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A two horse race

Written By: - Date published: 6:50 am, December 4th, 2011 - 194 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, labour - Tags:

So we (apparently) now have a two way race for the Labour leadership.  Much of the newspaper reporting on the contest has been at the level of football gossip, so it takes a while to work out which are the gems of truth, and which are the rumours heard by the guy next to someone at the pub.

But now Labour have a distinct choice for their future direction:

Shearer, the inexperienced candidate in need of media training, but who has a powerful team around him and would be a clean break for those swing voters for some reason wanting to move on from the glorious Clark government.  He has a fabulous backstory that inspires.  Running Iraq for the UN must show some serious leadership skills.  And if the rumours are true1 and Grant Robertson is backing him, having David Parker as a policy and strategy guru and Robertson in charge of political management (Robertson was effectively H3 behind Heather Simpson for a chunk of the Clark government) would be a powerful combo.  Shearer’s inexperience would mean that (like Key) he’d have to rely much more on his team for practical matters, and let his ministers get on with things – Key has actually been much more prime-ministerial (vs presidential) than recent leaders in his actual running of the country, even if his image has transformed National into ‘the Key party‘.


Cunliffe, the already complete candidate.  A great communicator, intelligent (Fulbright Scholar), and on top of the financials and policy.  A proven performer, both as an orator and as a minister (his telecoms reform draws praise from a wide spectrum2). Ready to go from day one, he’ll keep National to task. Does he have the team around him as much?  He’d certainly be a stronger leader – for better or worse depending on your perspective.  Raised by the Red Reverend of Timaru, and experienced both as a management consultant and a diplomat, he brings his own impressive backstory with him – even if a little less heroic than Shearer’s amazing tales from Mogadishu to Baghdad.

One candidate is a gamble – it may pay off big time, but there’s also a chance things don’t work…  The other is a powerful contender, whichever way things go.  It’s a tough choice, between 2 great men – both very intelligent, hard working and wanting the best for all Kiwis.

I’m changing my mind regularly which one I want – but in reality it’s not my decision, and I’ll be very happy with either.  Discussion’s been hot on The Standard so far – and with the debates across the Nation (and on The Nation) this week, we’ll have more to chew on.  Any fresh thoughts?

1 Audrey: “would represent a return to a more pragmatic party, with less emphasis on gays and feminists” – because all this election’s policies were about the gays and the feminists.  No Asset Sales to help teh gayz.  Capital Gains Tax for the wymynfolk.  GST off fruit and vege for the lesbians…  Just because Labour cares about minorities as fellow Kiwis (and women aren’t a minority…) doesn’t mean they can’t think about anything else – as 9 years of surpluses and raised living standards for all New Zealanders showed.

And I also need to comment on Duncan Garner and others “Labour have 3 Davids, but no Goliath” type comments.  Does anyone in the media remember how that contest ended?

Media exasperation rant over…

2 Pun intended.

194 comments on “A two horse race ”

  1. Mr Cunliffe is an open book to LP members. What does Mr Shearer stand for? And, in this context, how can we choose a ‘blank page’ simply in hope?

  2. tc 2

    Cunliffe will drive them to victory whereas shearer is the old guard just hasnt been an MP that long……exactly what labour don’t want in more of the old guard and a riskier choice.

    New thinking in DC and a man key and his backers fear……that’s why farrar has been pumping for shearer.

    No brainer IMO Cunliffe and he deserves the chance so we can all move on and focus on the great NZ drill it, mine it, flog it mantra thats the only one the Nats know.

  3. Tigger 3

    I’ve stopped reading leadership commentary. Will only discuss it with other party members now. I don’t give a fuck what Farrar or McCarten think. But I care what others who I know put in hard yards for Labour think.

    • Bunji 3.1

      Yes, I take Farrar & other Right-wingers endorsement of Shearer as neither positive or negative. More just plain stirring. There’s no guessing their motivations – Farrar had on twitter that he rated Shearer, so he backed him so Labour wouldn’t pick him. Is that a bluff, a double-bluff? Who cares.

      Labour needs to work this out itself, not worry about opponents’ viewpoints.

      • felix 3.1.2

        Yep, it’s about time everyone stopped giving a damn what the National party trolls say about anything. It doesn’t matter if they’re bluffing or double-bluffing or reverse psychologising or just plain old bullshitting or – and it’s unlikely but possible – actually saying what they think.

        It’s all irrelevant to the task at hand. Time to give them exactly the amount of attention they warrant.

  4. Dr Livingstone 4

    I have been involved in every election since 1978 for the Labour Party I am a dyed in the wool supporter and life member I am one of hundreds and thousands of Party workers who unceasingly deliver leaflets and fundraise knock on doors etc I like aspects of both candidates but What I really want to know is who has that X Factor and is going to be the one to articuate to the Youth and Undecided voters?Who has the balls to encourage oldtimer M.Ps past their use by date to retire to bring new blood forward? I would have preferred more talking with the membership whilst Phil & Annette were Caretaker Leaders.However I look forward to the opportunity to meet the teams.

    • Carol 4.1

      Listening to the debate on he Nation. Shearer comes across as a nice guy.

      When Shearer refused to say who he’d have in his front bench, it struck me that he’s not in control of his team. He’s not calling the shots. It seems to me that Robertson and/or Parker will be in control of Shearer’s leadership and allocation of jobs, at least from the start… and if Shearer should want to change that later, there’d be friction.

      • the sprout 4.1.1

        indeed, and how could he be in control of anything after 2.5 years on the job?
        he will be the puppet not the leader. 

        • Zetetic

          And the worry is that he will be the puppet of the people who have overseen a 35% decline in the number of people voting Labour in the past 6 years.

          I think Shearer’s great in and of himself. The worry is who has put him up.

          Countering that, if Mallard et al don’t get their way, would they make life hell for Cunliffe if he was leader?

          • Carol

            Cunliffe is highly motivated and hard working. If he can channel that to finding a way to win the leadership, he has the wherewithall to neutralise those within Labour who would try to work against him.

      • Olwyn 4.1.2

        I have just watched Q & A, and have changed my mind. I initially thought Shearer, now I hope Cunliffe wins, because he has declared his position, and it is a left-leaning position. Both the fact hat it is left-leaning, and the fact that he is unequivocal about has made my my mind up.

      • Grassroot 4.1.3


    • Grassroot 4.2


  5. Lanthanide 5

    I don’t really know enough about them as people to judge who’d be better. I was in favour of Parker. although his rather high registered voice didn’t stand him in good stead.

    I think Cunliffe is lacking in a bit of charisma, though. He certainly has the facts and the gravitas during an interview like Helen did (moreso than Goff), but he’s probably also a bit boring, especially compared to Key who seems happy to blab out anything as long as it sounds good.

    I think if Shearer got chosen, simply because he is so new, if they had to change horse mid-race they’d be in a much better position to do so. But if Cunliffe takes over, then they’ll be stuck with him up till the next election, much as we appeared to be stuck with Goff, even if he’s not polling particularly well.

  6. Timemaster 6

    I have to agree with all of the above.

    The Right and the Commentators have made their decision and declared a Shearer leadership fait accompli. Only he has the story and the background to do the job.

    It reeks of the National Party and meaningless commentators trying to orchestrate an outcome for their own benefit. The media get a nice story – the dark horse coming through the middle. But what benefit do the Tories get?

    The whole thing makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

    • Olwyn 6.1

      It is all leaving me rather uneasy as well. Not to mention the introduction of the Americanism “running mate,” and the form of discussion that goes with what I think the Americans call a “primary,” following on National’s presidential-style campaign. It seems that we now have a new form of party-leader choosing hoopla slipping into place. Another crypto-democratic process for spinmeisters to stick their oar into.

      • Anthony 6.1.1

        I agree, I just don’t see the point of it when there is no meaningful democracy in the final choice.

        Sure the candidates gain some profile but they would anyway being the new leader of the opposition.

  7. Carol 7

    Watching qu & a… Cunliffe – red tie…

    … Shearer – blue & yellow tie …. WTF?!

    Cunliffe would look at re-nationalisation of state assets.

  8. Wild Colonial Boy 8

    I refuse to buy the narrative of a contest between Cunliffe and Shearer.

    The buck has to stop with someone, but we need both of them – we need both sets of sets of skills.

    We also need Nania Mahuta, which is why the pre-selection of a running partner by Cunliffe seems strange and is a distraction. It is also a comment on his judgement. She does not look comfortable.

    In short, we need someone with the financial, legal, and forensic skills to hold Key-Joyce to account, and someone who has experience in rebuilding shattered communities and an appeal to the broader public.


  9. I despair at the hopes being held by many, that Shearer can lead the Labour Party.

    • Craig Glen Eden 9.1

      Cunliffe dealt to Shearer again this time on Q and A, can you imagine what Key would do to him in a real debate. No wonder National want Shearer if it happens Labour has no show of winning in 2014.

      As for a fresh face who’s behind Shearer? Goff, King, Mallard, O’Conner, this lot did their best in this last election and we got a shelacking which has resulted in fewer Labour Mps and fewer resources. Shearer maybe a fresh face but he is the face of a puppet.

  10. Bob Harper 10

    Both David Shearer and David Cunliffe have the potential to be excellent leaders of the opposition and to be a future Prime Minister of New Zealand. However, the New Zealand public find David Shearer the more acceptable candidate – the person they feel they can relate to. Labour – listen and learn from the recent past events – it’s possibly the last chance to bring the Party back into government.

    • Hanswurst 10.1

      I have difficulty understanding how the New Zealand public can think anything too specific about David Shearer, seeing as he is virtually unknown to most of them.

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      However, the New Zealand public find David Shearer the more acceptable candidate – the person they feel they can relate to.

      Following on from what Hanwurst said…apart from his own electorate constituents and people in the tertiary education sector for which he was spokesman for…Shearer has been Mr Invisible.

      When and where have “the New Zealand public” had a chance to find out that “they can relate to” him, and his foreign aid missions in war torn countries?

    • red blooded 10.3

      Who says the public think this? On what grounds are we making this judgement? It seems to me that we haven’t heard ‘the public’ speak – we have heard a few (basically conservative-minded) commentators having their say.

      Yes, Shearer has a great back-story. Hell, he may be a great guy and a great potential leader, but as a member of ‘the public’, I haven’t seen that demonstrated yet, and I’ve been watching and listening to all the interviews and debates. Frankly, the guy presents as indecisive and rambling: he needs to be more incisive and sure of his message.

      I started off instinctively keen on Shearer, but Cunliffe has impressed me as a better communicator, more sure of his ground more ready for (at least the public aspect of) the job. Maybe there are elements of their personalities that only their colleagues can judge, and yes, in the best of both worlds you would take Shearer’s backstory and Cunliffes’ political and communication skills and meld them together, but at this point anyway, I think I’m more impressed with Cunliffe.

      Having said that, I do understand the thinking that says “Fight fresh-faced high-achieving newbie with fresh-faced high-achieving newbie.”

  11. Carol 11

    Shearer’s talk of getting the feel of “ordinary” Kiwi views by having a few beers and chatting to people around a barbie…. that’s so 20th century, masculinist thinking about your average Kiwi, and it’s not something I connect with. No wonder it’s a hit with some of the old guy has-beens like Tamahere. A commendation by Tamahere is a negative one IMO.

    It’s also also a style of leadership that’s going stale with Key. And if the rumours are true that Key will stand down before 2014, Shearer’s personal style will not be relevant when opposing Mr Smarmy Joyce.

  12. David 12

    Got to watch them both on Q+A Sunday morning: Espiner, to his credit, made it into a real grill by media, something like question time perhaps. Both had their strengths. Shearer started v. well, and conviction came through, making about 60% good emotional cut through points, though not relishing the immediate cut and thrust. Seemed friendlier to private capital. Cunliffe stunning, basically on all fronts: watch this if you have any doubts about this guy. The panel couldnt quite bring themselves to acknowledge Cunliffe had won hands down: avoiding discussing what had happened, a bit like the panels after Goff slew Key in debates. Helen Kelly, interestingly, thought it could either way. Txts from viewers overwhelmingly pro Cunliffe. Cunliffe scoring points (but probly losing them with others!!) by pointing out Shearer aint that new in the sense that his backers are Labour’s old leadership team! This really is turning into the kind of primary race lots of us asked for!!

    • Carol 12.1

      And Shearer, having been an invisible MP during the last term, couldn’t answer who Labour’s climate change spokesperson was….. duh!

    • neoleftie 12.2

      one wonders if the plan to have a labour leadership roadshow / campaign in the open sphere could also backfire to some degree…
      the two D’s claim unity and friendship but one wonders at the movement and string pulling behind the scenes.
      I did note cunliffe jab at robertson on ‘the nation’ programme to as being inexperienced.

      here’s my problem…
      who ever win the battle might actaully lose the long term war for labour with divisions and seeding resentment within caucus.
      Cunliffe has signalled change and a focus to capture voters outside the 27%- 30% core voter.
      Shearer simply states ‘no deals on positions yet’ and look at me…i’m fresh and new.

      Its the battle of the two fresh prince’s of mid labour.
      One brand new with old hands behind and one old hand but with fresh direction…

      My dream team…
      long term leader – shearer.
      deputy – robertson ( health or education )
      deputy – cunliffe. ( finance )
      mallard and little as party triggermen
      parker – policy creation and strategy.

      three way power structure with in labour will unite it more than a polarised newbe leader / old faction deputy and provides more option, more power and stability.
      Needs a change in constitution i think to have two deputies.

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.1

        This leadership struggle will stress and strain caucus, for sure. But we will get the strongest leadership team out of it, one forged through the heat and pressure of true contest.

    • Chris Oden 12.3

      I have read recently that Cunliffe has “been on the phone to Helen”. How can he say that Shearer is being backed by the “old guard” when you couln’t get “older guard” than Helen.

      • Blue 12.3.1

        You must have missed the part where Shearer said he has also contacted Helen and asked to meet with her when she is next in NZ.

        • Culchie Kev

          But Shearer went on to say she couldn’t see him due a family committment. So Cunliffe gets to discuss withher but Shearer doesn’t. So who is closer to the old guard?

  13. gingercrush 13

    I love the delusions of the online left-wing. Seriously you’re worried abour process. Blame Labour. They put in the process and the media are reporting it. You can’t blame the media for everything. It just gets stupid.

    The only real problem with Labour and the media is while there are heaps of left-wing columnists and opinion pieces. There are no opinions that come from Labour, well except for Tamihere (who I imagine has very few Labour connections anymore). John Pagani and Matt McCarten both came from Alliance. Gordon Campbell, the Greens. Tim Watkins is left-wing but a Labour voter? Doubtful. The closest thing to Labour is Brian Edwards who pops up on The Panel now and then. Nobody in medialand are connected to the Labour. Left-wing sure, Labour no, National does have Labour over that in spades. But that doesn’t imply bias like you all seem to think it is.

    Anyway Slater is writing some interesting things on his blog at the moment. I’m beginning to like his blog more and more now days. There is still some petty stuff. But he’s doing a better job than the media is when it comes to the Labour leadership. (That’s another thing I’ll agree with you lot on, the media are terrible. But bias, no.)

    • felix 13.1

      I think you’re right, but I’m not sure who you were directing it at – I don’t see anyone blaming the media for everything. Different thread maybe?

      Good observation about left commentators though. I’d add that Tamihere hasn’t been Labour for a long time, he even voted National in 2008.

    • David 13.2

      Helen Kelly comes from genuine/ deep Labour, and she was interesting on Q+A this morning: wouldnt call it either way. The rest, agreed, are painfully superficial/ fashion-led (Holmes), shallow and predictable (McCarten on average), or, worse, vindictive with six headed axes to grind (Pagani, Tamihere, Trotter at his worst). Bring back Rob Salmond! Recruit Michael Cullen!

      Hilarious fun reading old Debroah Coddington posts on Pundit this morning: In the Real Leadership Challenge ahead, Goff had better look out for Andrew Little, because what Andrew wants, he gets. Hmm.

  14. AnnaLiviaPlurabella 14

    Why can’t the the panelists get it? They are so busy trying to be prescient, trying to be the clever one that spotted the outsider coming from behind.. The are blinkered to the the fact that Cunliffe is many furlongs out front. Do they get paid for that level of incompetence????

    But Dunkin Gardner: the answer is simpler there; low IQ and low EQ, combined with a high salary. A dangerous concoction indeed.

  15. Shearer needs to do the right thing and withdraw to support Cunliffe.

    • the sprout 15.1

      hear hear.
      when those afflicted finally awaken from their delusion, they will realize that’s what a politically untalented newbie, who hasn’t been in politics for even one whole term but who’s arrogant enough to challenge for the leadership, ought to do. 

    • Grassroot 15.2

      Totally agree. 

  16. nadis 16

    oh dear…. after that Shearer performance on Q+A…… this is no longer a two horse race. For pure entertainment value I would like to see Shearer as leader – he would get absolutely shredded in the house. When he was stumbling around the Brendon Burns answer it was just embarrassing. His only chance was to man up and say “i dont know”. The verdict on Shearer – nice but uninspiring and ineffectual.

    Is it too late for the Mallard/King etc clique to throw another candidate into the ring? Seriously, if the labour caucus chooses Shearer over Cunliffe they are on drugs, and clearly making a choice motivated by personal self interest and not what is best for their party.

    And can someone explain to us why Nania Mahuta? I can’t see she has done anything useful except trade on the silver spoon she was born with? Can’t find anything remotely resembling an achievement on line. She’s 31, been a student in social anthropology (!) and a politician. If she wasnt related to the maori king she’d be nowhere near parliament. Her flip-flopping on the f&S act was fantastic -vote against, vote against, but when it really counts meekly follows the party line and doesnt have the spine to follow Turia.

    If Mahuta is purely about locking in the tainui vote – i get that. But is that all she has? She is really the number 2 quality caucus menmber in labour? Seriously? If Labour needs a maori quota on the leadership ticket at least go for Shane Jones – he is one of the few with the ability to mix it up verbally with the govt, he has decent pre-politics credentials, and he has the ability to connect with the wider population.

    • Wild Colonial Boy 16.1


    • Carol 16.2

      Mahuta has provided quality, but not outstanding, performance in several cabinet portfolios and shadow cabinet spokesperson roles. She can speak very well and assertively in parliament, and really took it to and out did Tamahere last week. Basically, that’s a much stronger performance by far than anything we’ve seen from Shearer.

  17. Shona 17

    The ideal team to lead would be Cunliffe Parker Mahuta. Why not 2 deputies as in the when Anne Hercus was no 3 in cabinet? Mahuta is a smart choice. She has far more Mana than she’s being credited with here.
    She has a wealth of powerful and influential ties throughout Maoridom due to her her status in Tainui She is far better educated than Shane Jones . If she appears nervous it is because she is young and emotionally scarred from losing her first child during 2008. and being naturally protective of her son now. This advance up the ranks has also come sooner than she wanted naturally but it has always been expected of her. She just needs some media training.
    If Cunliffe is prepared to nationalise assets there will be 5 votes from this house for Labour next time.

    • nadis 17.1

      you’ll have to find another way to get your 5 votes back to labour. cunliffe aint stupid, if labour even raises the prospect of nationalisation we can kiss any pretensions of first world status goodbye. Now a policy to buy them back – fine, but nationalisation? You may dislike or want to ignore grown-ups concepts like “international capital flows”, “banks”, “government bonds”, “debt”, “current account deficit”, “private sector borrowing”, “mortgage rates” etc, but unless you are prepared for a 20% shock to your standard of living go right and and punitively nationalise companies. I will donate $100 to a charity of your choice if the leader of the labour party ever implements a policy of nationalisation (that would only be about 20 australian dollars at the then prevailing exchange rate).

      One other point Shona – do some research before you make completely stupid unsupportable statements: “She is far better educated than Shane Jones”

      Mahuta: Masters in Social Anthropology (whatever that is) from auckland university, list MP at age 25.

      Jones: Masters in Public Administration from Harvard university, chair of Waitangi fisheries commision

      • Carol 17.1.1

        To be fair, I’m pretty sure Cunliffe said, “will consider buying them back”. I guess that means as SOEs rather than full nationalisation. I interpreted it as “renationalisation.”

      • lprent 17.1.2

        I believe that she has been doing a PhD as well

      • Shona 17.1.3

        yeah nadis i know nothin about money. Debt free asset rich I’m a kiwi who chooses to live in Nz with an income derived from outside of Nz. I’m a right ingoramus.And like this money thing is soooo complicated.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.4

        if labour even raises the prospect of nationalisation we can kiss any pretensions of first world status goodbye

        Yeah, because kowtowing to the international banksters and financial fraudsters whose sole aim is to take control of strategic hard assets around the world somehow gives us ‘first world status’.

  18. Carol 18

    I suspect Shearer is getting so much positive coverage because he appeals to older guys, who dominate the political commentariate in the MSM.

    They should try getting more diverse views… from women and young people!

    • Deadly_NZ 18.1

      As an Older guy I see the same. And after the debacle that was the disaffected voter not even bothering to vote. And I reckon you need some young blood in there as yes wield a big sword, cut out the ‘old’ faces Even Ruth Dysons new hair do, does not work in the age reduction stakes, and all you grey, and balding guys a rug or a colour job does not make you look younger.

  19. felix 19

    If Shearer has such broad cross-party appeal, and could beat John Key…

    …then why doesn’t he run for National?

  20. I suspect a few nutjob media hacks are feeling guilty for helping vote the self serving Key in and looking to offset that with a false social conscience in trying to buy into Shearers legendary humanitarian achievements and promote him as the nation’s feelgood factor.

    Shearers a convenient distraction but seriously, if it’s horse for courses then theres only one horse with the legs and form to take on Key and English and it ain’t Shearer.

    • lprent 20.1

      More basic than that. There is nothing that a journo likes more than a good story. There is no better story than the rise from nowhere, reaching the peak of local existence with accolades from all and then discovering the feet of clay and tumbling back to where they came from. Out of all of the story lines around (journos only have a limited repitore which increase by about one storyline per 20 years) that is the one that gives the longest run and the most column inches

      Of course journos are quite happy to provide support, comment, and even evidence for all three stages.

  21. Afewknowthetruth 21

    To be of any use Labour needs a leader who understands the exponential function.


    Professor Al Bartlett begins his one-hour talk with the statement, “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

    To have anything to offer the people of NZ (and especially next generation) the Labour leader needs to understand:

    1. how the money system works and why it is close to the point of catastrophic failure (which is inherent in the system).

    2. that everything is dependent on energy and that the liquid fuel energy system has peaked.

    3. that we are living in a world of declining EROEI (so it would be useful if the leader knew what EROEI means).

    4. that economic growth , in the orthodox sense, is the problem not the answer

    5. that global economic growth no longer possible because of energy and resource contraints.

    6. that economic growth is undesirable because of the damage it does to the environment, both locally and globally.

    7. that without an intact ennvironment everyone is eventually ‘screwed’

    As far as I can tell the above criteria rule out all contenders.

    Politics being what it is, it would be a fair asumption that Labour will select a leader who will offer more of the same -someone who ‘won’t rock the boat as it moves along the last stretch of water towards Niagra Falls’ [from the Canadian side], someone who promoses ‘regional dvelopment’, economic growth, more jobs, better jobs …. all the usual unattainble goals and oxymorons we’ve been hearing for the past couple of decades as everything that matters gets worse by the day.


    • nadis 21.1

      The problem with an Al Bartlett/Hubbert/Club of Rome etc etc etc type analysis is that it always assumes paramaters remain constant. Having read the paper you linked to (many years ago), I remain shocked and surprised that the USA still has a domestic oil production industry given it should have run out around 1998.

      I absolutely agree we live in a hydrocarbon resource constrained world, but the constraint is more about price than supply which raises plenty of questions but not necessarily the same ones you bang on about. The US has hundreds of years of supply of hydrocarbons (natural gas). The US has also made some of the largest crude finds in the last 10 years. Interestingly these arent new fields but the use of technology to enhance the yields from existing or previously depleted fields.

      The world will never run out of hydrocarbon energy. It may run out of $100 a barrel oil. The best thing for our society and environment (in the long run) would be oil at $500 a barrel. It will likely never get there as we have around 300 years of crude oil supply at current demand at a cost of less than $150 per barrel – Venezuela, Canada, mid-west USA.)

      But at a seriously high oil price all kinds of seriously useful technologies (space based generation for instance) come into play. The R&D incentive at those levels will spur a massive tech investment creating an energy equivalent of the silicon revolution.

      You see a world of bleakness, famine and disaster based on a naive application of (exp). I see the human spirit adapting and surviving. If your multiply your exponential demand growth by a logarithmic improvement in efficiency, the world aint such a pollyanna-ish place.

      • nadis 21.1.1

        If you want to read some seriously good insight about resources, depletion adaption etc read some of Jeremy Grantham’s newsletters. Way more sophisticated and insightful than the bartlett pap.

        Particularly try and find copies of his Q1 2011 newsletters – I cant see them on the site perhaps need to log in. His analysis of timber in the 18th century and parallels to oil in the 21st century are very intriguing.


        • Colonial Viper

          Grantham usually takes his newsletters off his site once they are no longer current. They are still around on the web however. Yes, he had some insightful things to say about resource depletion. Nowhere did he say that he believed we have 300 years oil left. In fact, his position is that the negative effects of energy depletion can be expected to continue worsening over the next few years.

      • Colonial Viper 21.1.2

        The best thing for our society and environment (in the long run) would be oil at $500 a barrel. It will likely never get there as we have around 300 years of crude oil supply at current demand at a cost of less than $150 per barrel – Venezuela, Canada, mid-west USA.)


        Oil at between $100 to $150/barrel means no more economic growth per capita, just economic decline.

        Oh by the way, the reason oil won’t reach $500/barrel is not because we have ‘300 years’ supply or whatever daft claim you are making. It is because economic decline will cause demand destruction for oil as no economy will be able to pay for oil at that price and subsequently will have to go without.

      • Lanthanide 21.1.3

        It will likely never get there as we have around 300 years of crude oil supply at current demand at a cost of less than $150 per barrel – Venezuela, Canada, mid-west USA.)

        Actually this is not true and a fundamental mistake a lot of people make when talking about these resources.

        The production rate of these resources is really quite low. I believe Canada want to get up to 4m barrels/day by 2020 from their tar sands. That’s just short of 5% of the current daily global production of all liquids of 85m barrels/day. I don’t know what the extraction rates of Venezuela and mid-west USA are but I don’t imagine they’ll be orders of magnitude better than Cananda (which has been in production for at least a decade now).

        As always, peak oil is a problem with the rate of extraction, not the total amount available. When you fall off the top of rate peak, you start having serious problems.

        Sure, maybe we could ramp up production of Canadian oil, and others, dramatically. Maybe we could get up to 8m barrels from Canada by 2020 instead. But this costs money. Which in turn means the oil you’re producing no longer costs $150/barrel, maybe it now costs $200-225/barrel. This is assuming it’s even physically possible – they may simply not have the fresh water or other inputs available to process at that rate and throwing money at the problem won’t make nature rain more.

        The other problem with heavy tar sands is the EROEI as AFKTT has alluded to. I’m sure you’re familiar with this, but it really should not be forgotten. Producing 8m barrels from Canada doesn’t help you out a whole lot if the EROEI means it’s only the energetic equivalent of 3-4m of heavy sour Saudi.

        The big numbers on paper for the tar sands etc resources may look comforting, but as always the devil is in the details.

        • Afewknowthetruth


          Well said.

          Also, an important point frequently overlooked by those who tell us how ‘huge’ reserves are is that, by and large, all the best oil has been consumed. Much of what is left is heavy and sour (or isn’t really oil at all but is kerogen).

          Couple that with the fact that much of the unexploited reserve is under kilometres of rock that is under kilometres of water, it is easy to see why much of it will never be recovered.

    • johnm 21.2

      Hi AFKKTT
      Yes of course you’re correct but any leader who tells the Public these truths and seeks to radically change the way we do things would be committing political suicide along with his party. The problem is the Public, they don’t know and they don’t want to know and nobody feels up to trying to convert them.
      Joe Public want jobs, income, housing and to raise a family it’s incomprehensible to them that the current order is finished. They couldn’t even vote in Labour’s sensible policies to help less fortunate kiwis. The Public are self-centered and selfish and have been trained to dump what was a kiwi egalitarian conscience. Our Government including local are infected with Privatization madness so they can earn their big salaries with the minimum of public concern and responsibility. We live in the time of “I am alright” and I could have a lot more if I didn’t have to share with those bludging bennies. This selfishness is so far gone they see nothing wrong in voting for a currency speculator who is a millionaire 50 times over and has a house in Hawaii.

  22. Half Crown Millionare 22

    I have just seen on this mornings party political broadcast on behalf of the National party called The Nation. Plunket interviewing Shearer and Cunliffe about their reasons why they should be the next Labour leader.
    I can see why the right wing bloggers are favouring Shearer. Plunket this morning was more or less supporting the same spin by drawing attention to the YouTube video of Cunliffe at Avondale Market which the right love to advise people to see. Cunliffe handled that blow with comfort and was also brilliant the way he answered Plunket when he asked what he was talking to Helen Clark about and answered, “none of your business”. Plunket for once was lost for words.
    To me Shearer came over as a very nice honorable guy with good manners etc., but he has not got that killer instinct or experience that Cunliffe has. The right would love Shearer as leader as he will be dog tucker with the MSM and he will not be a match for Key. In fact we could end up with another Bill Rowling vs. Muldoon scenario where everybody thought Rowling was weak and this was played on by the Right.
    No doubt Shearer is a very nice guy, but at the moment we don’t need a nice guy, for the sake of the country we need someone who will take the fight to Key and shove it right up him and the media. Cunliffe has those qualifications.

    • mik e 22.1

      HCM totally agree we need a bit of ruthlessness and Cunliffe has that as well as the no messing around attitude That Kiwis like.

  23. This is bullshit.

    All this shit about Shearer is just Labour being owned by National.
    Someone who is employed by the UN to clean up after Western Terrorist invasions is no hero in my eyes.
    He’s a do gooder mercenary bureaucrat doing the job that should be done by the people themselves. The UN is a front organisation for Western Imperialism.

    Having a leadership contest in public is just a clown act in the John Key circus.

    If Labour is going to have the balls to stand up and say NOW they will renationalise all privatised assets WITHOUT COMPENSATION they would win back their lost voters and win over many of the disenfranchised and pissed off youth and retire Winston Peters permanently.

    Meanwhile to stop the sell off now we will need to OCCUPY THE ASSETS.

    Will Labour be for or against direct action to occupy the assets?

    • Vicky32 23.1

      Someone who is employed by the UN to clean up after Western Terrorist invasions is no hero in my eyes.
      He’s a do gooder mercenary bureaucrat doing the job that should be done by the people themselves. The UN is a front organisation for Western Imperialism.

      Despite that Shearer’s my local MP I agree with you…

      If Labour is going to have the balls to stand up and say NOW they will renationalise all privatised assets WITHOUT COMPENSATION they would win back their lost voters and win over many of the disenfranchised and pissed off youth and retire Winston Peters permanently.

      + 1

  24. coolas 25

    Parker’s move to pull out and ‘manage’ Shearer stinks, especially after his righteous speel on CloseUp the night before. It’s not a good start for Shearer.

    I don’t think Nats so much want Shearer. Rather they definitely do not want Cunliffe, who will be a deadly adversary.

    At first I thought Shearer would be sound compromise but no longer. He couldn’t answer the simple question, ‘What are your weaknesses?’ on CloseUp, and he rolled out the sound bite comparing Key’s $50m to his 50m souls. WTF. The more I see and hear Shearer the more uncomfortable I feel. He seems a blank product ready for ‘branding.’ There’s the backstory made for the media: MBE from the Brits and citations from the UN, but right now he’s bland and dull. Maybe Parker can introduce him to grooming and exfoliating and he can be crafted to charm the media to become Labour’s Nice Guy v’s National’s Smile.

    In contrast Cunliffe has substance. He gives detailed answers to every question he’s asked and has clear policy direction. Reminds me of Clark in this respect. Remember her? Rather than distance itself from the Clark leadership, I think Labour should honour the link, not least, because when the Key brand comes apart and the Emperor stands naked, people will remember her nine years with nostalgia.

    • pollywog 25.1

      Robertson needs to jump ship again to Cunliffe …

      NOW if he knows whats good for him.

    • AnnaLiviaPlurabella 25.2

      @Coolas. A good analysis. I agree.

    • Matthew Hooton 25.3

      “Rather than distance itself from the Clark leadership, I think Labour should honour the link, not least, because when the Key brand comes apart and the Emperor stands naked, people will remember her nine years with nostalgia.”

      Ah yes, the old “the dumb voters got it wrong (twice) but will soon wake up and come home to mama” meme.

      I think 2014 looks almost un-losable for Labour but if attitudes like coolas’ are widespread on the left, you just might manage to give Key a third term.

      • Colonial Viper 25.3.1

        you just might manage to give Key a third term.

        Key is not going to get a third term because he won’t last through this term.

        • Super Guest

          Is that like when you were 100% sure that National would lose in 2011? Please, you’re so full of shit, please get back to cleaning the toilets at McDonalds and leave the real political discussion to grown ups.

      • mickysavage 25.3.2

        This is a really annoying line.  RWNJs want us to say “Helen Clark was a complete disaster” as some sort of atonement so people will vote Labour again.  

        I would rather that we talked with kiwis and try and persuade them that our proposals for leadership were better.

        Trashing someone who was a great PM is not expected.

        And I wish RWNJs would stop giving Labour advice.  They do not want to help. 

        • Matthew Hooton

          I don’t want you to so or say anything particularly, but it’s not a matter of saying “Helen Clark was a complete disaster” any more than Key would ever say “Jim Bolger/Jenny Shipley were complete disasters.” It is about Moving On. The next Labour Government will be unrecognisable from the Clark Government, just like the Clark Government was unrecognisable from the Lange Government, the Bolger Government unrecognisable from the Muldoon Government, the Lange Government unrecognisable from the Kirk Government, and so on. Until Labour gets that, perhaps you will lose the un-losable election in 2014.

          • Colonial Viper

            perhaps you will lose the un-losable election in 2014.

            Interesting framing.

            You’re saying that National has an unwinnable election in 2014? Why? What is National going to do?

            • Matthew Hooton

              National won the election by the narrowest possible margin, despite Key’s popularity. Had Labour won Ohariu (or National Epsom), and if 10,000 Nat voters (say, 5000 West Aucklanders, 2500 Christchurch Easters and 2500 Dunedin Southers) voted Labour, then it would have been 61 seats for Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana/Maori. It is very difficult to imagine Key keeping every single of these 10,000 votes over the next three years and surely next time Labour will put up a credible candidate in Ohariu. I have written about this here: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/opening-salvo-key%E2%80%99s-last-1000-days-have-begun-105683

              • felix

                Very true, the election was a lot closer than many realise – including Key, oddly enough!

                It’s not clear what you mean by “moving on” though, outside of simple sloganeering. In what sense has National “moved on” from the Brash era (or the English era, or even from the Shipley era) that Labour hasn’t from the Clark era? Many of the same people are still there!

                It seems to me you’re talking about re-branding rather than anything substantial.

                It also seems to me to be a criticism from the right that Labour would do well to take less notice of and get on with building the govt in waiting they ought to be – one based on merit and talent, not on abstract right-wing assumptions about a past govt that don’t bear close scrutiny anyway.

              • mik e

                Mad Hatter if National had won Epsom they did you goof still they only got one seat either way.
                No wonder the right have to rely on smile and wave

          • Anne

            Keith Holyoake. Remember him MH @ 2:20pm? No, you were probably not even born. He stepped down in the late 1960s from memory. He continued to counsel National Party colleagues for years afterwards. He was the ‘elder stateman of the day’ and his advice was (rightly) considered valuable.

            So put the boot on Helen Clark’s foot. The parallels are the same. Her counsel is valuable for as long as her former colleagues want it. Be off with your BS!


      • Anthony 25.3.3

        Nah, most people couldn’t give a shit about Helen Clark, she’s in most part remembered fondly – except by zealots on either end of the spectrum who would never sway from their party allegiance anyway.

        Labour is far too self conscious about it. They were punished at the ballot box for 2 and a half years of in-fighting and bad discipline, not really because of any Helen Clark hangover.

  25. Blue 26

    This is a tough one. I have serious doubts about Shearer, but the momentum seems to be going his way, and we may end up having to make the best of it.

    I’ve thought David Cunliffe would be the next Labour leader for some time, ever since I saw his brilliant performance in the House as Health Minister being barracked by the same tedious, tiring line of questioning by the insufferably boring Tony Ryall day in and day out and handling it with aplomb.

    I know there was buzz around Shearer too, because of his background, but he seemed to just disappear after he won Mt Albert.

    My thoughts right now are as follows.

