A copy of what appears to be a draft of the NZ Labour Party’s review of election 2014 has been publicised by the visual entertainment arm of Mediaworks. The review was compiled by a small committee convened by the vastly experienced Bryan Gould. It’s a summary of hundreds of comments and ideas sent in by party members and contains some pretty straight forward analysis of what Labour did right, what went wrong and what can be done to improve performance in the next election and governance and efficiency within the party.
Good on the LP for involving the membership in this process and well done to the team Bryan Gould led. The copy that has emerged does not appear to be the final version and there may be additions and alterations yet to come. However, there isn’t much in the review that will surprise anyone.
Not all recommendations will be acted on, of course, and their may be changes before it’s finalised. I understand the NZ Council will be having an initial discussion on the recommendations this weekend and we’ll know more after they have given it the once over.
I guess the take home message is that the party is in good shape and despite the grumbling of a few less relevant MP’s the caucus is as united as it has been since the Clark years. And that’s clearly due to the management and leadership of Andrew Little.
In summary, and in my words, the review suggests the following:
The late change of leadership to David Cunliffe meant Labour missed the starting pistol and never really caught up. The lack of unity around DC’s leadership in caucus also hurt. However, the quality of the individual candidates was high.
Money was tight. More work needs to be done to build up a war chest. The review notes that the affiliates don’t pay for the campaign, despite the lies from the right about union influence.
The discipline around messaging was poor. Policies weren’t explained well or were, frankly, difficult to explain. The question of whether Labour would need to do a deal with Kim Dotcom’s pop up party to get into Government was not adequately addressed.
Volunteer efforts were very good and more resources need to go into social media.
The Maori seats were a highlight and some mana has been re-established.
Voter enrolment (the missing million) remains an issue, not just for the party, but for NZ’s democracy. The issue of how to get higher turnouts will not go away.
Policy needs to be sharper and more coherent and in tune with NZ as it is, not as we would like it to be.
Policy must be based on values and vision.
List candidates selection has been problematic and the moderating committee needs an overhaul.
The review also looks at governance and recommends moving to an executive leadership, with the regions devolving into the hubs that have been introduced over the last few months. There will be more separation between LEC’s and branches. Affiliates will be encouraged to be more active in the LEC’s.
There’s a lot more in there, and most of it is honest, straightforward and sensible. One thing that does not get mentioned, however, is the issue of internal discipline. TV3 were leaked this document. No point gnashing our teeth over who leaked it because they’ll keep ducking and diving anyway, but whoever you are, you’re scum.
And Paddy Gower, if you don’t respect Tiriti o Waitangi, that’s fine. Just keep it to yourself, you bigoted tool.
Congrats to all the party members who contributed to this review. There’s still time to own our future.