Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2



Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members and affiliates who have forced Labour to become a modern democratic political party with their inclusion in the voting math that decides the leader.

The voting numbers released from the last primary makes for grim reading by Team Robertson. Grant simply doesn’t look like he has  the party wide support Cunliffe enjoyed, but the appalling election result means Cunliffe has to explain in very clear language how he intends to not only change the Labour Party so that it is ready for Government in 2017, but also how on earth he’s intending to repair relationships within Caucus that have been damaged by the ugly fallout since election night.

If Cunliffe can’t show he has listened to the damage that disunity has produced, then he isn’t fit to be a leader. One means available to Cunliffe for this is the symbolism of who he picks as a running mate for this primary. In this Stuart Nash has the edge.

Nash – or The Nashy as we should start calling him now, represents the very voting block of ‘average’ NZ that Labour critics are claiming Labour missed. How Grant Robertson or Jacinda Ardern are supposed to reach across to that voting is difficult, but a Cunliffe/Nash ticket creates the symbolism of unity Labour desperately need right now.

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Cunliffe could decide to shun Nash and run an anti-ABC campaign. That could end up being very damaging and causes wounds that can’t heal. I don’t think members or affiliates are wanting a relitigation of factional infighting, they want a genuine sign of Caucus unity. If Cunliff won’t reach out to Nash, Team Robertson will.

If Cunliffe loses, he should resign altogether from Parliament and bring about a by-election as he will have burnt up the last of his political capital and should step down. After a point it all starts becoming ’twas but a flesh wound’.

Activists and progressives who would gag at the thought of The Nashy becoming Deputy need to consider how else Labour symbolically shows the electorate that’s just rejected them as viciously as it has, that Labour is listening and changing, even if that change has little to do with the media bias, dirty politics and the vilification of Kim Dotcom factors that shaped the election.

Does Grant and Jacinda meet that reality? Perhaps if they launch a forward thinking primary campaign.

Regardless, Labour needs a symbolic shift that manages to draw a line under the past instabilities, if neither candidate can provide that symbolism, Labour will continue to languish.



      • It matters Frank, because we need a strong opposition particularly when National is in for a third term. A strong opposition will keep an increasingly arrogant National from drifting too far up its own backside, if I may be crass. I’d like nothing more than to see Labour get its stuff together, get aspirational leaders in charge and sound policy that appeals to the electorate on the board. Labour/the left being weak doesn’t help the country one bit.

  1. Actually I think it’s time to listen to the electorate who announced very clearly that a jump to the left is not the way they want to go. Every Government since Norman Kirk’s has been in the centre. Centre left or centre right (maybe not in reality but that’s what they have claimed). NZers have said they want to walk down a road of personal responsibility with short term help when needed. The Green’s vote this time is a true indication of wher NZ sees the left enough to give the impression of liberal leanings but not enough to let them get anywhere near the treasury benches. The Labour Party needs to find how to reconnect with their lost voters – stopping assets sales wasn’t it, a fairer society didn’t have them lining up! They have to stop appealing to their 10% side groups and figure out what will motivate 1 million people to vote

    • BULLSHIT !!!!!!!!!! TOTAL BULLSHIT !!!!!!!!- there’s been 30 years of indoctrination of generations born since 1984 that are now 30 years old !!!

      They don’t even know /realize there IS /WAS any other way than the post 1984 neo liberal garbage.

      If anything – we need reeducation of these people of the egalitarianism we all once enjoyed in former years.

      • Broadly speaking I agree with the Wild Katipo here. I have not discerned any particular ‘lurch to the left’ by Labout: rather an attempt by the remaining Neo-Cons of the Parliamentary wing to maintain the present status of Labour as a Party of the Right. Cunliffe probably represented something a bit more centrist, which, no doubt, the voters who did support Labour in the pasty election figured was better than the other options available. Unfortunately, voters would have to see past the Main Stream Media’s bullshit even to see that clearly.

