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For a February leadership vote

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, January 25th, 2013 - 153 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

No one in Labour can deny there’s a real issue with internal disunity. Not only is the caucus divided (and more than ever since the Shearer camp’s handling of the conference fallout), but there’s a major breach between the membership and the caucus. Unless this is fixed and we can get the party united we’re looking at another term in opposition after 2014.

The cause of the breach is widely known – members felt their voice was ignored when a group of MPs centred around Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson, Phil Goff and Annette King went over the heads of the membership by putting a well-meaning but clearly out of his depth David Shearer into the leadership to shore up their own positions. The fact that Shearer’s failed to fire in the year he’s had in the job hasn’t exactly helped things either.

These problems haven’t gone away, and in fact they’ve got worse as the polls have flat-lined and elements of caucus have grown increasingly intolerant of dissent from within the party.

Increasingly, people are coming to the view that the only way to heal this rift and unify the party is for caucus to take the leadership issue out to the membership this February so we can put it to bed once and for all. That’s what the conference was about. We wanted to make sure we were never ignored again. Indeed, the specific vote to hold a special caucus vote using the 40% trigger this February was designed to ensure the membership finally got a say on the current leadership – either to endorse David Shearer properly or to put in place an alternative who had a real mandate.

We simply want our right to vote, and whatever the outcome is I believe that will settle it. For David Shearer there is a genuine risk here, that can’t be denied. If the vote did go ahead he’d have to show he has what it takes to win in 2014, which is only fair. It’s possible he might face challengers – it’s long been rumoured that Robertson is sharpening the knives behind his back, and it’s possible that Andrew Little would have a tilt. We also can’t rule out there being pressure from elements in the party for David Cunliffe to stand, despite his reluctance.

But in reality, if Shearer could show he was willing to give members a say by putting his leadership up for endorsement then I think he’d be rewarded for that and would likely emerge even stronger at the head of a united party. What loyal party member could not swing in behind his leadership if he’d been elected fairly by the caucus, the membership and the affiliates in a transparent and democratic process?

It seems clear from Shearer’s statements that his Wellington advisers will be telling him to push on through, ignore the party and pretend the conference never happened. But I’d like to think Labour MPs with conscience would remember that an undemocratic and unaccountable party is a weak party. As any good social democrat knows,  democracy makes us stronger and more united – and that’s exactly what Labour needs at the moment.

153 comments on “For a February leadership vote”

  1. One Tāne Huna 1

    Thank you, Zet, for expressing this so well.

    I think you are absolutely right.

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      It’s little more than a hopelessly transparent attempt to keep the incursion running. The only conclusion that can be taken is that Cunliffe’s promise ‘not to run in February’ and his pledge of ‘support’ for Shearer are simply tactics, while the undermining and phoney war from Team C continues. At least that is how it seems to be being seen by those in the know.

      • One Tāne Huna 1.1.1

        Um, citation needed. As Karol said “Is there a direct, on-camera quote from Cunliffe?”

        Cunliffe has been quoted as saying he “is not” interested in the leadership position.

        “I’ve already stated a number of times he has my full support.

        “I am not challenging David Shearer.”

        Am not. Present tense.

        Would he be if caucus sends the leadership matter to a wider vote? Or have you got that direct on-camera confirmation?

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.2

        while the undermining and phoney war from Team C continues.

        Tom Gould, the phoney war has been driven from just one corner – the ABCs. They saw an opportunity to take out a potential future rival under pretence and did so clinically and effectively.

        • mickysavage 1.1.2.1

          Agreed CV.

          Besides it is not up to Cunliffe whether or not there is a leadership contest in February. It is up to the members of caucus. If enough of them are dissatisfied then a contest will occur.

          And I agree with Zet. This is a perfect opportunity to clear the air and get on with things. If Shearer then wins he can stand with the confidence of having the endorsement of the party. And hopefully he can then unite the caucus in a way that Helen Clark did.

          • Enough is Enough 1.1.2.1.1

            Dead Right Savage

            How can Shearer and his ABC masters hope to get the party excited and working for them in 2014 if they ignore the loud and clear calls to put the leadership question to the wider party?

            If Shearer hopes to win next year he needs us to knock on doors for him, raise money for him, put up hoardings for him etc etc. Yet he is ignoring us now. The arrogance is breath taking.

            I will be door knocking in 2014 and raising money for the left. But at this stage it will be for the Greens.

          • King Kong 1.1.2.1.2

            Hang on a minute. No other leader of the Labour party leader, ever (as far as I am aware) has been required to get “the endorsement of the membership in a show of hands” in order to get the support of the party. So why is it that now no one can support Shearer unless he throws himself up for judgement in some kind of “Labour’s got talent” sideshow.

            Yes I know that the party leadsership selection rules have changed but surely this was intended in the spirit of a better process for selecting a new leader in the event of the old one stands down not some kind of tool to undermine confidence in the incumbant (or is that exactly what Cunliffe and his cronies wanted?)

            [lprent: So much more effective when you argue a point of view rather than just sniping. Keep it up. ]

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1.2.1

              So why is it that now no one can support Shearer unless he throws himself up for judgement in some kind of “Labour’s got talent” sideshow.

              Yep. At Conference the membership indicated pretty clearly that it wanted a direct say.

              • King Kong

                Bollocks. As blind as you Cunliffe acolytes are, the spirit of what the membership supported was more say in leadership selections not a referendum on the current regime.

                • Colonial Viper

                  All hail King Kong telepathically tuning into the wishes of the Labour Membership lol

          • Colonial Weka 1.1.2.1.3

            ” This is a perfect opportunity to clear the air and get on with things. If Shearer then wins he can stand with the confidence of having the endorsement of the party”

            Ok, it makes me nervous every time someone says this. That might be true if the ABCs play fair, but I’m assuming that before the caucus vote the hard word will be put on MPs like it was at the conference. Why are people assuming that good process is going to be followed now?

            Then there is the matter of the wider issue of the Labour party separate from Shearer. Will all members really be satisfied with a leader who continues along the neoliberal path? Will the standardistas? I can’t see it myself. What I see is Shearer retaining leadership, and ts commenters continuing to criticise him and other ts commenters crying foul because they were promised this would all go away if only Shearer’s leadership was put to the vote.

    • the sprout 1.2

      Well said Zet.
      If the caucus puts the leadership to the membership and affiliates, there will be a unified party to campaign in 2014. If not, the shitfighting will only get worse and worse, and will end badly.
      Caucus members, its your call: Democracy and unity or toxicity and defeat?

  2. Mighty Kites 2

    Stop acting like you represent the wider membership. You don’t represent me, in fact you are what’s wrong with the party, and what’s stopping it from moving forward

    • Olwyn 2.1

      If you are a Labour Party member, then a vote would allow you to affirm your own favoured candidate, Mighty Kites. I don’t see what you problem is.

    • The Al1en 2.2

      “you are what’s wrong with the party, and what’s stopping it from moving forward”

      Yep, completely his fault Labour can’t poll higher than the low 30s.

    • One Tāne Huna 2.3

      Mighty Kites, hysterical much? How, exactly, has Zetetic “stopped the party moving forward”?

    • Bill 2.4

      Y’know, if that comment had been addressed to an aloof clique within caucus driven by people apparently solely concerned with their own preservation, I’d have been in full agreements with the sentiments expressed.

    • Colonial Viper 2.5

      You think that giving the party membership a voice is what is holding Labour back? Says a lot for the kind of Labour you want, doesn’t it?

    • BM 2.6

      Hopefully the dissenters move on to the greens or mana, I’m sure they’d feel much more at home there.
      Labour is a centre party which leans a bit to the left, accept that or go elsewhere.

      • One Tāne Huna 2.6.1

        Yes, because your opinion on this matter is so relevant. No, wait…

        • BM 2.6.1.1

          My opinion carries just as much weight as yours.
          Bet that chaffs your balls something chronic.

          [lprent: I’m sure someone will eventually bring it up – but are you a Labour party member? If you are not, then it does not. So join… ]

    • Enough is Enough 2.7

      Mighty Kites you Lunatic…what is it you actually want though.

      An undemocratic party like the National Party where there is no real memebership to speak of. Selection depends on how matey you are with the Business Roundtable and how big your wallet is.

  3. Te Reo Putake 3

    Would have been a great post prior to the conference, Zet, but as the issue has been settled it’s totally moot. Happily there is no issue with unity in the party, there is no significant breach between the leadership and membership and certainly the majority of members seem content to see how Shearer develops as leader. Caucus is less divided too, as the MP’s have swung behind Shearer after the Cunliffe challenge was snuffed out.

    With the polls confirming Nationals decline and the imminent end of two of its support parties, the tide is turning toward a Labour/Green government. The real question is how will Shearer go in the campaign and how big a majority he can win for the left. Following that, the question will be how good a PM will he be? So far he seems to be showing the right sort of instincts; he has succesfully seen off his only open challenger, overseen a historic democratising conference and gone on the front foot with a bold housing policy.

    There will be another conference if the leadership vote situation needs fine tuning, but for now, the matter is settled.

    Hopefully this will be the last dreamy post on what might have been and we can now move into the policy debate. Because its not who leads the Government that matters, its the policy that makes the difference,

    • One Tāne Huna 3.1

      Still trying to pre-empt the outcome of the up-coming caucus vote (the one that actually counts, not the little show-trial after conference), TRP? What are you afraid of?

      • Te Reo Putake 3.1.1

        What am I afraid of? In a general sense, nothing. Specific to caucus? Nothing.

        Blind Freddy could see that the caucus vote is going to endorse Shearer. And that’s the end of the matter. The other issue of party democracy can be raised again, of course. And it certainly can always be improved; doing away with the daft 60% plus one endorsement in caucus would be a good start. So would opening up the leadership to a tri-party vote once every term (say immediately after an election or if a leader steps down).

        But that’s for next conference to debate. I’m way too excited about seeing off National and bringing in a progressive Government to be bothered with that academic stuff now.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      “but as the issue has been settled it’s totally moot. ”

      Sorry, when was it settled?

      • Te Reo Putake 3.2.1

        The day after conference.

        • Lanthanide 3.2.1.1

          I wasn’t aware there was a membership vote on the leadership on the day after conference. Maybe my memory is failing me.

          • Daveo 3.2.1.1.1

            Quite possible, Lanth. Memory is a tricky thing and you certainly appear to have forgetten that there wasn’t a leadership vote of the kind you describe because the constitution doesn’t allow for it. Maybe at the next conference, the rules will be changed, but for now we are stuck with the democratic process the Cunliffe supporters wanted.

            • Lanthanide 3.2.1.1.1.1

              No, I didn’t forget that.

              It was Te Reo Putake claiming the matter has been settled by a leadership vote amongst the wider party membership, which is the topic of the post that Zetetic made and what Te Reo Putake replied to.

              • Te Reo Putake

                I never claimed that, Lanth. You claimed I claimed it, but that’s not the same thing.

                • Lanthanide

                  Zet’s post is primarily calling for a membership vote on the leadership. You said the issue is settled – but it isn’t, because we haven’t had a membership vote on the leadership.

    • ad 3.3

      Any posting about leadership or David Shearer’s performance regularly gets 200+ posts on this site, which is pretty odd for a “settled” matter.

      This site can fairly claim to represent Labour’s online membership. And the matter clearly ain’t settled here.

      Until there is a suite of policy to defend (and a 2008 PDF doesn’t cut it) coupled with powerful political salesmen to collectively shift the polls, policy itself won’t make the vital difference. The Labour Leader must unite the Labour caucus and the Labour membership together into the Labour Party. Ignoring the divisions will only make a relationship worse.

      It would take one simple, generous act on David Shearer’s behalf to unite New Zealand’s progressives together. If that’s not a leadership vote, or a stirring speech, or setting the political agenda for the year, then we have not a leadership but just another sustained political neurosis.

      • McFlock 3.3.1

        nah, it’s just because 5 people from either side (including me) are like a dog with a bone. Who the hell knows whether anyone in the wider party cares one way or t’other? The only real indicator (other than an election that maybe the membership doesn’t particularly want) would be if Labour party membership was similar to the Maori party’s.

    • Colonial Viper 3.4

      Happily there is no issue with unity in the party

      LOL *choke*

    • Benghazi 3.5

      Jeez Wayne give it a break. Just because you say there is no problem does not mean that is so. If the Pagani PR advice is to keep repeating the same lines till you are blue in the face, then mate you’ve gone purple.

      The problem started in December 2011 when a leadership campaign was set up, but the wider membership views ignored. A dangerous process to set in motion, but it was. And now there is no denying the members and affiliates a voice. You might think their voice ‘unreasonable’, but they are not going to be silenced by your inane repetition.

      • Te Reo Putake 3.5.1

        I’m not a Pagani. Mind you, I’ve met both John and Josie and they are lovely people. Remarkably, they don’t have a hive mind and they seem to be adults with opinions of their own. Ever so slightly sexist to keep referring to them as a single entity, don’t you reckon?

        At conference, the wider membership views were taken into account, hence the constitutional changes (which I voted for, BTW). If you don’t like democracy, tough!

        • Benghazi 3.5.1.1

          Its not sexist to refer to “advice” in that way.

          Do you think its credible to say you’ve ‘met’ them implying something much less frequent when you are so clearly taking feed on what lines to use on this site. Some weeks the exact words you use on this site are the same words we hear in Wellington from the King/Mallard cabal. Efficient briefing chanel, but briefed lines nonetheless.

          I like democracy where we all get a vote. I think there is a malignant group within caucus and the vote is the only way to sort this out. Try to gloss over the top and this will fester.

          • Te Reo Putake 3.5.1.1.1

            It’s not the advice that’s sexist, Benny boy, its the treatment of two individuals as if they were one person. Not just you, btw, it was an issue last year when Josie copped flak for things her husband said (or more accurately, was assumed to have said).

            As for your second para: can I just say you are talking a screaming heap of excrement? For one, John no longer works for the party. Josie never did (except as a candidate and there’s no income in doing that job – just the opposite). They don’t work together and never have as far as I know. Has it ever occurred to you that it might be me that gives them advice? Lord knows I’m on the money most of the time, even if some people don’t like hearing it!

            Now for the fun part:

            “Some weeks the exact words you use on this site are the same words we hear in Wellington from the King/Mallard cabal.”

            If they are the exact words, then you will have no problem providing the cites, will you? C’mon, doofus, pony up or shut up.

            • QoT 3.5.1.1.1.1

              TRP, all Benghazi said was “the Pagani PR advice”. You’re the only person who’s choosing to read that as being a criticism/conflation of both Josie and John Pagani.

              It’s an interesting criticism to discuss when it’s actually happening, but under these circumstances? Reeks just a little bit of desperate derailing.

              • Te Reo Putake

                Yeah, quite right, QoT. If I incorrectly assumed Benghazi was conflating the two, my bad.

        • muzza 3.5.1.2

          I’ve met both John and Josie and they are lovely people.

          Which made you feel special, and because of your sycophantic attitude for the LP, you were *star struck*, and hardly in a position to render an objective personality analysis!

          Remarkably, they don’t have a hive mind and they seem to be adults with opinions of their own.?

          See the point above about being *star struck*

          Ever so slightly sexist to keep referring to them as a single entity, don’t you reckon?

          Only to someone whose mind is easily distracted!

          At conference, the wider membership views were taken into account, hence the constitutional changes (which I voted for, BTW). If you don’t like democracy, tough!?

          It’s a joke how you think that *democracy* is good enough, based on how you have welded your, self worth to it, then have the gaul, to use the word *tough* , when someone questions it, as you take the questioning as a personal affront!

          Again, its people with attitudes such as yours, which are the biggest barrier to forward progress one could ever have wished to import into NZ!

          • One Tāne Huna 3.5.1.2.1

            🙄

          • Te Reo Putake 3.5.1.2.2

            🙄

          • McFlock 3.5.1.2.3

            —PROJECT ONAN—
            —PROGRESS REPORT 25 JANUARY 2013—

            —DESCRIPTION—
            I laugh at the fools!

            Today I managed to reinforce several key messages in the minds of the populace.
            a) They should question the value of democracy.
            b) My mind is much more powerful and focussed than anyone else in the country
            c) The only way for society to overcome the imminent extinction-level calamity I have made them fear is to follow the guidance of the Psychic Zen-master elite.

            Within days they will accept me as their natural totalitarian overlord! Muhahahahahaha!

            In a minute, mum! Damn, how do I turn voice recognition o-
            —REPORT ENDS—

            • One Tāne Huna 3.5.1.2.3.1

              It was supposed to be “Project Anon”. Damn you spell check!

            • Te Reo Putake 3.5.1.2.3.2

              Hahahahahahahaha!

              Muzza! Clean your room RIGHT NOW. And wipe down that keyboard, its DISGUSTING, that thing that you do. I know your hormones are kicking in, but normal people use tissues or go to the bathroom. Are you LISTENING to me!? No, I am not oppressing you, it’s unhygenic for a start. No wonder you haven’t got a girlfriend … oh, Lord, what have you done to these sheets? They were fresh on the bed this morning …

          • Tim 3.5.1.2.4

            “I’ve met John and Josie……..and……” etc.
            Yep, that’s the second time he’s seen the need to tell us all that.
            I’m sure they are. I’d go as far as to say I think they’re fucking gorgeous.
            There’s another thread one here that tells us just that.
            I just wonder why the need. Apparently I’m not a bad sort of bloke either.No doubt TRP will think I’m a cnut.
            EEEEEE by gooom, the personalisation of politics aye?

            Laaaaaaaaaaaaa-aidees and Gentlemen………FROM THE LEFT:………Mzzzzzzz Josie PaGaaaaaaaaani!!!!,
            and from the RIGHT……..Maaaaaaaaaa-ethyoo Hooten!!!
            Oracles, sages, experts BLAH blah blah fucking blah!

            We wonder why the electorate has disconnected and signed off!

            • One Tāne Huna 3.5.1.2.4.1

              ‘kin’ oath.

            • Te Reo Putake 3.5.1.2.4.2

              Hey Tim, when you’re finished being a wally, perhaps you should scoot down to my reply to your more reasonable question below. I’m starting to regret answering it now, seeing as you’re such a silly cnut!

        • geoff 3.5.1.3

          Mind you, I’ve met both John and Josie and they are lovely people.

          I’ve heard a few people say the same about John Key after meeting him…

        • Tim 3.5.1.4

          ……Just curious TRP ……. Why the need to tell us all what gorgeous people they are?
          I’ve not met John Key but I know people that try to convince me what a noice bloke he is.

          I understand your immediate response might be to get pissed with the Q – I’m just curious to know WHY the need to tell us what gorgeous people they are is?

          Nice people can actually be complete assholes sometimes.
          Similarly assholes can sometimes be in complete agreement with my view of life in terms of politics, and socio-economic …….etc

          Mike Williams is a nice bloke.
          Hekia is the life of the frikken party.
          Paula Bennet is everyone’s gal!

          Feel free not to answer – I’m an intermittent interloper on here but I’m genuinely interested in why the need to tell us all what noice people the Paganis are.

          • Te Reo Putake 3.5.1.4.1

            Good question, Tim. Well, for starters, I wouldn’t call John gorgeous, but that’s just me!

            They genuinely are nice people. It’s worth remembering that even if we disagree with the political views we might, rightly or wrongly, associate with them, they are part of our Labour community, and the wider kiwi community. They have a family, they have the same or similar issues as most hard working middle class kiwi families and they choose to be in Labour because the LP has values they share.

            We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the left is about recognising our common humanity and we dehumanise our friends at our peril. That’s actually a point I made to Josie when she made the KKK comment about blog posters, which I found pretty offensive. However, that comment came in a context of some pretty awful and often sexist personal attacks from people supposedly on the left.

            I really felt that the attacks on Josie in particular were despicable. I’m close enough to know just how bad it got and what it meant for their family. I have no problem with the political statements and positions either put forward being challenged, but much of what went on last year was pretty low.

            And it astounds me that the irrational hatred for them continues to this day when neither has much to do with the LP in a formal sense. The irony is that while some people still think that the Shearer leadership is following the Pagani line, the truth of it is that its far more likely that John left the advisor role precisely because they weren’t taking his advice.

          • The Pink Postman 3.5.1.4.2

            The same type who say. i’m not a racist but! Much the same as saying he;s a Nat but a nice guy. Bullshit there is no such thing as a nice Tory ,as the late Norm Kirk said they are all bastards

    • KhandallaViper 3.6

      “the tide is turning toward a Labour/Green government.”

      Waiting for the magnetic forces between the earth and the moon to put us in a position to stop the cancer of poverty and emigration?

      You are a proactive type of guy.

  4. Jane 4

    Even if the membership was to get a vote is there not a ratio thing with caucus and the unions? Was is 40% membership, 40% union and 20% caucus? So even if 100% of the membership vote for DC it could still be trumped? Doesn’t sound very democratic, what happened to one person one vote?

    • Te Reo Putake 4.1

      40% membership, 40% caucus, 20% affiliates. One person one vote doesn’t work in a party that has affiliates, Jane, because the affiliates nominally represent tens of thousands of workers and that would be an overwhelming vote.

      • Jane 4.1.1

        Thanks, had it a bit back to front. Shouldn’t the affiliate members get to vote directly?

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Now you’re talking scary stuff 🙂

        • Te Reo Putake 4.1.1.2

          Good question! Some affiliate members do vote individually, as some union members are LP members in their own right, but the unions act as an advocate for their members within the party and have a limited vote on their behalf as well. This flows from the history and culture of the LP, which, of course, came from the union movement.

          The concept is that unions have a voice for those union members who chose to have the union act on their behalf within the party. That’s not all union members, nor all unions. But the constitution puts a limit on how big that influence should be, so that the union bloc does not unfairly dominate internal democracy.

          That balance is something all similar Labour parties struggle with; how to recognise the contribution and significance of the people unions represent against the democratic right of ‘ordinary’ party members to have a say. Different parties have differenct sytems, ours seems to quantify the union bloc as having 20% of the say in the party, which may be a fair proportion.

          • Tom Gould 4.1.1.2.1

            Apparently, the unions said it would be ‘too hard’ to organise a direct vote of their members, and they are happy with casting their amalgamated votes on their behalf. I guess if the members are content to have their affiliate fee deducted from their wages and passed on to the Labour party, and to have their vote that such membership entitles them to cast on their behalf by their union officials, in secret, then it’s okay. I suspect many of them don’t have a clue that this is even happening.

            • One Tāne Huna 4.1.1.2.1.1

              “Apparently…I guess…I suspect…”

              Mmm, so sincere, so believable. What a lovely weasel.

            • Daveo 4.1.1.2.1.2

              Tom, believe it or not, the members of the few unions that affiliate to Labour do debate the issue of affiliation, do know how the process works and do know the outcomes. That’s mainly because unions are the largest and oldest democratic organisations in NZ.

              One of the issues that regularly gets raised around this is not the concept of affiliation, but the question of who the affiliation should be with. If the Green’s constitution allowed affiliation, then I think there would be a real push in those unions for affiliation to both parties. What a great debate that would be!

              • Tom Gould

                Democratic? Give me a break. With today’s communications technology, and social media, it would be simple and cheap for each union to be in almost constant touch with their membership. But they don’t. Ask yourself why? And also ask yourself why the Greens refuse to allow affiliation. I’m told it’s because they are genuinely democratic and such arrangements would undermine the credibility that comes with it. But that could just be spin, of course.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  “I’m told”.

                  Really? Sounds like more weasel spin to me.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Help me, Jebus! Tom, the big unions have pretty efficient communications strategies utilising modern technology. It wasn’t that long ago that the right were claiming the Standard was run out of the EPMU’s offices, remember?

                  Like most organisations, unions use a combination of snail mail, emails, free call centres, social media and plenty of old fashioned face to face meetings on site. Ok, money is an issue and the websites aren’t as flashy as, say, Telecom’s, but so what?

                  All the work the union does is within a democratic framework. Everything gets voted on, one way or the other.

                  Tom, it really makes me laugh to read you saying unions aren’t utilising modern techniques of communication when you don’t seem to have moved out of last century thinking yourself. What union are you in? I’ll get you the details of their fb page and you can educate yourself about how modern unions work.

                  • One Tāne Huna

                    Yep, TG looks like yet another unoriginal wingnut parroting thirty-year-old anti-union twaddle.

                    It beggars belief to think that he made the lies up himself: I’ve heard them so many times before.

  5. Cayte Shepherd 5

    It needs to be considered that:

    1. Leadership of the Parliamentary wing of the Party
    2. Leadership of the Party.

    Two aspects to this discussion which has not been traversed.

    Both aspects have been voted on in a democratic fomat. The Leader of the Parliamentary wing is that and all members have been voted into these roles internally within the party and extrenally at the ballot box in the general election, and so Caucus should elect their leader. The Leader of the party is the President and the party membership, which includes the parliamentary wing and their leader vote for this.

    Ultimately both positions have been voted for in the appropriate arena.

    All very democratic.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      But you’re talking representative democracy. Labour Party members want an increased level of direct democracy.

      Both over leadership issues and over policy issues. (the latter to be pushed for in more constitutional and procedural amendments over 2013).

      You can use the Green Party as an examplar of how it can be done.

      Also, the parliamentary wing has been exerting greatly increased control of the party since the Helen Clark days.

      Time for that to be completely reversed so that the Party has far greater influence over the Parliamentary wing.

      • Jackal 5.1.1

        You won’t get an increased level of direct democracy by undermining Shearer.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Seeking a confirmation by the membership would hugely strengthen both Shearer and Labour going into 2014.

          What is your suggestion to get an increased level of democracy in the Labour Party?

          • Jackal 5.1.1.1.1

            By not undermining the leader of the opposition when there’s currently no viable alternative.

            Does there need to be further changes just because the candidate you supported didn’t win Coronial Wiper?

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1.1

              By not undermining the leader of the opposition when there’s currently no viable alternative.

              Viable? Seriously, how high do you think the bar is set currently?

              Coronial Wiper

              yaddayaddayadda

              • Jackal

                Well I wouldn’t put much scope on where people set the bar who claim ‘Shearer’s performance is woeful’ and call him ‘mumblefuck’ etc when in reality he usually speaks succinctly, performs well and is easily understandable.

                Since you’re so infinitely politically wise oh Coronial Wiper, pray tell us who is now viable let alone available to challenge Shearer for the role as Labour leader?

                While we’re at it, what’s your actual motives for the continued and in my opinion boring attacks on Shearer? Perhaps your fervent and often unfounded anti-establishment angst is a result of your desire to be in power?

                What use is there of harping on about a democratic leadership challenge when there’s currently nobody within Labour who doesn’t support Shearer… Unless of course your only real motives are to destabilize and undermine Labour and as a result the entire left wing?

                • Colonial Viper

                  While we’re at it, what’s your actual motives for the continued and in my opinion boring attacks on Shearer? Perhaps your fervent and often unfounded anti-establishment angst is a result of your desire to be in power?

                  I love this, a true textbook amateur psychoanalysis lol.

                  A clue, this is what Freud called “transference”: ie. you’re actually the one who wants power, who wants to protect the status quo establishment, who wants a Parliamentary Services job or perhaps list position (lolz)

                  Why don’t you get a real vocation like me, sunning out the back of my missus pool deck with a tequila sunrise.

                  PS WHAT attacks on Shearer are you referring to exactly? For weeks I’ve been pushing for the members to have a say in February to reconfirm the Leadership as a way to re-energise Labour and produce unity for 2014. Nothing to do with frakin Shearer or frakin Cunliffe (who disappointingly has proven TRP right with a big white flag).

                  • Jackal

                    Coronial Wiper

                    You’re actually the one who wants power, who wants to protect the status quo establishment, who wants a Parliamentary Services job or perhaps list position.

                    Is that why you’re the one who always says I should be an MP when I’ve displayed no inclination to do so?

                    What you’re actually doing is projecting your own desires onto others, and your anger in the realization that you don’t have what it takes to be an MP is what motivates you to attack those who are.

                    In other words you’re a bit pathetic Coronial Wiper.

                    WHAT attacks on Shearer are you referring to exactly?

                    Unlike you, I recall your previous comments… Dumbass!

                    • Colonial Viper

                      What you’re actually doing is projecting your own desires onto others, and your anger in the realization that you don’t have what it takes to be an MP is what motivates you to attack those who are.

                      I point out the phenomena of transference then you try to lecture ME about it like the EXPERT lolz. Can you please like, come up with your own hacked off bit of Freud, instead of copying the one I pointed out haha

                      “What it takes to be an MP” even bigger lolz

                    • Jackal

                      Yeah real funny Coronial Wiper… It’s especially funny how you claim:

                      You’re actually the one who wants power, who wants to protect the status quo establishment, who wants a Parliamentary Services job or perhaps list position.

                      This reminds me of another deluded individual who wrote:

                      Valid reasons, now let me see, ah…the Jackal must be Shearer’s advisor.

                      Can you guess who wrote that Coronial Wiper? Funny how your argument is comparable to Pete George’s eh!

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’d love to hear more Freud from you mate, bring it on. Wait a sec, let me get a refill before you start.

                      Meanwhile, I’m still going to push hard for the membership voice to be heard in February. Shearer, and Labour, will benefit greatly from the democratic ratification of the Leadership by the base.

                    • Jackal

                      My comparing your argument to Pete George’s had nothing to do with Freud dumbass!

                      There’s already been a democratic ratification of the Leadership CV… Didn’t you get the memo?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Afraid of the members actively voting eh? Can’t say I blame you, you’re perfect for Beltway Labour.

    • Anne 5.2

      Lesson number one from Cayte folks!

      All you members out there who joined the Labour Party 10, 20, 30+ years ago… now you know what it’s all about. No grey areas – black is black (or is it white) and the other way around (or is it?). 🙄

  6. crying man 6

    Good post zet. What the old guard and the careerists don’t understand is this was never about cunliffe. It’s about a more democratic political system and society. We the members are the ones who pushed for this change and who want our say. We don’t care whether cunliffe stands or not.

    This is about us. And you can’t just shut us down.

    • geoff 6.1

      I think they understood it perfectly. It’s just they would have looked like a bunch of power hungry cronies if they’d been honest about it.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    I just realised my emails from the local branch have suddenly ceased. Looks like membership has expired and someone is making sure lists are being vetted and culled…

  8. James 8

    Labour lost my membership with a very polite email telling them to Fuck OFF and stop sending me membership tithe forms every time they farted.
    In actuality, it was when they installed DS as their right hand monkey rather than the clearly preferred DC.
    It also disgusted me that at the roadshow Goff’s office had clearly given funds to DS campaign with the high gloss, high vis heavy GSM A4 sized wankfest all about DS – nothing about why he wanted to be the leader.
    Total contrast to DC and Mahutas joint bid – all about what they wanted to bring to the party and how they saw the party achieving a win in 2014.

    So Labour lost one member there, plenty of others no doubt. There’s ample opportunity for a new left party to counterbalance the right wing wankery that Labour are clearly in passionate love with as they’ve displayed over the last 14 months.

    You know, that curiously dispassionate blend of “democracy for the people, except when it’s not in our interest” and their internal belief, as stated by Chipp-n-Dale and paraphrased here “we don’t believe in state asset sales, but only when it’s the wrong time for it” and for those of you who can’t see the wood for the trees, the converse of that statement is “we believe in asset sales when the time is right and the money is high”

    Fuck Labour. Fucked by Shearer. Mumblefucked his way into that with no way out except to stand down after losing 2014.

  9. PlanetOrphan 9

    The Labour party would Poll much better if they Burnt John Key in effigy once a fortnight 😮
    No more anarchy, a simple united group of people “Telling it how it Is” M8!
    Get TV coverage there of course, everyone can stand around the burning man chanting
    “Burn Ya Maggot 👿 Buurrn”

    For the Greater Good 🙂

  10. Blue 10

    But I’d like to think Labour MPs with conscience would remember that an undemocratic and unaccountable party is a weak party

    There’s your problem right there. So far as I can see, there are no such MPs.

    I have yet to see any evidence that the Labour caucus is divided at all. It’s the caucus and the membership that are divided.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    The LP caucus dinosaurs (Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson, Phil Goff, Annette King, and David Shearer) are bent on destroying anyone with a brain larger than theirs.

    Now 97 years old, the LP is stymied by outdated regulations and caucus dinosaurs who cannot imagine the global political climate is on the verge of cataclysmic changes. If the LP cannot evolve quickly, it is past its “use by” date and must die.

    To see why Cunliffe should not make a run for the leadership now, see paragraphs 9 & 10 of Chris Trotter: http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/party-wide-vote-no-guarantee-of-shearer.html

  12. Treetop 12

    Will Shearer move aside for Robertson or will he do a Cunliffe on Robertson?

    The fogies are rigging the leadership and Shearer is a porn for them, they are not that stupid to hand the next election to the current government. Cunliffe may be playing the ball as he may be OK with Robertson replacing Shearer as Robertson will reinstate Cunliffe to ministerial status.

  13. higherstandard 13

    Wouldn’t it all have been a great deal simpler if Maharey was still there. Labour would be ahead in the polls and people wouldn’t be arguing about who was the better out of two fairly unpalatable leaders.

    Not that you can argue with his exit from the den of vipers to put himself and his family first

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      exit from the den of vipers

      Funny that you should put it that way 😈

    • Tim 13.2

      +1. Is there a possibility of a return at some stage do you think?
      What’s his tipple btw? Even if it’s Chardonnay, I’m sure his presence could solve one or two things.

    • millsy 13.3

      Not too sure that the sun shines out of Marahey’s arse like you imply that every thinks.

      The guy wouldnt take an axe to tertiary fees, caved in to Lorraine Kerr when he tried to review Tomorrow’s Schools, kept the CRI profit driven system going, brought in WFF, but that’s just about it…

  14. vto 14

    Not letting the members of the party vote for the leader of the party reminds many people I’m sure of the antics of the last labour government in not listening to the people. Not very encouraging. In fact quite discouraging.

    Zet has it right. If Shearer is right he will win and the party will move forward with strength.

    What is Shearer afraid of? That he will lose? If so then it bodes badly, very badly…

    2c from way outside any party except my own.

  15. Matthew Hooton 15

    It certainly is a fascinating situation and I have analysed it in today’s National Business Review. In case any of you don’t take the NBR, I expect it will be free online at http://www.nbr.co.nz tomorrow. The Standard gets quite a few mentions.

    • One Tāne Huna 15.1

      🙄

    • Socialist Paddy 15.2

      Well why don’t you post your thoughts here so we can tear them apart?

      Do you think we are going to spend good money subscribing to that collection of tosh?

      • Matthew Hooton 15.2.1

        Paddy, I don’t think I can post it here for copyright reasons but, as I said, it usually gets put on line for free on Saturday mornings at http://www.nbr.co.nz so you should be able to read and comment on it then. Cheers

        • Jackal 15.2.1.1

          Au contraire you little right wing propagandist. Why wait around to read old news when the NBR is just making shit up or copying other peoples work anyway? It’s not a case of finances, it’s a case of not wanting to waste time or money on such tripe! Comprehend?

    • Te Reo Putake 15.3

      I look forward to reading your thoughts, Matthew. ’bout time you made a donation to The Standard for providing you with all this material, doncha think?

    • johnm 15.4

      NBR a pathetic irrelevant publication.

    • QoT 15.5

      Quick, everyone! Bump the NBR’s pageviews!!! Matthew Hooton, paid spokesdude of the right, with zero interest personal or financial in actually providing unbiased analysis, has thoughts on the issue!!! They must be totally awesome and important because they’re in the NBR!!!

      Alas, TV3 no longer hosts the classic video of NBR editor of the time Nevil Gibson referring to environmentalism as being like jihadism, but Public Address remembers.

  16. just saying 16

    Donate

    Finally something at the Standard that speaks your language, Matthew.
    KA-CHING!!

    edit.
    Dammit – this was in reply to TRP and Bill, above.

  17. muzza 17

    We simply want our right to vote, and whatever the outcome is I believe that will settle it.

    That comment is where the whole thing comes unstuck for me, in terms of commitment to democracy!

    I vote, therefore I am, no matter the consequence!

  18. Naki nark 18

    Here here Zetetic.

    I am still so upset about what was done to the membership at conference by the career politicians in the caucus. I have kept quiet on blogs but I will not be quiet anymore.

    I was at conference too. It was the second conference that I have been to and I was happy because I felt we were actually practising the NZLP value of *All political authority comes from the people by democratic means* from the constitution. Sometimes I have felt that Labour only cares about me when it wants pamphlets put in post boxes.

    I spent the Saturday morning going to the different conference collectives who were putting our policies together. It was so happy to be one with the Labour whanau. All the members were proud to be putting DEMOCRACY in our party again.

    But then the afternoon happened and I have felt ill since.

    I do not care what David Shearer says. I do not care how much Chris Hipkins screams at old ladies. I do not care how much Grant Robertson and Trevor Mallard say lies to Patrick Gower.

    I witnessed myself how David Cunliffe did NOTHING to hurt our party. Mr Cunliffe voted for the democracy remits. Good on him! I voted for democracy remits as well. The membership voted for democracy.

    That is why the constitution was changed. It was about democracy not anything about the leader.

    I have done heaps to help Labour through the years. I feel stupid because I thought our party was about the people but after conference I can see it is about some politicians who hate the people and only care about their own power and wages. Why does Trevor get to choose anything? He was the campaign manager last year and Labour was wiped out. He should feel ashamed but I am the one who feels ashamed to have helped in his campaign.

    I do not know if David Shearer is being used or if he is just a Nat in a mustache disguise. But when he dumped David Cunliffe he dumped on all his members. If he wants any members left Mr Shearer must call a leadership election under the new rules right now. If Shearer does not then he is no better than Donkey and my red card is going in the bin.

    • Anne 18.1

      I was at conference too… I witnessed myself how David Cunliffe did NOTHING to hurt our party. Mr Cunliffe voted for the democracy remits. Good on him! I voted for democracy remits as well. The membership voted for democracy.

      Good comments Naki nark – especially the above. Sorry you didn’t speak up sooner.

  19. Fortran 19

    The odds against a leadership change are getting greater – there is far too much disunity in the party. A new look away from Cunliffe is needed – he will not do the party any good with factions still divided even if he was elected.
    There are other very capable possible leaders.
    There will be no challenge in 2013.
    The great challenge must surely be Policy.
    So far too vague ideas; two goo winners CGT, Housing (not getting mixed up with the Green Party ones) -these need facts as to how, and when, implementation will come.

  20. geoff 20

    If it’s still Shearer, the ABCs and pale blue BAU after Feb then I’m voting Green in 2014. Even if I don’t agree with all their policies they are at least dragging the centre further left than others. I would consider Mana but it’s probably a wasted party vote under current MMP rules.
    If the left loses in 2014 then perhaps Labour can finally be cleaned up by the membership.

  21. hush minx 21

    I think for those that claim the leadership/caucus performance had gone away a short scan of this site will show otherwise – a point made by ‘ad’. I know there are people who wish this would all just go away so that Labour can get on with the fight against the government, but it’s just not going too happen.

    Conference and it’s aftermath was not a resolution. It just made matters worse. None of us want to see Labour failing like this. The solution lies on the hands of caucus. They are the ones who must take responsibility for their actions-whether to send the vote on leadership to the members and affiliates alongside caucus, or not. I hope they chose the former as I truly believe the party will not survive otherwise.

  22. coolas 22

    “Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson, Phil Goff and Annette King went over the heads of the membership by putting a well-meaning but clearly out of his depth David Shearer into the leadership to shore up their own positions.”

    Thank you Zetetic

    I haven’t read all the blogs but this is the first time I’ve read this rational so clearly stated.

    The utter selfishness of these old Labour hacks who’ve had their turn in Government (9 years) is disgraceful. One of their grandchildren should tell them, ‘It’s not all about you.’

  23. Pete 23

    I’ve let go of the anger at the various leadership mechanations within the Labour Party. My preference was for Cunliffe, but that ship has sailed. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the next Labour led government will not foster the paradigm shift that is needed by our society and our economy. But I still have hope. Not that the next government will be a great one or one to go down in history, I don’t think they have the personnel to achieve that (although my local MP, David Clark shows a lot of promise). But at least a good one. More than a nightwatchman administration. More than the lesser of two evils. Their ideas around housing are certainly a winner. Their approach to welfare is more humane, in spite of the beneficiary on the roof debacle. They are more open to education and the idea that the public service actually does worthwhile things. The perfect is the enemy of the good. And while Labour is not a perfect organisation, they do at least lack the malevolence of their counterparts across the aisle. If they manage to reverse the employment amendments put in by National I’d be a happy man.

    But for me, ideas are still important. For the first time I intend to give my party vote to the Greens in 2014. I think Labour needs that angel on its left shoulder, the bigger the better. If they want to surge towards the centre, fine. That’s inevitable with a large party. But for any more substantial progress I think they have to listen to a voice they can’t ignore.

  24. PlanetOrphan 24

    Nobody ever listens …. Burn them all in EFFIGY M8!

    Everyone will go home happy at the end of the day M8!

    I know PR M8! , this ones a winner , it’s a Classic NZ tradition even.
    Burn someone in EFFIGY and get drunk with ya M8’s

    Problem with People today is they don’t WHINGE and COMPLAIN enough M8!

    It’s the SQEAKY WHEEL That gets burnt after all.

    ?! RYAS LISTENING !?

  25. Afewknowthetruth 25

    Since 1984 Labour has demonstrated itself to be the home for liars, hypocrites, bullies, cowards and covert fascists – a pro-money-lender, pro-control-of-society-by-corporations party.

    NZ endured two Labour governments that set up all the preconditions for the economic, environmental and social collapse that is underway.

    Although my parents voted Labour all their lives (and I come from a very working class background)and I have in the distant past voted Labour, nothing would induce me to ever vote Labour again. (Well, perhaps the prospect of being tortured for 6 months might!)

    Over the years I have watched lairs and manipulators deceive the NZ public time and time again. Standing out for special mention must be Trevor Mallard, David Parker, Harry Duynhoven, Michael Cullen, and Helen Clark, of course (who has just been award an F grade for failure by the UN, following he dismal performance as special emissary for looting Africa).

