Labour branch recess “nothing to lose any sleep over at all”

Labour are that brimming with support that the putting of a branch into recess has been descrobed by the Labour Party president as “certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all”.


The Labour party leadership is shrugging off a move by a Dunedin branch of the party to go into recess because it says it is not left wing enough.

The Anderson’s bay branch of the party has said it is going into recess.

Its organiser, Tat Loo, who writes under the pseudonym “Colonel Viper’ on the left wing blog site, “The Standard”. Said “Labour as an organization is failing ordinary Kiwis both locally in Dunedin and centrally in Wellington on many different levels and it shows every sign of continuing on that track.

“We want no part of propping up the Thorndon Bubble careerist ‘pretend and extend’ set any further and will be moving on to new political projects.”

But party president, Nigel Haworth, said the move was “really quite inconsequential”.

He said it was a minor perturbation.

“It’s certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.”

In fact Mr Haworth and leader, Andrew Little, night well regard the move as a minor victory in their quest to make the party more relevant to mainstream New Zealand.

Yeah, right, sheeding support is just what Labour need right now.

Ok, Tat Loo has been a vocal critic of the direction Labolur is heading (right and down) at The Standard for a while. A few years ago he got offside with Clare Curran and she is alleged to have tried to have him suspended from the party.

But Labour can’t really afford to shed factions.

I met Tat Loo during the 2011 campaign (he stood for Labour in the Clutha/Southlan electorate), seemed a nice enough guy but having seen what he writes at The Standard our ideas on politics are obviously quite different.

As Colonial Viper Loo wrote about the branch recess decision at The Standard:

ABP Branch of Labour goes into recess; all Branch Officers to resign

Dunedin’s most active and most innovative Labour Party branch is going into recess.

Going by the comment count (361 to date) there’s been a lot of interest.

Quite funny to see me pop up in the commentary:

Colonial Viper 17.2

thanks RL. To our team forging unity throughout the Left is not going to be the goal, it is going to be shifting and driving authentic political debate, something that many are clearly uncomfortable with.

  • One Anonymous Bloke


    Like Pete George only with conspiracy theories 😆

    • Colonial Viper

      yeah, because everyone on the Std reckons that my politics and that of Pete Georges are directly comparable.

      • One Anonymous Bloke

        I’m referring to the fact that, like yours, his rapier-like debating abilities make people uncomfortable 😆

        • McFlock

          Different sides of the same coin.

          PG often seemed to me to be so keen on the idea that truth was a matter of perspective that he would disappear up his own cartesian doubt.

          CV seems to be so convinced he can read the matrix code as it swirls by that anybody who disagrees with him must be either a fool or a neoliberal stooge.

Quite funny to be included in discussions like that.

Less funny – both Tat Loo and I are potential Labour voters, albeit from opposite sides of their spectrum. That both of us a rejected by Labour and Labour supporters suggests that 30% might be not be left behind any time soon.

But apparently the Labour leader and the Labour president see this as really quite inconsequential, a minor perturbation and  certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.


Overdose on irony

In You’d never guess who’s accused me of making stuff up Phil Quin says:

Is it possible to overdose on irony?

‘Cameron Slater’ (this post sounds like Slater) quotes Quin in PHIL QUIN ON THE FERAL OPPOSITION TO DISSENT IN LABOUR and says:

In Labour people aren’t allowed to change their views, have to subscribe to group think and if they don’t then they get run out of town on a rail. Good people have left Labour because of attitudes like these.

Joe Bloggs points out:

Kinda reminded me of all the good people who’ve left WO for exactly the same reason… the irony, the irony, oh how it burns…

But Slater is as inept as Clare Curran – see Quin illustrates dissent in Labour – in failing to see the irony in what they say.

Quin illustrates dissent in Labour

In his latest column Phil Quin sums up his despair about Labour: “I am genuinely exasperated by its unrelenting incompetence, and fearful that New Zealand is on the cusp of becoming a one-party state.

I feel much the same, and I’ve seen many others express similar sentiments. A strong democracy benefits from having at least two strong political parties.

Labour’s continued failure to look like a Government in waiting – and their habits of blaming everything and everyone else and of attacking anyone who criticises them rather than address the problems being highlighted keeps limiting and reducing support that they badly need.

Quin points some of this out in You’d never guess who’s accused me of making stuff up.

