Future of Work policy integral to Labour’s electoral hopes

EDITORIAL

Labour’s annual conference at the weekend put the focus firmly on jobs, a platform that could stand it well as it strives to make progress with an election less than a year away.

The announcement that attracted the most attention was the plan to take young people off a benefit and pay them the minimum wage to do work in the community and environment sectors. Unfortunately they got the figures wrong — the estimated cost of $65 million would only allow the programme to run for four months, not six, but it was only one part of an extensive presentation to the conference on its Future of Work policy which has been developed over the past two years.

Some employers would not be happy with another platform that would see companies that do not do enough to train people punished financially, but the jobs theme was clear and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Labour does need to get on the move now and connect with voter concerns. It will be hoping for some sort of boost in the important pre-Christmas polls as a result of a conference that saw the often divided party happily all singing from the same song sheet.

One man who does have a job and is going to keep it is the party leader Andrew Little, who will complete two years in the role on November 18.

After a slightly shaky start in which he earned the nickname of Angry Andy from his opponents, he has steadily grown in the job.

His deputy Annette King called him the no-frills leader and he does not have the charisma of his arch rival Key. But Little is earning some grudging respect from National for the way he is going about the job, focusing more on the issues. He also appears to be heeding advice from his minders to avoid getting involved in personality politics.

Labour has a big job ahead of it trying to fight back after its worst defeat since 1922 at the last election.

Just ahead is a tricky by-election in Mount Roskill where in 2014 National actually won the party vote. An awful lot depends on Labour’s Future of Work policy.

Labour’s annual conference at the weekend put the focus firmly on jobs, a platform that could stand it well as it strives to make progress with an election less than a year away.

The announcement that attracted the most attention was the plan to take young people off a benefit and pay them the minimum wage to do work in the community and environment sectors. Unfortunately they got the figures wrong — the estimated cost of $65 million would only allow the programme to run for four months, not six, but it was only one part of an extensive presentation to the conference on its Future of Work policy which has been developed over the past two years.

Some employers would not be happy with another platform that would see companies that do not do enough to train people punished financially, but the jobs theme was clear and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Labour does need to get on the move now and connect with voter concerns. It will be hoping for some sort of boost in the important pre-Christmas polls as a result of a conference that saw the often divided party happily all singing from the same song sheet.

One man who does have a job and is going to keep it is the party leader Andrew Little, who will complete two years in the role on November 18.

After a slightly shaky start in which he earned the nickname of Angry Andy from his opponents, he has steadily grown in the job.

His deputy Annette King called him the no-frills leader and he does not have the charisma of his arch rival Key. But Little is earning some grudging respect from National for the way he is going about the job, focusing more on the issues. He also appears to be heeding advice from his minders to avoid getting involved in personality politics.

Labour has a big job ahead of it trying to fight back after its worst defeat since 1922 at the last election.

Just ahead is a tricky by-election in Mount Roskill where in 2014 National actually won the party vote. An awful lot depends on Labour’s Future of Work policy.

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