Rodney Hide on Labour’s primary

Rodney Hide knows all about primary races, and he comments on Labour’s debacle of a leadership race.

“The King is dead, long live the King!” That’s how monarchy does it. The new leader is declared before the old leader is cold.

Monarchists know the danger of a leadership vacuum. Not so the New Zealand Labour Party. Last year they opted for participation over speed in choosing their new leader.

Previously, a quick caucus vote would be had and the new leader anointed before the old one was out the door.

Not any longer. The members get to vote. The unions get to vote. There is a drawn out campaign to be leader.

It’s fantastic for political junkies. It’s bad news for Labour. 

He gives several reasons why it is bad news for Labour.

1. They are leaderless. They say a week is a long time in politics. Well, how about four weeks without a leader? It’s not that the Deputy Leader can step up: he’s busy campaigning for the job. National have been feeling the heat. Labour have now gifted them a much-needed respite.

2. Labour has struggled to connect with voters. Instead of reaching out they are now spending a month looking in. Meanwhile John Key gets to look good, getting on with running the country.

3. There will be blood. The party president has told the candidates to play nice. They won’t. They are in for the fight of their lives. MPs and activists have a lot at stake and they will get nasty. A bit of blood and guts will spill into the public arena. That won’t be a good look for the party.

4. It will cost, big time. The candidates will be spending on the contest and the party will be spending to administer the vote. These are the precious dollars the party needs to defeat National. A quick caucus vote for leader is costless.

5. The leadership contest highlights the power the unions wield over the party. The six affiliated unions carry 20 per cent of the vote. And CTU boss Helen Kelly has been clear that union bosses dictate the union vote. The candidates for leader will be promising the unions whatever they want to secure the union vote. It’s a bad look to have union bosses holding Labour’s prospective leaders over a barrel.

6. The party will be further divided. Since the departure of the formidable Helen Clark, Labour has lacked unity. The contest for new leader will deepen and entrench divisions. Party activists and MPs will be out campaigning for their man. That will inevitably bring them into conflict. There will be winners and there will be losers and the hurt will linger.

7. The leadership contest makes the job of new leader tougher. His big task will be to unify the party. Does the new leader promote his former opponents or does he reward his supporters? Members who feel bitter that their chosen candidate lost need to be massaged and kept within the party. The new leader must spend weeks settling down the internal stuff. And that’s at a time when the leader should be taking it to John Key to prove that he has what it takes.

8. News reporters will be lining up MPs against one another to see who is on whose side. That makes for good stories. It also makes good stories reporting how the various MPs fare under the new leadership. And how they feel about it. That continues the theme of Labour gazing inwards and being a party divided.

It is a beautiful thing to behold isn’t it?


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  • Col

    And when they finish stuffing up what is left of the Labour Party, Shearer will walk. Now that would be nice.

  • Agent BallSack

    Rodney neglects to mention that this is all because no one is fit to lead the Labour Party. Thats why a caucus vote is impossible.

    • BJ

      Even the Unions won’t endorse a candidate (so they say) – Playing games or all telling?

  • mick le prick

    Really JK must be thinking those morons at Liarbour are the gift that keep on giving lol
    Once the halfwit Unions have chossen their comrade to lead things Key already knows their plans to spend and spend so he just has to torch the new leader with the SHOW ME THE MONEY and its over.

  • thor42

    “It is a beautiful thing to behold isn’t it?”

    Yep, it sure is…. :)

    • Col

      Oh what a beautiful morning,oh what a beautiful day,John Key is so happy,that labour is in so much disarray.

  • sheppy

    I wonder if the real plan is for Horsey after being groomed by Aundy Helen to win a real safe seat at the election and then become leader of the party once National gets in again?
    Perhaps the plan is for one of the 3 to take Labia further to the left, lose the election and use the result to silence the extreme lefties in the name of gaining power in 2017?

  • cows4me

    1 Have been for a long time
    2 Have really fucken struggled to connect with me.
    3 Oh I do hope so
    4 Great, hope the socialist pricks end up broke.
    5 Is a Zebra white or black, does it matter if the lunatics are run by fools or union aholes, they’re still bad news.
    6 Oh no, what shall we do. (sargasm)
    7 Shouldn’t choosing a leader be tough, frankly if the pass offerings are anything to go by they weren’t nearly tough enough.
    8 Yes indeed it is a beautiful thing to behold.

  • blokeintakapuna

    To put it into some kind of context – if Labour were some kind of business either selling something or offering some kind of service… would you buy from them?
    Yep – snap election time me thinks.. announced about Thursday arvo would do very nicely indeed…

  • maninblack

    this is the ultimate clusterfuck! i just love it!!

  • Hazards001

    I’m not so sure so I’ve replied to Rodney let me fuck you city Hides points as I see them..

    1. They’ve been leaderless for years

    2. Labour couldn’t connect with an energizer battery if it would win them an election never mind their core voters

    3. There has never been a day in human history where a poof a porn addict and a smarmy narcissist could play nice in the same sandpit.

    4. They aren’t spending their money…they’re spending why would that concern a Labour voter?

    5. “It’s a bad look to have union bosses holding Labour’s prospective leaders over a barrel.”…not if you’re a union voter it’s not.

    6. Helen Clark is in the background with her husband Helen 2 happily watching the merriment as she fucks up her UN position and looks to a return to another season of fucking up NZ

    7. The new leader will be so busy shoving it up his old enemies he will have no time for cementing anything except his bigger office and leadership perks

    8. News repeaters will actually be tossing coins and running sweep stakes in the office as to who can influence the leadership challenge the most.

  • blairmulholland

    I’ll say one thing for primaries – if Rodney hadn’t won his, we wouldn’t have charter schools. Funny how the world works.

  • Bryan

    it would be really interesting they have four weeks and end up with the three way tie

    then ask Winston Peters and Noddy to select the winner and they choose Horse