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Robertson throws his hat in the ring

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 pm, August 25th, 2013 - 152 comments
Categories: grant robertson, labour - Tags:

For me, Grant Robertson’s move late on Sunday afternoon to declare that he will run for the Labour leadership shows that he has chops as an operator. Likewise, the swiftness with which he moved to hold a press conference after Shearer quit. Indeed, the fact that Robertson’s team are good political operators has been on display with their character assassination of Cunliffe for years. But is being a good operator enough?

I reckon you can guess my answer. (incidentally, you’ll notice how restrained the Standardistas have been considering we were damn well right about Shearer all along – it doesn’t do to blow one’s own trumpet)

Here’s my concern about Robertson. The public rejected Goff and Shearer because they didn’t think that either were adequate potential PMs. Goff didn’t appear genuine – too often he didn’t seem to believe what he was saying and, after 30 years playing chameleon in Parliament, one wondered if even Goff knew what he believed in underneath it all. Shearer, well Shearer clearly didn’t know what he believed in and no-one could have any confidence in his ability to handle the big events that PMs have to deal with. Both Goff and Shearer were nice, and Goff knew about being an operator, but not only didn’t they sell their vision to New Zealand, they didn’t really have a vision.

Which brings me to this from Robertson’s email launching his candidacy:

With our members and supporters alongside us, and a clear vision and message we will be at our strongest for the 2014 election.

There is a huge amount at stake. Every week New Zealanders can see new examples of how badly John Key and his government have lost touch with their hopes and concerns. From the Sky City deal, to rising unemployment and a lack of respect for our fundamental democratic rights and freedoms, this government is not listening to New Zealanders.

What Labour must do is not just highlight these problems, but give New Zealanders reasons to vote for a Labour government. Our story is one that should give hope to every person that no matter where they are from, they will get the opportunity to achieve their potential.

My vision is for a country that is proud and optimistic about its future. We have got to regain some hope. New Zealanders are tired of the short term fixes and deals, and the failed ideas of the past. We must look ahead and govern for tomorrow as much as for today. We need to build the country that our grandchildren want to live in- prosperous, fair and environmentally aware.

I see the phrase “clear vision” there but I don’t see an actual clear vision. In the final paragraph, where Robertson tries to elucidate his vision, what comes out is a set of bland platitudes that could just as easily come out of the mouth of a tory.

I don’t doubt that Robertson has good left values. Nor do I doubt that he would be a good leader of Labour and would make a perfectly credible Prime Ministerial candidate, which is, perhaps, all that Labour has lacked.

But to be sure of winning, you need to communicate a vision that is heartfelt and speaks to New Zealanders. I’m still to see that from Robertson.

152 comments on “Robertson throws his hat in the ring ”

  1. Ron 1

    But we should also remember that Robertson did not accompany his leader to the resignation. Regardless of wanting to get the top job he should have still supported the leader when he had to face the media. Anything else seems to me to be disloyal, and for that reason I would not like to see Grant as leader or deputy.

    • Hami Shearlie 1.1

      Agreed. This move of announcing tonight just in time to be interviewed and be in the spotlight etc, has a smell of someone who is manouvering behind the scenes and has been for some time, to set himself up as leader. He certainly seemed to be giving Shearer very bad advice all the way along and along with Mallard is responsible for Labour’s big loss in the last election as they were in charge of the campaign. The members and the unions will have to be aware of the public polls which have Cunliffe at three times the support of Robertson. If the members and unions don’t take enough heed of that, I think they’re crazy!! Very interesting that Georgina Beyer is saying that a large percentage of members from South Auckland will WALK if Robertson is elected leader. For her of all people to say that, the message should be very very clear to Caucus, members and Unions – Give the public the Leader they want. The public will decide who wins the next election, members and unionists and Caucus should never forget that!! And apart from all of this, Robertson is, frankly BORING, compared with David Cunliffe! He will inspire no-one!!

      • Peter 1.1.1

        Beyer is overplaying it a bit I think, and risking a counter-reaction. I doubt there will be much further walking from South Auckland, they’ll all just stay at home again, as members of NZ’s largest “I don’t vote” party.

        • Hami Shearlie

          Either way, Robertson being leader won’t help Labour in South Auckland – or anywhere else!!

          • Redbaiter

            “Either way, Robertson being leader won’t help Labour in South Auckland – or anywhere else!!”

            That is correct, but why does Labour get itself all tangled up in homosexualism anyway? What’s that got to do with helping poor people?

            I think homosexuals are just using the Labour Party to advance their own homosexualist agenda at the expense of the historical Labour party mission.

            Why piss off your vote base for the sake of a faction that has very little real connect with Labour’s traditional cause?

            Homosexualists are just playing true Labour for suckers. They’re an unnecessary distraction as well as a millstone around the party’s neck as far as votes go. Parasites. Give them the boot and get on with the real mission.

            • Colonial Viper

              The well off liberal elite essentially gave up on protecting the working class and the poor, in favour of a trade off focussing on advancing identity politics but allowing neoliberal changes to continue and evolve.

              Major financial interests and moneyed backers were fine with this arrangement. So, against a backdrop of unions being smashed, pay rates stuck in the mud, corporate profitability sky rocketing, and beneficiaries increasingly descriminated against and impoverished, focal issues of identity politics were steadily advanced.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                Has any politician in the Labour Party stood up for anything to help workers or the poor in recent years?

                More state housing – nope
                Increased benefit rates – nope
                Bring back the right to strike – nope
                Increased minimum wage – yep


                Well it’s a start.

                • Colonial Viper

                  It’s the massive underclass of beneficiaries 200,000-300,000 people that Labour needs to stand up for, without apologising.

                  This constituency comprises the bottom 5%-10% of the population in terms of income, and also comprise most of the problem of child poverty.

                  Quite the reverse though, over the last 15 years of Labour rule, beneficiaries have been smashed over and over and over again by Labour. GST, elimination of the special benefit, applying PAYE to benefits, work testing, keeping benefits at well under 50% of the median wage, etc.

                  • Tracey

                    while reminding people how many people previously in work, who assumed they would never need the safety net, are now recipients. No one knows who will next be in need of our safety nets be it a hospital an accommodation supplement to pay rent while looking for a new job.

                    Just about everyone in this net used to be in work. Suggesting all are lazy is like saying ALL business owners are negligent and no good because the Pike River guys were.

              • bad12

                Well said CV and Descendant of Smith, i could not put what i see as Labour’s ‘problem’ any more eloquently…

              • Greywarbler

                This is a great explanation for what’s puzzled me about Labour and its attitudes. Thanks it has the ring of truth. Will that be the ring that rules us all? I leave on that enigmatic note.

