How National, Labour and the Greens select their leaders

How National, Labour and the Greens select their leaders
Photo credit: File.

Two of New Zealand's main political parties are in the process of selecting a new leader, while Labour is still enjoying the fruits of its last leadership change.

On February 27, National will hold its first vote for a leader in more than a decade.

The 56 members of National caucus will have one vote each in selecting their new leader, with the prospective winner requiring a straight majority to take the top spot.

Unlike Labour and Greens, under National Party rules, there is no official input from other party members, which places all the power in the hands of the caucus.

While much of the decision-making will be happening behind closed doors, some of the caucus have clearly made their intentions known. Amy Adams announced her candidacy with four MPs flanking her, including Chris Bishop and Nikki Kaye.

Newshub political editor Lloyd Burr picks Amy Adams as the favourite, with 20 members estimated to be in the Selwyn MP’s camp.

Simon Bridges comes close, with 18 potential backers.

Judith Collins, Steven Joyce and Mark Mitchell all hover around five potential backers each.

It's important to note these numbers are only estimates and alliances could shift closer to the day of the vote.  

Labour has taken a more egalitarian approach to its leadership since 2013, as it now splits the decision. Party members get 40 percent of the vote, another 40 percent goes to caucus and 20 percent comes from party 'affiliates' (unions).

Before this, they used the same system as National - a straight majority vote in caucus. Interestingly, Labour still requires a majority caucus vote when electing their deputy.

The Green Party will also be holding an election to replace former co-leader Metiria Turei in the coming weeks, with the final announcement due April 8.

Each branch of the party across the country puts forward delegates based on the size of their electorate, with no branch exceeding four delegates in total. The delegates must wait until official campaigning ends on March 26 before voting on their new female co-leader.  

Contrasting the centralised power of the National caucus, the Green Party approach places considrable power with the smaller branches of the party. Because delegates are capped at four, a branch with fewer than 10 members would still be granted a delegate and could still feasibly sway the result of an entire leadership election.

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