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Deal or no deal?

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, August 24th, 2013 - 193 comments
Categories: labour, Politics - Tags:

There’s a degree of speculation about whether a deal is being put together to find a single ticket for the Labour leadership, but I don’t think that’s likely at all.

As far as I can see too many people close to and in Labour (all parts of it) – Phil Goff, Mike Williams, David Parker, Moira Coatsworth, Brian Edwards, Shane Jones, and many more on and off the record – are talking about how democratic the process is and how important it is to the health of the party.

Add to that the expectations from party members and affiliates that they will get a say in the new leadership, and the fact that getting that say would give the winner the strongest mandate any new Labour leader has had in a long time, and the idea of a deal starts to look even more remote.

There’s also the mechanics of it. While the leader is voted for by the wider party, or confirmed by the party in the case of a no-contest result, the deputy is still chosen by the caucus. Which means anyone taking a deal in which they were to be deputy would have to be certain that the majority of the caucus was signed up to it. By my reckoning David Shearer would have stepped down a lot earlier if the caucus had had that much focus.

Add to that the fact there is a huge amount of danger in a deal for any MP that was involved in it. Despite the tealeaf readings of some pundits, the push for democratic change from the membership and the affiliates was not about wanting one leader over another but about having the right to help make that decision. A single ticket deal would risk a significant blow-back from members and affiliates who could, quite rightly, feel that they had been cheated out of a democratic right regardless of who took the leadership. Sure there could be a show of unity from the factions at the top, but whether that would bring much needed unity throughout the party is questionable. And all of the party needs to be pointing in the same direction as we come into election year.

I think that anyone that has the political chops to have got to a position of being a contender will recognise just how significant that danger is both to the health of the Labour movement, and to their own ongoing ambitions and steer clear of a deal that cuts out the process. After all they have just been through 20 months of disunity and disgruntlement and will really, really not be wanting any more. On the other hand a deal in which it is agreed that the winner reaches out to the loser after the contest might be a suitable compromise.

Of course nobody can force MPs to stand so there could be a no-contest result, but I think that it presents a much bigger risk to all involved than a race would. And I think that everyone who is directly involved realises that.

193 comments on “Deal or no deal?”

  1. Red Rosa 1

    There are interesting parallels being drawn between this process and the US presidential primaries.

    As a means of raising the Labour profile, and showing a new and democratic approach to leader selection, it has a lot going for it. Also gets the names out there for public scrutiny, and sorts out who is really committed.

    Compared to the old closed door, smoke-filled rooms power plays, it looks great.

    • Core_Labour_Voter (Tory troll) 1.1

      I think David Cunliffe with Robertson as Deputy, cut a deal, avoid competition, get over with it and move on.

      • Luka 1.1.1

        I have to agree, I am sorry but I think that I am right here that if Robertson gets the leadership, Labour will be in Opposition to another term. He has no spine for leader, it is not that he is gay, it is that he is lazy, no one has heard of him and he comes across as a mumma’s boy. Moreover, lazy MPs in the caucus are going to get a smoother ride with him as leader, lazy attracts lazy. National need an intellect who can debate with Key and outclass him on policy. We need someone like Cunliffe who can speak for middle NZ, Robertson cannot. He is not as effective as the caucus make him out to be, it is just plain utter bullshit. I saw the last debate about 20 months ago at the university, Cunliffe was the only one who could articulate abstract ideas, stuff we could take away. Shearer was appalling and Robertson wasn’t much better. Only one option,a nd I think most of NZ know that… God I hope the rest of the party do?!

  2. IrishBill 2

    I note that there has been some talk in pundit-land of a Robertson Cunliffe deal in which the former is leader and the latter is deputy. I can’t for the life of me see why Cunliffe would cut a deal like that when he’s shaping up to be the favorite in an open race.

    • karol 2.1

      Last gasp of the ABCs. Robertson’s main appeal is to the ABCers. Even as deputy leader he has little wider appeal.

      • Hami Shearlie 2.1.1

        Totally agree with your summation Karol!

      • Bearded Git 2.1.2

        No that’s not fair IMO on Robertson. Although I much prefer Cunliffe, Robertson is an excellent speaker. As deputy under Cunliffe he would be fine.

        • Yep, have to agree, Robertson should still be a part of the shadow cabinet, no matter who wins, and would make a good deputy again, should he be elected.

        • karol

          Robertson does some very good speeches in the House. But beyond that, he doesn’t really have much impact. Those of us who watch parliament are a very small minority. I don’t think he has the ability to perform on camera, to the general public that Cunliffe has, or two respond to Key’s ruthless competitiveness under pressure..

          • Matthew Whitehead

            He’s probably not the ideal candidate for either position, I agree, but if potential deputies are part of the race and the combined vote is for someone who promises to bring Robertson with them, then Caucus should honour that decision. Mainly I hope that he’s not too tarnished by the association with Shearer.

      • Foreign Waka 2.1.3

        I fear that the chance of getting a winning ticket is once more being squandered by going back to party politicking with no regard of the wider public or indeed the issues at hand. And these are many and plenty of seriousness involved. Perhaps it would be best for Mr Cunliffe to step away and leave the floor to the “old” guard (ABC or YXO what ever you want to call them) falling over their own feet. The focus should be on the future – what are the absolutes of any left party and who is best to a/ negotiate these aims, b/ make them happen, c/ has the financial cloud to support this and last but not least, the appeal to the public to sell it. But so far we hear once more the rumblings of party apparatchiks…. I would vote for Cunliffe but not Labour for that very reason. My vote will rest with the Greens, they behave like adults.

    • Takere 2.2

      Yes I agreed. The leader of the 3rd biggest party in NZ. First polling after it confirmed, I’m guessing about 28ish% for labour and thats been conservative. Labour will have to sell-out again, to win-over the swing voter(s) from the Greens & the Nat’s. With union membership nationally down to about 8% of the 2.3m casualised labour force, kinda makes me wonder where these new votes for labour are going to come from?? 2% to 4% divided 3 ways doesn’t change the government. I hope somebody in the hierarchy of labour can do maths.

      • Daveo 2.2.1

        Union membership in NZ is 17%.

        • Clement Pinto

          Only 17%! What a disgrace. The workers that are not members of their union are selfish fools who have no concept of what the union movement has achieved over the years to improve wages and conditions of workers and employment. Don’t they see that employers are themselves are in unions with different names such as Business New Zealand, Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) etc!

