Cunliffe says Labour will win – but maybe not until 2017

February 25th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

In an interview with Radio New Zealand, said:

“We all know the Government is going to change. It’s either going to change this time or next time. I think it’s more likely to change this time, and if it does, the question in front of New Zealanders is what is the composition of that new government going to be?”

To have the Leader of the Opposition basically say they may not win this election is in itself unusual.

But what makes it even more interesting is that for a couple of months there has been talk coming from some in about how they are going for a two election strategy – to do well enough this time, to win in 2017. Others might call that a strategy to lose!

Even more interesting is that it seems some of the ABC club have worked out that this may be the strategy, and this is posing them a dilemma. They definitely want to win this time, and get into Government. But they are unconvinced they can. They think a loss is most likely.

The issue for them is if Labour loses, is it better if they lose narrowly or lose badly? Their concern is that the worst result would be a very narrow loss. Because then Cunliffe would remain leader for three more years (and then if they win in 2017, maybe six more beyond that).

The view that very reliable people have been putting around is that some in Labour have decided that while they want a win if a loss is inevitable then they want a big loss, rather than a narrow one. Why? Because then they can not just replace the leader, but convince the party to return the selection of the leader to the caucus. That could happen, if the leader forced on them by the activists and unions leads them to a worse result then even Goff got in 2011.

I wasn’t planning to blog at this stage on the maneuvering going on within Labour, but Cunliffe’s explicit mention of winning in 2017, if not 2014, suggests that he is aware of the issue, and he is also looking to shore up support for a two term strategy so he doesn’t get rolled if they narrowly lose in 2014.

The next couple of months will be essential for Labour. If the left doesn’t improve in the polls, then some MPs will decide a big loss is preferable to a narrow loss and the go slow will become a strike. However if the left do improve in the polls, then the scent of victory will keep them united.

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49 Responses to “Cunliffe says Labour will win – but maybe not until 2017”

  1. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    Three more years in the public eye as opposition leader will leave Cunners unelectable.

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  2. Ross Miller (1,706 comments) says:

    I think the ‘nice’ Mr Cunliffe got this about half right. The Government is likely to change in 2014 or 2017 ….. or 2020 or 2023.

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  3. Roflcopter (466 comments) says:

    think it’s more likely to change this time, and if it does, the question in front of New Zealanders is what is the composition of that new government going to be?”

    Mr Cunliffe, you will certainly lose if you fail to articulate your composition prior to the election… noone trusts you, those beneath you, and certainly not the watermelons that are currently licking their lips in anticipation of deputy-PM or (heaven forbid) treasury in some form.

    New Zealand will not take a leap-of-faith at this election, there’s a real threat of too much to lose.

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  4. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,924 comments) says:

    Of course, Labour will be rejuvenated by 2017.

    Mallard, King, Goff and co by then all will have died.

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  5. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Cunliffe: Once a loser, always a loser!

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  6. OTGO (565 comments) says:

    “We all know the Government is going to change.”

    Well the world IS going to end sometime and a change to a Labour/Green government amounts to the same thing.

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  7. Huevon (223 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this kind of retarded thinking was prevailing on the Left.

    They should play hard and play to win every time. If they lose, well, politics was the winner on the day. But, sadly, this is a bunch of Leftists, so they have no sense of personal responsibility or integrity, and they dream up all kinds of idiotic schemes to get into power.

    Honestly, it isn’t the bad policies of the Socialists that I dislike so much. Rather, it’s the kind of attitude so evident in the strategy outlined by DPF. The dishonesty, duplicity, and total disregard for honour. They truly are bad human beings.

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  8. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    In other words it’s all self interest and stuff the party, stuff the voters, stuff the country. If they consider manouvres like this they don’t deserve to take part in our democracy.

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  9. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    I find it really hard to believe that anyone involved in politics at that level has the ability to decide to not win. It’s not the nature of the beast. I can believe that, at the margin, maybe they might be that bit less motivated by Cunliffe, that bit less willing to put in all the hard yards, that bit less motivated by the desire to win at all costs.

    But I think that’s a long way from planning to lose big, that sounds like the kind of talk that bitter people have after a few beers, not something they actually do when they get back to work in the morning. Of course, it’d be impossible to know one way or the other – how do you really tell whether someone is working 95% or 105%? How do you know what opportunities they might have let go by or not pushed quite so hard on?

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  10. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Michael Woodhouse MP ‏@WoodhouseMP

    Labour Party protest the PM at Speight’s Brewery while @clarecurranmp @DavidClarkNZ & @AndrewLittleMP schmooze & booze inside. Inconsistent

    All three of those MPs might find the thought of a big loss a bit risky for them.

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  11. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    It can’t just be the thought of Cunliffe that is making Labour MPs nervous. They’re just as capable as the voters of looking at a Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana-Maori-Dotcom coalition and realising that they can’t make that dysfunctional coalition of losers work. It’ll be the coalition from hell, and they risk the absolute disintegration of the Labour Party if they try and make it work. However, by 2017 Dotcom will be locked away in a supermax, Peters will be in his 80s and retired, and there is a chance that Labour will have retaken the Maori seats. In which case they’d only have to keep the Greens under control.

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  12. burt (8,322 comments) says:

    Silent T’s prediction is as genius as my prediction that there will be unrest in the middle east either this year or in the next 3 years.

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  13. edhunter (552 comments) says:

    The ABCers will be winners because they are ensconced in save Labour seats with little chance of being ousted. So by definition they will be winners, much like a batsman who makes a century in match that his side loses.

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  14. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein (2,619 comments) says:

    February 25th, 2014 at 4:09 pm
    Of course, Labour will be rejuvenated by 2126.

    Mallard, King, Goff and co by then all will have died.

    Fixed it for you

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  15. Steve Wrathall (285 comments) says:

    Don’t worry. Key will keep Helen’s legacy safe until 2017

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  16. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Ah. Big loss might kill off some of the Cunliffe faction – the ABC crowd hold the safe seats? Interesting if true.

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  17. King Kong (45 comments) says:

    What this proves about Cunliffe is that he is determined. It took three bumbling attempts to get into the Labour big chair and if it takes that many attempts to get to be Prime Minister then so be it.

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  18. Manolo (14,080 comments) says:

    Go on Silent T, raise the white flag now and pass the red torch to DPF’s mate, the “hard-working” Grant Robertson.

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  19. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    This hard working Grant Robertson?

    @grantrobertson1

    Busy times at Clubs Day at Otago. pic.twitter.com/posowqJ2Ja

    Needles and Opium. @nzfestival what this review says and more. Do go if you can.

    With the glamorous @jacindaardern and Louisa Wall. #pride pic.twitter.com/e9sXICvDGS

    The Wgtn Central Labour team at #roundthebays pic.twitter.com/QovprovdEQ

    My Orientation tour continues. Today it’s Auckland. Come on down and say hi at @PrincesStLabour stall. #labour4students

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  20. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,924 comments) says:

    I’ll predict now that Grant Robertson will never be Labour leader, let alone PM. He is by far the most selfish, duplicitous, disloyal, conniving party deputy I have ever seen. Labour people know a ‘white ant’ when they see one.

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  21. big bruv (14,163 comments) says:

    Long live David Cuntliffe. With him at the helm the Nat’s will walk back into power in 2017.

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  22. Akaroa (590 comments) says:

    I think davidp at 4.31 has got it just about right.

    Certainly a less crowded opposition party grouping will make electoral options clearer to Joe Public. With Winston Peters, Dotcom and any other distractions finally off the scene, politics here might just get a bit seriously competitive, instead of the b-ggers-muddle we have at the moment – party and personality-wise.

    I still think that John Key will eventually go when he is good and ready, though, and not a moment before.

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  23. jims_whare (404 comments) says:

    Ya gotta wonder if Winnie the Poo keeps polling at 3% or less would he think about throwing in the towel prior to this election rather than risk getting under 5% and be forgotten about? Might have a few extra votes up for grabs for the others?

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  24. s.russell (1,646 comments) says:

    Labour’s strategy is the same as that parodied in Blackadder Goes Fourth. Keep pursuing the same failed strategy of charging madly at the enemy waving red flags. And being shot to pieces by the bullets of logic, competence and moderation.
    If they were serious about a two-election strategy they would be face up to the fundamental reasons Kiwis won’t elect them (ie Labour is full of incompetent left-wing lunatics). They would rebuilt the party as something better. But that is not what they want to do at all. I think thier strategy is simply to wait until National gets exhausted and Labour can then get in by default.

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  25. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    s.russell

    A very good analogy. I wonder who liebour’s Melchett is. Or maybe it’s a bit like Dr Who – multiple personas.

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  26. Huevon (223 comments) says:

    @ s.russell

    Labour wouldn’t be Labour without the incompetent left-wing fuckwits.

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  27. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (895 comments) says:

    No force can stop Messiah becoming PM in November 2014 with the help of Greens, NZ First and Mana…..

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  28. SPC (5,784 comments) says:

    The beliefs about the Labour Party of those who are not in it or of it or support it …

    As accurate as beliefs about the National Party from those who are not of it or of it or support it …

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  29. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    … UF

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  30. srylands (417 comments) says:

    From today’s The Standard:

    “As we draw closer to the election and Joe and Mary Bloggs begin to recognise Cunliffe’s talent, what’s the bet there will be a subtle change in MSM reporting. And the reason would be because they’re hedging their bets. They like to be in the winners camp and if Labour’s fortunes improve enough, they will start a’courting them in case they win.”

    Bwahhahah! :-) :-)

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  31. edhunter (552 comments) says:

    The problem is Phil Goff took one for the team when he lead Labour into the last election which was unwinnable, on the premise that it would give them 3 years to recover from the vacuum created by HCs & MCs departure & then another 3yrs for them to perform as a credible opposition with a credible leader at the helm. Now they’re looking at another 3yrs & the only strategy they appear to have is hoping and praying that history repeats, the public get bored/apathetic & after 3 terms decide it’s time for a change.

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  32. geoff3012 (75 comments) says:

    From today’s The Standard:

    “As we draw closer to the election and Joe and Mary

    I saw that and thought that confirms it.

    They are totally, totally deranged.

    Totally fucked in the head.

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  33. coge (190 comments) says:

    If Labour win, the Greens will be writing NZ’s environmental policies. Labour don’t seem to have any.

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  34. stigie (1,323 comments) says:

    God, you have to feel sorry for the poor bastards, putting in all that hard work and getting nowhere it seems.

    Bwhahahahahah !~

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  35. RF (1,454 comments) says:

    Classic case of .. Yeh. Nah from cunliffe…..
    If I was a Labour Party supporter I would be banging my head on my desk. I almost feel sorry for Mickey Presland watching his dreams of holding his leaders shirt tails as he glides to power, go down the gurgler.

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  36. lilman (968 comments) says:

    Knob end !!

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  37. srylands (417 comments) says:

    “They are totally, totally deranged.”

    Yes “Colonial Viper” has given up on the election for today and has mounted an anti vaccine crusade at The Standard. Childhood diseases are the fault of the Government (child poverty). Vaccines are a con by Big Pharma.

    I don’t know who this guy is. Maybe he will be an advisor to a future Green Minister.

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  38. gravedodger (1,573 comments) says:

    @ stigie 6 45, you are being sarcastic eh, none of those bastards would recognise hard work if it flattened them on a walkway. Powelliphanta patrickensis could manage that with consummate ease.

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  39. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Ya gotta wonder if Winnie the Poo keeps polling at 3% or less would he think about throwing in the towel prior to this election rather than risk getting under 5% and be forgotten about?

    I doubt it, as long as his health holds out. He missed the cut in 2008 and persevered quite successfully.

    You can almost guarantee he will be doing the rounds of Grey Power meetings, making periodic accusations with no evidence produced and playing the media through to then campaign. Then he will be waiting and watching for a tea party type opportunity, calling favours from journalists to give him oxygen and giving the election as good a shot as he can.

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  40. RF (1,454 comments) says:

    srylands. 8.04pm.. Colonial Viper is an Asian living in Dunedin. He is either a foot specialist, physio or close. Funny but he and Presland are very subdued lately and thrown in the towel concerning the election.

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  41. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    @srylands

    He’s a Chinese chiropractor. No joke. Chiropracty is well recognised as a sham dressing itself up as medicine. It’s no wonder he’s an anti science anti vaccination fan

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  42. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Who Cares WW3 breaks out in 2030

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  43. Crusader (323 comments) says:

    davidp (3,200 comments) says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Peters will be in his 80s and retired,

    I dunno. Mugabe just hit 90 and is going strong.

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  44. SHG (319 comments) says:

    Ahaha, my experiment with reading and posting at The Standard is over, I got banned yesterday for asking what the legal credentials were of an anonymous author who was giving a legal opinion on Cam Slater’s court case. RULE ONE, ASK NO QUESTIONS.

    They’re all feeling a bit sensitive.

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  45. geoff3012 (75 comments) says:

    srylands. 8.04pm.. Colonial Viper is an Asian living in Dunedin.

    he is Tat Loo…….Labour clutha candidate 2011 and he is an Osteopath…..

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  46. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    SHG they’re always feeling a bit sensitive to criticism there. And lprent has again made it clear what his plan is:

    I’ve also started to escalate the moderation bans heading into elections. So if anyone wants to troll on the site with mindless trash or to abuse authors, then don’t be surprised if you find your comments wind up in auto-spam until after the elections.

    “Abuse authors” in StandardSpeak means “no criticism or questioning of truthfulness or motives of authors allowed”.

    Lynn Prentice sells The Standard

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  47. burt (8,322 comments) says:

    Pete George

    Excellent article – classic lprent quotes big noting himself.

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  48. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Must see what the Labour mouthpiece (editor) at Manawatu Standard has to say . . . he will have consulted Lees-Galloway (another Labour wimp), getting the lowdown.

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  49. Fisiani (1,048 comments) says:

    Very interesting slip of the tongue by The Cunliffe “We all know the Government is going to change. It’s either going to change this time or next time.”
    Even thinking that it might be next time is an admission of probable failure. His words reveal his thoughts.

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