Reading the tea leaves

I have been getting quite a number of calls from Labour MPs. They are from different factions and all tell of similar stories about the inner machinations of the Labour caucus.

The one over-arching theme is fear and chaos.

One thing is clear though, there are a majority of caucus who want nothing more to do with Phil Goff. The problem though they have is the warring factions and the rear-guard who are defending a position but certainly not defending Phil Goff.

There are three camps inside Labour. There is no longer a Phil Goff camp. There is definitely Camp Cunliffe, despite the protestations of innocence. Then there is Camp Jones, small in number but big enough to stop the other camps from moving. Camp Parker is also small and largely come from nowhere with Parker believing the various kites that have been flying about him for several months.

No one is defending Goff anymore, even his hatchet man Trevor Mallard isn’t defending him. Instead Mallard is marshalling the forces of the rear guard, along with Annette King. Tthe rear-guard is mostly those two and the union core that is hiding behind the pretense that they are the women’s caucus.

The rear-guard isn’t defending Goff, quite the contrary they want him gone too but they are working very hard to prevent Cunliffe and Jones taking over before they can get Andrew Little or another viable candidate to stand up to the onslaught.

The only thing they haven’t yet worked out is that Cunliffe and Jones are yet to work out that if they work together for a common goal they can roll over Mallard and the rear-guard. They have the numbers. Mallard and King do not.

Trevor Mallard is trying very desperately to halt the impending coup and even went so far as to point out who was leaking the front bench details by fingering Jones. Like everything Mallard does and says it was a deliberate lie. He merely did this to white-ant Jones.

The rear-guard is backing Parker, even though Parker doesn’t have the courage to front. They are doing this as a last ditch effort to fend off Cunliffe. The battles are starting to become public.

Bizarrely Phil Goff is powerless to do anything except make wild accusations and blame Chris Carter for leaking about his front bench capitulation. His position in sustaining that he never mentioned quitting is untenable. I have now heard from 5 different MPs who are all adamant that the capitulation took place. The only reason there wasn’t an immediate replacement was the shared cowardice and lack of bottle amongst the pretenders.

Right now though, should a contender find some courage, they would be made leader just to end the bloodbath that is starting to show.

Basically though Phil Goff is alone in campaigning. His leadership have abandoned ship. Trevor Mallard and Annette King are more concerned with backing Parker to fend off Cunliffe than running the campaign, they have abandoned Goff.

Mallard of course is more interested in distractions than real work. He abandoned his portfolios to train for a cycle race, now he is abandoning his campaign responsibilities to spike Cunliffe and Jones. Trevor Mallard likes to think he is the Murray McCully of Labour but lacks the wit, charm with the ladies, intelligence and rat cunning of McCully.

Make no mistake, there is a bloodbath building and as poll after poll rams home to Labour that they are dead ducks then the fighting will become more and more public.


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  • potandkettle

    The parliamentary wing of the Labour party are failing everyone with this fannying about. Goff is a good bloke but he is not electable – we can all see that, time to move on. The lack of decisiveness is killing the party and deems them all unfit to lead in my eyes.

  • middleagedwhiteguy

    The problem with the 3 camps is that there are 3 camps!

    Goff is in the job and safe till after the expected rout. The rout will only be worse as tghe publis witnesses the implosion of Labour. Anyone who willingly takes the leadership will be presiding over a funeral.

  • Gazzaw

    It is apparent in the latest poll that as the internal conflicts become more and more visible that Labour will leak more support to the Greens. Another 7% loss would see Wussel’s lot becoming the major Opposition party. Granted it would take a major bloodbath to cause that spillage but lets not discount any possibilities as Labour disintegrates internally.

  • sbw

    Cunner’s support crew are not around him to help – Moana Mackey and Charles Chauvel are in Gisborne.

  • sbw

    Cunner’s support crew are not around him in his time of need – Moana Mackey and Charles Chauvel are in Gisborne.

  • Steely Dan

    Riiiight……so these MP’s jump straight on the phone to you huh cam?

