Posted by BE on November 20th, 2012
A little bird (not David Cunliffe) has told me that in the run-up to today’s emergency caucus meeting a number of Labour MPs, probably a majority, were rung by David Shearer or one of his apparatchiks seeking a cast-iron guarantee that they would be supporting Shearer today and in the constitutionally mandatory confidence vote in February.
This is both unethical and against Labour’s constitution. It makes nonsense of today’s ‘unanimous’ vote. And it makes nonsense of the February vote. If a majority of Labour MPs have yielded to this monstrous piece of bullying, that vote has in effect already been taken. Should Shearer prove a disaster over the next three months those MPs who assured him of their support in February will have no choice but to stand by him, regardless of the damage this might do to the Party.
And finally it makes nonsense of the most essential feature of any caucus vote on the leadership, that it is a secret ballot. Shearer now knows with reasonable certainty how each of his MPs intends to vote in the ‘secret’ February ballot. And there can be little doubt that there will be a witch-hunt if the vote is not heavily in his favour.
Meanwhile, Cunliffe has been banned from talking to the media about what actually happened at today’s emergency meeting. No-one in fact other than Shearer himself can say anything about what went on. Cunliffe has been charged, found guilty and silenced. So much for fairness. So much for openness and transparency.
So much for Labour.
And that is going to be red rag to an already angry bull as it spits in the face of the greater democracy measures voted in on Saturday. He has already overidden the will of his party.
Shearer seems to have a narrow focus, minimal political nous (still) and very poor advice.
Brian, your guy lost. Time to let go, even if DC (and his working class hero beard) can’t do that.
BE: When something smells as foul as this, it’s not in my nature to ‘let go’, Mike. And I haven’t even mentioned that vile little creep, Chris Hipkins who chose to excoriate a caucus colleague all over television.
I am a swinging voter and I have just swung away from Labour.
Ringing round lobbying MPs for support before a leadership vote isn’t bullying and it isn’t unethical. It’s called lobbying, and it’s certainly not uncommon in leadership contests overseas. Just ask any ALP leader of the past decade (and there’s been quite a few).
It’s also pointless, as MPs who swear support in future ballots do so with the knowledge they’ll change their minds if it suits their ambition to do so. After all, what revenge can a loser wreak? All that matters to the average politician is to be standing on the winning side of the battlefield when the smoke clears. The morality of blatantly lying to your leader runs a distant second to advancement. Again, refer to the ALP, but only as the most public of prolonged bloodlettings; lack of integrity isn’t confined to one or other side of politics.
BE: See my response to Luke Mason,Rex.
on tonights news Shearer was back to his bumbling self getting dates wrong and second-guessing his comments.
Johnny Key and his band of merry men must be relaxing over a beer and toasting the free ride they’re going to get and the shambles that is all that is left of their opposition….an interesting time for NZ politrix….out of the ashes of the death of Labour what will rise up?…nature abhors a vacuum…exciting !
Don’t we have a lot of sore losers here. Moral: never start something you can’t finish. Suddenly the bullied turns bully and just listen to the howls of indignation.
” on tonight’s news Shearer was back to his bumbling self..”
I picked up on that — Shearer, muddled as he is befuddled.
Face it — Labour are a total mess.
What was that you said Helen?
Oh, yes, DIDDUMS!
To be fair, Helen Clark has done similar tactics, and none of his actions (Shearer) sounded like anything John Key or any other politician for that matter would not have done. Shearer and his team think they can win th next election and do not want any disctractions. If Cunliffe were to keep his head down, there might not be any reason why he couldn’t get his portfolios back within a year. However, I don’t think he will do this, I think the worm has turned it is an all or nothing fight. If so, they can kiss the 2014 election good night and possibly a fractured party that will not survive after 2014. God I hope not!
Working the phones — ringing around one’s caucus colleagues seems completely within bounds.
I’m very surprised you’d characterise it as a “monstrous piece of bullying” or “unethical” B.E.
What was Shearer supposed to do? Sit quietly and hope?
BE: See my reply to Luke Mason, Peter
“Never start something you can’t finish” – that’s so cute – you say that like its finished. What’s the pick Shearer’s rise as preferred PM will be less than Cunliffe’s? I’d put money on that.
It’s difficult to see any clarity in this vote. Shearer’s awkward persona is off putting to even a persevering political observer.
On top of this I believe we have some serious integrity issues with Labour members. Clearly Senior Labour Members are talking to Garner and Gower. Media treat informants with huge respect as they are their bread and butter, the difference between a promotion and no promotion, the difference between a bonus and no bonus, kudos from their peers. Scum. Garner/Gower have repaid their informants with the head that they wanted. Garner/Gower and Informants will celebrate. Who sorts out the informants if Shearer has no interest in doing it? If this is not sorted then this issue will lead Labour to self destruct.
