Cunliffe v Robertson

August 26th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

has confirmed he is standing for the leadership, and made a very strong case on TV last night about being part of the future, not the past, and able to unify Labour.

Shane Jones has said he is standing and it is almost unthinkable won’t stand. At this stage I am comparing just Cunliffe and Robertson as they are by far the most likely to win. Hard to see how Jones can win a majority of caucus, members or unions – however he could pick up enough support to stop the others getting 50% – meaning second preferences will be crucial.

I’ve done a quick comparison of the relative strengths of the two main candidates, in the table below. And then I give my pick as to who would give Labour the best chance of winning in 2014.

Cunliffe Robertson
Speaking Ability Can be a charismatic speaker, but has to be careful not to overdo the hyperbole Not traditionally charismatic, but can do a powerful speech
Likeability The dislike of Cunliffe is intense but not as widely shared as some portray. Most people who know Cunliffe like him Generally acknowledged as likeable and affable, even by opponents
Political Management Cunliffe has very good political strategy and tactical skills. He would not allow Labour to operate in an un-cordinated fashion Robertson is a good political operator tactically, but some questions over his strategic judgement. Had a leading role in the unsucessful 2011 campaign
Issue Management Cunliffe has shown an excellent ability to drive an issue both inside and outside Parliament as we saw with carpark tax and snapper limits Robertson has been at various time health, tertiary education and employment spokesperson and never really bruised any of the respective Ministers
Question Time Cunliffe is a more than competent questioner, and can think on his feet, but not landed any killer blows Robertson is probably the most effective Labour MP at taking on the PM – no mean feat
Unity The big risk. If Cunliffe wins the leadership, the caucus could remain divided and undermining the leader Robertson, if he beats Cunliffe, would have a very strong mandate and the party would unite behind him
Party Hierarchy Most of the NZ Council back Robertson, but Cunliffe would be supported if he wins Robertson is very close to most of the NZ Council, and would have strong backing from them
Party Members Cunliffe has strong support in Auckland, and Labour has few members left in provincial cities. He also has the backing of many activists on social media. What will be crucial is how strongly Cunliffe wins Auckland Robertson has stronger support than many realise. He has the Lower North Island locked up, reasonable South Island support and Young Labour are (mainly) his personal fiefdom
Policy Cunliffe has been pushing a very left line, but that has been rather tactical to position himself vs Shearer. Unknown what his true policy prescription would be. Robertson is probably more left in his beliefs than Cunliffe, but is in the Helen Clark school of gradual sustainable change.
Economic Credentials Cunliffe is a former finance spokesperson, had a very good private sector career including Boston Consulting Group and strong economic credentials Robertson has never worked in the private sector (as in a post uni significant job)
Media relations Cunliffe has a reasonably good relationship with media, but not especially strong. No reporters he is particularly close to. Robertson is assiduous at courting the press gallery, is very close to several journalists, and popular with most of them
Media interviews Cunliffe is very good generally in interviews, but can come off a bit “smarmy’ Robertson also generally very good, and has the ability to sound very reasonable

So both candidates are well qualified, and will (at least initially) give Labour a boost in the polls. But which one should Labour choose?

Well if I was a Labour member, I’d vote for David Cunliffe. He is a bigger risk for Labour, but he also has the bigger potential to gain votes.

The risk with Cunliffe is Labour will remain divided, and that New Zealand won’t warm to him – on the basis his own colleagues haven’t.

But the reason I think he is worth the risk is his economic credentials. The major issue for the last election and the next one will be economic management.  One of the reasons National has done so well is John Key resonates economic credibility with his strong business background.

Labour needs a leader that can be equally credible, or at least reasonably credible. While Grant is a skilled politician, his background is basically entirely within Government. He was a student politician, then a parliamentary staffer and then an MP, with a couple of brief spells with MFAT and Otago University.  That makes it hard for him to convince New Zealanders that he can run the economy better than John Key and Bill English.

Cunliffe has studied at Harvard Business School, and worked at Boston Consulting Group. He was also a very competent Communications and ICT Minister. That gives him a greater opportunity (but not a guarantee) to convince New Zealanders that Labour can manage the economy. They don’t need to convince people that they will spend more on welfare and families and the like. They need to convince on economic management.