    David Shearer:

    He seems to have the support of the public and the media, no doubt due solely to the fact that he is new, a fresh face that can’t be connected to the Clark government. The media believe this is essential, because they loathe the Clark government and until Labour has publicly signalled that they are ready to disown this legacy, the media will not be appeased.

    The public appear to have bought the bullshit, and they too are clamouring for someone new and fresh before they could even consider supporting Labour again. They will not do so until they have been given the signal by the media that it is okay.

    Shearer’s backstory helps. He’s got a great line in that John Key went overseas to make money while he went to save lives. It neatly short-circuits Key’s ‘state house boy made good’ backstory and shows up how shallow he really is.

    The issues with Shearer are many – he’s inexperienced, he’s not a good communicator, and no one really seems to know where he stands on anything.

    But to counter-balance these disadvantages, the media has anointed him as the chosen one, and if he doesn’t get the job, they’ll be pissed. They will give him a honeymoon if he wins, and will give Labour a bollocking if he loses.

    Shearer’s unimpressive speaking skills can be glossed over by a favourable media and public, who are apt to overlook any faults if they decide they like someone. They will even go so far as to ascribe qualities to candidates that they don’t even possess (see Armstrong on Key’s ‘gravitas’).

    The Labour team can help Shearer with his inexperience, and he can get some intensive media training. Hopefully he will be able to articulate some of what he stands for during the leadership contest.

    The real issue is how long the honeymoon will last, and what will happen when it ends.

    David Cunliffe:

    Intelligent, fantastic speaker, has presence, confidence and experience, he would be a great choice.

    I would look forward to the first sitting day of Parliament immensely if DC were to win. He would make mincemeat out of Key and it would be a joy to watch.

    The media would not be pleased, but if Cunliffe carries out his promise to ‘clean out’ the party and get rid of some of the old guard, the media may be grudgingly appeased.

    The public may not like it, as the groundswell for Shearer would bring them out saying that Labour weren’t listening to them and what they wanted. They may, however, warm to Cunliffe over time for his excellent speaking skills.

    The ‘arrogance’ question would need to be carefully managed. DC can come across really well and without a hint of arrogance at times, but then there are the unfortunate incidents like the Judith Collins gaffe that turn people off. Such incidents would have to be minimised if DC became leader.

    The other issue for me is who would take over Finance if DC became leader, as he’s indicated he wouldn’t take it on himself. He’s been so good in the role, and I can’t see an immediate successor.

    The party would be in safe hands with him, but the question is whether he can win over the media and the public. I am confident that he could, if he fronts with his self-deprecating sense of humour rather than his dismissive putdowns.

    We’ll see. This post is far too long as it is 😀

    • Good comment Blue.  One question.  Part of the “public” and “independent commentator” feedback talks as if there will be a campaign tomorrow for PM.

      But the reality is entirely different.  The new leader will need to:

      1.  Best Key in the house as soon as possible and continue to dominate.
      2.  Oversee a reorganization of the party.
      3.  Oversee redevelopment of policy.
      4.  Speak competentently and passionately.
      5.  Develop the caucus.

      My view is that we should concentrate on these qualities in debating this issue.

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        You missed something IMO.

        We need a leader who can stand up against global financial fraudsters, and against a bankster/monetary cartel intent on underlying the democratic sovereignty of nations.

        A global financial system storm is coming for which 2008 was only an early cold front.

        • Anne

          Umm no CV. Warm frontal matter usually precede cold fronts. 2008 was the ‘warm’ front. The cold front is still to come.

      • Lew 26.1.2

        Of those, my order would be 2, 5, 1, 4, 3.

        The quality of the party organisation and caucus — though those on the inside are understandable reluctant to concede this — are the absolute top priorities.

        Policy isn’t a big problem; the policy platform of the past term enjoyed strong support, just not strong enough to outweigh the personnel problems and wretched political strategy of the preceding three years.

        Achieving dominance in parliament and other forums is important, but not immediate.

        “Speak competently and passionately” is empty verbiage that I’d expect to see on e HR document.


        • mickysavage

          Um Lew number 4 is actually vital for a politician and especially for a leader.

          • felix

            Yeah, but so is

            No.6: Must be able to breathe a mix of nitrogen and oxygen without dying.

          • Lew

            What Felix sez. Perhaps you’d care to define it a bit more closely. If it were something like “convey a coherent and convincing narrative about why Labour matters” I’d put it at 3.

            Most years this would be #1, but the work wasn’t done in 2009 so its needs to be done now.


      • David 26.1.3

        You put it that way, I am thinking Cunliffe Robertson.

    • red blooded 26.2

      I would hate to think that you were saying that the media (who love a bit of drama) should have the right to ‘anoint’ the next leader, Blue. (God, I’m sick of that term, used disparagingly all the time about how Goff got the leadership; even though they applauded the way it avoided division and distraction, at the time.)

      As for what the public think, I guess I would ask (again), how do we know what they think? (Answer, through the media, who haven’t actually asked them in any meaningful way.)

      The Cunliffe story has less immediate drama, but is that really the basis that we should use to choose a leader (hopefully to become a Prime Minister) on?

      • Blue 26.2.1

        Believe me, there is nothing I would like to do more than tell the media to go fuck themselves. But the whole ‘can’t live with them, can’t live without them’ thing comes into play here. In order to win, Labour need the media to either be on their side, or at least not to bludgeon them to death the way they did 2008-2011.

        They’ve all been shilling for Shearer, and if they don’t get what they want they will start with the scathing comments about how Labour are fools for not listening to their brilliant advice and superior insight into the minds of the public that comes from interviewing their keyboards and occasionally their friends and family who all coincidentally think much like themselves…

  26. AnnaLiviaPlurabella 27

    “Kiwi Tall Poppy Syndrome” is being fully exposed in commentary about Cunliffe. I had actually not previously understood it to be so destrictive. But WOW!! When you see the TV commenatators after each of Cunliffe’s interviews: they are pathelogically incapable of supporting someone who stands out in terms of being prepared, polished, obviously intelligent and in command of all the details.

    Shearer was ill advised to put himself in this position: he has mis-understood the motivations of his sponsors. If he is the BIG MAN he says he is, he will work with Cunliffe to ensure the process does not damage the party and that we have a unified party behind Cunliffe into a great future.

  27. Afewknowthetruth 28


    Unfortunately you are either grossly misinformed about the energy situation or utterly deluded.

    ‘I remain shocked and surprised that the USA still has a domestic oil production industry given it should have run out around 1998.’

    No perrson with any credibility has ever said US domestic oil ‘production … should have run out around 1998’. The extraction ‘tail’ goes on forever at ever an lower rate. US extraction is following the 48-state Hubbert curve (generated in the 1950s) quite closely. However, there is a ‘hump’ on the downside due to oil exrtraction from Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico which Hubbert did not factor into his calculations. (By the way, the proper term to use these days is extraction. Humans don’t produce oil, except from tar sands and coal. Nature produced oil millions of years ago).

    ‘The US has hundreds of years of supply of hydrocarbons (natural gas).’

    That statement is simply absurd and totally unsubstantiated. If the US is awash with natural gas, why is it importing so much gas from elsewhere?

    If you are referring to shale gas as the ‘saviour’ of industrialism, you will find that the quantities available have been grossly overstated. And what is more the tiny pockets of gas released by fracking (a particuarly nasty method of propping up failing energy arrangements) tend to deplete extremely quickly; in many cases within two or three years, which is why those regions where fracking is taking place are littered with drill sites.

    I suggest you watch ‘Gasland’; it’s truly horrific:

    ‘The US has also made some of the largest crude finds in the last 10 years.’

    The peak in discovery of oil was around 1964:


    ‘The world will never run out of hydrocarbon energy. It may run out of $100 a barrel oil. The best thing for our society and environment (in the long run) would be oil at $500 a barrel. It will likely never get there as we have around 300 years of crude oil supply at current demand at a cost of less than $150 per barrel – Venezuela, Canada, mid-west USA.’

    That statement is also delusional nonsense which you have not substantiated and cannot substantiate. Ever heard of EROEI?

    nadis, the big differnce between you and me is that I do know what I am talking about and can provide verifiable links that support what I say.

    Simon and Garfunkel said it all decades ago: A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

  28. Hilary 29

    I would be interested in who is coalescing around each person and why. I have great respect for Grant Robertson, who is himself a natural leader with a touch of Kirk and Lange, so would trust his opinion about which of the two would be a more effective leader, and easier to work with. I also think each candidate’s opinion about the Greens is significant as a collaboration on the left will be much more effective than fighting for the same voters. That was a clear difference in the Q and A discussion.

  29. chearryjeary 30

    From someone who dosen’t read bigot blogs it has always been Shearer for me.

  30. Afewknowthetruth 31


    ‘Yes of course you’re correct but any leader who tells the Public these truths and seeks to radically change the way we do things would be committing political suicide along with his party.’

    Just think what ‘fun’ it would be for the leader of the opposition to point out the fatal flaws in everything John Key says every time he opens his mouth ….. a knock-out blow in every debate in the house. A knock-out blow in every television interview. And an informed public that was preparing for the inevitable.

    But you are right. The folk in the Labour Party are far too cowardly to do anything like that.

    That’s why NZ society will continue ‘falling off the cliff; ‘sinking with the Titanic’, ‘headed for Niagara Falls’, ‘stuck with its hand in the monkey trap’, ‘being slowly cooked like the proverbial frog’ or whatever analogy one chooses to describe life at the end of empire, headed for the end of life on Earth.

