Shearer needs 61% of caucus to survive after today's Labour rule change

David Farrar

Camp Cunliffe has done well at the Labour Party Conference.

Most of the caucus and hierarchy were arguing for a high threshold to trigger a leadership ballot.

The NZ Council in July proposed that you need a two thirds petition of caucus to trigger a leadership ballot. This met a backlash so they watered it down to 55%.

But the party delegates went further and reduced it to 50% for unscheduled votes. However here is the real big news. They lowered it to 40% for scheduled votes which are the ones held just after each general election (which will only be an issue if Labour loses) AND the vote scheduled for February 2013!

Vernon Small tweeted:

Labour votes to give 40pc pf MPs the trigger for a vote on the leadership by 264 to 237. Big win for Cunliffe.

It seems that the move to 40% was lost on the hand vote, but the unions used their bulk voting power to win the card vote.

This means that come February 2013, David Shearer needs to have at least 61% of caucus vote for him to remain leader – or a ballot is triggered.

The fact the unions have backed this, suggests that Cunliffe could win both the 40% members votes and the 20% union votes and be forced into the leadership no matter what the caucus votes.

Shearer will face immense pressure to perform tomorrow. It has already been reported that only a quarter rose to give him a standing ovation at the beginning of his speech, compared to 100% standing ovation for Goff and King as they were thanked. Shearer did get a full ovation at the end of the speech – but that is near compulsory.

UPDATE: Just calculated that just 14 Labour MPs can trigger a leadership ballot, under their new rules. Game on.

UPDATE 2: According to Vernon Small (who gets the best Labour intelligence) the following MPs voted for Cunliffe in 2011:

1. David Cunliffe
2. Nanaia Mahuta
3. Charles Chauvel
4. Moana Mackey
5. Lianne Dalziel
6. Louisa Wall
7. Rino Tirikatene
8. Sua William Sio
9. Sue Moroney
10. Rajen Prasad.

So he needs just four more votes to get a leadership ballot. Who were the unknowns:

1. Parekura Horomia
2. Shane Jones
3. Megan Woods
4. Ross Robertson
5. Andrew Little.

I’d say he’d get Parekura easily with Nanaia behind him. Shane Jones is known to have turned on Shearer after Shearer asked the Auditor-General to investigate him. So Ross Robertson could be crucial!

More likely is Andrew Little is the power broken and can deliver four or five votes, plus the likely endorsement of the unions if a ballot is called for.

Political commentator David Farrar runs Kiwiblog.

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17 Comments & Questions

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He'll need 4 of 5
Carmel Sepuloni isn't an MP this time


And won't be next time..........think Tamihere!


So won't life be interesting if someone becomes leader with 51% of the total vote, then 40% of the caucus vote for a leadership ballot, and the leader again gets 51%, and 40% of the caucus vote for a new leadership ballot, and on and on.


So the unions still call all the shots in the Labour Party. How is this going to appeal to middle NZ ?

Let me recall a statement which seems to hold a lot of truth - "self serving unionists and a gaggle of gays". Unless Labour starts putting non union candidates in the upper list (ie position 40 or below) they are out for the count at the next election - again.

In the meantime the public will watch carefully the inconveniences that the unions will cause with ferry strikes, militant teachers and other union games and this will play right into the hands of National. JK you're looking very good for a third term.


David Cuntliffe never says anything that's not scripted. He's too robotic and so has no charisma - Labour are unnecessarily chancing their arm by replacing Shearer with Cuntliffe.


Replacing Shearer with David is like "pot calling the kettle black"....only possible solution for Labour to really wake up now is to train up Jacinda ARDERN instead, to have any chance of beating John KEY and his 2014, or regret again.


Jacinda, well she is a rocket scientist isn't she!


She doesn't have the cojangles that helen brought to the party.


You have to wonder whether Labour have any understanding of public perception. Manipulate the rules to get what the political elite want? Just like they did for 9 years. What NZ'er (apart from those that rely on vote buying taxpayer funded handouts) would ever consider this lot?. All these muppets ever do is demonstrate that they are not capable of change.


Isnt it great to see Labour's value of democracy and a fair go for all in action. This simple action should serve as a warning to all voters on exactly the values that Labour will bring to government when they eventually get in.


Its important that Labour fields a candidate that is unpopular with the public. Anything that reduces their chances of being elected as government can only be good for NZ. The prospect of this dis-organised bunch of misfits running this country again is a truly scary prospect.


Whats truly scary is reading the Labour Party 96th Annual Conference Draft Policy. The policy is simply a set of unrealistic ideals with no underpinning strategy to achieve Labours desired societal utopia other than through state sanctioned theft, that has been devised by unqualified people who have never operated in the real world.

Worse case scanario you have until mid 2014 to restructure your finances to protect what you have, or look out once these idiots get back in with the introduction of a raft of new punitive taxes.


The decisions made by the Labour membership yesterday strengthen the party and make them a better party to Govern NZ in 2014.
The party Caucus had not been listening to the members. The membership now has the power to influence the leadership. If the current leadership does not listen (again) the membership has a excellent alternative leadership option in Cunliffe.


And there you have it, from I would suspect the mouth of a horse...
How about Labour listens to the public instead of just Labour "members".


Just like MMP a few can inflict their will on the majority. Heaven help us if Labour get in, their view of the world is that everyone sitting in the carriage getting a free ride just have to whip (tax more) those pulling the cart to ensure the free riders get where they want to go.

Don't sell your shares in Air New Zealand you will need a viable airline to fly out of the socialist experiment. Where to? Well at least we will have a choice.


People are flying out of the current experiment at the rate of 1000 a week.


Seems to me that Cunliffe will soon take the leadership. Of greater interest, is who will be the leader by the next election?


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