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The Trap Is Sprung: Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign

By   /  June 19, 2014  /  76 Comments

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DAVID CUNLIFFE MUST NOT RESIGN. A trap has been sprung upon the Leader of the Opposition but not matter how painful the pressure he must not give in. He must wait until the jaws of the trap can be forced apart – in this case by reiterating the simple truth – and only when he is free should he set about finding out who set it.

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DAVID CUNLIFFE MUST NOT RESIGN. A trap has been sprung upon the Leader of the Opposition but no matter how painful the pressure he must not give in. He must wait until the jaws of the trap can be forced apart – in this case by reiterating the simple truth – and only when he is free should he set about finding out who set it.

Before investigating that matter, however, let us reiterate the simple truth.

Eleven years ago, in 2003, when David Cunliffe was a very junior minister in Helen Clark’s government, his electorate office was contacted by a constituent interested in speeding up his immigration application. A letter was drafted detailing the case of Mr Donghua Liu and seeking information on the progress of his paperwork. It was passed on to Mr Cunliffe who signed it, along with scores of similar letters, and then forgot all about it.

This was not a letter designed to do anything more than respond to the request of a constituent. It contains no special pleading. It is addressed to no minister. And it was not followed up by private meetings, or dinners, or any other form of lobbying.

That is the simple truth.

Now, let us return to who set the trap.

The most obvious person to have done so is the journalist who broke the story, Jared Savage. Except there’s a problem. Savage’s newspaper, the NZ Herald, has been running stories about Liu’s associations with the Labour Party since Monday (16 June) but according to Savage the “incriminating” documentation sought under the Official Information Act (OIA) was only released to him today (Wednesday 18 June).

What I’d like to know is whether or not the earlier stories involving former Labour cabinet minister, Rick Barker’s relationship with Liu, were similarly the product of OIA responses, or whether they were derived from other sources. It would also be useful to know if Savage was advised by those “other sources” to seek out Cunliffe’s letter specifically, or whether the latter just turned up as a result of Savage requesting every official document relating to Donghua Liu. And, if it was the latter, how swiftly did Immigration NZ respond to Savage’s OIA request?

Occam’s Razor would suggest that the story unfolded “naturally”. One piece of information leading to the next. One OIA request prompting another and then another until Mr Cunliffe’s name entered the frame.

But there is an alternative, much more worrying, explanation for the appearance of this 11-year-old letter.

What if someone, somewhere, was in a position to gather every piece of official information on Donghua Liu, and out of that pile of files and electronic data was able to extract information damaging to both Barker and Cunliffe? What if that person then leaked this information to the NZ Herald in such a way that in the course of the news media’s subsequent questioning of Cunliffe about Barker a number of unequivocal statements were made which the 2003 letter could be construed as contradicting? Wouldn’t that leave Mr Cunliffe in a very embarrassing – not to say vulnerable – position?

One does not have to be as avid a fan of the TV series House of Cards as I am to know that there are all sorts of ways sensitive political information can make its way into the public domain and that it arrives there for all sorts of reasons – some of them good, some of them decidedly not good.

So, if Jared Savage is playing the role of Zoe Barnes, who is playing the role of Francis Underwood?

The most obvious candidate would seem to be someone on the Government side of the House. Someone with access (illegal but deniable) to Donghua Liu’s file and the records of Rick Barker’s movements in China. That would make this a standard National Party “black op” designed to inflict maximum possible damage upon Labour generally and upon Cunliffe in particular. The Herald might like to think through the ethics of co-operating with this sort of deliberate political destabilisation so close to a general election. But, then again, it might just say: “Ethics-schmethics – a story is a story!”

Or, maybe, the Francis Underwood character at the bottom of this whole incident isn’t in the National Party at all. Maybe the whole story about Barker, Liu’s donations, the 1,800 mile side-trip to Chongqing, was fed to Jared Savage with only one purpose in mind – to catch David Cunliffe out in a lie and force him to resign.

And what good would that do? The last thing Labour needs this close to an election is another leadership contest. Ah, but this is where it gets really, really interesting in a decidedly House of Cards kind of way. If a vacancy occurs in the leadership of the Labour Party within three months of a General Election, the choice of a new leader is left to the Labour Caucus – and only the Labour caucus.

