Shearer’s expected endorsement

Confidence in the leadership of David Shearer goes to a caucus vote today. It is widely expected he will get a near 100% endorsement, but that will be caucus votes only, not necessarily real MP sentiments and ceratinly not party sentiments.

Radio New Zealand: Shearer expected to be endorsed

Labour leader David Shearer is expected to have his leadership endorsed by Labour MPs at a caucus meeting in Auckland on Monday.

Stuff: Shearer ‘not losing sleep’ over vote

Mr Shearer said he expected to win despite not having polled his colleagues. “I’m confident I don’t have any problems, I’m not losing any sleep.”

While a unanimous result would be nice, it did not matter, he said.

Plenty of the party’s MPs had expressed their support, he said.

Team Shearer haven’t been workingh the numbers? Yeah, right. Most MPs will be signed and sealed.

NZ Herald: Big vote tipped for Shearer today

Labour MPs voting on the leadership this morning are expected to overwhelmingly back leader David Shearer…

It’s possible that having learned from inept conference coup calamity opponents have this time secretly gathered the numbers required (13 MPs) and are planning on springing a surprise, but there’s been no sign of that.

An all MP endorsement won’t mean caucus is fully confident in Shearer’s leadership, it will simply mean MPs think it’s in their interest to be seen to be supporting Shearer. Their caucus roles are at stake for possible the rest of this term.

But a caucus happy camper endorsement is not going to hide the fact there’s widespread concerns about the ability and performance of Shearer in the Labour Party.

A TV3 report:

Labour leader David Shearer will look to finally quash any questions about his ability to lead the party when MPs vote at today’s caucus meeting.

It is unlikely to quash anything. A Standard comment by Benghazi addresses this:

TV3 has an article up this evening about the confidence vote. It too suggests a 100% endorsement is likely.

In my view the article misses the point that the internal friction within Labour is not a Shearer vs Cunliffe thing. Rather, it is about:

  • the wish of the Labour grass roots to have more say in how the Party is run,
  • the widening gap between the Party members and the Caucus old guard,
  • and genuine concern that Shearer will have trouble matching Key in a campaign.

Those issues don’t go away just because Cunliffe has made clear he is not challenging. Those issues remain and need to be resolved.

I’ve seen all of those concerns expressed extensively. In addition there’s a lot of comment from the left of the party about Shearer being too centrist or too right wing.

Shearer is likely to retain his leadership but he will also retain deepseated problems in the party and also widespread concern about his ability to lead Labour back into Government.


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