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Robertson announces that he is standing for leader

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, September 28th, 2014 - 193 comments
Categories: grant robertson, labour - Tags:

Grant Robertson

From Facebook last night:

This evening I announced my intention to put my name forward for the leadership of the Labour Party. Now is our opportunity to revitalise our party and to renew our connection with New Zealanders. We must be relevant to their lives, hopes and aspirations. We must be part of the communities we wish to serve. We must unify around our values – putting people first, fairness and opportunity. That will be the Party I would seek to serve as Leader.

I know that the members of our party and affiliated unions have just put their heart and soul into an election campaign and I am so grateful for that and I know that people are tired after that effort. Soon the Party Council will announce the timeline for the leadership election. In the meantime, I look forward to discussing the way ahead for our party and how we can contribute to a better and fairer New Zealand.

193 comments on “Robertson announces that he is standing for leader ”

  1. Finally GR satisfies his unbridled leadership ambition. What’s that? DC standing again, oh bugger it!
    Best fall back in line and support the leader… Until the next time.

    GR, if you lose, fuck off, and take the old war horses with you, they’re all so lame.

    • Deb Kean 1.1

      Absolutely, Robertson is just a tubby little opportunist. 🙁

    • word 1.2

      @The Al1en Robertson and Shearer are working in tandem, they wasted no time in putting the boot in so Robertson could get his shot at the leadership. I hope David Cunliffe trounces him for a second time.

      • The Al1en 1.2.1

        Tubby or just big boned like I am aside, going on and on about 24% won’t do it. Who’s that for? The voting labour members and affiliates or the soft tory underbelly watching Sunday morning train wreck TV that is NZ labour?

        The defeat was bad, but it shouldn’t be used as the scapegoat to cook DC as it’s a smokescreen to the real, thus ignored, underlying issue of defeat – The disconnect between some right to govern/born to rule sitting mps and the wishes of party members.
        This isn’t Kinnock v Hatton, and we don’t live in that world, yet it seems left is a dirty word in 2014 labour. If caucus needs to go right against a background of eroding employment rights and child poverty, then they need to move on.

        What a mess!

    • Apples 1.3

      As a Labour member, I got behind David when he was elected leader. And I worked very hard to try to get him elected. As did lots of the people that are slandered as being “ABC”. All this nonsense about white-anting… well there are definitely a few people that should move on, but the majority of caucus wanted David to win badly. But he lost badly, and I will now be supporting Grant during this leadership primary.

      And I really hope that people here can do the same when Grant wins the leadership. If you are Labour Party members, you should get behind the person who wins. We need unity. If you aren’t, then organise in another party if you want and don’t try to undermine our unity.

      In my opinion, David Cunliffe was a major major liability for Labour. Every second voter I talked to said they weren’t voting for us BECAUSE of him. Obviously during the campaign, I held my tounge and espoused his *great virtues*. People were not listening. And we can’t be so arrogant as to ignore that. It was the thing everyone was telling us that we didn’t want to hear.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3.1

        “…when Grant wins the leadership…”

        With that level of arrogance are you sure you’re in the right party?

        • Apples

          I think he will. But happy for the sentence to be read with “if”. The point remains.

          There will be a leadership election. Whoever wins, the party needs to get behind them. And it might not be David. If it is, I will do the same thing I am asking David supporters to do if Grant wins.

          It’s easy to demand unity when your guy wins. The hard thing is to show it when you lose.

          Many (not all) of DC’s supporters viciously attacked Shearer when he was leader. And then turned around and demanded unity when DC was elected. We must be able to rise above that.

  2. Judge Holden 2

    “if you lose, fuck off”

    Following Labour’s worst performance in nearly a century, it’d be nice if some others would take that advice.

    • Hanswurst 2.1

      Shearer, Mallard, Hipkins…

      • ExStatic 2.1.1

        You mean all those who won their electorates against the party vote? So you want to excise those few Labour candidates that actually have electorate appeal?

        • Hanswurst

          Actually, I was making fun of someone who was disingenuously trying to imply something not very clever, but you can think what you like.

          • Judge Holden

            Yeah, yeah, nothing about the absolute disaster of a result was the responsibility of the actual leader of the party. It was all someone else’s fault. Time to face facts; Cunliffe got his turn and has failed dismally as a leader. He’s unelectable and the right love him for that. Not sure what your excuse is.

            • Colonial Viper

              You do know that the caucus agreed (as a whole) on all major aspects of the 2014 campaign, right? Trying to sheet all the blame on to Cunliffe is a nice scapegoat way of ducking addressing what the bigger issues with the campaign were.

              • Draco T Bastard


                And the white-anting from some Labour mps.

              • Judge Holden

                He was the guy at the helm, so he owns the loss. If he’d won he’d own that too, and don’t think he wouldn’t. The caucus have a strong interest in having a leader who can lead and is electable. They know Cunliffe can’t and isn’t. This isn’t the time to be petulant and destructive. If you’re Cunliffe it’s time to say bye-bye.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Cunliffe is taking ownership for the loss – he has resigned as Leader. If he gets back in, he can also take the mandate of the membership and use it to sort the loss out: by decisively revamping the personnel and organisation which contributed to the failures.

            • Mark

              What an absolute [Ok lets keep it relatively civilised – MS]

        • swordfish

          Or alternatively, campaigned exclusively for themselves at the expense of the Party-Vote.

          • Shrubbery

            Yeah, exactly. Hutt South and Rimutaka, for instance, should be so red in the party vote it makes tomatos embarrassed.

    • word 2.2

      @JudgeHolden, national have done far worse. There was no mass hysteria on the scale that is being currently directed at Labour when in 2002, the national party suffered the worst defeat in election history of just 20.93%

  3. Harry Holland 4

    So when Robertson is soundly beaten in 2/2 contests will he finally get the message that he should stop wasting party funds on his personal ambition?

    • tc 4.1

      It’s all the voices in his ear Harry that belong to the nat lite throughers who want their party back, sod what the members want they know best.

    • Treetop 4.2

      I hope so.

    • Apples 4.3

      Well that is a nasty and cynical way of looking at it. By running, Grant is giving members a chance to vote – we have the power. I don’t think anyone should purport to speak for what “members” want. I think a lot of us have changed our minds and appreciate a chance to vote!

  4. r0b 5

    Labour’s last leadership process was positive and constructive, it built membership and engagement. At the end of it the party unified around a new leader. I hope that this new contest will be the same.

    My personal request would be for respect between the supporters of the two (main) camps. We all want what is best for Labour, and ultimately for NZ, we just differ in our opinions on how that can be achieved.

    (I hope someone is about to moderate today, sorry I’m not, I’m off now.)

    • The Al1en 5.1

      “At the end of it the party unified around a new leader.”

      I think we all know that’s not really true. Some, it seems, were just biding their time.

    • Bill 5.2

      The only unity I perceived in Labour was the anxious type that infests those stupid reality challenge type shows. You know the ones – where alliances are continually undermined and threatened from within; where cooperation is regarded as a cheap, transient ploy on the road to ‘greater’ things for mememememe!

      I’ll leave it there.

    • Anne 5.3

      Good thoughts r0b.
      Its just a pity no-one told Deborah Mahuta-Coyle on Q&A this morning. Loud and abrasive… she treated Robert Reid with overt hostility and tried to rubbish everything he said despite the pertinent points he was making. She shouted over the top of him and when in response, he brought up her disgraceful critique of Labour half way through the campaign, she did a Pagani and claimed victim status.

      A terrible performance so what is she doing there? Together with Josie P, these two are light weights who, more often than not, have no idea what they’re talking about.

      Was she another of Matthew Hooton’s “recommendations”?

      • David H 5.3.1

        If this is the New face of Labour then it’s going to be worse than the last one. Robert did make (when you could hear him) some pertinent points. I hope that she gets hauled up before the powers that be and told to pull her head in. Because tired Labour voters just want the leadership sorted and not another overly loud prima donna starting even more problems.