        • Takere

          BS Daveo. In the good days pre nats it was lucky if reached 13%. Going back to 2001/2002 it was at a crisis and there were a number hui to address this then. With the poor state of employment now and most of the unions panicking about their revenue streams and with union membership falling off due to the casualisation of the NZ workforce. 8% is generous. March is a time when the affiliates all pay their dues by a head count. Thats the true indicator of how many union members there really are.

    • Redbaiter 2.3

      The reason Cunliffe might need to cut such a deal is because the Rainbow faction are holding all the cards.

      One day you guys will wake up to the real enemy in our midst.

      It is not so much the battle between Labour and Capital that concerns me, the real problem is Progressivism.

      • Colonial Viper 2.3.1

        Hi Redbaiter 🙂

      • karol 2.3.2

        Heh. Mallard, the “Rainbow faction”?

      • xtasy 2.3.3

        Redbaiter has just let himelf be baited again by right wing misinformation. The next leader will be voted in not just by caucus, but by the party membership, the affiliates and caucus, all having input.

        Trying to claim a “rainbow faction” has so much power to decide on the leader is absurd and idiotic.

        Now what about this bizarre concept of “progressivism”, do you like to live in darkness or an eternal dark age?

        It appears so, and that speaks for an apparent shady character, kind of.

      • Murray Olsen 2.3.4

        Your CSA flag fills me with desire. I just want to hug and kiss you, Redbaiter.

      • Jenny 2.3.5

        Late news:
        Bedwetter feels safe feels safe to return to The Standard.

      • jaymam 2.3.6

        OK Redbaiter you’ve convinced me. It’s Jacinda Ardern for deputy. She’s also leading Robertson on Ipredict. Even you will vote Labour, now that you’re sick of John Key and Banks.

    • Anne 2.4

      @ IrishBill
      Sounds like Mallard might be planting certain scenarios for his buddy journo contacts to pick up and run with. I’m of the view that is what happened at the last Labour Annual Conference. Hence the Clayton’s Cunliffe coup attempt…

      • veutoviper 2.4.1

        That would not surprise me at all, Anne – that is, Mallard planting certain scenarios etc.

        In fact, IMO it has already started with this article by Mallard’s ‘friend’, Jane Clifton in the Listener


        A taste

        “The essential mathematics haven’t changed and seem irreducibly problematic. The party almost certainly favours David Cunliffe; a majority of the caucus would rather serve under Quade Cooper. Comparisons with Australia’s Kevin Rudd situation are irresistible. Cunliffe has so disrespected colleagues on his way up the greasy pole that any power base he manages to build will be grudged and unreliable.”

        I really would like to believe that the current leadership situation , and the new democratic process could mark a new beginning for the Labour Party – and be seen by the general voting public, and particularly the large number of non-voters who are feeling disenfranchised, as a sign that democracy can be saved and a reason to vote at the next election.

        BUT that is only going to happen if the process runs smoothly and without some of the thiings that have happened over the last few years originating from within the caucus itself.

        • Anne

          Hi veutoviper: Jane Clifton has been so brainwashed by her lover (lets be frank about it), Trevor Mallard that she should not be commenting on the subject. She compromises herself in the process and everything she says should be treated with a grain of salt.

          This bit from your quote is a good example:

          Cunliffe has so disrespected colleagues on his way up the greasy pole that any power base he manages to build will be grudged and unreliable.

          There is a clique of senior MPs who have become used to running the show as they want it, and they have chosen to misinterpret everything Cunliffe does and says. I went through an identical situation 20-25 years ago when a group of senior public servants got it into their silly heads that I was running to the Labour Party telling tales out of school about them. From that point on… they did the same sort of thing to me. I discovered years later that the person who originally put the idea into their heads was the one who was doing the tale telling.

          When you’ve been through such an experience yourself, you can easily recognise it happening elsewhere.

          • veutoviper

            Hi Anne. I know exactly what you have spelled out above – that is why I thought you would immediately click to the Clifton article. Been there, done that – not directly in respect of Political party alliances, but I know only too well what you are saying. Was/ had to be a ‘neutral’ for many years …. But the same behaviours etc apply in many different situations and I never was one for just sitting back when I saw things that should not be happening. Got me into a lot of trouble over the years, but I have absolutely no regrets. I can sleep straight at night knowing that I stood up for what I felt was right/wrong.

            I totally agree that Clifton should not be commenting on the current situation. OTH the fact that she is goes to show that she and M are not that smart. In fact, I would classify both of them as dangerous ignorants. Shame because I some dealings with Clifton years ago on non-political matters and thought at that time that she had some integrity. But what is that old saying – we make our bed, and have to lie in it. LOL.

      • Murray Olsen 2.4.2

        What would it take for Mallard to be expelled from the Labour Party? I can’t think of anyone more useless, more self-serving, and more damaging to workers on the “left.” I think he even beats Jones and Tamihere.

    • Populuxe1 2.5

      Oh, I don’t know, maybe for the sake of some unity in the party?

    • Luka 2.6

      That is the arrogance of Robertson and the ABC brigade, it is a joke. I rckon Cunliffe should tear him a new one!

  3. Richard29 3

    The challenge is that there really isn’t anther candidate that is likely to beat Cunliffe in an open competition. I can see why it would be in the other candidates interests to try and swing a deal whereby the winner invites the loser to join his ticket as deputy, I can’t see why it would be in Cunliffe’s interest to tie his hands like that. Last time he told caucus that he was running with Nanaia as a ticket and they could vote for both or neither. That was a bold move and it didn’t quite work out. But let’s not buy the media line here, Cunliffe is not ‘unpopular’ in Caucus, despite his ‘take it or leave it’ approach he still came within just a few votes of beating the ‘unity’ ticket of Shearer/Robertson/Parker – this time round the caucus, party and unions will all be voting and the focus will be strongly on who is the best ‘PM in waiting’ to take the fight to the govt and here is little appetite for more of the ‘leadership by committee’ that made the Shearer leadership so cautious and equivocal.
    I think Cunliffe should hold firm and not do any deal ahead of time. It is the prerogative of any executive to build their own team around them. He might choose to select one or more of the other contenders to be part of his team if he wins, that’s his call and all well and good, but I don’t think it bodes well if his first action as leadership candidate is to cave into pressure from caucus factions to guarantee ‘jobs for the boys’ before he has even won….

