David Cunliffe

Brian Edwards on Labour’s leadership struggle

My good friend Brian Edwards gives his 10 cents worth on Labour’s leadership struggle.

It would have been nice if the Labour Party caucus had just been able to get together and pick a new leader, following the departure of David Cunliffe. That would have been the tidy way of doing things – a secret ballot, no dirty laundry washed in public, no protracted taking of soundings from all and sundry, no overt competition between the aspirants.

Let’s not do that then! Too sensible. Too easy. Too quick. Too like the way the National Party does things. And look where that got them.

So when the unions and the membership and the caucus have been consulted and weighed up the respective merits of the four contenders, there’ll be a new leader ready to take on John Key and the Nats.

Not an easy job when three out of four New Zealand voters just made it crystal  clear that they didn’t want a bar of you. And even less easy when you’ve just made it plain as a pikestaff to the electorate that no-one in your caucus stands out as the obvious, unchallengeable, next leader of the party. And certainly not Nanaia Mahuta, Andrew Little, Grant Robertson or David Parker.

Uh oh…all is not right in the Edwards household…perhaps the luncheon sausage ran out.

It’s not that they’re unintelligent or palpably untrustworthy or – as far as we know – have deep dark secrets waiting to emerge from the abyss like Kafka’s beetle. No, it’s just that three of them are dull and the fourth is interesting for the wrong reason.

No X-factor, no pizzazz, no charisma, no capacity to generate excitement. Oh for a Kirk, a Lange, a Clark. Good lord, even Geoffrey Palmer could play the trumpet!

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Why is it Kiwiblog has the best posts when Farrar is away?

Lifestyle, arts and travel blogger David Farrar is away again.

Kiwiblog has again reverted to a blog of David’s mid-life crisis and travels.

Not content with his own travel blogging, he also now has guest travel blog posts.

However he does have a guest post from Kiwi in America that is very good. Why is it Kiwiblog’s best posts are while he is away?

Regular readers of Kiwiblog will recall my lengthy essay posted on Easter Friday about the recent history of Labour; some of it based on my time as an activist there until the mid 90’s attempting to explain Labour’s present day conundrum.

In a nutshell it said that an attempt by the left of the party to seize permanent control of Labour after the massive post Rogernomics ructions under the leadership of Helen Clark, led to a gradual purging of activists from the centrist and right wings of the party. Clark, and her followers in the Head Office and regional hierarchies, ensured the selection of candidates in winnable electorate seats (and after the introduction of MMP, also the party list) that not only ensured she could topple then leader Mike Moore after the 1993 election but also cemented her power base inside Labour guaranteeing her an unchallenged 15 year reign as Labour’s leader. This handed power in the party to an increasingly narrow base of sector and interest groups such as academics, trade unions, progressive feminists and the rainbow coalition gradually driving out activists who were more likely to be white, male, socially conservative, small business owners and church going people of faith. After Labour’s 2008 election defeat, former members of the harder left New Labour Party, homeless after the dissolution of the Alliance, the demise of Anderton’s Progressives and the rise of the Greens, began to come back to Labour assisting in the movement of the party more to the left.

This trend culminated in the amendment to Labour’s Constitution at its 2012 Annual Conference giving 40% of the vote for Party Leader to the party membership and 20% to the affiliated unions leaving only 40% in the hands of the Parliamentary caucus. This new formula enabled David Cunliffe to win the first full leadership primary in 2013 despite having only minority support in caucus – the first time this had ever happened in Labour’s history. The result of his elevation to the leadership was Labour’s third successive and even more disastrous defeat.

When you drive out of the party its more centrist activists, you leave a vacuum that has been filled by harder left activists. When these same activists, alongside the more traditionally left wing trade union leadership, have control of the party’s candidate selections, its policy formation and now the election of its leader, over time you end up with a party, candidates and policies that no longer appeal to middle NZ and a party that is no longer the broad church it used to be. The party may be truer to its left wing principles but it now produces candidates, policies and campaigning rhetoric out of step with the aspirations of floating middle NZ voters that decide elections. National’s moderate centrist direction under John Key has become the natural repository for various key demographic groups that once used to strongly vote Labour and accordingly, Labour has ended up falling further behind National in each subsequent election post its 2008 defeat culminating in its second lowest vote this election since its formation in 1916!

Labour is now undertaking yet another review of why it was defeated and another likely more bruising leadership primary.

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Just go now you fool

David Cunliffe continues to fail the no dickheads rule.

Labour’s former leader David Cunliffe says he will never run to be leader again and has not decided whether he will stand for Parliament in 2017.

Mr Cunliffe told the Herald that speculation he had not completely given up on his leadership ambitions despite pulling out of the leadership contest was misplaced. “I’m out. Otherwise I would still be running. I’m not running, I have no intention of ever being leader again. I’m out.”

While he intended to stay in Parliament this term, he was yet to decide whether to stand again in 2017.   Read more »

Circus? More like a party of clowns

Labour's leadership contest has become a Carnival of CLowns

Labour’s leadership contest has become a Carnival of Clowns

Vernon Small chokes down a bite of dead rat and writes about the state of his beloved Labour party that in his mind at least has become like a circus.

By rights the political debate should be focused on the Government’s handling of two things.

How does it meet its self- imposed need to do something alongside traditional allies and friends in Iraq and Syria without getting too deeply embroiled in the war against Islamic State?

And how will John Key make a dent in the number of children in poverty, given the Government’s pre-eminent focus on work as the best route out of poverty?

That begs the obvious question: what about the large number of working poor? And how out of tune was Bill English with his view that planning laws and local government rules were the main cause of poverty because they drive up house prices?

But then along came Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Shearer and the whole Labour three-ringed circus to demand its place in the limelight.

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Andrew Little’s New Plymouth problem

Given the lack of talent for Labour’s leadership spill, Andrew Little looks like a good safe bet.

But there is a problem, and that is his less than stellar performances in New Plymouth.

Phil Quin explains;

There’s a lot of smart money going on Andrew Little’s bid to lead the Labour Party, but the numbers in New Plymouth don’t lie. So what are they saying?

There’s a lot of talk about “listening” in Labour circles these days. Announcing his bid for the party leadership, list MP Andrew Little named as his top priority “getting the process underway to listen to the voters who have abandoned us”. Grant Robertson agrees, telling reporters last week “as we emerge from our heavy election defeat, we must now take the opportunity to listen”.

I suspect Little and Robertson have in mind some version of a “Labour Listens” tour (as Neil Kinnock did in Britain in 1997 and Gordon Brown did in 2010), a series of carefully staged outreach events involving a great deal of ostentatious nodding and taking of things on board. This is all well and good, and may even help in the long run, but there’s no reason to wait for a bus trip to start the process.

New Zealanders have said a great deal already, and in the most unequivocal terms imaginable: they have voted.

As it turns out, electors in New Plymouth haven’t left much to the imagination when it comes to Little. Labour’s performance in the seat since he became the party’s local standard bearer has been disastrous. It seems worth analysing Little’s record in light of David Cunliffe’s endorsement, not to mention his own acknowledgement that the next party leader will need to arrest the party’s decline by rebuilding the party and reconnecting with voters. “We don’t have a choice,” Little told Lisa Owen on The Nation last weekend, “We’ve lost three elections in a row. Our vote has been going down. We’re down to 32 MPs. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel”.

He should know. In the two elections since Little became Labour’s candidate in New Plymouth, National’s party vote margin in the electorate has more than doubled from 6,600 to 13,000 votes. After a 5.8 percent two-party swing from Labour to National in 2011, there was a further 6.3 percent swing in New Plymouth this year – roughly three times worse than the nationwide average. As the electorate candidate, Little also attracted 6,500 fewer electorate votes than in 2008 when the previous Labour member, Harry Duynhoven, lost the seat. After three years of resources and profile as a list MP based partly in New Plymouth, Little managed a 7.8 percent swing against him on the electorate vote this year, to compound the 6.7 percent he suffered in 2011.  Read more »

An interesting perspective on Martyn Martin Bradbury and the looney left

I actually don’t care too much about what those on the left say or don’t say about me. Mostly their blogs are the sound of one hand clapping.

However they do have an audience, albeit a shrinking one.

I generally can’t be bothered analysing Martyn Martin Bradbury, mostly because he is just wrong. But others have done that and I think this is one of the better posts about him.

It is called the Daily Poison.

In recent history according to Martyn Bradbury, the Labour Party failed to win the election because the Party was disloyal to David Cunliffe and too far to the right. Those “Neo-Libs” sleeping under the deck, who want to pander to middle “Nu Zillind” are to be the death of the party.

In saying this Bomber not only insults the intelligence of those in the centre, and the intelligence of those to his right, who include Joseph Stalin and Helen [sic] Kelly, he also embodies everything that is poisonous within the Labour Party and the politics that has failed to win the past three elections.

Cunliffe’s lack of trust in those around him came from his inability to lead effectively, which in my view, resulted from his being elected against the wishes of the caucus team that he was to lead.

The lack of loyalty he received is a simple consequence in the lack of loyalty Cunliffe showed to his predecessor’s, Phil Goff and David Shearer.

My mum always told me that you should treat others as you would like to be treated yourself, and, possibly more apt in Cunliffe’s situation, you reap what you sow. Wise lady, my mum.

In constantly planting the seeds of disloyalty prior to taking on the leadership David Cunliffe was doomed by his own hand and now that he has pulled out of the race to be leader, he should pull his head out of his backside and resign from parliament.

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Labour leadership contest turns to complete farce as Mahuta puts her name in the hat

The Labour leadership debacle has turned into complete farce as Nanaia Mahuta chucks her name in the hat to be the next hapless leader of the Labour party.

Labour’s Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta will contest the Labour Leadership.

Ms Mahuta is expected to announce her candidacy shortly.

Ms Mahuta’s announcement brings the number of contenders to replace David Cunliffe to four with former Deputy leader David Parker, Andrew Little and Grant Robertson also in the running.

Her candidacy announcement at 4.30pm comes just before the deadline of 5pm.

She was one of the two MPs – the other being William Sio – to stand by former leader David Cunliffe yesterday when he announced he was withdrawing from the contest.

Oh dear lord, the work shy Maori princess who took much of last year off to care for her baby, and asked her party for even more leave, is now applying for one of the toughest jobs in NZ, let alone in politics.

Is her theme music for the contest going to be Dueling Banjos.

The Labour party is a joke, populated by fools and clowns

 

– NZ Herald

 

The incredibly wonky, topsy, turvy world of Greg Presland

David Cunliffe acolyte, trustee and launderer of donation cash through Cunliffe’s secret trust, flea lawyer and blogger at The Standard is going full retard this morning.

Now that his messiah is nothing but a stinking, rotting, political corpse he is unleashing on the enemies of the left.

Suddenly I have some more independence.  Instead of people thinking I am some sort of mouthpiece I can just be myself and say what I think.

I would like to start with this new feeling of independence by saying to David Shearer that the thing that really drives activists wild is when our MPs say stupid things to the media that reinforce right wing narratives about the Labour Party.  Please do not do this.  If you feel the urge to do this please just be quiet.  The right will still use their framing but at least the effect will be reduced because people in our party will not be saying the same thing.

And there is Greg Presland aka Micky Savage doing what socialist and Labour people do best…threatening silence on dissent, not because the message is inherently evil but because it doesn’t fit their narrative or world view. This over-riding belief that people who have different views should be silenced is part of Labour’s problems not a solution.

And another thing, going on Paul Henry’s show and talking to him about Labour’s internal politics is not a good thing to do.  He is not a friend of the party.  He is actually a real @#&*%^&+.  He does not have the party’s best interests in mind and any Labour MP getting an invite to appear on his show should decline the opportunity.  And yes I know that David Cunliffe appeared on his show.  The things we do …

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Get out, and don’t come back

David Shearer isn’t best pleased with David Cunliffe, the man who undermined his leadership.

He has told him to quit politics and parliament altogether, a sentiment I endorse.

David Cunliffe is a vainglorious, drop kick, loser who lives in a parallel universe inside an echo chamber…he should go. His cancerous persona is eating alive Labour from the inside out.

Labour MP David Shearer has ruled out trying to get his old job back but has sent a blunt message to David Cunliffe to get out of Parliament altogether, saying as long as he was there he would be a lightning rod for speculation over the leadership.

Mr Cunliffe announced yesterday he was pulling out of the leadership contest and throwing his support behind Andrew Little instead. He will stay on as an MP and hoped to play a senior role.

Mr Shearer said last night he had decided not to put his name forward, leaving a contest between Mr Little, Grant Robertson and David Parker. Nominations for the leadership close today and the candidates will kick off the first of 14 meetings for members tomorrow.

Mr Shearer said he would have preferred it for the new leader’s sake if Mr Cunliffe had stayed in the race and lost. “I think it would have been easier for whoever wins if he had stood and lost. It would be a cleaner break for whoever takes over. His followers undermined Phil Goff and myself and I think he continues to be a presence that will make it difficult for a new leader.”

He said if Mr Cunliffe had lost this would have sent a clear message to his supporters, rather than let them have the impression he could have won if he hadn’t withdrawn. He was also disappointed with Mr Cunliffe’s decision to stay on as an MP. “It would be easier for the new leader if he decided to move on.”

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