Even assuming David Cunliffe got the same level of support from activists and unions as last time, the numbers look challenging for him in a wider vote.
Last time he get 11/34 votes in caucus. But four of those MPs have gone. He is now at 7/32. The seven are himself, Lees-Galloway, Mahuta, Moroney, Sio, Wall and Whaitiri. Doubtful any of the new MPs will vote for him. So he gets just 22% in the caucus vote, which is worth 40% overall, hence 8.8%.
Last time he got 60% of the members vote. I can’t imagine he would do as well this time, but even if he does that is 24% overall as members are worth 40%.
The unions loved him and voted for him 71%. Of their 20% that is 14.2%.
Add those up and Cunliffe gets 47%. He is 3% short.
Caucus may only be 40% of the vote but if they vote 4:1 in favour of someone else, then it makes it hard for the activists and unions to counter that. The key is the other contenders need to have a very clear agreement that they want their supporters to preference each challenger ahead of Cunliffe. I think that will be the case. Shearer supporters will put Robertson ahead of Cunliffe and Robertson supporters the same.
It is possible that Cunliffe could pick up support from some of the new MPs, but I suspect that is less likely after the mega-caucus he forced on them on Tuesday.
Even if he can lift the union vote to say 90% (which would give him 50.8% overall), then Cunliffe wins but it will be on the record that 80% of his caucus voted against him. Hard to get the public to back you when they know that.
As a Nat, I should want Labour to prolong the infighting for as long as possible, but I don’t think it is fair on Labour members and supporters for this to occur.
It seems there is only one solution. Only one person can fix this. Helen Clark.
Helen needs to pick up the phone, ring DC, and says that while he gave it his best, it is all over, and for the good of the party he needs to step down. I don’t think he’d take that advice from anyone else. Also there would be an implicit threat that she might repeat her advice publicly if he does not. Clark is the one figure who did and can unify the party. She won’t want to comment publicly, but she might do so to save the party she led from what would be a very messy public leadership battle. It would not be polite and matesy like last time. It would be brutal.