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Shearer makes first move

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, November 18th, 2012 - 149 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Vernon Small is reporting David Shearer is planning to bring the leadership vote forward to as soon as next week and it looks like his plan is to get it out of the way under the old rules.

As far as I understand it that would require sixty percent of the caucus to vote in favour of a leadership contest (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). If that’s the case Shearer and his crew are trying to do a desperate end run around the membership’s decision to change the rules.

While it might save his skin in the short term it spells bad news for the party and the members.

Update: Patrick Gower tweets:

Patrick Gower ‏@patrickgowernz
Senior Labour MP in Camp Shearer tells me they are looking at bringing forward the Feb leadership vote ‘to finish him (Cunliffe) off’

Update2: confirmed by John Armstrong. It seems Shearer’s line is that David Cunliffe is the source of his leadership woes. I guess he never knew about his own team’s talking campaign agonist him in the middle of the year.

149 comments on “Shearer makes first move”

  1. just saying 1

    Dirty move for Mr Nice guy.

    So much for democracy.

    • Dr Terry 1.1

      What kind of conduct is that, speaking of “finishing him off”? Whatever the outcome of the Conference (which looks positive) there remain some real ratbags among the party’s leaders. Is Labour (quite aside from Shearer personally) going to function well as a team given some of its personnel?

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        These nameless MPs ought to be very careful.  The vote on Saturday was very significant.  The rank and file went against the wishes of the leadership team, the New Zealand Council of the party and some senior members of the Trade Union movement to vote for members having a greater say.

        It is not beyond the realms of possibility that this new found enthusiasm for power and democracy could be exercised in other ways.

        • Pissed-off Member 1.1.1.1

          Fuck off, the affiliates were block voting for the remit. The rank and file voted against this remit; a handful of backroom boys from the unions made it happen.

          • AmaKiwi 1.1.1.1.1

            @ Pissed-off Member

            Obviously you didn’t hear the debates.

            The votes were not even close, except for the 40% trigger. On everything else the members were overwhelmingly demanding more control over the caucus.

            If the caucus leadership ignores the members again, there will be fury!

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.2

            Sure they were. The affiliates went into their own meeting on Friday and hammered out how they would use their small but significiant vote most effectively despite significiant differences of opinion between them.

            Just as many LECs with caucus MPs were block voting for or against.

            I suspect that the only “free” votes were those from electorates without electorate MP’s and many of those were voting on instructions from their branches or LECs.

            Do you have a point? Or are you just unaware how party voting operates.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.3

            Fuck off, the affiliates were block voting for the remit. The rank and file voted against this remit; a handful of backroom boys from the unions made it happen.

            The affiliates are an integral part of the Labour Party “rank and file”, genius.

            • xtasy 1.1.1.1.3.1

              In view of a highly commercialised, sort of corrupted (advertising dependent) media, thank goodness there are solid forces like “affiliates” still operating!

              If it was not for them, we would have open slather, next have commercial sell-out artists undermine the Labour movement and corrupt it beyond recognition.

              NZ society is corrupt as it is, against the wrong international perception. It is big business and the laissez faire kind of governments trying to tell the world NZ is “not” corrupt, while we had so many cases of rob and run entrepreneurs and investors.

              BS is the rule of the game these days, I am afraid. So I am all for “affiliates”, solid, loyal organisations upholding standards and values beyond the commercialised, semi or totally corrupt sphere!

  2. The *******,this just shows that he has no regard for democracy and certainly no regard for
    the membership of labour.
    It also demonstrates that members,posters,bloggers were right in recognising the person for
    what he is, self interested,self obssesed,di—-o-

  3. QoT 3

    Patrick Gower is reporting the same, based on the good ol’ “Senior MPs have told me …”

    I think it would just look incredibly desperate and has to blow up in Shearer’s face, especially given the tone of the conference so far (i.e. in favour of more member control of these kinds of decisions). But maybe that just reflects (a) his lack of political instinct and (b) the desperation of his old guard ABC supporters. Obviously this would not surprise me.

  4. A bold move.

    Here’s my take:
    The % required to move forward should in my opinion be 100%.

    Making it anything less allows for a democratic approach to differing views.
    (Theoretically only required when progress is impeded by the “few”)
    If the differing views makes delegation impossible you have a problem and heads need too role.

    Otherwise it’s business as usual, All for One M8!

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    Like I put in another post.

    The interesting thing was Shearers lot tried to oppose the 40/ 60 caucus vote and they fought hard Shearer didnt vote because supposedly it was a “conflict”. How was it a conflict for Shearer to vote? Either Shearer wants a vibrant democratic modern Labour Party or he does not! That was the story yesterday Shearer once again didnt have the balls to come out and say he agreed or disagreed with members views on how a leader in the Labour Party should be selected. For all his Macho read my lips this guy is a weak leader and he by way of his supporters didnt want members to have real power in the decision making process. David Shearer is not some nice bloke at all he is not progressive and the people/ mps who supported him being leader are not supporting greater member power in the party.They all showed their true colours yesterday.

    • QoT 5.1

      Exactly, CGE. On the surface it sounds so nice and democratic – oh, I’m the leader, I have a vested interest, so I’ll stay out of it – but then when you start saying “hang on, what do you mean you have a vested interest?” the obvious conclusion is that Shearer knew one option favoured him more come February and that was the one he supported.

  6. Can the labour party council sack the whole caucus and have fresh elections in feb 13 ?
    Far fetched but what is the rule of law ?

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      I don’t think so, no. They have to resign, or be removed by other means such as illness, death or conviction.

