web analytics
The Standard

Questions on Labour leadership selection reform

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, July 12th, 2012 - 13 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Seeing coverage of the apparently unhurried steps towards Labour party members having a say in future leadership bids made me want to stop and ask some questions about whether they are telling the full story:

1) Will members have the same say as MPs? And who were the “Senior members” said there was some concern that giving too much weight to the membership vote over the caucus vote? Isn’t the point that MPs are accountable to the
membership? If you think of the caucus as being like the employees and the membership is the Board, then employees don’t get to choose the CEO – in a grown up world you work with who you need to. And if the membership choose
someone presumably they are doing it for a good reason? Could it be that there are some MPs who think there is something to fear from that extra level of accountability to the party grassroots?

2) Will the proportion of the leadership vote assigned to affiliates be shrunk by those within caucus who distrust the union movement? Once again what do MPs fear? This is the Labour party, grounded in the Labour relations movement isn’t it?

3) What will happen to the automatic 2013 vote (year ahead of an election)? Surely this would be the perfect opportunity for the membership and affiliates to illustrate their support for the leader for whom they will be volunteering their time to help elect in 2014? And given that this whole undertaking is designed to empower the party membership then why would you try and sidestep the rules before the ink is dry?

4) How is the winnder in each category determined? Winner takes all? Proportional? We all recognise how the ‘first past the post’ approach establishes bias in the system – that’s why we have MMP!

5) Finally, while I applaud caucus and the party for bringing this to the table they can’t afford to do it in a way that is less than meaningful. Besides, what are caucus afraid of? If all is going well who would want to challenge and open themselves to the sort of scrutiny that brings – especially as they would have to justify their decision to the membership, and the wider public, if things are out in the open. Having chosen to open this topic caucus cannot afford to sell the members short. Who is the winner if the party tears itself apart over this? Short term it may be those within the caucus who are resistant to change, but the long term answer would be National, as they’d retain the Treasury benches for some time to come.

13 comments on “Questions on Labour leadership selection reform”

  1. Socialist Paddy 1

    I posted this in open mike but it is just as relevant for this post.

    The Herald editorial this morning appears to be saying that Trade Union influence on the Labour Party ought to be minimized and that the MPs should be given the most power in determining who should be the party’s leader. All the more reason for the Labour Party to do the opposite.  

    I don’t know why the MPs should have so much say.  They ought to be the servants of the party and not its masters.

    The Trade Union movement provide the heart and soul of the party and should be given a significant say.

    Editorial is at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10819003

  2. Over the old guard 2

    Matthew Hooton chose the current Labour leader. Now Trevor “senior sources” Mallard is trolling again on other Labour MPs who say the party should stand for Labour principles.

    No wonder the Hooton Goff Mallard group hate David Cunliffe. Cunliffe is no nact apologist.

    No wonder everyone is becoming green.

    The party is hijacked by conservatives. AGAIN!

    • Olwyn 2.1

      “The party is hijacked by conservatives. AGAIN!”

      It is hard to escape that impression, since nothing, apart from some of Cunliffe’s speeches, is offered to counter that impression. It is not hard, however, to see the problems Labour faces: for one, the working class is rapidly either turning into the beneficiary class or hopping on planes to Australia. For another, the unions, while they have recently achieved some great things under difficult circumstances, no longer have the force to really scare the powers that be. For yet another, the Greens have taken quite a large chunk out of the educated liberal vote. At the moment, parliamentary Labour seems to be trying to accommodate itself to that situation rather than challenge it, but do not want to lose remaining members. Shut down Cunliffe, break with the unions and ignore the members, and you stand exposed. Genuinely listen to any of them and you must take up the challenge. Parliamentary Labour, in its present form, does not seem to want to take up the challenge. It has set itself a hard act to maintain until an election in which no promises are made, so none will be broken.

      • Populuxe1 2.1.1

        Case in point, I distinctly remember Cunliffe being critical Free Trade Agreements in the recent past, and now he’s gone quiet. Labour has turned into Tory-Lite, which is why I abandoned it to it’s own devices.

  3. leftleftleft 3

    WTF? What were regional conferences for? All conferences passed remits for democracy. Who are these secret MPs who are gagging the membership? Where is a hyperlink to NZLP constitution?

    • AnnaLiviaPluraBella 3.1

      Shearer promised a genuine role for the membership in the Leader selection Process.  I’m sure he did not mean that the Caucus would have a veto over the wishes of the membership. 
      So here does the tone of the stories over the past two days in the Herald and Dominion Post come from?  Shearer needs to refute what the MSM is writing.   The membership and labour voters stayed at home because they felt the party was not listening to them.  Shearer said he was listening. 
      Shearer can deliver real influence to the membership: the corollary is (a) the Caucus having a veto on when a leadership selection may be actioned and (b) the Caucus having a veto over the Memberships preference. 
      This is the litmus test

      • Bunji 3.1.1

        Shearer can’t come out and refute what the MSM is saying because a) the decision hasn’t been made yet, and b) it’s not his decision.

