Is Grant Robertson playing the long game?

Grant Robertson’s name comes up amid reports of dissatisfaction in Labour including MP go-slows to deliberately impede David Cunliffe’s leadership (see Garner – Labour MPs to lose the election then roll Cunliffe) .

Robertson is officially Labour’s shadow leader of the house but Trevor Mallard seems to have taken control from the back bench.

This exchange between MPs while Parliamentr was sitting on Wednesday (similarly chatted about by journalists):

Interesting innovation from the Labour Party today. Cunliffe, Parker and Robertson all missing in action today. Never before have I seen it.

… with Trevor running the show. surest sign yet they’ve flagged the election.

An observation from an avid Parliament watcher:

The resurrection of ABC? Both Mallard and Cosgrove were to the fore today; just sayin’.

And a comment by Fisiani at Kiwiblog:

For ages I have been telling you that Grant Robertson is playing the long game. It is not in Grant’s interest for The Cunliffe to win in 2014. For Grant to be the leader in 2017 the Cunliffe has to be rolled.

This will happen not due to active sabotage but by simply not putting in the effort to get out the vote as we previously saw in 2011 in Wellington Central when Grant Robertson managed to put Labour into third place for the first time ever. Grant Robertson believes that he should be and will be Prime Minister. He can wait 3 years to try.

While there could be a degree of opposing MPs and party supporters stirring or exaggerating. But there could also be more than an essence of reality in this.

Being ambitious isn’t a problem, but if personal ambitions are to the detriment of an MP’s party and to the detriment of Parliament and the governing New Zealand then serious questions need to be asked of those involved. Ultimately those questions need to be asked of the voters.

If Grant reads this and think’s it’s an unfair representation of how things are I welcome a right of reply.

Will sour Green Grapes ferment?

Answers about David Hay’s leadership challenge of Russel Norman are starting to emerge.

Oddly, despite Patrick Gower leading the revelations yesterday about Hay’s motives 3 News seems to have hidden any reports on it on their website, but can be found via search.

Greens contemplate Hay’s future

David Hay says the party’s Candidate Selection and Electoral Process Committee (CSPEC) has recommended to the party’s executive committee that he shouldn’t be in the candidate pool next year.

“I don’t know exactly why the CSEPC made its negative recommendation, but if the party executive accepts it, that would prevent me from being ranked on the party list and therefore from becoming a Green MP next year.”

Mr Hay has been refused a copy of the committee’s report to the executive.

I have asked executive to make a final decision tomorrow, by simple majority if necessary. I do not intend to appeal it.”

That’s odd – if they vote to exclude him as a candidate today he won’t appeal it – which means his leadership bid will fail?

He is concerned about the lack of Green Party candidates from Auckland that are likely to make the list next year and therefore the lack of the party’s presence in Auckland after next year’s election.

Perhaps Hay is just making a noise about his concerns before he is excluded from contention, although according to Metiria Turei he can challenge for leadership regardless.

NZ Herald also reports:

Green leadership challenge ‘sour grapes’

The Green Party says a leadership challenge by low-ranking candidate David Hay was “a case of sour grapes” after the party decided he should not run in the next election.

He is ranked 16th on Greens’ list and ran as a candidate in the 2008 and 2011 elections.

A Greens spokesman said this afternoon [FRI] that Mr Hay had not made it through a vetting process to become a candidate in the 2014 election.

Mr Hay’s decision to challenge for the leadership was “a case of sour grapes,” the spokesman said.

More questions may be answered today. A Green Party press release says:


Mr Hay’s candidacy is on the agenda for 1:30 pm tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. The agenda item is titled: Next steps on recommendation to decline entry to the candidate pool: David Hay

Party executive meetings are open for all members to attend, and Mr Hay has invited party members to attend the meeting early tomorrow afternoon.

Hay has said that he will not make any further media or social media comment until approximately 2:30 tomorrow afternoon, outside the Green Party office in Mercury Lane.

More from the press release:

Green Party Leadership FEC (frequently expressed concerns)

David Hay, who challenged Russel Norman for the Green party co-leadership this week, today responded to concerns that have been expressed by Green Party members on Facebook and elsewhere after he announced his leadership bid.

He has revealed that the party’s powerful and secretive Candidate Selection and Electoral Process Committee (CSEPC) has recommended to the party’s executive committee that he should not be accepted into the candidate pool in 2014.

Mr Hay says “I don’t know exactly why the CSEPC made its negative recommendation, but if the party executive accepts it, that would prevent me from being ranked on the party list and therefore from becoming a Green MP next year. I have asked for a copy of the CSEPC report to executive under the Privacy Act, and that request has been refused.”

“I know that the executive met by telephone call on 22 October and could not make a decision on my candidacy. The vote was split 3-6 with some abstentions. Under party rules a 75% majority is required for a decision. I have asked executive to make a final decision tomorrow, by simple majority if necessary. I do not intend to appeal it.”

Mr Hay has defended his abilities as a candidate on his blog, saying “In my view, for the party to reject my application for the candidate pool would be nothing less than an act of collective self-mutilation.”

Mr Hay has also revealed how few Green Party candidates from Auckland are likely to make it into the list rankings in 2014, reinforcing his concern about the lack of Green Party presence in Auckland after the next election.

There no mention of any of the leadership bid on their website or their blog or their Facebook page. The Green website on Organisation highlights:

The Green Party is the most democratic decision-making Political Party in New Zealand – our Party List is decided by a vote of all members.

