Little speaks to his strengths, needs to build on them

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.

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  1. David

     /  29th January 2015

    Basically Little owes his position to the unions so he knows he will have to adopt policy positions that are not friendly to small businesses, labour laws, 90 trials his speech to small businesses about how fantastic he was negotiating with huge businesses in protected industries wont count for much.
    It is a cynical attempt by Labour to pretend that they have half a clue and wont tank the economy by addressing a business audience (and talk about what a great unionist he was) and then to have Jacinda Ardern appointed to look after small businesses (is she still a senior and active member of the international socialist league) and Grant Robertson who has never had a proper job to do an enquiry into the future of work..its just laughable and they really need to clear out their caucus and start again.

  2. The 90 Day trial is a good policy, but its based upon trusting business to do the right thing. A simple registry tallying businesses who push people out based on the 90 day trial rule would soon paint a picture of who is abusing the process, It got me my job in Sunny Nelson, as I was an overqualified student with nil experience, and it allowed the company to take a chance on me.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  29th January 2015

      Why do you think it is based on trusting business to do the right thing? It costs money to hire and train a new staff member, often a lot of money. Businesses have a strong financial incentive to keep a good employee and keep staff turnover low.

    • kiwi_guy

       /  29th January 2015

      It cuts both ways, I’ve started jobs where its been like “ok you guys are muppets and your weird office politics are doing my head in, bye bye”.

    • Sponge

       /  29th January 2015

      I employed an older guy late last year. He had resigned his last job due to stress. I thought he would be ok but was concerned that he may not be able to cope if things got tough.

      Without the 90 day rule he would probably still be unemployed.

      Now he is earning $55k.

      Sure some arsehole may abuse it but, on the whole, it is a great thing for small businesses. As a result of this new law I have now taken on 2 employees that otherwise I would not have due to the impossibility of getting rid of someone who does not work out.

  3. Goldie

     /  29th January 2015

    “Targeting job creation through small businesses is a good approach”
    No it isn’t.
    First, most jobs in NZ (60% according to Little’s figures) are in big businesses (more than 20 staff). Second, big businesses on average pay significantly higher incomes than small businesses.
    If you genuinely want job creation, then the answer is to promote the growth of big business and to assist small businesses become big.
    “Making small business a priority” is a political slogan, but it indicates poor policy thinking.

  4. Mike C

     /  29th January 2015

    It was a crap start to “Little Labours” year.

    Andrew Little spouted off about him being able to reduce unemployment to its lowest level ever. But when asked what current unemployment numbers were, the stupid dumb-arse didn’t have a fuckin’ clue.

    I’m starting to sound like Slater.

    That’s a little bit of a worry 🙂

    Yeah-Right. LOL.

  5. Kittycatkin

     /  29th January 2015

    It was a pity that he said that we’d have lower unemployment than the lowest in the OECD and then didn’t know what that was. He could have recovered this by slapping his head and pretending to have had a mind blank and laughing at himself-always a good look. Better than looking like a total idiot and bluffing.


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