        The NZ Council (ie representatives of the party) will make a recommendation after the weekend, for voting on by members at the Conference in November. There will be amendments to that recommendation. If it were to include a caucus bloc vote, that would almost certainly be amended and put to the vote.

        A real membership say in the vote on leadership will be added, and it will be added by members.

        The trigger for a membership vote may just be a caucus vote of no confidence though (or a leader standing down) – it’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. Having members able to force a vote risks a destabilising campaign of signature collection…

        • BillODrees 3.1.1.1

          Bunji, a good clear answer. You are obviously well informed. Do you know who briefed the newspapers that the Caucus is baulking at allowing the Membership’s preference to potentially over-ride the Caucus preference?  Methinks the Conference in November will be interesting. 

  4. IrishBill 4

    I’m interested in the third point made here. It strikes me that having the party, affiliates and caucus all vote on the leader every year would be destabilising and a logistical nightmare. However I also think that removing that vote of confidence altogether would significantly reduce the accountability of the leadership.

    Perhaps the traditional first caucus of the year confidence vote could remain as a vote of caucus confidence which, if lost, would trigger a full leadership election including membership and affiliates.

    That said, I’ll be interested to see what the method for challenging a leader will look like. Will the ability to push a leadership vote continue to require 60% of the caucus or will it require some majority of caucus/party/affiliates to force a vote?

  5. Sam Hall 5

    DAVID CUNLIFFE
    DAVID CUNLIFFE
    DAVID CUNLIFFE

  6. Caucus and affiliates should have the same say as members. One person one vote is for all elections, not just (small-n) national ones.

    • fender 6.1

      +1

      Would most likely result in a boost to membership numbers also. Come on Labour dont be scared of democracy!

  7. red blooded 7

    Let’s step back just a bit from current issues and think about party structures and logistics. It’s simply not possible for all members to know the skills, weaknesses, trues priorities, working capacity, leadership qualities, personal management skills, level of drive and strength of commitment of the various leadership contenders as well as their colleagues (the caucus) do. It’s also true that relationships (while they shouldn’t be the deciding factor) are actually important in how effectively a leader can relate to their team, inspire, see potential in others, assign responsibilities effectively, create a feeling of harmony and shared purpose…etc.

    I served for many years on the national executive of my union. The president was always elected by the general membership (who had almost no chance of knowing the real qualities of the various candidates and tended to vote for those who looked safe and whose names were recognised). Some of the presidents were true leaders, some were filling a seat and creating a hole in the fabric of the union because they were too divisive, had trouble taking advice, vacillated too much and couldn’t make decisions, or failed to see others’ strengths and make the most of them. I wish that the executive had had some more significant input into the selection of the president.

    I think it’s fine for members to rank a set of candidates for the position (presumably through their regional or affiliate structures), but that caucus also needs to have that chance and that their input should be weighted to at least equal that of the general membership. Perhaps there should be an elected group of senior party members who should manage the process and who should (either individually or as a group) have the casting vote if there was no clear winner once the membership input and caucus vote were balanced together. And while I support the idea of an annual vote of confidence at the conference, it should be only in exceptional circumstances that a change is made in the leadership team if they have served less than at least 2 years. Just think about how the media interprets it when a Party looks skittish about leadership issues. Plus, leaders develop their skills, people learn to work together and the media can take a while to begin to see the strengths of a leadership team.

    I also liked the fact that the process last year threw up pairings/teams rather than just individual vying for positions.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Stalled TPP chance for wider discussion
    Failure to get the TPP agreement across the line gives New Zealanders an opportunity to put more pressure on the Government not to sign away our sovereignty, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“New Zealand land, dairy and medicines are up for… ...
    1 day ago
  • Will poor TPP dairy outcome stop National selling out our homes?
    After failing to protect the right to stop foreign speculators buying our houses it’s clear the Government is not going to get wins on dairy in their TPP negotiations either, Labour’s Trade and Export spokesperson David Parker says. “Labour has… ...
    3 days ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Bennett’s legacy a test for Tolley
    Former Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has been thrown under the bus by her successor after its been suggested that Ms Bennett gave the green light to an ‘unethical’ observational study of high-risk children, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Submission to Greater Christchurch Earthquake Recovery: Transition to Rege...
    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Draft Transition Recovery Plan on behalf of the New Zealand Labour Party.  It is important that the citizens of Canterbury have a voice in the governance of the next step of… ...
    3 days ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    4 days ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act
    In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote.… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    4 days ago
  • Mainfreight ‘appalled’ by Government’s rail madness
    The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The company has told shareholders it… ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    5 days ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    5 days ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    6 days ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    6 days ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    6 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    7 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    7 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    7 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    1 week ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    1 week ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    1 week ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    1 week ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere