The Dim-Post

November 29, 2011

Or, to put it another way

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 5:53 am

The new Labour leader will have a tougher time than Goff. He (or she) is not just an adversary for Key, they’re going to be competing against Russel Norman and Winston Peters for the role of opposition leader. And maybe I’m wrong, but I have doubts about the ability of either David Parker or David Shearer to win that contest.

And I find it amazing that they’re making the change so quickly. This is a big decision, and this is party with a recent history of awful decision making. Don’t you want to take this one slowly? Do some research? Figure out why you lost, and then pick a leader that can directly address those problems? Wouldn’t it be smart to make sure that this new leader has broader appeal than a bunch of their friends inside the caucus, who – as they’ve just discovered – aren’t really in touch with their own party members, let alone the wider electorate?

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32 Comments »

  1. Are they making the change so quickly? We’re jumping the gun here: we’re all assuming Goff will resign instantly, not offer to resign if they wish him to (and they may not) or offer to resign at some point in the future once a process has been worked through.

    Comment by MeToo — November 29, 2011 @ 6:32 am

  2. I think the change in leadership is progressing at snail’s pace compared with the last leadership change.

    Comment by Ross — November 29, 2011 @ 6:58 am

  3. And I find it amazing that they’re making the change so quickly.

    Uh, weren’t you bitching a few hours ago on Twitter that no one had resigned already?

    Comment by Russell Brown — November 29, 2011 @ 7:07 am

  4. Uh, weren’t you bitching a few hours ago on Twitter that no one had resigned already?

    I was thinking of Mallard, and the fact that Goff and King are staying on for another three years as MPs.

    Comment by danylmc — November 29, 2011 @ 7:12 am

  5. “…Uh, weren’t you bitching a few hours ago on Twitter that no one had resigned already?

    Comment by Russell Brown — November 29, 2011 @ 7:07 am…”

    A few hours ago? At 7.07am? Hah! Someone has got a new baby!

    It is six of one and half a dozen of the other if you ask me. Taking on Key and his permanent campaign team in the first term was always going to be like bowling to God on concrete. I do wonder though at the wider issue of leaders having to resign these days a loss. Kirk lost twice before winning. I wonder if Goff shouldn’t carry on for a bit and see how his and Labour’s ratings pan out. His gutsy, never say die never shed a tear campaign earnt him a truckload of respect from the voters.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 29, 2011 @ 7:17 am

  6. His gutsy, never say die never shed a tear campaign earnt him a truckload of respect from the voters.

    But not votes.

    Comment by Deborah — November 29, 2011 @ 7:33 am

  7. Before Kirk:

    1963: NAT 47.1, LAB 43.7

    (Kirk becomes leader in 1965)

    1966: NAT 43.6, LAB 41.4
    1969: NAT 45.2, LAB 44.2

    Kirk and Goff aren’t really comparable: Kirk managed to close the gap on National, and never oversaw a fall in Labour’s vote like 2011’s.

    Goff and Clark ’96 are closer, though ’96 was weird because of the novelty of MMP.

    Comment by bradluen — November 29, 2011 @ 7:36 am

  8. Haven’t they just had 3 years to consider this issue? I don’t see why waiting another 3 months will change anything, or lead to Labour learning any new lessons.

    Comment by The Double Standard — November 29, 2011 @ 7:40 am

  9. I think Goff should resign as leader well ahead of the next election. I also think the problem isn’t the electorate MPs like Mallard and King – it is the poorly designed list. The next leader has to have absolute support of the party, so he or she can begin the task over the next 18 months of strategically “persuading” some list MPs to retire and “persuading” some on the list they don’t actually want to be MPs this time round after all, so that some of the talent that missed out this time on the list can be back in parliament 12-18 months ahead of the next election.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 29, 2011 @ 7:47 am

  10. Kirk was also a young man on the way up, whereas Goff is neither of those things.

    Why the hurry to resign when Parliament doesn’t really do much until February is beyond me. The whole succession process is bizarrely quick, compared to say the British Labour party or the Canadian liberals who took many months to decide their similar post-defeat new leader.

    Comment by Exiled Waif — November 29, 2011 @ 8:36 am

  11. There is also the fact that Goff might not want it anymore. And I wouldn’t blame him

    Comment by max — November 29, 2011 @ 8:58 am

  12. @ sanctuary – The insightful parts of your commentary are diluted by the polemic such as “His gutsy, never say die never shed a tear campaign earnt him a truckload of respect from the voters”. Plus “I also think the problem isn’t the electorate MPs like Mallard and King – it is the poorly designed list”, they are’t mutually exclusive problems, both need to go.

    Comment by merv — November 29, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  13. The other thing to consider is whether it is smart to present a new leader to the country a couple of weeks before the place shuts down for Summer. Any honeymoon period with the press would be cut short and there would be a total loss of any momentum gained.

    For me this would be another sign that the Labour party still think they are the centre of the universe…dumb fucks

    Comment by King Kong — November 29, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  14. Agree with both Sanctuary #9 and Exiled Waif #10

    Comment by DT — November 29, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  15. @merv – as always, I will treat your insightful analysis of a party you know nothing about and don’t like with the respect it deserves.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 29, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  16. @sanc – yeah whadda I know, I’m only a voter after all.

    Comment by merv — November 29, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  17. I was thinking of Mallard, and the fact that Goff and King are staying on for another three years as MPs.

    Oh, okay. I misunderstood what you meant by: “I can’t believe no one in Labour will resign in the wake of their defeat #ohyesIcan”

    So you’re saying Mallard should resign immediately from the seat he’s just won and force a by-election? And that Goff should resign as a Member of Parliament? But it’s also too soon for Labour to replace Goff as its leader?

    Really, Danyl, what are you saying?

    Comment by Russell Brown — November 29, 2011 @ 10:52 am

  18. I *guess* it’s kinda a fantasy involving self immolation and the Labour old guard.

    Comment by merv — November 29, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  19. Irresponsible conjecture: Do the rumours that the old guard is lining up behind Parker indicate that Cunliffe is calling for retirements and Parker is not?

    Comment by bradluen — November 29, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  20. Really, Danyl, what are you saying?

    Probably just the usual jaded phoney invective.

    Comment by The Fox — November 29, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  21. Thought from the tea-room: Don Brash for leader of the Labour Party

    Comment by cctrfred — November 29, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  22. Definitely too soon. Goff should stay on as leader until 2012. Will give the claimants time to see if they’re up to it (speaking as one enamoured neither of Cunliffe nor Parker, may give time for more promising contenders to put their oar in).

    Comment by Leopold — November 29, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  23. Thought from the tea-room: Don Brash for leader of the Labour Party

    Given that the NZLP is centre-right, this should work out fine.

    Clarification – actual centre-right, not John Banks imaginary ACT= centre-right.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 29, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  24. The problem for a now small-ish Opposition Party is that there isn’t plenty of people to visibly resign (which I consider to be resigning from a particular role in the Party – not leaving Parliament hours after the population voted you in there). You have Leader/Deputy but outside of that the campaign management and shadow spokesperson roles don’t carry a lot of visibility so internal changes to responsibility won’t really mean much externally.

    Comment by garethw — November 29, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  25. We do not run a presidential system. We run party based parliamentary system. It really worries me when people want to start trying to turn our political system into a presidential model – it just does not work. Key brings with him a group of MPs who he then needs to use to run the country. Obama can choose whoever he wants. The difference is significant.

    Likewise, if you want to have a say in who runs the party that you care about and that shares your values – join the party. Have your say at a regional level, then a national level. That is the way the system works. We can’t turn this into a primaries season and have them tour the country. No-one was involved in the decision to elect Key as the leader of the National party, but the caucus.

    I also get frustrated with this ‘get the dead wood out’ meme that is going around. I agree that there is some definite dead wood that needs getting rid of, but the alternative is to put up a bunch of MPs that have little understanding of parliamentary process. It is about a mix of both. The mix is wrong at the moment, but going the other way would be deadly. Let’s not forget that sitting behind Key is Nick Smith, Gerry Brownlee, Judith Collins, Tony Ryall and Bill English – hardly the youngest and spriteliest of MP groupings. Yet, they managed to secure National’s highest poll result ever. In fact the WHOLE of National’s front bench are lacklustre retreads.

    Norman has been an opposition leader for the past three years. I don’t think Labour will worry about it. I think Greens need to prepare themselves to be put under far more pressure if they want to take the spot as the main opposition party. They have been able to stand to the side and chip in every now and then – they have not had their policies tested, their financial costings looked over and their entire policy portfolio was three. Only a minor party can get away with that. I also don’t think New Zealand First have that significant political appeal. Labour are not going to worry about Winston taking their vote. They need to win against National and take their vote – that is the only way for them to get back into government. Fighting with the Greens and NZ First is a waste of time.

    Comment by Tim — November 29, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  26. they’re going to be competing against Russel Norman and Winston Peters for the role of opposition leader.

    Should whoever-it-is-to-be-leader-of-the-opposition thinking in terms of competition explicitly? Maybe as opposition leader, but as Prime Minister, under MMP, they’re certainly going to be as hegemon in a coalition – a quite different situation from that as outright leader. This is because while National may clearly be in charge here, a counter-National succession will not be so clearly dominated by one part.

    Admittedly, in opposition, the appearance of being the leader matters, but then also the leader of a party in opposition can let things that it would not be politic for them to say as a representative of their party be said by the leader (or member) of another (as it might be in government – there’s a cartoon in today’s Dompost about “The Minister of Unpopular Policies”, which is perfect for a coalition partner).

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 29, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  27. <We do not run a presidential system… The difference is significant.

    Agree, but… the campaign is run as if it were, and hence some confusion when it comes to votes cast and outcomes. I’m not sure everyone appreciates the difference, or wants to, or wants others to. That’s just an observation – I haven’t considered the ramifications, of which there are many.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 29, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  28. I think Goff really came of age during the campaign and it’s a shame he’s not going to pick up from the momentum he produced with the public.

    Maybe Goff would like to continue as leader but he would know better than anyone how much speculating and reporting on potential leadership plots and coups was a hobby horse for a NZ’s political reporters and this sideshow did no favours for Labour in their first term in opposition. He is probably making the right call in that if he were to continue his leadership after their dire election result then this sideshow would continue to blight them. If Labour do this transition to a new leader right then they can put all the leadership speculation to rest and hopefully wrestle the media spotlight on their oppostional activites and policies.

    Comment by Nawait — November 29, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  29. Surely some reasons for a quick leadership change are:-
    – to prevent deserters, like myself, from becoming comfortable with our new political position. I deserted Labour because of their comprehensive ineptitude as a political entity capable of representing my aspirations. I want to see immediate recognition that they failed some large factions of historical supporters.
    – Some former and undecided voters may have simply abstained, and they need to see changes before they will consider Labour. They may be the easiest to capture/recapture.
    – to minimise formation of internal factions who will publicly splatter divisive opinions and positions in the faint hope of an advantage. My perception is that Labour is inherently factional, and it takes strong leaders to housetrain the brats.
    – The new leader needs to quickly capture and align new policy directions, and acknowledge recent mistreatment of some supporters at the expense of other factions, such as union/unemployed.

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — November 29, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  30. I don’t think Goff did particulalry well in the campaign. Sure, he did improve markedly, but that was only comparative. His repeat phrases and his bullshit – I clearly remember that continuing on asset sales in the last day or two of the campaign – were a continual turnoff.

    Cunliffe sounds like like a policy wonk with a mean streak.
    Parker sounds like a policy wonk with a dull streak.
    Unless Robertson has changed his tune on the merits of the campaign substantially since Sunday he isn’t nearly ready for it.

    Shearer is inexperienced as a politician but that could be an asset, and he’s the only one showing any sign of understanding the real problems that Labour has had and face. I have no idea if he’s up to it but no one else knows in advance either, no matter who takes on the job.

    I doubt Cunliffe’s ego would settle into deputy. Parker may be the best bet there as double inexperience with Robertson may be too big a risk.

    Having said that it’s a huge task, it might be the leader after next that makes it to PM.

    Comment by Pete George — November 29, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

  31. It has to be someone with the guts and the ability to cut out the dead wood. “Ability” means being able to overcome the party machine itself, to be able and allowed to say to Mallard et al, “it’s time for you to be éminence grise – on the back benches.” I don’t have much confidence that that will happen.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 29, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  32. Some of the dead wood was unseated at the election, and the challenge now is to prevent it coming back, while promoting up-and-coming names like Stuart Nash, Kelvin Davis and Carmel Sepuloni.

    @Rhinocrates: I remember George Hawkins was given subtle hints from Helen Clark that he needed to go – namely demoting him down the list – but wouldn’t do so quietly. His election to the Greater Auckland council put it all to rest.

    Comment by DeepRed — November 30, 2011 @ 1:11 am


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