The economic goal of the next Labour Government will be shared prosperity, Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said in a direction-setting speech at the party conference today in Palmerston North.

"It is time to reject the ethos of success based on privilege, selfishness and greed, and replace them with a fair go, and relentless pursuit of shared prosperity.

"That is our mission," he said.

"The economic goal of the next Labour Government will be shared prosperity - an opportunity for everyone to meet their potential."

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Mr Robertson has been finance spokesman for a year after losing the leadership despite winning more support from members than winner Andrew Little.

Mr Robertson began his speech by thanking Mr Little for giving him the portfolio and saying that Mr Little was doing a "terrific job" as leader.

Mr Robertson set out the five areas by which he wanted Labour's path to shared prosperity to be judged:

- The opportunity for decent work where-ever you lived in New Zealand;
- Lifting incomes;
- Zero tolerance for child poverty;
- Access the affordable and quality housing;
- Creating a sustainable future.

"They will be the benchmarks of the next Labour Government." he said.

Mr Robertson said he would bring policy proposals to the 2016 conference arising out of the Future of Work Commission he has been running.

He had been speaking to businesses, unions, Labour Party and community groups about the changing nature of work and where "being your own boss is not only more possible, it will become the default position."

He acknowledged there were legitimate concerns about the rights of workers in less formal working environment.

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"What appears as flexibility can actually be a front for exploitation and a loss of rights and conditions.

"Labour would never allow that to happen.

"The flexibility we strive for is to allow you to build your work around your life, not the other way round."

He said that one of the major policies emerging from the Work Commission would be around training and re-training.

"We need to work with business and workers to ensure this is possible for all, including those in small and medium businesses who traditionally struggle to fit training into their lives."