Andrew Little gave his first big speech yesterday to kick off his political year. He wisely spoke to his strengths, building on his uniion past which involved working with businesses. I give him ‘a pass mark, will do better’ as he grows into the position.
In it, I set out my vision for a stronger, more equal New Zealand — one where our businesses thrive and we once again have the lowest unemployment in the developed world.
If you want to see the full text it’s here - State of the Nation 2015.
Little’s presentation is a bit mixed. This is to be expected at this early stage of his leadership. It’s a hugeb step up in public scrutiny. He should improve over the next three years.
Targeting small business for job creation is a reasonable approach, and he has the background to contribute. But he and his minders need to anticipate basics – he wants New Zealand to have the lowest rate of unemployment but he didn’t know what the actual target needed to be. Not a major slip but he needs to avoid this happening.
As a new leader at the start of the parliamentary cycle I’m fully aware of the task I have ahead to build our organisation and the policy platform we will take into the next election. This is a major job.
Acknowledging a major job, which it is. Not just for him but also for the Labouir caucus and the party.
Because as a party committed to creating good jobs for New Zealanders, we know that many of the jobs we want to create will come from businesses like those represented here today. That is the only way to drive down unemployment. We can only do this if we’re all in it together.
For a political party with social democratic values at its heart, like the Labour Party, there is one crucial question: How do we create wealth generation that means everyone gets to fairly participate and share? Which is to say, wealth generation that is inclusive.
Targeting job creation through small businesses is a good approach. Committing to work together with the business community is very good.
But there are a number of policy areas that will be challenging for Little and Labour.
With Labour, it will be easier than ever to start a business and make it succeed.
Labour will make small business a priority.
Will they retain or scrap the 90 day trial?
We will do more to use our tax system to support investment in innovation and Research & Development, so that more Kiwi businesses can compete on the world stage in the cutting edge industries that make up the 21st century economy.
What about the business tax rate. Will Labour propose to leave it as it is, lower it, or raise it.
Will they ramp up the minimum wage? That will impact on small businesses.
There’s still a lot for Little and Labolur to do on this. They have the time to get it right.
This is a good enolugh start to Labour’s year. Little spoke to his strengths but a lot of building on them is required.