Labour back to trashing themselves

After a short diversion trying to trash United Future it looks like Labour are back to trashing themselves. The dirty work is back to being done within the caucus. Red on red.

Patrick Gower reignited an always simmering consternation about David Shearer’s leadership.

Shearer put on notice by Labour MPs

A Labour MP told 3 News today that Mr Shearer had until spring – two months away – to pick up his and Labour’s performance.

The MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The caucus is just really flat. It’s not panic or anxiety just yet, but a couple more bad polls and it will be. David’s got a couple more months. A change in leadership cannot be ruled out before the end of the year.

“Spring time is when people will get really nervous, just over a year out from the election. We don’t want to get into the “Goff-zone”, where it’s too late to change the leader, but you’ve got someone in there the public just don’t want -the phone is just off the hook.”

The MP who spoke to 3 News is not a loyal supporter of leadership rival David Cunliffe. That makes the comments more significant as it shows there are broader concerns in the caucus about Mr Shearer’s performance.

And the stirring within seems to be not exclusive to Gower. Corin Dann also reports:

Crucial two months for David Shearer

However what I do detect is an increase in the threat level for David Shearer.

If the poor showing was to be reflected in a downward trend across a number of next round of polls (including the left’s currently favoured Roy Morgan Poll) then a challenge come spring is possible.

As one Labour MP put it to me this week another 5 or so points down in the next round of polls and things could be different.

Another stressed privately that there was no push for change now and David Shearer had the support of caucus.

But they did also note the fact that there’s a small window for change around September/October if things get really dire.


Then to compound matters David Shearer displayed poor judgement by briefly visiting a Sky City corporate box. Not fatal, but a silly mistake nonetheless which undermined his attacks on the Convention Centre deal and got up the noses of activists in party.

David Shearer is well aware of these failings.

What’s crucial now is how he responds over next 8 to 10 weeks, his every move will be watched and there really is no room for error now.

This looks like a planned attempt to dump Shearer. It has similarities to the so called Cunliffe coup attempt at Labour’s conference last year. This has come up again at The Standard:

…you know full well that most people thought Trevor Mallard was leaking to Gower during the conference.


It’s a classic “Thursday story”.

The leader is (usually) not in Parliament on Thursday – today he was campaigning in Ikaroa-Rawhiti. So it’s safe to talk to the gallery, cat’s away, mice play …

In unrelated news, Trevor Mallard *was* in Parliament today.

Perhaps not coincidentally Mallard was at the forefront of the assaults on Peter Dunne and United Future, albeit more openly (sometimes).

Whether Mallard is involved or not (and it seems to have his grubby handprints all over it) whoever is deliberately destabilising Shearer’s leadership this is very dirty politics – I think it’s disgraceful. Someone in the Labour caucus is trashing their own party using trashy tactics.

Sure, Shearer looks to be a dead leader walking, he has done for some time. But this is a terrible, destructive way of dealing with an obvious problem.

Labour look to be a long way from repairing and rebuilding. Labour’s mallardy continues.

That’s bad for Labour supporters and it’s for New Zealand politics.

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  1. Who can lead Labour? | Your NZ

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