But an executive vote can exclude someone from contention for the list.

It’s not clear whether party leaders are on the executive but it would appear that they are not. Holly Walker is the MP representative on the executive.

Co-leader Metiria Turei is reported as saying Greens not happy with leadership challenge:

“So far that I’ve seen the majority of people who’ve made any comment on it, or who have made contact with me or others, is that they’re very upset with the way that he’s gone about it.

“And that will matter.”

And Turei from an interview on Newstalk ZB (audio):

The response by members that I’ve seen to David’s challenge is really about process. The Greens are very firm about the way things are done as much as what is done, and there’s lots of people who are unhappy with the way he’s gone about this.

Any member can challenge for leadership at our AGM, and we are elected every year, so there is a very clear process for how that’s done. David’s gone a bit earlier than usual but that’s up to him to decide.

He relies on the membership to vote for him. I suspect that he may have annoyed more people than will support with this move.

Like everybody we heard this from the media, and again I think that will be an issue for the membership who prefer members to behave in a more process focussed way, and would have preferred to have been told themselves before they heard it in the papers, but again David has to make an assessment of what he’s doing. I’m not clear entirely about his reasons why he’s doing this now.

As I say, he’s entitled to contest, he doesn’t have to be a candidate, he doesn’t have to be an MP to contest the leadership. Any member can contest at the AGM.

It’s hard to say how in touch party leadership is with membership in Auckland, but it’s apparent they have been surprised by this challenge.

It’s funny to hear the leader of a party with a dissenter background complaining about proper processes not being followed.

There have been many criticisms of the Green Party abuse of normal political process in their misuse of the Citizen Initiated Referenda as covered by NZ Herald in Editorial: Referendum on asset sales misuses system – on that the Greens have departed from behaving in a process focused way.

Turei: “The Greens are very firm about the way things are done as much as what is done, and there’s lots of people who are unhappy with the way he’s gone about this.

People are unhappy with how Greens have abused CIR and parliamentary processes.

And obviously at least one person is unhappy with candidate selection processes within the Green Party so has chosen to rock the Green boat that creates it’s own waves very carefully these days.

Protest has been carefully managed via process – when it suits. David Hay has played Green leadership at their own game of dissent.

An important question will be whether Greens manage to damp down this flare up quickly or if it lingers on halfway into election year.

Russel Norman leadership challenged

A Green leadership challenge has been announced by David Hay who was an Auckland candidate last election placed at 16 on the Green list.:

Green Party Leadership Challenge

Green Party member David Hay announced today that he intends to challenge Russel Norman for the co-leadership of the party.

“Russel has been doing a great job for the Green Party, but he has been co-leader for six years now. While the party has grown in stature and credibility during Russel’s tenure, we have new people in caucus, and there’s fresh new talent among the party membership” said Mr Hay.

“There is a real possibility that the Greens will be in government after the next election, and the party needs to be putting its “A” team forward” said Mr Hay.

“I want to put Russel’s leadership to the test: if he wins out, then he will lead the party into government with a renewed mandate. If somebody else does, then the party will be even stronger going into the next election.”

“I’m putting myself forward because I have a vision for where the party needs to go next. There are three elements to that: Building the Green Party in Auckland, a clear focus on the party’s core business, and lifting the party’s performance as an organisation.”

“I think one of the Party co-leaders should be based in Auckland, be well-informed on Auckland issues, and take a hands-on role in building the party’s Auckland base.”

“The Green Party has under-performed at winning votes in Auckland, and we need to turn that around. Only three members of the Green Party’s 14 MPs are based in Auckland. We currently lack sufficient presence here, in New Zealand’s largest city, where a third of the population live.”

This will be interesting. It’s not likely there would be a leadership challenge within the Green caucus so this comes from the outside. Hay has a point about Greens and Auckland. Presumably he has some support for this bid.

This will create some interesting tensions within Greens over the next six months – if it It could signals genuine concern within the Greens.

Or it could be a cunning publicity stunt leading into the election, where Greens can show support for Norman while emphasising a commitment to Auckland.


Shearer – communication breakdown

David Shearer has a real problem communicating. Frequently in interviews the thought part of his brain seems disconnected from the speech part of his brain. Or something. He has trouble expressing himself coherently.

This was again highlighted in a radio  interview yesterday. As shown in Shearer: absolutely there’s room for MPs with homophobic views in Labour – we can guess what he probably means and guess what might have been mistakes but we shouldn’t have to do that.

There was some criticism of Shearer during Labouir’s leadership selection tour after the last election. Apparently David Cunliffe was the clear preference with most of the party members, but the Labour caucus went against that and chose Shearer. Perhaps they have experience of coherent conversations that the rest of us don’t hear.

But Shearer’s difficulty communicating was apparent then. These comments from strongly Labour leaning The Standard during the leadership contest ring some warning bells.

We have not got time for Shearer to learn to stop putting his foot in it. Every time he speaks in he goes and thats without having his opponent try and trick him. Shearer is not a leader he is an administrator, maybe a good one but I wouldn’t follow him to the nearest Fish and Chip shop.

Who even knows what Shearer really believes in or stands for? I’m getting sick of hearing about his “backstory”! It’s now we have to worry about, and he’s not looking good on the media front!

And if Shearer does win, the rest of us will sit anxious waiting to see how many times he puts his foot in his mouth every interview. Just like we have done for the last three years.

