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Why I electorate vote Cunliffe: op ed

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, August 23rd, 2013 - 137 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, david cunliffe, democratic participation, Economy, employment, grant robertson, jobs, labour, monetary policy, sustainability, telecommunications, welfare - Tags:

I wasn’t going to express my opinion on the upcoming Labour leadership selection process. However, the usual right leaning MSM hacks seem to have been following the current Labour caucus leadership in naming Robertson as the frontrunner.  This, even though Vernon Small’s piece on it, has a Stuff opinion poll on the same page, in which Cunliffe is ahead of Robertson.  So far, Cunliffe is not getting a fair showing in the MSM.

I have voted for the Labour Party in the past, but in recent years they have fulfilled by left wing values enough.  Instead I have party voted Green plus given my electorate vote to Cunliffe.  He has been an excellent electorate MP for New Lynn.   Cunliffe, as a minister in Clark’s government, ensured the New Lynn rail trench was developed – the beginning of the revitalisation of the New Lynn town centre.  This, reported in the NZ Herald in December 2006.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey says a Government decision to spend $120 million sinking a double-tracked railway line through the heart of New Lynn has saved the town from destruction.

Added to that will be an investment of up to $55 million in “cash and kind” by Waitakere City Council, and possible private-sector contributions in exchange for air-rights above reinforced trench walls.

“New Lynn was about to be devastated,” Mr Harvey said yesterday, after local MP David Cunliffe, who is also Associate Minister of Economic Development, confirmed the Government’s agreement to lay a 1km railway trench between Portage Rd on the west bank of the Whau River and a possible extension of Clark St before tracks climb back over Titirangi Rd.

“It would have been chaos with double tracking here and the [level-crossing] barrier arms down,” the mayor said.

“New Lynn had no future. It would have had traffic banked up 5km each way. It would have been the centre of frustration. Now it’s going to be the centre of celebration.”

Of course, the trench was completed under John Key’s watch, and his government has been taking the credit.

Cunliffe has also stood up for the preservation of west Auckland heritage areas. Western Leader, June 2013:

Changes to the Resource Management Act aimed at giving landowners more pruning freedom will threaten Titirangi’s iconic bush, politician Greg Presland says.

[...]

New Lynn MP David Cunliffe says this bill is a “chainsaw massacre” to the Waitakere Ranges.

“There is a conflict between the RMA and the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act. There needs to be clarification to make sure the ranges are protected.”

Mr Cunliffe says the changes are totally unworkable because having to lodge and categorise every tree will create an enormous amount of work for the Auckland Council.

Cunliffe has shown he can work well with his electorate team and maintains their support.  He also is Labour’s best performer in the House and on television: just the tough, well-prepared and clear speaker that is needed to front against John Key in the next election.

Cunliffe has also been particularly successful in developing policies and positions in relation to some of the most crucial issues for all New Zealanders: the internet, communications and digital surveillance.  He has an excellent background in business and communications, and has been Minister of Health, and of Communications and Information Technology, as well as having been Chair of the Commerce Select Committee, and sat on the Finance and Expenditure and Regulations Review select committees.

Cunliffe spoke particularly well last week in the final stages of the damaging GCSB Bill.  He explained how the Bill does not include adequate protections of the privacy of New Zealanders:

Mr Speaker, there are no protections against the mass surveillance of metadata, because they are not included within the definition of quote personal communications set out in the Bill.  Rather, they fall within the definition of information infrastructure in the cybersecurity provisions that include, and I quote all transmissions close quote, including anything which goes across any electronic or wireless network.  That means every email, every text message, every phone call, every website visit of every New Zealander is able to be surveilled firstly in terms of its metadata, without a warrant.  And secondly to establish a basis, and it may already be the case, for full interception without those warranting provisions, at least through the cybersecurity clause.

I don’t agree with all of Cunliffe’s views: he is more to the centre of politics than me.  However, his views are moderate and will be accessible to the majority of New Zealanders.  He has a carefully worked out, and well articulated raft of policy positions, as indicated in his speeches over the last few years.

On the economy [Speech to Laingholm District Citizens Association, Laingholm, 30 September 2012]:

However, the 1980s and ’90s saw the rise of a philosophy developed by the rich, for the rich. It was called Neo-Liberalism.

Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that greed is good, that we’re all locked in an economic life-and-death-struggle with each other. Neo-Liberalism says that compassion is for suckers. Neo-Liberalism says that if the world is going to the dogs, it might as well be the top dogs. Indeed, to borrow from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, not only is greed good, “it’s legal.”

[...]

The amazing thing about the Neo-Liberals is their wilful blindness to how badly their ideas have failed. Not just once, but repeatedly. Neo-Liberal policies directly caused two of the largest financial crashes in history. Did they apologise? No way. Like some mad doctor, when the first dose of medicine didn’t work, they wanted to double the dose.

[...]

Let’s take a quick look at the ‘Scandinavian model.’

And the Scandanavian model is more like the NZ social security state was before the neoliberals began to demolish it, as John Key is continuing to do. Cunliffe takes an economic “growth” approach, when I prefer a steady state economy.  He does focus on environmental sustainability, and the development of NZ’s ICT industries.  He focuses a lot on creating jobs and a fair deal for workers.  I’d also like to see more from him on reconstructing the social security system that Paula Bennett is busy destroying.

However, while I am critical of Cunliffe in some ways, I do think he has the skills, the experience, the ability to enthuse and excite voters, and the policy platforms to play a leading role in the next New Zealand government.

For me Cunliffe is the frontrunner for the Labour leadership at this time.  The MSM Jonolists have their heads in the political bubble in Wellington, and are not looking more carefully, and in depth at what is best for the future of New Zealand and New Zealanders.

