Labour focus on youth and opponents as congress kicks off

By Heta Gardiner

Today Labour began their election year congress in Wellington. Several hundred party members were there to hear how the party plans to win the election. Most of the party's Māori candidates were present and Māori Campaign manager Willie Jackson says they have a focus and a strategy which is to bring down the Māori Party.

The focus is clear. Take down the Māori Party.

Jackson told Te Kāea, “That is our strategy, to slam the Māori Party.”

In the last two weeks, the Labour Party has had significant media coverage over its Māori caucus and MPs, after the party list revealed no Māori in its top 15 and leader Andrew Little's reluctance to agree with Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis' desire to have Māori-only prisons. Jackson says they need to unite.

“What's important, we need to be united. In the past week, there's been a lot of coverage saying that we are divided.”

Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern took to the stage today focusing in large part on youth.

“Our workers of tomorrow are showing that they are motivated more by collaboration than competition. They get job satisfaction out of purpose, not just wages. They are perhaps more aware of the world around them than any other generation. They may not be voting but that does not make them without values. And that is exactly what they need to see from us.”

Tamati Coffey, Labour's candidate in Waiariki also spoke. He immediately laid down the challenge.

“The cameras out the back there focus in on this. The Waiariki seat is completely winnable!”

Labour leader Andrew Little will speak at the congress tomorrow.