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Cunliffe passes my campaign litmus test

Written By: - Date published: 8:14 pm, September 6th, 2013 - 83 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, labour - Tags:

I’ve just spent the last week on the road with David Cunliffe and his wife Karen. Campaigns are a handy litmus test to see people as they really are when under pressure and performing to grueling schedules.

As a general rule I’m prepared to like most people but as friends who know me well will attest I can be a bit of a hard-ass when it comes to idiots, panic captains, hubris and people who don’t say please and thank you. I don’t know David all that well but I have been genuinely delighted to discover that I like him a lot and he’s a good guy to be on the road with.

I’ve found him to be easy to get along with, quick to take good advice (from me, obviously) and ready to acknowledge his own human foibles and to readily let people off the hook for theirs. He also says ‘thank you’ to his staff and supporters.

I’ve also seen how members around the country really, really rate him and so urgently want him to succeed as Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister of New Zealand.

As I do.

[IB: a quick note in case anyone didn’t realise it from the content of this post (I thought it was quite clear): Jenny is currently a member of Cunliffe’s campaign team.]

83 comments on “Cunliffe passes my campaign litmus test ”

  1. hush minx 1

    Guess you’ll be feeling pleased with that TV3 poll result then 🙂

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Surprise-contender-in-Labour-leader-race/tabid/1607/articleID/312213/Default.aspx

    Thank you for sharing your insight Jen. As someone who has done more than their fair share of Labour campaigns I trust your judgement. Let’s hope you get the opportunity to see him in action as leader, and campaign for ChCh East, and then against Key next year. And hopefully he’ll keep working with you too!

    • Clement Pinto 1.1

      Listen to Key in that video at 02:01. Key concedes that Cunliffe will win, but the way Key worded it is very revealing of Key’s own character : Key says, “I am picking Cunliffe now, to be honest”. The phrase that Key uses, ‘to be honest’, indicates to me that Key does not always speak honestly!
      Going by his language and more importantly, his body language, Key realises that Cunliffe will be the next PM in a Labour government (or more probably in a Labour lead coalition). Key knows that the end is near for him as PM and for National party in its hold on power.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        “The phrase that Key uses, ‘to be honest’, indicates to me that Key does not always speak honestly!”

        Then you’re reading way, way too much into a figure of speech, especially from colloquial John Key.

        • Clement Pinto 1.1.1.1

          You may be correct, but why use such a silly phrase, ‘to be honest’? I personally don’t use it and I cringe when I hear any one using it. Unfortunately, I suppose it has just become a way of speaking.

          • jaymam 1.1.1.1.1

            Key needed to say a bit more, and he has a large database of meaningless phrases in his brain to drag out when necessary.

          • Murray Olsen 1.1.1.1.2

            It’s a silly phrase that gets used a lot in English. Is Portuguese your first language? In Portuguese, “Por falar a verdade,..” carries much more weight. To be honest is just a meaningless space filler.

        • felix 1.1.1.2

          It is a bit of a tell though, that phrase.

          Kind of like when someone starts a sentence with “The reality is…”

        • Boadicea 1.1.1.3

          Clement Pinto is interpreting Key correctly Lanthanide.

          Key as many speech, facial and body mannerisms that point to his true nature.

          Key rarely makes a fully clean emphatic statement: there is always a small door left open for revision or denial.

          “To be honest” is the simplest give away.

          • Clement Pinto 1.1.1.3.1

            [You said, “To be honest” is the simplest give away].

            ‘To tell you the truth’, it is!

        • Clement Pinto 1.1.1.4

          Lanthanide, I like the phrase you used earlier referring to Key, ‘slack jock’. Original and Nice! Did you edit it? Why?

          • Lanthanide 1.1.1.4.1

            Actually it was “slack-jaw”, and I was trying to make it strikethrough but the html tags weren’t co-operating, so I just deleted it.

            @ Lynn: the [s] tag is broken.

            [lprent: please leave me a note in the morning. I suspect the memory won’t last that long.]

        • Rhinocrates 1.1.1.5

          “Anything before ‘but’ is bullshit” is a principle to follow, but also the sure sign of a liar is either the addition of some qualifier which will be used as an escape hatch or excessive emphasis, such as “to be honest”, because it shows that the speaker doesn’t have confidence in their own words and feels the need to buttress them.

        • Greywarbler 1.1.1.6

          What is that figure of speech? Is it figure as in I’ve got your number! I think it must be number 8. That’s a figure that seems to be going somewhere, changing position, going forward, but ends up back where it was.

      • karol 1.1.2

        More telling in that video is the way Key uses his downplay, aw shucks, shrug, I’m not bovered, strategy. It’s usually his response to a criticism or challenge by denying it’s a problem.

        • Clement Pinto 1.1.2.1

          I agree. When Key says, ‘I am not worried’, I have a suspicion that he actually is!

    • miravox 1.2

      I’m worried about the second preferences.

      e.g. Celia Wade Brown beat Kerry Prendergast despite a decent first preference lead in the Wellington mayoralty.

      • karol 1.2.1

        I’ve wondered about the impact of preferences, too.

      • QoT 1.2.2

        I don’t see that as a “worrying” thing about second preferences. The fact is Prendergast only lasted as long as she did as mayor because the opposition to her was so divided. The next fact is that a majority of Wellingtonians wanted somebody else, and fortunately the STV system was able to deliver this.

        Which is not to say Wade-Brown’s been the shining beacon of hope we were promised …

        • miravox 1.2.2.1

          “opposition to her was so divided”

          Exactly why I’m worried about the 2nd preferences for Cunliffe.

          And yes, I cheered when Prendergast lost, but Wade Brown? yeah…nah.

  2. Jenny Michie 2

    Quietly hopeful, as you would expect……

    • Jilly Bee 2.1

      I haven’t felt this way about Labour since 1972, 1984 and definitely 1999. Sadly the 1984 euphoria did go to custard in the end.

    • Marty 2.2

      Looking forward to your next post to provide background on recent developments before they get framed by others.

  3. pollywog 3

    Chur!

  4. lurgee 4

    So our Jen is mad for David Cunliffe? How can this be? Just the other week she was … um … mad for David Cunliffe.

  5. Rogue Trooper 5

    at least David is not basic or corrosive

    • lurgee 5.1

      I fear he may turn out to be more purple than red. A lot of people are looking at the strip of paper and saying, “It’s red! Really, really red!”

      But it isn’t, and deep in their hearts they know it.

  6. Jen 6

    And David’s wife Karen, as well as being an environment lawyer, is a pilot. How cool is that?

  7. Aotearoean 7

    Good on you Jennie/As an ex EPMUnion member thoroughly endorse also.

  8. Aotearoean 8

    Good on you Jennie/As an ex EPMUnion member thoroughly endorse also.

    • lurgee 8.1

      Is it a rule that Cunliffe’s supporters have to say everything twice?
      Is it a rule that Cunliffe’s supporters have to say everything twice?

      • Anne 8.1.1

        Don’t ask me to explain it lurgee cos I’m a pc dummy, but there’s a glitch in the system that causes some people to hit submit and it prints the comment twice.

  9. Ed 9

    A real strength coming through from Labour is the number of MPs that are principled, articulate, prepared and wanting to work as a team, and also (despite the media hype) sticking to Labour policy. While I have a preference, any of these candidates for leader knows that they will not be a show pony distracting from and a return to competent Ministers talking on their subjects, with a Prime Minister hiding what the next government is really doing. We will return to a government where not every compromise will be seen as a defeat for all involved, where different viewpoints and options can be discussed with other parties and the public.

    The majority of those voting for the new leader will never have been polled – I respect those that are prepared to campaign for one candidate, but if their candidate is not chosen they should know that this has been a fair and final contest – unsuccessful candidates still have an important part to play in the next government.

    • Clement Pinto 9.1

      Wise words. I agree………….All for one and one for all……….should be the motto guiding all the members and the leader.

    • miravox 9.2

      “if their candidate is not chosen they should know that this has been a fair and final contest”

      Maybe. But I also know that if Shane Jones gets in it’s not the party for me and I’ll be resigning immediately.

  10. David 10

    I am 100% in agreement Jenny, from a somewhat longer experience of these good people, in the thick of various campaigns. There’s a lot of care, a lot of humour, a lot of commitment, a lot of good! Cheers and much love to all of you!

  11. Tracey 11

    going forward

  12. Tracey 12

    the two most annoying figures of speech in nz over the last 6 years, which had no substance and then drifted from the lexicon are

    aspirational and
    brighter future

  13. Mike 13

    [lprent: warning stupid munter alert. ]

    I see David Cunliffe travels everywhere with his wife. It shows how out of touch they are. This isn’t a presidential campaign, and who cares about her? Further who is paying for her travel? Either she is flaunting their wealth (out of touch), or using taxpayer funds (out of touch). It goes with the mindset that thinks that David’s tub thumping nonsense is convincing. It’s a mindset that imitates American political traditions for no good reason, which David has done for years (remember those placards he would get his members to wave at Conference!?)

    Either Shane or Grant is 100% more down to earth and likeable on a personal level than Mr Cunliffe. Electing David would be like electing our own Kevin Rudd. A show pony. Very smart, but really needs to get the message, he’s not a leader, he isn’t genuine enough, and people who work closely with him just don’t respect him enough. There are so many stories of his arrogance and hubris when he was a Minister, you hear about it from public servants in particular. It’s terribly nice of him to be so nice to you Jenny, but perhaps he’s too smart not to be, hmm? You write for the Standard!

    He will make a brilliant policy-oriented Minister, the Bill English or Steven Joyce of the Labour Party, if he can get over his ego. Hopefully this process will communicate that to him.

    [lprent: I’ve seen David at a great many meetings both in Auckland and elsewhere. I haven’t seen his wife. But the free travel for MP’s and their spouses is in there for reason. It is to ensure that MP’s can go to meetings in their electorates which under MMP may be almost anywhere in NZ. The travel is part of the job.

    The spousal travel ensures that if their relationships don’t fall apart under the excessive hours in other parts of the country. I’ve seen MP’s do excessive working weeks moving around the country from Auckland to Wellington and hamlets all over the place. I’m just surprised that not all of the relationships collapse under the strain.

    Fuckwits like “Mike” are the kind of fools who give a bad name to trolls. ]

    • Tracey 13.1

      you nicely captured Mr Jones when you wrote

      “A show pony. Very smart, but really needs to get the message, he’s not a leader, he isn’t genuine enough, and people who work closely with him just don’t respect him enough.”

      • Mike S 13.1.1

        +1 Tracey. I’m sure Mr Jones is very capable. However, in my opinion he is not a natural leader and from what I’ve seen, seems to be more arrogant than Mr Cunliffe. Also, despite the fact that he seems to be regarded as a great orator by many, I disagree. Yes, he can speak well at times, but he also has some annoying habits such as inserting terms like “etcetera” and “without a doubt” into every second sentence. (yes, I’m nitpicking I know). Further, I don’t see him as someone people will follow, although definitely see him as someone people would like to have at their side. I simply can’t see him as Prime Minister and can’t see people voting for him to be Prime Minister. Anyway, just my opinion and I’m biased in favour of Mr Cunliffe.

        For some reason, I have a gut feeling of not really quite trusting Mr Robertson. I don’t know why as he is probably very capable and hopefully loyal, but that’s what my gut instinct tells me. Also, as with Mr Jones, I really can’t see people voting for him to become Prime Minister. Of the three, Mr Cunliffe is the one with that elusive ‘x’ factor, in my opinion.

        For me, if David Cunliffe is chosen as leader, I will continue to support Labour, as long as when (or if) he becomes Prime Minister, he is genuine in what he has been saying and his caucus starts to initiate some real economic change away from the failed policies of the last 30 years. This is a real litmus test as it will require him to go up against the banks and the corporates, which is a massive battle. If Shane Jones or Grant Robertson are elected as leader, I couldn’t see myself being able to back Labour any longer as that would mean that the majority of the party have views on Labour and it’s future direction which are very different to mine.

    • weka 13.2

      “and who cares about her?”

      I do. Not only for the reasons that Lynn points out about making marriage’s viable, but also because many successful men are successful because of the support they get from their spouse. If they choose to be public, I want to see what kind of relationship they have, and I’d prefer to have a PM who has supportive relationships outside of politics. Support from whanau is an important value in our culture.

      • Mike S 13.2.1

        Fully agree with that Weka. It’s great to see a candidate’s spouse showing their support for their partner’s aspirations. As you stated, a person’s supportive spouse, in this case Cunliffe’s wife, is usually a big part of that person’s success and that person’s ability to cope with the pressures of such a high profile, public job. For many people, it is reassuring to know that their elected leader has a spouse at home keeping them grounded and keeping them in line.

    • Rogue Trooper 13.3

      wow, that was a ‘clanger’

  14. Mike 14

    “lprent” should remember that comment is free, and everyone is entitled to express an opinion. It encourages me in my point of view that “lprent” considers it necessary to resort to abuse. Otherwise perhaps s/he would have tried coming up with rebuttal.

    In case it wasn’t clear, it’s David Cunliffe’s wife travelling to hustings meetings all the time that I think is out of touch. Also not mixing with the crowd like the other candidates and walking in late with cameras. Presumably I am at fault for this comment too?

    [lprent: Wrong (you do make a habit of it – genetic defect perhaps?). Read the policy. Abuse is permitted. Only pointless abuse is controlled. Opinions of other commenters are welcomed.