As a Labour Member this is incredibly sad, why have we got politicians supposedly representing our beliefs that only care about their political careers. If we don’t win in 2014 then it is the most needy that will suffer, the 270,000 living in poverty, the 40% Maori and Pac (18 to 24) unemployed in Auckland (as quoted by Len brown at the conf), the Contractors being killed by careless corporates (Fulton Hogan, etc as quoted by Helen Kelly at the Conf)…Well Mr Shearer, you just wait until February you weak arsehole. You have pushed out the toughest opponent to the neo liberals who dont give a shit about the poor and vulnerable. And before you say that Cunliffe is just putting on a front because of his ambitions, Ive worked with him and I know he is the real deal. You just wait till February you peice of shit. A Labour Party MEMBER.
Next you’ll be labeling Cunliffe a ‘rich prick’ (and the cap would seem to fit in your class-envy neck of the woods).
Jesting aside, you are quite right, Kat. For academics, commentators, and supporters of Cunliffe it may seem an obvious rationalisation to say, “I don’t know what I will be thinking in 3 months, so there is nothing wrong with being noncommittal”.
However, if it is Cunliffe, a clever ambitious politician who was defeated in a leadership face-off less than a year ago, and you’ve agreed to be the subject of a recent Listener interview at the same time the performance of your leader is under public scrutiny, and you are asked at an event that is partly chereographed for favourable media coverage designed to showcase the unity of the supposed government-in-waiting, there is only one acceptable answer.
“I support the leader”.
Whether that is subject to change in three months is irrelevant. It may, it may not. It is not dishonest, but it certainly is a side-step – and on this very blog site, Brian, you give advise about avoiding media questions you don’t want to answer.
If Cunliffe, with all his skill and supposed PR abilities was unwilling to give the answer that defuses the potential media bomb, then there is only one reasonable conclusion to be drawn:
You are attempting to mobilise a coup. Alan Wilkinson is right.
Brian, I admire and respect your knowledge of the media, and you’ve no-doubt given excellent advice to politicians in your area of expertise. However, by your own admission you would have made an awful politician, because your political analytical skills and instincts are negligible.
The only other possible conclusion I can draw is that you are running damage control for Team Cunliffe. As you are an honest man, who is usually affronted when people suggest you are running secret agendas, I take you at face value, and conclude you are a brilliant media commentator, but a hopeless political adviser.
@ Paul Sarrbo
“On top of this I believe we have some serious integrity issues with Labour members. Clearly Senior Labour Members are talking to Garner and Gower. Media treat informants with huge respect as they are their bread and butter, the difference between a promotion and no promotion, the difference between a bonus and no bonus, kudos from their peers. Scum. Garner/Gower have repaid their informants with the head that they wanted. Garner/Gower and Informants will celebrate. Who sorts out the informants if Shearer has no interest in doing it? If this is not sorted then this issue will lead Labour to self destruct.
As a Labour Member this is incredibly sad, why have we got politicians supposedly representing our beliefs that only care about their political careers”.
Paul, a lesson for you – politicians, including Labour ones (and Helen Clark was the most adept) have always acted as informants to the media. It is known as “feeding the chooks”.
Better throw in your party membership now if you can’t stomach it, because I fear there is much disappointment ahead if you persevere in the belief it will ever be any different.
“minimal political nous” says it all !
I think that it is shameful behaviour from someone who wants to lead.
The labour caucus must surely begin to regret not listening to their
party members nearly a year ago, when they voted in, the clearly inexperienced Shearer to the leadership,
because party members are left no option but to make sure that they take their party back now.
Brian, one of the foundations of the labour movement is solidarity. If you are for a society where people are cared for and that commerce (which leads to taxation for the social good) is given fair and fertile grounds to flourish – in equal measure – then you should rethink your public infighting.
The electorate needs to see clearly what they are in for come election time.
The meme that was carefully seeded in the last two elections that their was ‘no choice’. So now we have a government that believes they have a mandate to do anything they damn well please.
A third term for National will damage New Zealand society to the point that civil war is probably going to erupt.
Your stand is corrosive and pointless.
Labour’s real issue is that it doesn’t have a clue who or what it represents.
You’re handing it to the carpetbaggers on a plate. They haven’t a single idea for the future other than the Reagonite ideas expressed by Milton Freidma – four simple principles: Lower marginal tax rates, less regulation, restrained government spending, noninflationary monetary policy.
…which, of course Labour introduced in ’84 (along with the Michael Porter folly…).
The current malaise is simply further expression of the schizophrenia of Labour in the 21st Century – and maybe its irrelevance?
BE: You say that “Labour’s real issue is that it doesn’t have a clue who or what it represents.” Yet when I criticise the party’s leadership you describe that as “corrosive and pointless”. Are you bright enough to see that there is an inherent inconsistency in your position?
I am not sure what your on about with the ‘labeling’ bit but your post almost seemed like a breath of fresh air coming after the one before it. Surely Brian can’t be now competing with his new acquaintance Cameron Slater as to how many similar type posts as the Whale Oil blog he can attract per topic.
Labour has about six months to sort itself. I remain positive.
Very aware of that (believe me), but there is a real problem when you use media for political gain within your own party. That is a problem that needs to be dealt with! That is self destructive.
@ David MacGregor
You were doing really well with the development of your ideas (and polished prose, with stylish alliteration too, by the way), until you got to: –
“A third term for National will damage New Zealand society to the point that civil war is probably going to erupt.”
