Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party

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Leader of the Labour Party
Chris Hipkins NZ Labour (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Chris Hipkins
since 22 January 2023
Term lengthNo fixed term1
Inaugural holderAlfred Hindmarsh
Formation7 July 1916
DeputyDeputy Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
WebsiteLabour Party profile
1. The leader must be endorsed by the party caucus following a general election, usually every three years, but this does not automatically trigger a new leadership election.

The leader of the Labour Party is the highest-ranked political position within the New Zealand Labour Party, who serves as the parliamentary leader and leading spokesperson of the party. The current leader is Chris Hipkins, after Jacinda Ardern resigned.

History[edit]

The post of leader of the Labour Party was officially created upon the party's inception in 1916, though the title "leader" was often substituted and/or complemented with the title "chairman".[1] At the 1935 election, Michael Joseph Savage led the Labour Party to victory, becoming the first Labour prime minister. In 1963, Arnold Nordmeyer became the first New Zealand-born leader of the party; three previous leaders had been born in Australia and one each in England and Scotland. The most electorally successful Labour leader to date is Helen Clark, who won three elections, in 1999, 2002 and 2005. Clark is also the party's longest-serving leader, having served for 14 years, 346 days between 1993 and 2008.[2] Peter Fraser is the longest-serving Labour prime minister, serving 9 years, 261 days between 1940 and 1949.

Selection[edit]

A leadership candidate must be a member of parliament (MP). A new leader is elected whenever a vacancy arises, whether due to resignation, incapacitation, or following a motion of no confidence by the parliamentary caucus.[3]

The current election rules were adopted in 2021, replacing earlier rules adopted in 2012.[4] Candidates need 10% of the caucus to nominate. The caucus votes via exhaustive ballot (absent MPs can vote by proxy), and a candidate requires the support of two-thirds of the caucus to be elected. If no one can get two-thirds the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated.[5] If there are two candidates left and neither got two-thirds, there may be multiple rounds of voting to identify a consensus candidate. If one cannot be found then the leadership is determined by an electoral college comprising the caucus (40% of the total vote), party members (40%) and affiliated trade unions (20%).[4]

No later than three months following a general election, there must be a caucus vote to endorse the leader. If they fail to receive endorsement then the position of party leader is vacated and an election is triggered.[3]

Role[edit]

When the Labour Party forms the Parliamentary Opposition, the leader of the party usually acts as the leader of the Opposition, and chairs a Shadow Cabinet. Likewise, when the party is in Government, as it currently is, the leader typically becomes the prime minister.

Unique to Labour, the party's caucus possesses the right to elect MPs to Cabinet, rather than the leader choosing them. The practice began following the 1940 leadership election.[6] Michael Joseph Savage was the only leader to solely appoint his own cabinet following the election victories in 1935 and 1938.

List of leaders[edit]

The following is a complete list of Labour Party leaders (including acting leaders):

Key:
  Labour   Reform   United   National
PM: Prime Minister
LO: Leader of the Opposition
†: Died in office

