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Countering the Tories’ bait & switch

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, December 14th, 2011 - 89 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour, spin - Tags:

Congratulations David Shearer, you’re leader of the Left now, and the prime target for the Right’s smear machine. The Right’s strategy is obvious: bait and switch. Having proclaimed Shearer’s virtues to high heaven, they (and their useful idiots) will now say ‘who is this man?’, try to frame unreasonable expectations, and try to beat up leadership rumours.

They’ve wasted no time in starting. In fact, it started a few days ago, once they were confident that Shearer had the numbers.

Labour’s counter-strategy has to be to fill the narrative around Shearer before the Right does. This is already underway, too, and the primary process helped. It also helps that Shearer’s CV provides such a ready-made positive story (much easier than Key’s actually). But the Nats are much better at smearing their opponents (at least their external opponents) than Labour is. They do it so well, you almost don’t see it because the smears become the narrative.

So, Labour cannot rest on its laurels here. Shearer needs to be in front of the media, speaking about his values, about his commitment to change, about sharing the values and aspirations of Kiwis. He mustn’t get tied down into specific policy positions until he and the party are ready – although the narrative that Labour ran on, of the need for long-term changes for a fairer New Zealand, not short-term firesales should remain. Just dismiss invitations to get bogged down with a clear statement that policies will be announced in due course.

And don’t, for god’s sake, fall into a default position of putting out whinging press releases about everything the government does. Already, most of the minor spokespeople seem to have picked up after the election with the same incessant little meaningless press releases. Make them stop. Get some media people who understand strategy, not just how to whine. Pick your battles and, when you do oppose, do it robustly. This is part of narrative. A huge part because the press releases that journalists read every day from political parties tell them a lot about the parties’ mindsets.

The first question time of the year will be important and is worth investing time in getting right. It needs to be about holding Key up to higher standards – not some weak gotcha quotes or trying to hold Key against his own statements (which he will always weasel out of) but against standards that Labour sets. This is about regaining the broader political narrative, rather than being confined to the rules National sets. Shearer doesn’t need to blow Key out of the park. He isn’t expected to in his first face to face. Just do a decent job.

The Right and the more yapping dog type of journalist will raise the question of whether Robertson intends to roll Shearer whenever anything goes mildly wrong – including if there isn’t an immediate leap in the polls. It’s stupid stuff. The only real response is for the caucus to stay united and not mutter to journalists (why would you mutter to a journalist anyway). Robertson should probably give Michael Cullen a call and find out how he got the media to accept he was a loyal deputy (despite having launched several failed coups on Helen Clark). Cullen’s famous “I’m a number two sort of person” is probably a good place to start.

I’m probably telling the people behind Shearer like Trevor Mallard how to suck eggs but this is important. The first few weeks will shape the narrative around Shearer. Don’t let them slip by and leave the Right free rein to tell New Zealand who Shearer is. The primary competition was an excellent start in giving Labour the opportunity to build him up. Now, complete the job.

89 comments on “Countering the Tories’ bait & switch ”

  1. Anthony 1

    Time to exploit the Nats tying John Key to their brand, don’t attack John Key personally attack John Key and National, takes the negative sting off anything that would come across as personal.

    • Tombstone 1.1

      I think you’re absolutely right and it’s smart thinking. Take Key out of the equation as much as possible and refer to the party rather than man that is seen as the party. So, yeah – forget Key. Go for the party instead and leave all the personal stuff out of it.

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        Can’t help thinking that come sell asset day many national voters will find they don’t have the money to buy them – or if they do they have to borrow sending off another rating downgrade.

        • aerobubble

          Shearer should buy some and gift them to the Nation somehow, maybe ever Labour MP should buy them, put them in a trust (for the tax rort) and gift them to a south auckland solo-mum.
          i.e. start being nasty in a nice way to National policy, that’s the problem with Labour they need to be feared.

  2. tc 2

    mallard’s behind Shearer ! so much for change then, good luck Labour.

    • lprent 2.1

      Are you always this slow?

      • tc 2.1.1

        I just don’t live and breath politics just sarcasm.

        • lprent

          🙂 It is a minor part of my life as well (despite how it appears) .