    • Saarbo 3.1

      I suspect it is ABC’ers pushing for a deal, knowing that a strong membership vote in favour of Cunliffe is going to make them look pretty bad and reinforce the negative impact that they have had on the Party since 2011.

      The ABC’ers are fully aware of Cunliffe’s strengths and they know when he presents in front of members, people are going to be asking why the hell he wasn’t made leader after 2011, and we all know why.

      Im looking forward to the “husting meetings for candidates between 31st August and 9th Sept”…

      • Hami Shearlie 3.1.1

        Exactly – the blame for Cunliffe not being made leader last time will be sheeted home to the ABC crowd by the members. And they will be worried about their future career paths – they should have put the Party first last time – Chris Hipkins will be feeling rather sick about now – The looks on the faces of Mallard and King and Hipkins when Shearer announced his resignation were very very telling indeed.

      • Luka 3.1.2

        Here, here. I too have witnessed the wrath of Cunliffe at full vent, he is awesome. Smart, articulate and passionate. At the same time I saw Shearer and Robinson speak, and I was embarrassed, to think they might get it. What a pack of muppets!

    • kenny 3.2

      Spot on! If David does win he will still have to deal with the ABCer’s in some way. Somehow they have to be neutralised. It really is time for a clear-out which doesn’t split the party.


      • amirite 3.2.1

        “keep your friends close and enemies closer”‘

      • Takere 3.2.2

        Labour can’t afford to spill anymore blood. To lose 3 to 5 percent in polls and in the next election will be handing over the leader of the opposition to the Greens which I’m sure they’re well aware of and I’m sure are prepared to fight for. Cunliffe doesn’t have anything that new voters like and/or want so it’ll come down to what labour is prepared to “entice” the voting public with. Problem is the economies tanked, deficits $159b & off the Balance sheet liabilities are another $114b+ as well as unemployment is at 12%+ now that everyone’s a “Jobseeker” and mortgages are climbing rapidly and will continue on that path for years to come. Now, to convince NZ’ders labours sorted their shit out is near impossible! Start talking to the Greens now is the best bet to get rid of the Nat’s. It’s inevitable, the Greens are going to consume Labour over the next 2 to 3 election cycles.

      • David H 3.2.3

        Mallard Hipkins and Fa foi to the Back bench they won’t be missed. King ?? she is good at health and Goff at Foreign Affairs isn’t too bad either.

    • I have to disagree- IF Jacinda Ardern had been interested in running, she could give Cunliffe a very real contest, and probably win, too. She’ll be a big contender if she wants to be in on a future leadership contest.

      • Sosoo 3.3.1

        She’s too young to be leader, although everyone I know thinks that she will likely be leader one day. Put ten years and some mean on her and she will be unbeatable.

        Having said that, she would be a very good pick for deputy leader right now. People like her and she’s an effective politician.

        • Anne

          @ Sosoo.

          Jacinda Ardern has a stellar political career ahead of her if she plays her cards right but imo, there’s a little bit more growing up to do first.

        • Right, which is why she bowed out ahead of time, because she knows she’s not ready yet.

          But she could win it if she felt now was her time, and we should watch out for her, as she looks very likely to be our third female PM.

      • Colonial Viper 3.3.2

        Hahahahahahaha! What is it with these idiot lefties wanting to put up inexperienced lambs to the slaughter?

        • Huh? I didn’t say she should put her hat in this time, I said she could probably beat Cunliffe in a vote.

          And honestly, in this Labour Party, I wouldn’t value experience all that highly, given that all of the experienced MPs are the ones that were influenced by a dramatic push rightward.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hi Matthew, we’ve just seen what inexperience in the top job looks like. I agree with you that experience isn’t the whole package – but it is a necessary to qualify, I think.

    • Mary 3.4

      “The challenge is that there really isn’t anther candidate that is likely to beat Cunliffe in an open competition.”

      It’s more accurate to say there isn’t anyone obviously as good as Cunliffe or anyone else who can deal to Key other than Cunliffe. Whether there’s anyone else who’s likely to beat Cunliffe to the leadership is a different story, and is a real shame. The left sometimes is its own worst enemy.

      • Sosoo 3.4.1

        My guess is that the ABCs will be found to have the union vote through some dodgy deal, and that will be the end of that.

        • Colonial Viper

          heh let’s wait and see where the likes of Tolich and Kelly stand on this.

        • Skinny

          Get off the grass pal, you only need to look at what that bunch of MP’s interests are? Self interest is about it, what didn’t happen at last years conference was a notice given to dead end MP’s. I believe further changes need to be made to eject deadwood. Stop these self serving MP’s from stacking the deck on LEC’s and the candidate selection process.

        • Tracey

          by dodgy deal you mean they prefer him to the alternative?

  4. Bill 4

    Potential permutations? Many. Potentially questionable motivations? Many.

    So, in the interests of democracy, isn’t it high time that the whole notion of ‘standing’ was scrapped and leaders got voted in to the position, regardless? By that I mean that all names are in the hat by default and the caucus, membership and affiliates choose the leader they want rather than between the ones on offer?

    I know. Crazy. How could things possibly function without all the posturing, positioning, power grabbing and game playing?

  5. Bill (I Did NOT enjoy the Sky Box) 5

    Watching The Nation
    Mike Williams is an ass. Not a single PR bone in his body. An over inflated sense of his own status.

    And Jenny. You are badly needed in Washington tomorrow. Paid tickets waiting for you at the Airport. Bye.

  6. Sam Hill 6

    Here’s “the deal”.

    Cunliffe has the majority support of members. He is unpopular in his caucus.

    We have found out over the past 20 months (as if we didn’t now already) that although having both is preferable, a leader popular with members is better than a leader popular with caucus.

    For example, we know John Key only just shaved Bill English to become leader of National. But he was the popular choice among party faithful.

    Look how strongly the National MPs are behind Key now.

    It is the Labour caucus that must bite the bullet and do what is best for the Labour Party and for New Zealand.

    • weka 6.1

      “He is unpopular in his caucus.”

      People keep saying that but I thought the vote last time was very close, so that implies he has nearly 50% support in caucus.

      You look at Bomber’s analysis and he reckons it’s a three way split, with the middle block being able to go either way.

      I don’t know the truth of either of those, but “He is unpopular in his caucus” is becoming a meme that might not actually be so true.

      • Sam Hill 6.1.1

        Perhaps this is true. I’m only going by what I’ve read and what I’ve heard from people close to the caucus.

        There is definitely a fear among some that Cunliffe will actually be a strong leader who tells people how it is.

        Leadership, who would’ve thunk it?

        • pollywog

          I do hope Chauvel never said never, and Cunliffe, on becoming leader, extends an invitation to Chuck to come back and wipe the floor in Ohariu with Dunne’s immaculately coiffured mop.

          • Hami Shearlie

            It could easily happen, with Chauvel being offered a place high on the list at the next election – I think he’d be tempted with the promise of the post of Attorney-General – and what a great one he’d be!!!

            • Luka

              As a father of 3, and an infant son, if he told my child to shut up on a plane, I’d punch the fucker in the face. He’s a bitch, and I hate people like that, good riddance!

            • Luka

              As a father of 3, with an infant son, if he told my child to shut up on a plane, I’d punch the fucker in the face. He’s a bitch, and I hate people like that, good riddance!

          • Matthew Whitehead

            That would be brilliant. 🙂

        • weka

          “Perhaps this is true. I’m only going by what I’ve read and what I’ve heard from people close to the caucus.”

          When you say Cunliffe is unsupported within caucus, it sounds like no-one supports him. Which is patently untrue. So what do you actually mean? Maybe give a percentage.

      • Takere 6.1.2

        The “RainBow” faction wouldn’t factor into his thinking, an Anglican upbringing has shut the door on that group.

      • Populuxe1 6.1.3

        Bombast isn’t to be trusted – he’ll say anything to force an alliance with Mana

    • David H 6.2

      “Look how strongly the National MPs are behind Key now.”

      Yes they all vote the same way, but really are they behind Key? Or are they just blindly following the leader, no matter who that may be? I think it’s more like ‘Do as you are told’ and we will look after you for life. Fuck us over, and… well… do you remember the name Gilmour?

    • Populuxe1 6.3

      “Look how strongly the National MPs are behind Key now.”



      You fool! They eat their wounded.

  7. Ant 7

    Forcing people to compete who don’t want to is pretty stupid as well – caucus doing a deal isn’t necessarily bad as long as it’s put out for consultation to the members in some way eg. if Robertson did want to be deputy what a waste of everyones time to force a run-off.

    Can’t think of anything worse than it becoming like the Democratic primaries.

    • Bill 7.1

      Forcing people to compete…

      Assuming that was a response to my comment above – I think you miss the point. There would be no competing per se. The caucus is already in a position whereby they have to execute policy in line with what the membership have decreed Labour to be about. (At least, if I’ve understood the recent changes correctly, that’s the case.) So there can be no place for cliques or factions pushing their own barrow and personal ambitions. Caucus must be a coherent team – given the changes to the constitution and the demand that they pursue policies within the framework laid down by the Party.

      So surely it is up to the Party to decide which member of caucus would best serve its interests? And surely that choice shouldn’t be narrowed or thwarted by caucus’s internal machinations. And if a more democratic Labour Party is the aim, then shouldn’t the scope for ‘game playing’ within caucus be squelched?

      edit. Sorry, just realised the point you were responding to wasn’t my comment. Still…I think the basic thrust of this comment fits well enough to leave here.

      • weka 7.1.1

        “So surely it is up to the Party to decide which member of caucus would best serve its interests?”

        But presumably members who don’t want to be leader don’t have their name in the hat?

        • Bill

          Why not have them opting out? Y’know – “I don’t believe I have the correct personality/experience to coordinate the caucus”

          Again – install and develop a culture that diminishes the scope for competition and personal positioning.

      • Raine 7.1.2

        actually i think it’s many of you who are missing the point. as a paid up member i will vote in this contest if you force me too but it’s a waste of precious time and money (albeit not mine thankfully) because cunliffe is going to win regardless.

        so we’re going to have this long, drawn out battle just to appease a few only to get the same result??? where’s the sense in that?

        • Colonial Viper

          Hmmmm seems odd to be a member of a democratic political party yet decide to join the legion of no turnout non-voters.

          • Raine

            i was a member before they even bought out those new voting rules. don’t screw yourself up building hurdles that don’t exist. not everybody is out to get you, you know.

          • Populuxe1

            Sort of like voting in Saddam’s Iraq really

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    The reality is that the Labour Party President has very little power over caucus decisions. If only one Leadership candidate comes out of caucus, the constitution does not require a membership vote to be conducted.

  9. Bigdog 9

    New to this and apologies for my ignorance,but ABC’s.WTF.

    • weka 9.1

      Anyone But Cunliffe. Refers to the group within Caucus who at the last leadership selection put Shearer in place as leader, despite him not being fit for the job, because they wanted to keep Cunliffe out of the position. Bullshit, self-interested, internal politics as fas as I can tell.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    If Robertson/ABC go to Cunliffe and say ‘We can’t win, so we’ll back you as leader, what will you give us in return?” then Cunliffe should give them … a ballot paper.

    Let’s be absolutely clear about this. If Robertson doesn’t want to stand it is for himself, not the party. It is not a generous offer of unity, it is an attempt to avoid a defeat.

    If Robertson chickens out, I suggest that Cunliffe asks one of his friends in caucus to stand. S/he will get 5%, Cunliffe 95%. He will have the strongest mandate any Labour leader has ever had.

    He needs the genuine endorsement of his party, not the self-serving fraudulent endorsement of his enemies. It’s not up to them any more. That is THE lesson to be learned, and they need to learn it.

    • Ant 10.1

      Perhaps just voluntarily go for motion of confidence from caucus/delegates/members if there is no competition?

    • Lanthanide 10.2

      “If Robertson chickens out, I suggest that Cunliffe asks one of his friends in caucus to stand. S/he will get 5%, Cunliffe 95%. He will have the strongest mandate any Labour leader has ever had.”

      That would likely backfire. Remember this is a 4 week long process with town-hall meetings and speeches to the party members. If it becomes clear one of the candidates is just there as a put-on without any intention of taking the job, it won’t go down well – and you can just imagine what the Nats and the media would do.

    • Raine 10.3

      you’re so blatantly missing the point that i can’t help but wonder if you’re doing it on purpose to muddy the waters.

      “if Robertson chickens out”? “if Robertson doesn’t want to stand for himself”? what’s up with all these over the top accusations?

      what’s wrong with if Robertson just see’s he’s not the man to win the next election for us?

      • Foreign Waka 10.3.1

        Who is “us”? I wish Labour would start thinking of “the NZ public” and maybe this will be captivating.

  11. tracey 11

    Caucus alone choosing the leader is like employees choosing the ceo. These people need it back in their heads that they are employees at best at worst servants. Their jobs are to work hard to achieve labours goals and to work with whoever is made their “boss”. Like any workplace their are channels for employee opinions and complaints and that is not in the media. Its not nearly as complicated as some want to make it.

    • Actually employees getting to choose their boss is pretty democratic in nature. Caucus selecting the leader is more like a board voting for the CEO.

      • A Short Plank 11.1.1

        In the days of share-fishermen, all of whom owned a share in the boat and thus only benefitted from its successes, they would vote for a captain but then had to bloody-well do what he said if they wanted to stay afloat/catch fish. Pirate vessels, too, were often very democratic as the captain and officers had no higher authority to support them, but you can’t sail a boat in a storm or fight an enermy on democratic principles.

  12. tracey 12

    When the vote is done it might be time for a few to announce intention to not stand next time. If you dont like your boss so much you look for another job.

    will darren hughes come back? I hope so.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Good guy, but got into the political bubble world too young, another Clark selected flame-out. Hope he does get a return though.

  13. tracey 13

    i disagree matthew. in this case the party is the board and they pick the ceo.

    all mps work for the party, not the ceo per se.

  14. Dan1 14

    What happens if Key reads his tea leaves, and goes for an early election. Can we hasten the process? A month seems a long time!

    • Lanthanide 14.1

      I don’t think the public would like that. Earliest Key can really call the election without it looking like a calculated ploy would be Q1 next year, and even that would be pushing it.

      • SpaceMonkey 14.1.1

        Key has a few power SoEs to sell yet… election won’t be called until those deals are done.

  15. QoT 15

    Of course nobody can force MPs to stand so there could be a no-contest result, but I think that it presents a much bigger risk to all involved than a race would. And I think that everyone who is directly involved realises that.

    I don’t know if that last statement rings true to me. We are talking about a caucus with members who thought February’s show trial uncontested leadership vote was going to make everyone shut up and get in behind Shearer.

    • Lanthanide 15.1

      “officially” uncontested leadership vote.

    • JK 15.2

      No QoT – what Caucus members thought Feb’s showtrial uncontested leadership vote would do, would make Shearer look like the inexperienced wally he is, and then Robertson would take over.
      They forgot about the new leadership selection rules !

      • QoT 15.2.1

        Wait, are you trying to suggest that bullying caucus into unanimously supporting Shearer was part of some Machiavellian scheme to highlight that he didn’t have unanimous support?

        It’s a creative spin on things, I’ll give you that …

        • Lanthanide

          He didn’t have unanimous support.

          • QoT

            You are correct: the margin was described as “overwhelming” but the party did not release the actual figures.

            Still, there were plenty of comments along the lines of “now we all have to get in behind Shearer because obviously he has the confidence of caucus” (which continued right up until his resignation).

  16. red blooded 16

    While there are a lot of people on this site pushing one barrow, that doesn’t mean that the wider party, let alone the public, feels the same. Yes, Cunliffe is smart, articulate and can be charismatic. I supported him last time (& would happily accept him this time). I do think that the people who work most closely with someone are likely to have more insight into them than people who observe and commentate from a distance, though. Leadership requires a lot of other skills: insight into others, the ability to create a strong team culture, humility and the ability to take advice when necessary… May DC has these qualities and maybe he doesn’t. It’s hard for a party member who’s not involved at national level to know. I think there are some on this site who are lionising the man and it would be very hard for anyone to live up to the image that’s being created.

    • Bill 16.1

      In a caucus that comprises of not much besides timorous little beasties – caucus members who have been acculturated to utter fearful yes’s and no’s by the bagful in response to their seniors – there is no need to ‘lionise’ any resident pussy cat. 😉

    • oftenpuzzled 16.2

      RB I agree in principle. There are many of us in the south who know little of both Cunliffe & Robertson so we will need to listen carefully to both of them before we can make a decision. I suggest that this needs to be the case even in in the north as in the various discussions on this site the suggestion is no one knows Robertson outside Wellington. If that is truly the case then surely your options should be left open until the ‘tour’ is heard rather then preempting a decision in such a one sided and biased manner.

    • Colonial Viper 16.3

      I’m a Cunliffe supporter. And I’m not looking for a saint nor a Churchill. Nor a “lion”.

      I’m looking for someone who can cream Key and put Labour back on course to finally rendezvous with its soul and its values.

      Feel free to make up your own mind in your own time, of course.

      You have three or four weeks.

      • karol 16.3.1

        +1 CV. In my post on Cunliffe yesterday, I tried to mention some of his limitations re-political position – moderate, pro-economic growth etc. I don’t think very many people are treating him as a saint.

        Compared with the rest of a fairly small caucus, who is there that will be able to really take it to Key on the 2014 elections?

      • Raine 16.3.2

        me too i’m just not as patient as you and K and it galls the hell out of me to see good money wasted on an election.

        • Raine

          or let me put it this way to you and karol.

          do you think he will lose the election? I’ll answer for you … “no Raine of course he won’t”.

          so … tell me … what’s the point of it?

          • David H

            The point is Raine, to get out there to meet the people, debate the issues, and court the media.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yes appointment by caucus decree is superior. Why join a democratic political party in the first place?

          • Raine

            You’re willfully misinterpreting what i’m saying to back your own position that isn’t very strong. Stop doing that. I’m not trying to be your competition here.

            • Colonial Viper

              Unlike yourself, a lot of us put in a lot of work and put up with a tonne of shit, to give ordinary Labour Party members a chance to democratically choose the next Leader of the party.

              Shall we annoint the next Leader by decree? No I say. The next Leader-to-be shall first face the membership and prove his worth at the ballot box.

            • gobsmacked


              I’ve explained the huge and obvious difference between an election and a stitch-up in several comments over the past few days, so I don’t want to keep repeating myself until you get it. Perhaps I’d better make it simple for you …

              When a journalist plays that clip of Hipkins talking about Cunliffe (and they will), how should Cunliffe respond?

              – “But the caucus likes me”
              – “But the party voted for me”.

              One of these rebuttals will end the argument, one will not. You work it out.

              • Raine

                it’s not a high-school exam where those were his only choices for answers. he’s touted as one smart, astute cookie when it comes to the debating arena so our faith in him would be sorely misplace if he were tripped up on a question as lame as that.

                i’ve read your posts over the last few days. i just don’t agree on this one issue. that said i concede a vote is inevitable … i just wish it wasn’t. i’d love to see him stick it to everyone and stamp his own authority on this whole process.

      • Rhinocrates 16.3.3

        Agreed. I don’t “like” David Cunliffe because I only like people I know and Facebook isn’t my measure of worth, but David Cunliffe is by far the best bet.

        Shearer was useless and a backstabbing pointy-haired boss from Dilbert ready to sacrifice anyone for his vanity (the “nice guy, but…” stuff is pure naiveté).

        Robertson? Not a nail in the coffin, but formaldehyde in the corpse.

        Goff was a Rogernome and a Key wannabe.

        David Cunliffe may not be the messiah, but we do need a naughty boy.

      • Jenny 16.3.4

        You should be looking for a Churchill. Humanity is in the biggest fight of its life. And New Zealand needs to be in the front line.

        • Jimmie

          Looking for a Churchill?

          You mean a tory that banged on for years about the dangers of Hitler while the peaceniks laughed at him? He was ignored until war became inevitable?

          Possibly a wrong anaolgy for the modern pc Labour party

      • brokenback 16.3.5

        “I’m looking for someone who can cream Key and put Labour back on course to finally rendezvous with its soul and its values.”

        I’m also looking for someone who can shift intra -party & parliamentary debate leftwards and thereby remove the comfortable plinth for the closet fascists[aka drys ] who have infected the party for 30 years .
        Thus eliminating the ‘muddy’ middle ground where the corporate paymasters thrive so well.

      • Mongoose 16.3.6

        Yes CV, you most definitely are a Cunliffe supporter but clearly not a Labour supporter because according to you anyone who does not agree with you should be deselected.
        How arrogant. You appear to be blind to any other opinion. It’s Cunliffe or your toys will be thrown as far as possible.
        We need to work together on this: Cunliffe is not the only option and if he is not chosen, when it goes to an election, will you get behind whoever is or just continue to moan loudly from the sideline?

        • Colonial Viper

          you most definitely are a Cunliffe supporter but clearly not a Labour supporter because according to you anyone who does not agree with you should be deselected.

          So you believe that non-performing or right wing MPs should automatically stay in the Labour caucus unchallenged? Do you believe that the system of internal patronage and promotion of staffers and insiders and old guard loyalists has given Labour the best caucus that it can have?

          I don’t.

          We need to work together on this: Cunliffe is not the only option and if he is not chosen, when it goes to an election, will you get behind whoever is or just continue to moan loudly from the sideline?

          I think Grant can be an effective Leader, he has much more parliamentary experience than Shearer for starters and is also an excellent orator.

          More than happy to back him as Leader if he gets it. As long as he brings on some solid left wing Labour policy and takes it to Key, of course. Oh yeah, and for gawds sakes put Cunliffe back on the front bench where he can go to town on the Nats next year.

          • Mongoose

            Well I’m pleased you feel able to back someone like Robertson because from many of the comments I read here it looks like many think Cunliffe or nothing – meaning more divisive and public dissent.

            With regard to deselecting MPs you don’t personally like, my point is that those holding seats are selected from their own LECs. Not simply appointed into Parliament. How can you just suggest to deselect them if they are not a big Cunliffe fan? Any that are not performing or are ‘right-wing’ should be taken to task by their LECs. The ones on the list are a different story and how the list is created is another discussion for another time.

            Lets get some concensus happening and realise that our success or failure to get a Labour Govt elected does not just fall only on who we have in caucus but also on who we have in the party and how we all operate together.
            And by the pronoun we, I am presuming you are a member?

            • Colonial Viper

              With regard to deselecting MPs you don’t personally like…

              Whether I “personally like” them or not is irrelevant to me.

              My only interest is in supporting excellent MPs and excellent candidates for selection who display high levels of professionalism, and who follow through to deliver on strong left wing values. Getting that done is job number one.

              Shearer wasn’t getting the job of Labour Leader done. But I am quite confident that he will get the job of being an oustanding Cabinet Minister done.

              Lets get some concensus happening and realise that our success or failure to get a Labour Govt elected does not just fall only on who we have in caucus but also on who we have in the party and how we all operate together.

              I appreciate the sentiment. It’s time to move on and pull together. But having been on the receiving end of bullying efforts by some in caucus to personally undermine me, largely put to an end by a very sensible NZ Council (which I remain grateful for), not to mention everyone witnessing Cunliffe’s treatment by his “colleagues”, I can’t help but chuckle a wee bit.

              After all, loyalty is earnt, not gifted.

    • Chooky 16.4

      @ red blooded

      ….from what I have heard of those working close to David Cunliffe with no axe to grind …they are very impressed with his team work…..so I think all this talk of him not being a team player is put out by the envious and the mediocre ‘wanna be’ or ‘has been’ competitors.

      It is very easy for the mediocre to slander someone and undermine them if they see them as a competitor and way more competent than they are ….this is how “shit floats to the top”

  17. Bigdog 17

    Thanks for that Weka.I must admit to being someone who put up and maintained signs for labour in99 to getting to the point of utter dispair with the whole thing.All I need to break out the hammer and saw is someone to come up with a plan, or vision that is inclusive,sustainable and not just national lite.NZ is becoming a mean nasty place(Mayby it always was) and Labour was the party of the people.The idea of the rank and file having a say in the new leader is a great idea,as long as the MSM don’t turn it into a circus.anyhow things couldn’t go on as they were ,so here’s a chance to get it right! Please.

  18. jaymam 18

    According to the people on Ipredict who put their money where their mouth is, at the moment it’s David Cunliffe for leader, by a long way. Grant Robertson is next, and let’s not bother even talking about anyone else.
    For deputy it’s Grant Robertson, with reasonable support for Jacinda Ardern. Note that nobody considers David Cunliffe will be deputy, at 1% and dropping.
    Of course the people betting real money might be rich right-wing pricks with an agenda, but why would they bother?