        • Colonial Viper

          Deborah Mahuta Coyle works for the oil and gas industry now in PR. Do you need to know more.

          • Karen

            As does Josie’s husband and Shearer supporter John Pagani.

            Follow the money.

          • Anne


            More “Dirty Politics”.

          • lurgee

            Yes, actually. Unless you can actually prove influence or taint, you’re just smearing – engaging in your own little bit of dirty politics.

            • Anne

              Haven’t read the book have you cos if you had you would not have smeared. Some of us are well informed and have considerable personal experience to draw upon. Something you apparently seriously lack.

              • lurgee

                Actually, I bought the book on the day after it was published. I have read the book and re-read it. Closely. And The Hollow Men.

                I have commented several times that I see worryingly similar trends hereabouts – the constant denigration of people who have different ideas, the trial-by-rumour seen above, the implacable assumption of right and that the ends justifies the means, the Hollow Men style attempt to infiltrate a party an impose an extremist ideology on it and crush dissent. There are several pint sized whales swimming around this website.

                Still, nice to see you doing a Slater yourself, immediately, and stupidly, trying to dismiss an argument with a personal attack.

                If CV has proof that Deborah Mahuta Coyle is tainted or acting dishonestly because of her employment, let him present it. Otherwise, it is rumour and hearsay, smearing to silence or discredit alternative opinions. Very, very Dirty Politics.

                • weka

                  “If CV has proof that Deborah Mahuta Coyle is tainted or acting dishonestly because of her employment,”

                  He didn’t say that though. He said she worked for big oil. I took that as a comment on her politics and her world view. That’s an entirely valid observation on CV’s part.

                  You seem to not understand the difference between individuals being critical of someone overtly, and the kind of orchestrated, behind the scenes, targeted for maxiumum damage smearing that went on/goes on via Dirty Politics.

                  • Murray Olsen

                    lurgee doesn’t want to understand the difference. NAct are going strongly for ownership of the phrase “dirty politics” by shouting it hysterically at the left, while ignoring the real filth. They’re trying to do with what the extreme Zionists have done so successfully with the term anti-semitism. It’s new meaning is anyone Netanyahu doesn’t like. The right are very good at this and will keep being successful as long as most people prefer to think in simplistic slogans.

                  • lurgee

                    I agree I have mis-represented CV. I was originally responding to the follow up comments from Karen and Anne – it the latter who mentioned Dirty Politics. My original reply was to her; subsequently, I mis-remembered who I was aiming my mighty salvoes at.

                    • lurgee

                      However, my comment to Anne still stands. She’s smearing someone else with no evidence. The same technique as Slater used to attack Dotcom and Norman over their visits to Kim Dotcom.

                    • weka

                      You mean this comment? http://thestandard.org.nz/robertson-announces-that-he-is-standing-for-leader/#comment-899712

                      Nah, you still don’t get what Dirty Politics is. Anne watched a politician on TV, and then made a comment about that on a public blog. In that comment she reports what she saw (ie her opinion), and criticises the politician. There is nothing wrong with that, and it’s not even in the same universe as what Slater and co do.

                      Are you really suggesting that people stop critiquing politicians?

                    • lurgee

                      No – the one further up this particular branch of the discussion, where she accuses Mahuta Coyle and / or John Pagani of engaging in “Dirty Politics”.

                      As I read it, she’s implying some ulterior motive to their actions, with out a shred of evidence. Which is what Slater did about the Peters / Norman visits to Dotcom.

                      If you’re going to impugn people, you need to have evidence to justify it. Just smirking and implying there is something sinister afoot is Dirty Politics.

      • Ant 5.3.2

        It’s trust Reid over Deborah Mahuta-Oil any day.

    • Kevin Welsh 5.4

      It’s a pity, r0b, that the caucus didn’t unify around the leader. Seems like everyone else did their part though.

      • Hamish 5.4.1


        When the right start running their lines on Robertson and his ratings plummet the reptilian caucus will get rid of him and it will start all over again.

    • Treetop 5.5

      On Q & A this morning Robertson said, “he has respect for the process.”

      What is the difference between the last primary and the next primary in respecting the process for electing the leader?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.6

      At the end of it the party unified around a new leader.

      That’s taking an optimistic view of the backstabbing and contrary statements coming from other Labour MPs once he was voted into place.

      My personal request would be for respect between the supporters of the two (main) camps.

      I suggest a reiteration of what Labour actually stands for. Something that seems to have been lost sometime back in the 1980s.

  5. odysseus 7

    How anyone could think GR is the LP saviour is way beyond me.

    • Judge Holden 7.1

      It’s relative.

    • tc 7.2

      GR plays straight into the memes Hooten etc have setup, if he wins then wtf does he have to connect him with the lost labour voters.

      The abc club are creating a minor party where a major one once stood, bravo Phildo, ducky, kong and co as you are a big factor in the lost party vote.

    • whateva next? 7.3

      It is a mistake to fall into the “tribal” thinking and believe WHEN we get the RIGHT leader, all will be well.
      We have successfully been divided and are now being ruled, by a very united right wing machine

      • Hamish 7.3.1


        Nats may publicly claim all their success is down to Key but it is their 24/7 campaign/media machine that is their real power. Labour have nothing like it and when they choose their next victim leader it will be, once again, like sending a child into the ring to face Mike Tyson.

        • Ffloyd

          Agree @ Hamish. The media was the major player in the election. They are the organ grinders. Key is jut the monkey. He knows whatever he and his party do the media will endorse it in positive way and everything that Labour does will be portrayed in a negative sneering manner. No wonder English did not seem worried about having no new policies when asked. The first thing Labour needs to do is to find a way to combat this. No one could withstand the pressure the herald put Cunliffe under. And he should sue them for defamation over the Lui debacle. Completely manufactured and they should be taken to task.

  6. Not a PS Staffer 8


  7. Clean_power 9

    A long & bloody battle will be fought, and I am inclined to believe Robertson will defeat Cunliffe. It has an air of inevitability.

    • Charles Temworth. 9.1

      thats what hes trying to sell, the members have a different view.He (GR)and his shit stirring mates are the real Labour problem get rid of them.,

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      You’re reading too much into the MSM/National Party spin.

      • lurgee 9.3.1

        I seem to remember being told about two weeks ago that the polls were biased and inaccurate. Turned out the ‘MSM / National Party spin’ was reality there.

        Robertson will win the caucus vote. Cunliffe will do worse in the other colleges than last time. He may still win, but it will be a bitter fight and it will probably just leave the party wrecked – whatever the outcome.

        • Colonial Viper

          there is a clean out required at caucus level; the Labour Party has left behind a lot of its core constituency, politically now. And it is too comfortable with that.

          • greywarbler

            Perhaps there are some areas of Labour strongholds that could amalgamate and declare independence from the fat cats. As Scotland did to Britain to shake up the fat cats.

            Australia had at least one area that declared itself independent from its state, or from Oz or something. Probably just a novelty but is tempting sometimes. Perhaps the North and the South should separate politically.

        • blue leopard

          @ Lurgee,

          The party is looking pretty wrecked already IMO.

          The internal strife has been publicly aired for many years now. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was, at least some of, the cause for Labour’s drop in support in the elections.

          Lack of unity and lack of cohesion is terribly unbecoming.

          Had Mr Cunliffe simply resigned, it wouldn’t have allowed the wider membership to assert who they think the best leader is, particularly with reference to the election results, and I think questions would be left in peoples, minds regarding whether Cunliffe is still supported.

          Whoever is elected leader, is then known to have the strongest support within the party, whereas this wouldn’t be known if the leadership primary hadn’t been ‘activated’. These ‘unanswered questions’ would have allowed the right-wing to fuel division and doubt in peoples’ minds. With a new leadership contest, at least people end up being in no doubt who has the most support in the wider membership, after the poor election result.

