Cunliffe quits leadership race – the losers are the Labour Party members


That’s all folks


And so ends the first ever Labour Party member/affiliates choice for leadership. David Cunliffe has stood down  and is supporting Andrew Little instead.

What a perverse turn of events. Cunliffe was punished by an angry Labour leadership forced to adopt new democratic mechanisms for electing their leader back in 2012, only to win a stunning victory in 2013 as the members and affiliates rallied to him only to have those forces that worked so hard to stop him become leader in the Caucus sit on their hands and allow the Party to crash.

Housing for the middle classes, a baby bonus for newborns and longer maternity leave was supposedly too left wing for the mainstream media and was forthrightly denounced. The character assassination he endured at the hands of the Herald was pretty vile, the call for his resignation over the Donghua Liu falsifications was extraordinary.

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How the members and affiliates will feel at the way their choice for leader has been treated is something for them to determine.

Cunliffe stirred the sleeping neoliberal dogs that lie comatose under the Labour Party veranda and was punished for daring to do so.

David started with a red bang and progressively became less and less able to gain traction in a rudderless Caucus. His lack of trust in those around him meant he micro-managed everything and tried to appease the factions rather than fight them. His standing down is the only dignified response to the lack of loyalty he has been shown.

The factions have won, the aspirations and hopes of the membership ignored and the grey process of a gallop to the middle begins at pace. Apparently the answer will be a 4th leader in 6 years, just not the one members or affiliates wanted. Here’s hoping that Labour at least accept Cunliffe has the ability to articulate their vision and remains on the front bench.

The leadership contest now seems to be a bleached contest between the groups who didn’t want Cunliffe as leader and the groups who really didn’t want Cunliffe as leader. The empty rhetoric of the candidates to date is depressingly vague, however seeing as the electorate just rewarded mass surveillance lies and dirty politics, boiled meat and three vege politics may be the perfect feast for a passionless people.

Whoever wins this race must make the argument that the democratic changes the members and affiliates brought upon the Party is not mere lip service by a Caucus hell bent on their own agenda. The next leader must  genuinely carry those members and affiliates political values into the 2017 election after providing 3 years of laser sharp opposition.

I’ll give my thoughts on the candidates once they have all been announced on Tuesday.


  1. Thanks for the bad news Martyn.

    Excuse me.

    I think I hear the Labour Party going down the gurgler again. Like a bunch of whales determined to hit the beach.

  2. Oh well now time to build a true party of and for the left. It will need vision, unity, democracy and leadership. It will need the ability to get it’s policies and arguments abroad with the MSM flat out trying to put it down.
    Perhaps MANA Movement is the nucleus.

  3. To date – one prospective leader has pulled out, one wants to get rid of some of the policies, one wants to keep them, one is beltway, and one can’t decide whether to stand or not. How does this look to the populous at large?

    • It looks like what it is – that a tiny group of malcontents who weren’t having their “me ! me ! me ! quota filled to rheir expectations can bring down a strong party created to fill a very real and continuing need. Thats what gets me – how many 20.? 23 ? For crying out loud !
      Very very true Martyn its the members who get the raw end of the stick. Now we are supposed to choose between a grey man in a grey suit with a grey personality with no experience who spent months bad-mouthing Labour over the Pike River Mine debacle, blaming them solely, and a man who probably undeservedly reminds me of a friendly clownish puppy, and a disloyal deputy – i think not.

      And having had to swallow a somewhat bossy instruction from the President to work yogether and refrain from criticism we find that didnt apply to that band of no-hopers in caucus – Shearer’s attack on Cunliffe in the Herld this morning is an utter bloody disgrace !

    • I hope so. I’m a Green supporter because I like their attitude to the environment and social policy. My wish is that Labour voters/members can show support for their leaders. I suspect that the devisiveness and disloyalty shown by the Labour MPs to their leadership has steered many voters away from Labour. Why can’t Shearer & Cunliffe just stfu, and let the contenders get on with it instead of stepping into the spotlight again? I don’t think Robertson has the poise (and there are many who couldn’t countenance a gay P.M.) Parker is their best choice, with Adern as his deputy. For this Blog to back Little is a no-brainer given that several trade-unions finance it (well someone has too :-D)

    • I hope that many follow you, Margaret. I haven’t seen any point in voting Labour for decades. Changing the Leader is a side show. Changing the policies is what Labour needs. Nothing that Labour does is going to impress the electorate, short of splitting. The Labour Party is divided vertically; above the line is the caucus,which is right wing, but owe their position to the lay members, which is below the line and is left wing.
      You can have a Party without a Caucus. You cant have a Caucus without a Party. In the end the Party must win, so get it over with now. In the short term it will mean chaos, in the end something good can emerge. Choose to split and pay the price.

