Tapu Misa on Shearer again

November 26th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in the NZ Herald:

No independent observer of Shearer’s media performances could have failed to notice his potentially fatal deficiencies.

Whatever his strengths, however nice a human being he is, he hadn’t lived up to the hype. If National was losing some of its gloss in the polls, it was no thanks to Shearer’s stumbling leadership. …

If the criticism seemed harsh and overly impatient, it has to be seen in the context of the past four years.

The party had been conspicuously united behind Phil Goff despite widely held reservations almost from the moment he assumed the leadership.

Much good that show of unity did them.

Now they were being asked to extend that faith to a political neophyte who, if anything, had fewer weapons in his arsenal.

If politics is a contest of ideas, it needs well-armed champions. …

But the reality is that whatever Cunliffe’s credentials, his thwarted leadership ambitions would have been dead if Shearer had lived up to expectations. No one would have been hankering after Cunliffe’s superior grasp of finance or communication skills. Or wondering why Shearer didn’t follow the canny lead of Helen Clark and John Key and keep his talented rival close, giving him the deputy leadership and finance portfolio.

Would this have happened if Shearer had kept Cunliffe as Finance Spokesperson? Would people be saying Russel Norman is the MP of the Year if he had been competing against Cunliffe instead of Parker?

Did Shearer’s much-praised speech silence the doubters? Was it the speech to bind all of Labour?

Those at the conference were certainly excited. I watched it on YouTube and was less smitten. Maybe you had to be there to feel the rapture.

However good, it was asking a lot of one speech. Especially when Shearer’s subsequent TV appearances show him bumbling his way through straightforward questions on Labour’s new housing policy and Cunliffe’s summary execution.

It’s nonsense to say this doesn’t matter.

There is no “rightful leader” of the Labour Party. The position isn’t Shearer’s by right, nor Cunliffe’s for that matter. It ought to be threatened if enough people feel the incumbent hasn’t earned it.

71 days to go until the next vote!

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13 Responses to “Tapu Misa on Shearer again”

  1. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    Shearer isn’t a great communicator; he’s not fast on his feet and will get murdered in the debates.

    Cunliffe is a good communicator and can clearly articulate Labour’s position; I may disagree with him on topics, but he is a good debater.

    The skills required to win an election, aren’t the same ones required to govern well.

    Labour has a choice, keep Shearer who many of them are comfortable with and lose, or they select Cunliffe who they appear to have problems with and at least be competitive. In a way it reminds me of the UK Labour party in ’94 after Smith died. People didn’t love Blair, but they spotted a majestic communicator who would win. (Not that Cunliffe is in Blairs class, but he’s the nearest they’ve got by miles)

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  2. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    ” The party had been conspicuously united behind Phil Goff despite widely held reservations almost from the moment he assumed the leadership.”

    Chris Carter ?

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  3. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > Would people be saying Russel Norman is the MP of the Year

    By people you mean John Key. :)

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  4. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    An interesting comment on Misa’s column by ‘Left in Wellington':

    Whether or not you’re a part of some grand Cunliffian plot or not, you’re parroting Camp Cunliffe talking points like you own them.

    This idea of “the old guard” vs some ephemeral other grouping just doesn’t stand up to any interrogation. By my count only two of the class of 2011 are in Cunliffe’s corner, and just two of the class of 2008.

    And while, with only one exception, the most senior members of the caucus prefer Shearer, calling his support “the old guard” does a disservice to MPs like Hipkins, Ardern, Lees-Galloway, Curran, Faafoi, Clark, Woods and Little. Unless you’re suggesting they’re all puppets and proxies for Phil and Annette?

    And as for what Cunliffe has done wrong, I guess you missed Chris Hipkins’ strident criticism of him. Hardly a whispering campaign, more a direct, explicit and exasperated outburst of anger.

    Perhaps you prefer to write that off as another personal attack orchestrated by “the old guard”. But again, I think you’d be doing Hipkins, and others who’ve hit out, a grave disservice. They know how many times they’ve been pitched by Cunliffe, Chauvel, Mackey and Moroney. They know who leaks. And they know how that affects their ability to do their jobs.

    It’s possible that both sides have been as bad as each other.

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  5. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    The Braunias ‘Secret Diary of David Cunliffe’ packs a hilarious punch.

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  6. Reid (16,442 comments) says:

    …select Cunliffe who they appear to have problems with and at least be competitive.

    And this is the great thing Alan. That even with Cunliffe, Labour aren’t competitive. Cunliffe simply can’t stop his ego shining through in everything he says and does and the camera picks it up. When he goes up against Key, most voters will perceive him to be an arrogant, smarmy tosser. I can’t wait. It’ll be great.

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  7. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    The job of the leader of the Labour Party is simply to generate a veneer of faux morality for plundering and rent-seeking. It is to allow beneficieries of this gangsterism to tell themselves that it’s only right and fair – social justice in fact – that they vote themselves and big slice of other people’s earnings. Basically you are a spin-doctor for the mafia.

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  8. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    “And this is the great thing Alan. That even with Cunliffe, Labour aren’t competitive.”

    Beware of your confirmation bias; They’ll poll higher with him that without; Even under Goff they came within 1 seat.

    He’s miles better than Goff. I think he could win; he’d go damm close for sure.

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  9. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    I just feel Labour is drowning and clutching at straws for survival. The present front row is never going to see treasury seats.

    Sue Moroney is probably going to end up being a senior member leading the youngsters towards 2020.

    Nauseatingly loud and brash but toned down when Cuniliffe was demoted. Flip flopper

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  10. Richard Hurst (855 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/opinion/steve-braunias/7990355/The-Secret-Diary-of-David-Cunliffe

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  11. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    It seems to me that Tapu might be one of the secret comments people on the Standard.

    It doesnt matter what happens – Shearer or Cun_liffe – the party is still going to kick itself to death.

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  12. landoftime (35 comments) says:

    Love Tapu – sticking to her guns about Shearer. She got it right the first time. I’m sick of people going on about this great speech Shearer made at the conference (heard Josie Pagani on the radio going on about it this morning and Matt McCarten in the Herald). They are easily impressed! Tapu is right – it wasn’t that great and even if it was, two swallows don’t make a summer and one good speech doesn’t make him a good opposition leader. It was rehearsed and scripted down to the last full stop.
    The criticism about Cunliffe and his ego is just a case of tall poppy syndrome. Believe me, when it comes to a PM – you want one that is super confident and has high self esteem – not someone who is stumbling over their words and doesn’t have an opinion. Cunliffe is a good guy. He’s got good listening skills, he’s a good dad, he is respectful towards the staff that work for him (believe me that is rare in a politician) and he respects women. David Shearer has these qualities too. But the difference is David Cunliffe is all of these things AND he can communicate. Who would you rather have?

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  13. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Pete George
    Thanks for reminding me abut the Secret Diary series. They are very good.

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