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Collective renewal

Written By: - Date published: 10:48 am, July 20th, 2014 - 59 comments
Categories: democratic participation, labour - Tags:

With Labour, there has been a particular topic on my mind for some time. How to get renewal inside the caucus.

Over the last 6 years at The Standard we have had this horrible task of dealing with stupid “leaks” from unnamed sources in the party. As far as I can tell these unnamed leaks are invariably from safe electorate caucus members. They appear to be playing internal games inside caucus, and not considering the good of the party at all. Today we have another unnamed MP1 trying to damage the Labour party.

Fine. It appears that it is time to make electorate MPs feel al lot more accountable and a little less safe.

I think that like the list selections, that it is time that every electorate always have a contested selection meeting. In those selection meetings, everything should be raised including reviewing the incumbents and candidates behaviour and airing suspicions about it as part of the Q&A. It is time that the tight group around the LECs stop just rubber stamping the existing MP.

Selection meetings are open to any Labour party member (Constitution 242(b)). Any party member can be nominated. You can only vote in a selection meeting if you are in a local branch. But I feel that it is important that the selection of existing MPs be contested so that people outside of the local LEC can start to deal with the dickheads of caucus.

After this election regardless of outcome, and at the start2 of the campaign for 2017 election, I suggest that we start thinking about how we get this happening.

 


 

  1. A close reading of the article shows that the source is intending to raise it in caucus on Tuesday. It will be difficult as I believe David Cunliffe will be at the Local Government conference in Nelson. We were invited.
  2. 21st September 2014.

59 comments on “Collective renewal ”

  1. Bill 1

    I know I’ve not been the only person thinking that Goff et al are intent on getting a low vote for Labour so that they can maintain leverage within caucus and ride the gravy train for another six years instead of another three.

    It’s a tricky one to deal with. Cunliffe should have kicked the whole cabal into touch when he had the chance instead of being all civilised and nice. I said it at the time. Give em enough rope and they don’t hang, you find yourself garroted.

    • lprent 1.1

      It looks like there is enough room inside the Labour constitution to shift even the behavours of entrenched MPs. As you can see I think that it time to start using it.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        Short term – if my local mp was suspect and electoral only, I’d be voting for someone else while throwing my party vote Labour’s way. I’m guessing that could be one way of making a point. Of course, it takes far more than a smattering of people doing that to make an actual impact.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          There will be quite a few more than just a smattering of people, I believe.

    • greywarbler 1.2

      @Bill 11.03
      Oooah! It’s a jungle out there. Good analogy Bill. Labour needs striking ones to wake them up from their too often prone position of being road-kill.

  2. Ad 2

    I have had pretty consistent rumours that National MPs who promised to retire got a “donation” of $300,000. Labour doesn’t have that kind of renewal capacity.

    I do like your idea. My problem is that the recent changes to force the party to be more democratically accountable to its membership were met with the most atrocious tactical violence from entrenched MPs against members and reforming MPs who dared to propose it. You will recall some of the damage they tried to inflict on Colonial Viper. There were many more untold stories.

    If Labour polls 30% and effectively no new list MPs come in, the chances of caucus reforming from within are very small. If Labour polls below that, chances are even smaller.

    30% is a critical level that Cunliffe is all too aware of – below it and he can be measured against Shearer and Goff, with the resulting leadership change. Above it and the Cunliffe experiment can be said to have worked.

    Without Cunliffe, we would never have had the democratic changes we have had already. Without him, Labour will continue curling its ingrown toenail into itself.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    What makes you think the journalist is not making it up. if they dont have the stories they are out.

    There are too many situations where so called reputable journalists are just making up quotes. They have to compete with the likes of Oily Orca and it works and keeps them in a job.

    • lprent 3.1

      This sounds way too much like the previous “leaks”.

      Sounds like someone plugging that consistent line that it is possible to roll a leader this close to an election. Complete bullshit. That is bloody stupid to do this close to an election.

  4. Mike 4

    If we purge, then we will have purity!!!!!
    18% here we come
    This is a worse mentality than even the Tea Party Republicans.

  5. Ad 5

    One of the big core-flute signs has a picture of the entire Labour caucus at the moment. You can do your own version of which ones should stay, which should go. It’s not their politics, their lineage or patronage, or even their performance. What really gets me is their inability to accept that the leadership has changed, that the constitutional changes that enable leadership change really excited the membership base like nothing in a decade, and that in essence about half of them fear us rather than cooperate and stand with us.

    That well known bunch have shown time and again that they cannot work together, or with the members. Unfortunately few of that bunch have any prospects for employment outside parliament and would have only their pension to live off.

    LPrent’s point would be stronger if there were real standouts willing to contest in existing Labour held seats. It strikes me that plenty were prepared to contest for the list when all the work is merely internal, but far fewer were prepared to do the real work of contesting an electorate. Which is where the real work still is.

    • lprent 5.1

      Shit, if I was interested in being a MP, I wouldn’t be interested in being a list MP. To become an MP is to lose my profession. I’d be interested in having some permanence.

      But whenever there is a “safe” seat available there are always a sufficiency of candidates.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Yep being a List MP puts you at the mercy of the inclinations of the party’s current leadership, and towing the party line for career reasons is about as much as you can do.

        • Macro 5.1.1.1

          Labour needs to become more democratic in its selection process and in its arrangement of list MPs. It’s far from satisfactory at the present time – too entrenched in FPP politics.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            It is slowly improving, with members getting more organised and using their constitutional powers. Look at some of the MPs who didn’t survive the list process for instance, and have gone electorate only.

            • The Fan Club 5.1.1.1.1.1

              You do realise those MPs expect to win their seats, and were basically telling the hierarchy to get fucked, right?

              • lprent

                Yes. You did notice that what I’m suggesting will happen in selections in 2017 right?

                Please read the post.

              • Anne

                What do you know about the SST story Fan Club? Seem to remember you describing yourself as “an insider” during the leadership contests and you were, from memory, viciously opposed to David Cunliffe. I expect you’ve heard something eh?

                Funny you should turn up on this site at this time after such a lengthy absence.

                • The Fan Club

                  Yeah the word’s just come down from the Troika (praised be Goff! praised be King! praised be Mallard – quack!) that it is time to start putting the good word out again. Although it took a while to explain to Trevor the concept of plausible deniability, but when he got, man he took to it like a duck to water.

  6. Skinny 6

    I have no real time for a lot of Labour’s MP’s. You only have to look at the lack of party vote Labour hoardings being put up. Most are doing the failed ‘vote for me, myself and I.’

    Appears nothing was learnt from the last election, when the party vote slipped right away. Guess I can show my disapproval by taking my axe on a road trip around the regions with me, or better still take spray cans to plaster Party Vote Labour over their photoshopped mugs.

  7. deep throat 7

    look skinny.
    just stick it where the sun dont shine and then pull the trigger.
    youll get better results that way and it really works!

  8. ianmac 8

    From Kilgallon. A bit late mate! (I Put this up on Work Life Balance but don’t know how to link.)
    “For the record, David Cunliffe spent three days, Monday to Wednesday, with his family skiing. He was back at work on Thursday doing regional visits and meetings with Labour Candidate Liz Craig in Queenstown, and then travelled to Timaru for a day of media… on Friday. So he was working,” Simon Cunliffe said. …
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10287781/Cunliffe-I-work-as-hard-as-anyone

    • greywarbler 8.1

      Hi Ianmac
      I think to get the link within this blog – What I do is go to the particular comment and click on its date and time in blue, and that puts the number up in the top address heading slot. Then you do the usual, Select, then Copy and take it where you want to put it, and Paste. Hope I’ve said that right.

  9. Kiwiri 9

    “like the list selections, … it is time that every electorate always have a contested selection meeting. In those selection meetings, everything should be raised including reviewing the incumbents and candidates behaviour and airing suspicions about it as part of the Q&A. It is time that the tight group around the LECs stop just rubber stamping the existing MP.”

    Agree wholeheartedly.

  10. greywarbler 10

    @ lprent 11.05
    Another good thought you thunk. Any chance of you getting into the trio? around the large cauldron and cook up some good potage with an adage?

    What would Shakespeare say about considerations of politics (with critiques in the modern argot)….

    I have no spur
    To prick the sides of my intent, but only
    Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
    And falls on the other.”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    Well get a bloody spur then, and get leaping, just stay on your feet.

    “Double, double, toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    Cook up something clever, potent and legal.

    Macbeth: Cure her of that! Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain, and with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff which weighs upon her heart.
    Doctor: Therein the patient must minister to himself.”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    Poor Labour, is there a doctor in the House?

    What’s done cannot be undone.”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    1984 and all that wealth-breeding stuff leading us to the poorhouse.

    Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    We are near our goal but the path is not clear, still a way to go.

    The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, which still we thank as love.”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    The old loves (particularly the ones from circa 1984) must make way for the
    more efficacious new.

    “it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    Don’t quaff too well.

    “Where shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done, when the battle ‘s lost and won”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    Don’t leave now, stick it out till the battle’s o’er, you slackers.

    “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    We can do better than this drivel.

  11. Blue 11

    I have absolutely had it with the Labour MPs who are behind these leaks. These people have gone completely insane.

    How on earth can someone who is a member of a party, who is an MP for that party and who is carrying the trust and the duty of representing Labour voters all over the country, abuse and break that trust so badly?

    I just can’t understand it. Activists are busting their butts right now doorknocking, putting up hoardings, trying to counter the anti-Cunliffe spin in the MSM, doing our best to get Labour the best election result possible, and these people spit in our faces.

    It is way past time to clean house.

  12. big bruv 12

    The Labour boat has well and truly sailed. For Labour to be any chance at this election (and the next) it needed to have a clean out in 2008. You guys needed to listen to what Kiwis wanted.

    Even I would not say that people like Goff and King have not made a contribution to NZ, however their time has come and gone. For Labour to be relevant you need to make changes in the way that you operate.

    The areas that hurt you guys most are;

    1. Strong ties to the unions and ex unionist list MP’s.
      The days of compulsory unionism are gone, like it or not most workers do not see the need for unions, they see unions as self serving and irrelevant. When you couple this with list MP seats being gifted to union lightweights it just compounds the problem. I mean can you really not find a better person to be on the list than Carol Beaumont?
    2. Insistence on politically correct rubbish including gender quotas.
      Kiwis (and especially Trotters mythical but relevant Waitakere Man) cannot abide political correctness. Nor can they understand why there is a need to have a quota of females. Kiwis are pretty much reasonable people, they want the best people running the county and if that means it is all male, or, all female then so be it. What they will not put up with is a candidate who is second best and gains the position simply because they are male, or female.

    3 Battles already won.
    Labour to their eternal credit passed the homosexual law reforms, they also passed the marriage equity act. The battle has been won and while there was entrenched dislike of this at the time the people of NZ have been won over. There is no need to keep reminding people or rubbing their noses in it, as Michael Cullen so famously said to the right “we won, you lost, eat that”.
    The trouble is that you don’t, you keep rehashing old victories, the classic example being what John Key’s stance was on the Springbok tour, I mean who gives a toss, the people of NZ don’t.

      4 MP’s sticking around when well past their use by date.
      When those with a passing interest in politics cast their eye over the front two bench’s of the Labour party all they see are rejects from the last Clark government. Even those who might think that it is time for a change will see what is on offer from Labour and think that there is little point in changing if that change is not going to be real. You need to rid yourself on Cosgrove, Mallard, King, Goff, Beaumont, Moroney, Mahuta, Parker, Robertson, and Cunliffe. If you did that this time around and replaced them with people of real ability (Tamati Coffey…really???) like Kelvin Davis then you would be a very strong position to win the treasury benches in 2017.

    Now, having said all that I expect to receive nothing but abuse from those who will cherry pick certain comments. I simply don’t care if I have upset Labour people, however what I do care about is a strong opposition.

    • Bruv, “gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists” is soooooooooooooo 2011.

      • big bruv 12.1.1

        Good on you Stephanie. I like it when people stick their head in the sand.

        Of course what you will not admit to me is that I am right, and, that you know I am right.

        Like it or not O’Conner was also right, that is how the public see Labour.

        • I can’t admit to things which exist only in your own head.

          • big bruv 12.1.1.1.1

            But they do exist Stephanie, you know it and more importantly, the public know it.

            The longer people like you insist that Labour are on the right track the longer you will stay an insignificance to the people of NZ.

            How will you feel when the Greens become the official opposition in this country?

    • felix 12.2

      “what I do care about is a strong opposition.”

      Why should anyone on the Labour team follow your prescriptions if the objective of them is to not make it to govt?

      ffs bruv, I know you’re not the sharpest tool in Cameron’s dull shed, but even for you…

  13. Policy Parrot 13

    The leadership primary showed the way forward for electorate selections imho.
    The party needs to abandon the LEC structure – which is a remnant of the old FPP days, and focus on campaigning at a regional level.