Of all people, it was Dunedin South MP Clare Curran who took to social media to attack as “fiction” my latest NZ Herald column on the party’s disastrous TPP policy. For good measure, she added  I am “very bitter”.

Is it possible to overdose on irony?

In my plagiarism posts, I presented several examples of Curran lifting entire sections from magazine articles and inserting them without attribution in a Labour Party policy paper. Neither Curran nor anyone else in Labour disputed my account.

By contrast, when calling my column “fiction” and me “very bitter”, Curran failed to produce a scintilla of evidence to support either claim.  Just another baseless ad hominem attack. Ho hum..

This happens every time without fail.  Some outlet or other publishes something from me that contains criticism of the Labour Party because I am genuinely exasperated by its unrelenting incompetence, and fearful that New Zealand is on the cusp of becoming a one-party state.

The response from Labour is never to dispute the facts as I lay them out, or even to question my interpretation. I am simply attacked for being “bitter”.

Try attempting to out-criticise anything to do with Labour at The Standard if you are labelled a right wing nut job and you will see what Quin is getting at,

So why do people choose the ad hominem attack over engaging on the substance of arguments to which they object?  After all, I cop a fraction of what others with unfashionable views endure on a daily basis.  Sadly, personal vilification in lieu of argument is a ubiquitous feature of the modern discourse.

When they have only a party entrenched in negative behaviour without a positive outlook people tend to lash out at others. Instead of addressing and fixing their own faults.

The problem for Labour is that they call in the attack dogs each and every time. All dissent amounts to apostasy.  Every critic must be acting in bad faith: they are embittered over a factional stoush twenty years ago; they harbour ulterior motives; they’re on someone’s payroll.

The impact on people like me who cop the abuse is neither here nor there; what should worry Labour supporters is that an ethos that delegitimises dissent makes reform impossible – and that, without reform, the party’s future looks very bleak indeed.

I also think Labour’s future looks bleak. If they do manage to cobble together a National beating coalition after the 2017 election I think it would be a miracle if they survived in Government longer than a single term – if they manage to last that long.

Quin pointed to examples of the inclination towards personal attack:

So you can see why I might feel a tad hurt by Curran’s digs, since I went out of my way during the plagiarism episode to avoid disparaging her. (Curran also honed in on the Josie Pagani for retweeting my article: “Josie,” she snarled, “why are you so anti-Labour?”).

I saw that exchange between Pagani and Curran and it’s a good illustration of one of Quin’s points.

As for a number of MPs who don’t like criticism I get this when I try to view Curran on Twitter:

You are blocked from following @clarecurranmp and viewing @clarecurranmp’s Tweets.

But Josie Pagani is more open to engagement so it’s easy to see what happened via her.

Labour’s position on TPP undermines all international agreements, from climate change to human rights. Phil Quin:

another piece of fiction by the very bitter Phil Quinn. Why are you so anti-Labour Josie?

another piece of fiction by the very bitter Phil Quinn. Why are you so anti-Labour Josie?” Nice Clare-try engaging in issues

gee Josie. All you do is bag Labour at every turn.

: gee Josie. All you do is bag Labour at every turn.” Your ‘unity’, also collective denial. I want a Labour gov

could have fooled me. Our position clear & principled on the But we haven’t seen the text so reliant on briefings & leaks

Reaction outside a few Labour MPs has suggested their position is far from clear and principled.

Other reactions were mixed.

No you don’t you want a neoliberal national light government.

Pagani don’t give a shit about anything or anybody that isn’t Pagani.

A modern and successful party allows discussion, disagreement and debate surely?

And all Labour does is bag everything in sight and not.

one would of thought so we need new energy , new ideas and new talent

Away from the smug trolls, honestly, & with respect would be nice.

I’m all for that. Sick of snide remarks. I accept Phil’s got the right to make his points.

As Quin said in his post – “Is it possible to overdose on irony?”

Clare Curran for Dunedin mayoralty?

The ODT has a story about rumours that Labour MP Clare Curran may stand for the Dunedin mayoralty.

Mayoral hopes verified, denied

The fog of war is descending as Dunedin’s mayoral aspirants jockey for position a year out from local body elections.

While some candidates are already putting their hands up for the top job, including Cr Andrew Whiley, others, including sitting Mayor Dave Cull, are continuing to play their cards close to their chests.

But that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill kicking into high gear in Dunedin. Much of the early attention is focused on one woman _ Clare Curran.

