web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Labour Conference day 2

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 pm, November 17th, 2012 - 8 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

So the remit session was a bit of an endurance event as they always are (and we’ve still got policy remits tomorrow…).

The vast majority was fairly easily agreed, including the big changes.  The real contention was over the caucus trigger – not the general trigger (by a “simple majority” of MPs) but the trigger at the 3-yearly leader caucus confirmation (the first of which under the new rules will be in February).  2 schools of thought each thought their option (50%+1 or 60%+1 MPs required to vote for the leader) was the more democratic, and would overrule the will of the people less.  The ‘stability’ side thought that you needed a higher trigger (ie lower % vote for the leader), so whoever the people have chosen isn’t easily thrown out by the caucus.  The ‘take it to the people’ side, thought making it easy for the caucus to force a party-wide leadership vote was the answer.

After 45 minutes debate, it came down to a count of votes and the 60%+1 narrowly won.  So of the current caucus only 13 need to vote against Shearer in February and it will be taken to the people, even if 21 have confidence in him.  In future, once every 3 years 40% of the caucus will have the chance to vote out a leader the people have chosen.  It all depends on the way you look at it – and opinions had been expressed passionately on both sides.

It was all remarkably civil, even though we’d gone over into lunchtime.

Of course the media view was different.  The vote had not been an arcane point of a slightly different trigger once every 3 years for a new democratic selection, but had been the party undermining Shearer and introducing turmoil.  Cunliffe’s defence wasn’t tight enough against Gower’s predetermined angle (“I’m loyal to my leader” is apparently failing to endorse Shearer).  His line was slightly better for Jessica Mutch when she jumped in second, but by then the shoal of reef fish that is the parliamentary press gallery had turned to follow Gower.

I’m sure there were some who voted each way based on the current situation.  I’m sure (or at least I hope), most voted for the version they felt gave better democracy for the future.  But the media like a simple story (as with each election when the electorate apparently speak with one voice; even when we’ve never had a majority vote for one party in the last 60 years, let alone a consensus), and they like scuttlebutt, so this is the best ‘story’.

Annoyingly this means that we’re likely to be talking about Labour’s leadership until February rather than the fact that National have the worst economic record since the Great Depression, that unemployment is at a record high, or Labour’s great new policies.

After lunch there was a point where I thought I might die before we worked out how we were to even vote on a remit and its amendment which had come to mean exactly the same thing whichever way it went (‘Point of Order Madame Chair!’), but eventually the vast constitutional changes opening up the leadership vote and policy control to members were passed.

Grant Robertson then gave us an excellent speech, featuring these guys:

or the option of A Better Country under Shearer and Labour.  As ever an entertaining and highly witty speaker, but with a serious point and serious intention to do something about the inequality we have worsening in this country under National…

Just remember though, as Robertson says: “it’s a recession when your mate loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your job; but it’ll be a recovery when John Key loses his job.”

8 comments on “Labour Conference day 2”

  1. weka 1

    Has changing the leadership voting rules been on the cards for a while, or is it a result of the disatisfaction about the leadership/caucus this year?

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      The delegates’ anger was palpable.

      Every Labour MP got a sharp rebuke: “Don’t cross the membership again!”

      Today was healing because that anger was expressed and the remits provided a remedy and were mostly passed by wide margins.

    • Saarbo 1.2

      It was partly about the leadership but I think it was primarily the membership communicating a clear message to an arrogant and dismissive caucus that you are representing/serving the membership and your voters. 

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Annoyingly this means that we’re likely to be talking about Labour’s leadership until February rather than the fact that National have the worst economic record since the Great Depression, that unemployment is at a record high

    I wouldn’t worry if I were you. The dire economic circumstances this country is in will still be around next year under Key and English.

    • AmaKiwi 2.1

      Correct.

      Furthermore, no leadership challenging will be seen by the public. Cunliffe and any other challengers will repeat the same mantra, “I support the leader (because he is the leader). If he does not get the votes in February, we will cross that bridge if and when we come to it.”

      The lobbying will go in secret. Unless Shearer can turn water into wine, he will not get the 40% at the February caucus vote and there will be an open contest. That is when things will get interesting. Who will stand for leader then? Most MP’s have big egos so it is anybody’s guess who and how many will be in the race.

