Duncan Garner writes:
A bunch of faceless union hacks chose Andrew Little to lead the Labour Party this week.
That’s the truth. It’s as simple and as brutal as that.
Six unions got to vote in the leadership race – but just one union, Service and Food Workers, actually gave all its members the right to exercise their vote.
The other five unions gave the power to about 100 senior delegates to cast the crucial votes on behalf of those on the factory floor.
Who are these delegates? Who knows. If it wasn’t for Little’s 100 union mates who wielded the power and the final say, Little would have come a distant second in this race.
The Labour system is awful. If you want to do membership voting, then do it as the Greens do it – one member, one vote. Not one union delegate having 30 votes.
This is unprecedented for Labour – 27 of its MPs don’t want Little to be their boss.
Yet leader he is. It’s a perverse outcome that looks farcical. But the process is the process – despite it looking like an ass. It certainly doesn’t seem fair to Robertson, and of course he’s gutted and licking his wounds.
So what to make of Little?
In my time covering politics I found him to be straight-forward, competent, organised, gruff, a little grim, dry and blunt but likeable.
So it’s not all bad. Get Labour back up into the early 30s and it’s game on – that’s MMP.
At 30% you lose less badly. At 35% you can govern if Winston chooses you.
At least Little’s not a trumped-up fake like the last leader and a stuttering mess, like the one before that.
But this is a divided bunch. If I was Little I’d offer the deputy leader’s job to Jacinda Ardern.
They need some Auckland influence in there – and she’s a Robertson loyalist. Little could offer the job to Robertson – but then the leader and deputy are from Wellington and that’s a problem.
He must not offer it to failed leadership contender Nanaia Mahuta for all the obvious reasons. And he must promote new blood like Kelvin Davis and Stuart Nash on to the front bench.
I agree Ardern is the logical choice for Deputy. She doesn’t want to be his Deputy, but she is a List MP and a servant of the party. She should be told that she has to take the role.
And what about Robertson? Is he finished? I say no.
He’s promised not to run again for leader – but surely that commitment only lasts for this term.
Robertson, in my view, will always have ambitions to be the leader. But he wants to give Little three years.
However, should Little fail and John Key wins a fourth term, Robertson’s commitment to never stand again means nothing.
Little is now the boss. But don’t write off the apprentice – politics is a long game and Robertson is still running a marathon, not a sprint.
Or will he be Jacinda’s campaign manager next time, rather than vice versa?Tags: Andrew Little, Duncan Garner, Labour Leadership