Inside the Young Labour war over Labour’s leadership

Some in Young Labour will be on Q+A this morning making the case for Labour to move to the left. The reality is they’re deeply divided.

Given the Young Labour National Executive is firmly in the clutches of Grant Robertson’s Wellington’s Mafia, it’s likely they’ll get in behind but not without backbiting from the Cunliffe-controlled Princes St Labour (PSL) branch in Auckland.

The factions in Young Labour are quite simple – Auckland (which backs Cunliffe) and Wellington (which backs Robertson). It’s Wellington that currently dominates the Young Labour Executive but the youth wing is far from united.

Camp Robertson

  • Reed Fleming – staffer in Grant’s office so is fighting for his job, especially after he we was eased out of the Labour leader’s office under Shearer.
  • Rory McCourt – VUWSA president and union-trougher. Elected via a nasty campaign helped by his mate Reed.
  • Arena Williams – Popular AUSA president. A Shane Jones fangirl who’s seen Robbo as a better bet. Has parliamentary aspirations sooner rather than later.
  • Levi Joule – regarded as principled third wayer. Failed AUSA politician. Tried to smear John Banks in 2011 and got exposed by this blog. Joule is on the outer in Princes St Labour because he doesn’t fit the Cunliffe mould of extremist leftism that he inspires in his supporters. 

Team Cunliffe

  • Shayne Misselbrooke – former Young Labour President. Worked on Phil Twyford’s campaign. Part of the West Auckland mob that backs Cunliffe.
  • Bronwyn Presland – freshly minted Executive Assistant of David Cunliffe. She is the daughter of Greg Presland (aka ‘Mickey Savage’ on the Standard blog). She’s been deployed to Wellington to do daddy’s bidding and will likely have a key role on Cunliffe’s office when ascends on Sunday. Footage of the disastrous Labour conference in 2012 shows her swanning around Cunliffe every time a camera was on him.
  • Sam Durbin – reputably one of the more septic and narcissistic Young Labourites and a failed student politician who helped root the books on AUSA. Ashamed of his St Kent’s education much like the former Young Nat, King’s educated, Cunliffe backer, Iain “stenography is a favourite hobby of mine” Lees-Galloway. Likes to write diatribe for Recess Monkey.
  • Antonia Verstappen – Deeply unpopular and failed AUSA politician/PSL hack. Rose to fame for wanting to ban orange juice on campus. Relative of the Presland’s. Seems it runs in the family…
  • Kieran Gainsford – PSL hack, boyfriend of Verstappen. Loves Cunliffe.
  • Soraiya Daud – Issues assistant for Cunliffe’s union queen, Carol Beaumont. Broke down in tears on a TV3 show when Levi Joule was deployed by Young Labour’s right faction to say Wellington had done their numbers on her…on television! Wants Labour to have more token ethnic MPs

Interestingly, Young Labour President Jessie Lipscombe has saying different things to different people. A dangerous position to be in when your job is said to be under threat – purportedly from Arena Williams, who it is said may challenge either Lipscombe for the Presidency or more likely Soraiya Daud for the Youth Vice Presidency of the party.

There are numerous others. And the divisions that emerge will be a product of the leadership circus we’ve seen this month. When you see the leadership race in the media, take a closer look at who the kids are in the background – it’s immensely interesting.

Should Cunliffe win – he most likely will – the war will only become more endemic as the kiddies maul each other…


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  • Nepotism is alive and well on the Left

    • axeman

      gweg pwesland is a FC

  • Monique Angel

    Hunger Games. How sweet.

  • thor42

    This is *great* to see! I just love seeing internal warfare in Labour.

  • SteveOves

    I have meet that Sam Durbin before, it was at the Backbenches Auckland Central debate. He is an arrogant little c**t with a sense of entitlement. He was complaining about how he couldn’t survive on minimum wage yet he had enough money to drink! I told him that being young he had to start at the bottom. I then asked him what skills he had and he told me he had a BA, I said well their you go, you made the choice. And he was arrogant and nasty with his response, he couldn’t understand that he choose a skill set of no value and that was why he was on minimum wage. I told him that Labor should be for people like me, a hard working male with a trade and his response was “don’t give me that shit!”
    Typical left winger and that is why they have lost a lot of their traditional support base.

