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It's crunch time for Andrew Little

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/05/2017 Peter Wilson

Andrew Little © Phil Walter/Getty Images Andrew Little Labour leader Andrew Little is preparing to make one of the most important speeches of his political career - he has to convince his party that he can win the election.

More than 400 delegates are gathered in Wellington for Labour's election year congress, the stage-setter for the campaign.

They're the party's foot soldiers, the campaign door-knockers, and Mr Little has to fire them up so they'll be out there believing in him and believing they can change the government.

He's expected to focus on housing, health and infrastructure - particularly Auckland's.

Labour believes the government's weakest points are the housing shortage and Auckland's ever-worsening traffic jams.

Mr Little will unveil a policy to limit or get rid of negative gearing, the system that allows landlords to claim tax rebates on their rental properties.

It's one of the reasons why buying multiple properties is so popular, and why the market is so tight.

The congress opened on Saturday with speeches by finance spokesman Grant Robertson and deputy leader Jacinda Ardern.

Mr Robertson vowed Labour would reduce unemployment to four per cent in its first term and review the tax system to make it more fair.

He also promised a Labour government would give everyone a fair shot in the country's prosperity.

"There's a stark choice between fairness and inclusion or deepening inequality and division," he told cheering delegates.

Ms Ardern said Labour would put a health team into every secondary school and spoke of the tragedy of New Zealand's youth suicide rate.

"Research, right here in New Zealand, has shown that well-resourced comprehensive health teams in schools have lowered depression and suicide rates amongst young people by up to two-thirds," she said.

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