PM Jacinda Ardern gives her opening speech at the Labour Party Conference 2022.
Video / NZ Herald
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has fronted party faithful as the Labour Party’s annual conference kicks off in Auckland tonight.
Ardern donning her “Labour leader” sought to rouse the Labour Party faithful for the party’s last conference before election year. In election year, Labour holds party congresses.
Ardern did not make any policy announcements but listed off “achievements” of the party over the past five years.
Her speech was to be followed by a history lecture on the Norman Kirk years by Sir Bob Harvey, the former Mayor of Waitakere, who is credited with transforming the public image of Kirk and Lange.
Labour’s conference will last the weekend and will see the end of the tenure of Claire Szabó as party president. Szabó is stepping down, having held the role since 2019.
She will be replaced by Jill Day, a former Wellington City Councillor.
The conference will also hear from CTU secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges and finance spokesman (and finance minister) Grant Robertson before wrapping up with a keynote speech from Ardern on Sunday.
This is a significant conference for Labour as it seeks to steady the ship heading into election year.
The party has seen a steady decline in its polling following Christopher Luxon’s ascension to the National Party Leadership.
However Labour is only just trailing National and is often essentially neck and neck with its main opposition.
Ardern heads to conference with questions hanging over the popularity of Three Waters reforms and Social Unemployment Insurance – both of which are fiercely opposed by National, who have dubbed the latter a “jobs tax”.
Speculation is mounting that Ardern will look to water down or U-turn on reforms.