New Zealand Vol.5 (Manifesto 2014 of NZ Labour Party – current largest opposition party; ruling party 1999-2008, et al.)

Here is New Zealand Labour Party Policy Platform (PDF) in November 2014. Excerpts are on our own.

Chapter 1: Labour’s values
~ Labour’s values are underpinned by our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi – Te Tiriti o Waitangi

~ Labour’s values are enduring values

~ Labour’s values have shaped New Zealand

Chapter 2: Tāngata Whenua

Chapter 3: Strengthening the economy
~ Vision
3.1 Labour is committed to a strong economy. Labour believes a strong economy is one in which everyone enjoys the security of good incomes and jobs and the natural environment is enhanced and protected.
3.2 A strong economy is underpinned by export-led success and a government that plays an active role in creating that success. Labour will build an economy on social democratic values that will not tolerate economic settings based on existing, or growing, levels of inequality. We believe that New Zealand has great potential for robust and durable economic development that will improve people’s lives across the Māori and Pasifika economies, across regions and industries, and in all our communities.
3.3 Labour is committed to financial and economic development policies that will transform New Zealand into a sustainable, resilient, low-carbon economy that is high-performance, high-wage, high-employment, and export orientated. Labour recognises the inadequacy of GDP has a measure of the quality of life of a people and is committed to developing broad-based measures of economic, environmental and social wellbeing.
3.4 Since its ground-breaking first term in office, Labour has actively promoted a strong, diversified, successful New Zealand economy. Labour holds that government must play an essential role in managing and developing the economy. We reject the notion that free markets on their own will deliver either long-term prosperity or just distributional outcomes.
3.5 Labour remains committed to this vision and programme. The challenge now is to turn these positive structural changes into economic progress by working more closely in partnership arrangements to create the conditions for success in industries, sectors, and regions. The aim is to build a high-value, high-performance, export-oriented economy. We particularly recognise the potential for such outcomes in vibrant Māori and Pasifika economies.

~ Our approach
3.7 Labour is committed to a productive and innovative economy that has:
• high-value, high-wage jobs
• participative, safe workplaces
• employment relations legislation that promotes collective bargaining, protects minimum standards and guarantees working people and their unions a voice
• engaged, valued, and well-trained workforces assured of a living wage that allows working families to participate fully in community activities
• regular increases to the minimum wage
• A tripartite framework for collaboration with government, businesses and unions.
Labour also believes that key and essential infrastructure, services and public assets should be provided by and regulated by the state and/or by local communities.
3.8 Labour will undertake sustained diversification of the New Zealand economy to improve standards of living and export success. Manufacturing is vital in a modern, successful economy. We are committed to advanced manufacturing and services, supported by new partnerships, to expand investment in research and development.
3.9 Regional and sectoral development is vital. New Zealand’s regions must be encouraged and supported to play a full role in our economic development. Labour is committed to a strong rural economy in which existing high-performance sectors are complemented by support for other emerging sectors to reach similarly high standards. Agriculture’s traditional economic role, especially in exports, remains important for Labour. Responsible resource extraction or mining will also play a role in the economy. We believe there is considerable potential to grow the value of New Zealand’s seafood and marine industries while ensuring appropriate standards of sustainability and decent working conditions.
3.10 Labour recognises the potential for New Zealand as the producer and exporter of quality food to a growing international market. Our reputation for integrity, animal welfare and environmental protection must be protected and enhanced as we grow the volume and the value of our exports.
3.13 Under Labour, procurement policy will be based on whole of life costs, local industry participation plans, resilience, and sustainability, as part of value for money. This will enable New Zealand firms to be competitive in bidding for these contracts. Procurement policy will also be used to advance social, regional development and economic and environmental goals. Labour will deliver monetary policy that strikes a balance between the control of inflation and a competitive exchange rate, and which will support strong economic performance. We will promote policies that reduce the incentive for speculative financial behaviour.
3.14 Labour is committed to a fair and transparent tax system that promotes social equity, sustainability, and economic growth. Labour is committed to environmentally responsible outcomes in economic development, and clean and renewable technologies with an emphasis on reducing carbon emissions.

~ Portfolio priorities
Delivering financial stability and successful macroeconomic policy
3.20 Labour will act to reduce and then stabilise New Zealand’s exchange rate when it is overvalued by drawing on a range of monetary tools and the experience of successful export economies. Under Labour, the Reserve Bank will have a balanced focus on inflation along with other objectives, particularly a competitive exchange rate underpinning improved export performance and job creation.
3.21 We will promote a regulatory environment for financial institutions based on prudent, transparent, and professional behaviours. Labour believes in a universal Kiwisaver scheme to improve savings performance. Labour will promote R&D as an integral part of a strong economy, including through targeted tax benefits that encourage successful research and business collaborations.
3.23 Labour will support international trade and investment agreements that promote New Zealand’s economic wellbeing and support fairness, transparency, sovereignty, and sustainability. Labour takes seriously environment, labour, and human rights standards that are frequently raised by trade agreements, and is committed to improving such standards as part of trade agreements.
3.24 Labour is committed to a system of universal superannuation. Labour will ensure the future sustainability of the system and will consider options to achieve this, including raising the eligibility age. If this occurs, we will ensure that those who cannot work past 65 in their normal work and need the cover of superannuation will receive the equivalent of the superannuation payment from the age of 65.

Delivering sustainable economic development
3.29 Labour will implement an economic development approach that is ‘clean, green, and clever’. This approach will maintain high environmental standards, promote high-value production, and favour a lower-carbon, more renewable energy future.
3.30 Labour’s economic development strategy will be a bottom-up partnership model, rather than a top-down, state-to-client model. In this model, business, industry, regional, workplace, trade union, and community organisations will be first to identify opportunities for initiatives to drive improved economic performance and improved outcomes for people. These initiatives will be developed and taken to government for evaluation and support. Labour will respond to these initiatives actively, constructively, and in partnership with communities and industry while protecting and promoting the overall national interest.
3.31 Labour will implement a New Zealand manufacturing strategy. Labour believes that manufacturing has been the lost opportunity in New Zealand’s economy since the 1980s. We will focus on manufacturing because it will deliver high-performing jobs, high-performing workplaces, investment, innovation, exports, and opportunities for improved productivity.
3.32 Labour welcomes foreign direct investment when it:
• is integrated into advanced manufacturing and services that lead to jobs for New Zealanders
• maximises our competitive advantage
• expands the stock of New Zealand’s intellectual property.
3.33 Labour will, on a partnership basis, implement focused, evidence-based industry policies, designed to respond to market failures and opportunity analysis. Labour will work hard to ensure that these policies are strongly supported by:
• basic infrastructure and institutions
• New Zealand-based savings and investment
• skilled labour, public-good research, R&D tax credits, linked government procurement, and international market intelligence and assistance.
3.34 Labour will have an active regional policy that clearly identifies regional development priorities. Infrastructural capacity will be central to Labour’s regional policy, including a commitment to an efficient transport system that prioritises public transport and reduced emissions.
3.35 New Zealand’s information technology infrastructure is important in Labour’s vision for the economy. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will drive economic development in New Zealand for decades to come. Labour will ensure that New Zealand takes the opportunity for economic development from ICT as a sector itself and uses it to enhance performance and innovation in other sectors.

Chapter 4: Protecting and preserving the environment
~ Vision
~ Our approach
4.12 Climate change
4.14 Energy
4.16 Resource Extraction
4.18 Conservation
4.23 Water
4.25 Transport and urban design — Labour is committed to all New Zealanders growing up in a country with a high-quality and pleasant built environment where:
• our homes are healthy and energy efficient
• our cities are well designed
• our transport systems are accessible, safe, and efficient
• people are able to walk and cycle without fear for their safety
• public transport is affordable and widely available for people, and
• Transport systems and urban design support the transition from carbon-dependence.
4.29 Oceans—Labour’s vision is for healthy oceans that are wisely managed to protect marine species and birdlife. In exercising economic opportunities, we must protect our marine environment and its intrinsic ecosystem values for generations to come including through a network of marine reserves and other protected areas. Labour supports legal requirements for environmental impact assessment of significant ocean and ocean-floor development. We support fishing rules and quotas that achieve long-term sustainable use. We believe in integrated oceans legislation to ensure the sustainable use and environmental protection of marine resources.
4.30 Agriculture/rural sector—Labour recognises the strides that many in the agricultural and rural sectors have been making in developing good environmental practices. We will work with farmers and agricultural scientists so that best practices become the industry norm. This approach recognises that, in the long term, our prosperity is bound up in retaining important eco-services and in the international perception of environmental stewardship. Labour will support those in the agricultural and rural sectors who protect and enhance the environment, and hold responsible those who do not meet their obligations and continue to pollute the environment.

Chapter 5: Opportunity and fairness for all
~ Vision
5.1 The goal of Labour’s social development policy has always been that New Zealand would be a place where everyone, no matter what their circumstances of birth or what unexpected troubles life throws at them, will be included and able to get ahead: to build their capabilities, make their own contribution, and have a stake in society.
5.2 Labour wants to see all New Zealanders able to reach their potential knowing that if real hardship and tragedy happens, there will be real social security and a pathway to opportunities for them. Labour wants New Zealand to be a country where disadvantage is not produced and reproduced across generations. To break this cycle, Labour wants:
• healthy, affordable housing
• access to healthcare
• support for disability
• access to childcare and adequate time to spend with children
• equal educational opportunities moving from education into work
• a living income
• security of income in old age.
5.10 Labour will always fight for a fairer New Zealand. Fairness and equality of opportunity are strong New Zealand traditions and a part of Labour’s soul. Widening gaps between better and worse off and between men and women, young and old, mean that the ‘social contract’, the strong shared sense of ‘us’, is under increasing pressure. So too is the sense of having a stake in society, that there are opportunities for everyone, and that responsibilities are mutual. We will always work to heal social divisions, reduce the experience of exclusion and alienation, and eliminate the need to put up walls to keep others out and down.

~ Our approach
5.12 Chance and misfortune mean that some people struggle even in ‘the good times’. Security, mutual responsibility, and fairness demand that those adversely affected should not depend on charity and the stigma that carries, or be subject to humiliation or meaningless ‘make work’ to survive.

~ Portfolio Priorities
Families, children, and young people
5.24 As a matter of principle and sound social and economic investment, Labour is committed to banishing child poverty in New Zealand. The solutions are not simple, and the goal cannot be achieved immediately. We will co-ordinate and monitor its approach across all of government and policy including:
• early intervention for vulnerable children
• labour market issues
• access to early childhood education
• adequacy of income
• appropriate and accessible healthcare and housing.

5.27 Labour will strengthen the legislative and policy framework to address the persistent gender pay gap and promote equal employment opportunity. Labour is committed to paid parental leave and flexible working conditions to allow women to participate fully and effectively in society. Labour recognises, with particular reference to women, that everyone has the right to be free from violence and harassment.

5.32 Overall, housing provision requires several actors working within an effective framework. Under Labour, the state sector will take a stronger lead in improving the quality of rental situations, starting with its own properties. We will work with others, including community housing providers and developers, to provide quality housing for less well-off families.
5.33 Labour will continue to improve the quality of the state housing stock, and work with local councils, state social housing providers, developers, and community social housing providers to deliver a mix of affordable rental and privately owned houses—houses people want to live in, and in many cases are able to own.
5.34 Labour will find ways to work with families through savings schemes, Kiwisaver and Kiwibuild, to enable them to own assets. We will make sure finance and bond markets are geared to provide long-term secure capital, not the usual cycles of boom, bust, capital destruction, and debt hangover.

