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King to outline social policy

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Annette King
Annette King

By Peter Wilson of NZPA

Auckland, Oct 16 NZPA - Labour's deputy leader Annette King will outline social policy the party is developing when she speaks at its annual conference today.

About 600 delegates are attending the conference in the Aotea Centre and the focus is on preparation for going into an election year and the policy manifesto it needs to take on National.

Policy papers released last night said significant changes are needed in economic and social policy, indicating Labour is prepared to go outside its usual settings.

There are indications it will raise taxes for higher income earners while cutting the rates for those at the bottom.

It is also considering putting much more resources into early childhood education, which it considers is vital to future achievement.

The party is also getting ready for a policy that will shake up the benefit system, which it says is not working for families living in poverty.

The conference was opened last night by Auckland's new Mayor Len Brown, who was given a standing ovation by delegates who refer to him as "the Labour mayor".

Party leader Phil Goff, who will address the conference tomorrow, says the party has been heartened by the swing to the left in local government elections.

That is seen as an indication the same might be happening in central government politics, and Labour is keen to take advantage of the trend.

Mr Goff says latest opinion polls show the gap between Labour and National is starting to close.

He believes there will be much more scrutiny of government policies next year, particularly during the election campaign, and that people will realise incomes are not keeping pace with heavy cost of living increases.

The conference has started in a confident way, with delegates apparently unconcerned about the lead of about 20 points that National holds over Labour in the polls.

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