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The Standard

Shearer Says – on leadership

Written By: - Date published: 4:12 pm, November 13th, 2012 - 93 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour, leadership - Tags: , ,

Courtesy of interest.co.nz, Here’s a special edition of “Shearer Says” – not the weekly newsletter, but a media stand-up on the leadership issue. For all the criticism of his media skills, Shearer’s performance here is excellent, clear and focused.

(Usually I’d put this up under Notices and Features, but since there’s no agreement on Shearer and leadership round here, I’ll post it under my own name as my opinion.)

93 comments on “Shearer Says – on leadership”

  1. Rhinocrates 1

    Body language is interesting – lots of blinks, licking lips, awkward and tense smiles, forced laughs, angry defensiveness, cliches.

    He’s scared.

  2. King Kong 2

    Boom…take that you disloyal bastards

    • r0b 2.1

      I know it’s frowned on by the Right KK, but there is really nothing wrong with folk having their own opinions, and talking about it. Welcome to diversity eh!

      • King Kong 2.1.1

        I hear you r0b, but there is having a diversity of opinions and then there is the political equivalent of getting your cock out in public.

        • r0b 2.1.1.1

          Blogs are changing the media and political balance, giving more voice to those outside the “establishment”. Debates now and in the future will be much more open and public than they used to be – and this is healthy for democracy. Agree or disagree?

          • King Kong 2.1.1.1.1

            You are asking the wrong man. I am not terribly enamored with democracy due to the voice it gives to the feeble minded.

            • fender 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah ok KK now I understand why there are nations suffering under dictatorships, it must be because all their citizens are feeble minded, thanks for clearing that up you fool of an ape.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Considering your position I thought that would have made you more enamoured of it. After all, it’s the only way you get to have a voice in you governance.

              Oh, wait, you’re too stupid to realise that you’re one of the weak minded you despise.

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    This means the only way Labour will be saved in the short term is with a challenge.

    Cunliffe, Robertson or Little. If you are reading this. Run your numbers over the next 24 hours. If you are within a handful of votes run with it before the conference and before the rules are changed.

    It is quite clear Shearer will not do the correct thin here. One of you three has to do it for him. You owe it the workers of this country to deal with this problem NOW.

  4. Ben Wilson 4

    >He’s scared.

    I didn’t get that impression at all. I wonder if he’s finally finding his feet, in fact.

    • Rhinocrates 4.1

      I must admit that perhaps all things are relative and this is one of the rare times that I’ve bothered to pay attention to anything he said (garbled stuttering and non-sequiturs usually have me shouting back at the radio), but if this is an improvement, may the Great Green Arkleseizure help us.

  5. Bill 5

    Conceited much? Arrogant much? “I am doing well” and “I don’t think there’s a problem at all” etc …in spite of all the considered opinion to the contrary…ah, but fckit – that’s just ‘bloggers’ talking to themselves innit? Absolutely no members using the internet to discuss their misgivings. Absolutely no recognised political commentators voicing the same misgivings. It’s just ‘bloggers’…just nasty, ill-informed nobody’s.

    • r0b 5.1

      Steady on Bill, it’s hard for him to talk about his leadership without talking about himself.

      You’re on better ground with the second point, he’s too dismissive of the criticism in my opinion.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Okay. Full quote as opposed to a brief paraphrasing. “I am doing a good job as a leader because Labour has come up in the opinion polls and National have come down”

        Coz it’s all down to David, see? National haven’t been fucking up left, right and center and offering the opposition gift horses that David, doesn’t so much look in the mouth as stick his bloody foot in.

        Given Nationals performance of late, Labour’s popularity should be rocketing. But it ain’t. The polls are moribund for Labour. And DS takes great credit for this when he really should be taking his fair measure of fucking responsibility for it.

    • lprent 5.2

      If you think about his situation, that is something that he has to say and he carried it off pretty well. Being arrogant is as much of the role of leader of a parliamentary caucus as charm is required of a politician. I never hold that against anyone running organisations.

      I never take that stuff personally when it comes to politics or business. You tend to be far more effective writing a angry rant designed to wound when you’re not really that angry.

  6. lprent 6

    That is as good as I have seen seen him on questions from the media. One of the people I talked to over the weekend said that DS had been looking a lot more relaxed (less grey and tired). Showed up in this. But this is almost the simplest of media situations.