              • Craig Y

                Oh right. Excuse me, Grant Robertson was a (PSA) trade unionist before entering Parliament, and both Robertson and Louisa Wall have strong union connections. As for the identity politics remark, it’s debatable whether so-called identity politics can be fenced off from issues of economic inequality, the survival of a comprehensive welfare state and public health system. Most gay men above forty remember the toll that the HIV/AIDS epidemic took in the United States, which lacks both social democratic prerequisites. As for the poor, have you forgotten that the LGBT communities have our own destitute and deprived constituency- namely, transgendered/transsexual community members, particularly the impoverished, sometimes homeless, Maori and Pacific Island street sex workers in South Auckland?

                “Identity politics” versus economic inequality is a false dichotomy, CV.

                • Redbaiter

                  “where Robertson tries to elucidate his vision, what comes out is a set of bland platitudes”

                  The OP says this, and he’s right because sexuality is the main focus of any homosexualist and what can Robertson say about that that will resonate with voters?

                  The Labour Party did itself enormous electoral damage being perceived as the driver, through Louisa Wall, of the Marriage Redefinition Act, and this was typical of a homosexualist.

                  This Act annoyed a lot of people and benefited only Wall and a few of her friends. Wall knew it would cost Labour votes but she still pressed on. Because her sexuality is her main focus.

                  What did Labour or the poor profit from the Marriage Redefinition Act?. How many votes will they lose because of it?

                  Wall may have “union connections” but she blew it for Labour chasing a personal ambition in a manner driven by narcissism.

                  The Labour Party is being used by a clique of self focused Progressives. Wall is one and Robertson is another. Other examples were Carter and Chauvel and Hughes.

                  If Robertson is leader, are we going to see the Labour party push gay adoption as its main plank?

                  (Just for the record, my favourite Labour Guy is Damian O’Connor, but I guess he’s far too “old Labour” to lead the party today.)

                • Ennui

                  You may be right that Identity politics” versus economic inequality is a false dichotomy. Received wisdom contends that “there is no smoke without fire”.

                  During the time that Labour has been in Opposition there has been definite gay activism that has managed to pass as private members bills legislation on civil unions and gay marriage etc. Labour MPs have been the main proponents of this and to their great credit have managed to pass these through the House. This however comes at a cost: the perception (not the reality) is that this comes before, and takes priority to economic issues within Labour.

                  CVs point illustrates that the perception, whether fair or not, true or false actually exists.

                  • Tracey

                    Any legislation proposed by labour during its time in opposition must be voted for by some from National, MP, United Future or ACT to become law. The evil is everywhere brothers.

                  • Craig Y

                    It’s a false perception, and largely put about by Old Left fundamentalist types who want to deny that modern centre-left parties have plural constituencies. Trade unions are a core element of social democratic political parties like ours, which is why Robertson, Louisa Wall and others have strong union affiliations. However, there are such things as right-wing trade unions and trade unionists- the late unlamented Connie Purdue and the Australian Labor Party’s travails with conservative Catholic Joe de Bruyn come to mind.

                    And does that Old Left comprise all of the Labour Party, or the voting public, anymore? Does it even represent the New Zealand working class as it is currently constituted? Look at Australia- in order to pander to its Catholic Right, the ALP has alienated female and LGBT voters.

                    • Redbaiter

                      “Look at Australia- in order to pander to its Catholic Right, the ALP has alienated female and LGBT voters.”

                      By females you mean feminists, another clique that is using Labour to advance their own political agenda at the expense of the traditional Labour mission.

                      You appear to be saying such groups have more rights in modern Labour than traditional working class Catholics.

                      Its not just me who disagrees with you there, apparently so does the ALP.

                      Maybe traditional Australian Labour is just waking up to how they have been used.

                    • Ennui

                      Craig, plural constituencies do indeed exist, they include the “old left”, whom I suggest are electorally more numerous than LGBT voters. The issue at hand is accepting that there are plural opinions and agendas and marrying them to a common cause, to gain sufficient votes to defeat a common enemy. To do that recognition needs to be given to the fact that perceptions that don’t meet reality still drive voter behavior. Yes, its unfair but it is reality.

                    • Tracey

                      If the labour party is not what “gay people” want, they will vote for another party, as any person does.

                      I just want t0 know WHAT they do stand for, then I can decide. At the moment I am voting Green because I have a pretty good handle on what they stand for.

                    • weka

                      By females you mean feminists, another clique that is using Labour to advance their own political agenda at the expense of the traditional Labour mission.

                      You appear to be saying such groups have more rights in modern Labour than traditional working class Catholics.

                      Lolz, yeah, because there are no working class Catholic feminists.

                      I don’t know why Labour doesn’t rebrand itself as the Waitakere Man party and be done with it. It can probably keep itself above the 5% threshhold, and find a permanent place in NZ politics on the centre left and in centre left govts.

                      (needless to say, white working class men who don’t have a problem with women or gays or Maori can vote Mana).

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Craig Y is correct that “identity politics versus economic inequality is a false dichotomy” insofar as progressing the two issues side by side is absolutely possible.

                    They are not mutually exclusive agendas by any means. Breakthroughs in say, same sex marriage can certainly be made at the same time as breakthroughs in full employment policies are made.

                    The fact is though, that is not what has happened. The worker rights and organised labour agenda has gone nowhere in the last 30 years except backwards.

                    So what I am stating is not a “perception” nor does it claim that identity politics and class politics cannot go hand in hand.

                    But they simply haven’t.

                    • weka

                      Fine. Stop blaming identity politics for that then.

                    • Redbaiter

                      Listen mate, I am working class, and I tell you most of the guys I work with have had a complete and utter guts full of feminist gay bullshit.

                    • weka

                      Listen mate, I am working class, and I tell you most of the guys I work with have had a complete and utter guts full of feminist gay bullshit.


                    • fender

                      “Listen mate, I am working class, and I tell you most of the guys I work with have had a complete and utter guts full of feminist gay bullshit.”

                      No doubt with a homophobic bully on the rampage they nod in agreement with you until you are out of earshot, then of course it’s you who they refer to as a noddy.

                    • vto

                      So it is distorting what Labour can offer to the wider community – perception and reality and all that..

              • weka

                The well off liberal elite essentially gave up on protecting the working class and the poor, in favour of a trade off focussing on advancing identity politics but allowing neoliberal changes to continue and evolve.