Time for a cup of tea and a lie down.
Then again, as this is starting to warm up (passionate Ulstermen channeling Helen Clark using the epithet “vile little creep”), I’m settling in with a big bucket of pop corn.
Tell em again, Kat, how successful this conference was in spite of all the MSM lies. As a former Labour Party member I know the passion that drives you folks, but honestly, when you disagree it is a three ring circus
I heard Shearer fumble his words again tonight too, i couldnt believe it.
The guy has about as much leadership quality as a imbeclic relief teacher. It so strikingly obvious he is being led even though hes the leader.
Bill Ralston is probably having deciding Shearer policies for him now.
@ Paul Sarrbo
“…there is a real problem when you use media for political gain within your own party.”
OK. Thanks. That’s a subtle distinction, I hadn’t considered.
So why don’t you view Cunliffe’s agreement to be interviewed by the Listener in the same light?
Interesting, to hear Pam and Janet, on ZB, saying that Cunliffe got his comeuppance; and that he is patronising and his EQ is as low as the collective aggregate of the caucus’s IQ.
The truth is, is that the Labour Party are a disparate ragtag bunch of warring malcontents, hellbent on beating any lemming in a race to the edge of a cliff, that their only political value is one of risible entertainment.
It needs a successful businessperson, in the party, to reorganise and instill a set of disciplines and articulate a meaningful vision…
Oh, wait, there’s not one amongst them.
“However, by your own admission you would have made an awful politician, because your political analytical skills and instincts are negligible.”
LOL. Look who’s talking. You couldn’t make it up.
“It needs a successful businessperson, in the party, to reorganise and instill a set of disciplines and articulate a meaningful vision…”
The commerce departments of our universities have much to answer for.
Personally i don’t give a toss. Labour is a sinking (if not already sunken) ship; who the last captain is on the way down is irrelevant. But this whole “whose your leader” argy-bargy is exactly why the ship is sinking – too focused on internal politics, not nearly focused enough on actual policies on the street to win PUBLIC votes.
Labour’s ONLY chance of redemption is to “go green” – for real, not suck-up like the Nats – and prove they are fit to govern in this 21st century … instead of playing die in the ditch for fuck-all as if they’re still in the 19th.
@ Lee Churchman
That’s ok, Lee. I’ll let you have that shot without any facts to back up your analysis. Just adds to the entertainment value. I’m now on my second bucket of pop corn.
Shearer has behaved like a school teacher that has put the tall poppy in detention for lack of blind obedience. Shearer and his mates can’t handle the fact that Cunliff is a clever, experienced, media competent & has a clear vision for a future for Labour and a strategy to win the next election. Cunliff is the scapegoat for Shearer not being popular with NZers. There is no way Shearer would be a good choice for PM. He can’t even get a sentence out right. He just bubbles away and bores every to tears. Him and his mates bullying the other MPs won’t make him popular with the public. Roll on Feb and hope he is rolled in favour of Cunliff then.
David Cunliff is a very impressive person re his intelligence, background and his ability to think on his feet, debate and have clear ideas and strategies. I think he is the only person in Labour that has a chance against John Key.
I’m a National Party supporter so you can take my comments with a grain of salt if you wish, but I will make a couple of points.
One of my long-held concerns about David Cunliffe is his disingenuousness. I have witnessed him both from afar and up close, and I’ve found it very difficult to discern just what he believes in.
His lurch to the left is in my view utterly contrived and cynical. His repeated staged speeches to Party members over the last year, in which he sought to paint himself as the only Left hero in the Party bear no relationship to his professional life, his family life, his previous parliamentary career, or his time as a Minister. Whereas Helen was a pragmatist in her later years, she had a deep sense of conviction and who she was politically. Never would she have lowered herself to the extraordinary performance that Cunliffe demonstrated at the Avondale markets in 2011.
Cunliffe repeatedly made up policy on the hoof, and strayed directly into David Parker’s policy areas. That was base opportunism by any measure. Clearly he was being muzzled to a degree over the last few months. If you don’t believe that the sudden groundswell of support for Cunliffe in posts at the Standard, and by the likes of Greg Presland (who has consistently slagged off Shearer for the last twelve months) wasn’t on the one hand, coordinated, and on the other, sanctioned by Cunliffe, then I have a bridge to sell you.
With fairly adequate justification, I would argue that Cunliffe allowed his supporters to hijack the constitution for his benefit over the weekend. While all of the old guard–and some of the new guard, including Andrew Little–pushed for a 50% caucus threshhold to trigger a wider vote, Cunliffe’s supporters rammed through the 40% threshhold. In my view, that is more than just destabilising for caucus management: it effectively makes it ungovernable. Had the rule been in place in 1999, then Phil Goff would have had the numbers to force a wider Party vote against Helen. By the way, I don’t believe any sitting leader can survive a wider party vote: losing the initial caucus vote, even in possession of a simple majority, signals a fractured Caucus and is a vote of no confidence in the Leader. I don’t believe you can blame anybody but Cunliffe for that outcome.
