The head of a review of the Labour Party's failed election campaign has warned the party risks political oblivion if it cannot buck up its fundraising efforts and regain the trust of voters.
The review led by former British Labour MP Bryan Gould contained a round-up of the reasons for Labour's dire election result of 25 per cent.
They included a lack of fundraising, the perception caucus was not united, a change of leadership from David Shearer to David Cunliffe within a year of the election and a confusing and bulky mix of policies.
But the main red flag was over fundraising with a warning that if it could not boost its coffers "then it will continue to experience electoral failure and place the status of the party as a political institution of influence at risk". Mr Gould said that was one of the key challenges Labour faced for 2017.
"I think the risks to the Labour Party are quite considerable if it wants to be seen as an alternative government and certainly a lack of funding is one of the things that rather exacerbates that risk."
Labour declared $940,000 in donations last year - lower than the Green Party's $970,000 and less than a quarter of National's tally of $4 million.
The review has been slated as stating the obvious but it does make some bold calls for Labour to make its candidate selection more merit-based and review the influence of sector groups and the trade unions.
Mr Gould said there was ill-feeling over candidate selection and the list rankings in 2014. "I think there are too many vested interests that determine positions on the list."
The review said it was questionable whether the purpose of the sector groups, such as for women, Maori, Pasifika and rainbow, in attracting voters was still effective.
It said the use of unions for campaigning should be reviewed after "mixed success" and individual union members rather than delegates should have voting rights. "If the Labour Party is simply going to run around the same track as it has done for the last two elections, if it won't recognise there needs to be some development and new thinking then we can't expect a different result," Mr Gould said.
The summary of the review's findings was released by Labour yesterday after it was leaked to some media. It was silent on former leader David Cunliffe's performance as a leader and instead pinpointed the perception of tension and a lack of unity in caucus as a factor in the election defeat. Mr Cunliffe would not comment yesterday, saying Andrew Little was responsible for public comment. Mr Gould said there were about 500 submissions on the review and opinion was split on Mr Cunliffe.
He said the panel had reflected that in its report "but I think our conclusion was that the failure of the campaign really went far beyond whatever view one took of the performance of the leader".
Mr Little said he was disappointed the review was leaked but was confident it was not a member of caucus.