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Cunliffe Has Overplayed His Hand

Written By: - Date published: 1:52 pm, November 19th, 2012 - 100 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david shearer, labour, making shit up, Media - Tags:

Why it’s to the detriment of us all, and we need to move on. For now.

At the end of this weekend’s Labour Annual Conference, delegates were happy. Speaking as a delegate, we had made the first and most important changes to the party in its history – we democratised the leadership, we enforced gender equity rules that have real teeth, and we adopted a new and far more effective way to make and communicate policy. We also voted through significantly important policies – we demanded a clearer stance on National Standards, and we got it. We wanted a clear stance on marriage equality, and we got it. We wanted policies that will rejuvenate and strengthen our democracy through civics education and a move to lower the voting age over the long term, and we got it.

Then there was that speech.

But every night, after we got home and turned on the TV or visited a news website (or even some of the blogs), we didn’t see those stories we felt proud about. We saw Patrick Gower and Brook Sabin and Jessica Mutch sticking the camera in David Cunliffe’s face and we saw him repeatedly refusing to say whether he supported Shearer. We saw others do it too, but a large number of Labour MPs simply said “I support the leader” and we never saw them in front of the camera again.

The frustration over this disparity in coverage was evident when, at the conclusion of Shearer’s speech, a number of delegates told Gower exactly what they thought of his obsession with Cunliffe. Some of it was not what you would call “polite” language.

It’s easy to understand why – an immensely progressive policy platform, a future-proofed party structure that will appeal to new members, the best speech by a New Zealand politician in decades – the party felt good about itself. The enthusiasm was back. But that’s not what was being reported. The leadership drama overran everything.

Cunliffe squares a very large portion of the blame for that. His ambition for the leadership is obvious, and his play for it over the weekend has potentially derailed his bid, let alone the whole narrative of the Labour party. According to some on this blog, and a few others, David Cunliffe has the universal support of the membership. But unless they’ve done polling of members, it’s an utterly ridiculous suggestion. If you look at the most controversial constitutional change, the 40% February trigger rule, it only passed by 27 votes. We all know that a large number of people would have been motivated to vote for that because they were in “Team Cunliffe” – it’s clear he benefits from the lower trigger, being the only challenger to Shearer. You can clumsily extrapolate that voting division to get a sense that Cunliffe is in no way universally supported – at absolute best, it’s split down the middle, presuming “Team Shearer” voted against and “Team Cunliffe” voted for.

But it’s hard to imagine the distractions that have bumped all the details of the best conference in years out of the limelight reflects well on Cunliffe. He would have to be worried about his association to those frustrations and how that would affect his share of the members’ votes. Frankly, he’d also have to be worried about Shearer’s support following that damn speech.

There’s also been a lot of speculation on the motivation of Shearer to call an early vote. But if we want to keep the leadership drama out of the headlines until February so we can talk about all the amazing things we did this weekend, it’s the only way. Shearer knows he has to do it again in February – the constitution rightly says so – so we need something to keep that story on ice until then. The only way is to have a vote now. It will pass, and pass easily.

Rather than thwarting the membership as some suggest, an early vote will allow Shearer to say he has the support of caucus and free him to talk about something else. Something more important, like how the government’s hands-off-the-wheel approach is sending us speeding into a roadside culvert. In fact, I suggest that not having a vote and keeping this debate alive until February is thwarting the membership. It was evident that the rank and file were annoyed by the leadership speculation dominating the weekend, and Shearer needs to do something about that.

Regardless of which “team” you may or may not be on, we need this story on ice until February so that we can get stuck into the government, and not each other. However, following this weekend there will be a number of people who are in “Team Cunliffe” questioning that choice; his desire to lead the party has come on too strongly and has shifted the coverage away from everything that excited and united the membership over the weekend.

Sam

100 comments on “Cunliffe Has Overplayed His Hand”

  1. The sprout 1

    Fuck off [deleted – I’m sure that was mean’t as a joke, but even so speculation about the identity of participants is discouraged. r0b]

  2. BM 2

    Too late for that bud, the Genie is out of the bottle.
    The press is going to force the leadership issue from now till February, got to fill those column inches and tv slots.

  3. I should think the leadership debacle is a nice distraction actually.
    You wouldn’t want anybody asking Shearer to explain the miraculous house building strategy in any detail.
    Once it is settled tomorrow and a week of negative headlines finally subsides they may have had a few days to try and figure out how to explain how it is going to work.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3.1

      Labour’s strategy is to keep this leadership debacle going until February, so they stay in the papers.

  4. Aargh.

    The Party has a constitutional process whereby the leadership issue is considered next February.

    The vote is secret.  Members have the right to a secret vote.

    One member refuses to :

    a)  declare how he is going to vote,
    b)  rule out changing his mind.

    He is then pilloried by people within his party and described as undermining the leader.  

    Does this make any sense? 

  5. quartz 5

    Move along nothing to see here. I’d say a large part of the blame has lain with the people who have constantly and anonymously been knifing Cunliffe for the last year.

    If Shearer really wants to get it all out of the way he should open the vote to the membership. That way he can prove his mandate.

  6. They need Cunliffe gone before the proper process can be implemented in Feb. No way Bob Roberts will hang on once the unions and members are allowed a democratic voice. If Cunliffe is no longer in caucus they cannot vote for him.

  7. Bill 7

    Sam, I wasn’t at the conference. All I saw on mainstream media outlets was journalists chasing and haranguing Cunliffe with the same repeated question…which he stonewalled every time. And them furiously spinning bullshit. I saw nothing to indicate that Cunliffe was approaching the media. Only ever the reverse.

    Now, taking it that ‘everyone’ at conference saw the evening news and the angle of coverage, I have this question. At any point did anyone take any effort to announce dissatisfaction with how the major news outlets were covering the conference? Did anyone take them to task at all or point out what the real news stories were?

    I’m asking from the perspective that at such events, it’s been my experience that the media can have ‘certain dissatisfactions’ about their coverage made abundantly clear to them.

    Now, if that didn’t happen, my next question would revolve around wondering why it didn’t happen?

    • Kay 7.1

      Call me naive if you like but I tried to talk with the media about their skewed reporting and their inability to separate situational reactions from any underlying grassroots feelings. Political party conferences are always hyped up, especially the Labour Party one. Of the journalists I spoke to, the only one who gave me a polite hearing was John Armstrong of the NZHerald. He didn’t agree with me but at least he listened and was prepared to present reasons for his views. Jessica Mutch and Patrick Gower? Well I guess I’m not a known face or an MP so they weren’t interested. Important policies that will be implemented regardless of leader’s identity apparently weren’t interesting enough.

  8. karol 8

    Was it Matthew Hooton or Mike Williams that first used the line “Cunliffe has over-played his hand” on Nine-to-Noon today?  [I am not going to listen again to check, right now – on limited bandwidth at the moment, and avoiding audio & video downloads.]

  9. Blue 9

    Yes, it would be nice if there were no tension about the leadership and everyone could focus on a united party and a united vision and one enemy – National.

    But back in the real world, the attempts to sweep concerns about Shearer’s leadership under the carpet are not going to work.

    The concerns are there, they are real, and instead of telling people to shut up, how about addressing them? Just an idea.

    There are many people concerned that Shearer does not have what it takes, and that under his leadership Labour will lose in 2014. They are not going to unite under a leader they believe is going to lead us to another three years of National.

  10. I agree with Guest Post .

    • Richard Christie 10.1

      ….whoever the hell he is.

      [I don’t, I’m just one of many non party members who thinks one speech doesn’t make up for 12 months missing in action.]

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    His ambition for the leadership is obvious, and his play for it over the weekend has potentially derailed his bid,

    Cunliffe made a play for the leadership over the weekend? Uh when was that exactly, please author? Or are you saying that Cunliffe’s refusal to announce his vote 3 months early is equivalent to “playing for the leadership”?

    Do explain.

    Well, the Beltway has shown that it holds and wields the power. And as Shearer said, he makes the decisions from now on.