Cunliffe’s sense of timing, to fail to endorse his own leader at the Conference, highlights again my further discomfort with him: his lack of self-discipline. It is more than just ego and vanity, in my view, but an almost pathological lack of judgement when he gets carried away with the moment. Jim Anderton had that quality. So does Winston Peters. That is fine if you want to start a personality cult, but in a political party it’s downright destructive.
My final point is, you’ve made some pretty damning comments regarding Chris Hipkins. I find it extremely unlikely that Hipkins would have made his comments in isolation or without the sanction of his leadership. David Parker said similar things with greater brevity. Phil Goff was more measured, and I believe Jacinda Ardern made some comments as well. Shearer’s press conference was as close to a sustained public flogging of Cunliffe as it gets. If you’re going to blame Hipkins for the sentiments towards Cunliffe, then you really have to blame everybody around Shearer for their sentiments as well.
Kat, may I remind you again, hate is what the Left do best. So funny to watch. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
The moral high ground is such an excellent launching pad for dropping cluster bombs on the ideologically impure.
“I’ll let you have that shot without any facts to back up your analysis”
Your posts did my job for me.
Brian, David Cunliffe is obviously very capable, well educated and ambitious. He is probably a better long term bet than Shearer, the problem is the majority of his peers don’t like him. That’s his problem not David Shearers. If he behaved in a manner that the majority of caucus could get on with he would have won the position over Shearer. D.S. is starting to look very weak when inteviewed he doesn’t have the mongrel in the house either, he’s a nice guy but he’s there because Cunliffe is unacceptable to the majority, that’s democracy. He either has to change his style and behaviour or accept that he hasn’t got the support of his colleagues and stop trying to get the job by undermining the leader. He did it with Goff too. You get to the top because those around you respect you and put ou there, clearly he doesn’t have that support. You obviously like him perhaps you can offer him some guidance and a copy of I’m “OK you OK”
Nice side step, Lee.
That’s what Cunliffe should have done when asked at the Conference about his vote in February.
“I support the leader”.
What nonsense, Brian. Clark ran the caucus with an iron fist and any dissent was crushed, in a kindly passive aggressive way, of course. How long do you think Cunliffe would have lasted had he worked the same old tricks on Clark? About five seconds is my bet. Nice attempt to try to salvaging something for the Cunliffe side, though. What I find surprising is that as a communications expert, you should know not to way over reach like this.
It’s not David Shearer who is the bully Brian. The real bullies are those who comprise the Beltway cabal, and it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that Trevor Mallard’s DNA is all over this, and that Chris Hipkins is developing into a mini-Mallard. What is in the waters of the Hutt River?
” undermining the leader. He did it with Goff too.”
Cunliffe did no such thing, Goff did not perform well as Leader neither has Shearer.
Goff choked when some bloke asked him to show him the money. The money had been worked out weeks in advance Goff just didnt know his stuff Goff like Shearer wont beat Key pure and simple.Labour need Cunliffe to take on Key head to head.
Alan, thanks for the heads up on hate. However, I take issue with you that it is solely the preserve of the Left. But I would guess you already know that. And I can understand the likes of Kimbo reveling in the present Labour Party ructions, with his popcorn. Such is the media vacuum that the blogasphere fills.
However like storms at sea this will pass and as they say a week in politics is a long time. My focus is on the macro picture and that is seeing a Labour govt in 2014. My preference for leader is second to that. I’m also picking that by election time 2014 the electorate will be thinking ‘anyone but national’.
I look at the Labour Party and I see a Chernobyl. A wasteland bereft of any hope. Believe me, it’s going to be one long nuclear winter for them.
They are where the paths of Gilbert and Sullivan and Monty Python, intersect.
Kat, you’re welcome any time. Yes, it’s not the exclusive preserve of the Left but it is their speciality. Time will pass, but this characteristic will not.
Luckily I don’t like popcorn. I am a Monty Python fan but they have a subtlety beyond this sublime ability to shoot oneself in both feet and then the head while aiming at the enemy. I think by 2014 the electorate may have noticed.
Unlike Shearer’s pathetic attempt at a lolly scrabble to win votes of 10,000 new houses a year and no mention of how they would fund them. Cunliff is a clever man who would have worked out all the details of how he would have funded them if he made such an announcement. Shearer may fool a few with such stupid talk but anyone with any brains questions where the money will come from and if that will deliver jobs to the wider population. Clearly it won’t.
I like Cunliff because he is a potential leader that will have dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s when it comes to making policy. That I can trust. His is ethical because he would not fund his policies by increasing borrowing to pay for schemes that will not create the greatest long term benefit for the widest range of people at the bottom and in the middle. If people have secure jobs they can make choices like to buy a house. The developers will soon come on board when the demand is there.
I think all this nice man talk is rubbish. I don’t need the leader of my country to be a nice man. He/she has to be work out how to lift the people and the country up so it prospers and so do we. I want to see how the government will lead business to develop a leading edge over other counties and that will provide long term security for NZers. It will steam the bleed of people to Aus and put food on the plate and money to buy houses, etc. It will provide taxes for the government to spend on healthcare, education & the environment etc.
