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Cunliffe’s statement

Written By: - Date published: 1:12 pm, September 27th, 2014 - 280 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, labour, leadership - Tags:

Labour’s Council is currently meeting. David Cunliffe is expected to make a statement today at 2:30. It will be covered live by RNZ, 3 News and other outlets.

Update:  David Cunliffe has announced his resignation from the leader’s position but will contest the vacant leadership.  Get ready for a leadership contest …

280 comments on “Cunliffe’s statement ”

  1. Chooky 1

    i hope he waits for the rank and file Labour membership vote.

    …It is time the Labour Party took its membership seriously…and direction comes from grassroots up.

    Neither Grant Robertson nor Jacinda Adern have much electorate appeal imo

    • I find this so hilarious. You spent the entire election campaign going on about Dotcom and IMP’s appeal to youth, which turned out to be non-existent outside of a free night out. And then you write off the one member of parliament (Ardern) that young voters seem to instinctively like and respect.

      There are a lot of young people, especially young women, who have been rooting for Jacinda for years now. She’d be a fine leader or deputy and would definitely provide Labour with a fresh outlook on the party.

      • shona 1.2.1

        Ardern was trounced by that petit bourgeois old trout Maggie Barry regularly in parliamentary debate. And lets face it Maggie isn’t the sharpest knife in the block just a dried out collection of privileges and prejudices in an overpriced outfit. Jacinda has zero appeal outside of Auckland with the exception of the boys with their indoor hobbies.
        Like Grant she cares, a lot. But like Grant she is also a career politician who is an underachiever.They both need to get out into the wider world and do something with their lives before they have any chance of resonating with an aging population.

        • “Jacinda has zero appeal outside of Auckland with the exception of the boys with their indoor hobbies.”

          And there is why we need Jacinda to do well.

          Because she’s only popular because she’s pretty in the mind of political dinosaurs (who still uses trout as an insult for women). Not that she’s personable, passionate and has a sharp mind. Not because she speaks well to a section of society who feels like politics is for older people who ignore them. Nope, it’s cause she’s attractive. Sigh.

          I do agree, though, she could work on her debating. But there’s not a single Labour candidate who doesn’t need some media training, quite frankly.

        • Del Griffith

          “Like Grant she cares, a lot. But like Grant she is also a career politician who is an underachiever.They both need to get out into the wider world and do something with their lives before they have any chance of resonating with an aging population.”

          This times 1000, Labour needs someone who has worked outside of parliament since they left uni. Thats the 10000 pound elephant in the room here, how do you appeal the the working man and woman if you’ve never worked outside in the real world?

          • SPC

            Care to explain the selection of the Hutt South and Clutha candidates for National – both called rising young stars by National and each has had only one job outside of the National Party in Wellington since leaving university. The same short term job for Philip Morris in Auckland – corporate affairs (lobbyist).

            • cricklewood

              Easy Nats a party for the corporates… and they need to keep them onside. Labour a party for the worker the under privileged etc.
              Labour would do well to have a few less career politicians and a few more people that have been in the trades or run a small business successfully. ..

            • Del Griffith

              Are either of them trying to be the leader of a party trying to win back the working people of NZ ?

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          You have just described Jamie Lee Ross, as a career politician who has never worked in the wider world. ( City Councillor at 18 !!, worked for Maurice Williamson)
          Same goes for Bill Englishs ‘gumboot’ now the MP for Southland

      • Delia 1.2.2

        Jacinda Ardern has made it clear she does not want to be Leader.

    • Michael 1.3

      I agree. Robertson and Ardern are both talented but, for various reasons, they, the Party and the electorate are not yet ready for each other.

    • Why would he not?
      He supported the constitutional changes that allowed the members and unions to outvote caucus.
      He owed it to himself and the party to follow this procedure and not short circuit it in palace posturing.
      Caucus was trying to railroad through a seizure of power back from the members and unions.
      Classic left right power struggle in Labour Parties.
      This is a victory for democracy whoever wins.
      Let’s wait to see how angry the members and unions ranks are at the theft of the election from the Left by Dirty Politics.
      I would expect David to come out of this well on top and make a mockery of the commentariat.
      +1 for party democracy and workers democracy.

    • waikatosinger 1.5

      Jacinda has great electorate appeal. She just isn’t ready to be leader. Yet.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    Whatever he decides to do, he did his best, and we should be big enough to acknowledge that. Whether the movement can triumph over ego and ambition, who knows. Maybe it’s too late for such quaint notions in the age of celebrity and instant everything.

    • BM 2.1

      He gave it a go and did his best.

      It’s just unfortunate for David, he just doesn’t have that PM factor.

      • ianmac 2.1.1

        BM is like annoying bit of grit niggling and grinding away. Wonder what drives him? Does he torment cats and dogs for pleasure? Probably and I guess he de-wings flies for sport as well.

        • yeshe

          maybe he is paid ianmac ?

          • Hanswurst

            Does he torment cats and dogs for pleasure? Probably and I guess he de-wings flies for sport as well.

            BM strikes me more as the sort of person who looks at budgies in a slightly vicious way, talks about making witty comebacks to people who have said humiliating things to him/her and swears at celebrities under his/her breath when she/he sees them on TV.

      • Chooky 2.1.2

        @ BM….yes he would have had the PM factor …if given a fair deal from the msm….and support from his colleagues

        • JeffRo

          Just because you wanted him to be PM so bad, doesn’t mean jack. He just didn’t have “it”. For what ever reason, he didn’t appeal.

          And get over the MSM whinge. If you haven’t got the balls to deal with it, then get another job.

          With DC in charge, the polls collapsed pretty soon after, didn’t stayed that way.

          The public perception of him, cost Labour support.

          He should have had the brains and grace to step down post election.

          Look to the future. With a leader who can gain the support to win.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Helen Clark lost in 1996, to a chorous of relentless vilification by right wing scum. What happened in 1999, little tr*ll?

          • swordfish

            “With DC in charge, the polls collapsed pretty soon after”

            No. Labour support soared to 37/38%, then fell back a little, but still averaging 35% for 2 of the first 3 months of Cunliffe’s leadership (after a good deal of exposure in the news media during the leadership primaries).

            Even as late as January this year, Labour (33%) was still averaging a little better than during Shearer’s final months (31-32%).

            • lprent

              It wasn’t until National’s campaign media kicked in March that the polls started to get hammered. Would have happened as badly if not more badly with anyone else. Basically Labour needs to build a media / message team that is fully staffed, competent and bedded in.

              It is something that we have been lacking post Helen and Heather

      • blue leopard 2.1.3

        BM’s line is the Right-wing and media line that has been pushed strongly all year.

        Probably originates from Textor-Crosby or some other spin doctor.


      • Foreign waka 2.1.4

        Mr Cunliffe has one thing that is so unfortunate in this country, a high IQ. People here don’t like this, they feel threatened and when the banjos come out, watch this space.

        • AmaKiwi

          +1, at least as far as having a high IQ. I think he also has the best preparation and training of anyone on the scene to be a superb political leader. But 2 years of character assassination by your own party is a lot to overcome in less than a year.

          • FredFrog

            He may have a high IQ but because of his ego, he’s incredibly stupid.

            Right now there is a choice between someone who the caucus will follow, and someone they will rebel against. One is the child of the beltway, and so will lose the next election, the other is the promoter of the unions, and so will lose the next election.

            Either way, Labour loses.

            Time to take the long view, and figure out how to get back in come 2020, because with what’s in parliament right now, Labour doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning 2017

            • Foreign Waka

              Your comment just confirms my statement. As expected.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yep – the personal career positions of an overwrought dozen Labour Party members in the caucus room does not nullify the voices of the thousands of Labour Party members throughout the rest of the country.

                • FredFrog

                  Those in caucus were the ones chosen by the party membership in their electorates to represent them, so in effect, they are the voices of thousands of Labour party members throughout the country.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    The detailed results of the last Labour Leadership primary puts that to the lie unfortunately – caucus was obviously not listening to what the membership was enunciating very clearly, and instead going off to do its own thing.

                    • FredFrog

                      Was that the “primary” (Oh, so presidential!) where around 5100 party members voted? How does that compare to the total number of party members? I’ll help you out here – in 2010 party membership was 56,741. I don’t imagine that’s changed much in the intervening four years. That means that approximately 53,000 party members did NOT vote for Cunliffe in the “primary”.

                      As I said, the party members put the caucus where they are. If the members were not happy with caucus, why would they be selected? Cunliffe does not represent the party members, their local candidates do, and Cunliffe would do well to remember that.

                      Also, it seems to be more than a dozen caucus members who are a little antsy. It seems that those who support Cunliffe number about half a dozen, and there are a few more than eighteen in the room.

                    • lprent []

                      You are wrong you fool.

                      The vote is divided into affiliates and party members. The membership you are quoting includes those people who are members because they are members of an affiliated union.

                      As I said, the party members put the caucus where they are. If the members were not happy with caucus, why would they be selected?

                      There has been a tradition of not challenging sitting electorate MPs. The selection is usually passed by acclamation in a LEC that is usually dominated by the MP’s electorate allies in the absence of a challenger.

                      In the case of Phil Goff I believe that the last time he had a actual selection was in about 1993 after he had lost the Roskill electorate to Gilbert Myles in the previous election. Otherwise like Helen his previous real selection would have been 1981.

                      I wonder how many of our readership weren’t born in 1981?

                      In varying degrees the same is true for many electorate MPs. I think that all electorate MPs should always face a selection at least periodically. It is clear that leaving them unchallenged has allowed them to drift too far from members.

              • FredFrog

                Actually it doesn’t. I have a higher IQ than Cunliffe, but I’m realist enough to understand it means not a lot.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Ahem. How do you know that you have a higher IQ than Cunliffe?

                • FredFrog

                  The nesting has gone as far as it can go so here for Lyn above

                  You are wrong. Your apology for name calling will be accepted in advance.

                  You see, the Labour party membership figure quoted above was for 2010. According to the 2010 union membership return, union membership numbers are as follows:

                  EPMU – 39,371
                  SFWU – 22,447
                  NZMWU – 17,100
                  NZDWU – 6,900
                  RMTU – 4,513
                  MUNZ – 2,488

                  TOTAL: 92,819

                  So the PARTY membership count I quoted clearly does NOT include people who are members of an affiliated union, as at 56,741 it is lower than total membership of the affiliated unions by 36,078.

                  This also then begs the question: Are people who are members due to being a member of an affiliated union permitted to vote as LP members in the primary?

