web analytics

ImperatorFish: The Labour Leadership Indecision

Written By: - Date published: 3:43 pm, December 12th, 2011 - 10 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david shearer, labour - Tags:

Scott at Imperator Fish has kindly given us permission to syndicate posts from his blog – the original of this post is here

—————————-

The Labour Leadership Indecision

So I went along to the Labour Party leadership debate/discussion today in order to make up my mind.

It didn’t work. I’m still an undecided non-voter.

The issue for me is one of presentation. I am convinced that both Shearer and Cunliffe are, by and large, politically in about the same place. I don’t see the leadership campaign as a left versus right battle, and the issues they spoke about during the meeting made it abundantly clear to me that they want the same things and want to take the party in much the same direction.

So it comes down to this: is the best leader going to be the superb communicator who can cast a spell over an audience during a speech and who has a grasp of policy detail? Or will he be the guy who is less polished but has spent his life living Labour’s values?

To connect with the disaffected voters who turned from Labour in their thousands do we need a great orator who can savage the government in the House, or do we need someone with a compelling life-story who provides a stark contrast to the money-trader who made millions on the financial markets?

Cunliffe’s almost Obama-like style of oratory will have appealed to many in the audience today. There were even the hoots and cheers from his supporters that you would expect from a US Presidential campaign. Shearer, by contrast, was down-to-earth, and for some will have presented as an agreeable alternative to the hype and noise of Cunliffe and his supporters. Shearer exudes a genuine humility that some say will make him a potent force against the Flash Harry currently in charge of the country. Others, however, think someone with a bit more “mongrel” is needed to match John Key.

Well I don’t get to vote, which is probably a good thing. I don’t see how anyone can be totally convinced one way or the other about who is the best candidate. Each man is a gamble, because he has obvious strengths and weaknesses. Neither man is the complete package, but then who in a leadership role ever is?

A quick comment on the deputy leadership contest. I have not heard Nanaia Mahuta speak before, but she impressed. Grant Robertson was also a compelling speaker, and he is unquestionably a future star. I’m not sure if either is ready for the role yet, but in the case of Mahuta that’s because I haven’t seen enough of her.

Putting aside the question of who the right candidate is, what strikes me about the leadership contest is how the party has opened up and listened to criticism. At the meeting there wasn’t too much blaming of the usual suspects (e.g. the media, public stupidity, others on the left, etc etc), and all of the leadership candidates seem to understand that the party has failed to explain to the public why they should give Labour their vote. It feels like any lingering complacency from the Clark years is disappearing.

Finally, a prediction. I don’t have any inside knowledge, and I haven’t heard any whispers from within the caucus. But while I can’t personally choose between the two Davids, I suspect Shearer will win it by a couple of votes. Note: this is not a confident prediction, so don’t hold it against me if the other David wins.

10 comments on “ImperatorFish: The Labour Leadership Indecision ”

  1. As an LP outsider on the far left I don’t find Imperator Fish adds anything to this debate. If he thinks its about presentation then IF is a idiot. All form and no substance. I understand that Cunliffe is the only one to call for all Labour members to vote for the leader next time round. If I was a member I would make that single fact the deciding factor if he didnt already have enough going for him such as pairing up with Nanai and actually being able to articulate concrete policy in a way that I know where Labour stands. As for the Shearer backstory, I’m glad that he dodged bullets though I know from the days of sneaking into the matinees while on leave from sports afternoons that by definition heroes dodge bullets.

  2. Undecider 2

    I must admit I went into the meeting down in Christchurch as a Shearer supporter. I walked out undecided. We’re really spoilt for choice. I am swaying between Cunliffes communication skills and Shearers down-to-earth Key contrast character. Although Cunliffe talked about a great vision, Shearer talked about listening and challenging, aswell as using real life examples.

    I have hopes that if Shearer gets in Cunliffe would be willing to put hurt feelings aside and be his deputy. Shearer needs a sharp onto it economic advisor during the coming years who can debrief him.

  3. dancerwaitakere 3

    Cunliffe and Mahuta have clearly won every meeting, it is obvious to most that attended, they’re ready and there is an overwhelming and clear demand from party membership for them to lead the party.

    I hope that the MP’s that we, the membership who put the MPs in their positions, are listened to.

  4. Salsy 4

    For me I too started out 100% pro Cunliffe. However, after some thinking and reading I began to worry that so many of us are focussing on who can beat Key, not who has the skills to pull the country together in a time of immense uncertainty. We have looming, potential catasrophic climate change, peak oil and the social changes this will bring. I dont see this as all arriving tomorrow, but some of it will well be on the wind by 2014. Whatever happens should be for the good of New Zealand, not just a response to Nationals current corporate brand, or a life support for old Labour egos.

