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A stronger mandate for the Labour leader?

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, November 24th, 2012 - 198 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour, leadership - Tags: ,

Thanks to the initiative of Moira Coatsworth and others after the 2011 defeat, we now have experience of an open leadership contest giving us a sense of voice and engagement, and something positive to focus on after a difficult year.

Thanks to the robustness of the party’s constitutional process over the last year, we now have the democratic machinery in place to make that kind of contest a regular, strong feature of Labour party processes.

We needed it. We have it. And now, I think, is the time we need to use it.

I think the only way to put the events since the weekend to rest, to start to heal the hurts and to give us a leader with a strong, uniting and unchallengeable mandate would be for David Shearer to act now, and bravely take his leadership into the new process. There he will have it challenged, endorsed, and cemented, or if he doesnt succeed, at least applauded for its integrity and honesty.

I want to see a proper leadership contest, not one that is broken or manipulated before it starts.

I would like to see all the real contenders throw their hats in the ring, and may the best person win: Grant Robertson, David Parker, Jacinda Ardern, David Cunliffe, Andrew Little. I suspect the winner may surprise some people, just as David Shearer’s speech surprised some on Sunday: but they would have a clear mandate and undisputable leadership rights.

The alternative David Shearer and the rest of us face is a leader not at all with no mandate, but with a weak mandate, based on two flawed processes to date:

1. the initial, embryonic leadership process, where David Shearer was supported by a coalition who were concerned among other things that Grant Robertson wasn’t ready yet (I thought he was, and certainly is now), where David Parker withdrew early and we didn’t see his strengths in full contest, and where caucus were widely seen as voting against the will of the party; and

2. the latest awful episode, designed and executed explicitly to pre-empt a public spill and democratic process in February, by a threatened and angry 2/3 of caucus whipped up by a media beatup, smarting a little from losing independent power, and not reining in some deep and narrow personal antipathies.

David Shearer and our Labour leadership need to move well beyond this. So too do the people who David Shearer is acknowledging today in his mailout have been distressed in the process. The people, as I observe, from New Lynn and many other places who are hurt, angry, dismayed, who dont see the justice in the outcome, and are now finding it mighty hard to engage in anything Labour.

David Cunliffe deserves a chance to present his goods to the party and colleges: and so do the others. The party and colleges deserve to be able to call up exceptional talents like Robertson, Parker, Ardern, Little, Cunliffe.

The alternative is a wound of hurt and injustice that doesn’t heal; the prospect of a repeat of the last election cycle, where we were locked into a leader who struggled for support on several fronts, and felt trapped in a horrible countdown to a losing election; or, should we sneak across the line with Winston and the Greens and Maori and Mana on board, and low 30%s of the vote, a weak and unstable coalition that would not give us 6 years of government: or many more MPs and cabinet posts.

Maybe, though, this is all too hard, and all we can and should do is try to forget, and grind it out. Maybe I am foolish and undisciplined and doing damage to even say we should lift the heavy lid that’s been put things, now, or ever.

Or maybe things are just better, out in the open, and leaving the lid on wont heal anything?

My biggest fears relate to the latter- leaving the lid on and not healing anything- most.

This has been a significant episode: the most so for twenty, twenty five years. At some point, if we are to get past this, we will need to come back and talk about this. We do it now, we get past it. We wait: does it come back and get us?

I would say this.

Things have changed: as of now, the NZLP is a more democratic organisation. Silence and mere submission, leaving the knowing to others, is not how we want to do things now.

I believe that we, the New Zealand Labour Party, ultimately have nothing to fear from a democratic, open process around leadership, policy and more. Ultimately, the caucus too will only gain from this.

We have two years until the next election. We could do it now, or in February. For David Shearer, it’s better done from a position of power. But I think we should do it now.

Now is the time we need unity. Now is the time for healing wounds and trauma, before they fester. Now is the time to put the recent events firmly into the past. Now is the time to get on with being the next Labour government in waiting.

Labour members, we need to able to unite behind our leader, not because you should or silently must, but because she or he has an unchallengeable mandate.

David Shearer, you need a mandate from this new organisation, not a prop-up from the shards of the old one.

Give us this chance to really unite behind you, or your successor, and give you the backing you surely will have earned.

198 comments on “A stronger mandate for the Labour leader?”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    A very good and reasonable article, thanks. Somehow, I doubt that Shearer will rise to the challenge.
    Consequently, as you suggest, wounds are likely to fester.

  2. Shearer refers to those at the conference as ‘followers’ he should have said ‘members’
    when being interviewed on the nation this morning.
    He should have known it was a ‘members’ conference.

  3. Matthew Hooton 3

    As I understand it, Labour’s new rules are that if 40% + 1 of the caucus want a party-wide vote in February, then a party-wide (including unions) vote there shall be. So, all anyone has to do is roll up with 40% + 1 of the caucus and you, guest poster, will have what you wish for. But it is entirely consistent with the rules for the incumbent leader, having 60% or more of the caucus, to just carry on. He or she doesn’t have to do anything, no matter how many guest posters and other contributors call for him or her to do so. This isn’t undemocratic, anymore than a prime minister, down in the polls, saying they won’t have a snap election until they lose a confidence vote in parliament. It’s for the brilliant, charismatic Mr Cunliffe, with all these transformational policy ideas that he apparently could communicate, but hasn’t got round to doing so, to get the votes he needs to trigger the vote. Why can’t he get the votes?

    PS. Also, you say, “David Cunliffe deserves a chance to present his goods to the party and colleges.” Why? The way you get to “deserve” this chance is to get 40% of your colleagues to agree with you. Those are the rules. Why shouldn’t they apply to Cunliffe? How come he needs someone else (Shearer) to make it happen for him?

    • Craig Glen Eden 3.1

      Who said Cunliffe cant get 40% +1 Mathew have you been interviewing you mirror again or are you still getting snippets from Mallard and Co?

      Mathew really really wants Shearer in charge Why?

      • Matthew Hooton 3.1.1

        Well, if he can get the 40% +1 he should hurry up and do so. He has two months. That would do more to create the leadership contest you seem to want than guest posters (this one really is anonymous) on the Standard.

        I don’t really really want Shearer in charge. But I am finding the current Team Cunliffe approach to be a bit “I want to be leader, its not fair, boo hoo.” Just get the numbers or shut up.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          What “Team Cunliffe”? Are you still spinning the media line that there was an imminent leadership challenge, coup or leadership vote being launched at Conference? Fabricated nonsense.

          • Matthew Hooton 3.1.1.1.1

            It’s not spin. There was an attempted leadership challenge. Team Cunliffe has talked about it privately for most of the year. His supporters were crowing about it last Friday night. And it failed. And I am talking about it in the media because its true: see http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/coup-that-failed-ck-132711 The Standard even gets a mention.
            Claire Trevett also had quite a good account of it all yesterday: see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10849147 Although I suppose she’s just part of the neoliberal conspiracy too.

            • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Seeing enemies in shadows, Matthew?

              Remarkable that all the leaks and comments to journos come from everywhere but a “team Cunliffe”.

              Strong leaders let the strong members of their team shine. Shall we see if Shearer is the strong leader in Parliament as he was in war zones around the world? Or perhaps more like the controlling dictators he fought against in the UN?

            • Chalupa Batman 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Burn

            • geoff 3.1.1.1.1.3

              Matthew, just because a couple of muppets like you decide it suits their purposes to stitch together a bullshit story doesn’t make it true.

              I could understand how someone such as yourself who lives inside a strange media bubble probably comes to believe that what is presented in the mainstream media is reality but actually that’s not the case.

              Here’s something you said in the above comment:

              “Team Cunliffe has talked about it privately for most of the year.”

              So straight off the bat this sounds like a contradictory statement. You’re saying a group of people has been privately talking about something.
              If they’ve been privately talking about then how do you know that they’ve been talking about it??
              Have you been taping these private conversations? Are you good friends with Bradley Ambrose perhaps?
              Perhaps you are implying you are part of ‘Team Cunliffe’?

              The only conclusion I am leaning towards is that you’re an idiot.

              • Matthew Hooton

                There is nothing contradictory – privately, as in off the record.

                • geoff

                  Why would Cunliffe conspirators tell you they were planning a coup!?!?
                  Or is this 2nd or 3rd hand rumour that you’ve heard ‘off the record’?
                  Is political scuttlebutt your measure of evidence?

                  So many questions and, of course, no real answers from you. You’re just pushing your barrow along.
                  As your hero would say, ‘Show me the Money!’

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I personally didn’t see time for a Leadership Vote set aside in the Conference Agenda, or in fact a meeting time where all of caucus could have been present in Auckland.

                    Pretty hard to have a surprise Leadership vote without these ingredients.

                    Or maybe Hooten’s just blowing more ABC smoke.

                  • quartz

                    My insiders tell me that Matthews insiders are the product of his personality disorder. The inside word is they’re planning a coup on his brain as we speak and that the first sign will be Matthew acting as if he’s Shane Jones.

                    I’ve already got $50 on ipredict for “Matthew Hooton gets caught trying to spend taxpayer’s money on porno flicks before March 2013”.

                • Tim

                  See that’s where you spin doctors often get it so wrong! I heard “off-the-record” (from someone I ‘really’ really really trust – no really – I really really really really really trust them). No seriously! I really really really really do!’
                  You get fed lines of shit that fit an agenda and an ideology, and you run with it. Line-up! (behind Paddy Gower). Easy to do I know when you’re working in an environment that’s fundamentally dishonest, but make an effort will ya!

                  Oh, and by the way – try not to come across as such a bitch on Nine-to-Noon at times. It’s an embarrassment to listen sometimes, and Catholic Guuuuurl can hardly cope.

                  The fact that the likes of you have adopted the term “beltway” pretty much says it all.
                  Get over yourselves ffs!. Josie Pagani is having to – why not you?

            • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.1.1.1.4

              In that members don’t like David Shearer as leader, yes there was a leadership challenge.

              In that David Cunliffe tried to execute a coup? I doubt it, as you have not met your burden of proof. Nobody cares who’s talking about it, show us the evidence.

              One of Chris Trotter’s rare good pieces recently pointed out that if Cunliffe really was trying to play for the leadership now, (rather than keeping his options open for later) he could easily have pledged his support to Shearer. He could even have simply come out and said he’d be voting for himself if he was confident he had the numbers. The one thing he would not do, from a tactical standpoint, is refuse to disclose his vote.

              • newsense

                New jury-less trials only require Steven Joyce to have said so for a conviction let alone any evidence to have been presented or for it to be correct

            • Blue 3.1.1.1.1.5

              When challenged for some real evidence that there was a ‘coup’ all you and your fellow journos can come up with is ‘well he looked smug as to me, so it was deffo a coup.’

              Do you have anything else? I mean, besides your pathetic insistence that if David Cunliffe had said ‘I will pledge my firstborn son to my lord and master, may he reign forever’ that that would have shut you lot up?

              I feel a Tui billboard coming on. If Cunliffe had sworn loyalty to his dying day you and your fellows would just have claimed that he was lying and biding his time.

              From the moment that remit passed there was nothing you lot wouldn’t do to say there was a coup underway and you know it.

              • Matthew Hooton

                It had nothing to do with any remit.

                I have talked about a leadership challenge at the conference on RNZ and RadioLIVE for many months, because I was told by people associated with David Cunliffe that that was the plan.

                I wrote about it prior to the conference in my Friday NBR column (see http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/one-strangest-coups-nzs-political-history-underway-mh-132385 ) the deadline for which was first thing Thursday morning, before the conference.

                Matt McCarten tells me (as he said on RadioLIVE this Thursday) that people associated with Cunliffe were telling him on Friday night, the first day of the conference, that the challenge was going to plan.

                You may find this difficult to accept but the reason journalists and columnists reported that a leadership challenge would be launched to coincide with the conference is because people associated with David Cunliffe had told them so.

                Then, of course, some of the authors here, and others elsewhere such as Trotter, Misa, Edwards, reinforced that by intensifying their attacks on Shearer in the lead up to the conference. Cunliffe, when asked in front of TV cameras, then failed to say he would support the leader into the next election.

                That is how a leadership challenge plays out, I’m afraid, and it is pathetic that Team Cunliffe seems to think that the whole debacle is all someone else’s fault. He tried for the leadership. He lost. He can try again in February. Will he?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Funny then that the only people who escalated talk of a coup to the media…were ABC MPs.

                  I have talked about a leadership challenge at the conference on RNZ and RadioLIVE for many months, because I was told by people associated with David Cunliffe that that was the plan.

                  Yeah ABC MPs no doubt. Who happened to know months in advance what “the plan” was. LOL

                  Good snow job on Cunliffe, I will admit that he didn’t expect you guys to fabricate so much shit so fast in one go.

                  And all because the old guard and the careerists want to block the members having a say in February, at any cost.

                  He lost. He can try again in February. Will he?

                  Cunliffe has nothing to do with February, and everything to do with Shearer. February is a confidence vote in David Shearer.

                  • Matthew Hooton

                    1. Not ABC MPs, because that wouldn’t mean anything. People associated with Cunliffe.

                    2. I don’t see any snow job. I have just explained what happened and why people reported a leadership challenge. Some of The Standard authors are partly responsible, including IrishBill, see /its-time-to-go This is NZ’s leading left political blog. What people write here has consequences, especially if it lines up with other information.

                    3. If Shearer wins 60% plus in the confidence vote, there will be no membership vote. Those are the rules. Will you back him then?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      3. If Shearer wins 60% plus in the confidence vote, there will be no membership vote. Those are the rules. Will you back him then?

                      So now YOU’RE asking for MY loyalty to Shearer ahead of time?

                      I see where the plays are coming from.

                    • newsense

                      so people associated with Cunliffe in the same way Key is associated with Dotcom?

                      Or something more than that?

                      you’ve got a bunch of people who’ve never really warmed to Shearer or at least who gave him the benefit of the doubt for a while – you missed Scott Yorke and Danyl McLaughlin btw- who came out and reiterated that view in light of a still fractured opposition vote they had a belief that a stronger politician was needed to lead Labour to government.

                      The difference is that it doesn’t take one person to go around and instigate all this- it seems to genuinely be there and have been there for some time.

                      Still pretending the individual is the movement is a popular way to deal with something and write off a movement.

                    • geoff

                      Matthew: The last line in Irish’s post that you reference is ‘It’s time for Shearer to step down’, not ‘It’s time for a coup, bitches!’ which is relevant, I think.

                      People were hoping (perhaps naively) that Shearer would step down.
                      Would many labour supporters have wanted to see a leadership challenge? I can only speak for myself but I would hazard a guess that yes, probably they would have, many people are completely sick of the ABC’s and Shearer’s incompetence and unwillingness to listen to the membership.
                      Did we organise a coup? Ah, no.

                      My theory of how events unfolded goes something like this:

                      The Gowers and Armstrongs, and apparently you as well, read The Standard before the conference, put 2 and 2 together and got 5. Let’s even give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you did speak with people ‘close to cunliffe’ (whatever that means, caucus members? delegates? his mum?) and they did think there would be a leadership challenge at the conference.

                      Then, Gower jumps the gun and blows his load before he has anything concrete. Cunliffe denies a leadership challenge, because there isn’t one, just lots of hopeful gossip.

                      So instead of retracting their statements, the media doggedly persists with their lines, probably because they were angry that they got sucked in by scuttlebutt instead of facts, but also, to do otherwise would have meant loss of face.

                      So essentially you fell for a bunch of hype and gossip and now I think you’re all trying to cover your arses because you look quite silly in retrospect.

                      Kinda ironic that savvy media people such as yourself, people who usually create the hype, fell for it in such a big way.

                    • 1. “People associated with Cunliffe

                      Who? If they are Cunliffe supporters you wouldn’t have much to lose by naming your sources – it could be quite a scoop. Or, maybe in turn, you could leak their names to someone like Farrar to publish? Also, not much of a conspiracy if you were told all about it by the Cunliffe conspirators directly. Or was it Trevor Mallard? Now, that would be interesting news that he’s swapped sides from one David to another.

                      2. “This is NZ’s leading left political blog. What people write here has consequences …” Not according to Shearer or other Shearer supporters. Are they wrong?

                      3.  “If Shearer wins 60% plus in the confidence vote, there will be no membership vote. Those are the rules. Will you back him then?

                      Speaking personally, and not being a Labour Party member, I see no need to back him in such an event. 

                      As the guest poster has argued, given the significance of the changes to how leaders are selected in the Labour Party – ones that Shearer apparently backed and has since called ‘more democratic’ – I’m stunned that Shearer hasn’t called for a party-wide vote on his leadership. I would have thought he would have been keen to re-establish his leadership on foundations he believes are stronger and deeper.

                      Not doing so suggests that he prefers to hold on to the leadership even though it was founded upon a process that he himself acknowledges was not as democratic as the processes he now fully supports. Very odd – if not to say questionable – behaviour. His positive pronouncements on the remits passed at the conference effectively undermine his own leadership.

                      Shearer needs to listen more to the things he says and check for internal consistency.

                    • lprent

                      If Shearer wins 60% plus in the confidence vote, there will be no membership vote. Those are the rules. Will you back him then?

                      For my two cents worth… I always make up my own mind.

                      And no – I will not. I already made my decision on that. The caucus made a terrible screwup. If they don’t fix that and start acting like they are capable of running the country then I can’t bring myself to fall in loyally behind. People who seem to be far more interested in their own petty bickering than in the good of the country just aren’t worth voting for.

                      I’ll remain a member of the NZLP because the party is busy reforming and I trust the party members to continue heading in a workable direction despite their caucus of rogues. But if I do any volunteer work over the next few years then I’ll start throwing my support behind the Greens for the 2014 election and I will party vote for them. They have a caucus that has been quietly and competently doing the job that the Labour caucus should be doing. They deserve my support. The Labour caucus does not.

                • Blue

                  I find it hard to believe that if you really had sources close to Cunliffe, as you claim, that you would keep repeating the crap line that all the opinion pieces that appeared prior to conference were organised by Cunliffe and his supporters.

                  Your claim to have Cunliffe backers whispering in your ear also goes directly against Rachel Smalley’s tweets that the only media whispering being done has been by Team Shearer.

                  • Matthew Hooton

                    I specifically said in my pre-conference NBR column ( http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/one-strangest-coups-nzs-political-history-underway-mh-132385 ) that is wasn’t a question of all the op-eds being organised by Cunliffe and his supporters but that they reflected a wider feeling in the party in support of the looming leadership challenge that, let’s cut the crap, many of the writers and commentators here also knew about, but are pretending never happened now that it has failed.

                    • Blue

                      Paranoia. That’s all you have. Are you writing any articles on the 1969 moon landing, or 911 being an inside job or do you only do political conspiracy theories?

                    • KJT

                      Having been involved in some of the things Hooten has written about over the years, I can say he has even less credibility than most of the people who are “laughingly” called journalists these days.

                      NBR makes even the Herald look even handed and accurate.

                    • weka

                      Ok Matthew, so people were talking about the need to replace Shearer in the leadership for months. We all know that, it was happening here on ts, so I assume other people were talking about it too. Obviously Cunliffe wants to be leader, so it’s safe to assume that he and his close people talk about that and how it might happen. Nothing wrong with any of that.
                       
                      What I don’t understand is exactly what Cunliffe’s team did, in trying to execute a coup. Can you please tell us?
                       
                      Saying that “people associated with Cunliffe” were talking about ‘it’ isn’t good enough (still not clear if ‘it’ was the fact that Cunliffe wanted to be leader, or if ‘it’ was actual plans to make that happen).
                       
                      Please tell us what the strategy was, and what the specific actions taken were, to try and remove Shearer by a coup on the weekend of the conference.

                    • Anne

                      For God’s sake all of you, ignore the puerile pratt. He’s only trying to destroy the post and prevent a mature and intelligent discussion among commentators who have genuine concerns.

                    • Bill

                      Mathew. I think you are confusing a couple of things.

                      First thing is the fact that many people of the left are dismayed by the leadership of David Shearer, have voiced their opinion on that front and want him to go – whether by a coup or by resignation just doesn’t matter.

                      Second thing is the speculation on whether Cunliffe was in the latter stages of planning a challenge to Shearer’s leadership.

                      The second thing does not have to exist for the first thing to be real.

                      But if you are in the situation of trying to retain power, then you will almost damned well insist that the second thing is real and that it presents a danger. Otherwise you have to face up to the fact that you have no identifiable enemy – it’s just that you ain’t that popular and that the people who you are meant to be representing want you gone.

                      And how do you fight that? Well, you can’t. So you need to create a target – a bogeyman.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well, the Bogeyman has lost all his portfolios and been demoted to a nothing.

                      According to your thesis, who are the ABCs going to turn on next? Because they will need another big target to distract from the fact that while National are gradually sinking in the polls due to multiple own goals, Labour is not gradually rising.

                    • Bill

                      Wonderful thing about bogey men CV. Once they’re created, that’s it. It’s not as though they die off or anything…they’re bogey men afterall (ghosts). And so you just invoke them and the memories or sentiments associated with them when the occasion demands it. Not saying that will work in this case though. It seems to me that there has been a serious mis-reading of the sentiments and emotons this one will bring up.

                    • lprent

                      Matt. There was no coup attempt by Cunliffe that I could see. That appears to simply be a figment of the fevered imagination of some gormless conspiracy nutters like yourself who are more interested in soundbites than reality and evidently Chippy.

                      What there was and still is, is a very high level of dissatisfaction with the performance of the caucus. A large part of that is reflected directly back on to the leader of that caucus, who is quite evidently doing a piss-poor job because he doesn’t have the skills to run it. That was the stated opinion of several of our authors including me.

