Labour’s principles redux

Sometimes you’re wrong in a way which completely proves the point you were making! So it was with yesterday’s post, lamenting the lack of a clear set of principles for the Labour Party to build its policy and campaigning around.

Well, as commenter Scintilla pointed out, the Labour Party does have a clear set of principles, right there on its website (somewhat unhelpfully under the heading “Our Vision”. Vision is future, principles are the starting point, people.)

And they’re pretty good. I could handle them being a bit stronger, but we are meant to be a broad tent, so I won’t demand ideological purity. And maybe a little shorter, but sometimes you really need to spell things out.

But they raise more questions. Why couldn’t I – or pretty much anyone else besides the eagle-eyed Scintilla – bring these principles to mind when talking about what direction the party should take? Why don’t I always see these principles reflected in the policies of our party, or the behaviour of some of its members?

Once again, I don’t have all the answers prepped. But I think everyone in the Labour Party could get value (sorry for the pun) from taking a long, hard look at these principles, and considering what kind of party these principles should support – and even if that’s the right party for you.

The Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles:

All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.

The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular non-renewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.

All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.

Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.

All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.

All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.

The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand and that the Treaty should be honoured in government, society and the family.

Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.

The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless of race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

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