The final field

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, October 15th, 2014 - 60 comments
Categories: election 2017, labour, leadership - Tags: , , , ,

Well, the list of Labour leadership contenders has defied the predictions of the pundits (myself included). Here’s my 2c on the final field.

First, with all thanks and respect to both David Shearer and David Cunliffe for their service and their time as leaders, I’m glad that neither of them are standing this time. I think in both cases this was the right decision, and I thank them for it. Now we can have a selection with 4 new candidates, a minimum of baggage, and thus every hope of a constructive and positive process which benefits the party. (I appreciate that this view will not be popular with ardent supporters of one or the other, but I dare to suggest that it is more productive to focus on the party and the policies than the personalities – leaders come and go.)

So what of the contenders? In the order that they declared:

Grant Robertson is popular and energetic, a new generation.

Andrew Little has impressive union credentials, well grounded and plain spoken.

David Parker has experience and determination, he is the architect of important Labour policies.

Nanaia Mahuta represents core Labour supporters and values, and the diversity that Labour should celebrate.

It’s a fascinating line-up. While the process gets messy at times, I’m glad to be of the political Left, where we the members get a say in who leads us. I look forward to and expect a positive and engaging selection process that invigorates Labour. While I have my preferences (more of that in another post perhaps) I will support whoever emerges as leader. The choice is pretty clear, Labour either unifies around the new leader, or we can kiss the 2017 election goodbye.

60 comments on “The final field”

  1. Chooky Shark Smile 1

    I am for Manaia Mahuta

    …she has most Parliamentary experience

    …and she has most pull for the Electorate vote 50+% ….(both women and Maori)

    *she is modest yet solid and dignified

    * she is untainted by the white middle class egotistical and ambitious caucus males’ unseemly backstabbing and rucking for dominance …which has revolted most people on the Left

    • Brutus Iscariot 1.1

      [r0b: deleted at the request of the writer]

      • wekarawshark 1.1.1

        She looks like a Maaari too.

      • karol 1.1.2

        * jaw drops * Never looked like a bloke to me – or do you equate not being (in your eyes) telegenic, with looking like a bloke. Yet a bloke looking like a bloke, seems to be a strong plus for party leadership contenders?

      • Clemgeopin 1.1.3

        Your objection alone makes me determined to give her my first preference, (especially because she is a good, honest and experienced person)

      • boldsirbrian 1.1.4

        .
        @ Brutus Iscariot

        NO.

        I say that firmly, but with respect to what you have said, unfortunately.

        Women do have greater difficulties. Here Nanaia is supposedly being handicapped by not being a “Miss New Zealand”. Earlier discussions seemed to assume that Jacinda Aredern must be a bimbo because she looks too much like a “Miss New Zealand”

        Just get Nanaia in front of a meeting, and I suggest a TV interview, and what she looks like quickly becomes totally irrelevant. She is *good*. Very *good*

        Personally I’ve never had a problem with what I look like, despite never winning a beauty contest. Here is a photo of me:
        boldsirbrian

        Mr. Botany (B.)

        • karol 1.1.4.1

          Earlier discussions seemed to assume that Jacinda Aredern must be a bimbo because she looks too much like a “Miss New Zealand

          I think you may have misinterpreted some comments on that.

          As I recall, it is more that some people are for Ardern as leader purely because of her looks, and that they don’t fully consider her experience, preparedness, and track record.

        • Brutus Iscariot 1.1.4.2

          Looking sharp Brian.

          If my post above looked like trolling, it wasn’t meant to be. She commands a lot of respect and affection amongst supporters, so get that what i said could be found offensive. There was absolutely no racial overtone to my comment.

          This is modern day politics. Image is important, if not often directly confronted. I have seen on this site discussion on the appearance of other politicians – not only from the other side of the house (eg some comments on Robertson). So i’ll stand by the point, but not by the expression of it.

          I’ll leave it at that but request that my original post be deleted.

          • boldsirbrian 1.1.4.2.1

            @ Brutus Iscariot 1.1.4.2

            I did not take your post to be trolling. Which is why I gave respect for what you said. You could have improved the wording of your post, but I saw through that. Because your post could be easily misconstrued, it was wise to delete. But you should not be ashamed for it.