So as I said David Cunliffe is a bigger risk for Labour. Grant Robertson is a very solid performer and is certainly a more than safe option. If their ambition is to just gain 4% and govern with the support of the Greens, Winston and Hone, then Grant could well achieve that. But if they want to get a result in the high 30s or even higher, they need to take a risk on David Cunliffe.

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76 Responses to “Cunliffe v Robertson”

  1. smttc (710 comments) says:

    Robertson has never worked in the private sector.

    That should instantly disqualify him from being in a position to become the PM of NZ.

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  2. Judith (8,241 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is very good generally in interviews, but can come off a bit “smarmy’

    Hell no, the last thing we need is yet another smarmy party leader – that position has well and truly been filled. :-)

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  3. smttc (710 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is just a straight out smarmy tosser. So why Labour would want him beats me as well.

    Poor Labour. Absolutely bereft of any sensible candidate for LotO. lol

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  4. Roflcopter (445 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has yet to throw his hat in the ring, and his wife is fielding all his calls…. interesting.

    He could have come to the thinking that if he stands, and Labour lose next year, then his political career is absolutely toasted, having failed to roll Shearer and achieve results in the election (many in caucus may be silently hoping this happens).

    Whereas if he doesn’t stand, and Labour lose, then he’d essentially walk in as the new opposition leader pretty much unopposed, and would be justified in taking any and all actions necessary to have a full clean-out and a new vision.

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  5. WineOh (575 comments) says:

    Good comparison DPF… btw I think in the table you have transposed the ‘Party Members’ sections in the wrong columns.

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  6. WineOh (575 comments) says:

    Incidentally, I have briefly met both MPs. IMHO Cunliffe comes across as quite aloof, and more than a little smarmy. Robertson has more of an aura of likeability. Both candidates seem to have a ‘holier than thou’ tinge to them though.

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  7. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Whereas if he doesn’t stand, and Labour lose, then he’d essentially walk in as the new opposition leader pretty much unopposed, and would be justified in taking any and all actions necessary to have a full clean-out and a new vision.

    But that carries a big risk – if Robertson got Labour close it would buy him additional time. If they actually managed to truly get their act together by 2017 [yeah right] then Cunliffe’s ambition would have been totally destroyed as a result of his ‘feet of clay’ in 2013.

    (Not saying it would pan out that way, but it is the risk Cunliffe has to consider if he is thinking about sitting this one out.)

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  8. Cunningham (828 comments) says:

    “made a very strong case on TV last night about being part of the future, not the past, and able to unify Labour.”

    And this morning he said that Labour had a much more talent then Labour (I almost choked) and he was bagging JK for that survey that came out this morning (sauying ppl don’t believe what JK says) saying the public would believe what he says. That is despite knifing Shearer in the back time and time again while trying to make out he is loyal. Can anyone actually trust Robertson after what webnt down with Shearer? Cunliffe is not tarnished with this. He will win I reckon.

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  9. kowtow (7,871 comments) says:

    Under policy…….Helen Clark school of gradual sustainable change!!!!

    Some wise man once said Socialism can last only as long as there is other peoples money to spend.

    Sustainable it definitely isn’t.

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  10. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    I know someone who has observed and had some dealings with Grant Robertson – decribed him as a nasty character and deeply passive aggressive.

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  11. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,814 comments) says:

    He made a strong case, did he? The fellow who did more as deputy to undermine his leader than anyone else.

    The guy is not of merchantable quality. He is deficient in character and honesty.

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  12. davidp (3,551 comments) says:

    Robertson has wasted the last year obsessing over Kim Dotcom issues to the exclusion of almost everything else. I don’t see how championing a convicted fraudster and alleged criminal on the run from a foreign government is a viable strategy for election to anything.

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  13. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    His claim that he is part of a new generation of Labour leadership doesn’t stand up to scrutiny:

    - 2011 – on campaign strategy & leadership team
    - 2012-now – deputy leader

    So how did the election pan out for Labour and how have they fared since?

    Grant Robertson has proven that he cannot solve Labour’s problems. He is part of proven ineffective leadership.

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  14. MT_Tinman (3,033 comments) says:

    “If their ambition is to just gain 4% and govern with the support of the Greens, Winston and Hone, then Grant could well achieve that.”

    I question that given that most of Labour’s gains will come at the expense of the other nutters rather than National and Robertson is unlikely to attract middle NZ, coming across as he does as a pompous prat – not to mention his sexual orientation which will be a massive hurdle whether the PC brigade like it or not.

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  15. Ross12 (1,231 comments) says:

    Cunliffe Policy —-” Cunliffe has been pushing a very left line, but that has been rather tactical to position himself vs Shearer. Unknown what his true policy prescription would be.”

    Translation –you cannot trust him !! ( But I would not trust Robertson either , the way acted as so called “deputy” for Shearer)

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  16. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    No room at the inn for shirtlifters.

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  17. BeaB (2,074 comments) says:

    So Labour might choose never-had-a-real-job Robertson as the spokesman for the working classes. Ha.
    We know him as a failed strategist, a liar (professing confidence in Shearer right till the end) and a leading member of a party that can’t get out of the poll doldrums. Not that the media will ever question him about his duplicity and failures. Not an effective minister either.
    He even bleated on Nine to Noon about how hard it was flying round the country and spending time in Koru, poor lamb.
    Just the guy they need!
    Shane Jones is obsessed with telling us how much that ‘gorilla’ John Key is worth. Tired old class hatreds from a trougher!
    Is this the best Labour can rustle up? What about the women? Surely one of them must be better than these unappealing blokes.

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  18. jaba (2,092 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has a terrible face for TV and he does look smarmy and his smile is sooooooooo false looking.
    If I was a labour voter again, I would pick Cunliffe in spite of the above, over Robertson any time. Labour has too many professional MPs with no real life experience .. Ardern is the same

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  19. lilman (914 comments) says:

    Robertson doesn’t have the balls to take on the greens,if either MP did actually attack the greens then more voters would consider them knowing they would be in coalition with the greens but not held to ransom .

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  20. iMP (2,312 comments) says:

    Comments by four Labour MPs…

    1. Damien O’Connor “A Gaggle of Gays”
    2. John Tamihere “front-bums” and a party of “extraordinary activism”
    3. Shane Jones “We don’t want Geldings in charge of the Labour party’
    4. Georgie Beyer, “New Zealand is not ready for a gay prime minister.”

    Yup, the Party of man-ban tolerance and inclusion is going to have a fascinating Leadership contest.

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  21. Fisiani (980 comments) says:

    Robertson only cares about…Robertson. He was so negligent and self promoting in 2011 that Labour came third in the party vote in Wellington Central. This was the only third placing in the country. Robertson’s personal majority trebled.
    Robertson wants his picture on every Labour billboard in 2014.

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  22. Huevon (206 comments) says:

    Neither candidate is impressive in my opinion. However, were I a Labour party activist (cold shudder through the core of my being), I would back Robertson. He is the honest party man – a life dependent on the public treasury, an identity politician, and contemptuous of good values. With Robertson as leader, the public will know exactly where Labour stands.

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  23. jaba (2,092 comments) says:

    I heard Jones say on the radio that he hopes his entry convinces Cunliffe not to stand .. joke??

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  24. david (2,548 comments) says:

    Time for Nanaia Mahuta to emerge from the shadows and sweep the floor clean.

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  25. backster (2,106 comments) says:

    I don’t agree with most of ‘David’s assessment….There is much I don’t like about Shane Jones but he does appear to be the most ‘Kiwi’ of the three, the only one who would appeal to the ordinary bloke and who might have ability to show leadership qualities. The best of a poor choice and I would not be surprised to see a groundswell of support for him. Also the one that National and John Key need fear most.

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  26. simonway (373 comments) says:

    David, I think you got the “party members” boxes the wrong way around. Cunliffe’s talks about Robertson’s support, and Robertson’s talks about Cunliffe’s support.

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  27. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    That makes it hard for him to convince New Zealanders that he can run the economy better than John Key and Bill English.

    Except the economy is hardly flourishing under these two geniuses.

    More importantly, even if Cunliffe doesn’t become the next leader he will surely have a big role in the financial management (assuming Labour become the next govt). So, it really makes little difference who becomes the leader in that context.

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  28. Judith (8,241 comments) says:

    I must say I am getting a giggle from the down votes to my smarmy comment. How do you know I wasn’t talking about Winston? Amazing how so many jump to conclusions – I’m sure there is a psychological concept to describe your actions… either way, its very entertaining and reveals some inner thought processes. :P

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  29. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has a terrible face for TV

    WTF? Are you saying that Jim Bolger and Helen Clark would have won beauty contests? :)

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  30. Judith (8,241 comments) says:

    @ jaba

    Labour need Cunliffe to stand, they do not need him to be in the background – stiring – like last week

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  31. Alan (1,073 comments) says:

    “If their ambition is to just gain 4% and govern with the support of the Greens, Winston and Hone”

    They don’t need an additional 4%, not sure where that figure is picked from; an additional 0.5% of the vote last time would given given a Labour / Green / NZ First / Mana / Maori grouping a 1 seat majority.

    In this situation who knows what would have happened?

    The Maori party are dead I think; If Shane Jones runs again in Auckland he wins, Sharples got over the line with a strong personal vote. They may hold on in 1 of the other seats.

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  32. David Garrett (6,661 comments) says:

    backster: while I DO agree with most of DPF’s assessment – having had the benefit of meeting them both and seeing them both in action – I also agree with you re Jones…but I think he is almost certainly irreparably damaged by the porn thing…It would literally raise its head (sorry…) every time the Nats and whoever else was in opposition could possibly make a connection…any expense scandal; any sex scandal; any “personal character flaw” issue with any of their MP’s… And he is not at all popular with many of his colleagues and with Maori members….seen as far too up himself; never uses a two syllable word when there is a three or four syllable one is available… a bit like Kennedy Graham…Deputy at best is my pick for our Shane…

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  33. Chuck Bird (4,734 comments) says:

    @Fisiani

    I email Grant Roberson’s electorate office regarding what you said was his position on NZ Blood Services an homosexual blood donation’s. I got a quick polite response from his office but no confirmation or denial from Grant yet.

    Do you have a source yourself.

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  34. Cunningham (828 comments) says:

    ross69 (2,817) Says:
    August 26th, 2013 at 10:53 am

    “That makes it hard for him to convince New Zealanders that he can run the economy better than John Key and Bill English.

    Except the economy is hardly flourishing under these two geniuses.”

    Well it is compared to most countries. Easy to say that when your guy7s are in opposition but would they do any better? The answer is NO. In fact I would bet my left nut we will be in a much worse position if they get into power. Just look at ho the left have screwed up Australia. The Unions run rampant over there and it’s starting to bite.

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  35. PaulL (5,969 comments) says:

    @Ross69: NZ economy going quite well actually, and a lot better than Australia’s in recent times.

    @Roflcopter: You’re overthinking it. Cunliffe is a politician. They don’t think “if I sit this one out then I’ll have a better shot next time”. They think “I’m a rock star, I should be prime minister already.” Any chance given they’ll grab.

    I think Cunliffe makes more sense for Labour, I’m not really convinced that Robertson can do enough to get them where they need to be to be competitive. As DPF says, he’s a risk, but nothing ventured nothing gained, certainly in politics. And with Shearer they’ve already had the “nice guy offends nobody” type running things, he had no traction.

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  36. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    Robertson will be pushing for “Gay Adoption”.

    Why aren’t the useless media asking him about this?

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  37. Paulus (2,544 comments) says:

    Wasn’t Robertson Labour’s Campaign Manager for the last two Elections ?

    Doesn’t that count as good business experience – Yea !

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  38. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    “Cunliffe is just a straight out smarmy tosser. So why Labour would want him beats me as well.”

    Because many of them are also smarmy tossers.

    Damien O’Conner would be my pick for leader.

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  39. dime (9,607 comments) says:

    “Well it is compared to most countries. Easy to say that when your guy7s are in opposition but would they do any better? The answer is NO”

    Lets be honest, if they had won in 08, we would have seen a vicious mini-budget in Dec 08 (id love to see what they had planned). By now we would have been on our 5th round of “stimulus”. Our economy would be absolutely fucked.

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  40. s.russell (1,578 comments) says:

    I agree with DPF’s assessment that Cunliffe is Labour’s best chance.

    Robertson would only reinforce all Labour’s weaknesses: out of touch with ordinary Kiwis, no real life experience, obsession with politically correctness, etc etc.

    Cunliffe is one of the very few Labour MPs who do not fit the mould, and would present a very different face, that would disguise Labour’s weaknesses. True, he has his own weaknesses, but he knows that and they are mostly of a kind that he can address, whereas Robertson’s weaknesses are in-built.

    I expect Cunliffe to win, if for no other reason that he is obviously the one more likely to win Labour an election. They’ll swallow any dead rat they have to for that goal (aka Rudd in Aust).

    That said, for Labour to win, there must first be a public rejection of National, and THEN Labour has to convince people that a Labour/Green/Winston government would be better. They have not got to first base yet. So Cunliffe might actually be best off losing to Robertson so as to ensure that he will be there to take over for the better chance that will exist in 2017.

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  41. OTGO (521 comments) says:

    Close your eyes and concentrate really hard. Visualise Robertson or Cunliffe or Jones as PM. Now visualise they are meeting a world leader to discuss something really important like, oh I don’t know, an FTA with USA for example.

    Couldn’t do it could you? And neither could I.

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  42. david (2,548 comments) says:

    This is all a bit premature considering that Cunliffe has yet to commit.

    I imagine that if negotiations for a senior position back at BCG or one of the other big consultancies (PWC or KPMG would probably offer a partnership like a shot) were well advanced, he might consider a life-direction change as being more attractive than putting up with the in-fighting shit that seems to be the stock-in-trade of the Labour Party. To take on the LP Leadership would be to take on a task that has a fairly good chance of becoming career-limiting if it crashes and burns.

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  43. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    “Except the economy is hardly flourishing under these two geniuses.”

    Well it is compared to most countries.

    That’s not hard to do. NZ, Australia and Canada had well regulated banking sectors, so the crash wasn’t as bad here. Nevertheless, unemployment is too high and the housing bubble is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Now is just one of those times that rolls around every 30-40 years or so in which the economic paradigm has to change, and sclerotic vested interests have to be resected. Robertson = more of the same; Cunliffe = a possible change agent.

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  44. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    Lets be honest, if they had won in 08, we would have seen a vicious mini-budget in Dec 08 (id love to see what they had planned). By now we would have been on our 5th round of “stimulus”. Our economy would be absolutely fucked.

    You need to take an economics class. Appropriate stimulus worldwide would have stopped this mess 3 years ago.

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  45. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    Garret- “Deputy at best is my pick for our Shane…”

    This guy charged porn movie rental to the taxpayer.

    This makes him a dirtbag who should not even be in our parliament..!!!

    I am astonished at how meek and accepting people are of the fact that our parliament is riddled with lowlife.

    Where is the fucking outrage?

    Baaa baaa baa nation of loser sheep.

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  46. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    I am astonished at how meek and accepting people are of the fact that our parliament is riddled with lowlife.

    Unlike you, they are open about their sexual preferences.

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  47. dime (9,607 comments) says:

    “You need to take an economics class. Appropriate stimulus worldwide would have stopped this mess 3 years ago.”

    I’m not talking worldwide. I’m talking NZ. I suspect it would have made me richer.

    We didnt need stimulus but Labour would have been all over it. Along with a chch earthquake levy.

    And you are one of the most arrogant people here.

    “you need to take an economics class”. you could have gone with “dime, i believe… ” or maybe “dime, i think a worldwide stimulus could have.. good economics.. blah blah”

    instead you decided to be a cocksucker as usual.

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  48. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (828 comments) says:

    Very simple really. Cunliffe wins and with that National gone for good.

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  49. PaulL (5,969 comments) says:

    @Tom Jackson:

    You need to take an economics class. Appropriate stimulus worldwide would have stopped this mess 3 years ago.

    Or, another way to view things, not running up unsustainable debts in every country in the world would have stopped this mess 15 years ago. Which we can then paraphrase as “not electing left wing governments”. Do you have an explanation for how Europe would have stimulus spending that fixes the problem that Greece’s debt is 160% of GDP and cannot be paid off under any reasonable assumptions? Or perhaps how many of those countries that went on debt fuelled spending binges had massive bloating of the public sector and very low tax collections as corruption and general tax avoidance hurt their collections?

    Or maybe we should be talking about populist governments in many third world countries that have policies like subsidising fuel (which also pushes up their carbon emissions, great policy that). Is this the kind of stimulus that you have in mind?

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  50. David Garrett (6,661 comments) says:

    OTGO: Totally irrelevant…the dull and the ignorant have the same two votes you and I have…its them these guys have to convince, not us…

    Red: Who said I thought Jones would be a worthy candidate – for deputy or anything else? But I try to live in the real world, where Cunliffe-Jones is a possibility…

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  51. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    instead you decided to be a cocksucker as usual.

    Aren’t you supposed to be some Randian capitalist superman supporting the rest of society on your titanic shoulders? Crying is not good for your image.

    You get precisely what you deserve, and no more.

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  52. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    You need to take an economics class. Appropriate stimulus worldwide would have stopped this mess 3 years ago.

    Go live in Greece if you love stimulus so much.

    Where is the fucking outrage?

    Agreed RB. I hope Jones wins so this can be brought up at every opportunity.

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  53. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    “Unlike you, they are open about their sexual preferences.”

    Not all homosexuals are homosexualists, although most of them are.

    Many hetreosexuals are homosexualists.

    I’m not one of them.

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  54. dime (9,607 comments) says:

    “Aren’t you supposed to be some Randian capitalist superman supporting the rest of society on your titanic shoulders? Crying is not good for your image.

    You get precisely what you deserve, and no more.”

    Just a dick.

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  55. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    Or, another way to view things, not running up unsustainable debts in every country in the world would have stopped this mess 15 years ago. Which we can then paraphrase as “not electing left wing governments”. Do you have an explanation for how Europe would have stimulus spending that fixes the problem that Greece’s debt is 160% of GDP and cannot be paid off under any reasonable assumptions? Or perhaps how many of those countries that went on debt fuelled spending binges had massive bloating of the public sector and very low tax collections as corruption and general tax avoidance hurt their collections?

    Greece’s problems weren’t domestic. It was just especially vulnerable to a global shock. The domestic governance problems Greece suffers have deep roots – it’s all very well for us to gloat, since NZ has been an open society for almost its whole existence, whereas the Greeks have suffered from extensive political dysfunction and corruption for most of that time.

    Debt ultimately doesn’t matter – it’s just a convention (David Graeber has an interesting book on this). It would be better for everyone, including the Greeks if they could default or devalue, but the Euro prevents them from doing so. Sometimes, debt builds up so much that honoring it makes everyone worse off. We accept that in the case of individuals and firms, and countries are no different.

    But that aside, it doesn’t prevent the basic Keynesian principle from being true: the only effective way to get out of a slump like this is to restore growth through effective stimulus. Otherwise we just sit on our asses for years while nothing gets done.

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  56. OTGO (521 comments) says:

    Actually I only partially agree DG. The dull and ignorant don’t vote.

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  57. RRM (9,606 comments) says:

    I would take the punt on Cunliffe.

    PS: God hates fags! :-P

    PPS: White pride world wide!

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  58. Dazzaman (1,129 comments) says:

    Gee…..who to vote for when the time comes….

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  59. Dazzaman (1,129 comments) says:

    Damien O’Conner would be my pick for leader.

    Not mine….he may actually pull Labour some votes, cannot have that.

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  60. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    “the only effective way to get out of a slump like this is to restore growth through effective stimulus.”

    The usual sickening commie propaganda..

    Greece is in the shit because its lying dishonest power obsessed socialist government stole too much and borrowed too much. Duped the voters into voting for a system that was always going to fail for the simple reason it would one day run out of other people’s money.

    Government stimuluses are just more communist crap.

    The only stimulus needed if for power seeking left wing scum to stop stealing other people’s money and for those who earn money to spend it as they wish and not as some cronyist commie scum tells them to.

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  61. dime (9,607 comments) says:

    RRM – i know you love these lunchtime updates.

    Dime was driving to get some lunch and listened to willie jackson for a bit. Im in shock. he is endorsing the maori candidate.

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  62. PaulL (5,969 comments) says:

    @Tom Jackson: I agree on debt. Greece won’t and can’t pay it off, and they would be much better to exit the Euro, default on their debts, and devalue. The main problem with that is that nobody would lend them money again other than at ruinous interest rates, but that’s not so bad as keeping the debts they have.

    Similarly, Europe shouldn’t have bailed out most of the banks. They should have guaranteed deposits of less than $100K, and let the banks fail. That would have cost the investors money, but not the general public. We’d be back in operation again if that had been allowed to happen. In short, when you protect people (particularly investors and lenders) from the consequences of their bad decisions, it clogs up the whole system. This is also partly the problem that Japan has.

    But, going beyond that, the economies that have done best are those that are open and have labour market flexibility, and those that tidied the mess quickly. Whilst the US grossly overspent on the stimulus and have some crazy government policies, the underlying strength of their economy is coming through. They take in a lot of immigrants and they have very high small business and job creation. Say what you will about the US, they are again demonstrating that the economic system that the USA exemplifies is the strongest one. Interesting also that there is significant variance by state as to performance – with the heavily unionised states in the worst situation.

