Labour leadership contest: Announcement expected shortly

  • 21/01/2023

An announcement is expected shortly regarding the Labour Party leadership.

At 9am, nominations for the leader position closed. To be a nominee, an MP requires support from 10 percent of the caucus, which for Labour is 7MPs. 

If just one nomination is received, Labour will release a statement with that individual's name. However, that still needs to be endorsed by the Labour caucus. It is currently scheduled to meet on Sunday afternoon. If multiple nominations are received, New Zealand will likely need to wait until after the caucus meeting to learn who.

At caucus, if a vote is required, it will be by exhaustive ballot.

"That means it will be by rounds and the lowest polling candidate will be removed at the end of each round," Chief Whip Duncan Webb said on Friday.

"This will continue until either one candidate has two thirds of the vote or more, or there are two candidates and neither can secure two thirds of the vote. There are no limits on the number of votes to be taken.

"Caucus had 7 days from the date of resignation to reach a decision. Accordingly Caucus can continue to meet to seek to obtain 66% support for a leader up until that time."

Chris Hipkins is widely considered the frontrunner for the leadership, but refused to confirm anything on Friday. 

"I'm not ruling [running for the leadership] out but I'm also saying I'm absolutely committed to making sure that as a team we reach a consensus if we can do that... I'm saying we should work together as a team to reach a consensus."

Michael Wood is another potential candidate, but he also wouldn't say anything on Friday.

"That's going to be a collective and internal process. I'm a team player," he said.

"We have all agreed that we would do this as an internal team process. I don't think politicians ever do themselves or their parties or the country any favours by playing these things out in public."

Another name being bandied about - but one probably more likely for a deputy position - is Kiri Allan, the current Justice Minister.