                Major financial interests and moneyed backers were fine with this arrangement. So, against a backdrop of unions being smashed, pay rates stuck in the mud, corporate profitability sky rocketing, and beneficiaries increasingly descriminated against and impoverished, focal issues of identity politics were steadily advanced.

                yeah, nah. Feminists could just as easily argue that Labour has paid lip-service to gender issues while still allowing the patriarchal structures that oppress all women to remain firmly in place and continue to evolve, because that serves the ruling elite. I think you will find that the sops being thrown to women are matched by the sops being thrown to poor people ie enough to keep the ruling elite within Labour (who want something to differentiate themselves from NACT), and those who vote for them, a bit happy.

                To put it another way, women aren’t gaining the ground you think they are, and are losing ground that you may be unaware of.

                It doesn’t help to frame this as indentity politics vs poverty politics. Feminism, while it’s got its own internal struggles around class, has always been working against oppressive structures wherever it sees them. Poverty is a major feminist issue.

                I’ve spoken about women’s issues here but it would surprise me if what I have said is true for other so called identities.

        • Tracey

          perhaps, but to win Labour probably need the south Auckland votes that defected or abstained last time

          • Ennui

            For Labour to win South Aucklands vote is mandatory. Which means that listening to the concerns of the Polynesian communities as expressed through such bodies as their churches is vital. In my experience these groups are socially conservative.

            • bad12

              i would suggest that for Labour to ‘listen’ to the concerns of South Aucklander’s they only need elevate Su’a William Sio the Mp for Mangere to the front bench where in my opinion He belongs,

              Sio is one of the few Labour MP’s that can make a speech to the House in language that cannot be misinterpreted, without speech notes, which makes National members cringe…

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      When asked about it, he said that Shearer hadn’t asked him to attend, and it was really Shearer’s day and time.

  2. Luka 2

    I would not want to see him as leader because I know he will lose this election. He is not popular, he is full of cliche platitudes and he is as inspiring and charming as a rotting teddy bear in a grave yard. We don’t need another charisma vacuum. We need an X factor, someone who can get others to stand up and take notice, Cunliffe can do that, Robertson cannot.

  3. Sosoo 3

    Robertson’s press release reminded me of this:

    The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor co conceal it. This does not mean that his speech is anarchically impulsive, but that the motive guiding and controlling it is unconcerned with how the things about which he speaks truly are.

    – Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshit

    • Mary 3.1

      I’m sure Robertson comes across to many as not too bad an orator, but I can’t remember him ever saying anything at all.

      • fender 3.1.1

        Yeah never anything inspiring that gives one hope, and it’s delivered without the passion that’s needed to make it feel authentic.

  4. Peter 4

    And now Jones is standing.

    What does that mean, a pincer movement from Camp Robertson, with a sweetener of a frontbench position, to mop up some stray Cunliffe votes and keep them firmly onside with the old team?

    It’s a worry.

    • Eddie 4.1

      It’s an instant-run off system, like the Aussie elections (effectively, STV) . any votes Jones takes off Cunliffe will presumably have Cunliffe as second preference and will go back to him when Jones is knocked out.

    • Tracey 4.2

      How do you reconcile a Robertson/Jones team? Surely they represent two quite distinct factions within the party? One to the right and one to the left (ish)

      • Mary 4.2.1

        I’d reconcile it by saying Jones is as neo-liberal as you can get and Robertson’s not far behind.

        • McFlock

          well, actually one could get much more neoliberal than jones. Did he vote for private prisons, for example? Health insurance vouchers rather than ACC? Charter schools? Suggest flat tax of 20% and GST at 40% in a private member’s bill?

          I don’t like the man, but your assessment is bunk. He’s an obsolete boor, possibly has difficulty identifying conflicts of interest, and makes frequent political indiscretions. But calling him “as neo-liberal as you can get” has no evidence for an extremely bold claim.

          • Mary

            Your examples would require Jones to argue against Labour policy. Put him in the ACT Party and he’d say all of those things were wonderful, in addition to feeling quite at home there. Ever heard Jones talk about beneficiaries? He can’t stand them.

            • McFlock

              Not offhand. But even if all that were 100% true (and yes, I doubt strongly), someone as neolib as they could get would still be pushing those policies, rather than simply making a dick of himself.

  5. karol 5

    Maiden Speech: part one:

    Maiden speech part 2

    Lacks passion, especially in advocating for a fair and inclusive society – little sense of fighting for those in poverty – it’s all a bit sanitised, corporate-style presentation.

    PS: His speech delivery has improved and is more animated and passionate.

    • Mary 5.1

      Yes Karol. I’ve always noticed that about him. His website has very little if anything about poverty on it. Corin Dann tonight said Robertson was “left-wing”. There’s no evidence of that and most things he has said suggests the opposite. If he became leader he would continue to ignore questions about Labour’s welfare policy. Nobody from Labour has had the courage to front up to what it did to the legislation between 1999 and 2008. My guess is that Robertson probably supports the current law changes. If not, he certainly wouldn’t be reversing them. The old adage “you can judge a country by the way it treats its poor” still holds good today and by the looks of things Robertson doesn’t go anywhere near cutting it.

      • Jim Nald 5.1.1

        I will refrain from commenting about others, or comparing with others, and just focus on Grant at this stage.

        I have known Grant, and known about him, for many years. In his previous job, and in his current role, he still has yet to get back to me, as well as the organisation/group to which I have been affiliated, about a couple of issues and emails. He was all fine and hurrah when face-to-face, and is very skilful with moving himself around the room shaking hands and exchanging greetings, smiles and pleasantries. However, the follow-up has been slow (still waiting) or absent. I am concerned that while he may be able to help move things when there is already a plan (H1’s or H2’s, or our organisational/group’s objectives or aims) to which he has been involved, it is quite a bit of an ask to get him to refine, let alone develop, a plan or a vision from his own head and hands. This has been the view of other colleagues (intra- and inter-institutional, and inter-disciplinary/inter-professional) whose work have involved him, and we have ‘compared notes’ between ourselves about him.

        Grant, in our view when we talk about him, has not been seen as left or right wing, but having his own wings. When working with him, we have found that something would get a bit more movement if we arrange it as working *for* him in a way that aligns with *his* interest. Then, we get some movement.

        Having said all this, I wish him all the best, and the excuse I will offer for him with regard to past matters is that he was too busy with other things and our requests have not been of higher priority for him. The hope now, looking ahead, is that he would have the staff, experience and maturity to serve others, no matter who they are and regardless of how their priorities sit with his, to advance the interests of his electorate and the country.

        • xtasy

          Is this not the same “issue” we may have with most, if not all politicians? Words are spoken, hands shaken, some vague promises made, but the follow up is always slow, or never happens. I detect a suspicious thread of behaviour here, not just typical for Grant Robertson.

