Party members and affiliates – the real losers in Labour’s leadership fight (Meanwhile the NZ Herald is pimping for war)



Hey, wanna do a back room deal that cuts the members and affiliates out?

Cunliffe must be reeling. He has lost failed Ilam candidate James Dann. It must cut as deep as the loss of Steve Gibson. Apart from providing Claire Trevett ammunition, the only thing James does well with his angry letter to Cunliffe, is exemplify the deep divides within Labour now. The dislike between the Auckland Left and the Wellington Left is best expressed by a failed candidate from Christchurch.

In the last primary, Cunliffe had the support of 3243 members, compared to 1440 who selected Robertson, that is one hell of an Auckland support base who see Cunliffe as the solution and not Robertson. No wonder Grant’s first instinct was to try and cut a back room deal that didn’t involve the affiliates or the members.

Personally. I’m agnostic about who leads Labour because there are no winners here. If Cunliffe wins, he has a Caucus in open revolt, if Robertson wins, it will be about 18 months before Stuart Nash launches another leadership challenge as Robertson’s beltway limitations kick in.

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What is ‘beltway’? Let me be blunt, ‘beltway’ is a term used to describe a person who is a political apparatchik within the Wellington clique who manages to only express the most negative stereotypes of that political process. A person born and bred within the Party who has mastered the ability to climb the slippery poll of politics with no external life experience. Those championing Robertson can’t seriously claim he as the beltway king is the leader to reconnect with the middle NZ everyone says cost Labour the election. How on earth can a Labour leader not be an Aucklander? How can any Party hope to lead if their leader isn’t based in the largest city in the nation?

The real losers in this blood bath are the members and affiliates. No one seems to have noted the irony of demanding a new leader based on the democratisation process to modernise the Labour Party which was sparked off by reviews of the last two election losses. The combined wisdom of the last two reviews was that the Party had to give affiliates and members a say so that they would feel connected to Labour and such interaction would boost membership. So how do those affiliates and members now feel after the Leader they selected had a Caucus sit on its hands and sulk? Trevor Mallard went on a moa hunting expedition and Cameron Slater’s mate, Kelvin Davis went rogue while ‘someone’ kept leaking dirt against Cunliffe throughout the election. Some in the Caucus don’t want a participating membership, they want slavish devotion to whatever the Caucus wants.

So much for a modern democratic party.

If Grant is serious about winning, he needs to move to Auckland and carpet bag an electorate because there’s no way a Wellington Central MP can win the country if the leader isn’t based in Auckland. If Cunliffe loses, he must consider resigning from politics altogether.

If Cunliffe is serious about winning, he would wake up to the fact the Caucus hate him (offering Robertson the Deputy just seems delusional), and would offer Nash the co-deputy position alongside Louisa Wall. That team would have the thing Labour need most, the symbol of unity – even if that symbol isn’t particularly real.

The Nashy represents the bloke vote Labour critics claims they lost while showing respect for Labour stakeholder factions by appointing Wall.

The Cunliffe-Nash-Wall team is the symbolism Labour needs right now, I can’t see how any other combination doesn’t simply retread previous leaders or appoint MPs who only reinforce the disconnect perception Labour has with mythical middle NZ.

Meanwhile the bloody NZ Herald is pimping for war with a Prime Minister who is indistinguishable from a Washington remote controlled drone.

Ill times for our democracy.


  1. We certainly have been lead down a tribal path, which I am sure pleases National strategists very well.
    I do not intend to fall for the “divide and rule” main policy of National, and stick to the facts.
    2 good Labour leaders have been crucified by dirty politics, and Cunliffe has been able to remain standing, despite the vicious campaign against him, and media making it a sport of bringing us ridiculous whining from within Labour.(the 3 day skiing trip PRIOR to campaign….oh really.)
    I don’t want see any evidence that having the support of caucus will protect any other leader from further smearing, as it did not protect Shearer or Goff.
    Take a step back guys and stop falling for dirty tactics, it’s foolish.

  2. The thing I liked about Dann’s whinge was that he promised to leave Labour if Cunliffe got back in. So I’ve been encouraging Labour party members to vote Cunliffe. Hopefully all the ABCs will take the hint and leave. It’ll leave Labour weak for this term and the Greens as opposition Leader but I figure that the Left will be better off at the next election.


    The Cunliffe-Nash-Wall team is the symbolism Labour needs right now

    Nope. Cunliffe and Wall, sure, but not Nash – he’s showing an over-inflated ego and signs of RWNJobbiness.

    • I was in Napier shortly after the election to attend a funeral. The word on the ground (albeit anecdotal) in Napier is that the National candidate was very unpopular because of his stance on certain local issues and that this was the reason many National supporters voted for McVicor. This suggests that, if National finds another candidate, Nash won’t get back in 2017 unless he manages to obtain a reasonably high place on the party list.

  3. I don’t see why the leaders of parties and PMs all have to be living in Auckland. More people in NZ don’t live in Auckland than do and we all have voting rights as well.

    • Yep – bink you JAFAs! Auckland is already a primate city and we want to further concentrate power there? Let’s move parliament there too and be done with it.Then we can build a big wall at the bottom of the Bombay hills and somewhere north near Orewa and you can go form your own little republic

    • This all about Auckland is causing dissention throughout NZ today.

      I live around HB Napier to be correct, and everyone is sick of Auckland naval gazing at itself always in the press while most of the provinces get precious little care for their black of wellbeing.

      There is an old saying that Aucklander’s think NZ ends at the Bombay hills.

      Just turn on the News any day and its all about mainly Auckland and not much else.

      And we need more regional TV not just main centres thank you.

      Nash would bring good vibes to Parliament because he is from the province’s and if he is an over inflated ego well he will comforbly fir in with all the rest whonare also that way inclined eh!

      But gee no we need more Aucklanders in Parliament some will say.

      Its time for even representation in todays world not a bunch of self centred Aucklanders running the country the way they want.

  4. Labour is out for 2017 and 2020, probably 2023 as well. Labour isn’t trying to appoint a potential PM, just someone who can try and rebuild the party, go down fighting in 2017, and resign by 11pm on election day.

    As for throwing out the ABCs, well they are all electorate MPs with seats that went either to National or the Greens. Throw them out (either with by-elections or have them retire in 2017) and the electorates got to National.

    In other words: while 2014 may be the worse result for Labour in modern times, there is absolutely no guarantee 2017 won’t be worse.

    • Labour is out for 2017 and 2020, probably 2023 as well.

      Possibly but if so we’ll just have to have a Greens led government instead.

    • Yeah, I’m leaning that way. What I’d like to see is Cunliffe as leader (for his debating skills) and Shearer as deputy (for his reasoning ability) with the Old Guard (Goff, King, Mallard) exiled.

      But that’s never going to happen and I’ll never vote for Labour anyway so they shouldn’t listen to me.

      Thus I am left not caring much about it.

  5. we know that giving the media freebies was a major issue (amongst many)

    So my big question about james dann is what is doing by speaking to his party via public channels!!!!!!

    hes got something to say – fine. But say it to the labour party not the internet

    • Because they see the collapse of capitalism and really, really, don’t want a socialist party to come in fix things again as the Labour Party did in 1935.

    • I want to qualify this by saying I am tremendously pissed off that Labour is tearing itself to pieces. All two major reviews has given us is this cluster f@#k! I am over it and I think neither Robertson nor Cunliffe are the men for the job.

      We needed a change of government because this one is NOT addressing the real and looming problems this country face and it is taking the route of least resistance whilst racking up terrible debt. But because of the ineptness of Labours approach and a distinct lack of leadership we are stuck with a 3rd term clueless National government.

      It was one gaff after another for the best part of a year, that is when DC wasn’t missing in action. And for God sake never ever think past the end of your nose.

      He is that delusional ships captain, still giving orders and turning the wheel after his ship has run aground on a reef, breaking up, with all hands either lost or abandoned ship.

      Why slag off Robertson so publicly for starters, then invite him to be deputy, after he’s already declined that offer last year. Was this supposed to be one of those nose tapping subtly brilliant moments. Why talk about having a Maori co-deputy to reward the Maori vote. If that is important where is the Pacifica vote, as they turned out in droves for Labour. Does he want to cause division? Again did Cunliffe think they commentators would think him strategically brilliant? They clearly think him an idiot savant, brilliant only in his own self belief.

      Why the public toxic Twitter campaign from the Mrs? Do you really expect any thinking adult to believe you don’t talk about such things with your wife??? Really Dave? And then we are told you aren’t allowed near Twitter, your staff handle that. Because, reading between the lines, it looks like you were a untrustworthy fool with it! Did we need to know you cant be trusted with Twitter?

      This whole freak show of a leaders race is because Cunliffe can’t see the wood for the trees and quit. I would add that he probably can’t see the wood either. This guy is massively situationally unaware.

      Does he think he has God on his side and this is his divine right to lead Labour. Shit Dave you had a year and it sucked and we all made excuse after excuse for the bumbling. I mean most aware leaders would bother to brush up on party policy, even during their ‘holiday” during the campaign, not make idiotic excuses when you get snapped and say things like “I’m the leader not the person holding that portfolio so therefore I dont know the detail. OMG! Key didn’t have to do anything during that debate except expose you for what you were, a light weight pretender.

      By the time this shit storm passes there wont be a party worth leading if he is reinstated and I worry that if he is not the damage will be terminal anyway.

    • Joceje you asked Why does Herald want to destroy Cunliffe, and so Labour?

      He is too good at debating and the press doesn’t want him there.

      It’s their job for the NatZ to destroy any threats and he and Labour are still considered a threat to Key.

    • Because Labour is not about big business and excessive profits, it’s about real people who need a fair deal, and greedy business is opposed to that.

  6. I don’t know how things work within the party but the membership needs to make it really clear to the caucus that they’re in the wrong party. If it has to be a bloody war, so be it – but get the problem of the last 3 decades resolved.

    If they weren’t having this set of problems the best thing they could be doing is turning the party into an on the ground network for helping with social issues. Imagine if the Labour party was out providing food for people, running programs for kids, advocating at WINZ and generally lightening the load for the victims of the governments policies – that’s how you get the missing voters back, prove that you want to help them by actually helping them.

    It’s a sign of how far the party has moved from it’s roots that their focus us totally on the internal squabbling instead.

    • Now ain’t that the truth ! Aaron. They could bring Sue Bradford in as a consultant. Cunliffe’s dad( known as the red Reverend) used to run free food kitchens in Timaru I believe.

  7. Sadly for Grant Robinson saying something like “we need to look at the last three years” does not give hope that – if he becomes leader of Labour -he & the party will ‘get’ why the left failed so badly this time.

    • I’ve only talked to one person about how they voted, someone who was angry about dirty politics and thought the PM was lying. They voted Conservative (yes, I know!!????!! – said because of their polices, though seemed a bit confused when I mentioned the flat tax & their policies were pretty much Rodney Hide’s Act) and their parents voted NZ First. She didn’t like David Cunliffe – though when we asked why, well before Dirty Politics, she couldn’t say why. What are other people’s experiences with this? I think this anecdotal evidence will probably be better than any ‘independant’ report.

  8. At this point I would prefer political “parties” dissolve altogether. The whole notion of kowtowing to a “party” makes no sense to me whatsoever. What genuine advantages do parties actually bring? Does no one hold an INDIVIDUAL opinion anymore? Why can’t we adopt a purely electoral system with ZERO party involvement? i.e. one where we vote for members of parliament who will do their best to vocalise in parliament the concerns of the electorate (not party) they were voted in to represent? Certainly I don’t see how that would be worse than the stupid pointless infighting we have now. “Us vs them” does not form the foundation of a healthy democracy, surely.

    • Why can’t we adopt a purely electoral system with ZERO party involvement?

      We did – it inevitably ended up as a party political system and the same will happen again if we try it again. The only way to stop it from happening is to legislate against and that goes against some fundamental human rights.

      What we really need is participatory democracy but that needs full engagement.

  9. Much as it may seem attractive in theory, I’m not sure our system of democracy, with it’s emphasis on the parliamentary caucus, lends itself to a wider democratic leadership election. It seems to me this is just going to hold Labour back by setting up a frequent scenario where the leader is not backed by his/her parliamentary colleagues. And that is simply a stalemate.

  10. I keep reading comments (I read blogs from across the spectrum for a ‘balanced view’ and because it amuses me) from both sides accusing the MSM being biased against the other. it’s quite amusing. I think the problem is not bias, it’s the fact the MSM media here is so sh*t they will just sh*t on anyone for a story.

  11. Draco’s right we smell trouble ahead for the Global economy.

    Today there was evidence again emerging that todays stock market is grossly over capitalised, as price to earnings is reversing meaning there is no revenue being generated so is now so over extended and its about to tank again.

    This time there is no circuit breakers to cushion the capital market as the globe is now immersed in over laden debt.

    Welcome to the mother of all depressions.

  12. New Zealanders obviously care little for actual policy, and prefer to go for a marketed personality like Key. With this in mind, labours best bet would be Jacinda Arden for leader – she’ll look good in the woman’s mags, is young, fresh and has an outgoing personality – perfect for a personally contest in 2017…. Sad place NZ right now.

  13. I think James should stand down as Ilam candidate.

    Not because I don’t like him, but because I simply don’t want Labour to lose in Ilam again.

    That’s the reality James. The people of Ilam don’t want you to be their representative.

    When you got your chance as candidate, you lost. There is no place for you in this party anymore.

    While you might think that it’s your destiny to be the member for Ilam, the electorate has a very different vision – and it doesn’t involve you.

  14. Why not just cut Cunliffe out of the ticket entirely? He is political poison, both for labour internally and externally.

    Robertson/Ardern is simply ludicrous.

    Nash/Wall or something along those lines, well it’s still ludicrous but whose middle N.Z more likely to vote for? (the most important question)

    • Middle NZ are a bunch of self absorbed egoists. Who cares what they think – this government is about to bleed them dry. You vote for what you deserve, and middle NZ deserve the good kick to the side of the head they are about to get.

      As working stiff, yeah life will be hard, but there is bugger all to take – were as you middle NZ – your about to lose, what we already have lost. Fools we offered an olive branch, and you slapped it away. Good luck with the cupidity, I hope it feeds the kids.

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