An idea from the UK…

The governing body of the British Labour Party, outside of conference, is it’s National Executive Committee (NEC). It meets roughly monthly and directs the governance of the party. Here in New Zealand, the Labour Party has a New Zealand Council (NZC) which is similar in composition and purpose.

One of the constituency Labour Party representatives, Luke Akehurst, regularly blogs for the think tank Progress.  Once a month or so he will post his report from the NEC meeting. The most recent one is here.

This is streets ahead of where we are in New Zealand. While our NZC meetings are not a totally closed shop (though I have joked to one or two of the members that they should have robes and a secret handshake), there really seems to be a lack of two-way communication between many of the NZC members and the party members they are there to represent. Perhaps it’s because their reports back are only given verbally at certain party meetings – and no doubt many will feel that is adequate. But I really feel that our hierarchical party structure will only ever work if we improve our communication and operate much more openly and transparently.

Ultimately it’s things like this that require a cultural change within the party. We can have all the party reform consultations we want, and amend the constitution until the cows come home, but we’re not going to see real change unless we alter the way we operate.

1 thought on “An idea from the UK…”

  1. I strongly agree with your argument, and not so much because it is from UK, but because above all else we need openness and transparency if we are as political activists to win back the trust of those we want to vote for our ideas. If we want people to be engaged and politically active, then there must be an end to supporters being fodder and envelope stuffers.

    But then members must expect the rough and tumble of argument ( not about people) but about ideas. When you are seeking for the best way forward, it is not who you have on your side (power politics) but the quality of the argument. So you will be asked to defend your point of view. That was when Cabinet Committees were so good, when we had to argue our case. It wasn’t always as pure as that, but when it was, it was heaven.

    And that is what I would love for the Labour party.

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