  • Christine

    Fear and chaos? Labour MPs tell you, their harshest critic, their secrets? Tone it down a bit if you want to remain plausible.

  • diabolos

    Question … is there any way you have of giving some verification to the fact that Labour MPs have been contacting you. Im not doubting … just wondering …. it would seem to be (just as an outsider looking in) the present and future kiss of death for any Labour MP to contact you unless they do it anonymously while indicating they are a Labour MP. I realise you wont want to name them (and i suppose neither will they) … but is there any way Cam that you could give some sort of hard factual basis to it. I suppose a start would be .. how many – what sort of electorate backgrounds … old – young – previous MPs such as Chris Carter (most people know how he feels of course – he got caught feeling it…)

    It would be helpful to get some sort of clarification without identifying the actual ‘leakers’

    • Does anyone ever ask journalists to verify that “senior Labour sources” are talking to them. No! Fuck off. I won’t identify who is talking…. just that they are.

      • Gazzaw

        Hear, hear! Since when did journalists start naming their sources?

  • CasualObserver

    I don’t think we can expect any ‘hints’ about who they might be. Given the quality of the commentary I for one am happy to take Whaleoil at his word. Is anybody seriously suggesting he would make it up.

    • diabolos

      Yes – i think i might be suggesting that. But at the moment its all just conjecture anyway and i dont think that anyone seriously thinks politics – even for bloggers , is actually an honest business. The suggestion of things – is enough to rattle peoples cages. It is a tactic Cam has used many times before. So yes he could be making it up – then again he might not be. It might just be based on his conversation with Chris Carter – 1 becomes several by extension.

  • Mr Blobby

    Why is National so keen to get Phil Goff out of the way? Surely if he is no good then that would suit them down to the ground.
    Or is it that they are afraid that once the distractions like the RWC are out of the way DonKey will be shown up to be the plastic smile and wave mannequin that he is, and his lack of knowledge of just about everything will become glaringly obvious.

    • And that’s the entire point isn’t it, Mr Blobby? A weak and warring Liarbore caucus allows an absolutely shit National government to be the very worst manifestation of itself, while at the same time the arrogant cocks in National believe they’re doing a wonderful job because Mr Smile & Wave is riding happy & high in the polls. They won’t ever acknowledge NZ is effectively a one-party state at the moment because that would require some inner reflection and they simply lack the ability.

      New Zealand needs a strong Liarbore to force National to be the government it needs to be, to drag New Zealand out of the welfare- and socialism-induced torpor in which it finds itself.

  • Rusty Kane

    Andrew Little sees his leadership aspirations of winning a constituent seat slipping away. At a resent New Plymouth meet the candidate’s public meeting run by Andrew Little. Andrew gave the small ordinance the ultimatum. If you don’t vote for me to be the New Plymouth elected candidate, he won’t be representing New Plymouth as a list MP.

  • Steely Dan

    I just got a phone call from God. it was an interesting one too. We discussed all sorts of things, including who has it right. i had my money on the jehova’s witness’s. Sadly i now owe him a box of Tuborgs.
    I cant tell you who got it right, but i can tell you he did ring me……

    I promise.

  • Brabus

    Actually speaking to Cam makes perfect sense. He has a track record that makes the MSM take notice of what he says and yet his style and obvious political views allow for plausible deniability by the leaker.

    i.e. in news rooms around the country “I mean honestly why would anyone in Labour talk to Cam… Still maybe we should make our own enquiries, shake a few trees…” Once more Labour are forced to defend and look increasingly desperate.

  • Rusty Kane

    Andrew Little sees himself winning a constituent seat and his leadership aspirations slipping away. At a resent meet the candidate’s public meeting run by Andrew Little. Andrew gave the small ordinance the ultimatum. If you don’t vote for me to be the New Plymouth elected candidate, he won’t be representing New Plymouth as a list MP.

  • thor42

    Ahhhhh…… the warm glow of contentment as I watch the party of the Clarkbeast and Michael “rich prick” Cullen self-destruct.
    Wonderful! Not *quite* as good as seeing the Clarkbeast humbled in 2008, but not far off.