New Zealand Labour Party

Robert Reich and Guy Standing keynote speakers at Future of Work Conference

Internationally renowned economists and authors Robert Reich and Guy Standing will be the keynote speakers at Labour’s Future of Work Conference in Auckland in March.


Robert Reich is a world renowned economist and former Secretary for Labour in the Bill Clinton administration. Professor Guy Standing is well known for his bestselling book The Precariat about the problems generated by uncertain work conditions.

Labour’s Chair of the Future of Work Commission Grant Robertson, who recently returned from an OECD Future of Work Forum in Paris, said he is delighted to welcome speakers of such international prominence to address the conference.

“I have a huge amount of respect for both Robert and Guy. They are experts in this field and their knowledge will be vital to the development of ideas in the conference.

“The changing nature of work presents real challenges but also big opportunities. Preparing properly and developing the ideas now will allow us to seize the opportunities rather than be forced to play catch up. That’s where Robert and Guy come in.”

Robert Reich said better systems must be designed to support prosperity and security of work.

“I’m delighted to be speaking at Labour’s Future of Work Conference. Advanced economies are now generating the widest income inequality in more than a century. Our economic systems are failing us.

“We need to find a better system, designed to give us prosperity for the many rather than just a few at the top, and more security and certainty to all workers, be they in the formal economy or the so-called on-demand workforce. Flexibility needs to be real for workers, not just a front for exploitation. 

Guy Standing said economies are facing huge changes.

“Work and labour are on the cusp of transformation, with 20th century concepts increasingly unfit for purpose. Above all, the 20th century income distribution system has broken down in this age of rentier capitalism. A new class structure has emerged, with the precariat as the largest and most insecure group.

“This conference is a great opportunity for progressives in New Zealand to develop new policy ideas and perspectives."

The Future of Work Conference will be on 23 and 24 March. Further speakers will be announced in coming weeks.

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