The Shearer defence

May 5th, 2012 at 11:38 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan backs David Shearer:

But unlike Cunliffe and Robertson he is not hostage to Labour’s past policy positions. He wasn’t an active player in policy formation for the 2011 general election. This has proved to be a strength – not a weakness – as he quickly jettisoned one of Labour’s more wacky election policies, wiping GST on fruit and vegetables. He followed through yesterday by abandoning another ill-considered Labour policy to support Government borrowing offshore to top up the Super Fund.

Shearer’s moves display political courage. He is not afraid to upset grassroot Labour Party members. By adopting a classically rational approach he will increase Labour’s appeal to centrist voters from across the voting spectrum.

I agree, so long as he can carry his party with him. Trevor Mallard was attacking National’s suspensions of contributions to the NZ Super Fund just two days before Shearer announced he is adopting National’s policy.

Also John Roughan writes:

Shearer seemed a normal guy who is not a natural at the arts of politics. For that reason I’d like to see him succeed.

Not too soon, of course. John Key is doing good things and if he continues the way he is going he will deserve the three terms New Zealand voters usually give a government. But Labour’s turn will come and when it does I hope Shearer is still there.

I think that is being optimistics. If Shearer doesn’t win in 2014, I find it hard to imagine he will be there in 2017.

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7 Responses to “The Shearer defence”

  1. bhudson (4,738 comments) says:

    He is not afraid to upset grassroot Labour Party members.

    And here is a conundrum for Labour. The view that they need to improve their appeal to the centre is, I think, widely acknowledged outside of their own factions. But upset your grassroots members to any serious extent and you might just find out how much lower than 28% it is possible to reach.

    From what he has shown to date, he is not inspiring confidence that he can walk that tightrope.

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  2. Paulus (2,607 comments) says:

    If Shearer goes to the centre there will be nothing to identify Labour any more.
    Leave it to the Greens to be left of left, but without the Unions.
    The Unions who finance Labour will not be happy.

    But sadly I can only see a Labour led Government, with the Greens in the position of Power, which is why they set up MMP – they could see like a slow growing cancer that they would ultimately win. The media will love that.

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  3. jaba (2,136 comments) says:

    even though Shearer comes across as a duffus on TV, which he is not, he is a real threat to the right. Goff became manic and was all over the place. Shearer is taking his time and slowly showing he is able to move away from dumb policy even if it means he will upset the really mad lefties in the party.
    I hope he gets rolled (NZ can’t afford a Govt made up of Lbr, Gweens, Winny and Mana) and gets replaced by the likes of Robertson/Parker because they would be unelectable

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  4. Nookin (3,281 comments) says:

    Shearer has been copping it because he has not been in the government’s face, lambasting it for everything it does — à la Dalziell. This has upset many of the staunch Labour Party supporters as well as the anti-Nat protagonists. Nothing is going to satisfy these groups short of constant griping moaning and bitching. I think Shearer realises that, for the most part, New Zealanders have had a gutsfull of that style of politics. He is coming across as someone with his own views and it is apparent that he is quite prepared to dismiss some of the loopy labour policies. Given time, he will grow into this role and will start gaining respect from the centre-left who either stayed away at the last election or voted Green in protest. He will need a couple of years to gain momentum. Unfortunately for him, I think there are power hungry factions in the Labour Party who are not prepared to give him that time.

    This is really where Leaping Jimmy should come into the picture waving his cognitive dissonance placard. Shearer clearly has conflicting values with which he must deal. Every now and again we get a glimpse of what I think is the real Shearer rather than a petty political hack. Once Shearer realises that if he sticks to more universally acceptable values his support will increase. He simply has to work his way through this morass.

    The likes of Cunliffe, Mallard, et cetera do not have the same problem of conflicting values. They are simply motivated by one driving force – to get into power again and bugger anything else that gets in the way.

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  5. flipper (3,979 comments) says:

    To repeat what The Outside The Beltway Group wrote in mid January:

    ” Labour must resist the urge to continue with its 2008-2011 playbook (statements by Cunliffe et al on “failed Key policies” and a claimed absence of “skill training”, as are the risible, machine-gun- like statements from the red melons on matters of little consequence, are also part of the side show) and start intense introspection.

    ” For Labour to make any significant progress the party needs to:
    • Re-think and re-state its under-lying philosophy
    • Marginalise the Greens and expose them as charlatans.
    • Reconnect with the Kelburn (plus Christchurch and Auckland) intellectual base that they have lost
    • Significantly modernise its structure by eliminating all sectoral (union and other) block and representative voting
    • Revitalise its candidate selections by eliminating sectoral influences
    • Eliminate professional and career – path politicians
    • Present itself as realistic and supportive of all sections of the populace
    • Present a modern image that relates to the aspirations of young and old
    • Espouse policies that reward effort and discourage reliance upon the State
    • Reconnect with farming, the rural sector and provincial new Zealand
    • Disavow nanny state”

    So what has changed? We have the Banksie sideshow driven by The Duck and his acolytes, totally over-shadowing sensible economic policy changes like the revision of Labour’s hair-brained GST and Cullen Fund policies. Moreover, the idioit union employees (rarely any members per se) continue to believe they have a divine right to rule.

    The usual bunch of left wing academics continue to work hand in hand with professional union leaders, and as the OTB Grtoup also said in mid January:

    ” There will always be left wing / socialist academics. They will always think they are intellectually superior and, ergo, know best what is good for OTHER folk. There will always be union power brokers who manipulate their members for political ends. But in 2012 the blow-torch of the modern media and the internet will require them to don asbestos underpants, or give up.”

    If the media ignored the Banksie/Dotcom sideshow (the hotel discount non story is the nadir in NZ political reporting). is time those geeks moved on to other fields.

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  6. Nick R (506 comments) says:

    DPF – quite right re 2017. Right now, Shearer will be doing well to get to 2014. If he does, he must win or he is toast. The idea that Labour would give him a second chance if he loses is just barking.

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  7. berend (1,704 comments) says:

    John Roughan: John Key is doing good things

    Beats me, what exactly? Borrowing $240 million a week because the guy is postponing the inevitable decisions a country that is going over the cliff has to face?

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