Brutal Chris Trotter names names

Chris Trotter has named names in a column in The Taranaki Daily News, and it is brutal:

I’m told there were six of them, and that they hunted as a pack. Their prey?

Delegates who had voted the wrong way.

Moving through the excited crowds at the Ellerslie Conference Centre last November, an angry group of Labour MPs was seen taking dissidents aside and telling them, in no uncertain terms, which way was up.

Leading the pack was Labour’s employment relations spokeswoman, Darien Fenton, and her grim lieutenant, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran.

No surprises there. Ms Fenton and Ms Curran were among the caucus members most alarmed by the Labour Party rank-and-files’ sudden outbreak of democratic distemper. The other members of the pack, however, came as a surprise.

I had never thought of Jacinda Ardern, Megan Woods, Kris Faafoi or Phil Twyford as attack dogs, but my sources assure me that they were there – chewing people out. So what?

Such brutal vignettes are the stock-and-trade of party conferences. Certainly “The Pack” was far from being the only example of caucus aggression at the Ellerslie conference.

Fairly specific details…but there is more: 

It was Chris Hipkins who drew me aside long before the dramatic conference floor fight to murmur conspiratorially: “Our problems aren’t external – they’re internal.” And Andrew Little, who first characterised the rank-and-file’s bid to democratise their party as a statement of “anxiety” about the leader, David Shearer.

Even from the media table, the animosity directed towards caucus members who spoke in favour of the rank- and-file’s resolutions (the most effective of whom, by far, was Leanne Dalziel) was unmistakable. Mr Hipkins’ youthful countenance became an ugly mask of rage as he railed against the proposition that, to avoid a contest in Labour’s new electoral college, the party leader must be endorsed by 60 per cent-plus-one of his caucus colleagues.

The underlying cause of all this angst was, of course, simple political arithmetic.

The first thing all politicians learn how to do is count and the people backing Mr Shearer were fearful that a democratised party (with sufficient support in caucus) might decide to wrest the power of choosing the party leader from their hands.

They were terrified that they would then be saddled with the rank-and-file’s choice of December 2011: David Cunliffe. And it wasn’t Mr Shearer’s faction alone, who were counting heads.

And it wasn’t just David Shearer counting either.

Labour’s deputy leader, Grant Robertson, had as much to fear from the leadership question being decided early, by the party, as his boss.

Now was the time for all who were not for Mr Cunliffe to unite against him.

MPs from both factions fanned out across the conference venue to dampen down and/or extinguish the dissident hot-spots.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery were encouraged to interpret the rank-and-file’s attempt to “take back our party” as a leadership bid by Mr Shearer’s rival.

The roving pack made up of Shearer and Robertson MPs would be joined by an even more vicious media pack led by TV3’s Patrick Gower.

The rest is history.

I suspect that was only the start of the history that we are watching unfold before us. The Labour party is in disarray…if only the caucus would open their eyes.


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  • For the Labour Party to thrive again, they really need to lance this boil.

    But the union-thuggery style tactics is what you get when you are a union dominated organisation.

    So I don’t see any boil-lancing to come in the short to medium term.

    All I see is more stand-over tactics, more strong arming, more anti-democratic behaviour.

    They are so absorbed with their own internal problems, how on earth can they behave like a cohesive opposition?

    Waitakere man weeps.

    • Agent BallSack

      Southern Man offers him a Speights. Dry ya eyes ya big weepy metrosexual sap.

    • Troy

      Union-thuggery – that’s it exactly. They are living in the past where stand-over tactics were always employed to achieve (often mis-aligned) goals. They are the nasty party more within that most people know. Back in H1’s day, no-one would dare to challenge the style of politics that were prevalent then and nothing has changed, no-one has really learnt. Nobody likes backing a loser and Labour’s got plenty of them.

  • johnbronkhorst

    No….mr hipkins…your problems may be internal……who cares…….your problems are external, that is to say….you have no credible/workable policies and you forget…it is the NZ citizen that YOU WORK FOR….not your own self indulgent ridiculously incompetent party. That gets it’s policies via the Marx large print collection of bumper sticker quotes.

  • Agent BallSack

    Shades of Pol Pot. Conducting pogroms within your own party is such a communist thing to do, all they need now is the hammer and sickle flag

    • le sphincter

      its not a pogrom, its a purge. national had the same disputes when they were in opposition. Bill English V Williamson. |And of course everyone v Michelle boag. This one is still going on, inspite of her losing out this is ongoing
      She still expects an icepick in the cranium eventually

  • Agent BallSack

    It doesn’t surprise me Jacinda is involved in this. She is the new old blood and is hankering for a spot at the teat with the rest of the coven. Remember – A vote for her is a vote for solidarity, Comrade.

    • AnonWgtn

      If little pony wishes to get some credibility she should get a real job outside the public tit for a few years, then consider coming back to politics, at which she has shown herself totally inapt, despite Klark’s endorsement.
      But she would not get anything like the money she currently gets as she has no skills – except head girl at college somewhere in the wops of the Waikato.

    • Gazzaw

      Jacinda has honed her anti-democratic skills at too many international socialist youth or workers’ conferences to be taken lightly.

  • In Vino Veritas

    Whichever way it went, there would have been a cleansing. Hipkins and Ardern would have been trying to save their working “careers”, rather than soothing any ruffled feathers, since neither have any meaninful way of earning a living other than at what they are currently doing (at the taxpayers expense).

  • Well, well, well this must be “Days of Our Lives – The Labour Party Edition”

  • williamabong

    All no doubt done with the blessing and at the behest of certain Ms Klark from New York, this sort of shit has her grubby paws all over it.

  • cows4me

    I find it strange that Trotts would print such musings about his beloved Liarbore party or are there more selfish motives? This article is hardly going to endear him to the retarded dropkicks of the socialist movement. I suspect Trotter is involved in the battle to, his method isn’t bulling but the power of the press. Either way it keeps the lunatics amused and at each others throats and long may it continue.

    • peterwn

      Chris Trotter is a very good political journalist and talks sense. Political parties noth left and right should listen to what he has to say.

    • Bovver

      Chris has very little time for Shearer and his cronies I suspect, back meet knife.

    • williamabong

      Perhaps Chris has woken up at last

    • Kacanga

      Chris Trotter has always struck me as a real socialist with honest (but misguided) beliefs. I think he’s genuinely pissed at the self seekers who he sees as betraying the revolution for their own benefits

      • axeman

        WTF? A week ago we were sniggering at Chris Trotter’s snide stabbing of Cap’n Mumblefuck still being leader of Liarbore over his hero Silent T. Then he commented on the departure of Charles Chauvel and speculated on Cunliffe:

        Charles Chauvel, “Champagne Charlie”, that wilful roisterer whose liberal disposition and utterly brilliant legal mind promised a Labour Attorney-General and Justice minister of rare ability and enduring achievement, is merely the latest victim of a Labour caucus which, increasingly, is distinguished by nothing other than its dreary mediocrity.
        I ask myself: “With Champagne Charlie gone, can the talented Mr Cunliffe be far behind?”

        “Rare ability” and “enduring achievement” FTW?

        Trotter knows shit

  • JeffDaRef

    Fenton and Curran approaching you – angry and at pace – truly terrifying!

  • GregM

    So it would appear that they are spending most of their time and energy using 1950’s tactics to fix their internal dysfunction.
    How about they pull their collective fingers right out of their arses and start being an effective opposition, which is WHAT WE ARE PAYING THEM TO DO.

    • williamabong

      It’s the only method Fenton knows, the hag that it is.

  • David

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

    It is a frightening thought that the three hags, Fenton, Curran and Wood, could be Cabinet ministers after the next election. New Zealand will need more than witches’ spells to pull us out of the mire if that ever happens.

  • Mr_Blobby

    Noticed it with both major parties. Once they are in power.

    The Workers can kiss my arse cause I’ve got the bosses job at last.

  • Morrissey

    A highly interesting article, spoiled by the grammar crime in the last sentence, viz., “If only the caucus would open their eyes”.

    Of course, the caucus, being a single body, can only open ITS eyes.

  • ConwayCaptain

    I am not at all surprised that Jacxinda was one of the ring leaders. Used to prancing round the stage at the Int Union of Socialist Youth shouting Comrades!! and thank the Ptraesidium!!! etc etc