Labour leader Andrew Little has used his speech at the party's annual conference to rev up the party faithful, saying the next election would be "a straight fight and I'm up for it".

Delivering his second speech as leader to the Labour Party annual conference, Little said the last two years under his leadership been about getting Labour ready to win.

"The results of the local elections show we can campaign to win. The polls show it's a neck and neck race between the centre-left and centre-right blocs.

"This is a straight fight and I'm up for it, we're up for it."

Advertisement

The centre-piece of Little's speech was policy of a jobs scheme to put unemployed people aged under 24 into jobs in the community on the minimum wage.

Little said he had made that a personal priority for himself. "As a parent, as a politician, as someone who gives a damn, I won't give up on our young people."

However he reserved space to attack his rivals, saying the National Party had only one plan: tax cuts.

"That's it. That's their answer. After eight years, it's pretty much all they've got left. And look, I get that this government's never met a tax cut they didn't like."

He said National had offered tax cuts in 2010, saying it would help stimulate an economy under strain and wanted to offer them again now on the basis the economy was doing well. "The economy's on the rebound in 2016? Thank god! Now we can do tax cuts."

"Here's the reality about the last lot of tax cuts: it didn't actually make that much of a difference for most people while the ones already doing well got a big boost."

Little also reprised Labour's other priorities such as housing and the recent announcement to fund 1000 more police.

He said National was in denial about the housing crisis.

Little reprised Labour's policy to end tax breaks for property investors and to impose a capital gains tax for properties other than the family home which were onsold within five years.

"That's my message: no more free rides for the speculators and a fair shot for first home buyers."

He also pledged to end homelessness, saying people were living in cars.

"How the hell does that happen in a country like ours? When did we decide that was the kind of place we wanted to be.?"

Little also paid a tribute to former Council of Trade Unions' head Helen Kelly, who died from cancer three weeks ago.