Labour leadership vote at 4 pm tomorrow

November 19th, 2012 at 3:10 pm by David Farrar

David Shearer has called an emergency caucus meeting for 4 pm tomorrow to try and shore up his wounded leadership.

There seems little doubt he will win the vote tomorrow. David Cunliffe has even said he will vote for him. I imagine the vote will be unanimous.

The real action will be after the vote. How far down the order will Cunliffe be demoted. I understand he is definitely off the front bench. Less certain is if he keeps his portfolio at all. Some MPs are understood to be urging to push Cunliffe as low as possible so that he quits politics all together.

Also of interest is will Shearer do his wider reshuffle. The talk is that some of Cunliffe’s supporters may be punished also.

Senior Whip Chris Hipkins has slammed Cunliffe:

Hipkins today hit out at Cunliffe’s ambitions and said his undermining of Labour’s collective team effort “makes it very difficult for him to continue in a senior role within [our] team”.

“At a time when we should be focused on getting out there holding the National Government to account and selling our policies and our message, David Cunliffe has been working in the shadows to undermine the current leader and prepare for a leadership challenge. That’s unacceptable.”

“If David Cunliffe wants to challenge for the leadership he should come out of the shadows and get on with it….. it is totally unacceptable to say I’ll support David Shearer for now while I work over the summer break to destabilise the leadership and get the numbers to move against him in February.

And further:

Labour MP and senior whip Chris Hipkins said Mr Cunliffe had “openly undermined the current leadership” and should either openly challenge Mr Shearer or leave.

“He’s made it clear he intends to challenge for the leadership. I think saying he’s not going to do so until February is dishonest and disingenous. He needs to bring it on.”

He said Mr Cunliffe should be open and upfront about his intentions.

“Weasel words about supporting the leader for now simply don’t cut it.”

He said Mr Cunliffe had actively undermined two leaders in a row – Mr Goff and now Mr Shearer.

“That has made it impossible for him to continue in a senior role within the Labour team.”

That is a telling comment. Hipkins is saying Cunliffe undermined Goff as well as Shearer. It’s good Labour MPs are now saying openly what they think of Cunliffe, rather than speaking off the record to Duncan Garner about him!

 

 

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40 Responses to “Labour leadership vote at 4 pm tomorrow”

  1. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    Yep, its utterly ridiculous for the leadership to be undermined so publicly.

    Cunliffe has to be sacked completely.

    Actually they should clean out all of the latte liberals, Chucky Chauvel and the rest.

    They’re not Labour people.

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  2. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    Although the silence has broken this is becoming a Cunliffe of a situation for Labour. It’s hard to see any sort of tidy solutions.

    The Standard has never been so fascinating. They are even forgetting to snipe at DPF/KB and WO.

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  3. Nostalgia-NZ (4,684 comments) says:

    ‘to try and shore up his wounded leadership’

    how about ‘to confirm his stable leadership?’

    So much excited anticipation, so little reward.

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  4. Key is our man (518 comments) says:

    None of this will have any impact on Labour. They are sleep walking to victory in 2014.

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  5. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    I suspect every position that Cunliffe and his (13?) followers are demoted will only serve to steel their resolve to take the leadership to the party in February.

    Three months in the wilderness is a small test for them – I’m sure Cunliffe could even find some biblical reference about a test from God.

    So Shearer will act like he thinks he’s in charge – and unite the opposition to him at the same time.

    Meanwhile Shane Jones will almost certainly have shifted camps. Ross Robertson looked quite happy to be with Cunliffe in the video of Cunliffe after his return some months ago.

    Which augers really badly for Grant Robertson, because if his vote is not needed he will find all of his ambition cut out from underneath him if Cunliffe wins in Feb. The strength of his loyalty was shown post-election when he switched from Parker to Shearer, which killed Parker’s challenge. I’m sure he’ll be giving his usual great deal of of thought to his own future. A switch to Cunliffe might keep some hope alive for him.

