Do Labour fear a Labor debacle here?

It wouldn’t be surprising if there were fears here that we could see a panic leadership debacle like Australian’s Labor Party.

It’s common for fears to to be projected.

IrishBill at The Standard turns a diss On Dame Susan Devoy into trying to talk up leadership friction and factions in the National Party. That’s like trying to light some kindling while his own party pants are on fire.

Wishful thinking about distant future National battles won’t hide the fact that IrishBill’s Labour have real leadership concerns of their own right now, and there is genuine fear in the ranks about next year’s election campaign if Shearer remains.

Irish concerns about race relations appointments and trying to fan National flames that don’t really exist may simple reflect his own fears.

When political activists start lashing out it’s worth having a wee look within.

An attempt to ditch a Labor leader across the ditch in a panic reaction to a pre election poll could be easily echoed here. It has also been openly talked about as possibility.

IrishBill’s instincts

Lynn Prentice commented about IrishBill’s instincts at The Standard:

Kind of amusing that Irish picked your reaction so neatly though. His instincts are too damn good about silly reactions and I now owe him a beer..

I had thought IrishBill’s instincts were quite good too, although his The right’s fear of democracy post suggested he could get a bit rattled.

And today his instincts are way off the mark.

To be honest I didn’t pick he’d have such a big sulk and self-ban.

He doesn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between sulking and making a sensible choice – it’s not a self ban, I have simply chosen not to return. Seems like common sense, I can be more effective not getting petty harrassment at The Standard.

In fact I was already to keep a firm hand on other commenters’ reactions to him to give him a fair go.

Instead he let lprent loose emphasising same old – promising “a fair go” was clearly not on his agenda.

His instincts seem to display another likeness to the Labour caucus, or at least to a certain strategic genius therein. Quack.

Not sulking Irish, more bemusement and amusement.

And lprent’s claim seems to be completely wrong about IrishBill again, similar to he did on his flight off the handle at The Daily Blog.

How can “Irish picked your reaction so neatly” when Irish “was already to keep a firm hand on other commenters’ reactions to him to give him a fair go” – that sounds like he was expecting me to comment, and I’m not. So his instinct was wrong. I think I deserve the drink.

Fisking IrishBill’s leprechaun

IrishBill’s The right’s fear of democracy post at The Standard is as credible as a leprechaun at the bottom of a weedy political garden.

Four hundred thousand people don’t want asset sales.

It’s many more than that. David Shearer has increased his claim to “over 80%” which is unsubstantiated exaggeration but we can safely assume a million or two have expressed (via polls) they prefer the asset part sales didn’t go ahead.

Irish is presumablyupping the 390,000 who signed the petition – this number will reduce when invalid signatures are counted, the petitioners have allowed for a 10% reduction.

In fact they don’t just not want asset sales they want every voter in New Zealand to have the chance to cast a vote for or against asset sales.

The petition simply asked that a referendum be held on asset sales. Claiming that all signatories share two specific intentions is highly presumptious.

And National wants to discredit them.In fact it’s vital that National discredits them because the referendum looms as a huge political threat to them.

National doesn’t need to discredit them. National have succeeding in an election, they have succeeded in getting their bill passed through parliament, and they have won two court cases. The share float process has begun. At least one SOE will have been up to 49% sold before the referendum takes place. The referendum is no threat.

How big a threat? Well think about it. The referendum process and the referendum itself will take weeks, perhaps even months and every time it comes up in a story voters will be reminded that the government is flogging their assets and that they are willing to ignore the wishes of the electorate to do so.


Ah, the referendum isn’t about stopping asset sales, even though it has been sold as that. So Labour and Greens have been gathering signatures on false pretences.

That’s the core of a narrative of a government that is out of touch. And that is one of the most damaging brands a government can have in a democracy.

Irish is trying to introduce a new line of attack. Well, it may be new to the public, but it is likley that this was always the opposition plan. To damage the National brand of Government. The asset sales are just a convenient way to dupe the public into supporting them.

There’s another narrative that Irish doesn’t mention. There have been a growing number of commentaries (from the left of the blogosphere) warning that Labour and Greens are the ones who are out of touch, they are over flogging a dead horse.

An out of touch self interested opposition is a damaging brand. Nearly as damaging as an out of touch leprechaun.

So how scared are they? Well National are throwing every narrative they can at it in a desperate attempt to get something to stick. They’ve tried “it’s a waste of time because we’re selling anyway”, but that didn’t work, in fact it just made them look (heh) out of touch, so they tried claiming the signatures were dodgy, but the problem with that is that the petition will be officially endorsed as reaching the limit so that just looks a bit disingenuous. Oh, and they tried claiming the election was a mandate because Labour made it such a big issue, but nobody’s buying that because everyone know labour didn’t lose because of assets they lost because their campaign sucked and they had Phil Goff as a leader.

How scared are Labour? They are throwing every narrative at National National in a desperate attempt to get something to stick. Even with their levels of political diarrhoea they are struggling to find enough shit to try and throw.

Which leaves them with nothing but the old national-party-research-unit-via-third-party smear campaign. “Look” they get their proxies to cry, “look at these leaked documents showing public money being spent on this referendum, oh and unions! boo!”.

Another “National using proxies” attack on Kiwiblog. Without evidence again. IrishBill is in tricky territory here,  proxy for a party or union shit could be as easily claimed (with the same lack of evidence).

Of course the problem with this is that the money spent by the Greens and Labour on this petition would have been spent by them on this kind of thing anyway.

Irish is ignoring the problem being highlighted – that Greens and Labour are abusing our democratic process by hijacking CIR (Citizens Initiated Referenda) for party political purposes.

In fact I’d suggest that spending dollars on helping get Kiwis a say on their assets is more acceptable to the electorate than a party spending that money on, say, regular polling by a guy who also runs a blog that (and now we’re full circle) roll out smear campaigns against democratic processes.

He excuses this abuse (because it’s for a cause he supports) and launches into a highly hypocritical smear alleging smear campaigns.

As an aside, I note David Farrar has described this as “The taxpayer purchased referendum”. The Greens have been very open about how they are spending parliamentary funds on this.

The Greens have not been “very open”. Their use of parliamentary funds was uncovered.
The Greens have not been “very open” about their intent with the petition/referendum.The Greens have not yet been “very open” about what they may or may not intend to do with the contact information harvested from the petition.

Perhaps David would like to follow their example of transparency and let us know how much parliamentary funding he has been paid over the years. (Perhaps he could title the post “The taxpayer purchased blogger).

David Farrar is one of the most open and transparent bloggers in New Zealand. Far more transparent, for example, than “IrishBill”.

Who is “IrsihBill”?
Who is IrishBill paid by?
Who does “IrishBill represent when he blogs?

And getting into transparency arguments and funding of bloggers is very risky for an author at The Standard.

But back to the document in question. I have no doubt that someone in Labour’s top team would be stupid enough to leak something like this for some cleverdick tactical reason (just wait for Trevor or Phil to start whispering that it’s Cunliffe – despite the fact this is a document that only the leadership team would have), but it looks like a work of fiction to me.

Having tried to discredit the Government and discredit the blogger Irish turns to trying to discredit the evidence – with a bit of internal Labour discrediting thrown in while he’s at it.

Or perhaps the work of a junior staffer playing out some masters of the universe fantasy. If only because no experienced Labour hack would have made such a ridiculous assertion about pressuring the unions. Simply because the unions would have told them to fuck off. And they know it.

A bit more discrediting, and interestingly a plug for those feisty unions.

But that’s all by the by because, unfortunately for National, everyone sees through this kind of behaviour to their motivation. 

Now speaking for “everyone”.

Perhaps some of “everyone” will see through IrishBill’s kind of behaviour here, and question his motivation. That would be an unfortunate backfire for the leprechaun.

And that motivation is their fear of democracy.

Why would National fear democracy? So far democracy is favoring them.

National  have been democratically elected as by far the biggest party in our Parliament.
National have democratically porgressed their MOM bill through our democratic Parliament.National have been supported by two court cases.

