Brian Edwards Media

Congratulations David and Karen from Brian and Judy! And why John Key’s days are numbered.

Next step: the big desk on the ninth floor!

Next step – the big desk of the ninth floor!


I hadn’t intended to do anything more on this mini-post than congratulate David and Karen. But I’ve decided to stick my neck out and make a prediction. I predict that a Labour/Greens coalition will win the 2014 election and that David Cunliffe will be New Zealand’s next Prime Minister. Labour might even go it alone.

I’ve been provoked into this rash course of action by my former media partner on The Nation, Bill Ralston, who tweeted something to the effect that Cunliffe’s win was just another example of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Here’s my principal reason for thinking that Bill’s got it wrong.  

Since 2008 Labour has had no really effective opponent to John Key.

Not Phil Goff, a nice guy and a really decent man, good in debate, but a relatively poor communicator where it matters most – on the box.

Not David Shearer, a nice guy and a really decent man, but miscast as Leader, not particularly good in debate and a poor communicator where it matters most – on the box.

Not Grant Robertson, a nice guy and a really decent man, very good in debate, a reasonable communicator where it matters most – on the box – but somehow failing to  register on the public consciousness where it also matters a lot.

So for the last five years John Key has had something bordering on a free run. Which in turn has led to the false impression that no-one can beat John Key because John Key is a great communicator.

Now, as it happens, I don’t think John Key is a particularly good communicator at all. Not at least in the sense of being verbally adept or impressive either as a speaker or in debate. But the absence of a charismatic opponent who had all those qualities has allowed Key to play to his greatest strength – that he is a man comfortable in his own skin, seemingly at ease with the world and himself, enjoying his life and his job, not too fussed about anything, a multi-millionaire most people could imagine as a mate, seemingly without side or pretension.

And where it matters most – on the box? Well, Key’s recent interview with John Campbell gives you your answer.

But  today the picture changed. John Key has some real opposition. David Cunliffe has a brilliant mind, is a brilliant speaker and debater and there is no politician to match him on the box. Cunliffe is the game-changer.

And the proof of the pudding will lie where it has always lain – in the polls. And particularly in the Preferred Prime Minister poll. No party leader permanently registering under 15%  in that poll, let alone dipping into single figures, can hope to enjoy the confidence of the electorate or lead their party to victory. And that has been the situation for every Labour Leader since 2008.

But all that changed today as well. Under Cunliffe’s leadership, his and Labour’s poll rating will begin to rise, slowly but inexorably.

John Key no longer has the game to himself.

, , , ,


  1. Sorry to be a spoil-sport, but…

    “He received 18.2 per cent of the caucus vote, which was worth 40 per cent of the total”.

    When you have less than 1 in 5 of your caucus colleagues voting for you, I’d suggest the “next step” is to mend some bridges before you are fit and ready to take on the big dog.

    Cunliffe’s shadow cabinet will be VERY interesting. One positive – he doesn’t seem to have many allies he has to reward for giving him their support :)

    • Yes, but surely a brief moment of celebration is in order. And if those bridges are mended I predict that David Cunliffe will be the next Prime Minister of New Zealand.

    • That is 18.2/40, not 18.2/100. Very sloppy reporting, or intentional misleading (they have been screaming the ‘unpopular in caucus’ line for years’.

      That was his total after 2nd preferences. On first preference DC had 32%

    • You appear not to understand that that is 18.2/40 after second preferences counted (even though Cunliffe already had a majority in the first round).

      16 out of 34 wanted anyone other than Robertson. The results from the unions and members are even more damning. 67% of members wanted anyone but Robertson and 78% of affiliates wanted anyone but Robertson.

    • 1.4

      Hi Kimbo, the maths as reported on the NZ Herald are very misleading. The true figures are (note, DC is Davis Cunliffe):

      1: in the caucus vote, DC had 18.2 out of 40%, which is 45.5%
      2: in the party membership vote, DC had 27.1 out of 40%, which is 67.8 %
      3: in the affiliated union vote,DC had 15.6 % out of 20%, which is 78%.

      This means that the membership and the affiliates are majority backing DC by about 72%, but the caucus is about 54% opposed to DC. Caucus should take heed of their membership and supporters.

