Labour confident in its 100th year

Celebrating 100 years of the Labour Party are (from left) Dunedin South MP Clare Curran, Dunedin...
Celebrating 100 years of the Labour Party are (from left) Dunedin South MP Clare Curran, Dunedin North MP David Clark, former MP Stan Rodger, party leader Andrew Little, list MP David Parker and party president Prof Nigel Haworth. Photo: Linda Robertson.
An election win for the Labour Party next year is "all the more certain" because of Andrew Little’s leadership, party president Prof Nigel Haworth told party faithful in Dunedin last night.

The event was held at the Community Gallery to celebrate the party’s centenary exhibition.

Mr Little, Prof Haworth, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, and Dunedin-based MPs Clare Curran, David Clark, and David Parker spoke at the event.

It allowed Labour to look back on its achievements with pride.

"We have done the hard yards. The other side has picked up what we’ve done and sort of tinkered with it," Prof Haworth said.

The party expected a September 2017 general election, and was six months ahead of what it had anticipated in its preparations, Prof Haworth said.

Speakers focused on the party’s progressive stance in women’s, gay, worker, and nuclear issues, and its strong Dunedin links in its earlier years.

Ms Curran acknowledged the party had not always lived up to its ideals.

It had mostly, but not always, stuck to its values.

"Let’s be honest," she said.

Asked about the comment, Ms Curran told the Otago Daily Times  there was no point  "glossing over" the economic upheaval of the 1980s, but people should remember it was one part of a significant history.

Mr Little was keen to look forward, rather than back, devoting much of his speaking time to a campaign-style speech that talked about the "Kiwi dream" and the "deep housing crisis".

However, in an overview of the party’s history, Mr Little said Dunedin had produced politicians who made a mark nationally, naming Sir Michael Cullen, Arnold Nordmeyer and Ethel McMillan.

If elected,  Labour would not put up with further delay to the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, and would start rebuilding immediately.

Labour would guarantee no loss of services, and would safeguard its status as a "fully fledged" teaching hospital, Mr Little said.

Listening to Mr Little’s speech was Labour supporter Richard Thomson, deputy commissioner of the Southern District Health Board and a member of the hospital redevelopment partnership group.

He declined to comment when approached by the ODT.

The exhibition closes tomorrow.

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