Can a shitty Shearer stay?

David Shearer obviously still feels very hard done by and blames David Cunliffe for his difficulties as leader and his subsequent demise.

Is there room for both of them in the Labour caucus? Shearer says Cunliffe should resign.

After Shearer announced he wouldn’t contest the Labour leadership – I don’t think he was ever a serious contender considering his negative attitude to the job – he seemed to take every media opportunity he could get to lash out at Cunliffe and Labour.

I think this was ill-considered and destabilising at a time that Labour has to start to look like it can work together positively.

Shearer lobbed a hand grenade riddled with year old ill feeling into the leadership debate. He put personal bitterness before his party.

Most of Shearer’s lashing out has been directed at David Cunliffe – ironically at the same time that Cunliffe withdrew from the leadership contest. Old scores being unsettled.

Stuff reported David Shearer comes out swinging:

Earlier today, Shearer launched a bitter broadside at Cunliffe, his supporters, Labour’s brand and union influence in the leadership contest.

Shearer said that when he was leader, Cunliffe and his colleagues “undermined and white-anted me”.

Confusingly Shearer said he thought Cunliffe should have stayed in the leadership contest but now he has pulled out he should quit Parliament.

Talking to reporters before Labour’s caucus meeting – and after ruling out of another tilt at the top job – Shearer said it would have been better if Cunliffe had stood for leader, rather than pull out yesterday.

That would have presented a cleaner break and enabled everyone to get behind the new leader.

Now Cunliffe should quit Parliament, Shearer said.

Cunliffe’s response sounded far more reasonable.

But Cunliffe said he “rejected and refuted” the claims.

“It is simply untrue. There is no substance or truth in the allegation I white-anted him,” he said.

“I had no knowledge at all of the moves to replace him. … It was not done by my friends.”

Cunliffe said he wished Shearer well for his future and hoped all his colleagues would respect each other and put the best interests of the party first.

Right now Shearer is nowhere near respect and the party’s best interests.

Can Shearer and Cunliffe co-exist in the same caucus, with one and possibly both harbouring resentment at being ousted from leadership?

Cunliffe is currently the one making the right noises but can he be trusted? He hasn’t had much support from the Labour caucus and will have less now.

If Cunliffe remains in Parliament will Shearer quit?

This doesn’t bode well for Labour and will present major ongoing challenges for their soon to be chosen new leader.

Cunliffe’s belated withdrawal

David Cunliffe has belatedly withdrawn from Labour’s leadership contest, over three weeks after a demoralising election defeat. This enables a more forward focussed contest and probably saves Cunliffe from significant embarrassment.

Choosing to endorse Andrew Little’s bid to lead Labour looks like a parting shot at Grant Robertson and ensures Cunliffe won’t be an unbiased bystander.

It has been reported that Cunliffe made the decision to withdraw last week so it’s curious why he waited until yesterday to make his announcement. He made himself off limits to media over the weekend due to “a family illness” – again showing his unsuitability to lead the party let alone the country.

He has been hiding away for most of the three weeks since the election with various reasons being given. It looks like bereavement leave. Most people who have career setbacks don’t have this sort of luxury, they have to continue earning their wage or resign.

Electorate associate and some time lawyer Greg Presland posted Some thoughts on David Cunliffe’s withdrawal:

And to David Cunliffe can I suggest a short holiday to get yourself ready for the next three years.

After spending a week after the election “soul searching” Cunliffe took a few days off “for a long planned holiday” and seems to have been largely out of circulation for two weeks since. Another holiday now? He has to get over it.

It’s often been said that if you fall off a horse you should get straight back and ride again. Cunliffe is no jockey.

Presland also made an interesting comment in his Standard post:

And you only need to read the overwhelming majority of comments on this blog to see what progressives think about him.

I think he is wrong claiming an “overwhelming majority of comments” supportive of Cunliffe, there have been very mixed feelings expressed. What Presland may be expressing is his own perspective as and integral part of the Standard machine and that those most involved in the running of The Standard have been overwhelming supportive of Cunliffe. That’s been evident going way back to how they tried to drive the so-called Cunliffe coup attempt.

There was a sign of a significant Standard shift in the weekend when they promoted and ran a Q & A for Andrew Little, who happens to now be endorsed by Cunliffe. The Q & A seemed oddly timed, until things became clear yesterday. Presland seems to be in synch with Cunliffe:

And who should the new leader be?  Someone who oversees rejuvenation in the party and ensures that caucus discipline is maintained.  And who is true to the principles of the party.  And who has the support of a majority of members.  Cunliffe has endorsed Andrew Little whose prospects now must be very good.  Andrew has been careful to hold himself apart from the factions and is someone who clearly will work to unite the party and I cannot emphasise how critical this is.

If Little fails to win the leadership what then from Cunliffe and The Standard?

(And while ‘The Standard’ appears to have swung from Cunliffe to Little it’s clear amongst the comments that Little isn’t a universally or anywhere overwhelmingly supported leadership candidate).

If Cunliffe finally finishes licking his wounds he could play a significant part in rebuilding Labour, if he visibly supports and works with the new leader and the revamped caucus.

There will be keen watchers amongst the media and opponents looking for any signs of dissent or disloyalty in Labour ranks, especially from Cunliffe, and if any is perceived it will be highlighted and amplified.

This could depend on what responsibilities Cunliffe is given by the new leader. He is potentially one of Labour’s most potent MPs but his attitude and application have to measure up. His endorsement of Little has a hint of utu.

He – and a number of other Labour MPS – have to put animosities behind them and work for the good of the Labour Party, and earn the generous wages and benefits bestowed on them by the taxpayers.

They have to do more than earn that. Unlike their wages credibility and respect aren’t  provided in their job packages and they will have to work very hard to build them back to the required level for elected representatives.

Unfortunately this will probably mostly be on hold while the Labour leadership is decided.

It may be six months into Labour’s third term in opposition before we finally start to see if Cunliffe has gotten over his double loss plus the dashing of a burning ambition to be Prime Minister, and before we see if Labour is on the mend with the combined efforts of all it’s diminishing group of MPs.

Presland said of Cunliffe’s decision:

Clearly he is prepared to put party interests ahead of his own.

That hasn’t been clear at all in the past and especially over the last three and a half weeks.

Labour desperately needs all it’s MPs to put party interests ahead of their own – including and especially all it’s ex-leaders who now include Phil Goff, David Shearer and David Cunliffe (and possibly David Parker will be added to that list).

Cunliffe has belatedly withdrawn from Labour’s leadership.

Can Labour very belatedly begin their repair and rebuild after their defeat in 2008? It will be 2015 before their next leader can crank up their caucus and begin to seriously try.

A Little chance of bridging the divides

One of Labour’s biggest problems is disunity, and in particular a growing gap between the activist/union leaning left of the party versus the centre-left. At times it looks like a gulf, especially tight now.

David Cunliffe tried to shift to the left and he partly succeeded, he got majority union (affiliate) support in last year’s leadership contest and he still has the support of the labour left leaning Standard blog. But Cunliffe also tried to lean back to the centre at times and with his authenticity problems, the dire election result and his poor handling of the aftermath he is going to have trouble getting the leadership back.

The other confirmed contender Grant Robertson may be able to work across the divide in caucus but there’s substantial doubt he could do it across the party. He doesn’t seem popular in Auckland, and he would have to win over the union left and that would be very difficult. The left of the party are far more entrenched in their views than the more impressionable centre.

Labour’s best chance of bridging the divide is someone who already has some union support but who is able to reach across to the center.

Andrew Little is an obvious option here. He has a union background but seems pragmatic and conciliatory enough to connect with employers and with Labour’s centre left and just as importantly, the swing voters in the centre that Labour has to win win back if they want to regain major party status.

On bridging the divide Little said yesterday:

I think the issue is crucial which is why my main contribution to Labour’s IR policy this year was to back off major change to the present framework pending an audit of the labour market. We need to get a decent picture of how people are engaged for work and exactly what is happening work wise before we think about how we might improve job security and lift wages more fairly. It means engaging with employers too since they have more influence over more workers than ever before.

He says he wouldn’t have delayed the scrapping of the 90 day trial law “because it would have been accompanied by clarification of probationary law” but would have “wanted a more moderate pace on minimum wage increase”.

Stuff reports that Andrew Little considers Labour leadership bid.

Little faced the prospect of losing his place as an MP as Parliament waited for special votes to be counted.

Shortly after the result was confirmed, Little said that he would now mull whether to throw his hat in the ring.