5.35 Labour believes that a truly inclusive society is one in which disabled people have meaningful lives within their communities, based on respect and equality; have their diversity recognised; and their human rights protected. This is reflected in the motto ‘nothing about us without us’.
5.36 Labour recognises that impairment is a part of many New Zealanders’ daily lives. We believe each disabled person must be recognised as an individual person with their own set of needs and aspirations: no two disabled people are the same. We believe that a disabled person should be supported to follow their aspirations, to make choices, and lead a quality life. They must have choice over their housing needs, employment opportunities, sporting and recreational activities, political aspirations, and education opportunities—things most of society takes for granted.

Senior citizens
5.41 Concerns about aged-care health services, elder abuse, and cost-of-living pressures are mounting for older New Zealanders. Future generations will not have the same levels of asset ownership that currently keep poverty low for older New Zealanders. Inequalities that developed earlier in life are likely to have greater significance in old age. Labour’s commitment to all senior citizens is that they will have access to a minimum level of social service provision.

Violence in families and communities
5.44 Family violence is a crime that affects many aspects of our lives from health and wellbeing to employment, rights, and justice. Family violence encompasses physical, sexual, financial, and psychological abuse and occurs regardless of educational background, income level, profession, or ethnicity. Certain groups, however, may be more vulnerable to violence and experience additional barriers to accessing support. These groups include people with disabilities, migrant and refugee women, and rural women.

5.48 Our ACC scheme is cost effective and relatively cheap. It manages injury proactively and preventively; it delivers active rehabilitation and realistic compensation. The scheme has efficiency of scale and power in the market. It negotiates nationally with treatment providers, hospitals, and ambulance services. Yet for all its strengths, ACC needs to be revitalised and protected from undermining, cost-cutting, and preparation for privatisation.

Community and voluntary sector
5.50 Labour recognises that a wide range of community and voluntary organisations, from churches to clubs and non-government service providers embody much of what is best about New Zealand. These organisations deliver essential services that support diversity and local do-it-yourself initiatives, deepen whānau and wider relationships, and train people in ways that help them make meaningful contributions. These organisations also contribute to the economy and provide a vital component of democratic engagement.
5.51 We must build on community capabilities and support communities to do what they do best. We recognise, however, that it is counterproductive to devolve responsibilities to communities when they will struggle to meet those responsibilities. Partnership and a clear and well-considered division of responsibility between central, local, and community agencies are needed before responsibilities and funding are devolved.
5.52 Labour has always regarded the voluntary contributions people make to their communities as sitting at the heart of social development. Where possible, and in whichever ways are best, we will support volunteer organisations to make their contribution by providing:
• services such as meals-on-wheels or youth mentoring programmes
• entry-level or post-employment work opportunities for a range of people
• community activities such as in early childhood centres, language nests, marae, or sports clubs.

Chapter 6: A world-class education for all
~ Vision
6.1 Labour is committed to a New Zealand in which all people can reach their full potential through education. High-quality, lifelong learning is vital for both social and economic development and for a successful democratic society of informed citizens.

~ Our approach
Cross-cutting issues
– Understanding the impact of social problems in education
– Rebuilding trust and recreating partnerships
– Communicating with parents and learners
– Making education accessible for all
– Supporting Māori and Pacific achievement

Portfolio priorities
– Early Childhood Education
– Schools
– The tertiary sector
– Adult education
– Māori and Pacific education
– Accessible education for all (Special Education)

Chapter 7: Health—wellbeing, access, and fairer outcomes
~ Vision
7.6 We can make New Zealand a healthier nation by:
• focusing on equality, access, and fairness in the health domain
• committing to the integrity of the public health system
• providing the tools, information, and incentives for people to make good health decisions.

