Top 9 Left wing potential ‘Corbyn/Sanders’ candidates in NZ politics



With the astounding win by Corbyn and rising support for Sanders, attention turns to the sad state of the NZ political environment for a progressive Left leader who could build a similar political momentum in NZ for 2020.

That date could be circuit broken and fast tracked to 2017 if the speculative housing market bubble in Auckland pops. The majority of the middle are backing Key because they earn more from the annual increases in their property valuations than they do from their actual jobs and they’ll only find their political conscience and vote left once that illusion of wealth melts down.

Until then, the political gatekeepers that killed off Cunliffe’s attempt to move Labour to the Left will still control the opposition to focus on not spooking the middle. That changes if an economic down turn ignites anger and those political gatekeepers get swamped by populist backing of a candidate speaking to that anger.

So who in the NZ Political spectrum could be a progressive left candidate to take up the challenge? Firstly, there are only two candidates right now with that potential (ranked at 2 and 1), but there are a few in the pipeline. It’s not just their intellectual pedigree that counts, it must be the ability to be great orators and an ability to connect with the missing million voters. Part of the issue is that the candidate needs to be seen with new eyes or be new themselves, National parachute leaders in when they need, Labour last tried that with David Lange. Here are the top 9 candidates on the Left with that combination of skills.

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It’s not a top 10 list because we don’t have 10.

9 – Robert Reid
National secretary of First Union. He has huge mana and a no nonsense strong media presence. Would be the closest to Corbyn the NZ Left has.

8 – Morgan Godfery
It’s just a matter of time before the Labour Party wake up to how good Morgan is and how much an asset he would be. The Greens and Maori Party would be mad to overlook him if Labour miss their opportunity. He is intelligent, articulate, well respected amongst the Left and would make a mighty leader. Maybe 2023 election?

7 – Erin Polaczuk
National secretary of the PSA, part of the new generation of Union leadership. Erin’s intelligence and mana make her one of the next voices to move the union movement forward in NZ. Either 2020 election or 2023 election.

6 – Jacinda Ardern
If Jacinda articulates a strong left wing position, she could easily step into the role of our version of Corbyn, but Labour’s current middle ground stance leaves her with very little rhetoric to hammer out an authentic voice and this has been her problem since she entered politics. 2020 election if Labour lose 2017.

5 – Efeso Collins
Efeso Collins has a huge personality, a strong Pacific Island community background and incredible oratory skills. His potential to give Pacific Islanders real voice would have great cross over appeal. 2020 election.

4 – Andrew Dean
Author of Roger, Ruth and Me – Andrew Dean’s book is probably the most revolutionary text to be printed in NZ since ‘I’ve been thinking’ by Prebble. His understanding of how Gen X and Y have been robbed of an idealogical compass by consumerism and user pays culture is the exact sort of narrative if articulated passionately that could bring together those generations into a powerful political vehicle. 2023 election.

3 – Michael Wood
Most likely to get the nod when/if Goff stands down from Mt Roskill if/when Goff runs for Auckland Mayor. Wood is incredibly smart, very left and has potential to be a whole new movement within Labour. Articulate and witty, he has a self assurance that connects with people and has huge cross over appeal. 2023 election.

2 – John Campbell
If John ever walked away from Radio NZ, Labour would be lucky to parachute him in as Leader. He has strong social justice credentials, is an excellent communicator and most importantly has the optimism and hope message that would cross political schisms. He has the mana and nationwide recognition and he’s the only person who could do what Corbyn did right now. He could win 2017.

1- Marama Davidson
Marama coming in off the list with Norman stepping down is the best thing to happen to politics since Hone Harawira entered Parliament. An activist with a huge social media following, her humanity and kindness is welded together with a fierce social justice. Can lead and will be an amazing addition to the Greens. 2020 will be her moment to stand unless Metiria stands down before 2017 election and there will be a fight between Genter and Davidson for female co-leader.

Labour is too focused on wooing the middle to be too loud with any left wing ideas, and the Greens are eying the same electorate territory. With an economy that has been so prosperous for those with property, it’s hard to champion politics that threaten that prosperity for those who haven’t benefited, but if the economy turns, both Parties have enough political room to tack back left, but it will be up to one of the above to articulate and implement it.


  1. Good field there Martyn.

    Particularly like the idea of John Campbell leading Labour or any left wing political party. He’d suck in members and supporters like a ravenous whirlwind.

    Can I add someone else for number 10 candidate – Eleanor Catton.

    Eleanor is on the ball and wide awake to the squalid direction FJK and his sordid bunch of NatzKEYs are taking NZ. And she isn’t afraid to say as much either!

  2. We had Hone standing at the last two elections – he was saying pretty much the same things as Corbyn.
    MANA and the Greens put forward policies and rhetoric that are similar to Corbyn’s.