Phil Goff was way better than Shearer with regards to the media and Labour still lost. Media persona is everything to a party leader. Case in point – John Key! Cunliffe can do media effortlessly. Shearer is woeful.

Shearer’s strength is clearly his compelling back story. He’s a good bloke. But he isn’t debate / media ready. His slight awkwardness (reminiscent in some ways of early Brash) could be a killer to his leadership. Or (and recall Brash’s near success in 2005) it could be seen by the public as evidence that he is genuine, honest, not “just another politician”. Shearer is a risk, and I honestly don’t know which way his leadership would go.

I have the inside word on Shearer’s first edict to all lefties:

“er…um…ah..we..shouldn’t…um..ah…make fun of…um..K-Keys speech…ah..again.”

“Haven’t heard Shearer speak with authority once. God help Labour in Parliament in February. The Greens and Winston will overshadow Shearer for sure!”

“We have just lost an election with our biggest defeat because the leader couldn’t communicate so what do they do put in a Bumbling administrator.”

That is Labour Party members commenting.

And media expert Brian Edwards wrote about his concerns at the same time (December 2011) in Shearer or Cunliffe? Why I’ve changed my mind:

Shearer has had nearly three years to demonstrate his skill as a debater and about a fortnight to provide some evidence of competence in handling the media. He has done neither. His television appearances have bordered on the embarrassing. He lacks fluency and fails to project confidence or authority. Watching him makes you feel nervous and uncomfortable – a fatal flaw.

It seems that little has changed. He still lacks fluency and fails to project confidence or authority.

Even Shearer’s carefully scripted extensively rehearsed speeches lack authority, he comes a across as a try hard who either

  • doesn’t really believe what he’s saying, or
  • doesn’t understand what he’s talking about

And his unscripted interviews are often rambling, disjointed, incoherent, sometimes terribly so.

Whether Shearer just has an extreme problem communicating or he’s a fish out of water politically doesn’t matter. But he has a major problem that doesn’t seem to be improving.

And Labour have a major problem – unless there is some miracle cure (and it seems to be a more difficult problem to overcome than a ‘King’s Speech’ stutter). ‘Three years’ has already become ‘three more years’. Another lost election would be serious. For the party it could be a fatal flaw.

It’s hard to see Shearer surviving an election campaign and leading Labour to put together a coalition Government.

If the voters decided they’d had enough of Key and National and dumped them, if Shearer progressed from being a party leader because caucus didn’t want the alternative to Prime Minister because the country didn’t want the alternative, then Shearer could become an embarrassment for the country.

here is obviously significant concern in the wider Labour Party, but the choice of party leadership was made by the Labour caucus who earlier this month also chose not to put the leadership over to the membership.

Labour’s caucus seem to be well practiced in painting over crap and pretending it’s wonderful. It appears that they don’t want to see that they have a leadership leaky building problem.

So the rot will remain.

Shearer/’Voice of Reason’ rule out Labour leadership challenge

Going by the majority of comments at The Standard many party members want Labour leadership to go to a party decision next month. Word from the current leader is they won’t get that chance, David Shearer has virtually ruled out any chance of a challenge going any further than caucus.

On Saturday ‘Eddie’ launched a speculative play at The Standard – Shearer to put it to the vote…

Word around the traps is that David Shearer is going to use his state of the nation speech next weekend to announce that he will put his leadership to full membership vote in February.

Yesterday IrishBill quashed hope of that in Drive-by posting…

Unfortunately the source on Shearer’s plan to put his leadership to the party didn’t pan out so well. He’s confirmed to Vernon Small that he does not intend to let members vote (I’m not surprised).

This referred to a tweet from political journalist Vernon Small (Dominion), and there was another from Felix Marwick (Newstalk ZB):

Vernon Small@VernonSmall

Stand easy Labour. Shearer says he will put leadership to caucus vote not straight to full electoral college.

Felix Marwick@felixmarwick

contrary to some speculation in the blogosphere David Shearer won’t be putting his leadership on the line for a partywide vote

Marwick expanded on this on Newstalk ZB:

Chances of Labour vote slim

The chances of the wider Labour party membership getting to vote on the party’s leadership look to be slim to none.

Left-aligned website The Standard has suggested current leader David Shearer might put his job on the line when it comes up for caucus consideration next month.

But Mr Shearer’s all but ruling that out indicating no-one else in the caucus is likely to put their name forward.

“I’m not expecting any problems at all.”

Mr Shearer says he’ll follow what is in the party’s constitution and won’t step outside the rules that are in place.

Of course any party leader would play down a chance of a challenge to their leadership.

But over past weeks at The Standard a Labour Party delegate has been saying frequently that there definitely won’t be any challenge. ‘Te Reo Putake’ (aka ‘Voice of Reason’) repeated this yesterday. In response to a party member saying…

Colonial Viper

Sigh. Is there a reason that Labour insists on doing everything the hard way? If caucus decides to give the members a say in February, it’s crucial that we get a full bodied Primary Process up and down the country.

Colonial Viper is blog famous for being the party member identified and gagged by Clare Curran, but he is back commenting this year after his few weeks apparently enforced break.

Te Reo Putake

You’re dreaming, CV. Leaving aside that the whole thing was a fantasy anyway, who is going to pay for a “full bodied Primary Process up and down the country”. You? And given that Shearer is the only candidate, exactly who was he going to debate? An empty chair?

I hate to say I told you so, but the new democratic process is working according to the rules set by conference. And its working to Shearer’s advantage, which is clearly an unintended consequence for Camp Cunliffe.

Te Reo Putake
23 January 2013 at 7:39 pm

Er, no, they didn’t Elizabeth. The affiliates voted for a system that might get them a say. Might. If a particular set of circumstances came about. Which doesn’t appear to be happening this electoral cycle because Shearer has the numbers in caucus. That’s the democratic system affiliates voted for, and it’s working as designed.

In other words, the affiliates and party members might get a say – if Caucus lets them.  And they won’t.

Te Reo Putake has repeated similar frequently, and for that has been accused of being a head office mouthpiece (there’s been a lot of infighting amongst party members on The Standard). He has repeatedly made it clear that:

  • Shearer has the numbers (60%+) in caucus to prevent leadership going to a party decision
  • There is no one who will challenge for leadership.

It’s curious how one party delegate seems to know with certainty what the results of a future supposedly secret caucus ballot is going to be.

Of course it could be all bullshit and bluster. A common political tactic is to keep repeating something over and over and over so that eventually people believe it will be true – ex Labour president Mike Williams mentioned that tactic on Radio NZ (Nine to Noon) on Tuesday.

But it could also be an indication of how caucus ‘democracy’ works. Promises of rewards for compliance and threats of repercussions (bench rankings, assigned caucus responsibilities, poor party list placings) are all talked about.

Some at The Standard still hold hopes that wider party democracy as determined at last year’s conference will prevail. And a number of them say their views are shared by many more in the wider party.

Mike Williams also referred to people at The Standard as:

 “the wacko nutter who used to stand up at the Waikikamukau local meeting”

There’s a few nutters on blogs for sure, but to dismiss all with that put down shows extreme ignorance or it’s a deliberate insult. IrishBill posted:

Now I know we’ve had a few wacky posters here over the years such as Robinsod and that short lived conspiracy theorist, Batman, but the last time I checked most of us were slightly left of center social democrats and Labour party members.

If David Shearer and Te Reo Putake are correct and the ‘secret’ caucus ballot is already whipped into place and sewn up then the majority of Standard Labour Party members will be disappointed, further disillusioned, angry, angrier, despondent – and very vocal.

And this won’t be confined to The Standard, or the blogosphere, or social media. It will be out in the electorates, in the LECs (some Standard commenters are in LECs), and in the wider voting public.

The problem is not just what Shearer and his caucus supporters are doing – more importantly, it is how they are doing it.

They are seem as domineering, dismissive, out of touch, selfishly holding power by any means possible.

Shearer and Te Reo Putake may win the February battle. But the festering and discontent will remain.

If Shearer can’t win the support of the left of the political blogosphere then more and more voters might start to believe what the bloggers keep repeating and repeating – that they have no confidence in a Shearer led Labour winning enough support in the 2014 election.

Te Reo Mokemoke promoting a certain Shearer win

David Shearer has his leadership in the bag and will be uncontested in February according to Te Reo Putake at The Standard (he seems to be in a different faction to ‘Eddie’).

You have never seen much cheerleading for Shearer from me, though his speech at conference was the best speech I’ve seen for a decade, so fair do’s to the man. I don’t think he is the best person to lead Labour (barely in my top 5) but the fact is he is the leader and will be PM in a couple of years. I really don’t much care at all which MP leads Labour (or the Greens), I’m actually concerned about policy, not personality.

But the continued fixation with Shearer at TS is getting boring. The real story in this post is the blue line, which keeps falling. Labour and the Greens are doing fine. They are in the box seat already and that is before either of them go into campaign mode.

Shearer’s conference speech was ok, relative to his previous efforts, but it was hardly the best speech in a decade, good grief.

The faux optimism continues:

In the politics of this century, the consistant decline shown by National is a clear pointer to the outcome of the next election, which will be won by the opposition.

TRP has been making similar claims of certain victory in other threads (albeit notably always Labour+Greens, never Labour recovering to levels of support they had in the Clark years).

But TRP is not so much the Voice of Reason he makes himself out to be, he’s a Lone Voice. He is facing growing opposition to his fairy tale views at The Standard.

Most commenters are frustrated at the lack of traction under Shearer’s Labour leadership – and they dread Shearer matching up against Key in the next election campaign. At least Goff went into the last campaign with extensive experience. Shearer still struggles with any communication that isn’t carefully scripted and rehearsed.

Apart from a couple of unconvincing cheerleaders (TRP being one) Labour and Shearer continue to be heavily criticised by their own activists at The Standard.

The “Eddie’ post may stir tyhe activists up into the leadup to the caucus vote but it’s not looking likley the infighting will abate any time soon.

And without a significant change to strong leadership it’s difficult to see much improvement in the medium term either. Despite TRP trying to talk up a win the 2014 election is impossible to call at this stage, there is too much yet to happen – and in the case of Shearer, possibly too much that won’t happen.

Greens: ‘All leaders are equal…’

Uniquely the Green Party has duel leadership.  Apart from addressing male/female and Maori/non-Maori equal opportunities sharing duties can have some advantages. In many ways Russel Norman and Metiria Turei complement each other, in particular with Norman focussing on things financial while Turei deals more with social issues.

But politics and human nature can clash with the ‘all leaders are equal’ ideal. Ambition and the natural inclination of many, especially in politics, to want to lead and dominate can challenge relationships, with tendencies towards ‘but some leaders are more equal than others’.

