Unlike the party leader who is elected by the unions, membership and the caucus, Labour’s deputy leader is always selected by the caucus.
Jacinda Ardern may emerge as Labour deputy leader whoever wins the race for the top job, but her nomination as Grant Robertsonâ€™s running mate is seen as a risk because the deputyâ€™s job may be useful in reconciling the rival camps.
The Wellington Central MP nominated Ardern as his preferred deputy on Sunday, but his main rivals have signalled they will not name a favoured deputy.
Former president Andrew Little, who made the early running in the tight race, said he would not promise any role to anyone. Acting leader David Parker said he would â€˜â€˜stand on my own two feetâ€™â€™.
Caucus spokeswoman Annette King said that, unlike the leadership, the choice of deputy was determined by the partyâ€™s MPs alone.
That could potentially stymie Robertsonâ€™s choice â€“ although it is unlikely the caucus would make such a blatant challenge to a new leader â€“ or see her elected deputy whoever wins.
However, one party source yesterday said Robertsonâ€™s move was risky because the deputyâ€™s role could be a useful olive branch to help unify the caucus after the run-offs.
Here’s the problem: Â Robertson is said to have only 12 supporters within caucus. Â If the remainder do not support Ardern, even in the event Robertson wins, the caucus can install its own thorn in Robertson’s side. Â Someone like Parker, or Little, for example. Â Read more »