4 Nov 2022

Labour's party faithful to gather for annual conference as pressure mounts for government

7:52 am on 4 November 2022
Labour Party president Claire Szabo and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern and outgoing president Claire Szabó will both address the conference. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Labour's party faithful will convene in Manukau, Auckland, today for the start of the party's annual conference.

Tightning polls, the cost of living crisis and persistent inflation have driven the news cycle in recent months, and put pressure on the governing party and its senior ministers.

Large policies like the Three Waters and health reforms have become bogged down in criticism, with questions over other spending decisions like the planned RNZ-TVNZ merger.

Just a year out from next year's general election, Labour will be looking to hit refresh, reset its messaging and energise the base.

Party leader Jacinda Ardern and outgoing president Claire Szabó will both address the conference, with Ardern delivering her keynote speech on Sunday.

While polling leading up to last year's conference suggested Labour was holding up well, recent results predict it will be a tight race next year.

National have led in the last four 1News Kantar Public polls and in the last two had the numbers to form a government with ACT.

The main focus of last year's event was a vote on changing the way the party elects the leader, when it comes time to replace Jacinda Ardern.

Labour's governing body, the New Zealand Council, had proposed a new leader be elected by caucus, if more than two-thirds of MPs vote for that person within a week of the job coming up.

The proposal was voted in, meaning the next Labour leader could be elected by the party's caucus alone, rather than a combination of the caucus, Labour members, and unions.