      • David H 5.1.2

        If I want a service, or to buy something, the first place I go to look is the net, and I look for many things one is the quality of the website. So to the Web sites I go

        Grant Robertsons: A generic copy of the main Labour site. No originality Just Boring. With that ugly flat Red colour scheme

        David Cunliffe: An original take on the Main Labour site, Better use of Multi Media, Just easier to use, and easier on the eye.

        Shane Jones
        No web site I can find.

        So you pays your money and you takes your chances. But my day was made Yesterday, with Chris Hipkins swallowing Dead rats on Q+A, to be nice about Cunliffe.

        • Saarbo

          Fair comment David H. Websites reflect underlying capabilities and attention to detail.

      • Tracey 5.1.3

        Most people are left-wing to Dann.

  6. infused 6

    I would have thought cunliffe would have been the best leader tbh.

  7. karol 7

    And this post is being talked up on twitter account ‘Cunliffe for Leader’

    The Standard isn’t impressed with Robertson for leader. http://thestandard.org.nz/robertson-puts-hat-ring/

    • mickysavage 7.1

      I have no idea who it is but this person is using a photo that Slater normally uses so I would treat his or her tweets with some caution …

  8. Don't worry. Be happy. 8

    In my opinion, Robertson cannot win the next election or even the one after that. In fact, sadly, it’s highly unlikely that he, or any other gay man, could win an election and become Prime minister, until a charismatic, talented and utterly essential All Black comes out, is featured on the cover of The Woman’s Weekly getting married and stays in the team with no eyebrows raised or comments made. Who can wait that long to get our country back from the Banksters ? And why should we have to?

  9. Rhinocrates 9

    I’ve no problem with Beltway Grant being gay, any more than I’d have a problem with anyone having freckles.

    I have a REAL problem with Beltway Grant being yet another trougher with no sincerely held principles and no ability to actually lead versus interest in his own fortune above all.

  10. Olwyn 10

    This is my position. I will vote for Cunliffe, supposing that he stands. If he wins, I will be delighted. I will return to attending Labour Party events, putting pamphlets in letterboxes and so on. If Robertson wins, I will watch for a bit to see what transpires, but very likely revert to plan B, which is abandoning Labour altogether and voting Green. This has nothing whatsoever to do with Grant’s gayness. It has everything to do with his lack of a clear articulated political position, the likelihood of his continuing on the same doomed path, and the calculating game he has played while the people Labour should be defending have been getting crushed.

    • chris 10.1

      Robertson is my Electorate MP, loyalty is something one earns. Labour under Robertson’s leadership means more of the same. NO THANKS

      • Rhinocrates 10.1.1

        Robertson’s worked for nothing that has anything to do with helping people in the real world. He’s never worked for anyone but himself. He just thinks that he’s entitled due to all his backroom work. It’s time to teach him the lesson that backrooms count for nothing out in the wider world.

        • Mary

          That sums it up pretty well. Apart from what he’s been spouting on about over the last day or two, what has Robertson, or Jones for that matter, ever said let alone done, that reflects traditional Labour Party values? Nothing. Why believe either of them now? What’s changed, Grant? Tell us.

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    He hasn’t got time to develop a profile. No body knows who he is. Why we anyone consider voting for an unknown

  12. Glen Forrester 12

    Grant Robertson that was campaign manager spokes guy for the last two elections that Labour lost and badly… No thanks

  13. Naki nark 13

    I have done comments on TS and I said that I did not want Shearer but I was not Shearers deputy leader. Grant was undermineing Shearer from when he got the job – ‘I want to take it as far as I can take it and we’ll see how long that takes’ THE LISTNER. http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/politics/interview-labour-deputy-grant-robertson/

    I do not know who I want to be the leader but Grant should feel responsible for not helping Shearer and he should wait for all of that.

  14. geoff 14

    I’ve never heard Robertson speak economics. Never heard him tear a neo-liberal economic argument to shreds with a cutting one-liner.

    Cunliffe does and has.

    If Labour dont lead with Cunliffe it will be ‘show me the money!’ all over again during the leader debates. You need someone who understands the intricacies of the snake-oil finance-speak and can throw back in Key’s face in an instant.

    Cunliffe has this ability, National know that and they would much prefer to do battle with Robertson.

    Robertson may be smart, but he doesn’t have the chops (ie the knowledge) that Cunliffe has.

  15. xtasy 15

    I am in favour of Labour candidates for the leadership having a contest, and whosoever wins should deserve the full loyalty of the loser(s), and also at the same time try to engage and co-operate by getting the follow up candidate and/or his or her supporters lined up as deputy and some potential front bench members.

    This is the chance for Labour to clear the air, to let the party vote, the affiliates and still allow input from caucus, to get it right once and for all. Let us not forget, many here were damned distressed, disillusioned and worried until into this last week, and Shearer’s resignation has come as a God send, really. He deserves respect for finally having seen the light and inevitable, and so all have to move on.

    I can actually see Cunliffe and Robertson work together, and the challenges for the whole party should teach both, and their supporters to put differing agendas and personal interests aside, and damned well work together, to bloody well achieve what this country desperately needs, a change of government no later than end of last year!!!


    • Mary 15.1

      I don’t think Robertson has it in him to be completely loyal to someone who’s just pipped him to the leadership. I just don’t feel it.

      • xtasy 15.1.1

        The humiliation of losing a vote can be a “lecturing” and “humbling” experience, I presume, even for one Grant Robertson. He can always escape frustrations and enjoy the nightlife of Wellington, to make the best out of his life.

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 15.1.2

        Well, how loyal was he to his last Leader? Didn’t even stand next to him at his farewell.

        Now that I think about it, whose idea were those fish anyway?

        • Colonial Viper

          As an aspiring politician, the last thing you want to be associated with is failure. Or that nasty, fishy smell.

  16. xtasy 16

    What makes me wonder also is, where will all these developments leave Hipkins? He was today facing the media saying he could forget the past or move on, and work with Cunliffe, but hey, Hippie, do you expect us to believe you?

    I see Hipkins being removed as “whip” and condemned to head into his own closet, to continually “whip” himself for a bloody long time, given his past comments on Cunliffe (after the hyped up talk of “leadership challenge” late last year).

    He must be on the way OUT, and he may desperately try to promote Robertson, to save his bloody neck!

  17. Mary 17

    Robertson and Hipkins are still playing university politics. Neither of them have moved on. Someone should ask Robertson how he’d see Labour’s welfare policy just to see him not say anything about it. I quite enjoy seeing that happen now. Reminds me of what Labour’s really about.