      They can be pressured to resign (like Pansy Wong and Darren Hughes) but I don’t think there’s any way for a party to remove someone from Parliament (especially electorate MPs): see also Chris Carter and Alamein Kopu.

      • alwyn 6.1.1

        ACT got Donna Awatere-Huata removed in about 2004. It can only apply for a list MP I believe.
        Electorate MPs are considered to be chosen by their Electorate voters, not by the party they may belong to.

        • Lanthanide 6.1.1.1

          Yes, but that was under a law specifically against waka-jumping that expired in 2005.

          • alwyn 6.1.1.1.1

            I didn’t realise that the law had expired. Pity, although there would have been a major problem if you got a situation like that of New Zealand First in 1997. There the party basically split in half so who would have been the ones doing the expelling?

  7. Craig Glen Eden 7

    Also interesting that its fine for Shearers group to meet in a back room with black curtains to plot and scheme against democratic processes voted on by members, but Bloggers are not allowed to sit and post from the comfort of their homes according to Shearer and Little.

  8. Bill 8

    One of his allies said Shearer had had “a guts full” of being undermined and he was planning to challenge Cunliffe to “either put up or shut up”.

    Wtf? Hasn’t Cunliffe tirelessly reiterated that he’s a team player and that he supports the leader…at least in the present tense…which is all that can be reasonably expected from someone?

    I’m thinking of the psychology of the wee boy with his hand stuffed in the cookie jat who yells ‘Thief! Thief!’ to ensure everyone runs off looking for a phantom.

    The membership – as well as potential voters – have said pretty loudly and pretty clearly that neither Shearer nor a continuation of his (apparent) preference for soft shoe shuffle neo-liberal policies are going to cut it.

    But Cunliffe has to stop refusing to say anything about the leadership because that is undermining the leadership? Seriously, what the fuck is he meant to do to satisfy the gods of the strange ABC universe? Were they not at conference? Or do they maybe regard members and the views they express as irksome non-entities…just a noise that’s maybe on a par with their take on bloggers who write under pseudonyms?

    I say either Shearer gets serious – steps down and renominates himself in a proper leadership contest to clear the air (and yes, I realise that would only be a caucus vote) to in paraphrase of his own words “put the fuck up or shut the fuck up”.

    And then he might be kind enough to simply fuck off. (dreamin’)

    • QoT 8.1

      I think we’re dealing with a faction within Labour who actually believe what O’Sullivan, Farrar and Armstrong write. Ergo, all the anti-Shearer posts of the past week are part of a conspiracy which can only be headed by Cunliffe, making him an evil traitor.

      Shearer and his team are clearly so far up their own arses they can’t actually comprehend that multiple people might, for their own personal/political reasons, not like him.

      • IrishBill 8.1.1

        Despite being faced with a room full of said people?

      • Bill 8.1.2

        Until very recently I merely didn’t like what he stood for. But now I can’t help but view him as a particularly loathsome expression of humanity.

        And as for the desperate and power hungry cabal that surrounds him – the vultures that will feed on his political corpse when they deem ‘their man’, the Robertson, to be ready – these days I think I could maybe conjure up satisfactory flashes of imagination involving me, them, a dark alley and a 2×4.

        Is the sun over the yardarm yet?

        • geoff 8.1.2.1

          Yeah well they know if Shearer goes then they go too.

        • muzza 8.1.2.2

          Come on Bill you gotta see the game thats being played here…

          Who has Cunliffe served under during his time in the LP, what has he seen, what does he know….LOTS.

          Who are Cunliffes backers, and in turn, who are theirs.

          Obama syndrome, lets see what happens, should Cunliffe end up at the front, or perhaps he does a JFk, and attempts to steer the ship onto another course, gripping stuff this political theatre!

      • Aotearoean 8.1.3

        So Shane Jones is fine with his comments that totally undermine the relationship with the greens but Cunliffe needs to be disciplined because he wants to stand in a constitutionally mandated contest?

        What gives?

        • Rhinocrates 8.1.3.1

          It’s called “cognitive dissonance”.

          If Shane Jones is blamed, then that opens the floodgates, raising questions about Shearer’s ability to discipline the caucus overall. It also upsets the calculations over the very, very slim margin in caucus votes Shearer had to begin with. Jones is too valuable to alienate.

          Instead, Cunliffe/Goldstein is the enemy! Hisssssss! All evil must be shown to reside in one vessel. Once that vessel is sealed in a bunker or smashed, all will be well and we needn’t question our inadequacies ever again!

          Ever!

          Really!

          Shut up!

          SHUT UP!!!

          • QoT 8.1.3.1.1

            Besides, once people *wake up* and realise that *they HAVE to vote for Labour because Labour’s awesome* they won’t NEED the Greens, hahahahahahahahaha.

            … I kind of hate myself for typing that.

            • Rhinocrates 8.1.3.1.1.1

              Don’t worry, I know that that’s dark irony.

              The membership showed their mettle this weekend. There’s some hope. All due praise to them!

              Still, I’m voting Green, despite their Luddism. Both ticks Robertson, you plonker.

    • saarbo 8.2

      Yes exactly right Bill. Cunliffe didnt change the rules, we did as members. I can’t believe the arrogance of Shearer and his advisors. Given yesterdays rule changes and obvious unhappiness with caucus, a real LEADER would have apoligised to the membership, stated that he and his caucus will ensure that the membership are more involved going forward. But he didnt say anything in his speech about this. All we got was something about “ambition”. It is clear that Shearer and his band will use “ambition” as Cunliffe’s main crime. Its not true, it is just a bull shit narrative that the King/Goff/Robertson brigade have come up with to discredit Cunliffe. 

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Here’s the key question:

    Will Grant Robertson sacrifice his future, for the sake of keeping Shearer’s corpse on temporary life support?