      • Its provides clear proof the caucus are not representative of the membership any more and the new rules should genuine Labour people to become MPs

      • The maths as reported on the Herald was just plain WRONG. You don’t get, say, 28 *PERCENT* of something if that’s the total out of 40, as they kept reporting.

    • “He received 18.2 per cent of the caucus vote, which was worth 40 per cent of the total”, Kimbo.

      So what?
      Everyone else has to put up with bosses we don’t like, and wouldn’t choose if we could, everyday day of our working lives. To the caucus I would say, better suck it up for the good of the party, for the good of the country. To DC I would say you have a whopping mandate to be where you are, stronger than any who may, for their own machiavellian reasons, choose to undermine, or oppose you. Don’t hesitate to call on that mandate to get your opponents to bring their reasons for it to the the public’s attention. You are not alone. And you are not out numbered. They are.

    • 1.6

      Message to BE: I hope you can somehow tell the NZH that their online reported percentages concerning David Cunlife’s percentages are totally wrong and deceptive.

      Here are the correct percentages:

      1) David Cunliffe received 45.5% support from the labour caucus (not “18.2%” as reported by the herald);
      2) David Cunliffe received 67.8% from the labour party membership (not 27.1 as reported by the Herald)
      3) David Cunliffe received 78% from the affiliated union membership (not 15.6% as reported by the Herald.
      Of course these numbers are affected by the 40% vote from caucus and 40% from members, and 20% by affiliates, but the numbers given above are far more accurate than the Herald’s web site reporting.
      I sense that the Herald reporter has no real understanding of basic maths, or is he/she part of ABC?? Meanwhile I am very annoyed by the Herald’s incorrect reporting re Labour voting numbers.

      I certainly respect Labour’s new democratic voting process. It is enough encouragement for me to rejoin the party.

    • The Herald reporters apparently have no understanding of percentages. I emailed Audrey Young and gave her the address of a website that gives free maths lessons on-line, so maybe there’ll be some improvement.
      Congratulations to David Cunliffe. Now there’s hope for a better tomorrow. Will be watching Question Time on Tuesday and cheering from the sofa.

    • Well when the second count was shared Cunliffe would have had 16 and Robetson 18 not the two thirds they say

    • That’s wrong. David got 47% of the Caucus vote. He got the support of 16 out of 34 MPs on second preferences. He got 18 percentage points out of 40 for the Caucus.

    • And I bet that those who are opposed to him are from the old guard who probably should get lost. I stopped voting labour in 2005 because of some of the things they did and if I see improvements under Cunnliffe I will vote for them again but it’s always in the back of my mind is there another roger douglas or prebble hiding amongst them. I didn’t like goff for that reason.

  2. 2

    There is lots amiss about the Herald’s recent report on David Cunliffe’s support. I can advise that:

    1) DC’s support within the caucus was 18.2 out of 40%, so DC’s support was 45.5% of the labour caucus.

    2) DC’s support within the greater labour party membership was was 27.11 out of 40%, so was 67.8% of party membership.

    3) DC’s support within affiliated union membership was 15.6 out of 20%, so was 78%.

    The overall electoral support for DC is clear, except that a small majority of the Labour caucus seems to be opposed to Cunliffe. .

    This means that the caucus is out of tune with membership. I hope that the caucus can abide with Grant Robertson’s request to unify behind the newly elected leader.

    I suggest that the caucus should abide by the membership’s vote and also Grant Robertson’s plea, and support DC, the newly and democratically elected leader of the party

    • Why do you keep on with this silly nonsense?

      The Herald says this now:

      The caucus’ 34 total votes are worth 40 percent of the total.

      Mr Cunliffe won 32.35 per cent (11 MPs) of the 34 MPs, or 12.94 per cent of the total vote.

      Mr Robertson won 47.06 per cent of the caucus (16 MPs) and Mr Jones won 20.59 per cent (7 MPs).

      That’s perfectly clear to me. What’s your problem?

  3. Congratulations to David and Karen –

    yep, I may as well join, and I am pleased that the results for the new Labour leader are more convincing and clearer than the mainstream media tried to tell us they would look like.

    Although many in caucus would have preferred Grant Robertson, they will have their choice in picking him as Deputy again, so that will bring together the forces that have the chance to work together.

