Cunliffe shows leadership steel

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 pm, September 10th, 2013 - 352 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, labour - Tags:

David Cunliffe faced his first leadership challenge today and came through it with flying colours. He set a high standard, and when that standard was tested he lived up to it. That’s leadership. It’s tough on our Jen, but I’m sure she agrees it was the right thing to do. Contrast that with John ‘Higher Standards’ Key’s protection of Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English.

David Cunliffe set a standard that he and his team wouldn’t make Grant Robertson’s sexuality an issue in the leadership contest. But it turned out that, before Cunliffe entered the race, Jenny Michie, who had been assisting his campaign had said:

“I think it’s not a big a deal as it used to be. You know we now have gay marriage, and it actually went through without that much of a fuss, and the sky hasn’t fallen. Having said that I think we’d be naïve to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay Prime Minister at this point. I think some people might have a problem with it, but I certainly wouldn’t.”

Cunliffe could have wiggled out of doing anything – it’s not like Jenny’s comments were particularly inflammatory – but he didn’t. He said ‘well, I’ve set my standard, and now I have to live by it’. He didn’t wait around, he moved proactively. That was a tough call and it was the right call.

Contrast that with John Key. His deputy was caught out claiming tens of thousands of dollars of public money for an ‘out of town allowance’ for his Karori house on the basis that he lives in Dipton. The truth was that the Karori house is and has been his home for years – his family lives there, the kids go to school in Wellington. It’s hard to define what English did as anything other than stealing. What did Key do about it? He changed the rules so that English could keep on getting money.

That’s the difference between Cunliffe and Key. One sets standards and sticks to them even when difficult. The other talks big and then weasels out of accountability.

What about Jenny? It’s a tough thing but she’ll be right. She’s an organiser with incredible and infectious energy. This thing was hardly a hanging offence. She’ll keep on fighting the good fight for the Left and for workers’ rights.

And what about Clare Curran? The MP whose twitter rant two weeks behind the times sparked all this and was the worst breech of protocol in what has otherwise been a remarkably well-behaved leadership contest. I’ll leave that to Shane Jones:

“She’s demonstrating to us what’s wrong with our caucus. Either the moon in Dunedin was in the wrong phase or she’s casting around for a new job”

352 comments on “Cunliffe shows leadership steel ”

  1. hush minx 1

    I would like to see Grant show some leadership and tell Clare that her behavior has brought both the party and his campaign into distribute. He’s talked about bringing unity-well heres his chance to walk the walk. Too many of us have seen Jen in action, doing the good work of the party, to be satisfied with this.

    • Arfamo 1.1

      If you wanted someone to tell Clare her behaviour has brought the Labour Party into “distribute” you’d be best to ask John Key to do that. That’s the kind of mangling of the English language he’s best qualified for.

  2. Bill 2

    I think it should be left to the acting leader of the opposition to say something. But hey…

    • miravox 2.1

      Otherwise the perception could be that he supported her comment – from behind the scenes, mind.

      • Hami Shearlie 2.1.1

        It’s more than a perception as far as I’m concerned – I think GR cooked this up with Mallard and Curran is merely the tool they have used – and what a tool!!!

  3. Demi 3

    I think Clare should have been sanctioned too for not using appropriate channels for her complaint.

    • Anne 3.1

      I think the chances are she has been severely reprimanded behind the scenes – and by Grant Robertson. That’s why she has gone to ground.

      • Behind the scenes is the problem, the same way it was for the leadership selection. She should issue a public apology if she and her favoured leader want to get with the times.

    • Tangee 3.2

      You think? Not good enough. Jenny said her mind and its not as if its something new. What has Robertson done sweep it under the carpet like they usually do.

  4. lurgee 4

    She’ll keep on fighting the good fight for the Left and for workers’ rights.

    Oh, the irony!

    Not impressed by Cunliffe’s behaviour. Sacking a worker who has done nothing wrong is not what you would expect from someone wanting to lead the party of the workers.

    Even viewed pragmatically, it was a misjudgement, as it has made a small and rather silly story bigger and distracted people’s attention from Curran’s role in it.

    I don’t think a CEO who sacks workers to hire cheap labour is showing steel. Nor is a politician who boots out his staff for no good reason. Eddie should be less blindly loyal and should certainly not speak for Jenny.

    [Jenny wasn’t an employee, she was a volunteer part of Cunliffe’s team and agreed it was best for that team for her to step aside. Putting the team ahead of yourself is the mark of a good political player. Also, I think I know Jenny better than you. Eddie]

    • Bill 4.1

      If Jenny hadn’t stood aside when asked to, then claims of homophobia would have been slung at Cunliffe from all over the show.

      Meanwhile, Robertson’s blithely stated response that she (Clare Curran) has “been a very capable spokesperson in the ICT and broadcasting areas that she’s worked on, and she’s got a lot to offer,” is simply fcking ludicrous.

      So, he’s ignoring her initial bullshit and her reported follow up that “she does not believe someone who speaks their mind should then be punished by the party”

      And in case you ain’t tumbling to this yet lurgee, Robertson is the acting leader at the moment. And he’s sending a loud and clear signal that who-ever can say what-ever and he’ll be Johnny well comfortable with it. Mallard and others must be pissing themselves with glee.

      • lurgee 4.1.2

        If Jenny hadn’t stood aside when asked to, then claims of homophobia would have been slung at Cunliffe from all over the show.

        Nah, I think most people would have seen through it as the non-story it was. Curran was only making herself look stupid. Doing nothing wouldn’t have hurt Cunliffe. Now he’s made it look like there was a story after all. He botched it. That happens.

        • Bill

          And how many ‘non-stories’ fill the media day in, day out and night after night as sweet little (sometimes damaging) distractions from what really matters?

          • lurgee

            I don’t think this one would have filled much media as it seems to have little to do with the Kardashians, or loveable rogue sheep.

            Unless Jenny was booted because she was actually a Kardashian. Or a rogue sheep.

            • Colonial Viper

              You can’t seem to recognise good political management even when its in your face. Get out if here.

              • lurgee

                Turning a minor non-problem into a Bad News Story?

                Surely, if he’s been ‘under constant attack’ from the ‘biased’ ‘MSM’ he would have seen how this would be seized on as an example of his remorseless ambition.

                He stuffed up. It’s not the end of the world. Just admit it. You’ll feel better.

                • Crunchtime

                  This was good management by Cunliffe. The media were already working into a lather re-interpreting and inflating Jen’s comment into “anti-gay”, “homophobia” etc. It definitely was NOT shaping up to be a non-story – then Cunliffe nipped it in the bud.

                  Please cease trying to paint it otherwise.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Exactly. Lurgee would have preferred that Cunliffe didn’t use any political management at all and just leave his campaign to drift into an iceberg. Funny that.

                    • lurgee

                      Lurgee would have preferred that Cunliffe didn’t use any political management at all and just leave his campaign to drift into an iceberg.

                      I’d have preferred Cunliffe to say something leaderly, like “There is no story here. Let’s talk about things that really matter, like jobs and child poverty.”

                      If you think that’s doing nothing I think you are the one struggling to recognise political skill and leadership.

                      Funny that.

                      Why do you find that funny?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Your preference would have led to follow up accusations that Cunliffe tacitly accepted Jenny’s comments. He does not. He made that clear.

                      He made a call, he led. Why do you have a problem with that.

        • Saarbo

          That’s your view Lurgee, fair enough.

          The thing is Cunliffe is being attacked from every angle in this competition so I suspect he is taking every precaution, the ABC’ers/National are working their media friends overtime against him. I dont agree that “doing nothing wouldnt have hurt Cunliffe”, the ABC/National led media have been attacking Cunliffe over much smaller issues than this.

          • lurgee

            Nonsense. Cunliffe has received plenty of positive coverage in the media during the campaign and stories that advantage him have been widely reported.

            • Saarbo

              An analysis would be interesting. I think you are wrong.

              Robertson needs to show some leadership, not impressed.

              • lurgee

                I think the media has been trying hard not to appear biased and has give positive coverage to all candidates. If anything, Cunliffe and Jones have probably received more positive cover than Robertson. Cunliffe has been characterised as smart and effective. Jones’s rather doubtful claim that he can take on John Key and motivate all the missing voters has been repeated. Robertson seems to have been left somewhat in the shade and has probably suffered from exaggeration of his polling.

                But I’m sure Karol or someone will be along soon to tell me how wrong I am …

                • Crunchtime

                  I’m sorry, this is just not true.

                  The media IS publicising that Cunliffe is popular. As they should.

                  But I see them doing their best to paint him as “arrogant” or “big-headed” or better still, “Messiah complex”! Oh brother. There has been a lot of negativity like this running around the press.

                  Some commentators have previously said only Cunliffe has the chops… but then those same commentators turn around and badmouth him saying he’s “over the top” and other such terribly un-kiwi things.

                  The way they talk around him about how manueverings with voting this way and that might mean he doesn’t get the job… ugh it’s painful to read.

                  • lurgee

                    And we’re getting told that Jones is lazy, may alienate female voters and is prone to gaffes. And that Robertson is perceived as a Wellington career politician and so on. Just because they don’t say nice things about a candidate all the time does not make them biased or mean they are treating the candidate unfairly.

                    What we’re seeing here is confirmation bias – people seeing what they expect to see an ignoring evidence that doesn’t fit the preconceived pattern.

                    • Crunchtime

                      They say unkind things about all the candidates, and unkind things about Labour, and take the slightest excuse to call “divisions in the Labour party” and run with it. Yup. I think a bit more than confirmation bias is at play here.

                      It does seem to be settling into a Cunliffe is most likely to win here.. but even then it seems grudgingly.

              • Hami Shearlie

                I have the feeling that Robertson and Mallard may be the architects of Curran’s latest Twitter epistles – She will have to carry the can. Robertson’s defence of her is absolutely WHY he must never be Labour’s Leader – as well as his big porkie on Seven Sharp! Defending this kind of behaviour bodes very badly for Labour if Robertson was leader!!

        • Tangled_Up


          The comment was fine.

      • Clement Pinto 4.1.3

        Curran’s statement implying that she shouldn’t be punished because she spoke her mind honestly, is as stupid as her twitter post: The place for a caucus member to speak ‘her mind honestly’ about internal Labour issues is WITHIN the party or WITHIN the caucus, not in public to undermine a leader or the party! If she wants to ‘speak her mind honestly’ about Labour internal issues, she should resign from the party, become an independent and speak her guts out about Labour leadership affairs on Twitter, Women’s weekly YouTube or any suitable street corner. What a dork!

      • Tangee 4.1.4

        So Robertson is more concerned of Curran’s vote than her getting disciplined. Jenny did nothing wrong. Well what does this say about Robertson as a leader that he is a wimp.

      • burt 4.1.5

        If Jenny hadn’t stood aside when asked to

        Totalitarian left wing leader justifies extreme fascist tendencies under the banner of “strong leader” laying waste to workers rights as he strives to better his own salary and claim the glory of being king.

        • miravox

          Yeah, yeah, Burt

          Jenny is/was a volunteer.

          As for the rest of your sentence, Audrey Young covers the issue quite well, I thought

          Mr Cunliffe justified her dismissal last night, saying while he had sympathy for her, “perception can become reality and the fact is that I have had a rule on this campaign that no one would go anywhere near issues around candidates’ personal lives and it is important that that continue”….

          … He had asked Ms Michie, a former Beehive press secretary and Labour Party employee, to voluntarily step aside, which she had happily done.

          Mr Cunliffe said she would not be automatically excluded from his staff were he to win the leadership, but he had not even begun to think about staff.

          Interestingly, TV3’s puff piece on Jones supports that too – with the phonecall from DC to SJ at the end of the segment asking SJ keep the families out of the campaign and not do any soft interviews.

          • burt

            Right … so there are many and varied reasons why people resign OR get sacked….

            Let me guess – 90 day probation period is wrong but the best interests of individuals in the Labour party justify instant dismissal….

            Of course all staff of the current leader WILL be employed by the new leader when he wins the contract – right ?????? This policy isn’t just for non Labour party people – surely?

            • miravox

              Jeepers Burt! That rant is so far off topic it’s not worth answering in this thread.

              • burt

                It’s easy to answer – just use the normal response for self serving muppets: It’s different when Labour do it !!!!!!

            • Colonial Viper

              Hey mate it is what it is. I thought you Tories would be cheering dumping a random worker for no reason just as much as you would be cheering on getting that worker to do the job for free.

              What’s wrong with you today, lose your Tory juice?

              • burt


                I thought you Tories ….

                Hang on… Your team sacked a worker because they didn’t hold the same views as the want-to-be leader. This is like a private company owner sacking an employee for wearing a tie they don’t like…

                Where is the outrage over not following due process…. why is the union not blacklisting Labour and calling for all workers to strike ???

                Oh that’s right – those rules are for everyone else – or for the real Tories who in this case are the Labour party members.

                • Akldnut

                  This is like a private company owner sacking an employee for wearing a tie they don’t like…

                  Do you really believe the crap you write, she was a volunteer not an employee.

                  Where is the outrage over not following due process….

                  Whats the due process Burt? Link it

                  Oh that’s right – those rules are for everyone else

                  What are the rules Burt?

                  …the real Tories who in this case are the Labour party members.

                  Unbelievable – you write absolute bullshit.

            • Mike S

              What part of ‘she was a volunteer’ and ‘she stepped aside’ don’t you understand you twat!

          • burt

            Mr Cunliffe said she would not be automatically excluded from his staff were he to win the leadership, but he had not even begun to think about staff.

            He needs to take the staff from the outgoing leader – surely ? This kind of “put the workers first” thing is proposed Labour party policy ….

            Or is it different for Labour ????

      • Finbar 4.1.6

        ‘she does not believe someone who speaks their mind should then be punished by the Party”Thats a bit rich,coming from someone who wanted to ban all those who made unfavourable comments against the Labour caucus and their policies on the Red Alert page.What a double standard noddy she is.

    • Olwyn 4.2

      The campaign lasts for 4 more days, and Jenny very likely agreed that it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. She supports Cunliffe, and wants him to win. Your comparison with a CEO who sacks workers to hire cheap labour is way over the top.

  5. infused 5

    You mean he bought the gay stuff up again. Cunning. Her comments were hardly ‘bad’.

    Good spin.

    People see right through your bullshit.

    • QoT 5.1

      He didn’t bring it up. Clare Curran, a member of Grant Robertson’s team, brought it up, and Cunliffe responded. Do try to make your derails at least vaguely relevant to reality.

      • infused 5.1.1


        You’re so blind.

        • felix


          You mean he stood Michie down for not being anti-gay enough?

          th’ fuck are you on man?

          • big bruv

            Great to see Cunliffe embracing the fantastic 90 day rule in sacking Michie.

            Told you all it was a great law.

            • felix

              Sacking? She’s a volunteer, dickhead.

              • Crunchtime

                More than that, she wasn’t “sacked” she was stood down from her role in Cunliffe’s campaign. She continues to do good work for Labour.

                So not a single part of your statement was true. Way to go!

        • Linz

          What does this mean: :Faceplam: ?

          [lprent: I can help with that. It means he is confused and should never be allowed to try to do smileys here again. 😈 ]

        • QoT

          No, please, do explain to me how Clare Curran shooting her mouth off about something which happened two weeks ago in order to undermine Cunliffe’s campaign is all a careful Cunliffe plot. I’m sure it’ll be a great story.

  6. Marty 6

    How is this

    “I think [being gay] not a big a deal as it used to be. You know we now have gay marriage, and it actually went through without that much of a fuss, and the sky hasn’t fallen. Having said that I think we’d be naïve to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay Prime Minister at this point. I think some people might have a problem with it, but I certainly wouldn’t.”

    possibly offensive enough to be fired for?

    There are some major games being played – that’s for sure.

    • Bill 6.1

      I suspect that if wages were being paid, then she will have been asked to step aside and will be receiving whatever monies she would have been receiving. I don’t know if payments are sought or given for the work Jenny was doing though.

      And if Cunliffe hadn’t asked her to step aside, then again, charges of homophobia would have slung from all directions.

      Jenny did nothing wrong. But then there’s the garbage and bullshit that passes for permissible political behaviour and the decrepitude of the media…

      • geoff 6.1.1

        Yeah and then there’s kowtowing to that garbage and bullshit.

        • Colonial Viper

          Who cares what the membership thinks? What Gower and Garner think are far more important.

        • Bill

          Well, there’s kowtowing and there’s being realistic and reacting accordingly. And I guess each and the other lies in the eye/mind of the observer.

  7. Saarbo 7

    I have always reckoned that Robertson is Shearer mkII, Shearer did nothing when Hipkins did his thing on the Monday after the November Conference. Clare Curran’s little rant is way outside of the spirit of how the 3 contestants are fighting this competition, and in some ways has similarities to Hipkins intemperance…so we will see if Robertson is really Shearer mkII or whether he has true leadership ability. He needs to do something.

    • Bill 7.1

      Too late. He’s made it pretty obvious he’s essentially MkII by his initial response (see 4.1), no?

      • lurgee 7.1.1

        If it showed Grant Robertson into Shearer MkII, it has also showed David Cunliffe into Shearer MkIII. This is the equivalent of Shearer sacking … er … David Cunliffe last year.

        You’d have thought the experience would have inspired a bit of empathy in Cunliffe!

        • Hanswurst

          Seeing as Jenny Michie was neither accused of running numbers to initiate a coup, nor of something that there was a paucity of evidence for her having done (there’s a video of it), your comparison is completely ridiculous. There isn’t a skerrick of equivalence there.

          • lurgee

            The point was that actually that both had been treated unfairly. Cunliffe by being busted for supposed scheming, Michie for doing nothing wrong at all.

            • Colonial Viper

              There’s nothing unfair about it. This is top level politics. If you cannot deliver for your team at a critical period, you are out.

              As I said, Jenny is very capable, I’m sure she’ll be given a chance at some stage.

            • Hanswurst

              What you meant was crystal clear. It’s just that the idea of equivalence is complete bobbins, since the one involved something that was merely supposed, the other something on record. You can make an argument for the fairness or otherwise if you want, but you’re on an argumentative hiding to nothing with this flailing about on false equivalence.

  8. vto 8

    Sheesh Eddie, try to hide the drool. That was nothing of a leadership issue. Wait until the real fishy bites and the adrenalin takes control… he claims to be a fisherman

    The backbone is the next thing to look for. It appears to be there.. is it there.. into it

    • lurgee 8.1

      I find Eddie’s willingness to speak on Jenny’s behalf somewhat disturbing. If I got treated the way Jenny appears to have been treated, by someone I admired and who I was giving my time and energy to, I’d feel pretty pissed off about it, like I’d been kicked in the teeth. How does Eddie know Jenny doesn’t feel like that. It wasn’t him (?) that lost his job, was it?

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        This isn’t about peoples feelings. Its about running a professional political operation ready to beat Key. If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen.

        • lurgee

          If this is the sort of blundering reaction to a relatively feeble attack by a blethering idiot, what will he do when the National machine starts? Sack New Zealand?

          • Colonial Viper

            Blundering? That’s just you, dickhead. Cunliffe has set the standard for leadership 🙂

            • alwyn

              If Cunliffe had any interest in a “standard of leadership” he would have said that he would sack Jones from the Labour party caucus if he, Cunliffe, became the leader.
              Jones’ disgraceful attack on the Prime Minister in expressing his sadistic desires to castrate John Key should be grounds for expulsion from the party shouldn’t they?
              Instead a gutless little Cunliffe, and an equally gutless Robertson simply ignore the appalling behaviour of a pimple on the arse of Parliament.

  9. lurgee 9

    So Cunliffe disciplines blameless workers, and Robertson doesn’t discipline raucous stirrers who should be. Thank goodness we can vote for Shane! [/irony]

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Its a political operation, and this is politics at the top level. Get used to it.

      • lurgee 9.1.1

        “Being in government is worth everything!” you mean?

        That was a quote from Ruth Richardson. But you knew that, of course.

        I’d have preferred to see courage and principle from Cunliffe.

        • Colonial Viper

          While expecting nothing from Robertson on the issue of Curran going AWOL? What are you living on, double standards?

          Cunliffe made the call that one of the campaign team was not delivering and had to go. That’s that. It’s why the ABCs hate him – his principles.

          • lurgee

            Strawman. I haven’t said Robertson should do nothing. I think a public slamming of Curran would be a Good Move. But perhaps all candidates want the story to go away.

            I don’t think much of a man who compromises his principles to improve his prospects.

            • Crunchtime

              Cunliffe’s “discipline” of Jenny was hardly what you’d call harsh. She was simply stood down from his campaign for comments that weren’t acceptable, therefore eliminating any possible scuttlebutt that Cunliffe is in any way “homophobic” or whatever. As discussed previously, The media are quick to pick up on any such suggestion. Cunliffe was absolutely right to scotch any such talk before it could get any legs.

              I like his handling of Curran too – very circumspect, simply statitng she should have used party channels to voice her concerns instead of publicly on Twitter. Circumspect but still with plenty of impact.

              Cunliffe is acting consistently as a leader, Robertson isn’t.

    • Hanswurst 9.2

      “So Cunliffe disciplines blameless workers […]”

      She isn’t blameless. My heart goes out to her, because she comes across as being sincere and everything I have ever seen her write would indicate that she would be the last person to harbour the homophobic sentiments that have been implied in the media. However, she opted to associate herself publicly with Cunliffe’s campaign around the same time as making a public, on-record statement which could easily be misconstrued and which cut to the heart of a major issue of perception during the campaign. Fair enough, she’s not a politician and in many ways it’s an inappropriate standard to hold her to, but she still said something inadvisable and potentially detrimental to the campaign.

      It is entirely appropriate to accept that she made a mistake and carries the blame for that, despite its not being an issue of misconduct.

  10. Addison 10

    Anyone who may hazard his chances of being no 1 gets thrown under the buss,hat sort of leadership. Will make for great harmony in Labour.

  11. Te Reo Putake 11

    Jesus wept. This has got to be one of the most cringeworthy posts ever put up on the Standard. Jenny Michie has been treated awfully by Cunliffe and he’s failed his first test by chucking a good woman under the campaign bus.

    “it’s not like Jenny’s comments were particularly inflammatory”

    Weasel words. The comment wasn’t the least bit inflammatory. Is telling the truth a sacking offence? Really? That’s the standard now?

    The right thing to do was to do nothing. It’s a non issue and this sort of reactive, ill thought out bullshit is what bought Shearer down. If Cunliffe can’t even out think Clare Curren, what hope is there when he’s up against Key?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Doing nothing had risks, as it was Cunliffe made the hard call. Michie accepted she had to go for the good of the political operation. If only Curran and Robertson had that kind of nous and willingness to set the standard.

      • McFlock 11.1.1

        Doing nothing had risks, as it was Cunliffe made the hard call.

        “greater love hath no man, than to lay down his friends for his life”, sort of thing…

        • weka

          You don’t think you are over stating things there a teeny bit, McFlock?

          • Te Reo Putake

            Actually, McFlock’s on the money. Jenny has been asked to lay down her political life (at least for the next few days). And, presumably has agreed to say nothing about it, here or anywhere else. I’ve seen that kind of ‘take one for the team’ bollox before. It kinda reminds me of when a regular commenter on TS was forced to take a break after being bullied by another Labour MP. CV might remember who I’m talking about.

            • felix

              Apart from Flare’s involvement, what’s the similarity?

            • weka

              “Jenny has been asked to lay down her political life (at least for the next few days)”

              How so? To me it looks like she’s been asked to step out of that particular role in the final days of the campaign. Are you saying her political work has been killed off? ie she won’t be able to do it again. Because that’s the usual meaning of laying down one’s life.

              ” It kinda reminds me of when a regular commenter on TS was forced to take a break after being bullied by another Labour MP. CV might remember who I’m talking about.”

              Why not just say who you mean?

          • McFlock

            lol – perhaps, it’s a wee bit of an obscure reference to when Harold Macmillan sacked 8 of his cabinet in 1962.

            But no more than saying Michie needed to go “for the good of the political operation”.

            • Colonial Viper

              It’s not tiddly winks bro. This is the top level game. Jenny is an excellent activist and I am sure will get another chance at things down the track.

              • McFlock

                Ah, so greater stakes legitemise distasteful actions?
                Can’t say as I agree with you there, bro…

                • Colonial Viper

                  What was the distasteful action again? Curran’s late night dogwhistling tweets against her own party?

                  • McFlock

                    Ridding oneself of a pretty much blameless but committed and experienced volunteer because of a beat-up.

                    No idea whether curran’s idiocy was part of the “top level game” or not (doubtful).

                  • lurgee

                    Clumsy attempt to run interference. Both Curran’s slurring, and Cunliffe’s reaction, were ‘distasteful.’

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Cunliffe led and made it clear that his team was not campaigning on the basis of Grant’s sexuality in any way shape or form.

                    Michie therefore had to step back and take responsibility. This is politics at the top level, get used to it.

                    “Distasteful” doesn’t even rate a mention. This ain’t cooking class.

                    • McFlock

                      This is politics at the top level, get used to it.

                      So JM had to “take responsibility” for something beaten up by someone else?

                      I agree. If, for example, cunliffe had failed to scotch rumours of him launching a coup against the current leader even if he had nothing to do with those rumours, it would have been good and fair politics “at the top level” for him to go and spend some time on the backbenches, and people who criticised the leader at the time were wrong to do so.

                    • lurgee

                      She did not campaign on the issue of his sexuality. She was asked a question, she answered it. At the time she was not part of the campaign team and Cunliffe was not a candidate for the leadership.

                      Cunliffe over reacted. Good player, but concerns have been raised about his test match temprament.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      McFlock – events at conference last year are history. The upcoming conference is going to be very very interesting.

                      Lurgee – did Cunliffe overreact? He made a call, and a volunteer stepped down. Not a biggie, but it sent the right message – Team Cunliffe is not campaigning on the basis of Grant’s sexuality in the slightest.

                    • McFlock

                      McFlock – events at conference last year are history.


                      Just pointing out the double standards you’re showing.

                    • miravox

                      “If, for example, cunliffe had failed to scotch rumours of him launching a coup against the current leader even if he had nothing to do with those rumours, it would have been good and fair politics “at the top level” for him to go and spend some time on the backbenches, and people who criticised the leader at the time were wrong to do so.”

                      Cunliffe said nothing in public during last year’s conference that was controversial and if he did attempt to undermine the leadership it was never proven, publicly. If proven, time on the backbenches was appropriate. The aggression, spite and bullying he and his supporters got was totally uncalled for and unprofessional.

                      There is a vast difference in the way Cunliffe’s demotion based on rumour was handled, and the request for Jenny to step aside, based on a comment she made that someone (maliciously and erroneously, imo) called Cunliffe’s campaign out on.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey McFlock. Caucus is a different beast governed by quite different rules than ordinary party members. Maybe that’s not important to you, but it’s the reality.

                    • McFlock

                      miravox – cunliffe was made responsible for not adequately denying rumours other people spread. Michie was made responsible for misinterpretations and out of context edits that other people made. Very similar situations.

                      CV – not sure what your point is: that party members are responsible for the actions of others for the good of the team, but caucus members don’t have the same responsibility?

                    • miravox

                      “Very similar situations”


                      The similarities are at best superficial. The handling very different, imo.
                      And the context… well, I reckon we all have entrenched views based on who we believe was stirring the pot there.

    • vto 11.2

      It’s not very often you write things of your own voice, usually you just respond to others

    • Saarbo 11.3

      What is Robertson going to do? Is he going to show leadership or do another Shearer impersonation?

    • weka 11.4

      So was Michie an employee or volunteer?

    • kousei 11.5

      Agree with TRP. The story was rubbish. Jenny Michie comments were not unfortunate but just a truthful answer. A simple dismissal of a ridiculous beat up and expression of confidence in her would have instilled more confidence in me of David Cunliffe’s ability.

    • Tanz 11.6

      What Michie said has truth to it, and that is why I won’t vote for Cunliffe as leader. PC to the end., and too ambitious for his own good .No thanks. Shearer was stabbed in the back in my view. No wonder the ABCs are weary. Will they all resign if he does become leader?

      • Crunchtime 11.6.1

        If you had been reading the press on Cunliffe (and the Labour party lately) you’d know how vicious they can be. Cunliffe made a wise move. The media even beat up the whole affair, saying Jenny was “sacked” – she wasn’t, she still works for the Labour party, she was just stood down from David Cunliffe’s leadership campaign. Mild comment, mild response to control the media monster.

        I think you might need to gain some more understanding of what leadership means.

        • Akldnut

          Good call by Cunliffe showing that he:

          1. Is going to run a tight ship,
          2. Has the ability to to make a tough call for the good of the team. (As he stated in his hording speeches)
          3. Is not afraid to take some heat and remove an important and valued member of his team from the spotlight, that was thrust onto them by the media. (Not only for the team but for her own sake as well)

          IMO the situation would have been bought to her attention, her opinion sought before the remedial scenario was put to her and that she would have agreed to it for the good of the team.

    • Finbar 11.7

      It was nothing less than Curran, spitting the dummy and smearing poison over the campaign of the peoples favoured leader, as her chosen candidate is running last in the eyes of the public.A poison that has smeared what till know has been a relatively smear free and very positive and exiting campaign for the members of the Party, and also the voting public in general.

      Go to the naughty chair Claire Curran,and ponder your fate,as the public ponder your poisonous stupidity.

  12. hush minx 12

    I don’t think the media were shaping up to let it be nothing. So the choice was inflame or shut down. Tough call as everyone agrees apart from Flare, that Jens words were nothing more than the truth, as spoken by others before and after.

    • lurgee 12.1

      If this was supposed to shut it down, it didn’t work, did it? The sacking story was on the news again tonight. I doubt the original incarnation of the story would have been. Sacking Michie gave it legs. Fortunately, not enough to make it into a third night.

      Robertson and Jones have shown a bit of nous on the issue, more than Cunliffe. Robertson got to look big by saying it was nonsense, and that should have been the end of the story. Jones got a good line about werewolves. Cunliffe gets a lot of bad coverage. Who won?

      • Saarbo 12.1.1

        Its not always about the story Lurgee, its about showing true leadership.

        • lurgee

          I was responding to hush mix.

          And true leadership would have been to say, “There is no story here. Let’s talk about the issues.”

          • Colonial Viper

            Glad that Curran, Robertson and Jones did just that then, aren’t you.

            • McFlock

              Actually, that is what Robertson pretty much said. And Jones did similar, treating it like a joke.

              • Colonial Viper

                That’s right, Grant treated it as a joke as well, saying that it was just a bit of sillyness. Yes, that’s definitely what it was.

              • miravox

                “Jones did similar, treating it like a joke”

                Jones alluded to Curran’s tweets being a sacking offence, just said it in a jokey way. That’s not the same as treating it as a joke.

              • Anne

                I wonder if that is what they would have said if either one of them had been the candidate being smeared.

                Just watched TV3 tonight and lo and behold Gower and co. are trying to smear Cunliffe again. This time over his supposed lack of trustworthiness. Now who could be putting him up to it all I wonder?

                • karol

                  Interesting poll Gower used to promote the ABC agenda – the most telling stat was the “don’t knows” – the biggest group. So I would guess, a lot of people polled only know about Cunliffe via the ongoing smears from Gower and co.

                • Clement Pinto

                  Paddy Gower has turned out to be just a waster of a white slime ball stirring some silly ballox ‘n baloney in Blackball recently and has been continually manufacturing more and more BS fluff pieces of so called ‘reporting’ to unfairly discredit Cunliffe! What a silly evil dork of a being and a so called ‘journalist! Shame on you, Gower!

                  • karol

                    A shocking bit of reporting from Gower – but, if he gets too honestly analytic, he would have to admit to his role in influencing voter opinion.

                    The 3 News video and print report:

                    He won’t be happy with a poll showing he is perceived as having more style than substance.

                    David Cunliffe – 25.8 percent
                    Grant Robertson – 13.9 percent
                    Shane Jones – 13 percent
                    Don’t know – 47.3 percent

                    And the pollsters believe he talks down to people.

                    David Cunliffe – 30.7 percent
                    Shane Jones – 13.0 percent
                    Grant Robertson – 7.9 percent
                    Don’t know – 48.4 percent

                    He also failed the honesty test, while Shane Jones – perhaps unsurprisingly – was rated most honest.

                    Shane Jones – 17.3 percent
                    Grant Robertson – 16.3 percent
                    David Cunliffe – 8.6 percent
                    Don’t know – 57.8 percent

                    It’s those negative traits the Labour MPs who dislike Mr Cunliffe point to. But the problem for his detractors is he comes out on top in leadership traits like understanding the economy by a long way.

                    David Cunliffe – 22.4 percent
                    Grant Robertson – 12.4 percent
                    Shane Jones – 12.1 percent
                    Don’t know – 53.1 percent

                    And he is also seen as good in a crisis – another good trait.

                    David Cunliffe – 21.2 percent
                    Shane Jones – 16.1 percent
                    Grant Robertson – 15.1 percent
                    Don’t know – 47.6 percent

                    So, the “don’t knows” have it.

      • Pasupial 12.1.2


        I don’t think Jones was calling Curran; a werewolf, but; a menstruating woman, which may be quite as threatening a being to him:

        ““She’s demonstrating to us what’s wrong with our caucus. Either the moon in Dunedin was in the wrong phase or she’s casting around for a new job”.

        As for Robertson, it’s difficult for him to stand too far from the stench when the muckraker was cheer-leading for him on the weekend. Can’t say this has gone too far in dispersing the impression of Cunliffe being arrogant and only out for himself either.

        Sympathies to Jenny Michie – it’s got to be hard being attacked for speaking your mind two days before the start of the Cunliffe campaign. I hope that there’ll be a space for you on the Labour election team once this little teacup storm has been mopped up.

      • Another Jeremy 12.1.3

        “Jones got a good line about werewolves.”
        Are you sure? my female flatmates all assume he was alluding to menstrual cycles.

  13. hush minx 13

    Mm having trouble with the edit. I do of course mean Clare, not Flare 🙂

  14. chris 14

    David Cunliffe was on a hiding to nothing no matter which way he went with the situation.

    Frankly I think some of you are spouting your vitriol at the wrong person.

    Robertson hasn’t got the balls to chastise the person responsible for this distraction.

    Curran should be in the firing line followed closely by the “apparent” interim Leader of The Labour Party.

    • miravox 14.1

      Despite his dodgy moon reference, Shane Jones probably made the right call on this one.

      There is not a chance in the world Cunliffe would have managed to say what Jones did without being hung out for being divisive and abrasive. If he did nothing he would have been called out for supporting dirty politics. Although the only perpetrators of dirty politics are on team GR through CC.

    • McFlock 14.2

      If Robertson had “chastised” curran, it would have been spun that he was trying to stop people from calling out discrimination where it occurs. But then again, supporting her comments would have been stupid, too. So make light and maybe tell her “thanks for your so-called ‘help’, kindly STFU”.

      Frankly, I think Cunliffe was fucked either way. Ditch a volunteer because of a storm in a teacup (appears trigger-happy if it occurs too often), or appear like he either doesn’t care or tactily supported the beaten-up version of the comments.

      Possibly a press complaint about the 3news editing of JM’s comments might be in order, just too point out jonolism exists.

      • felix 14.2.1

        Pretty much, yep.

        The fact is it’s not Robertson or Cunliffe who’s at fault here and neither of them have a heap of options for responding to such bullshit without playing into the hand of a media pack who would love to write about the Labour party tearing itself apart.

        • lurgee

          I imagine Cunliffe and Robertson had a discussion about how they were going to deal with this and decided the best result for everyone would be to make it go away. Slamming Curran would only add to the story, and neither wants it to continue. Dunno if booting Michie from the Cunliffe team was something they agreed on, but if they did then all my asperations aimed at Cunliffe also apply to Robertson.

      • Colonial Viper 14.2.2

        If Robertson had “chastised” curran, it would have been spun that he was trying to stop people from calling out discrimination where it occurs. But then again, supporting her comments would have been stupid, too.

        Curran was out of line doing her dog whistling on Twitter.

        David’s remarks were spot on – if she had a complaint about a candidate’s campaign team, there were official channels to take it through. Tim Barnett and Moira Coatsworth for starters. But not fucking twitter.

        Robertson could and should have said something similar.

        • McFlock

          Right. Don’t criticise Labour folk publicly (Mike Williams is on cunliffe’s campaign team???), go through official channels.

          That line sounds familiar, but someone reckoned it was BS at the time. Who could it have been?

          • Colonial Viper

            Spell it out McFlock, I’m not as smart as you, remember.

            • McFlock

              Okay. Surprised you can’t put it together yourself, though.

              You’re a hypocrite if you think that Labour members should complain about other Labour members only via internal Labour channels.

              • Colonial Viper

                I’m being perfectly consistent, I’m afraid, not hypocritical.

                Clare should have gone through official Labour channels if there was something about a candidate’s campaign that she did not like and felt that it needed to be addressed.

                Twitter is not it.

                • McFlock

                  Glad you never ever ever ever complained about Labour through social media, then.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Please point to any instance of me as a Labour MP attacking an ordinary party member, activist or union affiliate through social media. I don’t believe that I have ever done so. I am not a member of caucus, after all.

                    Clare is and has however. Instead she should have followed the caucus and leadership election campaign rules which bind her as a Labour MP, and gone through channels.

                    On the other hand, I am not bound by Labour Caucus rules. Do you know why? Because I am not a member of caucus.

                    So these are completely different situations which you should not conflate.

                    • McFlock

                      And this is the first time you have made this (suddenly convenient) distinction, that I can see.

                      Links to the rules to which you refer?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Oh you’re not a Labour Party member? Didn’t you get a copy of the leadership election rules? Shame. It’s only $6 to join you know. You can do it online now if you like.

                      And this is the first time you have made this (suddenly convenient) distinction, that I can see.

                      Did the difference between an ordinary party member/volunteer and a caucus MP in the Parliamentary wing on $150K pa, somehow escape your notice up until this point?

                      That’s a bit inconvenient. Pleased I could help point it out though.

                    • McFlock

                      Nah. To many whinging fucks in Labour for my taste.

                      As far as I can tell, the difference between members and MPs is that the members get thrown under the bus to protect the MPs.

                      Go on. Tell us the rules. Linky-link?

                    • Crunchtime

                      The only whinger here is you, McFlock.

                      Curran made some HIGHLY inflammatory comments that were completely out of line. As an MP, her every comment is highly scrutinised and taken as an indication of the entire party’s views. Of COURSE her behaviour should be to the highest standard.

                      If you can’t understand this, kindly STFU and do some reading until you do.

                    • McFlock

                      exactly the same can be said for campaign volunteers.

                      But I’m well used to the double standards employed by the nuttier cunliffe supporters around here.

                  • Mike S

                    McFlock, you posted this comment calling someone a hypocrite and in further comments have provided no evidence whatsoever. Regardless, an MP can complain about something they disagree with in the party as long as they aren’t a member of caucus. You have zero credibility and insulting someone without proof shows you up for being weak.

                    • McFlock

                      The fact that CV (a self-professed labour member who has spent the past year or two whinging loudly here whenever Labour hasn’t had the policies he wants or had the leader he wants) is now criticising someone else for responding to public comments in a public forum rather than using internal Labour Party mechanisms is actually pretty much bang-on when it comes to hypocrisy.

                      Now, CV has come up with the distinction between party members and MPs, but (as far as I can see) has yet to present the rules which he claims are the basis for this difference. Therefore, on the face of it so far, CV is definitely a hypocrite.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey McFlock. LOL.

                      because you somehow pretend to believe that there is no difference in behaviour and responsibilities expected between an unpaid party member/activist like myself, and an elected official of the Parliamentary wing on $150K pa like Curran?

                      You’re a joke mate.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, I know that bullshit statements here have had similar coverage in the news to Curran’s statements. So the damage is the same. And labour MPs are also party members, so there’s crossover there.

                      Go on CV. Explain the double standard. I’m all ears.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Just did.

                      In addition, caucus is bound by the caucus rules, and also in this instance by several caucus specific clauses of the leadership election.

                      I’m not.

                    • McFlock

                      no you didn’t.

                      She’s named Clare, you have the moniker Colonial Viper, that’s a difference. It’s not an explanation as to why one is held up to higher standards than another.

                      What rules did she break? What do the rules actually say? If she broke the rules there would be a clear case for disciplinary action. It would be a gift to the party to do so – at the least to put some stick about those MPs who have a tendency to utter idiocranisms. But although curran’s behaviour was dickish, no rules have been broken.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Its up to NZ Council to decide questions like that.

                    • McFlock

                      really? Not up to you? Because it seems like you thought the difference between Curran speaking publicly and you speaking publicly is the caucus rules. But now you’re shying away from saying what the specific rules relating to this distinction are.

                      Sounds to me like you were making shit up to pretend you weren’t being hypocritical.

        • lurgee

          Robertson could and should have said something similar.

          Perhaps neither candidate wanted to do that at this time as they have slightly more pressing concerns than dressing down a minor MP. I’m sure they will have agreed on a strategy and both have pressing interest in not giving the media a story and keeping attention focused on the postives in the campaign.

          Thats .. How did you put it? … How a professional political operation is carried out. This is politics at the top level. And whatever other hyperbolic twaddle you twiddled up thread.

  15. Clement Pinto 15

    Excellent article. I fully agree. I wish the Labour party could sack or stand down Curran for her stupidity and I wish that Cunliffe didn’t stand down Jenny for her honest fair opinion. But I suppose Cunliffe didn’t want this issue to railroad or do an injustice to his campaign. Jenny has been ‘more sinned than sinning’ here. Shane Jones’s mana has gone up in my mind for his heartfelt and correct stance on this issue. He is a great loyal wise friend to have for any leader.

  16. felix 16

    Meh. He made the best possible call in the circumstances.

    Personally I’d rather he made a call to put Curran’s head on a stick, but that’s probably why so few pollies come to my door for advice.

    Damned if you do etc.

    No big deal.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    Cunliffe hasn’t “sacked” Michie, in any meaningful sense. This is a volunteer campaign with a few days to go, not an executive position in the Beehive.

    I don’t think it matters much at all, neither as impressive as Eddie suggests nor as terrible if he’d done nothing.

    The salient point is that Curran is (again) the guilty party, and it does Labour’s future no harm at all that the general public (as opposed to politics junkies on blogs) now get to see how stupid she is. Nobody is defending her failed smear. Not even the dwindling ABC. Even Grant did the old sidestep.

    The campaign has been (for the media and opponents) disappointingly civilised. Curran is the only one who gave them what they hoped for (apart from Jones being Jones, but that was predictable and more clown than frown).

    So when Curran’s given the boot, it will come as no surprise, and with no tears. Good.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      So when Curran’s given the boot, it will come as no surprise, and with no tears. Good.

      Curran has made a lot of people around the country very unhappy in the last 36 hours. These are not the kind of people who will eat her kind of shit sandwich with a grin, let alone a second and third helping which this is.

    • the pigman 17.2

      Exactly, we do the NZLP no favours by adopting the stupid lexicon on the tv3 jonolists. “sacked”? *facepalm*

      So, twitter shitstorm, blame for which lies entirely at the door of Curran, is defused by decisive response. Doubtless we’ll still have days of chest-thumping and braying from the usual tory concern trolls..

      In other words, business as usual.

    • karol 17.3

      Pretty much agree with most/all of your comment, gobsmacked.

      Sad to see Jenny stood aside.

      The underlying fault lies with the media: for stirring up the whole “Is NZ ready for a gay MP?” stuff to start with,
      then for looking for the sensationalist aspects of the leadership contest over policy and capabilities,

      and especially for beating up any signs on internal divisions.

      I am particularly pissed off at the way Curran has used homophobia, and gay sexuality to further her political aims. As others have noted, she was complicated hypocritical with her accusations of Team Cunliffe using Robertson sexuality for political advantage.

      This is particularly obvious with Curran’s delayed reaction to the Mike Williams and Michie comments (a week or two later). And it was done at a time when the media had moved on from their focus on Robertson’s sexuality.

      This is no help to LGBTI people.

  18. vto 18

    don’t you all need

    to go

    to bed after all

    there’s work tomorrow

    we can’t do it all


  19. lurgee 19

    Your preference would have led to follow up accusations that Cunliffe tacitly accepted Jenny’s comments. He does not. He made that clear.

    Then he’s a fool for thinking there aren’t some people for whom a gay PM is unthinkable. Not that I think for a moment he does think such people do not exist.

    You have heard of Brian Tamaki, right? I’m sure David Cunliffe has.

    Anyway, the issue was not whether or not her comments were accurate. It was that Cunliffe did not want to campaign on that issue. But that’s okay, as it was nothing to do with the campaign.

    He made a call, he led. Why do you have a problem with that.

    Because he made a poor decision. Which is a concern. Hell, before you know it, he’ll be brandishing fish in parliament.

    Or do you think he is infallible, like the Pope?

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Cunliffe made the decision, he led, and he’s put the issue behind his campaign by making a clear statement that he is not campaigning on the basis of Grant’s sexuality and neither will members of Team Cunliffe.

      And that’s exactly the right call at this level of the game.

      Or do you think he is infallible, like the Pope?

      Cunliffe got a kicking by the ABCs last year and ended up cooling his heels on the backbenches looking after fish.

      So he’s not exactly the Pope, is he?

      • lurgee 19.1.1

        I dunno, Jesus did some nifty things with fish. And he got a kicking from the Romans. Anyone But Christ?

        So some sort of precedent is there.

        David Shearer did something with fish as well, didn’t he? Is he the Pope?

        • miravox

          “David Shearer did something with fish as well, didn’t he? Is he the Pope?”

          Seems to think he’s close enough, with living on stories of his war zone stuff (fair enough, but), his belief that the people would love and follow when he offered nothing and with the pettiness politics being beneath him, and all that.

    • Olwyn 19.2

      The thing is, after all the water that has gone under the bridge in the last 20 months, and an election looming, it is important that if he wins, he wins fair and square. It would not be helpful to establishing unity if there was a persistent whisper “He only got there through dog whistles about Grant’s sexuality.” It is not just about trying to win, it’s also remembering that once the election is over the real work begins.

  20. the sprout 20

    Curran’s awesome brilliance strikes again.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 20.1

      Curran acted alone, seems to be the prevailing opinion.

      Not sure the facts fit only that conclusion, but speculation seems pointless.

      Shane Jones shows he is Labour’s Tony Abbott. Again.

      Cunliffe did the right thing: Michie’s motivation may have been entirely innocent, but Curran’s right: it’s a dog whistle. Despite that, to use Twitter to say so was beyond stupid. Party discipline isn’t Cunliffe’s problem though. Yet.

      Robertson’s “been a very capable spokesperson in the ICT and broadcasting areas that she’s worked on, and she’s got a lot to offer,” is a “move along nothing to see here” statement, which since the “story” is Labour “disunity” (Jonolist-speak for “policy debate”) is exactly what he should be saying.

      He referred to her contribution in the past tense. Didn’t mention her bright future in the party.

      One lasting image I get is of Chris Hipkins trying to do the whip’s job and lacking both gravitas and mongrel 😆

  21. Retired Engineer 21

    Curran is a liability to any camp. Her clutzy understanding of social media is evident in the failure of Red Alert.
    Jenny is no super-woman. She is mortal. She is very promising..

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      Bryce Edwards lists the Clare caused homophobia Twitter storm

      A few select quotes…best was from Judith Collins who hashtagged #ClareforDeputy

      Rupert Bear ‏@RupertTheBeer
      Clare Curran was just taking the Michie…

      New Zealand Snapper ‏@SnapperFishNZ
      I snigger everytime someone tells me Clare Curran was a communications expert.

      Rachel Stewart ‏@RFStew
      Like it or not the woman “stood down” from @DavidCunliffeMP’s campaign team had a valid point. It would be “naïve” to think otherwise.

      Rachel Stewart ‏@RFStew
      @unsung75 @DavidCunliffeMP Well, as a gay woman I KNOW discrimination exists. Not brave. Just real.

      Coley Tangerina ‏@ColeyTangerina
      I’m still stumped as to how someone gets stood down for replying to a question about Grant’s sexuality with the fact some members are jerks.

      Morgan Godfery ‏@MorganGodfery
      National must be in fits. They don’t have to get their hands dirty and make GR’s sexuality an issue. Clare Curran will do it for them.

      Judith Collins ‏@JudithCollinsMP
      @RobFromNZ Clare attached one of Cunners’ supporters for something she said 17 days ago and blew apart any thought of unity. #Clare4Deputy

      Vincristine ‏@vincristine
      Not sure I can see what was wrong with what Jenny Michie said. An opinion of NZ opinion expressed by many Curran looks foolish IMO

      Paul Litterick ‏@fundypost
      I might have to take the rest of the day off, to work out what it was that Jenny Michie said that was so wrong

      Geoff Cartwright ‏@Neoleftie
      Great so Clare Currans outburst has backed the party into a corner and polarised the leadership candidates into camps, there goes unity.

      Andrew Dickens ‏@andrewdickens2
      #Labour Jenny Michie. Hope you learnt your lesson. Don’t tell the truth. Is saying ”

      john bryson ‏@jabbawaiuku
      to the Labour Party faithful, PLEASE vote For David, his fire at will for stating the bleeding obvious will have his MPs shitting themselves

      Run Shane Run ‏@RunShaneNZ
      That Clare Curran smear has to be the worst example of what has been wrong with Labour. Politics of failure coming from Team Robertson.

      Imperator Fish ‏@ImperatorFish
      I think we can assume that Clare Curran won’t be on the Labour front bench if Cunliffe wins the leadership contest.

      Lew ‏@LewSOS
      Ok, now that I’ve seen it. Jenny Michie’s answer is pretty clear and well-specified and I reckon she’s been hard done-by.

      Morgan Godfery ‏@MorganGodfery
      Whoever pushed her (and I assumed she was) has worked an injustice. Those who called her on being homophobic have also overstepped the mark

      Murray ‏@unclemuzza23h
      @DavidCunliffeMP oookay, I was undecided before I read Clare Curran’s unhelpful & divisive whining today. My vote is now for you, David.

      Run Shane Run ‏@RunShaneNZ
      Between Clare Curran and email from Grant, Robertson campaign has gone all out negative tonight. Goodbye great unifier.

      Geoff Cartwright ‏@Neoleftie
      So our beloved Clare curran once again make national news but for the wrong reasons…we need a stronger party

      Queen of Thorns ‏@qot_nz
      I also love how @clarecurranmp complains about people politicising sexuality, then calls Georgina Beyer a “former trans-sexual MP”

      Curious Bee ‏@TwistedHive
      @clarecurranmp is not talking further not awkward given you raised the issue? plus don’t think commentators have been saying it’s a problem

  22. Anton 22

    Am I the only one here who thinks that responding to Curren’s tweets with a reference to her menstrual cycle, “[e]ither the moon in Dunedin was in the wrong phase” is absolutely abhorrent? I’m glad that this post talked about the issue that she was trying to raise, rather than attack her, as a lot of the punditry around this has attempted to do.

    I’m a fan of our red blooded, genuine, feisty Member for Dunedin South. She’s been a hero in the progressive tech press all over the world this week, for those who haven’t noticed.

    • karol 22.1

      I commented on that last night on another thread.

      Opinion was divided on whether it was a reference to menstruation or moon craziness.

      Then again, Jones is smart enough to intentionally play on the double meaning.

      As for Curran, I won’t be voting for any Labour Party in which she is an MP – sign of all that has gone wrong with parliamentary Labour.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 22.1.1

        Keep it real: of course Jones was referring to menstruation, but he can’t say so, so the cowardly misogynist gives himself an out.

        • Pasupial

          Anton is right; “absolutely abhorrent”. A vote for Jones is a vote for NZ 1st, as I can’t see the Greens offering a Jones-led Labour party more than provisional confidence and supply.

          What kind of moon craziness hits on the new moon?

          • Tracey

            I thought he was accusing her of being barking mad, not menstrual… but then Anton also doesnt actually realise what Michie actually said as opposed to what he wrote here that he thought she said.

            • Pasupial


              That was indeed ambiguous. I meant to say that I thought that; Jones’ “Curran must be on the rag” [paraphrased] statement was “absolutely abhorrent” from a Labour leadership candidate to a party MP (or really any woman; except perhaps his wife, or other family member, when she actually has PMT – then it’d just be very inadvisable). Not that I agreed with everything Anton had to say. I don’t always agree with everything that I’ve typed for that matter (but sometimes the edit option vanishes before I can adjust my phrasing).

        • lurgee

          ‘Of course’ – are you actually Shane Jones? Other wise, how can you know for sure?

          It seemed a pretty straightforward werewolf / lunatic reference to me. Not everything that comes out of his mouth has to be sexist crap.

          Given the way people still mis-interpret the ‘Geldings’ comment as sexist, I suspect there is a bit of wilful misreading of Mr Jones’s utterings by some.

          • Pasupial

            It was New Moon on the 6th, it is now only a waxing crescent; not enough to cause moon madness in anyone. The only difference between Northland and Dunedin is about 6 minutes delay in rising time, and all the hills blocking the view (though that’s less of an issue in South Dunedin).

            Either Jones’ line is sexist crap, or he can’t tell the difference between light and dark.

            • lurgee

              It was a JOKE. Let me spell that for you. J. O. K. E.

              Do I have to explain the concept?


              • Hanswurst

                I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying that jokes can never be bigoted or offensive? I’m sceptical of whether someone implying that should presume to explain the “concept” of a joke to anybody.

              • Pasupial

                Yes – Shane Jones is a Joke.

    • lprent 22.2

      She’s been a hero in the progressive tech press all over the world this week, for those who haven’t noticed.

      I’m more interested in if she has read the TICS bill yet? Press releases are all very well. Stopping or amending legislation is an actual gain rather than hand-wringing waffle.

      I’m in the midst of the local hi-tech industry. She is generally pretty invisible.

    • weka 22.3

      Am I the only one here who thinks that responding to Curren’s tweets with a reference to her menstrual cycle, “[e]ither the moon in Dunedin was in the wrong phase” is absolutely abhorrent? I’m glad that this post talked about the issue that she was trying to raise, rather than attack her, as a lot of the punditry around this has attempted to do.

      Yeah, Jones is a misogynist.

      I’m a fan of our red blooded, genuine, feisty Member for Dunedin South. She’s been a hero in the progressive tech press all over the world this week, for those who haven’t noticed.

      Can you please post some links demonstrating Curran’s good work on progressive tech press? Because the main thing I know about her is that she abused her power as a Labour MP with admin access at Red Alert to try and suppress the opinions of a Labour party member. I don’t trust her, and won’t post on Red Alert. There are others here who feel similar. It came up again recently with the supposed debate where Labour members could join in online discussion about the leadership. But members had to register online using their real life names and IDs. How many Labour members felt that wasn’t to be trusted?

  23. Clement Pinto 23

    The phase of the moon also refers to how the moon is supposed to affect madness in some people. Your ‘red blooded, genuine, feisty Member for Dunedin South’ showed a bit of lunacy induced stupidity and mischief in her twitter tantrum and treachery.

    • Anton 23.1

      I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her work in her electorate and her portfolio – with some personal knowledge of both – and found her work excellent. YMMV.

      Personally I see nothing wrong with calling out someone on the left who says that being gay precludes you from being Prime Minister. Labour party unity is not Leninist Democratic Centralism, so “treachery” is a tad OTT…

      • karol 23.1.1

        As a lesbian, I am incensed at Curran using homosexuality for such a blatant piece of smear politicking. That is not at all helpful for LGBTI people.

        It was the media that started beating that up early on in the leadership contest. If she cared so much, why wasn’t she calling the media out on it back then? And since then Jones has played on it with some heterosexist dog whistling. Why didn’t Curran call Jones out on it?

        The contradictions and selective attack is telling.

        Curran Fail.

      • Colonial Viper 23.1.2

        Personally I see nothing wrong with calling out someone on the left who says that being gay precludes you from being Prime Minister.

        Michie did not say anything of the kind. I think on this sensitive issue it is important to quote correctly. What Michie said was:

        I think we’d be naïve to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay Prime Minister at this point. I think some people might have a problem with it, but I certainly wouldn’t.

        Now what I see there is her analysis of electoral reality. An analysis borne out by a follow up survey which TV3 did. Also worthwhile noting that Jenny has always strongly supported LGBT rights in the past.

        • lprent

          It is an electoral reality especially in the pacifica church going communities in South Auckland.

          It also isn’t of any particular concern electorally compared to what it was a decade ago. As the younger people come through into their communities attitudes slowly but inexorably change. But when asked a direct question about it in a interview situation like Mike and Jenny were, then you have to answer reasonably honestly. Even Grant does it, I heard him answer that question about the pacifika pushback in South Auckland the day before yesterday on National Radio.

          Basically Clare Curran is just doing some toxic dog-whistling. As usual it is inept, divisive, and will personally lose her support. But she isn’t exactly the brightest MP around.

          I do wish that the Labour caucus would give the ICT portfolio to someone a bit more energetic. Especially now that the TICS bill is in full swing. She certainly doesn’t appear to be giving it much attention.

          • Colonial Viper

            With the added detail that as a Wellington-centric MP, Grant is poorly known amongst the South Auckland membership.

        • Te Reo Putake

          CV, given that Jenny didn’t say anything wrong, why was she she dumped?

          • Colonial Viper

            Cunliffe explained it perfectly. He couldn’t allow any perception of homophobia in his team become a media created reality disturbing the positive vibe of the leadership process.

            TRP, can you explain to me what disciplinary action you think should be taken against Clare Curran?

            • Te Reo Putake

              Curran should be deselected, CV. About a year ago, if I had my way!

              Re: JM, there is no perception of homophobia, except that created by Cunliffe when he dumped her for no obvious reason.

              Jenny told the truth. Her words are not homophobic, nor is she homophobic personally. So why was she sacked? What did she do wrong?

              • Colonial Viper

                So you actually agree with Michie that some NZers will resist the election of a gay PM? And it will turn away some voters – possibly even a significant number of voters?

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Yes, I do. Because it’s true. I’ve already had that confirmed by my Labour voting neighbour. He’s Labour through and through, but will not vote for a Robertson led party. It’s sad, and he waivered a bit when I pointed out that Grant plays rugby, but he is representative of what I hope is only a small segment of LP voters. May be an issue for some LP voters in the church community too.

                  I’m sure you get this, so, can you answer my question? What did Michie do wrong?

                  • felix

                    She didn’t say anything wrong.

                    What she did wrong was make the party an easy target by discussing the issue in public when – for the sake of the unity of the party – it was not helpful.

                    Doesn’t make her a bad person. Doesn’t mean she didn’t tell the truth. Just wrong place, wrong time.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      So why couldn’t Cunliffe say that? Why did he have to react so badly and, unintentionally I presume, raise the perception that she was dumped for being homophobic?

                      Look, what I’m saying is that DC has totally overreacted. If he’d done nothing, or even better, backed her up, this would over already. As I said yesterday, half arsed decisions like this marked the Shearer leadership. I want the guy I’m voting for to be better than Shearer and if he can’t even see off a lightweight like Clare Curran, he’s going to struggle badly with John Key. Anyhoo, off to post my ballot. DC 1, GR 2 SJ 3 (not that some of you will believe me ;))

                    • lprent []

                      So why couldn’t Cunliffe say that? Why did he have to react so badly and, unintentionally I presume, raise the perception that she was dumped for being homophobic?

                      Because the campaign is so short it was a problem. What DC did was probably the best thing that could have been done.

                      It is a habitual tactic of Clare Curran (and Trevor Mallard for that matter) to act like arseholes on twitter with fire and forget political smears over complete crap that isn’t substantive and hurts *internal* political opponents with what amounts to innuendo.

                      Jenny M understands the issue for DC (I’ve talked to her). But I really can’t see that he could have done anything else.

                      Personally having such a nasty customer in the caucus like Clare Curran who’d politicize basic electoral strategy statements for a internal political gain and hurt the party in the process is a damn good reason not to vote for she is supporting. Who’d want a political obligation to that? When I was doing the vote ranking today I nearly downgraded Grant under Jones for that reason.

                      I wish I had a bit more time. My first *two* posts about this topic were a bit too sulphurous to disrupt this primary with.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Correct. I don’t believe you.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      It’s not the first time you’ve been wrong, CV. Despite my failure to publicly worship DC as the Godlike genius that he so obviously is in your mind, I’ve stayed true to my belief that he is the best candidate for the job.

                      I’ve held that belief since HC resigned and I regret he wasn’t leader in the last election, because he would have got us over the line by a seat or two. But once the popularity contest is over, it will be time to talk about the policies that will make it worthwhile going to the polls for the thousands who weren’t inspired by Labour’s leadership or platform last election.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yeah mate always noticed you were such a keen and clear proponent of Cunliffe, for a long time now, even all those times you said that his political career was over and he better get used to it.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “he waivered a bit when I pointed out that Grant plays rugby”


                    Like my bf says, gays aren’t going to be taken seriously in NZ until a high-profile active All Black comes out.

              • weka

                “Jenny told the truth. Her words are not homophobic, nor is she homophobic personally. So why was she sacked? What did she do wrong?”

                If the timeline is right, that she made the statement before the campaign began and before DC said there was to be no campaigning on the GR/gay issue, then she didn’t do anything wrong. DC made a pragmatic decision based on MSM antics and public perception, presumably because he wants the integrity of the campaign maintains AND he doesn’t want the distraction of being accused of hypocricy if he didn’t do anything and the enusing distraction of that.

                Btw, Michie wasn’t sacked, she was a volunteer who was stood down. Apparently she still works for the Labour party (or DC) in other capacities. It’s the MSM that is saying she was sacked. Now I wonder, why would you parrot their take on this?

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Er, because she was sacked? You can be sacked as a volunteer, weka. The word doesn’t only apply to paid employment, as any intern will tell you.

                  • weka

                    But in this context people are acting as if she has been sacked as an employee. Her main job with Labour still exists right? So in the last couple of days of one part of her voluntary work she’s been asked to stand down. It’s all in how you tell the story, as you very well know.

      • Clement Pinto 23.1.3

        * Jenny Michie said nothing of the sort that you BS about in your post.

        * Cunliffe and Michie had no option but to try and clear the mischief, falsehood and unfair perception created by that Curran’s mischief causing tweet.

        * Curran has not only tried to damage Cunliffe’s leadership campaign, she has also damaged the Labour party’s image at an exciting unifying time when the members and the general public all over the country are warming up to Labour and its principles once again.

        * Curran and anyone else with such mischievous mentality and dirty politics is a liability for Labour and need to be weeded out asap if Labour is to be a strong and a well supported great party.

        • Colonial Viper

          Excellent briefing notes.

        • Cemetery Jones

          This is the best comment so far on Curran’s clusterfuck of an attack on Cunliffe. The ABCs are so remarkably workshy that they’ll put their idle hands to all kinds of foul work to avoid putting the work in on behalf of the party members and voters who gave them the job, let alone ending up having to work for someone who will make them earn their place by working, not by sucking up.

      • lprent 23.1.4

        Basically this is the third or fourth time that I have seen Clare Curran do this kind of divisive partisan crap. In each case she has no actual evidence of any value. She spins lines without substance or stamina

        She attacked a commenter here for their critical comments about the organisation and state of the party, taking it to the NZ Council twice (and getting rejected twice). From memory she attacked the Greens for “white-anting” Labour voters because they offered better policy than Labour (getting off her arse and working harder never seemed to have occurred to her).

        Just another rather stupid and toxic MP. About the best thing about it is that it is self-correcting. The Dunedin South Labour electoral and party vote has been diminishing faster than just about any other urban electorate. That is just sloppy.

        But despite my annoyance with that idiot Curran, I should really do this after sunday. I already had to bin two posts I wrote because they are too incendiary.

        • Saarbo

          Yep, Curran is symbolic of what the main problem in Labour currently is, which is a group of MP’s who love the “game” of politics more than the cause. They seem to enjoy the machiavellian bullshit side, playing the man instead of dealing with real issues. The way she seems to be dealing with the TICS bill sums her up. I reckon Labour is on the cusp of becoming a real force again, but needs to get rid of the weak MP’s first (Curran, Mallard,…)…a bit of a no brainer really.

      • Tracey 23.1.5

        Do you strategise for her when you worked with her in the past because I can see why she keeps getting into trouble, you havent even heard/listened to what Michie actually said, have you?

      • lurgee 23.1.6

        I see nothing wrong with calling out someone on the left who says that being gay precludes you from being Prime Minister

        Indeed, that would be shocking. But she didn’t say that, did she?

      • Anne 23.1.7

        Personally I see nothing wrong with calling out someone on the left who says that being gay precludes you from being Prime Minister.

        Except that is not what happened twit.

  24. Enough is Enough 24

    This is all absurd

    Feeding the media and the Nats the line that there is caucus is still at war.

    At what point can the numbskull Labour MP’s learn to keep their fingers off the twitter button.

    A positive two week campaign has now been turned on its head with the media lapping this up.

    Cheers Curran and Cunners!!!!

  25. Craig 25

    For the record, I suspect that most LGBT centre-left voters will still be dividing their preferences between Cunliffe and Robertson. Not all of us are supporting Robertson merely due to shared social identity- some think Cunliffe’s overall policy prescriptions are better elaborated. I think either would make an excellent Labour leader. And I commend Cunliffe for his prompt refusal to tolerate what he was convinced was homophobic dog-whistling. It’d be nice to see Grant break the glass ceiling, but on the other hand, David Cunliffe would be an inclusive and supportive leader for New Zealand’s LGBT communities.

  26. Aotearoean 26

    Good on Jennie.She used to be an organiser for the EPMU.

  27. Craig 27

    And here’s my latest comment on the Labour leadership contest from an LGBT perspective. It’d be nice if Grant wins, but on the other hand, David Cunliffe is just as inclusive and supportive of LGBT concerns, so personally, I’m maintaining my neutrality on the leadership and confining myself to commenting about the comparative policies of the two leading candidates and Shane Jones. From comments made to me, the LGBT community isn’t solely barracking for Grant to win.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      Thanks Craig.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 27.2

      The notion that Robertson must attract the gay vote is basic wingnut “thinking”, little more than prejudice masquerading as analysis.

      • weka 27.2.1

        Except for the people who don’t find too much difference between Robertson and Cunliffe in which case their queer politics are an issue.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Perhaps, but that’s actual analysis rather than a pretence based on bigotry 🙂

      • Lanthanide 27.2.2

        I couldn’t care two figs that he’s gay. If Cunliffe were gay I’d see that merely as a bonus, not a reason to support him. I only care about the best person for the job (…actually, Cunliffe with a beard, *that* I can support…).

  28. Craig 28

    It’s true of Louisa and Maryan, our current two other rainbow MPs, who back David and Grant respectively, and it is also true of LGBT party members and friendly centre-left LGBT supporters. I declared neutrality early on in this contest, and David Cunliffe’s inclusiveness has won him plaudits from within our communities. Whoever wins, they need to focus on policy concerns, first and foremost, and have costings worked out and elaborated to combat Key’s facile claims that they are “unaffordable.”

  29. Winston Smith 29

    I think this was good by Cunliffe, it shows hes willing to sacrifice his own supporters to lead. She didn’t say anything wrong but he canned her anyway…he may not be a smiling assassin yet but he shows promise

    • Te Reo Putake 29.1

      Exactly right, WS. It’s a terrible look and the apparent gagging of Michie makes it even worse.

      • weka 29.1.1

        ‘gagging of Michie’


        Keep up the spinning hyberbole TRP

        • Te Reo Putake

          Do you see her here, Weka? Or on FB? Or in the media? 200 comments on this post, which is about her dumping, and not a dickie bird from her personally.

          She’s been CV’d, but not by Curren this time.

          • weka

            “She’s been CV’d, but not by Curren this time.”

            [citation needed] If you have any evidence that Michie is being threatened to not speak today, please show us.

            It makes sense that she would lay low for a period of time, given what has just happened. It’s politically naive in the extreme to think otherwise. Or it’s political spin. I don’t know what the exact truth is, but am not surprised to see you using this opportunity to undermine DC again.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            @ TRP: Says you. She could just as easily be keeping quiet for her own reasons. It isn’t hard to think of some.

          • NZ Femme

            Jenny has made one comment last night under Bradbury’s post.

            “Thank you Martyn, I am personally deeply insulted by these allegations.”


            • Tracey

              Thanks for this link.

              IF cunliffe is saying “I gave my word personal stuff wouldnt be mentioned”, then asking her to stand aside makes some sense. Curran however, is anyone going to have the guts to publically censure her?

            • Te Reo Putake

              Which allegations, NZ Femme? Curran’s or Cunliffe’s?

              • NZ Femme

                Curran’s, Te Reo Putake.

              • Tracey

                what are cunliffe’s allegations TRP?

                I read the link in context it appears michie is insulted that it could be perceived she is homophobic.

              • Winston Smith

                Heres the thing; leaders have to make tough decisions all the time but they have to win the election first (something the labour party has failed to realise for the last couple of years)

                Cunliffes decided that even though what she said was true and an innocuous comment it could still dent his chances so he did what he had to do and gave her the flick

                Cunliffe needs to win the leadership so he put aside his principles for the greater good (greater good being from his pov of course)

                • Tracey

                  couldnt you also argue that he didnt put aside his principles, namely that he had promised o not bring anything personal into the arena and his advisor, de facto, did that, ergo he stood by his word/principle?

                  • NZ Femme

                    That’s my take on it.

                    • Arfamo

                      I doubt that the general public is as much bothered by this turn of events as some commenters here, or even jonolists, are. It just looked like the sensible thing for Cunliffe to do. Secure the leadership first. Then concern yourself with the tidying up of the dross in the party.

          • the pigman

            TRP – Jenny M commented graciously on Bomber’s thread at The Daily Blog ( – currently 4th comment down) and LP has just said she has spoken with him.

            So quit it with the fabrication. Please.

            • felix

              She also commented here on this very thread (although after TRP voiced his conspiracy theory, to be fair).

  30. Craig 30

    One wonders if any Tory trolls in the vicinity of this site realise that come the post-Key era, we’ll be having fun of our own watching any similar future Joyce/Collins battle for the centre-right’s leadership?

    • Winston Smith 30.1

      Naah JC will win convincingly 🙂

    • Enough is Enough 30.2

      In the most undemocaratic party in the western world we won’t have a clue what is going on.

      Natioanl’s paymasters are meeting and discussing post-Key leadership already. They get to choose who they want.

      Would a democratic party have ever elected a Brash or Key to be its leader. No way, Jose. That decision was made over a few whiskys and cheque book by people who have never been elected by the public.

      Those same money men will be surveying the landscape now to find the perfect person to continue their destructive programme.

      • Tracey 30.2.1

        who is representing murdoch in those discussions?

      • Winston Smith 30.2.2

        “Would a democratic party have ever elected a Brash or Key to be its leader.”

        – Well Brash nearly managed to win the election after he was given no hope and Keys won 2 against the odds whereas Goff managed to lose the election (ably supported by his MPs) and Shearer didn’t even make it to the election (ably supported by his MPs)

  31. Tracey 31

    If he wins and this is his line in the sand, how on earth can Jones last in the party let alone with any responsible role?

  32. Seti 32

    If this most innocuous of comments can get you sacked then don’t expect a lot of interviews from ministers in a Cunliffe-led government. I haven’t seen such an overreaction since Kent Brockman thought the ants were invading.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 32.1

      Yes, because the middle of a leadership campaign is exactly the same as being in government, eh. Can’t you do any better than that?

      Please send more wingnuts: these ones are crap.

  33. Craig 33

    As far as I’m concerned, the Labour leadership debate should be about policies, not about candidate sexual orientation, and for that reason, I am keeping an open mind. I am impressed by what I’ve seen of Cunliffe’s policy presentation thus far, although Robertson and him seem to occupy a great deal of common ground. As far as I am concerned, Cunliffe is no homophobe and the dismissal of Jenny from his campaign team proves that.

  34. Craig 34

    I am sure that Jenny is no homophobe, either, but this is a leadership contest, and during the heat of conflict, sometimes people do or say things that they may have cause to regret later. One hopes that once the passions of the moment are relinquished, then Labour will unite around what should be its core objective- the end of the slow motion disaster that is the current Key administration and its tenure in office.

  35. Ron 35

    I see that Curran has just tweeted to Sean Plunket that she would not discuss the latest fiasco as this sort of thing is best handled in house.
    Pity she did not follow that dictum the day earlier. Is there a move in the party to take her cell phone away

  36. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 36

  37. Sufi Safari 37

    I’m sorry, but Cunliffe is being a total hypocrite if he’s sidelining Jenny because of an apparently innocuous statement that could be read as a dog whistle.

    Grant and I have got a gentlemen’s agreement we’re not going to showcase family and that’s partly out of respect for his circumstances and that’s that.

    That’s Cunliffe dog whistling the shit out of his no-family agreement with Grant back at the start of the month. I’m inclined to believe that adding “that’s partly out of respect for his circumstances” was a deliberate play by an astute politician, but even if you give David the benefit of the doubt his othering of Grant and his family “circumstances” made me cringe. I don’t think Jenny’s comments were any worse, and in context might be significantly more benign if Cunliffe (who I don’t believe is at all homophobic, just conniving) did actually seed the comment with some consideration.

    • lprent 37.1

      I sometimes get asked to be a talking head on these types programs (not that I bother doing them).

      But I’d have answered in exactly the same way as Jennie or Mike because at a electoral level it is true. There are electoral costs in having a homosexual candidate.

      If someone had asked about Cunliffe’s background in business, then I’d have pointed out the electoral pros and cons of that.
      If someone had asked about Grant’s complete lack of background outside of public service, then I’d have pointed out the electoral pros and cons of that.

      If someone asked about Brash’s age, then I’d have pointed out that there would have been people who would have considered that having a 70+ year old PM would be risky.

      If someone asked about Helen Clark’s gender in 1996, then I’d have pointed out that there would have been people who would never vote for a women.

      Dipshits like yourself who are afraid of campaigning realities are simply just pathetically irritating. If you don’t face realities and figure out how to overcome them, then you lose elections.

      • vto 37.1.1

        I agree completely.

        white maori middle class unionist farmer teacher beneficiary criminal lesbian childless male young Omaha house beltway Asian pacifican funny bankster tramper guitarist……… ffs a politician’s personals are part of their very nature. Trying to avoid particular ones is dumpty numpty stuff.

        Get into it, deal with it, make something of it, use it and go forward. Stop cowering behind fear.

        • Tracey

          and yet what, if anything has been said by candidates about jones “maoriness” or his “adult movieness”? Nothing from what i can see/read…

          • vto

            That misses the point, but taking what you say – He has referred to those aspects himself just about on every occasion I hear his voice on te radio “the taniwha from the north”.

            He deals with it, gets over it, makes something of it and gets the go forward.

            Others could learn from it.

            • Tracey

              it doesnt miss the point at all… Jones maoriness is not being stereotyped by the media or his competitiors, yet he has done that with Robertson.

              When he uses it, it is a tactical way of endearing himself… even though he actually uses it to paint a false picture of himself as ordnary maori bro… but his “somewhere over the rainbow” crack at Robertson? Your comment would be valid if Robertson was referring to himself as a “poof” but it’s Jones doing the calling.

              I am prepared to say if any candidate starting using stereotypes (as he did with his Dorothy reference) with Jones maoriness their campaign would collapse and the media would go berserk.

              It’s always interesting to me when people like Jones or Tamihere, so-called champions of the downtrodden underclass of maori have such bigotted views about others in similar positions but for different reasons, women or homosexuals.

          • Craig

            TV3 keeps bringing it up. Six words come to mind. Richard Worth. Pansy Wong. Aaron Gilmore? By which standards, Jones’ gaffe seems a mere misdemeanour…

      • Sufi Safari 37.1.2

        I think you totally missed my point. I don’t think Jenny did anything wrong in answering as she did. She was honest and direct and did nothing that should have brought shame on Cunliffe’s campaign. Would that all of politics was that up front.

        What I do think though is that Cunliffe has been deliberately dog whistling, and if he did in that quote, or even if he didn’t, given the nature of the comment he made I reckon he’s being hypocritical by dropping Jenny like he has.

        I’m happy to be called a dipshit, but perhaps employ a bit of reading comprehension first eh? Or perhaps I could write more clearly…

        • lprent

          Cunliffe has been deliberately dog whistling,

          I don’t think so. Look at it tactically. It was a cleft stick whichever way he handled it.

          There were 4 or 5 days left in the campaign. Regardless if Grant Robertson was involved in putting Clare up with this, there was only one thing Grant could have done to mitigate his declared supporter’s arsehole tactics. That was to say Clare was completely out of line.

          You notice that hasn’t happened? So that limited what DC could do, which is what I suspect that Clare Curran’s intent was. God knows that she has done this type of crap so many times before..She knows exactly how to run fire and forget trolling like that.

          David Cunliffe’s choices were to not dump Jenny and have a media frenzy over that distracting from the campaign for the remaining days with media saying that he was supporting dirty tactics. Or dump Jenny (with Jenny’s irritated acquiescence and approval) and have the media play it as being split in the party…

          Basically Clare Curran ignored any damage to the party and in my view deliberately stirred this up. It is pretty damn disgusting.

          I’m happy to be called a dipshit…

          I gave up being polite on social media about two decades ago

          • Sufi Safari

            What I was trying to say revolves less around what Jenny said and more around the quote from Cunliffe:

            Grant and I have got a gentlemen’s agreement we’re not going to showcase family and that’s partly out of respect for his circumstances and that’s that.

            To my mind that quote shows Cunliffe up as a hypocrite in this instance and dog-whistler in the broader context of this leadership campaign.

            As for how that plays out in the situation of Clare and Jenny, we’ve seen time and again that Clare is perfectly capable of cocking things up for everyone, while trying to do her bit for the cause. Her conviction that her right to say shit on social media trumps any and all responsibility to her colleagues is a failure of caucus leadership going back more than 4 years.

            I think Cunliffe’s stick was hardly cleft. Particularly in light of Jenny’s commitment to him. This was another opportunity to drag out the conversation about Grant’s sexuality. Not one that he initiated, but hardly one that was going to be shut down by publicly standing down Jenny.

            This is more win than loss for Cunliffe, especially when the Jenny situation gets spun like it has in this post. And this is more loss than win for Grant, because for him to slam Clare gives the story more legs and blows his unity bit, and not to leaves him having to hunker down while the story blows over.

            I gave up being polite on social media about two decades ago

            I wasn’t critiquing your manners 😛

            • lprent

              The quote that you’re referring to has been a statement of actuality, and I’d be a teeny bit peeved if some moron tweeting ‘in the heat of the moment’, thereby violating the principle, had taken out one of my best volunteers – wouldn’t you?

              Apart from Jones being his usual foolish self, there was virtually no mention of either David or Grant’s family life prior to Clare Curran raising Grants during the campaign. Jenny’s statement was made on The Nation when (from memory) Grant was the only declared candidate.

              • Sufi Safari

                The quote I’m referring to is an active or passive act of othering by Cunliffe of Robertson. I think it deserves reflection, especially in light of the action David took with Jenny.

                I don’t disagree that Cunliffe is probably a tiny bit peeved to lose Jenny. But I’m sure he’s seen the silver lining. One of Grant’s supporters has gifted him an opportunity to put Grant’s sexuality back in the headlines. And David gets to look like a principled guy and a strong leader in the process.

                But then maybe I’m being a bit unkind. Perhaps he is just a principled guy and a strong leader, doing his best to keep Grant’s “circumstances” out of it.

                • beGone Craven SpyBill leopard

                  I think it is not excellent for Labour what Curren did. And therefore is not good for any prospective leader of Labour.

                  It has lead me back to thinking what can be done with that bunch of loons. Some are displaying a complete lack of team spirit.
                  Who asked Curren to do that? Did she do it off her own bat or was she requested to do so? Who thought that was a good idea?

                  It is clear through Mr Cunliffe and Mr Jones’ response that they are aware how important unity and team spirit is, and GOOD ON THEM, however it is unclear whether Robertson has a good grasp on that and this aligns with some of the rumours expressed here on the Standard that there is a group in Labour that are not focussed on their jobs of representing NZers and NZ issues and are more interested in their own petty squabbles.

                  This type of attack could be expected from National, but not one of their own; I believe it is incredibly damaging.

                  What do you do? Firing a whole lot of democratically elected people isn’t a good thing or a good look.

                  Certainly don’t think it was good for Mr Robertson, if my reaction is shared by others.

                  It appears that some serious discipline is going to be required to change the culture that appears to have developed in the Labour caucus.

                  Really, good luck to the new leader, they are going to need it.

                • lprent

                  And that is the problem. It’d have been a much cleaner contest all round if Clare Curran hadn’t tried to emulate (deliberately or inadvertently) Shane Jones with his blood in his genitals and his brain empty of caution.

                  Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to happen with the lunar cycle. It seems to happen whenever he has a bit of booze, or a forlorn hope with a intelligent and therefore unattainable women (ie most of them), or any kind of audience.

                  Those all appear to act like a red rag to his bullshit.

                  But then maybe I’m being a bit unkind. Maybe there are some women who approve of him. Of course I can’t think of any that I have met. When I met them and indicate that I have been a Labour supporter and activist I usually get an ear-bashing of the disgust he arouses in them… One of the best incentives I know for not helping Labour.

                  • beGone Craven SpyBill leopard

                    Well hopefully caucus members who haven’t voted yet are reading these pages, and this can be a warning to them.

                    My impression could well be what others have.

