Is David Shearer Labour’s Don Brash?

I’m not sure what David Shearer’s advisors are thinking after the first week back in parliament finished on Thursday.

They certainly won’t be lauding it as a huge success, that is unless they are following National’s playbook on leadership minimisation that they last used when Don Brash was their leader.

Back then, after he rolled Bill English, National’s brains trust thought up a way to protect the thoroughly intelligent policy wonk who was in reality politically dim.

Their method was a  couple of tame questions focussing on areas of Don’s expertise and then more questions by other “stars” of the caucus would enable them to avoid the inevitable scrutiny that would eventually trip up the affable leader.

It didn’t work because back then Labour just ignored him and waited, and waited until the inevitable lack of traction and then pounced, bashing him up one side and down the other in the house. Don Brash had to change, he was forced into it by Labour.

Then came Orewa.

I don’t think David Shearer has got an Orewa speech in him. I just don’t see it. But right now he is being protected, or is it perhaps ignored by his caucus. The questions he asked in the house this week were tame, weak actually, ineptly delivered and ineffectual. Even Trevor Mallard refused to call him his leader instead preferring the term “colleague” in what can only been a calculated slight against the leader.

Labour’s caucus isn’t united. They simply weren’t cleaned out as badly as National was in 2002. The factions still exist. Now there is the oldies faction. You know they still have control because Annette King is still fronting against Steven Joyce on NewstalkZB. Trevor Mallard struggles to his feet to defend the young ones and Winston and Phil Goff is sitting there looking over Shearer’s shoulder with Darien Fenton scowling at us all as though we were the enemy.

Right along the opposition benches too is Winston Peters who after this week can claim the title of Leader of the Opposition, not because of his performance, which was dreadful but simply because Shearer ceded control of the opposition benches to Winston and his motley crue by being missing in action.

About the only things that David Shearer hasn’t done which Don Brash did is work his way through the skirt relentlessly, described his favourite dishes made with corned beef or washed his undies in motel sinks. Things are going to have to change otherwise Labour is ceding their role as opposition to the fools of NZ First.

Right now from where I am looking at it, David Shearer and Labour certainly look like Don Brash and National prior to Orewa.


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  • Anonymous

    Interesting mash up photo; The Brashearnator?

  • David

    Spot on, I think he will be more like Brash than Key. Also don’t think Shearer has the intellectual grunt to rise up and he comes across more as a like able school principal than a future PM.
    Let’s face it the UN is the most inept outfit with very few successes, they cut and ran from Somalia and from Iraq, Haiti is a debacle despite the billions chucked at it, they sat around inRawanda and did nothing. Working for the outfit that brought us the IPCC is hardly a compelling back story.

  • Apolonia

    The invisible man

  • Blokeintakapuna

    Behind the scenes there will be huge in-fighting between the various Labour Party factions, all vying to have as much current and future influence as possible – mostly biding their time, positioning themselves for the inevitable coup that will happen sometime before 2014 election, all the while these factions grow increasingly restless and frustrated with constantly having to compromise ideologies to suit the factions and realities of the day that contradict their tainted version of how the world should work.
    The best part for NZ, is that hopefully the Labour Party will implode upon itself in a simmering swill of festering corruption, deliberate lies and deceit amongst themselves. Only trouble is though – the Greens, Mana and Maori Party will try and fill the void ceded by the ineffective and totally dysfunctional Labour Party. The political equivalent of a Medusa Nz has to endure.
    Poetic justice somewhat with the Labour Party having to “negotiate in good faith” with their bully boy union cohorts over Labour Party leadership issues – the best own goal / shoot ya self in the foot thing that could ever happen to these parasitic individuals.

    • Gazzaw

      I really think that the worst is yet to come with the Auckland ports debacle. Labour cannot sit on the sideline for ever – they have to support the union and come out fighting against independent contractors. How much of the middle ground that labour is so desperate to recover has made the metamorphosis from unionised labour to self employed contractors. Bugger all empathy from that sector.

      Labour is way too factional to have a prayer never mind having a weak as piss leader, a resentful old guard (losers all) & a hard out old tosser like Mallard who can’t help himself but stir the pot.