    Grant must see that it is not his time, and will not be so for some time yet, so he is best advised to offer his full support to the new leader and co-operate fully.

    Caucus must now stick together, for the interest of the party, and I trust that most will back David, or at least restrain themselves and respect the party and affiliates’ preferences.

    A great start for a possible renewal of the labour movement in NZ this is, and now it is most important, to get the right set of policies worked out, and voted for at the coming conference, so that the wider public will be convinced and encouraged to vote the inevitable, to throw out John Key and his Natsy brigade, to the place where they belong.

    And thanks I say, to David Shearer, to have heeded the call for standing down well in time before the next election. He deserves becoming a minister in the coming new government, and he will hopefully stand behind Cunliffe also.

    Things are finally starting to look up again, for the many that suffered so immensely under Key’s government, and who struggle and are desperate for a fairer, better future for all, not just the few upper percentages.

  4. Dare I say it, but what really matters is sincerity. David Cunliffe has little of it. His Mitt Romney esque conversion to socialism accords with a level of opportunism that voters will find hard to stomach.

    The average client for the Boston consulting group are billion dollar corporates. Does anyone think his faux Polynesian accent and attacks on the wealthy at the Avondale markets will wash?

    Does anyone really thik he lives in Herne Bay (most expensive suburb in nz) simply to aid breast feeding?

    Does anyone really thik he will oppose mining, given his wife makes millions as lawyer to oil and has companies?

    Romney lost to Obama despite massive unemployment because the voters there called bullshit on him. Cunliffe appears in the same boat

    • But Obama propped up failing businesses and Key just watched people get unemployed

    • Is it your position that every Labour MP, from the Leader down, should live in South Auckland and ride a bicycle to work? Get real.

      • Not at all. But surely they should believe what they say and not change their views depending on he audience they are addressing

    • Exactly – Poor old LP – Cunliffe is one of Michael Cullen’s ‘rich pricks’.

    • You’re suggesting personal ideology is submissive to personal circumstances – that a leader who exhibits personal success / achievement is surely insincere and devoid of leadership attributes – that the circumstances of candidates first be washed through some sort of acceptability sluice exposing personal achievement, in all its forms, as aggravating one’s ideology sincereity / leaderdhip attributes – absurd!

  5. David Cunliffe has a brilliant mind, is a brilliant speaker and debater and there is no politician to match him on the box. Cunliffe is the game-changer.

    But lacking in self-awareness, which shows his EQ is single-digit.

    If the collective talent — and intellect — of the Labour Caucus were somehow able to be converted to electricity, it would be barely sufficient to power up a comfort night lamp in a kiddy’s bedroom.

    I’m with Bill Ralston: deckchairs on the Titanic, silk purse, call it what you will. There’s no real grunt; just a bunch of bickering malcontents looking for their next fix.

    • “If the collective talent — and intellect — of the Labour Caucus were somehow able to be converted to electricity, it would be barely sufficient to power up a comfort night lamp in a kiddy’s bedroom.”

      Hmmm. You could argue that the caucuses of Norman Kirk and Rob Muldoon were equally lackluster, but the TV talents of both of each made them clear winners in 1972 and 1975 respectively.

      • @ Kimbo: You are right. In the 1970s, there were many lacklustre ministers in both the Labour and National governments. But that holds true for any government-of-the- day.

        For the most part, I see a stark wasteland with this current Labour Caucus. Cunliffe really has to purge it of the damaging legacy of Clark-ism: a crippling governing ethos of emptying out the coffers and dispensing largesse, bribing for votes and fostering dependency on the State. Not many trust Labour to run the economy, other than into the ground.

        I don’t see anything about Cunliffe that suggests he’s a “game-changer”. On TV, and hearing him this morning on NewstalkZB, his persona radiates very little warmth and empathy. Instead, he has this cold and alienating conceit, which people quickly pick up on. And we all know, the majority of his Caucus just don’t like or trust him.

        Time will quickly tell us as to whether he can make inroads into gaining the respect and confidence of the public as well as repairing bridges with his colleagues.

        • hey Desi Boyz, did you read what you wrote?

