Well, the list of Labour leadership contenders has defied the predictions of the pundits (myself included). Here’s my 2c on the final field.
First, with all thanks and respect to both David Shearer and David Cunliffe for their service and their time as leaders, I’m glad that neither of them are standing this time. I think in both cases this was the right decision, and I thank them for it. Now we can have a selection with 4 new candidates, a minimum of baggage, and thus every hope of a constructive and positive process which benefits the party. (I appreciate that this view will not be popular with ardent supporters of one or the other, but I dare to suggest that it is more productive to focus on the party and the policies than the personalities – leaders come and go.)
So what of the contenders? In the order that they declared:
Grant Robertson is popular and energetic, a new generation.
Andrew Little has impressive union credentials, well grounded and plain spoken.
David Parker has experience and determination, he is the architect of important Labour policies.
Nanaia Mahuta represents core Labour supporters and values, and the diversity that Labour should celebrate.
It’s a fascinating line-up. While the process gets messy at times, I’m glad to be of the political Left, where we the members get a say in who leads us. I look forward to and expect a positive and engaging selection process that invigorates Labour. While I have my preferences (more of that in another post perhaps) I will support whoever emerges as leader. The choice is pretty clear, Labour either unifies around the new leader, or we can kiss the 2017 election goodbye.