Saturday Summary – Show some leadership

David Shearer is missing in action.

This week of all weeks he needed to be front and centre, leading debate on all things political.

In more than six years there has never been an opportunity like a meddlesome judge throwing foreign ownership back on the plate, asset sales and a Finance Minister with incredibly loose lips, and the appearance of political interference by political appointees…all in the same week.

Where was David Shearer?

Missing in Action. Sure he was in the house but Labour is intent on following National’s poorly thought out play book that they used for Don Brash. They are protecting Shearer in parliament and letting others smack up ministers…the only problem is they are bombing their opportunities.

Clare Curran has appalling delivery, she tried for three days straight to shoot a possum, startled in the headlights and missed every time. She would stand to ask questions and take the call despite having no idea what question it was that she was going to ask…she would uhhmm and ahhh and make up her question on the fly and bomb it. She should have spanked Craig Foss who isn’t living up to all his Gilmore-esque hype. She failed.

David Shearer ceded the asset sales and foreign ownership debate to Winston Peters, who is looking more and more like the leader of the opposition…or at the very least like a co-leader with Russel Norman.

By fronting Campbell Live together with Winston Peters he put Winston on the same level as him. And Winston Peters, in one of his more lucid moments pwnd David Shearer.

David Shearer should never have fronted with Winston Peters, but then again it may have been part of the deal he made at less than secret dinner at Trade Kitchen on Wednesday night. Another part of that dinner deal was the handing of an additional parliamentary question from labour to Winston Peters on the Crafar farm issue.

Winston was given the question ostensibly to land a hit on the Prime Minister. It failed, Winston bombed the question…leaving me questioning why Labour would even bother handing a platform to Winston Peters again. If they had taken just a moment of thought they would have withheld that question, the Prime Minister is never int he house on Thursday anyway, and neither was David Shearer.

The fact that Winston Peters bombed the question shows what a poorly thought out decision it was, and then when Clare Curran was left hanging just when she really needed another question to smash Craig Foss in the face it wasn’t there. This was a poor house strategy, one can only imagine that Trevor Mallard was distracted with his own problems to have thought that one through properly.

Which brings me to the Mallard Problem that David Shearer faces. Trevor Mallard destroyed any momentum Labour had this week. Totally and utterly destroyed…once again through ineptitude and political stupidity labour was left shaking their collective heads at their political strategist.

When the issue broke Labour’s leadership ordered Mallard to apologise, repay and shut up. He chose to ignore them all despite repeated attempts to silence him. He went on a one man rampage through the media trying to justify a position that could not ever be justified. He proved himself to be an embarrassment and he still has not used the hardest word.

Trevor Mallard thumbing his nose at the leadership is the very obvious signal to every one watching on from the beltway outwards that David Shearer is not  control of his party. He needs to show some leadership and show it quickly. Trevor Mallard provides him with a perfect opportunity.

If I was David Shearer what I would do is immediately strip him of his Shadow Leader of the House position and find him a seat out of camera shot of the front bench. I would remove his spokesperson role for America’s Cup and give him something that requires zero travel…like Statistics or something equally demeaning. When he throws his toys, as he will as sure as the sun rises each morning, then I would invite him to resign his seat, he may as well anyway because I would be explaining to Trevor that with the loaded constitution of the party it is very unlikely he will get selected in Hutt South ever again. He may like to think that the residents of Hutt South love him but the political reality is that the rest of the country hates him.

Unless it is over politically for Trevor Mallard it will be over politically for David Shearer.


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  • thor42

    Agreed, WO. 
    As much as I utterly despise and loathe Helen Clark, she would have been all over this, in contrast to Shearer. 

  • Gazzaw

    Labour must be really regretting not appointing Cunners. I can’t stand the bastard but at least labour would have a leader who’s prepared to lead. Shearer has had two big opportunities to really put the government on the rack with Crafar and POAL but he has failed abjectly. As for Mallard he would be shifting his seat so far back in the House come Monday that he would need a loudhailer in order to be heard by the Speaker had Cunliffe been the leader. Shearer and his ineffectual little deputy have to go but can labour undergo a new leadership battle so soon without haemorrhaging to death?  

