Edwards joins the chorus calling for Shearer to resign

November 12th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

My understanding of the strategy in play, is that those in Labour wanting a change do not want an actual leadership challenge to Shearer. They are deliberately piling pressure on to force him to quit, so no one has blood on their hands.

I find it baffling that Labour gave Phil Goff three years as Leader, when it was obvious he could never be elected (not due to any personal qualities, but the fact he had been in Parliament since Muldoon was PM). Goff saw Labour consistently poll under the result he inherited in 2008.

Shearer has not even been leader for one year. Labour is polling on average 4% higher than at the 2011 election. Yet people are determined not to give him a fair chance. Why the unseemly rush to kneecap him before he even gets to to his first conference as leader?

has blogged:

A quite remarkable thing happened this morning. Herald columnist gave it as her view that should stand down as leader of the Labour Party.

Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational, considered in her judgements. More importantly, she is never cruel or unkind. Unlike most other columnists, including myself from time to time, she never sets out to wound. In keeping perhaps with her strong religious beliefs, she is ever a charitable critic.

Her politics are to the liberal left.

For these reasons I believe she will have thought long and hard before sending this morning’s column to theHerald for publication. It will not have been an easy decision. I can only assume that, after long deliberation, she concluded that this was something that, in the interests of the Labour Party and the country, just had to be said.

So why now?

Misa’s message is by no means new. The opinion that Shearer, however decent, however nice, is the wrong man for the job, is now regularly expressed by both right and left-wing commentators. Shearer claims not to be bothered by this groundswell of disfavour, but he is either in denial or putting on a brave front. It must be a dismal experience to be subjected day in, day out, to such relentless public humiliation.

And I think the strategy is to force him to quit, because he is a decent man.

What is both new and remarkable is that Misa, albeit reluctantly, has joined the chorus of opinion that Shearer is harming rather than helping Labour’s cause and that he cannot continue to lead the party. The writing on the wall could not now be clearer.   

It has been my view, expressed in numerous posts on this site, that the Labour caucus made a serious mistake in selecting Shearer as leader in preference to David Cunliffe. They are now paying the price for the infantile thinking of the ‘Anyone but Cunliffe’ brigade.

But if Shearer goes, will it be Cunliffe who succeeds him?

As an advisor to Helen Clark during the 2008 election I learnt to my cost the danger of underestimating Key as a debater. My view and the view of Helen’s other advisors was that Key would be no match for the Prime Minister. He was a new boy and she was a seasoned practitioner. She was ’Minister for Everything’ and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of every portfolio. She would make mincemeat of this upstart. Key, it turned out, had been hiding his light under a bushel. He was aggressive, interruptive and in his element. Helen lost the first debate and we had to regroup.

Why is this relevant? Because David Shearer could not hold a candle to Helen Clark as a debater. That is why I say Key will crucify him in any face to face debate. It’s already happening in Parliament.

So here’s what I think should happen: Shearer should announce at the Labour Party Conference that he has told caucus he wishes to step down as leader and will do so as soon as a replacement has been chosen.  To avoid the inevitable chaos (and possible collapse of the Labour Party) which will  result from the implementation of their proposed new rules for choosing a leader (which could be tested as early as February of next year), caucus should quickly select David Cunliffe to take them through the next election. Cunliffe is the only person for the job. There is no-one else.

I’d be interested to know why Brian thinks it couldn’t be Grant Robertson or even Andrew Little?

UPDATE: Lynn Prentice has also called for Shearer to go.

I should clarify something relating to my earlier post. I never suggested The Standard has a group view on Shearer. I know each author is independent. What I focused on is the fact that two (now three) of the most longest serving and prolific authors have all called for Shearer to go – BEFORE he even gets to the first party conference. The fact a couple of other authors have disagreed does not change the significance of this.

My statement that this was no coincidence was not referring to a co-ordinated effort between The Standard authors as a bloc. I meant that it was being co-ordinated by one or more MPs who have chosen to try and force the issue before conference.

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59 Responses to “Edwards joins the chorus calling for Shearer to resign”

  1. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    “Misa is the finest columnist in the country.” Bahahahahahahaha.

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  2. smttc (638 comments) says:

    Yes EWS, I nearly choked on my Subway.

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  3. Pete George (21,812 comments) says:

    They won’t (or shouldn’t if they have learnt anything from past mistakes) consider replacing two-years-Shearer with one-year-Little.

    Grant is a possibility, but he is seen by the Labour activists as a major part of the Shearer problem. Unless he could win over the L:abour caucus and build from there it would be a battle from the activists who have already had a gutsful.