We need a lion not someone who is a puppet being manipulated by the self serving click he surrounds himself with.
@ Alan Wilkinson
“The People’s Front of Judaea?! Splitters!”
This is hardly monstrous bullying but normal practice in any party or situation where a vote is being taken. The person who does not ring around and ask if people are going to support whatever or whoever it is, and if not why? – and get some honest one-on-one feedback at the same time, borders on arrogant and, at the least, lacks nouse.
Rumour has it — that Shearer fortifies himself with this song, before making any speech or is about to be interviewed.
@ Hamish Price
“My final point is, you’ve made some pretty damning comments regarding Chris Hipkins. I find it extremely unlikely that Hipkins would have made his comments in isolation or without the sanction of his leadership. David Parker said similar things with greater brevity. Phil Goff was more measured, and I believe Jacinda Ardern made some comments as well. Shearer’s press conference was as close to a sustained public flogging of Cunliffe as it gets. If you’re going to blame Hipkins for the sentiments towards Cunliffe, then you really have to blame everybody around Shearer for their sentiments as well”
What you are describing here Hamish is a void in Leadership, the only person who should speak out about Cunliffe is Shearer. When there is a void all team members feel justified in expressing their opinions. Shearer’s leadership style is not suited to Party Leader. Hipkin’s comments were way out of line, 100% support Brian on that one. Cunliffe is a strong Leader and would set the ground rules to make sure all are in line and focused. He would also make sure that any slackers are sorted, hence the concerted campaign by old Labour politicians who have passed their use by date.
“One of my long-held concerns about David Cunliffe is his disingenuousness. ”
It is clear that the media have run a concerted campaign against DC, if I hadnt worked with him I would think exactly like you, you are not alone. But he is a genuine person whose brain just clicks over a bit quicker than most of us. In many ways he is the exact opposite to David Shearer, whose brain seems to churn over slowly like a vintage hay baler. Cunliffes brain is like a super computer and unfortunately it gets him into trouble with a media searching hard to find faults. The media could find faults in Richie Mckaw if they searched hard enough, we all have them.
“His lurch to the left is in my view utterly contrived and cynical.”
He has lurched to the left because of the GFC and 2008, anyone with half a brain has made the same move. What amazes me is that more have not made the same move.
When one shows their evil vicious nature so publicly as Hipkins and Robertson have done it does themselves least favour of all. They have come out as petty, vindictive and ultimately what they accuse their enemy Cunliffe of being, destructive to the Labour party and its future ambitions of govt.
If they were let them off the leash and instructed or allowed to say such things shows a grave lack sensibility of how this will effect the party both short and long term, if it was Shearer who set the dogs loose he should understand folk often look upon the dog owner as being the true one at fault for the carnage that results.
Bury Cunliffe by all means, but do it in a distant unknown swamp in the dark of night, not in a public street with the public staring at you laughing with the horror and stupidity of it all.
If Shearer were leadership material he would be showing it in the poles and would be able to handle a bit of a leadership challenge without resorting to what has been described here as a public flogging.
Cunliff has done nothing wrong. He only has said that he would not state if he would endorse Shearer as leader in Feb in the secret vote. What is wrong with that? He has been unjustly dismissed. This whole thing about his personality is rubbish feed to the media but those who want him gone because he would most likely not keep them around if he was leader. Which one of that click is of any use anyhow? They can’t handle the fact he is clever. They are happy to have someone who is a bit slow in the job. They get to make the bullets and get Shearer to fire them.
I thought it was disgusting what those other MPs said about Cunliff when the only thing he did was exercise his right think for himself and not tell anyone what he was thinking. Since when was that anything bad? We all do that all the time and we are certainly not doing any wrong by it. All is a bit Putinish to me!
BE: See my response to Luke Mason,Rex.
Try as I might, I can’t see one! I’ve refreshed the browser etc… To me, it appears Luke has made only the one comment (November 20th, 2012 at 20:35) and there’s no reply beneath it.
Feel free to delete this housekeeping message if it’s some peculiar issue confined to me, or after you insert the response… just that I would like to read your take on it.
BE: Here it is: Be interested to know if you could identify the threat you’re referring to. Cunliffe had given his support to Shearer until the February spill. You can’t demand that some pledge to supporting you in what is meant to be a secret ballot in three months time.
“What you are describing here Hamish is a void in Leadership, the only person who should speak out about Cunliffe is Shearer. When there is a void all team members feel justified in expressing their opinions.”
I disagree. Often it’s counter-productive to a leader’s brand for the leader to run the attack lines, or even the defence lines. Mallard and Hodgson generally ran the attack lines for Helen. You would be hard-pressed to convince me that Mallard going nuclear on Don Brash, for example, wasn’t sanctioned by the leadership, or that it showed a “vacuum of leadership”.
“It is clear that the media have run a concerted campaign against DC, if I hadnt worked with him I would think exactly like you, you are not alone. But he is a genuine person whose brain just clicks over a bit quicker than most of us.”