Here’s the exact wording of the rule:

B12 Should a vacancy in the leadership occur in the 3 months prior to the announced date of a general election(where known) or in the absence of an announced date the statutory date (calculated according to the date on which the election is triggered or, in the case of a caucus vote, a meeting or special meeting is requested), a new Leader will be elected by Caucus majority vote. The new Leader will then be subject to confirmation within three months after the election, pursuant to the Party constitution (i.e. they would need to be endorsed by 60%+1 of the new Caucus, or a full leadership contest would be triggered).

And why did I go to the trouble of tracking down this obscure rule? Because the Herald’s Claire Trevett made reference to it last week (12 June) in her regular Thursday column. Under the headline NZ Game of Thrones – Does Cunliffe Dare To Play? Trevett’s piece raises the possibility of a leadership challenge that only the Caucus can play:

“But Cunliffe can’t afford to ignore [ … ] his caucus. He is about to head into his own danger zone. From June 20, Labour’s caucus has a three-month window to change the leader without having to go through the party’s new primary-style process giving its membership a vote.”

This is, of course, an entirely mistaken reading of Rule B12, whose first 20 words “Should a vacancy in the leadership occur in the 3 months prior to the announced date of a general election” condition the subsequent provisions relating to election by Caucus majority. Even so, it was the fact that Trevett was even aware of the Rule that furrowed my brow. Only someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Labour Party’s administrative machinery could have alerted her to B12’s existence. Who? and Why?

We don’t know – yet – but today’s events do make an awful kind of sense when viewed in the baleful light of Rule B12. If Cunliffe could be forced to step down – thereby creating a vacancy – then the Anybody But Cunliffe faction of the Caucus would find themselves ideally positioned to extract an unholy and entirely unhelpful vengeance.

Which is why I say again: David Cunliffe must not resign.

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76 Comments

  1. Fatone says:

    Please don’t resign Mr Cunliffe,

    You are Nationals best policy spokesman. The more you speak, the more votes Labour lose! I love it how you sling mud at the government but cannot handle it coming back the other way.

    I think Mallard has blindsided you on this one. The knife in Cunliffes back has a duck emblem on the handle.

    Hypocrite lefties!

    • framu says:

      “Eleven years ago, in 2003, when David Cunliffe was a very junior minister in Helen Clark’s government, his electorate office was contacted by a constituent interested in speeding up his immigration application. A letter was drafted detailing the case of Mr Donghua Liu and seeking information on the progress of his paperwork. It was passed on to Mr Cunliffe who signed it, along with scores of similar letters, and then forgot all about it.

      This was not a letter designed to do anything more than respond to the request of a constituent. It contains no special pleading. It is addressed to no minister. And it was not followed up by private meetings, or dinners, or any other form of lobbying.”

      explain how that is even remotely the same as recieving donations from a person while trying to pervert the course of justice for the same person when they arent even one of your constiuents

      • Pasupial says:

        Lui (as the letter repeatedly, but inconsistently, refers to him) must be one of the few people who would have remembered about the 11 year old request to his local MP. Also; the $15,000 book, and Barker’s bottle of wine. He is still donating to National – information as well as money?

        Cunliffe should kick that creep out of the country come September 21st. The domestic assault charges provide ample cause.

      • Grant says:

        You are right on the money Framu.
        This is a complete non event and if I was David Cunliffe I would be as mad as hell.
        He has absolutely nothing to fear or hide from and I would be in full- on attack mode.No holding back.No more Mr Nice Guy!
        There is nothing more infuriating than having your reputation UNFAIRLY besmirched !
        His dignity has been impugned .War has been declared.
        National , the media ,(one of the same) and possibly the abcs(although I don’t think it is them,) need to be severely dealt to.
        There are a lot of hard working people out there putting a lot of time,energy and effort into helping Labour, and the left in general, for the betterment of NZ and it’s now time to deal to the scum once and for all. Having their efforts derailed by a bunch of rag tag unprincipled psychos is totally unacceptable.
        There’s a large part of the populace out there dying for some one to really confront the media head on and not allow them to pedal innuendo as fact and to not take any crap. Strong and forthright is Cunliffes’ forte.He should trust his own instincts and go for it. If he does ,kudos and huge respect is waiting just around the corner.
        Let the fight back begin with avengeance!

    • Nice spin, Anonymous ACT Supporter Fatone. Is that part of the dirty tricks plan or are you going “free-lance”?

      Here’s my prediction; the more the Nats/media focus on this, the more the public will realise this has been a carefully orchestrated set-up.

      Finding an 11 year old letter must rank as the greatest stroke of “good luck” in this country’s recent history. Yeah, right.

      New Zealanders (for the most part) are not stupid, and people are going to *click* very quickly that this has been a dirty trick from the right’s book on How To Win An Election And Increase the Body Count At The Same Time.

