David Shearer stands down (as predicted on TDB): The danger of not picking Cunliffe


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As TDB pointed out on our 2nd of August Labour Coup Watch upgrade, the move against Shearer was on weeks ago. The factions have heard the demands of the affiliates for a Labour leader who doesn’t count Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong, David Farrar, Matthew Hooton and Cameron Slater as their most ardent supporters.

David Shearer is a good man who has done the honorable thing and stepped aside. This is not a moment for ‘I-told-you-so’, or ‘what-were-you-thinking-in-the-first-place’, from the bloggers to the Labour Caucus, this is a moment to pause, consider the horror of what John Key is doing to our Democracy and put into place a leader who can beat Key one on one.

If there was any single moment that turned the factions, I think it was the Campbell Live vs John Key interview. Here was John Campbell, one of our most respected progressive Journalists, flummoxed at every turn by a John Key at the heights of his confidence. Many must have thought ‘if that’s what Key can do to Campbell, what hope does Shearer have’?

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The leadership challenge will be as TDB predicted, a 3 week event and it will be done and dusted before the Conference in November so that the new Leader has a new fresh clean start at that Conference.

While I have no intention of lecturing the Caucus or affiliates as to who they should anoint to be the new leader, I just want to raise one warning against attacking Cunliffe. The majority of Labour members want Cunliffe, that is crystal clear and for the factions to make some last ditch attempt to block him would be bewilderingly self-destructive in the extreme.

I, like many progressive NZers just want a Labour Leader who can beat this wicked Government and their vacant multi-millionaire Prime Minister. Let’s get a new Labour Leader who can articulate an actual left wing economic and social agenda and take our damned country back!

In short Labour, let’s be friends again but don’t screw this up.


  1. ‘Left wing economic and social agenda’ will not persuade the swing voters in the centre – and that is where the next election will be won and lost.

    • And I think your analysis is flawed. Since the financial economic meltdown caused by rampant free market philosophy run amok there is no voters in the centre. The yawning chasm of inequality that has expanded means the political centre is about as void a apolitical concept as United Future’s 500 members.

      • ghrahams also forgetting that the mythical center is traditionally pretty leftish in many things.

        Sure theres plenty of smoke and noise trying to make us think that the center has gone totally to the right, but underneath it all most NZers dont like people who shit on them

      • I think the battle will be won by attracting the 800,000 who didn’t vote last time. I think a real push for younger voters is needed – they need to be shown that everyone has a voice in a democracy

      • And you think *Labour* are the party to “articulate an actual left wing economic and social agenda and take our damned country back!”

        Wow. Good luck with that.

    • If the centre want Nationalesque policy, we don’t want them. And we don’t need them, what we need is the disenfranchised ‘did not vote’rs.

      • Cunliffe may be persausive, intelligent and likeable in person, but do you really think that is how he is percieved outside the labour hothouse? To me he comes across on tv as cold, manipulative and wooden.
        I worked on the railways in the early 80’s and those scum will never win my vote back

    • The point that you are missing is that the next leader needs to be able to successfully articulate such a vision. Just as the leader of the natz has successfully articulated his divisive vision for NZ/Aotearoa to large numbers of the population. If Labour can get a leader who can communicate, it won’t matter that it is a “left wing” agenda. If it makes sense, and people understand it, it will fly.

  2. I made a case the other week on Chris Trotters post on here for David Cunliffe & David Parker as his deputy & I shall vote accordingly. I’m afraid Grant Robertson has acted rather too sneaky 
    during the past 6 months, so not for me. Goff ‘never.’ Shane Jones has been too darn lazy, as transport spokesperson was useless. Little as a deputy I doubt the public will support, so it’s onwards and upwards for Labour under camp Cunliffe. 

    • I would support that partnership. 2014 is going to based on “economic’s”, Cunliffe/Parker will be unbeatable. Robertson needs to learn how to win his own electorate seat before he progresses to Prime Minister material.