          In one paragraph the caucus is a “stark wasteland” that needs to be purged. By the next, their views have somehow become relevant, and then you suggest that Cunliffe needs to repair bridges with them.

          With advice like that, who needs enemies?

  6. I think you are right, and – nice picture

    • Brian is absolutely correct. The meat heads will be overthrown. Free market economics is a train wreck. Fundamentalist zealots like Ralston have had their day.

  7. Ralston is spinning for the right.
    A pastime of his.

  8. “But today the picture changed. John Key has some real opposition. David Cunliffe has a brilliant mind, is a brilliant speaker and debater and there is no politician to match him on the box. Cunliffe is the game-changer.”

    Umm. I’m actually struggling to recall Cunliffe actually having much extend TV time in the past 10 years. He’s always “been there”. But actually fronting up and doing the business “on the box” like Muldoon, Lange, Peters, Clark, and Key?

    I can recall the time in Parliament, when as Minister of Health, he intoned, “I’ve got that matter sorted” (or something to that effect). It no doubt sounded pompous in person, and I remember it drew derisive laughter, although it may very well have played out well “on the box”.

    Far be it from me to question your 45 years experience, but are there any specific instances of Cunliffe’s mastery of “the box” you are referring to, Brian?

    • You obviously have been watching the wrong channels

    • Muldoon the bully; Lange the clown; Peters who never gives a straight answer to a straight question – these are your models?

      • No, not mine.

        But they strike me as the NZ politicians of the last 40-odd years (I overlooked Kirk) who have, to use your phrase, performed well on “the box”.

    • I haven’t kept a diary of David’s TV appearances, so you may have to rely on my ’45 years experience’. One does stand out in my mind, however. David was interviewed by Guyon Espiner on Q & A, a year or so back. You may be able to track it down on TVNX’s On Demand site. A model of how to do it.

      • Cheers.

        Heard him on the radio (soundbite) this morning. Clear, concise, calm, good use of inflection, authoritative. Hmmm. I see your point.

  9. The only sane choice for Labour. Now bury the hatchets and get behind him.

    Vis a vis John Key his problem is not ability, debating or experience but that wonderful intangible, likeability.

    Sadly even his close associates don’t like him, and neither will the electorate.

  10. It’s a fair prediction BE. Cunliffe brings something we haven’t seen in Labour since Helen Clark, confidence and self belief. It’s a trait essential for good leadership, both Goff and Shearer lacked it, Key has it in spades.

    Tuesday will be important, what I’d like to see is Ardern as Deputy and Hipkins kept as whip. I think Robertson brings too much baggage and those two appointments would satisfy Camp Robertson. Cunliffe and Ardern would be a much stronger and media friendly team than DC and GR IMO. And to be true to Cunliffes talk of taking it to National and focused on 2014 Ardern would be a better bet. Robertson as deputy is short term thinking.

    The righties have forgotten history, Nationals % in 1999 was 30.5%, look at them now. Swings and roundabouts.

    • 10.1


      You have plenty of support in the blogosphere DC. Congrats, and well done young skywalker, now your destiny is to take the fight up to the darkside, and confront the evil emperor, who is afflicted with the ever extending proboscis. You will have the fire – while he is the jaded broken record with no regional development policy, clutching at drowning support parties, mainlining on the powerfix he’s become addicted to, getting a little on the nose, and in desperate need for that Hawaiian holiday. I’m sure you have lots of ammo for this task, but you can never have too much, so here’s a tip:

      An effective $600m gratuity, to a UFB company, against commerce commission advice appears a bit OTT, for a hands off govt that believes in the freedom of markets. Given the govt’s record of wink wink nudge nudge backroom deals with casinos, etc, any modification of the UFB rollout program during election year could be viewed with suspicion. We don’t want the shenanigans of worried incumbents in marginal seats announcing in their local papers late next year, that strings have been pulled to get rural towns in their electorate, that were originally to be bypassed by UFB, now included. If that is to occur, let it be announced in 2013 or 2015.

      “Cunliffe and Ardern would be a much stronger and media friendly team than DC and GR IMO.” – What about King, with the experience and wisdom to keep a good eye on DC.
      On the other side of the political spectrum, I’d suggest Collins and McCully would be promising running mates for the next leadership of National.