          It just happens to be something that I can largely do at my desk while my brain is slowly unraveling the latest algorithm corundum. In other words for me politics is something that can be done with a a minor part of my head (except when I’m writing code for it)

    • Well he’s only only got two choices you plomker ! I expect if he had been behind Cuncliffe you would have said Mallard behind Cuncliffe ,So what?
      I expect you are behind Key.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    A pretty likely line of attack will be to try and find pictures of David Shearer shaking hands with various dictators, which Cameron Slater will “discover” and David Farrar will gravely intone about, before John Armstrong writes a slightly hysterical column claiming the Labour leader’s credibility with middle NZ is on the line.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    “Shearer’s CV.” Heh.

    In the mean time the Christmas media blackspot has to be managed. The Government will be slipping through all kinds of insidious decisions in the next few days. I agree that sending out a press release complaining about each one in turn is useless, but it almost must be done to counter the “well Labour never said they had a problem with it at the time” accusation down the track.

    Not falling for the clamour and drama of the right wing 24 hour news cycle will be difficult, as you identify EDDIE. A larger, more overarching principles based narrative (which will fit in very well with describing Shearer as a person, and his back story) needs to be put in play.

    And be prepared to keep pushing established Labour policy, and not afraid of punching out distinct new details as well, to contrast and compare how vapid and self serving National’s policies are.

    And this is Christmas. Time to point out how for too many NZ families, and families in Christchurch they are missing out again, and that National has made things better for the few, but not the many.

    • Jackal 4.1

      I totally agree with your and Eddie’s summations CV. Negative reactionary politics will not work, especially during the Christmas narrative that some people still believe in. Labour especially must speak to National swing voters, while not pissing of their core supporter’s by appearing to be moving towards the right. It’s a fine line to tread.

      Some people don’t realize the extent and amount of decisions, some of which have only been hinted at by John Key et al that will negatively impact on their lives. In other words, the barrage of feel-bad stories that they will try to suppress over the next few years as well as the protagonist’s disinformation campaign will turn people off politics including the oppositions message.

      That message must get through the biased media and a well-oiled Nact machine that is determined to achieve its goals at any cost. Highlighting the cost while limiting any alienation of those who would rather live in denial is key (no pun intended) to removing Nact in 2014.

      The difficulty is in providing an argument that counters Nacts propaganda while also having a positive narrative that lets people know there is an alternative. I think Shearer is better suited at adapting to the latter dynamic… whereas Goff was perhaps better suited to the former.

  5. randal 5

    time for labour to erect their own media machine.
    micropulse radio stations are the way to go.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I suggest that the media machine needs to be Left wing and not aligned to any single party.

      Every party must be held to account by this new Left MSM.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        Sorry, I’d rather have a neutral MSM. Echo chambers don’t help anyone.

        • Colonial Viper

          I’m not interested in a ‘neutral’ MSM.

          I want one that works on behalf of the bottom least well off, least influential 99% of NZ society. That to my mind is what the Fourth Estate is about.

          • Anthony

            The media has a structural bias towards simplicity, even if most of reality is more complex. This by far outweighs any ideological bias.

            Until that is addressed It will generally suit the right, because their overarching ideas seem simple and logical, but dissolve under any scrutiny.

            Unless the left are going to completely change the way the populace consume media they’re going to have to just deal with it.

            • Colonial Viper

              Anthony. We don’t have to change the way that the entire populace consumes media.

              Just another 5%-10% of it. Do you see?

              • Anthony

                Oh I agree completely, I’m more talking in the short term. The left isn’t going to have the power to change anything in a larger scale (which I see as a 5-10% shift) until it’s back in government, such as an independent public broadcaster etc. So for the moment it has to deal best with the hand it was dealt, and think up new ways to bypass the mediation of their message.

                Maori TV could be a contender because it’s funding stream is hard to screw due to treaty obligations. Whereas a public broadcaster will get screwed by the government of its day.

                Maybe something like a more slick version of Scoop could do a huffington post and compete with Stuff/Herald online editions.

            • rosy

              “The media has a structural bias towards simplicity, even if most of reality is more complex. This by far outweighs any ideological bias.”

              Structural bias toward simplicity isn’t the issue. It’s very easy to report the problems of the poor in a straight-forward manner. The problem is not necessarily ideological bias but is definitely one of allegiances IMO. Try George Monbiot for a view on this.

              The men who own the corporate press are fighting a class war, seeking, even now, to defend the 1% to which they belong against its challengers. But because they control much of the conversation, we seldom see it in these terms. Our press re-frames major issues so effectively, it often recruits its readers to mobilise against their own interests.

