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My votes

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 am, September 12th, 2013 - 100 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, grant robertson, labour, Shane Jones - Tags: , ,

I voted for Cunliffe, Robertson, and Jones in that order. My reasons are in this post. It is unnecessary for people to speculate on additional motivations.

But if Clare Curran, Trevor Mallard*, Patrick Gower or anyone else wants to run a politically based smear on me like they did on Jenny Michie, Mike Williams, and others then I’m perfectly happy to tear them a new rectum through their political credibility over the next decade.

As David Shearer has so predictably and clearly demonstrated, actual political experience in our local system is the primary requirement to being the leader of Labour’s caucus. Other attributes may get help in getting your party elected. But absolutely nothing puts off voters more both in the intermediate future or over a decade than having a inexperienced hand trying to guide a fractured caucus and party.

David Lange demonstrated that in an earlier decade when he was elected leader but was far too reliant on a small coterie within caucus and the wider party. We still see reverberations of that to this day with the size of the party membership being dwarfed by the Labour Ulterior of ex-party members who left and never came back – which seems to be where I’m slowly heading.

You can see much of the same attributes within the National party at present with the continual factional discussions popping into view as people jostle for the lead position when John Key decides he needs his knighthood on his CV more than losing an election. Besides, he could emulate Keith Holyoake and be the second National party leader to leave without a knife sticking out of their back.

The role of the parliamentary leader(s) of a party are to help to win elections  and to lead any subsequent government. To do that they have to have credibility that they can win elections and that they can run an effective government afterwards. Cabals of power like the “backbone club” running a political figurehead simply don’t work in either of these. Yes – it is possible to lie your way into power through an election. But the subsequent government will ensure that party will forever afterwards have to win elections with reluctance of their own supporters to see a repeat dragging them like an anchor.

To be able to be the leader of a political party having the well-rounded experience to be credible to your members, the voting public, and even your colleagues is the crucial requirement.

Getting parachuted into a safe electorate seat is one thing. But running a couple of a successful campaign is a crucial learning experience for new MP’s. Losing a campaign beforehand in an unwinnable and even hostile electorate is an even better one. And any electorate MP who cannot manage to largely hold their own vote and at least retain much of the party’s vote really needs to be looked at with askerance.

Unfortunately list MPs despite several attempts to provide them one do not have that cauldron of experience. It wouldn’t be that hard to set them up virtual electorates across the countries or regions for the party and their colleagues to assess their actual effective performance. However this hasn’t seemed to be a consideration during selection. List selection seems to be based more on a factional criteria than performance.

Experience around the party organisation helps a lot. Much of a parties political power comes from harnessing their activists so that regardless of their differences, they are at least pulling in much the same direction.

This is and always has been especially the case in movements from the social democratic traditions. The possessors of capital who own the plant required by most media simply aren’t very sympathetic to the labour or green causes who are more concerned with societies as a whole then the effects on affluent individuals. It doesn’t matter how sympathetic individual media workers may be, their jobs often depend on showing an imbalance towards their employers views. Hopefully the steadily reducing costs of media will break this eventually.

So social democratic movements always rely heavily on their members and activists to push messages and ideas into a population in a way that can’t be distorted or jammed. Knowing how to build the consensus that makes this happen amongst the disparate parts of a widespread and largely voluntary organisation is an artform that is more learnt than taught. It also acts as about the best sounding board for strategies that a party can have. It invariably has the bets critics if they are listened to.

Being a minister to really important. I don’t think that anyone can really be able to become an effective Prime Minister if they have never been had the pressures and stresses of being a minister. They’d be far too easy for ministers new and old to bamboozle. That would make a cabinet impossible to run as anything other than a negotiating point between opaque fiefdoms. Hardly a way to build any coherence in a governmental policy. Its wavering courses woud probably look somewhat like the current government’s strategies..

Experience in parliament in both the house and the select committees is also a basic requirement. Being able to deliver a good speech, argue a good case, and question people arguing a case is important. Being able to think and articulate interjections, adapt your speech on the fly, and to understand what others are saying is even more important. So is understanding the rules the surround these activities to protect the course of debate.

Being able to do the same inside caucus is much the same. But even more importantly this is also where the general electoral strategies of a party tend to get argued out. The main requirement is that whatever agreed must be coherent and be able to be seen to be coherent to the wider membership because if you can’t convince them, then you have no hope of convincing the wider electorate that it makes sense.

This isn’t a matter of getting a consensus or even the factional win of a vote. If a single decision of caucus undercuts the overall strategy agreed across the wider party, then we should be able to expect that a leader will treat it as a vote of confidence. Because ultimately the role of a leader of party is to make sure that all parts of a party are working towards the same goals.

