Audrey Young writes:
With Labour MPs doing their jobs properly, and Annette King doing what good deputies do and helping to manage the caucus, Little has been left to get on with setting some strategic direction for the party.
King’s appointment was for a year only, allowing the party to settle after a bruising four-way leadership contest that Little won with union support. The sudden appearance of Jacinda Ardern as fourth in the preferred Prime Minister polls has led to speculation that she would be the logical choice to replace King in November and complement Little – young, female and from Auckland.
Being deputy, however, is not just a titular role and with King’s standing so high in the caucus and the party, she will undoubtedly be lobbied to stay on.
I understand that it is becoming more likely King will stay on as Deputy Leader, simply because there is no one else up to the job – or at least able to do it as well as her.
One Labour MP told me that the gap between Annette and all other female MPs in Labour is so huge you can hardly measure it.
The problem is that Annette entered Parliament in the 1980s. At the next election she will be a 33 year veteran of Parliament and be 70 years old. That is why she was meant to be the temporary deputy only. It will be a vote of no confidence in the rest of caucus if she carries on.
The other issue with Annette carrying on is that the top three Labour MPs are all from Wellington City, in a classic beltway capture. It’s hard to appeal to the country, if your senior leadership is all from the capital city.