Ms Curran, Labour’s sitting Dunedin South MP, has been linked to a tilt for the Dunedin mayoralty by a variety of sources speaking to the Otago Daily Times.

She sounds like an unlikely candidate for Mayor.

The rumour is said to have come from inside Ms Curran’s office, although she vehemently denied the ”mischievous” suggestion when contacted.

”You will not see my name on the ballot paper next [local body] election.

”I’m the MP for Dunedin South. I’ve got a job.”

As far as political denials go that’s a strongish one.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards, of the University of Otago’s politics department, said a mayoral bid by Ms Curran ”sounds unbelievable”, but Labour was ”going through some quite serious reorganisation”.

Declining support for Labour in Dunedin South during the last two general elections could ”absolutely” mean Ms Curran was a candidate for change, as the party looked to renew itself, he believed.

”No doubt there will be some MPs that are having pressure applied to them to move on. It’s entirely feasible Clare Curran is one of those people.

”Questions are being asked within Labour about the ability of incumbent MPs to hold their party vote up. That’s the real measure that the party is judging all of their incumbents on.”

Ms Curran’s name recognition and profile would give her ”a strong shot” at Dunedin’s mayoralty, and she would also follow in the footsteps of some prominent Labour colleagues, Dr Edwards said.

It needs more than name recognition, although David Benson-Pope was elected to council in 2011, presumably more on name than reputation as a failed MP.

Curran just seems like an unlikely mayor to me.

But her future in Labour doesn’t look great.

Members’ bills

Three new Members’ bills were drawn today.

Carmel Sepuloni’s Social Security (Pathway to Work) Amendment Bill

This bill removes the disincentives to engage in part-time work by lifting the threshold of how much persons can earn before their benefit is reduced by abatement rates.

Dr Russel Norman’s Climate Change (Divestment from Fossil Fuels) Bill

This Bill will direct public fund managers to divest from companies directly involved in the exploration, mining, and production of fossil fuels

Clare Curran’s Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill

This bill amends the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013, establishing a Technical Advisory Board to which matters must be referred in instances where the Minister will be required to exercise his or her discretion or prescribe an additional area of specified security interest.

Labour and interference with Maori TV

Reported at Maori Television: Ihaka takes up Senior Communications Advisor role:

Putting Māori Members of Parliament (MPs) at the forefront of important New Zealand politics is Jodi Ihaka’s plan, as she was recently appointed the Labour Party’s new Senior Communications Advisor (Māori).

“I’m really excited to use my communication skills in such an important Māori advisory capacity.  I have loved my time at Whakaata Māori (Māori Television) and have nothing but respect for the Māori journalists on Te Kāea and Native Affairs,” says Ihaka.

The position sees Ihaka take on a key advisory role to Labour leader, Andrew Little as well as Māori MPs including Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare, Louisa Wall, Meka Whaitiri, Nanaia Mahuta and Adrian Rurawhe.

Of Te Aupōuri and Ngāti Porou descent, Ihaka says her grandparents were staunch Labour supporters and taking up this role means she is making a call about her own political affiliations.

Just days ago, the Native Affairs journalist was getting story leads from Senior Labour MPs and will now play the role of cheerleader, camp mother, and all consuming communicator.

That’s one way of interfering, pinching one of their top journalists. But that’s not what Labour is complaining about.

3 News reports: Labour claims interference with Maori TV:

Labour is accusing a minister’s office of editorial interference in Maori TV.

Clare Curran has released copies of emails Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s press secretary sent to a producer.

In one of them, Hinerangi Barr questioned the purpose of a panel debate on the Maori welfare delivery programme Whanau Ora.

“I don’t think the issue will be covered in any depth if you have NZ First on it, for example,” she told associate producer Kelvin McDonald.

In another email to Mr McDonald, Ms Barr said: “I’m just not convinced that you’ll enlighten your viewers by having a panel of politicians talking about Whanau Ora.”

Mr McDonald had asked Mr Flavell to appear on the programme with representatives of other political parties.

Mr Flavell had agreed to take part.

However, the minister met Maori TV’s chief executive Paora Maxwell on May 20 and later that day the programme was cancelled.

Ms Curran questioned Mr Flavell in Parliament yesterday about the meeting, and Mr Flavell said the programme hadn’t been discussed.

He said the meeting had been in his diary since February.

Ms Curran believes the Maori Television Service Act has been breached.

It states: “The responsible minister, or any person acting on behalf of or at the direction of any minister… must not direct the service or any director, officer or employee of the service in respect of the preparation or presentation of current affairs programming.”

“Just days ago, the Native Affairs journalist was getting story leads from Senior Labour MPs” – one could wonder whether Labour MPs were getting story leads from Native Affairs journalists.

Curran questions Flavell in Parliament yesterday:

[Sitting date: 17 June 2015. Volume:706;Page:14. Text is subject to correction.]

10. CLARE CURRAN (Labour—Dunedin South) to the Minister for Māori Development : When he met with the Chief Executive of Māori Television in May, did he or his office discuss the planned Native Affairs debate on Whānau Ora?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Minister for Māori Development): Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Kia ora tātou. In answer to the question: no. I met with the chief executive officer of Māori Television once in May 2015. The meeting itself had been confirmed in my diary since February 2015, when I believe I had my first meeting with him. I did not discuss, and do not discuss, planned news items or editorial decisions, as those are matters for the staff of Māori Television to consider.

Clare Curran : Did his press secretary question the format and offer alternative suggestions for a proposed Native Affairsdebate regarding Whānau Ora, which was to have occurred on Māori Television on 1 June 2015?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : I am advised that my media secretary had communications with the associate producer of Māori Television to clarify the purpose of the panel and, having been told by Māori Television that it was to discuss Whānau Ora and its details, she questioned whether a panel of MPs, including MPs from New Zealand First—who have clearly never understood in any detail what it is all about—would achieve the stated purpose.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is well known that a Minister cannot seek to answer and lay out the policy of another political party, particularly when it is so demonstrably false.

Mr SPEAKER : I just want to rule on the point made by the Rt Hon Winston Peters, because he is right on this occasion. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! When answering a question, it just does not help the order of the House to take the opportunity to criticise in any way another political party.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : The questioner asked about discussions that might have occurred with my press secretary—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! The Minister will now resume his seat. I have no problem with that part of the answer. The part that caused a little disruption in the House was the reference to whether or not another political party understood the purposes of Whānau Ora. That was not helpful and is not actually in accordance with the Standing Orders.

Hon David Cunliffe : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Is this is a fresh point of order?

Hon David Cunliffe : Yes, it is a completely separate point of order.

Mr SPEAKER : I will hear it.

Hon David Cunliffe : There was a degree of to and fro across the across benches, which made it difficult for members here to hear the Minister’s initial reply. I wonder if it would be possible for the Minister to repeat his reply to the previous supplementary question.

Mr SPEAKER : If the member is saying that he did not hear that—I heard most of the answer without any difficulty—I have got to accept the member’s word. Would the Minister please re-give his answer without the part that caused some difficulty in the last answer.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : I will do my best. In answer to the question: I am advised that my media secretary had communications with the associate producer of Māori Television in order to clarify what the purpose of the panel was, and, having been told by Māori Television that it was to discuss in detail what Whānau Ora was about, she questioned whether a panel of MPs, including New Zealand First—for those are the statements—would achieve the stated purpose. The note continues in the same discussion thread with Māori Television. My media secretary confirmed also that I was happy to be interviewed on the Whānau Ora story, and that is because I do not shirk my responsibilities and I would have no difficulty in answering questions about the value of Whānau Ora, because it has benefited so many families’ lives throughout the country.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table emails dated 14 May 2015 and 19 May 2015 between the Minister’s press secretary and a Māori Television associate producer, which offer alternative suggestions for the format and which question the need for New Zealand First to appear in the proposed Native Affairs debate regarding Whānau Ora that was to occur—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I think the document has now been described more than adequately. Leave is sought to table this particular email. Is there any objection? There is.

Clare Curran : When he told the Māori Affairs Committee this morning that neither he nor his office expressed a view about what should be screened or who should be approached to comment on Māori Television, why did he not admit then that his own press secretary had indeed engaged in an email discussion with a Native Affairs producer about what should be screened and who should be approached to comment?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : It is pretty simple: I did not believe that the communications between my press secretary and, indeed, Māori Television did what the member has just said.

