Labour’s deputy

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 am, October 15th, 2015 - 85 comments
Categories: Annette King, labour, leadership - Tags: ,

An anonymous editorial in The Herald this morning is a mostly well balanced discussion of the issue of Labour’s deputy leader:

Little facing dilemma over deputy choice

Labour’s leader, Andrew Little, faces a dilemma over what sort of deputy he needs. Probably he would be happy to retain the party’s present deputy, Annette King, but he said a year ago the position would be re-opened about now. Ms King has been excellent in the role – loyal, experienced, sensible in public statements, liked and respected by friend and foe, a safe pair of hands. …

But whether Mr Little likes it or not, there is much interest in the possible promotion of Jacinda Ardern. She is young, presentable and appears to have a popular following. A political party in Labour’s predicament cannot afford to let her appeal go to waste. …

Labour needs to project the image of a fresh, new potential government. Ms Ardern can help project that image. Ms King cannot. …

“Fresh” and new vs “experienced” and well respected – a case to be made each way. I don’t think Labour can go wrong, they are both excellent choices, and either would fully support the other whatever decision is made.

Our anonymous editorialist then gets a bit more speculative:

The bigger problem for Mr Little may be that Ms Ardern probably projects that image better than he does, and the last thing he needs is a deputy whose promotion might cause her to be seen as a rival to himself. Ms Ardern no doubt would deny any wish to replace him, and mean it, but if her public reception was much better than his, she would be a contender.

Jacinda has already sincerely and convincingly denied any wish to be leader, and I’m pretty sure that Labour has no appetite at all for another leadership process prior to the next election! So, let’s see the deputy leadership resolved, and a united Labour team getting down to the hard work of the next two years…

85 comments on “Labour’s deputy”

  1. Bill 1

    I can’t see where the choice is.

    I’m pretty sure Little stated that King would not be deputy in a year as opposed to saying that the position would be open – ie, ‘readvertised’.

    Anyway. Ardern as deputy essentially kills any ambitions Robertson might still harbour for that leadership position.

    • dukeofurl 1.1

      many has been the deputy that has NOT gone on to leadership. Who was Goffs deputy and Shearer and Cunliffe after that ?
      Clark and Cullen are another case in point

  2. Atiawa 2

    Andrew needs a Deputy prepared to work as hard as he does.

  3. Hami Shearlie 3

    Jacinda never ever got the better of Paula Bennett in Parliament – that says it all really- She hasn’t been able to win her seat , mind you neither has Andrew Little! Do we really think that Little is a better leader than David Cunliffe was – I sure don’t!

    • savenz 3.1

      +1

      Cunliffe is a lot smarter than Little. Being a barrister means Little thinks he is smarter than he actually is, and is much more able to be manipulated with talk rather than a gut feeling of whether something is right or wrong. And we know how popular barristers are – NOT!

      Little’s half position on spying and TPP which has pretty much dropped support Labour back to where Cunliffe was on increasing pensions and more taxes.

      Labour just seems to want to be as unpopular as possible.

      As for Arden – if you can’t win a seat and the right seem to love you as does MSM – beware!

      The right want an inaction leader in Little and sincere but fairly clueless deputy in Arden who also can not win a seat.

      Nobbled from the inside.

      • Chooky 3.1.1

        +100 savenz… re “As for Arden – if you can’t win a seat and the right seem to love you as does MSM – beware!”

        • leftie 3.1.1.1

          @Chooky

          Exactly, and the right have become Ardern’s cheer leading squad, begun by Audrey Young, who began to include her in the preferred PM polls. That was strange in itself because Ardern has done nothing to warrant that inclusion in the first place. National with the aid of msm are trying to manipulate Labour again.

    • Chooky 3.2

      +100 Hami Shearlie…re- Jacinda ( and she was not loyal to David Cunliffe)…. imo Annette King does a good job as deputy….and the older generation do go out to vote

      If David Cunlife were still leader, as the grassroots Labour members wanted, Labour would win the next Election in coalition with NZF and the Greens

      • The Fan Club 3.2.1

        You do realise Annette was pretty much the king of the ABCs right? If we went by “grass roots Labour members” wishes, Robertson would be leader now, he won the members section at the leadership election…

        Aside from that, pleased to see the usual sexist, ageist bullshit being thrown at a skilled young woman.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    The job of Deputy Leader is to maintain discipline in caucus and to front up and take the bullets for the Leader on difficult issues.

    Annette King is up to it. Is Jacinda.

    • Phil 4.1

      The job of Deputy Leader is to maintain discipline in caucus

      King was Phil Goff’s deputy… you’d hardly say that was a period of great caucus discipline and unity.

    • leftie 4.2

      @CV

      No, Jacinda is most definitely NOT up to it. I do not think it should be an issue sticking with King.

    • McFlock 4.3

      Isn’t discipline the role of the Whips?
      I would have thought the role was more about deflection on difficult issues, but also being able to avoid making shit up when under pressure.

      Either way, both of them are perfectly capable of doing the job.

    • Anne 4.4

      +1
      My understanding: Annette agreed to take on the job of deputy for one year only. I hope she has changed her mind. Watch her at QT time in the house. Whenever Little gets up to ask questions she’s ready with her acid barbs knowing they will be picked up by his microphone. Never misses an opportunity to rattle JK’s cage and he doesn’t like it.

      Keep her Labour if she’s willing to stay in the job. She’s at the peak of her game. Jacinda’s turn will come…

      • Chooky 4.4.1

        +100….about Annette King

        ….but I do wonder why some people keep saying “Jacinda’s turn will come”…and “Never mind Jacinda, your turn will come”

        ….why?

        ( who has she been anointed by?…who is spinning for her? ….her performance does NOT warrant this…she had a dream hand of cards in opposition against Paula Bennett…but made no headway)

      • leftie 4.4.2

        @Anne

        Should it though? I am not convinced that Jacinda’s turn should come.

  5. Westiechick 5

    Jacinda does not impress me. I do not think she speaks effectively on Labour issues. I don’t think she supported the leader during the last election. She is “young” and photogenic. Is that enough? Is there anyone else photogenic available? Annette is great but she has been an MP too long – the Deputy needs to look a bit newer.

    • Phil 5.1

      I’ve seen Jacinda present in a couple of different forums (most recently, a while ago now, on CCCFA alongside… Carol Beaumont or Louisa Wall?) and came away with the opposite impression. Jacinda’s sharp and articulate.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Jacinda’s sharp and articulate. Yes she is but I think she would be the first to concede she needs more experience for the job.

        • miravox 5.1.1.1

          ” I think she would be the first to concede she needs more experience for the job.”

          She became an MP in 2008? Same a s Grant Robertson. I can’t recall anyone saying he needed more experience for deputy.

          She’s either good enough now, or not at all, I reckon.

  6. One Two 6

    TPPA will potentially relegate the NZ government to a moot entity, so its entirely appropriate to use physical and biological discussion points around ‘leadership’ candidates

    • Bill 6.1

      I think you can forego talking about ‘potential’.

      The more I’ve looked into the structures and parameters of the TPPA, TTIP etc, the more obvious it’s become that the even the sham of democracy is being placed into a wooden box.

      ‘Interesting’ times…

      • One Two 6.1.1

        While I’m cautious in using absolutes, things I am certain of is that corporations are locking in greater controls ,and the nation state is finished on current track.

        The consequences of such I am unclear about, but suspect it will lead to increasing levels of resistence and probable violence.

  7. Ad 7

    Hate to think too darkly, but in terms of cleaning up after a potential Labour defeat in 2017, I’d go with King cleaning up the mess, over Ardern.

    In fact I’d go with King as Leader and Ardern as Deputy in a post-2017.
    Ardern isn’t ever going to be leadership material – Deputy would peak her.

    Ardern deserves plenty of my respect for getting close in Central Auckland’s super-rich seat. But that’s it. She’s had enough terms to get good hits on the government, and has landed not a scratch.
    She’s far too obvious as an undermining force in caucus.
    Nor has she developed strong policy internally, despite qualifications, experience in Clark’s office, and rhetorical capacity more capacious than the Hindenburg’s.

    But Ardern would bring good supportive MSM profile, and her skincare range should keep her bracketed “young” for some time.

    Should Little lose (let’s charitably call that 50-50), King would be an excellent centrist with caucus headkicker credibility, good Parliamentary scalps, and some surprising donor networks. Ardern could just whip majorities between her magazine cover-shoots.

    • Chooky 7.1

      really does Labour NEED this?!…I know you are speaking tongue in cheek

      maybe it should be called the Labour Flossy Party or the Labour Cosmopolitan Party…how about a swimming costume line up?

      …actually bring back David Cunliffe….that would be a winner…and he is the Labour membership choice!

  8. Michael 8

    It doesn’t matter who Labour picks as its deputy leader – or its leader, for that matter. It is still unelectable until it decides whether it wants to be a progressive force for social justice or remain committed to the neoliberal status quo. If the second course of action is pursued, Labour may well gain office at some stage in the future but it will never obtain political power.

    • Ad 8.1

      If the government changes in 2017 it will be a minor shift within the first term, nothing more. “Progressive force for social justice” is some other universe.

      A win will be because of very minor polling shifts from what they are now, a handful of seats shifting, and the ability to form a coalition by working as a potential alternative government beforehand.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        If nothing substantial changes, why change the government?

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          National will do more damage than Labour.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1

            That’s not what voters think. And its not reflected in the opinion polls now.

            • weka 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Were you asking what voters think? I thought you were asking for some reasons to change the government even if Labour is still neoliberal.

              • Colonial Viper

                In terms of actual damage, yes there would be less from Labour, but the damage is greater in terms of legitimising the globalised market led/neoliberal model of the economy..

                • weka

                  I think it could be argued either way, but the latter is only legitimate if we have some chance of changing the conversation while National are in power. How are we going with that? In other words it looks like the longer National are in power the more entrenched and applauded neoliberalism has become.

        • Ad 8.1.1.2

          Because this lot are just too boring.

          No current combination would get me exciting good government for New Zealand.

          This is a boring, lucky, stupid government.

          So I’ll settle for a fresh, boring government.

        • b waghorn 8.1.1.3

          From the little I understand of the overton window labour can’t go tearing off to the far left ,not that I’m’ saying they want to or will given the chance.

          • weka 8.1.1.3.1

            why not? And it’s not like they’re being asked to go far left. Just left would be a good start.

            • b waghorn 8.1.1.3.1.1

              As I said I have a limited understanding of the overton window ,but doesn’t it mean you can only slowly shift the masses left or right .
              I just want a labour lead government because at least they make a bit of an effort to close the gaps.

          • Ad 8.1.1.3.2

            Think of it as an Ovaltine Window.
            Just a nice sit-down in a warm seat.

    • Mike the Savage One 8.2

      The sad truth may be that the wider populace is now so brain-washed, they no longer believe in traditional Labour policies such as social justice, and will only vote in another nasty party, that protects the privileges of the privileged, and many middle class people with a home and one to two cars consider themselves as having a “right” to be privileged voters.

      The MSM that embraced John Key before the election in 2008 have done a thorough job in marginalising all those that think and act as traditional left politicians. Just turn on the radio, the TV and read on many news websites, the crap there is what the populace get fed, and most are too busy or indifferent, to bother questioning and challenging the BS.

      NZ is more like the US now, more than it ever has been.

      Jacinda did not convince me that much when spokesperson for social development, and her appeal seems to be rather with mainstream people, wanting only a slightly softer version of the present government. Annette King is also not getting my support, given her past failings.

      I would say it won’t make much of a policy difference who will be the deputy leader in Labour.

      • Michael 8.2.1

        Isn’t it the role of political leadership to persuade the electorate to vote for alternative policies to the status quo? Unless, of course, the leadership favours the status quo.

  9. Clean_power 9

    The winner should be Ardern, who will be paving the way for Robertoson to have another go at the leadership.

  10. Arden has never won an electorate seat. A second division MP in my opinion.

    Arden is aloof and disdainful when attending regional conferences. She does not come across as someone comfortable with the masses. She turns on the charm when there is something in it for her.

    I can well imaging Robertson and Shearer pushing for Ardern to replace King. She is a tool of their careerist “moderate” circle.

    Sepuloni is a real MP with real Labour Values. She beats Ardern hands down.

    • Ad 10.1

      Roll your RRRs Bill.

      Arderrrrrrn!
      Arderrrrrrrn!

    • Chris 10.2

      “Sepuloni is a real MP with real Labour Values. She beats Ardern hands down.”

      There aren’t any Labour MPs with real Labour values left. They’ve either gone, many in disgust with what Labour’s become, or have taken on the neo-liberal bullshit as an act of self-preservation.

