Labour party

War footing has moved to “fight back”

David Cunliffe is a big fan of bumper sticker slogans.

When he was elected leader by his union paymasters he exclaimed that Labour was no on a “war footing”, that they were going to “take the battle to National” and he even created a “war room” which now resembles the bunker of an under siege despot.

Today however he is challenging Rocky Balboa and describing the yet to be seen revival of labour’s electoral fortunes as a “fight back”.

Labour leader David Cunliffe says he is “not making light” of recent bad polls and insists his MPs are united behind him.

A string of polls has put Labour support in the mid-20s and Cunliffe said this afternoon’s caucus meeting, postponed to allow him to get back from delivering a speech in Nelson, would have some “earnest conversations about how we can do better”.

“I am sure that the caucus will be as determined as I am that we stick to our knitting and to our core messages about jobs, homes and families, and avoid distractions,” Cunliffe said.

He scoffed at suggestions that some in his caucus were “doing the numbers” on a leadership change.

“That’s nonsense, absolute nonsense. I am confident I have the full support of my caucus.”

Cunliffe insisted Labour could win the election, now less than two months away. The party was much larger, it had done more canvassing of voters and had better organisation to turn out the vote.

“Those advantages don’t show up until the polling [voting] opens,” he said.

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City-centric Labour setting off on regional bribe charm offensive

Having lost support hand over fist in their usual urban strongholds, Labour quite incongruously turns its attention to National heartland holding a fat cheque book

Cunliffe is set to use his appearance at the Local Government New Zealand conference in Nelson to say that if elected Labour would set aside tens of millions of dollars a year for a contestable fund for regional capital projects, focusing on infrastructure development.

Today’s announcement by Cunliffe – who has been under fire over his decision to take a skiing holiday in Central Otago last week as Labour slumped in the polls – will be the latest in an attempt to promote Labour’s plan for an “economic upgrade”.

It is believed the plan will propose the setting aside of a similar amount for capital projects as National did when it announced at its conference $212 million for “regionally important state highway projects”.

It is also expected that regional development would be restored as a ministerial portfolio.

National has a dedicated fund to promote investment in irrigation, although it aims to achieve at least a modest return for the Government.

Labour’s fund would take a “triple bottom line” approach where projects allocated funds would not necessarily need to make a commercial return to the Crown, but would be justified on the basis that the Treasury coffers would be boosted long-term through higher income tax and lower welfare payments coming from increased employment.

Don’t you love it?  “Triple bottom line”.  Meaning, here’s some money, don’t worry if you actually do anything useful with it  - we won’t hold you to account if you use it to upgrade the fleet of company cars.   As brilliant as it is blatant.   Read more »

Misleading again, why can’t Cunliffe just tell the truth?

David Cunliife was taking questions yesterday at Stuff.

It was pretty hostile and the rest was filled with weasel words.

Like his addressing of the issue regarding Kiwis in Australia.

cunliffe-ama Read more »

Labour clearly a women’s party – “Sorry for being a man” makes cynical sense

It has been staring us in the face, but we haven’t really admitted it to ourselves:  Labour is primarily targeting the female demographic.  Audrey Young has the hard data

Labour’s support among men has fallen to just 23.9 per cent in the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey and leader David Cunliffe concedes it may have something to do with his “sorry for being a man” speech to a domestic violence symposium.

The party’s overall support fell from 30.5 per cent last month to 26.5 per cent this month.

Broken down into gender support, women’s support for Labour fell from 33.4 per cent last month to 29.1 per cent; and men’s support fell from 27.6 per cent last month to 23.9 per cent.

Labour has fairly consistently had greater support among women than men since Helen Clark became Prime Minister but male support has never been so low in Herald- DigiPoll records going back to 1999.

Represented by such a non-manly leader, and under the #manban gun internally, Labour continues to shed its male support in spades.   Read more »

Josie Pagani on Labour’s woes

Last night on The Cauldron, Josie Pagani elucidated precisely what it was that is costing Labour this election.

She has written a post about it and what Labour must do to arrest the sinking polls.

First, stop blaming the media.

The problem isn’t ‘right wing framing’. There isn’t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government. When you fall behind everyone airs their favourite explanation and negatives get repeated and amplified. It’s the job of politicians, not media, to inspire a change in the story.

There is also no point blaming whoever went public at the weekend to criticise David Cunliffe for going on holiday. It was poor discipline, but poor discipline is not the main reason the party is 30 points behind National.

Politics isn’t fair. Even if  the media is sometimes unfair (such as when the Herald went too far with unsubstantiated claims of undeclared donations from Donghua Liu), one of the things the public are judging is how you behave under pressure. Stop complaining.

Unfortunately for Josie the Donghua Liu donations weren’t unsubstantiated. I suspect there is more to play out on that. She is right though in the folly of blaming the media, but they just can;t help themselves.

David Cunliffe just yesterday was claiming smears and media beat ups, and his loyal mouth piece and donation launderer Greg Presland was on the Standard claiming a smear about his visit and cozy lunch with NZ’s Rolf Harris.

Stop saying the polls are close. It reminds voters that Labour aims to lead a bloc in which it might not be all that dominant and which could include the toxic Dotcom party. Tortuous explanations about the Left Bloc v the Right Bloc sound cynical, as if you don’t care about winning support of people.

Distance Labour from Dotcom. One reason for Labour’s poor polling is people just want to get rid of Dotcom and somehow he has become Labour’s problem now. Only because he is an enemy of our enemy.  Labour should only ever say of Dotcom, “he shouldn’t be in the country and National should not have let him in. We want him and his party nowhere near government.”

