NZ First bottom lines

Winston Peters had a typically rambunctious interview with Patrick Gower on The Nation, but he did give some indications about NZ First bottom lines in any coalition negotiations.

In summary:

  • The Super eligibility age must be a bottom line.
  • Peters suggested NZ First has strong asset buy backs, foreign property ownership and foreign fishing policies but there was sufficient vagueness to be uncertain what exactly would be bottom lines.
  • Peters ruled out working with UnitedFuture or the Maori Party, the two other parties most likely to be in contention for coalition negotiations whether National or Labour form the next government.
  • Peters continues to insist that John Key has lied about Kim Dotcom.

Right from the start of the interview Peters made a point about NZ First not being a one person party.

NZ First not a dictatorship

Winston: Well first of all, I’m grateful that you said New Zealand First and not, try to personalize it as everybody else has sort to do. We’re a democratic party and we make decisions as a caucus, and as a board and as party supporters.

And again soon afterwards.

If your party is having its 21st birthday, in July of this year, which means we haven’t been around because one guy’s been running the show by himself like a dictator. We consult, we ensure that everybody signed up, even to these sorts of arrangements and talks…

On buying back power companies

So that means buying Genesis back?

That’s right…at no greater price than they pay for it .

And so does that mean the other power companies as well?

It means exactly that, that’s what our position has been for some time.

So that’s a priority for you in any negotiations?

It is a priority and it also has the best things in terms of economic calculations from treasury. If what they said about selling off 49% is correct then it goes for the whole lot.

So in terms of walking away, we’re not even walking in until we get what we believe New Zealand economically and socially needs.

So that’s a deal breaker essentially if either side doesn’t want to buy back the assets yet?

Well if either side prefers to sell out New Zealand’s long term heritage, then they can line up and find their own support. But if they want to line up with the mass majority of New Zealanders as the latest polls says on this issue of asset sales, then they can perhaps line up with New Zealand First.

So that’s a deal breaker, buying back the assets is a deal breaker?

Hang on; I’m not going to be sitting here like some sort of uh, star chamber, federal case in the United States while you think you’re going to nail me down. I think you need to understand one thing about MMP. And it goes like this. Even the old system went like this. The voters vote first, and then they decide in what numbers that the parties and parliaments are comprising parliament. Then you know what you’re dealing with. Here we are six months out from election. We don’t know whether for example National is going to re-nuclearise New Zealand so to speak. Or whether Labour is going to come up with some policy…

So that seems to imply asset that power companies buybacks are a non-negotiable priority – but we won’t know what NZ First is dealing with until the voters have decided.

It sounds like definitely, maybe. I don’t know how NZ First will determine from the election vote what policies to make non-negotiable.

On raising the National Super eligibility age

Let me tell you what happened in 2011. We saw a Labour party come out and announce an increase in the retirement age, and putting GST on, and taking effect…not GST no…capital gains tax on, and it would take effect in 2017. As for the increase in age…2021. We said straight away then, we can’t go into any arrangement with these people and so we made a statement and said we’re going to the cross benches between 2011 and 2014. And we did.

And that would stand again if Labour tries to change the retirement age, you’d go to the cross benches again?

Look, I think they can be persuaded, if that was the issue, I think they can be persuaded that that fatally cost them the election. All the old people coming near 65 heard was, not 2021, they just heard the age is going up.

Raising the Super age would seem to be a deal breaker, and it would probably be a party breaker of NZ First changed their stance on this.

On foreign ownership

Let’s look at foreign ownership and the restrictions on essentially foreign buyers or non New Zealand citizens. You want an immediate ban on them buying residential property with either government?

Look, the non-New Zealand buyer, if that non-New Zealand buyer is buying into a new business here to create new exports and new work, or to move their family here and put their heart and soul for the rest of their lives into this country, then we don’t have a problem as we didn’t have with the labour…

No ban if there’s business involved or for genuine residency, but that may be difficult to determine in advance and difficult to police. What happens if a foreign buyer says they will live most of the time here but travel overseas a lot?

Yeah, I’m talking about residential property, do you want to an immediate ban on non-New Zealanders?

Well I’m not going to stand around while somebody from off shore with 77 homes, and has now become a major landlord in Auckland and filtering in, and gouging money out of our economy…

That’s a sort of a “no way”.

Who is this person?

Well it’ll come out in time, but we’re a long way from the election and some of the doubters in this country are going to get some facts in this campaign.

With a big “but”.

You want an immediate ban on foreign ownership of property?