    • neoleftie 4.1

      That salsy is echoed by more and more people i talk too..we need a left movement that unites the many, that can connect to the many and provide real and meaningful solutions to the ever pressing needs of the many. We need a leader to bring forward change and help…too many people are struggling and many many more will join their ranks over the next three years.
      We need a good leader to bring unity and strength to the party, to its members and bring forward real and meaningful challenge to the incumbent tory machine that is embedded in ur society.

    • dancerwaitakere 4.2

      The reality is that Helen Clark united the party because she COULD win and DID win.

      Cunliffe CAN and WILL beat Key, these ‘unpopular with the caucus’ whispers will be gone once people realise that they will be sitting on the Government benches once more. It worked a treat with Helen.

  5. hush minx 5

    I agree dancerwaitakere – Helen Clark led her greatest critics to achieve what I would suggest are their career highlights. Cunliffe can do the same, esp with a motivated deputy beside him, and an invigorated party which has a voice.

    • dancerwaitakere 5.1

      Absolutely hush minx!

      • seeker 5.1.1

        hush minx 8.26pm and dance waitakere- 818pm- agree totally and love the endorsing words of Paul Saarbo below. Hope I can sleep peacefully now so I am ready for the outcome tomorrow.
        May have to be strong enough to change allegiance. Hope I don’t have to.

  6. Paul Saarbo 6

    I worked with David Cunliffe in 1997 when he was working for BCG (an assignment for Fletcher Paper). I have no doubt that he has the intellect to get this country moving in the right direction. He needs to be given a chance to be NZ’s Prime Minister, John Key simply doesn’t compare.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    5 days ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    7 days ago
  • Happy new year, Aotearoa!
    Welcome to 2022! As we look ahead to another year of progress on the big issues facing our country, we’re taking a look back at the year that’s been and everything the team of five million achieved together in 2021. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New Zealand prepared to send support to Tonga
    New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Planting the seeds for rewarding careers
    A boost in funding for a number of Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury will provide sustainable employment opportunities for more than 70 people, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The six projects are diverse, ranging from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand congratulates Tonga's new Prime Minister on appointment
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Hon Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni on being appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga have an enduring bond and the Kingdom is one of our closest neighbours in the Pacific. We look forward to working with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High-tech investment extends drought forecasting for farmers and growers
    The Government is investing in the development of a new forecasting tool that makes full use of innovative climate modelling to help farmers and growers prepare for dry conditions, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.  The new approach, which will cost $200,000 and is being jointly funded through the Ministry for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for fire-hit Waiharara community
    The government will contribute $20,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support those most affected by the fires in Waiharara in the Far North, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “I have spoken to Far North Mayor John Carter about the effect the fires continue to have, on residents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Manawatū’s ‘oases of nature’ receive conservation boost
    The Government is throwing its support behind projects aimed at restoring a cluster of eco-islands and habitats in the Manawatū which were once home to kiwi and whio. “The projects, which stretch from the Ruahine Ranges to the Horowhenua coastline, will build on conservation efforts already underway and contribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to continue Solomon Islands support
    A New Zealand Defence Force and Police deployment to help restore peace and stability to Solomon Islands is being scaled down and extended. The initial deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots and looting in capital Honiara late last month. They joined personnel from Australia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Our Pacific community shares in New Year’s Honours
    Prominent Pacific health champion Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours list. Professor Sopoaga has been a champion for Pacific Health at Otago University, said Minister of Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “She’s overseen changes in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Congratulations to Māori New Year’s Honours stars of 2022
    Kei aku rangatira kua whakawhiwhia koutou ki ngā tohu ā tō tātou kuīni hei whakanui nui i ā koutou mahi rangatira i hāpai i te manotini puta noa i a Aotearoa. Ko koutou ngā tino tauira. I whanake i ngā hapori, iwi, hapū, whānau me te motu anō hoki. Mauri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Top honours for women in sport
    Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson has congratulated Olympian Lisa Carrington and Paralympian Sophie Pascoe on being made Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) in the 2022 New Year Honours. Lisa Carrington is New Zealand’s most successful Olympian, having won five gold and one bronze ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates 2022 New Year Honours recipients
    The New Zealanders recognised in the New Year 2022 Honours List represent the determination and service exemplified by so many New Zealanders during what has been another tough year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “I never fail to be amazed by the outstanding things ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago