The Herald has continued their series on “The Cunliffe”.
While last weeks effort would have made The Cunliffe happy I doubt he will be pleased with todays works, especially those by Claire Trevett.
He is fingered as a snitch:
Cunliffe describes that 1999 intake as the first political generation that had not been “scarred” by Rogernomics or the acrimony after it. But that first term also saw the start of the problem Cunliffe has struggled with since – his relations with his caucus colleagues.
Cunliffe and Tamihere gravitated towards each other, part of a group of junior MPs including Clayton Cosgrove and Damien O’Connor, and dubbed themselves the “Mods” – short for Modernisers. They met in each other’s offices for drinks and discussed policies and the direction Labour might take in the longer term, post-Clark. They decided to recruit others and Tamihere says Cunliffe returned with loyal Clarkists. Whether it was innocent or deliberate, he was seen to have dobbed them in.
Cunliffe denies it: “I certainly didn’t go telling tales on class mates. JT and I were in the middle of that group, not everybody agreed with everybody else and in the end it didn’t go that far. But I’d reject that I dobbed anyone in.”
Whatever happened, Cunliffe’s friendship with most in that grouping waned after that point. One onlooker at the time recalls Cunliffe as trying to be friends with everyone. “It was like high school kind of stuff. He’d walk in [to Parliament's cafe] and go ‘g’day bro’ how you going?’ and JT would just look at him like one of the nerdy kids had come up to him in the playground.”
Tamihere says there was no big blow out and they did maintain a professional relationship. Asked about the Mods’ goals now, Tamihere laughs and says “well, you always go down there with those heady ideals.”
“He’s an extraordinarily talented chap but you never get to see the real David. You get to see the David that he thinks you want to see. And that’s his problem.“
What Trevett didn’t mention, but my Labour source did, was that after ratting out the Mods to Clark H2 (Heather Simpson) summonsed each of them individually and gave them a dressing down. They were rinsed and it is something that Clayton Cosgrove has never forgotten and why he is the ex-officio leader of the ABCs.Â Read more »