Garner on Cunliffe and Labour

August 7th, 2012 at 3:48 pm by David Farrar

3 News political editor blogs:

The majority of Labour politicians clearly dislike . With a passion. And with a serious degree of what now looks like hatred and mistrust.

That’s become so very clear to me this year – but even clearer since I released our 3 News poll on Sunday night.

I suggested David Shearer might be rolled before the next election if he couldn’t get his numbers up. And while not many in Labour denied that – they all said Cunliffe won’t replace him. Over their dead bodies.

This reflects that the anyone but Cunliffe faction in Labour is very real, and in fact a majority of the caucus.

In fact, Labour MPs have openly joked with me that Cunliffe, who is away on a lengthy family holiday overseas, should stay there.

Two very senior MPs have told me they would like an internal travel fund set up to keep Cunliffe out of the country for as long as possible. How nasty is this caucus? He is clearly not missed.

But Cunliffe is not only disliked by his caucus – he is not trusted. So many have told me he never delivers on his promises and is sneaky and lazy.

This is from his own colleagues. I don’t think Cunliffe is lazy incidentially.

Sources have told me Shearer was advised to demote him when he became Labour’s leader, but Shearer resisted and said he wanted to work with Cunliffe.

That hasn’t worked apparently – my sources tell me Shearer is deeply disappointed with Cunliffe and he feels let down. This relationship cannot last.

According to Shearer’s sources, the Labour leader no longer trusts Cunliffe. That view is shared by the majority of the caucus.

I suspect doing speeches on what Labour needs to do, and urging activists to lobby their leader doesn’t help.

I have no problem personally with Cunliffe. We have always got on. I couldn’t really understand why they didn’t opt for him. I do now.

He is not just disliked – he is actively campaigned against. He’s probably hanging around to see if Shearer fails – and he’ll have another go.

But perhaps he doesn’t realise just how many of his colleagues are blocking his progress.

I can’t see him being the leader of this party. Ever. You need friends in the Labour Party caucus to survive. Cunliffe can count his on one hand with ease – he may even have fingers left dangling.

If I was him I’d look for a new career. It’s clear there is an impenetrable roadblock between him and his aim of being party leader.

And they all sit in the same room as he does. This hatred has largely stayed out of the mass media to date. But this is a story worth telling. This is not a collision course for Cunliffe. He and the caucus have already collided – and it’s a big pile up.

The real question is – does he know how bad it is? And what will he do next?

I actually rate Cunliffe’s ability. He did some very good things as a Minister, and is seriously smart. But his relationship with his collegaues has always been tense. They gave him the silent T nickname within a year of him becoming an MP, and things have obviously got worse.

He has a staunch following in the party. Any move to demote or push him out would get resistance. A decision by him not to stand in 2014 would also be a vote of no confidence in Labour. It is difficult to see a way forward for Labour on this issue.

I suspect Cunliffe hopes that if Shearer fails, he will become leader. However my understanding is the unions are committed to keeping in place Shearer for now, so their preferred candidate of Little can become the leader after Shearer. Little would pick up almost all of the 20% union vote under Labour’s proposed new rules. That means Robertson would need to win the caucus and members votes by a 3:1 majority to compensate and that is a hard call.

Despite that I still favour Robertson as the likely next leader.

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24 Responses to “Garner on Cunliffe and Labour”

  1. kowtow (6,723 comments) says:

    Honestly, Duncan Garner?

    Who gives a shit.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Despite that I still favour Robertson as the likely next leader.

    I’ve always liked HV :-)

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  3. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “he never delivers on his promises and is sneaky and lazy.

    This is from his own colleagues. I don’t think Cunliffe is lazy incidentially.”

    Ohh. KAPOW!!

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  4. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    That’s some seriously sharp daggers that have been handed to Garner. Won’t go down well at The Standard, they are mostly strongly pro-Cunliffe.

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  5. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    The whisoers say Khandallah Trev has signed up to ‘Team Shearer for life’ in his loathing for Cunliffe. It would be interesting to see what Mallard would do if Shearer does get rolled.
    Maybe he’d go too?
    Please?

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  6. Alan Johnstone (921 comments) says:

    “That means Robertson would need to win the caucus and members votes by a 3:1 majority to compensate and that is a hard call.”

    Yeah, not even close by my numbers.

    If he won the remaining 80% by 2:1 he would secure 53.33% of the overall vote and be elected easily =((80/3)*2)

    and of course the probability is that Robertson would of course emerge with at least 20% of the union votes, meaning he could easily win with something closer to a 1.6:1 margin in the other sections, and he’d get that easily.

    I of course stand to be corrected on my maths.

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  7. thedavincimode (6,131 comments) says:

    This is all very amusing, (lol “he may even have fingers left dangling”) but what on earth has it got to do with anal sex?

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  8. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    I get very annoyed by twats who want to sound like they are in the know crapping on about how smart Cunliffe is.

    Eloquent…maybe but definately not smart. The content that comes out of his mouth (if he actually believes it himself) is positively retarded.

    Also how smart is it to isolate yourself from your colleagues by being a ginormous c**t.

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  9. WineOh (430 comments) says:

    Shows a new low of our news media. Isn’t this guy supposed to be a “respected news reporter” not dumpster diving smack talking gutter snipe?

    It’s not even new news!

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  10. thor42 (778 comments) says:

    This “Cunliffe vs the rest” stuff is great to see!
    Why? Because Cunliffe staying in Parliament is one of the greatest-possible gifts to National. The Nats must be thanking their lucky stars that he is there.

    The more infighting that Labour does, the less notice they will get from the public, and the less effort they will put into governing if they do get back into power. If they did get back in, it wouldn’t surprise me if it were for only one term.

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  11. shoreboy57 (116 comments) says:

    Shearer followed by Little? Do the Unions want to be permanently in opposition?

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  12. Nookin (2,891 comments) says:

    If Cunliffe is so smart, why has he alienated so many people? It is not really hard to be gracious, courteous and dignified. These are traits that Cunliffe appeared to have had surgically removed.

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  13. Peter (1,471 comments) says:

    Little has the charisma score of Shearer and Goff combined.

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  14. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    I don’t think he is lacking in any personal qualities that were possessed by Helen Clark, and she managed to stick around for a while. Most likely the caucus will reject anyone who is not a woman or a complete wuss.

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  15. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    I would have thought that being the leader of the Labour party means that you not only have to aspire to lead the country as a PM but also you have to lead your own party.

    Successful leaders get their colleagues behind them to work together as a team – if you can’t do that then just plain give up ain’t worth the pain.

    Honestly for Labour to actually come back they have to turf the great majority of their current caucus, ditch their ghostly leader, and come back to the voters with a fresh team, with fresh policies, and a leader who is neither insipid or invisible.

    Without these changes they are just treading water & that gets tiring after a few years.

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  16. adamsmith1922 (879 comments) says:

    I do not rate Garner, but suspect that for once he may well be right.

    Cunliffe comes across as a patronising, superiority type of personality with little warmth or charisma. On that count even Shearer rates.

    When it comes to so-called back story the plutocratic Cunliffe looks like an aristocrat compared to Key.

    Cunliffe does not have mass voter appeal.

    As for Little he is an even worse prospect.

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  17. BigFish (131 comments) says:

    I’ve always assumed Garner was counting down the days for a ‘media adviser’ role for the team in blue. He’s already got the pin strips.

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  18. Viking2 (10,737 comments) says:

    Interesting isn’t it. I did a job for a lady some months ago who worked with the man ealrier. Only had nice things to say about him.
    Or perhaps its tells us more about the rest of them and lets face it there are few you would want to holiday or party with. Most of them are truly horrible individuals, especially the many new ones and that Trev the Muss is their shinning light tells you the answer. Remember that birds of a feather and all that.

    Truly horrible people mostly.

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  19. orewa1 (425 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is the smartest they’ve got, and is pretty genuine though perhaps slightly abrasive. As Viking says – this story tells more about the rest of the caucus than about him.

    Maybe the Greens will be the main opposition party post-2014? That would give Labour the chance to purge themselves – no bad thing.

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  20. Alan Johnstone (921 comments) says:

    I’m sure National will be the main opposition party post 2014.

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  21. alex (298 comments) says:

    What? That is a ridiculous leap of logic to pick Robertson as the next leader. By your own admission, Cunliffe will carry the membership, and Little the unions. Between them they will have a few supporters in caucus, and some will stick with Shearer. How is Robertson going to win out of that?

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  22. marcw (206 comments) says:

    @ jims_whare 6.02

    +1

    Also, why is Cunliffe on “extended family holiday” while Parliament is sitting. FFS, they don’t work much of the year in opposition anyway, so why are we paying the prick to be absent anyway. Any workers who get 4 weeks annual leave should have something to say about this.

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  23. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    It seems the problem is that the Labour party has not had a real change of leadership since Helen Clark left. Goff was HC’s appointed heir and Shearer was backed by Goff, King, Mallard and the old guard leadership.

    Ultimately David Parker is the reason Shearer is leading the party, after a close leadership vote, because Parker dropped out and threw his support behind Shearer in exchange for the Finance portfolio. That is hardly inspiring for the activists – the party leader is the compromise candidate that allowed the old guard to retain influence and delivered patronage in terms of career development for Parker.

    Difficult to see how all this will play out – but if Shearer wants to present a new face for Labour in 2014 he will have to cut out a lot of dead wood and time servers from the list – difficult to see how he will be able to do that effectively given that the dead wood and time servers are the main reason he is in the top job.

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  24. duggledog (1,117 comments) says:

    Which is precisely why Cunliffe ought to get the job – if Labour hate him that much. No wonder they’re screwed.

    I thought he was the only person who could actually put the shits up Key.

    Also Cunliffe is tall. It’s a good look.

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