Labour MPs want leadership process that results in unified party
Labour MP and party whip Chris Hipkins told TV One’s Q+A programme that MPs want a leader who everyone can pull behind and bring about a change in government.
“I think that what we want is unity, and so we want to achieve, through this process, an outcome where whoever the leader is at the end of it, can pull everyone in behind them and get the party in behind them and can really take it to the National Government. Because, you know, what I get on the street from New Zealanders is that they are crying out for an alternative,” Mr Hipkins says.
A Colmar Brunton snap poll on TV One’s Q+A programme shows David Cunliffe to be the early favourite for the leadership of the Labour Party.
The telephone poll of 517 people conducted on Friday and Saturday asked “Regardless of whether you support the Labour Party, which of the following MPs do you think would do the best job leading Labour into the next general election? Grant Robertson, David Cunliffe, Andrew Little, Jacinda Ardern, or Shane Jones.”
Mr Cunliffe was the clear favourite on 29 per cent, followed by Ms Ardern on 15 per cent, Mr Jones on 11 per cent, Mr Robertson on 10 per cent and Mr Little on 9 per cent. Both Ms Ardern and Mr Little have ruled themselves out of contention. The other three MPs have not yet announced if they will run for the Labour leadership.
Mr Hipkins says he has stressed the importance of running a dignified race.
“I’ve stressed to all of them the importance of conducting this process with dignity. It’s absolutely acceptable for any of the candidates who aspire to the leadership to go out there and say why they think they should be the leader, and they should do that in a way that doesn’t disparage any of the others, because at the end of this process, we all are going to have to work together. And I have absolute confidence in all of my colleagues that that’s the way they’re going to conduct this election,” Mr Hipkins says.
If two or more MPs put themselves forward for nomination, then the Labour Party’s new electoral process gets triggered, meaning that instead of caucus electing a new leader, it will only get a 40 per cent say in the process, party members will also get 40 per cent and the unions 20 per cent of the vote. The election will use a single round preferential voting system where members rank their preferred candidates.
However, the deputy leader will still be elected by caucus.
Nominations for the Labour leadership close at 10pm on Monday, August 26, with a list of nominees announced on Tuesday.