                    The impression I have got from this fiasco that Clare (and her advisors?) set up, is that Labour are in real trouble and it is going to take some real shift in culture.

                    The impression I have got is doubt regarding Robertson. Was he party to that twitter activity? His response of supporting Clare indicates he supported what she did and could well have been.

                    Jones and Cunliffe the best options.

                    However, as lprent just mentioned Jones is dodgy with regard to the female vote.

                    Conclusion: it is going to make my choice around voting much easier if Cunliffe doesn’t get in.

                    The best bosses I have had are those with vision, they tend to be tough, however a bit of discipline is far preferable for a good team spirit than the underhand bullying culture that tends to develop without it.

                    I think Cunliffe is the best one for the job, however, I think he even he is going to have a very tough job ahead of him to succeed after witnessing this latest fiasco.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Hearing that one is a Labour activist does seem to bring out that reaction 😈

            • GregJ

              Interesting that you haven’t contextualised Cunliffe’s comment.

              Also interesting that this is the same line that Whale Spew was running on September 1st (I’m not going to sully myself to link to the Blubber’s site and let him earn any more revenue).

              I certainly think there is some “dog-whistling” going on – but I don’t think it is Cunliffe’s Camp with the kennels.

              • Sufi Safari

                Interesting that you haven’t contextualised Cunliffe’s comment.

                I stuck the link in the tag, sorry should have added it explicitly. I really don’t think the context adds anything at all though. The second half of the quite is an entirely unnecessary addition that plays to prejudices. To my mind that’s what’s telling.

                I certainly think there is some “dog-whistling” going on – but I don’t think it is Cunliffe’s Camp with the kennels.

                Well indeed, my contention is that that it’s Cunliffe’s camp with the whistles. Although to be fair I think they’re using them sparingly and opportunistically rather than egregiously. I guess that’s something.

      • burt 37.1.3


        I think you are justifying a double standard with regard to workers rights. It’s sad that “it’s different when Labour do it”. Are you proud of supporting a workers rights party that treats workers like pawns when there are bigger fish to fry – like winning a leadership contest or an election ?

        • Ron

          Oh come on. If you are suggesting that Jenny was a ‘worker’ in the normal sense you are nuts. She was a volunteer that feels such a strong commitment to the party that she is willing to undertake work for free to help change the party like so many other people in political parties. She was not fired, dismissed or sacked as MSM likes to portray but was simply stood down until after Sunday so that she did not become the story instead of the election.

          I think you are justifying a double standard with regard to workers rights. It’s sad that “it’s different when Labour do it”. Are you proud of supporting a workers rights party that treats workers like pawns when there are bigger fish to fry – like winning a leadership contest or an election ?

        • lprent

          Don’t be daft. Jenny gets paid exactly for volunteering for Cunliffe as she (and I) get paid for writing posts on this site.

          The exact amount is nothing. I realise that volunteering to work for the good of society isn’t something that you are likely to bring yourself to do. But many of us do it.

          Next you’ll be saying that I should be paying secondary tax for my income here…

    • Tracey 37.2

      Whereas Robertson benefitting from the snide and questionable tactics of his caucus colleagues is A-ok?

      • Sufi Safari 37.2.1

        Nope, Clare is a complete liability. Has been from her first day. She brings a lot of passion to her job, but that becomes a problem when you marry it with her lack of anything but the thinest comprehension of issues and a tendency to become overwrought.
        But I think you’re very wrong if you believe any of this has benefitted Robertson.

        • lprent

          But I think you’re very wrong if you believe any of this has benefitted Robertson.

          Because of how it has played out, I think that you’d be correct.

          Hardly a good look to have a supporter who declared that day then running a deliberate political smear on the opponents.

          Why do I think it was deliberate? You have to consider that Clare Curran’s purported expertise prior to parliament was in PR. The first time I saw her she was running a workshop on using social media for PR in Labour. She’d hardly be unaware of the effect of a few well placed tweets.

          • Sufi Safari

            Have you seen her in action for the last term and a half? She may be a PRINZ award winning communications professional, but from where I’m standing that speaks more to PRINZ’s quality than Clare’s. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Clare was trying to run a deliberate smear. I would be hugely surprised if Grant and his campaign were involved. Grant has been at pains to avoid the issue, and with a significant proportion of the online activist-base hyper-senstive to perceived slights against Cunliffe there was never a win for him in running a smear tactic of this kind.

            • lprent

              I bloody well hope that Grant didn’t participate in this. After all he was my second preference and looks like he will make a reasonably good minister when he gets the chance to gain that experience.

              My irritation is largely for Jenny Michie. I’ve known her for at least the last 15 years. She does tend to be a bit of a motormouth at times (but with a endearing tiny bit of a canadian? accent left) and almost brutally honest at times.

              But one thing that she is not is any kind of a bigot.

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

            I’ve been hearing that Curran’s professional background is in communications for years, but I’ve never seen any evidence of it.

  38. Jenny Michie 38

    Thanks for all the support here on the standard (I can’t figure out how to log in properly on this iPad). My biggest gripe is the terrible photos of me that the papers have used… that’s a smear 🙂

  39. unpcnzcougar 39

    I watched Cunliffe on the News making the announcement about Jenny. What stood out to me was while he was saying he was being decisive I felt it was a very clever move as it keeps the MSM focused on Robertson’s sexuality through the Michie story.

    • mickysavage 39.1

      Does Cameron give you guys special drugs that let you come up with these fantastically bizarre interpretations of things?

      • unpcnzcougar 39.1.1

        Actually Sun Tzu. The Art Of War is a great read. If Labour want to win the next election they should perhaps all be reading it.

    • Colonial Viper 39.2

      With allies like Curran, Grant doesn’t need enemies.

  40. Jenny Michie 40

    Oh and just to be clear, I haven’t worked for the Labour Party for four years.

    • Te Reo Putake 40.1

      And we’ve lost an election and two leaders in that time. That may not be just a coincidence 😉

      • mickysavage 40.1.1

        We did win the Mt Albert by election with a resounding result and Jenny was heavily involved in that campaign …

        • lprent

          Bearing in mind that after that exercise more than half of the electorate had been canvassed and we had even more people available for the “get out of the vote: on election day than Helen had in her best years – I’d have been very surprised at anything else.

    • lprent 40.2

      And you are missed. However it was a blessing in disguise for us.

  41. Sable 41

    This is all good. We know Keys is a devious so if Cunliffe plays a clean game its all to his advantage.

  42. Clement Pinto 42


    1 : I thought of Mickey Savage.
    2 : I thought of Tom Jones.
    3 : I thought of Brendon Horan.

    Welcome back Labour!
    Audios National/ACT!
    Cheers every body!!

  43. Craig 43

    Actually, Jenny might want to comfort herself with the thought that amongst LGBT Labour voters, her sacrifice may have led some previously undecided amongst us to consider supporting Cunliffe. I don’t think she’s a homophobe at all, nor is the candidate that she supports. As for Clare, if the intention was to play the identity politics (sic) card, then in the case of LGBT Labour voters, it backfired through demonstrating that Cunliffe is committed to party inclusiveness, no matter how symbolic.

    To be honest, apart from Jones’ Maori backers, I’m more concerned about certain others in that particular team. At least Cunliffe and Robertson share core Labour/social democratic values and policies. But Jones…??? ???

  44. karol 44

    And Mike Williams comes out for Cunliffe.

    Not keen on the comment about Shane Jones well-cultivated image of delicious political incorrectness.

    Why do so many guys have difficulty understanding the offense Jones’ misogyny causes.

    And I don’t see any similar political incorrectness around Maori issues.

    Edit: problems loading the Standard at the moment.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 44.1

      The image is well-cultivated because it’s designed to distract you from Jones’s crippling laziness.

    • Saarbo 44.2

      mmm…Mike Williams supports David Cunliffe. Williams ripped into Cunliffe after the November conference, and not that long ago on nine to noon (RNZ) he was still having a go at Lianne Dalziel being on the “undisciplined” side or something like that.
      I suspect that Williams is the classic “run with the hares, hunt with the hounds” sort of dude. It seems that he just waited to see who was ahead and then backed them, he is a desperate sad egotist who wants to remain connected to the top of the Labour Party, hence the quick change in his view on Cunliffe. He wont be the last though…

      • Neoleftie 44.2.1

        Firstly mike done his service and well.
        Next this is politics and power play galore going down in caucus.
        The two down south staked thier position early publicly and honestly.

    • Anne 44.3

      You know, I wonder if Mike Williams was really prompted to go public about his leadership choice by Clare Curran’s latest antics. After all, he was the other target of her venomous tongue.

      • karol 44.3.1

        3 key points in Williams’ post:

        Grant’s major advantage in my book is the block of support he has in the caucus.
        These people tend to know the contenders best, and I would normally give that great weight if the same people had not given us David Shearer, and then changed their minds.

        My bold – questioning the judgement of the ABCs.

        Just about all of the many calls I’ve had in support of Grant have talked mostly about David.

        ABC – not what why Robertson will be better leader.

        It’s strange how the smallest incident can tip the balance and this came when some overzealous twerp demanded to see David’s wife’s membership card in Dunedin.

        Yesterday I gave my tick to David Cunliffe.

        My bold again. Implying some ABC vindictiveness?

        • Colonial Viper

          It won’t be a coincidence that the 2 MPs down in Dunedin are Robertson backers to the hilt.

        • Saarbo

          Thanks Karol, I guess that 1st point explains why he may have been anti Cunliffe after November. The rest explains why he has changed his mind. ok.

          Is Chris Trotter ok, his last two articles on the Daily Blog have been a bit OTT, maybe this whole process is getting to him? Mind you I feel that its starting to do my head in as well, looking forward to Sunday.

          • Pasupial


            Trotter’s articles/ opinions were interesting – though I certainly don’t agree with him on every point; perhaps he is spending a bit too much time with Bomber these days and absorbing some verbal intoxication. One thing that struck me is how the online vote might be susceptible to rigging, but he didn’t really go into that as much as I’d like.

            Agree with you about looking forward to Sunday. But come Monday NACT will still be in Government – let’s hope Labour unity is not merely a leadership campaign slogan.

          • karol

            Trotter has been a bit OTT. On his latests post: I don’t think Clare Curran’s twitfart can be comared to those other Robertson and supporter statements about his sexuality. It does not ad up to a pattern as Trotter argues.

            I can imagine if a candidate is concerned that their sexuality might be used against them in a campaign, they could decide to front foot it, and put it out there first in their own terms.

            Curran’s desperate rear guard twaction is totally different.

  45. karol 45

    And Jack McDonlad on Maui Street looks to eco-socialism as the way forward for the left & tips Cunliffe to win the leadership ballot.

    For New Zealand’s progressive leaders, both Red and Green, the real test lies ahead. If they follow through on their bold rhetoric and abandon the weak social democratic agenda, then the First Labour-Green Government could be as historically significant, world-leading and revolutionary as the First Labour Government that was sworn into power over three-quarters of a century ago.
    Its a no-brainer that New Zealand will remain a mixed economy, with the private sector playing a large role in our economic future. For example, both Labour and the Greens favour market incentives and price signals to address certain economic and environmental problems. But the time has come for the Left to reassert the fundamental values that built this nation.
    The Left faces a host of challenges, not least of which is the courage of their own convictions. It seems that they themselves are aware of that. In the words of soon-to-be Labour leader David Cunliffe:

    “We must also have leadership that has proven it can stare down vested interests – because make no mistake, the beneficiaries of neoliberalism will not give up their privilege quietly.”*

  46. Clement Pinto 47

    Mike William’s endorsement of David Cunliffe. An interesting article with some debatable points thrown in.

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    Jobseeker beneficiaries who have work obligations must now meet with MSD within two weeks of their benefit starting to determine their next step towards finding a job, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “A key part of the coalition Government’s plan to have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker ...
    2 weeks ago

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