“It’s not something I’ve considered, because  I’ve been waiting to see whether I would be confirmed in Parliament, it’s something that I may well now consider, but I will also be considering how realistic my prospects are, and that’s where it’s at,” Little said.

Little has little to lose by joining the leadership contest, and potentially a lot to gain. He is only an outside chance but if he can promote himself as union sympathetic but pragmatic and conciliatory towards the centre he would improve his credentials in the desperately needed Labour rebuild.

And there’s a small chance the leadership contest could swing his way as an alternative to the failed Cunliffe and a potentially to unpalatable Grant Robertson.

Little is one Labour MP who looks like he has learnt from initial mistakes and has grown into his job as an MP.

Labour would also benefit if Little joined the contest. His presence would diffuse the tension that’s obvious between Cunliffe and Robertson. He could highlight the need to join the factions in a common purpose.

There seems little downside as long as Little is prepared to expose himself to a higher level of scrutiny and inevitable attack.

Another prospect for bridging the divide is Louisa Wall. She would would add an up and coming Maori presence and reward South Auckland support for Labour, she has a good tertiary qualifications plus a high profile sporting background, and she proved her political worth working successfully cross party to be a driving force behind the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill last year.
Both Little and Wall are relative rookies in politics but Labour desperately needs new blood to rebuild – with strong support from the old hands.

David Parker is one of Labour’s best bets for a steadying hand at deputy level and with Little as leader and Wall high on the bench pecking order Labour might finally start to look like a party intent on putting failures and animosities behind them with the  capability to build a party that can seriously contest the next two elections.

Two of the worst outcomes of Labour’s leadership contest:

  • Cunliffe to get back in despite a major loss of confidence from the Labour caucus and the electorate.
  • Robertson to win and appear to favour cronies over rebuild capability.

If Robertson wins the leadership contest then Parker, Little and Wall should be a prominent part of his rebuild plans.

If someone like Little sneaks through and he gets the caucus support that should be a given then Labour will lack in experience but will gain substantially in future prospects.

If Labour comes out of the leadership contest with their divides entrenched they may struggle to survive as a major party.

Whoever can step up and look most capable of bridging Labour’s divides will be their best chance of recovery.

Labour really needs to look like a virtually new party that can bridge it’s own divides, widen it’s appeal from the union and activist left across to the centre, and then they might get into a position where they can pose a serious threat to National – and present a credible next government to the voters.

Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion

Blog mirroring party – Labour leadership and party in turmoil, and the two trustees at The Standard spatting openly as well, with  Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion following.

A guest post by Fleur – A paean about Grant Robertson – was given some unwelcoming treatment by boss bully boy Lyn Prentice (lprent) – he abuses and/or bans anyone attacking authors, usually, unless it’s him doing the attacking.

I’d point out that Fleur wasn’t responsible for the Title, front page Excerpt, front page Featured image, or the cartoon of Grant Robertson in the post. So don’t give her a hard time about them. She just wrote the post body.

The others came from my cynicism when reading the body. Call it an aged Labour member having looked at something like 12 Labour leaders and their youthful supporters. Besides it is a good reminder to people posting that if they don’t put provide these things in then I might add them as I put them up :twisted:

The Webb cartoon is just there because it is a great image. It sets the standard for subsequent posts to have ones as well.

If you don’t know what a Paean is, then I’d suggest that you need to rectify your knowledge of ancient Greek culture.

Co-trustee Mike Smith, a different far more reasonable character altogether, pointed out the obvious:

As an even more aged Labour member I think we should treat our guests better than this – let them have their own say. And I know what a paean is

I’m on Mike’s (and others) side on that one, the disarray in Labour has gone to lprent’s head.

The usual ‘double Standard’ on display:lprent:

…Cunliffe’s challenge of Shearer…

Sounds like another moron using the Chris Hipkins myth from 2012. I have had people confidentially asserting that there is a lot of evidence supporting that particular assertion Cunliffe was planning a coup. I have yet to see anyone producing any evidence then or later that there was one.

I think that it was some idiots in caucus lying to media after they got upset about members voting in the leadership voting rule changes. Why were they idiots? Because it pissed off damn near everyone who was at that conference trying to get the change through and many of those opposing it.

