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

  • Battle of Ohaeawai remembered
    A memorial event at a key battle site in the New Zealand land wars is an important event to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown as we head towards Waitangi Day, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said. The Battle of Ohaeawai in June 1845 saw ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • More Police deployed to the frontline
    More Police officers are being deployed to the frontline with the graduation of 54 new constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. The graduation ceremony for Recruit Wing 362 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua was the first official event for Stuart Nash since his reappointment as Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Further support for upper North Island regions hit by significant weather
    The Government is unlocking an additional $700,000 in support for regions that have been badly hit by the recent flooding and storm damage in the upper North Island. “We’re supporting the response and recovery of Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Northland, and Bay of Plenty regions, through activating Enhanced Taskforce Green to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • The Princess Royal to visit New Zealand
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will visit New Zealand this month. “Princess Anne is travelling to Aotearoa at the request of the NZ Army’s Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, of which she is Colonel in Chief, to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade and Agriculture Minister to attend World Economic Forum and Global Forum for Food and Agricult...
    The Government is maintaining its strong trade focus in 2023 with Trade and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visiting Europe this week to discuss the role of agricultural trade in climate change and food security, WTO reform and New Zealand agricultural innovation. Damien O’Connor will travel tomorrow to Switzerland to attend the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government funding relief for flood-affected Wairarapa farmers and growers
    The Government has extended its medium-scale classification of Cyclone Hale to the Wairarapa after assessing storm damage to the eastern coastline of the region. “We’re making up to $80,000 available to the East Coast Rural Support Trust to help farmers and growers recover from the significant damage in the region,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago