I ran David Shearer’s campaign headquarters in the 2009 Mt Albert by-election. That gave me unique perspective to get a good hard look at a man in a pressure cooker environment. David arrived from the middle east literally a few short hours before the candidate selection speeches. It showed. He looked tired. But he went on to win the selection and rightly so. Over the next few frantic months, surrounded, in the main, by total strangers and without his family, David won the hearts, admiration and respect of everyone involved in that campaign.
What I saw was a man who was in every respect his own man. He would listen to advice (often conflicting and from 20 different people), process it and then do what he felt was the right thing to do. Russell Norman called him the Grey Candidate; we tried to get him to ditch that that ubiquitous bloody grey jersey but he refused to be ‘made over’.
David didn’t need lines about Labour values; he’s lived them. He didn’t need to tell people he was ‘passionate’; his actions spoke for themselves. He was also funny, wise and kind; three attributes I rate above almost everything else.
I know David Cunliffe as well. I like him, although I’ve never had the opportunity to work quite as closely with him as I did with David S.
I just wanted to put my two cents in about the little I know and the huge regard I have for David Shearer.