So this is a friendly warning, If you want to use it, then produce something substantive to back it. Otherwise I’ll start treating you like I would any other troll when I get around to moderating.

boyonlaptop:

That is a tremendous double standard.
If you demand sources for one claim in these comments you should for all claims and quite frankly if you want to moderate comments like mine but ignore “It was Grant’s crew that rolled Shearer” than you’re just openly displaying your bias towards Cunliffe and your complete disregard for any dissenting opinion. Especially when I acknowledged that caucus comments about Cunliffe holiday were stupid.

Especially if you leave disgusting ones like this, “How elitist you are. What you call ‘homophobia’ is actually far more common than you wish, and it’s one of the reasons why Robertson would be a disaster. Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy, as aside from anything else, they have their own brand of nepotism – and the general public tend to not like that” untouched. Quite frankly if that’s the moderating standard you operate on I have no desire to comment further on the Standard.

The “Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy” comment was made by Deb Kean. It wasn’t moderated but two moderators/authors reacted:

Stephanie Rodgers: That’s a really horrible statement, Deb. There’s plenty to criticise each of the leadership candidates for without that kind of bigotry.

Karol: Deb has been expressing homophobic hate forever, as far as I’m aware. No reasoning with her changes that. I’ve tried in the past – she hasn’t been around here much in the past year.

New commenters at The Standard are being dissed just for being new commenters – a standard practice to drive away unwelcome opinion. For example:

Don’t believe everything you read from the National Party’s Research Unit – or are you just a Nat troll.

Not agreeing with the entrenched activists doesn’t help of course.

‘red blooded':

Well, I’m not new. I have been roundly abused many times for questioning what I see as group-think, though. In fact, Lprent told me yesterday that I am an idiot and must have been in nappies in the Clark years. (I have a Masters in Political Science and have been an activist since the Muldoon years.)

What’s my point? It can be very intimidating to raise your head and question the general flow of discussion on TS. It can be simplistic and over-hyped, but it’s not easy to point that out to people who only want to hear from those echoing exactly their viewpoint. I find it refreshing to see a different viewpoint being discussed seriously and think it’s great to hear from some new voices. Labour (& the left more generally) clearly need to do some fresh thinking and hear from a new generation of commentators. renewal doesn’t occur just within a closed group.

lprent:

Read the policy. The place is set up for “robust debate” and that means you will get called names. The standard that is used about abuse that it is not allowed to be “pointless abuse”. So if you don’t like something then say why. If you think someone is being an idiot then say so and why. Just be careful about doing it for the authors of a post.

If you want nice pleasant and superficially congenial debate then go to Public Address.

There are right-wingers who survive easily around here. You just have to stop being so damn precious.

It really really pays to read the about/policy of any site you comment on. That is how you avoid the common pitfalls.

If you really don’t like it, then start your own site and attract your own audience.

red blooded:

Absolutely. That doesn’t make it wrong to look at the pluses and minuses of each candidate, though. We should be respectful if each other and of the candidates, but it’s still refreshing to see some positive discourse about someone other than Cunliffe on this site.

[lprent: Perhaps you should look back over the posts for the last 60 posts (there are about 30 per top page) back to a few days after the election and point to any egregious numbers of posts for Cunliffe? I just did, and essentially it is a list of the announcements and events as the leadership challenge unfolded. Basically the authors are leaning over backwards to try to be reasonably balanced at present.

Commenters are a different story of course. But they aren't the people running the site.

Similarly the moderators are in charge of behaviour on this site. Not a random commenter. We really don't like stuck up dickheads trying to tell us how we should run the site.

Go and read the policy. You'll have time to do so as you're banned for 2 weeks for stupidity and wasting my time checking. ]

That’s a blog that complains about dirty politics.

red blooded had also said:

I see Grant Robertson as likeable and articulate. He’s certainly Labour through and through. While he’s personally ambitious, that’s also true of Cunliffe. Some here are accusing him of not fully backing the elected leader: I would say,
1) He gave his all to the last campaign, and 2) if we’re honest, Cunliffe was less than fully supportive of Shearer.

I didn’t vote for Robertson last time, mostly because of concerns about lack of Ministetial experience (although he has plenty of policy and admin experience). I might this time, mostly because I think Cunliffe has shown himself to be deeply flawed as a leader (especially in his actions and comments since the awful election result). I’d still like a 3rd choice, though…

Prentice left that comment, presumably because it would look too obvious, but waits until what looks like a very reasonable comment and bans. Standard practice.

The Standard leans heavily towards Cunliffe so it’s inevitable that Robertson supporters will get the usual treatment, revulsion repulsion and expulsion.

A party that desperately needs some major repairs and rebuilding is poorly served by a blog that promotes the worst of Labour.

Not my kind of woman

Karen Price has admitted her Twitter attacks on her husband’s caucus colleagues was “ill-judged”. However she has had  praise from some for “standing by her man”.

Brian Edwards posts that Karen Price is his kind of woman in Shock! Horror! Wife defends husband!!!!

I know Karen Price reasonably well. She is, in my submission, an absolutely marvellous woman. TV3 viewers got a glimpse of her qualities when John Campbell visited the Cunliffes at their Herne Bay home. (It’s not ‘a mansion’ by the way.) Not to put too fine a point on it, Karen stole the show.

I suspect that she’d rather not be the wife of a politician. But the wife of a politician she is and he happens to be the newly resigned Leader of the Opposition and his party and much of the country has turned its face against him. And much of what is being said about Karen Price’s husband really isn’t very nice. Tough call!

Well, her method of attacking those who were attacking her husband might not have been well-advised and might have been lacking in Machiavellian subtlety, but you really have to admire it. “Good on you, Karen!” I say. “Well done!” “No apology required.” Those people are assholes anyway.

And a footnote: One of our regular walks takes us past the Cunliffes’ drive. I increase my stride a little as we go past and not just because David almost killed me reversing at speed over the footpath some years ago. Suffice to say that I’m less fearful today of a repeat performance from the Member for New Lynn, than from his wife, quite possibly armed with a meat cleaver.

Now that’s my kind of woman!

‘Flo’ commented:

During the last election campaign we had hundreds of students at Internet Mana rallies chanting F…John Key. Did we hear anything in response from Bronagh Key? No. We had musicians releasing a single, with words talking about raping the prime minister’s daughter. Did Bronagh Key react? No. The absolute character assassination that John Key had to endure during the campaign was evident for all to see. Did Bronagh Key react? No. Their dignity under 6 weeks of prolonged attack was impressive.

Absent any evidence to the contrary we can presume Bronagh hasn’t reacted in social media (up until the last few days I would have presumed Karen wouldn’t have either), but we can’t be sure.

Perhaps Bronagh is smart enough not to use @BronBitch2 as an anonymous identity. However she may be smarter still and stay well away from social media.

And…I can think of much smarter ways of sticking up for her husband than attacking his colleagues without telling him anything about it.

Cunliffe claims he “couldn’t have known” about the Twitter account. He could easily have known, if his wife had spoken to him about it. Cunliffe was at home while this was happening.

Secret attacks on one’s husband’s colleagues kept secret from one’s husband is not my kind of woman.

Cunliffe “couldn’t have known”?

David Cunliffe claims he couldn’t have known about his wife’s use of a Twitter account to attack Labour caucus rivals.

Stuff reported Cunliffe: No knowledge of wife’s Twitter account:

Ex-Labour leader David Cunliffe says he could not have known about wife Karen Price’s anonymous attack Twitter account – because his staff locked him out of the messaging site last year.

Reports this morning suggested that Cunliffe was the first follower of  @tarnbabe67 – and must have known who the account-holder was.

Cunliffe hadn’t had access to his own Twitter account since the Christchurch East by-election when he broke electoral laws and received a police warning.

He urged residents to vote for Labour candidate Poto Williams, breaking laws that forbid campaigning on polling day.

Staff even changed his password.

“I’ve checked with the team and nobody knew it was Karen and nobody raised it with me. I had absolutely no knowledge of this,” Cunliffe said.

Karen Price backed this up in her statement of apology:

“David had absolutely no knowledge of the account until a media outlet raised it with him on Tuesday night.”

So both claim that Cunliffe knew nothing about it until the media outed the account. There’s no reason to doubt their word on this.

It seems that Price meant well but didn’t tell.

But Cunliffe’s claim that he “couldn’t have known” is odd. Of course he could have known. He was at home on holiday for several days while the account was being used.

Cunliffe and Price could have talked about it, and it seems odd that Price would not have talked to Cunliffe about it. Keeping something like that secret seems odd.

Cunliffe didn’t know about it but he easily could have known, and it’s easy to have assumed that surely he would have at least been told about it.

