Cunliffe sacks Michie in order to save the perception of unity

David Cunliffe has sacked Jenny Michie from his campaign team for stating the bleeding obvious:

David Cunliffe has stood down campaign member Jenny Michie after comments she made about the sexuality of fellow Labour leadership contender Grant Robertson.

Michie’s comments – that they would be naive to think that Robertson’s sexuality would have no impact on voters – was slammed by Labour MP Clare Curran on Twitter.

“The ‘NZ’s not ready for a gay PM’ is prob the biggest dog whistle I’ve ever heard. Extraordinary that it’s also coming from within the Party,” she wrote.

Michie had said “it would be naive to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay prime minister at this point – I think some people might have a problem with it but I certainly wouldn’t”.

Curran also accused two unnamed union bosses and former party president Mike Williams of using Robertson’s sexuality to undermine him.

Cunliffe had earlier said anyone on his staff who made comments relating to Robertson’s sexuality would be off his campaign team and told Fairfax Media in a live online appearance today that Michie had been stood down this morning. 

In perhaps the most telling statement though Cunliffe says that this is all just a charade, to portray the perception  of unity…seriously that is what he said.

“I’ve looked closely at that issue, I’ve made a decision to stand a person down from my campaign team just because I think maintaining the appropriate perceptions that we are a united party and a united caucus is really important,” he said.

Michie had taken the decision well and understood it was a precautionary move to protect the reputation of the campaign which the three leadership contenders wanted to keep positive, he said.

A perception of unity, rather than real unity? Yep, I said as much this morning. Jenny Michie took one for the team, watch Cunliffe reward her hansomely later.

As for Clare Curran…she is for it now.

Cunliffe also criticised Curran’s decision to take to Twitter to vent her frustrations, saying the Labour Party had established procedures for dealing with such issues.

“I think the party would want them to use those processes rather than Twitter,” he said.

I can’t wait for the bloodbath to start.

UPDATE: The more I think about this the more I think that Cunliffe has sacked Michie for comments made 3 weeks ago purely so that the issue will remain in the media, the mega dog-whistle as it were…and he can thank Clare Curran for bringing it all up and placing the focus on Grant Robertson’s sexuality this late in the race. Clare really isn’t someone you want on your team. I bet that when at school and they were picking teams she was always picked last. She’s like a handicapped person playing football…close to the action but never likely to threaten the net.


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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.

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