Monday, November 19, 2012

When Chris Carter hinted a leadership change, wrong David got elected.


When Chris Carter hinted a leadership change, wrong David got elected.

Shearer may win the battle on 20th November to clinch leadership; the war is far from over.


As Julia Gillard shafted Australian Labour Party leader Kevin Rudd when caucus there saw that Rudd could not lead Australian Labour into the next government, it was a hint to New Zealand Labour to do something because so was true for Phil Goff.

However, while Chris Carter became the fall guy, Labour caucus was too afraid for bloodbath, and a coup against Phil Goff never happened. He finally stepped down, and out of the three David’s for the leadership, the wrong one got elected. Reportedly the popular choice directed by local electorate councils (LECs) was for David Cunliffe when some members of caucus went against the wishes of their LECs and voted David Shearer. That is what prompted constitution change, giving powers back to the people and not leaving all decisions at the whim of caucus.

I know this because I helped a stalwart labour supporter prepare submission for change in Labour party constitution. Following was submitted to Labour Party when members and public were asked suggestion for change:

The Party’s organisation is at all time low. We do not currently have enough people at grass roots level working on philosophies of Labour Party and it being articulated prominently to people out there. It is important to do so because we have an extremist right wing media working for the National government. We have to get down to our grass roots membership and explain our philosophies. It is important for labour party to take control of daily news media. They have a dwindling membership. They have local newsletter drop-off but they are mere opinions of MPs or list MPs. They come up with their own opinions. They are there not because we like them but they are there to represent the views of their membership and articulate our policies.

Our problem is that we are more of centre left and become almost right-wingers. We need to be back where we belong. Labour Party is in a situation where tail is wagging the dog. In a particular electorate, members gave specific directive about leadership choice to their elected MP but the MP went against that directive of his own membership because of vested interests. Dissatisfaction is being expressed about this erosion of democracy but little appears to be done and our membership is voting with their feet, resulting in dwindling membership.

It is the last election of the leader, whereby peoples wishes were ignored by caucus, led to the constitutional change. This change has consequently led to erosion of power from the caucus, and given back to electorates.

The leadership tussle in Labour Party will not end with a roll call on 20th November, 2012. Much speculation is by media and there is much ado about nothing in this battle because there will be no opponent and David Shearer will win the battle by default. However, the war is far from over. Change is inevitable.

My prediction is that Labour Party will be led by another David come elections in 2014.