Dom Post on Shearer

February 5th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

  thinks he is safe till the next election because his caucus has confirmed him as leader. It doesn’t necessarily follow. Mr Shearer is, in fact, on probation till the polls show a big lift for his party. If the polls don’t lift, the caucus could still panic and throw him out.

Mr Shearer has not yet convinced the voters that he is a plausible prime minister, even if his caucus has backed him. He is desperately inarticulate, unable to deliver a sound bite without a lot of rehearsal or an auto-cue. He can manage a good speech when his political life depends on it, as he did at last year’s party conference.

He can look tough and decisive when his back is to the wall, but mostly he still just blunders.

Trevor Mallard likens Mr Shearer to Norman Kirk, which is laughable. By 1972, Mr Kirk had become a poised and appealing politician. Unlike Mr Shearer, he was quick-witted and articulate, and thrived on hecklers.

I thought the comparison to Norman Kirk must have been based on some sort of internal competition for the most sycophantic remark!

The problem, of course, is that there is no obvious replacement, so the question is whether Mr Shearer can turn Labour into a plausible government even when doubts remain about him as leader. His big promises on housing have certainly helped Labour’s standing but serious questions have arisen about whether Labour could really build so many houses at the promised price. Many voters clearly think that the housing affordability problem needs bold action from the Government, but they also know that the Government is short of money.

Labour doesn’t have the luxury, as NZ First and arguably the Greens still do, of being niche parties that can make reckless promises. Labour has the burden of being taken seriously. Its policies matter because one day they might be implemented.

Minor parties can get away from promising pretty much anything, because they know they will never have to implement them. Personally I think there should be greater scrutiny of their policies. I’d like NZ to have an independent agency cost all parties’ policies.

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9 Responses to “Dom Post on Shearer”

  1. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    The Australian independent costing agency has problems with leaks and secrecy. It’s a good initiative, but still has limitations. Of course, the ALP had some opposition policies costed by Treasury, then leaked the results from the Treasurers office, so not getting costings done isn’t going to help either.

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  2. In Vino Veritas (140 comments) says:

    Labour is a niche party, so of course they have the luxury of making reckless promises. They’ve been doing it for the last 4 years!

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  3. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    Minor parties can get away from promising pretty much anything, because they know they will never have to implement them.

    That no longer applies to the Greens. They have ambitions on their place in the next Government and promotion of their policies.

    And Labour are banking their future on Labour+Green.

    If this (and the poll) situation doesn’t markedly change then any consideration of suitability for next government must be based on what a Labour+Green policy would look like and might cost.

    The housing policy is a prime example right now, where Labour wants to build heaps of houses and Greens wants to give houses to people without them ever having to pay for them (Homes for Life).

    If Greens are serious about their ambitions for Government and ministerial roles like finance then they must seriously think their policies are do-able. That’s scary.

    http://yournz.org/2013/02/05/labourgreen-housing-policy-maths/
    http://yournz.org/2013/02/05/more-from-john-armstrong-on-green-housing-policy/

    And yesterday Annette King said…

    Labour welcomed the Greens housing policy…

    http://yournz.org/2013/02/04/annette-king-on-housing-policy/

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  4. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    I think Cunliffe has played it well so far.

    He’s made just enough of a preliminary appearance to give the public time to get used to his funny name, to erode the brick wall of LOL seriously – who would vote for a man with a name like Cunliffe?? before he makes his real bid.

    The fact that they are all so tersely “No, don’t ask about that, Cunners has expressly endorsed Shearer and that’s the end of it” tells you all you need to know.

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  5. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Trevor Mallard likens Mr Shearer to Norman Kirk

    Trevor thinks Shearer could die suddenly if he becomes PM?

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  6. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    What David should have said after the Kirk comments…..

    Pull your tongue out of my arsehole, Trevor. Dogs do that. You’re not a dog, are ya Trevor?

    (and then a stun gun and a plastic bag wouldnt have been a bad idea either) :-)

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  7. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    ross69 – or maybe he thinks Shearer should lose two elections before winning one.

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  8. Binders full of women (4 comments) says:

    Independent agency to check policies… there’s a gap in the market there for some sort of truth -checker site that runs the numbers on all parties so things like the affordable shoebox (house) policy can have light thrown on it.

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  9. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    I think he should eat a lot of fish and chips and get his legs shortened then Trev could liken him to Lange! :)

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