Is Labour still a major party?

What differentiates the major parties from the minor ones?

The number of members, the number of MPs and the ability to stand candidates in every electorate would be a good start.

Labour got a boost in membership from its leadership contest last year but any reports I’ve seen don’t number its members in 10s of thousands.

It is the party with the second most MPs in parliament and even the worst polls don’t suggest it will come third.

But  Matthew Beveridge has a tweet from Colmar Brunton showing how the Labour and Green Party votes have been converging.

Labour does still field candidates in all electorates but reopening of selections suggests it had trouble getting candidates in some electorates and there are questions over the ability of several.

The Rangitata candidate Steven Gibson was forced to apologise after calling John Key Shylock and Gordon Dickson in neighbouring Selwyn does his party and himself no credit with this bizarre email to Radio Live’s Lloyd Burr:

It must be hard for Labour to get good candidates in the bigger blue seats it has no chance of winning because of the extra difficulty and cost of campaigning in bigger areas.

Every party takes a risk with new candidates but the behaviour of these two suggests Labour might have been better without them.

However, being unable to field candidates in every seat would be a sign Labour is in danger of losing its claim to being a major party.

12 Responses to Is Labour still a major party?

  1. n says:

    Does all seats include the Maori seats, cause you know…


  2. Adolf Fiinkensein says:

    They appear to be a minor party in Selwyn, judging by the quality of their candidate.


  3. homepaddock says:

    n – I was careful to say could not do.


  4. scrubone says:

    I’ve seen fairly good analysis pointing to this (weirdly) being a serious Labour strategy. At least, their strategy is to transform their party into one that panders to a small select set of pressure groups that have narrow appeal across the country – e.g. radical feminism.


  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    I think party fortunes fluctuate a lot remember the same could have been said of National in 2002 when it only got 20% of the vote. In one opinion poll the Greens got up to 17% so that is only 3 points difference. Also remember that Labour does better on election day than polling predicts and National always drops, this is partly because most polling uses land lines and a greater number of people don’t have one (younger people and less affluent). The only poll not to rely on land lines is Roy Morgan and they put Labour higher and National lower in their last survey.

    I do agree that Labour and the Greens are getting closer and we are probably heading to a three party situation. The Greens have been growing steadily over the last few elections in membership size and organizational capacity. It is quite possible that we will have three parties getting over 20% in opinion polls which will see interesting developments in the future.

    If you just use coverage of candidates as an indication of a party’s capacity then the Conservatives would be the fourth largest party.

    If National ended up in opposition and John Key retired, National could very well end up in a situation of 20% support again and struggling to attract good candidates, it already struggles to get capable woman based on current ratios.


  6. Gravedodger says:

    @ Kennedy dining out on a modified belief system since whenever!

    Not a lot of public info on polling methodology apart from informed guessingexists and the mantra around landlines is garbage.

    Polling is highly competitive and most polling entities are very jealous of their systems as they compete to be the most accurate and relevant.

    The Benglish nadir was an outcome in the early formative days of MMP that is still today embryonic in structure, a faact being ruthlessly exploited by Herr Schmitz and the vacuous socialists whose only driver is to “get John Key” for one reason. He is seen as a roadblock to their aspirations.
    Dunne in those heady days received a bucket load of Nat Voters following a very magnified effect generated by a worm.
    At the same time a raft of other disillusioned Nats going with a recent departure lounge steward wearing a pin striped suit and acting as a statesman, a far cry from the capricious old war horse dominating last nights extended Seven Sharp.

    Your claim that National is troubled in finding new talent and your deprecating remark around females only reveals an intellectual deficit on your part.
    National has replaced around 30% of those elected in 2011 and subsequently admitted over the term and imo the replacements in no measure reduce the inherent strength of the team, all accomplished with barely a political ripple.

    It is called renewal in the real world and dumping David Hay because he dared to challenge the obsequious subservience to the xxxx communist was not renewal that was simple arse protection using brute force over persuasion.

    Name a single retiring National MP who has shown anything other than natural disappointment and compare that with the rather more unseemly, bitter and unpleasant exit of Mr Hay.

    As to your rather derogatory comment around women and their wish to join the rather harsh environment around NZ politics in the Parliament, they are no more than a dream that ignores the best to satisfy a meaningless mantra of equality is plain and simple compost, only relevant when rotted.

    Many National oriented women such as our ever gracious host find outlets and opportunities to serve their nation politically without stepping into the ring whereas I could name several mps of all genders and orientations who would never pass go if candidate quality was the only criteria.
    To name them here would lower me to the level of your drivel based critique.


  7. Paranormal says:

    DK – in your analysis you’ve ignored the obvious.

    The Greens are doing well at present because Liarbour is doing so poorly. When Liarbour get their act together again the Greens will suffer as those tribal left voters currently supporting Greens (probably without too deep an understanding of what they’re supporting) flood back ‘home’.

    You ignore the fact this happened with National when blenglish was removed following the 2002 debacle and under Don Brash Nat voters flooded home from Act, UF and WF.


  8. Adolf Fiinkensein says:

    Dave Kennedy

    And if Hitler had not invaded Russia he might have won the war.


  9. Marc Williams says:

    To be fair, it’s not only Labour who can have problems with quality of candidates, or end up with something that was presented as one thing but with deceptive packaging: Gilmore, Hauiti, Kopu, Arsene-L come to mind.


  10. Gravedodger says:

    To be more specific Marc where are Hauiti and Gilmore now, then add in Worth, Ex Rakia MP Connell and we start to get the picture of the true worth, pun excused, of the very enlightened 90 day law around employment.

    However those with head in sand syndrome just let them stay, reduce efficiency and productivity.

    Sheesh Trev the Muss has been there for how long. Hiss.


  11. J Bloggs says:

    Paranormal – I’d suggest that rather than ‘when’ Labour get thier act together, it could well be ‘if’. To a growing number of youth, the party of choice on the left is the Greens, not Labour. I can see a time in the not too distant future where the 2nd largest party is the Greens. I think many in the Labour party core don’t realise just how precarious the party’s position is.

    I don’t see National dropping away to the same extent. Thier move to the centre has lsot some support to the fringes (ACT/Conservatives), but have picked up much of the more centrist labour supporters. Barring a hard right shift, National is in a stronger postition, and I reckon have a stronger line-up in waiting.

    And regarding women in the national party – Paula Bennett will be the next female prime minister from the National Party.


  12. Judge Holden says:

    “Paula Bennett will be the next female prime minister from the National Party.”

    Right, and a month ago that was Judith Collins. Whatever happened to her?


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