            It is harder to be a successful leader without looking telegenic. That was the “unfortunate” part of my remark. Think of the succession of mediocre US politicians, whose main qualification (appeared to be) that they were telegenic : Bush1, Bush2, Palin. Of course it is possible to look sharp and ALSO be of substance ….Obama. And it is possible to look less sharp and be successful …. but much harder than it was in pre-television era. I’ll refrain from talking about NZ politicians, deliberately 🙂

            Fortunately attractiveness is more than skin deep, even for, and especially, politicians. Qualities of intelligence; empathy, dignity, mana, leadership, and ability to inspire are all far more important.

            Who does this point to overwhelmingly? Nanaia Mahuta.

            Politics Leadership here has had an absence of the sort of dignity that Nanaia will bring, for far too long.

      • les 1.1.5

        I thought it you said it…you must be…Paul Henry!

      • Chooky Shark Smile 1.1.6

        @ Brutus Iscariot ….bullshit “she looks like a bloke” !( that is your male chauvinist racist European bias)

        …my teenage son says she looks like a “Maori Helen Clark” ( and this said positively)

        … in other words a strong and very attractive woman…and a 3x General Election WINNER !…no one wants a nambypamby pretty for a leader , least of all the male working class

        …and my ginger headed son ( a 6th generation Pakeha NZer and more on his Maori side ) looked interested and positive about her appearance …. and he is a blue collar worker who almost voted Labour!…. until Labour did the dirty on Hone

    • AmaKiwi 1.2

      The Labour caucus is dysfunctional, embroiled in personality conflicts. (As Shearer demonstrated yesterday.)

      The person I associate least with the in-fighting and the one I think most likely to bring sanity to the caucus is Nanaia Mahuta. That is why I am inclined to give her my first preference vote.

      For the same reasons, Grant Robertson is securely anchored to the bottom of my preference list.

      • Skinny 1.2.1

        Shearer’s unruly behavior was raised with Annette King earlier today. She apparently told some within the caucus yesterday “I have to lead the fucking party for the next month, and so won’t tolerate any MP’s speaking out like they have.”

        So there you go folks no more utterings from sore losers like Shearer!

        • Colonial Rawshark 1.2.1.1

          Good ol’ Annette King.

          Would be good to know exactly who put Shearer up to his shitty outbursts though. And it might cost Shearer his nomination for 2017.

          • Skinny 1.2.1.1.1

            Shearer is so bitter surely it is time for him to sling his hook. I can see him doing a Shane Jones and taking some plum appointment set up by National. Really annoyed at his smug demeanor yesterday, it’s actually disturbing when I think about it.

            • Karen 1.2.1.1.1.1

              I agree Skinny. He was recently in New York with McCully and is great mates with Hooton. What’s the bet he will leave the Labour Party in a huff having been asked to STFU and be immediately given some overseas post by the Nats?

            • leftie 1.2.1.1.1.2

              @Skinny.

              Yep. Basically said the same thing in a formal complaint that I have laid against David Shearer, either he is in the wrong party, or he that should follow his own advice and go.

          • leftie 1.2.1.1.2

            @Colonial Rawshark.

            Was wondering that myself, the way Shearer was mouthing off, he wasn’t afraid of any reprisals.

            • Colonial Rawshark 1.2.1.1.2.1

              He was not one bit afraid, was he. What does he know that the rest of us don’t.

              Even putting aside another pfffft comment from him disparaging The Standard. Want an arsehole.

              • Leftie

                @Colonial Rawshark.

                That he is, and that’s the burning question isn’t it? what does the fearless arsehole know that we don’t, and who has his back?

                It’s a worry.

        • Clemgeopin 1.2.1.2

          What made me even more angry was Shearer saying that Cunliffe should resign and leave parliament! That is the height of arrogance for Shearer to say such a thing.

          • Leftie 1.2.1.2.1

            @Clemgeopin.

            Not only arrogant, but also incredibly hypocritical,

            Shearer didn’t resign from parliament after Robertson had him rolled, he stuck around to undermine the leadership of David Cunliffe, who had been democratically elected, and literally took an F you stance to the membership, and the affiliates, and the those in caucus who gave Cunliffe their vote.

  2. Dorothy 2

    + 100 Chooky

    • Jenny Kirk 2.1

      Me too, Dorothy and Chooky. No contest …..

      BTW, fascinating that the online Herald this morning is NOT giving her announcement any space. Has the proper paper version put out some detail ? Anyone know ?

      • Karen 2.1.1

        Yes the paper version has a short piece with photo several pages in. Also, your letter was printed Jenny! Well done.

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          It headlines Mahuta being a Cunliffe supporter, and highlights Mahuta’s giving the message that Māori and Pacific people are important for Labour.

      • boldsirbrian 2.1.2

        @ Jenny Kirk

        I suspect that the election suspense will be whether Nanaia wins on the initial vote, or has to wait until second preferences are included

        Mr. Botany (B.)

  3. swordfish 3

    Meanwhile, the MSM and Dirty Politics brigade will no doubt be busy developing future attack lines and fake scandals, with a view to enveloping the new leader in a sense of on-going crisis. Set ’em up, knock ’em down.

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      Of course.

      This is the shear idiocy of the Labour Party caucus in blaming Cunliffe for the defeat. In effect, many MPs have either fallen for the Dirty Politics machine or (more likely) they see this as an opportune time to grab the throne for themselves.

  4. ianmac 4

    No doubt National supporters will be happy with their current leadership. Wonder if some are a little envious of the democracy in the Labour Party? After Mr Key leaves then what?

  5. ianmac 5

    Four good people. Decisions decisions decisions!

  6. Karen 6

    I don’t really get the claim that Grant represents a new generation. He is a year younger than Nanaia, and 6 years younger than Andrew. Even the oldest candidate, David Parker, in only 11 years older which is hardly a generation.

    Yes he is the youngest, but let’s not oversell the idea of him being from a new generation.

    • Not a PS Shark Sashimi 6.1

      Shearer was presented as a “new generation” when he wasa 6 ot 8 years older than Cunliffe!
      Robertson has been in the Parliament building since 1999, two years after leaving Uni. He became an MP in 2008. He cannot be called a fresh face by any means.

      • marg 6.1.1

        Its a good idea to check your facts ‘Not PS Shark etc’ see wiki entry – although there is one mistake in the dates relating to when he left University. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_Robertson He actually left University in 1995, was the Vice & then President of the NZ University Student Assoc, 1996/1997. Went to Foreign Affairs and had time in New York representing NZ at United Nations returned to NZ in 2001, worked with Marion Hobbs and then in Helen Clark’s Office. then in 2005 worked for University of Otago Wellington Medical School as Senior Research Marketing Manager until elected in 2008.

  7. mac1 7

    “Leaders come and go”. Too often, in my opinion. Since 2011, Goff, Shearer, Cunliffe and ? Four leaders in three years, Since 2008, Clark, Goff, Shearer. Cunliffe and ? Five leaders in six years.

    I believe your most important point is loyalty to the new leader. Loyalty gives unity and strength. These give stability. The last two were the chief planks of National’s advertising, endlessly hammered home, effective and succinct.

    The most important lesson is for all members of the party including caucus is to “guard our tongues” and remember who it is that we of the left act for and defend- the poor, the afflicted, the homeless.

    They are not served by disloyalty, disunity, weakness and instability.

  8. Ad 8

    1. Unite the caucus and members and affiliates
    2. Appeal to Labour voters and swing voters
    3. Could form a credible alternative government with the Greens and NZFirst
    4. Can beat Key on the campaign

    The above is both sequence and weighting. I’m holding my nose on ideology for now.

    Robertson
    1. Hard to unite caucus and members.
    2. Will have appeal if media framed well
    3. Could form coalition
    4. Reasonable chance against Key

    Mahuta
    1. Limited caucus support.
    2. Appeals to base but no more.
    3. Could form coalition if she can work hard enough
    4. Slow and boring on campaign

    Parker
    1. Struggle to unite.
    2. Broad regional and business appeal
    3. Too dry for easy coalition
    4. Would struggle against Key

    Little
    1. Would unite more of caucus, and certainly members
    2. Would appeal, if heavily media-trained and well framed. If.
    3. Would be strong forming coalition
    4. Would currently struggle against Key

    • les 8.1

      ‘would struggle against Key’…if you think about it, Key is not that flash at debating,obsfucation yes,very good.His lines are written for him and the whole Natz strategy capitalises on his cultivated public persona.’Smile and wave’ is an apt description of his M.O.Lets face it,if there is no unity in the Party ,Labour can hardly unite voters to wake up to Keys brand of Wall St subservience.

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.2

      Basically, Labour has lost its best Leader, all thanks to caucus vetoing Cunliffe out of the race. Now we are choosing from the ranks of Labour MPs who would have made good lieutenants and decent captains.

