Will unions get to select the leader?

July 10th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Meanwhile, MPs will today consider a proposal that would give members – and possibly and supporters – a say in who leads the party; something now determined only by MPs.

Shearer yesterday confirmed that, if approved, it would be “a mix of caucus and the membership in terms of electing the leadership”.

The percentage votes allocated to each group were “up in the air”, and he would not yet disclose what part unions and affiliates would have.

But the party’s discussion paper, released earlier this year, points to Britain where in leadership ballots MPs’ votes count for one third, the membership vote for one third and affiliated unions and supporters for one third.

I think giving members a vote in the leadership would be a good thing. But it should be one person one vote. Giving union bosses a huge bloc vote would be a huge mistake. It would make Labour even more captive to them.

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9 Responses to “Will unions get to select the leader?”

  1. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    If the Unions get an even bigger say in Labour, will this result over time in them becoming unelectable? If so, this would be great news.

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  2. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    I don’t have a problem per se with affiliated unions having a role in influencing the leadership and policy of the Labour party. Unions have long held a political advocacy role where they push particular policies that they feel will benefit their membership. I don’t see that as fundamentally any more sinister than the EMA, Business Roundtable or Chambers of Commerce leaders pushing what they consider ‘pro business’ policies or candidates even though their memberships may have a plurality of views on any given policy or person.

    I think they need to tread carefully though. Union members are already represented heavily in the Labour party and have voting rights by virtue of their membership. Allowing union leaders to cast a block vote would therefore seem unecessary and has the effect of double counting union members and therefore diminishing the vote share of anybody who is not a union member.

    There are plenty of reasons why people who vote left may not be union members. New Zealand society is made up of more than just employees. Single parents, the sick, the disabled, the unemployed, the retired, students and many self employed people and small business owners are also a big part of the traditional Labour support base. Many of these groups gained precious little from the splurge of billions on middle class welfare in Kiwisaver and WFF phase 2. If union clientism gains a stronger foothold in the Labour party it is likely these groups will continue their exodus to the Greens, NZ First and elsewhere and Labour may cease to be the inclusive umbrella of the left, counterbalancing National, and instead become just another minority political party representing a niche political constituency.

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

    well richard having listened and read mr little and his mates I’m afraid I don’t share your point of view at all.
    I would trust the unions no more than a spit about what I’d trust John Key.

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  4. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    JeffW has a point.
    Given that I like Labour about as much as I like the ebola virus, if letting the unions have more power will make them unelectable then I say “go for it”.

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  5. Liberty (271 comments) says:

    The proposal is really a bit of a joke.
    Considering Labours Electorate MPs are appointed by the central Committee .
    Sure they go through the antics of local selection. Still the faithful can hold a meeting
    and have a cup of tea with a sticky bun. Sing the red flag and go home feeling important.

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  6. thedavincimode (6,875 comments) says:

    Yes, this is a very good idea. I’m all in favour of Little Andrew getting the top job. Po-faced, lying, bad-tempered, arrogant, lazy and stupid little cunt that he is. Perfect fit for the face of Liebour.

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  7. Mark (1,491 comments) says:

    This goes to show how captive Labour is already to the unions. To even get such a vote to be considered speaks volumes for their influence. If it happens Labour is effectively unelectable. It makes as much sense as having the business round table having the same level of influence over the selection of the National party leadership. Lunacy

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  8. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    The proposals may actually reduce union influence. The exact mix of membership-affiliate voting has not been established. One of the proposals is for electorate selection to be more balanced in favour of branch membership.

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  9. Paulus (2,663 comments) says:

    Helen Kelly as Labour leader in no time – yes its realistic – although little Little would be pissed off.

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