Last Friday, I announced some changes to our shadow cabinet. These changes came as a result of some MP retirements and the election of our new MP for Mt Roskill, Michael Wood.
As part of the changes, I’ve taken on the new role of New Economy spokesperson. This is a really clear signal that Labour is committed to growing wealth in the economy through greater innovation and productivity.
I’ll be working closely together with our work and economic spokespeople to put together a plan to back innovation and wealth creation, and much of our work will be guided by the Future of Work Commission’s thorough and forward-looking report (you can find it here).
Perhaps you’re wondering why this new portfolio is so important.
I’ve said a lot this year about housing, health and education, which are really the building blocks of opportunity. But there’s another element that’s really crucial - making sure people have good, well-paid and rewarding work.
Over my time as leader I’ve met some really inspiring and visionary people who are innovating and trying new things. These are the people taking our economy into the future, which is something I’m really excited about.
In my career before Parliament, I spent 20 years working with workers and businesses to build better working lives. Some of the most rewarding work was when workers and businesses worked together to innovate, invest in new technology and invest in people. That’s when everyone wins - it means better businesses, higher incomes and more rewarding working lives.
This portfolio is essential for our future - one of the biggest challenges facing New Zealand is generating enough wealth, and we won’t always be able to rely on the traditional ways of getting it. We all know our country is too reliant on dairy, and that growth in tourism, while welcome, isn’t creating the high-paid jobs we need.
That’s why we need to do things differently, and back businesses to innovate and nurture new startups. I’m really keen to get cracking in this area next year.
We can do so much better as a country, and the team I lead into next year’s election will be working as hard as ever to show New Zealanders Labour has a plan for the future.