The Dim-Post

June 18, 2014

And that’s how it’s done

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:42 pm

Under ordinary circumstances the revelation that David Cunliffe wrote a letter of advocacy for Donghua Liu wouldn’t amount to much. Cunliffe didn’t do anything wrong and he wrote the letter eleven years ago.

These aren’t ordinary circumstances though. The unfolding story of Liu’s donation has almost certainly been managed by the PM’s office and they’ve earned their paychecks this week and set David Cunliffe up something awful. He was given the opportunity to deny ever having contact with Liu and stupidly took it, at which point a document proving that he did was immediately released.

We’re going to hear a lot about how this proves Cunliffe is ‘tricky’ because that’s National’s talking point. I think it’s a bit worse than that: it proves Cunliffe is a gullible sucker. He blundered his way into a classic media trap in which he denies a small story and the denial is then proved false which becomes a major story because it directly attacks the politician’s credibility. Aspiring Prime Ministers are supposed to be a bit more savvy.

Back when Shane Jones resigned as an MP I wrote that St Jonesy was likely to leak as much damaging information about Labour as he could to his new employers, the New Zealand National Party. My guess is that this is partly his handiwork. Previous highly damaging leaks from within Labour were attributed to a ‘Labour caucus source’, but the Herald’s first story about Liu and Labour was attributed to a ‘Labour Party source’ suggesting a change in status. All the PM’s office needed to know was that Liu had dealings with Labour, then they could go digging and they hit gold.

Will Cunliffe resign or get rolled by his caucus? I’m guessing no. Do I want him to? Honestly I don’t really care. Labour has seemed like a broken, dying party for almost as long as I’ve been interested in politics, so the fluctuating identity of the leader just doesn’t seem that important.


  1. To be fair, in his letter he refers repeatedly to his constituent as Mr Lui. Yesterday he was asked about Mr Liu. He could argue name confusion.

    Overll though it is getting harder and harder to give a shit.

    Comment by PPCM — June 18, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

  2. this is bad for a number of people, including Phil Goff

    Comment by kahikatea — June 18, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

  3. PPCM. Because they all look the same?
    He will try and bluff this one out. Tomorrow will probably see an even bigger problem revealed.
    You can reef this back to his caucus, mike williams using the word HONESTLY when asked at the weekend, a couple of ex MP’s and Helen granting permission for Robertson to pull the trigger.
    Cunliffe will take labour below 25% or be gone within a week.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 18, 2014 @ 2:11 pm

  4. So the ABCs have done the dirty on Cunliffe in cahoots with the National party? That Jones and his mates in Labour would rather take common cause with Key and English than work for a victory? I predict a whole pile of senior MPs are going to be expelled from the party.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 18, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

  5. Why would National want to trip Cunliffe? He is polling worse than the two previous no hopers. You can look in house for the blame on this one.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 18, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

  6. @Barnsley BIll – I saw you prophesised this development in an earlier thread. I’ll have to believe you when you say there’s more.
    Looks like a well executed death by a thousand cuts.
    Utu huh?

    Comment by yabby — June 18, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

  7. Liu was Shane Jones’ mess, and then Maurice Williamson’s.

    They will have been looking for a way to get their back on Cunliffe, and they’ve found it.

    Comment by George — June 18, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

  8. Well done, kahikatea. It always surprises and delights me how people are able to keep that alive and fresh.

    Comment by J Mex — June 18, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

  9. You can reef this back to his caucus

    Yeah, it’s all within Labour. That’s why WhaleOil and his lickspittles know all about it.

    Comment by danylmc — June 18, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

  10. “…That’s why WhaleOil and his lickspittles know all about it…”

    Are you counting DPF as a mere lickspittle of Slater now? He won’t like that.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 18, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

  11. danylmc, It is drawing a long bow to suggest that only highly developed conspiracies get fed to Cam Slater and that the Nats are his only source. If you really believe what you are saying as a very weak smokescreen, I have a big bunch of tinfoil I can let you have at a bargain basement price

    Comment by DavidW — June 18, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

  12. The National Party is devoid of ethics when it comes to finding any misdeeds of other parties. Too bad it doesn’t do the same for itself when it come to shonky donations to itself.

    Comment by A M Thom — June 18, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

  13. Seriously Danyl – blaming National is quite humorous.

    Cunliffe and his faux pas have been manna from heaven for them.

    This is an inside job, out of Wellington. Its all about who benefits. National don’t – not in the least. If Cunliffe is rolled there is a possibility given the closeness of the block votes that Labour could rally – its slim but its better than the current odds i reckon for the List MP’s who face losing their jobs.

    This is typically left wing internecine warfare, served cold and when the window of opportunity for the caucus to roll him has just started to open. Its been coming for a couple of weeks since the article raising the 90 days from election rule popped up in the papers for no good reason.

    A divided house can not stand. Labour have dug their own ditch and now they are trying to knife their current lead in that ditch and push the dirt back in….

    Oh – and Hi G Dub, get back to work….

    Comment by dave_1924 — June 18, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

  14. Lickspittle.. Blimey that is a bit harsh.
    Give Shearer a call and ask him what he is doing with his notebook and calculator right now.
    Not every foul deed originates outside the righteous purity of the left Danyl.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 18, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

  15. “Labour has seemed like a broken, dying party for almost as long as I’ve been interested in politics”

    Still hoping for a Green PM, eh Danyl?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 18, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

  16. Just as likely it came from Liu who has been slapped around by Labour and saw the hypocrisy. I think the Rick Barker tour of Central China on his holiday looks shocking considering the attacks on Collins and given the attacks on Banks the non disclosure of donations is a huge own goal too.

    Comment by David — June 18, 2014 @ 4:15 pm

  17. Who else was on the china trip. And the outrageously expensive boat trip? who paid for it all and what did the payer get in return?

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 18, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

  18. dave-1924 – “A divided house can not stand.” – i think thats the rationale for suggesting the nats are behind this coming to light. It definately makes labour look divided and unorganised.

    its a toofer – makes cunliffe look shifty, makes the labour party look fractured

    But once you find out whats in the letter and the fact that cunliffe quite likely never even wrote or read the thing in the first place it really is smearing a mountain out of a molehill……….
    Except for the fact that labour and especially cunliffe should expect this sort of attack, regardless of source, and as danyl points out have played right into their detractors hands… again.

    im picking jones and his new employers the national party. For three reasons -1) the second jones left it all went very quiet, 2) keys somewhat transparent threats re: whats in his top drawer and 3) the fact that the wildly exaggerated and context free beat up is a favourite national tactic that gets run through whaleboil and DPF on a regular basis.

    If this was the ABCers i would expect a far clumsier delivery with much slower media pick up – shit, john armstrong only took something like 1 minute to hear about this and then write up his entire column (according to claims about the timeline)

    Comment by framu — June 18, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

  19. Who in Labours recent past is a master at running these types of hit jobs?

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 18, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

  20. @Feamu – maybe… But the key point in your post for me is “Except for the fact that labour and especially cunliffe should expect this sort of attack, regardless of source, and as danyl points out have played right into their detractors hands… again.”

    the very reason he is a struggle to see as PM. Clark had it, Bolger had it, Key has it. The ability to manage the political process. Cunnliffe nad his staff are just inept.

    And I think the dark arts department of the ABC faction are well able to deliver this. Done a pretty good job on Collins.

    And Barnsley Bills hint is interesting. Does that put some meaning on the picture of H2 and Eagleson together Bill? A joint op by Labour and National?

    its all good viewing who ever is behind it though it doesn’t make the political process any more palatable to anyone but political junkies….

    Comment by dave_1924 — June 18, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

  21. “…shit, john armstrong only took something like 1 minute to hear about this and then write up his entire column…”

    The anatomy of a government smear, fed through the two lickspittle blogs and amplified by lazy and compliant journalists all to willing to be complicit in the plot.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 18, 2014 @ 5:01 pm

  22. I disagree that it’s simply a matter of political competence. Rather, it’s political performance. As in Hollywood, “fake sincerity and you’ve got it made”.

    Key is a serial fibber and forgetter. But when caught out he acts (sic) the genial doofus – and it’s a very good act. People (swing voters, non-political casual observers) want to believe him. Damn it, I almost like the guy sometimes, even when he tells us black is white and when shown a photo of black being black, says “Yeah, look, there are lots of photos, I could show you another one, whatevs …”

    Cunliffe speaks and acts like a guy who is certain of what he is saying, and he wants you to know it. So we like him less.

    Who was more popular at school, the class clown or class know-all? Being right and wrong about the facts has little to do with being liked, I’m afraid.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — June 18, 2014 @ 6:04 pm

  23. sammy 2.0: so not unlike the differences between Dubya and Al Gore/John Kerry?

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — June 18, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

  24. Who in Labours recent past is a master at running these types of hit jobs?

    Mike Williams and/or Heather Simpson and/or Chris Carter.

    Looks like Helen Clark had a lot to discuss with John Key yesterday.

    Comment by Nick K — June 18, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

  25. “Labour has seemed like a broken, dying party for almost as long as I’ve been interested in politics…”

    Really? How recent is your interest in politics, Danyl? I’m assuming it must have arisen in – at the outside – the last ten years or so.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — June 19, 2014 @ 3:25 am

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