  3. irascible 3

    Agree with your analysis, Ben. There was no acromony, reported by RNZ and earlier declared by the Norman Gunston of the TV reporters – Gower, among delegates that I could discern. Having been a regular at NZLP Conferences from the mid 1970s to now I can confidently declare that this debate was undertaken without the internicene lobbying and dealing combined with regular calls for hand counts and card votes as the sides fought out of entrenched positions.

  4. Claire 4

    All very interesting comments and nice to know the inside story rather than the media spin.

    However, I find the graphic of the National Party dwarves that you have posted offensive on a number of levels and I think that a lot of other people would too. It is far too easy for politics to degenerate into tawdry personal attacks and yet, it distresses me every time I see members of the left engaging in this sort of thing. I don’t know who made this, but I really think that the public would be more engaged if we could criticize the other side for the things they have done rather than their perceived intelligence levels or their body shape. Cringeworthy.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government’s housing failure puts pressure on Reserve Bank
    The Government’s failure to take action on the housing crisis has put pressure on the Reserve Bank Governor who has to deal with a rampaging housing market and low inflation at the same time, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Labour wishes Russel Norman well
    The Labour Party wishes Russel Norman well in the future as he stands down as Green Party co-leader, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “Russel has made a significant contribution to New Zealand politics in his nine years as co-leader… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Russel Norman to stand down as Green Party Co-leader in May
    Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party's Annual General Meeting in May.Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM."After… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    11 hours ago
  • Russel Norman to stand down as Green Party Co-leader in May
    Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party's Annual General Meeting in May.Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM."After… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    11 hours ago
  • UE bar hike denies access to thousands
    A Government rule change denying access to thousands of young Kiwis access to tertiary education is doing nothing to build a smart, fair future, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe said today.  “NZQA rules changed by the Government have reduced… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Progressive Rainbow rights? Yeah, nah….
    Legally, New Zealand is perhaps one of the more progressive countries when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights even though we have further to go on the last two. However, the latest Westpac’s Rainbow Acceptance… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    1 day ago
  • Waihopai – years on, still the same
    On 24 January, I attended the Waihopai Base protest in my electorate.  It was attended by a great range of people who are all concerned about the direction our country is heading in.  Thank you to all of those who… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 days ago
  • Greens call for ring-fencing of state home proceeds
    The Government must ring-fence the proceeds of any state home sales and spend every dollar raised on more Government-built homes in order to address the housing crisis, the Green Party says.Prime Minister John Key has indicated that his first major… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    3 days ago
  • English breaks his $6000 wages promise
    Just one month into the new year Bill English has already rowed back on his election promise of real wage rises for New Zealanders, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “During the election campaign National promised Kiwis that the average… ...
    1 week ago
  • National fails to produce evidence justifying attack on RMA
    The National Government is misusing evidence provided in the Motu report on planning rules to justify gutting the environmental protections secured by the Resource Management Act (RMA), says the Green Party today. The Motu group's research into the impacts of… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes won’t knock a dollar off the cost of a new home
    The Government’s proposed changes to the RMA won’t increase the number of affordable homes or knock a dollar off the cost of building a new house, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “Tinkering with the RMA will not solve National’s housing… ...
    1 week ago
  • What is the real ‘price of the club’?
    What price is too high to join a club?  According to the current the New Zealand Prime Minister, the lives of young Kiwi men and women are a part of the package. In his latest BBC interview, John Key fails… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • DOC debacle means hundreds may have missed out on fishing licences
    Hundreds of families and recreational fishers may have had their holidays spoiled by missing out on their fishing licences, with Conservation Minister Maggie Barry preferring instead to focus on more high profile portfolio priorities over the summer break, Labour’s Conservation… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rheumatic fever rates continue to soar despite millions spent on prevention...
    The Government’s $65 million spend on rheumatic fever prevention has made little impact on the alarmingly high rate of the disease among young New Zealanders, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Latest figures from ESR show there were 235 notified… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Quito, Ecuador
    I was honoured to speak to the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, calling for cooperation and action on climate change. You can read my speech below. Greetings from New Zealand in our first language – kia ora nga mihi nui… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Government wipes off $5 billion in tax debt
    Since coming to office, the National Government has written off $5 billion* in tax debt owed by more than a million, Labour MP Stuart Nash says. "There are two sides to the New Zealand economy under the National government: the… ...
    3 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere