3 days versus 93

In the first leadership change in ten years, since John Key took over from Don Brash on 27 November 2006, the National Party took 3 days to choose their new leader, Bill English.

On Twitter Peter Dunne as described it “as quick and slick a contest as I can recall”.

In contrast Labour have had four leadership contests that have taken a total of

Helen Clark stood down on 8 November 2008, immediately after losing the general election. Phil Goff took over unchallenged 3 days later, on 11 November.

Goff announced he would stand down as Labour leader on 29 November 2011, 3 days after losing the general election. David Shearer won leadership contest against David Cunliffe and took over on 13 December, 14 days later.

During Shearer’s time as leader the Labour party changed their rules on leadership contests, stipulating a voting arrangement involving a mix of caucus (40%), party members (40%) and unions (20%). This has extended the time taken to choose leaders.

Shearer resigned as leader on 22 August 2013. After  contesting the leadership against Grant Robertson and Shane Jones, Cunliffe became leader on 15 September, 24 days later.

After Labour lost the next election Cunliffe resigned as leader on 27 September 2014.  After a contest against Grant Robertson, David Parker and Nanaia Mahuta, Andrew Little took over on 18 November, 52 days later.

That’s a total of 93 days of leadership contesting in a decade, but the time taken has become increasingly long

Going effectively leaderless for a month or two stalls progress while in opposition but they can get away with it. If Labour get back into Government and have a contested leadership under their current rules the time taken to change Prime Ministers could be more of a problem.

Greens also have a membership vote in their leadership contests but they have co-leaders so don’t go rudderless, and they are not likely to have a Prime Minister.

Which may be just as well – Russel Norman announced he would stand down as co-leader on January 2015, and James Shaw eventually won against Kevin Hague on 30 May, over 4 months later.

NZ First and United Future have never had their leaderships contested.

Rodney Hide resigned as leader of the ACT Party on 28 April 2011, and Don Brash was appointed leader by the party board 2 days later.

When ACT did poorly in the 26 November 2011 election Brash resigned on election night.  As their only MP John Banks was de facto leader until being appointed officially by the board on 16 February 2012.

Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  9th December 2016

    Obviously Labour needs introduction to the KISS principle- Keep It Simple Silly! But of course Labour can’t keep things simple because they are PC. And political correctness takes what should be simple solutions based on objective reality and turns them into a convoluted freak show. We don’t need that time wasting madness in government. In fact we don’t need it full stop.

  2. Blazer

     /  9th December 2016

    Yes the NATZ win the Gold medal for changing leaders the quickest…..big….deal.

    • PDB

       /  9th December 2016

      The Nats win at everything positive – don’t be such a sore loser!

      • Blazer

         /  9th December 2016

        wonder when Crosby Textor,Goodfellow and co heard about Key resigning.I would say about September,and now the strategy is played out.So quick and efficient,anyone would think they’re just going through the….motions!

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th December 2016

    Labour struggle to run their party let alone the country. If they ran a corner dairy it would definitely go bust.

    • Blazer

       /  9th December 2016

      Once again…there is no correlation to running a country to running a Dairy.You have a propensity for showing you have NFI.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  9th December 2016

        You miss-spelt that word twice, B. It should read “ruining”.

  4. Gezza

     /  9th December 2016

    Things are looking good for National at dad’s rest home. From my informal polling at their knees up last night, two will be voting for Holyoake, one for Muldoon, my dad will be voting for Bruce Beetham’s party because he’ll never forgive Helen Clark for shutting down the Wellington Waterfront in 1951, & Betty, whose memory’s still functioning ok, will be voting for Winston.


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