Keep friends close, and enemies even closer

There is no room for David Cunliffe in an Andrew Little Labour, which is kind of odd, as both of them were put there by their union masters.

Cunliffe has gone from 14th place to what looks like 28 out of Labour’s 32 MPs (he is one of the bottom 10 that are technically unranked position but Labour’s layout of the list has him in the 28th).

Little has stripped Cunliffe of the tertiary education portfolio, and instead made him “undersecretary to the leader on superannuation issues”.

Basically, Little has said to Cunliffe, ‘You are my servant on superannuation.’

Little and his advisers must have found it hard to keep a straight face as he tried to make out this was good for Cunliffe at today’s press conference.

Little has been deliberately demeaning to Cunliffe, hurting him to get the points with the punters.

It is a good move for Little because he knows it will get him headlines and draw a line under the ‘madness of King Cunliffe’ era of Cunliffe’s leadership.

Cunliffe used to be the darling of Labour’s left but the reality is just like the power went into him, it has been sucked out again.

Little knows Cunliffe has no real power with the base now so has gone for the political jugular.

The reality is Cunliffe would be a way better Minister than many of the people ahead of him.

To use a phrase well-known in Labour, Little has gone ‘ABC’ (Anyone But Cunliffe) in my shadow cabinet.

This is because Cunliffe symbolises Labour’s dark times – disunity; an organisation broken on every level; a party that looked like it was rotten to the core.

Today, Little wants to be seen as exorcising the demon of Cunliffe. That’s the headline Little wants – Cunliffe is just a means to an end. Politics is so ruthless.

Little has effectively told Cunliffe that he has no political future.

The question now is how Cunliffe takes being belittled and humiliated like this. He has two options – suck it up or quit.

The problem with electorate MPs is that demoting them doesn’t get rid of them, and the back benches gives you a lot of time to do two things:  solidify your electorate support, and do a lot of thinking.


– Paddy Gower, 3 News

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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.