Labour don’t have an abundance of riches in the leadership department. The main contenders as they have indicated today are:
Strutted for the cameras at Shearer’s media conference today, but his recidivist underperforming, speaking with a paramu in his mouth, his lack of support in the party and his lack of obvious appeal to the wider public rule him out for me.
Little has not been an MP for two years yet. Labour can’t risk another rookie, and shouldn’t risk Little anyway, his ambitions seem to be racing ahead of his credentials and ability.
They’d be nuts to choose Jones or Little.
Seems to have seen himself as not ready yet, hence he has been happy to prop up Shearer and bide his time. A Wellington party insider who would struggle to be accepted by the all important Auckland vote.
Apparently quite a few caucus colleagues don’t like him, but I don’t know if that’s personal dislike, jealousy, protection of their places or everything. But the dire position the party is in needs to take precedence. Labour needs the strongest leader possible, the person most capable of footing it toe to toe with opponents, and with political smarts – the latter is a question mark, he hasn’t made it to leader yet and he seems to have burnt a few bridges, but Cunliffe is the only strong option so must be the first choice.
I don’t see anyone else close to being worth of consideration.
It’s essential for Labour (and it would help the strength of Parliament too) that they put past animosities and personal ambitions aside and work together, something they haven’t done since Clark and Cullen were in control.
And who for deputy?
One option is to put a defeated leadership candidate at deputy to go for as strong a team as possible, but I have a problem with that. Leaving Robertson as deputy may seem logical but he has failed alongside Shearer and is tainted by being part of the same old.
Jones and Little don’t do it for me either, and would alongside Cunliffe it would look too much like a blokes club.
I think they should go for Jacinda Ardern.
Sure, she doesn’t look ready yet. But the party isn’t ready yet either, they desperately need to look like they are rebuilding. And they need to look more diverse than bloke 1 and bloke 2. It gives time Ardern to learn about rising to another level and proving herself.
Most of the voting public don’t know who deputies are, so if she doesn’t shape up it’s no big deal to flick over deputy in a reshuffle.
The biggest downside with Ardern is that she’s unlikely to stand up to the long established factions and boofs in caucus. But the caucus collectively has a responsibility to deal with the toxic morass that has got them into this situation.
Shearer hasn’t stepped up, but he has also been badly let down by his caucus. If they don’t put their own wee empires and egos aside and work for the good of the party, rallying behind the leadership, then Labour are stuffed for next year’s election. And that may be terminal.
Cunliffe + Ardern would look a very different Labour. That’s the first essential.
The second essential is for all 34 MPs to work together. That will be a lot harder to achieve than a strong balanced leadership.