    Of all of the lowest arseholes I run across in the political sphere, I find the most loathsome to be the pathetic misogynist wee dickheads like yourself. You can always tell them because they invariably try to attack candidates through their families – Cameron Slater being the foremost example. Basically they are a waste of bandwidth because they always whine in exactly the same tiresome way.

    Firstly they insinuate something that they think will be a smart political move that attacks via a secondary source – usually family. Secondly they whinge and whine when others question their view – usually trying to hide behind “politeness”. Thirdly they will start claiming their “right” to free speech – on a site that has to be paid for by someone. Fourthly they define the rules of the site to suit themselves as being the arbiter of what is permissible and thereby start to become a good replica of Mrs Grundy..

    Basically they are just gutless wee trolls who I can’t be bothered providing bandwidth to air their pointless grievances against others. If I spot a comment of the first type I usually put a moderating comment in to see if I get the second response. Guess what you did that whole gamut in just two comments – which allows you to get the coveted stupid troll award.

    As one of these trolls you will be more at home in Whaleoil or the sewer.

    Banned permanently. ]

    • Tracey 14.1

      I suspected Jones was really struggling with the “dont slack off the other contenders” when I saw him on telly the other day, between takere Man and this guy, I see he has his messengers doing the slagging off for him. He is looking more and more like Key by the minute.

      Mike, the bold type at the bottom of your post is lprent’s rebuttal.

    • Treetop 14.2

      Who did you say was standing for the Labour leadership?

      When it comes to criticising a spouse/partner I find this to be low and small minded.

    • weka 14.3

      “lprent” should remember that comment is free, and everyone is entitled to express an opinion. It encourages me in my point of view that “lprent” considers it necessary to resort to abuse. Otherwise perhaps s/he would have tried coming up with rebuttal.

      Lynn did come up with a rebuttal, how did you miss that?

      btw, Lynn is the moderator in chief here. Like most places, there is a culture here developped from the moderation rules and how people interact. It always pays to get to know a place before you start having a go at the moderators or criticising how things work. Have a read of the About, Policy etc at the top of the page. In general a certain level of abuse/rudeness is tolerated so long as you can make a point at the same time.

    • Ad 14.4

      If you knew just the tiniest mote of what she does and has done over the years you would realise the force of Karen. This ain’t no wife – this is a partnership.

      Whaleoil covered off just a few of her clients about a week ago – look it up.

      Anyone see Shane Jones’ partner drilling policy and speech briefs over the last fortnight? Or Robertson’s? Or indeed John Key’s?
      To the point: Cunliffe surrounds himself with strong people who can match him – because that makes for a stronger team and a more sustainable life in the end.

      Measure them all by their allies – and Karen is one of the strongest and best around.

      And to the more general point: over the last term we have see a caucus led by Shearer and Roberston who have chosen to deliberately chosen to exclude the best and the brightest from the front ranks and play divide and rule right through Labour. Time to understand that Robertson represents that old failed culture, and sweep them out.

      • Treetop 14.4.1

        Cunliffe is in the fast lane and this has scared the Labour caucus in the past. The deputy will have to know how to apply the brake when Cunliffe is speeding.

        The best and brightest are the ones I want in cabinet, (Shearer as foreign affairs minister would be a steady pair of hands).

      • LynWiper 14.4.2

        Now knowing what has been shared about David Cunliffe and his very actively involved and supportive wife Karen only makes me more certain he is the man for the job, for all of the above positive reasons and more. An involved partner by his side can only make him stronger. Mike’s comments probably tell us much more about his own character and relationship issues.

    • Rogue Trooper 14.5

      Dongle!

    • Chooky 14.6

      @ +100 Iprent….smirk

      • weka 14.6.1

        Lolz, although I thought the ban of The Fan Club until after the election was the high point of moderation today.

  15. Ad 15

    You need to better understand the kind of break Cunliffe would have to make. Robertson has been proxy leader since 2008 and actual this year. Travel at the same speed with same talent and you will get Roberston’s same leadership, same campaign failure, same Rasputin effect within the Leader’s office.

    This country needs to be seized back from failure within, and unrestrained capitalism without.

    Speed is one risk, but there are so many others.

    The start is to get the one person in the who puts the chill of fear into John Key.
    That ain’t Robertson or Jones.

  16. Demelza 16

    I like that Karen is travelling with David it shows a solidness to their relationship. And it shows that she is backing what he is doing. I have often been on the opposite side of the fence to Jenny in the party but on this I am with her, David is the person to lead our party and some of the ABCs need to take note and look at their retirement plans because the party is taking back control and that is not a bad thing

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