                      Hell, Goff would be a better choice of leader than Shearer. The Nats are screwing up in parallel these days. At least he’d get some frigging traction out of that for Labour.

                      Whereas I’ve been watching the cabinet caucus all year and seeing it getting both less effective and losing the respect of the party members. I’m aware that David Shearer has a hell of a steep learning curve, which is why I thought it was a stupid decision by caucus to install him in that role. He is also failing to mount that learning curve in time to make Labour relevant in the 2014 election.

                      I think that the main thing that the Labour caucus has succeeded in doing this year is that they’ve been steadily increasing the enrolled non-vote in 2014. Hardly an achievement that they can be proud of.

                      It had piss-all to do with Cunliffe. What it was about was the dumbarse unfortunate experience of installing a inexperienced caucus leader and expecting a backstory to fill in the gap. It simply hasn’t worked.

                      About the only thing that I’m proud of in the Labour party right now is the constitutional reforms. I didn’t expect anything of any interest to come out of the review. I am surprised that it did and that there is more on the way.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Whereas I’ve been watching the caucus all year

                      ??? is this what you meant…

                    • lprent []

                      Yes – thanks – fixed it.

            • Puddleglum 3.1.1.1.1.6

              Hi Matthew,

              I hope you didn’t criticise Shearer for not producing the GCSB tape, given that over the current issue you, similarly, are saying ‘there really is evidence it’s just that I haven’t/can’t produce any so I’ll use hearsay instead and that should be enough for anyone – ‘cos, we all know don’t we???‘. 

              Essentially, your position here is that Cunliffe (and his supporters) can’t adopt John Key’s strategy over the GCSB tapes – asking for actual evidence of a coup attempt rather than ‘everyone knows’ or ‘someone told me but I can’t say who’.

              Remember how that turned out for Shearer? Well, if consistency is any guide, it should turn out the same way for you, shouldn’t it?

              BTW, your NBR article included some pretty ‘laboured’ sarcasm – not your finest analysis. Personally, I don’t object to sarcasm. It is only called the lowest form of wit because it is an aggressive and, if not done well, far too obvious form of wit. Like most things, however, it can be done well, but, being such a tempting pleasure to write, standards of expression can rapidly drift southwards.

              • Matthew Hooton

                I did criticise Shearer over the GCSB thing and of course Team Cunliffe can say to me “put up or shut up” but I stand by what I was told over a sustained period.

                Also, it seems Matt McCarten has a similar take on events to me – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/matt-mccarten/news/article.cfm?a_id=284&objectid=10849706

                I especially like his comment: “Cunliffe’s supporters have kept a constant underground campaign stoking doubts about Shearer. Anyone who denies that is being disingenuous.”

                Think he’s talking about you lot.

                • geoff

                  Good to know you stand by gossip.

                • gobsmacked

                  Hi Matthew

                  Shane Taurima asked Shearer about that at least three times on Q & A this morning. “How long … [had Cunliffe been plotting]?”

                  Each time Shearer said it was about the weekend. When pressed further, Shearer said … “I’m not going to go into details about the past.”

                  So Cunliffe did something unspecified, at some unspecified time, over the past year – or four years (if you believe Hipkins). That’s the sum total of Shearer’s allegation.

                  I actually think you have a fair point about the past few days. It’s the rest of the year that requires more than just a hyper-active imagination.

                  Matt MCCarten is channeling Mandy Rice Davies. His evidence? Unnamed Shearer supporters. Why are they more reliable than unnamed bloggers?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Bad staff work, bad people management, bad palace politics and basically in the final analysis, bad leadership.

                • ianmac

                  Matthew. I have not been a Hooton supporter. But I do believe that what you have written should be received with serious consideration. I am appalled that your serious ideas should be rubbished and denigrated. Never really listened to talk-back radio because the bias and prejudice precludes any sense. And here lately?
                  Unity is powerful. Disunity fatal.

                • Thanks Matthew, and of course you have every right to stand by what you were told (whoever did the telling).

                  As for ‘Team Cunliffe’, I remember when Clark left and the options presented were either Goff or Cunliffe. I thought ‘what a choice!’.

                  I am not a party member (of any party) and am politically inactive (apart, I guess, from my personal blog). I’m simply a voter, though I openly admit that I am a left winger (and I have a clear sense of what that means for me) and therefore I see it as in the interests of the country that Labour has a clear left wing agenda to present to New Zealanders – and to be able to do that effectively.

                  Despite my lack of involvement in any political party, there are two reasons why I am interested in this argument.

                  The first is that it seems uncontroversial that the majority of Labour Party members were of the opinion, during the leadership selection process, that Cunliffe should have been the candidate. I’m supportive of all organisations, associations and groupings of people operating as democratically as possible in relation to the purposes that led to their formation. For me, that therefore means that – given the need to have some formal ‘leader’ – Cunliffe should properly have been chosen.

                  Second, there are qualities about Shearer (as gathered from media, admittedly) that have worried me about him from the start. He does not seem to have a clear political framework in which he operates – I’m not even sure he has any framework of how he thinks the social and economic worlds operate that he could articulate to himself let alone others (and the assertion that ‘we all need to be more innovative’ is not a framework; at best it presupposes one).

                  I suspect partly because of that, Shearer seems to lack the passion or the necessary competency to respond to issues and project clarity of purpose. I was not impressed – as others appeared to have been – by Shearer’s conference speech. I saw someone who had been told to raise the volume of his voice at the important points and to talk about ‘opportunity’ and giving people a ‘fair go’. Fine, but hardly visionary (though I realise that others disagree with that perception).

                  By contrast, I have seen Cunliffe in several interviews, read some of his speeches and noticed his interactions in other media (e.g., doing a live ‘chat’ via the web during the last election campaign). He consistently has had clarity of expression, specific points to raise instantly in support of his position and an articulable framework of understanding.

                  Cunliffe seems to have some idea of how the world works, which is the only reason that people – any people – are able to respond with confidence and clarity over issues they are asked about (that’s why discussions about rugby in many workplaces are full of passion, detail and some subtlety of analysis – because it matters to each of the participants and they know what they think).

                  I would be very interested in seeing regular, public interactions and debates between David Cunliffe and John Key (would you Matthew?) as I think some very interesting issues and detailed discussions would emerge. I can’t say that I similarly look forward to interactions between David Shearer and John Key.

                  I’ve also noticed Matt McCarten’s comments on this. Normally I’m sympathetic to McCarten’s arguments and was initially puzzled by his commentary on this issue.

                  I can only guess, but I suspect the reason that McCarten is supporting Shearer is partly about freeing up space for what he would see as truly left-wing parties by ensuring that Labour is led by an ineffectual ‘centrist’. It may be that he also does not admire the political manner of Cunliffe, as he claims in that article.

                  But to let that latter feeling be decisive in who he supports is to ignore the similarly ‘political’ manner of Shearer’s ‘supporters’ (I’m thinking here of Mallard, Goff, King and ‘supporters’ such as The Fan Club on these threads).

                  Those supporters hardly seem – or are – less ‘political’ than Cunliffe, surely? I don’t think the title ‘cynical politician/operative’ would sit uncomfortably on any of their heads. So, McCarten will not be advancing the moral purification of party politics by backing Shearer’s cause, so far as I can see.

                  I also happen to think it is a mistaken tactic – if I am right in my speculation about McCarten’s motivation – to abandon what has, historically, been the main left wing political party to the centre-right. That would be, in effect, to abandon society to the centre right in the hope that every so often some coalition between Labour and a ‘truly’ leftist party might occasionally deliver for the less powerful in society (as the Alliance did in the first term of Clark’s administration).

                  Tactically and strategically, I think that is very unwise for the left overall.

                  EDIT: ‘cynical politician/political operative’ is too strong. Perhaps ‘strategising politician/political operative’ is closer to what I meant.

            • Foreign Waka 3.1.1.1.1.7

              Labour should seriously ask themselves whose hand they have played here. Who is winning with this? Shearer? As for perceptions, I belief the actions of the last couple of weeks have damaged Labour more than they like to admit. As for Cunliff, he is very intelligent and a fantastic talent. A good leader would have recognized this and moved ahead of any controversy. There still is no policy and/or statements on what the party wants to achieve and yet, a swift and precise cut from the front for one member in just about no time. Fail all the way and everybody knows it.

          • the sprout 3.1.1.1.2

            More rightwingers leaping to Shearer’s defence. I wonder why?

          • Hami Shearlie 3.1.1.1.3

            Matthew H talking about the “Clayton’s Coup” again!!LOL – I think that “Team Cunliffe” must be the very large group of people all over NZ who actually want the “real” Labour Party to win the next election – I must be in “Team Cunliffe”!! I joined a team and never even knew it!

            • KJT 3.1.1.1.3.1

              Well. I wasn’t a particular fan of Cunliffe, but now that the rest of them have shown their true levels of incompetence and self interest__________________?

              Shearers lack of ability in the job has been apparent right from the start.

              • Colonial Viper

                Calling in an apprentice to do a master tradesman’s job was never going to turn out well.

      • David H 3.1.2

        Because it’s the only way he’ll get to keep his job and perks. He really is an anacronism. (Mallard)
        He needs to be replaced with someone who can say what he means, with out all the umms and arrs and circitous reasoning. Hmm maybe thats why he keeps Shearer around.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      I agree Matthew, the ABCs in caucus would prefer the membership not have a say in February.

      I also agree with you that Shearer will probably not take the path of real leadership in Feb and instead hide behind the rules, rules which the ABCs voted against anyway.

      • Matthew Hooton 3.2.1

        What does “hiding behind the rules” mean? You mean, like John Key hides behind the rules when he refuses to call a snap election, or when he accepts the support on confidence and supply from a majority of parliament? He should show real leadership, and call a general election because some people want one.

        • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1

          Hiding behind the rules is not really a complex concept, Matthew.

          • Matthew Hooton 3.2.1.1.1

            It’s not a complex concept. It’s just a stupid concept. “The All Blacks were ahead 8-7 after 80 minutes but instead of taking a kick at goal they hid behind the rules by kicking the ball out and ending the game.”

        • Caleb 3.2.1.2

          If he hadn’t been elected by a general election, but general elections had now been introduced, real leadership would mean calling one.  Hiding behind the rules would be not calling a general election because the rules only ensured the next prime minister would be selected by one.

    • lprent 3.3

      As I understand it, Labour’s new rules are that if 40% + 1 of the caucus want a party-wide vote in February,

      No wrong way around. That is a particular rule for a post election vote of confidence. The caucus must vote 60%+1 for the incumbent otherwise a leadership vote goes to an electoral college of the caucus, members and affliates. A simple 40% vote of caucus (as you said later in your comment) is required to trigger that electoral college.

      There is a different rule for leadership contests outside that period.