    Next Labour Leader
    David Cunliffe 66.1%
    Grant Robertson 31.0%
    Andrew Little 3.5%
    Jacinda Ardern 1.7%
    David Parker 1.7%
    Shane Jones 1.7%
    Megan Woods 0.0%
    Phil Goff 0.0%

    Next Labour Deputy Leader
    Grant Robertson 45.0%
    Jacinda Ardern 32.5%
    Andrew Little 10.0%
    Nanaia Mahuta 4.7%
    Shane Jones 3.0%
    David Parker 1.7%
    David Cunliffe 1.0%


    • Lanthanide 18.1

      I have a modest bit of cash in these stocks.

      • Pascal's bookie 18.1.1

        I can’t be arsed looking, but what was iPredict reckoning running up to Shearer quitting? Any movements?

        • Lanthanide

          On the night of the ‘letter incident’ it was trading at 90-95c, then dropped down to around 50c in the following days. I bought up a lot of stock at that time. It had been gradually trending downward since then, particularly with the Roy Morgan poll putting them ahead with the Greens and also with the foreign housing investment policy helped stabilize the price as well.

          Early on Thursday it was trading around 33c and the red ink was starting to mount up on my holdings, so I was thinking “hmm, I should probably buy some more of this” but was going to put it off to the weekend. Made about $100 off it.

    • Jenny 18.2

      I have my money on Little. I should get a big payout.

  19. Takere 19

    i-predicts part owners Matthew Hooten & FatBoy Farrar are impartial aye?? I wonder if they can run a poll on when the Labour party will be consumed by the Greens? 2015?

  20. pollywog 20

    Here’s my deal.

    If Cunliffe becomes leader. I’ll join the Labour party and then…:)

    • Colonial Viper 20.1


    • jaymam 20.2

      If Cunliffe becomes leader, with Robertson or Ardern as deputy, I’ll vote Labour again, unless tactical voting is necessary (which it usually is).
      I’m not sure if Ardern deserves to be deputy but she’ll be impressive on the billboards without the use of Photoshop, and if Labour wants the votes of thoughtless voters, that could be important. My impression is that Robertson is better than Ardern in parliament, but the party ranking is not really important in parliament.

      • billbrowne 20.2.1

        If Cunliffe becomes leader I will drag myself out of bed and vote party Labour.

        But the Little Scrot Hipkins can go jump

        • rosy

          +1 even elecorate vote Robertson as well, which was not how I was thinking a few days ago. I’ll be happy to see Robertson as Cunliffe’s deputy – or Adern.

      • Lanthanide 20.2.2

        I’d rather have someone who can do the job, not someone who looks like they can do the job.

        See also: Shearer.

    • Takere 20.3

      So I take it you won’t be joining the Labour party then? Haha!

  21. Toby 21

    It might be a silly question, but why don’t Grant and David openly do a deal now that after the vote they will endorse the other in the deputy vote? Have a really good show with Jacinda being a lead commenter and later openly number three. Have a primary with everyone being as choice as they are, or can be.
    I reckon this could be a rockin good three weeks.
    I think either one of them will turn policy into vision while also also making NZ wake up to what’s going on.

    go Grant 🙂
    The media will make him Lange in Clarke….it’s cool… they love Lange and Clarke.

    • Raine 21.1

      because what you’re suggesting is exactly what could be wrong with it. a “showdown” just for appearances and to give the people some semblance of a democratic vote. don’t get me wrong here .. i’m all for democracy … but i’m also all for not wasting time or money.

      whether you put this to a vote or stitch up a deal the result is still going to be the same. Cunliffe will be our next Leader. so we’d have to be total idiots to put ourselves through such a farce. can’t we learn from the last farce we just went through? or are we doomed to keep making the same mistakes over and over and keep hoping for a different result?

      • Colonial Viper 21.1.1

        Saving money is more important than saving democracy? Cool.

        You ever heard of that old saying? That it’s not enough for justice to be done…

        • Raine

          we’re on the same side colonial viper yet you’re more interested in trying to best me in a game of wits. i’m not interested in playing. good luck to you sir.

          • Colonial Viper

            Mr Raine.

            Salutations. I look forwards to sharing a beer with you in due course.

  22. Pete 22

    Can anybody actually articulate why much of the caucus find Cunliffe disagreeable? They say he’s ambitious, well you don’t just blunder your way into the Prime Ministership. Did he hurt Trevor’s feelings, once? Say something unflattering about bike shorts? Is it because he’s ginger? I just don’t get it.

    • Rhinocrates 22.1

      Don’t try to figure it out – you’ll only make your brain hurt. It’s pure jealousy and self-entitlement and there’s no more to think of beyond that.

      And that’s what’s so wrong and poisonous about the ABC club and why they should go for the sake of Labour and New Zealand.

      Mumblefuck, Goff, King, Mallard, Fenton, Curran, Robertson, Hipkins – just FUCK OFF. You’re only serving yourselves – maybe in our name but nonetheless at our expense.

      • Raine 22.1.1

        it hurts my head. he’s ambitious. and? arrogant. so?

        i really fail to see the problem here.

      • Bill 22.1.2

        But – but – Rhinocrates, Claire’s my champion! I know this because she told me (and however many other letter box owners) so. Right above a photo of her own good self on the mic at some rally or other was the following bold type heading: Your champion: Celebrating the diversity of Dunedin South.

      • geo 22.1.3

        I could not agree more.
        The call for unity from the ABC group leaves me dead in the water.
        I have been asking Darien Fenton who she will support in the new leadership contest,she refuses.
        Lets see whether self interest or sticking to past choices comes to the fore.
        My belief is self interest will rule.
        Time too GO.

    • Foreign Waka 22.2

      Tall poppy syndrome. Once you fall victim to it there is nothing you can do. Intellect is something you can’t undo unless you start drinking yourself to death. Its the backroom bullies at play and they are still there. Anyone really believes that this will stop?

  23. Raine 23

    it’s not a matter of if but “when” he becomes leader. if we really want Labour to succeed then we’re all going to have to do what they’re all going to have to do and put our personal differences aside for the good of the party.

    that means, bucking up and doing what we’re told! we all want and expect caucaus to do it but … can we do it too?

  24. chris73 24

    You’ll all be pleased to know I’ve had a change of heart and I now feel that Cunliffe should lead labour, this change is based on these factors:

    1, Hes ackshully held a proper job which gives him more experience than most of his collegues

    2. Most of of the caucus don’t seem like him and since most of them are tits on a bull this can only be a good thing

    3. He appears to have many of the same qualities of John Key ie intelligent, cunning, successful, excellent communication, total belief in abilities

    So there you go people can change 🙂

    • Rodel 24.1

      You forgot to mention the quality ‘integrity’..Oh sorry -you were talking about John Key.

    • Tracey 24.2

      “a proper job ”


      • chris73 24.2.1

        Not a union role or working for the govt…

        • fender

          ….so a soldier in the armed forces doesn’t have a “proper” job either?

          • Colonial Viper

            Hospital surgeons don’t have real jobs? High school principals looking after dozens of staff don’t have real jobs?

            It really is silly ideological nonsense isn’t it. Especially as the private sector has for many years now proven incapable or unwilling to create jobs itself.

            • fender

              ” silly ideological nonsense”


            • felix

              chris73 has been a very vocal supporter of the nz police on this site.

              It all rings a little hollow now that we know he doesn’t even think they have proper jobs.

        • Tracey

          why is working for a union not a proper job? Explain?

  25. CeeH 25

    Since David Shearer’s resignation, my heart has always been for Cunliffe to be Labour’s next new leader – but there were just a few niggly things I wasn’t sure about. The article by Karol “why I electorate vote Cunliffe”; Richard29’s response at 2.4 and JT on Radio Live, his comment regarding DC, totally sealed it for me. I liked David Shearer because he is a man of integrity, but he was no match for John Key in debate, Labour wasn’t gaining in the polls, and on policies, for me, he just wasn’t convincing. David Shearer might not have made a significant impact as a leader but having stepped down from his leadership he has earned a great deal of respect as having done a most humble and selfless deed and also having the wisdom and courage to do it. I agree that Labour will need to sort out its inside divisions, because a house divided against itself cannot stand. It’s what National has, unity, and The Green party also. I must say, the change for a new Labour leader has certainly ignited a flame of hope and enthusiasm among many. With the right leader this flame is sure to spread like wildfire. No reira – may wisdom be his path, and humility always his cloak.

  26. Colin 26

    By any measure Cunliffe would be a better leader than Robertson who is an ineffective local MP.Robertson has spent most of his time undermining Labour leaders or coming up with strategies that ensure Labour lose elections. Robertsons only skill, but an important one has been to manipulate his caucus colleagues.

    • Foreign Waka 26.1

      Absolutely, he is the Brutos in the mix and everybody seem to overlook this. Why?

    • Foreign Waka 26.2

      When Mr Cunliffe was chastised and sent to the backbenches he was made to put his head in shame for no proof accusations as this is the only thing the “old” guard could do. Its the model that served so well in the 70′ an 80′. As an outside person, all I saw was that a group of people realised that the party is sliding and did not want to loose more time. Impatience did not suit the occasion. If Mr Cunliffe would be voted as the new leader and accepts, meaning that he is still with “that” party, he is a better men than any of these wannabe’s that tried to derail him.

  27. Craig Y 27

    As a matter of interest, do people realise that while Robertson has a union background (PSA), Cunliffe doesn’t? Just saying. And is Cunliffe drier on economic policy settings than Robertson? Note that he has government administration qualifications from the Harcard Business School. Which, however, may make ideally suited to retake the shadow finance portfolio in this context.

    Craig Y

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      Do you know of any speeches or texts by Grant Robertson available online which explain his view of economic policy settings? It’s very hard to tell where he stands on that.

      • Skinny 27.1.1

        None that I can find CV. I know one thing, a Wellington based (HQ) Union doesn’t rate him(compared to DC) and that union is at all the LP meetings in Wellington. I have it in writing where their votes are likely to go and it North. So that tells me something!

      • Rhinocrates 27.1.2

        Oh that’s very easy: Beltway Grant stands for Beltway Grant. Never forget that.

  28. Populuxe1 28

    I really don’t understand, realpolitik, why anyone would want a factional bloodbath over the leadership this close to an election.

    • Lanthanide 28.1

      A bloodbath is what it’d be if it was all done away in backrooms and out of the public view.

      Doing it all in full view of the public is quite different.

    • Skinny 28.2

      There will be no blood bath, the Mp’s are finally being reined in by the membership. And there is fuck all they can do about it and they know it.

  29. Chooky 29

    From the perches:….us chooks reckon ideally it should be David Cunliffe as Leader and Jacinda Ardern as Deputy….


    1) David Cunliffe is obviously the best for Leader …and he has grassroots Labour support. (Grant Robertson did not do well in his electorate seat…hence lack of popular credibility and appeal)

    2.)Never forget 50% of the vote are women and many of them are young women in the workforce… well educated and sick of ‘old boys networks’…If Labour wants a viable future as a young dynamic party it needs to factor in the female vote…especially the young female vote.. like the Greens.( I am sure National will be thinking this way too…as are many Corporates )

    3.)If Grant Robertson has been a schemer and a ‘Brutus’ behind the scenes… then he is certainly not suited to the Deputy position behind Cunliffe…..he needs an important Ministerial position which utilises and recognises his talents, as does Andrew Little ( who very maturely stepped out of the leadership race today)

  30. gobsmacked 30

    So, Robertson is standing. There will be an election. Good.

    Meanwhile, TV news says “gay” about 200 times. Apparently that’s the only issue. FFS.

  31. tracey 31

    Robertson and his supporters are clever using the gay issue to get themselves front and centre on the news tonight. National imo always found it hard to criticise cullen cos he was actually doing things they would have done. His endorsement bothers me a little because of his conservative… right of left tendancies.

  32. peterquixote 32

    Big column many comments from politically aware people.
    I don’t think Cunliffe is particularly likeable.
    I know he is clever, ruthless, and can make a good speech.
    But will the public like him

  33. Chooky 33

    @ peterquixote

    YES….the public already like him ! …and they want him!

    ….Labour needs to win the next election and Cunliffe is the man to do it ( not Robertson or anyone else eg Shane Jones, Phil Goff)…

    …the rank and file Labour members like and want Cunliffe as leader !

    …..the only ones who don’t like Cunliffe are Nact !!!!! for obvious reasons…He will wipe them out!

    …”clever, ruthless, and can make a good speech” …is exactly what is needed for the Labour Party to beat John Key!

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