The Dim-Post

December 16, 2011


Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:26 am

Stuff reports:

An embittered David Cunliffe is refusing to rule out quitting Parliament altogether as leader David Shearer moves to finalise his front bench.

It is understood Mr Cunliffe has been offered a front bench seat and a senior portfolio but has balked at his proposed ranking.

Labour has been allocated eight front bench seats in the new Parliament and it is likely Mr Cunliffe has been offered either the sixth, seventh or eighth slot.

The top places are likely to be taken by Mr Shearer, deputy Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern, finance spokesman David Parker, Shane Jones and Clayton Cosgrove with the remaining two slots open to Mr Cunliffe and his running mate, Nanaia Mahuta, or possibly Ruth Dyson or Maryan Street.

This isn’t a happy start to Shearer’s administration. He could be a great leader, and Grant Robertson could also be a formidable Deputy – but right now, Cunliffe is Labour’s most capable MP by a pretty huge margin. If the party is going to be re-unified and effective at holding the government to account then he needs a high profile roll. Trying to slot him below Shane Jones and Clayton Cosgrove – presumably with something like foreign affairs, to keep him out of the country for the next three years – is a real clumsy way for the new leadership team to kick things off.


  1. And threatening to quit Parliament is a real clumsy way to express one’s discontent.

    Comment by James Butler (@jamespjbutler) — December 16, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  2. An embittered David Cunliffe is refusing to rule out quitting Parliament

    I wouldn’t read too much into that, there’s no direct quote. It’s an inference made by the journalist to hype the article.

    Shane Jones, that is just tokenism, he’s not a New Look.

    Comment by NeilM — December 16, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  3. If Cunliffe is having a selfish hissy fit then he is not “Labour’s most capable MP by a pretty huge margin”.

    I’ll wait to see what happens next week after feelings have subsided andh allocation of roles and positions on the front bench, but there are signs that choosing Shearer because he was a team player and Cunliffe wasn’t may have been the right call.

    Comment by Pete George — December 16, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  4. How is this Shearer’s responsibility and not pathetic pettyness from Cunliffe?

    Comment by Eddie C (@freezingkiwi) — December 16, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  5. I would not have him near the fromt bench. His true nature is starting to show and he is likely to white ant the Leader and party at every opportunity.
    For once the party made the right decision and they are well rid of Cunnliffe.
    Is this the same man that straight after losing the Leader Role said that he would work to support Shearer.
    Petulant spring to mind

    Comment by Ron — December 16, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  6. How is this Shearer’s responsibility and not pathetic pettyness from Cunliffe?

    Because Shearer said he’s going to reunify the party. Well, you don’t get to just wave the magic re-unification wand – Key reunified his party by giving Bill English finance, ditto Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. Politics is compromise.

    Comment by danylmc — December 16, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  7. It’s Shearer’s responsibility because he gives out the spokespersonships

    Comment by Kahikatea — December 16, 2011 @ 9:58 am

  8. i’d be embittered to be ranked below Shane Jones… but then I’ve never had much use for the man ever since I saw him speak to a room full of environmentalists and tell them that Labour had lost the 2008 election because they were too “nanny state” and so they had to toughen up and stop caring about this “environment” shit. i’ve seldom seem a more badly pitched message…But anyway, maybe Shearer is watching his back – nervous that Cunliffe will launch a leadership challenge at the first low poll and that will completely sabotage Labour’s chance of getting any positive media (ala Chris Carter, Shane Jones etc etc in the 2008-2011 term).

    Comment by Amy — December 16, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  9. That dynamic quartet of Ruth, Clayton, Maryan and Shane on the front bench? Have Mr S’s advisers been taking your previous post seriously?
    OK, go for broke and make Shelley your speech-writer

    Comment by Leopold — December 16, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  10. This is a ridiculous non-story. If you had just been passed over for a promotion within an organisation that you have given decades of service to, wouldn’t you think about your future within the organisation? Its perfectly natural for Cunliffe to be thinking about quitting parliament, and equally natural that he might have reservations about the new leadership team. After all, he thought he would do a better job, and then lost.

    Comment by alex — December 16, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  11. This is a ridiculous non-story.

    that’s my impression. Cunliffe considering his future may not mean he’s throwing the toys out or that Shearer is fumbling his first leadership test. If it does then things will get interesting.

    I actually agree with Jones’ statements on asset sales. Labour could paint itself into an a rather awkward corner if they develop an expectation that they will re-nationalise without having any realistic plan to do so.

    Comment by NeilM — December 16, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  12. Just sounds like Trevor Mallard causing more trouble tbh.

    Comment by Ant — December 16, 2011 @ 10:48 am

  13. Why stick around where you’re not wanted ?

    Labour’s lost any leadership credibility with Shearer in charge, it may as well lose economic credibility with Parker in charge of shadow finance.

    Now all it needs is to start squabling with the Greens and Winston in opposition and it’s fait accompli…

    …easy win for Key in 2014.

    Comment by pollywog — December 16, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  14. Alternative subbing for this story: Shearer rewards supporters, snubs Cunliffe.

    I have queasy feeling that Parker’s price for swinging his support behind Shearer was the Finance role.

    Comment by Deborah — December 16, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  15. Having Cosgrove ranked ahead of you would sting anyone.

    Comment by R Singers — December 16, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  16. If Cunliffe wants to seek other opportunities then maybe John Key can offer him a job. David Cunliffe could be the Government face of the pending asset sales. Just think of the television adverts.

    Comment by OECD rank 22 kiwi — December 16, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  17. who does number 2 work for

    Comment by Simon — December 16, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  18. Not putting Cunliffe in Finance is a demotion from his current sitting – either Shearer has a good reason as to why Cunliffe was underperforming there or it’s the same ol’ rewarding your caucus colleagues in spite of the interests of the party schtuff…

    Comment by garethw — December 16, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  19. Parker and Cunliffe are the only ones who are ready to do finance off the bat, and the job obv. wasn’t going to Cunliffe if Shearer won.

    But yeah, Cosgrove getting rewarding for losing a seat where he once had a 10,000 vote majority is an interesting decision.

    Comment by bradluen — December 16, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  20. We will be seeing more of this kind of ruckus over the next 6 months as the new order is bedded in but I agree, Cosgrove, why???!!!

    Comment by merv — December 16, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  21. Today, the New Broom Leader said:

    “Here’s the thing. I have never met any voter, anywhere outside this caucus, who gave a damn about the rankings in opposition. Nobody knows or cares who is at number 13 but used to be number 10. Parliamentary parties in democracies around the world get along just fine not bothering with such nonsense. Maybe it matters in government, but right now, who cares what job you’re NOT doing? It matters to a handful of insiders, and is irrelevant to everyone else, and THAT great chasm between our perspectives is exactly why party political engagement is in decline, and the public despise their own parliament.”

    Well, of course he hasn’t said anything of the sort, because if he did, Trevor Mallard and Duncan Garner would faint, and some fool would revive them. But an outburst of Outsider honesty is exactly what Labour needs.

    Comment by sammy — December 16, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  22. In the New Zealand Labour Party David Shearer is Joseph Stalin and David Cunliffe is Leon Trotsky. David Cunliffe has a metaphorical date with an ice axe.

    Comment by OECD rank 22 kiwi — December 16, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  23. Shearer just needs to pull Cunliffe aside and tell him: “I’M running this show now.”

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — December 16, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  24. That’ll make his ears burn

    Comment by insider — December 16, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  25. Dude, that has to be some form of Godwin.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 16, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  26. On a lighter note, Garth George finds something onimous!

    Comment by Gregor W — December 16, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  27. This country gains nothing from having the likes of Cunliffe in parliament.

    An arrogant elitist member of the far left Labour party Nomenklatura.

    If he goes it will be good.

    Comment by Redbaiter — December 16, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  28. This isn’t a happy start to Shearer’s administration. He could be a great leader, and Grant Robertson could also be a formidable Deputy – but right now, Cunliffe is Labour’s most capable MP by a pretty huge margin.

    Darn, Shearer was just starting to grow on me.

    Comment by questlovenz — December 16, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  29. Jones? Cosgrave? Dyson? Street? Admittedly, Labour’s pool of available talent in parliament is deplorably shallow, but those are hardly the faces of the renewal we’ve been promised. Whatever you think of Cunliffe, he’s more talented and dynamic than the whole proposed front bench put together (Parker and Robertson excepted).

    Comment by rj — December 16, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

  30. now, if Shearer can broker a merger with the Greens then that’s a fucking renewal. Watch this space

    Comment by will — December 16, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

  31. wow didn’t that bring all the RWNJs out to play.

    Yep- so who offered who what in order to get votes? and then said they hadn’t?

    Are the MPs allowed to take the vote again with knowing who the guy wants for his Chief of Staff and the proposed top ten he wants?

    Comment by sheesh — December 16, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

  32. Without Cunliffe Labour is toothless, declawed,desexed, and irrelevant.

    Cunliffe has to be on the front bench, as does Mahuta.

    Ranking is irrelevant.

    Effectiveness is very relevant.

    No Cunliffe and we are back to the Rowling years.

    Frankly I think it is a media “beat up”.

    The media will say anything to sell advertising space as they interview their latte.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — December 16, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  33. I’m calling utter bullshit. Here’s how the convo went:

    Journo: What are you going to do now, David [C]?
    David C: Well, I’m not ruling anything out, I’m weighing up all my options.
    Journo: Does that mean you’re thinking of quitting Parliament?
    David C: Dude, I said: I’m not ruling anything out.
    Journo: So you MIGHT quit Parliament? And you’re not ruling out shaving your head and tattooing Helen Clark’s signature on it? Or what about throwing kittens in a blender?
    David C: Mate, I’m not going to play this game where you keep throwing options at me to trick me into saying what I’m going to do. I’m not going to rule anything out, because I’m weighing up all the options.

    *Journo returns to office, editor puts the kibosh on CUNLIFFE CONFESSES KITTEN MURDER FANTASIES headline, writes bullshit about him totally considering quitting Parliament instead*

    Comment by QoT — December 16, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  34. I remember the fisrt time I ever heard of Hitchens. It was a bbc interview shortly after 9/11 that also featured Fisk (first time I’d ever heard of him as well).

    I agreed with Hitchens. Funny thing life and politics.

    Comment by NeilM — December 16, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  35. Not only is Cunliffe Labour’s best MP by an extremely large margin, he’s also the only Labour MP who is actually a decent human being.

    And that is why Labour is unelectable.

    Comment by Uncle Hulun — December 19, 2011 @ 1:22 am

  36. LOL, seriously.

    Comment by merv — December 19, 2011 @ 8:13 am

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