Labour leader David Cunliffe came out swinging in Hamilton after weathering an onslaught of criticism over repeated gaffes that threaten to derail him in an election year.
He was in Hamilton to push his Best Start policy to the education and social service sectors and the party faithful after a week-long scandal he said was just a storm in a teacup.
“Mate, that is just Wellington beltway politics,” he said yesterday. “Government has been trying to throw the kitchen sink at me in the last couple of weeks just to discredit me.”
Cunliffe said the same on Radio NZ, saying that the Government has been trawling through his accounts and trying to make out he is the victim of some Government hit campaign. But the reality is that all of his problems have been self-inflicted. Let’s take them in order:
- His misleading speech and false advertisement about the baby bonus – own goal
- The next day not knowing the details of part of his own policy – own goal
- Deciding to go after John Key for living in a leafy subject – own goal
- Describing his own household as a middle rang existence while on prob $600,000 or more a year – own goal
- Setting up a secret trust for his leadership donations – own goal, and exposed by NZ Herald – nothing to do with National
- Failing to disclose an investment trust to the Registrar of Pecuniary Interest on time – own goal, and exposed by TV3 after they heard him mention it
- Having his own office send Amy Adams their ICT policy ideas – own goal
- Letting Clare Curran take the blame and fall for a stuff up by his own office – own goal
I sort of wish National was so good they had a secret smart unit that was responsible for all of Cunliffe’s problems. But they’re not. All of them have been own goals, and the two about trusts have all been stories exposed by the media.
Earlier in the week the Labour leader admitted the late disclosure was a lapse of judgment but yesterday he said: “They are threatened by the ideas that we are bringing to New Zealanders. Everybody gets a chance, not just the few at the top. I guess the guys at the top, they don’t like that because they think they are going to pay for it and so they are really trying to take me out.
“Well, they can try but I am tougher than that.”
The humble phase doesn’t last long, does it.