  31. coolas 32

    I don’t see why respect for Helen Clark should be a liability to Labour. Other people with far greater influence and reputation than Matthew Hooten hold her in high esteem as do many of us “dumb voters.” The achievements of her administration are lasting. National has tinkered but basically kept the model in place. Is this why Hooten shrieks when Clark is praised? Or is he still simmering because Clark thinks he’s a prick.

    • ak 32.1

      Don’t think he’s simmering – in fact he looks as “cool-as” he’s ever been 🙂 Chastened, even.

      As he points out, despite all possible stars aligning to perfection for three years (unprecedented press support, marginalised opposition, Wool Cup win, disaster bonuses and as you point out having done little that Hels wouldn’t have etc etc), the Right has just squeaked in by the very narrowest skin of its fangs. Now in a highly precarious situation and utterly dependant on one or two frail individuals for everything. Like little King Canutes, Hooters and the other appendages threw everything at the tide of progression, yet the waves are lapping at their ankles. And they know it. Hence the decided dearth of gloating compared to ’08 and the look on Slippery’s dial. Exit the nine-year-old with a new bike, hello years of fun in the exhilarating company (and hands) of the luminaries Dunnge, Banks and Turia.

      Which is why the reverse-reverse-reverse psychology worry about them supporting Shearer just doesn’t ring true. The necessary rancour for such cunning just isn’t there – and would be wasted three years out anyway. Far more likely that cold feet are focusing the mind on self-preservation: which means appearing balanced, thoughtful, and non-partisan – thus availble for lucrative commentary roles or even posts under the inevitable new administration. Never underestimate the power of self-interest in a tory: especially those with souls already heavily in hock.

    • Afewknowthetruth 32.2


      Contrary to the image myth-builders are trying to create, Helen Clark was much hated throughout NZ for her anti-environmental policies, her neo-liberal [free trade] economic policies and her dictatorial style of government. And her lies.

      Hence, Labour lost the 2008 election.

      What is more, the Clark government set up all the prepconditions for the collapse are now witnessing. (Yes National have made it worse.)

      The fact that HC has been rewarded by ‘the system’ by being given special responsibility for looting Africa should be sending shivers down people’s spines.

      • Vicky32 32.2.1

        Contrary to the image myth-builders are trying to create, Helen Clark was much hated throughout NZ for her anti-environmental policies, her neo-liberal [free trade] economic policies and her dictatorial style of government. And her lies.

        Indeed? THat comes as news to me… 🙂 Mind, I don’t mix in the circles you evidently do… I’ve never been a a cafe in Ponsonby!

        • Afewknowthetruth


          If that comes as news to you I suggest you move in some wider circles.

          By the way, the circles I move in are just about as far as one can get from the cafes of Ponsonby.

    • Grassroot 32.3

      Cannot remember how many times I have got reminded about HC by the voters when I was out talking to people this year. If all MPs are truthful and have the party’s best interest in their hearts (not the heads with all those calculations running miles), they should support Cunliffe. 

  32. Chris Oden 33

    Surely it should be about policies that are going to work for our country and not the style in which they are delivered.Everyone seems to be giving Key more kudos than he deserves or has earned. Just because we appear to have been smiled into submission by a Johnny Come Lately doesn’t mean that this is the way things have to continue.He may have changed the face temporarily of politics but nothing stands still and neither will his way of grandstanding in Parliament. Therefore it doesn’t have to stand to reason that we need someone to “stand up to key” They just need to take deep breath, take a minutes silence and proceed with the dignity and honesty that Parliament deserves. Goff has lead the way and shown how to do it without turning it into a Punch and Judy show. Also, did you notice in the second to last debate when Phil Godd and key were facing off how uncomfortable key is in a face to face debate and he was unable to play to the audience with his”cheeky little grin and false self deprecation”

  33. Afewknowthetruth 34


    ‘ it should be about policies that are going to work for our country’

    That might be the case if the political system wasn’t run by international money lenders and global corporations. As it is, what is good for the country comes way down the list.

    The whole system is corrupt and manipulated.

    For instance, the district where I live is ‘owned’ by Shell. What Shell and it’s associates say goes.

    Didn’t ya know money talks. And ‘big’ money talks a lot louder than votes.

  34. Carol 35

    I’m not sure it’s a two horse race. I seems to me, we have one candidate, running his own campaign, and another is having his campaign managed for him now, by Robertson, who has kind of been vague or ambiguous about his own desire to take a punt on the leadership role.

    So if they are horses, they are virtual ones – avatars, and one is managing his own avatar, and another using an avatar that looks like someone else, and running it as an image-based campaign.

    You can learn a little from a person’s choice of avatar – about how they are, how they see themselves, how they would like to be, and how they want others to see them.

    Though I should say, Robertson is a very able politician and has performed well in the House, and in the backrooms. But I’d like to know more about what Team Shearer stands for, and how they want to direct policies etc.

    But, this race is male-dominated, and I’d like to see some of Labour’s very able women adding themselves to the deputy contenders, along with Nanaia.

  35. Culchie Kev 36

    Regarding the comments “..puppet no leader” at etc… not stating who is going to be his “team” or front bench, you have to listen to Q&A this morning where he said he had given his word not to reveal who is giving him support. Obviously talking of your front Bench starts giving the game away. I like the integrity of Shearer. Cunliffe was very good on the same programme and presented very well. As Tamahere said, he had the “Sound bites”. However I thought he was sounding desperate when he said Shearer was being supported by the old guard. That’s the first time I’ve seen the tension begin to show. I thnk the last week will flush out who has the steel. And speaking of steel, although Shearer was not as polished in answering the questions he showed he could bat Espinar away and finish his answer, albeit a little slower in coming. So I don’t think he’s going to be a push over in any way.

    • shearer does not need to name all of his supporters just confirm those who have already been identified. This also does not prevent him from confirming that he would promise finance to Cunliffe if he is successful.

      Anything less makes him appear to be different to the “anti politician politician” some are suggesting he is.

    • David 36.2

      ‘Sound bites’ is trite, Kulchie Trev, and you know it. Cunliffe had analysis, a knowledge of how things like capital markets for PPPs work. and, based on lots of other experiences of him, truckloads more. That is not something, I think, you can learn from a little more media training. I am not saying media training wont help, but the difference here is between someone who can cut through and analytically and communicatively engage and win a high level economic debate (eg with Key, indeed with anyone) and someone who is always going to struggle with that stuff at that level.

      I also think its important that we understand just how fresh or not Shearer is, compared to Cunliffe. I am hoping Shearer really is his own man: I dont have reason to doubt it, though I do know that lots of the folk who will step up under him really are old guard, and forgive me not the sharpest old guard in crucial policy areas. But is he (or are they) really and convincingly capable of articulating or orchestrating a whole fresh new social democratic economic direction for NZ post the GFC? If not, who will he/ they be falling back on? The people in charge of Labour’s communications and strategy in the election seemed incapable of articualting a joined up, coherent vision for NZ economy from the large chunks of policy served up to be part of that. I had to wonder why: did they or did they not grasp the bigger picture, or were they grasping at little bits of polling data and scattergun populist policies: policy by soundbite? Was part of the problem that they explicitly excluded the finance spokesman Cunliffe from the election strategy group??? (Has that ever happened before??) I know Cunliffe has a coherent economic narrative and vision. Dunno about Shearer, but so far not convinced. Doubtful moreso about his backers, on form to date. Shearer without Cunliffe, or Labour without Cunliffe which is some dickheads’ preferred option, or Shearer leading with Cunliffe confined again to a chained up role where he never gets to lay waste to English and Key in areas of his strength, is not looking very attractive to me.

      • Carol 36.2.1

        Shearer without Cunliffe, or Labour without Cunliffe which is some dickheads’ preferred option, or Shearer leading with Cunliffe confined again to a chained up role where he never gets to lay waste to English and Key in areas of his strength, is not looking very attractive to me.

        Indeed. I have no idea how much I am in tune with “popular opinion”. But for me, I would be more likely to vote for a Cunliffe-led Labour next time. I have doubts about voting for The Greens again, now they seem to be moving more centrist, reinforced by the likes of Claire Browning arguing the Greens are neither left nor right. So that will leave my choice between Mana or Labour. I’d take Mana over Shearer, who I DO think is “old guard”, as much in style as in backing.

        Being a fellow boomer, Shearer’s biography did give me some twinges of nostalgia for the times when many of my friends and acquaintances were doing overland OEs in less developed countries, and often heading off to those places to do humanitarian work. But the times have changed. The hopes of changing the world through changing culture and ones own lives have been dashed. We need to be more hard-headed about directly taking on the powerful economic forces and the elites that maintain and benefit from them.

        I doubt Shearer would have any cut through to a lot of the young, the struggling poor or the politically disengaged.

  36. Jimmie 37

    Warning – what follows is a complete reveal of a dirty right wing conspiracy designed to criple NZ Labour………………..please act on it quickly before it is too late………

    A ha – but then again the VRWC might be playing a double bluff – secretly wanting Cunliffe to win so they promote Shearer in order to get Labour to do the opposite.

    Or they could playing a triple bluff as the VRWC think that Labour will see through a double bluff and so want to secretly see Shearer in but think the best way to do this is to promote Shearer thus making Labourites vote for Shearer as they think that secretly that the VRWC want Cunliffe to be leader.

