Helen Clark is hard to pick. Grant worked for her for many years. Cunliffe was her choice as successor to keep Goff out (if she won a 4th term).
I suspect on balance Clark will back Cunliffe. He has ministerial experience, and was her chosen successor. She also understands the importance of Auckland. She may well think that Grant also has time on his side – they may both end up as leaders at some stage.
Michael Cullen has endorsed Grant. That is not secret. What is less well known is his severe dislike of David Cunliffe. Just last week he joked at a book awards function that David Cunliffe could not be there to pick up a prize for his book “Learning to walk on water – what I learnt from Jesus of Nazereth, and what he learnt from me”.
The fact he would so openly diss Cunliffe, seems to hark back to the Cabinet days when it was too obvious Cunliffe wanted Cullen’s job.
However his dislike appears to be even greater than Trevor Mallard’s. A source overheard a conversation last week where Dr Cullen was reported to be more vitriolic about Cunliffe, than he was about, well anything.
So Clark and Cullen may be backing different candidates. It is a sign of how divided things are!
UPDATE: I understand that Dr Cullen is not standing on the sidelines like Helen, but is actively lobbying on behalf of Robertson. This is helping him with some members, but others resent figures from the past being involved.