“In It For You” is Labour’s latest “rallying cry” unveiled by Prime Minister and party leader Chris Hipkins today as part of its 2023 re-election campaign.
It follows “Let’s Do This” of 2017 and “Let’s Keep Moving” of 2020 under former leader Jacinda Ardern.
The new slogan is being launched alongside a billboard and social media campaign, which includes a video of Hipkins telling a bit of his backstory - including sporting a “bowl cut” in his early Labour Party years - and why he wants to be elected as Prime Minister.
“While I’ve only been in the job six months, I hope New Zealanders know I’m in it for them and I understand the challenges they’re facing,” Hipkins said.
“To fix the problems households are experiencing you have to understand them. My upbringing in the Hutt grounded me in the reality of working families with big aspirations and it’s those values that drive me every day.
“In this election I’ll be asking New Zealanders for a full term and my own mandate to deliver the change they want to see.”
Hipkins said the slogan reflected the reason he was in politics: “I want New Zealand families who are working hard to be able to create a better life for themselves and their families”.
The campaign launch comes amid a testing time for Hipkins and Labour, with the latest Taxpayers’ Union - Curia poll showing a two-point slide to 31 per cent - the second poll of the week to show a drop after a Talbot Mills poll for its corporate clients showed it had dropped five points to 31 per cent.
It is now perilously close to the 30 per cent mark in two polls following a string of disruptions and issues with ministers, as well as ongoing strain on the economy and high inflation hitting people’s household budgets.
It appears that support however has simply gone further to the left, with the Greens on 9 per cent and Te Pāti Māori 5 per cent in the Taxpayers’ Union - Curia poll, meaning the left bloc as a whole is equal to National and Act.
This week also saw Hipkins push further into the centrist political ground, ruling out introducing either a wealth tax or a capital gains tax as long as he was leader, likely an attempt to regain some of those voters it had lost since the 2020 election where it won a majority.
The move however risks losing Labour voters sitting to the left within the party to the Green Party and Te Pāti Māori - something those parties themselves are banking on, and parties Labour would likely have to work with if it was in a position to form a Government after the election anyway.
Hipkins said he was not concerned about losing those votes, stating their focus would be on investing in public services and enhancing the economic conditions for people to earn more money in the first place.
“Because that’s actually the thing that’s going to help Kiwi families to get ahead.”
Pushed on the work Labour had done around calculating wealth and inequality and yet not following through with anything to address it, Hipkins said they had made a move on the tax rate for trusts and would be announcing its tax policy in the coming weeks.
In his campaign PR, Hipkins restated his pledge to get back to “bread and butter issues facing households”.
This followed his “reprioritisation bonfire” earlier in the year, where he scrapped dozens of policies in favour of supporting cost of living measures.
This election was the first chance for him to fully set his own agenda for a better future.
“Labour will be running a positive, forward-looking campaign that’s focused on cutting inflation, bringing down the cost of living, keeping people and communities safe and investing in education, health and housing.”
He said this approach was evident in the Budget with free prescriptions, cheaper public transport and more access to free ECE.
“Practical policies that help to bring down costs for families without driving up inflation.
“Labour’s upcoming campaign platform will continue this approach, with new policies that will tackle the bread and butter issues and help unlock our massive potential as a nation, while keeping a lid on inflation.”
There is no mention of climate change, the environment and child poverty/inequality issues - all core focuses of former leader Jacinda Ardern, and at the heart of potential support parties the Green Party and Te Pāti Māori.
Pushed on this by media, Hipkins said it was “only the start” of the campaign and those issues would be addressed through the campaign.
Hipkins also took a dig at National leader Christopher Luxon, saying they were promoting “unaffordable tax cuts for the rich” that will “make inflation worse and drive up the cost of living.
“I acknowledge the past few years have been tough and not everything has been delivered perfectly. But a radical upheaval in direction would make things so much worse.
“When times are tough, Kiwis need a government that provides stability and certainty, one that’s on their side and in it for them – that’s what Labour and I offer.”
The National Party’s slogan is “Get Our Country Back On Track”, which they unveiled in May at the beginning of their “Get NZ Back On Track” tour.
Luxon appeared to momentarily have forgotten this fact today when asked by the Herald about Labour’s new slogan, responding “I don’t think actually New Zealand needs slogans”.
“I think what New Zealand needs is real substantive answers to its challenges and its problems.”
When asked if that meant National would not have a slogan, Luxon replied: “Our slogan will be get our country back on track.”
It was then pointed out that he had confirmed National indeed had a slogan, to which Luxon replied: “Let’s say we get our country back on track.
“But the slogans are not what New Zealanders need right now.”
Hipkins said it was “ironic” National criticised their slogan launch given National had its own slogan.