National are doing what they are democratically able to do. What whould they fear?

Labour, Greens and IrishBill have fought an election on asset sales.
Labour, Greens and IrishBill have campaigned against asset sales since then.
Labour, Greens and IrishBill promote a referendum that hijacks people’s democracy.

Perhaps Labour, Greens and IrishBill fear their campaign has failed – the Mighty River Power share float is under way, it looks to be unstoppable.

Perhaps Labour, Greens and IrishBill fear that all their efforts have failed.

They fear that they have fertilised a huge political lemon.

IrishBill sounds like he has tasted this lemon, he sounds very sour.

He does what some on the left do, he launches a sour attack. But the lemon on his face doesn’t disguise his fear that the Labour-Green tactical leprechaun may be lost in the garden on the left.

“The right hate democracy”

“Hate democracy” is a pathetic straw man non-argument. In a post at The Standard The right’s fear of democracy – IrishBill shows that he hates criticism of something he agrees with so he launched into a raging rant with scant credibility.

IrishBill is usually one of the more astute and reasoned authors at The Standard, but this post dives into political and personal attack mode with no regard for reason or logic.

His main target of attack is David Farrar at Kiwiblog but IrishBill somehow expands that to a blanket attack on “the right”, although his blanket is full of holes in his highly hypocritical huff.

This is a classic case of any means justifies a possibly favourable end. Irish is willing to turn a blind eye to blatant party misuse of one of the few political tools the people have – Citizen Initiated Referenda (CIR) – simply because in this case he shares the Labour and Green aim of defeating legislation successfully established by our  electoral and parliamentary processes.

He doesn’t like what an election and Parliament delivered so he abuses our democratic process by supporting an abuse of one of our democratic processes.

Unusually for The Standard where criticism of authors often results in bans a number of commenters point out to Irish how selective his enthusiasm for CIR is.

Draco T Bastard

Seen that same fear from some of those on the left as well. Just look at how many of them rail against using binding referendums regularly to decide policy.


Not a big fan of binding referendums myself. Much prefer citizen juries – they tend to deliver more thoughtful outcomes.

He’s not a fan of referenda, except those that campaign on something he agrees with.


It’s interesting that a “fear of democracy” article should appear on a pro-Labour website when Labour themselves ignored the *87%* of “no” votes in the smacking referendum” –

So – when Labour ignores a referendum, it’s “ok”.

When National ignores one, it’s “anti-democratic”.


What has your desire to beat your children have to do with this?

A nasty personal attack on one of a number of people who pointed out that parliament is famous for ignoring referenda. IrishBill likes the bits of flawed democracy that give him what he wants but selectively hates anything that isn’t convenient for his ideological preferences.

Note: I supported Parliament ignoring the highly flawed “smacking” referendum. I support the Government ignoring the anti asset sale referendum in principle – it’s a party initiated abuse of both the established parliamentary process and the ‘citizen’ referendum option.

Claiming that “the right hate democracy” is pissy political posturing, something IrishBill doesn’t usually lower himself to indulge in, but he goes overboard from a boat with very leafy logic and reason.

Green snake oil petition

Greens will have always known the asset petition would be a paper tiger, futile in stopping the Government proceeding. Yet they put considerable resources into promoting the petition. Why?

It was always about political campaigning and using whatever public money they could to facilitate promoting the Green Party. In doing so they have expanded the Green machine.

IrishBill comments at The Standard:

(The Greens) will further strengthen and grow their campaign networks which will have a flow-on effect regarding closing the tradition gap between their polling and their result.

The Greens have used this as an opportunity to build a significant campaign machine and to break into Auckland in a way that will give them an extra couple of percent at least. Anyone who fails to understand that, fails to understand organising, and with it, fails to understand politics.

For Greens it was clearly always about political organising. And they have used Labour, who have obligingly tagged along. IrishBill:

Labour’s campaign team sucked badly (and continues to do so).

That’s a Labour insider opinion, and he’s right.

I’m not so sure how well Greens will do out of this. Some people may be very disillusioned when they find out the referendum is far too late and powerless.