              • Jackal

                I have to disagree with you there rosy. Anthony is right, structural bias towards simplicity within reporting especially television is the main problem. Straight forward reporting is boring, and therefore not appropriate for a commercialized industry.

                The media treat the public like a bunch of idiots with little chunks of spoon-fed information that never touch on the actual mechanisms behind policies and stories. In-depth investigative reporting is an almost non-existent commodity, that is no longer respected.

                Even our current affairs programs gloss over the details when they’re often the most important thing. The drive to keep the viewer interested with a million disjointed stories has developed a schizophrenic like news service… where very few connect the dots.

                National’s PR team excels in this medium, whereby baseless and badly researched policies aren’t placed under any type of scrutiny. We cannot hope to change the drive behind that biased system, but we can hope to change the mechanism that facilitates such lopsidedness.

                Tonight we had Chester Burrows on Backbenchers saying there was a robust debate about asset sales leading up to the 2011 election… that’s not what I recall. From what I witnessed, the media was focused on a teapot tape conversation, which has now conveniently died.

                • rosy

                  I know what your saying Jackal, but how an item the framing is all important in simplicity. The MSM frame to suit the right-wing agenda. Just one example – the Rangitikei meatworkers lockout is framed in terms of workers not agreeing to a paycut – not framed in terms of a management back on super, wages, benefits etc. It can be framed to expose management in a really simple way. It’s just not done.

                  I agree National PR ecxels in this, and their policies are not scrutinised as they should be. But that fits with an allegiance bias, as well as a simplicity bias.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Don’t mistake what the MSM has evolved into for what it was, or what it has to be.

                  Straight forward reporting is boring, and therefore not appropriate for a commercialized industry.

                  There are just so many ways to examine this statement and to tease it apart.

                  Basically, people need to be people and not sheeple; trained to focus, to ask questions and to think for themselves. Like reading and writing, these are not skills which are picked up solely by osmosis.

                  Of course, I also understand that is not what “commercialised industry” is interested in cultivating. But the people who founded ‘public broadcasting’ already knew that many many years ago. Its just that we’ve forgotten.

          • seeker

            +! +1CV

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Really ?

          So all those talk back hosts that just happen to be to the right of National, Leighton Smith, Larry Williams, Michael Lhaws, Mike Hoskings and even Paul Holmes who pops up now and then.

  6. Spratwax 6

    ‘But the Nats are much better at smearing their opponents (at least their external opponents) than Labour is. They do it so well, you almost don’t see it because the smears become the narrative.’

    Well that’s rather obvious because it helps that the right-wing mainstream media is the mouthpiece for the GNats. How do you get through to the average Kiwi when everything they watch and read supports the Government and is critical of it’s opponents. Getting the counter message through to the masses will be the trick! Will the Shearer backstory, freshness, and charisma be enough to have the media falling all over him? – Get real, but policies that are more in tune with what the GNats are preaching, might!

    But then the political and economic landscape may be quite different in 2014. Even Key isn’t guaranteed to survive this term.

  7. Dr Terry 7

    We have to accept the inevitable. We have watched for far too long Labour making a mess of things. We all know about the fabulous Shearer CV, but when will we hear about his background from objective independent research? More then ever, I am glad to have parted company with Labour.

  8. In Vino Veritas 8

    “Congratulations David Shearer, you’re leader of the Left now, and the prime target for the Right’s smear machine. The Right’s strategy is obvious: bait and switch. Having proclaimed Shearer’s virtues to high heaven, they (and their useful idiots) will now say ‘who is this man?’, try to frame unreasonable expectations, and try to beat up leadership rumours.”

    For goodness sake. You surely can’t be trying to set National up to take the blame for something that may go wrong in the Labour party sometime in the future, already? How sad and demoralising for Labours supporters is that?

    If it’s true, you really are getting tired Eddie.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      Hello ?
      National has been blaming Labour for all the decisions they havent taken in the last 3 years.
      And then for those they did take.

      Borrowing ? All Labours fault… no mention of the tax cuts funded by borrowing

      And the boom years in the 2000s… that was because of the decisions taken 9 years before under Ruth Richardson

      • insider 8.1.1

        Labour was blaming Ruth Richardson for all sorts of ills almost 15 years after she left govt. It’s called politics.

