Grant Robertson

Robertson/Vance hit #2

via Getty Images

via Getty Images

Once you know what to look for…   Andrea Vance delivers another hit for Team Robertson:

Those who know the couple say Price was as invested in Cunliffe’s political success as he was. She was said to be heavily involved in his campaign last year to be leader.

Many of her anonymous comments as @tarnbabe67 echo those made publicly by her husband: about “backroom” caucus deals; emphasising a party “code” of ethics for leadership contenders; and that the previous primary contest was “good” for the party. Read more »

Mrs Cunliffe (aka Karen Price, aka TarnBabe67) outs Andrea Vance as Robertson’s media poodle

Credit: Fairfax

Credit: Fairfax

In the excitement that was TarnBabe67 yesterday, one of the more interesting side-issues has almost gone without mention.  The fact that Andrea Vance has been tagged as anti-Cunliffe, pro-Robertson, and that she and Robertson have been doing hit jobs together on David.

Ms Price is reportedly known by the nickname “Tarn”, which is apparently what alerted Labour Party members to the Twitter users true identity, Fairfax reported.

Mr Cunliffe’s office told Fairfax last night: “My understanding is that it was started by a family member who wanted to defend me at a stressful time. The Twitter account was activated in September 26 and has been closed down.”

Ms Price also targeted Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance through the Twitter account after she wrote a column that was critical of Mr Cunliffe.

Responding to a tweet which said the column “sums everything up extremely well”, Ms Price tweeted: “No it sums up Andrea Vance very well. She’s unidimensional and unbalanced. Grant’s been feeding her for years.” Read more »

Labour’s issues, comparing rebuilds, 2002 vs 2014

Liam Hehir writes at the Manawatu Standard about the pressing issues facing Labour as they seek to attempt to rebuild after Cunliffe’s disastrous campaign.

And, of course, there was National’s 2002 catastrophe. It is hard to believe that the party now straddling the political centre like the Colossus of Rhodes received just 20.93 per cent of the vote that year. How has it managed to claw back its status as the natural party of government?

First, National eliminated its competition on the Right. Under Don Brash, National gobbled up almost the whole conservative vote, reducing ACT and UnitedFuture to the lifeless husks they are today. NZ First also barely survived this process as about half of its traditionalist voters defected back to National.

While that restored National’s formidability, the 2005 election proved that it wasn’t quite enough to carve out a workable majority. It then fell to the pragmatic and non-ideological John Key to seize back the centre ground. His ability to do this – bringing both conservative and centrist voters with him – has proved essential to his success as a popular leader.

At the same time, National relentlessly modernised and adapted on an organisational level. Party headquarters provides constant information and co-ordination to candidates and exercises effective quality control over campaigns. No National candidate would have been permitted to neglect the party vote as Labour candidates have in the past two elections.

Read more »

Labour face Clayton’s leadership choice

Claire Trevett is onto it.  The Labour leadership race is between two unpalatable candidates

Some MPs are casting about for an Option C in Labour’s leadership contest because of concerns about David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson – but there is little consensus on who that could be.

Mr Cunliffe formally resigned as leader yesterday, triggering a leadership contest which is expected to be held in November.

So far only Mr Cunliffe and Mr Robertson have put their hands up for the job – but a number of MPs have reservations about both and are talking about whether a third person should contest it.

Former leader David Shearer returned from New York yesterday and is expected to make a decision soon about whether he will seek the leadership.

But many in caucus are concerned about his ability to perform on camera.

Other names mentioned included Andrew Little and David Parker.

Labour should stop trying to run before it can walk.  It needs to elect a leader that can manage the party through the current crisis, and who will then willingly step down for a leader that is going to resonate with the voters.   Robertson and Cunliffe are neither crisis managers nor are they vote winners.   They need “Option C”   Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Cunliffe’s wife writes new chapter for dirty politics

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Generally political spouses do not enter the fray. There is an unwritten rule not to go after families.

That of course changes when the families go after you.

Then the gloves come off.

As I predicted the Labour leadership spill has got real nasty, and now Karen Price, Mrs Cunliffe for those who don’t know, has entered the political fray jumping on Twitter to abuse those who oppose her husband.

The distraught wife of Labour leadership contender David Cunliffe is behind a Twitter account that anonymously took aim at his rivals and critics.

Karen Price, a high-flying environmental lawyer, is understood to have started the @TarnBabe67 account on Saturday, the day Cunliffe indicated he would resign as Labour leader.

The account first attacked a newspaper for running candid pictures of the New Lynn MP, and went on to criticise others in the media. But the worst barbs were saved for those said to be in the “Anyone But Cunliffe” leadership faction, naming his rival Grant Robertson and MPs Trevor Mallard and Clayton Cosgrove.   Read more »

The unacceptability of David Cunliffe

After David Cunliffe bizarrely compared himself to Helen Clark and Norman Kirk we are going to see a demonisation of David Cunliffe much like the attacks on Kevin Rudd by pro-Gillard forces in Australia like Stephen Conroy, Stephen Smith and Wayne Swan.

We have already seen this with the Ilam candidate, James Dann, damning Cunliffe in an open letter.

It will be systematic, and it will be nasty. His reputation will be trashed by his own team, making him completely unacceptable for the membership to foist him upon the caucus. The caucus knows that they can’t command the membership, but they can make Cunliffe so unpalatable that the unions will act.

The problem is caucus too is highly factionalised. Clayton Cosgrove has been acting the bully-boy strong arming other candidates to stand aside and promote Grant Robertson. The problem is Clayton Cosgrove is so thoroughly discredited after running a candidate campaign in Waimakiriri, one that failed and also delivered up an appalling party vote result. He is despised as a result, even by those on the right of the Labour caucus. But caucus has to block vote now to send a message to the membership that they cannot countenance a dud leader like David Cunliffe. They need to effectively veto Cunliffe but that won’t work.

It won’t work because the membership is feral left. That membership believes that David Cunliffe is a martyr and that he was set up to fail by the caucus…a caucus of centrist traitors to the socialist cause. The only thing that unites caucus right now is their mutual loathing of David Cunliffe.

The hard left of the party, stocked now with old Alliance war-horses, are more interested in being pure rather than being in power. They are septic that their mates like Carol Beaumont got rinsed and are on the outside. Beaumont is so thoroughly disliked that when asked to provide her with a job, Helen Kelly refused out-right. Of course it is the same hard-left that was pulling strings inside Labour for them to tank Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau. They loathe candidates like him and Stuart Nash. They believe in a puritanical socialism, where people like Nash and Davis are actually closet tories and should actually be run from the party rather than emulated for their electoral success.   Read more »

Susan Wood on Labour’s leadership farce

Susan Wood doesn’t hold back with her thoughts on Labour’s leadership farce.

I’ve been thinking about leadership – real leadership and what it means.

I think this quote from a Harvard university professor sums it up. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence. And making it last in your absence”

That gets me to our political leadership and soon to be former Labour leader David Cunliffe. I have no doubt he is an intelligent man, a well-intentioned man. But he has failed as a leader. The voters rejected him and his own caucus turned on him. The men and women he is leading have not become better because of his leadership and his absence has left a gaping hole of indecision and infighting.

The election defeat was of course not all his fault, no more than the National victory was all John Key’s work. But a great deal of it was.

Yes indeed, and his failure to be accountable has annoyed a great many members.

Since election night Cunliffe has barely put a foot right. The bizarre election night speech, a failure to take responsibility then a belated acceptance of sorts, dragging his decision out for a week before standing aside only to stand again which will lead to a protracted public blood letting.    Read more »

The fight is getting nasty, buy more popcorn

As the nasty knife fight inside Labour gets underway we can see that David Cunliffe is still at sixes and sevens.

Last night on Campbell Live he had this to say:

David Cunliffe: The reality is National has never gone out in two terms; that it’s very rare for a government to go out on [a] % growth rate, and it’s very, very hard when you’ve got distractions like Kim Dotcom

John Campbell: The 4% growth rate was predicted. It was very much in Treasury’s books when you made that speech 12 months ago . You promised Labour you could do it. You got 24%.

DC: 24.7% … Nobody is saying this is good enough … the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who needed a fresh start were disappointed by it.

JC: Why didn’t they vote for you?

DC: That’s the subject of a review.

JC: Hold on a sec. You are a leader, and you are a bright man. Why didn’t they vote for you?

DC: I think at the end of the day, people wanted stability. They wanted prosperity. They saw the current government, for now, delivering that for them, and they weren’t prepared to take what they saw as some kind of risk for a change.

Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin