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:
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.