        • bbfloyd

          no innie, it’s called “history”… a little thing that we have to have so that we can understand how we arrived at the current paradigm…. richardsons “reforms” led to a compounding degradation of our social/economic balance that has yet to be successfully countered…….

          btw… it was acknowledged by informed economic commentators and experts that her “mother of all budgets” was unnecessarily harsh, and did more damage than any perceived gains achieved….. this was , of course, reported very quietly…. so quietly and politely that it never got any traction in the debate over economic policy direction…..

          the truth is still the truth centuries after it has occurred, and still relevant….. just because it may cause certain people moments of discomfort doesn’t change the reality….richardson will, quite simply, go down in history as a failure politically and economically…… her legacy has been nothing short of social and economic sabotage……

          we will be decades dealing with the lunacy unleashed by the bolger/shipley cabal……. that’s if we actually get the chance to address her legacy without the obstructive tactics of journalists working to further their careers in the national party gravy train….

    • lprent 8.2

      Don’t be silly. It was quite evident that getting a novice in was the strategy. Hell I said so in a post when David Parker dropped out

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    Exactly .
    While Key was on TV1 in 1987 telling the viewers about foreign exchange dealing David and his wife were running one of the biggest aid camps in Somalia

    • The Voice of Reason 9.1

      You’re a bit tough on John. It must have been hell having to go to sleep each night with a camera crew in the bedroom to record any fake calls from overseas that might come in. And those squash shorts were so tight he could have auditioned for the castrato role in the Wellington opera. Nah, John’s way braver than Shearer. It’s just that he’s soooo modest, we never get to hear about it.

    • vto 9.2

      But ghost, Key’s work as a money-changer helps the poor and downtrodden too. Have you not heard of trickle down?

    • In Vino Veritas 9.3

      I think you’ll find that David Shearer was a teacher in 1987 ghost.

    • insider 9.4

      And in 1987 Helen Clark was voting to sell off state assets. Big deal.

      • Colonial Viper 9.4.1

        The money changers and banksters that Key was working for in 1987 were also profitting from those asset sales.

        They are the common factor here.

        • In Vino Veritas

          Whoa CV!! Not a conspiracy theory!

          • Colonial Viper

            Don’t be daft, capitalism is not a conspiracy, its out in the open, publicly reported on, and further more it is how these banksters make money for their shareholders.

            • In Vino Veritas

              Conspiracy theory alert!!

              • McFlock

                And what is the conspiracy theory I am being alerted to?

              • Colonial Viper

                Classic distraction from a RWNJ. A conspiracy implies secrecy, whereas the theft of public wealth by banksters over the last two decades is visible for all to see.

                • HHH

                  Bitter much? You lot spent an awful lot of time making fun of “that awful speaker” John Key and then you went out and voted for a guy who is just as awkward in front of the mic as he is.

                  • lprent

                    Ah. I can see you don’t understand the society. We didn’t vote for him. 34 mp’s did.

                    • Armchair Critic

                      technically somewhere between 18 and 33 MPs voted for him; it could only be 34 if the whole caucus, including David Cunliffe, voted for David Shearer.

      • js 9.4.2

        Have you got any proof of that? I think you will find that she was part of a group trying to hold onto them and fighting Rogernomics every step of the way.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          I think you have mistaken her for Jim Anderton.

          But thats not say many at the time thought Rogernomics was ‘fresh new thinking’ but in the end it didnt deliver.

          Key was far more right wing when he arrived in parliament but has since moved to the centre, he called Working for Families- communism

          • Puddleglum

            The only people who could possibly see Rogernomics as ‘fresh new thinking’ are those who know nothing about the history of political and economic ideas.

            • Colonial Viper

              Chicago School neo-liberal economists were helping Pinochet rain ruin over his people well before they started here in NZ.

        • insider

          the Finance Act 1987 which approved the sale of NZ Steel. She would have voted for it as part of the govt.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Those were the assets LOSING money.
            Labours rules say once the caucus majority has approved a piece of legislation than everybody else must vote for it in the house, even if you voted against it in caucus.

            • McFlock

              Eddie forgot to include tory tactic #9: derail any debate about labour strategy by critiquing “Lab4 (The Rogering)”.

              FFS – the original post was about Labour: where to from here. NOT the specific role in a decades-gone government that was played by someone who retired from parliament three years ago.

              Trollnapped hook, line and sinker.

