How the unions may vote for Labour leadership

September 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday on how the caucus looks to be voting on the . That was realatively easy to do, as that involves just 34 people, many of whom have publicly declared their intentions.

Based on feedback and some tweaks at the end of the day I had it Robertson 47%, Cunliffe 35% and Jones 18%, Of the total electoral college vote that would be 19%, 14% and 7% respectively. If you reallocate Jones then 21% Robertson to 19% Cunliffe. However that may change. The senior MPs are still strongly backing Robertson and may get some of the swinging MPs to fall behind them.

Now we have the union vote. First is how much does each union get. I estimated last week that the voting strengths were:

  1. EPMU (Engineering etc) 36,987 members, 41.5% of union vote, 8.3% of total vote
  2. SFWU (Service Food etc) 22,351 members, 25.1% of union vote, 5.0% of total vote
  3. MWU (Meat) 15,313 members, 17.2% of union vote, 3.4% of total vote
  4. DWU (Dairy) 7,000 members, 7.9% of union vote, 1.6% of total vote
  5. RMTU (Rail) 4,747 members 5.3% of union vote, 1.1% of total vote
  6. MUNZ (Maritime) 2,635 members, 3.0% of union vote, 0.6% of total vote

I asked the for details of what share of the vote they are, and how many delegates they have. The only union which has replied was the RMTU which kindly confirmed they have 26 voting delegates and affiliate on 3,000 members which makes them 6.44% of the union vote and 1.3% of the total vote. This suggests the total affiliate membership is 46,584.

As we don’t have precise numbers for the others , I’ll apportion out and so this gives us

EMPU – 41% of union vote, 8.2% of total vote, approx 60 delegates

The EPMU National Executive has not endorsed anyone but some EPMU figures such as Paul Tolich are very pro Robertson. Tolich failed to get an EPMU endorsement formally, but that does not mean there is not massive lobbying going on of the 60 or so delegates.

I’d guess that Robertson could get 65%, Cunliffe 25% and Jones 10%.

SWFU – 24.8% of union vote, 5.0% of total vote, any member can vote

Because they are allowing all members to vote, the influence of hierarchy is less. Cunliffe and Robertson are both playing to their members with their living wage promises. Those who are not involved in Labour but attend a meeting will probably find both equally good.

Cunliffe has some SWFU people on his team and a strong Auckland base so I’d go Cunliffe 55%, Robertson 30%, Jones 15%

MWU – 17.0% of union vote, 3.4% of total vote, approx 54 delegates

 This one is very hard to pick. Their members are more provincial than urban, so Jones would do better with them. I’m sticking them down as Jones 34%, Cunliffe 33%, Robertson 33%.

DWU – 7.8% of union vote, 1.6% of total vote, approx 70 delegates

 Like MWU hard to pick, and also provincial and rural based which Jones may appeal more to. The General Secretary is Chris Flatt, a former Labour Party General Secrtary. On the basis he will have some influence and the Labour Head Office is more pro Robertson, I’d go Robertson 40%, Jones 35%, Cunliffe 25%.

UPDATE: Their Exec has endorsed Cunliffe, so now assuming 70% vote Cunliffe.

RMTU – 6.4% of union vote, 1.3% of total vote, 30 delegates

 Head office is in Wellington that may help Robertson a bit. Lots of provincial members. Say Robertson 40%, Cunliffe 35%, Jones 25%

MUNZ – 3.0% of union vote, 0.6% of total vote, approx 30 delegates

Their strongest branch is in Auckland and that should favour Cunliffe. Say Cunliffe 60%, Robertson 20%, Jones 20%

So how would this all come together.

Round 1 Cunliffe Jones Robertson Union % Cunliffe Jones Robertson
EPMU 25% 10% 65% 41.0% 10.3% 4.1% 26.7%
SFWU 55% 15% 30% 24.8% 13.6% 3.7% 7.4%
MWU 33% 34% 33% 17.0% 5.6% 5.8% 5.6%
DWU 70% 15% 15% 7.8% 5.5% 1.2% 1.2%
RMTU 35% 25% 40% 6.4% 2.2% 1.6% 2.6%
MUNZ 60% 20% 20% 3.0% 1.8% 0.6% 0.6%
Union Total 39.0% 17.0% 44.0%
Election Total 7.8% 3.4% 8.8%
Round 2 Cunliffe Jones Robertson Union % Cunliffe Jones Robertson
EPMU 28% 72% 41.0% 11.4% 29.6%
SFWU 65% 35% 24.8% 16.0% 8.8%
MWU 50% 50% 17.0% 8.5% 8.5%
DWU 82% 18% 7.8% 6.4% 1.4%
RMTU 47% 53% 6.4% 3.0% 3.4%
MUNZ 75% 25% 3.0% 2.3% 0.8%
Union Total 47.6% 52.4%
Election Total 9.5% 10.5%

Now again this is quite speculative, and I welcome feedback from people closer to the action into how they think the union delegates (or members) will vote.