 

 

137 comments on “Why I electorate vote Cunliffe: op ed”

  1. James Thrace 1

    Hear hear. Cunliffe is the only one with the chutzpah and gumption to rip John a new Key-Hole.

    Robertson carries the baggage of being gay and muddle new zealand is nowhere near ready for our PM to be gay.

    Perhaps in the next coterie of up and comers in the 20′s will gay PM be an accepted talking point.

    Coming on the back of the gay marriage bill is a step too far.

    And I say that as a homo myself.

    • Tigger 1.1

      +1 as another homo. Also, Grant has zero X factor on camera.

      • Sanctuary 1.1.1

        People keep saying this, but I think being gay would not be a factor if Robertson was a brushed cotton shirt wearing farmer from Pahiatua. It is the symbolism of the total package – the tubby beltway identity politics gay guy – that would do voters heads in. I mean, he might be able to overcome that – but Labour is out of the luxury of time and out of the luxury of having the option to gamble if it is serious about winning next year.

        • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 1.1.1.1

          A fat bespectacled childless gay Wellington insider with a high mumbly voice who has never held a private-sector job in his life.

          Yep, that’s “middle New Zealand” appeal right there.

      • Kevin Welsh 1.1.2

        “Also, Grant has zero X factor on camera.”

        And that is probably the only attribute that he does not have going for him. No matter how intelligent, how well they speak etc, if you do not have the X-Factor in front of Joe Public, then forget about it.

        This is one area where Cunliffe stands head-and-shoulders above Robertson.

        • Mary 1.1.2.1

          “Also, Grant has zero X factor on camera.”

          A bit like what Brian Edwards said about Andrew Little having had a charisma bypass?

      • Murray Olsen 1.1.3

        Interesting that you guys say that. None of the lefty “homos” that I know like Robertson at all. Loathe would be a closer description.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Being homo or not has nothing to do with. Grant Robertson has been pretty much invisible as deputy, compared to Annette King (and I didn’t think so did a great job either) under Goff.

  2. Hannah 2

    And if you speak with people who work in the health sector, like me, Cunliffe was universally loathed when he was Minister- because of his arrogance, which is a feature of his personality which is often cited.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Do you have any illustrations of how he acted arrogantly while minister?

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Cunliffe had a relatively short spell as Minister of Health. He got handed several very difficult and intractable problems that he was asked to sort out very quickly, on the clock. Some people on some sides of those issues were always going to get pissed off about how it was handled.

        He was never going to please everyone and that’s just the way it was at the time.

        • Tracey 2.1.1.1

          People who survive the education or Health portfolios have a tendency to go on to lead.

          I wish people would give examples not only of what they say is Cunliffe’s arrogance but also Robertson’s. Assassination by insinuation.

    • saarbo 2.2

      Ive worked with him…never witnessed any “arrogance”. I have worked with plenty of arrogant people over the years but never saw any of this in Cunliffe.

      Great post KAROL.

    • blue beGoneCravenSpyBull leopard 2.3

      @ Hannah,

      I am interested to know whether Mr Key is ‘universally loathed’ in the health sector now? It seems to me that the current prime minister couldn’t be more arrogant.

      Mr Key appears to do well in the popularity stakes despite such a ‘quality’ or is it because of such a quality?

      Mr Key’s popularity surely isn’t based on the blatant and craven disregard he consistently shows toward democratic principles and processes.

      Times change and with them the demands; the ‘universal loathing’ you refer to was at a time when we had a decent government that adhered a great deal more to basic democratic principles than we have now. It was at a time where our democratic rights weren’t being consistently compromised and outrightly ignored. I would hope that the change in context would have an impact on how Mr Cunliffe’s skills are now viewed.

      From observing Mr Cunliffe on the Parliament channel, it appears he has a good understanding and respect for democratic processes. He also has shown himself to be skilled in cutting opponents’ misinformation and spin out of a given dialogue. So perhaps the combination of this intelligent respect for the area of work that he works in (democratic processes of government), debating skills and ‘arrogance’ [if this is what he has, some may call it 'confidence'] is just what is needed now to rid NZ of the disrespectful, incompetent scourge of a government we currently have.

    • Richard29 2.4

      @Hannah – I also worked in the public service for a while in a department under Cunliffe as minister and heard similar stories. He’s no Kevin Rudd but he certainly can be abrasive and appear arrogant if you disagree with his approach. I don’t think this will necessarily count against him. Cunliffe doesn’t suffer fools and has never let upsetting a few people get in the way of achieving his objectives.
      As Health Minister he sacked an entire democratically elected (but dysfunctional) District Health Board and described them as a “nasty little nest of self-perpetuating provincial elites”. As Telecoms Minister he wiped 20% of the value of the country’s largest listed company when he unbundled the local loop. Both of these actions made him enemies, but they were popular and necessary moves. He is clearly of the ‘break a few eggs to make an omelette’ persuasion.
      The reality is that most kiwi’s – especially in that sought after middle ground – like a bit of mongrel in their politicians. One of the main reasons that Shearer failed was that he was perceived as too equivocal, consultative, inclusive and “nice”. Cunliffe is perceived as bold, decisive, ambitious and perhaps a bit mean – but damn he can give a good speech!
      The reality is that NZers expect their leaders to lead – they don’t expect them to never make mistakes or to always be nice. Helen Clark was not well loved in many quarters and also gained a reputation for arrogance – but she was strong and decisive which made her respected by friend and foe alike. John Key may smile a lot but not because he is “nice”. He’s known to be a gambler and risk taker who likes to call the shots and he’s got a mean streak a mile wide, he is also one of our most popular prime ministers ever whether everybody on the left is willing to admit it or not.
      The nature of Cunliffe and Shearer’s previous leadership bids is instructive. Cunliffe picked Nanaia, not because she had a high public profile, was highly ranked in caucus or was considered a top performer by cabinet or the press gallery, but because she was somebody he has an enormous professional respect for and knew he could work well with her – plus she fit his strategic vision for Labour in terms of political partnership with Maori and with women. By comparison Shearer negotiated his way to the top picking his Finance and Deputy leaders (both white males) based on votes and caucus support – he got the votes to win but he was compromised from day one. Cunliffe as leader is likely to try and shape caucus and his cabinet to meet his goals Labour – it always seemed to me that Shearer was shaped by his caucus and cabinet to meet their goals for Labour.
      So yeah – Cunliffe may not be as ‘likeable’ as Robertson – but given the Machiavellian nature of the Labour party caucus – plus the unenviable task of potentially having to pull together The Greens, Labour and (heaven forbid) Winston Peters into a coalition in 2014 – I think I’d prefer a leader who is feared.

      “This gives rise to an argument: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the opposite. The answer is that one would like to be both, but since it is difficult to combine the two it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to make way. For generally speaking, one can say the following about men: they are ungrateful, inconsistent, feigners and dissimulators, avoiders of danger, eager for gain, and whilst it profits them they are all yours. They will offer you their blood, their property, their life and their offspring when your need for them is remote. But when your needs are pressing, they turn away. The prince who depends entirely on their words perishes when he finds he has not taken any other precautions. This is because friendships purchased with money and not by greatness and nobility of spirit are paid for, but not collected, and when you need them they cannot be used. Men are less worried about harming somebody who makes himself loved than someone who makes himself feared, for love is held by a chain of obligation which, since men are bad, is broken at every opportunity for personal gain. Fear, on the other hand, is maintained by a dread of punishment which will never desert you.”

      — The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

      ***This message is endorsed by Cunliffe for Prince 2013!*** :P

      • Kevin Welsh 2.4.1

        Great comment Richard29.

      • Tracey 2.4.2

        I have been sorry to see one result of Shearer’s leadership being the apparent demise of Nanaia. I hope this can change and is not too late. She made a post here prior to that contest which was very impressive. To me at least.

        • Colonial Viper 2.4.2.1

          Off the scene having a baby right?

          • Tracey 2.4.2.1.1

            yet had she been made deputy leader, would the baby have silenced her?

            • Sanctuary 2.4.2.1.1.1

              I know the Greens have co-leaders, but I think that is a bit naff. You are either the leader or you are not IMHO. But I can’t see any logical reason why Labour can’t insist on having two deputies, one male and one female. It would also allow any future Labour coalition government with the Greens to appoint both the Green co-leaders deputy PM!

        • Richard29 2.4.2.2

          Given the way the coalition maths is looking I would think there is an obvious candidate for Cunliffe’s objective of sharing his leadership with a strong, credible, Maori, female.

          But, the mainstream media seem to make the rather sexist assumption that that Norman is the ‘main’ leader of the Green party and will be given Deputy PM in post election negotiations…

          To my mind the rampant speculation about who gets deputy on a Cunliffe ticket misses the whole point – the Deputy PM in a future Labour Govt will likely be either Metiria or Russel.

          To keep in the Machiavellian theme – I’d quite like to see Cunliffe play the healer/conciliator by giving Deputy to Grant Robertson, Economic Development portfolio to Andrew Little and Health portfolio to Shane Jones and then come post election negotiations in 2014 pull a Game of Thrones Red Wedding axe all three of them in the first cabinet and replace them with Turei, Norman and Hague…

          NB: Keep Parker on in Finance because he is very smart and credible and give Jacinda a challenging ministerial portfolio to test her out as a potential future leadership successor…

      • emergency mike 2.4.3

        Well said Richard.

      • Tracey 2.4.4

        Niccolo makes a good argument for female leaders ;)

    • geoff 2.5

      You should hear what the health sector has to say about Tony ‘Gestapo’ Ryall. Hint, it aint complimentary!

  3. Tigger 3

    Nice, Karol.

    I see Stuff already calling Grant the ‘front runner’. Sigh.

  4. Adrian 4

    For Labour to win elections over National is all about the perceptions of the middle 10% and as competent as Grant Robertson is there are a few things against him and being gay is the least of them. He is overweight ( so am I, so it’s not personal ) he doesn’t look lean and hungry, he’s a bureaucrat and he’s childless so that when David Cuniliffe says ” Look, it’s hard to make ends meet” he’s believeable.
    And he’s an Aucklander, and that’s hard to say for a Mainlander.

    • Tracey 4.1

      However did we get Lange… Charisma trumps looks, particularly weight.

      • NZFemme 4.1.1

        Indeed. In fact, in David Lange’s case, I always felt his size somehow added to his gravatis. His frame seemed to act as the perfect amphitheatre for his oratory skills.

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 4.1.2

        He was up against Muldoon coming off a wage freeze. People would have voted for fucking Heinrich Himmler.

    • Hami Shearlie 4.2

      I heard that Robertson does have children. Wrong man for he job though!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.3

      Its more that National has been working the last two years to run its own message about who ever is the ‘new ‘ labour leader.

      Forget about the luxury of crafting your own storys . National and its media puppets will have a whole book allready written on how to undermine who ever wins.

      I notice Key is in first saying ‘Robertson was undermining’ Shearer

    • peterlepaysan 4.4

      You mean that “middle ten percent” was all that was missing at the last two general elections?

      What about the non voters? Labour does not talk to them or care very much about them.

      Neither do the Nats but they have the money from the business sector.