Clare Curran : Is it correct that on the afternoon of 20 May 2015, just after he met with the chief executive officer of Māori Television, Paora Maxwell, the planned debate regarding Whānau Ora was cancelled?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : That is very insightful. Yes, it was cancelled. We were notified on that date, having also told Māori Television on the 14th that I was prepared to appear on that programme.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table an email dated 20 May 2015 at 3.13 p.m. from the producer of Native Affairs stating that the proposed debate on Whānau Ora had been—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! The member will resume her seat. The email has been described adequately. I am putting the leave. Leave is sought to table it. Is there any objection? There is.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table an email from Paora Maxwell dated 22 May 2015 showing that he met with the Minister for Māori Development on Wednesday 20 May.

Mr SPEAKER : Leave is sought to table that particular email. Is there any objection? There is objection. [Interruption] Order! If the member wants to ask a supplementary question, get on with it.

Clare Curran : Can he assure this House unequivocally that he has complied with section 10 of the Māori Television Service (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Māori) Act, which states that a “Minister, or any person acting by or on behalf of or at the direction of any Minister … must not direct the Service … in respect of … the preparation or presentation of current affairs programmes”?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : Absolutely.

Clare Curran : Did he post a tweet on 8 June in response to Graham Cameron that he had never been invited to talk to theNative Affairs programme about the Whānau Ora programme?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : I am not sure, but I think I did post a tweet and confirm that I had not been invited. The communication that the member has talked about was through my press secretary. It had not arrived to me, and I stand by what I said.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table a copy of the 8 June tweet by the Minister in response to Graham Cameron.

Mr SPEAKER : Leave is sought to table that particular information. Is there any objection? There is objection. [Interruption] Order! A member on this side is trying to ask a supplementary question.

Clare Curran : Is he concerned about the claims of continued editorial interference with the Native Affairsprogramme, including stories on Whānau Ora and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust; and if he is concerned and is not a party to this editorial interference, as he claims, why has he not investigated these allegations or raised them with the chief executive officer and chair of Māori Television?

Mr SPEAKER : The Hon Te Ururoa Flavell—any of those three supplementary questions.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : Those issues are matters for both the board and the chief executive; they are not the prerogative of the Minister.

Clare Curran survey: 1 = not at all related

Clare Curran has a 2014 Post-Election Survey on Survey Monkey that suggests a failure to understand what when wrong for Labour in the last election, but is an inadvertent indicator of why Labour has lost touch and lost support.

It has four questions repeated:

1. From your perspective, which core theme or policy area was the most central to Labour’s campaign this past election? (you will have the opportunity to list up to three other core themes or policy areas later in the survey)

4. From your perspective, what was another core theme or policy area that was central to Labour’s campaign this past election? (you will have the opportunity to list up to two other core themes or policy areas later in the survey).

7. From your perspective, what was another core theme or policy area that was central to Labour’s campaign this past election? (you will have the opportunity to list up to one other core theme or policy area later in the survey).

10. From your perspective, what was another core theme or policy area that was most central to Labour’s campaign this past election?

My guess is  that the number of ordinary voters interested in responding to any of these questions would be close to 0% – but what is her target market for this survey?

There is no sign of it on her web page, nor on her Facebook page. Nor on her Twitter, which has this profile:

Dunedin South Labour, communications and IT, regional & economic development. Never gives up on impt stuff.

For someone into communications her activity on line has been very sparse lately. Her last tweet was on October 8, her last post on Facebook on October 18.

Each of her survey questions asked for this feedback:

How well did this theme or policy area relate to issues that matter to you, with 1 = not at all related, and 5 = extremely related?

How well did this theme and policy area relate to issues that matter to your neighbours, with 1 = not at all related, and 5 = extremely related?

The survey is probably 1 = not at all related to me but I don’t think “themes or policy areas” were Labours main problems – failing  present themselves as a credible potential leader of Government and failing to relate to voters were far bigger issues, and if this survey is any indicator then 1 = not at all related continues.

When I first decided to get involved in politics I approached Clare to see if she was interested in fresh ideas and input – this was just after Labour’s loss in 2008 and I thought they would be keen on re-establishing relevance with voters and rebuilding.

That offer stills stands, but this survey doesn’t look promising, it appears to be 1 = not at all related to what Labour need to be doing.

(This survey was brought to my attention by two journalists on Twitter who were far from complimentary about the survey).

Curran rules out Internet party

Clare Curran has categorically ruled out jumping waka and joining the Internet Party.

