Labour's hopeful leaders in Nelson
The Labour Party leadership hopefuls have promised Nelsonians economic development, fair wages, and inspiration for the 800,000 New Zealanders who did not vote in the last election.
About 200 of the Labour Party faithful packed the Victory Community Centre hall to hear the three leadership contenders speak on Saturday, as part of a national tour to decide on a new leader.
Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, New Lynn MP David Cunliffe and list MP Shane Jones are all vying to replace David Shearer, who resigned last month.
The US-style primary is the first time that party members and union affiliates can vote for their party's leader. The first hour involved the candidates giving speeches, followed by a closed session where members could ask questions.
Speaking first, Mr Robertson, said he was a new generation of leader who could unify the caucus and deliver the message to New Zealand that Labour's values were New Zealand values.
Real economic growth began in regions like Nelson, and fair wages were also important, he said.
''If John Key can afford $30 million to subsidise a share float he can afford the money for New Zealanders to get a living wage, and Labour must stand for that,'' he said, to applause.
Mr Cunliffe said Nelson and the top of the South Island was a paradox: though it was believed to be a paradise there were not enough jobs, wages were too low, and the region produced raw, relatively low-value products.
Mr Jones said he was standing for the leadership as a way to reach those 800,000 New Zealanders who did not vote in the last election.
He had not been raised in the same ''petri-dish'' as the other two candidates, and while he was a candidate from the provinces, he had served in government before.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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