Waatea News Column: Why the factions inside Labour matter more than ever in a Majority Government


One of the most interesting changes with a majority Government is the re-emergence of the importance of the factions inside a Party.

Throughout MMP, the friction for change has been the agreement between the parties, but in a majority Government situation, the friction for change comes from the factions inside the Party instead.

This is fascinating because the largest faction is the Māori Caucus which gives them enormous power if they chose to flex it.

One of the left’s great political heroes in NZ has always been Michael Joseph Savage who is credited with the building of the welfare state.

What is NOT well known is that it was Savage’s Caucus who forced the hand of the Labour Leader time and time and time again. He was just as cautious as Jacinda, but he faced a Caucus who were determined to force change.

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If that is to happen under Jacinda, it will be the Māori Caucus doing the pushing.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. The election result, is like a starting a fire in a forest already ablaze, so how to stop, simple we are in charge, then lets you dictate your charge, heavy on monetary management, death of Socialist understanding governing control, why social Austerity, playing Capitalism!s profit cancer GAME, that only profit prospers,what you recon on all these ACT BEING BLOODED shall after sucking off the states tits will be around the next three years, these parasites brain dead not understanding that,with their vision of charter schools benefit cards, saying its for your good. They also saying, profit our being Aotearoa, really . In 19 20 Germany, not Germany, became known as the Waimar, republic, got the old Germany, now Waimar, buy a loaf of bread, cost a barrow load of Marks, for afford a ,loaf. Buy a American dollar, one point four million Marks, he! Adolf, how it going. cAPITALISM WHAT A CANCER ON OUR BREATH BEING HUMANITY.

  2. 690 views and no comments. I think they all thought Jacinda made all the decisions. Of course all the real decisions are made behind closed doors and although Jacinda is part of that that’s all she is. Quite rightly Martyn is exploring the road to change with a one party Government. He’s on the money but are there enough (any) members of the cabinet or the extended caucus who would have nous to make real change. Going on what we’ve seen the number of capable ministers can be counted on one hand in my opinion so I’m not holding my breath. Maybe the dominant Maori caucus can make a difference but does the experience needed match with the numbers. We’ll find out.

    • New view people can only get experience when they are given a chance to prove themselves. That is why the Ministers have experienced staff members who they consult and take advice from. The people of this country have spoken with their votes on who they prefer and the strong team (National offered) didn’t make it this time. And you may need to ask yourself, why is that. Perhaps it has something to do with them not being such a strong team. They went through many leaders and many of their experienced team left. Again you may want to ask why did they leave. Lets see what the review turns up.

  3. This is a good site to mention the lack of enthusiasm overall from the Left Interested for this govt. Chris Trotter tries to make a case. 49% and not us is a death sentence at the next election.

    Referring to New view, terrible talent and only Maori matter. I have a dim view of the latter’s ability to act. I take it this article is about them. Don’t you have to be a dud to be a Labour Maori MP?

  4. I want Maori Labour MPs to force Labour to look after their needy cousins. Anything they do will be acceptable. But they seem as vile as Jacinda and Grant, on the surface. Preferring career advancement over representing their people.

    There are no factions in the formless Labour Party. Just the 2 scaredy cats. Fonder of their CVs than anything. Seem to think Helen Clark is a sure solidity on which everything can be based.

    Why we adults at the end of the Welfare State who understand it are vital. After us, apart from Martyn, who?

    • Sumsuch. As long as I can remember there have been high achieving Maori MP’s in Parliament, and in government; if functioning as a faction is how major social change is to come about, then so be it.

      My heart sank when I read that Ardern was on the phone daily to change-your-showerhead Clark, and I’d hoped that whoever reported that was just mischief-making – we’ve moved on from her. The issue is not the maintenance of power for any politicians, but the well-being of the whole populace facing massive and unknown challenges which the rigidity of time-expired neoliberalism doesn’t have the intellectual nous to deal with, and may not want to. Racial divisiveness isn’t even a practical political tool in the potpourri which
      New Zealand society now is, but the garnering of others’ talent and experience and outlook and philosophy is a no-brainer when we need fixing – not unreasonable to expect pollies to know that’s what they’re there to do.

      • The Labour Maori MPs have the power now — they’re the only ones that can prevent the PM from governing for Rangitata over the ever-waiting Maori poor.

        ‘Be kind’ ‘Governing for all NZers’. She and Grant continue to write their own indictment. Beautiful sentiments well expressed, and whatever their problem is with doing it. But we knew what their problem was when we voted against Grant for leader. Before them actually.

  5. There used to be some with half a conviction such as Willy. Alas as soon as they become ministers collective responsibility occurs and they become loyal maori stormtroopers. Don’t hold your breath bomber – otherwise you’ll end up like Kelvin.

    As a side note we used to think this way of Judith, that she would bring National back from the middle. Been there, done that.

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