The numbers

November 19th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Eddie at The Standard says that the results of the last leadership ballot was:

Shearer – 17

Cunliffe – 13

This may not be precise, but it shows that if Cunliffe can merely keep all his votes from last time, that may be enough. It is not clear if he needs 13 or 14 votes to force a part ballot. Tumeke thinks it may be just 13.

UPDATE: The Dom Post reports:

 “We have 23 solid for Shearer,” an MP doing the numbers said.

That means 11 for Cunliffe. He needs 13 or 14 to force a ballot. Can he pick two off?

Some wavering MPs also indicated they were put off by Mr Cunliffe over-playing his hand by refusing to rule out a challenge in February.

Yes, his refusal was too blatant. What he could have done is say “My expectation is that caucus will unanimously back David Shearer to remain Leader”. That implies he will vote for Shearer but leaves him wriggle room to challenge by saying expectations change. One of the skills in politics is the wording you use to pledge loyalty to the leader but leave you wriggle room so that you are not a liar if you do challenge. Cunliffe did stuff up somewhat by being so overt.

UPDATE2: The Herald reports:

David Cunliffe has given David Shearer an assurance he has his “absolute support” and would back the Labour Party leader should an early leadership vote be held.

However Mr Cunliffe could not pledge he would support Mr Shearer in February when the leader faces a formal confidence vote.

This is a smarter tactic from Cunliffe. If all of Camp Cunliffe vote for Shearer next week, then everyone knows it is not the real vote. No one actually believes he has unanimous support. Then if Shearer makes any mistakes between now and February, they can say things have changed and try and get the votes then.

There is no doubt Shearer will win an early vote. The question is will he demote Cunliffe, and if so what will the reaction of the Auckland activists be if he does?

UPDATE3: Patrick Gower has asked every MP how they are voting. He has:

  • Will not endorse Shearer publicly – 12
  • Saying they endorse Shearer – 20
  • Ambiguous – 2

Some of those who will not endorse Shearer publicly may go with the flow, Gower says. But if they can pick up Ross Robertson and Shane Jones, then that is 14 votes and all they need. Arguably they only need 13.

However Camp Shearer claim they have 23 votes. I suspect they are right, but I have found out the hard way that you can have the numbers the day before a vote, and lose the vote on the day. MPs do vote by secret ballot.

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18 Responses to “The numbers”

  1. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Silent T, yeah theres another smart leadership decision from labour.

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  2. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    If that is true, I would expect that Grant Robertson would leap across to save his job. If offered – Cunliffe might not think it is necessary.

    I recall reports that he and Parker seem to be getting along a lot better of late. I imagine Parker would have voted Shearer last time. That could be another for Cunliffe.

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  3. Pete George (23,560 comments) says:

    Here’s another significant update from Clare Trevett:

    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.”

    And…

    A senior Labour MP also described Mr Cunliffe as “a gone banana” and claimed he only withdrew from an immediate challenge because it was clear Mr Shearer had overwhelming support.

    The MP said the caucus had tolerated three years of Mr Cunliffe’s subversion when Phil Goff was leader and from now on, even if he was well behaved on the back benches, his behaviour had alienated his colleagues such that a mid-bench position would henceforth be the most he could expect.

    And it isn’t easily solved. If Cunliffe walked away that still leaves his loyal supporters in a toxic caucus.

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  4. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Shearer should line up Silent ‘T’ at the first opportunity (this week) and tell him he’s been sacked.

    Can’t think of a single down side.

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  5. Redbaiter (8,823 comments) says:

    The latte liberal Cunliffe should be expelled for rank disloyalty.

    Right now.

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  6. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Someone who actually wants the leadership enough to challenge an incumbent for it might be just the shot in the arm Labour needs to get them going again??

    (Although I’m not going to hold my breath… )

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  7. Reid (16,447 comments) says:

    Cunliffe did overplay his hand. Possibly there were so many mirrors at the conference venue he completely forgot where he was, became so caught up in his own image all over the place everywhere he looked he just dropped everything and went completely bonkers, just became completely himself and said any old thing, off the top of his head.

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  8. Nostalgia-NZ (5,202 comments) says:

    Cunnliffe should have a go at his other foot now, so that he has matching holes.

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  9. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Some of those who will not endorse Shearer publicly may go with the flow, Gower says. But if they can pick up Ross Robertson and Shane Jones, then that is 14 votes and all they need. Arguably they only need 13.

    Does anyone have the text of the new rule?

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  10. anonymouse (715 comments) says:

    Talk about not being able to organise a Pi$$ up in a brewery,

    Cunliffe has slinked away, typical of guerrilla warfare, so it is now Shearer’s move,

    If he doesn’t punish Cunliffe then he looks weak, if he does punch Cunliffe then it will give Cunliffe a whole lot more time to plot scheme and organise BBQs over summer,

    But what ever happens it is the best Christmas Gift that John Key has had in a long time

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  11. Keeping Stock (10,339 comments) says:

    I have the feeling that David Cunliffe’s gourmet butcher is going to be the happiest bloke of all over today’s events. All those BBQ’s; all that eye fillet :P

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  12. RF (1,397 comments) says:

    KS. 12.48pm. Make mine medium rare. John Key will be happy as a kid in a sweet shop.

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  13. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    What would Bill Rowling do?

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  14. BillODrees (94 comments) says:

    The MEMBERS voted on Saturday for THEIR say in the selection process.
    How dare Hipkiss or Mallard accuse Cunliffe of dis-loyalty when the MEMBERS have made it clear that THEY want to have a choice and a say.
    Did Hipkiss and Mallard think that the Constitutional Review was about NO change?

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  15. Keeping Stock (10,339 comments) says:

    @ RF – washed down with a Central Otago Pinot Noir, no doubt…

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

    It’s like a gang of thieves falling out

    Oh, wait. It is a gang of thieves falling out.

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  17. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    I think of Cunliffe’s summer plotting and keep seeing images of English fans on the Basin Reserve bank:

    “Smarmy Army! Smarmy Army!”

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  18. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Perhaps Cunliffe has underestimated Shearer on this occaision. I suspect that Shearer will have to remove him from the shadow cabinet

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