~ Our approach
7.7 Labour recognises the importance of addressing the social determinants of health: housing, income, access to services, and other factors have a major impact on people’s health. We will work across policy areas to create the right underlying conditions for individuals and communities—that they have the right support, information, and services to lead healthier, more rewarding lives.
7.10 Labour will restore a strong emphasis on primary health care, focusing on prevention, health promotion, health education, and research into what works best here in New Zealand. Cost should never become a barrier for any New Zealander needing primary health care. We will support primary healthcare to be developed and delivered at local level to suit the particular circumstances of local communities rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
7.12 Every child deserves the best start in life. Maternal and post-natal care is an essential first step to children getting everything they need for good health in the critical early weeks and months. A high-quality maternity service is necessary for a strong bond between mother and baby to develop. This bond creates social wellbeing for the mother, baby, whānau, and wider community. Labour promotes and supports breastfeeding in accordance with World Health Organisation Standards. Labour believes that all individuals should have control over their own sexual and reproductive lives. An individual’s choice to determine the number and timing of one’s children cannot be compromised. To ensure that all people can make free and informed choices about their future, Labour supports safe, affordable and universal access to contraception, sexual and reproductive services and information. Labour recognises all women have the right to make their own choices about their own bodies, and should have access to abortion services.
7.13 As a country we must meet the challenge and opportunities of an ageing population. New Zealand needs a long-term or sustainable strategy for dealing with this issue. Labour supports the aspirations of many senior citizens to live as independently as possible in the community for as long as possible, and we will put in place the support to allow this to happen. Equally, we will make sure that appropriate and safe aged care is available for those who need it. We recognise the workforce crisis in this sector and will work with providers and the workforce to ensure that aged-care workers are valued for the important work they do.
7.14 Oral health is a major focus for Labour. We know that many people cannot access appropriate and timely dental treatment because of cost. We also know that the long-term health and financial costs of delayed dental treatment are very high. Labour will develop and implement an oral-health strategy that improves access to dental services and builds awareness of the importance of good dental health.
7.19 Labour is committed to the democratically elected District Health Board model, and to the principle that DHBs and Primary Health Organisations must reflect the needs of the communities they serve. We will work to enhance community input into the delivery of local services, so that communities have a greater role in identifying health priorities in their areas. Labour will collaborate with local communities for the delivery of local services, so that communities have a greater role in identifying health priorities in their areas.
7.20 One in five New Zealanders has a disability. Labour is focused on the need to support people with disabilities as full and contributing members of the community. We are committed to developing independent living arrangements or the local area coordination model. Disabled New Zealanders continue to be over-represented in those not gaining appropriate access to primary health-care services and information. Labour recognises the need for appropriate provision of respite care and carer support for people with disabilities and their families. We will act to reduce the disparities in funding support services between ACC-funded and health-funded people with disabilities.
7.21 Under successive Labour governments, New Zealand developed a public health system that was the envy of the world. Our policies have a relentless focus on improving the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders, and we will build on the foundations of the past to ensure that our public health system delivers care to all New Zealanders.

Chapter 8: Justice, civil rights, and equality for all
~ Vision
8.5 Labour understands that the rights of all people are founded on a basis of equality. When we seek to celebrate diversity, it is because the cultural and social differences of various New Zealand communities are intrinsic to their ways of life, their health, and their happiness. Equality means that we recognise the wide range of traditions and values as being of worth in themselves, besides the overarching liberal inheritance of all New Zealanders: equality before the law and the rights set out in the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Acts.
8.8 Labour recognises that it is the state, and only the state, that should be involved in the administration of justice. The social contract between the citizen and the state is an exercise of public relationship. Therefore, we see no role for the private sector in corrections, policing, justice, or the administration courts. We believe that the state, in partnership with communities, should play an active role in rehabilitating offenders, protecting communities through policing and the courts, and addressing the causes of crime.
8.12 In a healthy democracy, communities need to be able to engage effectively with powerful public agencies. Under Labour, independent Parliamentary officers (such as the Ombudsman, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and the Auditor General) and other complaints bodies (such as the Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Review Tribunal) will be adequately financed and empowered. Dispute resolution services, including those offered by courts and tribunals, should be accessible to all. We know that a society that promotes equal rights for all citizens is a fairer and more secure society. Labour will promote equality of access and equality before the law for everyone.