Russel Norman has certainly dominated news coverage this year to the extent he has been labeled as the leader of the opposition (overshadowing David Shearer and Winston Peters as well as Turei) and has been one of the standout politicians of the year.

Norman has also prominently been promoting himself for the top ministerial role in Finance should a Labour/Green government be formed. Turei’s potential role has hardly been mentioned.

The Green Party are getting excited about the prospects of finally getting to the pinacle of power in New Zealand. It would be natural for Norman to be considering his own potential opportunities.

Shared leadership has worked for the Greens up until now, but if they do become a partner party in government it would pose some interesting questions – if Shearer is Prime Minister would one of the Green leaders be deputy? They might prefer duel deputy roles, but Labour may not like a perceived imbalance like that. And if NZ First are included in the coalition it would be difficult to see Winston Peters accepting that arrangement.

But that’s just interesting possibilities in the future.

Yesterday was the final day of parliament for the year. The final debate gave all parties an opportunity for their leaders to speech. John Key spoke, followed by David Shearer. Greens only had one leader’s slot so they had to chose one or the other of their leaders to speak.

I don’t know how they decide, maybe they toss a coin, maybe Norman did it last year or had the parliamenatry opening slot so this year it was Turei’s turn.

Metiria gave a pretty good speech that was well received by the Greens at least, with party praise on Twitter:

Wonderful adjournment speech from @metiria. Our country has never been wealthier, but wealthy memories are far away for many of us.

This was retweeted by MPs Kevin Hague and Holly Walker. It also earned a pat on the back from Labour:

Thanks Metiria! Yours was very moving. Have a great break!

However Metiria’s co leader was only moved to comment on the Prime Minister’s speech.

Key spends his adjournment speech making jokes and telling ordinary NZers that they’ve never had it so good. #PMparody #nzqt

He was looking up at the top job. He did also look sideways sometimes at Metiria while she made her speech, but his expression and body language throughout her speech was curious.

Metiria speech

Throughout Turei’s speech Norman looked like a little boy who had just been told Santa wouldn’t be bringing him any presents.

InTheHouse video: Government Motion of Notice No 1 – Sitting programme for 2013 and adjournment – Part 3

Transcript: Draft transcript – Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Back to the Shearer problem

It’s hard to escape what the big problem for Labour is right now, still. David Shearer simply isn’t measuring up. In fact he seems to be getting worse.

Sure he got a great reception at the Labour conference with his much anticipated speech. Obviously extenstively written and rehearsed, it exceeded low expectations. But it did little to allay fears that Shearer simply wasn’t political leader material, and neither did his reprimand and demotion of David Cunliffe.

Shearer had TV interviews in the weekend just past, on The Nation on Saturday and on Q&A on Sunday. He would have had time to prepare for these, and came across as mediocre, especially on Q&A when he was followed by a far more assertive, at ease and fluent John Key which was a stark contrast in communication skills.

And today Shearer has had more exposure, and it has again exposed his inadequacies.

He photo-opped in Auckland on his KiwiBuild housing policy and was very hesitant on TV3 news coverage, seeming to be unaware of basic facts and obvious flaws. When the average section  price in Auckland is $300,000 there are simply not going to be 6,000 available at anything like $50-70,000.

See 3 News: Labour ‘dreaming’ with housing plan – property developer

And he had what should have been a cruisy interview on student radio 95bFM and seems to have invoked feelings of embarassment and bewilderment – take your pick if that applies to Shearer or the audience. It is described on the website:

Ethan tries to get Labour party leader David Shearer to explain his recent actions towards MP David Cunliffe, how KiwiBuild could ever possibly work and whether or not his bold plan is unrealistic.

Here’s a link to audio:

MP3 Labour Party Leader David Shearer

On collecting signatures for the asset sale petition…

We just need that extra margin of safety to make sure we’ve got more than we need so if there’s any ones that come back that are not quite right we’ve got a margin of safety there.

“Not quite right”? Either they are valid signatures or they aren’t. This is an example of the levels of uncertainty in his phrases.

I’ve got to say the number of people who have already signed is remarkable, the number of people I ask, who say “I’m really sorry, would you like me to sign again” and I say no no no no we don’t want you to do that.

This reflects on others – do people not understand the principle of a petition? But again Shearer doesn’t think of saying “no, each person can only sign once”.

On Kiwibuild…

Kiwibuild is a great policy, it gets first home buyers back into their own homes.

Even great policy couldn’t do that.

A comment at The Standard (thanks karol) has a transcript of his comments on bloggers.

Ah yes, but at the end of the day, the bloggers are not the voters.  In fact they’re a long, long way away from the voters, to be  perfectly frank.  

When you go round the country and I talk to people, I have a better sense, I believe, than bloggers sitting there in front of a computer, quite frankly. Especially when they are sort of blogging anonymously.  I don’t have a, um.  I don’t listen to them.  I don’t read them. I do what I believe is right.

Not surprisingly that had a few ‘anonymous bloggers’ at the Standard spitting tacks as they typed in response.

Yes, you should be skeptical about some posts and comments by pseudonymous ghosts. But if you follow blogs you get to know who and how many are disguises for the devious (not many) and how many are genuine people expressing genuine opinions (most).

You get to know who lprent is and what his angles are  – I’ve met him in real life and what he says about himself on blogs matches – and you learn to respect the authority of Irish Bill’s views. There are also the Eddies whose authenticity can be questioned, and you get to know that some people use multiple indentities to hide the origin and connections of the source. But these are a distinct minority.

