Some notes on Labour’s problems

I have taken the time to collate the musings of many of my Labour and left-wing sources. I did this so I could get a gauge on what was transpiring within Labour.

I will share them with you.

  1. Instead of the left and the right, the factions have morphed: Cunliffe left; Shearer old guard; the gays; the unions.  These factions are changing rapidly.
  2. Only one South Island MP supports David Cunliffe: Lianne Dalziel.  But Dalziel appears to have fallen out with her two former sisterhood friends, Ruth Dyson and Maryan Street.  Both Dyson and Street are Shearer supporters who appear unwilling to trust Cunliffe.  This represents an old-guard split within the left.
  3. Andrew Little spoke passionately in opposition to the leadership rule changes endorsed at Labour’s Ellerslie conference.  Yet Little’s former EPMU union voted for reform.  Why?  Unionists such as Lynne Pillay and her partner Mike Sweeney (both former EPMU) were apparently lobbying for David Cunliffe.
  4. The Maori sector is split.  Shane Jones is sticking with Shearer for now (how long will he be in Parliament?).  But Nanaia Mahuta, Louisa Wall and (to a lesser extent) Rino Tirikatene are in David Cunliffe’s camp.  Parekura Horomia is just plain tired and is a candidate for an early departure before the 2014 General Election.
  5. Judith Tizard is said to be busy rustling up delegates to vote at the next list selection conference, and those votes are likely to be cast against Jacinda Ardern.  The problem for Ardern is she is seen as being in Shearer’s camp whereas Auckland is a comparative hotbed of Cunliffe supporters.
  6. Not to be outdone, Ardern has built up a large group of supporters, particularly among young people.  Her base in the Princes Street branch at the University of Auckland.  Ardern’s isolation from a number of women in the caucus as well as her backing for Shearer has provoked jealousies and resentment, which has forced her to fight hard against opposition from within her own region.
  7. Moana Mackey and Sue Moroney are reliant on a good list ranking and are therefore influenced by the power relationships within the Labour Party.  Both are out of favour with Shearer and have good reason to want Cunliffe if the latter can secure the backing of the membership and unions in a leadership spill.
  8. Charles Chauvel would like to replace Annette King in Rongotai.  The trouble is few people trust Chauvel, and Annette King is said to hate him.  Therefore Chauvel too is caught in the same bind at Mackey and Moroney, and is therefore a Cunliffe supporter.
  9. William Sio owes his Mangere seat to the unions who installed him.  He is therefore sympathetic to Cunliffe and will be heavily influenced in Parliament by the Service and Food Workers Union.
  10. The head of the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) in Auckland is Jill Ovens, who was the former leader of the Alliance Party.  Both Jill and her partner Len Richards have come back into the Labour fold after years in the wilderness and have emerged as factional players.  They appear to be active at the office owned by Prue Kapua, which is rented to Parliamentary Services for the purpose of housing Kapua’s civil union partner Louisa Wall (a Cunliffe supporter) and possibly Nanaia Mahuta (Cunliffe’s preferred choice for deputy leader).
  11. Junior whip Darien Fenton currently supporters Shearer.  Her problem is the Auckland division of her former union (SFWU) is now controlled by Jill Ovens who beat Fenton’s hand-picked replacement Lisa Eldret in an acrimonious 2006 contest.  As a list MP Fenton is therefore vulnerable to the ebb and flow of factional infighting, particularly in Auckland.
  12. Shearer’s strongest support comes from Phil Goff, Annette King and Trevor Mallard who either support the status quo out of loyalty or a mutual dislike for Cunliffe.  Of Shearer’s supporters, 14 (Goff, King, Mallard, Woods, Dyson, Clark, Curran, Faafoi, Hipkins, Lees-Galloway, O’Connor, Twyford, Grant Robertson, and Ross Robertson) hold safe seats and are therefore less reliant on the list.
  13. Of all of Shearer’s supporters, Twyford is seen as someone who could be open to switching to Cunliffe.  He is seen as close to the left, is regarded as ambitious for promotion and inclined to hedge his beats in the secret ballot.  His Te Atatu electorate borders both Mt Albert (Shearer) and New Lynn (Cunliffe).
  14. Although the rules require the leadership to be determined by a new system, Labour could end up having a spill for the top job while retaining Grant Robertson for the deputy’s position.  In which case a Cunliffe victory could deliver a Cunliffe/Robertson pairing whereby the leader and disliked and opposed by the deputy leader.
  15. Ross Robertson will be challenged in 2014 if he does not retire.  He will almost certainly be replaced by a union-endorsed candidate meaning Shearer loses a vote.
  16. Annette King is unlikely to remain the Member of Parliament for Rongotai.  Labour is worried that an early departure from her will see an opening for Russel Norman, so she will see out the term.  Initially Phil Goff’s replacement for leader was supposed to be Darren Hughes, and he would have had the inside running for Rongotai.  Now Rongotai has become one of the prime seats for list and aspiring new MPs who sense the need for a safe seat.
  17. If Shane Jones is forced out of Parliament due to fallout from the forthcoming report from the Auditor General, he will be replaced by Carol Beaumont.  That outcome will likely mean Shearer loses a vote and Cunliffe gains a vote.
  18. Labour currently has a leader who the caucus wants but the wider party does not, and an alternative leader who the wider party possibly wants by the majority of caucus despises.
  19. If neither Shearer nor Cunliffe are acceptable, either Grant Robertson or Andrew Little could become compromise candidates.  It remains to be seen if either can muster a consensus of support across the different factions.