                  I’ll take your point on candidate selection. The fact remains, though, that it’s highly unlikely that Cunliffe be able to get the overwhelming majority of the caucus behind him, except for when they have their knives out.

                  • lprent

                    Your figures are wrong. Offhand I can’t say why because you haven’t sourced it. But for instance those appear to be total members of unions, groups like the journalists in the EPMU are not affiliated to the NZLP (for obvious reasons).

                    I haven’t seen the membership database since about 2006/7 when I was looking at what kinds of things could be done to improve it, but you are out by about an order of magnitude. From what I understand the membership continued to decline until 2012/3 when interest in the constitutional changes and the leadership primary caused it to skyrocket. But the increase was just a 2-3 fold increase from a low base.

                    Perhaps you should indicate where you are getting your fantasy figures from.

                    The fact remains, though, that it’s highly unlikely that Cunliffe be able to get the overwhelming majority of the caucus behind him, except for when they have their knives out.

                    Which just points to the core of the problem – the appalling behaviour of people in our current Labour caucus. That was what caused me to decide in 2012 that I’d party vote Greens. They don’t do this kind of pathetic unprofessional shit that causes elections to be lost. They listen to their members and their voters more than they listen to the numpty fools subject to a writing deadline.

                    What happens if (as I expect), the majority of the party members and most likely the majority of the affiliates vote for Cunliffe, and then caucus votes against. Then Cunliffe wins (or maybe has a near miss).

                    For all of the carping by the Shearer camp after ascension of Shearer, I never saw the Cunliffe faction indulge in the childish sniping, leaking, and outright backbiting (think the mythical ‘coup’ in 2012) that happened for much of this last term. They just carried on with the processes of the party as it went through the constitutional review, went through the primaries after Shearer resigned, and went into the election with a barely shaken down team that still had the leaks and backbiting against them pretty much most of the way up to the last 3 months. Then whatever progress was made was washed away by the dirty politics

                    For some strange reason I think that the annoying arsehole MPs who did that effective bit of sabotage aren’t going to take another loss lightly. However I can’t see any good reason to reward them for their obdurate stupidity. I abhor short-term thinkers like these maniacs who are willing to destroy a political party for their own selfish careers.

                    Basically there is something that is very wrong in the caucus. I’m starting to get the view that we may just need to deselect most of them in 2016/7 from their safe electorate seats and start building the party again. Perhaps that would make them start treating their members with a bit more respect.

                    Or I could just withdraw and start treating the Labour caucus as hostile to the left and clearly not listening to their members.

                    But I suspect that simply tearing the control of the party away from these silly short-term fools is going to be a more efficient use of my time. NZ Council anyone?

                    • FredFrog

                      My figures are correct.

                      I did source my figures for union membership – note “According to the 2010 union membership return”. You would be well aware, of course, that under Section 16 of the Employment Relations Act 2000, unions are required to file an annual membership return. This can be found at http://www.societies.govt.nz/cms/registered-unions/annual-return-membership-reports/older-reports/union-membership-2010.pdf/at_download/file

                      The figure for LP membership in 2010 can be found on page 7 of this document: http://unpopularpeoplesfront.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/labour-part-4.pdf

                      This appears to be a submission by the LP to the electoral commission prior to the 2011 election requesting broadcasting allocation.

                      What I find interesting is that Appendix A of the above document (found here: http://unpopularpeoplesfront.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/labour-part-3.pdf) lists the total financial membership of the LP as 56,741, and goes on to define membership (but does not clarify for the purposes of the document whether there is a difference between “financial membership” and “membership”) as being members of the branches and members of affiliates.

                      So accepting that the membership figures submitted by the unions are accurate, and assuming you are correct in saying the figures for membership includes both branch and affiliated union membership the difference as noted is 36,068 in favour of the unions. I can’t say how many affiliated union members are not permitted to be party members, but this does seem to indicate that if it wasn’t for the unions, the LP would have very few paid-up members indeed.

                      The figures recently quoted for the membership votes during the last leadership selection totals 5,392. Assuming that this didn’t change much between 2010 and 2013, this figure can be added to the difference noted above to give a figure of approximately 41,000 union members who can not be affiliated to the LP for one reason or another. I find this hard to believe.

                      Now, on to the rest of your analysis (Prior declaration – I am centre right swing, so won’t necessarily side with you, but I do want a strong, united opposition to keep my guys on the straight and narrow so that listen to the centre and therefore win the next election) – Cunliffe wants to move the party away from the centre. The last many elections have shown that elections are won and lost in the centre. As the last election demonstrated quite clearly, moving to the left cannibalised some of the green vote, but shed more than was gained to National and NZ First. Under MMP the key to success is capturing the swing voter. Your candidate might be popular in the electorate, but if you don’t have the swing voter, the vote that counts, the party vote, is lost.

                      I do agree with you re. deselecting most of the caucus – the LP needs to refresh and renew much as the Nats did post 2002. Useless deadwood like Moroney, King, Cosgrove, Mallard et al all need to go.

                      As well as that, there are very few credible leaders in caucus. Cunliffe is an egotist and narcissist, somewhat like Kim Beazley in the ALP, and like Beazley, the left will never come close to winning an election while he is in charge. Robertson with Adern as a deputy – No way, beltway tragics with zero to none real-world experience. Swing voters will never accept someone who prances around on stage calling everyone “Comrade” – the Soviet Union collapsed years ago. Little – even if he hadn’t ruled himself out, very doubtful. Current union membership in the workforce (16.7%) shows that the unions have very little relevance in this day and age, ditto ex-union bosses, who the centre swing voters see as self-serving and do not trust. But he is also an angry little man who would not capture swing voters merely due to his grumpy attitude. Davis – maybe, showed a lot of get up and go in this election, despite an almost complete lack of support from central. Seems to be principled, isn’t tainted by the last six years of fighting and backstabbing. However, he’s inexperienced – in six years time once he’s had a bit more experience, if I’m still seeing from him what I saw in the last three months, I could be tempted to swing to red.

                      The reality is that perception matters. Ideals can come later.

        • lurgee

          Yes, of course. John Key REALLY comes across as stupid, doesn’t he? That’s the secret of his appeal!

          • Foreiegn Waka

            No, his secret is to buy the media. Nothing new about the Hollywood charm. And aiming low at the entertainment value that deflects that 10% will have 60% of all wealth that is currently at 50% does appeal – to the 10%. Greed just needs a ruthless mind, it has nothing to do with intelligence. The Roman Civilization run aground on that principle. Ooops, History – I am sorry, too much of humanities in my education.

          • Hanswurst

            He does, actually, although I think it’s partly deliberate.

            • Colonial Viper

              John Key is very intelligent and a smart operator. He fakes a certain hokeyness and anti-intellectualism as part of his appeal. Which also allows him to act in basically the same way when he simply doesn’t give a fuck and can’t be bothered making an effort.

              • Hanswurst

                Oh, I think the hokeyness and anti-intellectualism are real. I just don’t think they are evidence that he’s stupid. Not all smart people are intellectuals.

          • Shrubbery

            Yes, acting the class idiot role is a part of his appeal to the public.

        • alwyn

          You have some evidence for this do you?
          Or is it one of those urban myths for which there is no evidence whatsoever?
          Actually the smartest man I have ever met claimed he had an IQ of 125.
          His name was Richard Phillips Feynman. I assure you he was much, much smarter than Cunliffe.

          • Colonial Viper

            When/where the hell did you get to meet Feynman.

            • alwyn

              He came to New Zealand in 1979 and gave four lectures in Auckland. They were something called the James Robb lectures if my memory is correct.. They formed the basis of one of his books.
              I met him for a very short time along with a bunch of other people. I certainly didn’t have any discussion with him. It was roughly a case of saying how much I enjoyed his presentation. He’s too good a name not to be able to drop it though isn’t he?

            • lprent

              He was over here when I was a student. But I was poor and in the wrong city.

          • Murray Olsen

            Feynman’s score on an IQ test he took at school was 125. No one seems to know what test it was, but it’s theorised that 125 was the ceiling.

        • anker

          10000+ Foreign Waka

        • Puddleglum

          Hi Foreign waka,

          I don’t think it’s an anti-IQ/intelligence attitude but I’d agree that there is very clearly a strong anti-intellectual current in New Zealand.

          It’s partly because of an over-riding belief in ‘being practical’ – which is a notion that is undefined and not reflected upon, largely because doing that would be to be too ‘intellectual’.

          Also, being intellectual is very often equated with being elitist – ironically, it’s the one kind of tall poppy chopping that people who berate tall poppy choppers often indulge in and encourage.

          Such people tend not to mind intelligent natural and physical scientists who stick to narrow ‘thinking’ about physical phenomena and technology (even Joyce likes them) but many New Zealanders don’t like people who reflect on social conditions because I think they, quite correctly, realise that that is likely to challenge their basic ideas about what the social world is like and what individuals are like.

          People don’t like their ‘folk theories’ – which have served them relatively well or are at least are very familiar – being put under threat. It exposes them to reasonably fundamental uncertainty which most people are quite intolerant to and believe only gets in the way of practical action.

          Relatedly, I think many people see intellectual activity as completely unproductive activity unless it’s some bits of psychology that can be used for marketing, business, etc..

          In other – larger – countries it is routine to refer to ‘public intellectuals’ but it’s hard to think of anyone in New Zealand who fits that category in the way people do elsewhere and no-one who regular gets referred to in that way.

          In fact, I suspect that this analysis would itself upset quite a few people – or elicit dismissive responses – pretty much for the reasons I’ve stated.

          I remember back in the 1990s Bob Jones writing in one of his newspaper columns that sociologists/ social scientists were a complete waste of space but there was some use to be had from behavioural scientists (basically psychologists and some economists).

          • Foreiegn Waka

            Hi Puddleglum
            Yes, it is the tall poppy syndrome but it the academics themselves that instigate this on occasions. The idea should be that knowledge paired with practicality = productivity. But as it so often is the case the productivity part can be quite frightening because of the need for interjectional rigor. Academically, with the “competitive model” of research funding introduced into Universities Academics have become narrow minded, the exact opposite of what they are suppose to be. Practicality, or in kiwi terms No 8 wire can take you far if you live in the outback with hardly any human around and technology is the waterpower in the backyard. However, not many people live this way and economics has to work for all. So in effect 2 world are colliding. That need to be so. Imagine if ideas come together with experts to “make it work”.
            And yes, Bob Jones said this but he also surmises in a statement st the start of the year that “without humanities science would destroy us”.

            • Puddleglum

              Thanks Foreign waka – good points.