  4. A new Labour Party should court the farmer over to be incorporated into The New Zealand Trade Union Movement to protect our two greatest resources . Our people and our primary industry .
    From being preyed on by the soulless and greedy bastards who fucked things up for us in the first place .
    If that doesn’t happen , NZ will continue to slide into the hands of those few Uber Riche and we’ll become Fourth World citizens in a country we used to regard as ours .
    I think the Palestinians know something of how easy that can happen .
    Dear old David Cunliffe was too polite to brawl with the Moron Classes in the Tavern Car Park that is Nationals MSM .

    • Dear old David Cunliffe was too polite to brawl with the Moron Classes in the Tavern Car Park that is Nationals MSM.
      Well put CB.

  5. Gutted. I’m not going to abandon the party just yet, but this is really shit. I’m a Labourite, but I’m also a very lefty one. I don’t see any of the other potential leaders as the way forward (although I’ve supported Cunliffe for a long time so I may be biased), and I don’t see how being more “centrist” will make any difference. Why would Key voters vote for Labour aka National-Lite, when they can just vote for National? How is a more centrist party going to engage the million non-voters? It won’t IMO. Just Gutted.

  6. Look it is parliamentary politics that hundreds of thousands don’t even participate in so don’t get too wound up. The next leader even if it is right darling Parker will be subject to the usual underwear sniffing and denigration by the bosses media.

    The new person should but probably won’t very quickly demote the prize rogernomes and get the LECs organised within a few months to sort out list rankings and get some retirement letters in. If this doesn’t happen Labour is near finished and the new leader will be too.

    What was wrong with shouting from rooftops–Living Wage now! Right to strike now! $2 minimum wage hike if you vote Lab/Green/Mana? Well what was wrong is Labour is a ‘centre right’ social democratic party with pockets of actual voter support still in working class areas (South Auck) and Māori seats. They would not get their act together to run a combined campaign and we all wear the result.

    Activists know Labour will never adopt a class struggle basis but reforms were sorely needed by many in this country and who knows how much more suffering will now be endured and infrastructure sold off.

    Mana Movement needs to carry on with its community level politics and possibly as the basis of a new left parliamentary arrangement.

  7. The leader ship of the labour party is a poisoned chalice at this stage. I would say that whoever takes the role will be a caretaker until a year out from the next election. The opposition needs to oppose, it must provide an alternative and not to be a meek copy of the govt of the day. I hope that Cunliffe will reinvent and be available to have a second go once the tumours within labour realise that they are the problem and are cut away.
    Return labour to be a champion of wealth and health not pandering to need and greed.

    • Yes Andrea. This is sad, bad news! Thanks David for a Great effort !
      Here’s how the future will pan out. Whoever is elected as leader, as well as the ABCers, will get a cushy ride for a while from the media, so as to give the impression that the right decision was made to shaft David Cunliffe.
      14 MONTHS out from the next election the media mood will change and the next round of character and policy assassination will begin . Come election day, Labour won’t know which way is up and half the ABCers, who will be well into their sixties , will then go out having to take responsibility for Labours greatest defeat ever.
      With no David Cunliffe to blame, it is only then, that the full extent of their current folly will be revealed.
      I know this sounds really negative , but thanks to about a dozen people and a corrupt media, New Zealands oldest and most creative thinking party is now stuffed and therefore, so is New Zealand!

  8. As I see it. [Repost.]
    Well the media won the election for National and now the media have dictated the terms and leader of the Labour party as well.

    John key supports Mr Little’s bid.

    The Labour Party have pushed the best man out, and have resoundingly vindicated John key and the media.

    I am gutted beyond belief.

    • Absolutely correct!! Labour Slavour! Slaves to the media PR bullshit, slaves to the perception that ‘middle’, conservative, New Zealand dictate elections, slaves to big business! Social democracy?The gradual erosion of social democracy since 1984 has reached a point now where the use of this term is no longer valid. As an opposition, Labour has been, at best timid, and largely absent since 2008. Granted, they have had the mainstream National propaganda media against them at every turn, but it’s obvious that there are more Shane Joneses in important positions in the party, than not! Fo goodness sake, Muldoon had more socialist principles than the top ten in the Labour party combined! A sea change is required before they ever get my vote again. I think they should consider changing the party name as well- Michael Joseph Savage would be disgusted.

  9. I predicted after the election the Labour Party would return to right-wing politics after dipping their toes in left-wing waters and finding only acid there. Clearly there is little appetite for left-wing policy in NZ 2014 amongst the majority of actual voters, so why continue down that road? That’s a serious question, BTW. Clearly Labour don’t have the same sort of level of loyal and/or fanatical voter base that National currently enjoy. Does anyone still think any political party in NZ still stands by actual GENUINE principles?

    • I think there was one at the last election – and it scared the bejesus out of the rest of them so they colluded to keep it out.

  10. Sorry Labour – you’re done and dusted – to many right wingers in power to make any changes that don’t coincide with National and MSM policies.

  11. I could cry. Seriously. I feel ripped off : we ( the party membership) went through the turmoil of the leadership roadshow, without the caucus having any intention of continuing to consult on policy or directon. It’s like being offered chocolate, only to ending up tasting artificially sweetened carob. I’m out of here. The labour caucus can debate on how it ” reconnects with the people of New Zealand ” as much as it wants: actions speak louder, folks, and the Labour Party has given “the people” the finger. I don’t care what they say: I don’t trust them any more.

  12. I will go the hustings and hear what the candidates have to say but I suspect my days as a Labour Party member are short. Here’s what a Leader has to convince me that:

    1. They understand the global environment we find ourselves in today
    2. They understand how these forces are being manifested in NZ
    3. They understand who Labour stands for
    4. They can devise a set of policies to improve the lives for their supporters and the wider NZ
    5. They have what it takes to stand-up to National and MSM
    6. They can win the next election.

    And in this order, so winning the election is actually #6 – it comes LAST after the other stuff

  13. And as our country burns to the ground I see Aunty John Campbell interviewing an earnest fellow about getting the shits from carrots and lettuce . O.M.G.

    • I thought exactly the same thing Country boy.
      Over on TV ONES Seven Blunt , Hosking could not hide his insufferable smug grin…..gag…puke.

  14. Three good men beaten by dirty politics and a caucus spun by spin.lets hope the next leader can hold firm within and without, and that the caucus realise what is at stake

  15. Bill Drees28.3.3
    6 October 2014 at 2:17 pm
    “That gang suspected Cunliffe would sort them after the election. That is why they briefed the press before election night and started the campaign to dump Cunliffe. Nash briefed Hooton and Farrar and Cosgrove the Press Gallery. Ardern was used to do the numbers just like Maryann Street was used against Shearer.
    Cunliffe moved quickly to get Maori support by offering a joint Deputy possie.
    Nash fake candidacy was a cover to approach the Unions and some floating votes to see what was needed to bring them across to Robertson.
    The ABCs had to move before Cunliffe wiped them. Had Goff King Mallard retired in this term Robertson would have lost the core of the ABCs and any chance of the Leadership…..”

  16. I hear David Shearer has decided not to contest the party leadership, however, this has not stopped him burying his shears in his namesake’s back.
    I don’t know all the political intrigue involved with Cunliffe’s leadership but, looking from the outside, it seems he should have dealt with the ABCs more severely and appealed to his grassroots Labour support.

  17. Of course you know it was you bloggers fault that Mr Goff and Mr Shearer’s leaderships were undermind (accourding to David Shearer on National (Party) Radio’s Morning Report. You bloody faceless rotters! *scarcasm*

  18. David Cunliffe has been the victim of one of the biggest evils afflicting NZ at present. That is the FJK/Natsy government calling the shots and dictating the terms, through its supporting mouthpiece, msm! The same dirty tactics were applied to the Mana Movement last election and look what happened there!

    It doesn’t matter who wins the Labour leadership, FJK will have buddy and confidante` WhaleOil digging the dirt on whoever becomes leader. The misinformation will be delivered faithfully on cue through FJK/Natsy loyal msm!

    I know I’m a paranoid old bird, but I’m convinced more than ever now it’s all part of a plan for NZ to become a one party state!, the wheels of which were put in motion in November 2008!

  19. I think NZ has lost a great possible PM with the resignation of David Cunliffe. The media has spoken and the public has lapped it up – bless em. That said, Andrew Little is also a great candidate and hopefully David Cunliffe will rank highly in his caucus.

    However, Andrew Little faces the same odious battle if he is selected as leader. David Shearer’s callous call for Cunliffe to leave parliament this morning confirms this. It was a brutal kicking of the man while he was down. This is a party truly divided. Wayne Hope is correct when surmises that the line between left and right lies inside the Labour Party – National lying far right of the boundary.

    In the short term it would be detrimental but perhaps it is time for the party to split. The left forming a party that encapsulates the vision that originally formed the Labour Party supported by the union movement if they so choose and the right to form a pseudo-Act/ United Future party that supports the present government. Because it is obvious now the actions of certain right leaning Labour MPs in the past 12 months have achieved just that by ensuring watering down of policy, leaking info to the press and working from the inside to change the leadership despite the wishes of the party membership.

    I have always voted Labour because as a worker they were the party to vote for. This is no longer the case and hasn’t been for sometime. I have blindly voted this way in the hope that the Labour caucus would see the light and once again return to the values that formed them. Its clear now that this isn’t going to happen.

    So they have forever more lost my vote. I will continue to vote for a left sided party but Labour in its present state is no longer that.

  20. Have enjoyed the discussion and insights so far, and agree that Auckland and NZ has lost a brave and articulate leader in David
    Cunliffe,to take on the forces against him while his caucus did indeed sit on their hands was a mark of his character and courage. Lets hope he hangs in there and helps rebuild the party so that it can reconnect with working people so we have a real chance next time

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