Labour's New Zealand Council has released the terms of a comprehensive review of the party, including its organization, campaigning, political positioning and relationship with other parties following its dismal result in last weekend's election, in which it got 24.69 per cent of the party vote.

Most of the review will be finished by December which means it will be done parallel to the leadership contest triggered by the resignation of Labour leader David Cunliffe, announced yesterday and to take effect after caucus on Tuesday.

Mr Cunliffe and Grant Robertson are the contenders so far.

President Moira Coatsworth said the reviewers will be named in the next week.

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The review of the 2014 campaign will include reporting on

• party and electorate vote variance;

• electorate and hub performance, including enrolment, persuasion and turnout;

• the targeting approach;

• list and electorate candidate selection and performance

• Maori and sector strategies;

• volunteer management and activist training;

• campaign finance - income, expenditure, cost-effectiveness;

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• digital campaign;

• messaging formulation and communication of policy and campaign messages (including the "Vote Positive" brand);

• performance in and relationship with the media;

• party and Caucus organisation;

• leadership and management of the campaign;

• relationships with other parties and

• any other significant matters which are identified in the course of consultation.

The Council statement on the review says it will also look at Labour's political positioning and performance, "and the manner in which it is presented going forward in the light of the results of the 2008, 2011, and 2014 general elections."

It is to look at what progressive political parties have done overseas, and what New Zealand political parties have done, in comparable situations; and how party alignment in MMP-style jurisdictions has changed over time.

The reviewers have also been asked to look at the implications for its recommendations
on party institutions, structures, accountabilities and operations, including governance, an integrated three year campaign plan leading to the 2017 election, caucus priorities and activity, communications, resource allocation, policy development, internal communications and discipline, and fundraising.

The plan is for the review recommendations to be discussed at the December 7 New Zealand Council meeting, although some areas might need further work.

'Crushed' by result

Meanwhile, Labour Party senior whip Chris Hipkins today told TV3's The Nation he was not surprised by yesterday's announcement that David Cunliffe was resigning as leader, because he had already indicated on election night he wanted to seek a fresh mandate from the party and caucus.

Cunliffe's announcement yesterday that he would formally resign as leader on Tuesday has triggered Labour's leadership primary run-off.

Party members were feeling "crushed" by the election result, Mr Hipkins said.

"Emotions are a little raw, as you would expect.

"We're reflecting on our own roles ... we're reflecting on the roles of leadership and a variety of other things."

Mr Hipkins would not reveal who he would support in the leadership bid.

"I'm not publicly backing anybody now, there's a vacancy for the leadership and I will have a personal vote as will everybody else."

He told Q+A the challenge for the party was to reconnect with people.

"Clearly, people aren't identifying with the Labour Party.

"The leadership is one of the factors that contribute to that, but there will be others as well."

The party had to look at all of the reasons why people didn't vote for Labour over the last election, he said.

"The Labour Party's been sliding in the polls since about 2004. We've had four leaders in that time.

"We've actually got to go back and say well this isn't just about one person, this is actually about looking at why Labour's not connecting."

Labour MP Kelvin Davis told Q+A he was not aiming for the deputy leader role.

"I'm not politically astute at the moment, I've been in Parliament for three years and five minutes. I've got a lot to learn.

"We've got to look at what we want in a leader, and a natural leader should rise out of it, instead of just saying, look I'm going to vote for my mate, or vote for this person or vote because you know that person might do well for our faction."

'There needs to be a strong Labour Party'

Meanwhile, Grant Robertson says he can bring the splintered Labour Party together after two emphatic defeats in a row.

Mr Robertson has confirmed his bid for the party leadership after leader David Cunliffe resigned yesterday.

Mr Robertson told TVNZ's Q+A show today he had put his name forward to contest the leadership because he could not stand by and see the party poll at 24 per cent at the election and do nothing.

"I support the process that the Labour Party has to select a leader, I think it's important that the members of the party have a say and David (Cunliffe) has now triggered this contest and that is what we will do."

He was confident of "good support" from the caucus.

"I think I am a person who can unify the Labour Party," Mr Robertson said.

"I believe that as a party we need to do that for the sake of New Zealand - there needs to be a strong Labour Party."

There was no option for the party but to become unified, he said.

"We have to have a review. We need to look at why we lost and we need to listen to New Zealanders.

"One of the things that's happened now - two elections in a row - is that we've ended up in the 20s. At 24 per cent, things have to change."

Former Labour leader David Shearer would not be drawn on whether he would contest the leadership position.

"We need to go through a process, own the defeat that we had, realise that the voters got it right and we didn't connect, and go through that process of a review and then at the end of it, we look at leadership - but not before," he told Q+A.

While the leadership question was a major issue, it was not the only issue for the party to deal with, he said.

"Let's first look at the different opinions that we have about what happened in this election, let's get some analysis done and think about it coolly and carefully about where we need to go and what steps we need to take."

Read more: David Cunliffe: I resign... but I want the job