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Members send a message to caucus

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 am, November 18th, 2012 - 17 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

There’s been lots of chatter about caucus, voting, leadership, conference – you name it and it’s probably been up on the blogs in the last few days. But looking at the reaction from mainstream media to the conference this morning, one thing is clear. They’ve missed that the significance of the vote yesterday. It wasn’t about whether there will be leadership contest, or the tail could wag the dog, it’s about the accountability of the caucus to the party. And there was clearly an overwhelming feeling that they had been shut out.

If David Shearer calls for a confirmation vote earlier than February under the new rules then, good. But remember that the issue becomes who can take the most effective fight to National, not about petty caucus cliques.

I reckon it’s not too hard to pick where most of the votes went last time the Labour leadership was contested and I know for a fact some MPs didn’t listen to what their LECs wanted. Now it’s a mess. MPs can’t afford to be that arrogant next time. I don’t think it would be any good for the party or the Left. Anyway, here’s where the votes went:

Grant Robertson, David Parker, Jacinda Ardern, Clayton Consgrove, Maryan
Street, Trevor Mallard, Chris Hipkins, Phil Goff, Annette King, Darien Fenton,
Damien O’Conner, Clare Curran, Ruth Dyson, Chris Faafoi, David Clark, Ross
Robertson, Phil Twyford,

Nanaia Mahuta, Su’a Willaim Sio, Charles Chauvel, Lianne Dalziel, Iain Lees-
Galloway, Raymond Huo, Parekura Horomia, Rajen Prasad, Louisa Wall, Rino
Titikatane, Megan Woods, Andrew Little, Sue Moroney

Too close to call:
Shane Jones

There wasn’t a lot in it. Some names you’d expect to be backing a contender from the left like Ruth Dyson and Darien Fenton are surprising. Others, like Jacinda and Maryan (who gave her proxy vote to Mallard) went against the direction of the LECs which generally isn’t considered a smart political move.

Members sent a clear signal yesterday that they want the party back and that they’re sick of the shenanigans of the caucus old guard. But members are also setting out the shape of a new strong future for the party. I don’t think that having that same old guard spending their last conference day frantically brokering reshuffle deals to avoid the will of the membership is in that spirit at all.

Party members know what the electorate wants because they are the electorate. The sooner caucus gets its head around that fact, the sooner we can see the back of National and John Key.

17 comments on “Members send a message to caucus”

  1. KhandallaMan 1

    Forget the Caucus faction crap. We are bored with it.

    It is  about us the members, the fund-raisers, the hoarding erectors, the leaflet distributors, the  evangelists to work-places and homes. 

    If the Caucus “gets it” they will see  yesterday as the best thing to happen to the party in many years.  If they embrace it we will get past the faction crap and arrive at a leadership consensus that helps us to win the next election. And adopt policies that delivers a secure future, in New Zealand, for all Kiwis. 


    • Laurie 1.1

      You are right KhandallaMan. The issue is not who is or might be the leader, but the poisoned chalice of leading a crew of jockeying self-interested MPs who have lost the plot. Imagine trying to craft an effective team from the Grant/Jacinda bunch, those who are no longer contributing and should leave Parliament, the blokey blokes, and a number who just shouldn’t be MPs. The real job is carving a viable, great team from what we have now, and finding clever, skilled, goodhearted Labour people to take the party forward. Surely in the next list these will rank at the top, whoever is the leader.

    • Kevin Welsh 1.2

      +1 KM

      If caucus want to play their power games and go against he wishes of the party membership, then they are just as guilty of the ‘elitism’ they chastise the Current government of.

    • Bill 1.3

      Forget the Caucus faction crap. We are bored with it.

      But are they?

      If the Caucus “gets it”…

      I don’t think they have been offered enough of an ‘incentive’ to ‘get it’. As I commented on another thread this morning, the 60/40 caucus split allows for game playing to continue in much the same way as before. And the old guard or the gate keepers – whichever term you prefer to use – are not going to stop playing fcking games attempting to hang onto power and influence while the opportunity to do so exists.

      It’s that simple.

    • Policy Parrot 1.4

      Eddie – three things. You missed one (MP).

      Secondly, I don’t get this Cunliffe is more left boat that people are pushing. Where’s the evidence? I know there was the whole Pagani painter on the roof thing – but wasn’t that really more of a faux pa than an ideological statement? And even if that was so, that only proves that Shearer would be to the right, doesn’t prove Cunliffe is to the left.

