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Parker as interim leader

Written By: - Date published: 1:43 pm, September 30th, 2014 - 80 comments
Categories: david parker, labour, leadership - Tags:

According to early reports (Twitter) David Parker is interim leader of the Labour Party, with Annette King as deputy.

In my opinion a safe set of hands. Their first task should be to make sure that the leadership contest is positive and constructive, as the last one was.

80 comments on “Parker as interim leader”

  1. Apples 1

    Parker is excellent. His speech to the Labour Party Conference was particularly great.

    His indication that he has lost confidence in Cunliffe as leader should give even the most die-hard DC supporters cause for some reflection. Who is going to be DC’s finance spokesperson? Someone who publicly said he doesn’t have confidence in him?

    I respect DC for his hard-work and his brains. But I don’t think leadership is tenable. It really is time for some unity and clarity of purpose.

    • Harry Holland 1.1

      Is that statement about loss of confidence a misquote? All I saw was Parker saying he thought Cunliffe’s position was untenable. That’s not quite the same thing in my book. ‘Confidence’ is personal. ‘Untenable’ sounds more like an assessment of the overall situation given the likelihood of on-going caucus conflict.

      • Apples 1.1.1

        That’s a good point. I’m fairly sure he said he had lost confidence in Cunliffe, although I can’t find a direct quote. He certainly implied it was the case when it was put to him directly.

  2. coaster 2

    If he gets good prefered pm results maybe he could be conned into staying on in the role.

  3. Chris 3

    What’s there left to lead?

  4. Tracey 4

    fairfax think people disagreeing is the same as “coming to blows”. doesnt that normally mean physical blows…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      What Fairfax are doing can be described as “thinking”, I suppose.

      Overt hostility requires some sort of thought process, after all.

  5. adam 5

    Don’t those two just look like the cat who drank the milk.

    Another victory for right thinking middle NZ

    Mr Parker said he and Ms King – “the grandmother of the party now” – were chosen because they could offer stability and impartiality in the interim.

    Yeap victory for a shift to the centre and a whole new assault on working people.

    I hope you’re happy, but please don’t call yourself left wing if you support the labour party – because you’re not.

    • …please don’t call yourself left wing if you support the labour party – because you’re not.

      Well, yeah. People who are “left wing” vote for the Greens or Mana – the Labour Party is meant to be for people who aren’t “left wing” but whose class interests lie further left than National’s. I doubt anyone in the Labour Party is keen to ditch that extensive ground so they can scrap with the Greens and Mana for the 5 or 10% of the population who vote “left wing.” I expect to see Labour to the right of me, and if they’re not to the right of me they’re going to lose big-time, every time.

      • Harry Holland 5.1.1

        +1 Psycho Milt
        Real left can be fun… unless of course you ever want to lead a govt in NZ.

        • adam

          So we must all embrace neo-liberal economics – and you use a handle like Harry Holland. Please don’t offend the man’s legacy, drop the nic mate.

          • lurgee

            WTF? There’s nothing between ‘left’ and ‘neo-liberal’ in your political understanding?

            • adam

              What are you saying lurgee? Liberalism is OK for you and yours – so bugger off anyone wanting to drag us back to socialism?

              • lurgee

                I’m saying that between Socialism on the left and Neo-Liberalism on the far right (as most normal people would define them) you have a whole range of different options. Anyone defining the debate as a choice between just those two options is being silly.

                • adam

                  I didn’t, I just saying liberalism is right wing – in all it’s forms. I do believe there is a spectrum and it’s even wider than you suggest. Also the freedom versus authoritarian principles – so top to bottom and if freedom is bottom, then I’m rushing down there.

          • Harry Holland

            That piece of finger-waving doesn’t make any sense adam. Both Psycho and I are saying that we don’t believe Labour can win leadership of a govt in these times of ours unless they are to the right of our own (left-wing) politics. And since you invoke the real HH, yes I don’t believe he would be electable as a PM in NZ in these times either. Doesn’t change my views on how things should be, but reality is important.

            • adam

              What reality Harry, the one you perceive, or the one driven by mass media and fear? What reality, the one that says we live in the end of history or in the victory of western civilisation?

              Do you think the early labour people hide behind perceptions of reality? Or that they ignored they lived in a world of haves and have nots. Or they understood their was a radical divisions in wealth and privilege? All this with a powerful, violent and radical upper class willing to use force to impose their will?

              I think they overcame their fears, and decided to change the world.

              I just think it’s a bit of a cop out to think the times are so different and that the stakes have changed. Nothing has changed, well technology – that aside, people have not changed much and people are still suffering and the rich and powerful still treat the down trodden like shit and the middle classes are still self absorbed assholes.

              Why should socialist go for anything less, whether you be a Democratic Socialist, a Marxist, Anarchist, Feminist, Green or any other shade of socialism you can think of – yeap flag waving and a desire for a better world that’s me – not some half assed victory in an election with some soft cock liberals whining that the poor are undeserving and their chardonnay is too oaky.

              • blue leopard

                That is the spirit we need.

                I nominate Adam for PM.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Let’s start with an Associate Minister post outside Cabinet and build up form there eh.

                  • blue leopard

                    Heh, good plan, I nominate Adam for Associate Minister of Anarchy.

                    (Seem to recall Adam is an Anarchist, so he might be agreeable to that)

                    Might be easier to infiltrate him into Act first – that would fast-track him to power in a matter of minutes.

      • Apples 5.1.2

        According to the 2005 NZ Values Survey, about 50% of NZers consider themselves to be “centre”. About 17% each for “centre-left” and “centre-right”, and about 5% for “left” and right”. May have changed a bit since 2005 but probably holds broadly true.

        So not many NZers identity as “left”. However, on the other hand, a lot of NZers who identify as centre actually support very left-wing policy. They want the Government to do more to alleviate poverty and inequality, for example. So the issue can often be more about framing than ideology. And also about “valence”, competence and unity.

        We need a Labour Party that can take our values and show how they are NZ values. That can build trust that we are going to competently implement our policies to better the lives of NZ.

        Broadly, I think NZers can and will support “radical” policy that will tackle poverty and inequality, improve our lives and protect the environment. We really don’t need a lurch to the right. But we do need to consider our positioning and our leadership.

        • Clemgeopin

          I agree.
          All this stupid ‘fight’ in the media between the personalities and supporters should stop as it will not only not enhance the candidates, but actually bring the party, which is more important than them, into disrepute. Instead, the leaders should talk about their vision, direction, policies and more importantly, what their values are.

          During this campaign, I would love to read from each of the candidate a BRIEF account of their own values and a list of about ten of the MOST important policies they would like to implement if chosen as the leader.

          Just being smart talking heads is not good enough.

    • Jim 5.2

      Adam what’s your problem! David Parker and Annett King are not standing for leadership roles in the Labour Party they are just filling interim roles until the leader and deputy are appointed. This is not a move to the left or right for labour, there just interim positions. Last year the leadership road show and election was great for labour in terms of membership numbers, press coverage and poles. Like most people in the party I will be deciding after hearing from the candidates rather than any left, far left, not left enough to be left drivel.

      • adam 5.2.1

        Well from people who just lost an election big time and seem hell bent on selling out working people and the dispossessed again, I expect nothing less jim. I find the lack of will by many in labour to discuss the structural, and economic issues it has. Coupled, with a mad rush off into some silly little game of thrones side track, offensive.

        I’m truly bewildered you don’t.

        The labour party was established to promote socialism and fight the excesses of liberalism – and by default protect working people. It has not done that for 30 years, actually, it has done the exact opposite. So left, simply explained in my view, a promotion of socialist economics, in it’s many and varied forms. From Marxism to Anarchism to Social Democracy and everything inbetween. Capitalism, is not a left wing doctrine, sorry if you’re confused.

        I’m drawing a line, something which the labour party and many of it’s supporters have failed to do.

        If you don’t like that I’m calling out that labour party has a liberalism infestation – well, sorry for you.

    • Chooky 5.3

      well according to who becomes leader of the Labour Party…INt/Mana and the Greens will be waiting in the wings

      …i would suggest that if Cunliffe does not become leader then the Labour Party will cease to be a Labour Party …many grassroots members will leave and the Party itself will wither into something more akin to National..is that a Social Democrat Party or a Liberal Party?

      as for Parker losing “confidence in Cunliffe as leader “…maybe Cunliffe also indicated he didnt have confidence in Parker as a Minister of Finance?….who lost confidence first?…maybe it is mutual?

      …there have been a number of criticisms of Parkers’ handling of Labour’s finance policy from labour commentators ….some say it lost Labour the election…that the grassroots NZ Labour voters did not like Parker’s economic policies…eg raising super age and Capital Gains Tax on small businesses, small farm and the second home retirement investment etc…and there was not enough positive for tertiary and university students…helping people get homes etc…stopping foreign speculation…Labour bled to NZF

  6. red blooded 6

    Hey, Chooky, let’s remember that these policies were:
    1) Democratically decided and endorsed by the wider party, and
    2) Part of the package Cunliffe fronted as Finance spokesperson last time.

    Parker didn’t own those policies, he certainly didn’t lose is the election and he not grabbing power. Get over it. Cunliffe is a politician, not the messiah. It’s OK to disagree with or criticise him. That’s what happens to politicians – it comes with the territory.

    • indiana 6.1

      Isn’t “criticism” the polite word for “dirty politics”?

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        “Dirty Politics” is the abuse of Ministerial/Prime Ministerial power in order to run a two track PR game, disseminating smears and attacks against your political opponents, while looking like you are keeping your hands clean yourself.

      • Tracey 6.1.2

        not if you have read the book itsnot.

    • Jenny Kirk 6.2

      Come on Red Blooded – what a nonsense to say “Parker didn’t own those policies”
      Of course he did, he was the architect of them – and as for the Super Age Raising policy – it wasn’t put forward as a remit nor debated in a democratic fashion by the wider party, it was put to them as a fait accompli !

      • Kiwiri 6.2.1

        + 1

        The Super Age Raising policy does not have support from three generations of voters in my family and my social circle. I have had to choose between dropping my head in silence when that gets discussed or launch an argument that I know I personally cannot defend.

      • Clemgeopin 6.2.2

        as for the Super Age Raising policy – it wasn’t put forward as a remit nor debated in a democratic fashion by the wider party, it was put to them as a fait accompli !

        If that is true, then it is shocking! All policies, especially controversial policies that have long term consequences for all, such as the retirement age and capital gains tax should most definitely have been discussed and debated with the caucus to get as much of feedback and alternate suggestions as possible, and then voted on unanimously or by majority before putting it to the public.

      • Saarbo 6.2.3

        Yep,not a helpful policy in winning “workers” back to the Labour Party.

      • red blooded 6.2.4

        I’m pointing out that was also policy in 2011 (with Cunliffe as Finance Spokesperson). Besides which, even if it HAD mushroomed out of nowhere under Parker and been imposed on the Party (NOT what happened) – Cunliffe was the leader and had plenty of influence over policy.

        Raising the age may not be a popularist policy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a necessary one (recognising that people now live and work longer and rebalancing our resources towards the young) and it certainly doesn’t make it a right wing conspiracy to destroy the Labour Party. Yes, there were complications with the policy (physical labour, groups of people who tend to live shorter lives), but a lot of those complications could actually be addressed by other policies to improve health and wellbeing and to close the gaps (e.g. between Māori and others).

  7. Skinny 7

    If it’s just Cunliffe and Robertson in the leadership battle it will be a nasty affair with Robertson already having a crack over the loss and attributing plenty of blam to the leader.

    I would prefer Adern enter the race to lift positive interest and the possibility of wining asthe other 2 have a few enemies and negatives.

    • Tracey 7.1

      she seems very reluctant. cant say i blame her. she is very young. why would anyone want a reluctant leader

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      I don’t think this is going to be ‘Vote Positive’ compared to the 2013 leadership primary.

  8. Tom Gould 8

    It will be a nice respite to have calm and experienced folks like Parker and King holding the ship together while the contestants fight it out. The House will be back in a few weeks and someone has to run the show while the egos indulge their ambitions.

