Review says Cunliffe divisions and slogan confusion among reasons for poll failure.

Labour's review panel has reported its findings back about the party's election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems ranging from a failure to unite behind former leader David Cunliffe to resourcing and confusion over its "Vote Positive" slogan.

The panel of four reported back to Labour's Council at the weekend on the first part of its three-part review - a look into the election campaign.

The party will not release review findings until all three parts are completed, expected in February.

One of the review team, Bryan Gould, said the panel's terms of reference had included the leadership of Mr Cunliffe and while there were mixed views on some issues, the main problem was a failure to unite behind the leader.


"It is very important to unite behind your leader. Probably that's one of the key messages. We didn't shy away from any issue. I don't think we went overboard, but we told it as it seemed to us."

Mr Gould said while the report was welcomed overall, parts of it had ruffled feathers. "I think everybody could see there were some serious deficiencies. It was as [objective] as possible and really didn't pull too many punches. So not surprisingly, most people liked most of it, but I would have been a bit disappointed if it hadn't ruffled any feathers."

Party leader Andrew Little said none of the findings was surprising and most issues had been voiced by himself and other leadership contenders during Labour's recent leadership runoff.

"Things like the messaging, the 'Vote Positive' [slogan], issues about the resourcing of the campaign." He said the Vote Positive slogan "didn't mean anything to anyone".

The review team consists of former British Labour MP Mr Gould, former minister and academic Margaret Wilson, broadcaster Stacey Morrison and director and businessman Brian Corban.

The president of the party, Moira Coatsworth, said the review was "very helpful and thoughtful".

The next stage of the review will look at Labour's positioning and performance and what changes are needed. It is due to report back in February, when Labour is likely to release at least a summary of the findings.

Mr Little has also contracted Australian political consultant Mike Richards to review Labour's parliamentary office and is due to receive his recommendations today.


"I am expecting decisions to rapidly follow." Mr Richards had served as chief of staff to former Australian Labor leader Mark Latham.

Mr Little has held off on setting up his office and appointing key staff, such as chief press secretary, until that review is done. He has already indicated that Matt McCarten will stay on as chief of staff.

The buck stops here

• First part of the review of Labour's election campaign identifies disunity and resourcing as problems in 2014 campaign.

• Next stage is for review team to look at Labour's positioning and performance over past four elections and report back at end of February.

• Final stage is to recommend what changes Labour needs to make.

• Findings will not be released publicly until full review is completed.