Labour’s review – first steps

All New Zealand Labour Party members will have received an email this morning from Party President , Moira Coatsworth, about the first stage of Labour’s internal review (click to see the email).

At Congress I promised to lead an organisational review of the Party after the election. That review is now urgent to contribute to revitalising our Party to win government in 2014. The next steps for the review are these.

This Friday a committee of New Zealand Council will work further on the review scope.

If you have comments about what the review needs to include and how it should be done please have your say.

Send your comments to by Friday at 10am.

It’s a very short time frame, and I have mixed feelings about this. No branches will have an opportunity to meet to discuss how they may choose to approach the review. That said, it does show that Coatsworth is very committed to getting this going, and not leaving the review on the back burner.

If you are a member, I would strongly encourage you to submit your views. The leadership of the party at the very least need to understand that this is a process that the grassroots want to engage with. Later in the week I’ll be sending my thoughts in, and I’ll share them here.

To get you started, it might pay to look at what our sister parties have done in this space, very recently. Both the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the British Labour Party (UKLP) have undergone or are in the process of completing reviews.

The ALP’s Review 2010 was wide-ranging in scope, and executed by party giants Steve Bracks, John Faulkner and Bob Carr. My understanding is the final stages of it were taken to the ALP conference this past weekend. I know several people who were there will be reading this – if anyone wants to write something about the process they would be more than welcome!

The terms of reference the ALP used were:

  • The need to review and modernise Labor’s vision and purpose in the 21st century.
  • The need to broaden participation in the Party to ensure a greater say for members, supporters and stakeholders.
  • The need to improve dialogue and engagement between progressive Australians and the Party, including progressive third party organisations.

Review 2010 had a vast consultation process…

2 Consultations

2.1 The Review Committee visited every state and territory capital and parts of regional Queensland in developing this Review Report and its recommendations. The committee held membership forums in Cairns, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart. The forums were attended by hundreds of Party members.

2.2 The Review also received written submissions from Party members, organisations and supporters from right around the country. Submissions were primarily received through the specially created Review 2010 website ( members and supporters also lodged written submissions with the Review. All submissions were read and acknowledged by the Review Committee. Over 800 submissions were received through this process, all of a very high quality. The Review Committee believes this is the highest number of submissions received by a national review in the Party’s history, demonstrating the deep interest and  concern our members and supporters have in the Party’s future.

2.3 For the first time, the Review also made use of online consultation forums through The Review created a ‘Think Tank’ area for members and supporters to put forward their brief suggestions for Party reform. An extraordinary 3500 members and supporters chose to participate in the Review in this way. These short submissions were then compiled into one document, with views highlighted and aggregated. A number of recommendations for this report are directly drawn from this consultative process.

2.4 The Review conducted a series of interviews with leaders and prominent members of our Party, at parliamentary, industrial and organisational levels.

2.5 The Review Committee has also examined the recommendations of previous review reports commissioned by the Party. In particular, the 2010 National Review is indebted to the work done by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and former Premier Neville Wran in 2001, the so-called ‘Hawke–Wran Review’, which generated the last serious reform process in the Australian Labor Party

The UKLP’s Refounding Labour project seems to have concluded, and there are plenty of resources available here (click download campaign resources to get to the goodies). I can’t seem to find much about how they conducted the process itself, but I do believe I may have one of the early consultation documents saved somewhere – I’ll try to dig it out. The one piece of relevant information that a quick Google reveals is that not all were happy with the process – a cautionary tale for us here in New Zealand.

In my mind, there is no reason that the New Zealand Labour Party could not do something similar. To be blunt, our future depends on it. I’d urge you all to get involved, and to send your views in.