Labour started its life as a party of change - a voice for the working classes who believed that a fairer future was possible.
From those first beginnings in 1916 Labour was quick to grow. It broadened its policies and membership to reflect the aspirations of all those who wanted to change New Zealand for the better. And those values continue today.
When Michael Joseph Savage led Labour to a sweeping victory in 1935, he promised major changes. Over the next few years Labour introduced a series of measures which have become fundamentals of New Zealand society and culture.
For the first time access to health care became affordable for all. The State assumed a major responsibility to provide low cost housing to those in need. A comprehensive social welfare system gave support and security to the elderly, the sick, and those without employment.
Access was opened to secondary and tertiary education. The New Zealand economy was transformed and unemployment was reduced dramatically. Workers also benefited from the introduction of the 40 hour week, and legislation making it easier for unions to negotiate on their behalf.
Under Michael Savage, Labour formed an enduring partnership with Maori. Labour began the process whereby redress was made for the wrongs of the past, the particular needs of Maori were addressed, and the unique qualities of Maori culture could be both recognised and fostered.
In 1940 Peter Fraser became Prime Minister. The contributions of the armed services during World War Two were immense, as were those of civilians. Labour sought to ensure that the burdens of war were equally shared.
Between 1945 and 1949 Labour presided over the rebuilding of a prosperous peacetime society. Peter Fraser also played a major role in the establishment of the United Nations. Successive Labour Governments have built upon the foundations laid down by Savage and Fraser.
From 1957 to 1960 the Walter Nash Labour Government continued the progressive foreign policies of the first Labour Government, by championing the interests of smaller countries. In 1960, the introduction of Equal Pay for Women for Equal Work in the Public Service paved the way for its full adoption four years later.
Norman Kirk and Bill Rowling led the third Labour Government from 1972 to 1975. Kirk's decision in 1973 to bar a racially selected Springbok team from entry was a major step towards building a more mature national identity of our own. Another of their lasting legacies was the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), a body that to this day continues to support kiwis so they can return to health as early as possible, regain independence, and participate in the community.
The Fourth Labour Government (1984-1990), led successively by David Lange, Geoffrey Palmer and Mike Moore took difficult and long overdue decisions necessary for the modernisation of the New Zealand Economy. Lange clarified on the world stage New Zealand's anti-nuclear stance, which gained New Zealand great international respect. And in 1985 the Waitangi Tribunal's powers were extended to cover Crown acts and omissions dating back to 1840.
Even in the periods between 1951 and 1984 when Labour was out of office its ideas were often centre stage. Successive National Governments admitted that they held power by "stealing Labour's clothes". However the National Government of the 1990s ended this by adopting extremist policies in industrial relations and economic management.
When the Helen Clark lead Fifth Labour Government was elected in 1999, New Zealand turned the corner. Labour transformed the economy and rebuilt essential public services. It led on building New Zealand's identity as an inclusive nation - projecting its values of peace, reconciliation, and social cohesion to the world. And it lead on vital sustainability issues.
The Fifth Labour Government maintained a commitment to strengthening the economy, supporting our families, funding the very best education and health systems possible, supporting older New Zealanders, supporting the Maori renaissance which is such a strength to our country, and valuing the contribution of Pasifika, Asian, and all other peoples who now call New Zealand home. New Zealand is now a stronger, better place.
Labour is optimistic for New Zealand's future, and with your support we will carry on our work for all Kiwis, and lead New Zealand to that future.
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The Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles -
Leader of the Opposition
MP for Mt Albert
Spokesperson for the SIS
Spokesperson for Science & Innovation
MP for Wellington Central
Spokesperson for Employment, Skills and Training
Spokesperson for Arts, Culture & Heritage
Labour List MP
Spokesperson for Finance
Labour List MP
Spokesperson for Social Development
Spokesperson for Children
Associate Spokesperson for Arts, Culture & Heritage
Labour List MP
Spokesperson for State Owned Enterprises
Spokesperson for Commerce
Spokesperson for Trade Negotiations
Associate Finance Spokesperson
MP for Rongotai
Spokesperson for Health
Labour List MP
Spokesperson for Regional Development
Spokesperson for Forestry
Associate Finance Spokesperson
MP for Te Atatū
Spokesperson for Housing
Spokesperson for Auckland Issues
Associate Spokesperson for the Environment
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Spokesperson for the Environment
Spokesperson for Disarmament & Arms Control
Associate Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs
MP for Rimutaka
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Draft Policy Platform
At the 2012 Annual Conference, Labour agreed to create a Policy Platform. This will be a binding framework that sets out how Labour will approach government. Detailed policy will still be published closer to an election in a Manifesto. More information on the DRAFT Policy Platform can be found by clicking here.
21 Feb 2013
It has been around a year since the start of the Labour Party's post-election organisational review.
In November last year 622 registered delegates (the largest number at a Labour Conference since 1988) met to formally pass a number of the recommendations you helped provide as part of the Organisation Review. What emerged from our Conference decisions were significant long-term elements of our democratisation process, with a level and type of member participation in line with similar parties in other democracies.
