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Assessing the contenders’ campaigns

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, September 12th, 2013 - 101 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, grant robertson, leadership, Shane Jones - Tags:

With the Labour leadership race all but over and the votes now coming in, let’s have a look at how the contenders fared against their objectives:

Robertson had to show some flare, show he’s more than an affable apparatchik, that he’s capable of wowing crowds and raising his profile: Not achieved

What happened to Robertson? You just didn’t see him. He couldn’t outshine either Cunliffe or Jones. Sure, he came out with decent policies – the same ones as Cunliffe – but, otherwise he faded into the background. That didn’t work for Shearer.

Jones had to show he had some real depth under the bravado and not start saying weird things under pressure: Not achieved

Yeah, he’s got the one-liners but what’s behind them? He talks about getting the 800,000 non-votes back to vote Labour… but has no actual plan to this other than being ‘un-PC’ (which, if you ask me is the new PC). And he says mad stuff.

Cunliffe had to show he that he can meter his charismatic side to avoid gaffes and that he was genuinely something different from the B Team that’s led Labour since Clark: Achieved.

The media tried to make hay out of a couple of small comments but, nah, it was a gaffe-free campaign. The way he stood by the standard of conduct he had set is in contrast to the vacillating of Goff, the weakness of Shearer, and Key’s blind eye. And he offers a real, genuine, credible economic vision that unashamedly contrasts with National.


101 comments on “Assessing the contenders’ campaigns”

  1. Craig GlenEden 1

    This campaign has pretty much gone the way I thought.
    Jones proved he is a goon that can spin a yarn with a few funnies but ultimately he’s a lot of ego.

    Robertson nice enough guy, intelligent, solid minister material, but he’s the benefiter of the ABC group. When push comes to shove he hasn’t got the fortitude to keep his team in line, and he dosnt because it suits his cause.
    His supporters amongst the Mps are the same people who didn’t want members to have a say in a leadership contest. These are the people who do things in their own interest e.g. the Clare Curran’s of the Party they will say and do anything to get what’s best for their future and to hell with the greater good.

    Cunliffe and I preference this by saying I am a supporter and was from the beginning. He’s Charismatic, a great communicator, solid understanding of economics and progressive policy sometimes he’s a little over the top, but is the only option to beat Key and National.
    His campaign has been strong positive and inclusive.
    Im not sure who is going to win I think it will be close with only one element thats going to stop the Labour Party being in the next Government and that element is the ABC ers.

    • Sue 1.1


      The ABC ers need to move on.

      • Tangee 1.1.1

        They need to drop out altogether they have cost us the last election and wasted time on the Shearer experiment and still they go against the public by supporting Robertson who trails Jones in the important polls.

        • Sufi Safari

          they have cost us the last election…

          Rubbish. The first term in opposition always rounds off with the pathos of another election loss. Opposition is a steep learning curve for any party.

          But there were things that cost us party vote. None of those things were about people trying to undermine David Cunliffe. Plenty of them were from people trying to undermine Phil. Carter was a force unto himself, but the constant leaks about the leadership were almost certainly from Cunliffe and his cabal, working with their eyes fixed firmly on the day after the election. Those actions cost Labour good MPs.

          still they go against the public by supporting Robertson…

          You’re treading a dangerous path suggesting the caucus should do whatever the polls tell them to do. You’re also misrepresenting the polls by calling them important. And you seem to be trying to deny the caucus any agency in this election. Expecting the caucus to blindly back the perceived majority favourite (whether that perception comes from flawed polls or the comments section of the Standard) ignores the fact that the nature of their role gives them a unique and useful perspective on the relative merits of the candidates. The voting system as it stands recognises the value of that insight, while striking a balance with the role of the party membership to determine the direction and maintain the values of their Party. and different MPs are reflecting their different experiences of the candidates in their expressions of support.

          And I think that’s cool, but I can see how an NBC fundamentalist might struggle with the nuance.

          • Colonial Viper

            but the constant leaks about the leadership were almost certainly from Cunliffe and his cabal, working with their eyes fixed firmly on the day after the election. Those actions cost Labour good MPs.

            Utter bullshit. For losing the 2011 election blame starts and finishes with the Labour campaign strategy team of Mallard and Robertson. Fran O’Sullivan also detailed fully who was undermining Goff early on. Protip – they helped push Shearer into pole position.

            You’re treading a dangerous path suggesting the caucus should do whatever the polls tell them to do.

            More bullshit. The members have made it very clear to caucus who they prefer. Caucus fucked up big time with their choice of Shearer. Let’s see what they do this time around.

            • Sufi Safari

              Utter bullshit.

              Your analysis is blinkered and simplistic. Winning or losing an election takes more than two people and longer than an election campaign. And Fran O’Sullivan is a terrible source to rely on for that information. The only contingent undermining Goff consistently through his term as leader was Cunliffe and his crew of NBC wreckers.

              More bullshit.

              Yes Shearer was a mistake, but a mistake that’s not explained away as simply as ABC. And the caucus’ fuck up didn’t end with his selection, having selected him they then squabbled and leaked and failed to follow up with decisive action to remedy their first mistake. Cunliffe and his lieutenants share blame in that. But my point was more around this contest, but I recognise that as an NBC fundamentalist you’re unable to see that Grant is not Shearer, that the decision between Grant and David is replete with the strengths, weaknesses and risks in both candidates. It will come as a shock to you, but Cunliffe has weaknesses and risks too. Different exposure to those frailties will leave different people more or less inclined to support David or Grant. It’s the idea that people who vote Grant in this contest are somehow doing it dogmatically out of blind opposition to Cunliffe that rankles (or even that people who supported Shearer in the last contest were the same).

              • Colonial Viper

                The Robertson/Shearer team didn’t and couldn’t fire for 20 months. That’s a fact. I expect Shearer Mk II to be more of the same.

                The only contingent undermining Goff consistently through his term as leader was Cunliffe and his crew of NBC wreckers.

                Merely piled higher and deeper.

                As I said, the people who were undermining Goff were ready with the Shearer manoeuvre immediately after the 2011 election.

                Fran O’Sullivan:

                Already the pulling power of some of Shearer’s leading campaign managers has been seen by the swift election of Grant Robertson as his deputy.

                David Parker will get Cunliffe’s present finance spokesmanship – a position he has long coveted – as the quid pro quo for withdrawing from the election race and assuring Shearer’s win.

                This week’s deal was essentially put together by long-serving MP Trevor Mallard – who performed the numbers role when Helen Clark ran her coup against then leader Mike Moore.

                But much of the real strategising started several months back when Shearer and close caucus allies such as former Labour list MP Stuart Nash seriously began talking about a post-election leadership tilt.

                Influential members of the “commentariat” – particularly those of the right-of-centre persuasion – were informally briefed.

                • Sufi Safari

                  The Robertson/Shearer team didn’t and couldn’t fire for 20 months. That’s a fact. I expect Shearer Mk II to be more of the same.

                  Robertson has landed more hits on Key than any other Labour MP this term. That’s a fact. Your expectation appears to be based on bias and bile. But we could just agree to disagree.

                  As for the Shearer manoeuvre, any pre-election planning was done behind the scenes rather than in the papers. Cunliffe’s consistent offence wasn’t that he wanted the Leadership, it was that he kept overtly teasing a run and never following through. That’s a cardinal sin. It undermines your party and offers no relief from the Leader you’re bagging.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    The Robertson/Shearer leadership team couldn’t fire either the public imagination up or the polls. Labour stayed stuck in the low 30% range for the last 20 months.

                    The experiment with inexperience is over.

                    Robertson has landed more hits on Key than any other Labour MP this term.

                    Yes, a few people in the Thorndon Bubble did notice that.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    “Cunliffe’s consistent offence wasn’t that he wanted the Leadership, it was that he kept overtly teasing a run and never following through.”

                    Cite? Or was it a spectacularly covert form of overtness?

                  • felix

                    Sufi, you do know who Cunliffe is don’t you?

                    He’s not the guy on the news with the big teeth.

    • onsos 1.2

      Jones came out of this looking less credible than he did going in. It was a mistake on his part to get involved.

    • Crunchtime 1.3

      I started realising Cunliffe is the one to be next PM when I heard an interview with him on NatRad shortly after he announced his candidacy. He sounded honest, open and humble. He spoke frankly about his time on the back benches and how he got there. I thought hey, if he can handle his mistakes like that, he’s got my vote.

      My opinion of him over this campaign has steadily improved.

    • Finbar 1.4

      No matter the outcome, this election process has been two weeks of headline capture for the Labour Party,and no amount of money could buy that.

      My opinion is bias on who should be the winner as most of the country says should,but that is up to the members to decide, with also the power vote of the caucus.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    The Standard had to show it would be even-handed and resist the temptation to promote one candidate over the others: Not achieved.

    [Bunji: you might be surprised to learn that a dumb website can’t manipulate the individual opinions of its authors. Note Lynn often bans folk for referring to the machine rather than the people… see the Policy]

    [lprent: Authors write their own opinions. There are 40+ authors with writing rights of widely varying viewpoints and opinions here and all of whom can write whatever post they want. We don’t enforce any editorial policy outside of those that cause us legal problems and have no intention of ever doing so.