        The Main stream media have descended well past uselessness into becoming the propaganda mouthpiece of the National Party.

        Well, the New Zealand voter has chosen to learn a hard lesson the easy way: to discover just how far down the track their freedoms, their livelihoods, their wealth – everything about them – is becoming the exclusive property of the rentier rich.

        ‘Easy way’? Yep. They will find the learning will require no effort at all on their part…

        • Wha King Oath, I think you’re right. It won’t be a difficult thing to learn.

          Bomber’s idea about faking caucus unity by pretending the Rogernomes are nice guys and ignoring them is the worst idea since Mr and Mrs File called their son Peter.

    • what motivated me to vote?change of government . but labour made it difficult .I tried to get policies from labour and tried to join labour,didnt get anywhere ,I did all the right things but no response , we havnt heard a thing from matt mccarten is he still around? I wrote to david cunliffe ,got a reply stating message passed on but never a reply, I know he was busy but I would have thought someone could have replied. I believe that and backing kelvin davis against hone harawira was mean but then john key did so fill in the dots.

  2. have I missed something? I thought Whaleoil had nominated Nash?
    I must have missed an episode, where he becomes the darling of Labour aswell, can someone explain…before everyone has to decide which way to vote, I am exhausted trying to work out who will be able to stand up to the National propoganda machine.
    I am also keen to prevent another good Labour man being publicly crucified, Cunliffe seems to have weathered the media attack, and remains intact personally, no mean feat.

  3. i find it rather weird that the Daily Blog lead writers seem to have such a liking for Stuart Nash ( “Nashy” …puke)

    …”Nashy” is untried, inexperienced in parliament and right wing… (part of the ABCs?)…and not loyal to David Cunliffe. His seat is tenuous and dependent on McVicar splitting the vote away from National ( is this penchant for “Nashy” a long term plot to annihilate Labour?…or is it a joke?)

    I would have thought a far better deputy for Cunliffe would be a woman and a Maori woman who has proved her loyalty to Cunliffe and the Left …eg Louise Wall or Nanaia Mahuta ( I would make them Minister for Social Welfare, up against high profile Bennett)

    ..and what is wrong with keeping Parker on as a Co-Deputy? he has the economic smarts and experience…. but just needs to have his economic policies moderated by grassroots members for a reality check

    • @ Seagull –

      Nanaia Mahuta has been one of David Cunliffe’s staunchest supporters and allies all the way through. As far away from the ABCs as you can get. The potential is there to make a very good deputy, then perhaps Labour leader further down the track. She is intelligent and experienced and is socialist Labour through and through. Agree with you, the Social Development portfolio would suit Nanaia down to the ground.

      As for Stuart Nash, for some obscure reason he reminds me of former Brit Labour PM and war criminal Tony BLiar – appearance and demeanour wise from what I’ve seen of him! I think it’s for this reason, I feel uncomfortable every time I see him! I’ll go with my gut instinct here and say a big fat NO to Nash being in any leadership line up. Not now or in the future!

      • I so agree with you. She is ready to take up that mantle. But oh well Pākehā liberals aye, straight to the white man, their default position. Nash was tweeting terrible things with his mate Davis, when Mana went with the Internet Party. I think people need to keep calm and not rush into things. I don’t think Labour did much wrong and definitely not the leader. But there are many things they cannot control. The news media spin being one of them. Outside influences being the other.

      • My God !!!……There it is !!! Nanaia Mahuta !!!!!!!!!

        Perfect Deputy. And why not? She would be ferociously loyal , wouldn’t suffer any bullshit from the ABC ‘s ….and wouldn’t take any puerile crap from the media as well.

        Shes been a good , solid performer all these years , …with an ability to be able to negotiate around the neo liberal disease with poise and dexterity.

        Shes no nonsense , not prone to outbursts …a damn good adjutant.

  4. What Labour has to do is learn to serve all voters needs not just “pockets”, and Auckland is so far the largest “pocket” and by far where the Labour party unsuccessfully tried to gain traction.

