Adding new links and comments as they happen.
Labour’s conference yesterday was eventful, full of intrigue, and reignited leadership questionsn that were already more than simmering.
Reports and comments during the day were well covered at The Standard (this is a strength of blogging, news and discussion as things happen, something old media haven’t got yet). Several threads were running:
Especially for delegates (and me) to write comments on remits. Very fast so far.
So the remit session was a bit of an endurance event as they always are (and we’ve still got policy remits tomorrow…). The vast majority was fairly easily agreed, including the big changes. The real contention was over the leadership vote trigger for the 3-yearly caucus endorsement.
Labour has established its new leadership voting rules. The attempt to effectively neuter the membership’s new power by setting a high bar for a leadership vote to be triggered failed
Martin Bradbury at Tumeke was also blogging from the conference:
What we are watching is the modernization of social democratic political party for the 21st Century. The energy and the buzz from delegates is overwhelming.
Incredible upstart at the conference, different factions are reeling. I get the impression that some have missed the deep desire from members and affiliates to change.
Looks like people do listen to the blogs after all.
Well, it turns out that perhaps the leadership should have spent a bit more time listening and reading the blogs after all. The massive movement to retake the Labour Party back for the members to articulate a real left wing political option has seen an incredible vote supported by the Unions to set the stage for a leadership challenge in February using the new Caucus trigger point of 40%.
Something Tumeke pointed out in September.
Let’s not underplay the dramatic impact of what happened today, it was an event that caught the pundits off guard, it caught leadership off guard and it caught the mainstream media off guard. It was the rank and file members and Unions demanding a leadership that articulates a left wing political voice, not a Pagani centrist sell out and the blogs have been the main vehicle for that expression.
Typical Bomber overplaying his own (and blogs) importance an interesting take on proceedings.
Mainstream media were also reporting during the day…
Labour members vote for shakeup By Laura Mcquillan Sat, 17 Nov 2012 3:51p.m. Comments (3)
Labour Party members have voted to make it easier to roll a leader at a conference where the current leader is under pressure to perform.
Then it was time for the 6 o’clock news cycle, breaking the news to wider New Zealand:
David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party is under threat from his rival David Cunliffe….
“I am confident I will be leader in 2014,” says Mr Shearer. “Read my lips. Come February, come 2014, I will be leader. Nothing is going to change.”
Mr Shearer is left refusing to say how he will deal with Mr Cunliffe for his disloyalty, and facing the reality that it may yet be Mr Cunliffe who deals to him.
Remarkably One News doesn’t seem to have their report online.
Back to the blogs in the evening.
Just a short post on a few points about Labour’s 2012 conference.
And there was an excellent blog report at The Standard:
Back in the early 90′s the first party conference I went to was very nearly my last. Intransigent foes who used the mic to assault each other was my introduction to the Labour party ‘working’ with each other. Eventually I gave up viewing the remit floor as meaningless. But it now looks like this has all changed. It looks like the Labour party has an open door through which it is capable of doing something again.
Now I’ll confess that amongst my reasons why I decided to go to this party conference on a media pass was that I could avoid splatter if war broke out again. There are two interest groups in the conference. One is the caucus/beltway. The other is an irritated and frustrated membership and affliates who’ve been feeling increasingly less involved with the party. This second group includes many amongst our authors and commentators.
Damn was I ever wrong about the splatter.
What does this mean for the short term? Up until February nothing much. In February, it wouldn’t surprise me a leadership petition caused the party vote. It wouldn’t surprise me if it did not. But keep your membership up to date especially in the early part of next year. If anything falters in caucus and there is a disaffected rump there, then the party will need to sort the MP’s out. It is something that I’m sure the MP’s really don’t want to see happen. Not to mention that it will interfere with the political buildup for the next election.
Of course I’m pretty sure that the mainstream won’t spin it in quite that way. Mass actions and political feedback systems don’t make for as simplistic and as easily understood a story as the epic personal conflict of two protagonists to fill those endless minutes (or some other Randian rubbish).
The comments on that post are just revving up this morning, early for Standard activity at this time, especially on a Sunday.
And the traditional morning news cycle:
Labour may have pushed Shearer off a cliff by VERNON SMALL Last updated 05:00 18/11/2012
Bitter conference is manna from heaven for Key’s machine, writes Vernon Small .
In its headlong rush to give grassroots members a greater say in future leadership votes, the Labour Party may have just pushed its current leader over the cliff.
Even if the damage to David Shearer isn’t fatal, it has made the party’s already difficult job that much harder.
In the meantime, Shearer’s leadership, already under pressure, will suffer a thousand speculations.
He has yet to show his hand and may think he can drink from the party’s poisoned chalice and survive. But his inner circle were late yesterday contemplating his next move.
The nuclear option would be to call Cunliffe out, confront him, demote him or put his unspoken challenge to the party now so February’s vote becomes a formality.
Labour MP David Cunliffe has left little doubt that he intends to overthrow David Shearer as Labour’s leader – a job made easier by a surprise change to the party rules.
The rule change was part of a chaotic day at the party’s annual conference in Ellerslie, during which delegates ignored the pleas of several senior MPs and voted to allow just 40 per cent of caucus to force a full leadership vote. All it would take is a vote from 14 of the current 34 MPs.
Shearer needs to act fast to secure his role as leader By John Armstrong 5:30 AM Sunday Nov 18, 2012
David Shearer’s future as Labour leader is now in serious question after he was effectively shafted by delegates at his party’s weekend conference.
Shearer was already under huge pressure to deliver a blockbuster speech when he addresses the conference today. That speech is now almost the least of his worries. Yesterday’s conference proceedings were an unmitigated disaster for the already-struggling leader.
Delegates were so blinded and so intoxicated by the prospect of securing a say in the election of future leaders that they did not think through the consequences and have ended up undermining the current one – quite possibly fatally.
So keen were delegates to get the new rules to apply as soon as possible, they have handed David Cunliffe a golden opportunity to mount a challenge to Shearer. Cunliffe is not likely to waste that chance.
If Cunliffe gets the numbers to force a vote, Shearer’s position as leader will become untenable and he will have little choice but to resign.
His only option is to convene an emergency caucus meeting and secure a motion bringing forward the vote on his re-endorsement, which, if held now, he would win.
He instead risks becoming a victim of his own passiveness.
Shearer confident he will retain leadership (Radio NZ)
Another big day beckons for Labour leader David Shearer.
All eyes will be on him as he delivers his keynote speech to party members at Labour’s annual conference.
His speech has been clouded by renewed leadership speculation, not helped by MP David Cunliffe’s non-committal answers on his own leadership aspirations.
Back to following the blogs and Twitter, they are starting up…
Poor Jacinda Ardern. Trying to be cheerful as MC admidst this train wreck of a conference must be a trial.
Shearer has to move on Cunliffe, possibly by bringing February’s endorsement vote forward. Otherwise it’s goodnight nurse.
Labour conference day 3. Not sure if today can top yesterday’s events.
Good win All Blacks. My question now is whether to try and sleep before Labour conference or hit the bike in the gym
This photo may become an icon of the conference:
Labour leadership open thread danylmc @ 8:39 am November 18, 2012
My take on this is that it’s been in the pipeline for a while. The Labour members I talk to have been really unhappy with the Parliamentary wing of the party for a long time. Generally speaking, they see it as being dominated by under-performing – or non-performing – list MPs, or electorate MPs in formerly safe-seats who are now letting those seats slip away.
These are exciting days as the Labour Party becomes more democratic. In their reports on the Conference, the MSM are failing to focus on the important issues: ones requiring a new direction from the Left, such as damaging white collar fraud and the urgent need for affordable housing.
Will there be an earlier vote than February on the Labour leadership? May be a possibility
A catastrophic conference for Labour. When it comes to losing the next election, it is never too early for Labour to do its best to try.
One of the strangest coups in NZ’s political history is underway by Matthew Hooton | 28 comments
One of the strangest coups in New Zealand’s political history is underway.
Labour’s members want Mr Cunliffe to have a crack. As revealed in Mr Espiner’s Listener article, he may be pompous and vain but he would take the fight to Mr Key. On balance, he would be less risky for Labour than continuing with Mr Shearer.
It should be an easy decision. Labour could bumble along for the next few months with a divisive leadership battle, slowly bleeding support. Or it could just get on and cut Mr Shearer’s throat now.
@JArmstrongNZH If Armstrong has been moved 2 Tweet – three times which for him is a binge – it must be a red alert, pun absolutely intended.
Angry vote damns Shearer by TRACY WATKINS 18/11/2012 08:54
David Shearer’s leadership appears fatally wounded after a his party yesterday voted to give a minority of MPs the power to bring him down.
Rival David Cunliffe is now positioning himself for a challenge in February after yesterday refusing to endorse Shearer’s leadership.
In scenes not witnessed since the David Lange versus Roger Douglas years, anger spilled out during yesterday’s Labour Party conference in Auckland, with the wider party membership effectively punishing MPs for ignoring the grassroots’ clear choice of Cunliffe for leader in a runoff last year.
In what was effectively a vote of no confidence in Shearer by the wider party membership, a rule change was passed by 264 votes to 237 allowing 40 per cent of the caucus – just 14 MPs – to trigger a leadership runoff.
It gives Cunliffe the green light to mount a leadership challenge even though a majority of caucus don’t back him.
Divisions within Labour were laid bare by the vote, which also gave the party’s union backers and grassroots activists the deciding say in who should lead the party.
Looking forward to developments today at the train crash Labour Party conference
There’s a fascinating contrast in coverage – Labour/union activists see the conference as a major success for taking control off the Labour caucus, while MSM commentary is looking at it as a disaster with caucus being kneecapped, which the activists don’t see because they are so swept up in their euphoria.
Looking at the MSM reaction this morning, one thing is clear. They’ve missed that the significance of the vote yesterday was not about whether there will be leadership contest.
It’s about the accountability of the caucus to the party.
No Eddie, they have looked at a wider picture than those activists focussed on setting up a favourable power structure in the Labour Party.
Just as the Labour caucus is split (currently favouring a more centrish Shearer) the party is also split (last year favouring Cunliffe). There is a strong left/ union faction trying to orchestrate a much stronger hand in party selections. But there will certainly be some who support Sheare in the wider party as well.
Interesting to see so many ‘neutral’ commentators condemning a political party for giving their rank and file more power. #caucocracy?
Kris Faafoi and Iain lees-Galloway say they will vote for shearer . David Parker will vote shearer too
Labour’s new 40/40/20 democratic process – all votes are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Senior Labour MP in Camp Shearer tells me they are looking at bringing forward the Feb leadership vote ‘to finish him (Cunliffe) off’ #abc
Media get Labour Party Conference thresholds wrong by Bomber @ 8:30 AM
Many in the media seem to have been taken totally by surprise by the voting decisions at the Labour Party conference and are now attempting to turn the issue into some great Machiavellian plot by David Cunliffe.
I think that version is more to do with their inability to have seen the writing on the wall for several months now that the membership of the Labour Party actually wanted to take their party back so we can’t expect the media to have a very clear view of what happened nor can we trust them to get the basic facts of what the new thresholds mean.
Patrick Gower’s constant questions to Cunliffe were fun but not particularly enlightening, and Prime TV’s Barry Soaper pre-record yesterday that predicted nothing was going to happen at the conference and that Shearer was safe highlights how out of touch many in the msm was with what was really going on.
If Shearer’s response to the members decision is to attack Cunliffe for disloyalty and attempt to punish him for the decision by the wider Party to have more of a democratic say in who is the leader, then the real threshold to challenge Shearer is lower than being reported and as such could become a catalyst for a showdown.
KhandallaMan 18 November 2012 at 10:01 am
Forget the Caucus faction crap. We are bored with it.
It is about us the members, the fund-raisers, the hoarding erectors, the leaflet distributors, the evangelists to work-places and homes.
If the Caucus “gets it” they will see yesterday as the best thing to happen to the party in many years. If they embrace it we will get past the faction crap and arrive at a leadership consensus that helps us to win the next election. And adopt policies that delivers a secure future, in New Zealand, for all Kiwis.
(That’s a fairly typical view from the Labour activist base).
Cunliffe not endorsing Shearer NBR staff | Saturday November 17, 2012
Labour Party MP David Cunliffe won’t confirm whether he will support David Shearer when the Labour Party caucus votes on its leadership in February next year.
(Odd, this article from yesterday is from NBR, they are promoting it in Twitter again now).
#Labour2012 voted to lower the voting age to 16. It’s take us many years, but we’ve finally got it through. Great feeling in the room.
One from yesterday higlighted by Keeping Stock this morning in Tokenism:
Following a debate this morning, Labour Party delegates have already voted in support of a change that will see at least half of electorate committee officers be female.
That is gobsmacking. So 51% male representation won’t be allowed, but 100% women would be?
The policy remits this morning. There isn’t a lot of time. However they are prioritized
Passed: Remit 10: Lowering the voting age, Civics
THAT Labour in Government commit to reducing the voting age to 16 alongside the embedding of a strong, compulsory civics education system in the national curriculum
The debate was pretty impassioned. Charles Chavel and other speakers were probably the most effective when they were talking about the falling levels of voter participation. The conservative agenda is to put barriers into the way of citizens to vote. Getting kids both learning civics (which is not part of our kid training) and doing it as early as possible is important..
Lost Remit 12: A New Zealand republic.
THAT the Labour party support the declaration of New Zealand as a republic as soon as possible.
“Have the last few days been the most blatant example of the mainstream media attempting to create and mould the news to make their own personal and political preferences prevail?”