Price acknowledges her use of @tarnbabe67 was “ill-judged“. It was certainly poor political judgement. And it was not good judgement doing it without Cunliffe’s knowledge.

Cunliffe may not have known but he could have known and he should have known.

Anecdote avalanche after Dann damns Cunliffe

Labour candidate James Dann launched an avalanche of anecdotes damning Labour’s electability due to David Cunliffe being significantly more liability than asset with voters – and this is before the train wreck since the election.

Dann is openly supportive of Grant Robertson but his open letter yesterday has had widespread corroboration.

Brand Cunliffe appears to be Labour’s equivalent of Ford’s Edsel (“the Titanic of automobiles”) and New Coke (that went down like a cup of cold sick).

Cunliffe says he spent a week soul searching but he seems to have failed to find reality. He has claimed to have substantial support but there seems to be far more who have given up on him, or never supported him.

Particularly damning was his deputy leader David Parker who said he had lost confidence in Cunliffe and thought his position as leader was untenable. Parker is now caretaker party leader until a new one is chosen.

Dann wrote in An Open Letter To David Cunliffe:

We ran a two ticks campaign in Ilam. All our material had “Party Vote Labour” proudly on it. We delivered tens of thousands of pieces of paper with your face on it. But the reality, the hard truth, is that people in the electorate just didn’t connect with you. I lost count of the number of times I door knocked someone who told me they had voted Labour all their life, but wouldn’t vote for us as long as you were leader. People who would have a Labour sign – but not one with your face on it. While those examples are strictly anecdotal, the result on election night isn’t. It’s unavoidable. It’s practically the worst result in the Party’s history.

Stuff backs this up in Moveable feast for leadership:

His opponents in caucus won’t bother mincing their words. There was silent agreement yesterday after Labour’s Ilam candidate, James Dann, wrote that he lost count of the number of times he doorknocked life-long Labour supporters who said they wouldn’t vote for Cunliffe.

One MP reckons he got the same response from eight out of 10 doors he knocked on.

NZ Herald reports “one MP” in Labour MPs undecided over front-runners:

“As things stand, one candidate is completely unacceptable and the other is regarded as a risk.”

Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish) writes in Facebook:

I’m not a party insider, just a boring old party member, so don’t shoot me if you disagree.

1.David Cunliffe: I like David, and I voted for him during the last leadership contest. But the voters don’t seem keen on him, to put it mildly. I’ve had plenty of conversations with people who might have been inclined to vote Labour this year, but chose not to precisely because David was leader. A lot of the shit thrown at David has been unfair, but it has stuck. He has also made mistakes. As an example, I was dismayed at his election night “victory” speech, which I thought was inappropriate.

It seems that David has very few friends in caucus. It doesn’t really matter to me whether or not the antagonism displayed by various caucus members towards David is justified. It exists, and I cannot see it going away if David is re-elected as leader. I can’t see how he can lead the party to victory when so many within his own caucus want him gone. How can he work with David Parker now?

So if David wins the leadership contest the party will be led by someone who doesn’t have the support of caucus, and who most voters don’t really like. A recipe for success in 2017? It’s possible, but I doubt it.

Russell Brown responded to Dann’s post at Public Address:

I lost count of the number of times I door knocked someone who told me they had voted Labour all their life, but wouldn’t vote for us as long as you were leader.

I had a couple of those conversations with people I know, just casually.

As did ‘Max':

I had a similar experience during the campaign where we were campaigning relentlessly for the party vote. The worst experience was talking to a 70 year old lady who said she had voted Labour her entire life (that is a lot of elections and a lot of Labour Party leaders!) – but she wouldn’t be doing it this time because she simply “couldn’t stand” David Cunliffe. She had met Cunliffe personally at an event and couldn’t bring herself to do it. He was just too smarmy and disingenuous for her. Easy to see how we go down to 24% when we lost those types of supporters.

And Dann’s campaign manager Stephen Judd:

How many of the “voted Labour all their life” people are actually Labour,

I’ll take that one, as James’ former campaign manager. Lots. We focus our limited doorknock and phone canvas resources on people that have canvassed Labour in the past or areas that statistically should be rich in Labour support (high deprivation index, low home ownership, good booth results in previous elections, that kind of thing). Ilam is dominated by Fendalton and Merivale but Aorangi, Bishopdale and Bryndwr where we went hardest are far different in demographic. To be honest, I got that same feedback too.

‘slewratedotnet’ writes at Kiwiblog:

As a member and volunteer I think James got it right. My family were Labour voters throughout the Clark government and that support has now gone to the Greens and Nats for much the same reasons as he talks about, they simply do not like DC.

Remember that this is mostly relating to sentiments before the election. There’s been widespread criticism of how Cunliffe has acted since the election.

It’s possible some comments may have ulterior motives with the pending leadership contest but the discontent with Cunliffe is widespread and growing.

Media are scathing of Cunliffe, especially since the election. NZ Herald: 13 bizarre things David Cunliffe has said in the past 24 hours.

Dominion Post editorial Labour needs a likeable leader:

The continuing mess shows up two fundamental facts about Labour’s defeat. Cunliffe is not liked by most of his caucus, and they are not going to change their minds about him. Why should they? He was in charge during the catastrophe. And second, most of the voters don’t like him either. In this he contrasts with National leader John Key, who is widely liked. It is a political truth that the voters are never wrong

One of Cunliffe’s biggest problems is he keeps claiming things that the voters know to be out of synch with reality.

There are obviously similar sentiments amongst those in the Labour Party who will vote for a new leader.

Cunliffe’s resignation and leadership bid

David Cunliffe resigned as Labour leader this afternoon, but he also indicated he would stand for the leadership again.

Here is a statement he released.

I have today decided to resign the leadership of the Labour Party, effective from the end of caucus on Tuesday.

The party has suffered an historic election loss and in resigning as leader I take responsibility for that.

The party will review all the contributing factors. That process has begun and I give it my full support.

Labour’s values are New Zealand’s values. But the election result has reinforced that the Labour Party must change in order to uphold and communicate those values.

I was elected one year ago with a mandate to lead change.

In that time I have worked to pull the party and caucus together and put every resource available to the service of the campaign.

Clearly there is much more to do, and the party’s direction must be respected. There is no room for division or airing differences through the media despite agreement to the contrary.

The recent election confirms that Labour needs a more comprehensive overhaul.

We need to renew and rebuild our culture, accountabilities, how we do things and present to the world.

Achieving that in time for the 2017 election will require experienced and determined leadership with a broad mandate.

Whatever decisions are made must be in the best interests of New Zealand to have a strong and vital Labour Party.

The Party’s interests must come before any personal interests. I have thought carefully before responding to the calls to re-offer myself for the leadership of the party.

Consultation with colleagues, members and affiliates has affirmed that the whole party must participate in this choice, and not just one part of it.

Therefore I am announcing today that I will nominate for a primary contest, which will be held across the caucus, the party membership and the affiliates as the party constitution requires.

The process is a matter for the party Council, but the work we have begun towards creating a better country with opportunities for all New Zealanders must be fast tracked.

I would like to take this moment once again to thank my family and friends, my parliamentary colleagues, my office staff, my electorate committee, staff and volunteers, and the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who voted Labour and who believe that Labour is a vital part of New Zealand’s future.

It is a privilege to lead the Labour Party. It is a great and proud party. It has the best interests of all New Zealanders at heart.

It has the values needed to create a fairer and more progressive society. I intend with the endorsement of the Party, to lead Labour to victory in 2017 so we can implement them.

I am now going to resume a long-booked family holiday until Monday evening and won’t be available for further media comment.

Thank-you. Kia kaha.

Grant Robertson’s leadership bid

After David Cunliffe’s resignation this afternoon Grant Robertson acknowledged he would contest the Labour leadership.

He is promoting a statement on Facebook:

This evening I announced my intention to put my name forward for the leadership of the Labour Party. Now is our opportunity to revitalise our party and to renew our connection with New Zealanders. We must be relevant to their lives, hopes and aspirations. We must be part of the communities we wish to serve. We must unify around our values – putting people first, fairness and opportunity. That will be the Party I would seek to serve as Leader.

I know that the members of our party and affiliated unions have just put their heart and soul into an election campaign and I am so grateful for that and I know that people are tired after that effort. Soon the Party Council will announce the timeline for the leadership election. In the meantime, I look forward to discussing the way ahead for our party and how we can contribute to a better and fairer New Zealand.

Labour denial and delusion continues

NZ Herald asks What’s wrong with Labour? Len Richards, Service and Food Workers Union organiser, provides some explanations, but not in the way he intended.

