Garner asks if Cunliffe should stand down?

May 28th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

writes:

Last night’s two polls tell us two things:

The first – National is on track to win the election, and the public has endorsed its budget.

And the second – if Labour is to govern after the next election it will need a three-way coalition including Winston Peters, with his New Zealand First Party, and the Greens. And that’s tricky – really tricky.

I think they would need a five way coalition. They’d need Mana and Dotcom also.

So, under this scenario what happens?

Labour and NZ First agree to a formal coalition and shaft the Greens, forcing them to support a centre-left Government on confidence and supply. They don’t get Ministerial jobs or they get very minor executive jobs outside of Cabinet. It’s entirely possible. And Winston Peters will be able to tell NZ he saved us from the Greens.

The Greens have been consistently shafted by Labour for years, but they are a tougher bunch now. I can’t see them putting up with this, but, then again, would they have any other choice?

What will the Greens do faced with this scenario? Will they put up with being shafted again? Or would they allow National to govern in some way? Surely not. Would they?

The Greens just have to take their lumps and get shafted. Also if Nandor Tanczos is the new Internet Party Leader, that will suck votes off the Greens also.

All this leads back to one person: , the Labour leader. He simply hasn’t provided the silver-bullet Labour was looking for; not that such a thing exists in politics. He’s under ten percent in the preferred PM stakes. It’s lower than David Shearer was.

Voters had a look at him to start the year and he was terribly unconvincing. They took the phone off the hook and never returned.

I actually think he has improved somewhat since the start of the year. He appears more relaxed and he’s communicating well. Labour has had some ideas recently and they have been reasonably well sold and received.

But then the Budget came along and knocked him out. Incumbency is powerful and National is using its position in office well.

This leads me to this conclusion: the public appears to have deserted Cunliffe, because they simply don’t like him in comparison to John Key. He knows all this, of course, but he’s hanging on hoping for a three percent swing so he gets the chance to put together a centre left-coalition, just like I have described.

That’s why he’s saying, in reaction to these latest polls, “It’s early days”. It is not, David – the public sees through that.

He’s also saying the polls are low because “people have yet to get to know him”. I think they have, however, and they are unconvinced. He is showing no signs of getting Labour to the crucial 37 percent mark.

Not sure 37% is the crucial mark. The promise was to outpoll National and be the largest party.

So, what about this scenario: is it time for Cunliffe to stand down as Leader and give it to someone else?

But who? Jones is gone. Ardern isn’t ready yet.

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55 Responses to “Garner asks if Cunliffe should stand down?”

  1. lilman (960 comments) says:

    He’s in for the long haul,who else would risk a defeat in actual labour votes that’s coming their way.

    Thanks Hellen.

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  2. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    They should give Mallard a go. Or Annette King.

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  3. spanish_tudor (81 comments) says:

    Ardern will never be ready.

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  4. Kiwi Dave (92 comments) says:

    “Arden isn’t ready yet” and so far has shown no sign at all that she will ever be ready for anything more than a toothpaste ad. Why do people keep implying she has a high-flying political future?

    Edit: Spanish Tudor has beaten me to it.

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  5. chris (647 comments) says:

    Surely this close to the election he could only stand down if only one candidate put his or her hand up to be leader. Otherwise they probably wouldn’t have enough time to elect the new leader before the campaign proper starts, using their ridiculous new leader election process

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  6. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    Why do people keep implying she has a high-flying political future?

    It’s fun to imagine the electorate’s collective facepalm when they hear that the Labour Party have replace Cunliffe with Ardern though, isn’t it?

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  7. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    The more people get to know Cunliffe the less they like him – otherwise Labour would have been tracking up, not down under his leadership.
    That said, Cunliffe is not really the problem for Labour. The problem IS Labour. It doesn’t matter who is in the driver’s seat when the car has no wheels.

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  8. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    >He’s under ten percent in the preferred PM stakes. It’s lower than David Shearer was.

