“Labour’s three factions” and talk of coups

Last week Chris Trotter alluded to three Labour factions in a satirical post at The Daily Blog – Lies, Damned Lies and Imagined Conversations.

“So, now the Labour caucus is divided into three, roughly equal groups, Goff’s and King’s rear-guard of has-beens and Beagle Boys – with Mr Mumbles as their figurehead. David’s loyal ten, and Robertson’s cast of the young and the restless. You must have at least one of the other factions, plus your own, to mount a successful coup.”

‘Eddie’ at The Standard has expanded on this theme in a post at The Standard – Labour’s Three Factions. Eddie knows about coups, he was a participant in the blog side of the supposed Cunliffe conference coup last November.

Broadly speaking though, Labour’s three factions are as follows:

The Right
David Shearer (leader)
Phil Goff
Annette King
David Parker
Clayton Cosgrove
Shane Jones
Damien O’Connor
Kris Fa’afoi
Ross Robertson

(total 9)

Within this faction is most of Labour’s experience, and it shows. While only a small minority in caucus, these guys know how to organise, scare, and run a solid internal political game. But while they’re good at the internal game, they’re completely shit at national politics as the last four years has shown.

Goff, King, and Cosgrove are the core, and they’re currently running the show. Fa’afoi seems an odd fit here, much newer and younger than the others; it could be because he was taken under King’s wing.

The Right hold five front bench positions.

The Left
David Cunliffe (leader)
Nanaia Mahuta
Louisa Wall
Sue Moroney
Su’a William Sio
Lianne Dalziel
Parekura Horomia
Rajen Prasad
Rino Tirikatene
Carol Beaumont
Raymond Huo
Moana Mackey
Iain Lees-Galloway
Andrew Little

This is the largest and most diverse faction. You’ll find most of caucus’ Maori and women here. They haven’t done well with organising internally, and it shows because they’re currently out in the cold. But a lot of members believe this is real Labour – there is not a single former parliamentary staffer in these ranks.

Andrew Little is a bit of wild card here, while his politics are firmly left you can’t count him on him voting for any one particular faction. The Left hold no front bench positions.

(total 14)

The Careerist Left
Grant Robertson (leader)
Chris Hipkins
Jacinda Ardern
Phil Twyford
Clare Curran
Maryan Street
David Clark
Trevor Mallard
Darien Fenton
Megan Woods
Ruth Dyson

(total 11)

Of the 11 MPs in the Careerist Left, 7 are former parliamentary staffers. This group has some good people but there’s a strong thread of personal advancement running through it, which is why they’ve brokered a deal with the Right.

Robertson is wary of the ‘Left’ faction, because he doesn’t think he’ll do as well out of a deal with Cunliffe.

Many of his backers have made the same decision, and they’ve been duly rewarded in the reshuffle. Mallard and Dyson are in this faction by accident – they simply don’t like Cunliffe.

Street is an odd fit with this faction, and no one I’ve talked to can explain what she’s doing there.

None of the factions by themselves have the numbers to control caucus, which is why the Right has built an alliance with Careerist Left. That’s who’s in charge now.

Eddie’s post has more detail – there is likely to be a lot of discussion on this at The Standard so keep a watch there, it has already started.

While open to debate this is very interesting – especially as it has been claimed vehemently at The Standard in the past that Eddie is just one individual author expressing his opinion. Like…

As for the Left faction, you may be wondering why they failed to trigger a leadership vote in February when their faction had one more vote than they needed.

It was simple bluffing. Moana Mackey and Iain Lees-Galloway voted Shearer because they thought he had the votes, and quite sensibly didn’t want to be punished by the Right – though it doesn’t look like it did either of them any good in the reshuffle.

How would an individual blogger at The Standard know exactly who voted for whom in a supposedly secret ballot? Note that it has been reported that Labour Whip Chris Hipkins was added to the secret ballot vote counting brigade ath the last minute.

Why has first Chris Trotter and then ‘Eddie’ trotted out this Labour faction speculation? It could be that Trotter’s post prompted Eddie to expand on the theme.

It may or may not be a coincident this is happening just after another major Shearer embarrassment for Labour.

Both Trotter and Eddie support Cunliffe replacing Shearer as party leader.

Is this an attempt at stirring up another coup attempt? Or just good healthy discussion of Labour’s dirty linen in public?

Keywords: popcorn, The Standard

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1 Comment

  1. Darryl

     /  25th March 2013

    LOL, Oh my God. Thanks for the comedy clip Pete.


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