20 Aug 2017

Labour govt would be driven by 'opportunity, not fear' - Ardern

7:03 pm on 20 August 2017

At the Labour Party's election campaign launch in Auckland, leader Jacinda Ardern has said climate change is her generation's nuclear-free moment.

Jacinda Ardern speaking to about 2200 supporters at the Auckland Town Hall.

Jacinda Ardern speaking to about 2200 supporters at the Auckland Town Hall. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

About 2200 supporters and volunteers filled the Auckland Town Hall, and an overflow room, to capacity for the event.

Ms Ardern told the crowd a Labour-led government would take climate change seriously.

"My government will be driven by principle, not expediency; and opportunity, not fear.

"And there is an opportunity that we can turn into our advantage and reshape our identity. It is a transition that can and must be made," she said.

She also said the major point of difference on economic issues this election was not how long either leader had spent working with the Treasury - it was about what they used as the signs of success.

Ms Ardern said that while GDP was rising in New Zealand, people were not reaping the benefits.

"I want economic success to feel real, and it won't feel like anything but faint praise until it feels real for all New Zealanders.

"That is why the markers of success have to change, and I am starting with kids."

Labour would also change the Public Finance Act, she said.

"So that, every budget, you don't just hear about surpluses and deficits you will hear about how many kids we have lifted out of poverty," she said.

Former prime minister Helen Clark and her partner Peter Davis had front row seats at the launch.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs