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Labour Organisational Review continues…

Written By: - Date published: 5:52 pm, March 22nd, 2012 - 31 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Last night was the North Shore meeting of Labour’s Organisational Review, going around the country this month.

It was certainly a very heartening event.  Everyone was on the same wavelength, and while mostly we didn’t get into devilish details, there was a lot of consensus on where Labour needs to improve.

The review should make Labour much more responsive to its members, and much better suited to campaigning in the electorate: for the social justice and community values that were agreed as truly Labour.  Hopefully it should grow the organisation too – a more member-oriented party should be more attractive to join; and even just the process of this review is a good way of getting the party talking about who we are and what we stand for – and getting energised about that.

So thanks to Moira for initiating this review, thanks to David for co-sponsoring it, and thanks to Nanaia and her team in advance for the work they do pulling it all together.  The proof will be in the pudding, but there’s lots of good ingredients so far as I can see…

The most pushed suggestion from across the (surprisingly large) Labour audience wasn’t actually an organisational one.  It’s one that has been expressed often enough here too – that for Labour to succeed it needs to be true to its values and express them loudly, clearly, simply and unapologetically.  Stay left.

31 comments on “Labour Organisational Review continues… ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    The review should make Labour much more responsive to its members

    That would be great Ben.

    Because at the moment Labour seems most responsive to centrist swing voters, the ones who hardly ever vote Labour twice in a row, and the same ones who would never be caught dead admitting that they support Labour values.

    • Mouse Trawler 1.1

      Oh, you mean the voters that Labour needs to win to have the numbers to form a government? Oh yeah better not listen to them, they’re such turncoats!

      • QoT 1.1.1

        [Insert typical statement of fact that Labour’s problem in the past two elections wasn’t losing people to the Right, it was the Left not bothering to show up on election day here]

        • Colonial Viper

          MT and his mates seem really nervous that Labour might actually find its mana again.

      • Olwyn 1.1.2

        @ Mouse Trawler: If pandering to a half-cocked conception of centrism was all it took, we could stop right now and declare Peter Dunne our king.

  2. Anne 2

    Damm it. You got in before me Ben.

    First, given the atrocious weather conditions it was indeed a surprisingly large audience. I thought we might have to swim out of the venue…

    Having been around the Labour Party – either near the centre or on the periphery – for the past 40 years (oh dear) it was the most heartening Labour meeting I have attended.

    I agree with all Ben has said, but would like to add a message for the Green Party readers and commenters on this site. We, in the Labour Party, want to see a strong level of cooperation between the two political parties and we want to see it now – not six months out from an election. We have a lot in common and it is important that we build on our similarities and work co-operatively together. That does not mean we have to concede any of our individual characteristics, nor does it mean we need to concede any section of our voting electorate to the other party. But if we want a left-leaning government that is sensitive to the needs and concerns of all NZers (not just the elitist few) then a Labour/Green Coalition is going to be the only way of achieving it.

    Finally, Nanaia Mahuta did a grand job of running the meeting, and lPrent will be pleased to know she dispensed with the “aspirational’ bit altogether and got straight down to business. 😛

    • sunshine 2.1

      It was a good thing it was on the upper floor Anne, otherwise I think we would indeed have been flooded! 🙂
      I found it to be a very encouraging meeting. We seemed to know what we wanted and where we want to go with it. I hope the leadership listens and we get there. Labour does need to improve its communication skills. But I was really pleased to see so many Labour people in what has traditionally been a conservative area, committed and thoughtful people with a lot of good ideas.

    • RedLogix 2.2

      But if we want a left-leaning government that is sensitive to the needs and concerns of all NZers (not just the elitist few) then a Labour/Green Coalition is going to be the only way of achieving it.

      I trust any and all Green Party members reading this have the vision and generosity of spirit to respond to this in kind. We must be intelligent about this.

      • QoT 2.2.1

        Yeah, because it’s always been the Greens who’ve been lacking in that relationship. *cough*whiteanting*cough*

      • Anne 2.2.2

        We must be intelligent about this.

        In the interest of both parties that has to be a given. The reason I chose to mention it was because everyone at the meeting was seemingly of the same view, and I found that really pleasing. It’s not often there are no dissenters in the Labour Party. 🙂

        • mac1

          Thanks for the report, Anne. Very encouraging. Now to get the man out into the ruralities of the South Island! But we’re working on that………..

