Winners & losers of Cunliffe win

David Cunliffe launches his leadership campaign. Image courtesy of Greg Presland.

David-Cunliffe-Shane-Jones-Grant-RobertsonRESULTS: Cunliffe knock out in round one with 51.15%

11 MPs (ABC’s hu?)
60.14% of the people
70.77% of Unions


There are many winners and many losers of Cunliffe’s ascension to leadership. Let’s be brutal shall we?


David Cunliffe: After the appalling manner in which Cunliffe was treated during the manufactured leadership coup at the last Conference, David has emerged as the peoples champion for Labour. The winds of history are now at his back and he represents the first real post-Clark Labour Party. The maligning and attempts to break him have all been for naught as he makes a Ned Stark like return from the grave, reattaching his own head with nothing more than a swiss army knife, a book on Marx and a Michael Joseph Savage portrait. He must unify those who opposed him in Caucus by rewarding the talent amongst their ranks, punish the non-performing ones and promote his own new blood. I’ll give a full run down on who needs to go and who needs the love in tomorrow’s ‘Cunliffe’s Shadow Cabinet’ blog.

Shane Jones: The Jonsey has emerged out of this with the sort of Teflon coating that Key applies daily. The charm of his ‘no-soft-cocks-allowed’ garden variety sexism is matched only by his desire to start randomly punching Green MPs in the face. His bloke appeal however is a greasy fat dripping sausage roll at a buffet for the morbidly obese in terms of wider public appeal. That said, he has earned his seat at the top table – for now. Shane talked a good talk, he now has 16 months to show the walk if he has Ministerial aspirations again.

The Labour Party affiliates and members: There will be much dancing and singing in the streets for the poor long suffering Labour Party affiliates and members. For decades they have served the interests of the Party only for the Party to show bugger all interest in them. They have finally had their say and it’s had a mighty impact. Affiliates can expect real employment law reforms and members can demand a more clearly defined left wing political aesthetic.

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The Labour Party: The democratization of the leadership process has generated more interest and energy into the Party than a hate group posting on Whaleoil. It’s been incredibly empowering for everyone involved and the Party can hold its head up high. The sour note would have to be their very poor delivery of social media and online management. Bewilderingly poor.

The Political Left: For a whole bunch of unique reasons (which I will go into in my next blog ‘Cunliffe ain’t for turning’), the wider political left benefit enormously from Cunliffe’s win.

Charles Chauvel: Time someone bought him a one way ticket home.

David Parker: Must be a strong pick for Deputy.


Wellington Press Gallery: The perception has always been that the Wellington Press Gallery are lost so far up their own arseholes they mistake their colons for Ministerial press releases. Nothing highlighted the lack of actual political awareness better than Wellington Press Gallery pundit after pundit proclaiming Grant was the lead contender. When Grant came 3rd in both polls, many Press Gallery egos were badly bruised. Expect bitter spiteful proclamations to start flying at Cunliffe as over compensation for the exposure of their bubble world blindspots.

Beltway ABC Mafia: The ABCs hate Cunliffe with a searing, boiling venom of resentment which means they will always be plotting. Look at how they were prepared to vote against their own members and affiliates political hopes. Their hold on power has been broken but they won’t go quietly. The institutional gatekeepers who have worked so tirelessly to leave the sleeping dogs of Labour’s neoliberalism in a coma have finally been rolled by the bark of the members and affiliates who still know how to fight. Those Union bosses welded to inaction for fear of showing how weak they really are if they get into a fight have been ignored and pushed aside by their members demanding more than lip service for their interests. The ABCs pathological dislike provides Cunliffe with the incentive that if he doesn’t win 2014, the ABCs will assassinate him with prejudice, this means Cunliffe has to think outside the square for ways to ensure a victory in the next election if he wants to survive beyond 2015. Not a great day to be a self-important Wellington twitter hipster.

Shadow Cabinet reshuffle: There is so much dead wood in Labour’s front bench they could rebuild Christchurch three times over. There have to be demotions and promotions, not just for peace making and the rewarding of supporters, but based on actual ability. There are plenty of good brains in Team Robertson, but there are also a whole lot who are aren’t. I will have a complete blog on who should stay and who should go in Cunliffe’s shadow cabinet tomorrow.

John Key: Despite Matthew Hooton boasting that he had a text from Wayne Eagleson saying that the PMs office wanted Cunliffe to win because he’s easier to beat, National are nervous. For the last 20 months Labour has had a dead leader unable to communicate with any authority in the media, it’s allowed Key and the Gang to look positively brilliant, but that game has comes to an end with the election of Cunliffe as leader. One on one National now know that they face a contender who can knock Key out. Captain Giggles is about to have his buzz killed, Key’s only chance of winning the 2014 election now is to self appoint himself Team NZ victory parade King and appear on a throned float wearing a crooked crown doing bong hits out of the America’s Cup while twerking.