  18. Adrian 18

    The mark of a person is how they treat those a lot younger than themselves. Last year at a Labour function after a big regional meeting there was a feed and a quiz game etc. David Cunliffe was in a team with my 15 year old. My 15yo said DC treated him with respect and included him in the general conversation. He was very impressed. That’s enough for me. Go DC.

  19. the sprout 19

    Shearer Mk II. Nice guy, popular with the cabinet old guard, little support amongst the members, unknown outside Wellington and unable to engage with the general. public. Very much like Shearer. Expect more of the same member disengagement and opposition if Robertson is installed.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Unfortunately I think that you are right about “Shearer Mk II”.

      The Robertson/Shearer leadership team could not get traction with the public or the polls as hard as they tried, and Labour simply cannot afford more business as usual.

      (hi the sprout!)

    • Mary 19.2

      Caucus will feel right at home then.

  20. lurgee 20

    So, Robertson versus Jones it is, for now. Will Cunliffe make a bid for it (perhaps hoping not to win?) or sit this one out? IDamned either way, really. If he goes for it, he may lose the leadership race; if he wins, he may lose the election. If he doesn’t go for it, he will look like a cynical coward who was anticipating defeat in 2014.

  21. David H 21

    I see Gower trying to make the news again. Counting imaginary numbers, in favour of Robertson. Breakfast TV.
    Well I guess we know who they favour, and who scares the living shit out of them.

  22. AsleepWhileWalking 22

    I don’t think the last paragraph reflects badly, rather it shows that he has picked up on something that is working for National and using it as part of his strategy.

  23. vto 23

    The gay factor has already been over-hyped and it will become his dominating factor. Thanks Georgina Beyer.

    Robertson aint up to it anyway, as anybody who lives outside of Wellington knows.

    Does anybody know why Cunliffe would be no good? (outside of internal labour party cowshit).

    • Chooky 23.1

      +1 vto…..speaking from a way outside Wellington in the provinces. What is needed is a Labour Party that can match John Key in debate and look good! .

      ..,..Cunliffe and Ardern would be the ideal combination.. smart, young, dynamic and able to pick up the 800,000+ Labour voters who didn’t vote last time…and take Labour into the future as a winner

      …Gone are the days of a Labour ‘Corporate self-entitled rogernome ‘old boys network’ who slander and marginalise the real contenders and winners. The ego of some of these males never ceases to amaze me….it would be funny but it has just about destroyed the Labour Party!

      *Grant Robertson will go down like a lead balloon with the electorate ( Georgina Beyer at least had charisma and charm and she says it like it is!)….Robertson was not a success in Wellington Central. He has no track record of popularity ( he is a backroom boy, one of those cunning movers behind the scenes with an inflated view of his own mass appeal…and he doesn’t have the X factor lets be frank!….He would make a good Minister of Trade and Industry or Consumer Affairs)

      *…..and Shane Jones will go down like a lead balloon with the 50% women vote….talk of women as “geldings” and watching porn on the taxpayer dollar …and making his campaign in the “smoko rooms” is not the recipe for a Labour Party leader , especially in the 21st century

      • lurgee 23.1.1

        “What is needed is a Labour Party that can match John Key in debate and look good!”

        What we need is someone who can neutralise John Key’s bully boy tactics, which isn’t quite the same thing as matching it. I’m worried that a debate between Key and Cunliffe would degenerate into a contest to see who was the Biggest Swinging Dick and would alienate a lot of people watching.

        Cunliffe probably could out shout and out one-liner key – but it piss people off. That’s why I suggested Annette King might be an effective foil to Key – heaping umbrage on grannies is generally frowned on. Looks like the chaps are going to square off now, rather than next year, so that’s not going to be an option (though Shane Jones could actually play to his ‘human weaknesses’ and make Key look like a nasty git), so I hope they can think strategically, rather than tactically.

        • Colonial Viper

          Cunliffe probably could out shout and out one-liner key – but it piss people off. That’s why I suggested Annette King might be an effective foil to Key – heaping umbrage on grannies is generally frowned on.

          So you want Labour to go after the sympathy vote?

          • lurgee

            Nope, but you knew that. Stop being a silly troll.

            • Colonial Viper

              Silly? You proposed a campaign strategy on the basis of:

              That’s why I suggested Annette King might be an effective foil to Key – heaping umbrage on grannies is generally frowned on.

              Which is why I asked you a very serious question: are you going after the sympathy (or “granny”) vote?

              • lurgee

                Well, if you really are struggling … Key relies on bully boy and bluster. He’s smart enough to know that won’t work with someone like King. So he’ll have to actually talk about stuff, instead of shouting and squawking one liners. He’ll not enjoy that, whereas he will enjoy tempting one of the three brash boys who have declared into a slanging match.

  24. gobsmacked 24

    Grant Robertson just needs to answer one simple question:

    “After the last election, did you believe that out of 34 Labour MPs, David Shearer was the best choice as leader? If so, why?”

    This is not just water under the bridge. If Robertson’s choice was sincere, it shows incredibly poor judgment. Shearer wouldn’t even have been in the top 10 candidates.

    If his choice was insincere, it shows his priorities. Himself ahead of party.

    Grant, why did you want Shearer to lead Labour? Please explain.

    • lurgee 24.1

      Grant Robertson just needs to answer one simple question:

      “After the last election, did you believe that out of 34 Labour MPs, David Shearer was the best choice as leader? If so, why?”

      THat’s two questions, and it is a silly rhetorical stunt on your part.

      Robertson would simply respond, “I think, David Shearer was a very good candidate, in fact all three were very good candidates. I thought, from the candidates that stood for the leadership then, David Shearer was the candidate best placed to unite the party and lead us forwards. He has an arresting back story that would appeal to voters and does not come across like a typical beltway politician (unlike me).”

      It doesn’t mean very much, but neither did your question(s).

      • gobsmacked 24.1.1

        David Shearer was a very good candidate, in fact all three were very good candidates. I thought, from the candidates that stood for the leadership then, David Shearer was the candidate best placed to unite the party and lead us forwards.

        Interviewer interrputs the flow of BS …: “So you believed that Shearer was better than Cunliffe or Parker? When did you realize you were wrong?”

        and so on until the Q is answered …

        (commentary – there is no way Grant should be getting away with the pretence that you propose. ABC wanted a puppet, Robertson was a key part of that, and he must take responsibility for 20 months of fraud.)

        • lurgee

          Grant continues: “David Shearer was a good candidate. Unfortunately, some in caucus didn’t unite around the leader and continued to snipe and undermine his leadership. It was a shame as I think he could have made a brilliant prime minister, but he decided to rule himeself out. i hope he’ll play a major role, suited to his talents, in a Labour if I am elected leader.”

