12 May 2017

Labour to showcase campaign direction in Capital

9:43 am on 12 May 2017

Labour's new-look leadership team will have its first real outing as MPs and party members gather for the election year Congress in Wellington this weekend.

Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little, shortly after Ardern was named deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little, shortly after Ardern was named deputy leader of the Labour Party. Photo: Supplied

In the most recent Poll of Polls in late March, Labour was sitting on about 30 percent, with an almost four-point gap between the Labour and Greens combined, and the National Party.

Labour will be looking to close that gap further in the four months before the September election, and the appeal of the new deputy leader Jacinda Ardern alongside leader Andrew Little will be just one part of its strategy.

Labour has just a handful of key policies it will take to the election, compared to the sprawling manifesto it presented in 2014.

Mr Little said he believed housing affordability is the National Party's Achilles heel.

"They've just totally - not just mishandled housing - they've misunderstood just the depth of feeling about it."

His keynote speech on Sunday was expected to focus on property speculators through changes to negative gearing - which allows investors to write off any losses they make in property investment against the rest of their income.

Ms Ardern said the meeting would not be so much about making her mark as deputy, but getting Labour's message out using "a mixture of old school with an overlay of new school".

The party could no longer solely rely on the traditional ways of campaigning, she said.

"You stand in a lecture theatre full of young people and ask them where they get their news - predominantly it will be Facebook".

Labour and the Greens have been working on their image as responsible economic managers, which Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said was not nearly such a big issue for them as in the past.

"I have to say I very rarely now get that 'what about the spooky Greens?' question," he said.

"I don't get that very much anymore, particularly in business audiences, and I think that's because we've worked hard to say 'this is how we'll do it'."