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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org