In Palmerston North on Sunday, Andrew Little will address the Labour Party conference for the first time as leader.
He is promising to “outline his and Labour’s vision for a better New Zealand”, which seems like a jolly good idea.
No doubt he’s been peppered in the leadup with advice on what to say, what not to say, and how to say it. At the Spinoff, we like to help, too – so here are 18 smart New Zealanders with a paragraph they’d like to see him put in the speech. Our speechwriting team: Michele A’Court, Jim Anderton, Sue Bradford, Mai Chen, Neil Finn, Marama Fox, Morgan Godfery, Bryan Gould, Lalia Harré, Shaun Hendy, Keri Hulme, Stephen Jacobi, Helen Kelly, Danyl Mclauchlan, Josie Pagani, David Slack, Chris Trotter and Jamie Whyte.
I am pleased to announce our new Pay Equity policy. As the next Labour-led government we will not only close the 14% wage gap for women, we will open it up out the other side. Women in all sectors will be paid 14% more than men in comparable occupations. This is in recognition of the fact that women create new workers. Like, actually produce whole new human beings. Wages and salaries should reflect this vital contribution to our economy. As an unintended consequence, it will also validate and popularise the statement: “I am sorry I’m a man.”
Michele A’Court is a comedian and writer and author of Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter
New Zealand once had a proud reputation on the world stage as a leader in social and political reform. A social welfare system which cared for our most vulnerable citizens, our children, our elderly, our most disadvantaged families. Virtually free health and education systems that provided first class care and opportunity for every citizen. Full employment and an egalitarian society that was the envy of advanced countries throughout the world. The world did not see these advantages as some form of fiscal extravagance but as a tribute to our humanitarian values and our commitment to a better life for all of our citizens, not to mention a new kind of economic policy that served the needs of the people and not the other way around.
In spite of the many good things about New Zealand today, no one who knows our society well could still think that we lead the world in these critical social and economic areas like we once did. The Labour party was founded on the principles of equal opportunity for all people and must present, at the next election, a set of policies that return our country to the world leadership it once gave to social, political and economic justice and innovation. We are working on such a plan as I speak to you today, and before we face the New Zealand electorate again, we will be ready to release it.
We should be held accountable for making our policies clear, specific and understandable. We would be failing in our duty to our country and our own history as a political movement if we do not meet that challenge. We must not fail to do so.
Jim Anderton is a former NZ Labour MP and later leader of the NewLabour Party and the Alliance. He was deputy PM 1999-2002
We don’t care if the middle class cringe. Labour is going to ditch all of Paula Bennett’s welfare reforms as soon as we’re back in Government and set up a Universal Basic Income pilot in two different parts of New Zealand. We’ll launch new and exciting job creation schemes in the public and community sectors and restore a community economic development function to Government. And right away, we’ll begin a massive state house building programme and legislate so that there’s a statutory right to housing in this country. Everyone deserves a decent place to live.
Sue Bradford is an activist and academic, and a former Green MP
Mai Chen’s recently released Superdiversity Stocktake demonstrates how vain it is to debate the merits of a super-diverse society, since we already have one, and are moving towards a population in which minorities constitute the majority. Our challenge is to make superdiversity work, particularly to meld bi-culturalism and the Treaty relationship, with multi-culturalism and all the potential benefits it brings of hooking us into a larger world, particularly the Asia continent and its enormous markets.
The Superdiversity Stocktake assembles the evidence, which confirms that we’ve moved beyond an “us” and “them” to a rising rainbow generation of New Zealanders, who are swelling the ranks of our workers, our consumers, our voters and our civil society. The sooner we recognise the Kiwi authenticity of this expanded range of voices, the sooner we can reap the benefits of being the most diverse nation on earth. For that reason, we are committing to developing a durable, bipartisan multicultural policy, based on evidence that recognises New Zealand’s bicultural base and our multicultural future.
Mai Chen is managing partner of Chen Palmer
I’m going to tell you the truth. We can’t get elected anyway so what the heck! I’m the Labour leader but my favourite colour is blue. I’m straight edge like Fugazi. It is the digital age now so I want to abandon the flag entirely in favour of a national gif. I believe NZ should be rebranded 63% PURE and that’s probably being generous . I want mobile phones to be banned in public spaces just like smoking and I think NZ should have a population of 20 million. There’s plenty of room here and the country would benefit greatly from an influx of highly motivated refugees looking for peace and security. The culture would be richer and most of them would probably vote Labour.
We should stop caring whether it’s foreigners or NZers buying our land and start caring about what they are going to do with it. Why should we trust that kiwis will do the right thing by the rivers, the lakes and the land? Look at the Waikato river, Lake Taupo, Papamoa!
