Wellington Scoop

At Labour Party rally, Jacinda Ardern states her vision for the future

Ardern at rally

Report from RNZ by Craig McCulloch
In a rally cry to Labour faithful in Wellington today, Jacinda Ardern painted an ambitious vision of the future she says could be reality if New Zealanders “stick to our plan”.

Her 2030 vision includes a country without a housing waitlist – though this has nearly quadrupled since the last election, despite Labour building roughly 4000 new state houses.

She also envisions a country “where children living in poverty has halved”, with swimmable rivers and 100 percent renewable energy, and without health inequalities or Covid-19.

“It’s a future that is not so distant, if we stick together, and if we stick to our plan,” Ardern said.

Ardern at rally 2

Hundreds of Labour supporters packed the Michael Fowler Centre this afternoon for the party’s largest election rally of the restarted campaign.

Ardern also took aim at the National Party in her speech, describing the opposition as distracted. “The alternative is an opposition party that is focused on itself, that has lost its focus on economic responsibility and produced a plan with an $8 billion hole,” she said. “Mistakes like that cannot be laughed away, they threaten our economic recovery and put health and education at risk.”

Ardern’s speech focused at length on the Covid-19 pandemic.

“While there was no playbook for Covid-19 we went hard and early and committed to a strategy of elimination,” she said. “I will always maintain that it has been and will continue to be the right thing to do.”

Ardern said the pandemic would overlay all its decisions, but would not divert her from her goals.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last three years though, it’s what you do when the unexpected hits that counts.

“We can all campaign on long lists of policies and ideas, but you truly get to know your government when disasters strike.”

Ardern did not unveil any new policy, but listed some which have already been announced, including more free lunches in schools and a new Matariki public holiday.

Speaking before Ardern, Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson showered his leader with praise, describing her as “Dr-Ardern-medicine-woman”. To those who dismissed Ardern as simply “a good communicator”, Robertson said they seriously underestimated her razor-sharp intellect, strategic mind and “true leadership”.

He let loose on National, attacking its string of leadership changes and various positions on the border. Robertson said National’s alternative budget had “more holes than a rabbit-run golf course”. He said the opposition party was in “a rebuilding phase” which was precisely why it could not be entrusted with government right now.


  1. D'Esterre, 12. October 2020, 0:46

    “….ambitious vision of the future she says could be reality if New Zealanders ‘stick to our plan’.” No thanks. I’ve been a lifelong lefty and Labour voter, including in 2017, but not this election, possibly never again. The government has failed to do what it promised at the 2017 election.

    “….housing waitlist….has nearly quadrupled since the last election…” We’ve noticed.

    “…more free lunches in schools…” Right. More faffing about treating symptoms of poverty, instead of doing the hard stuff fixing the causes. This government ignored the recommendation from the welfare working group to substantively raise benefits. Now that would have made a significant dent in poverty levels.

    “…a new Matariki public holiday.” Oh great: I just can’t wait for that.

    Evidence says that the PM is a Blairite. That being so, I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised at how things have turned out. Or haven’t. I note Labour poking the borax at National’s current disarray. Shades of the 2014 election, which was a disaster for Labour. And the 2017 election might well have gone the same way, but for a last-minute change of leadership, which dragged the numbers up to a more respectable level. Remind me: how many changes of leader did Labour have after the 2008 election?

  2. TrevorH, 12. October 2020, 7:18

    Big on “vision”, lacking on achievements.

  3. Traveller, 12. October 2020, 10:04

    D’Esterre: But if you vote for the Opposition, there’s no hope of fixing the housing shortage. Remember what they did during their years as the government.

  4. Alf the Aspirational Apterxy, 12. October 2020, 11:29

    $100 million for marae which are private property, not to forget $12 million for the Green School. And yet they decline to fund hospices or life-saving drugs. Some future.

  5. Julienz, 12. October 2020, 11:30

    The hiatus of Covid gives us an opportunity to have a reset. Over the past 30 years about 850,000 New Zealanders have left New Zealand to make their homes in other parts of the world, presumably because they believed they could have a better life in Australia or beyond. Despite the fact that almost a fifth of our population have voted with their feet, successive governments of all colours have decided to replace those people and more. The outcomes we get are: pressure to pack more people into our cities; productive land that feeds us and produces most of our exports replaced by housing; constant pressure on the roads, education and health systems because we are forever playing catch up; and our poorest citizens are crowded into substandard housing, languishing in the provinces without jobs, or begging in the streets. And our GDP per capita continues to head south.

    Michael Reddell explains it far better than I can in this speech.

    Have we ever done an analysis of truly useable land in NZ and how many people it can offer a decent standard of living? Last week I heard a New Conservative candidate trot out the “we are the same size as the UK, we are not going to run out of land” but lots of our land is not developable (southern alps, all the national parks etc) and every extra hectare taken for housing around the edges of our cities (Wellington possibly being the exception) is a hectare less that can be sustainably farmed (and then we complain about unsustainable farming practices). We are now seeing soils having to be protected from housing. And the more of us here, the more we consume so the less we can export to pay for all the stuff we don’t produce for ourselves. It feels like we are pushing against limits to growth. Is it time for a Royal Commission on Population?

  6. D'Esterre, 12. October 2020, 11:46

    Traveller: “But if you vote for the Opposition, there’s no hope of fixing the housing shortage.” In virtue of what would you suppose that Labour plans to do anything pointful in this regard, were it re-elected? Note the current size of the housing waitlist. Note also the rise in the cost of renting, since Labour came to power. If the government could have made a dent in the housing problem, we’d have seen signs of it by now. Voting the same way and expecting different results is the triumph of hope over experience (to quote Oscar Wilde). Free school lunches is laudable, but treats a symptom of poverty only. As for a Matariki public holiday: a government could do this once the substantive issues have been resolved. Not at present.

    The contemporary housing situation is a consequence of many years of government policy failures, going all the way back to the 1980s and the arrival of neoliberalism. It isn’t solely the previous government’s fault.

    Here’s a thing: there’s a subset of the population – mostly among the very poorest – which cannot manage adequately in private rentals, even with an accommodation grant. They need state housing: something that proponents of neoliberalism failed to grasp. As a consequence, successive governments over many years haven’t provided enough state housing to meet need. You may believe that Labour will – or even intends to – crack this particular nut; I do not.


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