      Just out of interest, who came up with the raising the retirement age policy for the last election?

      • just saying 1.4.1

        Where’s the evidence?

        In what Cunliffe and Shearer have said. Their speeches have been posted and discussed here.
        Also, on what each of them hasn’t said.

        I don’t know whether Cunliffe’s epiphany is genuine, just that his public utterances have been well to the left of Shearer’s. Not that that is saying much…

  2. bomber 2

    The threshold to challenge is 13 – not 14. At that threshold Cunliffe has the necessary numbers already


    Bt you are 1000% right about the msm coverage – this was never about a leadership challenge it was about members taking control of their political party. If Shearer seriously attempts to punish for ‘disloyalty’ however it could certainly become a leadership challenge

    • Jim Nald - Once Was National 2.1


      And with regard to ‘disloyalty’ …

      Before he takes the next step, Shearer should adopt the correct perspective and understanding, and consider – first and foremost – the criteria and consequences of disloyalty to the Party membership.

      • just saying 2.1.1

        What Jim said.

        • Jim Nald - Once Was National

          I will be signing up to the Labour Party.

          The expectation is that the leader of the party is a guardian, custodian and steward of the power and responsibilities which the party members have entrusted in his care.

          The leader should exercise those powers and responsibilities with respect for, and in the interest of, the party membership.

  3. just saying 3

    Have the last few days been the most blatant example of the mainstream media attempting to create and mould the news to make their own personal and political preferences prevail?

    The press and parliament are far too close. Wagons are hitched, alliances forged, informants rewarded, infatuations requited, hatreds rekindled, and revenge served both hot and cold. Careers on both sides are made and lost.

    • rosy 3.1

      Have the last few days been the most blatant example of the mainstream media attempting to create and mould the news to make their own personal and political preferences prevail?

      That would be a ‘yes’. I’d love to see a case study on it. The key though is how successful this alliance is in manipulating the opinions of the non-political public, maybe there is still a way to go before this is played out.

      I’ll be interested to see if there is a change in tone concerning the importance of blogs.

      • just saying 3.1.1

        I’ll be interested to see if there is a change in tone concerning the importance of blogs.

        I’ve been thinking the same.

  4. Eddie you’ve forgotten Moana Mackey in your numbers above. She will have voted for Cunliffe last December.

    I think you are wrong about Megan Woods – she voted for Shearer. She was a newby with her LEC largely controlled by Tony Milne (he’s Grant Robertson’s mate). It was also easier for her to do the same thing as newby David Clark (also Grant Robertson’s mate – he married him). However, anyone watching Parliamentary TV can see she’s since fallen under Mallard’s spell in the same way Maryan “he’s-my-mentor” Street did years ago.

    King/Mallard are heavily influencing some of the other new MPs such as Little and Lees-Galloway. Lees-Galloway appears to consult well with his LEC – let’s just hope he can withstand the pressure.

    Hopefully, Little is man enough to take a step back now to understand what the membership and the affiliates want – they want to claim back the Labour Party and not be dictated to by caucus power brokers King/Mallard. Its been a very long time since the affiliates went against their senior bosses Little, Helen Kelly, Tollich. All three would be wise to stop doing backroom deals with King. King has been the right faction boss for 30 years, but the membership don’t want those factions any more!

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    I agree with what is being said about the importance of the membership taking power back from the caucus who didnt vote the way members wanted in the leadership race. Personally I think that vote will be the saving vote for Labours future. The message is clear if you are a rank and file Labour member you get a say in who should lead the party in parliament.

    The interesting thing was Shearers lot tried to oppose the 40/ 60 caucus vote and they fought hard Shearer didnt vote because supposedly it was a “conflict”. How was it a conflict for Shearer to vote? Either Shearer wants a vibrant democratic modern Labour Party or he does not! That was the story yesterday Shearer once again didnt have the balls to come out and say he agreed or disagreed with members views on how a leader in the Labour Party should be selected. For all his Macho read my lips this guy is a weak leader and he by way of his supporters didnt want members to have real power in the decision making process. David Shearer is not some nice bloke at all he is not progressive and the people/ mps who supported him being leader are not supporting greater member power in the party.They all showed their true colours yesterday.

  6. Blue 6

    Shane Jones all but admitted he voted for Shearer some time after the leadership vote. That’s why he hasn’t been disciplined – the Shearer camp need his support.

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