    As of now, Grant has a real prospect of leading the Labour party one day. Maybe he wouldn’t win a contest with Cunliffe, maybe he would. But there will be other days, other contests, other leaders. Grant is young.

    If he wants to serve both the Labour Party and his own ambition then he should not be a part of any desperation moves by Shearer.

    If he helps to destroy Labour from within, that will NEVER be forgotten.

    • In my experience if that is his goal he should stand for leader now, otherwise take the delegated responsibilities and “Shine” with them, simple choice really.

      To say he can’t yet from lack of experience will only make his goal harder to achieve,
      best foot forward M8,
      go for it, you’ll end up with a lot more respect that way.

  10. pohutukawakid 10

    These are dangerous times:

    From Macbeth Act 1. Scene VII William Shakespeare

    If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
    It were done quickly: if the assassination
    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
    With his surcease success; that but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
    But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We’ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
    We still have judgment here; that we but teach
    Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
    To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
    Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
    To our own lips. He’s here in double trust;
    First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
    Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
    Who should against his murderer shut the door,
    Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
    Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
    So clear in his great office, that his virtues
    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking-off;
    And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
    Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed
    Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
    Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
    That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
    To prick the sides of my intent, but only
    Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
    And falls on the other.

  11. rosy 11

    I can’t believe this. It’s got to be a beat up. There’s not much ‘a different way of doing politics’ there.

    • ianmac 11.1

      Totally agree Rosy. This looks so unlikely and should we use the afore-mentioned commentators as gospel? That so many are using Small, Gower, Armstrong as credible is daft.
      So if nothing happens before February, will they apologise and retract?

      • gobsmacked 11.1.1

        Get your head out of the sand, Ian.

        MPs are telling Small, Gower etc, off the record. And increasingly, on the record.

        • ianmac 11.1.1.1

          Can you name a couple of MPs?

          • gobsmacked 11.1.1.1.1

            Here’s Clare Curran on Twitter:

            “You nailed it #Shearer You will be our next PM and stuff anyone who says otherwise”

            • pete 11.1.1.1.1.1

              We, on the right, thank Labour.

              This is great entertainment.

              • fatty

                we on the left think this is great entertainment too…a continuation of shearer would have resulted in another term of Donkey…bring on the new leader

                • Rhinocrates

                  Amen. The reason why I hate the ABC club with such a passion is that they are Key’s best hope of another term, either because they have so deluded themselves that they are so right that every New Zealander will see the light any day now and deliver them to office or else it is we who are not worthy or they simply have forgotten why they were elected and only want to keep their flat arses on comfy parliamentary seats, no matter what the cost.

                  Really, the “Senior” (hahahahaha!) caucus and those who want to be admitted to that tree hut (Jacinda, I’m talking about you) are turning into the People’s Front of Judea… or is it the Judean People’s Front?

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_qHP7VaZE&feature=related

            • Anne 11.1.1.1.1.2

              Clare Curran is going to have to be taken in hand!

              She needs to grow up… and fast. I’ve seen (or heard about) some rather silly behaviour on her part in recent months.

              If she doesn’t watch her step, someone will end up putting something she’s done (or said) out there…

              Edit: Btw, Shearer did make a very good speech and he got a well deserved standing ovation. That doesn’t absolve Clare from making a comment that someone in her position should know better than to make!

              • gobsmacked

                She should. But she doesn’t.

                There is a pattern of behaviour. Clare Curran keeps doing what she does. Trevor Mallard keeps doing what he does. The ABC faction keep doing what they do.

                When the leader calls for discipline, he has to mean everybody – including those who support him. But he doesn’t.

                So nothing changes, and nothing will change. This is basic child psychology. Will the ABC MPs be punished for ill-discipline? No. Will they be rewarded for behaving better? No.

                So will they become new people in 2013? No. Will they stop, until Cunliffe (“the enemy”) is gone? No. And anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly deluded.

                • Olwyn

                  What is it exactly that makes Cunliffe the enemy? He has not actually spoken out against Shearer since Shearer became leader. From what I hear it was not Cunliffe’s anger that rattled the caucus at yesterday’s meeting, but the delegates’.

                  What seems to make Cunliffe the enemy is the fact that even when he is curtailed in what he is allowed to say, his very presence suggests there are alternatives that the Shearer lot don’t want to countenance.

                  • gobsmacked

                    Exactly, Olwyn.

                    So if Shearer gets a caucus vote to uphold his leadership, and announces “Unity!” and Cunliffe accepts and takes whatever portfolio he’s given …

                    … then Cunliffe will be seen as a threat to Shearer simply by doing his job well. Which is what he’s been elected – and paid – to do.

                    Is he supposed to talk jibberish to make the leader look good? Is that the new version of “loyalty”?

                    It’s madness.

    • Anne 11.2

      I’ll tell you what Rosy:
      The same people who voted in the electoral changes that give the membership more say in the running of the Party (including the parliamentary wing) yesterday, also gave David Shearer a well deserved standing ovation for a very good speech today!

      I’ll tell you something else:
      As conference was getting underway this morning, Patrick Gower was standing in the foyer grabbing Labour MPs as they wandered past and trying to get them to comment on the supposed Cunliffe challenge. Some ignored him and kept walking, some didn’t. I know someone who was busting to go the loo, but couldn’t get through the loo door because a certain senior MP had been accosted on his way out said door and was being interviewed in front of it. I believe the story had a happy ending. :)

      My point is: anything that may have been saying to the MSM off the record, is sour grapes because of what happened yesterday. A handful of people are upset at losing some of their power?

      • Anne 11.2.1

        A handful of people are upset at losing some of their power?

        Aah, haa…
        Trevor Mallard on TV3 news. Refusing to make a comment:

        because anything I said could not be aired.

        • IrishBill 11.2.1.1

          Trevor only offers his opinion on these matters anonymously.

          • gobsmacked 11.2.1.1.1

            I saw that on TV3.

            Now, who shall we blame? The media for asking him, and broadcasting his answer? The bloggers? David Cunliffe? Anybody?

            Except Trevor. We mustn’t blame Trevor. Trevor can do anything he wants. Trevor is never the problem. No, he’s just … Trevor.

            (simple exercise – imagine the exact same words, said by David Cunliffe. Imagine the response).

            The old guard ARE the problem. THEY. WILL. NOT. CHANGE.

            Sorry, but it has to be shouted. The next election will be chucked away, by the same people who chucked away the last one.

          • Rhinocrates 11.2.1.1.2

            Does that man have one redeeming feature? One at all? Please?! Can he cook? Does he at least match his tie and handkerchief well?

        • Rhinocrates 11.2.1.2

          Old Russian/Soviet joke:

          Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev are on a train.

          The train beaks down.

          Stalin has the engineers shot as enemies of the people… but the train does not move.

          Khrushchev has the bodies exhumed and reburied with honours… but the train does not move.

          Brezhnev, being very wise, observes this, draws the blinds and begins to rock back and forth, going, “Choo-choo… Choo-choo…”

          It looks like the Choo-chooing is getting rather strained, and they know it.

        • ianmac 11.2.1.3

          It could be that Trevor’s comments were aimed at the reporters who were spinning on the “divisions that ripped the Labour Party Conference apart.”
          “…because anything I said could not be aired.”
          Having just watched the outrageous TV3 “report” on the Labour Conference would cause many more than Trevor to be tight lipped.

          • Rhinocrates 11.2.1.3.1

            Considering Mallard’s record, no. “Tight-lipped” implies prudence and thinking strategically, but that just isn’t part of his make-up. Spite, glibness and and masturbatory gratification always takes precedence with him.

            “…because anything I said could not be aired.” Is just passive-aggressive dissimulation. If he says that, then he’s clearly implying “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fucking fuckety FUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!”

            “aimed at the reporters”

            Then he’s an idiot… but then I know that. Anything aimed at reporters gets reported. That’s what reporters do. He knows that too.

            If there’s anyone more deserving of being fed into a woodchopper feet first and fully conscious, then it’s my former employers at Massey University – but that’s another story. In the meantime, Mallard will do.

          • karol 11.2.1.3.2

            Ditto from Gower, ianmac.  His report doesn’t really make sense:

            First he says there’s a showdown between Shearer and Cunliffe; then he says Cunliffe is “effectively” making a challenge for leadership by refusing to endorse Shearer.  Look, it’s a muddle of Cunliffe is challenging, and then saying his behaviour implies a challenge:

            But Mr Cunliffe is mounting what is effectively a leadership challenge, by refusing to endorse Mr Shearer again today.

            “Until you do that, the race is on,” says Mr Cunliffe. “And I am not going to have the Labour Party’s internal process dictated by you or anybody else.”
             
            So Mr Cunliffe won’t endorse, which is code for game on. Mr Cunliffe simply can’t hide his ambition, and Mr Shearer made a coded attack of his own on that.

            Mr Cunliffe is clearly confident. He wants the February vote held right now. And yes, of course he is refusing to endorse Mr Shearer.
             
            “That is a matter for the caucus,” says Mr Cunliffe. “It doesn’t matter how many times you ask me that question, I am going to give you the very same answer.”

  12. Rhinocrates 12

    This could well blow up in his face, even if it is a caucus-only vote. I had the impression that Shearer’s victory was very slim – just one more on his side than the other. Having seen what the membership wants, some of the more intelligent caucus members who did vote for Shearer might reconsider their positions. I can’t imagine that he’s gained support in the past year, or that everyone who voted for him is fixed irrevocably to ABC.

  13. just saying 13

    Simple solution for the flaxroots at the conference. When he announces his plan, get up and walk out.

  14. Hell the hell is Shearer going to stand up at conferance and give a speech now?
    In all probability the members at the conferance will not clap and cheer and stamp
    their feet with gratitued,but as i seen on tv, he asked people to stand up,just a short
    clip,but said alot.
    Shearer’s idea of democracy is staying leader,come hell or high water,tramping over
    membership wishes,in order to satisfy a few of his cronies inside parliament, why ?
    what is in it for them ?

  15. Uturn 15

    If this “rumour” is correct, David Shearer just handed the Labour leadership to David Cunliffe. Two possibilities: Team Shearer made a strategic blunder of archetypal proportions; Team Cunliffe is playing the game at a higher level than even Clark could manage. If first scenario, Labour more or less return to being whatever Labour (traditionally) are before next election. If second scenario, wherever Labour go, the power they wield will be unmatchable for a long time – not always a good thing, for the people.

    • IrishBill 15.1

      Sadly, it’s not rumour. I suspect they hope it will be buried in the news under the housing policy.

    • ianmac 15.2

      Another possibility is that it is all a beat-up.

      • IrishBill 15.2.1

        It’s true.

        • ianmac 15.2.1.1

          You might be right Bill but it seems so unlikely to me.
          You are saying that Mr Shearer’s Camp is going to call for a vote of Confidence, say before Christmas? Certain?

          • IrishBill 15.2.1.1.1

            Yes. They’re trying to do it under the old rules but also doing numbers and making offers for 60% just in case.