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  6. Fisiani (851 comments) says:

    If Shearer cannot defeat Cunliffe then he has no chance of defeating John Key. Shearer has to show that he is not just” a nice guy” He has to effectively neuter his opponents.

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  7. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    Sheaer does come across as a nice guy.

    Cunliffe comes across as an arrogant latte liberal and the thought of him as PM is almost enough to make one consider voting for National.

    When he first entered the house and Labour was in control he showed complete contempt for democracy, in totally refusing to answer any questions from the opposition. Completely ignorant of the fact that no matter what he may thing of them, they do represent a large sector of NZ voters.

    He’s just another ignorant liberal of the kind that has taken the Labour party far from their working class roots.

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  8. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    He’s just another ignorant liberal of the kind that has taken the Labour party far from their working class roots.

    Ironic that he’s the one cosying up to the union faction (and them to him). It always looked like a marriage of convenience at best.

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  9. George Patton (330 comments) says:

    There are two winners from this stoush and its events.

    1. John Key
    2. Chris Hipkins

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  10. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    Someone in Labour needs to get more strategic. What they are doing is almost certain to have the opposite of the result that many are professing to want – although may that is the secret strategy.

    What is Cunliffe supposed to do other than undermine? Nobody in politics ever launches a frontal assault unless they already have the numbers. But they only get the numbers by undermining.

    By calling a vote and pushing Cunliffe to the back benches they increase his destabilisation, as the only way he can get media time is to keep the pressure on. At least with a front bench position he’s in the public eye. Pushing his supporters as well just cements them on as his supporters, as their only hope of rehabilitation is if he gets to be leader. Also, given how shallow the talent pool in Labour is, demoting even one talented person has to hurt.

    I would have thought the math goes a bit like this:
    1. With the 40% caucus threshold in Feb, it will go to a party vote in Feb. Hard to see otherwise, even if Shearer was a rock star between now and then
    2. Shearer won’t win when it goes to a party vote, unless they use some obscure voting rules that let him come through the middle again. I doubt they’ll make that mistake twice
    3. Those who pick their sides now will be rewarded when the revolution comes. So there is an advantage in moving fast.
    4. For Grant Robertson, the maths might be different. If he holds out till the last minute, then accepts the right position for coming across (and cementing the deal) he comes out well. If he comes across now, they might give the deputy position to someone else when they need to seal the deal later

    This doesn’t look to me at the moment like a process that is thought through – Shearer’s supporters are reacting, not controlling. They need to look to Julia Gillard to see how to fight off a strong challenger. What she did was ruthless – demoting him to force a challenge before he was ready, then portraying him as the disloyal one. Maybe they’re trying that same playbook without realising that you have to tailor to the situation.

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  11. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    Could wait until parliament sits again on the 27th? or at the very least agreed to meet by teleconference? seems an incredible waste of taxpayers $$$ for the whole motely crew to fly off to Wellington at the last minute for this charade!

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  12. Alan Johnstone (908 comments) says:

    Machiavelli wrote that you should either treat a man with kindness or utterly destroy him. That would appear to be germane here.

    Do we all accept that if it goes to a vote with the wider organization in the 40 / 40 / 20 set up then David C wins ?

    So, we’re left with Shearer trying to deny those who pay the bills (members and affiliated organizations) a vote; in the medium term that is doomed. If David C has the numbers in the electoral then eventually he must win. The MPS can’t hold it off forever; they’d be better off making their peace with their new leader.

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  13. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    You’re very coherent today Russell…

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  14. mara (639 comments) says:

    Traditional labour voters are telling me that they see Cunliffe as a cowardly, backstabbing narcissist and want no part of him but they have no say in this process. (Learned helplessness perhaps.) Shearer is daily looking better and better to them .

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  15. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    Do we all accept that if it goes to a vote with the wider organization in the 40 / 40 / 20 set up then David C wins?

    Not necessarily. David C would have won on that basis during the leadership contest last year, but especially with all the manouverings and deceits over the last two weeks I wouldn’t guarantee anything.

    The affilliate 20% would probably still back David C (it’s possible not all of it) but 2/3 of the party 40% along with 2/3 of the caucus 40% would do it for Shearer without any affiliate support.

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  16. RF (1,128 comments) says:

    Is Hipkins trying to collect brownie points from Shearer by being his attack dog.

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  17. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    Shearer is daily looking better and better to them.

    Less worse perhaps.

    It’s clear at The Standard and Tumeke that there’s still activist support for Cunliffe abd they think he’s being unfairly blamed and unfairly treated.

    And they are spitting about Shearer not understanding the rank and file angst that led to the voting result on Saturday to take power from the caucus they think ignores them, and about Shearer ignoring democratic processes and getting officious.

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  18. Alan Johnstone (908 comments) says:

    “Not necessarily. David C would have won on that basis during the leadership contest last year, but especially with all the manouverings and deceits over the last two weeks I wouldn’t guarantee anything.” –

    But wasn’t the election last year conducted under the present (soon to be old) rules just amongst the caucus ? Sure they did roadshows to members, but there was only 34 votes iirc. Agree you can never be sure of anything.

    “You’re very coherent today Russell…” – ????

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  19. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    Alan – yes, last year’s selection was conducted under the old rules. But they consulted with the members who are believed to have favoured Cunliffe, but then the caucus overruled them and chose Shearer. That is a major motivation behind the change, to take some control off caucus and give it back to the rank and file.

    So Saturday a fractious debate led to the changes being ratified, favouring members and affiliates and also favouring Cunliffe. Hence there are accusations that the ‘old guard’ have stirred up the Cunliffe debate to try and deal to him before the new rules can be used in February.

    Those accusations suggest Cunliffe has done little but smile, and others have been blaming him for the trouble to force a showdown.

    “You’re very coherent today Russell…” – ????

    Redbaiter said something insightful rather than inciteful today.

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  20. BillODrees (82 comments) says:

    Ardern – list
    Cosgrove -list
    Fenton -list
    Jones -list
    Little -list
    Parker -list
    Street -list
    Twyford -handed a safe seat
    Hipkins -handed a safe seat
    Shearer -handed a safe seat

    Cunliffe -slogged hard to take a seat (Titirangi) from National.

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  21. Alan Johnstone (908 comments) says:

    “Redbaiter said something insightful rather than inciteful today.” Really ? Wow.

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  22. Nick K (916 comments) says:

    It seems Cunliffe has followed Heather Roy’s text: “Failed Coups, 101.”

    In both cases duplicity and dishonesty have no restrictions, and loyalty to the party that got you where you are/were is completely overlooked.

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  23. Nostalgia-NZ (4,684 comments) says:

    Pete George:

    ‘It’s clear at The Standard and Tumeke that there’s still activist support for Cunliffe abd they think he’s being unfairly blamed and unfairly treated.’

    I can’t see how he’s been unfairly blamed for anything. From what I’ve read on here The Standard and Tumeke were pushing his horse all week, and he was obviously quite happy with that. He didn’t predict the backlash, he can only blame himself for that. And for The Standard to openly agitate then act with apparent affront is pure comedy. They have possibly inadvertently, along with Cunnliffe, given both Labour and Shearer’s chances in 2014 a boost. They were trying to ‘tighten the reins in their own favour, the electorate could well see their failure to do that as a reason not to be concerned about a potentially militant franchise. For all their myopic efforts their endeavours could have given the Nats the chance to say Labour were now union controlled and that Cunnliffe was their puppet – something he didn’t apparently consider.

    ‘And they are spitting about Shearer not understanding the rank and file angst that led to the voting result on Saturday to take power from the caucus they think ignores them, and about Shearer ignoring democratic processes and getting officious.’

    Bad luck for them, pays not to self-congratulate before the job is done or get knocked out shadow boxing in front of a mirror.

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  24. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    And for The Standard to openly agitate then act with apparent affront is pure comedy.

    Yes, there’s a real ironies there .

