Censuring Shearer, Goff let off

Collective caucus responsibility imposed on David Shearer, breaking ranks is fine for Phil Goff.

Andrew Little says he will ensure David Shearer for expressing his support of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement at the same time that Labour as a party swings to full anti-TPPA, but he is letting Goff off. This inconsistency is odd and could prove problematic for Little, now trying to deal with a split caucus.

NZ Herald reported last night (but dated 5:30 am this morning):

David Shearer to be censured over breaking Labour line on TPP

Labour MP David Shearer is set to be censured for breaking the Labour line on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after speaking out in support of the trade agreement.

Labour leader Andrew Little would not outline possible sanctions or comment on whether Mr Shearer could be stripped of his foreign affairs portfolio.

“There is a range of options. I don’t want to go into any of them, but it is important he understands, and that every caucus member understands, that caucus collective responsibility is real and it’s got to stand for something.”

“I’ve had one discussion with David so far just to ascertain the facts. I’m yet to have a further discussion with him about what happens now, but I think every caucus member knows caucus collective responsibility is utterly vital and there has to be some sort of consequence if that is breached.”

But Goff has been let off – why does caucus collective responsibility not apply to him?

Although fellow MP Phil Goff also spoke in support of the TPP, Mr Little said he had agreed Mr Goff could break ranks with the party because of his long-standing support for the trade agreement as Trade Minister when the talks kicked off.

Shearer has supported the TPPA for some time as well, As have other Labour MPs.

The treatment of Mr Shearer differs from that of Mr Goff, whose comments rubbished claims the TPP was an unacceptable infringement of New Zealand’s sovereignty — the very reason Labour is opposing it.

However, Mr Little has confirmed Mr Goff had a dispensation which allowed him to break the party line. Asked if he had told Mr Goff to at least stop speaking publicly on the issue, Mr Little said he had discussed it with Mr Goff and “I’m confident we have a shared understanding about that”.

He said most people recognised Mr Goff was the trade minister who initiated the negotiations and had a “deep-seated”view on it. Mr Goff is running for the Auckland mayoralty so no longer has a ranking within Labour’s caucus.

Shearer is currently ranked 13 and is MP for Mt Albert, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Associate Defence Spokesperson. Little can’t take his electorate off him.

Leave a comment


  1. Pete Kane

     /  29th January 2016

    I appreciate Andrew will not want to be percieved as a ‘soft’ leader. However, I feel acting punatively against one of his former ‘bosses’ but not another, would probably be unwise.

  2. Blazer

     /  29th January 2016

    If Goff becomes mayor who will stand in Roskill.Shearer should be booted out…hes a big flop.Was meant to be Labours handpicked rival to the Nats handpicked forex gambler.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  29th January 2016

      You should be careful what you wish, I regard both Mt Albert & Mt Roskill as marginal seats without their current occupants.

      Mt Albert Party Seat

      National 14359 10314
      Labour 10823 20970

      Shearer has a personal vote of 10147 (20970-10823) and National are ahead in the Party vote by 3536

      Mt Roskill Party Seat

      National 14275 10546
      Labour 12096 18637

      Goff has a personal vote of 6541 (18637-12096) and National are ahead in the Party vote by 3729

      With the rise in house prices in Auckland these are electorates are now affluent inner city suburbs. A change in the Labour candidate at the 2017 would open up an opportunity for National to move on these electorates. It would also depend on who stands for each party but I would be careful about rocking the boat.


      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  29th January 2016

        Sounds like Adern would take Goffs electorate so that at least should remain in Labours hands.

  3. Timoti

     /  29th January 2016

    Factions,factions. Get your factions here. I wonder if Little will make the elections? Imagine the unthinkable and they roll him for Robertson. Talk about a “Trump” moment.


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