If I can be a little unkind, David Cunliffe is the most prominent member of the group that asserts his brain just clicks over a bit quicker than most of us! But I disagree that his reputation for self-aggrandisement is a media construction. I know many people who worked with him previously, going back to his time in Foreign Affairs. His reputation for self-promotion was legendary even then. I accept that you may know him and respect him differently to the Duncan Garners and Paddy Gowers. But it is clear that the hostility towards Cunliffe by his own colleagues is long-standing, and pre-dates him being at the centre of the media spotlight.
Even more revealing than Guyon Espiner’s Listener piece (and no, I don’t believe that it wasn’t timed by Cunliffe to coincide with the Conference), were Espiner’s comments in this clip. Specifically, from 2:20 onwards: http://www.radiolive.co.nz/David-Cunliffe-saviour-of-the-Labour-Party/tabid/506/articleID/32107/Default.aspx
For me, Cunliffe has tried to embody a cult-like personality. He has almost deliberated cultivated some second-rate followers who blindly support everything he does, at the expense of party unity (echoes of Winston Peters and Jim Anderton again).
I don’t believe that the more experienced and talented hands that support Shearer necessarily have a whole lot of love for Shearer, but there are distinct and historical reasons why they don’t support Cunliffe, and it has nothing to do with envy or a media beat-up. They have worked with and alongside Cunliffe closely over the years, and they don’t trust him.
Personally, I would love to see Cunliffe leading the Labour Party. I think he would drive the Party over the cliff, just as that most self-obsessed and self-destructive Australian Labor leader, Mark Latham, almost did over the ditch.
You ask why Cunliffe couldn’t just signal unambiguous support for Shearer.
My suggestion would be that, had Cunliffe done so and subsequently stood against Shearer, his words would have been used against him.
That’s unlikely to happen to any other leadership contender. But it would happen to Cunliffe because the ABC patch-protectors and their media enablers would make sure it happened.
That’s life in New Zealand. Cunliffe is viewed as ‘too clever by half’ and so his good intentions and honesty will always be in doubt.
Is that fair? No. But it’s reality.
“My suggestion would be that, had Cunliffe done so and subsequently stood against Shearer, his words would have been used against him.
That’s unlikely to happen to any other leadership contender.”
You were doing really well until that last sentence. EVERYONE who says they support the leader, then subsequently challenges them is accused of disloyalty and dishonesty. It never harmed Muldoon, Bolger, or Clark, who deposed incumbents and then went on to each win 3 elections.
If you win, all is forgiven. Is it fair? Maybe. But it’s reality.
When it happens you waffle about “the good of the country, and the groundswell of support I’ve received from grass-roots party members who are concerned we must do everything to get rid of this present awful government, and my caucus colleagues who demanded that I revisit my previous genuinely held expression of loyalty…blah, blah, blah”
And everyone but the die-hards forgets about it in a week.
Leadership support, loyalty, blah, blah, blah….actions that were undemocratically and unethically perpetrated can be talked and written about for days, fact is Shearer has the reigns in hand with full(?) support of caucus! All is going to plan, let’s give the man enough rope so that he can place his head firmly in the noose. We are all aware of Shearer’s shortcomings as a viable leader. Shearer’s appearance on TV today, to explain Labour’s new housing initiative was farcical. He is unable to string several words together in a coherent manner and was unable to explain any sort of costing for such an important project…how lazy is that.
@ Hamish Price
Kia ora Hamish,
“Mallard and Hodgson generally ran the attack lines for Helen.”
I should have clarified that it is fine for Mallard and Hodgson to run attack lines against opposition for Helen, but it would be wrong if they were to do the same against colleagues. Colleagues feel comfortable attacking other colleagues in public when there is a lack of Leadership…it should never happen.
“If I can be a little unkind, David Cunliffe is the most prominent member of the group that asserts his brain just clicks over a bit quicker than most of us!”
Well I never witnessed this in BCG’s 12 month assignment at Fletcher Challenge in the 90’s. I have heard the comments about people he worked with in Foreign Affairs at New York. At the level that Cunliffe has worked, there is always going to be people who have had their nose put out of joint, the rumour I heard was that he didnt invite everyone to a party or something pathetic.
In our assignment David led a team of 6 very clever people from Harvard, Stanford, etc. BCG only accepts the top Graduates. His BCG team of 6 was mixed with employees from the floor of the factory, engineers, maintenance, accountants…not an easy task, he handled it with ease from memory.
I have read Guyon Espiner’s article and it is completely inconsistent with the Cunliffe I worked with, Espiner is friends with Garner. It is clear that the anti cunliffe campaign is concerted. there are senior Labour caucus members feeding these guys information, if Shearer was a good leader he would be sorting these guys out.
“I don’t believe that the more experienced and talented hands that support Shearer necessarily have a whole lot of love for Shearer, but there are distinct and historical reasons why they don’t support Cunliffe, and it has nothing to do with envy or a media beat-up.”