    • Cactus Kate

      Just as positioning on a pond doesn’t matter to the loudness of the quack, moving Duck to the back of the House would make no difference.

      • Hakim of phut

        His job is leader of the House for the Opposition. And  he will continue to out quack Brownlee and Tolley….. too easy

    • Gazzaw

      I very much doubt that HoP. Mallard is an object of derision. Leader of the House? For how much longer?  

  • National have totally failed in political management recently, losing the plot in a number of areas, fortunately they have been saved by the ineptness of Labour, but sooner or later Labour will score, especially if Shearer gets a grip

    • Gazzaw

      Shearer is probably a really good bloke who did some great work at the UN but a political leader he isn’t. In fact he’s not even a really good politician. Mallard has to be really put in his place publicly by Shearer if he is to retain any credibility as leader.  

      • Cactus Kate

        Will never happen.
        Duck, King and Robertson run that Party

      • Gazzaw

        In which case Kate then they are fucked……………

        The country needs an effective & credible Opposition. The Greens by default? But then they aren’t credible either.

  • AnonWgtn

    Shearer is avoiding the Crafer Farm fiasco as it would be a total abdication of Helen Clark, and the China FTA (possibly the only thing she did well).

    • Hakim of phut

      Crafars Farms is nationals very own fiasco, the gift that keeps giving…. poor polling

      • Thorn

        Just another example of judicial activism – thanks to the legacy of Robin Cook and his fluffy.

  • AnonWgtn

    Shearer is avoiding the Crafer Farm fiasco as it would be a total abdication of Helen Clark, and the China FTA (possibly the only thing she did well).

  • Pukakidon

    They might as well have a pumpkin sitting in the leaders chair. Same result

  • that is quite the rhetoric-free/lucid piece oil…

    ..i would be harder on foss-the-hapless..

    …but otherwise i find little to disagree witth..

    [email protected]

  • MarcWills

    I repeat my comment posted yesterday morning:

    “I see this as a test of David Shearer’s leadership – the fact that he
    appears to be silent so far about his senior MP’s behaviour and how it
    reflects on his Party does not bode well for the future of Labour. When
    will they ever learn? Do they not see that Mallard’s behaviour is
    exactly the reason why they will remain in opposition and have no
    credibility with the electorate. At the least I would expect disciplinary action to include further demotion in seniority for this sort of activity, and a final warning about not bringing the Party into disrepute in the future”

  • Vlad

    I recall The Standard’s theory:  Shearer was the Manchurian Candidate planted by the vast conspiracy of right wing bloggers.   Hehehehe.  This is working out a real treat. 

  • Petal

    I’m agreeing with Phil now?  Has it really come to this? ;)

    Good analysis Cam.  Nice post.

  • David

    The most lucid analysis this week, let’s face the Nats are f…ing hopeless with their gutless three years about t be repeated. Shearer had the perfect opportunity to nail mallard and break with the past, opportunity may not come again between now and election time. Shearer looks more
    Ike a Hooton plant than a leader.

  • jay cee

    given that hes been in the job the proverbial 5 minutes i’ll reserve judgment till the end of the to agree the start has been less than  spectacular.

    re the random quote:- a fool and his money are soon elected. how much is john key worth again?

    • Gazzaw

      Jaycee you may call JK a lot of things but certainly not a fool. At best you and he started as equals in this world in fact JK’s situation was probably worse than you. What did you say you were earning again?

  • davewin

    The greatest mistake Labour makes is hoping Peters will put targets up for them.

    Last week Peters gave incontrovertible evidence he is finished and awaiting the Last Rites. Speech incoherent and slurred, unable to understand the guidance Lockwood offers. His sole adulation coming from Babs his Deputy who has the task of gazing up at Winston like a moonstruck calf … At closer to 70 than 17.

    Winston’s performance is nauseating in the extreme!

  • kehua

    Excellent summing up Cam, I can not imagine King, Gough or Mallard having the sense or  guts to get out and let Labour rebuild, and as long as the status quo prevails then Labour will continue to diminish not only in terms of credibility but more importantly in political clout.