      This will back-fire badly on your side.

      • Fatone says:

        Hahaha been National my whole life! That letter has nothing incriminating. But when your savior named David Cunliffe was so notoriously against National for having dealings with this man, Labour had been using his donations and a labour minister having dinner and a visit to his factory while he was on a so called holiday?

        Bit of a double standard don’t you think? If you lay with dogs you may get fleas! Can you even agree with that? No you can’t because labour can do no wrong. Great Tui board ad there mate!

        • Grant says:

          Factory visit? Holiday?
          This is not Judith Collins we are talking about.
          Get it together!

          • Fatone says:

            Nope. A labour minister who was on holiday in china, was invited to dinner and a visit to his cement factory in china. 9 months later he is granted residency. Sounds like you are getting some facts left out by labour? Check it out.

            • Fatone says:
              June 19, 2014 at 10:42 pm

              Nope. A labour minister who was on holiday in china, was invited to dinner and a visit to his cement factory in china. 9 months later he is granted residency. Sounds like you are getting some facts left out by labour? Check it out.

              You mean, like the Prime Minister invited to dinner by Hollywood business moguls?

              Like that?

              Nah, you’re wrong Fatone.

              There was one obvious difference between Collins and that Labour minister; the latter wasn’t married to any of the Directors.

              Capiche?

              • Fatone says:

                So gets a lavish dinner on the river paid for by Mr Liu, gets a private tour of Mr Liu’s cement factory. Accepts donation from that same company with an auction ($15k) and then gets granted residency.

                Now they will get investigated for not declaring these gifts?

                Biggest double standard there mate. Okay for Labour to do but not National? Judith Collins was wrong I can admit that.

                Why cannot you leftie hypocrites admit that Labour was in the wrong with this. I just cannot believe it!

  2. e-clectic says:

    Agreed – however, DC’s media trainers and comms advisers need a slap about the face as does DC. He’s falling into the same trap that David Shearer kept falling into. He needs to set the agenda with the press – not them.

    “Yes, the letter was signed by me as have thousands of others in the course of being an electorate MP. Is the most substantive issue in New Zealand today a letter that I signed 13 years ago? No! We have children starving, ballooning overseas debt and a government with no vision for the future except more of the same – the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. That’s not the New Zealand I want to live in or my children to grow up in.”

    He has to drive these balls off the front foot not back foot defence. Take a few lessons from Winston Peters. Who’s in charge around here? The incoming prime minister or the media scrum.

    The albatross round Cunliffe’s neck is his conscience and desire to do the right thing – son of a Minister, he was brought up that way. Makes him a nice guy but also very vulnerable in politics.

    • framu says:

      “He needs to set the agenda with the press – not them.”

      yup – dont explain, dont faff around – attack, front foot. Tell the media they are being precious little wee dears about something that all mps do all the time everyday – then change the subject.

      Its high time someone had the guts to put journos on the spot if they arent going to do their jobs properly. Would TV1 run a story showing gower getting a dressing down by a senior politician on what a poltical journos job is meant to entail? – i think they would

      but frankly – im sick of the lot of them

      sick of labour for being too caught up in their factions and thinking they run the party when its the members who put them there

      sick of national for having no scruples at all and running persistant smear campaigns via their black ops proxies on blogs and the MSM

      sick of the media for aiding and abetting the bullshit (from all sources) and being obsessed with polls and gotcha politics – when was the last time anyone saw some real policy analysis?

      (ive come to the conclusion that the media have utterly forgotten their purpose re: politics. They now see themselves as being in the club, or part of the crew, of political business, when their job is to be our eyes and ears into that world. Scumbags)

      • D'Esterre says:

        @ Framu: ” (ive come to the conclusion that the media have utterly forgotten their purpose re: politics. They now see themselves as being in the club, or part of the crew, of political business, when their job is to be our eyes and ears into that world. Scumbags)”

        Bullseye! If the media wish to be taken seriously by any of us, it’s time they did the job they’re supposed to be doing.

  3. raegun says:

    You got to kind of think that if David Shearer could have found his way through all the dumb politicking that things would have been going a lot better now, but Labour’s factions really must look at themselves

  4. Grant says:

    Chris, you are one of the few from the left who have access to mainstream media tv ,radio and print.
    It’s time to get in there and emphatically express those views that you have just so succinctly written about;because at the moment the only corrupt entity out there is the media itself in the way that they are spinning this story!

