Former union leader and list MP Andrew Little says he will run for Labour leadership

Former union leader and list MP Andrew Little says he will run for Labour leadership
Labour list MP and leadership candidate Andrew Little announcing his bid in Wellington on October 9.

By Bernard Hickey

Former EPMU leader and Labour list MP Andrew Little has announced he will run for the Labour Party leadership, saying he wants a review of all of Labour's policies, including its Capital Gains Tax, its plan for a later retirement age and its New Zealand Power policy.

Little told a news conference outside his home in Wellington that some of Labour's policies had been frightening to potential voters and needed to be reviewed.

He described himself as a clean break from Labour's previous leadership and that he thought he had a fair amount of support across the board from affiliated unions, who make up 20% of the leadership vote.

He faces a contest against former leader David Cunliffe and former deputy leader Grant Robertson, who he said he had spoken to about his candidacy. He described the discusions as constructive and cordial. Little said he had given Robertson and Cunliffe no assurances about their roles under his leadership, although he said he knew and respected them both and would stand behind either "100%" if either won over him. Former leader David Shearer has yet to declare whether he will stand.

He confirmed that included its plans for a 15% Capital Gains Tax, it's plan to extend the age of eligiblity for New Zealand Superannuation from 65 to 67 between 2020 and 2026 and its plan for a single state buyer of electricity known as New Zealand Power.

He said he was confident of contesting Prime Minister John Key, who he described as a "transactional" politician without a plan for the country.

Little said it would easier for him to question Labour's policies than the two other candidates, given their involvement in creating and arguing for them in the past.

"I'm standing because I think I have something meaningful to contribute. I am different from the other candidates and I come to the role a little fresher than the other candidates in terms of ideas and I have some experience and skills that the others don't have," he said.

"I do think we need to have a hard look at our policies. We know there are policies that are very good theoretically and work on paper, but the reality is they are not engaging people who we want to vote for us," Little said.

"We cannot do the things we want as a party unless we are in Government -- the things about making this a more equal society, a fairer society and a happier place for a lot more people to be -- we can't do that if we're not in Government. We have to look at our policy offerings and if people are telling us these are the things I'm not voting for then we're going to have to be brutal about it and say, OK, we'll have a look at those policies again," he said.

"We need to go into 2017 with a very clear message, a clearly understood set of policies and some of those will be different to what we put up this time and the last couple of elections, and some will be the same, and we need to have that internal discussion and debate."

'Too many policies'

Little said the feedback he had been getting from party members and potential voters was that the Capital Gains Tax and the delayed retirement age were difficult issues for the people Labour needed votes from.

"I think we confuse people by having a policy for everything," he said, referring to Labour's 120 policies.

"We want to chunk it down to things that we know that people can understand and get hold of quickly."

He denied Labour's policies had been too left wing, describing the NZ Super retirement age plan as more of a right wing policy, while NZ Power and Capital Gains Tax were more left of centre.

"There's a mix there. The problem with not just having a big policy, but so many big policies, is that sometimes people get frightened off them, so that's what we need to have a look at and have a debate about."

Little said voters had either not understood Labour's NZ Power policy or didn't believe it, or couldn't see how it would work.

"We need to go back and have a look at that policy and see how we can make that work, or whether we can achieve the same objective (reducing power prices NZ$300 a year) by other means," he said.

Little said the feedback he had received in recent days since indicating he may stand on Saturday was that he could reach a wide range of people

'Key a transactional politician 'flouncing around' being popular

Asked what he thought his 'X factor' was, he said: "I am a stable, steady head on a stable, steady set of shoulders, but I'm also a good listener and can understand what people who may not understand us think of us and expect of us."

Little said he thought Key was popular, but there were questions about whether he was a leader.

"I don't think he lifts New Zealand above itself and looks beyond, and has a view or a direction of where he's taking New Zealand for the next 20 or 30 years," Little said.

"His is what I call a transactional politician -- here is the issue today, where are the trade-offs, how can I get through it -- then boom, do it," he said.

Little pointed to the rapidly falling dairy payout, which was going to put the economy "on the skids over the next year or 18 months."

"We don't hear anything from this Government or John Key about what we need to be doing preparing ourselves for a stronger, more diverse economy over the next 10-15-20 years. That speaks to what leadership is abou,t and that's what I'll bring to this discussion and debate," he said.

"He can flounce around doing his popularity routine, but actually more and more New Zealanders are looking for 'Where is our long term future economic security and that's the space that Labour needs to be in."


Little acknowledged his relatively short experience in Parliament of three years and his list MP status with the lowest ranking were factors to overcome and made him the underdog.