    Probably helps that it is away from the bloody lift or whatever it is that makes such a racket in most of the in the corridor ministerial press.

    But as I said in my post, I see the problem as being primarily in the caucus and their ability to work coherently to win an election. I view Shearer’s performance as being less of a problem than the steadily increasing

    We have seen more than enough of caucus fools stopping effective campaigns and trends absolutely dead cold with their personal foibles and rampant egos. Shane Jones just looks like the latest one. While I realize how hard it is to get media traction from opposition, some of the portfolios in the Labour shadow caucus look like the green seats in the house own them.

    The question on my mind when I read Vernon Small’s article on Saturday was if the Labour parliamentary caucus would be up dealing on a near equal basis with the Green’s caucus.

    • David H 6.1

      Well may be after this weekend Jones may find his behind firmly up in the cheap seats. But we will see.

  7. ak 7

    Darn right r0b. Clear and focussed – and a smile that could melt lead.

    What’s the bet the 6 o’clock deciders never see this Shearer between now and Chrissy – reminds me of Goffy, nil true exposure till mandatory in the election period, whereupon instant poll viagra.

  8. Dr Terry 8

    Shearer seeks to reassure us with the message that “the gap between Labour and National is only 10 or 11 per cent”. Only? Considering National’s record since the election I would call that pretty damn big! (He does not dare mention his personal ranking, one notices).

    Again, we get this talk about “a nice man” like that is any kind of qualification for leadership of a political party. Mr Goff was a very nice man! I am even confident that the Devil himself is “a nice man”!

    What we look for is an “effectual” leader who has the guts to lead effectually, not somebody running in the popularity stakes. Real leadership seldom comes naturally, there are hard skills that must be acquired (for the person capable of acquiring them). There are likely few that are capable.

    Mr Shearer is simply not heeding the voice of the people.

    • r0b 8.1

      Considering National’s record since the election I would call that pretty damn big!

      There aren’t many cases in our history of sudden changes in political opinion (the Orewa speech is one). As long as the gap keeps closing it’s all good, I don’t know that any leader of the opposition can accomplish more?

      I’m frustrated with the slow progress too. I know that the multiple inadequacies of the national government are obvious to most of us here, but we do have to accept that they are not as obvious to most members of the public.

      • PlanetOrphan 8.1.1

        Your all bitching at the wrong people …. bitch @ yourselves and your getting closer.

        The polls were going up until you lot started up the character assasinations …..

        I put it too the lot of yas that you have no idea about winning an election and all your hype is personal opinion with little else too back it up.

        PS. Sorry r0b, not the best place for this comment, but at least u agree with me.

        • fatty 8.1.1.1

          dunno about that…Labour has been making little ground for a while now, and most Kiwi’s have never heard of this blog…and The Standard’s critiques of Shearer have only been in the news for a few days

            • fatty 8.1.1.1.1.1

              yeah…here it shows from January till now Labour has been around 30%…and never got to 34%

              • PlanetOrphan

                I poll from the heart bud, crazy but accurate, and true, the standard just reflects everything else.

                If there is any “good reflection” out there it’s because good thinking is valid in many contexts.
                (I don’t tend too read anything but the Standard, lopsided but good for anger management….
                Thanks LP and Co)

              • David H

                Apart from 2 anomalies of 9 and 10% the difference is usually 13 to 20% over the past year.

            • Puddleglum 8.1.1.1.1.2

              An interesting comparison is between Shearer’s performance and that of Bill English, followed by Don Brash in 2002-2005.

              Notice that, overall, the turnaround for National was quite remarkable. Also notice that, up until the Orewa speech, Bill English had managed to pull National’s vote up from 21% to 28% – a 33% increase.

              That ‘effort’ by English was against a formidable PM early in her second term. If we use the same logic that David Shearer uses in defence of his own poll performance, then he is performing at something below Bill English’s performance – and that assumes that in both cases the changes in the polls are reflective of leadership from the leader of the opposition. It also is especially flattering to Bill English since he was the same leader who led National to their historic low at an election.

              It’s not a strong case to mount and, if I were David Shearer or one of his supporters, I would not shout too loud about the link between the polls and Shearer’s performance.

              Here’s the polling from 2005-2008, which, like 2002-2005, also included a leadership change. Quite a different situation – third term government, scandals, Section 59 legislation, etc. – but within a year Key had lifted an already respectable 42% up to around 50%.