      • In principle, I’m sure most members of the Green Party would be fine with committing to supporting a Labour government given the current policies (both advertised and effective) of the National government, and would also be okay with increased co-operative campaigning. (I say “increased”, as for instance, the Greens already actively encourages supporters to give their electorate votes to Labour candidates)

        The “in principle” reservation is important because such co-operation would need to be in a fashion that ensures the Green Party maintains both the fact of and the image of independence from the Labour Party, and it would depend on a reasonably compatible platform for both parties, especially in areas that the Greens might take responsibility for under a coalition. (I imagine the key areas would be Environment, Transport, and Energy)

        But yeah, historically, it’s been a lack of outreach from Labour that’s prevented this sort of thing, so I’m glad to hear there’s more impetus for this on the Labour side, and hopefully the caucus and other leaders agree with their members on that front.

        • Colonial Viper

          The Greens will want Cabinet seats. Will Labour approve that.

        • Anne

          historically, it’s been a lack of outreach from Labour that’s prevented this sort of thing,

          Agreed, but glad to say times are changing.

          Yes, they would be entitled to some cabinet seats and they would get them. What’s more they would be vastly superior ministers to the motley crew who hang – and have hung in the past – on to the coat-tails of the Nat. cabinet.

  3. Olwyn 3

    Nanaia Mahuta was great at the central one as well, and the prevailing mood was much like what you and Ben describe on the North Shore; a strong endorsement of Labour’s core values.

    • Nanaia also ran the Hamilton session with the capable help from Sue Moroney .Dispite the horrible weather there was a good crowd including many from the rural areas. There was a sense of fraternity and I had a feeling that something I have been urging the Party to have is not far away.

  4. Leopold 4

    The Greens will want Cabinet seats. Will Labour approve that.

    No. Next election Labour /Greens will get in narrowly thanks to the Centre wibbly-wobbling back to Labour and that nice unconfontational Mr Mr Shearer. Will be a one-seat difference. Mr Sensible Dunne will offer to support Labour so long as the nasty Greens are kept in their place – they can’t support Nact, after all – Big winner – Mr D keeps his limousine and salary

  5. Leopold 5

    PS – To be fair, probably Mr Peters is also back in bargaining seat and is also imposing conditions on keeping the Greens underfoot.

    This is more of a worst case scenario in the case of a narrow Labour win. Would prefer both Peters and Dunne to lose all their seats

  6. It’s interesting that most talk now – from the left and right – is that the only option for a centre-left government is Labour+Greens (+whoever to get the numbers).

    Has the political landscape changed that much in half a decade – permanently? Labour managed to govern without the Greens in the past, is there no aspiration (even as one of multiple options) to do without Greens again?

  7. Te Reo Putake 7

    Yep, another waffly misread of the situation from Puzzled Pete. Labour have been open to working with the Greens since they entered Parliament as part of the Allinace. Nothing has changed, except that the Greens have clearly established themselves as a significant force now, if only as a result of a consistent Party vote.
    One thing that has changed is that United Future will not be a coalition option for anyone next term, thanks to Peterless Dunne’s craven position on asset sales.

    • “Labour have been open to working with the Greens since they entered Parliament as part of the Allinace.”

      Yeah right – so why have they slammed the door on them in the past? And now claim they are essential buddies.

      • Te Reo Putake 7.1.1

        They haven’t slammed the door on them at all Pete. But I do recall both Winston and Dunne refusing to join a coalition arrangement that included the Greens, so HC had to leave them out. 2005, I think.
        I doubt if Winnie will be that precious this time around and Dunne won’t be there, so no problems including the Greens in the next Government.

        • Pete George

          I wouldn’t bank on Peters’ co-operation (he has a history of not), nor even on him getting back in in 2014 (when he will be 69) – that depends a lot on how he and the other NZF MPs perform through this term.

          And are you ruling out the Conservatives spending $3,756,674.44 in 2014 and getting 5.3% of the vote?

          • Te Reo Putake

            I’m hoping the Conservatives get 4.99%, Pete. But if they do get over the threshold, good on them. At least they didn’t con the electorate over asset sales. They are opposed to them and campaigned on that basis.

            • Pete George

              It was a bit of a con by Labour trying to make out that asset sales were the only issue important enough to campaign on, but that was spotted by the voters.

              • Te Reo Putake

                That’ll be why the majority of voters ticked parties opposed to the asset sales, I suppose. Including the suckers Peter Dunne conned into voting UF under false pretences.

            • the pink postman

              Well you may well hope the Conservative reach 4.99 I just hope they get 0% /They are a far Right -Wing party and would keep National ,in. Where do you think that recieved their huge amount of funding from? It wasnt from raffles .If elected their “No Asset ” policy would vanish .
              remember also that they have connections to the religious right . No Te Reo under their affable camouflage is a party that is against womens rights and racist.

  8. Leopold 8

    Sorry Pete – my aspiration is that the Labour Party has the balls to not even consider Dunne if he holds on to his seat, no matter how much the temptation

    • Rosina 8.1

      So where does that sit with the MMP culture of as many views as practible having a voice in Parliment

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