    • Harry Holland 8.1

      While I think DC elected unopposed would have been cleanest for Labour, the contest with Robertson looks like creating a strong option for a third party to come through the middle as DC and GR tarnish each other.
      RadioNZ is reporting that Parker has left wiggle room for a challenge – “Ruled myself out” “no intention of standing” “haven’t changed my mind” but apparently when pressed refused to rule out the possibility that he could change his mind.
      Annette King could also pull it off.
      When is the last day for nominations?

  9. red blooded 9

    Just coming back into the discussion re retirement policy (& others) – sorry folks, I can’t figure out how to use the Reply function via my phone. Let’s remember, Labour developed this policy under Cunliffe and took it into the 2011 election:

    Besides, no one person ‘owns’ a policy that has been researched, debated at many levels and endorsed before being incorporated into an election campaign.

    Let’s try and back away from personality politics – and that includes blaming individuals for unpopular policies.

  10. Nosam 10

    I am a Cunliffe supporter and even I think he is toast. I do not like Robertson, he seems smarmy and insincere. Now that he stated he can beat Key is arrogant bordering delusional. The only way to save Labour is the third way! And that is someone like Parker who can run through the middle and minimise the damage. If Parker is encouraged, I think he’ll lead. I know his personal life has had some controversy, but no one cares about such things in this day and age.

  11. Not a PS Staffer 11

    Annette King, Phil Goff and Trevor Mallard served in Clark’s government and have indicted they are looking to the post parliamentary stage of their careers.

    One would have expected them to not stand at the last election, to make space for the next generation to grow with a Labour government over the next, say, three terms.
    (Like Darien Fenton did so graciously.)
    But they didn’t.

    Did they stay so that they could form part of Robertson’s coup attempt?
    Did they stay so that they could form part of Robertson’s plan to cancel the Membership’s right to participate in the Leadership vote?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      to make space for the next generation to grow with a Labour government over the next, say, three terms. (Like Darien Fenton did so graciously.)

      Darien Fenton has not left caucus graciously.

      Instead of retiring and putting some space between herself and what is happpening now, she is actively campaigning against Cunliffe in the leadership primary.

    • Treetop 11.2

      Grasping change does not happen quick enough for some people, to survive is to adapt.

  12. boldsirbrian 12

    If the South Africans under Mandela could bring about the whites and blacks working together, you would think that it would be easily possible for two sides of the NZ Labour Party to work together constructively. And the two sides cannot even define in what way they differ, apart from hurling insults and smears into the wind.

    Reading this blog with the “hunting pack” mentality against the nasty group on the “right” is almost depressing. Surely it’s possible to think “healing”. Perhaps follow the example of saviour, Cunliffe, who has indicated he will take Robertson as his deputy.

    I’m becoming more impressed with the Greens, day by day.

  13. boldsirbrian 13

    If the South Africans under Mandela could bring about the whites and blacks working together, you would think that it would be easily possible for two sides of the NZ Labour Party to work together constructively. And the two sides cannot even define in what way they differ, apart from hurling insults and smears into the wind.

    Reading this blog with the “hunting pack” mentality against the nasty group on the “right” is almost depressing. Surely it’s possible to think “healing”. Perhaps follow the example of saviour, Cunliffe, who has indicated he will take Robertson as his deputy.

    I’m becoming more impressed with the Greens, day by day.

  14. Michael 14

    I think David Parker should stay as leader for at least the next 12 months, while Labour reflects on its catastrophic performance and decides whether it wants to be a “Labour” party or a “National” one. Without that exercise, any leadership change will merely be cosmetic and doomed to fail. Some hard work and honesty is necessary.

    • Tel 14.1

      I agree. Parker should stay as leader for 12 months at least, and then onwards to the next election. Just for a change it would be good to see a quiet revolution take place within Labour and for the all the nonsensical egotism to be shelved until another election proves otherwise. Unfortunately the Labour carcass (not a typo) is so out of touch with what the raw ingredients required to make a new leader look like, this new round of pass the hot potato is doomed to fail.

  15. ianmac 15

    If Dirty Tricks really come home to roost as they should, we should have electable leaders and teams in place in case there is a snap election.
    Is Key capable of that? Yes.
    Do they have the money? Yes.
    Do we? No.