Neil Finn is a musician
If we are to take out the next election it’s time to put the stunts aside and work in an effort of collaboration in the MMP environment. We must provide a platform of alternative governance and work with the willing. Those who are willing to see greater distribution of wealth to eradicate the hardships of poverty. Those who are willing to put ego aside and do all necessary to protect our vulnerable children from harm and abuse, including holding the perpetrators of that abuse to account. Those who desire warm safe housing available to all – top class, world leading, accessible education – and real jobs that pay real wages.
MMP to some might mean More Mighty Polynesians, or More Māori in Parliament but to me it means a real opportunity for meaningful representation of new Zealand’s people through cross party unity in a Labour led coalition with any and all who are willing to restore the values of this mighty nation.
Including the Māori Party.
Marama Fox is co-leader of the Māori Party
Economic inequality isn’t just one economic problem, it’s the economic problem of our time. And it’s time for the Labour Party to drag it out of the shadows and into the headlights. We’re not afraid to admit that when too few people have access to power, and worse yet when those few are all old chums, our economy and political system become profoundly undemocratic. Our country is thrown off balance.
Inequality is by design. It isn’t a law of nature, it isn’t a universal truth. It’s man-made, like when the National government cut taxes for the wealthy few while raising GST. Inequality works like a barrier, the result of deliberate choices that trap working people. But we can’t fight this alone. A Labour Party purporting to represent New Zealand must connect to the workers’ movements, to feminist movements and to the struggle for tino rangatiratanga. In other words, to a Left. A Labour Party that doesn’t is bound to fragment into bitterly opposed factions. Or worse, turn conservative.
We can grow together or we can grow apart.
Morgan Godfery is a Wellington writer and activist
Unemployment at 6% and rising is a disgrace – not only a personal tragedy for individuals and families but a senseless waste of the nation’s resources that makes us all poorer. Nothing contributes more directly to growing poverty and widening inequality. What’s more, the official statistics undoubtedly understate the number of those seeking work. Unemployment at this level is not just a fact of life – it’s a policy choice and is the best indicator we have that the government has other priorities and that the economy is failing. A Labour government will make the restoration of full employment its central economic goal and will put in place the well-understood policies for achieving job growth through lifting demand and improving competitiveness.
Bryan Gould is a former UK Labour MP and former vice-chancellor of Waikato University
Our Labour Party, like every other social democratic party today, has to make a choice. It’s no easy choice but it is fundamental. Until we make it we will struggle with strategy and tactics. Do we aim to be the passive electoral beneficiaries of third or fourth or fifth term fatigue with the current Government, or do we set out to provoke an uncertain public to demand something very different.
With today’s launch of the multi-party fightback against the signing of the TPPA we’ve chosen action. With the Greens and New Zealand First inside Parliament, and the diverse public coalition outside Parliament, we are taking on a shallow band of cheerleaders, an arrogant government and a smug collection of consultants and spin doctors. Yes, New Zealand can not afford to go it alone. That’s why we are joining a massive international coalition of public interest groups, politicians and progressive parties to say “STOP. THINK”.
Laila Harré is working in service, Ika Seafood Bar and Grill, and a former Alliance MP and minister
The funding of science in New Zealand is all about the art of misdirection. No one is quite sure where the money goes, although GNS Science has dated the fossilised remains of the last known accounts to 2008. Luckily, after “sciencing the sh*t out of it”, we calculate that we can survive on very reasonably priced stockpiles of milk powder until a resupply mission can be sent in 2017. Much to our surprise, it also seems to be getting warmer every year, so we think we’ll be able to survive next winter by burning abundant supplies of cow sh*t and putting on an extra lab coat or two – there seem to be an awful lot of going spare right now.
Shaun Hendy is Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini and a Professor of Physics at the University of Auckland
(NB Advice to Little, rather than suggested speech)
Here I lurk, a grovelling pauper in my beloved Mother’s house.
Mary is a brilliant mother – still! At 88! – but
I dont think – when she said, “Come and stay for a while” – she meant
for nearly a year …
But stuff happens …
I had a lung infection (“it’s” still hanging in there) and lost over 5 stone – I’d been 14 stone 2 lb (nah I’m not going to
translate those figures) since I was 18, and it feels really weird to be so … light-weight-
Without Mary’s – and other family members’ – support I wouldnt’ve made it.
Then I had a no-one-hurt vehicle accident … which has cost me heaps – and will go on costing me –
Writers have extremely erratic income.
What I am suggesting is some kind of financial mutual support group for established writers for emergency funding.
It would be backed by our yearly CL [copyright] earnings, and be there when we really need it.
Keri Hulme is a writer
I am ambitious for New Zealand and ambitious for working people. I know that New Zealand’s future depends on our connections with the rest of the world. Helen Clark, Phil Goff and Jim Sutton all led us in this direction and I intend to do the same. When we are the Government we will do this differently and you can be sure that the agreements we sign up to will advance New Zealand interests and meet New Zealand values.
