A union rally should have been fertile ground for canvassing for Labour’s leadership contenders to glad hand prospective votes.
But while underdog Shane Jones worked the crowd, the two main contenders, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe, were conspicuously absent.
Council of Trade Union boss Helen Kelly told the South Auckland rally that Cunliffe and Robertson had decided their presence would be a distraction – but it appears the MPs were headed off by union bosses as they were on their way to the event.
Robertson confirmed he was on his way to Wellington Airport when he turned back after a talk with union officials.
Jones decided to attend anyway. Given that his status as underdog is due partly to his having little prospect of garnering an endorsement from union bosses, that was probably not surprising. But he said he only got the word about not attending after jumping on a flight for Auckland.
“Given I had already wasted taxpayers’ money in coming here it didn’t seem it was a good idea in using taxpayers money and not fronting,” he said.
Good to see Shane call it correctly.
Did the taxpayer pay the bill for the cancelled flights for the others?
3 News reports that some unionists are not keen on Robertson, for the wrong reasons:
Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson was dealt a blow in south Auckland today, when members of the religious and socially conservative faction of the party came out in force to make it clear they don’t like that he is gay and won’t be voting for him.
The unions will play a big part in deciding the next Labour leader, but many in south Auckland have another union – with God. And that wasn’t working well for Mr Robertson.
“I don’t like gay people. I don’t like him,” said one person 3 News spoke to.
“I don’t like gay people. I don’t want to see him as the Prime Minister,” said another.
Maybe giving the unions 20% of the vote wasn’t such a good idea after all, some Labour activists may now be thinking.Tags: Labour Leadership