  16. burt 16


    The leadership contest as positive and constructive as the last one….

    Do you enjoy having these things every year and getting thumped in an election?

    If you don’t, please define what was positive or constructive about the last leadership process.

  17. Richard 17

    Parkers blown his impartiality already, Kings her usual clear headed self however.

    The media want Robertson, obviously easier to target pre elections, I’ve noticed constant clips of Robertson and small quotes or nothing about DC.

    This is my issue the media of NZ are dictating how things should pan out.

    It’s outrageous. Some of the media need the bloody heads banging together.

    I’m starting to get overly pissed off about NZ media to the point of frustration.

  18. Marksman33 18

    RNZ yesterday, Now we are crossing to parliament for breaking news.
    Parker : l’d like to introduce Annette King as deputy leader.
    Quik as a flash.
    Gower : Congratulations Annette !
    Quick as a flash.
    King : Thankyou Paddy ( simpering)


  19. Mark 19

    David Parker is right. Cunliffe’s position is untenable. The Party needs to take a collective breath right now and slow down the leadership section process until the review of the election defeat has been completed.

    Parker and King are a safe option and do not covet the top job so should be acceptable to both factions.

    If either Cunliffe or Robertson is elected leader it is unlikely that either will survive until the next election such is the rift in Caucus and the party. It would there for seem sensible to have a stand-in leadership until the the strategy for moving forward is clear and then the right leadership for that strategy can be chosen. If that takes 6 months so what, it has to be better than the knee jerk stuff that is going on right now.

    • Treetop 19.1

      Cunliffe’s position is untenable.

      No more untenable than anyone else in the caucus.

      What bothers me more is that the whole Labour caucus becomes untenable in 2017.

      • lprent 19.1.1

        That is my position as well. I can’t see how Robertson (for instance) can get the caucus or members working together, especially with his bloody silly opening moves. Same with all of the other possible candidates

        Whichever way this turns out I starting to think that this selfish self-centered caucus has managed to completely stuff the Labour party and the left for the next 6-9 years.

        Anyway, we’ll see how this plays out. You never know a miracle may happen.

        • finbar

          The push for leadership, should be left until the soul searching is over about why they did do so badly, and like it or not, it was not down to one individual,it was down to them all collectively.

          What conclusions this working party investigating the why and where it all went wrong, has only one certainty out of all the other possible or probables they come up with and it is a major one, the constant infighting of the caucus over the past six years.

          The policies that they stood on this time round were excellent however,they did not find favour with the voting public, understanding that in all they were not to far removed from the present ruling corporation,however they were touted.

          That said,the investigation shall come to the obvious understanding that we have to reconect with the public and make us relevent to them again.Understanding that the Kiwi voter is in the most conservative in their voting and that conservatism comes from the understanding, whats in it for me,not whats in it for us all, however, their social standing.

    • Clemgeopin 19.2

      If either Cunliffe or Robertson is elected leader it is unlikely that either will survive until the next election such is the rift in Caucus and the party

      Before the vote, every member (caucus, membership and unions) should be asked to sign a declaration that after the vote, the elected leader will get their complete support irrespective of which candidate they voted for.

      No declaration, no vote.

      [That does not mean policy issues can not be debated constructively at caucus and conference, but must be done without undermining the elected leader or the party]

  20. Lorraine 20

    I don’t blame Cunliffe’ wife having a go at the backstabbing b… who undermined Cunliffe during the election. This is why Labour is finished. This is why the election results were so bad. Labour is too focused on stabbing each other in the back than putting their forces together and winning an election. Cunliffe did a good job during the debates and I think he did a good job given that he was being undermined at every turn by those in his caucus. Labour is finished if it continues this way. I thought Grant Robertson may have a future as a leader but instead he has shown that he is a backstabber lately. I have been a labour supporter but I wont be voting labour again until they get their act together and I won’t be voting for labour with any of the backstabbers in charge. ABC crowd. Labour your dead.

