Documents leaked to the media yesterday have revealed that the Labour Party is concerned about the lack of people in its caucus who aren’t Trevor Mallard, and is set to propose a new series of candidate selection rules that will ban the Shadow Leader of the House from contesting certain electorates.
One memo, which was leaked to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, argued that people who weren’t Trevor Mallard were “underrepresented” in caucus, and that the number of Trevor Mallard on the party list did not accurately reflect the proportion of Trevor Mallard in the population at large.
“In theory,” read the memo, “this rule would give us a simple mechanism to bar Trevor Mallard from standing in electorates where he is deemed to be a liability, which includes but is not limited to all electorates.”
The Government has already come out swinging against the proposal, saying that candidates should be selected based on merit, rather than whether or not they are Trevor Mallard.
Labour’s Sue Moroney attempted to defend the rule this morning.
“Look, this isn’t anything personal against Trevor,” she said. “We’re just trying to bring to caucus a more equitable number of people who aren’t him. 97% of our caucus already isn’t Trevor Mallard, but we still think we can do better, and it would be good to get that number to 100%.”
But Justice Minister Judith Collins balked at Moroney’s statement, noting that National already had a caucus that was 100% not Trevor Mallard, and had achieved that without the use of quotas or bans.
In defiance of many of his colleagues, Labour Leader David Shearer waded into the debate this afternoon, saying that while he still hoped to see the proposal go to a vote at the party conference later this year, he was personally not in favour of it.
“Look, I’m absolutely supportive of getting less Trevor Mallard in Parliament,” he said. “But this particular mechanism, I don’t support it.
“I think it’s fairly simple, really. If Trevor Mallard is the best candidate you have, then it might not be a good look, but you have to nominate him.”
Mallard has yet to comment on the proposed changes, but this is likely due to a previous ruling by the party that disallowed him from speaking to media.