    • PlanetOrphan 11.1

      The assumptions they sell as news are incredible.

      They should lose their jobs for this, they are making a mockery of NZ

    • QoT 11.2

      CV, this is one of those times when I’m going to have to ask you to get out of my brain.

      The only “play for leadership” at Conference involved Patrick Gower badgering Cunliffe to predict the future and then getting his baby-faced anchor to declare “Cunliffe has threatened Shearer’s leadership.”

      The fact that Shearer and Co are taking that ball and running with it is only an indictment of their own integrity.

    • Populuxe1 11.3

      Yes, rather – I’d like some sources cited there too for this “play for it over the weekend” because it would presumably require access to information sources unavailable to 90% of the rest of New Zealand if it happened at all. Was there some coup de tat attempt that the rest of us didn’t hear about?

  12. fatty 12

    According to some on this blog, and a few others, David Cunliffe has the universal support of the membership.

    Give one example of that

  13. Colonial Viper 13

    We all know that a large number of people would have been motivated to vote for that because they were in “Team Cunliffe” – it’s clear he benefits from the lower trigger, being the only challenger to Shearer.

    Does that mean you think the vote was “Team Beltway” versus “Team Cunliffe?”

    • Rogue Trooper 13.1

      now whatta ya think of the Show? (i’m thinking of the two elderly guys sitting in the balcony seats at The Muppet Show)

  14. infused 14

    Probably the best post on the issues so far.

  15. just saying 15

    …. we democratised the leadership, we enforced gender equity rules that have real teeth, and we adopted a new and far more effective way to make and communicate policy. We also voted through significantly important policies – we demanded a clearer stance on National Standards, and we got it. We wanted a clear stance on marriage equality, and we got it. We wanted policies that will rejuvenate and strengthen our democracy through civics education and a move to lower the voting age over the long term, and we got it….

    These are indeed good things, signs of a genuine democratisation, right down to the ‘please explain and it had better be good’ on National Standards.

    The rest of the post, not so much.

    If Shearer had an inkling of political nous he would have seen the proverbial ‘writing on the wall’ and rewritten his speech to include and emphasize the theme of democracy – for the party and for the country. If he’d got QoT to do the rewrite and someone else to remove the swearwords he might just have become unstoppable.

    • QoT 15.1

      Hey now, I can find&replace cusswords when I have to. Working at an organisation with an overzealous email filter does wonders for one’s ladylike-ness.

  16. Treetop 16

    Cunliffe has not over played his hand, Shearer’s rating should be much higher due to the mess the country is in. When it came to Goff, Cunliffe did over play his hand as Key was so popular that no one could compete.

    I know that I am dreaming in wanting Cunliffe to be leader and Shearer to be deputy leader. Both Davids are ambitious. Being ambitious is not enough as a leader needs to be decisive and be able to interpret political speak.

  17. Pete 17

    Cunliffe is playing chess, while Shearer is playing pickup-52 (or -23).

  18. Tanz 18

    The whole thing just leaves me feeling disenchanted with politics really. How on earth is National going to removed from government if the public sees this sort of carry-on within the party? Just makes me want to stay away altogether and tend my garden instead.

  19. David H 19

    What a load of crap this post is, But then again the ABC crowds are spinning worse than anything that Key and co could ever spin. And they are doing it for their own personal gain and power. And they know that Cunliffe would stop their shit immediately, this is why they are feeding all this fink and treachery bull shit to Gower and co. Looks like my prediction of Labour coming after the Greens and National 3rd are well on the money, while Shearer is in charge.

  20. Anne 20

    But it’s hard to imagine the distractions that have bumped all the details of the best conference in years out of the limelight reflects well on Cunliffe.

    You appear to have bought in to the MSM/Mallard doctrine of spin and misrepresentation.

    C u n l i f f e
    d i d
    n o t h i n g
    w r o n g.

    Sure, he can be a bit bumptious sometimes. He knows that, and I’m sure he’s working on it.

    What David said to TV reporters was no different to that of a number of other MPs who were at the Conference. He refused to answer the leadership question all day Saturday because “it wasn’t relevant to anything being debated at conference.” I heard at least 3 other MPs express exactly the same sentiment to the same reporters. I have also heard David Cunliffe make it clear time and again that Shearer… has his full support and would continue to have his full support. The last time was as late as last week. How many times does he have to say it? Of course he’s not going to rule out a tilt at the leadership sometime in the future. I know of no politician (unless they’re in the twilight of their political career) who ever would do so. So… why is it any different for Cunliffe?

    As far as the changes made to the Constitution:

    Dissatisfaction with the Caucus (and their seeming unwillingness to listen to rank and file concerns) has been building for a long time – maybe 20 or more years. The move to “take back the party” was always going to happen. All the leadership contest last year did was provide a trigger point. This appears to be a fact that has escaped many Caucus members.

    Far from loading all the blame on Cunliffe’s shoulders, I think certain members of Caucus need to take a long hard look at themselves.

    • King Kong 20.1

      Trying to argue that Cunliffe is a slighted innocent and hasn’t been undermining the leadership in preparation for a grab at the job makes you either naive or conniving.

      I get that feeling that those who envisioned Cunliffe riding into the leadership on a donkey and carpet of palms have been caught by suprise at how hard Shearer has come out punching.

      I get the feeling that David “I’m incredibly intelligent” Cunliffe, might have, right royally, fucked this up.

      • Kevin Welsh 20.1.1

        Obviously you are a lot closer to this than the rest of us KK. Care to itemise all the instances where Cunliffe has undermined the leadership?

        • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.1

          Of course: by being capable, and by breathing.

        • King Kong 20.1.1.2

          Whilst I am quite senior in Labour I think that the senior whip (who shares my opinion) will be able to help you better with that question.

          I will tell you this. Cunliffe, on numerous occasions, would deliberately splash water on the front of Phil Goff’s pants making it look like he had wet himself. The reason Phil got caught out by Key’s “show me the money” taunt was because he was distracted by having to surreptitiously fan the front of his slacks with a piece of A4.

      • Dr Terry 20.1.2

        You hope, King Cobra!

    • Wayne 20.2

      Any time a senior member like David Cunliffe refuses to say he will support the leader in just a little more than two months, that will fan the flames. But you must know that – it is politics 101. So I guess you want a contested leadership vote in Feb. No wonder the DS crowd want it shut down now. What party would want a leadership contest drawn out in public for the next 2 months? But that is what your new rules require.

      Any leader who lost the 40% of the caucus in a public battle would almost certainly be fatally wounded and really could not go theough the full party contest. So if DC gets his 40% in Feb, he probably knocks DS out almost straight away. The wider vote is then just a formality, unless a new contender (GR) comes in.

      No wonder those supporting DS wanted a 50% threshold, rather than the destabalising 40%.

      You can hardly be suprised that all the MSM commentators consider your conference to be a disaster. It is only newsworthy because it has precipitated a leadership contest. And one that could last for several months.

      Now I can see you want a broader democratic selection system, but it is really best for de novo contests as occurred when Phil stepped down. But once chosen, that person should not be hostage to a dissaffected 40% of caucus. Instead you have given them a weapon to fuel their dissaffection, instead of getting over their loss. In fact when the 40% use their vote, they will have defeated the person who has the majority support of caucus.

      • Lanthanide 20.2.1

        I think 40% is a good level. If Shearer were actually competent in the job, there wouldn’t be this continual talk of leadership challenges.

        But Shearer simply hasn’t been able to step up to the job and make a go of it, even given the absolute mess of a year that National has been having.

        • Akldnut 20.2.1.1

          Agreed Lanth, Shearer has been displaying a distinct lack of skills or even the fire required to provide
          the leadership we members require and demand to pull us through to the next election.

        • Colonial Viper 20.2.1.2

          I think 40% is a good level.

          Exactly. There is huge incentive for caucus to sort issues out early, and not leave it until it gets to this level.

    • Sunny 20.3

      +1 Anne

  21. just saying 21

    Is it just me or is this whole thing seeming more and more like an episode of ‘The Thick of It’?

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      Hmmmmm who is Malcolm Tucker 😯

    • Bill 21.2

      Afraid that the Labour caucus looks more like a parody of that satire….an end to confrontational politics (with the caveat that the confrontation is meant only in relation to the opposition)…and to illustrate this ‘new politics’ we’ll agree with a couple of their policies/suggestions. (eg unlimited powers to Brownlie, tacit approval of benefit reforms etc)

      Except that in ‘The Thick of It’ it was limited to two fairly minor policies and the mumbling and bumbling leader was gone by the proverbial lunchtime.

    • Delegate 21.3

      And we’re the fucking joke

  22. Treetop 22

    Why is Shearer’s leadership being questioned?

    I reiterate “Shearer’s rating should be much higher due to the mess the country is in.”

    • NewHorizon 22.1

      Why isn’t Russel Norman’s leadership being challenged given the Greens are polling lower than they got in November last year? People need to get a grip and get on with fighting the National Party and forming a Labour-Green government in 2014.

      • Treetop 22.1.1

        Because the Greens are ranked third and Labour is ranked second and Labour has to do better to form a coalition JUST with the Green party.

        The leadership question has to be resolved by February at the latest before the Labour party can move forward.

        • George D 22.1.1.1

          It’s a legitimate question, and on the Greens do need to ask themselves. Why do they poll so poorly, when the Government is so terrible and Labour is in disarray. Realistically, they could garner much higher levels of support. There are a number of reasons, and not all of them are out of their control.

      • BM 22.1.2

        If that boat hadn’t ended up on the rocks at the Mount, the greens would have never made 5% at the last election.
        They’re just returning to their natural levels.

    • Dr Terry 22.2

      Not quite to the point, Treetop. It is Labour’s rating that should by this time have overtaken National!

  23. vto 23

    Sheesh.

    If you lot want to get into government then this issue needs resolving in a proper and clean manner. Call an election on the leader and no smarty pants plays, like calling an election right now. Or waiting until February. Call it early December, get it done with, accept the result and then get on with it. 2014 election is still two years away which is plenty of time for we the people to get over your silly bickering.

    Clean, clear, proper and professional. It would be a good example of how you can operate when difficulties arise.

    Anything else will be to your detriment and to Key’s benefit.

    2c.

  24. mikey77 24

    TIME FOR A MAJOR CLEANOUT. Nothing else will change things.

  25. maffoo 25

    well I dunno what tv show the writer of this article was watching but I saw Cunliffe say several times that he supported David Shearer. Despite the fact that the reporters kept saying he didnt, he repeated it several times.

    • David H 25.1

      Maybe Shearer should watch the bloody footage. But he’s as blind as Key is absent minded.

    • Akldnut 25.2

      Hell I recollect Shearer on 1 news 2 days ago saying that Cunliffe had given him his support as late as last month and that their were no leadership issues in play.
      Now who”s the bullshitter?

  26. ad 26

    This post’s wishful thinking that everyone should all just be quiet and respectful now until February 2013 is plain silly.

    I haven’t seen a single politician in any coup anywhere in the world not say “I support the leader”, and 24 hours later knife them in the back. It’s what politicians do. Integrity is fine for members, but oh please spare me from sanctimony in the face of basic tactics ….

    It should be a basic qualification of any good politician, in the words of Richard III, to “smile, and murder while I smile.”

    The overplay is Shearer/Hipkins/Mallard/Goff/King’s. Either Cunliffe and supporters are demoted, which enrages the base even more than now as it undercuts the entire Conference process we just had, or does little except bitch-slap him in private caucus, in which case he looks weak to the media and general public and they know he’s lying.

    Robertson will be expecting this all fatally damages Cunliffe so he can come in shiny as a newly polished star. The Deputy Role of Enforcer. Surrounding him are a constellation of “the usual suspects”. That won’t work either.