          This is why I believe that Mr Cunliffe resigning and then re-applying for leadership was the best decision, possible, that could have been made.

  8. Charles Temworth. 10

    Hooten Farrar Slaters pick(G.R.) and no doubt John Keys ,GR message to the members on QA this morning was weak at best, he is definitely not the answer, David Cunliffe with a major purge of the abc is a far better option.

    • Chooky 10.1

      “Hooten Farrar Slaters pick(G.R.)”…QED

    • lurgee 10.2

      Oh, look, the P word again. You can’t purge people that have just been returned by their electorates.

      And people who think the likes of Mallard and King would have deliberately sabotaged Labour’s chances of winning, when they stood to gain substantially from a Labour victory, is a blind mad fool.

      (Putting aside the idea they might be motivated by more than just money!)

      • blue leopard 10.2.1

        In most electorates, the electorate candidate choice for a left-winger is based on voting for the left-wing candidate most likely to oust the right-wing one. I think it is very wrong to read any more than that, into the electorate vote.

        i.e. If I voted for a Labour MP who was later discovered to be causing problems for the left-wing agenda – by, for example, fueling strife within caucus, or leaking negative internal rumours to the media – I would be more than happy that they were ejected.

      • marie 10.2.2

        There was only one reason for Mallard’s Moa discussion. He would rather have seen Labour lose than have Cunliffe as leader. Couldn’t give a damn about the people Labour is supposed to care about. Sickening selfishness. The main reason Labour lost the election, and will continue to lose, is that people like Trevor don’t fool anyone, and the Party is punished for their disloyalty.

        • blue leopard

          Yes, at the time – and due to Cunliffe’s quick and witty response – I thought that Moa thing was amusing and a bit of fun.

          Now, I am sorry to the people who I tried to convince that it was ‘just a bit of fun’ at the time, because it would now appear it was less light hearted than I had erroneously read it. 🙁

      • Draco T Bastard 10.2.3

        You can’t purge people that have just been returned by their electorates.

        Actually, the party can. They won’t get them out of parliament or the electorates but they can get them out of the party.

        And people who think the likes of Mallard and King would have deliberately sabotaged Labour’s chances of winning, when they stood to gain substantially from a Labour victory, is a blind mad fool.

        But that does seem to be what they actually did.

        • lurgee

          CV, elsewhere, was talking about by-elections.

          How many MPs are you anticipating driving out of the party, and what impact do you think this will have?

          • Colonial Viper

            You only need to do it to a couple of MPs for the message to be effective.

            • lurgee

              Robespierre guillotined thousands, and Stalin murdered millions and, darn it, it didn’t seem to be too effective. Just lead to more guillotining and murdering.

              And what, pray, do you think would be the effect on Labour, of driving out some of its more recognisable and experienced MPs for the crime of Not Supporting The Leader?

              HINT – I don’t think renewal, resurgence and revitalisation is the answer here. How about demoralisation, decline and demise?

              • Ant

                And what, pray, do you think would be the effect on Labour, of driving out some of its more recognisable and experienced MPs for the crime of Not Supporting The Leader?

                Accountability, consequences, discipline.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Indeed, you’d think that lurgee would be into the idea of personal accountability and discipline having a positive effect on performance, but maybe not.

                • blue leopard

                  +1 Ant

                  That sums it up rather tidily 😉

        • GregJ

          Was Mallard challenged at candidate selection time?

      • Mark 10.2.4

        So the Moa episode was to help the Labour Party. Thanks for that. Theres me thinking he was trying to sabotage the campaign

        • lurgee

          How, pray, was speculating about resurrecting the moa sabotaging the campaign? This should be fascinating!

          Was it a sublimal message preparing voters for the return of David Moa’ Shearer? Or merely an attempt to make Mallard – and the party he is part of – look deranged?

          I really hope it is the former, not the latter.

          It happened almost three months ago. What master-stroke did Mallard have in mind, to bring about Labour’s nemesis almost a quarter of a year later?!

          • marie

            Yes He wanted Labour to look ridiculous and he achieved that. Death by a thousand cuts.

            • lurgee

              He deliberately set out to ruin his chances of being a cabinet minister (and the associated pay increase!) by waffling about extinct birds?

              Please tell me you don’t really believe that.

              If it is genuine, however, where does that put “I’m sorry for being a man”? Surely saying something that stupidly exploitable must count as another one of those thousand cuts?

              Maybe all of them are right wing agents, intent on destroying the workers’ party!

              That’s no less delusional than your suggestion.

          • Mark

            Really relevant when people are looking for alternatives to the government to have a senior minister focused on the critically important issue of Moa DNA. Not inequality or poverty but Moa DNA. It did what it was meant to do as you well know.

        • Jim

          I was involved in the Labour party effort in Hutt South. We phoned more people and knocked on more doors than any other electorate in the country. We stayed on message as per the labour party message and worked hard. Trevor Mallard and his electoral team where responsible for this. To suggest that there was any undermining of David Cunliffe as leader or a push for constituency vote over party vote is being disingenuous.

          • Anne

            <blockquote.We phoned more people and knocked on more doors than any other electorate in the country.

            I’m not belittling your efforts, but how do you know you knocked on more doors than anyone else in the country?

            • Jim

              We know that we knocked on more doors and phoned more people because that was relayed to us via labour party central. All those involved in the campaign in Hutt South where sent an email by the hub organiser telling us that this was the case. That was about two weeks before the election, so may have been a snap shot at that time. We also went out and did a lot of work in the other electorates in our hub.

    • DC for PM 10.3

      +10 Charles.

      I was so bored listening to GR spinning off his empty rhetoric on Q&A this morning I nearly fell asleep.

      I’m sure GR is a reasonably nice bloke, he’d make an adequate middle manager in a medium-sized business, but if he’s the next prime minister of NZ, then I’m Beyonce. Where is the fire in his belly, where is the charisma and the X-factor?

      Cunliffe is probably like Marmite in that you love him or hate him, but I prefer that to someone who is bland and bureaucratic. I keep hearing “inauthentic” and “tricky”…weird because I met him over a decade ago and then again more recently, and he’s exactly the same down-to-earth, helpful, caring, community-focused bloke he was back then.

      I’m also quite partial to a stirring sermon-style speech – people used to admire that about David Lange.

  9. small thing 11

    Leader of Labour

    Whats the sense in changing horses in midstream

    Labour has to address the issues of who they represent and how labour sees NZds future in all areas before deciding that the parties elected members need a leadership contest which is a media beat up anyhow
    The elected parliamentarians are the workers of the party they are the ones who have the mandate to make the party work on a national level the supporters have to accept the principles of the organisation and keep the leadership honest so that the party can move forward

    • Colonial Viper 11.1


    • lurgee 11.2

      Cunliffe triggered a leadership contest by resigning. If it is to be meaningful, it has to be contested.

      We aren’t midstream anyway. The current has pushed us back to the bank where we started from. We can only look forlornly at the other side of the river.

      Still, nice to see the double think on display here. We shouldn’t switch hoses midstream. But we must get rid of the horses we don’t like. That works both ways, of course.

      • Maria 11.2.1

        Let’s at least be honest here – he wasn’t given a lot of choice by the public and private mini coup a number of caucus members had underway. Putting Hipkins in as whip etc etc

        • lurgee

          He wasn’t given much choice by Labour getting less than 25% of the party vote.

          • Clemgeopin

            Yes, that was disappointing but unfair to put the entire blame on Cunliffe.

            It is not easy for Labour, unlike National, to get close to 50% support under MMP because voters have a lot of choice in parties on the left side of politics.

            Personally, I would be happy for Labour to get to about 33% or so party support with the remaining 17% plus from the Greens and IMP…..to form a coalition government.

            It is unfair to compare National’s % to that of Labour.
            It is like comparing the unique Bergamot fancied by some to a myriad of nicer ones, only one of which is the Clementine.