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  • Troy

    Ahhh… it’s a tangled web they weave and it’s looking they’ll be more losers than winners. The Party has become completely dysfunctional and course when parliament sits next week, question time and the Wednesday debate will be entertaining. How will the toxic Greens play all this tho.. will they lighten up on the Nats and not agree so much with the silly Labour policies (what little they are)? Perhaps – Docteur Russel is the type of guy that will bend with the wind, problem is, the co-leader Turei doesn’t know which way is up so he could have problems there.
    At the end of the day, watching Liabour implode is most enjoyable.

  • conwaycaptain

    Handbags at 10 paces!!!!! What a dysfunctional lot.

  • Pete George

    The battle for the Labour list and for vacant electorates will be fierce. The resulting alignments of MPs after the election will be crucial. It’s possible Shearer could become Prime Minister in November/December 2014 and be rolled in Februrary 2015.

    • Gazzaw

      ………..and depending who inherited the PM’s job in Feb 2015 it is highly likely that a new general election would need to be held in the next twelve months. What sort of horseshit is labour inflicting on our democratic process to appease the unions?

      Labour is just a fucken joke and National must ensure that this message is driven home continually in the lead up to 2014.

    • CommonSense404

      Unfortunately that’s exactly how its shaping given no significant coalition partner for National. But the fact that someone the country just voted in as PM (arguably if Labour only polls mid 30s) could get rolled 3 months later is NOT democracy.

  • notrotters

    Kick them all out and start again. The current crop of labour retards make Bill English look like an economic wunderkind.

  • blazer

    thats actually a very insightful rundown on the personalities and their status in Labour.

    • Richard McGrath

      Agree… a good summary which in total paints a picture of a political party consumed in a civil war, with the recent comments from T P Field the icing on the cake. Ross Robertson MP is certainly the invisible man of NZ politics – can you believe he’s been an MP for 27 years?

  • cows4me

    What a dog’s breakfast. I wonder what the mental Melons make of their lefty mates implosion. They will need a strong showing from these fruitcakes to get them the across the line. As far as I’m concerned these Liarbore idiots should never be allowed to govern again, they’re poison and offer the country nothing but misery. I hope they destroy themselves.

    • Sooty

      What happens should the greens poll higher than liarbore.

      • cows4me

        Who cares Sooty, the Melons will still need Liarbore if they wish to be in the drivers seat. God forbid that though, the country would be a basket case.

  • niggly

    Since last weekend’s Labour Confernce it’s been fascinating to read about some of the splits & alignments between the various factions and players (although talk about typical “Secret Labour” – it has had to take a public outbreak of internecine guerilla warfare between the factions and players before much of this info was made public to the Voters).

    However this article is fantastic!

    So are Labour more-or-less back to the infighting and divisons of the late 80’s/early-to-mid 90’s (which could play out again for years)?

    Was Helen Clark’s unificaton of Labour (albiet by brute force) from the mid-90’s to the late 2000’s a one-off aberration, not to be seen again, if ever?

    Especially if some of the hard-left activists (and groups) are returning to continue the purge of Rogernomics & similar doctrine (also noting some well known Labour/Political Commentators have been banging on for years about the 80’s economic reforms as being an aberration of the “true” Labour etc)?

  • kiwiinamerica

    Brilliant Cam – this clusterfark has been 25 years in the making. Cunliffe would never be in a position to be bold enough to even attempt to topple Shearer if he knew he didnt have a majority of the party behind him. The grass roots of the Labour Party would never have been in a position to pass a constitutional amendment that would give it the power to elect the Parliamentary Labour Leader if Clark and the sisterhood hadn’t systematically purged Labour of the supporters of the Douglas 80’s reforms, the socially conservative white working class males and small business owners leaving the power to select candidates and influence policy to “a gaggle of gays and trade unionists”. Labour’s activists will get the caucus and leader they want – but it won’t bear any resemblence to middle New Zealand, the electoral heart of NZ on whom enduring governments are built. Labour look set to replicate the unelectablity that left UK Labour in the wilderness for 18 years!

  • Anonymouse Coward

    Megan Woods, is she in the vanguard of the gaggle, union or Waitakere-man factions. Or is she a seat warmer who goes with the flow?

    • Alex

      I suspect she’s a Cunliffe supporter at heart, given her former Alliance history; but she’s not stupid enough to terminate her career until she knows which way the wind will blow first. From my experience she’s sort of a cross between Clark and Dalziell: an academic who thinks she knows it all, power hungry and poisonous if crossed.