    • I’d even support it too – could even consider flicking a vote their way. Labour has three big areas to capitalise on as well:
      Housing affordability, asset sales, and the GCSB legislation – all of which I suspect the majority of New Zealanders feel Nact have fcuked up royally on.
      They could even go for pushing for some sort of constitutional change to make things difficult for such an assault on democracy as has occurred will be more difficult in future.

  3. The notion that middle NZ will pick the next government was proven incorrect last election, when middle NZ all turned up & voted for the same parties as they always vote for.
    To most of ‘middle NZ’ a political party is like a footie team – you pick one as an adolescent & stick with it thru thick & thin.

    The last election was actually decided by the 1 million kiwis who didn’t vote because they saw little point in choosing one self serving neo-liberal liar, over another self-serving neo-liberal liar.

    I haven’t voted for the NZ Labour Party for 20 years & neither have most of my friends, one of whom just phoned with the news of Shearer’s pin pull.

    We agreed that this is make or break time for Labour, if they do the right thing and pick a leader who actually espouses long held Labour philosophies & who offers up solutions that are based on those philosophies, rather than trying to foist watered down versions of what KeyCorp has on offer, we will both give out electorate & party vote to Labour in 2014.
    The fact that NZ Labour’s biggest policy concern is trying to keep the Nats from steaking a march by adopting Labour ideas says it all really.
    Come in Tweedledum & Tweedledee.

    I know there are many others who feel the same & want a Labour Party that actually fights for the rights of the kiwi battler ahead of Casino or TV executives.
    That party won’t just get our vote, we will go out and canvass for them as well as chucking money into their coffers.

    However if the Labour Party does its usual of putting identity politics underpinned by safe neo-liberal policies that seem all about rorting kiwis -policies that are great for labour party pols but screw us and our children, I am certain neither I nor my friends could ever consider giving such a mob of selfish careerists a skerrick of support now or in the future.

    After all why vote for an organisation that is so corrupt & inept it prefers cosying up to enemies who prefer it to lose, than hanging out with old friends prepared to give it one last chance.

    • Agree totally with your make and break paragraph, especially the need for the new leader to take the party back to the true philosophies and principles of the party. The watered down neo-liberalism needs to go, replaced by 21st century policies that address and solve today’s issues, yet would make Savage, Fraser, Nash and Lee feel proud.

      • In reality a small percentage of the country will vote on philosophies and principles of some party. A small group may vote to get rid of neo-liberalism. A mass will not vote.

        A big group will vote on cliches, fears and believing the appeals to their ignorance to be appeals to their intelligence.

        A horde will vote for some person who appeals like attractive packing on some worthless product. They will be sucked in by gimmicky tv appearances and shallow radio ‘interviews.’ If John Key appeared in a reality tv show like The Ridges some would be moved to vote for him until the world ends. The electorate, a strange animal.

  4. What on earth? I don’t want Cunliffe! I wanted Shearer, and I am furious! As far as I could see, the animus against Shearer came from the Greens – the Standard for instance, is 99% Green, and 100% anti-Shearer (they perma-banned me for sticking up for Shearer). This royally sucks!

    • Shearer is an honorable man. The way he has stepped down proves that. But he doesn’t have what it takes to lead Labour to victory. He was Neville Chamberlain, when we need a Churchill.

    • Yeah? is that right Deborah.? Well wake up, Shearer sucks as a political leader and he had no right to the job .He had zero experience as a politician . He was a puppet of the desperate, selfish, ugly neo- liberal cabal of careerists that are sucking the life out of the Labour party. He has been utterly incompetent at the job. So do your self a favour and just vote National.

    • Who you wanted is irrelevant. He resigned of his own will. He recognised at last his lack of talent in spontaneous and fluent and WINNING debate, as well as the fact that the party support at grassroots seems to be demanding a retreat from the third way Blairite neolib model which was his preference; unfortunately, by trying to keep faith with the reflexively red-neck ‘centre’ he offended many of us.
      If you were so damn supportive of him, why weren’t you ante-ing up with your perspective on The Standard for the last several months, even years? That’s where the ginger has been, and in my opinion, it will be its contributors who will or will not do a lot of the hard yards during any election run-up.