    I’m confident that if the two main candidates for PM were King Joffrey and David Cunliffe, Cunliffe would still struggle to poll in double digits. Voters would be all “Well Joffrey is an evil sadistic bastard, and he IS lying dead on the ground covered in poisonous vomit… but he is still doing a better job than that Labour bloke”.

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  9. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    It’s remotely possible that the voters have finally noticed that for the last 50 years every Labour government has been a disaster. Every election they campaign on “it will be different if we just try socialism one more time” – but it never is. Socialism is the key problem followed closely by political parties who know it’s a failure but like how it has been an easy sell – historically.

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  10. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Cunliffe, Mallard & King should all stand down immediately. The Labour party is rooted and it’s time they realised they are part of the reason for that and took their snouts out of the trough immediately for the sake of NZ.

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  11. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    Still waiting for someone to say why we need an opposition…

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  12. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    The Greens can play even harder ball and agree to abstain on confidence and supply for a minority National Government to continue in office until Labour comes to its senses and brings them into Cabinet, that assumes National cannot bring a majority Government together. Faced with these complex machinations the only stable option for Government is for people to vote National for a majority Government with one or two micro support parties should that be required. In other words the Greens DO have an option to allow National to continue in office in the meantime and for John Key to remain Prime Minister. But so long as Key continues as Prime Minister he could force a snap election and put all the Green/Labour/NZF/Internet-Mana machinations to an end. But all this says one thing. A 5 way unstable coalition vs National + micro parities is the choice facing voters. In my view the simplest most stable option will win.

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  13. john (47 comments) says:

    davidp that is humor at its very best!!

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  14. georgebolwing (869 comments) says:

    The electorate is, for all its follies, foibles and quirks, not stupid.

    Each three years, it gets to pick the best of an increasingly bad bunch of people to be members of the House and thus those who decide who will be members of the executive.

    This year the choice is between:

    a) the very popular John Key, who is happy to see his task as managing socialism better than Labour, while every now and then erring on the side of liberalism; supported by the Maori Party, ACT and United Future, all of which have shown themselves to be more than happy to support the Government on confidence and supply and most of the other things National wants to do; and

    b) the very unpopular David Cunliffe, who sees his task as taking Labour back to its socialist roots and promoting a far greater role for Government in the everyday activities of the economy (KiwiInsure, etc), supported by an increasingly assertive Greens, who are hard-left state socialists who like trees; the Mana party, who are hard left state socialists who hate everyone else; New Zealand first, who are populist economic nationalists who distrust everyone else; the Internet Party, who are a rich man’s hobby, but seem to believe in anarchy more than anything else.

    Given these choices, it is not surprising that the population is increasingly opting for (a)

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  15. Huevon (222 comments) says:

    Helen Clark is the only political figure on the NZ scene that can beat Key. Just sayin….

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  16. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (890 comments) says:

    I think Winnie the Poo will never sit around the cabinet table with Greens. So Cunliffe has to shaft the Greens. Since Greens have nowhere else to go, they will either support the Labour-NZ First government from outside or abstain from voting on confidence and supply matters. However, Cunliffe has to accommodate Mana-FatCon party. The Justice Minister will be from Mana-FatCon party to stop the extradition of FatCon.

    Only a crushing defeat of the left wing communists and socialists in the September election can save this country from anarchy. I hope uncle Key doesn’t screw up with another teapot gate which stopped him from crossing 50% last time….

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  17. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Huevon

    Yes, 2008 showed that what you are saying is completely correct and not based on some myopic partisan folly.

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  18. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    62% think we have too much imigration. *National, Greens UF are pro immigration.
    Hopefully Labour will see the light?

    *TV3 poll

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  19. minus (201 comments) says:

    But who? Jones is gone. Ardern isn’t ready yet.

