New Zealand Labour Party

Social Development

Labour believes that New Zealand should be a place where everyone is able to live with dignity. We have enough resources to ensure no one has to live in poverty. However after nine years of a National Government our social security system has been eroded. Alongside low wages and employment insecurity, New Zealand now has unprecedented levels of inequality and child poverty.

There are 125,300 more people living in relative poverty when taking into account housing costs than when National took office nine years ago. A third of New Zealand children, or 295,000 children, live in income poverty, while 90,000 children are living in severe poverty.

It is a sign of failure that so many of our children are living in hardship. Labour wants to address the hardship that has been left behind in National’s wake and make sure our welfare system is working to provide real support for New Zealanders. We will
implement a real social investment approach by ensuring our children get the best start in life, they have access to education and healthcare, everyone has a safe home to live in and our welfare system doesn’t let any families fall through the cracks.

Labour will:

  • Ensure all New Zealanders have the support they need to live with dignity
  • Provide children with the best start in life
  • Invest in our people so they can realise their potential
  • Modernise our welfare system so it aligns with the employment market and is fair and accessible for all
  • Value all forms of work that positively contribute to New Zealand including volunteering and parenting
  • Support communities by investing in quality social services delivering for New Zealanders
  • Prioritise warm, dry and affordable housing for all New Zealanders.

Click here to read our full policy


Labour will:

  • Provide three years of free post-school education over a person’s lifetime and ensure every student has a personalised career development plan.
  • Support youth health (especially mental health) by extending School Based Health Services to all public secondary schools and developing funding models that will allow Youth One Stop Shops to be financially sustainable.
  • Ensure all young people who are able, are in work, training or education, through expanding apprenticeships, grants for young entrepreneurs, and offering valuable job experience in environmental and community projects.

Click here to read our full youth policy