            • ianmac 15.2.1.1.1.1

              If this is so then the up-side would be decisively clearing the air one way or another.
              If Shearer survived he would be there for 2014.
              If he did not survive then someone else would have to get high degree of support for 2014.

              • IrishBill

                I don’t think it’s a bad thing to get it all over and done with before next year and then get on with beating the government but I think that it needs to be done under the rules the membership has clearly chosen.

                • Rhinocrates

                  I agree heartedly that it needs to be dealt with ASAP – a whole summer of speculation would be deeply harmful, but as you’ve pointed out, it’ll take time to set up the infrastructure for it to be done under the new rules. Can’t say I have an answer for myself…

                  In any case, such open contempt for the will of the party membership is truly staggering. I can’t imagine why they think this will help them in the long run unless they’re drunk on Kool-Aid (sorry, tasteless Jonestown reference).

                  • Chrissy

                    Too hard on your own Kool aid reference, Rhino: Remember the other “it’s in the Kool Aid”, from Ken Kesey and the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test?

                    • Rhinocrates

                      ‘fraid not. When it comes to the Beats and Hippies, I know William S. Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson better. Clearly this is a fault to be rectified.

                      (Hmmm, “S” as a middle initial.. Burroughs, Truman… Thompson…. Plinkett… hmmmm)

                      Now can you imagine Shearer on acid? Campaigning in a bus? Woo-hoo.

            • PlanetOrphan 15.2.1.1.1.2

              From what others have been saying it sounds like 4 or 5 people against Shearer.
              They’re playing a media game to bolster support, but they’ve been losing support so far.

              So after some consideration, I think it’s the right response to ask the whole party too put it to rest once and for all.

  16. Perhaps Shearer never had the numbers in caucus after all.

  17. Rhinocrates 17

    Attributed to Talleyrand, on the House of Bourbon: “they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing”.

  18. Michael 18

    If the caucus wants to vote who it thinks its leader should be they should do so asap. Of course, neither Cunliffe nor Shearer may have the numbers. In that case, step forward …. , I think Niccolo Macchiavelli might have some clues, in “The Prince”.

    • just saying 18.1

      Sneak in the middle while playing both sides like a fiddle you reckon?
      That’ll be hard to pull off. Intentions would have to be declared.
      Or would it be played as a compromise in the interests of unity?

  19. Tanz 19

    They need to be a unit. Key is getting to much leverage with all this leadership stuff going on. It’s getting to be old, stale news.

  20. fatty 20

    I dunno if I’ll bother believing this until an early leadership vote is called. I’m no fan of Shearer but surely this move is even beyond his stupidity. He will lose support of the Labour base by trying to sidestep the new process that they have just voted for.
    Gower and Armstrong’s analysis over the past few days has been pretty average and they seem to be trying to create something out of nothing as QoT has pointed out.
    Over the past year or so Gower’s reporting has focused on creating drama and it lacks substance, the way he presents a story with his dramatic pauses is humorous – he’s good for a laugh, but he typifies NZ’s average political journalists

  21. Kia Ora

    I have found David Shearer to be consistently underwhelming as leader. And if the Labour Party is going to be a credible force that can take on National and defeat it at the next election, it needs to make changes.

    http://willsheberight.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/david-shearer-consistently-underwhelming/

    I hope for the sake of New Zealand it sees the light sooner rather than later.

    Rob

  22. Rhinocrates 22

    Update2: confirmed by John Armstrong. It seems Shearer’s line is that David Cunliffe is the source of his leadership woes. I guess he never knew about his own team’s talking campaign agonist him in the middle of the year.

    Interesting how they fixate on one identifiable cause for complaint, one scapegoat or Emanuel Goldstein instead of looking to their own performance. Shane Jones? Mallard’s gaffe with the…? Su’a William Sio?, Mallard’s gaffe with the…?, the mythical bludging roof painter?, Mallard’s gaffe with the…? Mahuta’s paranoid tweet, Mallard’s gaffe with the… nope, all Cunliffe’s fault. Or, ah, um… I mean… you know [licks lips] um, there are some who say… [eyes dart to side, looking for an exit], ah…. I mean…. mangoes, I think… well that’s not true… very soon, we’ll be announcing policy… I mean A policy, there might be a policy… Someone may have said that we have a policy, but that’s only one view… Housing!… Um… [licks lips]… I have a gramophone recording of it somewhere… maybe a wax cylinder that man from Apricot invented… Edison… Claire Curran is our technology expert, just the other day she mentioned that you can draw pictures on the walls of caves… she asked what , ah… charcoal… um shark oil… whatever, she asked what that is…

    Anyway, substitute “Canada” with “Cunliffe” and this is fun:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOR38552MJA

    And so much simpler.

  23. irascible 23

    For those who attended the conference rather than reading the entrails that eminated from Gower and Co’s pre written imaginings it would be somewhat unlikely if any leadership spill occured within the Labour Party. The mood of the conference was positive, focused and principled throughout. Acromony, if it existed, would only have come from a reporter whose chair got lifted by a delegate rather than from those who entered into debate.
    Shearer’s speech today was greated with acclamation and enthusiasm by all present in the Hall. Having been given a platform from which he could speak with authority Shearer demonstrated that he has more to offer than the brain fades that characterise KeY’s efforts at principled leadership or vision articulation.

  24. weka 24

    When do the new rules become official?

  25. Chrissy 25

    The party voted for the 40% threshold: from that you can fairly clearly discern the party’s mood. If there is talk along the lines proposed here, it’s up to the head of the party, the President, to send a pretty gnarly message to the MPs concerned, about the perils of holding the party’s clear dispositions in contempt.