    For example:
    The regional structure needs to be altered slightly. The North Island regions should be further divided, i.e. the South Island has 16 electorates, and 2 regions (NSI, LSI). The North Island could have 7 geographical regions (or perhaps 6 general and 1 Maori region). Each region contains 7-8 approx. electorates.

    These regional structures then become the basis of a party primary (i.e. every member in a particular region can be a voter in the primary for a particular constituency). The regional conferences then can be the stage where the candidates for the various seats put forward their candidacies, and then voting is conducted by post or internet (member’s individual preference). The primary result should be the final selection, and that selected candidates have a short period of time (2 months) to commit (in terms of organising a campaign team etc.) to the campaign or else their selection defaults to the next person.

    The list will be then be used to balance out any discrepancies in terms of community representation.

    This empowers the party and the leadership to deal with those whose motives might not be as honourable, whilst offering some protection those who insist they are doing the work of the membership.

  14. geoff 14

    David strikes me as the sort of person who prefers to have all his ducks in a row before making big decisions. That’s probably been to his disadvantage during the leadership when he’s been surrounded by some in the caucus who are dead-set on undermining him.

  15. Sanctuary 15

    This isn’t a post about candidate selection, it is about how to ensure renewal. So I suggest:

    1/ At the next conference, simply expel Mallard. It’ll be a hugely symbolic move with the public, who detest him, and cathartic for the party.

    2/ Move a motion at the same conference to introduce term limits for Labour MPs.

    “No NZ Labour MP may serve for more than 25 years from the date they are first elected to the house of representatives”. Any current MP who is in excess of this rule, or may fall in excess of this during the term of the current parliament, cannot be nominated to stand again as a candidate for the NZ Labour Party. The sole exception to this rule is the leader of the NZ Labour party.”

    • Sacha 15.1

      “simply expel Mallard” and don’t just wait until the next conference – also kick him out of caucus right now, loudly. Not even concerned with natural justice anymore. Any team who tolerates underminers can not win public confidence. The moa thing showed his disdain for discipline is not going away, so he needs to.

  16. blue leopard 16

    Great post thanks lprent.

    As I’ve said a few times now, I really do think the only real weakness Labour has is their unity.

    I am confident that Textor-Crosby (or whoever the weasels are that are advising National on strategy) realize that the most off-putting thing for all with regard to Labour gaining power is the thought of a fractious government, and because of this, it really is imperative for Labour MPs to redouble their efforts with regard to ensuring they present a united and harmonious team to the general public because those who don’t want a left-wing government are clearly going to do all they can to ensure the public view Labour as fragmented and full of friction.

  17. SPC 17

    Maybe every person standing for Labour as an electorate or list MP undertakes not to leak (speak off the record) to the media. Transparency as the rule.

    And the media is given to understand that any MP doing this is breaking their word to their own party when they ever do this.

  18. Saarbo 18

    I agree Lprent, something has to be done structurally to deal with this issue for the long term, its not good enough.

    However in the short term this latest leak is a shocker as it comes when hundreds perhaps thousands of voluntaries are spending many hours and many $ of their own money pushing these Labour candidates and it feels incredibly de-empowering when you read that some weasel from the inside the party, who is benefiting from our hard work is undermining the party. Clearly this leak is a longer term personal play for the leadership at the cost to this election. Personally Im really pissed off and I believe that Cunliffe needs to go back into his caucus and turn the place upside down too find out who leaked…a decent arse kicking would be worth a few points in the polling as well. I want to see blood.

  19. rhinocrates 19

    This, I think is exactly why Labour is polling so low. While Bomber may blither on condescendingly about “Sleepy Hobbits” deluded by Crosby-Textor and Darth Farrar, the electorate likes their policies but sees a party incapable of implementing them – and maybe not even willing to do so.

    The public are not fools, they see quite clearly. Even if they don’t read every news report, they see a party that simply cannot be trusted to lead a government and it shows its lack of confidence in the abysmal polls and by staying at home on election day.

    Who would trust these monkeys with a country, with your job and your home? Are they so obsessed with themselves that they cannot see that their constant leaks simply show that Labour is unfit to govern?

    Robertson, Goff, King, Mallard, Shitkins, dumb bastards that they are, have outsmarted themselves for they sake of stuffing their pie holes at Ballamy’s – and they have stuffed us. They have to go and my only hope is that on September 21st, the party learns the right lesson instead of trying to be “National Lite” again.

