Fare well David Shearer

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, December 14th, 2016 - 51 comments
Categories: david shearer - Tags: ,

David Shearer is off to take charge of the UN’s mission in South Sudan. He made his valedictory statement to Parliament yesterday:

He ended by wishing his fellow parliamentarians well.

“And whoever wins next year, and no prizes for guessing who I’ll be backing, take care of my country for me and for God’s sake be bold.”

Well-liked, Shearer was given a standing ovation by both sides of the house.

51 comments on “Fare well David Shearer”

  1. Cinny 1

    All the best Sir, they are lucky to have you and I believe you will thrive and do so much good over there.

    Thank you for resigning for humanitarian reasons, to help a country whose suffering is worse than ours. Massive respect to you Sir and go well.

  2. greywarshark 2

    David Shearer being an MP here probably looked well on his CV. And he served Labour well during his time.

  3. Planet Earth 3

    and thanks for all the fish

  4. red-blooded 4

    Shearer is a good man and he got a hard time while he was leader. It’s great to know that he’ll continue to use his skills to work for others. Best wishes to him.

  5. weka 5

    I don’t suppose he apologised to Sickness and Invalid Beneficiaries in his speech?

    • Anne 5.1

      weka. That speech was not of his making. He was manoeuvred into making it by a former political adviser, and it was an example of his lack of political experience at that time. If we all held grudges against everyone who has ever made a mistake then we would be living in total isolation from one another.

      • adam 5.1.1

        Yeah, right. Anne

        So explain to me why was his electorate office was so appalling in it’s treatment of sickness and invalid beneficiaries? And as an office it barely improved in all his time as an MP?

      • james 5.1.2

        Anne, Should he not take accountability for his speech?

      • weka 5.1.3

        I don’t hold a grudge Anne, and I’d thank you not to reframe my politics on this as a grudge because it looks like an attempt to marginalise them.

        I don’t care who wrote Shearer’s speech or who manipulated it into being. He was the one with the institutional power then and now, he abused that. Even if he was naive or whatever back then, he could make amends now if he regrets his actions. I have yet to see anything from him that suggests he has changed his mind on that particular issue so I will have to assume he hasn’t.

        If it were just one speech on an isolated topic, fine. But it’s actually a core political issue in NZ. Successive govts in NZ have harmed some of the most vulnerable people in NZ. They’ve done so in the context of increasing culture of blame and shame and stigmatise, and the impact of that on people with illness and disability is not ok.

        It’s also part of an ongoing issue for Labour about those who can’t work due to disability. Little hints that he wants this to change, but I’m not holding my breath on this and will be convinced when I see something concrete. Shearer leaving was an opportunity missed.

        • Anne 5.1.3.1

          I’d thank you not to reframe my politics on this as a grudge because it looks like an attempt to marginalise them.

          You should be less sensitive weka. That comment of mine was clearly a general reference (I thought) and was not in any way expressed with any particular person in mind.

          I say it again:

          If we all held grudges against everyone who has ever made a mistake then we would be living in total isolation from one another.

          • weka 5.1.3.1.1

            Oh good, because that tells me now you are talking to everyone who has a problem with what Shearer has done, not just me. My point stands doubly. Our politics around disability cannot be marginalised in that way. It’s not a grudge. It’s an important analysis of the politics of being ill. Go on, tell me as someone with a disability that I’m being too sensitive.

            I note that you basically ignored all the political points I made and focussed on the meta one I made about marginalisation. Interesting given the context.

            • WILD KATIPO 5.1.3.1.1.1

              I didn’t like Shearer because he was just another Blairite neo liberal.

              We don’t need anymore in this small country. The damage they inflict is disproportional to their numbers.

              Good riddance. And he can take his privatized army notions with him as he leaves. I hope the door hits him hard on his way out.

              • Akldnut

                +100 WK

                I hope it smacks the bald spot on the back of his head and knocks a bit of socialism into him. IMO he was another one who could have easily slipped into the other team.

                • Muttonbird

                  Agree. He’s as weak as piss when it comes to holding the government to account. Can’t even criticise them without apologising for doing so first.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.2

      Hiya weka…could you please post some links about this issue…re; Shearer and Sickness and Invalid Beneficiaries? Genuine interest in this particular area of our history.

      • adam 5.2.1

        Bill from here wrote a great piece, and if you ask him nicely Rosemary McDonald he will give you the link. If he can find the link.

      • weka 5.2.2

        To the Back Teeth. And Beyond

        Cone of Silence?