    Surely, though, everyone in caucus knows that the overwhelming tide of evidence is that Shearer isnt going to cut it. Surely no-one really wants him in there leading a Goff 2 countdown to misery up to the 2014 election while the party sheds activists and vote share to the Greens. Surely the preferred alternative candidate of the people who have supported David Shearer will also want a leadership spill in early Feb, which (s)he will be wanting to win against David Cunliffe. Surely????

    • Chrissy 25.1

      My pick would be that if this really is happening, this is tactical on the ABC side: trying to panic Cunliffe into some premature move now, which might undermine him. Or they have heads so far up arses they …. no, I really cant believe that!??!

      • Rhinocrates 25.1.1

        I’m with the heads-up-arses hypothesis. Everything else they’ve done is consistent with that.

      • Chrissy 25.1.2

        In fact that’s what Vernon Small is suggesting:

        “Shearer is moving to put his leadership to a caucus vote as early as next week in an attempt to end speculation about his position and draw out challenger David Cunliffe.

        “Shearer’s lieutenants were today meeting to consider ways a vote could be taken early under caucus rules.

        “That would likely not replace the scheduled vote in February at which only 40 per cent of the caucus could trigger a run-off according to new uses approved by the Labour conference yesterday.

        “But if the caucus gave him a strong endorsement, possibly in a vote that was made public, that could make the February vote more of a formality. No caucus meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, but an urgent one may be called”.

        “There are also rules that require at last a week’s notice of a leadership ballot, but that may not be needed to simply endorse Shearer”.

        “It is understood if Shearer wins the backing of caucus he will move quickly to demote Cunliffe.”

        So, there will be two votes: one to flush out Cunliffe and try to kick him in the balls under the current rule, and another, held under the new rules in Feb, which, I dare to say, will not be a formality at all for David Shearer, no matter how hard his backers try to provoke and stomp David Cunliffe between now and then. What it would “draw out” was just how scared these others are of Cunliffe: though I guess we know that already.

    • Rhinocrates 25.2

      while the party sheds activists and vote share to the Greens

      I may be wrong, but my reading is that Labour may have lost some votes to the Greens, and an insignificant amount to National, but an earlier post on this blog seemed to make it clear that Labour really lost votes to “Ah, Fuck ‘em All, I’m Staying at Home”.

      I personally don’t think that Labour as it is has lost too many votes to the Greens, as many Green voters are young, first-time voters.

      That, I must admit is only gut feeling and we all know what comes out of guts.

      Still, I’ve seen supposedly intelligent commentators say that its sensible for Labour to move to the right because they’ll only be in government in coalition anyway and the Greens and Mana can grab the Left vote for them. This, I think, is idiotic because it’s, first, based on the premise that the political spectrum is a spectrum, i.e., a one-dimensional range where all parties are assessed by their “leftness” or “rightness” relative to one another, and second, that everyone who bothered to vote last time are all who are ever going to vote next time. Both are stupid, IMO.

      • Draco T Bastard 25.2.1

        …but an earlier post on this blog seemed to make it clear that Labour really lost votes to “Ah, Fuck ‘em All, I’m Staying at Home”.

        Yep and I was thinking that Labour becoming more democratic may have changed that but we’re just getting more of the same failed policies from the last three decades and so probably not.

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Shearer, interviewed after his speech:

    “I am the leader, I determine how this party goes forward and what happens in this caucus. It’s as simple as that.”

    (Newstalk ZB/ Radio NZ)

    • Rhinocrates 26.1

      Christ, what a childish tosser. If it’s all about him unzipping his fly and waving his willy about, he’s lost, or at least shown which organ he thinks with.

      And as for the party and their vote this weekend, this is what he has to say:

      “Fuck you. You do my bidding. Labour is my vehicle. I do not represent you – instead, you serve ME and don’t you dare say otherwise.”

    • Bill 26.2

      Erm. Wtf? TVNZ just spun all this as Cunliffe being a ‘bad apple’ making a move to challenge and in the process spoiling the housing announcement. (Nicely backed up having two or three mps voice their backing for Shearer.)

      • karol 26.2.1

        Is Gower writing for pulp fiction?  He talked of Cunliffe’s “naked ambition”.  Although he toned it down for the print version.

        • Bill 26.2.1.1

          TVNZ had a clip of Cunliffe saying he’d welcome the contest/challenge or whatever because the party needed this shit out of the way. Now, I’d guess that was in response to Shearer’s utterances. But they spun it as Cunliffe laying down the challenge. Really fucked up and dishonest reporting.

      • Anne 26.2.2

        What the hell is going on! I was there. Cunliffe made no challenge in any shape or form. In fact he kept a low profile. TV1 and TV3 seemed to be following him around like a bunch of demented lunatics. He couldn’t get away from them.

        Yesterday’s debate on the Consititutional remits was remarkable civilised. It had little to do with Shearer or Cunliffe.

        Who is driving this madness?

        • PlanetOrphan 26.2.2.1

          A pre-orchestrated litany of news reports you say ? …. watch this space ….. will they change their tune ….. just who is the MSM party anyway ?

        • dancerwaitakere 26.2.2.2

          Those who have an interest in Cunliffe being slaughtered.

          The sooner the Labour Party realises that they are being played, the better.

        • Draco T Bastard 26.2.2.3

          Who is driving this madness?

          Considering that if Cunliffe has power he will change monetary policies that probably will hurt a few peoples gravy train… Who wants to stop Labour getting in power with Cunliffe as leader?

          The MSM have proven beyond doubt that they are not impartial and certainly don’t hold to any sort of honesty though.

        • lprent 26.2.2.4

          What was kind of funny was the story that some young labour had to surround Cunliffe so Patrick Gower would stop shoving a mic in his face asking him when the coup was starting. Didn’t see it myself but it sounded daft enough to be true.

          But no. Didn’t see David Cunliffe doing any of the usual destabilizing things like talking to media and left bloggers. Looked more like he was avoiding anything that might even look like it.

          I’m with QoT. Sounds like someone trying to manufacture a story from negatives.

          • Anne 26.2.2.4.1

            Yes, I saw something similar. We were waiting to be allowed up the stairs and in the lifts to the Conference theatre for “the speech”. Cunliffe was in the middle of the crowd with his back to a TV cameraman who had his camera permanently trained on him. Cunliffe had a group of people standing in a tight circle around him so that this cameraman couldn’t get close enough to film his face. It was such an idiotic scenario that Cunliffe was giggling, his circle of protectors were giggling and I was giggling.

          • infused 26.2.2.4.2

            No, sounds like his plan is blowing up.

            • lprent 26.2.2.4.2.1

              I suspect that it never started.

              It was mostly the media being fed a convenient excuse for why the members want more control on caucus.

    • Hami Shearlie 26.3

      And they say that Cunliffe has a huge ego!! Shearer is finally showing everyone who he REALLY is! I for one am not impressed and not at all surprised! He’s gray, boring, can’t articulate anything, and in Parliament he’s a disaster with his “tape” of John Key that he never had!! Cunliffe is not disloyal, he owes his loyalty to the PARTY not David Shearer! A pity that the Caucus are so contemptuous of the party members. They might live to regret that when the election rolls around and they have no-one to put up their hoardings and deliver their leaflets!! Can’t STAND Shearer, he’s got worse in the last year, not better. The Caucus must be pretty thick if they haven’t noticed that!

  27. xtasy 27

    This is now a very delicate and dangerous scenario. Activists, most bloggers and many members are to a fair degree uncertain or totally disillusioned with the Shearer leadership. Shearer does though seem to have some solid support, whether justified or not is another question.

    Cunliffe does appear to smell the coffee, but some fear, rather just for his personal aspirations and agendas. Hence he leaves the kettle boiling.

    It is only natural for Shearer and his caucus supporters to want to sort this out a.s.a.p..

    Personally I think a leadership change should ideally happen before the holiday break, as that would give space and time for all to adjust after a possible leadership change, or instead a confirmation of the status quo. The “non political” media environment would allow time to heal and keep any fall-out in control, as the public will focus on time off work, sun, beach and barbeques.

    So let it happen, I’d say. The air needs clearing, one way or another.

    I see a problem though, as the Shearer and Cunliffe camps seem increasingly irreconcilable. That would be the worst outcome, if they stay at logger-heads, and the loser hold a grudge. Also if Shearer gets confirmed, then Cunliffe may lose interest in politics, and perhaps pursue other career options. Some may welcome it, but it would be a loss of sorts, for sure.

    As much as it is controversial, I see a need to replace Shearer, and the only balancing power to replace him may after all be Grant Robertson, who could hold both camps together. He is not an ideal choice, but maybe the only sensible one now. He is more capable in many respects than Shearer, but he would not cause ripples as Cunliffe may with some within caucus.

    Sadly, that is the caucus Labour has, and the party and members need to work with them, at least until next election.

    Bring it on, otherwise the media will continue to tear Labour apart on this! They focus more on the leadership than policy, the shallow, nasty rats (most of the media I mean).

    • geoff 27.1

      Robertson is centre-right. We don’t need another one of those.

      • pete 27.1.1

        It’s not “mad”. It’s the market working perfectly. And rationally.

        Your problem is that demand exceeds supply. Prices rise. To solve this problem, and to not sprawl Auckland out, or up, which is going to create even more infrastructure costs, we simply incentivise business to move to the regions. Dunedin and Nelson, for example. Use differential tax rates, and other incentives, such as more points for immigrants who settle outside Auckland.

        These other towns and cities have underused infrastructure. They could absorb many more people, and their land cost would remain relatively low.

        • geoff 27.1.1.1

          You’re an idiot.

          [lprent: You should say why you think that. Otherwise you might get pinged as writing pointless abuse. ]

    • Hami Shearlie 27.2

      South Auckland won’t countenance Robertson as leader. They won’t vote for a gay man to be leader. That’s just the way it is. And Robertson has little experience in the outside world, just university student council stuff then working for Helen Clark. Cunliffe has the most impressive CV by far. Cunliffe looks like a Prime Minister, has charisma, gravitas, intelligence and would burn John Key to a crisp. The ABC brigade are blind if they can’t see that. But then, their agenda is a very different one to the agenda promoted by the members of the party!

    • the sprout 27.3

      it was robertson who orchestrated the absurd installation of shearer in the first place.
      he is a big part of the problem, and none of the solution.

  28. Cactus Kate 28

    If the Cunliffe faction had any balls they would have had a snap vote of confidence in the leader and rolled him at the conference. Poor effort. It is clear they had the numbers at the conference and that would have been the best power play.

    [lprent: Well I suppose you only know the snake pit of Act politics rather than a structured remit forum. That tactic isn’t possible at either conference or congress in the NZLP. Perhaps you should read the NZLP constitution – you’re a lawyer IRL right?. There is probably a copy online. Otherwise I have a spare hardcopy that I can send you. ]

    • tinfoilhat 28.1

      Cunliffe is just another cog in the crony capitalist machine.

      For real left policies and change for the better in NZ we need a Green/Mana government, Labour along with National should be consigned to the political graveyard.

    • Olwyn 28.2

      It was a constitutional conference, not a leadership-change conference.

    • xtasy 28.3

      No surprise with such a comment coming from ‘Cactus Kate’.