Most people on blogs may use pseudonyms, but they are still voters. They are voters with an interest in politics, they follow politics and share ideas – and they share impressions of politicians. They don’t just discuss this online, they talk to family, friends and workmates. They talk to strangers they meet. At least this is what I do, so I presume others do, it’s a normal process.

David Shearer is stupid to dismiss and sneer at the blog community. Apart from them being real people who are voters that may influence other voters, they are a useful indication of politcial sentiments and an often accurate measure of the success or failure of politicians and policies. They are also noticed and reported on by traditional media.

Blogs may be the little boy of the media realm but they are clearly and correctly pointing out that the emporer-in-waiting’s clothes aren’t fitting.

All this adds up to a major unresolved Shearer problem

These are yet more examples that David Shearer is out of touch and out of depth.

He is not the only problem, his leadership team and the Labour caucus have serious failings too. But they will not be resolved without strong and competent leadership.

The Shearer problem had to compete for attention with the Cunliffe problem, but now the Labour leadership spotlight is on Shearer alone. And it keeps highlighting glaring deficiencies that are being defended or denied, not improved. If anything Shearer’s leadership image is deteriorating.

If Shearer stood down now it would add to the chaos, launching the party into a contest at an awkward time.

The best thing Shearer could do is openly support the party leadership process that’s due in February, and put the decision over to the party, as many are requesting. Then the best person for the job can be chosen, openly and sort of democratically.

If there’s a Christmas miracle and Shearer finds his feet enough to convince that he can compete competently then he would be endorsed, and that should squash any ongoing doubt.

There is a risk that no one better would put their hand up, or worse, that no one would stand against Shearer. But that’s a risk the Labour Party has to take if it wants to try and repair the damage it has inflicted on itself.

It’s four years since Helen Clark lost an election and stood down. Since then Labour has squandered an opportunity to regroup and rebuild. If the party doesn’t looked unblinkered at it’s dire predicament and take postive action to remedy it’s problems it will waste another two years. At least.

A Labour led left may still win

The way our MMP works Labour could still end up cobbling together a coalition with Greens and any or all of the Maori Marty, NZ First and Mana. If that happens and Labour hasn’t resolved it’s leadership and caucus problems it may have serious repecussions not just for the party but for it’s coalition partners as well.

Labour’s train wreck may derail not just the next Government but it could seriously impact on the Green Party in their first time in Government. A Labour led disaster could severely taint the Green in Government image.

There’s a real risk of a one term government that may struggle to last the three years.


There’s a lot at stake, and all of this is being pointed out on blogs, earnestly and often intelligently.

If David Shearer pretends that things are fine and he’s the man to lead (he doesn’t look like he’s convinced himself yet), and if he convinces or coerces enough of the Labour caucus to ignore the problems and leave the leadership unchallenged in February, then Labour will be left at serious risk.

And Shearer will be at grave risk of becoming less relevant than the bloggers.

The Cunliffe ‘coup’ – what really happened

Did David Cunliffe launch a leadership coup to coincide with the Labour conference? Or was it an ABC conspiracy to take him out of contention? Or was it a media conspiracy?

All these things have been suggested and discussed at length. Amongst the many fumes and claims and plumes of smokescreens it is difficult to decipher exactly what motives were at play.

Having observed extensive media and blog coverage and comment here’s a timeline and my best guesses.

Coming up to the Labour conference Cunliffe wanted to raise his profile. He knew there would be conference remits that may help future a challenge for leadership, and if he could compete for attention and was seen prominently it would help his chances.

Cunliffe agreed to a Listener profile interview that was timed to be published a week before the conference – Reinventing David Cunliffe. This provided Cunliffe with publicity but it wasn’t all complimentary.

Coincidentally there was a Dominion (and Stuff) article by Vernon Small the same day (Saturday) that focussed on Shearer’s leadership and not on Cunliffe – Shearer’s last chance to impress – laying his future on the line. It’s very enlightening to read it all again in the context of the whole sequence of events. It was ominous.

But as storm clouds gather over his leadership, it is shaping as possibly his last.

Notably it forecast the remits raising the leadership issue at the conference (but didn’t predict the result).

A rival option – to put the leadership to a vote if 40 per cent of MPs call for it – is seen as too destabilising and the party is likely to settle on the compromise of a 55 per cent threshold.

If for no other reason, that will bring Shearer’s leadership to centre stage.

It points out uncertaintly in caucus.

So how strong is the mood for change, and will next week’s conference bring it to a head?

According to a senior MP, who backed Shearer in last year’s leadership vote, most inside Labour are withholding judgment until they see his performance at the conference.

It reminds us that there was already significant gossip, despite Shearer’s denial:

Posts on the Labour-leaning Standard blog and pressure from commentators like Chris Trotter – fuelled by speeches and interviews by Cunliffe – have bagged Shearer and backed his main rival. But he insists, picking up the language of the reporter’s question, that criticism and talk of a leadership spill is just “gossip”.

And it foreshadowed what might happen at the conference.

A well-connected Labour member, outside the caucus, agreed the conference would be about Shearer “whether we like it or not”. “The speech is very important to him,” she said.

If he did not win them over, he would remain vulnerable, and the media would be scouring the room checking for signs that Cunliffe’s loyalists were on the warpath.

This was all a week before the conference. There were only passing mentions of Cunliffe but it’s likely he was contacted by Small about it so he may have been aware it was being published.

The Listener and Dominion articles were concurrent but took quite different angles and not connected. Cunliffe knew one was coming and possibly both.

That same day (Saturday) there was a post on The Standard blog under the pseudonym ‘Eddie’ (this name is known to be used by multiple people with Labour interests).

On David Shearer’s Leadership

For the Left to win in 2014, David Shearer has to resign as Labour Leader. This is a big call to make and one that I have agonised over, but the reality has become increasingly clear: under Shearer, Labour is all too likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2014. He isn’t a credible Prime Minister, and the New Zealand public won’t vote to make him one.

That, in conjunction the print articles, set off an avalanche of comments at The Standard.

It was followed the next days by anti-Shearer posts by QoT and Irish Bill, and pro Shearer posts by Anthony Robins and Mike Smith. There were also more print articles  – Andrea Vance and Tapu Misa - and a blog post by Brian Edwards calling for Shearer to go.

There have been claims that these were a Cunliffe coordinated attack on Shearer. But it is most likely most of them were unrelated apart from being on the same topic – it had become a topical issue and lournalists and commenters jumped on the bandwagon.

However the first Standard post, by ‘Eddie’, points to close connections to Cunliffe being involved, which makes it likely Cunliffe himself was involved or at least aware of it. Irish Bill may have been a sympathetic follower, or may have also had a connection.

And while another Standard post on Monday by lprent may have been a ‘me too’ addition to the bashwagon lprent will have known the source of the Eddie post so may have been a part of the plan, or at least chose to add himself to the plan.

Media then flocked to Shearer for reaction, and blog comments continued through the week, most of which were anti Shearer. Labour leadership was a hot topic, and the spotlight was always going to glare at it at the conference.

In this situation it was inevitable that MPs and activists would be feeding the media, and media would be feeding off them.

And the remits favourable to a leadership bid (therefore seen as favourable to Cunliffe) were passed.

The media put 2 and 2 and 2 together and got 6!*!*!

And Cunliffe lapped up the spotlight, it was what he wanted.

Cunliffe was quizzed (and quizzed and quizzed) on his leadership ambitions. He will have known exactly what the game was and he should have exactly what to say.

Maybe he was careless, maybe his ego and ambitions got the better of him, or may be was very deliberate.

And this escalated the leadership noise,

And this in turn escalateded the Shearer camp ire and reaction. Past grumbles and current concerns blew up into a major defense turned into attack.

As we know this overshadowed the rest of the conference, carrying on until Tuesday when Cunliffe was demoted and muzzled.

Was it a coup attempt?

Most of what happened is unlikely to have been to anyone’s plan, as much as politicians want to controal the narrative the political and media bus has many drivers and noisy passengers negotiating a maze of ther unknown.

I doubt it was originally intended as a conference coup, it was most likely seen as an opportunity to prepare for a February challenge. There was deliberate manouvering but a snowball got rolling out of control of any participant and a blizzard of comment fed it.

The conference wasn’t exactly a perfect storm, but it was the pinnacle of political and media activity and interest, fueled by strategists and opportunists.

The media simply did their job – sometimes excessive, but that’s what some of them do.

Cunliffe wanted attention but got more than anticipated, and would have been surprised by the end result, his confidence turned to chaos.

The Shearer team reaction was in parts predictable and in parts more than expected. They were deep in the dark arts of politics.

But there were probably no grand conspiracies. There were ambitions and defences and opportunities that sometimes got out of control.

Agents on both sides, Shearer and Cunliffe, have been active behind the scenes initiating and feeding media and blog coverage.  And many others in all media and the commentariat have added their two thousand bobs worth.

And it has almost subsided. Until next time.

Labour conference roundup

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:

Labour Conference 2012 remits By: – 10:24 am, November 17th, 2012 – 77 comments

Especially for delegates (and me) to write comments on remits. Very fast so far.

Labour Conference day 2 By: – 11:53 pm, November 17th, 2012 – 4 comments

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 chooses democracy By: – 2:55 pm, November 17th, 2012 – 136 comments

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:

Labour Party Conference update by Bomber @ 9:55 AM – 0 comments

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Labour Party Conference – 40% threshold just passed by Bomber @ 1:33 PM

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.

Labour Party Conference Coup – so they do read the blogs by Bomber @ 4:15 PM   1 comments

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:

Shearer denies Labour leadership shakeup By Patrick Gower Comments (8)

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.

Labour Conference 2012: A Summary So Far by at 9:28 PM

Just a short post on a few points about Labour’s 2012 conference.

And there was an excellent blog report at The Standard:

Pushing at an open door By: – 10:17 pm, November 17th, 2012 – 17 comments

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.

New vote to unseat Shearer By Claire Trevett 5:30 AM Sunday Nov 18, 2012

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)

Shearer to deliver keynote speech today By: Felix Marwick  Sunday November 18 2012 6:44

 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…

John Armstrong ‏@JArmstrongNZH

Poor Jacinda Ardern. Trying to be cheerful as MC admidst this train wreck of a conference must be a trial.

John Armstrong ‏@JArmstrongNZH

Shearer has to move on Cunliffe, possibly by bringing February’s endorsement vote forward. Otherwise it’s goodnight nurse.

Felix Marwick ‏@felixmarwick

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:

Smile and Grave.
Hat tip Kiwiblog, source NZ Herald

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.