    • alwyn 11.3

      “Whats the sense in changing horses in midstream” you ask?

      If you are only going deeper into the swamp it would be a very good idea.
      How many people remember Pete Seeger singing this song at the time of the Vietnam war? “Waist deep in the big muddy” with the words
      “We were waist deep in the big muddy
      and the big fool says to push on”

  10. anker 12


    If you support DC, just drawing your attention to this facebook page.

  11. Charles Temworth. 13

    Shearer is screaming his wisdom from all manner of places , David Shearer you were absolute shit as the party leader.I want to see a purge of the ABC (get rid of GR and all these other people that assume they know what the people want they dont)clear the decks then get busy on the govt .

  12. think 14

    What did Lange do to get the 1984 election ?
    He showed Muldoons govt up for what it was
    Out of date with the times even though financially it was nowhere near as corrupt as what Douglas and this Key bastard are
    Also that the core values of labour socialism were paramount
    We have the same internal dissent now in the party that saw it fade by 1989 LEADERSHIP CHANGE
    Its not the leader but the process the caucus should elect the leader and the electorates need as many elected MPs as possible with an equal party vote otherwise the Nats will continue to erode support and steal policies to suit
    The caucus needs to get the info out there about whos in now and who will be there when parliament starts and boycott the media and print all their public info thru its own channels
    This present situation with the mainstream media is just keeping those corporations in a job, they are doin F all for LP

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      ^^ Someone not up to play with either democracy or MMP.

      • Bob 14.1.1

        Are you? Will you now rally in behind the National Government the way you would want the Labour Caucus to rally behind a leader they may not want?
        I agree with Think, the caucus should appoint a leader, they are given their position by democratic process, adding a second layer is unnecessary.

        Put it this way, would you prefer the All Blacks management pick who the captain is, or a vote from rugby fans who don’t know the inner workings?

        • blue leopard

          Why did they end up picking Shearer, then, if they are such informed judges of who is best to be leader?

          Then again, perhaps that choice was self-serving someone inexperienced and therefore malleable.

          It was after that, that Labour changed the rules. Perhaps they decided that the caucus had lost perspective as to who would be a good leader. Too focussed on their needs – not thinking of the wider principles and public,

          • Bob

            “Why did they end up picking Shearer, then, if they are such informed judges of who is best to be leader?” Shearer consistantly had Labour polling in the low to mid 30’s, Cunliffe consistantly had Labour polling in the 20’s and got 24% at the election, are you saying Cunliffe was better than Shearer? Imagine how well Labour would have done if Cunliffe wasn’t trying to undermine Shearer the whole time!

            “It was after that, that Labour changed the rules”, yes, to try to stop people like Cunliffe undermining the leadership from within the caucus, that doesn’t mean letting the membership vote on their favourite candidate was the right thing to do though.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Works for the Greens on an annual basis, although I can see why an authoritarian dupe might not understand it.

            • lprent

              Rewriting history again? From september and up until about Feb/March, the polls showed Labour in the 30s even the high 30s.

              It wasn’t until National started their campaigning in march that the polls started dropping. The pattern was almost identical to that of 2011.

              You can see a similar pattern in 2008 as well.

              The leader makes less difference than you expect, it is the counter to the well funded and practiced National clobbering machine that needs working on.

              Part of that clobbering is to get Labour to change leaders when it isn’t required.

            • blue leopard

              Hi Bob.

              I very much agree with what lprent said [above] and have a comment in another thread with links that illustrate the level of vitriol being thrown toward Cunliffe by the media this year:

              I disagree

              I was very undecided who I preferred out of Cunliffe and Shearer when they stood against one another for leadership the (In 2012, I think). At that time I slightly favoured Shearer but saw merit in both of them.

              After Shearer became leader it became embarrassing how unskilled he was at speaking, and dealing with the media. I really don’t know why caucus would put up someone with that little skill. He hadn’t been in parliament long and his inexperience showed strongly. He would have been utterly decimated by both the media and National this year had he stayed on.

              Cunliffe made some mistakes with the media, and truth be told he was fairly well decimated by them but is more experienced and is naturally more articulate and assertive than Shearer, so at times managed to counter the rubbish coming from the media/Nats. He certainly held his own in debates against Key. And like I say in the comment I provided a link to (above) – the media attacks were extraordinary toward him, (way worse than Shearer experienced) including constant polling of the public earlier in the year as to whether Labour should get another leader (this, after he had only been in a few months) and unsubstantiated claims that went on to be found to be untrue (the Donghua Liu accusations). Incidentally, I don’t recall any formal apology over that.

              Where do you get the bit about Cunliffe ‘undermining’ Shearer’s leadership? It would appear from this 2013 article that there were members of caucus going to the media to actively undermine Cunliffe:

              “A concerted smear campaign orchestrated by senior MPs Mr Goff, Annette King, Trevor Mallard and Clayton Cosgrove – known as the ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) faction – ensured that relatively inexperienced Mt Albert MP David Shearer was elevated to the leadership.

              So I find it difficult to take any rumours that Cunliffe ‘actively undermined Shearer’ when Shearer was leader to be accurate Rather, it appears that there was a ‘psych-op’ from within Labour against another Labour MP, in order to ensure their favorite was raised to leader. Their option – Shearer – turned out to be without the necessary skills and experience to stay leader. Who is to say that this unprofessional behaviour from within Labour didn’t carry on? As it stands I believe Shearer was toppled by the very people who originally promoted him, but not absolutely sure it was the same group, it certainly wasn’t Cunliffe who toppled him, despite that being what the media have recently been saying. Yet again the media are reporting things that are completely incorrect.

        • Draco T Bastard

          A vote from rugby fans who probably know the game and players just as well as management if not better.

          All you’re demanding is that caucus gets to rule over the membership and that’s a dictatorship.

          • Bob

            Perfect, so you agree that National was the best party to lead the country then. I am happy to hear you will be rallying behind them.

  13. think 15

    Key wants to be remembered for his action on the global financial crisis and the ChCh rebuild
    Both of these events have been handled in a biased undemocratic way to major extent
    The freemarket gets into trouble the people of the country pay not the entities who are directly affected by their own actions these entities want a finance system that a govt must support but they themselves get out of jail free
    The ChCH rebuild was forced on the country, its cost is huge insurance companies have avoided as much responsibility as possible local democratic processes have been suspended this govt has decreed how things will be, totally fascist when it should be the local govt that controls the processes with the govt providing support at the request of the local govt deciding the direction ChCh takes

    Key will be remembered for destroying all the values of a socialist democracy for the stated doctrine of the National Party
    no matter how center right he may think he is
    $14.25 /HR NOT A LIVING WAGE

  14. Tangled_up 16

    It’s a pity, r0b, that the caucus didn’t unify around the leader. Seems like everyone else did their part though.

    That’s the crux of the issue. If Labour as a whole decide on a leader then the caucus has an obligation to accept that and get on with the job.
    If some don’t, then this is a problem of them and not of the leader.

  15. One Anonymous Bloke 17

    Nice of Robertson to acknowledge that Cunliffe might not have to leave the Labour Party in the fantasy world where Robertson wins. How do other Labour members feel about this supremely generous and humble concession? How magnanimous.

  16. red blooded 18

    Surely party members need to think our way through the lessons from the last two elections. That’s the priority. Shouting at each other about individual MPs does bugger all to provide clarity and momentum. I do think many people on this site need to get some perspective and consistency, though. When things looked tough last year there was braying for blood, all the blame for Labour’s troubles was heaped on Shearer’s head and we were told to purge the ABCs and trust Cunliffe to save the day. Well, Cunliffe did his best but he didn’t save the day. Continuing to blame ABC and demanding absolute loyalty to him is just head in the sand obstinacy. Maybe he wasn fully supported in the caucus, but no leader ever is and one of the attributes of a leader is being able to manage factions and competing ambitions. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves that Cunliffe gave unqualified support to Shearer. Competing factions and ambitions were part of what brought him down, too.

