Cunliffe locks in the unions

David Cunliffe has locked in the union vote with 4 of the 6 affiliated unions preferencing Cunliffe first.

Four of the six unions affiliated to Labour now favour David Cunliffe to win the leadership contest that finishes next Sunday.

And with polls showing consistent public support for Mr Cunliffe, pressure is growing on Grant Robertson’s support base within the caucus to publicly back him. Three Labour MPs publicly declared their support for Mr Robertson over the weekend – Dunedin MPs David Clark and Clare Curran, and Christchurch MP Ruth Dyson. None were a surprise.

But there is concern among some Cunliffe supporters that the result could be a replay of the 2011 contest in which the party overwhelmingly supported one candidate, David Cunliffe, over the caucus favourite, David Shearer.

Caucus is appears locked in behind Grant Robertson.

Despite the popular support for Mr Cunliffe, Mr Robertson still has by far the greatest support in caucus, thought to be at least 17 votes out of 34; with 10 for Mr Cunliffe and five for Mr Jones.

Caucus votes are worth more than other votes cast, with 34 MPs making up 40 per cent of the vote; the support of 17 MPs would give Mr Robertson almost 30 per cent of the total allowable vote.

Any claims that caucus and the party will be unified after this selection process would be farcical. If Cunliffe wins the vast majority of caucus didn’t support him and will almost certainly white ant him immediately.

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