Renewed energy strengthens Labour with the right focus

Jacinda Ardern

Over the past fortnight, it has been clear that there is new energy to Labour’s campaign and our approach to the upcoming election on September 23.

Amid the incredible reception and attention that Labour has received, I announced our new campaign slogan and outlined the Party’s approach to the campaign over the coming weeks.

When I was elected Leader of the Labour Party, I made it clear that I would take 72 hours to take stock of our entire campaign – our strategy, our communication, our team, and our ideas.

And, as I said at the beginning, Labour’s core focus was the right one.

Housing, health and education did not come from nowhere. They came from voters, they came from the public. That is why these ideas will continue to be our focus.

Making a difference

I am determined to make a difference for Labour and progressive ideals under my leadership and hence I also announced areas that I will add additional policies in the near future, as a guide to what New Zealanders can expect from our campaign.

As with any policy announcements, they will come through the course of the campaign.

Those areas include housing, education, key infrastructure and the environment.

We will also have additional announcements with a Maori focus.

Key to gridlock

The first announcement that I made on key infrastructure was on Sunday, August 6, 2017, in which I announced a $15 billion package to unlock Auckland’s congestion issues.

A world class city needs a rail connection from the CBD to its international airport; that is why Labour will build light rail to Auckland Airport as a priority – not in 30 years’ time as the Government is currently planning.

Getting Auckland moving, by building a light rail network and accelerating investment in heavy rail and bus rapid transit, is crucial to Auckland’s future growth.

Labour’s plan is a game-changer.

It will reduce the $2 billion a year that congestion costs Auckland.

It will realise Auckland’s potential to be a truly world class city.

Labour will build light rail to Mt Roskill in four years, to the airport and West Auckland within a decade, followed by a line connecting the North Shore to the CBD.

We will also build a Bus Rapid Transit service connecting the airport and East Auckland, and a third main trunk rail line to serve the commuter and freight rail traffic.

Freshwater Policy

I followed up with Labour’s Freshwater Policy on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

Labour will lead a nationwide effort to restore our rivers and lakes to a clean, swimmable state. I want future generations to be able to swim in the local river, just like I did. All our children deserve to inherit swimmable lakes and rivers – and they can, if we commit ourselves as a country to cleaning up our water.

It will mean using our water more carefully, and being smarter about how we manage our pollution.

Labour will help with the task of protecting our waterways from agricultural pollution.

Our Ready-for-Work Programme will employ young people off the dole and give them work improving the environment – including fencing waterways, riparian planting, and other work to improve water quality.

A royalty on the commercial consumption of water will assist with the cost of keeping our water clean. The royalty will be flexible to reflect the scarcity or abundance of water in different regions, the different quality of water, and its use.

Royalty levels will be set following consultation and the revenue will largely be returned to regional councils.

I have committed to changing the nature of this campaign.

We have focused not only on building and keeping energy, and momentum, but also being available to people as the campaign unfolds.

Touching people

You can expect for instance every single week I will be hosting events like Facebook Live – I want to reach everyone.

Many are of course looking for a sense of our campaign through one tool – and that is our tag line. It’s come almost inadvertently.

When I first wrote a post on social media about the campaign, I finished it with the most natural conclusion – let’s do this.

It is not just about the next seven weeks, it is what we can do if we are in a position to make change.

I am excited by this campaign, and by what is possible.

Let’s do this.

Jacinda Ardern was elected Leader of the Labour Party on Tuesday, August 1, 2017. She is also the Leader of the Opposition. She has been a Member of Parliament since November 2008.

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