          • gobsmacked

            “Some in caucus? Who? You? Cunliffe? Who?”

            The hole’s getting deeper, stop digging Grant. Do you really think that having a go at fellow MPs will work out well? (I do hope this interview happens for real).

            • lurgee

              Note that your line of questioning has been changed. You’ve been moved from asking about David Shearer’s candidacy to David Cunliffe’s behaviour. I imagine Robertson would be quite happy to talk about that, but in the interests of his candidacy and future unity, he will be generous.

              Grant smiles and continues: “There isn’t much point in raking over the past. I’m focused on the future, on a Labour government in 2014 and a team that uses all the talents of the Labour party, working against National. I hope to lead that government, and I hope that David Cunliffe and David Shearer will play major roles in it.”

              • Tracey

                what happens to David Parker in all this?

              • Colonial Viper

                Of course, Grant does not want members to “rake over the (very recent) past”.

                The Robertson-Shearer team could not fire up the public or the polls, and we need to know what he would do different now going forwards than what he was doing before.

                Labour can’t afford more of the same business as usual that we have been seeing.

              • gobsmacked

                If Robertson’s line is that caucus undermined Shearer, he is toast. I’m sure he realizes that even if Lurgee doesn’t. So he won’t be saying it.

                Robertson is inextricably linked to Shearer’s failure. He can’t escape that, whatever Key-like verbal gymnastics he comes up with.

                • lurgee

                  Grant, just getting started, continues: “That’s why it is important we have a proper contest this time, and I hope David joins the race. Only by moving forwards can we put the mistakes of the past behind us, and start on the great project of renewing the Labour Party, taking the fight to the opposition, and rebuilding a New Zealand our children and grandchildren will want to live in. That can’t happen until we have a Labour government, and I think that is most likely to happen if I am the leader of the party. That’s why it is important we have this contest, so we have a clear decision, with all constituencies of the party having there say, so after it is over we can all move on together, united.”

                  • Tracey

                    “renewing the Labour Party”

                    I want to hear from him, and all candidates what they mean by this.

                    • weka

                      I’d want to hear what they’re going to do, actually going to do ie if they want to renew the Labour party, how are they going to do it? Specifically. Otherwise it’s all just hot air.

                      Will be interested to see if Cunliffe can be specific or not.

                    • lurgee

                      See below! Renewal is about re-energising the party and reconnecting with the voters. Reconnecting is about renewing and renergising the party. It’s all about taking the fight to National. Except when it is about unity and getting the message across. And Renewal, of course.

                  • gobsmacked

                    Is that speech by Grant Robertson, Tony Blair or Monty Python?

                    • lurgee

                      Could be any or all. It’s addictive, writing the stuff. There must be a program for it somewhere on the internet.

                      Grant continues: “Only by focusing on renewal can we re-energise the party and reconnect with the Kiwi mums and dads who have become disenchanted with potlitics as usual. We have to offer a united front to take the fight to the opposition. The message is everything. The message is reconnection. Only by focusing on re-connection can we renew the party and re-energise the Kiwi mums and dads who have become dissillusioned with factionalism. We offer a message of hope to take to the people of New Zealand.”

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Only by moving forwards can we put the mistakes of the past behind us

                    This is the kind of vapid brain-off beltway languaging which is killing political discourse in this nation.

                    Only by thoroughly examining and understanding the mistakes of the past can we truly put them behind us, I would have thought.

                    • lurgee

                      But when my Grant Robertson sock puppet tried to suggest there might have been an issue with factionalism, he was told he was toast! What does it say about the Labour Party that mentioning the truth is political suicide?

  25. Outofbed 25

    Who came third in Wellington Central? just saying

    • bad12 25.1

      Grant Robertson came 1st in Wellington Central, that’s why He is the Member for Wellington Central, just saying,

      Labour took a huge ‘hit’ right across the Wellington electorates in the Party Vote that is not an occurrence simply confined to Grant’s Wellington central,

      The Green Party is the home of ‘radicalism’ in Wellington and this was reflected in the share of the Party Votes, largely at Labour’s expense, that the Greens managed to gain from those Wellington electorates…

  26. bad12 26

    LOLZ, i am hoping Grant Robertson doesn’t win the vote simply because the pages of the Standard will become an unreadable scream of outrage if David Cunliffe does not triumph,

    The outrage expressed over the election by the Caucus of David Shearer will be seen as a minor storm in the proverbial teacup in comparison,

    If David Cunliffe doesn’t win the vote as most of us want and expect it would be nice to think that those commenting here at the Standard would except the outcome of the democratic vote for it being just that,

    That hope of course i would suggest is laughable but i am if anything an eternal optimist, please oh please Labour people vote David Cunliffe if only to save what is left of my fast fading sanity…

    • Tracey 26.1

      My vote is currently with the Greens. Cunliffe “winning” isn’t enough for me to change that. I will look to move to a Labour led by Robertson or Jones if they change their policies and underlining philosophy. Otherwise, I will remain strident in my criticism of Labour and National and Act and United Future.

      To me Cunliffe doesn’t represent a “cure” bit a possible beginning of treatment.

      • weka 26.1.1

        “To me Cunliffe doesn’t represent a “cure” bit a possible beginning of treatment.”

        Take note McFlock.

        • McFlock


          Yeah, I’ll minute it as one of the few moderate comments about Cunliffe in this thread.

          So far Cunliffe inspires all, can out-one-line Key, and is even nice to teenagers; whereas Robertson is a backroom-scheming uncaring mediocre-debating trougher who someone can’t even remember speaking once (although funnily enough I seem to recall him handing Key’s arse over on a plate in the house on more than one occasion – directory enquires, etc). 🙄

          • Tracey

            can you link to the person who posted they hadn’t heard him speak once? I am very interested in that.

            • McFlock

              Not quite what I said, but okay

              I’m sure Robertson comes across to many as not too bad an orator, but I can’t remember him ever saying anything at all.

              Funny how selective memory can be.

              • Colonial Viper

                Well that is fair McFlock. I do actually remember Grant saying very clearly that Labour wouldn’t intervene in any more markets.

                • McFlock

                  I’m sure you do. Link? Because I don’t.

                  I seem to remember a kerfuffle (nzpower wasn’t it?), and being once again unimpressed when the chicken littles’ paraphrasing was matched against the actual quotes.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Oh yeah it was really a minimal “kerfuffle”, reported in all the major papers and business publications on the day.

  27. lurgee 27

    the pages of the Standard will become an unreadable scream of outrage if David Cunliffe does not triumph

    You haven’t been around here over the last 20 months, have you?

