David Parker has withdrawn from the leadership race of the Labour party according to Stuff.
Predictably Kiwiblog, Stuff, and probably the other right-wing media fools are using this as an opportunity to hype up David Shearer as an easier opponent for John Key. It is not for nothing that David Farrar has “Fomenting Happy Mischief since 2003” in his masthead.
From the NZ Herald
In a statement, Mr Parker said he remained committed to Labour ideals and would work hard to achieve them for New Zealanders and the country.
“There is growing support for a new face to lead the Labour Party. I intend to support David Shearer in his bid.”
His withdrawal leaves Mr Shearer running against David Cunliffe for the position.
It is understood he is withdrawing because the bloc within the Labour caucus that opposes Mr Cunliffe’s bid was split between Mr Parker and Mr Shearer.
However John Armstrong got that about right this morning in “Shearer’s move all about playing the long game”
Throwing his hat into the ring for the job of Labour Party leader is an audacious move on David Shearer’s part.
But it is also a smart one.
His caucus colleagues may well consider it is too soon for someone with less than three years’ parliamentary experience to be catapulted into the party’s No 1 job despite the Mt Albert MP having obvious leadership calibre.
Shearer, however, is more than a wild-card entry in what had been a two-candidate contest and which will go to the vote at a Labour caucus meeting in two weeks.
Shearer, however, has nothing to lose by entering the race. Even if he pulls out of the contest through lack of support, that will not affect his future leadership prospects.
And David Parker just made those choices a lot simpler. As much as I like and respect David Shearer, throwing someone into the leadership role after a such a short time in parliament would be dangerous to his longer term potential. Selecting David Shearer at this point would leave Labour as rudderless at getting effective policy through parliament as John Key has proved to be in the 49th parliament.
John Key simply didn’t have the experience at pushing his parliamentary cabinet and the various institutions of government and that showed in the 49th parliament as the country drifted while the National government tinkered. So far the 50th doesn’t look much better.
And incidentally, the support of the right is probably counter-productive. I don’t think that the people in caucus will see it for anything apart from being tactical malevolence on the part of the National party poodles. I know that I do.