              Jones has always liked the humanities – just not the social sciences/ sociology.

              I remember him saying way back when that he preferred philosophy graduates to commerce graduates when he was hiring – because they could think. So perhaps I was being unfair to him overall.

              • Colonial Viper

                Too many of our academics and public intellectuals get distracted by their regular comfortable monthly pays, and don’t appear to give a stuff about the suffering being endured by the bottom 50% of our nation; what was that thing about acting as the critic and conscience of society? Apart from a relatively small subset, most don’t. And many treat the unwashed masses (and I don’t just mean first years) with obvious disdain.

                • ‘Critic and conscience’ now seems to be partly replaced by becoming the ‘go to’ academic commentator on particular topics.

                  It’s not necessarily the same function and there are different requirements, incentives and rewards for each.

          • Mark

            What Puddlegum is saying is basically:

            Because the vast swathe of the population didn’t study the humanities or don’t subscribe to my left wing social views, they are basically uneducated, anti-intellectual buffoons.

            Or to phrase it the way a five year old would: “You don’t agree with me, so you are stooooopid”.

            It’s this sort of arrogant, ‘we know your best interests, better than you’ attitude delivered from a group of ivory tower (psuedo) intellectuals, that costs Labour dearly.

            • Mark

              Of course you have your finger on the pulse. You sound like Whalespew. Fuck off back to the hole you crawled out of.

      • waikatosinger 2.1.5

        You need two things from a leader.
        1. The ability to lead the team in parliament.
        2. The ability to appeal to the wider electorate.

        Cunliffe wasn’t good at either. He didn’t get on with his caucus colleagues and the public just didn’t like him. This was all obvious from the day he was chosen. This time how about a bit less ideological discussion and more focus on the qualities actually needed to do the leaders job well.

        Jacinda has appeal to the wider electorate. I don’t know why – there isn’t much logic in who has such appeal and who doesn’t. It really doesn’t matter why. She clearly has such appeal and that is something that shouldn’t be ignored because it is vital quality in a leader.

        Robertson has the support of his caucus colleagues. Ignore this at your peril. It is an absolutely vital part of what you need a leader to do. I understand that some people don’t like many members of the caucus. You address that in the candidate selection process. You don’t deal with it by foisting a leader on the caucus that they don’t want to follow.

        • Francis G

          I sincerely doubt that anyone could survive a 12-month character assassination and have any more “electorate appeal” as David Cunliffe does, particularly not anyone currently in the Labour caucus.

          As for the caucus, they need to get over themselves. It’s the hard work of the membership and the affiliates that get them into parliament, and it’s time they listened to their wishes rather than ignoring them (as they have since 1984, which is how long many of them have been in parliament). If they can’t do that, maybe they should split and form their own party. Let the electorate decide which Labour values they agree with.

          • waikatosinger

            All the hard work of members and affiliates doesn’t mean diddly unless the electorate votes them in. The people you are complaining about are mostly the ones who win electorates. And they do it by listening to what the electorate wants first.

            • Rodel

              Dontcha just love the right wingers pretending to offer advice to the left.
              They are such blatantly laughable attempts at manipulation and dare I say coming from such low intellectual platforms.

            • blue leopard

              I voted Labour for my electorate vote because they were the most likely to challenge the National candidate, not because they ‘listened’ to me. At best I voted for them because I approve of Labour party policies, not their personal views. They didn’t come knocking on my door, so I wouldn’t actually know what their personal views were.

              Some things that my candidate vote didn’t endorse:

              leaking to the media behind the scenes
              acting disloyally toward the current leader
              speaking to the media when they had been asked not to
              forgoing Labour Party popularity and interests in favour of their own personal advantage
              spending their time squabbling over power
              or acting unprofessionally in any of the other ways that have recently been displayed.

              If the candidate who I voted for, took it that I personally endorsed these behaviours, or their own private opinions or a carte blanche for any behaviour – they would be sorely mistaken.

              I am very cross over the way some members of caucus have been conducting themselves all year and it makes me very cross that an electorate vote, with the current state of electorate options, would be read as anything other than that I support the left over the right. That, in short, is the only message a candidate can be certain when ‘reading’ their electorate popularity.

              Kudos to those Labour MPs who are acting with professionalism.

        • lprent

          You appear to have missed one, probably the most crucial.

          3. The ability to appeal to party members (and get them active)

          Having been in a few campaigns. Voters are fickle about who they like because it depends on the spin pushed via the media. The media are seldom interested in Labour because they don’t have money to spend on advertising and threaten the ability to extract unearned profits.

          Labours best base campaign is always to have Labour members and supporters saying nice things about their party and doing things for the party. Admittedly the inflated egos of caucus (think Shane Jones for instance) frequently get in the way of this, but if your party members aren’t supporting you, then a Labour leader can do bugger all with the public.

          The trick is to get both the party members and the caucus working for the same thing. That hasn’t happened in a while.

  3. ianmac 3

    I don’t think the “failure” is David’s and rather hope he carries on as a successful future PM.

    • blue leopard 3.1

      +1 I just want Labour to sort their discipline problem out 🙁

      • waikatosinger 3.1.1

        That is a symptom, not the cause of Labour’s problems in my opinion.

        • blue leopard

          I am open to that.

          It could also be that the lack of discipline is becoming a self perpetuating thing – i.e the symptom is fueling the conflict.

          The more they leak and act with unprofessionalism, the less likely they are to win. When they don’t win, the pressure goes on and they start squabbling over which type of policies/marketing/approach/leader they need.

          Had they won, then perhaps some of the conflict would have settled down, and there might have been some pulling together? …er…maybe?

      • FredFrog 3.1.2

        Won’t happen if caucus hates the leader

    • BM 3.2

      If David can’t get his colleagues to back him, he’s wasting his time, that’s the crux of the issue

      Purging every dissenting voice isn’t going to fix anything either.

    • Colonial Viper 3.3

      45,000 more party votes and Cunliffe would have equaled the 2011 result. Those 45,000 votes were easily lost due to Labour MPs campaigning to save their own seats, and not for the party vote.

      • Ant 3.3.1

        That twit Gibson could have lost thousands of votes for Labour just on his own.

        • swordfish

          I haven’t had a systematic look yet, but – based on the relatively crude technique of a quick glance at who won the booths – there does appear to have been a significant swing away from Labour in Timaru (the major centre, of course, in Gibson’s Rangitata).

          2011 Labour won 9 booths in Timaru and Lab+Green beat National in another 4.

          2014 Labour wins just 1 solitary booth in Timaru and Lab+Green top the Nats in just another 3.

          Gibson does appear to be a little put out that he hasn’t yet been made leader.

          • Clemgeopin

            That is another important aspect to keep in mind. Selection of good candidates of value in both the electorates and the list. That process should start now for 2017.

            • Colonial Viper

              Good candidates aren’t bending over backwards to risk their local reputations and incomes in order to be identified with the shit fight that is NZ Labour.

      • lurgee 3.3.2

        Equally, it might have been voters – who are not entirely stupid, in spite of Foreign Waka’s contempt for them – supporting an electorate M.P. they liked and then disposing of their party vote elsewhere, as they didn’t particularly like Labour.

        • Foreign waka

          Please don’t use me in an attempt to imply that I have contempt for voters to support your argument. It is not just wrong, it really shows what I was really implying all along. You just gave it some credence.

          • Puddleglum

            Or, even more simply, it may have been Green and NZFirst voters plumping for the Labour candidate in an effort to deny a potential National electorate victory – Napier would be one.

            In that electorate, The Green Party vote was 2,696 but the GP candidate only received 1,081 votes. And it’s open to speculation where the 2,482 NZ First votes went in the candidate vote since there was no NZ First candidate. Nash may have picked up them too.

      • JeffRo 3.3.3

        So equalling a slightly less rubbish result, would have been a success?

      • Except Labour shouldn’t have been aiming to equal 2011 but massively improving from it.

  4. feijoa 4

    Well, if Labour believe it’s all David’s fault, then they are doomed.
    There are much bigger issues. Labour have failed to be an effective opposition long before David became leader.
    National Have complete control of the narrative.

    • AmaKiwi 4.1

      I blame Shearer and those who put him in power far more than I fault Cunliffe. It’s not just that Shearer was totally inexperienced and a poor leader. Worse was that Shearer was installed by a handful in caucus against the preference of the membership. He lacked legitimacy from Day #1.

      Then he relegated one of the party’s best minds and most able leaders to the back benches! Hipkins called him and liar and would have been sued for it except DC knew the damage that would do. Then there’s Grant “Brutus” Roberston. If I ever shake hands with him again I’ll count my fingers afterwards to make sure they’re still all there.

    • Jones 4.2

      “National have complete control of the narrative”

      Yes… because they are telling people what they want to hear.

  5. Bill 5

    Just this – if David Cunliffe comes through all of this as the leader of the Labour Party, he’d better forge his personality some fcking steel.

    Sure he made, I believe a genuine, commitment to break with neo-liberalism.

    But then he accommodated the neo-liberals within Labour – kept them close instead of banishing them to the backbenches – allowed some of their policies and rationales to come to the fore, and gave us the fairly pathetic spectacle of an unconvinced shrinking violet in the face of bullshit criticism of his supposed arrogance. Arrogance forges steel. Steel wielded with intelligence is good…better than floppy tin foil at any rate.

    If he ain’t leader, or remains as the leader with no steel, then I’ll be viewing the Labour Party as nothing much beyond an endo cannibalistic zombie that’s all frustrated and confused because it chewed off its own hands and arms before giving any thought as to how it was going to bring those 90 year old feet within reach of its mouth.

    • Jones 5.1

      In some ways this is the best result for Labour as will finally force them to face the rot within. The neo-liberal element must be exorcised… let them join the Conservatives. Only then will Labour begin to have a chance of reconnecting with their roots. Actions speak louder than words. What is there to lose now?

      I wonder if DC became aware of the power that the ABCers still have within the party and, perhaps more importantly, the beltway, such as their relationships with the media, so DC had to accommodate them if he was going to have a chance. Without them onside it would’ve been a thousand backstabs. As it looks, it was a thousand backstabs anyway… perhaps the ABCers found the risk of DC using them to gain power, only to be betrayed when DC lurched left as PM, too great…? Because I think he was genuine about that break too.

      It would be karma had it happened… in the same way a large number of Labour party members felt betrayed when Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble were unleashed onto NZ in the 80’s. It was a coup. Many diehard supporters never recovered from that – my grandfather, whose father was a Labour MP, was one. The ABCers are the tail end of that betrayal.