    Or……..they could be playing a deeper, more cunning plan where the VRWC promote both candidates (Farrar -Shearer & Whale-Cunliffe) thus confusing the average Labourite as to the VRWC’s sneaky plans and promoting suspicion and mistrust towards both candidates and thus allowing an unnamed third party to become leader (Mallard springs to mind)

    So if I was a real labour conspiracy nut I would see a deliberate campaign by Mallard and the Whale to help Mallard to be the next leader – this was planned deap under cover under the pre text of organising a bike race earlier this year – then Mallard worked himself into the position of campaign manager for Labour and deliberately sabotaged it so a leadership challenge would arise.

    The ongoing sledging between the Whale & Mallard is further evidence of this collaboration as a public disguise for their cunning plans.

    So the only real answer for Labour’s leadership question:

    1 Kick Mallard out of Labour all together.

    2 Throw a real curve ball and go with no Leader for the next 3 years.

    Think – there will be no rumours about leadership coups’, no chance of losing leadership debates (no leaders = no debates), no questions about no leaders mugshots on bill boards.

    If the media question the merits of this the correct answer would be: We are all leaders, everyone in Labour is a leader, we will share a joint Prime Minstership when we get elected, and we will all share a joint leader’s office payments – in fact when we become the government, we will all get our own PM’s salary and BMW. I mean who loses out of this plan?

    Take that you scummy sceaming VRWC’s – you’re going down!

    • the sprout 37.1

      yeah… nah.
      the VRWC just over-egged their support for Shearer and made it too obvious

    • Yeah nah I just wish the MSM would stop regurgitating National spin lines and I just wish they would research and analyse and not report rumors that are clearly untrue whether the rumors are from the left or the right.

  37. Afewknowthetruth 38

    Dave Brown wrote:

    If Labour is going to have the balls to stand up and say NOW they will renationalise all privatised assets WITHOUT COMPENSATION they would win back their lost voters and win over many of the disenfranchised and pissed off youth and retire Winston Peters permanently.

    The fact is Labour was taken over by the money-lenders and corporations decades ago and has become just another ‘me-too’ party that consists of spineless twats (I guess that’s a suitable word) who play the game the money-lenders and corporations want played, promoting policies that allow a few more crumbs to fall off the elites table into the mouths of the masses than National do.

    The current leadership ‘debate’ will not change a thing, and NZ society will continue on the same downward path it has been on since the days of Norman Kirk until a genuinely socialist party emerges from the ashes of Labour or Labour becomes completely irrelevant.

    • dave brown 38.1

      AFKTT you misunderstand me. I didnt write an analysis, I wrote a challenge.

      Labour was never a ‘socialist party’ before or after Norm Kirk. Here’s the analysis.

      So how are you going to light the fire out of which ashes a ‘genuinely socialist party’ arises?

      • Afewknowthetruth 38.1.1


        Sorry I misunderstood you.

        Yes, I know no Labour government has been truly socialist. It’s just that when I arrived in NZ there was the Housing Corporation, Family Benefit, locally owned manufacturing, locally owned retailing, locally owned power generation, locally owned Trust Banks etc.

        I’ve been lighting fires for years but the tinder has been too damp. However, now that we are on the cusp of the biggest discontinuity in human history most political parties are going to ‘burn’ over the next couple of years.

        This is snip of what I said (in print) in 2007.

        ‘The squandering of New Zealand’s energy resources have been just one aspect of the politics of failure that have characterised NZ for decades. But the pertinent point is that those ‘Think Big’ projects created huge benefits for multi-national corporations and for a few New Zealanders, whilst generating few, if any benefits for the general populace. Eventually, the Muldoon government became so authoritarian and so unpopular the people could stand it no longer and threw them out.

        The ‘Labour’ government that took over implemented far Right Wing policies that benefited multinational corporations and a few New Zealanders, but provided little benefit to ordinary folk; the government became so authoritarian and so unpopular the people could stand it no longer and the people threw them out.

        Under Bolger, things just muddled along; policies that benefited multinational corporations and a few New Zealanders, but provided little benefit to ordinary folk, continued. As a consequence of the ‘traitorous’ policies implemented by Roger Douglas, the public still distrusted ‘Labour’. However, under Shipley, things took a dramatic turn for the worse and the government became so scandal-ridden, and so unpopular that the people threw them out.

        The ‘Labour’ government of Helen Clark that took over had a honeymoon period of popularity, but things soon took a turn for the worse, as it attempted to implement highly unpopular policies that would benefit multinational corporations and a few New Zealanders, but would provide few benefits to ordinary folk. Terrified of the prospect of another National government, voters returned ‘Labour’ for another term.

        However, by 2007 the government had become so scandal-ridden, so authoritarian and so unpopular there was a prospect of the people throwing them out and installing yet another National government (which would implement policies that would benefit multinational corporations and a few New Zealanders, but provide little benefit to ordinary folk).

        Now if an alien from another world were to observe this continuing farce, he/she/it would surely say: “What is wrong with those people? Can they not see what is happening?”

        The reality is, NZ gets the kind of government the board of TVNZ wants it to have: Labour, National, it really makes little difference; just so long as there is no real democracy, no leader who is going to interrupt the flow of cash to executives who claim to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, or to newsreaders who make similar claims. It is the kind of government the international money masters want NZ to have.’

        Well, the game is almost over. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, the enregy and resources necessary for present political-economic arrangements to continue do not exist.

  38. Super Guest 39

    You people are so paranoid it’s unbelievable.

  39. Rain33 40

    Not a lot of support on here for Shearer at the moment. I think that is a pity. I saw him on Q&A this morning, and there is no doubt he is in need of some media training, but to base an opinion on who is the better leader for the next 3 years and into the next election on a 10 minute Guy Espinor interview is ridiculous.

    Shearer is extremely likable, clearly intelligent with a resume and backstory to die for. He has the raw talent to take Labour in a new direction and pull back the support that has been bleeding from the Labour Party.

    Plenty of people think Cunliffe is clever and articulate, but they just don’t like him. If you can’t inspire people then there is nowhere to go. Personally Cunliffe does absolutely nothing for me at all.

    • Is that you Trevor?

      • Colonial Viper 40.1.1

        There is a certain amount of shiny optimism that Shearer is going to somehow, sooner or later, prove to be highly capable in leadership against Key and English.

        However, Leader of the Labour Party is not a learn-on-the-job position. Which is good because Cunliffe can step up and do it right now.

        • Rain33

          “Shiny optimism”…are you kidding? Some people, myself included, see a lot of potential from an inspirational person like Shearer, it is not shiny optimism but an acknowledgment that Shearer has something new to offer.

          All those pushing for Cunliffe, good for you if he is your man, but stop demeaning those that support Shearer as if we are naive. I am under no illusion as to the difficult task Labour has ahead of itself, and my opinion is that Shearer has the potential to be an exceedingly good leader, and better than Cunliffe…so shoot me.

          • Colonial Viper

            and my opinion is that Shearer has the potential to be an exceedingly good leader,

            Explain to me why I should take the risk that Shearer will one day develop into an exceedingly good leader, maybe in a term or two, maybe with some extra media training sessions, when Cunliffe can do the job and come out punching against Key tomorrow.

          • Culchie Kev

            Agree with this view Rain33.The view could also be taken that the Cunliffe support team on here could likewise be naive.

    • felix 40.2

      “to base an opinion on who is the better leader for the next 3 years and into the next election on a 10 minute Guy Espinor interview is ridiculous.”

      True, he’s never going to let the Labour leader talk for that long again.

    • pollywog 40.3

      If you can’t inspire people then there is nowhere to go.

      maybe we should just give Richie McCaw the job then.

      and what is it exactly you’d like Cunliffe to do for you ?

      • Rain33 40.3.1

        So what are you saying? People like myself who support Shearer are looking for an All Black Captain? I think it is important that the new Labour Party leader is someone who can inspire people, something that has been lacking in Labour for a long time.

        However you may be right, I remember the same thing in the US during the democratic campaign, Hillary Clinton supporters thought the whole “inspirational” thing was so over-rated when Obama entered the fray,wanna remind me how that turned out again…….

        • Colonial Viper

          You say Shearer is inspirational. I say inspiration is nothing without political hardiness and the experience of political failure. Where is that.

        • Carol

          Actually, as it’s turned out, I think Clinton would have done a better job. Obama caved to Wall Street very early on.

    • Culchie Kev 40.4

      Yes Rain 33, Agree. I’ve met Shearer and Cunliffe together a couple of times and while neither of them knew me from a bar of soap Shearer was the one who immediately drew me in through his openness. I tried talking to Cunliffe but was struck by his inability to engage in the way Shearer could.
      This skill of Shearer will be important in drawing back a constituency that has deserted Labour since 2008. And that constituency has already deserted Cunliffe who was seen as a key Finance spokesperson during the election.
      Regardless of the support line up which has yet to be revealed for Shearer, there is talent aplenty within the current Labour parliamentarians which will be gathered to support him should he be elected as Labour leader.

      • pollywog 40.4.1

        And which relative of Trevor’s would you be ?

        I don’t think you realise the constituency Labour need to draw on isn’t one they or National have ever had to desert them.

        We’re talking about a generation of apathetic voters that need swinging into action. You’re talking some old school PR bullshit that just doesn’t ring true.