    I never watched politics that closely, but even I am aware that when Labour changed their leadership selection rules, people said how will Cunliffe fair now, and as a result of similar questions, Cunliffe was pushed into a challenge way back then that he lost. It always sounded as if he was the most surprised he was challenging then for leadership. And it has followed since, so now he is Labour leader, more by fucking accident than anything else.

    Now Jones is gone, the little fat gay man seems to not be a consideration, and Ardern’s performance in the House this afternoon shows she is useless.

    There is no one else.

    So you have Cunliffe.
    To hold together Labour, Greens, Winston First, and the Mana-Internet parties.
    What a fucking train wreck waiting to happen.

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  20. thedavincimode (6,800 comments) says:

    They should give Mallard a go. Or Annette King.

    Mike Bungay’s dog would have been an ideal choice, but I expect he’s long gone by now. I don’t believe that the history of being a serial parking offender would have counted against it in comparison to this dodgy and motley crew.

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  21. Lindsay Addie (1,531 comments) says:

    Just changing the leader won’t solve Labour’s fundamental problem. The party doesn’t know what they believe in anymore. Previous Labour administrations had a reputation of being all for reform. This current mob seem to be plain scared of the idea.

    They do want to reform immigration but like most other things they don’t have the foggiest how to explain themselves succinctly.

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  22. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    George bollweevil: (sorry, I just don’t like pseuds) I think you have nailed it…

    Some interesting scenarios there as to what the Greens would do if they were shunned in favour of NZF/Mana-kraut/Dunne…I don’t claim to know them any better than anyone here – they were like a little cabal in my time; they never socialised with or even ate in the Bellamy’s restaurants with anyone else…you saw them at Select Committee and in the House, but never anywhere else…

    But I just can’t see them giving confidence and supply to the Nats…which leaves them in impotent rage on the cross benches I guess…

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  23. SHG (316 comments) says:

    There are no intelligent charismatic politicians with leadership ability in the Labour Party. Everyone who could have become one brutally stabbed himself in the stomach while shaving during the Clark years. Funny that.

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  24. RF (1,407 comments) says:

    Heuvon. You are bat shit crazy. Key completely blew Clark out of the water in 2008. Lay off the turps man.

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  25. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    So if you were a Labour MP (yes I know it is unthinkable but just try for a moment) and you were looking at your chances of still being able to feast from the trough post Sep 20th rapidly disappearing what would you want the party to do?

    We are all well aware that no socialist ever wants to be dragged away from the feeding rough, unless it is to a bigger and better trough (aka the United Nations)

    The question then becomes who do they turn to, Robertson and his gaggle of gays and geldings think that he is the next PM, well the people of NZ are never going to vote for a man whose wife is named Alf, don’t tell the Robertson camp this though as he is clearly quite delusional re his appeal to main stream voters.

    Of the rest of them, well nobody comes to mind. The best chance they actually have is Kelvin Davis, now he is not going to become leader before this election but given that he is the only candidate of quality it then becomes a case of who can stem the flow.

    Labour have only two choices, they need to go back to either Goff or Shearer, neither of these men can win but they will at least avoid the slaughter that is coming Labours way should they be stupid enough to stick with Cuntliffe.

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  26. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    BB; I think you have that pretty well right…BTW you must have my e-mail addy wrong, it is: d.garrett@xtra…

    But surely – although I agree with your logic – they have no choice but to stay with Cunliffe?? How would a party that had THREE leaders in 12 months look to the electorate?

    More likely surely that they will make Cunliffe do a Mike Moore…but their glaring big problem is there is no Clark to replace him with…

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  27. Lindsay Addie (1,531 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    If I was a Labour MP and I had one of the safe seats or was high on the list I’d let the wheels continue to fall off hope the party has a major shakeup post election. I’d leave Cunliffe as leader and let him and Parker carry the can for a heavy defeat.

    If I was down the list and had little hope of getting back in Parliament. I’d be looking for another job.

