One of David Shearer’s campaign volunteers organised this video as a surprise for David on the night of the Mt Albert By-Election in 2009. We played it to David and the Labour Party activists during the election night celebrations and I’ve had it sitting on my computer ever since. After re-watching it with my partner last night we decided it was so cute it had to be shared. As Eddie pointed out this morning, the narrative around Shearer must be filled in before the Right’s smear machine fills it in for us. I want people to see the David Shearer that I know and respect and am inspired by:
Also in my election night 2009 folder was this short message of congratulations:
Many congratulations… when we were drinking your whisky in Somalia during the civil war little could I have known that you would finally become respectable. Are NZ MPs expenses like the ones they get at Westminster?
BBC Middle East Editor
Shearer’s speech to the Tertiary Education Conference on the Sunday after the election shows that he is focussed on the things that will benefit New Zealand into the future.
Danyl over at the DimPost has nicely summed up my feelings about Labour Party leadership change:
I’ve felt sour and dyspeptic about New Zealand politics for a looong time now, so long I’d forgotten what optimism feels like – but I felt it today for the first time in, I think, five years: an unfamiliar buoyant feeling that some point in the not too distant future our government might be run by people who know what they’re doing.
It might not work out that way – we’ll see what happens in Shearer’s reshuffle, for starters – but right now it’s nice to think about New Zealand politics and feel something other than the same old sick, queasy cynicism, and to congratulate David Shearer and Grant Robertson and wish them good luck for the future.
Many people, including many Labour Party activists have noted that it would be a risk to place David Shearer as leader given his lack of experience in parliamentary politics. I agree, however the Labour Party needs a fresh look and it’s difficult to do that when the faces stay the same. For someone without much experience in parliament Shearer does have an amazing back story and no doubt a lot of relevant experience to bring to the job. Last night on Close Up Shearer was asked whether his UN experience counts for much when all he was doing was handing out food parcels – which he responded to by noting he was managing a multi-billion dollar budget, building power stations and getting an economy back on its feet. Now that Shearer has been elected leader it is the responsibility of everyone within the party to ensure the risk pays off by surrounding him with the best support possible.
It is also Shearer’s responsibility to unify his caucus and place its best talent in the best positions. I believe David Cunliffe would continue to make a great finance spokesperson and one day a great finance minister. Helen Clark created a dream team when she promoted her political opponent at the time Michael Cullen to the finance portfolio – I hope Shearer can see the sense in doing the same.
So finally, congratulations to Labour’s new leader, David Shearer. I was very impressed by David when I worked on his by-election campaign for Mt Albert in 2009. I know that he shares much of my desire for policies focused on animal welfare, child poverty, and international human rights. I look forward to a new generation Labour party that continues to promote Labour’s long standing values but also takes us into the future with solutions to the major issues of our time.