Once again I disagree with you here Hamish, I think it is envy. Under Helen Clark, Cunliffe was on a fast track to Labour Party leadership. This was because he was the most clever person in the Labour caucus. Remember it was Cunliffe who managed to unbundle Telecom, for 18 years nobody could achieve this, Cunliffe did it. He did the same with the Health system. Check out Cunliffe versus English in the Mood of the Nation speech in 2011. In every debate he cleans up, that is why the right wingers support Shearer.
Hamish if you know some people from Foreign Affairs who had their noses put out of joint by Cunliffe, give them a message from me…Harden up!
“Shearer’s appearance on TV today, to explain Labour’s new housing initiative was farcical. He is unable to string several words together in a coherent manner and was unable to explain any sort of costing for such an important project…how lazy is that.”
I agree Johan.
Yes how can anyone not laugh at this statement of the 10k homes per year if there is no information forthcoming about how they will fund this.
@Paul, surely clever Cunliffe knows NZ printing money to reduce the exchange rate is mind-numbingly stupid? So why does he pretend otherwise?
If not stupid then not honest. The hard Left may not notice this but everyone else does.
Post February it will be interesting to see how the Shearites identify how people voted in a secret ballot.
I wonder why Conference wanted a secret ballot?
A faint hint of desperation in the Shearite camp? (or arrogance?).
Sorry would that be The Listener that recently had its features editor depart to be Bill English’s media liason?
AW says:surely clever Cunliffe knows NZ printing money to reduce the exchange rate is mind-numbingly stupid?
Ah, AW’s a Mr Know-it-all who’ll show us the money?
There’s a lot more to managing economies post GFC than austerity, including ‘printing money’ and internationally a significant number of voices suggest that RBs must do more than just manage inflation. Even an (unofficial) paper released by senior economists within the IMF develops that theme, and a large number of fiscally impure countries de facto practise it.
Magical thinking doesn’t cut it any more, just stacks up along your idealogical prejudices. You’re not clever, and definitely not funny. Perhaps you should apply a little more austerity to the current freedom with which you dole out your advice and prejudices.
@Galeandra, I’m content with commonsense rather than cleverness. Printing money hurts the poor and benefits the rich. Yes, there are a few stupid economists but not many, and yes there are some economic circumstances when it is justifiable short term but not many.
Those advocating it for NZ are either clueless or unscrupulous. I’ll be charitable and put you in the first category. Cunliffe is not.
‘there are a few stupid economists but not many…’
Says it all really AW about the width of your reading. BTW ‘printing money’ is only one way to create credit; several other mechanisms provide means of mobilising social resource without unleashing uncontrollable inflation. As you assert such authoritah in mattahs financial it behooves you to do a good deal more to update yourself.Fear of a modern return to the Weimar Republic has to be put alongside the enormously destructive outcomes from the policies of Austerity. In Europe it can be seen that the social and economic costs of Austerian folly are in continuous double-up, and the comparison with the outcomes in the USA are stark.
JC: Edited. We don’t allow personal abuse on this site. Please refrain in future.
Galeandra, I am well used to the immediate resort to mindless insults from the Left and merely amused by them. You expose only your own character.
New Zealand has not been practising austerity but steering a middle course of borrowing while seeking efficiencies. Europe is suffering from its mad single currency project and grotesque internal imbalances. The US is suffering from years of reckless military expenditure combined with a massive trade deficit with China. Neither are relevant to New Zealand.
Our problems are simpler. We pay people to be poor and we pay them more to have lots of children. Then we discover we have lots of poor children, blame the Government for not making them rich and say capitalism has failed. We are idiot socialists.
JC: You too, Alan – you provoked it.
@JC, spoil sport.
“I think it is envy. Under Helen Clark, Cunliffe was on a fast track to Labour Party leadership.”
Correct Paul Sarrbo.
He was indeed. But the thumping in 2008 probably caused him to conclude it was not the right time to take over the leadership.
We are seeing the tall poppy (syndrome) in full flower, and it’s coming from a few members of the old guard plus their parachuted-in apparatchiks in Caucus.
AW: Your views on economics and generally, what is good for society appears to be myopic and tunnel visioned. You need to expand your horizons and do some research. You tend to make too many conclusions on minimal bits of information to suit your self-oriented mind.
@johan, are you practising to be a wife? How about making one specific challenge to anything I’ve said?
In the interest of NZ’s future I’m always willing to help educate the Left.
Deafening silence. The Left still don’t want no education.
Meanwhile the MSM commentariat conclude the loony Left have wrecked Labour’s constitutional structure and hugely benefited their political opponents:
Shearer should simply have said something like ‘it’s great to have talented people in the Labour Party wanting to lead the way for NZ like DC. I’m more than happy to have him working along side me and in February the Party will have another look at the leadership which of course I intend and look forward to winning. Until then we’re all cracking on to show NZ how rubbish the Nats are on Education .. blah-blah.’
Bevan, wouldn’t it be better to say at least one thing that is true?
Wouldn’t it be nice to see some leadership from the left interested in results not verbage, and on a further note some leadership from the right showing interest in anything.
Bevan, other people have seen Chch recovery, asset sales, oil and mineral exploration, trade agreements, charter schools, Auckland super city, road and rail development, national standards, balancing the budget, welfare reform, … As quite a long list of things the Key government leaders have shown interest in – whether or not you agree with them. Possibly your eyesight is failing or your blinkers are firmly directed elsewhere.
