A commentator at The Standard warns against the terrible error the Labour Party is on the verge of repeating:
With only six years’ parliamentary experience before becoming leader of the NZLP he was also the least experienced of all Labour’s twelve leaders to date. David Lange got eaten alive.
His inability to manage his caucus opened the door for an unprecedented high-jacking of the Party’s ideological compass by neo-liberals, and Lange eventually became an unwilling puppet for the more experienced but less principled old-hands behind him.
As a sensitive man Lange didn’t handle the awful pressure and toxicity of the leadership and paid a heavy emotional and physical toll. He left Parliament a pretty broken man. It wasn’t a good experience for him, for the Labour Party, or the people Labour represent.
So will [David Shearer] be the newest ‘least experienced Labour leader’ or will we have learned the lesson?
This asks us to accept that after twenty years running aid camps in war zones David Shearer will be unable to handle the pressure of managing the Labour caucus, and that Grant Robertson and David Parker are analogous to Richard Prebble and Roger Douglas.
Meanwhile, Keith Ng writes:
Let’s face it, if Cunliffe didn’t offer his supporters portfolios and positions, there wouldn’t even be a contest. That’s why this contest isn’t about him – it’s about the Labour caucus and the Labour Party, and whether it’ll ever be able to rid itself of the entrenched interests of patronage and machine politics.
This is also pretty silly. Cunliffe is a really experienced, accomplished politician. It sounds like Shearer’s gonna be their next leader, but if Cunliffe wins it’ll be because he’s out-performed Shearer in every single media opportunity and party meeting in the leadership contest.