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Some facts for today

Written By: - Date published: 11:42 pm, November 18th, 2012 - 27 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david shearer, housing, housing insulation, labour, making shit up, Media, tenants' rights, tv - Tags:

First and foremost: the Labour Conference was not ‘acrimonious’.  The Labour Party was not ‘split’.  A good time was had by members and most of the caucus – those who didn’t let the media ruin their day.

There was some passionate debate, but it didn’t split people – they were still good mates afterwards.  The vast majority of policy and organisational review was agreed by (pretty much) everybody.  Progressive policies were pushed forward.  Voting from 16, buying back assets, compulsory availability of Te Reo at every school among others.

The media reports bore little resemblance to the actual conference as far as the attendees could tell…

Shearer’s speech was fantastic.

It set a bold new direction for Labour.  We changed a lot of the policy to be more progressive before the 2011 election, but not the tone.  Now we have the tone, as well as the fantastic new housing policy that will return New Zealand to a home-ownership society.

The speech mentioned change 32 times – often ‘big change’.  There was a strong contrast between hands-on Labour vs hands-off do-nothing National government, with a real push on how active government will be under Labour, pulling the levers to improve life for Kiwi businesses, workers, families, communities.

No more can there be any doubt to the average voter about the difference between National and Labour.  The policies and values were already different; now the discourse is too.

The housing policy won’t cost a cent in the long-term: the $1.5 billion “cost” is upfront cash to get the program going – it’ll get returned when the houses are bought.

Cunliffe can’t predict the future.  He has given his loyalty for today, but can’t guarantee all future situations.  Who can?

But ‘open leadership bid’? If there is a contest it’s far from open; rather it’s incredibly well hidden…

The Party and its MPs tried to talk about its progressive policies and National’s failures – but the media were only interested in one thing.

Shearer can’t bring the February 2013 vote forward, regardless of what the media report – it is now written into the constitution of the Labour Party that it will happen – and happen then – with a 60%+1 trigger.  Any other vote before 2015 will be by a simple majority (also agreed at the weekend).  He also needs 22, not 21 MPs to express confidence in him at the February 2013 vote – that’s the ‘+1’ (which means 13 can topple him).

After today’s speech, I’d suggest all MPs back him.

And just because it annoys me in the comments: Shearer, Robertson, Parker, Ardern – the current top 4 – are not to the right of Cunliffe by any measure that I can tell; all are solid centre-left whose views chime well with Labour activists.  For those commentators who want it, this is not a left-right fight, but purely one about who is best to lead, present Labour policy and attack the government – if the fight exists at all outside media fantasy politics.


27 comments on “Some facts for today”

  1. lprent 1

    Snap. Looks like the post-conference reaction takes about 8 hours.

  2. MrV 2

    And the band played on I guess.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    He also needs 22, not 21 MPs to express confidence in him at the February 2013 vote – that’s the ‘+1′ (which means 13 can topple him).

    Sorta but not strictly true – 13 MPs can take the leadership issue to the wider party yes, but there is the possibility that the wider party will come back and say “David Shearer is our man for 2014, thanks”.

  4. xtasy 4

    They are (the front benchers) “not right”, but “left”, yes, I presume in some sense that is so, but that depends on your own position, does it not?

    If I have a compass in Congo, it is showing the needle into different directions, than if I would look at it either on or near the North or South Pole, so to say.

    In all sincerity, we have a group of front benchers that partly deliver at times, but too often do NOT deliver. So the conference surely brought about a new system to vote for the leader and so forth, and that is great. More democracy from the base is always a good move.

    Yet, where does it leave the caucus at present. I noticed some tried a bit harder last week during question time, but that is far and between, really.

    I expect much more from an opposition than a few selected, staged questions now and then. Surely we do not get enough opposition from Labour at present, hence people look at the Greens and NZ First for that.

    I agree that the competition for leadership and supposed “division” is not as much such a serious challenge as the media wants, but there are differences. If there are no substantial improvements soon with opposition delivery from the Labour caucus, nothing will improve in the polls and in support. With the holiday season approaching, I fear too many are going to get bloody lazy again and rely on their electorate or list seats.

    Labour can do with a real bit of revolution, going beyond an attempted, fairly reasonable speech by a weak leader still in apprenticeship.

    I am not convince by the delivery of Shearer and this conference to vote Labour again. More is needed, and walk the talk, for a start, that is totally essential.

    The “benefit roof painter” still rings in my ears, so talk about a 25 th weeding anniversary is nice a line, but it does not cut it with people NOT living in the MIDDLE class anymore.

    Sorry, I am struggling to appreciate an honest attempt by David Shearer. It does not solve my issues, for sure.

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    “The vast majority of policy and organisational review was agreed by (pretty much) everybody.”

    Absolutely correct.

    “The media reports bore little resemblance to the actual conference as far as the attendees could tell.”

    It was some of the most inaccurate reporting I have ever read. I wondered if some of the reporters had even been at the conference.

    Moira did a brilliant job of steering to essential changes without allowing this to become a personalities debate. She is my hero of the day.

    Rumors about having an immediate vote might reflect the huge stress the 2 Davids were under. It was obvious on their faces. Hopefully with a night’s rest cooler heads will prevail.

    Kicking the sh*t out of National between now and February will benefit EVERY Labour MP.

    NONE will benefit by public speculation about a leadership change. So MPs, shut the hell up!

    In case you ABC rumor mongers missed it, YOU were the enemy at this conference. We didn’t “defeat Shearer.” We voted to cut the ABC rumor mongers off at the knees. YOU were the ones who lost. And well you should have. You have no place in a democratic party.

  6. Jenny 6

    To bad the climate never got a mention.

    Does this mean that we can expect another drill it, frack it, mine it, ship it, BAU administration similar to the last Labour government?

    • Ben Clark 6.1

      It certainly was in the environmental workshops, although I wasn’t in them as I was running the social development ones.
      We ran out of time on the main floor before we got to the environmental remits.

      Can anyone who was there say what the recommendations on the remits about such things as phasing out coal mining by 2030, and a moratorium on fracking were?

  7. Agreed entirely Ben.  And Shearer’s speech was a cracker.

  8. irascible 8

    The problem with the media seagulls is that they confuse the Party – the members, the policies and practices of the 96 year old institution- with their perceptions of the thinking of the members of the Parliamentary Labour Party “branch”.
    Cunliffe’s statements on RNZ today give the lie to the journalists’ hysterical reporting… the interviewer has been left struggling to force Cunliffe to fit into her fictional scenario.
    His unequivocal statement of loyalty and backing of Shearer has certainly shown the journalists to be struggling to maintain their two dimensional view of the Labour Party structures and processes.

    • prism 8.1

      I noticed that. The journalist tried a number of times to force him to commit himself to her scenario.. Chris Hipkins was very negative about DC at noon.

      And DC does well to wait till February, even if he could do something now which others have suggested. Who would support him, agree with his vision, and form part of his team if he won? He needs to know that. And go forward coolly not have these fevered excited media and commenters emotions getting in the way.

  9. Matthew 9

    I noticed that the reporters covering the conference would say or insinuate one thing, then go to a videobite which completely said something different. The MSM had an agenda of showing Labour as a splintered fractious group, & this was not borne out by the candidates who were interviewed.

    For the first time in forever i saw a reporter question the answer given by an MP, however they mistimed it, as the MP in question had answered the question the first time.. why oh why can these idiots question the answers Key gives to their questions? stupid agenda

    I just hope the low-education voter can see past the spin… wont hold my breath though

  10. ad 10

    If as Shearer suggests he calls a leadership debate in caucus before February, it will be in the “bare majority” rules.

    Either way on Tuesday it’s a demotion or expulsion for Cunliffe. Shearer will view the “Cunliffe” story as undercutting his “vision speech” story, even if Shearer’s dogs directed the “Cunliffe” story. Shearer will view that as unforgiveable.

    Wouldn’t you if you were in Shearer’s shoes?

    • lprent 10.1

      An interesting question. Bearing in mind that David Cunliffe has said that he will be supporting David Shearer in any such leadership vote, who do you think will be there to stand against David Shearer? Trevor mallard?

      • King Kong 10.1.1

        Cunliffe is being gutless if he doesn’t stand up and come clean this week. Stupidly backing Shearer in a vote will subject Labour to another 3 and a bit months of leadership speculation.

        That is another 10% of the electoral cycle where Key gets a free ride.

        All the indications are that Cunliffe has been a busy little beaver setting this all up. He has made a terrible mess so he should at least pull the trigger.

        • PlanetOrphan

          I doubt Cunliffe will even nominate himself, that’s how wrong your f’wit conclusions are.

          All about war for you ignorant tossers isn’t King Kong ?