    The members voted for an actual runoff system. It has started. Get over it. In fact own it and stop whining. New Zealand is getting its first live Primary and its what we all asked for, with the constitutional ink not yet dry. Boo hoo the other guy started it, it’s a false start. Take a concrete pill and harden up.

    People are also worrying that this will suck oxygen from holding the Key government to scrutiny. And it will locally for some months. Key is going to laugh for the first week in Parliament, but within a month he will be missing the spotlight pretty damn bad.

    Welcome to excellent politics.

  27. One Tāne Huna 27

    Was it David Cunliffe who slipped something into Shearer’s tea and turned him into a mumbling embarrassment? Was it Cunliffe who told Shearer to go public with the Key.com.gate “tape that never was”?

    Does Cunliffe write Shane Jones’ press releases? Is it Cunliffe that forces Trevor Mallard to mess himself in public?

    If he really does have these super powers it’s no wonder people think he might do a better job than Mr.zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  28. Santi 28

    Cunliffe must go. Shearer is the right man to lead the Party.

  29. Andrew 29

    It really is worrying how far the Right are going to undermine Cunliffe. It shows the sad truth of how the Right are insincere manipulators. Left politicians like David Shearer are the same but real Social Democrat politicians actually have principles and do things out of a sense of justice and fairness

  30. Andrew 30

    What the right are worried about is what a real SocDem politician will do during the GFC not just for NZ but for the whole western world. Seeing democracy with backbone in the face of cuts and lassitude would be an inspiration and a real nightmare for the neoliberal unemployment model.

  31. Deb 31

    Seriously Andrew (@ 3.56pm) the right need do nothing but sit back and watch the warring Labour factions tear themselves apart.

  32. irascible 32

    Having been at Conference and observed the behaviour of the reef fish around Gower & Mutch I am more and more convinced that it was not Cunliffe over playing his hand but the media hacks with their camera men. They were not concerned with any issue or person except to scrum in on Cunliffe at every oportunity they could grab a shot of people talking with him, appearing to huddle and conspire… they wanted to create a conflict to suit their ready made “analysis” of the Conference.

    I expect to see similar behaviour at the next National Party Conference when the Joyce- Collins faction “over reaches” in the already” known” campaign to unseat Brain Fade KeY and Double Dipton boils over into the word processors….. Yes???

  33. vto 33

    Cunliffe needs to drop the beard.

  34. Populuxe1 34

    Where did all of these previously never seen before Shearerites come from? Have they been haunting the shadows of The Standard for a while, or have they only just appeared?

    • lprent 34.1

      Regular commentators are well less than 5% of regular readers. I haven’t looked yet, but all ‘new’ commentators have to have approval of a moderator and I haven’t seen too many pending comments. We (and particularly I) get irritated by astroturfers and they tend to have a short life here with a lot of [deleted] comments.

      I suspect that what you seeing will be occasional commentators who in many cases won’t have your 1001 comments (BTW: the actual number), but have less than 50 over the 5 years..

  35. gobsmacked 35

    Let’s look ahead.

    Let’s say Cunliffe is the problem (the ABC line). Let’s say Cunliffe gets dumped tomorrow.

    Let’s say the entire caucus unites behind Shearer. Let’s say Cunliffe either grovels an apology, or exits the stage.

    Yay! Big win for Macho Man Shearer. What a leader.

    So who will Shearer/Labour/ABC blame for Shearer’s next bumbling, stumbling, fumbling stuff-up?

    Or are they magically going to go away, because Cunliffe has gone away?

    And if they don’t go away – if Shearer is as bad next year as this year – are we allowed to say so out loud? Or should we just blame Cunliffe’s ghost?

    • ad 35.1

      Here’s an alternative future.

      Shearer and his supporters, as they have successfully done for the last 5 years, continue to pack David Cunliffe into a smaller and smaller box.

      Shearer uses the discipline of caucus tomorrow to emerge as the new harder man of Labour, ready to take the fight to The Man. Calls for unity work, and the Mallard/Goff-media bond remains locked and quite undamaged.

