Labour now has a new leader – Andrew Little. I’d expected him to win, purely due to union support. Which is basically what ended up happening.
Here’s a round-by-round break-down:
- Round 1: Robertson – 14, Parker – 7, Mahuta – 6, Little – 5
- Round 2: Robertson – 14, Little – 11, Parker – 7
- Round 3: Robertson – 18, Little – 14
- Round 1: Robertson – 38%, Little – 26%, Parker – 22%, Mahuta – 14%
- Round 2: Robertson – 41%, Little – 34%, Parker – 25%
- Round 3: Robertson – 55%, Little – 45%
- Round 1: Little – 64%, Robertson – 19%, Mahuta – 10%, Parker – 7%
- Round 2: Little – 71%, Robertson 20%, Parker – 9%
- Round 3: Little – 76%, Robertson – 24%
That means that in the final round, Little beat Grant Roberston by just 1%: 50.5% to 49.5%.
But just look at those round-by-round numbers – they make for terrible reading. For a start, Little comprehensively lost to Robertson in both the caucus and membership votes. Robertson was the most popular candidate in all three rounds for both the caucus and member voters. Andrew Little is now the party leader simply because he’s the former head of the EPMU, and the unions therefore overwhelmingly sided with him.
Little came dead last in the caucus vote in the first round. Just four other MPs (assuming Little voted for himself) thought that Little was the best choice. (It’s certainly a win for the Maori caucus though – all of Nanaia Mahuta’s caucus supporters second-preferenced Little. If just one had gone with Robertson instead, Robertson would have been leader. Andrew Little owes the Maori caucus big-time.)
Robertson maintained a consistent lead of about 10% over Little among the members in each of the three rounds.
Last leadership contest, the members got their way in the face of caucus opposition. That didn’t end well. This time round, neither the caucus nor the members got their way. Instead, the new leader is beholden to the unions.
Can the Labour caucus pull in behind Little? Or will we be in for yet another round of ‘White Ant the Leader’? How long will Labour be allowed to poll in the 20s before the whispering begins?
Time will tell.
In the meantime, National will have a field day, happily painting Little as a union apparatchik, unwanted by the members, unwanted by his own caucus.