              Defending Shearer’s performance on his ability to lift the polls is not really the point. If there is a connection to the polls from a leader, it’s about what they can add to a trend which should be happening anyway in the second term of a government.

              • gobsmacked

                Thanks, Puddleglum.

                I’ve pointed out before on here the similarity between English 2002-3 and Shearer 2011-2. It is a valid comparison, and not surprising (just as voters switch to minor parties during election campaigns, they switch back to the major parties in between).

                It’s useful and informative, but not everyone wants to know.

          • Chris 8.1.1.1.2

            I think you will find it’s been a little longer than that.

  9. Ed 9

    Good to see David Shearer relaxed and enjoying himself, and giving clear, relevant answers which lead back to talking about the positive messages Labour can deliver for New Zealand.

    I look forward to hearing reports from the conference.

    • Taxi 9.1

      Party hack alert!

    • Craig Glen Eden 9.2

      You forgot to include the section with ( dripping with sarcasm) Ed so we all new you were taking the piss. Instead Ed you now look like an apologist for a Party leader who only the countries right wing supporters want heading the opposition.

  10. Socialist Paddy 10

    And if you want to have your say on the preferred leader there is a poll at http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/

  11. freedom 11

    Even if they don’t change Leader can they at least build a muzzle and a small steel lockbox for Shane Jones?

  12. Stephen 12

    Well, Labour polled 22% on election day, now the average poll of polls figure is 33%. So, that’s a 50% increase in support.

    I think we should ask ourselves how much better we expect Labour to have done. Also, of course we are going nuts watching the Nats plough on, with two years to wreak more havoc. But no Opposition can stop that, until the election. I wonder if the frustration of watching the Nats wrecking everything isn’t feeding into frustration with our own leaders.

    Note: I don’t particularly care who leads Labour at this point. I don’t believe there is a standout member of caucus who’s markedly better than all the others for that position.

    • Tim G. 12.1

      Stop saying that. 27% on election day, something like 33% directly before.

      • Stephen 12.1.1

        Quite right. Stuck in my head from the Nats’ low point. Still, Labour is polling substantially better than election day.

        • hush minx 12.1.1.1

          But they are not quite back to where they were in 2008 after the terms of Helen. So let’s not get too generous in our praise…

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1

            Election day 28%, one year later 29% to 33%. So yes, there has been an improvement, but its only narrowly outside the margin of error.

            • dancerwaitakere 12.1.1.1.1.1

              People always seem to forget that just before the election Labour was NOT polling at 27% … Ill be honest, I didn’t expect our Party Vote to be that low.

              So getting Labour above 27% is not a great feat, given that if an election were held tomorrow, Labour would probably slump back to that 27 number, or even lower.

        • Puddleglum 12.1.2.1

          Hi Stephen, If we look closely at what is said in your link, it’s not that encouraging:
          “At the risk of too much chicken bone reading, I suspect this volatility means a many National 2011 supporters’ faith in their choice has been shaken by the long string of stories highlighting bad news and incompetence this year, but none of the other parties have been able to solidly win that cohort over just yet.
          Nonetheless it does look that Labour has taken votes from National during the year. Labour has gone up by 4.5% through 2012, and only about two of those appear to have come at the expense of the Greens, who are coming down from their stratospheric ratings immediately post-election. In 2011, the Greens and Labour were basically swapping votes, with around 80% of one party’s gain coming at the expense of the other. In 2012, by contrast, the two larger left parties have managed to grow the left-leaning bloc by 2.3% from their January 2012 figure, and by well over five points from the election results less than a year ago. 

          Where to start?

          First, Salmond suspects that National supporters are looking around but finding nowhere to go. Why?

          Second, though he claims Labour appears to have gained votes from National (no doubt, but National will have gained them from Labour in a complex musical chairs scenario) there is no mention of the fact that NZFirst has lost over 1.6% percent of its support, a good proportion of which may well have drifted (back) to Labour given the possibility of tactical voting at the election.

          Third, he points out that through almost the entire year of 2012 the two major left parties have gained an astonishing 2.3% for the left but “well over five points from the election results less than a year ago“.

