Local branch organisation
In the 2000s the Labour Party retained two different categories of party membership – general and affiliate – reflecting Labour’s origins in the trade union movement.
General members join a branch of the party. There are many local branches, and in areas where party support is traditionally strong, there may be several such branches in a single electorate. The party also has branches for specific groups such as women, university students, Pacific peoples and people of other ethnicities.
Affiliated membership is through membership of a trade union affiliated to the Labour Party. In 2011 there were six affiliated unions, which pay a levy to the party based on the size of their own memberships.
Each of the 70 electorates (in 2011) has an electorate committee. A key function of this committee is to contribute towards selecting the local party candidate and supporting the candidate’s election campaign.
In each of six geographic regions a Labour regional council acts on regional issues, deals with policy proposals from the region’s branches and contributes to the list ranking for party candidates for Parliament. Each council includes representatives from its various electorate committees.
Each of the six regions also has a Labour local body committee working on local government election campaigns.
The party’s New Zealand Council (the national council) takes part in candidate selection, along with representation and input from local and regional organisations. The council includes representatives of interest groups such as Māori, Pacific peoples, unions, women, youth, and the ‘rainbow’ (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual) sector. Interests such as rural affairs, elderly people and people with disabilities are also represented.
The party’s Policy Council develops its policy and election manifesto. The council consists of five people elected by the party membership, five MPs, the party’s president and general secretary, and Māori and regional representatives.