Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party



The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is.

Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing Cunliffe down. This is needless brutality, the same needless brutality Shearer showed Cunliffe when they demoted him after the membership demanded more democracy in 2012.

Shearer is talking over the heads of Labour supporters and he’s talking to National supporters. It’s that audience he is competing for because the more the right wing report what he says, the more middle NZ heads nod and the more influence that will have on Labour members voting in the primary.

It’s very deliberate and it’s very staged. Now, I certainly believe whatever leader comes out needs to be able to appeal to middle NZ while NOT alienating the current base, but Shearer is trying to get the leader elected by the right.

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That the ABC faction aren’t showing any of the restraint that the other factions are showing is simply more evidence of how impossible they made Cunliffe’s life as leader.

What’s most ironic about Shearer’s claim Labour are too controlled by ‘special interests’ is that it is National who are the real ‘special interest’ party. SkyCity’s special interests, Warner Bros special interests, Federated Farmers special interests, and corporate special interests. Labour isn’t controlled by ‘special interests’ they represent the democratic majority which makes Shearer’s outbursts so much more stupid. he isn’t challenging the mainstream media narrative, he’s actually reinforcing it.

The nominations have closed and Labour has 4 safe technocratic hands to try and steer what is an obviously damaged and identity lost Caucus. Labour need to select a leader who can win in a political landscape that just electorally rewarded dirty politics and mass surveillance lies. How they do that is a difficult question, the media in NZ won’t allow a leader who will challenge their hegemony to become Prime Minister, Labour can expect the same type of character assassination Cunliffe faced, so the leader must appeal to middle NZ in a way that middle NZ respects, a leader comfortable in their own skin.

It’s the innate casual confidence of Key that attracts middle NZ, not his policies. NZers are so laid back in their anti-intellectualism,  they would burn books on their BBQ.

It is the candidate who can look as comfortable in their skin as Key does who will win over middle NZ, not the person who can beat him at an argument. NZers don’t respect intelligence, they respect confidence.


Nanaia Mahuta – Staunch

Thank God she put her hat in the ring or this would be a very grey primary. Nanaia righteously points out that Maori were loyal to Labour last election and the sudden media meme to drive Labour to the centre probably had more to do with her decision to step up for Labour values than any personal ambitions for leadership. The strength of her move will be decided if she is able to get all 7 Maori caucus members to back her which then gives her a very strong case to be the deputy. I think her second preferences will probably decide the leader.


David Parker – The Brain

Terribly smart, but his economic platform was resoundingly rejected by the electorate. Unfortunately for Parker, most NZers illusions of wealth are determined from their inflated property prices, anyone coming along to attack that will be punished by the electorate. Rather than a ‘Capital Gains Tax’ – Labour need to sell this a a ‘Speculators Tax’ – people hate speculators because they are someone else, a ‘Capital Gains Tax’ sounds like it is something that will be imposed upon them.  Parker will attract some Caucus vote, little Union vote and some membership vote.


Andrew Little  – Leader

Cunliffe’s support of Little matters. The popular membership vote overwhelmingly went to Cunliffe and that vote are looking for another leader to back. Little has the quality of confidence in his own skin that could beat Key, it’s this x factor that I think will give him the edge. Little will take the union vote, he will have a strong Caucus support and if Nanaia throws her support behind Little, then he will take the Caucus vote as well. Depending on his performance over the debates, he could win over the membership. The smart money would be on Little deciding on a co-deputy arrangement with Nania and Stuart Nash as deputy leaders, that teaming up would create the image of unity Labour so desperately need.


Grant Robertson – Polished

I’ve known Grant since University days. He’s always been the smartest bloke in the room. His choice of Jacinda as Deputy makes sense, the problem Grant has always had is that he has no Auckland mates. He is the career politician who has all the GPS co-ordinates to where the skeletons are buried, so his threat to dump those caucus members who don’t toe the line is genuine if the ABCs turn into ABGs. The problem with selecting Jacinda however is that she is part of the same faction as he is, so the ability to unify the Caucus is less meaningful if the only faction going up is Grant’s.