  5. James Thrace 5

    Troll-op Hannah.

    Probably because moh are full of incompetents that dont like getting told how to be more competent.

    Doubtful that hospital staff would care one way or the other. Its the mandarins that would care more about being called out on their abilities than anything.

    • Hannah 5.1

      Just saying James – that’s the perception, not only in the health sector, and he has to try to change it especially amongst his own colleagues I would think.

      • karol 5.1.1

        Not so in his electorate, Hannah. And, IMO, John Key behaves in a very arrogant manner, yet he still does well in the opinion polls.

      • mickysavage 5.1.2

        So Hannah you are quoting something someone said to someone as if it is gospel truth and sticking to it.

        I have had a lot to do with him since he was an unelected candidate out west. He is determined and decisive. If he is convinced about the correctness of his position he will stick to his view.

        But he can listen and adjust way better than most politicians that I know and he has a sense of humor.

        Rather than repeating stuff other people have said you should find out for yourself and then you will be in a position to say something closer to reality.

  6. Calvin 6

    The perfect team would be Cunliffe as Leader and Robertson as Deputy. (That gets my homo vote too!)

  7. Takere 7

    And so the Labour party self appointed intelligentsia have a myopic view of the NZ voting public … thinking Cunliffe’s the answer? He has no appeal to any of the 880,000 voters that didn’t vote last time. He doesn’t like poor people or beneficiaries, he doesn’t connect with brown people and the union membership is tanking. So all that’s left is to scrap over swing voters between the Nat’s & the Greens & NZF? That’s the stratagem?? You don’t have to be much of an Einstein to figure out that that’s going to fail. Why? Because you’ll have to put up sell-out policy(s) to tease the swingers over and the “books” don’t look like that there is any putea left and it’ll be at the expense of Labours ready to jump? You’ll bleed 1 in 4 I reckon and in a ruined economy like this, Labour/Cunliffe hasn’t anything to offer other than following the same path as the Nat’s minus Act & the Maori party that are on course to self-destruction. The Greens are smiling at this because they can put the boot into Labour for the next 14 months to take advantage of this situation just by being consistent and stable. So it looks like Labours lost the 2014 election already?! Nobody’s going to believe Labour after this leader vote that everything is kapai, it’s just not going to convince voters that Labours stable.
    Gutted as I am, I wanted to see these tory pricks run outa dodge, but it ain’t gunna happen in 2014.

    • Sanctuary 7.1

      What is you plan B then buddy? Or just popped by to have bitch?

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Funny thing is, if all those bad things were going to happen to Labour under Cunliffe, the Right Wing would be cheering Cunliffe on from the tops of their lungs.

        That they are not is very interesting.

      • Takere 7.1.2

        Russell, Hone & Winston. It’s not a choice that you’d make lightly but it’s the only option to get rid of the nat’s, Buddy.

    • karol 7.2

      Takere, I have heard some strong recommendations for Cunliffe by one or two New Lynn Pasifika people who have worked with him.

      • Tracey 7.2.1

        Yes, but Takere has been busy speaking and meeting with the “880,000 voters that didn’t vote last time.”

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          I’m betting that a big chunk of the people that didn’t vote last time don’t even know who Cunliffe is.

          • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1.1

            Absolutely. And when you ask them about Grant Robertson, will those statistics improve?

      • Takere 7.2.2

        Oh thats great too hear, one or two. I heard Cunliffe try to be funny at a union meeting last year. Diss’d a PI in a “joke’, Didn’t go down very well.

    • bad12 7.3

      That’s a bit dense on a number of levels including the ‘style’ of it’s communication, there’s a 2% swing needed within either the Green or Labour Party and this abysmal Slippery National government is history, even the likes of Hooten one of their spin-meisters is willing to admit that,

      i would suggest that 2014 will deliver the Left the numbers through the Labour/Green/ and Mana Party’s,

      Given the swing against the Maori Party in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate they are unlikely to gain any seats in the next Parliament while Hone’s Mana Party has at times been registering 1.5% of support in polling which suggests that there will be at least 2 Mana MP’s in the next Parliament which should just about make a majority,

      NZFirst in the next Parliament??? that i suggest is going to be touch and go but you can bet that the Slippery little Shyster we have as Prime Minister wishes that He had never impugned upon Winston Peters character as it’s looking more likely that to gain a third term Slippery wont be able to do it without Peters…

    • Tracey 7.4

      Who from the Labour caucus do you see fulfilling what you want to see Takere?

  8. bad12 8

    Yes i too have my reservations about Cunliffe’s attitudes to beneficiaries and the Welfare State, but, those reservations are as much relevant to the Labour Caucus as they are to the individuals,

    Whatever my reservations amount to tho, the fact cannot be escaped that David Cunliffe appears to be the crowd favorite to become the leader of Labour,

    i think most will agree that the ‘contest’ will be a Cunliffe V Robertson one, (although if the Stuff Poll is to be given any credit Jacinda Adhern has a good amount of support in the electorate), Andrew Little might enter this contest but i would suggest that doing so will only act as a spoiler in the main contest,

    F**k the Jonolists of the mainstream media, spitting and laughing at their machinations should for all of us be a compulsory sporting activity, their pathetic denigrating comments simply prove to us all that it is not on behalf of democracy they all speak, it is on behalf of the shareholding minority of the population that they use their positions to try an usurp even the internal democratic processes of political Party’s they have no membership of,

    My best pick for Labour leader lies with the majority, although i would appreciate whoever is the eventual winner of this contest to consider it an act of unification to in turn invite the unsuccessful candidate to be Deputy to His leadership,

    PS, Go Jacinda, if there’s any accuracy in the Stuff poll i would suggest a few more years in the trenches will make you ready to pick up the Labour Party leadership from whoever will be the next incumbent…

    • karol 8.1

      Jacinda is a favourite, and I hear that among some people I know. I think she needs a little more experience thought to take on a leadership role.

      • bad12 8.1.1

        Yeah K we agree on that, what i am laughing at is the sneaking homophobic comments creeping into the debate as far as Grant Robertson is concerned,

        Most of this denigration starts with the ‘i am a homo but’, in much the same vein as the racists used ‘some of my best friends are Maori but’ in previous years,

        How petty in attempting to denigrate someone can it be to discount their abilities based upon their sexuality, can people stoop any lower,

        S**t i am definitely not a homo and none of my friends are either, while i hardly oppose gay marriage the idea hardly fills me with political passion and in fact the debate made me as an old hetero cringe,

        Having said that, and despite the Jaffa’s denigration of Him as some form of machiavelian figure obsessed with Wellington’s politics along with the knuckle-scrapers homo slur i think Grant Robinson would make an able deputy to David Cunliffe should the latter triumph in the coming leadership contest,

        My wish for Labour is that the winner of this contest immediately offer to the unsuccesful candidate the deputy position…

        • Tracey 8.1.1.1

          Sadly Damien O’Connor is not alone amongst Labour voters and some others in belittling gays as decision-makers in the Labour Party. In any event he is young, plenty of time to learn the ropes.

        • Hami Shearlie 8.1.1.2

          Who’s Grant Robinson?

        • weka 8.1.1.3

          “How petty in attempting to denigrate someone can it be to discount their abilities based upon their sexuality, can people stoop any lower,”

          That’s not what is being said. What is being said is that a gay man won’t get as many votes. Nothing to do with abilities or even sexuality, and everything to do with the discomfit that some sections of the NZ population still feel around homosexuality. Apparently.

          Myself, I think it’s not Robertson’s sexuality that will put some voters off, it’s the fact that he doesn’t stand out as a leader.

          • karol 8.1.1.3.1

            Myself, I think it’s not Robertson’s sexuality that will put some voters off, it’s the fact that he doesn’t stand out as a leader

            Yep. Lesbian here – sexuality has nothing to do with my leadership preference. Cunliffe is the better candidate for the reasons I gave in my post.

            • tinfoilhat 8.1.1.3.1.1

              My grandson (12) was watching the news with me last night when the issue of Robertson’s sexuality was raised by the journalist – he was dumbfounded that it would be an issue – I was immensely proud of him.

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 8.1.1.3.2

            This is what someone who doesn’t stand out as a leader looks and sounds like.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GU4h6aQTbDk#t=26

            • felix 8.1.1.3.2.1

              What a pleasure to see Lockwood in the chair.

              Saw Helen Clark speaking the other day, and it’s impossible not to compare her to the embarrassing drunken illiterate oaf of a PM we have now.

              How far down we have slid.

            • Murray Olsen 8.1.1.3.2.2

              You should put a warning that there is a scene including Roger Douglas in that video. I feel sicker than normal :-(

              • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                You mean 21-year Labour MP and Cabinet Minister in two Labour Governments Sir Roger Douglas, yeah…?

          • felix 8.1.1.3.3

            “Myself, I think it’s not Robertson’s sexuality that will put some voters off, it’s the fact that he doesn’t stand out as a leader.”

            This.

            He’s a shrewd operator no doubt, and a smart cookie, and by all accounts not a bad bloke. But if there’s something about him that appeals to anyone outside of the Aro Valley I’m yet to witness it.

  9. blue beGoneCravenSpyBull leopard 9

    Thanks Karol, for supplying a counter to the propaganda our sorry media sources continue to deem necessary

    I would hope that the process of choosing a new leader will be based on **skills**, not sexuality, weight, colour nor what the lamestream media propagandists are saying*.

    It appears to me that Mr Cunliffe has the experience and skills required for the job of ousting this appalling government.

    If there is someone with better skills, and they get voted in as leader, well and good.

    I sincerely hope that the Labour caucus, members and unions choose the very best person for the job.

    …once that is done I sincerely hope that all petty infighting is dropped and replaced with a strong, focussed gameplan of prioritising the interests of NZers and NZ democracy. This would be the winning thing to do.

    *The only regard I would place on lamestream opinion would be to note who they are promoting and take that as an indication who not to vote for.

  10. Phaedrus 10

    Ultimately there is only one test for the new leader, whoever it is: he or she must be able to handle and control John Key, or else the election may slip away. Key’s manipulation of Campbell Live, even though he was spinning lies and misdirections as fast as he could go, shows that the new leader must be able to best him in debates, either in parliament or in next year’s election campaign. Anything else is secondary, although in an ideal world the leader will both handle Key, and have true Labour principles and beliefs.

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    Karol, thanks for writing this up. Great to hear from the perspective of a true Leftie on New Lynn.

  12. tc 12

    It has to be Cunliffe if Labour want to be a major player in the next gov’t.

    They may win with a lesser candidate but need to grab back the lost party votes and motivate the non voters toward ticking their box and DC provides that inspiration.

    DC spearheading a focused caucus is a NACT nightmare watch them and their MSM mates undermine that possibility, it will get nasty especially from granny and mediawonks.

    Robertson/King/Goff/Hipkins/Jones/Fafoi all a collective fail and represent what most people think about pollys…welly centric troughers in it for themselves.

