I’m going through the recommendations of the review in no particular order. I don’t have a lot of time this evening, so I’m going to focus on one of the smaller recommendations: how Labour engages with it’s affiliated organisations.
Here is the recommendation which has been endorsed by the New Zealand Council:
Strong relationships with affiliates will be enhanced at local level through LECs and industrial branches and also through the regional organising hubs and New Zealand Council.
Unlike many of the other recommendations, this one is not accompanied by any rule changes – presumably the rules as they stand are adequate to facilitate the intended stronger relationships with affiliates.
TTammany thing that stands out to me is that these recommendations are somewhat different to the recommendations that were proposed in the original May 2012 discussion document, which included:
d) We discuss with affiliated unions ways of optimising affiliation.
e) We investigate means of affiliation for groups in the community.
So it’s interesting that the endorsed recommendations have dropped the desire to see more groups affiliated to the party.
The Labour Party currently has six affiliates, all trade unions (RMTU, MWU, DWU, EPMU, MUNZ, SFWU). During the consultation phase I heard several people suggest that the Party look to bring other groups on board as affiliates, or through some other relationship. I think that would be a healthy thing. For example, in the UK the Labour Party lists amongst its affiliates a range of non-trade union affiliates such as the Fabian Society and the Christian Socialist Movement. In the Herald today, Claire Trevett suggests the Ratana Church as a potential future affiliate.
There are also some other aspects of the review (leadership elections, selections, branch membership etc which will indirectly impact on affiliates, I’ll be touching on those in future posts.
In summary, I think that the review could have been bolder regarding affiliates, and it’s a shame we don’t have any concrete recommendations to “optimise affiliation” or to encourage new affiliates, as both were suggested in the May discussion document.