          That means that more than half the ‘gain’ since the election for the left occurred prior to this year – hardly explicable in terms of Shearer’s performance and ability to attract National Party supporters (though, as above, he appears to have gained some Green supporters (back) and some NZF (back) as well as, perhaps, some National supporters).

          If the ‘surge’ back to the left in the last month of 2011 (from the election) had something to do with Shearer’s selection late last year, it probably has more to do with ‘benefit of the doubt’ bounce for a new face. It could also simply be ‘dead cat’ bounce from what was clearly a steep dip in support (and increase in support for NZF) in the final weeks of the election campaign.

          Not much has happened this year for the left as a whole. Remember that National only just scraped in at the election. It got 47.3% at the election and now is, according to the poll of polls, just over 45%.

          My guess is that National has lost votes in the last 6 months to the Maori Party and the Conservatives, both of which have had lifts in their prospects. Labour has benefitted from NZF and Greens doing worse (from election and post-election highs, respectively) and a few have come over from National.

          Once again, I wouldn’t shout too loud about what the polls are showing and how well this reflects on Shearer’s leadership. 

          • fatty 12.1.2.1.1

            Well said Puddleglum.

            “My guess is that National has lost votes in the last 6 months to the Maori Party and the Conservatives”

            …and if this leaking of votes to the continues, then it will actually benefit National – IMO its no coincidence that post-election, Key has been presenting himself as unethical to leak votes to the Conservatives

            • rosy 12.1.2.1.1.1

              As long as the Labour leadership sees a gain in votes from National they don’t care about what the left, rather than the middle, think. Where are the left voters going to go? Further left or to National? They see 2 votes for the left (a centrist one for Lab and a left one for Mana/Greens) for every one that comes over from National. Makes me want to not vote at all.

              • Colonial Viper

                Join the other 800,000 non-voters of the 2011 election.

                • rosy

                  Yeah, it’s a cop-out. but really, the cynical pandering to the centrist vote does not represent me. Nor, at the moment, do other left-leaning parties.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I actually didn’t mean it in a bad way – as in you’d be doing what 800K of your fellow citizens also rationally decided to do.

                    • rosy

                      True… It’s just really disappointing a rehash of the same thoughts and feelings as before the last election – until Goff and team came down on the left-ish side of the fence… but too late. Then the response of the party is back to the centre-right rather than building on a good start toward the left.

                      I think internationally the evidence is building that a left turn is possible, with parties of the right wrecking lives all over the place, and Labour may have missed that boat.

                  • fatty

                    “Yeah, it’s a cop-out. but really, the cynical pandering to the centrist vote does not represent me. Nor, at the moment, do other left-leaning parties.”

                    Perhaps rather than seeing your vote for Mana or the Greens as votes for them, you could see it as a vote to pull Labour left?
                    You may not agree with those parties, but thats what MMP is about. I see Mana’s policies as what Labour’s should be, so I vote for Mana. But in my electorate, I voted Labour, just because it was an anti-national vote.
                    If Mana and the Greens get a large chunk of votes and have more say in a coalition, then Labour’s neoliberal policies will not be as strong…so in the end disenfranchised Labour voters get a better Labour by voting for other parties.
                    That’s why I cannot understand why National and Labour still get the number of votes they do…and it also shows how truly pathetic the ACT party was…they dissolved when Key was piddling around as a true third way leader, instead, ACT should have been thriving then

                    • rosy

                      You’re right Fatty, and I guess if an election was held tomorrow that’s what I would do. But it doesn’t sit well with me to play their big fat game of attracting the centre-right vote. It only encourages them 😉

                      My other option would be to walk into the polling booth and be so angry that I’ll destroy the voting paper – and that is a real possibility.

    • David H 12.2

      If Shearer is in charge in 2014, how are you going to convince people to vote this time ? When they didn’t last time for Goff?

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.1

        With clear, competent Left wing policies which touch on ordinary peoples lives and which present an unmistakable alternative to the neoliberal prescription of the last 3 decades and the incompetence of the current Key government.

        Just kidding. I have no idea.

  13. Tim G. 13

    “I think a lot of it is around bloggers talking to each other and I’m sort of surprised that others have been asking these questions…”

    Well that sums it up, doesn’t it? Marginalise everyone in the blogosphere, lump them in with the Whale and the Penguin and dismiss their views.

    Hell, I didn’t even consider myself a “blogger” (don’t run my own) until DS cleverly lumped me in with those stupid people.