Asked if a list MP could be a Prime Minister, he said: "There's a first time for everything."

Little said he doubted whether Kim Dotcom would appear on New Zealand's political landscape, "and if he does he'll get pretty short shrift from me."

He said two members of Labour's caucus would nominate him and he had not thought about who his deputy would be. He said he had decided to stand after talking to all but two of the 24 members in Labour's caucus.

Asked if Labour had focused too much on identity politics and sectional interests, Little said Labour needed to focus on good, secure jobs with a strong economy.

"What people want now at a time when there is still global uncertainty, economically and otherwise, people want to know they've got a Government focused on their economic security -- that's got to be the priority."

Little described the New Zealand electorate as "inherently pragmatic. "They don't care about the labels. They want to know what works. Sometimes there'll be things that require significant state intervention to fix a problem. Other times they have a sense of 'just leave us alone' -- give us some rules and we'll sort this out," he said.

Co-campaigning with Greens?

Little said Labour should consider campaigning with the Greens in a way similar to the way it did in 1999, "that holds a hand out to potential coalition partners and says 'this is what it might look like.'"

(Updated with comments from Little's news conference, picture)

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Up until now , the " fight " for the Labour Party leadership was shaping up as a round at Crufts Dog Show , all very serene and civilised , with David the spaniel lolling slobberishly around the ring , whilst the beautifully manicured poodle Granty gives goo-goo eyes to all the spectators ....
... and then Andrew the pit bull terror was unceremoniously plopped into the fray , amongst the two primadonna pedigrees ...
This is gonna turn ugly real quick ... avert your eyes if you're of a squeamish disposition ... there'll be little left to the imagination ...

Andrew Little is talking sense here

The Labour party will be self destructed in five, four, three, two....
it will be 2023 before we see them again.. 

The Labour Party can easily fix their leadership problems.
Just follow the Greens
First you Must have a male a female leader - thats 2 taken care of.
Add to this a Gay leader - thats 3 taken care of
Add to this a Femanist leader thats 4 taken care of
Add to this a Maori leader...............................................
.........................and on and on

Andrew Little should win the leadership - but is a swing to the left what centre voters want?

I think Mr Little that you will find the good people of NZ had foresight and you yourself have hindsight........I'm glad you're looking back realising that Labour made mistakes......and I'm grateful the populace were intuitively looking forward in the tick booth.....
"My intuitive feel for this election and explanation for the result, is a combination of some big policies that meant significant changes for people, as well as confusion about coalition partners and so on, and a bit of scare campaigning about it, meant that we were too frightening a prospect for people," Little said then.

The Labour party was set up by working people fed up with employer abuse.
For many decades they stuck to their core principles
Back in the 70;s i was a Labour suported and a Union representative. I was invited to attend a Union conference and was given an agenda.
This agenda covered the issues to be discussed and included Refugees, Women, Maori, and so on. I said "There is nothing in here about ordinary working people"
It became clear to me that the Union movement had been taken over by a bunch of Liberals.
At the 1978 election i switched my vote to Bruce Beetham and the Social Credit party. I have never voted Labour since.
By the 1984 Rogernomics election it was clear that these Liberal academics had also taken over the Labour party. No doubt with the full support of the Liberal Union.
From here the Labour party really started its decline but was halted when Helen Clark took over.
The reason Helen was so successful, as i saw it, was that she pleased all the Liberal factions. She pleased the right wingers. And she most definately pleased the Femanists. She pleased the Gays, the Maori and so on.
From a public perspective Helen rose the wave of success on the back of the debt bubble. Without that debt bubble Labour would have been gone by now. They had halted their ultimate fate on the back of debt fueld consumption
Today the Labour party is torn apart by those factions, has no single vision, and is riddled with incompetance. Nothing short of a massive purge will fix it, if it is repairable at all.

I think you'll find that a major budget blowout to the tune of $44billion was predicted just prior to the 2008 Nats have done well to contain that and deal with the earthquakes etc. 

Proof or it doesn't exist.
The government's 2013 budget projected that net core Crown public debt in June 2015 will be $68 billion, up from a low point of $10b in June 2008.   
That $58b increase represents about $33,000 per New Zealand household.
Future ministers of finance are saddled with higher ongoing interest costs and future taxpayers are saddled with higher taxes to cover those costs. Read more

Good memory Notaneconomist... From the first treasury update in Dec 08 upon Nationals arrival in office...
"Core Crown net debt is also expected to rise to $44.7 billion or 20.7% of GDP by
June 2013. The increase in net core Crown debt is owing to the run-down of
NZDMO financial assets and increases in borrowings expected during the forecast

Gross debt is forecast to increase by

$40.3 billion in nominal terms and as a

percentage of GDP by 15.6% over the

forecast period. By the end of the forecast

period in the June 2013 year, gross debt is

expected to be $71.6 billion or 33.1% of

A least we got a train set to play with and free student loans. Thanks Dr Cullen.
and from Armstriong in the Herald

"National had barely got its feet under the Cabinet table before the Treasury further revised its forecasts and projected deficits of $6 billion-plus.
So much for “careful management”.