  13. Pete 13

    This speech is also worthwhile

    • BLiP 13.1

      Here’s another good speech and, I suggest, further reason why Cunliffe is best suited for the job ahead. In that speech, Cunliffe meticulously dismantles and exposes National Ltd™’s deliberate financial malfeasance carried out to obscure the top-down mendacity employed to deliver a buget “surplus”. As Cunliffe points out, National Ltd™ is relying on the presentation of this chimeric “surplus” to hoist it into power for another three years. Cunliffe is armed with the oratory skills, streak of mongrel, and credibility in financial matters to strip bare much of that spread-sheet “funny money rubber numbers” fantasy upon which National Ltd™’s ashpurashuns are based.

      (Hat Tip: Karol – http://thestandard.org.nz/your-country-needs-you/)

  14. Reactionnaire 14

    Cunliffe seems like the only option.

    He has an “X-factor” and that is being the consummate political communicator.

    His biggest problem is his transparent egotism and his lack of sincerity at times. He is a policy expert with great command of the arguments involved, but when he “turns it on” to be chummy with the TV interviewers or to appeal to working class voters… he just comes across as false.

    The public can sniff this “professional politician mask” a mile away. They hate it, hence the novice and supposed “non-politicians” like Key and Shearer getting the nod. It is sort of the reverse Phil Goff problem: when Phil went on camera, he unwittingly became robotic-sounding and sort of angry. Cunliffe goes on camera and wittingly attempts to become all things to all people, tries to project a persona for his target audience of the day, rather than just being himself. This ambitious “man with a 1000 masks” syndrome can be an instant turnoff for voters. Hopefully he will drop it, it shouldn’t be that hard, and speak from the heart.

    Everything else, he has in spades. A dose of Shearer-type humility and sincerity would give him a teflon-coated persona. Oh, and that beard… ;-)

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      “Transparent egotism”???

      You’re confusing Cunliffe with John Key.

      • Reactionnaire 14.1.1

        Unfortunately not. You’re right though, they have a bit of that in common. An obviously large ego isn’t that uncommon for a political leader.

        When i was working in the beehive before the 05 election, Cunliffe had already earned a reputation for this as well as his naked personal ambition… perhaps if he does finally fulfil this long-held dream by becoming the leader, he will tone it down?

        It would help him with his colleagues and his public image. And avoid the K Rudd type problems that accompany the more extreme cases of this ego-syndrome.

        • blue BeGone Craven Spy Bull leopard 14.1.1.1

          @ Reactionnaire,

          It is interesting reading your (and the other) personal experiences of these personalities, thanks.

          I don’t understand, however, what you say here: “His biggest problem is his transparent egotism and his lack of sincerity at times.”

          It appears to me that we have a PM currently with the same quality only he lacks sincerity at all times, and this doesn’t appear to been detrimental for him; being a leader for 2 terms.

          Have you read Richard29′s comment? (at 2.4 above). How would you respond to his views?

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.2

          Sorry mate despite your wording, ambition is actually a positive and a must have in a senior politician. The thing with Cunliffe is that he matches it with capability, experience, and the ability to get along with ordinary New Zealanders.

          “Ego syndrome”? You’re nuts. Whoever you are talking about its your biased perception of a younger gung-ho politician from 10 years ago.

          • Reactionnaire 14.1.1.2.1

            No need to get defensive there buddy.

            If you read carefully you’ll see that i’m speaking of it as a problem in the context of his live TV image. And if you’re worried about the leadership thing, as i’ve said, imho he is the only option. I’m offering constructive criticism here: everyone has weaknesses and this is his.

            Even in recent televised interviews (well, the ones he got before he got silenced by the party after the failed leadership bid), at times, he is clearly trying to charm and forcing it, comes across as insincere (and patronising when he tries to sound more “working class man” than he is). Can be a big voter turnoff. Must be dealt with. Simple sincerity the winning remedy.

            I could go into all the positives Cunliffe offers – capability, intellect, a reasonably clear vision of a post-neoliberal NZ – but that’s not my point here.

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.2.1.1

              Sorry mate your spiel about insincerity and forced charm is all about your one person perception, unless you claim to be a media trained professional offering a full critique. Not that they weren’t once present, but I think Cunliffe has successfully worked those issues out over the last 2-3 years.

              • Reactionnaire

                Your flat denial without argument isn’t exactly convincing! Particularly when just about every journalist who has ever commented on the man makes some reference to his ego, and …

                …when Cunliffe himself admits that it is an ‘ongoing challenge’ for him to make ‘sure that it is clear in my head that it’s not about me’ (2012).

                http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/politics/reinventing-david-cunliffe/

                If I were running a few focus groups right now i could offer an approximate answer, but i’m not. And in the end this is the standard stuff of modern politics: difficultly quantifiable or qualifiable perceptions based on gut-feelings and prejudice. On these factors the next labour party leader will stand or fall (or will stand as National falls!).

                • Colonial Viper

                  Labour under Cunliffe is going to tell the focus groups “thanks, but its time to head home”.

                  Your flat denial without argument isn’t exactly convincing!

                  Not interested in convincing you. Just in nailing your biased out of date personal assertions.

                  • Reactionnaire

                    What a brilliant strategy!

                    I’m sure the Hon. Cunliffe is so concerned about the Colon Viper’s personal prejudices that he will ignore the swing voters and lose the election…

                    Maybe you should be coaching him – “whatever you do don’t explain or justify anything, don’t convince anyone, just tell people they’re wrong and you’re right!”

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 14.2.1

        doublepost for some reason

      • blue beGone Craven Spy Bull leopard 14.2.2

        lolz you sure you got the correct shot there SHG?

        I would have thought it was what all Nat party members look like at the thought of Cunliffe becoming leader of NZLP.

    • Jenny 14.3

      I have met David Cunliffe and strangely, on a personal level have found him to be self effacing modest and likeable. Nowhere near the hard arsed mongrel he needs to be.

