Regeneration for Labour?

It’s been fairly well known that the Labour Party has needed some major regeneration since 2008 and post-Helen Clark. It’s also been fairly obvious that this hasn’t worked very well, with a decreasing vote for Labour in each election this century to an embarrassing low in 2014.

The Standard has offered candidates a forum “for the upcoming Labour Party internal elections the chance to guest post about why they’re running”.

Yesterday they had a Guest post: Eva Hartshorn-Sanders for Senior Vice President

This was “fully moderated to prevent excessive trolling” which is fair enough for a post like that.

The post is quite long and quite negative, especially in the opening paragraphs. And quite politically waffly.

Comments are interesting with some fair questions. with Patrick Leland asked: “One thing you didn’t mention is what you would actually do if elected. Can you please elaborate?”

Eva responded:

The Senior Vice President position sits on NZ Council and is part of the governance team. From working with NZ Council over the past four years, there is a lot of policy, legal and strategic decisions that they will be making going forward – and I would be able to bring my skills to help as part of this core work.

Important decisions going forward relate to the selection of candidates and the list selection work as part of the Moderating Committee – I understand this process from helping to run the Ikaroa-Rawhiti bi-election selection process and working on the drafting with Roger Palairet for the recent constitutional amendments.

Some of this has been answered above – networking is important for campaigning, fundraising, and membership growth. I also think the SVP has an important role for staying in touch with members and working with caucus. The links and connections are important.

Also quite waffly – I still have no idea about specifically what she would try to do, but I also have no idea what a senior vice president is expected to do.

Probably prompted by this in her post…

I have worked in law, policy, campaigning and organising.  This includes nine years working in Government in NZ, two years as a senior legal and political adviser for the (Labour) Leader of the Opposition in the UK House of Lords, private practice and now at the PPTA as a public and employment lawyer.  As part of my job, I travel the country speaking to union members about the issues that are important to them, in their schools and communities.  I have strong links with women throughout the country through my pro bono work for the National Council of Women and the New Horizons for Women Trust.  I have governance experience as a Board member of New Horizons, focussed on governance, policy, sponsors and donors, audit and risk, and for the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme, where I helped to ensure that members were able to access their whole pension for the purposes of their first home loan.

…Adam asked a pertinent question: “You seem to be a careerist political type, do you think you have enough experience outside of politics to bring to the role?”

A careerist political type? That’s interesting. Lots of experience. I had my first job at the age of 11 delivering pamphlets – that has to be useful for this role, right? I have worked in all sorts of jobs through my life – if that’s the sort of thing you were asking about? Burger King “maintenance man” in 2000, cafe assistant, retail work, working at a creche, multiple babysitting jobs, Judo coach at Camp America (CCUSA), government, politics, union. And I do NGO work for fun – not really that political – unless you want it to be.

lprent also raised questions about two critical issues for Labour: “So I’m surprised that I don’t see a mention in your post of the two really big issues that I see for both the president and vice-presidential roles. Strategies for raising money and increasing membership.”

Building membership is an important part of our future. I think we need to continue to modernise the Party and its structures, to make sure that we all have a place within in it to be active and to have a voice.

That may help retain some members but I don’t see how it addresses attracting new members. Labour has a reputation for not being particularly welcoming of different voices.

Re the fundraising aspect – I would be one in a team that will be implementing the fundraising strategy from Fraser House, taking expert advice from professional staff. But I have some experience in this area running events for PPTA, NCW and the New Horizons for Women Trust, including working with sponsors and donors portfolio.

The fundraising strategy from Fraser House appears to have been working poorly for some time. For years Labour’s fundraising has been way behind National’s, and the Greens now raise more funds than Labour.

Labour has major problems with a lack of members and money. Perhaps they aren’t part of the senior vice presidents job description but Eva appears to be more of a willing worker within the party as it is than potential for regeneration.

While Eva looks young and may be new generation she sounds ‘same old’, and that hasn’t been working well for Labour. I don’t see much drive for party regeneration.