      There is one of these post-election caucus votes coming up this Feb because it was delayed a year because of the testing of the leadership roadshow. I personally think that the various challengers in caucus won’t bother because they simply aren’t ready to woo the members and affiliates. Cunliffe probably could win the much of members votes but probably can’t get 40% opposition in caucus without one of the other groups working as well.

      It is likely that Shearer and his caucus will bumble their way through to the next election without managing to do anything useful, hoping that that the Nat’s screw up enough to let them through as the main party in a coalition. That does seem to be the current strategy. I’m going to party vote Green as I think that they have a more competent caucus and giving them a better position around a coalition table will give us a better government.

      • Matthew Hooton 3.3.1

        Gotcha. Thanks for clarification. So it is one vote less that Cunliffe needs to have a membership vote in February. Still don’t think he’ll have numbers.

        On your election pick, I agree, on the balance of probabilities, that Shearer will end up Prime Minister by the end of 2014 one way or another. It raises an interesting scenario – if he forms a Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana government of, say, 26%+16%+7%+1%, would the membership want to roll him in February 2015? In which case, the Labour membership and unions would be choosing the Prime Minister not just the Labour Leader.

        I think such a scenario is highly unlikely, but in a caucus of, say, 32, it would take just 13 MPs to achieve a leadership vote, and PM Shearer would have to hold on to 19 – which he probably could because there would probably be around that many Labour ministers, and with the whips and Speaker he would be able to hold out a challenge.

        But I expect, unless Labour is polling mid 30s, the question will be put during the election campaign and Mr Shearer will have to have a coherent answer to it or else stand by for National Party ads speculating about a Prime Minister Horomia!

        • lprent 3.3.1.1

          It is extremely unlikely that the caucus would vote no confidence in a winning leader. I just have no confidience in the caucus that put someone so inexperienced in that role. Now it could be that Shearer could start learning a lot faster than he has been, and provides the missing coherence in caucus. But I tend to trust stats more than hope.

          You may have to look at prime minister Turei. Figure it through…

          Reminds me. I seem to remember you saying back in 2008 that NZ First was dead?

        • gobsmacked 3.3.1.2

          the question will be put during the election campaign

          This is 100% certain.

          “and Mr Shearer will have to have a coherent answer to it”

          This is an impossible dream.

    • Caleb 3.4

      The simple difference, Matthew, is that Shearer wasn’t elected under the new rules – and if the new rules had been in place he most likely wouldn’t have been elected.

      It’s nothing like your analogy of the elected prime minister, because in this case the rules have changed.  It’s more like if we had a prime minister semi-democratically selected by the Governor General or something, and then we voted to have full democracy.  Although according to legal technicalities, the incumbent prime minister would not need to call an election, there would be an understandable desire for the incumbent to either be confirmed as leader by the people under the new democratic rules, or for a new prime minister to be elected by the people.

      Shearer doesn’t have to call for a full vote unless he fails to get 60%+1 (you’re wrong to say 40%+1 by the way), but it’s completely understandable for the people to want to apply the new leadership selection rules now that they’re in place.  And, if Shearer ever wants to have a proper mandate he’ll make the brave move of willingly subjecting his leadership to the new rules.  He’d be risking his current pseudo-mandate in exchange for the chance of a proper mandate.  I hope he cares more about making his leadership properly legitimate – which will be the only way to TRULY unite the party – than he does about holding onto power.

      (Actually, he should have called for an immediate party-wide vote straight after the conference, instead of the sham caucus vote and demotion of Cunliffe.  Riding on the high of his conference speech, he would have been in his best ever position to be confirmed as leader by the wider membership.  But even if he willingly embraced it now after the Cunliffe move, it would win a lot of respect and soothe a lot of the anger against him.  His chances would still be better if he did it willingly now than if he had it foisted upon him after losing a confidence vote.  And from his point of view I think carrying on now without a clear mandate would be worse than losing a leadership vote.  It would certainly be worse for the party).

  4. Very well said. Shearer’s mandate hq weaker than ever thanks to his appalling treatment of Cunliffe, whose only crime is to show up Shearer for the bumbling novice he is.
    If Shearer actually believed he had support he’d have nothing to fear and everything to gain from a vote in feb.
    Until that happens he will remain a lame duck.

    • Matthew Hooton 4.1

      Shearer just got 100% of the vote. Why didn’t Cunliffe have the courage of his convictions and get his supporters to vote against? If Cunliffe had got 14 votes this week, Shearer would have had to have resigned, or at least do what Anonymous Guest Poster seeks. In fact, even 10 votes against and Shearer would have been fatally wounded. Doesn’t Cunliffe have 10 supporters? Has Moana Mackey done that badly rounding them up?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Matthew, did you not hear? Shearer got a 100% confidence vote.

        Cunliffe has NO SUPPORTERS in caucus. Not even himself.

        • PlanetOrphan 4.1.1.1

          Serious question here CV (Or anyone else for that matter)
          Do You think Cunliffe should run against Shearer in Feb?

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            February is a confidence vote in Shearer – it is about him and his performance, nothing to do with Cunliffe, or as our guest poster also lists, Robertson, Little, etc. However if Shearer doesn’t get the votes needed then I think that all leadership aspirants should toss their hat into the ring INCLUDING Shearer.

            The mode of thinking has changed since last weekend – it is not caucus who determines the Labour Leader any more. A few are slower to catch on to the shift, but they’ll get there.

            • PlanetOrphan 4.1.1.1.1.1

              That being the case he could theoretically run for Leadership by canvassing support right now?

              Based on everything to date…

              Maybe he needs to “Play The Part” the caucus has painted for him ? , He’s already got a lot of “Ground” as a result of it.
              The Media would lap it up.

              “Go with the flow not against it M8!”

              If he had the minions supporting him he wouldn’t have had this trouble.

            • Jim Nald 4.1.1.1.1.2

              It would be absolutely fantastic if Hooton, such a real asset to Shearer’s Labour Party and followers, could be appointed to the upcoming vacancy for Chief Whip.

          • Matthew Hooton 4.1.1.1.2

            That is the serious and sensible question, yes. Far more serious and sensible than “should Shearer activate the party membership clause in the absence of a challenger.” I think the answer is, yes, if he thinks he can win, and no, if he thinks he can’t. I bet he’ll ring around the caucus in advance to find out though.

            • PlanetOrphan 4.1.1.1.2.1

              I’d say he can definitely win. He’s always had solid ground behind his thinking, he’d slaughter just about anyone else from what I’ve seen.

              There’s more than one path to unity.

            • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.1.1.2.2

              Actually, far more important from his perspective ought to be not about whether he wins, but about whether he wins with the party in a shape that it can contest the election meaningfully and with the support of its grass roots members. I don’t see any good way he can do that now without letting the new electoral college vote on the leadership.

              I highly doubt Shearer took the leadership with the intention of repeating Goff’s performance- my worry is that he’s in such a bubble (aided by commentary like yours) he can’t see that his autocratic style is heading him in that direction.

      • Foreign Waka 4.1.2

        Maybe Cunliffe did not plan anything but the rest of you fell for the oldest trick in the book? Or is it the good ol’ ego that needed stroking? Either way, whilst Mr Shearer thinks that the battle is won, the war has been lost. At least from the point of view of a voter. And in the end it will be the voter that will have the last say. Or has this changed too?

  5. Mathew, we must not forget that Shearer’s minions phoned around and demanded a ‘cast iron
    guarantee’ that they would vote for him in the urgent vote, Shearer’s minions also demanded
    that they give him a ‘cast iron guarantee for the feb vote’ what he forgot was that vote is
    ‘secret’, to me it say’s he ignores the rules,it also say’s he is worried about his support
    inside caucus,the acts of a desperate man,not a confident one.
    The right of politics in every sector are delighted that shearer is there as leader,in fact they
    openly endorse him, why is that ?

    • Matthew Hooton 5.1

      Starlight, so why didn’t some of Cunliffe’s backers say fuck off and vote for their man? After all, he is so much more intelligent, talented etc etc than Shearer, and Labour, they say, can’t win with Shearer. Surely loyalty to the party and conviction in the quality of their candidate would have meant some of them would have had the guts to take a stand?

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        I agree, Cunliffe has ZERO SUPPORT in caucus. Shit the man doesn’t even support himself hence Shearer got 100% of the vote.

        • Matthew Hooton 5.1.1.1

          It seems that way doesn’t it. But we’ll take your word for it that he could have won had he put his name forward (at least to the 40% threshold.) Even though it does sound like “Wales says it could have beaten Scotland but seeing it didn’t think the contest was fair it didn’t show up. ‘Boo hoo, those Scots are unfair!’ the Welsh coach said.”

          • Jim Nald 5.1.1.1.1

            So parliamentary democracy has been reduced to a game of highly paid thirty boys running after just one ball for eighty minutes. And wearing tight multi National corporate franchised lycra. And the spectators pay money to get into rate-sponsored stadia.

          • The Fan Club 5.1.1.1.2

            Hahaha there’s no way he could have rounded up 40% of the caucus these days. He’d struggle to get 20%, I think.

            Also wtf, can I just say that the Labour Party is pretty ok with asking people how they’re going to vote in a secret ballot. Often, we even try and get cast-iron guarantees. It’s called “doorknocking” and if you guys actually took part in the whole “winning elections” thing you’d know about it. If you think that organising before a vote is somehow not fair, it’s no fucking wonder you get played all the time. (If Cunliffe had a chance of winning, he’d be looking for assurances of votes. Nothing wrong with that.)

            • QoT 5.1.1.1.2.1

              TFC, do you honestly not see a difference between asking a random person on the street, with whom you have no prior relationship how they’re going to vote, and a party leader with the power to demote people and limit their ability to speak publicly asking if they’re going to vote in a way which directly benefits him?

              It’s called a power dynamic. Leftwing politics is kind of built on understanding this concept.

              • Colonial Viper

                Did TFC just try and position itself as a Labour Party member with the use of the statement “We”?

                I guess the Right Wingers are signing up online right now!!!

              • The Fan Club

                Hahaha. Tell, QoT, do you actually know anything about the process of putting together a spill? There is a reason “doing the numbers” is a political cliche. Cunliffe will also have sought guarantees from his votes. It’s how you win.

                • QoT

                  So … that would be a pretty B-grade shifting of the goalposts there …

                  • The Fan Club

                    I really don’t see how the goalposts have shifted. I’m saying that there’s nothing wrong with organising before a vote. We do it all the time, in the Labour Party. We all do it. I’ve done it, Shearer’s done it, Cunliffe’s done it.

                    • QoT

                      Bullshit.

                      You stated (summarised): Shearer demanding guarantees of people’s votes is just like doorknocking.

                      I stated (summarised): The difference is there’s a power dynamic in play.

                      You stated (summarised): Well Cunliffe would have put together numbers too.