And if they realise Greens have used them by overselling a product that would never deliver what they advertised they may suffer some backlash.

The snake oil petition was a high risk strategy by Greens.

Now the bluster and bull has subsided…

…Lynn Prentice has admitted he was wrong about claims he made about one of The Standard authors in trying to prove “falsehoods”.

Of course he hasn’t admitted he was wrong perpetuating Chauvel’s accusation about Kiwiblog and Whale Oil, he hasn’t admitted maybe I’m not a right winger, he hasn’t admitted he was wrong when he said he “ found Pete George acting as a parrot for Whaleoil”.

But he didn’t have any choice admitting he was wrong over one of his author claims.

In Blogs and party connections I had simply included this in a list:

Irish Bill – Labour party member

Prentice in Pete George – an example of right wing blogging falsehoods:

“Labour party member”.In the words of a Tui ad – “Yeah right!”

He did write a tongue in cheek post about why others should join the Labour party late last year.

IrishBill in a comment on that post:

I am a Labour party member (and have been on and off for a long long time) and my call for joining up certainly wasn’t tongue in cheek.

Prentice has responded, admitting…

Just looking at what you have said in the past. I did mean to put in the point that authors should tell me when I was wrong. But the damn post just kept growing and I had to start trimming it somewhere.

So he was either sloppy or making things up accusing me of falsehoods. My observations on his blog are more accurate than his own.

But he’s still a great programmer:

I’m afraid that what comes out of my fingers when I write text is no-where as disciplined as what happens when I code.

What else has he claimed that isn’t as disciplined as his coding?

Not only was his post at The Daily Blog an insult to the credibility of a startup venture, he was wrong on a number of counts, which when accusing me of falsehoods is ironic.

In addition saying that he will vote Green next year is dubious. And there has to be doubts about the  accuracy and honesty of his claims about the other authors – and I note that again he has failed to answer questions about whether multiple people use single pseudonyms at The Standard.

An apology is justified but I won’t be holding my breath.

Authors at The Standard

Lynn Prentice has spoken for the authors at The Standard and given his version of their party inclinations. As I said I would in Blogs and party connections I am updating and correcting information about them here.

But be wary, as you will see by the end of this post some of Lynn’s claims seem at odds with known information.

First I’ll explain the context of these descriptions. He is trying to prove an assumption he made that had nothing to do with my post that he was responding to.

I was showing what everyone in the blogosphere knows, that Labour has connections with Labour. Prentice seems to have seen a need to take things further and for some reason prove that not all Standard authors have connections with Labour, something that’s obvious to anyone who observes The Standard.

The pissy comments are just because that’s the way Lynn is, he seems to thins that attempts at messenger trashing enhances his authority.