      Winston Churchill on once being accused of being an egotist. Said of course I am. I couldn’t have achieved all I that I have if I wasn’t.

      Cunliffe needs to be less like himself and more like Churchill if he is to make the changes necessary for this country to become a world leader in the existential war for human civilisation against climate change.

      [karol: I thought you were on a 6 week ban, as stated here.. Sending the rest of your comments made this morning to moderation]

  15. Sable 15

    Cunliffe’s problem is Cunliffe. He’s clever but his ego like Keys could well be his undoing in a leadership role. I don’t see a bright future for Labour with him at the helm.

    • Tracey 15.1

      Who would you prefer given they must be egoless?

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        And be able to walk on water…

      • Sable 15.1.2

        Since you ask if I had my way Annette King. Polite, down to earth but not a push over either.

        Speaking for myself I’m tired of the bad manners, petty lies, the childishness and conceit we find in politicians today. If you don’t have a big ego and are aggressive they are no good.

        I’m not sure of any other business would want to hire people as described above so why should they run our country? There’s a lot to be said for calm, professional and business-like.

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.2.1

          You think Annette King could beat Key campaigning next year and in the TV debates???

          • lurgee 15.1.2.1.1

            I think Key would look very bad if he tried his usual bully boy tactics against a woman of King’s ‘experience’. In the 70s in Britain, Thatcher wanted to debate Jim Callaghan, but was advised not to as laying into ‘Uncle Jim’ would alienate people. King enjoys some of the same affection as she’s been around forever; and (importantly for the real contenders) she won’t be planning on sticking around much longer.

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.2.1.1.1

              I think Key would look very bad if he tried his usual bully boy tactics against a woman of King’s ‘experience’.

              Yet Key had no problem getting rid of Helen Clark, did he.

        • JK 15.1.2.2

          You gotta be joking, Sable. King is one of the old Rogernomes, and what’s more she’s looking old and tired. Time for her to retire …

  16. Tanz 16

    Key’s ego has worked for him, he manages to keep it kind of hidden. Lately though, it has been more apparent, and he does act like a brat when he doesn’t get his way.
    Why can’t Jacinda or Street be leader? They’d both be good, especially the latter. Very much like Clark.
    Cunliffe too, could take shiny Key out.

    • Winston Smith 16.1

      Why can’t Jacinda or Street be leader?

      - Because Labour want to win the next election?

    • karol 16.2

      Jacinda can deliver some very good speeches. But she can misfire at times. She’s not as good on her feet responding to challenges as the likes of Cunliffe – just lacks the experience, and Key will exploit that inexperience in the election contest.

      • Ant 16.2.1

        Yeah maybe in another 2 terms after she has ministerial experience. Defending a welfare/health portfolio in the house against opposition shadow ministers should get her prepped in no time. The suggestion she has the chops for it right now is super naive though, she needs to be able to flip Kaye in a Marginal electorate before even thinking about taking votes from John Key.

    • Murray Olsen 16.3

      I get the impression that Jacinda is a bit green and lets herself be influenced far too much by Mallard. She also seems to have real problems making inroads against Bennett, who is certainly not a small target.

      • Colonial Viper 16.3.1

        Insular, has lived and breathed the Wellington beltway bubble for far too long, no career perspective based in a larger broader NZ. Yet another long term Labour activist/staffer promoted to caucus.

      • xtasy 16.3.2

        Ardern has disappointed me immensely, Murray, and I do not take lightly, to have some “spokesperson” being served HEAPS of proved information on the silver platter, and NOT bother to use it. She is either totally dishonest or totally useless. She is NOT in the right place in the right party, that is my view, sorry to disappoint those who choose to disagree.

  17. Not a PS Staffer 17

    I’ve worked with Cunliffe in a couple of his roles.

    I’ve seen a careful business like approach to leading people to get things done. He is compassionate to a fault.

    Clayton Cosgrave and Grant Robertson have done an excellent job in slandering Cunliffe.

    The Media has done their ussual lazy job in just repearting mush.

  18. Tanz 18

    and Labour would win more easily with a woman leader, it would be a good contrast against JK.

    • karol 18.1

      I would like to see another woman PM – but she needs to be ready for the job – electing her just because she’s a woman is not the way to go. I hope Ardern and Louisa Wall are in the top team come the Labour leadership selection.

      • Tanz 18.1.1

        I agree Karol, it’s got to be the right one, for the right reasons Why not Street? She probably has what it takes.

        • karol 18.1.1.1

          Street is solid, but not anywhere near exceptional as a politician.

          I actually would prefer Wall as deputy over Ardern and Robertson – but if Cunliffe was leader that’d be too Auckland-centric, I guess. I find Wall more down-to-earth and sincere than Ardern. And Wall is in a relatively low income, South Auckland area – traditionally grass roots Labour.

        • JK 18.1.1.2

          Street ? Has what it takes, Tanz ? Does she ….. she’s been fairly ineffectual as an Opposition spokesperson. Not got the necessary charisma – what’s more, she was one of the original Shearer accolates – which doesn’t say much for her political nous.

    • Sanctuary 18.2

      Helen Kelly isn’t yet an MP… YET being the operative word.

      My impression at the moment is she is far more likely to be capable of leading Labour than Jacinda.

      I also saw Deborah Russell was saying she might be interested in politics. She is formidably smart and articulate.

  19. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 19

    Any Leader who accepts Robertson as Deputy is by definition so clueless as to deserve the knife when it comes.

    • Boadicea 19.1

      Fair comment on Grant Robertson. Robertson’s brand is toxic after his gaming of Shearer. No one will trust him..

