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What to do with Cunliffe

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, December 14th, 2011 - 62 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david parker, david shearer, labour, Shane Jones - Tags:

There’s talk Shearer might hand Cunliffe the poisoned chalice of foreign affairs. As Clark did her main rival, Goff. That’s no job for a man with a young family. Anyway, Goff’ll want it back ahead of taking the Chinese ambassadorship. Instead, let Cunliffe swap with Parker, who was invisible in economic development and energy, and take on Joyce.

Cunliffe did an excellent job in finance. His policies are Labour’s big ones – tax-free zone, capital gains, compulsory Kiwisaver, lifting the super age. But Labour’s lacking any real vision on using the government as an economic actor, rather than just a rule setter. Parker didn’t deliver any – maybe he was planning on keeping his powder dry.

But Parker will clearly get finance to reward him. So, Cunliffe should take his economic development and energy portfolios.

Vernon Small’s thinking the same way: “Cunliffe could be given an economic development role, perhaps marking Steven Joyce.” That suggests giving Cunliffe Shearer’s old science portfolio as well (can’t see Labour rolling tertiary ed and employment into a single portfolio like the Nats have).

That might leave Jones out in the cold a bit. Let him keep transport and give him housing – a big issue for Maori and one that needs to be looked at from an economic point of view more than a welfare one in these days when the public’s all a fiscal Scrooges and looking after people in need is so unpopular.

The worst thing that could happen would be to waste Cunliffe’s talent or punish him for being part of a highly successful and invigorating leadership selection.

62 comments on “What to do with Cunliffe”

  1. Rog Chapman 1

    Cunliffe must be used in a high profile role. He has great debating skills, does his homework and can cut down English and Joyce in the Chamber in a wide range of areas.

    Cunliffe should get Finance. Parker could go to Economic Development and give Jones Education to take on a real challenge.

    But there are lots of strong possibilities. The important element is that there must be a common purpose and total loyalty to agreed decisions.

    As has been said elsewhere, don’t waste time with petty sniping. Pick targets, research and then cut down the Nats.

  2. queenstfarmer 2

    That’s no job for a man with a young family.

    Indeed, and according to Cunliffe himself, nor is the job of Prime Minister. Was he serious about the leadership at all?

  3. vto 3

    I thought he was going to stand for our Vote Them Out party

  4. Peter Martin 4

    *laff* Really who cares?

    The Greens and old Winnie are the Opposition these days.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    With Cunliffe being the closest any mainstream politician has come to acknowledging Peak Oil (yes, yes, it’s a far cry from what we need) he’s who we really need as Energy I would think.

  6. randal 6

    give him a rise and sic him on the tories.

  7. Anthony 7

    This is all skirting the main problem that he should have been deputy.

    • bbfloyd 7.1

      and give the tories the perfect weapon to throw at him every time he makes a hit on them? i can hear the herald trumpeting his “leadership ambitions” every time he makes inroads into the fantasy national has been allowed to foist on us…… not to mention the teasing of shearer by the govt over his “having to look over his shoulder” instead of manning up and answering for their incompetence…

      only a blind fool would assume the national party would have the maturity to forego what has been their m,o for their entire existence……

      one only has to listen to their supporters for a few minutes to know that ain’t gonna happen..

  8. Craig Glen Eden 8

    If Cunliffe is not made responsible for finance Shearer is gone in 12 months, Parker cant and wont cut the mustard. If Shearer is smart he will cut Cunliffe loose on English if he is insecure like Goff and Mallard he will get blocked and Labour is in even deeper shit.Mahuta has to be up their to if not you can kiss goodbye to the Maori vote and if we don’t win in the Maori seats and Party vote we wont Govern.

    • Tom Gould 8.1

      This is just the silly identity politics nonsense that got Cunliffe 10 or 12 votes. Fortunately, after 20-odd years, Labour might now be moving on from the quota system. Fingers crossed.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Identity politics won’t win elections, I agree. But Labour takes representing every NZer very seriously, serious enough to actually take action and set expectations around making sure that Maori, Pasifika, women, etc are well represented.

  9. gingercrush 9

    Why does Shane Jones need to be given anything. Am I missing something because in what world is Shane Jones credible?

  10. Pundit X 10

    Cunliffe won’t be offered anything commensurate with his stature or his ability. He should turn down anything other than finance and take the opportunity spend time on the back benches and think outside the box on Labour’s future. He can then come back untainted and pull the party out the mess Forest Gump creates in time to win in 2014.

  11. insider 11

    Who is suggesting Cunliffe for Foreign Affairs? (apart from me, which was a political joke)

    “Cunliffe did an excellent job in finance. His policies are Labour’s big ones – tax-free zone, capital gains, compulsory Kiwisaver, lifting the super age. ” Yes but they led to the biggest loss in votes in 70 years. That misreading of the electorate has to count against him somewhat.

    Parker has to get finance in return for stepping aside as leader and deputy contender. Not sure you can have Cunliffe as part of the finance team by giving him economic development – it’s a bit of a second rate role IMO, better to put him somewhere new. He’s done health so why not welfare or education – big policies, big budgets and lots of potential vulnerabilities for the govt that he could nitpick through.

    Goff and King have to go to the backbenches and maybe have mentoring roles within Labour. They can’t have shadow cabinet positions.

    • lprent 11.1

      Who is suggesting Cunliffe for Foreign Affairs? (apart from me, which was a political joke)

      Zet, who described it as a rumor. Several known astroturfers out of the political ghettos who were caught in the spam trap and flushed.

      In fact it has all of the hallmarks of a someones “lets push a meme into the blogosphere” and then tell the lazy journo’s where to look for confirmation of political support. The emergence of “Albie Chase” under yet another name is always a good indicator.

      Whats the betting that I’d find the meme has been pushed across the right blogs today in a burst of concern trolling…

      Call me cynical, but I always find this somewhat suspicious…

      • insider 11.1.1

        The point is, I’ve not seen it mentioned anywhere else not in the political columns in the media nor on rightist blogs. Not much of a rumour it seems. I mentioned it because I seem to recall it was a joke used about Goff.

    • Craig Glen Eden 11.2

      We lost because the leader took 2 years and 11 months to have any effect.

      • insider 11.2.1

        Seriously, you have have to tone down the disappointment and back the new guy. Be sceptical by all means but give the new look a chance.

        • Craig Glen Eden 11.2.1.1

          I dont have to do any such thing insider, you see you nor anyone else is my boss nor do I aspire to have any position in the Party. I pay my fees have made many donations and sacrifices for the Labour Party and I will say what I like ! You dont like it tough.

        • bbfloyd 11.2.1.2

          bitchy bitchy bitchy insider…….. lacking any kind of relevance to the original comment as well…show me the “disappointment”……without the gloating, if possible.

  12. dancerwaitakere 12

    Cunliffe should be put in finance although it is unlikely because of shearers vote buying to get parker on side. If he gets anything else it shows how insecure the leadership is.

    • bbfloyd 12.1

      that doesn’t even qualify as a “nice try”. displaying you utter ignorance of the relationship between shearer and parker simply identifies you as another reactionary tory…. boring to say the least.

  13. Georgecom 13

    Totally agree keeping Cunliffe engaged in the economy. Unless Cunliffe has nothing to do with all the future focused thinking Labour has engaged in over the past 12 months, he needs to stay where he is.

  14. Rog Chapman 14

    Shearer said he had cut no future deals to get the leadership. If so he can put anyone anywhere. If Cunliffe is the best for Finance then he should get it.

  15. Anne 15

    Shearer said he had cut no future deals to get the leadership.

    He didn’t cut the deals. A few members of the so-called old guard headed by TM(?) would have been doing the deal cutting, and not necessarily with Shearer’s knowledge. You know the sort of thing:

    “If you vote for Shearer, we’ll make sure you’re given….

    • lprent 15.1

      😈 cynical. Almost certainly truth…

    • The Voice of Reason 15.2

      And yet he’s forged a long and impressive career in leaderships roles, and, so far, without showing an inclination to be someone else’s puppet. Give the bloke a chance, FFS. There is every possibility that he will turn out to be as successful at this job as he has been at the others.
       
      Past performance is a reliable indicator of future performance, as they say in the HR hiring manuals.

      • Anne 15.2.1

        TVoR:
        I said not necessarily with Shearer’s knowledge. I’ll go further and say it would almost certainly have been without his knowledge.

        I’ve been around the LP one hell of a long time and so has lprent.

        • The Voice of Reason 15.2.1.1

          Nah, I don’t see it, Anne. Its his call. He’ll consult, talk with senior MP’s and then make his judgements. Some may decline the jobs they’ve been offered, some may be surprised to be offered jobs at all, but it will be Shearer’s call. As I said earlier, he’s made a career our of leadership. And part of leadership is picking the right team.
           

          • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1.1

            As I said earlier, he’s made a career our of leadership. And part of leadership is picking the right team.

            I’d be reassured if he’d already seen his caucus colleagues in action handling tough situations in Government. But sadly he hasn’t been around long enough to observe anything like that first hand, and there is no easy substitute. Let’s see what he comes up with.

          • G Dub 15.2.1.1.2

            [Deleted….That is the kind of specific assertion that needs backing with evidence. Hearsay doesn’t run…RL]

          • Anne 15.2.1.1.3

            Don’t disagree TVoR, but I was talking about the lead-up period to the leadership vote. I know there were phone calls to local electorate luminaries by Shearer supporters who could be described as leading Labour lights. Nothing wrong with that, and there may well have been a similar process on behalf of Cunliffe. But I have my doubts the Cunliffe supporters would have recieved the same level of party assistance. If I’m wrong, someone can correct me.

            It needs to be borne in mind that for all his impressive overseas credentials, Shearer is still a novice as far as NZ politics go. Until he returned to NZ permanently, he would have had limited knowledge of the political scene over the previous decade or two. He has to rely on some of his colleagues for advice and guidance at least in the short term. It depends on who’s advice he is following, but I have big concerns that some of it is very partisan in nature. I’ve seen the process in similar circumstances in the past, and I’m well aware of the jiggery-pokery that goes on behind the scenes – and the deals that are cut between individual players in order to gain their support.

      • lprent 15.2.2

        And his supporters? Sorry, it doesn’t matter where politicians are, you tend to find non-attributable flappers everywhere. Read stevenson.

        Past performance is past.. Athletes past performance is well past. I didn’t see it, so I treat it as I feel like I am being snowed with PR – which I ignore. Rocky thinks he is ok. That gives him the few mana points he has with me so far. Some of the nasty crap I have seen out of my ex-electorate on this site puts him in shit street. He needs to rein his arseholes in – they reflect on him.

        • seeker 15.2.2.1

          He gained a slight mana moment from me today too from a comment of his in the Herald: .

          .”.. I want to start by looking at New Zealand through a new lens, of creating a clean, green, clever New Zealand. I’m open to new ideas wherever they come from.”

          I felt a flicker of hope and tentative connection from the words,”creating” and “clean, green,clever New Zealand.” I would so love for that to happen.

          And he said he was “open to to new ideas wherever they came from.”. This was a good inclusive statement, because it could include me again as I may have some where to put my ideas and they may help and be listened to. (And just when I was thinking I could take a step back for a long while after yesterday’s decision.)

          I love the word “creative”. It’s something that went missing from our thinking as the neoliberal ideology took over. Creativity, a special human attribute ,went AWOL, as the humanity free freemarket took control. Today, it made a tiny,quiet,comeback and it gave me a small touch of warmth. Perhaps the winter of the white witch of neoloberalism had seen the tiny,tiny tendril of the first shoot of spring.

