Labour plans leadership vote through late October, early November; result on Nov 18; Full review due after vote; Meanwhile, caucus eats itself

By Bernard Hickey

Labour Party General Secretary Tim Barnett has announced Labour's leadership candidates will campaign for support of party members and union affiliates through late October and early November before the result is announced on November 18.

The Party's review of its election defeat will be conducted at the same time, with an interim report published before the result, but the full report is not due to be published after the result.

Former leader David Cunliffe had pushed for an early vote.

Nominations for the leadership will close on October 14. So far, only Cunliffe and Grant Robertson have said they will bid for the leadership, while David Shearer is also thought to be considering a run.

Barnett said meetings with party members would be held from October 22 to November 11.

"Our leadership  election process is a wonderful expression of party democracy, involving all Party members, all 7 affiliates and all 32 Labour Members of Parliament," Barnett said.

"It is a rigorous test of leadership qualities.  Its’ outcome will be crucial to our Party’s single-minded determination to learn from our election result and regroup for victory in 2017," he said.

But bitter infighting goes on...

Meanwhile, Labour's caucus writhed through another round of self-inflicted disembowelling yesterday as David Cunliffe's wife, Karen Price, confirmed she sent tweets calling for the removal of 'ABC' (Anyone But Cunliffe) 'ringleaders' Trevor Mallard and Clayton Cosgrove.

Price apologised for the tweets and said David Cunliffe was not aware she had set up the account or sent the tweets.

"Our family has been under intense media pressure since the election. My actions were ill-judged and were the result of extreme frustration and trying to look after my husband and family," Price said in a statement.

Cunliffe also denied he was aware of the tweets, even though he was listed as the first follower. He said the account in his name had been set up to auto-follow those who followed him.

He pointed out he hadn't been able to access Twitter since the Christchurch East election when he used it to accidentally breach electoral laws and his staff then locked him out of the account.

"That account did follow us and then later unfollowed us, and it was followed when it first followed us," he told television reporters to much head shaking.

Mallard declined comment, but Cosgrove hit back, saying it was sad Cunliffe was using family members to carry out "gutter politics". He also said he would have known if his partner had done such a thing.

See all my previous election diaries here.

See the index for's special election policy comparison pages here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment or click on the "Register" link below a comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.


Somebody needs to stand on the basis that they will hold the reigns while the party undertakes a thourough review and develop a plan for the party that is widely supported.  They should promise to then stand down and fresh elections held in the context of a unified party that knows where it is going.  The two current aspirants with their desperate grasp for power at any cost are demonstrating that they are totally unuitable.

Time for David Parker to stand tall here.

Just an exercise to re-arrange the deck chairs, but the ending will still be the same.. 2020

... here's a test for the NZ Labour Party ... put up a list of potential candidates ...David Cunliffe / Grant Robertson / David Shearer / Goofy Phil ...  and against each name , write  " Bernard Hickey " ...
And the question at the top of the page is : " Who would you prefer to be leader of the Labour Party ? " ...
... I'm reckoning that a random poll of 1000 or more Kiwis would reveal not one would tick anyone against our own Big Hickster ... Bernie would thrash all the incumbent potential potentates hands down ...
Unless one particular abode in Herne Bay was included , and the lady of the house stopped twittering long enough to place her vote !

If Labour keep this up they'll have to rebrand.........And if they all tick'll be the Hickey Party........suck until you bleed will keep National in for a very long time.........very astute play there Mr Gummster.......always thinking ahead!!

... I was thinking Labour could utilise Bernard's initials , " B.H. " , and rebrand themselves as the Big Head Party !
But the fault in that line of marketing would be that most folks would naturally assume that a political grouping called the " NZ Big Head Party " was in fact being run by David Cunliffe ...

See above, this says it all
"That account did follow us and then later unfollowed us, and it was followed when it first followed us," he told television reporters to much head shaking.
Why are the the Greens, NZFirst and others not comming forward to take Labours place.
Labour is DEAD it will not survive - Ill bet on it. Below 20 at the next election.

Because they are following then unfollowing....and then they are following when the already first followed......

I think NZFirst prefers to try for second - as a kingmaker, getting a few MP's in - rather than fight for pole position.   Which I suspect is why we have a National Government...

I don't understand, the latest Muppets movie "Most Wanted" received so many good reviews and accolades.. then why is Labour doing so badly..? After all both are about a bunch of muppets..!

""Our leadership  election process is a wonderful expression of party democracy, involving all Party members, all 7 affiliates and all 32 Labour Members of Parliament," Barnett said."

Again I say - they're only focussed on internal philosophies, not on real people, not on NZ.

Like NZ gives a .... about how lovely your leadership process is.

How are you going to improve our country?
How are you going to improve your citizens lives?  (do they really think that forcing us to fit into the Procrustian Bed so we too have a wonderful expression of citizen behaviour?)

Only the people who voted labour will follow the process..... not many of us...

tim12 : I didn't vote for them , but I'm getting alotta pleasure out of watching Labour eat their own entrails !
... there's a story going around that Mrs Price-Cunliffe wandered into the latest Labour party meeting brandishing a loaded Colt 45 , screaming that she'd shoot all those who weren't fully in support of her hubby as leader ....
And Clayton Cosgrove shouted back at her , " you'll need a lot more ammo than that , then ! "

Over time they will sort themselves out. Every party goes through these things from time to time.
What I have a problem with is that the taxpayer funds the contender's (what about the entourage?) transport costs. In my opinion that should be a party issue. Get more donations to pay for it if the party does not have the reserves, but don't make internal party problems a cost to the public at large. And if they can't sort it out the party deserves oblivion, not more tax money.
Unless an employer really wants you (and we clearly did not want Cunliffe) the applicant pays his own way to and from the interview. No different here, the contenders want the big job - convince your employer that you deserve it.
To avoid misunderstanding: that would apply to all parties.