      Shearer’s got a new speechwriter, and simply avoids straight-to-camera interviews because it’s not his forte and never will be. His wife gets a higher profile to contest Bronagh’s appeal. He does a couple more speeches.

      The left of the party continues to be marginalised, despite new constitutional tools. Princes Street and Vic Youth continue to root for ABC.

      Cunliffe abases himself and says nothing. Retires before the next election.

      The deeply left Standard supporters refuse to lose on the blogosphere, but in parliamentary reality Labour adjusts sufficiently left to keep just enough of them on board. Just as Shearer did on Sunday.

      Cunliife becomes just an historical rock that shunted the party leftwards. And no more.

      • gobsmacked 35.1.1

        Ad, I’m afraid you have highlighted the problem, by downplaying it.

        Shearer simply avoids straight-to-camera interviews

        While Winston and Metiria and Russel and Hone – and of course, Grant Robertson – continue to be on camera every week.

        The idea that the next Prime Minister can hide in a cave for two years, only to appear on election night, is simply laughable.

        • George D 35.1.1.1

          It’s worse than that. He can’t deliver to a crowd, even a friendly one – at Pasifika he turned a crowd which loved Helen into one that couldn’t wait to see Winston (who followed him, to enthusiastic response). That’s a problem, because human contact matters, and while he may be excellent in person, he can’t shake every hand in the country.

        • Ad 35.1.1.2

          What I am pointing out is the scale of what is at risk.

          Imagine if Anderton had been able to take Labour back in 1988. He just couldnt. He didn’t have the constitutional tools to do what Labour members can do now.

          The result was the permament shift rightwards in the country.

          This is the same moment repeating itself. It really is big.

          And only ONLY the members can change it now.

          And they have the tools to do it. Will they?

      • geoff 35.1.2

        This is so bleak I think it rings true…

  36. Jono 36

    Would that be Brook Sabin, son of National MP Mike??

  37. Zoo baby 37

    I agree with the guest post

  38. tc 38

    The MSM has a choice and guess what….they choose to undermine Labour whatever the glimmer of a premise for another filler piece they can latch onto.

    Of course the gov’t are doing such an oustanding job with competant ministers looking after all kiwi’s interests there’s no story there.

    Distractions, diversions, sideshows….oh yes that’s right that’s all labours fault to. Trevitt this morning did as instructed as DS showed on RNZ he aint leading, he’s being led.

    A true leader would’ve taken the united front and started immediately bashing the gov’t with it whereas DS failed miserably, again !

  39. xtasy 39

    I am NOT a Cunliffe supporter at all, but I ask, in all sincerity, what has he done WRONG, please? Are all the people rubbishing him now not just the same sing-along jerks that always go with the guy on top? Where is your bloody integrity, independent, informed and intelligent thinking, I ask?

    Do you want a party of “wankers”, where all fall into line and “hail” the leader for no matter what? OR do you want some allowance for competition, debate and challenges? I am seeing a Labour leader like Shearer and his troopers panicking, stifling opposition, it reminds me of Eastern Bloc policies in Russia, Poland, Serbia and so forth.

    This is POOR, it is not convincing, it is disgusting. Really, to fall for media pressure like this, that is total weakness and idiocy. Have the members that voted at the conference and the caucus lost all senses, to come out with the stuff I heard and read last night? Cunliffe to be sent to the back seat, humiliated, put into his place and so forth. Is this NZ or former East Germany or USSR, please?

    I will not blame Cunliffe to leave this lost party, to go it on his own, or to pursue his career outside of politics. This is going to happen, dear folk. You will have your dear “leader” Shearer, but look closely at his speech and the video that recorded it. He was like a little child who first discovered, someone looked at him. He was not as convincing and confident as many believe. He will NOT compete with Key or other hard-nosed competitors in an election campaign. This man is not competent enough to “lead” a party like Labour. Sadly the caucus has done its party a total disservice, and they will pay the price next election.

    Labour is in my eyes now DEAD!

    • Tim G 39.1

      Labour is in my eyes now DEAD!

      Not exactly a constructive response to the situation. Cool heads will prevail.

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