    Comments braying for blood, demanding that ABCers are purged and that we simply trust in the mighty one are absurd. It may be that Cunliffe turns out to be the best person for the job (as Clarke was after one loss) but I want us to think things through in a more considered way before hyperventilating about it. it seems that many talking of ABC are mouthpieces for NBC (Nobody But Cunliffe).

    • blue leopard 18.1

      @ Red Blooded,

      From observing articles and behaviours of certain caucus members for a while now, I am of the understanding that there has been a concerted effort to undermine Mr Cunliffe from certain quarters.

      Andrea Vance’s article from 2013 makes the issue very plain:

      “A concerted smear campaign orchestrated by senior MPs Mr Goff, Annette King, Trevor Mallard and Clayton Cosgrove – known as the ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) faction – ensured that relatively inexperienced Mt Albert MP David Shearer was elevated to the leadership. “

      I haven’t noticed any legal action in response to Ms Vance’s article, so I have to assume there is some accuracy to it.

      Vance’s article is dated the day Cunliffe got elected – so the smear campaign referred to is one that occurred prior to Cunliffe being leader – however I believe this behaviour from certain MPs has been extremely damaging to Labour throughout this year because the comments made last year have given fuel a negative media angle i.e has allowed a negative narrative to build up around Mr Cunliffe.

      I had thought this internal bickering and especially that of involving the media in it, had settled down and that loyalty and unity had started being valued by all MPs in Labour, however, since the post-election antics I am now unconvinced that this divisive and damaging behaviour has ever stopped.

      The negativity toward Mr Cunliffe by the media this year has been unbelievable, unreasonable, and IMO extremely damaging to Labour’s chances of popular support.

      After the post-election actions of certain Labour MPs, I do wonder whether this media negativity has not been fueled by MPs in Labour having ‘off-the-record talks’ with members of the media throughout the year.

      What are Labour MPs doing, taking their factional attacks to the media?
      Why aren’t they focused on attacking the parties they oppose, instead of spending all their time fixating on and fueling internal strife?

      I really do wish that MPs in Labour would stop fighting one another and channel their passions toward the target people expect them to attack – the right wing parties/policies of NZ politics.

      I think it would be a huge mistake to allow such unprofessional and unacceptable behaviour go by unpunished, and an even bigger error to allow such MPs conducting this behaviour to get what they have been driving for. This will only encourage a culture of unprofessionalism and bullying.

      I hope you consider this angle prior to considering voting for anyone who is in anyway involved with such conduct within the caucus.

      This comment also might help you to understand why, I believe, people are expressing such vitriol toward a so-called ‘ABC’ faction within Labour.

      I agree, it would be great if this debate was conducted with respect toward the other side – yet to achieve that, it might pay to address the concerns being expressed by some with regard to the apparent serious misconduct by Labour MPs involved in the issue. I firmly believe that ignoring this problem will not gain the ‘clarity, momentum and perspective’ that you so clearly call for.

      • Richard 18.1.1

        Agreed from a public view it’s such a bad look and unelectable when a party is stabbing itself in the back like this.

        Cunliffe is the only choice and infighting has tarnished his reputation. I do suspect these Labour brass have been spreading tips so to speak. I found the herald extremely one eyed and so anti the labour leader it stuck out. So much so 2 days before Hagars book launch I emailed DC on the topic of media bias as I had never seen such blatant bullshit in my life. Resign over an 11 year old letter, from Armstrong? Really John?

        So something the public are not being told is definitely going on the public know it , we just don’t know what it is, and until labour come clean and stand unified they are dreaming if they think the public will.

        plus the media has to be sorted, you can’t get your message out their with them at present.

        • blue leopard

          @ Richard

          “So something the public are not being told is definitely going on the public know it , we just don’t know what it is, and until labour come clean and stand unified they are dreaming if they think the public will.”

          +100 Very much agree with this.

          There were a whole lot of things going on in the election campaign that I acknowledge and accept will have put some people off supporting the left, but when the lack of cohesion and public statements-when-asked-not-to started being displayed by Labour MPs after the election, something remarkable similar, to what you have said here, very much came to mind and the loss started making a whole lot more sense to me.

          I fully believe people sensed something awry hence the vote of no confidence. It is now my view that this, although not the whole problem, was a big part of the election loss of support.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.2

      all the blame for Labour’s troubles was heaped on Shearer’s head and we were told to purge the ABCs and trust Cunliffe to save the day. Well, Cunliffe did his best but he didn’t save the day.

      Did you notice that the second part didn’t happen?

      Continuing to blame ABC and demanding absolute loyalty to him is just head in the sand obstinacy.

      Nobodies demanding absolute loyalty to DC but loyalty to the party – there’s a big difference.

      but I want us to think things through in a more considered way before hyperventilating about it.

      No you don’t, you want to shift blame from the ABCs to DC.

  17. TheContrarian 19

    If I was a labour party member my vote would be for Robertson. I have always liked him

    • bearded git 19.1

      Hate to partially agree with you contrarian but you are half-right.Robertson is a nice guy, good sense of humour. But even if he wasn’t gay (which Key’s mates Slater, Farrar, Ede’s replacement) will ruthlessly exploit, he doesn’t have the mana or intellectual drive to rebuild the party like Cunliffe. He is a fine deputy leader.

      IMO this is a perfect opportunity for Cunliffe to revamp the party before the next election. He has looked PM material in the last few months, it was just such a screwed up election campaign he never had a chance.

      Next time the public will know and be used to him a la Helen.

  18. Dotti 20

    This morning we were reminded on National Radio that Annette King Phil Goff and Michael Cullen had gone to Helen Clark in 1996 and asked her to step down as leader. Helen stared them down and showed her steel . They were wrong then and are wrong again. There is the role model David Cunliffe .
    David Shearer with their support became leader and the less said about that the better. I think that it is summed up by fact that Mathew Hooton still thinks he would be a good leader for Labour!
    Most of all I think that it was wrong of them to ignore the party’s wishes [ the party has many intelligent members]
    The MSM are not adequate/biased and choose most UNFORTUNATE so called Labour spokes people.[ I would prefer never to hear from Josie Pagani again]
    I will write again about the strong women members in South Auckland who did well in the election ,
    Nanaia Mahuta got the highest Labour Vote . I respect them and hope that they will play a strong role in our leadership selection.

  19. Chooky 21

    @ Dotti. +100 …”Nanaia Mahuta got the highest Labour Vote”( that says it all!…and she is LOYAL!)…i think she would be a very good co-Deputy to David Cunliffe….along with David Parker

    There is a need for more women at the top of the Labour Party ( Helen Clark 50% women vote) …and a Maori woman would be fantastic to go head-to- head against Paula Bennett on Social Welfare ( a major sector of Labour’s constituency)

    ( obviously Jacinda Adern cant cut the mustard in so many ways ….and she is an ABCer to boot…. )

  20. tricledrown 22

    Robertson is to much of a political animal for my liking Cunliffe’s popularity is at 16% whats Robertsons!

  21. The most self regarding have the least self awareness.


    ”We need to have a review, we need to look at why we lost and we need to listen to New Zealanders. One of the things that’s happened now, two elections in a row, is we’ve ended up in the 20s. At 24 per cent things have to change.”

    You drove the party vote down to third twice in a row in your own fucking electorate!

    Jesus wept.

  22. red blooded 24

    And what exact is wrong with a politician bring a political animal? Is Cunliffe not political? Of course he is! As for preferred PM, Cunliffe’s 26% is disastrously low considering that we’ve just come out of an election campaign that he fronted as the leader. Of course he has ā higher rating than other Labour MPs: do he bloody well should, given all the focus and resources of the campaign. What was his standing prior to taking on the leadership? I seem to recall that even a month or so ago it was 8%. Yes, 16% is an improvement, but don’t let’s pretend that it’s good.