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  25. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    Looking at the activity on The Standard today:

    War and Peace By: James Henderson – 8:05 am, November 19th, 2012 – 63 comments
    Shearer’s speech By: notices and features – 12:50 pm, November 19th, 2012 – 6 comments
    Shearer or Labour? By: Bill – 12:58 pm, November 19th, 2012 – 86 comments
    Cunliffe has overplayed his hand By: Guest post – 1:52 pm, November 19th, 2012 – 82 comments

    What speech?

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  26. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    NN-Z,

    Bad luck for them, pays not to self-congratulate before the job is done or get knocked out shadow boxing in front of a mirror.

    Keep trying for Trev. Tomorrow is the start of the “phony war.” The real battle is in Feb. And judging by the numbers from the post-election challenge, Shearer is staring down the barrel of the leadership being put to the party under the new rules.

    Then those activists and other members will get to have their voices heard.

    Meanwhile Shearer will be reflecting on the possibility of a role in a Toyota ad…

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  27. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    bhudson- if Shearer gets ahead of the game tomorrow, then Cunliffe won’t have the chance to make a comeback.’E's for the high jump.

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/11/early-labour-leadership-vote-threw-it.html

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

    I think that Cunliffe will have to accept a wilderness role, whether he wishes to re-invent himself or ingratiate himself and gather a clique around him. He isn’t dangerous enough to merit being handled with kid gloves. I also think his remora fish [did you hear the sheer hypocracy of Louisa Wall today?] will slip into the background.

    I think also The Standard is almost like a litmus test of sanity in politics. If it’s recommended or promoted at The Standard, you can almost bet the house on it being the rantings of a deluded narcissist.

    If you have a hard time accepting it is run by deluded narcissists, and wish to see if my assertion can be proven, go over there and try to challenge them about – oh just about any thing really.

    Having said that, KB has its share of such types too, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh.

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  29. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    No Monique. All Shearer and his caucus supporters can do is demote Cunliffe and his followers. They cannot expel him from caucus. I think the party council could do that, but I doubt they would agree to act ahead of Feb – they value their positions too much.

    So a damp squib of a leadership endorsement tomorrow and it is game on for summer, culminating in skewering for one of them in Feb.

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  30. stepheng (24 comments) says:

    Since the underlying problem for Labour right now is that it’s trapped between a very centrist National and a tacked-towards-the-center Green party, is there any chance that after the inevitable rebuke tomorrow Cunliffe (possibly with company) walks to the Greens?

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  31. Mark (1,301 comments) says:

    Hipkins has played his cards here. He has had a pretty good couple of months with standing in for Mahuta, dealing to Parata and now firing shots at Cunliffe. Looking for promotion in the next shuffle I expect

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  32. Alan Johnstone (908 comments) says:

    @stepheng, no, zero chance at all.

    He has a core of support with the members, ESP in Auckland and the unions that is probably enough to make him leader if he can force a vote.

    Shearer is running scared, he’s willing to call a meeting of 34 mps tomorrow to endorse his leadership, which he’ll win 34 to 0; this is done in an effort to avoid a wide vote which he loses. At some point Cunners will get his wider vote and win.

    It’s a dilemma for Shearer, if he kc

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  33. Alan Johnstone (908 comments) says:

    If he kicks Cunners to the back bench, then he has no need to stick to the party line and can articulate an alternative vision openly.

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  34. Nostalgia-NZ (4,684 comments) says:

    Very true Mark. He’s done well here in the art of mixing it and fronting up. He’s assisted in showing the depth of the leadership and its organisation. Helped to give a lesson.
    Overall the barbarians in the Labour party got their arses kicked. Some f up inward looking engineering relieved the party of undue union influence – broadening it’s appeal. Coming off the Ports and Talley strikes an observer could consider that the union, Louisa Wall got ‘over excited’ about a promised package to be delivered by a loser with gifts in exchange.

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  35. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    The Maurice Williamson of the Labour Party it would seem.

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  36. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    @NN-Z,

    Trev giving you the lines to spin?