        Roofpainter II: Son of the bride of the monster roof painter

        http://bat-bean-beam.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/the-man-on-roof.html

        http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2012/08/09/gordon-campbell-on-labours-recent-bout-of-mid-flight-turbulence/

        They’d probably make more sense if put into chronological order. Campbell’s one has a link to the actual speech to GreyPower I think.

        And let’s not forget that there was still a Sickness Benefit at the time, but the following year Bennett and co removed it. That’s important context.

        • Rosemary McDonald 5.2.2.1

          Thank you….the speech reads kinda like a speech made in Orewa some time ago. Pitch to the audience…and so well done Pagani and Co…!

          “I just don’t know what to say about those associated with Labour’s stance who have chosen silence as a tactic to defend the indefensible. I guess they must be too busy ‘getting out there’ and connecting with real people and their real concerns. Or something.”

          To the Back Teeth. And Beyond

          Pleading lack of political experience just won’t cut it Anne…no, no. no.

          How about the ‘personal responsibility’ Shearer is touting in his speech…or do we have to assume that all MPs, from whatever party, are merely spouting what their spin doctors tell them to?

          Do we really know who our politicians are?

          Do we?

          Thanks for the links weka….and yes I did read them all…including the gem from giovanni tiso…which provided me with this wee pearl from the 1998 National Party war against beneficiaries….

          Now, I’m going to exit what I have come to believe is a time warp/groundhog day thing.

          (As an afterthought, was the antipathy shown towards Shearer after this speech to do with the fact that it went further than the Grey Power event or the fact that he said it at all? It would seem to me that the current Labour Party still thinks that pitching to the battlers in the middle is going to gain them more ground than pitching to all of us who are desperate for grounds to hope for a change. Anyway…there’s a battle over some orthotic boots that needs waging and I can’t delay further.)

          • weka 5.2.2.1.1

            It was a good sign that so many people inherently understood what the issue was even if Shearer and too many in Labour didn’t.

            For me it’s akin (in quality if not scale*) to Clark’s haters and wreckers comment. It’s not about policy e.g. if Labour were centrist and wanted to set policy in such and such a way, that’s one thing, because it can be combatted easily politically. But both comments come from deeply troubling philosophical places, not just of the individual politicians and their parties, but for the whole country. Worse, Shearer was simply chasing fucking votes and happy to throw people with disabilities under a bus to do so, not just via policy but by actively promoting some of the worst characteristics of NZ culture (ditto Clark).

            *it’s important, it’s just that Shearer wasn’t.

        • adam 5.2.2.2

          You made me sad weka, I forgot just how much I liked reading Queen of Thorns posts.

          Such a great writer, sadly missed.

          • weka 5.2.2.2.1

            I know! I felt it was a treasure I had dug up. Might go back and have a read of some others.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    I agree with Martyn Bradbury on this. There was something opaque about Shearer. Something slightly untrustworthy, and something meh as well. He had no fight.

    Better off without him and this…

    Shearer was given a standing ovation by both sides of the house.

    …is testament to that.

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/12/14/goodbye-david-shearer-we-barely-knew-you/

    • Stunned Mullet 6.1

      “Shearer was given a standing ovation by both sides of the house.

      …is testament to that.”

      Yes because as everyone knows those on the other side of the house should spit and curse at their opponents and throw poos at every question time.

    • james 6.2

      It just shows that the”other” side of the house has some class.

      It may shock you – but they dont all hate each other just because of what party they belong to.

  7. Anne 7

    I first met David Shearer when he was at the beginning of his career in politics. He came across as a genuine, if rather shy person, who was above all else.. a gentleman. In some ways, perhaps too much of a gentleman for politics. During the bitter years of his leadership, it was sad to see so many people jump on the ‘lets knock him down’ bandwagon. As a strong supporter of David Cunliffe, it still hurt to see David being ripped to pieces for situations which I believe were not of his making. It is to his enormous credit he did not let it embitter him, and he moves on to a new leadership role within the UN.

    Go well David. You deserve this break and we look forward to welcoming you home one day as yet another international hero NZ will be proud to own and honour.

    • Anne 7.1

      A bit of ambiguity. I mean it hurt to… see David Shearer being ripped to pieces…

      • Tricledrown 7.1.1

        Shearer wasn’t the type of personality for the Dirty business of politics.
        Being anointed by a former leader is a kiss of Death in politics .
        Nice guys come second in politics.

        • swordfish 7.1.1.1

          “Nice guys come second in politics.”

          Yeah, same with Don Brash.

          This World was never meant for one as beautiful as Don.

  8. Brian 8

    All the best David!

  9. Sanctuary 9

    Shearer will be a cautionary tale on the neoliberal technocratic contempt of democracy and it’s subsequent underestimation of the skills required to be a successful politician. A good – nay, an excellent and dynamic – technocrat might not necessarily have the skill set required of a good politician. Shearer and his supporters assumed his fantastic skills as an organiser and Mr. fixit would immediately segue smoothly into the managerial politics of the status quo. Shearer fell foul of two things – first, the aforementioned underestimation of the need for a politician to have some political nous meant he was thrust into the top job far to quickly, and he discovered that ideological politics is much harder than he assumed and two, the GFC which almost overnight undermined the credibility of his style of third way neoliberal managerialist political leadership.

    Harold Macmillan, when asked what he feared the most, replied “events old boy, events!” Politics is about timing, timing is affected by events, and in politics profiting from the combination of timing and events often involves a great deal of luck and not a little opportunism. Had Shearer come to parliament in 1999, he’d probably have been a great politican in the style of the time and even leader post-Clark. Instead, his historical timing was wrong and he became the wrong man at the wrong time.

    I wish him the best of luck in his new role. He has the potential to do a great deal of good in it. History and events were not his friend in NZ politics, lets hope he can catch a friendly break from them in Sudan.

    • Anne 9.1

      Thanks Sanctuary. I agree with you except I don’t think he was so much a hardened neoliberal ideologue but rather someone who was being poorly advised. Due to his lack of experience he surrounded himself with the wrong people. Eg. John Pagani of Blairite fame.

      He certainly doesn’t deserve the bitter, twisted vitriole that some here – and elsewhere – are throwing at him and Labour. It says more about them than it does the current Labour Party.

      • rhinocrates 9.1.1

        “If only the Tsar knew…”

      • Jenny Kirk 9.1.2

        Yes, Anne, Shearer was poorly advised, but he chose to be advised by those people – he surrounded himself with them, and no-one else could get near him when he was Leader to suggest he was going down the wrong path.

        • Anne 9.1.2.1

          Yes, Anne, Shearer was poorly advised, but he chose to be advised by those people…

          Agreed Jenny Kirk but on whose advice did he choose them? Therein lay the problem. The light blue neo-libs of the day were advising him. The same ones who were mainly responsible for bringing him back to NZ after many years away from the country. You and I both know who they were, and with his lack of recent knowledge of NZ politics he was putty in their hands. That is why I had/have some sympathy for him even though I was one of the party members who was opposed to his selection.

          • the pigman 9.1.2.1.1

            I appreciate your generosity Anne, but I think it’s time to take off the rose-tinted glasses when it comes to David Shearer. Forget his poorly advised leadership, and remember his digs at Cunliffe directly after the 2014 election and his more recent threats to cross the floor to pass TPPA-enabling legislation.

            Do you think they were in the best interests of the NZLP?

            David Shearer was trouble from the start. A third-way Blairite who chose to humanise himself by saying he’d throw mango skins to the poor kids from the back of a UN truck.

            Who got stuck into sickness beneficiaries and was thus an enabler of the cancellation of the sickness benefit the following year.

            The trouble is, when you look at someone through rose-tinted glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.

            A terrible blight on the NZLP post-Clark. Gone but not forgotten (nor should he be). Let us not make the same mistakes again.

            • Anne 9.1.2.1.1.1

              … to humanise himself by saying he’d throw mango skins to the poor kids from the back of a UN truck.

              That isn’t strictly correct the pigman. Yes, he threw mango skins off the back of a truck. But he was horrified to discover children were grabbing them and eating them. He guessed it was probably the only thing they had to eat all day. It was the moment he was galvanized to become involved in humanatarian work involving children.

              Whilst he had other failings, he should at the least be commended for the work he has already done in war torn countries, and the responsibilities he is about to take up in Southern Sudan.

              • the pigman

                Fair call Anne, the mango comment was misconstrued… but why make it in the first place? It’s a brutal and depressing image from which to build an image of heroism.

                I guess I resent the fact that he was parachuted into Helen Clark’s seat and then the leadership without him first connecting with the wider party. It might work have worked for the Nats and Keys, but the Left in general is a more cynical space.

                • Anne

                  As far as I can ascertain, he reiterated the story in his valedictory speech because it happened in Sudan and he’s going back there. If I’m correct then you could say it has relevance to the reason for his departure from politics.

                  And btw, I confess I initially resented the fact he was parachuted in to Mt. Albert. I had very close ties with the electorate going back to my childhood. My father was a friend of the former MP, Warren Freer who died a few years ago at the ripe old age of 92.