Changing Labour: significant issues By: –  8:38 am, November 18th, 2012

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.

Felix Marwick ‏@felixmarwick

Will there be an earlier vote than February on the Labour leadership? May be a possibility

John Armstrong ‏@JArmstrongNZH

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.

Jane Clifton ‏@rumpole3

@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.

Martyn Bradbury ‏@CitizenBomber

@NZQandA@danylmc incredible that Labour hold their most ground breaking conference and Q+A focus on Peter Garret???

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.

Hamish Clark ‏@Hamish_Clark

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.

Members send a message to caucus By: –  9:43 am, November 18th, 2012

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.

Dave Armstrong ‏@malosilima

Interesting to see so many ‘neutral’ commentators condemning a political party for giving their rank and file more power. #caucocracy?

Patrick Gower ‏@patrickgowernz

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.

Patrick Gower ‏@patrickgowernz

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).

Young Labour NZ ‏@younglabournz

#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?

Labour Conference 2012 policy remits By: – 10:38 am, November 18th, 2012

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.

rosy 18 November 2012 at 10:54 am

“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.

Patrick Gower ‏@patrickgowernz

Cunliffe still refuses to say he will back Shearer in February vote

Fran O’Sullivan ‏@FranOSullivan

@patrickgowernz Very Chinese – except they delayed while the ambitious were sworded.

A major change of focus has been pointed out:

pete 18 November 2012 at 10:37 am

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?

Benghazi 18 November 2012 at 11:34 am

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”.

Shearer makes first move By: – 12:32 pm, November 18th, 2012

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.

  1. just saying

    Dirty move for Mr Nice guy.

    So much for democracy.

  2. The *******,this just shows that he has no regard for democracy and certainly no regard for
    the membership of labour.
    It also demonstrates that members,posters,bloggers were right in recognising the person for
    what he is, self interested,self obssesed,di—-o-

  3. Patrick Gower is reporting the same, based on the good ol’ “Senior MPs have told me …”

    I think it would just look incredibly desperate and has to blow up in Shearer’s face, especially given the tone of the conference so far (i.e. in favour of more member control of these kinds of decisions). But maybe that just reflects (a) his lack of political instinct and (b) the desperation of his old guard ABC supporters. Obviously this would not surprise me.

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.

Felix Marwick ‏@felixmarwick

Labour MP Damien O’Connor says caucus may force a decision on Cunliffe over party leadership

One rule for us, another for them:

 QoT 18 November 2012 at 1:02 pm
I think we’re dealing with a faction within Labour who actually believe what O’Sullivan, Farrar and Armstrong write. Ergo, all the anti-Shearer posts of the past week are part of a conspiracy which can only be headed by Cunliffe, making him an evil traitor.
Shearer and his team are clearly so far up their own arses they can’t actually comprehend that multiple people might, for their own personal/political reasons, not like him.

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?

Patrick Gower ‏@patrickgowernz

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

Selwyn Pellett ‏@SelwynPellett

Labour Party reforms have engaged the supporter base! Packed! NZLP CONFERENCE. Wow starting

Claire Trevett ‏@CTrevettNZH

Anuschka does a Michelle Obama, introducing her husband at Labour conference. Shearer wooed her by mowing her lawns.

dave ‏@caffeine_addict

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.

Andrew Burns ‏@andrew_w_burns

“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?

Jessica Mutch TVNZ ‏@MutchJessica

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.

Felix Marwick ‏@felixmarwick

Housing announcement from Labour homes for 100,000 families in ten years. Kick start costs $1.5 billion

Green style policy packaging.

KiwiBuild By: –  1:13 pm, November 18th, 2012

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.

Felix Marwick ‏@felixmarwick

Shearer making references to leaders past – Kirk (superannuation), Lange (oxford debate)

New Zealand Labour ‏@nzlabour

You can watch a clip from @DavidShearerMP ‘s interview with Darryl Sweetman here – …

Lliam Munro ‏@lrmunro

“Don’t let anyone tell you that Government can’t do big things to change lives – @DavidShearerMP#Labour2012” True – just ask Stalin or Mao.

Sean Topham ‏@SeanTopham

Seems that Shearer has spoken coherently in multiple successive sentences. Huge victory against Team Cunliffe. One all.

Tony Milne ‏@TonyRMilne

Best conference speech I’ve heard in 12 years of conferences. Under pressure, Shearer delivers.

Vernon Small ‏@VernonSmall

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.

The Speech: Active Government By: – 1:16 pm, November 18th, 2012

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”

dave ‏@caffeine_addict

@PeterDunneMP will be pleased.RT @Levijoule: ‘It’s not about big government, it’s about common sense.’ – David Shearer.

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc

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:

QoT18 November 2012 at 1:49 pm

“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: …#Labour2012

Speech: New Zealand – A new direction David Shearer  |  Sunday, November 18, 2012 – 12:45

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc

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.

Palaver overload.

Patrick Gower ‏@patrickgowernz

Cunliffe says he welcomes early vote on leadership. Must be under new rules. Refuses to endorse Shearer

New Zealand Labour ‏@nzlabour

There were over 1000 people in attendance for @DavidShearerMP ‘s speech. Biggest attendance in living memory.

RadioLIVE Newsroom ‏@LIVENewsDesk

@DavidShearerMP has set down a clear challenge to people who doubt his leadership of @NZLabour – he won’t back down #Politics

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.

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc

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.

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc

“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


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