                      It’s not about who put together numbers, it’s about people in positions of power bullying others. That’s the point you avoided by shifting the goalposts to pretend you were actually saying it’s okay for Shearer to do it because Cunliffe (according to you) did it too.

                    • The Fan Club

                      No, this is nonsense. I said that there is nothing wrong with asking people how they’ll vote in a secret ballot. We do it all the time; and we do it in cases there are power differentials. (What do you think the Chief Whip’s job is? It isn’t to look pretty.)

                      Your power differential argument is, frankly, nonsense. The power of the leader is derived from the caucus; when Shearer’s looking for votes, the caucus is more powerful than he is.

                      (Also, that’s why the ballot’s secret, isn’t it?)

                    • QoT

                      Goalpost shift 2: now “asking for a cast-iron guarantee” is the same as just “asking”.

                    • The Fan Club

                      Yes, clearly a rhetorical flourish is super important here. WTF of course he wants a cast iron guarantee, it’s one of the most important votes the party’s taken in years.

                      I would love to know how on earth you think politics actually works, if not by organisation. It does explain a lot about your general incompetence though.

                    • IrishBill

                      I’d suggest that if Cunliffe had seriously been running a coup he would have had the numbers and rolled the vote. My instinct is that the “coup” was announced for him and the quick vote was called to backfoot him before he could get his shit together (if, indeed, that’s what he was planning to do).

                      There was a similar dynamic at work when Goff stood down with the result that the ABC’s got a running start and Cunliffe didn’t seem to get organised until the second week of the leadership campaign.

                      If there’s anything that makes me doubt Cunliffe’s political nous it’s that he got caught flat-footed twice with what was broadly the same play. If you’re running against incumbent power in any campaign you need to be nimble. Especially given the speed of the news cycle these days. It was clear by Sunday morning that whether Cunliffe was running a coup or not that’s how it was going to be reported and treated. At that stage he either needed to swing in absolutely and unequivocally behind Shearer to mute the drumbeat against him or call for an all member vote and make a lot of noise about how token and unacceptable any other outcome would be – i.e. announce and run hard.

                      That said, the ABC clique appear to have relied on their homeground advantage to roll out a set-piece campaign that may have won them the first 48 hours but appears to have damaged them significantly in the medium term. Their problem was they hadn’t thought through where that set-piece was taking them and the inertia of their campaign carried them out on a limb. If they had a bit more nous they would have called their response back in hard by the end of conference and shut it down in private. Instead they overreached with the tough talk and blew their man’s credibility (and the credibility of their whip). This lack of fine control and inability to read the next stage of a play is part of their M.O. and was also evident in the GCSB debacle, the way they never built momentum off the back of the school lunch announcement, and the way they fucked up their early run against Cunliffe with Garner by not properly reading the environment it was going into.

                      Frankly my concern is that there doesn’t appear to be the capacity anywhere in the parliamentary arm of the party to campaign well which doesn’t bode well for 2014 regardless of who leads them it.

                      And that’s the last I’ll say on this debacle. It needs to be put to rest asap.
                       

                    • The Fan Club

                      IB, you fucking helped cause this debacle. Don’t tell the rest of the party that has to pick up the pieces how to do it.

                      IrishBill: Excuse me? Would you care to elucidate?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      IB is not David Shearer, Chris Hipkins or Trevor Mallard so he cannot be accused of helping create this debacle. Its all their own work.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Oh don’t be like that TFC, the people who caused this debacle are the Labour MPs who leaked to the media on and off the record. And none of that was Cunliffe.

                    • The Fan Club

                      Again, you and Bradbury can keep thinking that, but in the real world, we will remember that Cunlife tried to run a coup, and it failed.

                      (Also, jesus, is there a prominent labour MP you guys don’t hate now?)

                    • Colonial Viper

                      What Cunliffe coup? The one the ABC’s (and Hooten) keep talking about? Sheezus talk about insecurity and lack of confidence.

                    • Socialist Paddy

                      You are talking shyte fan boy.

                    • newsense

                      cos I can’t seem to reply toIB underneath- why would Cunliffe want to make a move now anyway, what was happening at the conference was to his advantage

                    • felix

                      “in the real world, we will remember that Cunlife tried to run a coup, and it failed.”

                      Yep. People will remember it because people like you will keep repeating it, even though it never happened. When asked for evidence you will point to some other idiot who also reckons it happened but also has nothing to show.

                      Hooton, when asked to back up his guesswork with a few facts, simply links to his own article which is also guesswork with no facts. (Actually for Matthyawn it’s more about saving face – he’s been predicting something for months and it didn’t happen and now he looks like either a sucker or a liar unless he can rewrite the story.)

                      And on it goes. Just like how we remember that Helen Clark said everyone on the west coast were feral inbreds, and just like how we remember that John Key donates his salary to charity, the record will show that Cunliffe tried on a coup.

                      And just like those other two bits of nonsense, no-one will ever, ever produce a single fact, a single quote, a single shred of proof of any of it.

            • PlanetOrphan 5.1.1.1.2.2

              Your missing the point Fan Club, if he gives that 20% a “Voice” by actually accepting them in “His” team and his teams’ line is “All for one M8!” then there is no disunity.

              • seeker

                @ Fan Boy @ 11.49am

                “I said that there is nothing wrong with asking people how they’ll vote in a secret ballot.”

                But what about ‘telling’ them how to vote, by ‘leaning’ on them?

                And if anyone asked me how I would vote in a secret ballot I would say that is secret, now leave me alone.

                On a personal note, a request to you .Could you please stop prefacing your rather provocative and often unpleasant comments with ‘ha ha ha’. It reminds me of the comics I used to read as a youngster where the schoolyard bully used the same phrase as he was getting his own way in the first half of story- “Ha ha ha, you lose, Loser.”
                The last frame of the week’s story was the bully getting his come uppance – to most people’s relief. No ‘ha ha ha’ now and balance had been restored, for that week at least.

                • The Fan Club

                  When people stop saying laughable stupid things, like implying that asking someone how they’ll vote in a secret ballot is somehow reprehensible, I will stop laughing at them. I mean really, asking people how they intend to vote in a secret ballot is pretty much the way that every MP got to be an MP.

                  I do think that there’s nothing wrong with leaning on MPs to vote the right way. Like I say, that’s what the Whips do all the time. It’s what any competent organiser does. The MPs are professionals, and can stand up to someone telling them what they should do.

                  Shearer’s actions are nothing out of the run-of-the-mill of New Zealand politics. Cunliffe has and will do the exact same things.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    like implying that asking someone how they’ll vote in a secret ballot is somehow reprehensible

                    Not just asking them how they will vote, but crucifying them if their answer doesn’t match what your henchmen think is acceptable. Of course its reprehensible, and it is unconstitutional as well.

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      What do you mean by “crucifying” them? You mean issuing threats?

                      That is what Bill English tried to do during the Brash coup. He or Sowry would ring MPs and tell them that if they voted Brash they would be demoted, destroyed, publicly humiliated, political career over, etc. But enough National MPs said, get fucked, I’m voting Brash regardless of what you say – and, in fact, by trying to bully people English weakened not strengthened his position.

                      You seem to be implying that Shearer’s people used similar tactics (which are entirely mainstream, sadly, in politics all around the world.) But NOT ONE Labour MP said, “you can try bullying me, but you can fuck off, you are hopeless, you are condemning us to failure, I am voting against Shearer because that is what I believe is best for the party.” NOT ONE!

                      What a tragic bunch of spineless losers they all must be.

                      Or, alternatively, they knew all too well that Cunliffe has nowhere near 50%, 40% or probably even 30% support in the caucus.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      What do you mean by “crucifying” them? You mean issuing threats?

                      I think the demotion of one of your most senior and experienced MPs to the backbenches isn’t just a “threat” its a very clear purge and follow through.

                      Which is I suppose, a “threat” to others supporting Cunliffe.

                      Is that what you meant?

                      What a tragic bunch of spineless losers they all must be.

                      Well, I believe you have made similar points in the past.

                    • weka

                      You seem to be implying that Shearer’s people used similar tactics (which are entirely mainstream, sadly, in politics all around the world.) But NOT ONE Labour MP said, “you can try bullying me, but you can fuck off, you are hopeless, you are condemning us to failure, I am voting against Shearer because that is what I believe is best for the party.” NOT ONE!
                      What a tragic bunch of spineless losers they all must be.
                      Or, alternatively, they knew all too well that Cunliffe has nowhere near 50%, 40% or probably even 30% support in the caucus.
                       

                      Or, alternatively, there was no coup and so, in the absence of any organised attempt to replace Shearer, the MPs voted on the safe path. By that stage hadn’t Cunliffe said he would vote for Shearer anyway?
                       
                      It’s disingenuous to suggest that MPs wouldn’t weigh up the pros and cons of voting against Shearer, including what that would mean for their careers, talk amongst each other, and decide that now is not the time. In fact it seems to me that in the absence of an actual coup that is the most likely thing to happen.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      “No brash, No cash”

                      end of story revisionist tory.

          • David H 5.1.1.1.3

            Ok so enough with the bullshit apart from Cunliffe Who else has the knowledge, Cunliffe probably knows about 2/3rds of the important portfolio’s. Has Charisma up the Wazoo. Articulation Show me anyone who can take complex financial, make your eye’s roll back in your head with boredom, into sense that most can understand? Who is so intelligent that people like John Key are so scared of him But who else really is there Honestly?

            Parker? Bland.
            Robertson The Fat Controller.
            Jones Disobedient running his own agenda.
            Adern Needs more time.
            Hipkins Shoots from the mouth.
            Mallard Almost as incoherent as Shearer.
            getting desperate here
            Shearer Been there Still there waiting for a change.

          • newsense 5.1.1.1.4

            when’s Key resigning Matt?

            he’s only got a bit part in a Hobbit movie and a proper hug from Richie McCaw to tick off his to do list

      • starlight 5.1.2

        Shearer also ordered all ministers not to speak about what went on in caucus,so there
        is no way of knowing what happened, we can only wait for further demotions to see
        the real picture.
        Cunliffe is supported by the membership.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1

          Floggings shall continue weekly until morale improves.

        • The Fan Club 5.1.2.2

          You know, there are no ministers in the Labour Party caucus. Also, er, yes, caucus is confidential. That, like the non-existence of ministers in the opposition caucus, is kinda a given in modern politics.

          (Please, please, learn some basics about the political system before holding forth quite so dramatically.)

        • Hami Shearlie 5.1.2.3

          Cunliffe is indeed supported by the membership – and I wonder how many new LP members there are all of a sudden??

      • Craig Glen Eden 5.1.3

        Mathew read slowly Shearer got 100% of the vote cos their was no attempt to challenge his Leadership at conference, you bought the shit sandwich dumb arse cos it suited your purpose to keep your man Key in charge.

  6. just saying 6

    …who David Shearer is acknowledging today in his mailout…

    I’ve noticed the absense of Shearer’s usual Friday newsletter on TS. Is this what you refer to?
    I’d like to read the mailout. Is it a public document?