  6. simon 6

    @bm. What exactly is the pm factor? Do you realise that this is not the US and the PM has zero extra powers. He/she fronts the govt and shakes a lot of hands. Within the context of the westminster parliamentary system the PM has no more power than ANY other mp.

    • alwyn 6.1

      “the PM has no more power than ANY other mp”.

      Really? In that case please give an honest answer to this question. You have a policy that you wish the Government to adopt. Would you rather have
      (1) Parmjeet Parmar and Nuk Korako in favour of it and John Key implacably opposed.
      (2) John Key approving of it and the other two opposed?

      An honest answer please. And yes those two people I named are really going to be MPs for the next three years. That’s in case you, like me, had never heard of them before.

  7. Ennui 7

    I agree with everybody who has expressed thanks to Cunliffe for what was actually a very good showing on his behalf, more than Robertson or Adern would have the capacity now or ever of delivering.

    Now we have a pretty problem, a house divided: a majority of Caucus thinks they are above the wishes of the membership of the Labour Party. We also have a membership who don’t want the majority of Caucus and wont want to help elect them.

    The only answer is divorce: either the membership desert in droves as they did in the late 80s OR the caucus is ruthlessly weeded out by the party.

  8. ianmac 8

    National selects its leader the old fashioned way. Secret vote by Caucus.
    Seems to suit their secretive way of managing everything and instead of the MSM applauding Labour’s democratic process they dig and poke and mine for everything they can to ridicule the real or imagined outcome.

  9. Ron 9

    If he decides to stand down I think he should resign his seat. He will never get a fair go from the right wing of Labour. Only trouble is that if a new election was held in New Lynn I doubt Labour would win. If that happens would Labour get an extra seat of the list? Our is that only at election time that proportionality kicks in.

    • aspasia 9.1

      Well Ron I think you will find that is not the view of New Lynn Labour. And since we elected him as MP perhaps you could leave the matter to us!

      • Ron 9.1.1

        Its a bit immaterial now since DC is contesting but you did not answer my question which was wondering If DC was not standing in New Lyn what sort of support would another Labour MP get. Looking at the Party vote for that electorate which from memory had National in lead

        [lprent: Ok I am detecting a troll meme here. There were exactly 5 electorates that had Labour party majorities. They were Dunedin North with 24 ahead before the specials and 4 south Auckland electorates. No electorate candidate standing for this leadership did well in the party vote.

        What relevance it has this this discussion is miniscule. So you don’t get to participate any further in this debate here. 16 weeks should achieve that. And a mandatory 16 week ban for every fool who I find raising this astroturf in this and subsequent moderation sweeps.

        Astroturfing is something that I really dislike and a primary tool to use to mark trolls. I suggest that you learn to use your brains and give your own thoughts rather than some lines someone has given you.

        Banned 16 weeks. Adjusted to 1 week after an explanation.. ]

    • alwyn 9.2

      If he resigns his seat there will be a by-election. If another party win that they will have one more seat and Labour will have one less.
      Sounds about right.

  10. Andrew Welsh 10

    [r0b: Unless you have a source for that quote(?) that you’re trying to alert us to I’m going to assume its an original comment, hence deleted for homophobia.]

  11. SPC 11

    There is this term failure of nerve.

    In 2000 after winning office the Labour government came under a concerted media attack centred on its labour market policies, it was an attempt to both obstruct Labour from implementing its manifesto and prevent any new measures that had no mandate (inconsistent except in a neo-liberal aspiration to retain control of government).

    There is also what is called blog bullying, whereby a majority on blog see off rival thought, it can become quite nasty. It speaks to dismissing the weak minority and asserting “popular” authority.

    Labour represents a number of less than powerful groups and tries to protect them from neo-liberalism, and when it fails it is also under threat of being seen as less than powerful and thus attracts those who would bully it – witness the MSM of late – as to giving up its resistance to neo-liberalism and giving up its advocacy for the weak in society – so that the so called mainstream of the centre has no burden to bear recognising the needs of those less fortunate than themselves.

    Neo-liberalism requires bullying of the weak, and those who serve it will turn on those who represent them, especially after an election defeat – so as to end all resistance to popular authority.

    The Labour caucus has aspirations to be in government, whereas the Greens just want to represent their cause. Thus Labour Party thus is vulnerable to failure of nerve in such a society.

    And thus of being the victim of a narrative written by others about it, unless it trusts in its cause and remains united in service to it.

    The difference between 2000 and 2014, then Labour in government was better placed to see off the threat. Today it is not.

  12. pollywog 12

    DC should quit Labour. Start his own party and force a by election for a fresh mandate and funding. Then get his supporting labour mp’s to defect.

    Anything Winston can do, Cunliffe can do better!

  13. Treetop 13

    Robertson will not be happy until Cunliffe is gone and then what?

    Robertson’s rivalry with Cunliffe is poison to the Labour party.

    • AmaKiwi 13.1

      You mean Grant Brutus Robertson, the guy who put himself up as Shearer’s deputy, so he could stand right behind him?

      • lurgee 13.1.1

        Good to see you all uniting behind the (probable) new leadership team and working towards victory in 2017!

        EDIT – Oh, so we’re getting a leadership contest. Great. Weeks of blood-letting and infighting. This won’t be like 2013, when it was all mates and pals.

    • Not a PS Staffer 13.2

      Robertson and Shearer must be asked to resign and vacate their seats.
      Robertson undermined Goff, played Shearer and undermined Cunliffe.
      Robertson is incapable of loyalty.
      Shearer is a fool.

      I look forward to a by-election in Wellington Central and in Mt Albert.

      • Treetop 13.2.1

        “Robertson undermined Goff, played Shearer and undermined Cunliffe.”

        That is three strikes. I’d allow Robertson to stay, providing he is there as a team player and not to play I want to be the leader.

        The primary is going to be interesting, will Robertson play the man or the ball?

  14. Ant 14

    Woo a primary!

    Louisa or Nanaia as deputy please Cunners

  15. higherstandard 15

    Wow a full on fight over a corpse, could the behaviour of the Labour party caucus get any worse ?

    • bearded git 15.1

      its called democracy polly, but as u seem to be a dirty politics fan u may not be familiar with the term.

    • such democratic processes are alien to the ‘we want a strong leader!’ right..

      ..eh lowering-standards..?

    • Puddleglum 15.3

      Alternatively, it could be cast as a fight between the superficiality of ‘impression management’ ‘(got to look united even if we aren’t’) over substance (‘we have to finally sort this out’).

      I have no idea what the MSM or the electorate prefer but I much prefer truth, substance and reality to appearance, ‘branding’ and ‘impression management’. The latter is just a clever system for nurturing dishonesty and deceptiveness.

      The best ‘image’ is reality – every time. At least in the long run.

  16. Hami Shearlie 16

    Isn’t it just? David Cunliffe has internal steel!! I’m very proud of him!!

  17. newsense 17

    Wow didn’t see that coming. Read too many pro-Robertson leaks. Hope to see the guns turned on National during this time. this is the chosen process, so let’s see it out.

  18. anker 18

    Ok everyone on the STandard. If you want to keep Cunliffe, join the party and vote him in.

    • Belladonna 18.1

      We all need to join up and get David back as Leader and hopefully the traitors will slither back into their holes and stay there.

    • Karen 18.2

      How long do you have to be a member to be able to vote? Does anyone know?

      • Francis G 18.2.1

        I’m fairly sure it’s immediate, so long as you sign up before the election period begins (which hasn’t occurred yet).

      • Clemgeopin 18.2.2

        In the last leadership contest, new people were given a few days to join up before the contest. So, it would be a good idea to join now if you wish to vote. Here is the link:

        • Hami Shearlie

          Just got a relative to join – if every one of us can get one new member it will give the membership a very large boost!

  19. Saarbo 19

    Excellent , DC will contest the leadership. The problem with Labour is the lack of discipline of many caucus members, these caucus members have no respect for Labour Party democracy so how can voters have faith in these people in government.

    The reason that the media seem anti cunliffe is because the media are paying back favours for inside knowledge, i.e, they are paying back for leaks. ABC’ers putting their own ambitions before the Labour Party. I would like to see an anti Cunliffe representative appear before the membership and front up with their concerns, because these gutless barstards hide behind their leaks to the media, Labour will only become strong when we get rid of them.

    Kia kaha David Cunliffe.

    • Chooky 19.2

      Fantastic…he is tough and not a quitter! Cunliffe lives to fight another day!

      …and good strategically to resign and put it to the rank and file membership vote

      ( imo i think he will win again……but what are they going to do with the ABCs?….imo , if Cunliffe wins the selection for leader again …there will have to be a resolution about the ABCs … and how the Labour Party works on certain issues like policy , professional branding and campaign strategy )

    • Not a PS Staffer 19.3

      Too true
      “….the media are paying back favours for inside knowledge, i.e, they are paying back for leaks. ABC’ers putting their own ambitions before the Labour Party..”

    • Olwyn 19.4

      Well said Saarbo. David Cunliffe has done a courageous and honourable thing in standing again. What I would now like to see is an honest contest, in which contenders spell out where they intend to lead the party, and for the winner to hold to the claims that got them there – no telling them what they want to hear while maintaining toxic little allegiances in the background. Cunliffe has created a situation in which whoever ends up leading the party, whether himself or someone else, now has the chance to earn it. I very much want to see that process properly respected.

    • Anne 19.5

      The reason that the media seem anti cunliffe is because the media are paying back favours for inside knowledge, i.e, they are paying back for leaks.

      Spot on Saarbo. It dawned on me last week-end what was going on. Back scratching!

      The rotten little traitors. Who will name them once and for all? Then we can take it to each one of them with the metaphorical meat-axe.

    • Hanswurst 19.6

      The reason that the media seem anti cunliffe is because the media are paying back favours for inside knowledge, i.e, they are paying back for leaks.

      Perhaps even more particularly, they know that, if unity and discipline return or the leakers are sidelined, the leaks that give them easy stories will stop.

    • waikatosinger 19.7

      The problem with Labour is the lack of discipline of many caucus members

      Not convinced. The real problem is that the electorate – particularly the crucial voters in the centre didn’t vote for Labour. I doubt the lack of discipline was the main cause of this.

  20. that’s good..

    ..cunnliffe is going to refresh his mandate..

    ..i see that as the best outcome..

    ..’cos when he gets that mandate..

    ..the abc’s had better just shut the fuck up..

    ..and it would be a good time for the likes of goff/king/mallard to go/retire..

    ..that’d be half the problem gone..

  21. weka 21


    As Bill says above, DC’s got the chance again, but this time he actually needs to do something with it that isn’t middle way.

    Stepping over a line here, but the membership also need to get their act together at this point and fast.

    Anyone got a timeline on the leadership election process? Will it be similar to last time?

  22. Tanz 22

    But NZ just rejected him. I will vote for either David Shearer or Colin Craig. Right wingers with style.

  23. And so all links with reality have snapped.

    Good thing Norman and Turei are on their games. We’re going to need them to serve as the Opposition while Cunliffe ties himself to the wheel of the Titanic.

    • JeffRo 23.1


      I just find it odd.

      I don’t know DC, or any MP for that matter I would guess he is a well decent bloke.

      But if the general voting mass just don’t like him, then no amount of thinking he is the “true” leader is going to change the election result.

      It’s called “cutting your losses and moving on”.

      PS- How is Gisborne today?

      • Puddleglum 23.1.1

        As an ‘outsider’ I’d say that I think you’re missing the point.

        This battle within Labour is not actually about Cunliffe – I thought that was obvious.

        He just happens to be the only senior member of caucus who is seen by many in the membership as a means of confronting (and perhaps ultimately removing) right wing and careerist MPs.

        That’s how it seems, anyway.

        • Saarbo


          Yes, that’s it. If the ABC’s managed to take over the leadership of the labour Party then the Party would become irrelevant to me. I am a member of the labour Party because of its values and as Shearer and Nash made clear in their undisciplined post-election rants; “the Labour Party needs to move right”.

    • Foreign waka 23.2

      A+ It would be better for him to regroup and think about 2 options a/ stay with the labor party as finance minister or b/ start up a new party without the ABC’s.

  24. Ffloyd 24

    Who was that female with the whiny voice with the same question over and over along the lines of “why don’t you just leave, because nobody likes you’. Sounded like that t O’Brien but couldn’t be sure. Put front and centre to parrot the national party lines. Why do they ask such dumb questions? How long is it likely to take to elect a leader?

    • Francis G 24.1

      The election process takes 3 weeks after it’s initiated, though it sounds like they’re not going to start it for another few weeks.

      • Ffloyd 24.1.1

        I hope it gets settled before Christmas. Could spoil key’s Hawaiian holiday when he finds out he’s up against DC again.

    • Chooky 24.2

      @Ffloyd..@24…sounded like the same undignified woman in a glitzy party dress who kept haranguing Laila Harre on Election night……shrilly repeating the same nasty ‘rub- it- in’ obvious things over and over ( cant remember what they were…but I think ….”Are you going to resign!.. How do you feel about it?”….Harre dignified said she was heading to make a statement…but the bloody hyena would not let up …….she was vicious and feral and was just about in Harre’s face ….leaping all over Harre to give her a good biting for daring to exist and be defeated!…Harre was almost in tears…luckily she had a minder who shouldered the wretched woman off to the side

      ..talk about persecuting someone when they are down……..not New Zealand behaviour!…..a most unprofessional ‘journalist’!…

      ….a Nact bi..ch!

      • Really?

        “Laila, is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?” was probably the best line of the entire night.

        • Chooky

          stupid bloody question to repeat over and over….it is meaningless…and therefore can not have a meaningful answer

          ….that ‘journalist’…if you can call her that, is an idiot…and a hyena to boot…she is beneath contempt ( and I dont think she is a New Zealander)

  25. bornleft 25

    Going into the election I thought Cunliffe deserved another chance, and that there was a possibility of rebuilding towards 2017. But his attitude from his non-concession speech onwards has been deeply disturbing, one that is both self-destructive and destructive for the Party itself. It suggests an inability to understand, adapt and adjust – traits which are essential for political leadership.

    The last thing Labour needs is another leadership campaign. If Cunliffe ‘wins’, the future of the Labour Party is itself at risk. No one candidate for leadership is worth that risk. Particularly a candidate who in the final analysis has showed himself to be deeply flawed.

    • quartz 25.1

      I find it odd that someone with the handle “bornleft” would only appear on the pre-eminent left wing blog in New Zealand on the day the leadership is announced and then start concern trolling David Cunliffe.

  26. Grantoc 26

    Cunliffe’s announcement that he’ll throw his hat into the ring sounds like the opening shot in an upcoming civil war within Labour between caucus and the rest of the party.

    Caucus clearly do not like him, do not respect him and will not obey him. This was manifest last week when Hipkins was elected senior whip.

    How is it going to work if Cunliffe gets elected leader through support from the membership and the unions, but is roundly rejected by caucus? The answer is that is not going to work.

    This is another disaster for the Labour Party and threatens its existence as a viable entity.

    • karol 26.1

      Some in the caucus will need to resign, if they don’t have the membership behind them.

      • weka 26.1.1

        Why? I think they’ve shown they’re quite capable of staying no matter what.

        The real question is whether the membership are going to organise. Last chance folks.

        • Mark

          This is going to be the best entertainment for many a year. I am not very religious but if Cunliffe was to turn his guns on the 1984/ABC faction he may just be “Reborn ” politically. It is make or break time. Beer- food- computer- I’m ready. Let battle commence.

    • alwyn 26.2

      “How is it going to work if Cunliffe gets elected leader through support from the membership and the unions, but is roundly rejected by caucus? ”

      I suspect that one thing that would happen is that Cunliffe would ask to sit on the National side of the house rather than where he is at the moment. He would be much safer if he is sitting somewhere where he could keep an eye on all the Labour MPs than he would be with them behind him ready to strike.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 26.2.1

        Are you so lost in hubris that you honestly think your right wing brain can offer anything of value in this discussion?

        We need better wingnuts. Ones whose opinions aren’t utterly worthless.

        • weka


          Quite a revealing comment from alwyn about what kind of person she is but that doesn’t make it any less worthless.

          • alwyn

            Why on earth do you say ” person she is “?
            I am, like my name, male. I have never met anyone called Alwyn who is female but for some reason people on this site seem to think it is a female name.
            Where does that confusion come from?
            More to the point how do you see Cunliffe surviving when almost the whole of his Caucus appears to oppose him? It is impossible.

            • lprent

              The question could also be is how can the caucus survive having the rest of the party largely disagreeing and opposing them. It really is something that they are going to have to learn to cope with.

              This is a question that has been festering inside Labour for decades and which we have already had several party splits over. New Labour, most of Act, and most of what became United. Unfortunately the egos of caucus don’t appear to realise that as a group they aren’t exactly the most liked part of the Labour party by the rest of the Labour party.

              The party members do their work mostly without pay on a volunteer basis. They do most of the grunt work that is required to keep the party campaigns running and the only real hope of Labour breaking around the news media to the public. They have nets out into the community. They’re quite well aware that the factional fighting and outright stupidities inside caucus is the primary reason that we can’t get ahead with the public. They hate having their hard work wasted by egotistical fools who don’t value their work.

              I suspect that it will be a central question of this primary regardless if the caucus wants that question to be raised or not.

              • Mark

                You are very kind Lynn to people that don’t deserve it.

              • alwyn

                You are in a much better position than I to know how the party members feel. I know some Labour Party members but I am obviously not privy to the inner workings.

                Believe it or not I want to see a recovered, un-split, Labour Party. Governments get old, tired and arrogant and there has to be a competent opposition in a position to take over. In my view that can only be the Labour Party. I regard the Green Party policies as insane and fear that they would destroy the New Zealand economy. From her actions I have the impression that Helen Clark probably felt the same way.

                National should be capable of lasting out this term. However, just as National in 1984 and 1999 and Labour in 1990 and 2008 had to be replaced there is at least a 50% chance that National should be replaced in 2017. Unless Labour are in a position to do so without owing to much to the Green Party I fear that a tired National organisation will be my only choice. A weak Labour Party will not provide a safe alternative.

                The problem for Labour, even if the party members can take control of the organisation is that all the members they might want to get rid off, and I suppose that includes Mallard, Cosgrove, Goff, Shearer etc can’t be forced out before 2017, and any replacements at that date will be inexperienced and not really capable of filling senior positions. The whole thing needed to have been sorted out in the first term in opposition, not in the third.

                • lprent

                  The whole thing needed to have been sorted out in the first term in opposition, not in the third.

                  It all takes time. It was the bloody silly antics of the 2009-2012 that caused the constitutional changes and eventual demise of caucus as a sovereign body.

                  I personally suspect that no MPs need to go. They just have to learn to accept that the party members have flesh in this game as well and that their bloody silly little and largely pointless games in Wellington will cost us because they waste members labour.

                  Labour put up a very centrist policy platform in 2014. Members went and worked strongly for it almost regardless of their personal beliefs.

                  That wasn’t noticeable in parliament. It was taking far too long to get decisions at a late date in the campaign. There may have been leadership dithering, but it also felt like there was a lot of deliberate positioning for failure in caucus. That personal greed posturing is unacceptable and essentially needs to be beaten out of the fools. You are there to serve the party. Not the other way around.

                  If MPs do a Shane Jones, then that is all well and good. Good riddance. But in 2017 they will be enthusiastically supporting whatever team comes out of this primary, or they will be facing challenges in their seats.

                  Mind you seat challenges are something that should happen anyway. They aren’t feudal fiefdoms.

                  This is exactly the same issue that National had in the early 00s. The difference is that the party organization is less well funded and somewhat more sceloric in Labour. It makes it take longer.

            • weka

              “More to the point how do you see Cunliffe surviving when almost the whole of his Caucus appears to oppose him?”

              Pay attention, there’s been plenty of discussion about this.

    • Hami Shearlie 26.3

      Personally I find a good few in the Caucus to be most unlikeable – extremely unprofessional too!

  27. Not a PS Staffer 27

    The best news since election night! This is a contoinuation of teh battle of teh Membership taking control of the party from a small faction.

    David Cunliffe did the correct thing. TO stand down and leave the party to the “Fish & Chips Club” of Robertson, Shearer, Nash and Cosgrove would have been wrong.
    (I don’t include Arders as she is being used by Robertson)

    That four will have to leave the party. Good riddance.

  28. Judge Holden 28

    Frankly, any talk of Cunliffe remaining on after the pasting Labour just suffered is nuts. For the good of social democracy he should go, but his ego won’t let him so he’s going to continue being a negative, corrosive and divisive influence on the labour movement. He was given his chance, after white-anting both Goff and Shearer, and he failed abysmally. He deserves no loyalty. Almost anyone would be an improvement.

    • Ant 28.1

      Yes Cunliffe is being divisive by letting the party decide. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

      Damn him and his democracy!

      • Judge Holden 28.1.1

        That’s simply tactical, because he knows the caucus have good reason to loathe him. He just guided the party to its worst performance in almost a century and with breathtaking hubris won’t see that that means his time’s up. Gotta destroy the village to save it, right?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Many many pundits from all sides have opined that the intervention of KDC in this election had a significant effect.

          Others add that the >i>New Zealand Herald’s Donghua Liu assault on democracy was influential too.

          Discount them entirely you say? Ignore the disloyalty in caucus you cry? A new leader is the solution! Yeah nah.

          Remind me how Grant Robertson is going to stand up to the New Zealand Crimald when he can’t hold his own against Steven Joyce.

          • Hami Shearlie

            Yup he was like a wet old bus ticket sitting beside Joyce – he got steamrollered!!

  29. Craig Y 29

    Sorry, guys. I’m voting for Grant this time- not because I dislike Cunliffe as a person, but because he led the Labour Party to its worst result in ninety years. I think trying to hold onto the leadership after that result is unwise and that his current attempt to contest the party leadership during the forthcoming primary is divisive. Do I think that Cunliffe was an excellent debater during the election? Yes. Do I think he should be a senior Shadow Cabinet minister? Absolutely. Do I think he is an asset to the party? Sure. However, sometimes, excellent portfolio holders don’t have transferable strategic skills beyond their immediate portfolio. Cunliffe lacked precision, detail and focus during his leadership.

    Are there other problems with the party? Organisational, communicational, strategic? Yes. Please, let’s not repeat the “Mad Mike” era of the early nineties, when Mike Moore refused to accept the transition of Labour leadership to Helen Clark and then spent the next three years trying to white-ant her leadership. Or, for that matter, the Rudd-Gillard ALP civil war that damaged their administrations. It makes no tactical and strategic sense.

    Does anyone here want a Holyoakian fourth term Key administration? Absolutely not. Cunliffe has had his turn as Leader of the Opposition and has been given his chance. Not for want of valour, fortitude and determination, he failed.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 29.2

      Watch the wingnuts queuing up to agree with you Craig. Labour doesn’t have a better option than Cunliffe. It would help far more if all his caucus were pulling their weight rather than looking for personal opportunities.

      • Craig Y 29.2.1

        Yes, OAB, I am afraid that it does. As I’ve said. however, I hope Cunliffe will occupy a high place within the shadow cabineteven if he loses the forthcoming leadership contest. IMHO, he deserves to. He is hardworking, conscientious and committed to the party’s philosophy and I respect him for that. Unfortunately, he is not the party’s best choice for leader. Sadly, that happens sometimes.

        • One Anonymous Bloke


          You can tell this because the election campaign was dominated by a battle between Kim Dotcom and John Key with a side-order of Hager-Greenwald.

          Labour were unable to cut through the noise. Your error bars are showing.

    • Karen 29.3

      Ah but he wasn’t really given the chance. Shearer had 2 years, Cunliffe a year. During that year he was undermined by those in the caucus who had opposed his selection, as well as enduring an unrelenting dirty politics campaign in the MSM.

      If he wins the vote the caucus as a whole need to accept it or resign.

      • Craig Y 29.3.1

        Yes, I acknowledge that there was indeed dirty spin emanating from the neoliberal spindoctors, but that was only part of the problem. Cunliffe lacked precision, attention to detail and focus until the time for the election debates came up and by then, it was too late. Believe me, I wish matters were otherwise. Merely because I am a Robertson supporter does not mean that I intend to denigrate David Cunliffe, whom I respect and admire. I wanted Cunliffe to win, I gave him a chance and I urged LGBT voters to support his leadership. However, things have turned out differently.


        • One Anonymous Bloke

          When Cunliffe wins, have a quiet word with the losers about teamwork.

        • Hanswurst

          Cunliffe lacked precision, attention to detail and focus until the time for the election debates came up and by then, it was too late. Believe me, I wish matters were otherwise. Merely because I am a Robertson supporter […]

          Yes, you really are engaged in wishful thinking if you can make that criticism of Cunliffe… and then conclude that Robertson would be better.

    • shona 29.4

      Grant will be an even bigger disaster as a leader. If you think Cunliffe is divisive and arrogant just watch Robertson .

      • Hami Shearlie 29.4.1

        Yes, Mr “Third in the Party Vote” has all the appeal of week old bread – bland is the kindest word!

    • Treetop 29.5

      It’s a bit like neighbours at war between Cunliffe and Robertson. Cunliffe is going to settle the rivalry between Robertson and himself by having another election for leader. It will then be up to caucus to get behind the elected leader, otherwise the voters will JUDGE them on this in 2017.

      Not only does Cunliffe have smarts, he has proven that he can get behind the leader.

      A question I have for the Labour caucus is, why have they had three leaders in three years?

      • Puddleglum 29.5.1

        That’s a very revealing question.

        Such ‘churn’ usually results from machinations, undermining, etc. by a faction that hasn’t achieved its goal but keeps trying to. I seem to recall that Shearer was given the ‘bad news’ by Goff (?) or some Robertson supporter.

        That is, Cunliffe’s faction didn’t (couldn’t?) depose him.

        Perhaps the worry over Shearer in mid-2013 was actually that he might do just well enough in a (losing) election not to make way or, even, that he might win the election.

        Pure guesswork of course.

        • Treetop

          Goff resigned, Shearer resigned, both need to explain why?

          A year ago there was a primary for leader, Cunliffe was elected under a new system, caucus appeared to be behind the leader, Labour election result has caused disquiet in the caucus and focus has been put on the leadership.

          I don’t have a problem with the Labour caucus licking their wounds due to the election result. When the caucus starts licking their wound over who they voted for to lead missing out, I do have a problem with this.

    • Policy Parrot 29.6

      The one thing that annoyed me more than anything was the perception, whether it was accurate or not, that there was an attempt to prevent a leadership primary.

      i.e. An attempt to short circuit the rights of members that were installed under the 2012 amendments to the Labour Party constitution.

      Now, and every time there is a potential change of leadership, there should be a contest. Contests build membership (and thus funding), allow for the open discussion of ideas, and show if candidates can foot it when it comes to the big league.

      I’m not particularly sure if DC will/should remain leader, that “man-pology” regardless of how it was spun, will be a permanent anchor on his public profile. Sometimes these things are unsalvagable.

      But equally, Grant also has perceived issues, these don’t need to be pointed out, but it really sucks having to basically choose between two candidates who are seen as damaged goods. Hopefully others put their hands up.
      Pity Steve Maharey couldn’t be lured back.

      Whatever happens, who ends up in the leadership, needs to get their policy and media shit together, get some opposition prep for gods sakes, and run things through a decent BS detector, et. al. Heather Simpson, before they get announced (that Cunliffe apology should never have made it out of the office, and get the leader to avoid off the cuff stuff).

  30. One Anonymous Bloke 30

    I can see why all the righties want Labour to ditch the leader that beat Key in the debates. Not quite sure why Labour would want to.

    • JeffRo 30.1

      Yep he did win in the debates.

      But people didn’t vote for him. Lost the party vote on his home patch.

      Will be the same again with DC.

      Right wing, won’t be worried about DCs chances against Key.

      And deep down you know that.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 30.1.1


        What was it Dear Leader said about arrogance? Whoever leads National into the next election won’t have Kim Dotcom helping out.

        • JeffRo

          Clinging to the thought that KDC was the reason National cleaned up, is a tad optimistic.

          If DC does get the job again, do you think he can get the support from caucus.

          And if he had the support, do you think, as the face of Labour again, he can win enough voter support.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Optimistic, or simply in agreement with mainstream analysis since well before election day, not to mention offered in good faith as opposed to the malice of a low-quality right wing brain.

          • Hanswurst

            If DC does get the job again, do you think he can get the support from caucus.

            I don’t know, but I do think the current caucus are the problem. I’m less concerned about Labour winning the next election than I am about the labour movement being represented. The largest and potentially most effective base for instigating that is the labour Party. Unfortunately, the current caucus doesn’t achieve that representation. Cunliffe is the best option within the present caucus to amend that.

            And if he had the support, do you think, as the face of Labour again, he can win enough voter support.


      • Judge Holden 30.1.2

        Yep. Cunliffe showed himself to be useless as leader. Now he’s showing himself to be destructive. The quicker he goes the better. He thinks he’s bigger than the party; it’s up to the party to show him he’s not.

        • shona

          Yeah right! he wasn’t supported by the right wingers. These f**kwits are destroying the party. Robertson will be a disaster and won’t last more than a year.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            I doubt he’ll get the chance.

          • Judge Holden

            The whole party swung in behind him and gave him his chance, with the exception of Mallard and Cosgrove, whom if Cunliffe had any leadership qualities he would have convinced to leave. The guy had a go and failed dismally. Why won’t he accept that?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              So behind him were some members of caucus that they didn’t even campaign for the Party vote.

              Go on, try and rewrite history some more, why don’t you?

        • Anne

          Oh dear, another concern tr–l?

        • lprent

          Hah? He has just prevented the kind caucus stitchup about the leadership vote that the party changes to the voting process in 2012 was meant to prevent. Now it goes to the full party.

          Oh I see. Did you mean the little group of MP’s and their remoras in Wellington? Not the actual party members….


          • Judge Holden

            Why don’t you stand Lynn, instead of deriding those with courage enough to actually throw their hat in the ring?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Yeah, Judge, because you never deride any politicians do you. No, wait, this just in: Reuters report that you’re a transparent hypocrite from the right wing echo chamber.

              • lprent

                Nope. Look at his comments search
                @author Judge Holden

                Interesting timing eh?

              • Judge Holden

                There’s a difference between criticising individual politicians and deriding the whole elected caucus for political reasons. The election result is Cunliffe’s to own. He doesn’t want to be held to account because he thinks his own career is more important than the interests of those he’s supposed to be serving.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  He just resigned and took responsibility, seeking a further mandate to lead.

                  The right wing chatter is equivalent to the hate speech directed at Helen Clark in 1996, it can be discounted. The election result was skewed by the intervention of outliers like KDC Hager & Greenwald. Without KDC at least (how much damage did the reporting of “Fuck John Key” do?) we’d be looking at a different result.

                  Cunliffe is right to want to keep going, caucus’ behaviour post-election demonstrates quite clearly that they are part of the problem. I don’t set much store by the assertions of Drunken Garner, but if there genuinely is an “ABC” that is a far bigger problem than the leader – a faction that believes they have the authority to override the party is poison under any circumstances.

                  Labour cannot thrive by copying the authoritarian contortions of the right.

                • lprent

                  Ok, so he resigned? This clears the way for him to get elected again.

                  What is your problem? You think that he may succeed?

                  Isn’t that a question for the party members, affiliates and caucus to decide jointly?

                  I’m sure that I remember that being put in the Labour constitution somewhere.

            • lprent

              I considered doing that 25 years ago when I was still doing managerial jobs post MBA.

              The short answer was that I had a choice between something that I wanted to do, and a sense of duty that would have been a whole lot more boring.

              I made the decision that I preferred to start programming. So I shifted to being a fulltime programmer. To assuage the nagging itch of duty to my fellow citizens that has previously pushed me into military service and other duties less enthralling than programming, I started helping Helen Clark in her campaigns.

              She was the best of the MPs around Auckland Central which had the obnoxious Richard Prebble at the time, and I grew up in Mt Albert. Fortunately she also was there long enough that I figured that I’d done my bit for MPs.

              Unfortunately that same nagging sense of duty has got me into helping start this site up, and left me running it after all of the other original participants are long gone. That was because there is an issue of democratic participation that needs to be fostered. Instruments like this site are a way to encourage it.

              I guess you just have to live with my sharp words… I feel it is my duty.


        • Mark

          Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Impossible to lead a shadow cabinet when you have all the right wing arseholes involved that he had to put up with leaking at every opportunity. And that useless prick Robertson is at the head of the backstabbers.

    • Grantoc 30.2


      What a fatuous delusional statement. Cunliffe beating Key in the debates is highly debatable for a start.

      Even if he did, it had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, and so, at the most generous, it was Pyrrhic victory of no consequence for Cunliffe.

      Actually the Nats would love for Cunliffe to be re-elected leader of the Labour Party – it practically guarantees them victory again in 2017.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 30.2.1

        Please, be as arrogant as you like.

        Just before the election, all the wingnuts were happily echoing one another’s lines, that Kim Dotcom had destroyed the Left’s chances of victory.

        I can see why you have all now changed your tune; as for your delusional belief that no-one will notice, I expect we can turn to Hodson & Busseri for clues.

      • Scott1 30.2.2

        I think he did marginally better in what I saw (although I missed the pause). But Key knew it didn’t matter. The debates just don’t swing election results that much unless one person really shoots themself in the head, and Key was smart enough not to do that.

        You know the one thing Nats love more than Cunliffe? Robertson….

        • Hanswurst

          I think the one thing Nats love more than Cunliffe is anyone but Cunliffe. That, and Anyone But Cunliffe.

      • lprent 30.2.3

        Actually the Nats would love for Cunliffe to be re-elected leader of the Labour Party – it practically guarantees them victory again in 2017.

        Ah the briarpatch strategy so beloved by children and their compatriots; the simple minded right wingers.

        • Grantoc

          I must be simple minded Iprent. I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

          I’m probably like the 75% of the voters out there who didn’t vote for Labour and who had no idea about what Labour was talking about during the election campaign. Heh but what the hell, Labour felt good attempting to demonstrate its intellectual superiority to rest us mere plebs.

          Keep on talking in smart arse riddles Iprent and keep on confusing the ‘people’ and you’ll keep on keeping Labour in opposition.

          A wee bit of advice, if you want to take the ‘people’ with you, communicate your messages to them clearly and directly and often. They may land. Its marketing 101.

          • joe90

            The Br’er Rabbit tales were above your reading level?.

          • lprent

            It looks like your education was deficient. From the Uncle Remus folk tales – children’s stories…. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug97/remus/toosharp.html
            The background on that page sucks. I’ll copy it as the the stories are well out of copywrite.


            “Uncle Remus, ” said the little boy one evening, when he had found the old man with little or nothing to do, “did the fox kill and eat the rabbit when he caught him with the Tar-Baby?”

            “Law, honey, ain’t I tell you ’bout dat?” replied the old darkey, chuckling slyly. “I ‘clar ter grashus I ought er tole you dat, but ole man Nod wuz ridin’ on my eyelids twel a leetle mo’n I’d a dis’member’d my own name, en den on to dat here come yo’ mammy hollerin’ atter you.

            “W’at I tell you w’en I fus’ begin? I tole you Brer Rabbit wuz a monstus soon beas’; leas’ways dat’s w’at I laid out fer ter tell you. Well, den, honey, don’t you go en make no udder kalkalashuns, kaze in dem days Brer Rabbit en his fambly wuz at de head er de gang w’en enny racket wuz en han’, en dar dey stayed. ‘Fo’ you begins fer ter wipe yo’ eyes ’bout Brer Rabbit, you wait en see wha’bouts Brer Rabbit gwineter fetch up at. But dat’s needer yer ner dar.

            “W’en Brer Fox fine Brer Rabbit mixt up wid de Tar-baby, he feel mighty good, en he roll on de groun’ en laff. Bimeby he up’n say, sezee:

            “‘Well, I speck I got you did time, Brer Rabbit,’ sezee; ‘maybe I ain’t but I speck I is. You been runnin’ ‘roun’ here sassin’ atter me a mighty long time, but I speck you done come ter de cen’ er de row. You bin currin’ up yo’ capers en bouncin’ ‘roun’ in dis naberhood ontwel you come ter b’leeve yo’se’f de boss er de whole gang. En der youer allers some’rs whar you got no bixness,’ ses Brer Fox, sezee. ‘Who ax you fer ter come en strike up a ‘quaintence wid dish yer Tar-Baby? En who stuck you up dar whar you iz? Nobody in de ‘roun’ worril. You des tuck en jam yo’se’f on dat Tar-Baby widout waintin’ fer enny invite,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘en dar you is, en dar you’ll stay twel I fixes up a bresh-pile and fires her up, kaze I’m gwinteter bobbycue you dis day, sho,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.

            “Den Brer Rabbit talk mighty ‘umble,

            “‘I don’t keer w’at you do wid me, Brer Fox,’ sezee, ‘so you don’t fling me in dat brier-patch. Roas’ me, Brer Fox,’ sezee, ‘but don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.

            “‘I ain’t got no string,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘en now I speck I’ll hatter drwon you,’ sezee.

            “‘Drown me des ez deep es you please, Brer Fox,” sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘but do don’t fling me in dat brier-patch, ‘ sezee.

            “‘Dey ain’t no water nigh,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘en now I speck I’ll hatter skin you,’ sezee.

            “‘Skin me, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘snatch out my eyeballs, t’ar out my yeras by de roots, en cut off my legs,’ sezee, ‘but do please, Brer Fox, don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.

            “Co’se Brer Fox wnater hurt Brer Rabbit bad ez he kin, so he cotch ‘im by de behime legs en slung ‘im right in de middle er de brierpatch. dar wuz a considerbul flutter whar Brer Rabbit struck de bushes, en Brer Fox sorter hang ‘roun’ fer ter see w’at wuz gwinter happen. Bimeby he hear somebody call im, en way up de hill he see Brer Rabbit settin’ crosslegged on a chinkapin log koamin’ de pitch outen his har wid a chip. Den Brer Fox know dat he bin swop off mighty bad. Brer Rabbit wuz bleedzed fer ter fling back some er his sass, en he holler out:

            “‘Bred en bawn in a brier-patch, Brer Fox–bred en bawn in a brier-patch!’ en wid dat he skip out des ez lively as a cricket in de embers.”

            Accompanying analysis page
            Directory of scanned stories
            Preceding story (Tar Baby)
            Next story (Miss Cow)
            Table of Contents

  31. cricklewood 31

    This is going to get interesting and probably go right to the heart of the future direction for the party. If Cunliffe wins the caucus must be purged otherwise the white anting will intensify, or they could vote 50 +1 no confidence immediately and start the process again.
    If he loses but has by far and away the most support outside of caucus the membership / volunteers will likely desert in their droves.
    It will be a war between factions and if the last week is anything to go by it will be played out through the media.

  32. srylands 32


    • AmaKiwi 32.1

      This leadership fight will be an opportunity for the contestants to outline their plans to revitalize the party for 2017. If this happens, it will be excellent for everyone. The rank and file need a vision of how Labour will get back into power.

      What happens if no one stands against Cunliffe? If I were Robertson, I would step back right now rather than risk two humiliating defeats in 2 years.

  33. Craig Y 33

    And if Cunliffe loses the forthcoming contest and has lost the support of the caucus, rank and file membership and affiliate unions, then he and his followers need to accept that result, endorse his successor and work for the end of the current neoliberal Key regime at the next general election. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the party, its core constituencies and the cause of social democracy in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

    This has nothing to do with Robertson’s sexual orientation*. I accepted the 2013 leadership result at the time and argued strongly within the LGBT media for our communities to back Cunliffe’s leadership during the last year. However, events have turned out other than one would have wished. If the party elects a new leader in late 2014/early 2015, then let us support him or her.

    *Interestingly enough, two of the three current and former lesbian/gay Prime Ministers to date- Iceland’s Johanna Sigurdasdottir and Belgium’s Elio di Ruppo- have been social democrats.

    • lprent 33.1

      I’m unconvinced that Robertson can win in the wider party campaign, not because of his sexual orientation although that will be a factor especially in south auckland, but because he is the classic beltway politician.

      I’m afraid that charm doesn’t count for much amongst party activists, they automatically discount it after having observed it for a while. Being able to understand the issues at ground level does and you have to talk to a wide range of members to get that. In particular at party events you need to talk outside of the group of your caucus colleagues and media.

  34. Clean_power 34

    Poor DC. What will make him see the light?
    He is only wrecking the Labour Party beyond repair. He should go away quietly.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 34.1

      Says a National Party follower.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 34.2

      So democracy is bad is it.

      WE all know how Key and English stitched up their caucus by combining as a ‘unity ticket’

      • Matthew Hooton 34.2.1

        And then what happened?

        • Puddleglum

          Wasn’t there some rumour at the time Cunliffe became leader that Robertson rejected an offer to be deputy? Kind of a ‘unity ticket’? (My memory may be wrong.)

          If he had accepted, then what would have happened (to paraphrase you, Matthew)?

    • lprent 34.3

      I don’t think so as I said earlier in the week. I still can’t see anyone better in caucus at dealing with the full ramifications of the job. He has been improving. But his only major flaw that I see at present is that he needs to delegate more of the decision making rather than dithering. What he announced today is what he should have done on Sunday or Monday.

      The mere fact that the caucus doesn’t like him is not that much of a consideration. It merely shows that they aren’t particularly professional. But what else do you expect from people put in their job by a committee in a safe seat.

