web analytics

Leadership Elections: Getting it Right

Written By: - Date published: 4:35 pm, November 28th, 2011 - 37 comments
Categories: labour, phil goff, uk politics - Tags: ,

The media are all telling us Phil Goff will tell us he intends to stand down as leader tomorrow.  It seems John Key has already picked his replacement, despite not actually being a member of the Labour Party (although at one point he did think he led it…).

But in reality, if Goff does intend to quit tomorrow, he should look at what the UK Conservatives did in 2005.

The day after the election (May 8 ) party leader Michael Howard announced his intention to quit… but after there had been a look at the leadership election rules (although they ended up unchanged) and a proper leadership contest, the centrepiece of which would be the party’s next Conference.

The Conference was in early October, so there was 5 months of media interest in the contest, slowly building.  And then the conference was decisive.  David Cameron was an outsider, ranked 3rd in betting.  But an excellent speech meant that in a day he and the previous front-runner had swapped places.

The Conservative leadership rules stated that MPs selected the top 2 contenders, and a postal ballot of all members decided the winner.  After the conference a round of meetings around the country ensued as David Cameron and David Davis (hmm, Davids – still a popular name…) lobbied the members.  Media were allowed in the meetings and more coverage followed, ensuring that when Cameron w0n the final postal ballot, he had a huge public mandate and a profile to match.

Now Labour may not wish to change the rules of their contest, but they could still organise something similar.  Have (media attended) town hall meetings of all leadership contenders around the country.  Let local Labour activists feed back to MPs what they think.  And then have a final big contest at next year’s conference, with a vote on Sunday morning, and the newly elected leader doing the closing speech.

Phil Goff found out that a quick shuffling of the deck and a new leader 3 days after the election doesn’t do them or the party any favours.  Hopefully whenever he hands over the baton it will be in a much more useful way with a polite, well-run and prolonged contest to affirm the next leader.

[Update: Realised I failed to mention what the contest did for the UK Conservative Party! Partly the contest, partly the choosing of the new face of Cameron, but they went from the “Nasty Party” with a toxic brand (far far worse than anything Labour have to counter) to one that the public felt more comfortable voting for again. The memory of Thatcher cannot be erased, so it still wasn’t enough for them to govern alone, but it made them electable again.]

37 comments on “Leadership Elections: Getting it Right ”

  1. johnm 1

    Cameron is no longer popular: now he is feared and hated for the workfare and austerity imposed on everyday Brits while the City of London and tax dodging corporations rake in billions without a shred of social conscience.


  2. Miggle 3

    Offering the opportunity to vote for a new leader is an excellent way to attract new members. Labour in the UK used this to their advantage after the 2010 election. Labour here would be fools not to change their rules.

    • rosy 3.1

      It hasn’t worked for Labour in the UK though. They still didn’t select the best person for the job. The media are having a field day with Miliband.

      • The Voice of Reason 3.1.1

        Miliband isn’t hurting Labour in the polls, though. He may not be the leader come the next election, but in the meantime, these aren’t bad numbers:

        YouGov/Sunday Times results 25th-27th Nov: CON 34%, LAB 43%, LD 11%;

        • Colonial Viper

          Massive long Labour leadership campaign though. US Primary style. Took all the candidates through every electorate, explaining their vision of a future Labour.

          We dont do that here.

        • rosy

          True. but that’s pretty much due to the incredible unpopularity of the Conservatives and Lib Dems, not because Miliband was the right choice. The thing is though, the UK has a longer election cycle so have more time to play with leadership changes and the like – however it pans out. We only have 3 years and the MSM is going to be focused on backstabbing scandals for at least 2 of those years whoever is picked. This is not to say a popular vote is the wrong thing to do. It’s just that it still might not produce a better leader.

      • burt 3.1.2

        There is no foolproof system rosy. But if the party is worth anything then please remember tossing the batten to the next guy and running away didn’t work too well for Labour last time either.

        I agree with bunji actually.

        IMHO Labour either need to consider they are no longer a major party or they need to start acting like one again.

        I think Goff made a good call to make the hard ‘unelectable’ calls at the election. He has spiked the public memory for 2014. Labour can rise to victory in 2014 if they get over their 1930’s policy mindset. Or they can keep that mindset and stay circa 30% hopefully holding a major position in a broadly left-wing coalition.

        Personally I would like to see Labour stay circa 30% of the vote but I would like to see National down there with them. 40% spread across 4-6 strong minor parties would IMHO provide representative govt.

        Realistically Labour can’t be true to it’s core party values and be a major party in today’s political environment. We might find in hindsight that Goff did a pretty bloody good job of selling the dog food he was trying to sell.

        • rosy

          In the main I agree with you Burt. Is no reason at all for Lab on to have a public-style election of a new leader. I’m just noting that the popular choice might not be right either. The better reason for a conference vote is transparency and involvement in the political process – important reasons in their own right – not because it will result in the ‘right’ leader being chosen. That’s all I was pointing out.

        • Ari

          The way the political climate works, I don’t see National down at 30% unless the left is dominating the political landscape. The right tends to consolidate around one or maybe two parties.

  3. Peter 4

    How to win the next election

    1. Find a charismatic leader – Peters and Key
    2. Have lots of money. It would not be surprising if National had more money that the rest combined.
    3. Have no more than three simple messages and repeat them at every opportunity – Greens

    • Shona 4.1

      You forgot National’s most used technique. Old fashioned radio. Have key people in all the radio stations including state owned radio.Have an Orwellian moment of hate message every day offset by continual repitition of our dear leader’s name and his latest inane activity to reinforce the message.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      In other words, treat the electorate as brain dead advertising overloaded celebrity inspired morons.

      • Peter 4.2.1

        and it works

      • burt 4.2.2

        CV, let me finish that for you;

        In other words, treat the electorate as brain dead advertising overloaded celebrity inspired morons stealing vast sums of public money if required.

        I bet $1 Winston declared almost as many donations this election as he (originally) did in 2002 & 2005. Very different campaign this time, more subdued than it was in 2008. Funny what no access to the public teat can do isn’t it – and interestingly he’s back stronger than he has been for a long time.

        • Colonial Viper

          Forget stealing vast sums of public money, Key and English are in there handing our silverware out the window.

          • burt

            Then buy some shares and sell them back to the next rampant Muldoon style government that insists on nationalising everything under some ideology that worked some generations ago and buys them back at about twice their face value ! If you do then I’m assuming you will keep the money in NZ ??? If you can then why wouldn’t you? Do you not have confidence in your precious Labour party to buy them back from you later? You have the power to stop some of them falling into overseas hands, as do all NZ people if we are prepared to transparently put our own money behind keeping them NZ owned.

            Actually hang on, if we keep all (status quo) assets and borrow truck loads more and tax people more to pay for the borrowing and tax some more so we can spend more public money then… hey wow it’s all going to work this time…. We won’t descend into recession 2-3 terms later like the last two attempts of the great Labour party revival that worked in the 30’s.

            • felix

              Did you consider that maybe CV thinks it’s stupid for govts to sell assets that we know will have to be bought back at a loss? You do realise we’re going to need our energy infrastructure back, right? I mean you’re not that short-sighted that you haven’t realised that the world is facing a wee bit of an energy problem, right?

              But it’s all good as long as someone can make a buck on the trade, eh burt? Fuck your fellow kiwis over, why not?

              I hope the next “Muldoonist” govt that decides to nationalise our energy infrastructure does it without compensation.

              That’ll be a good lesson for all the greedy fucks who tried to cream a profit for themselves off their fellow kiwis’ assets.

            • Ari

              You’re missing the point. Why should I have to pay to buy something I already own?

              • burt

                Well if you already own the power companies why did you let Labour take such massive profits and force the elderly to turn their heaters off in winter…. You heartless bastard.

                We don’t already own them – sure we paid for them but the gummit own them and they use them to extract ‘taxes’ from us because we have no say in how they are run. That would change if we had individual voting rights as shareholders.

                Ari you normally make a lot of sense in your comments… what happened?

                • lprent

                  Well I suspect you’re talking to the wrong person. Ari seems to support the Greens.

                  And I agree with you, the power generators need to run as non-dividend companies. They need to concentrate capital from ‘profits’ to get the vast investments required for such things as new dams, geothermal, wind farms, tidal farms, and even the odd gas or coal fired backup. When was the last new hydro plant put in?

                  Having the government and shareholders sucking out dividends is why we’re running on the edges of our existing power generation and distribution infrastructure with very little capital investment going to in to handle disasters or growth.

  4. A more local example of this model would be the Green Party elections of Russel Norman and Metiria Turei in separate ballots as co-leaders.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 6

    David Cameron: popular? What a laugh! He’s well on the road to being more hated than Thatcher. And that’s saying something!

    More to the point Cameron was a Bilderberg candidate -‘David Cameron was an outsider’ – and was selected by those who operate the global economic system as a smiling assassin to transfer the nation’s wealth into the hands of bankers and corporations, which he has been extremely successful at, and for which he will be richly rewarded.