    • Ant 19.1

      Yep this is it, between the infighting and attacking their coalition partners left-right-and-centre, Labour doesn’t look like a government in waiting, they look like lordless rabble.

      People see disunity as off-putting far more than smears. Solidarity wins for the left, always has.

    • cricklewood 19.2

      Rabble is right… there is barely a consistent message coming out these days. Hipkins and Mahuta with the Te Reo… Little with his somewhat misleading comments regarding the burden of proof in rape cases… Mallards moas… take your pick really how can anyone trust a govt where the largest party seems to be at odds with itself… It has descended into farce…

    • Murray Olsen 19.3

      The morans you mention seem far more interested in keeping their parliamentary privileges, even in opposition, than in doing anything for the country. They also poison any young MPs upon entry into the caucus – you just have to look at how ineffective Jacinda Arden is with her schooling by Mallard.
      They have to go.

      I personally would rather see Greens and Mana as the main parties of the left, with something like 20% each. I know I’m dreaming, so I’m relying on Labour to get in and be pushed to do something worthwhile by coalition partners. I have absolutely no faith that Labour by itself will even be much of a Tory lite party. However, because we need them, I often find myself defending Cunliffe. I can’t defend the likes of ABC or Kelvin Davis, not in a million years.

  20. greywarbler 20

    Saarbo 4.53
    Don’t know where my reply button is. I wonder if there is an incipient alkie who is doing the leaking. So easy to get confidential and big-noting as a ‘coming’ pollie when bending the elbow, all the in-crowd together sort of thing. From my list of Shakespearian quotes I choose for this –

    “it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance”
    ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    Don’t quaff too well.>/i>

  21. RedbaronCV 21

    Every time some one goes “Nact selects the best person for the job” I think of Murray Macully. ROFL.

    • Tracey 21.1

      National has had SO many “retirements” and demotions in just 6 years… If this were Labour th headlines would read “Labour disintegrating from the inside”

  22. Tracey 22

    “…not considering the good of the party at all.”

    Not considering the good of NZers it says it wants to serve at all

    FIFY

  23. McFlock 23

    Assuming that the “unnamed MP” exists and is not even a conflation of a number of MP’s more inoffensive comments as interpreted by a fevered jono’s imagination, I wonder what the chances are that the MP has a regular drinking session with the press gallery where he gets so drunk that he spouts off and doesn’t remember it the next day?

    Alternatively, he’s just looking to set up decent media relations for a post-parliament job as a pr consultant.

    If he even exists. The thing about unnamed sources is that they could well be the ones who showed gower the letter being circulated against shearer. What was it, ‘doing the numbers as we speak’ or somesuch?

  24. McFlock 24

    On the renewal side of things, I’m not so sure about term limits (suggested above) but contesting electorate candidacies is a good one – that might well happen naturally as membership realise they can get the same power at a local level as they gained at the caucus leadership level.

  25. Michael 25

    The voters, or at least the few of them who bother to vote on 20 September, will effect some changes in the Labour caucus, albeit that not all of those compulsorily retired will be the ones Party members would have selected, had they been given a free hand in the matter. “Aye, there’s the rub” [W Shakespeare, “Hamlet” (1601), Act 3, Scene 1, Line 56]. The Party does not give its members a free hand in the selection, or de-selection, of its caucus members. In practice, the rules in the constitution are open to manipulation, while a candidate who controls a bloc of LEC votes is unassailable.

  26. In those selection meetings, everything should be raised including reviewing the incumbents and candidates behaviour and airing suspicions about it as part of the Q&A.

    On the surface, that appears a good suggestion…

    But I can already see the headlines in my mind…

    “Electorate Meeting airs dirty laundry!”

    “Electorate Meeting excoriates MP Xyz for “disloyalty”!”

    “Parliamentary career of MP Xyz under cloud after Electorate Meeting raises loyalty questions!”

    Expecting electorate meetings scrutiny of sitting MPs to be kept ‘in house’ and out of Cameron Slater or Patrick Gower’s sweaty palms would be a mighty Big Ask.

    The only way out of it would be to hold all electorate meetings for candidate selections in the same weekend, in the first month of election year. Hopefully leaks would be contained in one short period, and minimised by “real news” of new candidates being selected. And the fall-out in the media would be forgotten by election time.

    Secondly, perhaps a time limit of two terms should be put on each MP?

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