Edwards endorses Robertson

April 2nd, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

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Just four months after an election then, political commentators are suggesting replacements  for the current Labour Party leader.

My own view is that the strategy, devised by his Chief of Staff Stuart Nash, of having Shearer stump the country making speeches, rather than leading the charge against the Government in the House, has been misguided. The effect has been that Shearer is rarely seen on prime time television, while the Greens, Winston Peters and his own Deputy make the 6 o’clock  running. Out of sight really can mean out of mind.

So let’s just indulge in a little speculation. Between McCarten’s and Hartevelt’s front-runners – Little and Robertson – who might make it to the finishing line? I’m going to plump for Robertson. Yes, Little enjoys the support of the unions and is a forceful debater in the House. But it’s hard to see this rather dour, uncharismatic unionist as the face of a rejuvenated Labour Party. At 41, Robertson, on the other hand, who lists his interests as ‘watching too much sport, playing a bit of indoor netball and squash, cooking, movies, listening to New Zealand music and reading New Zealand literature’, projects a youthful, energetic, upbeat  and thoroughly modern image. And he’s fiercely ambitious.

In talking this issue through with a gallery journalist I suggest the danger time for Shearer was the beginning of 2013. The journo reckoned it will all be over well before then.

So are we ready for a gay Prime Minister? I can only speak for myself. I find the idea invigorating. Other than prejudice, I can’t really think of any objection to it. And we Kiwis are for the most part an open-minded lot. After all, we had no trouble electing the world’s first transsexual MP.  And we didn’t seem to mind a mincing John Key.

It’s true that gay Prime Ministers are thin on the ground. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, elected Prime Minister of Iceland in 2009, was not only the country’s first woman Prime Minister but also Europe’s first openly gay head of state. She was followed in 2011 by Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo. When asked whether he was gay, the new Prime Minister replied, ‘Yes. So What?’ That strikes me as the only sensible answer to the question.

I don’t think it is useful to conflate mincing with being gay, but for the wider point I agree that the sensible answer is “Yes, so what”.

However sexuality can have some bearing, if it impacts politics. There is a difference between a politician who happens to be gay, and a politician that campaigns on gay issues. Chris Finlayson is very much in the former category while Chris Carter and Tim Barnett were in the latter category. I’d place somewhere in-between.

I agree that at this stage the next leader of the Labour Party is probably a contest between Grant Robertson and Andrew Litttle, and Robertson is heaving favoured to win. The bigger issue is when will the vacancy occur!

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36 Responses to “Edwards endorses Robertson”

  1. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Other than prejudice, I can’t really think of any objection to it.”

    Other than prejudice, I can’t really think of any reason to promote it.

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  2. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    I’ve been watching question time on YouTube. I don’t see how anyone could consider Little a contender. He is too dull, and seems a bit slow.

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  3. 103PapPap (131 comments) says:

    What we are seeing at question time now are the ‘contenders’ lining up to take over from Shearer. Both Winston Peters and Russell Norman are trying to make their parties the default opposition. But in Labour, Mallard, Little and Robertson are positioning themselves as the ‘alternative’ leader. Watch this space!

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  4. david (2,552 comments) says:

    “‘ … watching too much sport, playing a bit of indoor netball and squash, cooking, movies, listening to New Zealand music and reading New Zealand literature’,… ”

    If that is Edward’s profile of the ideal political leader for New Zealand then it is about time he packed up and f**ked off back to Ireland where he can indulge is passion for non-participation and literature to his heart”s content. Frankly the last thing this country needs is another panderer to the efete elite who inhabit the arts and literature circles and invariably survive by leeching off Government largesse (ie OPM)

    That seems to be the recipe for success in Left circles these days – lifetime politician, never earned a buck for the country, recycles taxpayer’s hard earned dosh.

    What ever happened to those champions of the working class, men with callousses on both hands, salt of the earth types? Perhaps they never rose through the ranks because the way was blocked by some cloth-capped immigrant from the coal pits of England or the shipyards of Glasgow and whose exposure to literature was selected phrases from Marx.

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  5. minto57 (197 comments) says:

    Just like the Anglican Church a path to oblivian and schism

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  6. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    While I think very little of Shearer (or any leader on the left) it seems too soon to be writing him off.

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  7. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “a youthful, energetic, upbeat and thoroughly modern image.”

    I nearly lost my breakfast reading that. Latte Liberals are such facile, limp wristed, metrosexual pukes, worshiping the toilet that is the modern world.

