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Shearer taking shape

Written By: - Date published: 2:54 pm, March 12th, 2012 - 45 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour, leadership - Tags:

It’s been encouraging seeing a bit more of David Shearer recently. His leadership is slowly taking shape.

His proposed bill on foreign ownership, putting in place a stricter test on benefits to NZ, will be very popular – “Shearer’s law would close door on most foreign buys“.

Although I think he waited too long to show his support, it was good to see him marching with the Auckland port workers on Saturday – “Noisy march gives heart to wharfies“.

He put in a reasonable performance on Q&A on Sunday – “Good first outing for Shearer” – Tim Watkin writes that “Labour MPs will feel happier than they have for some time after David Shearer’s performance…”. (Transcript here.)

His consistent line that he doesn’t want to get involved in the usual bickering and partisanship (“rival tribes playing gotcha”) will be going over well with the public – “Shearer not buying into ‘gotcha’ politics“. Indeed in some polls he debuted higher than Phil Goff reached in the preferred PM stakes.

Shearer is soon to give a series of speeches setting out his vision for NZ. I’ll be listening.

45 comments on “Shearer taking shape ”

  1. toad 1

    Maybe you should be writing his speeches for him, r0b!

    • r0b 1.1

      Me? (Yeah I always kinda saw myself as a Sam Seaborn type!) Nah – only if I can write the policy to underpin the speeches, and I’d need to know a lot more than I do to do that. Think I’d better stick to blogging toad…

  2. I thought his Q+A interview was ok and I certainly support his no gotcha politics, but that positive stance hasn’t been adopted by many of his troops.

    It looks like there have been significant stuffups on the draughting of the foreign ownership bill, plus Shearer doesn’t seem convincing talking about it as if he has been told (by those doing dubious homework) rather than he believes. This was a problem Goff often had.

    He’s got a way to go to look confident and convincing, that will be helped if he gets far better support from Labour MPs and support staff. Toad could be on the right track with his suggestion.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Each time I have heard him on the radio he has been slaughtered by the interviewer. He seems to lack a lot of self-confidence, and allows the interviewer to run rough-shod over him. Each time I have heard him interviewed, I have cringed in embarrassment for him, and I don’t even support him.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 3.1

      Are you going to be ok?

    • Reality Bytes 3.2

      Good thing he’s not running for NZs got talent then… Oh that’s right, nmind.

      But I think there will be less of this pop-government going forward (well I hope so). As people get fed up they’ll start to value substance more over snack sized media bites.

  4. insider 4

    > “His consistent line that he doesn’t want to get involved in the usual bickering and partisanship (“rival tribes playing gotcha”) will be going over well with the public”

    Yet we often love bullies like Muldoon or single minded types like Peters and Clark over ‘nice guys’ (present PM excepted). I wonder if a tough minded contrast would be more popular in the leader beauty contest stakes than more of the same Mr Nice Guy. I think he needs to harden up and really focus on being on message. Hosking gave him the run around and he seems easily led down side issues in interviews – he did pull it back a bit, but not hugely convincingly IMO as he left some hanging unanswered questions.

    • tsmithfield 4.1

      I agree with you. I think he is a genuinely nice guy, and someone I could easily have a beer with. But maybe he is just too nice, and doesn’t have enough mongrel in him for politics. Time will tell, but perhaps he is the Jim McLay of the Labour party.

      • Pete George 4.1.1

        I suspect he is acting on too much advice and direction, and not all of it good. I still give him a chance of rising to the job but he needs to be strong within the party before he will appear strong in the public glare. The sparse support usually on offer for him here suggests he’s got a lot to do.

      • Te Reo Putake 4.1.2

        I would have thought a comparison with Bill Rowling would be more apt, TS. Jim ‘Wendy’ McLay was only ever a stop gap while the Nats figured out how to move forward after Muldoon, whereas Rowling lead the party for a number of years (and would have been elected PM at least twice if we had MMP back in the seventies).

  5. The Baron 5

    Hmm, ain’t it a pity that everyone that has read that Bill on Foreign Ownership (can’t call it by name – which one?) concludes it’s both poorly thought out and drafted.

    Seems to me that thus far Shearer is unfortunately all light, no heat. And jesus christ get that the man a speech coach. JK mangles the language, sure, but at least every second words isn’t UMMMM.

    But clap away, Rob.

    • The Foreign Ownership bill reminds me of the Super bill announced during the election, Labour seemed to think it was smart and would be popular but soon had to go into damage control when it was pointed out it would impact badly on manual workers and those with illnesses.

      Too much poll or focus group, not enough common sense or care, then and now by the look of things.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Its been a long long while since Labour was the party of the working class, by the working class, for the working class.

        • Populuxe1

          It’s been a long time since there has been a “working class” in the conventional sense, full stop.

          • Colonial Viper

            Yeah i guess you can’t count the massive numbers of unemployed and under-employed people.

          • KJT

            There are only two classes, mate. Working class and parasites who live off them.

  6. The Hindengberg was not a good landing 6

    Interviewer Shane Taurima was superb, but Shearer’s performance on Q+A was appalling, which is probably why it was praised by Paul Holmes and Michelle Boag (who said he obviously wasn’t listening to Labour’s mongrels – ie. the leftwing of the party).

    Please, for anyone who hasn’t seen it I strongly encourage you to look at it yourself before you believe the spin that it was anything other than shit.


    He was dithery and evasive, especially when it came to welfare. It was one vaucuous, meaningless platitude after another free of any substantive statements (except that sold SOEs will not be re-nationalised).

    • marsman 6.1

      Shane Taurima was not superb, he seemed more like a one-eyed bully. As for Boag and Holmes, why are those people on TV? Two wax puppets spouting inanities.
      Shearer was pretty good and coped pretty well with Taurima’s harrying.

  7. dancerwaitakere 7

    Shearer is hopeless. He was horrid at the march on Saturday, completely shown up by new Green MP Denise Roche, who spoke brilliantly and from the heart.

    I have yet to see a Shearer performance that looks like he is passionate and again, speaking from the heart. Everything he says, it is as though he does not believe it at all.

    Labour gets it ass back in the Left and away from the center. As a moderate member of the party I didn’t think I would ever really say that. 8 months to go … and counting.

    • Redbaron77 7.1

      It was great to see David Shearer speak at the march as I have been increasingly been despairing of the new leadership. But like you I felt his speech lack fire especially in face of the broader threat to working people POAL’s move present (this should be grist for the mill for a Labour leader). To be generous he was lucky not have a more seasoned Green MP follow him. However had Phil Goff or David Cunliffe been speaking as leader I suspect we wouldn’t be commenting in this vein…

    • Hami Shearlie 7.2

      David Cunliffe just needs to look on and wait – but will he decide to hang around for that long.I hope so, Grant Robertson may be good in the house but nz won’t accept a gay prime minister in 2014! Cunliffe has way more experience, so much knowledge re financial matters and comes across so well on tv, he has the courage of his convictions and it shows!

    • Reality Bytes 7.3

      One thing I find fascinating though is inspite of his lack of personal PR expertness (ala key) the guy has achieved a lot inspite of not having that level of PR polish. He must have got to where he is today by results and not mere talk and showponyship.

      Personally I’d rather have a not as flashy guy that has done awesome things, than a very PR polished done so so things guy as leader of my country.

  8. the sprout 8

    I thought Shearer looked weak and very indecisive on Q and A, he did precisely nothing to allay my concerns about where he intends to take the Party.

    • Te Reo Putake 8.1

      What concerns would they be sprout? You aren’t a Labour supporter, so I guess your major area of concern would be that Shearer gets too popular and gets to lead a progressive Government. That’d be a bummer, eh?

      • the sprout 8.1.1

        i’ve been a member and donor of cash and many many volunteer hours for the NZLP for the last 10 years – ask lprent for verification of that if you need to – you haven’t got the faintest idea about my history in the NZLP so maybe you should stick to talking about what you know. but i’m sure you won’t let facts get in the way of your prejudices.

        my concern is that we’ll see another 1984 hijacking of the party that sees it adopting another wave of neo-liberal policies. that is, if shearer can actually lead labour to victory – haven’t seen much evidence of that so far

        [lprent: Yep. Sprout has been stalwart and active for a long long time. ]

        • Te Reo Putake

          My low opinion of you is based on your low opinion of Labour, sprout. I don’t know you, obviously. All I can do is go on your comments here.  You’ve been relentlessly negative about the party, the leadership, the policies and the other day you acknowledged voting Green. So excuse me if you looked like a concern troll in your comment above and I replied as if you were exactly that.
          If you want evidence of Shearer’s ability to lead Labour to victory, I’ve got two words for you: Roy fucken Morgan. 4 polls in a row suggest you’re the one with the fact/prejudice difficulties. Unlike you, I went through the eighties and this current iteration of the Labour party is nothing like the Douglas version. Not even close.

          • Colonial Viper

            If you want evidence of Shearer’s ability to lead Labour to victory, I’ve got two words for you: Roy fucken Morgan. 4 polls in a row suggest you’re the one with the fact/prejudice difficulties.

            You’re not counting the fact that National’s downward trend started under Goff and that part of it may simply be due to John Key obviously no longer giving a toss (about anything)?

          • Anne

            I went through the eighties and this current iteration of the Labour party is nothing like the Douglas version. Not even close.

            Yes. I was around for much of the eighties and knew the key players reasonably well. Te Reo Putake is right. No comparison whatsoever… not even a glimmer.

    • Hami Shearlie 8.2

      +1 Sprouty!

  9. If you want to be a cheerleader you go right ahead, but mindlessly clapping because Shearer improved from an abysmal performance to a merely embarrassing one isn’t going to help me sleep at night. His growth in the polls is a reflection of Key’s unpopularity, not because Shearer has done anything to increase his popularity. Unlike you I’m not interested in winning for winning’s sake if it means we support a party that dogwhistles about beneficiaries and dodges around supporting striking workers.

    You are welcome to trot off and write the mindless Labour echo chamber blog you seem so keen on. Meanwhile this one represents all sorts of leftwing voices. Those that are current Labour activists, those that are  tempted by Mana or already support the Greens and those that worked their arses off for the Labour party and feel thoroughly fucked off at the last four years.

    The quality of your analysis of my comments is highlighted with your assertion I acknowledged voting green. Zero points for reading comprehension – looking forward to you substantiating that one.

    Perhaps you should consider yet another name change to Te reo o te kūare?

    • Te Reo Putake 9.1

      Hey, Sprout, I can’t be bothered going back in time to find the comment that in which I thought you said you had voted Green in the past and would consider doing it again. I’ll take your word that I’ve got that wrong. That doesn’t make me ignorant, just incorrect about one aspect of your political activity. 
      That still leaves you as someone that prefers a Tory government to a version of Labour you don’t like, but doesn’t actually exist.


    • David H 9.2

      Yes I agree. When they picked Shearer over Cunliffe, I figured that’s it, a rudderless ship, and judging on what I have seen, it’s going to take either a miracle, or a leadership change. Everyone keeps on say wait he’s just finding his feet, the pity is that he is standing in 7 foot of water and he can’t swim. And it seems that with all the leaks going on there could be a way better showing in the chamber as well. I have been somewhat underwhelmed by what I have been watching from the Labour benches.

  10. ak 10

    Funny ol world innit, I generally agree with you Sprout, but having just watched Shearer for the first time since the election I thought he was superb. No specific worries on policy, the port issue explanation rock solid and most importantly, rings true as a genuine person. Key’s character act in real life.

    Proof’s in the pudding of course, guess we’ll taste a bit of real custard later this week. I’m picking a beautiful Morgan coming.

  11. Georgy 11

    I think Shearer did very well in that interview. What we didn’t see was the ‘dog eat dog’ approach.

    What we are seeing is someone who is quietly building his position, creating a vision, developing a team and showing that there is actually an alternative to the slash and burn nonprogramme of the current govt.

  12. Blue 12

    Having watched that Q&A interview, I was a bit annoyed at how he took credit for the Labour reorganisation (which was instigated before he even became leader) and the caucus reshuffle (almost certainly masterminded largely by someone else because he hasn’t been around long enough to even know who was doing what job in the first place).

    His speaking style hasn’t improved, and all the stumbles just make him sound unconvincing, even when he is talking about something he presumably is passionate about.

    I hope there are some concrete plans laid out in his upcoming speeches. I want to know what Labour stands for under his watch, not some more vague waffle about creativity and innovation. I think by now we have all well and truly got the point that Shearer is excited about science and technology and believes that intellectual property is the way forward for NZ.

    That’s not exactly a ballot box blockbuster and it’s about time we heard about some of his other ideas.

  13. i posted a review of that q&a in the open mike thread on sunday..

    ..where i detailed my concerns about that appearance..

    ..and what it said about the direction shearer wants to go..

    ..(think pagani-centreist…more than john a. lee…and you will be close..)

    ..and i hafta ask those that are praising shearers’ performance there..

    ..what the hell were you smoking..?

    ..if you thought that was ‘good’..?

    ..and you weren’t at all concerned about the kisses of death from the rightwing trouts present..?


  14. Hami Shearlie 14

    And now Shearer has stuffed up with his bill! Wonder who was helping him with it? National will capitalise on that! Thank goodness Parliament isn’t sitting this week! Cunliffe is looking more and more like a leader with every passing day!

  15. Populuxe1 15

    Shearer shaping up? I must have blinked. Labour would be invisible right now if it wasn’t for the experienced old guard Labour MPs rattling sabres on diverse issues.

  16. Simon L 16

    Nothing but negative comments about Shearer’s performance at Dim Post
    Tumeke was also unimpressed

  17. bomber 17

    I think the issue here is that David’s advice pool is far too shallow and has Pagani dominating it. I hope to Christ that what I have heard of Pagani’s dog whistle speech about to be launched won’t happen, and I’ve done about all I can to point out to people who should know better that walking this path would be disastrous for Labour, but I fear wiser counsel has gone unheeded.

    God knows why Pagani has been allowed so much influence.

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