Alan, ease up on those pills your taking! As Matty Hoots sweats, the future is scary for those on the right, its a global happening thing. 2014 most likely will herald in a left wing govt in NZ, UK will follow suit to join AU & US. No right turn for a long while. Whale Oil is off the menu.
If you want to be a winner its not a good time to be on the losing neoliberal side. Ask Peter Dunne, the left/right political drag queen, who is now talking up the part he can play in a Left bloc govt post 2014!
Chch recovery – needs to be done for obvious reasons.
Asset sales – not even close yet and have the Nats explained why it needs to be done? What positive investment will be made with the money?
Oil and mineral exploration – has something happened?
Trade agreements – business as usual. Fine. “Left” and “Right” keep working through these.
Charter schools – be a plus if it works – I’d rather see the current lot, the majority, bashed into shape to be honest and get them focused on results not just trying hard coz they’re nice caring people.
Auckland super city – when’s the payback?
Road and rail development – business as usual for both sides again.
National standards – executed with precision and focus ….. erm, no.
Balancing the budget – by not slashing expenditure, by keeping middle class and corporate welfare, they didn’t even pare back to 2008 levels yet!!!
Welfare reform – they’ve convinced the department to apply the actual rules to a few ratbags. I don’t think its reform, it’s a faint hint of application in a fairly bleak landscape.
… and all Labour can do is fight within their own team over who gets the bigger pay check and sits at the front.
Kat, I agree the future is scary if the Left take power again in 2014 and further increase the proportion of NZers who are useless for anything except spending other people’s money and breeding indiscriminately. On top of that the Greens will veto all private development and enterprise and create a wasteland of hopelessly uneconomic taxpayer funded eco disasters. It certainly won’t be just the Right who will suffer the consequences.
it is true what is stated about the Labour MPs, not a single one has ever been in business of their own accord. How the hell can they make a legitimate claim on being the best option to run a country when they cant show the nous to even run a dairy?
God help us, Kat; I can envisage you in the 18th century doing your knitting at the foot of the guillotine.
As a long time Labour supporter I am saddened to say that I largely agree with Alan on this. The current Labour party is unelectable on its own merit. The only way it could possibly form a government is with a rag bag coalition which will be a disaster for everyone in NZ left or right. Such a govenrment would however achieve one thing dear to the hearts of the economic illiterates who have taken control of the lunatic asylum; it will lead to a massive flight of capital out of NZ and a collapse in the currency.
@Bevan, I wouldn’t disagree with much of that except to say it does show activity. My biggest disappointment, though sadly not unexpected when Williamson got the portfolio, has been lack of meaningful reform of our lunatic building bureaucracy. He is all mouth and no action. There is a glimmer of hope in the normally equally useless Law Commission suggesting to abolish the “Last Man Standing” liability for Councils. Councils should be responsible only for health and safety as always used to be the case and 90% of the building bureaucracy scrapped so the market can solve its own problems and deliver houses people want and can afford.
The thing is, if the Labour caucus let the rank and file have the final say, then Cunliffe would be the leader, and it is a shame he is not.
As it stands, Key will win in 2014, I’d say. National are getting wind in their sails because of all this, and undeservedly. Cunliffe is the natural politician, and would better Key and Shearer on all fronts. Hope I’m proven wrong.
Q & A on Sunday: Shane Taurima interviewed Shearer on the housing policy. Twice he had to ask DS to explain how it worked – some waffle about bonds was the reply. Shane then interviewed John Key. The contrast was startling, even though Key isn’t a great orator and slip-slides around like a jellied eel. If you truly think Shearer’s got what it takes to punish Key – watch it and weep.
Labour are faffing around because they don’t want to be in power. A decent Opposition would have ripped the Nats to shreds by now – there’s been ample opportunities. Instead, they dump on
the one credible, articulate, gutsy, outstanding leader in waiting they have, meanwhile the people get shafted.
Well said! Shearer’s harebrained housing scheme will be just as burdensome as the Clark’s Student Loan and Working for Families. Which were so hideously expensive and, quite rightly, slammed as unashamed vote-catching.
NZ needs a strong Opposition, more than ever, to counter Key. But they can’t deliver because of not only the factional in-fighting but also because there is so little vision, brains and talent within the party.
The Labour Party cannot be so ignorant and believe that Mr Shearer “is doing a good job” and therefore has the backing of his caucus. No amount of quick-fix media training is going to make him an effective force against John Key and National. Individuals in the Labour caucus may be afraid to lose their perks, since many, from their physical appearance seem to have their snouts deeply buried in the public food trough. The message to all voters in the next election is that Mr Shearer does not come across as a sound leader. He is a poor communicator, only fair on set piece interviews and poor on impromptu pieces. Shearer’s performance on Q&A is the first nail in the coffin for the Labour Party since his caucus confirmed him as their leader.
@johan, the Labour party needs a poor communicator. If they had a good one the public would realise how stupid their policies are.