79 days to go

November 18th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

In 79 days it will be the first Tuesday of February, when under Labour’s new rules must win a secret ballot of his colleagues to prevent a party-wide leadership ballot. needs to get only 13 votes (plus his own) in 79 days.

It is worth recalling that Shearer has promised to have a reshuffle of his front bench and in fact overall caucus responsibilities and portfolios. He needs to make significant changes, but can he afford to do so?

Claire Trevett at the NZ Herald reports:

Labour MP David Cunliffe has left little doubt that he intends to overthrow David Shearer as Labour’s leader – a job made easier by a surprise change to the party rules.

The rule change was part of a chaotic day at the party’s annual conference in Ellerslie, during which delegates ignored the pleas of several senior MPs and voted to allow just 40 per cent of caucus to force a full leadership vote. All it would take is a vote from 14 of the current 34 MPs.

That puts Shearer’s leadership on much more precarious ground, and last night sources indicated the leader could move to bring matters to a head by forcing a vote, rather than letting it fester over summer.

Shearer can force a vote early. But as I understand the new rules, that in no way removes the constitutional requirement to also have a vote in February. Also an early vote would have a different threshold to the February 2013 vote. An early vote would only trigger a leadership election if 17 MPs voted against him. The Feb 2013 vote needs only 14 MPs.

Shearer’s supporters were clearly rattled by the change, but also confident he would secure the support – one stating they would easily “head (Cunliffe) off at the pass”.

Of 13 other MPs spoken to, most including Andrew Little, Clare Curran, Grant Robertson, Trevor Mallard and David Parker, said they would support Shearer in February’s vote.

Louisa Wall would not answer the question: “It’s irrelevant for me now – we’re in the middle of the conference.”

Phil Twyford said he supported Mr Shearer “because he is our leader now” but his vote in February would be a secret because it was a closed ballot.

The key words are “now” and “secret ballot”.

Charles Chauvel – who was a supporter of David Cunliffe last December – said he did not want to talk to the media.

How unusual!

Vernon Small at Stuff reports:

In its headlong rush to give grassroots members a greater say in future leadership votes, the Labour Party may have just pushed its current leader over the cliff.

Even if the damage to David Shearer isn’t fatal, it has made the party’s already difficult job that much harder.

However good his speech is today – and he was already under pressure to deliver a blockbuster full of core policy and “mongrel” – for the next three months he is the man on a knife edge.

If just 14 of his 33 caucus colleagues opt for change, the first two months of 2013 will be steeped in Labour bloodletting.

Possibly more than two months.

That’s the upshot of constitutional changes passed by delegates yesterday after an impassioned debate that exposed a bitterly divided party. It was the most extraordinary internecine political warfare since Rogernomics split the party in the 1980s, all played out on the conference floor.

In general the left, the unions and the north – let’s call it the Cunliffe camp – heavily backed the 40 per cent trigger with Wellington, the right and most MPs backing a simple majority that would have given embattled Shearer much greater protection.

It is manna from heaven for John Key’s fraying political machine that has just negotiated another week from hell.

Now National can run the line hard that if Labour wins in 2014, a minority in the caucus backed by dark forces in the party could, in just a matter of months, replace the people’s choice of prime minister.

This is an issue not yet fully focused on. Even if Labour win an election, the Leader will now be able to be toppled by just 40% of Caucus the February after an election. Now you might say, that would never happen. But it is well known that in 1993 Helen Clark was plotting to roll Mike Moore well before the 1993 election, and even if Labour had won (which they almost did) Clark was going to roll Moore – and would have had the numbers to do so.

The delegates could have controlled the damage to Shearer’s leadership by not insisting on a caucus vote in February, leaving it till the next cycle in 2014.

Senior MPs Trevor Mallard and David Parker tried to steer them that way but they were simply not listening.

Because in the end this was not just about a new constitution to make the party more open and democratic. It was also about the Cunliffe camp’s revenge for being ignored after last year’s primary race when the caucus installed Shearer as leader.

This is also a key point. The ongoing requirement is just for a scheduled vote after each general election. Now Labour have already had one of those – they had a leadership contest in Dec 2011 and Shearer won. But the conference explicitly voted to have a non-regular vote in February 2013. This can only be seen as directed at Shearer. If they had not passed that resolution, then you would need 50% of caucus to force a party wide vote on the leadership instead of 40%.

Cunliffe all but confirmed his interest in a challenge after his victory on the conference floor although, as one senior MP observed, “more than 60 per cent of the MPs voted for the trigger to stay at 50 per cent” – suggesting Shearer is safe for now – a spill cannot be ruled out even before February.

And then what? A new leader with a majority in the wider party but with a caucus that opposed him? And a dreadful bloodletting during the 2014 candidate selection process – which is already so fraught the party postponed its reform till late 2013?

In the meantime, Shearer’s leadership, already under pressure, will suffer a thousand speculations.

He has yet to show his hand and may think he can drink from the party’s poisoned chalice and survive. But his inner circle were late yesterday contemplating his next move.

The nuclear option would be to call Cunliffe out, confront him, demote him or put his unspoken challenge to the party now so February’s vote becomes a formality.

I’m generally a fan of nuclear options :-)

I would point again out that an early vote doesn’t remove the requirement to also have a vote in February 2013.

Patrick Gower at 3 News reported:

David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party is under threat from his rival David Cunliffe.

The challenge emerged today at the Labour Party conference on the eve of what was meant to be a major speech for Mr Shearer.

Mr Cunliffe is putting his hand up, refusing to rule out a challenge to Mr Shearer when the comes up for grabs in February.

Cunliffe could have killed these stories dead by saving clearly “I will be voting in favour of David Shearer to remain Leader at the first caucus meeting of 2013, and will be urging all my colleagues to do the same. He will be the next Prime Minister”.

By the way if anyone is still doubting my contention that all those blog posts and columns last week calling for Shearer to go were a coincidence, I still have that bridge for sale!

UPDATE: Vernon Small reports:

Shearer is moving to put his leadership to a caucus vote as early as next week in an attempt to end speculation about his position and draw out challenger David Cunliffe.

Shearer’s lieutenants were today meeting to consider ways a vote could be taken early under caucus rules.

That would likely not replace the scheduled vote in February at which only 40 per cent of the caucus could trigger a run-off according to new uses approved by the Labour conference yesterday.

But if the caucus gave him a strong endorsement, possibly in a vote that was made public, that could make the February vote more of a formality. No caucus meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, but an urgent one may be called.

There are also rules that require at last a week’s notice of a leadership ballot, but that may not be needed to simply endorse Shearer.

It is understood if Shearer wins the backing of caucus he will move quickly to demote Cunliffe.

It will be fascinating if he sacks Cunliffe off the front bench and from his portfolio. Cunliffe has a lot of support from the activists, and sacking him may go down very badly with them.

Also the move to have an early leadership vote appears to be an attempt to ignore the rule that the conference explicitly voted for. The conference said that they want a leadership ballot unless Shearer has over 60% support of caucus. They did not vote for 50%.

I guess the strategy is that a sacked Cunliffe will not be able to gain 40% come February. And it is possible he won’t be able to. But it does mean Shearer will have a ongoing significant disaffected faction in caucus and definitely in the wider party.

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49 Responses to “79 days to go”

  1. jaba (2,069 comments) says:

    “But as I understand the new rules, that in no way removes ….” um David, we are talking about the Labour Party here!!!!

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  2. RF (1,132 comments) says:

    BBQ at Phil’s. Bring your own meat. Sorry David S but you are not invited.

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  3. Doug (405 comments) says:

    Just imagine the job of rejuvenating the Caucus so much dead wood, the old fossils would form a block and remove the leader nothing like feather bedding.

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  4. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    A demoted Cunliffe would have much more time on his hands to continue the plotting for February. And a supporter of his, Shane Jones, is in a perfect position to help with that.

    If the conversation has not yet been had, I would not be surprised if shortly Cunliffe sits down with Grant Robertson and asks him how much he enjoys the deputy leadership? How much would he like to continue in it?

    If Robertson stays with Shearer and Cunliffe wins in Feb, his ambitions are toast. Remember it was Robertson who was king-maker post-election when he switched his support from Parker to Shearer. Loyalty is clearly not his strongest suit.

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  5. Doug (405 comments) says:

    In the future the Labour Caucus will end up a retirement home for unionists.

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  6. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    Now National can run the line hard that if Labour wins in 2014, a minority in the caucus backed by dark forces in the party could, in just a matter of months, replace the people’s choice of prime minister.

    That can and does happen anyway. Just ask one K Rudd. Then ask an Australian electorate that didn’t vote to have Julia Gillard as PM but got her anyway, because she was prepared to renege on a promise that “There will be no carbon tax under a government which I lead” made the day before the election, because “the faceless men” stitched up a backroom deal in both instances.

    There’s nothing wrong with devolving power to ordinary members. In fact if we must have List MPs then having them chosen by every member at least gives them some status as actual representatives and not solely party lapdogs beholden to power brokers.

    The problem is with, as Small puts it, “dark forces” within the parties. Yes, plural. Every party has its own version, they’re just better known in Labour (union heavies) than in other parties. The only way to stop this, and make pre-selections, leadership votes and everything else democratic is laws stipulating that they must be so. But strangely, our politicians are unwilling to pass them, happy even for the anomaly to endure that political parties in NZ do not exist in any law other than those stipulating the conduct of a general election. They cannot be sued by disgruntled members. They cannot breach any association, company, trust or charity law. They cannot even be ordered to produce documents to prove what did or did not occur in the proverbial smoke-filled room.

    And so we look on in wonderment as people we not only did not elect but whom we are not entitled to know, make decisions which carry as much – if not more – import than those we get to make at the ballot box.

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  7. Chi Hsu (78 comments) says:

    My review of the conference speech at my blog if anyone’s interested. Click on my username to be redirected.

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  8. Keeping Stock (9,791 comments) says:

    @ bhudson – Grant Robertson is interested first and foremost in what’s best for Grant Robertson, then what’s best for Labour. What’s best for New Zealand is down the rankings somewhat.

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  9. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    and at next years conference a remit will be passed that the clause re- the ballot in Feb is now unnecssary and should be scrapped.

    and in theroy when there are only 6 labour Mp’s in the house two of them can invoke this, awesome, in three years, half of them could have a turn at being the leader.

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  10. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    KS,

    What is best for Grant is him replacing Shearer before the 2014 election. What is worst for Grant is Cunliffe replacing Shearer as a result of a challenge which he wasn’t supporting. Next worst is Andrew Little taking over from Shearer post-2014 loss.

    While the choices aren’t all that great for Grant, switching to Cunliffe might be seen to give him the best future potential. Staying with Shearer and hoping that Cunliffe can’t muster support of 40% of caucus is a BIG risk.

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  11. BillODrees (86 comments) says:

    Any early call for a Caucus vote by Shearer/Robertson will be an attempt to thwart the will of the Confrence and of the members.

    The membership voted for more democracy: if any MP want to ignore that they should consider the message they are sending to party workers, supporters and the wider electorate.

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  12. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Bill – what union do you organise for?

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  13. Reid (15,594 comments) says:

    My theory is that Hulun was so profoundly awful that something oozed out to infest the very office of the Labour Party leader while she held it and every incumbent since is therefore doomed to suffer terrible deprivation. I mean look what’s happening. Sad, isn’t it. The once proud mighty Labour Party, doomed forever.

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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  14. Nostalgia-NZ (4,697 comments) says:

    ‘if any MP want to ignore that they should consider the message they are sending to party workers, supporters and the wider electorate.’

    The message would be to f off I think Bill and don’t tell us what to do. I’d support that would you?

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  15. Nostalgia-NZ (4,697 comments) says:

    I think David should give old smarmy and his union stand over mates a good kicking. The electorate would like that wouldn’t it Bill?

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  16. DJP6-25 (1,236 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom 3:28 pm. Yes, the members should have a lot of influence in choosing leaders, and MPs. Especially in list ranking.

    cheeers

    David Prosser

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  17. wreck1080 (3,529 comments) says:

    I really don’t like Shearer.

    But, I really don’t like Cunliffe even more.

    Labour is not going to do well under either.

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  18. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    Dear Chis Hsu, or is that #69 with added prawns?,

    The most exciting bit was where you went home to lie on the couch. No, really. For example…

    “John Key is attractive because he’s rich but “down to earth”. What he doesn’t have though is maturity – half the time he looks like he’s playing Prime Minister because it’s fun. I recall an interviewer once asking him why he didn’t protest against the Springbok Tour and his answer, which he gave with a laugh, was because he was busy falling in love with his wife.”