    The program that runs the site doesn’t have opinions, nor does it care about being even-handed. As Bunji has pointed out, as a computer programmer, I have a thing about people referring to dumbarse programs as if they have some kind of intelligence. I refer to such people as being idiots. And I usually ban them for some period of time (in a completely even-handed way) to emphasise my opinion. (Bunji just saved you from that fate – you should thank him)

    If you want to provide some kind of mythical “balance” then write your own opinion and either start your own site, join a multi-author site, or find a site who’ll put it up as a guest post. Wining about it just makes you look like a rather silly and lazy arsehole who prefers criticizing others to doing anything useful. ]

    • locus 2.1

      hand me the popcorn

    • karol 2.2

      “The Standard” doesn’t do anything of the kind. We authors each individually choose what to post.

      PS: Many bloggers and others have stated their preference and assessment of the leadership contest, as have some MPs, meanwhile, many MSM journalists and commentators continue with their own biased, manipulative coverage without explicitly stating their preferences.

      • Chooky 2.2.1

        Karol +1…we are a mixed bag and we are free to express our opinions colourfully or forcefully …. and disagree and fight it out within certain civil restraints overseen by Iprent.

        ….’The Standard’ is democracy in action ….though some may not like it

        ….it is also one of the best reads

      • Crunchtime 2.2.2

        Karol +1

      • Arfamo 2.2.3

        Karol +1

    • Greywarbler 2.3

      What are you on about? You have shown you are totally ignorant of understanding on what political blogging is about. Achieved.

      It’s a place for opinions. The fact that TS comes up with some apparent agreement on anything is a combination of chance, reasoned use of intelligence and agreement amongst individuals about the type of person/policy required and the result of unceasing demand for facts and sources from contributors making assertions, so TS tends to examine opinions more closely than the more ‘flamboyant’ opinion blogs.

    • Lightly 2.4

      I’m not sure where you got the idea that authors of The Standard are under any obligation to be ‘even-handed’. If anything, we readers hope that they will give us their honest opinion of whom they favour, not pretend that they don’t favour anyone.

    • pollywog 2.5

      The Standard has spoken…:)

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    In terms of stage presence and speaking, the comparison with Shearer helped make everyone look good. But I agree – only Cunliffe has come through the hustings and successfully rounded out what he offers as the next Labour Leader.

    • Hami Shearlie 3.1


    • Crunchtime 3.2

      He’s just hammered his key points home and stayed on message with those points. I haven’t quite memorised all those catchphrases yet but I look forward to hearing them repeated on the street in the coming months. 😉

      Exactly the kind of determined, hard-working leader we need as our next PM, with exactly the kind of strategy that will get him into the consciousness of most New Zealanders.

  4. King Kong 4

    [Bunji: you’ve still one more day of your month ban]

  5. Greywarbler 5

    And always returning to the reality that the future Labour leader should – first be a person able to win government for Labour, and second then have the nous to form policy with intelligent informed people who all together will produce measures that will build business opportunities and employment for NZ in NZ and work to make our $ less volatile. Then we wouldn’t have to spend so much on hedging our bets when trying to trade overseas.

  6. Enough is Enough 6

    I would say they have all had very good campaigns and would feel reasonably confident with any of them taking it out on Sunday.

    I am worried about the bullshit which will continue to rumble on behind closed doors, and how any of them will realise their vision when there are Mallards, Goffs, Currans and Hipkiss’ running interferance in the background.

  7. Sosoo 7

    Flair not flare.

  8. chris 8

    I don’t think winning the 2014 Election is going to come down to 1 person (hopefully Cunliffe). It is going to take the entire Labour Party

    Who ever wins the Leadership vote is going to have to work with some pretty ugly (behaviour wise) characters.

    The new Leader will have to swallow a few rats (ewww hate that expression), as will the rest of the Caucus.

    And therein lies the rub. Mallard, King, Goff, Curran and Hipkins have all shown that they have little regard for the views of the Labour Party Members and absolutely no respect for any of the Leadership candidates.

    If they had any respect for Robertson they would acknowledge that he is a very capable MP but he is not ready to take on the Government. Heck if the caucus can walk all over Robertson what do they think the National Government is going to do. They will make mincemeat of him.

    Jones… well what can one say, does anybody really take him seriously. If the membership don’t take him seriously why on earth would the National Government. No, he is the class clown and as such should be kept as the court jester to entertain caucus on rainy days. By the by his phase of the moon comment had me scratching my head. I tried very hard to see that comment as a slur against women, I took it to mean Curran was barking mad… you know barking at the moon kind of mad.

    So that leaves Cunliffe. As many have said before, he is astute, has a strong understanding of Economics etc. Is he arrogant, does it really matter? He is certainly excitable and that rubs off on the Labour Party membership.

    The last two weeks have been full of promise and have given the Labour voters something to grab hold of and get in behind the Party, if the momentum that has been building over the last few weeks continues then the entire Labour Party will be formidable at the next election.

    • pollywog 8.1

      And therein lies the rub. Mallard, King, Goff, Curran and Hipkins have all shown that they have little regard for the views of the Labour Party Members and absolutely no respect for any of the Leadership candidates.