  • Anonymous

     The *only* way that Shearer could have an “Orewa speech” would be if he were to position Labour to the right of National.
    Break all links to the unions. Say that whatever National does to welfare, Labour will not only support, but will go even further.
    That’ll never happen.

  • Peter Wilson

    Labour’s problem, as WO says, is that it wasn’t a complete rout, meaning the factions are still in there looking out for themselves. Nobody is committed to a rebuild, just in holding together hoping to sleepwalk to a victory in 2014.

    They actually need to do what National did, reclaim their support base, which the Greens have taken from them, and are busy firming up their support. But they won’t, because they believe elections are won by taking the center ground. While that is true, they need a strong support base to launch from.

  • Simon

    There is no difference between Labour & National.  Dave could replace Key tomorrow and no one
    would notice.  Its team Blue vs team
    Red.  All very tribal like some UK soccer
    rivalry but the State rolls on.   

  • Paulus

    Labour are unintentially playing a long game. They do not have to do anything (and are not anyway) as the media have declared war on Key – see today’s Herald.
    Aided and abetted by the pure publicity seeking Peters they will make amends in not winning the last election and will strive to ensure that they are in charge well before the next.

  • cool morphing…!..shearer as brash-the-younger..heh..!..i can see the case for that..

    ..he has underwhelmed so far..esp. in parliament..and his kumbaya over watangi..(good grief..!)

    …i fear he is going to try to drag labour to the right..(under ‘centreist’-badging..)

    ..and would like to note that i think i was the first to call for him to be frogblog..but for reasons other than

    my unease about shearer is for two reasons… because i had an encounter with him in the mt albert shopping centre..where he was hanging around outside his caravan..trying to connect with us peasants..

    …he wasn’t getting much i wandered up..on impulse..and told him that tho’ i realised he was not part of that government..he should know how much they sucked and far as the underclass was concerned…those long years of cruel neglect..of that labour govt..

    ..i say ‘cruel’..because apart from her doing nothing to undo the miseries wrought by we had to watch her shedding crocodile-tears for those couples ‘struggling’ on seventy grand a she sold ‘working for (some) families’..while she did nothing..)

    ..(i actually wrote a long poem/rant about all that called ‘the kids up north have still got rotten-teeth..but hey..!..helens’ at the’ (it’s at whoar..)

    ..and that any next labour govt had better get that sorted..

    ..i was quite clinical/emphatic./ it were…but i wasn’t yelling or waving arms around or anything..

    ..but he just seemed to wriggle..and be uncomfortable..and really had nothing to say..

    ..then he got one one of his off-siders to ‘rescue’ him..

    ..i walked away decidedly unimpressed..

    ..that..and the fact so many of you rightwingers like/wanted him..

    ..that’s reason number two…

    [email protected]

  • I wonder what it is that Shearer could say in his Orewa-equivalent. I mean, we know he’s not going to speak out harshly on racial issues. He needs to find an issue that will speak to the middle classes. The people who are not hugely affected by whether they get a National or a Labour government. 

    These people don’t care about asset sales. They’re probably not bothered by charter schools either. It’ll be quite easy for them to decide whether or not to send their kids to one. They’d like to pay lower taxes, but want public services to be provided.

    If Shearer wants to get their votes for Labour, he will have to find an issue that speaks to them. But he won’t speak out against racial divisions – Labour needs the Maories on side. He won’t speak out against welfarism, because Labour (ironically) needs the beneficiaries on side. 

    He won’t speak out for the minerals industry (and it’s potential for economic growth), because Labour needs to stay friends with the Greens/Green-inclined. He won’t speak out for farmers, for the same reason. All Labour is offering us is entrenchement of the status quo.

    I can’t think of any issue on which he can take a decisive stand. But imagine if he had given a speech along the lines of Steven Joyce’s column in the herald. Thank god all the talent is in National.

  • jay cee

    yes indeed for shearer to make another orewa speech is going to have to find a scapegoat to hang all the countries problems on. trouble is, national have the monopoly on all of them and trot them out in turn. think maori,solo mums,unions,sickness beneficiaries anyone unemployed the list goes on