    Way to go!

    • QoT 13.1

      the Whale and the Penguin

      The irony of course being that you don’t see half as much “ugh, blogs, who even CARES about them” when it’s the media directly reporting stories “broken” by WO and sanitised by DPF.

  14. Frankie and Benjy Mouse 14

    Totally agree with r0b and Stephen. Maybe there is more than one reason why the Nats are taking every opportunity to attack DS. Obviously a change of leadership (or an attempt) would be disruptive to Labour, but maybe, they akshully fear his potential.

    • McFlock 14.1

      People should be suspicious if National aren’t spreading distrust and innuendo about a Labour leader. Typical tory tactics, because the only positives they can campaign on are pipe dreams (brighter future, anyone?).

      • Taxi 14.1.1

        It’s worrying that Farrar is doing his best to protect.

        Worrying indeed.

        • Taxi 14.1.1.1

          *protect Shearer that is.

          It says a lot that the right’s dog whistler is firmly behind Shearer. Do you think the Labour MPs who voted for him get heart from reading Kiwiblog?

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      Strabge, I’ve only seen the RWNJ commentators telling us how DS is.

  15. KL 15

    He looks like he is shitting himself. But it seems he can perform when its something he cares about like the imminent loss of his job. Glad to see the 180 on the dismissive nonsense line from this morning.

    • PlanetOrphan 15.1

      Where on earth do you get scared from?

      Maybe he should be wearing some “Crazy Bug eyed Glasses” that’ll give yas something to concentrate on M8!

  16. PlanetOrphan 16

    Good on Ya David Shearer , the complainers just want too watch more HypnoToad M8!

    • Taxi 16.1

      PlanetOrphan – You’re spending a lot of time on here defending David Shearer. You don’t work in his office do you?

      [lprent: No he doesn’t, and now Chris points that out (I’ve been busy with my work colleagues in a european timezone), you are straying over the line into starting a flamewar with quite a pointless comment. Expect to disagree with people. Argue about what they say. Save the personal barbs for when you have actually tried to make a point – because if you did in this case you failed pathetically. ]

      • PlanetOrphan 16.1.1

        Nup, sickly old programmer m8

      • Chris 16.1.2

        Do you have to hate Shearer to be allowed on the standard?

        [lprent: No. Just someone being a jerkoff and violating site standards. Thanks for pointing them out. ]

  17. Murray Olsen 17

    I saw scared, desperate, less than 100% honest, and doing his best to channel Key.

    • PlanetOrphan 17.1

      U r foisting your own foibles onto someone else Murray.

      • Murray Olsen 17.1.1

        My foibles are irrelevant. I’m not trying to lead an opposition to victory in a couple of years.

        • PlanetOrphan 17.1.1.1

          Exactly bud,
          David shearer was breathing steady, good heart beat, heard and understood questions,
          He responded coherently and with conclusive thinking ,
          You cats are either blind or not seeing the man I saw for some other unkown reason …..

  18. QoT 18

    I’ll happily admit, that’s a lot better than I’ve seen him in many other media answers. Now could someone chuck a thesaurus at his head? Did we really need the word “opportunity” used once every 30 seconds on average?

    • fatty 18.1

      maybe we could also throw a dictionary while we’re at it, because it appears as if he doesn’t understand the word ‘opportunity’…National have been handing them to Shearer for months

    • McFlock 18.2

      The journos did.
           
      I’m not sure how many people watch 3 minutes of unedited lobby interviews, but Shearer obviously wanted any sound bite to include the word “opportunity”.
           
      I’ve seen other polys do the same thing with their desired “framing” or simply what they think is a good line. 

      • QoT 18.2.1

        OK, so the video as posted above isn’t the best format. But … then I’m just with fatty above. I don’t think Shearer actually understands what “opportunity” means, especially when he’s speaking at a conference in Ellerslie and acting like it’s some kind of grand “opportunity” to speak to “real New Zealanders” … as though his words aren’t, like always, going to be filtered and framed by the media.

        • xtasy 18.2.1.1

          It’ll be another speech, promising a few “warm” words, a bit of new ideas and perhaps suggested policies, drip feeding us, at the same time telling the public, we are working on it, we will do more, we are listening and I will tell you more next time.

          Seems to get more like a daily serial episode of some low level soap opera, similar to the e-newsletters he has been releasing.