    As distatesful as it may be to some in caucus they really have to give Cunliffe a go if they want to break out of their current chaos. That won’t be without major risks but the alternative risks are greater.

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  4. Elaycee (4,067 comments) says:

    Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational, considered in her judgements.

    Memo to: Mr. Brian Edwards.
    Can you please ask the nice people in white coats to check your meds.
    I suspect someone has swapped your Prozac for Tic Tacs. :P

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  5. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational,

    Wow, he can say that with a straight face?

    Her politics are to the liberal left

    To the left? Yet Slater is far right… Where do these people hang out to get these perspectives?

    Is there an iPredict for Helen Clark coming home and sweeping all these idiots out? She’d be back in charge in a flash I imagine.

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  6. Pete George (21,812 comments) says:

    There was some discussion on The Standard last week about why Shearer was scheduled to speak last, some thought that was unusual.

    Where they already planning to try and run the conference as best they could, and for Shearer to announce at the end that he would stand down?

    It would be a lame duck conference if it started leaderless.

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  7. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    I find it baffling that Labour gave Phil Goff three years as Leader

    Shearer obviously doesn’t have Helen on speed dial.

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  8. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    labrator – We’re safe. The trough is altogether too small, and insufficiently jewel-encrusted for her.

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  9. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational, considered in her judgements.

    Well Edwards, clearly not having read any of her columns, seriously undermines his credibility in the rest of his message. Even at 78-speed no one who has read Misa is going to be fooled by that spin.

    He is nought but a Cunliffe shill. These whole proceedings are nothing more than the Cunliffe activists wishing (publicly) really hard to try to make it come true. They a looking for a bloodless coup because they know they would struggle to win a battle in caucus, let alone the party as a whole under the proposed rule changes – hence why Edwards calls for them to ignore the new rules they may vote in and simply have the caucus endorse Cunliffe under the old rules to avoid “the possible collapse of the Labour Party.”

    It is so transparent as to claim the mantle of ‘infantile’ which Edwards attempted to place upon those who did not support his chosen Cunliffe last year.

    If a challenge was made under the proposed new rules, Little would have to be a clear favourite given the power of the unions under that model. Robertson will have to find a way to act sooner. He could mount a challenge as a ‘compromise’ candidate between Shearer and Cunliffe; the ‘loyal’ deputy taking over from the failed boss. Conceivably, he could, reading the same tea leaves as Edwards, Misa and others, try to cosy up to Cunliffe as his deupty, which might give him another chance prior to the election to take over if [when] the public shuns the Cunliffe persona.

    I’d be interested to know why Brian thinks it couldn’t be Grant Robertson or even Andrew Little?

    I suggest because the facts would not fit the story he wants to present. No other reason.

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  10. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Labour don’t really care about their election chances, its all about factions and which faction holds the power within the party and obviously the faction that wants Shearer removed is the faction he is not close to. Anytime they do get re-elected will just be a bonus and a fluke

    labour have never given a fuck about the people of NZ its always been about them, nothing different here.

    They are arseholes even though Damien O’Connor is in the wrong party, just like Jim Sutton was

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  11. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    I’d be interested to know why Brian thinks it couldn’t be Grant Robertson or even Andrew Little?

    I’d be interested to know why DPF constantly holds Robertson in high regard on his blog when Robertson has achieved sweet fuck all in all his time in Parliament.

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  12. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    “so no one has blood on their hands”

    No way. In the inimitable words of Hans Moleman “we paid for blooood!”

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  13. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    @Jimmy,

    DPF has been less complimentary of Robertson of late – even pointing out that he is MIA on fulfilling the deputy’s role and leading effective strategy for the party.

    Some might suggest he has seen the light.

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  14. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    LOL watching the Socialists implode. What a sordid bunch of back stabbing bitching morons they are. Looks like the Nats are safe for another term come 2014 as the Greens/NZ1 eat into the Socialists support. Watcha bet they drop below 30 points in the next round of polls.

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  15. BillODrees (82 comments) says:

    There is not a concert effort by a number of Labour MPs to de-stabilise the leadership.

    There is a lot of work going into making sure that the new rules make the party more effective.

    New leadership selection processes and trigger points are part of the debate at the weekend Conference.

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  16. Cunningham (746 comments) says:

    Shearer is definitely a dead man walking (poor bastard but they ain’ called the nasty party for nothing)! Unlike most people on here (who are showing arrogance by writing him off) I would not be so confident against Cunliffe. He may be percieved amongst people who follow politics as a slimy bastard (which I personally think he is) but he can and will reinvent himself for the public if given the leadership. Debating wise he can match Key and with all the issues so far, he would be formidable. Write him off at your peril.

