Everyone knows that the world of work is changing. Technology is developing at a pace faster than ever before, and many of the jobs and roles we know today simply won’t exist in a decade.
At the same time, technology is also making it easier than ever to start a business and connect with people all over the world. There is enormous opportunity, but also significant risk, that this change could lead to higher unemployment, greater insecurity and inequality.
It was with this in mind that the Labour Party launched the Future of Work Commission in 2014. For two years, we’ve been getting out and listening to New Zealanders about their hopes and fears. And today we are releasing our report with more than 60 recommendations on how we can confidently face the changing world and ensure decent, secure and well-paid work.
This does not mean that we can predict the future. Rather, it’s about preparing ourselves to be resilient and adaptable as times change. We don’t want to be the passive recipients of this change; we want to shape the future in accordance with our values. Decent wages, respect, dignity and safety at work — wherever that is undertaken.
The core recommendations in our report are to support training and education throughout life. That is why we are proposing three years free post-secondary school training and education. It is also why we will have professional career guidance and planning for every student. We also believe that every worker who loses their job as a result of technological change and disruption should be supported to retrain. We need a just transition — no one should be left behind.
We also need to be ready to take the opportunities that are offered for people to take control of their own economic destiny. The era of ‘trickle down economics’ is over. We are proposing that we focus on building wealth from the ground up. We are recommending more support for entrepreneurs, stronger collective bargaining, digital equality and investing in our regions and in research and development.
If we retain the values that have guided us for one hundred years, we can make the policy choices for the 21st century to invest in people, and we will rise to the challenge to give New Zealanders security and opportunity in the future of work.