    • GazzW

      Young Labour is full of entitled pricks like Sam who think that the world owes them a living for their useless BA degrees. Fat chance they have of winning back Waitakere Man’s vote.

      • Hazards001

        It also seems to be loaded with people whose parents suffered from Stupid Name Syndrome.
        If they fail in Labour politics there is a career in NZ broadcasting for most of them.

    • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

      I have a BA. I have other qualifications also and I left New Zealand to develop a career. I never ask for nothing from anyone. He should be a man and take his supposed skills to another country. If you go to Asia with a BA, you won’t be on minimum wage, but if you can’t perform in a job, you’ll be out on your arse and you’ll have to run back and get on the dole asap.

  • cows4me

    Real bunch of assorted tosspots. These bludgers need to get a life, what a sad dream world they live in. Makes me spew to think these young pricks may get to tell hard working Kiwis how to run their lives and take their money to do so.

    • thor42

      Agreed. Talking about hard work, I have great memories of my teenage years, spending the school holidays on my brother’s dairy farm in the Wairarapa. Getting up early on freezing cold mornings to help milk the cows, and hosing down the yard afterwards. They were great times!

      • cows4me

        Yes many have great memories of time spent on a farm. We’ve had many young people and tourists stay over the years and they simply love the farm. But it is a bit different when you have to do it everyday it’s a bloody slog sometimes but that’s life.

    • SteveOves

      Especially that little weed Sam Durban! He is puny and un-manly! I thought when he was rude to me, you obviously haven’t lived in the real world,where if you lip off in a bar to someone that has done time in the forces is 6’1” and weighs just shy of 100kg and you are 5’4″ and weigh 50kg dripping wet you might get knocked out! Lucky for him however I absolutely hate violence and detest rude behavior..

      • cows4me

        I’m afraid Steve many young believe the world owes them a living which is fairly sad for the future of the country.

        • James Howlett

          Sadly mate a lot of people around the country think that farmers owe them a living!

      • tarkwin

        He sounds like a green planted for the future to me. Anyone want to help start a rumour?

  • Michael

    Labour are electing their preferred leader. They are not electing a leader who will win them the election. When one fails, they’ll try the other – and fail again.

    The only candidate who has been making sense about where the votes they need are is coming third.

  • Patrick

    Why does a sentence containing “Grant Robertson” “get in behind” & “back biting” make me feel ill?

  • James Howlett

    Interesting insight Whale – but what small worlds these children must inhabit.
    If the Labour leadership comp is three bald men fighting over a comb, what is a fight to be BMOC in ‘Young’ Labour?
    Three fish fighting over a discarded bicycle?

  • Guest

    Just saw them on TV, perhaps I am negative too negative towards them but it was all about what we want from the government to provide for us. So basically SteveOves has to go out an work, government then takes the money off me and gives it to them which is why they vote for Labor.

  • SteveOves

    Just saw them on TV, perhaps I am too negative towards them but it was all about what we want from the government to provide for us. So basically SteveOves has to go out an work, government then takes the money off me and gives it to them which is why they vote for Labor

    • Hazards001

      Sounds about right.

  • LesleyNZ

    Imagine this lot with Grant Robertson at the top running our country….. nightmare stuff.

  • onelaw4all

    “Camp Robertson” Tsk Tsk…

  • Honcho

    What is really interesting is how these ‘useful idiots’ manage their images, not one of them I have bothered to look up has any privacy setting on their facebook pages, open for the world to see in all their narcissistic splendour.
    What really does concern me, the problem with labour and the union movement as a whole, is these little ‘academic’ turds connection to organised labour and the unions, non of these precious little people have ever worked an honest productive week, I doubt any of them have made any significant contribution to the unions in the way of dues, yet they are the people digging their claws into the side, trying to climb on the unions back and get the free ride, it disgusts me. If only labours founding members could see what has become of their efforts.

  • ConwayCaptain

    IS Jessie Lipscombe one of Cat Pause’s mates