With the proviso that we need time to analyse the final text, I think we can say that TPP by and large meets the pre-conditions we set. I hope we will be able to support the ratification and implementation of this new agreement which will connect us to 40% of global GDP. Some of you might be surprised at this. Some of you may think it is a change of direction. But I say to you that I am big enough to accept that where advantage is created for New Zealand, we should not stand aside. Labour has a proud history of leadership on trade as we showed with China and the precursor agreement to TPP. I fully expect the next Labour Government to continue to lead for the benefit of our workers, our family farms and our small and medium sized businesses.
Stephen Jacobi is a consultant and former dipomat
We have seen how the current Government policy works – meat workers at AFFCO are being forced to sign awful individual agreements even though they want a collective. They are being forced to accept big weekly reductions in wages and to accept variable shifts and no guarantee of hours. They are even being told they can’t meet each other outside work without the employers consent. They are seasonal – if they don’t accept these new provisions, they have been told they will not get their jobs back.
Labour knows that fair incomes and decent work is not a zero sum game and we will be a Government that works for everyone. We will build a country that is good to work in including for our young workers. Has the Governments current approach increased jobs or seen significant economic growth? No it has not – it is short term and has left more people jobless, vulnerable to insecure hours, untrained and under paid. Labour will change this – workers and employers will be able to negotiate wages that share the profits of the industry. They will be able to negotiate hours of work that suit the industry but that offer security. They will get a tea break and lunch break, and we will provide incentives for employers to invest in training. We will make NZ a good place to run a business and a good place to work!
Helen Kelly was President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions from 2007 until October 2015. This is an excerpt of a longer version which appears here.
Kiwis are tired of the old future. We need a new future. We need a bold vision of hope that gives hard-working kiwi mums and dads a dream of a promise of a fight for a struggle for a dream, together, as kiwi mums and dads, as one. And together we will put on our gloves and roll up our sleeves and use good old kiwi ingenuity and stand strong and get stuck in, like the mighty All-Blacks, and dream of a new tomorrow, today, starting in 2017. And on that day kiwi mums and dads will spread our wings and soar like a mighty kauri tree flowing to the sea.
Danyl McLauchlan is a novelist, blogging at The Dim-Post
Whether they live in Northland or Invercargill, whether they are new immigrants from China, fifth generation Kiwis, or recent refugees, I want New Zealanders to aspire to more. I want a country where our families have something left over at the end of the working week, and something to hope for. That’s why today I am announcing a tax cut for those earners who work for wages.
We will pay for this with a tax switch, from earning to owning. We need to shift some of the share of tax from those working to create wealth and build a nest egg, to the untaxed and subsidised parts of our economy, because that is more economically efficient, and it’s fairer. Your house should not earn more than you. You can call it a Capital Gains Tax. I call it backing the next generation of wealth creators.
We need workers paid well, we need investment in skills, science, and global connections if we are going to have world-leading ambition for New Zealand. Labour is not afraid of the future, and not lacking confidence about our place in the world. Our vision is a New Zealand that is welcoming, vibrant, globally connected, and job-rich. That’s why Labour will support the Trans Pacific Partnership, to deepen our connections to the world’s fastest growing markets. We are pro-trade.
Josie Pagani is a communications consultant and political commentator, and a former Labour candidate. This is an excerpt of a longer version which appears here
There’s a guy in my electorate I met a little while ago.
His name is Philip.
Quiet sort of guy.
Doesn’t make a fuss.
But this is what he told me:
“Morning, noon & bloody night,
Seven sodding days a week,
I slave at filthy WORK, that might
Be done by any book-drunk freak, Andrew.
This goes on until I kick the bucket.
FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT”
He was also upset about his Mum and Dad, but that’s not important right now.
Today I want to talk about workers’ rights.
David Slack is a writer, commentator and author of the book Bullrush
The men and women who inspire humanity do not look back, at the past; or down, on their opponents; they look forward, to the challenges that lie ahead; and, if we are very lucky, up, towards the mountains we have yet to climb. There are men and women who fit that description in this hall this afternoon, and, with your help, they will be with me, in Government, in 2017.
Chris Trotter is a political commentator, blogging at Bowalley Road
During the last election I announced a policy to help rape victims find justice. We would remove the presumption of innocence in rape trials. The accused should need to prove that the sex was consensual. Rape is a terrible crime and no one should get away with it just because the prosecution cannot prove he did it. But I was too modest in my ambition. Murder is also a serious crime. So are assault and burglary. So, when elected to government in 2017, the Labour Party will remove the presumption of innocence for all crimes. A lack of evidence cannot be allowed to get in the way of justice.
Jamie Whyte is a writer and former leader of the ACT Party
The Spinoff Daily gets you all the day's best reading in one handy package, fresh to your inbox Monday-Friday at 5pm.