  5. JC says:

    I don’t think anyone in National wants David Cunliffe to resign either. The problem for Labour is that they chose to spend, in my view waste, most of this year throwing mud hoping some might stick. Some did. Maurice Williamson resigned. However, throwing mud is not a one sided affair and it is not unusual at some stage for some to be thrown back. Had Labour chosen to take a more positive attitude into election year they would not be in the position they now find themselves in.
    The other problem for Labour is that by going further to the left at the behest of the unions, middle ground swinging voters who normally determine elections have deserted them as this mornings Ipsos poll shows.

    • It’s a set up, JC…

      • Grantoc says:

        So was the Williamson affair.

        • Is that part of the spin, Grantoc?

        • richarquis says:

          The difference being, Williamson set himself up.

          • Indeed, Richarquis.

          • Grantoc says:

            And Cunliffe didn’t?

            The extent to which Cunliffe’s supporters will go to to excuse him from any responsibility for the situation he now finds himself in and to try to shift the blame elsewhere in is a sight to behold.

            Attempting to shift the blame for Cunliffes pratfalls to the Nats and, by implication suggesting that Labour would never stoop to such behaviour is laughable.

            Where was your moral indignation in 2008 when your President Mike Williams went to Australia with the quite openly stated intention of digging the dirt on John Key?

            Mr Mallard is also a very capable dirt digger. Maybe he’s there somewhere in the background in this situation too? He is an ABC signed up member after all.

      • JC says:

        I would like to think so Frank, but from what I can deduce there is more to come and the letter will be the least of the worries.

    • D'Esterre says:

      @ JC: “The other problem for Labour is that by going further to the left at the behest of the unions, middle ground swinging voters who normally determine elections have deserted them as this mornings Ipsos poll shows.”

      As those of us who’ve been around since before Rogernomics can attest, the policies Labour’s proposing would have been seen as unexceptionably centrist 30-ish years ago. They’re the sorts of policy directions that would likely have been campaigned on by a Muldoon-led National party.

      Don’t buy into this “lurch-to-the-left” furphy, just because the likes of “The Herald” journos and Patrick Gower tell you so. Think independently. Please.

      • Mark says:

        Bullshit. Nationalising the electricity industry without a shred of evidence from any economist or academic, is hard-left, extremist policy.

        Labour must pull back to the Center, or it won’t exist soon.

        • fatty says:

          “Nationalising the electricity industry”

          That sounds like a great idea, but we have to go to MANA’s policies to find that one.
          I think you are talking about Labour’s policy of the government being the buyer – which is vastly different from nationalising.

          Two interesting points to note about that so called ‘nationalisation of power’ policy; it was introduced under Shearer, and it also was very well received by the voters.

          Labour under Cunliffe has been depressingly centrist. GST off fruit and veg, and also the first $5000 tax free are two of Labour’s better policies that Cunliffe has dropped.

          I wanted Shearer out and Cunliffe in because I thought there would be a lurch to the left. All I have seen is a timid shuffle to the right and some mud thrown at National. I’m not too bothered by this smear campaign, it was to be expected. It is the last ditch effort from National before they give Craig a seat. My response is meh…and when will Labour release some interesting policies?

        • framu says:

          there was and is no policy to nationalise the electricity generators!

          there is a policy to use bulk buying power, just like pharmac

          considering you can buy your own meds if you want can you explain how that = nationalisation?

        • D'Esterre says:

          @Mark: “Labour must pull back to the Center, or it won’t exist soon”

          You definitely haven’t been paying close enough attention, if that’s what you think.

          Nationalising the electricity industry? Even if it were true that this is Labour policy, don’t you know that that’s what we had in the Muldoon era? Not too left-wing, then…..

        • Mark says:
          June 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

          Bullshit. Nationalising the electricity industry without a shred of evidence from any economist or academic, is hard-left, extremist policy.

          If only.

          Now that would be a real policy!

          Especially since the industry was stolen from taxpayers in the first place.

      • Grant says:

        Well said D’Esterre.

  6. Win says:

    Are the ABCS aNational Party plant? They believe in the same things.

    • D'Esterre says:

      @ Win: “Are the ABCS aNational Party plant? They believe in the same things.”

      They’re the remnant of the neolibs who inflicted Rogernomics on us. They apparently can’t accept that they’re on the wrong side of history.

  7. Win says:

    Story came out @ a good time for the NATs as well. Internet Party announcing their candidates. Hopefully their audience don’t watch the news

  8. Angry Tory says:

    You don’t have to be a genius to realise that the details weren’t leaked by National – they were clearly leaked by the ABCs in a move to unseat Cunliffe.