          Read between the lines, dissect it for substance matters and info, I bet you, it will be very, very mediocre. No, I have given up on the man, for good.

          Some are so desperate, they now even think this brief fronting of the media went reasonably well, so he must be learning and finally improving.

          No, it was just stubborn denial of the reality, sadly too many in cabinet rather tow the line now and have chosen to stay on the sinking boat, together with the captain. Once the water is rushing in, and once the vessel is sinking fast, they will then suddenly start fighting over the few seats in the life boat.

    • Te Reo Putake 18.3

      Pretty normal modern interview technique; memorise a couple of phrases or words you want to push and repeat ad nauseum. When the Nats do it, the line always starts ‘so, what I think is important …”
       
      All in all, a good interview for Shearer and well backed up by MP’s Little and Cosgrove. We are overdue a Roy Morgan poll, presumably it’s being held up until closer to the weekend. If it’s any good for Labour, Shearer should sail through the conference.

    • Colonial Viper 18.4

      Not a bad off the cuff interview from Shearer. What I would expect from someone with Ministerial potential. Memo to journos: please ask him a question on the relationship between benefit levels and deficit reduction next.

  19. karol 19

    It is a more assured performance by Shearer – an improvement.  Someone told him to smile a lot, so he immediately smiled when he was asked a challenging question.

    For me it’s more about the policies and the general direction of the framework in which they are located. So, mostly I will just have to wait for the “opportunity” at the conference – or reports from them as I’m not in the party or going to the conference.

    I was only partly reassured by the policy pointers Shearer gave: jobs, education the economy: important issues.  But no indication of a shift, then, towards ending the undeserving poor and bennie-bashing meme.  Those were the 3 issues he’d been prepared to mention.   When asked about housing he got the buzz word “affordability” but then he said it’s about being able to buy that first home.  Nothing on state housing, affordable private renting etc.

    Still sounds like targeting middle-class voters to me.  And that’s not just about Shearer, it’s about his team and their focus.  But I will wait and see what the conference brings.

  20. Anne 20

    It is a more assured performance by Shearer – an improvement. Someone told him to smile a lot, so he immediately smiled when he was asked a challenging question.

    Agreed. It looks like Ian Fraser is doing a good job on Shearer. To be fair, it wasn’t until Helen Clark was given intense training by Brian Edwards that she began to lift her poll ratings.

    I know that it’s not enough for the political boffins on this site – and elsewhere – but remember we are not his main audience. It’s Joe and Mary Bloggs and it’s all about projecting the right image where they are concerned – at least in the first instance.

    • karol 20.1

      Well, I would like to have seen a bit more sincere passion for improving things for those struggling.  That’s what I’m looking for in policians, parties and leaders.

      It’s Joe and Mary Bloggs and it’s all about projecting the right image where they are concerned – at least in the first instance. 

      My concern is that it’s pitched at the middle-class, MOR Bloggs, and not those really doing it tough.  That is where neoliberalism has taken Labour parties in recent times.  i want to see a shift away from that, to being more inclusive.

    • felix 20.2

      “It’s Joe and Mary Bloggs …”

      Perhaps you ought to give them another name, Anne – Shearer doesn’t pay attention to Bloggs 😉

      You could always use Key’s imaginary friends, Bill & Mary Smith.

  21. quartz 21

    I think he’s done well because he’s fighting for his own skin. It would be nice if he did as well when he was representing more than his own interests.

  22. fender 22

    Barry Soper tells Shearer that Key thinks he is a nice man, not thick as batshit, more thin like the runs.

    But seriously who gunna vote for a liar who says “im sure Keys a nice man too”.

    I wonder if he bumped his head getting down from the roof painting and it cured his stutter.

  23. AndrewK 23

    No amount of intensive media training is going to elevate Shearer to the level of competence Cunliffe exudes in front of a television camera. Realistically, any major party in the modern environment requires a front-person to articulate the party’s collectively adopted approach, rather than a leader attempting to micromanage as many aspects of the party’s policy direction as they possibly can. That is why National party hacks like Farrar, Espiner and Garner are fervently anti-Cunliffe; I believe they see Cunliffe’s media presence as the biggest threat to the Key personality cult – they appear to actually fear Cunliffe the way that more than a few here fear Key.

