Labour's President Moira Coatsworth has told the party faithful she believes voters around the world are starting to turn to centre-left parties to recover from the tumultuous years of the global economic crisis.

Ms Coatsworth spoke at Labour's annual conference in Ellerslie this morning before the 620 delegates begin debating and voting on a major programme of reforms of the party organisation.

She told them that since the global financial crisis, there had been changes of government in 27 countries across Europe alone, which she said was a shift away from "the inadequacy of right wing responses."

She said the re-election of US President Barack Obama was a further sign of that.


She was confident that New Zealand's Labour Party also held the right policies for the country.

"But here is our challenge - we need more New Zealanders to have that faith in the future that Labour can provide."

One of the biggest challenges for the party was increasing voter turn out - she pointed to an Electoral Commission survey which found about one third of those who did not vote gave the reason that it was obvious who was going to win so they had not bothered.

She said the modernisation of the party would re-ignite interest in it by giving members and supporters a real say in both the leadership and policy.

The reforms also included creating a new 'registered supporter' group for those who did not want to be full members, widening its affiliate base and greater regional coordination of campaign organisation - should help address that.