Hide on Shearer

July 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

writes in HoS:

Those of us following politics are witnessing the destruction of a party leader. The destruction is all the more remarkable because it’s coming entirely from within. It’s especially remarkable because the parties combined in opposition are consistently polling within a whisker of government. They could easily win.

National is polling extremely well but its necessary support parties are not. Next year’s election is looking a close-run thing. MMP is like that. It’s not how well one party does but how well the parties who can work together in government do in total.

The Labour Party should now be attempting to show themselves, the Greens and New Zealand First united in heading into government. Instead, Labour is failing to unite behind its own leader. It’s a political mess. The plotters within the Labour caucus don’t have the numbers to dump . If they did, he would be gone. Minus the numbers, they aren’t quietly getting on with their job. They are, instead, engaged in a guerrilla campaign to destroy their democratically elected leader.

I think they may have the numbers. They just don’t have the certainty of who would win the replacement election.

The plotters’ attacks are deathly corrosive. That’s their purpose. If the plotters can keep up their attacks from the shadows they will inflict sufficient damage. At that point either Shearer or his colleagues and supporters will accept he is damaged beyond political repair. Then the plotters will have succeeded.

Meanwhile, when we are especially in need of an effective opposition, our major opposition party is entirely focused on itself. When we need more than ever to be debating the country’s direction, the Labour Party is busy debating with itself.

The true difference between National and Labour is not philosophy or policy. It’s cultural. It manifests in many ways. The Nats dispatch leaders with the minimum of fuss. They put winning elections and being in government above all other considerations. They don’t do untidy. Labour revel in it.

The tough part for Labour’s plotters is not the damaging of Shearer. That’s easy. Their tough part will be putting the party together once they have succeeded. That’s hard.

They need a unity ticket.

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17 Responses to “Hide on Shearer”

  1. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    What an outfit. Death by a thousand cuts.

    There is no hope for them in their current form.

    Consigned to the rubbish bin…that’s the NZ Liarbor Party.

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  2. sparky (235 comments) says:

    Watched Shearer this morning on Q & A. He never says anything constructive, and turns the question into his answers. We couldn’t follow him at all. Agree Liarbors a joke.

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  3. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    The problem is that labour is divided:
    Without immigrants economy would stall
    CHRIS TROTTER
    “What the audience gathered at the Hornby Working Men’s Club deserved to hear from Shearer was an acknowledgement that Labour’s challenges are specific and immediate. To raise incomes by re-empowering working people and redistributing wealth.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/columnists/chris-trotter/7849085/Without-immigrants-economy-would-stall

    Then there was the anecdotal story about someone painting the roof on ACC which Gorden Cambell scoffs didn’t happen.

    and (of course) your diversity dividend enthusiasts.
    You can’t lead without a clear program.

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  4. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    It concerns me what the pink brigade must want in that party considering how much Key has given those lefties already

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  5. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    The true difference between National and Labour is not philosophy or policy. It’s cultural. It manifests in many ways. The Nats dispatch leaders with the minimum of fuss. They put winning elections and being in government above all other considerations.

    Actually, I think this is quite wrong. If National had a leader as hopeless as Shearer, and no obvious replacement, I am sure they would be in just as much of a mess. I think history shows this quite convincingly. There is no fundamental difference between National and Labour on how they handle leadership questions. The differences are circumstantial and based on who they happen to have right now.

    On the other hand, I think the differences in philosophy and policy are real – even if some people are so far away from both ideologically that they cannot see the difference. Step back and look at what they have done in Government and the differences are huge. Would Labour have cut taxes in a recession? Hell no. Would they have shown such discipline in spending that we would be on track for a surplus in 2014-15? No way. Would they have bought in threes strikes? Not on your nellie. Would they have part sold Mighty River Power. Over their dead bodies. The list goes on….

    It also seems to me that there is a big difference in willingness to sacrifice sense for popularity. More and more Labour policies these days are populist puffery designed to sound good and appeal to voters with total disregard to whether they actually solve real problems. Many of them will actually hurt the very people Labour claims it represents. National, on the other hand embraces policies (eg mixed ownership, fiscal discipline) that make economic sense but which they know will cost votes.