    I voted for DC last time. I don’t know if I will this time. Don’t lets rush to judgement and let’s stop slagging off ABC (is, anyone other than Cunliffe who puts their hand up). Plus, let’s remember that we have to save some energy for fighting NACT’s attacks on core values, rather than fighting each other.

    • bearded git 24.1

      Look at my post above Red please.

    • Blue 24.2

      We have to save some energy for fighting NACT’s attacks on core values, rather than fighting each other

      If someone could get this message through to the Labour caucus that would be swell.

  23. Richard 25

    Robertson, if they elect him , i’ll never vote labour again in my life, in protest.

    Cunliffe has the PM credentials he did well in the debates. He’s had stuff all time prior to the election and nigh on continuous attacks by a press gloating over how easy it is to manipulate the masses and the left parties.

    Just because John Armstrong is a knob and a dickhhead doesn’t mean he gets to pull the fucking planets strings people. Enough is enough.

    ABC group who the fuck are they? or is that some fictitious made up fairy group like what the US is attacking in Iraq now.

    Cunliffe needs time to get his personality across to dispel the media’s painted bullshit one. They, labour, damn well better get their unified back behind him or be continually swapping captain at the weakest headwind. Losing all respect and looking like the idiots they currently are.

    You don’t beat a guy as popular as Key in your first year. Fuck me, morons the lot of them.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 25.1


    • Ant 25.2

      Was a massive LOL moment on Q+A when Susan Wood talked up how much of a brilliant journalist Armstrong is. That explains a lot…

      Another LOL moment was Reid having a go at Mahuta-Coyle for slagging off Labour during an election campaign, when she was defending her right to criticise Labour DPF was giving her the condescending “you poor fool” look.

    • DC for PM 25.3

      Me neither. If Cunliffe loses, or the caucus fail to STFU and unify behind him, it might be better for him to leave Labour altogether and start his own party, perhaps the Social Democrats?
      Then he could form an alliance with the Greens and Internet-Mana, and leave ‘old Labour’ out in the cold. Because seriously, who is going to vote for Rainbow Labour in 2017? They’d be lucky to get 20%.

      Ant, I loved that moment when Mahuta-Coyle got slapped down as well – that was a perfect demonstration of the ABC’s arrogance, thinking it’s totally normal and healthy to slag off your own party during an election campaign, just because someone called you some rude names on social media! She’s obviously a massive pain in the arse who puts her own narrow agenda before the collective good of trying to win an election.
      Hope she gets made to walk the plank.

      • Colonial Viper 25.3.1

        Just another (ex-)Labour staffer who harboured dreams of being a Labour MP. In fact, just like Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern if I am not mistaken.

    • miravox 25.4

      + another 1

  24. SHG 26

    Back in the early 2000s my sole criterion for being the All Blacks centre was “can you tackle Stirling Mortlock?” That was it. Because if you couldn’t there was no point being there.

    The criterion for being the Labour leader must be “can you tackle John Key?” That’s it. Because if you can’t there’s no point being there.

    Robertson can’t tackle John Key. Fat, bespectacled, gay, childless, a political insider who went straight from student union politics to the usual Labour checklist of the United Nations, Helen Clark’s staff, and the Labour front bench, and who has never had a private-sector job or run a business in his life. He’s going up against the guy who grew up in a state house with an immigrant solo mother and who is now a self-made multimillionaire family man with houses in Parnell and Maui and who drinks Steinlager from the Bledisloe Cup in the All Blacks changing room. Next to that story the fat gay student politician from Helen Clark’s office looks about as appealing as cancer.

    If Robertson becomes leader all anyone will have to do in the leadup to National’s fourth consecutive term is play two videos:

    1. His pitiful performance in the House when Heather Roy sidestepped them all on the VSM bill. He was dithering about like someone doing a Frank Spencer impersonation and his best attempt at objecting to a piece of procedural business was to complain “um, I’m a bit new at this, see I haven’t been in Parliament long and I don’t know how these things work, ooh Betty, Parliament is so hard”. It was pathetic.

    2. The kids pantomime show of “Where’s Alf”. HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU shout the children. Where? I don’t see him. Is he under this chair, children? HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU. No, Alf stayed home to do um, something else.

    (This was written in 2013. I see Robertson has lost a bit of weight recently, and the moment he started dropping pounds was the point at which he began his leadership campaign.)

    • newsense 26.1


      out of order. Also unimpressive.

      Labour’s quality is either going to shine through here, or we are going to illustrate why no one should vote for us- we eat our own and bury them under piles of vitriol and hatred.

      You could equally portray Robertson as the likeable, young, long-term electorate MP, with the support of his colleagues who has a long history of understanding how politics works and getting things done.

      The failing of Robertson and Cunliffe et al is that they haven’t managed to reconcile their differences satisfactorily so far is blatant. Key started his PM campaign by accepting Sue Bradford’s private member bill. Didn’t really affect his main economic thrust, but a mass of symbolism.

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        You could equally portray Robertson as the likeable, young, long-term electorate MP, with the support of his colleagues who has a long history of understanding how politics works and getting things done.

        How politics works? Wellington Central, Labour Party vote came in third, behind National and Greens. For the second election in a row.

    • Saarbo 26.2

      A bit harsh there SHG.

      Mortlock broke our hearts in 2003 WRC when he intercepted “Frank” Spencer’s pass.

  25. newsense 27

    Robertson, however, for mine, didn’t mention at all the people who turned out and stood up for Labour this time. He has to win them over and at least acknowledge them, and should have done so when announcing his run IMO. It’s ok to say- they’re in my electorate so they are everywhere, but actually there is a divide and it’s location location location too.

  26. Orthodoxia 28

    ShG my wife is still laughing in the kitchen when I read your post to her. I have just joined up, go Mr Cunliffe.

  27. Hami Shearlie 29

    If Grant Robertson is the answer, you have to wonder who on earth dreamed up the question . He debates, but not half as well as David Cunliffe. His CV is very unimpressive and narrow, compared to Cunliffe’s and overall he’s just uninspiring and stands in Cunliffe’s shadow. From what I have observed his talents haven’t caught up with his ambition. The “Let’s play HIDE THE ALF” game was very very telling and not in a good way. It won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Unfortunately for Robertson, the “gaggle of gays” comment from Damian O’Connor a while back would only be reinforced if Robertson was leader, as the fringe elements of the Party would try and run the Party’s agenda. Not appealing to the public at all!

    • Clemgeopin 29.1

      I think you are being unfair re ‘hide Alf’ issue. Actually, the journalist had no business prying into Grant’s privacy at all. Our journos are just crap.

      • Hami Shearlie 29.1.1

        I can’t see how his privacy was invaded – He was in a public house and he knew he was going to be interviewed – Lying about his partner not being there was all on him.

        • Clemgeopin

          I think he was trying to protect his partner’s privacy the best way he could at that unexpected intrusion. The journo should not have been such a bastard in the first place.

          • Colonial Viper

            I don’t think it was unexpected? Grant and his partner knew that there were going to be cameras there, and knew ahead of time that there would be an interview. I think Grant however panicked for some reason and made an irrational decision which then made it into a big deal when it wasn’t. He should have said “yes Alf is around, but if you don’t mind, I think he’d prefer to have a quiet pint in peace. Feel free to ask me about anything else though.”

  28. Deb Kean 30

    “Unfortunately for Robertson, the “gaggle of gays” comment from Damian O’Connor a while back would only be reinforced if Robertson was leader, as the fringe elements of the Party would try and run the Party’s agenda. Not appealing to the public at all!”
    Exactly right.

  29. Connie 31

    I supported Cunliffe last time but I don’t think we can ever change the narratives that have been built around him. He had six months to really seize the media coverage and construct his story/vision and that didn’t happen. He was disorganised and it showed in the campaign. I noticed activists commenting on it and several journalists brought it up repeatedly.

