said. There are some great contributions
  3. You can read Phil Goff’s speech here
  4. There’s been some good media coverage of OpenLabourNZ so far including a thoughtful piece from Colin James and this piece in ComputerWorld
  5. If you have any notes generated during the day, please email them to 
  6. Given the volume of content generated, my office is now compiling all of the input into a draft document, to be published on the OpenLabourNZ wiki on Thursday 16th September. There is already a lot of content on the wiki so go and have a look.
  7. You can still edit the wiki before 16 September and we’ll take that content into account, but it might be easier just to email any ideas/comments to
  8. Anyone interested will then have two weeks to edit the wiki to help improve and add to the final document. This will then be submitted to the Labour Party at the end of September.
  9. The Labour Party conference in October will hold a workshop on open and transparent government and consider the report
  10. The Labour Party Council will work with all MPs to develop Manifesto commitments on Open Government policy
  11. The twitter hashtag #olnz is still active so make use of that as well
  12. If you want to follow me on twitter I am @clarecurranmp
  13. If you don’t know much about OpenLabourNZ and want some more background, go here

If you have any suggestions, questions or issues, please email me

Victims of Crime

Posted by on August 30th, 2010

A very interesting perspective piece in the Herald this morning on the recent debate surrounding meeting the real needs of victims of crime.  I am keen for feedback as I have been doing some serious thinking about this since I posted on the Chief Justice’s speech which raised this very issue.

Registrations open for NZ’s first political open policy public event

Posted by on August 16th, 2010

Registrations are open to a public event as a part of what I think is NZ’s first attempt to develop political policy in an open forum directly involving the community, and using online technology.

The public event on 28 August in Wellington brings together ideas generated over the last four months on how to deliver open and transparent government.

OpenLabourNZ was launched via Red Alert at the end of April. It’s an experiment in how Labour can more deeply engage with the community and seek their input, by using new technologies and methods to increase participation and collaboration in developing policy.

While it will be a uniquely New Zealand event, the format is drawing on similar processes used in open government initiatives in Australia, the US and the UK.

To date, OpenLabourNZ has attracted hundreds of responses by blogs, Twitter and Facebook and direct communication with the Party.

We are serious about being open and transparent. This is a new initiative, but through it we hope to demonstrate that we mean business and will take the policy to the election and into government.

A series of high profile international and New Zealand speakers will be announced in the next few days.

Event details
The public event will be held at the Lion Harbourview Lounge on the second floor of the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 28 August from 10am – 3pm.

The event will also be streamed live over the Internet, so people who can’t be there in person can still participate. People participating from home will be able to do so using Twitter, Facebook and an online forum. Details about how to participate online will be announced soon.

If you are able to attend in person, please register as places are limited. You are asked to participate in good faith. This is a Labour Party focussed event but it is intended to attract a wide range of participants interested in the goal of open and transparent government and how to achieve that.

Registration is free, and you can register by emailing