Edwards on gagging of Cunliffe

May 14th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar


The absence of anyone from Labour on The Nation was explained by Garner at the very start of the show. The programme had invited Labour’s Spokesperson for Economic Development and Associate Finance Spokesperson, , to discuss more or less the same things that Norman and Peters were discussing on Q & A – the future direction of the economy. Cunliffe was happy to appear but, conscious of the current sensitivities in the parliamentary party over Labour’s leadership, sought an assurance that that topic would not be canvassed in the interview. He received that assurance in writing from Executive Producer Richard Harman and Garner himself. 

Despite those assurances, Cunliffe’s appearance was later vetoed by what Garner called Labour’s ‘top team’ which he defined as ‘David Shearer and the media team’. The reason given was apparently that the ‘top team’ didn’t want anything to distract from Finance Spokesman David Parker so close to the Budget.

Shearer was badly advised to ban Cunliffe from appearing. Rather than make his speech less of an issue, it has made it an even greater issue.

Anyway, ‘the top team’ didn’t like Cunliffe’s brilliant speech and he was apparently bawled out by Shearer and others and told the  speech was’ naive and stupid.’ That tends to be the price you pay for idealism. And, according to the extremely  well informed Duncan Garner, the  price may be high for Cunliffe who has been ‘put in his place, somewhere down the bottom of the pecking order’.

This is so utterly stupid that it beggars belief. Cunliffe is not only intellectually brilliant, he is by far Labour’s most accomplished debater in the House and on television and radio.  No-one in the Labour Party can hold a candle to him as a media spokesperson. Stammering and stuttering seem to be the main criteria for that at present.

Ouch. That is pretty brutal.

Finally, given the paranoia that clearly surrounds Cunliffe in the Labour Caucus, I should perhaps add that nothing in this post came from him.

Cunliffe had a good career before he entered Parliament. If he remains marginalised, I would not be surprised if he packs it in at the next election – which would be a pity. That is however the hope of some in the ABC faction.

9 Responses to “Edwards on gagging of Cunliffe”

  1. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    It was a hamfisted party self exclusion from the TB talkfests over the weekend. Garner and Gower didn’t respond favourably to the snub – but surely both TV3 and Labour could have at least been able to arrange a replacement if Cunliffe was still in the naughty boy’s corner.

    But Edward’s description of the speech as “brilliant” is curious. It seemed a very odd tactical move from Cunliffe, and I’m not surprised it was seen as provocative within Labour leadership.

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  2. Brad (82 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has done a few things that doesn’t exactly inspire trust in his ability to work as part of a team, which wasn’t helped by giving that speech with (apparently) little consultation with his colleagues

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  3. Doug (415 comments) says:

    Patrick Gower noted the snub in his latest blog.

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  4. virtualmark (1,602 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s brilliant speech

    Really? It was brilliant?

    Firstly, his underlying economic thesis was completely wrong-headed. Secondly, the speech majored on lots of flag waving but no specifics. And thirdly, it completely failed to present any sort of vision forward beyond “I want us all to have nice things, and the National Party aren’t very nice”.

    I agree that David Cunliffe’s resume looks good. But I’ve been waiting for years for him to come up with something – anything – that lives up to his intellectual reputation. I’m still waiting.

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  5. Falafulu Fisi (2,151 comments) says:

    Brian Edwards said…

    Cunliffe’s brilliant speech

    Brilliant speech???? Does Brian Edwards know anything about economics or he is just another lefty economics’ ignoramus (as Donald Trump has labelled Obama recently) who thinks Cunliffe’s speech was brilliant. Unbelievable!


    David Cunliffe’s resume looks good.

    Yep, definitely looks impressive to Brian Edwards.

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  6. thedavincimode (8,131 comments) says:


    Re your points 1, 2 and 3: precisely and that is what he does consistently. The only occasion upon which I can recall cunners coming up with specifics was, presumably, Liebore’s economic policy for the election. That said, it’s just as likely they left him out of the process. Beyond that its almost like listening to the Kenyan’s pre-election speeches that were hailed as mighty deeds of oratory. Empty, vaccuous. A bunch of words carefully crafted to say absolutely nothing.

    But as others have observed, none of this has anything to do with the electorate; its all aimed at the party so that the chardonnay socialists, such as Edwards, can go into raptures and sing his praises as the great left hope. Meanwhile, between speeches, or now, between no speeches, cunners is roughing up his image. Having perfected his command of bro’ on the November hustings, he’s been getting down and dirty with the unions on the picket line and gotten into the face fungus.

    That said, Edwards is right about one thing; he is their most effective speaker in Parliament. No doubt another reason they hate him.

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  7. MT_Tinman (4,389 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s brilliant speech

    Perchance was the author of the speech Mr B Edwards?

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  8. anonymouse (891 comments) says:

    It appears that Mr Cunliffe, (Whose Don Johnson is getting seriously out of hand) has not quite got the message about keeping his head down yet……

    It looks like it is in this morning’s ODT


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  9. BillODrees (94 comments) says:

    Giving speeches in the Electorate to any size audience is one of the basic tasks any and every MP should fulfill.
    Giving speeches that cause for many people to think, debate, argue and slag is what every MP dreams about.
    Cunliffe achieved what most MPs only fantasise about. He will most likely be Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2014.
    F$&@ the begrudgers.

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