~ Our approach
Adopting an evidenced-based approach to crime prevention
Dealing with the causes of crime
Protecting and strengthening civil and human rights
A well-funded, effective, and efficient justice system
Taking an evidence-based approach to constitutional change and law reform

~ Portfolio priorities
Get smart about crime prevention and community safety
Provide all New Zealanders with equal access to justice
Address sexual violence
Public control of justice and corrections
Public participation
Protect civil rights for all

Chapter 9: New Zealand’s identity and culture
~ Vision
9.1 In a world that has become increasingly connected and standardised, Labour believes it is important to retain a strong sense of what it is to be a New Zealander. Our culture is what makes us special and different from other people. Creative people across different cultural fields record and illuminate our shared history, values, and accomplishments from a New Zealand perspective. We believe that our culture is an important part of our shared national wealth.
9.3 Our national identity is built on the distinctive accomplishments of New Zealanders. Our sense of nationhood reflects the legacy of Labour and other governments in building our welfare state; being the first nation to give women the vote; our comprehensive accident compensation system; our nuclear-free policy; and our advocacy for international justice and peace. Our writers, artists, musicians, and film-makers inspire and entertain people throughout the world.
9.5 Labour understands that the cultural sector is not just at the heart of our national identity, but is an important part of a modern, creative, high-wage economy. A strong creative sector is vital to our future economic development. As a country, we can no longer take an ad-hoc approach to arts and culture, and Labour believes that the sector deserves certainty and sustainability from government.

~ Our approach
The Treaty relationship in our culture
Arts and culture
Our multi-cultural future
Information and communication technology
Sport and recreation

Chapter 10: New Zealand’s place in a changing world
~ Vision
10.8 Labour wants a rules-based, multilateral global trading system that is accessible, fair, and transparent. We will take an approach to trade negotiations that promotes an environment where innovative firms can develop capability to adjust to new international challenges and pursue opportunities that exist in a rapidly globalising market. We will only support trade agreements that protect New Zealand’s sovereign right to make laws and regulations as we see fit, and that commit parties to international labour and environmental standards.

~ Our approach
Peacebuilding and sustainable development
10.11 Under Labour, New Zealand will:
• be an active player in multilateral organisations and agreements at the United Nations and other agencies
• play a leading role in pushing sustainable economic and environmental policies at the international level, particularly in taking up the challenge to respond effectively to global warming
• be nuclear-free, in line with the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act (1987)
• be a leader in promoting disarmament by working with like-minded countries to outlaw nuclear weapons, including through a Nuclear Arms Convention
• play a strong role in conflict prevention and resolution, particularly in the Pacific region, in resolving disputes as it has previously on Bougainville, Timor-Leste, and the Solomons
• take specific initiatives in promoting openness and transparency in government, combatting corruption and working with countries to develop institutions that respect and promote human rights—these are areas in which New Zealand has a strong reputation, and these initiatives can be included in the work we do in international development assistance
• have a highly professional, capable, and committed Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to promote our values and our interests
• focus Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) on alleviating poverty and promoting sustainable development and other initiatives in line with our principles, such as the advancement of women
• manage ODA independently from foreign policy through an agency with a high degree of autonomy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
• increase New Zealand’s ODA contribution as a proportion of GDP as fiscal conditions permit.

Pacific Island relationships
Border security

Trade Negotiations
10.24 Labour will not support provisions in trade agreements that limit the government’s right to provide, fund, or regulate public services, such as health or education. Trade agreements should not prohibit the government from restricting the sale of land and infrastructure or regulating the sale of state assets.