          • Colonial Viper

            Is this going to turn into a tiresome macho pissing match? “Bring it on” LOL written like some cheap made for Sky TV movie.

            “I (Chris Hipkins) say to him, if he thinks he can be the leader, if he thinks he’s got the support to be the leader – bring it on.”


            • PlanetOrphan

              Honestly don’t think so, Cunliffe will take the leadership if offered or it’s necessary (i.e. DS’s health fails him) , at this point he’s likely to support Shearer all the way, DS is doing a blazing job from a cold start.

              And you should note that this is DejaVu for Labour, they are fighting the Media not themselves, and the media / cloak and dagger brigade are driving innuendo from the TV into Labour minds’.

              They should be talking to each other about it (I’m sure thay are already) , and this wont get any traction at all.

    • PlanetOrphan 10.2

      “Wouldn’t you if you were in Shearer’s shoes?”

      Wondering how to attack the Labour Party from a different angle now are yas?

      Stop inventing crap you maggots

  11. Matthew 11

    If i was in Shearer’s shoes I would realise that getting Cunliffe on his side would not only show solidarity within the party to the general public, but make the ABC crowd prove to all whether their allegiance lies to the Party, or to their own little clique. By bringing Cunliffe closer to the fold, Shearer can utilise his popular support base. I get the feeling CUnliffe doesnt actually want to be leader, he just wont follw an incompetent. Shearer showed some promise with his speech & would more than likely win a leadership challenge this week.
    If he expels Cunliffe, he will show himself to be petty, self-serving (as are Mallard & co) & naive. What he needs to do is sit down with Cunliffe & pick his brains over tactics & strategy.
    I could see a Shearer/Cunliffe team absolutely owning in 2014.

    • Crimson Nile 11.1

      Shearer did an immense job at Conference. The few members I talked to afterwards were truly impressed. But I also love Cunliffe’s smarts and economic knowledge. It’ll be crucial to beating National. Surely they should be smoothing things over. The party could be very quickly and effectively brought together in a Shearer/Cunliffe combination.

  12. irascible 12

    What was interesting at Conference was the way the cameras descended on and focused on Cunliffe throughout the debate. To accuse Cunliffe of preening himself before the cameras, as Armstrong does in the Herald, is to distort reality— that the cameras (journalists) had decided that a focus on Cunliffe was their story and they’d manipulate the images to suit their stories.
    To buy into the Media spin is to poison the Party’s policies and principles.

    • Matthew 12.1

      I concur, it was disgusting. The MSM had obviously decided what story they were to beat up before they even went. Cunliffe was a hell of a lot more diplomatic that any of the ABC clique are being. TO me the real telling factor of Shearer’s leadership wont be that speech he made, but how he handled this issue. If he sees through the MSM spin & recognizes the talents that Cunliffe brings to the table great, If he falls for the bullshit that ABC are spinning he will come across as a puppet, with Trevor Mallards hand up his ass.
      The dinosaurs need to take a step back. It is not Cunliffe that is being toxic, it is the drama queens with their own agenda to push.

      • KJT 12.1.1

        This is a defining moment for Shearer.

        Either; he realizes it is up to him to show he is a viable and effective representative for Labour voters and the rest of the country by February ,and if not, it is well within Cunliff’s rights to put himself up as an alternative.

        Or; he acts like a petulant small boy, like the interview this morning, and demotes or tries to get a pledge of loyalty, past February, from Cunliff.

        Forcing out one of Labours, too few, effective front benchers would show he has not got the best interests of the party, or the country, at heart.

        If they force a vote under the old rules now, it shows total contempt for the parties wishes for a more democratic process.

        Note that Cunliff has already pledged loyalty to whoever the party decides is leader.

        It is Shearers own actions that make us doubt he can lead Labour into the next election.

        Nothing to do with Cunliff. Except that he seems the only viable and capable alternative

  13. gobsmacked 13

    Here’s an example of how this is all so destructive …


    So, yesterday Shearer makes a well-received speech about housing. He was due to follow that up, visiting the Waikato. Keep the positive story going.

    Instead, he’s going down to Wellington to “finish off” (ABC words) Cunliffe.

    They are set on this course now, let’s not kid ourselves about that.

  14. Fortran 14

    Sadly the only winners will be the Nacts and Greenpeace.

  15. tracey 15

    We live in such a mature society when our media are so unaccepting of robust discussion or any disagreement while seeing conspiracy in silence. labour and all parties need robust dialogue… its healthy and avois a we know best style rule.

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