Story: Labour Party

Page 7. Organisation of the Labour Party

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Local branch organisation

In the early 21st century the Labour Party retained two 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.

Affiliate membership is through membership of a trade union affiliated to the Labour Party. In 2023 there were 11 affiliated unions, which paid a levy to the party based on the size of their own memberships.

Electorate organisation

Each of the 72 electorates (in 2023) has an electorate committee. A key function of this committee is to contribute towards selecting the local party candidate and supporting their election campaign.

Regional organisation

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 electorate committees.

Each region also has a Labour local body committee which works on local government election campaigns.

National organisation

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 transgender) 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.

How to cite this page:

Peter Aimer, 'Labour Party - Organisation of the Labour Party', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 28 May 2024)

Story by Peter Aimer, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 Jan 2023