    [lprent: changed quote to use blockquote. Please don’t use bold. ]

    • bad12 27.1

      If you think i havn’t i would suggest you go and have your eyes checked, care to elaborate on why you think i havn’t ‘been around here for the last 20 months’…

      • lurgee 27.1.1

        Oh dear.

        I suggested (ironically) you hadn’t been around for 20 months because the pages of the Standard had become an unreadable scream of outrage because David Cunliffe did not triumph.

        • Colonial Viper

          You do realise (by now I hope) that the commentors on the Std were 100% correct about Shearer being the wrong choice.

          • bad12

            Who me CV???, i realized that at the point Shearer made His abysmal ‘Bene on the roof speech’

            This is how i see Labour circa 2013, as expressed by the majority of it’s Caucus make-up, a Party of the middle class who if entirely Socialist espouse the Socialism of, for and by the Middle class,

            Having said that David Shearer was not ‘totally out of place’ as the Leader of the Labour Party, and His demise is to me more a matter of the fact that he was not very good at being the Leader of that Party,

            David Cunliffe however is a far far more polished version of Labour circa 2103 as i have outlined above, remembering all the time that that is just my ‘opinion’ of today’s Labour Party,and my view, until David Cunliffe proves otherwise, is that David Cunliffe will do a far far better ‘job’ of representing the current Labour Party than David Shearer could or did,

            Do i expect a Labour Party lead by David Cunliffe to suddenly transform Labour into a Party of actions and aims such as those of Norm Kirk’s Labour Government,

            Nope, but i live in hope…

            • lurgee

              Nah, aimed at me, I think. Again, you’re being too thin skinned. It isn’t all about you, you know. It’s 99.4% about me.

              LOLZ, 😉 and so on.

        • bad12

          Your ‘irony’ across the pixels of the internet escapes me i am afraid, especially when considered against the totality of my previous comment…

          • lurgee

            Sorry, next time I’ll use LOLZ and smiley faces and other childish things, rather than assuming people here are a bit clever.

    • gobsmacked 27.2

      You haven’t been around here over the last 20 months, have you?

      Do you wish Shearer was still in charge?

  28. Colin 28

    Robertson has been a hopeless local MP As others have said he has been too busy plotting his own rise to power to be bothered with local issues. Have watched him at the last two elections and he is not an inspiring speaker and he never offers any ideas.

    • bad12 28.1

      Funny you should mention this ‘hopelessness’, i have run into Grant Robertson, taking care of local issues at the Night-Shelter, at the Town-hall, and at the Soup Kitchen,

      Just putting a bit of balance in the comments here, for my sanity please oh please Labour elect David Cunnliffe as leader…

      • Tracey 28.1.1

        whenever I have listened to Robertson speak in parliament (which is not often cos I don’t listen much to any of them) he has spoken well. I enjoyed his GCSB speech last week. I didn’t know he was a gay man until the leadership challenge after Goff resigned, so that is a non issue to me as well.

        • bad12

          Robertson did chisel out of Slippery the Prime Minister the ‘facts’ that He, Slippery, was a friend of His nomination to head the GCSB along with the fact that He had a more intimate friendship with that appointment than Slippery had been previously prepared to admit,

          So, Robertson is not entirely useless, as far as Him being a gay male??? s**t i am an old un-reconstructed hetero male and what anyone does with their private life has never been a factor in my ‘thinking’ and hopefully never will,

          Lolz, i find myself in the unenviable position of apparently plugging(is that a wrong word, i could have fallen into the trap of rooting), for Grant Robertson while hoping David Cunliffe wins the vote,

          i still believe that Cunliffe and Robertson are Labour’s two best performers both in the House and in front of that all important TV camera…

          • Tracey

            IF half of what has been said about Robertson and the ABC group is correct, he may not be the best person to bring everyone together. But I don’t know and I don’t get a vote.

    • Ed 28.2

      On the contrary, Robertson has been strong enough that the other parties effectively only campaigned for the party vote – the National candidate appeared to be there as a training exercise. He has been very visible in the electorate, but a fair point is made about the party vote – right through New Zealand much more emphasis should go on the party vote – it is surprising how many seem to believe that having voted for a candidate the party vote is less important. I am sure better emphasis will go on seeking the party vote in the next election. Wellington Central once had Prebble (in ACT incarnation) as MP, then had a National Party MP, and the Green party has had growing support. While Robertson has been a very good local MP, the poor example Key makes as an electorate MP may be a reason why it will become acceptable for leaders to be list MPs in future – once people get over the stupidity of thinking that only electorate MPs are “real” MPs who have been ‘properly’ elected.

  29. Tracey 29

    Is Cunnliffe waiting so he gets the Monday news spot? Grant gets Sunday, Cunnliffe gets Monday BUT if the media don’t want Cunnliffe will they trump him with Jones OR

    Grant Sunday
    Jones Monday
    Cunnliffe Tuesday

    And Labour has 3 MPs pushed into the public psyche no matter who wins?

  30. lurgee 30

    I suppose if Shane Jones won it would bring some sort of unity to caucus, as the Ronbbertson and Cunliffe camps unite against him …

  31. Colonial Viper 31

    Heard Robertson and Jones get interviewed on National Radio. Amazing how many soft pitch questions you can get in a row.

    Apparently, according to both of them, Labour’s policies aren’t the problem, it’s “putting it together in a story which makes sense to New Zealanders” which has been the issue facing Labour.

    • Tracey 31.1

      Do they mean making up stuff, like Key did, to make it look like they give a shit about certain things, and then do what they wanted to do all along?

    • bad12 31.2

      i would like to see Labour in the heartland South Auckland seats campaigning on it’s ‘flagship Housing Policy’

      i am sure that those in our society, the last to be hired and the first to be fired, soon after to be kicked about by WINZ would be falling all over themselves gushing support,

      Yes, that is sarcasm, just in case the above words are taken to literally…

    • karol 31.3

      Robertson sounds like he’s spent too long in cosy university seminar rooms.

      • Tracey 31.3.1

        I think that is unfair karol, and plays into the (predominantly right-wing ) meme that people who have worked in academia or unions are not representative, real world, or had proper jobs.

        I don’t know him, but I can’t believe he doesn’t get out and about.

        I used to defend the notion that Clark had never lived in the real world on the basis that as an MP she would have seen more of ALL aspects of life in NZ and the world, whereas the rest of us tend to move wholly in our more isolated worlds. That’s not to say they all don’t get blinded somewhat by the artificial world of parliament and politics.

        • Colonial Viper

          Robertson’s complete lack of private sector experience is going to be an economic credibility weakness utilised by Key in election year.