    We all in the rest NZ are beyond words how they are so fixated on their preferred “pockets” to pander too.

    On Q+A today it was mentioned that only Auckland and a few other areas had enjoyed the upswing in the economy and property price increases, while all other regions except for Wellington and Christchurch, were slumping in economies and property prices, to the point where depopulation issues are beginning to occur.

    Labour has now to connect with the other 14 regions who are the backbone of our export potential for our economy.

    In this regard Stuart Nash as a second term MP is doing exactly that, he resonated with the voter and we expect labour to relook at this issue of low voter turnout and interest and find the fix.

    He has shown his loyalty to both H.B & Gisborne regions, as his electoral boundary encompasses as far north as Matawai 77kms north of Gisborne even.

    These hard working very approachable MP’s are what is required to kick arse National out come next election, and believe what I say this is the feeling among the electorate that regional representation is the most popular requirement to vote for a candidate.

    National didn’t do this but used their total control of the entire media to convey their policies where labour had no popular policy coverage from media so Labour candidates were restricted to going out door knocking and holding public meetings to win.

    A hard ask for any Labour candidate and we are recommending Labour get together with all other opposition parties and demanding TV/Radio facilities to operate to now get their own message out to the electorate instead of the lack of the same media voice as National enjoys.

  5. You need to rest more Martyn. No way Nash. Labour needs to go to Māori and Mahuta should be able to take on the task. Repayment for the faith Māori had in them. Or do you not think a Māori could do a good job? Pākehā liberals aye, when the chips are down they revert back to their safe position.

    Otherwise I’ll find Nash’s tweets and publish them. (joke but he is a rather right leaning jerk. Ask WO, he should know)

    There is a bigger picture happening here and unless Labour sees it they will continue to go down hill no matter who is leading it. But I’ll sit back and watch the mayhem with the NATs and JK’s henchmen/women, but definitely won’t be laughing with them.

    The LP looks for clues as to what went wrong, when really there was nothing that went wrong (otherwise you could put your finger on it). Well nothing they had control over anyhow. That result was far too comfortable and useful for John Key. Analyse the impact of the results. Who got in, who didn’t etc., the aftermath caused by the result. After all it was 2 weeks from the election when The Greens were asking for $ to get Jack in. Their vote dropped dramatically. Also if you vote Labour party, why would you then vote Nats electorate. I know a keen Lab voter, they would never elec vote NATs. Greens maybe. That’s where they need to look.

  6. Well, you will all have discovered that David Cunliffe has quit, pending a leadership battle within caucus. Of course the wider membership won’t have any say at all, so far has this benighted Party drifted away from any democratic ideals. I did predict Cunliffe would be gone by the New Year didn’t I. He deserved a good deal better of his caucus. But they didn’t support him worth a damn during the campaign; they won’t now.

    If Grant Robertson imagines he can draw in the grassroots support, he’s got another think coming. Grant Robertson has demonstrated for all to see what loyalty means to him. I’m still predicting Labour’s polling will continue to plunge, and will not be surprised when it drops below 20%.

    A Neo-Con Labour administration would be broadly indistinguishable from a National in terms of its economic mismanagement, benny-bashing, selling out to corporates (largely foreign), and the eviscerating of the productive sector (mind you, there’s not a lot left to scrape out). Even Gareth Morgan has warned that this country is becoming a ‘one trick’ pony (Dairy). It will differ in no significant degree in its incompetent meddling in education and health, and shoving in the hands of the Police entirely unneeded technology that impairs their capacity for genuine police work.

    At least this country has not proceeded so far down the Financial Fascism and Disaster Capitalism that the US and its lickspittle sidekick the UK have. But the trail left by the Obama and Cameron mal-Administrations is broad and clear to see: nothing ‘straight and narrow’ about that! I have no doubt at all that Grant Robertson and his pals will follow it just as slavishly as has John Key and Bill English.

    Stupid, stupid, oh, so stupid!