    But NZ Labour are nowhere close to that. I think we never realised Labour was so bad until Bomber made a top 9 contenders and Ardern was on the list. Ardern?…please no. Two years ago it was Cunliffe, and look at the policies he gave us – that was a sham.

    BTW, did anyone see David SHearer’s facebook post about Corbyn? I think he copied & pasted from the Daily Mail.

    The question is, why would anyone on the left vote for Labour. We have MMP, we should have voted Greens & Mana

  3. What happened to Mr Harawira? Surely he is far more like Corbyn than the rest of them given his longevity in the political areana.

    • Stupid. How many years has Corbyn been an MP? As opposed to Harawira, deserving as I am sure you feel he is.. We need better trolls.

    • Your mates the neo liberals couldn’t stand the truth so they unified to ensure more of the same elitist hegemony…

      To the point even Key was admonishing his National supporters – yes National supporters , of all people – to vote for the neo liberal Labour party member Kelvin Davis.

      If that doesn’t show the perniciousness of the neo liberal nothing will.

      They never did care for democracy or any particular party or policy- so long as its neo liberalism that’s all that matters for them.

      And that’s why its such a very dangerous ideology that has to – and will – go.

  4. …any of these for the TOP NINE

    Laila Harre?…Sue Bradford?….Annette Sykes?….Hone Harawira?….David Cunliffe?…John Minto?….Winston Peters?….Poto Williams?….Jeanette Fitzsimmons?….Russel Norman?….Andrew Little?….Kim Dotcom?… Steffan Browning?…Catherine Delahunty?…Metiria Turei…?..Julie Anne Genter?…Kennedy Graham?….Gareth Hughes?….Eugenie Sage?….

    • Kennedy Graham is most definitely not left Wing, Not is Julie Anne Genter, she would like them to more towards the centre and I am not really that conviced thaat Eugenie Sage is either – I know these people, I am in the party.

      Winston Peters has always as we all know run with the hares or the hounds whatever suits, he is not traditionally left wing.

      Not sure about Poto Williams, I doubt her left wing credentials.

      Kim Dotcom is not left wing, altho he supported Mana.

      • Poto Williams was imported into Christchurch from God knows where. Never see hide nor hair of her and hear even less. Another Auckland led initiative to stop the drift to the left down here.

        You can prolly tell from my tone that I think fuck all of Labour these days. Rather vote Mana…

  5. Although the character analyses are suitable, I still wonder if NZ has a large enough voting population to make it possible for the true left to ever have a serious chance of regaining the treasury benches. Britain has a lot more people than NZ so political comparisons are always problematic. The political landscape has changed so much over the past 40 or so that the definition of “left” is probably a lot different now than it was then.
    Still, good luck to Jeremy Corbyn. May his success provide some inspiration over this side of the world.

  6. We need to remember that Corbyn’s success surprised even himself – it just so happened that the views he had held for a long time gained a platform and with that a large, enthusiastic audience. His views were not adopted as a political angle, they were long-held, and this by itself played a big part in his attractiveness. But if we are going to list left wingers with the potential to make a real difference, shouldn’t Carmel Sepuloni be on it?

  7. IMO Corbyn and Sanders have even less of winning than Cunliffe did here. Just watch the MSM/corporations manipulate the apparently mostly brainless masses into voting for the preferred candidates with a combination of slick advertising, wedge issues (guns, gays, god and now immigrants) and various “dirty politics” smear campaigns. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Corbyn isn’t ultimately even allowed to run in the 2020 UK elections (it’s a very long time away) – i.e. he will be ousted in a Labour Party coup.

  8. Oh my God!

    I actually agree with Gosman! Bring the straight jacket lads…

    I’m guessing Gosman is playing around with sarcasm (I really hope so) but what he said is exactly my response to your blog Martyn. Hone has terrific credentials and is as plain and blunt spoken as Corbyn. He is also a true leftie and not a cardboard replica as are mostt of NZ Labour’s caucus.

    For a while he was the only honest politician in parliament.

    Any particular reason you have left him out?

    The leader doesn’t necessarily have to come from the NZ Labour Party do they? It didn’t seem to matter with Shearer. The fact is that there is NOONE in the current set up of Labour that comes close to being like Corbyn.

    As for the others in your selection…

    I have absolutely no idea whom most of these people are. Is this yet another Auckland thing? Those of us living on the mainland are just expected to follow the lead of the Big A are we?

    Ho hum Martyn, ho hum!

  9. I can tell you now that the positioning by Phil towards another potential candidate will mean that it will be a two or even three way fight for Mt Roskill. Wood has been standing for Labour since 2002, maybe its better he focuses on his Local Board instead, there is plenty of other up and coming talent who needs to come through. Wood needs look at standing on a pure Labour Ticket for the Local Board rather than with his Green Party aligned wife in a ‘City Vision’esk ticket, maybe it would help to rebuild the reputation of Labour in Mt Roskill which looks far too pale blue then blood red as it used to.