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  63. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I see Red continues to think sexuality is a political statement and that there is such a thing as homosexualists. He has a singular ability to overlook common ground and focus on irrelevant points of difference.

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  64. dime (9,607 comments) says:

    ” They should have guaranteed deposits of less than $100K, and let the banks fail. That would have cost the investors money, but not the general public”

    lol WTF?

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  65. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    “lol WTF?”

    They live in their own little detached worlds. Smokey cloistered staff rooms and the like.

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  66. maxwell (48 comments) says:

    The left always cherry pick the stimulus part of the Keynesian prescription, conveniently ignoring the bit about aggressively paying off debt and reducing govt expenditure in times of surplus.

    But those hard yards are not sexy, much better to blow the surplus on unsustainable bribes (WFF, so called interest “free” student loans).

    Greece was in trouble long before the GFC, check out the Michael Lewis article

    http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/10/greeks-bearing-bonds-201010

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  67. Mark (1,406 comments) says:

    AT the end of the day you have to think that Labour are desperate for some traction here. The polling over the next 7 to 10 days will play a major factor in who wins this one between Robertson and Cunliffe. (I simply do not see Jones as a credible option).

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  68. PaulL (5,969 comments) says:

    @dime: most of the bailouts were actually bailing out the investors, not the public. Same as the AirNZ bailout. The government buyout basically bailed out the shareholders, using the excuse of many NZers owning tickets. It would have been much easier to let the airline go bankrupt (wiping out all shareholder equity) and supporting the company from bankruptcy to keep flying and honouring all tickets. It would have been bought in a trade sale at knock down rates, and would have cost everybody less money. That would also have reinforced the idea that if you invest in a company that has poor management and goes broke, you lose your money. You don’t go to the govt to bail you out.

    Ireland is a classic on the banks end. Their economy is generally going well, the problem is that they bailed out banks that should have just gone bust. If they hadn’t done that they’d be looking pretty good right now instead of having massive debts. Sure, it would have crashed the markets for a while. But ultimately it’s what the US did in many areas (not as many as they should have) – such as with GM.

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  69. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    Great article Max

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  70. Chi Hsu (94 comments) says:

    bhudson (4,146) Says:
    August 26th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I know someone who has observed and had some dealings with Grant Robertson – decribed him as a nasty character and deeply passive aggressive.

    If you are going to smear someone, then you should name the other party as well if you want to give the claim credibility.

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  71. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    “If you are going to smear someone,”

    Bhudson has never worried about such niceties. Cowardly unsubstantiated smears are his stock in trade. The shame is he’s an ardent National Party supporter, and a good example of how the party is in danger of rotting from the inside out.

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  72. Monty (965 comments) says:

    What I want to know is who will manage the economy the best? Neither in my opinion as both are further to the left than David Shearer and what is more the coalition parties are extreme left.
    Who will manage the Hydra Beast of labour factions as well as the greens, mana, Maori and Winston.

    The leadership of labour will continue to a poisoned chalice.

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  73. bandwagon (5 comments) says:

    WineOh (234) Says:
    August 26th, 2013 at 9:23 am
    Incidentally, I have briefly met both MPs. IMHO Cunliffe comes across as quite aloof, and more than a little smarmy. Robertson has more of an aura of likeability. Both candidates seem to have a ‘holier than thou’ tinge to them though.

    That is the definition of a Labour politician, is it not?

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  74. big bruv (13,454 comments) says:

    “Dime was driving to get some lunch and listened to willie jackson for a bit. Im in shock. he is endorsing the maori candidate.”

    Why is Jackson allowed to get away with that?. Imagine if Larry Williams decided to endorse David Cuntliffe because he is white?

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  75. OneTrack (2,754 comments) says:

    “Greece’s problems weren’t domestic.”

    Yeah, right. Thanks for reminding me why the left have no business on the treasury benches.

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  76. reversespin (68 comments) says:

    I agree with the analysis of DPF……..apart from the ‘Unity’ section.

    If Cunliffe was not successful, the rank and file membership of labour (which supports him) would spit tacks. There would be further division between the membership and caucus, which was evident at last year conference and contributed to the current leadership selection rules.

    Roberston is not a unifier. He is a beltway insider and career politician. He might be able to unify caucus, but not the whole Party.

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