Jan 19 • 8M

Shocked caucus to decide on next PM

Hipkins, Wood, Woods & Allan seen as candidates to replace Ardern as PM in Labour caucus vote in Wellington on Sunday; US hits US$31.4t debt ceiling & plans ‘extraordinary’ measures to save cash

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TLDR: The Labour Caucus will aim to coalesce today and tomorrow behind a leader they hope can reverse the Government’s polling deficit behind National/ACT before the October 14 General Election. The odds are stacked much higher against them than they were 24 hours ago.

Without a clear successor (assuming Grant Robertson doesn’t relent on his decision announced yesterday not to stand for leader for a third time), Labour’s biggest risk is that the Caucus can’t get the requisite two-thirds majority behind a candidate in Sunday’s vote. A failure to get over that threshold would set up a potentially divisive and messy contest for the Labour Party membership to decide on.

The current favourite is Chris Hipkins, with Kiri Allan, Michael Wood and Megan Woods seen as the alternatives, in that order.

The Christmas tree outside Labour’s caucus office in 2019: now they have lost their ‘star’, the caucus has to pick who to lead them into the next election. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

I have travelled to Wellington this morning and will report on the results of the vote on Sunday. Paying subscribers to The Kaka should watch out later today for invites for the first ‘Ask Me Anything’ for 2023 at midday and the first weekly Hoon of the year. The link to the zoominar at 5pm is below the paywall fold in my sign-off.

A reminder to all with crowded inboxes that I sent this detailed report, analysis and podcast to all subscribers at 5pm last night on the PM’s resignation announcement.

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