        • Karen 9.1.2.2

          “he chose to be advised by those people”

          Exactly right Jenny. He never apologised for that bit of beneficiary bashing and as a result I am glad he’s off to his new post. I wish him luck in that role, for which I think he is well qualified but I don’t buy the “not really a Blairite line”. He also backed the TPPA .

    • AB 9.2

      Sanctuary – yes you describe what I have always felt about Shearer. A decent man with good underlying values and most likely a sort of physical courage most of us lack. But somehow all that worthiness didn’t cohere into a consistent political philosophy that would guide his thinking on an issue. So he seemed a bit all over the shop.
      And probably a guy who was very effective one on one, but lacking the rhetorical flourishes and verbal wit of someone like Winston so not suited to the political game.
      Combine those two things and sometimes it was a bit of a mess.

      Could have made a really good minister (foreign affairs, education) but not really a prime minister.

  10. saveNZ 10

    Shearer was in the wrong party. Worse his views actually stop progress on civil liberties and human rights, while holding back Labour with ideas like capital gains taxes and decreasing superannuation benefits which tax the middle (one of the fastest growing group for inequality) and cost Labour the election. That was the schizophrenic Labour approach that was jettisoning support.

    I’m all for taxation by the way, but I don’t hear Shearer talking about taxing where the real money is in the 21st century, and that is on paper being money laundered around the world by the 1% and the most profitable multinational businesses. In fact he made a joke about his ‘New York’ bank account. Funny but probably true as well. He and Key can now joke about their blind trusts and what a great contribution globalism makes when the Sudanese has access to work as a banana picker for a multinational as their country is sold from under them, but jobs, jobs, jobs, GDP oh boy oh boy. Cultural colonisation get a mention.

    Shearer seemed to love the idea of unlimited migration, but never reconciled that huge increase in artificial population as correlating to increased house prices, low wages and conditions, slavery, increased demand on already stretched services and worsening poverty. Just another inconvenient truth I guess.

    This religious belief in the free market, free trade and globalism but inability and unwillingness to mitigate the negative effects. Including penalising the middle class taxpayers into paying for it further to bail out both the poor and corporates (under the ISDS clauses), while the Kleptocrats and Plutocrats sit above spying benevolently (or not) . What a world view!

    It’s no surprise to me that voters don’t share that vision anymore. Brexit and Trump might be misaimed missiles but I guess the voters were just trying to get someones attention when they could not afford the $50,000 charity benefit.

    I totally agree with Bomber’s http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/12/14/goodbye-david-shearer-we-barely-knew-you/#comment-362750 assessment of confused thinking .

    It is no wonder he got a top job in the UN – talking and not doing, talking the talk but behind the scenes being an inside man of Washington and doing the opposite.

    Good bye Shearer, sometimes the most dangerous people are the nice guys who have the blind ideologies. And Labour luckily are finally getting rid of them.

    • seeker 10.1

      @savenz 11.28am
      Agree. I am glad, especially for Labour, that he has gone, and gone back to doing what he apparently does best.

  11. rhinocrates 11

    Bah humbug!

    Don’t let the door catch your arse on the way out.

    Goff’s gone, Cosgrove’s going, now Mumblefuck’s out.

    This careerist arsehole insults and shits on the poor for short-term political advantage, supports TPPA and thinks Labour should move even further right.

    Maybe in Sudan he can use his amazing psychic ability to remotely diagnose illness better than any doctor.

    “And whoever wins next year, and no prizes for guessing who I’ll be backing.”

    Blinglish?

  12. tc 12

    Bye, be great if you could take the other light blues like mallard and nash with you.

    • weka 12.1

      reading you and rhinocrates, maybe someone should put up a post about who should leave Labour next, a kind of Standardistas wishlist 😉

  13. Peroxide Blonde 13

    And so ended the least fertile period of Labour NZ’s history….we hope and pray.

    The Labour years since Helen’s exit have been woeful. Annette King has been a common factor in all the leadership configurations throughout. I fear that we need her exit, and that of her protege Robertson, before the party get fully back on track.

    The vainglorious Shearer was a willing, if naive, bit player.

  14. Peter Swift 14

    Bye Mumblefuck. You were mostly sh1t, but sometimes you were just a bit of a sad crap, so well done for that.

    • garibaldi 14.1

      I agree PS. Shearer was totally out of his depth as a leader (but he did work hard to get the title “mumblefuck”). He went on to prove he should have been in the Natz. So , yeah, good riddance to a hindrance.

  15. millsy 15

    We have to give the guy credit for NZ Power, if nothing else.

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