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  17. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    BillODrees,

    It certainly sounds like their will be much debating about “triggers” over the weekend. And beyond.

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  18. In Vino Veritas (136 comments) says:

    Misa is so much a charitable critic, that in calling for Shearer to be deposed, she leaves Labour with pretty much the most devisive and least charitable options for leader – Cunliffe or Little, both rabid ideologues. If Robertson get’s the leadership, he will be a mouthpiece for those two.
    On Clarke v Key debates, Clarke didnt just lose, she was pureed, eaten and spat out.

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  19. Pete George (21,812 comments) says:

    New leadership selection processes and trigger points are part of the debate at the weekend Conference.

    I’ve seen that discussed. Comments have been made about the suggested 66% required to trigger a leadership challenge, and how that would virtually cement any leader in place until they chose to step down.

    Maybe the current campaign is a rehearsal for what that would mean – hounding a leader until they stepped down.

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  20. David Garrett (5,134 comments) says:

    PEB: I agree. In fact one of the most disturbing things I learned during my short political career was that it is clearly TRUE – at first I thought it was just rhetoric from the right – that the socialists actually want to keep a whole group in society poor and reliant on the state, i.e. them. That is truly dreadful.

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  21. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Why can’t they just go with something clean and simple, like the classic National party Coup by numbers?

    Shipley: A majority of caucus wants me for leader Jim. Get the fuck out.

    Bolger: :-(

    [Bolger Leaves]

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  22. Tom Barker (92 comments) says:

    Judging by David Garrett’s comment “the socialists actually want to keep a whole group in society poor and reliant on the state, i.e. them”, it is no surprise at all that his political career was indeed so short. A blessing for the country.

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  23. JeffW (303 comments) says:

    Although many above have said this already, but I just have to add my bit about Misa – she is truly awful. When NZ is bankrupt and welfare has to be cut, Misa can be proud that she will have made a good contribution to that sorry state. She is reason enough never to touch the Herald, even without the other rubbish that’s in the rag.

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  24. Key is our man (522 comments) says:

    “That is why I say Key will crucify him in any face to face debate. It’s already happening in Parliament” – God please don’t let the Labourers change Shearer. He is the best that has happened to National…..

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  25. tvb (3,941 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is the best option for leader if the Labour Party is serious about the next election. But the labour caucus is a funny beast and they took the soft option with Shearer. Now they gave to get serious.

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  26. thedavincimode (6,119 comments) says:

    There is not a concert effort by a number of Labour MPs to de-stabilise the leadership.

    Thanks Cunners. Likey winner for November’s Tui billboard.

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  27. In Vino Veritas (136 comments) says:

    Tom B. What Garrett said is pretty much true. Labour wouldnt exist if not for the poor. “The vice of capitalism is that it stands for the unequal sharing of blessings; whereas the virtue of socialism is that it stands for the equal sharing of misery” Churchill. And that sums it up.

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  28. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    This has been done to death before!

    Shearer, the ‘wounded underdog’, is being placed into the publics mind for the next election, simply by pretending that the ‘faceless men’ want to ‘stab him in the back’!

    Labour are just making Shearer out to be ‘the peoples man’ – A Labor faction pulled this same stunt with Krudd to put in a leadership challenge – except he WAS stabbed in the back!

    It didn’t work for Krudd, so it certaily won’t work for Shearer!

    P.S Wait for a HUGE speech by Shearer – it’s all part of the plan folks! :cool:

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  29. Paulus (2,296 comments) says:

    Misery Misa is on eof the best examples of a miserable person.
    Weekly she bbitches on about everything and nothing of importance except her own.
    She has an axe to grind when she lost her sweet earner Government sinecure role with something or another – something to do with Broadcasting I think, so she will do all she can to get back on the pig again in the next Green/Labour/Winston government in 2014.

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  30. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    I meant to add to my last post -

    “It’s all they’ve got!” :cool:

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  31. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Tom Barker#

    “….Judging by David Garrett’s comment “the socialists actually want to keep a whole group in society poor and reliant on the state, i.e. them”, it is no surprise at all that his political career was indeed so short. A blessing for the country….’

    Yep, Labour did give THEIR voters the 40hr working week, paid sick days, paid holidays – 40 fucken years ago!

    But in THEIR last 9yrs of government – all THEIR voters got was a measly increase in WELFARE payments!

    The Labour Party should be re-badged as – The Sloth Party! :cool:

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  32. mara (639 comments) says:

    I read Tapu(so much suffering, so little time) Misa just to be reminded why socialists must be kept out of Government. Don’t let her piety fool you that her message isn’t ruinous.

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  33. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    Wasn’t it Edwards who masterminded the “It’s about trust” campaign for Clark… talk about spin failure… People still take him seriously ???????

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  34. Souvlaki (23 comments) says:

    Edwards appeared to be a complete turkey the other week on TV, when discussing Whale editing the Truth……whatever ‘nous’ he may ( or may not) have had in the past has certainly deserted him !
    Burt (5730) is right……I say Labour should run with Edwards advice :-)

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  35. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Let them knock themselves out……………

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  36. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,668 comments) says:

    Nothing better encapsulates all that is wrong with The Left than this gem:-

    “To avoid the inevitable chaos (and possible collapse of the Labour Party) which will result from the implementation of their proposed new rules for choosing a leader (which could be tested as early as February of next year), caucus should quickly select ….”

    These fools just can’t see how stupid and duplicitous they are.

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  37. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    “I’d be interested to know why Brian thinks it couldn’t be Grant Robertson or even Andrew Little?”

    Andrew Little comes across as a thin lipped patrician on television, it’s as if he is attempting to impersonate Police Association president Greg O’Connor.

    Grant Robertson is too far right to be acceptable. I think most on the left regard, what the MSM euphemistically describes as, ‘the centre’ as a corporate construct tailored to encompass the likes of Grant. The charade is wearing thin.

    The main problem Shearer has is he always looks like a beaten man on TV, he kinda reminds me of ‘good ol’ Gill’ off The Simpsons trying to pick himself up after yet another failure.

    Cunliffe seems the only rational choice.

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  38. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    If Cunliffe appears the rational choice, A,B and D can’t have been on the exam paper

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  39. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    “If Cunliffe appears the rational choice, A,B and D can’t have been on the exam paper”

    When it comes to fronting up to the media A,B and D are not in the same league.

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  40. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Labour has had supercillious and smarmy (and gutless in the end) and he was called Lange, a very forgettable politician who was nothing without Douglas and others.

    With Cunliffe all you get is the supercilliousness and smarmyness but he has no talent behind to do anything.

    Ergo ,Labour are rooted for another term at least. Their only option is to drop the working man tag and come out totally as the party of the inner city liberal and stop pretending they give a fuck about the inner city poor who are used only for photo op’s and dragged out on election day.

    Having just spoken with my mother I can assure you they have lost the traditional labour voter i.e people who have supported them since the 1950′s but now believe they have nothing to offer them.

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  41. thedavincimode (6,119 comments) says:

    She was ’Minister for Everything’ and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of every portfolio.

    Edwards confirms what everyone perceived. Klerk was a control freak and trusted no one (Herr Dokter excepted perhaps) to do their jobs properly. Stark contrast to Key’s corporate model.

    The cloying embrace of her Ministers was enjoyed at Joe Bloggs level too.

    So how would Klerk’s ministers have performed under the Key model? Looking at them in opposition, it would have been very funny. And the silver lining in the black cloud of a Liarwhore gummint is that unlike Klerk, neither Mr Invisible or Cunners will be able to control them.

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  42. nasska (9,519 comments) says:

    How true Davinci….if the back stabbing for the role of Leader of Her Majesty’s Hopeless Opposition seems excessive there’ll be blood flowing down the front steps of Parliament if the winner ever becomes PM.

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  43. David Garrett (5,134 comments) says:

    PEB: But who is your mother going to vote for instead? The Great Charlatan? Or is she a “green” oldie? Hard to know which is worse…

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  44. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Probably the drunken dwarf but you can’t kill em anymore evidently

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  45. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    DG,

    I suggest PEB’s mother might well vote for Shane Jones, but there is bugger all chance she’ll get the opportunity.

    Unless it’s for NZ First maybe…

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  46. thedavincimode (6,119 comments) says:

    Good call hudson, but I’ve always assumed eastbay’s mother would already have her residency.

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  47. thor42 (773 comments) says:

    “And the silver lining in the black cloud of a Liarwhore gummint is that unlike Klerk, neither Mr Invisible or Cunners will be able to control them.”
    Very true, davincimode!

    Heck – if Labour manage to somehow snatch a win in 2014, **surely** they will only be in for one term? It would be utter chaos! There is no-one on the left with an iron fist to keep them in control.
    If they did get in, I would not be surprised to see **another** Labour leadership challenge before the 2017 election – they are *that* nervous.

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  48. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    …he kinda reminds me of ‘good ol’ Gill’ off The Simpsons trying to pick himself up after yet another failure.

    +1 internets to you, sir.

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  49. niggly (779 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for Labour to dump Roberston and install Cunliffe as Shearer’s deputy?

