Twice cooked and as rotten as ever

Claire Trevett discusses David Cunliffe’s ill-advised second tilt at the leadership.

It wasn’t the most auspicious location to launch a renewed bid for Labour’s leadership.

David Cunliffe stood on a grassy knoll outside Pinky Girls Massage, which was decked out with a string of twinkling red fairy lights but – outside business hours – had its curtains tightly drawn.

It was oddly apt, given Cunliffe’s staggering conclusion that an end to his leadership was premature.

Cunliffe spent days furrowing his brow and sending emissaries to tell media he was seriously weighing up whether it was in the interests of the party for him to stay on as leader.

His caucus colleagues had started to relax a bit. But they forgot the indestructibility of Cunliffe’s self belief is akin to that of a cockroach – it would survive a nuclear bomb.

Cockroaches might survive a nuclear bomb, but if you stamp on them good and hard they rarely recover from that.

Still, standing outside a brothel shows yet again that David Cunliffe is not situationally aware.

He decided he was indeed in the best interests of the party. So straight after saying he was resigning in a belated show of responsibility for the election result, the sighs of relief from the majority of his colleagues turned into gasps of horror when he added that he would also rise again.

Caucus must now wrestle with the possibility he will again be leader. There is little doubt he will have the support of only a few. There is rage about the damage he has done by prevaricating for so long.

Rising again…hang on…this was foreshadowed by Cunliffe himself

But his enemies didn’t help the situation. Supporters of Grant Robertson were in danger of overplaying their hand by overt attempts to install Robertson uncontested, with Jacinda Ardern as his deputy.

That push was getting the backs up of those erstwhile Cunliffe supporters who had just acknowledged Cunliffe was not best for the party. It also failed to recognise that not all the ABCs are in Robertson’s camp – in fact, some have serious concerns about his wider appeal. Watching someone trying to get anointed by going over their heads was certainly riling up some members.

Cunliffe played to that wider membership yesterday by saying he believed there should at least be a contest and it was appropriate for them to have a say.

Grant Robertson fears a leadership vote, mainly because he is scared of losing again. There is no room in politics for ‘Fraidy Cats.

But his apparent belief that he will be able to control the Caucus in future is completely misplaced.

They went to great lengths to show they were not undermining him over the last year. But so visceral has the sentiment become that there are those preaching a total extermination message claiming he has to leave Parliament altogether.

There is a fourth party in all this: the actual voters who have only just had their say on Cunliffe and clearly found him not to their liking. Cunliffe appears certain he can persuade them that a twice-cooked Cunliffe is much tastier.

If Cunliffe wins again watch the rapid destruction of the party as the caucus bolts.

Only one thing is for certain now, that when a Labour leader speaks and talks about representing Kiwi voters they are lying, Labour now only represents barely a quarter of Kiwi voters….and changing leader won;t change that anytime soon.


– Herald on Sunday

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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.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.