I’ve just got my summary report on Labour’s organisational review, emailed to me as a member from President Moira Coatsworth, with a link to the website – things have certainly got better since my day!
On a quick first look, it seems to be a very good job. It is interesting to contrast with National’s review after their 2002 defeat. Labour has gone for more openness, diversity and participation, where National went for corporatisation and centralisation. Labour’s review also comes out in the week before National’s annual conference, described thus by Colin James in today’s ODT (not online):
The country’s leading fearful party meets in conference this weekend. Delegates will be cajoled, cosseted and secreted from controversy. It seems that the more taxpayer money the bigger parties get the less they feel accountable. Their excuse: the media these days will overplay any tiny disturbance and voter perception of disunity is a killer. John Key used this rationale two years ago to put firmly in place a delegate who objected (in a secret session) to hermetic seclusion.
Labour’s review has addressed a number of critical issues. Values are central; they will be brought up to date and incorporated in a policy platform, which moves past the prescriptive process introduced as a reaction to Rogernomics and which will allow for much more open debate at conferences. Member recruitment will be encouraged with a koha facility for young joiners, and increased opportunity for affiliations from Maori organisations and community groups. Local structures will be freed up from procedural restraints to focus on engagement, debate and campaigning. Training will support a strategic focus for candidates and the 38-member Moderating committee will be replaced by the New Zealand Council plus 3 MPs for list selection. A Management Committee of the Council including the Caucus leadership will ensure a strong relationship between Party and Caucus, essential for strategic campaigning.
That’s just a taste; there’s lots more, and it’s all on the website. A third feedback round is now under way, with comments invited. Go for it.