Small says Labour leadership challenge in February if Shearer flops at conference

November 10th, 2012 at 11:50 am by David Farrar

writes in Dom Post:

Just short of his first anniversary as leader, delivers his first speech to a Labour Party conference next week.

But as storm clouds gather over his leadership, it is shaping as possibly his last.

Members, activists and unionists contacted for this article said over and over that the speech at the Ellerslie racecourse conference centre next Sunday was crucial to Shearer’s grip on the leadership.

His first priority is to convince the party rank and file that “he has what it takes” – and those grassroots members will be looking for a hard-hitting address taking the fight to the Government while outlining a clear and personal view of where he intends to take Labour.

Unless he can carry that off, the groundswell in the party is set to break into the open with a push for a leadership challenge, most likely when the caucus meets in February – or even sooner, according to one business lobbyist in close contact with the party.

That’s a big call.

Personally I think Shearer will do fine at the conference, which will subdue the talk. I’ve seen him do speeches, and he has few problems there. His weakness is press conferences and interviews, which are a very different challenge.

According to a senior MP, who backed Shearer in last year’s leadership vote, most inside Labour are withholding judgment until they see his performance at the conference.

But there is wide agreement Labour and Shearer will not be able to avoid a focus on his performance, not least because key business at the Ellerslie conference centre includes a revamp of party rules.

At issue is how candidates are chosen and ranked on the list – a potentiality explosive matter inside the party given the power of its union and sector group blocks.

But delegates will also vote to give unions and members a say in leadership votes. That has previously been the sole preserve of MPs in the caucus.

The draft proposal would require a two-thirds majority of MPs to trigger a leadership vote – a move that would be seen as entrenching the leader between general elections.

A rival option – to put the leadership to a vote if 40 per cent of MPs call for it – is seen as too destabilising and the party is likely to settle on the compromise of a 55 per cent threshold.

40% is too low and 67% too high, so the compromise looks sensible.

If the new rules get put in place, and then in February 55% of caucus say they want a change, we’ll see Cunliffe v Robertson for the leadership. Possible Little could stand also – not so much to win – but to become a powerbroker.

The members seem to most support Cunliffe, the unions Little and the caucus Robertson. The union support can be delivered pretty much as a bloc, so Cunliffe and Robertson will need to make some pledges to the unions to gain the leadership.

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21 Responses to “Small says Labour leadership challenge in February if Shearer flops at conference”

  1. Harriet (4,848 comments) says:

    “he has what it takes”

    Of course he does, he has all the evidence to support strengthening the Marriage Act….

    ……which are all the statistics that Labour has used to get votes in the past….

    Shearer CAN win the next election!

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  2. George Patton (348 comments) says:

    according to one business lobbyist in close contact with the party.

    Selwyn Pellett then.

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  3. Harriet (4,848 comments) says:

    “….The members seem to most support Cunliffe…”

    Well he does have the vital qualifications to be PM according to them…… You need to be a liar, a Fabian socialist, an atheist, useless in managing money, hate business, and hate success.

    Oh……and love taxes. :cool:

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  4. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    Why February? Because the working class contenders will be on their yachts or at their enormous second homes until feb.
    Downton Abbey eating roast peacock for the holidays lads. Don’t mind if I do.

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  5. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    Harriet, you forgot Multi millionaire resident of Herne Bay. Nothing liveable under 2 million in that working class suburb.

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  6. Manolo (13,571 comments) says:

    Shearer will be toast.

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  7. bhudson (4,738 comments) says:

    Perhaps more milquetoast

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  8. RF (1,380 comments) says:

    Shearer will be suffering from a sore neck as he watches out for the silent T, little & Robertson trying to sneak up behind him… Quick Look over there !!!

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  9. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    Eddie at The Standard (it’s a changed Eddie compared to a few months ago) has posted calling for Shearer’s resignation.

    On David Shearer’s Leadership

    For the Left to win in 2014, David Shearer has to resign as Labour Leader. This is a big call to make and one that I have agonised over, but the reality has become increasingly clear: under Shearer, Labour is all too likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2014. He isn’t a credible Prime Minister, and the New Zealand public won’t vote to make him one.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/on-david-shearers-leadership/

    He makes a number of points that are comonly discussed amongst TS Labourites now (of the more leftish activist variety). I agree with most of what Eddie says. A big call but Labour have to face up to the reality that Shearer is just not measuring up.

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  10. Johnboy (16,027 comments) says:

    When can we expect “The Pete and Ed Show” on prime time then PG? :)

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  11. Johnboy (16,027 comments) says:

    Everyone has their price I guess……. :)

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  12. bringbackdemocracy (425 comments) says:

    If you look at the 2011 election results, all that is required for a Labour led Government are either a small swing to the left or an increased voter turn out.

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  13. ChardonnayGuy (1,199 comments) says:

    An interesting hypothesis, David. Let’s flip that one over, though. If Brand Key starts to go stale, when will Joyce (presumably) take over, and who might his deputy be? And when is ACT going to face reality about Banks, insure that he only lasts a single term and replace him with the talented, disciplined, capable and untainted Catherine Isaacs?

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  14. Johnboy (16,027 comments) says:

    Jeeze. Say what you like. The big brains live here on KB eh Chardonnay!!!!!! :)

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  15. Redbaiter (8,528 comments) says:

    The big brains live here on KB eh Chardonnay!!!!!!

    Pffftt……..

    As if it makes any difference.

    National are a bunch of spineless appeasers who have betrayed their founding principles and provide no bulwark at all to the relentless and incrementally rising tide of leftist tyranny.

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  16. Johnboy (16,027 comments) says:

    Is there no hope then Red?

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  17. Redbaiter (8,528 comments) says:

    Is there reason for hope?

    Only if National wake up and realise exactly how evil the force they are meant to be opposing really is.

    How likely do you think that is?

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  18. Mobile Michael (445 comments) says:

    I think the problem is no Labour MP/potential leader can connect with NZers – at least from the contenders. They’re not so much paying a price for failing to renew their caucus in 2008 and 2011, but for carrying to many new MPs with potential they haven’t delivered on. From the 2008 intake only Chris Hipkins seems to be firing, from 2011 only David Clark has made waves.

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  19. Cow Cocky (18 comments) says:

    “National are a bunch of spineless appeasers…” I agree with you 100% Redbaiter. Hopeless. e.g.Unemployment up, Growth based on capitalised stocks of dairy products, growth based on fixing christchurch, pointless changes in the education system, tinkering with the welfare system, increase in gst to kill retail businesses, policy that drives the exchange rate to new heights to kill manufacturers/exporters. This National Party is the most inept government in my living memory and if they were to get another term in 2014 there wont be much left of NZ. They are not hopeless, they are fuckin hopeless.

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  20. hj (6,914 comments) says:

    Labour needs to decide density or sprawl it’s the big issue for the progressive labour voter. :roll:
    I’m tempted to think that people like Chris Trotter would advocate a tripling of wages to solve the housing affordability/ all you over there come and live here problem.

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  21. Shazzadude (526 comments) says:

    I don’t see why the Labour caucus would go for this. The polls show Labour have increased their polling since the election to the point that they’re the favourites to win the next one. A leadership coup would only give a heads-up to the electorate that the party isn’t stable, and like 2011 people will look elsewhere (whether that’s the Greens or NZF)

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