      Also the Dirty Politics machine is going to begin grinding down whoever takes the leadership. That has to be a factor.

  9. “The choice is pretty clear, Labour either unifies around the new leader, or we can kiss the 2017 election goodbye.”

    Will never happen, so pucker up.

  10. Treetop 10

    I’m for the candidate who can sell the best centre policies, BUT with a left spin.

    When it came to raising the age for NZ super it had a right spin to it, may as well of been a lead ballon.

    CGT in the end it was not going to benefit anyone who owned a rental property so this had a left spin to it, because it was not going to affect many centre left voters.

    Getting the balance right and applying a left SPIN is what Labour need to do.

    • greywarshark 10.1

      What would have been inspired joined-up policy thinking on CGT was – make it as fair as possible then say that money obtained from it would be ring-fenced for offering low-interest loans for new home buyers who had established a savings record for two years with Kiwibank.

      What a multi-pronged fork that would have been for tasty useful policy. That would have resonated with so many. And the savings would have to have been steady, and what could be afforded, mainly to test people’s financial maturity and commitment.

      • Jim 10.1.1

        A Capital Gains Tax would be a best tax neutral for a government but it would more than likely cost the Government more to bring in than it would collect. It currently costs the Australian Government 60% more to collect tax than it does in New Zealand and a big reason for that is CGT (although Oz CGT only applies to short term investors). You can forget ever funding any government program out of a CGT.

        • Barfly 10.1.1.1

          How about a mansion tax ala Scotland? Saw the suggestion on NRT a while back

          • Treetop 10.1.1.1.1

            How about property owners who own 10 – 50 rentals to sell the properties to the government and for the government to add the properties to the housing NZ stock.

            CGT could then be avoided.

            Would the government want to buy a substandard property or to INCREASE the housing stock?

            The government just do not get it that people with babies live in a boarding house, with shared facilities, (scabies and crabs just love boarding house bathrooms and toilet seats). It would not be easy for the (usually) mother to prepare and store food for the baby either. It is reality that there are frightened single parents in a single bedroom living in a noisey boarding house with a baby or young child/ren.

            Each of the three ministers in charge of housing need to go and live for a month like the group I mentioned are living.

      • Treetop 10.1.2

        Talked to someone last night (age 30 – 35) who has purchased their first home in a main NZ city. We agreed that their generation is less likely to obtain a rental property and how hard it is to break even each week (two working adults and two young children).

  11. greywarshark 11

    I gathered up some info from google on Nanaia Mahuta and put it over yonder.
    Here is the link to be going on with. http://thestandard.org.nz/and-then-there-were-four-2/#comment-911516

    • Chooky Shark Smile 11.1

      +100 greywarshark…she is head and shoulders above the male contestants in Electoral appeal ….and she is way ahead in experience in Parliament…what she doesnt know now she will pick up if given a chance

      …the biggest problem as i see it is the male pack of dinosaurs in caucus all fighting it out….all wannabe leaders but none with the X factor

      Labour did well under Helen Clark…well here is a “Maori Helen Clark”!…and she will bring in the Maori vote as well as the woman and working class vote…and she will unite the Left!

      It is a no brainer!…. Nanaia Mahuta has to be leader, or the Labour Party is F….d!

      • DS 11.1.1

        Fingers crossed that the electorate takes to her faster than Helen Clark.

        (Helen Clark’s first term as leader was, shall we say, difficult. Helen in 1995 would have killed for Cunliffe’s poll numbers).

  12. Your last sentence is pivotable Anthony. If Labour can not form a solid unit behind whoever is elected Leader then Labour will be handing National a fourth term in office.

    Even more important than changing Leader is the need to change the culture within caucus.

  13. les 13

    ‘where only loyal party members can vote and they have a habit of choosing candidates who do not appeal to a wider electorate.’………..herein lies the problem…!

    • Halcyon 13.1

      You make a good point les. I would imagine that a large proportion of Labour members and also union members. By allowing the unions a twenty percent of the vote is basically double dipping.

      Surely it would improve Labour’s success with the voters if caucus had 45% of the vote and members has 55% of the vote. That would prevent the current skew towards the unions.

      • Clemgeopin 13.1.1

        Unions represent workers. Labour party was started by workers. The voting system, formula was debated and voted by the members at their party conference.

        If you wish to change the system, go to their party conference, discuss your idea and put your remit across for members to vote on.

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