Young Labour Policy Priorities 2013

Young Labour is a force for progressive change in New Zealand and the natural home for young New Zealanders wanting to make our world a better place. We combine bold social democratic ideas, with the determination and capability to get our priorities delivered in the real world.

 

Young Labour works to develop progressive policy and to get it adopted by the Labour Party and delivered in Government. We also run public campaigns to build momentum and support around important issues.

 

Climate Change Responding to Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most important and urgent issues facing our generation. And yet, New Zealand has no coherent or credible climate change plan. This Government is failing us, and future generations, and Young Labour is part of the movement for change.

Our vision for a thriving and fair economy cannot persist against the immense health, wellbeing, and security issues that higher global temperatures will create for New Zealand. The implications of increased warming for those in our Pacific neighborhoods will be devastating.

Sustainable development means rapidly decoupling economic development from carbon emissions, in order to meet targets to limit global warming to safe levels for future generations.

New Zealand can and must do its fair share on climate change, and build a better country in the process. Young Labour believes New Zealand must adopt a hands-on approach to accelerate our transition from a carbon economy, and set achievable goals for reaching 100% renewable electricity and complete fossil fuel independence. As part of that process, all New Zealanders should be empowered with practical ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Student Support Increasing student support

Students remain the only group in society that is expected to borrow money to pay basic living costs. Young Labour believes that we should properly support students in achieving higher education, rather than shackle them with mountains of debt.The National Government has cut access to loans and allowances in five out of five of their last budgets. That’s because they are ideologically blind to the benefits of education. Tertiary education is a major investment in the future of New Zealand. The opportunity provided by education helps New Zealanders and New Zealand towards social, cultural and economic success. It’s time we recognised that and stopped burdening the next generation with debt.

Mental Health Youth mental health

New Zealand needs a comprehensive effort to address our youth mental health crisis.  A significant proportion of our young people suffer from mental health disorders and we have one of highest rates of youth suicide in the world. As a society, we must take responsibility for this crisis and take urgent action to support our young people.Young Labour believes that we need to urgently increase the resources available to supporting youth mental health. We must also take clear evidenced based approach to policy formation and programme development in this area. That means that improving the experiences of early childhood, and intensive intervention at that age must form part of the plan. So too does ensuring teenagers have adequate levels of support when problems occur. Young Labour also believes in fostering a positive and inclusive society, including for our Rainbow youth.

As the Chief Science Advisor says, improving outcomes for young people will require a prolonged effort over several electoral cycles. Young Labour is committed to working to do its part in drawing attention to this priority, and to working to build on a cross-party consensus on the need for action.

Abortion Abortion law reform

Young Labour believes that our abortion laws should be changed to reflect what many New Zealanders think they are already. We are righting to for a law change that will decriminalise abortion and provide safe access to the procedure to women who choose it.Many people do not know that abortion is still a criminal offence in New Zealand. Access to abortion is essentially dependent on the liberal interpretation of the law by medical professionals.  In the vast majority of cases, a woman who wants legal access to an abortion needs two consultants to certify that her mental health is in serious danger.  In some places in New Zealand access is unavailable. This is unacceptable.

Abortion is a health issue and what’s important is that a woman can give informed consent in consultation with their doctor. Women should not have to jump through unnecessary legal loop holes and access should be available equally throughout the country.

 

2 Drugs v2 Drug reform

Drugs policy should be about improving the health and safety of our communities. Instead, our current approach to drugs is a moral and fiscal disaster. It fails abjectly at improving the health and safety of our communities, and imposes great social and economic costs on New Zealanders.Young Labour believes that New Zealand needs rational drug reform based on harm reduction. That means a regulatory framework that can make reasoned decisions about the risk of harm, as well as the cost to society of regulation or prohibition. One that recognises that personal drug use is primarily a health issue and that the criminal justice system, especially prisons, frequently makes the problem worse. Young Labour is working to build the case for evidence based reform within the Labour Party and the wider community.