    • Saarbo 20.1

      Yep, I agree. Refer this from Dim Post on why the mallards etc are happy to continue to promote self destruction http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/nash-equilibrium/

      Danyl has nailed a couple of things that need to be looked at in Labours review in my humble opinion, including his political version of maslows hierarchy which is also on the mark.

    • DC for PM 20.2

      +100 Lorraine. I don’t blame her either. She’d held her tongue for a year, and she’d finally had enough. If Cunliffe gets re-elected and can squash the ABC lot, they might have a chance, but otherwise we should all renew our passports.

      • red blooded 20.2.1

        Hey, I’m sure she was fed up and fighting for her man, but she sure didn’t do him or the party any good. She (and he) came off looking underhand and vicious and it simply reinforced the “knives out” image of the election contest.

        Ask yourselves how you would be seeing this is Robertson’s partner had been revealed to be behind an account that was slagging off Cunliffe under a pseudonym.

    • Kiwiri 20.3

      Grant has been known to me before he set foot in Parliament and several of my policy/political suggestions to him have (I would like to think) been adopted and advanced by him. My advice to him publicly at this stage is that – for the party, the caucus and his own career path – he ought to have taken the better approach of continuing to back Cunliffe and they both could have also discussed Grant’s deputyship. There is still time to do this to reunify the Labour Party to swiftly move forward as a powerful force of opposition in challenging the National Party and in building the campaign for 2017.

      • Clemgeopin 20.3.1

        Great suggestion! That will solve all the hubris and bad stuff at this stage.
        I would add that Labour needs two deputies, one of which should be a woman. To me, at this stage, the best option is Nania Mahuta.

        Leader : Cunliffe.
        Deputies: Robertson & Mahuta

        Those that are not happy and can’t show unity, should be asked to leave the caucus and either remain as independent MPs or form their own Neo-Lib-Lab Party.

  21. Bill 21

    Given that both Parker and King are from deep within Robertsons support base, I’d be wary of referring to them as ‘safe set of hands’.

    In conjunction with Robertsons’ camp installing Hipkins as chief whip, I’m curious whether there is information those people would be privy to, that others wouldn’t be privy to, and that could be used to continue the nonsense of the past twelve months or so to the advantage of Robertson.

    Meanwhile, we need a third candidate from no discernible camp to step forward and be endorsed by Cunliffe, who then needs to step back.

    Probably waiting in vain.

  22. Tania 22

    He was in the anyone but cunliffe camp so not surprised he stabbed cunliffe as soon as he can

  23. dave 23

    i think what contributed labours loss

    if labour and greens had got in house prices would have droped
    power company shares would have plummeted
    low paid workers would have got rises
    tax evaders would have got hit

    people who would have benefited the most don’t and wont vote

    the baby bloomers want the privilege rentie class existence to continue to hell with the rest of us .

  24. Dennis Scoles 24

    If David Cunliffe really has the best interests of the Labour Party at heart, and not simply his own best interests, he would step aside from the leadership race and allow the bickering to stop. I am still hopeful that David Shearer will step up, as he is the only statesman-like politician in the Labour Party.

    • burt 24.1

      A Labour MP not acting in their own best interest…. Are you new to politics in NZ?

    • Clemgeopin 24.2

      Your comment is nonsense. You could say that same thing to Robertson or to any other potential candidate.
      May be his standing is in the best interest of the party!

  25. Your comment is nonsense.

    Cunliffe has every right to stand again as leader and if he is elected I will support him. However, to suggest that any other candidate should step aside ignores the facts that:

    1) Cunliffe is clearly unable to unite his caucus. The ability to create a team (even when there is disharmony or conflict) is part of leadership. It’s not good enough to just keep repeating that anyone who doesn’t like Cunliffe should resign – these are the people who have stepped up and who have been elected, both by the party and by the wider electorate. They are not a cult – they are the public face of a political party. It’s not surprising that there are people with strong opinions, big personalities and ambitions in a political party – it would be surprising (and sad) if there weren’t. (Think NZ First – the cult of Peters.)
    2) The party has a constitution. Cunliffe was happy to use it to get himself elected. The same constitution allows others to stand for election.
    3) We got caned in the last election – under Cunliffe.

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