Could it be true? Could Labour Party leader David Shearer really be about to call for a general party membership vote on his leadership?
Eddie at The Standard says it is going to happen.
But my guess is it won't. Shearer finished 2012 strongly, after what had been an indifferent several months for him. Why would he now put those gains at risk by putting his leadership to the vote?
As I understand it, there is no provision in Labour's constitution for a leadership vote by the party membership in February, unless Shearer can't get 60% of the caucus behind him, or he resigns. Shearer almost certainly has most of caucus backing him, so the only way I can see a membership vote working is if Shearer resigns as leader and then seeks re-election. In either case, it's not a straight membership vote, but an electoral college vote where caucus members gets 40% of the vote, general members get 40% and affiliates (unions etc.) get 20%.
Gee, what a mess that would be. Some might argue it's a mess that needs to happen for the greater good of the party, but I'm not so certain. I don't see why Shearer would want everyone yet again talking about Labour's leadership at a time when the Nats are struggling on a number of fronts.
I should make it clear that I have no idea who Eddie is, and it's possible that Eddie has inside knowledge and is right on the money. But it would indeed be a surprise if Shearer put his leadership up for a vote by the electoral college. Maybe it would be a stroke of genius, though I can't see it.