I don’t think Grant has much membership support outside of Wellington and the numbers from the last primary seem to back that up, but thankfully he is a generational shift and that alone should be celebrated. I don’t think his sexual orientation is the big issue it’s been beaten up to be, Grant would be a leader who just happens to be gay, rather than a gay leader. Yes it would have an impact in the South Auckland electorates, but if he won, Grant only needs to go out on a tour of South Auckland churches and show them he upholds their values too. The South Auckland electorate are kind and generous voters, all he needs to do is reach out to them and they will embrace him.

If Grant doesn’t win this shot, he is still on track for a leadership bid in 2020.




  1. The rot in Labour is from inside its fold, coming from the rogernomic neo libs still ensconced in the party, along with the ABC faction, which if truth be known, is probably one and the same! These are the destructive forces killing Labour and the new leader whoever, she or he might be, need to begin the caucus cull once they are in the position to do so. Once that’s done, Labour will be able to move forward.

    One example is David Shearer. He needs to go the same way as Shane Jones and work for his National masters. Both are blue boys. They’d do National proud! A few other lite blues disguising themselves as Labour MPs need to also follow suit! That will be a start to the purge to clean Labour of the dirt holding it back!

    My first choice for the Labour leadership is Nanaia Mahuta. She has mana and class and heaps of it too. Her confidence comes through her strong heritage, from which she has been trained to lead. Besides that, Nanaia is loyal, a fact proven by her loyalty through thick and thin, standing by David Cunliffe over the past few years. She can hold her own in any debate and has never wavered from her staunch core Labour values.

    In the House, Nanaia’s dignity would be a thorn in FJK’s side, showing him up for the classless, useless, conniving low life he really is!

    Andrew Little is my second choice for leader. Like Nanaia, he comes with no baggage, no attachment to the spectre of the evil rogernomics era, or the vile ABCs, so would be a clean start for the party. He is intelligent and also has demonstrated leadership skills, something which hold him in a good position to lead Labour. Being a former strong union leader, Little will no doubt be an advocate for a fair deal for workers, the underprivileged and families in general.

    Having either Mahuta or Little leading, or perhaps a combination of the pair as leader and deputy, might be enough to give Labour the kick starts it so badly needs. Might also attract back disillusioned and new voting support.

      • What part of the truth dont you like , Fool?

        The part about Little coming with no ‘baggage’?…or the thing that really chews you up ,- about evil Rogernomics?

        Or maybe its just the fact you realise in your weasel cunning Nanaia and Andrew just might have integrity….which is pure anathema to you neo liberal dupes …

        It actually sounded like you were scared of something….and if thats the case…anything that scares neo liberal goblins like you must be good.

        Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta sound good to me then, that being the case.

      • @Mick

        Seems the thought of a Mahuta/Little leadership, or the reverse, puts the wind up you, does it? Bit unsettling maybe?

        You are correct, I don’t like FJK as a leader. My main reason being, he’s a traitor to his country and the people of NZ.

        • Ignorant, stupid people like you, only serve to drive more center ground voters to National.

          At this rate Key will win 5 terms

      • @ Mick . You must find it maddening , that Mick rhymes with Dick . But then I doubt you are a dick within the parameters of common parlance . I’m sure you’re very cunning and clever . It’s a shame you’re hobbled by a lack of imagination but then at least you’re not challenged by your intellect . You need a fully functioning brain to think your way out of your closed mind . You should try and cultivate one sooner rather than later and for Gods sake , keep away from the Dark Side . It’s not a good look darling .

  2. I like your analysis of the candidates. I’m from New Plymouth and have never really rated Andrew Little but I have probably been thinking in terms of being an electorate MP. I also don’t really rate him as being a prime minister yet but am beginning to think he may be the ideal leader to rebuild the labour party. Lets face it with a right leaning media and a potentially huge vote among those people who feel so marginalized in society that their participation in politics is minimal the labour party will need an exceptionally strong grassroots localised organisation to win back the treasury benches. The twin deputies suggestion could be a real winner in widening and consolidating voter support

    • “The twin deputies suggestion could be a real winner in widening and consolidating voter support.”

      Particularly if you dressed Nash and Mahuta as Identical Twins. All the more so if Labour advisors could coach them to finish each other’s sentences in that weird way that Identical Twins often do. It could be developed into a nice little novelty act that would almost certainly attract media attention.

  3. Sorry Martyn, although I like Robertson I suspect he’d be a very tough sell. A gay man and a childless single woman is hardly likely to be a ticket to appeal to ‘average kiwi’s’.

  4. David Shearer did nothing for us on the East Coast. Best gone sorry.

    When he took the opposition leader’s job we asked for help to save Gisbone rail.

    He failed to answer, so we were alienated by him from the start in 2012, and he even worsened our situation by dropping an excellent transport spokesman Phil Twyford and replaced him sadly with Ian Lees Galloway who never answered our call to visit Gisborne.

    David Shearer had pledged in his first days as leader then to visit everywhere in the country and talk to the grass routes folks about how to help, and he failed so lets hope we get a leader who honours what they pledge this time.

    • To be fair, David Shearer was the leader who did come out and say that Labour would reinstate the Napier Gisborne railway.

  5. Good appraisal. Shearer does better on foreign soil. I support Cunliffe’s choice and despair he didn’t stay. Nanaia is a welcome, long-awaited Maori woman, who will rise to help rejuvenate Labour with Little.

    Dog help us the current returned rotters don’t fiddle with the Maori Seats!!!

  6. Yup…. nearly fell outa me chair when Nanaia threw her hat in the ring,…was wrapt 🙂

    I reckon a combo of Little and Mahuta…..there you have a pair who will send shivers down the spine of neo liberals in both major partys, reunite Labour and form a strong foundation for a united Left bloc. No matter what the configuration , leader or deputy (or even two deputies as suggested) …..It looks like there’s the winning ticket for the Left.

    Little, seems moderate in style , has indicated older core Left/Labour values,….and a muzzled neo con caucus…

    However I think I hear the sound of screams from a major caucus cull in the distance if Little or Mahuta are the ones. Together….itll be a slaughter. Itll be short , sharp …and gutsy when it happens.

    And long overdue.

  7. Here’s the lessons I think Labour needs to absorb from John Key’s unprecedented success. But I doubt it will do so in time for the next election.

    1. Perception is everything.

    2. Fuck policy. Sell the sizzle, not the sausage. Preferably with a beer in one hand or an All Black at your shoulder.

    3. The leader must seen as a clean slate ; untainted by the arrogance of the Helen Clarke regime, post nanny state, and above Labour’s pathetic intercinine warfare of recent years.

    4. The leader must be able to pass themselves off as a fairly ordinary kiwi at heart, genuine, likeable, warm, intelligent and well spoken but not the class nerd.

    5. Confidence is key. The leader cannot be earnest, explanatory, or worst of all chiding New Zealanders who disagree with them. Dismiss and disarm opposition and always smile.

    6. If Kiwis feel genuine warmth and care they will invest all their trust in their leader and let them do the thinking for them.

    7. The key to beating Key is to convince Kiwis that you are more genuine and trustworthy than John Key.

    That said I agree with Rachel Smalley that none of the current crop can pull it off. The only realistic option is to look to Jacinda Ardern but someone else probably has to fail first.


      • Yes I think Little has a chance of proving me wrong. I hope you are right !

        Unfortunately I think Parker is too overtly intelligent, and too many Kiwi voters are too prejudiced to elect Grant Robertson or Nanaia as PM. Scratch the surface and the homophobia/anti Maori prejudice leaks out.

        I do wish I was wrong. Hopefully I am !


    • Yes, it is a sorry state when NZer’s vote as you have described. John Key kept his clean image by copying the US style two track policy – Track 1 : have outsiders do the dirty work so as to
      Track 2 : maintain the clean JK image – all outlined in Dirty Politics. Left or right – is that the way we want our representatives elected. I mean, would we sleep comfortably if the All Blacks won all their games by penalties given by an underhand referee?

  8. I’m starting to think that it would be best if Robertson wins. It’s been a long time since Labour was truly a party of the left and him winning it would finally allow it to become a proper centrist party (along with NZ First). I don’t expect Labour to ever get over 30% again no matter what it does. A Robertson Labour would probably mean that NZF could survive even the loss of Peters. It would also put the squeeze on National.

    There would then be new space for true (that is to say economically) leftist parties to grow. That could be just the Greens or the Greens and someone else (Mana maybe).

    I don’t think we can expect any socialism out of Little, Robertson or (especially) Parker and I don’t think Mahuta will win. Dividing the right with two parties that hate each other (National and Labour) may be the way to go in the long term.

  9. The contenders for the leadership do not particularly impress me, I must say in all honesty. Nanaia may be a good and loyal sort, would appeal to the tangata whenua, but surely, she would not have the needed flair and charisma that would win many in that much quoted “centre” or the wider electorate.

    Parker may be intelligent, competent and reliable, but he also lacks charisma, and at times stumbles over his figures, that media like to get confirmed from him. Andrew Little has the charisma of a brick, and appears stiff and wooden. Again, he has his followers, is somewhat representing the unions and workers, but also he will not have much of a chance to be a Prime Minister.

    That leaves Grant Robertson, the “beltway” careerist, as some would describe him. Also he has in the past not rated as that great a candidate for potential PM, has raised suspicions about scheming behind the scenes, and is deemed to be more “mainstream” than he often appears. But he can at least hold speeches, has a bit of charisma, and with Ardern could actually form a winning combination to win votes.

    What Labour need is a revolution from within, but I cannot see it happen. They may need to look at 2020 rather than 2017 to make it, which would be disastrous for the country.

    Maybe it is time for some other competent, motivated and capable, passionate folks to form a new movement, with no baggage? A new party altogether, left of centre, not too radical, but more real Labour as what they used to be?

    Mana is now stigmatised, and Greens are too soft left of centre, and stuck at just over 10 percent. I see space and opportunity for a new movement altogether, winning and including also newer, younger faces.

  10. Whoever wins has to face the corporate mainstream media who are well connected to the National Party.

    Its not though most of our journalists are a concern in the sense of hardnosed independence or of good quality, theyre not, they’re mostly shit, its whether those in control of them will allow anything close to objectivity pass.

    Its a very hard road ahead dealing with the MSM and who knows how that bridge is crossed!

  11. Someone will be the Leader.

    Until the next time. Maskasy wrote something recently very apropos about Labour shafting it’s own leaders instead of letting them flourish and grow under adversity and defeat.

    I’ll stick to the Greens or even Mana if they’re around in 2017

  12. Little really concerns me. Out of all of the candidates he definitely seems the one furthest to the right. Abolishing CGT, a truly progressive tax, should be worrying for any Labour member. It seems he wants to move Labour to National lite.

    Also Bradbury, your constant obsession with Auckland is getting a little old. Cunliffe, an Auckland based leader did very badly with the party vote there and numerous Labour leaders have got substantial support in Auckland without being from there. Finally, it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest Robertson doesn’t have any ties with Auckland when he’s selected a deputy from there! He also has substantial support in Christchurch and Dunedin(which without these cities we would have had Brash as PM in 2005).

  13. I know it’s a debate about the possible Labour Party leader, deputy, etc, and again, like the MSM, everyone loves to nit-pick and criticise labour thoroughly, when sadly the same, ‘under the microscope’ criticism is never given to the National MPs, especially in the MSM.
    I find the ‘people’ within the National Party, very low in all morals, more so than any of the possible leaders being discussed.

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