      • “On the other side of the political spectrum, I’d suggest Collins and McCully would be promising running mates for the next leadership of National”.

        What a polarising pair. Each has had a personality by-pass. In those roles, Labour’s best friends! ;-)

  11. All this arguing over percentages: surely a discussion about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin would be more informative.
    Let’s just see how it goes.

    • How many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin? I must know!

      • 11.1.1

        That’s what we have to discuss.

        • 23.8, unless the pinhead is made of a brass/cobalt alloy, in which case it is 24.2.



            I can’t say I’ve heard of that particular alloy but I suppose the corrosion resistant properties of cobalt would provide a more efficient dancing surface accounting for the additional 0.4 angels.
            Quoting Monty Python’s army officer, “Stop! Stop! This is getting silly.”

      • Everyone seems to misquote that in my experience over many years. The quote should be ‘point of a needle’ (or pin) not the head. It was actually a subject seriously debated ny medieval scholars, and related to the fact that angels are incorporeal i.e. have no substance. The answer is none (because they have no substance) and an infinite number (because they have no substance)

  12. I have no doubt the caucus will rally behind David Cunliffe partial due to his efforts but remember he will also have others – like Jones – doing that rallying work. Cunliffe showed his great communications skills on Nat Radio this morning , lots of solid sound bytes “wrapping houses around our children” a fair go etc etc. He will get the message cut through.
    I am interested in who he will bring on board in the comms and policy areas . Key has a very sharp team of PR people who use polling etc to focus his message to the right voters, ignoring the rest. Not sure that Labour’s back room team have been doing that well lately and aside from a caucus shuffle they will need a reshuffle in support staff.
    Brian you may have more inside knowledge on this.

    Aside from both caucus and back room reshuffles I am waiting to see how Cunliffe handles the relationship with Greens and Winstone. Going it alone would be a big gamble.

  13. The idea that everyone who supported Robertson or Jones are VEHEMENTLY opposed to Cunliffe is baseless and silly. In the real world people express preferences and make decisions that don’t go beyond the question of the day on the day its asked.

    in the political realm, usually a greater calculus is at play. Sure some of the Labour caucus dislike Cunliffe. But they dislike being unemployed even more–and unless Labour’s support goes up in next year’s poll, some of them will–either by losing their seat or being pushed down the list because they’re not reasonable team players.

    Disliking the boss is better than being on the dole. But if the team does well, everybody benefits. Not the least kiwis.

  14. Like many others,I am very happy that Cunliffe is the new leader and read your comments with interest.
    But I was dismayed that you are no longer appearing on The Nation. Why is that?

    • Family reasons. Leaving was my decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my slot with Bill Ralston and left on excellent terms with everyone associated with the programme. And I do appreciate your expression of dismay.

      • I am sorry you will no longer be on The Nation, Brian. I enjoyed your contributions immensely. That is not to say I always agreed with what you said, but such is the nature of anyone appearing on such a programme. You came across as an unfailingly calm well-focussed professional.

  15. I agree Richard A
    Cunliffe demonstrated his communication skills on national radio this morning – conviction makes the difference as a leader in politics.

  16. Seems to me there is a yawning disconnect between Cunliffe’s party supporters view of him as a hard leftist and his real views and background to the centre right – as evidenced by Jones supporters’ second preferences.

    I scent deluded enthusiasm ending in tears.

    • The whole of politics, Alan, is deluded enthusiasm ending in tears whether left, right or centre

      • 16.1.1

        I can hardly disagree with that, Tony, since I have been sufficiently disillusioned for 30 years to have avoided joining any party.

        However I do suspect the reign of Cunliffe euphoria may be exceptionally brief. Arguably the greater the fanatical political enthusiasm, the quicker and deeper the reversal to despair. Nash, Kirk, Lange – shooting stars arcing up and down in flames, all of them.

        Gorbachev, Dubcek, Allende are just a few of many similar quickly tragic heroes.

  17. What’s all this rubbish about meeting John Key head on, “I’ve got his number and he knows I do” and so on. He’s the leader of a party that’s losing ground and most of his caucus prefers someone else as leader. The charade goes on.

  18. John Key’s behaviour on Tuesday in the legislature should be one to note since he, I believe, has been ticked-off, for his previous childish antics in the debating chamber.