What does this show us if we add it to the caucus vote.

Round 1 – Robertson 27.6%, Cunliffe 21.9%, Jones 10.5%

Round 2 – Robertson 31.7%, Cunliffe 28.3%

You need 50% to win. So it means Cunliffe has to pick up  22% of the 40% of the members vote and Robertson needs 18% of the 40%. More simply if the above estimates are in the right ballpark, then Cunliffe needs just over 54% of the members vote to win and Robertson needs almost 46%.

On Friday I’ll have a stab at how the members may vote. Their local MPs will have a fairly big influence on many members, along with their geography.

UPDATE: Herald has said the DWU Executive have recommended to their delegates they vote for Cunliffe. I’ve updated the table on assumption 70% vote Cunliffe.

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14 Responses to “How the unions may vote for Labour leadership”

  1. Harriet (4,534 comments) says:

    That’s what I’ve been meaning to ask you David – where’s the Teachers Union, Public Service Union ect in all this? { Each time you’ve wrote up on this, they’ve been missiing.} Cheers.

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  2. anonymouse (695 comments) says:

    @harriet, The Teachers unions (NZEI, PPTA, TEU) along with the PSA are not labour party affiliate unions,

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  3. Harriet (4,534 comments) says:

    Thanks for that Anonymouse.

    I thought it may have been something along those lines but just needed some confirmation.Cheers.

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  4. BeaB (2,060 comments) says:

    Please please make it Robertson. NZers have always loved spectacled, pudgy smart alecs with a nasty tongue.

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  5. Chuck Bird (4,688 comments) says:

    Robertson is on Live Chat. My comment is awaiting moderation.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11119884

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  6. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    @DPF,

    I wonder if the EPMU %’s are a little (no pun intended) too far apart. The EPMU hierarchy are believed to favour Robertson and Andrew Little should still have some influence on the organisational wing, but Cunliffe has done a lot to endear himself to the unions since he recast himself as hard left in 2011.

    No science behind my thoughts and you would have greater insight, but I would think the final score there might be a bit closer than 29.6% to 11.4% ?

    (Mind you, I think Grant might also do a bit better with SWFU than you have him at – he certainly seems to have put quite a bit of effort to supporting them, at least in Wellington.)

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  7. burt (7,842 comments) says:

    The self serving policies of envy mob are taking the wheel… Countdown to recession in: 3, 2 1 !!!!!!

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  8. edhunter (498 comments) says:

    Can someone tell me the last time the Teachers Union didn’t back Labour come election time?

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  9. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    It could be that those non-affiliated unions want to maintain a patina of political independence.

    Or it could just be that they don’t want their membership funding to be ‘taxed’ through affiliation to the Labour Party.

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  10. Ross12 (1,156 comments) says:

    So if Cunliffe misses out again, what does he do ? Join the Greens ?

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  11. Chuck Bird (4,688 comments) says:

    The questions are screened on Live chat on the Herald web site.

    My question was.

    “Grant, do you believe that NZ Blood Services should change their policy and allow active homosexuals to donate blood and put the public at risk to score a political point?”

    Why will he not answer?

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  12. Liberty (237 comments) says:

    What makes Union officials more equal than Labours “our people”?
    Is it because the unions are bank rolling Labour.
    Which makes the election very dubious.

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  13. burt (7,842 comments) says:

    Liberty

    Stop that – it’s OK when Labour do it…..

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  14. Chinarugby (84 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird says:

    My question was.

    “Grant, do you believe that NZ Blood Services should change their policy and allow active homosexuals to donate blood and put the public at risk to score a political point?”

    Why will he not answer?

    He probably won’t answer cos it’s a dumbass pointless question and he has any number of other more pertinant questions to answer.

    BTW – Chucky you missed another golden opportunity to tell us all once again who you gonna vote for…come on chucky – you know you want to!

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