Leading Labour in the Top of the South
Leading Labour in the Top of the South
Labour Party Leadership Meeting
1pm, 7 September 2013
Victory Community Centre, 2 Totara St, Victory, Nelson
Ngā Mana Whenua: nga iwi ko Te Tau Ihu; tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Thanks for your warm Nelson welcome. I acknowledge our Nelson based MP Hon Maryan Street and former MP for Christchurch Central, Brendon Burns, and former Cabinet Minister Dame Ann Hercus. It’s great to be back. My family and I are regular visitors to Golden Bay and I have lots of family here.
The Top of the South, like New Zealand, is enjoying this Labour horse race: Shane reckons he’s a stallion, and is trying to make up ground with his geldings. Grant’s been doing the heavy lifting in the Leader’s stable – that makes him our Clydesdale. I am here to convince you that I am both your sprinter and your stayer. Your presence proves that the Party is winning by a country mile!
So let’s start thinking about this race from the outside in. What is best for our fellow Kiwis? Then what our Labour Party needs to win. Then what kind of leader we need to get Labour across the line in 2014.
THE TOP OF THE SOUTH PARADOX
To many, the top of the South is paradise, but also a bit of a paradox.
This region grows some of New Zealand’s finest products: wine, fruit, fish and seafood; agriculture and horticulture; forestry and timber products.
Yet Nelson’s economy collapsed by over 3% last year and youth unemployment is way too high. Why?
Your story is the New Zealand story: great at producing, starved of capital. Exporting too many raw logs and raw fish, and stunting its smart new businesses.
Take Marlborough firm Carbonscape. It microwaves wood waste into coke, which Glenbrook Steel could use to cut its carbon emissions by up to 40%. It sought capital from banks. But they are too busy lending to property speculators to back real Kiwi ingenuity.
Or Sea Dragon, a local manufacturer of omega-rich fish oil, which had to dilute its equity because it was too tough to find expansion finance.
Nelson was named Google’s national eTown winner earlier this year for the way its small business are embracing the internet to grow their businesses.
Top line research and development through the Cawthron Institute, Crop and Food and the Marlborough Wine Research Center are innovating in viticulture and aquaculture.
Meanwhile, slave-labour foreign factory boats take all their fish back to Asia for processing instead of creating value and jobs right here in Nelson, without paying GST or PAYE!
This region is blessed with the most amazing National Parks - Kahurangi, Abel Tasman and Nelson Lakes. But John Key wants to turn the Denniston Plateau into an open-cast mine. And rivers like the Maitai are so polluted that they are often un-swimmable.
Nelson deserves more than just “sunshine wages” and soaring youth unemployment. It needs talent and capital to locate here and add value to our fantastic resources.
I want full employment. My aim will be that every New Zealander who is ready, willing and able to work is either in a job or training for one.
We all know good jobs don’t just grow on trees. That’s why the Labour government I lead will drive economic development in Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast regions
Labour will be trusted with the public purse and will not run away with the chequebook.
But I will get Government off the side-lines and into the game; into new partnerships with communities, regions and business, creating jobs and lifting incomes.
Our capital gains tax will help investment capital flow property speculators to value added processing and smart new businesses.
THE DAILY GRIND
You know, the real cost of National’s failed dogma of “dig it, flog it, drill it and milk it” is measured in the lives of the people in and outside this hall that are doing it tough.
Under John Key’s failed policies Kiwis spend more hours working, have less time with our kids, earn less money, and pay more for the basics, have more stress.
Like the taxi drivers who work 14 hours a day for $5 an hour. Or the cleaners who clean John Key’s office through the night for $14 an hour. Or the rest home workers, loving and caring for our elderly on the most shocking terms and conditions.
You know, John Key has been attacking workers’ rights, bit-by-bit, for the last four years.
John Key thinks bosses don’t need to sit down and negotiate with workers.
And now he’s taking away your smoko and lunch breaks!
As your Prime Minister, I promise John Key’s attacks on workers will be gone by lunchtime!
No more fire at will. No more undermining unions. No more selling holidays.
I will make sure we have fair employment laws, starting with industry standard agreements.
I will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. In the first 100 days of our Government.
I will invest in a living wage for all Kiwis, by first ensuring our government sets the standard.
John Key reckons fair wages are a luxury. I call it an investment.
John Key wasted over $2 billion on tax cuts for rich people who did not need them.
He leads a government that is here for the rich and pulling up the ladders for the rest.
John Key says he grew up in a state house. In 2008, he campaigned in a state housing street, not far from my electorate. As Prime Minister he scrapped the state house build at Hobsonville. He pulled up the ladder.
I won’t pull up the ladder. I will make sure it is there for everybody who needs it.
To get a Labour Government, the Labour Party needs to win in 2014.
To do that, we need three things: urgency, unity and strategy.
We have less than a year to go to lift our numbers.
John Key will spend billions in next year’s Budget to get re-elected.
He is battle-ready and armed with the best spin your money can buy.
But I know I can beat him. I’ve got his number and he knows it.
Time is short. We must make the right call right now.
We must be united to win.
I will bring the entire party together to work as one team.
Everyone must put the interests of the party and the country first.
Shane and Grant are hugely talented men. I would be proud to have them on my team.
At the last election more than 800,000 people - a fifth of the population didn’t vote.
They need to know we are a true red Labour party that will deliver for them, not a light blue one that will make the same cuts as National, just with sharper scalpel and more anaesthetic.
Labour needs urgency, unity and strategy. It needs a leader that is ready to win.
LEADERSHIP TO WIN
All our good intentions, all our policy, our principles and our new strategies, will be worth nothing unless we win office.
I have the experience, skills and economic credentials to lead Labour to victory in 2014 and beyond.
I can make tough calls when needed, even against powerful vested interests. As a Senior Cabinet Minister I busted the Telecom monopoly and kicked out a dodgy health board.
We need a leader who is grounded in the struggles of our families; but also skilled in making government smarter, able to talk the language of business and technology, and to operate on the world stage.
I am ready to lead Labour to victory now and I am asking for your support.
The future of New Zealand is literally in your hands.