    His display of arrogance, “I know best and why would anyone come up with something different, therefore, they must be stupid”. This type of behaviour does not endear him to typical Kiwi voters. Too often his replies to media questions lack careful thought and consideration.

    Key has started to mend his ways as of late, however, come Tuesday inside the debating chamber with a large audience in attendance, he will probably not be able to help himself and revert back to his kindie style of outbursts.

  19. Hallelujah! Common sense prevails at last! Break out the bubbly! (or beer if you prefer).

    This could mark the death knell for neo-liberalism and the ‘Third Way’ that we’ve all been hoping for! I hope Roger Douglas has a headache coming on….

    I predicted DC would become leader of Labour Party over a decade ago, just didn’t think it would take this long.
    He is the right man for the job just in the nick of time, cleaning up National’s colossal mess (yet again, sigh!)…

    And I firmly agree with you Brian, he’s going to be our next PM and NZ will be a much better country for it. I feel optimistic again for the first time in many years.

    People who doubt his left-wing credentials have obviously never met David in person, because he’s always been extremely consistent in pursuing left-wing goals – and very polite and respectful with it. When asked by political academic Bryce Edwards at Otago Uni where he sat on the political compass, he voluntarily placed himself as being approx. in the middle of the lower-left quartile.

    The naysayers don’t understand that the Labour Party now has a democratic voting structure in place which returns considerable power back to members, who will hold their MPs and their leader to account for their decisions. The old guard of caucus can’t run the show for their own selfish benefit anymore, cos they’ll be gone by lunchtime.

    • So many delusions. National’s colossal mess:
      – the house price explosion under Labour?,
      – the GFC as Cullen boasted he had spent every cent and the cupboard was bare for the incoming government?
      – the Chch earthquake?
      – the finance companies guarantee bequeathed by Labour?
      – Labour’s RMA blocking everyone who wants to do anything useful?
      – Labour’s useless ETS which has screwed up forestry as well as hiking transport costs and thereby the cost of everything?
      – the massive electricity price escalation under Labour?

      I expect Cunliffe and Parker have more sense than to do more than window-dress your dreams of an end to a market economy – but if they don’t you can bet your life it will be you and yours at the bottom of the heap who will suffer the most. I don’t look forward to be proven correct because the carnage will be a horrible collision with reality for you and many others.

  20. Steady as she goes! TAB at 7.5.

    * TAB – Tory Angst Barometer

  21. Couldn’t agree more Brian! Like you, I was very disappointed when Labour did not elect Cunliffe the first time when Goff went. It is great, Labour are back and with a vengeance!

    The new process for electing the leader has to rate 9/10 (Clare Curran spoiling a perfect 10/10)…I was originally against it, but credit has to go to the party (and David Shearer) for giving Labour time in the press that they couldn’t have bought!

    The other thing with Cunliffe is he is politically astute …he took the portrait of himself down in his electoral office when he was holding his press conference and he never does interviews outside of his New Lynn electorate, even if it means driving across Auckland. He is aware perception is reality.

    Already we are seeing a change in language with Cunliffe referring to the Nats as the ‘Key Government’.

    As a loyal Labour supporter (and a political science graduate) it is great for the first time in my live time to have a labour leader who has finance and private sector background.

    The next lot of polls will be interesting!!!

  22. Cunliffe’s shadow cabinet should be interesting; it will tell us if he really is serious about reforming the party by removing all the deadwood. Don’t be surprised if Shearer is banished to whence he came. And the likes of Goff’s placement on the bleachers will be of interst, because he won’t be at the front.

  23. Right, my significant others,

    The following should provide a fairly rough idea of Caucus voting in the leadership contest (ie which Labour MPs voted for each of the 3 candidates).

    These 3 factions in the Labour caucus were outlined by regular poster, Eddie, on THE STANDARD in late March 2013. As he suggests, questions of ideology, loyalty, and personal advancement all play their part in the make-up of these factions. Each faction has a core group of hard, loyal support as well as a handful of soft supporters who can and have switched allegiances from time to time.

    So, much looser and more fluid than the ALP faction system.

