Leo’s legacy



David Cunliffe’s advisors must be West Wing fans as they clearly took a page from the Aaron Sorkin notebook  – Season 7 Leo’s debate prep if you want to look it up. Cunliffe seriously lowered expectations on Friday night with a lack lustre 10 minute speech that wandered aimlessly around awkward metaphors, mispronouncing both Maori and the president’s name. The audience was not awed because it was not awesome.

So today Cunliffe had only one job to do and that was to do better than that.  And did he ever deliver. It was a perfectly pitched speech that put the seal on his leadership; enough new policy for both the media and the boffins, plenty of passion for the activists and a knock out delivery that will show the country why so many of us in Labour were convinced that this is the man who will be the next Prime Minister.


  1. Hey, give the man a break – there have to be priorities. At least he drew a clear line in the sand about charter schools, and while this may look like a fringe issue at present it has the potential to seriously undermine the NZ education system (the one that affects ALL NZers, not just the minority who go on to get student loans). Have a look across the ditch and see a patchwork system with the majority of government funding going into private schools and a limited ability to implement core national curricula. NZ has a very flexible State system; individual schools are very different from each other, they are run by democratically elected boards and employ qualified, registered teachers. I and most other NZ teachers would be very happy to see these folk roll up their charters and ship on out of here.

    • Sorry, I’m kind of sick of this third-way drivel. We need to ask ourselves what we want this country to be like in 20-30 years, not 5-8 years.
      As much as I’d love to think that Labour will be in power for the next 30 years, its just not going to happen. At best we will have 6-9 years of Labour before a Simon Bridges led National get back in for 6-9 years.
      Now you can tell me to give a Cunliffe a break, but I won’t apologise for wanting a future in NZ. If Cunliffe is not going to move away from neoliberalism and ditch this third-way fantasy, then I’ll continue with the snide remarks.
      There is no way we can claim we’ve moved away from neoliberalism if the student loan system remains. If we pay for education, it remains a form of individual capital and employment remains the responsibility of the individual.
      I’m sick of people telling me to chill out and asking if I want another term of Key. If we are looking 20 years ahead and claim that Labour’s current policies will create a positive future, then we’re either delusional or sadistic. I would say both.
      I thought Cunliffe was offering an alternative and chasing non-voters? All I see is token tweaking. Another 9 years like Aunty Helen. Just serving it all up for National to flog off at their next turn.
      I’m sick of Labour’s priorities. Everyone gets sucked in by a seductive speaker, we are no better than National voters

  2. Apart from “Kiwi Assure” and possibly regional development there’s nothing I heard in Cunnliffe’s speech. However to be fair it’s his first for the party and I wasn’t expecting a Norm Kirk “Time for a change” that swept the country in 1972. Labour has to change the tax structure so that the rich do pay and release some of the burden of low and middle incomes. Why can’t employers for example have tax deductions for every worker they employ? Employment law must be changed to enable workers rights to be enhanced. Generally it is best that the Government have more input into the economy. It’s as plain as the nose on Roger Douglas’ face that any more market is a disaster.

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