Unions gain vote on Labour leader

July 18th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Union bosses are now going to be more powerful than MPs, in selecting future leaders. are proposing that their union affiliates will get 20% of the say in future leadership contests. They have five affiliated and this means all future leadership contenders will be beholden to them.

Union leaders will endorse a candidate and the vast bulk of votes from that union will go towards that candidate – if the five unions collectively endorse one candidate, then their 20% is likely to be decisive – especially if the members and caucus are split in their support.

Could you imagine the outrage if the NZ National Party said that it was going to give (for example) Business NZ, Telecom, Contact Energy, Carter Holt Harvey etc the right to vote in National Party leadership elections.

Organisations should not be eligible to join political parties (let alone vote in them). Political parties should be comprised of individuals who have individually decided to join and support a party and pay a membership fee to that party.

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34 Responses to “Unions gain vote on Labour leader”

  1. kowtow (7,953 comments) says:

    Yes this is outrageous and undemocratic, a bit like having electorates based on a self selected criteria like ones race,oh wait….

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  2. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Depending on how the factions within caucus line up at present, that has quite possibly cemented Andrew Little as the next leader. Grant Robertson will not be thrilled…

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  3. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ‘Organisations should not be eligible to join political parties (let alone vote in them). Political parties should be comprised of individuals who have individually decided to join and support a party and pay a membership fee to that party.’
    Says you.

    The wider ‘movement’ has historically seen close ties between the industrial and political wings. Is there anyhting wrong with that? Or anything wrong with a democratic organisation (a union) being affiliated with another democratic organisation (a political party)?

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  4. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    Imagine if Federated Farmers could select National’s candidates. That would be an outrage… Oh wait.

    [DPF: Federated Farmers get zero say in National candidates. It would be an outrage if they did]

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  5. Cobolt (85 comments) says:

    The problem now for Labour is that it seems most union leaders coming through prove themselves to be quite unpalatable, Andrew Little and Helen Kelly have both proven themselves to be confrontational and bullshit artists, something an opposing party could pull to pieces with ease.

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  6. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    The wider ‘movement’ has historically seen close ties between the industrial and political wings. Is there anyhting wrong with that? Or anything wrong with a democratic organisation (a union) being affiliated with another democratic organisation (a political party)?

    A union a democratic organisation? Surely you’re taking the piss! Or do you mean democratic as in Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea?

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  7. Cunningham (829 comments) says:

    mikenmild the unions form of democracy is uriniating on bbq’s and intimidating staff who don’t agree with them. Look at the POI (granted the ports also shoulder alot of the blame in this IMO) and Hobbit debacle to see how ‘democratic’ they are. They are corrupt organisations that belong in another decade.

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  8. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    I thought the proposal was pretty well balanced compared to what it could have been.
    Remember that the Labour party was born from the unions – and I think that the unions having a bit more of a say will be an improvement over the pinkos who are currently running the show.
    That said, I still won’t be voting for them.

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  9. Positan (385 comments) says:

    Labour, as a one-time “political” entity, seems hell-bent on self-destruction.

    May it be all over soon.

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  10. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    Trade union block votes are not democratic. The person with the block vote should be required to have a democratic mandate for the way that vote gets exercised.

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  11. anonymouse (708 comments) says:

    Hmmm So a 60% vote from members and the Unions can install a candidate over the wishes of the Parliamentary Caucus,
    and to get rid of a leader now requires 2/3 of the parliamentary caucus to petition the President,

    Hmm, the Labour party are seriously reigning in the power of MPs and making the leader an extension of the Presidents office….

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  12. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    Oh good. :neutral:

    Because the public reactions to Darien Fenton’s mad butcher comments and the Ports of Auckland dispute suggest that the general voting public is really really keen on the Unions, right?

    Way to go Labour. You’re TRYING to minimise your seats in the house, right? Right…?

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  13. Paulus (2,565 comments) says:

    Helen Kelly will p..s all over little Little.

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  14. georgebolwing (686 comments) says:

    How the Labour Party, and of course all the other parties, decide to organise themselves is surely their business.

    If Labour is seeking to recoginse its historical links with organised labour, then fine.

    Provided that we have open and free elections, then how the people get on to the ballot is neither here nor there.

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  15. Liberty (252 comments) says:

    It won’t make a lot of difference as the central committee/unions have always controlled
    The makeup of the labour party caucus with its controlling vote of candidate selection.
    They are just making it official.
    The Labour caucus will still be failed lawyers, Has-been teachers and union officials.

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  16. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    Organisations should not be eligible to join political parties (let alone vote in them).

    I think you’ll find the law disagrees with you on this. Incoporated bodies have been granted the same legal status as natural persons, therefore they can do anything a natural person can.

    Could you imagine the outrage if the NZ National Party said that it was going to give (for example) Business NZ, Telecom, Contact Energy, Carter Holt Harvey etc the right to vote in National Party leadership elections.

    They don’t need to, their man is already there.

    Anyway, this is a matter for the Labour Party and its membership, not a National Party shill and his acolytes.

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  17. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    When will I see a Labour MP’s private member’s bill seeking to reintroduce marriage by way of clubbing the bitch and dragging her back to your cave? They might as well after reintroducing their faceless men from the unions.

    I think this is a wonderful move – for National.

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  18. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    Labour have widely consulted and discussed, good on them for that. I think it’s up to them how they work out who they want as leader.

    How this will be seen from the outside will depend on whether there’s any controversial decisions – remember that last year’s Shearer selection process was the first this century for Labour – and whether the affiliates/unions can be transparent about how they use their 20% – will it be seen to be chosen by wider membership, or used as disproportionate power by a few officials.

    From what I’ve seen it looks like it’s up to the affiliates as to how they do it.

    Labour’s 40-40-20 split

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  19. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Helen Kelly will p..s all over little Little.

    How do you know he enjoys a golden shower? :D

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  20. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    Projection?

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  21. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Luke

    If you read the blog owners disclosure statement you will see he is not a shill.

    Shilll’s are the vast majority of our media who attempt to pass themselves off as impartial

    And its not a matter for the Labour Party, If I were a lfe long labour voter like say my parents who loath unions I would be very upset regards this proposal.

    Anyway Adolf nailed it 6 more years JK

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  22. dime (9,668 comments) says:

    Union leaders have no intention of doing what is best for the country. They have a very narrow focus. Its not good for labour.

    The scary thing is, these idiots will one day be the govt again. shudder.

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  23. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    If I were a lfe long labour voter like say my parents who loath unions I would be very upset regards this proposal.

    But you’re not, so you aren’t.

    And this is not a matter to be decided by voters, labour or otherwise, but by Labour party members. Spot the difference?

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  24. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Your’e right Luke

    Labour party eats itself, best news I’ve heard today, they will all be able to give each other jobs in the party, but will never get near power again you dick. because without the voters what have you got? A whole lot of ugly bastards who don’t get invited to parties i.e Young labour on campus I think its wonderful.

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  25. Than (440 comments) says:

    Luke, it may be for Labour party members to decide how they pick their leader. But it is for (potential) Labour voters to judge if they approve of that method.

    In that sense I think this was a politically poor call on Labour’s party. Most people won’t care. But there will be a set of centrist voters that dislike the degree of union influence on the party, and this could cost Labour those votes.

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  26. emmess (1,398 comments) says:

    Party president Moira Coatsworth said parties overseas, such as the Irish Labour Party, used a similar model, which gave a leader a stronger mandate to lead

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10820356

    Ha, the Irish Labour Party is a minor party that normally only gets about 10% of the vote (admittedly quite a bit more last time)
    Bring it on, I say

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  27. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    Look on the bright side – it is a blessing for National. Labour leaders will not be elected on merit and so will be less capable of leading Labour into victory.

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  28. Nookin (3,185 comments) says:

    “And this is not a matter to be decided by voters, labour or otherwise, but by Labour party members. Spot the difference?”

    So you are saying that someone who may be a traditional labour supporter but who thinks that the unions have too much say have no right to feel upset about this? Or are your comprehension skills on a downer today?

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  29. Mr_Blobby (149 comments) says:

    How many votes will the Gay and lesbian faction get? Maori will be entitled to 50% under the treaty.

    Not wanting to be a conspiracy theorist but is there a plot underway to make the Labour party, even more, irrelevant than it currently is, to make way for the Greens. Or is someone just taking the piss.

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  30. pete (428 comments) says:

    No Brash, No cash.

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  31. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    I’m guessing that voting rights will be reciprocated with donations and campaign effort in kind.

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  32. big bruv (13,560 comments) says:

    This is great news. It will almost spell the death of the Labour party now that the union scum have even more say in who leads that once proud party.

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  33. wat dabney (3,724 comments) says:

    In any other context the organised plundering of taxpayers would be a serious criminal offence. Yet because they hijack the political process to legalise their actions, these special-interest groups are free to plunder the workers at will.

    There is no moral distinction between business cartels and the Labour Party. They exist for the same purpose. Yet when industries form a cartel to raise their prices they are exposed and forced to pay heavy fines, whilst state-sector unions carry out their equivalent robbery in plain sight through their Labour Party vehicle.

    The Labour Party, morally speaking, is a criminal enterprise and a conspiracy against the workers.

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  34. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Good lets hope the labour get out forever, now for the watermelons.

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