So here is a reference list of Standard authors

  • lprent – 5 posts.  “open about longstanding connections with Labour and a party member”. Well that used to be accurate. However he managed to omit that I will be party voting Green at the next election. I guess he is rather forgetful and omitted it – despite his writing about it at the time.
  • Mike Smith – 9 posts. “works in David Shearer’s office”.Wow – what a inordinate level of omission. Mike retired as the long standing party secretary of the Labour party in 2009. We asked him to join me as a trustee of the trust that runs The Standard in 2010. He couldn’t resist starting to write posts later that year.However I don’t think that anyone who knows politics is surprised that David Shearer’s office also wanted his advice on a part-time basis. He has a rather lot of political experience (unlike Pete apparently).
  • IrishBill – 17 posts. “Labour party member”.In the words of a Tui ad – “Yeah right!”At the last election he saying that he was most likely to vote Mana. And I seem to remember that in 2008, he was planning on voting microscopic Workers party.He did write a tongue in cheek post about why others should join the Labour party late last year. He’d dearly love to swing the party left and being a member allows a vote on decisions that would help that. It’d be logical for him to follow his own advice. However it’d be hard to find anywhere where he has said he did.
  • Anthony Robins – 53 posts. “loyal Labour Party member”.Sort of, but as anyone who reads r0b is aware, he is so much more than that. At the last election he observed that on his party vote “In the past I’ve voted Alliance, Green and Labour” but was going to vote Labour.Hell I’m more “loyal” than that. I voted Values once in my first election in 1978 and have voted Labour ever since.
  • Eddie – 21 posts. “various people believed to have used this pseudonym, all with obvious Labour connections, sometimes used for blatant political attacks, has been proven wrong”.Interesting that Pete George simply repeats dreck from Whaleoil. Well I guess it beats thinking. And I suspect that he edited something out of that statement because it makes little sense as written.Eddie has been critical of just about every left party at one time or another over the last 5 years. But he has always been informed, left, and critical of Labour and the Greens at various times. He said that he’d vote Labour last election (and I think the Greens in 2008).
  • Zetetic – 19 posts. “this may be another multi-use pseudonym with perhaps union/Labour connections”.Huh? I can’t remember Zet ever mentioning unions and his posts that even mention Labour are usually somewhat disdainful. However as he mostly stirs in his posts it is frequently difficult to see the difference. He said he was voting for the Mana party in 2011 (and RAM in 2008).
  • James Henderson – 22 posts. I’ll ignore the unsubstantiated whaledreck Pete George asserts. But JH always party votes Green.
  • Ben Clark – 12 posts. Labour party member and previous Labour candidate. It is a safe bet that he supports Labour. Specifically at the last election he supported himself.
  • Bill – 3 posts. If I had to bet, I’d say probably leans towards the anarchist viewpoints. Definitely not a member of any party. Said he was voting NZ First last election.
  • Bunji – 11 posts. It’d be hard to figure out who he’d actually vote for…
  • Helen Kelly – 2 posts. CTU and union background and I have no idea who she votes for.
  • Karol – 19 posts.  Probably leaning towards voting for the Greens or Mana based on her statements in posts and comments. Has voted Labour in the past.
  • Queen of Thorns – 6 posts. Said she was voting Greens last election.
  • RedLogix – 1 post. Said last election that he was a Green party member, but would vote NZ First for tactical reasons.

Take what you like from that.

A couple of comments:

I’m well aware that lasty year Lynn said he would vote Greens next election. He said that two years before the election, it’s hard to know whether he was serious or was jumping on the message-to-caucus bandwagon, a few at the Standard started saying unless the Labour caucus did what they wanted they would vote Greens. Two years is a long time in politics. He still has longstanding connections with the Labour Party.

If IrishBill is not a member then fine, but I think that will surprise a fewe people, especially those who became Labour Party members through his urging, and see his comments that give the impression he is aware of what goes on within the party.

Claiming “tongue in cheek” is curious, the post you link to from IrishBill says:

A good time to join Labour

Written By: – Date published: 8:05 am, November 22nd, 2012 – 184 comments
Categories: democratic participation, labour – Tags:

Well there’s not been so much focus on the Labour Party for a long time so I figure now’s the time to point out that, thanks to rule changes (and not just the contentious ones) holding a Labour Party membership has never meant so much in terms of having a say in where the party (and hopefully, after 2014, the country) goes.

With that in mind I’d like to take this opportunity to invite Standard readers who aren’t already party members but who care about the direction of this fine (and occasionally not so fine) institution to put their money where their strongly held opinions are and sign up.

All you have to do is click here, fill in a wee form and make a very wee payment and you’re away.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting up a few posts about how the party works and how you can get the best democratic bang for your membership bucks and I’m sure other authors will be happy to do the same.

Like Mike Smith says – the party needs strength and unity if it’s going to win in 2014. So bring all the articulate and passionate strength you all show here to the party and get united!

Comments that a number of people took IrishBill’s advice seriously, discussing joining and some say they joined up.

Curiously lprent also joined discussions about what was involved as if he took it seriously (to the one person who  hasn’t heard of the famous lprent, that’s Lynn Prentice).

Also more curious, in response to:

Member41 19

Love it. Same people that have finished tearing the Alliance apart have now got Labour in their cross-hairs. I just hope we have the strength to withstand this hysterical minority.

Pretty sure we do. Democracy has challenges but will set up us much better. Our membership are by-in-large sensible. We have set a new left-ward direction for the Party’s policy and are getting behind it. Most of us.