Being liked or fully supported by caucus colleagues or even your members is simply not a requirement. Partial or conditional support will do. After all if there is a broad agreement about objectives then a few diversions on the way that people personally disagree with can and usually are tolerated.

I volunteered to work for Labour starting in 1984 almost in spite of a personal highly individualistic (some say outright eccentric) views because I considered that they had the best solutions for what my society needed. I worked closely with Helen Clark from 1993 onwards despite having a political and personal philosophy that was quite different to my own because she had the vision, experience and competence that I thought that a Labour party needed.

The need to have a leader that is personally liked doesn’t happen in any other successful workplace. And I’m rather surprised that some people in the party and even the political media seem to think it should be. It is nice to have a candiadte

I don’t personally know any of the candidates well. But I don’t need to.  This leadership contest is pretty much of a no-brainer for me.

Shane Jones has a political career that to me seems to be more punctuated by bad decisions and impulse control than anything else. I’ve had to try to defend his actions in these pages far too often until these days I don’t bother any more. He seems more intent on playing clown than working for the party. His electoral performances have been piss-poor to date because he doesn’t seem to organise them. I think that the party should either find a court jester role that he can work in effectively while he sorts his shit out, or they should dump him from selection.

Grant Robertson is shaping up as being an effective minister whenever he gets a chance. But he has only been a MP since 2008. In my view he is more characterised by what he doesn’t as yet know and understand than by what he does. I’m going to be very interested in what he manages to do with his weak points throughout the party over the next few years. Also what happens with such basics like his electorate numbers – which currently don’t distinguish themselves from the parties numbers over the last few elections.

David Cunliffe gets my support almost through default due to the lack of a credible alternative. He has been in parliament since 1999 after being parachuted into New Lynn winning the National held Titirangi seat. After the Titirangi was eliminated in boundary changes, he was selected for safer next door New Lynn seat which took the bulk of the Titirangi population. He has maintained a strong hold on it ever since.

He actually has a pretty good track record at almost every level – electorate, parliamentary, ministerial, and even party. About the only thing that seems to be an issue is a relatively small number of MPs who appear to personally dislike him, which says more about their lack of professionalism than it does about Davids. There also appears to be a faction of the caucus who don’t appear to agree with some of his ideas. But their lack of a credible candidate means that they will probably have to accept this one.

What both this and the last leadership debate highlights most to me is the paucity of seasoned talent that has developed from 1999 onwards. One suitable candidate?

I think that Labour has to look very closely at the selection procedures that have been in use from 1999 onwards. They clearly are not recruiting or selecting a good standard of candidate.

* Trevor may be completely innocent on this one. But since I usually subsequently seem to find him embroiled in the middle of this style of political infighting I’m going to include him in a Napoleonic  justice approach – guilty until proven innocent.

Updated: I made a mistake about how David Cunliffe entered parliament.

100 comments on “My votes”

  1. Demi 1

    Seems pretty reasonable reasons and I used a lot of the same ones in my voting which was the same as yours. I personally like David and am quite over 4 MPs using their personal agendas and dislike to cause problems for our wider party its divisive and unnecessary.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    I voted for who I thought would be best for the NZLP in order from 1st to 3rd. I didn’t try to apply any Machiavellian calculations about preferences, I just voted 1-2-3 in the order I thought they were the most suitable to lead Labour.

    “…Shane Jones has a political career that to me seems to be more punctuated by bad decisions and impulse control than anything else. I’ve had to try to defend his actions in these pages far too often…”

    The final straw for me was Tuesday, when I read he had walked out on his wife and seven kids. Mate, you can talk about Germaine Greer vs Woman’s Weekly all you like. But the reality is no one will vote for a cad and a bounder.

    So I guess you can all work out who was at number three on my ballot paper.

  3. Demi 3

    Jones was number three because of his attitudes and comments about women, ESP when discussions were held about quotas for seats, and recently regarding feminists.

  4. Craig GlenEden 4

    +1 Lprent x 10 Demi

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Great insight into the current state of the Labour Party and its candidates, Lyn.

    I think that Labour has to look very closely at the selection procedures that have been from 1999 onwards. They clearly are not recruiting a good standard of candidate.


    Recruitment from and of a clique which doesn’t understand NZ outside of Wellington and Auckland, and therefore cannot take Labour where it needs to go seems to have been the general outcome.

    • Anne 5.1

      Recruitment from and of a clique which doesn’t understand NZ outside of Wellington and Auckland, and therefore cannot take Labour where it needs to go seems to have been the general outcome.

      Couldn’t put it better.

      I can name two MPs off the top of my head who were victims of that mindset – Carmel Sepuloni and Kelvin Davis. There were others. It was ironic how some in Labour (who fell in behind the ABC club) had a sudden conversion after the 2011 election from previously complaining about the inadequacies of the list selection procedures to unequivocally supporting the status quo.

      I was amused.

      • Ron 5.1.1

        I have always thought the list should be ranked by all Labour members. MP’s and affiliates should get no votes other than individual members.
        I can envision having a group to ensure that we have a fair spread of women on the list as part of plan to have at least 50% women reflected in our party. That group should not be MP’s they have shown they cannot be trusted to do things fairly when it may affect their future. Maybe a small group selected from the party by ballot.
        We also need to get the selection of electorate MP’s to be changed so that we get a good mix of smart competent MP’s. I wonder if we should have a max of say 3 terms for an electorate MP to force change.
        It would be really good for the party to have something on this at conference to start the talking.

  6. Demi 6

    I live in provincial NZ, in the only labour held North island seat outside AKL or Wlg, we have an excellent MP who is sidelined by ABCs which sucks, provincial NZ has slickly different needs to bigger cities, we still have the same dreams though. Selling the Labour brand is hard work at times ESP against slimy Key and we need a leader who will resonate with all areas of NZ not just beltway NZ, I felt Cunliffe could do this, that he could get provincial NZ back to the polling booth.

  7. Demi 7

    Slightly not slickly sorry, bloody iPad and auto correct

  8. Bill 8

    One of the contenders had vision while two of the contenders had colouring in books…

  9. bad12 9

    i couldn’t bring myself to change back to being a Labour member despite my acute interest in the current leadership contest,

    Full credit and points must go to Labour for the running of such an efficient and highly public leadership contest and i am sure upcoming polls will reward the Party for having done so,

    i do know and like Grant Robertson having bumped into Him around Wellington a few times and i do think the ‘beltway Grant’ thing is a little overdone as i have seen Him in the electorate in place like the Soup Kitchen where there was no press coverage so His time spent there is hardly in the vein of ‘beltway politics’,

    Having said that and having watched Grant perform in the leadership contest i do tho agree that He needs more time in the Parliament and in a Ministerial role to round out His curriculum,

    Should circumstances warrant it Grant Robertson can when the evidence is undeniable be shifted from His cautious approach to politics evidenced by His call for rents in Christchurch to be set by Government edict after He got to view the rack-renting first hand in that city,

    Shane Jones???, the only thing Jones has got going for Him is that He is one of the Brown Brothers and a large part of the demographic support Shane soley on that basis(and He knows it), while i too could be forgiven leaning toward Jones on that basis i cannot escape the fact that uncharitably perhaps, i see Him as being a wanker in both senses of the word in the English language,

    If Labour want a ‘bloke’ in the Caucus to represent the ‘smoko room’ they would be far better served plucking someone from within a ‘meatworks’ someplace who got the kick from school early in the piece and who’s required reading has never gone past the crossword in the back of the daily paper,

    David Cunliffe, take a bow the next Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand who will hopefully oversee the departure of the last remnants of the Rogernomics error,(lolz era),from the ranks of Parliamentary Labour along with the policy reforms necessary to wipe that particular nasty stain from our society,

    From having listened to David Cunliffe a lot more because of the leadership contest i can only say that i am impressed BUT, David should definitely not use His ‘Yelly Voice’ when either campaigning or attacking the National Government,

    Cunliffe has a ‘deep voice’ which resonates far more with the listener than does the ‘yelly one’ which comes across as ‘strident’ and i would go so far as to suggest that Labour should, especially for campaigning purposes,get themselves a state of the art sound system along with a sound mixer so as to be able to carry David Cunliffes deep voiced speech to all parts of a town-hall type meeting without it being necessary for Him to resort to that ‘yelly voice’…

    • Akldnut 9.1

      +1 nice call on all of the above.

    • McFlock 9.2

      I’m actually considering joining Labour if either cunliffe or robertson win (would not want to be associated with a party run by a gradeA dickhead, so Jones is out). The downside is that I’d have to ditch my Alliance membership, I believe.

      But if Labour continue the trend they started with their 2011 policies and keep moving leftish, there might be some point to joining.

  10. Alanz 10


    wow. just WOW.

  11. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 11

    It’s always about you, isn’t it Lynn?

  12. Sosoo 12

    Hard to disagree with anything you’ve written here… for a change. 😉

    • lprent 12.1

      Drat. I was hoping for some argument. 😈

      • weka 12.1.1

        Should have posted one of the earlier drafts 😉

        • lprent

          Oh no this was the first and only draft of this post – penned this morning (and a few words tweaked later on). I did my vote after the meetings finished just in case anything showed up of political interest, and this post immediately afterwards.

          I did write several other posts over the last couple of days about Clare Curran and Patrick Gower. But they were definitely incendiary. In fact I had plea from one other author who read the drafts *not* to publish them.

          I was going to resurrect the part of one of those posts about Patrick Gower/TV3 use of weighted poll questions. But karol has had a go at that this morning.

          • Anne

            I did write several other posts over the last couple of days about Clare Curran… that were definitely incendiary.

            Yes. Had the presence of mind to delete some comments of mine in the immediate aftermath of her sh….y, bitchy tweets.

      • chris 12.1.2

        I hadn’t read your post before I made my comment on “Assessing the contenders”.

        It would seem we agree re Jones being the court jester.

        No copying intended :)

  13. Saarbo 13

    Kia-ora Lynn.

  14. shona 14

    I’d really like to cast an identical vote to you, Lprent, but alas no voting paper has arrived despite my having joined Labour 18 months ago. I have tried daily since Tuesday to get an online version delivered to my email address. Nothing has shown up? WTF???

    • Bill 14.1

      So…if you joined 18 months ago, doesn’t that mean that your membership came up for renewal some months back?

      • shona 14.1.1

        Membership is current as it’s renewed, been in touch with local branch and have followed their advice. The problem seems to be with the server for the email vote>

    • weka 14.2

      details here on problems with getting voting papers and what to do about it http://thestandard.org.nz/voting-update/

      Or phone your LEC?

    • Alanz 14.3

      I would advise Shona, as a matter of urgency, to phone 08004LABOUR !

      • shona 14.3.1

        done that twice.

        • weka

          Did you read the link above? Looks like some papers have only just been sent and could still be in the mail.

          On the other hand, if you’ve not received your ballot by Friday please contact HQ – you’ll probably need to vote electronically.

          • Alanz

            I don’t think there is much time left for postal votes and so the fail-safe way to ensure the vote will be counted is to do it electronically.

            So Shona needs help with getting an email with her PIN and password to access the e-voting site. (Already tried emailing reception@labour.org.nz?)

            If she has the first two, and cannot access the site for some reason, maybe try another computer?

            Can a moderator, with her email address, help connect her to someone who can assist?

            • weka

              I would phone the 0800 number, and get them to send the email while I am on the phone and check that it has arrived.

    • lprent 14.4

      I got a hard copy with the codes via snail mail. I wouldn’t expect that they’d send a email for something like that.

      I did make sure that Labour had my correct smail address the day after the election by using the contact form on the labour.org.nz site. I’d suggest that you try that (obviously being read) plus whatever other suggestions anyone else has.

    • Jenny Kirk 14.5

      Shona – urgently – phone Labour HO 04 3847649 NOT after hours of course tho no doubt there could well be some beavers in there afte hours, but first thing tomorrow (Friday) morning.
      If you are genuine, then they may be able to give you your passwords over the phone so you can vote on-line

      And BTW LPrent – totally agree with you. My thoughts match yours. Good post.

  15. Not a PS Staffer 15

    Cunliffe was selected in a contested process for Titirangi.
    That was a National seat held by whatshername now with the EMEA.
    He gave up his job at Boston Consulting and based himself in a local office in the year before the elections.
    He walked every street and knocked on every door.
    He won the election and turned a National Seat into a Laboutr seat.
    Titirangi was then abolished and most of it went into a re-formed New Lynn.
    That is not parachuting.

    • lprent 15.1

      Cunliffe was selected in a contested process for Titirangi.
      That was a National seat held by whatshername now with the EMEA.

      My apologies you are correct. I will correct my post.

      The first time I noticed him was in New Lynn which had been a safe seat for a long time. I assumed that he’d been parachuted in.

      Frigging hell, that is impressive even for the 1999 ‘landslide’.

  16. AmaKiwi 16

    @ lprent Thanks for a thorough and well constructed article.

    An unforeseen consequence of MMP has been the “unelectable high on the list MPs.”

    Their allegiance must be to the party leadership, not the voters. If they are high on the list they are back in Parliament irrespective of how poorly the party does in the election.

    The lack of a parliamentary pension is also a serious problem. Some MPs with safe seats cannot afford to retire.

    I can think of several ABC MPs who fit these descriptions.

    • s y d 16.1

      whats wrong with national super? not good enough for the gander?

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      Can’t afford to retire, and otherwise unemployable.

    • Jenny Kirk 16.3

      AmaKiwi – WTF re parliamentary pensions ? There was a pension scheme when I was there, and I thought it had been changed, but it was still possible to join (voluntarily) a parliamentary scheme. I reckon someone is bullsh–t— you on that aspect.. The “old guard” of Mallard, King, Goff, Ross Robertson – etc – who’ve been there for years and need to go to grass will all have been a part of the compulsory scheme that was in place when I was there (one term only, spent strenuously objecting to Rogernomics).

  17. Rich 17

    Joh Bjelke-Peterson had himself knighted while still in office. I imagine John Key might try the same if he gets elected, or go the whole hog and become the Earl of Oʻahu.

  18. Blue 18

    + 1 lprent.

    David C is the only candidate out of the current talent pool and it’s depressing that the caucus has dragged this out for so long (and in the end, most of them will probably still vote Robertson).

    It’s hard to fathom how a group of people with a common goal (Labour winning the 2014 election) can be so hopeless at doing what needs to be done to ensure it.

    • Alanz 18.1

      I am still hopeful that the ABCers will put the party ahead of themselves.

      • Blue 18.1.1

        Sadly there is a difference between hope and expectation. I hope that the ABCers will put the party ahead of themselves. I expect them to put themselves above any other consideration.

        The nuts and bolts of it so far is that the public, the unions and the members all appear to be backing Cunliffe. The caucus are the only sad sacks backing Robertson.

        A member of Labour’s caucus has two options. One is to continue to back Robertson knowing that you are out of step with public opinion, that you will lose and that the low caucus vote will be a stick for National to beat Cunliffe with once he becomes leader.

        The other option is to throw your vote behind Cunliffe so he surprises everyone with strong caucus support, neatly derailing National’s spin of how hated he is and how divided the caucus is, and providing him with a strong platform to focus on Labour’s message and leave the infighting talk firmly behind.

        It doesn’t take a genius to work out the best way forward here, but it seems to be all too hard for Labour’s ABC crop. Never even mind the idiots throwing their votes away on Jones.

    • Greywarbler 18.2

      I think that it’s not Labour generally that they want to see in office in 1914, it’s the right sort of Labour that should get in. The in-group who know it all, ie know how to manage the system to fit their comfort zone. And that’s the problem for the rest of us, as we think that the country needs keen bright people with nous with an inclusive set of policies.

      • GregJ 18.2.1

        I think that it’s not Labour generally that they want to see in office in 1914, it’s the right sort of Labour that should get in.


        Ahh – so that’s what they’ve been wasting their time with in Caucus over the last 18 months – building a time machine to go back and defeat Massey’s Government. 😈

        Did Shearer actually become leader because he had access to the super secret UN/Illuminati technology similar to the one that emits Contrails 😉 (Ev can you help us out here?)

        Sorry Warbler – couldn’t resist – I’ll get my coat! 😆

  19. shona 19

    Thanks everyone.
    I knew if I had a whinge on The Standard my email vote would come thru!
    Looking forward to the long overdue change in direction in NZ politics as bulldozed by the blogs( that no one reads! )

  20. Don't worry. Be happy. 20

    When does the Caucus vote? Will they know any more about how the affiliated union vote or the membership vote has gone before they do?

    • Anne 20.1

      Same as members. Any time they want to from the time voting opened to the time it closes.

      Will they know any more about how the affiliated union vote or the membership vote has gone before they do?

      They shouldn’t do because I understand the voting process has been contracted out. But if the caucus is allowed to have a scrutineer watching the process then it is likely to be Chris Hipkins who now has a record for leaking voting information.

    • Prickly Jill 20.2

      No one will know the results of each College until all results are known on Sunday.

  21. Jenny Michie 21

    Solid analysis Lynn and a great read. I despair at the list selection procedure. I have long argued that before anyone is selected (for a seat or the list) that the have ably demonstrated that they can build a team, recruit new members, raise money and have some knowledge of the party. Along with the other attributes like good judgement, integrity and intelligence, of course. and that list candidates should stand in national seats.

    • Greywarbler 21.1

      @ Jenny Michie
      That sounds like a sensible way for list members to be chosen. I used to think that young members would work their way up and gain experience then be ready for office. It seems that at present the top can get to be piled with the driftwood that the high tide has thrown up on the beach.

    • Bunji 21.2

      I don’t necessarily agree that list candidates must stand in national seats – some are used to best effect on non-geographically based constituencies (ethnic groups etc).
      But everybody should have a designated constituency, even if it’s not geographically based (and then they can be measured against their performance with that constituency, and ranked in future accordingly).

      But *have some knowledge of the party* – how do we let people in who don’t have that background? It’s just basic to me, for them to understand who they’re representing, and truly understand the philosophy as well as structure. And yes to build a team, recruit new members, raise money, good judgement, integrity and intelligence obviously.

      I’m all for MP contracts as well (as introduced by UK Labour). Have the KPIs – including party & constituency ones – that they can be measured against etc.

    • lprent 21.3

      If candidates don’t stand in actual seats, then they should be given specialised electorates to work. Afterall the list goes on forever and there aren’t enough physical seats to do.

      For instance if (godforbid) someone like myself wanted to run, make a virtual ‘electorate’ of the computer and tech people by occupation to work on – there are about 70k people in the IT sector. Someone could do builders. Public servants. Teachers. Factory workers (with their appalling turnout). Beneficiaries. Whatever.

      Overlaps physical electorates, but given a national database it is a trivial exercise to work in conjunction with physical electorates. Measure on non-voters starting to vote as an very effective indicator of effectiveness. They build teams and funds to do that task.

      As it stands right now many list candidates stand around without any responsibility/authority. They’re almost useless as supernumeraries in an electorate.

      • Pete 21.3.1

        Even if there is a local MP, some electorates are far too big, geographically speaking, for just one person. An associate Labour list MP who assists Rino Tirikatene in Te Tai Tonga may well be worth while. And would help foster Maori talent within the caucus.

        Edit: I see Chris at comment 23 has the same idea.

        • Colonial Viper

          Absolutely. TTT is an insane electorate. Having an electorate that you can drive through in 15 minutes is more like it.

          • lprent

            One of the smaller electorates is Mt Albert. On a sunday morning it might take 15 minutes (more likely 20), assuming you took the northwestern motorway from eden park to pariki road. On Wednesday morning it will take closer to 40-50 minutes if you drove towards town and 25-30 the other way.

            By way of a comparison I could get to Hamilton from home in 90 minutes most days.

            There really aren’t that many small electorates any more.

        • lprent

          Oh I’d agree. But I’d like to see virtual electorates the size of NZ – but targeted to specific groups. It isn’t the size of the electorate that is most of the problem, it is the approach you use to handle them.

          At least in the SI many of the electorates still have listed landlines at 90% of the electorate.

      • Linz 21.3.2

        If candidates don’t stand in actual seats, then they should be given specialised electorates to work.
        I’d like some of them to be given safe National seats to work in. Here in North Otago, I feel unrepresented more than somewhat. It would be really good if a list Labour member was assigned to look after workers and Labour voters in our electorate. And it would be a great training ground for the member, with the possibility of replacing any sitting member in South Dunedin who proved to be not up to the job. It would keep both on their toes.

    • geo 21.4

      The idea that a person can get a dispensation and join the party within weeks of the list being moderated and then “hooked” to be higher on the list is just wrong.If the leadership selection process is thwarted by MP’s this time around and the peoples choice is not listen to , I would suggest that ALL candidate’s need to go through the list process, including those who are MP’s.The idea that the ‘few should decide for the many’ has to change.The backlash will be deafening if the membership is not rewarded this time around.Unity starts from the chosen being aware of why they are there,To be a voice of the members.NOT for self!!!

  22. Demi 22

    List selection istricky, I have been involved twice under two different leaders and the outcome was quite different be use of the agendas of the people involved and the leadership of the leaders. Moderating committee can work and work well if it is allowed too and the people there are allowed to work in their represented groups best interests, when deals are brokered before moderating committee meets then you end up with disunity and problems.

    I agree with Jenny too that better selection criteria need to be in place before people are considered for being Candidates and MPs.

  23. chris 23

    New List members could perhaps undertake an internship with the larger geographical Electorates e.g. Ikaroa Rawhiti and West Coast/Tasman. They are both ridiculously too large for single Electorate MP’s to do them justice.

  24. Mike S 24

    +1 Very good article, well explained, very detailed and actually satisfying to read if that makes sense!. Probably why there’s been no right leaning troll comments on it.

    ps: Can’t you just tear them a new rectum over the next decade anyway, that would be fun.

  25. Treetop 25

    It has been the best month for Labour in five years because it has been a big wake up call. Better to happen now than on the day of the next general election as then it would be too late. No one could have predicted how well the leadership candidates would do.

    It is ironic that the process (the structure to elect a leader) has breathed life into the Labour party.

    I wish the new leader all the best, (hopefully Cunliffe). Even though they have a year to really mobilise, I know that Key only has 14 months left of ruining the country.

  26. Pete 26

    My papers arrived today and I have just voted. My ranking was the same as Lynn’s. I’m feeling a lot more positive about politics than I have in a long time.

  27. lurgee 27

    Cunliffe should win, surely? But I lost a some respect for him over Michiegate and his rewriting of Labour history to exclude the 1980s.

    Robertson has risen slightly in my estimation, as he’s shown a bit of fire and at least said the right things, policy wise, though I can;t shake the suspicion he doesn’t mean a word of it.

    Sideshow Shane should go away. A good quip at Curran’s expense doesn’t redeem his performance otherwise. Some might say, ah, but you weren’t at the meetings, you didn’t see his performances in front of the members blah blah blah but the number of Really Stupid things that ended up on the news was enough – and this from one of the few people who will defend Jones over the ‘geldings’ comment.

    Be funny watching you lot explode if Cunliffe doesn’t win, of course.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      There is no fucking way that the Jenny Michie incident is a -gate already. That’s stupid, like the rest of your analysis.

      • lurgee 27.1.1

        Exploding. And the results aren’t even in!

        I couldn’t be bothered typing out “over the dismissal of Jenny Michie from his campaign team.” I thought most people would have recognised the lighthearted intent of the reference.

        What’s stupid about my analysis? Are you suggesting Cunliffe won’t win? That Grant Robertson really, really means all these nice sounding leftish things he said and will strive to realise them? That Shane Jones is ace and shouldn’t go away?

        Must say, you come across as a bit ‘tightly wound.’ Getting nervy?

        • Colonial Viper

          Yes haha! 😈

          Low membership turnout could prove very good or very bad for Cunliffe.

    • Greywarbler 27.2

      This is not a game of three halves. It’s our lives and how they get pushed, pulled and pummelled by avoidable factors under the next controlling elected power, which we hope will deliver the policies we need to avoid insolvency of the country.

      [lprent: sorry – was in code + SGA. ]

      • Greywarbler 27.2.1

        Any chance of getting off moderation soon? Went up at 9.14 pm.

      • lurgee 27.2.2

        Oh, indeed. But watching the wailing and gnashing that would happen here, and how people reacted would be fascinating. How long do you think some would abide by their talk about uniting behind the leader and focusing on the enemy would last if the leader turns out to be Anyone But Cunliffe?

        (See what I did there?)

        From a psychological perspective, it would be interesting.

        • Colonial Viper

          Hey fuck head, we’re not your lab animals.

          Robertson/Shearer was a leadership team which could not and did not fire. I can’t see what is going to change with Robertson as leader instead of deputy leader.

    • karen 28.1

      Thanks for those links. Comparing Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe on the parliament website it seems absolutely inexplicable to me that Grant Robertson is even standing let alone getting support in the caucus. In every category he is so below Cunliffe in experience and commitment, even when it comes to community contribution.

      • Anne 28.1.1

        Thanks Perplexed for a timely reminder. David Cunliffe’s credentials are so far in advance of anyone else in caucus, I have long since come to the conclusion that jealousy and self preservation are the underlying causes of their antipathy.

        Cunliffe has his faults. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly for starters which is something he shares with Helen Clark. But I venture to suggest that his ‘faults’ are no worse than those of his enemies in caucus. I find some of his detractors almost pathological in their condemnation of David.

        • karol

          It was interesting to hear Penny Hulse, Auckland Deputy mayor (and ex-Waitakere city deputy mayor) on Citizen A last night. She said she had had a lot of interaction with Cunliffe in her dep mayor roles, and really didn’t seem to understand or support the criticisms of Cunliffe coming from the ABCs. Hulse seemed to support Cunliffe for leader of the Labour caucus.

  28. peterlepaysan 29

    It is very long overdue that the LP caucus grew up and realise that they exist because there is (or was) a party and electorate that support them.
    Caucus power over leadership encourages personality (read ego) politics to rule.

    Party membership power over leadership encourages policy matters and democracy to rule.

    No wonder Curran and Hipkins and their ilk are pissed off. They might be accountable to the very people who put them into power in the first place.

    Shit! Oh dear! What a horrible thought, being accountable to supporters.

    • lurgee 29.1

      Not sure that simple opposition really works. ‘Party membership power over leadership’ encourages demagougery, big talk and troughing, surely?

      • Colonial Viper 29.1.1


        • lurgee

          Because the party members will be receptive to impossible appeals. Cunliffe and Robertson have said a lot of nie sounding things which they will probably not be able to deliver on. So the most compelling and unprincipled demagouge will often prosper. That’s how John Key wins general elections, after all. Theoretically, caucus will have a clearer idea of what is possible, so will be less less open to such nonsense, as they know it is the Art of the Possible, not about promising everyone a golden speedboat.

          Of course, caucus are open to another sort of flattery and bribery. So I think the current college system is just about right – thank you David Shearer, you visionary – but perhaps the weighting could be tweaked a bit. 30% caucus, 40% membership, 30% unions?

          • Colonial Viper

            All I hear from you is more of the same neoliberal TINA talk from the last 30 years.

            Full employment on a living wage is certainly deliverable. NZ did it for decades.

            Serious economic policy is not “bribery” or “flattery”. It is taking the matters of this nation seriously. Something that Key doesn’t understand, and it seems, neither do you. The first step of which is recognising that this nation has been heading down the wrong track for 30 years.

            So the most compelling and unprincipled demagouge will often prosper.

            What are you talking about? Demagogues? Have you been watching bad WWII movies?

            Cunliffe is a mainstream politician of a mainstream political party. I don’t understand why you are reaching for the extremism and hyperbole of “demagougery”.

            • lurgee

              Full employment on a living wage is certainly deliverable. NZ did it for decades.

              It is desireable. Whether or not it can be turned into policy, because it will be opposed, is another matter. Whether it can be sold to the elctorate yet another. Unfortunately, the DEBT IS BAD message is a lot easier sell than the SPENDING IS GOOD one. Key will exploit that effectively, being a compelling and unprincipled demagouge.

              Serious economic policy is not “bribery” or “flattery”. It is taking the matters of this nation seriously … I don’t understand why you are reaching for the extremism and hyperbole of “demagougery”.

              Did I say it was? I didn’t intend to suggest Cunliffe and Robertson were rabble rousering – though looking back I see the way I phrased things gives that impression. I was responding to the – to my mind – somewhat naive claim that membership holding power over leadership encouraged good policy. It can, but it isn’t a given.

            • lurgee

              All I hear from you is more of the same neoliberal TINA talk from the last 30 years.

              I don’t think that’s a very fair comment. I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything that suggests I support the social disaster of the last 30 years. I’ve pointed out – pragmatically – that here are somethings that are desireable and possible, and somethings that are desireable and not possible. As I’m sure you know, politics is the art of the possible, not of impossible dreams. I would love to see New Zealand go off on a Long March to the Left, but it isn’t going to happen so there is no point in trying to fool myself – or anyone else – that it will.

              • Colonial Viper

                As I said, just more of the same old neoliberal “TINA” There Is No Alternative message. Boring. And a failure.

                • lurgee

                  Was Clark a failure? She didn’t challenge the over-arching economic settlement significantly, but her governments did manage some key reforms and improvements. But proportional representation changes things. You can’t just wait until you get handed a majority and then barge into power and start changing stuff any old how.

                  If you can’t build a consensus you can’t win and can’t govern. You can’t build a consensus with divisive policies expect under extreme circumstances (Thatcher after Winter of Discontent / Falklands, Reagan in 1980) or with a brilliant leader and – all respect to the three contenders – they ain’t that.

                  Consensus means gradualism / Fabian dilution, not violent purging. Oddly, massive reform is more likely under FPTP where you are more likely to win an absolute majority and ram through whatever reforms you see fit. Under MMP, it’s a lot hard to do really good or bad stuff. Key is as close to having domintion as anyone is likely to get under MMP – a very loyal party, ACT and generally loyal minor players – and even he’s being stimied because he doesn’t have the numbers. MMP doesn’t give you them. That’s why it is good. The 80s probably wouldn’t have happen under MMP – Lange only got 43% of the vote. But undoing them is going to be a very long, slow process.

          • Tangee

            Haha I think it should be 1% caucus and the rest between membership and unions as both are more the voting public instead of the elected or listed MP’s

  29. big bruv 30

    I hope you all voted for Cunliffe, I also hope that you made a note of the date and time.

    Next year when Key wins a third term you can all look back at the date and time you voted for Cunnlife and see that as the momnent Labour lost any chance of forming a government.

    • pasupial 30.1


      All NACT need to lose is a single seat and they will be unable to govern – look how their gutting of the RMA has been stalled by Dunne and the Maori party telling them to get lost. Of course it is unlikely that either of those two parties will be back next time – Mana is going to devour the Maori seats, those that don’t go back to Labour.

      What you seem to be saying is that Winston will sell-out his own mana by cutting a deal with a ShonKey government. His price will include the absence of Key; and Collins (or Joyce) will never have the chops to defeat a Cunliffe led Labour.

  30. Peter 31

    Thank you for sharing your insights. The best information about the Labour leadership contest I have read. MSM, for the most part, be ashamed! Patrick Gower here is something for you to aspire to rather than wasting your well paid time inventing contrived headlines.

  31. Linz 32

    Let’s talk about the other ABCs: All Behind Collins, and Anyone But Collins. Much more fun.

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