Well first of all I want to know why we have not got in place a land and house register so that authorities and bureaucrats, know what they’re dealing with and what numbers they’re talking about, rather than if they go around likening anyone like me to being xenophobic.

A register that determines detailed numbers would take some time (far longer than a coalition negotiation period) so this would have to involve a commitment to set up a register. But it’s very vague about what would allow and what would rule out ownership.

Immediate ban’s your policy, so you’d want that in place. That would drive down property prices. Are you happy with that?

No, with the greatest respect it would not. What it would do, you would see at some ends of the market…

No challenge to “immediate ban’s your policy, so you’d want that in place” but it’s left unclear and vague.

On foreign involvement in fishing

The fishing industry, what do you want to do there? You know a lot about fishing…

Well our policy is for the New Zealandisation of the industry, just like Iceland, just like Norway, who understand something about this. It’s Norway’s number one income earner, its Iceland’s survival. Here’s my point; we want the New Zealandisation of the industry, so our fish is caught by New Zealand boats and New Zealand fishermen and is added value that is packaged here and sold here and sold offshore. I don’t see how we can get any advantage from foreign crews sending the raw product to China, and have it tinned back to our supermarkets.

So how do you enforce this? You ban foreign crews, you’d ban processing offshore?

Well I’m not saying banning processing offshore; they will not take it off shore. But we’ll give them an exit strategy and make sure they’re compensated – but we want this great resource, which is ours and we’re lucky people to have it, to be part of the growth and the employment and wealth creation of this country. For goodness sake, the Maori people have got a sizeable chunk, as you know, of the Maori fishing industry and who’s catching Maori entitlement or Maori quota fish? Foreigners are. Who’s working on…

So would you ban it? Would you ban foreigners if they were taking all the chunks?

Well I make it very clear that our policy was specified that those days will be over.

Very clear that it’s NZ First policy but not clear what they would actually insist on and no indication it would be a bottom line.

The first option for coalition negotiations – the party with the most seats

Okay so in terms of negotiations you’ve said it’s a constitutional convention – your words – to negotiate with the biggest party first. That’s right isn’t it?

Look, as I said – and it’s all on our website, been there for 20 years – that we will negotiate in the first instance with the party with the most votes. That is in the first instance. But if there is no possibility of a sound coalition from them, then you would talk to others.

So that negotiation, does that mean a phone call, the first phone call? Or do you actually enter negotiations in that scenario and start to look at what policy gains you can get?

Well I suppose if we’re talking about logistics then it probably starts with a phone call, because if nobody is phoning each other then there’s no conversation.

Yeah but after that do you negotiate with that biggest party first, do you sit down and talk with them?

Well I think you’d have a preliminary discussion about what do you think your priorities are and what do you think ours might be.

So you would sit down with John Key for instance first before you sat down with David Cunliffe?

Not necessarily would it be a leaders discussion, because frankly, I assume he hires key people with far more experience than him in this matter…like Wayne Eagleson for example. Helen Clark had…

So you’d prefer to sit down with the chief of staff before you had even talked to John Key?

No I didn’t say that, I said the chiefs of staff would go across and map out the talking grounds. And then you might have the discussion.

I think it’s standard for chiefs of staff to set the groundwork for negotiations, and Peters has had a lot of experience in this process, so nothing unusual about this.

How far down this path do you go before you go to the other side?

Well ideally you’d start with one and you’d ensure that the other one is not left out. Because frankly…

So you’re talking to both sides…

If you cannot get reconciliation over here then you need to have some chance of getting reconciliation over there. As distasteful as it is to you, and others, the public is demanding a stable Government, and that is the number one responsibility of anybody in politics.

That sounds very much like NZ First will negotiate with both sides (National and Labour) from early on.

Peters’ relationship with John Key

I want to turn now to John Key and what is essentially your weird relationship with him. You’ve called him arrogant, pretentious, a liar; you’ve said his Government was incompetent; you said he worked in Merrill Lynch, which you called corrupt. You really don’t like him. Now, how on earth are you going to work with this guy, and will you make John Key Prime minister?

I’ve heard you burbling away on TV every night describing this relationship as toxic. You know nothing about it. Now cut it out. I happen to see John Key at the races, I said gidday to him, I see him around the place we say hello. I walked into a coffee bar and shook his hand.

That doesn’t sound like a close relationship, far from it. And it doesn’t give any indication of respect or rapport. Saying hello occasionally is not a political relationship.