    • Mark 34.4

      The Labour Party is fucked. Cunliffe was still at school when it happened. Mallard on the other hand was in attendance when it all went down. Yet he is still here. Says it all really for what the Labour Party has become.

  35. Blue 35

    I supported David Cunliffe for the leadership not because he is without flaws, but because he is the best of the current talent pool. That still stands.

    I also consider his choice of David Parker as deputy leader to be one of the best-judged decisions he has made, and I am sorry to see the discord in their relationship that has showed in public recently.

    They are still to my mind the best leadership combination available. It’s too bad that Labour’s caucus seem incapable of recognising that. Those two at the helm with the unanimous support of the caucus would be a force to be reckoned with.

    But it’s just a dream, and Labour’s caucus will not rest until they have driven David Cunliffe out of politics entirely. Meanwhile, we will end up with Robertson/Ardern or Shearer/Nash or some other utterly uninspiring combination.

    The right-wing will drive the party to be National-lite. One little problem – the public and the media will still prefer the real thing. And they’ll go for Key over Robertson or Shearer. Another defeat, more fighting, a fourth term for Key.

    This is just utterly hopeless.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1

      Those two at the helm with the unanimous support of the caucus would be a force to be reckoned with.

      Yep. Even the less cretinous wingnuts can see that the problem in the Labour caucus is divisiveness, not the leadership.

  36. Clemgeopin 36

    I am glad that Cunliffe has gone for a fresh mandate. Let the party choose who they want now. To me, the best line in his speech was “It is a great and proud party. It has the best interests of all New Zealanders at heart.’

    If Cunliffe wins, this time, unlike last time, he should send all the main selfish trouble makers, no matter how senior they are, to the back benches and marginalise them completely. Run the show with a smaller, loyal and wiser united group and usher in a fresh renewed Labour party from within.

    • AmaKiwi 36.1

      He doesn’t has a lot of portfolios to cover and not a lot of talent to cover them. But I do think Shearer and Robertson need a thorough overview of the House, from the back row of the back benches.

  37. Ennui 37

    Well done Cunliffe: to allow the Caucus to have its way over the party membership would have been an abject humiliation and disgrace. Gifting the leadership to the intransigent ABC MPs would only have resulted in the reasons for the defeat being swept under the carpet.

    Now at-least the Labour party can have an open review of why their message wont sell, and whether they have to right people in parliament to promote and sell any new message. Whether Robertson or Cunliffe are the right leader going forward, who knows? Somehow I doubt it.

  38. Reddelusion 38

    If cunliff is reelected than the left is even more deluded than I imagined

    Saying that Robertson and adern will have no more appeal, career politicians, never done anything meaningful in their lives but leech off state institutions etc . I will admit they are however more likeable than cunliff at a personal level

    Labour is a group of factions that dislike each other more than they dislike national, They need to simply break up and reinvent themselves as disparate smaller parties All this BS about labour values are nz values, is that, BS. The insiders of labour don’t even believe it themselves beyond a slogan to motivated their dim whittled supporters that are getting less and less by the day The labour of old is no more, times have change where labour values, purpose to exist is no longer relevant. Trotter got it right, what we are seeing is the slow death of a once proud party

  39. karol 39

    It’s being tweeted that people need to sign up to be members of the party by 11.59pm tonight to be able to vote in the primary. Is that correct? Has the primary officially been announced – only had Cunliffe’s nomination for it so far.

  40. Ray 40

    So just how are the dissenting MPs going to be “purged ” surely the Party wouldn’t go down the John A Lee track
    Though it would be an option

  41. Vaughan Little 41

    I campaigned for Grant Robertson in 2011 and have a gret deal of respect for him. My impression is that he’s ambitious but also a team player. And he’s also extremely intelligent. There has been a lot of negative talk about him that just doesn’t tally with my experience of him. Some of his supporters in caucus may be unscrupulous, but I’d need pretty good evidence before I believed any of the rumours flying around in the comments sections.

    My feeling about Cunliffe is that he’s got his weaknesses (just like every single person in the country he is seking to represent as a PM) but deserves to remain as leader of the party.

    • Karen 41.1

      I have heard Robertson is a nice enough chap, and I do not think he is as rightwing as Shearer and Nash. However, he has never held a cabinet post and his work experience before parliament is very limited so I find it extraordinary that he thinks that he is ready to become Prime Minister. That to me speaks of someone who is very unrealistic.
      I also get the impression that he rarely leaves Wellington – not sure if this is the case.

  42. indiana 42

    Is there still no hope for JT, Willie or Shane Jones?

    • halfcrown 42.1

      Talking about Shane Jones, what happened to the investigation into Countdown treatment of suppliers? Or has that all been swept under the carpet like Dirty Politics now he has been bought by National.

  43. shona 43

    I asked both Cunliffe and Robertson the same question at the last leadership contest. As i was trying to decide between them. It was about family and the effects of neo liberal policies as espoused by and passed by Labour and then National. Cunliffe read the subtext of my question straight away and pointed to policies and changes he would bring in. Both in terms of tax and education and and work training.Grant was not very interested . It was all about him.He simply hadn’t a clue of what it was I was asking. Because he hasn’t raised a family. It matters to the wider electorate if you haven’t raised a family . He is using Jacinda as she is compassionate .

    • ” It matters to the wider electorate if you haven’t raised a family .”

      Yes, whoever can forget Helen Clark’s tragic failure to become Prime Minister.

      • Colonial Viper 43.1.1

        So your thoughts on why Cunliffe answered the question better than Robertson? (Given that Helen Clark has not put her name forward for the leadership primary, at this time. Also I don’t think you are trying to draw leadership parallels between Helen Clark and Grant Robertson. Or are you).

  44. Does this mean that the ABC’ers have won the opening battle? I thought that Cunliffe wanted them to vote no confidence in him to trigger the party-wide vote, and ABC’s wanted Cunliffe to resign.

    Though to be fair my opinion was only based on watching TV news, so I can see why I would have been completely wrong

    • Bill 44.1

      My understanding is that if there had been a simple resignation, then caucus could have chosen a leader with no input from affiliates or members. In other words, a velvet coup would have unfolded.

      By seeking a vote on his leadership from caucus, DC would have brought the affiliates and the members into play – if the caucus hadn’t endorsed him as leader.

      By refusing (?) to vote, the caucus have more or less forced a resignation and re-nomination which, again, brings the affiliates and members into play.

      I expect, that as I type, some wee busy beaver is off reading the constitution seeking an interpretation of some clause that would prevent DC from seeking re-selection 😉

  45. No doubt for me .Cuncliffe who has proved beyond any doubt that he has leadership . I have no doubt that he will win the leadership election. That’s when the members must lay down the law .MPs who talk publicly against the Leader or Party policy need to be named and diciplined . We all need to counter the shocking attacks from the Tory press . Including the far Right wing Herald . Finally I just hope working people wake up to the true facts of life.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 45.1

      Sorry to be so disagreeable, but the fact is that the National Party’s criminal machine is quite capable of coming up with smears without help from turncoats.

      If anything, the best use of the turncoats is to treat them as dead spies, who deliver false reports to the enemy.

      How that plays out in reality is a question best answered by someone closer to the action than I.

    • Hami Shearlie 45.2

      And leakers to be expelled!

  46. As an after thought I also believe that we should have Maori deputy leader.
    After all Maori came back to Labour in hordes .Anyway Nania Mahuta would be excellent.

  47. Seti 47

    Goff FTW!

  48. Reddelusion 48

    I’ve joint up, cunliff is my pick

    • One Anonymous Bloke 48.1


      Announcing the inaugural winner of the Pete George Award for banal mediocrity, People, put your knees together for Reddelusion (sic).

  49. When did NZ start using the American term ‘primary’?

  50. Dotti 50

    I agree Karol,
    Cunliffe has true grit and determination, I will add intelligence.
    The National Party know this and it is why John Key had a staffer working full time to undermine Cunliffe.
    We will all need true grit to see that NZ rises above dirty politics.

  51. philj 51

    The alacrity of the MSM to hasten the resignation of DC is a sure sign that he is the one most likely to succeed in bursting their self serving neo liberal bubble. Good move David and best wishes for a true centre left democracy for all New Zealanders, and a few old ones too!

  52. boldsirbrian 52

    (Previously contributing as “brian” ; Username also used by others)

    [lprent: Just get a gravator. That is attached to your email addresses. See http://en.gravatar.com/ Far more recognizeable than a handle anyway ]

    The Labour caucus clearly is opposed to Cunliffe
    The Labour membership, characterised by most left contributors on this blog, (as distinguished from Farrar’s mates) are strongly in favour of Cunliffe.

    No matter what happens there will be dissatisfaction.
    I am hoping that whoever is chosen, that the Leader will be able to bring the opposing camp on board.

    What has not been discussed here at length, is how will potential voters consider the result? After all they are the important group – Their views are what count ….not the Party members and not the Party caucus.

    Will a perceived lurch to the left alienate a significant portion of voters, who will switch from Labour to National? Or will a perceived lurch to the right, alienate so many members that there is no hope of achieving anything?

    Be careful what you wish for. For you may actually get what you “want” and lose everything. (Said in a neutral way for either main candidate).

    Perhaps the humbling that Cunliffe has had in caucus last week, will actually improve him as the Leader for the next three years, if he achieves that goal. A gentle reminder that as Leader he will not only have to keep his supporters on side, but reach out to (a) the caucus, (b) all potential coalition partners, (especially the Greens); and (c) all the swinging voters who need to come on board who do not share, and will never share the evangelical fervour of the Party Loyalists. The Leader is the servant of all these groups.

    I wonder if I will ever understand what specific policies that Cunliffe promotes that the ABC loyalists dislike? And what specific policies that the ABC faction promote that the so called “Left” faction dislike?

    The way that I’m seeing it, the best outcome at this stage would be
    (1) The Party working out what they stand for, and then:
    (2) for a Cunliffe/Robertson ticket, with the election simply sorting out which one is top dog. There appears to be as much chance of that happening as pigs may fly.

  53. Lorraine 53

    Good on Cunliffe’s wife for speaking out. Those backstabbing b..ers have had it in for David all along the ABC club. So what if it has ruined his career in the labour party they are dead in the water anyhow and no backstabbing b…er is going to save it. They don’t know how to run a birthday party let alone a political party. Labour is a dying party and no body wants them now. They are a bunch of middle aged men bickering. Not a party women would vote for. Not a party that young people would vote for.
    Good bye labour. You are loosing a very good man in David Cunliffe.

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