    In a perfect world I think Cunliffe should get another go but actually the world is screwed, media/dirty politics exists and we can’t convince NZ that he isn’t shifty, unliked and arrogant. That narrative is firmly entrenched and the amount of friends/people I spoke to during the campaign who really can’t stand him shocked me. He cost us votes, not just Labour but Cunliffe in particular. I found that hard to hear because I think he speaks well and I voted for him to be leader.

    We need to reflect on the bigger picture of winning back voters. Robertson is a solid candidate who commands a strong personal following and obviously has the support of caucus. We should give him, and as his deputy Jacinda Ardern, a shot at the leadership. They represent a balance of male/female, Wellington/Auckland, Jacinda grew up in small town NZ/Grant in the South Island. They both have a decent media profile already and represent a new, dynamic vision of Labour. I think we have a real chance to capture the media (and therefore NZ’s) attention and recreate the narrative around Labour.

    Please consider it. It doesn’t have to be a nasty ‘their candidate/our candidate’ thing. David was my candidate. But I’ve seen the writing on the wall and it says his credibility it irretrievably shot so it’s time to give a new approach a shot. And I’ll be buggered if we go back to Shearer, god, he was on Q & A again this morning stumbling over his words and inventing new ones because he couldn’t think on his feet.

    • DC for PM 31.1

      Nope, don’t agree his credibility is “irretrievably shot”.

      Damaged reputations can be rebuilt, and he has three years to do it. His personal popularity in the wider public was 18% and climbing steadily. They love him in South Auckland and West Auckland, and he received a standing ovation at Waikato Uni.
      Reach out to the younger voters who are less cynical and more open-minded, engage with the disenfranchised voters…

      Labour is totally screwed without DC, so we might as well give it one last shot before the party self-destructs.

    • Princess 31.2

      My partner and I have voted Labour for 20 years. If GR or Shearer’s tounge win the leadership our vote will go elsewhere. Its true, Cunliffe could and should have done better but changing the leader (again) is further damaging the party. Cunliffe is strong, attractive, intelligent and easily stands his ground against Key. GR is likeable and strong but has a feminine side which may turn off men voters. On telly this morning GR spoke about getting to know the unions over the year (to gain their confidence and votes) which sounds suspiciously like he had been planning another leadership challenge all along. If Cunliffe wins he needs to demote/sack the members in Labour who have/are causing all this unrest, blatantly ignoring his command and not caring about the potential destruction of the Beloved Labour Party.

      • Colonial Viper 31.2.1

        If Cunliffe wins he needs to demote/sack the members in Labour who have/are causing all this unrest, blatantly ignoring his command and not caring about the potential destruction of the Beloved Labour Party.

        Basically. Cunliffe has not managed caucus discipline well. And for the ones who will not or cannot be managed – they need to be shown the door. Either NZ Council or the ordinary members can do that.

    • Clemgeopin 31.3

      (1) Do you think Robertson has it in him to be a creditable strong leader, better than DC, to beat Key?

      (2) Will his gay status be a hindrance as far as the general public of NZ including Maori/pacific Islanders and the international scene is concerned, where he will need to deal with world leaders, including from conservative states, pacific region and Islamic nations? Is the country and the world ready for this? or should we simply ignore this issue? Personally, I have no problem with him being gay, but I think the questions I have asked here are important for discussion now rather than after the leadership election.

      (3) Isn’t it better to study the reasons for the election loss, make necessary changes in policies and continue with DC until the next election to see if we win or not after Dc has had a good and proper go at the challenge. The short time of eleven months with the antagonistic/unfair media plus other distractions from Dirty Politics and KDC did not help Labour’s cause at this election. Not entirely the fault of DC at all. If we lose in 2017 election, then consider leadership changes?

      • Colonial Viper 31.3.1

        Beating Key required much more than an 11 month run up. Cunliffe needs to make a lot of changes, including to his own leadership and communication style. But beating a 2 term National Govt led by the ever popular John Key was always going to be an outside chance. We needed to do better and we will next time having learnt these lessons.

    • Harry Holland 31.4

      Factionism aside, right now one of Labour’s main problems is too many leaders in a short space of time making it look chaotic. The biggest mistake was Goff’s premature resignation, followed by Shearer’s effectively suicidal over-reaction to Cunliffe. When you burn front-benchers like that it’s no wonder you run out of leadership options, and going back is unlikely to work.
      I party voted Labour on the strength of DC, but I agree that he is not suddenly going to become the public’s darling, and he does perhaps have some less than ideal traits (close friend who worked with him reported being a bit shocked at his comfort level with small casual lies – which I speculate could be at the heart of his people problems) but Grant is a very high risk alternative.
      A change now would only make sense if it were to a really solid candidate who could build the party’s perception slowly and steadily over the next 3 years. I actually think Labour has one of those, but unfortunately it seems he doesn’t want the job. DC has maybe only a 50/50 shot at building the party into a renewed force by 2017, but I wouldn’t rate Robertson’s chances into double figures.

  30. Hami Shearlie 32

    Grant Robertson showed the kind of person he is on Sunday’s screening of “The Nation” this morning – pointing to what he said were Cunliffe’s mistakes and repeating “we got 24 percent” over and over, in a very ill-judged attempt to lay ALL the blame at Cunliffe’s door, when he had less than a year in the top job. Pity Lisa Owen didn’t ask him why Labour came THIRD in the party vote in his electorate for the SECOND time – Pity she didn’t ask him what the party vote percentage was in HIS electorate. Pretty whopping big mistakes he seems to have made in his electorate – So what do we have? No experience in Government, no experience as a Minister, in 2011 just scraped into winning his seat with party vote a distant third , and repeated that dismal party vote again this time. Not a very uplifting picture of him is it? So busy pointing at David Cunliffe’s errors, yet can’t see the HUGE deficits in himself. And on top of that TV3 got it wrong, it wasn’t Cunliffe who forced Shearer out, it was his deputy Robertson’s group, with Maryan Street doing the numbers. Robertson has finally publicly shown that he’s not the “nice guy” in the narrative that he and his acolytes have composed for his public persona.

  31. SeanExile 33

    I think the key thing here is who can take on John Key. DC cant, hes tried and failed more miserably than anyone thought was possible. Lets remind those who thinks its great to stick with DC that we just had the worst election result since 1922 and the polling for DC as a leader is the worst we have seen from any Labour candidate in my political time. The voters have spoken on Cunliffe and the veridct was Not approved.

    Can Grant Robertson?
    To be honest i dont think so. While Grant Robertson may appeal to political insiders he hasnt struck me as someone who will win a popularity contest against John Key. John Key is a great politician in New Zealand. Some tend to forget that and be stuck in their own world blaming dirty politics and media when in fact the issue is that we have a really skilled leader of National. A leader who we havent fielded a candidate that has been skilled enough to take on so far.

    The good with Grant Robertson is that he could sort the inside of the party. get rid of those that failed with this campaign, install new professional leaders of the party. However the bad is that I really cant see that he will take on and beat John Key.
    But, I never thought Helen Clark would appeal to New Zealand either, even if I personally admired how she handled her first few years as leader. (the last year we better forget about).
    Grant Robertson is gay, can NZ handle that. I think so, as long as he comes across as an honest professional. But his charisma haven’t been there when i have seen him. And today when you have 20 second on camera to create an impression that charisma means a lot. We shall see he sure isnt an ideal candidate but with David Cunliffe being a man who has very little trust by NZ voters and leading us to the worst result since 1922 I guess anyone will improve our fortunes. I wish we would have had a candidate with working experience, and the ability to talk the talk.

    • DC for PM 33.1

      How did Cunliffe fail miserably against Key? He won at least two of the debates hands-down and his personality popularity was growing steadily.

      He only had a year as leader before the election, hardly enough time to plan and execute a proper campaign.