      Let’s lump Fa’afoi in there as well eh ?

    • Crunchtime 8.2

      Cunliffe (assuming he gets in, and chances look good) has already stated many times the need for unity in the Labour Party. And he has shown he will act swiftly if people don’t behave to the standards expected of them.

      He’s going to have his work cut out for him with the press, but if he keeps to these high standards he has been so far I’d expect him and Labour to have a very strong showing next election. Very strong.

  9. George D 9

    As someone outside of Labour, I’ve been very much impressed with what Robertson has achieved in the last few weeks. He’s presented a strong and authentic vision for Labour, and talked credibly about taking the party back to its roots and closer to where its membership see it. Plus, he likes The National.

    He’s come into his own in this campaign – with a few changes to his personal and political style he could present himself as a future PM. I still think the gap exists however, and it won’t be closed immediately.

    • Crunchtime 9.1

      As someone who’s heard him talk on Radioactive.fm every Monday morning for many months already, I already knew he’s smart, very well versed in the issues, very eloquent and… for want of a better term a good head on his shoulders.

      Perhaps if Cunliffe wasn’t around – AND perhaps if he wasn’t so closely associated with the small right-wing faction of the caucus – he’d make a great leader of Labour.

  10. Saarbo 10

    This process has also provided us with a view of how the candidates would perform as Leaders in an election campaign. It must have been a really tough 2 weeks on the 3 candidates and yesterday on RNZ/Kathryn Ryan, I felt that Cunliffe was still on top of his game, making clear statements and selling himself and LABOUR brilliantly while Grant seemed a bit quiet. I get the feeling that Robertson is tired, in saying that he is probably under more pressure than Cunliffe and is feeling it. Perhaps some of his inexperience is showing through also.

    Here is a link to RNZ candidate debate, Cunliffe showed why he is the best man to beat Key/National next year.


    • Francis 10.1

      Going a little off-topic, but that interview was a real breath of fresh air after all the wind-up of the mainstream media sources. It proved that, regardless of the media-exaggerated events of the past few days, all three candidates are in actual fact sill well behaved and could work well with each other. If only certain other caucus members were more like that…

  11. Mr Cunliffe, you are by far the best man for the job and if you do not win this Sunday, I will think long and hard about voting for Labour again at the next election. I cannot believe caucus members like King, Curran etc, could throw support behind Shearer (whom could not resonate with the public) then later give their support for his deputy Grant Robertson (whose polling is as bad as Shearers) which is not a great start for Labour winning the next election. Some within Labour are doing their best to publically highlight the divisions within the Labour Party and one has to wonder if there are Labour caucus members whom actually want Labour to win next years election. Grant Robertson and Co seem intent on keeping the power and Cunliffe out, that they are purposefully being ignorant of a large majority that say Cunliffe is the best pick to lead Labour to victory. And finally, no disrespect to gay people, but this is not the time to highlight gay aspirations or protest about negative gay comments about leadership capabilities. This is about beating National and restoring democracy at the next election and that is that as far as I am concerned!

  12. SDCLFC7 12

    I would like to see a Labour caucus lead by Cunliffe and deputised by Parker.
    If Roberson loses, which I think is likely, he will be too damaged to act as deputy and not provide enough threat when tackling National – they won’t fear the guy who came second.
    I’m from Wellington but can’t see the country voting for a Wellington PM – to the rest of the country we’re too strange.
    Cunliffe is best placed to get the vote out in South Auckland which will be the winning or losing

    Parker sitting beside Cunliffe in the house will send a clear message to the electorate that Labour can be trusted with the government books and that will undermine one of National’s strengths with voters. It will also signal that Norman is getting nowhere near the Finance portfolio.
    It also provides continuity with the last 2 governments where the deputy has been the finance minister – he can be Michael Cullen Mark II and that will make us look like a government in waiting.

    Jones’ campaign has been important to establish his views against the left-side of the party. To win elections you need to cover a lot of political ground and we need balance within the party.
    He’s also ensuring he wins Tamak-Makaurau and bringing back some of the Maori vote. To that end his campaign has been a success for the Party

    We need to take points off The Greens before we go after the centre vote. The centre is never going to vote Labour while The Greens are at 12-15 points.
    Once we pull back points from them then more of the Labour vote that left for The Greens in the last election will come over.
    Once we are 38/39 with The Greens at 7-9 centre votes will start to gravitate towards us. We will only need 2 or 3 to make the difference.
    Kick the easy goals first and that should be taking votes off The Greens.

  13. Delia 13

    David handles things a lot like Helen and yes, Helen got those three terms.

  14. Elena 14

    Men with no meaning. Men who have meaningless words (every word uttered). Men who promise but can never deliver. Men who talk up there potential. Never believe a word they say.

  15. Ad 15

    Labour management has done reasonably well to control the kinds of campaign stories that have occurred.

    Unfortunately too well. It has enabled small stories to escape the tent and amplify beyond proportion.

    I want to see Labour continue to suck the media oxygen out of the room, but with a plan and some skills.

    This means real drinking in real bars with real journalists, sleeping with them as required, charming their Board members with policy favours, and every trick that Trevor Mallard and Stephen Joyce have been applying for years.

    Squealing from positions of righteousness will not work with the journalists we have. Message to new Chief of Staff: get in there and get mucky.

  16. Tangee 16

    Well at the end of the day whoever wins will have Achieved no matter how his campaign went.

  17. Salmon 17

    Don’t agree with this assessment.

    At the hustings I went to – Grant was easily the crowd favourite. Maybe not in at the Auckland meetings, but perhaps around the rest of the country. He easily outshone David in Levin, for example. I saw a number of people switch their votes after it.

    I think Cunliffe had to do more than show that he can avoid gaffes. He had needed to go around the country and demonstrate to the rest of the country why some people in Auckland want him to be leader so much. Maybe he did that in some places, but not where I was. He was flat – often awkwardly pausing for applause that never happened. It was just clear that he didn’t quite read the room properly.

    I imagine that this post comes from a predetermined perspective. It doesn’t bear much resemblance to my experience at least.

    • hush minx 17.1

      Hey Salmon – I had also heard Grant shone in Levin. It sounds from talking to various friends around the country that David warmed up as the meetings went on. But also the hustings are only a small part of what the skill set for leadership is. There’s also the real world and ministerial experience and ability to take the fight to Key. Most of the political commentators seem to be saying the Grant didn’t actually campaign as well as they thought he would. My personal issue remains, he’s been Deputy leader as Labour has struggled with getting it’s message out, and being effective as the biggest opposition party. He’s had a chance to show his leadership and it’s not got Labour to where we want it to be. Time enough for him in the future with a few more years under his belt I think. And then it’s more than the hustings where he’ll shine 🙂

    • Colonial Viper 17.2

      Grant did win the Levin meeting, narrowly.

      The media impression was that he won it more strongly than he actually did – but that is a testament to Grant’s media leverage and also Vic Young Labour who were there in force to talk to the journalists outside.

      IMO Grant will make an excellent Cabinet Minister, but needs a couple more terms of rounding out in terms of the CV to become a formidable PM (which he has the makings of). This is still not quite yet his time.

    • Greywarbler 17.3

      The ability to put over a point of view, to talk honestly about the country and a vision, to be believable, and encouraging and stimulate enthusiasm. Surely these are what should be looked for from the three candidates. It sounds as if some were at the meetings for the jokes. If so, it explains how Labour voters ended up having middle class professionals taking over the party. Some things have to be treated seriously, not for the entertainment value. Reading the room? WTF

  18. Anne 18

    Reading the room? WTF

    Yes. That’s middle/yuppie class/bureaucrat PR waffle. Reminds me of the Public Service “Human Resource
    managers” of the 1980s/90s. Made us feel like we had suddenly become akin to a bunch of cows and steers.

    • weka 18.1

      Do working class people not read the room? Can’t quite see the criticism there Anne. Being able to interact with one’s audience is a pretty useful skill for a politician.

      • karol 18.1.1

        “reading the room” is middle-class jargon. It’s a fairly intellectualised view of being distanced from the group and being able to respond to them.

        • weka

          In the circles I move in, reading the room is about perception of subtlety and being able to respond to that. It’s as much about intuition as it is about intellect. I don’t know Salmon, but their use of the word didn’t come across as particularly jargonish to me, and I thought I understood what they meant ie that Cunliffe missed or misjudged the mood of the people he was speaking to.

          I’m curious where you get your definition from Karol.

          • karol

            I get that definition from my experience of the people who I’ve heard use it, and how. It’s my working understanding of the term.

            Yes it involves intuition, but there’s still some intellectual distancing implied. It uses a book/print metaphor for human engagement that is much more multi-dimensional.

            And a bot of a google search only gives me hits that indicate it is mostly management speak.

            Group dynamics for coaches and leaders.

            Nerdy salesman speak.

            Mad Men and Anthropologists

            • weka

              “I get that definition from my experience of the people who I’ve heard use it, and how. It’s my working understanding of the term.”

              Yes, I thought that, but was wondering what kinds of contexts.

  19. weizguy 19

    If Cunliffe wins, I hope his supporters respond with grace. This blinkered hero worship and vitriol aimed at members of caucus has to stop if Cunliffe has any chance of one: Uniting the party, and two: winning the next election.

    This post is the worst of a long line on this site of authors shouting their confirmation bias at anyone who would listen. It’s become tiresome guys. I won’t tell you what to write, but I will say that if Cunliffe wins and continues to hear this kind of self-serving sycophancy, he’s going to struggle to beat Key.