You called him an arrogant liar, you think that he’s spied on you…

All right, well I’ll explain this to you. I’ll explain this. When he gave witnesses to that event about which he spoke I knew that person could not have been there, because I checked the persons diary and I thought well who else is the person making the information. But here’s the real point here. Of course he worked for Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch is one of the companies that brought the western economies to their knees. The global financial crisis was never a global crisis.

The upshot is how could you make him Prime Minister when you talk about him like this?

No, no I want you to have a debate where we have a chance to have our say. The western financial crisis has cost the world plenty. Now when I say he’s arrogant, he has been arrogant. He comes in and says I want certainty about the election I’m giving you September. This is balderdash.

Let me ask you one last time. Can you make the man you call an arrogant liar Prime Minister?

OK one more point. Do you think he’s telling the truth on the GCSB? Because there’s not one western leader who would believe…

You haven’t answered the question. But you’re saying he’s a liar on what he knew about Kim Dotcom aren’t you?

I am.

Insistence that Peters believes Key has lied about Dotcom

Yep. Will you make him PM then? If you’re saying he lied about what he knew about Kim Dotcom will you make him the Prime Minister?

Paddy we’ve got a long way to go until the election, and when it emerges that there’ no way the SIS and GCSB leader of this country’s administration, namely John Key, could not have known, I think you might look with different eyes at that matter.

Peters appears to believe that it will be proven that Key has lied before the election. If that happens then for Peters to be consistent he will demand that Key resigns.

If Key doesn’t resign before the election then Peters would be very hypocritical if he negotiated a coalition agreement with Key.

The only out here is if Key resigns than NZ First may then be able to negotiate with the new National leader.

Rules out working with UnitedFuture and the Maori Party

Can you work with UF in government?

Well, you know, can I tell you the truth? In 2005 I was the one who went to Peter Dunne and said to him, Peter do you want to be a minister. Not Helen Clark.

Will you make him a minister again in the next government? Would you give him the go-ahead?

Well no. Given how he’s behaved…

So he’s out. What about the Maori Party? Can you work with them?

I’m not working with a party that believes in racial separatism.

That rules out NZ First working with them but it doesn’t necessarily rule out a coalition with National or Labour that also involves United Future or the Maori Party. Coalition agreements are between the major party and individual minor parties. The minor parties don’t negotiate with each other, nor do they have to work together.

There’s no indication here a coalition arrangement that involved NZ First would have to rule out United Future or the Maori Party being in the coalition.

About your transparency now. You’re shutting essentially 95 percent, maybe 90 percent, of the New Zealand voters out of the equation with your balance of power. What is fair about that?

How did you possibly extrapolate this conversation to that extraordinary conclusion?

Because you won’t be transparent. You don’t say, you won’t say anything about where you’re going.

You see Paddy you’re back to you again. You’re not listening to anything I’m saying. What I said was that we’re going to see what happens in the next six months we’re going to ensure as a party we make a democratic decision that includes caucus, and the board and our support base.

So no more transparency.

Now the next thing is that the mass majority of New Zealanders, including 35% of National voters, don’t like the sort of deals you advocate. They think they’re odious. They think they’re anathema. And so do I. And one last thing. You must be much smarter than me but I’m not able to play cards I’ve never seen.

Asset sale buy-back and keeping the Super eligibility age at 65 appear to be non-negotiable.

Everything else seems to depend on what happens between now on the election, what the voters say (except they only vote, they don’t say what bottom lines they want)  and what the NZ First caucus, board and members democratically decide they want.

The bottom line

The Super age has to be a bottom line. Giving in on that would be like the Greens giving in on deep sea drilling, it’s totally against what NZ First stands for.

Peters working with Key would be very hypocritical. Peters claims that Peter Dunne lied and Judith Collins lied, and because of that he insists they should resign. Peters also insists Key lied.

The rest looks up for negotiation. Even apparent bottom lines could be fudged, like asset sales buybacks – there could be an agreement that buy backs be investigated and take place “when economic conditions allow”. Foreign property purchases and foreign fishing positions appear to be strong but they are vague.

There are only two bottom lines that appear to be certain.

  1. Leave the Super eligibility age at 65.
  2. Anything else is possible.

And the voters will decide one thing – whether Peters and NZ First get the opportunity to negotiate. If they give NZ First 5% little else is certain.

Note that this interview did not examine how NZ First might work with Labour, nor whether NZ First would agree to a coalition that involved the Greens.

Source of transcript- Scoop The Nation: Patrick Gower interviews New Zealand First leader Winston Peters

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.