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  28. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Lindsay: That’s all very well…but who do you see as credible candidate(s) post this “major shakeup”?? The only ones with any real talent in their caucus are tired old has beens who have either had a shot and failed (Goff) or never been given a go at leadership ( King; Mallard)..

    If they elected My Little Pony as leader the Nats would have a party for days…

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  29. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    If the Greens abstain on confidence and supply then National will probably have more seats than NZF-Labour. Therefore we have a minority National Government. Under such a scenario John Key will CONTINUE as Prime Minister.

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  30. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Cunliffe could steal the identity of a dead infant and start again.

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  31. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Heuvon is right really. If anyone had a shot it would be Helen. In other words they have no chance. Politics is the cult of personality sometimes

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  32. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    He is showing no signs of getting Labour to the crucial 37 percent mark.

    The likelihood of Labour hitting 37% while the Greens are up around 13-14% and the Nats are implementing Labour policies is vanishingly small. The only thing that could take them to 37% right now is a collapse of the Green vote or National deciding to implement National Party policies instead of Labour ones. I thought Duncan Garner was meant to know something about NZ politics?

    So, what about this scenario: is it time for Cunliffe to stand down as Leader and give it to someone else?

    Oh, I get it. He’s given up political commentary in favour of running the Nats’ talking points.

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  33. OneTrack (3,116 comments) says:

    Time to step up Grant Robertson. Your date with destiny is here.

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  34. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    I think CUnliffe should go but i dont think Garner is all neural in the matter.
    I think him and Robertson have a thing going

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  35. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    I think the Greens should be prepared to deal with National. Suck it up, drop any social policy but insist on at least one significant policy supported (actual effective carbon limitations?) for a confidence vote.

    National wins by continuing to govern, albeit with some cost (to be negotiated), Greens win in that they prove they’re serious, interested in governing, and can deliver a policy success.

    Now I’m in no position to understand what National might be willing to negotiate to, but I’m sure there are possible deals. And I know when I’ve suggested this before people dismissed the idea as impossible because it’d be like herding cats disciplining the Greens.

    But I think peoples votes are a weapon to be wielded, and if the Greens get 10% of the vote they should wield it to achieve something of value. Being shafted by an untrustworthy partner because you haven’t the balls to suffer some frustration to achieve a small advantage is juvenile.

    Were I a Green I’d want to inch ahead, not stand still being bludgeoned, and if Labour like everyone I mention this too can’t believe the Greens could deal with National they should be disabused of their arrogance.

    Defending the ecology is a long game, I would hope the Greens are able to play it on the scale it deserves.

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  36. OneTrack (3,116 comments) says:

    RightNow – “Politics is the cult of personality sometimes”

    And sometimes it is about real and coherent policies, and competence. Labour don’t have either.

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  37. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Gary: What a guy…Come out to Kanohi Road Kaukapakapa and discuss your “issue” in person…or STFU…

    Where do you live?

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  38. chris (647 comments) says:

    You have a point Fentex, but realise we call them the Watermelons for a good reason.

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  39. OneTrack (3,116 comments) says:

    Fentex – “Defending the ecology is a long game, I would hope the Greens are able to play it on the scale it deserves.”

    Except the NZ Green Party are 80% communist/socialist and 20% environment. Tell me when Turei especially has ever mentioned the environment, apart from when talking about some sort of redistributive tax policy.

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  40. Johnboy (16,658 comments) says:

    I’ve been polishing up an old Winchester 20″ pump gun just in case it may come in handy one day DG! :)

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  41. OneTrack (3,116 comments) says:

    tvb – ” Under such a scenario John Key will CONTINUE as Prime Minister.”

    Yes, but he wouldn’t have the votes to actually do anything. He would be forced to call another election.

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  42. OneTrack (3,116 comments) says:

    psycho – “Oh, I get it. He’s given up political commentary in favour of running the Nats’ talking points.”

