Enter the Black Hat for Labour Party Leadership Contest



How does one settle the Labour Party leadership battle without too much blood on the floor? The rules can be as tight as they like, but Labour doesn’t need a self-mutilation, they’ve done that for 20 months and no voter is this politically sadistic.

The cooler heads will see the power a Cunliffe/Roberston tickets brings because the focus can’t be on the battle to come internally, it must be on the war to win externally.

That said, the membership and affiliates have demanded a say in who is leader and they must have one. The problem of a Cunliffe/Robertson fight is that it could get out of hand closing off any possibility of a relationship post the process.

So what may happen is Robertson bowing out early, but the need for a debate still exists, so enter the Black Hat. Labour’s new move to the left must sharpen itself against the right of the Party for dominance and a win of arguments. Shane Jones ably fills that role and can give the membership the internal philosophical debate it is yearning for and Jones gets to provide the process with a genuine intellectual rigor.

It also allows Cunliffe or Robertson the opportunity to pitch their vision to a membership thirsty for direction.

I think they should take the debates around the country’s town halls and live stream them. NZ has an interest in this debate and Labour could garner a social media interaction and interest they could never have dreamed of. Such a ticket result of Cunliffe/Robertson however would have to appreciate the immediate need to bring far more women into the front bench and see the need to promote stronger female candidates in the next election.

This should be seen as the opportunity for Labour’s leaders to espouse their vision and reshape the Party. This transformation is the possible rebirth of a genuine left wing Party that takes it to National.

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Trust the members.


  1. The winner takes all approach has been adopted. Those floundering with a future from camp ABC will obviously back Grant, and are not to be underestimated. However those smart enough that want to stick around will have softened their position. The membership & affiliates vote is resoundly in Cunliffe’s camp. The only interesting thing is who has DC chosen 
    as his deputy? The only one with a ‘perceived’ chance you can write off is Grant Robertson I’d say.

    • What??? Shearer gets the boot because he is too nice, Robertson is gay… Helen Clark is a woman…. Maybe John Key has trained everyone to think like a robot, not a human…. I think a gay prime minister would be awesome, and get N.Z on the map internationally for being onto it, not a manufactured personality. Did the media make an issue of Mr Robertson? Who is the best person for the job is all that matters, everything else is just personal information….

      • K and Kate, we should all grow up? We should all accept everybody at face value? OK sounds rational….I can live with that because I agree with you.

        Now for the real world….lots of people disagree with us. For lots of people being “gay”, or being a “unionist” or being a “green frog from outer space” is an issue. We can criticise. Now think about how angry you and I get when we are faced with an ingrained position we don’t like (e.g RC positions on social issues)…..now put that boot on the other foot. And that is our problem on the Left, we are not good at envisaging others viewpoints, let alone allowing them any validity or inclusivity. To merely tell people that their view is outdated and outmoded is a good way to drive a wedge and pick a fight.

        Being grown up means that we give people credence for views we don’t agree with and work out how we work through the issue.

  2. That is a sign that Labour is being pragmatic (it’s a moot point whether they’re being too pragmatic), it is NZ that needs to grow up as you say.

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