Labour is relying on short memories to rewrite history, however. It won’t fool everybody. But in the heat of an election campaign, it is easy to spout fiction and difficult to establish fact."


Thanks profile
"Core Crown net debt is also expected to rise to $44.7 billion or 20.7% of GDP by
June 2013.

I don't feel richer and it seems the boffins at Treasury added another net $23.3 billion out to June 2015, if that other set of Stuff boffins are to be believed. 
In fact, I feel as though I am not in a much better space than that which certain US citizens complain about.
The selling of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York to a Chinese company means the end of the US iconic property, sold for the money American shoppers spent on goods made in China, Curtis Ellis, Executive Director of the American Jobs Alliance, told RT.
Beijing’s Anban Insurance company has bought the Waldorf Astoria hotel, for $1.95 billion. It is the highest price ever paid for a US hotel, and is the largest acquisition of an American property by a Chinese buyer. Between March 2013 and March 2014 the Chinese spent $22 billion on buying US homes, according to the National Realtors Association.
RT: New York's famous and iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel is being snapped up by Chinese buyers for the highest sale price for a hotel ever - is there something symbolic in that?
Curtis Ellis: There certainly is. We have an iconic property known as the Waldorf Astoria. From here forward maybe it will be known as the “Great Wall-dorf Astoria” this is the end of the story that began in the aisles of Wal-Mart. We are trading our crown jewels in America for trinkets. Manhattan Island happened when Indians traded glass beads for the land. We are now trading the crown jewels of America for the trinkets made in Shenzhen, China and sold in the aisles of Wal-Mart. The money being used to buy the Waldorf Astoria came from American shoppers who are buying everything that is made in China.  Read more

Sure it didn't have anything to do with the tax cuts in two consecutive years which Key used to bribe voters and which made negligible difference to most Kiwis though Key had to refrain ftom a further lollyscramble to the already well off when the earthquake happened. People condemn the Left for Tax and Spend policies, but at least they balance the books, not spend to satisfy the demands of the public in order to get power but prefer to saddle successive generations with the burden of debt. Muldoon did it, Bolger, Richardson, and Shipley did it, now its Key's turn.

No it didn't have anytjing to do with tax cuts as national were not in office. It was all the other lots doing. Remember Cullen crowing in parliment "I've spent the lot". Letting a taxpayer hang on to more of their own money could not be considered a bribe surely! Read the Dec 08 treasury document where does it say labour balanced the books? They projected deficits until 2023 on under their policy settings..

Yes and we know how accurate Treasury forecasts are. So when are we going to return to surplus again, lol.

You don't think it may have had a little to do with the recession which was precipitated by Alan Bollard's high interest rate policy and the Global Economic Crisis.

Read the Stuff article about where its says labour increased household spending by 21% yet took the country from surplus into deficit... The RB gov can't control govt spending.


I did read the article and don't rate it particularly highly. Its all very well to condemn somone's actions when you have the benefit of hindsight. I wouldn't blame Labour for its late fiscal splurge when they were in for a tight election. Especially when National were intent on one upping Labour and spending over and above Labour with its promise to borrow $6 billion to invest in infrastructure and offer tax cuts to boot. Blame the three year election cycle, blame the electorate for expecting a lollyscramble after two and a half terms of fiscal constraint.

The recession had everything to do with the government's fiscal position with tax receipts beginning to be affected by a slump in economic activity due to a combination of high interest rates, oil, and food prices in 2008.

Btw. The Reserve Bank can at least influence borrowing
costs with the OCR and determining tax receipts to a large degree. See what Don Brash did to the NZ economy in the early to mid 1990s, which necessitated the National government following in the footsteps of Muldoon in borrowing significant sums from the debt markets.

Whew...thanks for the link profile.....glad you were hanging around this space!!

I wouldn't condem Labour in that, unless you are also willing to condem National a lot more.
In the Dec 2008 the projected figures in the post Labour document (so at the end of Labour being able to influence it) are Debt to GDP of 2011 - 12.2%, 2012 - 16.5%, 2013 - 20.7 (page 20 of the pdf).
At this point National had 3 years to influence the situation, and the 2011 Fiscal Outlook gives the figues 2011 (Actual) - 20.0%, 2012 - 25.4%, 2013 - 28.5%. page 21
If you believe Treasury's figures, and I assume you do since you are citing them, then you must believe National made things worse not better.

