The Dim-Post

November 18, 2012

Labour leadership open thread

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:39 am

Interesting times at the Labour Party conference. I’d be keen to hear from those who are there – put your take on things in the comments and I’ll aggregate salient points into a post.

My take on this is that it’s been in the pipeline for a while. The Labour members I talk to have been really unhappy with the Parliamentary wing of the party for a long time. Generally speaking, they see it as being dominated by under-performing – or non-performing – list MPs, or electorate MPs in formerly safe-seats who are now letting those seats slip away. These people should have retired years ago, but they have no career prospects outside Parliament, and the power structure and leadership choices of the party have been about maintaining the salaries of these MPs, rather than winning elections. And once Shearer became leader – against the wishes of the members – he made the fatal error of pivoting to the right with stunts like the Dole-Fiddler-on-the-Roof speech without ever gaining the trust or support of Labour’s rank and file.

Obviously Cunliffe and his own ambitions play a huge role here. But Cunliffe is merely the one who identified the discontent within his own party and spoke to it effectively. If it wasn’t him it would have been someone else.


  1. The Robertson led campaign to get shearer to stand down over the last two weeks was a waste if time.
    Cunliffe will be in by Easter but the new rules could see him facing a weekly challenge FOREVER.
    Fantastic result. For National.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — November 18, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  2. Long story short, if anybody actually thinks David Shearer can beat John Key in the debates and win the next election, well I’ve got a bridge to sell you – this is the main thing, in my opinion (as a non-voting delegate.) The rest of it all adds up, but it’s really down to not wanting to inflict another term of National on the country by being too kind of put the next Bill Rowling out of his misery. The media and concern trolls will go on about how it isn’t very nice to that poor man/oh no the ‘factions’ in Labour/the unions!!! but in a years time nobody is going to care, anybody who thinks otherwise I feel is too involved in politics to have a neutral view. Cunliffe will be the next Prime Minister (big prediction for early on a Sunday morning I guess) because he looks confident and like a leader, instead of like a bit of a bumbling mess who will repeat that ‘show us the money’ situation from the debate in Christchurch against key every single time he goes up against him.

    Also the (Young) Nats are going to go blue in the face screaming about how he’s FROM HERNE BAY/ARROGANT/IF YOU PUT A ‘T’ IN HIS NAME IT MAKES A NAUGHTY WORD HAHA but unless you read and comment on Kiwiblog or Whaleoil daily it’s going to fall flat as it’s puerile.

    Comment by Hobbes — November 18, 2012 @ 9:10 am

  3. The reporting on this is just bizarre. Labour’s members vote to change the way things work. Which turns into Machiavellian plot by Cunliffe to seize power from an embattled Shearer. It must be incredibly Machiavellian because there’s no evidence for it at all.
    What has happened, at the factual level is:

    -Labour has become more democratic, something they promised they would do
    -Shearer year has seen the polls move to the point if an election were held today, he could be PM, if Winston Peters let him.
    -He has the confidence of his team, even under the new lowered threshold.
    -This includes the confidence of Cunliffe

    Comment by Ben Wilson — November 18, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  4. Also I’m guessing the amount of hand-wringing and concern trolling from the likes of Armstrong, O’Sullivan, right-wing blogs and blog commentators who claim to be ‘in the know’, ‘word on the street is …./……/…. is plotting a coup!’ (e.g the above comment) over the next couple of weeks is going to be pretty bad. I don’t really think people care though – and when Key and the Nats start attacking him in Parliament by reading out screeds their assistants have prepared for them by reading the Kiwiblog comments section I think it’ll backfire, a lot of their Parliamentary behavior is weird and off-putting, it won’t be a good look on television. Guess I’m an optimist though

    Comment by Hobbes — November 18, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  5. Sorry, above as in #1, not Ben

    Comment by Hobbes — November 18, 2012 @ 9:19 am

  6. My issue with the parliamentary wing of the Labour Party is two-fold:
    1. There’s a lot of deadwood in there that needed to move on a long, long time ago. There are veterans like Phil Goff that can still deliver every now and then, but then, you have people like Trevor Mallard, who has been there for donkey’s years and has contributed nothing of value for quite some time. Whenever he does something, it’s often to the detriment of the party.
    2. MPs like Mahuta really need to sort their shit out. Parata has been a walking PR disaster for the government and their education portfolio and as spokesperson for education, she should be front-and-centre in eviscerating her. Where the hell is she? The thing is, the same can be said about a lot of the other MPs.
    3. I can see why Shearer was elected leader, but his biggest weakness is that he’s an absolutely garbage public speaker, which makes him seem like an inarticulate mess who is well out of his depth.

    Comment by Vagabundo — November 18, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  7. The Greens membership take a binding vote on the leadership every year. Look how destabilising that is. A move towards something like this was inevitable, even if it didn’t happen in this context. The context gave those mobilising for change more power, and made it easier.

    However, if you’re visiting from Planet (insert excitement-seeking journalist here) then you’re going to see nothing but plots, revolutions, and dark machinations. The rest of New Zealand, who thinks that the aforementioned are well informed and intelligent analysts, set their perceptions following being told what to think.

    Comment by George D — November 18, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  8. To my way of thinking, I’m waiting for the reshuffle. That will tell me if Shearer is up for it.

    Comment by Stephen Doyle — November 18, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  9. I’ll vote for Shearer or Robertson. Won’t vote for Parker because he’s a dark horse. Won’t vote for Cunliffe because he’s a prick.

    Comment by Dan — November 18, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  10. If Cunliffe does roll Shearer next year, he could simply take a leaf out of Helen’s book. When Helen rolled Mike Moore after the 1993 election, things were still raw, but she did put the bitterness to rest by appointing him Foreign Affairs spokesman.

    In Cunliffe’s case, Shearer would be ideal for Housing and Foreign Affairs or Defence.

    Comment by deepred — November 18, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  11. But a bit bland for Shearer. I know it might seem like he’s the King of Blandness, but he just wants to help people as much as possible. He’s limited in what he can do if he accepts cumliffe’s token gesture.

    Comment by Dan — November 18, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  12. Dan at 11, deepred at 10 got it right.

    Dan at 9, very insightful and edifying opinion. Thanks.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — November 18, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  13. lol

    Comment by Dan — November 18, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  14. May I just take this opportunity to point out that Cunliffe increasingly resembles Mockus?

    Comment by **** — November 19, 2012 @ 8:50 am

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