No. Leader
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Electorate Term Began Term Ended Time in Office Position Prime Minister
1 Alfred Hindmarsh
(1860–1918)
Alfred Hindmarsh.jpg Wellington South 7 July 1916 13 November 1918† 2 years, 129 days Massey
1912–25
2 Harry Holland
(1868–1933)
Harry Holland (1925).jpg Grey (1918–19)
Buller (1919–33)
27 August 1919 8 October 1933† 14 years, 42 days
Bell
1925
LO 1926–1928 Coates
Junior coalition partner
1928–1931
Ward
LO 1931–1933 Forbes
3 Michael Joseph Savage
(1872–1940)
Michael Joseph Savage Portrait (cropped).jpg Auckland West 12 October 1933 27 March 1940† 6 years, 167 days LO 1933–1935
PM 1935–1940 himself
4 Peter Fraser
(1884–1950)
Peter Fraser.jpg Wellington Central (1918–46)
Brooklyn (1946–50)
1 April 1940 12 December 1950† 10 years, 255 days PM 1940–1949 himself
LO 1949–1950 Holland
1949–57
5 Walter Nash
(1882–1968)
Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg Hutt 17 January 1951 31 March 1963 12 years, 73 days LO 1951–1957
Holyoake
1957
PM 1957–1960 himself
LO 1960–1963 Holyoake
1960–72
6 Arnold Nordmeyer
(1901–1989)
Arnold Nordmeyer (1950).jpg Island Bay 1 April 1963 16 December 1965 2 years, 259 days LO 1963–1965
7 Norman Kirk
(1923–1974)
Norman Kirk, crop.jpg Lyttelton (1957–69)
Sydenham (1969–74)
16 December 1965 31 August 1974† 8 years, 258 days LO 1965–1972
Marshall
1972
PM 1972–1974 himself
Hugh Watt[note 1]
(1912–1980)
Hugh Watt, 1951 (1).jpg Onehunga 31 August 1974 6 September 1974 7 days PM 1974 himself
8 Bill Rowling
(1927–1995)
Bill Rowling, 1962.jpg Tasman 6 September 1974 3 February 1983 8 years, 150 days PM 1974–1975 himself
LO 1975–1983 Muldoon
9 David Lange
(1942–2005)
David Lange (1992).jpg Mangere 3 February 1983 8 August 1989 6 years, 186 days LO 1983–1984
PM 1984–1989 himself
10 Geoffrey Palmer
(born 1942)
Geoffrey Palmer.jpg Christchurch Central 8 August 1989 4 September 1990 1 year, 27 days PM 1989–1990 himself
11 Mike Moore
(1949–2020)
Mike Moore, 1992 (crop).jpg Christchurch North 4 September 1990 1 December 1993 3 years, 88 days PM 1990 himself
LO 1990–1993 Bolger
1990–97
12 Helen Clark
(born 1950)
Helen Clark UNDP 2010.jpg Mount Albert 1 December 1993 11 November 2008 14 years, 346 days LO 1993–1999
Shipley
1997–99
PM 1999–2008 herself
13 Phil Goff
(born 1953)
Phil Goff.jpg Mount Roskill 11 November 2008 13 December 2011 3 years, 32 days LO 2008–2011 Key
2008–16
14 David Shearer
(born 1957)
David Shearer.jpg Mount Albert 13 December 2011 15 September 2013 1 year, 276 days LO 2011–2013
15 David Cunliffe
(born 1963)
David Cunliffe, 2008.jpg New Lynn 15 September 2013 30 September 2014 1 year, 15 days LO 2013–2014
David Parker[note 1]
(born 1960)
David Parker NZ.jpg List MP 30 September 2014 18 November 2014 49 days LO 2014
16 Andrew Little
(born 1965)
Andrew Little, 2017.jpg List MP 18 November 2014 1 August 2017 2 years, 256 days LO 2014–2017
English
2016–17
17 Jacinda Ardern
(born 1980)
Jacinda Ardern 2020.jpg Mount Albert 1 August 2017 22 January 2023 5 years, 180 days LO 2017
PM 2017–2023 herself
18 Chris Hipkins
(born 1978)
Chris Hipkins NZ Labour (cropped).jpg Remutaka 22 January 2023 present 6 days PM
2023–present
himself
  1. ^ a b Deputy leader who assumed the role of party leader temporarily because of the death or resignation of the incumbent, serving until the election of a new leader.
Chris HipkinsJacinda ArdernAndrew LittleDavid CunliffeDavid ShearerPhil GoffHelen ClarkMike Moore (New Zealand politician)Geoffrey Palmer (politician)David LangeBill RowlingNorman KirkArnold NordmeyerWalter NashPeter FraserMichael Joseph SavageHarry HollandAlfred Hindmarsh

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul, John Thomas (1946). Humanism in Politics; New Zealand Labour Party Retrospect. The University of Michigan. pp. 64–65. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  2. ^ Audrey Young (12 February 2008). "Clark beats record of longest-serving Labour leader – probably". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Constitution and Rules" (PDF). New Zealand Labour Party. 2019. pp. 63–64. Retrieved 19 January 2020 – via New Zealand Electoral Commission.
  4. ^ a b Malpass, Luke (6 November 2021). "Labour Party changes rules to elect leader, hands first call back to caucus". Stuff. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  5. ^ "How the Labour Party vote will work – and why we might know the next PM by Saturday". RNZ. 20 January 2023. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  6. ^ Beaglehole, Tim. "Fraser, Peter". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 11 December 2011.