Valuing Our Communities

Labour stands for fairness and equality of opportunity, celebration of diversity, and community empowerment. We’ve put improving the wellbeing of New Zealand’s diverse communities at the heart of everything we do. This hasn’t changed as we focus on securing our recovery from COVID-19 and making sure it doesn’t leave anyone behind.

Here are a few of the ways we’re supporting Aotearoa’s many communities:

Honouring te Tiriti

Together, Māori and Labour have walked a new path. We’re working to honour and uphold te ao Māori, increase the number of te reo Māori speakers, and end disparities between tāngata whenua and tāngata Tiriti (non-Māori). We’re making significant investments to get whānau Māori into homes and to boost Māori education, and we’re upgrading marae across the country, recognising the role they play in our communities. We’ve removed barriers that Māori landowners have faced for decades and we’re investing in the future by opening employment pathways for rangatahi. The new Māori Health Authority will drive hauora Māori and lead our health system to make real change in access and outcomes for Māori patients.

Caring for our Rainbow whānau

Labour has a long history of looking out for our LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui communities, and we’re proud to continue that legacy. We’ve committed to banning conversion therapy, and we’ve passed legislation to wipe unjust historic homosexual offences from criminal records. Ours is the first ever Government to provide targeted nationwide funding for mental health services supporting Rainbow young people. We also removed the limit on publicly funded gender confirmation surgeries provided by the private sector – to reduce wait times and support the mental health of trans New Zealanders – and made it free to change the registered sex on birth certificates.

Recognising people with disabilities

We believe a truly inclusive society is one in which people with disabilities can lead meaningful lives within their communities, based on respect and equality. We’ve delivered the biggest ever funding boost for Disability Support Services, and we’ve invested significantly in disability employment services to support people into meaningful and sustainable work. We’re also making sure spaces and information delivery are inclusive and accessible.

Welcoming diversity

We’re working to make Aotearoa a place where everyone feels at home. After the 15 March terror attacks, we implemented urgent measures to support ethnic communities – among these measures was the Safer Communities Fund, which allowed communities to create safe spaces and return to worship with their loved ones. We’ve expanded the Welcoming Communities programme, to support communities to build connections between locals and newcomers, and we’re launching the new Ministry for Ethnic Communities. We’re also working to ensure our public service better reflects New Zealand’s diversity.

Supporting Pacific people

We’re proud to have the largest Pāsifika Caucus in New Zealand’s political history, and we’re working to empower Pāsifika communities across the country. We’re better supporting Pacific people with new mental health and addiction services in Auckland and Wellington, and we’ve boosted funding to Pacific health providers to help them deliver our COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Pacific communities. We’ve expanded – and are bumping up our investment in – Tupu Aotearoa to support thousands of Pāsifika people around the country into education, training, and employment.

Respecting our elders

Seniors and kaumātua play important roles in our whānau and communities, and we’re dedicated to helping them lead fulfilling lives. We’ve introduced the Winter Energy Payment to help seniors weather the colder months, and we’re investing in making homes healthier. We resumed contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund and we’re keeping the age of eligibility at 65. We upgraded the SuperGold card and we’ve ensured that eligible retirement village residents are able to apply for a rates rebate. Our major health reforms will ensure more older Kiwis can get the care they need, when and where they need it.

Labour is already rolling out our plan to support our communities to build back up from COVID-19 and thrive. That’s why we have:

  • Provided the biggest-ever funding boost for the disability sector so people with disabilities are empowered to live fulfilling lives
  • Assisted Māori-led programmes, to meet the specific needs of Māori communities. The range of responses cover areas including community outreach, healthcare (particularly for kaumātua and kuia), rangitahi training and support for small businesses
  • Backing Pacific Peoples through the Pacific package to ensure they are not left behind and missing out on jobs and business opportunities
  • Supported our artists and creatives and cultural and heritage organisations by providing target support to the sector to help them get back on their feet
  • Boosted funding for the water safety sector to meet increased demand, including Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Coastguard New Zealand, and Water Safety NZ

Labour will continue to train up to 12,000 community-based workers over the next three years, so more people seeking mental health and addiction support have someone to turn to, as part of our re-establishment of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission.

Labour will continue to work towards achieving the goal of 50 percent women’s representation on state sector boards by 2021, having already reached 49 percent by December 2019.