        As i said in another thread. If Cunliffe doesnt get the nod theres no reason for him to stick around with Robertson greasing up Shearers arse. He’d be better off making big dollars in the real world knowing he gave politics his best shot and came up short through no fault of his own.

        Then Labour’d be truly fucked cos whatever talent you think Labour has would have decreased markedly in one foul swoop and it’d be easy pickings for team Key from here on out .

        • Colonial Viper

          Culchie Kev does tell a sweet little tale.

          Seems to me like Shearer is the front man for a bunch of stuff going on in and around the Labour caucus.

          • pollywog

            Yeah i don’t trust Robertson. He reminds me off McCully.

            If i were Cunliffe I’d be sending Nanaia’s cuzzies round his crib to make him an offer he can’t refuse 🙂

            nah…just kidding. But he’s definitely a case of keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

        • Culchie Kev

          Why, Pollywog, does disagreeing with your view make me one of Trevor’s relatives? You and another contributor who has popped up on this debate strike me as paranoid in this regard – are you sisters?

          Re the constiuency you say Labour needs to draw on, you could be partly correct in that assumption but the constiuency it lost since 2008 needs to be drawn back. This is a marketing exercise and the “Labour Product” has to be sold and some “good old fashioned PR” is one of the tools required to do that.

          Finally to say by losing Cunliffe to the private sector or wherever that Labour’s talent ” would have decreased markedly in one foul swoop” insults the party. It is bigger than one individual and win or lose I am sure either one of the contenders for the leadership will quickly step in behind the new leader.

          • Carol

            This is a marketing exercise and the “Labour Product” has to be sold and some “good old fashioned PR” is one of the tools required to do that.

            Oh, dear. I thought this was the tool of the neoliberal right. I want to see some sincerity in the articulation of left wing policies from a rejuvenated Labour Party. I don’t want to be sold an image. I like Cunliffe’s raw edges and sincerity.

            • Culchie Kev

              Take a broader view of the marketing of the party. The offer being presented has been rejected. So articulate it better and use PR as one of the tools to do that. We might have to drag you kicking and screaming into a new world and away from your hand loom.

              • Carol

                Ha. Ha. Nope. I’ll just continue to vote for a left party other than Labour. Shearer is the retro candidate.

                And the time of neoliberal slick marketing over substance is coming to an end.

                BTW, CK, you’re not doing your cause much good.drag you kicking and screaming, just sounds paternalistic and regressively macho – the very things I have been criticising team Shearer for in some other comments.

          • pollywog

            Why, Pollywog, does disagreeing with your view make me one of Trevor’s relatives?

            cos you pop up here with virtually no back story and start pimping Shearer like a cheap whore.

            marketing exercise, Labour product, good old fashioned PR tools BLAH BLAH BLAH.

            How insulting to Shearer that you think he needs to be branded like a prize heifer at the local A&P show and paraded around the schoolyard with a red first in class sash.

            That’s something I’d expect the clumsy Mallard, or an underling of his to do under a pseudonym if he were in a political scrap for survival after monging the campaign strategy and getting his arse handed back to him in shreds by the electorate and just shows how misguided and out of touch you really are.

            Just what constituency are you thinking Labour needs to draw back ? The vacuous sheeple who swung right to Key based on some savvy media training and a good back story ?

            If Shearers the answer to wooing them back by cloning the Key approach i say fuck em. Theres a million non voters out there Labour needs to woo more than your lost constituency.

            Paranoid ?…nah it’s just yours and rain33’s post reek of disingenuity. Even the stupid names are giveaway for desperate n00bs looking to muster up some on-line support for your guy.

            …insults the party. It is bigger than one individual and win or lose I am sure either one of the contenders for the leadership will quickly step in behind the new leader.

            Oh yeah right, like didn’t you learn anything from the last 3 years without Helen and the ton of support Goff didn’t get when the ‘old guard’ did a number on the party as they’re looking to do with Shearer.

            Thats what insults the rank and file of the party and no amount of good old fashioned PR is gonna remove that stink if it happens again.

            Like it or not Cunliffe is Labours best and only hope right now. Without him theres no noe could even come close to keeping Winston in check and Key ‘honest’.

            • Culchie Kev

              Like Lisa in another thread I just watch and read and like him/her, I didn’t think a backstory was required to comment here.

              No, Polly, you need to come into the real world instead of that neo-leftist “politics 101” you’re trying to tutor here. We have to promote whichever candidate is successful in a week’s time and like it or not that has a term which some call marketing and PR is part of that skill set.

              As for disingenuity, have a look in the mirror.

              I thought the “Old Guard” had come in behind Goff – it was the media and public that rejected him too early. After all, given a couple of seats doing slightly better we could have actually seen Phil doing the deals this week and not Key.

              • pollywog

                Just tell me about that 08 constituency Labour lost again ?

                and even with a couple extra seats I doubt Winston would have done any deals with Goff.

                More like Key would have gone back on his word and in the best interests of the country to avoid a ‘volatile’ gov’t, bribed Winston with some shiny baubles and he would have fallen into line given they both have form.

                …or the Greens would have.

  40. randal 41

    at first I thought mutt romney or neut gingrich.
    whoever it is will put the shits up kweewee and the parliament of fleas.
    interesting times.

    • Afewknowthetruth 41.1


      I’ve thought of parliament as akin to the playground of an intermediate school for many years but your ‘parliament of fleas’ generates a much better mental image.

      I really cannot believe that so many people take parliamentarians at all seriosuly.

      Actually, the continuing decline in election turnout suggests fewer and fewer do.

      That must be a good sign.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 41.1.1

        In the fantasy world you live in, perhaps it is. People who are part of the solution (a group you are not a member of) know that the reverse is true – disengagement from politics is an indication of despair, not intelligence.

  41. The Nation video of the debate between Cunliffe and Shearer is now available on-line. 

  42. Anne 43

    to base an opinion on who is the better leader for the next 3 years and into the next election on a 10 minute Guy Espinor interview is ridiculous.

    Nonsense Rain33. Many of the commenters backing Cunliffe on this site have indicated in the past they are members of the Labour Party. They know both contenders. None of them have expressed a truly negative attitude towards Shearer. With their inside knowledge of both of them, they know Cunliffe is the right man for the job at this time. As an active member of the Party I agree with them.

    Why do you think the right-wingers and their media cling-ons are rooting for Shearer? Because they also know Cunliffe is the best man for the job.

    • Culchie Kev 43.1

      I can’t agree with you Anne. There is certainly a bias towards Cunliffe expressed in the posts on this topic.
      What most seem to agree is that both candidates have positive attributes but are focusing on Shearer’s apparent difficulty in providing succint media answers compared to Cunliffe’s slick presentation. However not much focus is given to Cunliffe’s difficulty in bringing the team with him. In my view this is a harder failing to fix since it revolves around personality whereas Shearer’s media issue can be easily fixed with some training.
      We need a leader who can lead, manage, empathise and organise and bring the team with him, not just someone who is slick for the sound-bite.

      • Colonial Viper 43.1.1

        Cunliffe can provide a slick sound-bite because he has broad policy knowledge and the numbers at his finger tips.

        Shearer doesn’t.

        • Pete George

          Cunliffe’s knowledge and slickness are his strengths, but his slickness sometimes hints at a slipperyness. He admits to being not onside with all of caucus – he has claimed his directness is the reason, but there is an impression that his directness is tailored and selective.

    • Rain33 43.2

      You couldn’t be more wrong Anne. I posted the other day that I thought Shearer was the man for the job, and I was told I was …”talking shit”..

      • Anne 43.2.1

        You claimed by way of inference that the Cunliffe supporters on this thread were basing that support on a 10 minute interview with Espinor. I called that nonsense because anyone reading their comments over recent days would know most had supported Cunliffe from Day 1.

        • rain33

          Don’t be ridiculous. There were people making comments here that based on the interview on Q&A they felt Cunliffe was the better candidate. Their words not mine.

  43. Its a one horse race. With a horses mouth and a horses ass.

  44. Carol 45

    To me Shearer seems the retro candidate, and has a lot in common with the Labour opening and closing vids in the election campaign. Did Robertson have a lot to do with those vids?

    Like Shearer, the campaign videos were good and had a lot of appeal. But I have similar criticisms of the vids and Shearer and his handlers – very white male dominated, lacking in gender and ethnic diversity, nostalgically looking back at the past, and not looking forward in a way that will engage with a wide section of the public, especially the young, poor and politically disengaged.

    Cunliffe gets this need for aiming to engage with a wide and diverse eclectorate. And he understands that, while he would strongly lead the developments, his team will be important in helping achieve this aim.

    If Cunliffe doesn’t get the support of some of his caucus, is the fault with him or some of the Labour caucus? By all/most accounts, Cunliffe has done well in engaging with diverse people in the New Lynn electorate – one that includes many people on low incomes, ethnic diversity, etc.

  45. Afewknowthetruth 46


    Further evidence you have swallowed the whole Orwellian lie, hook line and sinker or an absolute nutter..

    Your solution to a corruption and ineptitude -support corruption and ineptitude.

    Your solution to oil depletion -burn more oil.

    Your solution to rising CO2 -burn more oil and coal.

    Your solution to the debt bomb -borrow more.

    That’s cos you are so ‘clever’ and nobody else knows anything.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 46.1

      Four little strawmen,
      Standing in a row,
      Poor little truther,
      Hasn’t got a show.

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