    • PlanetOrphan 6.1

      It’s usually on Red Alert, yo can sign up for it there as well.

      • just saying 6.1.1

        Not on red alert.

        • Jim Nald 6.1.1.1

          Red Alert has been behind quite a few things over the months.

          Disappointingly, last weekend during one of the highlights of the year for the Party, from memory, there was nothing from Phil Goff’s piece on 16th until Grant Robertson uploaded Shearer’s video on the 19th.

          I have been keeping mum about this but need to point that out now.

          The other thing is that the Labour Party news space now risks being filled and coloured by the likes of commentators like Hooton. Either the Shearer-Robertson leadership team is deliberately letting that happen or they are incompetently unable to craft a clear vision and narrative ahead for the Party (I said ‘Party’ and I mean the whole Party with the collective and sum total interests, not just the Shearer-Robertson interests).

          • mickysavage 6.1.1.1.1

            Aye Jim.

            It is sad how RA has declined.  Curran is apparently now against blogging and Mallard, well what can I say.

            They really need to do better.  Someone else should take over and try and resurrect the site.  Otherwise it will become as relevant as this site

        • PlanetOrphan 6.1.1.2

          Sorry labour web site,
          Bottom of page second from left “Keep in touch”

  7. RJLC 7

    I gave Shearer a year’s grace to start demonstrating the aptitude required to lead Labour in 2014 and provide a real alternative vision to the political and economic dogmas we’ve pursued over the past twenty five years.

    All this talk about healing and making up has no bearing on that issue.

    My vote remains elsewhere. Being a united party or having a “nice” leader just isn’t enough to entice me to return. .

    • seeker 7.1

      RJLC

      “I gave Shearer a year’s grace to start demonstrating the aptitude required to lead Labour in 2014”

      I thought it was understood that that is what we all were doing after the leadership election., especially as he had so little experience. It was going to be revisited this coming February( perhaps that is why the clique set up this game plan to hi jack the conference and smear Cunliffe so no competition in Feb.only it backfired thanks to the r&f).We got in behind Shearer after the outcome and gave him that chance- never mind him giving Cunliffe a chance, which his clique has blown with their scheming and disloyalty. After Phil Goff , who turned out quite well, peopele were understandably cautious ,especially of someone with no real political experience.
      Was it not stated somewhere, or did I dream it?

  8. Chrissy 8

    To me the thing is that not just that the current mandate relatively weak compared to what Shearer or anyone might get from the new process (it’s based on just .4 of possible current voters; or, I think realistically, on about .66 of that .4, ie around .25. It’s like a mandate based on, say, the equivalent of a men only franchise, or a whites only one).

    It is also, to use a nasty little word that’s had some currency in recent days, a ‘finked’ mandate: the 100% is a bullshit, and everyone knows it. No amount of repeating the fact changes that: it’s hollow. In reality, as above, its 66% of 40% that Shearer has, plus unknown (though likely considerable) wider support. So again, Shearer or whoever could do with a real, unfinked mandate.

    But worse than the weakness, it’s that it’s a divisive mandate, and deeply so, in that it basically asserts the will of this small group over all the others in a way that gives them no comeback, or voice: it just says suck it and that’s that. In the current climate, you cant get an MP or anyone to talk about it: talking about it openly is seen as treasonable. So its a closed and pretty much uncontestable mandate: again, weaker for being so.

    It’s also divisive largely because of the way these characters have acted over the last while. The nastiness, the trying to outflank and undermine the secret ballot process in February, the leaking and leaking…. need I go on.

    It’s divisive because as the Nats know, and dont hide, its their preferred agenda. They dont hide that because its in their interests not to hide it. If they are openly supportive, and their candidate wins, that’s red rag to a bull, and they know Labour will eat itself. That’s what Matt Hotten is doing on here this morning.

    It’s also weak and divisive, because, Mr Hoton knows, all the right have to do it keep inflating and deflating Shearer (they have him on a yoyo), praising him and chopping him down, to keep us all in a lather. With Shearer insecure, they can be all the more violent in this: yanking him up, kicking him down. He needs a stronger mandate to stop this.

    • Bill 8.1

      they have him on a yoyo

      Sadly, I think that about sums it up. Until just before the general election when they’ll cut the string and kick him off into a corner somewhere.

      Is there anyone who doesn’t have Shearer tied up in one way or another? He’s variously in the position of being someone’s yo-yo, someone’s puppet and meantime his head seems all tied up in knots…And then there is us. Being strung along by all and sundry.

      Anyone got a pair of scissors handy? Well, I guess Shearer has, but then, his are tied…

    • gobsmacked 8.2

      “all the right have to do it keep inflating and deflating Shearer (they have him on a yoyo), praising him and chopping him down, to keep us all in a lather.”

      This is an excellent summary. See Fran O’Sullivan’s column in the Herald as an example. Last week, cheerlearer, today, not.

      What concerns me is not that this is happening (the Right will predictably do what they do), but that Shearer’s team and fans within Labour don’t seem to understand that it’s happening, or – worse – do understand, and are fine with it.

      Labour MPs on Red Alert saying “Yay! The Herald loves us!”. So when they stop loving us, when they say “Democracy Under Attack”, that’s going to be an authoritative voice … because Labour said so.

    • seeker 8.3

      @Chrissy 11.47am

      “With Shearer insecure, they can be all the more violent in this: yanking him up, kicking him down. He needs a stronger mandate to stop this.”

      Very good comment, which backs up an excellent post.

      He really does need a stronger mandate or, at the very least, SOMEONE does.

    • Foreign Waka 8.4

      Oh joy, a reasonable voice in the wilderness of politics and party apostel’s. Thank you.

  9. Headline on red alert says ‘Young and Restless’ by Grant Roberston,details the remits passed
    at the conference,big and bold.
    Not the best headliner though,i thought,could have been ‘Labour moving forward’ or something,
    Sounds too much like a ‘soap opera’ headline.

    • Hami Shearlie 9.1

      It does sound like a soap opera, Starlight, but unfortunately David Shearer is not “The Bold and the Beautiful”!

    • Bill 9.2

      It’s actually not a bad headline if you consider the whole thing as nothing more important than a soap opera though. Maybe it was a wee slip on Roberston’s part? Y – Nah. He’s just crap at banners.

    • just saying 9.3

      New item from Grant Robertson on red alert linking to and praising r0b’s blogpost on the standard about the constitutional changes.
      An olive branch already. I’d expected a week or two to pass.
      It is going to be interesting watching the leadership contest play itself out.

      Meantime, I think we can expect less shit being flung our way from the ABC faction, with Robertson increasingly playing his hand as a quasi-middle ground attempting to appeal to left and right in the party.

  10. Southern Labourite 10

    Hear, hear!

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    I don’t give a damn who leads the Labour party into the 2014 election so long as they beat National. Got that you “Davids” fans?

    We need a primary style open campaign to find out who is Labour’s most effective vote winner.

    We need to win in 2014. “Who can do it?” The answer will be not be found on the blogs or in the caucus room. It will be found in the votes cast during February 2013 nationwide primary contest.

    I don’t give a damn who leads, so long as she/he is the strongest possible candidate to beat National. If it is neither Shearer nor Cunliffe, that’s OK with me. We need to win in 2014!

    • seeker 11.1

      +1 Likewise AmaKiwi, but I also want a strong leader with integrity and vision. No clowns, snake oil salesmen or wannabbes with no ability need apply.

      • AmaKiwi 11.1.1

        If you rule everyone whom YOU judge to be “clowns, snake oil salesmen or wannabbes” you would nearly empty the seats in every parliament on the planet.

        If you want integrity, talk to your priest. Politics is about compromises.

        • seeker 11.1.1.1

          Wow AK. For me your cynicism has just undone all the good work you have done on drumming up support for Labour membership for February’s vote. What with you and Shearer….

          • AmaKiwi 11.1.1.1.1

            @ seeker, Sorry to disappoint you.

            But to succeed in politics you have to have a thick skin (big ego) and not be completely open and honest on every subject all the time. If you want to get things accomplished, you make compromises. You also have to grab the mike and make yourself heard.

            Some might consider that being “clowns, snake oil salesmen or wannabbes.”

            I respect politicians. I have been asked to stand several times. I wouldn’t go near it with a barge pole because I know I don’t have the qualities needed. Most of the top politicians could make a lot more money and have better working conditions outside government. And they wouldn’t suffer abuse at the hands of angry bloggers.

            • seeker 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Ama Kiwi
              Thanks for what I am taking as an apology at this confusing time

              One can have strength of character, vision and integrity and still be able to compromise but in having integrity one would be able to compromise in a wise and principled way.

              “I wouldn’t go near it with a barge pole because I know I don’t have the qualities needed.”
              Which ,considering the qualities you think are needed to be a politician, makes you sound quite a pleasant person

              I think Helen Clark had all the qualities I listed in 11.1.

              Not sure if I am too old or you are too young for this conversation.

  12. Crimson Nile 12

    In my opinion, this is the point which we must keep sight of.

    Key is a very capable politician and communicator. He plays well to the cameras and gives good one liners even when under pressure. Whoever leads Labour has to be able to match and better that on a consistent basis. Although starting out weaker, David Shearer has been improving steadily in this regard, over the last few months and credit should go to him for that progress.

    • Craig Glen Eden 12.1

      Havent seen the progress my self he cant even keep or deliver a speech without a Tele prompter and shit as for thinking on his feet or facing the media dont even get me started. Shearer couldnt beat Key if Key was found to have been cruel to animals thats seriously how bad Shearer is.

    • Socialist Paddy 12.2

      So by the year 2023 do you think Shearer will have progressed enough to really take the fight to the Government? I am not sure the country could stand another 11 years of tory destruction.

  13. Bella 13

    Go The Standard. Loving all this. Kind regards, a National Party voter who is looking forward to more right wing reform after the next election.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      a National Party voter who is looking forward to more right wing reform after the next election.

      Do you particularly mind if that right wing reform is carried out by either Labour or National? Because as it is, it looks like you are going to get your wish any way.

  14. JazzaBelle 14

    Lyn and bloggers.
    Treat Hooton the same way we treated Pete George. Ignore him.
    Hooton makes money by peddling that he can influence people/ events/issues.
    Credible engagement with him on TS only enhances his value to his paymasters.

    Do not engage with the troll.

    • AmaKiwi 14.1

      Fact: The “news” media ONLY makes money from advertising.

      Fact: Journalists are very poorly paid.

      Conclusion: A journalist who generates controversy to attract more readers/viewers helps sell more advertising. That’s Matthew Hooton’s job, not facts but conspiracy controversies. Many of you fell for it by giving him the time of day, thereby increasing his meager paycheck.

      Labour needs a leader who can win the election in 2014. A February primary is our best way to identify that person. End of story.