    The fact is that the party is now in the hands of the unions.

    - 9 of 14 Labour council members come from union backgrounds
    - support in caucus, a 20% weighting in voting, plus members becoming full party members also, gives the unions control of leadership selection

    They are in the box seat. Andrew Little is not yet ready. That makes Cunliffe their man. Shearer can hear the clock ticking – just 70 days and a few hours to the real test of confidence in him.

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  37. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    “is there any chance that after the inevitable rebuke tomorrow Cunliffe (possibly with company) walks to the Greens?”

    Unlikely – because that is not the way the Green Party works. They don’t just give out parliamentary seats on the basis of deals. He could go join up – but would be subject to a list ranking by the full membership just like everybody else in the party.

    The Green’s democratic way of doing things must be looking pretty appealing to Labourites right now. They underwent a complete change of leadership with no negative impact on their polling and with no political fireworks (outside of Sue Bradford quitting when the membership rejected her for leadership which hardly seems to have hurt the party). Also – they have had a complete change of caucus in 10 years – there is not a single MP from the 1999 intake still sitting.

    Compare that to Labour – they have a number of time servers in high list rankings or safe seats who have been in parliament for decades. This is self perpetuating as the current MP’s create the next list. Goff was appointed by Helen when she lost and then Shearer was appointed by a faction backed by Goff/King/Mallard etc after they lost.

    Whether you like him or not – the chances are that Cunliffe would have won a straight up vote of the membership last year if they were allowed to vote. Instead, after a massive and wide ranging review the members of the party still only get a 40% weighted say in the leadership and have to wait till February for that….

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  38. stepheng (24 comments) says:

    @Richard29. My thought was that Cunliffe could (at least initially) just start caucusing with the Greens as MP for New Lynn, and then, in principle, at least so long as the polls continued to look good, he wouldn’t even need a list ranking. Green just becoming Left Labour being the likely end-game.

    I can’t say that having the broader party member ship + unions + god knows who helping determine leadership of a parliamentary party strikes me as at all sensible. That’s just asking for cases in which someone who does not have the confidence of a majority of caucus is chosen leader. That’s only not been a problem for the Greens thus far because they’ve had tiny parliamentary delegations (as opposed to full service shadow executives). The drive to be more broadly democratic in this area seems to me to be misplaced.

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  39. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    @stepheng
    “I can’t say that having the broader party member ship + unions + god knows who helping determine leadership of a parliamentary party strikes me as at all sensible. That’s just asking for cases in which someone who does not have the confidence of a majority of caucus is chosen leader.”

    I guess it comes down to who you think the leadership is there to serve. If the choice is between a leader popular with the caucus or one popular with the membership then the membership should win because at the end of the day the whole caucus owe their jobs to the people who voted for the party.

    I guess it’s bit like the board or shareholders appointing a CEO who would not win a majority vote of the senior management. Normally this is because they feel that the senior management need a serious cleanout or restructuring to make them perform. My understanding of the Labour Party situation is that many in the membership feel similarly about elements of their caucus.

    The 40% threshold thing that was agreed at the Labour conference makes sense. All it does is open up the leadership to a vote by the full membership – it’s not a ‘tyranny of the minority’ as one hysterical MP put it – a tyranny of the minority would have been if they’d managed to win the 55% threshold thing meaning that around 20 caucus members could appoint whoever they wanted and successfully block it from ever going to a vote by the broader membership.

    Of course the discussion is focussed only on Labour currently – but the same could well apply to the Nats when JK leaves. Lets not forget that the same kind of internal MP driven leadership selections that gave Labour Shearer and the failed Goff leadership also gave National the Bill English leadership that saw the Nats hit a historically low vote share….

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  40. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    Could someone enlighten me as to why the activist clique of the Labour Party see Cunliffe as their man? Do they actually think this or do they just see Cunliffe as an alternative to Shearer, who is not their man?

    We talk about astroturfing, where a minority portray their position as having grass-roots support, and note it’s prevalence among the left. Is that what we are seeing here??

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