Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Labour Leadership election

I haven’t commented much at all about the Labour Leadership election, and I won’t be doing so today, either. So much of the discussion by both the right and the left has been unhelpful—even toxic—but the fact is, I just don’t see anything to be gained by a public navel-gazing about my trying to decide who to back. So, I won’t.

To be sure, I have definite opinions about the candidates, but I haven’t made up my mind how I’ll rank them. They all have the chance to convince me to rank them first—I say they do because I’m not listening to the social media ponderings of pundits or activists, whether they’re party members or, most likely, non-members.

My discussions are being done in private with other Labour voters as well as other party members. This decision is too important to treat it like an episode of “New Zealand’s Got Talent” or whatever.

Nevertheless, some people who know that I’m a NZ Labour Party member active in the last campaign may wonder about what’s going on. Earlier today, Tim Barnett posted detailed information about the contest, which I’m reprinting in its entirety because I think it answers nearly all the questions folks may have:
The resignation of David Cunliffe on 30 September 2014 as the 14th Leader of the Labour Party triggered a Party-wide Leadership Election. Nominations close on October 14th 2014, with the result announced on November 18th 2014.

Here are 10 Key Facts about the Labour Leadership Election:

  1. NZLP is the only significant NZ political party which operates such a comprehensive and democratic process for leadership selection. However, this approach is the norm for NZLP sister parties overseas, and also for some conservative parties.
  2. The Leader of the Parliamentary Party is the political leader of the Party, so it is rational that all sections of the organisation should have a say in their election.
  3. The NZLP adopted this system in 2012 following a significant organisational review. Our agreed approach has given Caucus a more significant voting power than many other systems, and also factors in a separate affiliate voting section. The combination of these two factors differentiates our approach from that of the Australian Labor Party and the UK Labour Party.
  4. The election operates through a three-section College, comprising Caucus, Party members and affiliates. Each vote in each section has individual weighting, and each voter has the same choice of candidates (ordered in a fully randomised manner). The affiliate vote is divided between the Party’s seven affiliates in proportion to the registered total affiliate numbers (see footnote page 3 of the Rules).
  5. Affiliates all adopt the approach of utilising their internal democratic processes to generate their voting body, which in general means their elected Conference delegates. The Service and Food Workers Union have a different decision-making process, which means that they have adopted a system in which members can vote in person at any of the Leadership Election Husting Meetings.
  6. In 2014 the Party is adopting the option of default emailing out voting papers, and only posting to members with no email address, or upon request. In 2013 the voting papers were posted out, but the fact that 47.24% of members still elected to vote online encouraged us to take this step.
  7. The Election has three levels of Rules – the key constitutional clauses mandating the system and the trigger used (agreed by Conference), the Election Rules for the Parliamentary Labour Party Leadership Elections (agreed by Council), and the Code of Conduct (agreed by the Leadership Election Advisory Group). The General Secretary of the Party usually acts as Returning Officer, and is in this case. Deputy Returning Officers may be appointed by him or her.
  8. The Leadership Election is administered by electionz.com, a Christchurch-based company which has conducted over 1,800 elections and processed over 25 million votes in the past 13 years.
  9. The Husting Meetings are a Rule-mandated element of the process, with 14 planned for 2014. They run to a set format, with media being allowed in before the meeting and up to the point when candidates speeches finish. A question and answer session follows. In 2013 over 3000 people attended these Husting Meetings.
  10. Only Labour Party members can vote in the election. New members must have joined before 11:59pm on Wednesday October 1 (the day after the Leadership Election was triggered). Unfinancial members (anyone who has been a Labour Party member in the past three years and who has not paid a membership fee in 2014) can rejoin and receive a vote until 11.59 pm on 11 November
Tim later posted a press release with the names of the four nominees for Labour Leader:
As at 5pm today four valid nominations had been received for the position of Labour Leader, as follows:

Andrew Little (nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway)

Nanaia Mahuta (nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio)

David Parker (nominated by Damien O’Connor and Jenny Salesa)

Grant Robertson (nominated by Kris Faafoi and Rino Tirikatene)
The ballots will be sent out starting on Monday, and the first of the hustings meetings will be Wednesday the 22nd in Wellington. There are (tentatively) three hustings planned for greater Auckland: One for the isthmus, one in South Auckland, and one in West Auckland. This year, there will also be an online hustings, which I think is a great idea.

And that’s all I plan to share for now. I haven’t decided if I’ll say in advance how I plan to rank the nominees, but right now I don’t plan to—although today I thought about posting it right after the voting closes but before the results are announced. We’ll see.

In any case, I won’t be thrashing the nominees on this blog, even if I do talk more about the campaign. Plenty of others have been doing that for weeks, and will be for weeks more, and I just don’t see any point in adding to the noise.

Well, not today, anyway.

No comments: