Manhire says Labour needs Cunliffe

June 21st, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Just as pundits are saying Australian Labor needs Kevin Rudd back, is saying NZ needs to promote . He writes in the NZ Herald. First he looks at the Sky City issue:

For the decision by a quartet of Labour MPs to accept the invitation from SkyCity to enjoy their generous hospitality and a sweet view of the first France test was staggering in its myopia.

Then the bank account:

’s admission in March that he had overlooked and failed to declare several thousand dollars in a New York bank account was a nightmare for Labour, skewering two of the attacks levelled at the prime minister: that his wealth distances him from normal people, and those forgetfulness issues.

And the recent debate:

On its own, the SkyCity box thing does not a Labour party crisis make. But it fits a pattern. The commanding effort by David Shearer at the party conference late last year increasingly looks like an anomaly. In his contribution to the urgent parliamentary debate on the Peter Dunne resignation the other day – a debate Shearer personally demanded – the Labour leader appeared to be reading from a script that had been torn up and sellotaped together at random.

There has been much chatter about Shearer’s performance in that debate.  What makes it really bad is that this was a snap debate demanded by Shearer. It was almost as if he didn’t expect to get it and hadn’t prepared.

It’s true that Labour could end up leading a government if it continues in the current vein, but it would be one of hell of a shaky coalition, with the party outnumbered in Parliament by National by some distance.

They need a shake. An adrenaline shot. A risk, even. It’s now seven months since David Cunliffe was sent to the naughty step – expelled from the front bench for failing to squash talk of an insurrection.

Clearly he continues to be seen as a divisive figure, but he’s also shown, even from the backwater of the tax spokesmanship, that he remains a formidable politician. Confronted with National’s niggly, muscular front-row of Joyce, Brownlee and Collins, Labour can’t afford to leave Cunliffe in the shed.

But how about the ABCs?

As for the – ahem – optics, the promotion of an MP who had served his time would project strength, evidence of the leader’s vaunted experience in conciliation. To those MPs who continue to feel aggrieved on Cunliffe’s part it would send a message that the infighting must end.

A risk, yes. But a necessary one. Shearer’s elevation to and retention of the leadership has been enabled, so we’re told, by the weight of the Anyone-but-Cunliffe sentiment in the Labour caucus.

Less than 18 months out from the election, that ABC needs rethinking. Anything but carry on like this.

I would be surprised if Cunliffe was promoted to the front bench. His supporters are all being weeded out. Chauvel has gone. Dalziel is going. Mahuta has been demoted.

The real battle will be if Shearer loses in 2014. Then we see Cunliffe vs Robertson for the leadership. Cunliffe could win the membership vote by 2:1 so Robertson will need to win the caucus vote by at least 2:1 to balance that out (they get 40% each). Hence they will continue to try and weed pro-Cunliffe MPs out of caucus.

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20 Responses to “Manhire says Labour needs Cunliffe”

  1. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    If I was a Labour member, affiliate or MP I’d back Cunliffe a 100%.

    He can win the election and lead a two term Labour Government.

    Labour people need to start thinking about how to win elections, not just who the nicest guy chairing caucus is.

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  2. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Labour could end up leading a government if it continues in the current vein, but it would be one of hell of a shaky coalition, with the party outnumbered in Parliament by National by some distance.

    Seems like Toby is stuck in the past with FPP thinking. How many seats a party gets is irrelevant in the broader context.

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  3. PaulL (6,013 comments) says:

    @ross69: no, it’s not. How many MPs a party has tells you how strong it is in a coalition. There is clearly a difference in ability to implement your agenda between a party that has 30 seats with 3 coalition partners one of whom has 20 seats, than there is for a party @55 seats with one or two small coalition partners.

    What he’s essentially saying is that with Shearer, they might sneak over the line, but the govt will likely implode. With some more horsepower they would have greater authority in governing.

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  4. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Paul L,

    It is indeed irrelevant. Labour and the Greens have far more seats than the Maori Party, but it’s the latter that is effectively part of this government. The Maori Party might have even more seats after 2014 but that won’t guarantee it anything.

    What he’s essentially saying is that with Shearer, they might sneak over the line, but the govt will likely implode.

    I don’t read it that way at all. But there’s a fair amount of speculation involved with his article.

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  5. hj (6,794 comments) says:

    Your supporting the pro immigration candidate.
    http://nzagainstthecurrent.blogspot.co.nz/2007/06/immigration-policy-goverment-ignores.html

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  6. RRM (9,762 comments) says:

    How many seats a party gets is irrelevant in the broader context.

    :lol: LOL what?

    Key’s strength in term 1 was down to the fact that National had a small partner on its left, and another small partner on its right. And all he needed to prevail on any matter was the support of one of them… either one.

    If National hadn’t been almost big enough to go alone, he would not have been in this position, and he would have had to suck up to Act & the Maori Party far more.

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  7. Cunningham (836 comments) says:

    RRM you are absolutely right. I thought it was pretty obvious actually as to why the number of seats matter. Imagine how well it will go down with middle NZ if the Greens get 15%.They would have huge bargaining power to push for their whacky policies and as middle NZ does not like far left or far right the shit would stick to Labour big time.

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  8. Pete George (23,420 comments) says:

    Hence they will continue to try and weed pro-Cunliffe MPs out of caucus.

    Except that the weeds seem to be the ones staying in caucus.

    In any case they see themselves as the meat and the Greens as the weeds.
    http://yournz.org/2013/06/21/meat-and-three-veg-coalition/

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  9. David Garrett (6,912 comments) says:

    RRM: Exactly right…My former leader was and remains a master tactician…a master who occasionally got it wrong. He got it wrong with the Maori Party, assuming that there was no way Key would do a deal with them when they had us…I didnt know enough at the time to see the obvious – having ACT as the gatekeeper would have given us way more power than “if they wont support it, I have the other option” which is what Key ended up with.

    And now that I think about it, that 2008 confidence and supply agreement was the best of MMP…if neither ACT nor the Maoris would support the Nats on something, it’s a pretty fair bet that “something” was not a very good idea…

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  10. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Imagine how well it will go down with middle NZ if the Greens get 15%.

    08 April 2009
    National welcomes working relationship with Greens

    Prime Minister John Key says his Ministers are looking forward to working with the Green Party on a range of policy initiatives over the remainder of this parliamentary term.

    Mr Key today signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Green Party and National Party with Green Party co-leaders Jeanette Fitzsimons and Russel Norman.

    “There are a number of important policy areas where National and the Greens have common ground,” says Mr Key.

    “In the case of home insulation, energy efficiency and the regulation of natural health products, joint discussions are already underway.

    “I envisage that over coming months National and the Greens will agree to work on further policy areas.”

    Mr Key welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties.

    “I note that this agreement is not a confidence and supply arrangement, but it does provide a sound basis for the two parties to work together on important policy issues in a co-operative way, without compromising the independence of either party.

    “Under our MMP electoral system, it is important for parties to build relationships with other parties across the House in pursuit of shared policy objectives.

    “This agreement reflects that imperative.

    “While National and the Greens do have differences in a number of important respects, that should not prevent us working together to progress policy initiatives where we share similar perspectives.”

    Mr Key says he expects the relationship between the two parties will operate in an open and transparent manner. Where future policy issues are added to the work programme, these will be announced publicly.

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  11. Colville (2,237 comments) says:

    Where Liarbore will come unstuck with the coalition from hell is if the group of them only just sneak over the line and one, any one party, can hold them to ransom with a walkout sinking a deal.
    Hone on one corner, Winston on another, Sharples another and Wussel on another all pulling in different directions.
    Shearer will be being significantly underpaid!

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  12. David Garrett (6,912 comments) says:

    Coville: spot on sir…a recipe for an early election if ever there was one…Can you imagine Peters willingly giving the limelight to either of the Green leaders?

    And imagine cabinet meetings where the attendees include a semi-literate Maori from Northland, and Winston “Luigi” Peters, a sometime lawyer who once claimed he was Italian in order to explain his pigmented skin?

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  13. Colville (2,237 comments) says:

    DG.. Ha :-)

    Winstons Italian heritage is silk suit deep!

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  14. jaba (2,118 comments) says:

    I think Cunliffe is an egotistical asshole with a face, when he smiles, like a half sucked mango BUT he would be the best leader for the scummy Labour Party for many reasons. More financial savvy than Parker (and the Greens wizard) and a master debater being 2 important attributes

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  15. David Garrett (6,912 comments) says:

    Coville: I am serious! Apparently his nickname at Auckland uni last century was “luigi” because he claimed he was Italian, not Maori…

    Jaba: Cunliffe could do weeze all over any other Labour knob there now in debates…and by God doesnt he know it!

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  16. Warren Murray (298 comments) says:

    Despite what ppl might think of Cunliffe’s potential, his caucus allies are a joke.

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  17. Colville (2,237 comments) says:

    DG. I didnt doubt you for a second!

    A lawyer and an ex polly .. you would never stretch the truth :-)

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  18. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Pretty obvious what’s happening.

    Labour ought to be moving to the left economically and would have the voting support to do so, and the base want them to do that. However, that would endanger the post political employment prospects of those who are in it for the money. Hence, Cunliffe, the agent of change, must be stopped at all costs.

    It’s a broken party.

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  19. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Shearer is Bill Rowling without as much wit or charisma.

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  20. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Hence, Cunliffe, the agent of change, must be stopped at all costs.

    Anyone who thinks Cunliffe is as left has he has tried to portray himself in recent times is delusional.

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