    Labour can either go into the election with a leader hated by a majority of his caucus and despised by the rest of the country, or a bitter leadership spill. I wonder which they’ll pick this time.

  9. kevin says:

    This does not look good for DC !!!

    But I’ve no doubt it was a set up, and is being spun (successfully) by the (National leaning) MSM, with vague terms, to make DC look as bad as the people he’s being attacking.

    Anyone with half a brain that wants to read the facts can see this is a set up.

    However the swing voters of NZ WILL BE influenced by this leak, and thus National may well have won significant ground. Whether through bad deeds is yet to be decided.

    DC must now SACK those in the Labour party that don’t back him unequivocally and those that are found to have any (hint of ?)involvement.

    Otherwise National will beat the Lab-Green vote significantly.

    Maybe the good to come out of this will be :

    1) A MASSIVE back lash against wealthy Asians buying political favour-control in NZ politics.
    It seems to have gone too far, with under-hand (unofficial) deals being done. STOP IT ALL and let NZ become independent yet again, not controlled by the USA and or Asian money.

    2) DC will remove all the dead beat in the Labour party that are soft right wingers and are hanging on in there, for a better pension deal, for the salary whilst they inflict pain from within the camp; for their benefits-needs.

    3) The Greens and IMP get any Labour party fall in the vote (due to this event) and so National gain NOTHING for their (fairly obvious) involvement in this spin and organised trap.

    4) Were the NZ internal security services involved in all this? The info seems to be have been available too quickly and conveniently. If they are involved, then JK and his mate at GCSB should go !!!………and a whole lot more.

    • XRAY says:

      This reeks of National Party connections, influence and the kind of filth they indulge in.

      From Radio NZ news “Speaking to reporters in New York, Mr Key said he had known about the letter for some time. “Can’t exactly recall, I think it was a few weeks ago,” he said.

      It conflicts with the supposed correct line they were meant to give and that Bill English said; “”As I understand it, it’s a response to an OIA (Official Information Act request) to the Immigration Service and we wouldn’t know a lot about what’s on their files.”

      So somehow Key knew about this letter before practically anyone. How the hell does he get the heads up on Official Information requests that aren’t intended for him?? Somehow official information and processes are being used for smear campaigns. Dangerous territory for any country.

      Of course Nationals reporters in the NZ Herald wont dare go anywhere near how Key came to know will they?

      They really are concerned about Cunliffe with all the smear campaigning since he came to being and it looks all the better to blame people inside the Labour caucus instead.

  10. wild katipo says:

    Sure makes for an interesting whodunnit , however time is at the eleventh hour now. Regardless of all this muck raking it is a time of focus. One way mass support can be achieved very quickly is mass union rallies in all centers –

    I wrote in Bradburys post about flexing union muscle and actively demonstrating unpopularity with neo liberal monetary policies. This would naturally become a springboard for current poverty levels and key positions for politicians on the left to speak on the subject.

    Do not forget when John Howard tried to introduce WorkChoices ( mimicking our Employment Contracts Act ) union action mobilized huge media campaigns and hundreds of thousands marched in all cities in Australia.

    The Liberal party lost the election 6 months later as a direct consequence.

    If ever there was a time when unions could show they mean business it is now , if done correctly – I don’t think we will be sitting here worrying about a totally irrelevant letter from 11 years ago -and neither would the MSM. They want a story?…well doing this would give them more than enough fodder to keep them busy right up to an election.

    For thirty years we have been all too compliant …if the unions really support DC, …its time they proved that by voting with their feet -literally.

    No more Mr Nice Guy , no more Mr Clean.

  11. Tiger Mountain says:

    If 5 Eyes kingpin NSA in the states can eavesdrop on other world leaders like Germanys Merkel why not the ‘me too’ GCSB or NZSIS dig the files to destablise a Labour leader. The supply chain of the info is kept secret or deniable but potentially deadly.

    It has been done before with Aussie PM Whitlam and possibly Norm Kirk. Not to mention Allende in Chile and many other gruesome outcomes.

    The corporate right will not countenance a progressive government if they can possibly prevent it. Whatever we might think about the ideal set up for Labour or whoever; The Daily Blog readers need to adopt firm left unity in the lead up to the election to deny a third term to Key.