She was an obvious suspect after an NZ Herald editorial claim:

In interviews with the Herald on Sunday this week, Dotcom and his lieutenants have confirmed they plan to spend up to $2 million in an attempt to get into Parliament with enough MPs to hold the balance of power.

More worrying for Key, they are negotiating a deal with Hone Harawira and claim to be talking to four sitting electorate MPs about joining up with the Internet Party, in the most aggressive poaching exercise in this country’s contemporary political history.

Curran has previously acknowledged visiting Dotcom at his mansion twice – see Clare Curran, Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party and More on Clare Curran and Dotcom.

Curran has ruled out joining Dotcom’s party.


Just for the record people who know me know I am tribal Labour. It’s in my bones. Ruling myself out. Fascinating though.

@Inventory2 a correction might be in order following your unfounded speculation.


@clarecurranmp Is that a categorical denial?


@Inventory2 yes


@clarecurranmp I’m happy to publish that :)

A current electorate MP like Curran would probably be committing political suicide by jumping to the Internet Party.

They would lose the party support that got them elected, and in Curran’s Dunedin South electorate it would seriously risk splitting the Labour vote and making it much easier for National to win. That would be a double disaster.

It would give Dotcom publicity for his party and may (or may not) help his party vote but, especially if unless a waka jumping electorate MP was very high on the Internet Party list, they would likely be sacrificing their own political career.

Cunliffe: from Saviour to Martyr – Crucifixion next?

After being on the defensive for a week trying to deal with gaffe after gaffe David Cunliffe changed tack yesterday and tried playing the embattled martyr card – but his claims are contradicted by some obvious facts.

He started early on Newstalk ZB yesterday, responding to questions by Rachel Smalley:

Smalley: Do you accept though that it looks shonkey.

Cunliffe: I accept that there is a full scale assault against me and the Labour Party, and I would respectfully suggest that has something to do with what we stand for, which is a program of change that will bring a fairer better New Zealand.

Smalley: Where’s that assault coming from?

Cunliffe: I think that assault is coming from obviously from the National Party and no doubt from some people that support the National Party.


Smalley: There are stronger calls…there are strong calls now for you from some quarters to resign. Under what circumstances would you relinquish the leadership?

Cunliffe: Um I think that is a very very silly suggestion and I have had absolutely no conversations to that effect within the caucus I can assure you. This is a sustained assault on a political party by their political opponents, and I’m sure people can see it for what it is.

In Bruised Cunliffe bounces back on Stuff:

“Mate, that is just Wellington beltway politics,” he said yesterday. “Government has been trying to throw the kitchen sink at me in the last couple of weeks just to discredit me.”


Earlier in the week the Labour leader admitted the late disclosure was a lapse of judgment but yesterday he said: “They are threatened by the ideas that we are bringing to New Zealanders. Everybody gets a chance, not just the few at the top. I guess the guys at the top, they don’t like that because they think they are going to pay for it and so they are really trying to take me out.

“Well, they can try but I am tougher than that.”

There’s a problem with this approach – it doesn’t stack up with all the facts. “A sustained assault on a political party by their political opponents”?  “Government has been trying to throw the kitchen sink at me”?

Over the last week there have been four significant embarrassments for Cunliffe.

  1. Criticising Key for living in a flash house in a leafy suburb when Cunliffe lives similarly. And claiming to have a middle income when his own household income is estimated at $700k.

This was initiated by Cunliffe attacking John Key, not the Government attacking Cunliffe. Journalists seem to have spotted glaring hypocrisy for themselves.

  1. The revelation that Cunliffe used a secret donations trust for the Labour leadership contest.

Where did this story originate? Claire Trevett seems to have been first in NZ Herald on Monday – Cunliffe used agent to take donations for campaign – and appears to have been promoted by the deadline for filing pecuniary interests on Friday.

There is no evidence and no specific claims that National started this story. That seems unlikely. There have been claims it came from information from inside Labour.

  1. The news that Cunliffe failed to disclose a savings trust in his statement of pecuniary interests on time last year, and made a late disclosure at the time David Sheare’s non-disclosure of a bank account was in the news.

This is the least serious – several other MPs were also prompted by Shearer’s embarrassment to improve their disclosures. Patrick Gower says he initiated this story, with colleague Tova O’Brien checking the register. Journalists doing what journalists do.

  1. The sending of an IT policy document and notes of a Cunliffe speech to IT minister Amy Adams.

This was initially misreported. Clare Curran took the blame and later claimed media “had not listened to what she had said” but her story didn’t stack up.

