Grant Robertson launches leadership bid

Grant Robertson has launched his leadership this morning in the NZ Herald.

He has done a nice soft piece for Audrey Young where he uses the language that a real Labour leader would use.

Mr Robertson makes it clear there are several ways he will be different from his predecessor, David Parker.

He wants to cut down on the number of policies and focus on a few and he wants to humanise Labour’s economic policy. That will mean less talk about poverty and the current account deficit, important as they are, and more talk about people and work.

Labour is the party of work and workers and if we look at the perception of the party, it may be that we have lost that connection to work.

“We are not going to not talk about poverty, because we have to, but we want to be the party of work and workers.

Finally a Labour person who is speaking to middle New Zealand, and not pandering to bludgers.

Just a few months ago Josie Pagani was being hounded from labour for expressing these exact thoughts.

He is still going to have to get away from slogans and develop proper costed policies. At the moment he is still in the bumper sticker phase.

To that end he is leading a major two-year exercise, the party’s Future of Work Commission, involving non-party specialists and interest groups as well as members to come up with ideas in five areas: technology, security of work and income, education and training, Maori and Pasifika, and economic development and sustainability.

“There’s a phrase that I like which is the concept of an economy with a human purpose,” he said. “This is where perhaps I am different from other finance spokespeople, and not just ours.

“To me, the economy is only a means to an end to the kind of society we want, to the well-being of New Zealanders. I am much more interested in that shape of the economy.



Mr Robertson recently returned from a conference in Mexico of social democratic parties about “inclusive prosperity” – how to make capitalism work better for more than the wealthy. “I’ll be looking at employment as a hugely important thing but I really will be looking at that concept of ‘inclusive prosperity’, of the fact that a wider group of people are getting opportunity and are seeing their well-being and their living standards lift.”

All very well to go to a conference and find a glib bumper sticker slogan, it is a very different prospect putting it in action and developing policy.

The whole piece reads like a job application…for Andrew Little’s job.


– NZ Herald