          And with that probably wishful thinking, whimsical fairy tale I must awa’ tay bed.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10773069

  16. Reality Bytes 16

    Finance definitely, Cunliffe knows what he’s doing there and he sells it well, which is an important part of being effective at the job. It’s not about being ‘fair to the runner-up’ or any of that, it’s about Shearer giving Labor it’s best shot at winning in 2014. And Cunliffe as shadow Finance minister is vital in that effort. Cunliffe would be excellent at effectively selling economic alternatives to Nat policy. This is vital to defeat National who tend to win votes for being perceived as the party that looks after the economy. I mean National doesn’t really have a lot else to offer, it’s what they focus on, and what they are type-cast as. It’ll take some grit and passion to challenge the Nat’s perceived forte head on, grit and determination that Cunliffe has imo. Goff should naturally get the foreign affairs role, especially considering his excellent experience level in it.

    How practical and realistic Shearer is in allocating these roles will determine his likelihood of being PM come 2014.

    • seeker 16.1

      Well put. Think you are definitely correct here Reality.

      • Anne 16.1.1

        Yes. Reality Bytes is correct but I predict Cunliffe will not get the shadow Finance role. It will go to Parker for being a good boy and stepping down. It’s less about who is best for the job, and more about partisan cronyism. That is why Labour spend more time in opposition than they do in government.

        I will be the first to concede if I am wrong but suspect I’m not.

        • Reality Bytes 16.1.1.1

          Then that could be the cause for the Nat’s getting a third term.

          One thing I like about Shearer (so far) is that he really does come across as a pragmatic and down to earth kiwi. The next few weeks will be interesting to see whether my gut initial feeling about the fella is actually relevant.

        • seeker 16.1.1.2

          Anne @8.39am

          ‘I will be the first to concede if I am wrong but suspect I’m not.”

          This could explain why David C . is taking his time to consider his options. How long can someone of real talent be expected to keep gritting their teeth in the face of certain personal agendas.

          • Anne 16.1.1.2.1

            Precisely seeker. I’m still gutted that the best person for the job was the victim of a vindictive campaign of deceit by a few individuals purely out of jealousy and self interest.

            I’m hoping the truth about some of the things that went on behind the scenes will eventually come out into the open.

  17. Rog Chapman 17

    If Shearer is as good as I think he is the Old Guard are just that: OLD. He will go round, over and past them and forge a new and vibrant Labour. That is what needs to happen.

    That’s what he has said he will do.

    The caucus will conform if they want the shadow portfolios.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      I would be more than happy to be pleasantly surprised. Finance for Cunliffe, and a top 10 position for Nanaia would be my ideal. That would give me hope that caucus will pull together hard for the next 3 years and throw these undeserving Tories out for another 3 terms.

  18. jaymam 18

    David Cunliffe should certainly not resign or take a minor job. In my opinion he should have been Leader instead of Goff. But it’s too late now. Can’t he be Labour’s “attack dog”, together with Trevor Mallard?

  19. Eanna 19

    To achieve a quantum step forward for the party we need to be sure we have cast aside self and mutual deception.

    Shearer did commit that he had not made deals: that also had to mean that he is not bound by promises made by any of his supporters.

    I’m therefore very confident that he will make Cunliffe the Finance Spokeperson.

  20. Eanna there is also another possibility – that Shearer cut a deal with Parker two weeks ago and promised him Finance to get him to swing his votes in behind, and then he just simply lied on TV and in the membership meetings about not being prepared to discuss portfolios and roles with anyone.

    There seem to be a lot of rose tinted glasses on at present – the ‘fresh face’ isn’t necessarily an honest face.

    I’d say there is zip chance Cunliffe will be offered Finance. If Shearer was smart that is exactly what he’d do, but I haven’t seen evidence that Shearer has that level of political astuteness yet.

    If one does the research one will discover that in his time in Parliament he has asked a grand total of 11 parliamentary questions. Go figure!

  21. Anne 21

    that Shearer cut a deal with Parker two weeks ago and promised him Finance to get him to swing his votes in behind, and then he just simply lied on TV and in the membership meetings about not being prepared to discuss portfolios and roles with anyone.

    Got it in one.

  22. Pete 22

    Cunniliffe for Finance? He completely misread the electorate. This was an election on economic issues, and his schemes resulted in 27%.

    It’s time he moved on. And out.

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