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  6. kiwi in america (2,454 comments) says:

    After the 1990 election defeat, the sisterhood and the progressive wing of the Labour party vowed that not only would Labour never have another repeat of Rogernomics but this ascendant wing of the party also vowed to either convert or drive out of the party those who did support it. This meant toppling Mike Moore as leader (because he would not recant) and hobbling anyone in the hierarchy or the rank and file (or even anyone who may be enticed by Mike to become a candidate) who supported him. Labour’s HQ used its constitutional power to influence almost all selections to ensure candidates in winnable marginal seats for the 1993 election were sympathetic to Clark and her supporters. Mike came within a few hundred votes in Selwyn from winning in 1993 – a remarkable comeback considering the scope of Labour’s defeat in 1990. I cannot count the number of good solid lower middle class/working class/small business owner/white heterosexual male folk who left the party as the feminists, rainbow coalition and trade unionists essentially took over most the key LEC chairs, Regional Council position to go with the head office officials who were almost all sympathetic to this block.

    Labour have reaped what they have sowed with this purge. They have an activist base that now looks nothing like the slightly left of centre middle ground of New Zealand that Labour used to own in election after election. They have surrendered virtually the entire political centre to National leaving its lefty activists to control the caucus and nudge them into a left wing bidding war with the committed socialists and communists of the Green Party. The few sane heads left in caucus who can read the mood of the electorate are fighting a rearguard action to save the party from itself. The progressive left think the only thing keeping them from the Treasury benches is explaining their policies more clearly, having an agreeable face presenting them (hence the image makeovers of Norman and Turei) or having that one or two king hit populist policies (Kiwi homes and Kiwi power). As Trotter shows in his columns (linked to by hj), the left think that higher wages are achieved by hiking the minimum wage and using legislation to empower unions to drive out so-called ‘inefficient’ businesses.

    Hide has hit the nail on the head. Shearer is only still alive because the plotters cannot agree on a unity candidate. The left wants that to be Cunliffe but the ABC faction (who know Shearer is fatally flawed) cannot get the left to agree on a suitable non Cunliffe replacement. The constitutional changes, that seem so alluringly democratic, have just greatly complicated how Labour changes its leader leaving it with either months of paralysis due to a flawed leader who cannot be ousted or months of paralysis to allow the new 40/40/20 election system to play out. Its a mess that must put a smile on John Key’s face every morning!

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  7. noskire (842 comments) says:

    Good analysis kiwi in america.

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  8. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Yep good anaylsis, shows that Shearer has to stand his ground against these groups or else he will continue to go on downhill in the polls as he has done.Only going up in the polls by standing up to this faction and siding with middle Nz will keep his leadership safe.
    maybe his new press secretary relaises this with this quick move on housing after David Parker comments yesterday

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  9. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    I note Key is now calling Auckland rural as he said they checked rural purchases and overseas buyers werent a significant problem and the reporter nailed him about his other point too about Shania Twain
    Bit of a change of tune it seems, maybe Shearer will get some confidence from this
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8973786/Labour-plan-to-bar-foreigners-from-buying-homes

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  10. kiwi in america (2,454 comments) says:

    martinh
    Whilst you are absolutely right about Shearer’s positioning, if his leadership was out to the party, he’d lose to Cunliffe because the party tilts so far to the left that ideological purity trumps electoral reality. He’d likely also lose the trade union vote. But Shearer knows only the caucus can trigger a vote and his opponents are divided.

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  11. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Note Bryce Edwards called Shearers move (against National Real Estate Party) “xenophobic” and “playing the race card”

    as in this guest post by labour party activist John Moore:

    “Both in New Zealand and globally, the best of the leftwing tradition has always rejected small-minded nationalism, xenophobia and racism. In fact, leftists of an internationalist tradition have always favoured globalization and getting rid of national borders and barriers to migration. Progressive advocates of globalization of course do not defend a handful of rich imperialist countries, including New Zealand, dominating the world’s economy, but instead advocate an integrated and radically egalitarian world economy where production is based on social need and not on private profit.
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2012/02/guest-blog-post-john-moore-leftwing-xenophobia-in-new-zealand.html

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  12. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Labour plan to bar foreigners from buying homes
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8973786/Labour-plan-to-bar-foreigners-from-buying-homes

    hip-hip hooraaay! hip-hip hooraaay! hip-hip hooraaay!

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  13. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    Why a post about Shearer’s backside?

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  14. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    So you DO read these comments ;) Aren’t you supposed to be on holiday?

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  15. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    Those of us following politics are witnessing the destruction of a party leader. The destruction is all the more remarkable because it’s coming entirely from within.

    Hilarious, coming from Rodney.

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  16. beautox (422 comments) says:

    There is no doubt that the labour party are debating with itself. Mass debating with itself.

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  17. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    eszett: Why is Rodney’s analysis – spot on in my view – “Hilarious” ?? Who better than he to know how corrosive white anting from within can be….he is proving to be just as astute a columnist as he was a politician…

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