    Whatever happens, this needs to be the end of the petty in-fighting. Whoever wins needs the support of caucus. It’s time to put up or shut up. There’s an election to win, and it’s not going to happen if energy is wasted on factional squabbles. Leave that to the Nats, they’re due a night of the long knives. Collins is itching for it.

    [lprent: Authors write what they wish to and offer their opinions. I notice that you haven’t pointed to anything on the post that you object to either. Classed as personal attack on the author. Doubling your ban to two weeks ]

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Will you promise to send your message to Curran, Mallard and King? Because its tiresome people asking the membership to get into line when its been the Parliamentary side of the party which has been totally AWOL from its common sense eg voting in a total newbie (Shearer) as Labour Leader against all advice and membership pressure.

      • weizguy 19.1.1

        Do they read the Standard? because that’s the only line of communication I have with them.

        I’m not asking the membership to get in line, I’m pointing out a lack of balance and noting that whoever wins won’t be served by “Yes men.” If it’s bad when Gower does it (and it is)…

        I’m part of the membership and I thought Shearer was a good idea. I was wrong, but I don’t think my “common sense” went AWOL – there was a strong argument to be made for his appointment.

        Oh, and I really do wish authors on here would stop trying to talk for “the membership.” That must be almost as bad as me suggesting that “The Standard” has an opinion.

        [lprent: The authors don’t. They speak for themselves as you could see if you read the posts. For instance Michael Foxglove in this post never even mentioned members. My post later in the day mentioned the members but only to talk about my impressions of the effect of the Labour’s policies in the 1980’s and the types of things that members like myself look for. If you want to raise that point again, then you’d better point to an specific instance. Otherwise you will get a rapid escalating set of bans for attacking authors.

        You’d be hard pressed to find posts that do try to put words into the mouths of “members”. What you usually have is some authors who are members and others who are not describing their opinions on what they see.

        But lets start with an educational ban for a week for this unlinked, unwarranted and quite stupid attack on authors in general. If you want to attack “authors”, then never ever make a blanket statement. Always attack what the individual authors actually say and link/quote it. Because if you start trying to treat this site or the individuals who write for it as any kind of cohesive mass then I regard it as challenge to demonstrate just how nasty vindictive and smart I am (and completely unlike these other wimps). Of course this may result in a bit of a competition over your mangled virtual corpse… 😈

        I’m getting tired of the stupid fools who do make blanket attacks. Especially when they exactly look like the last four or five idiots who got banned for it..

        I see there was another similar comment and you’re now banned for two weeks. ]

        • Colonial Viper

          I’m part of the membership and I thought Shearer was a good idea. I was wrong, but I don’t think my “common sense” went AWOL – there was a strong argument to be made for his appointment.

          – hadn’t even completed one full term as a Labour MP
          – new to the party, didn’t know how party mechanisms worked
          – never been in Government, never held a Ministerial or Assoc M portfolio
          – unfamiliar with many aspects of NZ life after being out of the country for many years
          – no ability in the media, had to media train from scratch
          – no prior visibility with the membership or with the public at large

          and so on and so forth.

          Basically you behaved like the ABC’s – you didn’t listen, and you thought you knew best against everyone else’s advice.

          • McFlock

            note to weizguy: and that’s all the grace you can expect from cunliffe zealots.

            Whatever happens they’ll either be insufferable dicks or crapping in the tent.

            • Colonial Viper

              McFlock, according to you it doesn’t matter who is Labour leader.

              • McFlock

                Is that your idea of a sequiter?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Also you don’t think it matters if Labour just cruises in the polls as a centrist party, because the Greens are going to do all the heavy lifting on left wing policy anyways.

                  • McFlock

                    Is this your classy way of deflecting from the grace and respect with which you treat people who make an admission of making a mistake? Such dignity, such delf-deprec sorry self-degradation…

          • weizguy

            Thanks for telling me how I behaved. Do I know you?

            I thought I knew best “against everyone else’s advice”. Everyone’s? There was no-one in favour of Shearer outside Caucus? What is the obsession with claiming to speak for everyone?

            I weighed up the pros and cons and thought he edged it, I saw him as marginally the best option. I’m happy to admit I was wrong and that where I expected to see strengths, there were weaknesses. We learn. But don’t presume to know me.

            • Colonial Viper

              Shearer also:

              – Couldn’t pull a team together, actively demoting talent and allowing caucus misbehaviour to go unpunished.
              – Never appeared to identify that half his supporters were actually Grant supporters
              – Picked staff who were well known Grant supporters
              – Didn’t seem to have a problem with right wing dog whistles and mercernaries (the latter item McFlock is also a fan of).

              I weighed up the pros and cons and thought he edged it

              Yeah, really.

