Ranking Labour’s frontbench

November 16th, 2012 at 4:15 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald Vice Political Editor Claire Trevett profiles and ranks the front bench performance. The scores:

  • Grant Robertson 8
  • Phil Twyford 8
  • David Cunliffe 7
  • Maryan Street 6
  • David Parker 6
  • Jacinda Ardern 6
  • David Shearer 6
  • Clayton Cosgrove 5
  • Nanaia Mahuta 4
  • Su’a William Sio 3
  • Shane Jones – Hon Mention
I didn’t realise Sio was on their front bench!
The Camp Robertsons and Camp Cunliffes will be pleased with their ratings.
As with National’s rankings, I thought a few were on the generous side, but not much to disagree with in terms of the relative scores here.
The Dom Post editorial is on Shearer:
When Party members gather in Auckland tonight for the opening of their annual conference, the one topic on everyone’s lips will be the one topic that is not on the agenda paper: David Shearer’s leadership. …
To say Mr Shearer’s first 11 months in the job have been underwhelming is an understatement. Confronted by television cameras and microphones, he is rendered incoherent unless he has previously learnt his lines, no one has got a clue what Labour stands for and his senior MPs are being allowed to idle away their days. It is no surprise, therefore, that supporters of defeated leadership candidate David Cunliffe continue to agitate on his behalf, or that Mr Cunliffe continues to make pronouncements that fuel speculation about his intentions. ….
The choice for Labour is between a green leader who is struggling, a proven ministerial performer who is disliked by his colleagues and two unknown quantities.

In the circumstances, the best course is to do nothing, until Mr Cunliffe wins the trust of his colleagues or one or the other of Mr Shearer, Mr Robertson or Mr Little articulates a vision that voters can buy into.

I am sure vision statements are being worked on!

at Scoop also writes:

 With that limited agenda, all Shearer can hope to achieve this weekend is to offer the party re-assurance that he can be a competent steward of (a) the internal democratization of the party (b) Labour’s core values and (c) his own parliamentary caucus.

That last one is going to be hardest. This Labour caucus deserves to hang together and not just its leader, separately. If Shearer has under-achieved, so has his team – not only vis-à-vis the government, but in comparison to the Greens. At the same time, the likes of Shane Jones have been allowed to run amuck across the portfolio areas of his own colleagues, in order to launch wild attacks on the one coalition partner that Labour desperately needs in order to govern.

If Shearer wants to convince the country that he has steel in his backbone, he could start by whipping his own caucus into line, and requiring them to lift their game. Right now…does anyone really think that the Labour front bench would be performing any better, and would be any more internally united, under a David Cunliffe or a Grant Robertson? Not really. Currently, Labour’s problems ran far deeper than the man at the top, and shuffling the leadership deck now would be cosmetic. The evaluation should come in May of next year. That will have given Shearer a further three months in Parliamentary battle to define himself and to get traction – while still leaving any new leader about 16 months before the next election.

I agree May 2013 is a fairer date to evaluate how things are going, rather than between now and the scheduled vote in February 2013.

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23 Responses to “Ranking Labour’s frontbench”

  1. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    Do you really think 18 months is long enough to get up to speed as leader, win the confidence of and sort out a dysfunctional caucus, and prepare for and run an election campaign?

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  2. Reid (16,522 comments) says:

    If I were Shearer instead of a speech I’d make a whole lot of stage sets of wrecked buildings and narrow alleyways and put on a gripping play about how I’d conquered whichever hell hole it was when I was in the UN. I’d play the main part and the ending sees me astride the smoking ruins with a broadsword and kilt, standing heroically on the pile of tory enemies. That’d be much better than a stupid speech.

    If Shearer wants to convince the country that he has steel in his backbone, he could start by whipping his own caucus into line, and requiring them to lift their game.

    Let’s hope one of the sessions is where the entire Front Bench get led out in school shorts to get caned by the delegates.

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  3. Fisiani (1,040 comments) says:

    https://www.labour.org.nz/sites/labour.org.nz/files/2012-Policy-Remits-Final.pdf

    Please let them pass these remits. I would love to fight 2014 with Labour saddled with that Socialist baggage.

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  4. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    I know he’s not on the front bench, but I’d have given honarary mention to Hipkins too. He’s had the better of Parata and now Foss for months.

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  5. Redbaiter (9,123 comments) says:

    My ranking of Claire Trevett as a “journalist”..

    Minus 5 million.

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  6. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    As I recall in the last electoral cycle, the early concerns over Goff’s leadership and Labour’s polling were dismissed as “it’s too early to say that he/they couldn’t turn it around.”

    Then it became “too late in the cycle to replace him with another leader.”

    Then, of course, all the pretenders took a great step backward so there was no one with the resolve to take on the change that was clearly needed as the election approached.

    Can they afford to allow the same thing to happen again? Perhaps the only person who might stand to benefit from another election loss is Andrew Little; his elevation to the leadership would be guaranteed at that point. (In fact, it is all but guaranteed from Feb 2013 – it is then just a question of whether he strikes in Feb ’14, or after the election loss.)

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  7. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    bhudson – if they keep Shearer on and crash in the 2014 election how keen do you think they will be to put someone else in as leader with just a term of experience?

    Ah, hang on, you may be right, Labour don’t seem good at avoiding repeating mistakes.

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  8. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    My ranking of Claire Trevett as a “journalist”..

    Minus 5 million.

    Really, she’s got such nice things to say about you?

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  9. Reid (16,522 comments) says:

    That will have given Shearer a further three months in Parliamentary battle to define himself and to get traction – while still leaving any new leader about 16 months before the next election.

    Hooray. 19 months of fun watching it just get worse and worse and worse. Oh dear!

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  10. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Pete,

    Once the proposed leadership rules are voted in the leader will pretty much be whoever the unions want. Experience will have nothing to do with it.

    The unions will have support within caucus, their affiliates votes and will also, no question, propose that union members also take up full party membership. That will give them effective control over the leadership selections. Other contenders will be relying on the unions not forming a permanent and cohesive block – divide and conquer might work on occasion.

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  11. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    bhudson – that depends if the rules pass. Maybe there’s doubt about that, hence the union/Standard attempt this week to roll Shearer and get Cunliffe in by blog blustering.

    There certainly is a battle for control, the union/Cunliffe faction versus the rest (who probably aren’t wholly united except united against Cunliffe).

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  12. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Pete,

    I think Camp Cunliffe are certain the rules will pass and that is why they are agitating for change before Feb ’13.

    Edwards’ post the other day was just soooo transparent when he claimed the caucus should endorse Cunliffe under the old rules to avoid a possible collapse of the party.

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  13. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    She’s been very generous to Jacinda Ardern who really hasn’t scored a significant hit against Paula Bennett yet, even with the WINZ kiosk fiasco. Listening to Ardern this week, there’s a real loathing for Bennett that comes out in her questioning. Some see her as a future leader of Labour, but she has a long way to go before that could be considered.

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  14. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    I think several ratings are generous.

    I expected the Labour front bench to have been far more effective than what we have seen to date – and let’s fact it, they’ve had a lot of opportunities to embarrass the Government but have failed to score many political hits. Instead, there appears to be too much posturing and positioning on show between the leadership contenders and a lack of a common platform across the portfolios.

    I can’t see a stand out leader within Labour’s ranks at the moment – and I really want an effective opposition that will keep National focussed on policy. The once formidable Labour party is currently dead in the water.

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  15. Fisiani (1,040 comments) says:

    An eight for Grant (I polished up the handles so carefully) Robertson is so hard to believe. (HMS Pinafore reference)

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  16. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    She is taking the piss right? how can anyone of them sit above a 4?

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  17. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    How did Cosgrove get on the board at all? None of the general public have a clue who he is, and Collins wipes the floor with him in the house…

    Ah, Mr Williams…welcome back…got those grounds at the TAFE looking nice and neat?

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

    This is just cruel – it’s like scoring penguins for their potential for joining the Royal ballet.

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  19. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    ‘Keeping Stock (8,323) Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 5:20 pm
    She’s been very generous to Jacinda Ardern who really hasn’t scored a significant hit against Paula Bennett yet, even with the WINZ kiosk fiasco. Listening to Ardern this week, there’s a real loathing for Bennett that comes out in her questioning. Some see her as a future leader of Labour, but she has a long way to go before that could be considered.’

    You must have been asleep Keeping Stock. Bennett informing the public of a few hundred job vacancies to state that there were jobs out there if people wanted them, so as to imply that there is a surplus of jobs – had far less resonance that Ardern’s reply.

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  20. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    If thats a front bench then labour is well rooted, even with my personel loathing of the labour party that collection is just embarrassing

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  21. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Meh….. meanwhile, “Pallywood” is back in Gaza….
    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/11/15/Palestinians-Caught-Faking-Injuries-For-BBC%20Cameras

    “Barely one day into the fighting in Hamas-run Gaza, the locals are hard at work playing the victim for the world’s press.

    Footage from the BBC captured by watchdog group Honest Reporting shows a heavy man lying on the ground and being carried away by residents, apparently after being injured by an Israeli attack.

    Moments later, that same man fills the frame, except he is walking about and obviously unhurt.”

    Lying ***Fakestinian bastards*** – and yet the leftwing MSM **swallows this hook, line and sinker**, as do those who vilify Israel.

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  22. Redbaiter (9,123 comments) says:

    “Really, she’s got such nice things to say about you?”

    Really?

    I didn’t even know she knew what I looked like,

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  23. Michael (910 comments) says:

    Marion Street’s score is also a surprise – for 40 years Health has been a government weak point as demand will always exceed supply in Health. But Ryall kicks ass in this area.

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