    I think it’s a reasonable guess, though, that most/all of Jones’s support came from the Right faction, most/all of Cunliffe’s from the Left, and most (though not all) of Robertson’s from the Careerist Left:

    (1) The Right
    David Shearer (leader), Phil Goff, Annette King, David Parker, Clayton Cosgrove, Shane Jones, Damien O’Connor, Kris Fa’afoi, Ross Robertson (Total=9)

    (2) The Left
    David Cunliffe (leader), Nanaia Mahuta, Louisa Wall, Sue Moroney, Su’a William Sio, Lianne Dalziel, Parekura Horomia, Rajen Prasad, Rino Tirikatene, Carol Beaumont, Raymond Huo, Moana Mackey, Iain Lees-Galloway, Andrew Little (Total=14)

    (3) The Careerist Left
    Grant Robertson (leader), Chris Hipkins, Jacinda Ardern, Phil Twyford, Clare Curran, Maryan Street, David Clark, Trevor Mallard, Darien Fenton, Megan Woods, Ruth Dyson (Total=11)

    A tactical alliance between the Right and the Careerist Left factions allowed Shearer to take the leadership back in 2011. Seems that some in the Right (including Jones himself) gave their second preference to Cunliffe, thus breaking the previous alliance.

  24. So Ralston joins the list of those who climbed the ladder with well paid taxpayer socialist public broadcasting careers at TVNZ and then departed with padded pockets to shill for the ideology of the political right?

    Mind you, there is the issue of expertise at hand, and by that I mean that I suppose the former presenter of ‘backch@t’ knows an RMS Titanic analogy when he sees one.

    • That’s typical of that lot. john key is the same. Used taxpayers money to get his degree buggered off overseas contributing nothing much back to the country that gave him everything and even now won’t give back. Why is he affraid of trained assassins? What has he done that he needs so much protection?

  25. Could someone please explain what is meant by the term ‘Careerist Left’, as opposed to simply ‘Left’?

    • Jane,

      (1) Careerist Left = 7 of the 11 MPs in this faction are former Parliamentary staffers. As Eddie argued in his post, there is a strong thread of personal advancement running through it, which is why they brokered a deal with the Right faction when they elected Shearer in 2011. Robertson was wary of the Left faction because he didn’t think he’d do as well out of a deal with Cunliffe. Same goes for the rest of this faction.

      (2) Left = Considered “real Labour” by members/activists. Greater commitment to Social Democracy / greater desire to move away from current neo-liberal consensus (Labour as Tweedledum to Nats’ Tweedledee). No Parliamentary staffers among its ranks.


      Oh, and regarding Cunliffe’s leadership win – can I just say ABOUT BLOODY TIME !!!

  26. Trust me, I have the political instincts that commentators can only dream about: Cunliffe will make very little in-roads into clawing back Key’s popularity. And I dislike the PM, with a passion.

  27. I disagree completely, like Newton claimed “What goes up, must come down”. Your political instincts are marred by what has ‘not changed’ and the fact that he has been incredibly popular for a very long time. It is inevitable –especially with a new leader who can articulate National’s failings more so than Shearer ever could– for his popularity to diminish quicker than before. I believe Labour have let Key glow for far too long, they have been distracted and I believe they now have a leader who can communicate a clear message, and illustrate to us, why this government is failing. Moreover, it doesn’t really matter anyhow if Key is the most popular prime minister this time next year, in the MMP world –all Labour needs is roughly 35%+ and the Greens 15%+ and they have the numbers to govern. And that scenario is a lot more likely now with Cunliffe appointed,and I believe they can do it.

    • In addition, if you look at National’s team with out Key. It is pretty dire and I would even say fractious. You think Labour has problems, I predict National with become unstuck without Key at the helm!

  28. Brian,I am aware of your past work of helping politicians’ image become more acceptable to their audience. Your article does not really mention policy direction. Thus, to me, (a newcomer to your site) it seems policy is of slight importance. Bowing to your insider knowledge, I feel even more saddened by the state of New Zealanders’ political awareness.

    Finally, given the numbers of neoliberals in the Labour caucus, I fear for the future of Labour’s direction. And I agree with those who lament the right-wing sentiments of Bill Ralston – shame that he got his degree cheap back in the seventies. He should return the cost to the New Zealand taxpayer.