              • McFlock

                Whereas cunliffe just couldn’t get the support of the people he worked most closely with.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Indeed. About half of caucus will never ever vote for Cunliffe willingly. Hence the “ABC” moniker.

                  • weizguy

                    Any idea of the origins of the “ABC”?

                  • McFlock

                    Oh, it’s about half now, is it? The excuse for cunliffe’s failure to get the support of his colleagues used to be around a third of caucus were ABCs and a third careerists.

                    But I guess that “ABC” is easier for you to comprehend than the nuances of “leadership”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey McFlock.

                      What do you care? It doesn’t matter to you who the Labour Leader is, and it certainly doesn’t matter to you how left, centrist or right wing Labour is. To you the Greens are going to do all the hard policy work of the next government and you are naturally an Alliance supporter, anyways.

                      You got no skin and zero care factor in the Labour Party mate.

                    • McFlock

                      Not so. For a left government Labour needs to be on at least the mid-thirties.

                      Infantile members throwing their crap around incessantly just because they don’t get their own way will have more of an effect on that than whomever the caucus leader might be. Fodder for the tories.

                    • Colonial Viper


                    • felix

                      “Infantile members throwing their crap around incessantly just because they don’t get their own way will have more of an effect on that than whomever the caucus leader might be. Fodder for the tories.”

                      So you’re going to stop? Cool.

                    • McFlock


                      I’m not a member 🙂

                  • Sufi Safari

                    And then there’s a corner of the blogosphere who’ll accept nobody but Cunliffe in the leadership. Hence the “NBC” moniker.

                    I think it’s fitting that the logo is a peacock too…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Grant’s young. He’s never been in Government. Never proven himself in a Ministerial portfolio. Grant can’t turn out South Auckland like an Auckland MP can. Hasn’t the background to speak credibly against Key on ecoomics, finance, or business.

                      As part of the Robertson/Shearer leadership team, Labour stayed stuck in the mud wheels spinning.

                      Grant is capable though, and will make a formidable PM after some Cabinet experience.

              • weizguy

                I think I admitted I was proven wrong. I’m not sure how post hoc justifications are relavant. How were these things supposed to be part of my decision-making process when they hadn’t happened yet?

                Is this how you normally influence people, or is this just catharsis? Or, you’re just getting it out of your system before the election is over?

        • weizguy

          I despair. I really do. We’ve got a party that needs to pull together and this: “I regard it as challenge to demonstrate just how nasty vindictive and smart I am (and completely unlike these other wimps).” is how you respond?

          I’m not the enemy. I’m really not.

          [lprent: Attacking authors with generic smears and no specifics is just stupid. That is the Clare Curran style of politics of insinuation against others instead of listening. It is even more irritating when piously calling for compromise by others in the cause of unity (rather than fixing the damn problems).

          All it does is to make people want to tear strips off the creeps doing it.

          BTW: I try to provide a distorted mirror when I write these notes as I find feeding back how others perceive the recipients to be an effective way to change behaviour. If they are sarcastic, then I am even more so. If they are dismissive of the opinions of others.. If they are haughty… etc etc

          My assessment of you was childish and petulant. I was rather hoping that came through, and it appears to have done so. Perhaps you should reread your comments in the light of that revelation… ]

    • QoT 19.2

      If Cunliffe wins, I hope his supporters respond with grace.

      Because of course Robertson’s supporters have been squeaky clean throughout the whole campaign. 🙄

      I hate it when I’m right.

      • weizguy 19.2.1

        Have they? I thought Curran’s tweet was horrendous and resulted in Jenny Michie (for whom I have the utmost respect) being made a scapegoat for the sake of perception.

        Perhaps I should have been more even-handed myself. I expect anyone to act with grace in victory, I was simply responding to what I was reading on this site.

        • QoT

          I think you may not comprehend sarcasm. And given you weren’t actually even-handed to start off with, it will be an easy job to be more so.

          • weizguy

            Oh, I picked up on the sarcasm. It was dripping. And misplaced.

            On balance: I think I’m doing a little better than some.

      • lprent 19.2.2

        That was a good post. Amused the hell out of me when I read it at II. You should put it up on sunday….

      • Alanz 19.2.3

        HAH! Very clever of Ideologically Impure.

        Btw, if Cunliffe wins, the ABCs can undergo a paradigmatic shift and be All Behind Cunliffe.

    • karol 19.3

      It’s an election, lurgee weizguy, in case you haven’t noticed”

      shouting their confirmation bias

      Say what? People are stating their preferences and explaining why.

      self-serving sycophancy

      So what? People shouldn’t get excited during an election, and like, do a bit of cheer-leading?

      • weizguy 19.3.1


        This isn’t a post that states preferences and explains why. It’s a post that sets gerrymandered goalposts for success and then applies a blinkered assessment to each candidates performance.

        Cheerleading is great during an election. I’m worried about afterwards. If Cunliffe wins, he needs people around him who will give him robust, honest advice. I worry he won’t get that.

