New policy expected at Labour's annual conference

8:08 pm on 4 November 2016

Labour is turning its sights to next year's election as party members and MPs gather in Auckland tonight for the party's annual conference.

Andrew Little

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The party's caucus has been more stable under Andrew Little's leadership than under previous leaders, but the stagnation in the polls is likely to be worrying many members as 2017 looms.

Mr Little has been in the leader's job for almost two years now, and while his party is polling consistently above its dismal 25 percent election result in 2014, it is still not high enough.

Mr Little said there was a lot of rebuilding work to do after the last election, which had taken some time, and he thought the polls would start picking up.

"From what I see, the feedback I'm getting, people are feeling somewhat disillusioned about where things are going at the moment, and they are looking to us now.

"They still want us to convince them and I'm getting good feedback about the sorts of issues and ideas that we are talking about, and we are going to be continuing to work hard on getting that message out."

Mr Little said one new jobs-related policy would be unveiled this weekend.

He said he had made it very clear that under his leadership Labour would campaign in 2017 on a small number of solid policies.

"We're pretty much there with the policy package, there's now just a bit of presentation stuff to work out, a bit of overarching messaging and you'll start to get a flavour of that in the conference.

"And then really what the choice is going to be about in 2017, which is really going to be about the things we need to invest in, people, lifting people and creating opportunity, or is it tax cuts and continuing more of the same with great inequality, more problems with the health system, education and people still missing out on housing."

29062016 Photo RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King. Grant Robertson

Grant Robertson will tomorrow release the report into the Future of Work Commission. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Labour's finance spokesperson, Grant Robertson, will tomorrow release the final report of the two-year Future of Work Commission.

He said the nature of work was changing, with more people working part-time and unemployment still quite high.

"There is a real risk that that will increase in a future of work where there is increasing automation, where globalisation really takes hold.

"We as a country have to be preparing for that, and preparing most importantly our people to be resilient and adaptable and deal with whatever comes along."

The conference is due to start this evening and wind up after Mr Little's leader's address on Sunday afternoon.

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