  12. dwnats says:

    It’s a set-up. Where as information about the illicit behaviour of the National MPs and prime minister, has to be dragged out with grinding determination. Some of them are convicted liars. Others have used taxpayer funding to feather their own nests to the tune of multi-millions. An 11 year-old form letter is nothing in comparison.
    Meanwhile the current PM is overseas hiding from probable prosecution and responsibility of his own complicity in Banks’ dirty dealings.

  13. cathy holloway says:

    there’s a great deal too much sleaze on both sides for my liking. sleaze and key go together as a natural pair but the labour party should not follow suit.

    one asks if shearer was put in there as a seat warmer for a certain deputy who was not yet ready and who used the interim until shearer’s inevitable demise to build his own profile. ultimate sleaze if that were so.

    one wonders where the anti-cunliffe information is coming from.

    who loses out of all this farrago? – the country. if national has a third term there will be irreparable damage. acc will surely be sold off to insurance companies and all that other stuff. this is one of the most important elections for ages.

    for factions within labour to put their own advancement ahead of the good of the country is treasonable to say the least in my opinion.

    if anyone should resign its the whole abc club who should resign

  14. […] The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung – Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign […]

  15. Lloyd Jordan says:

    this has very little to do with the herald ..at best they could be described as the errand boy… who gave the nod to the herald? probably the same entity that said there were no records, how far up the chain were they? bottom rung for sure….those that give the orders live in the shadows

  16. Dorothy Bulling says:

    Summed up very well. And how much dirt does Key have under his fingernails? We cannot afford 3 more years of him and his mates building up their own fortunes to the detriment of the general population.

  17. countryboy says:

    One stitch at a time . Un picking the Great New Zealand institutionalised Lie .

    Personally , I’d like to see all the lying , dirty , filthy fucking politicians make a suicide pact then enact it .

    Since there’s a very slim chance that that’ll happen we have to go with the lesser of the evils . That means Cunliffe of course .

    @ Fatone ? Another bowl of Dip Shit for breakfast ? You should try something that agrees with you more . Like a slice of Shut Up then Fuck Off cake .

    Sure , Labour did excrete the Filth you love so much back in the days of the 1980’s and earlier . That , in itself was a ‘ House of Cards ‘ play to inject the disease that is neo liberalism into our only check-and-balance political party The Labour Party . And didn’t that give you , fool , the chance of a lifetime to keep slinging mud ?
    Since then ? We’ve had thirty or more years of Right wing greed laying waste to us and our belongings and it’s my view that any defence of that , such as your ‘ Comment Lite ‘ gibberish above is tantamount to treason . You call ‘ Lefties’ hypocrites ? I call you a traitor !

    I don’t know who knifed Cunliffe . What I am sure of however is that who ever it was has something to hide and I bet they lurk in the Labour Party itself . Those old scum ; douglas , prebble , brash etc ? They will have deep cover people hidden inside the Labour Party waiting for the first person to come along who threatens to lift the lid on years , generations of swindling .

  18. Mike the Lefty says:

    Yep. As you have alluded, the real reason the dirt is being dished out by the right is that they are now really scared. Their smug arrogance has now dissolved into panic and they are desperate to get rid of Cunliffe by any means. The Fairfax National Party butt licking machine has stepped up even more overnight. Did you see the absurd “poll” they are running where people are invited to select which is David Cunliffe’s biggest gaff.
    David needs to keep his nerve and not succumb to the National Party Dirty Tricks Brigade lies. If he can do this he might even get something of a backlash support as people realize how the MSM media, especially the toadying Fairfax, is mounting a smear campaign based on nothing but John Key’s lies.

    • Tom says:

      Oh please.

      The election has been a done deal for months, so it can’t be about that.

      This is about destroying the Labour party as an effective opposition for the foreseeable future, and leaving the opposition as a mess of unelectable small parties, and the pig party as the permanent or semi-permanent party of government.

      You’d be better served by working out ways to insulate yourself against National’s idiotic policies than worrying about the Labour Party.

  19. Stuart Munro says:

    It was a weak and desperate attack from a weak and increasingly desperate despot.

    Key didn’t even dare to remain in the country while his propaganda machine sexed up this shameful nonsense – all designed to weaken the perception of corruption Key and Collins have indulged in.

    Cunliffe should lay down the gauntlet – and demand Key’s and Collins’ resignations. Take it to the speaker – have them explain to the voting public why they imagine they get to repeatedly break the cabinet manual rules.

    • Andrew says:

      Stuart!

      You crack me up. Are your posts intented to be satirical?

      • Stuart Munro says:

        Key and his accomplices are going down – at the ballot box or in a hail of bullets. Get used to it.

    • wild katipo says:

      I think you left out one important job to be done BEFORE Mr Cunliffe demands Key and Collins resignations…quite simply ..to sanitize the Labour party of all virulent advocates for neo liberalism..

      Ejecting the ABC’s from the Labour party would be similar to amputating a gangrenous leg that threatens the life of the whole…not only of the Labour party but by association and continued tolerance of these subversives..threatens the Lefts stability and cohesiveness.

  20. Kathy Himiona says:

    This absolute witch hunt re David Cunliffe is no surprise to me. The media are literally dancing with glee.
    And watching Mallard’s smug grin when asked whether he supports Cunliffe had to be seen to be believed. I think this info has been leaked by the ABC group, but National are dancing all over it as well.
    The worst thing Cunliffe should do would be to resign. We’re all watching you Mallard, etc.

    House of Retards.

  21. The latest – Key and English have “fluffed” their official lines!!

    PM and deputy at odds over Cunliffe letter
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/247597/pm-and-deputy-at-odds-over-cunliffe-letter

    • wild katipo says:

      Oh yes…pity Rick Mayall has passed on..he would have been the perfect satirist for either a Yes Minister or as old Bs’tard himself…but then again Keystone Cops possibly would suffice to show the amateurish stage show which is National.

    • Tiger Mountain says:

      Quantum politics? Both Key and Blinglish scenarios exist simultaneously?

      Lets hope not, they should be held to account until one is proven to be bullshitting; and even that will be a matter of degree not truth as most of us know it.

      Key will be revealed as the nasty bastard as long suspected if he does keep potentially opposition destabilising documents for future use.

    • Shona says:

      well spotted! needs to put out into the comment threads at the foxnewzherald.

    • e-clectic says:

      Cunliffe’s “sneaky” because he can’t remember an event 11 years ago.

      Yet John Key’s squeaky although he can’t remember a letter that would trigger a bit hit on Cunliffe from a few weeks ago.

      “Can’t exactly recall, I think it was a few weeks ago.” – John Key

  22. Dennis Dorney says:

    As a person who has no intention of voting for either Labour or National, all of the above makes depressing reading. People need to think seriously about voting for any party but these. We need to start voting as a protest against this self-serving duopoly.
    No matter which wins the result is always the same. Insanity is always doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Forget the nonsense about wasting your vote if you dont win. It isnt a horse race. You get no prize for winning …….you get Labour or National. Some Prize. If your intention is to protest then your vote has doned exactly what you intended. How is that a waste?
    Check out the policies of all the minor parties. If you like them vote for one of them even if their present support is miniscule. Feel smug that at least you’re not just one of the mindless herd. Make them sweat.

    • wild katipo says:

      Yes depressing it is…yet that is the end result of tolerating known neo liberal Rogernomes in your midst . This latest is in no way a surprise, one of the very first things that should have been done is to eject suchlike very early on.

      This would have been a decisive move which would have firmly stamped DC’s leadership on the party. And would also have sent out a clear warning to dissenters that wish to run contrary to Labours core ideology.

      But cheer up – all is not lost!! This very warning has been issued today by DC . And I think you will find a growing movement backing his decision from here on in.

      It is important for not only the Labour party but also the political Left that there is unity within Labour at this time. Throw out the dissenters to enable peace in the house …

  23. […] The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung – Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign […]

  24. Bennet says:

    Perhaps the best thing for Cunliffe to do would be to resign today (before the three month deadline) and seek re-election while the party membership and unions still have a say. Then he’d have a clear mandate for a purge of the neoliberals.

    That’s probably too risky though (certainly too bold a move for Cunliffe), and I’m not entirely convinced that he wants rid of them anyway.

    • wild katipo says:

      Part of the tactics of retaining these rogernomes would have been to appeal to the swinging voters and the soft Nat vote. However their usefulness must be balanced up by the amount of inherent destabilization that characterizes them.

      I would say that the era of tolerating these slightly less than useful stooges of National is well over. They have consistently caused a vacillating effect within Labour regarding this election ,consistently derailed Left bloc cohesiveness by insisting on standing candidates opposing other parties of the Left, have wielded a disproportionate amount of leverage against core ideological planks on which the Labour party was foundered on ..

      And now we see this latest….letter …..’thing’.

      It would be far better for a warning to be given and then if that is not heeded , expulsion. Im sure the National party would be their natural home and that National itself could find a use for them..somewhere in the back benches….however…even for National..the issue of trust would loom large regards these people..as they would have too much experience in muckraking and double dealing…

      Perhaps then it definitely would be the end of their political careers.

  25. reason says:

    This beat up of a story about DC could end up like a cup of scalding tea down the front of nationals pants.

    This subject in which national is standing waist deep in the muck will be fodder for winston peters.

    Between Asset sales and the specter of dodgy Asian’s throwing money at our politicians for special favors I can see Winston beating the drum, shoring up his support and picking up a few extra votes.

    This will be a dirty election and Winston will be on fertile ground

  26. mary_a says:

    What seems to be emerging to me from this issue, is National has had its minions out there trolling for anything they can get on Cunliffe, because they want to hold on to power! In particular Key, who craves a knighthood after three terms as PM and will resort to playing dirty games to get what he wants.

    If the letter is the best the Nats can get on Cunliffe in an attempt to prove he’s done wrong and discredit him, then he’s coming out of this lily white, gaining more support for his tenacity to hang in there and face his accusers, as he did in Parliament today, instead of hiding in the shadows! This point alone, demonstrates his strong character.

    This whole nasty business could backfire very badly on Key and his National cronies!

    • Anne says:

      Well said again Mary A.

      This crap came out of John Key’s top drawer. He is now on record as having admitted he’s known about it for weeks. It had nothing to do with the ABCers although one or two of them may have thought for a second or two they could use it to their advantage.

      The fact the existence of this letter was known by Key and co. for some time leads me to suspect Liu himself supplied the initial evidence. But of course that wouldn’t have looked too good so they fired off an OIA to Immigration, who appear to have swiftly obliged with a copy of the letter in question.

      Naturally the story was kept until Key was out of the country hob-nobbing with the powerful in an attempt to:
      a) distance him from it and
      b) make the contrast between him (the supposed international statesman) and Cunliffe (the supposed untrustworthy liar) all the more (supposedly) apparent.

      • Anne says:

        Been reading The Standard. It seems Michael Woodhouse has confirmed he received a copy of the letter on May 9th. So, was it supplied by Liu? Was that the real reason Woodhouse came to Auckland and paid Liu a visit earlier this year? Wanted him to go through his files etc. and see what he could find? What would Liu have been promised in return?

        The plot thickens.

        • cathy holloway says:

          the picture of woodhouse, key and any others sitting with that letter and gloating over it for ten days or so is just too nasty to contemplate.

          and isn’t it interesting, english says nobody in the national caucus had any knowledge of the letter before it appeared in the press, then he has to reverse his position and admit that it had been known by key for weeks and by woodhouse for some time as well.

          nobody remarks on his about face. and this is about something that happened within the last fortnight, not something that happened 11 years ago.

          double standards? its ok for the nasty party but not ok for labour?

      • mary_a says:

        Yes, I think you are spot on there Anne.

        Wait for Key to start spitting the venom when he returns to Parliament, aimed at Cunliffe. He’s been found out using crude, smear tactics against the Labour leader. He’s not looking too good with this issue at present, so the next Parliament he attends he will be absolute hell, fire and brimstone, as he begins to try again to bring down Cunliffe.

        National and Key are desperate.

  27. Marc says:

    Conspiracy theories abound, but I think this was “organised” by some National Party members, and people working for them, possibly tipping off a Herald journalist.

    National want to go on the “safe” side and make sure Labour looks more destabilised, and embarrassing Cunliffe would bring the result of more dissatisfaction and friction within the Labour caucus.

    I am sure that the Nats read Labour’s internal rules very closely, to try and take advantage of them, or at least know what they are all about, so they know how to deal with whatever happens within Labour.

    It is hard to believe that an ABCer would go this far, to destabilise caucus and party only 3 months from an election. But who knows, the impossible may be possible these days, as some bad blood may exist, after some were demoted months ago, during reshuffles.

    Personally I go for the simpler version, National wanting to go on the safe side, doing all to discredit Cunliffe and put Labour into turmoil and disarray, so they can win an absolute majority, not needing Colin Craig or ACT. That may be the most logical answer to all this.

  28. […] The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung: Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign […]

  29. finbar says:

    This pathetic attemp to slur Cunllife,has now been shown for what it is,a pathetic attempt by the caucus of the desperate, the National Corporation, who!s bed partners along with their appointed Ministers, have been shamed by their abuse of their power with a arrogant disrespect for our democracy, and its rule of law.And the only winner to come out of this amateur attempt of character assassination has been Cunliffe.How marvellous was it watching him handle it,supreem.

  30. […] The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung: Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign […]

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