  7. Will the torso of the Black Knight ride again to claim the Holy Grail, proclaiming all that has happened are mere “flesh wounds”?

  8. Despite the media commentators (including Mark Sainsbury’s drug-fuelled suggestion that Winston Peters lead the Labour Party in todays Sunday Star Times)…

    Despite bloggers’ “perceived wisdom” (me included)…

    Despite a pack-hunting Gallery Press setting the narrative (including liberal use of terms like “daggers”, “knives”, “blood-letting”, and other colourful imagery)…

    A change in Leadership will achieve nothing.

    Here is why. This is the future, fresh from 26 November 2017;

    * Key is still immensely popular,

    * the media still (mostly) view him positively,

    * despite the economy slowing down (with low prices for our raw export commodities; a high dollar; and China’s economy stagnating),

    * Labour still has the same Old Guard MPs; King, Mallard, Hipkins, etc,

    * despite having great policies,

    * and despite having a new Leader and Deputy Leader,

    – and Key wins a fourth term.

    The media responds with a frenzy of stories involving “blood letting”, “Daggers out for the Leader”, Labour’s Leader under pressure to resign, etc. Labour hierarchy promises to review why the electorate rejected Labour again.

    Finally, Robertson resigns. A new leadership battle ensues between Nash, Ardern, Shearer, and others.

    Nash wins.

    Shall we jump forward to 2020?

    The main reason that Labour was thumped this time (as well as in 2011) had nothing to do with Labour’s leader.

    It had everything to do with Key’s public persona; his charisma and likeability. His de-politicisation of politics. His casual approach to issues that other leaders would view with greater seriousness.

    The events of ‘Dirty Politics’ are forgotten and Inquiries result in reports that only the Beltway read; features briefly in the 24 hour news cycle, and the public don’t care about.

    Changing Labour’s Leader doesn’t take away a jot from Key. It simply reinforces National’s appearance of rock-steady calm.

    If we really want to know what Labour should be doing – don’t just discuss this amongst ourselves here on TDB, or on ‘The Standard’, on leftwing Facebook groups, or on Twitter. These are echo chambers and we won’t get answers on those fora.

    Best to look to our non-political friends, family, and workmates, and just ask them what they think; their perception of what is happening; and ask them their views on Labour’s leadership. (Ask in neutral tones so you’re not leading or framing any potential answer.)

    I think the answers may surprise us, and may not revolve so much around Left or Centre-Left positions, as more mundane matters.

    As for whether or not Cunliffe should go; or who should lead the Labour Party – I’m at the stage where I simply cease to care.

    I recall this happening in 2011. It will happen again in 2017.

    The issue is John Key.

    And for Labour, the issue is how to make best possible use of what we already have.

    • Cunliffe has support( people have already been asking family and friends)…you must be asking the wrong people

      …and if you have to pull out an inexperienced right winger, Nash ( likened to Tony Blair) to beat the right wing at their own game …you are in DEEP SHIT….

      in order to beat John Key the focus must be on the media …there is an urgent need for a new Left radio station/ television /newspaper and journalists to counter the spin from the right wing…(i think Glenn Greenwald has already talked about this)

      it cant be accomplished with a leader without support both within caucus and in the Labour Party membership grassroots…. and outside the Labour Party …with a change in media culture

    • Actually, I believe the reason why they lost is partly due to too many right-wingers in caucus, and the other part is the corporate-owned media (Fairfax, MediaWorks et al) choosing to be a National mouthpiece, and endless character assassination by them assisted by attack bloggers.

      Key played a part for sure but the guy has all the charisma of a stale halibut. He’s very clever, knows how to play schoolyard bully without looking like he does. Ad hominem is the order of the day.

      Cunliffe needs to clean house (I suspect his staff as well as his caucus needs a second look). But the biggest problem that needs to be addressed is this corporate media. They need to start doing some real investigative journalism again.

    • It has to be admitted, John Key has a ‘common touch’ that is hard to go past. He’s prettier than just about anyone in the House of representative, and good looks never lost anyone any votes. Very hard to go past.

      But you watch when the mask slips. Mr Macskasy’s pal ‘Tina’ saw it. What you are looking at most of the time is the smile and bonhomie of ‘Honest John’, used car salesman, or ‘Integrity Jack’, financial adviser and confidence trickster. I daresay Judas Iscariot had much the same sort of public persona.

  9. Grant Robertson did him self no favours at all with his performance on ‘The Nation’ this morning.
    He allowed himself to get lured into criticising the Labour Partys’ performance as if it was all David Cunliffes’ fault ,when any half rational minded person can see in this particular election, there were many, many factors at play.
    He then completely walked into the trap, that the increasingly hostile Lisa Owen set ,when pressed for an opinion about David Cunliffes’ Womans’ Refuge speech, by caving in and saying it was a mistake.
    It was a golden opportunity gone begging and he could have gained a lot of respect if he had said …
    “Look Lisa, the media have deliberately and repeatedly played only half the opening sentence to that speech and have added no context as to what the main thrust of the speech was about. For the media to try and show this as some sort of gaffe, was very disrespectful to the victims of Womens’ Refuge and it’s deeply disappointing to see gotcha journalism taking precedence over serious issues yet again!”
    Instead we got a watery capitulation. This is gold to msm!
    He then followed it up by bagging Cunliffe about Keys’ factually incorrect question about the CGT. Opportunity missed again!
    “Actually Lisa, I’m not surprised he didn’t have the answer off the top of his head, because it was a ficticious question and I was surprised the media didn’t follow that up! ”
    Consequently, Headline News at 6…. “The knives are out in the Labour Party.”
    I mean. Considering how appallingly unbalanced the the media have behaved towards Labour and ‘The Left’ in general, why would you start giving them free shots like this?
    What they all need to remember is, yes they will be going up against each for the leadership, but don’t go bagging a fellow Labour Party member in public for your own gain !!

  10. Surely there must be more depth to the Labour Party pool than just Cunliffe and Robertson. Neither of them are suitable candidates for the leadership role. If Cunliffe or Robertson get the job, then National will have already won the 2017 General Electio, and the next 3 years are going to be very politically boring 🙁

    • Actually I don’t think there is much talent left in Labour. Time was, Labour was swimming with talent, and hard-working talent into the bargain. Even the 4th Labour adminstration did, though a good deal of it was wasted.

      A good deal of it was misguided as well. I recall in 1989, at a time of falling school rolls, mark you, the Labour Government achieved a national shortage of 400 teachers. To contrive that much of a train wreck requires talent, no error.

      These days, Labour is beginning to look quite as talentless as National is and ever was.

      So far as I am concerned, I would as lief the Labour Party crawled up its own arse and died. That people think Labour is a Party of the Left is inhibiting in my view the emergence of a genuine Party of the Left. If Labour didn’t exist, it would have to be invented. But Labour doesn’t exist – not any more. Rather some totally cuckoo nutters have taken it over what was the Labour Party and munted it into not even a caricature of itself – a Right Wing party calling itself Labour. Imagine National calling itself… erm … Socialist…

      Who is fooled by that? OK, the main stream media, but they are illiterate bludgers for the most part anyhow, drawing down fat salaries to misinform and lie to what remains of their readers and viewership.

  11. We have a similar choice to the general election within the Labour party. Either return to the left or muddle about trying to flatter the middle by emulating the dark side. Join Labour before 11:59pm Oct 1. to be able to vote for leader (it is affordable, no $5000 donation required–$6.60–$15 it says on the form in front of me) Or have no say. Or remain a non-voter who “thnks” he/she’s free.

  12. We face the same situation now as we did in the general election. Left or slide to the right. To be able to vote within the Labour party, sign onto the party by Oct. 1, 11:59pm! This deadline is Urgent. Go to Labour Party site. The member’s vote counts. Or remain a non-voter and let JK run your life.

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