What went wrong?

More than a decade of dirty politics aimed at demonising and destabilising the Labour Party by well-organised and well-funded opponents have taken their toll.

The ‘dirty politics’ excuse is wearing thin. Attempts at “demonising and destabilising” opposing parties have been a part of politics forever. Nicky Hager overplayed the ‘dirty politics’ hand to swing the election and failed – it helped National more than the left.

I don’t like dirty politics but that’s a criticism aimed as much at Labour and the left as National and the right.

The opinion polls reflect the public mood deliberately created by the spin doctors of the right, and the very poor election results for Labour over the last three elections reflect the polls.

“The polls are rigged” is another tired old excuse. Like David Cunliffe Richards is avoiding responsibility, but poll conspiracies tend towards nut-job territory.

In response, our last two campaigns were run by many electorates as if MMP did not exist. Labour tried to win electorate seats rather than the party vote.

Blaming some electorate MPs is indicative of the factional rift that is tearing Labour apart. It’s up to the party leader and organisation to lead the campaign for party votes.

This time Labour received 200,000 more candidate votes (34 per cent) than party votes (25 per cent).

Perhaps that’s an indication that while some candidates are well supported by voters the party as a whole was not seen as a viable lead party in Government. Failure from the top again.

With 34 per cent of party votes we would be in government.

A forlorn “what if”. If Labour had got 34% instead of 25% (a huge reality gap) with Green’s 1-11% they would still have relied on Winston Peters to choose Labour over National.

How can Labour fix it?

A leadership change now will do more harm to Labour than good. David Cunliffe is more than a match for John Key. Our problems lie elsewhere.

The current lack of leadership – Cunliffe barricaded himself at home after the election, emerged to take a battering from his caucus on Tuesday and then disappeared back home for the rest of the week.

Cunliffe was far from a match for John Key, talking over him in a few debates didn’t win anything.

(NZ Herald)

Heads in the sand won’t revive Cunliffe’s leadership. Who wants a Prime Minister who goes into hiding “to contemplate his future” when the going gets tough? Cunliffe was unpopular with voters last Saturday. That has likely deteriorated significantly since then.

Labour’s policies are not “too left wing”. We lost votes to NZ First because Winston Peters outflanked us on the left. Labour pulled its punches.

Peters outflanked Labour on the left and right.

Labour needs to build its base among the people it represents. We need to turn outwards, to recruit, and to organise.

Yep. Should have been working on that after their 2008 defeat. Now it’s hard to know what people Labour represents apart from some out of touch unionists.

We need to go on the offensive and put up a credible alternative to the domination of society by the pursuit of profit at any cost. And campaign for the party vote.

“The domination of society by the pursuit of profit at any cost.” Out of touch with reality unionist. There’s a few on the left who believe this bull but most voters don’t see it as anything other than ideological nonsense.

If a business pursues profit ‘at any cost’ it will probably cost them their business.

Is the party prepared to do it?

The party showed over the last period that it is prepared to take a strong stance. The change in rules to democratise the election of the leader and the election of David Cunliffe is evidence of this.

This resulted in the election of a leader that didn’t have the support or confidence of his caucus. That’s proven disastrous for Labour in the election and this week.

The party needs to continue to stand firm and deal with its internal discipline problems.

Deal with it’s internal discipline how? Sack the majority of caucus? That’s not even possible, they are elected for another three years.

Whippings and unityI posted this when things were much better in Labour.

The Labour Party has a rock-solid social base. We can take heart from these supporters who gave us more than 60 per cent of the party votes in some electorates.

Rock solid?

  • 2002 – 41%
  • 2005 – 41%
  • 2008 – 34%
  • 2011 – 27%
  • 2014 – 25%

Very few electorates gave Labour more votes than National last Saturday.

As the problems of a system in crisis worsen and proliferate, Labour solutions will gain support if we organise and mobilise around them.

This is tragically ironic as the problems of a Labour in crisis worsen and proliferate.

The people see through old Labour and old unions with their forlornly fading fulminations.

Sorry to Len Richards for picking on him but he’s symptomatic of the entrenched old guard at The Standard and elsewhere in social media and the Cunliffe residence.

Labour needs something different, new and forward looking. That won’t happen if they continue to be dragged down by denial and delusion.

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