    To me, Robertson doesn’t resonate outside of the beltway (and not that this is about Robertson becoming Leader anymore – but even if he did those outside the beltway would either think “Grant who?” or have issues with his Helen Mk2 agendas).

    Cunliffe, would make a better attack dog (compared to passive-agressive background maneovering Robertson) and back up the smile and waving Shearer.

    It would seem more effective from my perspective …

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  50. hj (5,692 comments) says:

    Edwards is a fat head. I heard him say that he couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to retire. i was under the house putting in underfloor insulation at the time.

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  51. Liberty (212 comments) says:

    Bloodless
    That is a bit of a joke.
    Shearer has been knifed in the back all day by the party faithful.
    Normally the dirty deed is done by caucus .
    It appears the Labour caucus is too spineless.

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  52. Pete George (21,812 comments) says:

    Shearer standing down, Cunliffe to lead Labour

    After intense pressure and speculation in media reports and across policitical blogs it will announced this week that David Shearer will step down as leader of the Labour Party. It is expected he will be given the Education spokesmanship and will be an important member of Labour’s front bench.

    David Cunliffe will take over as leader of Labour. It is acknowledged that he isn’t popular with everyone but the Labour caucus has finally accepted that they need to work together with a common purpose and end their factional division. Cunliffe will retain his Economic Development role.

    Grant Robertson will remain as deputy leader. This is to retain some continuity and experience in the leadership of the party and help bridge the factional divide.

    More speculation.

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  53. Manolo (12,625 comments) says:

    I agree with you, P.G. Silent T has a much bigger chance to win the election than the inarticulate Shearer.

    God defend NZ against a coalition of socialists and Luddites in 2014. A distinct possibility if the National Party doesn’t wake up.

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  54. Pete George (21,812 comments) says:

    I’m not a fan of Cunliffe but a leadre doesn’t have to be liked, they have to be effective.

    Some denials that could be open to interpretation:

    Deputy leader Mr Robertson said he had no intention of challenging Mr Shearer and dismissed the criticism, saying Labour was doing well and closing the gap with National.

    “I’m backing David 100 per cent.”

    David Cunliffe, who lost in the leadership contest against Mr Shearer last year and was perceived to have more support among the members, said Mr Shearer had his support as leader. Asked if he would run for the leadership again he said,”Crikey dick – I haven’t crossed that bridge at all. I am very clear that our leader has my support.”

    He said Labour had a lot of “weighty matters” to get through, including a modernisation process.

    From Shearer plays down leadership row - denial?

    Mr Shearer said the spate of calls consisted of “a small circle of bloggers feeding off each other and I’m surprised the media is taking it seriously. It’s nonsense.”

    He said Labour had halved the gap in the polls between Labour and National since the last election.

    That is fobbing off – or totally out of touch with reality.

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  55. Nostalgia-NZ (4,688 comments) says:

    Do you feel like one of a small ‘circle of bloggers’ that are feeding of each other Pete?

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  56. Pete George (21,812 comments) says:

    N-NZ – no, I see myself as an outside-the-circle blogger. I’m certainly outside The Standard squares.

    And I’m seeing MSM, a significant number of bloggers and a more significant number of blog commenters staring openly at the obvious – Shearer is not up to leading Labour out of their mess.

    Like him or not the least risky option is to have Cunliffe leading, and retain Robertson as deputy for continuity and bridging the faction divide.

    But I wouldn’t bank on Labour to do what’s sensible and logical – and virtually essential. They have been more inclined to keep repeating mistakes.

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  57. Nostalgia-NZ (4,688 comments) says:

    I personally think if Labour move against their leader so soon after electing him they’ll give an impression of still being flighty and unsettled Pete. Rather than appearing to be ‘leaving’ Shearer out on a limb if they consolidate behind him, he’ll continue to gain confidence and the public perception of a functioning alternative Government will take hold. The idea of tossing out discards in an effort to find a strong leader is simplistic.

    However factions, destructive as they are, often feed on themselves without realising. What we are seeing is a settled Government and a factional opposition. In the sense of metaphor there are traitors in the camp who think they are invisible to the public and not having creating an image of showing an unsettled party 2 years out from an election.

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  58. Pete George (21,812 comments) says:

    N-NZ – when Shearer was appointed leader many said “give him a year and then decide”. It’s about a year, and getting this sorted prior to the conference so they can use the platform to launch forward makes a lot of sense.

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  59. Nostalgia-NZ (4,688 comments) says:

    Or another view Pete is that it is an admission that Labour at the moment are a weak party and must be seen to have a high polling leader, so they are looking out for the answer that is contained within.

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