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10 Key Facts About Labour's Leadership Contest

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The resignation of David Cunliffe on 30 September 2014 as the 14th Leader of the Labour Party triggered a Party-wide Leadership Election. Nominations close on October 14th 2014, with the result announced on November 18th 2014.

Here are 10 Key Facts about the Labour Leadership Election:

  1. NZLP is the only significant NZ political party which operates such a comprehensive and democratic process for leadership selection. However, this approach is the norm for NZLP sister parties overseas, and also for some conservative parties.

  2. The Leader of the Parliamentary Party is the political leader of the Party, so it is rational that all sections of the organisation should have a say in their election.

  3. The NZLP adopted this system in 2012 following a significant organisational review.  Our agreed approach has given Caucus a more significant voting power than many other systems, and also factors in a separate affiliate voting section. The combination of these two factors differentiates our approach from that of the Australian Labor Party and the UK Labour Party.

  4. The election operates through a three-section College, comprising Caucus, Party members and affiliates. Each vote in each section has individual weighting, and each voter has the same choice of candidates (ordered in a fully randomised manner).  The affiliate vote is divided between the Party’s seven affiliates in proportion to the registered total affiliate numbers (see footnote page 3 of the Rules).

  5. Affiliates all adopt the approach of utilising their internal democratic processes to generate their voting body, which in general means their elected Conference delegates. The Service and Food Workers Union have a different decision-making process, which means that they have adopted a system in which members can vote in person at any of the Leadership Election Husting Meetings.

  6. In 2014 the Party is adopting the option of default emailing out voting papers, and only posting to members with no email address, or upon request. In 2013 the voting papers were posted out, but the fact that 47.24% of members still elected to vote online encouraged us to take this step.

  7. The Election has three levels of Rules – the key constitutional clauses mandating the system and the trigger used (agreed by Conference), the Election Rules for the Parliamentary Labour Party Leadership Elections (agreed by Council), and the Code of Conduct (agreed by the Leadership Election Advisory Group). The General Secretary of the Party usually acts as Returning Officer, and is in this case. Deputy Returning Officers may be appointed by him or her.

  8. The Leadership Election is administered by electionz.com, a Christchurch-based company which has conducted over 1,800 elections and processed over 25 million votes in the past 13 years.

  9. The Husting Meetings are a Rule-mandated element of the process, with 14 planned for 2014. They run to a set format, with media being allowed in before the meeting and up to the point when candidates speeches finish. A question and answer session follows.  In 2013 over 3000 people attended these Husting Meetings.

  10. Only Labour Party members can vote in the election. New members must have joined before 11:59pm on Wednesday October 1  (the day after the Leadership Election was triggered). Unfinancial members (anyone who has been a Labour Party member in the past three years and who has not paid a membership fee in 2014) can rejoin and receive a vote until 11.59 pm on 11 November

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