The Labour Party's governing council is moving to change the way it elects the party's leader, giving more power to the party caucus.
If the changes go ahead, it would mean the next Labour leader could be elected by the party's caucus alone - rather than a combination of the caucus, Labour members, and unions.
A rule change being pushed by the Labour Party's powerful New Zealand Council would mean that if an MP were to carry the support of two thirds per cent of the party's caucus, they would become leader.
This would bypass the current, complicated leadership election process. Leaders are elected through an electoral college system, where the caucus vote carries a 40 per cent weighting with members votes counting for another 40 per cent and affiliates (mainly unions) counting for the remaining 20 per cent.
The electoral college system became part of the party constitution in 2012, following a vote by Labour delegates at their conference. Prior to that, Labour's caucus had the sole ability to elect its leader.
The electoral college model has been criticised for giving too much power to Labour members who have elected leaders that have failed to prove popular with the public at large.
Current Labour leader Jacinda Ardern would not weigh in on whether she supported the remit.
"I feel as leader that these are debates that I need the party and the membership to have," Ardern said.
Although she alluded to the need to check in with whether previous rule changes were still fit for purpose.
"I'm totally comfortable with the party and the membership having those debates and discussions. Quite a few changes have happened to our rules over the years and [there's] nothing wrong with the party jumping back in to check in on them," Ardern said.
Ardern, the party's most popular recent leader, was elected by the party caucus under a loophole that allowed the caucus to vote for the leader if a vacancy emerged three months before polling day.
While the new system is being promoted by Labour's powerful council, which will put it up at the party's conference in November, the remit will have to be approved by a majority of delegates at the conference to change the constitution.
But the council's support gives the change some heft, including the implicit support of Ardern, who sits on the council.
In both the 2013 and 2014 Labour leadership election the caucus voted for a different leader to party members and unions.
In both elections, current deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson won the caucus vote, but lost the overall contest to David Cunliffe in 2013 and Andrew Little in 2014.