      • bbfloyd 9.4.3

        now you’re just being silly innie…. clarke was a minor government mp in the eighties, and was actively working with jim anderton in his attempts to undermine roger douglas’ reforms…. you really need to get some kind of mature perspective….. making halfwit, bitchy comment doesn’t pass for intelligent comment anywhere but on the et channel….

        • insider

          Minister of Conservation, Minister of Housing and Minister of Health all in the late 80s. Hardly a minor govt MP…I don’t deny she was morally opposed but politics made/makes sluts of all of them whenit comes to registering your vote in the house.

          Note the halfwit, bitchy comment was in response to a similar halfwit, bitchy comment about relative qualifications of the two major party leaders based on what they were doing in 87

          • HHH

            Er, Helen voted to bring back Sir Roger to the caucus which led to Lange resigning. Small, minor MP my ass… working with Jim? Hell no.

  10. nadis 10

    I’m probably telling the people behind Shearer like Trevor Mallard how to suck eggs but this is important.

    You probably need to because on the evidence Mallard and his senior cohorts have done a terrible job. For Shearers sake, I hope he doesn’t mis-step badly early on through bad advice or poor preparation because it will be hard to recover from if he surrenders the narrative.

    Will be super interesting how many of the old school are on Labours front bench – that will be the measure of Shearer as a leader. And if Cunliffe isn’t Finance or something equally high profile (like what I’m not sure) then clearly the Labour parliamentary party remains dysfunctional. There is no sensible or defensible ranking which doesn’t have Cunliffe as either #1 or # after the two leaders. Pushing Cunliffe aside will make the nats task so easy to chip away and take any intitiative away from Shearer – every story will be about “factional infighting”, “waste of talent”, “Cunliffe/Robertson/Someone else biding their time”, “Lurch to the left/Right/Centre”, “Squeezed on both sides by Greens/NZ First”. Too easy.

    And obviously we all see the Key Vs Shearer media match up – but the most dangerous thing for Labour/Shearer will be if Winston and the Greens turn on Labour to try and maximise their share of the opposition vote. If Peters targets Shearer………

    • insider 10.1

      Give Cunliffe foreign affairs/trade. Plausible based on his CV and gets him out and about not mischief making at home

      • lprent 10.1.1

        How is it plausible based on his CV? I can’t see a damn thing in there that is relevant to the task. Unless you mean that he went to college offshore? In which case I’d suggest that a better person would be David Shearer based on his CV.

        But at present we have a very limited need for competence in foreign affairs – which is why Murray McCully has it. We do for trade but that is something that a opposition party has quite literally nothing to do with.

        • Pete

          David Cunliffe was a diplomat with MFAT and a tutor in international trade at Harvard (http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidcunliffemp) – so he knows the area, but I agree with you. One of the chunky policy areas like Economic Development (perhaps with a side order of State Services), would be a good place for Cunliffe to make his mark.

        • insider

          Given you are a big fan of Cunliffe, I’m surprised you are not aware of a significant portion of his career spent with MFAT and lecturing on trade issues. Seems a more than reasonable qualification to me.

          • lprent

            I guess you missed my point on trade matters (which those quals would suit). Kind of useless when there is very very little difference between the main parties on trade. When was the last time you ever saw any real point of difference between those parties on trade matters? There really isn’t.

            What are you left with for a point of difference between Labour and National outside of trade in foreign affairs? Nothing much. The uses of the pitiful NZ aid budget? Progress at climate change? How does time at MFAT or trade help with those. For an opposition shadow minister?

            That is also why opposition trade and foreign affairs don’t spend much time offshore these days. They tend to spend it in NZ being relatively idle. Idle hands create what you’re saying he should n’t have a chance to do….

            It’d be seen as what it is – a pointless muzzle. In this case pointlessly proposed by a pointless person…

      • David H 10.1.2

        Nope you need Cunliffe in Finance just to keep Key and Co honest.

  11. richard bartlett 11

    We all must wish David Shearer the very best, whether or not we backed him.
    That much is obvious. What might not be so obvious is that he must, however practice, practice, practice SETTING THE AGENDA with the media.
    He is a very nice guy, but the media will be licking their lips……..

    He can fulfill his pledge to “bring the party together, and connect with the public”
    by guiding Labour towards a greater involvment of party members in decision making regarding selection of candidates, and eventually leader.

  12. Tigger 12

    I was a firm Cunliffe-Mahuta convert and it’s taken me a good day to get my head around the vote. But the caucus voted and that is the rule (although I suspect it will be the last time caucus gets to vote for leader…).