    • Realistically, you need a waka jumper to get started. No party in NZ since MMP has got any MPs without first having a waka jumper. Conservatives got close last time but they are the only ones to have got near.
      Getting 5% is a big ask, even bigger is getting a new electorate MP.

      Time to have a look around who’s already an MP and not getting what they want from their party – and is solid left.

  10. Britain has Corbyn, America has Sanders, NZ has…?

    ……. so far: NZ has very LITTLE.
    Tik Tok Tik Tok @ Andrew.

    Time’s running thin

  11. If labour NOW realises what Brits have, that “people are more important then banks” then labour should say it time & time again until it becomes ingrained as the truth, then labour need to rehearse all the old values that founded labour in the first place , then maybe they may have a chance at increasing their popularity again.

    As to getting John Campbell as leader yes! yes! yes!.

    John is uncannily very similar to Corbyn with a younger face, and an equal amount of honesty and dignity.

    He is a magnet for those of us who need to believe again in honest politicians not Warner brothers manufactured plastic faced slick mouths.

  12. Martyn, I note your comment on Labour & the Greens wooing the middle ground. Under MMP this is the only way to win an election. How many were stupid enough to vote for something which is a dog.

    • No, what it takes is for sentiment to shift, thus shifting the middle, if enough people get pissed off then it will happen, and I think enough people will get pissed off

  13. Labour, Greens and NZF will have to work together otherwise we will have to look forward to another 3 years of John Key, Bill English, Paula Bennett and Jeremy Brownlee!!!

    • Right on Jack.

      Labour and Greens must harvest votes strategically. Putting up candidates against each other and splitting the left of centre vote is suicidal and may be deliberate.

      What is their impedimenta to agreeing and winning.

      Corban recognises that Banks are the killer.
      Our last MP to mention the state printing money was severely attacked publicly by MSM and to follow that up he has had personal repercussions since and now left parliamentary politics. Jim Anderton and Big Norm signalled restriction to banks free moneygoround and suffered similar attacks. Norm is dead.

      Five US presidents also suffered tragically and some fatally.

      Labour Greens and Mana must work together.

  14. What about Bryan Bruce? I have been following him and what he has been saying since his Child Poverty Documentary sounds very similar to Corbyn. For example he often talks about a we society as opposed to the current me society.

    • Indeed, Karen. I’ve heard Bryan speak at a recent anti-TPPA rally, and he spoke well.

      Either Bryan or John Campbell.

      However, having said that…


      No more leadership changes.

      As I’ve said before, if Labour changes it’s leaders each time they lose an election, it indicated to the populace that they never had faith in him in the first place. And if Labour didn’t have faith in him – why should they expect the rest of us to?

  15. USA has Bernie Sanders, Britain has Jeremy Corbyn, NZ has a few years to catch up.
    Remember UK and especially the US have received their caning from the GFC, for a while there, it looked like the States might not even survive. Their “recovery” is leaving a lot of people behind and they are becoming disillusioned with the status quo. The rise of Sanders in the States is really quite startling I think.
    We have dodged/delayed/disguised the GFC but I think our turn is coming. Its been a bit more of a slow burn here, so it hasn’t been cataclysmic, but it is grinding Average Joe Kiwi down. Very soon the people who cannot foresee themselves ever owning their own home, are stuck in this pre-cariat “flexible” workforce who will be the middle and they will be seeking someone like Sanders or Corbyn.
    I don’t think we know that person’s name yet.

  16. What a sad list. Out of all of them would put Robert Reid first. In politics you need to be tough as well. Not all people good with rhetoric are doers. Reid has shown he’s a doer, he’s walked the talk and can tough it out with the Boags etc. Apart from him not that keen on any others.

  17. The left lost because of dirty tricks by National,who had/have more money to bribe and convince people to follow them.
    Labour has no one sneaky and strong enough to overcome the right.
    To be a candidate for left leadership the candidate has to be squeaky clean,any small misdemeanour will be discovered by the spy agencies,via Whaleoils cronies,at the behest of Key,and used in large headlines by MSM.
    There are more secrets in National party than anyone can point a stick at, but they control the spies and hackers. so unless the left can get the goods on National and make them heard ,no hope.

    What about Nicky Hagar and John Minto, neither are afraid of sticking their neck out,and digging the goods.
    Nicky Hagar gave NZ the perfect tool to oust Key and National,but Keys attack machine went into high gear, the public are more aware now of Keys operating tricks and his “Labour is to blame” lies for all his own cockups,hes become a joke,and the left should use that against Key.
    Gone are the days of gentleman MPs if there ever was such a thing, now its fight fire with fire,Hagar and Minto know how to do that,
    Campbell with these two behind him would be just great.

  18. Remind me please:

    1. How many people voted in the last election in Britain?
    2. How many people voted to decide who the new Labour leader would be?
    3. What percentage of #1 is #2?

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