      If that should have happened, then it should have happened straight at the beginning of the conference, and Cunliffe and possibly other candidates and their supporters should have prepared fro this well in advance.

      But this conference was not the right forum for this, really, as they first of all needed to get the support for changing the voting system for any leadership votes in future.

      So a challenge can happen any time now, after the conference, or in February 2013, both of which will be “delicate” for various reasons.

      Getting it sorted in the coming weeks is preferable to me. But I am not a member of Labour, so my view will not be all that relevant to them.

      I am waiting with interest, as the coming weeks, certainly 2 to 3 months, will likely bring a real major change in the political landscape in NZ.

      Add to that what Dotcom may have to reveal about our “Dear Smile and Wave Leader Don Keypone”, developments in the new year may be presenting a true game changer.

    • KhandallaMan 28.4

      Cactus, you do not know what you are asking about. 
      A well structure conference in a modern political party is not the place for big OK-Corrale style shoot outs.
      It would make great TV.
      Why don’t you take the idea to Hollywood?
       

    • halfcrown 28.5

      Shit I never thought I would agree with you, but you are so right (pun not intended)

  29. infused 29

    Just have to laugh really.

  30. gobsmacked 30

    If anybody is still wondering where Gower and the journos are getting their stories from, here’s Goff on the record … (Radio NZ)

    Senior MP and former leader Phil Goff says Mr Cunliffe could end any speculation today.

    “I think David Cunliffe just needs to come out and say of course he supports the leader.

    “He’s properly elected, he’s been there 10 months, he’s done a good job, he’s narrowed the gap in the polls – why wouldn’t you get behind and support your leader.”

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/121166/several-mps-refusing-to-endorse-shearer

    • Rhinocrates 30.1

      Right Goff, you loser. Dye your hair again, get back on your motorbike and see if Liz Hurley will want to fuck you.

      Somehow I don’t think that she will, because you see, a mid-life crisis is just your own problem, not anyone else’s. It just ain’t sexy.

      [Deep breath]

      OK, that’s out of the way…

      Well, it looks like tempers are high and the Rubicon has been crossed.

      • gobsmacked 30.1.1

        the Rubicon has been crossed.

        Yes, it looks like ABC have decided to try and get rid of Cunliffe altogether. And to hell with the consequences.

        • Rhinocrates 30.1.1.1

          Which shows exactly what their priorities are, the skidmarks.

        • Olwyn 30.1.1.2

          Let me get this straight:

          1. Members kick up a fuss about having an unconvincing, centre right leader inflicted on them by caucus, and vote for a threshold that would give them more say.

          2. There is someone (David Cunliffe) that some members do not find wholly unconvincing.

          Solution: Ensure that “members’ choices” are reduced to a selection of unconvincing centre-right candidates by getting rid of Cunliffe.

          Sigh.

    • Tim G. 30.2

      holy shit.

  31. Draco T Bastard 31

    Well, I’d say that all the BS that the MSM has been peddling about the Labour party is working quite well – looks like it might be nicely destabilised.

    • gobsmacked 31.1

      They are being fed the BS by the Shearer team (see above). This isn’t a “Crosby textor” job, it’s self-inflicted.

  32. gnomic 32

    This really is a very sad spectacle. If this is the best the ‘Labour’ Party can do, why does it even exist? In fact that’s a very good question, perhaps someone can put a post up along those lines? Surely it can’t merely be a vehicle for sundry careerists to enjoy a life of troughing in the talking shop and environs? Or maybe it could? I’m afraid I’m not seeing much evidence of anything else. The shadow cabinet doesn’t stand out as overwhelmingly better than the distinctly indifferent bunch on the government benches. In fact it just doesn’t stand out. Could it be that that ‘Labour’ has lost its soul, any hint of a reason for being?

    It gives me no pleasure to vent the above, in former times I voted for the party. Clearly something is very very wrong. Even supposing Cunliffe is the miracle ingredient, it seems very likely he will totter from all the daggers in his back should he attain the poisoned chalice. It really begs the question, can we get there from here? Can a political party that apparently insists on disembowelling itself in public expect to be taken seriously?

    And if Shearer is to stay, a vocal coach please forthwith. At the moment he sounds as if he has a strangulated hernia. He doesn’t sound as if he believes what he is saying, so why should anyone else?

    More in sorrow than in anger.

    • Colonial Viper 32.1

      Don’t be too sad mate, Labour is in damn fine spirits. Wee bit of clean up work left to do here and there, but you know :)

  33. Utterly disgraceful disregard for the membership and affiliates.
    Self-serving caucus old guard at its very worst.
    They need to go.

  34. just saying 34

    It’s all over now baby blue…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7WJHdE0__I

    (because I don’t like the Dylan version)

  35. AmaKiwi 35

    Is it possible everyone could take a deep breath and say, “Let’s get on with our attacks on National and have our required leadership vote in February. Any damage we do to the Nats is good for each and everyone of us.”

    Are we Standard readers just letting the MSM wind us up?

    Are all the Labour MPs so stupid they want to tear the party and their careers to shreds?

  36. xtasy 36

    Get a few dozens of beer, invite Cunliffe, Shearer and Robertson, let it all flow, put on a good music video or film, have some good food delivered, turn up the volume and have a sound “party”. It may all be good afterwards, that is if they are all fair and honest.

    Now why not get them together to talk, word it out amongst themselves in a fair and sound forum environment, excluding the crap commercial MSM?

    We might get a solution over night.

    I fear the MSM is the biggest traitor and shit force in the country now, since they did a few years back sell their souls to National and Spinmeister Key!

    They should be charged with HIGH TREASON!

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