Matt the Knife

Did Cunliffe bring in Matt McCarten in to try and cut some dead wood out of the Labour caucus? Is he a hired Matt the Knife?

Ever since Helen Clark and Michael Cullen departed the party after the 2008 defeat Labour has had trouble replacing  MPs generally regarded as past their use-by date.

Two or three weeks ago Cunliffe said he would be talking to all the Labour MPs about their future.

Last week rumours grew about dissatisfaction with Cunliffe’s leadership within the Labour caucus – see  Garner – Labour MPs to lose the election then roll Cunliffe.  Stuff reported:

Cunliffe has had to contend with recent whispers of dissatisfaction from within his party. However, he told Fairfax Media he had looked into this and insisted his caucus are behind him.

That’s what they all say.

Since his appointment McCarten has been busy with media (very unusual for a Chief of Staff).

McCarten said those within Labour’s caucus who had not supported Cunliffe’s bid for the leadership in the past had “changed their view”.

“And I don’t think there’s a question that if there’s any [leadership] vote – and there won’t be because people are united around him – [he would have support].

“The important thing now is we harness the movement to win the next election, and I want to do the best I can.”

Cunliffe and McCarten also said yesterday:

Cunliffe says Jim Anderton is “coming home to Labour.”

McCarten: my differences with Jim Anderton were profound. We will work together on this campaign.

But that wasn’t correct. Vernon Small reported:

Former deputy prime minister Jim Anderton yesterday said he would not help Labour at the general election, after managing the party’s campaign in the Christchurch East by-election last year and working on the 2011 general election campaign and for Megan Woods in Wigram.

As asked in the previous post  Where do Labour’s ABC’s fit in? this leaves a question about whether McCarten has been given the job of bringing the Labour Caucus together, or if he first is going to try and cut out the MPs who are an impediment to a unified party under Cunliffe.

Before he becomes Matt the  Uniter we may see a bit of Matt the Knife.

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  1. GPJA #492: What’s On & News from Aotearoa 7 the world – 28/2/14 | GPJA's Blog

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