      There is so much to be done and Cunliffe has the mental grunt to crack into it. We and he does not need a selfish right winger in such a pivotal role.
      The Caucus appoints the deputy. They should select on values and leadership capability.

      While the MP for Wellington Central has shown afministrative skills inside the Parliamentary campus they have not extended into his small constituency. Robertson has never shown any leftish values and has not shown any leadership skills.

  20. lurgee 20

    You’d have to be stupid to take Robertson over Cunliffe. But I’m still not sure he’ll go for it this time. He might sit it out, with a canny eye on 2014.

  21. Mike S 21

    I’d say many many people have never even heard of Grant Robertson.

    David Cunliffe, in my opinion, is far and away the most capable Labour politician of defeating Key one on one. The thing that impresses me with Cunliffe is that he always ensures he knows his stuff backwards. Every time I have seen him interviewed on TV, no matter what the (excuse for) MSM journalists have thrown at him, he always has a confident, well thought out and easy to understand reply.

    I think some people might mistake his confidence for arrogance. Let’s face it, John Key is arrogant, Cunliffe is nowhere near Key in this regard, he is just very confident in his data and knowledge of the subject he is talking on.

    If the Caucus chooses Robertson over Cunliffe, and the members and unions votes are not enough to elect Cunliffe as leader, I will never vote Labour again. No offence to Grant Robertson, I think he should stay as Cunliffe’s deputy, he just isn’t the person to take it to Key in my opinion.

    • Foreign Waka 21.1

      I do agree that Mr Cunliffe is actually the last hope for Labour. If he cannot get the leadership he should establish a new labour party. I don’t even think that Robertson should stay as deputy after reading some comments that he has undermined Mr Shearer. A case like Brutus to Nero?

      • Populuxe1 21.1.1

        Christ, I hope you mean the two crocodiles from The Rescuers, because that’s the only time Brutus and Nero were ever in proximity:
        Brutus 85-42 BC
        Nero 37-68 BC

        Perchance you mean Julius Caeser and not Nero?

  22. Russell 22

    Cunliffe was the man that the West Auckland Licensing Trusts turned to when the 2003 Gambling Legislation threatened “The Trusts” liquor monopoly in West Auckland.
    For years those licensing trusts and its entourage of 17 well paid elected members have duped the public into thinking that all those community grants were from the profits of their well managed liquor monopoly when in fact it was the proceeds of pokies and gambling that paid for Lopdell House, Olympic park and anything else that gave the liquor business and those low grade local politicians a profile. Cunliffe sucessfully got the law changed that protected that monopoly while Westies have no price and convenience of purchasing liquor in his electorate.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      you want cheaper, more available liquor for West Auckland kids?

      What are you, a supermarket owner?

    • karol 22.2

      Russell, do you have sources for those claims?

      As CV indicates, I’m not interested in cheap liquor, but I would like to know about the gambling and pokie claims.

      • Colonial Viper 22.2.1

        Given that his electorate returned Cunliffe with an even bigger majority, I’d say that people (other than supermarket owners) are just fine with the situation.

        • karol 22.2.1.1

          Well, I don’t drink alcohol, and I am not keen on cheap alcohol being used as a loss-leader by supermarkets, so that I subsidise those who do drink. However, I have not heard complaints about alcohol costs by people I know who do drink booze.

          Lopdell House and Olympic Park provide community goods, so I’m glad gambling profits went there instead of being siphoned off into some private trusts.

  23. Russell 23

    Do an OIA request on the DIA and ask for investigation reports into the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts and you will read what was going on and how licensing trusts were cashing in from the proceeds of pokies and not the liquor business they are there to run. All that money for semi professional sports sponsorship sure as hell was not coming from their liquor profits. Why should the liquor industry in any shape or form be able to cash in off the back of pokies it doesn’t own or run and why should the elected members of Licensing trusts (most of whom are labour supporters) enhance their own political profiles off the back of gambling.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      Sucks having community democracies in control of gambling instead of, say, a corporate like SkyCity eh?

  24. AmaKiwi 24

    During the last election, there was a candidates meeting in Titirangi. All parties were there except National (Labour, Greens, Conservatives, and some other minor parties). Cunliffe was one of the last speakers, meaning the audience was getting bored.

    Cunliffe’s turn to speak. In 3 minutes he ripped National to pieces. The entire audience was on their feet cheering, including the Conservatives.

    I don’t give a damn what reservations people have. If we lose the next election this country is neo-liberal dog tucker. We MUST win.

    Cunliffe can win.

  25. Russell 25

    The west has an organisation loaded with yet another layer of politicians who employ a chief executive and many other staff to run a liquor monopoly that can’t or won’t deliver any of its profits back to the community. Instead they blatantly mislead the West Auckland community as to the source of the grants for commercial advantage. Really no better than Sky City in that regard and we saw how Labour were all over that deal. Or is it because they prefer the so accessible pokie bars pastered around our neighbourhoods and saw sky city as a commercial threat to their own gambling business!!

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      Seems like a good and politically effective narrative. Get some candidates together and run with it to get some change.

  26. xtasy 26

    While I am NOT, and I state this once again, a Cunliffe fan, I think and feel he is the best bet, the best potential leader for the Labour Party now. He is articulate, educated, smart, can talk to media, is a proven minister who can get things done, he is HATED by National, ALL of that make him the BEST candidate to stand for Labour as leader and challenger of John Hollow Key.

    Only overly sentimental, deluded, misguided and irritated Labourites will not get it, it is totally proved and evident now, that only Cunliffe can deal to Key and will lead to the game changer. As much as Robertson has his qualtities, he now has to step back, take a deep sigh and let Cunliffe take the leadership. We are in for a resolute change, and this is best think that could have happened.

    Good luck David and others, we are right behind you.

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