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Labour Summer School 2004 - Debating the Future

11th December 2003

Media Release - Debating the Future

"A welcome forum for debate," is how Michael Wood, Young Labour President, is describing the second Labour Party Summer School, to be held on the Wairarapa Coast at Riversdale Beach, 24-26 January 2004.

In response to Labour Party members' desire for a relaxed setting for in-depth political debate, Young Labour has organised the second Labour Party Summer School which has attracted over twenty registrations from around the country in under two weeks. Last year's inaugural Summer School was highly successful, and the 2004 version will be bigger and better.

"Our aim is to get Labour Party members together for the kind of in-depth discussion and debate, on a national level, which the standard Conference programme and pressures - including the risk of damaging media frenzy about the very idea of lively debate, can preclude," said Michael Wood.

"This is a calmer forum for activists to share experiences, talk about social democratic politics - and, most importantly, talk about the ideas that will drive Labour-led Governments in the long term.

"Like all Party forums, a depth of experience is available. We've put together a varied and useful programme of political debate and education that will leave all participants with a deeper - and shared - understanding of what social democracy in our country means today," said Michael Wood.

"In her conference speech this year, Helen Clark said `And for the party, there's a challenge. Our membership and structures need to be able to help us meet our responsibilities of representing a broader cross section of New Zealanders. Our consultation and policy-making processes need to be improved.' The Summer School is part of Young Labour's effort to help meet that challenge," Michael Wood said.

The programme kicks off on Saturday morning with a presentation on the origins of Social Democracy from Labour Party General Secretary, Mike Smith. Other speakers will deal with the challenge of identity politics in a Labour Party; economic dilemmas facing social democrats; Labour's Union links and more. The Summer School will conclude with a challenge speaker on the challenge Labour faces to stay in government long term, on the Monday morning.


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