Chapter 11: Democratic and Effective government
~ Vision
11.5 Labour realises that we must harness the ideas, knowledge, wisdom and skills of the non-government sector. In order to help shape positive outcomes, we recognise that government needs to be more responsive in using its resources and partnering with others.
11.6 Labour is a mainstream progressive Party that believes that democracy is about more than just voting once every three years. We will put New Zealand people at the heart of government, so they feel that government is owned by them. We believe in local democracy and the right of communities to have a say on major decisions affecting them. This includes the form and activities of local government, the right of communities to shape and plan their own future development, and the right to be genuinely heard by central government when it exercises its powers.
11.7 Labour also believes that a strong democracy needs strong institutions that act as a check on those with power. We should be strengthening, not weakening, these checks and balances in our system.

~ Our approach
Strengthening our democracy
11.10 Labour stands proudly for a strengthened democracy in which communities have genuine decision-making rights, and in which empowered and independent institutions scrutinise those who exercise power. We affirm the rule of law in protecting democratic rights. We affirm the ability of central government to put in place policies and law that support the national interest.
11.11 Labour will give local communities the right to determine what form of local and/or regional government they have through a democratic process in which they have the final and binding say. It is a long-standing tradition of New Zealand democracy that local communities are best placed to determine their own future development. Labour will support local communities’ right to plan for the future without undue interference from central government. Labour understands that central government and local government do not exist in isolation, and that their interests should be balanced and supported. Other forms of participation, such as Town Hall meetings, feedback at community events, and expressing views on current decisions through new media will be encouraged.
11.12 Labour also signals its strong support for those civil society and parliamentary institutions (including the ombudsman system and OIA process) that act to keep government accountable. These institutions can be assured of Labour’s support and respect. We acknowledge the central role of voluntary and community sector organisations in a democracy, and will engage in an equal dialogue and genuine partnership with them. Our democracy needs strengthening, and Labour is the party with the traditions and values to work with the community on this important task.

Working with local government and local communities
11.15 Local government has a unique and vital role in our overall system of government, and we believe that role should be respected and enhanced. We believe that co-operation and collaboration hold more benefit for communities than a model based on competition and focused on short-term cost cutting. Community wellbeing, as determined by local communities, needs to be placed at the heart of local government purpose and decision-making. Community wellbeing should be the guiding principle of local government — whether it is in Council’s responsibility for a clean and safe environment, the enforcement of standards for food and water quality, or the oversight of building standards essential to safe and warm homes.
11.16 Local government will receive the support it needs to deliver on the transport needs of our cities, towns, and regions. In particular, Labour will work with local government to enhance affordable, sustainable, and energy-efficient public transport in all its forms—on roads, rail, waterways, cycleways, and walkways—in line with the aspirations of communities.

Leading the way—quality public services
11.20 Labour believes that part of this approach must be constant reflection on how the public service operates and the removal of barriers to innovation. We are committed to building a public service that puts the public first, and we won’t accept a public service that is simply a poor imitation of private enterprise. We will uphold the public service’s underlying principles of service, neutrality, co-operation and collegiality, and a focus on sound long-term planning for the national benefit. The State Services Commission will have an active role, and we will empower it to encourage innovative and adaptive improvements and efficiencies while acknowledging and overcoming any poor performance and management.

Lessons learned
11.22 The Canterbury earthquakes have highlighted the challenges that disaster response and recovery efforts pose for the public services, both at the local level and nationally. We plan well for the response to a disaster, but we have not planned well for recovery. A centralised, top-down model of government was imposed on the city. Removing the democratically elected regional council raised serious questions about how a locality or region can protect itself against the heavy hand of central government. We know we can do better than that.
11.25 The experience of Auckland’s reforms highlights how important it is that local communities have the final say over amalgamations and the shape of their own local government. This includes the form of Māori engagement and participation, and making Council Controlled Organisations directly accountable to elected councils, not their own boards. Labour believes that local communities should have an important say in what services are provided by their Council, how those services are provided, and how those services are prioritised.

~ Portfolio priorities

cf. 2011 (PDF)