Who leaked Labour’s internal polling?

Who leaked Labour’s internal polling?

The answer comes when you answer the old Latin question ‘Cui bono?’ which literally means “for whose benefit?”

Note the wording of Newshub’s story:

Tonight the Labour Party and UMR said the results had not yet been released to the Labour Party and the leak must have come from a corporate client who had already been provided the results.


The Labour Party said  the leak cannot have been an internal leak, as they have not yet received the report. UMR provide their reports to a variety of corporate clients, of which Labour is just one.

No names.

Now, in order for you to believe those statements you have to believe that the Labour party is happy for their internal polling to be released to UMR’s corporate customers before they even get the poll result they’ve paid for themselves. I think we can safely call bullshit on that excuse.

That, however, leaves us with wondering who it was who leaked the poll results to the media with just 71 days to go until the election and why they leaked them?

The number of people who would have these numbers is very, very small. My caucus sources all say they are in shock and that they hadn’t even heard these numbers, worse they say they’ve constantly been told numbers that are much higher. So, I think we can safely discount a disgruntled caucus as the pool of potential sources.

That means the source of the poll is somewhat closer to the top of the Labour party.

Neale Jones is Little’s chief of staff, replacing Matt McCarten when he was sent to Auckland to organise his slave labour programme. It is unlikely to be Neale Jones, he’s a union bully boy from the former EPMU and has worked under Andrew Little before. He’s the henchman he takes overseas and the guy I had a run in with at Gallipoli when I was talking to Andrew Little. Neale Jones is a union man and the unions own the leader.

I don’t believe it would be any of the press secretaries.

Journalists often leave clues, and the fact that Patrick Gower has said that “the Labour party” said the leak cannot have been an internal leak suggest it is a party person near the top, rather than a caucus member.

Because it is claimed that Labour hadn’t seen these, and we know that caucus definitely hadn’t seen them it can only be a senior member of the party. I doubt they would have even gone to the wider board of the party. So probably just the campaign committee.

That narrows down the culprits considerably. General Secretary Andrew Kirton would be on the list, so too would Phil Twyford the campaign chair. They would certainly have access to poll results as would Andrew Little, Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson. Essentially the top echelon.

We know it can’t be Andrew Little…or one of his three caucus supporters. So it must be one or all of the others.

Again, cui bono?

Well, Jacinda and Grant obviously. But a decapitation strategy wouldn’t have worked while Jacinda Ardern was on the list only. She is now safely ensconced in Helen Clark’s old electorate, safe as houses from a vote implosion. She needed to be safe before the dream team of Jacinda and Grant could attain the leadership mantle.

There was a problem however. The unions. There is no point in mounting a coup before the election because they’d definitely lose as the electorate would see them as unstable. A coup after the election couldn’t be guaranteed because it would go back to the membership and the unions would lock in behind Andrew Little again. Therefore the decapitation strategy is planned…for after the election. Jacinda is safe in her seat and at 23% Labour gets no list MPs and that would mean Andrew Little is out of caucus and out of contention for the leadership.

But who leaked?

It wouldn’t have been Jacinda Ardern nor would it have been Grant Robertson. They have too much to lose being outed as disloyal to the leader. It had to be one of their team though, and that leaves two possibilities. Andrew Kirton or Phil Twyford.

Let’s start with Twyford. He is thought to be a Little acolyte. He isn’t, he is on Team Twyford. He is like National’s Murray McCully, always seen on the winning side. But there is a theme to his duplicity. He was for Robbo before he was for Cunliffe. He was also for Robbo before he was for Little. He is also the campaign manager and he will know the figures inside out. He knows at what point the leader is doomed and so he needs to show loyalty to the boss…and he is also in a position to ensure who that might become. Would it be him? No, I don’t think so. Not yet anyway. He also runs the risk of getting the blame for the result because he is the campaign manager.

That leave Andrew Kirton. It is well known in the beltway that he is Robbo’s man. The source and the people speaking to Patrick Gower are simply named as “The Labour party”, and he is on the party side not the parliamentary side. If I was a betting man I would put my money on him.

It all comes back to cui bono? though, and the only people who benefit from this link are Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern…the dream team as they like to call themselves in private.

The bottom line is that Labour knows in their heart that they can’t win. They know that Andrew Little is disliked by caucus and unloved by the public. He has to go and at the same time he has to take all the blame for their appalling performance. The decapitation strategy works for all those reasons. The ultimate benefit is that caucus will be decimated, old hacks like Trevor Mallard and other dead heads destroyed. The unions can also be blamed as they installed Andrew Little. It is all upside for Gracinda, the careerists will take over.



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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.

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