    But even as someone who didn’t back Shearer I’m 100% behind him and Grant. I don’t know Shearer but I do know Grant and I have immense respect for his political skills. He’s also just a good, decent guy. And any gay man who makes Key and English look as butch as Mr Humphries from Are You Being Served? is going to explode a bunch of stereotypes, and exploding stereotypes is a very good thing.

    For me the real difference here than three years ago is that there were leadership options and a vote. It already feels very unlike how Goff ascended to power. I hope this was not just for show. And I urge the new leaders to run with the idea of a break from the past and change. Labour needs to do things differently, not just how it presents itself but internally. The worst thing that could happen would be for us to change leaders but then have all the same negative, unhelpful stuff happening behind the scenes. Because we want and need change, MPs.

    And I expect change. I expect more than words. I want to see talented people pushed up and some MPs who aren’t as…let’s say ‘fresh’ moved into support roles. As for David C, he has to be #3 running finance. That’s a given and anything else would be silly. Charles Chauvel has a brilliant legal mind and Labour needs to tap that resource. Ardern is another rising star and one who deserves the praise heaped on her. And time for Mr Jones to step up and show us he can perform. Nanaia also deserves moving up now that she has indicated she’s ready for more, and her speeches made me believe she is.

    So well done David Shearer. You have this member’s full and utter support.

  13. I hope Shearer and his team just concentrate on doing a decent job and not run around in circles worrying about agendas and conspiracies and trying to be too clever.

    That’s an advantage a Shearer leadership has over Cunliffe, and I think he’s aware of that, he said Labour spent too much campaign time worrying about the opposition and saying what they were against and not enough time promoting what they would do.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      That’s an advantage a Shearer leadership has over Cunliffe, and I think he’s aware of that, he said Labour spent too much campaign time worrying about the opposition and saying what they were against and not enough time promoting what they would do.

      And the obvious follow up question, what was done with that awareness while there was still time before the election.

      Because we all have 20/20 hindsight, Pete, that’s not very special.

  14. strategos 14

    “Mr. Speaker, I have one simple question to ask.

    Where does the Prime Minister stand on the Euro ?”

  15. randal 15

    he stands on the side where he can make the most money for his miami client list.

  16. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 16

    Congratulations David Shearer, you’re leader of the Left now, and the prime target for the Right’s smear machine.

    Because everyone knows the left is above smears.

    • The Voice of Reason 16.1

      Thank you for acknowledging that gormless and good luck with your personal battles against alcoholism, glue sniffing and goat related sexual escapades.

  17. Brett 17

    I was talking with some people today and according to them Shearer’s only going to be around for a couple of years, then Robinson will overthrow Shearer and lead Labour into the 2014 election.
    Seemed a bit odd to say the least and I would say the chances of that happening are rather remote, but then again stranger things have happened.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Crosby Textor memo to all RWNJ’s

      – With the successful selection of David Shearer, it is now time to execute our prearranged media and blogosphere plan.

      – We will begin by undermining Shearer’s leadership before it has even really begun by sowing the seeds of distrust, as we did so well with Phil Goff.

      – Rumours of Shearer’s expected failure and impending new leadership challenge will serve to undermine Labour just as it did so well last term.

      – Please remember to spell Grant Robertson’s last name correctly.

      That is all.

      • Brett 17.1.1

        Please remember to spell Grant Robertson’s last name correctly.
        LOL, going to cop a ribbing back a HQ for that one

      • Jackal 17.1.2

        Crosby Textor memo to all RWNJ’s

        Now that David Shearer has been selected as leader of the Labour party:

        We need to find some dirt on the guy.

        Failing that just make some shit up that is slightly plausible.

        Focus on stories about money, sex, drugs, and internal party conflicts.

        Remember you don’t need any evidence, just bluff and repeat.

  18. red blooded 18

    Well, whether or not the individuals commenting here would have chosen David Shearer and Grant Robertson, the caucus did. Being Leader of the Opposition is hard enough without having another unofficial opposition sandbagging you from inside your own party.

    Talking to left-leaning non-members today (2 of whom voted Green for the 1st time in the latest election and one of whom had some friends who had even voted for NZ1st, just as a way of spiking up the Opposition for this term), all were impressed by the choice of Shearer and by what they’ve seen and heard from him so far. They like the fact that he doesn’t present as ‘slick’. (And of course the UN backstory warms their hearts.)

    Now, Mr Shearer, show some of that team-building skill you laid claim to during the leadership campaign; recognise and make full use of the strengths of David Cunliffe and Nanaia Mahuta.

    • Craig Glen Eden 18.1

      Well red blood I talked to three tradesman today and they all said what the shit are Labour thinking electing Shearer. As for Shearers Un back story they don’t give a shit they want to pay the bills and see the back side of National.

      • Rain33 18.1.1

        Well Craig Glen Eden, I spoke to three colleagues in my office today, two of whom voted Green and one who voted National . They all felt encouraged by their first impressions of David Shearer, and were all equally impressed with his sobering backstory. Each one of them admitted they could vote Labour if they could offer the better direction they are looking for. So stop talking out of your *ss.

  19. ordinary_bloke 19

    Interesting piece from UK conservative blogs ..

    ” ..we need growth now. The Coalition’s supply-side reforms to schools and welfare will have huge positive implications for Britain’s future competitiveness but they’ll be bearing fruit in years, not months. People are unemployed now. Households are struggling to make ends meet now. Companies are choosing whether to relocate abroad now. Osborne needs to do something dramatic that will encourage business expansion now but won’t cost him much money. The talk is of granting future and significant tax exemptions to businesses that start in the next 12 months.”


  20. coolas 20

    Shearer was ok on Radio NZ this morning. Called Dunne ‘disingenuous’. Now there’s a point of difference with Key, axchilly; the right word pronounced correctly.

    • aerobubble 20.1

      Dunne is more than just disingenius, he’s down right ….

      Selling collateral that falls into foreign ownership harms the NZ economy.

      Dunne said he’d do nothing that harms the economy.

      • Colonial Viper 20.1.1

        But there’s more than one economy in NZ.

        The economy of the 99% and the economy of the 1%. Dunne won’t be hurting the economy of the 1%, so that’s fine.

  21. lprent 21

    I see Bryce Edwards really seems to have found this site. He still hasn’t quite grasped the concept that there are different authors with different opinions.


    The Standard blogsite, having clearly backed the defeated Cunliffe, offers congratulations and advice (Countering the Tories’ bait & switch) but some bitterness seeps through in the continued line that Shearer is the unwitting tool of the rightwing (and their ‘useful idiots’ – namely Chris Trotter and myself). With ‘friends’ like that, David Shearer clearly has an uphill battle uniting an unhappy activist base.

    He seems to be upset about Eddie’s comment. I guess it is one way to attract his attention. I used to have a look through his web reviews on the occasional referral links that come from it, and then read around current and previous posts. One thing that was noticeable to me was that he was extraordinarily selective about which blog sites he refers to, and seems to have a distinct preference for right wing ones.

    I discovered that he was writing a column for the herald online because of the links in the past few days. Turns out that the column has been running for some time. As far as I could see from this side, the largest left wing blog site (and these days probably the largest blog site in NZ) never got linked in the column until there was leadership change in Labour. Then it came from his referring to a post in a right wing site (Cactus Kate) on comments in this site that led me back to his column.

    And Byrce wonders why many of the active left don’t have a high opinion of him? Or his analysis? He needs to look in the mirror.

    • lprent 21.1

      I remember being at a lecture Bryce Edwards gave earlier this year mostly on why political parties have so few members these days (sitting next to Chris Trotter as it happens – I like Chris’s analysis – Eddie doesn’t).

      At the time I thought that his ideas clearly lacked actual experience of the social dynamics of political parties. The main reason for the decline in the membership of all political parties is simple in my view.

      It is because it is a lot easier and faster now to get information about politics without going along to turgid political meeting where only one person can speak at once. Political meetings are intensely boring. I suspect that the drop off in members turning up to meetings has a strong correlation with the amount of mass media available to those people when they got interested in politics. Routine political meetings are filled with the elderly.

      Most of the political information is still from the mass media. You don’t have to be a member to get it.

      The same thing is happening to the actual political debate inside parties with their members. These days much of the political debate is in the email, blogs like this, and even facebook and twitter. Being a member is only required if you are wanting to go to conferences, turn up at closed meetings like the recent candidates one, or push a policy remit through the laborious party machinery.

      I so regularly forget to pay the sub to be a member because it didn’t have a bank account number that I’ve finally resorted to a periodic payment. I pay every other bill manually.

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