The most important aspect of the Review is now our focus….moving quickly from the talk to the action! It’s the implementation of the agreed changes that is essential to being the organising machine that delivers government. Over the past two months New Zealand Council has been looking closely at the implementation plan, and particularly the priority of getting the new hubs working well across New Zealand.
A working group was set up at Conference to look at candidate selection matters, and how to achieve gender equality in the numbers of men and women Labour MPs. The work of this group will be discussed at regional conferences in April to June 2013.
In addition, the Policy Council is working on the first round of our policy platforms, another new initiative and these will be ready for discussion, debate and amendment (with new policy proposals you can submit) at the Regional Conferences starting from April to June of this year.
Furthermore, we have developed the administrative rules to be used as we change the way we elect the Parliamentary Party Leader and are working on implementing the remainder of the recommendations agreed to as we prepare to return to Government at the next election.
It is an exciting time, but we need your support to keep this work going.
17 July 2012
The New Zealand Council of the Labour Party has now endorsed a wide range of important changes for our Labour Party organisation.
Your feedback in the Organisational Review gave us clear messages on the changes we need to make as a Party if we want to connect with New Zealanders and succeed at the General Election in 2014. More than 1000 people had their say on the changes they wanted. The Review’s Working Group listened carefully, analysed all your feedback and provided a set of recommendations that were discussed, commented on and generally endorsed at Regional Conferences. This document contains the recommendations that have subsequently been agreed by New Zealand Council.
We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the process so far. The response has been inspiring. We warmly acknowledge our leadership team David Shearer and Grant Robertson who are committed to leading effective change and made time for meetings up and down the country. The Working Group has shown extraordinary energy and skill since March, running two nationwide consultations and providing a set of practical well-supported recommendations on target in mid July. Warmest thanks to its members: Ruth Chapman (who coordinated their work), Nanaia Mahuta, Rick Barker and Mark Hutchinson. The Advisory Group comprising Tim Barnett, Sophia Blair, Bryan Gould, Selwyn Pellet, Rob Salmond and Margaret Wilson gave wise counsel and challenging perspectives. Glenn Riddell and Maryan Street joined the working group to develop the specific constitutional recommendations for the Council. Thanks to the Australian Labor and British Labour parties particularly the ALP Secretariat and International staff who provide solid support and Hon Peter Hain (who led the UK reforms) and whose visit and presentations were so helpful.
The Party's Constitution requires that all proposals for constitutional change should be sent to members at least four months before the Annual Conference when they will be voted on, to allow plenty of time for debate and discussion.
We have had two rounds of consultation on these proposed changes. That process has helped us to feel confident that we have heard members' voices, and we have acted on what we heard. We also included evidence from overseas and debated that, along with the advice from our own Advisory Group members. We want to provide one more feedback loop on proposed rule changes before the formal voting at Conference. This is so that any significant disagreement can be identified, and possible ways to proceed explored. It will also allow us to manage the amendment process at Conference so that the debate is not overwhelmed by procedural complexity. If you have substantive feedback on the proposed rule changes please send your amendments to office AT labour.org.nz by 31 August 2012.
10 May 2012
“Over 20 regional meetings nationwide, 300 written submissions from members and non-
members, input from academics, commentators, community groups and political parties from
Britain to Canada– Labour is ready to push the reboot button’, Labour Party President Moira
Coatsworth said today.
“Over 1000 people participated and contributed to our review process – members and non-
members alike. Our regional meetings were energetic and full of innovative and thought
provoking ideas on how we modernise and strengthen Labour’s organisation.
2 April 2012
Our first round of consultation for our organisational review has now concluded. Our working group members are now working hard to collate all of the contributions received to form part of the Discussion Paper which will be available to members just before regional conferences starting in May.
You will get another chance to contribute your thoughts on the Discussion Paper at regional conferences and again online via the Labour Party website.
In the end close to 1000 party members and members of the public contributed their thoughts and ideas on how we can modernise our organisation and I want to thank each and everyone one of you that posted in your contribution, made an online submission and attended the nationwide meetings.
23 March 2012
Great turn out by local labour members in Palmerston North. Ideas ranged from new forms of fundraising online to better policy processes that members can play a more active part in. One of the stronger themes to be debated was the need for more Labour representation in the provinces and having a plan to turn them from blue to red. All in all a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
The Labour presence is alive and well in the tourism capital of our country – Rotorua. Great to catch up with members and play a part in the lively discussions about the future of the Labour Party. A lot of discussion over the need to mentor and guide not just aspiring politicians – but future Labour office holders which led to some really exciting suggestions.
16 March 2012
We kicked off our regional organisational review meetings in Napier last week - and what a great start! Great turn out by the locals and vigorous discussion was had on all topics; from leadership selection to they way we work as an organisation on the ground.
Great turn out at the Christchurch review meeting. Over 60 members came along to have their say and all made really valuable contributions to the discussion. Members thought the process was really positive and loved the opportunity to be able to talk about the organisation.
27 Feb 2012