That would be a ‘yes’. I’d love to see a case study on it. The key though is how successful this alliance is in manipulating the opinions of the non-political public, maybe there is still a way to go before this is played out.
I’ll be interested to see if there is a change in tone concerning the importance of blogs.
Cunliffe still refuses to say he will back Shearer in February vote
@patrickgowernz Very Chinese – except they delayed while the ambitious were sworded.
A major change of focus has been pointed out:
So, The Standard has been about the Cunliffe/Shearer leadership question all week.
But now it’s….
“simplistic and as easily understood a story as the epic personal conflict of two protagonists to fill those endless minutes “
That’s a valid point, Standard activists were talking up Cunliffe and talking down their noses at Shearer’s leadership all week in an attempted coup. Now they are promoting events as great democratic progress.
Remit 57: Living wage
THAT Labour establish a living wage, and set the minimum wage as a proportion of New Zealand’s average wage.
One size fits all? And then what?
All I can say is that Gower is a gutter journalist – very low and just not that bright. But he’s in great company this week after Fran O’Sullivan’s lightweight nonsense and John Armstrong having a go at Cunliffe for a toothpaste smile. Come on, don’t New Zealanders deserve some better journalism than that!
As for Little, he’s sold himself for a safe seat offered by Annette King. My guess is he wanted hers after she announces for the Wellington mayoralty. Unfortunately, its already been promised to Helen Kelly. So another safe seat elsewhere will have been offered to Little. Seats presently held by Dyson and Ross Robertsons are ripe for the plucking as no one wants to see those two sticking around after 2014. Unions you need to watch Little and Kelly and make them understand who they need to connect with and honour!
Labour Party caucus to vote Shearer’s leadership by Vernon Small 18/11/2012 11:49
Labour leader David Shearer is moving to put his leadership to a caucus vote as early as next week in an attempt to end speculation about his position and draw out challenger David Cunliffe.
Shearer was closeted away this morning preparing for his keynote speech this afternoon. But his lieutenants were meeting to consider ways a vote could be taken early under caucus rules.
That would likely not replace the scheduled vote in February at which only 40 per cent of the caucus could trigger a run-off according to new uses approved by the Labour conference yesterday.
But if the caucus gave him a strong endorsement, possibly in a vote that was made public, that could make the February vote more of a formality. No caucus meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, but an urgent one may be called.
It is understood if Shearer wins the backing of caucus he will move quickly to demote Cunliffe.
One of his allies said Shearer had had “a guts full” of being undermined and he was planning to challenge Cunliffe to “either put up or shut up”.
Vernon Small is reporting David Shearer is planning to bring the leadership vote forward to as soon as next week and it looks like their plan is to get it out of the way under the old rules.
While it might save his skin in the short term it spells bad news for the party and the members.
Here is initial reaction at The Standard – over the last week they labelled Shearer weak and have been calling for him to stand down. Then they wanted a leadership challenge on their terms. But now they aren’t happy he is apparently acting strongly to deal with the leadership issue and do it on his terms. Such is politics.
Labour MP Damien O’Connor says caucus may force a decision on Cunliffe over party leadership
One rule for us, another for them:
Can QOT not comprehend that O’Sullivan, Farrar and Armstrong and the Labour caucus might for their own personal/political reasons, be able to have their own opinions?
David Shearer arrives to standing ovation at Labour conference
Shearer is introduced for his speach by his wife, the “I did good in Africa” approach.
Anuschka Meyer, David Shearer’s partner talking of experiences with save the children in Africa #Labour2012
Labour Party reforms have engaged the supporter base! Packed! NZLP CONFERENCE. Wow starting
Anuschka does a Michelle Obama, introducing her husband at Labour conference. Shearer wooed her by mowing her lawns.
Under Shearer’s leadership the gap between Labour and National has halved. Better than clark in her first year.
I’m still dubious about that claim. Don’t know what it’s based on.
“It’s time for a new direction for New Zealand. It’s time to fight back.” – David Shearer #labour2012
“I will not lie down. I will not back down. I am focussed on leading Labour to victory in 2014.
Ah, that sort of fighting back.
“Labour will fight back and build a world class NZ.”
And that too. Fight back against who? The Chinese?
Message from David Shearer to David Cunliffe in his speech saying “we must speak in one clear voice”.
“I am in politics to make lives better.
“I’m not here to cross something off my bucket list. Or to indulge in some sense of celebrity.”
A dig at John Key.
“Don’t let anyone tell you a govt can’t do big things to change people’s lives.
Housing announcement from Labour homes for 100,000 families in ten years. Kick start costs $1.5 billion
Green style policy packaging.
100,000 new entry level homes. The biggest public building programme in over fifty years. Hope for young families and households. A massive boost to jobs and the economy.
This is a historic policy.
Shearer making references to leaders past – Kirk (superannuation), Lange (oxford debate)
Seems that Shearer has spoken coherently in multiple successive sentences. Huge victory against Team Cunliffe. One all.
Best conference speech I’ve heard in 12 years of conferences. Under pressure, Shearer delivers.
Shearer speech getting good reception from party faithful (as they do) and he is delivering well.
I will use the govt intelligently to transform the economy so it works for everyone, not just being a bystander – Shearer.
David Shearer’s speech to conference was everything that it needed to be – and more. The headlines will be about KiwiBuild, as they should be, it’s a stunning policy. But just as important for the future of the country is the strong commitment to active government.
It’s pretty simple. The “small government”, passive, leave everything to the “invisible hand” approach to government has failed. It has failed globally. It has failed in NZ. The last wasted four years this country has been going backwards on just about every social and economic measure. It’s time for a change. A real change. David Shearer promised to deliver:
…followed by speech quotes.
“We will bring in what this economy desperately needs – a capital gains tax”
Energised mood. Really doesn’t sound like a room of people who yesterday dug a grave for the guy.
Standing ovation from 3/4 room for housing policy announcement.
Shearer: “I say to the people of Chch, we are committed to rebuilding your city from the grassroots up, not the Beehive down.”
“Eradicating poverty will be a top priority for the next Labour government”
“Labour will require landlords to ensure every rental property is a healthy home, warm and dry home.
From the factsheet:
Who will be able to buy the houses?
Eligibility to buy a KiwiBuild home will be kept as simple as possible to cut down on administration costs. As with the current KiwiSaver homeownership features, the houses will be restricted to first home buyers. Buyers will need to live in the house for a period of time to be determined based on advice from officials. There will be a penalty applied if the house is sold within in this time frame. If the property was sold prospective buyers will also have to show they saved their deposit themselves (including through KiwiSaver).
Where there is more demand in a locality than there are homes available, eligible candidates will go into a draw and the buyer will be selected by ballot.
No household type will receive preference over any other household type. Nor will there be any income restrictions. On the whole, people will ‘self-select’, with those who can afford to move up the property ladder excluding themselves.
Good grief – that is already being attacked at The Standard:
“Nor will there be any income restrictions. On the whole, people will ‘self-select’, with those who can afford to move up the property ladder excluding themselves.”
Oh, goody. Because the upper classes have historically been so willing to go without social support they don’t actually need.
You can read @DavidShearerMP speech online here:http://www.labour.org.nz/news/speech-new-zealand-a-new-direction …#Labour2012
2 min standing ovation. Shearer very impressive. About as good as he and supporters could have hoped for.
Powerhouse performance by David Shearer
Kiwibuild: The start-up cost of the building programme will be financed through issuing government stock called Home Ownership Bonds.
The start of the speech:
Today I want to talk about two paths that lie before us as a country.
Each offers very different directions and different choices.
One path leads to disappointment, decline and constant struggle.
That’s our country’s current path, the one National is taking.
The other path is about change.
It’s about a new direction for Labour and a new direction for New Zealand.
A new direction where we fight back, create opportunity and build a world class New Zealand that we’re proud of.
A new direction that’s about what is best for the long term, not just the short term.
A new direction that’s about all New Zealanders daring to dream and having the opportunity to get there.
Not just accepting second best and managing decline.
Cunliffe says he welcomes early vote on leadership. Must be under new rules. Refuses to endorse Shearer
There were over 1000 people in attendance for @DavidShearerMP ‘s speech. Biggest attendance in living memory.
Several MPs refusing to endorse Shearer – Radio NZ
Several Labour MPs are refusing to endorse leader David Shearer just a day after the party’s annual conference changed the rules to make a leadership challenge likely in February 2013.
Under the changes, party members and affiliated unions will get to vote in future leadership contests as well as MPs.
The rule change is seen as a victory for his likely challenger, senior MP David Cunliffe. Other MPs Sue Moroney, Louisa Wall and Moana Mackey have already refused to endorse Mr Shearer as leader.
Shearer refuses to talk about Cunliffe or confirm caucus vote next week, but concedes “we have some issues to deal with in the Labour party”
Echoing David Cunliffe:
IrishBill @ TheStandard …18 November 2012 at 2:26 pm
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to get it all over and done with before next year and then get on with beating the government but I think that it needs to be done under the rules the membership has clearly chosen.
“I am the leader. And I determine how this party goes forward. It will be done in my time.” Shearer to media on leadership threat