    We dont like him because he’s “rich but down to earth”. We like him because he doesn’t give political answers to bullshit questions like that, to satisfy beltway dipshits like you. He gave a truthful answer that reminds us hes human. THAT’S why we like him. Stick to your day job, cos blogging isnt a strength. Lie on the couch I reckon.

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  19. JeffW (303 comments) says:

    One of the scary things about this is that the activists want to drag Labour even further to the left (I suspect Shearer wants to take it in the other direction). Sadly, with the state of the MSM, and the numbers dependent on the state, an even more left wing Labour party will still probably win next time with a very motley crew. What the country needs, is the exact opposite, a center right alternative as opposed to a centre left National party or a hard left Labour/Green/Hone coalition.

    Greece, here we come.

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  20. Alan Johnstone (921 comments) says:

    Whatever happens will happen quickly, Labour isn’t going to engage in an three month internecine battle whilst National sits back and drinks tea.

    The rules don’t really matter at this stage, it’s about mana and authority. If somewhere more than ten mps want him gone, he’ll go. i don’t think it would be uncontested, perhaps Parker would stand again this time round?

    Regardless I think Cunncliffe wins. Labour need a fighter that can stand up to Key in a debate and he’s the only option.

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  21. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Labour – seeking to reconnect with the grassroots activist and voter and achieving nothing more than a media/beltway clusterf**k which only seres to illustrate how far out of touch with normal life they really are.

    Priceless..

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  22. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Whatever happens will happen quickly…

    Alan, remember the slow and painful death that was the Phil Goff leadership?

    Actually, there’s an idea!! Perhaps he could come back and rejuvenate the caucus and party?

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  23. Reid (15,594 comments) says:

    Whatever happens will happen quickly, Labour isn’t going to engage in an three month internecine battle whilst National sits back and drinks tea.

    I think it is going to do that Alan, and I’m greatly looking forward to it. Look it’s a shame the major story on Saturday night when it should have been this housing initiative was in fact the leadership vote issue. That was a shame. But hey. That’s what a leadership challenge is all about, the thrill of the chase, over a three month period. What’s going to happen next? And all that. Goody. It’s going to be great. Isn’t it.

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  24. Alan Johnstone (921 comments) says:

    Yes I recall Goff; but this us very different. 2011 was always seen as an election that was going to be lost. Everyone thought, lets sit back and let Phil take the defeat.

    2014 is viewed (correctly) as very winnable. This is Cunnclifes only chance. If they win under someone else the leadership is locked up till at least 2018; if they lose, he takes part of the blame of creating division and the leadership skips a generation as the last if the Clarke ministers are swept away.

    It’s now or never for him. If he not leader if the party within three months then his career in the Labour Party is probably over.

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  25. Alan Johnstone (921 comments) says:

    Excuse my spelling. Doing this on my phone

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  26. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Alan,

    Actually I agree. But reminding one and all just how dysfunctional and indecisive they have been for quite some time is just a little irresistible.

    I think Cunliffe will do it. Shearer is a (leader) dead man walking. I think it will be Grant Robertson who is the effective trigger man (just as he was in 2011 when he switched support from Parker to Shearer.) Although I think he dislikes Cunliffe, I think he will see aligning with him as the only way to keep his own ambitions alive.

    [I'm not sure that he will do it this week. I can see Cunliffe letting this one slide by without a contest in order to work on Robertson and others for Feb.]

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  27. Chi Hsu (78 comments) says:

    hmmokrightitis (929) Says:
    November 18th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    We like him because he doesn’t give political answers to bullshit questions like that, to satisfy beltway dipshits like you.

    Chill out, here’s a website for you:

    http://www.angermanagement.org.nz/

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  28. BlairM (2,266 comments) says:

    Shearer really has no choice but to go nuclear now.

    He has to force a leadership vote next week. If he waits til next year he is buggered, so an affirmation now will shore him up. And once (if?) he wins, he needs to take a scythe to the caucus and make it clear they have no future in the party if they do not support him. No other option really.

    I just wish Brash had had the balls to do something similar in National.

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  29. Reid (15,594 comments) says:

    2014 is viewed (correctly) as very winnable. This is Cunnclifes only chance.

    If Cunliffe isn’t leader, they won’t win. And to win, Cunliffe needs to change his style and open himself up, the way Key does.

    Shearer quite frankly is seen as weak and ineffectual like Rowling was seen to be. This is regardless of whether he is or not, Rowling wasn’t, I suspect neither is Shearer. Nevertheless, perception is reality in politics.

    He’s toast. Get it over with. If I were Shearer, who doesn’t seem to take my advice, I would demote Cunliffe to the person who has to stand by the door of the Caucus Room and let people in and out.

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  30. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    BlairM,

    All Cunliffe has to do is make it clear he is not challenging now and equivocate as to whether or not he might at any point in the future. The worst Shearer can do is demote him in caucus, which would actually free up his time to plot and build the numbers.

    A right damp squib of a nuclear option from Shearer.

    [I imagine Cunliffe and friends will work very hard between now and the caucus meeting to determine if it is possible to get Shearer now - I imagine that, at 60% required under the old rules, he won't be able to do so before the new rules take effect for Feb, so better for him to act coy and take the almost certain demotion in the short term.]

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  31. Reid (15,594 comments) says:

    You have the admire the classic Silent-T move though don’t you. I mean from nowhere comes this 20% union torpedo to kerblammy Shearer’s speech completely out of the crucial Saturday Conference Night news cycle and instead imprint an innocently grinning face onto the national psyche. Oh dear.

    But what a masterfully classic Silent-T of a move.

    I don’t say that as a compliment but as a warning. People who use tactics like this need to be carefully watched in future because it demonstrates they are both extremely capable and extremely ruthless.

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  32. Nostalgia-NZ (4,697 comments) says:

    Good opportunity for Shearer. He has the chance to ‘sell’ the idea that Cunnliffe has over cooked things by putting abroad a union dominated aspect of Labour that voters won’t appreciate, presenting the broader base (including unions) is more attractive in terms of tackling the economy, housing shortage and so on. Counter punch.

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  33. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    NN-Z,

    Aside from the power the unions now have to determine who is leader, given that some 9 of the 14 people on the Larbour Party Council, that would be an extremely foolish thing for Shearer to do. Unless he had a career death wish.

    Or you have one for him…

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  34. Reid (15,594 comments) says:

    I wonder what Shearer’s thinking, right now?

    …as the sun sets, on his first conference?

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  35. David Garrett (5,150 comments) says:

    Here’s a thought..only peripheral to the present leadership brouhaha. When I talk to younger people – lets say under 35 – about the mayhem that was caused by the unions in the 70′s, you can see them thinking “the old boy’s exaggerating again…it can’t ever have been like that”…Those of us 45 and over know it WAS like that: ferry and Air NZ strikes every school holidays; strikes because the mince for lunch was too cold (or too hot); strikes because Brother Gardner was sacked when he was caught with 10 kg of filet steak in his locker.

    Given that they have no idea what it was like, will voters under 40 care if the unions call the shots in Labour?

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  36. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    DPF: I reckon you’re not calling out in a really clear way why this is relevant.

    As I understand it, the important thing is that only 40% of the caucus can now throw a vote to the party. This can happen after every election, and as a special one-off in February next year.

    Why does this matter? Well, Shearer is better liked in caucus than in the wider party (more accurately, Cunliffe is less liked in caucus than in the wider party). So 40% of caucus can throw it to the party, and Cunliffe can win in that vote even if the 60% that like Shearer still vote for Shearer.

    After a losing election, I think this would make sense – basically it means if you lose an election it goes back to the party for decision. After winning an election it’s a bit more fraught – what if you win the election, but the party decide to install someone else? That might surprise voters a bit. Having said that, I’m struggling to imagine a situation where a winning leader would be deposed by the party – sure Rudd was deposed, but it was 2.5 years into his term when it looked like he was about to lose the next election, not a few months after winning. It could happen, but I don’t see it as a big risk.

    So, in short, I think the rule is OK, other than the special rule applying to next Feb. That last bit was clearly inserted to give the party more control over selection of who is taking them into the next election. Which makes some sense, but works out very badly for Shearer.