    ‘Getting it right’.

    Whom might that be for? Ordinary folk, or global corporations and bankers? (remembering that Goff was (is) pro-corporate control, pro-globalisation etc.)

  6. Rich 7

    I’d agree. But I fear they won’t – they’ll choose the candidate who’s managed to line up enough influential people in caucus with offers of high list placings, spokesman jobs, foreign trips and the like. It’ll be another time-served grey man from amongst the usual suspects.

  7. AnnaLiviaPlurabella 8

    We already have Boag, Hooten, Coddington et al telling us who we should and should not select. Perfectly Understandable. They will naturally slag off the one they consider the biggest threat to the Right: Cunliffe.  Do you want to give the Right dominated Media six months to screw us up?  Get real: the Tories control the Media in GB as they do here. We are NOT Tories adn this analogy does not work.

    • Olwyn 8.1

      I am pissed off with these encroaching Tories, who you would think would have business of their own to mind right now. What’s the bloody PM doing, suggesting LP leaders and speculating on how well liked they are? I suggest Anne Tolley as his replacement when he flees to Hawaii mid-term.

  8. Nick C 9

    David Cameron is awesome

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Yes. He’s made shitloads of money for UK corporations by smashing Libya and getting contracts to rebuild it. And supported the jailing of rioters who stole $10 worth of stuff from stores, while giving knighthoods to bankers who stole $100M or more.

      • burt 9.1.1

        Didn’t he also eat a few babies?

        • Colonial Viper

          No. But he did take independence living help away from disabled old people.

          Which is something we also did here in NZ.

          • burt

            So it’s not as affordable as the advertising on the box then. What great socialist nirvana policies are CV?

            Do you perceive that you have a right to live independently with state provided assistance in your twilight years CV? If so, having seen what you have seen, are you stupid enough not to save enough yourself so you can afford that luxury rather than just trust the state to provide because you paid your high taxes?

            • rosy

              Interesting how the people who believe people who don’t save ‘enough’ are also the same people who don’t believe in a living wage.

  9. ianmac 10

    Bluddy good idea Bunji. Best that I have seen. Why should Key and the Media panic Labour into premature action? Take your time Labour and consider Phil staying on. I am sure Key would hate that!

    • burt 10.1

      Party leaders need to be competent when a TV camera is jammed in their face. What better way to test that than to have a degree of media involvement and hype in the selection process. It’s actually feedback for the party insiders more than it’s entertainment for the masses.

      The stark reality is the party needs to elect a leader that holds their own in the MSM & TV. It’s ridiculous to assume that can be done best with minimal media involvement.

      But lets not get anywhere even close to; Who wants to lead the Labour party ? hosted by Chris Trotter on prime time.

  10. Sookie 11

    I think they should go with David Shearer. I like what I’ve seen of him and I don’t particularly like the other two Davids. Sure he’s new and all, but so was Key and it worked out well for him, to our dismay. The Nats wouldn’t be on 48% if all they had was that shower of useless, unphotogenic gits that are currently hiding in Smile n Wave’s charismatic shadow.

  11. Ari 12

    Political elections for party leaders and lists really ought to be considered standard, or perhaps even mandated by law. This isn’t the 1960s anymore.

  12. johnm 13

    This is how “popular” Cameron is:

    “Troops to man airports during ‘general strike’
    Ministers are preparing to use troops at border controls when public sector workers stage a massive strike this week, which will also hit working parents hard.”


    The UK is in social and economic crisis some reasons: 1. North Sea Oil is receding rapidly and all the massive wealth that afforded which wasn’t shared out starting with the infamous Thatcher. 2. Crazy UK has gone down the mad U$$$$ path of privatizing everything in sight and then allowing corporations to dodge billions in taxes. 3. The rich will not share but hoard more and more expecting their wealth to increase year on year relentlessly. 4. UK has seen a massive transfer of wealth from poorer Brits to the rich since the Thatcher scourge and Reagan Alzeimers side kick got in.

    Basically the UK is totally screwed and only has a Dickensian class war left in which more and more repression will be used with surveillance plus rubber bullets when appropriate

    RIP “Well Chappies we did a jolly good job on that didn’t we! The Jollies are still rolling in for us ha ha !”

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Fast-tracked Northland water project will accelerate economic recovery
    The Government has welcomed the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of a number of infrastructure projects earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.  The Matawii Water Storage Reservoir will provide drinking water for Kaikohe, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago