Tracy Watkins discusses the role of the unions in selecting Labour’s next leader.
[N]ew rules giving Labour’s grassroots a 40 per cent say, and union delegates a 20 per cent say, would not be triggered. But in a move likely to ruffle caucus feathers, Ms Coatsworth appeared to stop any prospect of a deal in its tracks, saying the leadership should be decided under Labour’s new rules – “rather than behind closed doors in the caucus room”.
That puts the leadership in limbo for the next three weeks while up to 50,000 voting papers are sent out and candidates make their pitch at a series of meetings across New Zealand.
The candidates will be expected to abide by a code of conduct – which includes no personal attacks and no big-spending campaigns – before a new leader is announced on September 15.
The new rules were an attempt by the party’s grassroots to rein in caucus after a widening rift over policy and direction. But they could drive an even deeper wedge if the party and caucus back opposing candidates and cancel each other out, because the caucus vote counts for only 40 per cent of the total.
That makes Labour’s union affiliates, whose votes count for 20 per cent, the potential king makers and could deliver the caucus a leader that a majority of MPs don’t support.
What is interesting is it appears that some members could potentially have three votes and others two, while the grassroots members get just one vote. Read more »