Here’s my 2c on the Labour leadership, for what it’s worth.
Robertson, Mahuta, Shearer and Cunliffe are all, for different reasons, strong candidates. It’s reassuring to see the depth of skill, talent, and passion in the party. I thank them all for putting themselves forward, and I wish them all well. Whichever combination ends up with the difficult job of leadership, they will have my full support.
Shearer’s strength is clearly his compelling back story. He’s a good bloke. But he isn’t debate / media ready. His slight awkwardness (reminiscent in some ways of early Brash) could be a killer to his leadership. Or (and recall Brash’s near success in 2005) it could be seen by the public as evidence that he is genuine, honest, not “just another politician”. Shearer is a risk, and I honestly don’t know which way his leadership would go.
Cunliffe’s strength is clearly his polish and his command of detail. He’s very very sharp (reminiscent in some ways of Cullen), he could go toe to toe in debate with any Nat and win. But rumours of his unpopularity in caucus are a worry. Could he unite and motivate them? His obvious skills will be wasted if he can’t bring everyone in behind him. Cunliffe is a risk, and I honestly don’t know which way his leadership would go.
In the end it comes down to two questions. Are the public looking for a good bloke, or are they looking for a compelling politician? Which of the two can unite, motivate, and lead, the caucus and the wider party?
For the deputy role again both candidates have real strengths.
So I, as usual, have confused myself into indecision. But from keeping an eye on comments here on The Standard I note a clear and strong preference for Cunliffe / Mahuta. They seem to be the choice of activists and members, which I think caucus ignores at its peril.