Matt McCarten examines the challenges for Andrew Little managing two roles:
But it seems a bit churlish for the party to not give Williams the deference he deserves and wait until the party’s conference until they replaced him. Just because Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen, resigned their leadership positions it shouldn’t necessarily follow that the party president should have to fall on his sword immediately.
After all, Clark and Cullen are still collecting their parliamentary salaries until some better job comes up, while Williams is out of paid work.
If I’m not mistaken, Mike Williams did not get paid one cent by Labour Party members for his rull-time job as Party President.Instead he was appointed to six different Government Boards, which resulted in fees of close to $200,000.
Labour was in power then so there were certain advantages for his union, such as having access to Cabinet ministers. But it’s hard to see what the benefit is to the EPMU members when their leader takes up the presidency of the Labour Party when it’s the National Party that is running the country.
Imagine Little trekking up to the Beehive to lobby government ministers on behalf of his union members and expecting a sympathetic hearing. These National Party politicians know his other job is to kill them at the next general election. But it’s even stranger than that.
Little also says he will run for Parliament at the next election. Does Little or his union think his political opponents in the Government will give him anything that helps him?
What McCarten overlooks, is how much influence the EPMU will have when Andrew is the Leader of the Labour Party – or at a minimum, a very senior front bencher.
Trade unions face a hell of job over the next few years, given the global economy. It’s an even bigger challenge for the EPMU, given its central role in the export and manufacturing industries. I find it hard to believe that Little can do both his union job and the Labour Party role well. Either job is enormous on its own.
Little will obviously have a succession plan and delegate the day-to-day management of major challenges to others.
But anyone who has worked for a senior boss who has announced that they will leave soon, yet stays in their role while working part-time in a new job as part of a transition process, knows it doesn’t work. Frankly it’s bizarre.
What I will find interesting, is the fund-raising role of the presidency. Mike Williams met several business CEOs and owners a week, soliciting donations (as does National’s President). Will Andrew be meeting CEOs wearing one hat asking for donations, and maybe the next day meeting them with another hat, negotiating wage increases for staff employed by that business?
The potential for a clash of interests, seems large. I am sure Andrew will do what he can to minimise such clashes, but it will be a challenge. Maybe one solution is that Andrew doesn’t do the corporate fundraising from businesses that have EPMU members?