        • karol

          Whoops. Sorry, don’t know why I addressed it to lurgee.

          Many people who support Cunliffe for leadership do say because they see him as the most capable within the current caucus, to take on the job. It doesn’t mean we never criticise him. Such uncritical sycophancy seems to exist in the imaginations of anti-Cunliffe commenters.

          • Colonial Viper

            Will caucus seriously vote for an MP who has fairly consistently polled behind Cunliffe in terms of name recognition and perceived leadership potential?

            Who lacks both the Ministerial experience and economic background required to be considered by the electorate to be a credible contender to be PM?

            Put it another way – do these members of caucus prefer to remain in charge of a losing Labour rather than not being in charge of a winning Labour? I’m not confident that the right call will be made because this is the very same block of MPs who screwed up on selecting Shearer.

            The nation needs the Tories gone. IMO Robertson will bring the 2014 vote in a good 3%-4% under what Cunliffe could accomplish (although much higher than what Shearer could ever do).

            • The Al1en

              If caucus play to form and anoint GR against the clear wishes of party members and affiliate unions, then I reckon hopes for 2014 might just as well be considered wishful thinking. The party will be split, calls to unite behind the new leader will fall on deaf ears and Labour will wither and die on the vine.

              How much animosity and division do caucus want to stir up should be the first question they ask themselves, and can they take it when it comes for them a close second

    • Yoza 19.4

      I wouldn’t vote Labour for many reasons. I was a telecom lineman working for the Post Office during the Lange regime and I voted for Labour in 1987 after Lange had done the rounds of the unions promising the newly ‘corporatised’ Telecom would not be sold.

      Under the Clark regime: the persecution of Ahmed Zaoui was disgusting; the paramilitary style police raid on Tuhoe was criminal; Lianne Dalziel shipping the 16 year old rape victim back to Sri Lanka was plain evil; denying Maori the right to test their claim to the sea bed and foreshore in court was completely idiotic. I’m sure I could think up more if I wanted (Lange regime invents GCSB).

      So from an outsider with no ‘skin in the game’ I would like to offer the following observation.
      The Labour Party membership did not lay down when the ABC crowd promoted Shearer to party leader at the expense of the more popular Cunliffe, they fought back hard and were rewarded for their efforts with a big shake up of the manner in which the party leader is elected.

      When Shearer was ‘re-endorsed’ in a flaky non-contest and Cunliffe was banished from the front bench the membership continued to fight until Shearer could finally read the writing on the wall and resigned.

      The ABCers of the Labour Party (in collusion with the mainstream media) have performed an important function, they have taught the Labour Party membership that if you are united and you fight and you keep fighting, regardless of the contempt in which you are held, you will be rewarded. By galvanising the membership against them the ABC crowd appears to have awoken a dangerous beast, one capable of mortally savaging Key and his sordid band of predatory mercenaries.

      The ABC crowd could do worse than understand the Francis Bacon quote: “Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.” 

  20. GregJ 20

    First of all the Labour Party admin should be congratulated on the organization, structure, speed and smooth running of the Leadership Selection. The Party as a whole should also take credit for changing the rules to a much more democratic, open & inclusive process and for conducting it in a way that the general public can also see that Labour stands for a more transparent & democratic political process. A fine example of Representative & Direct Democracy in action.

    Secondly the Candidates should be congratulated for standing, for allowing the differing views within the party to be articulated and for the general conduct of their relative campaigns. They have been civil, thoughtful, humorous, positive and, aside from the odd glitch by some overzealous supporters, focused on the issues and policy.

    Thirdly – the campaign has highlighted (if it wasn’t already blindingly obvious) the dire state of the mainstream media’s political coverage & analysis. The Political Gallery, deprived of its normal exclusive caucus access and spoon-feed sound bites by politicians was forced to actually attempt to understand what was going on within the minds of the wider party & affiliates. They failed miserably. Starved of information a pampered, lazy & increasingly desperate political media attempted to create their own narrative and then found it was pointless as the wider membership and affiliates, better informed, actively engaged, were able to ignore their dog-whistles and trite coverage.

    Lastly – the caucus is perhaps beginning to understand that there is now a change in dynamic – no longer can the control & direction of the party be decided/hijacked by a small group of caucus power brokers meeting in cafes (or fish & chip shops). Power will now have to be forged by consensus across a much wider group of people within the Party – not just the small group that makes up the Parliamentary wing. It doesn’t mean the end of factions or in-fighting but now the power balance is shifting and that may well lead to new & different type of Labour politicians.

    The process may not be perfect, there is much work to be done at the Conference and then in the electorates to prepare the party for an election and the opportunity to present a credible alternative to the incumbent Government, but it is a vast improvement on what we have seen before.

    Ahakoa he uaua, kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui

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