Reality starting to set in at Camp Cunliffe

Labour leader David Cunliffe has retreated to lick his wounds after a brutal showdown with his caucus that may leave him with no option but to resign.

Cunliffe is said to be weighing his next move ahead of another showdown on Tuesday and his options include resigning to seek a fresh mandate from the wider party.

Several MPs are lining up for a tilt at the leadership but Cunliffe’s caucus has so far thwarted his bid to force a vote within weeks.

Cunliffe wants the leadership to be put to an early vote by grassroots and union activists but has refused to resign, so the only way to achieve an early vote would be for caucus to vote down a confidence motion.

But after a seven-hour crisis meeting on Tuesday, he appears to have been outmanoeuvred by his caucus, which has refused to trigger a leadership vote till the party’s election performance has been reviewed by an independent panel.

Cunliffe wants the early vote because he believes that would give him the best chance of winning a mandate from the wider party and union affiliates, who have the power to outvote the caucus on a leadership vote.

He’s been trying to get his colleagues to force his resignation via a no confidence vote, which would then trigger the Labour Party primaries for a new leader.  But ABC aren’t so eager to do this.

Labour leader David Cunliffe is understood to be taking time off to reconsider his political future after several of his key supporters in caucus withdrew their support – a step that has ramped up the pressure on him to step down.

It is understood at least three of Mr Cunliffe’s six key backers now believe it is no longer tenable for him to lead because he would have no control over caucus and risk damaging the already reeling party further.

With half of his already meagre support base deserting him, Mr Cunliffe is now facing a choice between resigning or fighting a battle he would have only a slim chance of winning because of his almost total lack of caucus support.

The pressures on his loyal followers must be immense.  As it becomes clear that there is no political future for Cunliffe, his supporters are faced with an opposition term on the back benches.  They will be told that loyalty is admirable,  but blind loyalty will be a bad career move.   On the back of Labour’s worst results in nearly a century, David Cunliffe is not going to be allowed to have another crack at it.


– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald / Tracey Watkins, Stuff

Do you want ad-free access to our Daily Crossword?

Do you want access to daily Incite Politics Magazine articles?

Silver Subscriptions and above go in the draw to win a $500 prize to be drawn at the end of March

Not yet one of our awesome subscribers? Click Here and join us.

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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.