    • Rhinocrates 14.2

      Hooters has value for precisely one reason, and it’s the one he least wants you to notice. He, in his clumsy way, makes obvious what his clients – or paymasters as you will* – want you to think. That in itself is useful.

      *This is not the place to argue the power dynamics of prostitution, and I’d never call a real sex worker a whore, but that is certainly what Hooters is because he doesn’t rent out his physical favours, he sells a semblance of a soul that he doesn’t have. He may as well wear ripped fishnets and have needle tracks up his arms to look less like the derogatory stereotype.

  15. Julian 15

    This particular post is strong, from the heart and well reasoned though I fundamentally disagree with its premise.

    As a paid up member of the Labour Party who supports the democratic changes but has been around long enough to know that the NZ electorate punishes disunity, I cannot continue to buy into the prevailing argument, (promulgated anonymously) on this site, that David Cunliffe is the messiah, completely faultless and David Shearer is somehow the anti-Christ. Get a grip guys. If you are really committed to a Labour government in 2014 you would be calling time on this crap about more leadership votes and focusing on the real enemy. I read a comment the other day from someone who said (paraphrasing) “If it means another three years in opposition to get a new leader and a more radical platform then so be it.”

    Whoever subscribes to that view I only hope you are willing to tell that face-to-face to the struggling solo mum in Taita, the working family earning the minimum wage in Otara or the 500 plus kiwis leaving for Australia each week who want NZ changed now, not when some of us have played their pointless beltway political games.

    Get a grip and focus on what really matters to our core supporters, not stupid remits about quotas on women in LECs or messiah like adulation of David Cunliffe. It’s illogical, blinkered and just plain crazy.

    Stop the crap and move on.

    I’m proud to be Labour and proud to support David Shearer and I will be working in 2014 for a Labour victory, knocking on doors, delivering pamphlets and erecting hoardings in Taita and Lower Hutt, not engaging in stupid games . If you don’t want to do the hard yards and just want to play dumb games then piss off out of the party. We need people who are committed not game players taking their orders from someone else. Let’s get behind Labour, Shearer and all our candidates, but most of all stand up for what matters now, not our own petty agendas. Time is running out for New Zealand.

    The truth is if you really want a Labour Government you will show some discipline and work for one.

    • Blue 15.1

      I can’t recall anyone on this site claiming David Cunliffe is the messiah. On the contrary, we are all aware of his faults. Every politician has them. The only reason Cunliffe has been so singled out by many Labour supporters is because at the moment, he is the best material we have to work with.

      David Shearer isn’t, and it is for precisely that reason that many on here have called time on his leadership. We do not want another term of a National Government. To that end, we need a credible Labour Party that voters believe can win, can govern, and can improve their lives.

      Our credibility with them right now is shot. Mostly because we have an inexperienced, stuttering dork in the top job and when you look at how that came to be, the answer isn’t pretty. Labour has a serious lack of talent, with what they have mostly being either has-beens or too young and inexperienced. Half the caucus hate their best performer by far and the best the anti-Cunliffe faction could drag up was Mr Mumbles. Hardly inspiring.

      The reality is that Labour is seriously broken right now, and trying to paper over the cracks and smile isn’t going to work. Labour is not fit to lead anything right now. It needs to become fit before we can win and before we can govern again. There are no shortcuts. We can’t just focus on attacking Key and ignore the fact that our own house is falling apart. It doesn’t work like that.

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      and David Shearer is somehow the anti-Christ

      Sorry, who called Shearer the “anti-Christ”?

      Shearer comes across very genuinely but he is inexperienced as an MP. He seems to own precious little left wing philosophy and politics in general. And he has also been badly advised.

      Shearer is a nice guy and a decent electorate MP. Given more experience he’ll be solid Cabinet material and let’s see where he can go from there.

      • McFlock 15.2.1

        Sorry, who was demonising Shearer?

        cf: this

         edit: that’s what it said when I started the reply

        • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1

          I don’t pin that on Shearer, other than the fact that he doesn’t own much left wing political thinking or philosophy.

          And now he only has one guy on his front bench, Parker, who has any real understanding of how the financialised economic system works. Good luck with that.

          McFlock – yes sorry I changed the wording on that to link it to what I was replying to

          • McFlock 15.2.1.1.1

            So under Cunliffe Labour would still be indistinguishable from National?

            • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1.1.1

              Dunno. Possibly. Cunliffe gets global resource, environmental and economic/financial issues far better than Shearer does. And is the only one with significant experience going up against the corporate world.

              However, at the end of the day, Labour and NZ are both constrained by some pretty tight and common realities that we have signed up to as a nation (and as a political organisation) over the years.

              3 or 6 years of Labour Government won’t be able to shift the trend much. For instance, 9 years of Labour Govt under Clark (temporarily) halted the rot in terms of child poverty, but never did progress in winding it backwards to the levels of the early 1980’s. (Nor it could be argued, was that even tried).

              Becoming a high tech, high value, niche exporter is a dandy idea but that is a 25 year i.e. generational project. And we are trying to do it in a very difficult environment – one of economic, resource and energy depletion. I personally think it probably won’t be possible even with a dream team and fifty billion to spend.

              • McFlock

                Given that perspective, I don’t know why you give a shit about what goes on in labour. Let alone the obsession you have against Shearer.
                   
                But I do find the dissonance of suddenly acting casual when Julian called out commenters here on their rhetoric against Shearer quite amusing. 

                • Colonial Viper

                  Let alone the obsession you have against Shearer.

                  Actually I’m fairly comfortable with my position on the man.

                  Anyways, Shearer is at most perhaps 15% of the problems that Labour has at the moment. And probably less. He didn’t magically elevate himself to the post of Leader. We didn’t get a Party List full of former staffers and careerists under his watch, and he had very little to do with the crashing 2011 Labour vote. Neither is he responsible for the very economically centrist positioning Labour has utilised for a long time now, nor the weak state of the membership across large areas of the country.

    • just saying 15.3

      …face-to-face to the struggling solo mum in Taita, the working family earning the minimum wage in Otara…

      I’m guessing you don’t get a lot of face to face with the above yourself Julian. Bit offensive trotting out the very people that Labour has consigned to the trash heap in defence of the status quo Julian. Ironic.

      Maybe you’d like to spend some time reading what posters and commenters are actually saying before you next charge in to and tell us what we think.

      • Colonial Viper 15.3.1

        Maybe the struggling solo mum in Taita would like a $300,000 new home, j.s.

      • Julian 15.3.2

        Just Saying, I respect your views…it’s a a shame you have to launch a personal attack to justify them. For your information I do come into contact with the struggling Taita families. They’re part of our neighbourhood. My wife teaches in the community so she sees first hand the kids coming to school without food (that’s why our policy to feed schoolkids is needed now not when a few party hacks have decided they will call time on their pro Cunliffe agitation). So why are you rounding on your raffle ticket sellers, pamphlet deliverers and workers? Sadly it says a lot about some of the people on this blog.

        So lay off the vitriol and focus on the argument. Get a grip. Our core voters are loyal but can only take so much of their fellow supporters undermining the party.

        I want a Labour Government in 2014. This country will be fucked if we wait until 2017 (or later) because some of our activists are still bickering and drinking chardonnay in Ponsonby while plotting a takeover with their hero of the proletariat David Cunliffe!

        Shearer knows more about the working class than David Cunliffe. He’s worked in f..ing war zones and seen deprivation at its worst. I tell you what that’s going to teach you a whole lot more about what people need and how we build a better country than the discourse in Ponsonby cafes will ever tell you!

        And yes I’m a current party member, happy to show you my membership card any time.

        It’s because I care about this shit that I’m bothering posting.

        Having said all this I hope one day (soon) Cunliffe puts the ego to one side, calls his supporters to get behind the Party and genuinely works for a Labour led government in 2014. And then we can get on with the job of holding this atrocious govt to account and putting the case for a change in 2014. Too much to ask? Time will tell.

        • Colonial Viper 15.3.2.1

          Time to fall into line like good foot soldiers. Lets get those caucus marketing hubs, I mean regional hubs, organised.

          Shearer knows more about the working class than David Cunliffe. He’s worked in f..ing war zones and seen deprivation at its worst.

          Please explain how time in Somalia or Bosnia relates to the troubles of the blue collar NZ working class and understanding the failures of neoliberalism in NZ which are at the root of those troubles.

          And then we can get on with the job of holding this atrocious govt to account

          If Labour were holding the Government to account…I would have heard about it, I’m sure. Novopay, Pike River, Christchurch rebuild, school class sizes, MSD kiosks, Sky City deals, private prison failures, Kim Dot Com, massive youth unemployment, WHAT MORE DOES LABOUR NEED TO GET OVER 33%?

          • Hami Shearlie 15.3.2.1.1

            Shearer should have realised that in politics you can’t live on past laurels! I don’t care how many mango skins he tossed out of trucks! Shearer may have been doing work for the U.N. but he was hardly Mother Teresa! People in his position in the U.N. are very very handsomely paid! I frankly couldn’t care less about his “illustrious backstory”! Very few seem interested in it from what I can see. Most people are more interested in New Zealand in the present day!

        • Sunny 15.3.2.2

          @ Julian. Shearer may be ready at some (distant) point in the future to campaign successfully in a General Election. Right now he is hopeless and must, if he has any integrity, step down.

          At the leadership meeting in Dunedin, after the tragic fiasco of the last election (and three years of a hopeless Labour leader) the two candidates were asked “If YOU are polling badly in a year’s time will you step aside?”

          A fair question, given that we had stood behind poor old useless Goff and seen him crash and burn, and one asked by a battle hardened old Labour Party worker from out of the city.

          Cunliffe took the mike and answered ‘Yes”. Shearer took the mike and said ” Um …err…um… mutter/waffle/ crap”.

          • Foreign Waka 15.3.2.2.1

            Yep, that about covers it. I would have voted Labour if Cunliff would have been in charge of the Finance/Economic potfolio. Remember, the reason Labour did so well with Clark was that she had a fantastic clever and intelligent finance minister. They could have done it again, but noooo it had to be ego first. And not necessarily Mr Cunliff’s. Voting green next time, someone got their Christmas wish.

  16. Hami Shearlie 16

    On “The Nation” today Shearer was asked if he was right wing or left wing. He didn’t give a definite answer to that question. So I’m still waiting to find out who he really is and what are his true beliefs in the world of NZ politics(not the opinions of his minions/puppeteers/minders). A very, very soft interview! There won’t be many more of those I would imagine.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      So I’m still waiting to find out who he really is and what are his true beliefs in the world of NZ politics

      Its whatever the speechwriters put in front of him on the day.

  17. Michael 17

    One person, one vote. Let the members decide who they want as their leader, not just the caucus. I think the idea is called “democracy”.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Even if it gets to the 40/40/20 stage, 34 MPs will have the same amount of say as thousands upon thousands of ordinary Party members.

  18. nz politics 18

    Has Mathew Who Town been hired to promote the narrative of the ABC?

    • Tim 18.1

      @ nz politics: Not sure but I reckon he and a few others should go spend some ‘quality toim’ with da kuds and just get over themselves.

  19. Shane Murphy 19

    Everytime I think of rejoining the party what do I see? An absolute lack of discipline and vision needed to weaken the Greens popularity (which comes from their ability to coherantly stay on topic and to have a consistent view than can be presented instantly to the media) amongst our natural voters. If we don’t gain the ability to be as articulate we will never have the numbers to oust National at the elections. The fact that this Government with its atrocious policies and incompetent Finance minister hold such a grip on the public should case concern. The caucuses spokespeople have to both know before the media asks what is likely to be asked and how to answer it with confidence. (Look to Jacinda Adern for adept media presentation). The party membership also needs to appear united and driven to replace the government and to present a legitimate alternative to what National isn’t offering. Constant bitching here plays into our enemies hands (think Mr fat fascist himself Whaleoil) and will be used to delude the public into seeing Labour as unelectable.

    For godsake unite and stay on message or face oblivion and see the Greens replace you as the natural centreleft party.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      and to have a consistent view than can be presented instantly to the media) amongst our natural voters.

      Not sure who Labour perceives as its “natural voters” any more, or what it is offering them.

    • Foreign Waka 19.2

      Already done. Many will switch because the circus is in town. The conversation here is almost superfluous really judging by the comments I hear whether at work or friends etc.

  20. tc 20

    Put it all behind you now, DS has no excuses if he doesn’t close the gap, present credibly, stop bumbling and put on a display that can be taken seriously by swinging voters.

    Trev, hoots etc have had their way so let the kids play, if they fail I take heart that it may see them wiped off the political stage for good.

  21. Jenny 21

    TV One Q&A today, ACTU head, Helen Kelly pulicly announces her support for David Shearer as leader of the Labour Party up to and beyond 2014.

    This makes any vote to unseat Shearer as head of the Labour Party very unlikely.

    This union support for David Shearer will ensure that the Labour Party will have a CCI leader into the election. But will the Labour leader’s silence on this issue, which is shaping up to be the most contentious issue of the age, be what is required for Labour to fire the imagination of the electorate?

    It is well known that Labour list MP Andrew Little, has a deep personal loathing for David Cunliffe. This personal hatred plus Little’s links to the EPMU, the CTU’s biggest private sector affiliated union, make it almost inevitable that the union umbrella organisation headed by Kelly would back Shearer.

    But deeper than this and the EPMU and Little’s loathing for Cunliffe comes not just from a personality clash (though this is a factor), it comes from the fact that a huge section of EPMU union fees comes from the heavily unionised fossil fuel sector. In the North Island, heavily concentrated around Little’s electorate of Taranaki.

    This right wing and conservative stand by the trade unions will increase the pressure within the Labour Party to cut all preferential ties to the union movement.

    Helen Kelly must be aware that if she continues leading unions down the track of partnership with big oil and big coal, it is inevitable that as the climate deteriorates she will accelerate the moves inside Labour Party to rid the Party of the trade union affiliates.

    In my opinion this would be a loss.

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      The unions backed the 40% vote at Conference, against the wishes of the ABC MPs.

      Also, the affiliate unions are a constitutional part of the Labour Party, no one is cutting any ties with them.

      Lastly, the global economic system 90% runs on fossil fuels. Without that energy source there is no global economic system.

    • Rogue Trooper 21.2

      insightful analyses Minerva and Hades, “but then what would I know Tim…uh huh…uh huh…and Jill knows you gave up your Hot Rod license?” Nice ONE!

      -anemoi (just a little breeze)

  22. Chooky 22

    As a Green voter I have listened to Mathew Hooten on National radio with interest. He bags Cunliffe viciously at every opportunity…particularly pulling the “egoist” argument ( who isnt?…and most great leaders do have supreme confidence in themselves).

    Listening over the last few weeks to other commentators from the conservative side of the fence….. I would say that National is very scared of David Cunliffe!!!!!…(not just the old guard in Labour).

    I would also say that since Helen Clark left…(and by God what a concerted campaign by the right there was to slander and oust her there was over a period of years!!!!)…. the Labour Party leadership has been pretty pathetic as an effective opposition party !

    State, universal free, high quality education?….Continuing Education?…these are being destroyed with neerie much of a cheep from Labour ‘leadership’.

    Undemocratic annexing of Christchurch and Ecan for business mates?……Leadership please.Opposition please!

    In truth the NZ Labour Party is a Liberal Party or a social Democrat Party …. a shadow party to National….just as Matthew wants it.

    Chooky

    • Tim 22.1

      @ Chooky …. re listening to Mathew Hooten on NatRad. You will have witnessed then what happens when he loses an argument. I feel embarrassed for the guy at times.
      uphill shit pushing
      It’s why I continue to wonder why they keep him on (other than he’s one of the talking heads on their list of rent-a-comment people.)

      • felix 22.1.1

        Odd, isn’t it?

        They pay him to come on the show and push the point of view that other people are paying him to push for them.

        It’s like paying an advertising agency for the privilege of being allowed to play their advertisements.

  23. Saarbo 23

    I reckon this is a significant Post/Comments, Journalists and the ABC brigade need to sit down and read this slowly and carefully.

    As the dust settles from the Conference it is abundantly clear that Cunliffe/”Team Cunliffe” did not have any plot to carry out a coup. No evidence exists.

    Warwick Rodger used to tell his Journalists something to this affect  “make sure you are clear why your informants are telling you something, understand their agenda”.

    Hooten, Garner, Gower, etc were fed information, not by the so called “Team Cunliffe” but by the ABC Brigade. The media were played like a fish and the victim is Labour and David Cunliffe. 

    Well if Labour is about Fairness and Equity then this is not over yet.

    • Chooky 23.1

      Chooky

      @ Tim….That cunning rooster Hooten doesnt fool some of us but he does fool many others!!!…(eg He said it would be Goff’s finest hour if he dealt severely with Chris Carter and this could be the making of Goff…Next day Goff sacked Chris Carter! …Last heard, Carter was in Afganistan…. Talk about shooting the messenger!…the warning squawker got the chop…and so did Labour)

      Where was the Labour Leadership when National withdrew $60 million from Community Continuing Education and gave it directly to their mates in private schools?? The Labour Leader should have been attacking National like a ferret without let up…but scarcely a cheep at this transfer of wealth …a daylight robbery.

      ( Christchurch women have significant problems with depression ( Ch Ch Press) These women are the supporters of families and others in the community. Continuing Education provided a ray of hope, respite, sustenance , social connectedness for all, regardless of finance and formal education …..a place to learn new skills and make new friends from all walks of life , in a neutral environment . It was particularly important for the lonely, the newly dislocated, the disenchanted, newly divorced, new immigrants, alienated youth …or those simply wanting to acquire a new skill or extend a hobby….Now it is gone to private schools…..Where was/is Labour Leadership opposition?

  24. Nu? 24

    This is my first post, and it will quite possibly be my last. I have, in concert with a very large cohort of educated and politically astute voters, an abiding interest in ensuring that we as informed voters are given leadership that will enable us to continue as a species. It is clear that the current travails of the Labour Party are a distraction from what should be the the more immediate goals of good Social Democracy – a fair shake of the stick for all. It’s sometimes called co-democracy and it’s a helluva good idea. I am a member of the Labour Party because it is the only party that has had a track record of promoting those ideals, but I will not limitlessly support the party because of its history.

    The parliamentary wing of the party has become sodden with a monumental hubris, and this is a dangerous thing. My left-leaning friends and their families are poised on the cusp of a cataclysmic desertion of the Labour Party. The reason for this is clear – Mr Shearer is not the person who will deliver us a Labour Government. No bluster or snake oil in the form of Media Coaches will make it so. Nor will he bring us a workable coalition with other parties of the left. He is, at best, a competent administrator. He doesn’t have the ability or the wit to stand against the forces of brainless reaction that define the Right-wing agenda as exemplified by that slick schlemiel Mr Key. In order to retain the votes, and services, of these thoughtful and intelligent voters the members of Caucus will need to give up their antipathies in the service of the greater good. David Cunliffe may not be their choice, but it is undeniable that the Party at large want him as leader to give us a shot at doing what we all want – to lead a fair and prosperous society into the brave new millennium.

    • Chrissy 24.1

      Thanks for your first/ last post nu? Cheers to you and the others who, whatever side they are on, have said we need to take a deep breath and pull ourselves together somehow.

      What you make clearer to me and I hope others is that there are hundreds and thousands of articulate folk like yourself out there, people who dont regularly spar on the Standard, but are intelligent, caring, committed social democrat voters.

      All these good people have a view, and occasionally they speak it publicly. It’s real and fresh and thank whatever that we get to hear it.

      And I think it’s fair to say that in many of their/ your opinion of the current situation is a bit of a disaster. What I hear from these reasoned voices is that there has been a heady, blustery and divisive rush to judgement (or to try to seize early advantage), and that we all need to sit down and give consideration and deliberation a chance.

      You want us to rise above caucus antipathies and be able to unite around a leader: to have a leader who we have voted for, and who can unite us, not one put there by a divisive process.

      Everyone bar the Tory press and commentariat is pretty pleased with where Labour’s democratisation has gotten us. There are things to tweak- I’d like to see an automatic leadership spill after a loss, and no confidence vote at all after a win- but things are patently looking better now.

      Here’s what David Shearer in His Shearer Says column says about the new situation: “We have made important and necessary changes to our organisation and how we select our leader that will see us be more open, democratic and membership-driven”.

      He is right. People can join the party knowing they will be able to work to change policy through a clear process, and to participate in electing a leader we can all agree has a strong mandate. Already we have seen a leader’s speech from David Shearer that moved away from loopy ideas generated by pollsters in the previous leaders’ office- things like no GST on fruit and veges- to much better deliberated polices, in the economy, in housing.

      These are policies that will be supported by the kinds of platform building process we can have, and which the centre and left of the party can create a strong consensus and unite around.

      MPs and leaders will have strong incentives to come up with such policies: without them, they will appear out of touch with the party base. And that, for once, will actually matter.

      Lots of good will happen here: but surely we need to benefit from it sooner rather than later.

      My thing is, let’s do what we’ve set up: let’s let “the way we select our leader … see us be more open, democratic and membership-driven”. In other words I agree with the people writing here who are saying, we need to do this now.

      We badly need to see the “more open democratic and membership driven” process in action. I’d say yes we should do it in February.

      But now, let’s hear from the people who dont think this is a good idea, and why. I really havent heard a single strong argument from that side yet. Certain Matthew Hootin in here hasnt produced any. Maybe they are thinking time and ignoring the issue will somehow solve it.

      And let’s hear too from the other folk like you, Nu? For God’s sake, above all, let’s hear from more people like you.

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