      • Ad 10.2.1

        Not true.
        Plenty of good ones still there.

        • weka 10.2.1.1

          who are the others apart from Sepuloni?

          • the pigman 10.2.1.1.1

            Well let’s play along:

            Iain Lees-Galloway, Sue Moroney, Jenny Salesa, Louisa Wall and David Cunliffe for starters…

            • Chris 10.2.1.1.1.1

              What’s Phil Twyford like? A right-winger dressed in light-winger clothes? I really don’t know.

            • weka 10.2.1.1.1.2

              Thanks pigman.

              (aren’t you on a ban currently?).

              • the pigman

                Still the queen of mendacious questions I see.

                See, I think you know the answer to this one too. CV locked me out of his thread because he couldn’t stand being put to proof over his baseless assertions of “fact”.

                [lprent: You’re lucky. I just had a look at the comments you referred to.

                If I’d had seen it in context when moderating (ie recognized that you were doing it on CV’s post) or if CV had posted a link to your comments or your handle in the authors backend, I would have banned you from the site rather just than the post and for some time.

                It wouldn’t have been for the substance of what you said. It would have been for the stupid behaviour of abusing an author on their own post. We can easily live without commenters who do not provide the work that keeps this site operational. But we need authors and moderators to make the site work. We don’t need idiots attacking them at a personal level and reducing the probability of them wanting to provide content and site oversight.

                Since CV dealt with it his way this time then I won’t review that decision my way. The only thing he asked was if we had a mechanism of enforcing single post bans, but it simply wasn’t explicit enough for me to start investigating. But I’ll start keeping an eye on the comments in CV’s posts a bit more in case that behaviour appears to be targeting a relatively new author without global moderating rights. Be warned. ]

                • the pigman

                  CV started with the personalised shit, telling me he “couldn’t give a pig’s arse what labour say on fucking Facebook”, when I pointed out what Labour were saying on social media, which contradicted the substance of his post.

                  Anyway, this is sandpit level stuff, and if I recall correctly, those with the power always prevail there.

                  [lprent: And that was a personal attack on you – how? Perhaps you’d better reread my note a few times until you understand it.

                  You are comparing a sandpit, made not by those who play in it and who grasp power, with this site that adsorbs a lot of voluntary time and effort by a few people. I think that you need to look at your grasp of priorities otherwise your idiotic sense of unearned personal entitlement will bite you in the arse. ]

                  • weka

                    ‘nyah, nyah, he started it first’ certainly sounds like a sandpit.

                    As for mendacious, I had genuinely forgotten it was just from that thread. I asked rather than asserted, and put it in brackets as an aside. That you interpreted that as mendaciousness after I just thanked you for something is about you not me.

                    Myself, I usually just deal with the behaviour in front of me rather than carrying shit across from other debates (the exception to that would be PG, whoc can never be taken at face value IMO). You appear to bring in your own stuff and project it onto others (here and in CV’s thread).

                    • the pigman

                      Ok, you do read a lot everyday, I accept you probably forgot. I do think it’s quite cheeky to diss the Labour Party from the sidelines and not keep an eye on their individual MPs, but again, you may not be so attuned to Auckland activity.

                      As for CV… I usually agree with him, but his personal experiences with local organising and the shit that was brought to bear on him has left him somewhat one-eyed. I know I’m not the only one who thought that reading his thread and his responses, and they left me rather stunned.

                      Everyone carries over their experiences. That’s how we learn.

                    • weka

                      I have no idea wha happens in Auckland 😉 and my question about Labour MPs was genuine. Bomber put up a few posts about various Labour MPs and factions during the Cunliffe leadership hooha, and yes it will have a big Bomber slant to it up still useful to someone like me who doesn’t know that much about them.

                      As for CV, I agree people bring their experiences with them and that CV probably wrote out of extreme frustration, but that doesn’t make his perspective invalid. My comment about bringing things in from past debates was more about using previous conflict/animosity against people or using their RL against them instead of arguing the issue itself. You so totally deserved the ban for how you behaved towards the author and at the time I was surprised that Lynn didn’t toss you out on your ear. I would have been very interested in your view on why CV was wrong about his analysis of Labour but that got lost in the noise. (I appreciate that people at work don’t always have the time to formulate comments).

    • rod 10.3

      @ Bill Drees
      Steven Joyce and Tim Grocer have never won an electorate seat either. are they second division MP’s in your opinion as well.

      • Chris 10.3.1

        Joyce is in the nasty division and Groser is in the puppet division.

      • Bill Drees 10.3.2

        My comment reflects Labour culture. Getting endorsement from the public by asking for votes street by street is valued higher than getting elected by greasing through selection and moderation committees.

        Not too hot on Nat culture.

    • tracey 10.4

      Yeah… give her a marginal seat and then bash her for not winning. Give her Mt Roskill/Owairaka when Goff goes, will you then condemn her for getting an easy seat?

  11. tangled_up 11

    Since Little became leader there has been a subsequent decline in gaffes and infighting which has resulted in a big enhancement of their credibility in the eyes of the public which the polls have been slowly but surely showing. I think that to go with Jacinda would build on this momentum and be a smart political move due to her public appeal from not coming across as just another stodgy old politician.

    • b waghorn 11.1

      She used to handle her self well when she was on the morning news opposite that slimy nat falla Lee ross

    • Bill Drees 11.2

      If we stand for nothing harder than “motherhood and appke pie” we will win the next election!
      Select Ardern because she causes no ripples!

      Next great idea please!

      • Chooky 11.2.1

        re “If we stand for nothing harder than “motherhood and apple pie”( sexist?..and wrong)

        …actually motherhood is quite/very hard… and Jacinda is not a mother …but Annette King is…Annette King also wins her Electorate Seat

        “King is married with one daughter, and has three step-sons.[2] She is a cousin of National minister Chris Finlayson, from whom she received verbal abuse in Parliament in September 2013.[15] Finlayson has also opposed her in the Rongotai electorate since the 2008 election.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annette_King

        • Chris 11.2.1.1

          None of that stuff about king matters because she’s a two-faced lying piece of right wing filth. When in opposition during the 1990s she jumped up and down about every health and welfare policy change til she was blue in the face. And good on her for that. Then from 1999 when Labour became the government she started supporting everything she and her party had so vehemently opposed not so much as a few months earlier. At best king’s a jaded old career politician who needs to go.

  12. Matthew Hooton 12

    There is no choice at all here. If those are the two candidates, it has to be Jacinda even though I personally don’t rate her and like and admire Annette. Labour has to achieve a generational change the way National manages to do progressively – compare current cabinet with post-2008 election lot.

  13. Anne 13

    She’s on the front bench mate. Same set-up as the Nats. Their most senior pollies are all men in their late 40s/50s. No generational change there. I sense method in your idle thoughts.

  14. McFlock 14

    Oh shiznet, I just realised: more of the same crap from tory media.

    Why is it even a two-candidate race? Why is it being viewed as some major decision?

    After the leadership election, media pundits tried to plug Robertson as the enemy within, encouraging the fighting of the previous few years. Robertson pledged loyalty in unconditional terms, Little is strong, and there’s not been a repeat of intra-caucus warfare. So now they’re simply tweaking the plan into another forced dichotomy, Ardern vs King. Ignore everyone else (all of whom would have something to offer the job) and get the beltway quarterbacks to start a rucus.

    It’s all a pile of crap – Little will choose a solid deputy. If anyone else in caucus desperately wanted the job and lost out, they’ll get favours and the rest of caucus will keep them in line. I’d say that almost everyone in caucus knows their best opportunity is to work together. Nobody wants to be in opposition forever.

    • Anne 14.1

      Unfortunately there’s a few commenters here who haven’t figured out the latest DP game plan McFlock – more’s the pity.

      I’m hoping Little will talk Annette into staying as deputy for a while longer.

  15. feijoa 15

    Well the right has been pushing for Ardern ( see Hoots , above) which is always a worry
    They must have some dirt on her.

    • McFlock 15.1

      nah, just stirring.

      If Ardern had lost the leadership election, they’d be plugging Robertson, or Sepuloni. Anything to sow disorder and mistrust.

  16. Michael 16

    It’s probably time to look closer at the Greens for effective opposition to the Nats.

    • Chooky 16.1

      not on present form…bring back Annette Sykes and Laila Hare and Hone…and John Minto…this is the party we need !….with Winston allowed in coalition as elder statesman if he behaves himself

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