  5. I don’t see it as left/right/centre policies but who can outdo Key. If they elect the wrong person, irrespective of policy or promises, they will lose their base voters who will dump them and give their support to marginal parties and will never vote labour again.

    • I agree, Labour seems to have a knack of picking leaders that are perceived as weak, Bill Rowling, Mike Moore, Geoffrey Palmer, Phil Goff, David Shearer all intelligent, decent, honest and honourable men all of them well qualified to lead a nation yet not one of them had the “Mongrel” to stand out from the crowd.

      To defeat Muldoon Labour needed a David Lange and and to defeat Key it will need another, it is not enough to be smarter than the bully you must also visibly out smart him.

    • Cunliffe radiates some of the same creepy smarminess as Key. So if the electorate really is as madly in love with Key as the pollsters claim, maybe Cunliffe IS the best hope for Labour.

  6. Thank goodness Shearer is gone, however his late departure guaranteed that the GCSB bill would go through. We can thank him for that toxic legacy as much as anyone. It’s a bit late to resign the day after his lacklustre performance virtually guaranteed it. If we had had the talented and effective David Cunliffe during Shearer’s tenure, Key would never have got away with that, nor the succcession of scandals with which his government has been plagued since its inception. Cunliffe is by far the best prospect to take Labour to Government and he needs our unequivocal support.

  7. @ Brent Partner . Indeed . From what I’ve gauged and generally speaking , younger people know nothing about their politics which is perfect if you want to pursue covert agendas supported by a motivated minority with a vacant , individualized , greed-oriented mentality .

    @ EDUCATEM . I agree . Completely . I just hope David Cunliffe keeps a weather eye on his back because he’s not only going to have to lock horns with jonky , he’s going to have to play a Game Of Thrones kind of thing with the last of the old guard neoliberals still infecting the Labour Party .

    I’m truly excited about this ! I think it’s a very healthy sign . I also concur re the GCSB . If shearer had gone months ago I’m confident to speculate that we’d not have the Neo-GCSB Fear Marketing Machine that we must all now live with .

    • Country boy, I think (hope*) we wont have to worry too much about internal ructions if Cunliffe gets in because the membership will be behind him. Anyone in caucus who is silly enough to cause trouble against a leader who is backed by the membership is going to feel the squeeze. Helen Clark’s success in managing the caucus is usually soley attributed to her ruling the party like Margaret Thatcher, but I think her popularity in the membership played a big part as well.

    • @countryboy Are you implying that younger folk should not be encouraged to vote because they are ignorant or that I have some sort of covert agenda? I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Given that unemployment is considerably higher for those in the 18-25 year old bracket than the 6.8% overall rate and the new revisions to the employment laws are going to make things even worse for them they may well have an idea what side their breads buttered. The same goes for low income families who are struggling to pay their rent now who have lost hope that a vote carries any weight. A vote for the left would be a good option for them (actually any vote that gets rid of the Natzis) and some sort of public campaign on the power their vote may bring would be a good thing. I think David Cunliffe is a good option for Labour because he has the oratory skills to match Key in the media wars and perhaps these very skills could be turned to picking up the votes of those who have basically given up hope.

  8. Thank goodness.

    There is a rather awesome contradiction in your headline and your opening.

    “David Shearer stands down (as predicted on TDB)”
    c.f. “This is not a moment for ‘I-told-you-so’…”

  9. The fact the GCSB is out in the open is great. Better there than hidden out in Waihopai.. it’s a little while since the Ploughshares guys deflated another USA and Bankster made Bubble..

    The issue is alive because of Kimdotcom and Edward Snowden.. I don’t think much would have changed the numbers.. it was a dunne deal..

    ..and ShonKey got his orders to close the trapdoor from the NSA and GMObama. It doesn’t feel all that shut. The Bill only scraped in.. and is going to be scraped out.. promises Labour?

    The issue in terms of NZ Sovereignty is now Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. The WonKey one probably needs ‘in principle’ signature some time in October, maybe a bit later.. I’m not sure it’s a secret..

    The Council elections are on thereabouts..

    A move to get the Auckland Council TPPA remit supported around the countryside is more attention to this issue. This is the next campaign.. no TPPA. TPPA will expedite Climate Change, and destroy independence, whatever there remains.

    Like with GE if all the Councils are anti TPPA and saying they want a pro NZ outcome, it could be there’s no deal. Big ask but this would be grand.

    Best to Labour and to whom they determine is the new leader, hope s/he’s got some mongrel and some charismatic presence..

    I vote for the environment.. as the economy is a subset of the environment.

  10. Things might get a little better if we get someone who helps a left-wing government into power again, but Labour still supports the TPPA.

    • He hasn’t said explicitly but i’ve noticed Cunliffe has shown a certain level of disdain towards the TPPA on social media…

  11. I personally like Shearer. If he was given the opportunity, I’m sure he would make a good Prime Minister, possibly better than any of the other Labour Party members too.

    However, he simply didn’t stand a chance against John Key. And, more important than anything else, this election needs to be the one where Key is removed from power. While I may not personally like Cunliffe that much, out of all the Labour Party members, he’s the one that stands the best chance against Key.

    I hope the rest of the Labour Party realises that defeating Key is far more important than any personal preferences or gains, and can unite under one leader who can finally put an end to the anti-democratic reign of Key and his followers.

  12. Problem is, Shearer had to continually try to debase himself and behave as unscrupulous as his opposition, which is not his nature. For the opposition, this conduct just comes naturally.

  13. Whoever is the next leader needs to “float light a butterfly and sting like a bee”
    Labour got anyone like that?

  14. “The leadership challenge will be as TDB predicted, a 3 week event and it will be done and dusted before the Conference in November so that the new Leader has a new fresh clean start at that Conference.”

    I share your view, sentiment and hopes, Martyn!

    As a person dependent on a benefit for health reasons, I have been shocked, dismayed and distressed due to what this government has been getting away with. I am horrified about the apathy and lack of compassion by many New Zealanders, so many not raising their objections and disagreement.

    It seems at times as if a soft version of fascism has taken hold in this country. There is so much distrust, envy, hatred, mean spiritedness, division and friction, it is very, very frightening. It may not appear so to many, as on the surface not all that much is noticed, but once you dig a bit deeper, read comments on certain blogs, hear talk-back and this overly commercial media we have, it is shocking what goes on.

    We have had public broadcasting and independent, quality media being forced to close down, while Murdoch and Co get a free licence to broadcast misinformation, lies and to dumb down.

    I have to resort to overseas media, to get a more informed, independent view on what goes on in New Zealand, as the local media just does no longer deliver it, with few exceptions.

    So my desperate hope is that the party members will vote for Cunliffe, that most in caucus will also see the light, that the union affiliates follow also, and that we get a quality leader with a good team in opposition, as the Greens are not large and strong enough to fill the vaccuum left after Helen left and after Goff stuffed up.

    I am furious about Paula Bennett and how sick and disabled are getting treated now, being lied to, that the WINZ and MSD agencies only want to “help” them access work. They are on about “open employment”, which means competing with fit and healthy struggling to find work. So this is an agenda that will cause much more harm than good. The outsourcing to private referral agencies, getting paid high bonuses and fees to get sick and disabled into work, that is a step towards selling out the welfare system, which should follow social responsibility rules, and actually care, help and support the weakest. But no, this government has declared war against the weakest, and is lying and misinforming the public about their true agenda.

    Read about the truth re what goes on under Bennett and Co, under the Natzies in government, and how they are bringing in appalling laws and rules, to lash out against the weakest:



    I have hope that a new Labour leadership will bring in a new government in 2014 now, and get rid of such perverted approaches!

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