Parties arrange early Key/Cunliffe exits

National and Labour have worked together to arrange for the early exit of John Key and David Cunliffe from Parliament. They are both leaving just close enough to the election to avoid automatic by-elections, and with both leaving at about the same time the vote balance in parliament won’t be upset.

Too bad for their electorates that will be left unrepresented until after the election. Neither electorate has a current list MP standing so that leave no one to step in for them.

Stuff: Key, Cunliffe set date for final departures in move to preserve Parliament’s balance

Former Prime Minister John Key will quit Parliament on April 14 after delivering his farewell speech next week.

The timing will allow Parliament to avoid a by-election in his Helensville seat, which can be left vacant if he leaves within six months of the September 23 general election.

Meanwhile Labour’s David Cunliffe has also announced he is leaving early, with a final day of April 23 – ensuring the relative strengths of the Government and Opposition are preserved.

It is becoming more common for MPs and also for local body politicians to leave mid-term at their own convenience rather than fulfil their full term commitment.

Key will give his valedictory speech on March 22 and his resignation will take take effect on April 14.

Cunliffe’s valedictory speech will be on April 11 and his resignation will take effect on April 23.

Deborah Russell to stand for Labour in New Lynn

Labour have selected Deborah Russell to stand for them in New Lynn over several local contenders. Russell announced her intention last year and moved to Auckland from Palmerston North. Several local candidates stood against her but she prevailed.

Russell stood in Rangitikei in 201, losing to National’s Ian McKelvie by over 10,000 votes.

Russell would probably be good for Labour if she gets into Parliament, but there’s likely to be some very unhappy Labour members in New Lynn after an outsider has been parachuted in to probably the seat after David Cunliffe’s exit.

NZ Herald: Deborah Russell to stand in New Lynn

Deborah Russell has been announced as the Labour Party’s candidate to contest the New Lynn electorate in the general election.

Russell, a tax expert from Massey University, will replace the outgoing David Cunliffe from the traditionally safe Labour seat.

Russell was seen as an outsider in the bid to be Labour’s candidate, but had the support of the party’s hierarchy.

The ‘party hierarchy’ also prevailed with an outsider over a local candidate in the Hutt South selection.

There has been a lot of controversy this week over Andrew Little recruiting Willie Jackson with a promise of a high list placing.

The announcement was made by Labour’s general secretary Andrew Kirton on Twitter this afternoon.

Russell previously told the Herald there were difficulties in trying to get the selection as an outsider, but she was contacting party members in New Lynn to try to secure support and had promised to move into the electorate if selected.

“I’m making sure I’m familiar with the issues here, but I’m also promoting myself as someone who can operate successfully on a national stage as well.”

One of Russell’s first tasks will be to win the support of the electorate Labourites. She stood against Greg Presland who had been Cunliffe’s electorate chairperson.

This is likely to be contentious at The Standard where Presland is an author.

Someone unwilling to identify themselves has posted Deborah Russell for New Lynn:

Senior Lecturer and tax law expert Deborah Russell has won the Labour selection for New Lynn – congratulations! You’re going to make a fantastic MP! Home team candidate Greg would also have made a fine choice, alas that only one of them can represent the electorate.

Early in comments Michael:

An outstanding candidate selected for New Lynn. That’s one seat Labour should retain.

it would be surprising, and catasrtophic for  Labour, if they lost the electorate.

Response by someone from the electorate, Amakiwi:

The Labour caucus learns zero about democracy. What the locals want counts for nothing. OK.

If the caucus don’t need me I don’t need them either. I’ll have a closer look at the Greens.


Ok, those of us in New Lynn have missed out on having an electorate MP that’s on top of local issues and representing those effectively in Parliament, in favour of someone whose expertise is on issues with nationwide effects.

I’m only a little bit disappointed, coz I rate them both very highly.

Rangitikei result 2014

New Lynn result 2014 (Cunliffe won by over four thousand votes but Labour lost the electorate vote to National by over a thousand votes).