    The biggest threat facing any ‘left’ leaning coalition that wins a mandate to govern is the reality that the New Zealand Treasury has been rendered subservient to foreign financial institutions; recall the 1999 election where the Labour/Alliance government were heralded in the media as the most socialist government in the ‘western’ world – the NZ dollar pretty much halved its value against the US in a very short time and Clark had to perform cartwheels to convince the international banksters that in New Zealand it was going to be business as usual. Furthermore, it does not help that we have a Treasury whose advice to government generally resembles the ACT party’s manifesto.

    If Labour really want to make a significant impact on the New Zealand public they need to promote greater participation in the political process among the general population. As long as a large swathe of the population is marginalised by the political status quo; like in the US, in New Zealand it is the party to the right that will benefit from fewer and fewer people turning up at the voting booths on polling day. Although promoting greater participation in the political process is easier said than done, enhancing MMP by dropping the party vote threshold 1% would heighten public interest in the voting system.

    I’m not going to vote Labour, last time I voted for them was in 1987 when I was a lineman working for the NZPO. That was the year Lange did a circuit of the unions promising Telecom wouldn’t be sold. Labour got in that election and Telecom was sold in ’88. Although I’ll be voting for the Mana party again in 2014, I regard Labour as the lesser of two evils and would prefer them to National any day of the week.

    • Puddleglum 23.1

      Hi AndrewK,

      Good comment. The last time I voted Labour (before the last election) was 1984. I was overseas and so wasn’t keeping my eye on the ball/ear to the ground about Douglas (that’s my excuse, anyway). I don’t know who I would have voted for if I’d been my usual self back here.

      I remember coming back later that year and, within a week or so, seeing Bob Jones being interviewed because he was abandoning the New Zealand Party (his vehicle for splitting the vote on the right and denying Muldoon another term). Jones simply explained that there was no reason for his party to remain because Labour had already (within a few months) done almost everything in his manifesto.

      I thought, ‘What have we done?’ It was not a Labour government yet people had voted Labour.

  24. xtasy 24

    The “Beltway” is simply another “sphere” altogether, it is just somehow like another “planet”.

    Like Key lives on Planet Key, I fear Shearer has transcended up into airy-fairy “level cloud 9″ – or higher above, riding on a flying carpet above it all, heading for guess where? “Planet Shearer”.

    That is where virtuosos and politicians play guitar all day, write speeches, release e-letters of calm toned wording, play question and answers, breathe the clean air up high, enjoy the green, green grass of the meadows, swim in clean rivers and lakes, and play with little, curly haired sheeples, that get shorn from time to time, to deliver cosy wool for red pullovers and red socks to be knitted for romantic, social evening wear.

    Oh, oh, all us little dummies down here, we have no clue about that level of consciousness.

    The Beehive is another world, a place of its own, and those breathing the air, sitting down on those green leather covered large, old chairs every day of session, they truly are above us.

    Get a rattle and shake, dear folk, we are being put into our place again.

    Just silly “bloggers” chatting with each other, probably having too much spare time, just like the leisurely “bene roof painter”, who is living on taxpayers’ expense.

    Better start passing a law to close down these blog-sites. We cannot have that, it is not good, it is not in the public interest. Bang, slam and shut. Done!

    • Hanswurst 24.1

      I’m as keen for Cunliffe to take up the leadership as anyone, and I think that episodes like the much-publicised criticism of the “beneficiary on the roof” are quite legitimately seen as miles out of touch with Labour’s activist base and its core values. However, to pin the same analysis on that video because Shearer dismissed his critics so cursorily is beyond ridiculous. Of course he pours scorn on that sort of talk. Firstly, anything he says can be taken as a soundbite out of context. If he admits doubt over his leadership, you can bet your bottom dollar that that admission will be repeated endlessly without the question that led to it. Also, any such admission, aside from making him look weak and unsure of himself, will fuel further rumours and spark open speculation about divisions in caucus, numbers and so forth. The last thing Labour needs is that sort of publicity overshadowing their conference. The best course of action is to frame any criticism of his leadership in as dismissive terms as possible.

      Additionally, the more indecisive and incompetent Shearer looks now, the harder will be the future job for the leader of the Labour party – whether it be Shearer or anybody else – to convince the voting public that Labour is a force to be taken seriously.

  25. Craig Glen Eden 25

    Dead man walking dead man walking dead man walking!

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