Bizarrely the following day Curran said that while the email was sent from Cunliffe’s office she decided she should take responsibility. “I think a member of Parliament or minister or whatever should take responsibility. Nobody forced me to do it.” There’s been credible claims Curran was thrown under a bus by Cunliffe (or Matt McCarten) and she stoicly copped one for the team.

Curran also said “We stuffed up yesterday. Let’s hope today’s better.”

It’s easy to label opposing parties as the culprits – and there has also been a lot of blaming of the media. But when it’s pretty obvious these are mostly own goals by Cunliffe and Labour trying to divert the blame lacks credibility, adding to rather than detracting from their embarrassments.

Cunliffe seems to find it difficult to say “We stuffed up”, or his political advisers are telling him it wouldn’t be a good look. But making hollow accusations isn’t a good look either.

Cunliffe started by presenting himself as Saviour. He has moved on to Martyr. Is the next step Crucifixion?

And will his own party be his Judas, or will the condemnation come from the voters?

Has Curran been thrown under a bus in snowballing SNAFU?

Has David Cunliffe thrown Clare Curran under a bus to avoid the blame for yet another Labour fiasco?

ODT/APNZ Labour accidentally leaks policy details:

Labour has revealed it sent internal policy documents and speech notes for leader David Cunliffe to a Government minister.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) spokeswoman Clare Curran’s staff accidently emailed the documents to Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams.

Who emailed it?

Vernon Small in Cunliffe’s worst day:

His admission came as associate ICT spokeswoman Clare Curran’s office emailed an outline of the party’s ICT plan to Communications Minister Amy Adams.

Curran quickly released the document to the media, but the copy she provided was an earlier draft and Labour was then forced to release the version actually sent to Adams.

There’s a number of odd things about this.

And notes for a Cunliffe speech were also in the email –

The background notes were for a speech that Mr Cunliffe was scheduled to give yesterday morning.

– why would Curran have Cunliffe’s speech notes? There are claims the email wasn’t sent from her office.

Clare Curran did not send out Amy Adams Labour’s IT policy ideas – Labour says blame is with “a staffer”

I’m reliably informed it came from Cunliffe’s office, Curan thrown under bus by his team, another cock up from leader

iles Erwin sent out the clarifying clarification. #primesuspect

I don’t know if he still is but Erwin has been the Labour Party press secretary.

This morning:

RadioLIVE Newsroom@LIVENewsDesk 

Clare Curran denies her office intentionally leaked Labour’s I-C-T policy ideas to Communication Minister Amy Adams

One accusation has been that the leak was an ABC faction attempt to further destabilise Cunliffe’s leadership.

Curran refused to speak with Radio NZ yesterday. She is trying to leave yesterday behind her:

Clare Curran@clarecurranmp 

We stuffed up yesterday. Let’s hope today’s better. One good thing is that there’s now some bold policy ideas out there ripe for discussion

Note the use of “we”. Curran is usually a frequent tweeter, that is her first since Monday.

Has the blame been dumped on Curran? Labour are a bit of a train wreck at the moment but even ion that context there are some strange aspects to this cock-up.

Has Cunliffe thrown Curran under a bus? If so was he trying to avoid getting yet another fiasco added to his snowballing SNAFU?

UPDATE: Whale Oil is on to the Dotcom connection.

How much of Labour’s ICT policy did Dotcom write?

My sources inside the grounds of the Dotcom Mansion tell me that these proposals were the exact ones discussed with Dotcom, indeed promoted by him and that extensive meetings were held after Curran’s two visits to the mansion to discuss them and flesh them out. Make no mistake this policy is Dotcom’s policy…the source are adamant that this is what has been planned all along.

With all the secret meetings, and now secret donation trusts one has to wonder just who are the anonymous other parties who donated, and given the leak of a policy document that bears an uncanny resemblance to policy discussions held at the mansion questions might be validly raised.

UPDATE2: lprent at The Standard:

National’s ICT failures

And no it wasn’t Clare Curran who screwed up. She just took the hit.

UPDATE3: It’s now been confirmed that the document leak came from Cunliffe’s office and Clare Curran had no responsibility for it but she decided to take responsibility “Because I don’t want a staff member to get the blame for a mistake, and I think that’s really important.”

Some clarification but more bizarre – Labour ICT doc sent from Cunliffe’s office



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