"That is what happened in New Zealand between the 2003 and 2009 government budgets.

In the year ended June 2004, core Crown operating spending was about $35,800 per household in fiscal year 2013 dollars, yet the government still had a fiscal surplus of 3.8 per cent of GDP.  By the year ended June 2009, the government had lifted spending per household by 21 per cent to $43,400, in the same dollars, and there was a fiscal deficit of 2.1 per cent of GDP."

Andrew Little does not know how right he is !
FIVE NEW TAXES was enough to terrify and prevent every taxpayer from voting for them

5 new taxes , that's a small price to pay for all the goodies the Labour government were gonna give you :
.... ummmm .... no child poverty .... free visits to the doctor .... free breakfasts at primary school ... ahhh , dum dum dum ... sustainable something or other .... yup ....increased WFF package .... dum dum dum diddly dum .... 100 000 Kiwi built affordable homes .... dum dum dum ... some other stuff too .... more jobs ! ... bureaucrats , naturally , to oversee the whole shebang .... dum dum dum dum .... infinite maternity leave , even longer in some cases ... ahhh ... dum de dum ... significantly cheaper houses thanks to the glorious miracle of CGT ... dum dum ...
You ungrateful sods .... who wouldn't vote for all that free stuff .... dum dum dum ....

"who wouldnt vote for all that free stuff?.."
ahhh...those who would ultimately have to pay for it..
labours party vote(25%) would roughly include all those who wouldn't have to pay for any of those lovely bribes

... " bribes " is such an ugly word ... think of the freebies and handouts as an inducement to vote for correct policies , as determined by Cunny & the lighthearted wags in the Rainbow Room ...

Bribes.....cut to the chase...........beautiful word!!'re selling gummy bears at $3.00 per're making $2.00 profit per then need to get rid of supply of gummies (use by date coming up fast) and sell 2 for the price of're still ahead.
Labour/Greens Freebies......they are selling gummy bears at $3.00 per pack.......and they are making $2.00 profit per pack......then there is an election (use by date coming up fast) they decide to sell 4 for the price of 1 and then can't work why there is debt.

Updated with comments from Little's news conference:
Little told a news conference outside his home in Wellington that some of Labour's policies had been frightening to potential voters and needed to be reviewed.
He confirmed that included its plans for a 15% Capital Gains Tax, it's plan to extend the age of eligiblity for New Zealand Superannuation from 65 to 67 between 2020 and 2026 and its plan for a single state buyer of electricity known as New Zealand Power.
He faces a contest against former leader David Cunliffe and former deputy leader Grant Robertson, who he said he had spoken to about his candidacy. He described the discusions as constructive and cordial.
He said he was confident of contesting Prime Minister John Key, who he described as a "transactional" politician without a plan for the country.

How is this guy going to be elected by the country as a PM when he can't even win a seat in his own electorate.

agree.the next labour primeminister is not even in parliament yet..

The Rainbow party  wont win  any election  by making workers significantly poorer by Parkers idiotic poverty creating, recession causing  Kiwisaver policy.

I am hoping that before the next election, Robots will take over the essential task of miss-managing the Governance of our fine nation.
Then we can do away with all this total waste of time, effort and money to get what is a Little too late.
Not counting the other wasted votes....over 50 odd percent.
Not counting the other wasted votes for the other 200 useless MP's with their hand in the till.
When we cannot even build a few houses, without fear, nor favour, for a few million people, over a land as big and empty as ours, without monetary aid from overseas criminal classes, aided by our ruling parties, what the hell were we hoping to achieve, in the long run.
Preferably a different result. . I would have hoped so.
But you voted for all this mayhem.
Personally I Think it will change, when I-robot has got all yer cash...if any left, when the dollar plummets, talked down by our current Dear aid in the pumping and dumping on Wall street.
I sincerely  hope so...I am building it into the plan.
Debt, before dishonour, yer honour.
And there is me, I thought it better, the other way around.
My robots will take all yer ill-gotten gains, by then, MMP be blowed.
A simple computer would manage it better, to Little too late, but I can be involved in the process Andrew, just ask for the new Party...
cheers, mein herr.
nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

FYI updated with lots more quotes and background.

.. . granted , this story is being fleshed out , little by little ...

hope Little wins  big , because the reporters puns are going to be endless...  e.g  Prime Minister Little understands Grants issue

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