One major premise should dominate Labour’s consideration of what to do now; the next election will be won by a new generation of Leaders.
If that matters most, then you could conclude that the ideal next leadership pairing for Labour is Stuart Nash and Jacinda Ardern.
After the next term the public will be too familiar with leadership of most Parties in Parliament. The Parties will appear to the public to be tired. National is very unlikely to go through radical renewal to a compelling new Cabinet. Western Governments find it impossible to do this.
Sure, the economy may have improved substantially by the next election, but that means the public may feel comfortable enough for political change.
If Labour contests with a leadership effectively of the same generation as National, it will not have the real point of difference it needs: a sense of optimism and connection.
I’m thinking here of what happened when Helen Clark’s Labour took over from a National Party in disarray. This was a generational shift. So to when Key’s National took over from the spent and bunkered third term Labour Government.
The key difference in each of these was a palpable sense of generational connection with the mood of the nation. It was represented in the fresh and eager political faces that spoke to the spirit firing the centre-ground voters.
Labour needs a leadership which can still look fresh after waiting for 3 to 6 years (3 years is my bold prediction), and then carry out Government for up to three terms of their own.
Of course, this disregards the matter of the Party’s ideological or policy position, disregards issues of succession, and the possibility that the existing contenders would be quite decent leaders, with more time to do it.
Boldness. Maybe that’s the missing thing for Labour.