Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union General Secretary Andrew Little is now re-considering whether to stand for Labour this election, after earlier deciding not to.
It will be a coup for Labour if they do get Little to stand this time. He has been an incredibly effective union leader, with astute judgement as to when to bash an employer, and when to work constructively with them. Because he does have a record of constructive engagement (unlike some other unions), then when he does bash an employer head on – it makes people think the employer is partially or primarily at fault.
He also helped save NZUSA from falling apart during his term as NZUSA President. Before Andrew it was incredibly bloated with around 14 fulltime VPs and staff. Not that all the credit for saving it goes to him, but he was a key player.
While it is by no means at all guaranteed (politics is often about events dear boy events) I would not be surprised to see Andrew as Labour Party Leader one day.
So why the potential change of mind for Andrew? Is it because he now thinks they are more likely to win in 2008 and he could go straight into Cabinet? Possible, but while the polls have tightened, they have not closed that much to make you give up a job you are dedicated to.
I wonder if it is the fall of Maharey and Mallard? The reality is that at present, if Helen Clark goes in 2009, Phil Goff is the only viable choice to replace her. In one week he went from long shot to heir in waiting.
Have the powers that be realised that if Andrew leaves off Parliament until 2011, it will be too late for him to be a viable alternative? Even if Clark wins a 4th term, she would probably still step down somewhere form 2010 – 2012 as Labour Leader.
No one but Andrew knows why he is now reconsidering, but if you have made a decision already, there is usually a reason if you change your mind later.
It will be interesting to see what happens.