New Lynn electorate – Labour contest

There is an interesting contest for the candidacy for what should be a safe Labour seat New Lynn electorate being left vacant by David Cunliffe. Six people have put themselves forward:

  • Deborah Russell
  • Greg Presland
  • Christine Faumuina
  • Owen Gill
  • Sunny Kaushal
  • Susan Zhu

Deborah Russell is highly rated and would be a good addition the Labour’s caucus. She stood for Labour in Rangitikei last election and has moved up to Auckland to try to get the New Lynn nomination – being an outsider could count against her, Michael Wood played the ‘local’ card strongly in the Mt Roskill by-election.

Greg Presland has been involved in New Lynn campaigns for many years, has also helped Cunliffe in his leadership bids, one of which was successful. He has also been very involved in local body and community affairs. He should get strong local support but being male may work against him in the head office push for more female MPs.

One of these two look the most likely contenders.

Russell was 33 on Labour’s list last election but due to Labour’s poor result she missed out by a big margin – Andrew Little was the last in off the Labour list, ranked 11, and there were about eight others on the list before Russell who missed out.

So the promise of a reasonable list position will guarantee nothing, and getting the nomination for New Lynn should lead to a few tens in parliament if the successful candidate wants that.

Absent from the contenders is Laila Harre, who was mentioned as a possible candidate, but against two who have well established records with Labour she would have been an unlikely choice. She has been involved in the Alliance Party (as an MP),  the Green Party and as leader of the Internet party last election.

It looks good for Labour to have keenly contested nominations. They could really do with fresh new talent.


Cunliffe to stand again

David Cunliffe says he’s ‘content to be the MP for New Lynn’ and intends to stand again in the election next year.

Cunliffe was demoted to 28th (of 32) in the Labour pecking order by Andrew Little last year and that was seen as a signal to Cunliffe to piss off, but he wants to hang in there.

NZ Herald reports: Cunliffe aiming for re-election

Labour MP David Cunliffe has had a bruising fall in politics but intends to run for Parliament again in 2017.

Since Labour’s disastrous election result under Mr Cunliffe’s leadership in 2014, he has lost the leadership and was demoted to the backbenches by leader Andrew Little in November, a clear hint he should reconsider his political future.

Yesterday, Mr Cunliffe said it was his intention to stand again despite the torrid 18 months he’d had. “That’s the plan. I’m happy to be the MP for New Lynn and I’ve got work to do there.”

He indicated he was hoping for redemption within caucus. “Politics is a rollercoaster. You know that and I’ve been around long enough to know that.”

I don’t think Cunliffe can ever get back to leadership level in Labour unless there’s a major influx of support into their caucus, and his prospects of rolling back up the coast under Little’s leadership look slim.

Mr Little had held out an olive branch of sorts, saying he would not rule out a move up the ranks for Mr Cunliffe. “When opportunities arise you see who’s the best fit for the job and you never rule anything out in that regard.”

“Never rule anything out” is not something Cunliffe should get excited about.

He said he had not discussed the 2017 selections with Mr Cunliffe or any other MP. “So, good on him. He’s got to make his decisions about what he does, it doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Little might have to be a bit pushier than that if he wants to clean out the other dead wood he shuffled down the Labour line up.

Conservatives: “Call us crazy…”

The latest Conservative Party website promotion begins:

Call us crazy, but the way we see it a politician’s job 
is to follow the instructions voters give them.

I’m not sure who has given instructions here:

Cunliffe must really, REALLY hate research
Press Release: Steve Taylor

David “Tricky Dicky” Cunliffe must really, REALLY hate research, given his recent foray into Education.

David “Tricky Dicky” Cunliffe

“Smaller class sizes” whines Mr Cunliffe.

“2000 extra teachers” bleats Mr Cunliffe.

“$350 million to fund it” gasps Mr Cunliffe.

What an intellectual lightweight Mr Cunliffe must be , says me.

If I could show you a summary of 50,000 individual research studies, and over 800 meta-analytic (a study of studies) studies, that concluded that “smaller class sizes” don’t make any difference at all to teaching outcomes, and that teacher quality, reinforced by regular real-time supervision and incremental skills and performance progress via regular evaluation was the key to teaching success, what would your response be?

Incredulity? Surprise? Disbelief?

Unfortunately for “Tricky Dicky” Cunliffe, one of my academic roles is as an Outcomes Researcher, so every time Cunliffe makes a populist, vacuous, absent-of-evidence claim about………..well…………anything, then I can simply smash his claims down with valid, reliable, and consistent evidence to the contrary.

Professor John Hattie is a name known by most in the International Education field, and he is one of our own.

Here is a study presentation that Professor John Hattie has compiled that illustrates the factor effect size of “what works” in delivering quality teaching.

Class size ranked 105th out of 138.

Seriously, if David “Tricky Dicky” Cunliffe is the supposed IQ and debating giant of the Labour Party, then I literally cannot wait until we cross paths in the public arena.

Because for me, it is going to be a case of Barrel, meet fish, with me doing the shooting.

Not mentioned, but Taylor is apparently the Conservative opponent of Cunliffe in the New Lynn electorate. It follows another media release: Conservative Party Candidate not going to apologise:

“Waitakere Man” Conservative Party Candidate not going to apologise for “being a man”.

A West Auckland private social service provider, academic, consumer advocate, media commentator and local West Auckland resident says that it is time for the electorate of New Lynn to have a parliamentary representative who actually lives in the area representing the Electorate, and not one in David Cunliffe who is so willing to emasculate his own gender whilst being perpetually absent from his electorate.

After 51 years of the Labour Party flying in outsiders into the New Lynn electorate, I’m now standing up under the banner of the Conservative Party of New Zealand and as a local resident of West Auckland, and saying “Vote for a Local –Vote for Steve Taylor – & Party Vote Conservative”.

Well, we have had an invitation to call them crazy.

When a tree falls in Labour’s New Lynn forest…

…does anyone hear anything?

In November after the Labour Party conference and David Cunliffe’s demotion his electorate committee laid a complaint with the Labour Council:

Statement by the New Lynn Labour Electorate Committee
November 21, 2012
The New Lynn Electorate Committee of the Labour Party, at a special meeting called today, voted unanimously to express its full confidence in its Member of Parliament David Cunliffe.   While acknowledging that this decision was within the prerogative of the party leader, the LEC noted David’s demotion with regret.
The LEC also resolved to raise with the New Zealand Council of the Labour Party concerns about recent public statements made by Labour’s Senior Whip, and the leaking of confidential caucus information by unnamed MPs following Tuesday’s emergency caucus meeting.
As these processes are now internal party matters we do not intend making further comment.

This refers to an attack by Chris Hipkins on Cunliffe.  One News quoted Hipkins:

“David Cunliffe has been working for some time now to destabilise the current leadership. He worked to destabilise the last leadership. And I think it’s time to call him out on that”.

If you want a refresher see this Standard post by Shearer staffer Mike Smith – Keystone coups Mark 2 – where he wrote off any chance of an outcome:

There may be a complaint made to the Party, although they haven’t decided yet, and they haven’t yet thought about what grounds there may be. Doesn’t sound that solid to me – I’m not sure they have a toe to stand on let alone a foot.

Since then there has been silence, apart from occasional queries I’ve seen on The Standard. There was another query today from Anne:

What was the outcome to the New Lynn LEC’s formal complaint to the Labour Council over the treatment meted out to David Cunliffe last year? Has there even been an outcome or has the Labour hierarchy chosen to ignore it?

Greg Presland (who had been electorate spokesperson in November) replied:

I saw it but I am not at liberty to respond : (

Silence in the New Lynn Labour forest.

It seems that the matters will remain private between the New Lynn electorate committee and the Labour Council. That’s not surprising, but it won’t do anything to mend much of the damage that’s been done within the party.

If fallen trees are left alone they will rot. And there are other party roots that feel rotten over this.

Mike Smith had also said:

As is often the case with these matters, there is a silver lining in the clouds – in fact it may be a gold lining. When Parliament meets next Tuesday, there won’t be any taunts from National about Labour’s leadership. What National most feared has come about; a Labour caucus unified, and David Shearer as leader. Roll on 2014.

It’s only 2013 but I don’t think National are quite quaking in their boots yet. Pretending all is well when it obviously isn’t won’t fool the voters forever. Not even for 18 months.