Political Parties, Factions and Conflicts:The New Zealand Labour Party 1978- 1990
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The Labour Party is New Zealand’s oldest continuous political Party. Steeped in Social Democratic tradition the Party underwent major conflicts as three major factions emerged between 1978 and 1990. Using Frank Baumgartner’s Conflict and Rhetoric in French Policy Making (1989), this thesis investigates why the three factions inside the Labour Party during this period used conflict in order gain influence over the Labour Party and its political and legislative agenda. What was to emerge was a party struggling to maintain unity as the factions began to tear apart the very framework that was the Labour Party. This was to ultimately have an effect on both articulation of Labour policy and the aggregation of support at the polls. Using interviews with various former and current members of the Labour Party this thesis sets out to piece together how the factions inside the party used conflict to their advantage in order to gain influence in a fragmenting party. The emergence of splinter parties in the 1990s on both the left and right of the Labour Party in particular ACT and the Alliance shows just how fractured and divided the party was during the tenure of the fourth Labour Government.