    How long do you think Cunliffe should hang on for then – 2017?

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  43. Viking2 (11,490 comments) says:

    burt (7,285 comments) says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    It’s remotely possible that the voters have finally noticed that for the last 50 years every Labour government has been a disaster. Every election they campaign on “it will be different if we just try socialism one more time” – but it never is. Socialism isthe Key’s problem followed closely by political parties who know it’s a failure but like how it has been an easy sell – historically.
    ==================================

    There fixed that. 8O :roll:

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  44. Viking2 (11,490 comments) says:

    Fentex (748 comments) says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I think the Greens should be prepared to deal with National. Suck it up, drop any social policy but insist on at least one significant policy supported (actual effective carbon limitations?) for a confidence vote.
    ============================

    FFS you want the socilaists to do a deal with the communists. Better they did a deal with what wikll be left of Labour.

    If labour get trashed (and they probably will), then its not far fetched to think that the Nats in the need of some votes might snub the rest and enroll Labour in coalition. Its been done before. And if Labour get trashed down to 10-12 MP’s then the worst will be eating lunch at the lake rather than Bellamy’s.

    Might be more palatable than having Winnie or Mana or the communists(Greens) as bedmates.
    Especially with the likes of Annette Sykes and Liala Harray adding to the Greens total. Noone seems to appreciate how the Greens and their mates have arranged this deal. McCarten must be furious unless of course he expects them all to join Labour in Govt and he probably does.

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  45. Harriet (4,981 comments) says:

    Jones isn’t the only one that Key will employ – with your money!

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  46. Lindsay Addie (1,531 comments) says:

    David Garrett,

    The problem with current team of Labour in Parliament is they haven’t had enough rejuvenation over the last few years. This is something National has done very well of late.

    Also the Labour front bench isn’t strong. This is borne out by there at times lacklustre performance in the House. A good front bench needs to have at least 4 top level people, which Labour clearly do not have. As for who would make a good leader post election (assuming they stay in opposition) this is problematical. Opposition can be painful as National found out during the Clark administration when they had Shipley, English, Brash and then Key who was the only one who got the better of Helen. Labour have had Goff, Shearer, and now Cunliffe who doesn’t seem to be able to do or say anything that resonates with the average Kiwi.

    Grant Robertson may be a good choice but whether he could stay with Key in Parliament and challenge him is another matter. They definitely need to get rid of Goff, Mallard and King asap.

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  47. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    I say this in all humility …. David Cunliffe, please stay on as Leader of the Labour Party. The country needs you, Labour deserves you, National wants you.

    Happy daze.

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  48. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    If I were a Green leader (perish the thought) and Labour proposed to sideline the Greens in favour of a coalition with NZF, I would just say no and force a fresh election. It is Labour that would be punished. They’d be seen as power-hungry backstabbers without a shred of principle.

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  49. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    Greens need just one policy and to state they would go with Labour or National if a clean water policy was implemented.

    Most NZ would agree with that and gives them a win. National would need to suck up up

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  50. Crusader (317 comments) says:

    Fentex (748 comments) says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I think the Greens should be prepared to deal with National. Suck it up, drop any social policy but insist on at least one significant policy supported (actual effective carbon limitations?) for a confidence vote.

    National wins by continuing to govern, albeit with some cost (to be negotiated), Greens win in that they prove they’re serious, interested in governing, and can deliver a policy success.

    Now I’m in no position to understand what National might be willing to negotiate to, but I’m sure there are possible deals. And I know when I’ve suggested this before people dismissed the idea as impossible because it’d be like herding cats disciplining the Greens.

    But I think peoples votes are a weapon to be wielded, and if the Greens get 10% of the vote they should wield it to achieve something of value. Being shafted by an untrustworthy partner because you haven’t the balls to suffer some frustration to achieve a small advantage is juvenile.