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Popularity deficit

Felix Marwick at NewstalkZB discusses Labour’s popularity deficit…or more particularly it is The Cunliffe’s deficit.

Deficits are something no political party likes and the problem for the Labour Party at the moment is that it has one; a popularity deficit.

Its 27 percent result at the last election was the worst result it’d had in over 80 years and, at the time it was thought the party had scraped the bottom of the barrel. The only way, it seemed, was up. But four consecutive polls since last Wednesday have had the party polling below 30 percent and it seems distinctly possible Labour could crash and burn on September 20 unless it has a major change of fortunes.

From the outside Labour’s predicament looks pretty simple. It has no discipline. Its caucus appears more focused on personal rivalries, revenge, and self interest than they do in winning the election. Nowhere has this been better illustrated than by the example of the anonymous insider that went to the Sunday papers criticising David Cunliffe for taking a holiday so close to the election.

It’s not the first time one of his rivals has made such an attack. A similar accusation was made against him by party insiders in the dying days of the ill-fated 2011 election campaign. It’s an accusation he rejected at the time.

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Mike Hosking on Cunliffe (the lights are on, but nobody’s home)

Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking is overdoing the face palming too

Is David Cunliffe incompetent or mad?

Hard to tell the difference, but I think his incompetence leads to him appearing mad.

Is he out to lunch or out of touch?

Last Thursday he was definitely out to lunch.

Is David Cunliffe deluded or living in a parallel universe?

Deluded.  No doubt.

I grant you he’s in a precarious position and you have to offer some sort of explanation each time a poll comes out that shows you bad news. But by the time he’s offered the excuses then buggered off skiing, he starts to look like a bloke who either doesn’t care or doesn’t get it or both.

To want to be a leader of a country is an all-consuming passion. You must want it so badly you can taste it. Despite what we so often say about politics and politicians, by and large the ones that get to the top are dedicated, professional, talented and know a long day when they see one.

Cunliffe’s job is not to lose wondering. Cunliffe’s job is to inspire those who support him and give them hope that September 20 won’t be a disaster. Cunliffe’s job is to lead from the front, to be the inspiration, to be the ‘go to’ figure, to give the membership the sense that anything is possible, that the race is winnable, that the path chosen is the right one. Winning breeds winning. Success breeds success. Inspiration is contagious. Cunliffe shows none of these qualities, especially when he’s not even at work. Read more »

Brian Edwards on “why John Key’s days are numbered”

And the proof of the pudding will lie where it has always lain – in the polls. And particularly in the Preferred Prime Minister poll. No party leader permanently registering under 15% in that poll, let alone dipping into single figures, can hope to enjoy the confidence of the electorate or lead their party to victory. And that has been the situation for every Labour Leader since 2008.

My dear friend Dr Brian Edwards is right of course.

More from his September 2013 piece

I hadn’t intended to do anything more on this mini-post than congratulate David [Cunliffe] and [his wife] Karen. But I’ve decided to stick my neck out and make a prediction. I predict that a Labour/Greens coalition will win the 2014 election and that David Cunliffe will be New Zealand’s next Prime Minister. Labour might even go it alone.

To think my dear friend Brian was paid to advise Helen Clark.  You have to wonder who got the better end of that deal?

Now, as it happens, I don’t think John Key is a particularly good communicator at all. 

Keep ‘em coming Brian, you’re on fire.

But  today the picture changed. John Key has some real opposition. David Cunliffe has a brilliant mind, is a brilliant speaker and debater and there is no politician to match him on the box.

Get ready for it….


Cunliffe is the game-changer.





H/T Lion_ess


Why is David Cunliffe Running a Witch Hunt?


David Cunliffe is back from his holiday in the middle of the campaign for his political survival, and rather than getting back on message with some sensible policy announcements he has spent the best part of 24 hours instituting a witch hunt.

Obviously he thinks that New Zealand cares more about who in his caucus reckons he has, in rugby terms, tits for hands, and that smoking them out will win more votes that talking about how he and his party can make New Zealand a better place. 

The problem for The Cunliffe is the senior people in the party have no respect for him.

This isn’t his first break this year, and in 2011 he had to be held down and beaten to be prevented from taking a two week holiday in the middle of the election campaign.  Read more »

Meanwhile deep in the bunker…

David Cunliffe is on the back foot.

cunliffe-buttIf you have to tell everyone you are working your butt off then most people will generally scoff at you and mock you for being a shirker.

People know when someone is working hard…they don’t have time to explain how it is that they are working hard.

Labour’s frontbench MPs gathered in Auckland yesterday, knowing some of them could be out of a job in two months if the downward slide is not arrested.

Senior sources yesterday confirmed caucus discipline was a key focus of the meeting, after recent headlines overshadowed party policy.

My Labour sources tell me The Cunliffe spent a considerable amount of time ringing around possible suspects conducting a witch hunt for the person who squealed to Fairfax.

The Sunday Star-Times yesterday reported an unnamed Labour Party source criticising Cunliffe’s decision to take time off so close to the election, to go skiing with his family in Queenstown.

Cunliffe yesterday rejected the complaint. “I work long hours with every ounce of energy that I can ever muster, and I took a last break before the election for a few days with my family.

“I was sick for two days and I had a three-day holiday skiing with my children and that is it. They probably won’t see much of me now before the election.”

He said the break had not been raised with him by any of his MPs. “There’s a general recognition that I work bloody hard, for 18-hour days and more.”

Oh dry your eyes! What a sooky-pants…boohoo I was sick doesn’t cut it. This is the big game now…take a Codral and soldier on.  If he hadn’t apologised for being a man I would have suspected it was “man flu”. Read more »