|English: Billboards for the New Zealand 2009 Mt Albert by-election. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
One year ago today I was honoured to be elected as the 13th Leader of the Labour Party. Labour has a proud tradition as a progressive force in New Zealand life, and I am humbled to be part of that tradition.
We end 2012 in a strong position. Our team in Parliament have held the Government to account for its many failings. We’ve closed the gap on National, and Labour is setting the agenda on the issues that count – the economy and jobs, housing and education.
But for John Key and National it is a year they would rather forget. As I said in my final speech to Parliament for 2012, it’s been the year of the brain fade.
It’s also been a year of disappointment. Unemployment is up to 7.3%, 1,000 Kiwis are flying out on a one-way ticket for Australia every week and the Government has no answer. And that’s not to mention the many debacles in education and the scandals in ACC and the GCSB.
The Government has taken its eye off the ball, and New Zealand is drifting.
Kiwis deserve better, and Labour has spent the last 12 months doing the hard yards in Opposition so that we are ready to deliver in Government come 2014.
We’ve charted a new direction for New Zealand, where a hands-on Labour Government backs our families, workers and businesses. We’ve rolled out major new policies on affordable housing, education and jobs.
There’s plenty more hard work to be done, but as the year winds down Labour can look back on a great year.