Labour leader Andrew Little pledged to add child poverty measures to the Budget if Labour is in Government.

Mr Little made the pledge in his speech to the Labour Party conference, a speech dubbed the "Kiwi Dream" speech in which he focused on his own background and Labour's 99 year long history.

It was his first speech to the Labour Party conference, and the only glitch was when Mr Little smashed his water glass as he was winding up for his grand finale.

Mr Little set out his three top priorities as "jobs, jobs, jobs."


However, the theme of his Mr Little's speech was 'rebuilding the Kiwi dream' and he said that also meant addressing child poverty.

He said 305,000 children were living in poverty.

"We've turned our backs for far too long. Well, that ends today."

He said every decision Labour made would be checked against its impact on child poverty.

"So every Budget, every year we won't just report on GDP growth or how much money we've spent, we'll front up and tell the country how many children a Labour government has lifted out of poverty."

"New Zealand, I'm asking you to join with me in a concerted effort to eradicate poverty in our country."

In his speech he touched on everything from home ownership to health, jobs, poverty and climate change.

Labour leader Andrew Little during his speech at the party's annual conference. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour leader Andrew Little during his speech at the party's annual conference. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He also took a swipe at Prime Minister John Key, although without using his name.


"Right now it seems the Government is more interested in slapstick and personal sledging than in genuine leadership. It is more interested in pandas and flags than in serious issues. I didn't become an MP to play Parliamentary parlour games. I came into politics to help people."

But the primary goal of Mr Little's first conference speech as Labour leader was to try to provide a glimpse of Mr Little's own background and personality.

Mr Little spoke of his background, including a father who was a staunch National supporter and loathed union bosses.

A video leading up to it also set out Mr Little's personal background. He was introduced by his twin sister, Val, and the video featured an old teacher recalling his Muldoon impersonations.

"I said to his parents 'he'll be Prime Minister some day."

The audience of Labour stalwarts was warmed up by Christchurch band The Eastern, which had the audience on its feet singing along to a song called "Victory."