    Don’t think I support National: they are the party of complete lunatics, psychotic sociopaths and opportunists. But at least they don’t pretend to be anything else.

    The sooner the presently constituted Labour Party implodes the better. Then a new party might emerge consisting of people with knowledge and integrity. (Oh well, one can but dream). Hopefully, Mr Unreliable (Andrew Little) won’t be around.

    • kousei 25.2

      Agreed about National and Labour. The corrupt and the abusers of power must be reigned in and punished. The Randian populist neoliberal nastiness needs to be retired to the dustbin of history. Not required is a load of toshy bullshit and corporate pr doublespeak about a masterful plan having us all kept in suspense and anticipation waiting for another sweet stickly steaming pile of do do just prior to an election. What is needed is for someone to stand up and plainly, simply state that treating people like they are machines is wrong and it has to stop. Land use policy that rewards and subsidises polluters is wrong and must be stopped. Social policy that descriminates against the less fortunate or more vunerable is wrong and must stop. I go one step further and say that those individuals who personal gain from the degradation, destruction and/or loss of our commons are sick people that make me feel very sad.

    • Anne 25.3

      Helen Clark, of course (who has just been award an F grade for failure by the UN, following he dismal performance as special emissary for looting Africa).

      The so-called ‘F grade’ (as you call it) was for the time period immediately prior to Helen Clark joining the UN. The UN Secretary General went to some lengths to make it clear the report was in no way damming of the present head of the UNDP, Helen Clark.

      Misinformation? Or slack about getting your facts correct Afktt?

    • Tiresias 25.4

      While from my exposure to his previous posts I’ve no doubt Afewknowthetruth has incontrovertial proof that 9/11 was an inside job, the moon-landing occured on an Hollywood back-lot, we are watching the final acts of the Protocols of Zion and water fluoridisation is sterilisation of the masses by stealth, I must reluctantly say that I agree with the final paragraph of the above post at least.

      In defence of Helen Clark, tho’, it should be minded that she was only in the post for the last year of the period covered by the UN Report and had hardly had time to make much impact. Whether she actually has any impact or is just enjoying a lucrative job for the boys in New York remains to be seen.

      • Colonial Viper 25.4.1

        I’ve no doubt Afewknowthetruth has incontrovertial proof that 9/11 was an inside job

        3 massive steel framed skyscrapers collapsed completely symmetrically and vertically on to their own footprints, on the same day, after suffering highly assymetric damage from impact and fire.

    • millsy 25.5

      Funny you should mention Harry Duynhoven. As Mayor of New Plymouth he is constantly struggling to control the egotists on his council, and at the same to failing to articulate any sort of vision for my city. Lean (1980-92), Stewart (1992-01) and Tennant* (2001-10) together did great things for New Plymouth over the 30 years that they held the chains, especially when it came from turning our coastline from a sewage ridden shit-hole into a valued recreation reserve/open space. It seems that Dynhoven, at this point in time, will forever be in their collevctive shadows.

      Mallard, dont know what he stands for, all I know is that he let the education system become more and more stratified, and never cleaned up some of the aspects of Tomorrow’s Schools that needed cleaning up

      And Clark, the positive achievements that she banged on about were illusionary.

      * = Tennent sold off Powerco, though Cullen had the chance to block the deal, but he didnt go through with it. The council puts the money in a fund that goes and buys a dairy farm in Tasmania.

  26. Tanz 26

    crickey, where is the Churchill that Labour so richly needs? Shearer is not leadership material, he’s waffly and unsure of himself. Cunliffe at least has charisma. Key keeps outshining the frontbenchers of Labour, even though he’s out of the country one heck of a lot. Where is the Opposition of boldness and strength? Just too weak so far, and all sunshine for the Nats.

    • Tiresias 26.1

      +1.

      When Shearer won the leadership of Labour I was pleased. While I never saw him as a Ghandi or Mandela I saw a man with experience of the real world, commitment to a fairer one, and a gritty ‘say-it-how-it-is’ integrity. In short I saw a man who wasn’t a politician, and by Christ the last thing any nation needs is politicians.

      I still see him in that way. And I see him struggling in all the scum of politics, having to spend half his time having his ankles tapped by those who are supposed to be supporting him and getting abused and criticised by those he is trying to represent. I see an inept, ideologically corrupt Government getting away with murder because all we’re see from H.M. Opposition is squabbling over the fine print in its consititution, primate chest-thumping and factions whispering in corners. Time after time Government Ministers decline to appear on radio to defend themselves and answer awkward questions or have no comment for the press, and they get away with it because all we get from a self-paralysed Labour party is silence.

      Shearer isn’t a politician, and I might have voted for him for that reason alone. But regrettably he, and hence Labour, is being beaten into insignificance by politics – the politics of the Left.

      Zetetic wrote – “Unless this is fixed and we can get the party united we’re looking at another term in opposition after 2014.” I hope he is wrong, but I think the best Labour can hope for is to hold enough of the vote to be a support party for the Greens, because they have my vote.”

  27. irascible 27

    What I cannot understand is why anyone writing on this blog can ever see either Mana or Maori as being credible political entities that will contribute anything positive to NZ policies or government. Both are grievance parties built around an individual with a huge chip on their shoulders.
    Turia created the Maori Party from her hatred of Helen while Hone created Mana from his falling out with Turia and his belief that he is the sole representative of Maori aspiration coupled with marginalised other social groups.
    However, neither have shown any real policy development or iniatives that would contribute posiotively to the NZ society or economy. Turia and her loose alliance of MPs have demonstrated that they are happier nesting with the neo-liberals that are the KeY owned National-ACT asset strippers while Hone continues to bait Turia and posture as withoutproviding a credible alternative to her neo-liberal coalition with KeY.
    Neither are parties of the Left so should be ignored as credible political entities in any future election. In the meantime we should, as left wing political activists concentrate on the formulation and articulation of positive, constructive policies rather than allowing ourselves to be distracted by what is nothing more than personality based image politics designed to create and foster an image of nstability within the Labour Party at a time when the country is facing the greatest corporate sell off of the countries assets and functions since the unlamented Douglas and Richardson period.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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