Lame Duck Puppet Leader of a Lame Duck

David Shearer has graced us with his presence after a holiday surfing and staying off line and out of touch. Nothing shows just how out of touch he is than the first news article showing him racing to Christchurch to cover a story that is weeks old. Like Phil Goff he is more interested in disaster porn than saving his ailing party.

Or is he just out of touch in his quaint way of appearing out of touch.

It also shows the folly of keeping new Chief of Staff, Stuart Nash, on gardening leave till February while Trevor Mallard sits in the office pulling the strings. While Stuart Nash has been busy with his newborn, Trevor Mallard, the old soldier is giving birth of his own to new plans…..he wouldn’t go on holiday, so fearful he is of losing the mechanisms of control within the party. Word has it that his lights have been burning bright in the parliamentary precinct during the break.

One thing for sure though is that the party is getting antsy. We have seen the hard left Labour local board members come out in support of the wharfies. Chris Trotter, ever the loyal servant of the party has expressed his disappointment through an open letter to Shearer and Denis Welch is openly disdainful of the “New ” Labour party lead by David Shearer.

Wise head John Pagani thinks, like David Farrar, that Labour should stay silent, but in doing so they are ceding the moral high ground on the issue to the Greens. They aren’t afraid to comment and are increasingly being seen as the go to guys for comment in the media. They are big fans of coastal shipping. Their credentials are much stronger than Labour’s which right now doesn’t even include platitudes for their long suffering funders.

Enter Helen Kelly, long time friend of hard core unionists like Trevor Mallard and Darien Fenton. Mallard has been furiously re-tweeting her assistance for MUNZ.

If the CTU can change Shearer’s mind it will prove once and for all that Labour is STILL in the pockets of their funders – the Unions…and Labour is no different than the one that polled its lowest in 80 years in November. Labour would have learned nothing from its electoral defeat.

David Shearer has to do something. It is clear that Labour hasn’t focus grouped this, otherwise we would have had some sort of pronouncement from the spokespeople concerned. So the old warhorses like Mallard have been quietly txting Shearer to stay tight and at the same time keeping a muzzle on Fenton because she is feral and can’t help herself saying something nasty.

Is it a slight on the confidence in Darien Fenton that she has been muzzled by the men from becoming the fourth woman on the wharf?

However in doing so Shearer now stands charged with becoming the puppet, albeit a silent puppet of Trevor Mallard. You have to wonder why he didn’t put his name forward for the leadership.

It might be his first week back but David Shearer can’t sit tight any longer. The test of his leadership will be the day of the strike. If Fenton shows up and says or does anything to show support for the striking unionists then it shows his control over the party caucus is tenuous. Shearer will have to act to exert caucus discipline otherwise he will be a lame duck leader, the puppet of Mallard.

Time and pressure will tell…sometimes it makes diamonds but most times dirty coal.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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