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Corin Dann: Andrew Little follows well-delivered speech with classic mistake

Labour Leader Andrew Little has delivered a solid, well-targeted, if unspectacular State of the Nation Address this morning.

The speech was deliberately lacking in policy detail and instead aimed at reassuring business, and in particular the small business owners who've deserted Labour, that the party wants to work with them not against them in creating a growing economy.

It's a sensible low octane pitch from a party that is focusing on rebuilding after a crushing defeat, and there was lots of soothing lines in the speech about being in favour of wealth creation and economic growth, albeit with a focus on reducing inequality as well.

Business will no doubt welcome the sentiment, although will want to see the outcome of Labour's policy review before really getting excited.

Labour still appears for now committed to scrapping the 90 trial period for workers and lifting the minimum wage, two polices which many small business won't like.

The lack of policy detail today will draw flack.

Andrew Little won't care about that, his goal today as a former union boss was simply to get reassure the public that under his leadership the party, whilst pushing for workers' rights, won't be anti-business. On that score he may have made some progress.

But while the speech itself was delivered well enough, Mr Little did make the classic mistake in his post speech media conference of not being across all the details.

In the speech he set a new goal when government to get New Zealand's unemployment rate down to the lowest in the OECD, but when asked what that rate actually was, he admitted to not knowing.

According to the OECD the lowest rate is Korea with 3.5 percent. New Zealand's is currently at 5.4 percent. He should really have known.

It's a sloppy gaffe which his opponents and the media will highlight and will be an early reminder of the pressures that he will now come under as Opposition leader.

What he has to hope know is that doesn't overshadow a carefully thought out speech that was all about positioning the party for the long haul.

Labour Leader Andrew Little admits he's missing some of the key facts. Source: 1 NEWS


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