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  8. trout (933 comments) says:

    Think changing the Captain on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

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  9. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    Robertson wouldn’t blow hot air up an average PM’s arse.

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  10. Ross12 (1,388 comments) says:

    Firstly Little could not even win the electorate seat he tried for.

    Probably 80 +% of voters could not give toss about who “performs” better in the house. Most are probably like me and think the little of what I see there resembles a kindergarten alot of the time.

    Labour made a choice of leader and if they are looking at how to topple him already , it says very little about their judgement , it shows they have their eye off the ball, it shows they have no alternative ideas and as others are saying they are playing into the hands of Winston and the Greens. But maybe some comments made in Aussie recently about the ALP are relevant here — that is, maybe the Labour political movement as we have known it is passed its use by date.

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  11. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    Having Robertson as leader is a vanity project for the labour party. The labour party like to be progressive on all sorts of stuff with one proviso you must support the labour party.

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  12. mudrunner (88 comments) says:

    I think the strategy is right. But Shearer should not go on too long building the changed approach. He is there through the next election and it is quite correct to have Robertson and the others making the debating points – a sharp mouth does not make a leader, think Lange. Now is not the time that matters to Labour. We have the media thinking they know the peoples minds yet again.

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  13. Cunningham (837 comments) says:

    You’d have to say that speculation into Shearer being rolled so soon after him being elected leader is a sign that his demise is almost a certainty. I hope Robertson takes over if it does happen. I couldn’t bear the thought of a hard core unionist becoming prime minister of NZ. Although he is so devoid of personality it would be hard to imagine this country voting him in.

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  14. hmmokrightitis (1,585 comments) says:

    My favourite “Little” story from the election campaign, referencing his ‘leadership capabilities (derisive snort):

    Sitting outside my favourite cafe in NP pre election, and Little, with his fawning Union entourage, rock on up. He: “Lets go in and ask for a photo with the owner, supporting local small business etc”. In they go…

    30 seconds later, emerge, unsmiling, and head off down the street. Owner, friend of mine, comes out, confirms they were told, politely but firmly, to sling their hooks.

    “Follow me troops, were going over there. Oh, hang on, not, that way!!” Cue Monty Python – or even better, Benny Hill music…

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  15. Yvette (2,766 comments) says:

    My own view is that the strategy, devised by his Chief of Staff Stuart Nash, of having Shearer stump the country making speeches, rather than leading the charge against the Government in the House, has been misguided.

    Oh My God! – it’s a fucking strategy?!
    I thought the fact that Shearer wasn’t ripping into Government in every Question Time asking how the SOEs are to be restructured for partial sale – the one issue they supposedly fought the Election on – asking How will the SOEs be restructured to sill accommodate the Treaty Clause and the Muliaga Safety Clause, will all share holders get equal dividends, who would participate in where a 51/49% directors vote always kill and shareholder initiatives, what revenue doe the Government for go for exactly what gain? – bloody endless.

    But nothing! – it’s a fucking strategy/cunning stunt/plan …

    Labour is done/dead/decleeesed and they can’t see it …

    …they are all so busy rearranging the deckchairs …

    … and working out who should sit in the first row

    … still

    … should their Leader be gay?

    … No …

    … it doesn’t fucking matter … because Labour doesn’t !

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  16. DJP6-25 (1,362 comments) says:

    Ross12 12:32 pm. Well, we can live in hope can’t we? What’s bad for Labour is good for New-Zealand.

    Yvette 1:13 pm. Yeah, great isn’t it?

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  17. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    The old man used to say that the Labour Party have always been experts at rationalising their losses as they’ve had so much more practice at it than National.

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  18. Brian Edwards (2 comments) says:

    Your headline ‘Edwards Endorses Robertson’ is slightly misleading. Between Little and Robertson, I would certainly prefer Robertson. And I’m attracted to the idea of his leading the party. However, before the vote on Labour leader after the election I expressed my clear preference for Cunliffe over Shearer. That is still my position. For the moment at least, Cunliffe’s name does not seem to be in contention. Cunliffe or Robertson would require some thought.

    [DPF: I don't claim to have any special insights, but the general vibe I seem to get is that DC is not in contention, if there is a vacancy again.

    I have a lot of respect for DC's skills. I worked with him professionally when he was a Minister, and was excellent]

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  19. dime (9,795 comments) says:

    Havent we had a gay PM already?? or is this “openly” gay.

    The problem with GR is he sounds ok on paper, but then you see him and listen to him and hes just an unlikeable asshole.

    They need to try and find a good bloke. not some smart ass, scheming insider like GR.

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  20. David Garrett (6,995 comments) says:

    David @12.16….spot on sir…

    And Brian Finbar Myram Edwards…former failed political candidate and chardonnay socialist,..Welcome! Unlike your natural home at the Standard, all shades of opinion are welcomed here. And well done for using your own name…if indeed it is you…

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  21. BeaB (2,106 comments) says:

    I suspect the real problem is gay or not most of them don’t seem to be very likable people and by and large we distrust people who have spent their whole lives in poilitics. Few of them have much more to offer us than a mediocre public servant.
    It doesn’t help either that so close after the election and strident campaigning, they all seemed to happily drop their set of policies while they dream up the next lot to tempt/bribe/dupe us with.
    It is hard too to take seriously their smart arse trivialising of Parliament.

    And Shearer just looks and sounds confused.

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  22. David Garrett (6,995 comments) says:

    And Brian, just out of interest, why would the prospect of a gay (read openly gay I suspect) PM “invigorate” you? Are you one who holds the view that being gay – or straight for that matter – is such a fundamental part of one’s being that it alters one’s perceptions of, and attitudes to, everything? And do you believe all gays think alike?

    Why would the prospect of a successful businessman, a noted writer or a triumphant All Black Captain – assuming any of the three had the smarts – as PM not be just as, or more, “invigorating” ??

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  23. backster (2,141 comments) says:

    As a once more typical old style Labour MP observed, the choice for Labour is between a gaggle of Gays and a self serving unionists. If Robertson wins he will surround himself with homosexuals in key positions and if Little wins he will surround himself with hard line Unionists. New Zealand loses either way.

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  24. David Garrett (6,995 comments) says:

    Ah..Dr Brian doesn’t engage with fascists like me…oh well….

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  25. Dick (80 comments) says:

    Why am I not surprised to see Lee comment in this thread.

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  26. wiseowl (861 comments) says:

    Robertson……..no way.

    Where have all the real MP’s gone. ?

    All parties now seem to put up for MP’s the very people who we DO NOT WANT. We have those representing every bloody thing except the average New Zealander. Represent any minority, angle, or nutcamp and your in !
    I want to see some MP’s with principles and guts. Those who show some leadership.
    We have had none for years.

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  27. jaba (2,120 comments) says:

    I have thought for about 5 years or so that Little was going to be Labour Leader .. this description .. “But it’s hard to see this rather dour, uncharismatic unionist as the face of a rejuvenated Labour Party” .. is true and is why I WANT him to be leader.
    Now, are we ready for a gay PM .. “to be fair”, I really couldn’t give a shit as long as the person would make a REALLY good PM. I’m not sure if Robertson would be.
    ps .. if Shearer, Robertson and Little are Labours stars then … phffft

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  28. David Garrett (6,995 comments) says:

    jaba” Yes, quite so…which is why I am puzzled that Brian Edwards has posted (see up the chain a bit) that he would be “invigorated” by an (openly) gay PM….I have asked him to explain why he is “invigorated” by that, rather than any other trait, but he won’t engage with such a terrible chap as me…perhaps someone else could have a go…

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  29. wiseowl (861 comments) says:

    DG
    Perhaps ‘invigorated ‘ is some sort of secret message?

    Just for lefties.

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  30. David Garrett (6,995 comments) says:

    wiseowl: quite so…perhaps a bit like “progressive” ? although I pride myself on being pretty well read, I had no idea that that word had an entirely different meaning for the left until I went to parliament …

    Come on Finbar…we know you are here! Be bold man, for the first time since you left Erin….

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  31. wiseowl (861 comments) says:

    Please no.
    Not an invigorated progressive!

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  32. DJP6-25 (1,362 comments) says:

    wiseowl 5:07 pm. Two words: Term limits.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  33. RF (1,370 comments) says:

    My 5 cents worth. Shearer is toast. Robertson does come across as a middle of the road individual who does not rock the boat. Slow and steady. His sexuality means nothing to me.

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  34. David Garrett (6,995 comments) says:

    RF: that’s just it…his sexual proclivties mean nothihg to most of us…which begs the qustion “Why is Edwards ‘invigorated’ by the fact that he is gay? “

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  35. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Garrett, you’re a remarkably sad character aren’t you. “Failed” in politics is quite possibly defined by your own brief contribution.

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  36. RandySavage (211 comments) says:

    lay off the booze David

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