      It’s also very misleading to make a comparison with 1922, when we still had First-Past-the-Post, political party membership was high, and most NZers voted for one of the two major parties.

      Whereas now we have MMP and numerous smaller parties on the left all fighting for the same block of votes. Labour’s vote started sliding six years ago, are you blaming that on David Cunliffe as well?

      Need I remind you that National suffered an even more humiliating defeat under Bill English? And yet there he still is….

      • Murray Olsen 33.1.1

        Cunliffe failed miserably against Key because the challenge for the leader of the Labour Party in an election year is not to win any number of debates. They play a fairly minor role. Cunliffe failed to become a desirable PM in the hearts and minds of enough voters. I don’t think this was all his fault and I doubt if anyone else could have done better with the dysfunctional mess that is the Labour caucus not really caring about winning.

        I think that, given 3 years to work on all the issues, Cunliffe has more chance of leading an electoral victory than anyone else. I would love to see our first openly gay PM, but I don’t think Robertson can do it.

        • Ennui

          Could not agree more with the time analysis. I really don’t give a flying proverbial about whether Robertson is gay, and I don’t care for “firsts”. What I really care about is where Cunliffe, Robertson, or any other possible leader stand vis a vis “left” or “right”. If they don’t have the right credentials they might as well not bother me with any lame rhetoric or “feel good” about being whatever.

          • Murray Olsen

            First openly left gay PM. I should have been more specific. I don’t want neoliberal PMs of any sexuality.

  32. les 34

    Clever Natz,got Shane Jones out of the way.He was the only one with mainstream appeal.Cunnliffe was disappointing ,did not live up to his own hype.The public do not like him.Robertson has only one fatal flaw…his sexuality.It makes him a non contender.The whole Labour campaign was mismanaged,talk of taxes and Cunnliffes frequent faux pas.Copy the Natz ,rebuild,refresh and keep it simple ,so stupid voters can understand it.

    • Hami Shearlie 34.1

      Robertson also has the fatal flaw of no charisma, no gravitas, doesn’t project as a strong decisive person, and just doesn’t look like a Prime Minister. These things cannot be changed – he is who he is. Cunliffe does have these attributes, his popularity was going steadily up in the polls in the campaign. He needs a good few years of publicity to be known to the public – Most people who have met him have really really liked him.

  33. Saarbo 35

    Apart from labours internal problems, including the fact that a career politician is our 2nd best option to lead the party, Nationar are incredibly well funded and well resourced…this needs to be looked at within the scope as well. One of the reason we did so bloody poorly on the 20th Sept is because National”s marketing was everywhere, and it had been that way since 20th July.

  34. Clemgeopin 36

    Have a read of this article today by Tracy Watkins:


    I can see that the media, some commentators and Key have already started their relentless unfair attacks on Cunliffe and Labour once again. Bodes ill for fair democracy and serious discussion. A sad state of affairs in our journalism accentuating the negatives and blowing up the marginal stuff while ignoring the more serious policy issues.

    • blue leopard 36.1

      +1 Clem

      The coverage of that capital gains tax ‘stumble’ was particularly astonishing to me, because I watched that debate and Mr Cunliffe was extremely strong on answering questions by linking them to relevant Labour party policies whereas Mr Key seemed to have more things to say about Labour party policies than National’s (not all that surprising because National didn’t seem to have many of their own). Yet the media response to that debate solely fixated on that capital tax gains response by Mr Cunliffe.

      Policy-wise Mr Cunliffe provided way more substance, yet if one hadn’t seen the debate (which was only available online) and only heard the media response, one would be left with the impression that Cunliffe was weak and Key was stronger. This simply wasn’t the case.

      The media fixated on possibly the one error (or one of very few) that Mr Cunliffe made in the debate. They didn’t comment on Key’s complete lack of substance.

      • dv 36.1.1

        He was asked if the Home was in a trust. NOT the family home.
        Small but crucial difference.

        The Media ignored that Key didn’t know his own how many household in NZ for the tax,

  35. Apples 37

    Very happy that Robertson has put his name in! He’s clever, likeable and authentic. I think he can turn things around for us with a strong team behind him. We need generational change in Labour and someone who can bring unity.

    I respect David for the work he put in. He’s clever and hard-working. But I don’t think he will ever be electable to the PM job. People simply don’t like him. And that’s pretty much a fatal flaw .

    • newsense 37.1

      I remember a cartoon showing Jim Anderton and Helen Clark as vampires and that was what the right thought everyone would see them as. And I remember the jubilation of 1999. I don’t buy this people don’t like him thing. When they got to hear him speak in his own words, unfiltered by the hate machine, some of which belongs to Robertson or caucus colleagues, his popularity went up.

    • Clemgeopin 37.2

      “But I don’t think he will ever be electable to the PM job. People simply don’t like him. And that’s pretty much a fatal flaw ”

      You do realise that Helen Clark became the Labour leader in 1993, lost the election in 1996 and won only in 1999? That is SIX years from the time of taking over as Labour leader to winning the election! During those six years, she too was, in your words, ‘not liked’ and was portrayed as ‘non electable’ with popularity as low as 10%. In fact, there was a move by a group of ABC (Any One But Clark) cabal that went into her office with invisible knives and asked her to resign. Luckily she told them to bugger off, won the election and presided over nearly a decade of economic growth and surplus while still implementing a large number of economic and social justice policies.

      Cunliffe has only had eleven months against Key, one of the most popular PM ever, dirty politics by RW and biased MSM and against a so called ‘Rock Star Economy’ (though with a massive burden of over 80 billion dollars of debt which no one talks about!)

      You should also see how long a stint it took being in opposition before winning an election in the case of Key, W.Nash and even N Kirk.

      Let the party, not a caucus cabal, decide who deserves to be their leader. Whoever is elected will have three years to turn things around. Three years is a long time in politics.


      • Apples 37.2.1

        Clark came very close to winning the 1996 Election. Arguably more people voted to make her PM than they did to make Bolger PM. You can hardly say that about DC. Clark also won the confidence of her caucus. Yes, there were people out to get her, but she had the confidence of most of the caucus AND the membership. DC has neither IMO (let’s wait and see on the membership front).

        Regarding the likability of DC – I wonder if you actually campaigned this Election for the Labour Party? Because if you did anywhere (except maybe New Lynn and South Auckland) – you would have got what we all got – a constant belligerent chorus of people saying that they simply didn’t like DC. It would be easy to blame everyone except DC – but he can’t change who he is.

        At first, I ignored it. There were similar thoughts about Goff and Shearer. But not on this scale. It was impossible to ignore. We can’t as a party turn around to all those people and say: no you are wrong, you WILL like him because WE say so.

        • Clemgeopin

          Good points. Cunliffe, if chosen, will need to improve his presentation skills and learn to speak from his heart and come across as more sincere and trustworthy. At times, he errs on this point probably because he gets too cautious having been constantly attacked often unfairly by the media. Media is very powerful in molding public opinion and do immense injustice to a person or a party when there is a subtle hidden agenda behind what the media is concentrating on in its presentation of ‘news’ or ‘comments’.

          • Apples

            True. Although the moments where he decided not to be cautious were not exactly high points for the campaign either. In particular I am thinking about: 1) I’m sorry for being a man; and (2) attacking Key for living in an expensive house as opposed to his Herne Bay “do-up”.

            He’ll need to learn how to talk past the media and to voters. And to avoid coming across extraordinarily insincere. Maybe that’s possible. There were a few moments, especially in the debates, where it seemed possible. I remain quite skeptical.

  36. MrV 38

    The man has never had a job outside of government. Kiwis will not vote for that.

    • Apples 38.1

      Disagree. See: Helen Clark.

      Authenticity, competence and unity more important than a CV. Also – we are the Labour Party and we should be proud of those people who have worked in the public service! That’s a a bloody honourable thing to do.

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