I’ve just watched Andrew Little’s conference live through his Facebook page.
My overall impression is that it was well done. Little speaks well when given the opportunity.
The content of the speech sounded like Little could have written it all himself, rather than being a recitation of a committee of speech writers as some political speechs sound like.
There was the usual concocted clapping and cheering, but as Little go into his speech he built a good rapport with the crowd and had them listening and laughing, especially when he talked of his personal political experiences with his staunch National Party supporting father.
Little began by introducing a parade of the Labour front bench. He also praised is MPs, particularly Grant Robertson. This is smart team building.
Little sounded genuine in saying he wants to stand up against injustice.
There was some idealistic phrasing but that will always be included in major political speeches.
It sounded like be believed in the values he spoke of and promoted.
“Taking a stand because it’s the right thing to do” sounds good but that’s always hard to live up tio in the New Zealand of MMP dominated pragmatic politics.
Sure he pandered to the Labour base and the Union supporters, but he did it effectively.
“Last year the average house in Auckland made more than three times the average woerker” is a good line. And a concerning fact (presuming it’s accurate).
Having battled with cancer himself made Little’s commitment that he will “make sure Kiwi’s get the healthcare they need…” sound genuinely heartfelt – but the cost of healthcare will make that a difficult to meet challenge.
“I want to lead a Government that makes a genuine difference” sounded genuine – but not out of the ordinary, all party leaders should feel that way, all MPs should feel that way.
“If you want me tell you what my three priorities are they are jobs, jobs and jobs” got the expected applause from a Labour audience. That’s laudable and addressing jobs could boost the economy – or could weigh it down if they are unproductive jobs.
Little says Labour shouldn’t be a shirker on climate change and compares to the namby pandy Government measures – he mostly talked about his and Labour’s aims and ideals and only occassionaly blasted Government.
Policy announcement – 150,000 New Zealanders and rising are out of work, plus 90,000 under employed, plus 200,000 who can only get temporary work.
His main policy announcement – “We will use the Government buying power to create jobs at home rather than sending them overseas”.
That doesn’t sound new. Called Our Work, Our Future it is aimed at boosing local business and “won’t break the bank”.
“…commitiing our party to a new principle – we will not tolerate poverty in the twenty first century” probably got the biggest round of geneuine clapping and cheering.
“I won’t give up, ever, because I don’t give up on the things that matter most” but no indication of how it will be done or what it will cost.
Towards the end the audo quality deteriorated and became quite echoey and difficult to hear. But the presentation continued to be strong and was often applaused.
More about poverty and repeats of “the Kiwi dream”.
Little may have had a teleprompter but it didn’t show, he appeared to be speaking witrhout notes or prompts. He did that very well.
The Facebook feed showed Live 200 viewers towards the end, that’s not many.
“We have two years to change this Government”.
“Every decision my government makes will be checked against its impact on child poverty.”
He finished very strongly but the echoes made it very difficult to hear what he was saying. A lot of rallying of the troops.
“We can do this. We must do this. We will…kiwi dream” etc.
So Little can speak very well, I’ve never seen him like that before. Impressive. He needs to find a way of carrying that sort of passion and eloquence into other parts of his political presentation.
I expect his speech will have pleased and encouraged the Labour caucus and members.
It should also cause his political opponents to take notice and start to wonder how far Little can take it.
Two years is pleny of time to build – and to stuff up – but this speech from Little suggests there’s real hope for a Labour revival.
Labour: Andrew Little’s Speech to Labour Party Conference
The Standard: Andrew Little’s speech to the Labour 2015 conference