Labour coup unfolds, unravels

Last night there was a flurry of speculation, followed by denial, after Duncan Garner tweeted that a Labour leadership coup was under way.

Stuff report that there were murmurings all day in More rumours about Shearer leadership:

Labour leader David Shearer is facing more destabilising rumours after batting off speculation all day that a letter of no confidence was being circulated among his MPs.

The rumour started circulating early in the day but the Mps named as being behind the move hotly denied it and Shearer said through a spokesman there had been no letter and the claims were rubbish.

Soundings among party insiders suggested there was no push on but the latest speculation will not help his leadership after earlier rumours of a leadership push before the end of the year.

The Twitter frenzy began at 9.o5 pm with claims and comments amongst journalists and party members evolving into Labour MP denials and confrontations led by Grant Robertson.

This is how it unfolded.

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
David Shearer’s slammed suggestions of a leadership coup as innuendo and rumour.
Good source. Coup on in Labour. Letter of no confidence being circulated. It’s over for Shearer. Watch for his resignation.

@J_Shepz 
The thing is there is nothing wrong with Shearer, its all the bloody in-fighting between MP’s. Seems they all HATE each other!

@Will_Lainson
How long do you think he’ll last? Probably not long now!

Scott Murray@kashyyyksdad
Im surprised its taken this long! #goodbyedavid

Damien@NSDeman
Really? Be interesting to see if it holds true or is just some weird form of internal mudraking.

@Regan_Gibbons
When did Whaloil become a good source?

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
Wrong. Internal caucus source.

dave @caffeine_addict
so, looks like it is over for David Shearer…

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
Bloodless coup, Grant Robertson steps in? That’s where I placed my money not two weeks ago.

@LewStoddart 
Most likely option I reckon. Ardern for deputy. Hard to argue against it.

@ImperatorFish
Doesn’t work that way any more. Membership will vote on it. Members and affiliates have 60% of the votes on leadership
I would fall over in shock if there wasn’t a contest. This is all speculation, of course.

@PeteDGeorge 
What if there is only one candidate?

@ImperatorFish
That would be very unlikely, given the state of the party right now.

Kiwiblog posts: Garner says Labour coup is on

If this is right, then a fascinating Robertson v Cunliffe battle for the leadership – unless they do a deal and one does Leader and one Deputy.

Or will Little stand also and try to be the candidate in the middle, who can appeal to both the left supporting Cunliffe and the ABC faction? If Robertson is seen as too tied up in the recent bad political management, Little could come through the middle.

Sam @The Standard
Apparently being driven by Shane Jones – aiming to get Little in, with him as number two. Egos over brains! That’s going to be just what the party/ country needs!

@ImperatorFish
And before we get carried away with planning the future of Labour, are we only speculating because of a tweet by @Garner_Live ?

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
I’ll be on @RadioLIVENZ shortly with what i know

Joel Rowan@RealJoelRowan
Is there really a spill in Labour? Is this a social media social experiment? Is it an iPredict market moving exercise?

@FranOSullivan
Not going to do a Gillard and be stampeded into a showdown. The posturing never stopped.

Toby Manhire@toby_etc
“I’ve pretty much said it all in that tweet.” Duncan Garner on the radio.

@chrishipkins
@Garner_Live
Your source is full of crap. No letter. No leadership challenge. Stop making things up.

David Farrar (Kiwiblog):

Now I don’t believe Garner is making anything up. I have no doubt a source has told him that there is a letter of no confidence.

However it is possible Garner is being played by someone in Labour trying to destabilise Shearer. This was the Rudd vs Gillard strategy – keep the speculation alive, so the leader is so weakened that have to go.

Whether Garner’s source is correct or not will become apparent with time. Fascinating to watch.

@FranOSullivan 
Heh. Shane Jones et al decide David Shearer should be gelded rather than them.?

@LewStoddart
Fair to say @chrishipkins hasn’t been given any letters to sign, then.

@KimChisnall
I’m too tired to stay up to see if there is anything in this coup thing. Ill be able to pick it up in the morning right?

@juliefairey 
Garner has just said on Radio Live that @patrickgowernz has the letter and will show it on Nightline TV3.

@bennettleton
Cunliffe just left the chamber behind Goff live on screen with a writing pad! #doingthenumbers

@LewStoddart
Well, Garner reckons Patrick Gower has the #spull letter and will be on Nightline, so let us await the veil-dancing.

James Macbeth Dann@edmuzik
Hi, I’m a politician who’s stupid enough to sign a letter asking my leader to resign, then pass it to Patrick Gower to wave around on TV

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
If Patrick Gower really has a copy of the letter than I’d say the Labour caucus should resign en masse. Shut the whole thing down.

@DavidJShearer
Uh oh.

@ImperatorFish
We have more fun in the Labour Party. Boring stable Nats.
Seriously, with all this intrigue and backstabbing, how could anyone not want to be a member? Get involved! Bring your own knife though.

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
And ignore sources about the truth? Go to bed if you’re not interested in what’s going on. This is journalism.

@robhosking
Dumber things have happened. But so far this doesn’t look like a #spill: its a #twill (a spill on twitter)

@MatthewHootonNZ
@chrishipkins set to be demoted after @nzlabour coup @Garner_Live

@damianchristie 
Nah I’m Mt Roskill. Actually I asked Goff last week if he was standing again: “Of course. Reagan wasn’t President until he was 70”
…which didn’t seem relevant until tonight..

@felixmarwick
Haven’t come across a single Labour MP that’s confirmed speculation about David Shearer’s leadership Had a few denials tho

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
Gower not on nightline… labour MPs denying letter of course… Text book coup, 60 day warning, man ban, letter, denials, denials, gone.

David Farrar

UPDATE3: Garner now says Gower not on Nightline. He has tweeted:

This makes me think that there is no coup letter (at this stage), but that someone in Labour has started a destabilisation campaign.

@ImperatorFish
Denials, no sign of a letter, no evidence of a coup. It all adds up!

dave @caffeine_addict
@Garner_Live
so Paddy doesn’t have the letter?

Leena@IshtarsHS
If there is no #spull, I’m circulating a letter of no confidence in Garner.

@chrishipkins
No letter, no Nightline story, no substance. Manufacturing news plain and simple.

James Shaw@jamespeshaw
@Garner_Live
So, what you’re saying is, you got nuthin’?

Annette King@annetterongotai
@emmawehipeihana
@patrickgowernz @Garner_Live dont wait up Emma its a whopper! If Paddy is not on Nightline with a letter, apology Duncan??

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@annetterongotai
Textbook coup… How’s the ABC club tonight?

dave @caffeine_addict
hey @samdurbin my sources tell me that Whaleoil is not @Garner_Live s source. Garner is still a journalist. Gower is quiet though…

Toby Manhire@toby_etc
unlikely any no-conf ltr cld get numbers w/out support of @grantrobertson1 – and he RTed this from @chrishipkins

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
@Garner_Live
Duncan, I have now confirmed with the whole Caucus. There is no letter. This is just made up. Apology?

David Farrar:

UPDATE4: Grant Robertson has tweeted he has contacted every Labour MP, and they all deny there is a letter. So I think nothing is happening for now. However, the fact someone in Labour is creating trouble is not good for them.

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@grantrobertson1
You’re being lied to Grant. I can’t apologise for that.

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
@Garner_Live
your evidence? This is irresponsible journalism. You are better than this.

Shayne Currie@ShayneCurrieNZH
Herald’s @CTrevettNZH has sources saying David Cunliffe has personally assured David Shearer he is not mounting any challenge

Damian Christie@damianchristie
“Why are you going red Mr Garner?” “I don’t know, why are you sweating Mr Robertson?” “I’m wearing a scarf.”

dave @caffeine_addict
@Garner_Live
do you or Paddy have the letter or not? If not, why did you say Paddy did? @grantrobertson1 If so why not televise it.

H du Plessis-Allan@hdpaNEWS
If you’re still up, it’s interesting watching Labour round on @Garner_Live over his claims of a leadership coup and associated letter.

Toby Manhire@toby_etc
Alrighty, off to bed. Those prank calls seem to have worked a treat.

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
@Garner_Live
@patrickgowernz You have said there is a letter, where is it?

Annette King@annetterongotai
@Garner_Live
@emmawehipeihana @patrickgowernz Im waiting for the apology! Bullshit make news generated by Slater, Hooton- new mates Dunc?

Chris Hipkins@chrishipkins
@Garner_Live
@RadioLIVENZ That won’t take long given there is no substance to it. Unless you’re just going to make it up.

Trevor Mallard@TrevorMallard
So @Garner_Live did @patrickgowernz lie to you ? Or did you just make it up. Whichever you look like a prize dick

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@TrevorMallard
@patrickgowernz American bag men, assault etc… Trev….

Annette King@annetterongotai
@grantrobertson1
@Garner_Live Time for evidence now. As Key would say cough up or shut up!!

David Cunliffe@DavidCunliffeMP
@chrishipkins
@Garner_Live well said Chris. Coup rumours ridiculous

Christine Ammunson@2TAPU
Political vs Media drama on Twitter better than Shortland Street, acting is better too

@barrysoper
Thanks @Garner_Live for keeping us up chasing your elusive tale, making phone calls all night. Good laugh though eh?

@DarienFenton
Fizzzzz.

@robhosking
looks like @Garner_Live should lead Labour. He’s done what no one else has managed for five years: united the entire caucus.

H du Plessis-Allan@hdpaNEWS
Grant Robertson sounds like Duncan’s dad “@grantrobertson1: @Garner_Live This is irresponsible journalism. You are better than this.”

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
@hdpaNEWS
yep, he’s grounded, has to come straight home from school+under no circumstances is he to talk to the Gower boy 😉

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
@hdpaNEWS
I expect a full exclusive on this revelation on #sevensharp tomorrow. There’s a rumour I’m his Dad, and that’s all you need right?

dave @caffeine_addict
That was the biggest story NOT to make the news RT @caffeine_addict: Gosh this is embarassing for TV3. I think Garner stuffed up tonight.

Tim Murphy@tmurphyNZH 7h
Coup crash landing – 1 reputation injured.

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@barrysoper
You know it’s true Bazza…

David Farrar@dpfdpf
Worth recalling that Kevin Rudd denied he would challemge Gillard right up until two hours before he did challenge her! #mpslie

Hamish Coleman-Ross@HamishCR 
Listen here to @whaleoil on @RadioLIVENZ with Mitch Harris talking about the @nzlabour coup

RadioLive: Cameron Slater on Labour Party coup – Audio

Ruth Wynn-Williams@ruthtvnz
Stayed up to see the floor show play out on the late news #tumbleweed

Damian Christie@damianchristie
Garner’s, Peters’ and Dotcom’s evidence walk into a bar…

@DrBrash
Take it from a twice-deposed leader of two parties: @Whaleoil is a really shitty source you guys. @Garner_Live @GuyonEspiner

@TrevorMallard
@grantrobertson1: @Garner_Live u said Paddy would produce. He is making u look dishonest

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@TrevorMallard
@grantrobertson1 Mallard and honesty? Mate….

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@tauhenare
almost went to sleep then knuckles Mallard popped up talking about honesty… I’m trying to stop laughing…

Hohua Pihama@jcphitchcock
Struggling to remember a more entertaining night on twitter.
Political journalism is a lot like a bunch of 5 year olds playing sport. Everyone runs around chasing the ball, ignoring the wider field.

@robhosking
@grantrobertson1
@hdpaNEWS Its on twitter. Must be true.

@robhosking
@patrickgowernz
“I thought YOU had the letter.” @Garner_Live “I thought YOU had the letter” Producer: “Ten seconds till we’re live, guys..”

@VernonSmall
Many denials but can’t find a single Labour MP or none MP to confirm on or off record that letter circulated or a coup under way.

@grantrobertson1
@VernonSmall
yet there is a story on Stuff talking about the rumours?

@VernonSmall
@grantrobertson1
Sorry? did you not hear the rumours?

@grantrobertson1
@VernonSmall
isn’t that the point. rumours. that you can’t substantiate. for record, I have confirmed with whole Caucus, there is no letter.

@VernonSmall
@grantrobertson1
Can’t see where we say substantiated, but they exist. You been trying to debunk ’em all night. Are we expected to ignore?

@grantrobertson1
@VernonSmall
yes. if everyone is denying and you have no evidence to contrary. just repeating a rumour does not give it vailidity.

@robhosking
@grantrobertson1
@VernonSmall Sometimes reporting news involves setting record straight.

@grantrobertson1
@robhosking
@VernonSmall possibly. But story can also serve to give credence where there is none. bed time 🙂

By morning the supposed coup is being mentioned in news as rumours, fairly low key.

A coup is widely expected, Shearer is seen as dead leader walking. It’s just a matter of when.

Whether this was a genuine coup attempt or not it continues the active destablising of Shearer’s leadership from within the Labour caucus.

If this was not a coup attempt it was major mischief making, following the leaks to Patrick Gower last week about a spring deadline for Shearer to shape up – and since then Shearer has been found wanting seriously with his mishandling of the “man ban” issue.

And this morning Labour are in full denial mode, with Shearer appearing on Firstline strongly denying any leadership bid (looking as unconvincing as ever) and his deputy Grant Robertson backing him up:

RadioLIVE Newsroom@LIVENewsDesk
Labour deputy Grant Robertson is adamant no letter is circulating amongst the Labour caucus calling for a vote of no confidence in Shearer.

colin espiner@cespiner
@LIVENewsDesk
yes David Shearer, that’s how coups generally start.

Chris Trotter on RadioLive: Labour Leader facing “worst kind of coup” – slow and agonising – commentator – Audio

“Probably the worst kind of coup.”

“A clear majority that would wish David Shearer gone.”

“I think what Duncan got was a bad steer, but a bad steer serves the purpose”.

‘Harriet’ @Kiwiblog:

“Cowards die many times before their actual deaths.” – Julius Caesar.

If Robertson, Little or Cunliff don’t finaly act today, then they will lose the next election and be put to the sword – as no one likes to see cowardice or weakness in a potential PM.

The pussies won’t – and shall die by a thousand press reports talking about it.

That’s a major problem for Labour. Shearer was widely condemned for failing to act quickly or decisively on the ‘man ban’ issue.

His opponents in Labour’s caucus are failing to act and are indecisive, making more of a mess of Labour than one unfortunate leader.

‘Geoff’ @The Standard:

Nothing’s going to happen. The vampire zombie old guard are thwarting the possibility of a better NZ as they hold the tiller steady while we go over the waterfall. We’re going about things the right way if we want to guarantee a National win next year folks.

To all you Shearer/Robertson supporters out there: Thanks for condemning us all to another shitty 3 years.

Firstline:

“This is the ridiculous sort of thing that’s circulating around now, where people are trying to make the news rather than report on the news,” says Mr Shearer.

“And all I want, and all anybody wants, is a fair go. A fair go to be able to have facts reported rather than innuendos and rumour that stacks up as facts, and people reporting on that.”

Anthony Robins @ The Standard – Much a coup about nothing

It looks like someone has played Garner / Gower here. They would do well to ask themselves why.

There should be plenty of comment on this thread. The Standard is generally pro-Labour but has been anti-Shearer.

Patrick Gower@patrickgowernz
Just catching up on last night’s tweets. Obviously wasn’t on Nightline & don’t have letter!

Imperator Fish blogs: That letter

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live trickgowernz
you gotta work harder PG…. Your 60 day source has the answer… go see that person ASAP.

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
@Garner_Live @patrickgowernz but, you said there was a letter and Paddy had it. Where is the letter?

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@grantrobertson1 @patrickgowernz It’s with the GCSB tape you and Shearer had. Destroyed after being outed.

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@grantrobertson1
@patrickgowernz I’m loathe to name the caucus sources here Grant obviously you know I can’t do that. But you probably know

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
@Garner_Live @patrickgowernz not asking you to name sources. you said there was a letter+ Paddy would show it on Nightline. Where is letter?

Bill Ralston@BillyRalston
Odd how Labour MPs engage on twitter with journos over coup rumours. Deny, deny, deny. Just adding fuel to the fire.

Duncan Garner@Garner_Live
@BillyRalston They’re all leaking Billy then lying to Grant about it. Toxic.

James Elliott@JamesElliott8
I reckon there is a coup going on in the Labour Party because the utter incompetence of its apparent execution is very authentic.

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