The Greens: The Greens would have been sacrificing Hemp suits to Goddess Gaia in the hope Grant won, as enraged activists would have walked on mass to the Greens to give them 20%. They know their high polling has been as much a rudderless Labour as genuine enthusiasm. While they won’t be hitting 20%, Cunliffe’s unique circumstances (which I’ll go into in another blog) mean that he has to view the Greens as a strategic strength, not a threat. There is much that can be discussed between the two.

Grant Robertson: Although, this wasn’t his time, Grant has proved why he is seen by many as a true contender. I honestly believe he will be NZs first gay PM and that it will be a 2020 or 2023 run. His poor external polling tells him that he must step up his public persona. Cunliffe would be smart to appoint him to a role where he can build his persona but for the benefit of the Party as opposed for a direct leadership challenge. Grant has earned his shot at the top job but desperately needs to make some new Auckland friends.

So what’s next? I cover Cunliffe’s political direction and why the MSM are so wrong about his left wing stance being a pretense in my next post ‘Cunliffe ain’t for turning’ and detail who Cunliffe should promote and demote in ‘Cunliffe’s Shadow Cabinet’ tomorrow.

I’m off for some more vodka shots and a few rowdy versions of ‘Do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men’ with some Auckland comrades and Team Cunliffe supporters. It’s going to be a late one.


  1. Biggest losers are John Key and his somewhat corrupt government, in trying to ridicule the whole leadership contest from the start. He claimed nothing will change for Labour under a new leader. His dismissive dealing with this, like with other important matters and policies, will now come back to haunt him into a political grave next year.

    Next biggest losers are the big knob, over-inflated financial and other lobbyist backers of the present government, as they will face different rules and more social, economic and environmental responsibilities after the next elections, and they will not be able to simply “buy” their preferred policies anymore.

    The third biggest losers are the mainstream media, as they have been proved wrong, after trying so hard, to create frictions, tensions, and hatred between the three leading contenders, they have failed to upset the process and are faced with an outcome that disproves all their false projections and speculations.

    Cunliffe won convincingly, and even over 30 per cent of caucus voted for him from the start, over 47 per cent after the two leading contestants had second votes of the preferential votes counted in between them. That is not as “divisive” a caucus as we were told. The mainstream media will be faced with more funding being put into public broadcasting and so forth, with more independent, non-commercial media being reimplemented, as I expect to happen under a Cunliffe led government. The times of sell out journalism for the mere benefit of advertisers, business and a right of centre government are coming to an end, at least I hope that.

    Cunliffe will though be well advised to not punish the ones that do not support him. He should be careful and to a degree be forgiving in appointing his front bench. I am sure he is capable of it now, and a more inclusive, constructive leadership approach will reward him, Labour and the whole opposition, with better polling results and a win in 2014.

    I look forward though to what Martyn will have to write in coming blog posts.

  2. It’s great to be part of a revitalised and engaged party; one that’s starting to feel confident and like it’s got a coherent vision. The leadership election was positive process, over all, and it’s got Labour making the news, not just waiting for a chance to comment. That’s the way to keep momentum – keep defining our own pathway, rather than just hollering from the sidelines. Cunliffe has to crate a sense of unity and purpose in the caucus, and while some should go from the front bench, he can’t afford to waste any talent, no matter who they have backed up till now. He can’t win their backing through vengefulness; making alliances is a better tactic. Consider how Clarke dealt with Cullen when he was trying to unseat her; she made him Finance Spokesperson, later Minister of Finance and eventually Deputy PM. They were a strong team, but only because she recognised that the best way to deal with his ambition was to give it an outlet. Both benefitted, and so did wider NZ.

  3. Nice post Martyn – I particularly like what you are saying about the mainstream media.

    I have been commenting on this over at The Standard in the last few days – the media and particularly the Gallery have lost their “insider” status with this contest – and ruthlessly exposed how that status has made them lazy & uncritical. Where once they could have made a story on information from their caucus “sources” now they are being kept at arms length by members & affiliates who have no interest in their dog-whistling, cynical crafting of narratives & corporate media shilling. There has been almost no decent & thoughtful political analysis by anyone in the mainstream media on the Leadership race (Colin James & Gordon Campbell being notable exceptions). The heavy lifting on political coverage is now being done in the blogosphere & alternative media.

  4. Normally , I’d have plenty to say but all I can do is HAhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahaaa aa………… hhahahahahahahahahahah

    OMG that was funny .

  5. David Parker as Deputy…now that would be an absolutely unbeatable combination in 2014.

    Key, Joyce and English plan to attack Labour on a National Party driven perception that Labour are weak in economics and finance, its a load of bull shit and they wont score a point against Cunliffe and Parker. I reckon thats a good call Bomber.

  6. MARTYN. There is a far bigger picture, this tiny speck of NZ “politics/who must get in -Game.!

    The Big picture is that the unacceptable is ALSO happening in UK, and. has been for much longer in USA.
    It’s a Global thing.

    Means it’s coming here REGARDLESS of which political party is “voted” in.

    The Control is coming from outside NZ. They call All the shots, eg “you shall not be spending on “human wellbeing” and such unecessary, frivolous ideas”

    It is International Banks, and THEIR owners.

    Who/What has got NZ “by the short & curlies?”

    The ONLY way out, actually, is for NZ to break away from them. (IMF)
    The ONLY way, is ..our own Currency. ..
    BUT, whoever tries that, will be KILLED off.(eg Gaddaffi.DONT BELIEVE LIES ABOUT HIM. His ONLY crime was to be independent of International RIP OFF Banks.)
    NEW ZEALAND IS A PRISON NATION. Prisoner to IMF. (NZers are enslaved)

    Got any sparks of ideas how to save NZ now?
    We ALL need to UNITE and understand that this truth= WE PEOPLE do NOT agree to this enslavement. The “money”/ “loans” , after all are NOT EVEN REAL!!!! (ie at no-ones expense. They are JUST ELECTRONIC DIGITS! There is NO gold/ real collateral.)And the “interest” is even more BOGUS. It’s all an illusion. WAKE UP! People in NZ are slaving for nothing.! (Not talking about the already wealthy, they just take forgranted the benefits of existing/ thriving, way above the “workers ” who provide the energy for their investments)

    (Sorry folks, I don’t use caps for “shouting”. I don’t know who made up that rule, bec in written language, one uses caps for EMPHASIS.
    HOw can you call that “shouting” ..when it’s the written word, and there’s no sound? (Another Nonsense Rule I don’t believe in)

    • Oh and please realise that “the Media”, (even in NZ) is ALSO, NOT independent.
      They are ALL controlled/owned by…the very same.
      NZ is , as small nation, very vulnerable.

      EVER WONDER WHY NZers so out of touch with reality overseas?
      Ever wonder why/ how come we get OVERFED on USA culture via films/ music industry/(failed) educational policies, USA fed “News”.. etc?

      It’s bec we are small nation/ swallowed up by USA
      We are their lap Dog.
      Who decided??? Some “prominent ” people??????

  7. Suddenly the Labour party exists again.

    I don’t think even a three-way twerk will save John ‘the blobfish’ Key – but I’m sure he’s going to try.

    The satisfaction of seeing him get his comeuppance will be a nice prelude to the restoration of NZ as as successful and enlightened state.

  8. I’m interested to see the fate of Hipkins, Mallard, King and Goff. Hopefully their acolytes get promoted through the ranks to water down the ABC power base, while the leaders quietly get put to pasture on the backbenches.
    Unity is important but Labour can be incredibly self destructive. And we can’t pretend that Labour is now one big happy family no matter what rhetoric is being disseminated. They’re on the path to Unity but a little Machiavellian action is required to shore up the defenses while the assault on the Key government is underway

    • Normally I’d agree with you, Crunchtime, but today the medium and the message are way more important than the faux pas. 🙂

  9. The media have shot themselves in the foot over this. By talking up the “rift” and “schism” in Labour, making up stories about “ugly spats” and so on, if Cunliffe succeeds in uniting the Labour caucus (I have every confidence he will) then he looks twice as good as he would have otherwise. The Great Uniting Leader. 😀

  10. Yes, members and affiliates have got their Party back. Historic changes and the future looks so much better – and now it must be unity, unity, unity

  11. “The Greens would have been sacrificing Hemp suits to Goddess Gaia in the hope Grant won”

    Quite wrong there. The absolute best outcome for the Green Party was for Cunliffe to win. I’m a Green supporter and “liked” Cunliffe’s Facebook page to help him along. I’m also a member of a union which had a say in his election. With Cunliffe as Labour leader there is a much higher chance of a cohesive “left wing” government, which is what the Green Party wants. Political parties are groupings of social classes as well as political philosophies and policies. I enjoy being part of the Greens, but equally hope a truly left wing Labour Party prospers as well. I’m sure a lot of other Green Party members feel the same. However, at this point in time, I don’t expect the Greens to dip much below 10 percent, if at all, as they are trusted to stand by what they say.

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