    Were I a Green I’d want to inch ahead, not stand still being bludgeoned, and if Labour like everyone I mention this too can’t believe the Greens could deal with National they should be disabused of their arrogance.

    Defending the ecology is a long game, I would hope the Greens are able to play it on the scale it deserves.

    Problems with that are (1) the Greens are more Red than Green at present. Carbon tax is less important to them than punishing the “rich pricks” with taxes, “gender equity” and hating America. (2) it would spell doom for the Green Party anyway. Their idealogical base would scream “Sell outs!” and move to Mana or some other anti-everything envy party.

    Strategically the goal for the Green Party is clearly to be the dominant party on the left, i.e. to replace Labour. To do that they need to enter a coalition Lab/Green government and outshine them while in power, and build their constituency. That was why they were trying to tie Labour into a joint campaign this time. This is a generational opportunity for the Greens, with such dishwater-weak Labour leadership at present, they would be the star performers in any coalition if it came to pass. (Perish the thought.)

    Ironically a National/Labour coalition (where did that idea come from?) would do the same, i.e. strengthen the Greens as the main opposition. So that would clearly be against National’s interest. National needs to keep the Greens looking loopy and Labour looking clueluess (fortunately this is easy, self-evident really).

    So unless National can get enough to keep going with Dunne (and maybe Conservatives or ACT, depending) it will end up being Winston the kingmaker holding the balance of power and dictating whatever baubles of office he wants (Key will give them).

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  51. hubbers (139 comments) says:

    I could be wrong but isn’t Trotter supposed to knife the Labour leader first? That’s what usually happens.

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  52. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    The significance in John Key continuing as Prime Minister in a minority Government is he can time the snap election, a Leader of the Opposition cannot. With the left sniping amongst themselves then they cannot be an alternative Government. The Governor General will have the accept the advice of the incumbent Prime Minister and dissolve Parliament and have another election.

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  53. tom hunter (4,898 comments) says:

    Much as I can laugh at the plight of Labour and Cunliffe, there is an element of media hysteria going on here, probably linked to the age-old truth that sensationalism sells.

    I was out of the country during the years of Helen Clarke’s slow rise to being PM, but from what I could see she got the shit kicked out of her in opinion polls and public image during her first years as Labour leader. It got so bad that at one stage Michael Cullen and company were on their way up the stairs to ask her to quit and were stopped by Trevor Mallard.

    Cunliffe and company simply need to keep their heads, keep plugging away, and ignore the “fight-fight” catcalls from the likes of Garner. Cunliffe may well not make it to PM, but if he or Labour react to this sort of crap they will definitely fail this September.

    On the other hand the fact that someone as politically smart and experienced as Cullen could come so close to screwing things up is an indication of the pressures that public failure can create – and I’d rate the current Labour crew a long way down the scale of smarts and competence compared to Clark and Cullen.

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  54. kiwi in america (2,454 comments) says:

    I agree Tom – this is Garner hunting ratings. Labour are stuck with Cunliffe and will not roll him pre-September 20 unless there is another massive pratfall. McCarten will be promising a king hit on Key….somewhere, anywhere. Any small mistake by Key or the Nat cabinet will be magnified and pounced on. Labourites I’m taking to still think history is on their side, that National cannot repeat 47% (ignoring the strengthening economy), they cling to the Mana/Dotcom thing as a boost to their side, they have faith that the next great policy announcement will be the game changer and hope that a tea pot tape style brouhaha will engulf Key mid campaign, hope that the Greens hold up, that NZ First gets over the line AND goes with Labour. In some ways they are right but Labour would have to steal 3 – 5% directly off National and all the other variables break their way for Cunliffe to be able to assemble the hydra-headed monster coalition. Its theoretical possibility under MMP keeps them on board with Cunliffe.

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  55. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Gary: What a guy…Come out to Kanohi Road Kaukapakapa and discuss your “issue” in person…or STFU…

    Where do you live?

    Hook, line, and sinker.

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