Would very much encourage people to join to help us and to be a part of setting our direction. But being a member does include an obligation of loyalty and solidarity to the cause above personalities, and above getting everything your own way all the time.

…is this comment:

IrishBill 19.1

Our membership is barely five percent of what it was immediately before the fourth Labour government drove out many members of the same ideological spectrum as the Standard’s community. Some of us are the same people.

Forgive me for assuming that IrishBill sounds like a party member.

Or maybe that was also “tongue in cheek” and you have an explanation Lynn?

If not it might make it difficult taking all your claims here seriously.

Chauvel swipes at Shearer, and calls for Goff and Mallard to go?

In his valedictory statement in Parliament today Charles Chauvel has been critical of David Shearer’s shadow cabinet, and appears to have called for Phil Goff and Trevor Mallard to step down.

Sir, I’ve been a member of ther Labour Party since 1985. In my view it remains the greatest force for meaningful social change in this country. It continues to offer energy, ideas and talent from it’s ranks that would adorn any cabinet.

I want to express publicly now, two hopes that I’ve confided to David Shearer in private.

First, I sincerely wish that he will be Prime Minister in a Labour led government at the end of next year. I regret that I won’t be his Attorney General, and I appreciate a statement that he share’s that regret.

Secondly, it’s unproductive to keep trying to locate and exclude the supposed enemy within.

Instead in order to avoid history repeating, it’s time for an honest, open and overdue assessment of why the 2011 campoaign produced Labour’s worst ever electoral result.

Those responsible for it should make dignified exits, and all the undoubted talent and diversity of the caucus should be included in the shadow cabinet.

To put it in another way, in Gough Whitlam’s immortal words, the party must have both it’s wings to fly.

It’s obvious Chauvel is talking about the deep division between what are seen as the David Shearer supporters camp (or ABC) and the David Cunliffe camp.

The recent reshuffle did not repair the rift. There have been pointed claims that Shearer rewarded those who backed  him in the leadership vote earlier this month, and punished those who did not vote for him plus David Cunliffe who pledged to vote for Shearer but seems to be still in the naughty corner after the overblown “coup” attempt last lear.

Chauvel does not think Shearer’s new lineup adequately addresses the division.

And Chauvel also called fore “dignified exits” of those resonsible for the poor election result (they are at least partly responsible for some of the division since).

IrishBill names names at The Standard:

I’m pleased he called for Phil and Trevor to go (10’50″) it’s about time someone from caucus came out and said that.

That’s just further identification of Goff and Mallard as major causes of disatisfaction and division in the party.


I noted Moana Mackey and Lianne Dalziel appeared not too far from tears. Two equally fine and intelligent MPs who paid a price for supporting David Cunliffe.

I don’t know if it was coincidental or not that Dalziel and Mackey were in shot throughout his speech. Cunliffe was immediately to his left.

Chauvel valedictory

hush minx:

A fine and thoughtful speech. I noted there were some less than happy looks on the faces of the front bench at the end. He has set them a challenge that they have failed so far. Now is the time for them to step up, but it’s come at the cost of a good mp who understood the best of what labor can be.

The chances of Shearer, Goff or Mallard taken much notice of this let alone action is very slim, if past actions are any indication of their refusal to accept responsibility and repair the problems.

Video link: Valedictory – Charles Chauvel – 27th February, 2013

Update: See also The Chauvel valedictory at Kiwiblog and on Charles’ valedictory at The Standard

Shearer’s reshuffle challenges

It is being reported that David Shearer will anounce a caucus reshuffle this week, with one source (‘Eddie’ at The Standard) suggesting it will be today.

Shearer has three main challenges:

  1. to strengthen a front bench that is widely considered to have been underperforming
  2. to give the appearance of rebuilding and promoting new talent over the old guard
  3. to be seen to unite a caucus that has looked split by leadership backing factions

There may be conflicts in those goals. For example NZ Herald is suggesting that Annette King and Shane Jones will get promoted:

King, Jones tipped for return to front bench

Labour’s reshuffle this week is expected to include a surprise move in the return of one of the party’s longest-standing and most effective MPs, Annette King, to the front bench, where she is tipped to take over the health portfolio.

The reshuffle is also likely to see the return to the front bench of Shane Jones in the Maori Affairs portfolio.

That may strengthen the front bench but it is the return of the old guard.

Eddie is not optimistic in his post Something about deckchairs:

I’m still picking Mahuta, Street, and Sio demoted, Cunliffe to health and the old guard not moving one iota.

That points to one of the biggest challenges for Shearer – how he appears to deal with unity. In particular if he is seen to reward loyal supporters and punish perceived dissent. IrishBill on the same thread at The Standard:

I’m not sure Cunliffe will get health. I’m expecting the third of caucus that voted no-confidence in David Shearer to get punished for it. It’s bad politics but Trevor and Phil are holding the reins and they’ll put themselves and their vendettas over the political well-being of their leader.

Eddie and IrishBill are from within the Labour Party, this shows how much dissillusionment there is in some quarters.

Greg Presland (mickysavage), who is on Cunliffe’s electorate committee, stears clear of his MP but has concerns:

The demotion of Sio and Dalziel if it occurs will be retrograde and stupid. Both are experienced and hard working local MPs. Sio had the biggest increase in the party vote last time and Dalziel’s work in Christchurch is legendary. This will make divisions worse.

The Herald predicts some more responsibity but no promotion for David Cunliffe:

There is likely to be some redemption for David Cunliffe who will be allocated some portfolio areas, although a promotion up the ranks is unlikely. Mr Cunliffe was stripped of his front bench seat and portfolios after refusing to rule out a challenge to David Shearer’s leadership in November last year.

Cunliffe made it clear he would be supporting Shearer in the caucus vote on leadership earlier this month. We’ll see if that is enough for Shearer to make use of one of the most capable MPs in his caucus.

Just as important is what Shearer does with Cunliffe will be a signal to how he values being seen to mend divisions.

How will Shearer know who was loyal?

There have been various rumours and reports that 10 or 11 MPs did not endorse his leadership. Cunliffe signalled his intention so who are the MPs who wanted the question on leadership to go to a partywide decision?

Shearer and his team will have a good idea based on who supported Cunliffe’s leadership bid in December 2011. They will also probably have ‘done the numbers’ to see if the caucus vote would challenge his leadership.

But one of the pro-Shearer MPs (sometimes referred to as the ABC club – Anyone But Cunliffe) was apparently helping count the votes in what was purportedly a secret ballot. IrishBill claims:

In a late rule change they added the whip (Chris Hipkins) to the ballot count.

If true that’s remarkable. The fact that one of the MPs could be involved in counting secret votes is bad enough – that would be yet another signal to MPs who might be thinking of challenging Shearer’s leadership that their dissent may not go unnoticed.

And there is still deepseated disatisfaction amongst pro-Cunliffe and anti-Shearer party activists over Hipkins’ comments in November over the so-called Cunliffe conference coup, as reported in the Herald:

Labour MP and senior whip Chris Hipkins said Mr Cunliffe had “openly undermined the current leadership” and should either openly challenge Mr Shearer or leave.

“He’s made it clear he intends to challenge for the leadership. I think saying he’s not going to do so until February is dishonest and disingenous. He needs to bring it on.”

He said Mr Cunliffe should be open and upfront about his intentions.

“Weasel words about supporting the leader for now simply don’t cut it.”

He said Mr Cunliffe had actively undermined two leaders in a row – Mr Goff and now Mr Shearer.

“That has made it impossible for him to continue in a senior role within the Labour team.”

He said Mr Cunliffe’s allies should also “take a long, hard look at themselves”.

“We want to go into the next election campaign as a unified team, ready to make David Shearer the Prime Minister. If they’re not willing to sign up for that, they need to think about whether they are sticking around.”

These comments prompted an official complaint from Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate committee, the outcome of which has not been made public.

Charles Chauvel announced last week that he won’t be sticking around – it was suggested he had been offered a demotion by Shearer.

To entrust Hipkins with counting the secret ballot – the results of which seem to have been leaked – could easily seen as blatant monitoring of support and dissent.

Will Cunliffe’s assurances he would support Shearer in the ballot be still seen as “simply don’t cut it”?

One thing is certain – if Shearer’s reshuffle has the appearance of punishing those who may have not supported him in the ballot the chances of going “into the next election campaign as a unified team” are not high.

We may find out today whether Shearer manages a masterful balance with a nod to unity, or continues a climate of dissent and disatisfaction.

Cunliffe’s responsibilities and placing in the pecking order will be a major pointer.

“His talk of a rift in the Labour Party is crap.”

Yeah, right.

Labour’s heavy hitters at The Standard are going hammer and tongs. The blog has again highlighted Labour’s civil war with accusations of lying, and there is  obvious conflict amongst the site authors.

It could be an interesting weekend at The Standard.


Last Saturday Eddie started the current spate of infighting with his post Shearer to put it to the vote. It’s probably not coincidental this was a week before David Shearer’s big opening speech of Labour’s political year. Unlike his post in November that sparked the ‘Cunliffe coup’ the response to this one seemed to fizzle. Until now.

Phase two of the stir arrived yesterday from partner in grime, Zetetic, with For a February leadership vote.

That restirred the leadership pot, as well as highlighting some obvious questions about Zetetic’s loyalties and motives, as I blogged in Zetetic’s loyalty and pseudonym confusion.

Zetetic’s post got the infighting going again, but nothing out of the ordinary in relation to what has been happening over the past few months.

Last night’s flareup

Mike Smith, representing Labour’s leadership office, fired a broadside last night at ‘Zetetic’ and ‘Eddie’ in Tell the truth.

Zetetic’s telling porkies.

I don’t think Zetetic and Eddie and all the other prophets of gloom on this site have a clue about what’s going on in the Labour Party – or the electorate for that matter.

Lynn Prentice (lprent) tried to get involved but has been overshadowed by the party heavies.

IrsihBill stepped into the fray.

I’d caution you against describing authors as liars, Mike. You’ve never been abused by other authors here, regardless of political differences, and it would behoove you to show a similar degree of respect in return.


Nah – reread it.. (I did). He is quite specific about what he thought the “porkie” was.

Now I have no idea if Zet said that (and I don’t think that he did from recollection). But Mike is correct in what the rule is.

Until the caucus doesn’t get its shit together, the vote isn’t going out to the membership.

Interesting dynamic isn’t it….


Sorry Lynn, but I don’t think the tone’s appropriate. I would never, for example, write a response post to Mike that stated “I don’t think Mike has a clue about what’s going on in the Labour Party – or the electorate for that matter.” What I would do is say “I disagree with Mike and this is why”.

I think Mike’s done his argument a disservice and I’ll sort it out with him offline but my comment stands.

Interesting that he’s openly saying he will “sort it out with him offline” – no mention of sorting anything out with Eddie and Zetetic offline.

Technical arguments ensued over whether Smith’s accusation of lying was supported by facts, but that’s a side issue.

Both Eddie and Zetetic bullshit. There’s little doubt they are using The Standard to try and game play within Labour and it’s obvious they are trying to undermine Shearer’s leadership. Again.

So it’s easy to understand Labour’s head office being annoyed at a blog that mainly represents Labour interests (albeit factional) stirring shit with bullshit.

But through Mike Smith’s post all they have done is throw petrol on the inferno.

And Smith is also bullshitting.

His talk of a rift in the Labour Party is crap.

I guess that could be an indication of ignorance from the Shearer camp, but but surely they can’t be that blind.

It is obvious there is much discontent withing Labour membership.

It is obvious there is much discontent and a rift between Labour factional authors at The Standard.

It its very hard to believe the claims by Shearer’s office (and his loyal supporters at the Standard) that everything regardling party leadership and in caucus is hunky dory.

It’s obvious there’s bullshitting and rifting galore.

Expect a lot of heated comment over the weekend. Oh, and in amongst that Shearer has his first big speech of the year tomorrow. That already looks doomed to derision at The Standard.