          I used to defend the notion that Clark had never lived in the real world on the basis that as an MP she would have seen more of ALL aspects of life in NZ

          She grew up on a farm, worked on a farm, campaigned in a rural electorate. Had a proven track record as an MP and as a Cabinet Minister, and showed herself very able to manage the caucus and party, BEFORE she got elected to PM.

          On the other hand. Grant’s been an Opposition MP for 5 years now.

  32. lurgee 32

    I think it was reasonable that both were given an easy ride. This is very early days in the leadership contest. It is more about them being able to introduce themselves to the public and set out their positions, rather than trying to flay them.

    I imagine if they had been given a tougher time, people here would be complaining about the ‘MSM’ being biased against Labour and trying too shoot down the candidates before they have had a change to make their case. Some people are NEVER happy.

    Robertson was slick but vacuous. Nice words blandly delivered that might mean anything or nothing. Jones actually came across quite well, doing his blokey bloke thing. I noticed a degree of amiability between them. I wonder, if Cunliffe joins, Jones will pull out in exchange for the deputy role?

  33. Ed 33

    The trolls and nats are certainly out in force! Key shows that unity is on his mind so attacks Labour for his own problem – and Collins is still wondering who is responsible for her emails being read without her authority . . .

    I attended one of the meetings where Shearer, Robertson, Cunliffe and Mahuta spoke – they all spoke well, and showed the capacity for good leadership; talking afterwards the consensus appeared to be that Shearer and Cunliffe were about even, but quite a few said that it was a shame Robertson had not left his name in for Leader. Having called for MPS to make a real contest of the selection, it seems churlish to attack individuals for doing just that; the prospect of articulate and passionate Labour candidates for leader making the news for the next week or so must be horrific to National just it becoming clear they have the need for a leadership change of their own.

    Robertson has performed well since becoming Deputy Leader – we do not see the work in coordinating, liaising, fixing, and supporting, but the absence of significant issues points to a well run party; in the house he has been a thorn to National, but has not stepped into the territory of others, and has supported his leader well. Cunliffe has also performed well in economic development, having time to craft speeches he made them count. Both would be worthy leaders – compare with possible candidates from National to take over from Key and the difference in quality is obvious.

    I don’t think Robertson being gay is a problem at all for the vast majority off New Zealanders. Most of the comments saying that it is appear to be from people saying it isn’t a problem for me but look it might be for others – and predictably National have been among the first to look for bigotry and prejudice. If he is the best person for the job he should get it. Let the selection be for relevant reasons – Labour and New Zealanders deserve better than pandering to out-dated prejudices..

    Now we have Shane Jones standing, who I haven’t heard often – except for when he was in the news for the wrong reasons. He spoke well on the interview I heard, which apparently surprised many. He will appeal to many, and having his voice heard as the selection process continues will be good regardless of whether he becomes leader. Our best prime ministers have seen themselves as leaders of a team; we have come to ‘presidential’ emphasis only when we have weak leaders like Key who cannot cope with giving authority to any but a tight circle, who believes he must be the only spokesperson on many issues – with National, and Key in particular, in consequence treating the press with contempt. One of the strengths of Labour under Clark was that others were seen to be able to speak – she referred journalists to others when appropriate, and announcements were often led by the appropriate minister.

    • Colonial Viper 33.1

      It is mildly interesting to compare Robertson Shearer Cunliffe and Jones, but in the end those comparisons are meaningless and academic.

      The only valid comparison is versus John Key, National Prime Minister.

      • McFlock 33.1.1

        The only valid comparison is versus John Key, National Prime Minister.

        … without earthquakes, mass funerals, a rugby world cup, and an economic decline he could still blame on Labour and/or the GFC.

  34. Craig Y 34

    Could I point out that while Grant Robertson has a PSA background, and while Shane Jones is from economically deprived Auckland, it is actually David Cunliffe who has neither background and is therefore devoid of bona fide pukka working-class/trade unionist credentials?

    • Colonial Viper 34.1

      Except that Cunliffe is local MP for a solidly working class electorate (New Lynn), and they definitely like his style.

  35. Ennui 35

    Time to offend people by showing them exactly what the National spinmeisters will do.

    First they will portray Cunliffe as the devil communist so far to the left he is not electable….. their hope is that Cunliffe gets sidelined because he is the only one with a cogent social and economic alternative to the neo libs (aka Key and the Right of the Labour Party). And he is “clean”….

    If the Nat spinmeisters and their media cheerleaders scare Labour away from Cunliffe they will be delighted because they can then portray (at the election, not before), each of the other candidates as something that a large percentage of the population have prejudices against…
    Jones, known blue movie watcher and by implication…..cant have that can we?
    Robertson, openly gay, cant have that can we?
    Little, cant let the unions have control can we?

    You might not like the above but get ready for it: this time the Nats gloves will be off and it will be dirty.

    • Tracey 35.1

      surely not, they don’t do negative or personality politics.

    • Colonial Viper 35.2

      They’ll also attack Cunliffe on his “extremist” environmental views and “egotism”.

      With Grant – they won’t openly use the gay card, but they will definitely use the “career civil servant with no relevant private sector experience or credibility” card.

  36. Sable 36

    Does anyone really care about Labour? Personally I think they are uninteresting and only useful in so much as they present one possible alliance partner for the Greens and a pretty shonky one at that.

    The leadership choices are none too flash as Robertson so ineloquently demonstrates. Like National Labour are a “stale party” with tired recycled neo liberal policies that are a hang over from the Lange/Douglas years complimented by cheesy throw away phrases, “clear vision” (translation: I don’t have a clue), “ambition for New Zealand” (translation: Ambition for myself, I want to stick my snout in the political trough), “empower the people of New Zealand” (translation: tax them to death and hope they don’t notice).

    • Tracey 36.1

      “Does anyone really care about Labour?”

      Nope and this site and your posting here proves it.

    • Colonial Viper 36.2

      Don’t worry about high tax rates mate, all that money gets spent back into the community.

  37. Craig Y 37

    Sorry, I meant economically deprived Northland. Incidentally, could Standard’s webmasters bounce the tragic Redborer troll from this website? He’s already polluted David Farrar’s Kiwiblog comments page and I don’t see why he should be allowed to throw his temper tantrums here. And I come from a working-class background too, sport- Riccarton, down in ChCh? Down where I came from, Tory is an obscene four letter word! 🙂

    [lprent: redbaiter? He doesn’t comment here often. In fact he frequently goes into a self-imposed exile well before the moderators notice him. It is a less forgiving atmosphere for the unadaptable than the sewer. Which is why rejects from here usually seem to spend a lot of time there.

    I’m sure that he is viewed by many as comic relief because he tends to act like a caricature of the archetypal cold war warrior.. ]

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