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  37. Nostalgia-NZ (4,697 comments) says:

    bhudson 7.22

    Shearer needs to distinguish himself and Labour’s policies. Right now it looks like Cunnliffe is in bed with the unions, Labour needs to appeal to a broader base than that.

    If you’re point is correct about the unions, which I doubt, Shearer either fights Cunnliffe or dies politically. If Cunnliffe takes over the Nats have all the ammunition they need to talk about who is pulling his strings and where that will lead the country.

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  38. SPC (4,675 comments) says:

    I agree with PaulL, it’s a good decision by the party.

    That there is a leadership vote next year provides a mandate to that leader – a very open and democratic mandate.

    Shearer gains the advantage, if confirmed early next year, of secure tenure till 2014.

    Those who want to contest that leadership vote have to accept the result.

    Given that Shearer should accept a continued place for rivals within the front bench till next year – and vice versa afterwards should any change occur.

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  39. Chuck Bird (4,415 comments) says:

    ” If he waits til next year he is buggered”

    Poor choice of words

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  40. Reid (15,594 comments) says:

    ” If he waits til next year he is buggered”

    No it’s OK, I think Charles likes the other David.

    Let’s hope that wasn’t a poor choice of words as well.

    You just never know with all the PC police around, do you

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  41. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    DG, part of me thinks you’re right, which scares the shit out of me. Im doing my bit, telling my kids that socialism is evil, and makes your balls drop off :)

    Two of my uncles were staunch union boys – one on the wharves, one in what was then P & T. Both from school. Thieving bastards the both of them. Wharfie would take anything that he could lay his hands on from the boats, like they all did. P & T boy was a ‘supervisor’, and did the same. When he retired with his gold watch in the 80′s, he walked away with over $1M in super. I would say more but it would give away all of our identities.

    Suffice to say, the union tales they told scared me right and Ive stayed there since :) Walk outs because the chips were too salty. Not enough tea cups, or sugar on the tables in the cafe. But would nick anything, literally anything they could lay their hands on. Im glad union membership is dying. I suspect we are on the verge – if what Im hearing is correct – of a bit of a clean out of the unions as a very bright light is shone on their finances…

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  42. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Those who want to contest that leadership vote have to accept the result.

    Not exactly. The new rules provide for unscheduled leadership contest if 50% of caucus support it. So, regardless of the outcome in Feb, there could most certainly be further leadership challenges before the 2014 election.

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  43. Nostalgia-NZ (4,697 comments) says:

    For the weary minded, Little gave his support to Shearer.

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  44. Anthony (737 comments) says:

    Yep, H those union types thought it was OK to steal, etc because it was all part of the class war. Actually any group of workers, including professionals, that starts pushing their weight around and protecting their patch above everything else is bad.

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  45. Chuck Bird (4,415 comments) says:

    ” Actually any group of workers, including professionals,”

    Like lawyers and judges?

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  46. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    DPF put a post up a few minutes ago on the numbers for Shearer and Cunliffe. It has come down, presumably to be scheduled to go back up in the morning.

    It claimed that “Eddie” at The Standard had the numbers from the post-election ballot at Shearer 17, Cunliffe 13. (This is 4 short of the total MPs, so logic points to the leadership contenders and their proposed deputies not getting to vote.)

    If true, then things are much closer than thought and Cunliffe could force the challenge in Feb simply by retaining the support he had previously. (He would get to add his own vote to the list for the ‘confidence’ vote that would trigger the leadership contest.)

    I also recall reports that he and David Parker are seemingly getting along a lot better of late. Speculation was that Parker would have voted against Cunliffe last time. He may well be able to add him to the list now – certainly as his finance spokesperson, possibly as his deputy if Cunliffe doesn’t think he needs Grant Roberston.

    Grant Robertson, on the other hand, should be very welcoming of a discussion with Cunliffe to retain the deputy leadership in return for support. It might well be that he is superfluous to Cunliffe’s needs. That basically kills Grant’s ambitions stone dead (but could see Grant working to undermine a Cunliffe leadership if he is excluded.)

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  47. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Below is the link, that still seems to work, but has the post timed at noon today…

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/11/the_numbers-2.html

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  48. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Sack Cunliffe. Call his bluff. Watch the remora fish swim to a new host.

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  49. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Labour is disintegrating. Hopefully National will follow soon. Nothing else would be allowed to last so long.

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